Thursday, April 11, 2024

Why am I just now realizing my parents and stepparents abused, neglected, abandoned, shamed and exploited me?

 If you're following you know that I'm unpacking a ton of shit about how I was treated by family of origin. And just so you know, this is stuff I'm just now realizing. So I'm writing in real time, present tense. I've begun truth telling about how I was abused, neglected, abandoned, shamed, scapegoated, minimized, parentified, exploited, manipulated and gaslit about it all by parents and stepparents. I'm telling how bad it was as I'm remembering. I'm admitting that I was not loved or wanted. 

Burt why am I just now realizing this? Because gaslighting is so incredibly mind-effy that it clouded my judgement. I actually see gaslighting as more being gassed but with bullshit and lies instead of phosgene. It has a similar effect if it happened when it happens to a kid. It twists and deforms everything. It made me second guess and hate myself, defend and excuse them and tolerate any sick shit they chose to wreak on me.

I was also too afraid to look closely at what happened because 1) the carefully constructed lies they'd told about all that happened 2) being gaslit that no one would believe me 3) that I'd find I was and even bigger POS than they'd convinced me I was and 4) it was too terrifying. So I spent the last 59 years of my life living in a web of lies for fear of the truth. 

Then my dad died without ever confronting anything that happened, let alone apologizing. My stepmother had died a few years previously and she never admitted anything either. My brothers told very odd versions so I knew they didn't or wouldn't remember. Then my stepfather started confronting my  mom with some pretty bizarre things he said she did and lies she had told. And she contacted me, she said, to find out if she had. 

She claimed to have no memory of doing these things. What I think she was trying to establish was who remembered what and how she wiggle out of it. If she could pit us against each others, as she'd so often done in the past ( I now realize), so much the better. 

Some things I didn't remember until my aunt confirmed them. Then I recalled it. But in the grand scheme of shit she'd done, it was pretty small. Another thing involved me supposedly telling them about my first sex experience. I don't know if I did and it really didn't matter. She didn't care that it would have and still did make me very uncomfortable. All she cared about was clarifying who was right, like a Trivial Pursuit question. 

But being a mom-pleaser, I jumped to her defense, saying that he wasn't squeaky clean either. She latched on to that probably thinking I'd relate awful things he'd done to her, for leverage I suppose. I should have remembered that my mother has never forget anything anyone has done wrong to her, inventing them if she has to. And will store them up for future use. But I still had the blinders fully in place. 

I ended up telling things that both of them had done but made it sound like just he had done them. Things like kick me out of the house when I was 16 for coming in an hour late. He did that but she went right along with it. Then when I had to take care of her four foster kids, baby to age four, for a week when I was 11. I shared how devastated I was when I couldn't make the very special needs baby stop crying and how her  husband (then boyfriend) who was sleeping on the couch, screamed at me and accused me of shaking the baby. She completely took his side and joined the attack once she got back. . But I didn't mention that in the retelling. 

So that was pretty awful to relive. Especially given she was just checking to exonerate herself not out of any concern for how all this shit might have affected me. But her response was what affirmed that she didn't and doesn't care about me. Without realizing it, my story sharing was kind of a test, to see if she would take responsibility. And she reacted as I now accept she always reacted. First, she lied and said they never happened. Then she claimed she forgot that they had kicked me out. Then she said she would never have left me with four foster kids because "I would have lost my license." 

So she knew then that she was wrong. And if she flouted the rules once, she had many times before. Like making me sleep with all the kids in one room upstairs while she and her boyfriend slept in the basement two floors down. like allowing a man she was not married to, to live with her in the foster home. Like letting two other unmarried couples live in the home as well (one of which in my bedroom).  Like letting her boyfriend sexually assault me by calling me "blisters" in reference to my 11-year-old breast size. 

Then, after lying her head off, she played "loving mommy" being so sorry I felt that way (suicidal over supposedly shaking a baby). But at no time admitting to not only allowing these abusive things to happen but encouraging and participating in them. 

(Side note: I've come to see that he was lying about me shaking the baby, to cover the fact that he was sleeping and not helping with the baby. And that I shouldn't have even be caring for that many children for a week let alone a few hours. And that he didn't belong living at our house in the first place. But I never considered that until a year or so ago.) 

My husband identified recently that it was after this conversation that I began to question what happened to me and to see it as the abuse it was. I began to let memories I'd kept locked away, return. I was hoping that in letting them in, I'd discover that I'd exaggerated them. That there were more happy memories than I thought. Because all these years, I've clung to the myth that deep down, they loved me. They just didn't know how to show it. Or they did the best they could. Or just made mistakes. Or didn't mean to. Or that somehow time had healed the memories to the point where I didn't feel so much pain. 

Unfortunately, none of those things happened. I found the memories worse than I'd remembered. I recalled awful things I'd buried deep. And regardless of any test or litmus I subjected these things to, none of them came close to being loving. I reread the Bible on love and none of it fit with any acts of love. I asked other people and they unilaterally agreed. The behavior of my parents and stepparents constitutes ( because it goes on) abuse (sexual, emotional, physical, social, mental and spiritual), neglect, abandonment, trauma and shame dumping, exploitation, parentification and gaslighting. 

And in accepting that, I began to look at my chronic CPTSD nightmares, dysregulation, toxic shame and unspeakable sadness more closely. I began actually listening to the voices in my head and paying attention to the dreams. What I found is that they match up with the traumatic memories or based on devastating memory feelings. I'll blog more about the dreams later because they really need to be explored. 

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