Thursday, April 11, 2024

First step to accepting that I was abused by parents

I just blogged about how inadvertently catching my mom in lies and gaslighting about abusive, neglectful, exploitative, endangering things that happened to me (see previous post) got me wondering if other things I'd always accepted as normal were in fact also abuse, neglect, endangerment, exploitation and more gaslighting about it. 

So what now? How do I go about sorting that? I guess my first step, is to just say what happened and then to accept that they did actually happened and are not made up or exaggerated. Based on understood definitions of these things, I was abused and assaulted (sexually, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and socially) neglected, bullied, abandoned, exploited, shamed, blamed, parentified and gaslit about it. 

So the next step. Accepting that they they happened is not accepting that they should have happened. It wasn't my fault I was abused, neglected, bullied, abandoned, exploited, screamed at, shamed, blamed or parentified. I didn't bring it on  myself. It wasn't God's will. He hadn't told them to do these things. They were not right. I didn't deserve them. I was not too sensitive, too critical, showing off, a bad kid, a letdown, responsible for, nasty, or any of the other things they gaslit me into believing. 

I was a kid. What I deserved was a childhood, not parentified and made responsible for everyone else. I deserved to be a teenager, not a scapegoat, servant, surrogate spouse and parent to four parents and their kids. I deserved happy memories with some sad, not sad or no memories. I deserved to have stuff, not have it sold and me not told, whenever the family needed money. I deserved a home, not couch surfing at their homes. I deserved to feel loved, wanted, respected and cared for and part of a family. Not unloved, unwanted, uncared for and excluded from their families. 

But I think I missed a step and have to take it even farther back. In order to accept that these things happened, were as bad as I remember and not make excuses for the perpetrators, I have to accept that my memories and version of the story is the accurate one, not their lies, weaponizing, shaming and minimizing.  But to do that, I have to examine how I know my version is true. (Sorry this is so much working backwards, but this is how it's playing out for me. I probably have to go back even farther, to look at why I believed their version but I'm too tired tonight) 

So how do I know my memories are accurate? Well, I guess for one thing, what I know about myself and what others have told me. I don't willingly hurt others and I certainly don't lie about them. Heck I've spent 6 decades lying FOR them. I'm not going to start making up stories now. And there's enough shit now, I wouldn't need to! 

And why would I? Not to get help from anyone. I never told anyone till  now. No one in the extended family knew or if they did, they never mentioned it to me. That's another part of my parents' gaslighting. If my extended family was so loving why did they ignore the abuse? If it was so bad, why did they act like it was fine. Either they don't love you or they approve of how we're raising you. 

I can't answer why they never said anything. Either they didn't know, didn't care, didn't want or know how to get involved. It was kind of DADT back then.  I think my mom's parents didn't know. I think my dad's dad didn't want to know. He just wanted to be loving and think everyone else was too. I think my dad's mom did know and was really bothered about it but everyone talked her down. 

What I do know is that in every little way they could, all four grandparents showed me love. I do not and will never believe that they would want to see me hurt. I don't believe any of them if they did know, would approve.   My parents on the other hand, were masters of deception. Like alcoholics, they knew where to hide the bottles. I think I shielded my grandparents because I wanted to keep them innocent and their homes safe. Maybe I didn't know what would happen if I told. More importantly, I've never liked distressing anyone. 

So I wouldn't make it up to get outside help. And not to get sympathy from one parent either. They didn't care how each other treated me. They actually encouraged their new spouses to abuse, humiliate, exploit, shame and neglect me. Even when my mom's was just her boyfriend. He moved into our house, unemployed, not looking for work and lazy AF. He hit the ground ordering me around "his house", shaming, mocking me, screaming at me, sexually abusing me and generally  making life hell. (remember what I said about "blisters?") My mother never once corrected him. In fact, she took his side every time he attacked me and often joined in the mocking. 

(Side note on the "Blisters" thing: Up till about two years ago, I just thought it was normal. It was my husband (then boyfriend) who called this out for the disgusting pedo sex abuse it was. But that wasn't till a few years ago that he told me. He didn't want to make life worse for me,  knowing how abusively angry mom's husband got. Sometimes we do the wrong thing for the right reason. )

So I wouldn't lie for help or sympathy, how about attention? Hell to the no! I learned early on with them to keep my head well below the parapet. And I tend to downplay vs. exaggerate. Even in this blog, I've had to work hard not to minimize. But my mom and dad and stepparents are not so scrupulous as their track records have shown. Ergo the gaslighting. So I guess where this leaves us is, that if everything impossible has been removed, what's left is the truth. Boom. 

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