full of shame

A discussion area specifically for survivors who suffered physical, emotional, and verbal child abuse. This forum can also be used for Members who suffered sexual abuse at the time of physical, emotional and verbal abuse.

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greendreamdays
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Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:08 am

full of shame

Post by greendreamdays »

I used to think I had a low tolerance for emotional pain. I’ve come the realize just the opposite. I wasn’t weak for my mental health failing. I was holding years of emotions and memories of abuse I didn’t know what to do with. I couldn’t accept the reality of what happened. So I just pretended like it never happened. It ate away at me until I couldn’t control it anymore. Only approaching that point made me think maybe it was getting bad.
My mind was just trying to protect me the only ways it knew how. Anxiety, depression, dissociation, anorexia, self-harm, suicide.
I always used to shame myself when the feelings of pain came up. That was a tactic my abusers used when I was expressing emotions that were inconvenient for them, made them uncomfortable, that they didn’t want or didn’t now how to deal with. I think I know more about my abusers than just about anyone else. I hate that.

My reality was so heavy I couldn’t cope with it. I was shamed for feeling or expressing any “negative” emotion. Over and over. I was a shell of a child growing up. But I got positive feedback when I pretended that I was happy and healthy, so I just kept doing that. I didn’t realize I was so good at lying. I thought adults who were wiser and smarter than me would have picked up on something. But nobody seemed to notice how much pain I was hiding. It was like my feelings didn’t really matter to anyone at all. No true of course but I had no way of understanding that at the time.
It didn’t matter how much pain I was in, as long as I could hide it then I had to assume it wasn’t really that bad. It was only bad if I completely lost control and I never let that happened because I was extremely obsessive about never losing control. Anything less would have been considered a moral failing, a bad choice, an exaggeration, or simply a lie. It was like living in a pressure cooker. I became terrified of my own emotions because they became so dark and intense. And I was confused why those feelings wouldn’t go away no matter what it did. It became normal. I didn’t have many friends. I felt so dead inside, and I thought everyone was pretending to be happy just like me because I could not imagine not being depressed and suicidal.

It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around everything that happened. The hardest part is acknowledging that it even happened at all. And it wasn’t just one big thing, it was millions of little things and big things. I keep thinking that maybe if I can just reframe the situation it would make it different somehow, less traumatic. If I could just will it to be different, it could be like it never happened. But my mental health gets really bad really quickly when I start thinking like that so I figure I shouldn’t keep doing that.

And in some sort of strange way I feel relief when I tell myself those things really did happened even though they were horrible. I feel like calling my experiences “traumatic” or “horrible” makes me feel like I am exaggerating, like I’m a manipulative narcissist who is disgustingly self-centered and can’t the difference between illusion and reality. That I’m weak for calling it trauma instead of simply getting over it and learning my lesson already. That’s exactly what my abusers would want me to think. Because as long as I thought it wasn’t real trauma, then they wouldn’t have to see the harm they caused. They are no longer in my life but it makes me so angry to think that even now they still have so much power over me and how I think.

I feel like I need to remind myself all the time that it was real and it really happened. And the more I tell myself that the more it seems like I am trying to convince myself of something that is not true. Sometimes telling myself it was true just makes me dissociate and the only thing that can bring me back is distracting myself from those thoughts.

One of my parental figures was a raging narcissist. She and my dad would gaslight me all the time. Tell me what I was feeling I wasn’t really feeling, that I was lying about the chores and other things I had done, that I was lying and exaggerating when I wasn’t. I learned to not trust my memory or myself. I was constantly shamed for feeling any kind of emotion that might be considered a threat to her illusion of reality. She couldn’t take any kind of criticism or feedback, they were all just personal attacks as far as she could tell. Even saying I didn’t like a character in a TV show that she liked. She would get so upset she would simply leave the room in a huff and even if she didn’t say anything everyone would know she was upset and that it was me who upset her with my thoughtless and unnecessary comment.

I wasn’t allowed to defend myself. I was humiliated and shamed all the time. The most forgiving of the punishments were being sent up to my room to “think about what I had done.” Being alone was the safest place to be. Only I could hurt myself when I was alone and not anybody else. I didn’t learn about my emotions, my parents never taught me any of that. I learned to shame myself worse than anyone else could. I think it protected me in a way, but as an adult it quickly became a cause of my problems rather than a sustainable solution.

I thought I was so disgusting, deformed, and ugly that people felt physically ill when they looked at me, but somehow managed to be polite anyway. I thought my presence was a burden on everyone all the time. I was ashamed for being alive, to subjecting people to be in my presence. I thought my feelings and thoughts didn’t really matter and if I finally killed myself that I would be doing everyone a favor. Sure some people might be sad for a time, but I thought that was a selfish thing to think. What kind of audacity I must have to believe anyone would ever think of me at all, much less be sad in my absence. The idea that I could have any effect on anyone like that was almost unthinkable. I was full of hatred and anger only toward myself. And nobody noticed. It didn’t matter how deep my desperation and despair was. I decided I was either not really in pain, or my pain didn’t really matter.

I tried to kill myself so many times. I’ve come very close. And there is still a part of me that tries to shame me for several failed attempts. As if I couldn’t even get that part right.

I’ve self harmed. One time I cut all over my legs and all over my arms so I mostly kept them covered in public until they healed. It was hundreds of cuts in one day. My skin stung so badly it made me feel sick. But since I didn’t do it often and the cuts were very shallow I didn’t consider myself a real self harmer, it was just something I did occasionally. I put ointment on them and they healed so well that the scars aren’t even visible. It makes me feel like that wasn’t real either. That I wasn’t in enough pain to cut deeper, and my pain wasn’t bad enough to properly self harm like other people who had more legitimate problems.

I am so bend on invalidating my pain. Because other people invalidated my pain. My pain was overwhelming for them. And if they really saw me for how I was feeling they would have to acknowledge where the pain could perceptibly come from. Them. And I imagine that was unthinkable to them. I can take accountability of my pain and mental health recovery as an adult. But as a child I didn't have the option or resources or awareness that what I was experiencing merited help from others at all and that I didn't have to suffer alone and that my suffering was real and I was not exaggerating or making it up. It's hard to admit but at one point I really was a powerless victim. It wasn't my fault and it wasn't my decision. I was a child. It had almost nothing to do with me at all. It was about the abusers.

I want to acknowledge the pain, not push it away. I don’t want to invalidate it anymore. It always makes it worse. It makes my stomach hurt. I keep so many emotions inside, even now. I don't always know when to share them. Even around safe people I feel like more I share the more I will regret it later. Somehow it is almost always true.

I sometimes don't know how distorted my thinking gets until I get feedback which I pretty much never ask for in real life. I'm afraid of what other people would think. That I just want attention by asking if the abuse that happened was real abuse. Reading other peoples stories it is very clear what abuse was. But when it's me I can't see it as clearly. It makes me feel cloying and stupid to think about it. It makes me feel like I should never post anything at all, like I don't deserve to be heard, even anonymously online. And if it brings me any bit of relief, then relief must be bad and avoided at all costs. I'm so tired of holding it all it. I don't know who to tell these things to other than my therapist. Even though I don't feel out of control in expressing all of this, I know I need to tell someone. Not that you could tell from this post but I have actually been working on dismantling my inner critic with great success. Somehow it makes it clearer when it is there.
Chessgirl
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Posts: 1041
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2020 7:45 pm

Re: full of shame

Post by Chessgirl »

Wow you really described exactly how I feel and how I was treated as well. Thank you for sharing this. I found it very helpful. I’m sorry for all the pain you experienced and the agony you experienced as an adult trying to hide from the pain. You are so self aware and wise and it’s amazing to read. Sitting with you. It will get easier. We are here
Chessgirl
Olivia
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Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2021 7:40 pm

Re: full of shame

Post by Olivia »

Thank you for sharing with your post. I am so sorry you are going through this. I just wanted to say this resonated with me so much. It felt like your words were expressing my own childhood in ways i could never.
applestopears
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Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:57 am

Re: full of shame

Post by applestopears »

I relate so much to this, the feelings and how you were treated.

I am finding myself constantly having to remind myself that pain was valid and that it matters.

am sorry you are going through this as I know how it hurts so bad and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Thanks for helping me feel less alone.
Last edited by Harmony on Fri Jun 18, 2021 4:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: edited from MT to NT due to no triggering content no language
applestopears
Member
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:57 am

Re: full of shame

Post by applestopears »

Olivia wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 1:28 pm Thank you for sharing with your post. I am so sorry you are going through this. I just wanted to say this resonated with me so much. It felt like your words were expressing my own childhood in ways i could never.
It really is so hard to talk about, isn't it? and sometimes when the need is there to discuss it, very few seem able to understand or want to.
Last edited by Harmony on Fri Jun 18, 2021 4:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: edited from MT to NT due to no triggering content no language
greendreamdays
Member
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:08 am

Re: full of shame

Post by greendreamdays »

Chessgirl, Olivia, and applestopears,

Thanks for your support. I am sorry it is relatable but glad we can feel less alone.
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