Emotional Abuse and Neglect By My Mother
My life has been severely affected by how my mother treated me growing up. I'm 40 now, but to this day I still have problems that I can relate back to my childhood. I was subjected to emotional abuse in many different forms. I was often criticised, belittled, made fun of, denied proper clothes, denied food, terrorised, and just treated like an outcast in my own family. She consistently treated me differently from how she treated the others, always letting me know, often in subtle ways, that I was not wanted in the family. Sometimes she would even gang up my siblings against me and they would all make fun of me. She was capable of being a proper mother to the other kids but this was not extended to me. Towards me she was cold, disinterested, I cant even imagine my mother smile because she never smiled at me. I was never hugged by her or told that I was loved. Quite the opposite.
I was not the youngest or the oldest, I was the third girl in a family of 3 girls and 1 boy (the youngest). He was her favourite. She once told me she'd always wanted 2 girls and 2 boys, so I guess she's held that against me my whole life.
I was *always* fed last at the table, and always given the least amount of food. I would watch her at the dinner table serving the food, there was no particular order other than that I was always last. If there was cake, I was guaranteed to be given the smallest piece. Sometimes she'd pretend there were no more biscuits only for me to check the tin later and find out she'd been lying. One rule for them, and another rule for me. I was only worthy of being last, getting the least, or given nothing because she wanted to save the rest for tomorrow. I still have a problem with food to this day. I cannot keep cakes and biscuits and other treats in the house because I will keep eating it until it is gone, (even if it makes me feel sick). Despite the fact that I live alone and it would still be there tomorrow.
At birthdays it was always obvious that she did not give me as much, compared to how she spoilt the others. However, I was always grateful for what I did get, I did not complain. Christmas time, she would often buy my sisters identical things, but not give one to me. At a certain age (8?) I outgrew the second sister in height and so clothes were not 'passed down' to me and I'd outgrow mine. Once when I was 9 I had to get my father (who left all the childrearing to mum) to take me to buy some clothes as I had hardly anything to wear to school. I went to school without lunch because she stopped making it, but would secretly give my brother lunch money. I wanted to have long hair, but she'd drag me to the hairdressers to have it cut short. My sisters were allowed long hair. I wanted to share a bedroom with one of my sisters, but was always given a room alone, the one furtherest away from everybody else. I was once terrorised while she cornered me with a big black spider on the end of a broom, I screamed and cried out for my mother (as any young child would do in moment of fear), only to realise it was her that was actually *causing* this fear. I probably have many more examples that I've simply blocked out.
As a preteen and in my early teenage years I spent most of my time in my room. When I did venture out she'd pretend I wasn't there. I would walk in to the lounge where my mum and siblings were watching tv, laughing and chatting, but when she heard me coming she'd whisper something like "W is coming" and if I asked what's on tv, they were suddenly silent and stone faced, as if I was not there. Simply ignored. If she had lollies, she'd pretend that she didn't but at the same time crackle the lolly packet she had in her pocket and do a few "chews" to show me that she was lying and of course I was not getting any. In the end I simply just stayed in my room as I did not want to be subjected her meanness, and to being made to feel like an outcast in my own family.
I did not belong. I wasn't wanted. I wasn't worthy of the same treatment from her. And she used every opportunity to let me know that.
By the time I was 13 I was doing jobs after school just so that I could buy the necessities that my mother did not provide. I was too scared to ask her for things such as tampons and deodorant, so I just bought my own. I did not earn much but was able to buy some clothes, and my school lunch.
She would turn off the hot water when I was in the shower, with shampoo still in my hair I had to finish with cold water because she thought I'd been in there "too long". If there was no toilet paper she'd say there was no more and to use newspaper, only for a new roll to miraculously appear for the next user.
At a certain age I realised I did not have to put up with her anymore. I discovered boys. I had a feeling that this was "not allowed", but boys gave me the attention I craved. I was a straight A student (as were my older sisters). But I discovered alcohol can make you feel happy and forget about your horrible home life. I started hanging out with guys much older than me. I worked Friday nights after school in a convenience store, as well as Saturday mornings. Nobody missed me at home, I was not questioned. Once my dad found I was staying out LATE (after they'd gone to bed) if I'd been out with my sister, upon returning home I was the one who got beat, she got let off. There were times I'd sneak out of my bedroom window and climb back in cos I was afraid to get beat for 'going out'.
My mum didn't drive, and as I said my dad left the childrearing to mum. We were encouraged to hitch-hike if we wanted to go anywhere (this was in the early 80's) since we lived over half an hour out in the country. If we took the bus there was still a 20 mins walk from the end of the road in pitch blackness at night (no street lighting out there).
Anyway, I accidentally got pregnant at 15 because I knew I would not be allowed birth control. My sister had asked earlier and was plain refused, so I knew if she wasn't allowed, there was no way I'd be allowed either. I had a premature baby at 24 weeks pg, who died. This was a turning point in my life. A straight A student forced to leave school due to pregnancy at 15, how weird was that? Only to lose my baby and be left with nothing at all.
Due to my sense of loss, and feeling of hopelessness, I could not return to my old school (my mother had told them I had got pg and I was the talk of the school), I was too afraid to go back and there were no other schools in my area. To replace my incredible sense of loss, I had another baby (planned this time) at 17. Although parents had been reasonably supportive the first time around, this time they were not. I was almost always in my room with the baby when I was at home. Each day I'd go out with my baby in the morning, and sit in my car with my baby in the backseat, reading library books in the park. In the evening I would return home. That was my daily routine. At a certain stage when my baby was a few months old my mother had told my dad she no longer wanted me in the house. It was winter and my dad had prepared a barn for me to sleep in with my then 8 month old baby. He told me that he did not want to have to force me, but I had to go live in there "of my own free will", with my baby. I obediently did as he said and did not cause a fuss. I had to use the toilet and shower in the main house, but had to spend the daytime in that "shed". I cooked in that barn and used the hose outside to wash my dishes. It was not a proper sleepout. I remember seeing a big rat running along a ledge where the walls "met" the roof, there was a gap along there, since it had been a barn, but had not been converted properly into a liveable space, certainly not with an 8 month old baby. It was freezing cold in there but I tried to keep warm with many blankets.
Anyway, that is enough of my life story for now. Since I'd left school so young, I caught up my education by correspondence once my daughter started school. I then went on to study at university, while bringing up 2 kids alone. I was 31 when I got my university degree. I was living in poverty but somehow I managed.
There is a lot more to this story that I haven't told. Including how we all moved halfway around the world when I was 9 and how we all went back when I was 18. I did not last long in what was by then a country foreign to me (despite the fact I was born there) I couldn't speak the language properly and at age 19, with 2 kids under two I flew back halfway around the world to the country I called "home" I had no qualms about moving as far away as you can possibly go, from the rest of my so called 'family'. It's not as if they cared, I had no emotional connection with them, I did not feel any love or acceptance and was mostly ignored. It was an easy decision.
It meant I had to live in a trailer park for a while, and then on to substandard accomodation. But heck, anything was better than nothing.
So now to the present. I am 40 years old now and my kids left home already 5 years ago. I have been a single mother this whole time. I have had boyfriends, but of the ones that wanted to be with me, I was always mistreated. I never had a relationship longer than 1 year. I have never lived with a man. Due to my upbringing I cannot form healthy relationships due to my low confidence and self esteem. I have been poor for most of this time. I only started a proper job once I got my degree in my early 30's, I spent my 20's bringing up kids singlehandedly and gaining an education, I had been forced to leave school at 15 with no qualifications. It took me YEARS to catch up.
The problem now is that I cannot function very well at work or in my personal life. I have the brains but I cannot relate to people. I am very quiet and I isolate myself from everybody else. I always feel like the rest of the world is going to treat me the same as my mother did, and so I keep to myself and don't know how to socialise. I am scared to talk about myself as I don't feel worthy of anything. I still to this day automatically assume that everybody is going to dislike and eventually mistreat me, especially verbally and emotionally. I crave closeness and friendship, but I don't know how to create that. I cannot relate like a normal person. On the outside I look like I'm normal, I dress well (to make up for my own percieved inadequacies), and am physically quite attractive and been told I'm pretty. I look about 10 years younger than I actually am.
BUt my love life is non-existent. I have barely any friends. I can talk to guys but I cannot talk to or relate to women, even though I am a woman myself. I feel inadequate. Like they are going to see "the real me" and very soon they realise that I am not normal, not like everybody else.
So I've gone from job to job, I've had 3 jobs in the past few years, never stayed longer than 2 years. I was disliked in my first job, as I did not befriend anybody and kept almost completely to myself. I'm 100% certain they were glad to get rid of me. (my boss said in a meeting that he had some good news, the good news being that I was leaving). My second job I was accepted more and as I opened up a bit more to them they understood my situation as a single mum and knew that I had brains and was a good worker. But I had to leave that job due to severe depression I developed at that stage. I started to SI (self injure, harm myself on purpose) in order to numb the emotional pain. It was the first time in my life that I had been able to "process" the emotional abuse and neglect caused by my mother. I became suicidal and felt like the only solution was to kill myself. I was on medication and eventually got therapy but nothing ever really helped.
If you have read to the end, I thank you. I am not looking for sympathy, just want to be heard.