Broken From Within...

I grew up in a home where my parents fought, said hateful things to each other, played cruel mind games, there was physical abuse..., and the children were played off against each other, and used as pawns in the games the parents played.        

You may be telling yourself right now...  But my spouse and I would never do that...  My parents don’t think they did that...  

In an unhappy marriage, it’s human nature to try to be the “better parent”, to give a little more, be a little more.  It’s very difficult to maintain parental consistency, and a united front in dealing with your children, when you don’t feel united, when in fact you are not united.  In a sexless marriage you are not united...  innuendo aside, the dissatisfaction and eventual resentment drive a wedge between you.

And even if you never say anything against your spouse in front of your children they can feel the coldness, the resentment, the little innuendos...  and the hurt...

Those years left me with a very well tuned ability to recognize when two people don’t like each other...  to pick up on the emotional currents in a room, and know who’s unhappy, who’s angry, who’s jealous, who’s hurting... I pick up on positive emotions too, but they don't - interrupt me I guess is a good way to put it, they don't interrupt me in the same way.  I have to actually be paying attention and trying to pick those up.  The negative effect me immediately. 

Children are much more observant than anyone ever thinks...

My brothers and I have all had failed relationships...  my youngest brother and I have both just left marriages where our spouses mirrored the behaviour of the like gendered parent.  We talk about it together with horror on our faces and in our voices.

Somehow we have to break the cycle...  but we are not equipped with the ability to find and foster "normal"...  

I believe it does children no good service at all to be raised in a home where the parents are together, not for each other, but only to keep from "breaking up the children's home"...  in an unhappy marriage...   the home is already "broken"...  it's broken from within...

FriendofPromise FriendofPromise
51-55, F
10 Responses Feb 13, 2010

I could never, and would never, think any less of you for anything that has happened to you in your past FOP. My dad was verbally abusive, bordering on physically abusive, to my mom, and although he has passed away I still remember how he would mistreat her and yell at her and cheat on her, and I have vowed to NEVER do that to any one in my life. Despite my wife disrespecting me, and shutting me off from sex, I never cheated on her, nor have I abused her in any way, shape, or form. I am far from perfect, and I have made many mistakes in my life, but I do know how to treat people well.

pageshyy & pink berry....<br />
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Thank you for your endorsement... and your stories... it's very hard sometimes to post these stories... I'm often worried that people will look at me differently for coming from a background like this, or for my multiple failed marriages... as for that, someone said to me, and I am forever grateful to them!!... you just had enough sense to know when to get out! <br />
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In sharing, I'm healing... and growing... and I am so glad that the stories I share help others...<br />
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Thank you!

Bravo, FOP! This is a truth that is impossible to deny for parents. Children are very intuitive little people and because we do our best to give them our best and because we spend so much time together, they can instantly recognize when something is wrong. <br />
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My children are still young, but they see and react to my emotions no matter what I may try to show them. This is in fact one of the things that helped me finally decide that I am leaving. I do not want them to learn that what has been going on in our home is normal or even acceptable. I want them to see me happy and fulfilled and how that helps me to be a better mother to them. <br />
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I too dealt with parents who didn't think I knew or was affected by what went on in our home. When my mother started going to counseling after my dad moved out, I often had to go with her because we only had one car and there wouldn't be time to drop me at home before she would go. One day, she came racing out of there, red as a beet. She just muttered, "Let's go," and kept walking. Of course, I was perturbed because I had my things out and didn't see any reason to rush. After we got in the car, she told me about the big, scary, angry revelation from her session. I paused for a second to look at her to see if she was messing with me or what. Then, I said, "Duh!" <br />
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She couldn't believe that I already knew everything she'd just come to understand in there. I'm pretty sure she didn't believe me until I explained to her how I knew and which situations at home made it perfectly clear to me what was happening. Her jaw dropped open. As in tune with her as I was, she was equally as out of tune with me. She never got it and never, even all the way up to her death did she have any idea how her life had impacted mine. This is why I strive to consider my children so carefully in every decision I make and now more than ever. <br />
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Thanks for posting this story, FOP! I think it will help a lot of people.

This is a great story !! and one many can identifiy with..<br />
with me.. it was a little different. As a child growing up I also lived in a home with discord..<br />
Mother and father at each other.. and Us hearing all of it.. and Cringing at every minute of it..<br />
I have always been a child of peace and not of disruption.. It would always upset my being... anything that is not of peaceful existance. So.. being the Abnormal child that i was.. and still am..^^.<br />
The one day that they decided to start there fighting again.. with out even concidering Us kids were around to hear. I decided .. that I was going to end the discord of the family.. and set everyone free of their obligations..<br />
I marched myself down stairs.. walked up to my mom and dad.. and looked them right in the eyes and told them.. that If they didnt love each other any more.. than They Needed to get a divorce !!<br />
And i turned around with out even bl<x>inkin an eye or even crying.. ( by that time.. i was all out of tears),, The look on their faces.. was the look of absolute shame. For them to have one of their youngest child look at them.. and Tell them how foolish they were.<br />
I was only 7 when that happened.. and the year following they seperated..<br />
To be honist with you.. I found happiness after that.. No more Yelling and name calling and disruption for Us kids. or my mom and dad... Did I feel bad for what I had done to them? NO.. I didnt, I felt that I had set them free.. Adults dont realize.. that children.. arent really children.. but small adults.. that have Feelings.. and know what love is and what love isnt..<br />
Do yourself and your Children a favor... If you must discuss Adult things.. DONT do it loudly infrount of your children.. They Just might give you and education about yourselfs.. And then you will know who the Children are.. and who the adults are.. Age means Nothing.. intellengence comes in all ages.<br />
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And like i always say... live in peace & love and light !! ^^

I'm glad this story strikes a chord with fellow sufferers... N2C... my brother went through that same thing looking after my ailing father in the years before his death. He told me that he didn't do it for him so much, as for himself... because it was the right thing to do.<br />
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I did the same, with our mother... she lived here with my family for 6 years... and it wasn't much fun a lot of the time... and she now is living with my brother. We are trying to find normal... but, it's difficult when we have no idea what exactly it is we are looking for... and the more we search the more we come to realize that even the families that looked the most "normal" from the outside had their internal strife...<br />
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Maybe nobody really knows what "normal" is... we have both been to therapy, and told that we cope and function very well... <br />
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...we look at each other and ask... compared to what?

Very glad to read this, because now I don't feel so alone in feeling the damage done in childhood and how that damage persists through the decades after leaving home. For me it is all coming together (the vision of how the initial damage affected me) as I have moved back home to take care of my aging father. Being in the house I grew up in, so strange... And everything about my dad brings back memories, feelings, inner tension. I'm finding it so difficult to be kind towards someone who never learned how to be kind to others.

eelarc - CSA??

Your story rings true for me! Even when parents seperate they still compete over who is the better parent, my parents always used the kids as pawns in their own game. The CSA caused many a row and resentment on both sides.

Hi K... to be honest this started as a comment on your story... and it grew... and I decided to post it instead...<br />
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...they do read us so well... I've been told that I'm very difficult to read... especially when I don't want to be. My daughter can read me with creepy accuracy... and when I'm trying not to be read... it scares her... she's 23 now, and can tell me in detail what's going through my head... not what's causing it necessarily, but she always knows how I'm feeling - instantly.

Wow. This story really touched me. Very well written. We're on the same vein of thought today. :) Even my 1 year old is more fussy when I am tense, even though I am making an effort to act normally. How children read us so well I don't know.