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LibraryLady

When The Bully Is Your Father

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Posted

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I had a big realization yesterday while I was reading the bullying threads. I never really realized it, altho I don't know why! It was so obvious!

The worst bully in my life (and I've been bullyed a lot!) is my own Father. He bullyed all of us terribly all our lives. He is a control freak and a Narssacist (sp?). He treated us terribly when we were children, to the point where I am now having a lot of problems with anxiety and depression. I cannot stand confrontation in any form, and sometimes have suicidal thoughts.

My Dad is still living, but he is bedridden and losing his mental faculties. I hate this man and I can never forgive him for how he treated my sisters and I all our lives. I wouldn't have anything to do with him, except I love my Mother and I want to help her. She is my Dad's primary caregiver and you can imagine the sort of treatment she gets from him on a constant, daily basis. It is heartrending to see how he treats her and how she puts up with him.

My sisters and I sit with our Dad regularly, so our Mother can get away from him for a while. It is her only relief from the constant bullying and brow-beating.

No wonder I'm so screwed up!

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Posted

Hi LL.. this probably is a big factor in your depression. If there is one thing that gets me upset, it's people who abuse children in any way. I also have memories of a very bad childhood- physical and emotional abuse, neglect. The screaming, the hitting, the environment of constant fear and stress... the whole thing wreaks havoc on a kid's mind. They are resilient, but only to a point. Beyond that point, you have permanent damage in the form of things like depression and substance abuse.

I have read somewhere that experiments were done on rats, in which they were given an electric shock at random times for no specific reason. Over time, the constant stress caused the rats to develop symptoms of depression. So it's no surprise that you and I are the way we are. But... hating your father only makes things worse for you. I don't say this lightly, because at one time I felt the same as you toward my father, but you have to let that go. I am not especially close to him even now, but we do talk now and then. He knows what he did. He knows he is lucky that I will have anything at all to do with him after all the abuse he put me through.

Try to put aside the anger you feel, and perhaps some of the stress you feel will also go away...

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Posted

I know it would help, but I seem to be incapable of getting past the anger I have towards my Dad. I cannot forgive and I feel he does not deserve my forgiveness. He is a mean, cruel, vindictive person who never deserved to have the 4 wonderful daughters he has. Now that he is becoming senile I can't even confront him, even if I could. I can't do any kind of confrontation with anyone because of him!

You are right about the constant fear and stress having affected me permanently. I know that's where my anxiety and depression problems come from. And, also the binge eating. I ate as a child to try to comfort myself in between the screaming abuse.

My Dad has always felt and has said in the past that he thinks he was a good Father and that he did a good job with us. We all know we turned out fairly OK in spite of him! However, all four of us have issues and deal with them in different ways, all self-medicating to try to reduce the fear and stress we stil carry around.

It is horrifying to me that the one person in our lives that we should have been able to trust to help us and take care of us was our biggest tormentor. It was so awful, I can't (and don't want to!) even describe it.

I don't know how to get past my feelings about my Dad. Maybe I never will. I know I will feel only relief when he dies.

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Posted (edited)

((((LibraryLady)))))

I think it´s so true what they say that depression is an anger turned inwards. I know how difficult it is to deal with your anger towards your father for treating you so badly, and you have every right to be angry. I think that it is necessary to deal with your feelings towards him so you can be at peace with yourself and heal.

This kind of work is always good to do with the help of a therapist or with a group, if you feel comfortable. Adult Children of Alcoholics or Al-Anon can be terrific help and there are lots of self-help books available.

All my best wishes to you. :hearthrob:

Edited by Violet31

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Posted

I understand how you feel LibraryLady. When I was a kid my dad was so horrible that I honestly thought he might be the devil. He was pure evil and had no soul or conscience at all.

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Posted

Hi LibraryLady,

My father was amazingly brutal and it has crippled me all my life. I self medicated with alcohol and joined AA in 1984. I have been in therapy since and on anti depressants since 1994. I am on a disability pension and find it hard to go outside. The only therapy that works is cognitive therapy and challenging my self talk which the trauma deeply embedded in my soul. I don't see any need to forgive him. He is dead now. If anything I need to remind myself how monstrous he was and how little I deserved and deserve the verbal abuse. It is cruel how we get abused and then internalise the abusers voice against ourselves. Child abuse - the gift that keeps on giving. When I look at my friends children and imagine doing to them what was done to me it reinforces how ridiculous my father was and how it is impossible for a child to do anything wrong enough to deserve that level of abuse. He convinced me I deserved it and when challenged about being so horrible he would say "I don't want you to get a big head." As if. I keep battling away and have had improvements in my life but I do grieve for a normal life. I missed marriage, children, career and home ownership. I do have 4 people in my life who are fantastic and understand so I am lucky. I sometimes think my father killed my soul and if he had a merciful bone in his body he would have done i physically as well.

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Posted

Koala I relate. I did get married, for 25 years, but had no children. That was my choice. I ended my marriage which was the hardest thing I ever did because my ex didn't want to be with me anymore. He just wanted to crawl into ***** and drink. So, I left. I still grieve over my marriage because I still love the guy. Sigh. It's been 6 years since then.

I have very low self esteem because of my childhood, and I cannot handle raised voices or any kind of confrontation. This has affected my work life, and I'm now in an entry level position in my field where I have no supervisory or management responsibilities. I found I just could not handle it any more.

I returned to the binge eating I did when I was a child, and I've gained a lot of weight in the last 2 years. I know the binging is a coping strategy I started when I was little to try to deal with the terrible stress of my life. It is hard to let go of that coping mechinism.

I am really a mess. I realize that although my Dad was the cause of a lot of my problems, I know I have to take responsibility for myself now, and get myself back on track. It's hard! Where IS the track? What does the "normal life" track look like? I don't even know!

I'm glad you are all here for me to talk to. I don't know if I want to go back to a therapist. I was sort of disappointed with my last one.

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Posted

I can relate to this. I always knew my father was an arsehole but he's what i grew up with so didn't know the extent of it until friends and my partner pointed it out to me too. My partner cant stand being around him after witnessing first hand the bullying, belittling and mental degrading he puts her through. He has pretty much beaten her down to a point where she is his slave. Its sad for Me because i grew up with it, i think its just normal behaviour. However, i also put up with fair share of similar behavior towards myself. Growing up, from the age of about 15 i was sure i was going to burn him alive and **** myself soon after. It was my plan to do it by my 18th birthday. Its sad looking back now because i never planned to live passed 18 so never set myself up for the future.

i left home when before i turned 18 coz i couldn't stand my mum being treated the way she was especially coz by this point she didn't see the problem. You could say i just gave up, which is sad.

My mum now suffers terrible anxiety and is getting treatment but i cant see it getting better while still being in this same possition.

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Posted

Hi AngryDad,

I have a hard time seeing my Mother suffer at the hands of my Dad. He is senile and bedridden and she waits on him hand and foot. He treats her terribly and is so mean and ugly to her! He should be kissing her feet for taking care of him so he doesn't have to go into a nursing home. But, he feels it is his "due" and just treats her like dirt.

I hate to see it and it makes me dislike my Dad even more. I know when he passes I will feel a great sense of relief. Because then he won't ever be able to treat anyone badly again!

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Posted

Yr mum is probably similar to mine and has been slowly beaten down over the years. Id love to see my mum with some one who would treat her with respect and make her smile.

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Posted

I had a big realization yesterday while I was reading the bullying threads. I never really realized it, altho I don't know why! It was so obvious!

The worst bully in my life (and I've been bullyed a lot!) is my own Father. He bullyed all of us terribly all our lives. He is a control freak and a Narssacist (sp?). He treated us terribly when we were children, to the point where I am now having a lot of problems with anxiety and depression. I cannot stand confrontation in any form, and sometimes have suicidal thoughts.

My Dad is still living, but he is bedridden and losing his mental faculties. I hate this man and I can never forgive him for how he treated my sisters and I all our lives. I wouldn't have anything to do with him, except I love my Mother and I want to help her. She is my Dad's primary caregiver and you can imagine the sort of treatment she gets from him on a constant, daily basis. It is heartrending to see how he treats her and how she puts up with him.

My sisters and I sit with our Dad regularly, so our Mother can get away from him for a while. It is her only relief from the constant bullying and brow-beating.

No wonder I'm so screwed up!

Very sorry to hear that your dad mis-treated you so much, I believe its much worse when it comes from a family member. Sad to say but my tormentor was my own mother, except in those days it was not called bullying, as a fact it wasn't called anything. In my culture anything that happened in a home was considered private, unless it was m***** I guess. This went on till the age of eleven when I was able to defend myself. Her idea of a spanking was using an electrical cord mostly but anything handy would work. Now I could have gone through life letting this ruin it and hating her but I made the choice not to, I never think about it unless something reminds me of it, its in the past, buried and there is where it will stay. My mom raised fourteen of us, half males and half females, she had to work in the fields, clean houses, iron for others just to keep us fed, life wasn't easy for her. I'm not making excuses just saying that she was overwhelmed and I know for a fact now that she suffered from severe mental illness. When I grew into a man I began to understand all this, decided to forgive her and love her till the end. She was after all my mother. I hope and pray that you are albe to overcome this or at very least learn to live with it somehow, God bless.
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Posted

Thank you Vega,

I know that my Dad has some pretty severe mental problems. I try to be understanding, but it's hard. He is the type of person who has never looked at his own actions or tried to change. He's lied to himself all his life and thinks he's a great person.

I help my Mom with my Dad when she needs help. I do it for her, not for him. I accept he is the way he is, and that soon he will be gone. That's the best I can do.

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Posted

I've had quite a few run-ins with people who's fathers are the same way; one of them who is suffering is a close friend of mine. My advice to you, right now, is to keep reminding yourself that this is for your Mom. Even though he may treat her badly too; she knows that she must care for him and she need your help and support even through the end. Keep your head up and stay strong. may God bless

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Posted (edited)

I could do a "pastiche" with so much that has been said in here... Feeling like I have no soul, being totally unable of affirming myself, harming myself ...

I was born with brittle bones decease and being a son of an army commando there could not be a larger gap between me and my father, an alfa male if there ever was one. Basically he has always hated me and everything was a motive for beatings, threats and insults, specially if I broke a bone or if someone else (at school for instance) broke it. Then it was like clockwork: beatings for being broken and beatings for having someone hurting me. Beatings for picking up the phone the wrong way. Threats of having the cr@p out of me beaten for not drawing well enough at 7 years old (I won't tell you what was the fate of the drawing...). And on and on and on...

... All with the most appalling insults and scorn no child or teen should ear (... Your arm will fall off one day because you brake it so much you son of a #####). And of course, almost always refused to take me to the hospital (my mom did). Even today (I'm pushing forty) he brags to his friends about the way he treated me and tells me I deserved it.
And from the teachers and kids at school more of the same, if not worse, sometimes.

It got to be routine, but these days it feels like the walls of a dam are collapsing and I find it so hard to cope with, much more then when I was a kid. Can't hold a relation, can't hold a job (mainly because I find it so hard to impose myself), everything runs away from me like sand through fingers. And I am so tired, so empty...

To be honest I have no idea why I am writing this. It doesn't make me feel any better to share it and I am not expecting any magical solution. But nevertheless I just wish you all find in yourselves the motives to enjoy life as you should. Perhaps knowing that I can feel happy by proxy.

A wonderful 2013 to all of you.

M.

Edited by AquaViolet
TOS

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Posted

Where have I been all this time, I don't know how, but I completely missed this thread LL. doh.

I need to sit down properly and reply to you but in short I have to say that your posts and those of others here strike so many chords with me.

I do wonder if u r able to try seeing someone again, but maybe like me (having done CBT at the same time as my therapy) you would already have a bunch of skills to call on..... So you can direct where the sessions go..... But in so doing you could release the anger and the deep emotions that are locked inside?

Is just being able to release those emotions and the anger for me has been amazing. I won't deny it hurts but it is a release of immense depth that you feel. Also that the act of telling your story (but without direction from a therapist) leaves you more free for the topic to go where you feel it is required.

It is both empowering for it to be this way but also if u r able to find someone as compassionate as I have (I count myself lucky on that score) then the validation they provide is amazing too. So healing that you feel believed. That they seem to take on your feelings and own them in some way too.

Well, LL, I read your posts and feel it, your pain, I mean. I really feel it.

It doesnt go away easily does it?

You are brave and courageous for sticking by your mother. I admire your strength in doing that. It has been to your cost but Lyon are clearly a kind, caring person who won't give up in others.

Your father didn't deserve you. Your mother is lucky to have you.

You've supported me on here. Validated my feelings. Made me feel worthwhile,

Now it's my turn to do the same for you.

I feel like I have true friends here and I'm very grateful for that.

Knowing someone is listening makes such a huge difference, it really does.

Thank you for being you and for being here LL.

I will b back soon and read in more depth.

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Posted

Thanks Tessar, I'm glad you brought this thread back to the top! I really appreciate your support. Reading some of the other posts on this thread makes me want to cry! I just don't understand parents who can be so cruel to their own children.

I never had children because I knew I was messed up from having a messed up childhood with a horrible father. I didn't want to carry any of that on, so when I was 12 I decided that I never wanted to have kids. And, I stuck by that all my life. I know I gave up something wonderful, but I also am not ruining someone else's life!

It has helped me a great deal to talk about all this on the DF. I have not started with another therapist, but I am seeing a Pdoc and got a medication adjustment. I started with her last summer, I think. She does want me to do CBT and I intend to. Right now, I'm working on weight loss and I think I should do only one major life-changing thing at a time! Once I have my weight under control, I will start CBT sessions with a therapist my Pdoc recommends.

Keep up the good work Tessar. I know it's hard, YOU know it will be worth it in the end!

Love to you!

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Posted

Thanks LL. I'm like you in that talking on here makes a difference.

Well, I certainly do relate to the anger you describe, It's such a horrible feeling. It's more than just anger at day to day situations. I find it quite suffocating at times. I don't want to be angry at all, really I don't. I do hope the work I'm doing with my counsellor is going to make a difference in the long term.

If I were in your situation, I really don't know how I would cope. It was bad enough when I stayed a few days at my parents 18 months ago and they had my abusive brother staying with them (he got thrown out by his wife). I absolutely hated being in the house with him. By then his alcoholism was well advanced, my parents refused to face the severity of it. Even at age 51 he was trying to wind me up and behave like he did all those years ago. I didn't take the bait. Post therapy I didn't let people do that to me. It was horrible to look at him. Something was missing in his eyes, he looked pretty scary.

I honestly don't know how you do it.

Changing one thing at a time seems sensible. I've been finding that the harder it's getting in counselling, the less behaved I am being with food. I have put a few pounds on, I can feel it as my clothes are getting tighter. I keep telling myself I'll deal with that when I feel less depressed. I'm sure I'd feel more like exercising then too.

So this bears out what you re saying about one thing at a time.

What AngryDad said about your mother perhaps being slowly beaten down over the years sounds right. The same happened with my mother. My father's strict attitude took a lot of the fun out of life. Apparently my mother was a lovely cheerful lady when she met my dad. My aunt says she was really excited as she thought it would mean my father would have someone to bring him out of his shell. It worked directly opposite as my mother wasn't able to stand up to him. You wouldn't say she is fun loving or cheerful anymore.she's miserable most of the time & has been for years on & off.

I don't know about you, but I didn't realise our family wasn't normal until I was in my teens. I suppose by then the damage was done. From the outside I am sure people thought we were well respectable and happy. But we children weren't allowed to remark about home life in public. Even now my mother is paranoid that I'm going to tell "the family's business" to all and sundry. It's ridiculous when your 80 year old mother tells you (at nearly 50) not to go telling people what she has just said!

Do you find yourself wondering what life might have been like in a more balanced family environment? I used to pretend when i was watching TV that the people I liked in programmes were my family. I had all sorts of imaginary situations where I had loving family. My brothers & I didn't fight or argue, instead we looked out for each other.

Thing is I can remember my mother being properly affectionate and caring towards me when I was little. I know she didn't set out for things to turn out like they did but I so miss that warmth. Do you think (sorry to ask this as its meant well) that maybe after your father passes away, you can all then be a little happier together? That does sound like an insensitive question but it is meant well.

Every now and then a little window would open up for me over the years. Suddenly my mother would be ok with me. She'd come out with a comment slating my father & I'd think.... Are we going to start getting on? But then the window closed & the shutters were down again.

It does make you wonder why people bother having children if they aren't willing to treat them well. I mean why? I really don't know if I could have coped so I feel I made the right decision in not having any. Although my relationship never made that a possibility anyway. People have said to me that I'd have made a good mum. Of course there's no way of knowing that but I do know for sure I would never abuse, let alone even bully anyone ever. I couldnt do that to an adult and most certainly not to a vulnerable child.I cannot understand why people do it. I don't think I ever want to know.

As I said before. Your dad doesn't deserve you and your mother is lucky she has got you there. You are amazing to be able to put them before yourself all this length of time as that must take a lot out of you. But as you say, u r doing it for your mother. You are totally selfless and that is to be admired.

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Thanks Tessar, I think I knew since I was 12 and decided not to have children, that there was something seriously wrong in my home. I didn't know what because that was the only life I knew, I just was aware that I didn't want to put anyone else through a childhood like mine. Maybe I thought everyone's childhood was like mine! IDK

It sounds to me like your Mother was more her sweet self when you were little, and over the years it got beaten out of her by living with your Dad. I wonder about my Mother too. I don't really remember her ever being any different. She seemed like a remote Mother and now I realize it's because my Dad was so hysterical and high-maintenance all the time that she really couldn't devote the time to her children that she should have. She was/is a complete slave to my Dad. She would tell him everything we said to her, even female stuff in confidence. We got to where we just never told her anything because we knew she'd repeat it to him.

My sisters and I are hoping that our Mother will have sort of a Renaissance after our Dad dies. However, she is now 83 and is getting a little wacky herself. I think he is just totally wearing her out. She may actually die before him. I hope not because I'd love to spend time with her and get to know her. I never really had an adult relationship with my Mom because my Dad was always there dominating the conversation and making it all about him.

It would be an understatement to say that I will be relieved and happy when my Dad passes. I know that sounds cold-hearted, but until anyone has lived the life I did as a child, I don't think they should judge me. My three sisters feel the same. I feel sorry for my Mom and I'll try not to let her know how I feel when it happens. It will be devestating for her and a huge relief for the four of us girls.

Thanks for saying I'm selfless, I'm not really! I try to do what I can for others and still take care of myself. I'm not perfect by a long shot, but I do care very much for other people who have suffered as I have. That is why my heart goes out to you Tessar!

Love!

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Posted

I always thought my childhood was normal too until really in my early 20's... with the help of my husband, he made me realise that I never had a normal childhood and he was right, as much as I loved my mum and never ever got over her death at the age of 54 due to being an alcoholic, she never had an easy life either when she lived at home because her dad also was an alcoholic and often beat her, my mum was not a drinker until her 20's and it was my dad who got mum drinking, and she got hooked - trying to escape her problems, I remember writing her a letter begging her to stop drinking but it was too late, damage was done and she couldn't stop, as a child, all we seen was fighting and arguing (terrible thing to see when a child) and dad beating mum, yes both were no angels, but now dad is also an alcoholic and has turned into a very nasty man - he reminds me so much of my grandfather (his dad) .... so grumpy and everything has to revolve around him, he is now 64 years old and finds it very easy to fall out with not just me but also my sister and brother, my youngest daughter almost died end of january 2013 - and as a mother I was so angry at my dad because he had no empathy what so ever towards my daughter, in actual fact, he didnt even come in to the hospital and see her - and that hurt badly.

It almost feels like he is playing mind games, which is making my own depression a lot worse along with my anxiety, just today, I got a call from him after 5 weeks from my daughter almost died, like nothing happened, and he was ever so nice, this is all breaking my heart, and honestly I know I'm not the only one out there, but at the minute I feel so alone, I dont want my daughters seeing me crying - they have seen enough, I dont like crying in front of my husband, he's seen enough, but I am certainly messed up from childhood - I never wanted to admit it - but finally I have - my kids dont want nothing to do with their granda (I dont blame them as I was the same with my dad's dad) but its got to the stage where actually someone said to me earlier on - "there is light at the end of the tunnel" "Where is that light? Because I can't see it) i feel like I'm in a very dark hole and I can feel the muck in the earth and it's scary - I do see a Psychiatrist - and had began to see a Psychologist but found it too painful to go back to my childhood - I really do not know where to turn, what to do, I feel like pulling my quilt over my head and staying there only for the fact, my sleeping is also messed up.

My heart goes out to you all on here, it really does - and I really do hope that I can make friends with some of you, because to be honest, I need a friend right now.

Thanks for listening.

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Posted

My father was a bully, but believe it or not, I still love him! He meant well and wanted to raise respectable children. His childhood was full of pain and abuse from his mother, whom I have disowned as my grandmother.

He never physically abused us. Only spanking with hand or Mr. Spanky wooden spoon. Said he wasn't like his mother. But his words and anger issues, yelling etc were very debilitating. So I grew up to much verbal and emotional abuse mostly being called lazy, fat, and slow. I guess he was right. I am fat. I am lazy. And I used to be slow because I didn't have the best vision. And I was adopted so he would never admit this, but I think he was deep down jealous of me because someone (my mum) cared enough for me, some strange kid from a foreign country to adopt me. Growing up, my dad had no one to free him from the clutches of that monster, his mother. Thankfully, when he was 14, his father took him to Boystown, and he said that saved his life. He spent much of his life helping kids in need. He was loved by many, but when it came to his own family, it was a struggle. I think this is partly what rooted my depression and anxiety. But also being adopted f***ed me up too. I didn't fully attach to my family until I was 5-6 yrs old. I still have attachment issues.

So yes my dad was a huge bully. But we finally started getting along when I became an adult. In January 2012, I lost my father to suicide. It hurts me to this day! I love him and miss him and go visit him at the Veterans Cemetery down the road.

I forgive him for being a bully but I wish he hadn't inflicted that on me.

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Library Lady, I'm so sorry for what your father put you through. No one deserves that.

In my case, it wasn't my father but my stepfather who put me through years of horrific abuse. The effects of that are obvious today...I have NO self-confidence. I've piled on about 60 lbs. due to severe depression and a metabolic disorder brought on by the abusive environment. I don't even have the will to live or the ability to make positive changes in my life. His treatment of me screwed me up in many ways. It has even carried over into my marriage. My husband doesn't understand why I can't seem to get my sh*t together. He grew up very differently from me, though.

It's funny, because now instead of calling me lazy all the time, my stepfather (and other people) are making hurtful comments about my weight. It makes me angry realizing just how much he broke me down.

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These people making comments about your weight need a good slap. What they lack in empathy they certainly make up for in bluntness and ignorance.

So, do you still see your step-father then FeelinBlueAllTheTime? If so that just be very very difficult and triggering too. Something that struck me when reading your post is that you are still having to endure abuse. It's very sad that your husband is joining in too. Jibes like this are the last thing you need. It's a pity he is too ignorant to realise the damage he is doing. Perhaps somehow he is trying to "save face" in front of your step father (though why he would do that is beyond me since YOU should be his focus & being kind and supportive would be what I would expect from a partner or husband).

It's just not right.p what you are gong through. Just because your husband was brought up in a more balanced family atmosphere is no excuse. He needs to learn how to show empathy.

It should be Like Lost4 said above........"I always thought my childhood was normal too until really in my early 20's... with the help of my husband, he made me realise that I never had a normal childhood and he was right"

Well I wonder what your options are? Not that I am trying to be confrontational or stir things up for you, but really, you do not have to put up with this crap. I wish there was something I could do to help you here. It riles me that people are being like this towards you. Anyway, if I can help you, even if its by making suggestions or helping you slap these people down (not literally if course) well.... You let me know.

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These people making comments about your weight need a good slap. What they lack in empathy they certainly make up for in bluntness and ignorance.

So, do you still see your step-father then FeelinBlueAllTheTime? If so that just be very very difficult and triggering too. Something that struck me when reading your post is that you are still having to endure abuse. It's very sad that your husband is joining in too. Jibes like this are the last thing you need. It's a pity he is too ignorant to realise the damage he is doing. Perhaps somehow he is trying to "save face" in front of your step father (though why he would do that is beyond me since YOU should be his focus & being kind and supportive would be what I would expect from a partner or husband).

It's just not right.p what you are gong through. Just because your husband was brought up in a more balanced family atmosphere is no excuse. He needs to learn how to show empathy.

It should be Like Lost4 said above........"I always thought my childhood was normal too until really in my early 20's... with the help of my husband, he made me realise that I never had a normal childhood and he was right"

Well I wonder what your options are? Not that I am trying to be confrontational or stir things up for you, but really, you do not have to put up with this crap. I wish there was something I could do to help you here. It riles me that people are being like this towards you. Anyway, if I can help you, even if its by making suggestions or helping you slap these people down (not literally if course) well.... You let me know.

Hi, Tessar...

unfortunately, yes, I do see my stepfather at least once or twice a week when I visit my mum. It is very difficult but I force myself to be civil and I try to handle the comments he makes. I'm just thankful that I no longer live under his roof. But building my self-esteem will be a challenge after all I've been through. It is hard to not see myself as lazy, ugly, fat, etc. because I've been hearing terrible comments about myself for years. When I still lived with my stepfather I had an abusive boyfriend who was no better. I didn't find the strength to ditch that guy until I met my husband, who showed me that I deserved to be loved.

I think you might have misunderstood something, though. My husband isn't verbally abusive towards me (not intentionally, anyway). He isn't around when my stepfather makes certain comments. And because he didn't grow up in an abusive environment, he doesn't truly understand what it is like and how that has affected my self-image. I believe he cares but he can't relate to something he hasn't experienced. I hope that if he heard somebody insult me, he would speak up about it.

I was very thin and I bloomed into a pretty girl in my early 20's but I could never really feel beautiful or confident or accept myself. Don't misunderstand...my husband is the one who rescued me from that environment. I feel that I owe him a lot for taking care of me and trying to give me stability. He does have his faults, but he is still a great guy. I try not to burden him with my feelings/issues anymore because he just doesn't know how to help me.

I believe my biggest problem is that I'm too nice. Now, don't get me wrong, I can lash out if I get angry enough...my temper can be terrifying. But that rarely happens. So most of the time if somebody calls me fat or insults me, I stay silent because I'm afraid of my own reaction. And my husband thinks it's better if I don't respond to hurtful comments that people make. He says I should always "take the high road". But there are times when that is so hard to do. My mother raised me to be lady-like...always smile, be pleasant no matter what, never say/do anything that could be seen as offensive. This training hasn't helped me much in life, though. It makes people in general see me as a pushover.

I guess I need to be more assertive but when I try, people sometimes react badly when THEY are the ones who offended me. There was a thread last year where I shared how this man came to my mother's house and called me fat right to my face, after pretending to be concerned about my health. That threw me into more of a funk because I didn't know how to respond and I have severe issues with the way I look. I don't feel pretty at all and I hate to say it, but I still feel this overwhelming need to be liked by others, even those that have been horrible to me.

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Ah, thanku for clarifying about your relationship with your husband.... It's good to hear that he is supportive and I apologise for the misunderstanding. Your experiences sound so like mine in terms of hearing so many negative things said to you that shaking off the beliefs is really difficult. I did go a long way to shaking off my negative beliefs, then my brother (who was hideous to me) died. that unexpectedly triggered all the negatives again, worse was that my family, parents in particular, just expected me to say nice things about him. Well, in the end I confronted my parents and told them I don't want to talk about my brother at all and that I certainly won't say nice things about him after what he did. At the time I thought it would cause trouble in our family. But amazingly, my parents don't talk to me about my brother anymore. That is quite a relief. Also I faced all the emotions & hurt he left me with. That really dragged me down but I came through it. I still am troubled by lack of self esteem. I wish I was thinner. It still plays on my mind. But I am determined HE isn't gong to drag me down, no way.

You don't have to accept this poor treatment. You don't have to tolerate those remarks. For you to shake off that negative past..... These people still saying nasty things need to be brought to book over it. It isn't easy to do that but you are entitled to stand up for yourself. I know it might risk upsetting the apple cart, but I would urge you to dig your heels in and state firmly you are it willing to tolerate derogatory comments.

I don't let my father make derogatory remarks about me anymore. What I discovered is that after finally standing up to him(& no longer tolerating his criticism... Such that whatever I did never stood up well against his perfectionism & "wonderful" achievements) well, there was very little left by way of conversation at times. I hadn't realised that often our conversations were based around him building up his ego or keeping it big. He sucked the life out of my mother but he ain't gonna do it to me!!! Not any more.

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Posted (edited)

I'm really sorry to hear about your suffering LibraryLady. I can understand what you went through.

I actually had the same realization as you, while reading through forums and pondering my situation in life.

I'm relatively young, still living at home with my parents, but will be leaving here soon because it's been made possible by my job. And I know that's exactly what I need to do, and have known this for a long time. To create distance between myself and the root cause is the best thing for me, or the best first step. My biological father (as I refer to him, because that's all he is to me now, a biological link, nothing more) is extremely vicious and cruel, and only to me, not to my two siblings. He relishes in tormenting and abusing me. When I was little, it was physical abuse, kicking, hitting. As I got older and more physically able to defend myself (and to understand the moral issues behind beating a child), the physical abuse stopped entirely and the emotional and verbal abuse ramped up. He is the sort of person who uses his intelligence to hone his cruelty. He is calculatedly cruel. Everything is planned out and thought over. He will never give me an opportunity to have my "victory" over him in any case, for example, ceasing the physical abuse when he knows I'm strong enough to fight back, but continuing with the other abuse because he knows I'm not going to respond to his words with violence, since it's not in my nature. He often conspired with my mother and elder sister against me, since I have for a long time been the middle child 'black sheep'. It sounds paranoid, I know, but I can already see my family is simply rotten to its core. There were nights I could hear my father insulting me while talking with my sister and my mother, since this house has paper-thin walls (and it dawned on me that they wanted me to hear them saying this stuff about me). You have to see it to believe it. I've never met such vicious people as I have in this house, such cold sadistic people. My father was a bully when he was in school, he takes pride in that and I've heard a story of him beating kids up when he went to school. Now he gets bullied at his workplace by a superior, which I know because he complains about it to my mother each night, and he takes his anger out on me when he returns home (as he always has done in the past). Since I was very young, my father would say I'm a dog, instead of calling me by name he would call me a dog and imply I'm some worthless rabid animal. I brought girls over (naively) and he would tell me in private that they're not interested in me, they just want money, or they have diseases, and say to me "No girl could ever like you, don't fool yourself". I remember having a smile on my face the day I came back from being with my first girlfriend. My father cut me down into little pieces when he saw how happy I was. My mother is alternately complacent or bullying me herself. My sister has a vicious streak in her a mile wide. I've occasionally had nightmares where I'm confronting my parents and sister about their abuse, and I end up yelling things in my sleep.

I'm all over the place with my anecdotes, sorry. I could go on and on with this stuff. Anyway this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Today, for the first time, I have read this saying "Depression is anger directed inwards", and now I think I understand myself a little more in that regard. My depression and anxiety are a result of the cruelty I experienced at the hands of my despicable father, mother and elder sister. I feel a lot of anger towards them but I internalized it because most of the time I had nobody to talk about it with, nobody to turn to, nobody to trust. That has since changed though, since some good people entered my life and were willing to hear my experiences. I was bullied at school too, but not to the extent that I was at home, and naturally I never had the support to overcome school bullying from my own family. I always knew the worst enemies I ever had were living right beside me under the same roof.

I just hope it gets better. Usually when I'm away from home for an extended time, I feel free from this. I'm a happy person usually.... my biological family is like a black hole of misery. I'm determined to get out of here and not let this stuff leave a permanent scar.

Edited by silverpot

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