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Life is hitting me hard - I’m reaching out ...


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My name is Kevin. It is somewhat reassuring to see there are others here that can understand what I go through.

This is a long post - a reflection of my life thus far, with an update to August 2018 at the end.

I was abused both physically and emotionally by my mother all the years I was growing up. My father neglected me every year also. In someways I feel I have lived up to the person I was labeled as a child. I am turning 55 yrs old in a few months and wow I really feel like a failure. I have tried so hard to make something of my life but somehow nothing really panned out. I am starting to loose the point in all this. Everyday just seems like an endless circle of the last. I will try and tell my story as best I can. Thank you for reading. If you have any suggestions for me please write, I would be more than happy to hear from you.


My story:

I am a 54 yr old man. I have lived with the past abuse both physical and emotional since I can remember. I have learned to cope and mask my pain so expertly that others would be astonished to ever learn of my upbringing. My mother abused me physically with metal spoons, striking me with her hands and even biting with her teeth, I was called so many cruel names and labeled as a failure before I ever had a chance to become who I should have been. Just as an example my mother would chase me around the house with an object to beat me with, usually a metal spoon or large metal object. This was always random, I would never know when to expect her outbursts. She was always able to trap me in rooms with no exit as she blocked the doorway ready to hit me so hard.

A Mothers blows strike not only the skin but also the mind so terribly. At a very young age (about 7) I would have re-occurring nightmares that were very severe, I would dream with vivid details that my mother would transform from her face to the devils face. It was always a slow dissolve type morphing face from normal mother features to fire red hair, piercing red eyes, and sharp white teeth. In my dreams that devils face would stare right into me and right through me, my God it was terrifying. Even typing this sentence I can see that face in my mind that scared me motionless as I woke up in bed as a boy. As I got older (age 15) I would go into any room I could find and close the door holding the knob tight with my hand so she could not get in. I still remember my mother saying "whats the matter? are you scared?!!" . . "your a p***sy open the door!". Sometimes she would do this before she knew I had to go someplace out of the house knowing that I had to leave the room I was blocking her from at some point. When I did leave the room I knew the sharp and stinging blows from her metal spoons would indeed follow. Feeling your own mother do something so cruel and sadistic is one of the most confusing and terrifying experiences a boy can go through. A mother is there to love not torture and belittle and abuse. I would be slapped in the face with wet wash towels, bitten, called awful names, I was told by my mother that my father hated me, she told she would take me out of the house to a place for bad kids. The hardest irony is that I was a very bright, handsome kind boy who never gave her trouble. My mother would also neglect me with serving no food and also acting as if I wasn't living in her home. My mother was also a master at acting to others as if she was a perfect mother. No other persons would ever guess she was doing abusing me so terribly. Looking back I really don't know how I made it through those years. I remember dreaming of and longing for more "normal" family's that I would watch growing up in my neighborhood. As an additional hardship my father completely ignored me as a child. We did not do one single activity together as I grew up. I was desperate for my fathers love and his loving guidance but it never came. Other boys would go hunting, camping, fishing, or do things like go to sporting events. My father did nothing with me, he had not the slightest interest. Looking back I realize how important it was on so many levels to learn how to be a man from my father and how much damage was also caused by being treated as I was simply not there in his home all those years. As you can imagine being abused emotionally and physically by my mother and also at the same time being ignored by my father caused some emotional issues deeply embedded within myself. I wet my bed every night until age 15 or so. Every night I had to sleep in the sheets that I wet the night before, they were never washed. There were some nights when I went to bed my sheets were still wet from the night before. As I got older I had severe anxiety attacks in school. I had no idea what they were as I was only a boy of 7. The severe anxiety in school lasted until I was in high school. I never received any help during these times in school, I was under the belief that somehow my parents were right and that I was a failure and deserved the treatment they so brutally gave me. I used to think while in Jr. HS & in High School that there were certain older boys who were "after" me and wished to harm me physically. I would go to great lengths to avoid these boys in school and just taking the actions to avoid them took all my energies. There was little left for studies and a living healthy young life that most kids may experience. Just the sight of the faces of the boys who I thought in my mind wanted to beat me up in school would send me into a anxiety attack so severe that after the anxiety ended I would be exhausted. At that time in the ages of 7-17 I made no correlation to my thoughts of boys wanting to harm me in school and what was happening at home. I guess in a way I felt I deserved what the boys wished to do to me. It was a very sad life as a boy, I was constantly feeling like I was under attack both emotionally and physically at home and while in school. One of the worst things a father can do is ignore his son, it creates a deep wound that grows in the spirit of a boy, it feels like I never had a chance.


At age 22 I married a woman who I thought was my love of my life. I tried very hard to be a good husband. Thankfully I have never abused anyone physically or verbally. That part of the abuse I promised myself I would never allow anyone else to experience. However one area I really suffer in is anxiety and depression. Which caused a lack of holding on to work long term. During my 10 year marriage my anxiety caused me to leave my work several times, at that time I didn't understand fully what was happening inside, I just knew I had to stop the pain of the anxiety. I also suffered from a burst appendix followed by a skin cancer a year after apart (1994). My frequent job changes along with my unexpected illnesses were too much for my wife to take. My wife divorced me after 10 years of marriage (in 1997). I have never felt that I have what it takes to be a provider. It is really a terribly sad side effect to all the years of abuse of my parents. As you can imagine after my wife divorced me those feelings of abandonment fed right into my past feelings of abuse from my parents. It was a very very hard time to get through. I was alone in California and contemplated ending my life at least 15 times that summer of 1997. I held on and pushed through deciding to move back to the upper mid-west were I grew up. After being divorced I met other women, got engaged several times but the women that I had loved and trusted again see me as not being able to provide as a man should. My ex wife of ten years wrote me a letter during our divorce (1996) explaining that "I was to blame for our difficulties during our marriage as she was counting on me to come through as a man and I wasn't able to". This of course was devastating to read and it did also greatly add to my feelings of inadequacy. After my divorce I sought treatment for the first time in my life. This was while I was living in San Diego, I am from the upper mid-west. For the first time I started taking medication for anxiety and depression and also going to counseling. This was at age 34 after so many many years of suffering. I remember taking my first medication for anxiety, I was so much in a highly would state on anxiety all my life that when I took my first anxiety pill I went numb and fell asleep in a matter of 5 mins. I think it was the first time in my life I felt a sense of calm. I was 33 years old. I did suffer from much depression during my marriage and it did cause many issues financially also.


As stated above at age 34 I moved back to the area I grew up to start over with my life. I landed a good job and life was looking better for the first time in many years. After a few years of living alone and understanding myself better I then started dating again meeting new women in my life. I have found that my ability to love comes easy but my ability to trust another fully is very difficult. after a few failed relationships I met a woman in Texas through the internet dating service. (eharmony). After dating for 1 year traveling back and forth to see each other we got engaged. One time during a visit my fiance discovered my ex-wife's old letters in a side drawer while I was at work. She asked me about the letters when I arrived home from work. I remember being devastated by not only such bold questions, but I didn't even realize I saved the old letters. After reading about my ex-wife's account of our marriage and my lack of ability to provide for her I could tell it really had an impact on my fiance. I was also so upset that my fiance would invade my privacy in such a rude manor. After that visit my fiance flew home. Several months later in July of 2009 I was laid off from my job and out of work. It didn't take long for that relationship to dissolve as my fiance watched me living up to the expectations she read of in my ex wife's letters. Again a sad and helpless time for me. I try to pick myself up and be the best man I can be. Of course there are many other details but I just want to paint a picture as an outline of my life thus far with broad strokes.

I am really at a loss right now in my life. I have no work, no health insurance, no savings, no home of my own (I rent a 1b apt), my credit is very poor, I have no children, I really feel I lived up to the failure that my parents treated me as. There have been times in my life I have really done well, there have been times I didn't want to get out of bed also, There have been many times I didn't understand why I felt the way I have. I have tried to trust and love others but the cruel twist of fate has always kept me lagging behind. I always wanted to be a good husband and father and also have a family of my own. At 48 yrs old (I will be 48 in 5 days) I feel as all my hopes and dreams have just faded into a sad illusion of what might or should have been. As I stated before if you were to meet me you would never know of the emotional scars of my past. I cover them so well with a smile and a kind disposition.


In April of 2012 my mother had a massive heart attack and stroke. She passed away one week later on April 17, 2012. As her son I cant help but grieve her loss. Even after all I went through and even the tremendous price I paid for the abuse I still have a big heart and room for forgiveness.

I only hope now that I am able to somehow put my life in order so that I can live up to the expectations of my heart.

This has been a long post. If you have read it all I really thank you.

If you have words to share that my help or comments please do share.




Update - August 2018


After a six-year run at a very good job I was told that my position was going to be eliminated. I work as an e-commerce photographer. The once family owned business I worked for was bought out by an investment firm on the West Coast and many changes took place within the company. My position being eliminated was one of them. 


Just four weeks before I lost my job I found out that I had a cancerous lesion on my arm. It was a stage 2 melanoma. A Biopsy was done April 2018.


I had surgery June 2018 and found the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes. That was indeed good to hear. In the six weeks since then being unemployed & not feeling productive has really allowed my depression to kick in hard. Of course I’m always thinking about the fact that I’m going to be 55 years old this year,  I don’t have any family of my own, I live in a small apartment, and now I have no job and no health benefits. Also after my bankruptcy filed in 2014 my credit is poor. I’m really feeling like a failure in life. Just when a good job in 2012 put me in a better standing in life it seems like I’m right back to where it was years ago after being let go from my job. It’s really been a struggle this year. It really feels like I am watching everyone else blossom in life and become successful. 


I don’t drink I don’t smoke I don’t do drugs I try to be a man of God and do my best work when I am employed. I really don’t understand why things don’t work out for me. These last few weeks I really fighting the urge just to give up and call it a life.


I feel like I have fought harder than most people would ever try against many obstacles and struggles that have come against me in life. Many of which I had no control over. Growing up being severely abused both physically and emotionally, facing medical illnesses and cancer twice, going through divorce and bankruptcy just to name a few of the major setbacks. I’ve been in relationships with women that have been abusive emotionally, i’ve tried so hard to do the right thing in life but it just seems like the breaks don’t come. I’ve always wanted to be a husband and a father and I have a home of my own with my own family. I’ve always wanted to provide for a family. Sadly all of these things I have strived for all my life have never come true even in the smallest of senses. 


I truly feel broken and defeated. 



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Welcome back, Kevin.  fwiw, aside from the obvious DF connection, we're both photographers - a threatened species - and survivors of what sounds to me like narcissistic mothers.  We've both dealt with life-threatening illness.  We're about the same age.  I'm in my early 60s.

I so wish I could undo your pain.  It feels totally inadequate for me to simply tell you you're not alone in all this.

What I can tell you from your posts is that, yes, you've fought harder than most people would. I'm wondering if there's anything you could do today - we're talkin' baby steps - to take care of yourself.  For me, sometimes I use the HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) to narrow down what I need to address so I can feel a little better.  Short of that, ridiculous as it may sound, sometimes a shower and a shave - my Wahl clipper is a reliable friend - will do it, too, just to get me out of the gate.

Please keep posting.

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Hello - Yep I can see that you fully understand what this is like. I agree also the men of our age have seen some very vast differences in our country since we were much younger. In fact it’s hard to even recognize the country I once knew now. That is not helping with the depression and feeling so detached for me now. 

When I started in photography many years ago it was all film - now anyone with a cell phone thinks they can do it all.  I’m sure you can relate. The changes have come so fast and hard for men in our age group that’s its been a real challenge to even keep a healthy and moral focus. Now it seems white Christian men are completely cast aside, where not that many years ago it was a common held truth in our society.

This is a very awkward and hard time for me now. I really feel lost and confused. Everything that once held truth and promise seems to have just faded away like a fairytale. 

I appreciate your response and advice. I think I was already following your “ halt” rule without even being fully aware. Your right some days the smallest of things can make a huge difference. 


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Another old guy who is having difficulty "keeping up" with the changes that are coming faster and faster. I feel like a dinosaur that knows the huge meteorite is going to hit very soon, wiping out my kind. I welcome differing cultures and ethnicities (new food to try!) so it's more a matter of not being able to keep up with what passes for society.

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Its a shame you couldnt have gotten help way sooner than you did, and more of it. I came from an abusive home too, but all of mine was emotional. Kind of the same result though. The only difference is that my passion is/was taking things apart and fixing them, so I've always had a job, but i worry that could change at any moment.

I hope you can keep up the strength to get help so that you can get the things you want and deserve. We guys from the 60's are a stubborn bunch. Keep at it.

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Thanks Steve - you certainly understand. Like you say it’s too bad I didn’t get a lot more help and sooner. Two reasons why really: 1) it wasn’t until I was in my 30s that it even occurred to me I had a problem, and 2) for so many years I believed my abusers as awful as that seems.

Thanks again for your input and insight



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