dirty laundry

Secrets of Dysfunctional Family (4) – More than 1 dirty laundry in basket

Silence empowers the abuser and imprisons the survivor.  Shatter the silence, take back your life!

Things happening in toxic families like dirty laundries that shamed to be aired, and there usually have more than one person can be handled simultaneously.  Anyone who never experience to grow up in dysfunctional family will have difficulty to image how chaos the door behind.

Physical abuse

Victims will be punished physically whether it’s their fault or not, but simply a “punching bag” to take over all anger / frustration projected from abusers.

It took me a long time to understand not every child in world are beaten as like as me.  I was beat, hair pulled, slapped without any warnings, sometimes it’s my mistakes but other times I didn’t even know what’s the problem.  My mom lost control and temper easily and used to tie me up with strings to windows, to stop me running around when beaten.  She was very creative, made use of any tools can be found from tiny house, I tried stick, belt, feather duster, plastic pipe, chairs, etc. Occasionally she simply throw my forehead to the wall.

At that young age, without any exposure to outside world, I really thought to be beaten is a normal life for kid.  My tiny body was always covered with bruises / scars so I usually wear long sleeves even in hot weather to cover my arms and legs, I was extremely shamed!

Tactfully, my dad never hurt me physically but loves to report my behaviors to mom so eventually I was beaten furiously. Until now, I still remember his sinister smile, while I bite my lips tightly to avoid any screaming.  I hate to show my weakness to them.  I was stubborn even at that young age – I can’t control my body, but I can control my reaction.  It’s my dignity!

Verbally Abuse

My toxic parents are professionals.  I was name-calling, yelled, teased, humiliated sarcastically / hurtfully or foul language.   At that early age, I was totally naive with the term of “verbally abuse”, but I was deeply hurt, for many nights I cried to sleep and don’t understood why my parents treat me like a person without feelings.  At first, I thought they just in bad mood, or I should do better to make them satisfied / happy; or giving them excuses such as they didn’t mean to hurt me, it’s just their way of talking / acting because they never go to school.

But later I found that my classmate’s parents also without any education but they treat their kids with respect, love and care.  And I start to realize the huge difference when they communicated with outsiders or other family members.

My Dad is very kind, nice to people outside the house.  Sometimes I confused if it’s the same person I know at home. He thanks to people who help, work with him, at shop, management office and his company.

I still can’t control my emotions whenever flashbacks knock my head nowadays, remembered all hurtful comments he made to me can lead me to tears, depressed for days or weeks.  Bruises can be healed, but hurtful words are imprinted in my heart and soul.  This is the reason I seldom vilify / insult people by words,even though I am very angry, as I was there and totally understand how it feel.  Words can never be taken back.

Emotional / Psychological Abuse

My dad cares a lot about his reputation and how people think about him.  The image he creates are : generous, kind, responsible, i.e. a “fine person”.  Thus he never put hands on me since scars / bruises can be seen.

However, he neglect me since early childhood to …..I should say, most of the time.  I was not allowed to call my parents as “dad” or “mom” at early age, but need to call them “aunt” or “uncle” as they didn’t want people know I’m their kids.  Then later he loves taking opportunities to slander me, in front or behind my back.  He positioned himself as “saint” who can judge me as “the worst kid” and shame to him.  I was not welcomed to join family dinners, and if there are relative involved, I was either be left at house alone, or listened his comments about me in front of other relatives, e.g. how bad, how useless I am at family etc…aims to shame me in front of everyone without showing any embarrassment / remorse.

The more he acted like this, the more I disrespect and hate him.  What a decent man will gossip like a woman? Who the hell a Dad will badmouth their kids in front of strangers and relatives? What’s his motive? Is it that exciting to just shame me?

He’s a short temper person, any small stuff that doesn’t meet his expectation / requirement – he will punch and throw things up, bang the doors, yelling, scolding etc.   I walked on eggshell everyday – heart bumping fast, muscle tensed, hands sweating whenever he’s home.

Sexual Abuse

I learned that it’s another common behavior for abusers to gain and manifest power.  Remembered there were times my dad came to my room and touched me even at very young age, but since my mom still in family (later she ran away and never show up again), things seem under certain control.

But started from the 1st day my mom disappeared, my dad started to touch me inappropriately.  He seems no longer need to fake about about his desire.  He first created rumors / gossips about me to ruin my relationship with siblings and relatives, while I was not allowed to have friends or any social activities outside school or work.  In such,  I was completely manage everything on my own since there’s no support system.  Nobody will judge or doubt him since I had already being viewed as “the trouble one”.

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I was totally naive without any knowledge about sexual assault, abuse or incest at that age.  He took advantage for my innocent and lack of supporting system.  I didn’t feel comfortable for what he did to me, doubt and confused : whether it’s love or normal for dad to kiss daughter in mouth? is it really OK to sit on the lap of dad? Every morning / night, it became a routine for him to come to my bed, touch me for 10-30 mins while my younger sister (around 8-10 years old) sleep next to me.  Now I know it’s “molestation”.

He brought me to swim but I found he’s the only one who had fun every time.  I didn’t enjoy at all,  I was hugged, kissed, asked to cross my legs on his tummy (like usual days I was asked to sit face to face to him on his lap, or touched me under sea water, while my sisters played on sand.  Once I found him comforted himself under sheet in front of us in hotel room.  I felt disgusted for his behaviors and refused to spend lonely time with him.  Or when he’s around, I covered myself up carefully to avoid his following eyes on my body.  He did it openly without remorse.  Disgusting!

I started to feel depressed / lost track of life when I received more information / knowledge about my situation.  There were a long period of time I gave myself up completely.  I made myself getting fatter and fatter, no longer care about my appearance or how I dress, don’t care job or life anymore.  I don’t know how to manage my never-ended flashbacks.  There are days I am doing good with peace, but when emotions overwhelmed I just can’t handle it.  Now I knew I kind of caught up by PTSD, common for victims after long-time trauma.

Manipulation

My life was controlled completely.  There’s nothing much I can do besides of school, work and housework.  I was not encouraged to have friends, restricted to social life or even healthy relationship with siblings and relatives.  I was commented as “not putting family at first place” by wanting going out with friends during weekends.  I used to feel extremely guilty for having life outside home, but later, I started to get more and more rebellious, I had more wisdom to judge whether his so-called rules are non-sense / bull-shits or not.  I started to stop doing what he ordered and my life at home was getting more miserable since then.

He insulted me when I read, so I read more;  he blamed me for travel and frame me up as “bad girl” to relatives and his friends.  But who knows I was hungry for self-education because I want to step out of the dysfunctional system, I wanted to re-learn everything that I was taught.  And to leave for travel, even for a short period of time, can give me chance to breath, to be myself without being controlled.  I don’t know what will happened if I lost these two things from my life as these actually save my life.

Final thoughts

If I can start over again, I hope I had more courage and wisdom to speak up, to protect myself and ask for help / support.  I learned these during healing journey in a hard way – wasted a lot of life figuring things out by myself.

Until lately, I finally reach the point : sick of keeping secrets and carrying all baggage, thus screw it! If what I had done over years not serving me well, what’s the point to keep on doing the same but expect different results.  I got to head up and turn my life upside down by starting this blog.

Hope nobody will go through the same path as like as mine.

Photo credit :  Pixabay – Gellinger

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