Y’all might be wondering how my recovery process is going… okay, you probably don’t actually wonder that, but you might not be adverse to hearing about it right?
Well, actually, these last couple months, I’ve been doing really well. My life coach has been very helpful, mostly she helps me realize I already know the answer, I just need to believe that I do, and that God has given me the key.
I actually had a brief bout with nausea that was the worst I’ve had in a while, but it lasted probably just 20 minutes or so, and I was able to stay much calmer than I used to and help it get lighter instead of stressing myself into feeling sicker than before. Mostly, I catch it before it gets bad now, but even so, now that I know it usually passes quickly, I’m less scared of it.
I feel fine most days. Though with the Summer heat coming, I may have to take more steps to stay cool if I want to avoid that heat exhaustion.
My mental problems are also at a new low for the last year. I really can’t believe how bad it was not that long ago, it seems foreign to me now. I’ve always come out of these periods, since becoming a Christian, after a year or less. Usually less.
I never came out of it when I wasn’t a Christian fully, I had better and worse times, but fear plagued me constantly back then, whether there was a trigger or not. Christianity works for me because that fact that I’ve known freedom at all is something I didn’t really have before. Something important to remind yourself of if you go through hard times again as a believer.
I’ve realized too that the person I a has never really changed, she just went into hiding for a while, only occasionally showing herself, now, I see her a lot more often. I needed to believe she was real in order to be her.
You have to believe in your own healing, in the healing that has already taken place, in order to keep healing.
If you live your life as if you are still hurt, even once you’ve healed, then you might as well still be hurt. That applies to physical and emotional injuries too.
I suppose it’s about time I mentioned that my step-grandmother’s memorial is this month.
I plan to go, but would you believe that my aunt has already been trying to get in some emotional manipulation on my sister over it. It’s so nuts.
I now my dad will be there, likely as not, and I am trying to prepare for it. I don’t know that’ll I’ll share my strategies here until after the fact, if they don’t work, I don’t want to take the chance anyone will emulate me, but I think they will.
However, someone in my position might wonder what the prospect of facing my abuser in person again feels like.
I’m not looking forward to it, but I am not utterly terrified.
It’s because my circumstances are a little different than one would normally have with a violent person.
My dad is aggressive, but he’s not generally the type to lash out in public at someone without provocation, and he would not be able to seriously injure me at a gathering like this without someone stepping in, because too many people would be there. He would not like to lose face, he’s never hurt me that badly, physically. My feelings were always more bruised than my actual body.
Some might not even call it abuse, but I call it that because of he power struggle and attitude involved, and the roughness of how he did it.
I don’t use the word abuse lightly, however. I see it all the time, people call stuff abuse that I don’t think should be called that. Abuse has a particular feel of powerlessness on the victim’s part, and sick satisfaction mixed with excuses on the abuser’s part. It’s more than temper, thought hat is part of it, it’s to break you, make you submit, feel like trash.
I mean, what’s abuse to one person isn’t to another, sometimes, but that’s a very vague line.
I guess what I mean is, sarcastic comments are abuse to some people, but to others it’s normal banter, and I don’ think victims should impose their standard on people who see it as a way to bond, the tone and timing will tell you whether it’s destructive or not. Someone should always back off if you make it clear you are seriously uncomfortable, but if you know yourself, and know you feel weird only because of past experience, and that this person in particular is not actually trying to hurt you, it’s also good to try to grow thicker skin. We have to heal from both directions, insider and out.
For me, a little light shoving isn’t abuse. I knew when my dad was being rough, I know when my siblings are being playful. I can compartmentalize.
I realize I am lucky to be able to do this so easily, at least in some areas, though not all. I am far more sensitive to verbal stuff.
I got into another work situation where I feel disrespected and criticized unfairly, and blamed for what is not my fault. I wonder why I keep doing this… and then my sisters stores of working at a sandwich shop tell me I actually ain’t even seen it all.
Seriously, I get people telling me I should work on my babysitting skills, she gets people telling her she’s got no idea what she’s doing. Whose job is worse? Well, it’s income.
We both like what we do anyone, but nothing is ever a positive experience 100% of the time, that’s not realistic.
Notably, this time, I am handling it differently. I’ve always been bolder that my sisters anyway, I stand up for myself. But I used to do it immaturely by getting really defensive and rude. Now I choose my words more carefully.
My dad responds to criticism by getting defensive and losing his temper, that’s not how I wanted to be, but I couldn’t go the route of my mom and just never stand up for myself at all. I literally can’t, I think I’m incapable… trying was excruciating, and I failed.
So, with no role model here, I’ve had to learn by trial and error, but I’m starting to get better. I try to acknowledge people may have a slight point, or grievance, but I refuse to let myself be belittled.
I had a mom tell me today that at my age (22) I may just lack the experience to understand how to take care of a 5 month old, and how a mother feels.
I asked her “How many kids do you have?”
This is her first. She’s 30..
I’ve been in childcare for 15 years. Paid and unpaid, private and in groups, doing int alone, and doing it helping adults. I have two younger siblings I’ve had to be basically a surrogate mom to for several years, at least in some areas. I have two cousins I provide love, attention, and mentoring too. I have taught Sunday school for over 6 years.
I looked at her and I said “I understand you are his mom, but I will not let my years of experience be disrespected just because I am a little younger than you and your other nanny.”
Where does this lady get off? Sure, she’s his mom, but this is her first kid, having a kid doesn’t automatically mean you understand child reading, as I think the loads of messed up kids form broken homes is proof of. I’m 8 years younger than her, so what? She didn’t give me any prior experience she had with children.
The amount of disrespect nannies get is unreal. We take care of children, the most precious things anyone has, and we get treated like barely above slaves with no rights to opinion, no better qualifications, and no right to complain if someone is literally filming us why we are doing our job, without our consent.
Isn’t that illegal in other circumstances? Sheesh.
And yeas, the nanny cam is real. Some people think it’s myth, nope, I’ve worked for two or more families at least with one. And one family just straight up spied on me with their friends. They told me this to my face.
Well, it would take a whole other post to list all my negative experience babysitting, but it has been a great trial by fire for seeing how well I can get past my issues.
If you have low self worth and want to get over it, there’s really nothing like having someone treat you like an appliance in their house and getting frustrated over it to push you to stand up for yourself. Seriously, if you aren’t annoyed, it’s probably just reinforcing your problems, not helping you grow, get out of that job.
But for learning self control, self assurance, and what you actually want, nannying has it’s benefits.
Back to the prospect of seeing my dad again…
I am nervous about it, but I’ve learned that if I acknowledge that, and decide before hand what to do, it doesn’t often turn into panic… actually, it never turns into panic.
That may not work for everyone, but I am a more confident person in areas that aren’t related to abuse, so channeling that towards he areas that are is mostly a matter of self control and prayer for me.
I also have learned not to overestimate myself. I should try to face my dad alone. I need other people around. I shouldn’t treat myself like I’m expendable and can carry the weight of everyone else’s problems by taking his crap.
While it would be theoretically cathartic to tell my dad off in person, I don’t expect it to happen.
At most, I think, I could tell him to leave me alone, that I won’t be engaging with him, and this day is about Grammy, not him.
Now, my aunt once tried this when her son died, my cousin, and my dad completely ignored her, so I don’t expect that to work.
But I have a few back up plans. It’d be really satisfying to just say: “Look, I already know what you’re going to say, and you’re going to be abusive, and manipulative, and there’s nothing you can say that will alter my opinion of you, and no apology you make will convince me you are sincere, and nothing you can say will make me feel guilty or bad for you. You abused me, end of story. Deal with that reality, or stay out of mine.”
I’d never get to finish that speech, even if it’d work. But it’s fun to fantasize about it.
The reality is, it’s best to just avoid talking to him. He will probably try to talk to me, unless he gets some idea of proving he doesn’t need me by refusing to talk, e might say “I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable” Which is a lie. He would only do it to show how innocent he is to the family, if we were alone, he wouldn’t hesitate, so I will have to take great care never to be alone where he can see me.
It’d be best to have another man around I can trust, as my dad will be more bold with women watching than men, I think, he can be a bit sexist.
Anyway, those are my basic ideas. But the rest will have to wait till after the fact to see if it worked.
Many victims remain oblivious to what their abuser will do to them, as long as they are locked i the cycle. There is strong deception associated with abuse, the perps lie, the victim believe them because otherwise they would despair.
Once you get out, mentally, not just physically, you start to see through it all, and you can predict their tricks. Then you can prepare for it.
I have picked up this stuff quickly due to be observant by nature, and I had to manage my dad for years before I finally got away from him. I know that I cannot win with him expect by not playing his game, he cannot stand that.
I also now that truth is powerful, but it must be worded carefully.
Pro tips for anyone consider in confronting their abuser:
Don’t try to be nice. Don’t try to be subtle, don’t be vague.
Don’t do it at all if you think they still have power over you, and don’t do it alone. Don’t do it in private either, they can hurt you if you do. Others should be able to see you, even if they can’t hear you. I’m not at therapist, this to me is just common sense.
Don’t confront them expecting to change them. It should be either to establish a boundary, or for closure. They aren’t going to change.
Don’t expect them to take it with any degree of dignigity.
You can expect immature jabs, passive aggressive digs, angry outbursts, accusations, or self righteous “I was only trying to…” statements.
I would say not to dignify any of that with even acknowledging it, say what you must, don’t change it no matter what they say. They won’t listen, but you need to know you were able to say it.
This is all assuming it’s the right time and right kind of situation for this to be appropriate. Some people should never confront their abuser, or go near them again.
I will have to do it sooner or alter, or else act like a pariah in my own family, and not all of them are bad people, so I prefer to make realistic plans for how to deal with it.
But some will not have the luxury of any family they can risk seeing again, and there’s no shame in admitting that and deciding not to see them again.
If it helps anyone else, these two passages have really helped allay any guilt I feel over not seeing my toxic relatives:
“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37).
“Listen, O daughter,
Consider and incline your ear;
Forget your own people also, and your father’s house;
So the King will greatly desire your beauty;
Because He is your Lord, worship Him.” (Psalm 45:10-11)
The Bible is so kind to people who have toxic relatives. Jacob is told to flee his brother who is plotting to kill him. Joseph is put in a position of power over his brothers who sold him into slavery. Tamar is given justice for Judah holding out on her. The list goes on.
Contrary to what may Christians think, it is not Christian to stay with an abusive person. Especially if that hinders your walk with God. Plenty of Christians left their families and went on their own to serve God. It is Christian to be single, it is Christian to marry and have children. Paul says we should turn people who refuse to live in a godly manner in the church out.
He also says church member should be kind to their family, and if they are not, they should not be in authority, maybe they are even false, if we follow his logic.
When my life coach pointed out this simple fact, that my dad was deceiving us into thinking he was devout when he was really not acting at all like a believer, it was a game changer for me.
Suddenly I felt hte fiel of not haivng to call what my dad did “trying to be a good chritian ” anymore, he was not trying, he was whining. There’s a huge difference.
Who knew, I was lcoser to God when I stopped playing alon eiwht his chruch, his prayers, his devotions, becaue the fakeness isckened me too much. AS a churhc girl, It hought It hsould like all those things mroe, but the duplicity was too much.
I now hate hypocrisy more than almost any other vice. I can’t claim I am never hypocritical, but I try not to be.
One other big change: I am starting to really believe that I am Allowed to have a happy life.
Whooo! Somebody get excited with me right now!
Maybe it’s okay to like myself. Maybe I don’t need to punish myself anymore. Maybe my anxiety isn’t permanent.
Some of you are afraid to believe that.
There are a few rare cases where someone has something their whole life in order to learn patience.
But I don’t think God would command us to be anxious for nothing, if most of us were not supposed to be completely free from anxiety.
In fact, that verse makes me think anxiety is not one of those life long struggles we are supposed to have.
We cannot force ourselves not to be anxious, but we can learn to stop ourselves from becoming anxious. The Bible said that thousands of years ago.
Perfect Love casts out fear.
I don’t feel full of love all the time, but I Know God loves me, I believe, it, I remind myself of it, and I don’t need to feel it for it to cast out my fear, I just need to now it.
You see, God’s love is so powerful, even the knowledge of it crushes fear, and the feeling of it makes you forget suffering period. I don’t feel it as often as I’d like, but I also don’t need to, knowing it’s there, behind everything, gives me hope.
“And now abide, faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
I hope this post encouraged you, until next time, stay honest–Natasha