It is hard enough to recognize and accept the signs of being abused as physical or verbal actions taken by the abuser. However, I think it is even harder to recognize the effects that a person, as a victim, suffers internally.
The way my abusers made me feel was awful, to put it simply. They were both guys and were controlling, overbearing, perfectionistic, manipulative and lying. They both became violent, often physically, when they didn’t get their way. And when I was out-of-line with their wishes, my personal safety would sometimes be threatened.
I didn’t realize any of this until I had my aha! moment and even for sometime afterwards.
Aside from the obvious, what these people did, and the way they treated me, made me feel worthless. They were overly critical, and constantly accused me of not being good enough, not being pretty enough. I didn’t do my hair correctly, dress the right way. And ultimately, they brought me down in any way possible, to a level where they could be in control. If I didn’t feel good about myself, then obviously I didn’t know how to live my life. This made me believe I needed someone to direct me, because I wasn’t good enough to direct myself.
As for my younger years, once the sexual abuse ended, the physical and verbal continued. And I feel like the verbal abuse was the most difficult of all to cope with, and is the most lingering in my healing process.
For me, the hardest part of suffering from abuse is the way it makes you feel about yourself. It made ME feel bad. And for a long time, I never thought that the blame did not lay with me, but with him.
In my mind, that had been warped by the way I was conditioned to view myself, I was not good enough. I couldn’t do anything right. I was a ridiculous, over-exaggerating, clumsy Klutz who was flaky and couldn’t be trusted. I was incapable of taking care of myself. I never felt pretty, or loved, or respected. And what’s worse, I never felt like I SHOULD be any of those things.
This is my battle. This is the hardest part in dealing with what happened. How do I change my mind and see myself as beautiful and wonderful? How do I learn to trust myself and believe that I am worth it?
This is my current struggle, and I open this post to comments, feedback, and advice from any users. What has helped you the most to regain what your abuser took from you? How do you build your self-esteem again once it has been so demolished?