Triggered by talk of emotional vs. physical *tw:physical abuse*

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Phoebes

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Triggered by talk of emotional vs. physical *tw:physical abuse*
« on: November 07, 2017, 03:07:01 AM »
Anyway...almost all of the information out there basically saying that emotional abuse is as bad if not worse than physical abuse refers to seeing "physical scar, bruises, whelps" It's true that sometimes there's evidence of these..maybe for a few hours, a day, a few days..
But often with my own physical abuse, it was accompanied by severe emotional abuse. The emotional abuse aspect of it was perhaps more traumatizing, but it was the COMBINATION of the emotional and physical that made it stick. I remember inspecting my physical wounds afterwards and seeing some hand or belt-shaped red places, whelps, etc..but it's not like they were there for teachers or other adults to see or investigate the date after. There's always the comments about physical abuse leaves bruises and scars. No it doesn't! Not always!

And there was a lot of mental and emotional aspect involved with the physical. And it makes me realize that each situation is so different. But it all gets bundled into one scenario of "physical abuse".

*trigger warning* again. For example...and I feel like I need to describe this to show that physical abuse is not just the type that leave bruises and scars...this was one of the more traumatic events for me There were about 10 or so major events, and endless minor ones. This one stands out as very major. One that Ive had trouble working through, but now I have worked through as protector of the child and not so much the victim anymore. This notion that physical abuse was less important and contained bruises or scars held me back for a while.

Anyway..so the abuse, emotional verbal and physical was always worse when my aunt and cousins were around. This is when it became the most sadistic. Long story short, I was playing with my cousin. I always got blamed for her stuff. All she had to do was cry. We were playing with a swing set chain, like twirling it around and jumping over it at 3-6 inches above the ground. She missed her jump after a while, and the chain hit her leg. I tried to say it's alright you'll be fine, but she went into she was going to tell and I was going to be in trouble. I knew this scenario to be most likely true. So I decided to try a new strategy..apologize and then tell the adults FIRST so they would see I was trying to be honest and sorry I had "hit" her. (So completely absurd)

So I went in to where our moms were putting on make-up to go to the mall. I HATED these outings to the mall, but when auntie came, that is what we did. Several hours of them primping, and several hours of adult time at the mall. But I digress.

So I went in, quivering, but keeping a stiff upper lip as best I can. They could see she was crying (fake and over the top). I said we were playing and I accidentally hit her on the leg with the chain. I thought surely the response was going to be " well, accidents happen" and "you're ok, honey" to my cousin, and that would be the end of it.

Well, my mom got a gleam in her eye and said, "Welp. Go get out the belt!" And then, "bend over the bed" and in front of everyone I got whipped with a belt." Then I got told I needed to put on a happy face because we were going to have a great day at the mall.

I don't know whether the emotional or the physical abuse was worse. But it disturbs me that physical abuse is often written off as something where bruises and scars are visible as opposed to covert emotional abuse. It all goes together at times.

The worst of all of it is my uNm completely denies that there was ever any abuse whatsoever, and the problem is that I have always just been too sensitive. She believes that once something is over, it should be completely forgotten. No apology necessary, just full forgive and forget and never feel again. If I have any feeling, it is because I am not compassionate of her and holding a grudge. 




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Three Roses

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Re: Triggered by talk of emotional vs. physical *tw:physical abuse*
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2017, 05:54:59 AM »
It's all so individual, isn't it. How people go through these things and survive, and yet others don't - it really does depends completely on the individual. What might not even hurt someone else could be enough to destroy me.

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Libby12

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Re: Triggered by talk of emotional vs. physical *tw:physical abuse*
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2017, 07:22:22 AM »
Hi Phoebes.

I get you completely.  It is the combination of the physical and emotional abuse that is so damaging.

Like you,  I suffered an awful lot of physical abuse.  My nm would just lose her temper,  for ridiculous or no reason,  and beat me with whatever was to hand.  It did hurt and it left marks for a while.  But then came the emotional abuse - the silent treatment which she could easily maintain for days, being banished to a room with nothing in, until I begged for mercy, took all the blame.  She never gave even a hint of being sorry,  and used it for days, until the next meltdown,  to ensure my absolute compliance with her needs. 

For me, the final layer of abuse was that she often told me that her depressed mother didn't speak to her for days at a time, and how much it hurt.  So I realised early on that she knew exactly what she was doing to me. But she denied everything.  She was perfect in every way.

I think we have both experienced the fact that truly abusive parents use all the forms of abuse to achieve their ends.  And round it all off with a layer of denial. The final abuse is that everyone /society believes them.

I really feel for you.  Your example of your mother's behaviour shows just how everything was all about her. Your mention of the gleam in her eye and then her command for you to be happy is so familiar.   How do we recover from this?  I wish we knew.

Take care.

Libby

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ah

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Re: Triggered by talk of emotional vs. physical *tw:physical abuse*
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2017, 01:01:18 PM »
Hi Phoebes,

I think about this a lot too lately. Reading about emotional abuse and seeing how invisible it is, seeing society is so blind to it... totally letting abusers off the hook and buying into their lies about their victims.

Nobody ever saw my wounds from physical abuse either. I went to school filthy and wounded and nobody ever noticed or asked any questions. Those wounds were invisible, too, because no one saw them but me so it became emotional abuse: the ultimate gaslighting.

I think for me, when I try to nail down the thing that did the most damage it's emotional abuse that wins every time. Because even the worst physical abuse I had to go through was so damaging because of its emotional aspect, how it made me feel worthless, despicable, unworthy of life, not worth saving or protecting from physical harm. I guess emotional abuse can also be the most sadistic, especially when it's used on us when we're too young to understand it's all lies and manipulation.

The gleam in her eye... oh my, I recognized that one, whenever I saw it I knew it was going to be a long day. I'm so sorry you had to go through that, it's beyond awful.
People's eyes usually seem that way for good reasons - when they feel touched by something, when they connect... but for us it was dangerous.








« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 01:07:12 PM by ah »

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Phoebes

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Re: Triggered by talk of emotional vs. physical *tw:physical abuse*
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2017, 03:58:10 PM »
Thank you, everyone...it sounds like you truly understand..sometimes I feel like it's only emotional issues people deal with, but the physical definitely sent an amplified message, as if the emotional wasn't enough.

Three Roses-yes, the message I have gotten from some of the T's I've had was basically that.. some people are just stronger or don't take things as personally. I think some people are more prone to denial than others. My brother doesn't remember his childhood. I remember his abuse too.

Libby, I hate that you can so closely relate to this feeling. Maybe worse. I wasnt banished to my room until I begged to come out (  :'( ) ..but I was expected to "wipe the frown off my face" or "if I don't stop crying or put on a smile, I'm going to get more until I stop crying", which happened a few times. (another part of why I have a hard time crying). Like you, my NM would often speak of how SHE was treated, and now how she just did what was done to her, and that's all she knew. I call bs. So she knew how much that hurt and had no desire to change it. No ability to do anything but beat and berate an innocent child. She often talked about how her mother was a lot worse than her, but she forgave her, because that's what you have to do. To this day (from the day I went NC) complete and utter denial is what she still expects. She told me she is never going to apologize. (Even though she's told the family she has, and I won't forgive).

ah, I agree that I don't understand now why none of the teachers noticed my abuse. If they did, they didn't do anything about it back then. Mine was more depression, not making eye contact, unable to speak, unable to perform. I made good grades on paper and knew the answers. I could read at an early age from learning on sesame street, and I was smart and creative. But like I said in another thread, I was put in speech and then not treated right there either. Rather than send me to school dirty (I was a tomboy and didn't want the focus on girly clothes), my nM would physically get me ready, like I was not allowed to wear what I wanted and she wanted to man-handle me to send the message she was getting me ready. This cute and girly outfit was HER doing, because she is a "good mother." She could have said or done ANYthing to me before school, but I was sent to school in a package of being taken care of.

I agree it was the sadistic emotional aspect that made it the worst, but it is the requirement to pretend it never happened that really made it unbearable. The media portrayal of abuse is so surface level it is laughable.

Sorry to ramble on..I so appreciate each of you. We are in this healing process together. I have been watching a lot of Shahida Arabi's youtube, Self Care Haven. It is outstanding and there are a lot of videos that help me work on healing. I've read Pete Walker and allowed myself to grieve when I can. Worked on reparenting the IC. It's all just a process.




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ah

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Re: Triggered by talk of emotional vs. physical *tw:physical abuse*
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2017, 07:38:06 PM »

I agree it was the sadistic emotional aspect that made it the worst, but it is the requirement to pretend it never happened that really made it unbearable.


I think you absolutely nailed it there. That's exactly it, isn't it? The requirement to pretend it never happened.
Being made to go on through life knowing you're in danger, but having to pretend you're not - or you'll be in even more danger. The requirement to accept the role of the liar and let your abusers lie about you, in society, in your FOO... I guess it's the essence of emotional abuse and I think it's beyond crazy-making.  :spooked:








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Phoebes

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Re: Triggered by talk of emotional vs. physical *tw:physical abuse*
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2017, 08:23:23 PM »
I can't imagine anything more crazy making.