Is this normal? How do I explain this to others?

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Marianne

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Is this normal? How do I explain this to others?
« on: March 31, 2022, 07:03:28 PM »
I have C-PTSD.

Psychiatry acknowledges I have PTSD. They acknowledge that the emotional and physical abuse by my ex, and the long-lasting threat that he would hurt our newborn baby, were traumatic. They also acknowledge that being sexually abused incidentally by my uncle as a child was traumatic.

There is another part though. I suspect I have never felt safe and accepted in my family of origin, and I still don't. I tried to explain, but the psychiatrist says my family is normal and it's my fault. My whole nuclear family also says this. I just don't know what to think anymore. Is this what normal families are like? How can I find words for what happened? If I give examples it seems like it is no big deal, but because of the constancy of it, it did hurt me. Sorry for the long long story, but since I don't know how to name or explain it, I need details and stories to show what I mean.

As a context I have to say that there was also love, attention, care. There were kind words and sweet presents and nice childhood parties and play.

Some examples of what was also there, though:

  • My mother would have anger explosions. She would for example destroy something I made as a child. Or scream at me for hours that I was a horrible child, the cause of all the problems in the family, who ruined everything for everyone (they would never do this with my brothers). My dad would calmly sit next to that or reprimand me if I fought back.
  • My parents defended every single man who ever hurt me. Pedophile uncle? He had such a difficult childhood, you shouldn't tell his wife, and we still invite him because it is weird if we don't. Ex whom experts labelled autistic and narcissistic/sociopathic, who destroyed me and started to threaten and bully our newborn? He would always create such a loving family atmosphere, you are making things up, you hurt him in the same way you are hurting us (by taking my distance after trying all else, that was). Creepy colleague who suddenly started to walk around my private home and make sexual remarks about me to other colleagues, and was immediately fired? That was my fault. What he did was completely normal. Etcetera.
  • My parents somehow did not understand my boundaries. Not in an overt way by beating me into the hospital, but more subtly. For example. As a teen and virgin I was forced to sleep in a tent/bed with my boyfriend against my will. I told them clearly that I did not want to, that I was frightened, that he wanted sex and I did not. Their response: "you just have to." I had sex against my will, because by that time I lost all sense of my own boundaries (which was still my decision and fault to not dare say no). When I confronted my parents they first denied it ever happened. Then they said it was my own fault for ages. Then my mum started crying that she felt so bad being such a bad mum, and it ended up with me comforting her that everything was fine and it wasn't that bad (to have sex against my will the first time...  :blink:). There was just never a "hey, sorry, that was wrong. How was that for you? We won't do it again."
  • My mum and dad are both very good at pushing my buttons. They could say exactly that, which was the most hurtful. An example: after a teen fight about clothes or so had long ended, my mum would come to my bedroom at night and tell me my dad would die very soon, as his dad also died young of a heart attack, and this would be me fault. I don't know how many times I heared that I was a bad child, a bad mother, a bad person. In all sorts of ways. Also indirectly: rolling eyes when I speak, subtle remarks, denigrating gestures or tones, ever-repeated jokes. A family birthday where I'm told "haha, it is better for everyone involved if you never have a relationship, haha". For example.
  • Being beaten, incidentally, and told that is your fault, because you are a bad child.
  • My parents greeting my brothers happily and warmly when they enter the house. Even when I was in the hospital for ptsd my dad (who does sometimes come to bring clothes! which is nice) would not greet, not give a hug or even a hand, would not ask how I am doing. My brothers never visited me there, because they thought it wasn't a nice place to be in. They did say I should be grateful to have such a helpful family, with how bad I was.
  • My dad tells my brothers and my son that I'm a bad person/bad daughter/bad mother. Literally and by telling them bad stories.
  • My mum was and dad is quite controlling. Everything I value is wrong. They are right. My clothes, my house, my food, my faith, my values. It's all stupid and wrong.
  • They keep me away from my child because of my c-ptsd. He lives with them now. I wanted him to be in a foster family, but they threatened me so, that I collapsed and could no longer fight for him. Which I regret so deeply. They physically keep him away now. They also tell him consistently that I am bad and that things I carefully choose for him (like school) are bad.

I just can't respond well anymore either. I have told them numerous times in kind and more direct ways to please please stop this, to please seek help together and both look at ourselves, that I'm collapsing under this. That I can't deal with it anymore, that it is hurtful. I have consistently told them I do things wrong and I want to work on myself (which I did and do), but things are not so black and white that I'm always wrong and they always right. They respond by saying I'm pressuring them, that it is all my fault, that I'm sick and wrong and they do nothing wrong.

The reason I'm frightened is not so much for myself, but because I can't protect my child. My psychiatrist helps my family because I'm sick and they are healthy. I agree that I can't take care of my son right now (because I'm so terrified of my family, ironically). But nobody hears my worries about the other side of the story. I see things happening to my child as well that worry me, and I can't help him, because people don't hear my stories ("your parents would never do that, they are so kind"). I'm despairing about him. The psychiatrist now wants my dad to have custody over my child, which would take away the 'last line of defense' I have. I'm frightened over him.

Can you people be honest? Is this normal? Is this what all families are like? Please don't "talk with me", but be honest: should I stop complaining about this because this is normal for all families, as my psychiatrist tells me?
« Last Edit: April 01, 2022, 05:26:29 PM by Marianne »

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phil72

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Re: Is this normal? How do I explain this to others?
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2022, 07:21:55 PM »
I'm so sorry Marianne for all of your hurt
That is NOT NORMAL behaviour for a healthy family at all.
I hope you find support here... I know for me it's comforting to have people who truly understand.
I hope for you too!

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Marianne

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Re: Is this normal? How do I explain this to others?
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2022, 09:00:32 PM »
Thank you. Thanks.

I know in a way it isn't normal. But people keep telling me it is normal. I doubt myself. Do you know what words I can use for what's happening? Is it emotional abuse?

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Kizzie

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Re: Is this normal? How do I explain this to others?
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2022, 03:31:59 PM »
Marianne, what doesn't sound normal from your post is for any credible psychiatrist to tell you your family is normal and everything is your fault.

Would it be possible for you see another psychiatrist and for your own peace of mind get a second opinion about all you've written? There is more understanding about emotional abuse, especially more nuanced forms of relational abuse (e.g., coercive control, narcissistic abuse) than in the past, but there are still professionals who don't know as much as they should. It may be a matter of finding a professional (or professionals) more willing to listen, validate, support, treat, etc from a trauma informed perspective. Is this possible?

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Marianne

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Re: Is this normal? How do I explain this to others?
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2022, 05:22:56 PM »
Thanks.

I don't have that possibility. Because I have short psychotic episodes sometimes (trauma related) and refused to go to this psychiatrist any longer, I am under court order. I've been angry at him and told him to listen and stand next to me. He actually did so today, for the first time. I told him of the sexual boundary crossings in my youth, were normally I focussed on the emotional. My father responded that whatever my mother did to me was none of his business. The psych told him that he was responsible too, that you are a team as parents and he might want to reflect on his role as a father. Dad responded by threatening me in a subtle way.

Psych stills seems to only take the sexual aspects seriously, not the emotional or physical. The emotional things he did not respond to. To being beaten as a child he said: "oh, but I would also beat up my children if they really deserved it".

So, well, I seem to be stuck with this psychiatrist. He did start to listen a little today.

I've found a systems therapist today that has experience with narcissism and emotional abuse. I'm not sure if that's really what's going on, but I think that gives a better chance of being taken seriously in the subtler issues.

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Kizzie

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Re: Is this normal? How do I explain this to others?
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2022, 03:02:42 PM »
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To being beaten as a child he said: "oh, but I would also beat up my children if they really deserved it".

Any psychiatrist who says something like this should be reported to the court and the his association. It is completely unprofessional and you are well within your rights to lodge a complaint and ask to see another psychiatrist.

You may need a lawyer to help with this. The new therapist may be able to help with this too (advise re professional bodies and standards, document the effect it is having on you, etc).   

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Armee

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Re: Is this normal? How do I explain this to others?
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2022, 05:32:08 PM »
I agree with Kizzie. The psychologist is not normal or right or ok.

What you family did was not normal and it was abuse.  Physical and psychological. Not just emotional. Not that emotional abuse is ever a "just" but this is way beyond normal what you experienced. It was abusive and traumatic.

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Marianne

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Re: Is this normal? How do I explain this to others?
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2022, 08:48:22 PM »
Thanks.

I have thought about filing an official complaint against the psychiatrist. I really don't think it will be listened to. But still.

I'm also desperately searching for ways to protect my son.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2022, 09:48:35 PM by Marianne »

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Kizzie

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Re: Is this normal? How do I explain this to others?
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2022, 01:49:18 PM »
You may also want to look into a lawyer so you can get some advice on your rights and how to protect yourself and your son.

There are also online support/info groups who are dealing with issues like yours (e.g., https://www.facebook.com/groups/2754220201271003/about/) and that may be helpful too.