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I'm starting to wonder if this is abuse

TheAprilFoolTheAprilFool MiniposterPosts: 187 Helping Hand
I don't know if I'm overreacting but recently I've become very aware that my mental health seems to worsen when I come home from uni. Being at home and spending all my time with my family brings up a lot of stuff from the past, and I find myself constantly getting frustrated at the fact that I'm almost completely unable to express my thoughts and feelings around the people that are supposed to care the most.

I've felt a lot of anger (usually followed by guilt) towards my family for a long time now, and this week has been particularly frustrating because I seem to be more aware than before that my family always favours my brother in certain aspects. This week all they seem to be able to talk about is getting him started with driving lessons, even though when I was old enough to drive they took the papers for my provisional license and yell at me whenever I mention them. This isn't the first time he's allowed to do something that I've been prevented from doing without an explanation.

After a week of this frustration building up, I ended up breaking down today over something that was relatively minor and now my parents just think I'm being ridiculous because I don't have the courage to point out all the frustration that has been building up over the years. I broke down crying in front of them today and for some reason, they always act really strangely when I do this. They go from being angry to comforting, to trying to find a solution, to asking questions and getting angry no matter what I give as an answer. 

I don't think they're doing anything to intentionally harm me, but a lot of their actions come across as quite ignorant or neglectful. They were never physically abusive, except for maybe the occasional spanking when I was really little, but there have been times when they've either punished me for being upset or just ignored me completely. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they just don't know how to deal with people being emotional, but I don't think it's much of an excuse because you would have thought they'd work on this considering I was a pretty highly sensitive child. 

Things have happened that I think most people would be quite concerned about, such as the time I had to go to school in clothes that were too small for me and a teacher took a photo of me while my trousers were falling down and another teacher showed it to the whole class. I never told anyone about that, but I'm not entirely sure why.

Maybe calling it abuse is too far, but when I look back at my childhood a lot of stuff just doesn't seem right. For a long time I figured that there was just something wrong with me, but since moving out improved my mental health at least slightly I don't think that my issues are entirely caused by just a potential mental illness alone. 

I'm going to try to see a counsellor about this soon, and I'm not really looking for answers here. I just thought it would be good to share.
Laine

Comments

  • LaineLaine Fruit loop Gone for gooPosts: 2,767 Account Deactivated
    Hey AprilFool

    I know you were't looking for answers but just wanted to say that its really positive you've noticed you're at least a little better when away. because you know what. it doesn't make you a bad person or anything like that. 

    sometimes we just need a new start. sometimes it can be because of home. or because of "bad memories and energy" 

    its good you're looking at seeing a counsellor, that could defo be helpful.

    the best you can do now is do whats right for you now you're at uni and away x

    best wishes xo

    🌈Positive thoughts🌈

    "This is my family. I found it, all on my own.
    It's little, and Broken, but still good. Yeah. Still good." ~ Stitch

    "Lately, I've been struggling with all the simple things in my life" ~ Cian Ducrot

    "I don't know if it's because my heart hurts or I'm insecure" ~ Juice Wrld
    TheAprilFoolLynx1612
  • LabraBellLabraBell Art is my passion :3Posts: 203 Trailblazer
    Hey @TheAprilFool

    I can see you're going through quite a lot here. I hope you're okay and I just wanted to let you know that my PMs are open any time, should you need someone to talk to. I also know you said you're not looking for answers but I couldn't help myself, I want to help where I can <3

    The first thing I'm going to say here is I really, really understand what you're going through. I can see quite a few similarities between our situations, particularly the favouritism aspect, and what seems to be unfair treatment. I'll talk through what I think about this from both my experience, and from an outsiders opinion. Primarily though it's me talking about how I can understand what you're going through and offering suggestions. It's probably going to be a long explanation so bear with me :) 

    I'm going to answer you one paragraph at a time, just to make it easier for both of us lol.

    I don't know if I'm overreacting but recently I've become very aware that my mental health seems to worsen when I come home from uni. Being at home and spending all my time with my family brings up a lot of stuff from the past, and I find myself constantly getting frustrated at the fact that I'm almost completely unable to express my thoughts and feelings around the people that are supposed to care the most.

    For the record, I don't think you're overreacting. Not at all. At the moment I am in my second year of college, and since around a week after I started, I began to find that I would rather be there than spend time at home. I couldn't understand it at first, but later on that year when I started emailing with childline, I was able to come to the conclusion that I was beginning to distance myself from my mom and sister, whom I live with. I found that I struggle to talk to my mom openly about things I really should, and our ways of thinking are almost polar opposites, so I tend to get frustrated when she doesn't understand what I'm saying, or judges me. I also came to realise that this all started when I confessed to her about SH, and she turned on me, telling me I was just doing it for the attention. I've not been able to share stuff with her since.

    Since I don't really know the extent of your issues, I might not be completely right here. But I get the idea that the way you're feeling comes from a buildup of emotion after one specific incident, similar to mine. If that is the case, it might be a good idea to take a step back, and find out what that incident is. It can be possible to work through the emotions surrounding the incident, and sometimes just thinking it through can be amazingly helpful to understand why you're feeling the way you are.

    The phrase "Being at home and spending all my time with my family" is so eerily similar to how I'm going. I spent most of my life in a shared bedroom with my sister, and only got my own room around winter last year. We live in a pretty small house too; so there's only really our own room that we get to ourselves (We're in a 2 bedroom house, my mom used one of the living rooms to turn into her bedroom so its just 3 rooms and a single smallish living room now). Thanks to this we can't often get time away from each other, so we have a lot of arguments. The whole 'peas in a pod' aspect of this makes it hard for you to be around family members, because often you'll be sick of the sight of them. Again, I don't know if it's the same for you, but that's what it's like for me. 

    I've felt a lot of anger (usually followed by guilt) towards my family for a long time now, and this week has been particularly frustrating because I seem to be more aware than before that my family always favours my brother in certain aspects. This week all they seem to be able to talk about is getting him started with driving lessons, even though when I was old enough to drive they took the papers for my provisional license and yell at me whenever I mention them. This isn't the first time he's allowed to do something that I've been prevented from doing without an explanation.
    I want you to know, it's completely okay to feel angry towards them, given the situation. The guilt, in my opinion, is a good thing too, because it means you don't want to feel that way. Acceptance is the first step for change and all that. 

    When I first realised that my mom would favour my sister, I was hurt. I was angry and frustrated and I felt helpless. But what was the worst was the sense of complete isolation. The idea that even my family prefers someone else over me. When I first knew, I would notice a whole lot more because I was tuned in to what was happening. Just like you're going to notice from now on how I use the sweat_smile emoji and the word "completely" a lot. From what I'm reading that seems to be the same for you. 

    From your name I've come to the assumption that you're female. I'm extremely sorry if I've made the wrong assumption there :sweat_smile:

    Assuming that you are female, the idea here could be that your family may be more protective over you. I'm not saying that they would be completely doing this consciously, but it's something to think about. It happens a lot unfortunately. The idea that a male is more capable of looking after himself, etc. It could be a reason, but don't take my word on that. 

    I can't give you too much advice here, because I came to realise later on that I had done things to warrant favouritism in my family. That doesn't make it right, but it does make it less wrong. If that makes sense. 

    You see, when I was first attacked, I had bottled up all my emotions regarding the incident. I was angry at myself for letting myself be attacked (Irrational doubts. I'm mostly past that now) and angry at the person who did it for taking away such a vital part of me. I still feel angry and hurt just typing that out. I never found a release for all that anger, so eventually one day I got so sick of my sister screeching at me (She has a banshee voice) and using personal insults that I ended up lashing out. It wasn't the last time. The release of anger from that was amazing, and I ended up losing my temper more and more often until eventually I was kicked out the house for a month. I've gone past all that now. Mostly. But that's a story for later on.

    So on my side the favouritism is relatively reasonable. However it's getting to the point that my sister uses my mom to fight her battles, and she knows she can say more personal things to me without me lashing out, because I physically stop myself. Not only that; she hits me quite a lot, and I can't do anything about it because I'll be the one getting into trouble for attacking her. It's such an unfair feeling and considering the fact that you're seeing favouritism about something as big as a driving licence, I can't imagine how stressful that would be. 

    After a week of this frustration building up, I ended up breaking down today over something that was relatively minor and now my parents just think I'm being ridiculous because I don't have the courage to point out all the frustration that has been building up over the years. I broke down crying in front of them today and for some reason, they always act really strangely when I do this. They go from being angry to comforting, to trying to find a solution, to asking questions and getting angry no matter what I give as an answer. 

    Unfortunately that's the way things tend to happen when you can't explain how you're feeling. The amount of emotions inside of you are always just the tip of the iceberg, and it's rare that you're able to show people what you're feeling deep down. Because an iceberg is extremely heavy, and it would take a whole lot of strength to bring it up out of the water. 

    I know I keep telling stories from my own life, but really, it's the best way I can explain what I'm saying. Sorry :3

    Going back to the whole lashing out thing, I thought I'd tell you about something that happened to me just a few days ago. This was exactly the same as how you've had a breakdown today. I'd been getting extremely stressed over the week before, thanks to assignment work, arguments with someone I consider a best friend, and general frustration at everything that's happened. It's also been around a month since the 5 year anniversary of my attack, so I'm still getting over that too. All of these emotions were pressuring inside of me, threatening to blow out, but I kept them locked away for the sake of my family. Fast forward to monday night, we were coming back from a trip to the carvery when my sister started an argument. She was getting angry because my mom wouldnt take her to my nans. All I said was "Walk then." 

    She was turning on me, then. she only said one thing to me, but it was enough to cause me to breakdown myself. 

    "right now? Have you seen how dark it is? Do you want me to die? Do you want me to be raped like you?"

    It set off a flashback when she said it. I can't say that word in real life, hearing it sets my teeth on edge. So to hear my sister say it in that tone... I went numb. That crazy calm. I ended up hitting her an hour later, but unlike any time before I was in complete control of my actions. My form of a breakdown is going completely numb like this, and being completely void of any emotion, including guilt. 

    I can completely understand how you have those mental breakdowns, and I can understand just how frustrating and upsetting it is to have the stress of family trivialising how you feel. When I ended up lashing out my mom called me "fucking mental or something" and took her side straight away. 

    There's one thing I want to stress to you right now though. I'll say it yet again, I don't know your situation that well, but I do know that when I reached the edge I stayed there for a long time. In fact I'm still there now. On Tuesday, I tried to take my own life because I couldn't handle the outburst of emotions. I managed to stop myself before anything happened, but the action was still there. I want to be sure that you're okay and safe, and please promise me that you'll talk to someone when the emotions all get to be too much. You've done something similar here, so I can trust that you'll do that. But I just couldn't allow myself to leave without telling you this. I made a stupid mistake in bottling my emotions up, and I don't want to see anyone else going through what I am because of it. 

    (Note to mod, if reading - not sure if the remark in italics follows the guidelines as well as it should. Feel free to delete if it's a problem, and sorry if it is.)

    I don't think they're doing anything to intentionally harm me, but a lot of their actions come across as quite ignorant or neglectful. They were never physically abusive, except for maybe the occasional spanking when I was really little, but there have been times when they've either punished me for being upset or just ignored me completely. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they just don't know how to deal with people being emotional, but I don't think it's much of an excuse because you would have thought they'd work on this considering I was a pretty highly sensitive child. 
    Not knowing how to deal with people's emotions is unfortunately also a very common issue nowadays. The fact that your family turn comforting when you get emotional can be a testament to this. I agree that it's not much of an excuse, but at the same time you have to consider that they've been brought up in a different generation, where mental health wasn't so prominent as it is today. It can be hard for people to understand what it means to have problems, to break down from stress, etc, and so it can feel like they're ignorant or uncaring sometimes. 

    I'm lucky to have a family that's highly emotional. However, I'm the only person in the family that runs based on logic rather than emotion, and so sometimes I can get annoyed at my mom for crying over something small and seemingly harmless. I'm just as bad as some in that sense, but I've had experience to make up for the lack of emotional understanding. As far as I know with this, sometimes it can just take a little patience, and make sure you take time to breathe. You might find it to be a good idea to talk this through with them. Ask them if you can sit down and talk with them for a while, and ask them to promise not to give any input until you're finished talking. Or write a note to them if you'd prefer that. It might not work, but it would be worth a try to explain how you're feeling. 

    Things have happened that I think most people would be quite concerned about, such as the time I had to go to school in clothes that were too small for me and a teacher took a photo of me while my trousers were falling down and another teacher showed it to the whole class. I never told anyone about that, but I'm not entirely sure why.
    Maybe calling it abuse is too far, but when I look back at my childhood a lot of stuff just doesn't seem right. For a long time I figured that there was just something wrong with me, but since moving out improved my mental health at least slightly I don't think that my issues are entirely caused by just a potential mental illness alone. 
    Not telling anyone about something embarassing or upsetting that happened to you at a young age is completely understandable. The fact that it happened to you because of someone in a position of power is worse too; even as a child there would always be the worry that people wouldn't believe you, that people would call you a liar. 

    I agree, it might be too far to call it abuse. But there is a form of abuse called "unintentional neglect" that might fit the part a bit more. 

    It's really brave of you to come out with it all. It's often the hardest when you can't be sure it isn't just a mental illness. Because there comes all the different fears, like "what if it really is just a mental illness?" and "What if they don't believe me?"

    I wish you the best of luck when you talk to the counsellor, and I really hope that you can get past your issues. I'm always here to talk if you need it too.

    Sorry, looking back on this I don't think I've given you all that much advice anyway. I feel like I've gone off on a bit of a tangent talking about my own past lol. But if I've helped in any way then it's okay, right? :sweat_smile:

    Take care, and I hope you're doing okay <3
    What do you mean I have to think of an intelligent signature?
    TheAprilFool
  • TheAprilFoolTheAprilFool Miniposter Posts: 187 Helping Hand
    Hey. Sorry that I haven't taken the time to reply to all the points you made. It was a really thoughtful reply, but I'm not really sure it would be a good idea for me to discuss it further on here. I know it's probably an overreaction to call this abuse, but there is a lot of stuff I missed out here that I'm not sure I really want to go into right now.
  • LabraBellLabraBell Art is my passion :3Posts: 203 Trailblazer
    @TheAprilFool that's completely fine, and I understand. Good luck on whatever you do about it though :)
    What do you mean I have to think of an intelligent signature?
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