An amazing number of adult children have been punched and berated by their parents but do not understand this behavior as abuse until finding ACA or an informed counselor. Before finding ACA, many of us believed we deserved what we got or caused the abuse to happen. – -Page 28, The BRB of ACA.
I never used to use the word, in reference to my own childhood. Abuse? No no no… Mom just had at temper. She just had problems with rage. She got angry and yelled and screamed and called me names. She stood by the doorway to our room and said the words “come in here, I’m not going to hit you” and then hit me over and over as I walked by. She stood in the hallway and pulled framed photographs off the wall and threw them at me. She punched me in the back when I slouched my shoulders.
Not abuse. Just things that happened. No ownership or accountability or naming it because naming it makes it real.
Last Monday at my meeting the pages we read aloud focused on child abuse. I became so filled with anxiety I couldn’t even speak. I barely got through it when it was my turn to read. I couldn’t share. I couldn’t even think. When it was over I bolted for the door, and got about half a block down the road before I turned back around because I remembered I had volunteered to help put chairs away and put the room in order.
Abuse is a major player in the origin of my anxiety. Anxiety is a fear response and fear is what flows through my body and makes it so I can’t speak, can’t breathe, can’t even move, sometimes. It’s also partially responsible for the shame I feel, for the way I feel like there is something irreparably wrong with me, for the way I never really feel quite safe.
Abuse. Abuse. Abuse.
My Mother abused me. Emotionally – through manipulation and neglect. Verbally. Physically. Never-mind the reasons or the explanations or the excuses. This isn’t about why, it’s about what happened and how it affected me. I was abused, and the result is fear, and shame.