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Fucking song made some deeply repressed memories come screaming back(28 Posts)
Oh my God. I was just listening to some crappy 90s music and one particular song made some horrible memories come flooding back.
I was 8, tucked up in bed. Heard lots of banging and screaming downstairs. Ran down, my older sister was in floods of tears and my Dad had my Mum trapped in the kitchen, hitting her and roaring. My mum was screaming. My older sister was on crutches and we were begging him to stop. We tried to open the kitchen door but he slammed it in our faces. It was terrifying.
Then it was like a chain reaction. Other memories came right back. Like the time on Christmas Eve when Dad went to belt me and my Nan jumped in his way and stopped him, and he tried to push her down the stairs. Or the time when I pissed him off and he actually pushed me down the stairs.
I feel like vomiting. I've wondered for so long why I'm so fucked up. Self harming, anorexia, self sabotaging.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
Thing is, everything is lovely now. He's calmed down, we have wonderful family time together. We have lovely family celebrations and I really do enjoy them. And I love my Dad dearly, he and I get on great now.
How the fuck do I deal with this? Am a bit of a wreck right now.
I didn't want you to go unanswered.
Have you considered talking to a professional about it?
Been through similar to you. I think it is hard because you, like me, get on (to a certain extent) with your Dad & he has calmed. It doesn't take away that scared, confused feelings that you felt as a child. Of course they have a lasting effect. I have had counselling & it really helped me. It cam help you make some sort of sense of things & allow you to tackle your own destructive behaviour. It is hard, but completely worth it.
Thanks, sky. My GP has recommended a counsellor, and I know I should contact them, but I'm terrified of doing so.
Pebbles, I'm really self destructive. I really don't know why. I do feel like a scared little girl sometimes. I'm sorry that you've been through this too. It's weird, isn't it? On the one hand I loathe him for being the nasty violent man, but I also remember the times during my childhood when he was completely amazing. And as an adult, he's been so supportive. He's definitely stopped being the abusive arsehole of my childhood. But the memory of that will never go away
They fuck you up, your mum and dad....
Same with my mum. She was abusive. Mainly physically but often verbally/emotionally and that hurt more. We are very close now, closer than we have ever been before. The reason she was abusive was because she had serious hormonal problems that either werent dealt with or couldnt be dealt with back then (70's/early 80's) and since her menopause she has become the mother she should have been when I was a child. I have come to peace with it, I have accepted that she isnt an abuser, but that her issues led her to be abusive.
But sometimes things will bring it back. Photos where everyone will say "Oh! Do you remember that wall paper?!" and I will think "Yes I do, I stared at it as she battered me". "Oh that glass door, it was so 70's!" Yes it was, and she broke it 3 times in her temper.
Dont know what I am saying to you, but I understand.
Bogey, your post has me actually bawling my eyes out. I relate to what you have said completely. If I remember correctly from when we talked when I had a different user name, you are also Irish?
I think my Dad also has his reasons (reasons, not excuses). His Dad was, apparently, a horrible, violent bully. Dad had to leave his education at a very young age to go to work and provide for his siblings, after his parents both died in the space of a year.
DP actually gave me a book of Philip Larkin poems, which included 'This Is The Verse' a few years ago. My parents have fucked me up a lot. It's just hit home how much. I still love them though, and will still bring Mum shopping, have a pint with Dad, stay in their house at Christmas.
It's all a big mess.
Wow bogeyface I do think that is really ever so adult and understanding of you! My mum was violent and I felt quite gleeful when she died early and painfully and refused to see her. It's beyond me to be as compassionate as you have been by trying to understand "reasons" for your mums behaviour and putting it behind you.
I'm so sorry this happened to you. Counselling will help-therapists are very kind and understanding people and they are here to help you. Good luck.
Thanks, Parker. Tbh, I'm terrified of counselling. My mental health has been teetering on a knife edge my whole life. I've been an anxious wreck since I was 5 years old. I used to wake up terrified that my house would be burgled or go on fire while I slept. I've literally been having panic attacks since I was 5
Tbh the fact that your father claims to have been on the receiving end of the same behaviours himself as a youngster is no excuse at all. In many instances it results in a child turning out to be the very opposite.
Having grown up in the presence of a violent alcoholic, I have a very strict limit of how often and how much I drink and would never dream of laying a finger on any living thing, regardless.
A hard lesson that my mother bore the brunt of.
Unforgiveable. Regardless of years past since last instance. Especially when it takes place in front of young children or even worse taken out on.
Oh wow. No one ever gets that reference! This Be The Verse is my favourite poem for obvious reasons!
My paternal family are Irish, but my mums family are English and as fucked up as they come. She passed the 11+ highest in her school, but wasnt allowed to go to grammar as my grandfather was a socialist and would let her go. She loved him but never forgave him.
I suppose that it makes my life easier to try and understand.
I can look back and see the doctors appointments, the injections she had to treat her anemia thanks to her horrible periods, the fact that she was ok for 2 weeks and then utterly vile for 3 weeks on the run. And she loves me, she shows me that now in a way that I think she would have liked to show me (or maybe thought she did) back then. I genuinely think that she couldnt help it. My father opted out of family life, and despite the fact that he made a point of adoring his daughters in public, we are not close now because he left it all to her despite her struggling.
Shadows, I'm sending hugs and thoughts of peace to you. Just reading what you and your sister endured caused me anxiety...you survived this! I hope you can find someone compassionate and experienced to help see you through this. You don't have to live with the trauma of the past. I'll be thinking about you..xx
Bogey, I just wrote a very long post and accidentally deleted it. The tiredness is getting the better of me! This Be The Verse has been my mantra for the past decade! How do you cope with the pressure? I have to look after my Mum at least 5 out of every 7 days. I'm a nervous, anxious wreck and getting worse.
Thanks so much Spell. I get through every day but I'm still always just a hairs breadth from completely falling apart. It's so lovely to have support on here though. Thank you.
Have you talked to your dad about it?
Extremely hard I know
I remember my stepfather strangling my mum. I remember the black eyes and the bruises he gave her and the shouting and the struggling and even now it terrifies me when I know they've argued even though he is not the same as he used to be. If I don't hear from my mum for a while I start to worry that they're arguing and I still get the same anxious dreading blood running cold feeling I did all that time ago. It never goes away.
They've been together since I was too young to remember anything different and, although my dad was always there, my stepfather raised me as if I was his own. I adore him like I adore my dad but there is also that deep down feeling of guilt for not hating him for what he did.
I struggled for a long time to cope with issues with food. I saw a counsellor for a while but it was a pointless exercise as I didn't feel I could open up and didn't talk about the horrible memories- I went because my boyfriend at the time told me he'd finish with me unless I got help. I'm very good at pretending everything is OK. My mum would never have forgiven me if I'd told anyone what was going on.
That was a few years ago and sometimes I think about trying again but I'm so scared that once I start talking and properly remembering I'll just break.
You will break but then you will heal. Stronger than ever. The right counsellor can take you back to those times and give you permission to be angry and to grieve for the life you should have had. The result is an understanding and acceptance. It truly feels better.
I grew up in a very similar situation, my Dad eventually stopped drinking and it stopped , there were issues between my parents which caused the problems which I am now aware of and although that's no excuse for his behaviour I understand a little.
Also, I had issues as a teen of drinking, stealing and promiscuity which I accept was because of the problems at home. My Dad died a couple of years ago and we had become very close and despite everything I loved him. Maybe counselling will help you to move forward. I hope it works out for you.
My life was like this growing up. So was my DH's. Makes you wonder whether violence was more common, back in the 70's? I was smacked in the face on a weekly basis. Parents rowed to the point of stuff getting thrown all over the house. Every single weekend my Dad got totally pissed and started to kick off.
They are both quite mellow now and we have a good relationship. What's really weird, is when I raised this a few years ago, neither of them remembers it?? Thank goodness I have a Sister, who corroborates all of my memories, otherwise I think I might question myself?!
How are your parents now? Can you let it go?
Counsellors are your allies. They are there standing with you as you re-visit difficult things, so that you can heal from them properly. Your anorexia etc are coping mechanisms for your childhood pain, but they are destructive ones. Counselling will help you find healthier coping mechanisms.
It is likely that things will get a little bit worse before they get better: I'm now where Bogey is in terms of feeling compassion for my parents. It feels great, and I can relate to them as an adult rather than reverting to childhood submission, or adolescent anger. But for a while I was so angry with them, as I went over childhood memories and allowed myself to feel the pain of them, that I had to cut contact with them for a bit.
It's ok. You can overcome the trauma. But first you have to go back there and remember what it felt like at the time.
That song opened up those memories for you, so it sounds like now is the right time to examine them. FWIW, it's been my experience that we only re-open these old memories once we are strong enough to tackle them. So it's likely that these floodgates have been opened up for you now, because you actually are in a good position to deal with them, finally.
Counselling is scary, I do agree. However, if you can find the strength & just go for the first one you can see how much of a difference it can make. It does take time, it isn't always easy. I was sceptical but it helped me so much. I wouldn't recommend talking things through with your Dad. You describe feeling on the edge etc re: your mental health. I think once you have the support of a counsellor, you can explore this option. I know my own Dad would never discuss it with me, def my Mum wouldn't either. It would cause such an issue & I am not sure they would ever see where I am coming from.
I now have distance between me & my family, you sound like they rely on you a lot. You can stop the destructive behaviours, you just need professional support to do so. Childhood can really mess us up. I used to say "but it happened x yrs ago, why does this effect me everyday of my life?" But it was such a traumatic experience, of course it would. Our parents are our blueprints for rships in later life too, also the way we care for ourselves, our worth. So when it is toxic it can be so damaging.
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