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Why Am I So Mad With Myself? (TW Abuse)(8 Posts)
I had a very abusive childhood, my mother and two stepdads. Earlier on something trivial made me feel really mad, and I realised I was mad with myself. I realised this was coming from when I was a child, I was mad with myself for not being able to stand up for myself. I realised this was not right and I need to forgive myself, I was onhly a child, but it's just doesn't feel right. Do I keep on trying to forgive myself, or is there something I've missed in order to feel better about myself?
As a child you were made to feel helpless, and not being able to understand the abuse you suffered, you turned your frustration and fear inwards. You have nothing to forgive yourself for, and I really hope you choose to get therapy to help you process everything you've gone through. None of the abuse you suffered was ever your fault, and a child is not capable of standing up for themselves to adults.
You are quite right to understand that you were only a child and you need to forgive yourself-as-you-were-then for not knowing what you know now. You also need to forgive yourself-as-you-are-now for not being able to reconcile yourself neatly and conveniently packaging up the damage that was done to you and facing your future as an entirely fixed and sorted individual. It doesn't work like that. An important part of why abusive treatment of children is so wrong because the damage it causes to the developing mind is always going to be there. Like a bone that fractures and then mends, healing is possible but the healed mind isn't going to ever become indistinguishable from one that was never injured in the first place, there will always be scars. Have you had any talking therapies/counselling or similar to help you to process what you went through? Have you joined any self-help survivor groups?
Thank you so much for your kind words. I thought, reading back I didn't explain very well, so thank you for understanding and taking the time to reply. It's really helped.
Have you had any talking therapies/counselling or similar to help you to process what you went through? Have you joined any self-help survivor groups?
I've had therapy for anxiety and depression for years on and off. I've never really had counselling about the abuse, no. I did bring it up with my counsellor today. Trying in my mind to understand the mother that I had then, that did all that to me, and the mother I have now, that changed after I confronted her about the abuse years ago. The counsellor reminded me also that the person I was then, is not who I am now (Not so helpless etc.)
I haven't heard of any self help survivor groups, do you have any you recommened?
Echoing other posters that this was never, ever your fault. It's important to remember that any child would feel helpless in this situation. This is a natural, normal response to an abnormal situation.
It might help to start working on putting the blame and responsibility back where it belongs - on those who were accountable. And also (in your mind), starting to direct the anger away from yourself and towards those who were responsible.
Napac is a charity that offers support for people who have experienced abuse in childhood. They have a helpline and offer email support. They also have other resources and grounding techniques for flashbacks: napac.org.uk/
Pete Walker (http://www.pete-walker.com/) is a psychotherapist and author who helps adults who were traumatized in childhood. He has three books out and resources on his website. It might be worth looking at with the support of a therapist or whilst seeing a therapist, as it could be quite intense on your own.
Self-compassion may be another area to look into - to develop self-soothing and reassurance for the inner child.
Apologies if this isn't relevant, but 'The Courage to Heal' by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis is an excellent book. It is for survivors of sexual abuse but I found it really beneficial for emotional healing in general.
Thank you so much for your kind reply Automaticforthepeopl
Adults in abusive relationships often look back.on them (presuming they've even left) and beat themselves up for not leaving of for tolerating the behaviour. That's an adult with agency and independence! And they often feel stuck and don't get out for a long time, of at all. Abusers are very good at making ppl feel like it's their fault.
You were a dependant child, And kids don't even have the reasoning skills or life experience to realise stuff. The people who were supposed to protect and look after you are the only people to blame.