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Trying to make a change
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Trying to make a change

Hi
I am a woman in my mid- late thirties and although there are some positives in my life, and today i feel pretty good, i still feel crippled by strange abuse i went through for ten years when i was a kid. When i try to research similar stories, i always find sexual or physical abuse stories. Even the verbal and emotional abuse situations that i read about are only somewhat similar. My stepmother did some pretty weird things that still make me ashamed to say out loud ( even printing it is making me cringe).
I guess i should give a few examples.
She constantly accused me of peeing in my pants and would make me stand bent over at the waist with my hands in a large bucket of very cold water for long periods of time, or sit on the toilet for hours, sometimes until my little butt would get stuck. She would cut my hair very short every sunday and dress me in some very outfits for school, and once had a fake birth certificate made up claiming my new name was Goonie. A few times i had to drink small amounts of bleach. I wasnt allowed to brush my teeth, have friends, do homework, eat with a fork or drink water.
Wow, a lot more came out than i meant to say. These are examples of the easier things that i went through. I woke up scared with a pit in my stomache and everyday went to bed that way too. (always right after i did the dishes!) It was like she wanted me to go crazy, and im pretty sure shes succeeded in lots of core ways, although i know that i come across to people as very together, very normal.
My question is how do i get help? I dont even know how to categorize this abuse. A knowledgable person who used to know me and some of my situation once told me that she thought i might have post traumatic stress disorder but ive read thats what POWS have, not kids, plus it was more tgan twenty years ago.
In a few years i will be in my forties and i dont want to still feel broken inside.
Thank you for any help or suggestions

My question is
21 Comments Post a Comment
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134578_tn?1383690151
It is abuse, for sure.  You might find it under psychological abuse, if you google that term, or sadistic abuse.  Post-traumatic stress disorder might be part of a diagnosis, but I would suggest you find a therapist and explain everything.  Is your stepmom still alive?  She was obviously not sane, and I am so sorry there was nobody to step in and stop this horrible situation.  Please see a therapist and begin the process by simply detailing what happened.
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I want to also mention, in my life I cannot even think about things until I am emotionally healthy enough to think about it.  Perhaps the delay between when this abuse occurred and now is what you needed... to build up, little by little, enough emotional health and repair even to look at what happened.  In other words, we can't process things until we are ready, and we aren't ready when we are still in survival.  I think it is amazing you did survive, and that is a credit to your strength when still a little child.

You asked how to get help; one way to find a therapist is to ask your doctor for a recommendation.  Citing a past history of abuse would be enough to help the doctor tell you some names.  Please do know that you do not have to be any particular therapist's patient; you can see how you feel with the person and only go to one where you feel there is empathy.  That said, I would certainly not hesitate one moment to find someone.  It's amazing what sunken timbers float up and out of the logjam once you even are able to explain the problem fully.

Good luck.  What happened to you should happen to NOBODY.  You didn't bring it on yourself, you didn't deserve it.  Shame on the adults around you for not helping you, a child.  Being is a survivor is worthy of pride; what she did is criminal.  I'm sorry she didn't go to jail.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for your fast response! Its kind of funny, but i really never thought to look for psychological or sadistic abuse, yet those words are more fitting than anything, i am almost embarassed that in all these years i never thought to call it that.
And now i cant stop crying...thank you so much for your help. Im thirty six but right now i feel like im ten again
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Avatar_f_tn
Again, thank you AnnieBrooks.
I have in the past tried to talk about it, sometimes more successfully than others. Afterwards i always felt sort of elated but i think im crippled inside, ( best way i can explain it) and there are so many basic life skills that i cant seem to master.
I dont have a family doctor ( welcome to canada) but i will go to a walk in clinic next week and see if they can offer me a recommendation.
Btw, i did run away from my elementary school once and told everything, but i ended up at home later that day.
The first four years of my life i was loved and very happy and i think thats what kept me alive, and made me know in some ways that SHE was sick.
Thank you
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535822_tn?1389452880
I cant add much to Annie;s good post , I would say some therapy would help you, and even speaking it out as you have done here maybe a help ..Fill your life now being busy stave off those thoughts that make us feel bad .Distraction helps, have you family ?
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13167_tn?1327197724
I agree with Annie and Margy,  and applaud you for your clear thinking,  Bodica.  I was interested in your statement that for the first 4 years you had a good life - and that's what's given you this solid foundation.

By four years old,  we know nearly everything we're going to know in life.  How physics work,  how to move around in the world,  what to fear,  what to want,  how to value ourselves.  That's your foundation.  Then, you learn spelling and how to drive a car and all that other stuff,  but the bulk of your learning is done by your 4th birthday.  The fact that you have a solid 4 years learning,  you can unlearn all this horror.

In addition to therapy,  I would recommend you start with a book called Bad Childhood,  Good Life by Dr. Laura Schlessinger.  Get through the parts where you break down and sob and can't read anymore,  and you'll be on the path to healing.

Best wishes.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for the good wishes. It is true that having so much love in the early years was a bonus, i had memories that i could draw on. During the bad years my memories were very clear, i remembered a lot of details like the layout of the apartment i lived in before i was two and specifics like ornaments hanging on the walls. I know it seems incredible but i suppose i held onto them tightly enough. Most people i know dont have such vivid memories from such an early age. Funnily enough, i only remember the remembrances themselves now.
I will check out that book, and i do plan on going to therapy. Eighty dollars a session doesnt seem too bad, except i can just imagine how many sessions i'll need! Its going to be a big bill haha! Im tired enough now of this baggage and anger, it will be money well spent though, if it helps. One of the hardest parts of it all is the fact that my"villian" lives quite happily, she has never had to pay for her actions. I have done some research and i dont believe there is an actual law stating that what she did is illegal, as i always had food and shelter.
I have some family, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Myself, i never married or had kids, my inability to commit to jobs or relationships is almost a talent. I had my granny, although she is gone, but i am very lucky to have had her unconditional love.
I did look up sadistic and psychological abuse and it gave me a feeling of relief.
I hope i can use these experiences someday to make a change in the system. Why dont kids have rights?
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I will say that the thought of pulling this all up and examining it gives me a bit of fear. I worry that it will affect me in my day to day life, at work. Today at work i was very distracted and kind of emotional, and as a manager that isnt really an asset.
Well, onwards and upwards anyway! Its gotta be done, so.
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3060903_tn?1390303996
Let me first say Welcome Bodica, I'm so glad that you posted. i've never really heard or have seen a post that so reminds me of my childhood years. It never has really dawned on me that there were other survivors out there, other than my own brothers and sister that is. I haven't talked to any of them for 15 years as the family blew apart, but I have fears from my own experiences, that they will be forever lost as to how any of it could have happened. There was plenty of physical abuse in our lives, but I gotta say that the strange things that you are describing that happened to us, i.e having to eat out of a dog bowl on the floor; sleep deprivation after being pulled out of bed by our hair and dragged to the kitchen to watch or to be beaten. The new homes and schools, every six months to a year.

I cried when I read your story, and was reminded of my own. I was touched by Anniebrook's understanding that many of us must wait until we're emotionally ready to handle the illogical events of our past.

I'm from Burlington, Ontario, so we're neighbours, and believe me I understand you when you talk about the problems in our health care system.  I found a psychologist that i thought I would click with, and then went to get the referral from the family doctor. This may help you. Of course, trying a psychologist that is suggested by a doctor could work just as well. Make very sure that you're feeling the kind of "empathy" (Anniebrook's) that you know makes you feel completely comfortable. When I finally found someone he did a lot of talking as well as myself, and I just knew that this was no lax quack (i've had many of them).  

I also was part of a group called "Children of Alcoholics" that helped immensely. I don't know if your mom drank, it doesn't take a whole lot to set off a sick mind. In fact, my abuser only drank for my first two years and the abuse escalated without alcohol. So, I went to the group and it was a warm understanding group of people, that held group and then went out for coffee. I attended for a short while when it was convenient, but I know I would go back, and I would suggest that you consider looking for a similar group in Winnipeg.  "Get through the parts where you break down and sob and can't read anymore,  and you'll be on the path to healing."  Thank you for this RockRose. When beginning therapy you will think that you are breaking down, but you're not breaking, you're healing. If you're like me, you will get back to not thinking about it as much as you are today, and when you do, you will shed a tear for that little girl, because someone should shed a tear for that little girl.

I'm shedding many tears for the little girl that you were. You've probably heard of the treatment approach of "healing the child within"? In my opinion this is probably where you are headed. Please do not be fearful. You will work through these things.

Thank God you have some family and you've managed not to destroy yourself with drugs and alcohol. You were given a gift in your early years, allowing you to hold onto normal memories. I don't know how it happens and I don't know why it happens, that these sick abusive people never come to the understanding and ask for forgiveness.  Forgiveness is another thing that is big in therapy. Forgiving someone for your sake not for theirs, so that you don't obsess about them anymore.  It remains to be seen whether you will obsess or not after some therapy. I personally never could forgive my abuser, it just cost me so damn much.

So, I've gone on and on, I hope that you don't mind. I can honestly say I know how you feel.  My advice is this, heal the child within.

God Bless You Bodica. I hope that you choose to find a fine therapist. Keep looking until you do. You'll know when it's really right. Thank you for posting.

Hugs. LIz
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3060903_tn?1390303996
Oops, one last tiny little thing. I believe that you will feel better immediately when you find the right therapist or are able to join a group for children of alcoholics or abuse, and that you will be able to leave the tears in group and therapy.  I really think that it will help you to keep professional at work. By the way, Congratulations on becoming a Manager. It's so good to hear that you have done yourself proud!!!
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http://www.profilecanada.com/companydetail.cfm?company=2282877_Adult_Children_Of_Alcoholics_Winnipeg_MB

I found your faction (from AA) of the group I attended and found so much incredible, immediate, free - support. Please remember, you don't even know whether your mom was drinking a small amount or not, the alcohol use is not really discussed, only the action of the aggressor.  Honestly, when my childhood came back to me like it is to you now, and I couldn't managed to stop crying, I HAD to go to this group.  It was immediate relief for me when I had no money, living on the streets, to afford a therapist. I would have to say that this group help at least as much as the therapist. Think of it, a round circle filled with people learning to stop crying about the abuse by learning to talk about it. It's really quite a remarkable thing to see. Hope you   join sister.

If you wish to chit chat a bit via personal message, I would love that. I feel that you are a "kindred spirit".  lol
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Oh yeah, step mom, not mom.
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3060903_tn?1390303996
http://alcoholism.about.com/od/adult/l/bladultquiz.htm

Here's a survey you can take to see if you belong to Adult Children of Alcoholics. Sorry for this onslaught of info. You could be my sister.
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13167_tn?1327197724
Bodica,  I don't think it will take many counseling sessions to get you on a positive track.  I'd avoid counselors who simply want to talk,  and find a counselor who will give you strategies to deal with your past.  There are strategies like replacing bad thoughts when you see them coming for more positive thoughts,  and strategies where you learn to react in a more positive and fearless way rather than avoiding commitments.  Those are the counselors I would seek.  

Also,  what she did was absolutely illegal.  Denying you water and forcing you to drink bleach would have landed her in jail if it were proven at the time.
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I am not entirely sure that there is not a possibility she could be prosecuted or at least sued in civil court, even today.  (I suppose there is a statute of limitations but on crimes against children, but there sure shouldn't be.)  It would be worth looking into.  Look at all those Boy Scouts and altar boys who were able to bring charges years later as adults for childhood abuse.  You go, Bodica, and do it on all fronts.  We are with you.  
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ps -- If she is still in contact with children, I would definitely look at filing a complaint.  At least the Children's Protective agency in your area would be on the alert about her.
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136956_tn?1363091289
Wow that is so hard to hear. I am so sorry you have gone through this I really am. I dont even know what to say. I hurt for you because no one should have to go through what you went through.

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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for your supportive words and for looking for info that might help. Also, i'm really sorry to hear about what you had to endure. Its amazing, how these legacies can hurt so many for so long, and in so many ways. My stepmother wasn't an alcoholic ( that i knew of) and she had two daughters of her own that she was very good to.
For the most part, i have managed okay and coped with this background. I feel that a lot of this is surfacing and forcing its way out because of the immense anger that i'm now realizing i still carry. It hasnt lessened with time, quite the opposite. I have been victimized in other ways by other people, like there was a sign around my neck that abusers could see. As far as meaningful relationships with people i loved, sometimes i have been the one to hurt! ( i cheated on a man that i loved with all my heart, i caused my own pain that time)
Im not someone who allows people to hurt me anymore, by god!  but my core knows that isnt really how its supposed to be either. I really just want it to end...i get so tired of feeling like its over, done with and then doing things that i realize are direct byproducts of this past. I mean, seriously, it was twenty years ago, why does it still feel so fresh?
Talking to someone who actually understands the complexities is pretty amazing. I can't wait to talk to you more.
Kindred survivors!
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Avatar_f_tn
you might know another side of her that doesnt look so crazy, but let me tell, you, she is very crazy!
ppl from outside can say that u were very insanely treated... drink bleach? wtf
someone like this should go to jail
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Avatar_f_tn
do theather and ask somone to make those scenes again, and now, you will defend yourself..
its an extreme option, but i think the stuff uve been through is crazy to bear
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Avatar_f_tn
The laws and policies havent changed much since 1990, as far as I can tell from my research. A few years before I escaped for good, I had actually run away from school one day. My plan had been to live in the woods ( i was ten yrs old, funny ) but I ended up on the doorstep of a wonderful woman who took me in and let me cry my story to her, every single sordid detail. She eventually called my school principal that afternoon. I was brought back to the school and a social worker came too. I repeated everything to these adults, protectors and guides of children. The principal even stated that he had thought something was wrong and that he had noticed many odd things. That same day, my step father came and picked me up, and brought me home. Naturally life became considerably worse.
A few years later I was sent to the guidance counsellors office because my best friend ( who had been hearing all the horrors for years, poor kid )  had been scared that I would successfully kill myself, and had gone to the counsellor and spilled everything. I was put into foster care at that point, but every couple of months my step parents would have to go to court to " sign me over" to the court again. The social workers even set up a " reconciliation meeting" which added to my daily terror that I would end up back in their house.
Even back then I somehow understood that I needed some sort of justice, something that both acknowledged my pain and my innocence in the whole matter, something that said she was wrong. The social worker talked me out of it because it would be hard to prove.
Now I think, okay, hard to prove...yet they did remove me. Meanwhile the stepmother has had all that she wanted and her life appears to be just great. I like the idea of karma, however...
I have thought about suing, but now I'm starting to think that my energy would be better served trying to prevent this happening to others. I watch the Phoenix Sinclair inquiry news, and I cry for that poor girl, and for a system that failed her, failed me and so so many others.
I have to have a liscence to drive my car, i have to insure it, maintain it. Yet if I want to have kids...no problem!! Have as many as you like and we will only intervene when something drastic happens...
I don't like the idea of gov. telling people how to raise their kids, but something has to change. Children have to have rights, and those rights have to be protected.
Can you just imagine the effects on society if more children were raised to be loving, emotionally healthy adults?
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