Relationships That Were Never Wanted

There is a particular cycle each year- I tell myself that the past year was the worst year of my life. But then I think to myself “Wait, wasn’t every year the worst year of my life?” Then I remember, each year WAS the worst year of my life. As far as I can remember, every single year of my life was awful in it’s own way. I can only ever remember the most previous year because that is the pain I am still overcoming. I want to look at a year and tell myself that it has been a good and healthy year. I have not yet gotten to that point.

In a previous blog, I had stated that I had tried to kill myself when I was seventeen (2018). However, I have tried to kill myself twice which is something I will explain in a different post. 2018 was a time in which, I tried to hang myself. This is a time when I finally accepted that my own father was a bully. That same day, I had told him I wanted to spend a week or two outside of the family because I was so depressed. He said to me, “You are either in this family or you’re not. You do not get to cherry pick. If you are away, you will not have access to a car, to the family, or to your phone.” So, that night I tried to hang myself and failed.

The following winter, I stayed in that same house because I would’ve been threatened otherwise and I was too unhealthy to leave. Both of my parents blamed me for each hardship in our home. They blamed me for defending myself. They blamed me for being myself. I was punished for being myself and defending myself. My own father ignored me for days because of the abuse my mother put on us and refused to accept it. He was cruel. He was mean. He made me feel more worthless, just as much as my own mother did. All I had ever wanted, was to be able to go to my parents and hug them without feeling uncomfortable. I wanted to go to them for comfort and love. They gave me the opposite.

In the past year, I had become extremely uncomfortable in my own body and personality, which would’ve been the fault of my parents. In April, I met someone who finally taught me to love myself and that I was beautiful inside and out. I was so unfamiliar with this idea that I experienced emotional flashbacks that were utterly unbearable. I felt as though I would never get through them. Before this, I was a huge fan of taking photos of myself and modeling per say, but at one point that changed. I had come home from work one day and changed into a dress. I put on makeup. These were two things I had not done for months. I was going to have my boyfriend (Jared), take pictures of me. However, this didn’t happen because my father made comments about the way I was dressed and specified that he could see my body through the dress. He made Jared stand from the end of the hallway to help him criticize what I was wearing.

My father, blamed me for my own 10 year old brother telling me to kill myself. My own father threatened to take away everything in my life because I was mentally ill. My own father designated me as a mother because there wasn’t a proper one in our lives. THAT IS UNFAIR AND CRUEL. A child should never have to take over the role and responsbility of a parent. My father neglected me. My father bullied me.

I was molested from about the age of five to twelve by my step-grandfather. There was nothing done about this. My father and mother were both aware of what might have been going on, but did NOTHING to help.

This post is not meant to bash or accuse. This is from a victims perspective. This is neglect and emotional/domestic/physical abuse. I never had parents. I have parented myself and it is a better job than my “biological parents” could’ve ever done. I have no extended family that believes me. That is okay. I have myself and I have those that do believe me. I never deserved to be neglected or abused.

This is Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The Story of Ed, the Voice in My Head

This is the first time I have decided to write in almost 8 months. I haven’t had the most enthusiastic attitude for writing, but now that I do, I am ready to share another difficult aspect of my life and C-PTSD recovery. His name is Ed. He has been in my head for as long as I can remember and he has tried destroying my body, every hour, of every day.

It was not until about May of 2019, that I realized Ed had been controlling my mind. He had been there for every critique in eating and my own body. He made me starve my beautiful body that deserved the uttermost care. This is when I became aware of my Anorexia Nervosa. Anorexia is a mental illness, similar to depression, as that is also a factor of it. Many people seem to stereotype anorexia as a “choice,” but it is quite the opposite. Imagine two voices in your head; your mind/body/soul as one and a lying, tempting thief as the other. I refer to this other voice as Ed, because it makes it easier to differentiate the two, specifically when I am struggling.

Anorexia is an eating disorder, in which, the mind is brainwashed to believe that ones’ body is imperfect in every possible way. Ed made me believe that I was fat, that I was everything but beautiful, that I was not worth anyone’s attention, and most of all, that I had to follow his rules to be happy. Ed told me that if I starved myself, I would be happy. It was a triumph whenever my clothes became to big and I had to buy new ones. There was a celebration in my mind when I skipped a meal or went to bed hungry. What’s wrong with going to bed a little hungry anyways? Well, this all eventually added up to the point my body began turning purple, my anxiety/depression where significantly worse, and all I could think about was what I was going to do for my next meal or if I would even have one.

Along with Anorexia, I also became aware of my binge eating disorder. A binge eating disorder is categorized as a disorder in which one obsessively eats, and cannot stop. For example, typically I would starve myself most of the days and then some days I would eat an entire pint of ice cream or an entire bag of chips. It did not matter to Ed how full I already was, I kept eating. Ed told me I was disgusting after doing this, he bullied me everyday and every night. His logic being, if I binged yesterday, I should starve myself today. Everyday was a battle and I was so lost and confused. Why couldn’t I eat normally? Why was I so anxious about eating in general? Why couldn’t I fix it? The answer to all of these.. Ed.

When I finally became aware of my disorders, I reached out to family members and loved ones for support. It is nearly impossible to get through an eating disorder without emotional and physical support. I had siblings who were struggling in similar ways or ones who had been in the same position. The hardest part of reaching out for help, was Ed trying to pull me back from it. He continuously told me that I would be happy with the way I was eating and there was no reason to be asking for support. I eventually began to learn that I needed their support if I was going to get through this. I needed people to keep me accountable and tell me that they love me and how proud they are of me for small breakthroughs. I needed the kind of support that doesn’t give up but empathizes and sympathizes.

As a child and into teen years, my narcissist mother would buy me clothing items that were never my size. They were always smaller than my actual size so it was an indirect way of telling me I needed to starve myself to fit them. That is exactly what I did. For 18 years, I starved myself without thinking anything of it or thinking it was wrong. For 18 years, I watched my own mother as she starved herself some days and constantly changed her diets. Some days we didn’t even have dinner. We weren’t allowed snacks before dinner and if we did, it had to be monitored and small. During summer, we had to spend a certain amount of time outside before we were allowed to eat. We were forced into unhealthy habits, and in return, we were allowed to have meals we NEEDED.

A few months ago, I finally removed all of the clothing from my closet that has always been to small and would never fit again unless I starved myself. I had to buy a whole new wardrobe of clothing in a size I still wasn’t familiar in buying. In fact, I felt utter shame. Ed was right there in my head, taunting me and telling me that I was too big. Meanwhile, during the time I was extremely sick, people used to tell me I was too skinny or make jokes about how little I ate, or how I would fly off a motorcycle because I was too thin. A lot of these jokes were made in my work environment at the time. There was a specific joke that would go around about being “slender.” It was not only belittling, but also extremely unencouraging to my recovery. Hearing things like “you could fit into the smallest box here,” made me feel self-conscious and depressed.

It is NOT okay to make these kinds of jokes. It is NOT okay to comment on someone’s eating unless it is supportive and gentle because you are aware of what they are going through. It is NOT okay to assume what someone is going through. Anorexia, bulimia, pica, binge eating, and disordered eating are NOT choices. These are mental illnesses. People with these disorders are looking for answers in the dark. They need support. WE need support, unconditional love, compassion, and empathy. It is very possible to die from these disorders and it is something so terrifying for someone to go through alone. Out of all of this information, eating disorders are the same severity as someone with pneumonia or the flu. Self-love and compassion are two of the strongest components in working through these illnesses.

It is okay to breakdown. It is okay to feel sad. It is okay to feel confused or lost. Nobody asks for an illness, but they do ask for unconditional love and support, that they may never have experienced before.

Neglect

As I continue to come to different realizations, they become more in-depth and detailed. I’m in the process of forcing myself to remember certain scenarios, along with how those scenarios made me feel. It’s brought up a lot of difficult emotions and becomes exhausting. Even though I’m fully aware that these realizations are a part of the healing process, it’s still one of the most challenging things I’ve had to work through. In regards to the recent flashbacks and realizations: they have all been centered around the idea of ‘neglect.’

Furthermore, as I’m getting older and continuing to mature, I’ve seen my childhood in a completely different light. In this perspective, I have come to realize how little my parents paid attention to me as a child and even more so now. I was taught for as long as I can remember that my feelings were invalid and I believed this to the point that I even began telling myself that my feelings were not real. Even as I work through difficult emotions with my therapist, they’ve had to stop me to tell me that I need to validate my own feelings because I’m still subconsciously invalidating them.

I remember growing up with health issues that were inhibiting me from reaching my fullest potential and I expressed this to my parents from a young age, but as I got older I learned not to say anything at all. Reason being, the invalidation from my parents, of what I was feeling. This goes along with physical health, as well as mental health. With that being said, my ability to notice these things from a young age has helped me mature and grow from the situation. However, it is still one of the most painful aspects about my childhood that I can recall so far.

Seeing as I’m still living in my house, it seems almost suffocating. I feel a significant difference in my house than I do in anyone else’s. It feels as though there is a weight on my chest and I’m unable to speak freely. Its difficult to be around family members constantly while also working through flashbacks of things that occured in this house. Although, I have made a lot of progress, I find it most challenging that I am treated the same way I’ve always been and I have absolutely no control over it. This concept of not being cared for in the way that a child needs is known as, neglect.

Flashbacks: Remembering the Pain and Overcoming It

I am creating this post for two reasons, one being the idea that I am able to create a detailed image of what exactly happened during my childhood. The second reasoning, being the idea that I am still working through these memories and it is important that I understand how certain situations made me feel. The more I think about my childhood, the more dramatic & insane it looks to me. I want to make it clear that I am not creating this as a bashing against any family members, but simply as an outlet for myself.

As I continue working through C-PTSD and the flashbacks that come with it, there is a specific memory that keeps sticking out to me. It is certainly not the most violent and dramatic, but, this memory is one that includes my mom following me around the house while yelling hostile and hurtful words. This specific conflict arose over summer, when I began defending myself and siblings more often and confidently. My mother and I were already having several issues and I had communicated with her that I wasn’t going to stay silent about them but that I also needed space. Seeing as she is incapable of civil, intellectual conversation, she never understood these needs. What I write below is every detail that I have been able to pick out from the situation fully from my perception…

I remember earlier in the day I had communicated with my mother about something in regards to the well-being of my siblings, & she used this as a means to verbally abuse me. I went to work shortly after our argument and my mother texted me a long message, expressing how I needed to start being a better influence and that my negativity was affecting everyone in the house. At the time, I was working at Wyndridge Farm and when I received this text, I had to drop what I was doing then go to the bathroom so I could pull myself together. I cannot begin to explain how suffocating it is to have the urge to cry because of your own mother, while also being at work.

During the shift, I texted my best friend Sara and told her that I would be staying with her that night. I drove home from work in tears and I was only focused on going to my house, packing a few days worth of clothes and then leaving. However, this is not what happened. When I got home, my mom immediately followed me up the stairs and badgered me with questions, as to why I was so ‘unhappy,’ why I was so ‘cruel,’ why I wasn’t a better ‘influence,’ why I wasn’t more ‘put together,’ and why I wasn’t being more ‘helpful.’ Keep in mind, I was already practically parenting her kids at this point. As I continued moving to my room, I told my mom that I just needed space and that I wasn’t ready to talk.

Furthermore, it was at this point in the scenario in which she followed me into my room and continued to scream at me for starting so much drama and being so unhappy living there. I began hyperventilating and in between breaths, telling her to give me space. She stayed in front of me continuing to yell at me. I collapsed and my entire body was numb/tingling, while I kept my face in my hands. She told me I needed to get myself together and then left my room. I finished gathering my clothes and went over to Sara’s in a very distressed state of mind.

This situation is only an example of the kind of treatment I endured from my mother. There were many cases in which she was physically violent. Looking into her unremorseful face is what made this so damaging. My mother is the reason for the majority of my mental issues today and though I feel I have moved through a lot of it, I still have much more to work through. There are memories still to go through that cause me distress to think of. However, I find relief in sharing my experience and validating it. For the longest times, my emotions and personality type were seen as irrelevant and invalid.

When these flashbacks occur, I cannot predict how it will make me feel or for how long but it is typically unpleasant. It is mentally exhausting at times, seeing as I have no control over when it happens but I know that this is the single most important part of my healing process: remembering the pain & overcoming it.

The Mind of an Empath

The past several months, have consisted of a lot of self-growth and realization. For me, this brought up a lot of negative memories and emotions. But, it has also allowed me to notice the things that I may not have made connections for in the past. These thoughts and ideas that I experience on a daily basis, are ones that others typically do not understand. This is not to say that I am always misunderstood, however, it is to say that I have always felt that way.

In these realizations that I have been experiencing, is the idea that I am an empath. For those unfamiliar with this concept, an empath is one who has the ability to absorb energy from any setting and any person. The idea of empathy is experienced by many people, discluding narcissists and sociopaths. Empathizing is the act of putting oneself in another’s position, to better understand what they may be going through. However, an empath is able to involuntarily understand another’s emotions and state of mind, as they are literally absorbing that energy.

For as long as I can remember, my anxiety has consisted of the fact that I am unable to help people all the time. Through this, I have neglected to take care of myself and when I do, I often take my needs for granted and use them in trying to better someone else. What is difficult to understand about an empath is that they are not choosing to feel these things, it just happens. Because of this, empaths experience anxiety, depression, and helplessness on a completely different level.

Through learning more about myself, I have come to understand that whenever I would focus my energy on myself, I would be doing mentally well. However, this could all easily change once I was put in a negative space or confronted by a vampire (narcissist/sociopath). Empaths are known for the idea that they attract vampires because we are considered easy targets. Empaths strive to help others consistently and will always give people the benefit of the doubt. However, giving someone the benefit of the doubt is not always healthy in relationships. For example, the relationship with my narcissistic mother was incredibly unhealthy as she used all of my abilities in her own scheme to tear apart my self-esteem, just so she could build her own.

I have experienced anxiety on a level that is difficult for almost anyone to comprehend. While also dealing with C-PTSD, it has been incredibly difficult to only focus on myself. My siblings have always been my main concern and when they feel at a loss, so do I. When they feel to be in a better mood, so do I. This concept goes for anyone I care about and can include any kind of physical issue they may be dealing with. I am slowly learning how to take care of myself on a level that allows me to decipher my own emotions, from the emotions of others.

Although, I will never be able to have a choice in feeling the emotions of others, I do have the choice in how I identify and cope with them. In this knowledge, I am able to grow as a person and also show support towards those I care about. As I continue to learn how to identify what is healthiest for me going forward, I am also learning that I cannot control the emotions of others and how they cope with them. I have begun to accept the idea that every individual must fight their own battles whether it be mental or physical, and I can only be there as a guide.

When it comes to protecting myself, I have separated myself from larger social gatherings, as this is a trigger for my anxiety. Reason being, is the constant search for different energies whether I am fully aware of it or not. I can absorb any kind of vibe in a setting that is typically grown from the individual interaction in the room. It is also extremely necessary for me to spend time on myself and use tools, such as meditating, to work through difficult periods. I will never be exempt from feeling this much, but I can learn to use it to my own advantage, as well as an advantage for others. A constant cycle of self-loathing is not a way in which I will thrive.

Sibling Dynamic with a Narcissistic Parent

When an individual is brought up in a family in which the parent is narcissistic, there tends to be an incredibly different relationship dynamic between siblings. It is inevitable in this kind of setting, that a child will experience mental and physical health issues later in their life due to this abnormal dynamic.

Whenever there is a narcissistic parent involved, there is always the scapegoat of the family and the golden child of the family. Although the scapegoat and the golden child experience a more intense level of abuse, the other siblings involved experience some extent of abuse as well as neglect. These roles between siblings may change throughout the rest of their time living in that house. However, in my house, the roles never changed until my older sister moved out.

For as long as I can remember, I have been the scapegoat of the family. The scapegoat is essentially what holds the family together. The idea is that the scapegoat is willing to defend themselves in unjust situations, even if this means they will get in trouble. I was always incredibly worried for my siblings and when a problem arose, I would not hesitate to defend them. As I continued to stand up for myself and my siblings, I received a higher level of abuse. My mother saw me as the “troubled” child and believed I was capable of nothing other than being a “bad influence.”

My mother began feeding information to my siblings and outside family members that there was a point in which, all of my siblings turned against me at some point or simply bullied me. I specifically remember turmoil becoming more intense between my mom and I when my younger sister, Ali, was hospitalized due to anorexia. My older sister, Nina, and I had both urged our parents months before that they needed to get Ali medical attention. It was not until she was near death that they brought her to the hospital.

At the time of this occurrence, I was in eighth grade and Ali was in sixth grade. It was the start of a couple years, in which, Ali was constantly in the hospital or a rehabilitation center. There was a cycle of coming in and out of programs. Her recovery was made immensely difficult as my parents did not give her the support she needed. Anorexia is a mental illness which they refused to grasp and it was a devastating few years as my siblings and I could not do much other than focusing on being there for her.

It was particularly difficult for me because Ali and I began to draw apart. I was struggling immensely with depression and anxiety at this time and it became difficult to grow a relationship between her and I as we both felt helpless in aiding our personal needs. It was two years later when I realized that my mother had neglected the needs of Nina when she was near the age, in which Ali was struggling the most.

My older sister shed light on the fact that my mother neglected to give her the help she needed when she struggled with bulimia. Nina even asked her for help and my mother refused to support her. When I discovered this, I felt the need to speak up to my mother and confront her for the way she had treated Nina but also how she was currently treating Ali. This act of defense ended with my mother screaming at me while on the phone with Nina. She continued to tell me I was wrong and that none of it happened. It was the first time I had a panic attack to the point I was hyperventilating.

After this extremely scarring event, I grew more and more anger towards my mother but also pain. I would get into screaming battles with her but ones that always ended in her telling me how disappointed she was that I was like this. My panic/anxiety attacks became even worse, in which I would shake uncontrollably, hyperventilate, cry, black out, and nearly my entire body would go numb- which was absolutely terrifying.

As for my other siblings, I began to notice a decrease in their energy level and mood. I knew they were struggling and would try to be there for them as much as possible but I didn’t even know how to help myself. There were times when they would get incredibly angry with me in my mother’s defense which made matters even more complicated.

As far as the golden child is concerned, for a while it was my older sister. This made sibling dynamic in our household very tense because all of us were experiencing a different level of abuse but we weren’t able to get closure about it because we simply didn’t understand it ourselves. However, as I begin to learn more about this toxic way of living, it becomes more and more obvious how dire it is to work through this trauma.

Recently, I have been struggling with C-PTSD and anxiety on a level that I have never experienced before. The realization of the treatment I experienced throughout my entire life, has brought back a ton of flashbacks and put me in a mindset that feels suffocating. I have made it a priority for myself to work through this trauma and know that I will find peace.

A Glimpse Inside My Anxiety

As a child, most of my thoughts consisted of constant worry. Whether it be about what I would wear to school the next day or dwelling on a past conversation that seemingly had no significant meaning, my mind was constantly searching for answers to questions that were never there to begin with.

It is easy to think of anxiety as simply the feeling of being overwhelmed by worry, however, I can say from personal experience that it is much more in-depth. Even from the outside looking in, it was rather obvious how worrisome I became, considering the distressed look on my face. I was often asked if I was okay or if I was sad, simply because I always looked concerned. This observation from an outside perspective, made it blatantly obvious to myself that I was ALWAYS worrying about something. As I became more conscious of it, I realized how observant I was but also dwelled too much into “what if” scenarios.

As I began high school, I noticed a significant raise in my anxiety. Reason being, there was so much emotional pressure on me due to the fact that my feelings were seen as invalid in my own home. I often came to school distressed and thoroughly unmotivated, due to the fact that I did not know how to channel my emotions. My emotions were constantly belittled at home, allowing them to show more clearly in a public area. This did not serve a benefit for myself, other than a self-realization.

I found myself worrying about how people looked at me, what I wore, and even how I talked in class when a teacher called on me. I felt incredibly uncomfortable in the classroom environment, because I was so obviously different than everyone else. My social skills were stunted due to the emotional abuse I continuously received from childhood to my teenage years. I normally kept to myself in class, I wouldn’t speak unless spoken to first. I found myself increasingly discouraged because I didn’t know how to socialize or feel comfortable at school.

At home, I experienced a completely different level of anxiety. Each day was like walking a tightrope; trying to find balance between a healthy lifestyle while living in a chaotic and abusive home. This is near impossible. I cried myself to sleep every night, simply because I thought there was something wrong with me and I just could not understand why. With my mom constantly belittling and blaming me and my siblings with each their own mental struggles, I found myself in a never ending anxiety-fueled spiral. I rarely even had the motivation to spend times with friends because I was utterly consumed in my thoughts.

In case anyone is curious as to what an anxiety/panic attack looks like, I will paint you a mental picture. At least for me, my anxiety attacks consisted of: hyperventilating, shaking, numbing/tingling in my arms, blacking out, and on a few occasions, actually losing complete consciousness. These attacks happened about every other day, if not everyday. They could be triggered by the smallest things because I had so much built up stress that I didn’t know how to cope with, so one small thing could set me off literally like an explosion. My thoughts took me to places I tried so intensely to get rid of. What made matters even worse was the fact that anytime my mom and I had a disagreement (which was often), it would end in her screaming at me and blaming me for whatever the topic of disagreement was. I would repeatedly beg her to give me space, as I am struggling to breath and crying to no extent. She showed no compassion, and emotionally tore my down until she was content enough with the result.

It wasn’t until this past year that I realized the intensity of my anxiety. I was diagnosed with a skin picking disorder. For anybody unfamiliar with this concept, I would basically pick the skin around my fingers until they bled. I still struggle with this and I have to wear bandages around my fingers to buffer myself from picking my skin when I feel so consumed with anxiety. Since my mom moved out, I have also struggled with flashbacks in which I will put myself into an anxiety attack when thought of too much. I am also incredibly sensitive to loud sounds and anything being thrown at me. I flinch incredibly easily, reason being my mother’s violent rages (smashing dishes, smashing pictures, throwing objects, etc). Along with this, I struggle being in public/crowded places and find myself incredibly apprehensive. This phenomenon is known as, complex post traumatic stress disorder.

In this past year, I have incorporated several new aspects into my life in order to find a peaceful mind. These aspects include: meditation, hydration through drinking tea, daily exercising, healthy eating habits, sufficient sleep, yoga, reading, and spending time outdoors. Through these habits, I have noticed incredible positive differences, however, they did not buffer my symptoms completely. My anxiety seems to have a mind of its own, in which it brings recurring, unpleasant thoughts. I began taking medication for this, and after a few months of being on the same antidepressant and being at the highest dosage, I was still struggling.

The thing with CPTSD is that it cannot be easily treated through medication, in fact, it worsens it in some cases. Although I have been seeing a therapist every other week, my physician urged me to schedule these appointments in a weekly pattern. Childhood trauma is not a concept to be taken lightly and needs constant attention. I feel at a loss occasionally, seeing as my anxiety still consumes my mind at times, but I am determined as ever. My anxiety does not define my being and though it is yet a long journey, I am steadfast towards my goal of having a peaceful mind.

For anyone that may be struggling with anxiety/depression or any other mental obstacle, it will become your greatest accomplishment one day. It will never disappear, but it has become a goal of mine to simply see my struggle as a reminder of my self-motivation. It is OKAY to ask for help. Thoughts are utterly consuming, and there is nothing more dreadful than feeling alone. You are not alone. You will be okay.