Overcoming childhood trauma

Trigger warning: This post is about child abuse and I don’t want to trigger anyone that may be healing.

currently I’m home healing from a mental breakdown and I have time to really take my mental health seriously.

I’ve never done that before. I just took pills and that’s it🤷🏾‍♀️ but this time I’m going through intense therapy, group therapy.. soooo much therapy.

It’s hard but it’s helpful.

Before the year ended I opened up and revealed that I am Bipolar. That was very difficult for me to do.

I’ve fought my whole life to be perceived as “normal” and I’ve basically been covering traumatic past with bandages and praying the bandages don’t fall and reveal my ugly truths.

I’ve been in very intense therapy since I’ve been home trying to figure out what’s “wrong” with me.

My therapist got me to break one day when he said “what’s the first traumatic experience you had”

I told him without blinking “I was about 3 or 4 when my mom punched me in the face because I wouldn’t shut up. I used to cry a lot I was a whiny kid and yeah. I used to get hit with all kinds of stuff extensions cords and books.. I cried too much and but sometimes she’d get mad if I didn’t cry enough you know what I mean”

I looked up and he had this contorted face “No, I don’t know what you mean. That’s not normal.”

I told him I used to get to beat a lot and I was a lonely kid. I told him I had a list a mile long of things like that.

He said “You do realize you were a victim of child abuse.”

I started crying and screaming at my therapist “You don’t know my mom! She loved me, she was just very sick.”

I let the office in tears of course I mean. My mom is dead. She died when I was 11.

Our life wasn’t perfect by any means but I love my mom.

I hate what happened to me though, and that’s where the issue is.

I often wondered why I had no memory of my childhood. I had small flashes of things but no concrete memories.

I remembered my mother being sick a lot.

She was diabetic and she had her own demons.. drugs and untreated mental illness.

She wanted love and she wanted a baby sooo bad.

It wasn’t like she thought it would be. She thought she’d have a fairytale.

My father was constantly cheating, which fed her insecurities and triggered manic episodes or depressive episodes.

I remember vividly trying to cheer her up about turning 30 taking her to Chuck E Cheese to make her smile. I was 7.

I would do anything to make her smile.

I love my mother I’ve written countless post honoring her and I’m grateful I was born.

But I hate these memories that keep coming back and it hurts.

I’m so mad at her because I didn’t ask to be born. I didn’t ask to be alone.

I would get beat for the most bizarre things.

“Stop, lookin like your daddy.”

Started as a joke but when she was sick she saw his face in mine and all she saw was the man who left.

I was a constant reminder of a broken fairytale and I was made aware of that often.

I took care of my mom the best that could and tried to make her happy and I realize now at 35 years old that it wasn’t my job to take care of my mother it was her job to take care of me.

I felt like a failure, I used to stay home from school to make sure my mom took her meds. I would call the dial-a-ride so she could get to dialysis.

She needed me more than I needed school in my mind.

I needed to be there in case she passed out.

It was my job to call the ambulance and tell them not to put the blood pressure cuff on the arm with the shunt.

That was my job. I didn’t know this was child abuse. I thought I was just being a good daughter taking care of my mom.

I didn’t really understand that until my therapist told me… I was a child abuse victim.

I broke down crying because I felt like I was the reason my family fell apart.

I said through my tears “maybe if I was more more interesting as a baby.. they wouldn’t have got divorced..”

My therapist interjected

“A more interesting baby?!? It’s their fault their marriage ended! You were a literal baby”

I looked at him and said

“I’m so mad at them. I can’t ever look them in the eye and say I hate you both for just causing a fucking scene on earth and leaving me to pick up your disgusting pieces. I love you but I hate what you made me”

I was hysterical.

I was physically abused by mom to the point I was removed from the house in New Mexico twice.

When my dad left my mom started abusing drugs in New Mexico.

In New Mexico my family owned a night club so partying was nothing to the family.

I felt like my mom was partying too much and she simply said

“Well your no fun”

Of course I wasn’t fun.. I was 4.

I just wanted a mom.

I didn’t want to party.

New Mexico was one big party.

My mom was beautiful and was invited to every party.. all the time.

She was never lonely.

She began dating men and women.

Some of them I liked. One man Flacco had a really nice, clean white drop top… it bounced.

He would come over and blast his music and I would dance in front of his car.

I liked him. He was killed one night at the club across the street from our club. I never forgot him.

Sadly I wasn’t as shocked by death as you would think being a child.

When your family owns a night club and all the kids just stay in the back out of sight..

You see a lot of things and you say nothing.

When we weren’t at the club we lived with my great grandmother on a ranch.

We had our own room and lots of family visiting.

When it was good it was good but sometimes when I wanted my mom to stay home she’d get upset and just leave anyway.

I’d wait in our room all night long till she came back. One night she came home screaming in agony.

A group of women had jumped her breaking her ankle.

Part of me was happy, at least she would be home with me.

Well.. that was short lived.

That room became a cell of horrors for me.

My mom became depressed because she couldn’t go out because of her cast. She couldn’t get anything around the house, I was an errand boy.

“Hand me that remote” when the remote was well in reach.

She asked me to get a glass of water.

I couldn’t reach the sink and no one else was home I climbed on the sink and got water.

I served her room temp water and I guess that was the trigger for the day.

She just started hitting me, punching me in the head and calling me a “stupid bitch” she had maroon nails with gold flakes, I remember the gold flakes and the way her face looked.

When you’re on your back looking up.. the people you love look so different when they’re hurting you.

Don’t feel sorry for me. I started to fight back.

I wasn’t entirely innocent I began to hide her crutches from her because if she couldn’t catch me she couldn’t hit me.

Family would talk to her to about it sometimes but you know how it is

“She just can’t take no spanking.. I ain’t even hitting her that hard! She sensitive, she can’t take not hits. Shayla just soft”

“Shayla just bad”

“Shayla don’t listen”

“Shayla don’t shut up when I’m hittin her! She’s just acting!”

I harbor a lot of anger towards a lot of different family members because I felt like they didn’t do anything to help me. I was abused under the guise do disciple for years.

I became quite, mean and withdrawn.

It wasn’t just my mom beating me.. she started dating and that’s when life got complicated for me.

One time my mom was dating made me call him “Mr H”

I don’t remember what the “H” was but I nicknamed him Mr Hell.

Mr Hell hated me.. I talked too much and I was “up under mama all the time”

I was a very small child I remember he would yank my arms so hard the beads in my hair would shake. “H” snatch me from my mom and make me “go play some where!”

I would but I would miss my mom and go inside.

One day “H” hit my mom and I picked up a broom and charged him. He punted me into a bathtub and started punching my in the face.. I called 911

and I was placed into foster care.. foster care called my Nana and in California.

My nana and Grandad took me and my mom to California.

My mom got better in California and they gave me back to her.

I was happy to be with my mom again.

I know it sounds crazy.

Yeah she beat me but she was my mom.

I loved my mom. She was so funny and beautiful.

Most importantly She was clean, she had an apartment of her own and this time I could have a pet so I wouldn’t be lonely.

It was better for a while then we’d fight again. I say we because I had grown. I was 9 or 10 now.

I could and would pick up things and defend myself when my mom would be drugged out and not know who I was…

when she did remember me, When had great times. She would take me shopping and I could get whatever I wanted.

A lot of people thought I was spoiled. I earned all that stuff. They just had no idea how.

I still don’t hate her.

A part of my sympathizes. I know she was sick but I’m

Just as “sick” mentally and I could never bring myself to hit my kids.I get a lot of crap from my family because I don’t spank my kids.

They watched me get “spanked” punched in the mouth like I was a man.. because I was doing regular kid stuff.

That’s not parenting.. that is abuse.

I hate that I have to say this but I feel like I do since my mother is no longer living. I love her.

I always will but this is is what I lived through.

I hid if for so long and suppressed my own pain for so long because you “don’t speak ill of the dead” and I’m not. I’m just telling my story.

For so long I thought I was just a bad kid and deserved what happened to me because I was “wild”

No child deserves to be beaten.

No child deserves to be verbally abused.

I ran around my whole life looking for love and acceptance because I didn’t have that.

I tried to do everything in my little power I could to shower my mom with love and I did. I mean I was a kid.

I was 11 when she died and in my 11 year old mind, I felt like my prayers for the abuse to end killed my mom..

I used to pray that she would beat me to death so it would end. Sometimes I would just pray for it to end.. then she died… so to me prayer killed my mom…not the many years of drug abuse, non compliance with psych meds, kidney failure, lupus, heart disease.. my mom had a lot going on.

That doesn’t excuse the abuse

Some days I sympathize… most days I’m just angry.

I can face the others in my family.

Look them in the eye and say “why did you hurt me?” And we can talk and move forward.

I’ve done that. I’ve healed.

Where I have a hard time healing is my mother. I can’t look her in the eye and say

“Why did you do this? Why didn’t you get help? Why wasn’t I enough for you to change!”

I carry so much pain and resentment toward her… but I have love at the same time because she’s my mom.

Annnnnd that’s why I’m still therapy 🤷🏾‍♀️

My therapist says be proud that I’m breaking the cycle.

I saw that what happened to me broke my spirit as a child and I didn’t repeat the same cycle.

I’m happy about that.

My girls will never know the pain I knew.

I had this fear that speaking my truth meant some how tarnishing what my mom meant to others.

The hardest part was telling my Nana what happened to me because that’s her daughter.

She said “I hate that you carried that pain so long and I don’t care who it is.. if someone is hurting you speak up.”

I told her the truth “I was scared too. I didn’t want anyone to hate my mom and she was sick already. I felt like if they took me from her she would die”

I’ve carried that burden since my childhood.

I’ve carried adult pain and guilt since my childhood.

And it feels so good to finally be feee of it.

Yeah therapy is hard.

It’s ugly and you have to take the bandages off old scars but you have to pull off bandages to heal.

I lost my childhood sadly.. but I still have the power to give my children a beautiful childhood with a healthy mom and that’s really the goal.

I still have along way to go and a lot of trauma to deal with.

This was the biggest chunk for me.

I hid it and never talked about it because I have these friends with these picture perfect lives and I knew I didn’t come from that.

I didn’t have that loving parental unit to gush about the reality is I’m the product of a teenage marine from Mississippi who wasn’t ready for the world let alone ready to be a husband and father and 23 year old debutant with a drug addiction that loved a good time.

They just weren’t ready for life let alone raising a child.. and I ended up raising my mom.

I never wanted to say that out loud but that’s who I am and when you’re a teen trying to fit in.

It’s best to just hide that part and make a fresh new start.

That’s just what I did.

I built walls, I forgot the abuse. I made new friends. Never grieved my parents just became numb.

I always said if I start crying about them I’ll never stop.

Partially true I have just started to allow myself to grieve AND be angry at my parents.

I have every right to be angry… but now I’m learning what to do with that anger and how to heal.

I’ve never felt good enough, pretty enough, smart enough or loved enough and that all starts because of home… it starts with your parents.

and I just came to terms with the fact.. it’s not my fault and I was enough.

It’s funny how hearing those words really help.

If you’re reading this and you’ve been through something similar.. you are loved and it’s not your fault. You’re enough..

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