What it’s like to be a victim of childhood abuse?

I’m not a psychologist or a professional. I’m a victim of childhood abuse. I’m going to talk about my experience with toxic parents focusing on my feelings through it. I never realized that I’m actually a victim of childhood abuse until I grew up with a haunting past.  This article, though, isn’t only about me; it’s about every victim who went through the same pain.

Being born as the first child in my family turned me into the experimental child. My parents treated me the way that suited them regardless of the consequences for my personality. They thought “she’ll grow up and forget” therefore I grew up and never forgot. That past still chases me wherever I go; it appears whenever I talk to someone. It’s everywhere.

I still remember the little me being very confident and hyper, but that didn’t last long because of the punishment I used to receive for any action I made. So, I stopped playing, I became quiet, so I wouldn’t bother them with my annoyance. Even that quietness didn’t fulfill their satisfaction; therefore, I was bullied outside home by others and inside by them. I always wondered why sometimes I would be treated badly for no reason. In fact, the reason was their fights. I learnt to depend on myself to avoid them. How could I trust them if they always took decisions about me without asking me first? Taking me to the doctor for shots without me knowing what’s going on. Begging them to transfer me to a different school because I was constantly bullied; or being bullied by themselves. I never felt my body was mine. I was never defended by them. I felt so lonely. I had a very weak personality.

My brother was born. My parents have changed this time. Since I’m the experimental child, they saw the consequences of what they did to me. Mom started reading and watching shows on how to raise a child. My brother had to come to life so she could finally realize that children shouldn’t receive physical punishments; children should be treated as children. It’s alright if they fall, dirt their clothes, play, and run. Children shouldn’t be involved into grownups fights, or worse: taking out the anger on them.

Being child was good for my brother but bad for me. Our parents realized by then their mistakes, of course without fixing them for me, as if it was too late to fix it for me so let’s just focus on the new child. His birth wasn’t good for me because even that small good attention I used to receive was gone. I was always asked to step away, be the mature older sister who should always sacrifice for the sake of her younger brother. I had more work to do. Watch him. Catch him from falling. Bring his food, his diaper, help in his shower. Therefore, if I make a mistake I get punished; if he makes a mistake, I get punished for letting it happen. “Don’t I need help too? No one is there for me?” I wondered.  So, not only I was obliged to take care of myself despite my young age, but I was also responsible for my brother day and night. The birth of my brother was the end of my childhood.

I envy those who had a happy childhood. All I had was neglect and ignorance. How can a parent ignore their child just to punish them for silly mistakes? I had to cry and beg to be talked to. It’s so sad to know at a young age that you don’t have a parent ready to defend on you. I don’t blame them for that as much as I blame them for raising me to have a weak personality. Strong personality was also a reason to be punished for. I was taught to be shy, timid, too polite, and quiet.

My childhood abuse caused major changes into my personality and life now in my adult phase: The inability to trust people, anxiety,  self-dependence,  difficulty asking for help, and being terrified to treat people the way I was treated, which sometimes does happen.

However, now I have my fiancé who truly loves me. He knows every little detail about my story. Of course he can never fulfill the holes from my past. Parents’ place in the heart can never be replaced. Some people think that the biggest weakness is the partner. I think that’s wrong, at least in my case, my parents are my weakness. I love them so much no matter what.

The consequences brought by that abuse are noticeable in my personality. I and my fiancé have talked about it. I’m scared from people but at the same brave cause I feel lonely. I prefer being alone than around people. I hate the attention.

Also, the biggest consequence is the mental inability to have kids. My fiancé tried his best to understand my complexity with my past, but he could never understand this part. He wants to have kids with me and he thinks it’s unfair to let my past ruin our future. However, I don’t feel the want to have kids because I’m scared to hurt them. I don’t want them to live the life I have lived. I don’t feel qualified enough to raise a child. I don’t want my little one be hurt by me or by anybody. I don’t feel able to be responsible for children. I will love them too much to a degree to hurt them or possess them for protection from the outsiders. Either way, its’ wrong and unhealthy.

This story isn’t only about me, it’s about any person who suffered from childhood abuse. This abuse is also as serious as the other types. Children need love, attention and care. They need to live a healthy childhood in order to create a healthy environment in the future. Its’ like a seed. We water it; take a good care of it with patience. As a result, a beautiful healthy plant rises up. I know there are people out there whose cases are widely more extreme than mine. Some stories involve sexual abuse. I hope all the victims speak up and tell their stories so we all learn from each other.

Finally, I would like to add that just because I had a rough childhood doesn’t mean that my life is over; I’m not alone. I have people who love me and take care of me. I shouldn’t let a past ruin my present and my future. We should all face our fears and ask for help when we need because we are worth it and we deserve to be happy.

 

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Written by Mia El

I'm Mia, 22 years old, undergraduate student in English Literature. I write stories about both personal and other people's life experiences.

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