Its strange to think that when I was growing up I actually had a ‘closer’ relationship to my step-father, than my mother. I feel the need to explain why. You see, in between the abusive episodes, he acted relatively ‘normal’ and could be funny, caring and protective. This was what was so upsetting for me as a child – I just didn’t know where I stood with him. He was so unpredictable. I loved him and hated him at the same time.
My relationship with my mother however, was terrible all of the time. She was never loving towards my sister and me and her Tourettes didn’t help matters; it was a neurological illness I didn’t understand as a child and it created a massive wedge between us all. I felt so much anger towards her for many things: not protecting me from my step-fathers abuse; swearing all the time and displaying other ‘strange’ behaviour; not showing the love and care my friends parents showed them – and the list could go on.
It is honest to say, I resented her far more than him. Even though he physically and sexually abused me, she was my mum and I needed her. I needed her protection, love and nurture. I needed her trust and encouragement that I could be the person I wanted to be. She gave me the opposite. She caused me to be scared of myself; scared that I would turn into her. Scared that other people would think I was unworthy of their time and attention. As I got older, I then became scared of becoming a mum.
Abusive relationships are complicated. Sometimes, what is seen to be the ‘worst’ abuse, actually does less damage than abuse that is perceived as ‘not so bad’. My experiences with my mother and step-father were very different – he was physically and sexually abusive/she was emotionally disengaged, verbally abusive and was able to deny the abuse that was happening in front of her. For me, and I can only speak from my own experience, she caused me as much upset as him. In fact, I will go as far as saying, the impact of her emotional neglect and verbal abuse has been much harder to overcome.
Written by ‘Survivor-Uncensored’