Sometimes I feel hesitant to call what I experienced abuse. My parents are both respectful people. Somehow whenever someone is talking about abuse, we get certain images. We imagine a working class family, maybe many kids or a family that is completely separated from the outside world etc etc. At least I know I do. Well mine was not like this. My mother put a lot of effort into modeling me to be an overachiever. A kid with whom there would never be any problems. A kid who knew how not to get any negative attention. A kid who would follow the rules without anyone insisting on them. All I am saying is that there is a certain flip sided image on kids who were abused.
Whenever I start doubting myself, I check these signs http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/child-abuse/basics/symptoms/con-20033789. Mine fit perfectly well with emotional abuse. I am a little bit sad as to how many people experience covert abuse and they never become aware of it. These are extremely functional people, one could say, even role models of the society. They achieve a lot, they are good at their work, they might even have a p icture perfect family. So who am I to say that something is wrong with these people? Well, because they feel empty inside. I had a boyfriend like this. Super successful, super responsible, but also super alienated from his feelings. These are the people who are in great danger of committing suicide without anybody suspecting it.
When I started therapy, I had built up an alternative identity. Very few people noticed that beneath this identity I was suffering. For the most, people thought I was successful, social, cheerful and well-functioning person. People around me did not see me in my dark moments- sitting in an empty room and aching. They did not see my depressive episodes. Furthermore, I had seeked therapy at least twice up to this moment and even therapists could not find anything special. I always knew that something was wrong, but it was not until I met my current boyfriend that I could actually experience the depth of what was wrong. What happened? My current boyfriend showed me some real love. That is how easy it is. Some real love and interest towards me and my pain. The walls that I had built for years were starting to come down. I was confused and felt more lost than I had ever before.
Up to this point I had not really thought of myself as a victim of abuse. It took me quite long in therapy before I started realizing that things my mother did were not really normal or OK. It was not OK to not tell me that she loves me. It was not OK to ignore my problems and focus our communication on her problems instead. It was not OK to threaten to abandon me whenever things got heated between us. It was not OK to silent treat me for days until I apologized. It was not OK to never admit that she did anything wrong. It was not OK to regularly criticize me and tell me that everybody else had a better child. It was not OK to tell me that she wishes I had never been born. Finally, it was not OK roll her eyes on many things I said. Sadly, once you are a child, you never have comparison. There are so many children that become adults and do not realize how much effect such covert techniques have on them. They never realize that they could have been potential victims of abuse. They might instead try to treat the symptoms instead- go to the doctor to cure their stomach ache or allergies, get depression medication, find a partner when they feel lonely, get a bigger car when they feel unloved etc.