Second: A brief introduction for why I'm here.
I had a bad day yesterday and went looking on Livejournal for any kind of support group. I haven't talked to anyone about this, beyond my roommate (also a relative) who has been tremendously supportive of me and was the one that broke me out of the land of denial regarding my family.
Some of you here might understand this, though those who haven't had long standing abuse just can't, but you can go through extreme abuse and be blind to it, as long as you've been told since early childhood that you're wrong and they're right. I believed my father and mother to be good people even five years after running away from home at 27 because my mother's boyfriend (my father had passed away) was quite seriously threatening to kill me.
It has been nearly 20 years since my father passed away and I still find my heart pounding at the thought of saying something negative about him. Because it's still in my head that thinking bad thoughts about him is bad and will be punished. Here I am hyperventaling just because I'm thinking of saying anything -- just one thing about the bastard. And he's dead. I can't imagine how harsh life is for those of you who have abusers who are still breathing. Well, my mother, her boyfriend and my brother are ... but they've lost interest. I don't have "money" anymore. So I'm not worth the effort. And they were only interested in money and a punching bag.
Okay, my one thing about my father.
My roommate made the connection that my family had been abusive. She gave me a list she found about signs of abuse that had been created for people like myself, because we don't see clearly. I read it and thought about it for several days. Finally I decided to ask her -- quite seriously -- if it was abuse if your father called you into a room and forced you to look at him while he masterbated. I didn't put it that way. I tried to find some way to make the question not sound like that when I asked because both of my parents had insisted that I was wrong -- that it was harmless. That men just do that, they have to. And this was family -- so where's the harm? Family is supposed to love each other -- right?
That was my first small step in breaking that wall that made me not see my family as they had really been. That's by far not the worst of it. It's just where I started. Though the realization, when it really sunk it, crashed me. I haven't been the same now for many years. I have lots and lots of nightmares. But at least this last year or so, I find myself fighting back in the dreams which ... feels much better.
Hugs to all,