I have ever been emotionally abused during my teenage years by my sister. Name calling, emasculating, claiming my space as her own, you name it. Anything that isn’t physical abuse, but still cuts as deep or even deeper. During the worst times, I tried to seek help from my parents, but to no avail. The saddistic perpeatuator then took the advantage to further her actions and get away with them, just to satisfy her ego. I was effectively being emotionally neglected. I didn’t have enough courage to commit suicide but cutting emotional ties with them seemed a feasible coping mechanism. I lost trust in my whole family.
Until today I keep them at arms length. I don’t believe in family anymore. I’m a 25yo working adult and I only see them as a responsibility, not a safe haven. I see that my friends can tease their family members, say those nice cringey “I love you” messages on their IG posts, but I can’t bring myself to say that I love my family members. To cope with my loneliness, i tried to make friends outside and, as I realised recently, construct a “family” outside of my home that I can grow in. At times I wonder if this is the right thing to do, because my friends are not obligated to stay by my side forever. and I agree with that. To maintain my “family” I just make more close friends. But I’m still scarred. I feel that a sense of anxiety & caution undermines my daily emotions. I have never been able to truly live in the moment, never able to truly connect with the world emotionally in a layman setting. Something as simple as expressing happiness at a birthday surprise takes rehearsing in my head to be able to look normal. Most of the time, I look retarded. Turns out I did not just build barriers between my family & I but with the world.
All this while, I have met many great people I look up to. People with qualities I desire. People with values I value. People whom I really want to be by my side forever. But because I have built all those barriers and I feel that anxiety undermining my daily emotions, I feel handicapped. As a result, I feel like they deserve better people than a lowlife like me who still can’t get over his ■■■■.
I’ve spent a year reflecting and I feel that I am ready to remove these barriers to relive my life again. But there’s something holding me back: my family. I still feel anger well up in me when I shared my story above. If you asked me what the hell happened back then, I’d say I only remember the emotions: injustice, unfairness, prejudice, abuse of gender stereotypes, name calling, hypocrisy, whatever you can legally get away with. It’s weird in a bad way when you’re living with all your perpetuators and they never really addressed the part about me being abused or neglected…because they may not even think of it that way. A part of me wants to ditch this whole family and start a new elsewhere.
A counsellor has advised me to forgive. He explained that it doesn’t mean reconciliation. It’s done for yourself, by yourself. I didn’t spend enough time with him to walk me through the entire process. I guess I can do the rest by myself, but as a first step, I want to be able to forgive myself and my family members for all they have done and not done so I can go live my life outside without being bogged down by anxiety and the barriers I built.
Thanks for reading this far. I appreciate your time.