I Was Abused, But My Children Won’t Be by Anonymous

I Was Abused, But My Children Won’t Be by Anonymous

Everyone’s journey is different. Mine started with a difficult childhood, raised by physically abusive parents with a very rocky marriage. Then came aliya when I was a teenager, more emotional abuse at home, depression, and anorexia for good measure.

After working with a great therapist for several years I got married and had children. I thought that I was healed.

And then, one day, I realized that I was not.

I was angry all the time. I was angry at my husband–I felt that he was hyper-critical, controlling, micro-managing. He would ask me what I was making for Shabbos, what I was doing on my day off, always involved in my schedule and worrying whether I would have time for everything I needed to do.

I felt like a victim and I acted like one- swallowing all my feelings, swallowing my thoughts. Answering him–only in my head.

I was dissociating- whenever I felt upset I would totally break away from reality and go somewhere else in my mind. Close up into myself and not be able to interact with anyone.

I was hitting my kids and screaming- especially at bedtime. It was horrible. I was abusive.

And I was beating myself up all the time for acting this way. I hated myself for hating my role as a wife and mother. And that just made me angrier and more depressed- I felt stuck and didn’t know how to free myself from my muck.

I went back to therapy, not because I was self-aware, mostly because I was so, so, so unhappy but did not understand why.

My therapist was truly amazing. Wise, understanding, kind and very tough!

She helped me realize that I was repressing a lot of anger. And she taught me that it’s normal to hate being a wife and
mom at times. Everyone feels that way sometimes.

I learned that it’s OK to tell myself at hard moments: “I HATE THIS!!!”

And that is such a release for me- not to keep my frustration bottled up, pushing the feeling down, but to identify it, feel it, say it to myself (alone, in another room) and then not let it torture me as I push myself to carry on somehow until the kids fall asleep…

When I told my therapist that I had been hitting my kids she threatened to report me to Children’s Protective Services if I didn’t
stop! Did I mention that she is tough!? 🙂

But that shocked me and scared me into stopping! That made me realize that she believed that I could stop! That I was not inherently bad! That I COULD control my actions!

She also helped me realize that so many of my thoughts and feelings about other people were based on my own perceptions. That I really have no idea what is going on in other peoples’ minds. No idea what motivates them, no idea what they are going through, or what they have gone through in the past.

I learned to see my husband as 3-dimensional, complex.

I learned to see people as separate from myself and to see the difference between the stories and assumptions in my mind and reality.

In therapy, I had to relive my past trauma and abuse because otherwise it would continue coming back in flashbacks and filling me with anger and sadness. If I didn’t let it out in therapy, I would continue letting the anger out by lashing out at my children.

Therapy provided me with a safe place to cry, a safe place to scream. I had a safe place to talk about anything and everything. What a relief! To let out all that anger and pain–so it would be released without re-triggering the trauma I’d lived through for so many years.

Before therapy I had been very, very critical of myself- and every time I lost control at home I would get angrier, more depressed, and then lash out even more at my children-a vicious cycle.

My therapist helped me see myself as human, normal. I make mistakes because I’m human, just like everyone else. She helped me learn to accept and even like myself for who I am.

I am sharing my story because I want to tell you this: if you relate to my story at all- please get help.

You can get support and it will feel good. You can change. Things can get better. I promise.

If anyone should know, it’s me.

4 comments

  1. Thats true but you need to find the right therapist! I have experience dealing with abuse and “expert” therapists who were so sure of their expertise that they didnt realise how destructive they were. If what the therapist says doesnt “feel right” listen to your gut- believe in yourself and keep on seeking out the right therapist (hard to do when your in victim mode) even if it takes a few tries. Ive been there and done that and its worth it.

  2. Yehudis

    Excellent post. Thank you for having the courage to write this. May HaShem bless you and your family.

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