This post at Why Not Train a Child? really highlights some of the issues I have today. The anger that I was not allowed to acknowledge or express when I was a child when my mother spanked me usually for something I didn’t do (my mother just preferred to spank me).
I was not allowed to be angry. Anger was bad. Only Mommy could be angry and when Mommy got angry I was in deep trouble. When Mommy was angry, I was scared. Even when Mommy wasn’t angry, I was scared because I didn’t know what would set her off. It didn’t matter if I did or didn’t do something, if one of my sisters did something, I was the one that got in trouble, got screamed and yelled at, got spanked. I was the Bad Girl. I couldn’t do anything right and Mommy didn’t love me when I was bad. I was almost always bad. Bad Girls like me go to Hell.
Now I have a lot of anger and rage that boils under the surface and it wants out. But I’m not allowed to be angry or have rage. As a woman, we are taught that we are to be nice and happy and cheerful and never feel anything bad. As a victim of abuse, I was taught that my anger was bad. That my feelings were bad. That I was bad. When I was being abused, I didn’t know that I was being abused. I thought everyone went through the same thing. Everyone got yelled and screamed and spanked by their mother.
Now I know I have anger and rage and it sits there. Sometimes it’s pretty quiet and I don’t have to worry about it coming out. Then there are other times (like reading garbage by traddies) that it just wants to burst out and beat the crap out of somebody. But I’m not allowed to have anger or emotions. Feelings are bad. Other people can have them. I can’t. I have to hide, squash the anger and the rage and deny it’s existence if I want to be even remotely acceptable as a person. Other people are allowed to feel and express anger. I am not. I am expected to keep quite and be nice and happy. But I can’t. I just want to pound the stuffing out of something. I feel like if I don’t get the anger and rage out then it will consume me, that I’ll end up in jail (not because of what I did but because of me) or locked up in a mental hospital because I am not socially acceptable to my family (which I already am not) or to society (which I pretty much am not anyways). I feel like there are rules and expectations and freedoms for everyone and that those rules and expectations and freedoms are different or are not allowed for me at all. Other people get to have fun and have friends and be loved. I am not allowed to have fun or have friends or be loved. I am not worthy of those things. I am BAD. Therefore, I must be so horrible that a whole set of rules apply just to me. I am not allowed to have anger while everyone else is. They are allowed to express their anger and there are not consequences while I am not allowed to have anger at all and if I showed that anger in anyway or even just felt it then I would need to be harshly punished. Remember, I am BAD. I deserve to be punished.
That mentality led me to doing some very harsh things to myself because I believed that if I was punished enough then everything would be alright, that I would be good enough, that I would be finally lovable, that I would be worthy, that I wouldn’t be arrested and thrown in jail for the rest of my life (still not sure where this came from but it was a major fear for many years; I still get anxious any time I see a police car even though I have never committed a crime and have had mostly positive interactions with the police). I am not the only one. I also call myself names, hit myself in the thighs ( I didn’t want anybody to see or know how bad I really was). While I wasn’t raised in a patriarchal/quiverful/fundamentalist/traditionalist household I was raised in a household that had a mother that believed in corporal punishment and kept a paddle in the kitchen in open view and was very willing to use it. I felt by punishing myself I could stop my mother from punishing and abusing me. Granted, a lot of what I did I didn’t do until I was in my teens.
I remember once (I don’t remember what I did) that I believed I had been so bad that I couldn’t sleep in my own bed but rather had to sleep on the floor in the downstairs bathroom (which had a shower stall, a toilet and sink so it was quite small and it was off the laundry room). I remember being in tears not wanting to be sleeping in the bathroom but knowing that I had to sleep there because I was so bad. I was in there for some time. I even lay on the floor, so much in tears, thinking this was the only way to make things better. Eventually, I left the bathroom and slept in my own bed. The thing is, nobody knew what I had done. It was the middle of the night and everyone but I was asleep. I didn’t know that at the time I was depressed. I just thought I was worthless and needed to be punished.
Even on my own as an adult I’ve felt that I needed to be punished. I remember cooking one of those pasta dinners in a box. I hadn’t been watching it and a lot of it stuck to the bottom of the pan and parts were burned. I have to step back a moment and add that I struggle with my weight and how I view my body. Even though I was never overweight till very recently, I was never a size 2 either. I was healthy. Yet my mother saw me as fat and called me fat and stupid to my face. Even when I was a size 6 and had actually lost weight (when you live somewhere where you have to walk everywhere to do anything you lose weight) my mother still called me fat to my face. She also didn’t like the fact that I was a vegetarian at that time (though it was fine when K decided to be a one) Well, I saw that burned food and while regular people would probably throw it out and/or salvaged the part that wasn’t burned, I decided that since I had screwed up so badly and that I couldn’t waste food because that would be a sin, that I had to eat the burned part and then starve myself to lose weight. And yes, I am in tears at this point. I was forced to eat a lot of food I didn’t like or couldn’t eat (there are foods due to texture or the digestive reaction that I have that I can’t eat certain food) growing up. I think I ate three bites of it, in tears (which is what I am right now, in tears), and eventually threw it away even though I believed that I would be going to hell for wasting food like that. As you can tell, I still have problems with food even as an adult who can cook and eat anything she wants.
At this point, I am going to have to stop. I am getting too upset. And I don’t want to make my depression worse.