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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » I can't even look at my own father any more

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Author Topic: I can't even look at my own father any more
choruscutie
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Here's some background:

When I was in sixth grade my mom decided to re-marry. The man (Jon) lived in the Bay Area, too far away to move without my dad's permission. He wouldn't give my mom the permission to move me and my brother, so a court battle ensued.

Towards the end of my sixth grade year, things intensified even more. My dad was losing the court battle. He was angry. Very, very angry. Everything was my fault, and I paid for it... Dearly. I went to school hiding bruises, black eyes, and welts all over my body. I'd be wearing 3 layers in 100 degree weather to hide the hideous fact that my father didn't love me anymore.

I now live with my mom and am going to be a sophmore in high school. I feel the "abuse" from my father and his girlfriend did more than leave a few bruises. My schoolwork has suffered dearly, and my brother picked up the habits and added more to his resume of evil deeds (he has molested, abused, and depending on the exact definition, perhaps even raped me).

So here's the problem:

I can't think of my own father without breakng down. I crawl and hide if someone gets mad, and will lock myself away for long periods of time if there is a fight. I am afraid of people getting angry with me, especially men and authority figures. I've tried to talk about the potential abuse before, but I can't. The first time CPS visited my house. MY HOUSE. The told my dad EVERYTHING I told them. The second they left the house I was beaten so hard I thought I was going to finally be killed by my own father.

So how can I come about forgetting how I used ot be "Daddy's Little Girl"? I have trouble maintaining relationships, boyfriends and friendships, because I am too shy and too much of a people-pleaser. I fear that if I am not perfect that people will hate me, like my dad, and I will always be that scared 12 year old girl hiding under the bed, alone. I'm afraid that people will BEAT ME if they don't like me. I know this is irrational, but it is so intense, I can't overcome it.

I've managed to recover from the sexual abuse from my brother to the point where I can enjoy sexual experiences without thinking of him (most of the time), occasionally I break down, though, and can't get it out of my head.

Also, I am still struggling with anorexia, mild bullemia, low self esteem, and depression (involving suicidal attempts) which people I have confided in have told me probably relates to my father's beatings. Is this true, and how can I deal with the above issues?

I'm sorry for the length, but it is a dense topic, and one I haven't been able to get much help on since it started almost three years ago.

Posts: 24 | From: Santa Cruz | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
-Lauren-
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Oh, choruscutie. *offers hugs*

What an awful time you've been having with everything. I'm sorry things are so hard. Would you be willing to consider getting some counseling/therapy? I know you've said you have trouble talking to your mom; how do you think she would react to you asking?

(I'm going to leave a note for a few of our volunteers/staff more experienced in the abuse arena to come in and help you better, okay? Hang in there. [Smile] )

[ 07-16-2007, 01:11 AM: Message edited by: *Lauren* ]

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choruscutie
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Thanks.

I really can't talk to authority figures. I shake uncontrollibly and break down. Even talking to teachers about homework. I guess it's the power they have over me that scares me, because they could use it at any second like my dad, or my brother.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Choruscutie, I just saw this this evening, but are too wiped to give it the attention it deserves: I'll come back to it tomorrow morning for you.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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choruscutie
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Ok. I'll be waiting, but after around 10:45 I won't be on until later in the afternoon.
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Heather
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Sorry to have missed you, but this will be here when you get back.

This sort of betrayal, combined with such terrible abuse, is by all means, going to leave a LOT of deep wounds.

It's tough enough when say, we get mugged or raped by a stranger on the street. That alone is a huge trauma, it usually messes with us for years, we're not going to feel safe in our spaces, and we're going to have all the issues that a physical or sexual assault tends to manifest in us, and they are myriad.

It's harder still when it's someone we know.

And we can safely say that it's the hardest of all when it isn't just someone we know, but more than one person, BOTH of whom are the people we thought we could trust the most, we're told we can trust the most: our family. Interfamilial abuse tends to make the biggest mess of all, because in so many ways, it shakes the foundations of everything we believe about the world from the earliest ages.

So, with wounds this deep -- and with clearly, you having a lot of problems that are likely stemming from your abuses -- you really need to take a pretty aggressive approach, and I don't honestly know hoe on earth you'd work your way through all this with a counselor.

They dion't need to be authority figures, by the way, and with abuse counseling and young teen counseling, they shouldn't be presenting that way at all. With my counselor I had for a few years through my teens to help me deal with issues similar to yours (but honestly, nothing close to as bad by comparison), her office was in her house, we sat on comfy chairs, we'd share a cup of coffee or a soda, and we'd just sit and talk. Really, I looked forward to going to see her, even as a too-cool kid in the 80's punk scene, where thinking your counselor was the greatest thing since slice bread was pretty seriously dorky.

I learned an awful lot about coping tools from Barb, she helped get me through a couple of the worst experiences of my life. In fact, when the very worst hapened to me, she was the first person I wanted to call, and she even stayed at my apartment for a night on the sofa just to keep me company during a trying time.

Sure, she was an adult and I wasn't, but I never felt like she was an authroity figure: just someone older than me with skills and insights I didn't have myself who was kind enough to make it her job to help teens through the tough stuff.

You're in a good area for finding some good help with these things (I love Santa Cruz, one of my fave places in this country).

Here are a few options for you:

• The Youth Services Center at 709 Mission Street: (831)429-8350. They offer a lot of services, including group and solo counseling at low-cost to no-cost.
• You have a Boys and Girls Club in Santa Cruz at 543 Center St., (831) 423-3138. Boys and Girls Clubs sound geeky, I know, but they're really good, safe spaces, connected with a ton of resources, so you could find all sorts of help there.
• The Youth Coalition of Santa Cruz -- 323 Chruch St, (831) 427 -5066 -- isn't a counseling center, rather it's an activist group for teens to speak out on issues like violence, etc. Sometimes, if counseling seems too scary, just getting involved in something freaking meaningful can be a big help in taking steps to reclaim your own life.
• Your local Planned Parenthood -- at 1119 Pacific Avenue, (831) 426- 5550 -- can even be a place to start. the thing about social service orgs 9and PP does fall under that umbrella) is that everyone is invested in getting people support, and also tends to be very connected with a wide array of local support services. So, since you're saying you need to go there anyway, they are also people you can ask about where to get counseling and support.

I'll make a guess, based on the conversation we had last night about the birth control and the sex you feel you have no choice in that you're going to have a lot of reasons why you CAN'T do this. But I just want to be sure you know that one of the hardest parts about being so beaten down is that sometimes, it causes us to STAY down. It gets harder and harder to have the strength and the self-preservation skills to, while recognizing that what's happened to us isn't our fault, advocate for ourselves and really take and keep ownership of our lives. But if we stay in that hole, it just gets deeper and deeper, and harder and harder to work your way out of the older you get, and the more all the dangerous behaviours resulting from the abuse have their own ill effects.

One thing that sometimes helps if that's the space your in, I find, is working to get into the mentality where you think about not caring for yourself activity, not doing all you can to reconstruct your life, as letting everyone who has victimized you win. If you stay a wreck because they tried to make you won, you lose, and they win. If you don't stand up for yourself and take real steps to have a life where you're earnestly coping, rather than barely keeping your head above water, they win. It's one thing to be victimized: we don't have much choice over that one. But it's something else entirely to remain a victim: that one, we DO get a choice in, and if we don't just step it up and deal, no matter how hard, then we choose to be perpetual victims, and everyone is better than that.

I won't be a cheerleader anymore, and I'm glad to talk more about this with you, but I'd also enourage you to check out those resources above I gave you. Lots of folks aren't so lucky in terms of where they live having so many resources: we've had tons of rape and abuse survivors here with literally nowhere to get any help. That's not you: you have resources, you just have to choose to pursue them, and I'd strongly encourage you to do so.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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choruscutie
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It isn't easy to go visit my dad and brother, and come back remembering why I didn't want to go in the first place.

Plus, my mom can't know... She'd scream and yell and practically kill me inside if she heard I was saying such things. She's told me before that it's my fault, that I antagonize them, and that I deserve it most of the time... She'd probably ground me, calling me a drama queen...

*sigh* If only I could GET to those places...

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Heather
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Do you have a bike? How about a bus? (I ditched my car a decade ago myself, so I get transportation issues, but in a decent city -- and you're in one -- alternate transport is usually very doable.)

I'm so sorry you still have to visit them: just so you understand, you do not HAVE to. You could report this whole situation to social services.

I'm terribly sorry your mother is treating your abuse this way: hopefully, you know that's her problem, not yours, even though it obviously impacts you. Again, while I know it's not something easy to think about, if at either home, there is abuse in your home life, you CAN file a report and CAN get help. No one smart will lie and say that's easy, it's not -- but when things are so bad, it usually is a better option.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Do you have a bike? How about a bus? (I ditched my car a decade ago myself, so I get transportation issues, but in a decent city -- and you're in one -- alternate transport is usually very doable.)

I'm so sorry you still have to visit them: just so you understand, you do not HAVE to. You could report this whole situation to social services.

I'm terribly sorry your mother is treating your abuse this way: hopefully, you know that's her problem, not yours, even though it obviously impacts you. Again, while I know it's not something easy to think about, if at either home, there is abuse in your home life, you CAN file a report and CAN get help. No one smart will lie and say that's easy, it's not -- but when things are so bad, it usually is a better option.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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choruscutie
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... I could get transport, but my mom would never let me go without her, and then she'd know, and then she'd start in with the screaming and such.

And I'd file a report, but, I mean, my mom isn't ABUSING me, she just gets really mad at me a lot. Plus my dad and brother is just... Untouchable. Where would my brother live if not with a potential abuser (who never even TOUCHES him, might I add)? With my mom. Back with me. And I report him, and my mom would kill me. I report her, and where the hell am I supposed to go? I'd have turned on everyone!

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Heather
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Well, clearly you're spending time on your own if you're sexually active as discussed yesterday, so why couldn't you have the same kind of time alone to go get help? You're also not being honest about sex, so I'm not sure I understand why dishonesty about something far more beneficial to you is an issue.

How would your Mom know you went to get counseling if she isn't knowing about anything else you're doing? You understand you don't need parental permission, right?

Per your second questions, there aren't easy answer to them, save that those who abuse you turned on you: you seeking to protect yourself isn't betraying them. You family is SUPPOSED to protect YOU: the only betrayal here would be theirs, even though I know (especially when you internalize abuse) that that can be tough to see at times.

Knowing both your brother and father were abusive, if you filed a report, neither would be arranged to live with you. You say your mother isn't abusive, but through this post and your other one, there's a WHOLE lot of words from you on how she would kill you. I didn't take that to mean literally kill you, but I think we might be helped if from here on out, we dropped that whole way of talking about you Mom, and only addressed her behaviour or possible actions in a realistic way, okay? That way, I can have a better idea of what we're really talking about here, since it does sound like at the very least, she has been verbally and emotionally abusive.

In terms of where you would go, generally, social services don't start by putting a person in foster care, but with smaller steps, like supervised visitation and mediation. But in cases where a child (by that I mean child-of-comeone, not making any judgments on your maturity) is clearly in very serious danger, they would then move to find foster care for that child. generally, they seek to keep them as close to their usual enviornment -- friends, school etc. -- as possible in making placements.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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choruscutie
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I don't even know anymore! Now I'm so confused!
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Heather
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Well, this is pretty big stuff, and there's no reason you have to make your mind up on it in an evening, or even very soon. In fact, it's really something to give some big thought to, unless you really are in immediate danger.

But a place to start really would be by planning to go see one of those resources I linked you to. Like I said, if you can sneak around and get around for sex, you can sneak around and get around for the help you need. And if you can get to one of those resources -- especially that Youth Services Center -- these are all things you can talk about with someone there and consider with help and more explanation.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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choruscutie
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But what will talking about it really do, besides get them in trouble?
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Heather
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Just talking about it won't get them in trouble at all: counselors don't have to file reports to social services.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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