Not what I expected to hear, age 38 – I thought I’d had a stable and loving upbringing, I thought my relationship with my parents was normal. But I was seeking help because of my anger issues, my anxiety, and my inability to cope with stress. But I couldn’t have a toxic parent – she’d not beaten me, not starved me, and she was still around. Still in my life, still living ten miles away, living a normal life.
And then I started to dig deeper into my past.
The comments about my weight started age 11, when I was podgy and my new school trousers wouldn’t fit. A loving parent would just buy the next size up – she bought the next size down and fed me 600 calories a day until I lost weight. I can still remember the cuts in my hips from the waistband on my trousers.
There were barely any positive comments growing up. I never did enough at home, was always too fat, always a let down. Every outfit I wore I was criticised – for looking too fat, too boring, too slutty. As I hit puberty my boobs grew, and they became the focus of many a pisstake. Age 12 it’s humiliating to be told you have big boob. Big, fat boobs.
After leaving school I discovered sex and alcohol. I couldn’t tell her I had a boyfriend, he’d never be good enough, the emotional blackmail would get worse. I lied all the time – made up friends, never told her where I was going.
I dropped out of uni, it wasn’t for me. A loving parent would support me, in whatever decision I made. She didn’t. She told me I’d let everyone down, that I’d never be anything.
I met my partner, and he’s never been good enough. I became a mum to two beautiful kids; yet I’m a terrible mother. All I’ve ever wanted to hear is that I’m doing a good job. That I’m doing things right. But all I’ve ever been told is that I’m bad, a failure, that I’m nothing.
She used to hit me, yet now denies it. You read about child abuse all the time – and to realise you endured emotional abuse through your childhood is a huge shock.
So, where do I go from here? Counselling helps, although the pain never goes away, i don’t think it ever will. Do I worry i’ll pass my issues onto my children? Of course, all day, every day. But for every bit of hurt, I know I will never inflict that on my children. Every day I wonder how a parent could abuse their child, how can you do that to someone you love?
My kids are my world. I hope they know how much I love them, how I would never hurt them. And I wonder how many mums out there are the children of toxic parents?
photo credit: Mattiii photo Triangular Shadow 9 via photopin (license)
The person who wrote this article requested to not be named or tagged.