One of the problems of remembering abuse — especially emotional abuse — is that it’s hard to remember specific incidents. It’s all “normal”. It all mushes together into a mashed-up, rotting heap of shit and piss in your head. You grow up in that atmosphere, and that’s the only world you know. It’s the only mode of family you know, the way you’re supposed to be treated. It’s the only way the adults around you act. When something’s commonplace & everyday, you really don’t remember specifics unless something makes it stand out.
I grew up in a family where cruel teasing & insults were the norm, where arguments & blow-ups & punishment over the least little thing were the daily pattern, where love and affection were never shown — my parents never hugged or kissed or said “I love you” to each other (not in front of us kids or anywhere in public, at any rate) and rarely to us kids. You were expected to obey (no matter what), to never argue, to never question, and to let adults do whatever they wanted. You didn’t want to be kissed or hugged or even touched by that man or those old ladies with the fake-smiles? Too bad. He was your uncle. They were your second-cousins’ great-aunts. You’re supposed to loooooove your faaaaaaaaaaamily, no matter who, no matter what.
When I tried to tell my parents about the bullying & abuse I was getting at school, I was told “Oh, they’re just jealous”, “he’s just trying to show you he likes you”, and the inevitable “You’re too thin-skinned, you’re too sensitive, stop whining, just ignore them”.
Yeah, I was too sensitive about being spat on, tripped, shoved, and hit. A twelve-year-old girl was too thin-skinned about being called “nigger”, “bitch”, “nigel”, “kike”, and “wop”. I was whining about getting my lunch stolen, my books destroyed, my hair yanked, my breasts groped. Every damn person on the school bus & a good quarter of my class were just jealous of the ugly weirdo, who only sat quietly on the bus, staring out the window, wishing desperately the bus would hurry up and get to my stop.
Yeah, people always show “love” by abusing you and calling you names. How’s that for a fucked-up childhood aesop?