Telling is one of the hardest parts of growing up with and also still surviving an abusive or narcissistic mother. You may feel stupid or silly, although if you do feel this way it’s likely you’ve had it drummed into you that you are silly or stupid. What we beg you to remember is that you are not stupid or silly, nor are you unworthy or undeserved of help and support. Every single girl on this planet who was brought up by an abusive mother or a narcissistic mother (we use the term ‘brought up’ very loosely) deserves to receive help and support for the ‘there and then’, for the past and also to enable her to move forward with her life in the hope that she may start to create some form of ‘normal’ existence. When you are the child of a parent who is emotionally unavailable, abusive, cold, neglectful and so on, there aren’t usually many opportunities to live what is generally perceived as a normal life; routine, set meal times, love, fun, cuddles, memories, traditions and so on. Snippets of a normal life are usually only seen when you visit a friend’s house or read stories or watch TV programs. Even though you may know that your life with your mother isn’t normal, you may know that what you’re going through isn’t right, you may wish that your life was different, when you actually take those huge steps towards gaining a normal life after the abuse, no matter how badly you want it, you have no clue how to get it and how to sustain it when you do eventually get it. It’s important to make sure you get the correct support to enable you to utilise the tools given to you in therapy or counselling, or by means of self-help books and online courses and so on.
It can be scary to disclose what you’ve been through. Sometimes you may think that nobody wants to hear it, or that nobody will care. You may think that because you weren’t beaten it wasn’t really abuse. You may think that if you were beaten it must have meant that you were really badly behaved. There is so much focus on sexual and physical abuse of children by their parents that more often than not, emotional, mental and verbal abuse is overlooked. This is why we are reluctant to open up; what you went though is nothing compared to those poor children who are burnt with cigarettes, starved or raped. This is not the case and here at Girls Without Mums we want you to believe without a shadow of a doubt that you deserve just as much help as every other abused child in this world. No matter how many times you were told you were just being dramatic, how many times you were told you were bad, nothing changes what we believe. We believe everyone deserves healing and the chance to live a wonderful life. You can move on from your experiences, and although it won’t be easy, you can do it and when you’re ready, you will do it.
You may be thinking ‘why wouldn’t someone be ready to leave behind a life of abuse and torture?’ but the truth is, it isn’t as easy as just leaving that life behind. It’s actually more accurate to describe it as escaping. And just like a prisoner, when you’ve only known a life of control, suffering and abuse, you don’t know how to live any other way. You may not know how to be alone. You may not feel comfortable paying bills. You may not know how to make friends or form relationships. There will be so many things you won’t feel comfortable doing, things you won’t know how to do, or things you don’t feel capable of doing because you may have been told you’re not capable, that you’re too stupid to survive on your own. Think Tangled where Mother Gothel constantly tells Rapunzel she’s too weak to survive outside the tower. You may be scared that the responsibility of living an independent life will be too much for you to handle, and that is a perfectly valid emotion. You don’t need to apologise or feel ashamed of that. Adult life is scary for someone who wasn’t abused. Adult life is just scary in general, so don’t be embarrassed if you don’t feel ready to break away yet. What you can do is prepare yourself. You can do your research. Talk to people online anonymously, get advice that way rather than trying to do it in the open. Chances are your mother will find out, and you know all too well what will happen when she does.
All of this assumes that you know that what you’ve been through is wrong, and that you feel ready to speak out. But what if you’re not ready to tell? That’s absolutely fine too. Being abused fills you with intense shame and it is incredibly difficult to allow someone to see that part of you. You may not even understand your feelings yourself so how can you explain them to someone else? There’s no right or wrong way to go about seeking help. It may even be that you don’t need help, you may have moved on already all by yourself but sometimes you feel your past weighing you down. It may be that even though you have moved on from the abuse and cut all ties – which is extremely difficult and requires a lot of support and strength – you find that you struggle sometimes to form relationships, find it hard to understand social situations, cannot quite seem to process your own feelings, or that you may even regress when the going gets too tough. Guilt, frustration, anger, sadness, it all builds up even when you’re content with life. These emotions are all stored up inside you without you even realising usually. Starting the journey into telling is difficult, long, and often very painful, but the end result cannot be forgotten. You must always hold on to it and focus on it. It’s more than worth it for your freedom.