I am not sure what I feel

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2003
I am not sure what I feel
Thu, 08-21-2003 - 3:47pm
I was sexually, emotionally and physically abused from the time I was 2 until I finally begged my mother to please leave the city we lived in and move back to my dad when I was a little over 14. Then I got into a relationship with my daughters dad at 16 had a baby at 17. I had sex with guys because I didn't have the courage to say no never because I wanted the sex. Actually I have always found it hard to say no to anything even if I really want the answer to be "No".

My problem is I think I feel emotions but I don't know how to express them and sometimes I think I just don't feel at all. I have never felt like emotionally I have been in my life ever. I have always felt like I am just watching someone elses life go by while I wait for mine to finally start. I hardly laugh, I don't get angry, I don't get overjoyed, my ex called me a "Robot". When someone ask me what I feel I can't tell them how I feel because I am not sure if I am feeling anything. I depend on others to tell me how I am feeling. I have been through a lot of emotional events but I didn't feel anything when I went through them good or bad. Sometimes I cry out of frustration but that is it.

Part of it I blame my mother for, she would beat me for everything my brothers did wrong and tell me not to cry or she would give me a reason to cry. Another thing is when I did talk no one would listen if it was to my mother like an example: We never had enough food to eat when I was a kid and I would cry to my mother I was hungry and next thing you know I was being back handed for it.

My mother today tells me I was the strong one that held her family together so she had to give my brothers all of the attention because they weren't strong like me. I always got the brunt of all her anger, I had to go through a lot to protect my brothers, I suffered the worst. I grew up with no friends and to this day I still don't have friends because I don't even know how to have a normal conversation with people. I am so messed up and worst of all I don't even know if I feel emotions or if I just don't know how to show them.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2003
Fri, 08-22-2003 - 7:29pm
It sounds to me like you had to shut your emotions off early on just to survive. Your mom taught you in a very forceful way that emotions were wrong, because she didn't want to deal with trying to make you feel better.

It is horrible that she punished you for everything your brothers did. She made you a scapegoat. And the fact that she still excuses it now by saying you were the strong one is so twisted. She's still telling you that you had to hold the family together, and in a big way she's making you feel like you still have to do that. That wasn't your job; it was hers, and she transferred that very grownup responsibility onto your young shoulders. That is known as emotional incest. Have you been able to tell her that what she did is wrong? If you haven't, then you are feeling fear, whether or not you're really listening to it. I'm not saying you need to do that right now, but in time if you can confront her and tell her you're handing the responsibility for what she did to you back to her, you will be taking your own power back. She took that away from you.

For right now, what I would suggest doing is starting a Recovery journal, separate from any other journal you may be keeping. Write in detail about what happened to you, sexually and at the hands of your mother. You'll probably only be able to do little bits at a time because my bet is that as you write you will feel feelings like outrage, anger, hurt, fear, etc. Write those feelings and express them. If you feel nervous to write something, it may be because you subconsciously don't want to deal with the feelings that will surface, so if you write it anyway that is a victory. Do it as you can; you will need to break from it from time to time. These were scary feelings for you to have growing up because you were punished when you expressed them, and so you learned to bury them. You will probably feel scared to let these feelings out (I have been, but it's getting easier) but it's important that you do. I still maintain that a you need a good counselor, but in the meantime you can journal and come here to talk things out and ask questions. A good book to read is Toxic Parents by Susan Forward. It is excellent.

On the sexual issues and never saying no, I'd bet money that you were that way because you learned by being abused that when a guy wanted it, he got it and you COULDN'T say no. I'm sure fear kicked in for you and you just went with it because you felt that saying no was dangerous.

You've needed to bury your emotions to survive all this time. In order to find the emotions like joy, happiness, etc. you have to get in touch with the other ones, too. Do a little at a time, and when you start experiencing one of those "scary" emotions find an outlet for expressing it and saying WHY you are feeeling that way. There are no wrongs or rights with this, just truth.

Hope this helps--write more if you have further questions, comments, etc.

Hugs, Heidi


co-cl, Sexual Abuse Healing Board

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Sat, 08-23-2003 - 3:45pm
That could of been written by me. First 2 things that will explain a lot when you understand them. "Boundry issues" and "detachment". First we have a hard time saying no to anything because we've never learned what SAFE boundries are. Second dissassociation or detachment is distancing ourselves from our true emotions because it is literally too much to bear. Now this can be for a number of reasons other than the obvious. It could be just that but it can also be a sign of conditions that CAN be treated. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder & Borderline personality disorder are all things that can be common to people of our backrounds, justifiably i feel. I don't know how well u will recieve these ideas, at one time i did not want to be labeled as "sick". Now i realize that would be just fine if someone could give me the RIGHT label and help me learn how to deal with it.

Are you in any sort of therepy? My therepist is pushing for more serious investigation and treatment. She thinks i need some one qualified to diagnose mental illness( yes as in phsyciatrist *wince*). I finally got a refferal to mental health. Might be a bright spot in my future after all. If you'd like to talk please feel free to email me, it's on my profile. But like i said we have lots in common or at least lots of parrallels in our stories. Take Care & Safe Days,