My story thus far [tw: csa, verbal abuse, dissociation]

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Tw: verbal/physical/sexual abuse. I really struggle with filtering myself, please be advised.

I had both parents who escaped economic hardships, and broken families - to try and start a life together on their own, using education as a crutch that showed them the way to a better life. Sadly, this also meant they passed along all their resentments and suffering to me. I have a brother 9 years older than I, I don't know if he suffered too but I did end up diverting most of the aggression to me after I was born.

My mother was verbally abusive to the point where I distinctly recall dissociating while speaking to her, and going nonverbal for days on end. She would frequently threaten us with suicide, and have a cruel smile on her face when she'd say 'you'd learn to respect me after I'm gone'. I was always on high alert at home, something I realized only after I left for college. There would be fighting everyday, and people drank way too much coffee. I couldn't cry, or make a sound. Which I would inevitably do because children are clumsy. And the harder I tried to focus on not getting my parents irritable and yelling, the harder it would be for me to get it right. I was primed to be a perfectionist, and learnt very very early to not have problems, and to let other people advise me about problems they see in me. I would comply with every single request. I was the star student who lived near burnout. Everyone seemed to be in awe of my hunger for work, but of course with hindsight I now know I was just hyperfocusing on work so I didn't have to think about my life.

My father was a persistent sexual abuser, who would victimize me as I was asleep. I used to scream, only to have him laugh and tell me how funny he found it. I just learnt it was okay to be bullied by your father. I internalized his laughter, him telling me what a sickly pitiful little person I was. He would restrain me physically for hours on end and play with me while baby-talking, and I would be torn between wanting to scream and finding him funny and not clearly seeing what's going on. The games would always end with me dissociating, and I remember lots of ants and flowers, and long hours being lost in scenery. He would constantly comment on my body, and watch me when I bathe, and laugh and laugh and laugh so much at my weakness. And as I tried to regain my sanity by playing games or chasing bugs at home, he would wink at me. Somehow, that is the one thing which always makes me want to explode today in rage and lamentation. That he never once saw anything except humour in his treatment of me. Where the fuck was I going to run? I was a kid, totally dependent on him. And he'd rub it in too, sometimes manically riding me to deserted parts of town to simply tell me 'I could leave you here,you know? But I won't.' And I'd hug him in fear, in mortal anxiety.

I wished I could tell amma, but I didn't want her to die. Or say something mean to me. She would sometimes stop him, but not make a big deal of it. I took a long time to learn that whatever this was, it wasn't normal. Everything else was normal. We were religious, my father was well read, and though he would still attempt to intimidate me with his learning, I did feel respect. What's a fucking kid to do but be in awe of everything bigger than him?

I got myself to a prestigious college on a scholarship. I wasn't even a full person. All I was, was a mercenary for studies. You could hire me to learn anything and I'd do it. I rarely even felt anything, I hated tasty food even because tasty food was amma's way to make us stop complaining. If we didn't eat her food, or tell her it was nice, she'd complain for the entire week. And tell us she's better off dead than live out for a thankless family like ours.

All of this internalized stuff made me shy away from girls. I would torture myself reading hardline feminist writers like Andrea Dworkin. My college had a toxic atmosphere, and everyone found me worthy of ridicule. I had also learnt to teach people to use me and abandon me because that was the relationship I'd learnt to foster at home. I still had a group of friends, somehow. I learnt to eat better. I actually became healthy somewhat because I was eating better without being flushed with cortisol all day in my bloodstream. I even tried exercising, though to this day, any exertion gives me a flashback, and either makes me break down in tears or rage.

My group of friends suffered a blow when one of us went to score weed one day(I didn't drink or smoke, though my friends did) and never returned, dying in a motorcycle accident. Each of us coped with it in separate ways. I coped with it by taking up 28 credits, and scoring a near perfect grade. And spectacularly burning out so hard, that I began wandering in campus without realizing it. I went to therapy, and everything came back. I just collapsed that day into myself, and haven't really recovered. Or maybe I should say, I made contact with the truth of my experience that day, and finally shed the burden of lying to myself.

I managed to find a small job in a lab after college, and left the country for graduate school, which is where I am at right now. I keep attracting wrong partners and friends to this day, and I feel like I'm too much for anyone to be friends with. I cannot enjoy simple things, and I am fairly narcissistic if I'm not paying attention. I tried dating just one time, but it turned out to be all my 'friends' pranking me to sleep with a girl who already had a boyfriend. I cannot read cues to save my life, so I'm probably not going to try too hard for that.

Right now, I am fighting the fight to process and digest everything I've experienced. I don't know how or if I wish to repair anything. I don't know how I can remember to sing to myself again. I don't want to set myself any ideals, I'm just too tired to dream too much. It would be a lie to tell myself I am not in need of fixing. I deserve dignity, it doesn't mean that there are things I lack. I'm probably going to say I feel broken - not in a hopeless, nihilistic way, but rather like 'I need fixing, before I feel fully well within myself'. There's just so many things I always want to write simultaneously. my mind is a crying mess. Thank you for reading it all if you did, sorry if I was graphic or dramatic anywhere. Writing any other way has been near impossible for me.

My sincere good wishes to everyone here at whichever stage of recovery you're on. May I wish you patience, and strength from the humble bottom of my heart. Peace
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