2 words that sum up the core of my life for the first 50 years of it

TJ jeff

Moderator
Staff member
1 - Unimportant

2 - Invisible
 
I think many of us can relate to this, & I for sure know I can along with a host of other words along those lines. Please know & understand that while you may feel those words ring true, you are important & you are not invisible. Take care of yourself!
 

TJ jeff

Moderator
Staff member
I meant to write a bunch more to this post yesterday - but then life got busy and I'm just now getting back to this... - probably going to add to this in little bits and pieces because I have very little "me time" to be able to write here

Since turning 50 a few weeks back I've sort of been on an introspective tour of my life so far - looking back and trying to find the "why" of the way things were - hoping that somehow in understanding the past that it will help to change the future

I was born to a Mother who really didn't want a second child - especially not a boy - it was pressure from my mothers parents (who did not want them to have an only child) and my father who pushed for a second child that made me come into this world - and yet my father was very much an absent father in my years of growing up in that house (I can hardly ever remember him playing with me in any way - not even sports that he liked or played himself)

So... Basically what I'm saying is... I was born out of "expectation" (because the perfect family has 2 kids) - I was never really "wanted" - never really "loved"

Growing up in that house - life was never about me - never about my hopes and dreams - it was always about expectations - always about trying to maintain the "perfect family" image

But life was far from perfect inside the walls of that house - there was near constant yelling - anger ruled supreme in that house (anger from my mother) - and yet anger was not allowed to come from me

Physical abuse - it goes back to some of my very earliest memories and only tapered off once i toughened up enough near the age of 16 that she could no longer get any sort of physical response out of me from her beatings (which she always called Discipline Sessions)

Sexual Abuse - by my mothers youngest brother who is only 9 years older than me - started at about age 4 - lasted about 5 years - I've always wondered if my mother abused him and he was just passing it on to me (I know she commented to me about how much she hated having to take care of him while her mother worked)

Yet as messed up as the first 18 years of my life were it was all kept invisible from the outside world
 
@TJ jeff, wow, I can related to something said here! “was all kept invisible from the outside world“, everything must appear normal! That was a big thing with my mother
as well. Even though she new about my abuse.
I’m sorry, that you have this reflection.
Take care! LRD
 
Hello,

This is a good bit to start with Jeff, and I can see how it is very much connected to the first bit you opened this thread with. It shows you have a clear and objective understanding of the challenging environment you grew up in. That we were not loved as children is perhaps one of the most difficult things for someone to accept. Understandably so children would rather blame themselves than come to the conclusion that they got stuck with parents that were completely incapable of loving them. Even as an adult, though, this realization can take time to emotionally sink in, and perhaps this is one of the purposes of this post for you. As I'm sure you are well aware, one of the benefits of the supportive environment here at MS is that we can do this safely and in an understanding and compassionate place where others, like myself, are on similar journeys. I, unfortunately, can relate to a lot of what you wrote about here, like how from the second of conception life was about fulfilling other people's needs rather than having one's own needs fulfilled, as children are supposed to have. There's a lot to digest and absorb in what you wrote above. I'm not sure how much of it you have emotionally processed, but perhaps it is good that you can do this a little at a time. We're with you in it on our travels along similar paths in our own recoveries and healing journeys.

Take care and safe travels
 

Dan99

Registrant
Wow, Jeff. I could write a very similar post. Unwanted by chance, but invisible by both chance and choice.

After my father died, my mother didn't want us kids. She made that abundantly clear. Like you, our home was filled with physical and mental abuse - aside from the sexual abuse,

But the invisibility was something I came to create, as well. I learned the hard way it was my best defense against more abuse. I became so good at invisibility that it's become my go-to mode for 50 years.

I'm trying like heck to break that pattern. But boy is it tough. I kind of view it as the last big battle of my recovery, and damn I wish I had done it when I was younger and stronger and in better health. But we play it as it lays.

Good for you for sharing.
 

TJ jeff

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks guys - I'm writing stuff out mostly just to memorialize the life i grew up with... - I need to speak of the way things were while growing up because certainly it was not the way it should have been and the child in me who lived through it all needs to get those things out into the light to break that feeling of invisibility - he needs others to see those things he endured - I apologize in advance if anything I write is triggering to anyone - I'll try not to get too detailed - and yet... what is a picture without colors... - some detail has to be shared to make it all make sense

"What happens behind closed doors stays behind closed doors" - I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard this saying while growing up - it always seemed a bit funny to me how my parents could fight with each other inside the house and then be all happy and smiles while out in public - out in the public they seemed like the perfectly happy couple - inside of that house I saw a lot of things that were not very happy

Anger - it was an emotion that my mother had a LOT of when I was young - I often bore the brunt of a lot of her anger - even if she was angry at dad she would take it out on me at times just because I am so much like him - anger was something I learned to judge by the look in my mothers eyes - I've tried to explain to others a few times how I could literally see the change in her eyes when the anger would be building within her - eyes that were blacker than any night with a fierceness hotter than any hell

For the first 18+ years of my life I was raised to feel as if I "deserved" all of the physical discipline I received - over the years I have talked with a few people about how spankings were always done on a bare bottom with me bent over against the stairs and I had to count out the hits without moving - how it was a certain number I had to count to - if you moved or yelled you had to start back over from 1 - sometimes the number would be small (like 10 or 20) - other times the number could go to 100 or higher (I even remember the circumstances surrounding a 500 episode) - I grew up in the 70's and 80's - spanking was fairly normal - I never questioned it - figured it happened much the same to every kid - yet in all of my years I've never talked to another soul who had to count the hits back without moving or screaming - but that was my "normal" and I never once questioned that I did not deserve the physical discipline I was receiving (I should probably also mention the detail that she had a special "spanking stick" - it was a window prop stick - she kept it in the top drawer of the microwave cart - it measured 3/4"x1 1/2"x15" - and she weighed over 300lbs - so she could certainly get plenty of force behind her swings and even managed to break one once)

Words - she certainly had a way with them - at the age of 50 I still can't get some of them words out of my ears - words that I will not share here - strange how temporary the physical pain was - yet those words still haunt me

I think in future writings I'll just give examples from my past that made me feel unimportant - examples of why I feel invisible
 

TJ jeff

Moderator
Staff member
Examples of things while growing up that showed me how unimportant I was...

Never once did I have a birthday party with friends over (friends were not allowed inside the house)

Never once did my dad come to a single football game in the one year that I did play football - never once did he come to watch me in the 4 years that I was on the roller-skating speed team (I paid for all my own gear with paper route money)

I was told by my dad's mother years back of how when I was around the age of 4 I was so sick that she fought with my mother about taking me to the doctor and yet my mother refused because she wanted to go deer hunting and did not want the expense of a doctor visit - my grandmother had to put me in cold water in the bathtub to get my temp down - she didn't think I was going to make it

Clothes were often from Goodwill (thrift store) and were handed down to me from my older brother once he outgrew them - I got bullied a LOT about that in school - and the fact that most of the clothes were wayyy out of style - I started buying my own clothes with paper route money at the age of 13 - all I wanted was plain jeans and t-shirts - nothing fancy or expensive

(btw - no - they were not "poor" - they were middle class)
 

TJ jeff

Moderator
Staff member
Invisible -

How is a kid physically and mentally and sexually abused most of the first 18 years of his life without anyone stepping in to save him? - I still struggle with that...

I can't even say that no one knew - over the years as I got older every single neighbor (5 of them) commented to me about how as a young child they could hear my screams from the beatings and yet not a single one of them ever did anything to stop it - even in school it was seen on my rear in the locker rooms and the bullies would pin me to the floor and add to the redness - even spent quite a bit of time in school counseling in grades 3 through 5 where i told him everything and nothing ever changed for the better
 

une.vie.d.espoir

Registrant
I find it hard what you share with us Jeef yes very hard because it comes to touch me that I too was invisible.

It doesn't go like you though. I learned that I had to be invisible from the age of seven until I was 16.

Jeef by reading you I saw that and I believe its a beautiful thing, you express to us that you were invisible my also you show me by sharing that you are not the most invisible. It has my heart and in my head I find it wonderful also I find that and reading you I am no longer invisible either.

Thank you Jeef you make me feel my great pain but at least I am no longer invisible.

Take care,

Jp
 
@TJ jeff excuse me for putting it like this, but you were put through hell growing up in your family. No two ways about that. And from what you shared I can definitely see the connection between your childhood experiences and the two descriptors you shared as summing up these first 50 years of life for you. Your parents certainly treated you like you didn't matter and kept you isolated from others with their rules and phony facade as a "good family" such that no one could see what was happening to you for so many years. Although you felt that you "deserved" it when you were going through it, and in this way it "made sense" to you as a child (and I definitely understand how and why this happens to children, as I mentioned above), on some level you must have sensed that it was wrong, because of the way your parents hid their behavior from everyone and because of how they felt the neccessity to threaten you with that sick rule "What happens in this house stays in this house." That right there, I could easily imagine, would be interpreted, perhaps unconsciously or perhaps semi-consciously, by a child as "What happens in this house is 100% unacceptable to, and would be considered wrong by the outside world, and therfore has to be kept hidden at all costs". You must have absorbed that message like a sponge considering how many times they mentioned it. And of course family secrets cause children to become isolated from those around them who might have been a support for them in times of trauma.

I'm sorry if this comes across as a little angry, but your story does affect me that way. It also affects me in the way of making me sad for what you had to endure as a child. And I can't help but connect your story with the childhood photo you have as your avatar, and that's when the sadness really sets in. I had an impulse to want to jump into that photo and rescue you from your family as I read your story. I totally understand your desire to figure out the "whys" of your first 50 years. I can definitely relate to wanting to make sense of it all and I also think it helps to have a coherent narrative of how we got from point A to point B, so to speak, in our lives. It's a worthwhile endeavor in my view.

Best of luck with it, Jeff.
 
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So... Basically what I'm saying is... I was born out of "expectation" (because the perfect family has 2 kids) - I was never really "wanted" - never really "loved"
In my time in the early '50s in order to be part of the new middle class, the family had to consist of The "breadwinner" father, the "home maker" mother, House in suburbia, a new car, a dog, and one child (me). The dog came before the child in my case. I guess the chicken in every pot was also in that mix someplace.
I was born to a Mother who really didn't want a second child
This rings so true. My foster mother didn't want a child but needed a boy because it was required to qualify for middle-class America status. I guess as the decades moved on it was the second child that was needed but not wanted, as in your case.
Never once did I have a birthday party with friends over.
Never once did my dad come to a single football game
The child wasn't needed so birthdays weren't needed. I never had a birthday party either. I was very active in sports and my foster parents never came to a practice session or competition.
This seems to be a common problem/pattern with our type of parents. I guess I can add to the "not-to-do list" that my foster parents never came to my 8th-grade graduation or to my high school graduation. So I ended up not going either.

I found four photos today of me being brought home after I was adopted at 8 months old. One photo had both me and my foster mother smiling. It was the last photo taken of me where we both were smiling. The photos of me taken in the orphanage in order to show me to prospective customers were all happy baby photos. but it seems that smiling became history very soon after coming home.

I guess what I want to bring out is that all too often I see this pattern from parents who didn't really want us but needed us for some reason. Either because we were expected to be had (your case) or the child was needed to qualify for middle-class status (my case). Also in both our cases being punished (brutally in your case) was part of the way we were to be handled growing up. It is a sick pattern I see all too often. A license is needed to drive a car but nothing is needed to have a child.
Yet as messed up as the first 18 years of my life were it was all kept invisible from the outside world
Yes, the "perfect" family. That's the way the outside world saw families like ours. It's sad to read about so many "perfect families".

There should be a patent given out on this type of family. I'm terribly sorry that you went through all of this. We've talked many times about our lives in the "perfect family" and I can't get by without shedding tears every time I read your story of brutality and your horrible home life. I'm so sorry that all happened. The only good thing about your mother is that she had you.
 

TJ jeff

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for the replies guys - it really is helpful to get this stuff out into the open

It was a recent conversation that hit me upside the head like a hammer - since moving up north to the area in which I now live - there is not one single person that I see regularly other than my wife who knows anything about the truth of my past (and she can't handle my past - so we don't talk about it) - I walked away from it when I joined the military straight out of high school (actually I did delayed entry 2 years before graduation because I needed an escape so badly) - I have not made a single close friend in the past 30 years - hard to make friends when you won't talk about the past - but then I also realize that making friends is a skill I never learned thanks to my mother - I know I'm a bit of a socially awkward person - in a room full of people I will be the quietest person in the room (I want to join in on the fun - I just don't know "how")

It wasn't until my teen years that the "perfect family" facade started to fall apart and the outside community started to see that things were not as perfect as they once seemed to be

I've got to admit that I'm a bit angry that none of the neighbors ever stepped in when they all seemed to know what was going on (yet I understand that it was not something that people felt like they should speak up on in the 80's - yet if they all knew - did they not talk to each other about it - would not multiple people knowing drive them to do something - questions I'll probably never have the answer to) - and the school (nurse saw the damage multiple times - even brought in others to look - pictures were taken) - the school counselor (the dad of one of my few friends) he knew EVERYTHING about what was happening to me - yet he did nothing - I understand that things were diffrent in the 80's but it just seems to me that someone should have done something - and nothing being done over all of those years made me feel just all the more unimportant and invisible
 

Josco

Registrant
I'm another over 50 with some horrible memories of 'discipline' and like you the physical scars have healed over but the mental ones remain. And too many similarities the word 'discispline', bending over and keeping still, not discussing outside the home. I can only sympathise.

I'd be summoned for a talk about my behaviour and I'd be told 'explain yourself' and i was supposed to say what I had done wrong. After the talk often enough I'd be punished - 'you need a smacking, bend over my knee'. If I didn't co-operate I'd be given extra smacks.

Then I was just turned 8 and one day when I'd been punished she took off her wooden soled Scholl sandal, and she showed it me, and told me what she was going to do with it if I didn't start to behave better. She told me it would hurt a lot and I didn't have long to wait to find out she was right - 'you need to feel my Scholl, bend over the chair'. Over the next 5 years I had countless punishments that way and it always hurt, was an embarassing, painful and horrible experience.
 
Thanks for the replies guys - it really is helpful to get this stuff out into the open
Hey, Jeff, no problem man. I'm glad to be a part of your breaking through the silence and force of those rules imposed on you as a child. It does my heart good to be a witness to it and to have a part in it in some way.
I understand that things were diffrent in the 80's but it just seems to me that someone should have done something - and nothing being done over all of those years made me feel just all the more unimportant and invisible
For sure, just when you had your only chance to be rescued from your parents nothing was done. It could only have reinforced those negative messages your parents treatment of you instilled in you. It's heartbreaking when you think about it and when you think about how alone, and without an advocate, you were through it all. Very heartbreaking! And the dots connect from then, your childhood, through your adulthood of isolation and silence to now where you are fighting against those messages by bravely telling your story here. Again, I'm glad to be a witness to your journey.
 

TJ jeff

Moderator
Staff member
I've been told a couple of times over the past 20 years of how when I was 4 years old that my dad almost left my mother - he had a plan all figured out - he said he would have taken me with him -but he kind of chickened out - he has no idea how much I wish he would have...
 
I've been told a couple of times over the past 20 years of how when I was 4 years old that my dad almost left my mother - he had a plan all figured out - he said he would have taken me with him -but he kind of chickened out - he has no idea how much I wish he would have...
((((((TJ jeff))))))
 
TJ I feel for you In that certain things you wrote resonate with me. I turned 50 in February and it has messed with me mentally mainly because it made me look back on my life, think of my own mortality and regret of what could have been or in some ways should have been. ‘

1 - Unimportant

2 - Invisible

I still feel like this at times with friends and famIly and that has been an internal feeling most my like. Put on a good face when around them or when “I” call someone but deep down i think i man nothing as they dont reach out to me. Not even my own family.

Growing up in that house - life was never about me - never about my hopes and dreams - it was always about expectations - always about trying to maintain the "perfect family" image
I was child number two and my brother got everything but he was the smart, athletic and social one. I was the non athletic poor academics, shy bed wetting no real friends looser. The baby who was tired to his mother and unfortunately crossed a line in mental and some physalis aspects.

i can not relate to the abuse your mother did to you. I know i am fortunate in that mine was not as bad as you or others here. I feel for you and it is upsetting to me that you experienced such abuse.

But you need to know you have helped me in listening to me, supporting and corespondening with me. I am glad you wrote what you did so others can help support you like you have done for others.

Mental, physical and sexual abuse all sucks but when its family i think its a even harder In many ways, but that just my option. For me my mothers stuff is so much more difficult than my grandfather and the others. My mother was not abusive like yours but i think moms that do things that are inappropriate so a son really messes up the son.

I hope my response helps i truly thank you for being here for me. You are not invisible nor are you unimportant.
 

Guss

Registrant
I am sorry about your pain. I lived some of it myself. I know that my parents never wanted or loved me.

The important part is that I want and love me now. I hope the same comes for you soon.
 

TJ jeff

Moderator
Staff member
The most loving moment that I have in memory is from the day I graduated boot camp from the Navy -The look in her eyes that day was very different from what I was used to seeing - it was a look of love - even a couple of tears - and my mother hugged me long and hard after the ceremony was done (my mother was never a hugger) - my mother was actually proud of me - something I was very unused to - I felt on top of the world that 1 day
 
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