When I was 19 years old, I wound up in an abusive relationship. Kurt was 32 years old. He’d lived in multiple states. This really impressed me at the time. It was only later that I’d find out that he moved around because of legal trouble. And that he’d wound up living in Maine (where I grew up and where I met him) because Kurt had sought out his brother who had built a comfortable life for himself, » Read more
“You know,” she says, “I relate to a lot of the work you’ve written on childhood abuse.”
“I’d say ‘thank you,’” I reply, “but part of me wants to say ‘I’m sorry.’ Because it’s often not a good thing, that those particular writings resonate.”
“Well, no,” she says. » Read more
I didn’t think of myself as being a survivor of anything — much less abuse — until I was in my 30s.
The news was delivered to me in my therapist’s office, spoken as an casual aside, quickly, as though she assumed the information was obvious to me.
“Well, that’s pretty common for people who have had abusive childhoods, » Read more
I grew up in a strict authoritarian household where I had very little freedom. It was a house in which you had to ask permission to have a glass of water — because after all, someone had to wash it later.
A promise to be the person who washed the glass wasn’t good enough. » Read more
Many long-time readers of the blog know that I identify as a recovering people pleaser. It’s been a long road to recovery, bolstered by an excellent support system and a round of assertiveness therapy several years back.
Growing up under the thumb of a difficult mercurial parent, I learned early on how to anticipate her needs and accommodate them, » Read more
I recently covered a study on pronoun use and attachment styles for Psyched for the Weekend, a recurring feature in which I geek out with brief takes about some of my favorite psychological studies and concepts.
As part of that article, I posted a quiz that you can take to discover your own attachment style. » Read more
A while ago, I wrote a piece called “Abused Kids Get to Look Like Their Bullies“:
On countless mornings, I glimpse my reflection in the mirror and want to punch myself in the face.
Because I look like her at certain angles.
Her chin, strong but not square. » Read more
“Oh shit,” I say, realizing what I’ve just said sounds terrible. “I really didn’t mean that the way it sounded. I’m sorry.”
The pause between when I say that and when he speaks seems to last forever. But finally he breaks the silence. “It’s okay. I understand.”
It’s probably a minor thing to him. » Read more
“I read today’s article, the one about recovery,” she says. “And I think you’re right about spite being a powerful motivator.”
I nod. “Especially when you’re down in it. People tell you that you need to love yourself to be healthy. But when you’re emotionally unwell, it isn’t like self-love is all that accessible. » Read more
When we become adults, we start parenting ourselves.
And this can be good or bad, depending on what models you had for it.
I was at a bit of a disadvantage in this department, as the one model I’d had for parenting caused emotional paralysis.
I grew up in a strict authoritarian household. » Read more