Coming home has always been hard for me. I grew up in an abusive and neglectful environment, hence, all the dramatic, confessional posts from years past. I matured a lot since I started this blog and gained a lot of coping skills; I now see my family as three-dimensional characters instead of just antagonists in my personal story. Still, some factors at home make things stressful, like my family’s often oppressive silence.
About a week and a half ago I found this amazing website, The Invisible Scar. I had never Googled emotional abuse before. I do not know why – perhaps I just did not have the vocabulary to define how my mother treated me. But right away all of this website’s material made so much sense. I could see all of the cruelty and suffering and healing and hope reflected in my own life. One comment thread stood out to me on the page “For Adult Survivors of Emotional Child Abuse”, a response to a brave soul who had just shared her exhausting and devastating struggle:
This comment hit me like a punch to the stomach, this profound idea of “alone but strong together.” I had always struggled with feelings of aloneness, because even though over 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States every year (and this does not even include all the unreported cases, like mine), so few people talk about the issue, because we all want to believe in the sanctity of the family, in the infallibility of our parents. But this one page itself has garnered 170 comments and counting, and people from across the country have shared their experiences. Perhaps no one will ever know my full struggle – the intersectionality of abused, gay, Asian, and more – however, others can understand bits and pieces, and I can do the same for them. While our aloneness may never cease, we can bring it to the light together, so we can all heal and recover.
In years past, I have fought aloneness, sadness, anger, and much more in unhealthful ways: starving, lashing out at myself and others, breaking down. But I have developed healthful ways to fight as well, ranging from seeking professional help, to reading and writing, to finding support from friends both in real life and on this blog, to practicing mindfulness. I have soldiered much of this on my own, and yet, I could not have done it without everyone who has stood by me, to all of those who have shown me compassion despite the difficulties in their own lives.
For those of you reading this who have survived child abuse, or an eating disorder, or another mental illness: let us hope that things will get better. Let us break the silence and reclaim our lives. Let us be alone together.
Friends: I feel so thankful for all of the support you have given me over the past few years. To give back just an ounce of the strength you have lent me, I have created a resources page on this site with some links and book recommendations related to issues that have come up on this blog. Please remember that reaching out for help acts as a sign of strength. And though I may not respond right away, I am cheering you on and fighting beside you. I hope you all have an amazing start to your week.