My Abusive Childhood Wasn’t that Bad because His was Worse

Sometimes people tell me that they don’t think they have a right to call what happened to them “abuse” or that they feel as though they don’t have a “right” to feel as though they had been wronged in childhood. And these feelings are common! I had them all too. It wasn’t “that bad” for me either. In fact even today when people write to me saying that they are grateful that their lives were not as bad as mine was and go on to tell me of their childhoods, my first reaction is “WHAT? You think what happened to me was worse than what happened to you!!”

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Smile ~ An Example of Belief System Formation

Hearing this stuff made things far worse for me. Hearing their judgments increased my fear of being rejected and of being thrown away. Hearing this stuff confirmed that something WAS wrong with me, (just as I already suspected) and that I wasn’t good enough or worthy enough. If only I could just pretend to be happy and remember to smile. I couldn’t force myself to smile and that make me feel like a failure. My belief system was well on the way to cementing the self blame.

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I Vowed I Would Never be like my Selfish Unloving Mother

Somewhere along the line I decided that my needs would never come before others because that would mean that I was “like my mother” and in putting myself or my needs before anyone else would be showing those same signs of narcissism and since I had learned as a child that my needs didn’t matter, it was easy for me to stop listening to myself and discount my own needs. I was proud of myself for doing it! That decision represented the vow that I made not to be like my mother.

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