BY ROBERT PERKINS
Lately my therapist told me that I showed a lot of similarities in my symptoms with those of refugees who had been tortured, whom he has treated over the years. I have what’s known as Complex PTSD. A
How would you feel about this, if a medical professional with over 30 years’ experience said this to you or about someone you loved? Angry maybe, despondent even? You’d feel something anyway I am sure.
I just shrugged.
A hugely respected therapist basically told me that the abuse I had suffered was similar to torture and I shrugged.
Why? Because it’s normality for me, it’s normal to be singing a lullaby to my child and suddenly imagine a meteorite crashing through the window and killing us both. It’s normal for me to be driving along and visualise a truck ploughing into the front of my car killing us all. It’s normal for the extra bit of psoriasis which has appeared on my shoulder not to be psoriasis but to be a deadly cancer which will kill me within weeks, leaving my wife and child crying at my bedside while I waste away.
This is how I live my life. Every minute. Every hour. Every day.
I logically know this is all a result of the abuse I suffered as a child and young adult but I’m still working my way through it emotionally so it still happens. I can’t enjoy anything.
Recently I have started losing weight, I’m doing really well keeping to a regular half a stone down per month and have dropped 50 pounds so far. I hate myself for this. My head doesn’t allow me to be proud of it, to feel a sense of accomplishment. All it does is tell me that I shouldn’t have been fat in the first place and I’m a waste of space because I was.
I’ve quit smoking after 20+ years. I haven’t gambled in over a decade after stopping a really serious addiction there. I’ve dealt with other obsessive-compulsive disorders too. Basically I’ve turned my life around. Yet I feel no sense of pride, I cannot get my head to shut up about how I should never have done all those things in the first place.
Why did I do them then? Abuse.
What sort of abuse could leave me in this place, spending the first 30 years of my life self-destructing and the rest trying to fix it? Who could have inflicted such evil upon me and basically have stolen half of my life?
Great, isn’t it?
The people who are meant to love and nurture you more than anyone else in the world destroy half of your life. I want to put my name to this, I really do, but I can’t. It will mean pain for my spouse and child because if I do these people will create so much havoc to try to protect the lie they have built for themselves that it will damage the people I love.
These people are evil, not only do they take no responsibility for their actions but they still actively try to continue the abuse. I will no longer allow them.
What I had to suffer as a child is now enshrined in law as illegal. It is called emotional abuse, of which over 90% of mine was.
I have heard people joking about how telling someone they’re fat is emotional abuse. It can be, it depends on the context, but what I suffered and what many more have and will do is much worse. It was systematic, planned lying and emotional blackmail purposely designed for them to remain in control at all times and to protect their lie of being loving and kind people.
One of them is also a sexual abuser.
This was all brushed under the carpet, once again to keep the lie intact. Once I bring that up though there is always a different reaction from anyone who I have told this first part of this story too.
Sexual abuse is taboo. It is rightly despised and the abuser can almost never rid themselves of the stigma attached to it. Physical abuse is treated in the same manner, if on a lesser scale. But emotional abuse is different, it’s mostly not even believed as being real. People can appreciate a physical happening when they are told of abuse, if they hear that someone raped a child they will rightly be disgusted and hold the abuser in the contempt they deserve.
But what happens when I tell you my parents emotionally abused me for my whole life? You’ll probably ask for examples. Unfortunately, a “they told me I was useless” doesn’t quite have the same gravitas as “he touched me”. You might even think that I was being melodramatic.
But this is the thing with emotional abuse, it is insidious. It’s like torture which goes on for years, therefore my symptoms are similar to the torture victims.
I sit here now having just been turned down for a job trying to fight the thoughts of killing myself for being so unwanted, for being so useless. These thoughts come from the people who were meant to teach me how to use things like this to move forward.
I loathe my parents, I hate them for what they did to me. I hate them for stealing half of my life. But I will never get any justice and I am slowly accepting that. I need to become my own person, I need to develop some self-worth. It’s just bloody difficult. Even this piece is nowhere near as good as I could write, because between every sentence I have a voice in my head screaming at me that the last sentence was pathetic and no one wants to read it.
Robert Perkins is a pseudonym. To the author, those at Country Squire Magazine salute You, Sir.