Today I’m talking a little bit about how emotional abuse affected my relationship with my mom.
Emotional abuse got skimpy treatment on my About page in comparison to the other four types of domestic violence abuse. This sneaky kind of abuse is no less harmful. It undermines the victim’s ability to have good relationships with family members, friends, potential friends, and coworkers.
While not the first person to put her down, my father criticized my mom from every angle. He championed the notion that she was intellectually deficient. I grew up thinking my mom didn’t know anything.
She believed the digs at her mental ability, too. I can’t even count how many times she has said, “you know your mommy’s not smart, Rebecca.”
I’ve come a long way in my recovery from domestic violence, and want to share some of what I learned from my supposedly dumb mom.
"Thirty Days Hath September. . .”
When my Mom helped me with homework, she still undercut her smarts. “I’m not smart, so I have to think about it like this,” she’d say. She’d go on to teach me acronyms and other mnemonics. Those techniques got me through a school where the teachers emphasized rote memorization.
Not only have those skills helped me personally, but I now work as a tutor to university students with learning disabilities/differences and teach the same “brain tricks” to my clients.
Relax Big Toe
My mom taught me another one of her “tricks” to help me get to sleep, a meditation I could use to soothe my anxiety. I needed it because I hated sleeping. I had night terrors, and I feared closing my eyes for the night. As a kid, then as the wife of an abuser, I used her “Relax Big Toe” meditation to bring myself a little bit of peace when nothing else helped me calm down.
The last thing I’ll mention today, but certainly not the only other thing I learned from my mom, is what she taught me about having a job. “Don’t take a job you don’t like, Rebecca. You’ll spend too much time working to make a boring or bad job worth the money.” That wisdom has guided many of my decisions about where to apply and when to leave a given job.
When I didn’t recognize how much I had learned from my mom, I never went to her for help and rarely talked to her about my worries. Now that I see how much wisdom she has brought to my life, I remember to ask her for some advice. Even when she doesn’t have any advice to give, she can let me know I’m not going through a tough time on my own. Our relationship has become so much more than I ever would have expected.
Back To You
What realizations, or changes in your life, have helped you get over some of the wrong things you learned because of emotional abuse?
Share your epiphanies and insights below. Maybe they’ll spark a little light of truth for someone else!
Rebecca encourages survivors of domestic to speak about their experiences and to lean on each other for support.