A large part of the abuse I lived through was verbal and emotional, rather than physical. I’ve always felt that this made my experience less legitimate. No-one was beating me to within an inch of my life – it was just being slapped around a bit (I minimised the physical stuff as a kid, and I still do so, because I still live in the mindset of ‘it wasn’t that bad). I wasn’t sexually abused, I wasn’t burned or branded or stabbed. It wasn’t that bad.
New research, however, challenges my idea that it wasn’t so bad. The research says that people who were verbally abused, by peers or by parents, have permanent changes in their brain structure. These changes predispose the person to a range of mental illnesses.
Maybe my abuse left no visible scars, but ten years after escaping, I believe that there’s a good chance I’m suffering from the results of the mental scars. There is some history of mental illness in my family, but as far as I know I’m the first to suffer from whatever the hell I have. I was shaped by the experiences that I had, and the experiences were bad enough to damage me, badly.
There are probably plenty of people that lived with verbal abuse and walked away psychologically sound. I wish I was one, that I could just walk away from that part of my life. But it’s changed my opportunities and my functionality. It’s changed every part of my life. And I curse the woman who did this to me.