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Discussion:
Tickle game with my mom
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Hi everyone, first time poster. Sorry for how prolific this gigantic post is but here we go...

I am new to the forum and new to exploring my past. I am a late twenties female who was abused by my mother in early childhood, before the age of 4. These are some of my earliest memories. My mom's always been the emotionally abusive type, manipulative, sickly, passive aggressive, controlling... and a psychiatrist to boot.

I am an only child. My dad worked long hours and my mom stayed home when I was little. They've always kept separate bedrooms and seemed to be good partners, but mostly were mostly platonic, save for very rigid single peck kisses when we had company over and they needed to put on a show. My mom claimed the reasoning for the separate rooms was because she was a light sleeper and my dad snored, but during their fights (in which I was often called on to mediate, somehow) my dad would often lament not being able to share a bed with his wife. His bedroom was on the other side of the house off the garage and laundry room.

She used to nap every afternoon (or hide out in her room masturbating, drinking vermouth, and reading mystery novels is more like it) but would often call me in from outside to get in bed with her and play a game she called "Lick and Tickle." These are memories I've avoided for over 20 years. It wasn't until sometime last month when I was visiting my parents that she turned to me and said, smiling, trying to elicit nostalgia, "don't you remember playing Lick and Tickle?"

Licking and tickling was the game, and we would take turns. She would lick me and I would lick her. But I wasn't an autonomous player, she told me where to lick and/or tickle her. I never initiated or particularly wanted to play this game. I remember once saying no let's just do something else and she got very upset with me, like, "this is our thing! Don't you love our thing? Do you not love me? This is how we love. This is special bonding time!" And so we played. Of course the game part was upping the ante of both intensity and intimacy, it got worse, more like wrestling as it went on. She would sit on me, and my mom has the biggest ass of any white lady, ever. I would spend most of the game figuring out how to hide in the sheets only to have her get mad about it.

The memory at best is embarrassing and at worst makes me cringe, cry, stop working, get nauseous, and realize oh my god, she took advantage of me... I'm an adult, I haven't lived in their house for over 10 years, and it's only now that I realize holy shit, I would NEVER EVER do that with or to my - or any - child.

That realization, that there is something inherently inappropriate and twisted is this interaction that I am now aware of as the adult, and would never want to replicate, is the reason I am here.

I was a child. I wanted her love and attention. I didn't understand what exactly was wrong with it. But she was an adult, and a child psychiatrist. There is no explanation except to say that is some fucked up shit. Eventually I would like to feel bad for someone who would use their own kid in this way.

I love kids, they are wonderful. But I've always stayed away from babysitting despite my child-like sense of fun (trust me, I'm way fun). One of my first and only gigs was babysitting a 5 year old when I was 12 (she was my school-assigned "little buddy" who looked and acted a lot like me then), she took her shirt off and wanted to play doctor. Even though I knew this was somewhat normal for a little kid, my reaction surprised me - I freaked out, told her to put her shirt on, gave the poor kid a lecture in appropriateness and then called the parents. As soon as the parents came home - really confused and pissed themselves - I bolted and wandered for hours. My dad later picked me up somewhere miles away. His assessment was that I wasn't "good" with "managing" children and that was that.

What I'm dealing with is shady, it's not obviously horrible, but the dynamic she copped in those moments - you do what I say and are responsible for my feelings, OR ELSE - galvanized my worldview and relationship to my family. I haven't even thought about this specifically in years. Rather than deal, we're all just pretty superficial with each other. They pay for my health insurance and I tell them how to use their iphones.

I have a stable, loving, strong boyfriend who I've been with for 7 years. We share a bed. Yesterday was the first time I've ever talked about this, and it was to him. I'm hoping that even though I've spent most of the last 24 hours in various states of crying, drinking, getting high, playing video games, general internet distraction, or working out until exhaustion, that I've at least started doing some of the work, some of the personal admitting and realization that will help me process this and get over it.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing.
Posted on 06/25/13, 04:57 pm
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Reply #1 - 06/25/13  7:58pm
" Yes, that is some seriously fucked up shit. You must be going through such a tough time right now. I'd be drinking too.

Your mother sounds.. horrifying. That must make it seem impossible to get any professional help to deal with the trauma. I'm really glad you have your boyfriend. "
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Reply #2 - 06/26/13  12:02am
" Thank you for commenting. Validating feelings feels good. I've just never put a ton of stock in therapy, for reasons even beyond my mom's own hypocrisy. Always been more of a friend confider, and the stable boyfriend has totally helped. But I am looking into groups where I live, I think that could be really good. Now it's just the sinking feeling of what does taking an adult stand on these memories even mean? I'm telling myself today that this is disturbed behavior, so does that mean it's over? How do you even begin to put up boundaries with someone who would probably never be able to understand how this was a ticking timebomb left in my memory? "
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Reply #3 - 06/26/13  12:14am
" I wish I could tell you. I just started posting in this forum too, and am totally unprepared to deal with whatever did or didn't happen to me. I was in regular contact with my family up until a couple months ago. I don't know if boundaries can ever really be achieved with this kind of thing. Maybe it has to be low contact or no contact.
Even with no contact, which is what I've been doing (not all that intentionally - my parents haven't tried to speak to me)... it doesn't make this shit that much easier to face. I keep asking "Did this happen? Was it a dream? Was I too little to remember things correctly? What if it only happened once? What if there are things that I don't remember?"

There's no one to give those answers. It's such a heavy burden. "
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Reply #4 - 06/26/13  3:34am
" reply #2 'How do you even begin to put up boundaries with someone who would probably never be able to understand how this was a ticking timebomb left in my memory? "

The only boundary that works with people like this is miles of empty space. They will never, can't, understand so you have to enforce them. This is really really hard to do at first because you are not used to it - but do it and you will benefit.

I think also the right therapist could help you deal with what your mother put you through, but I can understand how you don't want to go near one. However, there are good therapists out there and a good one will not push you to trust them before you are ready or with anything you are not ready to disclose.

And you are now an adult. You can walk away if you don't like them or their method. "
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Reply #5 - 06/27/13  1:43pm
" Thank you Breakingtheshell, I'm finding it increasingly important to talk about this, write about it, and seek therapy. I'm feeling really overwhelmed right now... it's like putting this memory into context has made pretty much everything about our relationship make sense.

There are miles of empty space, we live on opposite coasts. But unfortunately my parents make treks out to see me frequently and are coming in early july for 5 days, to stay in my apartment, then off to see more family. I'm trying to make a great purge now, and I think I could potentially get a lot of work done in the few weeks before they come to ensure that I can keep my shit together enough as to not start anything. I could be starting a new job next week and I just can't have world war three happen in my house, nor does my boyfriend want to live through an intense drama. I'm not sure how I will deal with her specifically. I've been good in the past about having adult boundaries and basically keeping her at arms length (literally, she still tries to kiss me on the mouth and the back of my neck... shudder)

I don't know what my ultimate plan is, but since I consciously acknowledged what happened I've been pretty emotional and generally destructive... day drinking, random acts of crying, major work procrastination... but at the same time I understand wiling out is part of the process. I never ever rebelled ever. Now I have so much anger inside of me I'm afraid I'll snap and throw my laptop against the wall or something equally impulsive and violent. FUCK MY MOM AND HER BULLSHIT IT'S NOT OKAY TO USE YOUR KID LIKE THIS YOU FUCKING PERVERTED EMPTY SKIN BAG. Fuck man, she tried to make me like her. She's wanted me to fail, be fat, unhappy. Sigh. Yeah. "
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Reply #6 - 06/29/13  2:12am
" A child psychiatrist abuser...Jeebus!
That was really fucked up, you have every right to be furious with her. "
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Reply #7 - 06/29/13  6:49pm
" NowILookback:
What a challenging situation you are in! To have a psychiatrist warping your childhood is just mind-boggling. Obviously she has not learned that her behavior was damaging to you or she would try to make some amends rather than try to have close physical contact with you when she visits. Can you call their visit off? Make some excuse that is bullet-proof to her insistence to visit until you are on more stable ground?
Unfortunately, once your mind has started the "looking back", it is very difficult to stop it. I often refer to this as opening Pandora's box, because once you open that particular place in your memory, often the past comes flooding out without regard to what you are going through at that time in your life. Many of these memories have sort of a will power of their own and the more you try to stuff them down, the more they torture and disrupt your life. But, I truly believe that our minds know when we are ready to deal with the past abuse and that usually has to do with your stability in a good supportive relationship or a feeling of safety at this time. Other times the fact that our abusers are coming back to visit can trigger these memories to re-surface.
I hope this is not turning into a bummer post, because it is not meant to. I am just trying to warn you, as someone who has been there and worked with survivors for years, that you can get through this and emerge stronger and more whole, if you put the work into it. I know that dealing with such powerful memories will often make us want to turn to drinking and drugs, but these are pitfalls that only make the issue worse. They confuse our thinking and make us feel worse physically. This is a personal choice that we all have to make, but eventually you have to face these issues in a sober and pro-active way.
Again, I think that a visit from your parents right now could spell disaster if you do not want have that confrontation, because it sounds like you have a lot of anger welling up within you.
I hope that you will find a catharsis that assists you in your upcoming journey, and the will and strength to take that journey. Until survivors purge themselves of the doubt and undue shame, they usually do not feel whole or strong.
All my best to you - this site can provide you with a lot of support and acceptance, along with (hopefully) some great advice and ways to deal with your issues. Use it as often as you need. I have been logged on for 20 hours at a time in the past, when I needed support or just someone else to listen.
Refuse2quit "
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Reply #8 - 06/29/13  9:54pm
" "Can you call their visit off? Make some excuse that is bullet-proof to her insistence to visit until you are on more stable ground?"

Agreed...
MRSA!
Methycillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus!

"Sorry, mom, we all have MRSA! if you come over your eyeballs can rot out!"
MRSA...
...When your parent is worse than a bacteria that makes your flesh go necrotic...

( I am kidding, but, like, not entirely...and I'm not doing it to hurt you. I do it because it sometimes helps to laugh at the horrorshow. ) "
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Reply #9 - 06/30/13  2:47am
" hylierandom-
GOOD EXCUSE - I will have to remember that.
NowILookBack-
Again, I think that if you can, postpone or completely cancel your invitation until you can better deal with the issue- either that or be ready in case WWIII breaks out in your family room!
Let us know how it goes!
Refuse2quit "
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Reply #10 - 06/30/13  2:54am
" NowILookBack:
I also meant to mention - this might be the first step to setting what you call "adult boundaries".
But as far as setting all your boundaries at this time - my opinion is that if you have not truly addressed all the issues that goes with your abuse, then any "boundaries" are going to change and fluctuate until you have faced those issues.
I am so sorry you have to deal with all this, but you can get through it! You sound very strong and courageous. Again, you may want to let your inner turmoil settle a little before you set your boundaries in cement at this time. But I do believe you need to start by going with your gut feeling about upcoming visit.
Again, just my opinion, but something to consider.....
Refuse2quit "

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