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1 month ago · · depressed,
“This is not your house, respect the house rules!!”, “Move out!!” These are the phrases I’ve heard countless of times, together with consistent verbal and emotional abuse that made me feel like an outcast. For so many years, I have never felt like I belonged. I had a nice home, beautifully designed by my parents. But only I knew it was all a facade. I did not have the house key, or access to WIFI. To this date, I was given limited wardrobe space to place all my belongings- if I were to place things in it, she would take it out and place them in paper bags, and even write paper notices- “Do not put your things here!!”. It sounds ridiculous, but true.
For a long period of time, I had to put on a mask to work everyday. I was a preschool educator, which meant that i had to be professional and welcoming to the children and their parents, as well as my colleagues. I smiled, laughed and joked around them. It became a routine and every time i ended work, I returned to my truest self. I dreaded going home and would often spend long periods of time sitting downstairs until I felt emotionally okay to go back home. I even left home for awhile. I moved into a rental room, and was at my lowest.
We were constantly abused by her- physically when we were younger, and emotionally and verbally when we were older. The pain I felt from losing the 2 dearest things to me was indescribable. I carried on with life, trying to distract myself with my studies and graduated in July. I came to realise that abuse can carry on even when you are adults. It doesn’t stop as long as the abuser continues to a superior figure in your life.
I decided to write down how i have felt all these years as I had enough of tolerating and crying behind closed doors. Throughout the years, I become more aware of the importance of mental health. I knew exactly how people with depression and anxiety felt- as I continue to battle these inner demons today. So many stories of childhood, relationship, familial abuse pained me, and reminded me of my own pain. I have kept quiet about this all these years- nobody except the people closest to me knows all these. Not even my relatives or my parents’ close friends.
I have wanted to do this so many times, but i would feel guilty and thought that this would be an act of betrayal. I came up with excuses- maybe she was in a bad mood, or she was hormonal cause of menopause. My sis and I were even worried about her mental health- we looked up mental illnesses that could have contributed to her behaviour towards us. We were her daughters, and didn’t understand why she treated us like that, and continued to be under her control.
This year was the worst. I lost my beloved pet dog. She was what kept me going, and coming back home to see her made everything better. I lost my sister too- she left home since last year and I have never felt more alone and depressed. She was someone I could confide in and used to be extremely close to. I blamed her. I thought to myself, why did she abandon me and leave me alone here? But I came to realise that her mental health was as torn as mine, maybe even worse. I am now glad that she left and hope that she can heal and lead a life of her own, in her own terms.
I became a stronger person. I would defend myself- screaming back whenever she hurled abuse to me. But after every single episode, I realised that I would cry. Only i would cry. I wish I could turn my emotions off and feel nothing. Maybe the pain would be better. I focused my thoughts on supportive and caring friends that stood by me all these years, without them I would not be standing here today. I also met someone, and became excited in embarking on the next phase of life with him. He had been an extremely important part in helping me feel better and be more optimistic about the future. I thought she would be happy for me. For awhile she wasn’t so unstable, but the abuse started again.
Today, she rearranged my personal stuff and packed things I newly bought in bags. This was something she does often, especially when she was unstable. I decided to fight back- trying to let her have a taste of her own medicine by packing her snacks she kept at the coffee table into a bag. She retaliated by coming into my room and packing my things into a bag again, and said “You better find a place and move out!”. This threat was nothing new, I had heard it countless of times, but I was hurt. She knew that I would be moving into my new place soon but still does things to make me feel upset and anxious. I became so anxious and felt like puking, all while crying.
It was the last straw. The look of hatred and unkindness she gave me pained me to the core. But all I could do is to shut my door and let the tears flow. I know that if I slept it off, and put off writing this, I would never do it. But I wanted to be brave, and let others know that its okay to tell someone. Anyone.