Tina s Story

Salem, MA USA

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"Mental illness runs in my family. My grandma, sister, and mother have all taken medication for depression. My brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

 

I grew up in a broken home- we were poor, we were abused. My siblings and I never learned how to talk about our problems. Because of this, I've always buried my feelings deep inside, no matter how painful they are.

 

I had to make the decision to cut my parents out of my life. For years I had felt worthless, alone, like garbage. I had no self-esteem. I loathed myself and told myself I wasn't worth anything. I would burst into tears for no reason.

I hated my parents with a fury I had never known before. Because of my mother's inability to show emotion, I thought I was screwed up and that had to be the reason why she couldn't love me. I thought that meant I was defective. Her cold distance broke my heart more than the abuse my father handed down.

 

I realize now that my parents didn't have great childhoods. If you're never taught how to release emotions in a good way, chances are that sometimes you will continue the cycle when you become a parent. It's sad but true. I know that my mother's inability to say 'I love you' or 'I'm proud of you' had nothing to do with me. It had everything to do with her not learning how to express herself. My father most likely had a traumatic childhood and learned that the only way to gain control was through creating terror. I did nothing to cause it.

 

The most important things I have learned through therapy and hearing stories from other people are: I am not defective. It was not my fault. I am worthy. And, perhaps the most important one of all: I can be the person I needed as a child. It's hard work but it's so important."

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