In life, there are many choices that we can make. But there are certain things that we can’t choose. Family is one of them.
I grew up in a Christian family with my Dad (a pastor), my Mom (a housewife), and my brother. Growing up in a Christian household means that I went to church a lot and got all the preaching about God’s amazing love. But it was hard for me to see the love that I heard over and over.
My mother raised my brother and me with a lot of tough love. I was so confused about the word “love” and didn’t know what it exactly means.
I was 4, and I was still learning how to write alphabets and numbers. But it was also the time I saw the other side of my mother. I still remember vividly the first time I got yelled at, hit, and mocked. It was because I could not write my alphabets and letters correctly.
All I can do was sit there, getting yelled at, slapped, hit, mocked, and cried as I continue to write with my bruised hand. I was helpless, I had no power to fight back, and I was so scared. When my Dad got home, all I can do was hide the pain and act as nothing happened. I was so afraid that I was not able to tell my Dad and ask for help.
When I was in primary school, things got worse. I get beaten up where sometimes blood will come out and severe bruises that I struggled to fall asleep because I was in pain. I constantly received mockery and being told about things that affected me in the future.
This traumatic experience left me with a great wound and bitterness in my heart. I became a person of anger and hate. I would have anger outbursts at school, became rebellious and violent, and I became a bully. I was acting tough, and I tried to prove to myself that I am strong.
But deep inside, I was just a fragile kid. Often, I cried, was lonely, and not knowing what to do. I was lonely and ashamed of telling or sharing my story. I never understood why I had to go through this traumatic experience. I had thoughts of running away and killing myself.
I did not have help, and I was too scared to seek help. As I grew up older, my heart became calloused. I treated people wrong, I was disrespectful to authorities, and I would say very hurtful things to other people. It was negatively affecting my life.
I kept my secret all to myself, and I never told anyone about my feelings and frustrations. I had no outlet to express myself and pour out my frustration.
But then I found basketball. Basketball changed my life. I never ended up making the national team, the all-star team, or going pro. But I was good enough to make it to my school’s team.
I was 13 years old when I started taking basketball seriously. It allowed me to pour out all of my anger and frustration. I ended up becoming a decent player in my region. People at school started recognizing my hard work and talent. It’s like I found who I am in basketball, and it was my identity. I felt I was accepted and appreciated, so I worked harder and harder.
In high school, I was still a decent player in my region. Then I got to college, and my basketball journey pretty much ended. I came back to this person with anger, hate, and bitterness. I lost my identity. But, I knew that if I keep ignoring and blaming my childhood experience, my life will be a mess.
I had to take action and solve my issues. Whether I like it or not, I had to deal with it. So, I took several steps that helped me heal from my heartache.
How to Deal with Emotional Abuse from Parents
- Seek Help: It was hard for me to open up and share my story. I was scared that I would receive judgment and ridicule. I was so insecure, but I decided to talk to my older friends, who I trust. They would listen attentively without judgment. This step was such a great help to my healing journey.
- Support Group: I believe that environment is essential. I understood that the group of people I hang out with influences my behaviors and attitude. I had a great support group that listens to my heart and encourages me with words, love, and prayer. From there, I generated a more positive attitude, energy, and mindset. They can’t heal or do the inner work for me, but it doesn’t mean I have to do it alone.
- Changing my mindset about myself: I grew up with so many lies told about me. I was told that I was dumb, stupid, unreliable, useless, and many more. And little did I know, I believed those lies, and I accepted it. I knew that I had to get rid of those beliefs and change my confidence in myself. I started putting up quotes and positive words around my room, and I would read it out loud every day to myself in front of the mirror. I started listening to podcasts that will give me a positive mindset and attitude. I believe that we act based on what we believe.
- Saying sorry: People think that “it isn’t your fault,” so I did not have to say sorry. But I believe that true healing starts when you humble yourself and say sorry even though it was not your fault. So, this allowed me to forgive and heal.
- Seek God: This was a crucial step to my healing. I could have killed myself, go on doing bad things, or revenge. But God kept me safe and allowed me to encounter great friends, mentors, support group, and used it to be a part of my healing journey.
Do I still experience side effects?
The answer is yes. I still have to deal with anxiety, anger and work on my empathy. I will never be perfect, but I am a work in progress. The reason why I share this story is to share encouragement. There is always hope.
There are things in life that we don’t understand as to why it happens. I still do not know why I had to go through this experience. But all I know is that whatever pain that you are experiencing, it is temporary. It may last for years, but it will be the strength of the future.
There is only two option, either you can go through it or grow through it. I know that people are experiencing and going through a similar situation to me. Maybe, even worse! I just wanted to remind you that there is always hope. Accept it, learn from it, and grow through it.
Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us — David Richo
Originally published at byrslf.co