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SirBailey's avatar

Did you ever realize, when you became an adult, that the "love" you thought you were getting from your family when you were growing up was not love at all?

Asked by SirBailey (3120points) June 13th, 2009

For me I realized it was abuse. Never realized it as a child growing up. Makes me sad that other children may be in abusive situations and don’t realize it yet.

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9 Answers

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I think it’s very true a lot of times because children’s reality is what happens at home, and there’s usually nothing to replace home. It’s not until you get older and realize that other parents treat their children differently than yours treated you and your siblings.

Sometimes it’s not even “abuse” that does damage. It could be having a hypercritical parent that never has a good word to say about anyone, or a parent who is struggling with depression and never allows anyone to come over. While this is not “abuse” per se, it does create a skewed environment to grow up in.

rooeytoo's avatar

In ACOA meetings, there is always discussion about how parents are our “gods” when we are little and the strangest and most hideous behavior seems “normal” because it is what we are used to and have grown up with. Therefore we assume that this is the way
life is and the way all people are.

It is only when I came to realize that my own strange and undesirable behavior stemmed from this that I sought help. Through a lot of soul searching and hard work, I have reached the point where my life feels full and not insane. And I am grateful.

cookieman's avatar

Yes, but it took my father dying last year for me to finally (and clearly) see it for what it was.

With him gone, it all became so clear I’m almost embarrased I didn’t see it sooner.

Sure I suspected it (and, perhaps knew on some level), but I ignored or justified the behavior all too well.

Now I feel a huge burden has been lifted. It’s just unfortunate it took a horrible road to get here.

cookieman's avatar

@rooeytoo: What is ACOA?

aprilsimnel's avatar

@cpreviteA dult C hildren O f A lcoholics

I also was aware that my family was abusive, but I truly believed them when I was told that I could trust no one but them, when the truth was I could trust almost anyone else but them. I still struggle with that a bit now. It’s like, “Really? Really? You hurt so bad from your own abuse that rather than get help as an adult, you took it out on a child? And then demanded my love?”

It’s hard to accept, but to accept that this is indeed what happened and the past can never be changed is the only way I can move on and have any hope of forgiving the sick and unhappy people who perpetrated abuse upon me and called it love.

filmfann's avatar

I never had this problem.
My mom used to tell me that I would never know how much my parents loved me, until I had kids. She was right, as mothers often are. I have passed that information to my kids.

wundayatta's avatar

What about the opposite? Has anyone ever grown up thinking their parents didn’t love them, to figure out they were loved?

I think my parents love(d) me, but with conditions. I don’t know if that’s abuse, but my image of love was always that it has conditions. It still is. I argue that point to anyone who takes me on. There are always points beyond which you will no longer take someone’s abuse in the name of love.

Still, I think my sense of the conditions that love has are much stricter than out and out abuse. My sense is that if you don’t please your love enough, they’ll dump your ass. That means you have to do almost everything they ask of you. Funny, because it’s a double standard. I don’t expect that of others, but I think they expect it of me. Or maybe it’s just that I’ll do almost anything to get some love.

rooeytoo's avatar

@daloon – I have often thought about what you have put into words. I sort of feel that all love has conditions or needs that are inherent. If one stops fulfilling those conditions or needs then the relationship or love changes and can go away. It is like the partner of an alcoholic or any addictive behavior, if they get straight or sober, it changes the entire dynamics of the relationship and often leads to a break up.
I am equating relationship and love here and perhaps that is incorrect particularly when one is dealing with the love between parents and children, that is supposed to be unconditional, but I have always wondered if there really is “unconditional” love?

I never had children so I don’t know how that feels.

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