Sometimes I struggle with saying I have PTSD from my childhood - I wasn’t physically abused and I always had shelter, food, water, etc. But I’m beginning to realize that seeing your parents have absolutely no love for each other is traumatic enough.

  1. One big cause of childhood trauma is emotional neglect. If your parents were unloving people during your childhood, it seems likely that they deprived you of the love that you needed to develop as a healthy child.

  2. Thank you! Yes, absolutely agree. I have such a hard time with accepting it because I feel like this is a much more subtle form of trauma.

  3. Yes, this is def me. My parents fell out of love. They don’t share a bedroom. They smoked mad weed. I had food shelter water and yes some love but my parents were more like my roommates who fed and clothed me. I didn’t share secrets wishes hopes and dreams. They never asked.

  4. My mother blamed me for my little sisters death, because when I was 4 I got a vaccine. Shortly after she got Measels, which she blamed on me and the vaccine I got. The 25 week baby old inside of her didn’t survive her sickness. She used to routinely blame “the vaccine” but would shoot death glares at me while just existing.

  5. It wasn't until a few years ago (I'm in my mid 30s) that a therapist mentioned that it sounds like I had trauma in my childhood. Previously I never would have categorized my childhood as abusive. The more I have read about emotional immaturity, emotional abuse and neglect, I'm realizing how f'ed my parents were.

  6. I’m completely with you. I read Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents (highly suggest if you haven’t read it!) and it hit me really hard. It shows why I’ve never felt truly connected to people, even those I’m close with and care for a lot.

  7. I left my abuser so my kids wouldnt have to live like that anymore. I hope I did it soon enough. I see how it affects my children and it breaks my heart knowing the things they have seen and heard and how scary it was for them. I had to change my life and lost almost everything because them growing up the way you did was my worst fear. Being in that environment IS abuse by proxy and it is seriously detrimental to children.

  8. That’s so great that you recognized it and made the change that was best for all of you. I wish my parents could have seen it this way. You sound like you’re on the right track for yourself and your family. Sending love! 🖤

  9. Bravo to you for your bravery and resilience. The best time to leave is as soon as you realize what it is and have all your resources in place. You and your kids need healing, maybe with the support of a therapist, but I promise that leaving at any point is not too late. They will remember and be influenced by your very positive example, at least as much as they have been affected by their previous environment. You did one of the hardest things there is to do. Big big props to you and best wishes to you and your kids.

  10. Sometimes there is no physical or sex abuse, but it doesn't matter. The symptoms you're having validate themselves: disassociation, emotional blockage, no sense of self beyond a shallow mask used to "act right" etc etc. The omnipresent denial that anything is even wrong in such families is itself an abuse of the truth, that painfully severs you from who you really are, creating feelings of emptiness, forcing you to betray yourself, and is soon followed by "inexplicable" dysfunction filling your core, where life's natural joy normally should reside.

  11. My parents used to have screaming matches and I always had to comfort my disabled mum who was roaring crying. Always, always 😤

  12. This sounds like me too. Fuck this is so frustrating, it’s sad to know so many others have been through this. I’m sorry and thanks for sharing 🖤

  13. You're absolutely right. Your pain and trauma and PTSD are real and valid and are not 'less than' anyone else's.

  14. i experienced a lot of other abuse, but seeing my parents fight, hurt each other, be unloving to one another — that was definitely very traumatic for me. you're 1000% not alone in this department, and your ptsd is very real. i hope you're doing well.

  15. I grew up in an extreme narcissistic family. Led by an abusive mother who neglected me emotionally. Every feeling I had was denied. I was called crazy. Every reply was “because I’m your mother”. It was her way or the highway.

  16. Fuck, man, you are me! Just switch the narcissistic mother for a father, and everything is exactly the same. To this day, I rate my option to leave my parent's house as the best thing I ever did in my life, and my Life's mission is to erase everything I "learned" from them, reset myself, and start again.

  17. So sorry to hear how much you’re going through. Therapy helps, but I feel like as I’m working through things I feel worse because I’m finally acknowledging them. It’s tough and I wish it were easier for everyone who’s been through this. Sending you lots of love and healing! 🖤

  18. I was spanked for discipline, slapped by my mom, and often harmed by my brother (broken toe, bruised eye, bloody noses). But nothing harmed me like the emotional neglect I received. The physical harm, for me personally, was explainable of why it hurt. Having parents that never said they were proud or loved you was the worst. I still struggle with even feeling confident in getting a career because I feel like I can’t do anything right. And I’m such a perfectionist to the point it’s unhealthy, so maybe someone will notice and care. I even overwork at jobs only to never receive praise. And then I leave and have a breakdown. Neglect is stronger than people know.

  19. Yes, not to downplay victims of physical abuse at all, but I was so emotionally and mentally abused that on the occasion physical abuse did happen I was amused by it. It actually gave me power because I felt I could threaten my parents with calling CPS. Mom does another screaming banshee thing in the kitchen telling me for the one thousandth time that I should kill myself and no one will ever like me and I shout back and she backs me up into a wall while wielding a knife and actually cuts me this time? My face lights up and I threaten her with calling the cops and CPS will take me away with my cut as proof. She would immediately back off, disappear to her room, and I'd have free range of the house for a brief wonderful moment. I never got to exist confidently outside of my room except in those moments.

  20. Agreed! I think I have a hard time remembering anything besides the major fights so I sometimes don’t give myself any credit. Thank you! 🖤

  21. This sounds exactly like me too. I’m sorry we’ve had to go through this. Thanks for sharing, sending love! 🖤

  22. Oh hey, here I am again. In private my mom would descend into angry tirades and lock us away or wail loudly alone in her room and overshared all manner of inappropriate details. In public shes a church lady. Dad was an alcoholic with a rage issue that played out in restaurants, and at home he’d simply lock himself away if we displeased him. Mom would tell us what shit he’d said about us behind our back. They split when I was 7 and dedicated the rest of their lives to making sure neither one got anything positive from the other.

  23. Same here. I never went hungry and got presents and stuff during the Holidays, but deep down it just felt like my parents had zero love for the kids. They never really loved each other either, and over a decade of watching and listening to them scream and fight with each other just puts something into your brain. Then they'd turn around and scream at us kids for the dumbest shit.

  24. Absolutely. We were actually pretty well behaved and respectful kids (still are) even though we had no proper example for it. We got screamed at for things we should have been comforted for. A few years ago, my grandfather said to me “I don’t know how you and your siblings turned out to be such good people, considering how your parents are.” That hit me pretty hard.

  25. I’m with you. I feel so uncomfortable when my parents are “loving” or even making jokes with each other (it’s rare but it happens every so often). Although all I can think of is all the bad and all the hate that they have for each other, and how they’ve roped me and my siblings into their head games. I wished for years that they would get divorced. I still do. I’ve had to accept that there’s a very high chance of it never happening.

  26. Although I did go through a lot of overt abuse, some of my earliest memories are of physical and verbal fighting between my parents. I think it’s why I am so fearful of yelling and anger now.

  27. Me too! I completely shut down and begin to panic if someone raises their voice or if someone’s angry with me

  28. My family was basically the same way. Totally emotionally neglectful. I feel like I will never be able to be emotionally healthy because I truly don’t know how to connect. Being alone and dealing with myself alone is so natural. I try so hard to connect but I feel empty or emotionally numbed most of the time. Here to chat if you need support.

  29. Thank you so much for sharing. I agree. I’m so comfortable being alone and taking care of myself in the only way I know how. It feels really lonely, like I can only connect to people to a certain extent. Even people I care about a lot. Sending you love, and here for support if needed! 🖤

  30. I think there are a lot of insidious, invisible behaviors and treatment that cause complex ptsd. Emotional neglect, loss of bodily autonomy in a myriad of ways, can absolutely fuck you up.

  31. I was abused both physically and emotionally and at least for me, I feel like the emotional abuse has had more of am impact. I'm sure that isn't true for everyone but I feel like it messes with me more and that while the physical stuff was awful, it didn't happen as frequently as the near constant emotional abuse. I also feel like emotional abuse is just really insidious in that it slowly plants seeds in your mind until you find yourself in the middle of a forest without a way to get out.

  32. I sure hear you. I find it so much harder to believe the absence of something - like love - could be deeply damaging, like the presence of something - like physical abuse.

  33. I struggle with calling anything from my childhood 'trauma' because I had a home, food, and my mom always loved me / was there for me. But in the most subtle way, she wasn't there for my emotional needs. My dad wasn't particularly involved in my raising either. I was an only child so I grew up lonely. But I look at this now and think we'll f*ck a lot of people had this problem and came out fine. Why am I so messed up? But yeah until I can understand why I'm like this, I don't call anything that happened to me in my childhood trauma.

  34. I’m so sorry, and I completely understand where you’re coming from. Sending you lots of love. Thanks for sharing! 🖤

  35. Oh, yes! This! I also always had shelter, food, water. But the feelings of self hatred were always present. Whenever I tried to talk about them, I would be met with something like "There you go again!". I went years trying to rationalize that my inner feelings were totally my fault, for being such a scrawny stupid useless cunt.

  36. Dude for real. All my life i knew something wasn't right. Anytime i heard abuse victims speak out on tv or something a bell always rung in my head though. I never could understand why. I would always try to excuse it as "oh well i couldn't have been abused. I didn't get beat up or put my hands on. Except that one time by so and so. But they never did it again. So that can't be abuse". It wasn't until i met one of my closest friends and she told me about her abusive family and the sick emotional games they played on her and how she got diagnosed with PTSD after going to a mental health facility one time. Hearing her story and talking about the harsh emotional/mental abuse and neglect she went through was shocking and really opened up my eyes as to what abuse really was. Before that I had a narrow minded view of it I guess.

  37. I really struggle with this, too. My parents faked loving each other for the sake of our family image & their own egos, and that did serious damage to us kids. We were occasionally spanked as discipline (it was the 70s) but not beaten, we weren't yelled at very much, parents didn't call us names directly, we always had our physical needs met, but we all carry so much trauma from our upbringing. We grew up depressed, anxious, suicidal, insomniac, with no self esteem, we don't know what healthy relationships are and we all learned too late how much respect is part of love. We weren't shown that we as humans deserve basic human respect, boundaries, autonomy. That just wasn't modeled for us. It was destruction of our selves by 1000 tiny cuts rather than by blatant acts of obvious abuse. It is absolutely "traumatic enough" when it harms your nervous system and wounds your soul. You're not alone.

  38. How many of us have been broken by their parents. I'd venture most of us. That's what was the start for me. I've just got home from this week's therapy session and spent all of the time discussing the way I feel about the perpetrator of my childhood abuse. Is it wrong that over 50 years later I still want to sever every limb and cut out their heart? It's a shame they passed away before I could get to them. I feel robbed and cheated of some justice.

  39. I remember when I went with a coworker to go pick up her 4-year-old son at a babysitter's house after a 12-hour workday, and she casually mentioned she had some other errand she needed to run, and the kid started crying. She tried to bribe him with candy and toys, and the kid just went full-on meltdown mode:

  40. Please tell me you read the Pete Walker book because he speaks to emotional neglect in it and the damage it does.

  41. I just got the suggestion from another user in this thread! Haven’t read it yet but I have it on my list 😌 Thank you!!

  42. something thats helped me validate and accept my story and my past is the fact i read yalls stories and really do feel for you and genuinely have yet to come across someones post where i think “tHaTs nOt TrAuMa. ThaT DoEsnT CouNt. tHat coULd nEVERR afFecT a ChiLd” so i look at myself and wonder why in the heck i wouldnt count myself too. love yall❤️

  43. This helps a lot. I feel the exact same way. Thank you so much for saying this, I’m sure a lot of others appreciate it too 🖤

  44. shelter food water is like the LEGAL BARE MINIMUM. Like "congrats parents you put in the minimal amount of legally required effort in raising me"

  45. Totally understand. I used to envy people who had bruises and broken bones. I am very slow in most circumstances to do what I should: explain loud and clear that I have a history of extensive, layered and compound trauma. There are people who will walk all over you if they don't realize that. It's gross that they wouldn't even think to ask about one's history. But if you don't bring it out, no one will ask, and they may make some very dangerous assumptions about you and other things.

  46. Your CPTSD is valid regardless of how much or how little abuse you endured. Small, subtle things influence our lives and shape our brains as children, just as much as the big, dramatic things.

  47. Yes I realized this not too long ago, I don’t remember my dad really ever showing attraction towards my mom. He was never really around anyways and was always working. I think that greatly affected the way I saw women growing up, as I saw them as only either motherly figures for those older than me or just “other” people that were just kind of there for girls my age and not as people that I should be attracted to or even make an effort to associate with. To this day (I’m 23 now) I have never had a friend that was a girl and I still have massive problems in how I should treat women my age. Sorry for all of the personal info.. would you happen to know of any podcasts that talk about parental relationships and how they affect the children or some subject like that?

  48. So sorry to hear you’ve been through this. The Parent Footprint with Dr. Dan and Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel. Dr. Dan seems to cover a lot of different topics. Esther Perel’s podcast includes recordings of couples therapy sessions, talking about relationships and how different factors have influenced their relationships.

  49. That is called minimizing. "i wasn't hit, therefore i wasn't abused", "other kids got beaten, what am i crying about?"... If you have a chance, read Pete Walker's books. It's ironic that a lot of kids, who were physically abused grow up with less consequences than ones who were not physically abused, but were psychically. Yet society downplay the consequences of psychical abuse, and so do survivers, like you can see for yourself -

  50. same. it is definitely traumatic. I myself was never hit, but watching my parents fist fight, throw things, break things, slam doors, etc for the first 5 years of my life. definitely left a scar

  51. My mum finally sat and asked me to explain my CPTSD which is mostly emotional neglect, constant loss through my early teens (friends to suicides, car accidents) but does include actual threats of violence I saw as a tiny child, seeing my dad hold a gun to his head and when mum made us run away I grew up thinking it was because my dad was trying to kill us. Which I only now know wasn’t the case. I’m messed up. I’d literally only said the words ‘childhood trauma’ and within two minutes flat she rolled her eyes and scoffed because if THAT’s considered PTSD then scoff ohhhh the things I went through growing up w have no idea…. And that’s when it ended. I tried to shut down the conversation due to yet again being invalidated but it just ended in a huge fight. I was already suicidal at the time. Still am. And I’m stuck living on her couch after a painful marriage/my partner/best friend of 15 years breakup and very unexpectedly cutting me out of his life completely telling me he never loved me. It’s not like him, something is up, but I can’t get through to him and know I never will. I have no friends because I’ve always been a hermit with cptsd and it’s just been me and my hubby and our dogs. I’m drowning and I have nobody and nothing to cling to. Aaaaand yesterday I was told my dog, emotional support and ‘child’ is dying. I want to die now before I have to face anymore pain. I can’t take this anymore.

  52. I’m so sorry you’re going through this very tough time and for what you’ve experienced. You’re not alone! Sending you lots of love 🖤

  53. I was like a little ghost in my house. My parents seemed perfect on the outside but they never really demonstrated emotional love or interest in my life and if I f'd up I'd get a punishment but it was never discussed. That Amanda Palmer song It runs in the family? Yup. Especially the line about her family being corpses on ice. Can relate. What I wouldn't have given for some authentic emotion as a child. I've been with a monster of a narc for 33 years because at least our arguments are something I can feel. I hate my mother especailly this. She is cold and vile.

  54. I had a similar situation. I’ve just been diagnosed and I have a really hard time believing that I really have CPTSD though I have all the symptoms. Growing up surrounded by people who refuse to deal with their own issues and pile them on top of you is traumatizing too.

  55. I wasn’t physically abused but my dad had me living in fear and their divorce was a disaster. Got to the point mom had a restraint order and had to swap custody of kids in a public area. At one point we need cops present. They tried using us kids as pawns to get back at each other and he would line us up to insult us in-front of his girlfriend. Anything to make you feel insignificant so you could be controlled and molded in the perfect children he desired.

  56. I’m so sorry you’ve been through this. This sounds horrifying. While I know divorce would have been very messy for us, I wish it happened. Thank you for sharing. Sending you lots of love🖤

  57. With you here. I was neglected but also suffered from some emotional and physical trauma/abuse. Despite having experienced literal physical abuse at certain points, I still struggle to admit that I have PTSD and my other issues stem from that trauma to this day. What makes it harder is that being around my family, I can’t address it. I can’t blame my parents or siblings for everything. All I know is that I didn’t ask to be born and didn’t ask for the life I was given, and that I need to be patient and forgiving with myself. None of my experiences were caused by me. None of it was my fault.

  58. Agreed, how I’ve developed from the original trauma has caused lots of other trauma in my life, such as abusive relationships and assault. It’s not our fault and it sucks even more that we’ve been conditioned to feel guilty. It’s not an easy thing to deal with. Thank you for sharing your story. 🖤

  59. Adult children of emotionally immature parents Is another really good book for this sort of emotional trauma. I hope you find a way to honor it for just how traumatizing it was for you. You deserve to heal and be seen.

  60. Yep this is where my issues came from, emotional abuse against one another using me "she loves me more, which parent do you love more?" Being pushed aside and forgotten about.

  61. I feel with my emotional neglect that I have trust and I never feel safe. Except in the woods where I would take walks with God and beg him to get me out of this situation. For some reason, I feel comfort in the woods not my parents! How sick is that?

  62. In my last relationship, my ex partner asked her family what they thought love was and what their idea of it was like, if they saw it growing up. I grew up single parent, dad in prison for 10 years. I listened to my ex’s grandfather talk about the love they had for their partner, the love they saw growing up. My moms parents were military, they moved around a lot and had kids in different places they were stationed essentially until they settled. They fought a lot, were separated a lot. I didn’t know that, i thought just old couples fought a lot. nah, that was their whole marriage.

  63. I hear that, My parrents absolutely despise eachother and have never ever made an effort to hide it even as we were babies

  64. I think everyone is different and different situations affect people in different ways. I also think that people believe that something overt needs to happen for it to result in a disorder or the belief that others have it worse, so how can I say I have the same disorder as someone who was physically abused etc. Have you talked to a professional about how you feel? Here's a link to a blog, it explains a little bit about PTSD I also really like this Youtube channel, maybe it can help :)

  65. We all have pain and we all experience that pain in ways that are unique to us as individuals. There is no first place medal for most abusive childhood.

  66. Thank you so much for your kind words and sharing this. Very well put and I’m sure I’m not the only one who appreciates it. 🖤

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