Re: Can someone have a delayed response to abuse?
My heart goes out to you. Healing is a process of replacing all of the hurtful ways of imposed thinking, thus unhealthy feelings, with healthy ways. As freeing as it is, it can be very confusing and stressful. Unsettling is actually a beautiful word for it, so perfect. It brings to mind a shiny garden trowel, unsettling the ground, loosening it up, rooting out the weeds, and planting new flowers. Thank you for that.
I would ask that you consider saying that you are REacting, rather than owning "the way I act." A wonderful book stated that the feelings are "normal reactions to an abnormal amount of stress." It helped me distance my conscious choices from my learned defensive reactions.
It took many years to realize that my mother was a participant in the abuse, in promoting my compliance with my father. She actually taught me to keep him calm, how to soothe him, how to please. She failed to protect me, failed to remove me from the abuse, failed to put her child's needs in front of her comfort. If I ever spoke out to her in defense of myself, I was "hateful," or some other demeaning word. She was never physical with me, but the bruises she left were all on the inside, much more internalized as a part of my being.
It took more work (unsettling, digging) to realize that, than the abuse my father dealt. He was easy to hate; easy to point at specific actions against my person, and say, "See? EVIL. NOT ME, NOT mine." Mom's non-physical abuse was much harder to nail down, to see. Now, when I look back, I think I was emotionally hanging on to the lesser evil. Becoming an orphan by choice has its pitfalls, but in the end, I receive so much more genuine support, friendship and love from people to whom I am no blood relation, than I ever did from my family.
Immersed in an evil family, it can be difficult to see all the good people out there. Having scraped them off, for the most part, I sometimes feel I now live among angels.
Thank you for sharing your story.