I was born in 1970 outside of the United States, but in 1971, my parents moved to the U.S. We spent the next 15 years moving around (four times in all). When I was a teenager, we moved back to the country of my birth. This was a return home for my parents but a devastating experience for me. I went through a very rocky transition from childhood to adulthood. I was being emotionally abused* and (covertly) sexually abused** and didn’t know it. All I knew was that I had low self-esteem, was constantly depressed, and couldn’t satisfy my parents no matter what I did.
I got a B.A. in English and went on to graduate school in library and information sciences. I tutored kids in English and worked at the university library. I was doing what any young woman in her 20s was supposed to be doing, but none of it really felt right. I still felt like an incompetent child, and it seemed like my life belonged to someone else.
In my late 20s, I decided to return to the States to live with my sister and brother. I truly thought I’d be free. The abuse, though, had taken its toll on all of us. We abused each other. I eventually slipped back into the role of the passive, obedient daughter/sister. I still felt like my life wasn’t my own.
Five years later, I went no-contact with my family. It was a really hard thing to do, but I had to protect myself from my parents and my brother and sister from being placed in the middle. My parents couldn’t see that they were abusers. What we can’t see, we can’t change. They would have continued to abuse me my entire life. (I know this for a fact. I renewed contact with my sister in 2012, and she tells me about them. They have not changed, and we both suspect they never will.)
In the spring of 2008, I came out of a kind of meltdown in my life. I was ready to start the process of healing. I was soon guided to a local teacher who helped me learn to interpret my dreams and to use Tarot with my dreams. Another teacher, Linda Gail Walters, helped me learn more about the Tarot, which I’ve been using since the 1990s. I’ve continued to expand my knowledge of dreamwork and Tarot, and I honestly don’t think I could have come as far as I have without them.
I’ve also continued to expand my spiritual interests. Although I’m an eclectic Neo-Pagan, I’m fascinated by many spiritual paths. I’m interested in mythology, art, good films, and good books. I occasionally write stories and like to play around with a photo manipulation program. I’ve recently started learning to draw.
Although my abusive past has been a major influence on my life, I’ve come a long way in healing. I don’t dwell on it, but I don’t shrug it off either. Emotional abuse in particular is all around us and not taken seriously enough. I speak my mind on it when I’m moved to. But I’ve learned to focus more on what really gets me excited such as spirituality, dreams, Tarot, and art. If any of these topics interest you then come connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, or deviantArt.
* It’s not uncommon to be confused about emotional abuse when it’s not obvious, like being called nasty names or being put down all the time. The emotional abuse I went through is called enmeshment. It means my abusers couldn’t see me as an autonomous human being. Instead, they saw me as an extension of them, a robot who thought the same as them, felt the same about everything as them, needed what they needed, and wanted what they wanted. I was treated as an object to be used for their own satisfaction or a puppet who was expected to do whatever they wanted.
** Covert sexual abuse, sometimes called emotional incest, is not well recognized, and yet it’s no less damaging than overt sexual abuse. Overt sexual abuse is obvious: sexual intercourse in any form and touching of the genitals. Covert sexual abuse doesn’t involve the genitals, but it’s still sexual in nature. It involves inappropriate kissing or hugging, inappropriate touching of sensitive body parts (such as the neck, underarms, chest, breasts, stomach, and thighs), inappropriate exposure of private body parts (for instance, in stripping “games”), sexual remarks, and any other behavior that places a child in the position of a lover.