i’m a good actor. growing up, the best acting i ever did wasn’t on the set.

“Living in long term abusive situation, the abusers will often require you to ‘act normal’, as if everything is fine and good, even if you don’t feel okay. They present it to you as necessary, polite, ‘don’t be rude to xyz’ or will straight-up belittle and humiliate you until acting ‘normal’ will be the only safe option for you. It creates the illusion that everyone is secretly falling apart inside and suffering silently only to be polite.

“Acting normal in every situation can become a compulsion, something you do automatically to protect yourself against possible or imagined backlash; you live as if you’re unphased by anything, because showing pain feels like showing weakness, and being hurt while you’re weak is worse. You additionally might feel that your feelings are too much, nobody would want to deal with them, you’re oversensitive, overdramatic, over-emotional disaster of a human and you keep it all in to save yourself rejection and embarassment.”

“My father did all the abusing, and my mother did all the gaslighting, so I would act okay around not just him, but everyone.

“To the day I ended contact with them, after trying so fucking hard to heal with them, he denied ever doing anything to hurt me, and she gaslighted me about it.

“I was so good at acting okay, most of my biological family doesn’t believe me about his cruelty and abuse.”

I’ve talked to my sister about it, and it’s like she grew up in a different family than I did.

I wonder if my mother convinced herself that, because he wasn’t hitting me or leaving marks on me, that he wasn’t abusive. And I wonder if, having made that choice, the emotional abuse and endless cruelty was that much easier to ignore.

If I’m being honest, the thing that hurts the most is knowing that my parents had unconditional love to give, because I saw them give it freely to my siblings.

I am having a little bit of a flashback right now to one of the many times my brother and father gleefully ganged up on me, teasing me, humiliating me, mocking me. Just relentlessly bullying me. And when I punched back, it was always, “WOAH why are you so sensitive? Learn to take a joke!” and etc.

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