Realizing my mother is emotionally abusive tore me apart and yet gave me strength. She had a messy childhood... I suppose that sounds very stereotyped. But she did. She suffered from clinical depression and was completely unaware of it. Her father was emotionally and physically abusive to her and her brothers. Her mother was manipulative, cold, heartless, and basically came under every term you can think of that qualifies for emotional abuse. As she got older, I'm told that my mother became more and more depressed, and that while she was pregnant with my older brother and myself, she suffered numerous panic attacks, and even became suicidal.

Don't know why she had children. I don't think she is a bad person, but I think she is a damaged, weak, low and selfish person. She is doing her best to live through me, and abusing me every day of my life, and yet she has no idea.

She has always been this way.

She never swears at me, she hardly hits me, and she never neglects me. But her words--god, her words.. She gets angry and insane over the simplest of things- me forgetting my school books, staying up a little late, voicing my opinion at a family dinner....she just blows up. She has this cold, hard, sharp, cutting voice, and she uses it so often. She tells me that I'm worthless, that she should've killed me when I was pregnant, that I ruined her life. She screams, "what did I do to deserve you?!" She calls me a bitch behind my back, I've heard her so many times.

She tells me I'm a little loser, that it's no wonder I haven't got any friends, that if I go on the "way you are" then I will end up with no future, isolated and hated by everybody. She continually tells friends, family, even hairdressers and shop keepers, that she "always gets abused" by me at home, that I'm a "horror" and that she can barely handle me. She talks about my flaws in public, even the stupidest things like me forgetting to clean my room or getting in trouble at school. She tells me I make her want to kill herself.

My father, though, also plays a big part in this issue. I genuinely, solely believe that deep down, he's a good person. When I was little, my dad and I used to be friends. He would comfort me when me and my mother fought, and if he saw fit, he would stand up to her, defend me, even if it meant her raging on him. He was my protector and my hero and the only family member I could trust.

But as I got older, my eyes have opened. I no longer see my dad as brave because he isn't. He's confused and lost, desperate and depressed, and I can tell. He has confided in me many times that he “made a mistake” marrying my mother, and that people like her “weren’t meant to be mothers”. He’s so afraid of fights that he will do anything to prevent them, even if it means ignoring my feelings and pressuring me to shut up about them. He is such a coward that while my mother abuses me, he’ll hide out and ignore us, pretending I don’t exist.

But when HE gets mad, there’s hell to pay. He’s always paranoid about my schoolwork and my social reputation. If I have a falling out with a friend and he thinks its’ my fault, or if I do badly in a test, he just blows up. He screams and he rages, he’s so loud that everybody can hear him. He throws stuff at me- books, boxes, anything. He hits me, he screams in my face. He swears ALL THE TIME. He calls me a fucking bitch and tells me that he’s going fucking crazy. He claims that he is a very patient and generous man, and that I am continually breaching his trust and disappointing him. When I was little, he always had a bad temper, but he was reasonable. Now I just think he’s mental. When he sends me to my room after screaming at me, I curl up and sit there, and when I hear his footsteps down the hallway I can almost scream out in all consuming fear and horror.

Teamed up with my mother, my dad is ten times worse. When they’re both mad at me, things are as bad as they can get. Together they swear at me, insult me, and my mother laughs and watches as my dad hits and throws things at me. He also says some disgusting things. When I was about seven and I was struggling to do mathematics that he’d set me, he told me that unless I stop being lazy and start concentrating, I’ll wind up a loser who has sex and children with every “fucking Tom, Dick and Harry you meet on the street”. During all of this, my mother watches or laughs, often adding her own harsh thoughts.

Since I was in grade four, I have been suffering from clinical depression. I haven’t actually been diagnosed with it, but considering it runs in the family and I have all the symptoms, it’s basically a fact. I remember when I was ten and I looked “Depression” up on the internet. I knew my mum had it, and I was wondering whether this was the reason I felt sad and lonely and empty for no reason.

The following morning, I went to my dad and told him that I thought I had depression. His first reaction was to smile, shake his head and say, “No.” Later, he looked up the symptoms and sceptically asked me if I had any of them. When I told him about feeling isolated and empty, and guilty for no reason, he actually laughed, and said “No” again.

It took a long time for my parents to realise the severity of my depression, and they still really haven’t, since I have learnt not to confide in them. They did all the “Right” things- they forced me to exercise, they took me to the doctor, they talked to me about it, but when they realised that text book instructions weren’t working, they gave up.

My mum wouldn’t allow my father to take me to a psychiatrist and get me properly diagnosed with clinical depression. I think it was because she’s in denial- or maybe because she has clinical depression herself and wants to keep the attention. She convinced me that I was “upset for real reasons, not depressed”, and that I was “really okay, just fine”. I agreed to these statements because I felt guilty for worrying her.

My dad has promised to make me an appointment with a psychiatrist many, many times, but he never has. I stopped taking him seriously a few months ago.

My mum always burdens me with her problems. She never goes to my dad, because he doesn’t understand depression or anxiety. My older brother is 15 and happy, free spirited and loud, as well as slightly obnoxious and predictably insensitive. So she comes to me, because I feel depressed and because I feel pain, and instead of sympathising, she just dumps on me.

She asks me whether I’m still depressed. Usually I lie and say I’m fine, but occasionally I’ll tell her I am. If I tell her I’m depressed, she’ll ask why. When I tell her, she says something like “Oh, but that’s just because you’re upset. You’re not actually depressed. I’M the one who’s REALLY depressed…” or she’ll just jump in and say, “Just imagine- it’s ten times worse for me, I’m really bad. You’re not that bad.” Then she goes on to tell me about all of her life problems. She tells me stuff no 12 year old should know about her own mother. She says that everyday she wants to die, that life generally “is a bitch”, that she’s divorcing my dad as soon as “you kids move out”. She told me that she envies people who kill themselves, and that the only reason she doesn’t commit suicide is because it’s her “duty to look after you kids. It’s wrong to kill myself.” Not because she loves us, but because we’re her duty.

Both my parents want to live a story book perfect life. They dote on my brother because he’s energetic and happy and “normal”. My brother has all kinds of privileges that I’m constantly deprived of, such as calling and seeing friends, having MSN and going down to the local shop. My mum told me that I’m not allowed to do these things because I’m “not very practical, not very smart”, and because she’s too afraid to let me.

My dad gets angry when I’m depressed. He also often ridicules my depression. For example, one day he burst into my room while I was crying. He asked me what was wrong. I shrugged, still crying. He replied, “Oh, you don’t know. You just feel like crying, because you’re so depressed and you want to die.” He doesn’t understand it, so he makes fun of it.

When my mum asks me how my day was, and I reply, “Not so good”, or even, “Crappy”, she’ll say, “Oh well, that’s life- a bitch”, or “I don’t want to know about it.” Often when my brother is telling her some happy, jolly story about his friends, she’ll be smiling at him sickeningly. Once I asked her why she appears to favour him over me. She replied, “You have to admit, you’re a very nasty, rude child. I’m a very good mum to you, and you’re horrible to me. Your brother is a happy child.”

Even when my brother is rude, he gets away with it. Once, my dad was teasing him about something, and my brother snapped, “Get lost, you ass!” If I had ever said this, I would’ve been dead. But when my mother confronted my brother about his behaviour, my dad said, “No, no, I provoked him. It’s okay.”

I’ve recently fallen out with all of my friends, and my parents never hesitated to tell me “what you did was wrong. It was your fault. I knew this was going to happen- why don’t you listen?” and so on. I have been hanging out with some new people, and although they treat me well, I feel more alone than ever. Since December last year I have been continually waking up at 3 o’ clock in the morning. Sometimes I’d wake up at midnight, or one thirty. Then I would lie there for a few hours, unable to sleep, until I eventually cried myself into a deep and fretful slumber, usually where I had nightmares. I DID tell my parents, but after they tried the usual text book solutions- exercise, a warm drink, etc, and they didn’t work, my mum told me to “just get over it”.

I am not a cutter, but I used to hit myself, as stupid as I know that sounds. I used to bang my head hard against the wall, and then I’d feel dizzy and sick, but strangely calm and tender, and then I’d cry the rest of my pain away. I don’t do that anymore, for I fear I have lost my senses. I don’t FEEL anymore. I have not confided in anyone for a long time. I am known- or, rather, my mother has made people believe- that I am an outgoing, loud, and open person. Recently, though, as I scraped away the layers of lies that my parents, family and numerous abusive friends have laid upon me, I have discovered that I am far from this description. Instead I am a quiet, almost shy person. The fact my “friends” have abandoned me, and my mother’s usual abuse, has caused me to have deep trouble with trusting anybody. I feel scared and confused when people are nice to me, ‘cause I don’t get why they like me. Why don’t you hate me, sir? Why aren’t you running from me, miss? Aren’t I disgusting? ‘Cause that’s what mummy says.

Sometimes I wish I was cutting or drinking or high on drugs, because that would guarantee people’s attention. Because I’m so quiet, because I’m such an accomplished and skilful liar and hider, and I have built a wall around me, people don’t ever think there could be something wrong with me. But inside, I’m so damn lonely. Sometimes I think that if I took a razor and slit my wrists and watched them bleed, or if I drank that poison under the sink, nobody would even realize that I was gone. I can’t even cry anymore, because when I do, my mum mocks me.

I am right now craving attention. Most people will think I’m a selfish little brat, and an attention seeker, and I suppose I am. I want love so much that I would probably, literally kill for it. For someone to appreciate me and love me and want me in their life, I would kill for. I want to be nurtured and loved and cared for and now I am looking for it, searching so hard, screaming its name, and yet all of it continues to hide from me.

What is scariest is that when they’re not angry, my parents are completely normal. I just forget about everything they said, and then everything’s perfect and fine until next week when it happens again and then it’s starting all over.

I’m lost and confused. I was so shocked when I realised what my parents do could even be considered emotional abuse. I almost wanted to wipe out this fact from my memory, forget it and pretend things were okay. ‘Cause it’s so easy to forget, to open up and love again, rather than face the truth.

Everybody in my life who I’ve trusted has either abandoned me or betrayed me. The people who have helped me, I have been forbidden to make further contact with. I’m so lonely that even when I’m surrounded with “Friends”, I feel like I’m standing by myself at the end of the world. I will never kill myself, for some reason. I don’t want to die, and this is what scares me. After all of this hell, some part of me is still okay. That’s what’s confused me. Some little part of me is unbroken, and as I sit here and type this at 1:00 AM on Saturday night, I know I don’t want to die. I want to survive and to be able to say, “Yeah, this was shit. So? I’m alive.”

Already I seem to “know too much for my age”. A lot of people who don’t know my real age come and tell me their problems, and they tell me I’m a listener, that I “have such good emotional awareness”. I know why. All this pain, all this sorrow and confusion and loneliness and desperation in the world…I know it all! Why? Why me?