Ah, Dawn, I really feel your words! My nuclear family wasn't physically or sexually abusive but they didn't understand me at all and were often inadvertently emotionally abusive. I was badly bullied at school and was inasmuch as asked what I was doing to cause it.
My father (RIP) once suggested to me that I had "weird mannerisms" because I tended to talk with my hands, the result of not being able to speak above a painful whisper during a severe month-long strep infection. Because of his words, I became very wooden, rarely gesturing with my hands at all and being very self-conscious of it when I did.
When I was fifteen, I was sexually assaulted by a nineteen-year-old guy. This was 1980 and I didn't believe there was anything reportable because there had been no PIV sex. The cops would have laughed at me. My friends supported me, but like me, they didn't think it was "real rape." I started acting out more than ever at that point. Not one adult bothered to ask what was going on with me. I was just scolded for being bad and told that I needed to be fixed.
I suppressed that event for 40 years. It really wasn't until I was in my fifties that I started being able to acknowledge that the bullying my classmates inflicted on me was abuse. I was 54 years old before I was able to acknowledge that I had been sexually assaulted by that fellow.
I still have trouble acknowledging that my parents psychologically abused me, even if the abuse was inadvertent. But they did. It doesn't mean that I don't love them but if I'm to move forward I need to be able to acknowledge it.
Thank you so much for this very powerful poem. I mean it.