I am so glad that you had aunts and uncles who reached out to you, and that you could go on to thrive and raise well-loved children of your own.

As the family scapegoat surrounded by enabling relatives and siblings, I had no one to turn to after the never-ending, extremely articulate verbal and emotional abuse from my mother. Added to this was brutal physical abuse (no witnesses, of course) along with the vicious verbal abuse during my toddler years and up until I was big enough to fight back to try to defend myself. (My father was an emotionally distant war vet who buried himself in his work, ergo a passive enabler.)

This was my normal and I spent a lifetime feeling empty, rootless and deflated with low self-esteem. I never grasped the reality: child abuse. After all, my mother was well-educated and from a very "well-to-do" family, so did not fit the abuser stereotype of decades ago, i.e. poor or "low-class." When I finally woke up several years ago after my mother's death (and having served as her verbally-savaged caregiver the last 18 months before her death), it was like a volcano exploding in my subconscious with memories surging up that I had buried deeply. Topical articles at this website and several others, plus books by authors like the late Alice Miller, helped me come to terms with the soul-eviscerating damage from a mother who - I found out after her death - threw a tantrum in her hospital bed after I was born, claiming she never wanted me and how my arrival had ruined her life.

I'm almost 60, never married (never even had a boyfriend). All my life my mother drilled into me daily that no man would ever want me. When I took care of her before her death, she reminded me several times that she WAS right that no man would ever want me, since I never married.

Today, I don't know who to be angrier with - my mother - a hateful woman who NEVER loved me and only wanted to see me be miserable and fail - or myself for not having awakened decades earlier to the reality that this was CHILD ABUSE, pure and simple. But this was all before the internet and I grew up in a dysfunctional family where anything to do with psychology and psychiatry was denigrated and ridiculed. And, of course, my mother always made me out to be the "crazy one" in the family. I realize now that was all a part of covering her tracks, so to speak. I have had counseling recently, but I still have a way to go.

The lesson from my story is that if you know a child is being abused, HELP THEM HOWEVER YOU CAN. And urge the adult survivors of child abuse to get counseling - a step I should have taken decades earlier. The mental pain I have endured is excruciating after living in a lifetime of denial about it all. NO CHILD should have to endure this kind of hell on earth.