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Text comes largely from the book: “The outside stays outside: How I didn't leave the apartment for years because of fear - and hypnosis healed me” (2019), published by Münchener Verlagsgruppe (MVG), reprinted with the kind permission of the publisher.

Here writes for you: Sarah Peters is a hypnotherapist and alternative practitioner for psychotherapy. All texts by Sarah Peters.

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Depression Anxiety Social Problems: This creates an emotional downward spiral

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Anyone can be hit quickly and unprepared by fatal blows. This can quickly lead to an emotional downward spiral.

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What is normal life?

My life was initially quite "normal": mom, dad, younger brother, the nice family home in a well-kept settlement, in which the children played outside in front of the houses on the street. My parents got me shortly after my apprenticeship, which means: quite young. House construction followed. The classic family concept that they had experienced at home. Did they ever feel happy together? I dont know. Have we ever been happy as a family? I dont know. My mother, who originally had another man in her heart, my father, who felt early on that she was not the "right one" for him. And then I came!

My parents came to terms with the situation, bought the property in the beautiful family home, built the house. We lived family. The father who earns the money and the mother who takes care of the household and the children at home - that was the idea. Only the mother role wasn't the role my mother played, the family model wasn't the model that made her happy. Therefore, she was looking for a kindergarten place with all-day care for me. That meant: At 7:30 a.m. the kindergarten bus picked me up at home, and at 17:XNUMX p.m. I delivered it again. Practically.

When care is lacking

But after a day in kindergarten, I didn't get to know the feeling of running excitedly outside with red cheeks and disheveled hair, where mom is waiting to hug me and listen to the day's experiences on the way home. When I was four years old, my brother was born. Outwardly, it complemented the beautiful family image. Large garden, the beds made pretty, the hedge trimmed. Great family vacations, nice family celebrations. You have to show what you have ... On the outside, we must have made a happy impression. Yes, the outside, what others think of you - of us - was always very important to my mother. Always mindful of what others might think.

It was the same when she took me to her friends for coffee and cake in the afternoon. On the way back, she always counted me where I would not have behaved "appropriately". I would have played too little with the other children, hung the adults on the tip of my skirt and eaten too much cake, had been too greedy, hadn't been sitting, was too cheeky and not thankful enough. She would be ashamed of me. Again and again I had to listen to these allegations while driving home. I was afraid of her, knew that as soon as the engine started, she would start and would not fall silent so quickly. The children of her friends, however, were always particularly great.

What others might think - when fear is more important than your own feelings

Exactly what other people might think of me, coupled with the fear of being negatively rated, will later play a very central role in my life. When my brother was born, my mother was overwhelmed. Suddenly there were two children. Two children, they just lacked nerves. So I somehow ran alongside, was not really seen, it was said: "Sarah, she'll do it, her brother is still so small." Yes, I did it. I learned to do things that were not common at my age, and I learned to do them particularly well to be seen, to get attention.

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Because it worked, I took on more and more tasks, more and more responsibility, and very early on I became very independent. Too early. So I got praise, affection and love - the love that I missed so much. I linked love with achievement and with perfection. Increasingly took care of my brother while my mother was out. She was constantly looking for ways in which she could just be a boy Mrs. could be. Whether she went out with friends, drove to beauty farms, or went to the bowling club, she found plenty of reasons not to have to be home.

Envy, resentment, jealousy as the predominant emotion

The consequence: I was very far for my age and was not interested in peers. Also because when I was in contact with other children I increasingly felt the feelings that I already knew from home and that had to do with my role as a sibling. Resentment, envy, maybe even jealousy of other children. I wanted to be the best among them. Whenever I was with peers, it meant being in a competition for me. Other children noticed that, didn't want to play with me. You avoided me. My feeling of being different, of being excluded, of not being good enough intensified. I, the foreign body, the foreign body that doesn't fit anywhere?

Too old for her peers, too young for adults. This feeling that something is different about me, the insecurity that I felt among people, the feeling of not belonging, nowhere to fit in, but also not wanting to belong - all of this will run like a red thread through my life similar to the fact that you don't just want to do things well, but as perfectly as possible in order to be seen. To get approval and love. I felt my mother was emotionally absent and felt her dissatisfaction. Maybe that was why I never bonded with her?

Looking for warmth

When I was seven, I baked my first cake for her on Mother's Day, with a baking mix, but at least. I was so proud and quickly transformed the small round TV side table into a gift table. I decorated it with a colorful blanket, massive pink glitter and chocolate hearts. I had planned everything very carefully. I placed my cakes and gifts on this wonderfully decorated table: I had painted many pictures for her and made mandalas. I stood there excitedly that Sunday morning and looked forward to her shiny eyes. She entered the room and was completely sober.

She tried to show joy, but it didn't feel honest. I just felt no warmth, no happy motherhood and no warmth - I missed those shiny eyes anyway. I had also set the breakfast table, and when we ate together afterwards, she only took a small fork from my cake. "Don't you like it?" I asked. “Yes, but little mouse. But it's a real calorie bomb. ”I ate the rest of the cake myself over the next few days. She didn't stick the many pictures I had painted for her on the fridge or framed them like other mothers; I found them later in the wastebasket . Or she kept them in a box in the attic.

Heroes can also fall off the pedestal

I therefore increasingly oriented towards my father. He wasn't at home often, worked a lot, but I really enjoyed the time he was there. I accompanied him on weekends for business appointments. I sat like a princess in the passenger seat next to him in the convertible or went on a motorcycle tour with him. Sometimes we just went for an ice cream or the hype. I was so happy! I, the daddy child. Dad was my hero. I didn't know then that this would change very soon. That heroes can also fall off the pedestal.

So that's how we lived. Together and somehow past each other. Consolation and words of encouragement on an open knee? Closeness and hugs at the first lovesickness? Fooling around together, telling each other about the day? I don't have a single childhood memory in which we sit around a table and paint together or someone reads something to me. I didn't get to know feelings like closeness and security. Perfection and performance also played a big role in terms of appearance and weight. When I started school, when I was six years old, I began to gain weight. At first I wasn't a fat kid, I just had a little baby fat. My mother was slim, my father had always struggled with his weight - he wanted to spare me that. He declared losing weight to be a joint project between father and daughter.

Emotional food and yo-yo effect

On a Friday evening - that was always our TV evening, my absolute highlight of the week - the two of us sat at the kitchen table and my father explained to me that he had thought of something. "Tonight we're going to really hit it again, from tomorrow we'll go on a diet." My father, who loved sweets, needed a partner in crime for his diet phases, an accomplice, and that was me. His plan: I'll weigh in at the weekend, and as soon as I've lost two kilos, I can make a wish. I had absolutely no desire to jog with him or accompany him on the bike when he was jogging, but I went with him, after all, that was our project, especially since I had no other choice ...

Fortunately, my father never kept the diets going and every break was a relief for me. Until the next phase of weight loss came and it started all over again. The result? Sure, the yo-yo effect. Due to the constant control and the eternal prohibitions, sweets exerted a great attraction on me; I secretly nibbled. Ultimately, I got more overweight with every diet. Eating, being overweight, losing weight, gaining weight - all of these will play another central role in my life from this point on. At school, I never really became part of the community either, and I struggled with building solid relationships. Bullying? Perhaps it was one of them. I had a terrible boy hairstyle that I had to run around with and I was getting more and more overweight. I wasn't popular. I was the last one called on in sports during group splits. About which was blasphemed. Nobody liked to share the room with on the school trip.

Suddenly divorced child

Then my parents separated. I noticed more and more how a world collapsed for my father, how he suffered. From the dream of a house, children and dog, from a healthy family! That was not how he had imagined it. At some point he moved out. There were three of us in the house for a few months, my mother, my brother and me. My mother was completely overwhelmed with the house where we had previously played family, with the memories and her two children to take care of.

Our relationship was hypothermic. She shone with her emotional absence and was physically on the move as often as possible - actually only. It was even like that when I was lying on our beautiful leather couch in the living room in front of the TV with an ulcerated surgical wound and 40 degrees fever. A few days earlier, all four wisdom teeth had been extracted from me on an outpatient basis. My mother drove me to the dentist that morning and then picked me up again. There was no soup, tea and consolation afterwards.

When care is lacking

My mother wasn't a mother who cooks chicken soup. I felt the wound on the top left hurt more and more, get hot and start to throb. It was a Friday and it got worse in the evening. "Mouse, it's not that bad," she said. "You'll go to the dentist on Monday, I'll meet you soon." She left me alone and went out to party that evening.

My father called and asked how I was doing, I told him about my severe pain and fever. He came by immediately and drove me to the emergency service - the wound had become badly infected and had to be cut open. Ultimately, this worked Concept Not for all of us, so my parents agreed that my brother and I should live with my father. Then my mother moved out. She gave up custody at the same time, so she could finally live her life. From then on she lived her happy single life.

The new stepmother: like Cinderella

My father's new wife and I, we both made life really difficult. I felt that she wanted to be number one for my father and was driving a wedge between us. There were always provocations, lies, jealousies. It was terribly exhausting to fight against it again and again! When I got home from school, there were to-do notes for me on the worktop. I should vacuum the whole house, put the laundry away, take care of her son ... keep an eye on her son.

Of course that didn't suit me at all! I was a fourteen-year-old teenager and had other things on my mind. Started to rebel! I ignored the notes, which was followed by house arrest. "You have nothing to say to me, you are not my mother!" Became a standard sentence. The principle was very simple, because every action was followed by a reaction. I was allowed less and less - and the less I could, the more defiant I became. The more I resisted and did my own thing, the more explosive and colder the mood between her and me became.

Between all chairs

My father stood between the chairs and after a strenuous day at work didn't feel like playing our games, which is why he took her side on principle. But what would have been my father's alternative? To be a single father? I felt that the idea scared him. His behavior and that he believed her more than me - his own daughter - hurt me very much. It hurt to see that the new woman he'd only known for a few months was more important than his own children. Everything was done right not only for the woman, but also for her little son. To be dropped as a daughter for the new partner, it hurts.

What's wrong with me Am I not adorable The more I felt rejected, the more my head went through the wall. It cost what it may. I secretly had parties at home when my father and wife weren't around. "No storm", that was the key word. I dropped it on the older guys in the area - and in the evenings the guys with whiskey bottles would stand at our door. So the whole thing degenerated into a wild party in our sauna area in the basement, until the door opened and my father was in the room. Even if I was busy all evening making sure that it didn't get out of hand, my father was anything but pleased ... Theft in the drugstore is also one of my youthful sins.

Emotional target

The highlight was probably the alcohol poisoning on New Year's Eve - at fourteen. My girlfriend and I smuggled ourselves to a party with fake IDs, and from there we went straight to the hospital after drinking too much alcohol and accidentally smoking weed. Happy New Year! My father wasn't exactly in the New Year mood when he was allowed to dance New Year's Eve in the hospital. I still remember waking up on that bed in the hospital corridor, opening my eyes, blinking, being blinded by the bright neon lights. I had to sort myself out - I didn't know where I was right now, just knew how I passed out at the party. In the background I heard my father's voice: "I won't take it home with me." He had spoken to a doctor.

Through my defiant behavior, I made it very easy for his new wife: I offered her a lot of attack space and made myself a black sheep. Diplomacy? Not my strength. I felt that this meant that I lost access to my father, that my words no longer penetrated him, and that as we went further and further apart, we lost ourselves. I felt it! And much worse, I felt that I couldn't stop the process. I tried countless times, in countless conversations.

Helpless and alone

But I couldn't beat the new woman. I felt helpless and alone. So it escalated more and more. During the day the doors slammed, rooms were locked, I was locked up; I cursed, I was verbally abused. My father's blended family bubble was about to burst. He became increasingly helpless and irritable, louder and more choleric. There was also more and more between his wife and him Streit, they basically blamed it on me. Made me the enemy, that welded them together. My father came home one evening and I heard from above how his wife was telling him something again. She sounded hysterical and angry, howled. I had secretly used her cosmetics. That made the situation much worse and I confided in a teacher.

I do not want me imaginewhat my father would have done had he found out that I confided in someone, that I had spoken to a teacher about our situation. Better not think about it! I persuaded her not to do anything undertake, said I'd deny anything if anyone brought it up—that's how big she was Panik in front of my father. But it felt good to finally be able to talk to someone about it. With someone who believed me. That wasn't a matter of course, after all we were the perfect blended family with the nice house and the big cars to the outside world. But one day I couldn't anymore, I was mentally at the end. I cried to my teacher again. Besides her, my best friend and her parents knew about it. I was now so afraid to go home that my teacher was looking for a solution. She called my best friend's mother on the phone and they agreed that the mother should pick me up first. Then they would think again.

Physical violence

My friend's mother picked me up, and I knew then that I could not undo this step. I was afraid that this would end terribly, but besides all the fear I was also incredibly relieved not to have to go home. We drove to a restaurant and the mood was more than tense. My friend's mother was also scared, after all, she made herself punishable for simply taking me with her. What if my father reported them now? I felt guilty about dragging this family into my misery, but what should I do? My friend's father later appeared and decided that he would go with me to my house to talk to my father. He promised me not to leave me alone. He meant well, but he was also naive because he believed he could mediate and help me in this way.

It happened the way it had to. With an angry face, my father opened the door and I knew immediately: That's it! He didn't even let my friend's father speak, let alone come into the house. He made an intimidating, very matter-of-fact announcement, and the tone of voice told me clearThat it would end badly for me. It ended badly ... As a result, he let out his anger on me more and more and became more and more unscrupulous. After he had to pick me up from the department store detectives after my shoplifting, he slapped me several times on a downtown street until my nose was bleeding. With my shirt covered in blood, he dragged me to his car. None of the bystanders reacted.

This creates a feeling of helplessness

I generally found that nobody helped me. Not even the few people who knew about my suffering. Everyone was overwhelmed with the situation and with my father. It was my favorite top, a light blue t-shirt with a big white flower that fell victim to my father's freaking out. I tried desperately to wash out the blood stains, tears running down my face. I cried for my favorite shirt, and I cried because of the feeling of no longer knowing. Still: I didn't want my father to break me. And so I felt at the same time how I got stronger with every stroke. I learned to hide my feelings. My upbringing seemed only to bend my will.

There was always a reason, something I had already done. The highlight: my father ripped off all my clothes, put me in the basement in the shower area of ​​our sauna and sprayed myself with the cold water hose. Icy cold water hit my body. I do not know how long. My sense of time was lost. I finally collapsed from exhaustion. He didn't stop. I was shivering in front of him, feeling so naked, so helpless, so vulnerable, and on my own. And yet the thought dominated me: You don't break me, not you, not here! No way! Even in this situation, I felt how I grew stronger with every second. He wanted to break me. But didn't make it! This went on for months, only the situation in the sauna did not repeat itself. The others do. On the outside you could enjoy the nicely trimmed hedge in front of our house, on the outside my father was an extremely personable and charismatic man. But inside he was: a tyrant. Violence and psychological terror, I continued to experience that every day. This humiliation was terrible.

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