Hello Tom, I'd like to help you with your question.
You have survived being horribly abused. You lived with a father who was angry, violent and did/does not care about anyone but himself. Your mother probably could not stand up to him and might be co dependent. That may make her appear low in intelligence but I suspect there is more to her than she lets on. She might hide it because of her fear.
It is very normal to feel as you do after surviving an abusive childhood. It is not uncommon to feel lost, confused and insecure. You were not given the basic emotional needs that you should have had. If you had been cared for you would not be experiencing these feelings. So they have little to do with who you are and all to do with your reaction to what you have been through.
Childhood abuse can be compared to being in a war zone. Except you do not have a weapon to defend yourself with and the enemy is a lot stronger and more powerful than you. You had no way to respond to what your father or mother did. You had to accept it. And how they reacted was dysfunctional. That can cause a lot of trauma that you have to work through when you get out of the home and on your own.
The first step is accepting that there is nothing wrong with you. You are perfectly normal and are definitely not stupid (most likely a message you learned to accept from your father). What you are experiencing has to do with your parents. It is not uncommon for adult children of abusive parents to experience anxiety
, depression, confusion, anger or feel completely lost. Recognize that any symptoms you have probably are because of what you went through.
The next step is to begin addressing what you feel. Learning more about the effects of childhood abuse, getting out of your home for good and finding support are all ways to deal with what you feel. Here are some resources:
Adult Children of Abusive Parents by Steven Farmer
Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life by Susan Forward and Craig Buck
Cutting Loose: An Adult's Guide to Coming to Terms with Your Parents by Howard Halpern
An Adult Child's Guide to What's 'Normal' by John Friel and Linda D. Friel
You can find these books on Amazon.com or your local library may have them for you.
Consider getting out of your home permanently. You need to be away from your parents and the dysfunction that goes on in the home between them before you can begin to heal. If you are constantly being traumatized, it is hard to recover. Try to set some boundaries between you and your parents. Control how much you are exposed to them and be sure to leave if things get bad. You have a choice now and you don't have to be abused anymore.
Also, consider seeing a therapist. As a psychology student, you know the value of working out your own problems before you can help others. And the support is something you can use now to help you find your way. A therapist can provide an objective view of what happened to you and assist you in your recovery.
Most of all, keep trying. What you went through was very painful and working through it all can be difficult, but the more you try, the easier it will be to feel better. And know that you are not alone. There are many out there who understand and can help.
I hope this has helped you,