It's so heartwarming to hear of people overcoming such horrendous and damaging relationships, and not only surviving but thriving. Emotional abuse, especially as a child, just destroys self esteem. I didn't even feel liked by my mother, never mind loved. I got away from her by having a baby when I was 18, only to find myself going through years of abuse from my first husband. Somehow, I found the determination to make my life more fulfilling. Turning 30, with three children all at school, seemed to give me a shove!
Like Starblaze, I lost weight, went back into education and got a job which paid enough to give me independence. I do still have that vulnerable core of course, that has never changed, and it needs protecting and nourishing. Its hard to love ourselves when we have felt not only unloved but unlovable. So not only surviving but thriving is one heck of an achievement.
I'm finding an unexpected outcome of my situation is that I don't have to deal with my toxic son in law and his parents. Unfortunately, the grandchildren do but I heard today that they have been allowed to see other relatives and seemed OK. Having that window into how they are doing has helped my anxiety levels a little.