I am a survivor of extremely severe ritualistic childhood abuse and sadistic systematic torture. Without God's intervention in my life I wouldn't be here - NOW is the time for me to tell MY story by speaking the TRUTH about MY life. I will be silenced no more! On this blog I share MY life, MY healing journey; helpful quotes/stuff I come across and MY thoughts along the way. The more I speak out the more liberated I am from the shame and trauma of the abuse. My broken wings are gradually being restored. This blog has helped me begin to get my voice back and documents the journey God is taking me on to heal me from the trauma and damage caused by that most appalling abuse.

Friday, 26 November 2010

DEALING WITH FAMILY REJECTION

I was rejected pretty much from within the womb. At birth when I came out of the womb a girl, I was wrong from the very beginning. From that moment onwards nothing I could do, say or be could ever be right or be enough. I spent my childhood trying so hard to be a good little girl and keep safe. But I could never be good enough.

The day in January 1986 my family/abusers realised I was preparing to leave the family home and no longer be available for them to use and abuse at will was the day of the ultimate rejection. After being beaten to within an inch of my life I was physically kicked out of the family home and left for dead in the snow.

Ever since then I’ve been trying to survive, trying to rebuild my life, trying to get past what ‘they’ did to me, trying to get past that rejection. BUT no matter what I did it seemed totally impossible for me to get past it all. It‘s ruined every aspect of my life up until this point. Their abuse and rejection of me has, at best, overshadowed everything I’ve tried to do and be. It’s followed me around like a ghost throughout my life.

So many people say to me “I cannot imagine life without family”. Well I can testify it is possible to live life without ‘family’. It’s a hard life. It’s been very lonely, empty and isolating.

I always thought “if my family could not accept me then no one else ever will.

I always suspected people who tried to befriend me of having ulterior motives. I never believed they wanted to know me ‘for me’ but rather for what I could do for them. Even when I realised people were accepting me and genuinely wanted me around I tested them, keeping them at arm’s length, letting them in, but only so far.

Since I disclosed to the police earlier this year my real friends have realised there is far more to my history than I’ve ever let on to.

As a result I’ve been able to tear down walls with some of friends and let them in to the real me inside. That’s been incredibly liberating and I’ve really begun to realise I really am not alone anymore. It’s me who chooses who to let in and who to keep out. And I have that right.

I realise this is a new beginning. I have the right to define myself and to define ‘family’ for myself. I have the right to decide who is and also who is not part of my life.


I’ve been realising I’m not defined by what my family did to me, said to me, called me, made me to be. I’m defined by who I am. Who I really am inside. The real ‘me’ is very different to the one ‘they’ think I am and very different to who and what ‘they’ said I was. They were very wrong.

Saying my family were wrong is a landmark moment.


This allows me to redefine family for me. From this moment onwards my family are not my blood relatives – it consists of a polyglot mixture of several friends (some of whom are closer to me than others), fellow survivors and professional support workers. My family consists of people who are supportive of me, people who believe in me, people who believe in the journey I’m on, people who I choose to let in. The beauty of my ‘new’ family is that it will always be growing and changing.

The other wonderful thing about my ‘new’ family is that no relationship is based on obligation, control or manipulation.

I was thinking about my ‘new’ family and my new start when I came across a blog post entitled “What If My Family Rejects Me? Part 3” on the Overcoming Sexual Abuse website.

Here are some excerpts from the article:-

“It didn’t make sense that the person who was meant to love me, protect me, nurture me, and teach me right from wrong would betray or reject me. Could this be a huge misunderstanding?

They taught me that I was wrong. They taught me that I was the one who had the problem... the abuse violated my boundaries. Someone invaded my body and soul. They disregarded my will and my feelings. One of the most powerful expressions of our boundaries is the word “no”, and yet the abuse took away my “no”. Part of healing from the abuse is to take back my “no”... My family was saying “no” to me when they rejected me:
“No, I won’t support you.” “No, I won’t admit I did anything harmful to you.” “No, I won’t apologize.”
When I focus on them, I lose clarity about me... The key (well at least one key) is in understanding that we were powerless and that we are not who “they” say we are... I may never know the answers to the question, why’s? the how’s?
Knowing the answers doesn’t change anything. They won’t take care of me, take away the pain, or make up for my loss. The past still happened, and I am the one who has to deal with it... the responsibility for taking care of me lies with the person who cares the most: ME.”

You can read the entire post at
http://overcomingsexualabuse.com/2010/11/26/what-if-my-family-rejects-me-part-3/


On reading the above post, my response deep inside was “it’s not the end of the world if your family rejects you; it is possible to start over”.

It may have taken me nearly 25 years from that awful moment of being left for dead in the snow to realise it is possible to start over, but I have realised it now. AND THAT IS WHAT MATTERS!

It is possible to say “my family were wrong”. The world will not stop spinning if you say that!

When I read the article I had ‘light bulb’ moments all the way through it. All of a sudden things fell into place for me and the journey I am on was validated and I thought “yes, I am on the right track”.

I am learning that ‘me’ is ok. I’m learning to be with me, to accept me as I am, however that may be at any given time. That is who I am. Who I am is someone with value and worth.

YES I AM CONTRADICTING MY FAMILY, MY ABUSERS – and it feels SO GOOD to do so!!


One thing’s for sure I’m not going to protect them anymore by keeping silent about what ‘THEY’ did. Another thing’s for sure, I ain’t going to spend the rest of my life feel intimidated by ‘them’ and living in fear of ‘them’ anymore. The last few months have shown me ‘they’ are the weak ones. ‘They’ are the ones who have stuff to fear NOT ME. ‘They’ are just bullies and cowards and may choose to spend the rest of their lives living in delusion and denial BUT I choose to speak and live in the TRUTH. There is enormous strength in doing that!!

I know I’ll never have the answer to the huge WHY my heart’s been looking for all my life. But what matters is I accept I’ll never have the answers to my questions.

I accept the fact that I was not rejected because I was me – BUT BECAUSE THEY (my family, my abusers) WERE WHO AND WHAT THEY WERE AND ARE. Actually they’re the biggest cowards around, and that thought is a huge turning point for someone who’s spent her entire life in fear of them.


There is life beyond the ultimate rejection – that of your blood family.

I’m only just beginning to discover that and to believe it!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

FACING AND SPEAKING THE AWFUL TRUTH

Just yesterday a friend pointed out to me that I’d commented to her about how violated ‘I feel’ but that it’s really important to acknowledge the fact that what happened to me is not just a feeling but a fact – I was violated – the truth.

As I’ve contemplated on that I’ve realised that admitting “I was violated” is a HUGE step for me.

It’s easier for me to focus on how shameful I feel about the violations than it is for me to actually say “I was violated”. It’s very painful to say those words. Why is it easier for me to speak about the feeling than it is to speak about the facts?

Part of the answer lies in the reality that I’ve always known the truth but have not had words to describe what happened to me. This is because as a child I had no vocabulary for the things that happened to and around me. Also I have no positive adult sexual experience to compare or to give me language to describe the things done to me as a child. My only adult sexual experience was being raped by someone I thought was a friend just months after being ejected from the abusive family home I’d been trapped in for nearly 20 years.

Typing those words – “the things done to me as a child” was incredibly painful and brought me out in a cold sweat because those words acknowledge the powerlessness I experienced. I can say “I was abused” but not experience any pain in speaking or writing those words. I suppose I’ve used those words many times in my life and have gotten used to using them. But also, and more importantly, those words do not adequately describe the reality of the horror of what I experienced.

The reality is I was serially violated by many abusers. (I do not know how many in total because some of the early abuse involving my grandparents took place in an environment which would now be referred to as a paedophile ring.) The context was witchcraft rituals which involved several people who were friends or acquaintances of my grandparents. I got hung up on those witchcraft rituals for a long time. But I’m now able to see those rituals as cover for what was essentially just a group of people misusing, abusing and violating children for their own satisfaction.

The incestuous abuse on top meant I was violated in many different ways over a 20 year period by every single member of my family. I was deliberately and systematically violated. I was violated not just in body but in mind and spirit too. My abusers did their level best to break my spirit. My abusers brainwashed me into ways of thinking that were self-destructive. I need to repeat for myself that I was deliberately and systematically violated in the most extreme and disgusting ways imaginable. THAT WAS WHAT WAS DONE TO ME.

Just typing the words “that was what was done to me” is very powerful because it turns the self-blame on its head and places the blame squarely on my abusers and off of me.

The actuality that I was so violated has totally messed my life up and I hate that fact in itself. In some ways I hate that even more than the physical and sexual acts that were committed against me as a person and against the body which I inhabit as human being.

Those violations were a means of controlling and manipulating me. I hate the way that my childhood was completely stolen from me and how deviant sexual behaviour was normalised from a very tiny age.

I hate the damage the multiple physical and sexual violations did to my life. I hate the damage every violation did to my gender identity, to my sexual identity and to my body itself. I hate the damage those violations did to my self-esteem, to my thought processes and to my belief system.

My abusers dehumanised and brutalised me to the point where there was no value upon my life at all. That put me in a position of being incapable of placing any value upon my own life or even upon my existence as a human being.

When I think back to my childhood I think of myself as being my abusers’ personal punch bag. I also think of myself being just a piece of meat worth nothing more than a speck of dirt by the side of the road, worth nothing more than the trash put out for the bin men to collect. Oh my word, the effect of that upon me is appalling.

The truth is when I was a child I was a human being with feelings and needs which were totally and systematically ignored and invalidated.


However, I never saw myself as a child who had feelings and needs. Nor have I been able to see myself in that way as an adult.

The horrible truth is I never ever actually saw or thought of myself as a human being. Nor as a human being that had been extremely violated. I just viewed myself as damaged goods, a blot on the landscape and a piece of meat.

But the truth is I am a human being whose basic needs were completely trashed and ignored. I am a human being who was horrifically violated. I am a human being who is now beginning to speak out about those violations in order to find healing.

Writing about it in such terms is bringing me out in a cold sweat and making me feel ill because I am realising the really horrible truth for the very first time.

The real truth is I did not deserve those violations. I was a defenceless innocent very tiny child when those violations began. There was nothing I could have done to have prevented them. I was not to blame. I was not a piece of meat or punch bag. Rather I was a little human being who was treated in totally inhuman ways.

I am not a piece of meat. I am not a punch bag. I am not trash. I am not a speck of dirt by the side of the road.

I am a human being who was treated in inhuman ways. I am a human being who deserved and deserves better.


By beginning to expose the truth I realise I’m beginning to say “I have value, what happened to me matters, really matters, what was done to me really damaged me but I did not actually deserve any of it in spite of all I was brainwashed to believe, what happened to me was not right. I did not deserve any of those violations nor could I have prevented them.

Monday, 22 November 2010

THE WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND

These are my two favourite versions of this song - the first sung by Neil Diamond, the second played on the piano by Henry Mancini. Enjoy!!



Sunday, 21 November 2010

THE KING IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE KING

Just when I thought I was settling down, ‘dealing’ with what’s happened during the last few weeks and months I discover I’m not ‘dealing with it’ as well as I thought I was. I’m not getting past ‘it’.

I keep hearing the phrase in my head “The King Is Dead, Long Live The King”. That proclamation is used to describe the transition of sovereignty following the death of the monarch. Being British I’ve always been aware of that phrase but never knew of how it came into existence. So I decided to look it up as I couldn’t get it out of my head.

Wikipedia tells me the phrase was “
originally translated from the French “le Roi est mort. Vive le Roi!” which was first declared in 1422 at the coronation of King Charles VII. The phrase arose from the law of le mort saisit le vif — that the transfer of sovereignty occurs instantaneously upon the moment of death of the previous monarch. "The King is dead" is the announcement of a monarch who has just died. "Long live the King!" refers to the heir who immediately succeeds to a throne upon the death of the preceding monarch”
.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_King_is_dead._Long_live_the_King

History lesson now over!

Trouble is I can’t join in the “Long Live the King” bit because I’m stuck in the “The King is Dead” bit.

There isn’t quite such an easy succession from the one to the other for me. I’m still waiting for the phone to ring and for me to hear the words “they’re going to be charged, prosecution is going ahead”. I can’t seem to accept what has happened. Actually I can’t believe or take in what has happened.

My case should never have been NFA’d by the Crown Prosecution Service. Someone should be fired for making such an awful decision. Something went very badly wrong. Someone somewhere overlooked something. Someone somewhere did not do their job properly. It is such a total injustice that I just cannot take in.

I don’t know how I’m going to ‘get over’ this. Am I ever going to ‘get over’ it? Or is it going to be more a case of learning to live with the ‘almost impossible to live with’ – that I spoke out, I disclosed to the police expecting it all to come out into the open instead it’s all been hushed up, the guilty walk free, unexposed. How am I supposed to live with that? What it took to make that initial phone call to disclose and what it took to go through all the police interviews – and for what?

Yes I’m angry. Yes I’m hurting. Yes I’m bewildered. Yes I’m in shock. Yes I’m sad. Yes I’m longing for someone to shake me awake from this nightmare. Except there’s no waking up from this nightmare because I’m living it.

The last few days I’ve been hit by a fresh wave of shock, disbelief, grief, horror. I had to write because I was closing in on myself. I had to write to get my feelings out somehow. I had to write to acknowledge this stage in the process. I had to write to acknowledge how I’m feeling. I had to write to honour my feelings. I had to write to honour the grief. I had to write to try to process this. I had to write just because I had to write.

FURTHER DEFINING OF THE PROBLEM WITH LOVE

Following my post entitled “The Problem with Love” in which I discussed a post on the "Emerging from Broken" blog site exploring the issue of love. Since then a further post has been published on "Emerging From Broken" going deeper into the issue.

The post considers the biblical foundation for love found in 1 Corinthians 13 and how that definition of ‘love’ was understood and defined through growing up in an abusive setting. It’s a very challenging and honest article a lot of which I totally relate to.

You can find it at http://emergingfrombroken.com/love-is-patient-love-is-kind-a-bit-of-a-rant/

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

THE PROBLEM WITH LOVE

In 1998 I wrote the following poem:-

LOVE
This is such a very small word we use, but it has many connotations, many meanings. So often it is a word misused, open to abuse, people using it so lightly without thinking. To describe so many different levels of feelings, it has just hit me that in its purest form. I really do not understand what it means what is love really all about? How is it born? I find myself thrown into total complete confusion when asked to describe what it really means to love, I scarcely comprehend what God's love is really like never what it means to really love myself, nor even how you then love your neighbour alike, what does this word 'love' really, really mean? Can someone please explain it to me very, very simply.

As a child ‘love’ for me was something extremely negative and full of contradictions. As an adult ‘love’ is been something I’ve been totally terrified of.

‘Love' is something that’s kept me running away very fast every time I’ve encountered it.

‘Love’ is something I’ve been completely unable to allow into my life. I’ve often wished I could be ‘normal’. I so long to love and to be loved but am so terrified of ‘love’ that instead I’ve been alone, so very alone and so very afraid. I never knew ‘love’ as a child only cruelty and rejection. That wrecked my life because ‘love’ was something I grew to fear from a very early age.

The abuse I endured defined ‘love’ for me in the following terms:-

For me ‘love’ means pain, powerlessness, having to do things I don’t want to. ‘Love’ means manipulation, control, obligation. ‘Love’ means having to comply regardless of its effects upon me. For me ‘love’ is something dangerous, phoney, something to run a mile from in the opposite direction. ‘Love’ means pretending and playing games. ‘Love’ is about having no choice. ‘Love’ is something that is not real. ‘Love’ is about being false. ‘Love’ means rejection if you don’t comply or when you’re no longer of use to your abusers. ‘Love’ in meant instant obedience. ‘Love’ meant compliance. ‘Love’ meant doing what was required without comment, reaction or response. ‘Love’ meant being whatever they wanted you to be at any given time. ‘Love’ meant keeping your mouth shut. ‘Love’ meant keeping the secrets secret. ‘Love’ meant you belonged if you complied; you were wanted if you complied – but all in the wrong ways of course.

As an adult I freak out inside if anybody ever says “I love you” to me, or writes it. It starts a panic and ‘fight or flight’ reaction within me. I cannot cope with hearing or seeing those words because they mean danger to me.

I’m always testing those who say they care about me, wanting to see proof, but all I end up doing is pushing them away, putting huge walls up or keeping them at arm’s length. Even my closest friends have been kept at arm’s length.

I cannot afford to let people close because love, intimacy, vulnerability means you get hurt.

When your ‘family’ who are supposed to ‘love’ you did everything and anything but ‘love’ you it leaves confusion and dysfunction in its wake.


The ‘love’ I knew as a child was false love. But it was the only kind of ‘love’ I knew.

It ruined me for the rest of my life. It made it impossible for me to love or be loved because I learned to fear love. Even all these years later I cannot get past that fear.

One thing is for sure - I don’t know what love is. I’ve got a lot of healing to do in this area, that’s for sure. I began thinking about the issue of love again after coming across a blog post called “If Love Is The Answer, What Is Love?” on the ‘Emerging from Broken’ blog site.

Here are short excerpts from the article.

“In reality however, at least in my reality, love hurts, love is mean, love means nothing. I love you means obligation, ownership, disrespect, putting up with being devalued, manipulated and accepting that I am not as important and my needs are not important, but only the person who says that they love me, is important. This is quite a mixed message and makes love a word charged with many different feelings and fears that are triggered just hearing the words... I love you is a phrase that is thrown carelessly around; When a child wants love and acceptance so deeply it becomes easy to ignore the red flags from some people and it is also very easy to accept the wrong definition of love... It helped me immensely to realize that I had the wrong definition of love all along. It also helped me to realize that controllers and abusers NEVER love you with the same definition of love that they want you to follow when it comes to them... when I was able to apply the true definition of love to myself, everything came together.”
Darlene Ouimet

To read the entire article go to http://emergingfrombroken.com/if-love-is-the-answer-what-is-love/.

As I read that post and the comments other readers made about their experiences and definitions of false love, I was encouraged to realise I’m not alone in my confusion about this topic. I’m also not alone in trying to re-define what ‘love’ actually is.

I realised the first step to re-defining ‘love’ is defining what ‘love’ isn’t.

In doing that I apprehended the fact that it is okay to say that the ‘love’ I knew as a child from my abusers was false ‘love’; it wasn’t real ‘love’ and there is going to be no punishment for saying that.


Only then am I able to start to reject those old definitions of ‘love and begin to redefine it more healthily and realistically.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

WOW, SO MANY PEOPLE, I AM AMAZED!!

I am immensely humbled and astounded to see that over 8000 people have now visited this blog since I established it in July 2008.

This time last year just over 3000 people had visited so to have 5000 new visitors during this past year is just awesome. My website counter only counts first time visits rather than total site hits so I don’t know how many people come back and follow my journey. I only know of a few.

When I set this blog up it was all about me going public for the very first time about the’ story’ of my childhood. I try to avoid the word ‘story’ when speaking about writing about my life. The word ‘story’ conjures up thoughts of made up things. That is the reason I avoid that word because nothing I have written or will write in the future is made up. However horrible it may be, it is the TRUTH of what I endured and somehow survived.

During my life I’ve told friends I was abused in childhood but never gone into detail. I seemed to spend my life going round in circles saying I’d been abused, desperate for help and desperate to do whatever it took to heal but not getting anywhere. It was so frustrating and soul destroying. So as the years passed I just tried to get on with life but found I couldn’t. No matter what I tried nothing worked. I couldn’t find a way through the pain which was slowly killing me on the inside.

The hardest consequence of the abuse for me is that I’ve been so alone because the severity of it left me completely incapable of having relationships. I’ve felt like a child trapped in an adult’s body all my life.

I’ve also felt like a man trapped in a woman’s body all my life because my femininity was never validated and because I so wanted to go to sleep a girl and wake up every morning as a boy so the abuse wouldn’t continue. For many years I seriously considered having a sex-change operation because I felt so bad in my own skin. I never recognised or validated my own femininity. Interestingly as I’ve lifted the veil on the truth of the abuse I’ve felt less and less like a man and begun to tentatively accept my own gender.

Over the years I kept experiencing depressive episode after depressive episode. Each depressive episode got darker and was harder to climb out of. The panic attacks grew worse over the years.

I hid my hurt behind a well worn fake smile. I hid my eating disorder underneath baggy clothes. I hid my self-harming underneath tubigrip bandages on my arms.

After many years of insomnia, nightmares, night terrors and keeping busy, busy, busy, my body collapsed with Chronic Fatigue/ME. I knew some of the roots of the CFS/ME lay in my childhood abuse, although there was also a link to an episode of severe flu that I never really got over.

When I began this blog I had no idea what it would become or that two other blogs would be born out of it. My vision in setting it up was to share my life’s history, my poetry and document my healing journey. There’ve been times I’ve hit the publish button terrified, knowing I’ve just shared a really vulnerable part of me.

The comments I’ve received during the lifetime of the blog have been amazing, astounding and so encouraging.

Little did I know where the blog would lead. As time’s gone on I’ve got more and more brave in my writing. Each time I take a risk and share increasingly vulnerably the more liberated I feel.

Blogging has been an amazing journey for me. I had no thought of who would read my blog. I just hoped that survivors would find it somehow. I hoped those survivors would find hope and inspiration through my writing.


As my blog has developed I’ve realised it is possible to come out of the devastation of child abuse and find a way through the hurt and shame but it’s a very hard and arduous journey.

Although I’ve written in great detail at times on my blog I still find it virtually impossible to verbally speak the detail. There’s something about the anonymity of a computer screen that has helped me explore ‘telling’ in writing. But my ‘telling’ had to go beyond that.

After the blog had been running for a year and a half I knew my next step in ‘telling’ was disclosing to the police which I did in March of this year. During the five months of the police investigation I wasn’t able to speak in detail because of the pending legal case and wanted to. So I spoke and wrote around it exploring some of the effects of the abuse upon my life and exploring some of my thoughts and feelings about it. Since the case was been dropped for lack of evidence I can talk and write openly about it all.

The weird thing is I’ve found I can’t verbally speak about it!

That feels really strange.

The thing is I held back a lot in the police interviews because I was afraid that if I told the truth as horrifically as it was really was I wouldn’t be believed because I thought those hearing me would think that things so horrific couldn’t possibly have happened and I wouldn’t have any credibility.

Although I’ve been fully believed by all the professionals, even though they don’t know the detail, they fully believe I’m a survivor. Despite all that there is still fear/sheer terror of ‘telling’.

There is also very deep shame. Shame prevents me telling! I feel so contaminated, so tainted and so violated by what happened to me that I’m afraid of telling because I’m scared of passing that contamination on to the person I tell.

I’ve come a long way during the last couple of years in sharing the truth of my life but I’m now about to commence a new stage of my healing.

The next step of telling for me is sitting with my mental health worker and telling her the truth of what I endured as a child to prepare me for the step beyond that of going into an intensive 12-week group programme for survivors of child sexual abuse.


The mere thought of sitting face to face with someone and telling of such shameful degrading acts terrifies me. But I know I must face it if I’m going to move forward.

In the meantime it’s such a privilege and honour to share my journey with you.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

ABUSE AND LINKS TO EATING DISORDER, EXERCISE + SWEAT AVERSION TRIGGERS

This post lifts the lid on a very sensitive issue to me. In writing it I'm choosing to be honest and vulnerable about something I've always felt deeply ashamed and guilty about.

Throughout my life body weight, body shape and food has been a huge issue. I’ve been overweight for as long as I can remember, even as a child I was overweight. I’ve never been anywhere near what should have been the right weight for me. There are many reasons for this, some only my abusers know and are responsible for.

I’ve never been one for exercise. It’s not because I’m lazy or like being fat. In fact I hate being fat and overweight and always have done. I hate the way my body looks. I hated to dress in special clothes to do PE at school or exercise at classes or gyms. I hated being made to run cross country runs in the winter time at school and find I couldn’t breathe properly in the cold air. I just thought it was because I was a fat kid, but actually I had undiagnosed childhood asthma. Because seeing a doctor was a very rare event in my childhood the asthma was not diagnosed until I was an adult.

I’ve always hated the thought of someone being able to see my body, see me sweat and so on. I hate getting sweaty. I hate the smell and look of sweat, especially stale sweat which is a huge trigger for me. So exercising is a whole difficult area for me, it triggers me big time!!

As a child I was forced to do gymnastics. That meant wearing horrible disgusting gym suits. Those gym suits made me feel very naked and exposed. I found that ultra embarrassing as a child. I couldn’t hide how I looked and hated that! At home there was no place to hide from being goggled at and poked, especially in the bath and in my bed. Then I had to go to public places (sports hall) and wear things that made me feel just as exposed and naked. It was horrible and I had no choice over whether I did those things, went those places or wore those things.

My abusers also forced me to take part in talent contests. I’ve never known their reasons for doing that except I had a good singing voice and was a cute looking kid with freckles and dimples. I remember as a little girl people poking my face and saying “what lovely dimples you have”. I want to scream at them to leave me alone and stop touching me, that I hated my dimples. Instead I smiled sweetly and screamed silently inside. I hated those talent contests. I hated being dressed in frilly dresses. I hated having to go on stage and ‘perform’, knowing if I didn’t I’d get beat afterwards. But my abusers always had reasons for beating me whatever I did – not smiling broadly enough, singing slightly off tune or whatever. I was forced on to stage to sing and dance. I loved to sing and dance as a kid but I hated having to do it on stage in front of so many grown-ups goggling at me and at my body. Those talent shows ended when we moved north. I’ve never danced since. That’s another reason why I hate exercising. I still have a good singing voice but hate singing in front of other people. That’s one reason I don’t like going to church.

I feel embarrassed when people talk about dancing. I hate watching dancing as it triggers me back to being that little girl on stage wanting to run away and hide but having to ‘perform’ instead. I hate going to social events where there are discos because I feel embarrassed and clumsy on the dance floor and just want to run away and hide. Dancing means you and other people getting sweaty. That is such a huge trigger for me that I want nothing to do with it.

I'm very aware of my body size and shape and really sensitive about it. I tend to wear baggy clothes which hide my shape and I suppose hide me. I hate to draw attention to myself in any way and hate getting sweaty. That’s one reason why I prefer winter to summer - and a major reason why I avoid exercise - not because I'm lazy, it just has too many triggers for me to even go there. BIG HUGE triggers for me!!!

I hate the way my body looks because I was told by my abusers that my body was horrible and no one would want to know someone who had such a horrible body. My body was just a piece of meat to them. A piece of meat they could do whatever they chose to. My body was a piece of meat that had no rights to privacy. It was a piece of meat that was poked, prodded and used for anything and everything. Being told I was fat, ugly, horrible and no one would want to know me because of it meant my body image has always been pretty awful.

Being overweight has its compensations – for me it means it’s less likely someone’s going to be sexually attracted to me – now that’s a real biggie. I went the way of wanting to be unattractive to the opposite sex because I was scared of them and didn’t want anyone touching me or getting anywhere near me. I wanted to claim my body back but didn’t do it in the right way, just the only way I knew how and that was through the whole chaotic eating thing. So I’d hide my horrible body underneath baggy clothes.

My abusers deliberately starved me and then force fed me, as punishments but also as a means of humiliating and controlling me too.

I had no sense of food being something that could sustain you or being a good thing. Food was always in the context of bad things happening. I had no idea what a healthy diet was. I had no idea how to cook.

Food was just something which had really bad connotations.

Throughout my adult life I’ve kept up the starving/binging processes. I never even realised that it was an eating disorder until a few months ago I read a leaflet about eating disorders and saw binging mentioned as a specific disorder.

I use food as a comfort but that has a double edge to it. I start feeling guilty about stuffing myself and making myself fatter so I starve myself to get rid of the guilt. But the guilt and shame never really go away. I’ve always been deeply ashamed about myself, my body shape and size and my chaotic relationship with food.

Over the years Doctors and nutritionalists have tried to get me to diet or eat more healthily but to no avail. None of it worked because the root cause of my weight problems goes far deeper than not just eating the right kind of food. And of course adding in exercise was never going to work for me either for reasons already mentioned.

I guess that the truth is I use and misuse food in the same way I was used and misused!

I was always too ashamed to admit to the truth – that I binge a lot – but I also starve myself too – that I don’t know the first thing about what healthy eating or even a healthy relationship to food is about. I so wish I could be different but I don’t know how to find a way out of such a mess!! It’s not about weight, weight is a symptom!

The shame abuse causes is so multi-faceted and so deep. It goes deep to my very core. It does deep into my belief system about myself and my value, or lack of it! It goes deep into my belief system about food, my chaotic eating and so many other things. It goes deep into my belief system about my body, about how ugly and horrible it is. It goes deep into those lies and many others!

That’s a tiny snapshot of what the sexual abuse did to me deep inside.

I wish I could stop feeling so ashamed and embarrassed about my body, about the eating disorders, about ME.

I suppose going public in this way is my first step towards hoping and thinking that maybe there is a way out the other side of all this stuff.

Monday, 8 November 2010

DAMN FEELINGS

Damn feelings that get in the way of everyday life
Damn the deep trauma that causes disassociation
Damn unreliable people who don’t stop and think of the consequences of their actions
Damn appointments that get cancelled at the last minute when you need them the most
Damn promises to phone you back that are not honoured
Damn memories that pour out at the most inopportune moments
Damn nightmares and night terrors that interrupt my sleep and tire me out
Damn the abusers who’ve left me with this horrific legacy
Damn the abuse for happening in the first place
Damn the unfairness that I have to do so much hard work to heal
Damn the hurt and pain of the memories, nightmares and healing processes
Damn the fact that child abuse happens at all
Damn child abuse for the lives it shatters
Damn the abuse that has so destroyed my life
Damn feelings that threaten to overwhelm and take centre stage
Is there ever an end to all these damn feelings?


30/10/10

DON’T MISINTERPRET MY SILENCE AS INDIFFERENCE

The sound of your weeping has been heard and noted
Your tears have filled up MY sanctuary
The heartbreak has been observed by angels and noted
You have flooded my sanctuary with your tears

I cannot ignore your pain and will not ignore the crying of your heart
I am the God who weeps with those who weep; I am the God who cries with those who cry
I am with you in all your tears, pain, confusion and bewilderment

DO NOT MISTAKE OR MISINTERPRET MY SILENCE FOR INDIFFERENCE OR NOT CARING

I care, I really do care, far more than you’ll ever know
There are times when all I can do is be silent as my kids weep
Sometimes all I can do is sit in silence in the face of appalling suffering and injustice

I AM NOT UNAFFECTED MY BELOVED BUT DEEPLY AFFECTED, THAT IS WHY I HAVE BEEN SILENT

I’ve heard your tears, your weeping, your hurt, your confusion
Your shock, your bewilderment, your disappointment, your devastation
The sound has been rising into my sanctuary like the finest incense
The sacrifice of a broken heart seeking after me is the sweetest of aromas

The injustices that you’ve endured have not escaped my notice at all
Instead they rise as the most awful stench into my sanctuary
I hate injustice! I truly hate it! And I hate what has happened!

I KNOW YOU TRUSTED ME LIKE NEVER BEFORE ON THIS MATTER AND AM FEELING VERY BETRAYED

I’M SORRY MY BELOVED, MY FAIR ONE, I’M SORRY, TRULY SORRY!!

23/10/10

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

BLOGS THAT HELPED ME AS I HAVE GRAPPLED WITH FORGIVENESS

After writing for a whole week I posted my first blog post about forgiveness on my blog site 21st Oct 2010 “You Can Fly With Broken Wings” - http://fionanicholson.blogspot.com/2010/10/betrayal-defiance-lies-denial-injustice.html

My first post was all about me exploring how do you forgive someone who is totally defiant, lying and denying anything ever happened? How do you forgive someone who is defiantly unrepentant? How do you forgive someone who admits no fault or wrong? How do you forgive someone who does not validate the truth of what happened?

I was also questioning whether or not as Christians, real forgiveness is possible or even right in such circumstances.

I’d had plenty of things said to me down the years by many Christians concerning forgiveness.

Most people’s response to me when I’ve found the courage to mention/disclose being a survivor of child abuse has been “have you forgiven them? You must forgive them!”

So many times I wished I’d kept my mouth shut but there comes a time when you can’t dodge the “where/who are your family?” kind of questions any longer and have to speak the truth, otherwise you’re seen as being evasive and that just invites even more probing questions. It’s horrible really how many Christians pry into other people’s business under the guise of ‘brotherly/sisterly concern’ or even worse ‘prayerful concern’.

No one ever asked me if my abusers had asked for forgiveness or been repentant.

That didn’t seem to come into the equation just the small matter of had I – the Christian in the situation - forgiven?

Something was very wrong about that.


In Christian circles I repeatedly came across a lot of phoney forgiveness – a “forgive and forget it ever happened” kind of forgiveness which was more about implying that “you cannot have forgiven if you need to talk about it, if you’d just forgive you’d heal and not need to mention it again” it felt like a silencing order – do the right thing, forgive them, don’t mention it again (if you do you haven’t really forgiven). But all that does is push the pain and the issues firmly under the carpet. Another favourite comment I met was “do the ‘Christian’ thing and seek reconciliation with your abusers – that is the real Christian thing to do, that is true forgiveness”.

If I had a penny for every time that has been said to me I’d be a very rich woman indeed!!

But all this was sheer madness to me! It didn’t make any kind of sense. But again I was told that it did not matter that my abusers (family) were the ones who’d disowned me because I was the one who was the Christian in the situation so I should want to work towards reconciliation.

This was totally unreal to me. There was absolutely no way I was going to seek reconciliation with people who had treated me with so much deliberate cruelty and then disowned me. This was all so unrealistic and simplistic to me and didn’t address the real situation I was in.


One week after writing my first blog post I published a second one which took the issue beyond the discussion stage to drawing some conclusions.

While I was writing my posts about forgiveness I was really surprised, encouraged and helped as I came across 3 blog posts which validated my experiences and thought processes. The posts helped me understand my thoughts and feelings about the issue and gave me the courage to post my second blog post on forgiveness- http://fionanicholson.blogspot.com/2010/10/forgiveness-some-of-my-conclusions.html

The first helpful post I read can be found at the Overcoming Sexual Abuse Blog Site at -
http://overcomingsexualabuse.com/2010/10/28/what-about-forgiveness/


The second appeared on the “Emerging From Broken” Blog Site – I include short excerpts from it below:-
"... As children, IF we even realize that it is wrong to be called dumb, stupid and useless, IF we even realize that being beaten on a whim or because someone else is in a bad mood is wrong; IF we somehow figure out that adults having sexual relations of any kind with children is illegal, and IF that victim child tells and is ignored, called a liar, OR anything else other than protected and validated, then the child has an extra layer of abuse to deal with. When this child grows up IF they ever disclose the abuse, they are SO OFTEN met with more invalidation and unhelpful instruction such as “you must forgive”
... Are you getting the picture about why so many people DON’T tell? Many keep the secret in the dark recesses of their minds ~ so convinced that the guilt and shame are theirs to bear and that they must have somehow deserved this kind of mistreatment and added on to that is the whole insistence that forgiveness is the only answer which makes many of us reluctant to disclose abuse least we be seen as unforgiving!
... SO let’s just say we finally DO talk about it and then we are told to jump ahead to forgiveness. HOW the heck is that supposed to be possible?”
... When we are encouraged to try to understand the abuser, it is worse. Why should we try to understand something so incomprehensible? WHY do we need to understand them when we have not been encouraged to understand our own feelings yet?”

To read the full blog post you can find it at -
http://emergingfrombroken.com/forgive-the-abusers-a-bit-of-a-rant/


That blog post on “Emerging From Broken” put into words what I was struggling to find the vocabulary for.

My worst experience of this issue was having well meaning though seriously misguided Christians force me to pray prayers of forgiveness towards my abusers out loud in their presence - and to be told to ask God to make me want to forgive – when I tried to object and refuse to do it – and when I couldn’t own up to having the right feelings I was told I was harbouring revenge and unforgiveness in my heart and was at fault and that the ‘right’ feelings would come if I pursued God for them. That caused me so much confusion because it made me feel that I was ‘bad’ or ‘deficient’ in some way because I couldn’t feel forgiving towards my abusers in spite of praying what I was made to pray.

I realise now how much that was a re-abuse of me which totally invalidated my feelings about my abusers and what they did to me.

Just as I published my second blog post I came across a very helpful biblical exploration of the issue which confirmed the conclusion I had reached that forgiveness cannot happen in the face of defiant refusal to repent or admit fault.

I include here a short excerpt from the post -
“Forgiveness and the requirement to forgive are not necessarily what we have been led to believe they are by our abusers and their enablers, or by others who are either misinformed or trying to deceive us. In the Bible, we are told to forgive as the Lord forgave us.(Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:32) The Lord forgives us when we repent. (Ezekiel 33:10-20, Isaiah 55:6-7, Jeremiah 6:16-30 & 26:3, Luke 13:3 & 5, Acts 3:19) He does NOT forgive those who are 'stiff-necked', refuse to repent, and intend to continue in their sinful ways, and he does not expect us to, either. By forgiving remorseless evildoers, we are depriving them of the opportunity to repent and transform their lives... In Luke 17:3, Jesus tells us very clearly that we are to forgive someone who sins against us IF he repents. God does not want us to continue to be abused, in fact, we are told to shun evildoers... but if there is true repentance the Lord does want us to forgive.”

To read the full article go to -
http://journey2myself.webs.com/apps/blog/show/5212099-a-thought-on-forgiveness-


I've not finished with this issue of forgiveness, if anything I'm only just beginning to explore it, trying to get past all the religious stuff and redefine it as something very different to what I've always been led to believe it was.

Real forgiveness is a process not a one-time event and is in the end something you do within your own heart and emotions in order to move on and through the pain.

I realise that forgiveness is good for the person who forgives as it sets them free from the need for revenge and the invisible ties to the person who caused the hurt.

My gut reaction to forgiveness is that it is possible to forgive things a person has done to you (although some things are harder than others) - but only God can actually forgive a person.

Where there is no repentance and no admittance of fault or wrong, only defiance and lies, forgiveness cannot happen.

In this circumstance all I can do is take my hands from around their neck - and that is excruciating to do - and work through the pain of their defiance on top of the pain and horror of what they did to me.

I will end with just one final point. Real forgiveness is a very personal thing and it is actually nobody else's business as to whether or not you've forgiven.

Sometimes, even for the person doing the forgiving, it's hard to figure out where you are on the forgiveness paradigm.

Monday, 1 November 2010

This Is An Excellent Exploration of the Dynamics of Ritual Abuse

Terms that go with "organized paedophilia" that typically are not associated with it - part of an article by "The Truth About Stopping Child Abuse"


"Ritual abuse" is a rather shunned term by society although it can be abuse by one person who performs abuse in a specific way each time... For survivors of sophisticated paedophiles (those who intentionally inflict horror on their victims to create dissociation), the horror is typically inflicted in a Ritual Abuse setting... Why? Because any child who recalls such things is immediately dismissed. By doing so, we provide paedophiles with a safe haven for abuse... this Ritual Abuse creates the fragmented mind that can then be further split through ongoing trauma until DID takes over the child's mind and all abuse is immediately forgotten afterwards, hidden in a shroud of amnesia for usually decades. Herein lies the perfection to paedophilia. A victim who has no memory of the abuse and a paedophile who has a young victim for as long as the child/adult has amnesia.