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.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

YESTERDAY WITH "K"

My session with “K” yesterday was an amazing journey. I was feeling very numb. I'd been in a numb disassociated place for 3 days or so. I was also feeling very nervous. I was fidgeting profusely and could not keep still. I also felt very self-conscious, unsure of myself and of the environment I was in. Additionally I was pouring sweat. Pouring sweat is something I do when I'm feeling extremely nervous. “K” asked me if I was hot and I realised the best thing to do was to admit to my nervousness – and so I did rather nervously.

Admitting to my nerves, to my fear, was amazing in itself. In admitting that I took a massive risk!

Admitting it also helped me explore why I was so nervous.

As I began to talk falteringly I realised I was scared of being vulnerable because being vulnerable means you get hurt.  I knew I was going to have to pull myself out of the numb place I was in and feel if I was going to gain anything from the session. I was scared of feeling because feeling often feels so unsafe to me. I was scared because although I know it's safe and I'm safe with “K” I was scared in case it wasn't safe. I was scared because although I know “K” is not going to mock me, belittle me or put me down, I was still scared she might. I was plain scared and had to reaffirm for myself that I was safe and in a safe place.

So I had to take a risk and admit exactly where I was at.

When I started talking I was rather shocked because I began talking at the place I'd been thinking when I fell asleep the night before. That kind of spooked me. Before I went to sleep I was thinking I wish I hadn't ever spoken to the police because otherwise I wouldn't have all the additional hurt of the outcome together with the trauma of how the news was broken to me to deal with. That was my last thought before sleeping. Since waking up I hadn't really thought about anything other than getting myself to my appointment with “K”.

The phone call which told me the CPS were taking no further action against my family, my abusers, had very deeply shocked and traumatised me. My world shattered in that moment and I don't really know how I'm going to live with it. I don't really know if I'm going to find all the pieces. I don't know if my world can be put back together.

It was good to say all that.

As I discussed my feelings about the case outcome and how the news was broken to me I began to come out of that numb place and to feel very powerful emotions and to think very powerful thoughts. The real “me” slowly began to emerge. The real “me” who is utterly bewildered, shattered, disillusioned and hurt beyond hurt. I was rocked to my core as everything I'd ever believed about justice shattered. I was traumatised very deeply.

As I talked I realised how deeply ingrained in my memory and my emotions every detail of that phone call is. I realised how much was triggered in me. I realised that 6-months on there is a part of me which is frozen in that moment of immense shock, disbelief, bewilderment and trauma.

As I talked and felt I discovered I can feel and be safe. I think for the first time in my life I felt and was safe. I cried for the first time in front of ”K”. That in itself was amazing! Wow!!

As we talked I was increasingly honest about the depth of my feelings. How I really feel about the events of the last few months and how those events have really affected me and affect me every single day. I realised the depth of the trauma and what it had triggered for me and taken me back into – all the powerlessness, helplessness, unfairness feelings, everything I felt as a kid about the appalling situation I was trapped in.

It's really hard having all that to process and live with on top of the original abuse and the damage it caused to my life. It's also hard to talk about the abuse when I have all these issues going on. It's getting in the way a bit.

I mentioned how “G” had said to me last week that everyone who's engaged positively with me during the past few months had actually been valuing me as they did so. I went on to describe the visual “G” gave me of imagining each of those people lined up in front of me with pieces of paper saying “I value Fi”. I said how powerful and helpful this had been. We finished there, which was a good place to end.

I've been quite hard on myself because I don't really see myself as having any value and I don't seem to be making any progress in that. “K” said my lack of value is tied in to the messages the abuse gave me and I understand that. My first step to valuing myself is accepting and recognising the value people place on me and taking strength and building belief from that. Up until now I’ve not been able to accept the valuable things people say to me of how they see me, but now I can hear those things and receive them, and that is enormous progress.

I believe one day I'll begin to realise and eventually accept that I intrinsically do have value. But if I have to pull on other people's valuing of me as a stepping stone to that, then that is ok.

I'm realising there are no hard and fast rules to the healing process and I need to break it down into manageable steps and cut myself some slack.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

ADIOS

On Monday I did something so painful and so hard that I am amazed I actually managed to do it. I said "adios" to a very special and very important person in my life. 

I said "adios" to my SARC support worker. "G" had seen me through so much. As she herself said “I have seen you at your worst and I have seen you somehow come back from that and come back stronger, I know just how bad it’s been over the last few months, and you are so incredibly strong and resilient”.

When I first met "G" I didn’t know why on earth I was seeing her. I didn’t think she’d believe me and I didn’t think I’d be seeing her for long. It took me a long time to trust her but in the end I fully trusted her. I allowed her to see the real me. I cried in front of her. And that is a real biggie - to feel so safe that I could cry in front of her. I was able to be fully me with her - and that was so liberating and healing. I could be fully honest with her. Wow!

Her role was to see me through the legal process, to guide and support me to the conclusion of the legal side of things. With the case dismissed her role with me ended.

That was so hard. I had developed such a rapport with her. We worked so well together. I learned so much from her. She was so incredibly gentle in her manner, in her speech and in her way of dealing with me and also deeply compassionate. Those are the two things I will remember most about her – gentleness – compassion. When someone responds to you with compassion it changes you. I’d never come across such compassion in a human being until I met "G". Her gentleness and her compassion changed me. Her compassion broke through my defences. We had a wonderful working relationship and I miss her.

It had taken me 3 months to get to the point of accepting that our relationship was over and I had to move on. On 3 previous occasions I'd said to myself “this is it, I’m going to say goodbye today” but I couldn’t do it. It hurt so much. It hurt too much. I didn’t want something which was so good, so positive and so healing to end. It seemed totally crazy for me to walk away from someone who had helped me so much, someone who I’d let in to see the real me, someone who I totally trusted and felt totally at ease with. "G" was the first person in my life who had had that place in my life. I had not thought such a relationship possible for me.

I knew it was time because we had agreed a timescale. I knew it was time because every time we met we’d be talking about what had happened and re-opening that wound. We had nothing else to talk about but what had happened and how I was going to pick up the pieces and move on.

I desperately wanted to carry on working with "G" but her role was over. There was so much good work we could have done together. But our time was up. She knew it and I knew it. It had to come from me too because otherwise it would have felt like a rejection.

Somehow I found the strength to be honest with her and tell her exactly what I was feeling and how hard it was for me to say goodbye and walk away. She responded with honesty about how she saw me and what she saw in me. 

So I found the strength and the courage to say "adios" and walk away. It was the hardest most painful thing I’ve ever done. It’s tearing me apart writing this. It’s excruciatingly painful, I miss her already. But time to move on and trust "K" and let "K" in somehow.


Sunday, 20 March 2011

PROGRESSION

The last couple of months have been very hard going at times. There have been times of immense pain, isolation, vulnerability, growth, discovery but always progressing.

Changing my name was an interesting experience. It wasn’t anything like I expected it to be, although I don’t quite know how I expected it to be. It was enormously liberating to take that decision and make that change, but at the same time it was enormously painful to do. I’m very glad I did it though and I’m feeling much safer and freer as a result. 

I deactivated my old Facebook account last weekend, one month later than I'd intended to. The delay was due to my laptop needing to be repaired which took me offline for a while but also because I found it really hard to deactivate the account. The old account was under my old name and was my first forage into the social networking side of the internet. Deactivating it was just as hard as changing my name by Deed Poll. I was really surprised how hard I found it to make the change, to leave the old name and my old identity behind. I think part of the problem is that I don't really know who I am yet. I've yet to figure that out.

Therapy wise I’ve been making slow but gradual and increasingly marked progress. It may surprise you to know three months in that I’ve not yet been able to talk explicitly about the abuse. I have talked around it but have not yet been able to break my silence on the details. It is turning out to be very hard, much harder that I imagined. Getting over the hurdle of the first time I tell in detail is proving really difficult. I know I can talk about that stuff but there’s still a lot of fear of what will happen when I do and I keep coming up against a huge wall of shame. That is the biggest obstacle to get over. That shame is very powerful. The only way through it is the way of risk and the only way through risk is getting more and more secure in the counselling relationship I have with ‘K’.

I’ve been slowly building a rapport with ‘K’ and I now know that she is safe, that I’m safe with her and that it is ok to be me with her. That for me is the biggest progress yet. What I’m discovering is that I was not abused in a vacuum and I’m not going to be able to talk about it in a vacuum. I have to build confidence with ‘K’ but also within myself that talking about it is ok.

I’ve been dealing with some very strong emotions lately. A couple of weeks ago I discovered anger, white hot rage. A lot of memories and very powerful emotions were triggered and took some handling. I self-harmed very badly last weekend as an expression of the deep pain, anger and rage I was experiencing. I nearly lost my voice last weekend shouting at things around my flat as the rage poured out of me. I then went from feeling immense anger and rage to total numbness. I got to a point where I was hurting so much that I could not contain the hurt and pain and switched off to a numb place. To begin with it was nice to go to a place where I was not feeling, hurting or remembering but after a short while I began to recognise it was not a healthy place to be. So I began to read parts of The Courage to Heal book and did some of the writing exercises in there and that helped me begin to move out of that numb place.

Last Monday ‘K’ said to me during our session “you have every right to be angry, can you see that you have a right to be angry?” My response was “I understand why I’m angry and what that’s all about but no I don’t see that I have a right to be angry.” We discussed why that was. Part of the problem is that throughout my childhood I was not allowed to feel. As an adult I’ve pushed my feelings down because I didn’t have the capacity to deal with them. Now I’m beginning to feel and I don’t know how to process my feelings or what to do with them.

This past week I’ve been started to feel again and have been feeling immense sadness. 

Writing this has not been easy. It would be very easy for me to close in on myself but that is not a very healthy thing for me to do. In fact it’s the worst thing I could do. So I decided to type this to try to express some of what’s going on.

They call therapy ‘work’ and it sure is. It’s certainly not easy and it is very hard work. But I’m pleased with the rapport I’m building with my worker and it is making a difference to me although it’s not possible for me to quantify that yet, just that it is.

But all the while I am progressing, albeit very slowly and gradually.

Friday, 11 March 2011

I WAS SO TINY


I was so tiny and yet I blame myself.

I find it difficult to imagine myself as a child partly because I have no childhood photos but also because I guess I never felt like a child. I was never allowed to be a child or feel like a child. I was forced into adult things from a very tiny age and it skewed my entire self perception.

I’ve been watching Junior Masterchef Australia lately. The youngest contestant was a really small 9-year old girl. Right through the series I’ve been transfixed on this tiny little girl. I’ve not been able to take my eyes off her. Last night I was wondering why and it came to me why. She is 9 and she is really small for her age. My godmother has told me that I was always small for my age too. My father raped me for the first time on my 9th birthday. By the time I was 9 I was used to being sodomised and raped regularly. That was just life and had been for many years by then. 

As I looked at this little girl last night I thought to myself “Fi, she’s so tiny” and I couldn’t get my head around how anyone would want to do what was done to me to such a tiny little girl. 

Then I thought about how I’m struggling to find a way through the hurt and shame to talk in therapy about things that happened to me when I was 3 when I was even tinier than that. It seems absurd to blame a tiny 3-year old or tiny 9-year old for those things and yet that is exactly what I’m doing. The child inside me carries all sort of arguments for how it was all her fault, about if only I’d done such and such or said such and such. But in reality I was very little surrounded by powerful big grown-ups intent on things that no child should have to witness or experience.

Just a couple of weeks ago my therapist said to me “but Fi, you were tiny, you would only have been this big” and showed me with her hand an approximate height for me. I asked her to show me a second time because I was struggling to comprehend the reality of what happened. She did that because I was saying to her how I wanted, as a 3-year old, to stamp my feet and say “bad gramps” but didn’t dare because I knew I’d get beaten but I blamed myself for not doing that and that it was all my own fault for being “a good little girl and doing what gramps wanted” instead of creating a scene about it. Although I knew it wasn’t possible for me to have made a scene about it I still blamed myself for not doing so. 

What skewed thinking! I’d already had a beating for saying that I didn’t want to go and sit on gramps knee because I didn’t want to play gramp’s games cos I didn’t like gramp’s games and how they made me feel. It is incredible to think that as a 3-year old I was already blaming myself for things that I had no power over.

It is sobering to realise how tiny and how powerless I was and how skewed it is to blame myself for things that in reality I could do nothing about. I was trapped in an adult’s world wanting to do kid’s things but being forced into adult things and it just blew me apart. My tiny little mind couldn’t comprehend what was happening to me then, only that it was bad and so it must be my fault because I was bad. But it wasn’t my fault it was their fault, they were the bad ones, not me. What a mess of shame and blame this is to try and sort out.