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, 27 May 2011

What Survivors Need From Loved Ones

This is a fabulous article for friends and supporters of abuse survivors to read. Below is a short excerpt, the entire post can be read at:- 

We are all unique individuals. No two people's stories, reactions, pain, or recovery will be exactly the same. However, there are many things we do share in the recovery process. Get to know the survivor in your life and allow them to guide you as they walk through this painful, yet very rewarding and life-changing walk of recovery. Following are some of the things I needed from my loved ones. You may think of other areas of needs as you read through this list. Please forward them to me and I will add them.

Survivors need to be loved and accepted. Survivors often see themselves as unlovable. They believe if anyone really knew them, they would reject them. Finding out out that someone could love me even when they knew my deep hidden secrets helped me begin to love and accept myself, and helped me to finally believe that God really loved me unconditionally. For so long I would distance from anyone who got too close to avoid the pain of rejection. Now, I can let people in thanks to the people in my life that loved and accepted me regardless what I was going through or what I revealed to them.

Survivors need nurturing. For many survivors the nurturing, protecting elements were missing in their childhood. Instead they were thrust into a confusing adult world where they were used for the sexual gratification of others. This can cause confusion between nurturance and sex for survivors, especially when those others may have been the very people who should have met the nurturing needs of the child. For me, this caused fear and confusion... fear that any attempts to nurture me meant sex was wanted, and confusion about my own needs... believing that my desire for nurturance meant I wanted sex, causing much shame.

Survivors need to be believed. It is crucial that the person’s story of their abuse is believed, particularly when they have tried to tell someone in the past and were not believed. Their pain can be compounded when, as sometimes happens, they are accused of lying and called wicked for making up such terrible stories. Telling is a very courageous step and survivors need affirming and validating.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

TRAUMA + THE BRAIN

What follows are excerpts from an article discussing the science of how trauma affects the brain. It is an excellent article which I found immensely helpful.

The entire article can be found at:-

"There’s a lot to understand about post-trauma recovery.

Beginning to navigate the post-trauma maze starts with understanding basic things. Recognizing the science behind your experience will help you accept where you are and what you notice about yourself, plus give you clues about what needs to be done.

Did you know that the experience of trauma can actually cause neurological changes in the structure of your brain?

Knowing that there’s a biology to trauma let’s you understand in a scientific sense why you can't 'just get over it.'  Recognizing that trauma’s effects have been concretely documented by evidence-based data should let you know that PTSD is not a condition completely within your control. The more we know and understand the more we can figure out how to heal.

The good news is the brain is designed to be plastic. That is, it is hardwired to rewire. Neuroplasticity - The brain’s ability to reorganize by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.

It means that despite any neurological changes that PTSD may have brought about in your brain, it is, in fact, possible to reverse them. The brain wants to evolve. The question is determining how.

After trauma... all brains reset themselves... they always try to recalibrate. When things happen to us we don’t go back to the way we were, after trauma, the brain’s job is to remember what happened and develop survival skills for the future. The brain integrates the lesson of trauma; it re-calibrates to do better next time.

If your brain can change in response to one environment that is trauma it can change in response to treatment, too. Our brains are capable of change.

It’s very easy to become overwhelmed, despondent and hopeless when dealing with symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Learning about the possibility to recover, however, will help you have hope, belief and above all, the motivation to seek the right help."

Saturday, 21 May 2011

SESSION WITH ‘K’, 17 MAY 2011

Our session this week went very quickly. I could not believe how quickly the time went. When I thought we’d only been talking for about 20 minutes ‘K’ checked the clock and we’d been talking for 45 minutes. That really disorientated me. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief at how quickly it went. I never got to go where I wanted to in the session because of that and was really annoyed about that.

Having said that we did have a good session!

I talked about getting through my mother’s birthday and the letters I’ve written to Sheila as well as to myself. We discussed how I felt about those letters and how I’d processed many very painful emotions and memories. 

‘K’ pointed out to me that although I felt like seriously harming myself during the weekend I didn’t and I turned it around by writing those letters. She stopped me in my tracks saying that. I realised that how I perceive things, such as my coping and survival skills, is really skewed by the effect of the abuse upon me. 

Some of my coping and survival skills are good and positive. Up until now I’ve looked at my surviving as being just that – surviving – and often it doesn’t feel good that all I’m doing is surviving. I don’t feel all that positive about it. But some of my surviving is actually good and helpful. What I need to be able to do is to separate off the positive surviving skills from the shutting down surviving that I often do. 

That’s not going to happen overnight. I guess the first step is recognising that, which I have done.

After the time check I moved on to talking more generally about how I really feel about my childhood and I began to talk about the abuse in a way I haven’t done before and using language I’ve not used before. Up until now I’ve talked about the abuse happening to me abstractly but I began to really personalise it. As I did so I heard myself say “I felt like fodder, being passed around their paedophile friends the way I was”. As I spoke those words inside I felt ouch, that hurts, that really hurts, while outwardly showing no reaction  at all and at the same time looking at ‘K’ trying to gauge her reaction to my words. She just looked at me unblinkingly. I expected to hear “you can’t speak about yourself like that, you weren’t an animal.” Instead ‘K’ said “that is appalling, to put a tiny child through that is terrible”. I felt enormous empathy coming from ‘K’ towards me and could find no words, instead I just nodded. 

With that we were out of time. I muttered something about “well I wasn’t able to go where I wanted to today”.
 
‘K’ countered that with “but you were able to talk about the abuse in the way you needed to and that’s what really matters.”

I realised that when I think of my childhood I don’t see myself as a child but rather as a ‘thing’, an object with no form because that was how I felt. I also realised I had verbalised that for the very first time. 

I’d had no intention of doing so but it was a huge breakthrough.

It’s funny how things work out. If I’d been able to go where I wanted to go in the session in the way I’d wanted to chances are I’d never have said that.

I intend to build on that breakthrough in our next session and seize the opportunity to take a risk and go a little deeper knowing ‘K’ is safe and is willing me to go there with her but is not going to force me to. 

‘K’ said as such just before I walked out the door. 

Her final words to me were “I’m not going to allow you to avoid going there but I’m not going to force you to, I know you’ll take me when you’re ready and truly know you’re safe.”

AN UNFORESEEN CONSEQUENCE OF HEALING

This post is really hard for me to write, which shows just how important it is and how much this affects me!

It’s tough when you’ve known someone for over 20 years and they’ve changed little in that time BUT you’ve changed enormously yourself. That really changes the dynamics of the relationship. 

My quest for healing and the progress I’ve made have changed me significantly. The events of the past year have changed me radically. I cannot and will not take BS from anyone any more. Those changes affect the nature of all my relationships and in this case have created a very lopsided dynamic. 

Originally I was very insecure and the weak one in the friendship. After these years of being submissive in the relationship I’m not any longer. I’m getting stronger. I’m slowly realising who I am and what I want from life. 

Stuff I used to tolerate I now have zero tolerance for. Things I used to do out of sheer obligation I question whether I should be doing any more. 

I have a friend who I had met with recently. I’ve known this person for about 20 years. I feel obligated to continue the friendship because of how long it’s been and how she helped me in the past. But things are changing. As I’m changing she is really not going with me. 

I met with her after she contacted me to say “shall we meet up for coffee, not to discuss your situation, just to spend time with you”. Query - it’s nice to meet up but if I can’t talk about what I want to or need to then what is the point? I don’t really want to talk about what’s going on because she doesn’t understand, so there’s not much point in talking about what really matters BUT what is the point of the friendship if she’s not willing to be there for me, even if she doesn’t understand?

She’s said many times “I cannot enter into your experience of life because my life has been so different.” QueryI’ve never asked her to, why does she feel the need to?
 
I can have sympathy, your experience is so far from mine it is very difficult, it’s no good pretending I can empathise with youQueryWhy? Why can she not feel empathy for another human being, has she not experienced any real suffering of her own? Why sympathy and not empathy? Why can she not empathise? Empathy is a mutual understanding of how hard life can be at times, it does not require a person to step into another person’s experience, that is impossible! I hate sympathy, sympathy speaks of pity. I don’t want sympathy. I don’t want pity. All that sympathy and pity does is keeps me locked in a certain place whereas empathy frees me to be who I am in spite of all I’ve experienced. 

I don’t read your blog because I find it difficult to enter into, my life’s been so differentQuerywhy can she not read and appreciate my life story? All my blog is about is telling the story of my life and my healing journey. I’m not asking the reader to enter into it or even understand. That’s not what it’s about. The mind boggles, it really does!!

Many times she asks very intrusive and inappropriate questions. Every time I hear myself giving away information I had no intention of giving but because I was trained as a child to answer every question asked of me instantly and truthfully I find myself doing that even now. That really annoys me. Every time it happens I beat myself up about it and promise to myself next time I won’t do that, then next time we have a conversation, guess what? I give away way too much information, and much more information that I’m comfortable with. Querywhy does she have this affect upon me?
 
Many times those questions come with “I’m only asking to try and understand”. Querywhy does she feel the need to understand? Why does she think that by knowing all the details she’ll understand? It’s pretty clear that she doesn’t. I don’t think she ever will “get it”. Every comment she makes ends with something along the lines of “I cannot understand because my life’s been so different.”  

Erm you can be a friend to someone without knowing all the details or needing to know.
 
The best friends I have are those who are alongside, even from a distance, encouraging, supportive, believing in me even when I don’t believe in myself, without prying or seeking unnecessary information which frankly is nobody’s business but my own. 

The comment which really angered me occurred just before Easter - “I don’t like the thought of you being alone so much” but at the same time did not offer to spend any time with me. Query – what did she think she’d achieve by throwing that statement at me at a time of year she knows is difficult for me and not suggesting meeting up for a coffee or a walk down the beach. Just the statement thrown at me and me staring at it, feeling the immense agony of the pain I feel about being so alone but yet no solution or suggestions offered to mitigate that pain in any way. I could not believe she did that. I still cannot believe she did that. It threw me into a dark place for the rest of the day.

I’m very aware we have very little common ground now because I’ve changed so much. 

People warned me once you begin to heal one consequence will be is you’ll change and you’ll lose people from your life. I’m beginning to see that happen.

I’m aware I’m keeping this relationship going out of obligation. 

I’m aware that I feel really bad about that. 

I’m aware that I feel really bad about writing this. 

I’m aware that I feel really bad about how I react and respond when I’m around her. 

I’m also aware that I am NOT going to go back to the person I was. I cannot do that, I can only go forwards. 

I’m also aware that I’m trying to make sense of something which actually makes no sense at all and I doubt if it ever will.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

SESSION WITH ‘K’, 10 MAY 2011

I met with ‘K’ last Tuesday. The session started off on what, in some ways, was a humorous note. 

We decided that the chairs in the part of the room we wanted to sit in were not nice enough and so re-arranged them to much nicer chairs. Once we sat down ‘K’ realised she was sitting much further away from me than she would like so she tried to move her chair closer to mine. I, without even thinking, backed my chair away. ‘K’ tried to inch towards me, I backed off. It wasn’t deliberate! It was a reaction from deep inside. I felt like I was being rude but I couldn’t stop myself. I’ve never ever done that before. I’ve just kind of accepted whatever chair is there, regardless of type or position. Sub-consciously I was really struggling with the fact I hadn’t seen ‘K’ for 2 weeks and had had a really difficult time during those two weeks. I was feeling very nervous and scared inside. Looking back it was quite funny – ‘K’ shifting towards me, me backing off – but actually it wasn’t funny at all. In the end I told myself to “stop messing around, for goodness sake, park your bum on the chair and sit still.”

‘K’ asked me if I was nervous so I said ‘yep’ and started talking about all that’s happened during the last two weeks and how hard it is for me when there’s a gap between our appointments. I feel really unsupported and just left to get on with it. Then when I do get to see ‘K’ I can’t do any real abuse work because of how uneasy I feel about the gap and how I’ve survived, coped, or not, as the case may be.  

I find that very frustrating, massively frustrating, to be honest!

I heard myself say “look I need the consistency of weekly appointments to build trust and confidence that I am safe and can talk about what I really need to talk about”.

‘K’ said “I hear you loud and clear, I know you do but I cannot carry on seeing you weekly, we’re changing how we work and are only seeing people either fortnightly or monthly now. I know it’s not enough, I know that. I know it’s not fair on you. It’s not fair to have built this relationship and then have someone put limits on how often and how much you can talk but there’s nothing I can do about it.”

So where do we go from here then?
 
I heard myself say “it would help if I could have an explanation, just to be told we’re going to have to go to fortnightly appointments without knowing why is hard.”

‘K’ said “if you need me to explain, I will, no problem, I’m very happy to” and went on to explain why they’re changing their way of working. “I’ll see you weekly for another four weeks and then review it but I can’t carry on seeing you weekly indefinitely.”

Okay, fair enough. Doesn’t mean I’m happy with the idea because I’m not. But at least ‘K’ knows that and she is aware too that I’m not relaxed and able to talk freely when there’s been a gap between appointments. It really affects my ability to trust. I wish I knew why but I don’t just that that is the affect it has on me. I guess it shows how fragile my trust is. Neither of us is happy with the situation. But I guess she’s being leaned on from her supervisor.

‘K’ said she is concerned about the situation and wants to sort something out so that I am supported between sessions and not just left to muddle through.

My response was “great because I’m not going to get my life back just muddling through, all that does it to just maintain the status quo and is most definitely not what I want.”

‘K’ mentioned another community mental health organisation and said she’d be happy to refer me and sit in on my referral appointment if necessary. I said I’d think about it. It means starting over with a new person and all that entails but it does widen my support network. I know I’ll be saying ‘yes’, I realise I don’t really have an option but it still sucks.

But it’s good to know that it isn’t only me who thinks it sucks - so does ‘K’.

What’s really good is that I can be really honest with ‘K’ now, even during wobbly appointments when I’m feeling very insecure and unsure.

And that I guess is BIG progress!

Happy Birthday Mum

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM

Ha, nah, YOU didn’t really think I’d say those words to YOU and mean it did YOU? No way!!

YOU turned 71 yesterday. This year was the first year I’ve not written YOUR birthday in my diary. That was deliberate. BUT I still remembered. That date is seared into my memory. Yesterday I was thinking of YOUR life, YOUR legacy. I wonder what a narcissist thinks when she looks back on her life?

I know what I think. I know what I feel.

I have so many bad memories of my childhood. I also have many parts of my childhood which I do not and cannot remember. It’s always bugged me that I cannot remember. But I recognise now that those things are blocked out of my memory for very good reasons. The stuff I can remember is so horrible and horrific that I’m not going to fish around and try to remember things which are blocked out. I figure they’ll come to my consciousness if and when they’re meant to.

These are my memories of YOU as a mother:-

YOU were never ever gentle or loving towards me

YOU never held me. Instead YOU beat me. If I went to YOU, YOU pushed me aside mockingly.

YOU never sided with me on anything 

YOU always mocked and put down and kept me in my place

YOU never supported me in anything 

YOU always undermined instead

YOU never ever encouraged me

YOU were always violent, cruel and sadistic towards me 

YOU consistently mocked me and put me down

YOU consistently told me I was useless and would never be anything and to never think of myself in any other way.

YOU hated me in the womb and despised me from the moment of my birth 

YOU made sure I knew what a burden I was to you. So I grew up thinking I was this terrible burden who was a total blot on the landscape and the world would have been a much better place had I never been born.

YOU made sure I knew I was wrong and defective right from the very beginning in YOUR eyes. So I grew up believing being a girl was unacceptable and all the bad spoken and unspoken messages I received about myself from YOU. I grew up feeling like a total complete misfit.

YOU told me so many times that I deserved everything YOU did to me that I believed the abuse was fully my fault and I was a terrible person who only deserved bad things to be done to her. I never believed anything good could happen to me because of YOU.

YOU put me through hell. Why? Just to satisfy some lust inside of you?

YOU should be rotting in jail and are very lucky not to be. But YOU are rotting away inside and one day YOU will have to account for YOUR actions to someone who will not let YOU escape the truth, the consequences and YOUR punishment.

YOU cared not one jot about how I felt or about how I was affected by what YOU did 

YOU cared only about YOURSELF and how the outside world perceived the Nicholson family to be – image, image, image, image - always - never substance nor reality

YOU are a total failure

YOU are guilty of child cruelty

YOU are guilty of every charge of sexual abuse that could be laid at YOUR door

YOU are guilty of child torture

YOU are guilty of assault

YOU are a child abuser

YOU are a paedophile

YOU are a child murderer 

YOU colluded with abuse and other abusers 

YOU were actively involved in setting me up for abuse

YOU actively ensured abuse happened to me

YOU washed YOUR hands of me when I was of no further use to YOU and became a liability to YOU

YOU are a very evil, conniving, deceiving, nasty piece of work

YOU deserve to be locked up and the key thrown away

YOU, when faced with the legal consequences of YOUR actions last year, lied, denied, play acted and made YOURSELF out to be a victim and got away with it all. 

YOU do not deserve YOUR liberty

YOU are a liar

YOU care nothing for the real truth – only for YOUR version of truth

YOU are the one to blame, not me

YOU have ever acknowledged anything happened

YOU have never ever acknowledged the truth nor that the things YOU did to me were crimes

YOU are an abject failure as a person, as a mother and as a human being

YOU beat me up, disowned me and left for me dead in a heap in the snow when I made it clear at the age of 19 that I was wasn’t going to put up with YOUR abuse any more. YOUR final words were the most brutal “from this moment you do not exist”. So for my entire life I’ve been a solitary figure, alone, just about surviving. I’ve had no life. I have had a non-life, only a mere existence at the best of times.

I always believed that was my lot in life. I believed that I deserved no better, that I didn’t deserve love or any nice thing happening to me. But that was a lie from YOU. I have always been an orphan who never belonged or fitted in or was wanted. That hurt and emptiness never goes away. There are so many things I never had, many of them the most basic things. I never stop missing those things. My heart never stops hurting and aching. My heart has always hurt and ached. There are times that hurt totally overwhelms me.

This is YOUR legacy. This is YOUR gift to me. This is YOUR life’s work. 

It’s not very pretty is it? 

I’m slowly seeing YOUR lies for what they are. I’m slowly realising it was NOT my fault, that I’m NOT a total failure. I’m slowly realising it was YOUR fault. I’m very slowly realising that I was not to blame and did not deserve any of that mistreatment.

I have come a long way! I have a long way to go!