I am a survivor of extremely severe ritualistic childhood abuse and sadistic systematic torture. This blog has helped me get my voice back and documents the journey I'm on to heal from the trauma and damage caused by that appalling abuse. Now is the time for me to tell of MY experience 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 repaired. Without God in my life I wouldn't still be here. But somehow, I keep on staying alive, surviving and rarely, occasionally, living a little!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011


Today's been a very hard day, much of which I spent in bed feeling really horrible finding it very hard to find a reason to force myself out of the bed to face the day. It took me until late afternoon to attempt to face the day. 

It was only when I went into my emails and opened an email from an old ChildLine colleague that I twigged and realised why I was feeling so awful. Today is 31st August 2011. The official final working day of ChildLine SW although most people ended well before today. 

My heart today is with the boss 'C', she is one of the most genuinely kind, and decent people you could ever meet. I remember walking up to the pub for the farewell party with her on 18th August. She was telling me how she was dreading today, dreading the moment her mobile and key fob were taken from her and ChildLine's closure became reality. She was very emotional during that conversation and throughout the evening. 

The NSPCC have no comprehension of the total devastation this closure has visited on so many people's lives. I still find it very difficult to accept I will never ever walk into ChildLine's base at Keble House, Exeter again. In fact that base is now gone, it no longer exists. 

And it is so wrong. 

And yes my heart is broken over it, tears are in my eyes as I type. 

I will never ever have the privilege of working in such an environment again. I am privileged to have worked there. I am not the same for the experience. It is so hard to take in that it no longer exists. But that is the case. ChildLine SW no longer exists and what a crazy action it was to close it.

I miss it immensely and I miss my old colleagues immensely too! I miss all that ChildLine SW was.

Sunday, 28 August 2011


The past two weeks have been very hard, very painful, very challenging. I had the ChildLine closure to deal with which was totally heartbreaking. But in that heartbreak I found comfort in the shared loss, grief and anger of my colleagues and friends at ChildLine. That is the first time I have shared at such an emotional level with people and I realise how far I've come to be able to be so emotionally vulnerable. I discovered comfort and safety in that vulnerability. As I write those words I find it amazing that such a thing happened, but it did, and it was very validating, very healing and began to challenge the old tapes in my head that say vulnerability = risk = pain = betrayal = hurt = danger - and so on. It was very hard going through the leaving party. But it was also important to go through it, because however painful it was, it gave me some closure. Of course I didn't want that closure, I didn't want ChildLine to end for me. But I found the strength from deep within to face it and to be real and vulnerable. I am glad I didn't put up a defensive front that no one could get past. I am glad I was real because that allowed people to reach out to me. For the first time in my life I did not isolate myself because of the pain. It would have been so easy to do that but I resisted the temptation to isolate and chose vulnerability, honesty and reality instead.

On Tuesday I spoke at length with "T", my counsellor at Quiet Mind, about the loss, my grief and also what happened at the closure, the shared loss, the shared emotions, the emotional vulnerability. I also talked about the conversations I've had with colleagues and what they've told me about myself, about how I was perceived by my colleagues and about the impact I had on them. I was astounded by the things they've said to me. Those things have really made a huge dent into the old tapes from the abuse that tell me I'm useless, worthless and will never do or be anything of value. I realise I am a very different person from that which my abusers told me I was. There is far more to me than what they said. "T" commented "I would go so far as to say you are not what they said you were." I intend to discuss that further with "T" in our session next week as we were out of time at that point.

The ChildLine closure happened one week after my previous session with "K". I was an emotional wreck the following day and phoned "K" to find she was out training all day and so were all the rest of the CPN's. So I just left a message on her voicemail. "K" has been encouraging me to phone her when I'm not doing good instead of just going in to survival mode. I find it very hard to pick up the phone and ask for help. In fact it is the hardest thing in the world for me to do.

I crashed that weekend but somehow made it through to Monday. I didn't get a phone call back from "K" all day so I phoned again in the afternoon and was told she was out training again, "did I want to leave a message?" My response was "no, there's no point" and I put the phone down in frustration. I felt let down by the system and really frustrated. There was anger too. I felt "what is the point of telling me I can phone, encouraging me to do so, and then not being there when I do". I got through Tuesday and Wednesday with no phone call back. That really messed with my head. I began to think "she doesn't want to speak to me now I've begun to tell her the terrible details of the abuse" and many other things. My mind was working overtime. It was a terrible couple of days. 

And then I came to Thursday. I was in Open Door as usual and had a busy day and I knew I was booked to see "K" in the afternoon. I'd decided that I was going to start the session saying something along the lines of "can you tell me why I'm still waiting for you to return my calls and respond to my message."

While I was in Open Door I had my mobile switched off. As I left half an hour before my appointment with "K" was due I switched it on and found a voicemail message. It was "K" apologising for not getting back to me sooner and saying she was looking forward to seeing me at 3pm.

I stopped in my tracks and actually laughed at myself. I said "you bloody idiot" and laughed. I didn't give myself a hard time. I stopped and realised that and was amazed at myself for laughing instead of giving myself a hard talking to. Half an hour later I was at my appointment with "K".

"K" told me she'd been out of the office all week training and working elsewhere and was gutted to have only picked up my message then. I told her it had really messed with my head. "K" said she wasn't surprised and asked me what I'd been thinking and feeling. I told her "you don't want to know". Her response was "actually, I do". That surprised me and sent my mind into a spin as I tried to collect my thoughts together to make a response to that. I found it really difficult to be vulnerable and tell her exactly what I'd thought and felt during those days but she drew out of me. Eventually I was able to express how hurt, let down, betrayed and angry I'd felt. "K" read me like a book. She was not surprised at any of it. I felt validated, respected and heard. And that enabled me to draw a line under the affair, learn from it and move on.

I was able next to tell her how helped I was when she said to me in the last session "Fi, this is really shocking" in response to the paedophilia abuse I disclosed. Those words really validated me. Those words reached out to me and comforted in an amazing way. "K" thanked me for telling her that, she said "it's really hard to find words that can help in this situation, so I'm really happy those words helped you and it's good to know that."

So with trust restored I was able to move on and go back to my grandparents' house with her. I told her that I needed a break from the room where I was abused by so many paedophiles. It is too horrible and too painful. I said I wanted to take her to another room in the house and "was it ok?" "Of course", she said, "you're in control not me".

So I took her to my grandmother's bedroom and talked about when my brother and I stayed over at their house. It happened many times as a matter of course although we only lived 10 minutes drive or so away. We'd be dropped off and left there with our grandparents. When my brother and I stayed over I had to sleep with my grandmother in her bed and my brother had to sleep with my grandfather in his bed. I am aged 5 when my memories of this begin although I realise it did not begin then but was already an established part of life by that age.

I was able to talk "K" through my grandmother's rape of me, how I felt, what I thought. It was a very intense session but also very healing. Since our session I've felt like a huge weight has lifted from me. "K" said to me at the end of the session "you showed amazing courage today". I took those words away with me and the compassion with which those words were spoken. "K" told me that she is amazed at the progress I've made during the last 3 sessions. I told her that I'm amazed at myself too!

Sunday, 21 August 2011


I’ve not written in a while for several reasons. Firstly my laptop died on me and had to go away for repair and has only just returned. Ah, it’s so nice to have it back - life just wasn’t quite the same while it was away! Also, I’ve been dealing with big changes in how I’m talking in my sessions with ‘K’ and ‘T’. The last few weeks of my life have been interesting at the very least and excruciatingly painful if I’m honest. But here I am finally putting fingers to keyboard to catch up with my thoughts and emotions. I have maintained my journal through the last few weeks which has helped keep me sane.

The implications of finally beginning to talk about the abuse instead of talking around it have been surprisingly far reaching, including have to deal with severe pelvic and gynaecological pain which no-one warned me about!

During my last two sessions with ‘K’ I’ve been able to discuss at quite a deep level incidents of abuse I experienced at the hands of the paedophile ring that ran at my paternal grandparents’ house. I remember the session one month ago when I grabbed my rapidly vanishing courage and found the words to describe a sexual assault. I remember the feelings of sheer terror I felt. How will ‘K’ react? What will she say? In the end she was very compassionate and really supportive. Then 2 weeks ago I took her deeper into that assault. I couldn’t sit opposite her so I moved across the room and stood by the door as I talked. I remember ‘K’ saying “Fi, this is very shocking, very shocking indeed!” I remember how those words reached out to me and hugged me and comforted me. I was heard by those words. I was believed and validated by those words. Most of all I was enormously comforted by those words.

My counselling sessions with ‘T’ during the last month have become increasingly in depth. It was a month ago that I began to broach the issues surrounding my sexuality and gender identity confusion. During that session and the one that followed I explored some of the roots of that confusion and made some sense of how I’ve come to be what and how I am. I also began to have a little hope that positive change, understanding and healing is possible. Just 2 weeks ago I heard myself begin to talk about the babies I lost. I remember ‘T’ asking “lost or taken from you?” That question gave me permission to talk about the several babies I lost through miscarriages and the two that were taken from me by murder. I couldn’t believe I was telling her all that. I never ever thought I’d sit with another human being and tell those terrible things. I remember looking across to her as our session drew to a close and there were tears in her eyes. Last week I sat with ‘T’ and said “this is how bad it really was, it really was this horrific”. ‘T’ said “yes, I realise, I can’t imagine the scale of the horror.” I discussed with her how as a child I had no means to process what was happening to me or to my body. As a child I was totally unable to deal with all that was happening so had to shut it out. I had no real understanding of what was happening around me in the family home or why it was happening – just that I was bad and deserved it all. I simply could not take it in. As a child I had no real comprehension of what was going on - just that it was really horrible. My child mind could not process it, just store it. My child mind could not cope with the horror. ‘T’ said to me “what could a 13/14 year old child do in that situation? There was nothing you could have done.” I knew she was right. Those words enabled me to see myself as a child, which is something I find very hard to do. I mentioned how, even now, at the age of 45, I find it virtually impossible to process the horror of those years and those events and I find it very difficult to believe how horrific it truly was, even though I know the truth. My adult mind struggles with the horror. It has been such a relief to talk about all this stuff at long last! What it is to be heard and to be comforted. 

It is so new for me to be comforted. I was never comforted as a child. As an adult I’ve had none to comfort me until now. I didn’t know I missed out on that but now I’m experiencing being comforted by the responses of those around me. I am strengthened, encouraged, supported, liberated and most of all COMFORTED!!

On top of all that I’ve also had to deal with the closure of ChildLine SW. I still cannot get my head around that. It all feels totally crazy and plain wrong. Last Thursday evening was the farewell party. I cannot find words for how hard it was to face that day.

Naturally my thoughts turn to ChildLine and the closure of the SW base which has been totally devastating.
When I think back over the 4 years that I worked there and reflect on all that happened in that time I see enormous change and personal growth. 

I remember the early days when it was an all female team and I privately called it a “testosterone free zone”. I remember how safe I felt and how new it was to be in a totally female environment. I remember the first male member of staff starting. I remember how I felt my safe space had been invaded when he began work. I remember nervously watching three other males gradually added to the team. I remember how terrified and resentful I was of them. I remember how nervous I felt around them. I look back on that time with thankfulness that I didn’t shut down on the subject but determined to push through the pain and discomfort and explore what was being triggered and find a way to accommodate these men into my working environment. I grew over time to become more comfortable around them to the point where I wasn’t terrified to say hello. Eventually I grew to like them and speak more with them. I was eventually able to look at my male colleagues as equals not as threats to my safety and well being. I eventually appreciated their warmth, compassion and support. They showed me that there are compassionate safe males in the world and in the work place. In working with those four males I discovered safety in the company of men. That was very healing.

I remember my interview in July 2010 and how terrified I was. I remember bumping into one of my interviewers as I walked into the toilets before the interview. I said ‘hello’ and gave her a big grin not knowing who she was. I remember sitting down in my interview and she came into the room as the 2nd interviewer. I remember how glad I felt that I’d been really friendly towards her when we walked into each other. I was just my natural self but it did strike me how we never know who the people that cross our paths in life really are, how important first impressions are and also how important it is for me to just be ‘me’.

I remember my first few months in the job, insecure and terrified, waiting for someone to breathe down my neck, judge me and tell me all the things I was doing wrong. It was a total surprise to me when that never happened. Instead there was total acceptance of me as a person and of my skills. My self-confidence and self-belief began to grow. I slowly began to thaw out, use my natural skills and after about 6-months realised no-one was going to criticise me for my weaknesses or mistakes. Everyone was so accepting and supporting – I’d never come across that in the workplace before. I’ve had many harsh bosses in the past who added to my trauma and low self-worth. 

I count it a privilege to have worked in such a terrific atmosphere. I know I will never work anywhere like it again. I know I am very thankful to have had such a positive working experience.

ChildLine SW wasn’t just another voluntary job. There was so much more to it. It was about work but it was also about relationship. I would never have believed it possible for me to develop the working relationships that I had there. By the time I left I communicated as an equal and felt like an equal with my colleagues.

That was breathtaking! For the first time in my life I felt like an equal not an inferior being. Such was the healing that occurred in my in that environment. In the environment at ChildLine I bloomed, blossomed and grew.
In that way my four years at ChildLine SW were very similar to my three years at university. Both were environments which were compassionate, supportive and enabled me to begin to believe in myself because other people believed in me and saw something in me. 

The two hours a week I spent at ChildLine SW during the past four years were always very full and very busy. They were also a haven for me. It became a haven of acceptance and support which gave me respite from everything else going on in my life.  It didn’t matter what was going on or how I was feeling as I walked through the door. Once I was there I just clicked into ChildLine mode. That gave me enormous respite. Even during the worst months of 2010 when I was drowning in trauma and didn’t really know why I was still doggedly alive and surviving, the compassion and support I experienced in ChildLine helped me make it through.  

In fact I would go so far to say that without ChildLine SW and the support I received there I doubt if I could have made it through the events of 2010.

With the closure of ChildLine SW and the whole way in which that happened I have been seriously disillusioned and traumatised. I feel that something very precious has been ripped away from me and that is very hard, very hard indeed. 

But the amazing and wonderfully healing and transforming thing to come out of it has been the shared hurt, anger, trauma with my colleagues. Within the honesty of that sharing came a new vulnerability for me and the realisation that it is possible to be vulnerable, show your true feelings, be accepted and be safe.

Another realisation has come too – that is that my feelings and my reactions have been shared by everyone else affected by the closure. That means my feelings and reactions are not over the top, they are not crazy and unacceptable but rather they are acceptable, normal and realistic given what has happened. My feelings and reactions are therefore ok and valid.
That has been a huge learning point for me and has enabled me to begin to look at my feelings and reactions in general in a new light. That validation has begun to address all the bad programming I received during the first 20 years of my life about my feelings and reactions

I am beginning to realise that my feelings and reactions are valid and are ok. I am not bad for having bad feelings, I am just human. 

Wow, what a shift in my thinking that is!!

I told my boss during our final meeting how much she had helped repair my view of bosses and how healing it had been for me to have had such a compassionate, supportive, positive boss. She in turn said I had helped her and others enormously but even more importantly, she told me that the organisational skills which I brought to my role in ChildLine had fundamentally changed how ChildLine SW was organised administratively. That and other things she told me blew me away. I realised that we don’t realise how much we impact those around us and my eyes were certainly opened by my final conversation with my boss.

Finally, I was really touched by something a colleague who has a business in my hometown said to me. She said, as I left the leaving party on Thursday night to catch my train home, “pop in on Thursday and we’ll go, have coffee, I’d love to see you.” I was astounded and surprised. Earlier, while the speeches had taken place I had struggled to hold it together and not cry. She had looked across at me and asked “are you ok?” I didn’t try to speak or respond in any way, I was beyond words at that point. So instead I stopped trying to hold it together and let the tears fall for a few moments. She reached out to me and lightly touched my hand. I felt comforted and validated by her response to my emotional vulnerability!

It’s really nice that a Facebook group has been formed as a meeting place for staff and volunteers of ChildLine SW who wish to remain in contact to do so. I was so delighted when I was informed about that because I really didn’t want to lose touch with such an amazing bunch of people but I didn’t know how not to!

So although this chapter of my life has been immensely traumatic and painful beyond description some good is coming out of it. I feel extremely drained at the moment! Sometimes I wonder just how much stuff humans are designed to deal with at one time. But dealing with it all I am, little by little. And I am being very gentle on myself, which is new, but I’ve learned to ease up on myself and not be hard on myself. That I guess is the beginning of re-parenting myself!

Simon And Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water - Lyrics

This song came to mind today so I googled it and got the lyrics.

When you're weary
Feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all

I'm on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can't be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you're down and out
When you're on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you

I'll take your part
When darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on Silver Girl,
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way

See how they shine
If you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind

Wednesday, 10 August 2011


I had really key session with 'T' today.

After last week when I discussed my confusion concerning my sexuality and gender, for the very first time, I moved on today to exploring some side issues which are involved in to defining what it means to be 'me'.

For the very first time I talked about the babies I lost when I was just a child myself. When I was aged just 12+13 I lost several babies through miscarriages. I also lost 2 other babies when I was aged13+14 through abortions that my mother carried out on me using knitting needles. Those babies were killed in front of me. There was nothing I could do except to beg for their lives to no avail. I understand now that they could not be allowed to live. Two babies would led to awkward questions. It would have exposed the incest. It does not make it right but I understand why those things happened.

One of my biggest griefs is that I've never had the chance to be a mother. I remember when I was only aged 23 I was told I'd never be able to have children because of internal damage and internal scarring. It hurt me very deeply to be told that and to know the people who did that to me were my own family.

I had thought that because I was just a kid when I lost those babies it didn't really hurt me but truth is it hurt and affect me very very deeply.

As I talked I felt the huge weight of those losses. There were no tears, those are stuffed deep down inside me.  But I had very distinct sense of I've finally stopped running after years of running away from the memories and the hurt. These are huge issues and it's going to be big job to sort through all the feelings and memories and to connect with that grief which is buried so deeply.

I have begun though and that is so important.

By the way I have told Cumbria police about the miscarriages, abortions and murders. The police have done nothing about that information which is a total disgrace.

We discussed other aspects of my gender and sexuality confusion. It was amazing how much ground we covered in an hour. It was fascitating to see how many side issues are involved in defining your gender and sexuality. Each one of those side issues is a huge one in it's own right.

Finally, it is such a huge relief to have finally found someone safe to discuss these issues with.

It is a massive relief to be able to talk and write about this stuff at long last.

Saturday, 6 August 2011


My last 2 sessions with 'T' have been really interesting and very helpful. We've started to talk about some really important issues for me - my sexuality and gender confusion.

I am taking a HUGE risk writing this post but I would not be honest about my struggles by ignoring these KEY issues in my life and not writing about them. I have alluded to these issues in previous posts and hinted at them.

Being a Christian I've tried to talk about these issues with other Christians over the years and have met with judgement and closed minds. I've had verses from the bible thrown at me. I've been shouted down. I've been told I'm "a sinner" to have such issues. I've been told I'm "a sinner" just to say that I identity as gay. I've heard gays being condemned from the pulpit hundreds upon hundreds of times over the years.

It is impossible to have a conversation about sexuality issues without the 'sin' word being thrown around and the conversation getting heated and polarised. 

I've tried many times over the years to address this issue but without success. It is one of the reasons why I left the church. 

Contrary to what many people believe it is not a choice to be gay or straight. 

A straight person would never consider that they chose to be straight, they just happen to be straight. But when it comes to any other expression of sexuality it is always a choice, oh and it's always a sin too, oh and no one "just happens to be gay".

Well I've got news for these religious people - it is not always choice and nor is it a sin to be what you are. There has to be a separation of the "being" and the "doing". 

Sadly very few Christians make that separation in their thinking. They are very black and white and in so doing express something akin to hatred for people who's sexual identity is different. 

Human sexuality is not as black and white as many people, especially Christians, perceive. Human sexuality is a very complex subject and more of a continuum than something set in stone. 

Another thing most Christians say is that the answer for gays is to "come to Jesus and He will free you and make you straight." That assumption and assertion is deeply flawed and certainly not my experience.

I have no doubt that my gender and sexuality confusion have their roots in the abuse in my childhood. The big question for me is "would I have had these issues anyway and has the abuse compounded them?" I will never know the answer to that question. The only thing I do know is that I could not cope with a straight sexual relationship and identify as gay. However, I also discovered that I wasn't comfortable with a lesbian sexual encounter either. I feel like there is a tird category that I fall into although I definitely identify as gay.

My own experience of God tells me that how the bible is translated and applied by the vast majority of Christians on this issue is plainly wrong. It does not marry up with my own experience of the love and acceptance of God. God loves gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Many Christians would not agree with that statement but they are seriously misrepresenting God in so doing.

So many Christians have said to me "oh I love homosexuals, gays etc" but everything that has come out of their mouths has proved otherwise. It is time for a revolution of love and compassion in the body of Christ towards people who are different from the perceived norm.

The only way I've sought to honour God in my sexuality is to be celibate and I've been celibate for 25 years. However, that has not resolved the issues for me. And most importantly it has kept me alone. 

In relation to my gender I've felt all my life like a male in a female body. Even as a child I wanted to be a boy kicking a football around and riding a bike in the streets. not a girl sitting indoors knitting and sewing. As an adult I've always felt like a man trapped in a woman's body. I naturally gravitate towards masculine activities, clothing and looks. I even researched how much it would cost to undergo gender reassignment surgery and very seriously considered it for several years. That is how bad I've always felt in my body.

In working with 'T' I have found someone who has a lot of understanding of these issues as well as a lot of respect for me as a Christian. Someone who is willing to talk about these very deep and painful issues in depth with compassion and understanding. 

It is an enormous relief to finally talk about this stuff without being shouted down, without being judged and condemned, without the 'sin' word being thrown around. There are no easy answers and no easy solutions but boy the relief at finally being able to be free and safe to talk about this stuff is really liberating. 

I know I have a long way to go on this. There is so much to talk about and think through but I have begun. Most of all I know God knows me and knows my heart and thoroughly accepts me. It is sinful, judgemental and plain wrong for anyone to say otherwise. 


Last week during my session with 'K' I took a huge step.

It's about 7 months since I agreed to work with 'K' on the sexual abuse in my childhood. It has taken that long to feel safe and find the courage to actually do just that.

I've been dancing around the periphery for a very long time, dropping hints but not daring to go too near to what actually happened. I decided at the end of June that enough was enough and I was going to begin to get to the nuts and bolts of the actual sexual abuse. I decided that I was safe enough and I wasn't going to make any progress by continuing to dance around the subject. Instead I'd feel really bad for not finding the guts to talk about it. And then the ChildLine closures were announced which was totally shattering and got in the way because I had to talk about that instead of the abuse.

As I approached my session with 'K' last week I was very anxious. I actually felt very ill that morning and it was sheer force of will that got me to our session.

As we began talking I could feel myself fascillating and pulling back but I was totally determined that I was NOT going to go back on my decision. 'K' started things off by saying I'd mentioned at the end of our previous session that there was something I wanted to talk about but couldn't because of the ChildLine stuff. Gosh, I'd forgotten saying that till she mentioned it. So I realised it's a case of now or never.

So I took hold of what remained of my courage before it walked out the door and began to talk about my first memory of being sexually abused aged 3 1/2 years old. I was able to talk about it without dissociating but also without any feelings. I had to shut down my feelings to talk about it. As we were closing the session down 'K' asked me how I was really feeling inside. I heard myself reply "I can't let you see those feelings." I happened to be looking at 'K' at the same time. I could see in her eyes that she realised what I did that a child part had spoken. It was quite a powerful moment.

Next week I have my next session with 'K'. It's going to be interested how I feel facing her after last week. We both recognised what a huge step that was. Part of me feels very proud of myself.

I remember the sheer terror I felt as I began to talk and couldn't look at 'K'.

I remember too stealing a glance at her and then looking away just as quickly and then doing it again just to reassure myself it was ok. I said to 'K' twice "you're not looking at me any different." She responded "no I'm not... the disgust and shame belongs with those who did those things to you not with you."