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.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

CHANGES - AN UPDATE

I made it to my final meeting with ‘D’ at Rethink last Tuesday morning. It was hard, very hard and at times a slightly awkward meeting. I had 10 minutes with ‘D’ first to talk about how things were and how I was feeling about everything. After that very awkward interchange of painful thoughts and feelings she asked “do you feel ready to meet ‘H’ yet?” I heard myself say, without even thinking, “I don’t think I’ll ever feel ready to meet her”. So she then introduced her replacement ‘H’ to the meeting. I was shocked to discover how young she is. ‘D’ was around my age which is probably why I was able to get such a rapport with her. ‘H’ is very young, only early 20’s. She came in and sat down and did my pet hate – sat with her arms folded all the way through. That shocked me all the more. Anyone who knows what they’re doing knows to keep their body language open. Folded arms are just about the most off putting thing for me. I really do not get along with folded arms because it sets me on edge and sends out all the wrong messages. It was something I learned very early as a youth worker to keep my body language open. Closed body language is a big no-no. I didn’t think much of that but I tried to put it out of my mind as ‘D’ launched into a recap of the work we’ve done during the past 4 months.

‘D’ did a very good and positive recap of the important things we’re talked about and learned. ‘H’ just sat and listened. She didn’t comment or ask any questions which I didn’t expect. I was expecting her to ask questions. BUT it was helpful and encouraging to be reminded of the good work we did together and the progress I made. At the moment I feel like I’ve been brought to a sudden halt. 

After about half an hour ‘D’ said “why don’t you and ‘H’ go out for a mooch around the shops for a few minutes, have a short relaxed kind of get to know you time, what do you think?’ I realised that ‘D’ was closing things down. I just nodded and got up to go. I heard ‘D’ say “I really wish you all the very best for the future.” Then I heard myself jerk out “I wish you well too”. Then that was it, a few minutes later I went out the door with ‘H’.

As we walked down the street and around the shops I noticed ‘H’ still had her arms folded the whole time. It really did my head in. I just do not do folded arms! There may be something deeper about folded arms that it’s hooking into that I don’t consciously know about. 

There were many questions I wanted to ask ‘H’ but the only one I found the courage to ask was how long she’d been working at Rethink for. She said “oh about 5 weeks” so she’s very new in role. We had a short mooch around the shops but felt awkward and strained and found it hard to relate to her and I was relieved when she said she had to go back to the office because she had someone booked to see her. 

Maybe I’m struggling to relate to her because she’s so much younger than me and I’m finding it really hard to transition from ‘D’. I still can’t accept I won’t see ‘D’ again. I’m finding it very hard to take in or accept. But I know that her closed body language is a real barrier to me too!

Later that afternoon I had a counselling session with ‘T’ which was really useful. I was able to discuss with her how I’ve been feeling really bad for feeling really bad about it all. After all ‘D’ is ill and it must be really serious for her to have to quit work. I feel that I can’t be angry and hurt as someone for being genuinely ill. But I do feel very hurt, angry, betrayed, resentful and bewildered.

My next meeting at Rethink is this coming Tuesday afternoon. It is my 3-monthly review which would have been between ‘D’ and another staff member. So now it will be between ‘H’ and another staff member. It’s not going to be an easy meeting but I hope to come out of it with some clarity of where I go from here in terms of support from Rethink. I also hope to come out of that meeting feeling a bit more positive about it.

Friday, 28 October 2011

YOU'RE NOTHING BUT TROUBLE

What follows is an excerpt from my latest guest post on the Emerging from Broken Blog called “You’re Nothing But Trouble.”

“I never knew when they’d decide I “deserved” a beating, or I “deserved” to be thrown across the room or I “deserved” to be starved or I “deserved” locked in my room or I “deserved” whatever they chose. It was very oppressive. I asked myself many times “what it is about me that is so horrible, that makes me so bad that it doesn’t matter what I do or say, it’s always bad and deserves punishment?” The abuse was “all about me” because my abusers made it all about me. I was taught grown-ups were always right. There was no-one to tell me otherwise. I had no way of knowing anything else.
I remember being called in from the garden because “grandpa wanted to play with me”. “Play” was a pseudonym for sexual abuse. I didn’t want to “play”. I wanted to stay in the garden chasing butterflies and hunting for ladybirds. I was 3 the first time I remember this. I was called into the house by my mother. My mother set me up to be abused so it couldn’t have been wrong then? I went into the room where my grandparents and mother were. There were two paedophile friends in the room with them. There were 5 grownups in that room – my grandparents, mother and two paedophile friends of the family. None of those 5 grownups saw anything being wrong. Instead the impression was what was happening was ‘normal’, nothing was wrong, except for me, everything about me was “wrong” or so I was told often enough. So if I was surrounded by grownups who all thought nothing was wrong then I must be wrong to think it’s wrong. I knew it was wrong in my gut. It felt all wrong and I didn’t like it at all. I seemed to be the only person to think and feel that so I must be wrong. But I knew I was right and it all felt wrong, very wrong!”


Sunday, 23 October 2011

THE PERFECT ANTIDOTE

It was early summer this year when the dates and venues for the snooker premier league matches were released and I saw Exeter was on the tour list and it was going to be shown life on Sky Sports. I phoned the venue and discovered how cheap the tickets were and booked a ticket instantly then started looking at hotels. The cheapest I could find was in the centre of Exeter which wasn’t ideal. I knew there was a hotel nearer the venue but they hadn’t released their rooms for the date I was looking for. So I kept my eye on their website and they released rooms early in September, what’s more the rooms were priced at 1/3 normal price so I booked a bargain room for myself and cancelled the other booking.

It was when I got to one week to go that I began to notice the excitement in my gut and as the day got nearer the excitement grew. I thought to myself “for goodness sake, you’re only going away for one night and it’s only Exeter!” But nothing could quell the excitement and anticipation I was feeling.
I guess it’s nice to have something to get excited about, it’s not a feeling or an emotion I’ve known much in my life! I had a very unreal feeling about things as it got to the day before. I couldn’t believe how close I was to it. It seemed so long away when I booked it and now I found myself on the brink of going and couldn’t quite believe it. It was a strange feeling. 

It’s still quite new for me to be feeling real feelings. I’ve tended to go through life feeling nothing. My feelings were so totally flattened by all that happened to me in my childhood. But one side effect of healing is the return of feelings. I’m finding that I’m tending to feel feelings very strongly too. There’s no half-hearted feelings anymore just full blown feeling or no feelings at all!

So the day came last Thursday and I was like a kid on Christmas morning!! It wasn’t lost on me how good the timing was given all that’s happened during the last two weeks. I was very aware of that and very thankful I’d had it to look forward too, I think it had been one factor which had helped pull me through. 

I had a really good day last Thursday. After getting to my hotel in Exeter I had a lovely walk in late afternoon sunshine along the river. That was followed by my favourite pizza at Pizza Hut then I watched the sunset over Exeter Quay. 

I arrived at the venue an hour before the doors were due to open. A short queue of a dozen or so people had formed so I joined the queue really pleased to be so close to the front of it. It meant I knew I was going to get a front row seat. When I got in to the arena I got a seat on the end of the front row, sat right behind the player’s seat at the baulk end of the table. Being there meant I was going to be sat behind the highest ranked player during each match. Snooker etiquette determines that.

I got some great photos of the snooker table being prepared for play. Once play started flash photography was out of the question and I switched to the sports setting on my camera. It was interesting photographing without a flash dealing with the lighting set up for the TV cameras. Going through my photos afterwards I noticed how much it affected the lighting and resolution of my shots. I took around 500 photos in total during the 3 matches which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was interesting knowing that every move I made could be caught by a TV camera. We were told to keep still for the cameras and to ignore them if we realised they were looking straight at you. I naturally am not very good at keeping still. I tend to fidget a lot. So I had to concentrate really hard to start with but in the end I got used to the set up and didn’t have to think quite so hard about keeping still and not fidgeting! It was a brilliant night of top class snooker.

I was back at my hotel by midnight. It took me a while to get off to sleep but in the end I slept well. Usually I sleep only fitfully when sleeping somewhere unfamiliar. The peace and quiet was bliss, as was the comfy double bed!

On the Friday morning I really enjoyed the “eat all you can” continental and cooked breakfast. I had a great feed which kept me going for the rest of the day. With hotel checkout being noon I decided to use the morning to catch up with emails and begin to type an article for my blog. I was feeling released to write. I’ve not been able to write at all during the last couple of weeks.

Wow, the difference that overnight stay in Exeter did for me!! I guess the distance between home and where I was enabled me to be able to write.

One night away from home going to watch something I really enjoy did me so much good. It was the perfect antidote. I came home feeling emotionally refreshed to face the difficult things that are ahead.



CHANGES

The last couple of weeks have been challenging, to say the least, which is why I’ve not blogged in a while. I’ve maintained my journal through this time although at times that’s been too hard to do. Sometimes it’s just way too painful to admit even to yourself how much you’re hurting. That’s certainly been the case at times for me recently.

It was two weeks ago on Friday 7th October 2011 that I went along to what I thought would be an ordinary appointment with my CPN “K”. It turned out to be anything but ordinary. I didn’t see that steam roller coming at all. I walked into the room to sit down with her and before I’d even sat down I knew bad news was coming my way. I could sense it from how “K” was with me and because she wouldn’t tell me what was up till I sat down. That made me give her a searching glance with availed no information except hurry up and sit down, so I did, looking at her fearfully wondering what could have made her look so serious. “K” is usually very relaxed with a disarming friendly manner, there was something very different in how she was looking at me. 

I tried to lighten the atmosphere and ease the tension I was feeling by cracking a joke as I sat down but both of us knew that was more about coping with the impending bad news that was coming rather than because I felt like being humorous.

“K” looked straight at me and gently said “I have to tell you that my job is changing. After a year of working on both teams I’m being moved to the Wellbeing and Access team, any time after the end of October, more likely to be the beginning of November.”

I looked at her in disbelief and was left in no doubt as to the truth of what she was saying by what I saw in her eyes. She said “I have no choice, my boss is moving me away from longer term Recovery work, I don’t want to but I have to, I’m sorry.”

“K” waited for a response from me but I couldn’t find any words so I looked at her and said “I haven’t any words.” She said “that’s ok, just sit and absorb the news.” Problem was I couldn’t absorb it. I sat there numb, I remember shaking my head a lot and thinking how ironic it is that only about 6 weeks ago I was moved off the Wellbeing and Access team on to the Recovery team. The Wellbeing and Access team is about short term work, turning clients around fast. The NHS priorities are in short term work where it’s easy to meet targets and there’s a high turnover of clients. 

I couldn’t take the news in as I sat there. I remember there was a book case in the room opposite to my chair. I remember looking at that book case a lot. I realised close to the end of the appointment that I spent a lot of that hour staring the books and the names of the spines. I also realised I did that in much the same way that as a child I used to stare at the books on the bookshelves at home while I was being abused and count them up, read the titles and group them together in my mind. It helped take my mind off what was being done to me. I’d fallen back into that old coping mechanism without even realising it.

During that hour “K” and I talked about what I was thinking and feeling although much of what I was saying was bits and pieces here and there interspersed with a lot of head shaking.

“K” told me that she had no idea who her replacement would be but that it would only be a temporary person. I remember saying “how the f*** am I supposed to do life changing long term work with temporary people? It takes so long to build trust. You can’t just move from person to person just like that.” I remember “K” empathising with my frustration.

The only words that came to mind kept going round and round my head till eventually I said to “K” all I can say is “I knew it was too good to last.” Those words were very much echoes from a childhood where if anything good happened or was given to me it was taken away from me very swiftly or there was always a price to pay for something nice happening. 

I left our session still shaking my head in disbelief struggling to absorb the news and headed down to my tree for some healing time before heading home. I remember how I sat under my tree for 2 hours, my head down. Usually I’m looking around with camera in hand but this day I just sat there frozen in shock and disbelief. I knew I had the weekend ahead of me and wondered how on earth I was going to cope with it. 

The weekend passed in a daze. I coped by distracting myself all weekend with the TV on all the time, watching sport and DVD’s. That was ok till until Sunday evening came and my thoughts turned to the following day when I had an appointment booked to see my mental health recovery worker “D” at Rethink. I knew I was going to have to face the pain I was feeling and tell her. That was when the hurt really hit me and it hit me hard. So hard in fact that I came very close to slitting my wrists. Instead I slashed my arms really bad. That gave expression to the pain I was feeling inside but couldn’t find any other outlet for. It was not ideal but that kept me alive.

Monday morning came and I dragged myself to my appointment with “D” feeling terrible and not knowing how I was going to tell “D” and hold together. I still have a really big thing about not letting other people, even the safe helpers in my life, see how hurt I am.

Imagine my disbelief when right at the start of our appointment “D” looked at me and said “I’m sorry I have to tell you that I’m leaving Rethink and will be leaving in 2 weeks or so.” I stared at her unable to take in what I was hearing and heard myself say emphatically “I don’t believe this.” It was “D’s” turn to stare at me in shock at my response so I said “what you don’t know is that on Friday “K” told me that she’s leaving at the end of October, so I’m being hit by a double whammy.” “Oh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t know” was “D”’s response as I sat there in silence next to her feeling a mixture of hurt, disappointment, shock, disbelief and anger. Then the tears began. It was like a dam burst as the tears poured and poured. There was nothing I could do except sit and cry. I felt totally broken and abandoned. It was a horrible feeling.

A new worker called “J” has recently joined the team at Rethink, the only problem is he is male, I’ve met him a couple of times and he’s a nice enough chap although I froze when I had to work with him at the drop in the previous week. I’d been feeling bad ever since then about how I couldn’t work with him, I thought I’d come further than it turns out I have. Yes I have come a long way but I have a hell of a long way to go yet. Well “D” started talking about “J” and how she wanted to pass me over to him to work with. She said “the support’s not going away just the person is changing and you and “J” could do some good work together.” I told her what happened at the drop in and that I’m just not ready to work with a male worker yet. I was shocked that “D” and Rethink had not grasped how deep my issues concerning males are. “D” was being very persuasive saying how much she hoped I’d say “yes”. I knew that what she was asking was not do-able and refused to allow “J” into our session. I was bad enough that I was broken like that in front of “D”. There was no way I was letting a man I hardly know see me in such a broken state. Our session ended with me not making any commitment about what I was going to do about “J” except I knew I there was no way that I was going to be able to work with a male . I felt I was being given an ultimatum of “the support is going to be there, if you want it, but this is what it will look like, and it will be a man.” I couldn’t accept what it looked like but didn’t know what to do about it.

In the end I phoned “K” and talked it through with her. She was shocked at the news and said she would phone Rethink and talk to them about it. 

On the Tuesday I had an appointment booked with my counsellor “T”. I remember thinking on Tuesday that I really couldn’t take any more bad news and feeling really scared that “T” would do a runner on me too. I went to that appointment feeling really sick and apprehensive. What was good was that I was able to tell “T” how I was feeling and share my fears with her. She in turn was able to reassure me that she hasn’t got any bad news and isn’t planning on going anywhere in the foreseeable future. It was amazing that I was able to be so open with her. It was also amazing that I was able to hear, receive and absorb her gentle reassurance. That reassurance comforted me at a place deep inside which had been feeling very vulnerable and exposed.

On the Wednesday I had a phone call from “A” Rethink. She began by explaining why they though it would be good for me to work with “J”. I said it wasn’t possible for me to take that step and said “I’m having enough changes forced on me please don’t force a male worker on to me.” “A” said “as you feel so strongly about it you have the option of a female worker, we won’t force you to work with a male worker.” I thought I should have had that option from the start, they know my history so why make such an issue about it? I heard “A” say “I’ll arrange for “H” to be at your last appointment with “D” in two weeks”. 

That was a huge relief.

Earlier this week I had another appointment with “K” in which I was able to express some of the betrayal, hurt, sadness, anger, frustration and fear I’ve been feeling during the last 2 weeks. I told her that having to deal with both at once is too much. “K” said to me “I don’t want to stop working with you but I have no choice.” It was so good and so helpful to hear her words, hearing her say that made a huge difference to me.

“K” explained that she has managed to arrange for a very experienced sexual abuse worker to begin therapy with me early in November and that she plans to introduce her to me in a couple of weeks. She also said her boss is due back off leave next week and she hopes to get a clear timescale from her so she can help me transition to the new worker before she switches team. “K” is obviously trying to work in such a way to make it as easy as possible for me, which is something!

The next step for me is meeting with “D” at Rethink for the last time on Tuesday. It will also be my first meeting with her replacement “H”. Don’t think that meeting is going to be at all comfortable!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

HUMAN BILL OF RIGHTS


You have the right to be you - the way you are the way you want to be.

You have the right to grow, to change, to become, to strive, to reach for any goal, to be limited only by your degree of talent and amount of effort.

You have the right to privacy - in marriage, family, or any relationship or group - the right to keep a part of your life secret, no matter how trivial or important, merely because you want it to be that way.

You have the right to be alone part of the each day, each week and each year to spend time with and on yourself.

You have the right to be loved and to love, to be accepted, cared for, and adored, and you have the right to fulfil that right.

You have the right to ask questions of anyone at anytime in any matter that affects your life, so long as it is your business to do so; and to be listened to and taken seriously.

You have the right to self-respect and to do everything you need to do to increase your self-esteem so long as you hurt no one in doing so.

You have the right to be happy, to find something in the world that is meaningful and rewarding to you and that gives you a sense of completeness.

You have the right to be trusted, to trust and to be taken at your word. If you are wrong, you have the right to be given a chance to make it good if possible.

You have the right to change your mind.

You have the right to be free as long as you act responsibly and are mindful of the rights of others and of those obligations that you entered into freely.

You have the right to win, to succeed, to compete, to make plans, to see those plans fulfilled, to become the best you can possibly become.

You have a right to boundaries and limit, a right to be intentional, a right to choice.