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.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

TALKING ABOUT MY BABIES - PART 2

Last Monday I had an extended appointment with my counsellor to begin to allow time for me to feel safe and secure enough to begin to go into the details of what occurred and how I felt about it. The extended appointment had been planned and I'd spent the previous week preparing myself. I knew it was going to be hard!

My counsellor grabbed a fleece blanket for me to lie on, on the floor, because she knew I wanted to work with paper and pens and that I'm always happier doing that kind of stuff on the floor.

For the first 20 minutes or so we talked about my birthday and how I'd coped with it. After that she asked me how I wanted to do things. I said I'd be happy to lie on the floor with paper and pens and see how things developed.

I picked up a pen to write and my mind went totally blank. I told my counsellor I'd gone blank. She reminded me that we finished the previous session talking about feeling the feelings and just sitting with the feelings.

So I just lay on the floor with my head on my hands for a couple of minutes quieting everything down and slowly focusing in on the powerful emotions I felt last week when talking about my babies.

Slowly I began to write single words on a piece of paper.

As I did I became aware there was another set of words that needed writing down but they were different words.

The first set of words were “feeling” words. When I'd finished writing the 'feeling' words I went through them with my counsellor.

I then said I needed to begin a 2nd piece of paper and start the new set of words. I realised these words were coming from my fragmented memories.

By writing them down I was beginning to pull those fragmented memories together into more of a whole. As I did so a picture began to emerge. The picture of what happened in the garage that night. A picture formed by single words.

My counsellor said nothing as I lay there and wrote, then went quiet, waiting and listening to myself before writing more words. There was a lovely safe silence in the room with a ticking clock in the background reminding me of where I was and that I was in a safe place.

The words flowed, one after another, I picked up different colour pens at different stages. And then I came to a blank.

I knew that blank was there and it's bothered me a lot that there is such a huge blank in my memory. I told me counsellor I'd stopped writing because I'd come to a total blank in my memory. It was a huge step for me that I reached the blank and had the confidence to tell my counsellor I'd hit it and that I'd always known that particular blank was there. It was good to discuss the existence of that blank. To acknowledge it helped me to accept the blank and feel less bad about it.

The blank goes from my ankles being tied to something right through to hearing my baby's cry.

My counsellor told me that very few women actually remember child birth, so I shouldn't beat myself up about not remembering. And in this case for it to be such a traumatic forced birth/abortion there are even more reasons for there to be a blank in my memory.

She asked me if I remembered anything being said.

Up to that point the memories had unfolded in total silence in my head. But the moment she asked I became aware of angry harsh voices. I wrote a torrent of words after that then stopped and looked at what I'd written. I realised I'd written all the terrible things my mother said to me during the terrible events that unfolded in the garage.

I wrote about hearing a baby's cry and how it forced me back to consciousness and forced me to look. There were also things my mother was saying and doing that also forced me back to consciousness and forced me to look too.

I realised I went in a split second from - “baby? What baby? How did that baby get there?” - to - “that's my baby!”. I had no real comprehension or understanding of what was happening but yet something deep kicked in – my counsellor told me it was something hormonal.

I then wrote about watching my baby being murdered, stabbed, in front of me - then we came to silence, total silence.

We stopped at the silence because it was a good place to stop.

There is more to come beyond the silence but we were nearly out of time then and it's good to sit with that silence.

I will write about that silence at some stage. That silence was a very powerful silence. It deeply impacted me and traumatised me very deeply.

The final words I wrote were “that 13 year girl realised something very bad had happened and that it was ALL HER own fault.

MASSAGE 21 FEB 12

I was feeling very nervous last Tuesday morning because I'd decided that I was going to take things a stage further and allow her to move on to massaging my lower back. We discussed it as a possibility last time.

So I was a total bundle of nerves that morning. But once there I knew it was the right decision despite the nerves and fear coursing through my system.

It would have been so easy to bottle out but I nervously found the courage to say I'd thought about it and decided to give it a go, see how I felt, see how it felt. She was really pleased I'd made that decision and also realised how hard it had been to decide that and go with it.

I just had to undo my trousers so she could turn them down to get to my lower back. I noticed she turned the top of my knickers down as well. I kept telling myself why I was allowing it and that it was safe. It was a really strange feeling being touched there. It felt totally safe and ok on one level but on another it felt very risky too. It felt very intimate although it wasn't. I had to tell myself so many times that it was ok and totally non-sexual.

It's been at least over 25 years since any human being touched me there, maybe even over 30 years. 

For the touch to be gentle, wanted and loving rather than rough, unwanted and abusive was a lot for me to process at the same time as processing how it felt. It felt good though scary.

It would have been very easy for my mind to have wandered to images of people and places that would have been really painful. But she kept me talking and that, along with my positive self-talk kept my mind from wandering too far into those memories.

It was hard but nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be.

Wandering down the road afterwards I was hit by many thoughts such as “you did what?” you allowed her to touch you where?” “are you crazy?” “what were you thinking?” as well as by a wall of darkness which I knew was related to fear and shame from the past, especially from the SRA.

It took me a little while but I was able to calm everything down and remind myself and all my child parts who were freaking out that it had been safe and about healing not abuse. 

I'm now looking forward to my next massage week after next and seeing how it will feel 2nd time around!

Friday, 17 February 2012

TALKING ABOUT MY BABIES

During the last couple of weeks I've been able to begin to talk about the tremendous loss and horror I endured in losing so many babies when I was just a kid with my counsellor.

It is a HUGE step for me to begin to examine what happened and begin to talk about what it was really like.

Between the age of 13 and 15 I had several miscarriages. I also lost 2 babies through forced abortions/partial births carried out by my mother.

It was a horrendous time which I'd never forgotten but also never been able to face. In fact I never ever thought I'd be able to tell another human being what happened, partially because it was so horrific but also because I never thought anyone would believe someone could be so evil in committing such terrible acts. I've carried a lot of shame about the forced abortions too!

Two weeks ago I was talking to my counsellor I was hit by an enormous wave of sadness. I didn't know what had hit me or what it was in relation to. It was only on reflection that I realised that it was actually deep grief and it was related to the babies I lost. I realised I was going to have to find the courage to talk about them. It was the first time that I've been hit with very strong emotions and haven't shrunk back or dissociated. I think that was massive and showed how safe I feel with my counsellor. It was a new experience to feel the emotions, to sit with them, and do or say nothing other than just sitting with the very painful and uncomfortable feelings.

At my appointment the following the week I told my counsellor what had happened and what I'd realised about it. I had mentioned a while ago that I lost several babies but didn't go into details. During this appointment I began to talk about what happened during the partial births/forced abortions. It was a very painful but also releasing appointment.

Last week I began to talk about how they had then been murdered. I began to return to the horror of it and found it very hard to find words but I stuck with it. We had a very painful but helpful hour. At the end of it my counsellor offered me an extended appointment for the next week. She felt the enormity of where we are and wanted me to feel safe enough without too much pressure of time. So she asked me “how do you feel about extending to an hour and a half?” I said I was happy with that and that I thought it'd be good if I could do something with paper and pens next week rather than struggling to find words. My counsellor confirmed that will be ok.

I'm aware that I'm on the threshold of a really BIG development for me. Part of me is terrified but part of me is exhilarated too! It's a strange combination of emotions I wouldn't have expected!! It's also a sign of how safe and accepted I feel in the presence of my counsellor. So I take the next step this coming Monday afternoon!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

CHILD ABUSE SURVIVORS AND TOUCH DEPRIVATION


I came across the above-named article today and just knew I HAD to include it here as it so deeply resonated with me.

Before going to the article I thought I’d share my journey in relation to physical touch.

Touch has been a HUGE issue for me. Apart from occasional hugs from friends I lived without physical touch for a quarter of a century. 

After a childhood filled with sadistic violence the mere thought of touch terrified me. I remember after I was raped at the age of 20 thinking “no-one gets anywhere near me ever again.” It was the only way I knew to protect myself. But it kept me alone and totally starved of touch and affection.

I remember feeling like I was untouchable and longing for touch yet terrified of it. If someone did touch me I didn’t know how to respond. I didn’t want them to know how desperate I was for that touch. I also didn’t want them to know I couldn’t deal with being touched at the same time. I didn’t want them to know how awkward I felt about touch. I didn’t want them to how the extent of my touch starvation and my fear.

Touch was so connected with pain in my mind and emotions I had to shut it out of my life completely.

A life without touch has been very hard and lonely. There were many times I didn’t even feel human. I felt untouchable because I couldn’t cope with the mere hint of touch. It added to my isolation and aloneness.

In May 2011 my CPN suggested I think about therapeutic massage as a safe way of introducing touch back into my life. She said the look of horror that crossed my face when she suggested that is something she’ll never forget. I remember jerking out “Massage? No one touches me!” I shocked myself with my reaction. It shocked me so much that I went away and thought long about my reaction and how I felt when she suggested it. It was a feeling of sheer terror. I also thought a lot about how I’d gotten to that point in my life. I realised it was a good idea and that I had to give it a go. I contacted the charity my CPN had suggested and had a chat with them. I began seeing a counsellor and slowly opened up to her and discussed the issue of touch, what my CPN suggested and my reaction to it. After 3 ½ months of weekly counselling sessions the charity was firmly established for me as being totally safe which enabled me to face my fear and decide to give massage a go.

I began seeing a massage therapist mid September 2011. My massage therapist has been doing massage for over 20-years and has worked with many sexual abuse survivors so really understood how huge this issue was for me. We negotiated where I was willing for her to touch me. To start with I had a massage every 3-weeks which meant I had 5 massages before Christmas. I began with just my neck and shoulders during the first 2 massages. During my first 2 massages everywhere she touched me hurt. My body translated touch as being pain. It was only in my 3rd massage that touch no longer hurt. I hadn’t expected my body to react that like! On the day of my 3rd massage I agreed to take my top off but retained my bra so she could do some of my back. It was a massive step on the day of my 4th massage when I agreed to her undoing my bra so she could massage my entire back. I dissociated a lot during my first 5 massages and had to keep reminding myself why I was having the massage and that it was safe and my choice. 

Since the New Year I’ve had 5 more massages, now at 2-week gaps. I’ve gradually become more and more ‘present’. During my last massage 10 days ago I was astounded at how present I was throughout. I guess I was present for about ¾ of the hour, which was just incredible. 

It still feels really odd when she unclasps my bra at the beginning of every massage. It’s a very weird and strange feeling. I have to remind myself this is safe and totally non-sexual. I cope with the uncomfortable feeling and the stab of fear by reminding myself of the context and that I’m choosing this for positive and healing reasons.

My massage therapist has been very sensitive, gentle and understanding throughout and has gone at my pace. When I go for massage next week I’ll be taking a HUGE step of allowing her to massage my lower back which means I’ll have to undo my jeans though I won’t have to remove them. It may sound like a small step but for me it’s MASSIVE!

I’m very glad that physical touch is back in my life now, even if it’s only 1 hour every two weeks. I’m beginning to feel human again. I’m beginning to notice my body and be more aware of how it feels. I’m starting to allow myself to feel the massage, to feel what it feels to be touched, to be massaged. I’ve a long way to go but wow, I would never ever have believed any kind of touch possible, never mind planned regular touch. It makes me feel less of an object and more like a human being which is amazing!

And now to the article... here are short excerpts from the article which cover the main points - 

“The deeply felt pain of touch deprivation is very real and almost unbearable for many survivors.
Adult survivors of child abuse and neglect who learned that no matter what they did they couldn’t stop the abuse, internalized a belief of helplessness of even getting healthy touch. They see themselves as some anonymous entity not worthy of close human interaction and/or believe no one cares enough about them to reach out. It is an extremely debilitating, psychological problem.
It is important to understand that for a survivor to just “ask” someone to touch them is a big step.
Over time, with healthy people respecting the survivor’s wishes, touch can be the pleasurable experience it was meant to be.”

The complete article can be read at - http://www.wearesurvivors.org/?p=2929


Monday, 13 February 2012

MASSAGE 7 FEB 12

My massage went very well today. Juliette's using a new massage oil today which smells wonderful. She played a CD of Gregorian chants which she's just bought. I found that very relaxing, far more relaxing than the one she normally plays.

She gave me a really good massage all over my back and shoulders. She found all the tense spots and gave them a fab massage. I stayed present through probably about 75% of it which was a huge step forward. We talked about all sorts of stuff. She told me she was raped by a police officer last year so she really understands the damage as well as my feelings about the police and the justice system. I told her I'd been raped as an adult as well as in childhood. It was good to talk so openly and know we really understand each other. I had been wondering why it is that she really gets it – the damage and how huge this is for me, now I know why.

Juliette said she's amazed at how I've survived what I have survived and that at long last I'm standing up for myself instead of cowering down.

At the end of the massage I went to get off the table and the pain across my lower back was bad, I actually 'ouched' my way off. It was obvious how much pain I was in. I'd really relaxed my upper body but the tension had stored itself in my lower back. It's a while since I've had pain there apart from in bed when I feel it a lot. Juliette suggested that next time she could massage me in that area too. I wouldn't have to take my trousers off, I could keep them on, just undo them so she can turn the back down to massage that area. She said to me to think about it and let her know next time.

I'm thinking I'll probably be able to say 'yes' and give it a go, nothing ventured nothing gained!

I've been wondering how long it would be until I felt able to consider talking with Juliette about extending the area massaged so I feel this could be the opportunity I've been looking for to give it a try.

I'll have to see how I feel but I know I trust her now. And I also know I'm safe if I dissociate and safe if I don't. That's a great place to be. That was massage number 9 so that's incredible progress in a relatively short space of time!

I'm amazed at me and the calculated risks I'm now taking to move forward and keep working at healing. I've really discovered over the last few months that my gut intuition is always right so I can trust my gut and let that guide me rather than have my fear hold me back.

And I think that's an incredible place to get to!!