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Trust

I know I have not written anything this month, I got a touch of the dreaded lurgy at the beginning of the month and as I have a mild form of chronic fatigue it has taken me all month to bounce back so to speak.

Anyway I did plan to write something before the end of the month and I have been slowly working on a piece about civil protective measures for survivors, in particular myself, but it will have to wait until another day as this week has been tough and I thought rather than be dragged down by it I would write it down on here… spot of self cleansing so to speak.

It is difficult for me to place my trust in others in a variety of situations and for many reasons, but mainly because over the years that trust has been broken, trodden on, used against me!

I am usually very good at maintaining my boundaries within my life, at work, home, friends, family and of course my abuse.  Rarely do these things cross over, for example if I have issues at home I don’t take this to my work and vise versa… and I work hard each day at ensuring that my abuse does not over shadow these areas of my life.

Now anyone that works in the industry of gender based violence will be well aware that those of us that have been victims of such a trauma do  experience side affects shall we say and those do impact on our daily life regardless wither this is at work, home or play…

My side affect, quirks if you like are; trust, honesty and  reliability, these are important to me, in fact they are vital to me, they help me keep my life in order, they enable me to work, care, socialise and ensure that my abuse has as little a negative impact on my life whether it be work, home or social.

I am as honest as you can get, I will even grass myself up!  I am reliable and I feel I am trustworthy however I place my trust in others rarely!

So I am sure you can guess where this is heading…. this week my trust has been broken, walked all over, shattered and I am now having to deal with the devastating, destructive aftermath of this happening, you would think I would learn by now but no here I am yet again!!

I placed my trust in someone, on occasions I have talked about my abuse with them.  Recently I discussed and issue I had that was not in relation to my abuse, looking for advice, support, assistance to working towards a positive solution.  I felt positive, felt that I was listened to and that we would work this out, only to hear the words at a later date ” I’m staying out of it” “I’m not getting involved” now these are words I have heard on many occasions over the years usually in a social/friend situation, when you are dealing with drama upset and they throw the information they know about you in your face…..  I have learnt well from these experiences and I have not found myself in the situation of having to deal with the aftermath of yet another “friend” breaching the trust you placed in them for many years now.

Anyhow I now find myself in a work related situation where I have misplaced my trust and as well as having to now deal with the devastating affect this will have on me I am also having to work out how I am going to resolve the situation my own.  How to deal with being placed in a confrontational environment, being told I had no right to go to another person and ask them for help, “how dare you”, were the words that were used “whats your problem” and they were expecting me to respond, here I am in a room with the person I have concerns around, no supports, no mediator, being verbally attacked like this and I can’t respond… you know another quirk of mine, not being able to speak up for myself, unable to advocate for myself… I can and do for others with the greatest of ease and confidence, but not for myself… never for myself, I never have and I am not sure I ever will.

So what do I do?  I walk out of the room and go back to my desk and complete my days work… Classic trauma response you either flight, fight or freeze… I fled…

What do I do? god knows… I can’t ask for help… I am now waiting on the information the person I trusted has in relation to my abuse used against me, because it will be brought up, mentioned, my vulnerability will be used against me, its the perfect excuse to smooth over the cracks with the powers that be, ” you know your a little emotional” “your not thinking straight” ” should you really be doing this job considering what happened to you as a child” etc etc…. I suppose this is what you get when you question someone in a position above you with another in management level and they close ranks…

Lessons to be learnt from this?  Trust is a fragile commodity, just because you hold it in high regard does not mean to that others do or will ……

What happens now??  Well the walls go back up, the barriers are replaced and I weather this out as best I can and on my own….. something that I am not unfamiliar with but not been faced with for a few years now….

I do need to make clear that my role does not have an impact on my abuse and my abuse does not on my role…. my abuse is mine and those that I support is theirs and I support and advocate for them alone and I am good at it…  These never cross over, I never place another persons abuse against mine or relate their abuse to mine or mine to theirs…

However my abuse does have an impact on my ability to advocate for myself!!

Hope my rantings here are understandable and that having ” spilled my guts out” to coin a phrase, that it will give me the strength that I will need for the forthcoming weeks!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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First Month In

First month completed…wow I knew this would be difficult to do but I thought it would be difficult due to the subject, due to me writing about my abuse.  Strangely I am not finding that part difficult, I find this part of my project liberating, freeing I suppose.  You see I am writing about thoughts, feelings, challenges that I experience every day but never talk about.  I choose not to talk about my abuse to others because of the pain, confusion, disgust and upset that it can cause them.

My computer screen does not have facial expressions, humans do!!

So what am I finding difficult about this project?  Well it is the writing, my English is pants and my grammar sucks…. I know what I want to say but putting my words into text is not something I am accustomed to doing.  Like should I have said more? Maybe I shouldn’t have said that?  Have I explained what I want to say properly?  Is it readable?  Does it make sense? ARGHHH!!!

I did not start this blog to have a numerous readers or a flock of followers.  This blog is more about it being a personal journey and I want it to be readable, I want those that may choose to read this blog to be able to understand what I am writing.  I suppose it would also be nice to bounce ideas of others, but then would this truly be my project?

Writing about trauma such as I have experienced can be like opening up old wounds, reliving past experiences, highly emotional some might say.  I believe I have structured, safe ownership and a good understanding of my abuse and in a way I suppose I am testing that belief… Do I really?  Will I find weaknesses in my strength? Will I open up old woulds, relive my past?  Or will I find that I am strong, I am whole, I am the survivor I believe I am!

Time will tell as the saying goes and I am positive my writing will improve as this year passes by, as will my confidence in my own writing grow with each new blog……

 

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I could be you!

About a year and a half ago I was very fortunate to be involved in one of the many exhibitions by Inside Outside Scotland, this is a powerful exhibition of films, podcasts, art work, stories of women involved in prostitution, escorting, brothels and saunas across Scotland.  My involvement was very minimal but left an overwhelming feeling of respect at the strength, courage, honesty and determination of the women that chose to take part and share their journeys, their stories with us.

They tell their stories, their struggles, their challenges, their achievements, their hopes through objects, photographs, poems, art, storytelling and masks and it is powerful and it is beautiful….

It is amazing how an object, a photo, a drawing, a colour can speak so loudly of fear, pain, sadness, escape, hope, joy, strength and courage.

What I had never considered before my small involvement with the one exhibition was the similarities of our experiences of sexual violence and our journey’s, our coping mechanisms, challenges that we face, how we survive.  The taking off and putting on of masks, the brave face, not letting people see your pain…

I as they do, have many masks to get me through the day!  A mum mask, a friend mask, a work mask, a I am ok mask to name but a few….

My Story could be theirs and their story could be mine…  These men that abuse us, rape us, hurt us feel that they can do what they chose because they give us something in return…

Money to pay the bills, to buy food, drugs or alcohol… Me I got 10 pence to go buy sweets, new shoes when I didn’t need them, got to stay up later than my siblings… You see my abuser was just like these men that visit a brothel, a sauna or pick a woman up on the street…… paying to abuse….. paying to rape….. paying to cause pain….!!

Sexual violence is sexual violence regardless of the circumstance… regardless of the age, the currency, the place… there is no reason, no excuse that can ever make it acceptable!!!!

I could be you and you could be me

My fears could be your fears…

Your fears could be mine…

My pain could be your pain…

Your pain could be mine…

I could be you and you could be me…

Your tears could be my tears…

My tears could be yours…

Your scars could be my scars…

My scars could be yours…

I could be you and you could be me….

The masks that we wear could be could be masks that we share

and yes I could be you and you could be me…

But my story is my story…

Your story is your story…

I am not you and you are not me…

You are you and I am me

But together we are WE!!

 

 

 

 

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Guilt,Shame and Disgust

I carry with me each day the feelings of guilt, shame and disgust at my abuse, to be more precise, my participation in the abuse.

I know that my abuse was not my choice, he chose to abuse me from a very young age, so young in fact that until the day came that my abuse stopped, I do not remember not being abused.  Apart from a brief few months my parents separated and we stayed with my grandparents.

I was five years old then and I do wonder if they had not decided to get back together would I actually remember being abused?  Would I be who I am today?  Could I have been more successful in my work and personal life?  Would I be as strong a person as I am today?

Back to my guilt, shame and disgust…. These are strong feelings and burdens to hold and I know they should not be mine, but they are, I carry them with me every day.  I need to make it clear though I do not beat myself up about these feelings emotions, burdens.  I have acceptance, ownership of them.  They belong to me, they are part of my abuse, they are part of my journey, they are part of me being a survivor!

I Did Not Want To Do What You Made Me Do….

I did something I did not want to do…

I feel guilt, shame and disgust at doing what I did not want to do…

I could not say no, I had to do what I did not want to do…

I did not want to do what you made me do….

I felt pain and fear, doing what I did not want to do…

I have scars because of doing what I did not want to do…

I have nightmares each night because of doing what I did not want to do…

I did not want to do what you made me do…

 

Taking down the Christmas decorations

For most people this is a usually a time of year for getting things back to normal, give their livers, digestive systems a rest from all the rich food and alcohol consumed over the last month. Take a break from all the socialising, gift giving etc until it is time to do it all again.

For me as a child this was a heavy dark time of the year, the taking down of the Christmas decorations meant “getting back to normal” for me was pain, shame, guilt and fear. Constantly looking for ways to make myself invisible.

You see over the festive period meant lots of activity. On the lead up to the Christmas break there would be lots of school concerts, party’s, after school activities, there were 5 of us and as the oldest I was expected to drop of pick up the younger ones, which I didn’t mind as this meant I was out of the home more. Then when the holidays came there were lots of visitors to the home and we visited others as well, if we were lucky our Grandparents would come and stay for a few days.

This meant that there was less opportunity for him to abuse me, now this didn’t mean I wasn’t abused during this time just less often. Maybe only once a week. There was only one day of the year when I was never abused and that was Christmas day! It was like an unwritten rule, “you will not be abused on this day, have the day off!”

January, February and March were the longest, hardest months of the year for me. Most people at this time of the year tend to go out less. If we had a good dump of snow that meant all the kids in the scheme would come out but other than that we all became recluses, staying in our warm cosy homes only venturing out if we needed to, I hated not being able to escape on these months….

Three long months of seizing every chance to be out the home, trying to be as invisible as possible, knowing that no matter how hard I tried I would still be abused, I could not escape him! It was all a game to him, he knew what I was doing and it amused him!! Some times it angered him and I would be punished for trying to avoid him and to be brought back into line.

The punishments would always involve pain of some sort and it was always dealt in a controlled manner, in fact only three times can I remember him ever loosing his temper with me, he threw me down the stairs one time, and the other two times were slaps across the face so hard they sent me flying across the room, each time leaving injuries that were visible, normally any bruises, cuts or burns were easily covered by my clothing.

To this day I still dread these months, the short days, long nights and the memories. I still wake up each morning and need to remind myself that I no longer need to think up of ways to avoid him, no longer need to prepare myself for the pain that would be inflicted upon my body and mind. I still need to remind myself each day that I will not be abused today.

My day belongs to me not to my abuse…..

ME

Now why I decided to do this, pheww not sure I can truly answer that. I think I am hoping that by doing this I will understand me a little bit better and gain in strength and confidence to carry on surviving. But perhaps more importantly I am doing this to highlight that we don’t all survive the same. We do not all have mental health issues, drug or alcohol misuse, we are not all high achievers, successful professionals. Our journey through our abuse and after are ours alone. We may have experienced similar traumas, and to the untrained ear tell of the same abuse, face the same types of challenges, daily struggles, perceptions of others. How we understand our abuse, how we talk of our abuse, how we survive our abuse belongs to us, it is ours to own, it makes us unique, one of a kind, individuals, it makes us WE but also ME!

I believe that you would not know that I am a survivor of childhood abuse unless you were told or have known me since childhood. I do not have any alcohol or drug misuse, no mental health issues. I have a good family life, a job I love doing. I do have traits of a survivor. I have anxiety, control issues, panic attacks, and I am not very successful in my choice of partners, also I am very uncomfortable in social situations. I have learnt over the years numerous skills, tools that have enabled me to live a life so that my abuse is not visible to those around me. Daily I manage my abuse so that I can live my life, feel and give love, smile, laugh and cry without feeling pain, fear, guilt or shame. Daily I manage my abuse so that I have ownership of it and not it of me.

I WALK AMONG YOU YET I AM NOT ONE OF YOU I AM ME!…..