“Could you help us understand? What happened?”

****TRIGGER WARNING****

A few people have been asking me since starting this blog if I could possibly provide some more insight into my past. Not out of morbid curiosity, but so that they can try and understand a bit more, so that if I’m having a bad day or a flashback, they’re not so horrifed and shocked and can actually do something. I have been umming and aahing about whether to do this, but can see how it could be helpful. I think it’s important people realise this stuff goes on behind closed doors.

SO THIS POST IS ONLY FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED. It is a bit grim. Nobody is under any obligation to read; it makes no difference to me, but if in any way it’s helpful (even if you’re a survivor and need confirmation that this stuff really DOES happen to other people too and you’re not alone) then I’m prepared to take a deep breath and spill some of my deepest secrets. The secrecy was part of the damage anyway.

So here goes nothing….

My abuse? What happened? I won’t go into too much detail; it won’t be helpful for anyone but I will provide some context.

  • I was abused continuously throughout my entire childhood; it only very recently having stopped, and there’s still echoes and pieces that need picking up and some days where I have to consider safety plans. Let’s just say some people aren’t so happy with the fact I escaped and I’m strong enough to speak out… f**k them. I’m far far safer now than I’ve ever been, and getting safer with each day that passes, so that deserves a huge bottle of champagne I feel.
  • The abusers were not just family members. There were friends of family too. I would be taken somewhere at weekends or school holidays and subjected to extreme abuse, along with other children.
  • The abuse was emotional, physical and sexual. They would torture me and call it “helping me” because I was “ill.” (Seriously). Or they’d say I deserved it for being so horrible and selfish. Their imaginations continued to grow sicker and crazier, and the levels and type of torture – both physical and sexual – grew more absurd.
  • They kept me silent not so much by saying “don’t tell anyone or else…” but rather “everyone knows, so it’s pointless.” As I got older and grew more defiant this changed to “don’t tell anyone otherwise we’ll get your friends.” This kept me silent for many years.
  • The other children and I became a little bit like an army. It wasn’t all doom and gloom. Through being around other children we had the chance to ensure we all understood right and wrong. We all knew there was someone who loved us and cared for us. The abusers could beat us black and blue, and take our strength…but we always made sure that at least once a day we found something to laugh about. It was finding something light, however small, whilst traps in the depths of hell that allowed survival and courage. We even played games like stuck in the mud, and making daisy-chains was one of our favourite past-times. We communicated via rhythms which is why as a musician I prefer percussion instruments 🙂 We worked as a solid team which made us almost unbreakable, much to the abusers’ frustrations. The ability to laugh in the face of such evil at the age of 8 feels a little bit like a miracle now, but simply amazing. Those children were heroes.
  • I suffered several miscarriages and premature baby losses as a result of the abuse. This has turned me into a maternal lioness and I turn a bit fiesty if anyone threatens people I care about 😉
  • The ring was largely bought to a close when I was 12 years old, but the abuse at least for me didn’t stop – family members had been involved and were determined to keep me quiet.
  • When I first moved to university I had few memories of my childhood – I had “blanked” the entirety of the abuse. This is quite typical of child abuse because the trauma is simply too much for the child to comprehend or cope with. Once safe in university, the memories starting come through in the form of quite violent flashbacks and nightmares – PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). I have the most incredible circle of friends who have been helping me deal with the flashbacks and unravelling the memories of my past, and to them I owe my life….as on more than one occasion the memories have been too much to cope with and depression has led me to some dark places.
  • I have multiple-personality disorder, or disocciative-identity disorder (DID). Simply speaking, I have different personalities living in my head. As a child I understandably couldn’t cope and remain sane if I’d had to deal with all the trauma. Sometimes victims of child abuse develop DID in order to cope – I created other personalities and together we share out the trauma. There is a little girl, and a middle aged woman, and an elder woman. These are my three most dominant (aside from myself) but there are others too. Sometimes they have access to memories I haven’t quite remembered yet so they can be very helpful.
  • After getting safe from the abuse, and doing well in recovery, I was a victim of domestic abuse. But this has now ended.

And now? What next?  I don’t know. Sometimes i just want to give up. I’ll never have my childhood. Or my teenage years.

But I owe those children, my friends…and myself really. I can’t let the bad guys win. And that’s why I’m writing this blog. Not to moan, but to show others they’re not alone, and to show any abuser what fighters they inadvertently create. The abuse only gave me a level of courage and strength that shouldn’t ever be needed. But it was. It turned me into a musician. It turned me into someone who can generally find humour even in the most ridiculous situations. Fighter. I want to help others fight back.

You just turned me into a fighter. A slightly battered and sad fighter at the moment, but nonetheless…screw you all.

So that, is that. Brief synopsis.

(and breathe).

J

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