A lot has happened since cutting off my parents, and I had never truly anticipated quite how much of an effect cutting my parents off would have. I hadn’t realised still how much of a hold they had over me, how much abuse was still seeping in emotionally, and how stuck I’d got – I couldn’t get out, I couldn’t escape and I couldn’t move forwards, but I was equally determined not to go backwards. So I was just…stuck. Which is a pretty miserable place to be, in all honesty.
But in cutting them off, I feel like I’ve literally cut through so many chains that were pinning me down. Okay so perhaps there are still some chains there held by others, but the main bulk of the most imprisoning stuff has gone. My parents were the link to the ring, to my past, to the absolute horrors. They were by no means the worst people, but they were the link. Cutting that has cut my ties with the ring. I no longer view myself as their’s, irrespective of how they feel. I am my own person, with my own body and my own life. This realisation is quite weird. But good.
As I say, other chains remain but cutting them is a damnsite easier now that I’m not hopelessly pinned to the ground. So every day I cut another chain. On Wednesday I found my voice. On Wednesday I found that freedom; that independence. The threats that were made if I should ever dare publicly speak out have not happened, and now more than ever I can see the emptiness of the threats. Of course they won’t kill me. That would be slighlty idiotic of them.
No…speaking out was something they’d made me terrified of, and it wasn’t until I questioned this fear that I realised I was only scared due to empty threats…and the only reason they’d made sure I was so terrified in the first place was because my speaking out would offer me the greatest level of protection, and let me wriggle out of their grasp. My speaking out means they can’t rape me, beat me, kidnap me or kill me. Because now people would know. Nationally…
And my speaking out is simply going to continue, especially over the next couple of months. I have found my source of freedom and escape. It’s the most non-aggressive fight I’ve ever put up. And perhaps the most successful…
I have watched others cut people from rings off. I have learnt from them what *not* to do. They cut them off, then took a step back and hid within their freedom – rejoiced quietly and kept their heads low. This gave the abusers the chance to get them, and stop them from speaking out – they’d cut people off, this meant they were a step closer to speaking. It was a race between victim and abuser – who could silence the other first? In taking time out and letting the processing start before speaking, keeping their heads low whilst the reality hit them…they made themselves incredibly vulnerable. Some were hurt. Some were made so terrified that they never spoke out. In different ways, they were still trapped.
So I decided on a different tactic.
The documentary project was already in the planning process – I knew this method of speaking out was going to happen, when I cut my parents off. I knew for a few weeks that I was going to cut my parents off, but didn’t do it straightaway. Partly because I was scared, and partly because I was sad and desperate for any alternative…but also partly because I wanted to get the “speaking out” times in place to be as soon after cutting my parents off as possible…because I knew what battle I’d be up against – the race between me and the abusers to silence the other. Either they would get me and terrify me into submission, or I would speak out and they would have to back off. They would have to become silent. If they didn’t, they would get themselves too known…and their whole world would come crashing down.
So, I applied for the photoshoot and interview. I contacted charities saying I wanted to speak out. I contacted the media. I carried on planning the documentary. All was now in place. I could cut my parents off. But now I went back to being too scared, too sad or feeling guilt that wasn’t my own. However, I did manage it, a short while after I had initially planned to do it.
Suddenly, it was done. I had blown the whistle to start the race. It was me against all of them. I knew they’d be quick. I had to be quicker.
And my God they tried.
But I won. I got there quicker – I had put it all in place beforehand and thankfully it happened in time. My face and name and identity as an ‘abuse survivor’ are now known to many. My face will be on posters soon. My face and voice will be in a documentary within weeks. I spoke out first. They must now be silent. Now, I am taking the first steps into freedom.
I feel like I’ve been tied to a chair and gagged for years, and someone has just taken my gag off and opened a door for me, which leads to fresh air and outdoors and safety. Without a moment’s hesitation, I have run for it. At full speed, with the world’s hugest adrenaline rush ever. Moving towards Wednesday, my mental health quickly deteriorated – countering the layers of programming and trauma to keep me silent was hard work and I got lost. But Wednesday was my goal. I had to be awake by then. And despite the shitheads hardest efforts, from when I was a baby until now, I was awake by Wednesday. I was awake and able to use my voice and have someone take my photograph that will be used on posters and websites. I was able to give an audio interview about DID. I was able to say I was an abuse victim, whilst in an interview that may well be available for access internationally. Despite 20 years of their hardest and most vicious efforts, they had not won. I had got to the end first – I had spoken stronger than they could. They now cannot silence me. The secret is out and it is known. I have won.
So following Wednesday is where this sensation of running to the open door has come. I know that as I progress with the documentary, and more media campaigns, I will feel more free and stronger. Each second I am still breathing is a second more of gaining strength and self-belief, because it is proof that they for years fed me empty threats. I had half-expected to somehow die on the spot the moment I spoke – that was the level of terror they’d put into me. But I’ve proved them wrong. I’m still alive. I’m speaking. I’m going to speak even louder.
The adrenaline rush is huge. I daren’t even slow down to look behind me, to see what I’m running from. It was a normal situation for me and yet it was hideous, but I know there’ll be a point where I’m far enough away that I can stop, turn, and look back on the situation I have left behind.
But now is not that time. I just need to keep running. And running and running, and shouting who I am and getting stronger with each step. They all fight with torture and pain. I can now fight with my voice. So many times they tried to programme me to lose my voice, or feel excessive throat pain whenever I tried to talk…and now I understand why. They knew they’d lose if I found a way of talking, of countering their threats and suddenly being blessed with self-belief and the inner strength I used to have years ago. But their programming didn’t work. And their threats didn’t work. Some incredible friends in this world helped me find ways of undoing the programming, and their friendship and trust was far more powerful than fear and pain.
So now I can speak. Now I am running through the door. My body is aching; I can literally feel this constant physical ache, as though I hadn’t moved for a long time, but had been so tense with fear…and now I am moving, and my muscles are learning how to move again. But the ache is okay. Pain means I’m healing, somehow.
One day, in the near future, I expect I’ll feel safe enough to stop running, and to look back. To see, properly, what hideous mess I have ran away from. To see what my friends and my voice has allowed me to escape from. I expect this will hit me very hard. I don’t expect it will be easy. I will suddenly have the space and safety in which to break down and cry, whereas to cry in the middle of the hideous situation would have been to waste precious time and energy.
But that breakdown will be okay. Because it will symbolise my new level of freedom…which although may not be absolute, it is certainly a massive step in the right direction…and the more I speak, the more free I will become. So although I am already nervous about how much is going to hit me, and how much it’s going to hurt to fully realise what I have ran away from…I am also grateful that I’m finally on the path that will lead me to that moment, where I can look back…cry all the tears that are needed…be held by someone who cares…and then walk firmly away from that horror, and turn it into something powerful and constructive.
Finally, I feel like I’m keeping the promise I made to those boys… and that’s the most incredible feeling in the world. Finally, I feel like I’m winning with them… because now I can speak. I won the race. Here’s me raising two fingers to you all, abusers. 🙂