Clearing the head…Clearing the shame…

For years now I’ve believed writing good for the soul. When I began thinking about putting my nightmares into words it was frightening to imagine revisiting those feelings. It took so very much to put “My Justice” together for my children. They deserved to know how this evil first invaded our family. How could I possibly let them think that this was merely a result of being a child from divorce? They really needed to understand the how’s and why’s of our family having suffered through so much pain. I wasn’t sure how to begin with them.

How do you tell your children you were sexual abused? How do you bring up this topic with them? It’s so impossible to think they would truly understand what had happened and how the scars I carried had bled in to invade their world.

I decided I would just do it. I had to do it for all of us. It’s not that I wanted my entire life to be out there for everyone, but I felt it necessary to explain to them and to use my horrific experiences as a tool of human moral for others. The level of their evil, both my mother and my stepfather, was so very deep that they created a grown child with no sence of manners, decent judgement, confidence, and the many other types of behaviors and knowledge a normal 17-year-old should have. It was almost impossible for me to go through everyday actions of life as others were doing. How was I to act like an adult with the shattered soul of a 5-year-old still held up inside of me?

My mother had never taught us that we needed to wipe after going to the toilet. Hell most often we didn’t even have toilet paper. There was never one word spoken about brushing your teeth. In fact there were only two toothbrushes and one belonged to each of them. We never said please or thank you to anyone; not even for passing the food.

When I quit bathing as a mode to protect myself from being trapped in the room with him, no one ever said a word. My brother and stepfather would tease me about stinking, but no one said, “Get upstairs and take a bath”. I remember at the age of 15 the school was demanding that all of us keep deodorant in our gym lockers and that we shower after class. The teacher would hang out in her office just off the locker room. There was a big glass window between us and her. She would walk to the shower room and check in on us; even saw me dodging all others as I cowered into a corner. At least I thought she saw me. We did make I contact, that I do remember. Anyway, I let mom know that I needed deodorant. Her words, ‘If you’d take a bath you wouldn’t need fucking deodorant”, and she never bought any; which cost me a demerit or two in class.

Can you imagine how I had to develop when I left home? Seventeen years old, moving in with a 24-year-old man!! I knew how to keep a house spotless, how to put dinner on the table every night. I definitely knew how to please him sexually. I knew to bow down to him and follow all of his rules, but I would take little pieces of bread to fill the holes in my top front teeth. However, I did buy myself a toothbrush.

I was not a young woman starting out in life with goals, ideas, ambitions. Hell, what were those. All I ever knew how to do, take care of my man and the others that came into my life.

As I, some 4 years later, became a mom; I knew how to answer to my child’s every whim. I was a fabulous Mother!!! My baby was bathed, fed, given fluoride drops ( we lived in the U.K.). He was pampered to the fullest extent. My husband, who was a different man because the other had almost killed me more than once; but he never had to worry about taking care of anything that concerned the house. It didn’t matter how heavy the job or what it intailed; it was my responsibility and if I didn’t stay on top of it then I was filled with guilt for not meeting their needs.

I had been programmed that nothing I needed mattered. Now it was always about being clean, which I had become Obsessive Compulsive about even showering & douching myself. All little details mattered. For I was so ugly looking; that’s all I can say about it. Four of my top front teeth were broken and now just black holes of decade teeth. Most of my molars were decade and broken off as well. My skin was scary looking. My arms and legs were so covered with deep big scars of the infection that had eaten away at my skin for five years, which of couse was from not being able to bath without a visitor.

Honestly, My mother let me rot as he raped me and molested me. Held me with his huge coal stained hand over my mouth while my sister slept silently next to me. She was around 4 when we started sharing a bed together. I would often wonder if her eyes ever opened to see what her father was doing?

How do I teach my children to be decent people with manners, kindness towards others; to keep themselves clean? How do I teach my children that they matter? They need education to get a job. They need to learn how to manage finances, which I had no clue. They had begun taking any money I made at the age of 11 with my babysitting jobs. Then later it would be him caught stealing from my purse.

How do I tell my children who the person is that my parents created, but how I wanted so much more for them? How much I truly tried to give all I had of me up until the last child left my home. Even then there was still dinner each night when I got home from work and we ate as one. I gave them morals. They were taught to say prayers, please & thank you. As children everyone would compliment on them. How smart they were? How beautiful and how well behaved. I would ask to make sure they were talking about my children, lol!!!

This is just one part of the abuses I’ve gone through. This is only some of the ways that it left it marks on me. I’m still rebuilding my soul. Writing “My Justice” and finally giving them some sense of understanding as to where I came from and why some of this evil and mis-guided behaviors invaded their world. It was a blessing of peace for me to finally speak of what had truly happened. With my scarred up skin, broken and partially filled teeth, it’s not been easy to get through this life as a woman. We’re expected to be beautiful, have smooth soft skin, bright shining smiles; even to wear cute little outfits & dresses that show off our legs. NOT ME, NO WAY – No one ever got to sit and massage my legs or rub my feet. It was difficult enough to sit next to someone and it still is because I feel their eyes on my skin and looking at my crooked smile and my crooked mouth from the empty spaces. I wish there were some miracle that could make me look like everyone else. A pot load of money to give me a bright new smile, which I have never seen on myself. I look at very young childhood pictures and even then I can see the plaque build up starting on my teeth.  Wouldn’t that be a true blessing from God just to be given the smile I never had?

The tears well up in my eyes as I think about the heavy scars that cover my legs and arms. There will never be anyway to fix this. They cannot give me smooth new skin. It’s horrifying to have people look at you like that all your life; Always wondering, “What is the first thought in their head?” How can a man willingly choose to be with me? That is a whole other discussion meant for another day.

It’s good to get back to writing and sharing with everyone. My thanks and blessings to all who read this. I pray you are not the broken spirit of your past. If I can walk through this life, teach my children to be wonderfully decent people, carry the physical trauma for all to gauk at, and still see a bright love in this world; this is something you can get through as well.

There is no guarantee of safety in our world, not even in our homes. We come into this world and are left in the hands of others. It is up to them to give us something to guide us through. This is all that I can give to my children.. I pray that they will stand proud and stop the evil from passing forward. We cannot allow this sickness to eat into our families. If we are the broken souls; simply guide them at your best, get help & support for yourself; leave the rest up to God.

Patricia A. McKnight

For my children, I am so,so very sorry – Be strong, wise & good – hugs!!!

Published by @ButterflyTrish

I am a survivor of over thirty years trapped inside the silence and brutality of Family Crimes, Child Sex Trafficking, and a life lived pattern of tolerance for over 30 years in almost murderous relationships. In Feb. 2011 I chose to publish the truth about what happened in our home, the community around me, and the learned patterns of self-hatred and tolerance which became such a huge factor in my life. My life today was built through publishing 'My Justice'. I never would felt worthy of life, breathing, love & respect with first healing myself. There were many things the traits and tragedies that influenced my life seemed to control everything inside me and it was nothing but sadness and fake emotions. Only by facing the horrors I went through, the choices I made as a woman & mother, then relating to the greatest guilt I have; how the trauma behavior has affected my children's lives. It's my hope to help others get through their battles, regardless of the type of trauma because when we hurt our lives are forever changed. This graphic, violent memoir is NOT SUGGESTED FOR ANYONE UNDER 14 years of age. It discusses the permanently wounding life and the cycle of destruction that held me in expecting/tolerating ridicule and violence in my adult relationships. This truth was published to inspire others to take an in-depth look at their life and behaviors as a result of their past. Connect the dots of your rebuilding in understanding the pattern of adult choices in coping addictions, parenting, and partners; even affecting our careers and self-sustainable life. I'm so honored to have 'My Justice' used at the collegiate level for psychology classes, upcoming therapists and educators. Today my life is very blessed. I'm finally safe, finally truly loved, finally feeling the magic of what life is supposed to be like. My greatest power only began to show when I first made the choice to end the violent relationships and behaviors around my children; to give them something better, something SAFE!! In choosing to share my own story, I've also gone that serious extra step to educate myself through years of research, attending training opportunity, and collaborating with other advocate resources, abuse, sexual harm, and the experts digging deep to recreate help and healing. I've chosen to use my past as a way to inspire a greater good; hopefully somehow change the cycle of tragedy in our homes so that we empower our kids to live a more positive path. The best education we can give, is a survivor of traumatic experiences who can use what they felt then and what they wish they would have had available; those who could have and should have said something. We can change things for our life today, but best of all in healing our wounds, we give communities a supportive working strategy in assisting the people in our lives. One step at a time, one caring soul at a time, we can give them a path to changing our human society as a whole. This is a tell all, which was written in the midst of my third nervous breakdown as I struggled to put all my distorted pieces back together, help my children understand how the violence I tolerated against me invaded their emotional well-being. My children have always been my world, but my behaviors, lack of healthy parenting and life skills, and an inability to remain stable has caused another generation of suffering for my grandchildren. This is a very difficult thing to watch and the continued tragedies that seem to keep affecting the choices in my family. Writing this book was only the beginning of trying to release all that has haunted me for so many years. I have finally removed his thick, cruel, coal stained hand which trapped me in fear for decades. Those hands and his evil, her housemaid and caregiver; they created a slave and that slave submitted to horrific and brutal attacks but always felt it was her burden to bare. I lived with that hand holding me down to terrorize and steal away my voice, holding me captive in the dysfunction of the aftermath and casting a shadow of darkness on everything good in my life. Living in the true spirit of freedom, I have now become a strong advocate against the life cycle of human destruction. We cannot live stuck in the tragedy of hardships and pain. Life is meant to be lived, to be enjoyed, to see what you can do and what you can achieve, to find out what is important to you. We all become adults. We all have a burden to bare. Stand up and keep moving, keep living, keep dreaming. You have two choices in recreating and rebuilding yourself. Do you stay stuck in the dark shadows of your past? Do you dig deep and find that spirit that kept you alive so that you could become the proud, strong, capable, resilient, kind human being ? Which do you choose and how will that choice affect your children and theirs? We can be supportive, provide resources and suggestions for help so that families suffering with addiction or past trauma themselves can find a recovery balance to rebuild their family in a more positive life pattern. We will recover, we will rebuild, we will conquer the pains of yesterday to live in the true sense of life, freedom and safety today. Patricia 'Trish' McKnight Author: 'My Justice' Fndr/CEO: Butterfly Dreams Alliance, NFP Mentor/Advocate/Speaker/Survivor

3 thoughts on “Clearing the head…Clearing the shame…

  1. Dear Tricia,
    It was so nice to speak with you yesterday. While sitting in a formal English Garden surrounded by beautiful yellow roses, my thoughts drifted to you and all the wonderful things you do for others. Tricia, your life has had such great meaning and purpose, as you have had such a positive impact on the lives of many you know and so many more you will never know nor ever meet. Still, your voice is a beacon of hope and illuminating a road of courage and enlightenment.

    I am eager to see that photograph we spoke of yesterday my dear friend. In the meantime always know how much I appreciate you and all you do and will do.

    And lastly, it is so great to see you write again!!

    With my deepest admiration,

    Peter Thomas Senese
    Founder
    The I CARE Foundation

    1. Dear Peter,
      Your words as always are so deeply comforting. I cannot believe that my story captured your heart and your attention. You have been an incredible supporter and have made a lasting impact on my life. I see all that you give of yourself to others; all of those children who your organization help return safely and I so admire you. I am truly thankful to have connected with you and it is often like a “pinch me I’m dreaming” to be where I am today, safe & loved. I’m doing some more writing today as I was thinking of you and your words to me on the phone the other day, so you will be getting some big time kudos my friend.

      For all that you inspire within me, thank you 🙂

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