“DYSFUNCTION”

Many of us have said at some point in our lives, “I’m suffering from some dysfunction lately.”

What does this statement initiate in your thoughts? I can tell you that for the many millions who live as survivors of abuse, or if you are dealing with some type of abuse, this statement carries an entirely different level of meaning.

If you are one of the relatively happy, safe, people of our society, you might first think, “I can’t focus.” – “I’m losing my head lately.” – If you have shared either of these online you may have even put a cute little, “LOL” at the end. ugggghhhh…….!!!!!

From my many years of personally living in different aspects of disastrous dysfunction, I will tell you this has a completely different impact for someone living as a survivor of abuse or trauma.

The actual meaning of this word: “Dysfunction” – failure to show the characteristics or fulfil the purposes accepted as normal or beneficial. (Dictionary.com)

To a survivor this word can mean that you are sitting huddled tight in a small, safe place; arms wrapped tightly around your legs; pulling them close and holding your pieces together so tightly that your knuckles are turning white.

I’ve shared on our Dreamcatchers Blog Talk Radio about how often we feel like we are exploding into pieces when we suffer and cannot flee from the attack. Dysfunction is the moment that you are overwhelmed and completely distraught by the horrible memories of terror, disgust and ugliness of Sexual Abuse, especially Child Sexual Abuse. I say especially related to “child” because a child cannot fight back. A grown woman or man, has the ABILITY to fight back or try to flee the attack on some level; a child and even an older teen with a dependence upon the person attacking them, cannot battle these attacks, mentally or physically.

Dysfunction can be the hole sucking you back down the drain to the very pit of depression filled with fear. There are many of us that cannot even manage to succeed in school, be a part of a stable work force or be a productive member of society.When you look at the reality of what it is costing our society to try to mend the damage of this evil against our children and to help protect them, you can understand why it is necessary to bring stricter punishments for these crimes to our court systems. On average, according to Prevent Child Abuse America, it was reported in April 2012, our country spends $220 Million EVERY DAY!!!

http://www.preventchildabuse.org/downloads/PCAA_Cost_Report_2012_Gelles_Perlman_final.pdf

When you view the different aspects collected in this daily cost,  prevention, education, intervention, legal, medical exams & care, mental health services, medications and more; we have to ask ourselves how we can help make a difference right now? Starting today at the moment you read this, become more aware of the facts and care about those in your daily circle of life; be it family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and even strangers!!!

As a society we have a responsibility to listen to their voices. Try to hear that person who is screaming out for help. Don’t you believe that if your most personal sense of safety had been violated, perhaps by the person you trusted most, that you too would have those times of falling apart and into the roller coaster of dysfunction and depression? Believe me when I tell you, “Only those who know this nightmare can truly understand the momentum and the depth of the many down swings that creep into our lives.”

Think if you will for a moment, about the thousands who take their own lives each year because of the madness, loneliness and fear of being in this place of dysfunction. Do you know that as I tried to search the world-wide web for statistics on Suicides due to Child Abuse – there are no statistics that directly reflect that number? I did however find this awesome article from Psychology Today …… “while the CDC may not count the number of child abuse induced suicides that occur in emerging adulthood, it’s easy to argue that the count would not be ‘1.”

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/becoming-adult/201101/suicide-age-27-death-due-child-abuse

Please take another moment to say a prayer (in whatever process you pray) for not only those incredibly courageous Eight Men who have testified to convict Jerry Sandusky and all others who have found their voice, but also for those who are still trapped within the secrets.

As a strong note of encouragement to anyone who is a survivor, I want to give you the very positive assurance that it will get better!! There is a lot of personal effort that is required to get past this darkness, but it is possible. Don’t be ashamed if you need to call a stranger on a hot line number. Don’t think you’re crazy if you go into the woods and beat the crap out of a few trees, although I would suggest using something other than your own body for this. Don’t freak out if you start screaming at the top of your lungs. Whatever you need to do in order to release the emotions that have been buried for so long, this will always be a good thing. I beg you to believe in this because I am a living truth of this now and I use my story and my voice to share this with others each day. Please, reach out and do not harm yourself for what another has done to in an attempt to destroy you. You cannot give them that power over you any longer. You must stand to protect your life and achieve what they have tried to rob from you.

As you go through the various stages of healing and what may be triggered by all that has been in the news lately, please hang on to these few notes of empowerment and reach out to just one person.

1) YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG

2) THIS IS A CRIME AGAINST YOU – not a crime that you have committed

3) THERE IS NO SHAME OR BLAME THAT IS YOURS TO CARRY

4) DO NOT STRUGGLE TO MAINTAIN RELATIONSHIPS WITH THOSE WHO CHOOSE NOT TO BELIEVE YOU OR TURN AGAINST YOU

5) BUILD A POSITIVE SUPPORT SYSTEM WITH THOSE YOU TRUST

Always know that you are a beautiful rose waiting to bloom!!!

(c)Patricia A. McKnight

Author; “My Justice” – ISBN #978-1-45207-170-1

http://www.facebook.com/triciagirl62

Published by @Trecia_Ann

Recently, Facebook locked and removed my decade long creation of work and public profile, which focused my work as an advocate, speaker, mentor, and creator of more than a few programs used throughout Illinois, but also shared nationally and some have reached international platforms. So.... let's start fresh and see where it goes! Please see the writings on this blog dating back into 2011, created after the publication of 'My Justice'. There are two specifically, which have been tagged and shared by many....."Judging Eyes" and "Triggers; what they are and how to handle them" I am a survivor of over thirty years trapped inside the silence and brutality of Family Facilitated Violence, Torture, and Child Sex Trafficking. In Feb. 2011, I chose to publish the secrets and the horrors endured; the many levels of destruction and decay which the community around me witnessed, ignored, condemned and blamed regardless of the injuries and tortures endured. It all became the learned patterns of self-hatred and tolerance which was a huge factor in my adult life. Have you endured childhood harm, or endured terroristic types of abuses? Did you feel unworthy of life, breathing, love or respect? Did you feel as if no one ever really saw you, heard you, or seemed to care about the silent cruelties of your existence? It wasn't until I honestly began a strong focus on healing myself, which took years of researching credible data and published research surrounding the lasting effects of abuse, violence, sexual harm, and human trafficking that I began to understand who I was and why there were many traits and tragedies that influenced my adult choices, relationships, the chaos deep in my soul and the behaviors used to survive. It seemed to control everything inside me and it was filled with pain, and tragedy. The research became my rebuilding journey and my road to advocacy, creating legislative changes, sitting as an active member and providing testimony in the creation of area task force operations, victim/survivor services, trauma informed awareness for law enforcement, educators, social services, healthcare and community providers. I began that research of understanding myself in 2008, wrote the memoir "My Justice' in 2010, began working to change statutes in my home state in 2013, became a Certified DV Advocate and Panel Member of DV Offender Education Program in 2015, which then initiated a decade long career as a trusted, confidential advocate, and a highly skilled and knowledgeable speaker/educator on the topic of Assessment, Family/Survivor Rebuilding, Trauma Informed Care & Response, with the primary focus on family/relationship acts of terroristic abuses and/or human trafficking. Beginning in January 2010 there have been developed programs and connected resources for men, women, children, and families who endured these same types of tragedies. Unfortunately, our human society still has barriers to seek help or speak openly about these types of tragedies, especially if it happened in our homes and families. The laws to protect from such harms were enacted for children in 1963, as an amendment to the Social Security Act. Domestic Violence was not a topic until 1995, when then Senator Joe Biden introduced the Violence Against Women Act, which has since been adapted to provide shelters, counseling, protection orders, and rebuilding services for ALL persons regardless of gender or identity. Although slavery was brought to an end by the historical act of President Abraham Lincoln, we unfortunately have millions of human beings still being traded, sold, controlled and trapped in a hellish evil, which often begins by a parent or intimate partner. Legislation didn't arise regarding the term 'Human Trafficking' until the turn of the new millennium. Protection for victims of human trafficking was signed into law as the 'Trafficking In Persons Act of 2000', which with modern day social media it quickly became a new hot-topic point, which then sparked the creation of Trauma Informed Care, Rebuilding & Trauma Therapy, and thus adult survivors began speaking out about the dark terrifying reality of Child Sex Trafficking. Today many use the term, Modern Day Slavery, and we have multi-faceted task force operations and rescue resources working around the globe to end this new form of human slavery. We also have a few hundred thousand or more who are adult survivors of histories involving Parental Child Sex Trafficking. In one recent study from 2018, they found 85% of these victims were trafficked by parents in trade for drugs, family needs, or basic human survival. As I look back on the career that grew from my own personal need to understand the chaos in my head, the constant failed relationships and almost murderous acts committed against me; as I deal with increasing health problems that includes multiples of head and spinal cord traumas; the most important goal for me from day one of this extremely personal experience; the healing and rebuilding of my own children and grandchildren who were all continued generational victims of the trauma influenced behaviors and choices that resulted from the destruction enforced by my mother and stepfather many decades ago. The little girl, 'Trecia Ann', she survived pure evil as an entire community witnessed, shamed, blamed, and dismissed the visible decay and rot, stench and filth covered, battered and intoxicated body of a young girl who was publicly exploited and shared in the bars of that small town, in her home with boys she attended school with and adult men from the local coalmine. It was as if they all got a thrill from watching her respond to the ring of that little brass bell. They laughed, molested, raped, and purchased for a few bucks or a few beers the sexual use of that young girl right in full public view! Her mother held the power to stop it all, but rather enjoyed having a 'slave' to cook, clean, care for the family as well as entertain the sadistic alcoholic man she chose to marry. Today, I'm so honored and proud to have that little girl's spirit with me. It is through the use of my lived experience, along with a decade of research, and at least five certifications in prevention, response, and trauma; I've assisted a few hundred survivors through the multilevel process of rebuilding and reclaiming their voice, their safety, their freedom! I've trained law enforcement, healthcare, childrens service investigators, our school educators, and co-presented in trainings with some outstanding experts in the field. For the many I've assisted or empowered, they continue becoming thriving survivors, advocates, authors, speakers, and most important of all; they are healing their children and grandchildren! It is a truly beautiful experience and I am so amazed to have been a spark, a resource, or a friend in their life reclaiming freedom. The adult children of generations past have broken through the glass ceiling and finally there is a hint of change in the world. "A lifetime filled with daily torture, tragedy, and pain creates someone completely different than we should have been. We feel that person inside, but our lives are altered by the emotional and physical suffering. We cover it up and hide it deep inside through substance abuse, which falsely helps us believe we are doing fine. The extreme physical and emotional injuries leave our mental and physical selves terribly impacted. Thankfully there is more information and resources of help available today for all types of adverse or traumatic experiences. We have specialized therapeutic help and healthcare professionals developing new ways to identify and assist persons harmed or at risk of harm. We have so much more to do, so please help by having casual open conversations with your friends, family, coworkers, leaders, and especially our kids. Teach them early how to avoid both online and in person harms. Encourage adults and kids both to use the BDA Buddy Skills 2.0, which you will find through my list of assessments and prevention strategies. "My Justice' was written through my own beginning of acknowledging and releasing the personal destruction of the girl once known as 'Trecia Ann'. It is not an easy read, but it has opened many eyes about the reality of evil that occurs inside our homes, against those too small to protect themselves or understand what's happening. It was published to release the thick layers of trauma, sex trafficking, and disfiguring neglect. It is the voice of the enslaved child who existed only to answer the ring of 'his' bell, and the enforced burden to keep my own private terrorist alive. 'My Justice' is NOT SUGGESTED FOR ANYONE UNDER 16 years of age. It discusses the permanently wounding life and the cycle of destruction that held me in tolerating ridicule, control, 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, in hopes they too will better understand their suffering today, the continued relationships with the parents and family who inflicted those harms, and finally breaking free from that pain so they can reclaim their voice and their true sense of freedom! We always have the opportunity to learn that we are worthy, capable, incredibly strong, compassionate, and filled with endless possibilities. It is a choice. It is a conscious decision to dig into our trauma, take ownership of our own failures, the harm our choices have caused, and the work we need to do to change it and succeed for ourselves and our families. It is such an honor 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, feel truly loved, finally feeling the magic of life! Always choose to see your star and how it shines on others in your journey. 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 the serious extra step to educate myself through years of research, attending training opportunities, and collaborating with other advocate resources focused in human resilience and healing from abuse, sexual harm, and sex trafficking. Today there are experts digging deep to recreate help and healing. I've chosen to use my past as a way to inspire a greater good and; 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 healing our survivors of traumatic experiences so we understand 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, and help my children understand how the violence I tolerated against me invaded their 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 have 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; created a slave, and that slave submitted to horrific and brutal attacks but always felt it was her burden to bear. I lived with that hand holding me down, continually terrorizing and silencing, stealing my voice to protect their pure evil. Throughout decades the dysfunction caused by the chaos inside my head would affect every relationship, my children, and cast 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. If we want to control our life and achievements today, then 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 bear. 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 can 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, and provide resources and suggest help so that families suffering from addiction or past trauma can find a recovery balance to rebuild their family into 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

10 thoughts on ““DYSFUNCTION”

  1. Oddly enough – for I am ‘odd’ even for a survivor – the sexual abuse was amongst the ‘least’ of abuse; in some ways it held me together. Part of that comes from the “groomed child syndrome” where the child learns to tie love and sex together – so there is no ‘rape’; sex is not forced upon you. Instead you are coaxed and coerced into doing it – *wanting* it. This is not something I’ve seen many survivors go through – that breech of trust where a young child associates expressions of deep love (or like) with ‘sex’. Instead of ‘being raped’ I begged for it – and as a result had to bear that ‘shame’ for many years. (I am now over it, BTW.)

    People often assume sexual abuse is the worst thing you can do to a child, and I know it is under certain conditions – but that does not hold true for me. I’ve heard from the few and rare survivors of ‘groomed sex’ – we are often the outcasts among the survivors because we don’t express the same outrage; yet the lack of trust is the same – and some of the effects run way deeper. I was broken more by the LACK of love, the constant shuffling around by my parents, the beatings, the moving around. In some senses the sex saved me – for it was the one and only place I felt ‘loved’. Very hard for people to comprehend that it could ‘save a child’ then – only to destroy him later on when he found society’s views were , and viewed all had done with shame. THAT was much more damaging than the sex was.

    I know my experience was a rare one – never forced, never ‘raped’ – though the adult should have said “NO” when I asked. But sometimes I wish folks would realize: it’s not ALWAYS ‘bad’ – and that sometimes we need to recognize what a child will do for love (even while recognizing it is ‘wrong’). It kept me feeling warm and safe sometimes in a harsh reality and world where safety was an issue, every moment, every time.

    I’m not invalidating anyone’s ‘pain’ here, nor do I want to. Rape is horrible and bad. I just wanted to throw my two cents in from across the fence,. While everyone seems to think “sex with a child is bad” – in some ways it saved me back then. Not that it was right, but it was the only love I had.

    1. I am so sorry that you have been feeling shut out by other survivors!!! There is no reason for that to happen, we are all survivors. Yes we can love our abusers, even need them, need them to touch us so we feel something inside and know we are human. You have my hugs and my support. Jeff it will be alright and you have grown into a beautiful soul!!!

    1. So sorry Nippercat that you are struggling. It can be so difficult to be trapped in that darkness. A trick my therapist used for me was first of course breathe!!!! Think of a happy time or place, think of the positives around you now and list them on a sticky note. Keep it handy and when the darkness threatens to take you in, think of those positives, focus on that happy time & place – with practice it really does make a difference, or at least it did for me.
      Blessings of peace for you,
      trish

  2. Tricia,
    This is a very well written blog post and very useful. I was mentally unstable for many years until I went through therapy and it is only recently that I found out my symptoms were those of PTSD. I had no idea. More knowledge and more people speaking out.
    Thanks,
    Tim

    1. Tim, thank you so much. You words are taken as a great compliment. I know those dark days of madness. Know that others are speaking out now and that soon our numbers will be counted. My blessings as you continue to grow in your new world of healing.
      Cheers & Light your way
      trish

      1. No worries Trish. I know that many people out there must be suffering in silence and it is my mission to break that silence. Too many people are silent and men are the worst culprits. I was raped and left for dead many years ago but I told nobody because of the stigma of being a man and being seen as weak or even ‘wanting it’. I did what I had to just to live. I spent 16 years in silence but this left me mentally scarred and suicidal. I only learned recently whilst writing my book that I had been suffering from ptsd all those years.
        I implore more people to open up and men to allow themselves to be vulnerable, it is a huge sign of strength to show your emotions and share your truth.
        thanks,
        Tim

      2. Tim, what you have shared is huge. I am so proud of you 🙂 Hopefully more men will feel that they too can reach out, speak the nightmares, share their empowerment with others.
        Blessings & ty 🙂

    1. Glad to have you checking in, also thanks for the comments on the article shared. We must question how the dysfunction of being a survivor effects our world. ty 🙂

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