No Longer Afraid To Breathe…….

There’s a headline that a local journalist used for the outstanding article she did about the release of “My Justice”.

Simply put ……. “For 32 Years I was Afraid to Breathe”

This is indeed the truth about how I viewed my life. While there are a few faint memories of happy, not perfect, but loving events shared with my real father and gentle caring from my mother; all of that is often over taken by the twelve years of detrimental, life altering evil.

I’ll never forget the very moment that I stepped through the threshold of our door and saw his large intimidating figure sitting; as if waiting for my arrival. When I deeply connect with that moment it makes me feel as if he and I had related before, but I’d say that was doubtful. It would have been possible through his connections with the church I attended with my sitter, but highly doubtful.

His presence on our couch; the turquoise colored, sixties style (I believe) sectional sofa, caused such an intense deep pounding fear.  It wasn’t the type of fear or unsure nature of a child, but a shock of electrical pulses that caused the hair on the back of my neck to stand at attention.

I remember the gasp of my breath as I made eye contact with him.

I remember looking instantly trying to locate my mother.

I remember seeing my brother, who had come running through the door ahead of me, standing to my left completely still.

I remember the instant grasp with which I clutched my birthday toys.

This was the second my own breath no longer felt safe. I know your questions over the validity of this statement, but I assure you it’s been many repeated years in terror that I could not make it up if I tried.

The other second of holding my breath was as his hands reached toward me and connected with my skin. I felt a singe of heat from his touch. It was the first time in my childhood I felt like running. It was a panic sensation that sensed this would be an evil far worse than imagination, perhaps more than my mother expected.

That word, “EXPECTED” means a sense of foreseeing an end result. This in turn relates to my mother being verbally warned about my stepfather before she married him. The person who told me this fact about five years ago, was none other than my mother herself.  She was warned by my stepfather’s adopted son about how sick and evil this man was.

“He is a sick man. Be careful of him. Don’t marry him.”

This is how his son described this man to my mother. If you are a mother, “Would you put your children in this man’s care?”

When his thick hands singed my skin and he pulled me towards him I reached out for my mother to save me. She instead was pushing me towards him encouraging me to hug and welcome him. When she introduced my brother and I to this man, her words were very simple, “This is Walter. He is going to be your new Dad.”

Since, I had just left my father and his family from a weekend visit and birthday celebration, this statement was huge for me. My father was tender and loving with me; he was safe; his touch didn’t burn. Now suddenly I’m meeting this man who instills a deep gut wrenching fear and he is going to take over the name and position of someone I loved so dearly. I had no clue how this would change things for the three of us, but it simply terrified me.

When the man left that night, my brother and I got ready for bed; I remember the worry inside. For whatever reason the normal act of saying “Hello” and welcoming him to our house, had struck a feeling of dreadful change. As always that night, I climbed in bed with Mom. She was my safe person at that time, my protector and comforter. There is the memory of my mother’s arms around me and as I told her I was scared of this man, she responded, “Everything’s going to be fine now.”

Things would actually be so dynamically invaded by this evil man, that our entire bond of three would never exist again. The evil inside this man, combined with my mother’s acceptance of this evil presence; would break us down and cause me to be “AFRAID TO BREATHE FOR THE NEXT TWELVE YEARS”.

At night when I climbed into bed as a child I would clutch the covers so tight my knuckles turned white. I waited for his sneaking approach as he prowled into the room and along the bottom edge of the bed. Looming, threatening, evil stepping towards me and suddenly the coal stained thick hand was covering my mouth. His fingers squeezing at my jaws to show his force. This act would hold me silent for over forty years.

During the next twenty years there would be abusers who have beaten me beyond recognition. Drug me out of bed by my hair and shoved my head into a bathtub filling with water. Repeatedly dumping my head in the tub and holding me there until I fought to be lifted. Numerous times I’ve stared down the barrel of both pistols and shotguns held at my head. When I was just 12, my stepfather used a loaded shotgun to take my virginity while my brother and sister were down stairs watching television. I’ve had years of repeated choking, kicking, punching, getting my face shoved into a mirror while yelling how pathetically ugly I am. My body has endured physical trauma at levels unimaginable to some. My back was seriously injured from being trapped in a corner at 5 am, naked and terrified, as I got repeatedly battered with a heavy chrome kitchen chair by a 6’2″, 180lb raging drunk.

Throughout the many years of extreme brutality and sadistic fear there have been many times when trying to avoid setting off this rage of attacks, that I would find my muscles clenched tight and purposely stopping my breath. Simply being afraid that if my breathing was out of their accepted rhythm, I would be killed; dead from the rage against my natural act of breathing.

I have since escaped this evil and publishing, “My Justice” gives voice to the child, woman, survivor who never believed that she had a say in how others treated her. This fear was a pattern of living and it was a life filled with repeated violent abusers. Now my soul is at peace, my mate has been given by the gracious hand of God. He has brought me to a place where the evil is now gone and my home is filled with love, gentleness and support.

Never give up on gaining your freedom; your happiness. Never stop dreaming of the day when you will be safe. This will surely be a time when you look back and finally catch the rhythm of your own spirit; your heart; your breath.

Patricia A. McKnight

Survivor/Author/Advocate/Public Speaker

Dreamcatchers Talk Radio

Exec. Director & Host

“My Justice”

ISBN# 978-1-45207-169-5
Now published by: Dreams Media & Promotions – Ebook now just $2.99

Available through: ; ; & Google Books

Paperback; E-book; Kindle & Nook

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

13 thoughts on “No Longer Afraid To Breathe…….

  1. Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having trouble locating it but, I’d
    like to send you an e-mail. I’ve got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it grow over time.

  2. wonderful put up, very informative. I ponder why the opposite specialists of
    this sector do not notice this. You must continue your writing.
    I am confident, you have a huge readers’ base already!

  3. Aw, this was an extremely good post. Taking a few
    minutes and actual effort to create a good article… but what can I
    say… I hesitate a lot and never seem to get anything done.

  4. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your site offered us with valuable info to work on. You’ve done a formidable job and our whole community
    will be thankful to you.

    1. What type of volunteer service do you provide and within what community? Its great to connect with others and all resources need to be shared.
      Many great blessings,
      thanks tons,
      trish 🙂

  5. Hello! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me
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    I will forward this write-up to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read.
    Many thanks for sharing!

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