Here’s to providing a positive influence on our tomorrow!!!

So what is this healing thing? Can we accept who we are now? What about accepting what we have either done to others or how we have impacted the lives of those who love us?

I’m thinking about where I am now, who I am now; mainly because of building the Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery project. I’ve been looking inside myself and trying to find the real me inside the damage for about five years now. It’s been hell!!!

The constant doubting myself and my ability to be me without all the mess attached; trying to get it all back together again and believe that I can help make a difference somehow. This is the struggle of people like us. This is our daily reality, it sucks!!

As I watched one of my most favorite movies this morning, “When a Man Loves a Woman” with Andy Garicia and Meg Ryan, it dawned on me that the process of dealing with an addiction, such as alcoholism as Meg was facing, and seeing how it played in her family life touched a part of me I didn’t recognize.

‘When a man loves a woman’ Meg Ryan, Andy Garcia, directed by: Luis Mandoki–Phenomenal

We’ve all done horrible things and we all have at least one thing we are ashamed of, so does this make us all similar in life? In many ways it does. Each of us has our own mess we are struggling with to keep our heads above water. Each of us is human and we all make mistakes we have to face and forgive ourselves for doing? Each of us is influenced by the ways of our childhood lessons and what we’ve learned in our adult life. To me this makes each of us more like the other than we want to admit sometimes.

At the present, I’m building my dream of providing some form of understanding, support, help for others like myself. The hardest part is believing in my ability to succeed at this and how I can build it into something really amazing. Of course I understand this cannot be done without a huge amount of support from the public. It is another huge step for this survivor and I do pray I won’t fall on my face in the process.

I’m not a perfect person and have never claimed to be one. In fact, most often I am my own worst critic and can be my own abuser. Like the millions of others who have felt this, it is darkest to see what we have done to others throughout our lives and how the choices we’ve made have impacted them. I’ve over celebrated events, such as this past 50th birthday, and then I reason away my stupidity. I’ve inappropriately yelled at my children with an undeserved voice, especially as they were growing up and stressing me out. I’ve taken and popped them upside the head when they did something senseless or talked back. However, slapping them and yelling at them can also be reasoned away as a broken parent who was merely stumbling through life not having a clue how to function in a ‘normal’ world.

‘Does this make the bad we’ve done OK, simply because we can reason it away? Can’t we reason away almost anything?’ 

Thankfully, my kids have all come to me separately and told me I didn’t abuse them so I can give myself a break for this, but that doesn’t mean that the choices I made and decisions to stay didn’t upset their world. My chaotic behavior brushed off on them and its taken longer for them to become functioning and stable in their world.

‘Oh how I hate what my parents created in me!!’

When I published ‘My Justice’ it was my public apology to my children; explaining to them how it all fit together and why it all matters in the big picture of who they are today and how they cope through life. It was admitting all the dark secrets I had been carrying, the guilt and the shame over what happened, but also for how it passed forward into their world.

If they could have seen inside me at 37 years old, making the decision to build a life on our own, walking away from all that had been so normal to me and a man I sincerely loved; perhaps if I had let them see me break down they too might have been able to release what was going on in them; to open up their wounds and allow them to break free from the darkness as well. I fell to my knees in our house when they went on weekend visits with their father. This was after we left their drunken stepfather, got away from the drunken boyfriend, and we were on our own.

Therapy was breaking me into pieces and everything was falling all over the ground. I was like a child trying to pick up all the jacks that had been kicked around for those 32 years. Every time I thought it was alright and I was going to make it; I would start dropping them again, losing one here or there as I went along trying to pretend I could handle all of it. I was a complete wreck. Didn’t realize it was the first time I’d ever FELT about anything that had happened, it was my first mental break down!! Work was a bitch and I under bid myself in pay status so horribly; due to my lack in self confidence and having to prove to myself that I could succeed and break out. This meant we were barely able to make it by, in fact, I had worked my way into a heavy debt trying to make up for all the bad, but I was determined to change their world. If I hadn’t gotten so sick with first the hysterectomy and then the pulmonary embolism, we might just have made it through. However, then I would never have come back to Illinois and would not have met the most wonderful man I have in this present place.

‘There is a purpose for all things; even those we do not understand”

Recovery to me is being able to see all of it for what it is and what it has done to influence the person I am today. I believe that through understanding these wounds and the horrible choices I’ve made, the problems any of us have caused others; we see ourselves in the true light of what is good in us. We don’t have to be perfect. In fact many of us will never be able to get close to that status in society, but isn’t it what we carry inside that matters most?

If we try to keep struggling to meet the standards of others and accomplish only what they expect out of us, how can we ever build our own standards and see the good we’ve accomplished in ourselves?

Recovery is being able to see your good and accept your mistakes, own them, learn from them, understand where your perceptions and mind set was when you made them and then see where it sets with you today. Do you feel the spark of a peace within? Do you have respect for yourself and the fight you’ve put forth to build something better within yourself? This is the beginning!!!

When we understand the how and why, when we admit to our imperfections and how we have been stumbling around in the dark; this is when we begin to see the light ahead. We begin to feel our soul come together as one good human being. We learn to see our reflection as the beauty within rather than the scars we carry. When we reach the point of feeling our present life instead of reacting to our past, this is our baby steps at learning how to live again. We can see the new person coming to life and we have the ability to change what we don’t like in them. We have torn down all the walls protecting that person who was battered. It is now they can begin to spread their wings. We are learning to be a new person and to believe in our possibilities. This is when we have reached the other side of the mountain and have finally been able to grow into who we were intended to be.

If you are at the stages of seeing all that has happened and being sucked into the darkness of your pain and the guilt of harming those around you, this is a dark place for you and I get that completely. You don’t have to stay there however, you can do what’s needed to come into your own person; the good person who huddles inside that block wall. Don’t worry, each of us has our own imperfections and this is who we are. Accepting them for what they are allows you to see past them and you will see the good in you as I have. You will become a new person a person you know is good and would never harm another living soul. A person who shines from within and simply puts her best foot forward each day. Will we slip and drop our jacks, of course we will? Do others have to live life constantly combatting themselves from within? I believe on some level yes they do.

Take a second and close your eyes. Think of who you were just five years ago. Think of all you’ve done that might have negatively impacted the lives of those you love and put them in danger. Now open your eyes and see who you are today, right now!!! What do you see? Would the person you are today make those same choices again or would they try to do it differently and turn it into something more positive? I believe, that most of us would do the later. This is the new person coming to life inside of you. If you like this person build on what you see in their good. Keep making it stronger and challenging yourself to do things a better way. This is how we begin to change the world, one healing survivor at a time. Every painful action matters because each one has influenced the life of another.

Remember, this is the point where every good action matters, because each one will influence the life of another!!!

Here’s to OUR new beginnings and building the person we want to thrive in our world today!!! Here’s to providing a positive influence on our tomorrow!!!

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

2 thoughts on “Here’s to providing a positive influence on our tomorrow!!!

  1. I blog often and I really appreciate your content.

    This great article has truly peaked my interest. I am going to bookmark your
    website and keep checking for new information about once a
    week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: