There are many different truths of being a survivor of trauma that I’ve shared in the past two years. Almost everyday I try to share something positive to empower others like myself, to inspire hope for a new awakening to the truths of the damage inflicted by the acts and the darkest of mankind’s evil actions against another.
As many of you are aware also, I spent not only twelve years enduring the vicious attacks, both physical and sexual, from my stepfather; the endless rejection from my family, but also twenty years of repeated physical attacks from FIVE separate men. This isn’t to say that only men are the attackers, it’s just what I went through. (There are thousands of women who are very aggressive and who need the power over others).
So now I look at where I am today. I always talk about living in your present. For most survivors, this means we have to TAKE CONTROL OF OUR THOUGHTS. We have to concentrate and keep them from getting sucked into the past. I, and many like me, deal with this every moment of every day!!! Try it for awhile, it’s not an easy task and it takes time to become good at focusing your energy on staying in the positive. It’s difficult enough for anyone in today’s world, but for someone who has gone through years of brutal trauma; it’s truly much more difficult. Not something I would wish on any other being.
How do I see myself right now?
1) My life is in a very safe place.
2) It is well supported (for the most part anyway). I really don’t have family or friends from my past that are with me now. There are a few who have come from my hometown of Freeburg, a few who I went to school with and their parents know mine. It is not their fault of what happened to me. Its not their fault they didn’t say something or question. They were kids like me and it was a different time in our world. Kids didn’t speak against parents and no one talked about abuse or violence in the home. Sadly this is why we have so many of us who are survivors now. The cruelty of our parents came from the cruelty and discipline of their parents. We live what we know and patterns of acceptable behavior are formed. However, there were many adults who had both a responsibility to question and the authority to help rescue. For today though my friends both who have come into my life through Robbie, and those I have made in the virtual world of social networking; these are the people that stand by me now and accept all I am today. This is huge for me. Never before have I felt like I didn’t have to hide from anyone or hide the truth of who I am and what happened. This is my empowerment and the strand of hope that guides me through.
3) My physical health is a wreck; multiples of vertebral and spinal cord traumas. I suffer from Syringomyelia, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Obstructive Pulmanary Disease, the early stages of Atherosclerosis, Neuropathy in my hands and feet from the spinal cord damage, which caused severe burning, stinging, numbness in my fingers and toes and heels. I’m not wheelchair bound, but not far from it sometimes. There are instant migraines that can hit by simply turning my head to quick to look at something. There are many days that it’s difficult to even climb out of bed.
4) My mental health is a constant work in progress. Do I feel good about where I am today? Yes, but there are still the lasting effects from the attacks. I go through cycles of depression. Most days are pretty good, but then one morning I wake up and all I want to do is sleep it away. I get startled very easily. It freaks me out when my dog pants heavy. These days I don’t feel the need any longer to lock the bathroom door, at least most times when showering, but I still get sudden sensations of my stepfather sneaking outside the shower curtain. When I run a tub of water, I am reminded of having my head shoved under and the attempted (almost completed) drowning at 19. This happened a lot with the first of my chosen men. There are moments and memories of all the attacks that stay with me.
5) The relationships with my children are strained at best. Things happened that placed them in danger, by choices of both their father when he ran with them and me with my different abusive husband/boyfriends. Their stepfather was in my life for either years and only the first six months were pretty. There was one that struck my teen daughter and I ended up in jail for punching him in the face. There was another that threw my daughter into a closet door as he tossed her away when she was trying to defend me. There were constant days of walking on eggshells for them and worrying about if they were too loud, left their toys out, if they stomped around too much upstairs. They had dinners of waiting for the explosion or waiting for the drunk to come through the door. It was horrible for them, how can I expect us to have a healthy relationship? How can I expect them to have healthy relationships and view their life without memories, flashbacks, triggers, repeated patterns of behavior and more?
So why do I give so much of myself to staying in a positive light? I know that with my health, I’ll be lucky to have another FIVE good years. I know this reality and Robbie does as well. It’s alright, I don’t worry about the day of dying; I worry about what happens after I’m gone. Have I given all I can to try to help others learn the importance of being decent, helping to rescue and support those who live with this trauma? Is publishing my story and being an advocate with true passion enough to tell my children how sorry I am for all they had to go through? Will I really be able to build something from all of the bad that’s happened so that I can provide some type of change for the future? All the years of pain have to mean something, it cannot be just because that’s what happened. It cannot be that a soul can be so destroyed and controlled by so many different offenders and live for over THIRTY years accepting these attacks; believing that you deserved each and every single one, this cannot be my only existence in this world.
Moving into 2013 I have shared the new website, http://www.butterflydreamsabuserecovery.com I have also shared our radio show will be starting NEXT FRIDAY!!! On Jan 04, 2013 – I will be broadcasting our first show and the other hosts will be calling in to announce their programs. I’m really excited about bringing all of this to one focal point. The website, the Survivors World support group, Generation No More, it’s all coming together and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve spent the greater part of the past two years trying to decide how I really wanted to help. This provides all I was aiming at doing before the Good Lord takes me away.
Staying positive for me is absolutely necessary!!! I cannot maintain any other way. There is too much pain and dark memories that climb into my world as it is, there are too many moments of my wanted happy life that have been disrupted already. I can’t let the numerous abusers of my past take away what’s left of my life. I will not allow myself to wallow in what has been, but instead my drive and my focus is aimed at what I can try to change. In my heart and in my soul I believe there are thousands of women just like me; beaten down from a brutal life of accepting so many violent attacks. There are some still living in these types of relationships, there are others who are still living in the silent pain of what’s happened. There are millions of men who are also finally finding out it’s alright to say, ‘I Hurt’!!! We do hurt, and it sucks, but do not give in and let them win. Please take back the happy moments you deserve in this life. You are not born to be a target of others. You are not given life just so others can destroy it. Every living being has a purpose on this earth. There is life inside every heartbeat. How can we pretend that all of this means nothing?
Hopefully all of you who read this will find one strand of hope written within these truths. It’s not easy to be us, it sucks to be one who was so wrongfully abused and had an entire lifetime taken from them. How can we not try to seek out that star of ours? How can we allow someone to endure this dark pain alone? Friends, there is no other option but to keep moving forward and continue putting forth the effort to live happy!!!
May your new beginning that comes with the spirit of the New Year, 2013; be one that you grab onto and live it for all its worth. May you know unconditional love and feel the friendship of those who see your inside self and still accept who you are. May you build dreams and chase them, create them, design them, and allow them spirit to fly. I’ve given my project the name Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery because I want to help others climb out of the cocoon of their past, no matter what that past has attached. If you are unhappy in life, there is only one person who can change what is. Spread your beautiful wings and become all that you were born to be. Find the you that lives inside and wants to now have their turn. We can all find reasons and excuses why we don’t chase after better happier ways, but it shows great courage to climb out from under all the sadness and pain; picking up the puzzle pieces of your life and building, recreating, the beautiful spirit within.
Here’s to giving hope and love to your dreams come true!!! May you walk proud and with glory for all you’ve overcome.
Be magical, Be you
© Patricia A. McKnight
Fndr/Pres: Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery
‘My Justice’ – This is not about any legal form of justice ever received or charged in my story. The justice is in finally finding my voice and the courage to talk about all that’s happened; the impact it left on me; the cycle that moved forward to my children.
May you find peace and justice in speaking about your truth!!!