The wounds you can’t see…..

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 Smile

© Patricia A. McKnight

Advocate/Author/Speaker/Writer/Radio Host/Survivor

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!!!

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

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