Through this writing I hope to touch the heart of just one family, just one broken parent or confused child, to believe in hope. I hope that in some way, through my voice and the hundreds of others, we as a society can provide a resource within every community to help families deal directly with these issues, rather than turning away, passing judgment, placing blame, and ignoring the signs we have learned can lead to something much worse; look deeper than the surface and heal the broken souls within.
This is what happens when broken children become broken parents without anyone willing to notice or help provide the resources and support they need to mend their family unit. This is the part I cannot stress enough, which should be so important in our society today; healing the parents to empower their ability to protect & guide their children with love, patience, understanding and most of all without the threat of sexual contact stealing away their child’s inner being.
There is a very large piece of the puzzle which I cannot speak about publicly in detail, because it is not my story to tell; it is the inner lives of my children and grandchildren. Many of you have heard me share about the dysfunction which continues to invade my bloodline; the 3rd generation touched by the evil which so many witnessed, permitted and some even took part in a long time ago.
Those many adults in the small community of Freeburg decided I wasn’t a harmed child, I was just a whore!! Sadly I was just a kid forced to endure his evil, her disregard & severe neglect; all those years abandoned within a house of hell!!
They trained me you know. Mona & Malcolm both; they trained me to believe I was not even human. If they would have forced me to eat from the dog’s bowl, which I’m really surprised they didn’t; it could not have been any more evil in that house. You may not have been aware of just how cruel it was on the inside, but that which many of you did witness would be enough to hopefully alarm any neighbor, family friend, educator or police force today. However, it still amazes me how many children still fall through the cracks of our distorted perceptions of what is allowed within the family unit.
Today all my nightmares are history and despite the deep scarring effect, it only matters because of how that which was permitted against a little girl way back then, twisted the child’s thoughts, decision process, and perception of what was to be accepted & tolerated within her life; leaving a broken dysfunctional mess who went from one abuser to the next looking for love and acceptance, then had children in the mix of her own adult confusion.
Well today the dysfunction left behind still invades the lives of my grandchildren in some form and that makes me angry, hurt, sad.
In all honesty I didn’t think I’d ever be able to get pregnant. After all those years of unprotected sex, internal injury from multiple rapes; worst of all being the shotgun barrel he used when I was twelve. Then there was all the ongoing years without any medical care or cleaning, how could I have expected to ever have children? Really I didn’t think God considered me worthy of being a ‘mom’ but in the end He did and they are still the three most cherished gifts I’ve ever been given.
When I begin to look inside myself during these past years of healing. The hardest part was accepting how what I had allowed and the decisions I made in my broken adult self, had effected the healthy development of my children and their sense of what a stable secure life was really like. There were many years of painful abuse & violence which distorted my views and until I was 35 years old, I seriously didn’t even know there were places of help who would have given us safe shelter and provided me with a beginning start on life skills to better handle things.
My children were stuck going through the physical rule and verbal degradation of their father, then the wrath of their stepfather for another four years before I was strong enough to take a chance and break away from my ‘normal’; the only way of life I had ever known. I wasn’t sure I could handle providing what my young children needed to survive. Housing, food, clothing, school it was all a terrifying thought, but I absolutely had to take that chance if I ever wanted them to know some sense of family love without harm.
Today we often ask; ‘Why does that abused parent stay when they are being harmed, beaten, almost murdered? We blame that parent rather than see their broken distorted views of what life and family is all about. You wouldn’t even begin to imagine how well I was trained to believe this type of thing was all I deserved. In truth this type of brutal cruelty was the only ‘normal’ I ever knew.
The tolerance, the need for wanting to be loved, the sense that I wasn’t capable of providing my kids the life they deserved, that I couldn’t survive without a partner in my life, the desperate need for someone to ‘love’ me and just accept me lasted through twenty years and six different men. The abuse covered absolutely every form and exploded on many different levels. I just cannot explain the full impact this ended up having on my children’s lives.
How many other children and families are dealing with this same cycle of pain passing through their lives today? We can only take the statistical information and multiply it by what Congress has stated; ‘For every one report that is made at least six others are not’. Think about the HUGE number of families and victims who never report a single attack against them, and the children who have no voice at all in their home.
What of those who are like me; abandoned and left to believe it was all they deserve and no one will ever care, so why should they ever reach out for help or bother with making a report? What of those broken parents who believe they will have their children whisked away because of the violence and abuse they continue to tolerate? We need to provide resources so they can heal their own lives, then help them become the parents they need to be, responsible & protective, nurturing & gentle.
My greatest guilt is that I didn’t realize the wounded impact it would have on their lives as they grew up, even though we had broken away and had our own house of safety, filled with a family bond, love, laughter, and no exploding violence.
Although my children may admit they knew I loved them, or they may even remember the treats, special holidays, birthdays and other such events filled with many moments of laughter, love, and family bonding; our lives were chaos from my emotional stresses, the wounding left from all those decades of violence mixed with the lack of life skills to keep us going. Needless to say most of their good memories are outweighed by the disruption of violence or emotional dysfunction within their home. The relationship I have with my adult children is still very broken; it is all so crisscrossed with the insane aftermath of what happened way back when.
Today my greatest worry is my grandchildren? Are they going to live knowing what it’s like to really be safe and be at peace within their homes? Will their lives be stable or will they grow within the invasion of the ongoing cycle of dysfunction? Sadly, I know this answer as I’ve seen how its already played out in their early lives, but I pray there will be someone who can help me convince my children of how deep this ugly nightmare bleeds into our family and the need for them to find a way to face the truth of their own need to heal. I’m constantly worrying about their decisions and what I know they already accept in their relationships, the sacrifices they lay on their children rather than listening to the pleas of their mother to connect with the resources I give them and heal themselves; become the parents their children deserve before there is serious harm and they have to face the same child/parent crisis I deal with today.
Do you think they will ever understand why I have chosen to be the strong voice against abuse that I’ve worked so hard to become today? Do you think they understand how it all connects together and until they heal their wounds, accept their own faults as much as their abilities; only then can they become the truly capable parents their children need? Will they ever understand how it breaks my heart to know there is nothing more I can do to help them, that today it is all in their adult hands and they lay out the future for how it will effect their children’s normal growth, development and possible success in life? The truth is that the more I beg them to look at their lives and decisions, their choices and feelings, and how it all impacts their children’s lives, this is usually when they become tempered with me or they cut me out altogether.
Sadly, as I look at this deep set disconnection with my children all I can do is cry. It rips my heart apart and shreds me of any desire to continue moving forward at all. I want to break into pieces, I want to hide in the darkness, I want to scream out ‘I LOVE YOU’, but I know the depth of that love will never be heard. It is a tragedy I hope none of you have to bare, but for those many broken parents like me it is almost a certainty. Today I am so tired of this screwed up insane disconnection to the three persons who had given me a reason to live. How I long for them to understand the strength it took for me to take that chance and escape the violent life, buy us a house, and then be even stronger to get rid of the different abusers who would follow. Isn’t it time they found some level of compassion for the woman who did her best to create a safe home for them, instill decency and good values, made sure we had dinner together every night, attended school functions with great pride in their accomplishments and some special treat for their efforts; the one who kept them believing in their dreams even when others told them it was a waste of time.
It feels as if nothing will earn me the compassion and forgiveness from my children, not their understanding or simple love for the mother I tried to be then and the woman I am still becoming today. I cannot wish away the mess of yesterday nor can I be the one who heals their wounds today. They are broken, they are enduring the aftermath of those once tolerated acts of their mother.. They are treading water trying to figure out why they can’t get out of the mess or how in the hell they ended up there in the first place? Now I can only suggest ways for them to work through things, provide resource contacts as I would for anyone, or be the one to hear their cries over the phone. They are adults now and it is time for them to take on their own adult responsibilities. It is time to release me from the sole blame for all that went wrong, and let go of the brainwashing forced into their heads so long ago. It is time for them to mend their ways, accept their own wrong behaviors & decisions, and begin giving their children the lives they deserve.
This share is for all of the parents who carry the heartbreak of how their own wounding that has cycled into their children’s lives despite all their efforts to change and protect, love & guide. This is what we as a society must begin to accept today if we hope to help end this ongoing insanity and life altering impact of family violence & dysfunction in our children’s lives. Can we continue allowing it to go on without addressing the deep rooted truth? We continue to learn through the many hundreds sharing their history of wicked torture and dysfunction, that what happens within our own family can often be the most evil danger our children will ever experience. I hope we can learn from these many incredible survivors of hell.
Thanks so much to those who help me make it through with your positive hope and the friendships I’ve built. Blessings to the wounded souls of yesterday. May our families heal and this be the end of the ever present ongoing destruction that cycles through our generations. Believe that you can be the beginning of change within your family unit. I wish you peace and inner balance to mend the wounds of our past and provide the healing hope many families are in need of today.
Dream big, expect miracles, and never accept anything less than love & safety
©Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery
Fndr/CEO: Patricia ‘Trish’ McKnight
Crisis Support/Mentor/Key Note Speaker/Radio Host/Author
‘My Justice’ Finally sharing the voice stolen away so long ago.
~~Always believe anything is possible with you in the active equation~~