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!!!

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An orphan in the middle of a family…..

Have you or do you feel like you are the only one alive that acknowledges you ever existed, or that you matter at all? Have you let go of toxic family and those who choose to speak against you as you tell the truth of your life? Do you feel the heavy isolation around you, especially during the holidays? Are you the one like me who, as an empty nester, have no friends from the past or family you connect with at all?

It was very sad as I helped my dear true love with the passing of his last living parent today. It brought up tons of emotions for me and I felt so selfish discussing them with him, but I couldn’t hold back the tears.

It was and is wonderful to see his friends from school and his younger days of fun and hanging out, all reach out to comfort him. It was such a tender moment to see all those that cared and were concerned of his wellbeing.

Then there is me……

You see the kids are all grown and moved away, on with their lives as kids become adults and follow the cycle of life. It’s all good to see them in their days of laughter with their family and having those moments of joy with their children. It is beautiful to watch it grow.

About four years ago I cut off the connection with my mother; the toxic parent of my past. I was the only child born between her and my father, but sadly when I was five and she married the devil; she allowed the monster to control and cut off any and all communication with my dad and his family. Not until I was eighteen and my grandfather passed, was I permitted to have letters or talk on the phone with any of them. It was an instant and complete dissection.

There was a brother I grew up with from her first marriage; she had left her other two boys with their dad when she ran off to marry his best friend, which was my dad. She took her youngest boy of the three, who was only six months old; married Dad and then had me. In the marriage with the devil, the two of them had a daughter. As the three of us all grew up in the alcoholic fueled dysfunction; the severe rage, violence, sexual attacks and neglect were all directly aimed at only me.  Not exactly sure of the why, but it is of no real concern I guess. I was the target of this madness and the others in my family knew, watched, heard, but they too were only children. Mother doesn’t count because she only saw me as her housekeeper, cook, babysitter, and caregiver; a replacement for when she didn’t feel like doing her duty as a parent or wife.

So not to confuse you, there were three boys my mother had, then me, then my younger sister. Dad remarried and he had three daughters and a son. I’ve only met the daughters once a very long time ago at Grandpa’s funeral. After the funeral however, I never heard from any of those relatives again. Thankfully I finally tracked down my dad and shared about four or five phone calls over the long years, until about I was about 38, then he was taken by cancer. However, no one bothered to search me down and let me know. It was as if I never existed. When I found an uncle about 10 years ago and he let me know Dad was gone, I spent the night curled up like a baby in bed crying like I had just seen him in the casket.

Now here I am, turning 50 next Friday, and I’m looking at my life; especially since publishing ‘My Justice’ and finally being able to speak the truth of all that happened. It is heartbreaking to see that my kids still deal with the emotional impact of living in the pattern of acceptance in my relationships. Believe me, if you don’t think your kids will be impacted by the violent attacks between you and your partner, the ongoing court and custody issues, the crying, yelling and begging for mercy; you need to then talk with an Adult Survivor of this type of family violence. You will clearly see and understand how it always passes forward to invade the next generation, even when you do all you can to keep it from them.

Don’t get me wrong the kids are not a total mess, but they are hurting in relationships and child rearing; this is clearly because of all they were forced to deal with and accept as normal in their world.

So moving on …….

It is hard to accept that I have all of these blood related siblings out in this world, a total of eight. There are some of whom I’ve reached out to and even directly emailed. All the blood cousins out there related on my dad’s side of the family, whom I’ve never met, but have also reached out to communicate; all of these blood relatives and NONE OF THEM WANT TO EVEN ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I’M ALIVE!!!

They don’t know me!! Many have never met me!! As much as I have tried reaching out through networking sites; still no one I’ve found has responded or shown any interest in getting acquainted!!!

It is extremely painful. Marjorie, my therapist, and I have been working on this for a while. We have come to the conclusion that even the abuse and neglect that I endured, the complete shunning from any relatives and family; it is all connected TO THE ORPHAN IN THE MIDDLE OF A FAMILY!!!

Of course, it is during the holidays when this bothers me the most. Now with the kids all out on their own, Robbie’s parents gone, knowing it is just he and I moving forward, as he is my Angel and Saving Grace; it is still so tearfully lonely.

It makes me long for some form of connection to my past existence; a friend, a relative, anyone who is willing to accept me as I am today, but be amazed because of what was then. It would be comforting to have a call from a friend or a message or card to say, “We know you and we also knew you then”

“Why do they all turn away? Why do they all act as if I’ve got the plague? Why do they act as if they’ve never heard of me? What did I ever do to be so completely shunned?”

It’s depressing to know I have all these blood siblings, but when God chooses to take me home; there will be no one there to connect with my children. No one related to me they can turn to. No one who will comfort their loss and be their friend; their connection to their Mom. My children are still paying the price for what others have done. This I cannot understand and it leaves my soul with a heavy  darkness.

“How can we, the children of the parents that once were, knowing what was and how it all got so screwed up; how is it my children will pay the heavy burden of complete doneness when that time comes?”

I know that many have walked away from toxic family; have you anyone from your past that acknowledges your existence? Do you feel that heavy isolation still encircling all that you are? How can we simply brush it away without ever feeling so completely abandoned?

As heartfelt and tender as it was to witness all Robbie’s friends reach out to comfort him, I was surrounded by the dark thoughts of NOTHINGNESS!!!

Nothing and no one who is blood or history related to be in my present existence. We build family from the virtual friends from across the world, but does it really ever replace that sense of loss. Unfortunately for me it is still a work in progress and acceptance. I am who I am! The strength I have comes from what was. The knowledge I’ve learned I share to help others. The pain I’ve carried is almost healed. The shattered soul is almost repaired. “How can I complete the puzzle and put the emotions in place without having anyone around that validates all that has been?”

My hope is one day I will get there. I am on the other side of all the tragedy, but this is something much deeper than all those years of violence, evil, and scarring neglect. This is my DNA, it is what makes my ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ from all of those who should be connected.

Should you feel this heavy darkness and complete abandonment by those related, build on what you have, enjoy the moments you can, connect with the life you have in the present, then let Creator and His wonder handle the rest. My best for the holidays and beyond to each and all of you!!!

Find comfort in your strength to endure 🙂

(c)Patricia A. McKnight

Author/Advocate/Speaker/Blogger/Radio Host/Survivor

‘My Justice’

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