The voice waiting to be spoken

The past seven years I’ve spoken publicly about my ‘Adverse Childhood Experience’ and the life path of continued tolerance of violence. I’ve been extremely blessed to have made friendships and become a ‘Survivor Voice’ through various task force, trauma training, and community events here in Illinois, but even more so are all the survivors I’ve come to know from around the world and being a Regional Ambassador for National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse, (NAASCA.org).

The most empowering part has only been happening for the past year since the #MeToo movement first began. It’s a change I know almost every survivor of violating/terrorizing trauma is also feeling; a spark deep inside for their own voice to be heard. When I first started speaking about my history, I was repeatedly told; ‘Your story is just too graphic‘. It actually caused a cancellation for Illinois Dept of Health Women’s Health Conference back in 2015.

It’s true. My story is absolutely horrific, but it’s not like I had much choice, especially during my childhood. It was the 70’s and it was a small rural Illinois mining town. There was not anyone who discussed objecting against any parent, much less getting involved. It wasn’t what we were taught and it’s not what our society believed was any of their business, mainly because it was all so normal.

Back then we hadn’t even begun to talk about child sexual abuse or child trafficking, which victims only connected with the term child sharing. I’ve written before about my case possibly being one of the worst cases of child abuse in Illinois history. Some of you may disagree but in owning ‘My Truth’ it’s truly empowering to know we are finally being encouraged to discuss some of the details of our experiences, especially when we are using those experiences in conjunction with the data & research of today, along with the growing numbers of victims/survivors getting involved to help change this dark course of pain.

The wheels of change move ever so slowly but nothing will change without your participation as a society. Now is the time if you have experienced violence, sexual harm or trafficking; it is okay to seek help and discuss the lasting trauma effects. I saw/shared a great post on Facebook; “The poison chalice of pain will be passed through your family until you decide to heal…’. This is so very true as I’ve learned first hand in the experiences of my children and grandchildren. Regardless of how my story is received, it is the absolute best decision I’ve made and I will never regret being the one in my family that stated with relentless determination; ‘I’m done’!!

Since this is my personal blog site, and for anyone who wants to change what the past has taught us, work to become the person you know you are meant to become; I want to encourage you to either reach out to me personally at trish@butterflydreamsalliance.org, visit our website www.butterflydreamsalliance.org or connect with www.naasca.org – help and support is available and we do not have to feel so isolated in our confusion and roller coaster life. All I ask is that you think about it; practice telling yourself in the mirror what happened to you, let the tears flow, and when you’re ready; connect with a support service or another survivor.

Reach out to find services and strategies to help you get stronger while you change the cycle of negative influence in your family. Remember that rebuilding is a very personal process and there is not one particular service or therapist, or survivor advocate who will work for every person. Our personalities, perceptions, resilience, and traumas are different, so having more than one helped me a great deal. However, for me, the greatest tool was the ‘Survivor to Thriver’ program through ASCAsupport.org; in rebuilding find what helps you most. There are thousands across the country.

More than anything else, for every silenced or isolated survivor there is at least one or more who are still victims. By educating about reporting, warning signs, early intervention, family wellness & rebuilding parents; by using our past we can absolutely change the future for our children and I hope that ‘My Justice’ continues to reach into the souls of our society and let them know just how important it is to help save a life while they are still young enough to know what real happiness and life success can be despite the hardships of their journey.

We can’t go back and change our history, but we can absolutely choose where and how we move forward today!! I hope that those who just won in our mid-term elections realizes just how important enhancing trainings and reaching out to create awareness in every small community is the only thing that will change our learned behaviors taught through anger, mental illness, addictions, and tolerated harm.

Thank you for reading. We are here in Clinton County, Illinois and we want to begin our ‘Survivors World’ support group sessions, and we are posting awareness signs throughout the area. If you wish to volunteer or get involved please contact me directly at the email given above.

We are all #StrongerTogether ūüôā

‘Trish’ McKnight

Butterfly Dreams Alliance, NFP

PS – Some of my history as shared with this post of gratitude that somehow I made it through, some way, for whatever reason – I am still alive and I choose to LIVE!!

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This was my life saving chance on me!!!

Warning – **TRIGGERS** – Please know that all posts on this site, including some comments, can be very triggering. You must read these posts at your own pace, face what you can when you can, but challenge yourself just a bit every day!!

Yesterday’s post about my inability to forgive “Mother” for her horrible neglect was a bit harsh perhaps? I was speaking from the anger¬†and I’d be¬†lying if I said there’s none I carry.

It seems most everyone says you must forgive, but I also know that evil exists and there is no level to the darkness other’s can impose on us. While I’ve been able to understand and forgive the many men who have hurt me, stolen my children, threatened my life, shamed and degraded me, the two people who were in control of my childhood will never be forgiven.

The other day on Dreamcatchers Talk Radio, I had the privilege of talking with Author Carter Lee. He wrote a novel about his experiences with anger and voiced his own comments about forgiveness.

“We don’t have to forgive, but we can’t let our past and what others have done keep us back either.”

This is so very true. We each have a choice in life. We were each given a right to be safe, happy and loved when we take that very first breath; we have an obligation to ourselves not to allow anyone control of our final and last breath!!! There are certain evils that humans do to others, which can cause a long-term impact on our physical and mental abilities. How you view what should or not be forgiven is completely a personal choice, because only you understand what blocks may have developed as a result of that evil. We do not have to live by or agree with other opinions. It is about what you personally need for you!!!

The other side of that statement being; “We cannot allow it to keep us from achieving life either.”

This is another PERSONAL CHOICE that only we can make!!!

I followed that dark path of living in continued abuse, choosing the wrong kind of partners and allowing them to use brute force to control me. I take full responsiblity for following that behavior of accepting the violence against me. When I left the home of my abuser’s my decision-making process and my lack of morals kept me from believing I deserved anything better and it deeply influenced my choices. I didn’t believe that there was help for people “like” me, because “I made the choice to accept their cruelty”.

The biggest block I had from mother and his abuse was a deep sense of¬†self-doubt!!! I didn’t trust that I could make the right choices and that every choice was a threat; a perceived danger.

It finally came to a head that night, some thirty-two years later in November 1997. When the police escorted a very broken woman who knew nothing more than control and fear out of her home, I had a choice to make. I could find help and build my own life or I could go back home after work; only to end up dead because of it.

There were a few things I had in my favor:

A) I had gone back to school at 25 to get my GED and my degree in business management. At least I now had the skills to do some other job than bartending. I knew I wouldn’t survive going back to that environment.

B) I could earn the income needed to provide at least the basics for my children; food, shelter, clothing. It wouldn’t be easy, but I had the capacity to make it happen.

C) I had my only friend offer a safe place to recover. That early morning I left injured and luckily the one friendly relationship I’d built outside of my marriage offered to let me stay with her. She didn’t offer to support me, but¬†she gave me a place to turn when I had nowhere. I probably would have gone back rather than believe I deserved help from anyone. If she wouldn’t have offered, I never would have asked to¬†stay anywhere and would have left myself without any other option, but it¬†she stepped up and I THANK GOD SHE DID!!!

I’m so glad that she was there and that I did have the skills to achieve an independent salary. It was never easy for¬†us and¬†I¬†had no balance of handling my finances properly, but we had a roof, food and clothing. It took through Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s 1998 before I landed the job, which afforded me to get a place and the kids to come back. It was a chance that I had to believe in and a choice I had to make.

He had already taken everything from me. My kids were temporarily with their dad until I could break away. I knew they were waiting for me to get things done so they could come home. After all, their lives were put in danger by his choices before. I couldn’t risk allowing them to stay¬†with him¬†or to give them up in any form.

THIS WAS MY LIFE SAVING CHANCE ON ME!!!

It was now that I had to make that choice. Was I going to allow the violence against me to continue and invade my children’s lives or was I going to take a chance on myself????

It was scary as hell. This was the first time that I really remember thinking exactly those words; “Take A Chance on Yourself“. This was the chance that broke through that barrier and allowed me to start moving into my own existance. It became my hard work, my efforts, my decisions¬†that would change our lives. Whether we had everything¬†or barely anything¬†didn’t matter, what mattered was that we could lay our heads down at night without the threat of being killed!!!

If you think¬†the violence you accept now won’t get to the point of life threatening; neither did I.

I hoped to change them, heal them, help them, and stand by them; telling myself they would never kill me, but each one at their own pace grew to that level. They either attempted to kill me or threatened it with severe intimidation. Just because they haven’t gotten there yet, doesn’t mean they won’t. If you are being controlled in an intimidating manner it will only get worse, it never gets better. You are in danger!!

You can get help with your education and bettering your job skills. You can find help with life skills. You can find help with daycare. You can find help with emotional healing and support with others like yourself. You can believe that you are not alone. There are resources out there and people to help you find them. You can find that safe recovery/rebuilding your life place that is needed while you face this challenge. You do not have to live in the path of your past. You have a choice in how you live today. You can break through their barriers and learn a new way of life. You can better your life and even more important, you can give your children the safe, happy, love filled life they were meant to have. You can take control of your last breath!!!

It doesn’t matter if it is the past of your childhood abuse that is holding you back from achieving life or if something else is blocking your way; You have a choice to change what is happening!!!

Please take that life saving chance on you!!!

Mentioned:

Dreamcatchers Talk Radio: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/dreamcatchers

Author, Carter Lee: http://www.innovativesocialdynamics.com/column/

Local Resource for Help:

Violence Prevention Center South Western Illinois http://www.vpcswi.org/

Illinois Domestic Violence Help Line  1 (877) 863-6338

RAINN РRape, Abuse, Incest National Network Helpline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)  http://www.rainn.org/

Child Help – 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4452)

More Resources @ http://www.dreamcatchersforabusedchildren.com

If you are in immediate danger or have just suffered an attack of sexual or physical assault – Please dial 911 or your area’s emergency response number.

(c) Patricia A. McKnight

http://www.facebook.com/triciagirl62