Featured

Me: A survival story.

This is the post excerpt.

Advertisements

I don’t know why I have made this blog, maybe I do. I have spent 28 years of my life living in guilt and shame after being abused in childhood. I have trawled the internet, during the dark times, looking for similar stories to mine but have never found one. It occurred to me that maybe someone out there is in the same situation and if so, hopefully my story may help.

This blog is about me and my journey along the way to healing.

*Warning* For some, this may contain triggers.

post

I can see clearer now the ex has gone…

It’s been 5 months since I last wrote a blog post and so much has happened to myself and my family it is scary to think how I have managed to get through it all! I have made major life changes and when I look at just how much has changed for me I am honestly amazed by it!

I have moved house, left my job, am in the process of starting a new career, I am filing for divorce, I have been to court about my ex for domestic abuse related criminal charges. I have reported breaches of orders placed on him each time I have been threatened or contacted and will continue to do so until he learns that he cannot continue to try to manipulate me. He has to go on domestic abuse perpetrator courses to learn what he has learn and how his behaviour is not correct. I have to live with the nightmares I have started to occasionally get about him – the kind of nightmares that people in the house can hear when you are shouting in your sleep! It isn’t what he has done or he is doing but I think somewhere subconsciously he/ the situation must be playing on my mind. Not for me but for my children. I wish he could see what he’s doing to them. My middle child has just had an emergency referral to camhs who are hopefully going to do trauma work with her – hopefully she won’t make the same mistakes I did in my earlier life!

The one thing I have come to realise and acknowledge throughout all this is that I think my experiences from being young shaped my beliefs and thoughts about myself. I assumed that I would always be one of those people who just had crap given to them, who didn’t deserve somebody to treat them with love and respect, who believed that she was naturally just attracted to idiots!

I have had my eyes opened in the past 8 months. I realise that I can cope on my own and I do not need to be dependent on anyone. I am more than capable of doing all this by myself. I am stronger than I give myself credit for. The difference is that I am choosing to do these things with someone who has totally changed my life for the better. The person I’m with now is wonderful; he loves me for me and doesn’t try to change me, doesn’t tell me what I can and can’t do, he accepts me, my past and my children and has put up with all the stress and nonsense that ensued the split from my ex. He has been there for me through everything and I am indebted to him forever. He has made me see more clearly who I am; that I am not the useless, crappy, selfish person I believed for so many years that I was. It’s about shifting my thinking of who I am. He has given me time and space to work things out in my head, to realise that I am worth more than all the crap I’ve put up with in my life and to start to see the smallest glimmer that I may have something to offer someone and that they may just want to be with me just for who I am and not how they want me to be.

A few hours ago I realised today’s date. 31st March – ‘his’ birthday. I have written a blog post previously about this day. A date that has always been a hard day for me to get through. But today it hasn’t bothered me as much. I think it may be that as I am in a better place emotionally and mentally for me, I am focusing less on the bad things that happened to me. I haven’t really thought about my abuse much lately, only when I have had triggers, which I will always get, but it is how I cope with the triggers and what I do afterwards that’s important. Today is just another day. Not his birthday and not what happened on that day or what was taken from me, it’s just another day.

I know that I am loved and important to someone who wants me to be me. He doesn’t want to hurt me or use me, he isn’t going to manipulate me or let me put myself down or beat myself up. He reminds me regularly (if I forget) that I am number 1, if I can’t make myself number 1 then I am no good to anyone else. He doesn’t allow me to put myself down and believe negative beliefs about me.

It’s taking time to adjust; to adjust to be with someone who wants me, to spend time with me, to listen to me and to talk to me and not just tell me things or shout at me. Someone who wants to sit and hold me, hold hands while walking, go for days out, share new experiences together and more weirdly (for me) to help around the house… it’s taking a lot of getting used to but I am slowly getting there. It feels as though (date I say it) at this moment in time, things are starting to look brighter for me and for my future…..

There’s always a silver lining…

It’s been a long time since I wrote a post on this blog site and so much has happened in my life since.  A few weeks ago my husband, whom I have been together with for 15 years was arrested and charged with assault against me. What he had done that particular evening was no different to what I am/was subjected to every other evening- in fact there have been many worse incidents, but this time I did something about it.  He has addictions to alcohol and prescription drugs and they have steadily got worse as the years have gone on. Along with that has been the emotional/verbal abuse I have encountered and sadly my children have witnessed many many times.

I phoned the police as I was subjected to being called vile names, being told I was a crap mother for what was probably the millionth time, being told I put myself before my children and him, being told I was a slag and a slut and reminded that I was f***ed as a kid. He then asked, as he did every night did I want us to split up. This time I said yes. I had been thinking about it for many months, if not years but had never plucked up the courage (or maybe wasn’t low enough) to do it. This shocked him and for a while he took the blame and said he understood, this soon changed to rage, anger and belittlement blaming me for his drink problem, his mental health problems etc. I tried to go to bed and sleep but he had the baseball bat he kept next to the bed and started to hit the bottom of the solid wooden bed which now bears the dent marks of being repeatedly pounded by the bat as I was sat within cms of it happening. Eventually he dropped the bat and I ran and grabbed it and phoned the police as I was running down the stairs.  When the officers came back to do my statement they also did a risk assessment for myself and my family.

We scored  very high risk for  abuse and vulnerability risk.  I have quickly found myself in a whole new world of becoming adjusted. I am now a single parent and it’s hard trying to juggle life and all the crap I have going on in it when you have no support from family to help you (they all live away). I am adjusting to new people and agencies becoming involved in our lives. I have all new worries now; ones which affect my family.  I received a call from children’s services who said ‘as I am cooperating with them re the children they will not take further action yet as they feel I am safeguarding them well’. I have been told if he is to come back home then the situation will escalate. I worry that this is now how we will be known to people and that people will feel sorry for us.  I don’t want pity or sympathy, I want to be supported and understood by these people. I want to have the support to help me through this, as I know it’s going to be a long and nasty process. I know he is trying to play games with me and is trying to confuse/trick and manipulate me.

I went to counselling a few weeks ago and my counsellor was amazed in what I have changed and accomplished in 3 months- I guess I have changed an awful lot; I have protected my children from further abuse and hurt, yet I am still very vulnerable to him. I need to be honest and frank with myself and keep reminding myself how bad it was. Not because I have the intention of getting back together, but so I don’t get drawn into his manipulation and head games. I know I am not to blame for any of this and I know he is still trying to take control of me now and he is realising he is losing that control which he doesn’t like. It’s now been more than 5weeks since I started to write this and again, in true me style, such a lot has again happened in such a short space of time.  I have met with women’s aid, my employers and also children social services have been to start their 40 hour child in need assessment. She was very honest and frank with me. She has told me in no uncertain terms that if he was to have a part in the girls lives (with me) then we would be moved straight into child protection categories. I have reassured her that there in no intention of that ever happening now.

On bad days my head is still playing very bad games with me, allowing me to believe the awful, negative things I have heard about me for a long time. I would be lying if I didn’t say a part of me is scared. I am exhausted, both emotionally and physically. My life constantly seems to be a battle that no-one else knows about. I am like the swan that appears to be gliding across the water effortlessly, but underneath I am desperately kicking to stay afloat. I am drained and feel like I am being relentlessly battered from all sides.

I am trying to change my thoughts and views of myself and change my self-esteem. I am trying not to believe that I am rubbish and crap at everything. It’s amazing when you reflect on yourself and compare the things you say to that of others and you realise that many people struggle with self-esteem. Part of me thinks it comes down to our younger experiences – school, friends, bullying, abuse etc…but it can also be down to the experiences we have had an adolescents and adults. Slowly and with the help of someone new and very special in my life, I am beginning to see my worth and that I am not all as bad as I previously thought (occasionally – the doubts are still there). Without sounding like a rubbish 80’s Chicago song, it’s a hard habit to break! It’s a way of life and a way of thinking that I need to change- my self image, my self esteem and self worth. I have spent far too many years believing I am rubbish, incapable, not worthy of anything good that sadly I became an expert in self-deprecation. I have other stress and complications in my life which have sadly had to take priority over healing and trying to fix me at the moment, but I will always be indebted to the people who have helped me see that people should not be treated the way I have.

I went to my counsellor again this morning and told him everything that has happened in the past 2 weeks and he could not believe what I have been through. He was worried as I apparently look exhausted.He commented that the times I smiled today was when I was talking about someone new in my life. I told him that I don’t understand why this person is here and why they want to be with me as I don’t deserve someone to treat me so kind. He then laughed as he watched me battle with myself saying maybe a bit of me does deserve someone so loving. These are my battles with me and my head.

I know it’s going to take time. I know that the next few weeks are going to be hard – Nov 5th is coming up and for people who follow my blog posts then you’ll have read why I struggle with that. I will continue to do what I always do. I will plod on through the mud taking each day as I can and being thankful for the good things that I have…

 

New ‘disorder’

Last night I wrote about the joy division song disorder and how it reminds me of my head. I wrote about my apprehensions  about going to my counselling sessions today. It was good. For once I was openly honest and the man, we shall call Jim, was really good. He didn’t let me skirt around points and made me feel uncomfortable in that fact he asked me difficult questions about me. I’ve come home and tonight I feel like my head is going to explode. My other half is, quite frankly, being a bit of an arse and any positivity I found from today has now gone. I don’t have my next appt for 6 weeks due to holidays etc but I’m receiving some ‘homework’ in the post in the form of cognitive therapy. Jim said he isn’t a traditional CT Therapist and he doesn’t go by the book and he is quite eclectic in what he does. He asked me some hard questions which quite honestly wobbled me a bit, purely because I hadn’t been asked them before. They then made me have to stop and examine what I was feeling and thinking. What I do know is I am not a tough or resilient as I was have myself credit for, I have discovered I do not have much,’if any self-esteem, value or worth. I am far too self deprecating.

Maybe this isn’t the right blog place to put this- perhaps I need to start a new one to focus on my road to recovery? We spoke about everything going on in my life presently and the fact I don’t really have anyone that I trust enough to confide in- this is mainly down to my childhood and having to keep secrets from everyone. We touched slightly on when I disclosed to my mum and how the choice I was given to go to the police wasn’t really a choice as they were loaded with dire consequences. My head hurts too much at the moment and I can’t see anyway through this at the moment

 

Disorder

I have just re-read my last blog post. It has been 2 months since I last blogged and I cannot believe how much has changed, in both my life and in my head. My last post I seemed quite together; thriving rather than surviving. Lately I don’t know how to describe what I am…

There’s a song by a band called Joy Division – a band I grew up listening to. Not everyone’s cup of tea but a band who were to influence most of the bands and music I listen to. Their song ‘Disorder’ is how my head feels at the moment. There are lots of interpretations of what the song is about; some say it’s about depression, some say it’s about Curtis’ epilepsy, some think it’s about drugs – who knows. The only person who ever knew will sadly no longer be able to tell us as Ian Curtis took his own life in 1980.

At the moment my head feels like the song sounds. To most people (especially my mother), the song is just ‘noise’ it’s not a tune – a melody that you can singalong too. I spent many hours walking across my bedroom to my stereo to ‘turn that crap down cos I can’t hear myself think through that nonsense!’ When my head is in a better place I can listen to it  and appreciate the masterfully composed song. The bass, the guitar riff throughout each have their own part to play, combined with the seemingly detached and desperate sounding lyrics by Curtis makes the song a true masterpiece, but right now it resembles what it must look like inside my head.

Disjointed, confused, chaotic, unsettled, disturbed; disorderly.

A few days after my last blog post my Grandad – my real one whom I loved dearly like the father I never really had – sadly and unexpectedly passed away. This has been the start of my spiralling into chaos. I have eventually agreed to be signed off work for a couple of weeks whilst I get my head back together. There’s too much going on in there for me to deal with each issue successfully. I have shut down both physically and emotionally. I need to rest and recover and this is the start of the journey.

Normally I retreat into myself and have a day (or 2) which I call hoodie days. Days when you stay in your PJ bottoms and wear a big old comfy hoodie and feel sorry for yourself. I have gone past this point. I have been sleeping all night, waking up and then sleeping all day. The littlest thing wipes me out. I have been to the doctor who has done lots of tests and he said everything is ok and it is my head/mind that needs to heal. Tomorrow starts my counselling journey. I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t a little worried or apprehensive about it as you never know what feelings it may uncover.

Not only do I have the stresses and pressures of my day to day life – which people tell me is more than what most have to cope with, I live with what happened to me by my Step-Grandad. In my last blog post I posted he had gone out to visit my Mum and Step-Dad where they live. When my Grandad passed away my Mum immediately made arrangements to come home. It was only when I was getting ready to pick her up from the airport did I realise that she was going through the worst period of her life alone, without her husband, because he had to stay with his Father. My step-dad sent me a beautiful email (for a man who never expresses his emotions) saying he was devastated he couldn’t be there and that my Grandad had been more of a Dad to him than his own father, for obvious reasons. The realisation was that this man who tried to destroy my childhood and adulthood was once again doing it. He has got some control over what happened during the hardest time of my life once again.

I struggled a lot with my relationship with my mother whilst she was here. We spent 2 weeks together emptying my Grandad’s house. We laughed/cried and supported each other through our grief. I watched in awe as she carried my Grandad’s coffin into the chapel with her brothers, she hugged me after I read out the eulogy I had wrote. We went to see him in the chapel of rest together, we shared memories, stories. We were like a mother and daughter should be, but rarely are and I’ve never had.  All because of him. We’ll call him ‘John’. John stole my relationship with my Mum and stepdad. I was given a rubbish choice when I eventually told my Mum what had happened to me for years. I was told I could go to the police and she would support me but it would affect the whole family – my Gran and Grandad included. It was never really a choice. Lately I’ve been thinking now my Gran and Grandad are no longer here, there is nothing stopping me going to the police and reporting it.

My Mum said when he was with them, for the few days she saw him, he was now becoming very old and starting to become forgetful and confused; a bit like how my head feels now. I have always thought it’s over, it’s done with and I should let it go now as he has to live with what he has done everyday, but is that enough for me anymore? Is he sorry? Does he know what he did was wrong? Yes, I’m sure he does. At the time when I told my parents, they confronted him one day when I was at school. He admitted what he had done to me. I know if I was to go to the police it is my word against his and I don’t know who they would believe – although I can vividly recall the registration of his brand new Astra he used to take me out in, which will be long gone in the scrap yard by now. If he has dementia he will die probably not knowing and remembering what he has done and he won’t have the constant fear/worry of what ‘might’ happen if I was to tell someone. I would never wish an awful disease like dementia on anyone, I certainly do not want him to have it…. I want him to worry and to suffer.

The things I am saying are awful and they are not me. I actually cannot believe I am saying/thinking these things. If you knew me, you would know this isn’t me. I am Catholic and my faith means a lot to me. I am certainly not behaving in a faith-filled, compassionate or discerning way, although I am being truthful. I am torn between my faith and (selfishly) wanting some kind of justice or comeuppance. That’s not christian. I know I should put my trust in God to heal me and help me through this.

I think my Grandad’s death symbolised and finalised everything and that is why I am in chaos and disorder. I am true to my roots. There are no airs or graces about me. What you see is what you get. I am open and honest and caring – sometimes I care a little bit too much. I don’t consider myself to be highly-educated. I didn’t have a fancy schooling, I don’t use big educated words in my writing. I grew up on a council estate, raised in a single-parent family. My Grandad lived on the same (now quite a notoriously bad) estate until he died. As we emptied his 2.5 bedroom house in which he had lived in for over 60 years, it was with such sadness as anyone who has been in this situation knows. The house was nothing special. He didn’t have expensive heirlooms to pass down. He had a humble and comfortable life – more importantly it was happy and loving. The house was where I was always safe. Nothing bad had ever happened to me there. I was loved, treated and protected like any child/teenager should be.

I went to counselling years ago and was taught to ‘go there’ when things were difficult. I can’t do that now as when I close my eyes I see the empty house stripped of its possessions. The table by the window where my Grandparents would sit and drink tea or eat their lunch is no longer there. The bed my brother and I lay on with Grandad while he made a story up in his head isn’t there anymore. The 16 stone framed manual worker who would carry me all the way home from school on his shoulders is no longer here… all I see now when I close my eyes is his slight frame, grey face, sunken eyes lay in the narrow coffin.

I had no idea my Grandad’s death would stir up emotions of my abuse and at the moment I am finding it hard to understand why it has. Maybe I’ll never know why. I know I am going to counselling tomorrow despite all my reservations. It’s not something I am looking forward to but I am also open to try it and give it a go. Hopefully it won’t be as bad as it’s been in the past – I think things have moved on from the time I had to pick stones, shells and pebbles and assign them to a person in my life…. that doesn’t really work for me. I just need honesty and openness. Noone else can get me out of this except me, I need to make the changes in my mindset. I need to push myself to go out and talk to people and be the person I was, not the insular and withdrawn person I’ve become.

As the song says, ‘I’ve been waiting for a guide to come and take me by the hand.’  That isn’t going to happen. In the grand scheme of things people don’t really care – they have their own problems and I understand that. There will be no guide to come and take my hand. I have to do it myself.  I know I have the spirit, but I’ve just lost the feeling…

 

Good or bad news…

I have spent this evening mainly with my thoughts still pre-occupied over the news yesterday of the death of Ian Brady. Although many seem to rejoicing about the news, rather selfishly  my thoughts have been consumed by a massive trigger I had whilst watching the news. The moors and the pennine’s were places I would go to with my step-grandfather, in his car, on the premise I was going to work with him for the day. He was the boss of a branch of a very big company and therefore (I assume) he could decide whether he would go into work or not on those days. He would drive to the moors and park his car in the middle of no where… then we would drive back. He would often tell me stories about what had happened on the moors – something I had forgotten about until I saw a picture/video clip on the news last night.

I have never really had a memory  that I had suppressed before, that had come back with a trigger, but now I have. I’ve been trying to make sense of why he said those things/tell me those horrific stories about what they did. I don’t think it was to frighten me, as I was not scared by him. I did as he asked because in my head it was right because we were in love. Maybe it’s part of the grooming process and I will never understand what goes on inside the minds of people like that.

The icing on the cake last night was a phone call from my parents, who live abroad, to say they were sitting at the airport after picking ‘him’ up from the main airport and they were waiting for a connecting flight. My Mam decided to tell me all about what he has been up to, what they are going to do for the next 8 weeks together. I couldn’t really care less what they will be doing, I just know that for the next 8 weeks I will not be speaking to my parents, which makes this time of un-easiness worse. He also still has a form of control over me, as I will be the one who will not speak to my parents and avoid FaceTime/skype and WhatsApp calls from them for the next 8 weeks. Again, it is me, who has done nothing wrong, that will miss out! I sometimes wish I were brave enough to confront him – perhaps that’s the next step in my journey. I’ve done the anger, the crying, broken down relationships because I couldn’t trust when I was younger – because I was too possessive, too scared of being hurt. I’ve moved on considerably since I was younger. I can see that, I know I have changed a lot and (it’s hard for me to say) but I am proud of how far I have come, largely by myself (with support from a few trusted people). I’ve done the guilt, the hatred and I now think that I have even forgiven, but there’s a part of me that really would like to confront him and talk to him. I fear it will never happen and like Keith Bennett’s family – he may die before I have to strength to do it. I don’t even know whether that is the right thing to do, or is it best to keep it in the past? I’ll probably never be strong/brave enough to do it… Despite the appearance I give, I’m a coward at times.

I know in a couple of days I’ll be ok – I always am. I just need to give my head a bit of a wobble. I will throw myself into work, so I forget during the day and I will use my faith to get through the long evenings. My faith helps me through the long, lonely, sleepless nights when you feel there is no one to listen, no one to care… no one to tell you it’s all ok.

As the evening has gone on – I am adding this to this post, as a few thoughts have just crossed my mind whilst thinking and emptying the dishwasher (my mind cannot think about serious things atm) – perhaps it’s an ‘epiphany?’ Maybe him telling me the stories of what happened on the moors was his form of scaring me into compliance, in a very clever way? Was it that or did/does he have a perverse pleasure from telling me that, or was it from what they did? I’m not saying for a moment he was in their league, but he had some thing’s in common.

Maybe that’s why I get really jittery when there are TV programs about what happened  on the moors. My Grandad worked with a family member of one of the victims and he obviously heard/knew lots about what had happened. It was something that to this day he refuses to talk about as it was too terrible and I guess he still, in his 90’s, wants to protect us – that’s what proper Grandparents should do. There is a song called ‘Suffer little children’, of which I only have to hear the 4 beat drum count of the opening and it gives me chills and sends me reaching for the next track button. After yesterday’s news, it only seems more chilling and eerie…

 

 

Don’t dream a little dream…

Last night I had a dream about my abuser – my step-grandfather, who sexually abused me from the ages of 11-15. I normally am ok and ‘deal’ with it. It took me a long-time to realise that my abuse was carefully planned and I was groomed by him. :oops:
I honestly believed that he loved me (he was almost 60 and I was 11). He told me he loved me, told me he would leave his wife for me when I was 16 and we would get married and have children. I can see now that it was all just to get what he wanted – sex (amongst other things) several times a week, as I thought (and was told) that that was what ‘grown ups’ did when they were in love. I am left often feeling embarrassed, humiliated and stupid that I was so gullible. I also had a huge amount of guilt because in my eyes I was having an affair!

Last night I had a dream about it all – something I am blessed to not often have. I dreamt that I was still madly in love and I wanted to be with him again… (not in a sexual way, but in a love/emotional way). I woke up feeling confused and upset; it threw up lots of strange emotions. I am now left with all these funky feelings again of guilt and disgust with myself! Have no idea where this dream came from, as far as I am aware there were no triggers yesterday, I guess sometimes these things will always just happen, but when they do they throw me off sync for a day or so. Am now worried for tonight’s sleep as I don’t want to experience these feelings and emotions again…

Tis the season for forgiveness

Yesterday was Good Friday. I went to church, went to confession, stations of the cross and then the Liturgy (if that’s what it is called – I’m unsure. I just know it’s not Mass). I hadn’t intended to attend it all – it just happened.

I went to confession to fulfil my obligation, that we must attend at least once a year. As I have previously written, this time is not a good time of the year for me, mostly because Lent focuses on forgiveness and sin; all of which I struggle with. I struggle with the sin aspect, as in my head, I committed adultery. My Step-Grandad was married and we had made plans for him to leave his wife for me once I was 16 (yes, I can see how stupid and gullible I was now at the age of 11/12, but for me it was real). I really struggle with the whole forgiveness aspect – obviously!

I have just re-read the couple of blog posts I have written previously and what I spoke with my priest about today is nothing ‘new’ to me. I confessed to, at times, losing my faith and doubting it – why does God let bad things happen to people if He loves us so much? I acknowledged that this is always worse at this time of the year and I explained why, in the confessional. Surprisingly I was asked details. How old was I? How long did it continue for? What happened (it wasn’t asked in a perverse or gratifying way)  – these are things I have never been asked before, apart from when I went to counselling in my early 20’s. It’s a taboo subject and not one most people want to address so I understand, but it was strangely comforting to talk about it . It’s far from the norm: incomprehensible for most people to understand -neither from the abuser nor the surviver’s feelings/point of view.

I have decided that I am slowly forgiving him. I was told yesterday that forgiveness is a 2 way process – in order to forgive, someone has to be sorry, which he is not; at least I don’t think he is. If he wanted to say sorry it wouldn’t be hard for him to contact me so I resign myself to the belief that he is not. This has made me think a lot about different things. Some people I know are very sorry for the things they have done in their past and spend a lifetime punishing themselves and trying to make amends, even when they have been to confession and had their sins absolve. It reminds me of something I heard on a course a while ago that said once your sins are absolved they are gone and we should forget them. The problem is, if we don’t we continue to punish ourselves over and over. This applies to me too. The longer I do not forgive and hold on to the hatred I feel towards him, the more I am punishing myself and letting him continue to abuse me. I am  who I am today because of him, so maybe in a way I should thank him, or is that perverse.

I was reminded of the person I am and I begrudgingly accepted the compliment. It was suggested that part of not seeing the good in me, not seeing who I am and what I offer to people is a response to the abuse. I don’t see my worth as something positive. I even hate to write it down with fear it sounds conceited and vain because I am far from those. Maybe I am not over it as much as I thought I was? I’ve always considered myself to be fairly level-headed than others I have encountered who have had similar backgrounds. Many are now plagued with mental health problems and endure horrific recounts and triggers. I have always thought I was ok, but now I’m not too sure. I do get triggers and bad times of the year but generally I can live my life to my fullest ability. What I know (at least what i was told yesterday) is that I am a good parent. I have raised beautiful, thoughtful and kind children. I have a job in which I am responsible for nurturing people both emotionally and spiritually and I am constantly looking and seeking help to do this the best I can. I worry my children will go down the wrong path, get in with the wrong crowd or meet someone like him. All I can do is continue what I am doing. Guiding and protecting from a distance, allowing them to make their own mistakes. It’s something I will struggle to do though.

I think I am fairly resilient. I have faced many tough times in my life, as do lots of other people, but I continue. I think this is due to what I went through when I was younger. My  experiences would make or break me and I won’t be broken. I spoke yesterday about questioning my faith, doubting God’s existence or His love for us if he lets such crappy things happen to good people. Good people with faith seem to face some of the hardest challenges. So much pain and hurt for good people when the ‘bad’ people seemingly get away with things. Why if He loves us so much? The answer… there isn’t one – but it’s in these times that we turn to God more – we trust in Him more to help us.

I know that in bad times I have turned to Him, I know I have also doubted and questioned. I know what I need to do to free myself from the past. I will never stop feeling shame, the triggers will never go away, the memories will always be with me and the pain of knowing that he isn’t sorry will always live in me. I forgive you AJB. I forgive you for taking away my youth, my innocence, for making me grow up before I was ready. I forgive you for the disgusting things that you got a child to do with you. That doesn’t hurt anymore – it happened, I can move on from that. I can’t unmake it happen so I have to accept it did.

I wish you could see this so you can read that I am the better person. I will never live in constant fear of the police knocking at my door (if you have any ounce of morality in you). I will never worry when I open the paper and read about someone else who has been jailed for what they did. I look back now and see how scared you were when the police caught us in your car. I can still hear you repeating over and over to me as they walked up to the car and you were doing your trousers up, that I had to say I was 16. You were so scared. I’ll never have that fear. You knew it was wrong. I lied to them and told them I was 16 because I loved you. It’s ok – I forgive you. I hope one day you will realise what you did. That you will recognise it was deviant, immoral and abhorrent. Maybe you are the one with psychological/mental health problems. Is that why you did it because you are sick?

I’ll never know the answers to these questions, unless I confront you. I don’t think I am brave enough to do that. You don’t scare me or intimidate me but you do disgust me. I actually sometimes, feel sorry for you, pity you.  Maybe that’s why now is the time to forgive you. I’ll never, ever forget what you did. I’ll still have bad days, I’ll have times where it hurts I’m sure. I’d be lying if forgiving someone who hasn’t said sorry wasn’t hard but I have to do it for me, not you. I’d like to thank you for making me who I am today and for helping me make my children the wonderful people they are too. It’s just a shame that you will never, ever meet them…