startingmyjourney

June 27, 2011

Taking a leap

Filed under: Now Surviving — by alifefullofspice @ 11:23 am

Yesterday I abseiled from the roof of a hotel to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.

I chose this charity as a way of saying thank you to them for the help and support they gave me and my family during my grandad’s illness.

All through the trauma of my past my Grandparents have always been there for me. They never knew about the abuse in my childhood and tried very hard to protect me from my ex. After I lost my children I hit rock bottom and they still tried to help me but I felt like I didn’t deserve their help and I felt that I was a complete disappointment to them.

I was lucky, I managed to rebuild my life and improve my relationship with my Grandparents over the years then my Grandad was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia. Now it was my turn to be there for them. My Nan became my grandad’s main carer and I did what I could to help and support her as well as my Grandad. I put them in touch with the Alzheimer’s Society and they were a great support, offering my Grandparents a chance to get out and socialise, something that due to my Grandad’s confusion and aggression was not always easy. Now don’t get me wrong my Grandad was a very gentle man, but those that know about Dementia will know part of the condition can be aggressive behaviour.

It was a heartbreaking time when on 17th May 2010 my Grandad passed away. Grief can be so confusing as at times I almost felt relieved that not only was my Grandad no longer suffering but my family were no longer suffering from the heartache that Dementia causes loved ones. I can still remember that last words my Grandad spoke to me although he thought I was his wife and his wife (my Nan) was his mother. Laying in his hospital bed he reached over, took hold of my hand and said ‘Goodnight sweetheart, I’ll see you in the morning’ The following morning the hospital called to inform us that my Grandad had passed away in the early hours.

I still miss him and will continue to do my best to make him proud of me, even though I know he already was proud of me. Each year I will take part in the Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk in my Grandad’s memory.

My abseil was for me, to overcome my fear of heights.

My Grandad, to keep his memory alive and

for other people and their families who are trying to deal with the heartache of Dementia.

Thank you to all that support me, encouraged me and sponsored me and a very special thank you to the Alzheimer’s Society for everything they do.

So far I’ve raised £135 from this event 🙂

 

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June 22, 2011

It’s the small things!!!

Filed under: Now Surviving — by alifefullofspice @ 9:57 pm

Now I know this is going to sound so silly and trivial but for me as an abuse survivor it was a massive achievement.

I stopped for lunch whilst house hunting with my husband and ordered a steak. I like my steak cooked medium-rare but the chef had over cooked it and it resembled the sole of a shoe. Now whenever I have had a problem with a meal I have always stayed quiet, tried to just grin and bear it and eat it anyway, or I would just leave it making an excuse that I was no longer hungry if I was questioned  why I hadn’t eaten my meal. This was always how I’d handled things throughout my life to just shut up, accept my fate and let people walk all over me.

But today, well today was a turning point. I decided that things were going to change. So I put down my cutlery, got the attention of the waitress and politely told her what the problem was with my meal. She was very apologetic and returned the steak to the kitchen to arrange for a fresh meal to be cooked for me.

This experience has boosted my confidence so hopefully I will never have to eat a below par meal or suffer bad customer service again without having the confidence to challenge it. I am now looking forward to more meals out and enjoying them!!!!

This childhood abuse victim, sexual abuse victim and domestic abuse victim has taken a further step on the journey to becoming a thriver and I am so proud of myself for that!!!!

June 17, 2011

Turning a negative into a positive

Filed under: Now Surviving — by alifefullofspice @ 8:05 pm

I always believe it is because I have been abused that I have a deep longing to help others who have been abused in the past or are currently being abused. Before I could do this I had to take care of myself first otherwise I probably would have done more harm than good. When I felt I was ‘ready’ I changed careers from working in retail to work in Social Care.

I absolutely love my current job where I work with Young People who are currently in the care system after being abused as children. They are coming to an age where they will no longer be ‘looked after children’ and are entering adulthood. Now the transition into adulthood can be a very difficult time for most young people but for those who have suffered childhood abuse it can be extremely traumatic. My job is to support them through this transition by helping them develop life skills, build their self-confidence and prepare for independent living which will hopefully prevent them from transferring into the adult care system unnecessarily. Many self harm, have eating disorders and/or have been diagnosed with various mental health disorders. In my childhood I very briefly self harmed, I suffered from an eating disorder well into my 20’s and have suffered bouts of depression on and off for many years. I feel that this can give me a good starting point to helping these young people even though with professional boundaries I don’t share my past experiences in the workplace.

Also ever since I left my abusive ex partner I have had a deep desire to do some work in domestic abuse and now I’m gonna get my chance. I have just been accepted as a volunteer with a local domestic abuse organisation on their helpline. I will be the first point of call to those looking for support and guidance to leave their abusive partner’s. Again professional boundaries will mean I cannot share my past but I do hope that I can turn my negative past into something positive and help others to be free from abuse and started their journey from victim to survivor to thriver.

 

June 13, 2011

Trying to allocate blame, is it healthy?

Filed under: Now Surviving — by alifefullofspice @ 10:19 pm

I really get myself in a complete state trying to allocate the blame for losing my children but should I?????

If I hadn’t been a victim of abuse and neglect as a child would I have entered such an unhealthy relationship?????

But then my children wouldn’t have been born and I’m so glad they were so I can’t blame my childhood.

If my parents gave me any support when I ended the relationship with my ex maybe I could have left with my children or stood a better chance in court.

But then I wouldn’t have runaway from my hometown, I wouldn’t have met my now husband and I probably wouldn’t be the person I am today. Sometimes I don’t think that last one is such a positive thing!

If I had been a better and stronger person then I wouldn’t have let so many people use and abuse me in the first place. It all comes back to blaming myself.

But then who knows who or what I would have become?????

Why do we always come back to blaming ourselves when other have abused us?????????????????

They are the ones to blame not ourselves!!!!

June 9, 2011

My final hearing to see my children

Filed under: Now Surviving — by alifefullofspice @ 11:13 am

I haven’t seen my children since 2003 but I tried to go through the courts to get contact. I thought the system may have changed since my first hearing in 1999, how wrong I was. I was treated with such contempt by the court and Cafcass whereas my ex partner was treating with such sympathy. My ex partner told Cafcass that the children didn’t want to see me, he told Cafcass that there was incidents of abuse in the past and on both counts Cafcass believed him without even checking. I was granted supervised contact every Saturday. So every Saturday I travelled approx 150 miles to the contact centre only for my ex to come in and say the children don’t want to come in. This continued for weeks and I felt myself getting weaker and weaker, wondering how long I could keep doing this. Finally the contact centre staff said I could go out to my ex’s car to speak to my children. Memories of this day still haunt me.

I got to see my children, they were sat the back of my ex’s car, his new partner was sat the front and standing directly behind me was my ex. I asked my children if they wanted to come and spend time with me. They all looked at their Dad then his new partner and then just looked at the floor. I actually felt that we were playing tug of war with our children. Shortly afterward my ex drove away and my lasting image is the look on my children’s faces as they drove away.

There was nothing the courts could do, they had granted to order but as far as they were concerned they couldn’t force the children to see me so I was granted indirect contact, letters, cards etc.

Over the years I have sent cards and letters, some of them returned some not. I really didn’t know what else to do, there was a distinct lack of professional support, and other than my very supportive husband I felt on my own against a system that had already condemned me.

In 2009 I was completely beside myself when my eldest child responded to a christmas card. We managed to begin chatting online and spent time getting to know each other and as I later discovered my child did this without my ex’s knowledge. One morning I set a message to my child’s instant messenger and someone else responded. The secret was out!!!!

I began receiving harassing messages on Facebook telling me to stay away from my children. But I had new hope, surely this proved my children do want to see me after all.

I applied to court for the final time but as usual it took over a year for the hearing. The Judge ordered a ‘Wishes and Feelings’ report form Cafcass. Finally my children were going to be given the opportunity to have their say instead of their Dad ‘speaking for them’. This time the court were more understanding my situation and saw me as a good parent that had been deprived of a relationship with her children. Unfortunately that made no difference, my children made it very clear to Cafcass that they wanted nothing to do with me. Some of the comments made in the report were untrue and quite obviously they have believed the lies their Dad has told them about me. They believe I’ve rejected them and I only keep going to court to hurt their Dad.

My ex has now moved and I don’t know where my children live, the court has no order it can grant in light of the children’s feeling, and my children are coming to an age where I can no longer go to court. I have never felt so helpless, so empty, so numb………

It is now 8yrs since I saw their little faces drive away from the contact centre but the pain still feels like it was yesterday.

June 8, 2011

Alienated Mom

Filed under: Now Surviving — by alifefullofspice @ 1:41 pm

I separated from my abusive ex partner in 1999 and he manipulated the police to have me removed from his house without my children. He manipulated the family court system and every time I tried to tell them of how my ex treated me I was told the court didn’t want to hear allegations as te hearing was purely about the children. He made false allegations about me and was granted a residential order while I only got contact order. From day one he never stuck to the contact order and when I spoke to a solicitor I was told if he didn’t stick to the contact order I would need to go back to court. I saw no alternative but to return to the relationship in order to see my children however I didn’t get the welcome I expected. I used to have such a wonderful relationship with me eldest but now they were very reluctant to be with me and was very suspicious saying I was only there to hurt their dad. After a few weeks I knew I couldn’t live there anymore and quite frankly I didn’t want to live. I had made several very feeble attempts at suicide. I then hit the my self destruct button and would drink excessively and lets just say put myself in very dangerous situation hoping that something would happen to me as I was too weak to end it myself.

Ever since I left my ex I was homeless, first I used a friends sofa until my self-destructive behaviour ruined our friendship. I would meet people and many times they would offer to put me up, some were women I befriended some were men who would ask for something in return. Eventually I ‘woke up’ I knew I needed to sort myself out or I would never get to see my children. I moved away from my home town to start a fresh, and as soon as I sorted myself out contact resumed and I had meet someone very special to share my life with. I was completely shocked when my ex in front of my children said I made burnt my child with a cigarette and Social Services had done an investigation. I was so naive I believed him about Social Services, but then began to wonder ‘wouldn’t they have contacted me if they thought I had harmed my child?’ So I tried to contact Social Services myself as if my child had a cigarette burn I wanted something done, but they had no record of an allegation. My ex had just made it up, I couldn’t understand why a father would tell his children ‘mommy had burnt you with a cigarette on purpose.’ I just let it go though as my ex didn’t stop my contact. In 2003 my children came to stay overnight with me and my new partner, my first overnight visit, we had such a wonderful time and all my children were so loving towards me. It was just like old times, I honestly couldn’t have been happier that day little did I know that would be the last time I saw them.

June 7, 2011

Positive Steps

Filed under: Now Surviving — by alifefullofspice @ 9:27 pm

I have a strong desire to do more for victims of abuse, fellow survivors and parents alienated from their children. I am speaking out about my past as I believe that making it more acceptable to talk about all kinds of abuse will help to end others suffering.

3 years ago this week I embarked on my new career into Social Care. I currently work with young people who have suffered abuse as children and are now embarking on not only a transition to adulthood but preparing to leave care and live independent lives.

I have completed a training course with a domestic abuse organisation in preparation for volunteering so I’ve just got to wait for my CRB.

I have made some wonderful connections online with some truly inspiring people and yet I still feel that something is missing. I acknowledge I have made some very positive steps so far but my journey still has such a long way to go.  Now I need to think about what my next step will be and where it will take me.

June 4, 2011

What Do I Tell Me Children

Filed under: Now Surviving — by alifefullofspice @ 8:48 am

Something I’m still trying to figure out is, if or when my children allow me contact, what do I tell them????

Their Dad is wonderful in their eyes and has raised them in my absence so I question whether I should tell them the truth. But then if I’m not honest with them how can I expect them to understand or forgive me. I wouldn’t want my relationship with my children built on lies and deceit but won’t it just hurt them further to shatter their image of their father????

I always try to tell myself that my ex is a good father but how good is any parent when they deliberately alienate a child from another parent?

Who knows when I will find the answer? Maybe it will just come to me when the time comes.

Who know if I will ever need the answer? Maybe my children will never want me in their lives. No I can’t think like that I must stay positive even if it is difficult.

 

June 2, 2011

A Mother Without Her Children

Filed under: Now Surviving — by alifefullofspice @ 8:19 pm

Despite everything I’ve already shared on my blog this is by far the hardest post to write. I still feel very vulnerable to people as I have been judged in some horrendous ways over the years.

Society almost sees it as normal that when relationships ends the mother gets the children so when the father gets the children the mother must be something evil????

Those who have read my previous post will know that I never left my children they were taken from me by my abusive ex partner. But people only see a mother who doesn’t live with her kids and this has made people threaten me, treat me with such hatred or just dismiss me as not worth their time.

I have tried to find many ways to avoid these reactions by using different method. I wouldn’t openly disclose that I had children so then I didn’t have to explain my situation to everyone but this made me feel like I had something to be ashamed of. Sometimes I would tell people I had children but then found myself trying to justify why I didn’t get custody without exposing the fact that the relationship was abusive. Another method was telling people I had children and allowing them to believe my children were still living with me but then I would feel guilty for being deceitful.

I’ll be honest I still alternate between these methods, I don’t want to expose my innermost feelings to everyone I meet so I find myself trying to select the best option for the person or the occasion.

When I separated from my ex partner my youngest child was still a baby. Thanks to my ex I missed so many firsts, first steps, first words, first day at school…..the list goes on. I thought this was my ultimate punishment but my ex didn’t think it was punishment enough. He allowed some intermittent contact until my youngest child was 5 yrs then he stop allowing contact. His explanation was that my children didn’t want to see me anymore but I was never permitted to talk to them directly. Is it a coincidence that my middle child accidentally called my new partner Dad the last time we saw them?????? My youngest has just entered their teens and I have not been able to have any contact, even letters and cards go unanswered or returned to sender.

Despite going to court many times the children have not been able to express their feelings directly until this year so their Dad has always spoke for them. Contact orders were granted but they may as well have been printed on toilet paper because my ex never made it possible for contact to go ahead. My ex has told lies about me in court, to Cafcass and, based on their recent interview, to my children so I wasn’t surprised when my children expressed to Cafcass they felt a lot of anger and resentment toward me, however it completely broke my heart. My ex partner has now moved so I don’t know where they live, the Judge felt there was no order that could be granted as the children were adamant that because I had ‘abandoned them’ I had proved to them I didn’t care so they didn’t want to see me.

I can only now live in hope that one day my children well want to seek the truth and get in touch with me. Maybe then they will allow me to explain. Maybe then they will accept me into their lives.

They will be forever in my heart, forever in my thoughts and my life with never be complete until we can be reunited.

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