It all began 26 years ago when I was born in the Bay of Plenty. Little did I know what was in store for my life; the pain, the anguish, the resentment, the bitterness, the heartache, the forgiveness, acceptance and salvation. From a very young age I was exposed to what many would consider to be torture in its truest form. Sexual abuse became a prominent, ugly and excruciatingly painful feature of my life as a small child. My world was dark, lonely and haunted by the world of drugs, alcohol and abuse from which my mother came. My father, a good man; a hard man, but damaged nonetheless. I was invisible. My mother, a narcissistic sadist who thrived on the physical and emotional pain of others.
I came from a family of three; younger brother and older sister. Each of us exposed to the damaging world of darkness at a young age. It became all that we knew. Uncle shot himself, parents both attempted suicide and older sister gone by 17. My 10 year old self mourned the loss of my sister for years. To this day, 16 years later thinking of her in essence is marred by her suicide; one that led me close to the brink of death myself during my teenage years. My mother was an abuser you see; a sexual, emotional, mental and physical abuser and it turned out that I was not her only victim. In the wake of our sister’s suicide we all fell apart; dad attempting suicide, mother becoming ever more cruel and callous in her ways, brother and I falling into substance abuse and me…attempted suicide; several times.
At 13 I was caught running onto the road in front of a truck, at 16 I was taking handfuls of pills that left me in hospital on several occasions (after being raped); at 17, 18 and 19 I was overdosing, drinking copious amounts of alcohol, cutting, strangling, burning, you name it, I did it. I wanted nothing more than to see an end to the anguish of my life. Now at 26 here I am. I got bored trying to kill myself and surviving. I got bored existing when I was too stubborn to commit suicide. Yet the ironic thing is that the hardest part of the journey wasn’t the years of abuse, neglect, rejection, abandonment and torment. It was the healing itself. To accept that what had been done to me and to my siblings was not only morally reprehensible but was unfathomable to many was particularly hard to cope with. I felt that I deserved it all. I bathed in self-hatred and shadowed my world in fear until my early twenties when I mustered up the strength to commit to my Father and to commit to myself. It was the best decision that I ever made. I reclaimed myself and what was taken from me. I forgave not for all of my abusers, but for my own freedom.
Despite all of the pain, I lived in God’s glory and even in my times of weakness I always knew that he held me in His arms. He was my protector when I felt lost and alone. To say that my journey is over now would be foolish. I still have my bad days where I cry, I flash back; I want to hurt myself; I want to escape, but now I know how much I am loved by others and how much I have survived to give up on myself now. I have a renewed sense of life; a wonderful partner and beautiful family that I look up to. Letting go is not about them (the abusrs), it is about reclamation. Reclamation of hope, of empowerment, of justice, of fairness and reclamation of the one most soul destroying feature of abuse; that is the reclamation of the self.
Abusers hold as much power as we permit them to hold. We will never forget. As survivors we have the gift of being able to rewrite our future where others don’t have that opportunity. So to all other survivors, reclaim yourself, reclaim your hope and reclaim your God given right to be free. The key to your past lies in your ability to use it to rewrite your future.
Shy – 27