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Neglect october domestic violence awareness month

 

There are many types of Child Abuse 

Emotional Abuse can be hard to spot and is easy to miss the signs. 

  • humiliating or constantly criticising a child-

 When my Mom was in a Domestic Violent Relationship with my ex step father he would constantly tell me I was chubby, too clingy.

  • threatening, shouting at a child or calling them names
  • making the child the subject of jokes, or using sarcasm to hurt a child
  • blaming and scapegoating

My ex -step father would shout at me for wanting to be close to my mom. He would drag me into my bedroom -my mom would stick up for me and she would get the brunt of my tantrums, clinginess, my eating issues.

  • making a child perform degrading acts
  • not recognising a child’s own individuality or trying to control their lives
  • pushing a child too hard or not recognising their limitations

My ex step father’s idea of teaching me how to swim was to grab hold go me, jump into the swimming pool and stay under the water until I thought I would pas out. He would do this as a joke in front of his friends and laugh at me for being so scared. I was 5 years old

  • exposing a child to upsetting events or situations, like domestic abuse or drug taking

My ex step father used to beat my mom up regularly because she dared to challenge him for cheating on her constantly ,for getting a 15 year old pregnant. He was always high and there were always parties going on with strange men and women around. I used to try and defend my mom until I became too afraid. I used to barricade myself in my bedroom. I would wait until he came home from work and hide under the bed. 

  • failing to promote a child’s social development
  • not allowing them to have friends
  • persistently ignoring them

I felt like my life was irrelevant. I wasn’t worth anything. I remember having an argument with my mom. She was struggling with her Mental health and the abuse. She came home from work when I was 5/6 years old. I was dressed up in her wedding dress and having fun. She screamed at me to get out her room .She was crying, I didn’t want to be away from her. She locked me out of the room because I started to have a tantrum. I went to the kitchen and got a knife out of the drawer and went to her bedroom door and yelled I was going to stab myself if she didn’t open the door. No reply. I heard her crying. I felt alone and that I couldn’t help her.

  • being absent

When I felt helpless and angry. I would act out. I would binge on food, wet the bed conrantly and go and sleep with the dogs in the kitchen. I recall one day feeling so worthless and useless that I couldn’t make my mom better or please my ex step father that I packed a suitcase falloff toys and clothes. I needed to get away. I walked down the driveway (to my child self -it looked like I was walking a long way from home),  When I reached the end of the driveway I looked left, right, I looked across the road and I thought to myself: What do I do now? I prayed that a car with two nice people would stop and pick me up and take me away from where I was. That didn’t happen. I had to accept my defeat and I walked back up the drive way angry. No body knew I had disappeared and I didn’t get the attention I wanted.

  • manipulating a child

Manipulation can be so subtle. I recall a time when my mom had found out about another affair that my ex stepfather had. He turned up from work with a puppy for me. I was over the moon. 

  • never saying anything kind, expressing positive feelings or congratulating a child on successes
  • never showing any emotions in interactions with a child, also known as emotional neglect.

SIGNS OF EMOTIONAL ABUSE IN OLDER CHILDREN

  • use language you wouldn’t expect them to know for their age
  • act in a way or know about things you wouldn’t expect them to know for their age
  • struggle to control their emotions
  • have extreme outbursts
  • seem isolated from their parents
  • lack social skills
  • have few or no friends.

EFFECTS OF EMOTIONAL ABUSE

BEHAVIOUR PROBLEMS

  • wanting attention or becoming clingy

I never wanted to leave my moms side. I refused to go to school. I would have tantrums and do anything to be heard.

  •    not caring how they act or what happens to them

I became a child who started walking home from school on my own from 5/6 years old. I remember a group of older boys pushing me about and touching my breasts and vagina. 

  • trying to make people dislike them

I didn’t feel very likeable or good about myself so I pushed people away from me. I didn’t feel Could trust people and even today I will show people the worst parts of me to protect myself.

  • developing risky behaviour, like stealing, bullying or running away.

The first time I stole anything was a 5 rand note from my mom so I could buy myself and people in my class sweets at the tuck shop. My ex step father refused to allow me to eat sweets because I was too ‘chubby’. I ran away from home many times as a teenager to get away from my mom when I was a teenager and my Nan and my Dad who refused to acknowledge me. I didn’t want my family to dictate to me. I didn’t want them to tell me they knew what was best for me. I wanted to escape and drugs and being around strange men seemed like the right answer.

EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROBLEMS

  • feeling, expressing and controlling emotions
  • lacking confidence or causing anger problems
  • finding it difficult to make and maintain healthy relationships later in life
  • higher levels of depression and health problems as adults compared to those who experienced other types of child abuse.

MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS

I went on to develop serious mental health issues. I developed social anxiety from a young age.  My first suicide attempt was at 12 years old

  • eating disorders

I became obsessed with my weight. I couldn’t deal with my weight issues and I started taking diet tablets at the age of 15 years old. I abused cocaine and mandrax and ecstasy -any drug to stop me from thinking about food. I used to demand my mother take me to doctors to prescribe diet pills for me even though I was thin. I had huge problems and I eventually developed Chromic anorexia. I was sectioned twice in the U.K.   In 2007 I develop Bradycardia. My BMI was 14. My weight was 39 kilograms. I wanted to die. 

I don’t know why I felt the need to cut my legs in my Nan’s kitchen when I was 12/13. I didn’t know how else to express myself. When I lost my virginity to a guy who had left his ex and promised to date me and be with me. The next night his ex, myself and him herein his car and he chose his ex over me. I flipped. I couldn’t deal with the pain, the headache and I cut myself with a bottle neck and became uncontrollable. 

  • language development
  • problems forming healthy relationships.

If you want to help some one who is being abused in all its forms or to help some one who is self harming. 

SELF HARM RESOURCES

Catch 22

Fall – leaves turn shades of browns and greens.

my heart dips and I don’t feel that same sense of summer’s beams.

Alone. I look to my left. Creativity shines- glitter, stilettos- latex, white faux fur coats. All legs.

Like a string of pearls flung across a room,  a musky scent wafts across my midst.

Temptations persist. Glamour. Warmth is all I seek. Summer, why do you have to be so cruel?

I know if I cross over to the other side – I’ll be feeling the warmth – it will be pimped out inbox ring styles – I won’t have time to dodge the fists.

My body will burn up an exotic shade of hues. I will have no rest.

Hell is the other side of Summers gluttonous jazz bassline.

One hit. One vein. Blood – artificial nirvana could infiltrate my being.

I won’t have to think of the biting cold that is ringing in my ears. Muffled will be the ice cone, frozen on the edge of my nose. It doesn’t matter who sees that I have been seen.

Bus shelters full, spikes erect from the corporate underground – I can’t sit down. I know it takes fewer muscles to smile than frown.

Energy is all I have to see me through this cycle of undomesticated abuse. October may be  Domestic abuse awareness month.

If I hadn’t left my keeper, I would still have a roof over my head.

A blanket.

I would still be touched.

 Roughed up.

Better the devil you know – I know every one of his moves. I know when to dissociate –

detach my mind

from my body.

Floating above the marital, martial art stylised bed – I see myself and that devil I married, grabbing folds of my skin. He doesn’t notice the smell of the new conditioner I bought at Asda or how soft the sheets feel now they have been newly spun.

Dryer. I’m dry. He doesn’t notice the lack of moisture. He doesn’t notice that all of that fluid has shot up to my eyeballs. I refuse to let them free flow – I am not her. I’m floating.

Fly on the wall. Caught up in a spiders web. I have to watch. It doesn’t matter if I have a crick in my neck – oh hang on a minute is he choking me?

Leftover food languishing in the sink drain. He switched the waste disposal on to automatic.

Arrested, I am back in bed, under him. Time to vogue with my lips and give him a little pucker.

These white sheets have turned red in his need to let off steam. I come out in blisters hovering underneath his vapour.

Turn my neck – feels like I need a box of throat lozenges for having to get all deep throat.

5 am flashing in stimulant green.

I’m 5 months pregnant. I am going to be late.

Grab the nearest decent clothes. Pull-on my Adidas trainers. Scrape my hair up into a ponytail.

Finally the motivation to go on the run. I don’t have to time myself. I know his schedule well.

An Olympic torch passes into my hand. I’m running for freedom. Liberty is my destination.

I can start over.

Spring – blues, violets, colours in a perfect union – uncompressed. Naturally dressed.

For the first time in months, I feel like I belong. I too am a medley of colours. I blend in.

Natures milkshake collects in my breasts –  4 months to go until I give birth to a miracle of pure life.

Not branded a colour – just innocence – a chance to see a light – work on my soul and tackle it all. This is the only cure.

Vanilla.

I am no Killer.

Life goes in cycles. It passes by fast. There are no traffic jams when you have to pick up your feet and walk.

Eyes cast down, belly protruding.

Christian volunteers crouch down next to me- hand me a card.

Die and be reborn.

They can help me. I just have to give my old life to our saviour. I’ve never met him but he sounds

Forgiving, comforting, caressing- a handwash with extra Aloe vera – calming properties.

All I have to do is offer my unborn child to him and I can enter paradise with the rest of my weary comrades.

Eyes raise up to the bitter sky. I’ve always thought whatever is up there twinkling and winking down at me is having a far better time than me.

My unborn deserves a place in heaven. Earth only promises scars and wild jungle roots to keep it grounded to the spot.

The ultimate sacrifice.

Did I fold in with this cult out of cowardice?

I will drink my poison.

Maybe this winter I will be reunited with the one that let out a sudden cry.

Lead me not into temptation. I lie down, no need to be afraid, child. I close my eyes and sigh.

Hope is my last premise.

* Inspired by domestic violence awareness month*

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OCTOBER 2016 (IMAGE SOURCED FROM GOOGLE)

HERE IS A LINK TO A  POST I WROTE,ON 11TH MAY 2016 , ABOUT MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCES IN A D.V. RELATIONSHIP , TO RAISE DOMESTIC ABUSE AWARENESS IN MY COMMUNITY AND   SOCIETY.

CLICK ON THE PINK HIGHLIGHTED LINK BELOW

THE FREEDOM PROGRAMME

*photo credit Rhode Island Francesca Woodman, Benjamin Moore *