More Painful Secrets

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In 1987, I had two small children of my own and had known my natural mother for seven years. As a trained Youth Worker, I was working with abused and homeless children. Much of my own childhood trauma remained locked away, until one morning I awoke with a frightening and confusing image that left me gasping for air. It repeated itself each morning for two weeks until it became clearer. I was remembering my adoptive father suffocating me with my own pillow as a child. For weeks my mind began to unravel years of abuse: suffocation, setting me alight, chasing me down and dragging me to my feet by my hair, kicking me with his work boots, punching me, hitting me with a belt, sticks, lumps of wood and charcoal, locking me out of the house, making me sleep in the bush, throwing me around by my hair, and slapping me across the face. His aggression was instant with little or no provocation.
I found sleeping difficult, and started to unravel with the nightmares continuing I sought counselling. The first time I tried to talk about my childhood I went blind. My body was protesting, saying I was not allowed to tell. I felt violently ill and had to stop talking. My husband had to come and get me, I was barely able to walk let alone drive. I could not understand what was happening to me. I remembered arguments and the charcoal pits from my childhood, but never anything like this.

 

In 1987, I had two small children of my own and had known my natural mother for seven years.