Healing After Childhood Abuse
A Someone Cares client gives an autobiographical account of childhood abuse.
At the age of seven I finally plucked up the courage to tell mum that Grandad was sexually abusing me.
It was around seven o clock in the evening. I had wanted to tell her for ages, but was frightened because I thought the abuse was my fault.
I put on my fluffy little Super-Ted slippers and found mum reading to my baby sister. ‘Mum’ I said, tentatively ‘Grandad keeps touching me there’.
She immediately sent me to bed, and we never said another word about it. I remember feeling lost in the dark and abandoned.
As a child, neither of my parents cared about my feelings. They gave me some material things – sweets, Barbies, clothes. But they were cold, unloving and indifferent to my emotional welfare. My mum is an alcoholic and sometimes in the middle of the night she would scream and smash up the kitchen. I grew up feeling crushed and no-one cared.
I don’t really have the words to describe the pain of growing up, trapped, in a family that abuses you. Where the very people who are supposed to love and protect you destroy your wellbeing. Perhaps some of you listening know how it feels.
But of course, time goes on, things move forward and I grew up. Unfortunately, of course, those feelings no-one cared about in childhood didn’t go away. I grew up into a self destructive teenager who self harmed with razor blades. Everyone had treated me like I was worthless, and I believed it. I blazed with anger and rebelled for a few years, then collapsed into despair and depression.
I struggled through art school, but found it difficult to relate to people and make real friends. If an old man bumped into me on the bus I’d get terrible abuse flashbacks. The emotional pain made life very difficult.
I first tried counselling at the age of 25 and quickly became overwhelmed by distress. I tried again a few years later, and again a couple of years after that. I was referred to a support group in North London called ‘Survivors of Childhood Abuse’. The support group was extremely useful, but because of the CBT focus I still felt like no-one really listened and accepted my feelings as they were. Finally, at the age of 32, I was referred to Someone Cares in Newcastle. It’s the first time in my life that someone has really listened to me. The first time in my life I’ve felt truly cared for and accepted. I feel so grateful and lucky to have worked with an amazing therapist. She has more empathy than anyone I’ve ever met. Thanks to her I’ve been able to make huge changes in my life, and to finally, finally feel like someone cares.
Staff and service users from Someone Cares tell their stories of what the counselling service means to them.