Mr Angry

By kind permission of the Author: From the book Have Wings Will Fly

The cause of several of my ACEs

I do not recall Mr Angry entering my life but I remember being shocked when I was told that he was not my ‘real’ dad.  I remember Mr Angry as an angry man who seemed to enjoy beating my mother and hurting me. His influence on my life was negative in the extreme and it caused me to have a terrible fear of men. His actions are beyond my understanding and his drunken frustrations with his own past should never have been worked out on my mother or me.  

I can recall many times of isolation, fear and loneliness when I think about this period of my life. I remember, quite vividly, one occasion when I was alone late in the evening and in the dark, no older than four or five. I was feeling terrified, alone and confused. It was a traumatic experience for a little boy to feel so utterly abandoned. I can remember I was wearing short grey coloured trousers and white underpants. I had soiled myself and I had excrement running down my legs and into my sandals. I was smelly and needed an adult to help me but I could not find one. I remember having the fear of what Mr Angry would do to me if he found out. His heavy slaps and pokes were something I often endured when no one was looking, and the fear of his anger was a terrible burden. Unless something like this has happened to you, it is difficult to convey just how traumatic an incident like this can be to a small child, and how many scars remain in adulthood. Just recalling this time in my life can stir up deep, overpowering emotions within me, causing me to be uncontrollably upset, even as I write. 

I once got a severe beating from Mr Angry after one of his dogs had choked on a piece of pipe from the shed and Mr Angry held me responsible because he said I left the shed door open. He dragged me around the house, shouting, pushing, shoving, and shaking me. His spit used to hit my face when he did this and I was always terrified. This is another memory that brings a wave of emotion when I recall it. It was after an attack like this one that I developed a facial twitch and stopped communicating with people. My mother took me to a child psychologist and he sent me to a ‘special’ class in another school once a week. It was at that class that I made a papier mache mask of an angry face. I kept that mask until I was fifteen. No one ever realised that the mask was Mr Angry, the cause of my silence and my twitch. 

I have too many memories of arguments and beatings. On one occasion I can remember him poking me in the chest so hard that I had small finger-sized bruises all over my chest for weeks afterwards. On another occasion, I had messed up his tools in the garage and I was dragged upstairs by him and he held my head under cold running water before throwing me on my bed and locking me in the room. I recall whimpering alone in that room, and unable to catch my breath. On another occasion Mr Angry literally hung me upside down by my feet out of the back bedroom window. I was terrified of being dropped on the concrete flags below in the garden. I remember the feeling of hot urine running over my stomach as he held on to my ankles. He was shouting and lowering me up and down, as if he was going to drop me. The pebble-dashed wall cut my knees and elbows as I screamed and apologised to him. He had caught me lowering my action-man out of the window on a piece of string. It was just a game. The fear of this incident left me with a terrible anxiety in later life that would manifest itself whenever I was up ladders, or on the edge of a sea cliff. I also had a fear of dogs that I took with me into adult life. Mr Angry used to make me stand in the kitchen if I was naughty. The dogs were kept in the kitchen and they used to growl at me. He would shout ‘guard’ and they would sit and stare at me. If I moved, they would growl. This was a horrible thing to do to a child. I was traumatised by the fear of being eaten by dogs. Later, as an adult, I lived with such a fear of dogs that I would break into a sweat and shake, even at the sight of a small dog. I always tried to hide my fear because I was so embarrassed.  

The abuse I had suffered at the hands of my stepfather was extreme. I was regularly hit, shouted at, and poked in the chest until I was bruised. Watching him argue and strike my mother was also a regular occurrence and I often hid under my bed and cried late at night when I heard things being smashed and my mother screaming. The most haunting memory that I have is of him hitting me with a belt after stripping me naked and then destroying my bedroom in a rage. I was five or six when he first did this to me. I do not know what I had done to deserve such a brutal punishment and he attacked me as if I was a grown man. Firstly he ripped out all the furniture in my bedroom, literally pulling them out of their fixings. He smashed them with his feet and fists as he hurled them down the stairs. He pulled down the curtains in his rage and even pulled up the carpet until there was just a hill of mess and broken wood. He then turned on me and pushed and pulled me and ripped my clothes. He stripped me naked and then hit me with his belt. I do not know were my mother was when this happened, I just remember cowering in the corner and crying and shaking for a long time afterwards. He also once sat on my little chest and force-fed me with sprouts because I would not eat them. I remember the feeling of choking on vomit when he did this and thought I was going to die. He must have weighed at least fifteen stone. He was a fat man with a mustache and I was a skinny kid with a pale complexion.

Today, more than 60 years on, I am happily married with wonderful children. I have put the past behind me and moved on with my life.  I will always be a survivor of ACEs abuse but the abuse no longer occupies my daily life. Despite Mr Angry, I am happy and loved. He died lonely and burdened with his guilt.

I have 9 ACEs.

Photograph by kind permission: Trudie Smith Photography

Submitted by D.

It’s a bit disappointing not to get a full house, to be honest. Hey, if you are going to be screwed up, do it in style.

It’s a bit of a story so grab a cup of tea and make yourself comfortable!

It all started going horribly wrong when I was 5 or 6 years old. I don’t know the full story as I’ve heard two versions from people who I know, totally rewrite events. But there are some things that must be true.

I grew up on Anglesey. When I was 6 my mother ran off to London with the husband of a couple who were family friends. She took me and my brother with her. My brother is nearly 2 years older than I am. This man was an abusive alcoholic and pretty soon my father came down to take my brother and I back to Anglesey. He was awarded custody of us both. As this was in the 70’s, a time where it would have been unusual to give custody to the father, I am inclined to believe this version (my father’s) of the story.

In a plot twist that is like something out of a fairytale story, my father ended up getting together with the wife of the couple and she became my stepmother. My wicked stepmother. We lived on a chicken farm and my father spent all his time up in the sheds running it. My stepmother hated us. I can only assume that it was because we reminded her of my mother. My mother that had run off with her husband. I also later learned that she was an alcoholic too.

I remember the first time she hit me because it was such a shock. My brother and I were stood in the porch by the backdoor, ready to come into the house after a day at school. I must have been around 6 or 7. I had a stain on my top from my school lunch. Apparently, this was not ok. First, I realised that, was when I felt a very hard open palm slap across my head. This turned out to be the start of the regular beatings which involved slapping, shaking and dragging. She once beat my brother all the way down the hallway of our bungalow and continued to beat him while he curled up on his bed. At night she would argue with my father. They would scream at each other. I would bury my head under the pillow to cry. If we made a noise, she would come in and hit us. I got good at silent crying, and eventually at not crying at all.

It was more than the beatings though. We were also neglected. We would spend most of the nice weather days outside. We weren’t allowed back in the house at all. It was great because I developed a bladder of steel. As an adult, I could easily do an 8 hour long haul flight without needing a trip to the toilet! We were not clean. We had horrible old clothes on.

Food was very limited. Breakfast was often forgotten. Tea was a jam sandwich or something like that. Just 2 small slices of bread. My brother was a slow eater. Every Sunday the pressure cooker would be on for hours and we’d have a roast dinner. It was a time we dreaded. You’d think we’d be thrilled to be getting a cooked dinner under the circumstances. But it was like torture. My brother ate so slowly and was not allowed to leave the table until he’d finished everything. Sometimes he sat there for hours.

Everything was scary and we kept our heads down as much as we could. My father did nothing. I have no memories of him ever doing anything to directly harm us, or to protect us. I know one night he put his fist through the kitchen door during one of their rows. There was glass everywhere the next day. Another day he made us breakfast when we’d already had something. My brother and I couldn’t believe our luck. But I was sick as a dog when I got to school. My stomach just couldn’t take it.

My brother and I should have had each other through this. But he hated me. He used to threaten to punch me if I did something he didn’t like. “That will be 100 thumps”. “That will be 1000 thumps”. I was scared of him. One day, in the taxi that used to take us to school, he decided to execute on the backlog and punched me all the way to school. I turned up to school in tears. So much so that the teacher noticed and I was called into the office. I didn’t tell them why I was crying. I didn’t tell them anything.

School was great. It was fairly obvious that we were neglected (I later learned that school knew everything but that’s a different part of this story). When we had school dinners, the dinner ladies would give my brother and I second and third helpings of food. All through my life, school was my safe place.

As we got older my mother came back into our lives. She had a series of operations after the birth of my brother and I brought to light that she had a bit of her spine missing. So she had a spinal fusion and was very limited in what she could do and was in pain. She had a new man. The first time I saw her again after a few years, she was at my grandparents house (her parents). I didn’t recognise this strange woman. Must have been hard for her.

From that point on we would go and stay with her and her husband over the holidays. They were good times. We got fed. We didn’t get hit. What more could you ask for?

When I was about 8 we had a visit from a lady that I now know was a social worker. I didn’t know who she was at the time. My brother and I talked to her alone. We had strict instructions to not tell her anything and, if asked, we should say we wanted to remain living with my father and stepmother.

She did ask. My brother did as he was told. I didn’t. I said I wanted to go and live with my mother.

Afterwards my father sat me on his lap, held me close and told me that if I didn’t want to live with him then he didn’t love me.

And that was that.

I discovered, many years later, that my brother always remembered that visit and carried the guilt of not answering like I had for his whole life.

When I was around 9 my stepmother and father had a baby daughter. We had to help look after her. She was very much loved and cared for.

Not long after it was the summer holidays and my brother and I went to stay with my mother. They now lived in Stockport. It was the best summer ever. We played out, ate ice cream and didn’t go to bed crying.

At the end of the summer my mother asked us if we wanted to carry on living with them, rather than go back. This was a bit of a no brainer. I couldn’t believe our luck. I later learned, that because I had been older than 8 when the social worker visited, that I was old enough to be listened to when asked where I wanted to live.

I can’t remember how long we lived in Stockport. It was probably close to 2 years. Her husband used to be a lorry driver so was rarely at home. My school was at the end of the street and was a fabulous school where I flourished. My brother went to High school and so we were our own people.

Not long after we started living with them, we were asked if we wanted to call the husband dad. It didn’t seem we had much of a choice to be honest, so pretty soon I had a stepfather. That time in Stockport was magical. It was safe and it was fun. When the ice cream van came down the street we would go out and get a tub with a flake.

And then it all changed again.

My stepfather lost his job, and pretty soon we moved back to Anglesey.

It was like moving out of the sunshine into the shadows.

He was at home a lot more and he was very controlling. We were like slaves, making his packed lunch, ironing his shirts. We were all scared of him. Before we left Stockport there was an incident where my brother had obviously done something very wrong. His punishment was my stepfather tanning his backside 6 times with a stick, while we all watched. I could not believe, after everything, that my mother would let him do that.

So he never hit us in the way my stepmother had, but it felt like the threat was there. With all the bullying and emotional manipulation back on Anglesey, we felt it could turn into being hit at any moment. He used to play fight with my brother and I and would get very rough with my brother. I really think he was trying to boost his ego.

Soon after we moved back to Anglesey, he started visiting my room to kiss me goodnight. One night, he said “Not like that, a proper kiss” and shoved his tongue deep into my mouth. I tried to keep my mouth tightly shut but couldn’t. I felt like I couldn’t breather. I had no idea what was going on. From then on he did more and more each night, although he stopped one short of rape.

I always fought. I never just accepted what was happening. I used to turn the light out though. At least that way I could hide in my head. From that point he would use my chores as a punishment for not cooperating enough at night. He would inspect the dishes I’d dried and make me wash and dry them again. He would make me re-iron his shirt collars until they were perfect. Then, one day, because I wasn’t cooperating enough, he took a belt to me. With my mothers approval, he told me I wasn’t trying hard enough at my chores. He took me into my room, pulled my pants down, and hit me 6 times with a belt.

I was mortified. And yet there was nothing I could do.

One night, I used playfighting as an excuse to kick him. I got him in the ribs and cracked one of them. He had to go to A&E. I often smile when I wonder how he explained that one away!

One night my mother walked in when he was in the middle of stuff. The light was out so she couldn’t see. She asked what was going on. I am not sure what I answered, but she closed the door and walked out again. We lived in a bungalow so she was in the living room next to my bedroom at all times.

When I was 12 I went to stay with my mother’s best friend for a week. She was the friend that was a neighbour when we lived in Stockport. She had two girls that were a good few years younger than me.

All week she went on about how I would learn to like my stepfather. I knew I wouldn’t.

On the last night, after I’d gone to bed, I came back downstairs and told her and her husband what had been happening.

“Are you sure?” they asked “that’s a very serious accusation”

I told them I was, but asked them not to tell my mother.

When I got home it became impossible. I’d told someone now. He hadn’t visited for a while but I think it’s because I’d started my period. For all the time I lived at home, I never knew if the abuse would happen again. He constantly emotionally manipulated me.

I eventually caved and wrote to my mother’s friend and asked her to tell my mother.

My mother went spare at me. She yelled and asked what I expected her to do. I sobbed and asked her to take me away. She told me to forget we ever had that conversation.

I sat in my room after and sobbed. I felt so utterly helpless. If I’d know about suicide and self-harm, I would not be here writing this now. I later found a letter between my mother and my friend where they said they didn’t believe me. From when I was 12 to when I was 16 I have no memories. From that moment my brain shut down. It’s not that I remember bits. I remember absolutely nothing. I have since reconnected with a couple of old school friends. One left school when she was 16. I had to ask her what I called her because I couldn’t remember. She was at my house all the time apparently.

When he was 15 my brother ran away for the first time. He was found in London and brought home.

When he was 16 he ran away again. This time he wasn’t brought home. He lived on the streets of London. These days he is 47 years old and he has a small flat in London. He is a heroin addict and an alcoholic.

I was so mad at him for going without me. I was left behind with all the responsibility. I was the carer for my mother and his slave. My mother was scared of him and would hide with me. Many nights she would end up having the out of hours doctor out. I was scared she would die. I had to go everywhere with her and do everything.

When I was 17 I got ill. I couldn’t get to school. I was too sick. I was fine in the afternoon but not in the morning. People joked about it being morning sickness. I know now it was anxiety. I went to hospital for tests. They found very little. One doctor asked if I’d given birth because I’d lost a lot of weight and there was evidence of sexual activity. My stepfather took me to all these appointments.

No one ever offered psychological help.

I took my A-levels at home. I got a B and a C and a fail.

I was devastated. I wouldn’t get into Uni. I was stuck at home.

For the past year I had been planning the best way to kill myself. I had been self-harming by scratching away at skin until it bled. I had been collecting my mother’s strong painkillers. I couldn’t try it at home because my mother and stepfather were always there. He had given up work to be a full time carer. It wasn’t a cry for help. I wanted to die.

I got into University through clearing.

On my first day at Uni I sat at the desk in my room, looking out of the window at the world going by. In front of me was a unique collection of strong painkillers, gathered over the last year.

I never took them.

Instead I stood up and walked to one of the other flats in the block, knocked on the door, and introduced myself to one of my other 8 flatmates. This was totally uncharacteristic.

In many ways I did kill myself that day. I realised I could be whoever I wanted, with no past. No one knew me. I became an actor and the ‘real me’ was buried never to be seen again.

I met my husband at uni. He was my first relationship. We would sit up all night talking. He was the first person I told any details to. We connected. We are soul mates.

I left uni and went on to have a very successful career. The actor version of me had no insecurities or limiting beliefs to get in the way. I was confident and outgoing and I progressed rapidly in my career.

But I was unhappy. I joked that I wish I would be run over by a bus, but always lived somewhere with no buses!

Then, in 2005, my husband had had enough and found me a counsellor up in Aberdeen. I went to see her for a year and a half. I wanted to have a child but was too scared. By the end of 2006/ start of 2007 I was pregnant with my first child. That was also the time my husband started having a series of heart attacks. He eventually ended up in cardiac intensive care. In March 2007 he had a quadruple bypass, and I had my 12 week scan.

When I was 20 weeks pregnant the midwife had concerns about my blood pressure. Suddenly everything changed and just as I found myself at exactly 26 weeks we had to give birth by c-section as he was no longer getting blood to his head. My son was 1lb 6oz and had little chance of survival. Every day for 30 days they told us to prepare for the worst. On the 30th day, the worst happened. He developed a tear in his stomach and we had to turn his incubator off. I hated my body more than ever for killing my son.

This was the worst thing ever. My husband and I agreed before he was born, no matter what happened we would have another.

By October I was pregnant again with my daughter. I was scared all the way through, but it was fine and she went over by about 2 weeks. She was born a healthy 6lb 10oz. She remains the most amazing thing ever. I am amazed that I could create her and keep her alive. (she is nearly 10 at the time of writing this).

When she was 3 she asked “are you happy mummy?”

“Yes”, I lied.

And she kept asking.

I asked on Twitter if anyone knew what to do. They said she was just learning how to read people and that it was fine. But she didn’t stop asking.

I hated lying to her.

I decided that it was one thing to be screwed up. It was another to screw up my daughter.

I learnt about a guy in Harley Street called Trevor Silvester who could apparently help me in just a few sessions. Hah! That was ridiculous of course. But what if it was true? What if someone could help me?

I went to Harley street, terrified. He was a Cognitive Hypnotherapist, so I took a friend with me to make sure I was safe.

He asked me to close my eyes and I panicked. But he put me at ease.

After that first session everything changed. A voice was missing from my head. A voice I hadn’t even realised was there until it wasn’t.

By the second session I thought this was something I had to learn. I couldn’t believe that everyone didn’t know about it.

By the third session I was booked to train to do what he did. This was May 2011. By July 2012 I was qualified as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist after doing 10 months of training, for 1 weekend a month, down in London. I did this at the same time as being a mum to a 3 year old, being a senior manager in a major Telecoms company, and running the London Marathon in 2012!

My plan was to leave the full time job after 2 years but I got a chance to be paid off and took the money. In 2013 I became a full time therapist. By experiences didn’t make me a better therapist, but they did teach me that I could help anyone. After all, if I could be ok, so could they.

In 2013 I felt in a good enough place to report my stepfather for historical abuse. I was 99% sure of another girl he’d abused and was sure there had been, and would be others. I wanted to stop that and be the voice for others who couldn’t talk.

It took 2 years to go to trial. I gave 3 hours of video evidence. It was horrific to go through that – but worth it to protect others. By the time it came to trial the CPS were very confident. The prosecution had found my best friend, who was now a psychologist, who was more than happy to testify as she’d carried the guilt her whole life of not doing something after I told her.

My mother’s friend refused to comment at all. My mother told a totally different story and did not corroborate my version at all.

In court his defence did not try and say it did not happen. Instead they said the molestation from my grandfather, that I had experienced when I lived with my father and stepmother, was actually what I was describing. The jury didn’t have to say it didn’t happen. Just that it wasn’t him. The jury was made up of 10 students and 2 older people. On some days they didn’t get out of bed in time. My mother was the only one who could say it was him. Not only did she not show in court, but her written statement was too bad to read out. It was better for the prosecution to allow the jury to think she didn’t believe it happened than to read out her statement.

So even though my stepfather came within a whisker of admitting he did it under cross examination, and even though he turned up to the verdict with his suitcase packed for prison, the jury found him not guilty and he walked free to abuse anyone he wants. He moved not long after.

So I failed to protect others.

But through the trial both the prosecution and the defence described my childhood as horrific. Social services detailed the neglect and starvation. School knew about it all. And for the CPS to take it to court there had to be enough evidence. Horrific though the experience was, I left it free of my story. I no longer worried about being believed or making stuff up.

For the first time in my life I was free.

I am free.

I am happy.

Thanks to Cognitive Hypnotherapy, I may have 9 ACEs, but I am not on a path to dying younger, or having mental illness. I am happy and well balanced. My daughter has made it to nearly 10 years old and she’s fine. She’s one of the happiest kids I’ve every met.

I think it’s important to know that our past may create us, but it doesn’t have to define us for life. Change is possible.

FULL CIRCLE

Submitted by M

I was 11 years old, when my Auntie Esther had introduced me to her new partner Uisdean.
He took an instant like to me, he always bought me things, always affectionate but too affectionate, now looking back I realised this.
I remember one time, when me, my auntie and him were in a supermarket in the south side of Glasgow, he put his arm around him hugging me tight and this women in the supermarket gave him and me this strange look, like out of disgust or something like that and I always remember that, but that was before this abuse started


When I was 12 years old, my auntie Esther's ( now ex partner and my cousin's dad ) would touch me in a sexual way and sexually abuse me when I was sleeping ( but woke up ) on the couch in their home.
This abuse was repeated over several occasions until I was 15 years old.
I remember when auntie and him argued, I would always take his side, I loathed him, although I didnt have the words to say this was sexual abuse but felt nothing was not right but very wrong.
But I think I also loathed my auntie as well, more in a way because I thought she should be protecting me and as I seen her as a mother.
The situation was that my grandpa and nana brought me and I was very close to them and loved them very much
At weekends, holidays and sometimes after school I would go to my auntie Esther's house to look after her kids ( my cousins) from when they were babies to 5 years old.
I looked after them even although I was a child myself
I made their dinner, charged nappies, took them to nursery, took them to the park, while losing my childhood, while losing innocence because my auntie Esther's partner made an informed decision to abuse me
I personally think he knew exactly what he was doing and planned it
I don't think he just woke up one day and decided to abuse me, he made that decision, long before he started the actual abuse.

When I went home on Sundays to my nana and grandpa, I would just cry and cry
Then when I reached 2nd year in school around the age if 13, I started to self harm, through using coproxamol (strong pain killer)
My nana experienced kidney failure and had to go for dialysis a few days a week, so she had different tablets, one of which was coproxamol.
I would take this in my room with no one knowing and just woke up hours later
I did this over several years until I was 16 years old
I told my mum's brother, that I was abused, his response was that it would go through the courts and no one would believe me

My mum's response was even worse, she said my auntie Esther's partner could get what he wanted from my auntie, so he got it from me
What the hell I said
I thought imagine my own mother saying this to me

So I kept it inside myself for years until I i couldn't any longer as still self harming, suicide attempts, go out clubbing, had several sexual partners, one which was not good for me at all and was involved in the drug culture and dealt drugs.
I was just looking for some sort of love and recognition but realise that was no way the right place

During this time I was in and out of homelessness, I stayed in mainstream hostels as part of Glasgow city council, which was horrendous, I stayed in supported accommodation for young people, I stayed with so called friends, etc etc.
I stayed in say women project and then got my own house, and met someone.
However, that was not plain sailing either, as he and his sisters had past trauma at the hands of their dad

My boyfriend was physically violent and emotionally abusive as well.
He sought help and recognised me was an alcoholic and was never abusive again
He changed his pathways, he addressed his pain and in doing so became a good-hearted person.

I recognised in 2010, that I needed support as my mental health was becoming an issue and so I sought support from Flourish House, which is a mental clubhouse in Glasgow that does amazing work and follows the ethos of mental health recovery, building resilience and promoting well-being.
I have been a member at flourish house for nearly 10 years and love going there and being part of something meaningful.
Through flourish house, I was able to rebuild my self esteem, confidence and most importantly HOPE.
I started helping every day in flourish house by cooking in kitchen, to doing admin work to reception work to then having the confidence to use flourish house as a springboard for other things.

I then joined Venture Scotland as a young person and completed a 12 month outdoor personal development programme, gaining outdoor pursuit awards and essentially building my self worth, and resilience. 


I then completed a community action and leadership award through Scottish qualifications authority and lead Scotland.
But I realised even through doing all this that I was still adversely affected by the abuse I suffered as a child, so I decided to get help and report it to the police.
However, it was harrowing and although the police were supportive, things were still worse.
Because none of my family and none of my cousin dad family would tell the police where he was and for pretty much a year the police were looking for him
I was hounded by my family, through emails etc
They tried to say I was lying, they said awful things to me
But i thought well, why did none of them help the police and tell the police where my auntie Esther's partner was.
I felt that was not people who had nothing to hide, but more trying to gain self preservation
My auntie Esther's partner had a lot to hide
The police eventually found him, he chose not to comment during interview and it didn't go to court, even although he we t on the run for a year.
I thought the law needs to change more positively and people like my family should be made to be accountable for refusing to help and hiding him and he should have been made to be accountable.
One aspect that helped me to move forward as such was from the criminal injuries compensation Authority who after years, recognised what happened to me should never have happened and was wrong and It helped me that from the letter from CICA, it said what happened was wrong. So in a sense seeing that in writing was recognition of my pain, was acknowledgement that what my auntie Esther's partner did was wrong.

I continued with venture Scotland and achieved so much
I think that through education, learning and achievement, that this was my journey to recovery and healing.
I gained opportunities and regained my life, I thought, well continuing to achieve, educate myself is me grabbing and gaining opportunities I never got the chance to do, because I was too busy dealing with the abuse i suffered, i was too busy picking myself up from self harming and suicide through the abuse i suffered.
So now i was taking back my life.

I got the chance to go on a weeks sailing experience around Scotland and see Ireland with the Ocean Youth Trust and Venture Scotland, so I tool this opportunity and it was an amazing experience.
I healed that little bit more.

I then applied to college and achieved my social care qualifications, but was still raw from reporting abuse, and when things came up like modules in the course relating to abuse and harm, it did affect me
But I achieved my qualifications..

I then took some time out and helped in my community through doing community achievement awards and highlighting the need for mental health awareness and the importance of hope.
I was a host city volunteer during Glasgow 2014 commonwealth games, I wanted to give back and volunteer as well as again heal that little bit more.
I then decided to learn again and do courses through Futurelearn, so I did psychology and mental health, then forensic psychology modules, then gender based understanding violence, then I achieved learning regarding crime, society and justice through Futurelearn.

It was this point that I felt ready to learn more and do CPD Accredited training with Victim Support in Glasgow
I did the impact of crime training, domestic abuse awareness training and hugely for me, I attended the training on awareness of victims of sexual crime.

I then felt more inspired and wanted to learn more about mental health, so I decided to enrol and got my PDA (Professional Development Award ) qualifications in Mental Health Peer Support from Scottish qualifications Authority and Mind's Well Training.

I then achieved 2 more PDA's in Understanding HIV and Aids and Sexual Health Training and Awarenesd of Gender Based Violence training.
I wanted to gain these, as in my future academic and vocational aspirations I may be working with people ( such as offenders or victims and survivors) affected by these issues, so I wanted make myself aware and be knowledgeable.

I feel that I have through each of my journeys, healed more and more.
My mental health is very good, the act of the abuse I experienced doesn't affect me in the same traumatic way it used too, I dont feel angry
But in the same token, the abuse did take away my innocence as a child, my right to feel safe and secure and I should have been protected and i was betrayed in the worst possible way ( my experience)
I don't think I came out of that the same child, nor the same person.
It has lasting effects, regarding mental health, trust, loss of being able to just be a child, just be me, loss of childhood, the fact the this man ( my auntie Esther's partner at the time) through his nasty actions introduce me to evil and evil acts when all I should have experienced as a child should have been love not misguided or warped love, but complete trust.
There is things that come up in my life, where I revisit the abuse I experienced.
This has been both positive and negative, through college, education, when xmas and birthdays come up and because I dont associate with my family ( apart from my mum), who through it all even when I reported, she stood by me.
So I think for me although the abuse doesn't adversely affect me in the same way, one aspect which is sometile raw is the fact people I'm related to ( I dont call them family) have chosen to deny, ignore what happened to me, which is their problem really not mine, but occasionally it does still come up.
I received an email from my other aunt called Evelyn who said she believed me, but I found it hard as to why she denied all knowledge when I reported it to the police.
She even in the last 18 months sent me a request on LinkedIn and Facebook, which I ignored, because she decided to be physically abusive in the street to me and I refuse to accept that kind of behaviour, so I reported her the police.

My grandpa who was my rock and who was always there for me, passed away in April 2018.
That meant i would see the family again, which was difficult for me

I have great friends now and my best friend Judy, came with me to my grandpas funeral last year.
What I found astonishing was how nice and I mean OTT overly nice the family were to me, which confused me even more
They were coming up to wanting to hug me
I thought omg, really
After all the verbal threats, intimidation, physical abuse and violence, telling me I must have done something to deserve to be abused as a child
I didn't deserve anything like that, no one does.

Even although it was my grandpa funeral, I said to myself, right ok I will be respectful because it is my grandpa funeral, but no way on earth will I be hugging them
Not a chance
I maintained my dignity and integrity.

During the funeral, I went and gave an eulogy about my grandpa and my cousin Rebecca ( bearing in mind it was her dad who abused me) decided to come up and support me as I was getting emotional, but I just could not let that happen because she was the one who said I deserved to be abused.


I'm sorry I just could not do that, let her stand with me.
I still gave my speech, but my best friend stood with me while I was giving my speech.

My best friend, who is a qualified psychotherapist commented to me that my cousin trying to come to support me while I was giving my speech, was a message fo me that my cousin most likely now realizes her dad did abuse me
But I thought well, she isn't coming to me telling me this, none of the family are so no I'm not going compromise my integrity and where I am as a survivor for more trauma.

During the wake, my auntie Esther'
 came up to me asking me for a hug, she needed a hug
I replied why does she want a hug from me, bearing in mind her behaviour and actions
So I let her hug me, but could not put my arms around her, I just couldn't.

My best friend Judy got it right when she said in her opinion it is clear that my auntie Esther made a decision or choice to ignore my abuse, to deny all knowledge and be cruel to me, she chose to sacrifice me and my pain and suffering ( even although she hated her now ex partner for her own stuff that went on the their relationship and hated his family ), just so she could save her own skin and own face.
That says everything to me.

Although since last April, I went on another journey and wrote to them and chose to forgive them, not forget what happened to me but forgive them, not for them but so I could find inner peace.

I then decided to finally pursue my lifelong ambition and what I wanted to learn and apply to university to study Criminology
I think I have healed and moved on and came full circle
I could not have decided to follow my passion of studying criminology unless I did address my abuse and life.
Myself and my best friend bumped into my auntie Esther and I commented how fantastically well I'm doing and that I've got my social care qualifications and now going follow my passion of studying criminology and criminal justice
Well, if looks could kill
Her face gave it away and said everything to me
I don't need to say anymore really on that.

I applied to The Open University Scotland and start in October this year, studying on the BA Honours Degree In Criminology.
I believe in justice and that people should be held accountable but also strongly believe that people should be given chances in life and people can change if they want to change and need to support to also do that as well
I firmly believe and am passionate in rehabilitation and value that children should STOP being criminalised and that adults to a certain degree need to stop being criminalised and helped to turn their lives around as well.

I think and really feel I have came FULL CIRCLE in my life, to get to where I am now and I BELIEVE IN HOPE.
I have a small painting with a butterfly and the word hope wrote on the painting, which is on my coffee table and look and say it every day.
I think, well I have healed and regained my hope and that is something my auntie Esther's partner at the time never took and never will take from me, none of them will.
I just have to look now at all the things I have achieved and on the road to achieving.

Lastly, I think that my experience of abuse and suffering, gave me a fire within me to achieve, achieve and achieve.
What happened to me, has contributed to my driving force to following all my dreams in my life and part of the reason I wanted to pursue a vocation in criminal justice ( although only part of the reason, I was always passionate and have a strong desire to help others within criminal justice)
What happened to me has released a strength to go on and on and on in my life.

One thing I wanted to add, was that my mother who I am very close to now and have good relationship, she had phoned me and said how she is incredibly proud of what I am achieving in my life and that after what happened to me and what I have been through in my life, she says I deserve all the happiness and success.
Now I suppose I take from that as a admission from guilt on her part maybe for what she said when I first told her about the abuse, but also an admission and acknowledgement that the abuse I was subjected to happened and was wrong.