A Care Leaver forgives her abusers – how?

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Dear all

When I left Care, I was a huge melting pot of emotions – negative feelings – about myself. I absolutely despised myself. A horrible, unlovable, ugly, nasty, spiteful person I believed I was. 

It really really hurt when I thought of my childhood with my parents, and as I was back in contact with them, (thats a whole different blog, re-entering the same situation upon which you were rescued!)  I internalised my feelings for them, and my lost childhood, and tried the best I could to make a life for my children. 

After all – my parents, were all I had now – all of those loving social workers who had been so integral to me life had gone.

But you can’t really just shove these feelings and emotions away – they come out sideways, whether you like it or not. 

Mine came out in the way of self hatred, and manifested itself in an alcohol addiction. 

When I agreed to enter treatment for my addiction, I knew that to stay sober I would have to deal with the ghosts of my past, but had absolutely no idea how. I mean, this pain and fear had been part of my life forever, who was I without it?

My identity was totally skewed – I had no idea what my character assets were – I could and would reel off character defects like a restaurant menu – finely tuned to within an inch of its life. 

But how could I let go of the pain of my childhood, and the loss I felt from being “evicted” from the Care System? 

A wonderful Recovery Worker spent many hours with me, sharing with me the power of forgiveness. ‘Forgiveness!”, I was enraged. Why would I want to let these people who had hurt me so bad off the hook? 

‘But you are not, you are allowing yourself to live” says my Recovery Worker. 

So I tried it – and this is how:

1) Your feelings are legitimate. You are deceiving yourself to not accept that someone did not hurt you when in fact, they did. Badly.  

2) There is no such thing as revenge. It simply does not exist. You can hurt someone, even worse than they hurt you, yet it will never, “even the score.” There is a saying, “Acid does more damage to the vessel it is stored in than to what it is poured on.”

3) Forgiveness is not what you feel. It is what you do with those feelings. If someone runs over a loved one with a car, it is going to take awhile for me to get over the anger. Yet, I can forgive the person more quickly. How? Because the action part of forgiveness is the “laying down of weapons.” What are weapons? Getting even, yelling, name calling, being passive aggressive, and the like. Anything I do to purposely hurt someone is a weapon. I may have to lay down my weapons 10 times in 10 minutes. It is something I am in control of, as opposed to controlling the way I feel. You cannot always control your feelings, but you can control your actions.

4) Forgiveness means to Grieve. It is acknowledging that we have been hurt. Whatever was done to you, you let it go. Let it die. There is no way to get even, it will only haunt you. Let yourself grieve whatever was done to you, that you might be free of that injury. Forgiving them will enable you to be free. By letting it go that simply means you choose to not get even, either through thought or deed. Once you are able to do this, you will cease to be haunted by what was done to you.

I share this with all my young people in the care system, and my Care Leavers who are struggling with the same internal pain that I had – its the most amazing thing in the world to be told by them “I get it now, and I aint letting them rob me of my life no more!”

Life can and will be amazing post childhood trauma and care system, if you want it to be.

Much love

Jenny Aka Hackney Child

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7 thoughts on “A Care Leaver forgives her abusers – how?

  1. Hackney’s Child, aka jenny….u never fail to blow me away with your wisdom, courage and strenght, u write so beautiful and that’s no doubt in my mind cause its coming straight from your heart! Each time iv read a piece u have written I’m wrapped in the knowledge that somewhere there’s somebody sitting reading the very same and your words are helping them, u should be so proud of yourself, I no I sure am of u, an amazing lady doing amazing things, if only the world had a few more of u, it would be a darn sight better place, my love and respect is coming your way xxxxxx

    1. Hiya Cheryl – Thank you so much for your kind words. It’s my dream that LAC and Care Leavers aspire and successfully become the wonderful people we know they are.

      Love back at ya xxxxx

  2. Well said Jen! As a care leaver and now Social Worker I could not agree more. Everyday I focus on self awareness – everyday this plays a vital role – being aware and accepting my own thoughts and feelings helps me deal with everyday challenges that I may encounter – this is not just in professional life, but also in my personal life.

    Your a star and inspiration for those who do feel “robbed of life” and Cheryl Crawford is right – you should be very proud of yourself as I am also – like I have said before I am also proud of my own achievements as a care leaver – you and I and I am sure many others are living proof and hopefully hope for those that are living in the care system – that they themselves can make it, even though the journey may be tough and sometimes seeming pointless – there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel – you just have to try and attempt to have around you as much support and positivity as possible.

    All the very best to you, take care – Jeannie xxx

    1. Hiya to you across the world!! You are such an inspiration Jeannie – A Social Worker in your own right – massive asset to the cause – and a loving, nurturing and protective mother to beautiful children – big up respect!!!

      We must keep on fighting.

      Lot’s of love

      Jen x

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