Where has my inner strength gone…

Evening everyone


I have to admit (with difficulty) that I seem to be internally wavering far more than I usually do. I want to give myself a little bit of a break with feeling this, and wait for it to pass, but, and I sorely hate to admit this, my anxiety levels are at monstrous levels. 

This year would have tested the most strongest of person. My family have suffered horrific times, a desperate person broke into my car and stole “this life’s” work, I have been incredibly unwell, with repeated hospital admissions, including one as an emergency to have 3 blood transfusions and I have opened myself up as openly being in recovery from an alcohol addiction (a fact which carries huge shame within me), which of course creates feelings of vulnerability… 

Do you judge me?

Do you think that, actually, I have not stopped the vicious cycle of repeating itself?

Do you wonder what sort of mum I was? How could I claim such a paradox as being an addict and a successful mum?

Of course – I will never know these answers – and my kinder side tells me that actually this is the devil of my childhood feelings coming back to haunt me, unworthy, unkind, dirty, smelly, unwanted, ashamed, humiliated etc etc etc etc etc etc blah blah blah, and that “I need to fake it to make it”. Know that one? Where you carry on as if, and one day you wake up and its no longer fake. Reminds me of one of the most famous challenges I received in Care and in Rehab,  “take your mask off Jenny and allow yourself to feel pain”, yeah yeah yeah I repeated over and over. It’s served me well throughout my life as a Care Leaver. And I ain’t letting it go. 

However, I have to admit, it’s getting harder to put the mask on. 

I gave a lecture in Scotland recently, and, my mask fell. I was contacted by a worried friend, who told me to start looking after myself, emotionally. I do, I said. I’m part of a 12 step fellowship. I’m protected. Well actually, that’s not entirely true. I haven’t been to a meeting in months. Why? I’ve lost the faith that things will turn from fake to real, that’s why. 

The personal struggles which one of my children has had this year, has almost destroyed me. The person however, has showed us such courage, tenacity and bravery that my heart swells. I am finally accepting, that maybe, just maybe, we can get through this, as a family. This person is a shining light, and will come back from the darkness and be the beautiful soul that they are. 

And this brings me back to my demons coming back to haunt me. You see, when something goes wrong, I can instantly blame the fact that I was a “Care Kid” on why these things happen. Why should I expect anything else?. I’m supposed to fail aren’t I? Arn’t we all, us “Care Kids” Well actually, no we bloody are not. And i’m not. And I won’t. 

I recently received an onslaught of confrontation on Twitter, which knocked me, a lot. I struggle to understand the concept off unkindness and hostility. I do not confuse these statements with assertiveness. Goodness, I have been trained in assertiveness to its death. I don’t underestimate that this has touched feelings from my childhood, and given me a couple of days of reflection, trying to work out why I feel so sad. I realized an hour ago, which prompted me to write this blog so that I could sleep, that actually I never could understand these concepts, even though we were frequent receivers of such behaviors as neglected and unprotected children. One wonders if these feelings ever stay buried forever. “I’ve dealt with them, i’m okay now” – err no you haven’t. They are waiting, waiting, waiting, to bite you on the backside when you least expect it. 

I also figure that by writing a new presentation today, and inputting all of the photo’s I have of my Social Workers from yesteryear, many of whom I loved from the bottom of my heart, and of the photo’s that I have of the ones that have come back into my life, bought feelings of what if. What if I had not contested to my final move. Could I have remained in my final children’s home? Rather than being shown the door at 16, with all my dreams discarded? To be fed to the wolves of unkind and uncaring people who called themselves Foster Carers (they were not worthy of the title), and transported back into my childhood years of neglect and being unprotected. Could I have dealt with my feelings better when I was 13, and not put myself in such dangerous situations that my Social Worker felt she no choice but to apply for a secure order, 3 times. Could I have  – Could I have – Could I have……

Boy, was life in Care a roller coaster. One which you never truly heal from. Loss of your Social Workers. Unjust decisions. Horrible foster homes. 

But, you do go some way to heal, if you can keep the resentments out. 

As I finish this blog, i’ve realised that i’ve kept this mask on for too long this time round – it needs to be put back in it’s box to give me time to feel the pain, just as my beautiful beautiful social workers told me so many times. 

Love Jen Aka Hackney Child 


18 thoughts on “Where has my inner strength gone…

  1. Hey Jenny, it makes me feel so sad to read that you have suffered so much recently.
    I can really relate to you regarding your feelings about motherhood, addiction, recovery my past and often question what that makes me today (how would people judge me if they knew it all) and the what ifs!! Oh god they really get in on me sometimes! I recently came to the twisted conclusion that I was just broken and any hope of a normal life should be abandoned!! Dark times! But just for now I can’t give up on life, so I’ll keep pushing on and hang on to the hope that one day I’ll feel peace.
    We haven’t known each other that well as adults Jenny I know but when we met again in hudd I saw that life hadn’t taken away the things that make you a beautiful human being, I’m so proud of you Jenny and I hope that things start to improve I know you can make it through.
    Sending you lots of love xxxxxxx

    1. Brione – u 2 r beautiful – just remember our hair dyeing days to give u a laugh, and the shared times hiding in the kids home bathroom! Ha – thank you so so much. We can have our own meeting, just the 3 of us, Wednesday night! Can’t wait to c u – you ain’t broken, and never will be girl – our souls just won’t let us stay down! Xxxxxxxx

      1. Hee hee oh the Jerome Russell days!!! LOL 🙂 its true, there’s something inside that won’t be defeated !!! X
        Looking forward to Wednesday Jen :)xxxxxxx

  2. Hi Jenny, relate relate relate!!! have been clean now for 8 years and still i have these times in my life!!! i was in care also jen but had to return to my parents, my life just got worse from that time in. i also havnt been to a meeting in a long time. but i do have a lot of friends in the fellowship that i keep in contact with, they keep me sane. sounds like you have been thro a huge year hon, dont give yourself a harder time than you are having already, you deserve better. you have come so far and given a lot of hope and support to so many people its ok to drop the mask and feel the pain, it will not last forever. big love to you lovely lady. if you ever want to go for a chat in TW let me know. stay safe. Tracy. xxx

  3. Life my dear is one big lottery. Who your born to, where you are born, what foster carer you are placed with, what children’s home you end up in and lastly what social worker you are allocated. Here I sit and feel blessed that even looking back at my childhood it wasn’t perfect a roller coaster of a childhood but what I do know is I was one of the lucky ones when parents were allocated mine tried thier very best and truly that’s all you can ask. My maternal grandmother sat me down as a young child and said I have three things for you to remember. I looked at her with great anticipation. 1. Be kind. 2. Be kind and 3. Be kind. Somewhere along your journey you managed to learn this as you are truly one kind lady. Love as always Debbie TOWIE

    1. Deb – thank you so much – such lovely words – yep – kindness is beautiful a – I love that feeling when uve done something to help someone and suddenly, just through being there for them, they fly, it’s the best feeling a.
      Lots of love back xxxxx

  4. Long were the days of pain I have spent within its walls, and long were the nights of aloneness; and who can depart from his pain and his aloneness without regret? Love you, Sxxx

      1. Long were the days of pain I have spent within its walls, and long were the nights of aloneness; and who can depart from his pain and his aloneness without regret? Love you, Sxxx

        I wished that i could pen to paper that way hon. I always turn to Khalil Gibran, The Prophet. His book has been with me for over 20 years and i find his words comforting. I hope that it helps in some small way and keep smiling misses or the world is going to be a very dark place (that bit was all me 🙂 ) xx

  5. I want you to know that your book and your blogs have taught me so much and given me such an insight into our children’s emotions and feelings. I wish so much that I could give you a great big hug and a big slice of cake. You may not be feeling this right now but I think you are a brave and intelligent woman and you have an enormous amount which you’ve offered up and continue to which helps and informs lots of other people.
    Every improvement made to children’s experiences in care is positive and part of a long journey with lots of steps. It’s easy to be negative and finger-wagging and to compete for the moral high ground, but that attitude never got anything done. You are right to celebrate the wins. Of course there is more to do because there always is.
    I really hope that things get easier for you and that the sun comes out. You deserve it xxxx

    1. Hiya Sal

      Thank you – I share how your book helped me so much to understand overeating and the reasons behind it – I can’t express how valuable that was!

      The hug and cake sounds well nice!


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