Step One – Facing My Past



I’ve often heard it said that the children of abusers grow up to be abusers. Is that true? I really don’t know. It’s not really a topic that you want to discuss on Facebook or at your local gym or anywhere for that matter. I mean seriously, how many of us that were abused as children bring it in conversation as adults? How many of us even want to THINK about it?

I know for a fact that in my case part of this is true. This is a hard post for me to write but I am sure it will be even harder for me to post. Actually that’s a lie. The hardest part about this post is posting it. Not because I am worried what people will think about me, I’ve come to far in my life to worry what people think about me. I’m not worried about what my children think as this is a topic that we have discussed in the past and recently and the outcome of that was for two of my three daughters to admit that if they had not have had the life they had then they wouldn’t be the amazing people they are now. They forgave me a long time ago.

So why is it hard to post? Because I am admitting to myself that I was a shit mother. A shocking mother. An absolutely disgraceful mother who swore if she ever had kids she would never treat like she had been. So what did I do? The same things that my parents did to me. Minus the sexual abuse of course.

That admission doesn’t make me feel any better. Of that I can assure you.

I was a child of an abused home. Yep. There it is in black and white. I was the victim of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. So where do I start to unravel this mess huh? I have very limited memory of my life from the ages of 6 to 16 and then when I left home at 17, I left it behind and started again. But its no wonder my kids haven’t had the most stable mother in the world.

In the limited dissuasions with my friends who I have shared this information with most assume that the physical and sexual abuse were the worst. Nope. The smack in the mouth from my father for turning my head in the wrong direction when my mother was speaking to me, well, that only stung for a little while. The belting I got from my mother with my fathers belt because my room wasn’t up to her standard and the socks were in the wrong drawer, well that stopped burning after an hour or so. I could go on and on but what for?

My parents had no idea how to be parents. My mother was thrown out of her home by her step mother after her father died and was left to raise her sisters and herself. As for my father, well his dad was an alcoholic (just like my dad)

As for the sexual abuse. It’s a part of my life and due to some help from the amazing Emazon (whom you have all heard me prattle on and on about) I have been able to find a way to accept it, deal with and let it go.
I can hear it now people reading this and saying OMG why? Why? Because my father is dead and buried now and he took that abuse with him to the grave and even if he wasn’t, he would NEVER admit to what he did to me. Nor would he admit that he knew I also suffered that abuse at the hands of his brother, yet they continually left me with him. I never said anything. What for? I was a child for fucks sake. I was left with my family – people who were supposed to be the ones I could trust.

So now, the bruises faded and the memory of them went away and the sexual abuse I never thought about it until I grew up and had children of my own and went of the rails. And if you want to know about that then you’ll have to wait for the book.

The emotional abuse was the hardest. Being ignored. Being told you were to fat by your mother and being told at 10 years old that you were going to Weight Watchers and wondering why your friends were laughing at you when you told them. Because my mother had told me it was a great thing and I should be proud of it. That’s why. Being sat in the living room with my family and watching them eat chocolate biscuits and lollies and being told that I couldn’t have any because I was fat enough. The little girl in me is screaming inside right now as I am writing this because some of this I have NEVER told anyone – not even Emma. Nobody at all.

Imagine coming home from school and finding the entire contents of your bedroom in the hallway and then being left in there and not being allowed to come out until it was up to mothers standard. And here’s the kicker for you: Not being able to finish what was on my dinner plate or not liking it. If that happened it was served up the next morning for breakfast and if I didn’t eat it then I went without and then it was given to me for lunch. I think the longest I went without food was a day and a half. I learnt how to sneak out of my room to the kitchen in the middle of the night and sneak snacks into my room until my mother found a cheese wrapper on my bedroom floor that I had dropped instead of throwing out and I got a belting for that too.

There are thousands of examples I could give to you. But I’m sure you get the picture. I remember her telling me when I was a kid that when I was born I took so long and caused her so much pain that she resented me, she once told my sister she wished I had died. Then I found out that the day they left the hospital with me they dropped the basinette they were carrying me in and I feel out, onto the concrete and hit my head. Some days I wonder if that incident had anything to do with some of my issues in life.

Pretty cool huh? Mother wished I was dead, dropped on concrete at three days old and then starved and kicked about like an unwanted puppy because I didn’t obey commands. Father comes home shit faced drunk several times a week, throws his dinner at my mother and then when he sobers up kicks me around because I can’t fight back.

But I could. And I did.


When I had my first daughter I was 19. I got pregnant the first time I had sex. Lucky me huh? I did believe I was pretty lucky because I was going to have a child of my own and I was going to do it all differently.
I didn’t. I stayed with my parents for two weeks and then I was on my own. I was impatient and angry and frustrated and a million mixed emotions that would take forever to describe. I remember when Rhiannon was six months old and she was teething SCREAMING at her to shut the fuck up because I couldn’t get her to stop crying. As she got older it got easier and then at 21, I had Joanne. This time I had a mother in law to help me. Little did I know that behind my back she was mistreating Rhiannon. Several years ago I was told that while I was in hospital after having Joanne that Rhiannon had wet her pants. How did they deal with it? They rubbed her nose in her underpants and left her to sleep in a wet fucking bed. All night. What did I do? Nothing. I said nothing. I did nothing. Why? Because I was terrified that they would take my girls away. And I was weak and gutless and didn’t have the courage to defend my child. I yelled at my kids. And I yelled at them in the same way I was yelled at. I smacked them. I never beat them up but I smacked them over and over again (so I guess in a way I am no different to my parents – I still subjected them to some form of abuse)

After that relationship went to hell in a hand basket I went off the rails. I left my kids. I just – left them. I left them with people I thought I could trust. And off I went. Contrary to what has been said about me, I didn’t leave them to research a book about the sex industry. I went to WORK in the sex industry. Not to support my kids but to support my nasty new drug habit that I had picked up. So I left my kids and didn’t see them for six months.

Then when I was 26, I got pregnant with the miracle baby. Montana. And I was forced to make a life altering decision. The baby or the drug habit. There was no choice. I packed up, moved to a small country town where nobody knew me and moved into a self contained unit in a caravan park where I made good with myself. Worked out my issues. Spent time with my two girls on weekends when my parents would bring them to visit and just nurtured myself during my pregnancy.

Eventually all three of my girls came home to live with me. I thought it would be different. I thought I was going to be a better parent and that my kids would come first. Nope. Wrong again. This time it was the mighty perils of internet chat rooms that got me. I would feed my kids noodles for lunch and tea. Oh don’t worry they got toast for breakfast (incase your wondering this is all writing with a scathing tone directed towards myself). If they wanted something I was furious with them for invading MY time. My time? My time should have been theirs and these days I kick myself at the years I wasted not knowing my daughters while I was getting sucked in by men who told me they loved me and wanted a future with me.

We had no money. My kids had plenty of material shit. Televisions and DVD players, stereo’s etc. Everything they wanted. But they never had a mother. If I am going to continue to be honest they never stood a chance because it was all about me me me. I had shrinks tell me over the years that it was because of my childhood that I had acted that way and that I shouldn’t blame myself. Well I call bullshit there and I say it wasn’t. It was just that they were in my way and I was a selfish. self absorbed individual who should never have been allowed to have children. Again, I left them. This time I didn’t really have a choice. My sister and my parents decided while I was working that the kids would be better without me and took them. Yet again.

So do the children of abusers become abusers? I guess some do. Because I am walking proof of it and the sad part is I see it in my own daughter (Rhiannon) with her interaction and lack of patience with her own children but at least I know she is working on it and doing the best she can to try to make it better and that is all I can ask. I see her leave vitriols of hatred in her emails to me because I left her when she was a child yet she leaves her children for days at a time but for her that’s okay. But talking about things this way makes me think that I am just shifting blame and these days I don’t like to do that.

She hates me. My lack of parenting skills and my lack of nurturing skills and my lack of knowing how to care about anyone but myself showed itself in her with several suicide attempts which I still blame myself for to this day. Finding her in the shower after swallowing a packet of pills, rushing her to hospital after she had slashed herself to pieces. Not to mention the bullying she suffered at school due to her then undiagnosed psychiatric issues. Having her committed to a psychiatric facility several times to save her from herself. It has all taken a toll on her. I know it has. I see it in her eyes and I can feel it in the words she says to me when she emails me to tell what a horrible person I am. Not that I need her to tell me. I know that some of the blame she has to put on herself. But the majority of it came down to me and now when I see pictures of her I wonder about the scars she carries and I wonder if she knows that I carry the same scars too. But its too late now. She has made it crystal clear she wants nothing to do with me. She blames me for both her sexual and emotional abuse and that was a massive load that for years I carried on my shoulders. Its only now since meeting Emma that I know I can’t be responsible for everything and I have to forgive myself. And I do for some of it. I just wish that I could make her see it.

Joanne – she had the hardest ride of all. Left in foster care because of her tragic temper and her habit of throwing knives and fighting with me. Taken away by the police at my request and put in a youth hostel. And I let it happen. I didn’t know how to deal with her anger and her frustration about what happened in her childhood while I wasn’t there to be her mother. Instead of trying to be the mother she needed I again buried myself into a nasty drug habit and when back to work in the sex industry. This time to support my children. I didn’t have to pay for my drugs. What for? I was only dating one of the biggest speed dealers in the western suburbs. Again, I was gone for days at a time. The money was good and the kids had whatever they wanted.

But I still didn’t get it.

All they wanted was me and I didn’t see it. Or maybe I didn’t want to see it.

When I left Victoria to move to Western Australia I left Joanne behind. She was living in foster care with a family that she was happy with and she was starting to settle down. When I had a chance for a fresh start I took it. But I had to make a decision. I made the wrong one. I wish I had of realised that then. What will forever haunt me is going to say goodbye to my daughter and watching her break her heart and cry her eyes out on the side of the road begging me to take her with me. I told her I couldn’t. I lied. I could of, I just didn’t want my new life to be tarnished with anything that was drama filled. I wanted a happy life and I sacrificed my child’s feelings and emotions to do it. A few weeks ago I called her.

I told her the truth and I apologised.

Her response was to tell me she loved me and that she understood and that she was grateful. Because if I had of taken her then perhaps she wouldn’t be who she is today and she loves who she is today. I love who she is today. A strong, amazing, independent and intelligent young woman who everybody loves. I see the goodness in her and it makes me smile and it allows me to forgive myself slowly slowly. I am so grateful for the relationship that we have now. Out of the blue at any time of the day and at any given time I will get a message from her or a snapchat just to say “I love you mumma” or to tell me that I am the best mother in the world. How she learnt so much forgiveness I don’t know but I am grateful for it.

Then we come to my little girl. My Montana who is now 18 and an adult. And my strongest support and my greatest ally. God forbid ANYONE say ANYTHING less than complimentary about me because she will shout down anyone. I am her mum and you are not to disrespect me. No matter who you are. Not even her sisters can get away with that.

We often talk about her childhood and her’s was so much different than those of her sisters. By the time I got her back she was in primary school and a lot of her younger years she doesn’t remember. I have offered to get her counselling but she doesn’t want it. She thinks that if she can’t remember it then she isn’t supposed and she doesn’t want somebody poking around in her head. Montana knows all of my secrets and all the terrible, terrible mothering I did and no matter what she still keeps coming at me head on with more and more love. She knows about my childhood, she knows about how her sisters were raised and how I left them. I have never been anything less than honest with Montana and for that she points no fingers and assigns no blame towards to me.

I often apologise to her for not being there for her as a mother should be. She shrugs, says shit happens, hugs me and makes it all go away. My own little empath. And Oscar tells me I am one? I have my very own empath and I am grateful for her every day. The relationship I have with her is amazing. It’s loving and deep. Its crazy and zany and filled with up’s and downs but we wouldn’t have it any other way and neither would she. I truly believe she is my soul mate. And I cherish that.

I still have a long way to go to deal with the fact that I was an abuser just like my parents were. And I have long way to go with reconciling that I was just like my parents. WAS being the operative word. I’m now just me. Just mum. Just working my way through life and learning to live with my mistakes. Learning how to stop blaming myself for things that happened 20 years ago. And to enjoy my life and my love for my kids (well at least the two who love me and want me in their lives).

I breathe a sigh of relief knowing that although I did smack my kids as they were growing up, I never physically broke a bone or bruised them or put them in hospital. That doesn’t make it right and it doesn’t excuse what I did but it is something I am glad about.

I’ve been finding feathers day after day for the last two weeks and I was unsure of what they were trying to tell me. When I read my angel cards yesterday the card WRITE came up and today’s card told me the angels and the Universe were with me and that I should write. Then a conversation on a television show jolted something inside of me and I knew that it was time to purge myself of this.

To listen to my Greater Mind, to let my Inner Rebel loose to speak her truth.

Not the watered down truth but my real warts and all authentic truth.

And that is that I subjected my own daughters to the very same behaviour I swore I never would because I had no idea who to be a mother or how to stop being selfish.

So I’ve done it.

And I won’t speak of it again. Except for in my book. Obviously I can’t leave out such a big part of the story which is of my life. Its not all shiny, happy people holding hands in that book that’s for sure.

Now after beating myself up for the last however many years I should close the door, move on and pay attention to what Emma once told me.

That I am Freedom, Justice and Love.

And regardless of what I did in the past I am a good person.


One thought on “Step One – Facing My Past

  1. This is a very powerful realisation. Or a series of very powerful realisations. To answer your first question on whether abused people become abusers, the answer is yes, quite often they do. Either of other people (adults or children), or themselves (think really self destructive behaviours, suicide etc), or both.

    From a neurobiological perspective, when you are traumatised as a young child and your parents are unavailable to provide nurturing and comfort, your brain is physiologically changed at a fundamental level. You build neural pathways of ways to cope based on what keeps you protected as much as possible. We all have a pre-programmed, survival mechanism for 4 things – attachment, self-esteem, control and pleasure (the opposite of which is to avoid distress). When any or all of those are violated or are left unmet, specific parts of our brains are activated and we will behave in a way to preserve those 4 needs as much as possible (eg, withdrawing, hiding, running away, disengaging etc). And when we have models of behaviour such as those you describe by your parents (yelling, screaming, sexual abuse etc), we have neural pathways laid down inside our brains to tell us that these are the way you do things. These are reinforced each time the modelling is repeated and pretty soon they become our default behaviours every time we get stressed (e.g., by kids crying and demanding your attention).

    So, if you’re still reading and understanding after all this, the main message in all this is to understand that given the abuse you went through as a child, every time your own kids needed your attention your survival mechanisms were triggered and therefore your default protective behaviours (run, hide, yell, scream etc) were activated. So from that angle, your parenting “choices” weren’t really choices at all. When your survival mechanisms are triggered, we don’t have control.

    The good news …. those patterns can be changed. New neural pathways can be built and this is done through awareness and safety. When you feel safe (physically, emotionally), you open up your neural pathways to new ways of thinking and being. So keep doing what you’re doing. Every time you work with Emma I’m guessing you feel safe and you get to unhook/untangle some of those pathways. Every time you quiet your mind and listen to you GM, you promote safety. And remember too that you cannot give something to your children that you do not have yourself (no parent can). If you don’t feel safe, you cannot help them to feel safe. If you combine this safety with some great therapy, you can slowly build new pathways, learning new ways of coping.

    Keep breathing, slow down, do lots of air training, and listen to your GM.

    Hope you can understand all this as it’s a little technical (it’s much more involved and complex than the way I’m explaining it here), and that it’s helpful for you to know. Keep an eye on my blog through November cause I’ll be doing a focus on all things stress, which includes some of this neuroscience stuff and strategies to help tackle it.

    Ali xx

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