Survivors Speak – Jenny’s Story

Today we hear Jenny’s Story – she is a single mom of 4 children, working tirelessly to heal as she reaches the middle of her life. Since her escape, she has returned to her first love; writing. 

Her Story

I’m slowly learning to live again.

Jenny

Please share as much as you are comfortable with regarding your childhood abuse/trauma.

As a child; my mother was the abused person, and her suffering blotted out any sun light.  I became her parent at an early age.

She left her first abuser after a year.  A few months later she married another one.  This nightmare lasted 10 years.  She left after I moved out at 18.  Being beaten and beaten down daily changed her.  She became bitter , and aggressive, and very abusive to me.  Verbally mainly, but physically at well.

It left scars deep where I couldn’t see them.  Until I entered my own abusive relationship at 35.

How have your experiences with childhood abuse/trauma affected your life? Please share both the good and the bad.    

The most negative consequence of growing up in my mother’s battle field is that I never believed in myself.  I wasted so many years not trying because I already knew I was a failure, worthless ,dumb,  broken so why even attempt to succeed.  

The best thing, I’m not sure but I think the best thing to come of it is yet to come.  I hope so anyways.

What are a couple things that have helped you manage your C-PTSD from day to day? Talk a little bit about what it is like to live with this diagnosis.

I remember being really sick in my early teens.  I had horrible body pains, I would have fainting spells, and horrible fatigue.  These symptoms grew worse as I grew older.  Test after test, wrong diagnosis after diagnosis.  Every time I was asked about abuse, violence, or safety, I lied. 

I remember lying to a therapist at the age of 32 when she asked me about childhood abuse.  No one could figure out what was wrong with me, because I kept the promise I made to keep my mother’s secrets. 

I wasn’t diagnosed with CPTSD until last year. 

Now I’ll try to actually answer your question.  I am actually relieved to have a name for my illness, a name and a plan. I find keeping my home a peaceful and calm place helps the most.  I have learned to set boundaries, writing helps, loving my children helps.  Being completely honest for the first time helps.  And when the FEAR comes back and I feel all the bad things at once, and I am frozen…  I can be honest about it and I can forgive myself for staying in bed for 3 days.

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If you are a parent, what is the hardest part of parenting after trauma? What is the most rewarding part of parenting after trauma?

Most of my life, I lived with undiagnosed PTSD  and it effected every part of my life. 

The thing that breaks my heart the most is that when you are disconnected from your own emotions,  you can’t form a proper emotional bond with your children. 

My oldest son is 20 and was 9 before he had any siblings.  I did everything “right” and I didn’t realize that something was wrong, but not having that healthy emotional bond had devastating effects on him.  Its glaring obvious today and I don’t know how to make it better.

What is one thing you want others to understand about being a childhood abuse/trauma survivor?

Being abused as a child isn’t just a thing that happened to me.  It’s an illness that burrowed inside of me infecting every part of me. 

When you grow up in a violent madhouse you think you will grow up and walk out the front door. That you can just leave it behind you.  But home stalks you, it doesn’t let you really leave.

What advice or reassurances do you have for other survivors who are struggling? 

It gets better.  You have to be an active participant in your recovery.  You have to choose everyday to be victorious instead of a victim. You have to stop keeping secrets,  secrets are  poison.  You have to tell your story. Sometimes you have to tell it a thousand times.  There’s healing in the telling.

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You can follow Jenny on her website at  voiceofhopelife.wordpress.com

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