The Survivors Speak Interview series is dedicated to amplifying the voices of survivors by providing a platform to share our stories and connect us through experiences and healing. Read stories of Childhood Trauma as survivors share their pain, their hope, and their healing. Share your story in writing.
Alicia’s Story (North Carolina, USA)
Please tell us what inspires you to share your story.
Hello there. My name is Alicia. I’m 30 years old and I was recently diagnosed with CPTSD. For a long time, I felt like I was broken and impossible to fix, but when I got my diagnosis and starting researching CPTSD, I found others with stories just like mine. This, while sad, has helped me more than I could ever imagine. I’m still healing now, but I thought I would share my story.
Introduce yourself: tell us about your passions, interests, family life, favorite quotes, etc.
I love nature, video games, hiking, vintage fashion, and science.
Please share your story in as much or as little detail as you are comfortable
When I was 4, I watched my dad hit my mom over and over. When he left, my mom called the cops and they came. I remember a blonde-haired woman cop talking to me. She said “this must be hard for you.” She gave me a number to call if I ever needed anything. I never called.
I remember my dad hitting my mom a lot throughout the years. I remember the constant screaming and all the tears that I cried. I watched my mom cry a lot too. I tried to stop it, but I was too little. I remember trying to break the bathroom door down to get to her, but I couldn’t. I ended up knocking the air out of myself as I preceded to slam into the door. There was a lot of holes in our doors in my childhood home.
When I was 5, I remember having a birthday party and a lot of our neighbors, friends, and family came to the party. While I went to blow out the candles, my dad pushed my face into my cake. It was extremely embarrassing, and I remember crying in front of everyone. I guess he thought it would be funny, but it really wasn’t.
I remember my mom leaving for a while. I was left with my dad. It was strange. He would beg me to ask my mom to come back when I saw her. I was 8. She came back. I think things were okay for a while. But then my dad started being mean to me – he called it discipline. It was actually abuse. He made fun of my teeth, called me fat, and told me other weird things that I can’t remember. He would hit me a lot.
One time it snowed and I was so excited. School got canceled so I started getting ready to go play. I guess I was making too much noise and he came and hit me and said “you’re fucking stupid. Put your socks on before you put your pants on.” I was 9. One time, I invited my best friend over to play. We accidentally broke the garage door. My dad found out, and he kicked me awake while I was having a sleepover. My friend saw this and told her mom. She wasn’t allowed back over. I was 12.
My dad would constantly threaten to give me up for adoption. My dad would tell me “I wish you were never born.” He would threaten to take me to an orphanage often.
I remember my dad and his friends listening into my phone calls with my friends when landlines were a thing. They would laugh at us and it was really strange.
In middle school, the bullying started. Severe bullying. They would push me against the lockers and call me a poser. I was afraid of everyone. I was afraid everyone hated me. I cried every night in my bed and wished I was dead. I was 14. The bullying continued until 15, but eventually stopped when they saw my tears. But it was too late. The damage was done. I’m pretty sure this gave me lifelong social anxiety. To this day, I’m scared of people and I’m not okay.
High school was hard. By this point, I was miserable. I hated every minute of every day. No one helped me. I was neglected. I had no support. I was 17. I met a boy. I fell in love. Hard. He cheated on me multiple times with men and women. I lost my virginity to him. I went insane. Something inside me broke in two. I was 18.
After high school, I made a plan: get away by going to college far away. I got into a college 4 hours away and it’s not the easiest college to get into. I remember my dad saying “you’ll be back. You’ll fail. You’ll be back.” I was 20.
I left. I never returned. I haven’t spoken to my dad in years, but he posts about me on Facebook a lot and says “I don’t know why she doesn’t talk to me. I don’t know what I did. She would be nothing without me.”
Funny. I’m actually a research scientist now, and I help run a thriving beekeeping business with my boyfriend of 6 years.
What are some of the challenging ways your trauma has manifested in your life?
Basic executive functioning, emotional regulation, maintaining friendships, making new friends.
When did healing begin? Was there a catalyst moment and how did you reach this point?
Healing has just started. Honestly, I just posted everything I was feeling and experienced on Reddit. And 3 people instantly told me it sounded like I suffered from CPTSD. I had never heard of this before, so I started researching it. I have never read something so relatable in my life. I went to a therapist specializing in CPTSD and got an official diagnosis.
What has your healing journey looked like day-to-day: techniques, modalities, practices, tools you use?
Connecting with others that have CPTSD, reading quotes about childhood abuse and trauma, avoiding negative events and people in my life
What are two or three things you have learned as you heal that you believe are important for survivors to know as they heal?
You are not impossible to fix, it just takes time. You are not alone.
Other Resources at Surviving Childhood Trauma
- 1:1 Peer Support & Guidance Sessions
- Survivor’s Circle Online Peer Support Group
- The Journey: A Workshop Series