Leaving The Past In The Past

hickorysticks

Is it that easy though? To just leave the past in the past?

There’s been something running through my mind a lot lately. I am tired of being told that I need to “just forget about what happened before, you have to stop thinking about it – it’s not good for you”… Don’t you think I would much rather NOT think about it. The only thing I can do is not talk about it. In order to make others more comfortable I need to seriously filter my words. I’m not saying living in the past is healthy, but let’s face it our memories reside within us – and just trying to forget about it is both unhealthy and impossible.

I’m certainly not trying to say that everyone is this way, but in my experience growing up, being an adult, working in the social services field, having children, friendships and in…

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Leaving The Past In The Past

Is it that easy though? To just leave the past in the past?

There’s been something running through my mind a lot lately. I am tired of being told that I need to “just forget about what happened before, you have to stop thinking about it – it’s not good for you”… Don’t you think I would much rather NOT think about it. The only thing I can do is not talk about it. In order to make others more comfortable I need to seriously filter my words. I’m not saying living in the past is healthy, but let’s face it our memories reside within us – and just trying to forget about it is both unhealthy and impossible.

I’m certainly not trying to say that everyone is this way, but in my experience growing up, being an adult, working in the social services field, having children, friendships and in family this has been a hard pill to swallow sometimes. It’s fucking impossible to not think about it. That is the kicker, the lasting wound that I am left with still many years later. It’s like asking me to scrape off my scars and start anew, fresh – if we can’t see it – it’s over.

But, you know what – it’s not over. It may not be brand new pain, I don’t need to give it all my energy. In fact I believe I have done so well managing my relentless heartache and pain. And I know I am not alone in this minute by minute, day by day, and year after year we try to heal ourselves.

I worked so hard from as long as I can remember to be better than all that and to now allow it to run – or worse ruin my chances at a better life. To be a better person, kind, forgiving, open-minded, and loving human being. I knew that my chances of coming out of it all – unscathed and a productive member of society. And to you that may seem obvious – of course we are trying to be a good person, of course we want to do well for ourselves. But this wasn’t in our reality growing up, not even one little bit. I was told from day one I was not worth the air I was taking up in this world.

For years my mother only told me how much she regretted having me. She resented my dreams to escape all that came with our family. She would ask me who that fuck did I think I was? Do you think your better than us? Cause you aren’t Carrie. You can think you are better, but you will end up just like us one day. And, well my father only referred to me as the “rat” in the family for most of my childhood well into my early twenties he blamed all that went wrong on the fact that I told people the truth. Why couldn’t I just learn to keep my big fucking trap shut??? Both my parents repeated this constantly.

You know my brother and sister both struggled the most with this. They believed that they couldn’t speak out -because our parents were beating that into our heads. They would scream into our faces that what happens in this fucking house – stays in this house! I don’t know why they were less resilient than I was, this fact eats me alive. But I believe the fact that I was given the courage to speak out is what saved my life. Talking about it saved my life. I am a resilient human being and this has served me many chances at a better life. Sometimes though, this can be a detriment to others understanding that just because I look strong, capable, fresh and brand new, years from the events that shook my world so young – just because I look ok doesn’t mean I’m not still hurting and healing.

It’s the smells in the air, a song on the radio, some story on a TV or movie show’s, it’s the everyday things I do in my day to day that triggers a memory. That memory sometimes comes with a visceral reaction, a physical pain that surges through my body. I sometimes feel like puking because I feel so “dirty” from the sexual traumas I have survived. I don’t want to think about it. I would love to find that magical pill that gave my brain and heart some rest and just wipe away all that shit. But, there again makes my point – I can’t find some easy fix to take away the symptoms caused by on-going healing of my mind and body. It’s hard work to keep going, and to be able to turn down the conversation in my head telling me I’m not worth it. Everyday I struggle in some way or another – and it’s always got this underlying deep sadness that I work so hard to overcome.

For my brother and sister they chose to do drugs and alcohol and crime to try to mask and or avoid their reality. They choose not to get help – and too use their devastating childhoods as an excuse to give up on themselves. I am positive they can still hear our parents words screaming in their heads… They still sit silent in their memories – allowing them to completely gut them inside out, killing any spirit they had coming into this world. I didn’t have any less of brutal experiences at the hands our parents than they did, but somehow I feel as though I was more stubborn maybe? Like I wouldn’t allow myself to believe this was it, I was not going to be worth anything for the rest of my life. I had to much spirit and courage to ever let that be my anthem.

This is a very long winded way of just letting it be known that because we still have symptoms of trauma and choose to talk about it doesn’t mean that we are dwelling on it. Talking about it heals me, and I believe if my brother could have found their voices -they too would have a chance at truly healing.

As a survivor – I ask that we take the time to listen to each other’s stories. That we give each other the courage to find their voices, even when sometimes it’s uncomfortable or sad. Acknowledgement goes a long way in the healing process. Not feeling shame or embarrassment by what we have endured – but the strength in our truth and our actions. Letting others see our pain and vulnerability helps to take that shame and deep sadness away, little by little. Keeping it in the past is sometimes not that easy. Sometimes we need to just talk about it – let it out and let it go.

My experiences in life don’t dictate who I am going to be, but they do have a lot to do with who I am right now. I am who I am today because of all I have survived. It doesn’t excuse anything but I am hoping it explains my many different areas of struggle.

“Little Blonde Girl – Looking For A Family.. Will Do Chores!”

One of the most important moves of my life was when I was 10 years old.  At the time I was living in the Eileen Corbett Center in East Vancouver.  Basically it was like a jail for kids. By this point I had moved a total of 62 times since I was apprehended at seven years old.  So in a period of less than 4 years I would have moved over 60 times. Eileen Corbett  was a bad placement, they were apart of my lawsuit that took place starting in 2009, settling in June 2005.

Eileen Corbett was a placement that had each child in their own small locked room, with a window that was also locked so that it didn’t open wide enough for even a child to escape.  I did manage to gain quite a record of AWOL’s from E.C though.  I ran every chance I could.  This “home” was a terror for each child that was forced to reside there and to endure the ongoing sexual, and physical abuse.   I have a pretty clear memory now of what I went through there.   I didn’t remember fully of the terror until I was in my late teens when I suffered very intense flashbacks, and visceral reactions.

Some of those “homes” were simply a couple nights here, and a couple nights at another… I spent quite a bit of time sleeping in the Emergency Services office in New Westminster as well.  Many nights.. it got to the point that they wouldn’t even look for an emergency shelter for me to spend the night at – they would point to the leather love seat that was located in the lobby of E.S and tell me that I was just going to have to sleep there for the night.  Usually my social worker would then come in early and get me either back to my home – or start the task of trying to find me a new foster home.  Other times I would just get up and leave after getting myself warmed up, and got some food inside my belly.  More often than not I would convince myself I needed to run again.

I knew towards reaching age 11 that my luck was really going to be running out soon.  If they (Ministry) couldn’t find a permanent home for me – at least before I turned 12; well that could mean that I was going to be put into a locked facility long term.  This is something that Karen had been telling me over the last couple of years.  At one point they were so desperate to find me a home – they had actually posted an ad in a couple local newspapers for foster me.

One day I received a visit from my social worker to say that they had found a group home to move into.  It wasn’t going to be permanent, but it was supposed to be the last placement before my forever placement.  The place I would call my home for the next 18 months; Morley House.  Morley house was one of 5 group homes run by Browndale Care Society.  It was based out of Vancouver, BC.

 

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Morley House would be a life changing place for me.  It’s where I would meet my future “Mom” Anj.  I met Anj very soon after moving into the group home.  I remember it being around Christmas time, there was still snow on the ground.  I remember the day a little bit when I first met Anj.  She was a resource worker for Browndale Care Society – she was not a foster parent – and hadn’t thought about being one until the day she met me she said.

It’s kind of a sweet story – Anj said on her way to Morley house that day she was pulling up onto our street and saw this little blonde girl walking up the side of the road with a large sign made out of cardboard with writing on it that said; “little blonde girl wants family, will do chores!”  Anj said she was both heartbroken and filled with love at the same time.  I guess now looking back I feel sad for her too – I was so willing to try anything!  I didn’t know it then, but 18 months later I would officially find out that Anj wanted to take me in and foster me permanently.

 

April 19, 1988

hickorysticks

via April 19, 1988

April 19, 1988

The following is an excerpt from my Ministry File, no words have been changed or altered.   

April 19, 1988

Dear Mr. :

Thank you for referring nine year old Carrie Bush.  The child is seen in the office for a period of just over three hours.  She was brought to the office by her social worker, Karen Zilkie.

INTERVIEW

Carrie is a very pretty, blonde haired child.  She seemed quite comfortable in the office.  In interview , she was direct and forthright in responding to my questions.  She co-operated fully when taking the psychological exam.

This child is tense and nervous.  She has a low frustration level.  Like may disturbed children, she reports that she often feels angry but she does not know why.  She experiences stomach aches and headaches.  I asked her when she gets these symptoms…

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April 19, 1988

via April 19, 1988

April 19, 1988

The following is an excerpt from my Ministry File, no words have been changed or altered.   

April 19, 1988

Dear Mr. :

Thank you for referring nine year old Carrie Bush.  The child is seen in the office for a period of just over three hours.  She was brought to the office by her social worker, Karen Zilkie.

INTERVIEW

Carrie is a very pretty, blonde haired child.  She seemed quite comfortable in the office.  In interview , she was direct and forthright in responding to my questions.  She co-operated fully when taking the psychological exam.

This child is tense and nervous.  She has a low frustration level.  Like may disturbed children, she reports that she often feels angry but she does not know why.  She experiences stomach aches and headaches.  I asked her when she gets these symptoms and she responded, “When I run too much or eat too much my dad punches me”.

Carrie reports before she was apprehended, she lived in a house with her twelve year old brother, Jason.  She states that a girl named Jude lives in the basement of the house.

According to Carrie, her older sister, Teresa, was taken away and adopted because she was beaten by her parents.  Carrie stated that her parents used to lock Teresa in a cupboard.  She said, “I used to let her out”.  Carrie reports that she has been in foster homes three times before her parents beat her.  She states that her parents also beat her brother, but that her brother does not want to leave home so he “will not tell” .   She states that her parents have told her that she should not tell either.

Although Carrie reports that both parents beat her, it seems that Mr. Bush is the most frequent offender.  Carrie says that he is “real mean”.  She states that he beats the dogs too.

This child has been in an environment where there is a great deal of marijuana smoking and alcohol drinking.  She says “we would have a lot of money if my dad didn’t smoke drugs”.  She reports that friends come over to the house and her dad buys drugs from them.  She names Jude downstairs and a certain Luke and Susie who bring the drugs.  She calls the drugs “pot”.  She reports that one day she got beat because she did not look for “roaches”.  I asked her to draw a “roach” for me and she drew what looked to be a cigarette butt.

There does not appear to be much money or food in the home of this child.  She reports that they hardly ever eat anything but sandwiches or Kraft dinner. At her foster home she says she gets sandwich meat and lettuce and other things.

When I asked the child where her parents got their money she said, “that’s a funny thing, they phone someone and say “that need money because they have three children, two , four, six , and they have no food to eat”.  The child states that she does not understand this.

In my opinion, this child has also been sexually abused in her parent’s home.  Using the anatomically correct puppet dolls, she demonstrated how her parents have sex on the carpet in their living room.  She says, “they are drunk and out of their minds”.  When I asked her if her dad hurt her mom she said “no, they like it”.  She said that she and her brother watch.  She reports that her brother says “wow look at that”.  Then when her parents are out of the house, he forces her to have sex with him.  He takes her clothes off and holds her down and inserts his penis in her vagina.  She says it hurts. When I asked her if she got wet when this was happening she said “sometimes”.  When I asked her where she got wet, she said, “where he puts it”.  She does not know the correct names for the genitalia.

When asked if anyone has ever done to her what her brother does, Carrie responded that a man names Claude who was baby-sitting her did it.  She demonstrated how she was lying in her nightie watching TV when he came and rubbed her on the perineal area.  According to her he also penetrated her vagina digitally.

A technique I use to determine the person to whom a child is most closely bonded is to ask them to draw me a picture of their most favorite adult.  This child was not sure whom to draw but eventually she drew a picture of her current foster mother, Heidi.  This indicates that she is not strongly bonded to anyone for she has not know Heidi for long.  There is some emotional bonding to her parents however.  When I mentioned that she had recently had a birthday she said that it was a terrible birthday because she was not with her family.  She said, “I’m going miserable without them”.  However, she does not wish to return to a home where she is beaten.

PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTS

WECHSLER INTELLIGENCE SCALE FOR CHILDREN REVISED (WISC-R)

The WICR(R) test results indicate that Carrie of average intelligence.  Her full scale I.Q. score is 96.  Her I.Q. on the verbal part of the WISC(R) is 95 and on the Performance part is 100.

There is no significant difference between the Verbal and Performance I.Q.  but there is significantly low score on the Information subtest of the Verbal part.  This suggests that the child is not learning in school.  She told me that she is kept home from school “when I get child abuse”.  When I ask why, she replies, “because I have bruises”.

SEXUAL ABUSE INVENTORY (SAS)

The Sexual Abuse Inventory is an 81 item true/false questionnaire which has been designed for children ages seven to seventeen.  the questionnaire was designed to elicit information about the child’s feelings of tension, self worth, family support, moral development and sexual involvement.

Responses indicate that this child is experiencing emotional tension and anxiety.  She reports depression and worry.  She feels that she  needs more love and attention than she gets.  She does not believe things will turn out well for her.

The child reports no support in her home.  She did not trust her father.  She answers “true” to the question, “I wish I had a different father”. She indicates that she would rather have been raised in a different family.

Her responses to items about specific sexual acts indicates that she has been involved in sexual acts which include fondling of the breast and perineal area and penetration of the vagina.

As a result of this child’s moral development, she feels guilty about the abuse.  She feels that children should not have sex until they are at least sixteen years old.  She does not enjoy talking about sex.  She feels that she has been used by others.

SUMMARY

Carrie Bush is a disturbed youngster.  She is anxious and depressed.  Feelings of anger sometimes overwhelm her.  She does not understand the reason why she feels this way.  She is not strongly bonded to anyone.  She looks for affection and attention where ever she can find it.

It is my opinion that this child needs protection from the physical and sexual abuse which I believe she has experienced in the home of her parents.  At the present time and for the next few years of her life, her emotional problems will require special attention.

Please call if you have questions.

 

Yours Truly,

Monica D. Angus, Ph.D

Consulting Psychologist.

April 19, 1988

The following is an excerpt from my Ministry File, no words have been changed or altered.   

April 19, 1988

Dear Mr. :

Thank you for referring nine year old Carrie Bush.  The child is seen in the office for a period of just over three hours.  She was brought to the office by her social worker, Karen Zilkie.

INTERVIEW

Carrie is a very pretty, blonde haired child.  She seemed quite comfortable in the office.  In interview , she was direct and forthright in responding to my questions.  She co-operated fully when taking the psychological exam.

This child is tense and nervous.  She has a low frustration level.  Like may disturbed children, she reports that she often feels angry but she does not know why.  She experiences stomach aches and headaches.  I asked her when she gets these symptoms and she responded, “When I run too much or eat too much my dad punches me”.

Carrie reports before she was apprehended, she lived in a house with her twelve year old brother, Jason.  She states that a girl named Jude lives in the basement of the house.

According to Carrie, her older sister, Teresa, was taken away and adopted because she was beaten by her parents.  Carrie stated that her parents used to lock Teresa in a cupboard.  She said, “I used to let her out”.  Carrie reports that she has been in foster homes three times before her parents beat her.  She states that her parents also beat her brother, but that her brother does not want to leave home so he “will not tell” .   She states that her parents have told her that she should not tell either.

Although Carrie reports that both parents beat her, it seems that Mr. Bush is the most frequent offender.  Carrie says that he is “real mean”.  She states that he beats the dogs too.

This child has been in an environment where there is a great deal of marijuana smoking and alcohol drinking.  She says “we would have a lot of money if my dad didn’t smoke drugs”.  She reports that friends come over to the house and her dad buys drugs from them.  She names Jude downstairs and a certain Luke and Susie who bring the drugs.  She calls the drugs “pot”.  She reports that one day she got beat because she did not look for “roaches”.  I asked her to draw a “roach” for me and she drew what looked to be a cigarette butt.

There does not appear to be much money or food in the home of this child.  She reports that they hardly ever eat anything but sandwiches or Kraft dinner. At her foster home she says she gets sandwich meat and lettuce and other things.

When I asked the child where her parents got their money she said, “that’s a funny thing, they phone someone and say “that need money because they have three children, two , four, six , and they have no food to eat”.  The child states that she does not understand this.

In my opinion, this child has also been sexually abused in her parent’s home.  Using the anatomically correct puppet dolls, she demonstrated how her parents have sex on the carpet in their living room.  She says, “they are drunk and out of their minds”.  When I asked her if her dad hurt her mom she said “no, they like it”.  She said that she and her brother watch.  She reports that her brother says “wow look at that”.  Then when her parents are out of the house, he forces her to have sex with him.  He takes her clothes off and holds her down and inserts his penis in her vagina.  She says it hurts. When I asked her if she got wet when this was happening she said “sometimes”.  When I asked her where she got wet, she said, “where he puts it”.  She does not know the correct names for the genitalia.

When asked if anyone has ever done to her what her brother does, Carrie responded that a man names Claude who was baby-sitting her did it.  She demonstrated how she was lying in her nightie watching TV when he came and rubbed her on the perineal area.  According to her he also penetrated her vagina digitally.

A technique I use to determine the person to whom a child is most closely bonded is to ask them to draw me a picture of their most favorite adult.  This child was not sure whom to draw but eventually she drew a picture of her current foster mother, Heidi.  This indicates that she is not strongly bonded to anyone for she has not know Heidi for long.  There is some emotional bonding to her parents however.  When I mentioned that she had recently had a birthday she said that it was a terrible birthday because she was not with her family.  She said, “I’m going miserable without them”.  However, she does not wish to return to a home where she is beaten.

PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTS

WECHSLER INTELLIGENCE SCALE FOR CHILDREN REVISED (WISC-R)

The WICR(R) test results indicate that Carrie of average intelligence.  Her full scale I.Q. score is 96.  Her I.Q. on the verbal part of the WISC(R) is 95 and on the Performance part is 100.

There is no significant difference between the Verbal and Performance I.Q.  but there is significantly low score on the Information subtest of the Verbal part.  This suggests that the child is not learning in school.  She told me that she is kept home from school “when I get child abuse”.  When I ask why, she replies, “because I have bruises”.

SEXUAL ABUSE INVENTORY (SAS)

The Sexual Abuse Inventory is an 81 item true/false questionnaire which has been designed for children ages seven to seventeen.  the questionnaire was designed to elicit information about the child’s feelings of tension, self worth, family support, moral development and sexual involvement.

Responses indicate that this child is experiencing emotional tension and anxiety.  She reports depression and worry.  She feels that she  needs more love and attention than she gets.  She does not believe things will turn out well for her.

The child reports no support in her home.  She did not trust her father.  She answers “true” to the question, “I wish I had a different father”. She indicates that she would rather have been raised in a different family.

Her responses to items about specific sexual acts indicates that she has been involved in sexual acts which include fondling of the breast and perineal area and penetration of the vagina.

As a result of this child’s moral development, she feels guilty about the abuse.  She feels that children should not have sex until they are at least sixteen years old.  She does not enjoy talking about sex.  She feels that she has been used by others.

SUMMARY

Carrie Bush is a disturbed youngster.  She is anxious and depressed.  Feelings of anger sometimes overwhelm her.  She does not understand the reason why she feels this way.  She is not strongly bonded to anyone.  She looks for affection and attention where ever she can find it.

It is my opinion that this child needs protection from the physical and sexual abuse which I believe she has experienced in the home of her parents.  At the present time and for the next few years of her life, her emotional problems will require special attention.

Please call if you have questions.

 

Yours Truly,

Monica D. Angus, Ph.D

Consulting Psychologist.