My Sister’s Apprehension: Actual Social Worker Notes from Ministry File, Dated in 1983

July 22, 1983
This worker was on weekend duty this date.  About 7:00pm, I recieved a
call from Constable Mike Hawkes of the R.C.M.P.  He said they had a
seven year old at the police station.  The child, Tereasa Bush,
apeared to be badly beaten.  Hawkes requested I attend the family
residence with him when he returned Tereasa and confronted the
parents.
Because my house was close to the Bush residence, Constable Hawkes
brought Teresa over.  When they arrived Teresa was sitting in the
front seat of the police car drinking a soft drink.  She has on a very
short flannelette nightie, panties and Constable Hawke’s sweater.  She
smelled strongly of urine.  As chatting was difficult (the car motor
was running) we went into my house.  Once inside the following was
noted: Teresa was bruised on her forehead, the area around her eyes was
quite blue (lack of sleep?), her hand and foot were bruised.  I
checked her back, there was bruising from the waistline to mid back
with an obviously belt mark mid-rib cage under her arm, also a
distinct bruise mid-back.  I pulled Teresa’s panties down, her behind
was black, blue and red with some distinctive bruises.  Teresa said
she was very stiff and sore.  She was also very dirty and smelled
strongly and urine.
At this point the decision was made to have Teresa medically examined.
Constable Hawkes phoned the hospital to advise them of our arrival
then contacted the R.C.M.P  Identification Officer to have him meet us
at the hospital for photos.
I took Teresa in my car to the hospital.  As we parked in a gravel
section of the parking lot, I carried Teresa over the gravel to the
blacktop (Teresa was barefoot).  One of my arms was under he back, and
the other behind her knees.  Teresa cried out that my hand was hurting
her back so I adjusted my arm to higher on her back where there were
no bruises.
Once in the hospital, we were taken to the admitting clerk’s office.
The clerk asked Tersa where she lived to which Teresa replied;
“I don’t have a home anymore, my parents don’t want me”.
A few more questions were asked then Tersa abruptly asked if she could
use the bathroom.  The admitting clerk ran and brought back a jar for
urine specimen.  I accompanied Teresa into the bathroom.  After a few
moments of what I thought was peeing, I asked Teresa to wait and would
help her collect a urine sample.
“I’m not peeing, I have diarrhea”. Teresa replied.
The diarrhea went on for some time and Teresa was in obvious
discomfort.  I went and brought a nurse who checked and said there did
not appear to be any blood. Teresa said she had diarrhea for two to
three days.  By the time she had finished the diarrhea nearly filled
the toilet.
We went to the emergency ward and were shown into a small room off the
ward.  Dr. Fike arrived and began a detailed examination of Teresa.
He the began a stick man type of drawing illustrating the injuries.
Teresa was fascinated by the art work and made comments about Dr.
Fike’s artistry (or lack the of).  A short time later the R.C.M.P
identification officer came into the room.  Teresa was naked under a
hospital sheet.  The officer told Teresa he wanted to take some
pictures of her.  It was at this point Teresa showed the first real
sign of fear.  We talked for awhile.  The constable assured Teresa
that he had seen little girls naked before as he was a father of three
lettle girls and often helped them bathe.  Teresa became more relaxed
so the officer took some flash pictures.  He then started a game with
Teresa about how many stars Tersesa saw everytime the flash went off.
After the Identify Officer’s departure Tersa had to use the bathroom
again.  This time she did urinate and we were able to collect a urine
sample.  While we were waiting got Dr. Fike who was busy on another
part of the emergency ward, Teresa and I talked.  This is when I got
her version of events as follows:
Over a period of a few days, Teresa was beaten and belted by her
mother, booted by her father and picked on by her brother Jason and
Carrie.  During the afternoon of July 21, 1983 she had gone to Mc
Donald Park without permission.  Jason told his mother and Tersa was
beaten again upon her return home.  During that night (or early hours
of the next morning) she left the house by the door.  It was dark so
she had gone to McDonald Park and slept near one of the buildings.  It
was cold (she had on only a short nightie and panties) so she walked
around and found a yard with shrubbery where she slept until morning.
tersa said the shrubbery was warmer than a tree in McDonald Park.
Early friday morning she walked to a store on Tranquille road.  She
met some other children who gave her money.  She went into the store
and bough a drink and some candy.
She wandered around all day and then went back to the yard where she
slept.  There she knocked on the door of the residence and asked the
lady who answered if she could come in and live forever.   The lady
took Teresa into the house, washed her hands, fed her supper and then
called R.C.M.P.
During the wait for Dr. Fike some x-rays were taken.  Later when I
spoke with Dr. Fike he indicated that Teresa would be admitted to the
hospital for observation.  he was pretty sure there were no broken
bones or internal bleeding but he wanted to be sure.  I asked dr. Fike
to make it standing orders on the ward that no one visit Teresa except
myself or andother MHR personal, or the R.C.M.P  I left Teresa about
10:00pm as she was waiting to be taken up to the pediatric ward.

I went to the R.C.M.P Station afterwards.  I accompanied Constable
MIke Hawkes and Corporal Wilf Bells to the Bush residence in my
vehicle.  Before our departure, Constable Hawkes advised me that he
and another member had been over earlier while I was still at the
hospital and had both Carrie and Jason strip down to check for
bruises.  Both children appeared ok.
When we arrived at the Bush residence, I advised Carla that teresa had
been apprehended by myself due to what appeared to be parental abuse.
Carla then refused to discuss the matter further with the police
officers present.  She asked them to wait outside, which they did.
While the officers waited outside Carla admitted having slepped and
spanked Teresa, saying the child was a problem and always had been.
Carla said she was gald we had Teresa as she was going to phone MHR
and have Teresa taken.  Carla said Teresa was always getting into
trouble with lying, that Carla had to go to school every other day as
Teresa had told the teacher some great tale.  I advised Carla that
neither she nor Blackie were to visit Teresa on the ward at Royal
Inland Hospital.  Carla then made some confusing remarks about Blackie
not really living there but she told the police he did for bail
purposes.  I asked Carla to contact me Saturday afternoon if she
wanted to enquire about Teresa or discuss the apprenhension further.

July 23, 1983
During the afternoon the 911 operator contacted me on behalf of Carla
Bush.  As I was on my way to the hospital at the time, I asked Carla
to contact me around 5:00pm.
When I visited Teresa on the ward she appeared rested and in better
spirits.  She indicated that she had had a bath and lots to eat.
Again, Teresa told me her parents didn’t want her anymore.  I then
went to a store downtown and bought Teresa some activity books and
crayons.  I had also given her some of my old costume jewelry.  She
was particularly pleased with this and wanted to wear most of it at
once.  We visited with another patient on the ward and then I left,
promising to visit Teresa again the next day.
Later that day, around 5:30 pm I received a 911 operator on behalf of
Carla.  I returned the call (payphone).  Carla inquired about Teresa
and I assured her Teresa was better but still stiff and sore.  I asked
Carla to bring a change of clothes to the office as Teresa would need
something to wear upon her discharge.  Carla agreed then asked if she
would be stared at by the office staff when she came in.   I replied
that I had no idea but I had doubted it.  She then asked how many
would know about the apprehension.  This type of questioning went on for
sometime, until I told Carla to put the clothes into a bag with my
name on it and have a friend deliver it to the office.  Carla the
inquired about court and what happened next.  Would she be charged?  I
indicated that I did not know if she would or would not be charged, it
was up to the R.C.M.P and Crown Counsel.  I advised Carla to phone me
Monday at the office and we could arrange a time to meet, probably on
Tuesday, and she could then discuss proceedings with the social worker
assigned to the case.

July 24, 1983

I visited Teresa today in the hospital.  I took her garden flowers for
her bedside table.  She was pleased as everone else seemed to have
flowers except herself.  We chatted and visited around the ward before
I left.  Carla had asked me on the phone the night before to give
Teresa a hug and kiss for her.  When I told Teresa of this, she put
her arms around me and waited to be kissed.  I left the ward promising to visit the next day.

July 25, 1983

Upon arrival at my office, I advised the District Supervisor of the
happenings on the weekend.  Marty Lovick was immediately assigned to
the case.  As we were discussing the case we were interrupted by a
phone call from the R.C.M.P advising us that they were on their way to
arrest both parents.  The District Supervisor instructed Marty and I
to attend with the R.C.M.P and apprehend Carrie and Jason.
We did this, and returned to the office to arrange foster placements.
The children were dirty and obviously hungry, it was noon and the
children had said they had not yet had breakfast.  Both children were
very talkative and gobbled candies left in the staff room.
Jason and Carrie were later placed in the Larson Foster home on Stardust St.

Later that day, I visited Teresa in the hospital.  the nurses advised
me that Dr. Burkell of the Burris Clinic had taken over the case and
wanted me to call him regarding some additional tests for Teresa.  I
advised Teresa that her mom and dad had been picked up be the R.C.M.P
and were now in jail.
Teresa said, “I think I am going to cry”.
I gave her a hug and cuddled her and assured her everything would be
okay.  She bounced back quickly and asked about seeing Carrie and
Jason and the home she would be going to when she is discharged.

July 25, 1983

I spoke with Dr. Burkell.  he wanted me to run a few more tests on
Teresa before her discharge.  Dr. Burkell indicated that he had copies
of all the hospital charts and was prepared to follow up with Teresa
as a patient.  Apparently, when Dr. Mabee had visited Teresa in the
hospital over the weekend, Teresa had told him she was afraid to go
home.  Dr. Burkell commented that Teresa appeared to be a bright,
cheery little girl but he recommended a psychological assessment.  I
made the appointment with Dr. Burkell for full examination of Jason and
Carrie for July 27, 1983.
Jason and Carrie were apprehended.  All three Bush children were
ordered retained by Ministry of Human resources pending a hearing on
August 29, 1983.

Carrie and Jason originally apprehended after Carla and Walter were
charged regarding abuse of Teresa.  All three children have gone on vacation with their respective foster parents.

Plans are now:
Provide supervised visits with Carrie and Jason after August 8, 1983
Complete court documentation including notices
Plan with Lawyer Carter as to how we will proceed and what we will ask for
Keep contact with the R.C.M.P regarding charges

July 28, 1983
Conforming with Judge Blair’s order, there is to be no parental access
or visitation with Teresa and only supervised access with Jason and
Carrie.  A previous order restricted Carla and Walter from entering an
MHR Officce for harassing MHR Workers.
File now opened and assigned to Social Worker, Marty Lovick.

-Marilyn Brooks, Social Worker

August 29, 1983

Court was held today regarding the custody of the 3 Bush children.
Evidence was heard, with our lawyer calling all Ministry of Human
Resources, witnesses etc.  Judge Simpson adjourned the proceedings
until September 12, 1983, 9:30am.

-Marty Lovick, Social Worker

September 12, 1983

Judge Simpson’s order regarding the Bush family is as follows:
Jason and Carrie to be returned to their parents and their C.I.C files
to be closed.
Teresa was made a permanent ward by consent of the parents and will
remain in the current foster home while further plans are made
I will return Carrie and Jason the afternoon, September 13, 1983.  I
will keep a F.S file open while planning for Teresa.
-Marty Lovick, Social Worker

So from here onward my sister would never return to my parents, but
they saw fit to return my brother and I.  This is where the nightmare
would really begin for me.  Now that my sister was gone it was me that
was in their way.

Fight, Flight or Freeze

 

Fight, Flight or Freeze… these are our natural coping mechanisms that happen to us when we are faced with extreme fear.  So, lets just say that someone comes up behind you with a gun saying that they are going to rob you.  What would you do? Or a stranger comes at you to try and take you away from your safe existence?  Or, if someone you may love, and trust makes inappropriate and unwanted sexual advances towards you, aggressive or not – what would you do?

Most everyone I have ever talked about this topic with has said they are sure they are “Fight”.  My favorite is when they start it with; “Obviously! I would fight!”

Most people, including my children firmly believe that they would have the wits about themselves to over power an attacker, say even to kick them in the balls and run away.  That’ s my eight year old speaking there.  When we talk about stranger danger with our children I always stress yelling as loud as possible and run, run, run.  But with each attempt to talk about some of the “evils” in the world – my son especially is more and more convinced of his strength and speed being his ticket out of a situation.  Inside my brain I am screaming – it’s not like that, it’s never like that!  At least not for everyone, and definitely was not for me.

I’m a freezer.  I totally freeze, not just physically but mentally.  I even find myself regressing to a much younger age rapidly.  My body has the same physical reaction it did when I was little.  One thing I notice is that my bum will shake, then my legs…and I feel as though I am literally seconds away from peeing myself.  I will find myself trying to get small, often ending up in a fetal position rocking back and forth to self soothe.  I more so freeze mentally now than physically as an adult.  Even when I don’t want to do something that will make me feel horrible, dirty, worthless, and ashamed I have extreme difficulty saying that. I feel bad for saying no.  Since I was just six years of age I can remember sexual abuse being not just a part of my life – but for years and years it felt like that was all my life was about.  I was groomed very young, and by many different abusers.  I was groomed to not say no.  To not question, or refuse.

At the age of 8 I was in a clinic in Mission, BC with my mother.  I have a very clear memory of that day.  I was getting my first PAP.  Most girls would not have a need for a PAP until at least they had started their menstrual period or had become sexually active – and that was for sure not before their teens I would hope.  But I was getting one because I had recently reported that my brother was raping me.  For some reason I was in the dr’s office room with only the male doctor and my mother.  I can remember being terrified.  I remember how tightly I was trying to hold my legs together while my mother and the doctor talked frankly and it seemed annoyed at the whole situation.

My mother said something to me that day that stayed with me through all the abuse that my body would take in my lifetime… While the doctor was examining my private parts, and talking about my hymen – I squeezed my legs together again.  My mother took her hands and pulled my knees apart angrily and said, “Carrie, what is your problem?  It’s not like it hurts, pussy’s are meant to be fucked!” That statement is what told me it was ok.  Why was I crying?  I would say that statement many times over the years to myself, and others when they might try to harp on how sad it was that I had been or was being sexually abused.  And, I would think back to that day in that fucking doctors office.  Too me, it made sense.  Yes it hurt, but I was young and small.  People told me it would get easier, one day I would get to liking it too maybe even. That stuff got easier on my body physically than all those beatings.  I just told myself it was apart of my identity.  This is what my body was for.  At least, most times I wasn’t getting my faced pounded in.

I did finally get it that what my mother said too me that day was dead wrong.  But it took until I had my first daughter.  Up until then I still thought that all the sexual abuse that I endured wasn’t really that serious, that I didn’t really have any right to cry about it.  That I deserved to feel dirty for the rest of my life, because I was a dirty slut – and I thought I had been that way since I was very young. Even during my lawsuit against the Ministry of Children and Families back in 2005 I still had a hard time acknowledging the effects it has had – and still continues to have in my everyday life.

But, when I saw my beautiful daughter, so innocent and full of life – I almost couldn’t catch my breath one day.  I was aghast at what I was telling myself.  Could I ever tell my daughter that her pussy was meant to be fucked?  Never.  No.  I remember feeling sick to my stomach and running to the bathroom to throw up. Flashes of horrible memories came flooding back to me… I was done with denial.  I knew that I would do anything to never have my children go through anything like what I and millions out there endure.

So, I freeze.  I don’t fight, or run.  I get through the moment and just try to fucking survive.  Even though I know – even when the moment is over I will have to relive it for the rest of my life.  I don’t have a day where I don’t find myself sicken by what I have had to do – what I wasn’t able to fight or run from.  But I survived dammit.

a memory…

We may not have had a lot of money, friends or status…but my parents had their crazy things  they made sure we did in case anyone else saw us. I say that it was crazy because it wasn’t whether or not my siblings and I had shelter, or food … but it was whether we had combed our hair and brushed our teeth properly enough each morning before we produced ourselves in front of the world.

My mom and dad made a big deal about his ritual. Sometimes my father would make a joke about it, when asking me if I had combed my hair…and I replied yes – he would always joke and ask “which one?”… Dad… I would say. Of course all of it. Which, of course I had. I would NEVER not do it. Why would I risk the back lash that would occur…that was just about to occur.

I was sitting in the back seat of our Nova, with my brother Jason. We were parked in the gas station; my dad was positioned to get gas. My dad had his arm stretched out behind my mom’s back, as she sat in the front seat, listening to my father. “Did you brush your fucking teeth Carrie?, cuz it sure as fuck doesn’t look like you have brushed it in days!”
“Yes Dad, I did. This morning when I woke up…” I replied terrified. Of course I did, and he knew I did. There was a hair brush beside my pillow for when I woke up, and I knew that right after that – I would go across the hall and brush my teeth. Why would I ever take the chance that this would happen?
I’m not sure how long this conversation went on. However, at some point my dad explained to me and Jason how the next while was going to play out.  Dad was going to drive Jason and I home right after he finished at the pump, at that point Jason would time me for exactly 15 minutes. At which time I was to brush my fucking filthy teeth until they were fucking bleeding. I had only 15 minutes, and that’s fucking it. My brother was to watch me, and make sure I didn’t get a second longer than the fifteen minutes my father so generously was giving me. If my teeth weren’t fucking white when my parents go home my dad was going to kick my fucking teeth to the back of my fucking head.
I can remember standing in my bathroom brushing my teeth franticly. My brother was standing at the door staring at his watch the entire time, all the while giving me the count down. Whether my father was home or not he was going ot make sure I only got the 15 min I was allotted.

Usually when my brother was left alone with me he took the time to hurt me in a more intimate way, but this day he knew our parents would be returning very soon… he just didn’t have the time. I remember looking in the mirror and asking Jason over and over if they looked white enough to him. Jason never reassured me…and made sure the water was off and brush put down at the 15 minute mark.
I waited for my parents return, shaking and terrified. When my father returned he was already upset about something completely different. He never brought up my teeth again that day.

FEAR – Living With It Each Day

There are many unfortunate, sad and difficult consequences left for a victim for the rest of their lives after a traumatic event.  I know from my experience I was able to find moments of peace…though far and few in between – with little time to work through the trauma that my parents had started exposing me to as early as when I was still in the womb. I was forced to face a string of various types of abuse ranging from but not limiting it to;  physical, sexual, spiritual, neglect – and the perpetrators were the hands of the people with a duty to keep me safe, protect me – someone that I was supposed to trust.   I can not remember a time in my life  that I was NOT afraid, or  time that I felt totally and completely safe. That reality is heartbreaking .

I have to imagine that even from the womb I have had a fairly intense level of fear running through my little body…afraid of the unforeseen strikes coming my way.  Sometimes it was the things my parents would yell at me that could leave bigger bruises than a whole day of whips, strikes, and blows to my body.  Those words have left invisible catastrophic scarring.   My mother told me stories of when she was pregnant with me and my father would beat her belly with his belt – buckle end hitting her baby bump.  Shit, I probably didn’t know what I was more afraid of; staying in there – or coming out!

My mother also shared her opinions of what she thought of me from the moment I was born often throughout my childhood. “You were ugly honestly, and we really didn’t want you, your father really didn’t want you…he hated girls.”  I would always ask her why he hated girls, what was it that made us so horrible in his eyes.  Why did he think we were such bad girls?  She would never have an answer for me.  She was usually quite flippant about it, acting as though she was just caught off guard for a moment… My mom was the queen of manipulation.  “Oh, I don’t know… who knows Carrie.”  My mom did know why my father hated girls and women in general. She would rather we believed he was just evil, and a sick man.  However eventually truth seeps out of the cracks.   So, years later as an adult I wanted to learn more about my fathers upbringing and the more I did learn – it was very easy to understand where his anger was coming from.  You see, my father lived in fear for his entire life as well.  It was all he knew.  Soon it was all our whole family knew.

I can’t imagine that even to this day, that either my mother, brother or sister feel safe.  I don’t.  The terrorizing anxiety and fear that lives inside me is the worst symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) I face every single day.  It is not unusual for me to afraid in my own home, car or work place.  I am most afraid of course when I am alone.  I hate closed windows, drawn curtains, dark rooms, and hedges that cover a home.  It reminds me of things my parents made sure existed in our lives. They made sure we were afraid of them, always.  There was ALWAYS a consequence, there was no room for error or stupidity as he called it on our parts. And most importantly, it was stressed that we needed to keep our family matters private at all times – my Mom or Dad would say “So Carrie, that means you shut your fucking big mouth!  You understand me?”  We were never to talk about what happened behind our doors.

So my dad would try to seal the sounds of screams in with those little tricks…and now I can’t have the windows closed, or drapes drawn…and don’t even think of having a large tree or hedges surrounding our home!  Most of my husbands family think I am crazy to have everything always wide open – where everyone can see me.  “That’s the point.” I would say.  Exactly.  I am always trying to be sure it’s at least possible to have someone see me if I was being hurt – and this time save me.

I think about this scenario practically daily really.  I feel better in numbers.  I like crowds, I like downtown… I don’t like being in my home alone.  I am almost always incredibly scared, and I know realistically I am more than safe.  But, I don’t believe that. I know better.  I know better than to ever think I am safe.  I know not to start feeling sure I won’t ever have to face unspeakable hurt again.  Too me, that is just baiting the devil to come show off one more time with me.  I am so afraid I will not have the resilience and strength to live through another attack again.  And now, that I have been blessed with three beautiful, innocent children that fear has only been escalated too massive proportions.

The very thought of my kids having to live like I did makes me feel sick to my stomach.  I never really thought of it this way before the kids, for some reason I was able to compartmentalize the stories from the actual realization of how horrible it really was for us young children.  Now I can see for myself how innocent, tiny and helpless we really were.  As a child I really felt like I was at fault – I had obviously been so out of control, so ungrateful, spoiled… I felt that I had pushed them into hitting me, hurting me…  Most of my abusers had me sure that it was my fault that they were sexually attracted to me. That even as young as six – I was just slutty.  I was the one that brought the bad, dirty and wrong doings from these individuals.  There was something in me bringing out the evil in them, causing them to hurt me.

There was a court hearing once that involved one of my foster fathers; Wayne Haydamack where he was being charged with historical sexual abuse.  One of his arguments about why Wayne may have been sexually inappropriate with me – IF – he did – it was simply because I was teasing him, flirting, and seducing him into it.  He was a victim of my seductive ways.  This makes me fucking sick each and every time I think about it. Even if I was displaying sexual behaviors towards him – that is NEVER ok or normal. I have too feel sick when I think of how I was so comfortable being taken advantage of that young.  I remember too that although I found it terrifying each and every time – I also found it too be a normal part of my life, like one of my duties of growing up.  I remember how awful it made me feel too, how dirty I thought I was, and how incredibly afraid I really was.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t have flashbacks or get triggered by a smell or sound that takes me right back into those moments that still cause me to be afraid.  I don’t have many memories of restful sleeps, or being able to close my eyes and feel  my body completely relax…and just letting go … Usually I am trying to shut my brain down from all the scared thoughts I am having; can anyone get in? Are my kids safe? What if someone tried to take them?  I find myself sometimes going through the entire scenario, getting myself all worked up thinking of the worst things possible – I fight hard to leave those thoughts and fall asleep.  I think of when I was a young child, how strangers would come into my bedrooms while I  was asleep and hurt me. Ripping me from my dreams – leaving me in a nightmare for the rest of my life.

Each and every abuser that took liberty with my body in unspeakable and disgusting ways; ultimately took a piece of my innocence with them when they finished. They all had a part in making me be so afraid and unsure of myself and my worth.  They all hurt me in different degrees – but still leaving me with a lifetime of fear, anxiety, and an ongoing battle with self-loathing and self-worth.  No matter how many times I can tell myself that it was not my fault – some shit has a hard time sticking. The fact that I felt responsible and dirty for being apart of it is something my abusers were counting on.  They groomed me, some more than others.

I have to believe a huge source of my fear comes from the fact that I have dozens of my abusers out there, free to roam the world, free to hurt again.  I am afraid of running into any of them.  I am very afraid of my immediate family; especially my mother and brother.  I have seen their form of evil and I am sure I have not seen the last of it.  My brother grew up to be a convicted rapist and murderer.  My brother is free now – having served his time fully.  He is on the sex offender registry, but is not required to report to a parole officer.  On one the reports I received from the Prison staff before his release after serving ten years for the murder stated that he was at a high risk to reoffend. There was also a note in the report that my brother had made a statement of how much he hated me, and if he were to see me again he would slit my neck from ear to ear.  I am afraid of my brother. I have a very clear memory of my brothers eyes, they were always empty – scary.  He had the same smiling eyes when he was hurting me or an animal sometimes when we were younger.  My dad worked hard making him tough.  He inevitably made his son a killer and a man that like his father – had a special hate for women.

You know, I am mostly afraid this feeling is really never going to ease up.  I am so tired from being in that constant state of acute awareness to all the bad in the world.  I wish I didn’t know that it was real and that it always is lurking and waiting for it’s opportunity to take advantage and hurt me or someone I love.  I do though. I am really clear that the monsters that most people are afraid of look nothing like a monster at all.  They are blending into our communities, developing relationships with us – earning our trust so that we will let our guards down and forget to be afraid just long enough that they can hurt us again.  it s a terrifying reality that I worry, fear and at times unreasonably obsess over every day of my life.

People see me as tough.  They say that I am so strong and resilient, and that they believe I can survive anything.  And with each tragedy or trauma I have survived it seems they feel their points have been proven. I’m fine.  Its over, it’s all in the past.  They sometimes try to push me towards just forgetting everything – telling me that if I just let it all go I will be better.  I agree with one thing.  That “event of trauma” may be over – but that’s about all that makes any sense too me because there is no magical let it go button.  I don’t try to think about it each day – it is like someone slamming a pie in my face out of no where when the memories come.  more like a smack in the face. A lot of my wounds may have years of skin regrowth, scars have faded – years and years have passed – but my mind and or body can’t forget it sometimes.  I still have pain, physical and psychological… emotional pain.

I can still hear the hardwired messages of disgust, hatred, and disappointment that I heard throughout my childhood.  And, I am still fear the bad monsters will come back into my room one night and try taking another piece of my soul – testing my strength and ability to stay a good person.  So far – regardless of what has come against me – I am still here, working on it…but for now I live with fear every single day of my life only hoping something will ease up in my subconscious and let me be in that paralyzing reality less and less as time goes by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Hate February! Some Anniversaries Are Too Painful…

I hate February.  I used hate Wednesdays just the same.  There are also many dates throughout the year that I may not be able to share off hand – but I know that when that days hit, every year – I fall apart.  And, sometimes by the end of the day I will remember why this day is so horrible.  What special “anniversary” is my soul celebrating? It is not always just a date actually; sometimes it’s a smell or sound. Or if I run into one of my abusers too.  But the two anniversaries that stick out so much that even my friends and loved ones have bear witness to my pattern.  Wednesdays are not so bad anymore. 

When I was a young child, I would say it probably started around age 9 that I can remember – but I am sure if I looked back into the records from the Ministry of Children & Families that it would show that it was happening long before my mind remembers.  Every Wednesday was my parents visit day with me.  I can remember clearly sitting on the end of the driveway at a couple homes for what seemed hours.  I was sure they were going to come this time.  Every Tuesday I would eagerly call my SW and ask if my parents had picked up the money from the Ministry Office yet? They always did – but they rarely used it too come visit me.  Of course in the records they would always have some song and dance regarding why they couldn’t come after all. But towards the end – it was just that they didn’t fucking give two shits too see me, I was a fucking rat.  But, they would gladly take the money.  As far as they saw it – it was their money regardless.  Even if they did have to kiss a SW’s ass the next week in order to convince them enough to hand over the money for the next visit. 

It was while in Eileen Corbett that I really felt the heartbreak.  It was also here that I really started to grow up enough to realize this was just their con.  They were just using the visit as an opportunity to make some easy cash. 

My mom spent a lot of her time with me just driving the message into my head over and over, ingraining it not just to my brain – but into my bones, into my forever memory.   She always said I was worthless, that she hated me.  “You’re even not worth the drive Carrie! Remember Carrie, you are nothing but a fucking rat! Why would we come see you? You are a fucking liar.  All you want is things Carrie.  All you want is to hurt people, mostly ME!”  She would sometimes tell me this is a calm, controlled tone – seething with anger, disgust, and absolute certainty that what she was saying to me was nothing short of the truth.  When she was angry with me – her mouth barely moved… you could just see a peek of her yellow stained teeth caused by smoking and drinking coffee…  That is, unless she was smiling.  When my mom was angry and smiling that was when the true fear would set in.  Both my parents had that same terrifying trait – they enjoyed it sometimes.  They found humour in my pain – whether it is physical or emotional…  

For me though, there is something bigger going on.  Every February – like clockwork my world starts to fall apart.  Each year is different, the damages are different – but there is always some kind of painful, self-destructive, consistent behaviors that occur each and every February of my life so far.  Years ago, with the help of a consistent foster parent, and my social worker I was told that there was a pattern here.  Could I see it?  Could I do something to change it even? This was something I could change for myself.  Much like I was the one that would decide if I wanted to be like my family or if I wanted to be healthy and happy?  I was in charge of my destiny – just as I have been all along.  I am the one that got out, I saved myself.  But for whatever reason, I just haven’t been able to master this 100% when it comes to February.  I am still struggling – even today – in the month of February. 

It’s not just an emotional feeling of incredible deep sadness…it’s a visceral reaction as well.  I feel horrible in February; I get tummy aches, headaches, night terrors that are worse than my regular variety of horror, terrible mood swings, flash backs, and I always have the feeling of being dirty.  Not with mud, germs and such.  But – that I am a dirty girl.  A dirty slut that is essentially a worthless, embarrassing human being.  I feel very ugly – inside and out.  

In my earlier years as a young girl I was promiscuous, loud, abrasive, self-loathing, and self-destructive the most in February.  I would lose friendships, get into major out of control fights with my caregiver(s), get fired – or get kicked out of something I cared for a lot.   Now as an adult – being aware of the pattern – knowing the consequences; I try hard to not give into that cycle.  But, I still have not figured out why.  Why is my world turned upside down for this period no matter how many years have passed? Isn’t it supposed to get easier?? But my mind is still blocked – I can’t remember what I am reacting too.  I have asked my father a few times throughout the years but even when he has been willing to go there with me, he can’t pin down the actual even that has caused this re-occurring trauma.  It could be something I already remember but have not put together yet in the timeline, or it could be something still waiting for me to unsurface.  I would go with the latter – only because during those conversations with my father he disclosed that there were things that were done to us that no one can repeat, would want to repeat – and that he hoped I would never have to remember.

So for now… I am left scarred, damaged and ultimately changed forever. So much that I have a deep set pattern of self-destructive melt-downs each year, same month…every year.  I am better now, this month has so far (knock on wood) having been able to keep my behaviour in check.  I have a lot of conversations with myself, telling myself I am feeling this sadness and anger because of something deep inside of me – and that I have to remember NOT to allow it to ruin all that I have worked so hard for.  So I may eat more than I wanted too – and I cry a shit load more than I wish too… my night terrors make me not want to sleep some nights – so instead of fighting it I just let myself do what I need to do to survive through the moment, hour, day and month.  If I don’t think I can face the dreams – I write, or play games on my phone.  I’m not out drinking, getting myself high on whatever will take me from my feelings.  I tell myself – this will pass, I will be ok.  So far, so good.  I’m ok – and it’s already almost over the halfway mark of February. 

Mommies Special Lessons

I think one of londley-childmy biggest problems is that I have so many memories but due to the PTSD I can’t remember things chronologically.  Things come to me in jumbles.  And, when they come to me I want to talk about it.  Honestly, sometimes I feel like I am remembering something for the first time – when really I have gone through this memory time and time before.  I know this because people around me will tell me that I have shared that story before, or my foster mother would tell calm me down sometimes after I have remembered something – something I believed I just remembered for the first time.  And the memory is so horrific that I relive the trauma over and over again.  An example of this is the burns on my arms.  Not crazy huge burns or nothing… but little circular scars on both of my forearms. 

I will find myself sitting on the toilet on any random day, I will be reaching for the toilet paper – it’s  like a flash that causes a visceral reaction from me.   My tummy hurts, instantly I could feel sharp pains in my back…  I can see an iron pressed up against my arms.  I hear the sound of the iron burning against my flesh. I smell the burning flesh…  Me pulling back, my mother pushing me forward; telling me to shut up.  “Shut your fucking mouth!” 

I was being punished.  About 3-4 hours before this moment my mom called me into my room.  “Where’s you barrettes?” she asked me. I knew something was up by the tone in her voice.  I could tell she was angry, but she was smiling.  That’s how I was sure this was going to be bad. 

“They are in my jewelry box.” I point to my small white box that I was re-tracing over and over in my mind putting them back in the box.  I was sure, I knew I did. 

“Show me Carrie” my mom crossed her arms and never took her eyes off of me. 

I opened the box – it was empty.  My body instantly began to shake. 

“Look at me.” She said.  Her voice was changing.  I could feel the smile had disappeared; I didn’t want to look up at her. 

“I said – Look at me Carrie!” her arms came apart. I backed up.  She laughs.  I look up.   I was expecting her to hit me in the face.  She didn’t. 

“Well I guess you better find them.  When was the last time you had them?”

“Yesterday, I was wearing them at school.” I replied with fear.  I tried to sound sure, because I was sure.  I knew I put them in my jewelry box just like my mother asked me to do when she gave them to me.  I only had one pair of barrettes – I always took care of them. 

“You better get your fucking ass out there fast and find them – don’t come back until you do!” My mom wasn’t holding back now.  When she was mad she would grit her teeth while she talked.   

I quickly walked out of the bedroom and out the door.  I started re-tracing my steps frantically.  I knew the longer I took, that meant the worse the beating.  I was going to get beat no matter if I found them or not.  And how was I going to find them anyways?  I remember that it was sunny as I looked on the ground, searching in the grass and the dirt gravel side of the road for my two white barrettes.  I went up and down the street time after time; I was gone for a couple of hours. 

I didn’t want to go back home without my barrettes.  I knew the consequence for not taking care of my things. I mean – even with my own hair.  My parents give me a beating if I didn’t comb/brush my hair before I leave my bedroom.  It should be the first thing I do – then I have to brush my teeth.  These rules have literally been beaten into me.  I know the rules, and I don’t dare break them for fear of the punishment.  My dad would usually start it with a joke. 

“Did you comb your hair this morning Carrie?” my dad would ask me.

“Yes…” I would reply – immediately knowing what was about to happen.  I am kicking myself inside for not doing a better job.  Don’t I know that he will inspect it? 

 “Which one?” he laughed as he asked.  My dad had this crazy laugh.  I wish you could hear it.  It was loud, and funny.  I have the same laugh now as an adult.

“All of them Dad” I replied. Hoping this was a day that he didn’t feel like being angry with me, hoping he would just continue laughing with me.

 “Get to your fucking room, pants off – lay and wait!” his tone was different from the funny dad.  He was angry.  My immediately began to shake.  I turned around and walked back down the hallway towards my bedroom.  I slowly began taking off my pants, then my underwear.  I knew dad always wanted us naked.  Easier access.  I think it mostly depended on what he was going to beat us with; his hands, belt, boots, wooden spoon, horse whip… the list goes on. 

 I remember lying on the bed, legs hanging over the edge, shaking.  I can’t give a play by play on the beating.  However, I can tell you he used his hands this time.  He put me over his knees and spanked my bum over and over again.  If I cried he hit harder.  If I fought the spanking he had tenancy to call my mom in the room to hold me down.  This was much worse.  So I would tense my bottom up as much as I could, squeeze my legs together – eyes closed tightly.  I remember after this beating I was in such pain on my backside and back thighs.  My dad told me to stay in my room until he told me different. 

 I would lie on my bed, on my back with my bum and legs up against the cold wall.  I would switch my spot to a cooler one every few minutes trying to ease the stinging from my backside. Sometimes I would sing to myself quietly or I would spend my time talking to god.  I would ask him to make my mom and dad not hate me so much.  I would beg him not to let my mom and dad get mad at me again today, at least. 

This day – looking for the mysterious missing barrettes I can remember praying all the while looking for my lost barrettes.  I know mom was going to be angry with me.  She scared me the most.  Mom always said how she couldn’t stand my fucking sniveling face – how the very look at it makes her want to puke.  How would I tell her I couldn’t find them? What was she going to do to me when I returned without the barrettes?

This is what I cachild-crunching-up-into-ball-in-fearn recall.  When I think back to that day… I came home terrified.  My mom was sitting at the kitchen table smoking and having her coffee.  She was smiling.  She told me to follow her back to my bedroom.  I figured she was going to make me lie on my bed and give me a spanking to remember.  But when we got into the room she just stood there looking at me, with an evil smirk. 

“Are you sure you didn’t lose them in here?” she asked

 *as I am writing this I am getting anxious.  In the past 30 minutes I have started getting a headache, and eaten a box of KD with tomatoes on it.  I’m what I call emotional eating… stuffing those feelings down as far as I can, then shit them out! It’s just interesting to catch myself doing it, calling myself on it – but still going through with it.  Now I feel sick, disappointed…

I don’t know how I responded to my mom.  All I remember is that she had asked me to check under my bed.  My room was really small, there was a dresser very close to my bed – the only way I could look under it was to crouch down and feel it out.  But when I looked under I didn’t see them.  I did see a couple irons under my bed.  Unusual.  Terrifying. My mother noticed my hesitation – it angered her. 

She pushed me down so that I was basically on my stomach – face down.  I can remember her pulling my left arm out and waving it back and forth under the bed.  There was searing hot pain with each jerking of my arm.  I cried out.  I remember my mom just kept asking me over and over if I could feel the barrettes. 

I couldn’t feel anything but intense pain.  My mom didn’t say anything about the irons to me; in fact she acted like nothing was happening to me. As though she was just assisting me in trying to find my barrettes.  Why was I screaming in pain?  Why was I irritating her? My mom always had a strong grip.  That day was no different.  She squeezed my arm – held it against the irons with force.  She smiled.

“Get up! Stop you sniveling… nothing happened.” My mom was standing now waiting for me to get up.  I didn’t know whether the punishment was over or just beginning.  The pain in my arm was incredible.  I didn’t want to show her how much, I knew that would make her angrier.  She would probably want to show me what “real pain” was.  If I ever acted like they were hurting me while they were hurting me – they would anger faster and more intensely.  I learned the skill of holding it back early.

My mom had one hand on her hip, the other was holding something.  She opened her hand and showed me my barrettes. 

“I hope this teaches you not to lose your things.” She stated flatly. 

She had them the whole time.  My mind was racing.  I had this sense of relief – but then this sense of overwhelming anger.  This was all a game to my mom.  She was smiling when she put them back into my jewelry box, and then walked out the room.

“Clean yourself up before you come out of your room.” She said.  My arm was red, skin was peeled back.  It hurt to touch.  I changed my shirt.  At the time I was wearing a t-shirt, but I knew what my mom meant by clean myself up.  She wanted me to hide any sign of the punishment.  Before going into the bathroom to try to cool it off I put on a long sleeved shirt.  I can remember how much it hurt, how sensitive it was to wear a shirt over.  I didn’t have band aids or medication to care for it.  I can remember just running cool water over it, and keeping it covered.  I also remember constantly be peeling the dead skin off and re-opening the wound.  This was one of my moms lessons. She had many. 

But I was brave…

I have often felt like people  regretted having me in their lives, eventually.  Like I ware on people.  I come with a shelf-life… 

Even my foster Mom of over 14 years quit … in the end .. She will today say I used too be her foster daughter, or i pushed my way in, or that I tried to adopt her, not her wanting or trying to adopt me. 

My birth mom always said how much she hated me, wishing that I had never been born .. and in my later years my father screaming angry at me on the phone telling me he how fucking pissed he is because he should have just snuffed me years ago.  

Only feeling brave with the safety I felt from being on the phone , I replied – ya, you blew that one didn’t ya! I hung up so angry and a sense of relief.  Ok he’s just acknowledged a memory I had of my father holding a gun to my head at the ravine next to our home in Heron Street.  

I have rushes of hot and searing cold go throughout my body.  I remember some of the feelings of that walk with my father who had just woken me out of bed practically dragging me down our stairs and out the door.  No jacket, no shoes.  I can remember it was late.. I had been asleep for at least an hour before he woke me up.  The sounds of mash … my mom was sitting on the couch watching mash when we were on our way out.  I don’t have as clear of a memory of the incident as my father does.  He filled in the blanks for me when I started to dream about it night after night, night terrors, crying – same repetitive scenario playing itself over and over while I am supposed to rest

My therapist at the time said why didn’t I just flat out ask what he thought of my memory/dream.  He was able to tell me a couple things about that evening I needed to hear.  First he said, he couldn’t forget how strong willed I was through the deal.  I have pains in my knees .. now I can remember the crispy leaves from fall taking form. I feel twinges of pain in my knees from the twigs digging.  I do remember that both my parents absolutely hated crying – no snivelling she would say, her face full of anger and disdain. 

First off , my dad acknowledged my memory rather than to deny as per usual in out family.  He let me know I wasn’t crazy.  Holy fuck, this actually did happen.  Oh my god.  

Secondly, my dad said that I just didn’t move an inch – while he used the tip of rifle to aggressively taunt me, poking my head.  He said I didn’t cry.   

Even with out all the hurtful, demeaning, words dripping from his mouth.. surely I was to believe he was really going to harm me.  He said I didn’t start crying till we were almost back home.  

I remember the smoky smell, and the sound of cheers on the TV.  My mom cranked her head to see us coming back up the stairs.  I never forgot what she said .. scared-to-get-close-to-anyone

“Oh, she still alive? Fuck, Blackie.”  

Sometimes I think about what made me so brave that night? And what did those sobs as coming home mean ? Was I relieved? Or was I terrified of what was going to happen next.  If he couldn’t shoot me, then will he just beat me some more.  I think I cried in terror. I know I cried often afraid that I wasn’t going to make it out alive. That night, I believe I cried out praying someone would hear my pleas.  But I was brave…