This Christmas

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I am reflecting on how life has changed. Many years ago I was in an abusive relationship. I left and started a new life with my oldest child somewhere else. I was a shadow of my former self. A hollow shell. I survived for my child, took out a large loan to fund the therapy I badly needed whilst others bought their first homes. I vowed I would never let anyone abuse me again.

I found love again, we had a child together, got married and many years later decided to adopt.

I love all my children. With the knowledge I have now it is painful to see the damage that was done to my oldest one, which still plays out now. I left, but it their early experiences have left a mark. I struggle to come to terms with it, but even looking back now fail to see what more I could have done. I just wish life had been different.

My middle one is now permanently scarred from the self harm they are inflicting to cope with the daily trauma they are experiencing. They are gifted in so many ways, but fragile and I don't know what the future holds. I am desperately trying to meet their needs by splitting myself and somehow making things work for us as a family. They will leave education soon enough and probably go to uni if we make it there.

LO came to us just under the age of 2. For over four years all my focus and energy has had to go into them. Intensive psychotherapy, various other therapies later, NVR, they are still struggling massively and we are all traumatized as a family as a consequence.

But what I struggle most with is not the physical and verbal abuse, anticipating what may come next so I can prepare and keep myself safe. No, the worst thing is my child's one life-changing trauma trigger. It is laughter. In our house you can no longer show joy. We have learned to suppress giggles until they came no more. The rages that follow are too hard to bear. We tried to persevere to no avail. It is a massive trauma trigger. How can you live without laughter, without happiness?

Without even knowing, I have yielded to it, modified my behaviour. I have become an efficient unpaid therapist, mother. I have lost my love of everything I used to like, I no longer feel most of the time. I notice i have become a nag, humourless and critical of people and their ways. I have become intolerant of things being left, wallow in unfulfilled housewife syndrome.

I walk on In the hope that somehow I can crack this situation and things will get better. I no longer recognise myself. I feel no joy, I am putting on weight for the first time in my life despite eating less and less and working out more. I guess it is the cortisol and andrenaline doing their stuff.

I vowed never to let anyone abuse me again, not just for my sake but because of the damage it does to the children. My BCs are so much older than my AC, but definitely my middle one has lost their last few years of childhood to violence and trauma.

I thought if anyone would ever try and abuse me again I would walk away. Only I can't. You can walk away from an adult abuser. But not from a child. That would be abandonment.

I still want to make things better for all my children. I still want a life. All I have left is hope. And must cling on to it for there is nothing else left.

Thank you for reading and merry Christmas.

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