Wednesday, 24 May 2017
I wanted to touch on a subject that I have been thinking a lot about lately and that is – how trauma and memories of abuse (all types) can pop up years later and haunt us. I am sure you will understand when I say that “I think it is over” and then something pops out of the woodwork and throws you right back into the middle of the trauma suffered years ago.
I fled 17 years ago this November but just a month or so ago I was reminded how my perpetrator still attempts to control both me and my daughter from afar. He doesn’t know where I live now, I moved hundreds of miles away to a secret location. Very few people know where I am. He has no contact a with my daughter but nevertheless, he successfully got a message to me via a family member that he wanted to speak to and see his daughter, one last time because he felt he was dying. The family member called me and my daughter to relay the message as they felt “piggy in the middle” and guilty if he did die and he had not told either of us the message.
It’s called emotional blackmail.
Abuse of power and…
…coercive control by proxy.
Through others, family members, friends and acquaintances, my perpetrator tries to find a way to still control me and have contact with me. He will haunt and control me from the grave, I have no doubt.
My daughter fell apart and in turn, I fell apart. You see you think it’s over, that he cannot touch you anymore. He cannot hurt you or find you. I had fled for a second time, into hiding and relaxed into a way of life that was simple, quiet, stress-free and I was happy and content possibly for the first time in 17 years. But the perpetrator just “pops out the woodwork” and everything falls apart yet again.
My daughter and I (for different reasons) were right back in the abuse; right back over 20 years ago to the suffering and pain of being mistreated and abused. The guilt and shame regurgitated itself; seeing each other so upset was far worse that hearing from him. My trauma is often escalated when I see my daughter so traumatised; it’s very difficult as a mother to see your child in such an emotional turmoil. And for her, she hates to see me so traumatised so we both end up in this spiral of complex trauma and psychology endeavouring to help each other to overcome the pain. We both feel guilty for each other’s pain because we hate to see each other so upset not only because the perpetrator pops right up but because we are upset to see each other upset.
So for the disbelievers and the agencies that don’t listen hear understand or believe; for the judges and courts that do not understand coercive control and give light sentences or release perpetrators early, under license or with a community service order, I really need to get over the point to all of you reading this that my daughter and I live a life sentence because it never goes away. Releasing perpetrators early, giving community sentences, releasing perpetrators on tags or licences allows them, to not only carry on with their lives with no conscience but also to re-offend assault stalk or abuse the original victim again or move on to someone else.
So you disbelievers listen up, something always pops up, quite often for the rest of our days. It can be a smell, a sound, a piece of music, a place, a photograph, a voice or a telephone call (to name just a few) that will take us back to the very core of the abusive situation and traumatise us all over again, this is called secondary trauma. No matter how I try to avoid this from happening I cannot stop it; I have no control over it, it is like a force of nature that follows me wherever I go. I suffer from internalised anxiety when my perpetrator reappears and opens up old wounds. I shake and skin pick; my internal organs tremble and my heart has a pain in it so intense I think I am having a heart attack. My flight response is triggered and I often freeze, can’t think straight and suffer insomnia; it can days, even weeks to settle down again. The fight-or-flight response is also called hyperarousal or the acute stress response and is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival. This is a natural reaction to long term and toxic trauma.
I am sure many of you reading this understand and get it and have similar responses to acute trauma and domestic abuse and violence. Nevertheless, by me sharing my personal story, my experiences and speaking out, maybe, just maybe, a judge, lawyer, detective, social worker or other individual working with domestic abuse and violence and child sexual abuse and exploitation will read this and begin to have some better understanding of the life sentence victims and survivors of DA/DV suffer through the insidious and vile acts and behaviour of narcissists who use coercion and grooming, gaslighting and love bombing, stalking and harassment to control.