Following on from my last well received blog, I’ve decided to touch on the subject of emotions. On the 8th of August 1992 I came into this world, I was a new born baby and like everyone else when they first enter the world, I had my whole future ahead of me.
As a baby I needed a number of basic needs which had to be met, I needed to be fed, changed, bathed and most importantly loved.
It is well known that dependent on whether your needs are met as a child, this shall form a foundation for you in terms of your emotions. As a child when I was upset, my mum was too ‘out of it’ to comfort my basic need for reassurance, when I was hungry this was not met, when I was dirty my needs were not met, when I needed to have my injections my needs were not met.
I was brought into care due to numerous reasons, the main ones being neglect, physical and emotional abuse. I had formed a strong attachment to my mum in the 5 years we were on and off living with her, I had a bond with my dad – but when he walked away from us at 3 years old, this was the real first shock to my system in terms of loss. This was someone who I loved and someone who was supposed to love me but he just left. When I was young I was a happy, hyperactive, loving child but this would take a dark turn during my time within the system.
So when I got taken into care with my brother and sister, I once again had to experience being taken away from my mum which is terms of emotions, made me extremely angry, resentful, scared, lonely and confused.
Many of my foster parents were nice people, they spoke to you, helped you to go on with your daily routine, but for some reason I never felt apart of any ones family. This was back in the day when if you would cry or be upset, you would be offered a side hug, I was never taught growing up or shown what affection was, every bit of affection shown just felt fake and artificial.
I never had contact with my mum and with the absence of my father, I would always blame myself for them not wanting to see me, this built up emotions which eventually made me hate myself. As I grew older and started to experience seeing other young people with their families this made me extremely bitter and jealous.
I would not make friends with childen who weren’t in care as I felt they had been given something better than me, a normal life.
My emotions began to change even more when I experienced residential care, I was sent to a therapeutic childens home which was nearly 200 miles from my local area, it had 5 units and 120 children lived there. I was placed on a unit with 5 young people who were housed here 52 weeks a year.
During this time I was severely bullied by older children, the age ranges were from 8-17, I was physically abused by staff, I had to share a room with other young people and the attacks I experienced at night made me scared to sleep. This eventually turned me into a ‘cold’ emotionless child. If we kicked off, we would be put into what we called the ‘cell’ this was a small room with padded walls and floors, staff would restrain you to the point where you were in absolute agony or even worse couldn’t breath, they would then throw you into this room, lock the door and leave you for thirty minutes to ‘calm down’.
Once again I was shown no love, no emotion, no affection I felt as though I was worthless, all I can remember thinking was why did they put me here? Why would my corporate parent put me through this abuse? Would anyone ever ask me if I was okay? The home was like a virtual prison, we were institutionalised, literally told when to sleep, wake up, eat, shower, dress etc.
I was described by staff and family as a ‘cold child who showed very little emotion,’ what they didn’t know was that deep down inside I wanted to express my feelings. Yet every time I did I was either hurt or punished for it and most importantly how can you show something that you’ve never experienced your self?
Things have improved in adult life, but I struggled with relationships as I couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to show love and affection, even when my daughter was born I struggled with how I should care and show love to this child as I’d never been shown this myself. I learnt to never show emotion as almost every person I did, including my mum, dad, past social worker, brother, sister, care staff whoever it may have been, every single one left me on my own to fight through this living hell which I was experiencing.
A thought to leave you all with.
I always seem to have one question running around my head, why did they take me away from my mum to gave me a ‘better’ life when in stark reality the life I had with my mum was miles better from the life I was being exposed to now? How is it that I can be taken away from my family for neglect and abuse etc. but then you can place me somewhere where I experienced more abuse, more traumatic events, constant bullying and an experience that had more adverse effects on me than being my mum ever did.
The question always burning inside me was, “would you do this to your own child?”- I think not.
*The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and they do not reflect in any way those of the organisations to which they are affiliated.