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Have you ever heard the saying that time heals all wounds? I do not believe that this is completely true. Time makes it hurt less. But it does not heal. Trauma leaves behind scars that cannot be seen. Living with traumatic pain is hard to do sometimes.
I suffered a lot of traumatic pain growing up — molested by my step-uncle, emotionally abused by my mom’s ex-boyfriend, beaten and picked on by bullies. That is just my adolescent years. Throughout it all, I kept on living. Although I will not lie it was extremely difficult.
I would “fake it to make it.” Many people did not even realize how depressed or how much pain I was in. I would go happy to cranky in like 0.05 seconds. I became a secret cutter — although it did not stay a secret for long. I had even attempted to overdose on over-the-counter medications.
I kept on living though at times the pain made it feel unbearable.
In adulthood, I have been cheated on, lied to, raped, and beaten by someone who was supposed to love me. For some reason, I kept telling myself the pain was almost over. That he would change and stop causing emotional and physical pain. I had three of my children taken from me from the depression caused by the pain from my ex-husband. That pain made life almost unbearable.
To make things even better I developed back pain and headaches. Through an eye exam, doctors discovered that I had a pseudotumor cerebri. My pain was so bad that they had to give me a cane to help me walk; later a walker.
I was supposed to be the rock for my children and I stayed in an abusive relationship for years. He controlled everything from money to who I hung out with. Near the end of our relationship, his abuse was so bad that I actually attempted to take my life.
My children were my life, my light, my everything; and I let them see the abuse. Abuse that made me think they would be better off without me. Something I would have never had done if I was clearly thinking.
I told my counselor about it and because I overdosed on sleeping pills the night before I tended to my two youngest children — my oldest went to school. It did not matter that I was aware and awake the whole time. They were safe and cared for. What mattered was what I did while they were sleeping the night before.
My counselor informed the Department of Human and Health Office. They opened up a case. My ex was a hoarder and I had a full sink of dishes and a few things strewn around the house. When they came back the next time my ex started screaming and berating me. I was crying and the state took my children.
I could have gone into a shelter and had the kids with me. However, I was so beaten down and depressed I knew I needed to get help first. So I went with my littles to the foster home they were going to. I can say that pain felt like my heart had shattered into a million pieces. I did not get to see my oldest daughter because they said they had to place her with her biological father.
I stupidly tried to make my marriage work. I continued to live with him for a couple of months. Between the pain of not having my children and the psychological pain he put me in; I am not sure which was worse. I do not know what the hell I was thinking to think I could get through the traumatic pain with him. I ended up moving in with friends.
Lots of therapy and coping help me survive the emotional pain. I grew and mended. Where I was staying was not appropriate for my children to come back to me. So I moved, and the state said the same thing. The pain kept coming at me from all angles.
Not just emotional pain; but physical pain as well.
I got to visit with my littles which helped to ease the mental pain some. The supposed father of my oldest refused to let me see her — there were two men who were possibly her father. He would not even let me speak to her but on rare occasions. I raised her for seven years. The pain of not knowing how she was or if she was okay nearly destroyed me. But I kept putting one foot in front of the other.
Not having my children killed pieces of me — still does. My ex-husband is the father of my littles. He started to treat them poorly and like a pawn to control me. I knew how he was when we had them. They only existed when he wanted them to — games and electronics were more important.
I did not want to see my children continuously hurt by him. I knew that if I signed my rights away they would be adopted by the wonderful foster family who had them at that point for a year and a half. I just could not bear for my children to suffer any more pain and suffering because of my mistakes.
I did the hardest thing a mother could ever do and said that I would give them up. The father did not miss a beat and jumped on board.
They have been thriving in their new lives. I still get updates and one day will be able to see them again. I get pictures and messages from them every so often. Although the pain of missing them is still there.
A year later the state caught up with my oldest and removed her from the man they called her father. The state claimed they had a paternity test proving he was her biological dad. However, that was not the case. My oldest baby was beaten, tormented, and told on a regular basis she was unloved. They treated her worse than their pets and he was not the father.
I still did not have a place of my own at this point. She ended up in a psych ward for a bit. I got to see her every day. She suffered from severe PTSD and so much more.
I fought like hell to get her back into my custody. But no matter what I did the state came up with one reason or another why they did not feel like it was a good idea. They referred to my bad back and knee, to her outbursts, violent tenancy, and habit of running away.
Her real father was tested and then introduced to her. I told him not to do it unless he was really going to stay in her life. He was a one-night stand and I knew how he treated his oldest child.
He was in her life for a brief moment in time, made tons of promises only to dip out of her life. The state was not going to let her come back to me. They claimed it was due to my back pain and “physical limitations” that caused them to be concerned about her coming home.
They made it very clear, even though the visit supervisors and others had my back. I did not have “stable” housing, meaning any they approved. Nor did I have an income, hard to get a job with a minor record.
I signed my rights away in hopes to get her the help she needed. And I nearly lost my mind doing so. She went through so much and I did not want to cause her any more pain. However, that was not the case.
She feels unwanted — some from her being told that by her supposed father and the pain he caused; some from the pain I inadvertently caused. I speak to her regularly and wish every day she and her siblings were home with me.
I cry for her almost on a daily basis. Not that I am depressed like I used to be. I have not been that depressed for many years.
I have been in a loving relationship for over six years now. We just recently had a baby girl, she is 4 months old. I have a job and an apartment. The state already checked everything out and ensured that I truly am doing better.
I still ache for all of my children because they will not officially meet each other for years. My oldest has seen her baby sister over Zoom meetings but we all know that is not the same.
Every day I contemplate where my life would have been if I never would have gotten with my ex-husband. I know that would mean our children would have never been born but it could also mean that I would not have my baby girl.
For all these reasons and the legitimate physical pain I live with — this is why I believe the pain never goes away. We just learn how to live with it.
Written by Sheena Robertson
Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Gene Wilburn’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Marc Roberts’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Vortexas32’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License