What happens when the systems fail those who need the help the most? That is one of the things you will read in this strong story - a story about violence and abuse and about health services that failed year after year.  

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- I am me. Mom and wife. Rape and beatings were my reality from when I was a small child, and a world without love. I'm me, and I think I'm unlovable, writes the now grown woman behind the blog The way back to myself.

Read the full post here.

 

A childhood with abuse and mistreatment

21 years is the most severe sentence you can get in jail in Norway. If you behave well, you can get out earlier. You will have access to food, medical help, dentistry, psychiatry, schooling and education. When you have completed your sentence, you will receive help to integrate into society, and help to find housing.

It took me 21 years to get help with my traumas. For 21 years after I was moved out of a home in a crisis marked by abuse and mistreatment. Neglected. Without love.

For many years I asked someone to see me, help me. But only when I was 15 did I get it. I was moved to an orphanage on a Friday after school. Drove away with the clothes I was wearing and a schoolbag filled with books. It would be my only possessions for a long time to come.

 

My story did not belong anywhere

Every day for almost 3 years I asked what would happen to me, if I was not good enough for someone to want me. Eternal uncertainty, every day for almost 3 years.

There was never time to talk about my bad experiences and what they had done to me. No room for emotion. I was referred to Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at one point. I did not have a good connection with the therapist who was a doctor in specialization. We could not talk about what hurt me so much. Eventually my father also contacted the same therapist, and I dare say he had her in his hands.

I tried to talk about it at the orphanage, but I was referred to the therapist. A never-ending vicious circle. There was no room for my story. It did not belong anywhere.

 

New hope, but new abuses

I went to visit my original home on New Year's Eve while I was still 15, after 3 months in an orphanage. I thought it might be different now. That maybe they loved me now. That it might be better, or that it might not be as bad as I remembered. That night I was once again abused by my father while bathing my 2 year old sister.

Upstairs the party went on. No questions asked. No one noticed how quiet I was suddenly. I even had a contact person from the orphanage that observed me later on, and in my journal I have afterwards read that they thought it was strange that anything should have happened this night: I was so happy and positive....

I dressed as lightly as possible so that they would be able see the kissing / suction marks on my chest, but they claimed that they had only arrived a few days later - so I must have made them myself, apparantly. But still they asked me to report it. I do not yet know if it was like a mockery or to help me. I was sent to the doctor, who sent me for a gynecological examination at the hospital. At the age of 15 years. Alone. No one came to support me.

 

My whole life was abandoned

Similar story, when I was going for questioning at the police station. I was driven there and dumped off outside the large police station. I was put in a small office with a policeman in uniform.

He took pictures of bruises and marks on the chest. Bruises of hands around the neck, bruises on the face. I would hope that they would listen to my story. But I did not make it. I failed their tests. I could not answer all their questions. I could not remember all the details. Afterwards, I went alone through the city to the bus. No one met me. I was terrified to meet my parents. No one asked me how it turned out. No follow-up.

Alone.

So it ended as it often does in such cases: The case was dropped due to lack of evidence. I was abandoned due to my lack of memory for exactly what happened. Abandoned because I was a child of 15 years, alone with a policeman in an office. Terrified.

With this, my whole life was abandoned.

No one would believe my story anymore. It no longer existed. Just inside me. There it had to grow nasty and inexhaustible for 21 years before I got proper help.

 

Not healthy enough, not sick enough

The years at the orphanage went on. I went to school. Dancing. Always busy.

For a while I acted out, in one last desperate attempt to be seen. But nothing happened. 3 years in an orphanage, and twice I was comforted. For many years it was the only two times. Until I got treatment.

I had no one to talk to about all the pain, no one trying to understand me. I was just there. Not healthy enough, not sick enough. Not kind enough and too kind. Too young and too old. Too demanding and too boring. Never enough. Never GOOD enough.

I saw other children come and go. Get new homes and be happy. Nobody wanted me. I remember how abandoned and unwanted I felt when I saw the other children travel to their new homes while I was once again the one who remained.

 

Around 20 different adults to deal with

Then I turned 18. Then you should leave. Apart from an unsuccessful attempt at a training dormitory against my will, I had been at the orphanage for 3 years.

I have no idea how many children and young people that had moved in and out at that time, but there were many. I always had around 20 different adults to deal with. For a while, I slept on the floor of the night watchman because I was so scared. Another period I had a night watchman outside my bedroom, because they were afraid I would take my life. Any help, however, I never got.

As part of the process of getting rid of me, I was moved into a foster family for a couple of months. Then I was sent to folk high school (i.e., a particular boarding school) - also against my will. I wanted to know what was going to happen to me. I wanted to finish high school and start studying to be a child welfare educator. That was the dream at the time. But no, I was going to this folk high school. The system was waiting for me when I was back I was told. I had to trust it. And I did ....

 

Forgot. Betrayed. Unloving

The year at folk high school was very good, in fact one of the best in my life. But then the system had to wait for me.

The agreement said that the foster home would be there for me until I was 20. And that the case officer in the child welfare service would follow me further. But I did not get in touch with any of them. I did not know where to go. The school was paid for, that was all.

My foster father ended my contact with the child and adolescent mental health service without my knowledge. A dive into my papers from the child welfare service shows that there was a conflict between the child welfare service and the foster family. It was related to money problems. So I was forgotten. Betrayed. Did not exist anymore. At least not in the papers.

18 years old, I stood without a place to go. Nowhere to go on vacations.

First I went home to my birth place with a friend. The irony of it is that she is now a trained psychologist with a specialization in art therapy. While I'm a psychiatric patient.

Then came Christmas, and I had to find a place to go. With no alternative, and with a school closed for Christmas, there was no choice but to go home to my parents. For new blows and assaults. But I grew up believing that it was my fault, that I did not deserve anything else, so that was probably how it should be. I was unlovable.

 

Feeling calm was never safe

At the end of school I was standing there then. No places to stay, no money for food. The system that had promised to be ready to receive me, had failed. There was no longer anything there. Once again I stood alone, with my belongings in my bags. Now, 20 years later, I have not yet made contact with the foster family.

So I started working with horses. Lived in an old caravan and earned 1500 NOK per month (i.e. around 150 USD). Just as much that it went around. At times, I ate horse food to get full. I worked endlessly. I was treated badly, but I finally had a place to stay, and I had money for food. It was more than I deserved, I felt.

Still moving to new jobs. As soon as I began to feel calm, I panicked and left. Tranquility was never safe. I took my bags with me and traveled on. From job to job. Lived from hand to mouth. Dreamed of getting an education, but had no chance. Still went home on vacation. To more violence and new abuse, but it was my family, and I did not deserve better.

For 16 years I worked with horses. 16 years without being able to save a single penny. Without taking anything special to the doctor. The dentist was never an option.

 

Then came the collapse

At one point, I went to the doctor anyway. Sat in his office and cried and said I'm so depressed. I'm in so much pain. He got me a prescription for antidepressants and "good luck". - Yes, thank you... No questions, no further investigations or follow-up. So I kept working. Still lived from hand to mouth. I escaped from myself. No one saw all the nights I lay there, crying alone.

Finally I got myself a normal job. I even got married and had children. And THEN came the collapse.

The whole black abyss I had run from for so many years overtook me. The days were black as night. I cried and cried. I rolled over during a walk in the woods so no one would see me in tears. Tears were never allowed.

Fortunately, I was detected by a nurse, who suspected postpartum depression. I was forwarded to the GP who asked me directly about abuse. I was then referred to the adult mental health service. At the age of 36, I met the man who would change everything. Which should give me the help I have needed for so long and which could explain to me why I reacted the way I do.

21 years after I was moved.

2 years have passed since. I'm still in treatment, working on a tremendous grief. The grief over everything I never got. All the love I had needed, and it feels like an insatiable black hole in me. The treatment I should have had a long time ago. My future that was ruined when everything failed under me.

 

I am me...

I have not finished high school. I dream of an education but have no idea how to make it. I have not a penny in equity, and while on benefits there is no chance of a loan - so the dream of buying a house is indefinitely not realistic. My teeth are so damaged that I do not have a chance to have them repaired if I have to pay for it myself. Moreover, I have such a fear of dentists that just the thought of approaching a dentist's office puts me completely off.

Besides, the thought has always been that I will die soon anyway.

Then I wonder - what if I had rather been in prison? What if I had received a life sentence instead? Then I actually think I would have been somewhere completely different. But I'm not a criminal.

I am me. Mom and wife. Rape and beatings were my reality from when I was a small child, and a world without love. I'm me, and I think I'm unlovable.

- From the blog The way back to myself