child covering face

Action for Families Case Study

At Guildford Action we create a home environment, a model for relationships and we nurture the individual person and their identity. We are a community and set about to bring real change in people, many of whom have had chaotic and damaged lives.

A mother’s story

I’ve got a memory box, its tucked right inside my mind and is heavy to carry around. I wasn’t born with this box, but because of what happened to me, because of what he did, I’m now stuck with it. Its my place to lock things away. He told me to keep it a secret, not to talk about it, so what else could I do with this stuff? The problem is, the box has been opened, often prompted by a smell, and now I can’t close it.

I always felt different at school, I was quiet and I just couldn’t keep up. I just didn’t learn the same as the others. The teachers would write things on the board and then rub them out and move on before I had a chance to take it all in. I couldn’t keep asking so everyone just thought I was lazy or stupid. I wish they knew how heavy this memory box was for a little girl.

I was born in the south of England and have 3 siblings. My Mum struggled a bit and my older siblings went into care, I think she struggled like me but I don’t know why. When I was a bit older I went to live with my grandparents, all I was told was that my Mum couldn’t cope with me. All these unanswered questions take their toll.

Today I’m a Mum. A Mum who hasn’t got her kids living with me. That’s because I have a memory box, filled with stuff that has ruined my life. I was born a baby like everyone else. I wasn’t born mentally ill, but what he did, the abuse, the robbing me of my childhood, the snatching away my innocence has meant I now have a ‘diagnosis’ of borderline personality disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. I can’t be somebodies partner as it goes wrong because I can’t move on from what happened. I didn’t realise until I was older that what happened has affected my brain. It affected everything.

Ive got a few friends but I find any relationships so hard, I put a wall up. I remember hiding in my flat once from a friend who had just knocked on my door. I was quiet at school and not part of the popular group.

I don’t have the memories that other people have. My first kiss should have been something that I could remember and smile about, its hard when it was with your Dad who was just ‘preparing me for being a grown up’.

My social worker has said I need to move on and should look forward not at the past. I’m not sure anyone really understands to be honest. I drink to forget, that’s another diagnosis….alcoholic. That’s another reason for people to punish and judge me. My message is, don’t make assumptions. Don’t assume I don’t have feelings, don’t assume I’m neglectful or a bad Mum or am simply making ‘bad choices’.

I’m simply that little girl who was robbed of the future I should have had.