remember feeling so bad about myself, that I just wanted somebody to say “Well done Tanya, that is great”. I craved positive feedback and when this did not come at home, I turned my focus of attention towards pleasing the teachers, and being my best self, academically, because no-one could destroy that, or take that away from me. I loved school. In fact I hated going home. School was my safe place, but I also saw it as a key to escape, so I ploughed everything I had, into it.
I had endured 7 years of sexual (emotional, and physical) abuse by the age of 15. I was a mess, when I moved in with my grandparents, at that age. I was struggling with the raw truth, of the traumatic abuse that no-body knew about, I was relieved to be safe, but the scars of being rejected and dumped, were wide open (and have never really healed). My grandparents were (and still are), emotionally unavailable and my emotional development and maturity was halted by living with them. We did not speak about how I was feeling, or any of the reasons why I was living with them and I learnt, how to be secretive about my whereabouts and mental stability. It was easy to hide my distress from them, because they were not tuned in to look for it.
Food became the first, accessible, undetected tool to fill the void I felt; the vast emptiness inside. I was always hungry as a child and this simply was no longer an issue at my grandparent’s house. Freshly made, home cooked food and plenty of it, saw me go from a gaunt looking underweight 15 year old, to a filled out, over eating 15 year old, in a few short months.
My core beliefs were faulty and damaged and I desperately wanted to escape from the thoughts, which constantly told me I was not good enough, I was not worthy, there was something inherently bad about me, and that nobody really cared. It found it easy to escape to the railway line, where I contemplated suicide (see my poem ‘Someone like me’) and to consume vast amounts of alcohol to numb (at 15 years old), without any questions being asked.
I quickly discovered that nothing physically hurt more, than the emotional turmoil in my own head. I tried to change how I was feeling, by replacing the emotional pain, with physical pain, but it did not work. I learnt that alcohol blocked the feelings and I began to think, that I needed to feel numb, for some relief and escape. Alcohol quickly became a coping mechanism. I believe alcohol sparked my addictive personality at the age of 15.
It was not long until hurting behaviour, changed and developed for me.