We were victims of childhood abuse in our differing ways and here we'll share something of what happened to us.

Your comments and contributions are very welcome - and if you're a Survivor of childhood abuse then please, share your story with us.

And if you can, then please help us to all help each other by adding to our Links List of resources for Survivors of Abuse.

You're very welcome to leave us a Comment on a post or you can email us.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

What is The Grey Room?

Malcolm writes: The title of this blog "Leaving The Grey Room" was my idea. My original intention was to create a blog to pass on any helpful information from my forthcoming counselling sessions. After talking to Micky the idea evolved into a much broader concept; to reach out to anybody who has survived abuse in childhood and to break the taboo that surrounds this pernicious evil. Now I'd like to tell you the real meaning of the title...

In its most literal sense the Grey Room is my childhood and teenage bedroom. When I was 12 I was, for the first time in my life, allowed to choose the colour scheme when Dad decided my room needed redecorating. Almost without hesitation, and to my parent’s discomfort, I chose grey and resisted all pressure to select a brighter colour.

The colour seemed to epitomise my life at that time; there was hardly any fun left in it. Continuing abuse coupled with bullying at school was causing depression and I seemed to be constantly in trouble at home. I wasn’t allowed out even for a little while on school days all I did was study and practice my violin although, in fairness violin was my one joy. To make matters worse, First and Second Formers at my school wore grey shirts to identify them as the lowest of the school’s low.

I was being isolated from the boys I’d grown up with simply because they all went to the local Secondary Modern school while I went to Grammar school and my parents had high expectations.

My room was also the place to which I was banished following physical punishment, usually with the words “now get out of my sight!” ringing in my ears while I hastily readjusted my clothes. Thus my grey room became synonymous with punishment and imprisonment.

The Grey Room is also a metaphor for the effect those various forms of childhood abuse have had on my adult life. Depression, mood swings and a general feeling of inadequacy have been an almost constant feature and all too often the outlook has seemed well, grey.

My hope is that when I start my counselling sessions in December I can start to metaphorically repaint The Grey Room with a brighter colour scheme.


Biki said...

The hardest thing for adult survivors is to move forward in our life carrying as little baggage from our childhood. Something that isn't always easy to do. What has always surprised me, is the swiftness which we are again bound within our abuse emotions, no matter how long ago it occurred.

This summer hubby and I went fishing, we really had a lovely time. On the way back home, hubby stopped for gas, I went inside to use the restroom and to pick up something to drink. Exiting the store I couldn't see our truck. So, I looked about for a bit, and when I didn't find it, my first thought was this. Well, he's gone, I'm surprised it took this long really. When I found the truck i was totally beside myself. All those times of being left at shops and such as a child came back instantly even though truly I knew better. Deep down I knew he would NEVER leave me.

Tracks left in our hearts and emotions as children fade with time, but honestly never seem to abandon us completely. That's the hardest thing for me to come to grips with, that in some ways its never truly over. It makes us doubt ourselves, doubt the love others have for us, and of course we know we are never good enough, period.

If your reading this, and are in the "grey room" now? Talk to us, if nothing else, we can hold your hand.

Anonymous said...

Malcolm and Micky,
I am happy to support your efforts here! A link is a small thing to give to something that may potentially help so many.

I fostered an abused boy some 20+ years ago, from the time he was 14 until he was 17. So I have some idea of the damage that is done.

I hope I can be supportive of both of you on this new venture, and that it accomplishes your goals.

Peace <3

FreeFox said...

Don't paint over the pain. Tear down the room. Blast it with explosives. Smash it to bits with a sledge hammer. Scream while you do it. Free the unspoken anger still imprioned in that room. Let the hatred wash through your heart. Only lived feelings can leave your body.

Your past self can never leave the past. Nothing can undo what has been done. You will never forget.

But your present self can live in the present. Every day counts. Build a new home for him. Paint that in the colours of being alive!

Malcolm said...

@ Biki. I think you sum it up perfectly. We never know when a simple word or event is going to throw us back into the nightmare times. Sometimes it's enough to know that someone does understand.

@jaygeemmm. Thanks for linking to us and for your support. Fostering can't have been an easy experience for you, the mid teens can be such an explosive time anyway, without the addition of past abuse.

@FreeFox. A tempting idea but not really 'me'. For me an important goal is to rediscover the bits of that time when there was joy, I know there were some because friends from my childhood have reminded me of them.

randy said...

Hi Malcolm;
Micky invited me to look into your site, and I'm glad I did. You used a phrase that brought immediate tears to my eyes, after all these years..."now get out of my sight". Those were the hardest words for me to hear growing up.
Dad used a different phrasing, and I sometimes wonder if he knew what he was saying: "get out of my sight - I can't even stand to look at you right now".
Wow..sorry, gotta go. Thank you..good work.
May your grey room become a wonderful bright joy to behold.
-randy at wordsthateffect.blogspot.com

Malcolm said...

Hi Randy
Horrible words aren't they? You have to hope that he didn't really think about the deeper meaning. Before Mum remarried, when I was very young, there were many occasions when I deserved and got a spanking but she'd only ever say "now go to your room and think about what you did" which is quite reasonable and not really hurtful to a 7/8 year old. To an already hurting 12 year old to be dismissed like that was devastating; it just made me feel that I was worthless to him.

Thanks for visiting and I hope we'll see you again before long.