‘My post-care experience at MMR’
I stayed at Maison Marie-Rollet for 2 weeks with my 3 teenagers. A very welcoming and warm house and staff. During my stay, the support workers supported me and my children. It has helped us a lot.
When my stay ended, I was offered the opportunity to have a follow-up from a post-care support worker. I immediately agreed. In fact, I received not only support from a support worker for me, but also from a youth worker. The latter helped me to better understand the impact of violence on my children and to provide me with all the necessary support to support them in their suffering. And it was fortunate I got this help!
Two of my children had dropped out of school. Drugs, drinking, talk of suicide were part of their lives… Luckily my youngest stayed motivated at school… I couldn’t cope with all this alone. Realizing that after twenty years of marriage and 4 children I lived in an environment with domestic violence was difficult to accept.
If you only knew how well these support workers succeeded in opening my eyes, because at times I still doubted that I had experienced such serious violence. They raised my awareness about the types of violence, the effects on the victims, and how to get out of it, while telling me that I had to “give it time!” After each meeting, I left with more tools in my backpack.
What surprised me most about the support was how well these workers are familiar with the effects of violence on victims and understand the types of violence. I always felt that they were listening to me and, I even felt that my support worker knew more about my experience and how I felt than I did myself. I couldn’t understand myself or feel my emotions. Their respect, empathetic listening, gentleness, and kindness made me feel so welcome and appreciated. And it was the same with the youth support worker. I received so much love and generosity from these support workers! It felt so good to have them in my life. Without them, and without my resilience and participation, I wouldn’t have done it!
I also took part in support groups, which allowed me to share my experiences and to see that I was not the only one in such a state of feeling broken inside. We could provide mutual support for each other.
Today, after 5 years, I can say that I feel much better and calmer. I’m not the woman I used to be and I’m proud of it.
These years of suffering allowed me to discover a world and an environment that I did not know, namely women’s shelters. This made me more sensitive to the cause of women, more human! I can say today that despite all these years of suffering, I feel like I have taken a big leap forward … That we have to keep hoping because eventually the light appears at the end of the tunnel! And when we look back, we can see that this darkness has allowed us to see how soft and comforting this emerging light is!
Finally, I say to all these abused women: ‘Accept the help that is offered to you, you are not alone!’ You have to talk about it in order to free yourself! Rest assured that all the support workers that I have worked with, near and far, are women of the heart, without judgment!
Rebuild and stay the course!
Married for 22 years, 4 children born of a union that I believed would last a lifetime!
But one day, some would say very late, I left with the 3 teenagers still at home. That day was enough! Leaving without telling him anything …
It took me years to realize that my children and I were living in an environment of domestic violence. A violence which is sometimes so underhand and which slowly destroys everyone who is subjected to it. As my daughter said to me, “Daddy was playing with my head!” He made me believe it was me who had a problem.
Once physically out of this unhealthy environment, you have to get out of it psychologically and move on … It’s a long road, full of pitfalls. As my support worker so rightly said to me, “you have to give it time!” Leave so that you can rebuild and resume a peaceful life. It’s not easy at first, especially when you have children whom you have to support in their pain and suffering, while you yourself are deeply hurt.
When I left, it was like I had become the captain of an unsteady sailboat where communication with my crew was conflicting. I felt like I was ‘dragging’ the passengers on board who would rather have been having fun (drugs, drink, dropping out of school) so that they could forget that they were aboard a pirate ship. I felt they didn’t want to learn to participate in these maneuvers whose objective was to sail to new and calmer horizons. I tried to help them get over their grief, heal their wounds, restore their confidence, etc. I was hoisting the sails, alone… Oops a sailor in the water… I had to let go of the helm to get the castaway on board and take care of them. I tried to put up a rail around the deck to protect my sailors. But this safeguard was not enough. They fell back into the water. I looked after them as best I could.
During this time, the sailboat was not sailing, held back by the force of the winds and it seemed to be reversing, pushed by the powerful current coming from the depths of the ocean. I lost heart at times, I wanted to take shelter and give up everything, despite my love for my crew. I felt like I was piloting an old, poorly maintained boat while trying to avoid drifting.
Fortunately, during this long journey, which is not yet over, communications with the land were never broken. God only knows to what extent, I was able to benefit from support, listening, encouragement from support professionals in “navigating” (this violence), and all this so that I would avoid capsizing with my crew.
Over time, and with a lot of love, patience, resilience, and the support of loving and respectful people, the course has been maintained towards a more peaceful and smoother horizon. My children are doing better despite their injuries, which still exist. I hope that over time, if they feel the need, they will accept professional help. What I remember is not being alone on this journey. There are professionals who know how to listen to us, understand the impact of violence and the effects on the victims while respecting our cruising speed. It is thanks to these caring people and to my humility to accept this help that I was able to change my life’s trajectory and that I can cope!
Thank you to the psychosocial support workers who have been there throughout my personal journey! I am very grateful.