We all have a past, and we all have secrets. Some of our pasts are not as bad as others. As a matter of fact, a lot of us probably enjoyed our upbringings without much pain and chaos, outside of what’s considered normal. As a result, we grew up and continued to live our lives.
But then, there are those who have layers and layers of pain and suffering, bad memories that have consumed their mind, body and spirit; even to this day, that‘s preventing them from living a happy, purposeful life. In fact, the grip is so intense that some people have managed to build a wall to safeguard their new existence today. It’s almost to the point they have erased the past from their mind altogether, as if to make the past a blank. But if they are truthful, they have a story to tell; a page turning story, an “I don’t know how I made it” story, and a “Why did it happen to me” story. With that said, I wonder, how many of you have really faced your past, and how many of you continue to hide from it? You know, hide from all the hurt, abuse, crying, neglect, pain and suffering. How many of you have ever really admitted or faced what lies beneath that thin line between your past, your pain, the truth, and now. What is the real truth that would tell the story of who you are today, and why you are the person you’ve become? You know, YOURstory. I came across a quote from Iyanla Vanzant’s that is really powerful and I wanted to share it.
You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them ― Iyanla Vanzant, Yesterday, I Cried
Kelly Walk Hines was a victim of domestic violence who chose to face her chaotic past in order to have healing in her future. She chose to fight, to survive, to win. Here’s HERstory.
Q. Tell us about yourself. Who is Kelly Walk Hines?
A. I am an author of a nonfiction book, “Memoirs of an Invisible ChiId.” I am a Christian, and happily divorced. In October, I’ll be turning 50 years old. I have been a mental health nurse for 25 years, and I have worked 10 years in the child adolescent mental health unit. After that, I worked with pregnant and parenting teenagers. I have been a domestic violence victim’s advocate and protector of children for just as long. I grew up in New Jersey, where I raised two wonderful children. Last but not least, I have a condition called, Transverse Myelitis, which is a condition of the spinal cord. Although I suffer with it, I always have hope.
Q. What makes you qualified to speak on this subject?
A. Like all of us, I have had my share of trauma, but I have found the strength to keep going! Plus, my education and experiences working in the mental health field have taught me a lot.
Q. What are some pains, struggles, and abuses you had to deal with in your life?
A. My mother was murdered when I was three, leaving my four siblings and me alone. Out of five kids, there were three dads who weren’t in our lives. At my mother’s death, we each were sent to live with family members we barely knew. Then, because I was my dad’s only child, he got custody of me. So, I was separated from my siblings and raised by an abusive dad. Being abused and witnessing the murder of a loved one left me with deep scars. Growing up, the chaos and fear engulfed my life leading to many losses and heartbreaks. A few of the traumas I went through as a child were: attachment issues, domestic violence, neglect, child abuse, death, family drug issues, and the loss of important family members.
Q. How did your pain and struggles impact you as a child? How did you overcome the memories and emotional pain of your past to move into your adult life?
A. The pain of growing up without a mom is just unexplainable. There are no words that could describe the absence of the most important person in your life and what it does to you. Growing up with a drug addicted, violent dad taught me to be invisible. It also taught me that my opinion was not worth anything.
I made a decision as a young adult to not let my past destroy my future, so every day I made a conscious decision to be positive. No matter how dark it was, I always had hope things would get better. HOPE is what helped me. Hope is faith in action. Faith is what saved me. As an adult, I had to fight my way through self-doubt, depression, and poor self–esteem, and I had to seek therapy to help with my pain from all the losses. Therapy has been tremendous.
Q. Where did you find strength as you grew into adulthood, experiencing such a tragedy? Did you ever question God?
A. I found God when I was about four, even though I didn’t truly understand. God is what held me together; and God is the reason I was able to survive. I learned early, as real as God is, the devil is real too. Also, I learned that bad things come from the devil. What I know for sure is that God carried me through the tough stuff, and prayer and hope, helped me to survive. That’s why I chose to write my book, to help people find hope.
Q. Are there any signs to be aware of in an abusive relationship or household?
The signs are mostly all the same:
- The abuser is usually nice when they meet their victim, they fill some sort of need for the abused, and make them feel loved.
- Then they alienate them from their family, friends and anything else that provides support for them.
- They control where they go and who they go with every day.
- They, most often, do not allow them to get a job.
- They don’t allow the abused to have a car.
- They chip away at their self-esteem.
- They control what the abused wears.
»»» I want you to know that you are in control; and you can change the future!
Q. Did you have to learn to forgive and trust people in order to move on with your life?
A. Forgiveness means different things to different people; just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean you have to have a relationship with that person. It means you come to the reasoning that you can’t change the past, but you can learn to let go of the pain and power it has over you. I had to forgive my dad. I had to forgive a man who not only didn’t apologize, but he didn’t even admit that he did something wrong. I forgave him, for me, so I could move on. By forgiving him, I stopped expecting change from him, I stopped expecting an apology. I learned, he had a mental illness, and he was addicted to drugs; however, I did not give him a free pass, nor did I ignore what he did. Forgiving him allowed me to no longer let what he did control me nor did it occupy my thoughts. I released it.
Growing up where everything I loved was either ripped from me or abused really affects how I trust. Additionally, having three new homes and new caregivers by the time I was six affected my ability to trust. With that said, I love many people, but I am always alert and aware. In fact, I try to take people as they are and not let my past experiences bleed into any new relationships.
Q. What have you learned about yourself as a survivor of such a tragedy?
A. First, I learned that once I walked through the quicksand and survived, there was nothing I couldn’t get through. Secondly, I learned I am worthy, capable, and loved. Thirdly, I learned HOPE can help me through the darkest moments, and that God is real. In addition, I learned life can be so beautiful after the storm. Lastly, I learned having a positive attitude really affected how well I healed.
Q. With what you experienced as a child, did it make you look at men differently? How?
A. I think in one way, it made me weary of men because I understood the evil they could do, so I definitely am careful with relationships. In another way, it made me see the hurt that people go through. Since, I have felt that pain, I try to spend my life helping others find healing.
Q. What made you decide to write your book, “Memoirs of an Invisible Child?”
A. I had always wanted to write my book since my high school English teacher told me I should. I knew I wanted to write it to help others, and to be the voice of the abused child; and I wanted abused families to understand the complexity of domestic violence. Therefore, I felt it was important to be the voice of children who lived through domestic violence situations, so I could help share their hurt and pain. And at the same time, I wanted to warn others about those situations, and I wanted to empower people.
Q. How did you handle the rekindling of your painful emotions as you wrote your book?
A. I waited until I was 40 to start writing. I sat down, and for six hours I just wrote it all down. I had basically thrown up every painful memory that I had buried. I had ripped off every scab and was left with this intense pain. Then, I put what I had written away, and I cried a lot. I found a great therapist, and had to deal with things I should have dealt with as a young adult. Finally, I went back to writing after a few years. Once I was done, I could not believe the incredible healing that I received.
Q. Why did you refer to yourself as an “invisible child?”
A. I became the invisible child out of self-preservation, and I figured you could not hurt what you couldn’t see. I witnessed the horrible abuse of my stepmom and step brother, and I tried to be invisible, so I wouldn’t be next.
Q. Are there red flags to let a person know they are in an abusive relationship or household?
- A red flag is making excuses about how it’s your fault because they hurt you. It’s never, ever your fault. There is nothing that you can do that warrants someone laying a hand on you.
- A red flag is alienation. It is a key step in the abuse cycle. Mostly, the abuser does it in a way that the abused person doesn’t even realize it. Do not be ashamed for falling for it because they are manipulative, and do it in a way that the control goes unnoticed. You cannot change the past, but you can make a better future once you are away from your abuser.
- A big red flag is the abuser moving the abused out of the city or state or away from family and friends. This seclusion is a way they can have the person all to themselves, and no one will know how they are abusive. No one can protect what they can’t see.
- Another red flag is the abuser refusing to let their partner own a car. This is another subtle form of control. It keeps the victim home or driven around by the abuser. They do this so that they have complete control of who the abused goes with, and where they go.
Q. If a person has gone through a childhood tragedy, in your opinion, what are some steps they can take to help them overcome their painful past?
- Forgive yourself for things you cannot control.
- Forgive the abuser, even if you have to cut that toxic person out of your life. Forgiveness releases you.
- Get therapy, so you can heal.
- Be honest with your feelings.
- Learn coping skills.
- Find hope, and learn to love yourself.
Q. If someone wanted to connect with you, how could they contact you?
- I am an open book and would love to talk to them. I love helping people.
- My Facebook blog is “Memoirs of an invisible child.” www.facebook.com/invisiblechild18. Please like my page, and feel free to comment or message me.
Kelly’s childhood was so painful and devastating, she wrote a book about it. The name of her book, Memoirs of an invisible Child, is available on Amazon in the following formats: eBook, audio and paperback. Also, available where all audiobooks are sold.
Stay tuned for her Upcoming Releases: HOPE IN THE DARKNESS SERIES:
⇒ Memoirs of an Invisible Child Journal – 4/19/19 (tentative)
⇒ Hope in the Darkness – Domestic Violence Awareness Exhibit Book – 4/19/19 (tentative)
⇒ Intertwined – journal – 05/19/19 (tentative)
⇒ Memoirs of a LOUD LOUD Adult – Encore of Memoirs of an Invisible Child – 12/19/19 (tentative)
⇒ Transverse Myelitis? Who invited You? – 12/31/2020 (tentative)
**Please SHARE and FOLLOW this blog. Thanks!
⇓Comment Below ⇓