In fall of 2011, I left my home town with my then 3 year old daughter. Her dad was out of control, and she witnessed one of his "games" of strangling me. I was never taught to stand up for myself and set boundaries. But my mama bear instinct is fierce. With help of DV advocates, we left our home town with 3 days to prepare. It was a very stressful and fearful move. We couldn't say good-bye to anybody. Including my 3 older kids from a previous marriage. Heartbreaking.
After a 3 hour drive, we arrived in our "safe town". It took me a couple of months to understand that I was a person, not his property. Reality hit ... HARD. I had a breakdown, in a town I knew nobody. So I asked CPS for help ... DON'T EVER DO THAT! My daughter was my only reason for living. And they took her away from me, I didn't see her for a month. I had never gone 2 nights without her. My ex used her as a tool to get me to do what he wanted. For punishment, he would disappear with her. I thought those times were the worst.
It took everything I had left in me to get her to safety. Or so I thought. CPS only picked up where my abuser left off. It hurt so much. For a year and half, I didn't want to live. I was labeled first Borderline Personality Disorder, later to be determined CPTSD with extreme anxiety. I fought through the many times I wanted to just give up. I was determined he would not take my life away. So I researched and found a treatment facility 2 hours away. CPS had their "service plan". I tried to follow their guidelines, that lasted 3 months. And I said enough! I found resources, I discovered DBT via YouTube. Because the wait list to see mental health provider was another 3 months. I am proud of myself. I did it, alone and heartbroken.
Four years later, I have a good life. Stable, comfortable and wonderful friends. BUT I still have the label. When I walk into the social worker's office, I see fear on her face. I really don't know exactly what they think I am going to do, so I just laugh it off. This week I am not laughing anymore. The "system" gave my abuser custody of our daughter. She was moved back to what I risked my life to save her from. I am left with repeating "What about me?" I will never give up getting custody back. I am realizing that lack of knowledge, can manifest into such intense fear. I just don't know where to begin.