Parent Support Services Society of BC

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A Parent's Story

It's hard to put into words the effect that being in a Parent Support Services group has had on my life. I came from a family where physical, sexual and emotional abuse were an everyday part of life. I always knew that I didn't belong and certainly wasn't loved. I took over my mother's role at a very young age - ten years old. As a result I married young, without my parents' permission, just to get away from home. That lasted four years. I married again, a man very much like my mother: dominating, controlling and manipulative. This was a very abusive relationship that lasted eight years. I then had another abusive relationship and finally, after all those years, I finally got it right - well, almost.

It was during my second marriage that I joined a PSS group. At that time I had three children, all under the age of five. I had no help of any kind from my husband, no parenting skills and certainly no relationship skills. I led a very isolated life and after my first son was born, I soon started a cycle of abuse all over again - because that was all I knew.

The PSS group was a lifesaver to me. The facilitators sometimes made suggestions on different ways to deal with situations and I remember thinking that they were crazy - that it wouldn't work. They talked about consequences for children who did something wrong, like time-out, grounding, losing privileges - things I knew nothing about. It took a long time for me to realize that this kind of parenting was normal and that what I had grown up with was abnormal.

It was because of my relationship with one of the facilitators that I began - slowly but surely - to change. My need for love and nurturing was so strong that I could not get enough, and I constantly tested her. But no matter what I did, even if she didn't think it was right, she still let me know that she loved me. No one had ever done that for me.

I credit my relationship with that facilitator for all the things that have changed in my life. Because of her love and nurturing, I slowly started to change my life and turn it around. I went to work, then to school. I now work with individuals who are mentally/physically challenged. I know that if I had not met her, my life would probably be very different - and not for the better. I consider myself very lucky to have had that experience.

-Elaine