Friday, 1 February 2013

Jigsaw Child

I feel like a jigsaw puzzle

Some of my pieces are lost

Others are mis-shapen broken bent

My edges are unique sharp smooth


I came into the World womb weary wary

Bathed in fear fuelled hormones I was formed

Puzzle pieces already shaping to misfire misfit

Primed to react recoil reject right from birth


Many try to make my puzzle whole

To find to fit the pieces together

But so many are misplaced mismatched misunderstood

So it’s frustrating infuriating hard to fathom


My jagged jigsaw may never be complete

Small medium large gaps spaces voids

Learning to accept this is the key

As incomplete puzzles are puzzlingly precious too


Jane Evans
Trauma Parenting & Behaviour Skills Specialist

Mobile: 07946318404 Landline: 01249 721104
Twitter: @janeparenting



Tuesday, 22 January 2013

I Bore Witness......


I bore witness to your beatings

I lay in bed listened and longed for it to end

I was upstairs I was outside but I knew

I heard I saw I felt too much


I bore witness to the bruises you wore

I counted each cut on your pale skin

I felt every blow bash shove kick

I was powerless to protect you


I bore witness to the way he wore you down

I heard the begging pleading endless regrets

I silently willed you to leave and him to stop

I inwardly seethed resented hated


I bore witness to your addiction to him

I begged you to want more to want better

I lived with teeth gritted fists clenched

I am grown its over I bear witness no more


When surviving in a violent and abusive relationship it is often hard to fully acknowledge what children may see and feel on a daily basis.  At the time they may learn to show nothing as it would not safe to but this does not mean they will not be aware of the violence and abuse and feel that they want to rescue the victim and stop the perpetrator. 

It is important to help children process what they have seen, heard and felt once they are in a safe place as this will enable them to be able to make sense of their lived experience so they can manage the effects of the trauma, without it defining their future.

Jane Evans
Trauma Parenting & Behaviour Skills Specialist

Mobile: 07946318404 Landline: 01249 721104
Twitter: @janeparenting





Friday, 28 December 2012

One Day

Soon it will be the day
The one when I no longer stay
I'll leave I'll walk away
Years of dark looks cruel eyes
Days filled with my pleading & cries
Please stop I will do better sorry sorry

Today is not the day
You're so sad begging me to stay
You'll change do anger management
Stop buying vodka & pay the rent
No more punches your anger's spent
So very very very sad & sorry

Egg shells scattered once more upon the floor
Tiptoe around gently close each door
Second guess each wish & whim 
Avoid eye contact just agree give in
Breathe & feel the tension real & raw
Keep you happy or be sorry

Tomorrow next week month year may be the day
The word or blow will come which will make me walk away
But will it all end once I am out the door
Will you find me make me suffer some more
Am I to become the hunted quarry
Forced to be forever sorry

Have patience with me I hear what you say
I deserve better to be happy one day
Try to hide your frustration
I fear your turned back the inevitable shun
I know you want me to leave there
Don't give up on me my freedoms so near

For all the family, friends and workers who tirelessly support someone who is trapped in an abusive relationship.  It can be painful and frustrating to maintain the support but being there in the background is so important as when the day comes they will need your acceptance to move on.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Is this all I deserve?

They tell me you are wild trouble

But my huge love will tame you

I will search in your heart

Set free your goodness and a love for me

Others misunderstand you

Are too quick to condemn

I will be true

I’ll work to make you lover and friend

When touch becomes shove

My excuses flow freely

I can defend you to all

I tripped no push led to my fall

You watch me out of worry

When I’m late you just fret

No need for friends now

That’s what I’m too stupid to get

I am lucky you want me

No one else would

You would not have to hit me

If I could learn to be good

Tomorrow will be different

I will get more things right

You will smile and hold me

But not so hard and so tight

You chose me so this has to work out

But at times I am so full of doubt

Is this all I deserve?

Or is it time to get out?


Leaving is never easy but it is possible to do and with the right support you can go on to survive and thrive.  It can take a while but every day and every step can be a move away from what you did not deserve to what you truly do.

From one survivor and thriver to a soon to be one, or an already on the way one/there one, with love.


Jane Evans
Trauma Parenting & Behaviour Skills Specialist
Mobile: 07946318404 Landline: 01249 721104
Twitter: @janeparenting Website:


Friday, 14 December 2012

Christmas carols & the odd crisis thrown in!

Christmas is coming that’s all I hear

Expectation is building

That’s so hard to bear

‘Cos I might not like Christmas when it gets here

Routines are ruptured raggedy

Lines to learn and to read

All pressures I don’t really need

My melt down is brewing

Will Father Christmas come into our house?                                                                     

Am I good enough for a present or two?                                                                                        

What if I wake up to nothing?

Being good is so hard to do

Time to put up the tree

Cards to colour create

Carols to learn and sing

Chaos I can feel myself crashing

I need to look happy

What if I fail

I need to seem thankful

It’s all too much am ready to wail

Home at last to be wrapped in sameness

You know what I need

Small glimpses of Christmas on a drip feed

No expectations just balm-like acceptance

A Very Happy Christmas to all those caring for and raising precious children who find change alarming and uncomfortable but still want a bit of Christmas in their lives.  This is a real juggling act so on behalf of us all a huge THANK YOU.

Jane Evans
Trauma Parenting & Behaviour Skills Specialist
Mobile: 07946318404 Landline: 01249 721104
Twitter: @janeparenting Website: Blog:


Sunday, 9 December 2012

Raising children who have experienced trauma and abuse

Raising children who have experienced trauma and abuse is like opening Pandora's box to find a jewel encrusted onion in it.  It's the most beautiful thing you have ever seen but with layers and layers of complex needs and emotions which will reveal themselves over the years when you least expect it.

So why is this, I am not a neuroscientist or a psychologist or any kind of 'ist' so can only share what I have seen and read.  A baby may be removed and placed with a loving family within days of its birth or even on the day so surely they will then go on to respond to the love and care they receive with few issues in life?  It is logical to assume this but I have met children and heard and read about them for whom this is not entirely the case.

As babies they have been quite hard to care for, crying a great deal, being hard to settle and soothe and sensitive to changes in routine, atmosphere and carers.  Often they have complex eating habits, either being fussy and picky or always hungry and rarely satisfied for long.  As children and young people it has been a roller coaster with carers left to try and work out what is going on and why, unless they access the right professional and/or book!

This is what I know, a baby's brain starts to form at around 7 weeks so anything which the mother is experiencing the baby's brain will be too.  It is fair to say the children who are removed early from birth mothers will be because they are at extreme risk of harm so during pregnancy the woman is unlikely to be able to rest up and with low levels of stress.  In fact, the opposite is most likely to be the case where the pregnant woman is being repeatedly exposed to stress and trauma which releases chemicals into her system which then pass to the foetus's developing brain. 

"If the mother's state of mind is highly anxious then stress hormones cross the placenta and affect the unborn baby.  Genetic inheritances combined with prenatal influences might lead some babies to  be very fragile and hard to soothe at birth" (Music, G, 2011)

Kate Cairns (2002) tells us, "Stress is toxic to the brain, causing profound changes in brain structure and function..." 

The main hormone which has been indentified as causing the most ongoing issues is cortisol.  There is plenty of research to tell us that the foetus responds to sound so imagine an environment where they are repeatedly exposed to shouting, loudness and frequent chaos.  There is also research which shows how the foetus is affected by maternal depression being generally in a more highly aroused, anxious state and being more responsive to external stimuli. (Music, 2011)

So back to cortisol, there is now evidence that if  the pregnant mother's state of mind is known then it is possible to predict the child's behaviours "a year or more after birth" (Music, 2011).  This may seem astounding but I am including it to illustrate why you may be struggling so much as this is what you are contending with rather than that you are getting it wrong!  Cortisol is one of the stress/threat hormones which gets us ready for action if we feel we are in danger.  Along with adrenalin and others it gets our body ready to run or fight or be very still.  Our heart rate increases, our thinking brain switches off, breathing becomes shallow we feel anxious and wired and so it is hard to concentrate and leads to over, or sometimes, under-reaction.

Cortisol is good in small doses as it may keep us alive if a truck is heading for us or a very angry person it may encourage us to run or fight for our lives. If a foetus or young child is repeatedly exposed to it then it will become increasingly likely that it will take a long time for the levels to drop back down to a state of relaxation and comfort and so a repetitive cycle begins to form leading to childhood anxiety and over, or under reaction.  For some, being flooded by cortisol gets to levels where the brain switches everything off as a defence mechanism so a person may become very still and not react at all, in a child this can antagonise others as they don't respond to requests or interact but it is a survival tactic triggered by the brain.

There is so much more I could say on this subject but I don't want to overload you and Kate Cairns and Graham Music's books are good ones to dip in and out of, or you can always contact me and if I don't know the answer I will find it out for you.

In summary, a foetus exposed to stress and trauma can be deeply affected as this is when the brain is forming and in particular the cortisol hormone which freely crosses the placenta has a great impact on how they will function in terms of anxiety and hyper sensitivity.  They may have a more reactive brain as the more basic survival functions will have been triggered more in the womb so as as child they will often have huge reactions to simple things and this will bring the cortisol flooding in and then they will stay in that state for much longer than is healthy or helpful to them and others.

What those caring for children affected in this way need is plenty of the right kind of support.  Not everyone may be able or willing to understand that this is what you are all coping with but they can offer practical support or just listen to you off load without interrupting or offering advice, hugs are good too. 

As a carer you need huge patience, the ability to accept that this is the way you child is wired so that you need to teach them how to manage what their brain and body does to them.  So, any self calming exercises will be a great gift to them, not  making them feel bad about what they have done but pointing out that we try not to hurt others by using our teeth to bite as teeth are for biting apples.  Talking about how they felt when it happened and how the injured party might be feeling, plenty of hugs and reassurance are vital. 

All of this needs to happen when your cortisol levels have come down and your child's or it will go wrong!  You are under repeated stress too so it may take a while and that is fine, the best way to  bring cortisol down is by hard exercise so a danceathon, star jumps, running hard round the garden, stomping, pummelling cushions are all great for this.  Then you can chat through the feelings in a kindly way as they are more likely to be in the thinking part of their brain.

Many of us struggle with reactive brains and high cortisol levels which can be a curse but learning to manage them is possible and that is great to know, I am living proof of that!!

Remember, taking care of yourself is top of the pile as you are on an amazing journey and are steering the ship so if you go down so will the ship and everyone on it!

Cairns, K 2002, Attachment, trauma and resilience, British Association for Adoption & Fostering, London
Music, G 2011 Nurturing Natures, Psychology Press, Hove & New York

Jane EvansTrauma Parenting & Behaviour Skills Specialist
Mobile: 07946318404 Landline: 01249 721104
Twitter: @janeparenting Website:  

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Be addicted to me

Mind and memory absent
Giving only an outer shell
Emptiness on offer
And glimpses into hell

Your mind mostly numbed
Senses addled addicted
Next fix the only thing predicted
Cheerless child a boring burden

Your eyes had only one prize
Sought savoured devoured
My childhood sacrificed at the altar of oblivion
Sit watch wait my only options

Every day a sickening cycle
Come to lay low keep quiet
Don't provoke the fixless one 
Fix found life limps on

Fast frantic fearful I know
Close comforting concerned I don't
See me hear me hold me
I am your child be addicted to me