Maggie registered with Future Pathways in 2020. She had watched a programme on television about child abuse and this invoked deep feelings of anger. Shortly afterwards, she heard about the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry on the news and called the Inquiry helpline number.
She was motivated to call the Inquiry by her relationship with her son. Because of her past traumas and the shame she felt, Maggie felt she had not been able to be the mother that she wanted to be. For example, Maggie struggled to play games or show physical affection with her son as a child because this was not modelled to her when she was a child. This was devastating to her. Maggie also contacted the Inquiry because she felt strongly that justice was needed, and it was important to her to be heard.
“I needed someone to listen. That was important to me because nobody ever listened.”
The Inquiry referred Maggie to Future Pathways and Maggie started working with a Support Coordinator called Lisa. Maggie met Lisa for the first time in person at a cafe, along with Maggie’s son. This was a big step for Maggie who hadn’t spoken to anyone apart from her son in a long time. Maggie recognised some people she knew at the café, and this was triggering. Lisa understood and they found somewhere Maggie felt comfortable. Maggie instantly felt comfortable with Lisa. She felt that there were no barriers up and it was as though they had known each other for years.
“I’ve never smiled so much in my life. She listened. She never once interrupted me. She would ask me [questions].”
It took time for Maggie to trust Future Pathways because previously she had negative experiences with other services which had made her feel poorly informed, dismissed, or dropped which made her feel as though she had done something wrong. Lisa understood how important it was to be consistent.
“Not once did she let me down. […] She has held up her end of the bargain. I felt I had somebody who I could trust.”
As time went on, Lisa and Maggie developed a trusting relationship and Maggie opened up about the anger she felt. Lisa always responded with compassion and never assumed what Maggie would want or need. Maggie appreciates that Lisa always checks in to make sure she understands what Maggie tells her, and to make sure Maggie was okay after an emotional phone call.
“She has been my backbone.”
Maggie enjoyed art when she was younger and was interested in finding a creative outlet. Maggie had been attending a local pottery class and had built up a good relationship with the tutor. However, this became unavailable locally which felt like a real set-back. Lisa supported Maggie to recover after this and to explore other options.
Maggie heard about a local studio delivering classes. Future Pathways used discretionary funding to enrol Maggie in a jewellery class. When this wasn’t the right fit, due to Maggie’s mobility challenges, Future Pathways supported Maggie to explore alternatives and Maggie engaged in classes in ceramics, mosaics, and stained-glass art. Nobody at the studio knew Maggie or her past which meant she felt able start with a fresh slate.
Lisa also supported Maggie to start working with a psychologist, Amy. Amy helped Maggie to develop coping skills to manage her triggers. Strategies included taking breaks from her phone and expressing boundaries in her relationships with others. Maggie felt believed by Amy and Lisa, which made this relationship work.
“I was allowed to talk, and somebody listened, and somebody believed me. That meant the world to me. Somebody had my back. Somebody was looking out for me. That was the most important thing. I would have known if they didn’t believe me
Now, Maggie continues to create and is currently making a piece for Future Pathways. Her mosaic incorporates an image of a yellow brick road to symbolise her hopes for the future. Maggie has a passion for poetry. Her poetry is inspired by Scotland’s slave-trade history, and she also writes about her personal experiences which she finds cathartic. Going forward, Maggie would like to write her life story and recently she wrote a poem about applying for Redress. Maggie feels it is important to give survivors opportunities to tell their stories. Maggie feels more able to stand up for herself and uphold her boundaries. She feels able to help and support others and has more faith in herself.
“I’m finding me, I’ve got a voice now, I’ve got courage. […] They gave me the strength. They let me find me. They gave me control back.”
While Maggie finds it distressing that abuse still happens in care settings, she feels motivated to contribute to positive change. She feels it is important for services to learn from mistakes and to be transparent and honest when making commitments. Maggie feels that Future Pathways should provide support for the children of survivors and address the inter-generational impact of trauma. This is informed by Maggie’s experiences with her son with whom she has now developed a positive relationship.
Maggie feels that Future Pathways’ support has been lifechanging. After struggling with her mental health in the past, she now feels that there is someone in her life who can help.