My son was involved in the Far-Right for four terrifying years.
During his involvement I felt emotions that no parent should ever feel.
Feelings of soul-destroying fear, judgement, and failure.
You question every decision you ever made and constantly wonder where you went wrong.
It’s a very isolating situation because the fear of judgement keeps you silent.
Those fears and those feelings just grow.
My son has been out of the Far-Right now for as long as he was involved, and he has turned his life around.
Until recently I thought we were both doing well and moving forward.
Then something happened in my personal life which had nothing to do with my son.
Those feelings or judgement and failure returned.
Prior to my son’s involvement, I would have reacted to that situation in a very different way.
I would have thought about my situation in a calm and logical way. Dealt with what I could and moved on.
However, a week after this particular event things were still laying heavy on my mind, I couldn’t think of anything else. Those feelings and emotions that were so horribly familiar were back.
What scared me most was how something so unrelated could trigger those feelings, and how quickly I could relate them to that stage in our lives.
They weren’t just a distant memory.
I was slipping back into murky water, and I knew it.
Something inside me had changed though, I had been there before and had no intention of going there again.
The last time I stayed silent out of fear of judgement. This time I was not allowing that to happen. I had no intention of letting the horrors of the past destroy my future.
First thing I did was talk to my family.
They were amazingly supportive; they listened to my fears and concerns and encouraged my decision to speak to my GP.
I knew that in order to stop these feelings resurfacing every time I go through a difficult time in my life, then I had to get support.
Was it going to be easy, no of course not! However, I was going through a difficult time regardless. Seeking support did mean that I wouldn’t have to go through it on my own.
The fears that I once had about speaking to someone for fear of judgement were soon relieved.
My GP was fantastic, she listened to me and reassured me.
She diagnosed unresolved trauma, and I was offered short term medication and counselling.
She also recognized what a huge step it was going to see her.
There should be absolutely no shame in seeking help and getting support.
The emotional trauma that happens because of extremism doesn’t just go away when the individual involved leaves. That goes for both the individual involved and the families and loved ones.
Recognize when you are struggling and seek support. You don’t have to suffer in silence. Seeking support is a sign of strength not a sign of weakness.
I have an amazing team surrounding me both in my personal life and my professional environment, yet extremism can still impact me years later.
However, these days I have strength and courage that I once lacked, I have a voice and I will utilise every resource that I possibly can in order to not allow extremism to continue to impact my life.
I will also continue to use my own experiences to support families and to educate others about the dangers of extremism, regardless of how difficult that can be at times.
If extremism is impacting your life or the life of someone you know then please don’t suffer in silence.
Exit Hate can offer you support that is confidential and non-judgmental.
All our support officers have been impacted in some way by extremism and each one will have an understanding of what you are going through.
Please find your strength and pick up the phone, email us or text, however you feel comfortable.
Don’t let extremism effect your life. Talk to us. We understand and won’t judge.
Sarah - Exit Family Support Officer
To talk to someone who understands, please reach out to us at:
0800 999 1945
For more information on Exit Family Support, please visit - www.exitfamilysupport.org