Anthea Bosch smiles broadly as she talks about her pride and joy, her four girls – her gems. The corners of her mouth draw attention as it tells the story of someone who loves to laugh but the striking veins on her hands tells of a life with hard corners and deep holes.
Overcoming obstacles has filled Anthea’s life since childhood, growing up in Cape Town she describes her early life as rough and lonely but her current situation as happy and with purpose.
The Life Choices team met Anthea in 2014, during a time when she was experiencing great inner turmoil caused by an unstable childhood and trying to deal with issues of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her father.
Urged by her friends who had attended the Family Affairs’ Parenting Workshop to attend the program, Anthea was at first very reluctant and unsure about it but went to “try it out.”
“I love my children very much and want to be the best mother I can be to them, my friends told me that it really helped them so I wanted to give it a chance,” says Anthea.
Attending the parenting workshops with facilitator Desiree Amon, Anthea says that even though she felt nervous in the beginning of the seven-week program, by the third session she felt completely comfortable and safe to share her story.
“When I met Life Choices I had very little confidence and I never thought I was good enough. I felt like a complete failure. I felt so bad about myself that some days I would just take my girls to school then come home and sleep all day. I didn’t care about myself and thought I was nothing” says Anthea.
Continuing, Anthea says that the parenting skills workshop really helped her to feel better and that being part of the group made her feel supported. The messages about how to build self-esteem and deal with the memory of your past really changed her life.
Family Affairs intervention works towards creating a safe society where women and children can develop.
Anthea’s feelings of self-doubt and deep issues – a result of years of abuse - prompted Desiree to immediately recommend psycho-social support. She received one-on-one counselling from Life Choices Therapist Rene’ Roos, a service offered to all participants of Family Affairs.
Raised in a home where love was rarely felt and children were seen but never heard, Anthea’s mother was cold towards her children and the only touch she received from her father resulted in bruises and pain.
“My father was a terrible person, a drug addict and gangster who served time in prison for killing two men. We feared him,” says Anthea.
Broken glass often covered the floor of the home that Anthea shared with her parents and her two younger siblings. Her father often would go into rage and lash out with anything and at anyone. Talking about the various incidents that took place between the four walls, Anthea recalls an incident when her father held a knife towards her and punctured her skin.
It is close to surreal, the calm at which Anthea talks about her childhood as it is hard to imagine a child going through such violence.
Asked about her calm demeanor when talking about her father, she says, “For years I carried it with me I could not talk about it without crying I would break down when something reminded me of the incident but today I am in the process of healing.”
She continues, “I never knew how to deal with what my father did to me but after meeting with the Life Choices Therapist who gave me tools to use and helped me talk about the deep pain I was feeling this really changed my life. I want to be a great mother and wife and I know now that the only way I can do that is if I deal with my past and heal.”
Today, at 41 Anthea says that she is finally learning to live.
“I will always have what happened to me in my head, but I have learnt to refuse it to rule my life. It was not easy getting to where I am. But I know that I am good enough, I want my daughters to have a mother who has confidence because I want them to be confident and dream big,” says Anthea.
Anthea has a job for the first time in her life because she says that Life Choices has given her the confidence to grow.
“I never thought I was capable of working, I really thought I would mess it up because I believed that I would fail. I no longer believe that and I am enjoying my first job as a Stocktaker. I believe meeting with Life Choices Job Search Councellor - Mushtaaq Abrahams motivated me to start applying for jobs” says Anthea.
“I truly believe that my life would have been completely different if I had not taken a chance and attended that first workshop. I can now talk to others about my life without breaking into tears and helping them in their own lives,” says Anthea.
With a life filled with purpose, Anthea is saving money towards taking a course in Home Based Care and with her determination to improve her family’s life one can tell she will definitely manage it.