Te Kore: The Te Kore Group Saved My Life

Your stories
Your Stories
July 28, 2022

Te Kore is a closed group for women who have experienced harm from addictions and/or mild mental health. “Te Kore is an invitation to meet your potential – Tau Arotahi is feeling safe enough to reflect and navigate from the past to acceptance, HERE and NOW!”

I spent my entire life holding on to trauma and hurt from my childhood, thinking I was unworthy and unlovable. However, by participating in Te Kore I am learning to truly love and accept all of me unconditionally. This group has saved my life in more ways than one.

I was born to a 15-year-old who was still a child herself and had lied about her age to my father. They were from different backgrounds and were both struggling with their own identities and sense of self.

I am the eldest of my siblings and we were often shipped around to different family members and friends of my parents who had their own ideas on how to raise children, which weren’t always healthy or loving.

There were times I can remember being left home alone to take care of my younger siblings before we ended up in state care in the late 70s. It was this disconnected and disjointed foundation that set the scene for abandonment issues, lack of trust towards myself and others, no self-worth and no self-love. All of these factors and many more flourished throughout my life and became the driving force behind my unhealthy and dysfunctional relationships later on in life, especially the one I had with myself.    

I became a mother of two daughters by the age of 23, which bought about many challenges in its own right, let alone adding no self-value or self-importance to the mix. I didn’t know what self-love or self-acceptance was and I carried feelings of not being good enough and insignificance around like an open wound that only I could see. It felt like a huge scab inside me that never seemed to heal. I couldn’t even look at it because it was hideous and excruciatingly painful so I used drugs, alcohol and many other coping mechanisms to survive what I felt was like a steady consistent internal torture.

I had been working at the freezing works for many seasons feeling numb and on autopilot with my life when I heard about a course at SIT through a friend, which I immediately felt drawn to. I signed up for the course and started my journey as a social worker. My initial reasoning for undertaking this learning was firstly to understand why I do the things I do, and secondly how can I transform these insights into my life to help my daughters. I was not thinking about myself or what it could do for my own life as I had always put others needs and wants before my own.

Those four years of fulltime study, while working and raising two daughters, were extremely exhausting and there were countless times I didn’t think I was going to make it. I began working in the field of social work, and it wasn’t long before I was bombarded with what I now know were triggers from my own childhood trauma. My instinct, along with financial pressure, was to stay and try to manage it the best I could. What I didn’t realise at the time was I didn’t know what I was trying to manage or that I didn’t even have the tools to manage whatever it was.

I ended up back at the freezing works feeling like a total failure and a disappointment. Those feelings of failure and disappointment added yet another layer to my internal wound.

Along my social work journey I met Diane from Nga Kete who I thought was this bright light and she had this energy that I was drawn to. Our paths crossed again years later and she told me about Te Kore. I knew immediately that this group was something I needed to do.

I started the group on 4 May 2021 and I thought because of my social work and life education that I was already ahead of others in the group that didn’t have that foundation behind them. What I came to learn in that very first session was that I hadn’t even scraped the surface off what was really at the core of my internal hurt and pain. Te Kore has been the most frightening, terrifying, painful, intense, raw, honest, authentic, self-accepting, self-awareness, therapeutic, healing chapter of my journey so far.

The two facilitators allow me to feel what I need to feel, when I need to feel it in my process of rebuilding myself, which is all in a safe and non-judgmental environment. I am gently encouraged and supported to be really honest with myself, to listen, to feel, to share and explore my trauma at my pace while being brave and vulnerable.

I know now how important it is to be brave enough to look inside myself and to allow myself to be vulnerable. It has been through my vulnerability that I have had my most personal growth and healing happen. The facilitators help give me the tools within a safe environment to be able to do what I need to do to move forward in my life with self-acceptance and self-love.

Up until the end of 2021, I spent my entire life holding on to childhood trauma thinking I was unworthy, not good enough, not important and unlovable. By continually participating and contributing in Te Kore I have turned my inner dialog from a negative prospective of myself and others, to an accepting loving one. I am now forgiving myself for the survival patterns and traits that I picked up while enduring trauma. I forgive myself for who I needed to be to survive. I am truly on my way to the place within me that I have always wanted to be - peaceful and free.

My two adult children have witnessed an immense transformation in me and the domino effect from that has been life changing for us all, including my moko. I’ve been on a real emotional rollercoaster ride since starting Te Kore, however I wouldn’t change any of it. It has been through attending and participating honestly and openly in this group that I have been given the opportunity to have a life filled with self-love and self-acceptance.

To love myself unconditionally is the best gift I have ever received. I am very grateful for my life and I’m excited about what my next chapter holds for me. I will continue to attend Te Kore because I believe there will always be things I can learn about myself which in-turn allows continual personal growth and healing. I whole heartedly recommend and encourage people to attend this group because I believe it has saved my life in more ways than one.

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