We live in world that doesn’t encourage free and honest sharing of our stories. We want people to get over their tragedies, sweep things under the rug, pull themselves up by their bootstraps and move on with life. We interpret openness as indulgence, raw honesty to be uncomfortable and grief as victimhood. We don’t want people to process their pain openly but to grieve all alone, behind closed doors – even if that puts a person at risk of succumbing to their pain via addiction or suicide or any other means of self-annihilation.
There is some unspoken rule that I a person is allowed to share a bad experience with one or two people at the most and then I has to stop talking about it or else be accused of being a “victim”.
I was personally warned many times that “dwelling” on things doesn’t serve any purpose—that it would just make me feel worse. But I was already depressed and suicidal and it wasn’t from talking about my abuse or the things that happened to me. I was depressed and using drugs because my trauma and the feelings that went with it were locked up inside of me.
As I started to see some benefit from talking about my abuse, I started to question the limited talking “rule” we all so often face in this culture.
As I’ve talked about my past, I’ve come to accept that it really happened. After repressing the memories of my traumatic childhood, it was unbelievable that the images in my head really happened—and they didn’t just happen to someone, they happened to ME. I went over it again and again—in my mind and with others.
Telling my story has been a way to reach out for the validation I never got. Since I dissociated during my abuse and for so much of my life, I wasn’t connected to myself, especially to my emotional self. Talking to understanding and compassionate people was the gateway to feeling compassion and pain for myself and to acknowledging the depth of my loss. When I finally sat still with my experience and listened to my heart, I finally felt heard.
We all are!