Tuesday, April 30, 2013

STFU? I Don't Think So.

I yelled out a triumphant, "Yes!" when I ran across this article. It's so validating to hear someone else say what I've been saying and feeling. 

So, last month my brother removed me from his life. Never in a million years did I ever think that would happen but, truthfully, saw it coming. Ever since Dad was arrested and the truth became public knowledge, it's been on a slow boil. I knew he was having trouble with it but he did what he needed to in order to survive through the hell we as a family faced - buried it. He also became a rock for me when I was interviewed by the police, fell apart while Dad was jailed, watched him plead "Guilty" and then when I faced him in court and read my victim impact statement. I love him for that. We were all suffering, falling apart and completely lost. Yet he held it together long enough to see me through the first phase.

He has very little information or insight on what I've lived through since then. He knows the basics: flashbacks, nightmares, therapy, support groups, anxiety and the list goes on and on. But none of my family knows exactly what the last 5 years have held for me. In fact, my kids know more than my siblings because they lived through most of it with me. I knew we were all fighting our battles which is one reason I didn't talk with my siblings about it. But it was also all I could do to make it through my own garbage. 

My fiance knows it all and he's the only one that does.

  • The ugly details of the abuse and our dysfunctional family
  • Nightmare upon nightmare night after night
  • Needing to sleep with the lights on and a knife under my pillow
  • Anxiety so bad that I withdrew from everyone
  • Depression so dark and debiliating that I prayed and begged God to let me die. I will never forget the look on my fiance's face the nights he sat up and watched over me because he was afraid to leave me alone. 
  • Trigger after trigger after trigger - never knew what would set me off, bring back a memory, set off a flashback. It could be a smell, an expression on someone's face, the feeling of fabric....it was hell.
  • The complete breakdown of our intimate life 
  • Crying, screaming, absolutely shutting down on a daily basis
  • The exhaustion of therapy and processing through memories, lies, feelings every week for the past 5 years 
 Again, that's a very basic list. And even through all the therapy, processing and healing - these things continue to happen TODAY. That's what people don't understand when they question why I still talk about what happened to me. I was forced to be silent almost my entire life.

For you to ask me to be silent AGAIN because you refuse to deal with your own issues - is just like abusing me all over again. 

When my brother removed me from his life my reaction shocked me and reaffirmed to me just how far I've come. I didn't cry and flip out. I didn't obsess over it. I simply took a deep breath and reminded myself that THIS ISN'T ABOUT ME. It's all about HIM.

Darlene writes:

"The biggest reason that people persuaded me not to talk about child abuse and dysfunctional family stuff was either because THEY didn’t want to be exposed or because they knew that if they sided with me or even if they validated me, then they would have to face their own dysfunctional family stuff. They were not trying to help me live a better life in freedom and wholeness with their “just let it go” directives.

Were they really telling me to accept that people messed with my head, discounted and devalued me, took advantage of me, taught me that something was “wrong with me”, abused, mistreated and objectified me, and telling me that I should just “get over it”? In that dysfunctional recovery system, everyone endorsed “keeping the silence” and no one wanted to talk about spending some time actually validating the dysfunction first."

It is so hard to face the dysfunction of your own family, to try to reprogram the false beliefs you've been fed and weed through the decades of lies you thought were real. It's painful. It's exhausting. It's easier to close your eyes and pretend none of it exists and nothing has changed. I get it. 

But do not ever tell me to STFU about my story. It's not going to happen. I will speak my truth, I will tell my story and I will continue to help others find their own voice. I've always put others and my family first before I even considered myself. No more. I'm now choosing what's best for me, looking out for me and taking care of me. I'm sorry if you have a problem with that. You need to open your eyes when you stand in front of that mirror - it holds all the truth you need.

Just like Darlene said -

"I will speak my truth. I will tell my story. Look at my life today! I am free. I am living a full and happy life bursting with wholeness and freedom in the sunlight of the truth and no longer in the shadow of the lie.  The fact that they are not happy for me is actually more proof of the dysfunctional system they live in. Like crabs in a bucket, clambering over each other to get out but only pulling each other back down because really, no one wants another little crab to escape into freedom if the darkness of the bucket is the fate of the rest. Well too bad for them. I finally stood up to them and stood up for me. I finally chose ME over them. I escaped. I don’t live in that darkness anymore and it feels GREAT to have the sun on my face!" 


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Yes, It's about You.

Hmmmm....I'm not really sure why my entry titled, "Dear Miss K" is so popular. It's my second MOST viewed blog post for all time and THE most read one this month. 

I'm so confused. 

So let me just clear the air and unveil the person who inspired that entry. 

                                     Yes, it is you, Kelly.  

We have known each other almost our entire lives and yet I've never been able to trust you. You lied about everything when we were kids and even when I'd catch you - you'd "find" your way out. 

As an adult I had to cut off our friendship - a term I use loosely- not once, but TWICE. You continued to lie to me, try to control me, stalk me and bad mouth me. You lied to me about your husband being killed in an ice storm....WHO DOES THAT?! You went behind my back and told my friends and customers every detail of my divorce. They were actually TRUE friends and told me about it because they were disgusted by you.

Then when I decide to let you back in my life -simply because I was an idiot- you tell everyone about the hell I was going through from my dad being arrested and the horrors I was having to deal with in therapy because of what he did to me. That wasn't your fucking story to tell - FIRST OF ALL. 

SECONDLY - You were a shitty friend to make jokes to my face about me being sexually abused. 

Then - you began (actually, always have) to tell lies about each of us to each other, spill our secrets, and bad mouth us to each other. You are full of drama and nothing else. 

Now you keep in touch with my mom and supposedly gather your information about my life that way. How's that working for you? I don't suppose she's told you that she's not part of my life and knows nothing about what is happening in it? Quit trying to contact me - quit texting me! I don't want anything to do with you  or any of the trouble, drama and nastiness you bring. 

I have moved on and worked my ass off becoming whole and healed from my past. I choose to live positively and refuse to let anything that doesn't serve a good and higher purpose into my life. You are included in the banned list. 

Please make a note of that. Thanks. 

Oh - and one other thing. A few years ago, there was someone else that would continually whine to her husband believing that she was the object of my FB posts and some blogs. When I'd tell him that she wasn't and explain who they were about - she wouldn't believe me. Well, get over yourself. I was telling the truth about who and what I was writing about. It was never about you  and the initial K was never yours. So now the mysteries are solved.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Innocence Revolution

Today is the day!! This is the organization I have been a part of and it's our 1st official launch! It is a non-profit organization run strictly by an all-volunteer force and we are holding WORLDWIDE events today to end child sexual abuse. I am thrilled to be a part of something so amazing, selfless and live changing. Remember - the power to stop abuse starts with YOU.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Never Be Bullied Into Silence

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself. ~Harvey Fierstein 

No relationship – whether it is family or friend – is worth being bullied into silence about your abuse. Especially after you’ve found your voice! There will be those people who, after you continue on your healing journey, will come at you with anger, bitterness and accusations. They’ll try to bully you and control you by telling you to SHUT UP ALREADY!

Stop talking about the past!

If you’re healed, then shut up.

All you’re doing is looking for attention.

Stop dragging our family name through the mud.

Leave it alone and let us have peace.

If you really forgave and are over it, then stop talking about it.

You aren’t being an advocate. You’re only keeping the attention on yourself and petting the demons you can’t let go of.

Having you talk about this to people and disown family is not healing; it’s disheartening.

You need to deal with this and get over it.

Yes, I could go on and on. I’ve heard these exact things from family members I thought supported and loved me. I’ve also gotten the opposite response – total silence and no acknowledgement whatsoever from those I’ve confronted that knew of the abuse and allowed it to continue and not help me. But they’ll talk behind my back, whine and lie about what I’ve said to others. Abusive family dynamics are sad and frustrating. The one thing I learned in my therapy is that I am worth something and it doesn’t matter who the person is – I have a right to stand up for myself and not accept this kind of treatment. I even have the right to stop having contact and set boundaries. 

I ran across an excellent letter (http://overcomingsexualabuse.com/2012/09/02/profile-of-an-abusive-family/) written by a pastor in response to his mother-in-law’s comments on her daughter’s abuse at the hands of her father – he describes perfectly the traits of the abuser, the denier and the victim, all found within an abusive family. 

His mother-in-law talked about her daughter “dredging up old, dead history.” And goes on to say, “I call it carrying an offense and not getting healed or forgiving. Isn’t it about time that you take it to the cross and leave it there? Why do you want to carry that stuff in your heart?” 

Pastor Don stated, “That’s but one example from many that fit the profile of a Denier. The responses of Deniers are designed to protect the Abuser and are often completely self-involved and ignorant. They show a lack of compassion for their children and a selfish focus on their own lives. Deniers are masters of offering trite phrases in response to pain. “Don’t dwell on it,” “Let bygones be bygones,” “Forgive and forget,” and “You can’t change the past” are common platitudes deniers deliver when confronted with sexual abuse.”

He goes on, “Victims care for the emotional needs of the Deniers. When they are children, this is a matter of survival, but the trait becomes ingrained and carries over into adulthood.  In Christina’s life, she protected your emotional well-being by trying to be the perfect daughter and by pretending to be happy so your peace would not be disturbed. That continued even into adulthood when she sought to spare your feelings.” 

You, as a Survivor, must remember who you are. You are worthy of love, respect, kindness and compassion. When family members or friends come at you spewing ugly accusations – stop. Take a deep breath. Remember that their anger, complacency and denial come from a point of fear. Fear of the truth they already know. Fear of dealing with their own feelings towards the abuse. Fear of having to let go of what they have known and venturing into unknown territory. Fear of facing their own demons. They want you to be silent again because it feels SAFE for them. It’s what they KNOW. Don’t take it upon yourself to try and “fix” them or help them. Not only will that blow up in your face, but you can’t help someone who isn’t ready. Every person must find their own path for healing and in their own time. 

You don’t owe anything to anyone except YOURSELF.

You owe it to yourself to continue to speak out. For in using your voice, you not only continue to heal yourself but help others who can’t yet speak.

You owe it to yourself to set boundaries to protect your physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing.

You owe it to yourself to form healthy, supportive relationships and friendships that will enable you to grow and find yourself. 

A toast to you, Survivor! You are worth it!