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!" 


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