Friday, December 31, 2010
Does anyone really understand emotions? How deep they run and all that they are tied to? Some people can control their emotions, others let them run/ruin their lives, and many use medications to dictate what emotions will be displayed. Emotions are like an intricate card game, your hand is held tightly to your chest and no one knows what you have until you lay it on the table.
Think about the last time you were reduced to tears or exhilarated with happiness - two very common emotions. Both are not produced by ourselves but by the interactions with others. When I think of the last time I cried, it was not me making me cry it was something that happened between me and someone else. Emotions are so wrapped up in parts of life that are often unforeseen and uncontrollable.
I have often pondered the emotions tied to my abuse and survival. It is hard to understand, which is why I get so frustrated when people who have not suffered abuse but are making the laws that dictate when a victim should come out and pursue litigation against their abuser. It has taken me almost 15 years to sort out why I feel like I do or why I act a certain way or what causes flashbacks and what to do to avoid them. The actions and behaviors we do as survivors are linked to the emotions of our abuse.
I am good friends with another survivor and when she heard me tell my story for the first time, she decided to tell her family, now she had not told anyone before and she was married and had been for almost 20 years. When she finally got the courage to find her voice, she told her family – to her surprise they were very supportive and stated to her that it explained a lot. She felt relieved and a sort of freedom she had not know before. She defined her life around her abuse. The fact is if you allow the abuse to define you – it has won. Define your life on your achievements and accomplishments, not what has happened to you. A victim is someone who never gets over the abuse and stays in victim mode, a survivor is someone who looks past it and moves on.
No one can predict how you will feel when you tell your story, not even you. The first time I shared mine – I was embarrassed and ashamed, I cried. But I don’t regret it because I became a beacon for others to do the same. The emotions that come with telling your story can be overwhelming so make sure you have a supporter. We can no longer stand by in silence. Emotional solidarity is a damming way to live your life.
Stand up-Step out-Speak up.