Sunday, March 14, 2010

I Cannot Shut Up Anymore

For years, I have tried to be the "good little girl." Keep the secret, do whatever my father says, don't make waves. But last August, when I needed him to step up to the plate and be a real father and tell my stepmother about the abuse, he kept stalling. When I kept pushing him to tell her, he finally told her and then they both turned on me.
If I were the "good little girl", and kept the secret, if I would just shut up, then everything would be OK. For my father.
But it wouldn't be OK for me. I cannot shut up anymore. I have to help bring light into the world. I have to fight the darkness.
Since this happened, I have been trying to make sense of it all. But I can't. So I just must accept it as it is. And forgive. 
But I know I cannot let my father into my life any more unless I can trust that he will take good care of my feelings and pain.
This quote from Sue Blume has helped me understand better what happens in families when we survivors tell our secret. Maybe it will help you, too. (I found it on Amy Sorrells' blog):
Sue Blume, author of Secret Survivors, writes:
Families often turn against the adult incest survivor who breaks the secret….enormous conflict accompanies this truth and the psyche fights it through attacking its messenger. They are protecting themselves in a more fundamental way. Incest often occurs through the generations. So do secrets, including the secrets we keep from ourselves. …if the “closeness” that she risks losing by telling is a closeness that was bought with her silence, it is built on a lie. She cannot trust it. She may live an illusion of family intimacy, but what she sacrifices for the label of “family” is any sense of trust, security, or honesty…. No perpetrator stops on his own. In breaking the secret, she has, finally, the power to break the chain. pp. 71-74


rox said...

Dosen't it hurt Colleen . When we have to step up and break those harmful relationships .
I am dealing with my mother again . For me this is my hardest relationship . The mother/ child relationship is the hardest for me .
I've now broken my friendships over the last 8 yrs from those who now I see were not even friendships but just enabling each other in the cycle . My friends now are my family . My sil is like my sister .My blood sister is not my sister . It is wierd but I am seeing the family God gave me thru His eyes and not my own as much .
You are so strong Colleen .Hang in there . Your true family is with You too ;-)

Colleen said...

rox, so glad to hear from you. Thank you so much for your support and comment. Yes, it does hurt. But I like how you said - you are seeing the family God gave you. I need to remember that, God bless!

Paula said...

These dark family secrets! it hurts like hell. Colleen, I am in your corner. I hear you. It is important to find your voice. I wish that you never let anyone take this voice away from you. It isnt easy. At the begin even harder as going along the commonly used way - but so much more REWARDING in the lnd long. It takes so much to come that far - you are a warrior, an amazone, protect and defend yourself. Love from my heart to yours.

Lily said...

Those secrets are eating away at the inside of what looks like a "normal" family system. No one thinks to look inside until someone speaks up about it. I'm sorry your family is not supportive in your quest to take care of YOU. It shouldn't be a sacrifice of your health for the mirage of a happy family.

Colleen said...

Paula, thank you so much for your support and encouragement.Hugs.

Lily, you are so right and I love the way you put it. Your words are affirmation for me. Hugs.

Just Be Real/God Whispers In The Wind said...

Colleen here understanding with you.

Patricia Singleton said...

Colleen, don't push for forgiveness of your dad before you have faced the rage, hurt and sadness inside of you. You can say the words, "I forgive you.", and do your self more harm than good.

It is easy to slip back into denial of what you are really feeling if you try to forgive too soon. Forgiveness will happen in its own sweet time and not before. Anything that you give before then is just an imitation.

Feel the pain---the rage, the sadness, the hurt as completely as you can. This takes time. It hasn't been that long since you opened the box of secrets to yourself and the world. You have to feel the pain before you can let it go.

Do what I did. Ask God to handle the forgiveness until you can do it for yourself. Let God have it and then forget about it.

When you are ready, forgiveness will happen. You can push yourself into forgiving too early. If you do, it becomes another lie in the list of lies that incest caused in your life.

The first forgiveness that we need to do is to forgive ourselves for being unable to protect ourselves when we were children. Forgive that part of yourself that blamed you for the abuse. That part, in its own way, was trying to protect you as best it could. Being a child, it really didn't have the tools or the know-how to protect you. Forgive yourself so that love for yourself can find a place to grow in your heart.

I know that you as an adult and you as the child that you were are probably afraid of feeling it all. I promise you that you will survive and you will be whole again if you first feel all of the pain that you couldn't survive feeling as a child.

Today, as an adult, you have the necessary tools to survive. You have a loving husband and children and your online community of friends who love you. We can help love you through this. You will survive.

I remember the fear. You are a survivor. You will survive feeling it all. You will not die from the pain. You might want to sometimes because it hurts so bad but you won't because you have the courage and you have God, you have me and all of the other survivors who love you. We will all help you get through it.

VICKI IN AZ said...

Simply just what I needed. With tears in my heart I thank you for sharing this I needed to hear this so much. You are an ANGEL

Colleen said...

JBR, thank you so much. Your support means so much to me.

Patricia, you are probably right, I have not felt the pain, which is why it keeps creeping into my thoughts. Thank you for being so honest and open with me and for your support. It means a lot.

Vicki, I understand because I needed to hear these words too. Hugs.

Amy Sorrells said...

You are an angel, indeed. Thanks for mentioning my blog in this. I still go back to that book, over and over again, for reassurance of the truth and to press on through the healing. Mercies and blessings to you, Colleen! Hugs ~Amy

Colleen said...

Amy, thank you for visiting my blog! And thank you for that quote. It helped me so much. I often need to go back to things that give me that reassurance. Blessings!

April_optimist said...

I love that you will not be silent any more. Yes, families do turn on the adult survivor who breaks the silence. Too @#$# bad. Secrets protect the abuser and we need to protect the potential victims instead. Good for you.

Colleen said...

April, thank you. I like the way you put that. "Secrets protect the abuser and we need to protect the potential victims instead." I have protected my father my whole life. I am done with that. Hugs!