At some point in time anyone who has survived some form of abuse, be it verbal/mental/emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, will go through the multi-layered process of reclaiming their voice, and their power. A friend of mine wrote the following poem that captures this perfectly:
“I gave my self a voice because everyone else was quiet.
They never spoke about it.
They never spoke about it.
I gave myself a voice”.
There is an insidious, poisonous , and deeply embedded belief for many of us who have survived some form of abuse, that we are not allowed to express our feelings about our experience, especially when those feelings are rage, anger, hurt or pain. Oftentimes, a silent message is communicated to us to stay mute and keep the peace, because God forbid we should upset our abuser or those that love them.
For years, I played small out of fear, stuffing every emotion that threatened to emerge from their secret hiding place within my psyche. I questioned my recollection of events, and even when finding the courage to say I had been physically and sexually abused, I still found it difficult not to blame myself. If only I had been a better, little girl, talked less, questioned less, been less rambunctious and rebellious, been less cute, then none of this would have happened to me. For years, I found ways to justify my abuser’s behavior, making excuses such as,”They didn’t ask for an additional mouth to feed.” I could not see that I was the victim.
And then in my early adulthood the suppressed rage, hurt and pain I felt began to boil over and was expressed in really unhealthy ways. I preferred to fight with complete strangers rather than address the ones within my family with whom I was really angry and who had hurt me.
It would take years of therapy and alternative healing to begin to process and heal the damage that was a result of early childhood trauma. I found my voice. And today
I am becoming more solid and grounded in that voice.
I refuse to apologize for my feelings of pain and anger, (which are fully justified, and don’t require anyone’s permission for me to feel them fully), anymore!!
I refuse to carry the burden of other people’s expectations and demands that I remain compliantly silent to maintain their sense of “Ok-ness’. The maintenance of their falsely constructed image of martyrdom is not my responsibility.
My responsibility is to live in truth, authentically and unapologetic-ally. I am responsible for my feelings and others are responsible for their feelings.
I reclaimed my power.
I discovered I had a voice and chose to speak.
So, for those of you who may be on the journey of discovering that you are not to blame for what happened to you. For those who are waking up out of the potent, anesthetizing, slumber of guilt and victim shaming, take courage and remain hopeful. You never have to apologize for your existence!
So, hold your head high Beloved and let your voice, finally be heard.