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Posts Tagged ‘secrets’

I guess that I should just be grateful that my mind protects me from clearly knowing what happened to me as a child, since it obviously was too much for me to handle remembering that it happened, but sometimes I feel robbed of having a story. Sometimes I want to be able to say with certainty “X, Y, and Z happened to me and it was horrible, but I refuse to keep my grandfather’s secrets any longer and I’m not going to hide what he did.” But I have all of these flashbacks and seeming memories that could be memories that might have literally happened, or they might not. I feel like I can’t talk about what I seem to remember happening, because any single thing might not actually have happened, but that leaves me restricted to talking in vague generalities.

Today, while I was talking to Mama Bear about something all together different (my difficulties with going to bed- see Why won’t I go to bed?), she helped me to understand that by feeling as if I need to keep my fears hidden from my husband, I was treating them as if they were shameful. There is something about the action of keeping secrets that just magnifies shame, and conversely there is something about wisely sharing secrets that can help to break the bonds of shame. And often, around abuse, shame helps to preserve fear, so talking with him about my fears related to his coming to bed after I do might by itself convince enough of me that I really don’t have anything to fear in my current situation. It may be the easiest way to prove to myself that now is entirely different from then, because I will have behaved in a way that was impossible then.

Well, you know what, I’ve realized that I’m really tired of feeling like I have to keep the secrets of what happened. But it just feels so wrong to risk saying that something happened when it might not have. How can I accuse my grandfather of such terrible things, when I have no proof? As a result, I feel like I am in a bind: I need to start to let out the secrets, but I also need to maintain my integrity which seems to mean that I have to be completely certain of what I say, before I say it. Unfortunately, chances are good that I will never be 100% sure that any single thing happened, even though I can be quite certain of what the over all picture looks like.

There is one incident in particular that is on my mind tonight. I have given Mama Bear a vague idea of what happened, although I have never been able to tell her any specifics. I certainly haven’t been able to say anything about it to anyone else. Mama Bear assures me that she believes that it could have happened, because she has heard of similar things happening to other children, but inside I am so convinced that no one will ever believe me. Today, I realized that something that I have been experiencing over the last couple of days seems to be another piece of that memory. While I don’t want to be alone with it, I also can’t bring myself to tell Mama Bear, because I am convinced that even if she believed me before, she won’t now. And the shame and disgust that goes with it all is so very intense that I feel like I am going to choke on it.

The crazy thing is that if someone else here described what I seem to remember, I would find it horrific to hear that it happened to that person, but I also know that it is definitely within the realm of possibility and would believe the person. Sometimes people push degrading the child that they are abusing to the maximum and this would do that.

Maybe because it’s because the shame and disgust are so strong with this memory that some of me wants so much to just say, “I seem to remember X happening” and not worry about the consequences. I want to get it out of me. I want to know that other people can hear what I have said and that the words had weight and meaning- they didn’t just evaporate. That it matters that I carry the burden of these bizarre acts and I don’t have to just try to hold them inside, silently. That even though what I seem to remember seems like craziness, I am not crazy.

What I carry around feels anything but vague. Confused sometimes, yes, but not vague. So why am I stuck with a vague story? Am I really stuck with it? What would it mean if I said that I thought that things happened, even if I can never prove it? It’s not like I’m making the accusations to anyone who actually knew the man. And I know that he did some of these things, I’m just not 100% sure which of these things happened exactly the way that I seem to remember them. But does it really have to be my responsibility to say nothing clearly in that case? I feel like my voice has been taken away or at least muted when it comes to crying out about what was done. If no one says, “X, Y, and Z happened to me” when Z feels like it would be unbelievable to others, then people will never learn that Z can happen.

I don’t know, I really don’t know what is right to do here. How have you handled similar issues around sharing your story?

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