Anxiety, Articles, Toxic Relationships

Trauma: Why You Should Tell Your Story

diego-romeo-1392466-unsplashWhy is it so hard to tell your story? Why do you keep things to yourself and let the war rage internally instead of getting help? Maybe it’s because you’re not sure “they” will believe you? Maybe because you’re still not sure if YOU believe you?

Maybe you asked for it? Maybe you somehow brought it on yourself? Maybe you “deserved” it? Maybe you weren’t perfect in the situation? And maybe because they told you that you liked it- you did? But then why did it make you feel so dirty? Why does shame consume your thoughts?

Abuse can take on many forms- physical, physiological, sexual, emotional, spiritual- and when unbelievable things happen in our lives, our brains and emotions have a hard, well, believing them. We try to process, grasp, and make sense in our souls of what happened, but closure and answers are out of reach. Sometimes it feels easier to doubt ourselves than doubt the other person. We say things like,” surely I made that up,” or, “I probably don’t remember accurately,” rather than believe “they” could have done what they did.

Some times (most times) it seems the person most wronged feels the most shame. Maybe because their narcissistic and controlling abuser convinced them of how defective they were. Maybe the abused “went along” to keep peace and therefore was a party to the events which took place? Shame can be a powerful, silencing  force.

If this feels like you, please listen to what I have to say- “Tell your story.”

Let me tell you something about telling your story. Whether it be to a trusted friend, a counselor, or even a listener on the other end of a hotline number, sharing your story feels like being hooked up to a ventilator and receiving oxygen again. Sharing your story is the beginning of picking up the shattered pieces someone else left behind. Sharing your story shines a light on the charlatan of Shame.

Start small. You don’t have to share it all at once. But even beginning to share part of your story will turn the tables on fear. Why? Because you’re no longer keeping a secret for someone else in an effort to keep false peace, to keep from hurting someone, to protect “them.” You’re no longer keeping your truths hidden beneath but are validating your right to have voice.

Secrets are kept for a variety of reasons but they’re all rooted in fear. Maybe they’ve threatened to tell everyone how “defective” you are if you tell? Funny thing, them opening their mouths only shows others how defective they are.  I promise you, they have more to hide than you do.

Why do we feel we must protect our abuser? Why do we feel an obligation to keep the story pretty on the outside? They made the choice to take, control, hurt, damage, and destroy. Why not let them figure it out without us covering?

Why tell your story? Because you need to breathe. You can’t hold your breath forever. Did you know even your physical body needs oxygen to heal from injury? In order for tissues to heal, they must have access to oxygen. You soul (mind, will, emotions) works the same way, and telling your story lets oxygen fill the lungs of your soul so healing can begin.

Tell your story.

***As a side note: One of the greatest gifts you can give a person who shares a piece of their story is… believe them. Say it out loud to them, ” I believe you.” Let them hear the sound of another human validating their story, their experience, and their bravery to speak such words.