While this year has been amazing for me (I will share in a reflective post sometime next month) it has been emotionally draining in regards to my PTSD. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has been going toe to toe and blow for blow with me! When people ask how I’m doing I respond somewhere along the lines of “you should see the other guy”. In the scheme of things, I am surrounded by some amazing people who encourage and uplift me. This is the reason I was able to make it to the end of 2018. However, there are times where I lose a round and everyone in my corner: ones dabbing my busted lip and the other squirting water in my mouth, then there’s the pep talk and cheering. (cue Rocky theme)
Sadly, these times lately have been triggered by family members. I used “me too” because it put into the spotlight the shame and pressure one feels when they have to choose silence or telling their truth. When I was 12, I told the most difficult story of my life, and my mother and maternal side went to bat for me. (Danny you’re my hero) Something different and difficult happened on the other’s side. Until this day I haven’t acknowledged it but it haunts me, it’s a constant reminder of the hurt I endured.
Over the last 16 years I have tried to maintain a relationship with family who never openly acknowledged the wrong, but instead some used religion and God, and others moved as if it never happened. I tried to maintain relationships with family members who ask me if I keep in touch with my abuser, they even tell me of the beautiful drawings he makes them from prison. For 16 years I have asked myself “What about me?” Many people face what outsiders will think of them and how they will have to face the person in court etc. I don’t think many think about the how relationships will change with the people close to them.
In this family I am the reminder, the blemish, the existence of what no one wants to acknowledge. It baffles me the excuses they make or the things they have made up to help them sleep. But never once considering about what turmoil and torment my brain, body, and soul was experiencing, even today. Some are pure and just don’t have the words so they talk over it, some have pity and assumptions in their eyes and make statements like “wow you’ve done so well for yourself” (as opposed to?)
I cut ties this year. To be free, emotionally, to live a better life for myself and my family, the one I’m creating. Some have their opinions but they had them all along, so they can keep them and go with God, or whoever they serve. It still hurts, and leads to moments like these. Slowly but surely, I am finding my voice and my worth. First, I thought it was my normal fight or flight response, but no it feels so good not to have to hear a story about a man who abused you for seven years as if he was the staple of the family. It feels good to be seen as more than the affliction you suffered. I want to be seen the way you guys see me! The way my husband sees me, the way my children see me. The way my mom sees me, the way my sisters see me.
So, I thought I would write this because my words give me back my power. Too long I have suffered in silence, thinking of others and how it would make them look. Later for that! *spits out blood, puts mouth guards back in* “LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLLLLLLLLEEEEEEE”
For the Culture,
A Scholarship to provide hope to those who are suffering from Mental Illness and Suicidal Ideation. Experiencing trauma steals so many opportunities from you, Your Future belongs to you.