“I will leave the past alone when it leaves me alone” Commenter on Emerging from Broken
I heard so many things against speaking about the past. Questions which are actually statements and judgements more than they are actual questions such as “why do you want to talk about your problems in public” or “why do you want to air your dirty laundry in front of the whole world?” These judgements always concluded with some version of “you are only making yourself look like a fool.” Statements like that carried with them the all too familiar indication that the speakers (the judges) were concerned for ME; that they truly cared about what was “best for me”.
When I faced the cold hard truth, I began to comprehend the actuality reality; I realized that their concern was never for me. I didn’t need to make myself look like a fool, they did that for me all of my life. I think of the times they delighted in finding ways to embarrass me or humiliate me in front of others. In fact I think that some of their motives were based on discrediting me in case I ever revealed the truth. They were not concerned about MY dirty laundry. They were only concerned about what I was exposing about THEM. They didn’t want me to expose THEIR dirty laundry. And I think this would be a good time to add that if they didn’t KNOW what they were doing was wrong, if they didn’t “know any better” then WHY did they know that they needed to keep me quiet about it?
The biggest reason that people persuaded me not to talk about child abuse and dysfunctional family stuff was either because THEY didn’t want to be exposed or because they knew that if they sided with me or even if they validated me, then they would have to face their own dysfunctional family stuff. They were not trying to help me live a better life in freedom and wholeness with their “just let it go” directives. They were concerned with covering their own butts and staying in denial by not facing the truth and so they could keep getting away with all the stuff that everyone knows deep down is wrong.
The legal definitions of child abuse and neglect were a huge eye opener for me. But an even bigger eye opener was when I realized the lengths that so many people went to, to make sure I kept quiet. Like I said, if they did not know their behaviour was wrong, they would not have spent so much energy making sure it didn’t come out in the open.
I wish I had found a website or like this when I was searching for answers all those years. Nobody was talking about holding family accountable for abuse or about exposing abusers… everyone seemed to be talking about forgiveness or letting go of the past. “Live for today” and “acceptance is the answer” but nobody wanted to talk about WHAT we were supposed to accept! Were they really telling me to accept that people messed with my head, discounted and devalued me, took advantage of me, taught me that something was “wrong with me”, abused, mistreated and objectified me, and telling me that I should just “get over it”? In that dysfunctional recovery system, everyone endorsed “keeping the silence” and no one wanted to talk about spending some time actually validating the dysfunction first. I was never able to put the past behind me until I actually validated the damage that was done. There are even therapists out there that will refuse to work with you if you want to talk about the past!
I spent over 25 years of my adult life trying to let go and let God and get over it, accept it, forgive and feel sorry for the sick people in my past and I ended up having increasingly difficult chronic depressions. I spent only 2 years facing and validate it and all the results that I ever could have hoped for were achieved. So what is so wrong with my way? At least I am living proof that it worked!
I speak and I write EFB because it is my story and MINE to tell. I celebrate the permission I give myself to tell my story after years of being silenced. It is validating for me and for others to hear the benefits of living in truth. Finding, facing and embracing the truth is what set me free from oppression, depression and the low self esteem that hindered me all of my life before I faced the lies so I could embrace this truth.
I will speak my truth. I will tell my story. Look at my life today! I am free. I am living a full and happy life bursting with wholeness and freedom in the sunlight of the truth and no longer in the shadow of the lie. The fact that they are not happy for me is actually more proof of the dysfunctional system they live in. Like crabs in a bucket, clambering over each other to get out but only pulling each other back down because really, no one wants another little crab to escape into freedom if the darkness of the bucket is the fate of the rest. Well too bad for them. I finally stood up to them and stood up for me. I finally chose ME over them. I escaped. I don’t live in that darkness anymore and it feels GREAT to have the sun on my face!
Note: speaking up for myself and drawing boundaries does not always mean that I have to confront controlling and manipulative people; in many cases they walked away from the relationship as soon as they sensed that I had caught on to the disrespect and devaluing treatment. They skulked away like guilty dogs, which tells a tale now doesn’t it?
Please share your thoughts about being told to leave the past in the past.
Another snapshot of truth;
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