October 21, 2019

Leaving Shame Behind

I’ve been afraid to tell my story because people I have trusted have told me that my abuse couldn’t have been all that bad. Well, I’m here to tell you that no matter how big or small, trauma is trauma. And I don’t care what anyone tells you, sexual abuse of any kind is ugly and horrible. Period.

I held so much shame.

As far back into my childhood as I can remember, shame was the deciding voice in my head. It told me when I couldn’t talk, that I wasn’t good enough, that my opinions didn’t matter.

Growing up, I was sexually abused by someone I trusted. That’s where the shame started. And then when I reached middle school, my family decided to make the decision to adopt a teenage boy, and I was sexually abused by him, too. I never told anyone. I didn’t understand. I now know it’s because I was desensitized to the abuse after growing up with it my whole childhood. Eventually, he went to jail after sexually abusing other people, too.

The shame grew.

That shame had controlled me my whole life. Shame was the controlling voice in my head. Shame told me I was worthless.

I became horribly depressed. I thought something was wrong with me. And the few people I opened up to, told me that my pain wasn’t a big enough deal because my abuse looked different than others. “THANK GOD!” They said. They didn’t realize that their relief for my situation, only minimized my pain, even if their intentions were good. Because I wasn’t a rape victim, my sexual abuse story “couldn’t have been that bad”.

More shame. At my lowest and shameful for my deep sadness, I was suicidal and lonely, I started to wonder if I should finally end the pain.

Then I heard my sister one day talking about how her counselor was helping her so much in her own life. I decided to take a chance. I had a plan that in five years if things weren’t any different, I would finally end the pain. I couldn’t live with the shame anymore.

I’m proud of the steps I took to walk into that counseling office. What was so intimidating at first, became my saving grace. Today, I am a completely different person. Had I not made the life-changing decision to go to counseling, I wouldn’t have married my wonderful husband, I wouldn’t have reached out to my family, I wouldn’t have found my voice, and I probably wouldn’t even be here today. I’m still working on healing from a lot of deep wounds, but I know now that I am more than what happened to me. When I had no support, my counselor had my back. She told me that I suffered from severe depression, anxiety, and PTSD. That I was worth healing. That I wasn’t alone.

When I confided in friends about what had happened to me, they told me that what I went through wasn’t bad enough to feel the way that I felt. I want the world to understand that trauma is trauma. You can’t decide how traumatized someone is allowed to be. If someone says they hurt, then listen. My counselor helped me to find my voice and gave me the support that I so desperately needed. And if you’re thinking of taking that first step, then do it. Do it and never look back.

Now I want to be a voice for the people who have been told that their story isn’t enough. I want those of you who have been told these lies, to know that I have your back. I see you. Your pain is real. Don’t listen to the people who say you don’t deserve healing. That it could have been worse. They’re wrong.

You deserve healing.

You do. You do.

I promise you do.

The following blog post was written by a guest blog writer. Her story of growth and no longer letting shame control her is so powerful and we are so proud to have her a part of the Speak Your Silence community!