I don’t like to cry. I never have. For one, I am not one of those people who can cry elegantly. I am a total damn mess and it’s not a pretty sight. Second I struggle to talk when I cry. I’m not sure if it’s the tears that keep the words from coming out or if it’s the emotion that caused the tears that keep the words from coming out. I do just about anything I can to prevent myself from crying.
I’ve shed a few tears here and there in therapy, but nothing too out of control. I’ve always seemed to have this protective barrier/shield up. Not a wall, but a protective filter that allows me to detach just enough to prevent me from having to deeply feel anything painful that would cause me to cry.
In my most recent session something happened. Something I’m not sure I really saw coming. My protect barrier/shield/filter was lifted. I allowed myself to feel. I forced myself to talk about what I was truly feeling (that was so incredibly hard).
See, just a couple of days prior to my session, I had experienced a “trigger”. I don’t think at the time I even realized it was a trigger, at least not as huge of a trigger as it turned out to be.
We traced it back to my very first memory of being violated, of being a victim of abuse and it is a terrible terrible TERRIBLE memory. I had written about it in the past to my therapist, in as much detail as I could. I had to write it because I can’t say the words. The thought of having to say the words out loud makes my skin crawl. Luckily I had written about it in the past because I was able to give enough implications for my therapist to know what I was talking about. She said the word and it made my skin crawl. It is not something I am comfortable talking about. In fact I think I’ve only told my therapist about it with as much detail as I could recall (in the letter).
I couldn’t hold back the tears. I tried but after a bit I gave up the fight and let them flow. The amount of shame I felt was overwhelming. Not because I was crying (it was embarrassment I felt for crying), but because of how I viewed myself and what I thought of myself in that moment. I couldn’t even make eye contact with my therapist. I managed to briefly at one point, but it didn’t last long before I had to look away.
My therapist asked what the worst part was, I couldn’t speak, the words would not come out. She asked about the emotions I was feeling, again, I couldn’t speak. It wasn’t for the lack of words or that I had nothing to say. I had A LOT to say. I had so many things I wanted to say. I could’ve said a million words about anything else in that moment, but not one of the million words that I wanted to say describing the worst part or describing my emotions would come out. It was like someone had stolen my ability to speak. I tried several times to speak. I just wanted to say three words, just three words. And I couldn’t get them out. It felt like we sat that waiting for those three words for hours. It felt like I was never going to get them out. After many attempts I finally said it, I finally let myself say the words. “I didn’t matter”.
At the age of 3/4 years old I didn’t feel like a person, I was nothing more than an object. “I didn’t matter”. I was insignificant. It seemed no one cared what was happening to me. I didn’t tell anyone, not until years after that abuse (sexual) stopped. After 9 years of this happening, how did no one suspect anything? How had no one caught on? It was happening right under their noses.
I struggle to believe that no one suspected anything. I believe they had an idea that something either was happening or had happened, and rather than having to deal with it, they just turned a blind eye. Leaving me to feel even more insignificant, like “I didn’t matter”. No one seemed to have any regard for my feelings, for what I was going through. No one gave me any consideration. My feelings were overlooked because to acknowledge them would mean that they would also have to acknowledge the abuse. So let “him” keep doing what he pleases, while I continue to feel like “I don’t matter” so that you can pretend everything is fine in the world.
This one memory, the first memory I have of being victimized when I was 3/4 years old; this is where it all started. This is where I began to feel like “I didn’t matter”. I still have days when I struggle to believe that I do matter. I still have days (too many) when I struggle to feel significant, worthy, lovable, accepted, heard, understood, respected, acknowledged. These feelings are the result of the abuse that I’ve endured. After more than two years of therapy I am finally learning that how I was made to feel and how I was taught to see myself is absolute and utter BULLSHIT!
My most recent therapy session was hard. It was by far the hardest session I’ve had in the two plus years I’ve been seeing her. But I also think it was my biggest step towards healing thus far.
This is what I know…the abuse is over. I can no longer be abused and that is wonderful. But the damage has still been done. The pain and suffering was endured and it still lives inside of me. I am still easily triggered. I still have days when I think very little of myself and my ability to succeed, at anything. The abuse may be over, I survived it. I am a survivor. As proud as I am of myself for surviving, for having the strength to still stand after everything I’ve been through, I want more. I want to thrive in life and in order to do that I have to go through the ugly and painful process of healing. In order to heal, I have to go through many more sessions in therapy that look very similar to my most recent session. I have to feel my way through the healing process. It is necessary. It is how the process works. To keep hiding behind that protective barrier/shield/filter is doing the complete opposite of protecting me. It’s hurting me, it’s holding me back, it’s making me miserable. I need to feel, process, and heal. Even if it means I look like a complete mess of tears.
It’s time to dive in.
With Loving-kindness ♥