But I do.
At first, when I was going through it, talking about it was a way to get opinions and advice from others who might have a different perspective.
As time went on, talking about it was a “mistake;” it would only make my boyfriend look bad and make me more stressed out about staying with him. There was a lot of pressure and anger.
Then, finally, I used discussion to see if my feelings were valid or not. It turns out that they were very valid.
Being scared of someone who grabs your arms and throws you forcefully onto the ground is a normal response.
Despite all the lies he’d forced into my head, thanks to several wonderful people in my life, I was finally able to see him for what he really is – an abusive sociopath.
Yet I still sometimes have trouble when remembering the past. I imagine myself acting differently than I did. I have so much regret. I am ashamed of what I didn’t do.
Talking to people about it was so scary at first. I thought (thanks to my abuser’s brainwashing) that they would look down on me or view me as pathetic and weird. Not the case. People were more empathetic than I thought (minus a few people that I ended up dropping as friends due to their rude actions towards me) and that was so surprising.
I wasn’t afraid to talk about it after a while.
But the thing about it is – I wanted to talk about it, which seemed odd to me since so many victims of trauma often bottle up inside themselves and don’t want to discuss it. I wanted to bring it up. I wanted people to know. I wanted people to listen and above all else understand what I went through and why I felt the way I did.
Hell, even I was trying to figure it out.
I didn’t avoid the topic. I dove head-first into it. I fueled my writing with my pain. I spoke about my experiences. I didn’t hide behind my pride. A loved one found me one day working on a mixed media project about the abusive relationship. She simply told me, “I think after this, it’s time to move on.” It had only been a month since his arrest. I wasn’t ready.
Now don’t go calling her out – she was saying this in my best interest. She wanted me to stop hurting and didn’t know how to deal with it.
I couldn’t just stop though; there will still things I didn’t understand. It’s in my nature to be curious. Since I was little, I’ve been obsessed with figuring things out – how things work, why the world is the way it is, what the truth really is, who done it… I am a writer, after all.
So I kept writing. I kept researching. I kept delving into the topic in order to understand myself better.
As a good friend of mine once said, “Don’t hate yourself. Understand yourself.”
So I did. Was it painful? YES. There were times I’d be doing some research and it would bring up a flashback… and I’d be crying and paranoid for the rest of the day.
It invaded my mind at night while I slept. My nightmares and even my somewhat normal dreams are fueled by my PTSD.
But I never stopped talking about it. I had to fight the shame. I had to figure it out. I had to understand.
Last night, I went and got a manicure with a friend. Somehow, we got on this topic and went way in-depth – further than I thought we would. It helped. I understood better after being able to share my experience and hear her opinions on the issues. It made sense.
But I found myself feeling that same feeling I always do when I talk about it. It’s a mixture of fear, shame, and sadness. It’s emotionally exhausting.
When our conversation ended, I sat there, reeling from the words I had just spoken. I knew that the feeling wasn’t just going to go away.
I went home, put on some music, didn’t indulge my depression, and dealt with it. I understood what was going on. I had felt the exact same thing before.
I ate dinner with my family and I moved on. It felt like the first time I had ever done that. I didn’t want my parents to feel badly because I had felt badly. And once we got to talking about silly things and politics at dinner, it was gone.
I’m smarter. I’m stronger. And that puts a smile on my face 🙂