Of Owning My Story With Survivor Pride

I had a meeting today, with a former colleague. Although we had worked together pretty closely on a few projects, I had never shared with him my no contact status. At the time, the cut from my family was still too close for comfort. I was still dealing with the fall out, I was scared, tired, overwhelmed and mostly ashamed.

Yeah, when I first realized or acknowledged to myself that I had grown up in an abusive family, I was ashamed.

I thought that coming from an abusive family meant there was something wrong with me. I thought I was the chipped glass no-one wants to use, the taped together toolbox that just sits empty on a shelf, or the slightly cracked watering can that is not quite watertight anymore. Of course there is the shame and guilt of the survivor, but additionally there is the condemning stare of the other person.

Most people don’t actually use the condemning stare, but I used to expect and dread it. And so I tried to hide the truth.

I would be anxious  about questions about my past and my family. A simple “where are you from?” would leave me near paralyzed. I just did not want anyone to find out, and condemn me.

Most People Do Not Condemn You

Over the years I have experienced again and again that the expected condemnation usually doesn’t happen. And when it does, that it usually comes from people I have no interest in. Or perhaps the two are connected.

I have gotten to a place where I do not accept condemnation in my life. At the end of the day, do I need to make room in my life for people who judge me for having been the target of an emotional abuser? Would they condemn me too for having been run over by a truck as a kid?

You see, the trick turned out to be this:


I needed to accept that abuse is part of my story (only part of it, mind you). So yeah, I come with some chips and a fair amount of duct tape. I still work though, and the chips and duct tape give me character!
The only tea cup anyone remembers of Beauty and the Beast is the one with the chip… yes? There you go!

Back To My Meeting….

So, that meeting with my colleague this morning. For the subject we were discussing, it was important for me to mention my family situation, and so I did.

By now, I have learned how to do that without causing too much distress. When I first started sharing more openly, I was still battling the shame. So I would just dump my story, because that alone was quite an emotional battle. Now that I have had some practice, I can prepare people a little before getting to the big ugly truth.

Of course, there was no condemnation. There was some good advice about the topic on hand though…

Owning My Story With Pride

Does it sound weird that I am now finding pride in my past? Why though? I worked so hard to escape and heal. I have beaten so many odds… Why should I not celebrate that strength, hold my head up high and say:

I MADE IT THROUGH THAT!! This happened, and I will no longer condemn myself for it… because let’s face it… all that fear of judgement is just projected judgement of yourself.

You are wonderful, you are worthy and you are loved.

Be proud of how far you have come,
regardless of where that is!

we love to read your comments below

Monkey

Monkey

Having gained experience while working for a variety of European non-profits, I am proud to now work with SwanWaters. My connection with the website is not only professional. I am glad to tap into my personal experiences to help those who are living in toxic relationships whether with parents, partners or in their professional life. We need to make the world more aware of the devastating effects of emotional abuse and help more people on their way to heal and thrive.
Monkey

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