I chose the name shameless survivors for this blog more as an aspiration than a personal statement of fact. I’m making progress, though many times it feels more like airing my dirty laundry to the world. Being honest and forthright publicly appears contrary to acceptable norms in a polite society. It is a delicate balance between honesty and Jerry Springer. While certainly personally cathartic, I choose to focus on the purpose behind exposure of my life during and after abuse. I seek to help others in their journeys; regardless of whether they have not yet begun or this simply serves as reflection where a reader once was.
The shame I held of being abused led to a great deal of my denial of what was happening and who I was becoming within the relationship. Shame kept me firmly anchored in secrets which kept me firmly anchored in shame. Recognizing this and spinning out of that cycle is what makes me a survivor. Revealing it has brought tremendous healing. Though many believe it is my miraculous survival of the gunshot wounds, I feel equally it is navigating out of the hiding, and exposing the abuse, that has enabled me to grow.
It is clear to me that healing comes when we leave behind the cloak of darkness and secrets and chose to live fully in the light. This realization, that shame is what keeps us in our secrets, comes later than I’d like to admit. I mastered the skill and am still very adept at keeping secrets.
Justifying. Rationalizing. Excusing. Hiding. Feeling shame. They differentiate secrets from issues of privacy. I use secrets as a wake up call, an alarm. I now know that when I am heading down a path that I feel needs to be secret it isn’t a safe or healthy place for me to be. My progress comes in recognizing the pattern immediately and making different choices. It requires ongoing focus to put the bits and pieces of these realizations into a congruous plan towards coming to a healthy emotional place. Sometimes fleeting, it’s a process. I’m getting there.