A Journey from Victim to Survivor…to Living Freely

Brutal Honesty

on November 18, 2015

I accept all of the pieces that have made me into who I am…and accept what that means for living now.  A piece that comes up, and has seemed to come up more lately, is in how much information to share…and when and how…with new people or groups.  Is it a brutal honesty that has me saying-I am a survivor of rape, incest, physical, psychological, emotional and domestic abuse…oh, did I mention the brain surgeries and neurological disorder?  And the PTSD from the aforementioned abuses…and, I am in recovery for an eating disorder.  Is it never mentioning any of it?  There’s my all-or-nothing thinking…because, it does seem to fall in varying shades of gray (doesn’t it always???  And, shades of gray have me thinking and overthinking then rethinking my thinking).


Some pieces are easier to share…and, since I am giving the basics and not detailing specific incidents, it can sometimes read like a list, as it does in my medical record: Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, Sexual Assault, History of Eating Disorder, etc., etc. etc.  I don’t want to be defined by the past, yet it’s part of me…it’s part of how and why I make decisions and, part of what I think I need to share…because, if I reveal how messed up I am, then people won’t be surprised or disappointed in me…when I miss a coffee date because I’ve been in the midst of PTSD or backing out of dinner because of a migraine or am triggered by a sound/smell/situation, or, or, or…


Nearly 6 months ago, I joined a new church.  It came following the mess of an interim rector who decided to share information I had shared with her with another parishioner (among other issues).  So, it made me hasty when deciding to meet with the Rector of the new church…yet, in meeting with him, he seemed trustworthy and I’ve shared the crux of my history with him in the time since.  The “list” and not the brutally honest details that those who have lived most closely with me through the last 5 years with me have gotten.  I have realized, in sharing the basic “Hey, this is part of what I bring” with him is that I wanted to be honest, brutally, so that he had a chance to say “You know…this really isn’t the place for you.  We have our shit together and you don’t.”  And, I guess I have given him those chances…yet, he’s only reassured me…telling me that everyone is struggling and fighting in their own ways…that I certainly am welcome and part of this community.  It surprises me…this compassion and kindness…and I’ve been realizing that it gets back to the core piece of “Do I matter?  Am I worthy?”…because, in sharing that list or details with it, I feel worthless and battered…it puts me back into survival mode and not living freely.  That line can be so blurry and I obviously prefer being on the living freely side!


Still, this balance is one I am always thinking and wondering about…early in my post-divorce dating, I revealed everything, brutally, within the first couple dates…giving my dates the chances to run screaming from this woman who carries so much baggage.  Yet, I’ve shifted the how and what I want to share in newer relationships.  Slowly tossing out tidbits (ie. I’m not in contact with my family of origin vs. I haven’t spoken to my father in years because he sexually abused me as a child) and providing more information if the situation warrants it.  Maybe it’s because I am feeling less defined by that list and more by how I have gotten to standing on my own two feet.


Given all that has happened and having the ability to get back on my feet has me remembering that I am worthy and deserving of love, kindness and compassion–and you are, too.  If you are doubting just how far you’ve come, take a look in the mirror and remind yourself…You are doing this!  We are doing this!!


Keep fighting, my friends!


3 responses to “Brutal Honesty

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