How To Find The Courage To Speak About Your Trauma

There are many taboo topics in today’s society. Often, we are asked to be quiet about the tough things, because it makes other people uncomfortable. Trauma is one of those topics.

It is my deepest belief that my trauma made me the person I am. Although it made seem weird to some people, I wouldn’t take away what happened. I am proud of who I am and what I have come through. It’s this pride that allows me to talk about my trauma and help others.

I wasn’t always proud though. At one point, like you, I was scared. Scared of what people would say, what my past might disqualify me from, scared of people leaving. Let me put your fears to bed.

You Are Not Alone

The first thing all victims assume is that no one is going to understand. As humans, we are undeniably self-involved. We think that our situations are so unique that we will forever be alone in our understanding. But here’s the sad reality. Are you ready?

In children alone, a report is made of abuse every 10 seconds in the United States. (ChildHelp)

So while our first reaction to abuse is to feel alone, remember that you aren’t. What happened to you was horrific and no one has the exact same experience. However, you are not the first nor will you be the last person to be abused. Don’t downplay your hurt, but realize there are others out there who would be happy to hear your story and offer support.

Not everyone will understand and certainly, not everyone has been through trauma. However, more people will relate than you think. When you decide to share your story, chances are you will be met with support. But if you aren’t that’s okay too. I wasn’t either.

My First Time

Let me tell you a story.

The first person I told about my trauma was my mother. And she cried for several minutes, blaming herself. I had to spend my first moment “coming out” comforting my mother. Then when I finally told a close friend, her response was “oh.” That was it. She had no comforting words. She didn’t hug me, she didn’t apologize for my situation. She just soaked in my words. Even worse… she looked at me differently.

All of my fears were confirmed in her response. I was tarnished. I was different. No one was going to understand. I might as well just take the secret to my grave.

I felt awful. Why should I even bother? I was desperately searching for someone to share my pain with. I was tired of being alone. And the fear of yet another poor reaction could have kept me silent for life. Especially considering my first two experiences with opening up.

But instead, when I was having a rough day at work and we were closing up shop. My manager asked me what was wrong. Instead of shutting down, I found myself taking him up on his offer to be candid. So, I told him. And finally, I received the response I had been searching for. He met me with compassion, words of wisdom and comfort.

“I know it doesn’t change anything. But I am so sorry that happened to you.”

My eyes welled with tears at his words. I didn’t realize until that moment that what I had so desperately was an apology. I knew I’d never get one from my abuser, but this apology from my manager soothed the wound and desire.

Don’t let fear hold you back from looking for comfort. Trauma is the most difficult mix of emotions anyone will ever experience. We are not meant to live life alone and trauma is not something you should carry by yourself. It is much too heavy to bear in silence.

It doesn’t change who you are. Your abuser can rob your time, but they cannot rob your soul. Only you can give that away.

Related: How I Healed From Childhood Trauma and PTSD

Shame

You should not be ashamed about something for which you are not to blame.

But – I get it.

Why me? Is there something wrong with me? Did I do something to deserve this?

No. You didn’t.

Your abuser had no good reason for what they did to you. You didn’t do anything wrong. It is not your fault and therefore the only person who should feel ashamed is the person who hurt you.

It is natural to go through those questions. The act of bending another person’s will is so unthinkable, as humans, we try to figure out what caused it because surely something must have.

The only thing that caused your trauma is the person that made the choice to abuse you.

In my experience, the best way to face shame is to tell it to shut up. I encourage those who work with me to write down their worst thoughts. What eats away at you and keeps you up at night?

Write it down and then write down the opposite. Then write as much as you can about the contrary. Take those good statements about yourself and start saying them. Even if you don’t believe what you are saying, say it anyway.

You should not be ashamed about something for which you are not to blame.

Sticky notes are my best friend. When combatting negative thoughts and feelings, I write down the opposite on a sticky note and fill my bathroom mirror. The only person who can free you from mental slavery is yourself because you are the only one who controls your mind.

Take control.

You Might Help Someone Else

As alone as you might feel, there is someone else who feels just as alone. You never know how you could help someone else when you accept your past.

More than a few times in my life, I have had people reach out years after we met, only to say that my openness helped them work through their own circumstance.

You owe it to yourself to work through your hurt FIRST. But once you do, don’t be afraid to use it to help others. The best revenge for your abuser is to show them that they won’t ruin your life. The devil wants to keep you down! Fight back and stand steady.

We all want to be a part of something bigger. Let your trauma be your catapult. Change someone else’s life with your bravery.

Related: TRIGGERS – 5 Reasons They are Holding You Back

Finding The Courage To Speak About Your Trauma

Okay, so you’ve read this and maybe it isn’t clicking. These headings might not seem related to you or answer the original question.

I said all of that above to say this.

Here’s how you muster up the courage to speak about your trauma.

  1. Find your own healing first and recognize that you are not alone
  2. Tell just one person. The first time is the hardest and regardless of how they react you will feel better having gotten the hurt off your chest.
  3. Get rid of any shame you might be holding onto. When we are no longer ashamed of what happened, it becomes as easy to discuss as last years Christmas party.
  4. Find your WHY. For many people, this is to help others. When we have a reason to share our story that matters to us it helps push away the fear. Your story could save or help someone else. And don’t we all want to be a hero on some level?

Our secrets hold the most power over us. Why? Because when you keep something to yourself your mind will run wild with it. When we speak up and speak out, we check those thoughts. And in the process, you might just help someone else. Even better, you might save yourself.

 

Was anything of this helpful? Let me know! Leave a comment RIGHT NOW. I want to hear from you.

Yours Truly,

Danielle

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