I found out yesterday that two people whom I care about deeply have been telling others that they are unsure if they believe me about the abuse I suffered. I have shared VERY little with anyone in my life about what went on. The details are just too much for a non-professional to handle in my opinion so I am very careful about what I say and I keep my admissions very brief and generalized. That said? I say enough so that people can understand the reasons for my DID and the reasons why I needed in-patient care.
Hearing that people I love so much feel unsure as to whether they believe me or not is devastating to me. That said? I also know that hearing those words dredges up all the past incidents where I have not been heard or believed. My reaction to this is therefore stronger than it would be if they had been the only ones.
There were the doctors that ignored the very obvious signs of serious trauma finding it easier to believe my mother who accused me of damaging myself as a plea for attention. I was not heard.
The social workers who would come to the door and meet a shining smile and happy home only to write in their notes that the case was obviously unfounded and therefore closed. I was forced to be silent and never protected. They never even looked in the back rooms or the basement.
The teachers who saw bruises, breaks, illnesses and hospitalizations yet were willing to turn a blind eye and accept the “she is very clumsy and gets ill easily”. I was ignored.
The adults who knew something was wrong but didn’t want to get involved.
The therapist that was recommended to my parents by one of my schools who found me very quiet, unwilling to talk, closed up and likely only vying for attention… because my sessions were done with my mother in the room as well.
The friends of the family that knew damn well what was going on but feared backlash more than they feared for my safety.
The priest that condemned my sisters for their suicides yet never wondered why 3 girls from one family were all gone. The other 2 (me included at the time) were alcoholics. We were treated very harshly and no one took the time to ask us WHY we were all so screwed up.
The therapist I had 2& 3 years ago that would only say that my story was obviously “my truth”. Never saying that she believed me or heard my words. She was a skeptic and I kept my silence with her because I knew she was not really a good support. This not only delayed my getting good therapy but actually set me even further backwards.
“Friends” that supported me to my face and spoke of me behind my back.
And the list goes on. Sadly I know that I am not at all alone in this.
Then I went away to the in-patient program and they actually heard my story. They allowed me to express it in small tidbits as the days went on. They made me feel safe in sharing my story with them because they actually heard my words and believed them.
What a gift!
After experiencing being heard and being believed, my life started to turn around. I became gradually less depressed, less suicidal, more confident and more compassionate towards myself for the things I had done to survive.
I am careful about who I share pieces of my story with. I protect my heart and my mind from people who are close minded or uncaring.
To find out that two of these people have spoken behind my back and are unsure of the truth? That is incredibly painful.
I am a person who refuses to lie. I don’t even lie when I should. Just ask my friends. If you really want to know how your arse looks in that dress? Ask me. 😉 Joking aside, I absolutely refuse to intentionally tell anyone a lie, even a tiny one because I do not want anyone to ever have a reason to question what I say. My word is very important to me and I firmly believe that trust is earned.
I feel I have earned it and that is not always easy. There are many times in a day that it would be easier to just pacify a situation or a person but I refuse to go that way because I do not want my credibility to ever be in question.
So to now hear that two people whom I love deeply are questioning my story causes me a great deal of pain. I do know these two people are also close to my mother/monster and the questions originate there but I am still hurt because I have never done anything to deserve any other answer but “she has never lied to me before so why would she start now?” or “she wouldn’t do that to us”.
I will move on and I will not give these people the power to bring me down but I can not say for one second that I am not hurt and this is bringing up all sorts of yucky, gross feelings from the past. It upsets me more than I have words to express.
As I said in another blog, people who report abuse are telling the truth 98% of the time. Only 2% lie. This is a statistic from police in many parts of the continent. I am sorry that there is a small percentage that is really full of crap but there is always going to be a small segment of every group that is only there because they misrepresent themselves. We are still left with 98 out of 100 people who are telling the truth. That is HUGE! Not believing them is the worst thing you can ever do to them aside from the original abuse.
If you really can not believe what they say? At least keep your silence about it or ask them directly. Please give them ample time to explain and understand that if you are going to doubt them? They are not likely going to want to share much with you, they may also be very defensive or angry. Just try to imagine if what you told others about your life was being questioned for no other reason than it is hard to believe. You’ll need to just accept that.
I do not know anyone (not even one person) who has an abuse history that does not include several stories of people who wouldn’t listen, didn’t believe them or downright refused to hear their words. It is so common and incredibly hurtful. So much more damage is caused by the people who do this to us.
Offering someone the gift of you hearing them and believing them is the greatest gift that you can ever give to someone who’s been abused.
Having even a very small group of people who really hear us and really trust our words offers us a safe place to be ourselves. Our authentic selves.
It is not the abused who choose silence.
It is the fear of not being believed that smothers our words.