shedding the shame . . . .

This blog entry “Shedding The Shame” has taken me almost a month to write and post. I think deep inside my heart, there was this fear of revealing what it is that I deal with on a daily basis. I think I feared people seeing the vulnerability inside.

Shame is a hard emotion to touch on, it’s one of the hardest feelings inside to talk about, or to understand.

I recently last week received an email from a huge organization that helps abused woman and men, and I have been asked to post my blog in their magazines and website. What an honor and a great fear at the same time. Part of my healing recently has been about opening up about my story, and what it is that I go through in this healing process.

Me being asked to do this honorable thing, gave me the courage to come back to this blog entry that I started a month ago after a visit back home in NH.  It has been sitting in my drafts for weeks now, behind fear. I then realized, I shouldn’t be ashamed to talk about the very thing that silences people when being a victim of abuse – so here I am, shedding the shame.

It has taken me 5 years in this remarkable journey of healing to come to this point today in realizing that the abuse done to me was not my fault, and I am no longer owning the shame. I spoke these very words out loud when I returned home from New Hampshire after this past Christmas break.

I walked into session after a week and a half break, plopped myself down in my usual seat on the couch along side my therapist, reached out for connection, didn’t even give the fear a chance to own a place in that room, and said “I am ready to heal for me, and this was not my fault!” I said these words with no fear, no weight (silence), no anxiety, and said it with complete desire to go forward for ME!

For the first time ever, he was speechless. I think his words were, “I have no questions” with a big smile and teary eyes, and a bit of a shock look to him. Even though I had kept in contact with all my support down in GA during my trip home to NH to face my past, I don’t even think I, (myself), knew that I would come home and hold these very words, or even have the courage to say them out loud.

After saying those words, the room got so quiet that even I was taken back. But the shock wasn’t that I didn’t believe the words I was saying, it was that I said those words with strength and courage, and I didn’t let fear hold me down. I was shedding the shame at that very moment, and I felt the movement in my healing.

The abuse, neglect, physical abuse, and rape was NOT my fault!  The abuse done to me was them. I had no choices of my own. All I had was to survive and protect myself from the threats put upon me. I have lived in shame my whole life, and finally the shame is shedding – piece by piece, little by little, each day it’s fading and fading, and I am overcoming the very feelings they put on me since I was 5 years old.

Going up to NH and seeing the very people who abused me, made me realize that I am healthier, I am stronger, I am more free because I have the choice to heal and move forward on my path, not theirs. I have the choice to tell the story from ME, and I will no longer be a prisoner in their chain of lies. I have support, I have love, I have God who gives me strength, and the biggest thing I have is “the truth”.

When I went home to NH, I stood there and looked at my brothers right in the eyes, the very same brothers who abused me from the age of 5 till I was 13 years old. I actually went up to them and gave them a hug and asked them how they were doing. I knew in that moment that I had power over them, and they no longer had the power over me. I knew in that moment that I was FINALLY leaving the shame where is belonged; with them.

For me, shame was put on me in order to keep me quiet and silent. Me being a vicim of abuse for all those years, I was always told it was MY fault, they made me feel as if it was my wrong-doing. When you are threatened from the age of 5 until you are 13, you dont know anything different, you continuously feel it’s your fault; that you are at fault because you let them do it. Shame is ugly and a feeling that takes away your self worth deep inside. Shame is their sin put on you, and you feel it’s yours to hold.

What I know today is that, this was done to me, not by me. I was surviving to stay alive through it. if anything, the shame belongs to them. SHAME ON THEM for taking advantage of an innocent child sexually and physically. If I know anything today, I am the HERO; a person who survived a war and lived to tell about it. A child should never have to endure daily sexual abuse, neglect, rape and constant shame, guilt, fear, and hurt.

I read about shame once, and one of the things that was written about this horrible emotion is that, “Shame is the most disturbing experience individuals ever have about themselves; no other emotion feels more deeply disturbing because in the moment of shame, the self feels wounded from within”.

For all those victims out there that feel shame from something that was done to them – the truth? You are the HERO! You survived, and you stayed alive to get through it. It is so important to know, that feeling shame, is nothing to be ashamed of !! This was put on you! you do not OWN this feeling, they do! This is why I decided to post this entry, the shame does not belong to us, it belongs to THEM.

A close friend of mine, Ross Wiseman once said to me –“God will restore what the enemy has taken”.. I have held onto that for years and years, and today I finally understand what it means. It means I had to honor what was done to me was not my fault, so that god can restore what they took from me. It means I had to stand up and take the step in healing, so that God can restore what was taken from me.. and today, I am doing just that.

I am working on the timeline as a healing tool. By me doing this timeline, its giving me MY choices back that I never had as a child. It’s allowing me to feel whatever it is I need to feel without the threats and the shame. It is giving me the chance to LIVE without the chains of lies, and the shed the shame once and for all, and give it back to those who wrongfully gave it to me!

I used to think that my body was never mine, that it was owned by them, but today, I am slowly starting to believe that I am healing, and my body is becoming mine. I am restoring back not only emotionally, but physically, and I know that God is restoring me, day by day, hour by hour, layer by layer – SCAR by SCAR!

My biggest realization when I went up to NH and faced my past was that – I, Karen; a victim of abuse am the hero in this story – SHAME ON THEM!

8 comments

  1. Karen, I just have to say that you are indeed a Hero. I’m sorry this happened to you and you should be commended for your strength in facing this head on. I loved that you took that control away from them, and made them own the shame. God bless you and your journey to healing.

  2. Karen, I just cried! I just sat here and cried like a baby, because even though I have not been abused, I have experienced Shame, and you described it to a T! I am so sorry that you have had a life of terror and pain! no one deserved a life like that, especially a wonderful and caring person like you! I am in awe of your courage to move out of the shame they put on you. Shame is a hard thing to overcome, and finally you have taken control over it. AWESOME FOR YOU!

    I am still crying by your blog, your truly an inspiration!

    Kelly

  3. Hi Karen, I came across your blog, and wanted to post a response. I am a LPC, a therapist, and you nailed SHAME on the head. Shame is one of the toughest emotions to describe and understand. When I have clients that come in and tell me they feel shamful, it’s hard to articulate what that means. Shame is one of the most horrible feelings a person can feel, and to think that you felt that way since you were 5 years old? that is a long time to hold onto something that was not yours.

    You are one brave soul.. It’s not easy to talk about something that is hard to understand, better yet be with. The fact that you are shedding the shame is honoring who you are, and you will find that talking about your story like you said in the timeline, it’s going to feel more authentic and real. Shame covers true emotions, when you lift that shame, you will find alot of things underneath that you were never allowed to have feelings about, you are going to feel, and it’s going to be for you, and that is a remarkable journey to take on. I commend you, I truly do.

    I will be reading your journey, your story gives me chills that a person can find the strength to open up to others and help.

    Hanna D

  4. This is a really powerful post for me, spoke to me in volumes. Love when you quote, “in the moment of shame, the self feels wounded from within”. It’s exactly how I feel, exactly. Like my soul has been raped. I love the advice from your friend, “God will restore what the enemy has taken”…I feel so much of *me* has been taken away, I don’t know where to start to pick up the pieces, but reading that has given me a glimmer of hope that *me* will be restored. Thank you [so, so glad to read that your posts will be syndicated].

  5. P.S. Forgot to ask you – do you have a post on the ‘timeline’ idea? [Off to find your search function – I realise you have other things to be doing than responding to comments!]

    1. No it’s more than okay that you comment .. I think it’s great :) .. im not sure if I posted an idea on the timeline, I just got a book and began going down the line of the years of the abuse and went from there. It’s been a while since my therapist and I have worked with the timeline, but I plan to look in it again soon :) feel free to ask me anything!

  6. Karen, what a victory! I rejoice with you in the restoration God has done in your life. My heart ached in reading what you’ve been through, but now God has given you a supernatural strength. You are encouraging so many with your story!

Please take a moment to comment! I love connecting with others!