When we come into healing, sometimes we discover there are no words to express where we have been, what we feel, where we are going.
Sometimes the words spill out of us, and other times they are trapped in our hearts. Sometimes I am afraid to speak of what’s in my heart, what’s on my mind. I stay silent out of fear that people don’t want to hear what I have to say, that my story is overwhelming, or that it will be used to hurt me… again.
It is a lonely existence to feel as if you have no safety or freedom to speak. For those coming out of abuse, this is a common experience. It has not been safe to express ourselves within the abusive relationship and we have taught ourselves to remain silent, to hold it all in. It’s not a simple matter to let that go, to begin speaking again. We will never return to the carefree innocence we showed before the abusive relationship. It takes a lot of courage to open up, to be vulnerable to those around us. It is safer and easier to hide our hearts.
It is also unfortunate that when we do reveal our hearts people are not always receptive. They may not believe you have been abused, they may not recognize the hurt you have experienced, they may be hurting so badly themselves that they cannot handle hearing about your emotions. This isn’t restricted to abuse survivors, but an abuse survivor is likely more sensitive to it because we are already on edge, expecting to be spurned and rejected for who we are and how we feel.
We must be aware of our inner messages, we must know ourselves and choose carefully who to be vulnerable to, but we must be vulnerable to someone. Being silent, refusing to share our story, hiding our feelings can also be harmful to us. This is where a professional counselor can be very helpful. I believe it is very important to find seek the wisdom of a therapist to work through the effects of abuse on our hearts. It also can protect our personal friendships from becoming overwhelmed with our emotional needs. Having friends we can be honest with is important, but we must also remember our friends are not counselors.
There is a time for silence, and there is a time for words. We must be wise in knowing which, and with whom, to choose.