I feel guilty for writing this blog.
I feel shame.
I feel guilty for sharing my version of a story that has been quiet for so long, that had been told a certain way for so long. I feel guilty for acknowledging my feelings around things. I feel guilty for calling my childhood traumatic. I feel guilty for even having feelings that are different than the ones I was ‘prescribed’ – even if nobody meant to prescribe them.
Every time I press ‘post’ I’m stuck by this overwhelming fear that what I have written – my raw truth as it is right now – will be found.
Which is interesting because I wonder what would really happen if they were found by my family, by people who know me.
I’ve struggled so long to narrate my own version of the story. In my codependent immediate family everything I defined as ‘normal’ was prescribed, or dictated. With both parents in politics and public service and a severely mentally ill younger sibling… what I could and could not say about life was predetermined for me.
When I could and could not call for help was predetermined. I learned not to call 911 in an emergency because we may become a story. The story may get out. I learned that mental illness was something to hide which later when I developed symptoms of, I waited too long to get help.
As a result, I don’t know what MY story is. I do not know me. I do not know who I am without them as part of the dialogue. Sometimes, I don’t know what really happened to me. Other times I don’t believe it was bad because everybody else was telling me it was okay and “that we can’t tell”.
Nobody – outside of my brother (but he “didnt know what he was doing“) – was malicious. My abuse was subtle, underhanded. I was ignored, had no privacy, had my story written for me and God forbid I deviate from that defined path. The first time I met A she told me I was so strong to have made it this far and I scoffed at her – so she read me the definitions of trauma and emotional/verbal/physical abuse. I couldn’t, rationally, academically, walk away from the facts after that. There WAS physical, verbal, and emotional abuse and neglect in my life for over twenty years. The physical was sibling abuse, but the rest was from all sides.
I hold a lot of shame and guilt – like I should have fixed it. Like I should have figured it out. My Mom is always bragging about how smart I am – because my intelligence is clearly her accomplishment – and yet I couldn’t make things work. I couldn’t put them into place. I couldn’t figure out the rules.
Sometimes I get caught in the comparison game. Or, even worse, I don’t think my experience was traumatic because it was mostly subtle and underhanded. There are days still where I think I must be crazy and they are actually normal and it takes someone affirming me to maybe snap out of it.
Some days it feels like it will never get easier.
I know I’ve protected myself here. I know it’s not easy for my words to be found. I know even if they are stumbled on that my family wouldn’t recognize them for what they are and wouldn’t see themselves in the words because they are still living our story, just without me.
So I keep hitting post. Because it’s about time my story got told, my way.