I’ve been in my own head too much recently. I think it’s mostly because I’ve spent the last 3 weeks commuting 2 hours a day, to and from a small town outside of my city for my current rotation. That is a lot of time to myself… more than I’ve been used to in many years. Last week all that time in my head was good: I listened to some Ted talks and I got to think to myself about some of the concepts I’ve been reading about in my Brene Brown books. This week, however, started off with an appointment with the psychiatrist through the student wellness program and we made a “plan of attack” to deal with some of the issues on my plate. One of those issues: my abuse.
I’ve had a lot of time to think about this and I can’t stop it from happening. It seems to be taking up a big part of my mind and I don’t quite know if I’m making something big out of nothing, or if all this time it has been taking up more space and emotion than I ever imagined.
Here are some little known facts that I’ve come to discover about my abuse:
1. Aside from my husband and (now) this psychiatrist, no one in my life knows about it
2. I talked about it, for the first time ever, on this blog
3. I kept the real status of my relationship secret from most people because I was ashamed of it
4. I tried to end it multiple times, but I was too afraid of what it would mean to me to be alone
5. There was a time that I begged him not to leave me
6. I told myself that it was normal
7. For a long time, during and after, I minimized the seriousness of the whole situation
8. I still think I was weak, in more ways than one
9. I still can’t bring myself to say, aloud, that I was raped
10. I don’t want to be that woman anymore because, “how could I let that happen to me?”
Everyday after my morning drive I have felt overwhelmed and exhausted from all the thinking. I think that I want to just rip off the bandaid and tell everyone about it, become an advocate for other women, and let that be the way I deal with it. But then I wonder, what is the real reason I want to do that? Do I want sympathy? Do I want a pat on the back and everyone to say, “well done, look how far you’ve come!” Do I want the attention (that I’ll get for a whole 5 minutes)? Or, do I really want to get people thinking and to advocate? If that is the case, how can I advocate for something that I am clearly still ashamed of?
And why should I be ashamed? Well, I stayed with a man who was sexually exploitive and manipulative for more than 3 years. I was not financially dependent on him. I was not married to him. We did not have children together. I had no reason to stay with him. No reason except that I was afraid of being lonely without him. It is kind of pathetic, I think. I mean, when it happens once, and a woman gets overtaken by a man, and its over, it’s pretty cut and dry and clear what happened, who’s at fault… But when it keeps happening over and over, and you stand by and you know it’s going on and you just let it get worse, for no good reason, well then it’s not so clear. That’s where I get caught up. That’s where I feel the shame.
I know that’s screwed up and I know it’s the wrong way to think. I know it is. But it doesn’t change the fact that I feel that way. I just need to get out of my head for a while and stop thinking about this right now… at least until I can get some positive talk to balance the negative talk. I just need a distraction from it all, but I can’t seem to find it right now.