Human

Trauma
Defined either physically or psychologically
Physically it’s “a body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury, as from violence or accident.”
Psychologically it’s “an experience that produces psychological injury or pain.”

I’ve battled with myself trying to put together a new blog since I’ve started this whole journey of healing through counseling. Every week I start one, and every week I hit delete and decide it’s not the right time yet. Suddenly after several nights of my brain producing blogs in my sleep, but never getting them down on paper… I decided it was time to push through and share a bit of this journey I’m on. 

Trauma is something I never associated with my own experiences, instead I minimized my experiences and chose to block them out of my mind. While that was an effective defense mechanism that served it’s purpose (keeping me alive), there comes a point when you have to face your trauma head on and force yourself to accept the depth of your experiences. 

And that’s where I’m at.

Society teaches us silence. Society teaches us that if things don’t “feel” good to us, that they are bad. This “feel good” society we live in is the biggest problem that victims of sexual violence and domestic violence face. No one wants to sit and listen to someone talk about being brutally raped, no one wants to listen to someone talk about how their husband would lock them in their bedroom every night while sharpening his weapons. 
No one wants to hear about things that make them uncomfortable. 
So victims remain silent. 
We remain silent not because it’s what we want, but instead because we are terrified of how our trauma will effect those around us. 
Will it make them uncomfortable? Are they going to judge us? Are they going to blame us? 
And then we land on the reality… Unless you’ve been through it, this is a topic few people will understand.

I started this blog to give myself a voice after years of being silenced. 
To give a voice to other women who are to afraid to speak up. 
I started this blog so other victims will realize they aren’t alone.
And so it’s time to share a part of the healing, and not just the pain.

This week I was asked by my counselor, “Who are you?”
I was silenced. I had no idea how to answer that question. With some searching I finally said “Well, I’m a Christian”…
Then she asked what that meant to me. “Well, I allow Christ to dictate all of my actions and decisions in life.”
True. 

Then we discussed who I was when I was married. “I was Jake’s wife.”
Fill in the blanks and you’ll realize that I was defined by allowing Jake to dictate all of my actions and decision in life.
True.

I allowed someone else to define everything about who I was. What food I liked, what clothes I wore, how I wore my makeup, even whether or not I was able to take naps. My identity was entirely wrapped up in a sociopath. That is a terrifying reality. So it’s no surprise that even almost 2 years later I still struggle to make my own decisions. You have to find your own identity before you can allow someone else to love that identity. That is my current reality. I am a Christian, and I’m on a path of further figuring out who my identity is in Christ. And until I can build that solid foundation, I can’t allow anyone else in. 
I’ve got so many bruises and so much brokenness that I have to fully trust in God to heal that. I have to trust in His redeeming love to define me. And while that is conceptually an easy thing to grasp, it is a hard thing to accept.

I spent many years being broken. I was broken through the mistakes of others, and I was broken by my own mistakes. 
The man (or boy if we are being honest) who raped me at Butler, his mistake defined me. His mistake broke me.
Then I fell into the arms of a counterfeit love. His manipulation, control, and abuse defined me more aggressively. He took my brokenness and formed me into his own toy. I was put back together in a puzzle that made no sense. I was HIS, with no identity of my own.
When I did something to his standard, my only satisfaction was “at least he didn’t hit me” or “at least he won’t yell”. I lived a life defined by making the right moves in order to stay alive. It wasn’t until I started this intense counseling that I realized how perverse my “normal” was. 

I had convinced myself that it was normal for him to lock me in the bedroom every night.
I convinced myself that sleeping with a machete in the bed frame was normal.
I had convinced myself that it was normal for him to use fear as manipulation.
I convinced myself that being forced to stand on a scale and be weighed on a regular basis was normal.
More importantly I had convinced myself that his love was normal.

Now I’m beginning to recognize the depth of the scars that he, and others, have left inside of me. I’m beginning to associate emotions to all of these experiences, which is terrifying. To begin feeling years of pain after blocking it out for so long is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. 
There are days when I want to barricade my emotional wall right back up and go back to living but not feeling.
But in those moments I’m often reminded of how powerful God has been in all of this. How much he has guarded me and protected me. The very fact that I am alive today is a testament to His faithfulness. So in those moments of giving up, I remember that I’m a piece of His tapestry… and He will bring me through this difficult time of healing. That my identity doesn’t have to be perverse, or someone else’s. Instead my identity is His, and there is freedom in knowing that. 

My identity has been freed from the prison I once lived in, but I’m still afraid to move. 
That is where I’m at in this journey.
So for now I know I’m free, but the freedom doesn’t come without feeling and healing the pain of the past.

I recently had the opportunity to share a portion of my story with a local news station here. And below you will find the link... I feel honored and blessed to have had the opportunity to share a small portion of what I went through on such a large platform. And I know that even if it saved one woman, then all of my pain has been worth it.

http://www.wthr.com/story/25285587/2014/04/18/courageous-survivor-speaks-about-silent-crisis-of-domestic-violence