I’m currently in Western North Carolina for a memorial service for a dear cousin. This will be the first time I’ve seen my dad since I stopped talking to both my parents. After a lifetime of emotional abuse, the final straw was their reaction to learning of a sexual assault I experienced as a teenager.
My dad is a bully, and without me as a target he’s turned on his sister. To the point she’s now also cut off all contact as well. We’ve both been eleven levels of anxious in the weeks leading up to today.
Well, any funeral in this family comes with drama, and of course with the tensions that can’t be avoided. Other cousins feel they have to take sides. My aunt talks to them much more than I do, and I asked where they stood.
Of course they don’t want to be in the middle. But as far as myself and my dad… Well, they’re Conservatives and I’m a flaming Liberal, so that’s not in my favor. But the biggest thing is, I shouldn’t have shared what happened between me and my parents publicly.
No, all my mom did was say I was probably lying, AND then insinuate I couldn’t complain because I became a slut later as a teen.
So I quoted her, word for word, on my personal Facebook page. More than once.
Why? For one because I was DONE taking their crap. I knew they’d tell everyone in the family some horrible story about me that made them the victim if I didn’t get in front of them.
But two, I was dealing with trauma. Both the trauma that had resurfaced from my teen years, and the newly-inflicted trauma of my parent’s reactions.
Being Quiet About Trauma Is Only Helpful For Abusers
The wave of #metoo on social media stunned the world this week. Well, it stunned the male half I reckon. No woman could have been surprised.
It’s important that we get these stories out, not just for our own healing but yes, also to shame the abusers. And if you would silence and blame a victim of any kind of abuse – whether it be sexual, racial, domestic, whatever – you are on the side of the perpetrator.
Some people want to live in a little bubble and not hear that bad things happen to people they know. That they might even be complicit in it somehow – by normalizing an abusive family member. By not acknowledging white or male or hetero privilege.
And especially by telling a victim that they should be quiet and not “rock the boat.”
Saying family trash should stay within the family.
Church problems should stay within the church.
Minorities should just be quiet and thankful for this “wonderful” country.
Well, fuck that. I’m certainly not shutting up. And if you have any trauma in your life, I hope that as you’re comfortable and safe doing so, you won’t either.
Together we can draw boundaries that abusers will be afraid to cross. And that is good for everybody.