If I don’t talk about it and don’t tell, it didn’t happen… If I tell myself it’s a lie, it isn’t real… If I never acknowledge it, it never really took place… If no one believes me, then what happened really doesn’t matter… If I say it wasn’t that bad, then it really wasn’t that bad… If I don’t look at it and what it did to me, the damage won’t be that horrible… This is one reason why it’s so hard to talk about incest and what it does to the individual’s soul, heart and mind. There is a massive wall of denial that disinclines a person from even looking at what happened to them, much less thinking it matters. But the other side of that coin is, when you actually say the words out loud to another human being, it makes it more real. And making it more real chips away at that wall of denial. It’s a violent act; speaking it out. Hitting that wall. Violent and traumatic and extremely difficult.
Therein lies the dilemma.
It’s very hard to say the words to an empty room. It’s nearly impossible to say them to another individual. A friend. A family member. For a couple of reasons. First, they don’t really want to hear it. I mean, this kind of stuff isn’t exactly fun conversation material. But even if they are willing to listen a little bit, I find it’s hard to get the words to come out of my mouth. Seriously! I’ve tried. Talking with my counselor, who gets paid good money to listen to the crappy stuff I went through, I can’t even make my mouth shape the words, much less give them voice and spit them out. It’s as if I’m totally incapable of forming the words and telling the things that were done to me. The words get lodged in my throat. I am suddenly mute. My tongue is not able to move the way it needs to move to fashion the utterance and sounds I need to make. Nor, because of that wall of denial, does what happened seem worth talking about. It seems like such a non-event. Why bother talking about it?
That wall of denial doesn’t really want to be messed with. It’s big and strong. And in hiding so much from sight, it becomes almost impossible to talk about what happened because you can’t really acknowledge those things, even to yourself. You can’t truly see the extent of the damage or get an unbiased, clear perspective on who is responsible. The wall of denial can seem impenetrable. In fact, I’m not sure that it isn’t impenetrable. I’ve been trying to break through for years and while I have managed to put a few tiny chips in a few of the bricks that have walled me into this dark and lonely place, those chips have cost me greatly in that they required a monumental effort. But I still can’t see the light of day. Which is discouraging.
I think I need to talk about what happened…about the abuse…in detail. I think I need to talk about it a lot. I think I somehow need to find a way to form those words that are so hard to say, to spit them out into the air and into someone’s ears so they can finally become real to me. I need them to hammer into my heart, accompanied by the pain that has so long been repressed. I need to let them rip me and tear me and open those wounds all over again. But how can I say what is unspeakable? And who will listen? Who will cry with me? Especially considering I can’t even cry for myself…
Oh, to feel the pain! To truly see the magnitude of the enormous damage that has been wrought in my soul! What an incredible miracle that would be!!! To finally, once and for all, rip a doorway in that massive, cold, dark wall of denial that keeps me imprisoned!!
I thought I had a window…when I realized the abuse wasn’t my fault. When I suddenly saw it really was my father’s fault that he sexually abused me and it didn’t happen because of anything I said or did…or was. But so far, the impact of that revelation has gone nowhere. It hit with a thud…then nothing. There is a crack, but no daylight. The crack hasn’t continued to grow. The wall of denial remains solid and immense and strong.
I’m about to give up.
I’ve been working on this for years. Many, many, MANY years. I’m tired. Things have not gotten better; they’ve gotten worse, and not in a good way. My life continues to fall apart and spiral downward. I’m financially ruined. I’m losing my job at the end of June. I’m caught in the throws of a powerful eating disorder that ravages me daily and demands obedience to rituals that are destroying me. I can’t break out of the prison of denial, can’t put the pieces of me back together, can’t punch depression in the face (it punches me instead). I am fighting with my hands tied behind my back and my legs are chained. My heart is so ill and damaged, it doesn’t even bother to attempt to show up any more. Whoever or whatever I am hiding lies deeply buried. My soul is wiped out. Ripped to shreds. Decimated. And nothing I do seems to make a difference. I’m being sucked ever downward, no matter how furiously I try to swim to shore. There is no reprieve. No miracle. No breakthrough. I remain locked in this dark, hopeless, depressed state, unable to free myself, unable to even speak of where I am and where I have been.
Sometimes I can write the words. At least I can put a few of them on a page and minimally express some thought or feeling. That is the best I seem to be able to do. Unfortunately, the best I can do doesn’t appear to be good enough. I’m losing the battle. And I’m terrified.