Thursday, July 14, 2011

My story: limited access

The inspiration for this post came from one by my good friend, fellow survivor and blogger, Patricia Singleton at Spiritual Journey of a Light Worker

In that post she talked about how hard it can be for survivors to heal past telling their stories.  It really resonated with me because I have had some experiences with the telling of abuse stories that were disturbing and seemed counter to moving to healing.

If you have read my posts prior to this one you'll know I am not about the drama or the descriptions of my story but about the healing.  For me it is about the healing, the stories are part of it, but they are not the bigger part.  I lived through them once retelling them over and over seems almost pornographic.

Another kind of violation and it is one that when we say, I'm a survivor people can have an expectation that we not only are willing but eager to share the intimate details of with any stranger who asks.  It isn't always helpful, can probably can be often the opposite, to feed that sort of need to be validated by reliving the woundings in our lives.

No one actually retells the story of breaking their arm by actually rebreaking the arm.  We don't explain how our car crashed by actually going out and crashing again.  There is post traumatic stress involved with any major stressor in our lives.  Any major stressor and abuse is a real doozie!

There seems to be an expectation that we have to measure up for our story to be taken seriously that we have to meet a standard for being abused.  Those who would expect us to tell our stories over and over again  are feeding off our stories like emotional vampires.  They are pulling us away from our healing.  They are distracting us from doing the work of healing.

I had a woman introduce herself to me as a 'sister survivor' and wanted to share her story with me.  She was offended when I didn't reciprocate in great detail.  She told me she knew I was healing but how bad was it, really that you are still healing.  She wanted to know how her own story measured up against others I had heard.  It was shocking to me!  She was so focused on the hurt that the healing was taking a back seat, permanently, because 'people want to hear my story of the abuse, not about the other stuff'

I remember watching Criminal Minds it was the episode where the mother never gives up on believing her son is alive.  For 8 years.  She finally gets someone from the BAU to listen to her and she tells her everything she has learned, researched and found out.  The character JJ says, "I'm sorry you have to know that.  I'm sorry you were put through something that made you have to know that."

I'm sorry that any of us have to have these stories to tell. No one should have them. None of us.  But we do.  It isn't about the story, it's about the healing.  Dwelling on the story, getting sucked in to the vampiric world of more and more drama, more and more telling sucks us dry of the will to move on in our healing.

I don't need to tell it  I lived it.  I remember it.  If I focus, or am facing a trigger, I can remember things in grotesque detail that no one should ever want to hear.  I don't want to remember but I do.   I take the remembering and add it as fuel to the cleansing fire of my healing.

We are no less a voice for advocacy if we are not sharing the intimate details of our story.  We are no less for not needing to feed that drama.  We are who we are, survivors moving through to the healing.  I don't want to get stuck in the horror story time, do you?


  1. Shanyn, you amaze me with your courage and your wisdom.

  2. Patricia, you encourage and inspire me with your journey! Thank you for being such a wonderful blessing my friend.

  3. Shanyn, thank you for the comment on my blog.

    I have read this article and you couldn't more right. None of us have anything to prove.

    Although I must say, publishing my stories to the wide world has significantly contributed to my healing process.

    It's not something you talk about with friends or family (if you have any). At least, I couldn't. So this (partially) anonymous way is a great exhaust for me.

    Thank you for effort to help others in their journey to recovery!


    - Prozacblogger

  4. I have added a link to your blog in my blogroll. If you'd like you can add mine: you can call it "Journal of a Male Childhood Abuse Survivor" and link it to

    Thanks again.

  5. Prozac Blogger, thank you for the blog roll add and for stopping by. Anonymous is a great way to share, and it does allow us control over how much and when we share - also allows for the focus to be on the healing! I enjoyed your blog, will add you here as well! Bright blessings.

  6. Shanyn; this is a great post and a topic that many survivors get lost in. It seems we go from one extreme to the other. From only telling the story and getting the emotional fix from others jumping on board with the "awfulness" syndrome of that place. Then theres the total denial place where I thought that my not talking about it at all was the solution. It wasn't. :)

    The place I found healing was as you describe here - when I found healthy relationships that allowed me to tell and instead of trying to "fix" my pain (rescuing) or deny and minimize my pain (because it was too much for them) these relationships would instead validate that my response (anger, grief, sadness) at what I had experienced was NORMAL.

    Often I had to walk away from those unhelpful relationships (rescuing/denying) instead of trying to get them to "understand" and teach them how to help me and simply learn to recognize those situations as not helpful. By doing this for myself vs wanting them to "get it" I began to find and trust my own power and ability to guide my own healing.

    It is truly the "going through" the emotional response that I found that I finally began to live beyond it.

    Awesomeness Shanyn! Thank you for sharing your own insight and life lessons so we can learn from you. :)


  7. Susan, thank you so much for the encouragement and your wisdom. You are so right - and said it so well! Bright blessings my friend.

  8. Check out how domestic violence expert Mandrell Birks shares how the community can help stop the cycle of child abuse. Link:

  9. Thank you for sharing this worthwhile link.