The old man claimed her innocence when she was a small child, and gave her the gifts of blame and shame in exchange. I, the selfish secret, was planted. A well-hidden whisper that dictated the choices and beliefs of a young girl growing up, and she didn’t even know it.
I hid in in the back of that girl’s mind, quietly, for a long time under the guise of protection. She was a good girl. She wanted to protect her family, so I was buried deep. Then she unexpectedly found her voice. Dug me up. Now, I’m vulnerable to the world. This is a precarious time for a secret. What will happen? Will I be banished, claimed, or covered up once more? It’s a very daunting game, making self-doubt overwhelm my keeper. Of course, I can always rely on the unbelievers , the naysayers, to help me out in retaining my cowardly power. Secrets are the weapon of cowards.
“Mom, I need to tell you something,” the girl said, as she held her Mom’s hand while seated next to her on the couch. The girl’s Dad sat quietly in his recliner nearby.
With that one utterance, her whole life changed. Many lives changed.
In return, she found out her Mom had been keeping secrets for many years. The girl listened to the secrets and her reality turned upside down. What she had grown up with didn’t exist. The snapshots were fake, posed.
“No more secrets,” was the promise, but the phrase proved to be just more words of manipulation. The girl was slow to accept, she desperately wanted to believe. After all, her Mom always told the truth. She took a great deal of pride in telling the girl “to be honest.” Oh, the irony!
Because of her Mom’s secrets and the lies the matriarch lived, the girl became an easy target for selfish love. A victim by betrayal. A sacrificial lamb. It was not intentional, but it was the truth. That’s what secrets do. They don’t protect the victim. It’s not love. It’s selfish.
The young woman remembered when she was a little girl, sitting on the couch with her Mom and her Mom asked if “anyone had ever touched her in a bad way.” The little girl looked at her. This was her chance! She promptly said “No,” and that was the end of it. I went safely back to my depths. She protected me as requested. As expected. She had been well-groomed. I could let down my guard a little. Maybe surface and stretch from time-to-time now.
Secrets are insidious.
The girl was a young woman when she released the secret, which caused her large family to self-destruct. A family bonded by misbeliefs and secrets. She was unaware of my power. My patient power. Safe in the belief of eternal compliance, I methodically eroded trust, independence, and self-worth of the girl. She learned that she had valued the opinions of those who didn’t value her. Somewhere, she discovered strength despite the secret’s attempts to keep her obediant.
She tried so hard to be the good girl everyone wanted and loved, but she always fell short. She was never quite good enough to fit the mold. I kept trying to keep her desire strong to fit in, but she always felt not quite worthy, not quite right.
When I was uncaged, chaos ensued. Yes, the monster and his minions were protected by me when I was silent, but children were destroyed. When I was voiced, children found power and the monster withered, along with the disintegration of his enabling circle.
The girl was expecting relief by sharing her words, she thought it would.lighten her burdon. Instead, the load became heavier; nearly unbearable. She encountered resentment, betrayal, delusion and more injustice. And abandonment. And loneliness. At least when she had been quiet, she could pretend with the rest and revel in superficial love. Now her presence only resonated discontent and guilt. They joined hearts in solemn acceptance, effectively shunning the girl by disregard.Animals became her gracious family, writing her restless release. There she found acceptance.
Even many of the obvious victims appeared ungrateful, ashamed maybe. The collateral damage was simply ignored.
After receiving such unexpected reactions, the young woman was disturbed repeatedly by nightmares of her family dying in a fiery crash, of tornadoes destroying everything in her path, of drowning in turbulent waters and of being chased through familiar halls by shadow people who wanted to take her life.
She got tired of being constantly used and disregarded by family, friends and boyfriends. She had given in to an unhealthy pattern of familiarity. She doubted her choice of truthfulness. In response, she became the user. The voices of doubt still wouldn’t go away. They wouldn’t stop. They kept getting louder until she acknowledged the power she was handing over to the monsters and their secrets. (One monster became several over time - different, but the same.) She wanted to follow a different path. One chosen by herself, not her self-imposed prison. Not by the power that a monster held in a secret.
So she did. But forgetting is not an option. “Forgive and forget” is never going to happen, but moving forward is. Healing is. Learning is. Protection is found in truths, not secrets.
Secrets are insidious.
Many years later, when the dust had settled, but nothing had really been confronted or resolved rightfully, the girl figured out in her mind that she still had done the right thing. By speaking out. Telling the uncomfortable truth. The monster could no longer blindly do his damage, and some of his direct victims had been released from his bondage.
The power of a quiet whisper is fascinating to behold. The damage can easily last a lifetime, often in ways that are indefinable, illogical.
She knows, eventhough many within the circle of blood had let her down and the secret remains unacknowledged by many, the destruction wasn’t her fault. Maybe someday her heart will be convinced.
Secrets are insidious.
You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.
I'm so sorry this happened to you. I too was sexually abused when I was a child. This was very relatable. It must have taken a lot of courage for you to write and share this. I hope you're doing better now
Hi Dharrsheena! Thank you so much for reading & commenting. 😀 Yes, it was hard to write about, but needs to be addressed. That's why I do it - people make comments like "can't you just get past it" and the answer is NO - not until it can be openly spoken of - it happened, it shouldn't have and it wasn't/isn't just me or my family - I'm sorry it happened to you, also - it's twisted and wrong & never should happen, but the reason it continues is the prevalent use of shame & secrets & enablers. When it's no longer a secret it can be dealt with.
Totally agree! We can't move on without talking about it. "The truth shall set you free". I only understood what that saying meant after I started seeing a therapist. And because things like this are often kept as a secret, more pedophiles roam freely. We have to talk more about this to create awareness amongst children and parents
Yes! Exactly! 💕