I know that I am very lucky in that I am able to talk openly and honestly about my experiences. For me, discussing my past is no more difficult than discussing a movie I just saw, but there are many people out there who can only talk about what happened to them with difficulty and others who can’t talk about it at all. Since it is so easy for me, I have long felt that it was my responsibility to share my experiences so that others can learn from them. But I’ve learned that trying to share my experiences face to face, or even in text with people who know and care about me, never goes the way I think it should.
A lot of people have trouble handling the revelation that someone they know was abused; I have yet to meet anyone who really handles it well. It’s perfectly reasonable that anyone I talk to about my past has a harder time with it than I do; after all, I have had a lot longer to learn how to deal with it than they have. Some people just can’t handle the information at all. I’ve had some people shut down on me because they can’t process the information and others completely cut me out of their lives because they couldn’t look me in the eye anymore. I don’t blame these people for their reactions, but they do make it necessary for me to be less open in the real world than I would like to be. I can’t help but wonder if they would have an easier time with the information if I didn’t matter to them and they could pretend I wasn’t human.
But, the worst reaction people have is pity, which, despite what the dictionary says, is not the same thing as sympathy. Pity has a condescending note to it that makes it a bit insulting. I like the person I am now and I wouldn’t be this person if I hadn’t gone through the things I have; if given the opportunity to change my past, I wouldn’t. Sympathy is wonderful when I’m talking about emotions, but it can be a bit irritating when I’m just trying to be informative. It can overwhelm the things I’m trying to say and put more attention on me than I’m comfortable with.
What, in my opinion, is the best reaction is the one I see the least: quiet acceptance and support. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it as an initial reaction. It tends to take time to build, but once you’ve built it, you know you’ve got a great friend.
There are a few of my friends who know this blog is mine. They helped me to decide what I wanted to use as a title and what to call myself, for which I am very grateful. They’re proud of me for doing this, which is wonderful, but they keep talking about how brave I am. Aside from the fact that doing this is too easy for me to consider it brave, it misses the point of this blog. It puts too much emphasis on me and not enough on what I have to say. I’m writing this blog to get my message out there, so, for the purposes of this blog, I don’t matter and only the message is important. And that’s why I decided to write this blog anonymously.