Sharing the stories that we are afraid or ashamed to share frees us from the tyranny of the past.
For too many of us, speaking up about something painful or difficult that we’ve been through invites fear, guilt, and shame to the conversation…so much so that we say nothing, and we lose the ability to speak up for ourselves. Regaining your authentic voice and being free from the painful past IS possible.
I get it... when you spoke up, you were met with disdain, dismissal, and disregard. You may have been emotionally or physically harmed simply because you expressed an opinion or a thought. It didn't take long for you to figure out that keeping quiet was the easier, softer way. But now...that's not working for you.
Now you’ve got all kinds of symptoms… Maybe you’ve got an incredibly difficult marriage or relationship. Maybe your career is stalled. Maybe you’ve lost your mojo—creativity, sexuality, intuition. Maybe your health is consistently in jeopardy. Any and all of these might be present in your life, and you’re feeling STUCK.
In crucial moments, like when it’s time to set a boundary and say no when your husband wants sex and you don’t, you remain silent because it’s going to cost you less emotionally than it would to just acquiesce. . . . But then you hate yourself for it and you feel betrayed and taken advantage of. Normally an outspoken women who appears strong, you cannot find any part of your voice when it comes to setting a boundary with this person. It might not be your husband; it could be a boss or a sibling or a parent. I don’t know your circumstances, but I do know the pattern.
And then comes the next day…You lock away the painful experience and try to go on with your life as if everything is fine. But inside you’re seething, angry at him and angry at yourself. You can’t bring yourself to talk about it - it’s embarrassing. And besides, the last time you talked about it with someone they made a crazy comment about how you should just get over it, and then you felt worse.
So you ask, “Why bother talking about it? It doesn’t help.”
I get it. If you avoid it, it didn’t happen. If you don’t talk about it, you don’t have to think about it or feel through it. If you don’t bring it up, you don’t have to re-live it. But the experience is there - STUCK - in your nervous system. After all, emotions are energy in motion… But in this case, the energy of the experience has no place to go. And that experience caused a major system overload, which comes with a LOT of energy that’s trying to move but it can’t… Maybe that’s what it’s like for you.
Sharing your story with someone who can be fully present to you, who can validate your feelings, who can mirror your experience, will allow you to put your own pieces back together. You can restore a sense of self, power, and dignity by using your voice with safe people in safe settings. You won’t have to choose between remaining silent and screaming to be heard. Eventually you will be able to speak up for yourself. It will take a little practice and some willingness to make mistakes and learn…but it will happen.
Holding on to the painful past keeps us stuck there. Many of us who’ve endured trauma don’t even realize that we are holding on; we just know our lives aren’t working for us. To be free, it’s important for us to share our stories, receive the attuned attention we need, and hear our own thoughts and feelings. The space to know ourselves and to be known is transformational, and it’s what helps us be free from the tyranny of the past and present.