The goal was to stay off the radar of the people who were hurting you. You learned how to creep down the stairs, quiet as a mouse. You could slip silently out of a room. You would stand in the shadows in a dark corner. You even hunched your shoulders to appear smaller.
If your abusers couldn’t see you, they couldn’t blast you with hurtful words or do painful things to you, right? It was a great survival strategy, and it worked really well. However, it’s a terrible behavior pattern for an adult, because silence makes a mess out of personal relationships.
The most important thing survivors of emotional abandonment, abuse, and trauma want is to be seen and heard. We all crave it. Nothing means more to us than someone who truly listens to us and gets us. It validates us as human beings.
That’s why one terribly damaging form of emotional abuse is constantly interrupting, changing the subject, or negating everything someone says. This kind of abuse invalidates that person’s existence and encourages the toxic strategy of silence.
Even so, it’s hard for child abuse survivors to learn how to be visible as adults. Believe me, I resisted for a long time. It felt like rocking the boat. We’re so used to abusers twisting everything we say to use it against us. It’s terrifying for us to ask for what we need or to enforce personal boundaries when we weren’t allowed to practice these vital human skills as children.
What can you do to change that? You can begin slowly by speaking up, one conversation, one thought, one opinion at a time. Do this with people you know are safe, like your peer support group.
Eventually, you’ll stop waiting for the other shoe to drop every time you say something. Speak a little more of your truth each time until you’re comfortable with it. In the process, you’ll learn how to listen to others and allow them to be who they are in a relationship.
You’re a valuable spirit of the Divine. You deserve to be seen AND heard. This is your chance. Go for it!!
Are you having a hard time becoming visible again? Does it make you nervous to be seen and heard? If so, I can help you overcome this. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a one-hour coaching session with me. My calendar is filling up fast, so don’t wait. Let me help you heal your life. Reserve your spot NOW!
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