abuse, self-care, self-love

Secrets and Society’s Love of Blaming the Victim

A few people have asked about why I’m being so straight forward about regarding some of the issues I’ve gone through recently, so I wanted to address those.

It’s a popular notion that many things are too personal to discuss. Two of the biggest categories in my opinion that are kept quiet are ongoing/chronic illnesses and abuse.

On the illness side, I talk about it because I had no one to reference growing up. If I can help just one family or one person deal with this illness, then I’ll consider this blog and the crud I go through worth it. Some of my favorite people in all of time and space are those I’ve met because they were brave enough to discuss their illnesses. As I said in my last post, I hate this disease and the others it brought along, but I love the people I know because of it (side note: did you see the new page all about resources like other bloggers? Check it out here).

I figure I’ve written about my sex life. You guys know enough about me that I also feel comfortable sharing my journey coming to terms with the abusive household in which I was raised. There was a point in time where I was ashamed or confused about a lot of it. I held it in and that contributed to how ill I felt. Now that I’m getting things out in the open, I feel better physically and mentally.

I also figure that many more people grow up in abusive situations than they realize. I had inklings, but never had equated my experiences with abuse until a friend asked me questions and led me to answers. I finally have peace in my heart and my mind. If I can bring that or the feeling that you’re not alone, not the messed up one, to anyone else, then I will be happy.

I think interestingly enough that these two issues I have talked about more recently both are due to society’s love of blaming the victim. Those of us with invisible illnesses are often met with phrases of passive aggressive judgment on how we handle our illnesses. We’re told yoga or going paleo will cure us by people with no information, no handle on what we go through. It is made to seem that we either caused our illness – like smokers getting lung cancer (which is another story, because that’s not the only contributing factor) – or we don’t do anything to get ourselves better. Neither of those are fair judgments to pass on people, because we have no idea what they’re going through or have gone through. You see the same thing in abuse or assault situations – the girl could’ve said no or the kid could’ve told a teacher. These phrases release the real culprit of any blame, and instead turn it to the victim who internalizes this message and tries to do everything to not cause waves. You don’t want to excel in school, but you also know failure isn’t an option because you’ll be ridiculed or worse. You do just enough to pass through things, not shining but not failing either. There are some, like me as a high schooler, who throw everything into academics or other activities as a means of escape.

I’ve recently been berated for sharing what’s happened from a couple of people as well. It seems that secrets are treasured in ‘families’ and we should be quiet about things that have transpired. That kind of thinking just perpetuates abuse, and makes it okay for us to ignore. If you don’t like what I have to say, then don’t listen.

I refuse to stop sharing things that will help other people while helping me heal. I refuse to stop talking about self care, self love, and self worth. I refuse to keep the majority of my life a secret. I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are, because I will always continue to be true to myself and my loved ones.

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