life as i know it

"...everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." -Sylvia Plath

Sunday, January 29, 2006

breaking the silence

I am filled with feelings of guilt and disappointment. The anger only serves as a protection against the deep sadness I have felt for so many years. In a rare moment of reality, the anger dominated the sadness yesterday and years of withholding the truth became too much to bear. The words that escaped my mouth were certainly words of truth. They were words that should have brought a sense of freedom. Words that should have finally allowed me to let go of a past that has haunted too many generations. But my words did not free me. They left me instead with guilt and fear and the knowledge that resolution is only possible if I choose to forego what I know deep inside and continue to live in silence.

Since I was a little girl, I was taught how to act “appropriately”. I was taught to love this man that never knew the true meaning of love. I was taught to respect someone who did not deserve my respect, who did not deserve respect from anyone. I was hidden from the tragic and brutal reality for many years. I caught glimpses of the tragedy that held this family in its unrelenting grip, but I never saw it with fully opened eyes. It was not until I reached adulthood that I learned the truth of this horrendous history. I learned because I asked, because I refused to live in denial, because I needed to know what lay underneath the feelings of fear that accompanied my every step in his presence. The knowledge I gained opened up numerous doors for me. Doors that had been shut and locked and barred every day of my life. As time passed, the doors began to open wider and my glimpses into this world of Hell became an unfolding reality that could no longer hide behind my terrified eyes. The view was crystal clear, and the picture before me was far worse than I had ever imagined.

With the knowledge came insight. I began to understand more, and for several years I allowed that understanding to permit the excuses that were offered. I knew what I would see if I opened my eyes, and so I refused. I kept them tightly shut, determined that I would not allow myself to witness such horror, lest my awareness convey acceptance. For years, I believed that keeping my eyes shut and keeping my voice silenced was enough. My silence allowed some semblance of peace for a family that had never known it. But my silence also allowed the continuous states of denial and suggested on a deeper level that what had happened, and what was still happening, was okay. And it was far from okay. It will never be okay.

I suppose it is easier to pretend to forget, to pretend to not see, to pretend that the picture before you is not so ugly. I suppose it is easier to not be plagued with guilt and disappointment and the awareness that there is no resolution. Perhaps I was naïve, believing that speaking the truth would somehow change the future. Perhaps I was just filled with too much false hope, believing that every person on this earth has goodness somewhere within their hearts. Or perhaps the time had just come that I could no longer live in silence.

I am not sorry for speaking the words of truth, for confronting a fear that has held us all within its grasp for far too long. But I am sorry that these words did not bring a sense of relief or freedom or resolution. I am sorry that I was taught to feel such guilt over honesty. I am sorry that silence is not a path of comfort for me. Most of all, I am sorry to realize that this man truly has no heart. I am sorry that his own pain and self-hatred have caused such agony for so many others. I am sorry that his wife will die never knowing what love really is, never knowing the feeling of happiness. I am sorry that his children will live the rest of their lives haunted by the absence of a loving father, reminded of the bitterness and hatred that can overtake humanity. I am sorry that any person on this earth should be subjected to such cruelty.

But I am not sorry for breaking the silence.


At 5:19 PM, Blogger Somnambulist Seeker said...

This is only happening to you at this point in time because you are ready for it. You likely just barely have the internal resources to handle this, but know this: You do have them.

You have sat on this for years - The fact that things are suddenly in the open is no mistake. It had to happen, and you are now ready.

This is a lesson I've learned in some of my own recent crises - Some of it was so vile and soul-crushing that I *know* I wouldn't have survived had it surfaced a scant year ago. But once I was ready, what needed to come came. It hurt like hell. And now it's healing.

It will be the same for you. Believe it. Hold on.

At 7:41 PM, Blogger Alexandra G said...

It sounds like you have chosen to be an emotional pioneer right in your own family. It takes so, so, so much courage to break the silence, and just know that you aren't alone. It sounds like you are really hurting. I hope you are being as kind and gentle and doting to yourself as you would a best friend. And hang in there. You are a brave and wonderful soul. Just from the last couple weeks of getting to know you, I am amazed at your courage, your honesty, and your love of psychology. Stay in touch! And take good care of you...

At 8:34 PM, Blogger Frankie said...

Tara, this is absolutely amazing. I am so moved beyond words by your bravery and strength and beauty in writing this, in speaking it, in sharing it. You have no idea how greatly this inspires me. I am in complete awe of you.

I know that it may feel like nothing's changed by voicing your feelings, but it has, it will. Even if it's only within your own soul, you have taken the first steps towards healing. I know that it hurts initially and you may spend the next few days, weeks even, agonizing over your decision to break the silence, but trust that things will eventually be better.

In the meantime, remember that you are a brave, kind, wonderful person and I have nothing but utter admiration for you. *Big hugs!!*

At 1:00 AM, Blogger Sky said...

My assessment of this encounter as an open disclosure of feeling (based on what you shared with me yesterday) brings up a different perspective. I am examining the difference between an angry outburst and accusatory word exchange VS an attempt to share feelings honestly.

I have been there many times with
the same family member. I am always left with similar feelings when I join the fight using the same accusatory tactics he does.

To change those results I would have to be willing to tell him just how I feel when I am in his presence, how I perceive him in relation to me, and how his actions feel to me when they occur. When I use the word "I" and not "YOU" when I am speaking with him, I am on the right track. Otherwise it is "judgment" and not me sharing my feelings.

I am not sure any of us has ever gotten this far in our attempt to communicate with him - primarily because we carry so much rage and he incites us with his words. Our anger is released in an impulsive way which cuts any attempt of honest communication off at the bud. We are then rendered some facsimile of him, something we all detest!

I am sure our honest disclosure won't change him, but it could change us. That is all we can ever hope for anyway.

Seeing those of us you love being verbally battered and hurt cannot be easy. Boundary setting and enforcing those parameters is the best we can all do to protect ourselves. In doing this we have to be willing to relinquish another whom we love. That is the hard part and the ransom we have all paid.

I understand your feelings and your recent encounter so well. I have been there so many times. There is no happy ending here, and that is the saddest part of all. Comfort yourself with the knowledge that you are loved and time is on our side. X0X0X0

At 10:21 AM, Blogger megg said...

Thank you for writing such a kind thing on my site today!! Reading through your post I have conflicting emotions. I am so excited for you that you are ready and willing to be so brave and strong and open to this, but so very sad for you that it is there at all. Know that there are people here who believe in you and who , quite frankly are being inspired. Hold on. lots of love.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger Tammy said...

Oh sweet brave Tara, I'm so very proud of you. The truth has set you free and now you can heal. As you know you must take care of you first. It took years to get here and it may never be resolved, but you now have a voice.

Sending you much love

At 11:32 AM, Blogger TJ said...

Hard to imagine isn't it why so many would want to protect a pandora's box so that other's may inherit the burdens.
You have stood up responsibly, let the others do the same.
Good entry stimulating many thoughts...

At 12:45 PM, Blogger la vie en rose said...

speak up and keep speaking up! i applaud your efforts to break the silence. i had a friend who used to tell me, "the truth will set you free...but first it will piss you off." maybe you need to be in the pissed off stage for awhile. and that's okay.

At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happened upon your blog and I am very impressed with who you've become. DD

At 2:02 PM, Blogger baylor said...

"I am not sorry for breaking the silence."

You should't be sorry. Never be sorry. You are a pioneer. You are a pioneer for your family, for what is right, for your heart and soul, for justice...

I am proud of you and I love you!


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