Sunday, December 29, 2013

Facing The Silencers

Ok, so, this post has been a little hard for me to write. I love this blog, I love that survivors are coming together in the comments section, I love that people are feeling comfortable sharing their stories, and I love that the stigma of abuse survivor shame is finally being broken.

Coming on here week after week and bearing my feelings in front of you all, it has not been easy. Writing comes easily to me, but the reflections I get while I'm writing, the memories that are dragged out of the darkness from the back of my closet where I have buried them away, they aren't easy to face. But I can't keep everything hidden away in the corner of a closet with the three year old me anymore. The closet is full. I can no longer close the doors on my past trauma's. Just like all the wrong sized clothes that hang around in a closet and do no good to anyone, someone else could use them if you are just willing to pull them out and give them away. I wouldn't have been in the closet if someone had seen me. I wouldn't have spent years piling more, and more, into that closet and locking it away if I had known that it was ok to pull it all out. If I had known it was ok to tell someone what was going on and if someone had listened, I might have been saved from years of trauma.



So I've been opening the doors, letting you all in, and beginning to sort through everything that I have worked so hard to hide away. I was hoping that it would help at least one person to realize that they are not alone, that they have nothing to be ashamed of. That it's ok to open the doors because someone else did it first.

But this week has been a little sad for me. An article of mine posted over at XOJane and received a much larger response than I was ever expecting. Hundreds of comments later I was blessed with an overwhelmingly positive response, many from survivors themselves. But then there are those few negative commenter's talking about how my story is most definitely false because it is so unbelievable. They were bound to come, I expected it. I know some were just being antagonistic and some truly don't believe what I have to say, but what they said hurt. Deeply. I know that when a story as unbelievable as mine is heard, it is human nature to want to discredit it. It is so horrific, it simply cannot be true. So the doubters look for the little details that they think do not add up, such as the fact that "I" use different camera's for my photo's (please note the photo credits I put at the bottom of each post!) and they jump on them in an effort to discredit my entire story, without any proof whatsoever. I was expecting some negative comments and I thought I had braced myself, but I was naive. I wasn't prepared for how the negative comments would remind me of all the reasons why I had spent so many years in silence.


I get it. I look at my life, my very own life, and I shake my head in disbelief. I can't believe that I have lived through this. I can't believe that I have made it so many years without anyone knowing. I can't believe that the ones that did know had failed me to protect me. I look back at my childhood and I don't understand what went wrong. Why was I constantly returned to the home? The limit to the depth of my understanding at that age, sealed documents, and the jumble of memories that I have, have yet to help me understand why no one noticed, and why I was allowed to be returned so many times.

The disbelief doesn't wane as I wade through the memories of my teenage years. I can't believe that I missed weeks of high school at a time, so many that I failed my entire freshman year and had to take a double course load my senior year just to make up for all of the classes that I had failed, and yet, no one noticed. I borrowed lunch money from a friend literally every day because I had no food. His mom even worked at the school and they never noticed that I was coming to school many mornings after sleeping out of my home.

As I got older it became so cemented in me that no one cared, that I became my own worst silencer. After I went to the police and tried to report my husband raping me, and they basically told me that we were married so it wasn't rape, it sealed my silence. For years the only thing I did was pile more and more into the closet. The few times that I did approach my family for help, I was reminded of just how very much it was all my fault, and I was shoved further into my silence.



When the stranger rapist came around, sent by my ex as revenge, I finally decided I couldn't be silent anymore. It wasn't about me, it was about the fact that I was afraid if I was going to be killed, and that my children would be left without a mother. The town/county in which I live is notorious for dropping the ball on domestic abuse and rape cases. I only learned that after getting no help from them myself. You all have no idea how many times I sat with my attorney, trying to figure out how to protect myself from the stalker. I would just say over and over, "I can't believe this is happening." I have an email that I sent him, and it says "I feel like I am sitting on the sidelines, waiting to be killed. I'm screaming as loud as I can, and no one is hearing me." Bit by bit as I pushed to be heard by the people around me that were supposed to protect me, I encountered more and more women going through the very same thing.

I had had enough and so the closet doors opened, and I couldn't remain silent anymore. Things needed to be changed and so I broke the silence of my past, in an effort to change the future. I can't help everyone, most days I can't even help myself, but I'm trying. I am excited about the not-for-profit I'm starting. I am excited to be able to help all the the women (or men), that have fallen through the cracks. But sharing my story, its not been easy. It's not easy for me and its not easy for all the other women who have their closet doors shut so tightly that no light gets in.

The biggest fear I've had, the biggest fear most people have that have been abused, is of not being believed, or of simply just not being understood. It is the main reason why so many of us stay silent. We have already been made to feel worthless and we can't bear thinking of being made to feel that way again. Being looked down upon, being judged. We already beat ourselves up for things that were not our fault, but to have others wound us when we are down, it feels unbearable.


So here I sit, yet again, at another crossroads in my life. I can stop sharing my story. I can close the doors back up, put the lock back on, and walk away from my past. I can protect myself from the emotional trauma of being made to feel wrong, or I can keep sharing my story and be prepared to face the doubters, the name callers, and the silencers. I can continue sharing my story, bit by unbelievable bit, and rip the doors to my closet wide open. Let all of the other survivors take a look at the jumbled, disorganized mess inside, and realize that they are not alone.


I thought about pulling the blog down. I threw my hands up in the air, ready to give in to the nagging confirmation that I should never have started talking, and I cried myself to sleep.




But then the sun came up

I've started this journey and I intend to keep going. I am so happy for all of you that you are taking this journey with me. Thank you for your kind comments and your own brave confessions. I will not give in to the silencers.

This is not my shame to bear





Please also note all of the amazing photographer's whom share their photo's on creative commons for others to use. If the photo is not one that I have taken, it is always given credit at the bottom of each post. Thank you!

Photo Credit Help Door: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jstar/
Photo Credit Lock: http://www.flickr.com/photos/25722571@N08/
Photo Credit Close The Door Sign: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jereye/
Photo Credit Quote: http://www.flickr.com/photos/deeplifequotes/
Photo Credit Silence: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nataliax3/

104 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I read your story at XOJane. I believe you. Ive been there. Now at 41 I am still dealing with the fallout of an abusive childhood which led to accepting abusive relationships as an adult. It was hard for me to read your words because it was triggering for me, so I understand you struggling with letting it all out vs. keeping it in. In fact the reason I have no children is I was afraid of ending up like my parents and didn't want to risk it. Although now I know better but the time has passed and its too late. I believe you. We need to stick together, all us survivors. I'm posting as Anonymous as I don't have an account, but my name is Ginger. Keep your head up. Look to your children everytime you feel like giving up. Blessings to you brave woman.

      Delete
    2. you can email me at gphillips220@yahoo.com if you'd ever like to talk; you have a new subscriber to your blog!

      Delete
    3. Thank you Ginger :) I am so sorry that you have had struggles of your own. I can definitely relate to not wanting to have children for fear of ending up like your parents. I struggle with that every single day. If you haven't read my post titled "when you have nothing to offer but love," I'd check it out. I struggle every day with doubting my parenting skills :(

      I am SO happy that you have made it year. I love connecting with others who know some of the roads I have traveled. There aren't very many of us out in the open, and connecting is so good for our souls.

      I wish you nothing but the best, and I eagerly look forward hearing from you again. :) Please feel free to use this as a space for your own healing as well.

      All are welcome,

      All are loved.

      Delete
    4. You are awesome girl. Keep on keeping on. I think we will all benefit from sharing our stories and keeping it out in the open. I praise your bravery and would love to stay in touch. Take care-- Ginger.

      Delete
    5. Thanks Ginger!! I look forward to seeing you around here and hearing more about your story as well :)

      Delete
  2. I believe you too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank-you for speaking up. A child's memory of trauma is a qualitative record, and I can't even speak to yours. Our memories hide so much when we have to survive trauma, become so complex, that it's a testament to how strong you are that you can reconstruct so much of the narrative of what was done to you, I'm so sorry that it matters whether people "believe" you. People have horror stories in their own families that they don't know about because no one will speak past the shame; they respond from a place of denial. The silence has to be broken, and I admire your capacity & clarity in raising your voice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I do remember a lot more then I wish I had, I think bc I've spent so much time alone, with no one to talk to, that I've had nothing to do but replay memories and conversations in my head, and unfortunately cementing them to memory. Then there are other things, especially the most recent rapes, where I feel like I wasn't even there, and I can barely "remember" anything. The brain works in mysterious ways.

      Delete
    2. That is completely normal. As a child, the brain has yet to form coping mechanisms like an adults brain does, you absorb everything. As you get older, the brain has the ability to protect itself during times where it feels its survival is being threatened. It is extremely common for rape victims to not remember a lot of what happened. Parts of your brain literally shut down during the attack as a form of self preservation. The basic instincts that control your "fight or flight" mode kick in, and all non essential parts, including the memory center, can be turned off. You don't have the memories bc your brain did not process what was happening to you while it was happening. You are not alone.

      Delete
    3. That is extremely interesting, thanks for sharing!

      Delete
  4. Well, whoever discredits you might have never been there and faced what us survivors did face or are too hurt or even scared to actually believe that others have been there too. I am coming by your blog everyday and have been admiring your outlook on life a whole lot! Your experiences remind me so much of mine but in the end you came out stronger, you came out a winner, you turned the hurt into something successful and nobody can judge on that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :) It makes me SO happy that at least one survivor has found a place here. I'm so happy to have you here. Sending you the biggest of hugs. I don't know what you have gone through, but I am proud of you for continuing you. :)

      Delete
  5. Please understand this about xojane. It has become an unsafe place for people who want to be brave, strong and vulnerable. There are those posters in the forums who look for articles like yours for the sole purpose of pulling them apart as cruelly as possible. It has not gone unnoticed, but those who moderate the boards are unwilling to do anything about it. There are a few of us who have attempted to fight back, but we are mostly shouted down by the bullies who are cruel for sport. Do not let them cause you a moment of doubt that what you are doing is helping thousands of victims just like you, or that you are believed by hundreds more than may doubt you for even a second. The ones who try to pick apart your story are the same ones who would pick the legs off of spiders for sport. You are brave, you are strong and you have helped me immeasurably. Please keep writing - for the laughs, for the tears and for the voice with which you have been gifted and which you need to share with others. Bless you. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for that insight. Out of the hundreds of comments on there, there were only a handful of negative ones, but they still hurt! I have another article that XOJane is supposed to be running, and quite honestly, I'm terrified. It is titled "I wish I hadn't reported my rape," and it is about how the police failed me and figuratively raped me again. The commenters are going to eat me alive. I wish I could crawl through the computer and steal it off the editor's desk lol. I was suprised though, one comment was removed by the moderator's, I've never seen that before. Ah!!!! Thank you for your insights, I will try to remember that some people are just cruel for fun. What a sad and lonely life they must have :(

      Delete
    2. Yay for censorship!

      Delete
    3. They pull the posts of particularly hate-filled and misogynistic men (and the 'odd' woman) but very rarely. Even the trolls get through from time to time. Just be prepared for the pile on. Send me the date (travestine@hotmail.com) and I'll go and run defense. I'm kind of known for standing up to the bullies (they hate that!). It's something I'm rather proud of.

      Delete
    4. Mysogynistic men? Have you read these authors posts? She obviously thinks it's cute to string men along and laugh about how they mean nothing to her. SHE is a bully. If I'm the troll for having a problem with such a double standard, fine.

      Delete
    5. Haha, Traves, you rock! I don't even know when it will publish. I didn't know this one was, it just appeared lol

      Delete
    6. Hey traves. My comments keep getting deleted. My email is tessagoodgame@ymail.com. Let's discuss this please. From your posts it seems you would view me as a troll and an "odd woman" Maybe I could change your opinion on that. Or maybe you could change the opinion I have of you. If you're interested in honest and bullshit free discourse, I would love to talk to you.

      Delete
    7. I think that's a great idea. Move it off my page and into your personal live. Yes, I've said before, I will delete bullying posts. Going to each topic and posting the same thing is harassment. I left the one up you said about showing my face, and I deleted where you posted it again elsewhere.

      Delete
    8. Have your lawyer call me. 940-230-9070.My name is Tessa Goodgame, what is your name?

      Delete
    9. DO NOT HAVE YOUR LAWYER CALL HER. she will just use it to gather more information against you. she will know what state you live in, she will know which not-for-profit he's associated with when she googles his name, and then it won't be real hard to figure out who founded it and who you are. there will never be enough proof for people like her. Just let her go

      Delete
    10. Oh, is there information I could use against her?

      Delete
    11. OMG you are right! I could possibly discover info about her I have given freely about myself! You think I might find out she's full of it? That would be horrible for her mindless followers.

      Delete
    12. DO NOT HAVE YOUR LAWYER CALL HER. she will just use it to gather more information against you. she will know what state you live in, she will know which not-for-profit he's associated with when she googles his name, and then it won't be real hard to figure out who founded it and who you are. there will never be enough proof for people like her. Just let her go

      Delete
    13. Lol at trolls, funny stuff u guise. "Tessa Goodgame from Denton Texas," top lels. My advice is grow a thick skin and delete agressively. Every frisson you get when a troll posts is their win..but these random jackholes have no meaning and no connection to you- it's like getting insulted by a rock, or a bump in the road. At the same time, don't engage, just prune, like you prune a garden, or remove snot from a child's nose. Do you think about what the snot is feeling before you wipe? You do not, but you wipe anyway, and don't feel a thing, sister ;)

      Delete
    14. :) Oh, I have a plan brewing, just you wait and see lol :)

      Delete
  6. I saw your article on xojane. And immediately read your entire blog. Now I've subscribed to it. I've seriously been waking up every morning hoping for an email alert letting me know there's somethign new to read. You are so inspiring. DON'T STOP WRITING. Please realize that if you help even once person, that it will be worth it. Screw the negative thoughts. Do it for that ONE person! My prayers and thoughts will be with you. Maybe, just maybe, 2014 will be your best year yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, aw that's awesome about waking up every morning looking for the email. On a side note, I subscribed to it myself so that I could make sure the emails were being sent out, and it doesn't seem to matter when I publish the post, it always comes at like 5am the next morning. Random.

      Thank you for your kind words :) I will smile and think of you next time I hit "publish."

      Delete
  7. I was mentally abused by my ex. People didn''t believe me as I was such a bubbly girl and him such a "nice funny guy"...even those that witnessed it stood by and said nothing...my own friends. Only one and he threatened me over "telling lies to our friends"...even though she was commenting on his cruelty he was acting out in front of her...He still tries to discredit me now by making out like i am the insane one, but I KNOW the truth. He has no power over me if I don't let him. So I cut him out of my life and anyone of my friends still associated with him. People still say "oh you should make up" etc etc but they weren't there when we were alone, they weren't threatened, they were never scared of a man they shared a bed with. They never were made to feel worthless by a person who basically tore the world down to get you only to go "your worthless"....I believe you. Oh my god I believe you and if people around you don't, so be it. Now I can happily say I am with an amazing man who treat me NOT like a princess but like his true equal. That's karma for you...the best revenge on people trying to hurt or discredit you is simply to "live your life well"...You're a good person and you would never hurt anyone so...don't get dragged down by those whose only obvious aspect to their characters is that they bring people down to make them feel better. You on the other hand speak and write and rise people up...that's a fucking great character trait. Love and hugs for you and your children Xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you wrote that! People always said the same thing to me, "But you were always so happy." I was trying to make the best of a bad situation. No one will ever understand what its like to go to bed scared. In my case, I would lie next to him and think I would be safer with a stranger off the street. I barely slept, I was so scared all the time. Every little noise he made and I was at full alert, ready to take a hit. And yet, I never told a soul. I would wake up, put my best face forward, and carry on.

      I am SO happy that you have found someone like you have. Jealous even ;)

      Thank you so much for your advice!!

      Delete
  8. I believe you too, and wish you the very best for 2014 and forward! Time for some good luck for you.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hello, I also came to your blog after reading your post on xojane. I really admire the way you are speaking so openly and eloquently about your experiences. I grew up in a dysfunctional home that I'm only starting to realize was very emotionally abusive, and I was assaulted by my first partner. After all these years, I am still learning new things about how it all affected me, and I am still very cautious about who I tell because I am afraid of being judged by ignorant people. Even though you know they are ignorant, it still hurts. I think it is very brave to post your story to the general public, because yes, there will be people who want to take out their misunderstanding on you and criticize you. But there will also be lots and lots of people who will benefit greatly from hearing from you, because even though you are speaking as an individual, you are also speaking as a member of a community of people who have been abused. And the people in this community do not always know how to ask for help and understanding, but by reading your stories, I believe we gain lots of validation for own feelings and experiences, and that is incredibly helpful.

    There is so much misunderstanding about abuse and sexual assault in our society. I think generally, people pay more attention to a victim or perpetrator’s “profile” or “reputation” than to actual events. What really drove this point home for me was seeing the reaction to the Steubenville case. Here was a case with photos of guys raping a girl while she is unconscious, which should have been enough evidence for anybody. And yet before the verdict, we still had all this mindless blather about what type of girl she was, what type of guys they were, blah blah blah, which was all pointless bullshit.

    Why do people care so much about profiles and reputations? Because it makes them feel like they can avoid being abused or raped if they act a certain way, or look a certain way, or are a certain type of person. It makes them feel safe. It makes them feel like they know who to avoid, who could be dangerous to them. People will go to great lengths to try to make themselves feel safe, even if it leads to ignorance that makes them actually more unsafe, or leads to victim-blaming. As a society, while we talk about child abuse and rape as the most horrible things ever and perpetrators should be burned and castrated etc., we are still so very bad at recognizing it, or perpetrators, or victims. People let false beliefs about how victims “are supposed” to react, who perpetrators “really” are, or about the world being a just, fair place where rape is easily prevented or punished, limit their ability to accept a harsh reality.

    But YOU know what reality is in these situations; they only think they do. Tell them that their perceptions, beliefs, and judgments do not have more weight than real life and lived experiences. You are more experienced, smarter, stronger, and more introspective than the people who will doubt you. And you can be a very powerful voice for the many people who believe you.

    With all that being said: please practice self-care and do not feel obligated to talk about all this if it causes you too much pain. You are not beholden to anybody. It is okay to take a break, to accept that what you are doing is very difficult and to let yourself heal in a way that is best for you, whether that includes speaking out or not.

    This was such a long message; I really can go on for a while once I get started. Just, thanks for writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And thank you for writing!! I couldnt have said a lot of that better myself. If you haven't read this post yet http://itisnotmyshametobear.blogspot.com/2013/12/when-society-rapes-you.html , I would check it out. Its funny because what you said is exactly the point I was trying to make. Thank you so much for reminding me that the reason that I started this blog was to break the silence, and as I am learning, to also break the labels. I guess some people are just not ready to think outside of the societal lines just yet, but for the survivors still hiding in their closets, hopefully they can at least reach the hand I am offering through the cracks.

      Sending you a hug!

      Delete
    2. Hum, not sure why my words spaced out like that and my link didn't take, but either way, check out the post titled "when society rapes you," it is under the December tag on the right hand side of the blog.

      Delete
  10. I'm not sure I believe. There's something off about the tone. And your posts are missing the requisite rage, self-loathing, and universe-negating sadness that accompanies chronic abuse of this magnitude and the talking about it. My guess is some happened to you some didn't. Or they're exagerated in some way...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To the poster above: Are you being sarcastic, or are you actually casting doubt on her because of the tone she's using while writing? Are you really trying to police her emotional expressiveness to such a great extent that you want to claim she's exaggerating the events? Don't be such a control freak.

      Delete
    2. Hum. Well, I'm sorry to hear that, to a degree. I guess I'm a little happy that I don't put off a tone of universal sadness and self-loathing.

      I did my years in emotional hell, spent most of my teen years and early twenties as a cutter, and I allowed people to abuse me bc I didn't think anything of myself.

      My outlook is different now. I'm different now. Thanks to an awesome therapist, several support groups, and finding my voice, I'm not self loathing anymore. I'm not depressed. Hurt, definitely, but depressed, no. This is the hand I was delt, these are the cards that I have to work with, and I'm going to make the best damn card tower out of them that I can.

      I grew up with too many people that were going through the same things. Its almost like radar, you can spot people who are hiding the secrets you are. I have watched time and time again as they have fallen by the wayside, whether it be to drugs, suicide, or other self destructing behavior, they didn't make it out.

      I want to make it out. I am going to make it out. If the only person that can help me make it out, is me, then I need to give myself some credit. I refuse to be another fallen soldier. I refuse to hate myself and be angry at the entire world.

      So self loathing and rage, you won't find that here. This is a place of healing. This is a place of moving forward.

      Summed up by my title, this is not my shame to bear.

      I'm sorry that you have categorized what a survivor looks like. Are all gay people flaming gay and feminine? It is impossible to place someone in a box and stick a label on them. Suffocate them into what you think they should be, and the world will never change.

      I'm stepping out of the box.

      Delete
    3. I feel the same doubts about the truth of this narrative. The reason I respond is that I take the anguish these people stir up very seriously. For the people who come to love this fictitious person, it can feel devastating to learn you were fooled. That you were conned, not for money, but for adoration. Genuine love for a a person who doesn't exist.
      The parallels between this story and those of J T Leroy, Anthony Godby Johnson, Kaycee Nicole, is what set off alarm bells for me. One of the things they have in common is the piling on of painful experience after another; it's not compelling enough to tell a story about horrific child abuse, there is also the rapist husband, the stranger rapist, the disintegrating feet, and two young children with special needs.

      Delete
    4. You are the same person who was trying to discredit my on XOJane, and now you have now, once again, followed me to my blog. You post comments, and then you respond to yourself as another person. I can tell because you repeatedly reference the same exact people and use the same phrases. I have been very polite to you thus far, but you are turning into an internet stalker. I have not removed any of your comments as of yet, because I really do not believe in censoring out the doubters, and the opinions of other people.

      However, with that being said, I will not continue to defend myself to you, and I will not allow you to continue following me around on my own page. This is a place of healing, this is a place for survivors to share their stories, and I will not allow you to come on here and make myself, and the people in the comments who are opening up, feel like this is one more place that they need to defend themselves. This is a safe place.

      If you would like to reference past events and past people, I would urge you to do a little research on the Salem witch trial. There are people in this world who are out to get people, I don't doubt that.
      As invested as you are in discrediting my story, I would assume that you were one of those invested and then let down followers of one of the people you continue to reference.

      My story is true. Don't believe it if you don't want to, but I am done taking your bullying. This place is about me standing up for myself, and breaking my silence. I will not allow you to be one more abusive person in my life, or one more unbeliever.

      Any further comments from you will be deleted.

      Delete
    5. Whoo hoo, you tell em' sista!!!! Get the fuck off the page Troll!!!

      Delete
    6. I am really proud of you for standing up for yourself. For all of us!

      Delete
    7. And if you start deleting posts of those that question, that will make YOU a silencer.

      Delete
    8. To the commenter I keep deleting, yes, I am deleting you. Call it censorship if you want. Scream your head off and pound on your computer all you would like. Raising questions of doubt is ok. Personal attacks, name calling, swears, and flooding my posts with negativity is not ok. I do not tolerate bullying. You do not need to believe me. Maybe I am some middle aged lonely man looking for attention, I am sure by now, everyone has seen your posts of warning and references to other literary scam artists. We have all gotten the point. Now please take your hostility elsewhere. Doubting is ok. Repeatedly attacking me with no proof whatsoever is not ok. Find someone else to harass.

      Delete
    9. "Anonymous" is just the type I was mentioning earlier on xojane who looks for survivors to bully and attempt to discredit. They've been at it for awhile now and I don't know why the mods don't try to do more about them. They really ruin what would otherwise be a really excellent site.

      Delete
    10. I am this particular "anonymous". I am a survivor. A "really excellent site" has room for questions and opposing views. This author deleted the comment I posted before the one responded to. If she has the cajones to reveal her name and face I will do the same. No doubt she will delete this post or use her kids as an excuse to remain faceless and anonymous.

      Delete
    11. Whats wrong with her wanting to keep her kids identity private?

      Delete
    12. By the way, I am the anomymous above, but not the one who referenced other scam artists. I have never used swear words on this site or resorted to name calling, but you have. But tell us about your third degree burns you got as a child. Also, why would anyone continue drinking alcohol while a candidate to donate a piece of liver to a child? Delete away!

      Delete
    13. Nothing wrong with keeping her childrens identity private. I would never post a picture of my toddler online! But to use them to garner sympathy, or an excuse? Heinous!

      Delete
    14. You will never win against the trolls honey. They have no lives, they just sit around to destroy the lives of others. My best guess, no one believed her lies and she is pissed, or the got taken advantage of and now thinks of herself as a vigilante. Let her go, let her scream and whine and throw her temper tantrums. You will never win against her. Like a kid singing on the playground "show me yours and ill show you mine!" she hides behind her screen. Keep spreading your message. We are all here for you.

      Delete
    15. Delete, delete, delete. If they have some cross to bear that important, they can get their own blog. They come on yours and start some sh*t, They can get some sh*t, you are the final arbiter.

      This isn't a forum or a contest or a debate- it is your blog. Vanish literally anything you don't want to see. it is both ethical and moral to do so. You are not a reporter or an observer, you have no duty to bear up under troll attacks or counterpoint. You are in control. Clean your house any way you want to with literally no second thoughts!

      Delete
    16. I could not agree more. I'm literally writing a post about it as we speak, probably publish it Monday or Tuesday (I have a few others ready to go first). I'm not going to delete anything quite yet, bc Miss Tessa Goodgame feels so entitled to her space, let her scream, let her yell, I'm not listening anymore anyways. Keep yours eyes on the blog :)

      Delete
  11. You rock. I don't do the "One Up You" game, but I will say that to a small degree, I can relate. My sister could probably relate even better. We have 10 other siblings. She has occasional communications with a few of the living ones, but I only talk to her. She has that same level of inner strength that you seem to have. I respect it in both of you. I think it's brilliant that you are blogging all this. Stay strong, live well. I sincerely wish you all the best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi hun, thank you for your kind words. You rock my world!

      Your sister sounds awesome, send her here, I'd love to "meet" her :)

      Delete
  12. I believe you.

    My family was horrible in a lot of the same ways. Keep talking. It isn't believable to many folks because these stories aren't told, and I think because who wants to believe the world can be so awful, or negligent? Folks want to keep thinking that the system works, and some times, it does--- and other times, it misses kids who need help, badly.

    I'm so sorry you are hearing so much negativity from people who want to silence you. Please keep telling your truth. It matters, especially to other survivors. I can't tell you how much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your words :) I agree, sometimes unbelief is easier, denial is easy. Horrific stories are hard to comprehend. The fact that humans can do this to each other, its so disgusting and twisted, it just can't be true. And if someone lives through it, and comes out the other side a better person and not completely broken, then they must not really have lived through it. Ugh. And this is why we are silenced.

      Thank you for your belief. I hope you stick around for the journey :)

      Delete
  13. I believe you. I read the story on XOJane (I commented and you commented back!) and I want you to know that you are loved and I believe you and to hell with everyone else and please don't stop writing. I rarely comment on stuff I read, but I felt such a pull to on your writing. I'm so happy and proud of all the amazing things you've accomplished and so angry and hurt for your pain and so glad that you decided to share. If you ever need to talk, please feel free to find my stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Megan :) I am glad you found your way here, and I thank you for believing in me :) I hope you stick around, you bring a smile to my face!

      Delete
  14. There are people who will say they don't believe you, because for them to believe would mean that they would have to face the demons hiding under their own beds and in their own closets, whether they are abusers themselves, or have been abused. Pity them--one day, the demons will get so strong they'll have to face the evil and fight it, and the longer they delay, the harder it will be for them.

    There are people who can't believe you because your own experience is so far outside their own constricted little world, and they simply don't understand that not everyone has it as good as they do. Pity them--the first really difficult trial of their life could quite possibly derail it entirely, as they have no resources developed with which to cope.

    And there are those who, as has been noted above, are simply internet trolls, taking advantage of anonymity in order to belittle others. Pity them--it's the only way they know to feel good about themselves.

    Close your ears to the naysayers, and keep screaming, keep telling your truth. For every one of those trolls and disbelievers, there are thousands out there who will support you, and countless more who will be supported by your words.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I just finished writing to the above anonymous troll, who has been following me around not only my own page, but the places where I guest post, I REALLY needed to "hear" what you wrote. Thank you for the reminder, it has soothed my battered soul a bit tonight. ((Hugs))

      Delete
    2. Couldn't Agree More...Stay Strong And Ignore The Haters!!

      Delete
  15. Please don't stop writing! You r such amazing woman, a strong women I ever heard their stories enduring the life. I can't hold my tears reading through your story, reminding myself as if I ever got the same courage like you. I pray for your happiness with your new life, your kids. Love from Malaysia :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My first Malaysian commenter!! Thank you, I am sending you a BIG hug and lots of love.

      You are amazing, don't ever underestimate the courage you have inside of you.

      Delete
  16. Thank you for your story. I had an abusive sister - I say had because I "divorced" her. For many years my family has not understood this and have pushed me to "get over it." To make a long story short, my mom has finally understood and supports my right to protect myself. Forgive if you can, but no where does it say that you have to forget or have to continue to be harmed. Those that need to hear your story will find it and those that don't believe are truly not important. Take care of you and your children, that is all that really matters. I have taught my children that they are free to build their own family, to choose their brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, even grandparents and parents. My wish for you is a family of your own choosing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am proud of you for taking the necessary steps to remove your sister from your life. I am THRILLED to hear that your mom understands, what a blessing! From the other comments I have seen on here, that is not usually the case.

      It is AWESOME that you are passing on all that you have learned to your children. I love your outlook ;)

      Delete
  17. Remember James Frey? Well, you have him to thank for our distrust. He had millions and Oprah fooled. And when it came time to prove himself, he caved, big time.

    You know you are being honest, and that is all that really matters. Your story is simply that to us... a story... a very well written (oh, maybe because its from experience!!?) story, that may become a very well read one someday, with millions sharing it...and paying a few bucks to get your amazing book, and then, you will be prepared for the doubters because you have had to face them now.

    Hear what I'm saying... these doubters are your teachers. The tests they are giving you now will arm and prepare you for your future success (of your non-profit, and for-profit ventures).

    Also, highly recommend that you check out Brene Brown...on youtube. friggin amazing wisdom from that woman!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I stumbled onto your story on XOJane, read it, and wanted to come here to read more of your blog. I haven't read everything, but I felt the need to comment on this post. While my family wasn't nearly as dysfunctional as yours, and it took me until I was in my early 20s to realize it, I came to understand that my childhood involved quite a lot of emotional abuse. Anyways, I digress..

    I believe you.

    I'll echo what other commenters have said - sometimes when something is just too horrific, people feel the need to discredit it because accepting it as truth means that their world isn't as happy as they want to believe it is. They can't allow themselves to believe that things this bad really can happen to people. It makes them too uncomfortable and their only defense is to jump immediately to discrediting the person's story. And then the internet trolls, who I've come to (sometimes, when I try really hard, though it's so very difficult to do so) feel sorry for because how sad must their lives be that the only way they can feel good is to belittle strangers on the internet.

    Try not to let those negative comments get to you (yes, I know, easier said than done!). Judging by the comments here and the ones on the XOJane site, you're helping a lot of people. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know I say this in response to a lot of comments, but awwww, thank you!!

      Its people like you that remind me of why I am doing this. When some troll is tearing me apart, when I think no one is listening, when I just want to shove it all back in the closet and hide it away from the world, it's people like you, your kind words, that keep me going.

      Thank you

      Delete
  19. I laughed a little when I read the article on xojane, and then clicked the link to your blog. I laughed because I had stumbled onto your blog months ago and had read it, and empathized, and then forgot what it was called.

    I also laughed because I just recently broke up with my boyfriend of a year, and reading your post on 'trust' just hit home. It will always be a strange and amazing thing when I read what someone else has read and think, "That is exactly how I feel. I've just never been able to express it like that."

    My childhood sucked, that is certain, and the choices I've made in relationships hasn't been great either. Like you, I am in the same place as far as trust goes. Some days I just want to lay down in bed and not make any important decisions. *hugs* Either way, your blog has helped me by letting me know that I'm not alone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am really sorry to hear that, and I am really happy to hear that. It always breaks my heart to hear that someone else is feeling what I am feeling, bc I know how much it sucks. But it warms my heart to know that we have found each other. I would never want anyone else to feel the way I do, but if they must, I would like to go through it together.

      I hope you subscribe and stick around :) Don't lose me again! Lol, I'd love to have you here. ((hugs))

      Delete
    2. I bookmarked the site, so no chance of me getting lost now. :) I'm glad I found my way back too.
      I wouldn't wish my worst days on someone I dislike, and knowing someone else who feels the same makes it easier to bear.

      Delete
    3. Yay! On the right hand side of the blog you can follow or subscribe, then it will notify you every time I post. Which actually sounds really stuck up when I say it like that. Whatever, you know what I mean lol. I love chatting with all of you in the comments and hearing everyone's advice and insights :)

      Delete
  20. Two good safe spaces that you might pitch your stories to is the-toast.net or thehairpin.com. The Toast is especially good about moderating posts. If nothing else, they are both supportive communities that you might enjoy visiting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am going to go check those out now, thank you!! :)

      Delete
  21. Thanks be to XOJane for the intoduction to your blog.
    Skip past the trolls who roam the internet hoping to antagonize and engage! I posted a reply on Jane's site before locating your blog. Now your blog is added to my home page :) You are a talented writer, thank you for puting yourself out there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just replied to you on XOJane, I'm so glad you found your way here!!! I'm going to be posting a public message to the trolls in a few days, and then I won't be replying to them again.

      So happy to have you here hun!

      Delete
    2. Don't let other people steal your balance :)

      Delete
  22. Hi there. It is truly shocking that you are being bullied in this way. I believe you. The fact that you have escaped the trap of self loathing is the very ring of truth that attracted me to your blog. While yours is a rare story, it is one that i am well acquainted with, having made the journey myself from self loathing to self compassion. The guides I choose in the media all have this quality in common: turning the lead of their trauma into the gold of transformation and service. Hayhouse Radio and Sounds True are just two sources of positive messages like yours.

    The fact that you have trolls harrassing you is actually a bit of a compliment: you've made it in the internetz! No one can please every reader all the time, so having haters proves you've been widely read. On a personal level, having people dislike me has been a lesson in detachment: wanting everyone to love me is kinda greedy. I need to be generous enough to let those people go make friends with their own kindred souls, and thereby give me space to give extra love to my genuine friends.

    This blog is kind of like your property. If haters came and tagged all over your garden wall, you'd feel perfectly justified in removing it. Delete, delete, delete! People think their bitchy comments deserve to be enshrined forever in the interwebs library of congress or something, but really, Tessa Madeupname, no one gives a care about your hot air longer than it takes to scroll off the front page. That goes for my comments, and every word ever uttered or typed ever.

    Finally, even if you were lying, I still would not care, because that would just make you one hell of a talented fiction-writer who generated an oeuvre of inspirational reading. Maybe novels, like painting, are dead, and fictional blogs are the new literature.

    I believe you.

    Love,
    Cat

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cat,

      Can I just take a minute to say I love you? Your advice was well received and much needed. Thank you for not only your support, but your time and effort into messaging me.

      I actually laughed out loud at "Tessa Madeupname." I was really tempted to call and see if it was a real number, but I restrained :)

      I love the bit about having haters being a bit of a compliment. Now trust me, if I could change things, I would LOVE to be a fiction writer and be making this up, bc then my life would be good as gold, but just the fact that people care enough to hate me obviously means my message is strong, so I'll take the haters in hopes that I'm also reaching the survivors. That was a really long run on sentence but its late and I'm tired.

      Anyways, I am happy to have you hear Cat :) Sending you a great big hug.

      Delete
    2. :-) I am happy you have a "here" for me to be. <3 Here is a blog about how to deal with haters that you might find helpful:

      http://jasondrowley.com/2010/07/28/on-the-hating-of-haters/

      Big love!

      Delete
    3. I am glad you are here :)

      That you for the website, I'm going to check it out now!

      Delete
  23. I am so glad to find a place where there are so many others like me. I'm older than you, and out of necessity had to divorce my family many years ago as well. I've had to explain to many incredulous people why I have no family also. I always dreamt of having a family of my own, but it took me so long to break the cycle of dysfunction that I came from, and attracting so much more of it, that I just never would've dreamt of making a father out of any of the jerks I dated. I AM thankful that you have your kids, you sound like an awesome mom!! And as far as the trolls on here, that you addressed them at all, you already gave them more time than they deserve. Don't waste your energy on negative! All of us on here have already let negative people have too much of us, and that is pretty much what brought us all to this point. You are a blogger, you need to maintain your security, and if they persist, PLEASE report them, ASAP. The rest of us have your back here, and tbh? I would DEF filter them out. :-) jmo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad that you have found your way here :) I hope that you are able to get as much as I am out of the advice from the commenters, it has been very enlightening!

      I'm sorry that you have traveled a rough road :( hugs!

      Where do you even report trolls? I didn't think there was much you could do since they are anonymous.

      Delete
    2. I thought as the admin of the page you could report to the site, but you're probably right. I am not used to blogs, I am used to groups on yahoo. :-\ So guessing the other option is having to filter through everything??

      Delete
    3. I looked but I don't see any place to report. :/ Thankfully the trolls seemed to have moved on, for now :)

      Delete
  24. as a survivor of my own horror story and as a writer attempting to make something positive out of my past, I thank you for your bravery. I had a religious/abusive upbringing as well and your story on XO Jane moved me because I could relate to much of how you were treated including being locked into my room with 3 other sisters, told I was hated from an early age and the frustration of knowing that there was no way out.
    when I turned 17, my dad started taking me and my family to a new church (mom wouldn't go at first) and I discovered a very different God than the one I grew up with. on November 29th 2009 I gave my heart and life to Jesus and he immediately saved my life in more ways than one. I was suicidal before, but after, I suddenly had hope. life at home was still rough, even after my family followed my example and began giving their hearts to the Lord as well.
    that made my relationship with my mom even harder at first because I couldn't figure out how someone who now had Jesus living on the inside of them could still be so hateful) it was slow progress and many times I knew that it would be years before I could ever have a healthy functional relationship with my parents. in April 2010, my mom told me she was counting down the days til I left home, and i told her it was coming sooner than she thought.
    It took me 18 years to figure out I was taller than her, stronger than her and that she couldn't hurt me unless I allowed it. so I stopped allowing it, and started planning to leave. I came to Florida on vacation (my grandma paid for the tickets, with the intention of giving me an opportunity to escape) and I called my parents halfway through and informed them I wasn't going home.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Pt 2.
    The last three years have been hard, I have been through all sorts of crap with various family members and then discovered that they all knew what was going on at home all along and did nothing out of fear of my mother. It took time to begin to forgive my mom and my dad, and I know I haven't completely forgiven yet but trust me, forgiveness is a decision and a process. It doesn't happen instantly, it takes time. so does trust. Trust is gained slowly and lost quickly. I cannot trust my parents yet, as they have not been willing to prove themselves trustworthy. I am lucky to get an obligatory card or call on holidays if it occurs to them. But that doesn't hurt like it used to because while I do not have a relationship with my mother, I have a whole panel of amazing women who willingly stepped up and are there for me. I call them my momma panel.

    I want to assure you notmyshametobear and other survivors/readers/writers on this site that it gets better. I am 21 now and I am so much better off than I was before. I have a family that isn't blood related. there are amazing people out there who are more than willing to help, more than willing to council you, more than willing to support you and be there for you when no one else is. my blood related family loves to spout off about how blood relation supersedes any other relationships but they are wrong. the people who are my family are the first ones I call when I have exciting news, need help or just want to talk, because I know I can count on them to be there. You have a family too, it just may not be who you think...

    and if you are in an abusive relationship right now, regardless of who it is, speak up. get out. go somewhere safe and get the help you need to recover and become who you were made to be. you can do it, you are worth it and there is help available. the only reason my personal hell lasted as long as it did was because I was afraid to speak out. it took me going to a church with amazing people who made it safe for me to talk without any fear of it getting back to my parents. to this day, my parents don't know that I told my small group, my youth pastor and a few other church leaders what was really going on at home. I got the help and support I needed to survive my senior year of highschool at home. without the support or the release of knowing I could finally tell the truth I would not have made it.
    so please, if you are under 18, tell somebody who is obligated to do something. or report them yourself. yes, it is terrifying, yes it is scary. but if you wait for someone else to rescue you it may not happen. if you are over 18, there are a myriad of resources available. if you are afraid of your spouse, please please please get your kids out of there. if you won't get out for you, get out for them. it won't get better and you keeping them there in that environment is not protecting them.
    I hope this is encouraging to those who are survivors and those who are currently surviving. it does get better, don't give up. and don't limit your definition of family to those who violated your trust. expand it to include those who have stood by you no matter what, even if they are not blood related. when you do, you will realize how blessed you are, in spite of your past. God Bless!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I was as strong as you are at 21. I turned 21 and jumped right into another horror by getting married. You are so lucky that you are so far ahead of the game my dear!

      Keep going, keep spreading your message. You are exactly where you are meant to be :) Welcome to the blog hun

      Delete
  26. And I believe you! Evey new post your make will give you more strength. This blog is technically your 'diary' but you are strong/brave enough to share with others. And sadly those negative people out there that want to hurt and silence what they cant wrap their minds around. Words hurt, they are much worse than being hit at times. But I want you to know You are not alone (and thank god for the delete//block button) because you nor does anyone else needs that negativity in their life. Thank you for sharing your story, and please don't ever give up (especially writing because you are Awesome at it!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your support. You guys have no idea how much you build me up :) Love and hugs to all of you!!!

      Delete
  27. I commented on this post several weeks ago anonymously and shared part of my story. my two comments started out, "as a survivor of my own horror story and as a writer attempting to make something positive out of my past, I thank you for your bravery." and "The last three years have been hard, I have been through all sorts of crap with various family members and then discovered that they all knew what was going on at home all along and did nothing out of fear of my mother."

    your willingness to be open and vulnerable inspired me and since then, I started my own blog documenting my own journey to find freedom from my past and to help others. I use the name Emma Constance now as my pen name to protect my identity and the identities of the people around me. I wanted to share my blog with you in hopes that it helps encourage you in your journey, as yours has helped me.

    Never forget your worth, and I pray that you are encouraged to keep at it as your work towards building a life in freedom and forgiveness.

    with much support and many prayers,
    -EC
    here is the link to my blog if you are interested.

    http://www.tumblr.com/blog/emmaconstancewf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do remember you, and I'm glad you have found your voice :)

      I will check out your blog, thank you for sharing!! Love the pen name ;)

      Eden

      Delete