Why Does It Feel Wrong To Tell Your Story?

Those of us who have been through abuse tend to feel that we are doing something wrong by telling our story.  We may even wonder if we are making things up because so few people truly believe what we’re saying.  (Having your feelings invalidated or told you’re exaggerating truly can make you doubt the reality of what happened to you.)  Things like this tend to keep us quiet.

However, the fact is that we have every right to tell our stories, & by the way, no, we didn’t make it up.  So why do we feel this way?

Victims are groomed by their abusers to keep the abuse a secret.  To tell anyone about it would incur a terrible wrath.  We learned early on that it is better to stay quiet than to talk about it.  When my mother suspected me of telling someone what she was doing once, I was shamed deeply for “airing our dirty laundry.”  When I got myself into therapy to figure out how to deal with her, she demanded to know everything that I talked about with my counselor.  It became much easier not to talk about it than to deal with her wrath!

Abusers also groom their victims to doubt themselves, while only believing the abuser.  It’s called gaslighting or crazy making.  Abusers do their best to determine their victim’s reality.  This makes it easier for the victim to accept abuse, because although a part of them realizes it is wrong, they are told it is acceptable so much that eventually that false belief overrides their belief it is wrong.

Being too afraid to tell your story when you feel it’s time to share it also means you are carrying your abuser’s shame.  It’s not your shame!  You have done nothing wrong by being abused!  The one who abused you is the one who should be ashamed!  It is not your job to feel the shame for her even if she refuses to feel it herself.  Remind yourself of that often, & the shame will lift.

You have every right to tell your story if you want to do so.  It is your life & your story.

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20 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Narcissism

20 responses to “Why Does It Feel Wrong To Tell Your Story?

  1. I can totally relate to this! My family is Asian and in Asian culture it’s really shameful to “air out your dirty laundry” to anyone outside your family. My mom said that to me about so many things, but it made me feel like I HAD to be ashamed. This was really damaging to me when I was trying to get help from abuse. It made me feel like she cared more about her reputation than my well being. That actually hurt almost as bad as the abuse itself. (My mother’s not a narcissist, it’s just a cultural thing.)

    When it comes to my NMIL I especially feel nervous and guilty about speaking truthfully about her. Mainly because I’m afraid everyone will assume I’m overreacting and that everyone has to deal with crazy MILs. I think that’s why I started blogging about it recently. I just needed to get it out even if nobody ever sees it.

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    • I’m sorry you’ve been through abuse from your mother & NMIL. That is rough!

      Truly.. abusers of any sort like silence from their victims. It means they can do as they please without fear of consequences.

      You’re so right about your NMIL. Mean mothers in-law are pretty much a joke. Remember the TV show “Everybody Loves Raymond”? Marie reminded me of my own NMIL except Marie’s intentions were at least good most of the time. My NMIL’s were always cruel. Anyway people seem to think mean mils are harmless when nothing could be further from the truth! Mine did plenty of damage to me as well as my marriage. I wanted to divorce my husband many times because of her. Not only her meanness but how well she trained my husband to defend her no matter what.

      I hope your blog helps you to deal with everything you’ve experienced. Writing it out can be so helpful. Something about seeing things in black & white can be very therapeutic. If you want to talk, you’re always welcome to talk to me if you like. You can comment here or email me at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com

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  2. Yes, my NMIL is exactly like Marie from Everybody Loves Raymond! Except Marie is kinda cute and doesn’t have violent tantrums. I used to think that show was funny, but now it hits too close to home. Thank you for your help. Your blog is especially helpful because of your biblical references and advice!

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    • Sounds like Marie is your NMIL’s good twin.. that’s how I thought of her with my NMIL- the good twin & mine was the evil twin. lol

      It really is a funny show, but like you, it hits a bit too close to home for my comfort as well sometimes.

      thank you so much! I’m glad my blog has helped you! ❤

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  3. It took me a long time to feel like I had a right to tell my story. There are some people who just can’t handle the truth though so I only share when it’s safe. Blogging helps a lot as does journaling and therapy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s hard to really believe you have that right isn’t it?

      You’re smart though, sharing it only when it’s safe. Sharing with unsafe people can do more harm than good.

      Writing it out as well as talking about it helps, too. You’re very wise!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well some people have to learn the hard way so my “wisdom” was earned the hard way, believe me. Thanks, though. I do truly believe we have a right and somewhat a responsibility to share our stories to help others who have and are struggling and suffering. The abuser doesn’t own the story. We do. If they don’t want others to know how rotten they are then they need to stop doing the awful things they do.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely read. If I wasn’t blogging under a pseudonym, I wouldn’t say half the things I do. Even then sometimes, I do feel shame – shame because I stayed so long in a abusive relationship, and yes, the first thing people would say is “why did you stay so long”? I don’t know. Inexplicable. Thank you for this. One day I will share my blog with my friends, with no shame. For now, I am working through it. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • PS : It took a really big leap of faith to post my photo on my blog. Maybe I am making more progress than I think I am. That gives me hope….

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      • Pseudonyms can be a very good thing. 🙂

        Please try not to feel ashamed for staying! Narcissists create such confusion & damage to one’s thinking, you can’t help but stay for much longer than you should! I was married to a narcissist too & I get the shame, believe me. I shouldn’t have given him the time of day let alone married him. But, he knew what I wanted to hear & he said it. Plus my narcissistic mother said no man would want me- I figured I couldn’t pass up a guy wanting me. They wreak havoc on your thinking & even sanity- that is why you stay so long, yanno? It’s not your fault. While yes, you had a choice, the damage done took away the needed logic & reasoning to make that choice properly.

        You’re very pretty, by the way. 🙂 Glad you shared your picture! Things like that tear down that shame inside. xoxo

        Liked by 2 people

  5. For years I’ve tried to forget the things my mother did and said. But more recently I’ve been keeping a notebook and writing things down as they come to me. My husband knows the watered down version but I know he’d be so hurt to hear the details that are coming back to me. I’ve just started blogging to help get it out – I’m beginning to realise at some point I’m going to have to come to terms with the history all over again. My mantra is ‘No more shame’, I don’t broadcast the abuse to my friends but I don’t hide it anymore either. I’m sorry as this doesn’t feel very cohesive, it’s a bit of a journey.

    Thank you for the post it came at the right time for me 🙂

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    • It was very cohesive.

      Good for you!! You shouldn’t carry your mother’s shame. Just because she put it on you doesn’t mean you need to carry it a moment longer. She shouldn’t have put it on you in the first place.

      Good for you too for writing things down. I’ve found there is something very validating in doing that, & you need to validate yourself. Until I wrote my autobiography in 2012, I told myself others had it worse, stop living in the past, etc etc. Seeing my experiences in writing made them more real somehow. I finally realized that yes, it really happened & I’ve been through some terrible things! it takes great strength to write your story, but it’s absolutely worth it.

      Thank you… I’m glad my post helped you!

      Liked by 1 person

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