Friday, September 3, 2010

What Can Secrecy Do to You?

What Can Secrecy Do to You?
by Desiree Leigh, Wake Up to Live
For years, I felt bewildered about who I was. I was thrown astray with thoughts and feelings that I couldn't seem to dissect. I was constantly flooded with emotions from anger and rage to sadness and despair not knowing why. My moods would shift radically. It was the feeling of being jerked and pulled harshly and painfully. I experienced body sensations of anxiety and panic attacks, and nightmares I couldn't seem to control, feeling chaotic, crazy and confused. I couldn't make sense of anything. I would quickly get triggered by smell, touch, something I had seen or perhaps heard and yet I had no idea or recollection from where it was coming from or why.

I lived this way for years thinking I was just 'different', or perhaps, I didn't try hard enough to change my feelings, moods or thought. I even thought it could have come from being a spoiled child. I don't seem to recall this but maybe. "Why else could I be the way I am?" Maybe I wasn't getting my way, maybe I was asking for too much, maybe my desires were outrageous. With all of this positive psychology, I couldn't figure out why it was so hard to change. I did all my cognitive re-thinking, got somewhat of a sense of peace through meditation, worked out to release, ate my best, but I still had major mood swings. I kept thinking maybe I was missing something, I wasn't doing it right or I just wasn't determined enough... This was not the case.

I finally came to admit and recognize the hurt and pain of sexual abuse and chronic neglect. For years, it was a secret in my family. And it still is. Well, when you haven't dealt with it, when you haven't dealt with the painful emotions of the abuse or neglect, you can't move on. Even when your mind doesn't remember or your mind plays amnesia, your body remembers very well.

I was a great actress. I was a good fake. I put on a great front. I was happy and full of optimism. This was on the surface, though. I was high in the sky one day. The next day it was dim and murky. Deep within, I was aching, yet I didn't know why. I minimized the abuse too death...literally. Creating ill health within myself since I carried this with me for so many years.

Secrecy on this topic creates confusion and ill health. As a child, I believed I was a bad girl. That I wasn't good enough because no one would talk about what happened. I came to believe I caused it, and mom and dad were both mad at me. Because of secrecy, I was scared to talk. I censored everything. I wasn't sure what to say anymore. I was afraid I might say something and I would be a bad girl again. Friends were non-existent because I didn't know what to say. They would talk about their family. I didn't seem to know how to do that with mine. I was always on guard. Relatives thought I was shy. I wasn't shy! I was scared to death to talk. And, why should I, no one would hear me anyways.

Secrecy kept everything hidden, even the pain I was trying to hide within for decades because that was a habit I was used to. So guess what happens when you don't work out (release) the emotions you encountered from abuse and neglect and fess up that they actually are ruling your life? When you don't modulate your emotions, when you don't bring them under conscious control, anxiety will be the consequence leading to symptoms of neurosis, hysteria, mood disorders and health problems.

By raising the turmoil and hurt to the surface, there are some great realizations here to look at.
  • No one hears me.
  • I'm not good enough.
  • No one believes me.
  • I'm confused on what to say.
  • If I express my feelings, I'm a bad girl.
  • I created the problem not the offender.
  • I don't want anybody to get mad at me.
  • I don't want to cause conflict.
  • I can't talk with friends.
  • I censor everything I say.
  • I'm shy (label).
  • and so on...
After bringing up the emotions that are begging to come out, there are some hidden core beliefs that you may have neither recognized nor knew where they came from that have to be looked at and re-examined thoroughly. That's what's so incredible when you start digging and you become true to yourself. You begin to understand. And, then you begin to accept. When you begin to see that you put labels and judgments on yourself at such a young age, you can now, perhaps, be more empathetic, compassionate and loving towards yourself. You were only a child. I was only a child when I began to think this way. Today, I know I am safe. Today, I know I am okay. I am a grown up. I no longer want to be that child or react from that 'little girl's perspective'. Today, I do have a choice with who I want to be with and associate with. And, I do have a choice on how I want to perceive the world around me. I am a transformational woman of power and courage.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

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