Suffering in silence is something that many of us have become masters at. We push pains, an experience, or a traumatic event deep down within us and cover it up with fake smiles, things, achievements, fashion and glamour, social connections, or success. We can find ourselves in search of validation that we are deservant, valuable, accepted, worthy, wanted, needed, or that we are good enough. Some people spend their entire lives avoiding the very thing that they need to face to be able to heal the emotional wounds that they have inside of them. They have formed a mindset that if they bury the pain deep down and never speak of it then they will be just fine. But the problem with that is that our secrets make us sick. As long as we avoid our experience the emotional wound remains wide open. And every time that something else happens that has a negative emotional impact, it is like a flesh eating bacteria that gets into the wound and it becomes deeper and deeper until it eats all the way through the heart.
When my virginity was taken from me at 14 years old by a in law I keep it a secret for twenty years. The shame and devastation of self worth that I had from that experience became bigger, more prominent, each time that something else hurtful would happen to me. If someone would tell me that I was not doing something good enough or that I needed to improve something it would deepen my self rejection. The feeling of something was wrong with me became bigger and bigger. My secret caused me to form a false belief of myself that made me allow others to abuse and sexually use me because I believed that I deserved it. I believed that there had to be something wrong with me that would make a person do such a horrific thing to me. Surely I couldn’t have any kind of worth or value to me if someone would take such a special thing away from me and manipulate me the way that he did. At 14 years old how was I suppose to think any different. And because I kept it a secret and suffered in silence it set the way for the destructive path that I would end up taking for many years. It set me on a path of seeking acceptance, validation of self worth and value in all the wrong ways.And each time that I was used, rejected, or did not accomplish what I was trying to do, the wound in my heart would become bigger and deeper.
When the day came that I was going to tell my mom my secret, it was the hardest thing that I think I ever had to prepare myself to do. I remember my entire body shaking and wanting to run away. What was she going to say. How was she going to react. Was she going to say that it was my fault somehow. Was she even going to believe me. I wanted to just keep my secret and not face the unknowns but I knew, by that time, that I had to tell it if I was ever going to be able to heal from it. Yet still, everything in me was telling me to not do it. As I sat there trying to figure out how I was going to tell her I just blurted it out. It was as a force in me made the words, “I was raped” fly out of my mouth before I even knew that they were about to come out. I know believe that it was the Holy Spirits strength doing for me what I was having a hard time doing for myself. I do not know that I would have ever been able to voice those words on my own. Once the silence of my secret was broken by those three words I was able to tell the rest of the experience to my mom. Her reaction was much better than I had expected. She embraced me with love and comfort and asked why had I not said something before then. As I explained how I felt and the fears that I had of telling someone she understood. She also was finally able to understand why I had done all the things that I had done growing up. All the acting out, the rebellion, the trouble, the drugs, the lies.
Once I voiced my secret I felt the weight of it released off me. I felt so much lighter and free. And once I was able to get my secret out I was able to receive the help that I needed to heal from it and for it to no longer have an effect on my life. Not facing things that has happened to us and suffering in silence only makes the situation worse. The experience continues to happen to us in our minds because we are holding onto it, keeping it buried deep within. We have to tell someone about our pains, disappointments, experiences, whatever it is that our secret may be, so that we can move forward without it continuing to affect us in a negative way. Even if it is something that you have done to someone else, your secret can make you sick because of the guilt or shame that you carry from it. Find someone that you can trust and get it out so that your wounds can be healed.