(Editors Note: I’ve said many times that I get contacted after every post by other survivors who are thankful for the project, even if they can’t come forward. This Survivor came to my first show, and found great healing from it. I have to tell you, I was more than a little proud and thankful for the healing power this site and these stories have…The Golden Girl is a reference to this survivor’s passion for Golden Retrievers, not the 80s sitcom! )
Please Share What Happened to You:
When visiting David’s opening of his work on Domestic Violence in Dover, I was flooded with memories, feelings and grief. I knew it was important for me to visit but I never realized the emotional impact it would have on me. I was emotionally and verbally abused by my parents from the moment I was born and probably in utero. I walked on eggshells never knowing when another shoe would drop or when I would be chastised for any number of offenses. To protect myself, I became a great reader of social cues and threatening behaviors. Although food was a great source of comfort for me, reading my parents’ mood was a gift and survival technique. Growing up was not about developing self- esteem, building self-confidence or finding my place in this world. It was about doing whatever necessary to please my parents and everyone I met from a total stranger to family member. It was about accommodating the needs of others. I lived in fear that my cover would be blown and people would find out that I was a horrible person. If my parents didn’t like me then who else could possibly like me? I lived a lifetime with parents who lacked their own self worth and the cycle continued
How are you now?
The abuse did not stop even after I moved out on my own. I learned to handle it better. It was so important for me to grieve my dysfunctional childhood. I cried my heart out many times. My body and my psyche had internalized everything that was said and done to me for a lifetime. It is had become part of the brain neurons. Fortunately, I have learned to love myself and to value myself. I have learned that it is okay to have my own opinion and do what is best for me. I have learned to have self – compassion. I have learned that I can build new healthy, loving pathways in my brain so that I can feel joy. It is a journey. I have laspes. Anxiety, depression, food addiction and co-dependency are still part of my life. The difference is now they are not who I am but just a part of life. They no longer debilitate me. When they do appear, I can say,” Oh those again. That is an old story that I don’t need anymore.” I take one day at a time. My parents are deceased and I love them. I learned that I can believe my thoughts and old stories and suffer or I can check in with myself and find the joy and love that I deserve.
What would you like to tell the world about Domestic Violence?
I want everyone to know that his or her journey and trauma is like no other journey or trauma. The skills and tools I have learned work for me. Each of us finds our way at our own pace and with our own strategies. The priority is to love oneself and know that no one has the right to demean or abuse of us in any way. We are precious and unique and are lovable and loved. We need to hug ourselves and spend time with positive and supportive people who will stand by us no matter what. We can make a positive, joyful life for ourselves and the kindness needs to start at home in our hearts. My hope is that we can have compassion for others and more importantly compassion for ourselves.