So I am here again. And I am frustrated: frustrated with myself for not writing more, frustrated with the world and with people in my life that I cannot feel like this is a safe space, frustrated that I cannot seem to get to a place where I feel like I can use this space to write in order to process my thoughts and anxiety and trauma, which is what I need for my own wellbeing.

I am realizing more and more that for so much of my life I have felt pressured into silence by those around me. It is not clear to me whether they know they have exerted this pressure, whether it’s been intentional on their part or not, but regardless of intent, the effect has been the same. I have been pressured into silence by people and institutions. And the result is that I have spent a lifetime, or at least the majority of my 46 years, simply not talking about some really difficult things. It is like I pretend these things just didn’t happen because my Mom or the church are sending me messages that they don’t want to have to hear about it. So I’ve said nothing. Nothing about my uncle being sexually inappropriate with me, nothing about the demonic energy that lived in my home when I was a child, nothing about my husband abusing me during the four years of our marriage and the church and my parents being complicit in it all. Even now I’m still saying nothing about these things. But it stops today, now, with this post.

But I am not willing to continue to be silent about these matters. This silence is killing me. I have come to believe that it’s literally killing me. My physical health continues to deteriorate as my emotional and mental wellbeing breaks down. Meanwhile my sister-in-law, Cheri, manipulates my entire family and I watch the rest of them dance to her tune. I refuse to dance anymore. She is a bully, and I refuse to allow her toxicity to control my life. I am learning to draw boundaries that cut toxic people out of my life in order to create a healthy space for me to grow. She is the first to go, and I am fairly certain that others will follow. It makes me very sad because I do care about her and am very much concerned about her wellbeing, but I realize that I cannot control her or her choices and it’s become clear to me that she is very much out of control. So Cheri, be well, go live your life, but leave me out of it. I’m not covering for you anymore.

To the rest of you I say this: I am taking charge of my own wellbeing. This means that I am going to say what I need to in order to take care of myself. This means that I am going to talk and write about things that make you uncomfortable. I may even “out” you. Consider yourselves warned. I may post about the things you said and did that you’d rather I didn’t disclose. You may even take issue with things I have to say. Maybe you remember things differently. And that’s ok. This is my space, my memories, my opportunity to process. I’m going to call it like I see it, or at least like I remember it. My intention is not to actively set out to hurt anyone’s feelings but rather to just sort through my own memories and experiences as a a way to process my own trauma. If you didn’t want me to expose these things about you, then maybe you should have treated me better.

Honestly, I am tired of this rhetoric that says I should somehow cover for you for the sake of some greater good. For example, there’s some sort of argument that says that I should not question what goes on in the church because that will sully the testimony of Christ somehow. And I realize that I am not really presenting the position adequately and it’s partially because I don’t even fully understand the position itself. But isn’t this the very position that the Roman Catholic Church uses to protect pedophiles? They cover for abusive priests as a justification to protect the institution. And honestly, I feel like I have been pressured to not speak out about my own experiences, both with the church and with family, for similar reasons: Drennan, if you talk about what’s happened, you’ll upset people, you’ll cause hurt feelings or harm to relationships to those you care about. Essentially, I feel like I am being asked to sacrifice my wellbeing fo the sake of someone else’s feelings. Because I am now at the point where I need, I desperately need to speak, for all kinds of reasons, but I am still being pressured into silence. I am not allowed to openly talk about the abuse I’ve dealt with, much less seek solutions and healing. And isn’t simply naming the abuse and the abusers the first step towards finding healing?

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