Silenced in shame

I tend to be a very open person. I tell my therapist nearly everything on my mind and in my heart, good and bad, happy and sad. I’ve shared my thoughts and experiences with others by writing this blog.

But something came about last week that I could not talk or write about. The memories left me confused, angry, and ashamed. I hated myself. I hated the world. And I couldn’t tell anyone about it because I feared that would only make it worse.

When I went to my therapy session on Thursday, I tried to deflect talking about everything I was feeling by denying everything. And by everything, I mean everything. I told my therapist I had a good life, no trauma, and no problems. I didn’t want to deal with any of this shit anymore. But denying it doesn’t make it go away. I could’ve said I had a good life until I was blue in the face, but it wouldn’t have changed the fact that I was seething on the inside.

I finally admitted to my therapist that I was full of anger, but I could not tell her why. It’s not that I didn’t know; it’s that I didn’t want to talk about it. She traced back the last few days trying to pinpoint when and where my feelings originated. I went over each minor detail of my life starting with Thursday morning and working backwards. Eventually I muttered “I checked Facebook.” That was when it all began.

I didn’t expect to feel anything when I checked Facebook that time. Then, I read a status that came up in my Facebook memories from six years ago about being admitted to the hospital. I instantly realized what happened in the days after I wrote that status. I felt as if I were right back in 2010, going through it all again.

My therapist asked me what happened and I burst into tears. All of emotions came pouring out and I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t even tell her all that happened. I told her that I cried for help and no one helped me. No one knew what had just gone on just minutes before the nurse came in my room. No one could translate my cries of desperation. No one could feel the pain I was in, the disgust and shame I was filled with. No one. I was completely helpless. I was entirely ashamed.

I remember laying in my hospital bed day after day just wanting to go. I couldn’t even eat. The numerous visits from nutritionists could not take away the sickness that was eating away at me from the inside. I was so disgusted with myself. I felt so unclean. I couldn’t shower for weeks, which only magnified how gross I felt. I wanted to scrub away the dirty. But no shower would have been enough. Nothing would have been enough.

It was at that point, after that incident, that I realized that nothing would ever stop my mother. She was sick; sicker than I had ever imagined. In my most helpless state, she took complete advantage of me, all the while putting on an Academy award-worthy performance of a concerned mother. No one knew how badly I needed to be protected from her. Instead, they inadvertently helped her terrorize me. I was completely alone. Despite the numerous flowers and gifts, and visits from coworkers and friends, I felt isolated and alone. Physically, my heart was trying to give out on me. Emotionally, my heart was already dead.

Despite my realization that my mother was (and still is) sick, I blame myself for what happened. I could have told her to stop. I could have gotten away. I could have told the nurses. But I didn’t do any of that. I let it happen. That’s all I could tell my therapist. I let it happen. As if I could have done anything to stop her. I had an oxygen mask, a heart monitor, and numerous IVs, but yet I expected myself to, in some way, fight back or resist; something I had never done before when I was in much better physical condition.

My therapist reassured me that there was no way I could have stopped her. I did what I could in that moment. It wasn’t my fault. But part of me was still angry. Part of me was still disgusted and ashamed. I left session that day wanting to destroy the world. All of that anger I was holding on to for so long was trying to get out.

But I couldn’t direct it at my mother. So I directed it at the branches I passed by on my walk home; the branches I ripped out from the bushes and broke into pieces, much in the same way I felt my heart had been ripped out and broken into pieces. I smoked, but not even 100 cigarettes wouldn’t calm me down. I drank, but no amount of alcohol would wash away my disgust.

It was only in today’s session, nearly a week after my memories and feelings resurfaced, that I was able to tell my therapist a piece of what happened to me that day. I still find myself overwhelmed with shame. I still fear that other people would not understand. I still fear that other people would think it was my fault. My therapist asked if there was anything she could do to lessen the shame. But I don’t know. As much as I know I need to talk about it, I can’t. Not even to the person I trust the most. I remained silenced in shame.

6 thoughts on “Silenced in shame

  1. You poor thing. Shame is a horrible thing (so is facebook).
    Have you read the book Healing The Shame That Binds You by John Bradshaw? I found it helped with understanding and dealing with shame. He says that shame is passed down from generation to generation until somebody deals with it. It seems to be our generation that is brave enough to do this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shame is so painful and hard to let go of, even when we start to see intellectually that we really didn’t LET it happen. We were totally set up to be unable to stop things. It’s not your fault, not at all. It’s hard to make your heart believe this, but it is possible.

    Liked by 1 person

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