Guest Author - Kelli Deister
Many survivors go through their adult life carrying the secrets of what they endured as a child. There are reasons why many survivors do not discuss the abuse they endured when they were children. For instance, the survivor might be afraid of hurting their abusive parent with the truth. They may feel as though they shouldnít reveal the secrets because what they reveal might be hurtful to their parent. Many survivors love their parents, even though they abused them. Perhaps no one else was ever aware of the abuse they endured behind closed doors. People in the community might see the abusive parent in an entirely different light than what they were really like. Once that door to the home is closed, the secrets begin. This makes it so much harder to reveal the truth.
Another reason why the survivor might not reveal the secrets of their abusive past is because they choose to deny it ever happened. There is a belief, for some, that if they donít discuss the past, it never happened. Itís as though that secret can be stuffed down and hidden away; thus, the survivor feels protected because no one else knows. Denial is a powerful thing. It can, at times, become oneís enemy. The past of the survivor might haunt them in their thoughts and dreams. However, sometimes, it is easier to hide the truth, rather than to reveal it. Bringing the secret out into the open can be very painful and upsetting. Yet, revealing it can also be extremely empowering for the survivor.
It is important to know that when one is ready to reveal the secrets, they do not need to bring it out into the open, for all to know about it. In other words, they can bring it out through therapy. Granted, there are some cases, in which abuse occurs, especially sexual abuse, that are taken to court for the protection of the survivor. It is my understanding that this pertains primarily for children and young adult survivors of sexual abuse. The choice to take the abuser to court is entirely up to the survivor, as an adult. I am aware that there are laws in place that provide for a set amount of time with which the survivor must proceed with court involvement. However, again, this article pertains mainly to the adult survivor of child abuse.
The first step, in making that decision to reveal the secrets, is to find a person that one can trust. The survivor will go through a very painful revealing and it is important that the trusted person know the survivor well enough to know what methods will help them as they process through all the secrets. I have written articles in the past on ways in which a survivor can begin to process what they have endured. Drawing, talking, writing, singing etc. are all positive ways that a survivor can reveal the truth. It is also important to note that what is revealed stays in the office in which it was revealed. The secrets do not leave the room. It is between the therapist and the survivor.
One final aspect of revealing secrets is the decision of whether or not the survivor should confront their abuser. Because they are adults, they can make that decision when they are ready. Some survivors prefer to confront their abuser. Others prefer to keep it primarily between them and their therapist. Either way, it is a process to reveal those secrets. However, though the process may be difficult, it is possible to find healing. It is possible for the survivor to reveal the secrets and begin living life anew. It is possible to find that laughter that the survivor once knew. It is possible to find trust once again. It is possible to process through the secrets and find peace. I encourage my readers to seek therapy if they are ready to reveal their secrets. You can be in control of your life. You can be empowered and live life anew!