“Why are you angry, Bethany?” “You just seem upset.” These are the words that have come out of the mouths of my family.
“Being angry makes people sick.” “You should let it go and not talk about it.” “No one wants to hear your grisly details.” More words from those most close to me.
Why am I angry? I am angry because I was molested. I am angry because no one fought for me. I am angry because my feelings were not validated by those close to me. They’re still not. Those questioning my anger don’t really care why I am angry. They just want me to be quiet. Being angry means I am feeling. Feeling means I am acknowledging the truth. The same truth those close to me are trying to avoid. It is not my fault I was molested. It is not my fault that they don’t want to hear the truth.
A compassionate person says, “How are you feeling right now?” “Do you want to talk about it?” “How can I be there for you?” “I am here to listen if you need to talk.”
Everyone has an opinion on how I should feel. When I was a child I should have felt a certain way. As an adult I should feel a certain way. Over and over I am told how I am supposed to feel by those who have absolutely no RIGHT to tell me how I should or should not feel.
Is it not OK to be angry? Is there a time limit on anger? Is there a time limit on grief? Is it not ok to grieve? Is it OK to grieve but not OK to be angry? I am grieving over the loss of my body, the loss of my childhood and the loss of my innocence. That is still grieving. There should be no time limit on that. There is no time limit on that.
Telling the victim of abuse to let it go, to not be angry or to move on is not helpful advice. No one has the ability to tell you how to feel. Don’t let them!
Telling me to move on is making the assumption that I have not moved on. I have moved FORWARD. I have a beautiful family of my own. I continue to move FORWARD.
I give you permission to feel!
Validate your own feelings. They are real. I validate your feelings.
I don’t plan on being angry forever. And I have let many things go. But this is a process. Does it haunt me every day? No. Does it come up and do I have to deal with those emotions? Absolutely. Will there be moments that a memory makes me angry until I am 80? Maybe. But who says that is not OK? I don’t. I feel the emotion and then I let it pass.
I give myself permission to feel it and then I move forward from it.
For 30 years I was not angry. I was numb. I was a robot moving through life. If I stayed angry and chose to be a negative person, then that would obviously not be healthy. But I am not a negative person. I am simply a human being whose has emotions. And I intend to fully feel those emotions.
Other people may try to corral your emotions, stop your emotions, silence your emotions or tell you what they think your emotions should be. They should not have that control over your life.
I wrote my story. Some family members told me that no one wanted to hear the details of what I endured…Perhaps they didn’t and therefore they don’t have to read them. But to assume that no one wants to hear them is wrong.
Some women finally get the courage to tell their story, their truth, the events that impacted their entire life and they are shut down. I’m here to tell those women, “Don’t give up.”
Just because one person responds to you in a cowardly way does not mean that your words don’t need to be spoken.
You have a voice.
You are not alone and I give you permission to feel!