I had a skype chat with my mother-in-law yesterday, and it struck me (as it often does when I am chatting to her)…how alien it is to her that I do not have a relationship with my mother…not a real one, where I will trust her with anything non-trivial. My litmus test for whether or not I will discuss something with my mother is whether or not I would be willing to publish it on facebook…and I don’t post a great deal to facebook.
But it is just as alien to me, to have a matriarchial figure in my life, who I believe that I can trust. Implicitly and without fear…someone who I can go to and talk freely with. I do have that with my mother-in-law, but it was not easy for either of us to get. And to be entirely honest, I do not have a relationship without reservations.
Secrecy, I think, has become an ingrained part of my personality. One that I might need to work to disentangle. I suppose, logically, it makes sense that I don’t trust people and open up to them. I was taught from when I was little not to trust people, that family was family, and that you don’t air your dirty laundry out in public.
And that any attempt to tell anyone what was going on…would be disbelieved. Because after all, who would believe that a pillar of the community could be a child abuser? Who would believe that such a dear, sweet good catholic woman could possibly do such a thing?
No, you must be wrong…you must be misinterpreting things…your mother would not have put her hands around your neck when you were cornered in the bathroom and tried to choke the life out of you.
After all, you are over-sensitive…and your head is always stuck in a book…so you must just be making up stories.
I read a post the other day about overly sensitive people…and I must admit, that the first thing that I wondered was who has decided that this is a problem? Is it not just another way to silence victims of abuse and suffering? And it reminded me of a point in the book After the Silence by Nancy Raine, where the authour recounts being chided for telling her story of her rape…where the person turns to her and says something along the lines of: “Yes, we know that terrible things happen in the world. But nobody wants to hear about them“.
Part of me thinks that is what the label of over-sensitive sets out to achieve. It is a cunning weapon in silencing victims of terrible things. Don’t get upset about that. You are just being over-sensitive. Don’t worry, words won’t hurt you. Don’t blow it out of proportion…it was just a little incident and they did not mean to hurt you…Don’t you think you are being over-sensitive?
No, I don’t think that I am being over-sensitive for saying that I am a victim of abuse…that the abuse was unacceptable…that there is no excusing my abusers and those who were complicit in that abuse.
I don’t think that I am being over-sensitive in finding the courage to speak. And hopefully, giving others the courage to speak too…so that one day, no one has to go through the hell on earth that I went through.
That makes the concept of me being worthy of unconditional love so alien to me.