“…[The] poison [of the wicked] is like the poison of a serpent…” (Ps. 58: 4).
The toxin that venomous snakes inject into their victims can cause pain, tissue necrosis, respiratory paralysis, and kidney failure, ultimately resulting in death.
In an effort to shield loved ones from the abuse to which we were subjected, many of us swallowed the venom our abusers spewed.
Powerless, we submitted to their violation of us or neglect of our basic needs, and accepted their lies about us – that we were worthless, that we were undeserving of love, that we were responsible for their violation and neglect of us.
As children, we suffered in silence. Often, as adults, we maintain that silence, wrongly believing the details of our abuse too off-putting or too shameful to share with others.
But until it is spat out, that venom continues to wreak havoc with us. It causes incalculable pain, destroys hope, and interferes with our capacity to breath in cleansing truth, ultimately resulting in a kind of spiritual death.
In attempting to suppress painful memories and negative emotions, we risk tamping down our positive emotions. This may have been our way of coping as children. Merely “going through the motions”, however, can cause a disconnect between our feelings and experiences. Deadened inside, we cannot live an authentic life.
This is not to say that everyone should be told about the abuse or that everyone will be able to respond with compassion. We must be cautious with whom our story is shared, especially early in our recovery. The guidance and support of a trained therapist can be helpful, in this regard.
Not all those we meet will be able to comprehend our suffering. Though that may “feel” like rejection, it is not an unfavorable reflection on us. Many such people may simply be unfamiliar with abuse and unsure how exactly to assist us.
Sadly, a few will be limited. Not all hearts are of equal size.
But there will be friends willing to accept us with open arms and open hearts, in the full knowledge of our past. We deserve no less.
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