acoa, addiction, adult children of abuse, adult children of alcoholics, alcoholism, anxiety, anxiety attack, battered women, bipolar, bipolar disorder, child abuse, depression, domestic abuse, domestic violence, therapy for mental disorders

Being Able to Speak About Our Mental Illness or History of Abuse

Some people with mental illness speak freely about it and others are afraid to speak. Many of us have issues of mental illness because we were traumatized and mentally abused. It may have occurred during early childhood and is so far back that we do not really remember. There may be clear memories of some type of trauma or abuse during childhood.

We may have sustained psychological injury at the hands of an abusive partner during adulthood. Often times people are abused in childhood and then end up choosing partners who abuse them also. Not that we know that in the beginning. NO one hooks up with an abusive partner on purpose. They are often very charming and seemingly sweet at the beginning of the relationship.

If we were psychologically injured as children, then we were also probably conditioned that we do not speak of such things. There is secrecy and guilt built into those early relationships. We were taught that we do not talk about abuse, feelings about what goes on on our homes and to keep everything inside.

I remember Pat Benatar’s song “Hell is for Children” and she sings “Be Daddy’s good girl and don’t tell Mommy a thing. Be a good little boy and you’ll get a new toy. Tell Grandma you fell off the swing”

Very powerful lyrics and a great song. This is where the secrecy begins. We are taught that to be “good” means keeping your torment to yourself. Do not involve other people into the situation. Do not talk to people about your problems. Keep everything bottled up.

These behavioral patterns continue into adulthood. They are imprinted onto our brains with big “DON’T TELL” stampers. It is very hard to  break out of the patterns of not talking about things and keeping our “shame” to ourselves. We feel ashamed about what happened to us as children. We feel shame for having chosen an abusive partner.

We do not see other people around us, ending up in these situations. We feel ashamed and guilty. We feel like people will not believe us or that they will judge us. There is a feeling of not wanting to burden another person with our problems. No one wants to hear about MY problems, They are busy with their own problems.

Some of us even have trouble opening up to the family doctor or primary care physician. It can even go so far as not wanting to go to a therapist because we do not think they will  want to listen to. We may not think the therapist or psychiatrist will believe us. Maybe we will not explain our problems properly , in a way that they will understand.

Maybe the psychiatrist will think that his other patients have “real” mental health problems and we are just “faking it” or maybe we are afraid to tell the psychiatrist the whole truth because he never would have met anyone that bad before. Maybe we are the worst one ever and they will decide to commit us to a psychiatric facility.

These feelings have been conditioned into us by abusive people who did not want us to tell on them. They wanted to control us and they did not want to be revealed. Once their game is exposed, they can no longer play.

It is hard to change how we feel, We have ingrained reactions to things. Emotions are associated with anything that triggers memories from past trauma. Even the voice of the therapist sounding like your abusive father’s voice, could send you into post traumatic stress and immediately shut down your ability to communicate with them.

The solution is complex and it takes time to be able to open up to other people about mental illness. Sometimes people will respond in ways that are horrifying to us. Some people treat the mentally ill, the psychologically injured, like they are third class citizens. Like we are not competent , not reliable, not truthful and not worthy.

We already feel a low self esteem and a feeling that we are not as good as other people, if we endured years of mental abuse. If we had to hide things as a child then it is easy to go into that “safety mode” of hiding again.  I put “safety mode” in quotes because it is our old belief system. It was how we survived for years. It was the way we knew that we had to be, in order to avoid further trauma. Not that it kept the abuse from continuing.

It is necessary at some point, for us to open up and speak about our mental illness. We need to speak about our abuse during childhood or our abuse from our ex husband. It is not shameful. Anyone who makes you feel ashamed is not doing the right thing. You should be able to have feelings and thoughts like any other person.

You may have had experiences that are unique and that are so unusual that many people just cannot deal with them and they do not want to hear them. I am not suggesting frightening people or distressing them with your story.

The point is to reach out and find the right people to tell your story to. WordPress is great because we can tell our story here, with an avatar as our picture if we wish. We can be truthful and transparent. It is a healing thing to write about out thoughts and feelings about what has happened to damage us mentally and emotionally.

We are not designed to sustain trauma and keep it locked up inside of us. We are people that need the community of others, We need to be listened to and understood. We must have our feelings validated or we will become more mentally ill.

It is very tricky sometimes to know who is a safe person to talk to and who is not. It is hard to know what part of our story to tell someone and what part to leave out. We are so much in the middle of what is going on in our obsessive, constantly running brains, that we cannot always see the forest through the trees.

Reach out anyway and try to find other humans to talk to. Therapy works for many people, but it is very common for someone to have to try out 2, 3 or even 5 therapists before finding the right one. It is a scary thing to tell a therapist your story, if you are not in the habit of talking about it at all.

I am writing this post in order to validate anyone that has a behavior pattern of never talking about their mental illness or their history of abuse. It may have been the rule of the abusers in our lives that we were not “allowed” to speak of these things, but the times have changed to new times.

If you are, however, still in an abusive situation, please be careful. You do need to be careful who you talk to about the abuser. Call a women’s shelter (or a men’s shelter). Talk to people on wordpress, but be careful to protect your identity.

If we can not speak then we have no voice. If we have no voice then who are we? We lose our identity.

Blessings to all and to all a good night 🙂

Annie

27 thoughts on “Being Able to Speak About Our Mental Illness or History of Abuse”

      1. Traumatic experiences have a long lasting effect. Sometimes there are no obvious symptoms for years and then suddenly we are having mental issues and we have no idea why.
        Thank you for reading my blog and for taking the time to respond.
        I look forward to hearing from you again.
        Annie

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  1. Hi, how are you today! I like the new look on your blog!

    As for the post I can only speak for myself here. I am not ashamed of talking here or anywhere about my abusers. I don’t feel less than others anymore because I saw enough of people’s behavior, over time, to know nobody’s perfect, better or worse than…

    I did have “secrets”, to keep my abusers safe from being judged by the so called “society”. I never told or called for help because when I was about 7 or 8 years old (I blocked the age I am never sure) My mother laugh at me when I ran to her after my sister tried to drawn me while we were swimming at the beach. I was, for a very long time the “favorite” child because I am a very sweet person and as a child I was irresistible, everybody wanted to kiss me and carry me around, you know at I mean. The down side is that you are like a doll to them they will never take you seriously ever, even now. That day I stopped being a child. The only person I trusted laugh at me even though I was having a difficult time trying to breath and was feeling very sick because I swallow a lot of sea water.

    Nobody cared for all the daily beating that stupid creature did on me for years until I decided it was enough, and she got the message. After that I had to keep another secret, after my parents separate. And that one was that kind of secret you feel ashamed of and will F. most of your life in silence. My dad’s dirty secret. If I don’t say it out loud what happened to me with this shitty people who called themselves family, is that I want to forget. I have overcome most of the trauma. They have no power what so ever. I am still changing my perception on many things that are still interfering in my relationships with others.

    I just want to live by myself because I am tired of dealing with these people who are sick and still think they are outstanding to this day. I have something to tell those who don’t mind reading my long comments.

    EVERYTIME YOU TURN YOUR FACE TO THE OTHER SIDE WHEN YOU FEEL THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG, AT HOME WITH YOUR CHILDREN, AT YOUR NEIGHBORS, AT WORK, ASK, SAY SOMETHING!!! I get sick with this “silence code of; “if you don’t see it doesn’t exist” or “if I keep my mouth shut nobody will know that I know he/she is hurting”. What I am these days is angry, very angry although I keep it mostly to myself because no one wants to know. “Bipolar people have such an imagination… “

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great comments and thank you for sharing you story. It is awful what you went through as an innocent child. I hate to hear stories like that. I feel so angry and sick that children are not protected by their own families. Thank you for taking the time to share here.

      Yes, people should not turn their backs on children and teenagers that are clearly in distress and cannot advocate for themselves.
      Thank you for commenting on the new look of my blog. I really like it too. I had to change the butterflies to solid pink

      . I thought the butterflies were pretty because they looked good around the edges, but when I went to read my comments this morning, I could not read the words through the butterfly wallpaper. I needed the solid background to see what it said there

      . I did not realize originally that the the wallpaper would be behind the comments.
      It is always good to hear from you.
      Annie

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Annie! I did love your blog background and I still don’t know why it does that to comments it doesn’t make any sense.
        Thank you for your view on abuse and being so kind to me I forgot to say something about the patterns we create after being abused in any way. I am never a good company for an abuser. I have a problem with authority because of it and if I feel any sign of manipulation even in a friendship I rebel and it’s very difficult for me to trust that person again. Like all women in my “family” I am also what you call an Alpha, I don’t accept anybody who wants to control or be a leader in my life. I tend to be with people that are the opposite of my abusers and so far so good. Forgive me for being a little intrusive but how do you cope with the scars left of the abuse, and how that affects your present relationships? I haven’t read all your posts, I don’t know if you have already spoken about it. Always a pleasure coming here, thank you for your kindness.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I do not mind your question but I cannot think of a reasonably short answer to it that can fit in the comments. ” How do I deal with the scars of abuse and how does it affect my relationships? ”
      I left an abusive partner last year. I had to move in with relatives that have similar personalizes to who I moved to get away from. I am constantly undermined. They are very controlling , and self esteem crushing. My authority with my children is undermined and my personal choices about raising my children and running my household are undermined.
      I am planning to do something like set up a gofundme account to generate enough money to start my own virtual online music teaching business and then I can be independent.
      As long as they have me controlled by threats to my livelihood, Mt transportation , my ability to coordinate my children to work as a team together with me etc, the longer I will be in danger of losing my housing and having no where to live at all.
      I cannot recover from scars because they are still being inflicted upon me .
      There is no room to tell you here all of the undermining hurtful things that have been done to me over the past year here.
      Thank you for asking.
      I will write some future posts about my plans to escape from here. I have to do it soon because my ex is going to cut off my child support in may or June.
      I have to be financially independent from all of them or they will destroy me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I admire your strength and courage. My heart sinks to know that you are fighting alone for your children as well. It should be available to you some social support for you to leave those creatures and move out with your children. It’s not fair! Something’s telling me that you are going to make it, you have the guts you have the motivation I wish you have more support. Is it possible for your ex to cut child support, is that legal? I’m here if you ever want to vent no matter how long is the comment I will read it. I like your idea of having your own business I wish you all the best on all your projects. I can’t stop thinking if there is some affordable housing available by the state for you?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It is complex. I am home today with an injury to my lower back. Very painful. I am going to be in bed, working on ideas for my businesses. I will probably write some posts to generate ideas from all of you. I have found that the intelligent, think-outside-the box people on wordpress are good to talk to about these things. Often times, people here will come up with ideas, of I put my initial plans out there. Then I can incorporate the ideas get into my plan.
        Together we can think of a plan that will save my children, especially my younger one, who is already suffering great mental issues from the interactions that occur in this house.
        I have some feeling of hope today, that this is the day to out ideas out into the universe and see what comes back.
        Thank you for being encouraging and supportive of me. It is very helpful to my self esteem. If we do not have self esteem then we cannot ever get out of bad situations.
        The mental abusers crush our self esteem on purpose in order to keep us where we are, which is under their control
        You are an independent person that like to feel in control of your own choices. I am the same way. I hate to feel that other people are keeping me from making the choices I want.
        Thank you again. I will look forward to seeing the comments on my posts.
        Hugs
        Annie

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Wow. You don’t need to thank me for anything. I understand how much we need to have people around us to understand and support us, which should be the rule to everybody. I care when I see people suffering and being alone with so much on their plate. I am in a bad situation but you have children, big difference. I will be here unless my laptop breaks down on me LOL I see more support in bipolar world than any other. If I can help you in any way please tell me.

        Trinity

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I hope you’ll feel better in the morning. What have you put in your lower back? I recommend an anti-inflammatory cream and a hot-water bottle. It’s frustrating not to be able to help more. Sorry.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. You are doing great ! There are lots of reasons that people cannot talk about all of their story. Sometimes it is too hard to think abou it. Also there can be sections blacked out by our own brain, for protection.
      Some people are in fear of retaliation of an abuser. If this is the case then you can set up a separate blog that is not connected at all to your regular one and use an avatar , instead of a picture. I am considering that myself at this point. There are things that I would feel better talking about in cognito.
      Also sometimes we are trying to protect someone else, either the abuser or a third party that is involved somehow.
      I understand if you have reasons not to tell everything. You are doing really well with your telling the parts of the story that you are.
      Just keep in mind about the in cognito blog. There is a way with wordpress to have a separate domain for another blog. Make sure it does not link to the same gravatar account. You always have to click on your avatar and make sure that gravatar does not link the accounts. I believe it can be done.
      There is another option also, and I have recently considered this. That is that WordPress has an option to have a private blog. Only people you allow permission can access the blog. People can send you a request for access but you do not have to grant it. You can block them at any time.
      Annie

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I reblogged. I have dissociative identity disorder and PTSD from abuse and trauma, and I very much know about keeping secrets. I hope you don’t mind the reblog, we need to keep the conversation going and end the stigma.

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    1. Thank you for the reblog and for connecting with me about these issues. Together we can heal and get stronger 🙂
      I have found wordpress, especially the bloggers about mental illness and mental healing, to be a great blessing to me
      Wonderful to connect with you and the other bloggers in a meaningful way
      Annie

      Liked by 1 person

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