Life

When the Unspeakable Happens

We all have our demons. For the most part I keep mine stuffed in a box that I have hidden in the back of my mind. They like to escape sometimes, as they did recently when I made the mistake of watching Ford testify during the Kavanaugh thing.

Those demons caused me to go on a crying jag and write an incredibly long, painful post that I deleted once I returned to sanity. Some things are best left buried.

This doesn’t change the fact that sometimes Life allows the unspeakable to happen. How we deal with the unspeakable is what defines us. Do we cry over the injustice and allow it to control us or do we take a deep breath, accept what is, and use the incident to grow stronger as we move on?

How do you deal with the unspeakable in your life? Please share your stories in the comments below.

12 Comments

  • Karen

    I’m sorry those hearings triggered you, as they did me. I know we’re in the company of many thousands for other women across the country, and even the world. I think we need to stop allowing these things to be “unspeakable,” and say it when it happens. We have nothing to be ashamed of.
    As for dealing with it, I used to use food. But I recently had a gastric bypass surgery, so food is no longer an option for coping with my stress. I haven’t found a replacement yet, but I’m hoping whatever it is will be productive rather than self-destructive.

    • Annie

      I guess my biggest issue with the hearings is that Ford is being painted as a victim. From her testimony it is obvious that she considers herself that way. We are not victims, however. We are survivors. SHE is a survivor, though she doesn’t see it that way. She used her wits and managed to escape what could have been an even worse situation.

      We are like gazelles in this world. Sometimes we encounter the cheetahs. Does the gazelle cry when it encounters a close call, when the cheetah’s claws dig into its skin but it manages to rip away and race to safety? No, it congratulates itself because it escaped. It learns from the mistake that almost led to disaster and it grows wiser as a result. Until woman as a whole begin to view things in this light I don’t see anything changing much. We have got to realize that there are predators out there. No matter what legal jiggery-pokery we do, nothing will change the fact that we will be alone and vulnerable when the predators decide to strike. Our only way to defeat them is to outsmart them, to gain strength from the horrible.

      I’m not ashamed of what has happened to me in the past. Some of the predators I’ve encountered still live, however. I refuse to let them believe that they harmed me, because they didn’t. They made me stronger.

      That is how I cope. I remind myself that I am stronger for what I have faced. Whether it is physical, financial, or mental, I have managed to overcome every single challenge that I’ve faced and that has made me a stronger person. So while on occasion the demons do come out to play I defeat them every single time. I pour out my pain through the written word, remind myself that I survived, and then I throw it back into its cage. I might need the inspiration one day.

  • EcoCatLady

    Well, first of all I’m sorry. I too have been an uncontrollable mess since the hearings. But in my opinion, stuffing it down does much more harm than good. Not that it’s easy – it’s taken me years to try to come to terms with what happened to me, and even though I still have a long way to go, my life is much richer because of my efforts at dealing with my past.

    The thing is, the feelings don’t go away just because you refuse to acknowledge them. They rear their ugly heads at inopportune and inappropriate times, and caused so much damage in my relationships – because I’d find myself taking out my anger and rage at people who weren’t really the cause of my feelings. Not only is that unfair to those I was taking it out on, it also doesn’t help me much – it might burn off some emotion for a brief moment, but if you don’t allow yourself to feel the stuff where it really belongs, it never resolves… it just festers and the wound grows bigger.

    My advice is to find a way to let yourself go there. It could be therapy, it could be confiding in a good friend, it could just be screaming into your pillow at night. The important thing is to allow yourself to feel the feelings… ALL of the feelings, no matter how contradictory and uncomfortable they might be.

    A priest once said to me that you really can’t put this sort of thing behind you, you have to find a way to put it beside you. Because you’re going to bring it with you for the rest of your life anyhow, it’s part of what made you who you are – if you don’t deal with it, it will just be a weight dragging you down year after year after year.

    Big hugs,
    Cat

    • Annie

      My biggest issue isn’t so much refusing to acknowledge what has happened in the past. My biggest issue, when I do choose to share, is the response I receive. I’m always made to feel as if I’ve been a victim. I refuse to consider myself a victim. I survived. I came through tougher, stronger, and wiser. To feel as if I survived as opposed to being a victim empowers me and gives me the strength to move forward.

      In fact, some of the people I’ve encountered still live. I deal with one gentleman on a regular basis at work and every time I see him I think to myself that he didn’t defeat me. I defeated him. He may have succeeded in groping a teenaged kid but I grew wiser from the experience. I learned how to avoid him and others like him. I consider myself brilliant in the fact that I managed to escape with a simple kiss and a couple of gropes by keeping my wits about me. I WON that battle and many others over the years. Every time I see him and talk to him I remind myself that I WON. He didn’t defeat me. He didn’t steal my power from me. I grew in power BECAUSE of him.

      Growing up as I did, helping my dad bootleg in order to pay the bills, exposed me to more than a few gropes and scary situations when I was a kid. As a young, troubled adult I got myself in even worse messes. Sometimes I had to lose the battle in order to win the war. But I WON the war. So while there are times when those demons come out to play, times when I want to scream in rage and pain I remind myself that I WON. They made me stronger, strong enough to face those demons, and strong enough to know that I can face even worse and come out on top.

      That’s why I have no intention of pointing fingers, of putting certain incidents out there. I have no desire to wound those who attempted to wound me. I refuse to give them the strength they gave me. More importantly, I refuse to paint myself as a victim when I’m not.

      I am a survivor.

      So while there are times of weakness, when the demons come out and whisper sweet nothings in my ear they will not defeat me either. I refuse to let them.

      Make sense?

      • EcoCatLady

        Wow… sounds like you have found a way to turn your demons into power, and I think that’s great. I guess for me, what’s important is not so much telling other people what happened to me, or finding ways not to feel defeated by it, it’s accepting all of the feelings I have about it, and letting myself feel them fully without recoiling, or hiding, or justifying, or distracting myself, or any of the many other techniques I use for getting away from the discomfort. They say that the goal is not to get to the point where you don’t have strong feelings about it, but to get to the point where you can tolerate those feelings, and not be limited by them. Obviously, I’m still a work in progress. 🙂

        • Annie

          Wise words, my friend. To be honest, I thought I was over the painful part of what happened to me personally but this has shown me that I’ve got a ways to go. Time will take care of it. In the meantime, I take comfort in knowing that I’m not alone. This is a very common occurrence. Wrong or right it is the world that we live in. We just have to learn how to deal with it as best we can.

  • Cindy

    You have such a wonderful understanding of our power. Assaults are always about someone enjoying the power they have over their victim…..no victim…..no power.

    I had no adult backup as a child but I understood that I could be smart enough to stop what was happening. Just as you said, the events gave me a knowledge of my strength that has only grown over the years.

    Currently experiencing another excruciatingly disturbing power struggle with a very close family member and can tie together the strength from that little girl with the strength I have seen in this 62 year old me throughout the past month.

    Thanks for reminding me that I have NEVER been a victim!!!

    • Annie

      Hi Cindy!

      While I hate the fact that you experienced this as well, I applaud your courage. It warms my heart to know that you used this to grow stronger.

      Sending you strength and prayers as you deal with this latest power struggle in your life. Hang in there! If you ever need to talk, feel free to email me. We need to stick together!

      Hugs, Annie