There is a web that often forms with abuse that can entangle you without ever alarming you of the fact that you are caught in its net. The web is made up of secrets. Secrets containing honesty, secrets containing pain…secrets that form and contribute to your true perspective and evaluation of a situation. The most confusing aspect of this web is that its nature is so crafty and completely deceptive that it can very quickly lead you to sincerely feel that the very trap that you are being held in is not a trap at all, but that it is actually protecting you and keeping you safe.
So we hold tight to our secrets. We keep them close to us and we wrap ourselves in them. We clench them in our fists and hold them against us and forget what it feels like to have open hands outstretched. When we begin to consider releasing our tight grip, the pain forms so sharply throughout our constricted fingers that we immediately re-close our hands and continue to hold our secrets with hands that tightly shut. We hate them… but… they are OURS. We know them. They are familiar. Comfortable, yet horribly uncomfortable at the same time.
We are so afraid to share our secrets. Our fear is based partly on pride. “What will they think of me? What if they don’t believe me? What if they blame me, judge me, hate me?” Another part of our fear is the fear of destruction… If we share this, damage may be done. Pain may result, feelings might be hurt… Or we may be afraid of literally destroying someone else… we feel that we are protecting them, trying to salvage a relationship, or maybe even trying to protect them from blaming themselves and taking responsibility. Or maybe we are afraid that we are mistaken… we have misunderstood, misinterpreted the situation… “is this really abuse? Maybe I’m over reacting… Maybe this is really my own fault. If I wouldn’t be so _______, if I wouldn’t say _______, then this wouldn’t happen”.
So we sit, in our web. We sit with our atrophied legs curled beneath us. We resent it. We consider our options, review them again in our minds and we remain still. We sometimes abhor how absolutely alone we are, but then when we look around at the spacious, comfortable place that we know and call home, we convince ourselves that it is better that we don’t have to share. That this is ours and ours alone. At least it is seemingly intact! Often times we even reward ourselves and commend ourselves for staying put! We are so strong, to endure, to behave kindly, to protect, to keep peace.
But is this strength? Is this peace? The World English Dictionary defines the word Peace as: The state existing during the absence of war.” The constant discomfort and the war that rages inside of us is evidence that this truly could not be peace.
Strength and peace will begin to form only long after truth begins to surface and as secrets are exposed. Though as they do begin to surface, turmoil will most definitely ensue… because at that moment the web that has been holding us, “cradling us” so safely will begin to break and when it does there will be pain, anxiety, insecurity, and sheer panic as we begin what feels like the most tumultuous perpetual free fall with the only end in sight appearing to be the unyielding and unwelcoming ground below that we are plummeting towards at an incredibly accelerated speed.
What we cannot see as we dizzily spin out of control and are flung from this web is that the ground beneath us that appears to be so rigid and rock like, is so much more solid than any place that we have ever been. What appears to be a brutal end to our security is actually the most absolute and definite resource that we will ever know. In our frantic trepidation we aren’t able to see the green, lush grass forming in the distance that is blowing in the wind and waiting to cushion our fall. We are completely overlooking and unaware of the fact that our feet are quickly, almost instinctively, settling themselves beneath us and straining for something solid to stand on, after so long of being unused and our muscles having long grown weak. So distracted by the feeling that comes from having all familiarities stripped of us and no longer being concealed and protected we are completely exposed and the shock and humiliation that we feel cause the rising temperature and the yellow hues from the sun go unnoticed as we begin to move from the cold and isolated world that we knew so well, into the warm and inviting sunlight.
Secrets of abuse may artfully appear like admirable loyalties to ourselves or others around us, but when you pull yourself back and evaluate them from an aerial perspective, you will see that the web that has formed is in fact very clearly and incontestably, the sole obstacle that is keeping you from being whole, healthy, and strong, and that separates you from having your feet planted firmly on the ground.
So what then, is it worth to me to sacrifice, to risk, by sharing my secrets? How great is the cost of my choice? If I am being truly and decidedly honest with myself, I will see that the only true risk I am taking is the risk of exposing to myself the harsh and unpleasant-to-swallow reality that what I thought to be concrete and solid was completely artificial and was never truly there. The people I have been “protecting” and devotedly “loving” when examined closer, in actuality I am aiding, abetting, and enabling (and might I add condoning, endorsing, and now actively PARTICIPATING along with?) to cause harm and wreak devastation in the future of those that are the receivers of their abuse. The relationships that I am “destroying” by bringing the truth to light are so full of walls, lies, falsities and barricades that there is not a single ounce of space for truth or love or communication and they weakly crumble and disperse into the microscopic particles that they are made of. The reputation that I was dutifully sheltering by keeping my secrets to myself, when further scrutinized and reviewed, is in fact considered strong and in good standing in the eyes of one individual and in contrast long ago failed and marred in the eyes of another… (This is how it has always been and this is how it will always be, regardless of my actions, my strengths, my weaknesses, I cannot center my choices on the goal to please or gain approval from others) Regardless of where anyone stands and the judgments that are formed when they look at me in truth and as I am, the very best that I can offer through my transparent vulnerability is to have my feet planted solidly and standing firmly on the ground. And here and now, and ONLY now, is when the peace and strength begin to become evident, and I finally begin to understand what those words truly mean.