Thursday, September 19, 2013

Talking About It

Talking about it is hard.

Whenever you make new friends there inevitably comes that moment where you have to tell them.

Maybe not right away, maybe its like a few months in.

But eventually you have to say yeah… my childhood wasn’t actually perfect.

“they were really religious… they homeschooled me k-12.” But you seem so normal!

“yeah I have 10 siblings.. no we’re not catholic…” I could never do that! Your mum must be a saint!

“no I will never have that many kids. No I don’t plan to homeschool. No it wasn’t a good experience.”

You sit there feeling like a freak show. Everybody’s gawking because they’ve never even heard of such things. Surely you must be exaggerating?! But in reality you’re dumbing it down, polishing the edges.

And in the back of your mind is the old family mantra hissing “You are so selfish. Telling tales for attention. People are going to think bad things about the family! Where is your loyalty?!”

They all shake their heads in wonderment. Courtship? Isn’t that another word for dating? You are monopolizing the conversation now. But they won’t let you stop. They have so many questions. You’re like a space alien telling stories about your exotic and barbaric planet.

You mentally sweep the years of violence and neglect and manipulation into a neat little dustpan and name it: “It wasn’t really a healthy environment.” And people infer what they want, and you move on. And eventually someone changes the subject and you sit there feeling embarrassed.

You wonder if your cheeks have turned red. Did you say too much? “You always say too much!” You smile and engage in the rest of the conversation. And then you go home and aggressively wash the dishes, fighting back your rising anxiety.

Eventually you find yourself in bed with a pillow over your face.

Trying to slow your breathing. Trying to fall asleep.

Its been ages. It should be so hard to talk about.


  1. Although I did not have your same experience as a child, I had my own 'hard to talk about experiences'. I know what you are saying. Embarrassment and exhaustion and still not even being able to explain exactly how things were... (I would say - hugs - but I'm not much into that shit) :-)

  2. Sarah, I have been reading your blog. I am so sorry for what you have gone thru!
    I was hoping you would update us on one of your older posts when your brother was coming to visit you. I found that to be so sad. I am praying that he came and you are now seeing him more often. I really hope you can be with your siblings and help each other. Take care - you are very very special.

  3. “You are so selfish. Telling tales for attention. People are going to think bad things about the family! Where is your loyalty?!”

    Been there, not even that long ago. I had to disown my abusive parents just over a week ago. About 3 weeks ago, my mom had asked me if I had "told stories about her" to a guy in her church that didn't like her.

    Any time you try to reach out for help, the abuser makes you think that you're a liar, the abuse wasn't that bad, you're making it up for attention.

    Gaslighting at it's finest.

  4. I made up an imaginary, cleaned up version of the truth. It's not a lie, persay. I simply omitted the details that made me stand out and become a one-woman freak show. Once I get closer to someone, I test the waters, a little at a time, and expose the sordid details. I've been too hurt by the truth destroying any chance at healthy relationships to tell them now.