in which I speak of the amygdala (no really, I do)

It’s been a long time. I seem to start every single blog post with that. Thanks for sticking around! Since I’ve come out with my story I’ve had so many people email me telling me about their stories. It’s amazing how as survivors, we seem to empathize more with others than we do ourselves. It’s something I’m working on as well. I heard from survivors that empathized with me and then told me their story. I try to tell people to have as much compassion for themselves (and their Little One) as they do for me. It’s hard and I don’t always practice it myself, but it’s a journey after all.
I was amazed at the response from everyone. It was touching but most of all, I was really excited that I didn’t have to hold that secret anymore. It feels very hypocritical of me to be helping others with their story, advocating for new laws, and be preaching to keep telling, keep telling, keep telling until someone listens as I sit in silence to those I love most. I wouldn’t change anything about it though. I did it on my terms, though many wanted me to do it much sooner and many wanted me to keep my mouth shut forever.
I’m also amazed at who I have become in the past year and a half. I can’t believe I ever was who I was quite honestly.  I mean, outwardly I wouldn’t expect many people to notice differences, but on the inside it’s quite a dramatic change. I’m happy and although I’m a work in progress, like everyone, I’m excited to be where I am.  I have grown years since I’ve started therapy. One thing that comes up a lot in group therapy is that your development into a person is halted when you are traumatized. I wouldn’t have admitted it a year ago, but its oh-so-true. I see it in myself, and others I know to have been victimized, the way that it has stunted growth. It’s in the reactions to others, the reactions to ourselves, the beliefs that we hold about ourselves and others that are so.not.true. In the defensive mode that our brains go in to, we form ideas, beliefs…nonsense really… to try to understand something that is so horrifying and so unnatural for us.  Our amygdala cannot handle the overload of emotional memory storage and becomes less connected to the frontal lobe. When something feels threatening, instead of being to access those frontal lobes for logical thinking, our amygdala is left to fend for itself which results in a fight or flight mode. Oh, friends I have witnessed it and I’m sure that those closest to me have glimpsed it from me in the past as well. It’s the verbal attacks, it’s the inability to think logically when confronted with something that you believe to threaten your safety (or secrets). It’s in the crazy making. You know that moment when you are talking to someone and they really believe that what they are saying makes sense? That it really is the most logical explanation, yet in your mind you are thinking “they can’t be serious…” but they are. They are because if they aren’t it threatens their very life as they know it and they are fighting you to keep their homeostasis.

I get it, I do. There are people in my life that would never want to confront who my dad really is. They don’t want to believe that this is their son, their husband, their friend, their father. It sucks for me but I finally have realized something. It takes strength to stand up against those who are trying to keep secrets intact. It takes strength to walk away. A lot of strength actually and sometimes I don’t feel strong enough to do it and feel alone, and like an orphan and like I have thrown away my family. Those moments are fleeting because then I remember what family really is and I remember those I have chosen to keep in my life and those people are the ones who love and support me unconditionally and not just if I’m playing by their rules or keep their secrets. They are the ones who can look me in my eyes and tell me that I’m not the crazy one in my weaker moments. I am so thankful for those people in life. They are family-some by blood, some by marriage and some put in my life by God-but all family nonetheless. I couldn’t do this without them. In this month of thanks I give thanks for them and all of you reading. I hope that there is something that you take away from each post, whether for yourself or someone you love who has been traumatized.

If you have questions, comments, complaints please feel free to address them in the comment section. I love to hear from all of you!


in which I speak of the amygdala (no really, I do) — 2 Comments

  1. You are a strong accomplished woman. You have a great “family” that loves you very much. Do not let your inner voice tell you anything different. We your loving “family” will always be here to support you when the voice starts winning. Please let us know when we can help, give you additional support or an ear just to listen. Warm, sunny hugs from the desert.

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