People say we are “as sick of their secrets” , abuse thrives on secrecy and coverups and keeps us chained by the shackles of shame that our abuser traps us in. By letting go the sense of shame and talking openly about the abuse we take back our power and place the responsibility and the shame back on the perpetrator. Sometimes this sense of shame is not helped by Messages we may receive, often from those of the last generation, that abuse should be hushed as if it causes an embarrassment to the family.
This step will overlap with step 1 but goes a little further in that we speak to a third-party about the abuse. Some of us may have taken this step already where others may never have admitted it out loud.
For acceptance, we need to allow ourselves call it for what it was: let that be rape, domestic abuse, or childhood sexual abuse. It is important to realize that not everybody has the skills to respond in the way we may need them to. In fact, sometimes, the subject can make others feel uncomfortable. For this reason it is important that the first person we confide in is carefully selected. Sometimes it can be easier to talk to strangers such as saying it out loud to a group at a meeting or to someone on a confidential helpline. The more we release ourselves from the shackles of shame, the more comfortable we will be in speaking to others about the abuse. Over time we will also be less affected by their reaction. Speaking about what happened in a safe place poses a threat to the taboo subject that still exist and threatens the very silence that abusers rely on to continue their abuse. Speaking out can be difficult but it is a vital step in acceptance and healing.
We may need to also process some of the difficult memories of abuse, especially if we suffer with flashbacks or PTSD. It's best that this is done in the safety of a therapeutic setting with the help of a professional. Along with the reason being that a professional is often best equipped to deal with processing these memories, it is also to prevent other members being triggered by details and specifics. We need to recognise that we are all in different places in our recovery and hearing the details of another persons trauma may be counter-productive to our recovery. For that reason we confine the detail to therapy but all else can be discussed in the group to the level at which feels right for us. Healthy boundaries are an important part of recovery.
So whether we choose to tell the group that we are victims of abuse, whether we decide to tell a partner a friend or a stranger, shout it from the rooftops or speak of the details to a therapist, the important thing is that we say say it out loud. It is then that we take back our power and take a step further in our recovery.
“Lies and secrets they are like a cancer of the soul, they eat away what is good and leave only destruction behind” Cassandra Clare
Step 6: We released the shackles of shame that kept our secrets and we told the untellable to someone.