Here is an article I just wrote for an upcoming issues of the Voices newsletter. I wanted to share it with everyone since the inspiration to write it came from this board. I am glad the post on lies was started because it was very helpful to me right now and it helped me to see that I am healing, I am making it. That post meant so much to me and all the input from everyone was so helpful as well. Of course it was the other "Don" who started it, but I just got to say thanks.
One of the lasting effects of child abuse is the lies that the victims are told and how we as children learn to believe these lies. It is sad because these things we have been told are nothing but lies and yet how they are presented to us, we have learned to accept them as truths. I know I have spent years trying to get rid of the old tapes, the old messages or plain and simple, the old lies that were forced upon me. While I have managed to make considerable progress in all of this, at times these old lies continue to play when I least expect them or when I am hardly aware of them.
If each one of us sat down and began to list every lie that we had been told throughout our lives, we would most likely run out of paper to write them on. Yet sometimes it is so hard to recognize these lies even though we are living them. They automatically occur in our lives that we often do not even notice they are at work within ourselves. Most of these things were told to us and implanted in our minds by those that chose to harm us. However there are many lies that resulted from those times, which we just pulled them on to ourselves as we hid within our worlds. You might even say that some of the lies we used back then protected us during those times but as we heal, those lies became useless pieces that we no longer need.
Some of my lies that I have told myself include “I can’t tell anyone what happened to me”, “I am dirty, sick and ugly”, “Its our secret”, “I am doing this because I love you”, “Don’t cry, be a man”, “Why can’t you do anything right”, “I am defective”, “I am hopeless”. I could go on and on here but I think by now you most likely get the point I am trying to make. The even greater part about this is when we can stand up and proclaim that these are just lies, they are not the truth! I am sure you have your list of lies that you have been told through the years much like I do. While we can recognize that the lies do exist, we need to continually tell ourselves that they are lies and we do not want any of them. We hate them! We no longer need them!
It is not an easy process to get rid of these lies. Even as I find I have discarded many of them, they still sneak up from behind me and attack me when I am least expecting it. They are little creatures, which are so automated that we don’t even have to summon them into action. They just seem to know when to strike. But you know what, we as survivors have an enormous strength and power over these things. As they strike, we can take the power we have to tell each one of them, I do not want you! I do not need you! I no longer wish to let you live within me! And while they may come back from time to time, we can continue to tell these lies, the same thing over and over. I do not need you! I do not want you! I no longer wish to let you live within me! The more we are able to do this, the stronger we become. The stronger we become, the more our lives become our own. It is a process and from what I can see in my own life, it doesn’t happen over night. It takes time.
As I am thinking about all the lies, I am reminded of the music of Shaina Noll. She has a couple of CD’s out with beautiful songs for survivors. If you have never heard of her music or heard any of her songs, please check out her site at http://www.shainanoll.com
. One of the songs “How Can Anyone” is one that helps to dispel these lies. The words go like this:
"How could anyone ever tell you, you were anything less than beautiful… how could anyone ever tell you, you were less than whole… how could anyone fail to notice that your loving is a miracle… how deeply you're connected to my soul…"
This song is one that I have used so many times through my healing and I still continue to use it to this day. It speaks so well to the little children and adults within ourselves. At one point in my healing, I was struggling to overcome all the negative things that I continually told myself every day. It was a battle, which I was losing at the time. I took this song by Shaina Noll and would listen to it in the morning when I got up and also in the evening when I got home from work. I did this for at least a month. At the end of the month, it was amazing the impact it had on my life because I was trying to reprogram myself to not listen to all the lies. I wanted to replace those lies with things that were healthy and beautiful in my life.
From time to time, I do make a list in my journal of things that were lies told to me all these years. Sometimes it seems if I put things like this down in writing, the lies cannot hide from me. I have exposed them and it takes some of the power away from them. It also gives me a way to go back and remind myself that these are just lies and that I no longer need them, want them or wish to allow them to live within myself.
I was thinking that what if we designed a garbage can to house these lies. Then as we became aware of the lies, we could write them on a sheet of paper and throw them in the garbage can. Of course you could always go back and dig them out of the garbage. However as we all know that with time, garbage begins to get nasty and stinky. It is not something that anyone really wants to go dig around in to find something like these lies. To me, it would symbolize identifying the lies, claiming ownership of them by writing them down and then taking action against them by throwing them away. It just seems like a good way to get rid of them!
Those are just some thoughts I had on lies and how I have dealt with some of these things. I still struggle with the lies and like I said, from time to time they prepare sneak attacks on me. The one thing that I am noticing is that I can more easily and quickly identify them. When I can, I just give them a swift kick as I send them flying through the door. For me personally, I am embarking on some new things that will probably allow me to become acquainted with some of these very old lies. However, if I continue to throw them away into the big gray garbage can, then I can continue to reclaim more of my life that is rightfully mine anyway.