Stop Protecting Your Ex’s Reputation

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I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you are not required to silence yourself in order to protect the image of someone who hurt you.

You are required to heal yourself, seek support, get help, and return back stronger in order to move forward and thrive.

Catharsis is the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions, and it is imperative that you include it in your self-care regimen.

As women, we often tend to repress our emotions and pain. When a break up happens, if we see ourselves as more “mature” we avoid being that train wreck that we see on Facebook putting all their dirty laundry on our timelines. It’s not all that becoming, and often times it looks messy and we deem it petty. We are quick to gossip or at a minimum we think negatively of them privately. Rarely do we recognize it for what it is, screams begging to be heard. We are blind to their pain, never taking a second to think that just maybe, this is their way of healing.

Maybe it’s because we have all seen women, our friends, aunts, our mothers torn down. We have all heard of the “crazy ex” . Perhaps it is simply because we truly do not want to see the truth. We all love believing in humanity. We need to believe that things like that don’t happen to the people we know. We have great perceptions of our friends, uncles and fathers, sisters and cousins that we refuse to have smeared with the tears of those they have hurt.

If we are honest with our spirit it is likely because we do not allow ourselves the same freedoms. We would like to scream to the world the pain we are in, and tell the story of what we have endured. We would love nothing more to tell others what we have been through. It’s human nature. It’s catharsis in its most pure form. It’s healing.

But instead we do not.

We bury our story inside because telling our truth would mean revealing the ugly truth about the person who hurt you.

We have learned over time that we will not be heard, we will be ridiculed, called liars by those we trusted to believe us. Or worse, we may be believed and the person who hurt us will suffer.

We are more concerned about what others will think of them. We are concerned about how they will feel. We are concerned about the difficulty it may bring them, or the backlash they may receive. We are still more concerned about their wellbeing and their image than our souls.

If this resonates with you, you are not alone. Our role as women are nurturers, caregivers and comforting figures. We are not by nature destructive, we build. While it may seem like burying our story is better for everyone involved, it is not. It serves no one but the person who has wronged you.

Your story matters.

Your truth is needed.

Your pain is not in vain.

If you need a few reasons to allow yourself to release what you’ve been keeping tucked away inside in order to protect someone from the consequences of their own actions, here are 3 reasons to let your voice be heard.

You need to accept what has happened on a real tangible level.

It is easy to mis-remember things when we do not share our truth. How many times have you rationalized in your head something you know to be wrong. You may tell yourself it wasn’t that bad. A lie your ex told you to make you feel their actions were not as bad as you know them to be may start to sound pretty believable. This is not because the facts have changed, it is because our minds will try to protect us from trauma. If you can convince yourself of the pretty story that was fed to you in order to pacify you, there is no trauma to heal from.

Alternatively a worse situation would be our minds re- creating our role as the villain. We begin changing the narrative until we believe the things we endured were our fault. We brought them on ourselves. We could have been better wives, we could have been nicer, we could have listened better.

Insert whatever excuse you can make up in order to make sense of what has happened to you. The facts remain the same. The sky is still blue and you still did not deserve what you were forced to endure.

It is important to tell your story exactly the way it happened, no sugar coating, even if only to yourself. Share with who you feel safe sharing with, this will help build your support system. It will also help ensure when you start rationalizing and normalizing bad behavior, that someone can hold up the mirror and help you see things for what they truly are.

Saying your truth out loud records it in history as having happened.

Allowing yourself the freedom to be heard provides others with the courage to allow themselves as well.

It is expected in society for women to be pleasant and positive. We stop ourselves from speaking out because we fear what people will say about us. People love to shoot the messenger, and even more so people love to hold on to their beliefs. Challenging someone’s beliefs, even their beliefs in their family and friends can be a recipe for disaster. You yourself could have partaken in the same behavior in the past. It can be scary to go against the grain and speak up, but it is imperative that you do.

If more women spoke up, imagine how much more believable our stories would be. It would no longer seem as if these are rare occurrences. The myth that the boogeyman is ugly and mean and obvious might be disproven. It may shine light on the truth that anyone, even if they don’t look like a monster, can be your worst nightmare. It may make it easier for others to tell their story as they see others having the courage to do so.

The more the truth is heard, the more unacceptable the lies we tell ourselves become.

Telling your truth allows us to release, let go, and be healthy!

Admit it, we all feel better after being heard. Even if you are a bit in the wrong, you feel better after telling your side of the story. Emotions are real, they are comprised of hormones that have real effects on our bodies. They will manifest whether you like it or not. Suppressing your emotions can lead to self destructive behavior, hurting others or giving up all together. Burying your truth and keeping it inside simply means that the bad feelings your have are now rotting away at your physical self.

You may feel weak, disinterested in things that once brought you joy and happiness. Maybe you’ve found new interest in behavior that is not in line with who you are. This is a sign that your body is trying to get your attention. Listen.

In whatever way your need to express yourself, do it. Write a song, paint a picture, make a post if you need to, see a therapist. Help yourself feel your emotions and processes them. Help yourself heal.

After you’ve gotten it all out you will likely find that you feel lighter. The burden and weight you felt starts to blow away with the wind. All of the fears and anxieties you dreaded in your head about speaking out either didn’t happen at all, or where not nearly as bad as you imagined them. Even if it was a very trying time, in the end you survive.

More importantly, you thrive.

If you find yourself in this situation, know that you are most important. Your health comes before the facade that your ex is trying to maintain. Your life is more important that whatever discomfort they face as a consequence of their actions. You deserve peace. You deserve a voice.

You are not required to remain silent in order to protect the image of someone who has hurt you.

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