The other day, I was having a conversation with someone about my family, and the different relationships within it. I was explaining some of the things that make it difficult for me in regards to my family, and as I started talking about the person who sexually abused me as a kid, I caught myself and stopped. I simply explained that there were some things they probably didn’t want to hear, and left it at that.
Now, this wasn’t some random acquaintance, this was a friend I’ve know for years but I still hesitated to talk about it in any detail. I had to explain myself, and say that while I had discussed it with many people and was perfectly comfortable talking about it, I wasn’t really sure that they necessarily wanted to hear much about it. I offered that anytime they wanted to know, they would be more than welcome to ask, but I wasn’t going to require them to hear me talk about it. Their response was that they’d like to talk about it, someday. Which was fine.
I still find it odd that I responded like that, but I realize now it really wasn’t me. I don’t feel uncomfortable talking about it, I feel uncomfortable forcing other people to deal with the knowledge. I know that not everyone handles it very well, and I know that not being able to handle it very well can sometimes be embarrassing. This is just a friend, so they don’t really need to know to continue being my friend, unlike say, my wife. The last thing I want is for this person to feel guilty about not handling it well, or for them to feel uncomfortable around me after that, so I stopped from saying anything, for their sake. I don’t think that was the wrong decision, but at the same time, I feel somewhat unsettled about how I should have handled it.
I guess, at the end of the day, writing here is easy. The only people who read it are people who want to know more about survivors, and their stories. I can talk easily about being a survivor, without fear that someone is simply going to wish I hadn’t told them that. In real life, it’s a bit harder to tell who would want to discuss it, and who really would rather not.
Tags: Survivors, Friendship, ChildAbuse, Stories