It’s not silent inside your head at the moment. If my own experience, and that of the abused women I work with, is anything to go by, your head is ringing with critical words from morning to night. You are forever telling yourself everything that is wrong with you.
How many people have I worked with who say; “No, those aren’t other people’s words that echo in my head, they’re mine. That’s how I feel about myself.”
I don’t buy it, at all.
So, I persist a little and, invariably, people acknowledge that the critical words they hear were spoken by an abusive lover – and, most probably, before that a father and/or mother.
There is no silence in their heads.
But, equally, an abused woman's own innermost voice has been silenced, drowned out by the learned negativity. she has forgotten her dreams, her gifts, her passions. Her wishes for her life have all vanished, displaced by the preoccupation with her Beast. She is a Beauty whose fairy tale love story with the Beast has gone sour.
But you did once have a vision, or the beginnings of a vision, of who you might become, what you might have, the good things that might fill your life. Before you became silent to yourself.
So let me ask you a few questions.
When did you become silent to yourself? Were you a child? A teenager? A young woman? A wife?
How did you become silent to yourself? What made you stop listening to your own feelings, your own needs and wants, your soul?
Why did you become silent to yourself? I know that your abusive partner said this, that and the other, but still, why did you stop listening to yourself? And if it was a strategy intended to help you, did it?
Where did you become silent to yourself? Can you remember the place where you made that decision? And are there any areas in your life where you still do listen to yourself?
What keeps you silent to yourself? Are you doing that because you believe doing so holds the promise of good things? Do you still believe that silencing yourself might save your abusive relationship? Or do you do it because you believe it is the best damage limitation strategy you have? And, if so, how much longer do you believe you can eke out a half-life in damage limitation mode?
Who keeps you silent to yourself? Who really keeps you silent to yourself? Who do you allow to control your thoughts?
Are you prepared to dream a bit? Are you prepared to find a couple of minutes when you have the time and space to dream? If so, ask yourself, what will life be like when you can turn off the volume on that cruel voice in your head? When you can finally hear you? The you that dared to dream. The you that has been muted, but will not give up.
You could not possibly be as unhappy as you are if, at some level, you did not have a vision of a better life. Because you are constantly aware how far short of that half-forgotten vision your current life has fallen.
When will you stop being silent to you? When will you turn on the volume on your own voice?
When you start to listen to your own voice, the journey from hurting to healing will become very real, very doable.
I look forward to the day when you feel like shouting from the rooftops: “I’m OK!”
Because you are. It’s just taking you a very long time to discover that for yourself.