I have a secret. A dark secret.
It sits within me between my soul and the shadows, weighing heavily upon my shoulders.
It brings me darkness and only darkness. It lingers, a black mist hovering over me.
I have been too scared to tell anyone for fear if what people will think. I really don’t think they will understand. Hell, I don’t understand! How can I expect someone else to?
This secret is crushing me in a way that I struggle to explain. Imagine someone standing on your chest and you are unable to breathe or catch a breath properly. Imagine a pain rising within you so much so that you can physically feel it inside you. Well that.
Shame sits within me. I hate myself. I hate my secret and I hate myself for having my secret. Shame is intensely painful. It is tearing me apart inside. I have to tell for I feel like even mountains would crumble under this weight that I carry every day.
So today I told my therapist my secret;
I care. I feel guilty for reporting my stepfather and I care about what happens to him. Every time I picture him in a cell it makes me sad. I feel like I have ruined his life. I feel like I have ruined my family’s lives. I care. I care and I hate it!!
I don’t want to care. I don’t want to care about that monster or to feel sadness towards him but it is there. Somewhere within me it is there.
The guilt I feel is eating me up. I am ruining their lives. I am taking my siblings father from them. I am taking away the man my mother loves.
The feeling of responsibility is there whether real or imagined.
Then, slowly, my new therapist, the person I am trying to trust with my darkest thoughts, explains it to me; I feel this way not because I am bad or disgusting or because I deserved what he did to me but because I am a kind person.
She says I am showing empathy. That it is human nature to care and that I am a caring person. I am showing compassion because I am seeing things from my siblings’ perspective and through the eyes of other family members because I know this affects them too.
Even though I know I am doing the right thing, she says that my rational mind is blocked because of the love I have for my family. She says it is normal in abuse victims.
She tells me I am carrying a responsibility that is not mine to carry. The weight that I carry on my shoulders is not mine to bear. It is his. My abusers. My stepfathers.
He was the adult. I was the child. He committed the crime. I am innocent.
I am carrying, feeling, bearing the weight of my family’s emotions because I care about them. However it also means that I am carrying an imagined sense of responsibility and guilt.
Guilt is not always a rational thing but it is a weight that will crush you whether you deserve it or not. The worst guilt to accept is unearned guilt because it is not your weight to bear.
I have tried pretending that I do not care for them, for him, but it does not work.
You cannot protect your heart by acting like you do not have one. Eventually the pain and feelings that you try to hide will surface and when they do they will torture you just as they now torture me.
I am carrying an unearned guilt because I care.
However that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t deserve to sit in a cell and rot. He deserves that and more for what he has done to me.
My guilt is unearned but is a burden I carry. Right now it is more bearable than the reality of my innocence.
It is confusing and the pain is unbearable. I can only hope that, with the help of my therapist, eventually my rational mind will return and she will help face the reality and the pain inside me. I am innocent and I was hurt. Badly.
My guilt is unearned.
His guilt is deserved.
The thing is….. I don’t think he has any.
Thanks for reading
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