Speak Out – Afraid That If I Do I’m A Criminal


I felt scared this morning. What if she finds out. What if my brother reads what I wrote yesterday.  He’d know it was me.  He’d tell her.  He’d fuel her anger. I imagined him saying after everything we’ve done for you. All the money we’ve spent on you.  You’re very hard to please, Jennifer.  Who do you think you are.

I felt small, selfish, useless.  And powerless.  I could feel a hurt and rage within that I couldn’t articulate.  Welling up.  Body tensing up, heart jumping around.

Then I remembered.  Neither my brother nor my mother have any right to tell me what to think or what to write.  Why shouldn’t I bring the emotional abuse into the light?  I’m entitled to.  Why should I put the needs of my mother – or my brother, for that matter –  before my own?  They don’t do it for me.  They’re allowed to kick me emotionally, and I may not object?

So, sitting here at my computer, I take control of my imagination, and point it in another direction.  I imagine my mother confronting me, accusing me of ingratitude, of betrayal, and – her favorite tool – telling me that I’m terribly confused and need help.  (She never connects the dots about where my supposed confusion came from, mind you.)   I visualize myself making the mistake of trying to appease her.  It doesn’t work.

So I pull back in my visualization, and replay her accusation.  This time I don’t accuse back, say anything hurtful, defend myself, or abuse her.  I don’t try to explain myself.  I don’t let her in.  I say “I have to go now.  I’m going to put the phone down.” and I put the phone down.

When I do that in my visualization, she can’t get to me.  Easier said than done in reality, but at least I can visualize it.  There was a time when I couldn’t.  When I didn’t even know of the possibility.  That’s great progress, I reckon.

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