I understand how hard it is to overcome the fear of telling your abuse story.

I lived in fear of an abusive, estranged husband with the guilt and shame of losing custody of two children for twenty-plus years. I was afraid of exposing the secrets of child abuse and domestic violence and what others thought about my personal choices.

It takes great courage to face your fear and acknowledge what happened.

I’ve learned it’s a necessary part of the healing journey for survivors. And when you take the first step, either by speaking with someone or writing in a journal, you begin to unpack repressed memories to move forward.

Speaking your truth is a choice.

Yes, intimidation and fear can keep you silent for a short time. But you still have the option to tell your abuse story. And the benefits of healing emotional wounds and unhealthy mindsets outweigh the consequence.

Now, I’m writing a memoir, The Secret Darkness: Overcoming Abuse and Finding Freedom. I hope the rough draft excerpt below encourages you to conquer fear and journal your story.

The Secret Darkness: Overcoming Abuse and Finding Freedom

A Memoir, L.M. Carleton

Upstate, New York, Spring 2012.

I felt unloved and ended our twenty-two-year relationship.

Afterward, I created a dating profile to search for a good man. At first, I kept the profile photos hidden, not wanting to expose my identity.

Then one man asked to see a picture, so I sent one, and he responded, “You’re beautiful; why do you hide away?”

I lived in fear of an estranged husband after fleeing for my life to a domestic violence shelter over twenty years ago, without my children.

L.M. Carleton 2012

His words encouraged me to change the visibility setting to “Public Image” so everyone could see the identity of “PinkMusic.”

Afterward, a message, “Is that u, Linda?” arrived in my inbox twice. Confused, I clicked the profile name to view his photos.

The past rushed back like a tidal wave.

I clicked the logout button. I wanted to delete my account. However, I had a choice to live in fear or step out in faith.

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” Isaiah 41:10.

I answered.

When the wall around my heart shattered into a million pieces, I spent hours crouched on the living room floor crying because the memories of anguish and loss of two children were overwhelming.

Later on, I created a writing blog on Tumblr and began to reflect on past experiences and realize how abusive and dysfunctional our family was and its impact on every area of my life.

I discovered how abuse affects your mindset about love, family dynamics, intimate relationships, and sexual behavior. This mindset became so embedded in thinking patterns it wasn’t abnormal.

These patterns were impossible to recognize amid this dysfunctional storm. It seemed like the mind was ordinary, but thoughts became scattered.

The waves of life hit hard. The stormy seas changed from turbulent to calm and back to rough again. I made unhealthy choices and suffered significant losses. But resilience helped me bounce back and grow despite life’s adversities.

I wasn’t a crazy Carleton!

I was born into a cycle of dysfunction.

My Parent’s Wedding Picture

I was the child my parents raised me to be. And the patterns of thinking and ways of acting came from my parents’ mindset.

They’re handed down, one generation to the next, without a thought for a resolution.

There is little to no chance for the children who suffer from this cycle of dysfunction to renew their minds, mend their hearts, and have a slim chance of a victorious life.

The only way victims stand a chance is for survivors to speak out and share their personal experiences of overcoming child abuse, sexual abuse, and domestic violence.

That’s me, the voice that will not be silent. The strong one who will bring these secrets out of the darkness into the light so you can see the power of rescuing grace.

I understand how difficult it is to overcome the fear. I hope Abuse Journal helps you gain the courage to tell your abuse story and the wisdom to conquer adversity and restore your life.

Related Post: The Courage to Tell Your Abuse Story

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