• Susan Young

Let Me Rephrase My Life

Updated: Apr 21, 2018

I need to set the record straight. I didn't discard my family and friends because I stopped loving them. I didn't drop out of a top notch university with no explanation because I was a rebellious teen. I didn't choose to fall in love with a malignant narcissist. I'm not a complete idiot despite what it looked like. Not only have I done nothing to explain my actions,

I've perpetrated the reckless myth.

Others have openly shared their comical interpretation of my story. Hey do you remember when... Perhaps it's easier to joke about something we don't understand than to ask uncomfortable questions, like what happened?

It's easier to play the fool than to explain the inexplicable. How can you explain that you gave up your family, education, dreams, culture, happiness, and identity for a cruel manipulative soulmate who put you on a pedestal and treated you like shit? How can you explain that he used your face as a punching bag and you stayed for eighteen more months?

You can't because it doesn't make sense. So you don't. You're ashamed and humiliated that you were stupid enough to love and trust a monster and live for his approval. You feel responsible and bottomless guilt that you dismissed warnings from loved ones, who were mowed over by your disdain. You feel unspeakable gratitude that they stuck around which circles back to compound the guilt.

When asked about the gaping five year hole in my timeline, my answer was this.

I got involved with an asshole who convinced me to drop out of college. It was a big mistake. Eventually, I figured that out and started over.

That's all true. It's a succinct summary but dismissive and falsely devoid of trauma. The bleached version allowed me to avoid public shame (or so I believed) and provided emotional self-defense. But I got tired of hiding.

With the help of sobriety (topic for another post) and therapy, I'm confronting my past and reframing it in a way that makes me feel powerful, not pitiful. I've been living in the shadows of an over simplified self edited story for too long and am ready rephrase my life.

Now when asked, I say.

I was isolated in an abusive relationship. I'm a survivor of domestic violence.

We should all have the opportunity to author the stories we need to tell.