In my recent post, “The Power of Releasing Your Past,” I shared a secret of childhood abuse that I’d been hiding for decades. With both of my parents being deceased, I didn’t really have anyone to “come out” to, so this post allowed me an audience. My intention was hopefully to support someone else who may be struggling with the emotional baggage of childhood abuse.
I wanted other survivors to know they are not alone; it’s okay to let go.
When the post was published, I read the comments left by readers on Positively Positive and Facebook. I don’t want to sound naïve, but I was really taken aback at the number of comments from people who were abused—they shared that they experience the same struggles and the same difficulties letting it go. For the first time since the flashbacks started (ten years ago), I was not alone, and I was helping other survivors.
I thought that was the end. I shared, helped a few people, end of story. I’m “transformed.”
But I wasn’t done (or transformed). Things started getting a little too close for comfort. I couldn’t escape my story. My inbox and phone were filled with notes/texts of encouragement. While driving in the car with my ten-year-old daughter, a business acquaintance called. Without warning, she launched into her opinion about my story. I very sharply and curtly let her know that she was on speakerphone and my daughter was with me. She apologized; then tried to continue. I quickly said good-bye and hung up. Not fifteen minutes later, it happened again—another call from another well-intentioned person wanting me to know how they feel.
I had lost control. I was no longer in charge of this information or when it would be discussed and with whom. I felt exposed, naked. I became angry. I had to get it back under control, my control.
That evening, I was sharing the phone calls and my angry reaction with a friend who pointed to the obvious (to everyone but me) issue. She said, “It’s okay. You just felt unsafe.”
Duh. I forgot. I’m doing that thing I do when I feel unsafe and out of control. I am avoiding people, crying, and allowing anger to control the situation. I am trying to force an outcome to an event in which I’m no longer in control. Even after ten years of soul searching, releasing, and letting go, I will automatically react with anger when I’m threatened. So much for being done.
By allowing myself to be vulnerable with my friend, I was reminded that the anger and control will always be there, but now I have the opportunity to explore other emotions to create a different outcome.
That was last week. This morning, during a personal training session with a client, my client started asking me about letting go in such a way that I thought she was hinting around at something. I asked her if she read my blog; she did. I smiled and said, “Wow, I feel exposed.” I paused, took a deep breath, and let it go.
I was then able to focus on her and support her on her journey. Mission accomplished.
In 2006, after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Lockey Maisonneuve underwent chemotherapy, bi-lateral mastectomies with saline implant reconstruction, and radiation. During this time, she saw a real need for recovering cancer patients to exercise—not just for the physical rehabilitation, but also the mental aspect of regaining control over their bodies. After completing specialized training through the Cancer Exercise Training Institute, Lockey created MovingOn, a rehabilitative exercise program for cancer patients. Lockey and the MovingOn program have been featured on WABC, WCBS, News 12, WKTU, Overlook View, Shape, Park Place, and The Patch. For more on Lockey, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.