Healing Secret Pain

“Are you sure it’s a good idea to have it on Facebook?”

My mom teaches me and inspires my growth, often not in the direction she intends. I spoke with her on the phone a few days ago, she wanted to make sure that I supported the public testimony our arrest that James wrote on his blog and shared on Facebook. I assured her that not only did I support his writing but I helped edit the post. Letting out the details of our experience is one of the ways that James and I like to heal. Shining the light on the pain and trauma is likened to cleaning a wound, and sharing what happened in a public format is a powerful way to remove shame around what happened. I choose to set myself free from any victim mentality that was assigned to me when I was mistreated. I know who I am and I know that I am much greater than this experience, by letting go of the story I no longer define myself by it.

There are many secrets in my family, some that I just found out this year, some that I hold inside because it’s not my secret to share, and surely there are many secrets that I do not know about. I like to do things differently than generations past. I like to tell all my secrets and set them free. I believe that hiding my pain only causes me more pain, I would rather air out my wounds and disappoint a few people than kill myself slowly with the internal burden of secret pain. When I told my dad about abuse I experienced as a child he cautioned me to be careful who I tell, I assured him I would tell anyone I want. I refuse to hide in the shadows of my trauma.

Shame is such a controlling force if we let it sink too deep into our psyche. I have found immeasurable freedom in refusing to be ashamed of anything. I am proud of who I am, proud of how powerfully I have moved through very challenging situations with strength and grace (and sometimes as a hot mess and then back to grace). It is my goal to continually become more polished in my ability to process testing experiences and in the process I have inspired others with my courage, a result I did not set out to achieve but a massive perk in doing the self work.

Growth requires change. I am not a Twinkie that will remain the same for a hundred years, I am a living, breathing, actively changing and growing human person. This might seem trivially elementary to some but to others who tell me “you’ve changed” I say “yes, I am so glad that I have.”

How To Use The Block Button

“Never unblock!”

My words were passionate, a bit emotional, and sharp like a whip. My partner took a deep breath to hold space for my wisdom. They had been facing the repercussions of seeing a person from their past online and thus opening up triggers that were better left healed in their natural timing and not because of social media.

A year later — long after I had forgotten the advice I spewed — my partner reminded me how powerful those two words were in creating boundaries not just in their relationships but in their heart. They shared how blocking this person created a safe container for healing and allowed them the freedom to face their pain and overcome it in their own power.

Blocking is a powerful little button that can make a world of difference in ones daily life and overall happiness, peace, and sense of safety. I am going to share some misconceptions and tips for blocking and how I have taken my power back with the block button.

“Is blocking mean?”

One of the first fears and misconceptions that comes up for me when choosing wether to block someone or not is the potential of the block being a hurtful act. When I am in this state I typically am putting too much attention on the other person and not enough attention on myself. There are ways to gently and respectfully block someone, but first I have to check myself. I take a deep breath and a moment to observe my gut and how I really feel.

Would I feel happier, safer, more at peace if this person was no longer in my social media world? Do I want to block this person assuming there were no hurt feelings and I could simply know that my online life is now private from this person? How do I think it would feel to know this person can’t contact me or comment on my posts through this outlet?

Recently I asked myself these questions in a situation where I went back and forth several times. I was so worried about making such a hard line in the sand, and these feelings were intensified knowing the sensitivity of the person I was dealing with. At the end of the day, having a technological connection to this person was wearing me down and bringing far too much stress and drama into my otherwise happy go lucky life. After much thought I realized that I absolutely must put myself first in this situation. Was there potential for the other person to be hurt? Yes, but I was being hurt by my inaction and in blocking them I was protecting myself from pain and attack. Blocking was the kindest thing I could do for myself!

Social Media vs Reality

I feel it is important to take a step back and clarify the difference between online and real life. Yes the internet is real and the interactions we have are often authentic, but at anytime we can put our phone down, close our laptop, log out, delete the app, and our lives go on! I think it is important to step away from technology on a regular basis to clear the mind and remember what we love about this life. The experiences we have online can often consume us but there is so much more life to live that uses all five — even six — senses. When I step away from the internet and the drama I remember how silly it all is, and blocking someone seems even less abrasive. I think to myself, “So I blocked someone, big deal. Life goes on!” Often I have taken long breaks from social media and have deleted my accounts, these cleanses have been wonderful but I came back because I wanted to have the option of connecting with new friends through social media and sharing experiences with long distance family and staying updated on local events. Social media is a tool and a gift and I wanted it to stay sweet. When someone infiltrated that peace, I had to block them and move on. Any uncomfortably that I felt around blocking them can be easily comforted by spending time in the garden, focusing on a work project, or spending time with friend who make me feel valued and trusted.

How to Block With Grace

The decision had been made: a block was necessary. In my recent example I needed a social media cleanse of this person on every platform. Every situation is different, and often a swift click of the block button is perfectly appropriate. When blocking a friend, an ex, a family member, or anyone who you feel like showing particular respect to, I recommend sending them a message explaining the block. Let me clarify, this is not necessary! This is an act of kindness only needed if you personally feel on a situational basis that a farewell message will ease any discomfort or in-person interactions. If you plan on blocking someone from every aspect of your life and never want to see them again, this step may not be for you.

In my case, I wanted to create a boundary for myself on the internet but would be okay with seeing this person in social settings, so I wrote out a message explaining what was happening and why and then I sent it through text after I had already blocked them on all social media platforms. I was honest and direct. I shared how I felt even if I thought it might come across as painful. This was my opportunity to be true to the feelings that until then I had been suppressing. I didn’t say anything cruel, just honest. I began with the initial truth:

“I removed you from my Facebook and Instagram because I didn’t feel like you could handle the responsibility.”

Note that I am not stating facts, just my personal opinion. I went on to share ways that this person had violated my social media space and had made me feel uncomfortable.

“Being connected to you has brought drama into my life that I find unnecessary. Having stories and projections thrown at me distracts me from living my life.”

I then gave an example of a boundary that was important to me and paired it with politeness.

“I don’t want you seeing what events I am attending; go to whatever you want and if I see you there I will show you nothing but kindness.”

It was important for me to end a toxic cycle and this message gave me the strength to block them while knowing that it wouldn’t be a surprise or shock when they couldn’t find my page anymore.

Blocking Someone’s Phone Number

Is the connection you have to someone through text and phone calls causing stress and triggering you? There is nothing wrong with blocking someone’s phone number, and with smart phones it has become as simple as ever to prevent someone from contacting you. With the click of a button you can have the peace of mind that you deserve. There is no rule that says you must let people text or call you, if it makes you uncomfortable then you have every right to create this bold boundary.

If someone is harassing you, sending you threats or dangerous messages, absolutely block their number and perhaps report their activity to the police. If someone is bringing these threats into real life, get a restraining order. Keep community close and call upon your trusted friends or family anytime you need support. Abuse should never be tolerated. If you are in danger, call 911.

Unblocking

I began this post with a quote of me saying “never unblock,” but I don’t think this is true of all situations. I have had huge blowouts with friends that led to us blocking each other’s numbers and ended in ya making up in person and unblocking. If there is room and maturity for working through whatever issues have come up, then unblocking is absolutely a potential.

When I advised my partner to never unblock, that was during a time when they had some deep personal work to do. A couple years later, they actually connected with this person as a means to create closure, although it is important to note that they are still blocked on social media. Working through our relationships to bring them to a place or clarity and understanding seems like the higher road to take whenever possible. When it is safe and you feel completely ready, go ahead and click the unblock button.

I Was Harrassed While Driving

The feeling of being harassed is like waking up in a nightmare. One second I think I am an empowered and confident woman, the next minute I notice my darting eyes and short breath as I plan my escape. 
Today I was harassed while driving. I suppose you could call it road rage, but for the time that I was under the spell of panic all I knew was that I wanted to get away. 

I’m fine. I should start by saying that, but apart from the physical, I am not fine. What happened began as a typical situation: I was driving to work while eating a slice of pizza and the car in front of me was going a bit slow. As I became closer the driver braked and pulled over, so I passed as I saw that he was an older man. After that I drove ahead to the next stoplight where I stopped at the line waiting for the light to change. When the driver behind me came near, he pulled his tan SUV up beside me in the left turn lane, except he pulled his car harshly in front on mine completely blocking the road in front of me. I heard him yelling at me through the windows of his car, while mine were cracked only a couple inches leaking out sweet classical tunes. 

I knew this man was aggressive so I quickly thought the best thing to do was to get away, so I quickly turned right on red even though it was not my intended direction. To my surprise the aggravated driver followed me! I panicked as I realized the car in front of me was also going slow, a mail truck. I respectfully kept a safe distance and began deep breathing to stay calm. Soon the car behind me grew impatient and turned left. I thought he was gone but I still felt shaken. I felt like each street held potential danger. 

A few moments later, a car pulled up behind me, it was him. He had taken another route and ended up right behind me. As we approached a light and a major intersection, I had no choice but to stop in my lane as he pulled up next to me, only a few inches away. I felt encroached upon. His window was all the way down and his arm was out, I pulled my window up. He yelled “You’re under arrest!” And I said “Who ARE you?”

I kept my focus straight ahead and as soon as the light turned green I slowly as safely as I could continued on. I thought perhaps he would crash into me as a way to confront me further. I looked at the GPS and saw that I could turn onto a side street and likely surprise him. I stopped behind several cars at a light ahead and he stopped next to me, too close, even though there was several car lengths room for him to pull forward. When it became obvious he was stopped in a clear lane and the light turned green, he gave up and went forward as I made a sharp right. 

Then I went to the school where I was heading to pick up the girl I nanny. Imagine if this crazy man had followed me there? I was terrified of confrontation and even more so of bringing kids into it. I knew surrounded my parents and teachers I was safe, but it would take some time to reflect and heal on the trauma that happened today. 

I share this story because something happens when trauma enters our experience. We could be seemingly so strong but when our safety is unexpectedly threatened the body and mind enter a fight or flight mode. It was as if for me my whole worldview changed in a second. It’s hard to describe, but if you have experienced it you know what I mean. 

If you ever need someone to talk to, someone to listen, I am here for you. We all deserve to feel safe and I hope by sharing this story you feel less alone. ❤️