(Illustration created by a TurningPoint client)
This week, I attended a fundraising breakfast for an organization called TurningPoint. They provide advocacy and support for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. One of the main ideas shared at the event was that abuse thrives in silence. It struck a nerve. Like so many families, I come from one where generational alcoholism, and the unspoken emotional abuse and psychological trauma that goes along with it, was simply the norm. Denial, silence, putting on a happy face and pretending that we were all fine was the expectation….because well, hey, people just don’t talk about stuff like that. The problem is, the not talking about it is what gives it it’s power. Left unchecked, addiction, abuse, dysfunction is allowed to fester, grow, and impact generation…after generation…after generation. The result of growing up in a family system in which an unspoken rule is to silently watch each other suffer, is that often times you never really learn how to use your voice, gain confidence, communicate assertively, or speak your truth.
The good news is, all of these are skills that can be learned at any point in life as long as you are open and willing to breaking old patterns and change your modus operandi when it comes to your own mentality and behavior. The more people are willing to speak up, speak out, and tell their truth, the more light that shines in the dark places where so much hurt, pain, and sorrow currently lives and breeds. Because after all, in the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that.”
As we move into this season of darkness and cold, I encourage you to find your own light. Become your own light and then light up the world with it. No else can do it for you, but you most certainly can join the ranks of so many of us who are doing our work in order to shine light in dark places, shift dysfunctional patterns, and break the cycle by breaking the silence. Whatever your situation is or has been, find someone you know to be safe, and tell the truth. Tell the truth. Tell the truth.