"What happens in this house stays in this house?" "Don't do as I do, do as I say." "Just let it go." "That's just how they are." " That happened 20 years ago, why talk about it now." "You knew what you signed up for so just keep it moving." These are ways that women have been silenced generation after generation. These statements start out as verbal, but over time, silence becomes a generational rule. No words need to be said. It is learned through behaviors, one finger to the lips, secretly crying in the bathroom, plastering those pearly whites on your face.
I had a chance to talk to my mom about this topic and although I didn't and still don't agree with the silence, I understand. It was
the reasons behind the silence that intrigued me the most. I did a little survey and asked, "Why is it important for women to be silent?"
She gave two answers:
- Parents want their children to think highly of them
- They don't know if you will love them if you know about their past
As much as I didn't "like" the answers, I respected her honesty and attempted to see things from her perspective. This was not difficult for me, because, when you start talking about generational mental wealth, you begin to understand quickly that there are behaviors and thought patterns that are passed through generations, which means her thoughts came from somewhere. I just choose for it to stop with me.
After our conversation, I began to think of other reasons why this Generational Rule of Silence exists. I came up with
- To avoid consequences. No one wants to get anyone in trouble, let alone let their own hairy cats out the bag! It takes a huge amount of courage and selflessness for a person to be exposed in order to allow someone's voice to be heard. This makes me think of the new Netflix movie, "Abducted in Plain Sight," (trigger warning) in which the parents dropped the charges on the predator that kidnapped their daughter in order to cover up the father's sexual skeletons in the closet.
- Inability and/or Incapacity to manage emotions. For some, the idea exists that silence erases the act, which is 100% not true. This silence does not always have to be about sexual misconduct. Sometimes, the silence is just to hide guilt and shame. It covers up this fear of being vulnerable.
"Living in silence means living in torture." -Samantha
How do we break this generational rule of silence?
- START BREAKING SOME RULES! This is one rule that was meant to be broken. I want to hear your voice! You deserve a space where you can talk about the thoughts you have kept to yourself, the secrets your children don't know, the situations that you are ashamed of, the life that you thought was hidden. It is time to be vulnerable with yourself, learn to love yourself through darkness, and your story will create a light on your path.
- Talk to your family. Start with the Take a Look at Yourself Reflection Worksheet to see where you want to start and how you want to initiate the discussion. There will never be a good time to talk about the past when you are okay with staying stuck in the past, but anytime is the right time to talk about the past when you are trying to change a generation!
- GET A THERAPIST. You had to know I couldn't leave that out. Another aspect regarding the generational rule of silence is that, we do not talk to anybody, including therapists, about our problems. Let's start 2019, calling our insurance, saving money, paying for what's important, and creating generational mental wealth today.
Your Loud and Clear Therapist
If you are tired of being silent and ready to just start the discussion, start here.