3 Reasons People Fear Sharing Their Story
(And How to Move Beyond It)

I know...it's been a while! Actually a few weeks since I've posted on this blog.  I'm back. :)

Photo Credit: Deanna Shrodes (Hemingway's Writing Studio)

There's a good reason I haven't been posting here on this blog for a few weeks. I've been concentrating on writing my story at Adoptee Restoration.  I'd be honored if you'd hop over and read it sometime. Lots of people are reading it...like thousands of people. (I know, crazy, right?) Last night I put it all under one link so it would be easily found and forwarded. Get it here.

One thing I've observed through the process of writing and publishing my story over the few weeks time is that a lot of people live in terrible fear of sharing their story.

The reaction to people reading my story is as if I jumped off a cliff or got into a cage with a lion.

Some people are reallllllllllly stunned that I put this in print.
Totally freaked out, like, "Oh my gosh girl, that is the bravest thing I've ever seen...you and Nik Wallenda should team up and go on tour."

I've gotten mail from people who said they could never do it.
One friend says he'll do it when his parents die. Seriously.

That makes me sad.

Why does anybody have to DIE for you to tell your true story?

Why do we fear people so much? People who are supposed to love us?

So people who love us expect us to...suppress the truth?

Why do people have such anxiety when it comes to sharing the truth of their own life...of what happened to them?

Here are three reasons I see, and my response.

1) Others can be quick to dismiss. 

"That never happened to you!" or "It wasn't like that..." or "that's not appropriate to share," they say.

First of all, let me say that it's important to never dismiss another person's story. It's easy to come to your own conclusion about someone else's life. Keep in mind, you did not live their life, even if you think you know a lot about it, you don't know it all. Therefore your long-held conclusions may be very mistaken.

One thing to realize in telling your own story is that others may be mistaken about your truth and they may speak out about it. If you are sharing truth, write on. Ignore the dismissers. Anyone who accomplished anything great has been criticized. 

2) People fear loss.

Who likes loss? Not me. Not anyone that I know. The fact is, we are going to have losses in this life no matter what we do. Whether we speak our truth or not, we will face loss. Something to consider is that if you're going to face loss anyway no matter what you do, why not live true?

3) People compare.

When you share your story others can be defensive and say, "That's not what it was like for me!" or "That wasn't my experience." 

You share that you were part of a cult and were flogged and waterboarded daily.

They say, "My experience with that cult was wonderful! They are an amazing cult! Everyone should join this cult! They fed me Dove Chocolates while we listened to Luther Vandross songs... I have no idea why you're saying all of this about my favorite cult..."

Okay so...

I've noticed that if someone has a differing view based on their own experience they are quick to bring that up in an effort to invalidate or shut you down.

They want you to be quiet because your story makes them uncomfortable in some way.

All I have to say about that is, this is the beauty of one's life story -- it's your unique story. No two are alike. If they were it would be pretty boring to hear the same exact story over and over again...and what would the point of that be?

If you and I were both alike, one of us would be unnecessary.

Sharing your story isn't a contest. It's simply putting out there the truest sentence that you know, sentence by sentence. Did I just use the word sentence three times in one sentence? Yep, I guess I did.

It's not about sharing the same exact experience over and over again.

But the funny thing is when you share your truth no matter how crazy it sounds there will be somebody who will relate though your experiences are not identical, others who are similar join you on the journey. They say things like, "Oh my gosh, I sort of do something like that too that but I never knew anybody brave enough to admit it!" And then, boom chaka laka...you've just made a friend for life.

For instance, sometimes when my husband goes out of town and I really miss him a lot, I go get his dirty t-shirt out of the hamper, put it on and wear it to bed. It has the smell of his cologne still on it mixed with a little sweat and in some strange way it makes me feel like a part of him is still there.

Perhaps that's a disgusting thing to admit, but there you go. And I guarantee some reader out there is gonna write to me and say, "Oh. My. Word. Deanna...I can sooooo relate to this!!" They are going to know, they are not a freak.

Well, anymore that I'm a freak.

And I'm not a freak.
I know, because my therapist told me I'm not. :)