How Music Helped Me Cope with Abuse

You don’t even know you’re being abused. Or maybe you do but you’re afraid to talk to anyone about it, out of fear that your admissions will be relayed back to your abuser, and you’ll suffer the consequences. Or maybe you feel like you’re alone and have no one to talk to, because your abuser has caused you to isolate yourself from family and friends. They wouldn’t understand anyway.

You can’t read books about the subject because your abuser would know you’ve figured them out. You can’t watch social media posts because your abuser checks your activity or monitors your phone. So, what do you do?

I was you once. I was just a little girl who knew I wasn’t being treated rightfully. Yet, if I spoke up about it, I’d be told my accusations were lies to get attention. Then I was an adult in an abusive marriage but felt like I had to endure it for the sake of my son. In both situations, my abusers would ignore me, pretend I didn’t exist, and tell others I was mentally disturbed so future confessions would be dismissed. Eventually, I just kept my mouth shut and suffered in silence.

Then, I discovered music.

I was first attracted to melodies, whether gloomy or cheery, which reflected my own mood. I listened to lyrics too. Some captured my plight so accurately; it was like the song had been written specifically for me and my situation. I felt like someone actually understood me and what I was going through, like maybe I wasn’t as alone as I thought.

Certain songs reminded me of certain people or certain situations, so I’d apply them as such, almost like a game. They gave me validation for how I felt and even offered perspective I couldn’t see on my own.

Better yet, no one could take music away from me because music is everywhere. It’s on the radio. We can access it on apps now. It’s played at restaurants and grocery stores. It’s even playing when my teeth are being cleaned at the dentist’s office. So, I could safely use music as a way to express what I otherwise couldn’t.

When I turned my journals into my first book, chapter titles came to me in song titles. I made the playlist on YouTube. When I listen to it, the songs take me back to that time and conjure up all the emotions I had to stifle to get through. You can listen to it too, as you read along in the book. Perhaps you can relate to certain feelings or experiences, or perhaps your story has a different playlist. Either way, you’re not alone. Someone, somewhere, feels or has felt how you do. When you find that song, you’ll feel it at the core of your being. Belt it out. Play it on an endless loop. Feel it. Embrace it. Because no matter why you’re still in your situation, your feelings matter and you deserve to be heard.

To access the playlist for Gasping for Air, click below:

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