When people treat you as if you are stupid, it isn’t because they think you are stupid, it is because they want YOU to think you are stupid.
Their purpose or motive for the way that they treat you is actually about what serves them much more than it is the way that they see you. These people have a motive and it isn’t a motive driven by love, it is a motive driven by the desire to have control.
Understanding this made all the difference in the world in my recovery and in overcoming the false definitions of “me” that had been put on me by abusive, uncaring, controllers and manipulators who felt entitled to treat me like I didn’t matter. The ways that I was treated by these people communicated to me that they were more important than I was. Part of the way that they convinced me of my lesser value was through the subtle or obvious messages that something was ‘missing’ or ‘wrong’ with me and with my reactions to life.
When I was a child and my teacher yelled at me saying that I wasn’t paying attention because I didn’t have the right answer, and then she rolled her eyes and added that I was such a frustrating child, I reacted by trying harder.
I didn’t like being shamed in front of the entire class. I didn’t like the disapproval that was communicated to me. I didn’t like the feeling that I was such a disappointment; as long as I was trying harder, the teacher felt like she was in control.
And as long as I was trying harder, she was in control… Read More→
I am excited to welcome Christina Enevoldsen, founder of the popular blog and facebook page “Overcoming Sexual Abuse” and published author of the book “The Rescued Soul” as my guest writer for Emerging from Broken. Christina has a wonderful message and I am thrilled to have her voice on my blog this week. I hope you will help me welcome Christina and please feel free to share your comments with us. Darlene
The Best Advice for the Healing Journey by Christina Enevoldsen
At the beginning of my healing process, my pain oozed out of me. I didn’t seem to have a shut off valve to contain the memories and emotions that were surfacing. Consequently, without intending to talk about my abuse, words or tears would leak out before I knew what I was saying or feeling.
My friend, Claire, had been abused as a child and had been raped as an adult. At the time, I thought someone who had been so wounded and violated would be a good source of the understanding and compassion that I sought (without knowing that’s what I was looking for).
Unfortunately, that’s not what I found. While I sat across from Claire, crying and trembling, she cited scripture and told me I needed to put things in God’s hands. She believed that if I applied my faith to my abuse, I wouldn’t have to waste my time being so sad or negative.
The way Claire dispensed her rational information left me feeling like there was a barrier between us—like I had shown up at her doorstep with a contagious disease and she reacted by throwing her religious rhetoric out on her lawn, quickly slamming the door behind her, hoping I would go away.
Claire didn’t want to hear about my past or about my pain. She wanted me to put a smile back on my face and to be “fixed”. I was left feeling empty and frustrated. Sharing my pain with Claire only added more pain.
I know that Claire was trying to be a good friend and was only passing on what she truly believed. Coldly offering me that empty advice, the same “wisdom” she tried to live by, was all that she had. The trouble was, her advice wasn’t even working for her. Her own life was a huge struggle. Read More→
The first time a boy got a little rough with me I was 14. I had been swimming at our community pool and Mike the 17 year old life guard let me wear his diving watch in the water, which I thought was so cool. My boyfriend Rob showed up and called me over to the gate and I forgot to take the watch off when I went to meet him. I could tell he was angry.
I grabbed my towel and as we were walking away from the pool I had a sinking feeling in my gut. Looking back it was a familiar feeling, one that I had had often in my lifetime; it was the feeling of impending doom.
My internal dialogue went like this; “I have a bad feeling. Something bad is going to happen. Something bad… my tummy hurts, I don’t feel good; I don’t like this feeling.”
I remember my boyfriend started questioning me.
Rob: Who is that guy?
Me: He’s just the life Guard
Rob: Why are you wearing that watch?
Me: Because he let me wear it to dive in the deep end. It’s so cool!
Rob: Give me that watch.
Me: NO, I have to give it back to Mike.
By now the feeling of impending doom is almost making me throw up. I am scared; I feel like I have done something really bad but I am not sure what. I want to hide and there is nowhere to hide. I want to disappear. I want Rob to stop breathing in that angry way. I want him to calm down and listen to me.
I can see that Rob is getting more agitated. He grabs my wrist with one hand (OW, stop it, you are hurting me!) and he rips the watch off my wrist with the other hand. Then he goes back to the fence surrounding the pool and he throws the watch over the fence and into the pool. I am just standing there dripping wet, feeling scared and stupid and starting to give myself shit for being so dumb. Earlier in the year Rob had beat up a boy at school because he said something flirty to me and it took three teachers to break the fight up and now I am really scared he is going to beat up the life guard. But he doesn’t go into the pool area. Read More→
There is a lot going on in May and June and today I am sharing the updates with you here on the Emerging from Broken blog because not everyone is signed up to receive updates from me. (info on how to sign up and new changes to the way this blog is running are near the end of this post!)
Healing Support: I am participating as a featured expert in the following events in May and June and my entire network is invited to be a part of these exciting online presentations;
The “Take Your Power Back’ Webinar! I have been invited by Child Sexual Abuse Survivor Coach, Crisis Intervention Specialist and Certified Trainer, Svava Brooks, to be part of a webinar, (an online seminar) for Trauma Survivors and as my guest you may listen to the each of the 24 expert interviews. This event has already started so don’t delay. There is no charge for this Summit; all you have to do is register! There are some amazing experts participating in this event, including me ~ you won’t want to miss it. My interview will be published on May 23rd. 2015 For all the details click here: “Take Your Power Back Summit” and register.
The ‘HE HIT ME’ Series~ I have been invited by Liz Simpson, The Self Discovery Diva to participate in her video chat series “He Hit Me” There will be a live chat every Tuesday at 7:00 pm CST (8:00 pm EST) for the next 8 weeks. Liz will be interviewing me live on Tuesday June 30, 2015 . This series is available by registration only. Here is the scoop!
Liz J Simpson presents… “He Hit Me!” ~ a FREE, ten week conversation to educate and empower domestic violence victims, survivors and their supporters.
The 10 part series will air LIVE on Tuesdays beginning May 12th and running until July 14th. Liz will be joined weekly by guest experts that include psychologists, social workers, domestic violence survivors, a Nobel Prize winner & even a celebrity spokeswoman for the national domestic violence hotline.
Registration is mandatory to join the 10 part series which will cover a bevy of topics including:
- common characteristics of abusers
- safety planning
- creating financial independence
- single parenting
- building self-esteem
- how to love again
Participants will be emailed replays of the weekly broadcast (in case they miss the LIVE feed) and are able to join the exclusive facebook community for the event ~ For registration and info, please see the following link. He Hit Me info
COMMENTS on Emerging from Broken ~ For several years now I have been struggling to keep up with the magnitude of comments that come through this blog; there are posts that have been active for 4 years! This is a dream come true for me, but there are often over 1000 comments between 500 and 2000 words every month and I am unable to take care of this by myself anymore. I am sad to have had to do this but until I can afford to hire some help with moderating I have decided to close the comments on all blog posts over 200 days old. Please feel free to comment on any of the current posts and don’t worry if you are “off topic.”
The EFB BOOK ~ “Emerging from Broken ~ The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” is available on the upper right side bar here in the website. Click on the book image for all the info!
If you would like to receive updates please sign up by downloading the “Free Guide to Getting Unstuck” on the right hand side bar. If you have purchased the e-book you may have already signed up for updates when you bought it. If you are already getting updates, please don’t sign up again.
Please share this information. You never know who you know that might benefit from listening to these online events or from my message here in this website. I appreciate every one of you that shares my blog posts through social media or clicks the FB like button. We are changing lives and empowering people to heal and take their lives back!
Enjoy all 24 of the pre-recorded speakers in the “Take Your Power Back” Summit and 10 weeks of live chats in the “He Hit Me” series and please feel free to post feedback here!
In Love and Truth,
For the past few years I have not thought about myself as a daughter on “Mother’s day”, I have thought of myself as a mother instead. When I used to think of myself as a daughter the purpose of mother’s day was to celebrate someone who constantly reminded me that I was not the daughter that she wanted. I celebrated someone who treated me like I was lacking in some ways. I celebrated someone who seemed to be exasperated with me and communicated to me that I was somewhat of a pain in her butt. I celebrated my mother even though she blamed me for more things than I care to list in this post and I celebrated a mother who caused me untold grief. (Well actually, it was untold until 6 or 7 years ago. Now I have told…)
Mother’s day in the past was a time of great anxiety for me. It was difficult to decide ‘how’ to celebrate my mother; what kind of card, what kind of gift and what if she didn’t ‘like them’ and what if she didn’t show any appreciation and what if she made that ‘disappointed face’ which crushed my soul and spirit so many times on previous Mother’s days and on other gift and card giving holidays. I had so much anxiety over the fear of ‘that face’.
Mother’s day in the past was about celebrating someone who hurt me. It doesn’t make much sense to me today when I put it that way but back then I never thought about it that way. I was in the deep fog of conditional love, brainwashed to believe that mother is god and that parent entitlement rules over all else, no matter what… Read More→
I was lying in bed the other morning and this phrase “when mothers blame others” kept running through my mind as though some unknown source was whispering at me to write about it. I agreed that it would make a catchy title but I questioned why it was running through my head in the first place.
And then I laughed!
This idea is so prevalent that it’s a wonder it isn’t in my head all the time. Survivors of dysfunctional mother daughter relationships can’t escape the constant reminder that some mothers will blame anyone and everyone as long as they don’t have to look at their own actions. It is still frustrating to me that no matter what proof I had, no matter how many times I tried to explain the situation, no matter how much I defended myself, my mother blamed me OR she blamed something or someone else for HER decisions and behavior.
And although this problem is more widely discussed when it is the adult daughter who is targeted and blamed, this happens very often with adults sons as well. This isn’t exclusive to mothers who blame daughters, but very often fathers blame daughters and or sons as well. Sometimes ALL the children in the family are blamed and defined as “the problem” and sometimes only one or two of them are singled out and blamed and defined as “the problem” in the family.
Many adult children of Narcissistic mothers know this all too well and although my mother is not a true narcissist (because she has total control over her actions), she fits the narcissistic mother pattern of not taking responsibility for her own actions that have ultimately led to the failure of our relationship. Most importantly for the purpose of this article is the fact that the results have been the same with my mother and I as they are with others who do have more typically narcissistic mothers.
When children (of any age) are blamed and labeled as the problem, a burden or “less important’ than the parents, the damage to the self-esteem and overall emotional wellbeing of the child is substantial!
And the treatment and tactics used by the parents are so typical that it is almost as though there is secret manual that these mothers (parents) subscribe to. A manual endorsing that parents have the right to do this stuff and act this way with their children without any consequences to themselves!
The children of these mothers, MEN and WOMAN who have been blamed as children for the ways in which we have been treated, are blamed as adults as well; Read More→
“Could the cause of most of our problems be that we live with expectations? Live without expectations and accept things for what they are? No expectations, no disappointments.”
Lets talk about this.
This brought up so many things for me and it isn’t the first time I’ve been told that my expectations were the root of the problem… “my problem”.
The first thing that came to my mind was the child, (and not just ‘the child’ but the child who was ME) who is abused, molested, discounted, shamed, hit, blamed, neglected, … is being told that he or she should not have ever expected to be loved, cherished, nurtured, respected, protected and taken care of.
Is this person suggesting that “Most of my problem” is that I wanted to be loved……….??
Then I thought about how this is the same ‘self -blame’ that I talk about all the time; if only I had never expected to be loved, then I wouldn’t have been disappointed.
This directive suggests that asking for simple respect and regard is expecting too much.
And what about the part that directs us to “accept things for what they are”. It’s interesting to me that this writer didn’t realize that accepting things as they really are is exactly what this blog is about; the difficulty is that actually ‘doing’ it is not nearly as easy or simple as it sounds and we are NOT trying to accept that our expectations are too high in the first place because they aren’t. Here is a tiny list of the things that I accepted for what they are which resulted in the freedom I enjoy today; Read More→
I was originally going to title this post “Tips on Getting through Christmas Holidays when Family is an F Word” but I thought perhaps that would offend people who saw it here or in EFB Facebook so I amended the title, but I still wanted to share it with you because sometimes that is how I feel.
Christmas and the holiday season in general is often a really difficult time for anyone who is involved with or has ever been involved with dysfunctional family situations. It has been at least 6 years now since I have spoken to my mother at Christmas time. Each year is easier. This year when I began to think about writing something about this time of year for my blog, I realized that I don’t think about my family very much anymore during the holidays. For a minute I wondered if I ‘should’ feel guilty about that but the truth is that by their own choice they are not part of my life and when I think about it, there is nothing to miss. I haven’t spent Christmas with my family of origin since I was age 15 with my mother and age 18 with my father.
For those of us who have gone no contact with our families, the holiday season can be a time of questioning our decisions and second guessing ourselves.
For those of us who are getting ready to see abusive or controlling parents during the holidays, it can be a time of anxiety and dread mixed with the hope that things will be better this year.
Here are some Tips for getting through the Holidays; Read More→
Child abuse and neglect result in low self-esteem, depression and a whole lot of other issues. Part of the grooming process that occurs in ALL abuse including emotional abuse and psychological abuse is that the blame is transferred to the child and in order to cope and survive children accept that blame and focus inward in order to try harder for the love and acceptance they long for. In the dysfunctional family, the abuse doesn’t end in childhood and often the child who is now an adult will seek professional help in order to overcome the damage that the child abuse caused. Just as our parents and all adult abusers, controllers and manipulators had positional power, doctors, therapists and helping professionals have it too.
When we have been convinced through actions, inactions and words that there is something ‘wrong’ with us and we finally go to a helping professional such as a therapist, counselor or psychologist ~ if that mental health professional defends our parents, or focuses on US as the problem it serves us as confirmation that we are in fact the problem and it is very much a re-traumatization.
Mental health professionals have tons of positional power ~ they are endorsed and accredited as being able to help and therefore we often see them as an even bigger authority then the way that we saw our parents when we were kids, so if they AGREE with our parents or if they focus with us on what WE could do or could have done differently, it very often causes a bigger problem than the one we went to talk about. Read More→
Please help me welcome back one of our most popular guest writers ~ Pam Witzemann! In this post Pam shares about how seeing the truth in a bigger picture way, helped her to recognize what her inner critic voices were telling her. Truth was the balance in accountability that Pam needed to silence the lies those inner voices told her about herself that she had believed for so long as part of her coping method. This post is extremely content rich and I encourage you to read it through more than once! ~ Darlene
How The Truth Silences Inner Critics Voices and Healing Begins by Pam Witzemann
An abusive childhood left me with little self-worth and a damaged ability to trust and form healthy relationships. I have lived most of my life with both a strong inner and outer critic. The inner critic tells me that I’m defective and responsible for every bad thing that happens to me. The outer critic tells me that most human beings shouldn’t be trusted because they are all potentially, dangerous. Both my inner critic and outer critic lie to me and they present themselves as my greatest obstacle in healing from the abuse I suffered during my childhood. Truth is the balance in accountability I need to heal from childhood abuse. Only the truth has the power to silence my inner and outer critics, who are never satisfied until they fully disable me, driving me into deep depression and isolation from others.
Human beings are social creatures. I am a human being and I too am meant to enjoy relationships. However, my early childhood taught me that I wasn’t quite human and the second half of my childhood taught me that all human beings, not just my alcoholic parents, were dangerous. I decided that if I had the choice, I’d rather not be a human being and I spent several decades of my life seeking safety through various forms of isolation and very limited close relationships. As a small child, my isolation was involuntary and imposed on me by poor health and by the way my parents chose to treat my unhealthy condition. From birth, until age seven, I spent most of my time in bed and usually, I was medicated with alcohol. All during my elementary school years I was often, sick and kept in bed. I had a deep longing for something that I didn’t understand, an empty, excruciating, emotional ache; but I grew used to being alone and that state of aloneness became my safe haven from the alcoholic drama that characterized my home life. Read More→