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→
Next week (November 18th 2014) finds me on my way to Bordeaux France to meet with Mel Carnegie, Author of “I’m Still Standing” (Mel’s personal story of her own traumatic and dysfunctional childhood followed by marriage to a sociopath and how she took her life back) and creator of DeNA Revolution. For the past 17 years Mel has worked as a professional leadership development specialist and executive coach, working with CEOs and their teams from some of the world’s best-known organizations.
As most of you know, I am going to be a featured expert in the Movie “The Secrets of the Keys” which is currently in production and not only is Mel Carnegie also appearing in the movie, she is the woman responsible for alerting film producer Robin Jay to my story and my message on Emerging from Broken
Naturally, when I found out that Mel was a fan of my work, I was interested in her work; long story short ~ we connected, met each other on skype, the universe collided and the earth breathed a huge sigh… and almost instantly, both Mel and I knew that something BIG was brewing here!
Although our experience with life is quite a bit different, our messages are so synched, and yet so individual, so complimentary and yet both so original that we quickly knew we had to do something together!
The most amazing part about our connection aside from our amazingly similar courage and authenticity is our unique common goal which is to help people who have been stuck in false thinking and to set them free to embrace life to the fullest and free to accomplish their deepest desires and dreams. And you can get involved; we need your feedback for our meetings! Please continue reading; Read More→
Victim mentality is the wish, hope and belief that by accepting nasty behavior and even covering up or excusing nasty behavior, that love will be the end result. I can’t think of one time that compliance led to love. Not even once.
As a Victim I believed that my love could heal others.
I believed that if I could prove to them that they were lovable, that they would love me back. And I put a lot of effort into proving that they were worthy of love. I cooked, I cleaned and I complied. I was quiet and polite or I was funny and bright; I kept the secret, I didn’t ‘bring shame on them’, I turned a blind eye. I accepted what they dished out as it was the normal that they taught me. I thought that was love. I thought that my love was ‘unconditional’.
I tried to ‘earn’ love.
I tried to prove my worth so that I would BE loved.
I didn’t really understand love.
As a victim I believed that if I was compliant, and if I did what they seemed to require from me that I would be appreciated. But the rules always changed. Instead of realizing that their rules always changed, I thought I was stupid.
I believed that if I jumped through their hoops and proved that I was ‘trying’ to be who they wanted me to be, that they would SEE me as worthy. Nobody ever saw me… Read More→
“Abusive, controlling, entitled people and the people who are afraid of them will say almost anything to get you to shut up. They will label you as angry, hateful and unforgiving if you decide to stand up to them and the ways that they regard you. I want to shout at them and to the ones that defend them ~ “What do you think I am angry about? Anger is justifiable in this situation!” Darlene Ouimet
The quote came from one of my recent blog posts about spiritual abuse when the name of God is used to Guilt and Shame victims of abuse, and I wrote it in the context of explaining the abuse tactic of being told what God would expect you to do or what would make God proud of you according to what abusive controlling, manipulative people want you to do, which has nothing to do with God OR his/her expectations of you.
For many of the readers, this quote was validating. But for others it was upsetting. As I read through the comments it became clear to me that the word “justifiable” was the primary culprit that triggered so many reactions. Apparently, the idea of “justifiable anger” upsets a lot of people.
Some people believe that justifiable anger is dangerous and inappropriate. This quote is about standing up to abusive people and how those people reacted to me standing up to them to and the control tactics that are used in abusive relationships to keep a victim in the web. As most of you know I have a passion for the topic of parent abuse which seems to be an even bigger hot button. The quote exposes spiritual abuse, and the controlling and manipulative people I am referring to, happen to be my parents. BUT as soon as I mentioned “justifiable anger” the meaning of the quote was lost to some of the readers. The meaning of the quote lost its purpose and its importance because a “fear belief” was triggered. Read More→
I am excited to have our very own Pam Witzemann guest blogging on Emerging from Broken this week! Pam was a frequent guest blogger here in 2011 and 2012 and she has always been a contributor in the conversations. Please welcome Pam;
An Invisible Child in a Hostile World by Pam Witzemann
Where there is substance abuse and children, there is child neglect and abuse.
I was born to parents who abused alcohol and from my birth I was an invisible child in a hostile world. Alcohol abuse is considered a disease but my life’s experience has taught me to view it as a symptom of underlying mental illness and psychological disorder. Though my parents have never seen a psychologist or psychiatrist and aren’t likely ever to do so, I am quite certain of their underlying psychological disorders. Alcohol was gasoline added to the flame of their mental illness that created the distorted and sometimes, dangerous environment of my childhood home.
There was a time when I hated my parents. I still hate the things they did to me and neglected to do for me; but I now view them as pitiable persons who choose the false safety of denial, rather than face the truth about themselves and the lives they’ve led. They are no longer a part of my life because in order to be in a relationship with them I would have to deny the truth about my life and continue in the denial that rules my family of origin. That is abusive to me and I refuse to allow them to abuse me any longer. In any event, the truths I share here are about my life and not really about my parents at all. I now choose when and where to share my personal history and what I share here is for the purpose of helping others who suffer as I have suffered and not about any kind of exposure or revenge.
I don’t think my parents ever saw me as an individual separate from themselves. I was simply an extension of them. I was their firstborn child and to them, a disappointing reflection of themselves. I only weighed four pounds and my mother brought me home wearing doll clothes and lying in a shoe box. My mother had many childish fantasies of a baby daughter who would change her life for the better and it didn’t seem likely that I would fulfill any of them. She says my dad was jealous of me and didn’t like her giving me the attention I constantly cried for.
I nearly died when I was only a few weeks old. Read More→
“I was reading on your FB page about a post you had written about a year ago. It was about a “narcissistic mother” that demanded honor from her daughter. But I have a question for you; what about a mother that has truly been hurt by her children? I am one such mother. I have been “there” for my children countless times. I have emotionally, mentally, spiritually and financially supported them in anything they wanted and wanted to do in their lives. I have told them all of their lives that I love them and believe they have the power to do and be anything they set their minds to. As a result they have thrown insults back at me and called me names. To this end they have basically abandoned me telling me I am worthless and a burden. I am a little upset that you seem to take the side of the child in most of your posts without balance. I would like to see you post that there is balance in all things. Signed, Hurt Mother who loves her children endlessly and doesn’t understand.”
First of all, I would like to qualify that in my work here in Emerging from Broken I am not advocating or empowering grown children to rise up and abuse their parents. I am not in favor of abuse of any kind. I am not supporting revenge on parents and I am NOT advocating or recommending that grown children go ‘no contact’ with their parents which I believe is an individual choice that each person has the right to make. Emerging from Broken and my work here represents the concept of equal value for all human beings and it’s about learning what love is through the truth about equal value, which in dysfunctional families is grossly misunderstood. What I am trying to do with my articles, speaking etc. is EXPOSE the TRUTH about relationships that are out of balance such as where the entitlement of parents rules over everyone or where the rules in love and relationship that apply to the children (even grown children) are not the same for the children as they are for the parents. EVERYONE has a choice about continuing or discontinuing in relationship. I am advocating for and empowering people to make those choices through looking at the truth through understanding equal value and the true definition of love.
The first part of her question is Read More→
A couple of months ago I was invited by DeeAnna Nagel and Kate Anthony from Online Therapy Institute to submit an article to TILT magazine (TILT stands for “Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology“) and the issue that my article has been featured in has been published! A lot of my readers are coaches and therapists and people who are trying to navigate the internet in order to make a difference in the world with their messages and expertise, so I want to bring awareness to this awesome resource. (I know the cover picture is small but that’s my article on pg 14!)
About TILT Magazine ~ TILT is about envisioning therapeutic interventions in a new way. While Kate was visiting DeeAnna on the Jersey Shore, they took a late afternoon boat ride and a display of sail boats tilting against the sunset came within view. It reminded them how, as helping professionals, we should always be willing to tilt our heads a bit to be able to envision which innovations – however seemingly unconventional – may fit our clients’ needs. Our clients are experiencing issues in new ways in light of the presence of technology in their lives. As helping professionals, so are we. TILT and the Online Therapy Institute is about embracing the changes technology brings to the profession, keeping you informed and aware of those developments, and entertaining you along the way.
Here is a copy of my article;
From Starting a Blog to landing a Movie Deal ~ all on the WWW
When I overcame dissociative issues and chronic depressions by seeing where they originated in the first place and how the false understandings of how relationships worked were stuck in my belief system, I found myself with a massive passion and desire to share my new found freedom and wholeness with the world.
In the beginning I started speaking in mental health seminars and I noticed that almost everyone in the room could relate to what I was speaking about when I talked about this ‘root belief system stuff’ that had resulted from the messages that I got from the actions of adults in my childhood. I was seeing people’s eyes pop open and they were mobbing me on the breaks. It was really validating to have so many people interested in talking to me in order to learn more about how I found this new freedom from depression and how I recovered my self-esteem.
I was in my mid-forties at this time and although I considered going back to school to become a therapist, I still had 3 kids at home and I lived way out in the country and couldn’t figure out how I would attend school if I did go back so I decided to become a professional coach. Since I was already working in the mental health arena, I chose a well-known American psychiatrist who was the dean of a reputable coaching institute, as my coaching instructor, so I could learn how to coach without crossing over into therapy. Read More→
I had a dream that caused me to wake up thinking about my relationship with my father who is passive abusive and emotionally unavailable and my relationship with my mother who believes that she comes first, simply because ‘she is the mom’. This dream resulted in me having a deeper understanding of just how I had never been seen by my parents and how deep my longing to be seen as an equally valuable individual was.
In this dream I was in someone’s home looking at family pictures on the walls. As the wife and mother of the children in the pictures proudly explained who was in each picture we came to a spot where two side by side photos showed the father with his little girl.
The little girl was about 5 years old; she wore an expensive and beautiful white frilly dress and her hair was curled and styled perfectly for the photos that were taken that day. But something wasn’t right…
In the first photo the father sat looking like a movie star with his perfect smile and charming disposition but the little girl in the princess dress, sitting on his knee was crying. She had tears streaming down her cheeks and I could see by the expression on her face, her tears were silent. She was silent.
In the second photo while the father sat posed, still gazing into the camera with his Hollywood looks and handsome smile, the little girl was trying to get away from him. She was off his lap, pulling with all her might, her muscles straining, her body angled away and towards her destination and her face screwed up with the effort of trying to escape his grasp but her father held fast to her tiny hand oblivious to anything but the photographer and the photo opportunity. Read More→
Recently I received a question that I thought would make a really great blog post. The question was; “In relation to leaving or reducing contact with your “FOO” (which stands for Family of Origin) do you feel guilty about going no contact with your family of origin?”
This is one of the most frequently asked questions that I receive and it is a really worthwhile topic to dig more deeply into. I know that my readers want to know the simple answer to these questions but if I wrote the simple answer you would only have my answer and I want you to know the answer for you; we are all individuals; the same answer doesn’t fit for all.
Not only do I get asked if I feel guilty, I get asked a lot of other related questions so here are a few quick facts:
Both of my parents are still alive. They are divorced and they have been divorced since I was a teenager.
I use my legal maiden name for this blog and on my book. I use the name that I was given when I was born. I actually had my married name legally changed back to my original name when I began to heal. There is something about doing that that made me feel like I was taking MY life back.
Both my parents and in fact my entire family are aware of my blog and what I am doing here. I don’t know if, when or how often they check on it, but I am not concerned about that. I am empowered with the knowledge and comprehension that it isn’t really any of their business what I am writing about OR what I am talking about. One of the hardest truths for me to embrace in my recovery was the fact that I have a right to talk about my life. I have a right to have feelings about what happened to me. I am an individual and not an extension of my family of origin. Busting through that brainwashing wasn’t the easiest thing that I have ever done; I was taught (brainwashed) to believe that I was wrong ~ to think for myself was wrong, to feel, talk, and to be me; I was always somehow ~ “wrong”. I was taught that I had no rights. I was taught what to believe about the world and about myself through all of the examples that I share in my blog. (For the ‘fast track version’ of this see my book “The beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” which you can access here on the upper right side bar)
I believe that the most important thing about writing publically or even about talking about my life and my family of origin is how I feel about what I am doing. I wish my family no malice or emotional harm. My motive is purely about delivering the message of hope, freedom and wholeness in a hurting world by illustrating how I found it for myself.
Getting back to the question ~ Do I Feel Guilty about Going No Contact with My Family of Origin?
Something that I really can’t emphasize enough is that going no contact was not a choice I made. Read More→