I saw a quote that said, “I’m exhausted from trying to be stronger than I feel.” And it really hit me; we live in a world that teaches things like “fake it till you make it” and “love heals all wounds” but the truth is that those lovely little phrases didn’t work for me. Pretending that I was fine and “believing” that LOVE would heal all wounds when the people who had done the wounding were telling me to “get over it” and “stop making such a big deal out of nothing” didn’t assist with the pain that I was in. It wasn’t until I realized what love really is that I was able to understand how love could heal my wounds. It wasn’t until I acknowledged where the exhaustion came from and how the wounds got there in the first place that I found healing.
I was exhausted too. I was exhausted from trying to be happy and from trying to be grateful for a life that seemed to be getting harder and harder. I was exhausted from being who other people wanted and expected me to be. I was exhausted from always trying harder and exhausted because nothing I did ever being enough.
I was exhausted because nobody heard me and because nobody cared that I was exhausted.
And I just couldn’t understand it. I believed that I might be the only person in the world that didn’t know how to make simple “gratitude” work for me; although I was practicing gratitude, it wasn’t working. I felt defeated. I felt stifled. I felt oppressed, I was weary and plain down to the bone tired.
I believed that I had nothing to be unhappy about. And that made me feel guilty and ashamed of myself. I believed that I was living my dream; great husband, three amazing kids, ~ living on a huge farm/ranch with my own horses and the best dog in the world.
But I wasn’t happy. I was exhausted. Read More→
Abusers will point at minor issues going down trails leading nowhere designed to confuse the situation in order to discredit you along the way enabling them to be right and to defend their actions and position of power and entitlement.” Darlene Ouimet
The final straw is rarely the biggest issue and although the issue that I highlight in the following article may seem like a pretty big one, it was really just another event in a long line of events where I didn’t count.
The final straw for me has been different with different people and depending on the situation but the bottom line of this article can be applied to situations involving almost anyone that has you in a position of less power or value than they see themselves as having.
In the case of my mother the final straw was when she called me one day and said that she needed to talk to me about something. She told me that when I was in Arizona visiting my brother, I had said something to his wife that had caused a bit of a stir.
At this point I had been coming out of the fog for about a year and a half, I had been working with a therapist, I had attended a few workshops about recognizing the abuse of power and control in relationships and I was really catching on to the way that I had been defined by the ways I had been regarded and disregarded by my mother as a child, teenager and adult. So when she said “when you were in Arizona” the first thing that I did was the math and I quickly realized that my mother was talking about something that had happened 8 months prior to this phone call; I immediately recognized that “this incident” which was about me, had been discussed for a very long time behind my back. Here is how it went; Read More→
Mothers Day can be a rough time for survivors of dysfunctional family relationships. The key to overcoming all the emotional baggage that comes up with the pain of mothers day has been to take a look at what that pain is where that pain originated.
We are told from a young age that our parents know best. We are told and convinced that they love us and are doing their best and that they always do what is best for us. We are taught that they are right. The problem is that when we are dismissed, devalued or discounted by these same parents we don’t know how to reconcile those two polar opposite teachings. On the one hand, we have been brainwashed (convinced) to believe that that there is nothing as beautiful as a mothers love. On the other hand we are hurt by the dismissal of our mothers. Our pain has been minimized; we have been told that we exaggerate, that we outright lie, that we are too sensitive, that we are crazy, that we are don’t remember what “really happened”.
These are deflection tactics motivated by the need to cover up the truth. Mothers will jump straight to saying that we are ungrateful. “After all I have done for you, this is how you treat me!”
My mother would say; “Oh Darlene, you think you are so hard done by!” I never once thought about what that meant, I just felt the burn of shame for being ‘that daughter’… the daughter that thought her own mother was selfish. That daughter that thought her own mother was unloving and shame on me, for not understanding how hard it had been for my poor mother. I felt guilty for feeling frustrated. After all, my mother went through a lot in her life. And the whole world teaches that there is nothing as strong and protective as a mothers love.
The whole world teaches that a mother does the best she can.
A loving mother does her very best.
So I had to take a look at what a loving mother is. What does love do? What does love look like?
Does love ignore? Does love dismiss? Does love turn a blind eye to a child’s fear or to a child’s feelings? Is a parent entitled to follow different rules when it comes to love?
Is it possible that just maybe not all mothers are ‘loving’? Read More→
Emerging From Broken –
‘The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing’ is available NOW.
How many times have you heard the instruction “Just Let It Go”? How many times have you personally been commanded to “let it go and move on”? How many ways is that statement communicated to people who are simply trying to justify their pain? How many insensitive people tell hurt people to “forgive and forget” or to “stop living in the past”? Last week, someone on the Emerging From Broken Facebook page directed ‘everyone’ on the page to “get over it and just let it go” and this sweeping, careless statement inspired me to write from a slightly different view point about the directive “Let it Go”.
In my view today, letting go is no longer about trying to simply forget injustices done to me. It is rather offensive to have been directed to let go of wrongs that had never been acknowledged in the first place. I was being told to ‘forget’ events that were mean, wicked and sometimes even illegal and to stop trying to have my pain validated. I was being told to let go of things that most of the people in my life were denying ever happened to me.
And you know what;
I did let go. Here is what I let go of;
I let go of the idea that successful relationship depends only on me.
I let go of the expectation that things would change if I just tried hard enough.
I let go of the belief that if only I could figure out how to be who they wanted me to be, that they would love me.
I let go of the hope that I would one day be good enough to be seen as an individual with valid thoughts and opinions of my own and I realized that they don’t get to decide how valid I am OR how valid my decisions and opinions are.
I let go of the idea (that I had been brainwashed to believe) that I had no choice. Read More→
“In the minds of my parents, they are the victims; I am the abuser.” Christina Enevoldsen
I began writing this blog post a few years ago inspired by the blog post on the Overcoming Sexual Abuse website “Exposing the Incest Family Secrets”. In this article Christina Enevoldsen shares about how her mother’s dismissive treatment of her makes it clear that the message is “you are nothing”. She quotes her mother’s statements about her and the fact that her parents sued her for writing her blog, “Overcoming Sexual Abuse” exposing her father for sexually abusing her and her mother for disregarding it. Christina’s parents sued her for defamation of character and emotional distress. Through their case, they wanted to shut down OSA and silence her voice.
Christina and I have become close personal friends through the passion we share for advocacy work. The fact that her parents sued her had a dramatic effect on me. An anger and frustration came up in me that caused me to lose sleep; I could NOT get my head around how a sexually abusive parent could SUE the child that was sexually abused. Christina’s parents were suing for ‘emotional damages’. In Christina’s article she shares about the way she was convinced that she was ‘nothing’ and how she went on to regard herself as nothing just as they taught her her value.
In her Article, Christina writes about her struggle and breakthrough in dealing with the deeply implanted childhood belief that she really was the bad person that her parents accused her of. She makes a statement in her article that just jumped out at me and hit me ‘differently’ and at a deeper level than usual. She wrote “Abuse is about powering over someone else. I’m not taking away my dad’s power; I’m claiming my own power. I’m exercising MY right to tell MY story of MY life.”
I have known for a long time now that abuse IS about powering over someone else but what struck me differently is the way abusers, manipulators and controllers see this statement; the way that parents with entitlement beliefs UNDERSTAND this statement is what struck me as shocking. Read More→
When I began to see my life through the grid of “what happened to me” instead of through asking myself (and others) “what’s wrong with me” I was able to see things with new eyes and a new understanding based more on the truth instead of the lies I believed about myself that formed from the ways I was regarded and disregarded growing up. I write about how I accomplished that here in this website all the time. But what about after we have realized that it’s what happened to us, and not what is wrong with us? Although the healing process isn’t an overnight thing, there are a few things that I learned to do in order to pull myself back up when I felt weak or when I started thinking that maybe it really was me that was the problem after all.
When I began to see things through that more truthful grid of understanding, I was able to change those self-doubts into the understanding that I deserved and always had deserved better treatment. Every time I tried to understand WHY these people did this stuff to me or why they didn’t see me or hear me, I reminded myself that their actions and disregard of me was about them and it didn’t define me; I reminded myself that that I deserved better. It doesn’t really matter what is wrong with them, I just have to know (through looking at the truth leaking details) that I am not who they said I was.
And even though I built a really solid new foundation for my new self-esteem, something that I got stuck in on and off for a while was constantly questioning if I was being too judgemental of the people in my life that were discounting me. I kept going back to that old belief that maybe it was me.
Once we have begun building a new foundation based on the truth about who we really are instead of based on how we were taught who we are, we can bring change to our self-talk as well but just how do we do that and really stay strong in the new belief that we are worthy and just as valuable as every other human being?
And this is the subject of my new Video interview with Abuse Survivor, Coach, speaker, blogger and facilitator Svava Brooks for the Journey to the Heart Online Summit.
This video summit interview is no longer available.
In my interview I talk about how I went forward on the journey back to me on those days when I had self-doubts. After I realized that it was the false definitions of who I am and who I was that were at the root of the problem there were some key things I did in order to move forward and I share some really great tools that I developed and used to move get unstuck and get stronger and you can use those tools too.
Register for the Journey to the Heart Summit and listen to my interview. I am going to talk about how I still use these same tools to get over that particular stick point of thinking that maybe I am the one who is wrong or that maybe I really did deserve the way I was treated and I use these tools to help my clients to do that too.
This complimentary Summit starts on Friday Jan. 15th 2016 and you can listen and watch the videos at your convenience, but it’s only free for a limited time.
When you register for the Journey to the Heart online Summit you will have access not only to my interview~ there are over 20 other healing experts participating so for a limited time you will be able to listen to them all at your convenience.
Please register today ~ The Summit goes live on Friday Jan. 15th 2016. Remember; I’m sharing some specific tools that I still use to this day to put myself on the fast track to getting over any stick points that may come up. There is no cost and no obligation. See all the details here. Journey To The Heart Online Summit
The Last Summit I participated in with Svava was a huge success! This one is all NEW and I am really excited about it. Will you join me and all the other experts?
Are you aware of the The Emerging from Broken book “The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing”? If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to busting out of the fog and to healing. Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing
This time of year can be really difficult for survivors of dysfunctional family dynamics, and survivors of any kind of childhood trauma, abuse and or neglect. The same applies to the situation for adult children who have been or are currently dealing with narcissistic mother or narcissistic parent issues or abusive and emotionally unavailable parents in general.
I get lots of email from people asking me how I dealt with the whole ‘going no contact’ issue. When this time of year rolls around, those questions are triplicated. There is just something about Christmas that triggers us to wonder if we are in fact the actual problem when it comes to strained relationship with members of our families and something about this time of year makes us revisit our self-doubt whether we have already made the decision to go no contact or if we are simply trying to sort out if we even have a right to feel discounted or if we imagined the whole dysfunctional family thing.
In particular at this time of year, I get asked to address parental rights when it comes to our children and their relationship with our parents, their grandparents.
Because I have been putting everything through the ‘truth grid of understanding’ for so long now, there are things that are much more obvious or logical to me now, then they were 10 years ago and today I look at it this way; Read More→
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→