Archive for Family
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→
“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→
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→
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→
“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 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→
I get really angry when I think about the degree of spiritual abuse that is ‘out there’ and how victims are preached LIES about right and wrong and how the name of GOD is used to back up those lies. It upsets me that the name of God is used to guilt and shame abuse victims and survivors into staying silent. This is such a common tactic that controlling people use, it makes me sick.
Take the forgiveness directive for example and how people insist that blind forgiveness is what God would want us to do; even on the EFB facebook page people post daily that forgiveness is the solution to healing from child abuse and that jumping straight to forgiveness is for the victim’s freedom without ever considering that forgiveness in most of the cases WE are referring to, is towards perpetrators and offenders who DENY that they have ever done anything wrong. Here in Emerging from Broken we are not talking about people who are sincerely sorry for what they have done and are asking for forgiveness and making the effort to stop causing harm. We are talking about people who either say that they didn’t do it, OR they stand behind their entitlement for doing it and they don’t want forgiveness NOR are they willing to repent or stop doing the abusive things that are doing. In this way, by being taught that forgiveness for those types of perpetrators is a solution, victims of child abuse (and even ongoing abuse, disrespect and devaluing treatment on into adulthood) are further invalidated and re-abused.
Often times, when victims of abuse perpetrated by a family member or close friend try to talk about what happened to them, they are told to “get over it” or “forgive and forget” and a whole host of other little sayings designed to make the victim feel bad about talking. And not just to feel bad about ‘talking’ about it, the victim ends up feeling bad about what happened to them as if it was something he or she did wrong to attract it in the first place and even believing that their ‘feelings’ about it are unfounded.
Talking about what happened to me is not “negative.” Talking about it doesn’t bring shame on the survivor of the abuse, the Church or on the name of Jesus Christ. It brings shame on Read More→
Many of you have heard about the 5 year old little girl Alexa Linboom who was disciplined for drinking her step mothers grape soda without permission and as a punishment her father and step-mother forced her to drink 2.4 litres of water and several cans of grape soda which caused her to die. “Both parents were charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and two counts of aggravated child neglect.” (court date for this trial is Scheduled for October 2014)
Here is a summary paragraph, but if you are interested in the whole story follow the highlighted sentences and links at the end of the post. “The Vaughns disciplined Alexa by forcing her to drink about 2.4 liters of fluid, including several 12-ounce cans of grape soda, in a span of one to two hours, according to an autopsy report prepared by the Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University. She was bruised throughout her body and had cuts on her face, the report states.”
In an effort to show what children and adult survivors of child abuse are up against with the way society views child abuse, I am writing about the commenters who STUCK UP for the parents in this situation, saying that the punishment (charged with murder) they received for their actions which ultimately caused this little girl’s DEATH, was too harsh.
The autopsy report and even the charges state that there were signs of ongoing abuse and neglect but some people commenting still defend the abusive parents.
It has been my experience that sticking up for abusive parents is about parental entitlement; if anything threatens the ‘rights’ of the parents, some people will freak out and defend parents; even parents who caused the death of their child. Adults posted on this article that their parents disciplined them in a similar way and they ‘turned out fine’. Some defended the parents saying that it wasn’t ‘that much liquid’ and they go down the rabbit trail leading nowhere defending that this little girl ‘should have been able to drink that much liquid’… As though the specialists who performed the autopsy must have made a mistake, but the bottom line is that there are people who are completely willing to ignore the DEATH of this child that directly resulted from the punishment she was given because validating that the child DIED as a result of the punishment, threatens Read More→
This weekend some of us celebrate Father’s Day in some parts of the world including Canada and the United States. Father’s day can be a really tough time of year emotionally for many of us who have been raised in dysfunctional families or where we have been taught that love is proven (by children) through obedience, compliance and service. It helped me to realize that if obedience, compliance and service is love, why isn’t it returned in the same way to the children in dysfunctional families. Why are the rules different for some people? Why aren’t we loved in the same way that we are taught to love? When the rules are different for some people, it isn’t really love; it is a false definition of love that causes confusion. Emerging from Broken is about breaking free from all that confusion by enabling clarity.
Typically, there is more resistance when looking at issues we have with our fathers, and it is okay if that is what you are feeling when you read this. This is painful stuff! It took me a lot longer to acknowledge the pain that my father caused me with his passive abusive actions and inactions than it took me to see the pain that my mother caused me with her more overt treatment. And father’s day was hard the first few years after I drew my boundary because I missed the idea of a loving father; I missed the hope that he might ‘see me’ one day. Letting go of the fantasy was like a death and there is grieving and sadness in the emotional healing process when Read More→