Archive for Self Esteem

the truth about neglect and child abuseIf there is ONE place that I recommend starting the emotional healing process, it is starting with the damage.  That might sound easy, but I had to actually find out what “the damage” to me was. 

I had to find out how I got broken.  What happened to my self esteem in the first place? How did my self esteem get so low? What happened to me? That was where the keys were and those were the keys that led to freedom. 

I remember when I realized that my depressions and dissociative issues came from somewhere; I sat stunned, repeating to myself over and over ~ What happened to ME?

I had to look at the roots. I thought that I was born depressed.  But the more I thought about it, how could that be?? There were actual events that caused damage and my depressions were in fact related to those events! I just had to see it. I had to finally SEE it. 

The biggest obstacles in my way were avoiding looking at how I used by others, how I was objectified and not considered to be equally human, and how I was failed by others. By avoiding looking at the truth about that, I was able to excuse the damage they caused.  I excused them because I had to. As a child, survival is of the utmost importance and if we start complaining about the people who are failing us, but are also in charge of our welfare, it is a pretty sure fact that we are not going to survive.

When I tell stories about teachers who were bullies or outsiders who devalued or abused me, I get a huge response. It is much easier to face the truth about someone outside of the family that hurt me and damaged me than it is to face the truth that my parents let me down, but the truth is that my parents knew about the bullying and the way it was effecting me, (I was sick in bed for months) and they avoided doing anything about it until I was so sick that the Dr whose care I was under, figured it out and MADE them do something about it.  As I have written before, my parents tried to resist the Doctor, but he threatened to get a court order on my behalf.

If the damage, (including the emotional damage) is excused and ignored… there is further damage. I am saying Read More→

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Finding my voice, beyond silence
“Alive” photo credit ~ Theodora MacLeod

I was not heard for most of my life. My voice was silenced in many ways. I was sexually abused from a young age. I don’t remember if I “told” or not in those young years, but there were signs. There were physical and mental distress signs that went unaddressed. That is a form of not being heard.

My mother used violence to vent her anger and frustration. My father either didn’t notice or didn’t care; he never tried to stop it. Who could I tell? The way things were in my family was “my normal”.  In my survival mode, I only knew to keep trying harder to be “good”, to be what those manipulative people wanted and to be quiet because it seemed to me that I was causing a problem for them.

I don’t know how I kept going.

 I know I told about a teacher who was emotionally and psychologically abusing me in grade 5. I told but I was ignored. I was shushed. I was silenced. I was lectured about “respecting my elders.” I was not heard.  When I finally got so sick that the pediatric specialist asked to speak to me alone (without my parents) he ordered my parents to take me out of the class I was in. My parents didn’t want to do it and the Dr. said he was going to get a court order if they didn’t remove me from the presence of that teacher.

That doctor heard me. But my parents did not hear me. I felt I was “wrong” for telling. I knew that I had caused Read More→

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psychological abuse emotional abuse

Pondering Freedom

I was dying my whole life; I just didn’t know it until I started living.

The fog that I grew up with was almost completely transparent. I didn’t know that I didn’t know. I lived in a false normal and growing up like that was the way it was. It was my truth and my “real”. I didn’t know that there was any other way. I didn’t know that I didn’t know there was indeed another way; most of my life, my reality and my truth were dysfunctional.  The adults, the reality all malfunctioned.

And therefore so did I.

That is what living in a dysfunctional family was like for me. Those were the effects of psychological abuse emotional abuse and trauma. That is the effect of being groomed and being trained in silence, compliance, obedience and obligation. That is what happens when a child is taught that their value as an individual is not the same as the value of others. There are consequences and negative results when we are raised in a false normal.

Psychological abuse is at the root of all forms of abuse. It is part of the grooming process. Emotional abuse and neglect makes a statement to a child. Abuse in any form makes a statement about human value. It teaches things that to the child that no child should be taught.  It teaches the WRONG thing.

Sexual and physical abuse leave a child living in fear every day of their lives. It doesn’t make “sense”; abuse is incomprehensible and as a child I had to try to understand. Trying to understand something that is incomprehensible as a child is impossible.  So, I “tried” to understand “them” for the rest of my life and as I was slowly dying I didn’t realize that my life was being extinguished by the very people who Read More→

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abusive dysfunctional relationshipsHave you ever had fantastic exciting news and when you went to tell family, co-workers or perhaps your friends, you were met with a put down or some version of a put down? 

Have you ever walked away from telling your exciting news feeling somehow defeated or dejected or feeling disappointed and rejected; as though your good news somehow wasn’t that good anymore?

I have had major issues with this in my lifetime.

People who were “supposed to love me”; family, boyfriends and people who were “supposed to be my friends” said things like;

 “Well it can’t be that great”. What’s the catch?” Or “how did YOU get that award or offer?”  What about; “Why you?  Why would they pick you?”  

These types of statements have a clear message attached to them. The message is “WHY would anyone see value in YOU?” Those statements communicated to me what the speaker THOUGHT about me and how they defined my value and worth.

There were often really devaluing questions about the motives of whoever was acknowledging me; Questions like “are you Read More→

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High Self Esteem and Self Value
Beautiful Self Esteem

I was raised to believe that I had less importance than the adults in my life. At first glance that may sit okay with most people. Perhaps it feels “right” and “logical”. Perhaps I had no reason to believe otherwise in the first place.  As children we are not born with truth filters. We learn what we are taught is the truth. We accept what is modeled to us AS truth.  But the truth we are taught is often false truth. 

Emerging from Broken is largely about how I uncovered that false truth and re wired my brain to understand and accept the true truth.

It felt right and even logical to accept that adults were more important than I was when I thought about it the way that I believed “importance was measured.” I was a child; a dependent child. I believed that the adults were important because they provided. They brought home the food and until I was a young teen, they cooked it. Adults provided me with clothing and shelter. They sent me to school where other important adults taught me what I needed to learn in order for me to become an adult myself.  Adults met my physical needs and in many ways they had all the power; both good and bad. Looking at it that way, I could easily agree that Read More→

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control tactics of manipulative peopleSome people act as though they believe that there is not enough love in the world to go around. They act as though they need to make sure that they are getting all your love and no one else is getting any of it as though if you love anyone else these controlling people will “miss out” on some of your love.  In the past I put a lot of effort into trying to make these people feel like my love for them would never run out because I mistakenly believed that my love for them, could save them and if I could save them, they would love me back and that would save me.

And at the same time it seems as though these controlling and manipulative people also believe and go to great length to communicate, that if you love yourself, you will be spending your love allowance on yourself instead of on them. Heaven forbid that happens! This “don’t love yourself” concept is taught in tons of ways always with the threat of becoming a horrible selfish person if you do anything to nurture or acknowledge your own value.

They picked on the way that I dressed. They picked at the way I did my hair. They picked at me all the time to make sure that I was feeling bad about myself. To make sure that I was trying harder. To make sure that my self esteem was kept low. To make sure that I was always questioning myself and not questioning them. And all of it was presented as thought their judgement was “for my own good”. That this “picking at me” and criticizing me was going to make me a better Read More→

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emerging from broken founder darlene ouimet
Darlene Ouimet at home

Earlier this week, in the midst of a difficult day where it seemed that everything required my time and attention and Iwas really short on time, out of the blue I got this comment. I got a comment from a lady telling me that my blog, Emerging from Broken; my work made a difference to her and then to the grade 4 through 6 students that she teaches.

The timing could not have been more perfect for me.  It was the lift I needed. I speak about “the ripple effect” and I long to make a big difference in the world and although I get tons of fan mail and excellent validating comments on my blog every day, this comment is about a difference that I made when someone stumbled across my work.  She understood my message and she changed her message.  That is really Read More→

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Mixed messages about rape

where I will be this week

We live in a society that teaches “don’t get raped” instead of “don’t rape”.  And we wonder why we are so filled with guilt and shame when we get raped. We mistakenly believe that we somehow didn’t prevent ourselves from getting raped.

And some of us even question what others “did” to get raped because we are so conditioned to think in terms of “don’t get raped, instead of “don’t rape” ~  as though the weight of the crime should be shared between the victim and the perpetrator or even worse that the weight of the crime rests mostly on the victim.  

And the weight of the crime should not be shared. There is no excuse for rape.

When we are treated unfairly or unjustly we try our hardest to understand why someone would treat us that way and when we have been told that we get what we deserve or that everything that happens to us is our own fault, we look for what we did to cause it. If this brainwashing is done well, then when we are beaten black and blue, we believe Read More→

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Messages recieved in Childhood

one step closer

I had a hard time with self love as long as I saw myself through the eyes of the people who defined me as “unworthy”.  I saw myself through their actions and through the way that they treated me. They treated me as though I was “not good enough” and not important.

For instance when I was in a crowd of family and trying to be part of the conversation but no one heard me. I would say something and sometimes I would be ignored. Sometimes I would get a cold blank look as if to say “you have nothing to contribute here”.  At least that is the message that I got.

Imagine a young child. The child is trying to get the attention of his mother. He is trying to tell his mother that there is a kite in the sky. But the mother won’t look.  She won’t acknowledge the child’s pleas for her to share the moment with him. He keeps trying; he keeps tugging her sleeve or patting her arm… “Mommy, look! There is a kite in the sky! Mommy LOOK!” The mother brushes him off. She is reading a book and doesn’t care about the kite. She shrugs him off at first, but as he becomes more persistent, she pushes him Read More→

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demeaning and demanding peopleI reached a point in my adult life where I found myself wondering why some people who seemed to be so nice to other people, were not so nice to me.  I realized as I grew in this process of emotional healing that it had a lot to do with my own inner value. It was as though people could “see” how much I would put up with. My worth, before I emerged from broken had a lot to do with what I could do for others. I thought that my value was in what I had to offer. A lot of people took advantage of me and used me. I did a lot of service work but wasn’t really appreciated for it. I tried not to do if for the appreciation, but when people treated me like I didn’t matter, it really hurt me. I bent over backwards to “be good enough to deserve acceptance.”

I had to learn to value myself ~ enough to call them on it. I had to realize that they were wrong to treat me that way and if I let it go, they were likely to keep doing it. I had to care enough about me to reject that kind of treatment. I had to realize that when people talk down to me, it doesn’t define me as beneath them.  On the other hand I also had to learn that when people fall all over themselves to be with me, that doesn’t define me as worthy either. That was the false definition of love and acceptance that I had to come to understand in this process of emotional healing.

This was a huge part of my recovery process.

First I had to own my anger at this injustice towards me as a person.  I had to own my equality and believe in myself. Instead of constantly asking myself what was wrong with me and searching my heart for how I could be worthy of love and respect, I started to ask myself why people felt they had permission to Read More→

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