Archive for Therapy
It is very common that when the lights go on and we start to come out of ‘the fog’ that we realize we have been living in for a long time, we are excited to tell others what we are discovering and it is frustrating when they react as though we are crazy. You know that look; the look that says “WHAT the HECK? You must be Nuts”
Sometimes people try to talk us out of what we are discovering before we are even finished talking about it. Even worse is when people refuse to listen at all as if to say that if they can’t ‘shut us down’ they will simply block us out. This type of reaction is defining in the way that it sent me the message that I was not worth listening to, or that I ‘was crazy’ or out of my mind, ridiculous, exaggerating etcetera. It was dismissive. The bottom line with these types of reactions is that I had been discounted, devalued, not permitted to have any impact and very much what exactly what I have been used to living with for so long, so the automatic response is NOT to fight to have a voice, it was to question myself again.
It’s typical for a survivor of any type of abuse to try and understand “why” these people do not want to ‘hear them’ and it is also typical to conclude that the person on the receiving end of our story is rejecting our story because they don’t understand it, have never been a victim of any type of abuse, neglect or devaluing/discounting treatment and don’t relate to it in any personal way.
But this is usually NOT why the receiver of the information we so desperately want to discuss, will reject our discoveries. It is far more common that the receiver of this information is Read More→
“It wasn’t just that I didn’t know what I was feeling; I was also afraid to acknowledge my feelings in case they were wrong. Survival for me had become about making sure that I didn’t do or say the wrong thing”. Darlene Ouimet
This morning my husband needed me to pick him up at one of our hay fields where he was dropping off his semi in preparation to haul some hay. The ground is covered in several inches of snow here and the last couple of days have been mild and the snow is very heavy, wet and slippery now. He pulled into the field in the Semi and I was driving the pick-up truck close behind. I was trying to ‘guess’ where he was going to park the Semi with the good intention of picking him up to avoid making him trek on foot through the snow. I advanced into the field and he held his hand up to alert me to ‘stop’ where I was. I felt uncomfortable.
He seemed to be driving the semi in random patterns and I jumped to the conclusion that I must have gotten in his way when I drove into the field. I assumed that he was trying to back the Semi up to the haystack, but he couldn’t because I was parked in between the Semi and the stack. I tried to get out of the way but I realized it was really slippery and I was starting to get stuck in the snow. On top of that, I didn’t know exactly where to ‘go’ now and I didn’t want to make things worse, so I just stayed where I was.
I became aware of my old default mode coming up. My old default mode operated under the belief that I could never do the right thing and that I always did something stupid when I was trying to help. I felt my face get a little hot. I imagined that Read More→
It is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada and I have been thinking about gratitude these past few days in relation to the past and the present. I had been in the process of ‘trying’ to heal a lot longer than I have been in the actual process of healing and I have many new insights today that I didn’t have in the past.
Something that sprang to mind this morning while I was doing my gratitude journal* was how much the way that I practice gratitude has changed over the last few years.
I have heard most of my adult like that practicing gratitude is one of the most important aspects in any kind of recovery and I am no newbie to the action of being grateful. What is different today is that I don’t have that little voice in the background reprimanding me for my failure with the concept of gratitude.
For example, my gratitude practice in the past would go something like this:
“I am grateful for the abundance in my life! I have food, shelter, clothing and friends. I have everything I need” and the little reprimanding voice full of self-defeating disgust would respond “jeeze but you still think you are so hard done by; you have no excuse for ever being depressed, you have no excuse for ever being sad, you are pathetic and you SHOULD be grateful. If you were really grateful you would not have any of those ‘problems’ that you have.”
The problem is that I didn’t actually ‘hear’ the voice. It was hidden under the surface of my mind, whispering at me constantly, tearing me down in my subconscious and I didn’t actually ‘hear it’ until Read More→
I decided to do a search on Google using the key words “belief system” and one of the first things that came up was the instruction to “challenge your belief system” (not much instruction on “how to do the how”) But one of the suggestions on challenging your belief system struck me as odd; it said ~ “choose like minded friends”
That is an interesting directive; I chose like minded friends most of my life. And when I thought about that statement, choosing like minded friends was actually natural and also a part of the problem. Like minded isn’t always a positive thing!
~ As a child at school I chose other kids who were withdrawn like I was. I fit in better with them.
~When I was a young adult, I chose other survivors of dysfunctional families who were in denial. We stayed in denial together.
~ I chose men who thought that they were more important than I was. I didn’t think I agreed with them, but my actions and the acceptance of the way that they treated me as “less than them” shows that we were in fact like minded.
~I chose friends who like me, were pretending that their lives were wonderful. We were like minded in our denial.
~ Sometimes I chose girlfriends that “used me” and took advantage of me to baby sit their kids or Read More→
I am pleased to have guest writer Kylie Devi writing about Unhelpful Mental Health Providers this week at Emerging from Broken. Many of us have been through the mental health system with less than wonderful results. In this post Kylie shares examples of how helping professionals failed her in her quest to overcome the devastation of childhood sexual abuse and how she emerged victorious in spite of them. ~ Darlene
To Shrink? Or Not To Shrink… by Kylie Devi
I have been raped, repeatedly. I have lived to tell my story. I healed by creating my own support systems, and not so much from psychology or therapy. I am sure there are many loving people with good intentions in the field, but the “system” is not set up for healing. The “get better” industry doesn’t thrive on people “getting better.” So for me, I realized I was going to have to take it into my own hands. I did whatever it took. And it took a lot. Writing, crying, sharing my story, connecting with anger, releasing guilt and shame. Forming bonds with people who deserved my trust. Simple things that seemed complicated at the time. That is what allowed my healing to occur.
I made FOUR solid attempts at rape and crisis counseling. These experiences are comical to me now, but at the time they were re-traumatizing, life shattering, and felt like a second rape. I was addicted to drugs, destroying my relationships, and hanging on to my will to live by a piece of dental floss. I knew that childhood sexual abuse and rape in my teenage years was the root of why I was creating my life in such a way. I reached out for help where I could. Free county rape counseling, student rape crisis centers, expensive psychotherapy. Every time it was so hard to find the courage to ask for help when the previous counselor had either failed to create space for my experience to be real, thickening the denial I already had to deal with within myself, or Read More→
“Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is YOU who will get you where you want to go, no one else.” Les Brown
There is a critical fact that I had to DRILL into my brain in order to get the full benefit of the process of emotional healing.
EMOTIONAL HEALING DEPENDS ON ME
My emotional healing would not have been accelerated if my mother or father suddenly admitted their part in all the dysfunction that I grew up with. It would have been wonderful and today it might mean that we could restore our relationship and heal the damage there, but it would not be the source of my emotional healing. It would not be the necessary fuel.
Emotional healing would not have happened more rapidly if my parents sincerely apologized to me for the damage that they contributed to in my childhood. It might have helped a bit but it would not be where the healing comes from.
My emotional healing would not have happened faster if Read More→
This week I am pleased to have Lynn Tolson guest posting here on Emerging from Broken. Many of you know Lynn; she is a frequent commenter and contributor to the conversations here in EFB. Lynn is an advocate and the author of “Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor’s Story” ~ Please help me welcome Lynn and as always, please share your thoughts in the comments section.
Learning to feel feelings Isn’t Always Easy by Lynn C. Tolson
In therapy, clients talk about their feelings. Therapists ask, “How are you feeling today?” Conversations with my therapist(s) frequently sounded like this:
“I don’t know.”
“You must be feeling something.”
“Please, tell me what it feels like.”
“I don’t know.”
I shrugged my shoulders, which was not an acceptable answer to the question of “how are you feeling.” How should I know? I had no clue, no compass, and no map to lead me through the hot and sweaty tropical jungle of twisted emotional thorny vines that lay strangled with family secrets and lies.
My step-father had taught me to deny my feelings at Read More→
I am pleased and excited to have guest blogger Susan Kingsley-Smith sharing about dysfunctional relationships within the mental health system while I am away on vacation. Susan is my friend and fellow truth seeker, as well as the author of “A Journey” and I’m also blessed to have her as a frequent commenter here on Emerging from Broken. As always, please contribute by adding your own comments and feedback ~ Darlene Ouimet
Dysfunctional Relationship with Mental Health Providers by Susan Kingsley-Smith
I’d have never imagined that in my healing journey I would find myself healing from not only the original trauma’s of my childhood but that I would also be faced with mourning the life I lost to a second trauma; that of becoming victim to those I’d turned to for help.
I’d been conditioned from an early age to not question authority. To do as I was told; and especially to view my doctors and other health care professionals as the authority over my health. In hindsight though, what I discovered, is that my early life experiences of abuse had set me up to become a victim to any relationship or system that was based on my sacrificing myself in order to appease those in authority. Continued.. Read More→