Dec
01

False Beliefs like I KNOW I Would be OKAY if …

By

 

Am I okay without a man

Darlene and Jim

My parents split up and eventually divorced when I was just turning 13 years old. After my mother went through her suicidal phase she started dating. She had not been separated from my father for very long when she started dating. Men and dating became her priority.

Through her behaviour she communicated to me that attracting men was the way to cope with low self esteem and pain. Looking back on what she taught me and how she impacted my belief system, she herself believed that men and having a man in her life was what she needed more than anything else.  She believed that she needed a man in order to survive. She needed a man in order for her to feel complete or even good about herself. Men defined her as worthy and good enough.  Her self esteem came from them. Their attraction to her identified her. Having a man meant that my mom was okay.

I had learned from my mother’s actions, words and teachings that men were the most important connection or relationship a woman can have. Because belief systems grow from layers of information, add to that teaching what I learned from the media (movies and books)  and from observing dysfunctional relationships in the la la land stages of love and there you have how I came to believed that the right man was the answer for me too. I thought that having a man (boyfriend) would mean that I was okay too.

When my parents split up, I was at the stage in life where I was noticing boys.  I wanted one for myself.  I wanted to be validated and cherished and good enough.  If men could sooth my mother’s hurts, then they must be able to sooth mine too. If men were the answer to all life’s problems for my mother, then they must be my answer too!

And at the age of 13 who knows anything about what “right one” would look like other than from the relationships that have already been modeled for us?

I believed that men were the answer, NOT because I saw the belief work, but because my mother believed it so deeply she communicated it to me in 100 ways; when she was in the beginning stages of a new romance she was so happy.  She would sing and play records. She did her hair and dressed a little more special.  She seemed to have higher self esteem. She seemed to like life more. I wanted her to be happy and not be in so much pain and it seemed that men were the answer to overcoming that pain and sadness, and like I said, if it worked for her, there was every reason to believe that it would work for me too.  I really wanted to be okay and I thought I would be is only someone said that I was!

I learned this false belief; that other people could define me as worthy. In fact I learned and believed that the ONLY way that I could be defined as worthy was through other people. Because of the example my mother set for me however, I thought that being defined as worthy by men however, was the “ultimate form of worthy”.  

I learned from all the people in my life that other people could validate me or invalidate me. This had been what had happened to me since I was born. I was rewarded (validated) when I did what was expected of me and I was punished (invalidated) when I disappointed.  Behaviour modification techniques can be a dangerous practice that results in teaching a child a false understanding of their own self worth and identity.

The foundation had been laid for me to for me to conclude that men were the answer to my low self esteem when I watched the positive effect that a man could have on my mothers demeanour. 

My mother rarely got hurt by a man so that was not my fear. My fear was not being loved. By the age of 13, I thought men were my last chance at ever being loved.

In that sick dysfunctional relationship system, the men that I was attracting were also looking for someone to define THEM as worthy too.  The false definition of love took over; I tried to prove that my man was lovable by my devotion and compliance to him. I tried to make HIM feel like HE was OKAY. That was what I had been taught love was. Ultimately in the false definition of love in these dysfunctional relationships, the more I sacrificed myself, the more I thought that I “proved” my love. Those men constantly asked for more devotion and compliance and I believed (as I had in my dysfunctional relationship with my mother) that if I found the right KEY to show him how wonderful and lovable HE was (especially at my own expense and by putting myself and my needs aside) then HE would no longer believe that there was anything missing in him and when he knew that, I was sure he would love me in return.

In the false definition of love, I had my ideas about what “proved love” and it was always about sacrifice because that’s what I was taught about love. I will give up my personal style of dress because he wants me to dress differently and that will prove how much I love him. I will give up my favourite TV show because he doesn’t like it and that will prove how important that HE is to me.  I won’t have certain friends because he says that they make me act differently when I am around them and if I walk away from them and choose him that will prove that I love him.  I will stop talking on the phone when he is home and I will watch sports with him or let him do things to me in the bedroom that made me feel sick and that will prove that I love him. In that false definition of love and in those dysfunctional relationships, I believed that if I could be who he wants me to be then he will love me. And when I am finally loved, I will be okay.

The truth is that when I finally loved me, I was okay. When I found me and embraced me, I was okay. When I realized that putting myself last is the same as agreeing that I am not worthy, and that I am not as “important” as they are, and when I stopped doing that; I was okay. When I found out that putting my needs last was not ‘selfless” and in fact it communicated that even I knew that my needs were actually less than anyone else’s and when I stopped doing that and I embraced the truth that my needs are just as important as everyone else’s, I was okay. When I said no to proving I was worthy of love, I was okay. I don’t have to prove it. It is already true. I was born worthy. When I realized that other people don’t define me as worthy, good enough, valuable or lovable and that I don’t need others to validate that in me, THEN I was okay.

(But first, I had to learn a whole new definition of love.)

Please share your thoughts.

Another snap shot on the journey to wholenes;

Darlene Ouimet 

Related Posts ~ (The words in the post in coloured bold print are also related posts)

 My parents did the best they could according to who? 

~You Reap what you sow ~ what about child abuse

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Categories : Freedom & Wholeness

49 Comments

1

This post is so incredibly awesome. There are so many things that you said that make me think that my mind is going in a million different directions. I’ve been looking at the way I treat myself the last couple of days and I realized that I always put myself last. I found that I actually objectify myself just as everyone else had been doing. This week I noticed that if I don’t accomplish something, I feel like I’ve wasted the day. If I spend the day watching tv or reading a book I feel like I don’t have as much worth, as though I see my worth only in what I can do, the way my abusers have treated me.

I also have been examining my perception of love. My father has been trying to call me all week, but after being honest with myself about how toxic our “relationship” was I knew I didn’t want any contact with him. I had only continued any contact for as long as I did because I felt obligated. I know now that the obligation I felt was the fact that I felt I had to pay him back for “loving” me. I had been raised to believe that there was a payment for the love my parents showed me, which wasn’t love but just an absence of overt hatred. They still belittled me and hurt me, but they allowed me in their presence. They allowed me to be included even if only marginally. In a thousand ways they communicated that that “kindness” would cost me something and that was complete devotion and servitude.

They used that promise of love and acceptance as a lure, a trap, and a bargaining chip. But now that I know that they will never love me and that I don’t need or want their so called love I’m free to walk away completely with no regrets. I don’t need them. They had always used that wrong mentality to trap me in their web, the fear that I needed them.

I realized that whatever my father wants will not add anything good to my life. I realized that anyone, including him, that does not care when I’m hurting or care to know my likes and dislikes, which are the sum total of who I am, than they don’t care about me. Not the real me. All he cares about is what he can get out of me. I’ve realized that all abusers want is your body, not necessarily sexually, but what you can do – your hands, your feet. Go here, do this, buy this, serve me, comfort me, sit here so that i’m not lonely – I don’t care if you are. The last time I listened to one of my father’s messages he was asking me to take a lengthy car trip to visit a little girl he unoffically adopted as a granddaughter. He had not see or spoken to me in months and still didn’t want to. He only wanted me, my body, in the car because he didn’t want to take the drive by himself. I can’t tell you how much that hurt. He wanted to spend time with someone elses daughter, not me. How can a man like this ever add anything good to my life.

When I looked at the way we have interacted in the past, our conversations had always been empty, but I made excuses for him, but no more. The past is past and I don’t have to hurt anymore. I don’t have to let in others and their vampire neediness. If someone doesn’t add something good to my life, they can’t get in. I won’t be used anymore.

Wow…I think I’m done for the moment. Darlene, thank you for this really wonderful post. It was very cathartic for me.

Robin

2

Robin,
My father was also an expert at praising other people to me, at not overtly hating me, and at communicating that his kindness will cost me. He loved to belittle me when giving me money to live as a single mom with my own teens; and let me know of other “ministries” that got his donations. He ignored, was deaf to my likes, dislikes, and my state of health. He could hear what I said about me, and that was his cue to tell me about someone he admires,(my sister/brother-in-law/his favorite Christians) or put my kids down.
As I say sometimes, if THIS isn’t hell, I don’t know what is!

3

Hi Robin
Great comments and fantastic insights. I learned to treat myself the way my abusers and devaluers treated me too. Seeing that was huge for me.
Your story of your father reminds me so much of my father. He would call and not even listen to anything me or my kids had to say, but he would go on about other kids they didn’t even know. My whole life my father seemed more interested in all other kids besides me. It has only been this past couple of years that I even realized the truth about it all. My fathers passive abuse was harder for me to see the truth about then the more overt abuse that was easier to define.
Thank you so much for being here and sharing all this.
Hugs, Darlene

4

Another post that resonates with me.

“The truth is that when I finally loved me, I was okay. When I found me and embraced me, I was okay…. When I said no to proving I was worthy of love, I was okay. I don’t have to prove it. It is already true. I was born worthy. When I realized that other people don’t define me as worthy, good enough, valuable or lovable and that I don’t need others to validate that in me, THEN I was okay.”

I didn’t even set out to “get over” a need to have a man to validate my existence, it’s just something that happened when I really owned my experience and realized that *I* was the one who was going to take careof myself and be responsible for my own healing. I am still single, and it wouls be nice to meet someone compatible, but I am no longer desperate for it. I don’t go out anymore and get into ridiculous situations with men just because I need validation.

I’m going to have to think about what other false beliefs I have already exploded or have yet to confront.

Thanks again.

5

Hi Darlene,

Thank you for another affirming post. I’m starting to slowly “see” how I do what you’ve described in your post. But…I’m also recognizing how I’m slowly moving away from that mentality. I’m actually just wore out by all the dating and the striving for relationships that I’ve engaged in for several years.

I started counseling therapy and although I feel like nothing is happening in it at the time, I’m aware, little by little,that something is happening. To be honest, I believe the therapy is helpful in a big way simply because I’ve chosen to do something for me and me alone. Talk about my experiences and life struggles and take them seriously. Not shove them behind a door and think that I’m being overly dramatic by talking about things with someone.

There is something exciting that sets up inside a life when a man and a woman meet and become acquainted, but it is a poor substitute for a healthy self esteem and a calm balanced emotional outlook.

I saw how much I needed therapy recently, and simply asked the man I’d been dating for two years for his simple “support”. I asked him to simply not criticize or judge me for doing this thing for myself. And guess what? He dumped me the very next day!! Needless to say, I didn’t beg for him to take me back. I simply carried out my plan to find a therapist and get the ball rolling in getting healing.

Your website has been such a wonderful help.

Thank you
Connie

6

Darlene,
I really appriciate how you share from your own experience and open your heart to how it has made you feel and how you overcame it (or are overcomming). This, like the last post I read, is dead on to some critical areas we have to look at to overcome our abuse, the very definition of abuse ends up giving us many false beliefs, chief among them is a low sesteem that was ingrained into us by our abusers, the process of discovering a healthy love of self and to others is crucial in our healing process.

Some of my more recent struggle is more in the lines of will anyone ever love me the way I deserve, I recently broke up with a woman that was an acloholic, it became more and more evident as the weeks passed, I put my foot down the first time she got really drunk and was quit baligerant (and didn’t even remember the next day), she indicated she would do what it took to deal with it, but over the next couple weeks her attitude showed that did not include stopping drinking, after another drunken incident I broke up with her. All good to this point, I set healthy boundries and adhered to them, but that combined with issues with my Father (my abuser growing up) and a multitude of others I had a major set back in my recovery.

I find it hard to believe that someone wants to be there for me and really love me, and it leaves me feeling alone and how much is “normal” lonliness and how much is accented by my PTSD, lack of love from my Father, etc. is hard for me to seperate. I have few friends since most were in the cult and lost when I left, my family mostly live on the west coast, and most don’t get it with the support I need anyway, and the only “real” support I get is online, but I really desire. Frankly the openess people in the NE area have to new relationships is as cold as the weather gets, I have made some friends, but I’m heitant to share things because the few I have it did not end well.

I guess in all my rambling I’m just saying having self love just feels empty, with out someone to share it with. And somone to be able to share the hard parts with too.

Richard

7

Hey Darlene, Ummm…what is that thing on your head????lol!

More seriously now, I think my generation is the first generation of women to begin to think of having an identity of our own that is seperate from our men and our children. It’s a good thing that this has happened because sadly, the way your mom thought about herself is very common for women her age. It was hard to break that concept that was so deeply ingrained in the culture. None of us can be completed by another. Everyone deserves an identity all there own.

I can’t say that I though a man would make me better but I never really developed an identity all my own because I learned to survive by being what people wanted me to be. Getting well, for me, has been self-acceptance and getting to know who I am, what I like, what I don’t like, what I believe and don’t believe, and what I’m good at. As a teenager, I was defined by men who raped me, as a sexual object and I adoopted that as my identity and sex was what fed my self-esteem. By the time I was in my early twenties, I had a deep hatred for men, other than my husband and I was a very hard young woman. Then I had two boys. I had to figure all of that out. I couldn’t continue to hate men and be a good mom for my boys. For years, decades, I couldn’t figure out why I had behaved the way I did as a teenager. I thought there was something really wrong with me and the reason I saw it that way was because I carried the responsibility for my sexual abuse and exploitation and my family of origin supported that view. My heart knew to be angry and mistrustful of men but my mind kept telling me that it was my fault. I had no one to talk to as a teen escaping that life and I didn’t dare talk about it when I was older. I locked it away with a little girl’s understanding of what had happened and I completely dissociated from her. Now she is part of me, I no longer hate men and my anger is directed toward the ones who used me and hurt me. They hurt me every day for decades as I would replay what I could remember from that time over and over in my mind. Then there were the flashbacks that tormented me, also. I defined myself by all of it and carried a huge load of shame that didn’t belong to me. I protected my abusers and punished myself by my long years of silence. There is no other experience in my life that compares with the feeling of self-acceptance and ridding of undeserved shame that I’m experiencing now. It is true freedom and wholeness. Finally, I have inner peace.

Pam

8

Hmmm, I was wondering about that playful headpiece, too!

9

Hi Everyone!
I am going to answer the comments I am just having a really busy day today! About my head gear ~ LOL well we are at Disney Land in this picture and that is a “Goofy” hat. It is a RASTA touque. I wear it here in the winter. I get lots of strange looks and my horse tries to eat it but it is really warm and fun!
Love till tomorrow when I answer these comments!
Darlene

10

Darlene, LOL! It’s just that your husband looks like such a regualar guy with his wild woman! It’s cute though.Does your horse think it is hay?

Pam

11

So many of your posts challenge me to really look at the way I think and act. My whole life I’ve pushed away from society because of the messages that are promoted. Sometimes it is work reading your posts but I am always rewarded by the knowledge that I am not alone in questioning the status quo. It takes a long time picking ones way out of a Gordian knot that was created by many people to protect the people who advocate misinformation and manipulation. I still don’t know why honesty is not practiced as much as it should or could be. Many people seem to be scared by it. Thank you for your blog.

12

Hi Sophia
I stayed married through my process and it was amazing how much I realized that my husband had nothing to do with my wholeness. That I didn’t “need” him but that I chose to be with him. Our relationship went from extremely unhealthy and imbalanced to healthy, balanced and one in which we both have equal value. I went through very lonely times in this process and realized that it is not being with or without someone that made me lonely. This is a huge topic!
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Connie
YAY for slowly moving away from that mentality. It’s a process that is for sure! That is quite a “truth leak” about what that man you were dating did. Good for you for moving forward!
Thank you so much for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

13

Hi Richard
I am sorry that you have this struggle. I do understand that it must be very hard. For me I too had trouble believing that someone would want to love me and be there for me, and I had to look more closely at where those beliefs came from in the first place. When I found out where my self esteem got derailed I was able to replace it.
Thanks for sharing. I think we all want someone to share our lives with and I hope that you find that too.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pam
I don’t think my horse thinks it is hay… he tries to nibble on curly hair too.
What you say is very true, but I also find that the men that I meet through this work have the same issue. They don’t have an identity either. It is always tied into work, or their fathers opinion of them. So really our issues are not so different.
I love what you have written here about how you found inner peace. YES me too. Self acceptance and the ridding of the underserved shame! exactly.
Hugs, Darlene

14

Hi Bipolar Bear
Very good example. I often use examples of massive balls of string or layers and layers of wax. Thank you for your share. I am gald that you are working and thinking about all this stuff!
hugs, Darlene

Everyone ~ I am sorry that it took me so long to respond. My blog started to act up yesterday and then the server went down all day today!
Hugs, Darlene

15

Darlene yet again on the subject of false belife systom we hold…you sum up everything that is wanting to be rearranged inside my head and all my very wrong False Beliefs about everyhting and my very wrong and bad view i still hold onto about certian aspects of my past and myself you manage to always write clealy and honestly and insperationaly about everyhting i hope to one day be were you are and not stuck in this wirl wind of a time whole and a head that will not stay quite for long! dont really know what else to say as head is too busy to wrtie much but thanks for showing that all these indepth misplced belifes put there by others are not really true its just so hard understand that for 35 yrs i have held onto so much wrong stuff.

Take care hugs Jane

16

Hi Jane
It took me a few years to sort through this stuff and I am still learning every day. Just keep going, keep striving; that is what I did. It takes a long time to undo the false beliefs that have actually been our truth for so long. But it is doable!
Hugs, Darlene

17

Love shouldn’t have to be earned. Period.

How does one get over all the anxiety caused from being abused for decades? I just can’t seem to conquer it and it’s so frustrating!

18

Karen
In the process of recovery, for me the anxiety eventually disapeared. I had to find out what exactly triggered ~like what the event triggered in my memory. That was the digging part. I found out what I believed about myself because of the trauma, the messages that abuse caused me to believe. I looked at how little choice I had as a child (that was the feeling that was being triggered ~ that I was so powerless as a child and survivla was the most important thing) and now as an adult I have choices. This is hard to put in a quick comment but I have written lots about it in this site.
Hugs, Darlene

19

Linda,
In my experience, diet can play a role in stress/anxiety. Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life, by Dr. Claudia Welch, MSOM, Part 3 of her book is all about how to eat, and how to eat in times of stress, and LOTS of other helps!

20

Karen, I spent most of my life with horrible anxiety. It was so intense and so disconnected from the present that in my twenties, I thought I was having preminitions. That part of it healed but I still had a lot of triggers to deal with and chronic insomnia. I am better now because I know where my anxiety comes from and I’m much better at recognizing when I’ve been triggered because I’ve reconnected my anxiety to what happened in my past. As I get stronger and have self-acceptance and my ability to defend myself back the better my present becomes. I’m more in control of my life and I no longer feel that I’m responsible for preventing everything that’s bad in life from happening to people I love. I’ve quit trying to control the uncontrolable and there’s not so much to worry about. However, I still struggle with insomnia. At night, it is very hard for me to take myself off of guard duty and allow myself to fall asleep. When the sun comes up, I’m fine.

I know how bad anxiety can be and I feel for you. It helped me to know that my hyper vigelent anxiety is a coping mechanism and I’ve learned how to turn it off, for the most part.There have been a few nights lately when I’ve been able to sleep without taking something. That’s a major victory for me as I’ve not been able to sleep naturally since I was twelve and I’m 55 now. It has been a long hard battle but when I started trusting myself to know why I felt the way I did and quit listening to my family’s version of my life or psychiatrist’s version of permenent chemical embalance as my problem, I’ve made a lot of progress.

Pam

21

Hi everyone,

just wanted to share that I’ve just been offered a place (low-income apartment) in my city. Living alone has been something I’ve been utterly convinced I’d never be able to do for most of my life, so this is massive for me (both exciting and terrifying).

Feeling pretty numb right now. I think I’ve known throughout this process (getting on welfare, applying for housing etc — which couldn’t have happened without the help of two social worker friends I used to work with) that it was always going to scare the s**t out of me, but I just had to try and force myself to go through with it, because this year has been so f**king hellish and stagnant and hopeless as I try to come to terms with my brainwashing clearing & the extent of the abuse I suffered and perhaps most especially the shifting of blame for my many and varied dysfunctions (or perhaps “defence mechanisms” would be a kinder description) from myself to my abusers (parents).

I thought I was just going to freak out completely (emotionally) when I got a call from the housing place (whether I was offered the place or not), but instead just gone numb. Oh well. It’s a bit hard because I feel like I should be thinking carefully and trying to consider everything before making my decision. But at the same time, I think I made my decision weeks ago — something’s gotta give, and if the chance comes up, got to at least try it. (That line about being easier to steer a moving ship comes to mind). And also, I’m almost certain I’d just think myself into a depressive hole if I tried to. Part of me then says “well that means you shouldn’t do it” because of the things I’m afraid of or think I won’t be able to do etc.

But, just keep coming back to, “I’ve just GOT to try this.” Because I am so f**king miserable and trapped living in this house. But I’m used to it, which is perhaps the worst thing of all. Also, I’ve been holding on to the idea of cutting off from my family (parents mainly, but that would probably lead to most if not all the family) if/when I do manage to get out of here. Now I’m thinking, bide my time. Had a big victory in writing my thoughts out before when I wrote “Need to act selfishly here and just make it easier on myself however I can” to “act with SELF-INTEREST here” instead! Felt very positive. Can always cut off later, but can’t go back in time and NOT cut off, so better to wait for now and be gentle with myself during what’s going to be a very stressful, but maybe even kinda exciting time.

Ok think that’s all for now. Hope everybody’s doing well!

PS Joy if you read this, thinking of you. Hope you’re ok. Sending you strength, hugs and a big fat :)!

22

19. Sorry, this was to Karen, not Linda.

23

Hi Pam
These comments are so excellent!
Yay for your victory re; sleeping and thanks for sharing that with us. It is amazing to me how many medical issues that I had which cleared up when I did my healing work and it is great to hear others victories connected to doing that healing work!
Hugs, Darlene

24

J: I wish you the best! Change can be exciting and terrifying at the same time. Trust you are capable of handling this transition. When I first lived alone I was very lonely the first week or so, but then I LOVED it. I’ve heard this is common, so be patient with yourself. Also, be PROUD of yourself for stepping out of your comfort zone. That’s HUGE!! And NEVER EASY to do. You are making positive strides to live an independent life. That’s so worth celebrating! Woo-hoo! I’m doing a happy dance for you right now. 🙂

25

I think I’m dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Trying to put all the pieces together from having a narcissistic mother. It’s a huge loss to realize my mother doesn’t love me, never loved me and will never love me.

To alleviate some of my anxiety, I know I need to cut back on my sugar intake and eat healthier and try to exercise. I, too, have trouble sleeping. I’m going to make a doctor appointment soon to see if they can suggest something.

I just keep dreaming about my mother and the anger I feel toward her. I’m so angry I was duped all these years into trying to earn her love when it was impossible. Also, realizing the fact that I am so disposable to her, unless I fill her narcissistic needs. Man, that’s a heavy load to process. I am trying to move on from this trauma, but it’s hard. She dominates my thoughts and emotions right now. Maybe talking to a counselor will help…

Thank you all for being so supportive and understanding. It’s nice to know I’m not alone going through the pain and injustice of abuse.

26

Karen
What you are describing here is actually good news. The processing stages of all this can go on for a long time and they can be really frustrating. BUT when I came out of the fog enough to get to the anger and when I began to face the pain of the truth and reality that I was disposable UNLESS I filled other peoples needs, THEN the real healing began! Today, when I get to that stage I know that I am close to the home stretch on the trauma that I am dealing with! It is okay to have that anger dominate. I had to allow it because it was validating ME and that self validation was HUGE towards my recovery.
Hugs, Darlene

ALL ~ I just published a new post about the whole narcissistic mother thing ~ it is sort of a different perspective on healing from it.
Understanding Narcissism and the Root of Abusive behaviour ~ (this post is about facing the damage caused by abusive behaviour by looking at through a different grid)

Hugs, Darlene
You can read it here;

27

Karen, I went through all of that too. My dad, my mom, and my sister all have many narcissistic characteristics. I really see it as a character disorder that becomes chronic and distorts their personality. It hurt me a lot to know they couldn’t love me but it also helped me understand how I needed to protect myself and how. It’s awful to think that if you aren’t filling a need for them that they’ll drop you but being dropped is an easy way to be safe.

Pam

28

Darlene,
You said “I had to look more closely at where those beliefs came from in the first place.”

That about sums up my current struggle, trying to define just what is a “just lonely” feeling from a deeper “unworthy” feeling that was ingrained into me from childhood until I was 40 (thanks to the cults reinforcement of that belief system).

I have periods of sheer confidence, but I have seen a pattern that has emerged over the last 7 years of recovery, where I use relationships and other things to hide from my past and to “validate” me (much like what you speak of in the blog) vs. facing it and really digging in to heal.

I’m thinking I need to stop trying to find someone and simply try to face myself in the mirror and deal with the pain more head on. I’m starting a blog of my own, more for me at this point, but I hope it grows into helping others also, maybe just sharing my own struggles will help others.

Richard (aka Broken Heart)

29

Congrats on your own blog Broken Heart ~ (Richard)
I found that I had to learn to validate myself and until I did I only had a certain degree of success with recovery.
When you talk about cult abuse, I can’t help but strongly relate although I was never part of a cult the way that you were. I think that the abusive systems that are accepted as the norm in our society are very much like cults. Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

30

Yes and no, the base root of most abuse is narcissism, much of which you talk about in your other post which I havn’t finished reading yet. But there is so much more involved in a cult, though it depends on the cult as to what all is used. Abuse as a whole is about control, but in a cult it typically reaches a whole different level and involves many levels of control, but there are many abusers that although they only exert control in a “small” family environment, it would easily be able to be called a cult.

So the lines do blur when you talk about abuse, but like your other post points out, the “bite” did it’s damage, so does it matter what label you put on the “cause”? We are hurt due to abuse plain and simple.

Richard

31

Your belief system about self is chief damage you get from abuse.

So, yes my self validation comes and goes, the more healing I get the more it stays, or the more I do it the more the healing stays, they really are hand in hand, the healing really is more about changing your belief system, and that means your own self validation too.

Richard

32

Richard
I do not say that the base root of most abuse is Narcissism. In fact personally I don’t like to point to ANY diagnosis, (again because diagnosis is only a fraction of the answer) but diagnosis resonates well with my readers so I discuss them sometimes. I would say that the root of abuse is the misuse of power and control.
I am glad that you are considering looking more closely at the damage.
Hugs, Darlene

33

Sorry I did not mean to mis-interpret what you were saying there, it was just something I read into it based on my beliefs.

Now this is my opinion mind you, but as to narcissism not being the root of most abuse I ask you this; If by definition narcissism is a self centered outlook in life in which the person believes it is about them and who cares about others, is not the person who abuses power only thinking about themselves?

Granted for a “text book” narcissist, there are other criteria, but it does make me step back and think, how much is due to self centered narcissism…

34

Broken Heart…
and I will ask you this ~ does it really matter?

35

Yes and no (don’t you just love a vague answer =D),

Like the coments in the other thread (I’ll call it the shark thread ;-D), the bite is what matters for the healing. But to fully understand the abuser helps in the longer term in trying to make a difference, changing society. To understand the mind set of the abuser we may be able to help there be less abusers (hopefully), and to a small degree the healing (at least to get it started).

So to reiterate it different, for the individual in healing no, not really, but for the “big” picture of social change, yes I think so.

That and I love to talk about intellecually stimulating subjects, like psychology, quantum physics etc.. if I was in a science debate team I would probably be president =D

Broken Heart

36

Broken Heart,

There is so much danger in labels, though. According to psychologists people with NPD can’t be cured. That means a true narcissist would never change. But in reality an abuser just doesn’t want to change. They selectively prey on the young and the delicate/fragile. They do what they do on purpose.

I did find it helpful to acknowledge my abusers narcissistic ways in that it helped me to understand that I wasn’t imagining that what they were doing was hurtful. You can feel so crazy and turned around when dealing with these kinds of people, so it was good for me to have a list of character traits to compare and contrast them to, to really be able to say that they were abusers and I wasn’t being sensitive. But beyond that it hurt me to see them in that way, because I began to make excuses for them in my mind. For a while it was hard for me to acknowledge how their behavior affected me because I felt like they couldn’t help it. But when I really saw that this wasn’t helping me to get better *and* that they continued to abuse me (and even got worse) I knew that I had to change my mindset.

Robin

37

Broken Heart,

Sorry, I just read your post a little more closely. I, too, feel that all abuse has it’s roots in selfishness. Pure selfishness.

38

I agree Robin
I like the using the list of character traits too. I like the rest of what you said too.

Personally I think for the bigger picture of social change, we need to look at the root of the problem. How did these “disordered people” get disordered in the first place?? I don’t believe they were born that way.

There are so many “rabbit trails” with this whole thing about diagnosis. I like to talk in terms of symptoms rather than a complete diagnosis too. My mother fits “some of the symptoms” or Narcissism. But she certainly does not fit them all. And she barely fits them at all with certain people. My husband was an emotional abuser ~ a controller. Totally self centered about his importance vs. mine but he did his healing work and totally changed. In my opinion he was NEVER narcissistic. I could go on about this but I don’t see the point because in my view it won’t get anywhere that has to do with the point of the blog post.

I think the conversation is important but at the end of the day, the roots of all disorders are all very similar.
Hugs, Darlene

39

Thanks Karen!

Much appreciated 🙂 (I’m not much of a dancer, but I’ll join you in spirit at least!)

I’ve been trying to cut back on sugar too. Caught up with old school friend recently and he said that alone changed him from having panic attacks (I think daily at one point), also helped weight etc.

I’ve also been wondering about PTS. That was one thing I’d never applied to myself (I thought it was something that happened after one specific extremely traumatic thing) but read somewhere that long-term exposure to stress can also cause it. I think I ticked off a bunch of symptoms too from memory.

I definitely relate to the anger too. Hope you can find some relief/healing whatever you decide to do!

take care of yourself!

J

40

Darlene and Robin,
I don’t expect a response, I just like to talk about these things as it helps me digest the world around me, and who ever talks with me about is their choice. Any discussion will usually evolve with related views an thoughts.

A thought about the root of all disorders being similar, yes, it is ultimately the selfish heart of man in most of them, but there are mental disorders are rooted in physiology, so as you say, there are too many “rabbit trails” to really say “it’s this”.

Which leads to “labels”, those are simply words that are used to describe something, that something is always filtered by our experiences. Language cannot ever be total communication, since all our experiences are different, that is why we should always approach things with an open mind that is willing to look it at whatever the subject is from a different angle or perspective. So the danger is not the label, but the closed mind that views the world only from their perspective.

Broken Heart

41

J, I want to chime in on the sugar issue. I actually don’t usually eat a lot of sugary stuff, but a few weeks ago I went on a bit of a binge with cookies and soda over a few days and . . . it completely turned my mental state into a near psychotic mode. It was like being attacked by demons, an internal voice raging out of control! It may react differently to other people, but I was left wondering why sugar isn’t a controlled substance, lol. Seriously, I would be interested to hear what you experience if you decide to taper off.

42

Hi Sophia,

I have been trying to. Been too much going on to really notice much yet I think. My friend said that it was the one thing he changed, and made a huge difference for him.

The difficulty for me has been the gradual (and fairly recent) realization of the many and varied ways I tend to “numb out” from reality. Haven’t ever been diagnosed as dissociative or anything, but I’m pretty sure that was one thing I shared a lot of symptoms with. (Actually Borderline Personality Disorder and PTSD were the last two I’m pretty sure I strongly identified with symptom-wise. Just had a quick google of it, it does mention dissociative symptoms.)

Anyway the point being that I’d started to notice that both food in general (strong tendency to binge eat, especially at night — I’ve long known that was usually to try and distract myself from my thoughts) was a dissociative type reaction, and had noticed that my sugar intake was getting particularly brutal. So I have managed to curb it (at least compared to what it was), but could still definitely be better.

This s**t is so f**king confusing. Most people seem to tell me not to self-diagnose etc, but then proper-looking websites about the disorders say they’re often misdiagnosed as plain depression, and seem to me to be saying that the misdiagnosis can actually cause further harm. It’s so &#&@*@(!^$# annoying!!!!!!!

(Sorry. Brief rant. Shorter than usual if I’ve actually managed to contain it there!)

But I did want to say my friend I think would echo your sentiments of reactions & quite possibly controlled substances. For that matter, it’s probably been some time that it’s seemed to me that money is far more important than health in most of the western world. Also the implied (or actual)… can’t think of the word I’m looking for….. I guess social acceptance of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco (probably tobacco especially stands out for me) etc compared to illegal drugs, and therefore the peddling & f**king brutal intrusive advertising etc to kids is just a disgrace.

Actually I’d been reading some articles on pornography as an addiction recently that gave me a lot of food for thought. I’ve mentioned at least briefly I think that I’ve put myself thru hell since childhood over my attraction to porn. My thinking kinda went from feeling like it was progress to see it as at least comparitively normal (which it arguably was compared to my uber-repressive childhood — although pretty blatant, and sometimes pretty f**kin graphic sexual innuendo was allowed by my parents to be watched by me from young age — so much hypocrisy/double standards etc!!!) and try to stop tearing myself up inside because of having a sex drive etc; then more recently it’s been more along the lines of “just because something’s normal doesn’t mean it’s not really bad for you”.

The articles (pretty sure they were on “psychology today” or something like that; pretty sure I saved them somewhere on the computer if anyone wants the name of them or anything) made a strong distinction between porn like playboy magazine compared to internet porn in particular. There was a lot of stuff about porn-induced erectile dysfunction among young men; and technical stuff I didn’t understand too well about the changes in the brain that made them now class it as a physical addiction like drugs, gambling etc.

Sorry my brain’s jumping topics a lot here. I think I orignially got started on this because porn is one of the things I now see as a dissociative method for me. Even things that aren’t bad in themselves (like reading fiction for example) I’ve seen mentioned as being ways of dissociating from the world. I’ve always had an enormous appetite for books, music, movies and tv (in some ways – I also actively avoid “news” media whenever possible, and would probably go insane if I had to listen to advertising from tv/radio etc for long).

Also the food connection has been slowly revealing itself to me as more of a problem/dysfunction than I’d realized. I was skinny as you can easily get once I finished growing (had a few phases of chubbiness as a toddler/early teen etc), but still thought I was fat at that stage (proportionately big legs/hips, esp. for a guy – still remember someone making a comment to that effect about someone in primary school and being stunned, thinking “s**t, that guy’s way skinnier than me!” and wondering why they weren’t making fun of me too)

Sorry, this has turned into a huge memory-fest. Trying to figure stuff out for myself I guess. Probably not something I need to apologise for. (Apology retracted, in retrospect! :))

Anyway was thinking about my mother always nagging me growing up about what I ate, how fast I ate, how much I ate, blah blah blah. Also about my posture, appearance (hair especially). Never seemed able to just leave me the f**k alone. GRRRRRR!!!!!!! And unfortunately, I seem to have developed the tendency to specifically NOT do things she’d ever talk about, I think just because it probably felt like the only way I had any control over my own life. This has translated into taking almost no care of my appearance etc. Bit stupid, but hey. So’s my mother’s treatment of me. So I’ll be gentle on myself. (Little victories, right?) 🙂

About food, I noticed so sharply when I read in a book on music mixing/production etc someone said “How do you know when the song’s done? You just know, like you know when you’ve had enough to eat” — suddenly realized I didn’t even have any awareness of something as simple as that. Since I figured that out, I’ve tried also to be more aware of portion sizes etc, and it does seem to have made a difference to my digestive health at least. Despite appearances (I’m brutally overweight now) I seem to have a very small stomach. Other people seem able to eat large serves and pull up fine; I almost without fail can eat myself straight to diarrhoea (sorry to be graphic). I’ve wondered at times if it was also a more subconcious form of self-harm/punishment. (An interesting sidenote – I was away by myself for just over a week earlier this year, and despite significant trouble with depression and anxiety etc, my stomach was fine the whole time until flying home. Did make me wonder just how much my stomach’s just been responding to all the s**t in the home environment all these years — as well as the impact of f**king relentless constant nagging in causing me to not even know my own body at all) &@#$&@^!#&*!@*)(#

(Bit of self-censorship directed at my mother)

Deep breath. This is all pretty confronting.

Ok topic jump again — turns out I could potentially move into new apartment by this weekend. Scared s**tless. Really stuck on how to go about it. My brain almost completely stopped trying to explain to my friend/social worker who’s helping me what’s bothering me. Basically, I had been holding on to the idea that once I was gone, I’d cut off contact (at least to start with) so I could just FINALLY have some “me” time where I could try to re-connect with myself (actually, just “connect” with myself is probably more accurate) without any negative parental influence etc. My worker’s opinion was not to do that, but this is complicated becuase she’s a close friend of my father. (I do trust her that she’s not telling him anything, but still, did have my doubts in this particular instance if this was fully thinking of me or not).

Anyway I decided it would probably be easier (on me) to not cut off at this stage. However, I can’t figure out how to go about getting out of here without cutting off completely but not having my parents start shoving in to everything. To be honest, I’m afraid that just the fact of me moving out will cause my mother to react (she’s never seemed to react well to any sort of change). So I haven’t told them yet, and at this stage thinking I don’t want them to know until I’m gone.

I f**king hate all this. It’s so easy to feel like I’m just f**king paranoid/an idiot/a bastard etc for even thinking this way, let alone planning to do it. But the problem is, I can’t know how they’ll react until I do it, and given my history of freezing completely when confronted, I don’t want to leave that possibility open at all. And although I may be over-doing things in my head, I don’t really believe I’m paranoid. Or at least, even if I am, I feel I’ve got reason to fear the reactions of my parents when they do find out. Or who knows? Nothing could happen at all. But I guess I’ve got too f**king much to lose here to put it down to chance…. and given what I now believe, I think it’s more than just chance that the reactions will be bad.

Ok think I’m about done here for now. I do remember my friend saying there’s plenty of info on the web about sugar & its effects etc Sophia (haven’t looked into it myself yet). I imagine it could only be a good thing for anyone who feels able to try and reduce sugar intake (esp. the heavily processed ones, from what I understand). I’d also be interested to hear any more thoughts/experiences you have on the topic!

Hope everybody’s well.

J

43

J, there is so much in what you are processing that resonates with me. For now, I want to mention one facet that I recently worked through. My stepmother was also always making critical comments about weight, hair, clothes, whatever. There was one particular moment when I was a child when she just looked at me one day and announced that my hair did not look good long and it was going to be cut, end of story. You know, if she had tried being respectful and tactful, she could have phrased it like, hey would you consider a different style, it could be really cute. But no, she just issued insults and orders and made me feel ugly and helpless. So from that time I could not bear to cut or style my hair without triggering huge emotions. Finally, a couple of years ago, after much therapy, I realized that I did want a short haircut now, that it suited who I was today, and that making this decision on my on behalf to cut my hair was actually a way of RELEASING the emotional hold she had on me. Maybe it also helped that I had finally cut off contact with her so she couldn’t comment about it anyway. Well, it was one of those acts that was both one small step and a giant leap, lol. And so we progress, bit by bit. Hugs, Sophia

44

I have looked at photos of me from that time when she insulted me about my hair and I can’t see anything wrong with how I looked. That whole move on her part felt like there were HUGE psychological undercurrents of her wanting to assert control, undermine me, put me off balance. I have a dialogue going on in my head between a voice that is criticizing me for making too much of a “small” thing and the part of me that fights for survival, who says that maybe one haircut is a small thing, but it wasn’t about the haircut really, it was about power and fear and disrespect. All I know is that I feel so triggered by the memory that there was SOMETHING wrong!

45

Hey all,
Last week I was inspired by the comments on several recent posts to write this new blog post that I just published and wanted the commenters to know about it

You can read it here ~ It is called “Emotional Healing does not depend on………” I look forward to the conversation there!
Hugs Darlene

46

thank you, thank you , thank you

I have finally found what was wrong with me all these years written in your blog. I have lived my life, dependant on the approval of others, it hurts and its exhausting. I give give give to make a man love me. How do i stop , how did you do it

47

D – i can really resonate with this post except I was the man for my mother…not other men…i became THE man…i had to do everything for her…i had to meet all her needs. my father was absent..physically present but thats it…so my mother looked to me for EVERYTHING !

48

D – i can really resonate with this post except I was the man for my mother…not other men…i became THE man…i had to do everything for her…i had to meet all her needs. my father was absent..physically present but thats it…so my mother looked to me for EVERYTHING ! i never thought about what i needed or wanted. I just knew i had to please my mother know matter what. Our whole lives revolved around pleasing her. I spent 40 years in that mindset and that behavior pattern. She manipulated and controlled me every way possible to get me to try and meet her needs. It has left me deeply wounded and looking for the mother i never had. I never really had a father either but that was much more neglect than abuse. My mother took over my life. I had no thought of what i wanted or needed. I lived my life to please my mother and make sure she didnt try to kill herself again, which she had tried when i was 7. My sister started running away from home after that as my dad called from the hospital and said to my sister “you know that this is all your fault dont you ?”…so pretty much after that my only sibling was gone. I took on the responsibility of keeping mom alive and meeting her every need. I knew nothing else…people talk about “putting themselves last.” I wasnt even last….there was no consideration at all for me. I often went to bed hungry…i cooked, cleaned, did laundry, rolled mom out of bed, made her tea, rubbed her shoulders…you name it…i did it…i thought that would get me the love i wanted…finally God is showing me his love through others and i am able to receive love the way i never did before. Better late than never !

49

Hi Dave
What a horrible time you have had. I am glad that you are learning to receive love now.
hugs, Darlene

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