Apr
11

False Normal Systems about Love and Self Love

By

The truth about love

I came across this quote, and at first I loved it; “If you put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price”. ~ Author unknown

And then I thought about it a bit more deeply ~ For the most part on “emerging from broken” I am not talking about the value that we put on ourselves, I am talking about the value that was put on us by others and that same value that we accepted. We do need to raise our own value however we can’t do that until we understand how we received our value in the first place.  There is a step that has to happen before we can follow the above quote!

The last blog entry was about a coaching session that I did with Carla Dippel about her belief system when it comes to the concept of love. In my recovery, one of the most powerful things that I discovered was about how these false definitions form and how discovering and changing my belief system contributed significantly to my complete recovery from depressions, low self esteem and so many other difficult struggles that I lived with.

We all have beliefs about many things that we don’t realize we have.  We don’t even really realize that we have these “wrong ideas” about certain things because we have had that idea for so long it has become our normal.  But for me, most of my beliefs were a “false normal” or a “false truth”  In the coaching session that I did with Carla, I asked her specific questions that enabled her to discover her beliefs about love and she discovered her “false normal beliefs” when it came to love.  These beliefs come from many influences, not just from our families. They can come from anywhere and from a multiple of experiences; we learn from teachers, neighbours, books and media. We learn our “normal” from many places and combinations of events…. continue

I had to look at what I believed about love from the different angles just like I asked Carla to do in the coaching session that I did her. I was taught that in order to be loved I had to be compliant. Obedience was a big thing. Therefore, I concluded that LOVE is obedience and compliance. The problem with compliance and obedience is that I learned to be those things at the wrong times and in the wrong ways. The authorities in my life taught me the rules as they suited them and not necessarily according to what was ever best for me. I wanted to be loved. I wanted to be valued. I wanted to be appreciated and feel like I belonged. I wanted connection and I was taught the wrong way to go after it. But I wanted love, acceptance and connection badly enough to comply in the ways that I was taught. It was survival. I was too young to even question any of it. This whole system became so much a part of “my normal” that I didn’t have a clue that what I was going after was not really love.

Because this false normal system started so young it didn’t dawn on me that the ways that I had been “taught” were wrong.

The balance was all wrong. I thought and believed that everyone else was more important than I was. It was the absolute truth that I was taught in words but even more by examples and by actions. It didn’t occur to me that love is a two way street. Adults treat children as though we/they are not really people yet. As though children don’t know anything; as though children have no memories of anything, as though nothing affects children because they are merely children. I learned that I had to tow the line but the rules kept changing. There was an absence of real love and real acceptance. And if that is where the foundation was built, if that was the starting point of education and belief system, then what other result could there have possibly been other than to draw the conclusions that I was not really a person yet, that I was not as good or as valuable as everyone else?

If I had been taught, both in words and in actions, that I was equally valuable to others then the false belief system would not have been set in place.

If I had been taught, both in words and in actions, that my needs mattered then I would not have learned to discount them myself.

If I had been taught that I was a treasure and a delight as the individual that I was born to be, and if I had been encouraged to be that individual then I would have grown up BEING and LIVING as the individual that I was born to be and I would not have had the identity crisis that I had for so long.  

And Just When Was I Supposed to Become an EQUAL? In this pecking order system, it never happened.

And if these actual truths had been taught to me, I would not have found myself lost in a sea of one depression after another. I would not have had to re-parent myself in my early forties. I would not have had to learn the true definition of love and learn to love myself because I would have already known love. I would not have had those self esteem issues. And when I learned these things I was able to pass on the true definition of love to the next generation and begin to break the cycle that had continued for many generations in both my family or origin and my husbands.

It was very hard to realize these false normal truths though, because as I said in the beginning, learning to work for love and acceptance instead of being loved and accepted left me believing that love and acceptance was something I had to work for and not something that I deserved as all human beings deserve love and acceptance.  

It was the truth that set me free; one snapshot at a time

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

 

Categories : Depression

177 Comments

2

Me…i had value ..was valued ,but i was taught that i could not do what i wanted to do…….i was constantly proving that i could….nobody had belief in me…then that meant …i dont know what i meant..

3

Hi Susan,
Glad you could relate!

Hermien;
Being taught that you could not do what you wanted to do is very much related to being defined. I was defined by what others thought I should do, and what they thought I should not do. I think that the motive for that is about control and the misuse of power. I think that having to prove that I could do what I could do and no one believing in me was related to being defined which is also related to my value. My mother said she loved me. she said she wanted me, but in the end she only wanted me to be what and who I could be for her. Not for me. Having to prove myself, having to prove that I can accomplish something before being believed in, is not part of love. Does that make more sense?
hugs, Darlene

4

wow. this totally defines every single one of my ways of relating…and unfortunately shines a light on my parenting 🙁 I saw myself doing that a little too much with my kids, one more thing to change in this big web of life. I recently asked my husband that exact question “so when do I become an equal?” because we have the whole “parent-child” dynamic because of all my issues with mental health misdiagnosis and over medication and blah blah blah, but the last year has been a HUGE change in how I see me, and how I see the world, and I really have to thank Darlene and everyone here at EFB for that…because its been here that I have done a good majority of that growth.

A year ago, I never would have even questioned my being unequal to him in his actions/words/thoughts because I didnt expect equal treatment and I didnt see the discrepancies in what he said and how he acted and I sure as heck wouldnt have called him out on it…and it turns out, that a lot of the issue IS NOT ME and never was.

I still struggle with seeing myself as 100% equal to others in a lot of ways, and I struggle with whether or not Im really seeing “equal” or if I am actually “devaluing them” as a means to elevate my own value…and Im not really sure. It feels strange to say that I am smart, fun, capable, strong, brave etc…. it just seems like its partially true (it used to NEVER be true..in my mind) but that I am exaggerating myself and everyone else sees it but me and either makes fun of me or dislikes me behind my back, and so I am still finding myself looking for reassurance that I am actually starting to see me as I “really am” and am not making myself out to be this fantastic person when really Im not as great as I think I am, but then I think “does it really matter what other people think, if I like me?” and I realize that the answer is, in some situations it does actually matter what other people think, but I shouldnt let it define me, not like I used to. I should use it as a learning tool to see how I am seen in the world and attempt to change if I need to, so that I can be more “normal” in the work world and in social things, but I should and will NEVER let what someone says or thinks of me destroy my view of me, ever again….and THAT is the truth I have learned. That I have value in my own right, and that Im not perfect and have a lot to learn about how to relate to the world, but I will get there, and I am happy to have come this far, and THAT alone is worth as much as anyone else is…and its ok to feel that way about me.

5

Well, that unknown author has never met Robb. My newest friend, we’ve known each other 7 months, and he ALWAYS raises the price.
One time I said to him, and I was just being what I THOUGHT was honest when I said it, I said “It’s amazing that you think I HAVE value, b/c my former friend’s dad had a business mind and HE said I have 0 financial value.” By 0 financial value, I meant I have no net worth, and it’s true. So I didn’t think there was anything wrong w/ stating the obvious, but Robb, who’s a broker, had a conniption fit when I told it to him.
Well, I didn’t mean the type of worth he was talking about when he had his hissy fit. He said I was a worthwhile human being, and I was talking about net worth. And how someone else perceives you may not affect how YOU see you, but it sure as hell influences that person’s behavior toward you, b/c my friend’s dad treated me like I was a stain on society the entire time he knew me. He couldn’t stand to even be in the same room w/ me w/out making one of his asinine comments about how much of a burden he thought I was.
The way he treated me was his view, coming from him, but he tried to force the view down my throat by acting like such a jackass every time he saw me. His own son didn’t even like the way he acted but he didn’t let THAT stop him.
Anyway, I never could get Robb to understand what I was saying so I gave up trying. The man’s nothing if not driven like nobody I’ve ever known. He wants me to think I have worth and, once he sets out to accomplish something, there’s no way he’ll be stopped.
Well I already DO think I have worth as a human being. I just have that past experience w/ my friend’s dad in my memory, and that guy isn’t the only one who acts that way. I’ve been treated that way by several wealthy people, I used to live w/ a doctor in a wealthy neighborhood, where some people cared more about their possessions than their own kids. A neighbor’s teenage daughter wrecked their car, and they were more upset about any damage to the vehicle than what could have happened to the girl. They didn’t even ask if she felt okay. The first thing out of the mom’s mouth was, “If you’ve caused serious damage to that vehicle…” and I didn’t hear the rest b/c I felt like I was going to be sick and went inside the guy’s house.
If I didn’t know better, I’d say the mother’s reaction was a type of verbal abuse. Unfortunately, I’m unfamiliar w/ what defines abuse. I only know what it felt like, and I wasn’t even the one the neighbor was talking to.

6

I…. can’t think of a single thing to say! I must be coming down with a fever. Anyway, I really like and relate to this post, so I’m posting a comment-that-doesn’t-say-anything so I can check the “notify me of followup comments via e-mail” box.

7

Thank you Darlene for sharing the truth that can set us free – this is the same truth that set ME free. Finally coming to an understanding that there was a REASON (if I knew html I would make that word about a 24 font, in bold red:)) that I felt so worthless. And not to sound like a broken record – but when I turned to the mh system for help to understand why I kept repeating abusive relationships in my life this same message was reinforced. Instead of being told my past was the reason for my faulty beliefs that caused me to think self defeating thoughts and sabotage any success in my life – I was told I was sick and disordered and would be for life.

THIS message that you share here on EFB is the same lesson I learned that empowered me to begin to recognize how these lies had become a dead weight that kept me from running the marathon called life. I learned and believed with my entire being that I was powerless over my life, my thoughts, my emotions and that whatever choices I made – they were not “good enough”; that I needed someone elses permission to just about anything or risk being criticized or patronized in some way.

I also learned how to do this dance and believe that somehow, in the magical thinking of childhood, that if I did or said things a certain way that eventually with much manipulation I could shape what others did or said that would then give me some validation. I was constantly “seeking approval” (in mh treatment this is a bad thing that indicates a core defect) in order to have permission to exist. After 15+ years of this, following being abused and violated as a child, in my 2 marriages that threatened my life then 10 years in a church that told me to submit THEN my husband wouldn’t HAVE to hit me and then 15 years in mental health being told I was defective and could never be anything else – I had learned that it WAS my responsibility to shape who I was to get approval from others. The thing is – that no matter what I did as a child, a wife, a church member or “consume” of mental health services, it was NEVER enough.

After a lifetime of being defined by others this way, its taken a lot to learn to stand up to those who keep trying to tell me that something is “wrong” with me but what it comes down to is learning to recognize the subtle ways others do this and then learning to say, very simply, “I do not agree”. This alone is often enough to leave them spinning – and me feeling very, very “grown up”. 🙂

8

Susan, your entire life experience so closely mirrors mine… it amazes me. For decades I thought I was the only one~

You wrote: “Finally coming to an understanding that there was a REASON (if I knew html I would make that word about a 24 font, in bold red:)) that I felt so worthless.” ~ YES what a HUGE revelation that was!! My Brokeness, my feelings of Utter Worthlessness, by ingrained belief that I was born Defective and CRAZY… there was a NORMAL REASON that I felt that way… I was Psychologically Injured. My Complex-Post Traumatic Stress was a NORMAL response to horrific abuse, no less normal than it is to BLEED if you are STABBED.

You wrote: “THIS message that you share here on EFB is the same lesson I learned that empowered me to begin to recognize how these lies had become a dead weight that kept me from running the marathon called life. I learned and believed with my entire being that I was powerless over my life, my thoughts, my emotions and that whatever choices I made – they were not “good enough”; ” …ME, TOO. I was gifted with a very high iq… I don’t say that to “brag,” it is simply the truth, and I give credit to the One who created me, I didn’t create my own brain. I was gifted with many talents… writing, an eye for photography and design, an incredible singing voice, an ear for music and pitch and the ability to write my own songs, as well as sing them. I was created with physical beauty, too. With all these inborn gifts, just think what I could have done with my life! But I was so badly broken, at such an early age, that many days it has been a major accomplishment if I manage to, at the minimum, brush my teeth~

You wrote: “I was constantly “seeking approval” (in mh treatment this is a bad thing that indicates a core defect) in order to have permission to exist.” ~ DITTO! For 50 years, Half of a Century, I truly believed that me being born was a mistake, that I was somehow toxic, that my existance was a burden to others… because these “others” had a right to BE, but I did not. I believed that, because I was taught that, by my parents from birth on~ then I went out into the world and that belief was reinforced by the Users and Abusers who naturally gravitate to Broken People.

You wrote: “After 15+ years of this (in my case it was 14 years of soul-killing mh “treatment,” beginning when I was 36; plus the 2 years of being in a mental institution from age 14-16, thanks to my mother’s having me committed to get me out of the house when she married my stepdad, in her fear that he might be sexually attracted to me, like my dad had been) following being abused and violated as a child (yes, me too, I went thru extreme abuse and violation from toddlerhood on), in my 2 marriages that threatened my life (I had 3 violently life-threatening abusive marriages, plus 10 years of a non-violent, but emotionally dead 4th marriage to a man who did not/could not love me, but was always opening lusting after other women… including his own grown daughter) then 10 years in a church that told me to submit THEN my husband wouldn’t HAVE to hit me (I was in that same kind of “church” for 11 years: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your husbands as unto the Lord” ~ I now believe that was written by a misogynistic MAN, not by GOD), and then 15 years in mental health being told I was defective and could never be anything else (I was told I had: 1. schizophrenia, and that it was incurable, with no known cause; then I was told that one was a misdiagnosis and I had: 2. various personality disorders that caused me to “purposefully put myself into situations where I would be abused because I liked being abused,” and I was told that the personality disorders were untreatable, so therefore the great doctor did not want to waste his precious time on me; then I was diagnosed with: 3. bipolar disorder, and told that was a “chemical imbalance” in my brain that I had been born with, and that it could never be cured, only controlled somewhat by taking a mind-numbing cocktail of powerful drugs for the rest of my life, with regular blood tests to make sure my liver wasn’t being destroyed by these “helpful” medications, and also I gained a huge amount of weight for the first time in my life, plus I was unable to have any emotions at all, while on these TOXIC DRUGS) – I had learned that it WAS my responsibility to shape who I was to get approval from others. The thing is – that no matter what I did as a child, a wife, a church member or “consume” of mental health services, it was NEVER enough.” ~again, ME, TOO…. I was told that my “Dependent Personality” and “Relationship Addiction” was SICK, but then my sick dependence and addiction to relationship was exxacerbated by my mh “professionals” insisting that I had to be “compliant” with the assessment and treatment and drugging of me, because if I didn’t do everything THEIR WAY, I would lose my relationship with them, and they made me believe that would be tantamount to suicide, because they were my ONLY HOPE… so in other words, I needed to stay dependent on the mh “professionals,” In needed to remain in an addictive relationship with THEM, for the rest of my life… but being dependent and relationship addicted was a symptom of my uncurable “disorder” ~~~ ???

You wrote: “After a lifetime of being defined by others this way, its taken a lot to learn to stand up to those who keep trying to tell me that something is “wrong” with me…” ~ DITTO. It has taken Herculean Strength for me to finally stand up to the “professionals who know it all and can do no wrong, and say, NO. No More. And… WALK AWAY from them! I think climbing a mountain all by myself would be easier!

You wrote: “…but what it comes down to is learning to recognize the subtle ways others do this and then learning to say, very simply, “I do not agree”. This alone is often enough to leave them spinning – and me feeling very, very “grown up”. ” ….Susan, THAT is where I finally am TODAY… learning to simply say “I do not agree” with anyone who tries to tell me that I am “LESS THAN” or that I am “DEFECTIVE” in any way.

To be grown up… on May 2, when I will celebrate my 58th birthday, being GROWN UP will be my birthday present to myself. I am Lynda, I have Equal Value, I am Not Defective, I am not LESS than ANYONE, and I am: GROWN UP.

I am also going to buy myself a new camera, if my husband doesn’t take the hint and buy one for me! 😉

9

@Lynda – first…I have to say, your last sentence made me chuckle! You go!

And not to say this is what you are doing but what that comment brought up for me – there was a time in my life that if I dropped the hints (like your camera) that if no one gave me what I wanted that I would just pout, get all pissy (excuse the language:)) and say “See. BECAUSE OF YOU I cannot have what I want for myself”. <> was the faux sense of powerlessness that CONSUMED my days, my nights, my life – for so very long. this was me living as the perpetual victim until I discovered my truth – that I AM NOT powerless!

And it was ONLY in learning to dig down to the core beliefs and uncover the lies told to me by my family, in my martial relationships, the church, the mental health relationships – it was only in understanding that others were defining me in order to validate themselves that I began to see that I could live far far beyond that place of broken.

Lynda – until I started connecting with others online, I also thought I was the only one. Just as in ALL forms of abuse, the greatest power the abusers have is to shame us into isolation. This, I believe, is how they kept me under control all those years.

And it is only in starting to disclose the many systems based on this authoritarian power imbalance that we will begin to see any kind of change. THANK YOU Lynda for being willing to share your own reality that others can see that they might find the truth that will also set them free, whatever their source of oppression is. 🙂

Mucho hugs and Happy Birthday!

10

OOps! MY arrows were apparently html…the word THIS is missing in the first main paragraph:)

11

TYSM, this was so powerful and affirming for me today when I needed this validation so badly!!!

12

Lynda, I don’t know anyone that enjoys being abused physically, emotionally or mentally. For a doctor, mental health person or anyone to tell you that, they are the crazy ones and they understand nothing about abuse situations or they wouldn’t say that to anyone. Being abused may seem normal for some of us. It may be all that we know. That doesn’t mean that we enjoy it. Normal is what we were raised with. It is where our belief systems come from. Normal doesn’t mean healthy at all.

Darlene, I am so glad that you chose this topic to talk about right now. My last post – Your Heart Is Tired—An Effect Of Incest And Grief – deals with some of what I thought was normal in my childhood. Grief, unresolved and unfelt, is what is normal for many of us who were abused and neglected as children. Grief was a normal part of my childhood which took any thoughts of joy away when I was as young as 3 years old.

I was told on Sunday by an intuitive healer friend of mind that my heart is tired. I instantly agreed with my friend. I knew exactly what he was talking about. Grief has been a companion of mine for so long. In the past I have done anger work and grieving and hoped that I was finished with both. I secretly knew the grieving wasn’t finished. Denial, not as obvious as it sometimes is, has kept me from acknowledging another layer of healing that needs to be done, another layer of grief that needs to be talked about and cried out of my body, especially my heart where all of the hurts, disappointments and betrayals of childhood have been felt and stored waiting. Not sure exactly where this part of my journey will take me but I know that I can share it here and be okay. This is a safe place to share and find out what healthy means. Thank you all for that.

13

We were taught that to have love, you must have sex. Started when I was 5, lasted … forever? Being in a loveless violent messed up family just drove us into the arms of a pedophile (sigh). We are ‘good’ with it now, so to speak, though we did things folks would find ‘unspeakable’. But that ‘trading the body’ for something that felt like love (but wasn’t) – yeah. It still has long ranging effects. Wasn’t until I was about 24 or so that I finally realized someone could love ME – I had always thought myself condemned to loving others, but never feeling love for myself. That has changed a lot in the past month – not due to shrinks, but my own self-therapy. (The shrinks gave up on me long ago – being MPd and all). Thanks for having the courage to step up and share your experiences, and for letting us share ours.

14

Hi Susan K.S.

I love how you can summarize my posts and still add in extra highlights. It is really hard to change the way of thinking that has been brainwashed into us! It is so dang hard because it began so dang young. BUT it is possible if we face the lies. (and I know that it feel frightening everyone, but in retrospect, I also think that it is the fear of the lies about me, (the way that I had been defined and had come to regard myself), being TRUE that is the biggest fear… and what I found out is that they are no where near true.
I don’t have to agree anymore, and I don’t spend all my time thinking about having to PROVE that I am right either. I just am. I just know that I am valuable. I just know that the lies were lies and that they led to all kinds of difficulties in my life.

Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lynda,
Love your ending statements! I repeat what I said to Susan back to you as well! YAY
Hugs, Darlene
p.s. I love what Patricia said to you about being accused of enjoying being abused. THAT is a typical abuser/abusive statement meant to take the focus off the abuser and put it back on the victim. Makes me sick..

Hi Patricia
It is very hard to write about this stuff, to break through those life long beliefs that we have about “normal” We don’t know it isn’t normal so we are not looking at those beliefs. We can of course come to know as we grow up, that sexual abuse and incest is not normal, or that being physically beaten is not normal but it is the subtle conditioning and teachings about our core value (and lack of it) that go with that abuse that cause all the problems and those ~ we are not looking at… they just quietly fester in our belief systems, deep down in our hearts. We do have some grieving to do.. and that is a big part of the recovery process as you say.
Thank you so much for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

15

Thank you Juanita
and Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jeffrey
Welcome to EFB! We can make so many changes when we find the right tools ~ that has been my experience! Trading something that felt like love but wasn’t. That is so much what I am talking about. Realizing that it was NEVER love in the first place. Realizing that what had become my normal, was NOT NORMAL but very sick. That it was not my fault. That I was a victim of a very sick system. All of this kind of discovery work led me to full integration with my own MPD/DID. (Multiple personality disorder and dissociative identity disorder for readers who are not sure what the letters mean) The broken can be fixed by the truth!
Glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene

16

My notifications stopped too, but I assumed it was for some other reason.

17

I just wanted to say what a great article this is. Too often people tell us we have to change our belief systems but don’t tell us how to, and talk about changing belief systems as if it’s on a par with changing your socks but it isn’t, it’s a long process of discovering the false and replacing it with other stuff. BUT I tend to get lost somewhere in the middle where I find a lot of anger about all the lies I was told and taught by the abuse and feel overwhelmed at the enormity of the task ahead and get stuck in that quaqmire

18

@ FI, you wrote: “Too often people tell us we have to change our belief systems but don’t tell us how to, and talk about changing belief systems as if it’s on a par with changing your socks but it isn’t” ~ YES! So TRUE! I’m just so thankful that here on EFB we are being told how to change our belief systems, by those who have been where we are, and have successfully done the actual work of changing their harmful wrong beliefs that they were taught, for healthy, RIGHT beliefs.

Then, Fi, you went on to say this, about the hard task of changing your belief system: “it’s a long process of discovering the false and replacing it with other stuff. BUT I tend to get lost somewhere in the middle where I find a lot of anger about all the lies I was told and taught by the abuse and feel overwhelmed at the enormity of the task ahead and get stuck in that quaqmire” ~ again, ME TOO. Can someone here help with that? How do we get past the ANGER at all the lies we were told, and our anger at all the painful abuse we endured?* How do we stop feeling overwhelmed at the enormous task ahead? How do we get unstuck from that quaqmire?

* Regarding the PAIN of being ABUSED… I agree with what Pat and Darlene said, that anyone who ever accused me of LIKING to be abused, was so wrong. Abuse was NEVER something I enjoyed. Being harmed, being abused, always felt horribly FAMILIAR to me, but it NEVER felt good.

19

@ Patricia: my heart, too, feels so tired. I am just…. TIRED. I need more energy. I read these posts, I feel myself growing, that gives me hope and gratitude, but then… TIREDNESS overwhelms me, and I can’t do anything at all but sleep, or some mindless task. I really ached for you when I read that about your heart being tired, Pat. You are so awesome to me, and it hurts me to think of you being it that tired place. I hope it doesn’t last too long for you~ uh, however long is too long! It has been far too long already, hasn’t it? But I think you know what I mean, I hope you will soon be beyond that tired place and into a peaceful, happy place.

20

Juanita: your one sentence, in comment #11, brought tears to my eyes. I’m glad you are here.

21

JeffreyW, I am so very glad that you are here. I am also very glad for you that you are finding help for yourself in your self-therapy. I have found good, affirming self-therapy to be the most helpful, healing kind.

I, too, thought that to have love, you must have sex. For most of my life, Jeffrey, the only time that I felt I was being loved, was when my body was being used for sex. It took me decades to learn that that wasn’t love, not in any way or form, it was just me being used, period. I thought it was love, because for most of my life, it was the ONLY form of “love” I had ever known. I thought it was love, because when my body was being used, that was what they said, they said, “I love you.”

I also thought that sex was love because in most of my relationships, it was ONLY when the sex was happening, that I was getting paid any kind of attention! But it was my body that was being paid the attention, not ME, the person inside. It could have been almost any body, as far as my users and abusers were concerned, just any halfway attractive body to satisfy their sexual addiction… if though I didn’t think my body was attractive enough, after the stretch marks of having 3 very big babies. But they could turn off the light or close their eyes or only uncover/look at the parts of me that wasn’t scarred and stretched and… I was at least as good as an inflatable doll.

When I was 51 I married the man who is, today, my husband and my best-ever-friend. He was 55 when we were married, he weighed over 300 opunds, and he had had 2 heart attacks a year or so before I met him. My husband has PTSD from combat in Vietnam, which he went through when he was 19 and 20 years old. My husband was also horrible abused by a very sick gang of teenagers when he was a little boy, just 8 years old. What happened to him…. just the thought of what he went through, makes me SICK. And FURIOUS against his abusers.

Like you and like me, my husband grew up to believe that to have love, you must have sex. After he got out of the service in the 1970s, with his terrible PTSD-triggered anger and anxiety problems, he could not keep a job. But he had to do something, he had a wife and baby to support. So he found a job in managing a pornography bookstore. From there, he bought into the business, and by the time he was 40 he owned, I believe it wa 10 adult porn shops. He was a wealthy man by then, and he had gotten all from his wealth from his porn businesses. His whole life revolved around sex… that false “love” you talk about.

Then his wife took their 2 children and left him. He began drinking heavily to medicate his pain, but alcohol is a depressant, so all it did for him was make him so depressed that he could not function. He hated himself, he hated what he was doing for a living, he hated his wealth, because none of it brought him any happniess or real LOVE. He became ashamed of his wealth, because of the way he had earned it, and he blamed his porn businesses for driving his wife and children away. So, he gave away all his fortune, all his property, all his businesses, he turned his property and money over to various charities, and he turned his porn stores all over to his store managaers. He left himself with one car to drive and a few hundred dollars, and then he moved a couple of thousand miles away to try to start a new life.

But he STILL thought that he couldn’t have love without sex. By the time we married, with his heart problems and his weight problems and his neuropathy caused by diabetes, my husband was so afraid, as he told me on the day we married, that he might not be able to “perform” on our wedding night.

It took a little while for me to convince my best-friend-husband that I didn’t want him to “PERFORM” anything… all I want is his love and his friendship and his respect. All I want is for us to go through life together side by side, hand in hand, as EQUALS, as partners. I never cared about the size of his bank account, or the size of his anything else… including the size of his 300 pound body. He is my love, my husband, and I am so lucky to have HIM. How wonderful it is to finally have a relationship, a marriage, where love isn’t about sex at all. If sex happens, that’s ok, and if it doesn’t happen, that is equally ok. I’ve never had a relationship where I was loved for ME and not for my body, and my husband says the same. It is healing and freeing, Jeffrey. I hope you find the same thing too.

HUGS,
Lynda

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Darlene,

All of this mentioned below completely resonate with me and I know those false truths as well. I don’t challenge these beliefs enough, however there is absolutely no mystery to me where they came from. A long line of people who hated themselves so, how can someone who hates themself teach another to love themself? it’s just not possible. So, I strive to stay alert to these systems within myself and keep discovering things on my path that need my attention. I won’t ever take a break from bringing to the light what has been so long lost in the dark.

If I had been taught, both in words and in actions, that I was equally valuable to others then the false belief system would not have been set in place.

If I had been taught, both in words and in actions, that my needs mattered then I would not have learned to discount them myself.

If I had been taught that I was a treasure and a delight as the individual that I was born to be, and if I had been encouraged to be that individual then I would have grown up BEING and LIVING as the individual that I was born to be and I would not have had the identity crisis that I had for so long.

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Hi Amira,
Somehow I deleted my response to your comment this morning. Not sure how that happened, but here I am again!
Thank you so much for sharing your victories! I found out that a lot of the issues were not ME either. My husband had lots of his own work to do on our journey, but thankfully, he did his own work, and today we live in harmony. You made such a great point when you say that you didn’t expect equal treatment so you didn’t see the discrepancies. YES
I want to encourage you Amira, I no longer ever struggle to see my self having 100% equal value to others. I never thought that I could say that, but the day came! I have a healthy understanding of the real truth about myself today and all those warring thoughts settled down! the biggest thing is not being so invested in what others think about me or HOW they see me. That is not really my problem!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Vicki
I would say that that mothers reaction was a good example of how the girl was defined. Her mother defining her daughter as LESS VALUABLE then the car. This is a great example actually
Thank you for sharing it.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Fi!
It is a long process. It is hard. My goal for this next year has a lot to do with teaching the practical application of the HOW TO. It seems overwhelming, (okay it IS overwhelming) but we are not in any kind of race here, so we just go forward… my only goal was to keep going forward. I could stop and rest and digest the new information, but I always resumed the forward motion! It worked well that way!
hugs, Darlene

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Darlene Ouimet – 4/12/11@10:32 wrote (and others have hinted): . . . “Realizing that what had become my normal . . .”
We just wrote a blog post about the how’s and whys of why WE (so many of us) perceived our lives as normal – and for some, like me, for so long.
“SNAFU: Inside the Abused Child’s Mind” http://wp.me/p1t0dv-8V

– which I recommend for those who don’t understand how our childhood’s could seem ‘normal’. Feel free to add your perceptions in the Comments field; I welcome any input in this “phenomena”.

As for myself – yes, I have DID/MPD – whatever. “We” are finally comfortable and a working system (mostly). Still a few bugs in the ol’ machine, LOL! But after years of fighting, I did a 180 degree turn and said: “embrace the friggin’ madness”. This was through the efforts of Jeffery. We cannot exactly explain him, but he is the first one to ever manage to pull us together through system compassion and understanding, which yields that unconditional love inside we all crave. For me, the shrinks were wrong; I was conditioned as a teen to ‘resist’ brainwashing by my father (Shrink Masters, Sociology Minor, and I the educated guinea pig, my brother the ‘control’.) Long story. We would rather blog it – more comfortable there.

Anyway – we are glad to be here. I/we want you to understand that we are not ‘normal’, but that’s okay. We are kind. We look at the abuse and our abusers differently, perhaps, for we found blessings in the curse, and perhaps due to the MPD, are able to see things from many sides and angles (something which frustrates my spouse, LOL!). I do wish peace on all of you; I know it’s been tough, will be tough. Abuse: the gift that just … keeps …. on …. giving. LOL! But it also gave you the gift of understanding, deep compassion, and, IMO, richer and more beautiful souls.

Thank you very much.
Jeffery & Friends

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Hi Lynda
Your question is really answered in this whole blog. It might only take a few days to read the whole thing… but the process takes a long time. My blog is a good fog busting tool. It triggers truth exposure. But the work must be done. The fog lifts in layers. There is a lot to undo. For me, it was in going forward, it was in exposing the lies, feeling the anger, setting the truth about myself straight, ~ ALL of that, that I was able to get unstuck. And again, It took work and it took time.
keep hanging in and keep doing the work you are doing; it will pay off.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jenny
I was just writing an outline for a post this morning about what you wrote here which is basically “that someone who hates themselves teach another to love themselves” They CAN’T ~ Your words are so welcome here! This is not about blame, it is about boundaries and learning, and it is about taking our worth back. When we realize that we were not taught to love or to value ourselves, we open a door to learn it now.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

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Lynda, thank you for your compassion. It will take some time to get through this sadness and grief and that is okay. It is where I am supposed to be right now. I will talk and feel my way through it to the other side.

Fi, anger took me about 4 years to go through the majority of it because I had held it in and denied its existence for so many years. Feeling the anger is how you get through it. The same is true for my sadness and grief right now. Don’t try to rush through it. Feel it all. I know it isn’t comfortable but it is the only way to heal that I have found. Talk about you anger and where it comes from. Rage if you have to, beat up pillows if that feels good. What works the best for me is talking with trustworthy friends and writing out my thoughts and feelings. You will get through it and so will I.

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I’m going to go out on a limb here. There has been some discussion of how no one likes to be abused. I just need to say that my abuse began as a toddler, and there were aspects of it that I did enjoy. It always began soft and gentle, an sometimes ended cruel and terrible, but not always. I learned to connect abuse with arousal and for the rest of my life have sought that out, fantasized about it, and acted upon it. I’m not saying it’s healthy. In fact, it destroys my soul and causes more shame than anything! It’s twisted, but I didn’t make it twisted. I was programmed, before I had a choice, to like abuse. This is a secret I have carried for 40 some years, because I thought I was the twisted, sick one. Now I’m trying to change that belief system to realize that I didn’t have a choice and was programmed that way. It’s a terrifying place to be, earth shattering really. But I can’t help but think there are other abuse survivors out there who connect abuse with arousal, and even enjoyed some aspects of the abuse.

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I wanted to contribute a bit on the question of the process…it does take time and I’ve found along the way that as I step out of that dark place where I avoided anything that could cause me to think of or remember the abuse or feel the deeply ingrained shame I lived with I’ve discovered that the process is less intense than in the beginning when I fell on the floor sobbing for the first time; I remember the day clearly. It was the day my journey changed forever.

In the beginning – the anger and grief was overwhelming and all consuming. It felt as though it would never stop. What it reminded me of was the tea pot that sits simmering on the stove with the heat turned on high. This was me – bubbling and occasionally bursting with an explosive amount of anger or an all consuming grief that would cripple me and put me in bed as I avoided the emotional energy. I did not have the understanding that it was in resisting the pain that actually prolonged it…why would I know any different? This is what I was taught in the abuse. Emotional literacy was not even on my radar.

But as I began to allow the feelings instead of avoid them – the lid of the tea pot stopped jangling and being so noisy, the sadness not so consuming. Over time and with practice if something of my past is triggered I can now face it, feel it and move forward confident that this emotion as all others pass with time. As with the tea pot – it was the keeping the lid on in avoidance that there was the danger of my anger or sadness overtaking my life; now my teapot is on a pleasant simmer where I can experience – and express my emotions safely for myself and respectful of others.

I often write about the “how” in my own personal journey at my blog (click on my name to get there:)) and my community
FB page Empowering Solutions. And there was a couple of recent discussions on this at my FB page;http://www.facebook.com/susankingsleysmith/posts/194628273906537 and here: http://www.facebook.com/susankingsleysmith/posts/194614803907884

I do love being a part of this community; thank you to Darlene and all of the wonderful members of EFB for making this a safe place to share, learn and grow:)

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Hi Sarah,
Thank you for bringing this VERY important point up here on this subject.
This discussion about no one liking abuse started because one of the readers had been accused of liking it (and wanting it again) after she had been raped as a teen. I want to make sure that everyone is clear about this very important subject. Sarah, you are very right. MANY kids learn to love sexual abuse and being sexually abused. It is a grooming that is beyond the control of the child and as you say it is a programing. (Many children also never get to like it at all) Some children grow to like violence in sexual situations too. Many of us learned to connect abuse with arousal in the same way that you are talking about. The thing that is hard about writing about this stuff is that we use these blanket statements like “no one likes to be abused” not meaning to offend anyone or make readers who realize the same secret that you have written about ~ that they DID come to like the abuse ~ feel alone or “wrong”. Both are true; that no one likes it and some grow to like it and even seek it out. And the most important thing that we have to own is the truth that none of it was ever our fault. Liking it was not our fault. Seeking it out was a reaction. Acceptance of all that is so important on the road to healing.
Thanks Sarah!
hugs, Darlene

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Lynda,
What an awe-inspiring, larger-than-life, fantastic story!! Thank you so much for sharing it!! Keep talking!!

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Susan KS
I love your comment! Great analogy and a very important message too!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

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I Too am tired of grieving having embarked on my own self therapy for the last 2 years, SLOWLY coming of all psychiatric medication, rejecting any contact with the mental health system. This involved doing my own research and also being support by Darlenes blog, Susans and ‘Beyond Meds’ etc etc. Im grieving the losses/abuse in chilhood and in my adult relationships and the so many missed opportunitys. the ‘couldve beens’ the ‘if onlys’. Im grieving that its taken me til Im middle aged to wake up and get the right support/answers (thank god for laptops)My mother died recently and my dad not so long ago and Im grieving their loss but also the stark realisation that they really cannot resolve what happend to me- somewhere at the back of my mind I thought that as long as they were alive there was a chance of this. Now its just me and Im grieving my loneliness too in all this. Im grieiving the loss of friends/partners who I could no longer relate to as they they minamalised what I was going through and wanted the simpler medicated me who complied with the delusions and rules. Dealing with withdrawal effects from meds and at the same time trying to process anger , repressed fear, blocked grief is maybe a solitary journey but it would have helped to have some understanding other than my counsellor. I also feel Im grieving the state of the world as so many people go around in denial of the abuses and poverty around us and feed in to the fake happiness that is fed to them by a capitalist society. I try to reassure myself that by allowing my own grieving to take its course I will become stronger and able to help people.Right now it feels never ending . At the same time I know there is no going back to mhs and meds and Darlene helps me to know that although grieving is painful it is part of the process of moving forward. When Im able Im finding mindflness meditation , journaling, exercise and angry dancing( to Led zeppelin ! ) all help. I really appreciate the comments from you all, especially Lynda, Susan and Patricia- thankyou so much all of you and I wish you much love and strength

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@ Sarah Smith, eveything you wrote is absolutely true. I’m so very sorry that abuse happened to you.

I, too, learned to like certain aspects of sexual abuse, so I know exactly what you mean.

Please accept my apology for not making myself more clear when I was writing about the LIE that former mental health therapists tried to sell me, the idea that I was a masochist and “enjoyed” to be abused, so therefore I would purposefully seek out abusive relationships, and even try to “provoke” the abuse. That was a lie, because I never ever ‘enjoyed’ being hit, being beat up with fists and kicked with steel-toed boots, I never once enjoyed being verbally and emotionally abused, I never in the least bit enjoyed the abuse of being treated like I was “less than,” not good enough, not good enough to be loved or wanted or treated with kindness, comapassion, common courtesy, and respect. Sarah, THAT is the kind of abuse I was talking about that never felt anything but BAD and PAINFUl in the extreme……….. the abuse that made me believe I was crazy and worthless and made me HATE MY SELF because I wasn’t as good as anyone else, my wants and needs didn’t matter, I had No Rights….THAT is the kind of abuse that my stupid therapists used to try to tell me I ENJOYED. Enjoy being physically beaten up, until my bones were broken and my body was covered in bruises? Enjoy being verbally beaten up, until my heart was broken and my mind was covered in bruises? NO NO NO I NEVER “enjoyed” or sought out or tried on purpose to provoke, that kind of abuse.

I sure as H*LL didn’t enjoy the abuse of my mother trying to gas me and my little sisters and brothers all to death while we slept in our beds. I sure as H*LL didn’t enjoy the abuse of being locked in an insane asylum by my mother when I was 14, and I was suffering with PTSD as a direct result of her murderous abuse. I sure as H*LL didn’t enjoy the abuse of being drugged to the literal brink of death by my own married 40-something psychiatris, and then raped, when I was 15.

THAT is the kind of abuse I was talking about, Dear Sarah, when I said I never liked being abused.

I am so sorry, Sarah, when I made that blanket statement about no one liking abuse, I was NOT even thinking about someone who has been sexually abused, starting as a young child. OH I am SO SORRY. My precious loving kind-hearted gentle husband, who at age 62 is a big over-grown kid in a 300+ pound body… when he was 8 years old and didn’t know a thing about sex, he was sexually abused by his teenage babysitter, a girl, and then she brought her teenage boyfriend into the sexual abuse, and after many abuses with the two of them, that poor little unprotected 8-yr-old boy was gang raped by a whole group of them.

My husband enjoyed the arousal, the pyhsical touching, too, of course he did. He enjoyed the closeness, the cuddling, the (false) feeling that someone CARED about him… his own family either did not want him, or had no time for him, which is the same thing really. So at age 8 he was out roaming the streets of the shadier areas in Brooklyn, as he was gag raped.

Like you, Sarah, my husband has struggled with feelings of SHAME over the fact that he physically enjoyed certain aspects of being sexually abused by a teenage girl, and then by a group of teenage boys. My husband is a Christian, he has high morals, a little too high I sometimes think!, he is not at all gay…. yet he does not hate or putdown anyone who is gay, his own 35-yr-old son is gay, I should say OUR son, he is my stepson but in my heart he is my son. We love him no less, because he is gay. We love him and we are proud of his accomplishments in life, period. But my husband has struggled with shame, because he is NOT gay, and yet he remembers the good feelings of being abused by male pedophiles.

Along with his therapists, I have done what I could to try to help my husband to stop feeling guilty for something that he literally had NO CONTROL OVER. Our bodies are made so that if certain parts of our bodies are touched and stroked in a certain way, we are going to feel pleasure, and arousal. That is Not your fault, not ever.

I hope that what I have said here, Sarah, has helped to undo the damage of my thoughtlessness of my blanket statement that NO ONE LIKES BEING ABUSED. The bottom line is, I was talling about the horrible WOUNDING that abuse of all kinds, does to our mind and our hearts and our souls. NO ONE enjoys feeling like they are a piece of dog dung…… and that is what ABUSE of all kinds does to us in the end. 9Until we find Darlene Ouimet and EFB, that is, and we finally start to heal.)

HUGS to you, Sarah, and to anyone else who was hurt by my incomplete blanket statement about not ever liking abuse.

LYNDA

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@Sheyl ~ THANKS!! I really needed your simple affirmation today. ((((HUG))))

LYNDA

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eeeek I mean…. @ SHERYL. I saw that I had misspelled your name just as I clicked submit comment… too late. XOXOXOXOXO

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Layla Dear One ~ I need to do some angry dancing to Led Zeppelin. Or maybe to Linkin Park, I have one of their great furious CDs in which they SCREAM at the top of their lungs about hating the whole wide world and the whole wide world hates them… I’m paraphrasing badly, but that’s kind of how it sounds.

IF I weren’t so worn out now from my post to dear Sarah Smith, I would have a lot more to say about your great insightful post, Layla. But right now I am so tired, emotionally. The first thing I saw on the news on my computer when I turned it on early this morning, was about that mother driving herself and 3 of her children into a river on purpose, and drowning them all. When I read that stuff, it makes me want to SCREAM…………………………………….. It brings it all back, like it was yesterday, me at 12 years old, and finding out that my mother had been trying, night after night, to gas me and my 4 younger siblings to death while we all slept in our beds, only she couldn’t figure out how to override the safety shutoff on the gas furnace. So after many nights of trying this, she finally gave up, and was going to drive us all off a cliff.

Today, when I read that, and saw the news video, I did scream. My husband is away this morning, I had let our dog out in the yard to do her potty, so I didn’t have to stifle my screams out of concern for my hsuband and not wanting to upset our easily frightened rescue dog. So I screamed, and I screamed, and I am still screaming inside.

I have decided to write a long letter to my mother, about all of this. It is a long overdue letter. I’ve known for years that I need to write it, but never could find the emotional strength to do it. But now, thanks to Darlene Ouimet and to all you awesome CARING fellow survivors…. I believe I now have the strength to write this letter. My mother is still alive, she is 76 now and widowed. I don’t know if I will send her the letter when I’m done, I will figure that out, after it’s written. But I know that for ME, I need to write this.

It may take me a few days to write it all out, so if I’m not on here for a while, that would be why!

LOVE to all
LYNDA

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@Layla; thank you for sharing your thoughts today and for welcoming me this way to walk beside you in your journey. I am truly blessed to know that you are finding support that is helpful here:)

you had said:

“Im grieving that its taken me til Im middle aged to wake up and get the right support/answers”

I am so so sorry that this happened to you; there is no reason why someone who seeks to learn to live differently in the aftermath of abuse and dysfunction must experience this kind of loss of life. My heart and soul grieves with you. I am grateful that Darlene has created this space where we can support one another to truly make peace with our past and find true healing from the inside out.

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PS~ See, it was my sick mother… my sick father too, but mostly my mother… who abused me and broke me so badly in my childhood, from the cradle on, that set me up for a lifetime of one abusive relationship after another. It wasn’t that I “liked” not being loved and cared for and treated with kindness… it was just that being HURT was my “normal.” As I was growing up, my sick parents taught me that I was CRAZY and WORTHLESS and should never have been born, and that I didn’t deserve any better treatment.

I wasn’t BORN crazy and broken… my parents, my mother especially, made me that way. If you stab someone, they will bleed. If you abuse someone from the cradle on, they will become broken, they will go “CRAZY.” So my parents broke me, they made me crazy, and then they rejected me, by locking me in an insane asylum when I was 14, because of my crazy brokenness… THAT WAS CAUSED BY THEM.

In 1967, when I was 14, and I began to dissociate due to the insanity of my childhood home… what I had, was Post Traumatic Stress. Having Complex-PTSD, and dissociation, is a NORMAL reaction to extreme trauma, just as bleeding is a NORMAL reaction to being stabbed. You wouldn’t lock someone up and throw away the key because they were being so “abnormal” as to get their “disgusting” blood all over the place. But, that is what my mother did.

When I was 14, my then-32-year-old mother had gotten pregnant by the man she was dating, she stopped taking her birth control pills right after he told her that he never wanted to get married again. So she got pregnant, and then my terrific, good, honorable, caring stepdad married her. At 14, I was still very much a little girl, and extremely modest in my dress and behavior, in truth I was very shy. But my mother saw my developing body and good looks as COMPETITION. I assume it was because my dad had made no secret of the fact that he was sexually attracted to me when I began to develop breasts at the age of 12… my mother told me, just before she married my stepdad, that she wanted me to STAY AWAY from him, she wanted me not to even be in the same room of the house with him at any time!! Then she married him, and she told me “No house is big enough for two women.”

We moved to a new place, a new school district, right after she married him, and the other 9th grade kids there were heavy into seances and playing with a oui ja board that one of the girls in my new class had gotten for Christmas. My grandfather Robinson had recently died at the fairly young age of 59. He had seemed to really care about me while I was growing up, I became very interested in my classmates seances, hoping to be able to contact my sweet loving grandfather.

But instead of communicating with my grandfather, I began to have terrifying nightmares about evil spirits. I would wake up from these dreams, and seem to see a terrifying ghostly being in my room, and then it would vanish. I began to hear their voices talking, inside my head. I was so afraid! I didn’t know what to do! So I went to my mother for help. She was the adult, she would know what I could do to get rid of the scary dreams and disturbing voices. She was no longer all depressed and murderous, now that she was married to a good loving man, so I thought I could trust my mother to help me.

She helped me, all right. She said, “You are crazy, just like your father. Insanity is inherited, and you have gotten it from him.” Then she found a psych who diagnosed me with schizophrenia, and I was committed to a state insane asylum, which, in 1967, was a life sentence. I was 14, I had never committed a crime (other than some petty shoplifting, which I regretted), I had never hurt anyone, never so much as ever WANTED to hurt anyone, and now that I wa BROKEN by abusive parents, I was thrown away, locked away, for being broken.

When I came out of that place 2 years later at the age of 16, after going through much more trauma… rapes, almost murdered, etc etc etc… I was SO broken, I had NO self-esteem whatsoever, I was CRAZY and WORTHLESS… and I was the perfect target, in my grown relationships/marriages, for other abusers, who LOOK for an easy mark. They LOOK for someone who has zero self-esteem, and…. so I went from one abusive marriage/relationship to another, and all the while the mental health professionals are telling me: “YOU are the common denominator in all these relationships, the problem has to be YOU.”

Right. Tell that to an holocaust victim, who was abused by mulitple nazis…. “YOU are the common denominator, YOU are the problem.”

Oh yes, it is high time that I take the time to write my mother a letter, and thank her for grooming for a lifetime of PAIN. I will write one to my dad, too, even though he died in 1988.

It will HURT, facing all this, writing all this… but the only way out is THROUGH.

L.

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@Sarah; I completely understand where you are coming from. I also experienced sexual stimulation as a small child so really do related to what you describe. I felt such shame and so “bad” I hated the act of intercourse and most often dissociated during the act. But I always sought out more attention because it was literally the only time anyone paid attention to me as a child then teenager. My life and my sense of worth and value was completely tied up in someone paying sexual attention to me; and if they didn’t – I thought I’d done something wrong. Thank you for bringing this issue up. It was not my fault that my body responded to these adults this way. And it was through acknowledging this and giving responsibility back to the men who did this to me that I was able to take back my body and even overcome the body memories that had haunted me for my entire adult life. Thank you for speaking up about this. 🙂

@Fi – it gets softer as we go. I’m always glad to see you here:)

@Lynda – I love the way you express your emotions in your words:) Such kindness and gentle wisdom!

@Patricia – thank you always for sharing your journey and your wisdom:) I always enjoy how you are able to verbalize and simplify often complicated issues we face on this journey. Many hugs!

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Wow *hugs to you all ! I keep coming in here and reading my own life I hope someday I will be able to write what I feel when I read this page but I don’t do feelings well and this page certainly stirred up a lot . I almost stopped reading it seems so foreign to me that there is someone actually quite a few that were raised like me its comforting to me to know I am no longer alone having to hide for fear the neighbors will notice something is wrong .May you all stay strong on you’re journey ! Thanks for being here I finally found somewhere to belong:)

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Hi Layla,
It IS exhausting, but I must tell you, I have more energy now then I have ever had in my life! There are many days where I feel that I am making up for the lost time! I am happy and bounce out of bed in the mornings! Last night we sat around the dinner table (husband, our 3 teenagers and I) laughing so hard that we were almost in tears. Life is 100% different because I did this work. Because I had the courage to face all of this stuff and heal. My husband had the courage to do his work because he saw me getting stronger and stronger.
And it IS lonely…. I think that is because of the individual-ness of this process. I don’t feel so lonely anymore, and it wasn’t so much a result of building and finding community, as it was a result of coming back to my real self. You are ON the journey, and it will pay off!
So glad that you are here Layla!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Charlotte
Thank you for sharing! Sounds like you are making progress! Even writing about not being able to share yet is really a great step. This blog gets hundreds of views a day ~ many more don’t share then do share. I am so happy to hear that you feel that you belong! That is awesome!
Hugs, Darlene

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@ Sarah Smith,

I understand what you are saying…about certain parts of your body becoming aroused by the touch you received. I think it is impossible for that not to happen. Maybe you enjoyed the loving touch and attention which makes sense. However, when you said sometimes it ended cruel and terrible, I don’t think you enjoyed that at all. I feel the same way sometimes….trying to make sense out of all that mess. I was a child who deserved and needed love, instead I got a filthy old man touching me and introducing me to sex at an age that is incomprehensible. That picture is not one of enjoyment to me…it saddens me…I thank you for going out on a limb and going past your comfort zone…that is extremely courageous and I can appreciate that.

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Lynda,

It is a question that goest hrough my mind about myself, or anyone, and now you, as you are contemplating writing a letter. The process of discovery and closure and healing, I am sure are invaluable. My question is that if a letter like this were given to the person, would it give them MORE power over you since you are telling them what a huge impact they had on you?

I really don’t know the answer.

I know that I wrote to an abusive pastor three years ago and told him why he was wrong to excommunicate our fmaily and to advise me the way he did several years before. We went round and round and he ended up accusing me of being “unsaved” because of my flippant attitude–one that he disagreed with! I felt great being able to explain WHY he was so wrong. I told him that the next time he advised someone that “only pornography” is not a reason to leave a husband, that I hoped it was not HIS wife doing the complaining. Well, I found out that his wife left him six months later. I told him that Divorce: A Gift of God’s Love by Callison was my answer to the divorce question, I didn’t care WHAT his denomination taught. Well, once his wife left, he left the denomination and his pastorate altogether and sell insurance!

But with a parent, I don’t know, each situation is its own.

44

@ Darlene

Thanks back to you for always replying and validating the things that are not so fun to talk about but desperately need to be heard. I have a question…I know this is not all about blame..but how do you get through the part where you hate the enablers that allowed you to get raped as a child…I just can’t quite put my mind around it…

@ Amira

I so completely relate to everything you said…it was like I heard myself talking….It is such a relief knowing I am indeed not the onlty person with such struggles. The self doubt that abuse at a young age instills in you seems like it will take a lifetime to overcome sometimes….I am taking it moment by moment…hugs to you…

45

@Lynda – no need to apologize! I understand and believe you do not enjoy abuse, nor ever looked for it, that makes sense. I thank you for validating my point, too, about how sexual abuse can be connected to arousal/pleasure. These are complex issues and I appreciate so much that there are places for us to go like this site where we can express ourselves and get feedback.

46

Layla, thank you for letting me know that what I share does help you. The same goes for Darlene, Lynda and Susan. What everyone shares here helps someone else in their journey to healing. We bless each others’ life with our stories and our sharing. Susan, thank you for telling me that I simplify often complex subjects. We have such a great community of survivors here. It is and we are all awesome standing in our power as women and men who are finding ourselves through healing.

47

A most interesting set of conversations, folks! Gee, Lynda – like, you are like cool, “listen to me roar!” but also so very tenderhearted. Ain’t we survivors cool? At least we can understand each other and what one another is feeling. It’s like a refreshing wind off a cool sea on a hot summer’s day, ain’t it? ((( safe hugs all around )))

Glad to see the “I traded my body for love” (which we all realize and know wasn’t) is a fairly common thread. THAT part of the abuse . . . well, yeah, it WAS different than the physical, emotional, and mental abuse, wasn’t it? Can we all agree on that – those of us who’ve ‘been there’. Lynda’s husband was there; yeah, the gang rape: no, I doubt he enjoyed that, though maybe he did. There’ve been fantasy times for us (sigh) – and yeah, we’re inherently “Bi”, since for us sex isn’t about gender, it’s about love, and the desire to give that kind of pleasure to the one’s we love . . . sometimes even if they don’t love us back. Lack of sexual contact can feel like ‘rejection’ as in “they don’t love me because they WON’T” (have sex with me) sort of thing. Anyone out there in cyberland got that goin’ on? We do sometimes. It takes a LOT to prove love to us (seeing Golum’s face and hearing ‘Tricksy!’, LOL!). Love them movies; gotta love them alters (my souls) for their weird, strange, connotative visions.

Sharing: this builds trust, and when you ‘share’ – well, you build trust and reduce shame. After all: you are TELLING someone, albeit it might only be on this small flat screen – but you are TELLING – and deep in your heart you know we’re on another screen sitting somewhere – listening, responding, trying … we’re compulsive rescuers, after all, and we know who needs rescued – if you cry out in the cybernight loud enough, we do tend to come running, eh guys and guyettes? But the biggest thing is that shame reduction: we don’t bite your head off, we don’t condemn; we give hugs, we understand, we try to help, eh? And please: forgive someone if they inadvertently say the wrong thing. Words are an imperfect medium for emotions; feelings, and ideas.

As for dealing with our abusers: anger is appropriate, but we need to work PAST that because: anger eats you up. Hate does terrible things inside. WE are working on that – examining our parent’s lives. Mom was terribly and horribly abused physically and mentally. Dad is a mystery: lost his mom and dad at a young age, upper family ‘fighting’ over custodial issues – so much that he changed his name as soon as he could. Then Korea, Vietnam (2 tours), more …. yeah, the guy has PTSD, and it rubbed off on us kids. Add to that a crazy mom who, in fact, did treat us better than she was treated as a kid – but who hated her husband from day 1 (married to escape). No wonder things went screwy, huh?

So I’m trying to ‘skip’ around the anger thing – delicately, it’s like broken ice, it hurts – and work my way towards compassion and understanding. Love … we’ll see. To date my mom has never – EVER – hugged us kids or told us she loves us – nor us, her. We hate it, and hate the idea of making ourselves do it, and WILL NOT … not yet. Maybe on her deathbed. Maybe not. We may just look down and spit on her face. I dunno. Depends on how well I progress on this ‘forgive’ (but NEVER will I freakin’ FORGET!) thing. I can see the golden coin there – but it’s a slippery thing – grip it now and again – then oops, damnit. Ya know? But – deep in my heart I know: this is the right road to take with our abusers. Even the pedophile was abused: we knew his family intimately in every meaning of the word, okay? There. Said that, too.

O’tay, well, signing off. I might just copy that into my blog and work on it.
After all, girls and guyettes – isn’t that the way we work on things around here?
See ya! Have a good day and (((( Safe Hugs )))) all around!

48

Hi Sheryl
This is a tough question because the answer depends on the healing and progress of the individual. In the past when I confronted an abuser, I would always get taken down some rabbit trail that led to me being wrong again… but today, it rarely happens. They can’t turn it on me anymore because I won’t accept it. They are wrong and today I know it deeply inside of me so it matters not to me, what they use to fight the truth with. As you say each situation IS different, but for me it had more to do with MY recovery then the person I was confronting and the outcome is no longer what defines my success.
Thanks for posting this thoughtful response. =)
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jeffrey
Thanks for your comments ~ there is so much value in telling and sharing and it does reduce shame.
I just want to point out for the sake of the other readers that sexual abuse may be a different kind of abuse, but believe it or not, the damage it causes it not so different from any other abuse. And so we focus on healing the damage.
One of the things that greatly helped me was to stop looking at the problems that my parents had in their own lives in relation to how they treated me. I separated those things. I validated that I was abused/mistreated/devalued ~period. I just was and if they knew they did it or not it didn’t matter anymore. I had to validate myself in order to get on with the healing. Abuse is abuse and I can’t excuse it anymore. I can understand where it came from, (in them) but that does not ever help me to move forward at all.
Glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene

49

Darlene, I am a little late to the discussion, but I’m glad I waited to read this post, as it shows me my belief in synchronicity is true! I have been dealing with this issue in a very painful way the last few days, really struggling, but came to the same understanding of things that you have talked about here. Well, I guess you could say that I am halfway to having this understanding! I at least came to recognize that things were not right, even if I have not been able yet to delve into the process of digging down as deeply as you have done and as you have guided Carla Dippel in doing. I think it will be my next step! Getting way down to where I can build that new foundation, so I will never have to be unsure again as to what the relationships in my life are about.

Thank you again for another great post! Always spot on!
Hugs,
Carla Logan

50

Yes I am starting to work on this myself. Do you have any suggestions or ideas on questions to ask to get started on working on identifying and then reprograming your brain and the way you live?

51

Hi Carla,
For me this realizing what my definition of love was and where it came from was an understanding that came over time and kind of revealed itself throughout the process, in layers kind of. I think that as in all things for me, I learned them by realizing what they are not. I found the lies in order to find the truth. You are doing that too.
Getting down to the the bottom of the old belief system and finishing that digging out process so that the new foundation can be built.. now there is some exciting news!
Thanks for sharing Carla!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Priscilla
This whole blog (the whole entire website) is about your questions. The process began for me by starting to see the false and expose the lies that the damage of being devalued, caused to me and to my belief system. I started with the earliest memory of trauma, but you can start with the earliest memory of something that you feel was unfair or a bad memory. I began to look at that memory and figure out what beliefs that I developed about myself because of it. By looking closely at it and talking to others, I realized that my belief about myself and the event was wrong. It might help you to understand a lot more as you read through my other posts.
Glad you are here
Hugs, Darlene

52

Hi ya, Darlene O.
I agree 100% that the abuse was wrong; no doubt there. They should have broken the cycle with THEM. I struggle with it, see-sawing – seeing and not seeing. And yes, there is deep anger with them. But I ‘divorced’ them a long time ago, though I must deal with them on a daily basis (used to be 800 miles; now 4 or 5). And while I understand their ‘reasons’, how they went ‘mad’ – forgiving is hard. I guess being DID/MPD – it’s both a problem and a solution – the ability to see and feel too many things at one time sometimes. We have had our bad sides; we wrote a book on it so to speak about them. (The Boy).

But I also recognize the need for everyone to take their own pace – you gotta go slowly – like a bitter well of poison, if you drink too deeply of your own pain, you can die. This we learned a long time ago. But sip from it occasionally – carefully – you can inoculate yourself to its poison. IMO, that’s part of what sharing is about: dipping into the well and sharing, and seeing that yes: this is okay. Yes, they can take it too. Yes, they share in love and understanding, and will support you when you grow weak. That’s what things like “this” (nodding all around at site) – are for.

Continue your validation. We support you on this. It is a step towards healing, acknowledging what was done and of your own value both then and now, which will help in establishing boundaries and affirmation in your own song of life. It helps you heal and become the person you are and deserve to be: a wonderful, creative soul, and one who is truly happy in her own life and others.

53

Hello Everyone,
I just read all the comments posted since I posted my last comments… reading with tears running down my cheeks. Tears of healing.

Thank you, everyone, for Being Here. Thank you for BEING.

Yes, Jeffrey, we survivors are very cool Cooler than Ninjas on Ice.

You are so right, our pain has taught us compassion…. compassion that goes far beyond what people who have never been abused, can feel. We can feel each other’s pain, because we have BEEN THERE. We also genuinely CARE…… because we remember what it felt like, the worst pain of all, when NOBDY CARED.

“I would rather be broken than heartless and cold…” that’s a line from a poem I wrote a few months ago.

I would also rather be the Drama Queen than the Ice Queen. :^D

LYNDA

54

Sheryl, thank you for your thoughful comment about the possibility of some negative repercussions coming my way, if I do decide to send my letter to my mother. You gave me some important things to think about.

I think, like Darlene, that I am now beyond being hurt by anything my mother may say or do. But… maybe not.

If I do send her my letter, which I probably will, I think, after reading your caution, Sheryl, that I simply will not give my mother the opportunity to respond to me in any way. She lives about 700 miles away from me. She has never been here, and I can’t imagine that she would ever come here, she doesn’t like to travel. She does not know our phone numbers, or email addresses, and she doesn’t even own a computer, the last I knew. She could conceivably mail a response, but if she does, I think that I will just have a mini-bonfire in the barbeque grill, using the unopened letter as fuel.

Ordinarily, I believe it would be incredibly rude to send such a letter as the one I am writing, and NOT allow the recipient a chance to respond. BUT, in my mother’s case, she really doesn’t deserve that consideration. I mean, she SO DOES NOT DESERVE that.

If that sounds cold….. well, you would have had to be in my shoes, to understand. I loved my mother for most of my life, and yearned for her to love, and LIKE, me. No more.

I still do have one hope that one day my mother and I can have a loving, healthy, mutually respectful relationship. I just don’t think it can happen in this lifetime. In heaven maybe, but not here on this planet.

55

Wow I suggested this blog to a friend who I thought was well along in her healing journey she liked it at first and now just thinks anyone who talks about these things is bitter not forgiving the usual. I guess you can point out truth to people but if they have a false thing like denial going on truth will be a threat. I find these truths to be validating and liberating. Waiting for my pipes to be fixed. So I was looking at the page almost done though. Night Night! 🙂

56

Lynda – so glad you are doing this ‘letter’ thing – because from what I can tell, it will help YOU and do you a world of good to get it out – and in doing so, perhaps remove a bit of the rage. I think this is where perhaps you are being held back a bit in your recovery – and a lot of the reason you don’t care if she responds or not – because this is about you, not her. She’s just a B**, if you pardon our expression. Know the feeling! We have learned to take so much of mom (they moved to be ‘closer’ after my daughter was born; but in the end, we had to watch closely – forbade my daughter to be with dad unless someone else was around). Mom is a weird freak – a good person given to violence and insanity – treats dogs good, hates people with a purple screaming mouth-foaming passion – and hates men so much more (we’ve heard her say they all need ‘de-nutted’ – and yeah, she raised us boys with this hatred in her heart.) At least we know where it stems from – her step-father. We have some compassion in that, but not excusing her by any means. Knowing she was ‘broken’ helps – she could not control herself in her rages – and being an Army wife, she had no real friends or family to lean on. Sooo… we see ‘it’. And soooo… we try to forgive, and do okay with it – but this woman is always tirading about something – mostly about killing dad (she’d love for him to die – but is scared to death he will, and he’s her paycheck, eg. home/financial security). Even my wife’s family is amazed at her vehemence towards him – not knowing how often it trickled down on us when he wasn’t home (for years on end – military life, ya know.) okay, cold shudders for us there, LO nervous L’s!

But we share with you that knowledge – cuz’ what you are doing we may do someday – only direct screaming shout to the face, ya know?? Give a little ‘tirade’ right on back. Mostly, though, we try to weed her through her anger issues – knowing this is mostly impossible. Weird – she’s been ‘science of the mind’ community forever like – and they teach ‘peace of the soul’ and ‘acceptance of events’ – and yet after years of meetings she still doesn’t get it. (I went for several months a few years back – they kicked me out for being ‘too happy’, so to speak, LOL! What can I say: I’m light years ahead of those folks on some things).

So I’m thinking: yeah, Lynda – send that letter. Doesn’t matter if mom reads it or not (wait – yeah it does. You want her to KNOW – send it registered mail, LOL!) but I think it will do you wonders – and you seem to be a wonderful girl; hubby a good man – ya’ll deserve every bit of happiness you can grab. And then perhaps you’ll move a bit past the ‘hate’ stage to the merely ‘dislike a WHOLE lot’ stage – which is good, because while anger validates what was done, you can’t be happy if you’re mad. Whatever it takes to get rid of that anger is, IMO, a good thing – from beating bushes (I’ve done that) to stomping pillows – to sending a letter. Only you know what is right and best for you; I would hold nothing back on this ‘letter’ thing if I was you – and give it a big fiery kiss of angry vengeance on the way to the Post Office.

Yup, I see it as a step forward, and (LOL) – here I am right behind you – pushing. Do what you feel is right, hon. And bless ya!

57

Lynda,
Yes, in Heaven! We have that to look forward to. I think that each of us attain certain joys and aspects of Heaven in this life. We are all different in how this happens and it is what keeps life intersting and how we gain hope from each other. So it may do you good while for someone else, not. However, my question, and I don’t mean to be redundant, but this is all new enough to me that it doesn’t feel redundant to me, is that jsut letting her know how much she affected you lets her experience that power or knowledge of that power once again. She knows you have moved far away but are still thinking about her?

58

Hello Everyone
Just a note about Lynda’s decision to write to her mother; It doesn’t matter what her mothers reaction is, if Lynda wants/needs to do it. I think about my mother all the time, which gives her NO power because I give her no power. (and for all I know she knows it, maybe she reads my blog, I use my real name and my father says he reads it.) My mother hurt me deeply, and that is my truth. I don’t need to prove it to her or to anyone else. That is the point that I hope for Lynda too. When I confronted my mother, she did not agree with me. She actually rejected me again, but that helped me to really see that she was not capable of having a relationship or of loving. Her definition of love is “my way or the highway” and I took the highway and it turned out to be the highway to freedom. Part of this whole thing is about validating ME where I was never validated before. Once I validated me, it didn’t matter what anyone else thought or what their reaction to me is / was anymore. That is recovery! That is the biggest freedom that I have ever found!

Sheryl ~ does that make this a bit more helpful? I totally understand where you are coming from and I know you are trying to protect as well as work out your own feelings here.
I am going to expand on this in a new blog post.

Jeffrey ~
I just want to caution you ~ Please be careful in your comments about telling others what might be in their way, and try to stick to what is in YOUR way. It can be very harmful to tell someone where you think they are getting held back etc. I am all for community and sharing with each other but I am not in favour of assessing what someone else is doing or feeling.
Thanks!
Hugs, Darlene

59

Hello All You AWESOME people~

I love this blog of Darlene’s SO MUCH, and everyone on it.

I appreciate everyone’s thoughts about my letter writing. Here’s a little added background, which Darlene knows, but the rest of you may not… 28 years ago, must before I turned 30, I was writing a book. I have wanted to be a writer ever since I was in 3rd grade, and I did write one novel, The Second Mrs. Robinson, which was published under the pen name Rebecca Rochelle, kn June or July, 2000. That novel is totally fiction, altho its setting, in Maine, is all real, including a property I owned there, and the feeling of the main character, who is a physical and emotional reflection of what I was like in my 30s… her feeling that her new husband could not get over his yearning for his late first wife… THAT was real. Only in my case, in my last, loveless marriage, his undying love was for a LIVUNG first wife. After 10 years of marriage I finally gave up on trying to make him love me…. the same way I had tried for years and years to win my mother’s love! So after I left this guy, he got back with his first wife, and remarried her. They had previously been married for 27 years, right out of high school, then she had a near-fatal tragic accident, which precipitated a mid-life crises and her deciding to divorce him because they married too young… anyway, after I finally left the man who could not love me, she told him she had regreted the divorce and so they got back to gether…

So in that aspect, of feeling like the second wife in every sense of the word, my novel was true. It was written during my agnostic years, so in that regard it is also very true. But in other ways it was PURE FICTION…. in my novel, the main character’s mother was deceased, but remembered fondly as the loving compassionate mother I only WISHED I had had.

OH, but the traumas that happened to the main character, Elaina, because of what her “mad scientist” husband was trying to do…. those traumas were very much like what I experienced when I was 14 and had a really bad reaction to a seance and playing with a school friend’s oui ja board (THOSE THINGS ARE EXTREMEMLY DANGEROUS IN MY EXPERIEINCE!!!)

I regret, now, that I published my book under a PEN NAME! I thought I needed a catchy, memorable name to make it sell. Silly me. ANYWAY, I was telling one of my fb friends recently, who was telling me I should write a book, that I already wrote a book… but am writing another. She looked up my book title and found it online for sale on Amazon. So it’s still there. I need to let the publisher know my new address, they surely owe me some royalties.

One thing on my book that was fiction but NOT meant to be, was in my bio!!! The publisher wants to know if you’ve had any claim to fame, right? So I think, and then I tell them that I am distantly related to 2 of our US Presidents, the 10th President, John Tyler, I was descended from, and the guy who was in the whitehouse when I was born in 1953, Dwight Eisenhower, is a distant cousin. I THOUGHT THIS WAS TRUE, MY PARENTS HAD TOLD ME SO ALL MY LIFE!! Even my paternal grandmother, whose maiden name was Eisenhour, told me that her grandfather was second cousin to the Pres, depsite the different spelling of their last names…. TYLER was my mother’s mother’s maiden name, so~~~ well in the years since my novel was published, I have, for fun, done some genealogy research, and apparently, the US Presidential connections were total LIES. Arrrggggghhhhh. If you can’t believe your parents and your grandparents…. !!

Anyway, our current US President’s wife, Michelle Obama, her maiden name was Robinson. My maiden name was Robinson. Michelle (Robinson) Obama is black. My paternal great-grandmother Robinson was black. Spo now, I wonder…………. more genealogy fun ahead!

OK, none of the above is the background I was referring to that Darlene already knows, I was digressing, when I started talking about my already-published book. The part that Darlene knows is what my mother did 28 years ago, when I ALMOST had another book get published…. I need to take a quick break here, will be right back with the rest of the story, for those of you who care to read it.

HUGS
Lynda

60

@Darlene, I am running a support group now for sexual abuse. You were first one to explain to me why group members cant give their opinion on things like contacting abusers. I understand why I really do and I have to abide by it but it is hard I need to bite my tongue at times. One young girl was abused by her father who never even admitted to the abuse. She had a baby wanted the grandpa to be in the baby’s life. I could not say anything as you know. She went and the meeting was a disaster. It is just hard for me to understand the need to be in an abusers life if you are estranged if they are not sorry. She is a sweet girl and I suspected she would be hurt. Her contacting him was not for the sake of confrontation but for the sake of reconciliation. In that circumstance the odds have to be long. But she is young and may be idealistic about family.I wanted to protect her from this but I have to honor the rules and it helps me grow as well. I just had to vent.

ON a lighter note there is a TV series on the Reels Channel that is about the Kennedy’s.President Kennedy was killed when I was a baby. I was born in 1963. Yes my mom was abusive and I cried a lot. But there was this one issue the Kennedy’s that became a running joke amongst my friends. She accused me of killing JFK by being born and bringing a bad seed into the world whatever that is. Now the series is on and I only caught a little bit but it is intriguing and funny to me. Whenever you hear about former president Kennedy you will now always think of me. 🙂

61

Pinky,
Every situation is different. When you originally told me this story, I didn’t know you were running the group. I thought you were a participant and you told me that you wanted to tell her to leave her family which I said is not our business to advise and I explained the potential damage in doing that. As a trained professional, in a one on one situation, I would give my opinion by asking certain questions to this girl. I am asking the community here NOT to act as though they are trained professionals. (and even if they are, unless I know that for sure, I am still asking others not to act as professionals on this blog) This is a blog after all. I don’t advise for many reasons, however I don’t let my opinion go unknown when people are in danger. It is all in the way that I have been trained to do it though.

I have no problem with your venting Pinky, but I really want to make sure that others don’t think that I advised you not to give an opinion in such a serious situation when it was more about the danger of hurting the recovery of the individual at that time. I also thought that the trained professional in your group would handle the situation. I must have misunderstood the situation.

Hugs, Darlene

62

OK, here is the rest of the story… 28 years ago, when I was 30, before I had ever had a book published, I was writing a book. I bought a big Writer’s Guide, and was using it as a guideline on how to get publishers interested in my book. Per the guideline’s instructions, I had written a synopsis of my book, a couple of sample chapters, a cover letter, and an outline, and had mailed it with self-addressed stamped envelopes to a whole bunch of literary agents and publishing houses, hoping that someone would bite.

As is typical of unknown first-time writers, I got a bunch of standard form rejection letters… but, to my great happiness, I got several personally written rejection letters from a few editors and agents, telling me what they really like about my writing and my story, and offering me some great constructive criticism on how to improve my story and make if more saleable. I was truly thrilled by that… and THEN! One day a major publishing house, Zondervon, responded that they were definitly interested in my book, and they wanted me to send them the entire manuscript!!

WOO-HOO I was so EXCITED, I needed to be scraped down off the ceiling! I wanted to share my great news with my MOTHER…. because, back in those years, I was still working very hard to FORGIVE and FORGET all her abuse, and just love her and honor her and stay in as close contact with her as I could stand, through frequent loving newsy letters, phone calls (She never called me because it was “long distance,” she called only once when a major hurricane was hitting the area where I lived). I also took my kids and went to visit her as often as I could afford to, although I lived so far away. She never came to visit us, but when we did visit, she was cordial most of the time, with only the occasional “cutting” remark, usually diquised as a “joke,” so I just swallowed my hurt, told myself not to be a big bitter baby, and ignored her stings…. and kept on trying to have a loving relationship with my mother.

So I called my mom and with the greatest joy and enthusiasm I told her the awesome news that ZONDERVON was truly INTERESTED in publishing a book I written!!

My mother said very litte, and soon had to get off the phone, that was her typical way. I was too excited to really notice. I got HARD at work, finishing and polishing my manuscript so I could send the whole thing to Zondervon Publishing House.

About 2 weeks later, a very thick big envelope arrived in my mailbox, from my mother. I opened it up…. it was fifty…. I mean, 5-0, pages that my mother had handwritten in her neat, small handwriting, on big yellow legal-sized paper. It was, in other words, a whole lot of words………..

and every single word in that 50 page letter was HATEFUL. My mother started off her letter by saying: “I would love to write a book to tell the world about what a horrible daughter you are, but, since I don’t have a book in the works, I will have to make do with writing it all to you in a letter.”

My mother told me every single thing in that letter that she could think of that I had ever done wrong in my entire life up to that point. She started wtih when I was a toddler, and worked her way up through the years. She had things totally out of context, she had things that she had absolutely misunderstood or remembered all wrong, she complained about the PETTIEST things that I had ever done “wrong,” putting the worst possible spin and worst possible imagined motive on EVERYTHING. She complained about stuff that I had done wrong, that I hadn’t realized were wrong at the time…. here’s just one example: When I was 16, and newly released from the insane asylum where she had put me at age 14, in 1967 when that was usually a life sentence…. a few days after my release, I was outside in the yard, and picked up a jump rope that one of my young siblings had left out there, and I started jumping rope. After all the years, I did vaguely remember doing that, to see if I could still jump rope. I had loved to jump rope as a child. But after 2 years of zero exercise, sitting on a crazy ward all day, I had lost my muscle tone and balance… the Thorazine and other drugs probably didn’t help with that, either… ANYWAY, what was so “terrible” about me trying to jump rope that day?? “Your stepfather was inside the house, looking out the window at your big boobs bouncing up and down,” she said.

I was so SHY back then… still am, in many ways, shy and modest. If I had thought that ANYONE was watching my breasts bounce up and down, ESPECIALLY my stepdad, who was always a perfect fatherly gentleman around me and NEVER ONCE so much as given me the creepy feeling that he ever thought of me in a sexual way, I would have been so embarrassed…….. all my mother had needed to do was take me aside and tell me, “Honey, you may not be aware of it, but when you jump rope your breasts bounce up and down and it doesn’t look very lady-like, and people could be watching out their windows and see you, your stepfather did look out and happen to see you.” I would have appreciated her telling me, so that I could make sure it never happened again. But NO, my mother threw me out of the house shortly after I got out of the mental institution, and she never told me why… I was trying to be so good and so helpful so as NOT to be locked up again!… but she just told me she couldn’t afford to feed a big grown teenager like me, with all the other kids she had to feed, so I needed to leave. Also, she said, she feared that I might somehow be a bad influence on my little sisters and brothers, after having been in the institution so long, and she said, “I think it is only right if I have to sacrifice one child, to save the rest.” Like being around me was toxic somehow.

I never sent my mother a HATE letter in reply to her 50-page HATE letter to me. I couldn’t. But now, thanks to this community, I can.

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Lynda,
I found a used copy for less than $6. It is on the way! Thanks for telling us!
Awaiting your next entry!!

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@ Pinky,

That is awesome that you are running a group of your own. I have thought of doing that myself. I might be too opinionated to do that though…it would be torturous to keep my mouth shut in the situation you mentioned.

Can you tell me then when you facilitate a group is it basically so everyone can share without feedback?? I personally like to hear others opinions or advice…it doesn’t necessarily mean I am going to take it, but it gives me a chance to see things from different points of view. I am a beginner in the group thing…I have only been to one and I hated sharing face to face…it was a little too much for me.

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@Darlene, it is a faith based group and leaders are not rained professionals but only picked because of spiritual maturity. There have not been any issues regarding that. I am just leading the group for 12 weeks that’s all. There is a trained professional on staff. But they don’t attend the meeting and are only there in case of an emergency. Anyway the rules of the group are do not give advice unless asked. She didnt ask. She just asked for support in her decision. The only advice she asked for was in where to meet I suggested restaruant. The damage was more emotional than anything and she didn’t blame me or anyone else. But I never was behind it and I saw it as just one more thing to hurt her as he was in denial as to their last contact. It is just hard for me to keep my mouth shut in a situation like this but I did it. The only time we are asked to intervene is if there is suicide mentioned or domestic abuse or something like that and then we have to inform them that we are going to report it and help them in that way. But I just wish there was a way to intervene but it seems they have to learn for themselves. She is young and frail and very fragile and I just felt motherly if you know what I mean but I could not give my opinion unless asked. One girl asked an opinion about a certian medication for thyroid and everyone chimed in and that girl quit the group. It is as if everyone is waiting to give their opinion. 🙂

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@Jenny, no there is plenty of feed back and that is where the validation comes in but in general we are not supposed to give advice unless asked. Of course we all have opinions about our own abuse.

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Pinky and Darlene,

Darlene said: “As a trained professional, in a one on one situation, I would give my opinion by asking certain questions to this girl.”

This was my thought on the situation as well. Questions that would lead her to recognize positive and negative outcomes in her life, as a result of her choices, perhaps, to start?

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PS~ Apparently my mother’s extremely hostile reaction to the news that a major publisher was interested in my book, was due to her ignorant assumption that the book I was writing was about HER. Narcissistic thinking All The Way….. my book that I was writing 28 years ago didn’t have ONE BAD WORD in it about my mother, I was still very loyally keeping all her deep dark secrets for her. I wanted her to LOVE me, I wanted her to be PROUD of me, I had no interest in airing her dirty laundry for all the world to see, as she apparently assumed. But NOW I m writing a new book, the true story of my life, it’s titled: “Coming Out of the cRaZy Closet.” This book WILL tell the whole truth about my childhood abuse. BUT, even today, I am “protecting” her…. I am writing my blog, and my book, using only my first and middle names, Lynda Lee. My maiden name and my married name will not appear on anything having to do with my book, and I am changing the names, and certain other details and locations, of other people in my book so that no one will be embarrassed. I am doing that out of the kindness of my heart, and NOT because I think I “owe” my abusers any consideration.

My purpose ~ @Pinky, for your dissenting friend! ~ is NOT to be bitter, NOT to be vindictive, but simply to help myself through the active therapy of telling my whole truth at long last…. sick secrets keep us sick, and telling the truth can set us FREE…. furthermor, my purpose in telling my story is to help others who may have lived through similar hellish childhoods, by letting them know they are NOT the only ones, and to assure them that there is HOPE for HAPPINESS beyond ABUSE!!

And, as Darlene O. says, It is my life, and I have the right to write about my life.

LYNDA

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Sheryl, I’s so excited that you are going to read my book!!! I don’t even have a copy of my own book anymore, isn’t that crazy. Shortly after it was published in 2000, my last marriage came to a crashing end, and I went through so much hell for several years after that, and in the process of all the changes in my life, my novel sort of got forgotten. I haven’t updated the published on my new address since 2003! How crazy is that! I need to do that… I am so BAD with business calls, though.

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PINKY, you are so fantabulously gorgeous on your fb pictures. I’m in awe of the work you do. So, you were born when Kennedy was killed? And your being born caused it? Wow that adds a whole new layer to the conspiracy theory!

God in heaven, WHAT is wrong with some mothers?? I wasn’t the greated mom in the world, I am so sorry to say, but GOOD GRIEF. Pinky, was your mother trying to seiously make you believe that??

I remember when Kennedy was shot. I was 10, in gradeschool. When we came back to the classroom after our lunch break, the teacher told us that our President had been assassinated.

My dad was a fundamentalist hellfire and brimstone preacher. He believed that the Catholic Pope was the anti-Christ, and when a Catholic was elected to the whitehouse, OMG….the world was due to end any minute. Kind of like it is now…

😉

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Darlene, you wrote, in regards to your mother: “Her definition of love is “my way or the highway” and I took the highway and it turned out to be the highway to freedom.”

ME, TOO. I do NOT harbor even the smallest hope that the letter I am writing to my mother will “open her eyes.” I realized long ago that she does not have the ability to see past the end of her nose. Sad. But, maybe that is what she has had to become like, in order to live with the things she has done?

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Eeeek, I’m sorry for all the typos! I just reread the comments I’ve posted today and some of them are really hard to understand, because of all my mistakes. I was writing while my hard-of-hearing hubby was talking LOUDLY on the phone, our Lady-dog was cuddled,and still is cuddled, to my leg, freezing me in an awkward position but I don’t want to disturb her, and the wind outside is howling…. plus this itty bitty keyboard on my little netbook is too dang small for my big man-sized hands. I must get a bigger keyboard for serious writing.

Anyway, I just wanted to add, THANKS, Jeffrey, for your thoughtful comments. Cooler than Ninjas on ICE :^)

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Lynda,

I wouldn’t necessarily think that your mother thought your book was about you (sounds dumb, I know, because you obviously know her better than I do!). The thought that goes through my mind is that she didn’t want YOU to feel that you had anything to offer, to feel successful, to feel valuable, etc. THAT is why I think she worked so hard on her writing, to demolish you in your eyes.

I don’t know because I am not you, but if you had called and said that you were doing anything else successful, anything, I don’t know what, but whatever, would she not still repond in SOME sort of destructive way?? Sarcastic? Nosy?? Negative??

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Early on in my 12-Step groups, I was making progress by leaps and bounds. My dad called me and asked if he could see me and my family. I had such high hopes and expectations for that meeting. We happened to be in the same town as my dad was for that weekend and someone had told him we were there visiting so he called. We went to pick him up. He hadn’t seen my kids who were about 5 and 7 at the time, in a very long time. He simply wanted us to drive him to the liquor store to buy more beer for the weekend. He had already been drinking. I was devastated. For some strange reason, I expected him to have grown different than he was because I was healthier and feeling good about the progress that I had made. I was still hanging on to the fairy tale idea of the perfect family and some day having that family where everyone was healthy and really loved each other. His behavior let me know really quickly that just because I had grown and changed didn’t mean that he had. He was the same mean alcoholic that I had run away from at age 19. Just because I wanted him to change didn’t mean that he had or that he was going to change just because I had. With my expectations, I set myself up for that disappointment.

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Lynda,
sorry, I meant to say that “I wouldn’t necessarily think that your mother thought your book was about HER (sounds dumb, I know, because you obviously know her better than I do!).”

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Sheryl,
Actually both are likely right; that the mother was trying to tear her down AND that she thought the book was about her. I had a similar situation with my mother and her statement was really obvious; she said ” If I read anything in that book that I don’t like, I will sue you” She couldn’t sue me for something that wasn’t about her. And I don’t really care what her motive is for making her unsupportive comments, I just know that she never supported me and that she thought everything was either about her or a reflection on her. And that is no longer my problem! LOL
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Patricia,
Although this situation never happened to me in this way, I can totally relate to the hope and the letdown. I wrote a blog post before I left for vacation about my own father and a recent situation in which I felt hope for a repaired relationship and it was quickly dashed.. I might publish it in the next week or two. I think that it is really natural for a child, no matter what age, to hope that a parent will finally love them and want to have a real relationship. I don’t feel like I set myself up for that disappointment by my expectations… I feel like I am vulnerable enough to hope. =)
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

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When I finally realized that it was not safe for me or for my children to be around my dad because of the incest and because of the alcoholism, I sat down and wrote my dad a letter. I wanted to mail it to him but he had disappeared. No one had an address for him at the time. I held onto the letter. One day, long after I had given up on sending him the letter, I got a phone call from him. He wanted my help with some financial matter. I asked him to hold on while I went and got the letter. I told him that I had written a letter that I wanted to read to him. By this time, I was shaking so hard that I could hardly read the letter. I started reading. He got angry and tried to interrupt me. I got angry and told him to just shut up and listen. I had never used that tone of voice with my dad before. I think I surprised him because he shut up and listened. I told him that I no longer wanted him in my life because he was too dangerous to have around me or my kids. I told him that he sexually abused me and that wasn’t right. After I stopped reading, he told me if that was the way that I wanted it fine. We both hung up. I shook for about an hour after that phone call ended. I was so scared of what he would say or do. I didn’t write or read the letter to him for him. I did it for me. I needed to take back my personal power from him. I needed to end the relationship for the safety of myself and my children. Even though I had said no to the sexual abuse when I was 17, it didn’t stop him from trying to talk me back into the same abuse every chance that we were alone. I did not want the same thing to happen to my children. I took it to the extreme and not only cut my dad out of our lives. I had no contact with any of my many aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents on my dad’s side of the family. I was still trying to stay in denial that the incest was affecting me. If I didn’t have to see any of them, then I could pretend to be alright with everything in my life. When my grandfather died some 10 years later, I realized that I didn’t have to cut myself off from all contact with his family to be okay. They were my family too.

Years later when I had been in counseling for about 5 years, I wrote a letter to my mother telling her about my dad and the incest. I never wrote the kind of letter to my mother about how her passive-aggressive behaviour and emotional abandonment affected me. She died in November 1998 and my dad died in January 2000. Now I may think about writing a letter to my mother about her part in the incest dynamic.

One question to Lynda, are you prepared to recieve another 50 page letter from your mother in response to your letter to her? It may happen. Today I would love burning every page of that kind of letter from my dad if he were alive to write one.

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Darlene,
I just recognize that “tear down” language. It is so familiar. Anytime you do something you are proud of, or if you ask a reasonable question (like how many other guns were in the house where my teen-age neighbor was accidentally killed–and I was answered with an angry, “What do you think YOU know?” Arrogance in response to a reasonable question or pursuit, to me, that tells everyone who the guilty party is and that the guilty party thinks so highly of him or herself, that dominance works as a defense.

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Exactly Sheryl,
Abusers so often tear others down and at the same time they elevate themselves. In fact, it stands to reason that they tear others down in order to feel better about themselves. And the goal of a controller is always to dominate, to have the other person agree with them, and back down from them; it is in this way that the controller gets thier own validation. (if you agree with me, if you back down from me or if you conform to my wishes, then I prove that I am better than you are, which means that I must be okay) This can be discerned by looking at the motive of the person in question. When I was going through marriage therapy with my husband he accused me of being exactly like his controlling father, and didn’t understand the difference. (because I was saying that he was wrong, and not agreeing with him) But the difference was in my motive. My motive was not for control, but for healing in our relationship. I always look at if the motive is love based, (and therefore for the good of the relationship) or if it is for control. And the problem lies here: when our definitions of love are skewed and mixed up, we have trouble discerning the motive because most of our lives, abusers have told us that whatever they did or said was for our own good ~ or because “I love you”. I am going to expand on this too in another blog post soon.
Hugs, Darlene

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@ Patricia,

Thanks for sharing your story. My father did not sexually abuse me but he did nothing to protect me from predators either, he died an alcoholic this past December, truly a loss for him, he drank his life away.

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Jenny, you are very welcome. My dad died alone of a possible heart attack or from the terminal brain tumor that he had. His death certificate, in fancy words, says he died from smoking and drinking.

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As Darlene sometimes says, circumstances might be different but feelings are the same, no matter how we were abused. Jenny, I feel sad that you weren’t protected by your father either. Mine was the one doing my abuse. He also didn’t give me the tools to protect myself from others.

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Patricia,

I was abused more emotionally by my family of origin…taught that everyone else mattered first…I didn’t really count as a human being so, I was kind of thrown to the wolf pack to learn and raise myself along with my sister and brother. It really is sad when you don’t have a chance to really enjoy being a kid. Always worried about your safety, living in fear…I still struggle with that as an adult and do the best I can to protect my daughter…I vowed to myself that I would never put anyone before her or jeopardize her safety in any way. I see the protection of her as my number one job.

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wow, it has taken me ages to get to the end of all these posts.
and it has certainly helped me with the fact i got caught asking 2 boys from down the road to give me oral when i was 8 yrs old. still have many adult issues with my behaviour in that story, and the fact that both my parents laughed when i was hauled home was even worse. now i look back and ask why didnt they think it was wrong and find out why i had wanted the feelings so bad i asked a 7 n 8 yr brothers fromup the road to do it . mmm haunts me still. i had already come to the understanding that as a child i had no understanding of how wrong it was, but the adults should of known and questioned it but they were so far up their on bottoms with denial over their own childhoods that they wouldnt see what had happened already and what they were doing to me. what is the use at being angry at them now, the damage is doen the reactions have been preset to a certain degree by the biological reactions to my early life and trying to get down deep enough to unravel these earliest lies has been so hard because they are buried so far into my psyche that i cannot see where they end and i start anymore. me and my plasters.

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@ Patricia, am I ready for another 50-page letter from my mother? Yes, I could handle it. I would burn it. Maybe let my husband read it first, just to see if there is anything in the letter that would be good for me to know. My husband detests my mother and would in no way want me to read anything that is even “slightly” abusive or belittling or dismissive/minimizing of me and the hurts my mother has caused me.

I did write an assertive but respectful reply to my old therapist recently (the one who sent me an email a couple of weeks ago that caused me some pain.) I emailed it to him, and a copy to his wife. His wife, again, never replied. But the next day, my old therapist did reply to me, with an email. Always before, when he and I have emailed back and forth, he never changed the subject line, when he replied to any of my emails, he always just sent it as a reply, which kept my subject line, with the “re:” in front of it.

But this time, he went to the trouble of changing my subject line (the subject line that I had put on my email to him was something along the lines of “my reaction to your last email.” He deleted my subject line, and then he wrote just one terse word in his subject line: REPLY.

Hmmm. I thought about that. He had always just replied to all my emails before, without changing or writing anything in to the subject line. If he wanted to erase my subject line and write in a subject line of his own, that’s understandable, I do that myself quite frequently, when I want my email reply to someone to have a title that reflects what I am saying…. but to go to the “trouble” of deleting my subject line, to simply put in the word “REPLY” ~ ! Like I said, that seemed very TERSE to me.

Maybe I was overanalyzing my former therapist, LOL! But I can’t help thinking how I would have handled a reply to someone who had written me a long email, telling that something I had said to them had deeply hurt me, and telling them WHY it had so deeply hurt me…. my PTSD traumas that were triggered by his remark, I told him ALL of that. And I told it to him in such a way that said, respectfully, that I did believe he meant well, but that I respectfully disagreed with his labeling of me, because he did was not privy to all the facts behind the scene…. and then I explained these facts, my hubby’s dangerously low blood sugar, etc…

SO ANYWAY, in trying to imagine myself in his shoes, if I were to make a wrong judgment about someone (based on lack of complete knowledge), and if that person were to send me a respectful and assertive email telling me they believed I meant well, but the also believed I was mistaken, because there was some things I did not have any way of knowing… and then if they explained it to me, so that I did in fact realize that YES, I had made a mistake in my hasty judgment…. AND if they also told me that, due to their PTSD history of being so badly hurt by stigmatizing, WRONG, CRAZY labels…

My desire, at this point, if I were in the old therapist’s shoes, would be to sincerely apologize, and to say, or write, something that may soothe the hurt I had unwittinly caused!

Being an aware and thoughtful person, I would realize that this person might now cringe at the sight of an email reply from me, fearful that my reply might cause some fresh hurt, or, at the very least, may be an attmept on my part to minimize and discount how I had unwittingly hurt them. SOOO, I would indeed go to the trouble of changing the subject line to my reply to their email, and then I would write into the subject line: Please Accept My Heartfelt Apology ~ to let them know that they do not need to fear reading my reply, for my eyes have been opened by their gently assertive email to me.

But, if all I were to write into the subject line was the one terse little word. REPLY……. uh uh, sorry, that just didn’t sound like the subject line on an email that was going to do me any good to read it!

So after thinking all these things over, I decided, Better Safe Than Sorry, and I deleted his email, unread. I then went to my delete box, and emptied it, so that it is GONE, GONE.

MAYBE my old acquaintance, who was my therapist/social worker 22 years ago (although he has no memory, he says, of me from way back then) – MAYBE his email REPLY would not have been hurtful? But a still, small voice deep in my heart was telling not to read it, to just delete it, and so I did. I briefly thought that might be rude of me, to not read his reply…. but hey, the man was rude to me FIRST, by offering his unsolicited, hurtful, and WRONG assessment of my mental health, based on one evening of observing me in my naturally very worried “caretaking” of my diabetic husband who had allowed his blood sugar to plunge dangerously low that day.

I don’t ever like to be rude to anyone. Heck, when my physically abusive ex’es used to BATTER me, although I am NOT a tiny frail woman, I never did try to hit and fight them back, becasue I did not want to HURT THEM!!…. all I did was try to cover and save myself and run away to keep from being hurt. Right or wrong, that is just my instinct, I do not like to hurt any living thing, human or animal or even bugs, I usually turn them loose if I can, outside.

So I hope not reading his REPLY was not rude, but more than that, I just don’t want to be HURT anymore, by RUDE PEOPLE who tell me HURTFUL THINGS for MY OWN GOOD. All it is, in my opinion, is people making themselves feel big by putting others down. For years I let people do that to me, but NO MORE. I don’t care if my mother did bring me into the world almost 58 years ago ~~~ she did try her damnedest to take me, and my sisters and brothers, back out of the world, like that horrible mother who drowned her kids and herself in the river yesteerday. I stopped owing my mother ANYTHING, decades ago. But right now, I DO owe MYSELF, the healing release of finally finding my VOICE and telling my mother the truth after all these years. She is 76, I need to do this while she is still alive and doesn’t have dementia.

I don’t CARE what her reaction may be. I really don’t. And I consider that a HUGE sign of GROWTH on my part.

OK, I have to get off of here and WRITE THAT LETTER.

LYNDA

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@Lynda, thanks for the wonderful compliment. Sorry to say I have not had time to read through your posts I usually read the original blog and then only what is addressed to me sorry it has more to do with time constraints. But I do plan to read it! Like most women I am very down on my looks especially as I am aging. I have always had a baby face and it served me well when I was younger but now it just looks like a fat face. 🙂 Yea I never paid my mom attention in regards to the JFK thing thought it was pretty crazy and my friends always teased me about it still on occasion aren’t you the one who killed JFK? LOL!(because she told a few friend of mine too) I saw Diane Lane on a talk show yesterday and she was also raised in a fundamentalist family and told some funny stories. But I guess it is not so much fun when you are in the middle of it!
I did read what you said the highway turned out to be the high way to freedom! awesome!

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I want to know if this is normal. I started working in that book ‘The Courage To Heal’ and now I cry all the time, but I don’t know-and neither can I express it aloud-as to what I’m even crying about. I’m meaning this literally. If you asked me what I was upset about-and my friend DID ask, b/c he’s concerned-I really truly had no answer.
That’s not only confusing to him. It confuses ME, and I’m the one doing the crying.
For now, I stopped reading the book, it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop forever but I think there’s something strange, to say the least, about crying for no discernible reason.
The only time I’ve EVER cried for no reason was when I was pregnant. I’m not pregnant now but the sense of despair I have know feels the same as the one I had in my first 4 months of pregnancy.
And everyone says you’ll be nothing but thrilled when you’re pregnant. That’s another way I think I’ve failed; when I was pregnant I was despondent and full of despair, not happy the way you’re supposed to be.

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Vicki, if you are a survivor and reading the book Courage To Heal for the first time, it would be more surprising if you didn’t cry. I cried and cried tons with that book. Maybe that would be a good way for me to work through my next stage of grief.

Lynda, you go for it with that letter. I wasn’t trying to discourage you at all. Just covering all the possibilities. Thanks for all that you have said here about your writing the letter to your mom, I just may write my own letter to my mom even though she isn’t here to read it. She died in Nov. 1998. I would be writing the letter for me anyway, not for her. That may be part of the grieving that I need to do for the mother that she wasn’t for me.

Jenny, I can so relate to everything you said. I was the oldest child so I got to take care of my 2 siblings. I didn’t have much of a childhood. By 11 years old, I took on most of my mother’s chores around the house and in the kitchen. At 11 I felt grown up. I knew I was more of a grown up than my dad when I was 11. I knew things at 11 that no child should ever know. In my childhood, I lived in so much fear that I didn’t even recognize what fear felt like. It was always there but it was so normal, I didn’t think about it. When I was 19, I remember realizing that I had been afraid for most of my life.

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Vicki,

I think there’s something strange, to say the least, about crying for no discernible reason.

I have gone through episodes like this and thought I was crazy for being so upset all of the time. For me, I think it was me releasing years and years of trauma. I would cry when I saw a show about someone else’s abuse but couldn’t cry about my own. I still can’t handle violent shows and steer clear of them as a self care tool. I wasn’t a very happy pregnant woman either but my circumstances weren’t so great. I got pregnant with someone I barely knew. However, I have an amazing daughter that I adore…I just can completely relate to questioning myself about my feelings, etc. when really sometimes I just need to have compassion for myself and let myself be right where I am at. Thanks for listening

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I forgot to put the quotes. In Vicki’s words:

” I think there’s something strange, to say the least, about crying for no discernible reason.”

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@ Sheryl, you said This was my thought on the situation as well. Questions that would lead her to recognize positive and negative outcomes in her life, as a result of her choices, perhaps, to start?
yes of course we all asked her what she was looking to get and why did she think after years of rejection and denial he might change? he answer was the new baby and she was determined and did not want our opinions about that.
@Lynda, wow! I just read through your posts! The stuff about the presidential stuff is pretty amusing! I have read many have posted leaders of all of the abuse blogs I am on Face book that because some one else’s abuse was worse than yours it doesn’t diminish your abuse. First of all I would never diminish my abuse because I know what it cost me. But reading your truth is validating. It is hard for em to explain what I mean but bottom line it makes me understand I am not the only one. Of course I know that now but for years I am not so sure I did I did get counseling and also read books but I was not convinced in my heart others had suffered as much as me and that is very isolating. Yea and I agree about my friend. What I have found is as a person of faith there are so many who hide behind religion and think if you ever talk about the past it means you are a bitter a common teaching that keeps people in bondage. Truth is really the most important thing to me and in situations where others are in denial not just abusive families but in churches and work situations where they all act like they are characters in the novel the emperors new clothes I am many times the only one who won’t play along. So to find other truth seekers and truth tellers is very validating. My friend who I had to cut contact with she is someone I went to high school with. Her desire is to be a life coach so I suggested the blog. She loved it at first then started asking questions that why this and that and she thought it was contrary to her beliefs and so on then she got down right critical. I had to cut contact. The reason it she finally started attacking my marriage and I assume it is because hers did not work out and she needed to find fault. So I cut contact I don’t need the BS or abuse under the guise of friendship. So thsi blog and over coming sexual abuse they are very validating. I am on your Face book page so please keep me posted about your book. I have a few I want to share it with and I keep a few books around just for when things come up. I don’t keep things I am no a hoarder 🙂 I read and then I pass it on.

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I am being serioulsy distracted sorry as usual I didn’t bother t spell check! 🙂

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Patricia,
Thank you so much for the sharing you have done here today about your father and how you handled all that. I really appreciate that you took the time as I am sure it will really help and comfort so many others.
Love Darlene

Hi Vicki,
I think your reaction to the book was typical and really very normal as Patricia said.
(and I have never heard that you are supposed to be happy when pregnant. I was sick the whole time when I was pregnant. People lie.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Carol
Thank you for your courage in sharing your story of your eight year old self. Society is always so sure that there is something wrong with the child that does that but I always assume that child has been or is being abused ~ Children don’t come up with that kind of stuff on their own! In my case there was a very good reason to be angry with my abusers now. It allowed me to go on to the next step in the process. I had to be angry, it was healing.
Thanks for being here, you make such a great difference!
Hugs, Darlene

94

Jenny
I think you are right about those kind of crying jags being about releasing years and years of trauma.
About pregnant; it has a lot to do with hormones. I was totally thrilled to be pregnant, but sick the whole time so not really happy.
Hugs, Darlene

95

i was very angry at the begining but it never got me anywhere except even more isolated and then i started drinking had a mini breakdown carried on drinking to sleep for nearly a year before it sank in if i didnt wana be like i was i had to do something about it, i was in group therapy for 3yrs and i still didnt get to the bottom of the picture. i suppose over the years i just got so sick of hating my family and how damaged i felt that i felt it was keeping me in the loop of the past and as i dealt with the inner reasons by ignoring the heart stuff and concentrating on the symptoms and how to ellivate the visable signs of my truama so i appeared normal to the world and not different or damaged. how could i answer the qquestioms when it had to stay at home behind that door

96

Hi Pinky,
I’ve been thinking about your friend who thinks this Emerging From Broken blog is too negative and bitter, like we should all just forget about the past and stop “letting” it affect us.

I wish it were that EASY, don’t you?

Because psychological wounds are invisible, people who haven’t been severely injured mentally and emotionally, seem to think that these types of wounds aren’t really REAL. that all we have to do is stop thinking about our injury/trauma, stop being bitter, forgive and forget, and all our trauma-related problems will magically disappear.

That makes about as much sense as telling someone whose spinal cord was severed in a major car crash 30 years ago, “What, are you STILL living in the past? Your car accident happened decades ago, you ought to be over it, long before now. Why are you still lying around paralyzed after all these years? You need to forgive the person who caused your accident ~ they probably didn’t even mean it or realize what they were doing, anyway ~ and you need to stop being bitter about it, you need to just FORGET it, and if you will stop wallowing around in your self pity, if you will just stop thinking about it, stop being so damn bitter about it, stop malignering, stop feeling sorry for yourself, then you will be able to get up and walk and act like that accident never happened to you!

If I am walking in a parking lot and someone runs over my foot with their car and breaks it, my immediate concern isn’t going to be trying to figure out if they did it on purpose or out of carelessness or because the sun was reflecting off something and they didn’t see me, or maybe their steering or brakes were faulty, so it wasn’t the driver’s fault…. my concern isn’t going to be whether I need to punish the driver or forgive the driver or worry about trying to make the driver of the car that ran over my foot FEEL BETTER, because now he or she is suffering from so much GUILT…. my immediate focus is going to be on the fact that I am in PAIN, my foot is BROKEN, and I need medical attention. If it turns out that the damage to my foot was so severe that it is going to have to be amputated to save my life… now I am going to be permamently crippled, and no amount of work on forgiveness or letting go of bitterness is going to make my amputated foot magically reappear, all healthy and whole.

I was crippled, psychologically, emotionally, mentally, by my severely abusive parents. All these decades later, I am STILL crippled. NOT becaause I am holding onto bitterness or unforgiveness or because I am living in the past, but because my traumas gave me Complex-PTSD. That is the normal result of extreme trauma, just as bleeding is a normal result of being stabbed. How quickly we forgive and forget being stabbed, isn’t going to make the bleeding stop any sooner, and if that stabbing severed some vital nerves or destroyed some vital organs, then physically we are never going to fully heal from the stabbing.

I am trying to have the best, happiest, most productive life that i can have, despite having C-PTSD. I am searching for ways to be even healthier and happier and more productive, and writing my truth about my traumas, and sharing that with fellow trauma victims, is helping me to do that. “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” I believe this is true of all truth, not just THE TRUTH.

Our rescue dog was badly abused and abandoned as a puppy. She has lved with my husband and me for over 4 years now. We love and spoil her rotten every day. Yet she STILL has nightmares and literally sobs in her sleep almost daily, and moans and growls loud and long when we wake her and comfort her, it’s like she is trying to tell us all about it. She also will still fly into a terrified panic over certain sounds or sights or movements that apparently trigger a bad trauama memory for her. She runs wildly all around, snarling and growling, until we can gently talk her into calming down a bit, and then she will stand there and shake violently while we hold and pet and soothe her, until she calms down.

I don’t think a dog knows anything about forgiving and forgetting. I don’t think a dog knows about being bitter, or letting go of the past. I think she had PTSD, and this is what her traumas did to her. She is not at fault for “malignering” and “wallowing in her misery.”

ONE DAY YEARS AGO I WAS IN A LARGE CHURCHin Virginia, and at the beginning of the service the pastor told us that a young woman had a message to give the congregation. This young woman stood up in front of the 2,000+ member church body, and told the story of how she had been working at her job at a 7-11 Store the previous week, when a man robbed the store at knifepoint. Then he told her to go back into the back room, and he raped her. THEN he STABBED her, and left her for dead.

This young woman was telling us that she had already forgiven the man who had robbed, raped, and stabbed her. She loved him with the love of the Lord and she wanted us to pray with her that he would be “saved.” In fact, she said, she was praying for his soul even as he was raping and stabbing her.

Is that supposed to be a Christian’s reaction? To go straight from being robbed, raped, stabbed, and left for dead, immediately to: “I love him and forgive him and pray he will be saved” ?

A few years prior to that, I was in a large church in Houston, Texas, when another young woman got up to give her “testimony.” She told us that just a couple of days before, she had come home from her night job and found her mother, who lived with her and was the babysitter for her 6 year old son…. this young single mother found her mother dead, murdered, in her bed, with the 6-year-old lying in shock beside her grandmother. The grandmother had been raped, and killed, in front of her little grandson.

“But I hava already forgiven whoever did this,” the young woman told us. “God has miraculously taken all bitterness and anger out of my heart….”

I personally think these women were in SHOCk still, and in huge denial, and were also suffering under the “brainwashing” of these churches.

The little 10-year-old boy who escaped the van that his mother had purposefully driven into the Hudson River in order to kill herself and her 4 children…. now that mother and the 3 younger children are all dead…. how long will it be before people are telling this little boy who survived, that it is all in the past, he needs to forgive and foget and not be bitter, he needs to go on with his life and not let the PAST affect him?

Pinky…. the people who say these things remind me of Job’s “friends.”

97

I have something to say on the subject of people who expect you to ‘snap out of it.’

I know some of the paramedics and firefighters who did the case of that mother, her 3 dead children and one live child. It happened in New York, and I used to live there. The media is still casting the story into the public and won’t let it go. Two days later they’re still writing articles about it.

My entire family has been the focus of a major news event and I’m telling people, some reporters will go lower than a snake to get “more story” from your devastation.
My daughter’s dad, and my former husband, was killed on September 11, 2001, and right about now, they’re selling merchandise for the “10=year anniversary.” Shirts that say 10 Years Gone [tacky phrase IMO], memorial pins and more.

Before I clicked the little x in the ad’s right corner, I was forced to see it again. I don’t see how people can find it so hard to understand that I don’t want ads for 10-year 9/11 Memorials to be on my Facebook Home page. When I clicked the little x, a screen popped up asking me why I’m closing the box. So I told them in words as straight as a pin that someone in my family died in tower 1 and that I know someone who made it out of Tower 1, but he sustained burns all over his upper body.

My point is that how do people expect you to get over something that they themselves refuse to let simmer down?
People are always posting on FB so-called proof that what happened on September 11 is an indication the world’s going to end. I just wonder how they think that’s supposed to make the surviving family members feel. To be grieving the brutal way he was ripped out of the world only to hear, years later, it was “part of the coming Apocalypse.” It DOESN’T feel good to hear that. I’m not exactly sure how it DOES feel but I know that good would never be one of the emotions I would apply to my feelings in that situation. It almost feels like they’re trying to force a good reason onto an event that had no reason at all to it. Nothing other than hatred, again IMO.

That’s what I mean when I said some people don’t even consider how their words might affect any other person who might have a personal involvement in the subject they’re bringing up; in this case 9/11 connected to the world’s end.

98

People used to ask us (tell us!): “Why don’t you just let it GO? Let GO of the pain and (all that mess).”

My reply?

“I’d love to ‘let it go’ – but it won’t let go of ME.”

Simply put – and shuts them up so we can get moving along with our own healing, in our own time, our own way . . . and ‘let go’ when it’s time to ‘let go’ – and not one moment sooner.

99

I like that saying Jeffery ~

Jeffery wrote: “I’d love to ‘let it go’ – but it won’t let go of ME.”

Everyone, I just published the follow up post to this post which was inspired by something that “Mountain” said on another post and further inspired by the comments on this post.
You can read it here; “Seeking validation and understanding from the wrong people”

100

Jeffery

loved your last post…made me laugh…so good to laugh!!!!

101

Lynda,
I left my church b/c of people like that woman, who claimed they forgave their attacker.
I was never able to forgive the people who killed my daughter’s dad, and I’m afraid I’ll never be able to, so I left.
Until I found a web site for families of the victims, everybody everywhere I went told me I have to forgive them. And, after the Amish school kids were killed, and they saw how fast the Amish supposedly forgave the killer, it became unbearable to go to ANY church, b/c they used it as an example of how it’s possible to do it and that I just must not want to.
I DON’T want to, but it’s not for the reason they seem to believe: that I’m just being stubborn. IDK how to explain why I feel incapable of forgiving them, but it has something to do w/ seeing the death occur. That’s all I know.
I’m not happy staying away from church but I’m more comfortable and at least I don’t feel like I’m doing something wrong by not forgiving them.

102

Hi Vicki, I’m not happy staying away from church either but I could cope no longer with the constant pressure to forgive and put it all behind me, and be all happy and smiley. Life’s not like that, sometimes there are things that happen that we cannot forgive or get past the trauma. It’s too much pressure from people who haven’t the foggiest idea what it’s like to survive major trauma. It’s not real Christianity which actually is about relationship and God being with us in the ickiest of things. So I left the church and have been much happier since, it feels strange not being part of a church and some Christians do raise their eyebrows at me, but they’ve not lived through what I’ve lived through and I cannot live my life in denial nor under enormous pressure to conform to a perceived norm. I wish you well Vicki!

103

Vicki, I have never seen it written anywhere that forgiveness is mandatory. People that tell you that you have to forgive are usually in denial of something of their own that your unforgiveness is stirring up feelings about for them. They want to shut you up so that they can go back to their own safe world of denial.

To me, depending upon the person and the crime, forgiveness is optional. It is not a requirement for me to have a good life. I don’t care who you are, forgiveness, if it happens at all, won’t happen until you are ready. It wasn’t something that I ever planned to do. For me it was a gradual process that happened without me planning being aware that it was even happening until it was over. But it didn’t happen overnight. It took years and years of feeling the anger, hurt, sadness and grief. It is nobody but your business whether or not you forgive.

Those people who do instant forgiveness for major crimes, in my opinion, are fooling themselves or a major miracle happened. My miracles are on a much smaller scale. I agree with Lynda that those two ladies were still in shock and had no idea what they were feeling. People who try to force you to forgive before you are ready just add more abuse to the original abuse that was done to you. They just add more to your already full and overflowing plate of pain and grief. Forgiveness is your choice or not, as you choose.

104

Forgiveness is NOT mandatory. NO emotion is ‘mandatory’! Just a reminder there; not scolding anyone. You’re gonna feel as you feel, and as you feel, those feelings will change – in their own time, at their own pace – the one that is ‘good for YOU’ – NOT someone else.

Jeez, that’s why I feel like adding “IOO*” or “IMO” to every post or comment I make: so folks understand: it’s a ‘free choice’ kind of thing – take what you want or need, leave the rest. There is no “one” cure for everybody; nor is there a single path to take. We all are wandering, sometimes blind like a person groping through dark woods – and fortunately there are others to help us – places like here, and scattered throughout the ‘net. Good people, kind folks who’ve ‘been there, done that’ – and it’s a good thing to do. Don’t push yourself to reach ‘those results’ or ‘these results’ just because someone posted them there. They may lay in wait for your future – or they may not be in your future at all. Different roads, folks – but they are all cool, as long as we reach the eventual goal: happiness – or at least some sort of peace and contentment inside.

This ‘forgiveness’ thing; this whole ‘forgiveness issue’ – of course I’m divided on it: I’m MPD! LOL! I/we can see things from all kinds of ‘sides’. Yeah; I understand why “that guy did this” or “this guy did that” – meaning murders and crap. Really hate it: double vision can be a B****: imagine ‘ghosts in the machine’, yeah, yuck. But just because I understand doesn’t mean I ‘forgive’. I lock them up; throw away the key. Some human beings are damaged beyond the point of being a human being anymore; they’ve become animals. Just because I ‘know’ and ‘can see’ what they feel – hey, hard burden to live with, trust me – doesn’t mean I agree with what they do or forgive them. And neither should you.

Sometimes I wonder: do people mistake the word “forgive” for “understand”? I know I have on occasion. But there IS a big difference. Perhaps that is what the Amish meant; then again: who knows? They are people; sometimes people lie. After all; we’re only human.

But I’ve struggled for the past 30 some years to obtain one goal: to be happy. Harder than it sounds. However, I discovered that you can only hang onto anger or hatred or bitterness so long – then it’s time to change that. Not saying that YOU should change that right now – not if that’s what you’re feeling! I’m all into ‘validate’ feelings. It’s a process – it takes time. And don’t try to rush it: it won’t work. I know. I’ve been there, too. (Very bad results, o’tay? I say that gingerly, cuz’ we still hurt from that one?)

So please: I encourage you to feel your feelings; feel what you feel right now – anger, hatred, bitterness, love; conflicted feelings; torn up feelings; feelings of betrayal and rage; the long lonelies, and so on. If you feel yourself plummeting – reach out, find help; don’t let yourself hit bottom. There are phone numbers you can call – I think we all know that one – and yes, the people care. It’s just the ‘system’s a B*** sometimes, ya know?

Just lettin’ ya’ll know – because I’ve been there. And yes: be gentle with yourself, and take time. I know I am – and I’m still not done.
Life … hmmm … works never . . . quite . . . done – LOL!
Bless ya!
*IOO: In Our Opinion, of course, LOL!

105

Dear precious Vicki,

I didn’t lose anyone that I personally knew on 9/11, but I too cannot bear to see those ignorant ads… selling commemorative things, stuff made from the melted down beams or whatever, tshirt, I mean, what the ???? ~ Honestly, I think a lot of people in our society are so NUMBED by all the FAKED violence on tv, movies, and video games, that when REAL violence happens, it’s not real to them, it’s just more sick “entertainment.”

I guess I didn’t need to know anyone personally who died or was severely injured on 9/11 to be utterly sickened by it, BECAUSE I have had so much real violence happen in my own life. Violence of any kind to me is horrific and evil and tragic, it is not stinking entertainment, not a stupid game, and absolutely should not be used to make tshirts and trophies for greedy entrepeneurs to SELL.

I mostly stopped watching all news in September 2001 because they wouldn’t stop showing those jets flying into the towers over and over and over….

HUGS to you, Vicki.

LYNDA

106

Jeffrey, Fi, Vicki, and everyone who wrote about their experiences with churches… my husband and I miss church fellowship very much. But, the last time we got involved in a church… we didn’t fit in. “Christians” aren’t supposed to have “PTSD,” not if they have enough faith and, yes, FORGIVENESS. ALSO, havingn PTSD is hard on relationships, we both grew up broken and needy and desperate for relationship but not knowing how to attract non-abusers, cheaters, and liars. So we have both been divorced, several times. Most churches today will accept one divorce, maybe 2 divorces… but we both had more than 2 divores each, before we finally found some real help for our PTSD, and got healthy enough to find, and maintain, a healthy relationship.

SO we were frozen out of our church, when we told too much about our pre-Christian, pre-good therapy, past. Since then we have been afraid to try again, yet wanting to try.

We live right next door to a church. We moved here a little over a year ago. We want to at least TRY this little church…. every week we say, “We’ll go this Sunday.” But it’s been more than a year like I said, and we haven’t been brave enough to do it yet. The church bell rings… and we stay hidden in the safety of our house. This coming Sunday will be their Easter service…. maybe we will finally go and just see if we can be ok there? I hope?

107

Hi Jeffrey,
Me, too, in what you said, in comment #104.

I mean, Me, Too, to ALL of what you said.

108

Lynda,
I can see there’s an ache in you to ‘get to church’ – whatever the reason; it’s okay to feel that, ya know? But here’s a question that someone asked once: “Do you go to church to meet God – or other people – and of the two, which is more important to you?”
I personally carry my ‘church’ with me (got’s us our own little congregation, too, LOL, if you knows whuts we mean! Yessah; sing them ol’ hymns and make some of our own, LOL!) But when I feel the need for that opulance (or a quiet country church; depends on my feeling) – I go. If I show up in rags (I often dress down – waaaay down – cuz’ I like’s me comfy old clothes – and people’s reactions tell me about how they see the world). – but if people wanna stare – I don’t make it make me or us feel uncomfy. I’m not there for them. I’m there for someone else, if ya gets me drifty drift.
Until later … chow’s hittin’ the bowl, like hungry dog, we come runnin’, LOL!! (bark ! Bark! LOL!)

109

GOOD questions… I sense that my Creator’s loving presence is with me always, and feel closest to God in nature. I miss the people fellowship tho… and the singing of hymns. I fear my voice is rusty now. I also have written a hymn or two. Yes I can sing alone but miss the harmony.

110

My spirituality goes with me where ever I go. I miss the fellowship and music of a church. I went to church this morning for the first time in over a year except for the funeral of a friend about 2 months ago. I went to hear a new friend speak as the guest speaker today.

I know the issues that are the reason that I don’t go to church. Several years ago, I was kicked out of church with 11 other people because we disagreed with the minister. I don’t expect my ministers to be up on a pedestal. I know they can be very human. I do expect them to not lie over and over again. The minister hated me because I would call her on her lies, which were many.

We were a small church to begin with and moneywise could not afford to lose 12 members. When the church could no longer afford to pay her salary, and offered her a cut in pay she quit. Almost immediately the 12 of us were reinstated as members. Very few of the 12 chose to go back. I did for awhile. I told the new minister that I felt like the 12 needed a public apology. His attitude was that since it happened before he was the minister then he would ignore it and everything would go back to normal. I tried to ignore my hurt and went back to church for a short time before I got angry at the church again. I have gone back several times over the years since then. I don’t feel the same about the church. I have worked through my anger at the people who knew what the minister (first one) was doing wasn’t right several times. It keeps coming back.

I think that I am over the anger and for good and then it is back. I am not angry at the minister that kicked me out any more. I have worked through that anger. I am angry at the people that let her kick me and 11 other good people out. We were given our memberships back but no one has ever said that they were sorry for allowing it to happen.

All of this goes back to the forgiveness that we have been talking about, I am not ready to forgive them yet. I may not ever be. I am not being bitter or stubborn. That is just how I feel right now. It may or may not change in the future. If the new friend that spoke this morning starts his own church, I will check it out.

111

Lynda: when I was young they put me in a choir – I was maybe 5. Said I sang like an angel. I remember singing … then by 8 no more; music was gone from my life quite literally. (parents forbade it). Just certain types of music allowed. But I don’t think it’s about how it sounds, hon; it all sounds sweet inside, eh?

Patricia: I can understand you feeling betrayed by the church and it’s members. I’m okay with people lying and stealing and such – they’re people; people do such things (shrug). But I’m not everyone, and it’s a learned trait. I can also see the 2nd minister’s point: he didn’t do it; he wants to maintain peace or perhaps some status quo type of thing – whatever. What he thinks and feels has nothing to do with how you think or feel; neither does that old congregation of yours. Your feelings are yours, and yours alone, and you are entitled to them. But whenever I have bad feelings about something – I take them apart. I get down and analyze them, asking over and over again “why? why? why?” to each root I think I’ve turned up. (LOL, and the joy of MPD: asking “who said that? Who said that? – and ‘going in’ and doing some in-house consulting. Oh, if I only got paid a dollar an hour for that I’d be a millionaire by now, LOL!) But I found doing that leads to the core, the realizations. For example, here’s one I did today:
Understanding yourself (or a part or yourself) – why? – leads to compassion for that self (part, whatever) – and? (why should I?) – leads to an ability to forgive, love, and accept that self (and why do I want to do that?) – end goal identified in 1984 or so: BE HAPPY. LOL, yeah, took me that long, duh, dumb me.
But … hon? the pursuit of happiness is what it’s all about (though I was willing to settle for contentment before – reaching out further, a regular Buzz Lightyear here, LOL!) — and Patricia? Don’t let other’s opinions affect yours. Not even mine, LOL!
The Planter’s Crowd – signing off ! (yeah, nutz, I mean!)

112

JefferyW, thank you for everything that you said. I usually don’t hold on to hurts like this one. Not sure why I am not already done with it. I know the only one hurt by holding on to it is me. I have learned that sometimes instead of asking so many “why” questions, I just need to sit down and feel what ever the emotions are that go with the issue. With as much work as I have done over the years with feelings, sometimes it still isn’t easy to do. Again, thanks for what you said. It does help.

113

Hi Everyone, great comments still going on with this post! Sorry but I have trouble keeping up lately. There are currently 4 active posts generating comments!

Patricia,
I totally understand what you are talking about. This whole thing was wrong and it was swept under the carpet. The fact that you were kicked out for disagreeing, and welcomed back when the minister left is like proof. Other people knew/know what was going on but no one is willing to make it right or set it straight. What the heck does THAT have to do with spatiality? That is what gets me about this kind of thing; the people that preach it, won’t live it. That is not too cool. Since this is a church body, as you say, there were other people that could have been accountable and could have made a difference in making this right, besides the one minister that didn’t like being disagreed with. You were not valued in this situation. You were dismissed, and NO ONE was willing to deal with it. That is not biblical at all. I think that is why it keeps coming back.
This is a big part of what I am talking about… that when people are discounted and dismissed as unimportant there is damage done.
thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

114

Darlene, thank you. That is exactly why I haven’t been able to let go of it. I know that usually when something affects me this deeply that it points back to an earlier abuse from childhood. You are exactly right in that I was again not valued like with the incest as a child, my feelings were discounted as not valid. Thank you for that piece of the puzzle.

115

Patricia,
You are so welcome my friend,
Something else I thought of right after I hit the submit button is that this also relates to my current post “Passive Abuse and Emotionally Dysfunctional Relationship” about how that lack of action defines us as “unimportant”. It is a blatant statement that they are saying “you are not important enough for us to want to bother to deal with this situation.” and THEY are wrong. YOU ARE IMPORTANT enough! When we live in this dysfunctional system growing up, as you say, it is so familiar that we don’t even realize what the statement they make is. We don’t realize we were discounted and dismissed as unimportant.
As I said in that other post, the failure is theirs. Not yours. This is a tragic story. Thank you for sharing it.
Hugs, Darlene

116

I’m feeling very sad right now.

A couple of hours ago I was thinking about something, and I had an idea that I thought might be a good thing to do. I wasn’t sure yet if it was a really good idea, or maybe a partially good/partially bad idea, or maybe not a good idea at all. I wanted my husband’s opinion on it. It was the kind of idea that, if it were to be implemented, we would need to agree and implement the idea together ~ it wouldn’t be right for just one of us to unilaterally make such a decision.

So I went to my husband and I asked him if it was a good time to talk, or was he busy? He said no, he wasn’t busy, it was as good a time as any to talk. So then I said, “I’ve been thinking, and I have an idea. I want to tell you my idea and see what you think of it. Please hear me out before you say anything, OK?” My husband has a tendency to interrupt me when I am talking, and I really wanted to get my entire idea out, and explain my reasoning behind it, before he started giving me any feedback. I figured it would take me only about 5 minutes at the most to tell, and explain, my idea… and then my husband could take all the time he wanted and needed to tell me, in return, what he thought of my idea.

I honestly didn’t know what his reaction to my idea would be. I thought he might like all of my idea, he might like only part of my idea, or he might not like any of my idea. What did NOT occur to me was that he might get angry at my idea! He knows me, if I suggest something, and it isn’t something he wants to do, I never try to cram my wishes down his throat. Even if he HATED my idea, all I wanted him to do was to hear me out, give what I said some thought, and then calmly, respectfully, give me his feedback on why he hated my idea… that’s how we usually do things, and in the almsot 7 years we have been married, it has worked out fine. We are equals, and respect each other’s opinions and thoughts, even if we don’t always agree.

But this time, I had only just barely begun to tell my husband my idea, when he interrupted me, and started YELLING at me, and telling me, in so many words, that there was something really WRONG WITH ME, for even having such an idea.

I do not like being yelled at. PERIOD. I thought my idea was reasonable and good, but I wasn’t madly in love with my idea, either. All I wanted was for him to hear me out, hear my reasoning, give it a little thought, and then tell me, calmly and respectfully, what he thought. And if he really didn’t like any part of my idea, then, OK, we wouldn’t do it. End of story. It was the kind of idea that we either need to do jointly, or not at all.

But he was YELLING at me. LOUD YELLING. He wasn’t letting me finish explaining my idea, or why I had thought it might be a worthwhile idea. He was YELLING, and he was telling me, LOUDLY, that it was something neurotic in me that was behind my having such a “WRONG” idea. (That was not his exact words, but it is the jist of what he said.)

Our dog, who is often more of a “daddy’s girl” than a “mama’s girl,” got very upset with him for yelling at me. She got very protective, put herself between us right in front of me, and growled at him when he walked close to me.

I know that no relationship or marriage is perfect, and my husband and I have had our ups and downs in the past…. but it has been a really long time since there has been a big blow-up like this, and I didn’t see it coming, didn’t in any way anticipate that he would react like that to me simply voicing an idea.

Right now I feel very… bruiesd inside. I took our dog and went for a long walk to get away from his yelling. While I was getting dressed so I could go for a walk, he tried to stop me, and I told him to back off or I would call 911. He did, and then the dog and I were gone for about 45 minutes, walking. I was trying to pray, trying to make sense of the sudden blowup out of left field, thrying to calm down. When the dog and I got back home, I fed her, and got myself something to eat, and all this time since we came back from our walk, my husband hasn’t said a word to me, nor have I said a word to him.

My trauma-memories feel very triggered. My old, aching, familiar feeling of Not Being Loved feels reawakened. I feel sad, and hurt, and… mostly I feel very numb. For years I have thought that finally I am HOME, finally I have a healthy loving safe mutually respectful marriage-relationship. For years I have called my husband my Best-Friend-Husband, and I have felt very secure in our relationship, and thought it would undoubtedly last for as long as we are both alive.

But now I feel NUMB toward him. EXTREMELY numb. I feel like every ounce of my love for him just DIED when he was yelling at me and putting me down for my “stupid” idea.

And now I am turning that around and asking myself, How shallow is my love for my husband, if this is all it takes for me to stop lovig him? I loved him SO MUCH for SO LONG and thought I always would… and then he yelled at me, he put me down, and I just went all cold inside, like all my love for him just DIED, just in that instant.

He didn’t hit me, he didn’t cheat on me, he didn’t do a lot of horrible things that others have done to me. But I just feel like I want to walk out the door and never come back, and never see or talk to him again… and all because he yelled at me. He yelled at me for having an idea and asking him to listen and hear me out and then give me his opinion about my idea.

I HURT.

Lynda

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Lynda, if we lived in the same town, I would come over and take you some place where you could talk it all out until you felt better but since we live many miles and several states apart, all I can do is say “I hear you and I can feel your pain in your words.” (((Hugs)))

I am the yeller in my marriage. When I reach the stage of yelling the best thing that my husband can do is to just leave me alone until I have calmed down and then I will come back to him and explain what set me off. Thank God over the years I have learned to not yell as often as I once did.

What I hear from you is what Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families would call “all or nothing” thinking. Yes you are hurting. That doesn’t mean that all of your love from your husband is gone. I am not giving advice. Only you know what you feel in your heart. I know for myself, I need to wait and process what I am feeling without taking actions that I will later regret. The writing like you did about your argument is what works for me when I am too angry to think rationally. I often sit down and write it all out until I am not feeling the hurt as intensely. (((Hugs)))

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Whew…… my husband just came into the room in tears, saying he doesn’t feel like himelf… he sure isn’t behaving like himself. He has been changing in a negative way ever since his dr. prescribed a new antidepressant, to be taken on top of another antidrepressant he is already on… 2 antidepressants, together. I’e been noticing his subtle slow personality change, but tonight, WHEW, it got really really bad. My husband was discounting me when I mentioned a few times over the past month or so that he seems different, more negative, since he’s been on this new med. But tonight, he said, “Something is really wrong. I don’t feel right inside. My heart is pounding, I can’t calm down, I want to hit something…and I don’t even understand why I was yelling at you!”

So now my heart is starting to thaw. I just felt so…. triggered, by his yelling at me for no good reason.

The words that Darlene wrote to Pat. “You were not valued in this situation. You were dismissed…” that’s exactly what my husband yelling at me when I was trying to ask his opinion about an idea, felt like. I was not valued. I was dismissed.

And Patricia, you repied to Darlene: “I know that usually when something affects me this deeply that it points back to an earlier abuse from childhood. You are exactly right in that I was again not valued like with the incest as a child, my feelings were discounted as not valid.” BINGO, that’s why my heart felt so numb and dead inside, when my normally loving husband yelled at me like he did. It went right back to my earliest abuses from childhood.

My heart is starting to thaw out now. And my husband wants me to look up potential side effects of his new meds… he has 3 new meds actually, only one is a psychotropic med, the others are for physical health. But yes, since he started on these new meds he has not been my Stan… especially not on that one night when his blood sugar got so low.

It’s not easy sometimes, having PTSD, and being married to someone with PTSD. Because his PTSD was combat related, and mine was domestic abuse beginning in early childhood, our triggers are usually very differnet, so we aren’t both goig “off” at the same time. It’s great having a spouse who UNDERSTANDS my PTSD, and doesn’t expect me to just magically get over it, like most people expect. But when we are both being triggered at the same time…. yikes. And the poor dog! At least Lady is happy now that Stan and I are talking civily to each other again.

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Thanks Pat!!! I just read your last comment here. ((HUGS))

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Lynda, you are very welcome. Glad things are settled down and calm again. Some medicines have such dangerous side effects.

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Hi ya Lynda,
Patricia Said: “What I hear from you is what Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families would call “all or nothing” thinking.” Gee, Patricia – I’m glad you said that!!! This is a ‘trap’ us survivors often fall into: one ‘hurt’ and it’s ‘all or nothing’. I NEED THAT REMINDER sometimes! (someone kick me in the butt with it every once and awhile, please?)

Lynda: That’s something “we” gotta remember: apparently normal folks can ‘scold’ – and “we” see it as an entire system condemnation – when what they may have been doing is a critique. BUT!!…

Not with your dear hubby. A therapist once warned me – over and over and over again: Be CAREFUL in your relationships with other abuse survivors (we were close to cutting the cords here with wife and running to CA to be with a fellow survivor – forever) – Survivors can sometimes ‘feed’ – and ‘feed each other’s’ pains, triggering the triggers, and dragging both (all) down into some bad place or pit.

BUT it sounds like hubby has some problems with his dosages; whatever. I hated switching ADP’s – 6 weeks wait, never knowing. We finally got off the ADP’s – numb ain’t good, and … gee, hard to say it: but shutting off our ‘selves’, the ‘voices’ did us more damage than good, delaying our recovery for years. I really feel for hubby – and Lydna? Remember: he’s a survivor, too – and as you know, we often do things that we don’t want to do – even as we’re doing them. Your hubby feels remorse; this indicates he wasn’t quite ‘in control’ perhaps? Sometimes ya just gotta step back, see the ‘whole picture’ (your whole husband, your years together) – and realize ‘this point in time is unimportant’ in relation to the whole – an anomaly. And I don’t speak for him, but I gots me parts that ‘hate’ my wife and life – well, hate perhaps too strong a word? – But we’re okay with it (meaning working on it.)
This is a really rambling post (got other crap on my mind; wanna write ‘Being Beat Animal” and jeeeezz! hard – push to do, dread of doing, eh?) So to be short: just forgive him? Understand it’s just drugs? Realize he knows? Ya’ll will ‘take care of it”, address this, his ‘new’ issue?
And, BTW (cuz’ we’re curious critters) – what, perchance, was the idea? (LOL< wondering if it is something I've been thinking, LOL!!!) Don't share public unless comfy; or you can always email me/us: we have no problems with stuff it seems (switch-a-roo, someone else can do, LOL!)
Until later, the guys with flies for brains: Meselves myselves and I

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Patricia: The church thing; the people in it – and remember this is an “IMO/IOO” thing, o’tay?
People are afraid to ‘stand out’ or ‘stand up’ for someone when they will be (or think they will be) – in the minority (and thus be attacked). Psych/Sociology studies show: in a crowd there may be many thinking the same thing, but until someone ‘brave’ enough steps forward and states that thing, the other folks will just ‘follow the crowd’ (sit still) – even if they think the crowd is wrong. It’s a ‘survival’ mechanism for social groups – the odd man out gets pecked to death, so to speak.

BUT: when that ONE voice steps out and speaks up – it often emboldens others to step forward and support that person. We have DONE this in crowds purely as a psych experiment – and it works. Jeez, monkey see monkey do and all that sorta mess.
I can understand your hurt. But with understanding sometimes comes compassion and/or a certain amount of so-called ‘forgiveness’. And understanding these people on a deeply subconscious ‘caveman level’ ‘feared for their lives’ (by appearing different, and never mind their lives were never in danger; they felt they would be ‘threatened’ by stepping forward. (Can you say: chicken?)). Sad but true? Perhaps . . . sometimes … the victim can step forward, state their feelings – and if done right (not condemning the chickens, but encouraging them by saying you understand their ‘fears’) – you can rally troops to your side as the chickens see the other chickens aren’t pecking you to death. (and if they do: remember this: apathy is a wonderful thing: if you don’t care what they think, then they can’t hurt you with their thoughts, eh?)
Just a thought … from US with hugs and children’s kisses.

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About the church thing – for 2 years from 2005-2007 I worked voluntary 1 day a week and Sundays as PA to the pastoral co-ordinator. On Sundays I wore a pastoral team badge but I was NOT allowed to pray for someone or pastorally support someone in any way because the leadership considered me to be too messed up to be of any help to anyone. When the pastoral co-ordinator resigned from her post late in 2007 I had meetings with the leadership who wanted my administration skills but didn’t want the whole package – a human being came with those skills but they couldn’t accept the person that came along with those skills. There is more to me than my admin skills. I was not prepared to submit to their requirements about behaviour etc and that is why I walked away from the church.

I’ve tried other churches since but every time people start to get to know who you really are the should stuff about forgiveness kicks in and judgements start being made about my mental health etc etc. And it’s really hard having to cope with the questions about who you are, your family etc.

You know it’s incredible how terrifying and intimidating the thought of going to church is. And that is NOT how it should be.

Yes I am more isolated but at least there is no pressure on me to conform to things I cannot conform and at least I’m able to be who I am.

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JefferyW, someone recently reminded me of my own “black and white” thinking so we all could probably use the reminder from time to time. Thank you for your words of encouragement and understanding. My mind knows all of what you said about the church situation. My heart just takes longer to know those things. Feelings aren’t as clear cut as thoughts.

When I do go to church, like yesterday, I don’t feel angry at anyone. My anger comes out in my resistance to going to church and in my resistance to sharing my feelings and thoughts with anyone there. I still consider many of them as my friends. I just don’t have the level of trust with them that I once did. Trust broken, for me, is hard to ever give again because of all of the broken trusts from the childhood incest – all of the promises broken when I was a child. I never make promises to anyone. As a child, I was taught that promises were always broken so why make them.

Fi, I can feel for you with the church thing too. What they have done to you isn’t right. As I typed those words, I could feel your disappointment in them and I could feel my own disappointment in my church friends. They didn’t step up and take my side. They didn’t say “Stop this right now.” I know that they were afraid as JefferyW said. In my heart that doesn’t excuse their behavior. It doesn’t change how I feel. Thanks JefferyW and Fi. You have both given me some things to think about.

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Patricia: “all of the promises broken when I was a child. I never make promises to anyone”
– wrote this on JUST that subject April 7.
Here: http://wp.me/s1t0dv-promises

I think you – and probably others – can relate.
JW

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Re: Black and White thinking…. I know what that is, and I know I’ve done that in the past, in other situations, but only rarely.. I seem to always be able to see about 5 sides of any situation, and all the shades of gray, so thinking in black and white/all or nothing is very rare for me, almost impossible for me, actually.

What I was experiencing last night, when my husband started yelling at me, was, for me, all about SURVIVAL. I cannot bear to be yelled at, it breaks me, shatters me, wounds me so deeply, I can’t even find the words to express how deeply it hurts. SO, I went NUMB. I shut down inside, shut down my feelings for my husband, so that I wouldn’t have to feel the PAIN.

It’s not about forgiveness, either, Jeffrey. I know that my husband has his issues, his faults, his wounds from his own PTSD, all that stuff you said, and he has every reason and every right to not be perfect. To me, it’s not about whether I understand him or forgive him or see that he isn’t just all white or all black, he is multi-hued, as are we all, and that’s OK. To me, it’s about this thing only: I CAN’T STAND BEING SCREAMED AT AND I CAN’T LIVE WITH BEING SCREAMED AT AND IF HE KEEPS IT UP, REGARDLESS OF THE REASON, I WILL HAVE NO CHOICE, FOR THE SAKE OF MY SANITY AND MY HEALTH, TO LEAVE, AND LIVE ALONE. With the dog; she can’t stand screaming either.

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BUT we had a good day today, my husband and our Lady dog and I. He cried a lot though, which is also not like him. I mean he was crying over a touching email that my aunt had forwarded to him. He never cries over things like that. Crying I can handle though, just not screaming and yelling. I have been physically beaten, more times than I can even begin to remember, in my first marriage it was the worst, my estimate, on how many times my first husband beat me, is anywhere between 50 – 100 times. I married him at age 16, literally just 2 months after we’d met, he wanted to get married to avoid the draft to ‘Nam, he was 18 and this was 1970, and I had been released from my 2 years in a state insane asylum just 2 1/2 months before he and I married… I thought that NO man would ever want to marry a person who had been in a nut house, so when he asked me to marry him I was ecstatice, I was in LOVE just because he loved me…

Only he didn’t love me, as I learned within 1 month of our marriage. And he beat me all the time for every little thing……..AND ALWAYS THE SCREAMIING AND THE YELLING CAME FIRST, and then his fists would start flying.

My husband today is 300 pounds and 6’ 3″ and when he YELLS, he is very intimidating. One time, when he yelled at me, he drew back his fist as though he was going to hit me……and I screamed bloody murder, and he didn’t hit me. I will not stay with him, no matter what, if he ever hits me. One hit will be one too many…. and when he started yelling last night, all those past beatings that always started out with yelling came flooding back into my mind. and my husband knows all aobut this. He knows that yelling at me will drive me right out the door, and he knows why. I have told him, “If the house is on fire, then you may yell at me to let me know. But if there is no emergency on a par with the house being on fire, Do Not Yell At Me.”

Period. I am worth more than that. AND, even if I didn’t believe I was worth more than that, I would not put up with it. I have gone through too much, it took everything I had to break free of the horrible abuse I went through for so many damned years, and I, Lynda Lee Robinson, will NOT be abused again. Not by anyone, not for any reason. PERIOD.

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JefferyW, Thanks for sharing your blog post about promises. As I said on your blog post, I don’t make promises either. By first grade, I had been disappointed by promises being broken so many times that I stopped believing in promises. The disappointment hurts too much.

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Lynda, I understand. I haven’t been in a physically dangerous environment since leaving home at 19. If my husband ever hit me out of anger, he knows I would leave or he would.

My sister today has arthritis from all of the beatings that she got from her ex-husband. She only told me about this in the past 5 years. I knew he was verbally abusive and tried to get her to leave him and gave her a place to stay with my family and me several times but she always went back to him. If I had known that she was being physically abused, I would have done more to keep her and her children from going back. He is supposed to be dying from cancer. As bad as it sounds for me to say it, it couldn’t happen to a better person.

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Patricia, I don’t even know what to say about your poor sister. It’s hard to understand why she would keep going back to that, when she had options.

I can only speak for myself, I didn’t see any options for so long. There weren’t any women and children shelters anywhere near where I lived in the 1970s. When I called the police, they asked me what did I do that provoked my husband to hit me. Swear To God, that was what they said. So I learned it only hurt me worse to call the police.

Despite having a high iq, my formal education ended early in the 9th grade when I was 14 and committed to a mental institution. It’s funny how people don’t want to marry someone with no education and a history of being locked in an insane asylum.

So I had no where to go, no way to support myself and my baby, and, I had been taught from the cradle up that I didn’t have any rights or deserve to be loved. I remember telling myself, as a way of trying to comfort myself when my first husband would cycle into another one of his rages; that “a bad love is better than no love at all.” I left my childhood home believing I was crazy and not worthy of love. After my first husband beat me and cheated on me and yelled verbal abuse at me all during the years we were married, my self-esteem was even lower, by the time I finally left him, than it had been when I married him.

Like your poor sister, I have permanent physical damage from the years of beatings. My nose is crooked from being broken, it used to be the most perfect straight nose. My jaw is also crooked, same reason. I had several concussions, so I’m sure my iq isn’t nearly as high as it originally was. In some ways, I seem like an idiot savant now, still very above-average smart in some areas, and in other areas, my head just doesn’t function AT ALL.

My neck was almost broken by my ex-husband when he was in a coked-up rage, believing, wrongly, that I was having an affair. He tried with all his adrenalin-hyped raging strength to break my neck in half, and he almost succeeded. My neck hurt so bad, I thought it was broken. As a result, I have very severe and constantly painful degenerative disk disease in my neck. All but the top 2 disks in my neck are herniated or missing altogehter, and there is a large bony over-growth at the base of my neck, from where my body tried to heal the damage on its own. This is what my doctor told me has caused that big hard lump on the base of my neck. When I had an MRI done 10 years ago on my increasingly unbearable painful neck, my doctor looked at the picture and said, “What happened to you about 25 or 30 years ago that injured your neck?” I thought, and said, “It was about 30 years ago that my ex=-husband was in a drugged up insane rage and tried with all his strength to break my neck. I thought it was broken…” The doctor’s face turned pale when I said that, then he said, “That’s what’s caused this, then. Whenever I see a degeneratied cervical spine as bad as this, when I ask if they ever had a really bad injury to their neck, that’s what I hear: “About 30 years ago I was in a really bad car wreck, or about 25 years ago I fell out of a tree, and I hurt my neck.” They always say something like, “And my neck hurt so bad, I thought it was broken.” So yes, what you are telling me, that is what has caused this.”

The evil ex who did that to me, was cheating on me, I soon found out. SO he was projecting his bad behavoir onto me in his own mind, and punishing me, for what HE was doing. Now THAT’S what I call INSANITY. Also evil.

Just typing on the computer hurts my neck like hell. Right now I have my neck propped with a roll of a pillow and a comforter, trying to ease the pain, but it never completely goes away, the pain. It’s a constant reminder of what can happen when a big, strong, ENRAGED husband starts YELLING at the top of his lungs, for no understandable reason~

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Lynda – I am so with you on the yelling thing. I can’t take someone yelling – anyone verbally fighting – even if it isn’t with us. Could be the neighbors next door; the guy down the road. Doesn’t matter. Mucks us up; you know – the weird anxiety thing; the ‘danger’ reflex. So I can well understand your feelings. And yeah: a hit? No friggin’ way man – I’d be outta there faster than greased goose crap from a runny goose. NO ONE deserves to be hurt/hit like that. Despite my violent background – and even while a Marine – I avoided violence like the plague (through compromise and reasonable working out of things between warring parties.) Just hate it.

Ditto my wife. She comes from an abusive background; violent husband and all. One of the things I swore was that WE swore we would never raise a hand nor voice towards her (except to save her life) – EVER. (Yeah, there reason in that promise: I’ve had to pull/shove people out of the way of danger; to make that promise I had to include the exclusions, LOL. Like a bloody frickin’ lawyer, LOL, my mind is.) It is unfortunate I/we/and us had to also promise to never make her completely happy despite we tried (and still try); nor give her some fairy-tale hubby. Just a recognition of real life events.

You gots my sympathy; the docs long ago diagnosed: neuralgia, fibermyalgia, degenerative arthritis of the spine (c1-c7, thoractic), degenerative disk disease (that fall in the Marine corps); yup, 18+ car wrecks (I seem to have a knack for picking bad drivers to ride with) – other stuff. 30 years and the doc says “It’ll just get worse” but won’t let the knife doctors touch me; they said themselves: can’t do no better; probably make it worse. Was on the Fenytal 150’s for years plus about 35 other pain killers side meds mind meds, speed to pick me up from the depressants that put me down (sigh). Doc said in alarm: “If someone was to take all this s*** they would die.” but we had built that ol’ tolerance up there. Going cold turkey after the insurance ran out sucked, LOL, been there done that oh well we’re good with pain. (not that we like it; hating it, so life altering/robbing not our planned retirement).
anyways nuff too much said about meandus and just want you to know yeah we understand about that yelling thing we can’t stand it at all and if the man lifts a hand to you run don’t walk you know the routines there eh? But on the other hand we can understand /see he is going thorugh a rough time right there? perhaps the meds are wrong eh? he needs to see some doctor maybe old tough marines hate doing that: nothings ever wrong that ‘we’ can’t take care of kinda attitude ya know but being manly men sometimes we gotta take care get off our butts and do something to fix ourselves. Maybe he’s in that position; must take care of him and YET we know keeping yourself safe is utmost importance; been there done that no dead rescuer here LOL!
until later we gots things need to get done take care all and see ya later.
M&M&crew

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Hi Lynda, I can’t cope with yelling either. Even if it’s out on the street and I’m in the house and it’s nothing to do with me it still freaks me out. I feel sheer terror when voices are raised and argumentative. It makes me want to run and run and run. Terrifies me. I don’t even know what gets triggered apart from that flight response. Anxiety levels shoot right up when I hear shouting, even if it’s not directed at me. If it’s something to do with me I feel terror right in the centre of my abdomen and prepare to flinch expecting the worst. It feels like my world is going to end probably because raised voices always led to terrible violence in my childhood. Raised voices often led to people walking out or me being kicked out. It’s an all or nothing feeling. A horrible feeling. Black and white thinking like you said.

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Am I the only person around here who has a deep aversion to the word “normal?”
I feel like I am, but I still have to refuse to be treated like somebody’s definition of normal. There are too many ways the word can be defined, and I hate the word anyway, b/c there’s not even a snowball’s chance in hell that I’ll ever qualify as normal, a new normal or any other defining characteristic of the word.
My favorite song is ‘Minority’ by Green Day; words that say things like ‘I wanna be the minority, down w/ the moral majority, I don’t need your authority, down w/ the moral majority.’
Well, some people would consider the song as being a reckless attitude about normal, but the standard behavior in my house included my brother beating me w/ a crutch and, although it was an accident, nearly killing my sister.
Who the hell would want to be that kind of normal? But the entire society called ME WEIRD and my mom, who never believed us when we told her that about her biologically-born son, normal.
Just b/c she could hide it from everybody else, SHE was the one they called normal.
I hate the word for that reason and more, but that’s the one I think people will relate to best.

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Hi Vicki – I hate the word “normal”

What does “normal” mean?

“Normal” is always someone’s definition. What is it measured against?

“Normal” in my family was about incest and the most terrible things. “Normal” was about maintaining silence, towing the party line, instant obedience and compliance. Anything other than that was considered abnormal and dealt with severely.

I’ve never felt “normal”, I’ve always felt different to my peers, have never fitted in and cannot fit in people’s boxes. I dislike being defined by people who know nothing about me and my history.

So I am extremely allergic to the word “normal”

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Being in a left-brain mode today (Q: Are you in your right mind? A: No, I’m in my left) ~ I decided to look up that pesky word, “Normal,” on the free online dictionary. Here is the first definition that popped up:

Normal:
A town of central Illinois north-northeast of Bloomington. It is the seat of Illinois State University (founded 1857). Population: 50,700.

Well, ok, then! I’m pretty sure that none of us here on EFB live anywhere near that town, so we don’t need to concern ourselves with NORMAL.

;^D

LYNDA

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Fi & Jeffrey,
I’m the same way when it comes to yelling, even when the people doing the yelling, and the people being yelled at, have nothing to do with me. It’s like hearing an uncaged lion roar~>>>>>>>>>>>> RUN!!!

I’m one of those people who does NOT run the other way, though, when I see/hear someone being yelled at, threatened, or being physically hurt. Even though my instinct is to run ~ I’ve been through so much abuse in my life, when No One wanted to “get involved” ~ so when I hear or see someone being terrorized by a bully, I call 911 first, and then, if the danger seems immediate, I have been known to wade right into the situation, grab the victim, and pull them OUT to safety. Example: in the 1980s when my then-husband and I were living in Navy Housing, a huge screaming banging throwing things hitting FIGHT broke out in the townhouse directly beside ours. You could hear what was going on through the thin common wall, and it sounded deadly. I called the cops, but they were taking their sweet time getting there. I went outside where I could see right into the living room where the physical and verbal fight was going on, the blinds were open on their big picture window, and here were these two big adults screaming at each other, and throwing big heavy items across the room at each other…. AND IN THE CENTER OF THIS ROOM, DOWN ON THE FLOOR, WAS A 2-YEAR-OLD AND A 1-MONTH-OLD.

Over my then-husband’s protests, when I saw that, I ran inside that condo, right into the middle of the 2 shrieking violent adults, and grabbed the infant with one are, grabbed the 2-year-old with the other arm, and ran out of the house with them.

SHIVER I just got cold chills all over my body, reliving that memory. I took the little ones into my home next door, checked them over to make sure they were all right, and held and comforted them until the cops got there.

When it comes to my OWN safety, when someone is yelling at me or physically threatening me, all I want to do is RUN AWAY, FAST. I have no desire to stay and engage in the argument, I see no point in trying to reason with someone who is past the point of being reasonable, I just want to get out, get to safety, to peace and quiet. But, when someone else is being endangered by people going ballistic, I will do what I have to do to help, even if it endangers me.

I guess it is the maternal instinct in me, I don’t know. Whew… I can still, after more than 25 years, remember holding those little ones in my arms and feeling their little bodies trembling, and smelling the horrible cigarette smell in their hair from living in a house where the adults smoked constantly. I wonder where and how those two little boys are today… last year I found their older sister online, she was 12 back then, and not at home when the fight was happening, but she lived through a lot of other stuff, in that family. Africa (yes, that’s her name, cool isn’t it?) and I talked online for a while, and then she gave me her phone number and I called her… ME, who is so NOT a phone person!… and we talked for over an hour. She told me how much it meant to her that someone would remember her from when she was a little girl, and think enough of her to look her up and ask how her life has been going. I wanted to give her a big hug… she’s the same age as my eldest son, she was friends with my kids, way back then. Anyway, she told me that a few years ago she went back to Virginia to that Navy Housing where she had gone through so much hurt and hell in her young life, and she said, “Lynda, it was like a ghost town, the buildings are all empty, no one lives there anymore, it was the creepiest feeling. I was there looking for some kind of closure, but there wasn’t anything there to give me that. Talking to you now, though, and knowing that you were there next door, and a part of my life then, and knowing that you remember and you care… that is giving me the closure I need.”

WOW. Sometimes the smallest thing can mean the world to someone else.

LYNDA

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Fi,
Thank you for sharing your experience with the church abuse. That you were “allowed” to do certain things, and “not allowed” to do other things.. that is exactly what I am talking about re: control and defining another person! What the heck is “Christlike” about treating someone like that???????????? They wanted your “gifts” with admin but not YOU as a person? This makes me SO angry.

And yes this happened to me in a similar way with Church stuff when I was on the board of continuing education and when I was a youth leader but constantly put down and usually the credit for my success was somehow undermined or given to someone else (but not to the lord) ! and of course I was taught to give all the credit to the lord, so I felt guilty for even being upset about it! I never had any words to even define why I was so upset, or what was unfair to me because the way that my beleif system was ~ BUT today I do have those words.. and I intend to keep on writing / speaking them!

Thanks for sharing this Fi. I know I am behind on the comments, but HAD to post something about this one.

Everyone ~
I have reached the point where I can’t keep up with all the comments. I do read them, but I have run out of time to answer all of them! I appreciate each one of you and love that you respond to each other!!
Hugs, Darlene

138

Haha, Darlene, I am barely able to find the time to read all the comments, I sure wouldn’t be able to answer them all, either. I love your posts and that is doing so much right there. THANK YOU.

139

Vicki, I don’t like the word “normal” either. “Normal” in my childhood home was not healthy. Normal was living with the effects of incest, alcoholism and codependency.

Today I never want to be normal. I want to be healthy. Normal in my childhood was the kind of yelling and arguing that Lynda talks about.

My dad only ever hit my mom once in their marriage and that was before I was born. He just yelled and cussed and called names. The one time that my dad hit my mom, she went and got his rifle, aimed it at him and pulled the trigger. The only reason he didn’t die that day was because the gun wasn’t loaded. My mom was a good shot with a rifle.

I grew up hearing that story told. That story was a threat of violence which can be almost as destructive as the actual violence to the mind of a child. That story was one of the reasons that I didn’t tell my mom about the incest until I was in my late 30’s and she and my dad were divorced. The fear that if I told her, she would shot and kill him and go to prison for the rest of her life, leaving my brother, sister and I without parents and it would have all been my fault. Those were my main reasons for not telling her or anyone else about the incest when I was a child.

Vicki, that was one of my childhood stories of “normal” in my home. That is why I don’t like “normal”.

140

Hi Vicki
and Everyone on this thread about the word “Normal”
I agree with all of you; that is why I called this post “FALSE NORMAL Systems” The ways that most of us grew up; the ways that we are talking about that became our “normal” were very far from any kind of acceptable normal.
Hugs, Darlene

141

I want so badly to have time to read through all of these posts I wont get to it today or maybe not this week. I just want to share a few thoughts. @Lynda I never heard that are you in your right mind? no I am in my left! Hilarious!
But I am so sorry for your yelling situation. I agree I do not have what it takes to stay. I am blessed with a good marriage but my husband is largely undamaged and most of it is good because of him. You and Darlene are admirable women! I have no words of advice just know you are in my prayers! I have a story about spiritual abuse that I want to share. It is not abotu me directly but affected me deeply. As I have said in my previous posts in my opinion and thee is no proof to this but in my opinion people are either truth tellers or deniers. The spiritual abuse did not happen to me but did affect everyone at my 10,000 member church. I happen to be in the inner circle , I don’t try to get into these inner circles but I am just always invited in. I have a world famous pastor and he is right up there with Billy Graham (who I worked for 9 years) and Chuck Smith. He is the real deal. I would not be who I am if it were not for him. I won’t say his name only out of respect for him as he woudl think it is gossip to share this. I think in this case it is not about good or bad or right or wrong in the sense or out right wrong just a different perspective. In his hart he is pure and wants to please God. But he thinks and really believes it would be a sin to expose a pastor it comes from an old testament mind set.In the old testament it says love covers a multitude of sins. He thinks it would be wrong to talk about it. Even sinful. I think that it is better to expose evil.
Again the abuse happened to him. Rather than get into the whole story which is too long and complicated, I will say this, he was hurt and I mean on every level by another pastor. He thinks to talk abotu it would be to be sinful and not trust God. He is pure in his intentions and so loving and I know him. He is 80 years old and very fragile emotionally and always keeps the hearts of others in mind. A true gem I love him! However by him not exposing thsi evil against him the church has fallen apart and he is not able to see it as he is not allowed to and surrounded by a bunch of control freaks. There have been suicides at the church and splits and all kinds of nonsense. If he would just expose it it would put an end to all of the nonsense and pain it is causing others since they dont understand what is going on. Because he is older and fragile and my spiritual father who God used to rescue me I feel protective of him.
My point to all of this is it is so simple just tell the truth expose it and let God deal with the fall out. But he thinks that would be sinful and show a lack fo faith that God is his protector. I understand his heart and motives. He is hurting deeply as he cant talk to anyone but his wife. Their daughter and grandson presently have cancer. So he doesnt want to burden his wife who is also 80. Their youngest granddaughter died of cancer in their home in his arms. I feel he could end this charade and nonsense. But really it is his love and pure motives leading him so he is not wrong in terms of motive but this has been going on for 5 years. It is like the emperors new clothes. IT would be much more simple to just expose the truth. For me if it was me or my biological father I would not let the charade go on. But i am not in the position to expose it. He believes God will. As I said I dont think he is wrong just old and set in his ways of thinking like touch not the Lords anointed and all of that.
For me truth is the most important thing. For him love and purity are. I believe you cant have true love and purity without truth. It is only matter of perspective. I have known him since 1986 when I was a young woman. he believed in me and pout up with so much of my PTSD and changes. So I want to support him and not abandon him at his time of need but in order to do so I have to play along with the charade that this other minister is okay that nothing is wrong. For me it is not about forgiveness it is about truth.
It has gone on for 5 years nothing has changed for the better but things get worse and worse.I did not sleep for an entire year due to this situation. The pastor has such a pure heart and is so well meaning. I know from my personal experience with him. He is also the first person to really believe in me for me and not for my perceived talents.
For me truth is the best option and maybe I lack the grace he has to give others. But as I said people have died because of covering up the truth. He is unaware of it. I cant be a part of the charade but will continue to love him as my spiritual father. But him covering this up which he thinks is just between him and the other minister is really affecting thousands. That is why the bible says

1 Corinthians 13:12
12 “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

I hope this helps someone who might be in a similar situation. For anyone who believes please pray for this minister. He is hurting , I am hurting everyone at the church is hurting one way or the other. I cant be a part of this system any more. But I do love him deeply and know we are frail as humans even though we have the best intentions sometimes we hurt others.

142

Pinky, my heart goes out to you and to your minister friend. You are seeing first hand how destructive denial can be. I agree with you on the matter of truth. Truth and denial are not partners in life. When truth exists, there can be no denial. Sending hugs and prayers to you and your friend.

143

@Patricia, thanks so much!

144

Hi, Pinky,
I actually made that one up one day, when my husband was talking with our neighbor friend about being right-brained or left-brained. I made it into a bumper sticker on my computer graphic program. I’ll post it on your fb wall in a minute, it sounds like you could use the laugh.

The Christian psychologists who co-authored the Boundary series… I can’t think of their names right now, but they are good friends of my life-saving psychiatrist and author, Paul Meier, MD ~ they talk a lot about the importance of both TRUTH, and LOVE. Speaking the truth, in love… speaking the truth, with loving intentions. Speaking the truth, to save and protect those who are being harmed by lies, AND ALSO to try to bring the sinner to true repentence.

I am praying for your church situation and your pastor. I know of him and I know he does have a wonderful heart, and I understand that at his age, and with his family’s health situations… that has to be very hard to deal with at this time, of all times. Isn’t that the way it goes, tho, we are attacked the most when we are the most vulnerable?

((HUGS))

145

@Paticia, I dotn know if you are on FB if so can you friend me, I am on Darlenes page and also Lynda’s under the name of Pinky Lew and my other page is Pinksugarbaby Lew. I would like to use your quote in a few days on my page when things slow down, what you just said. I have s many so called Christian friends in denial. I love what you just said!

146

@ Lynda yes and his sermons make him seem a lot more harsh than he really is.Because I have been kind of shaped by him spiritually I know I come across as harsh sometimes too I think spiritually nobody has shape me more.
It is just the way he preaches but face to face he is very meek and ohumble and I know in his sermons he doesn’t appear that way but it is fr lack of a better way to say it his stage persona. He is shy and has to kind of zone out when he preaches because he is actually really almost overly sensitive so he hides behind the cross an roars when he preaches but if you met him in person you would be like is that the same person?
Thanks for your payers! He doesn’t get a lot of prayer because people think he is invincible and BTW your blog really helped my niece! Anyway I better get back to work!

147

@ Lynda yes I read the boundary series. It is in storage now but I do refer to it from time to time.

148

Drs Cloud and Townsend…. they authored the Boundary series I am talking about.

I’m glad my blog helped your niece!

149

Pinky, I am Patricia Caldwell Singleton on Facebook. I just sent you a Friend Request. Use my words in any way that will help others with my approval.

My very first book that I read on healthy boundaries and how to set them came from Drs. Cloud and Townsend and was called Boundaries. That book taught me so much.

150

I’m going to put a poem here that I helped my daughter write. It’s about how we feel, even now, w/out my former husband/her dad in our lives.
I hope it’s okay w/ people, b/c I’m way better able to talk about something when I put it into poetic form. Although this one doesn’t adhere to any standard form, it still rhymes.

I Died But Live

I died a death but still I live
to witness life w/out you here
my soul was punctured like a sieve
with holes of grief and filled with tears.
I drift beside the bitter sea
my brain is numb, my heart a stone
Without you I feel agony
My body lives but walks alone
a vessel filled by a sea of grief.
VGMB, April 19, 2011

151

@Lynda I knew who you meant I just didn’t remember the names well. I have read almost all of their books. A@ Patricia okay I will log onto FB now.

152

Normal: setting on a dishwasher. I am not a dishwasher, though I have washed dishes.
Left brain vs. right brain. They gave me a test. Said I was ‘skewed’ which rhymes with screwed. Go figure: dominant in both areas. Beauty. Of MPD.
Gotta question girls. We gotta tad bit of ‘ye ol’ system problem’ – nothing drastic (o’tay, maybe a little fudge with that one.) Makes it sweeter, LOL: here’s the deal: whip out those analytical brains of yours; do some psycho-analyzing. We could use some help.

Here’s this child (my child OUR child, very precious one to us, okay?). We see his past, hurt pain etc. ad infinitum. BUT: here’s the deal: we thought we knew all about him, the effects; a leads to b leads to c etc. ad infinitum etcetra ad nauseum.
But here we go: We were / child was rejected at age 10 by the man he loved sooo very much (yeah, pedophile, so what: teen’s words) – we are beginning to see this was inevitable; the pedophile had a fondness for children much younger: 5-11? perhaps we don’t know; do knew were were ‘recruited’ by pedophile to adopt other children into the fold (ended at 11 when we were moved).
PROBLEM: We have identified this child as being ‘shamed’ by this scorn and rejection, BUT it has become to our awareness that this is NOT ALL. We are trying to race the underlying threads, seeing that this one (of 3 times) single event had some pretty massive reprecussions during our adulthood – indeed from THAT POINT ON that night of tears mocking and rejection (after being used, okay, kids words plucked from my mind: ‘like a damned used condom’.
Sorry if I hurt anyone with that; but .. we are about out of places to turn with this question: looking for someone in a similiar situation / has been – or could know through sympathetic analysis: what would be the effects on this child in terms of his outlooks on: love? sex? and effects on behaviors down the road.
It is something we are studying; needless to say, a troubling issue when it’s your own child inside and your own issues eating at you a bit, eh?
BTW: we’re ‘good’ with it; lots of strength in us survivors; not great; a few fighting (thus far avoiding the self-injury BS and such; but hey, temptation sucks no matter if you know you ‘aren’t going there’ -eh?)
Anyway, no rush; just hard for a guy to ask anything (hey, directions anyone? not us guys, LO hard L’s!) – and I am confident we shall sort all these strings before it’s all laid out, however, additional thoughts on “those effects” of a groomed child scorned may give us some enlightenments.
Appreciate it throroughly whether you’re able to help or not.
Thank you very much for your help on this issue
Sincerely,
the systems

153

Jeffery
This would effect you and your outlook about ALL those things in many many ways. I write about this all the time ~ the effects of trauma on the belief system. I encourage you to read this blog in depth; I have overcome DID / MPD. and I no longer live with fragmented self but am one whole now. This blog is about how I did that.
Hugs, Darlene

154

I can’t read ANY of these from here. I read it on my email, so I can only see one post at a time, which makes it easier to read each post.
I just read the one about the two antidepressants and a change of personality. I’m not a doctor, I’m a paramedic, but that’s a warning sign the doctor needs to hear about. He needs to tell his doctor that information asap.

155

Thanks, Vicki, you are right, my husband will be seeing his dr. about that soon.

I was reading your poem….. poignant, beautiful, deeply moving, and so sad.

Poetry helps me express my feelings, too, when ordinary words are too… ordinary. Your poem reminds me of a similar one that I wrote about 20 years ago when a loved one had died an untimely death:

O let me die
and lie beside you in the grave
together brave
that dread unknown ~

For sorrow shared
is half the pain that sorrow gave
How could you die
and leave me all alone?

((HUGS)) to you and your daughter, Vicki,
Lynda

156

Vicki and Lynda
Thanks for sharing your poetry! it love the depths…
Hugs, Darlene

157

[…] Related posts ~ False Normal Systems about Love and Self Love […]

158

I am a Hong Kong Chinese male who has suffered from depression since I was a little boy. After reading Darlene’s sharing, I enchoed some of her feelings and views toward the meaning of love and acceptance. I feel that I can earn self-esteem, love and trust by loving myself first. I found it very hard to love myself because of past pain in the relationships with my MOTHER. I suspected that she suffers from depression all her life. She might have been verbally abused by her parents, and took out her anger on me (her son). I am still drilling on the past pain as I am already dead, but did not cross-over to the LIGHT and return to GOD. I am hiding a woman’s head and influenced her to write these words for me so that I can download my past and pain in this space. If you are reading this, please do NOT be afraid. WE are ALL eternal being with a physical body experience in this planet earth. if you believe in Jesus, you GO to GOD after your death. If you do NOT believe in Jesus like me and do not know much about our souls and eternal existence and have attached to the physical world, I did not cross-over to the LIGHT and stay in this physical world to fight against the fact that I am already dead with my body. My soul (consciousness) is still alive by hiding inside this woman’s brain (head). I would like to share with you who are alive and reading my texts: LOVE yourself, then you learn how to love others as yourself, and then you love GOD eventually if you never love GOD before. I am fighting against GOD by playing mind games inside the woman’s head. I am SICK. No, I am NOT sick. I must LOVE myself. This is all I want to share. Thanks for reading.

159

Hi It is me again, Cheng Li, the male ghost in Hong Kong who has been hiding inside an older woman’s brain since SEP 2006. I treated her as if she were my mother, and took my anger on her. I have been evil and demonic toward her doing all kinds of wicked thing to her. I am SICK. I desparately need counselling on my post traumatic stress disorder on my young death at mid-20s. I think about it. I deserved to die young as I have always been wicked in my whole life, perhaps, in my soul journey in the past. Can someone help me, please? I feel stuck inside her head, and do not know where to go. I do NOT want to return to GOD. I want to be a ghost…. Thanks

160

Hello Cheng Li
My heart goes out to you for the pain that you are in. I would suggest that you find a therapist or other mental health professional that you can talk with in person about this problem. It isn’t something that I know anything about and I am not sure what to even reply to you about it.
Hugs, Darlene

161

@Cheng Li,Darlen if I may I understand what Cheng Li is saying because I understand the Chinese culture a little.
Hi from NYC. I do have a little frame of reference for what you are talking about as my husband is Chinese and though he is ABC (American born Chinese) his family is from China proper and he has relatives in Hong Kong. I know Hong Kong is more Westernized and they are more free and open than China but there are still many Chinese strong holds. Many of the issues you are facing are complex due to your dual culture. The first thing that is important is to tell the difference between mental illness and cultural illness and I believe much of what you are experiening is cultural.Only a doctor can diagnose you and there may be illness present too but the dividing line between cultural and psychological is thin in your situation.
There is so much I can say but it is not my blog and I do not have the space. Try to get a Westernized therapist because many of the ancient Chinese ways are ways to bondage. It is important to go to a doctor or therapist who has a college degree and does not perpetuate your situation. I wish you the best Cheng Li and glad you are here!

162

Thank you for sharing this Pinky,
This helps a lot. I suspected that there was a cultural factor involved here.
hugs, Darlene

163

[…] Recently I received a letter from my sister written with the purpose of manipulation. I really have no idea of her true opinion. You see, I set a boundary for my parents. I told them that if they wanted to have a relationship with me then they had to treat me with respect and acknowledge that as a teen, I was a victim of statutory rape.  They also were legally negligent when they knew and did nothing to stop it. My love is unconditional but relationship with me is not. My sister was seeking to remove this new boundary so that things could go back to the way they have always been. […]

164

[…] with all my old fears; I learned to FEAR losing love and at the same time realizing that this was not the way that I was loved at all. It was communicated to me that it didn’t matter if I was lost or if I was never to be seen again […]

165

Darlene,
This has been a beleif to me all my life. I have NEVER felt loved. If it is not attached with sex or something else I would have never experienced it. So does that make what I felt a lie? I beleive so. Unless it has a condition attached to it, then it is not love. That is the lie I have been forced to live. I know what I feel for my daughters, I beleive it’s love. Yet my youngest doesn’t beleive I love her. Am I capable of loving someone in the truest form of the word. Honestly I don’t know. Don’t you have to experience love first, in order to define it? I think you do. This is a subject I have always failed at.

166

Renee,
how it worked for me was to look at what WASN’T LOVE first. I looked at how I was taught love, the obligation, the “ownership” the one way street and I realized that I was not loved the way that I was taught TO love. The closer that I looked, the more I realized that what I was taught was NOT love. It was not BEST for me and love is always best. I don’t think I had to expierence love in order to define it. I just had to realize what it was NOt.
Hugs, Darlene

167

I realize I have a warped view of love. I am not capable of distinguishes the misconstrude version and the real deal. Sick I know but that is all I know about love. I have never had the opportunity of experiencing the actual true act of love. I wouldn’t know where to begin. Is it how I feel toward my grandkids? I think that is love and want to beleive that it is love. I love them with out anything attached to it. I love their faults as well as their strenghts. In fact, I look at their faults as an opportunity to teach them to turn their faults into a strenght. If they are unable to conqur them then it is used to except them without the sence of them feeling as a failure.

168

[…] bought their definition of “normal” hook, line and sinker.  No wonder I always felt like I was […]

169

How do you stay consistent in letting yourself know.. or knowing that you are worth something more than what you were taught? Some days I feel it, and others, I don’t. I want to learn how to be consistent.

One of the articles on this site also talks about happiness and how happiness is not a “choice” for some people (like me). I can’t choose to be consistently “happy” or consistently know that I am valuable. I can, at any time, say “yes, I’m worth something” but I know my actions show something different.

170

Roxy,
You bring up an interesting point. “Im worth something but I know my actions show something different”. I think I felt happiness once. I lived in Ogden Utah. I had a tiny apartment and it was just me. I remember being in my pickup heading for (college)school. The emotion I felt was “happy” It took me by surprise because I had never experienced that emotion. I remember stoping at the stop sign and just soaked it all in. Afterwards I started to question the emotion but decided it was so new I didn’t want it to go away. I haven’t felt that feeling since then, and to me thats ok because when my days come to an end I can say I felt happiness once in my life time, and know it’s a dimond that I hold close to my heart that no one can take away, especially my family.

171

[…] that doing that will ensure their kids love them. (which is a type of neglect)  But because that also isn’t love, that doesn’t work […]

172

When I was a little girl, there was a swing set in my backyard. I remember being all of 4 years old, and my so-called “daddy” was outside with me. I wanted him to watch me swing. He told me, go across the handlebars. I remember looking at those bars. It was really far for a little girl. I gulped. I remember. Then, despite my crushed heart, I grabbed each bar, struggling all the way across.

That was my first lesson in performance for “love.” It controls me to this day… but thankfully I’m finally rising out of the FOG.

173

Hi Jenna
Thank you for sharing. This is a great snapshot of how this kind of thing happens.
Hugs, Darlene

174

And just when do I get to be an “equal?”

HA HA HA HA HA HA

Why am I laughing? This is like my “going home for Christmas” story. Every year, people would ask me, “Are you going home for Christmas?” My reply, “No, I am going to visit my parents.” To which, I would get the “quizzical look.” Once I saw the “quizzical look,” I would smugly say, “I am XX years old. I no longer live with my parents. ‘home’ is where *I* live, not where my parents live…..” And people would walk away red faced.

175

Thank you Darlene for this very enlightening article. This mirrors my life to a tee! It goes way beyond the platitudes that were used by my MH provider; e.g., “you’re a human Be-ing, not a Human Do-ing”. I ended my relationship with my MH provider because I felt there were places she was unprepared and unskilled to lead me through even after 12 yrs. of working together. I am very glad to have found your blog. In just a few posts it has shed much light on areas of my life that my MH provider was unable to uncover to help me attain greater healing and wellness. Thank you for being a way show-er; that there IS life and light and the end of the tunnel; that we (collectively)will come all the way home to ourselves. That we are all of us whole and not broken.

176

Hi Syan
Welcome to EFB ~ Thank you for your comments! I don’t know why so many MH providers do not want to look at things through the grid that I talk about here. In my coaching practice, helping people see things through the eyes of actual truth and validating that their pain doesn’t come from their imagination, gets results so fast!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

177

In my teens, Dad once uttered: “Hey, I love you no matter what.”
Then came the comparisons with the younger sister and younger cousin, the pressure to fulfil my “eldest child in the family” duties, constant criticisms, humiliation in front of other family members, confrontations during holidays oh and my favourite: Dad telling me stories about how horrible my mother was to him and how I remind him of her, hence the reason as to why he did all of those “Loving” things to me.
This was the kind of love that I was taught to embrace and perhaps (god forbid) eventually pass on to my yet to be (more like never will be) born children.

Letting
Others
Validate my
Esteem

I always fell under the impression that if I cleaned parts of the house, washed the dishes, did what he asked of me, responded to his comparisons between my sister and cousin, dressed the way he wanted me to, be independent, listened to his “sob-stories”, constantly let the sound of his voice running in my mind to push me to try harder in anything I do in life, that I would probably be the best son he could look up to with pride and honour.

But the strenuous effort to conform to all of those things only resulted in one thing: His spirits being lifted, with mine slowly going down the drain.

I was loved for helping him get back on track whenever he felt that Mom was “too much” to handle. I was loved whenever I needed his assistance, to the point that when I finally wanted to take the initiative to do things on my own, he would be like: “No, I’ll take care of it.” I was loved for always listening to him, even if I didn’t want to and I just swallowed my
pride and my pain, hoping that even just a tiny bit of consideration would come from him. NOTHING. ZERO.
Oh wait he did listen to my problems, some credit should be given where it’s due, right? Even if he still managed to make the conversation about him or the abusers and how I should understand why they did what they did, yes he listened! *claps*

Now in my early 20’s, I have awoken to a new perception of love. No longer am I going to Let Others Validate my Esteem. Had it not been for all of what I have read in this website, will I come to the realisation that love is actually:

Letting go
Off all those
Vile and Vicious
Errors that people implanted on me

Rebuilding myself from that point of view, is what I hope to be able to achieve. For that is one thing I can see myself succeeding in (albeit not immediately) as opposed to constantly doing my share of the work, in relationships where the others are just slouching around thinking how picture perfect they are.

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