Nov
21

From Self Blame to Self Love and Finding My Value

By

freedom, recovery, self love

I tried to LOVE by the definition of love in the last post “Love is Patient, Love is Kind ~ a bit of a rant” but I was not valued for that because I (whatever I did) was never good enough. How could I have learned to understand the true and lovely meaning of this poetic bible verse “1st Corinthians 13: 4-7 Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud it is not rude it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” if I never had an example of human love that actually loved this way or presented love in some sort of balance?

People tried to tell me that Christ was this example but this was not my childhood experience. The bible tells adults to be an example of Christ ~ but where WERE those adults? I recall being “preached at” being talked down to so often the people delivering these messages were delivering them in a UN-loving way. As I child I learned that I MUST do this “love thing”~ but I didn’t learn that others must also try to achieve this standard, I only applied it to me. The fact that all people (INCLUDING ME) have equal value, was missing from my learning. What I learned was that I was not going to BE loved, but I HAD to love.

This missing information went with me into adulthood and everything I knew (right or wrong) about love went with me and I processed all relationships through the grid that I learned as a child. Things have to be RE LEARNED properly with the right definitions in place if we are to heal this gaping wound.  People said things like “just put it behind you” or “Just give it to God” but nobody told me HOW to do that. I was not able to put the massive mixed messages about love or about my worth behind me until I really looked closely at how they got there and what the real truth was. And this was not a small mess, it was really huge.

This post is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sorting some of this stuff out but one thing I learned on my journey to wholeness is that the key to my understanding the true meaning of love was by realizing what it was not.

If I am supposed to treat others the way that I would also like to be treated, then I had to begin to treat myself with respect and love too. Self love was never taught. I had to learn to regard myself the way that I was being encouraged to regard others. The first step towards self love came from the work of looking at how I arrived at “not loving” myself.

SO……Just what does that mean; what did I do?

I looked at the abusive situations I had been in. I examined them in a new way as though they had been done to me instead of that I had been a participant or somehow responsible for what had happened to me. I began with the first memory of trauma. As I have shared before, my first memory of trauma was of being sexually abused by a female babysitter when I was just over two. When I took this memory apart, revealing to my therapist everything that I remembered about it, I was shocked to realize that I thought I had a choice. Even at the age of two, I thought that I could have done something to stop it. And since I didn’t stop it, I concluded that I must have participated in it. This conclusion did not come from that one event. It came from many other times in my life when I had not been validated and my only conclusion was that it was my own fault. Self blame was how I survived. I could not blame the adults that took care of me, for without them (when we are children) there no hope.   

I looked at the child sexual abuse, psychological abuse and physical abuse spiritual abuse and the trauma that I had experienced. I examined how each situation had affected me emotionally and how I adjusted in order to cope with the reality of how I was actually regarded or not regarded.

Then instead of trying to change ME which was the solution I believed in all of my life,  I stopped trying to change ME and I looked at the root of the abuse and what I believed about myself because of it. I looked at WHY I blamed myself and HOW I came to blame myself. That is where I found the answers. What I changed was the false belief system that I had accepted about myself and my value.

This false belief system was given to me by many others and by many situations.  Not all of them were abusive, but the grid that I viewed them through was discoloured and foggy from a very young age. I already had self esteem problems.

When I was actually able to straighten this false truth out, I was able to realize that the state that I was in emotionally and mentally was never something that I brought on myself. I was able to place the responsibility where it belonged; on those who failed me, abused me, mistreated me and devalued me. The good news is that I didn’t have to stay there forever either. I stayed there long enough to validate myself and to believe that I deserved equal value to everyone else.

Then I had to own that value. I had to embrace my own value deeply inside of me, all the way to the very core of me. I had to take apart the damage, in order to realize that I was indeed lovable and that I could love me. This took time. There were a lot of false beliefs and false definitions about love living as truth in my head. I had to take a look at it and re-wire a lot of it before I began to feel the burden of self hatred lifting. There was a lot of re-parenting involved ~ learning to love and nurture myself ~ to do and be for me what others never were for me. I had to let go of the guilt that went with not being able to “just let God do it”.  

It was like a huge clean up project; I might not have been the one that caused the damage but it was my work to fix it. Love, healing and wholeness were my rewards; I found myself and I embraced the unique self that had been rejected, first by others and then by me, all my life.

Please feel welcome to contribute as much or as little as you wish in the comments.

Freedom calls from the other side of broken,

Darlene Ouimet

Categories : Self Esteem

35 Comments

1

Oh if I had a penny for every time a Christian has said to me “just give it to God”, “put it behind you” I’d be very rich. All so simplistic.

The implication being you’re failing in some way by not giving it to God, or you did give it to God but picked it back up again. And how can you put something behind you which is so real and so in the present for you?

Like you say – people say those things but no one comes up with the practical “how to’s”. Without the “how to’s” there is only guilt and self blame. Without the “how to’s” there is no realistic way that healing is going to happen!

2

So true Fi,
We have to take apart the whole picture of HOW we came to believe what we do believe about ourselves as a result of the abuse and mistreatment. I think that people say “just put it behind you” because they don’t have a clue what else to say. Everyone is brainwashed into thinking that is all there is to it! They can’t tell us HOW, they don’t know how! Oh they have all the answers, but every single answer could be questioned with another HOW question.. LOL…
When I found freedom and wholeness, I became determined to figure out how to articulate exactly how I undid all that damage, so that anyone who was willing to listen might have some insight and practical and applicable information. And that is what I am trying to do, one snapshot at a time. Tearing down walls and punching holes in the fog of oppression, depression and slavery to the old system. And the trouble with the old system is that it didn’t work then and it doesn’t work now!
(Fi you always get me all revved up! LOL)
Hugs, Darlene

3

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Darlene Ouimet, ANAPP. ANAPP said: This post is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sorting some of this stuff out but one thing I learned… http://fb.me/Ovx3Z8op […]

4

I can relate. In my complience to “be loved” I never once thought of loving myself. I did things to combat “being loved” that were self abuse. The things I did were to numb the real world and in the way I acted out were certainly not self love. When I worked my way up to being the one doing the loving (controling, abusive and self centered) I thought I would feel better and satisfied. I was never so shocked as when I looked at what I was doing to my loved ones and the fear and pain I was causing to them. I had to re-wire myself and learn what self love was in order to encourage, empower and love my family. That re-wiring process was painful and discouraging at times. I needed help to learn this process. It is easy for people to say “just do it” or ” turn it all over” but without knowing how it puts more pressure on people..It is like being more abused. I think these “sayings” are like empty statments. I needed alot of help showing me “how to” be a better person

5

Hi Darlene again another from you that realy hits home…I got to admit, the whole God thing is a struggle for me as well…the “give it to God stuff..forgiveness…Omg makes me insane…but I do have my spirituality..and beleive in some how or way there has been a presence in my life that has saved me, bless’d me w/strength and awareness… but “free will” is wat will set me free..meaning that “I got do the work necessary to HEAL. no preacher etc is going to heal me w/some miracle prayer, quote from a bible, or magic pill…

I so want to cry when I read this, cause going to each situation and having to sort through so much is so damn painful…I wonder will ever get to it all by the time I leave this earth?..When will I finally be free?? seems so unfair! but I do know that Im making progress, I look at my life today and see the progress I’ve made from years back to date..look at my marriage and family and know that I’ve grown so much toward a healthier life…it is refreshing,to read your blogs you give me such hope that someday I will be whole, everyday lil by lil Im getting closer to myself…so there’s not turning back for me sista!! I thankyou for that 😉 ur a blessing to me!

6

Your blog needs to be a book, Darlene- a guidebook how to, to begin healing, – learning HOW to heal.I thank you so much for the way you have broken down the components of looking back, evaluating and seein how things affected us.

I know I ‘faked it’ a long time, in counselling, finally concluding I was only going to get so far, because although it helped, there was still a huge area I couldn’t get into, to heal. I didn’t know how and no one else seemed to have the way for me either.Jimmie B. said it: alot of the encouragement in the recovery community feel like empty sayings, and few really know how to teach self love.

What I have learned is my thinking is very tricky: I seem to hold on tightly to the idea that even if my abuse was not my fault, that subsequent mistakes, errors of judgement, BEING LESS THAN PERFECT, was cause for whole sale condemnation of myself.I never realized I had such a self concept set in concrete. I have been just awful to myself- even in the face of some really bad things that were done to me.

I think I finally decided if I was just NICE enough to everyone, even though I didn’t know how to be nurturing and loving to myself, that that would be enough- it was all I knew how to do.I didn’t GET self love. At some points I prayed for forgiveness and for my character defects to be removed.And I could name a huge bundle of them.I could talk about being loving but my self love was always conditional.I was always more forgiving to others.

I have been so afraid to make mistakes I have been all but frozen the past few years. I see I am terrified of making mistakes and then living with them. I am afraid of being condemned, or hated, or even getting in trouble for mistakes. It was much easier when I decided not to ever give a damn when I was about 21..less pressure if that makes sense. Ever since I decided to get in recovery 23 years ago, I have been dogged by this sense of fearing to fail; failing other people, making terrible mistakes, causing bad things to happen by my failures.

“I’m just not good enough’, ‘there’s just something wrong with me’ have been my middle name.When I fail at something, that is ‘proof’ of my label.It means ‘they were right about me..’ Boy I have a long way to go.

Darlene, you said you stopped trying to change yourself and looked at the roots of how the abuse caused you to view yourself, and why you blamed yourself and how you came to blame yourself.That is a powerful statement.

My abuse caused me to see myself as fundamentally screwed up- a mistake. It caused me to second guess every thought I had. When I was in my twenties and thirties I remember consciously discounting myself and my thought processes, particularly about my family.If I thought it, it was automatically wrong.Ironically at times that was comforting.

So when I was told in different ways I was deficient,I believed it, believed if there was a problem I was it.But even if I was ‘bad’, I still had a family, and still was tolerated, even loved. I belonged somewhere. That is how I felt.

I am learning to be able to make mistakes and let that be ok. This stuff is hard..lol.

7

Darlene, you said ‘There was a lot of re-parenting involved ~ learning to love and nurture myself ~ to do and be for me what others never were for me. I had to let go of the guilt that went with not being able to “just let God do it”.’

So after breaking down the wrong beliefs about yourself and realizing that you were not to blame, you began to validate yourself by parenting yourself. How on earth do you do that, when the only role model of a parent you had was one that was not validating? It’s like getting a sick person to heal a sick person, is it not?

Actually, come to think of it, what you are saying is what I believed God was trying to show me after I made the way through the Red Sea. He said that I would have to discover a new way of living to get to the land of milk and honey that was there. It would have to be one of faith because there was no experience to go by – the only experience I had ever had was a life of oppression and the desert that represented freedom was too foreign for my comfort. At least slavery came with dependable provision – didn’t have to worry about the food. But past the Red Sea was a life of freedom with lots of unknowns, loneliness, self-doubt, and sometimes, longing for the familiar territory of slavery in Egypt.

I’d forgotten all about the analogy that I believe God was trying to show me when I left the abusive relationship. But something in your article jolted that word in my heart. It’s going to be a tough journey, and I don’t know how to do it (re-program my thinking and re-parent myself) but I know others have done it. I will keep reading the posts and slowly more and more of it may sink in and become more than just words on a page. Thanks again.

8

Jimmy,
I’d heard about self love, but I don’t know if I ever really understood what it was about. I think that is another “fog thing” so I had to learn what self love was too. (and I had to actually believe that I deserved it.) Thanks for being here,

Hi Patty,
I used to think that this recovery was going to take a lifetime, but it doesn’t. I was a seeker for many years before I found out about the stuff I write in this blog.. and doing things that way was taking a life time, but doing the belief system work is different. I didn’t have to sort through “every individual situation” because after a few of each type of abuse and control, I saw the pattern of what I had come to accept and believe about myself and my worth. So then I just had something to start re-programing. You are right, there is no magic pill, AND the first couple years was hard, but then suddenly I had enough of it sorted out and looked at that I started to see the benefit and I reach a turning point that I had never come close to in the past. THAT was a great time of excitement. I real light at the end of the tunnel, and I knew that I would never be in the depths of darkness again. I knew that I could deal with and face life on lifes terms, from then on. The rest of the process was no where near so difficult.
So glad to hear that there is “no turning back” for you !!
Hugs, Darlene

9

Hi Elizabeth,
Thanks for your lovely encouragement; One day my blog might be a book ~ in the meanwhile I am practicing writing a sort of step by step process here in this blog so that I can refine it etc.
One of these days I am also going to write about how I abused myself and guilt tripped myself with 12 step recovery and how I tried to be accountable for the abuse that was done to me. I think the biggest problem we have with healing is that we try to start in the middle, instead of going back to the beginning. Maybe because we are SO convinced that we had something to do with what happened to us. So we skip that part.
I really love to read your posts Elizabeth.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Krissy,
The re-parenting is a bit hard to explain. I like your bible story reference! I did have a therapist who told me certain things that had happened to me were wrong ~ but I also had a few intuitions about things that were wrong, but I ignored them. Like I didn’t think kids getting the belt for just fooling around or being too loud, was really a “right” way to treat kids. I just ignored that thought. I didn’t think that my father ignoring me and never being interested in me was “right” but I was willing to accept that it was my fault, my “defect” so I tried harder. I didn’t ever think of it as neglect. So some things I knew were bad parenting, but I ignored them. I thought about them when I parented my own kids, but didn’t think I deserved that kind of parental love. SO I had to change that thinking. It is hard. That is why each blog post is just a little concept, because each little concept is really huge! LOL My next post is going to be a bit about conflicting belief systems that keep us spinning just outside of the truth.
Thanks for sharing, so glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene

10

PEople are out of place when they tell you to get over it when they have no idea what your “it” is.

11

Hi Darlene,

I very much enjoyed visiting your blog site today for the first time. So much of what you are writing, I can relate to and you are not alone in your desire to rewire yourself in order to learn self love and acceptance. Thanks for sharing your insights.

12

Sheryl,
Such a great point and so true.

Welcome to Emerging from Broken Delores!
Great to have you here!
Hugs, Darlene

13

Love, SELF Love, that was the world’s biggest No No in a family such as ours. A child who spoke up at, to the Authority of any adult at any time was accused of Loving themselves too much, of getting too big for their boots. Things such as looking in a mirror was NEVER, EVER permitted.

If you were caught looking in a mirror you risked further scorn and heaps of it and a beating; so it took me a long time to actually look at myself in a mirror and to like what I saw reflected back. As an adult, even in my 40’s, I was still expecting, still was haunted by the memory of our Mother coming around the corner with a hairbrush.

A big part of our healing I feel is learning these things ourselves. There are no easy, fast answers when we ask that question as to how each of us does it; how we learn to love ourselves. It is always an individual journey. I discovered some of the answers myself. I desperately wanted to know as to why, so I set out to try and find out why I was as I was. I did that by reading a bit more; by being asked those all important, pertinent questions about my childhood and having a really good look at the answers I gave to those questions.

Also I have been encouraged to change some of my behaviours a lot more by people who understood as to exactly why I hated, was reluctant to do them in the first place; as to why I didn’t or couldn’t comfortably look in a mirror for example.

It is not an easy process though. I had to undo years and years of negativity and self doubt and beliefs that had told me stuff such as I was too sensitive, to grow up, that I was dirty, stupid and hated because I was a girl. The words hated for being a girl had the hugest impact upon me.

I do look in the mirror now (not every day, these days, but most days) and I do like the person reflected back. I love her, she has done some pretty hard yards and has turned out to be an OK person.

14

Hi Kathryn,
You highlight some really important things here especially how scared some of us WERE to love or even like ourselves. I guess that in itself was like going against them which was not allowed. Thank you for sharing all of this ~ it is great information, a great expansion of what I am talking about.
I am so glad that you are here,
Hugs, Darlene

15

Darlene,
This post comes at a time when I’m re-reading one of the last letters I got from my mother when I tried to establish some new boundaries in our relationship. Here’s some of her response to my confrontation about a recent lie she had told in an attempt to manipulate my husband and me:

“Isn’t it about time that you take it to the cross and leave it there? Why do you want to carry that stuff in your heart? It so steals your joy….Imagine how God feels when His kids carry offense against each other.”

The rest of the letter is more of the same. It really strikes me that this is the person who was supposed to model love for me. There were a whole host of ways my mom failed to love me when I was a child, but I was only interested in one particular area that plagued our current relationship. I only asked her to change one thing and she turned it around to make herself the one who had been injured.

I realized when I read your blog that this wasn’t something new. It wasn’t only my mother who made the victim seem to be the bad guy. The whole religious system I was under taught the same thing. If you were ever injured in any way and dared to mention it, the question was, “Have you forgiven them?” And then there were the reminders that “love isn’t easily offended”. There was the original hurt and then there was the condemning religious stuff that hurt more. Then, I learned to condemn myself for not cheerfully “turning the other cheek” so I didn’t even need to tell anyone that I was hurt to be further kicked and put down by myself if I didn’t have a ‘loving’ response to the abuse I endured.

What do Bible teachers think it means to “love your neighbor as yourself” if self-love is considered selfish? I get the feeling they’d rather that part wasn’t in the Bible. Actually, maybe they don’t know it is.

Thanks for sharing your life and truth. You certainly shine a spotlight on a lot of areas that have been covered in darkness.

Love and hugs, Christina

16

Christina, you hit the nail on the head. That was the way we were taught – the whole Christian teaching on this needs an overhaul. My upbringing taught the same, not because it was in the Bible, but because it was cultural (“good, noble, other-centred Asian” vs “individual, self-centred, decadent Western”. So there was a double whammy of not loving yourself, from culture and from church teaching. What a recipe for disaster.

That letter from your mum doesn’t acknowledge your hurt or your reason for the boundaries. It shoves it under the carpet. And expects you to take responsibility for making things better. How is that supposed to be loving?

I do regret that I didn’t know any better than to perpetuate that sort of thinking to my older kids. Fortunately, I can do differently for my younger ones. I hope they don’t end up writing the kind of comment that you have, Christina.

17

Because ‘love’ was modelled as a dangerous painful thing all about compliance, manipulation, being false ‘love’ is something I’ve run from all my life. Self-love was modelled for me as a very selfish thing to do. You should always put others first which means loving others first. But as I don’t know how to love I’ve spent my life putting other’s first and denying myself. I realise reading this post how upside down all that has been. And I also realise reading this post that by beginning the journey of disclosure I began to love and value myself without realising it.

18

Great post Loved everything you said. I came from a similar background and sometimes still find myself saying its my fault it is my fault etc, i know i have more healing to do in some areas because of the way i was rasied and the abuse i saw with my mom and dad, i didnt understand what love really meant it was torn and mixed, they would get along, than not than be nice to me than not, and it was very confusing. It did further get into me and my past relationships, now im at a place where im seeing the truth and working through the healing. Great post , and inspiring

19

Hi Christina
Thanks for sharing… I have so many reactions to your post.
In the last conversation that I had with my mother, she said “Oh Darlene, we have always been able to work things out in the past”. and I had the presence of mind to reply “No Mom… actually we never worked anything out in the past, I always just backed down”. And that is the way it worked. The statements that you mention here in your comment are all designed to make people back down. To make people feel like by standing up for justice or truth, that we are causing a problem, being difficult or just plain “too stupid to realize that the error is ours” which is what “they” want us to think. It is all about the misuse of power. Power and control makes people feel “worthy”. It restores their order. And it doesn’t have to make sense as long as they get away with it. Manipulators manipulate. When I stopped backing down, everyone was shocked. They didn’t like it at all. They didn’t accept it and they said I was the one that was wrong. But I finally knew the truth. That relationship is not all one sided. That love is not doing what someone else wants and doing it how they want it. And now I am free of that system. Its a pretty good deal really. =)
I really appreciate you, your insight, your website and your friendship!
So glad that you are here shedding light on the truth as we journey!
Hugs, Darlene

20

Hi Fi,
You make really great points in your comments! It is all upside down and there is such a double standard that THEY dictate. I found the same thing in my own journey. When I finally stood up for myself, when I finally said “hey wait, this isn’t fair, this only values “THEM” and never values me ~ and I took a step back to look at the things that had happened in my life ~ that was when I too realized that in standing up for myself and in saying HEY I deserve to be VALID (even in saying it to myself) and I also began to value myself without realizing it. And it grew from there.
So glad that you are here Fi!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kyla,
I can relate to the inconsistent thing too. I think that it keeps us in the spin, never knowing what comes next, and survival (emotional or any other kind of survival) depends on being braced and on guard. There is a lot of stuff to work through. I found that I would figure one thing out and the next thing would come, layer after layer, but eventually more made sense then didn’t make sense and I could feel the freedom ~ I could feel myself getting stronger and I knew that I was on the right track to healing.
Really glad that you are here!
hugs, Darlene

21

Thankful for this holiday that I am not going to be with extended family. Just got a letter in the mail today that (came to my house likely because my dad gave them my current address) and it basically tells me, “here is the list of churches that we approve in your new town, join one, or you are in danger of going to hell forever.”

I have spent a lot of time NOT responding to this stuff. I do not want to dialog with these people. However, I think that if I responded with SOMETHING it would at least make me appear stronger??

22

Hi Sheryl,
This is just my opinion ~ for what ever it is worth; It has been my experience that when I engaged it didn’t make me feel stronger, it made them feel smug. Like they got to me again. Like it mattered to me, what they thought, like I was still defending myself. (and I was) but when I didn’t engage, it drove them crazy. They felt powerless, they felt like they were losing the grip on me. Like I didn’t care about their opinions ~ how dare I??? Not engaging with abuse (and dictating what you SHOULD do or else ~ is abuse. They are indicating that you can’t make a decision for yourself, that you are not smart enough to know what would be good for you) is really the only way that I know to get rid of abusers. My boundary is taken very seriously by my family because I take it very seriously. They can’t insturct me any more because they never had my best interests at heart. (and they still don’t, and that is not love)
Just my thoughts,
Hugs, Darlene

23

Darlene,
Thanks, I needed that today! Everytime I try to come up with words, I struggle with what you have just said about them feeling smug, etc. Sad that I just wrote to the pastor a few weeks ago about alternatives for his wife’s newly diagnosed and untreatable brain cancer, and they don’t respond to me at all, but continue to have men’s “prayer” breakfasts weekly with my dad in attendance. He doesn’t belong to that church, I think the only reason he goes is that it gives him that “power” trip to be talking about me to them!

24

Learning to “re-parent” is the hardest part for me (out of SO many hard parts!!!). As Elizabeth said above, my thinking is “tricky”. I too can perhaps accept that the original abuse was not my fault but EVERYTHING that has happened since, every failure to respond correctly or appropriately in every situation WAS and IS my fault and I can never let myself off the hook for it.

And I can say to myself, “well, I learned inappropriate responses to things.” And I can mean it. Then I turn around and abuse myself once again with, “well, you should be OVER it, then. You should KNOW BETTER by now.” And my rational self layers over that, “with all the time and money you’ve spent on therapy over the years, you should be cured by now.” As you can see, I don’t need “them” saying anything to me. I do it all to myself now.

I wish it was that simple. What I am learning – VERY SLOWLY, TOO SLOWLY – is that the wisdom is and has been inside me all along. Whatever progress I made in seminars or in therapy was due to the fact that the good ones helped me to access what I already knew. The bad ones, on the other hand, helped me to add to my arsenal of self-abuse.

If I could learn to listen to and respect that “still, small voice” inside me – REALLY LISTEN – then progress might be quicker and more complete than any other tool there is. However, when I’ve spent a lifetime covering it up, silencing it, stuffing it and abusing it, all of a sudden respecting it is difficult. In itself it is a struggle.

My first step has been spending holidays the way I wish. Why should I travel hundreds of miles (on the worst travel day of the year) to spend time with people I don’t particularly like and will probably fight with, and spend hours in the car on the way home crying my eyes out over the fact that “it is what it is.”??? What sane person would do that?? So for the past couple of years, I’ve done Thanksgiving for myself. Gotten up early and started cooking while listening/watching the parade. Serve myself. Eat a lovely meal. Have the leftovers for myself. And yes, it does cause a little sadness that I don’t have anyone to share it with. But I would rather enjoy it on my own than spend it with ONE person who will make it one jot less enjoyable. And that includes everyone in my family. So until I find better people to hang with, I’ll hang on my own on holidays. 🙂

25

Self love is selfish, you put yourself first for anything you are wrong, you are horrible, you are below low class, you are junk. You need an attitude adjustment. In my family, in their world, you served others because you had to. Not out of love. Love was an obligation. If you took time for ‘you’ if you did something for ‘you’ it was considered selfish, wrong and counted against you.

What a great post Darlene about finding the way to understanding that love is not an obligation, that learning to love who you are (not what you did or did not do) and learning that the person you are has value for just BEING. You have value and when you find value in yourself you can find ways to value the healing steps which require time with self, and work on self.

I remember family holidays so well, and so few had happy memories which were not also marred by other hurts and pain. I’d rather be with a few people whom I love than to be with many for whom love isn’t love but an obligation, a tally or a score.

Bright blessings Darlene!

26

Hi Shanyn, you are so right. I was taught that to even just think about yourself was selfish.

My role in life was to obey instantly, to comply, any notions about me having my own rights, feelings, hopes, fears, dreams etc was totally missing. I was there for what my abusers wanted not for me. I did not exist – apart from to be used in whatever way they deemed what they wanted.

Self love is still something I find hard to get my head around, just as self-care is too. I still don’t think I deserve anything.

I remember family holidays too – they’re all part of the confusion of my childhood – full of contradictions – full of mixed messages.

So now I do things for me, creating happy memories for me, I suppose that could be my first step towards self-care and self-love.

27

Hi Lisa,
This is great! Sometimes I see my recovery as a battle between good and evil… that the brainwashing I was fighting against was only diminished by the truth (which as you say is already inside of us) and that the more I focused on finding the true truth, (and discounting the lies that they fed me and I believed all my life) the stronger I became ~ the stronger I became the easier it was to find/see/locate the truth.
This is a great post!! Thanks so much! Hugs, Darlene

Hi Shanyn,
Great comments and insights Shanyn! Thanks for sharing them!

Fi ~ what you are talking about ~ doing things for YOU and creating happy memories for you ~ that IS self care and self love.
Hugs, Darlene

28

Well, I could have written this one it rings to true of my experience with love. I’m 54 and I don’t really know what that word means or what it must feel like to receive it or give it. I love my children but I’m afraid to really love them because something bad always goes along with something good. There’s a negative to every positive.

I’m working through this with the help of an excellent therapist but just had to comment as your post was so powerful to me. “I had to embrace my own value deeply inside of me, all the way to the very core of me. I had to take apart the damage, in order to realize that I was indeed lovable and that I could love me. This took time. There were a lot of false beliefs and false definitions about love living as truth in my head. I had to take a look at it and re-wire a lot of it before I began to feel the burden of self hatred lifting”

I’ll get there!

29

Hi Judy!
Thanks for your comment! It is so true, the work really is WORK, but it works when we take it all apart and take a closer look. The brainwashing is powerful because we were young when it happened.
Thanks for being here!
Hugs, Darlene

30

Hello Darlene

Thank you for sharing your wisdom and personal experience. I too am on the journey of untangling deeply entrenched beliefs about myself and learning to reparent myself and give myself the emotional nurture that I need.

Blessings to you and all your endeavours
Jennifer
Somerset UK

31

Hi Jennifer,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken and glad to read that you are also on the journey! Please feel free to share often!
Hugs, Darlene

32

I’m really connecting to everything you said here on this post. I’m hoping to find my way back to validating myself and loving myself. The part that I have a problem with still is that I deserve to be loved just like everyone else…
Thanks for your post. I’m going to find a therapist that understands the process of self reparenting.

33

Hi Eugene
Welcome to emerging from broken.
I have written a ton about how I found my way back to me in this website. I am also a certified coach with a specialty in ‘new life story’ coaching and life transitions. Self reparenting has been a huge key for me!
Hugs, Darlene

34

I did give it to God, but he lovingly handed it back to me and said ‘It’s time for you to get well my child.’

I’m not religious in that way, just seemed like a good line to use to someone who would make that comment to me.

35

Hi Michelle
That’s a great way to see this! And very true!
Hugs, Darlene

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