Apr
10

I Avoided the Pain of Abuse by Altering the Truth

By

self deception and child abuseI convinced myself of many things in order to cope with child abuse, emotional abuse and being defined as less important than others in my life.  

I was unable to cope with the truth so I changed the truth to suit me. I learned how to view “unhealthy attention” as though it was healthy and validating in order to cope with my dysfunctional world the way that it was and by doing so I was able to pretend that my world was actually functional. I found a way to believe that I was special.   

But in order to feel loved and to believe that I had at least some degree of self worth, I had to change my understanding of the word “special”. I had to warp my definition of that word in order to fit it to the actual circumstances.  The things I accepted as “proof” and validation that I was “special” became pretty sick and unhealthy.

I remember when I was about 13 or 14 years old, my mother started commenting about the way men were looking at me. I remember that it was embarrassing to me. She would whisper to me in the grocery store “Darlene, did you see the way that man looked at you??” She told me that I was attractive to older men as though this was some great gift I had.  I felt uncomfortable about it, but at the same time I felt validated by my mom. I felt like “finally!! I have done something right!” She looked so happy when she told me these things. She looked pleased with me. It was important to her that I was attractive and she was saying that I was. I found some value for myself when she commented on these “older men” who were looking at me with appreciation.  

I thought I was special because my mother wanted to take me out to bars with her to pick up men when I was 17. I thought that meant that I was attractive; SHE thought I was attractive. I thought she was validating me and I longed for her approval and acceptance, so I accepted this as the way I could get it. 

I believed that I was special when I was sought out by older men when I was too young to be in any kind of man/ woman relationship with them.

My mother usually took me to hotel bars; bars where men were staying on business trips. The men that hit on me in the bars I was in with my mother were married men. In my youth and naive way of thinking I thought that I must be “really special” if they were giving me attention when they were married. This kind of thinking sounds really sick now but it comes from the situations that I was put into without knowing that this kind of thing was not “normal” or right.

I remember the duality of the way that I processed this kind of dysfunctional relationship that I had with my mother and the men that were hitting on me. On the one hand I thought I was special. On the other hand I was scared of what might happen.  One night this man hit on me and it was clear that he was married; he was wearing a wedding band for one thing.  But he asked me to go out to the lobby of the hotel with him.  He made a phone call to his wife while he had his arm around me. I was SO uncomfortable. I wanted to run. On the phone he asked his wife about her day and about the kids while he was stroking my arm and rubbing my hip and he kept smiling at me.

Thoughts were firing through my mind at warp speed. I didn’t really know what the hell he was doing and I felt dirty, but there was the thrill of danger, mixed with the relief of acceptance and approval. At the same time I was wondering why my mother wasn’t worried about where I was. I felt sick to my stomach and I felt powerless. I felt like a hooker, but somehow the whole thing felt like a compliment. I felt special; I felt like I had some kind of exotic power that this man would take this RISK “for me” in that way.  At some level I knew he was using me but I was too young to understand the cheap thrill he was getting talking to his wife with a 17 year old girl tucked into his side.  He winked at me which scared me and reassured me at the same time. I wanted to walk away but I didn’t think, (didn’t know) that I had a choice. When had I EVER had a choice? How would I have learned that I had a choice? I didn’t want to be rejected by him; I didn’t want to disappoint my mother. Where the hell WAS my mother?? 

And under all of these thoughts, I had just a whisper of a feeling that I wanted to avoid feeling more than anything else. I couldn’t face the truth that both this man and my mother had absolutely NO regard for me at all. I was just a means to an end for that married man. Perhaps he thought he would get me in bed at the end of the night? I was nothing to him. I was nothing. I was just some object some “thing” to distract him from the tedium of being on a business trip out of town with nothing to do in the evening. I was just a good story to tell to the boys at home. He had to have known that I was just a kid; even though I was in a bar I could not legally have been less than 19.  

And to my toxic mother I was just someone to go to the bar with. I was likely a good man magnet too. What did she care about what could happen to me? As an adult it took me YEARS to face that what my mother was doing was wrong (not to mention illegal!) and that her actions showed how little regard she had for me. This was all about her.

Talk about an example of dysfunctional mother daughter relationship.

The world might have judged me accountable for being in this situation if the world had known about it so to protect myself, I couldn’t tell the world. I had to keep it to myself. In my world the girl always got blamed. That man was married and fooling around on his wife but I would have been labeled as the tramp that had enticed him. I would have been judged as a home wrecker and a slut.  I knew that stuff already so I went along with him… smiled at him while he sweet talked his wife as he winked at me somehow knowing that I wouldn’t talk, wouldn’t expose him and that I would submit to this objectifying treatment.  In order to comfort myself, I told myself that this defined me as “the special one” in the situation.  

By the time I was 18 years old I had lived without value long enough to believe that there was something wrong with me. I was full of shame and disappointment; full of self loathing, full of self disgust. I wasn’t even legal age yet and I believed that no one would ever love me. And even though I believed that all I needed was to be rescued by a man, I didn’t trust them anymore.

This story represents the how I took a situation and broke it down in order to understand my belief system and how it formed and how this situation resulted in being one of the ways that I came to view myself. Because of circumstances that I didn’t know how to process, I decided that I was special because my toxic mother thought that I was attractive enough to take to bars when I was underage. This conclusion was a lie. That didn’t make me special at all. Believing that I was special because a married man was attracted to me and therefore used me to boost his ego was not a healthy self view and it was a lie about me. The way he acted didn’t define my value in a good way at all. I was coping with the fact that my mother was using me and putting me in a very dangerous situation by reassuring myself that her actions defined me as special. And the pain that I had to face was that her actions defined me as nothing. Not important, not worthy of respect or protection, not loved, and certainly not special.  The truth is that my mother and I had an extremely dysfunctional mother daughter relationship.

~Just a little more context ~ Although this was nowhere near the first time that my toxic mother had taken me to bars with her, (she had started doing that when I was still living at home) I was living with my boyfriend at the time of this occurrence and on this night he was in jail serving time for impaired driving. I told myself that my mother must have thought that if I was old enough to live with a man then I was old enough to drink in bars with her.

But here is the funny thing and the conflict that I never saw the truth about; the reason that I was living with my boyfriend was because my mother had told me to get out of her house for staying out too late twice.  I wonder why I wasn’t old enough to stay out late, but I was old enough to go to bars and help her pick up men?

Like I said, my mother and I had an extremely dysfunctional mother daughter relationship.

Please share your thoughts on this subject of the fear of not being special and switching the truth around in order to avoid the truth and cope with the pain.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

For Related posts on Mother Daughter Dysfunctional Relationship or Toxic Mother Daughter Relationship please see the “Mother Daughter Category”  ( also see links (the words) in highlighted bold print throughout the article)

Seeking understanding and validation from the WRONG people

 

 

Categories : Mother Daughter

96 Comments

1

Hi Darlene, My whole body goes into a knot when I read this. My parents didn’t take me to bars but they always made a big deal out of men looking at me. I know that feeling of finally, doing or being something special. The way they treated me prepared me and made it easy for men to abuse me. It felt dirty but I thought that is what made me special. I still can’t remember most of what they did. I just know it happened.

It makes me angry to think this happened to you and to me and instead of it happening less, now that women are suposed to be regarded as equal, it happens even more. I see little girs that ‘it’ has happened to all the time. People whisper and giggle about them behind their backs and no one acknowledges their abuse. They blame them the same way they’ve always blamed the girl. The men who damage them almost, always get away with it. The men are the ones who should be held up for ridicule, not the little girls they damage and ruin the lives of.

I’m so sad this happened to both of us, Darlene. Maybe we should go back to that bar and see if we can find those old pervs and beat the hell out of them!lol! Sorry, kidding, sort of.

Pam

2

Hi Pam
I laughed when I read your last paragraph about going and beating those pervs up. I had a flash of these men in expensive business suits, loose ties, flashing wedding bands and feeling all cocky cause a really young girl was with them… and briefly I wonder what perverted thoughts they were having about me… but then I saw my mother sitting there… kind of gloating, looking all satisfied.. taking me out with her specifically to a place where men had expense accounts and would buy all the drinks… and I feel disgust. I have a daughter well over the age that I was then and I can’t imagine ever doing something like that with her! I would be horrified if something like that happened to her! She is legal age, but she is still a kid! Those men disgust me but my mother disgusts me more. I had to see this stuff the way it really was in order to take my life back and establish my own value and that sounds way easier than it is!
Thanks for being here Pam… I felt a shot of red hot anger with you there… and it was GOOD! We should be angry. This stuff destroyed a lot of years!
Love Darlene

3

How about being told at 16/17 yrs of age “you have a nice shape and men like girls/women with small waists and nice butts” Then being told later “You always have boyfriends, you don’t stay without one for very long, the only thing a man wants you for is sex.” Believing sex was the only way a guy would stay with me. Boy was I wrong! I am in a relationship now where the attraction to each other was good conversation and finding out we had so much in common. I had to learn the hard way, that not all men just want sex from a woman.

4

Darlene, I’m angry at all adults who use teenagers for their sexual pleasure. It makes me sick. I can’t believe they were able to twist my head around to the point that I thought it was my fault for nearly forty years. I wonder if they care about the extent of damage they do to people, the number of years they steal…grrrrr…I watched a Dr. Phil episode about a teacher who groomed a girl from the time she was 14 then when she turned 18, he left his family and asked her to move in with him. The girl’s mother could do nothing legally but she did have the courage to drag the creep on t.v. and lay into him, with the audience backing her up. They talked specifically about how he was stealing an important part of that girl’s life. I couldn’t help but compare how my parents reacted when something simular happened to me and how your mom used you for bait. It must be something wonderful to have a mom who fights for you.

Pam

5

Darlene, what I notice about this article is how detailed and specific it is about what happened, what you felt and what you believed. It seems really important that it should be so detailed. The audacity of that man sickens me. I can’t write much else. I’m feeling numb.

6

Darlene,
I can sure relate to those feelings! On one hand, I was terrified and disgusted by the men who only wanted me for sex, but I felt a sense of power and “specialness” too. The more fear I felt from a man, the more seductive I became. It was my way of thinking I was the one in power. Also, since my first sexual experiences in childhood were secretive and threatening, I was drawn to repeat that again and again. That just reinforced that pattern since I already thought of myself as bad from the childhood sexual abuse and then seeing my adult behavior confirmed that for me. I didn’t think there was any other role for me. In my mind, I was a dirty slut and that’s all I’d ever be.

BUT the truth is that I’m NOT defined by how someone treats me (even by how I treat myself). The abuse lied to me about my value and it was finding out how I came to believe those lies that really set me free.

Thanks for such a great blog post!
Hugs,
Christina

7

Darlene, I feel sad and angry when I read you say things like “I altered and avoided the truth.” I always try to state the truth of abusive childhood history as strongly and forcefully as possible. In a parent/child relationship (in any adult/child relationship) the adult holds ALL of the responsibility and the child NONE of it.

You had no power to change your situation. Your mother had complete power. SHE “avoided the pain” of the abuse she was inflicting upon you, she FORCED you to avoid it, and SHE “altered the truth.” You were not born with any desire to alter the truth. That was inflicted upon you by your parents, who altered truth. You are responsible for the truth now — now that you are an adult and able to get free of your parents — but you were not responsible then. When you were a child, the fault was never yours. Your child self deserves tons of credit for doing the best she could in a horrible situation. As an adult, the responsibility you are taking for your life is highly admirable, but give your child and teenage self a break. (hugs)

8

Hi Julia
Yes, I found in order to heal that I had to face the details but not to torture myself further; to see all the little clues that I had missed and the ways that I had been made to feel that this was all my fault and not the fault of the abusers. Looking at the details, and getting specific is what enabled me to see the raw truth of the whole thing.
Thank you for your comment.
Hugs, Darlene

9

Hi Cheryl,
I think you misunderstood my article. When I said that I “altered and avoided the truth” I was talking about how I coped with it back then and even until about 7 years ago. I thought I went on to clearly express that this was the fault of my mother and that I know that today, in fact it is very important in all of my writings that I do NOT ever take the blame for any of the abuse that I suffered. I would not be so healed if I had not taken the blame completely OFF my child self and teenage self.
I am not sure how you got the wrong impression or drew this conclusion that I was taking any of the blame from my article here.
Hugs, Darlene

10

I like the voice and the tone you use and the way you break it down. Your prose is full of tools for me to emulate. Thank you so much for your bare bones honesty. It helps me organize things in my own head and aids in my healing.

11

Hi Christina
Yes. As I grew older I too thought that this put me in the power seat. I honestly believed that my sexual appeal was a gift even though I was constantly devalued by people in these situations.
I love your last paragraph; we are not defined by the actions of others or by the ways that we were groomed to behave or view the world.
Thank you for adding your voice.
Hugs, Darlene

12

Hi Jenna
Thanks! I try to articulate the way that it worked for me; the way that I figured out what was in my way when it came to healing and the things that I looked at and how they worked together against me. There were always many threads to each of my false beliefs I had about myself.
Hugs, Darlene

13

Hi Darlene,
So sorry to hear about your sick mom having no value for you other than to use you as a “man magnet”. That is so insulting!..But I can also understand how that would make you feel special…Getting the attention & approval was validating, even when it came from the wrong people. I’ve been regarded the same way with uncles smiling at me a lot, touching me & saying how much they like me. Being favored does feel special but at the same time it feels dirty, because it’s with the wrong people!

OMG! I just had another memory of my father’s brother favoring me as a young girl, and how he would give me a lot of attention. He sat close to me and told me I was his favorite. I do not remember any touching from him but as you know, another uncle (non-blood related) did touch me inappropriately, which I recently discovered. I’m getting many memory flashes as I’m writing this & it’s scary for me to see the truth. In my young mind, I saw the favoritism as a validation that I was special. I craved the attention, but at the same time, I felt anxious around these men.

When I was married & having my first baby, I remember having a party for my grandma and I was excited to see my favorite Uncle (Dad’s brother). I gave him a big hug and he turned away from me in a cold way and accused me of ignoring him at my wedding! You would have thought I slapped his face, by how angry he looked. In my defense, I went around to the tables at my wedding reception and mistakenly overlooked his table. I was so tired from the festivities and my husband was busy partying that I didn’t finish the rounds. Anyway, I hurt my uncle’s feelings without even realizing it, until I saw him years later at my grandma’s party. He is an alcoholic and I remember saying to my aunt’s that he is not the same person, when he drinks. So True- He is a mean drunk!

I cried about how he treated me because I believed I was special to him & I was excited to show him my pregnancy. I was showing at that time. He dismissed my pregnancy too & I explained that I didn’t ignore him on purpose- I missed some tables that’s all. Anyway, my Aunts did give me support but questioned why I was so upset. I didn’t understand my emotions then either, so I chalked it up to pregnancy hormones. Typical reply- blame it on hormones while pregnant & PMS when I’m not!…That doesn’t validated my feelings though & I don’t do that anymore. I can feel angry or upset with how someone treats me and not blame it on something else. I guess that’s called avoiding or deflecting from the truth of my feelings. Wow! My eyes are opened again, from reading another one of your insightful posts! Thanks for sharing your experiences Darlene!
Sonia

14

PS> IT was all about my uncle and how little regard he had for me! I was devalued based on his false misinterpretations!…
Sonia

15

Hi Darlene,

Am still recooperating from my last outing to NJ ..thank God it is winding down and the judge ruled what was done was definitely bad .. and the boss will have to make amends as the court rules.

I can relate to adjusting my ideas to cope with things. How you felt special somewhat for visiting bars.. I learned to see my daily beatings as moms special way of treating me. I was special.. I got the most attention when it came to bruises and abuse.. I was the only one that seemed to ruin everyone’s life.. so I stood out from the rest.. as being the worst ..

Somehow I saw that as who I am and began to expect and accept that from whomever I met. .. that was who I am .. someone to punch around and abuse.. if I wasn’t done that way ..something was wrong.. somehow i began to think that being hit was a sign of love.

Then I had the church who was forming my mind to believe that suffering silently was a true sign of a saint.That the more I suffered the closer I was to God.

I was so blinded by those who were “teaching” me who I am and how I should become that I didn’t know myself other than what was drilled into me to believe.. I have alot of unlearning to do ..although i have already begun this process

As an adult.. most people can break from the cycle..but I was just pulled deeper into .. The places I went the people I hung with kept brainwashing me …

The faith I had brought up in taught me to hurt myself.. what people would call self harm they called penance..sacrifice.. so I was beating myself with instruments given by the church to the tune of I am not worthy..I am a sinner.. I am so bad.. lower than all ..

I was molded more and more into the idea that I am nothing.. that i should see everyone better..that it was holy to see myself as the last and the least.

What a bad way ..I never grew up . to question.. just to do.. so I was really on a nonstop ride to neurosis.. I am finally at a pause and finally starting to sort through it; but ..what a ride it has been.

I had no one to tell me different as long as I stayed in that faith.. because control and submission was part of the teachings.. Family .. beat me down and church kept me there. .now .am just like a little seed waiting to come up a new creation..

THanks to a good therapist.. who is so patient..I am starting the healing process but I have been a very long long time headed the wrong direction.. The truth I accepted gave my pain false meanings ..that enabled me to accept the evil people did to me. as some sort of love and way to Heaven. No more..

hugs :
Joy

16

Darlene – this is fabulous stuff. This is the truth that sets people free if they will only take the time to look at themselves and their belief systems. I am now convinced that every struggle is addressed here on this site and that by following your guidance and wisdom we can all be healed from our traumatic past.

I will approach this from a male perspective since obviously i am a guy. I dont have much time to write now but i will write more later. I grew up believing more and more that women are objects of sexual desire and women are to be objectified. As a male, you see it everywhere in our society. If you didnt have sex with a girl in high school or in college then there was something wrong with you. I slept with a girl on the beach during high school beach week in a sleeping bag. we just slept together on the beach. We didnt have sex but finally i was able to say i slept with a girl so the pressure to have sex and be with a girl was finally lessened some. There is so much pressure on men at a young age to have sex. It has become sort of a right of passage in our society. I was never taught about sex or that its wrong to have sex outside of marriage. I was never given any boundaries at all when it comes to sex. Since i was sexually abused as a young boy i thought that any type of sex was ok. No one every told me otherwise. So i have grown up with that belief system – that any type of sex with anyone is ok. Its constantly validated by our society and the way things are portrayed in the media. Women are portrayed everywhere as objects of sexual desire. It feeds right into mens sex drives and creates that constant urge for the next thrill or the next adventure. men have a need for adventure. thats why so many men look outside of marriage because they become bored in their marriage and the need for adventure is always there. Thats why men race cars and motorcycles and jump out of planes and climb mt. everest. It satisfies the need within us for adventure. Sitting in a cubicle all day does not in any way satisfy a mans need for adventure and fun. Unfortunately our society has become very much accepting of having sex as a way to fulfill those desires. John and Stacy Eldredge talk a lot about this in a couple of their books – one in particular that i read last summer – “love and war in marriage” – best book i have ever read that discusses a lot of this and why men do the things they do and pursue women for sexual pleasure. Its a warped way of trying to meet the need for adventure that all men have.

All little boys grow up wanting to be like superman or spiderman or like romeo or g.i. joe. In a lot of those stories it ends with the man winning the heart of a woman. Men want to be valiant and noble and warriors but they dont know how to go about that. As men get older the need for adventure is still there. Society has set it up so that they try and achieve that by having sex with women. Its a very wrong and warped way to fulfill that desire for adventure and its toxic. the more you do it the more you want. Men dont know who to turn to for help or to be steered in the right direction. Pastors dont address these issues in church and outside of john and stacy eldredge’s ministry ransomed heart, i dont really see it addressed anywhere else.

Please dont mistake my thoughts here for excusing mens behavior toward women. I am NOT excusing it or saying its right or its ok. It has become acceptable so men continue to pursue it. The need for a thrill and the need for adventure lives deep within the heart of every man. Sadly men have used women to try and fulfill those needs and desires. Its an empty solution that only leaves them wanting more. I dont have all the answers as to why men do the things they do but i do know a lot about why men behave the way they do and why they continue to pursue women for sex. A lot of it has to do with control. Men like to be in control. Sadly, many men see themselves as conquerors if they pursue a woman and get what they want. Its the hunting instinct in men. We were born with the instinct to hunt. Instead of going out and shooting a deer or antelope with a bow and arrow to provide dinner for their family, like in the old days, men in our generation have replaced pursuing things with pursing women. Its very sad and I am so sorry that many of you have been treated this way by men. I am only now learning how to satisfy the need for adventure in healthy ways, not by pursuing women. Somehow we have to educate both men and women that its just not appropriate. thanks darlene for shedding light on this !!

hugs,

Dave

17

Hi SMD
One of the things to keep in mind about this “special” stuff is what we believed at the time “special was” and now we came to believe it. For me, I was only special when I was doing what others wanted. I was only approved of when I was being compliant. (behaviour modification works really well for abusers) Everyone wants to be loved and to feel valued or special. If being compliant and accepting to something that was abusive is the only way that I could be “special” and I never had an example of what “healthy special” or “real love” is then it is no wonder I didn’t realize the truth of it all.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Joy
Great to hear from you! I am glad to hear that the judge ruled in your favour!
Yes, some children begin to view all negative attention as special attention. Our belief systems get so warped we can’t help it. About your statement “as an adult most people can break the cycle” I am not sure why you think that is the truth. I didn’t break that cycle until I was in my forties. I have thousands of reader a week here on this blog who are trying to break that cycle but most actually don’t until they find the right tools with which to break it. As an adult, I too was pulled deeper into it. I have a long history of compliance and obedience to my friends, in laws and bosses, boyfriends and even to my husband until I faced the roots of my belief system. This is so much more common than anyone thinks. I am so glad that you have begun the healing process! Onward and Upward from here! Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

18

Hi Dave
Thank you for your lovely compliment.
Abusers (male or female) are empowered when they are not stopped or when their behaviour is viewed as “normal.” I think what you are saying is that society views men as “needing adventure” etc. and that is so often used as a way of excusing them when they are abusive. and you are right; there is NO excuse. Something that I am encouraging here is that people take their lives back by facing the damage so that they no longer excuse ANY kind of abuse as “just the way it is”. the whole mindset has to change if there is ever going to be a stop to the abuse in our world. That is what we are trying to do here. Change our mindsets. Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

19

Hi Darlene,

I think you misread what I said I actually said most people.. not all people . .. even though it took you some time..you have opted to break from the pattern that you were raised in..even if it took many years..
It would be sad to think that we are stuck forever without hope…Maybe I am misunderstanding your question; if I am please forgive me.

I know . its terrible what all of us have been through..but we don’t have to continue in the terrible..we can do something about it. “Some” will have us believe that we are eternally stuck for having had so many bad things done to us..but I don’t want to accept that diagnosis for me.

I am damaged but still can go forward.. I wouldn’t think so a few months ago. but I do have a really good therapist.. and she is constantly reminding me that I am not what happened to me. I am me and what happened to me was bad. I have been really affected by it but I am trying on some new ways of living and acting and seeing. It’s a day to day struggle since I have been so programmed and brainwashed to believe that i am not capable of anything.

joy

20

Hi Joy,
Perhaps we are misunderstanding each other! 🙂
I was disagreeing with your statement “most people” becuase it has been my experecne that “most people” do not move on in adulthood unless there is somehow some breakthrough into their belief system, which is what you are talking about re your therapy and what I do here and in my work. What I thought you were saying is that most people can move on in adulthood, but you got pulled in deeper ~ I thought you meant most people “excpet” for you. Sorry Joy, I misunderstood!
Hugs, Darlene

21

Hi Darlene,
Thanks for clarifying the definition of “special” for me. Special was seen as approval when compliant and tied into doing what other’s wanted in my family of origin. For example, when I overlooked my uncle at my wedding I was no longer considered special in his eyes. Even though my overlooking him was not intentional, he felt slighted and then I was devalued because it wasn’t what he wanted. That is the definition of Devaluing someone and that is wrong. If someone can be devalued so easily, by that person, then it wasn’t special in a healthy way. Am I on the right track? Love is not about compliance & doing what other’s want you to do, but that IS the definition in my family. It sets me up for disappointment & shame, when it’s that way. It is unhealthy. Thanks Darlene
Sonia

22

Hey Darlene – clarification. its not just that society views men as needing adventure. As a man I NEED adventure in my life. thats how men are wired. That is how we are made. We need a sense of adventure. We need to feel empowered by a hunt for an animal or by jumping out of an airplane or by driving a race car 100 mph. Its in our DNA. We have to have adventure otherwise we become bored with life. Everything in our life can look “normal” from the outside – good home, good job, good family. good neighborhood, however inside as a man we are dying. Our sense of fulfilling that need for adventure has fallen by the wayside. We are bogged down with so many responsibilities and trying to be what society wants and expects us to be while our heart aches for adventure. We long to be like robin hood or Batman or Tarzan – we love to conquer and win battles and triumph – men obviously love to fight and get a feeling of satisfaction about competing. Its the drive within us to compete and to win – whether its hunting for a deer or playing basketball or playing cards or whatever. Men LOVE to compete and they enjoy the camaradarie that comes with it.

Unfortunately most men are lost in this area of their lives. The book “Wild at heart” by John Eldgredge fully explains men and their need for adventure and how many men are dying inside because they dont know how to get that desire fulfulled. So thats why they turn to women. again i am not excusing this behavior. A man sees the pursuit of a woman as a quest to gain her heart and her affection. Instead we have gone to completely ignoring those things and just trying to go straight to having sex. for a man its a false way to fulfill that need for adventure. It meets some of the criteria for adventure but it leaves the man wanting more and more because its not truly fulfilling. Their is no lasting fulfillment. But men dont understand this. And many are so busy that the only way they try to fulfill this need for adventure is by pursuing women. I hope this makes sense. This is how we are wired as men. I am not saying we are wired to pursue women. We are wired to pursue adventure and take risks. thats why men went west to find Gold – it met those criteria – a sense of adventure and risk and possible great reward in the end ! the heart of many men have given up on ever finding a way to satisfy that need for adventure. the heart of many have grown cold. Deep down inside men long for adventure and long to be empowered to dream big and “storm the castle” so to speak. I know i am off topic here some but i am trying to shed some light for you on why men behave the way they do towards women.

A man can be very happily married and content but the desire in a man’s heart for adventure and for thrill never goes away. the challenge is finding a way to meet and fulfill those desires in healthy, normal ways. Men are lost. They dont know where to turn to get those needs met. Those needs are deep inside every man. No one is speaking to men about how to get those needs met (except John Eldgredge but he is only speaking to christian men). We need healthy role models. Please forgive us for all the damage we have done. Please pray that good role models will rise up and help men find their way again. The heroes of the past like Jesus, George Washington, Evil Kneival, Muhammad Ali, Neil Armstrong, John glenn, richard petty etc.. are long gone and the have not been replaced. We desperately need good male role models who show us how to have adventure in healthy, meaningful ways that dont involve the pursuit of a woman unless its to win her heart for marriage. I hope this makes sense. I hope this sheds some light on why men behave the way they do. Its not that its society putting this expectation on men. Its deep in the heart of every man and it never goes away.

Dave

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SMD
YES ~ you are totally on the right track. (and not only was in not special in a healthy way ~ that was not special in ANY way!)
Love is not compliance or obedience
Special is not “singled out for any kind of abuse or being taken advantage of”
Relationship is not one sided but rather co-creative and mutually beneficial to all in it.
Parents and other adults do not have “RIGHTS” do do whatever they want to kids.
I could write a whole new blog post here!
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene & Dave, I can think of nothing that has the power to help our culture and society more than a concentrated focus on the rights of children. Children have been seen and not heard for too long. They aren’t pre-human beings, children are fully human and as valuable as any adult. They are us and we are them. Everything about the world would change if we began to treat our children with respect. I could write more than a post, I could write a book…

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abuse comes right up close and personal…it is not surprising that there is so much the devils detail…disgust and loathing are traumatic emotions that seek escape from any angle .. it is no wonder that a victim feels perverted and ashamed … these crimes create evil patterns that can resurface in altered states .. my life is checkered with spots … how can we ever truly overcome the beast ..?

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Dave, It is one thing for a man to seek adventure through the conquest of a consentual, adult female and a whole other thing for a man to get his kicks by having sex with an underage female. The second is a criminal act that too many wink and giggle at without considering what is stolen from the child in that situation or how long it will take to undo the damage. Sex outside the boundaries of morality causes great harm and our whole culture is sick from it. Very few people today know what it is like to experience sex as something special, with on special person couched in love, respect, and commitment. I hate the fact that my first sexual experiences were rape and there isn’t anything I can do to change that. I wish my husband were the only one because if he were, I would have an entirely different understanding and feeling about sex and myself. Something very precious was stolen from me and so many others have been robbed in this way that we can’t even teach our children the sacredness of sex. It has become purely, recreational to many people, when it is meant to be much more.

Sorry if I dumped on you, Dave. I know men aren’t allowed to be men these days. I forgive you guys and I want to respect you. We could all do with some respect for each other. Men need to know that they are capable of leading in this area. It could be an adventure, as well. An adventure with a noble purpose with value greater than the thrill of risk-taking behavior for its own sake.

Pam

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arkel, by overcoming evil with good through truth, love, respect, and unrelenting courage in meeting the beast headon. I had a new revelation of the beast last night. I’m a bit raw and intense this morning.

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Hi Arkel
Welcome to emerging from broken. Keep reading the articles and comments in this site. I have overcome all of it and that is what I write about.
Glad you are here
Hugs, Darlene

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Pam,
write it! You are so right. There are only 2 genders. Male and Female. For most of us, the confusion and brokeness begins when we are children. In order for the world to change, we MUST heal. The real difference is made by those who are willing to really see the truth about the problem and do what it takes to heal from the damage. When my head cleared, I made a difference to the next generation (my kids) and now through this site, I am making my difference in the world. Because I healed by understanding the damage done to me as a child, (not understanding them, but validating the damage and learning to love me) I will alwasy be able to communicate about damage done to children and I will never be part of that damage. That makes a difference.
Hugs, Darlene

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I have a very strained relationship with my mother. I am from a family of 5 children. Both my sisters have died in the last 4 years. In Nov. when my second sister died,At the funeral,my mother said to my brothers (thank God I have you.You are all I have left.I have lost my best friend.)I was standing right there!!It is very hard to know that the wrong child died. Im not sure how to get past this,and hav’t dealt with it yet. iI do start Grief therapy tomorrow.

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hi Kelly,
it’s so shockingly hurtful to receive comments like that. I’m so sorry you were treated in that way. I hear you.
Julia

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((((((Darlene))))))

Thank you so much for your gut-wrenching honesty & courage. The idea of *specialness* is really hitting a raw nerve for me and I know it will be worth it in the end to explore: “I wonder why………”

I don’t think you have any idea just how much your blog truly helps to shine a big ole floodlight into the deepest, darkest of secrets so many of us carry unnecessarily.

Thank you so much for just being you!!!

Sincerely,
Brenda

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Hi Kelly
Welcome to emerging from broken!
I am so sorry that happened to you ~ what a nasty thing to say. Those statements are used to control; they are meant to make others try harder. It is most often the adult kids who tell me those things that seem to be the very ones in the family who do the most for the parents who then say cutting and devaluing things like that.
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Brenda,
I don’t what it was about your comment but I got a little emotional when I read it… Thank you so much! You made my day.
Hugs, Darlene

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…probably because it came straight from my heart! 🙂

You know, I think this particular blog would make for an excellent article in a mainstream periodical. Psychology Today or maybe Huffington Post or Alternet…or maybe even Reader’s Digest, Oprah magazine or Guidepost (just to name a few off the top of my head.)

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thank you so much for your comments. its nice to be able to talk to someone about this. hopefully we can delve into this more, and maybe i will be able to help someone else in this situation

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Thanks Brenda,
I have never looked into going about anything like that!
Hugs, Darlene

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i am so worried about my daughter.I hope I haven,t hurt her by going the complete opposite way with her. Trying to give her love I didn’t get from my mom.I have done everything for her (out of love)or so I thought.now after friends have had some sort of intervention. The best thing to do is to let her grow up,without me holding her hand. She is 21 and I take care of her like she is 12. I am so sorry it makes me cry.How do you stop this cycle?

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Kelly
There are hundreds of articles (with discussions) here in this site that will help you to realize how to stopt he cycle and coming to a balance with our present day relationships.
Hugs, Darlene

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Dave,
Thank you for clarifying and writing a little personal exerpt from the books you’ve read. It meant a lot to read this stuff, because last year, my husband had an affair. I was devastated, and still am at times. It helps to have some insight because even he has never been able to answer the question, “why”? He calls himself a christian man. I think, how could he dishonor his wife, but even more, God? The vows I took before God mean so much to me. I wasn’t just playing house, going through the motions. I meant it for REAL!! I’ll never understand why my husband didn’t mean it for real and forever, in sickness and health, until death do us part. I have a need for more money right now…. I’m not out looking for a sugar daddy! I’m making it work the way it is at home. There is something so selfish about acting out your sense of adventure when it betrays and devastates someone who loves you and has committed their life to you. I have needs…. if it’s something that would destroy my husband, I simply put it aside. He, and the vows I spoke before God, mean enough to me that I don’t act on them. There is something childlike about acting on needs that can ONLY end in destruction of people, trust, marriage, etc. Simply stated, I didn’t mean enough, our life together as we know it, our home, our future, our family…. didn’t mean enough. I am happy to say I am more loyal than that. I’m a fiercely loyal person so this makes little sense to me. I do appreciate you explaining the need for adventure, and how it has been cultivated into something ugly in modern times. It does clarify things somewhat, but, I get stuck in the place where I think the answer is so simple. NO, is so simple when you appreciate what you have to lose. When you appriate the heart of someone else, someone you took vows with before God. Those vows meant the world to me. Now, I feel like he was just giving lip service to the words. We are still together, but, only because if he wanted me to stay, he had to fill a very tall order. Several of them actually. He was willing, so that helped me to believe that it was a really big mistake and that he won’t do it again. When I uncovered the truth, initially, he thought if I wanted a divorce, I would be moving out, although I had nowhere to go. I had sold my house, and we bought the one we live in together. He thought it was HIS. My response to that was, “so, you screw around and jack up my whole world, and then you want to leave me homeless?” Part of the agreements of staying were in the form of contracts. He signed a contract that states if he ever does it again, I get to remain in the house, and he gets to get out, and pay for it too. Why should I be homeless? It wasn’t ME who effed everything up!!!!! He also coughed up several thousand dollars into an account with my name only, so if the contract doesn’t hold up in court for some reason, I at least have a healthy downpayment on a home. I’ll never figure out that line of thinking either. He totally screwed me over, then wanted to leave me homeless. The ONLY reason I’m still here is because he has committed to the very high stakes I put in place. He has no privelege of privacy anymore. I open all the mail, I am free to look at his phone whenever I want to, I have a monitoring device on his computer, and a device in his car. He doesn’t know about the monitoring devices though. He agreed at the outset that anytime I wanted to know where he was or what he was doing, I could send him a text message and he had 60 seconds to respond with a picture of where he is. I wonder….. was it worth it??

So, now you get to hear from the side of the adult who’s dealing with this “adventurous” side of a grown man. Pam wrote an excellent point when she clarified that the men being spoken about here were preying on CHILDREN! That is a whole other disgusting and perverted adventure. I’m not sure these cases can be chalked up to “adventure”, but rather, effing insane!! Any grown man who has to go on an adventure with a child needs to be examined. I mean that seriously.

Okay, so I went off a little deeper than I intended to, and I want to make sure you understand that your explanation really did speak to me, and clarified things a little, so I thank you for that. I know this particular post wasn’t really intended for this subject matter, but, I also know Darlene says to let it out! Thank you for that Darlene. And, thank you Dave for posting and going out on a limb here.
Peace to everyone,
Mimi

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Hi Mimi
Thank you for sharing your heart about this subject. As you know, my husband and I went through the eye of a needle to put our marriage back together ~ not because he had an affair, but because he operated under the assumption that he had “rights” as the man, and that men are “just that way”. One of the biggest things I have learned in this process has been about “rabbit trails”. Rabbit trails are things that take me down a path that leads to no solution or gets me off the original subject. I learned to STAY the hell off them. I did not glorify my alter personalities which helped tremendously when I was learning not to dissociate anymore. I did not think all about which one felt which way and which one was “in charge” of which memories. I just dived in and believed that it was all me that had to deal with all of that in the end. In the same way, I came to realize that men are not “different” and that minor differences between men and woman do not help me understand why my husband thought he was more important than he was. He just did. He was raised to think he was simply because he is a man. And when I said NO more, he changed. On this website I have heard hundreds of people who in one way or another state why “it is different for them” and why recovery is harder for them. To me that is a big rabbit trail. Looking into what makes men operate differently than women is a rabbit trail too. I do not glorify the differences because that is not how I found freedom and equal value. I found it by sticking to the facts and the truth. The truth is that WE all have equal value and so what if men need adventure? Does that help heal the damage? no. I am not saying that the book isn’t a good book, I am saying “so what?” would it help me heal? no. I read all these books in the past trying to understand why some people abuse… all it did was help me to give them excuses. Those days are gone for me.

I am really sorry that your husband cheated on you. Getting over that kind of damage takes a long time. Rebuilding that kind of damaged trust is dang hard. I am not surprised that he can’t tell you why he did it. I suspect there is no answer for that. (other than “because he wanted to”) There came a day when my husband finally knew that he treated me as less than him, because he believed it and because I let him. period. It is amazing that we are doing so well now but it took a ton of work and a lot of time. This is a sore spot for me too; I was cheated on in the past before my husband. It messed all over again with my self worth. It cemented into place what the other abuses had already made me believe about myself. That I wasn’t worth it.

My self worth today comes from me and from the truth. Not from understanding the nature of anyone else. Not from the approval from someone else. Not from forgiveness, not from acceptance of others “just the way they are; (they can’t help it) and not from following rabbit trails. Today I know I AM worth it. And I know you are too.
Hugs, Darlene

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Kelly, I did the same thing but my kids know I love them like fire, no matter how many stupid things I did and we’re working through it. My kids are going to be 30 and 33 and I feel blessed that they still want me to be part of their lives. Now we’re all trying to focus on my grandsons and do what’s best for them. I think breaking the cycle is like being a recovering alcoholic or drug addict, it takes constant vigelence, a lot of acceptance, and a lot of love. The main ingredient is truth and then responsibillity and keeping those in play all the time. I know how hard the letting go part can be but you will be so amazed at how much better it makes things between you and your child feel and it is wonderful to see them blossom into adults. You’re on the right track, i think, Kelly. It gets scary sometimes, but we all need to stay on that track. I’m talking to myself here as much as anyone else.lol!

Pam

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Darlene, Submitting articles isn’t that hard. I’d love to see you work swimming in the mainstream!

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Mimi, You made me cry. I’m sad that you are having to go through this and I think the rules you’ve put in place are appropriate. If the man is still so much a child that he can’t control his sexual urges, then he must be monitored as a child. You go girl! I hope he grows up and things get better for you soon.

Love,
Pam

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Hi Darlene,

Agreed, most people don’t move on ..perhaps I should that the potential to move on is there for most people. Some folks can’t because they are too broken; others kind of might get use to being a victim and don’t know how to get out of the mind set especially if that is all he/she has ever known..Wanting to get out . and working at it is really part of how one moves away more and more from victim to survivor. It isn’t going to just happen..and change is not always a nice comfy feeling..it sometimes is painful!! 😉

hugs Joy

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Darlene,
Thank you for taking the time to write a heartfelt comment/explanation. Very shortly after finding out this information about my husband, all the truth started coming out about my crazy mother too. 2011 was a tough year. I was so happy at midnight on December 31st. I barely survived the year.

Interesting point about rabbit trails. I never heard of or thought of that before. It’s true…. my husband had a gazillion rabbit trails when the affair was first discovered. He would say anything to try to lead me off topic ~ the topic of the truth.

You know they say people marry a person who’s like one of their parents? Lately, the past 5 days, I’ve been grappling with whether I married, not my drunk father, but, my lying narcissistic MOTHER!! I wonder if my husband really has no emotions, just acts them out as he’s observed what other people do in response to emotional stimulus. Does he have a conscience? My mother doesn’t. Does he actually love anyone? My mother doesn’t. He knows the fine art of diplomacy and uses it at all times. Shmoozing really. He’s always been very good to me. He is the type to compliment, bring home flowers nearly every week, make lunch for me to take to work, run to the store if I’m feeling lazy, rub my feet, etc. His actions toward me spoke love as much as his words did. I’ll probably never understand. I’ve just tried to move forward since the incredible processing of it. I thought my marriage was bullet proof. That was my first mistake.

Pam,
Thank you for your sweet comment!! The one year anniversary of discovering the affair was on Feb 6th. Things are soooooo much better than they were last year. I’m not what I would say “actively” suffering anymore. The shock and disbelief and horror and anger have all worn off. I still feel a little pain when I think about it deeply, but, by miles, my days are better than they were this time last year. Thank you for your kindness.

Hugs and love to you both,
Mimi

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Mimi
I don’t think any relationship is “bullet proof”. We are people. Healing takes time but it is possible. My husband was all that too. Emotionally even he realized that he was shut down, but that took time as well. He was in survivor mode, just a different one that I was in. In the end we both decided that we wanted to be together. Simple really. Not that we needed to. Not that we HAD to because of a legal paper. I wanted to be with him and I wanted to make it work. And as long as I saw that same desire in him, as long as there was some kind of forward movement, (that I could see he was tyring to carry his half of the marriage and engageing in emotional relationship with me, then I was willing to stay. It was a choice. I do love him but I can’t love him more than I love me.
Hugs Darlene

Everyone ~ I just published a new post. This one comes from my heart and was inspired by some of the comments here recently. I think I wrote it for me as much as for anyone else ~ I got emotional when I realized what I was willing to go through and my determination when it came to healing. Its a look back over the last 8 years. I hope you like it.
You can read it here: Emerging from Broken ~ The greatest adventure is healing ~
http://emergingfrombroken.com/emerging-from-broken-the-greatest-adventure-is-healing/

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I Like the topic fits into what I am learning…and what I posted above..Heading to the new post.

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Pam – i totally agree with you. I did not feel that you were “dumping on me” It did not come across that way at all. I should have clarified that i was not at all referring to men pursuing children for sex. That thought never entered my mind and in the book he never talks about that. He talks about men’s pursuit of adventure and fun and risk taking and how they try and get those needs met. when he talks about men looking outside of the marriage he only references men pursuing women. NEVER children.

Mimi – so sorry for what you have been through. When i almost had an affair last year i never thought about my wife. I never thought about the vows. I never thought ‘what would this do to my wife’ – i was only thinking about me and what i wanted at the time. There was a beautful women there who wanted to have sex with me. I never have sex with my wife so here was an opportunity to have pleasure and intimacy with someone that i had met and was getting to know. she wanted me and wanted what i might be willing to give her. Because i never felt wanted as a child or in my early adult life, she appealed to the part of me that has been very broken and wounded. Of course i knew it was wrong. Of course i knew i should not do it. I justified by saying – well i pretty much always do the right thing. I am hurting, lonely and in pain and here is a chance to get away from it for one night and enjoy some pleasure. I am not excusing my behavior. I am simply explaining my thought process. She was not married. My belief system was formed way before I got married. Because i was sexually abused i have believed that pretty much any type of sexual encounter is ok. In my head i know that is not the truth but in my heart its a different story.

As you can tell on here i am working extremely hard to try and heal and get better. As you know its a very long and slow and painful process. I make mistakes along the way sometimes. As a christian i know i am forgiven for the mistakes i make and when i do make a mistake i always confess and repent.

I shared my experience with the woman that i met last year with 5 other men about 3 months after it happened. I shared my need for accountability and help in this area. All of the men that i shared with are professing christians. I asked for help. I said “this is a weakness for me and an area that i need help with.” I asked for emails, phone calls, texts – anything to help keep me accountable. About two months went by and i had not gotten ANYTHING from any of the men – nothing at all. So again i put myself out there and said “i really need some accountability (part of the purpose of our group was supposed to be to lift up and encourage one other) – i shared a couple of things out of the book wild at heart. I shared about my brokenness and my pain.

Another 4 months went by with virtually NOTHING. No one called. No one texted. One guy emailed a couple of times to “check in” – that was it. After 6 months – thats all i got. I have prayed and prayed and prayed for accountability with other men. I cant find it anywhere. I know we are all accountable to God for our actions but i have a weakness and took a chance and asked for help and i felt betryed. I finally told the men to forget it – clearly i was not worth their time or my request fell on deaf ears.

When i shared all this with my wife she just was very sad. she understands the whole situation. she knows my pain and my struggle and how i have searched and searched for some accountability for years. I cant find one man who cares enough to just hold me accountable for one area in my life that is a struggle. And i have made more than an honest effort. This is why i dont trust men by and large. I have a huge distrust of men because my father was very abusive to me and the first time i shared a bed with anyone, my male cousin molested me. And when i turn to men time and time again they prove untrustworthy and unavailable. thats why i come here. I trust the people on here and i know you care about me. I cannot tell you how hard it is to be a man in this day and age in our society who longs for real relationship with other men and cannot find it. I have lost almost all my friends. I am still in pain every day. I never abuse my wife. I try and be the best husband i can but i make mistakes sometimes. my wife is starting to become more and more critical of others. She is starting to sound more and more like my mother. My wife has a deep heart wound from her father that she does not want to look at. I begged her to get help for a year and a half before she finally got into a womens group a few weeks ago. The pain from her wound surfaces almost every day and is causing tension in our marriage. Its hard. I will carry on no matter what. Please pray for me – those of you who do pray – i need it very much. Thank you all for your love and support. I treasure it deeply and am so grateful for all of you and for this blog.

love,

Dave

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Dave and Mimi
Dave, I appreciate your sharing what you shared about almost having an affair. I know it isn’t an excuse, but I hear that the whole thing came out of your pain. You were looking for a love source, even though you are married, you didn’t feel validated through that. This is such a complicated part of the process ~ finally learning that no other person can fill my need in that area. This is where the personal healing work comes in. Jim (my husband) was really upset when I started realizing that I didn’t NEED him and that he could not fill my needs because he thought it meant I was saying that I didn’t “love” him. But in truth, I was finding out through healing that I had to do this for me and if I don’t believe I am valid and worthy of love from another person, then I can’t accept that love in the first place. Mimi ~ if your husband is in pain from his own past, he may still have been looking for a “band-aid” for that pain. The fact that you can’t fill the void is based on the false definition of love anyway. NO ONE can fill the void in another person but in the beginning of “love” it feels like they can. we are sure that they can and those heady feelings are so easy to get addicted to. Affiars (male or female) are not born out of a need for adventure. They are born out of pain and a searching and longing to escape that pain. It has nothing to do with sex or lack of sex or anything related to that. It has to do with that leftover pain from the past. It was never my job to resolve my mothers pain, or my husbands pain. It was my job to resolve MY pain.
It was in doing the healing work that I write about in this site that I finally loved myself enough to accept love from others and today have a beautiful marriage with Jim.
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene and Dave,
Thank you both very much for your comments. I welcome anything that can lead to understanding the “why” of it. My husband has done a lot to try to prove his integrity and his resolve toward healing our marriage. It is helpful, but it certainly doesn’t change the past. I feel some guilt for taking time off from “life”, to heal and regain composure. I especially felt that when he was off to work everyday, and he would come home and find me in the same clothes I was in when he left, and maybe I had journaled and cried all day. I am just beginning to go back to work. Just last week I worked two days, and this coming week I’m working two more. Our budget has begun to suffer since I’ve not worked in over a year. Anyhow, I’m just now at a point where I feel I can handle the responsibilities of working. What I have observed is that my husband doesn’t do well alone. I worked 2nd shifts last week and will this coming week. That leaves him home alone in the evenings. He just doesn’t do that well being alone. I will be back in classes in the summer too. I have to pick up and go on at some point in life. I’m scared of how I will cope with getting back to life. I hope like hell I’ve learned something from 2011. I fear I haven’t. I suppose I won’t know until I’m faced with a challenge that would normally be a trigger. I want to be free of the life before the avalanches of 2011. I can look back and realize that I was just existing. I wasn’t content, I was anxious, depressed, etc. I hope I’ve learned something new as a result of uncovering all the crap from childhood and beyond. I hope to have enough confidence now, that the crap that comes from the work environment won’t render me totally stressed and unhappy. Confidence that I make sound nursing decisions, and the people (management) I work with are unable to drive a fork right into my heart with the label attached, “not good enough”. I’m sick of that feeling. I have to realize the praise I’ve earned as a nurse, and try to remind myself that I do my work because I want to help others. Management seem to do it to line their wallets, without regard to helping others, or even so far as to hurt others. I know it will require constant mental reminders. I hope I’m up for that challenge. I also had a really bad experience with my last college class. It still bothers me when I think of stepping foot back into that school. I realize now, that when the professor addressed me and embarrassed and belittled me so many times in front of the class, it sank clear to my innermost being…. in some way, she morphed into my mother right before my very eyes. That is still a sore spot and an embarrassment. I hope I’ve learned to separate that. I hope I’ve learned better coping skills ~ to let that crap roll off. I hope I never see that woman again.

Well, thanks for letting me ramble. I have some challenges coming up, and I just hope I’m prepared….. in a different way than before.

Thanks for listening!
Peace and love,
Mimi

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I altered the truth (and I’m still unsure about some things) by thinking I was never sexually abused. Since I was not raped, I figured the 3 “incidents” in my life didn’t count.

1st incident, I was around 11 years old, when my brother, who was ordinarily antagonistic, ridiculing and unaffectionate, came into my bedroom late one night to “talk.” I was amazed at how kind he seemed, and willing to listen to me babble about things (he never cared up until then). This was all so unfamiliar to me, I just thought he had matured and we were moving into a new, friendlier, brother/sister relationship where he had more respect for me. Then he crawled into bed and put his arm around me, and I became very uncomfortable. I felt he was crossing the line and I questioned what he was doing. He responded with “everyone’s doing it” and I thought… what? Doing what?!!! He can’t mean… so I picked up my pillow and headed for the living room. He mumbled something apologetic, went back to his own room and nothing like that happened ever again with him and it was never mentioned again. Since nothing actually “happened” I was always left scratching my head, confused about the whole thing, wondering what and how far he was planning to go. I just figured it was something all sisters went through with their brothers, so brushed it aside.

The 2nd “incident” was when I was a maid at a motel. I was a very naive 16 year old and one of the old men (70s?) that was a frequent guest there got drunk (again) and cornered me in a bathroom while I was cleaning it. He pushed me against the wall, groped me and described some sexual things that I “needed.” I was shocked and terrified and managed to squeeze out of the bathroom and tell my co-workers and boss. My boss was an older woman who just laughed it off and said he was always doing things like that. A few of my co-workers were concerned, the others just laughed it off like my boss. I told my parents when I got home and mother’s only reaction was asking if I reported it, and that was the end of it. Since no one treated it very seriously, I just figured I was over-reacting since I was sensitive and naive and it was dropped. This was many years ago and I know it would have been handled a lot differently today at the work place!!!

3rd incident was when I was 18 and stranded at a bus station by a snowstorm. I befriended a young man who “seemed” nice and offered me a ride back to my college dorm. I stupidly accepted and followed him, lugging my heavy suitcase and trudging through deep snow. When I saw him heading for a hotel, I stopped and questioned him about where his car was. Well, he had no intention of giving me a ride, so he pushed me against a brick wall in an alley and started kissing and groping me, then asked for money. I was trembling in terror, said I had no money and tried to leave. He groped me some more and tried to get me into the hotel. I tried to get away and then bribed him with a few dollars get him to let me leave. He got angry saying I lied to him about having money and I thought right there he was going to kill me. Miraculously, he just took my money and left me there, stranded in the snow. I eventually found a drugstore that was still open and had them call me a cab (the only one available in a snowbound town!) and finally got back to my dorm safely but pretty shaken up. I never told my parents because I knew what an incredibly stupid thing I did and how badly I handled it and did not want to get a scolding lecture.

Back then I never considered this sexual abuse since it didn’t involve rape and that I needed to just forget it. But those events are still very vivid in my mind though they happened so long ago. Thanks for listening. I never really wrote or spoke about these events before.

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Hi Drained
This is such a huge thing; I am working on a post about how we discount our own abuse in so many ways one of which is what you are talking about here. That post should be published in another week or so. Discounting the severity of abuse It is another coping method to tell ourselves that it wasn’t really “abuse”. A temporary band-aid.
I had an issue with my brother too and it was one of the most difficult things to face when I got older. My mother told me it was “just kid stuff” and totally ignored it. Yay for you for leaving the room. I froze!

I had several similar incidents to the ones you describe here too and just like you I tried to “minimize them”. Something that helped me was realizing that anything that does any kind of damage is no less worthy of major attention. Abuse is abuse. All three of these things that happened to you were sexual abuse and actually serious abuse too. There are no levels of abuse. Mine is mine and yours is yours but they are equally damaging, equally serious, equally disrespectful and discounting and equally terrifying! The people that didnt’ act on your behalf when you told really let you down. Thank you for sharing about them here. My heart goes out to yours.
Hugs, Darlene

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WOW!!!
I am just in awe of what you just wrote Drained. Something that happened to me in my twenties, which I’ve never thought of as sexual abuse, is similar to your dorm incident. Because there was no penetration, I disregarded it.

I was at a bar drinking. A man I’d often seen out and had very limited casual conversations with, asked me to take him to his apartment near the bar. It was so close, he had walked to the bar, but asked me to take him home to get something from his apartment, and I can’t remember what it was. Seems like it was keys or something. Anyway, I took him, put the car in park and left it running. I planned to wait in the car while he ran upstairs to get the thing he needed. He said, come on up with me, it’s only going to take me a second. I thought it sounded harmless enough, and I’d seen him out a lot of times. We were very light acquaintances so for whatever reason, I felt he was trustworthy. When we got upstairs to his apartment, he threw me down on the bed and started ripping at my clothes. He was a very tall and stalky man. He overpowered me by volumes. I struggled beneath him. I pushed and wiggled and tried to get away. He just got more forceful and angry. I saw that he had a sliding glass door in his bedroom and it was open to his balcany with only the screen between me and the outside world. I started screaming as loud as I could. He put his hand over my mouth to try to muffle me and kept telling me to shut the “F” up. I was still struggling with him on top of me. I did NOT stop screaming though. Somehow, the fear of someone hearing me must have captivated him. When he realized after struggling to shut me up, that I was going to continue to scream, he let me up. I shot up out of his bed and ran out of his apartment downstairs to my car and got out as fast as I could. All the while he was yelling what a whore and bitch I was! I’m fascinated by that memory now. I had neatly tucked it away until now. EFB continues to amaze me. Thanks for sharing your story Drained. I’m thankful I wasn’t actually raped or murdered, and that the screen door was there for me to scream for help. If it hadn’t been, who knows what would have happened.
Peace and love,
Mimi

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Mimi and Darlene – Isn’t it awful what society and bad parenting teach us about these things? Like we should feel that incidents like this aren’t important enough, like we shouldn’t feel justified in our outrage. But since we were programmed to feel valueless, we had to overlook damaging events. It’s no wonder our trust in people is so warped.

So many realizations I’ve been making lately are showing me why I’ve felt such self-loathing, depression and anger for decades! These important steps, as unpleasant as they are, I feel are the beginning of the healing process. I never would have made this progress without sites like EFB, and researching toxic mothers and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. So many emotions. Thank you again for listening and your valuable feedback.

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Drained,
I agree, it’s awful. Your second paragraph, first sentence…. that’s me exactly. So full of self loathing. I couldn’t figure out where it came from. Depression, anxiety, and anger have all graced my life at different times. I thought I was doomed…. eternally screwed up, the crazy one. I’m ready to show my mother just how crazy I am. Haha!! Crazy enough to stand up to her and not back down. I cannot wait!!!!
Love to you,
Mimi

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Just an update on my problem! Thank you for all the insight. After reading many testimonials,and articles. I have taken a proactive roll in my ne and my daughter’s relationship.I have had her baker acted, they put her on meds and set up therapy. The change in her is night and day! She has been admitted to Full sail University for fine arts, is currently at the doctors for info on lap band surgery. The smiles and hugs are endless and I think we have crossed a milestone…I could not have done this without your support. Thank you so much. If there is anyone who would like my advice,please let me know

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Hi Mimi
Somehow I missed your comment here (# 54) ~ so sorry!
Isn’t it amazing how our minds cope with things like this when our self esteem is weak in the first place. (not realizing that it was sexual abuse because there was no penetration)
Something that your comment reminded me of is how abusers act all “angry” about our resistence. This goes for ALL abusers. Like as if to say “how dare you resist me”. Well I guess that is another story for another day.
Hugs, Darlene

Kelly
Thanks for sharing your victory here! This is great news!
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene,
No worries… I don’t expect you to comment ~ I always appreciate it though! Yes, it’s crazy how abusers get angry when you resist. My mother is EXACTLY the same way. Yet, she denies ever having any rage. It’s always been me with the bad temper…. according to her anyway.
Love,
Mimi

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It’s like we were raised by the same mother- same experiences…unbelievable how close I feel to you right now…powerful post.

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Hi Karen
It is crazy how many of us feel this way! It is really sad that so many of us were raised in this kind of dysfunction! Thank you for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

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What my abuse taught me or conditioned me to do was to be very complient and even when strangers talked to me, asked me questions, I felt like I had to answer them, I wanted everyones approval and that set me up to be used and harrassed at work, made the scapegoat basically and to be a doormat to men who only wanted me for one thing and when they did not happen, they left me…which they did anyhow, I always felt like I could not win no matter what I did in life, till I healed and learned more about why i was the way i was and how i have to fight that to this day even at times.

I always seem to draw women who are are spider like just like my mom…I always seemed to get entrapped into a web and used or made to feel bad about myself, my last friend did that to me, she would listen to my abuse stories and then somehow put me in tears and I have no idea how she did it, she used triggers to make me cry, at coffee shops while having lunch…

It dawned on me that she was narcassitic and needed supply and to torment me in feeling bad cause I spoke up about abuse made her feel powerful and helped her not face her own abuse. her sister has schizophriena, so she says, and she treates her really poorly, I think I know the real reason why her sister is like that, cause she is alot like her mom, and when two go against one, its a horrible mix, esp when the scapegoat calls them out on their abuse, look out!

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@Kimberly, I also felt that the way I was raised had something to do with me being timid and allowing people to treat me any kind of way. I am finally 25 and now I’m taking a stand, however I always felt like a personal doormat of life, smh!

@Darlene Ouimet I want to say this blog you have created took guts and is much appreciated. While I knew I was not alone in my feelings and experiences, it is nice to read that I am not alone. No one can help you understand or tell you how to feel unless they have been in your shoes. I hope to not make this long.

In a previous post I read two comments that were very familiar to my life.. You wrote of how your mother told her she loved you and wanted you yet did opposite and another commenter named Sally wrote of how overall she had a reverse parenting type of relationship with her mother. I can identify with both of those. My mother was big on love because she felt that her mother did not show her much of it.

However all my life i felt she did not love me because of how she treated me. She made me believe that my family believed the same things she did as far as me not being a “good” kid. And from this i develop issues of trust with my family. I was made to feel bad because I was a moody kid, but she never took the time to ask why i was so moody.

As a small child i felt my mother did more for me and was very kind, however like someone else said, as you get old your expectations become more, so you were born to fill the void but then its not good enough. I eventually took great care of my little sister and brother, to the point where I had to find a baby sitter for them when I wanted to go places. Or if I did spend the night with other relatives they would have to come too, she wanted to be a mother for our love, but did not want the responsibility.

I feel she takes great pride in our accomplishments and enjoys what we are becoming or have became but envy us as well, its like we can not have too much. She also states I am her best friend, but I can not identify with this because of old feelings I have about her, which in turn makes me feel bad. At the age of 25 she continues to use the kids to manipulate me into doing things for her, once again taking away the responsibility from herself, if you do not do it she gets upset, says i never do anything for her, and even will tell the kids I do not care about them, when I asked why she let them believe that she said she didn’t, but only she knows she loves them, she doesnt know if others do. That is another pattern, she wants to stand alone in our lives, she is the only one who will be there and who loves us, but she hurts us the most. I also felt her boyfriends were more important to her than us as her children.

My mother was abusive once saying to me over an issue over house hold chores at the age of 17, “i hate you b****”, spanking me at the age of 10 for telling her about a project at the last min. Once I confided in the family about how i felt, they talked to her, and she was livid and swore I was turning the family against her, I was 13 and she came in my room while i was sleep, punched me and tried to drag me down the steps by my hair. Throughout all of this, I was told my father did not care about me and how she had to raise me, and I once told her I did not ask to be here and she stated “neither did I” As far as the father issue she would not like me see him due to continuing punishments i was on, because i did not clean up good enough, or didn’t take care of the kids.

Now that I am older the issues do not remain the same, the only thing is that she can be spiteful and hurtful in the things she say. I believe she has borderline personality disorder, and I know she has had a sad tough childhood herself, however I am upset she will not get help. I am finally fed up with her being nice when things are her way but once you say no, you don’t care, etc. so I have decided to take a step back. Now i am debating on if it will ever be worth having a relationship outside of just being cordial. Like should we ever go out to eat or movies? Sorry for the long rant, but it feels good to talk to someone who understands. Ill end by saying this..I feel my mother did the best she could with what she had, but I feel she could have done better by getting the help she needed and still needs.
-K. Ella

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I forgot to add how I felt that I had to be a therapist, best friend, confidant and mother for my own mother, as a teen she would cry on my shoulders about the things people did to her, how her mother wasn’t a good mom, giving me examples of which, I just wish I had a mother and could have been a child.

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Hi Kimberly
That is exactly what abuse teaches everyone. I can relate to having been attracted to friendship with people like my parents. It was because they were so familiar. It wasn’t until I did the reparenting work for myself, and empowered myself, cementing in the truth that all of that was dysfunctional and that my parents did not teach me love, that I stopped being attracted to people who treated me the wrong way. I had to make a new “familiar” and change my definitions of love. I had to start loving me.
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi K. Ella
Welcome to emerging from broken
I am glad you like my blog; thank you ~ I had to change all my definitions of words like “friends” “relationship” and “love” because they had been taught to me all wrong. The way that I was taught them was manipulative and only applied to me.
Thank you for your post and there are no restrictions here about the length of comments. It IS good to talk about this stuff with others who understand.
There is a lot of stuff in this site about overcoming this kind of problem relationship ~ hope you stick around!
hugs, Darlene

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Yes I will continue to be a reader of this blog. I believe we can all help each other with this site, and thank you for responding. 🙂

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The strangest thing about truth altering is that you don’t know you are altering it. If you grow up with abuse, and you know nothing else, and your whole family thinks things are normal, you will internalize things as normal. Especially if your Mama is your abuser, but she also makes really great home cooked meals, keeps you clothed, reads stories to you and your siblings, tucks you in tight, keeps a clean home, keeps a roof over your head, makes you all laugh sometimes, and if you are all really really good, and clean the whole house on Friday evenings, you can watch your favorite tv show and have cookies on Friday nights.or catch lightening bugs on the lawn. Or play games on the sidewalk with the kids on the block. Normal is what you know.
And normal changes over time too. Whippings with belts or small tree branches was normal for everyone I knew as a child. Not giving spankings was bad, children were supposed to be disciplined or they got spoiled, and into trouble. it might have been abuse, but nobody thought so back then. Kids shared wisdom about how to pick out the least painful kind of branch when you had to go fetch the stick you wer going to get hit with: green thin branches looked harmless but stung and left welts, fat hard branches too much, but if you could find a medium thick dead branch, it would break quick and end the punishment sooner…
When I was 20, 30, 40 I thought I had had a lucky, happy childhood. I just didn’t get along all the time with my mom. But sometimes I did.
It took 45 years to begin to sort out the abuse, and I would have doubted physical abuse until very recently.
I figured out the mental abuse as a kid, but I would have called it by some other name. Like favoritism, or lying, or just general unfairness. The word “abuse” wouldn’t have even crossed my mind. I would have defined that as broken bones, beatings bad enough to require hospitalization, or mental abuse that put someone into a mental hospital forever.

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Karenina,
It took me 43 years to sort out the abuse & I too doubted whether or not I was abused. I knew my family could be “mean” & there was “favoritism”. I’ve been saying mistreatment for a while & now I say “abuse”, since coming here. The things they would say to me & how they treated me was not normal. I was in denial myself because they cooked good meals, kept a roof over my head, paid for my schooling & wedding. However, I did not get the emotional support I needed. I was put down & pushed around. Always trying too hard to get their approval & acceptance.

I would overlook hurtful comments & behavior, so as to keep the peace which only added to my depressions & low self-esteem. I don’t remember physical beatings, but was very obedient, as to not get myself in trouble. I had such anxiety about making any mistakes for fear of being shamed, beaten or rejected. That is not normal! It’s not wrong to make mistakes or question things but that was the message I received. It was always my fault, if I had a problem or if I was crying about something. Feelings were not encouraged & my dad was emotionally closed off. My parents were always concerned/fearful of spoiling me & my siblings. You don’t spoil a child with Love!…That is an important emotional need to have your parents love you as that creates trust & stability. Sorry for rambling but your comments spoke to me about the abuse & calling it something else for so long. It is what it is and it’s UGLY!
Sonia

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SMD,
I’ve struggled lately to call it abuse. Yep, a step back. UGH!! I have said I was the black sheep and made bad decisions…. because I was told that. I’m starting to emerge from that lately. I wonder if I really did make bad decisions. I wonder if my mom just made a catastrophe out of everything, making me think it was a bad decision. I have to ponder and write this stuff out and sort through it. Was I really that bad?? Or, was I a normal teen? I wasn’t doing anything my friends weren’t doing. I don’t think their parents were making them out to be criminals with no future. I don’t know anymore. I’m struggling with confusion. One of those steps back I love so much!! Haha!
Love,
Mimi

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Thanks Mimi and SMD, for responding. I agree that abuse is abuse…now and for the last decade or so, I have been coming to terms with it, on my own. But for the most part, in the way that Darlene describes so well, Bless her!

But I wrote this so people who were confused about abuse could maybe see themselves here, and begin to realize that some abusers had some “good actions” mixed in to the abuse. Hardly any abusers are abusing kids in a way everybody can see, after all.

Also for some of the older abused folks like me, I’m 60 now, who grew up in a time before abuse was called abuse.
Back when abuse was “good parenting, ” and preached in church and all. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” was taken very literally, let me tell you.

Not that it excuses anything, but I would guarantee most of your grandparents, or even your parents, depending on how old you are, reader, would have similar upbringing, similar internalized normals. And most of them, still in the fog themselves, wouldn’t define their upbringing as abnormal or abusive. Sometimes it helps to know these things. For me it cut down the amount of rage I felt, although it didn’t stop me from saying no to continued abuse, that is, AFTER I began to realize it WAS abuse. And while rage can be cleansing to some degree just like a fever, like a fever if rage gets too hot or stays too long, it can cause convulsions and brain death.

For me just knowing the customary norms of the past kept me from such convulsions, let me use the rage/fever constructively to “kill the germs of erroneous understanding” but not too much or too long so that it harmed more than helped.

Before i began to recognize what was the norm of the past as abuse, like I said, I thought it was normal, because..it was.

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My Dad once told me that his mama’s favorite saying was “I never hit a lick amiss.”
It was a play on words. It meant “I never hit unless it was well deserved.” But it sounded like she never missed.

Dad, who grew up on a farm during the Great Depression, told how if he did not clean his plate, he would have to eat off the mantel for a week. This meant it would take at least a week for his backside to heal enough to sit.

Now my grandma was not generally, a mean person, nor was she in the habit of making up clever phrases, so I feel sure this was handed down for generations. Dad said she never hit hard, and grandpa would get mad about that sometimes. Dad didn’t say what grandpa would do about that, to grandma or to the kid that wasn’t punished severely enough. But having to go to the woodshed was apparently serious indeed: grandpa, like his father before him, used his leather shaving strop there.

Of course, my grandma lived in the time when the “rule of thumb” was still practiced. In case you don’t know, this meant that a husband could beat his wife as long as he did not use a rod greater in diameter than his thumb, and it was common law. Consider this a bit. Consider also that few wives dared take husbands to court for using bigger rods.

Her mama lived when little kids could be used in towns as factory workers, and on farms as day laborers. And could be punished by bosses as easily as by parents.

Funny, my mama said she never was spanked as a child, even though she did most of the beating at my house.(she said she was never bad enough to deserve one) or else she did the “wait til your father gets home” and told dad to do her dirty work. So he, like many fathers of the day, was required to beat his kids for whatever their mother said they did, whether or not she told the truth or got the whole story.

This was the norm.

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Karenina
This is exactly the way it is. We don’t know we are even doing it. We don’t know what abuse is or that it happened to us. (although strangely when someone else tells a similar story of their own childhood we seem to know THAT was abuse) It takes lots of time to sort out. I am glad that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hugs back to you, Darlene.
I don’t know how you keep up with all these comments. But I really appreciate your comments and your posts. I am glad to be here too.

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Darlene ….how do you recognize people who are abusive? I have a difficult time doing that…some times….is there. A way to see early on? I have looked at lists for abuser traits…but I only find these out after I been sucked I….ellà your very young…time is your friend! I really hate when I fall into doormat mode…it seems to creep up on me…however I know better! I usually love to help people out…even when I can’t…I would like to stop doing that…I mean no one has ever done for me what I put out there…I feel stupid for being like this.

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Hi Kimberly
For me the more that the fog lifted the more I saw things that I had not seen before. It’s just a time and healing thing.
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Karenina
Thank you for your appreciation! Well sometimes I don’t know how I keep up with it either. (the last two days I have not been able to so I will read them but likely not be able to comment back to many. In the last 3.5 weeks I have had 1000 comments. eeks. I am going on vacation with my daughter next week for some much needed time off!
Hugs, Darlene

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Kimberley – I sympathise with you. I was always the lovely child that wanted to help anyone and everyone, and would nurse an injured bird back to health. I was always a good girl, I didn’t play up, I was into my books, never had a teenage angst phase. People used to walk all over me, my mum criticised me for being a doormat many times and then you think, oh it must be me, I must have a sign on my head, saying come and abuse me. Then you think, oh I must change, I must become less of an easy target and be more self serving, and do what suits me, and block out the thoughts of their pain from my actions. But, how I am as a person and how I act are 2 different things. My nature and fabric is that I care deeply, I love deeply, I am hugely empathetic. I cut out all the doormat behaviour, came out of my shell, and learned to put my needs first and challenge where I should. Now I’m too assertive, and too this, too that. It doesn’t stop an abuser from smelling your lovely character traits from afar and worming their way in. I’ve felt pushed and pulled in different directions by my Mum, boyfriends and friends and more recently my boss. I don’t want to be one those people that thinks everyone is going to abuse me, or I’ll never be able to love and trust properly again.

I’ve tried to find a balance between making early observations and letting something play out until my instinct tells me to get rid. If someone that enters my life seems to not have a set of working ears, that will trigger an alarm, and then if it starts to develop into near constant criticisms or you find yourself feeling guilty or apologetic for how you are, for doing your thing, chances are, I will probably be inclined to think I might be repeating another mistake!

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Darlene,

thank you for writing this. I am feeling a lot of pain and loneliness tonite and it’s related to the choices I’ve made with men being rooted in a great need to feel ‘special’.

As I’ve mentioned before, my dad bought a lot of porn and bought it in my presence starting from when I was a little kid. I only remember it being the two of us when he did that, and I always felt very uncomfortable and ‘wrong’. He one time endangered me by depositing me in front of an adult bookstore while he went inside. It was a seedy part of Yonge Street in Toronto and I wondered why the ladies were pacing back and forth; I felt down that the man staring at me as he walked by saw my ‘ugliness’.

He locked himself in the bathroom all night, Mom had a bucket but I don’t remember us kids having one. Years later when I told mom I knew what he was doing she laughed. Always had inappropiate reactions. I saw his genitals exposed many times as he slept on the couch and can’t forget the image. I would not be surprised if it went further but I don’t remember. I know he spoke of me like I was almost in a second wife position.

I started to really downgrade my looks as a teenager. My mom said I’d never get a man. I finally moved away to university. I needed a student loan and one day I saw the Head of the College for the necessary approval. In his office, he kissed me on the forehead. I felt special. I came back again and in his office he french-kissed me. I was so surprised but felt chosen, special. We started what I’ll graciously call an “affair”. Cheap sex stuff in the office or his home. I fell for him and felt wanted and special. It lasted a year and a half. I was SO hungry for sexual validation. That meant I was wanted and desired.

I met my ex at that time, and I couldn’t believe someone wanted me for a relationship. He knew I was a heavy drinker right away but threw it in my face when it continued. I had a few hangovers where I’d be lying in bed with him right in my face demanding the keys. He ripped a door off its hinge when he was locked out after a fight, once gave me a black eye, punched walls a couple of times. But I stayed, who else would want me. He had the same attitude as my family, I was the messed up one in need of care.

He stopped having sex with me, I felt completely undesirable. He told me he was a pedophile, I stayed. I struggle with that one, but therapy has helped. I never saw him act strange toward a child. I loved him by the time he said that, and he also backtracked when he saw my reaction, saying “Oh that was long ago when I was a teenager, it was really more the guy I hung out with”. I never forgot his admission, but he would from then on deny having said it. He denied it on his dead son’s life. Two years ago, after we broke up he was arrested on internet child porn offenses and spent ayear and a half in prison. I still see him on the buses today.

After years without sexual attention from him, I had casual encounters with men who showed interest. Came out of the hospital one night, chatted with a man having a cigarette, ended up spending the night. Hooked up with men from the internet. The last few months I was with my ex, I started an online thing with a Chicago businessman who was due to take a business trip to Toronto. I was in a hotel 4 nights with him, my ex did not protest. I was 42 years old, and I believed this man when he said online he loved me. Before we met even.

I’m embarrassed by that today but that was my need to be loved and seen as special. I got him flowers and a book on a topic he was interested in. He didn’t pay attention to the flowers and made a big show of the dollar store necklace he had for me. He did things that were degrading sexually. He wanted pictures, I posed. He called me beautiful, I really liked that. How often I had been called ugly in life, snorted at and barked at on the street when I was heavy. I had very little spending money, I was on disability. I wanted to see a movie during the day while he worked. He said he wanted to help but his credit card had been jammed in a machine back in Chicago.

When I got back home I felt terrible, my ex had put up the Christmas tree and decorations. I felt like the biggest piece of shit. I knew I could not continue, I had to get my own place, and I did within 2 months, after being with him for 19 years. It was my very first apartment, I’d had rooms in my twenties, but never my own apartment.

I’m still in this apartment and feel so lonely. I’ve focused so much on getting attention from others, but realize now I must repair my relationship with myself. I’ve never really even had a relationship with myself, I’ve been avoiding me much as I can, not wanting to get near the ‘bad’.

I never really knew how much damage was done to me before this year. I just thought I was weak and desperate and HURTING people when I never meant to, I never have wanted to hurt anyone. When I told my sister last year about the online encounters with strange men she got angry and said, “Do you know how painful this is?” and I dropped it feeling like a screw up again. Now I think, “What about MY pain?”

Her statement is really the family view of things: I am hurting them, I have always hurt them, even in my pain I hurt them, what’s wrong with me? But there wasn’t anything wrong with me, I was just looking for some support.

I’m beginning to think there never was anything wrong with me, and I feel like this really powerful woman is ready to come out, a real survivor courageous enough to be my great authentic self. I do feel better for having written this.

{{{HUgs}}}

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Hi Doren
Thank you for sharing these painful and difficult stories with me. You have certainly been through a lot. I know that feeling too, when I began to realize there was nothing ever really wrong with me, it was what happened to me that was the problem. My dysfunctional childhood served to prepare me for dysfunctional relationships in adulthood.

When I came to that realization that I had to repair the relationship with me I was almost more dejected than when I thought I had to repair it with my mother. It helped me to remember that I had been taught HOW to treat me in a very dysfunctional way. I continue to learn how to imporve my relationship with me as more clarity comes all the time about how I learned to treat myself as “nothing” and how everyone else came first.

I am excited to meet the really powerful woman (you) who is ready to come out!
Hugs, Darlene

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Thanks {{{Darlene}}} I am really touched…

I forgot to mention that, similar to your story in this post, the Chicago businessman made a call to his wife while I was in the room with him. I felt very uncomfortable and guilty for hurting another woman who had done nothing to me. He of course felt fine and I imagine it was an ego boost. But I was taking the shame for everyone.

My parents were fairly overt in treating me as weak and sick mentally. They not only said those things but sabotaged my sense of independence. They laughed when I said at 14 I’d be out of the house by the age of 20. When I first got a room at 19 my Dad was angry, telling me I was giving money to a stranger. I see now that any signs of health were going to be shot down, and I was always to think of them first.

Your support means a great deal. This site is helping me discover the true powerful woman inside underneath all that oppression. I’m starting to not feel so ashamed of my life as ‘wasted’—but rather as a survivor’s story and a testament to my strength.

{{{HUgs}}}

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Doren
I had to pay special attention to these things (like the guy called his wife while he was with you) because these were the things that used as “proof” against myself that “they” were right about me. I never realized that I had learned that I was ‘bad’ or that I was not important’ and I therfore sought ‘love’ and attention from unloving and even dangerous sources. It isn’t that I was not accountable for the choices that I made as an adult as much as it is about that I saw and validated WHERE and HOW I learned to treat myself that way and to feel more comfortable in the abusive and dysfunctional relationships that I attracted and was attracted to.
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Darlene,

at the time it just felt so awkward to be there while he phoned her, but I didn’t see, on a conscious level anyway, that it was also disrespect towards me. I was taking all his actions at face value. I just took things and accepted scraps because something was better than nothing. I wasn’t aware that I was telling myself that scraps were all I deserved. But, I was continually placing myself in these kind of situations where I would end up ashamed, used, left behind and feeling unimportant and disappointed.

It was not conscious on my part but I was reinforcing the same messages I’d received as a child. I know I have sought unavailable or disrespectful men who never feel accountable for anything. I find myself drawn to them because they showed sexual interest in me, they found me desirable, and that is loaded for me. I know I was taught this was my number one worth as a woman. Over and over again I’ve felt a need to have these men ‘see’ how special I am. Women too, but more men. Can’t just be average, but special. It’s compounded in my head by the fact that I have been called special, in a good way, many times in life, by teachers, and sometimes men, who then reject me right away anyway.

I want to work on my relationship with myself so that I’m not looking for people to fill me up and tell me who I am. That is a big risk partly because, as you’ve written, there’s the fear that I will find out for sure how bad I am. But, another part of me knows the truth….I am not bad at all. Rather perhaps, I’ve been afraid to really accept when people have said I’m special (and meant it). I’ve been afraid of my power, of stepping into myself. I’ve dreamt and fantasized about transformation for years but in truth I am afraid of it. What do I do with that power? It is pressing on me inside that the time has come to push myself despite this fear…

{{{HUgs}}}

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Mandy…I could not agree more with your post! Sadly. Yes. I find that being a doormat and always apologetic is my curse in life. Because I wear my heart on my sleeve and naturally want to help…I get kicked for that…over and over again. I finally figured out that I can’t help my mom anymore. I can’t be her friend or help her see or pray fir her. Cause she is who she is and she won’t ever change. Yes it’s us who have to change…who have to accept this loss and that people aren’t who we thought they were.
It’s horrible losing your entire family you lived all your life…downright horrible…and there are no real greuving groups fir that loss…it’s like it’s your fault cause you choose to protect yourself.

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Hi Doren
I was afraid of finding the real me and finding out ‘they’ were right about me, that was a big part of this, but that never happened. I did see some things about me (like over reacting to people or mean judgement of people) that I did need to change about me, but that all came with healing. My reactions etc. came from the dysfunction in the first place. Seeing the truth about the roots of all this helped in every area.
I believe that the purpose of power is to empower. Everyone has power and it is what we do with it that counts. I was very afraid of my power because my exp. of power was always negitive! Today I know that as long as I don’t abuse my power, (use it to squish other people) that I have nothing to be afraid of. I can hold my head high and know that I live in truth and that ALL people have equal value.
Hugs, Darlene

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I ran away from home 1st time at 15 a story in itself. I went back to ma’s house after 2 weeks i wondered what i was doing there she and her boyfriend now huaband xid not hardly say a word to me. I was offered by a new boyfriend tk move a Harley MC shop to california 3k miles away. I left with $2.00 in my pocket and a bag of clothes.
After a few beatings from him. I called Ma i was in Long Beach California no whee to sleep. She told me how lucky she was most runnaways never call there parents. She still hung up the phone. luckilly I found an unlocked Uhaul truck to sleep in. I lived on those streets for two years raised by outlaw bikers with more heart than my mother I was 16 now I am 50. I came back here after 15 years took 17 in full of her sick behavior to almost go insane. When i was 16 she told me to go on SSI id never amount to anything. Well i did go back to College i did amount to something that she could never acknowlege because that would mean she was wrong and shed rather me be in an insane asylem than be wrong. Thats the live of my mother. I once said u spent no time with me as a child. She said “what u want me to watch the brady bunch with you” Completely meant to demean me and it worked but i wish i would have said jo be i. Bar with 200 Hessians and one man dead now Guyrun put me to sleep in there leather coats with colors Maybe she should been one tucking me in. Maybe the legal system politicians and those who judge people like us should learn some respect for us instead prisons are full of us. Throw away people. They live in a world of blindness. Sorry all they would have done for me back then would have been to lock me up. God help this very sick cold world and thank god for the internet where we an have a voice and meat others of our kind. God bless us all for surviving with little ir no help dark jn our own pain. Kady

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Hi Kady
You are not alone in this, that is for sure! What a nightmare your childhood was. I don’t understand these mothers either, but there is hope for healing from the damage that all this caused! It is amazing that you survived and I am really glad you are here now! You will find lots of info and support on this site.
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene. I am hoping so after 4 years this has been the first time i have read anything that gave me hope there are other human beings that understand. It is all so covert and cleaverly webbed. I also was in two pathological narcisistic marriages my motger told me i would not make it without my x. She reminds me of the song ” kick them when there down. Thanks for respinding to my post. Hugs kady

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Hi Darlene! I’m amazed how much of your sharing stirs up old memories that I thought I had put to rest. When I look at myself now and take responsibility for what belief systems I created from the way I was treated, it’s really heartbreaking to think how little I thought of myself. I had no sense of value and bottom line, I just didn’t think I mattered to anyone. I have gone through my whole family history and all the dynamics and it’s clear to me that I come from a long line of deeply wounded people who did not know how to love and nurture their children. Both my parents came from abuse and neglect and passed that down to me and my sister. I was pretty much set up to fail in my life and I’m truly grateful that I found my way to the truth of who I really am. I really like where I am on my journey because I know I finally found a path to true empowerment. I’m very proud of myself for breaking out of my family dysfunction and I’m looking forward to experiencing life through unconditional love. I still have some challenges ahead and I’m facing them with strength, courage and hope. I like the person I am today and I know i will continue to expand the love I have inside myself. Thank you so much for sharing all your insights and truths, they are priceless to me. Namaste!

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My heart goes out to you all. Era hasn’t done much to protect women. But it’s sure set up perverts up in paradise. It’s so heart breaking what they’ve done to so many young girls.

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Hi Lora
I am very proud of you (and myself) for breaking out of it too! YAY. I love your positive post today!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Jeffry
Yes, heartbreaking. Thanks,
hugs, Darlene

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Isn’t that the truth – we did not tell anyone because we would have been judged the slut the throw away, but truth is even though we did not tell we were judged anyway. By school system, juditial system neighbors so called friends. They new something was wrong and just like us asumed it was us. I attracted so much abuse in my life and excepted the same because I was raised to believe it was who I was and what I deserved. To find the real truth took me over 40+ years and only the first time a therapist told me I was abused did I own the truth because up to that point no one listened no one understood because I had developed so many mask to hid behind that searching for something to validate me I now though still hard am learning to validate myself. Thank the higher power I did not die that way and I do get the chance to learn I am worth loving even if I am the only one who see’s it. The Juditial system still brands us based on our familiys and yes we are held to blame and unfortanate as it is unless we take responsibility we now are and thats seems unfair but true. Love your site. Kat

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Hi Kat
Welcome to EFB!
I totally relate to what you have just said! Someone with “credibility” also told me that I was abused and that was the beginning for me too. Something that I have found out now though is that when I believe that all that past stuff about me was all lies, the system treats me differently too. I can say all kinds of stuff about the dysfunctional family system now and nobody opposes me like before when I wasn’t totally sure about it. Its amazing how much people pick up on what they can get away with and what they pick up that they WON’T get away with anymore! Glad you are here, thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

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Absolutely,
It is amazing to watch the denial of those around us by telling my story looking for validation , love , acceptance I was actually doing the opposite of what I was looking for. I was actually teaching people how to abuse me. I still find myself doing it though. It is so simple yet so complex I believe its called a paradox. I have stayed away from my familiy, should I ever see them again which I doubt I will listen and look with different eyes and ears. I actually listen to everything differently and know it is not me I am no better no worse than anyone else. My heart goes out to those in prison and mental institutions due to the lies. Could have easilly been me. They suffered in families like mine and then suffered in life due to the covert cover ups of this dysfunction. Society perpetuates. I think we on our way one awaken person at a time hopefully we will be heard not as victims but the warriors we truly are. “We have the power of life or death in our words”. Its a long and not easy process but yet easier and easier as truths are revealed.

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P.S. We all must hang in there and love ourselves enough to do our work and cut off all Toxic people until we are given the tools to handle them. Thank God for the internet and sites and people who were brave enough to tell the truth. Thank You!

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