Inspirational Quotes that Cause Harm saying HOW you Got Screwed Up


Damaging inspirational quotesI saw a poster on facebook.  It reminded me of the extremely foggy place that I emerged from.  It reminded me of the lies that I told myself in order to resist looking at the truth about my life. Believing this type of statement, (or trying to) became a big part of how I survived. It was also how I beat myself up. 

The poster states: “What screws us up most in life is the picture in our heads of how it’s supposed to be”

~ Survival thinking was: “As soon as I can achieve this standard and realize that my own thinking and expectations are the problem then, I will be able to put the problem (which is really all in my head) behind me.”

~ Self abusive thinking was: “I am a failure at getting over the past because I am the one who is wrong about it; I should be able to realize that my expectations are way out of line.”

Again, The poster states: “What screws us up most in life is the picture in our heads of how it’s supposed to be”

This poster is intended to be motivational and inspirational. The poster is inferring that “fantasy thinking” is the root of the problem. That unreasonable visions of how it should have been “screws us up”.  That this fictional thought in my head is what screwed ME up.

I have heard this type of teaching in 12 step programs, self help books, churches and religious teachings and from countless people.  I learned and tried to accept that my problem was that I longed for some sort of “perfect family” like we saw on television and that there is no such family. I learned to tell myself to “get real” and get over the past. Just “let it go”. I learned and tried to accept that my “expectations” got in the way of my ability to accept reality as though the reality that I was trying to accept was actually good.  As though the bad stuff wasn’t bad but that I had some unreasonable wish for how it was “supposed to be.”  I was conditioned and brainwashed to believe that I was making a big deal over “nothing” and that the breakdown of my mental health and self esteem issues were not only of my own making but also my own fault, my “failure” and my weakness”.  I learned that I had “a problem” instead of that this was all caused FROM a problem that had nothing to do with my choice.

The fact is that my reality was not good. If what screwed me up in life was the picture in my head of how it was supposed to be, then what screwed me up was that I thought I was supposed to be safe and protected. I thought I was supposed to be loved and even nurtured. I thought that I should not have had to live in fear of the next beating or the next sexual assault.  I thought THAT was how it was supposed to be. 

I was caught in a fog spin by these so called inspirational and motivational quotes.  These kinds of sayings and quotes were the things that I lived by. I would have posted this quote 10 years ago without blinking an eye. These so called motivational and inspirational quotes supported me in escaping the truth of what my life was really like.  As long as I was telling myself that it wasn’t “that bad” and that I had the wrong idea about what it should have been like, I didn’t face what actually had in fact happened to me.

And what had in fact happened is NOT the way it SHOULD have been.

It is not motivating or inspiring to try to convince people that they have a misconception about their own lives.  It causes further damage. It adds to the trauma that being mistreated and devalued already caused. It is not helpful when people or organizations try to encourage people to move forward before the actual truth has been validated.  It is abusive to invalidate the truth by teaching that facing it or talking about it is the same as whining and even the same as lying about it.

Facing the fact that things in my life were NOT the way that they should have been was one of the first things that gave me hope for recovery from the issues that I struggled with overcoming. Being told and then realizing myself that what happened to me was wrong, that is was child abuse and emotional neglect, and that it was not something that I should try to accept as being “meant to be” or something that “made me stronger” or fabrications and exaggerations that were “all in my head” helped to set me free. Understanding how much these beliefs held me back was like silky healing balm on festering wounds.

Overturning these beliefs became keys in the rusty locks of the prison I had been trapped in since childhood.  My childhood (and because of this brainwashing, continuing on into adulthood) was NOT the way it SHOULD have been.  It was NOT my weakness, my imagination or fantasy thinking that was the problem; it was that the things that happened to me were WRONG and those things CAUSED the problems. 

I was screwed up because of the way things actually were. 

I found wholeness and freedom by facing the way that things actually were.

NOTE: I spent over 25 years trying to change my thinking about what was wrong with me by accepting that it was ME.  It only took me 3 years to find freedom and wholeness by facing the root causes of my struggles.  

Please share your thoughts and insights with me and the other readers here.  Remember that you do not have to use your real name in the comment form. Your email address will not be shared and only the name you choose will show up in the comment thread.

Exposing Truth one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet                                       

Related Posts ~ The Problem with Statements like “Get Over It” 

~When Inspirational Material triggers Self Blame

Emerging from Broken on Facebook

Categories : Depression



The quote is kinda pseudo buddhism. Sometimes life is messed up andishing it is some other way is a very healthy thing. Sometimes how things are is how things areband recognising that is a good step.

Today was one of those days where i just had to take time to work on how things actually are and how i wnt things to be because both are healthy as is seeing the gap and wanting to close it.

Today i remembered how a bunch of trauma qualified shrinks didnt want my money becase they couldnt cope, they couldnt forsee a solution. Sometimes things are messed up. Sometimes that means doing something about it. Glib phrases may not help in real life…


“NOTE: I spent over 25 years trying to change my thinking about what was wrong with me by accepting that it was ME. It only took me 3 years to find freedom and wholeness by facing the root causes of my struggles. ”

this is the same for me Darlene,only the 3 years on your finding freedom is just starting for me.. will be back later to comment.. G


I don’t think the quote is meant to assign blame. I think it was someone’s revelation. I know I’ve held onto bitterness lately. Been trying to find some peace, somewhere between what I know is right, and what actually is. My instance isn’t about child abuse. It’s a completely separate context. When it comes to my mother, forget it. I am done sharing her blame. But when it comes to other relationships, I do need to check my expectations. It’s all relative.


I saw that on facebook too, shared it even. I’m at a place where I’m struggling with what *is* right now and the divide between that and what was *supposed* to be. Reminding myself that stepping back and analyzing is a good thing, is a good thing. Especially when I’m struggling like I am at the moment.

I’m fully aware that I did not cause the reality of the situations. I know how totally wrong it was that I had to have that dysfunction in my life. I still am feeling a whole lot of (totally reasonable) anger and grief at the moment for the things that *should* have been. I’m having lots and lots of trouble with remembering that *I* am the one to create my own perception of reality, and that even past events can be reframed. Seems like that’s not nearly so easy as it could sound though, grin. For me, the power doesn’t seem to rest in knowing and repeating that it was wrong and not my fault, that I didn’t cause the hours and hours of interrogation and constant deprecation to my Self. It’s something more. Reminding myself that my framing of the past and my expectations of the now are MINE, and thus subject to change at will… feels so much more powerful to me.

Obviously it doesn’t always work. When it follows that I feel put out with my inability to reframe, *then* I remind myself -again- that it’s not my failure. It’s his failure, years ago, to treat me like a person. It’s his bad behaviour that has caused my tendency to beat myself up over things far beyond my own scope of responsibility.

It’s not any single glib phrase that got me to this place, after all. It was much more than one single statement repeated to me over and over that took my power from me and created a sense of self-loathing and the belief that it was my responsibility to make others happy, or else. If it helps me feel powerful, I’m going to give it a place in my arsenal of defense for the next time I start hearing a voice, saying something belittling, start up in my head.


Hi Darlene,

thankyou for yet another oh-so-important message! It would be very interesting to one day go back over the many “self-help” style books I still have (many of which I don’t read anymore because I found myself feeling worse when I read them — an unfortunate quirk of mine is that I find it EXTREMELY difficult to trust my own judgment and get rid of things that don’t help me — I strongly suspect this is something to do with my indoctrination that everyone knows better than me etc [ESPECIALLY if they’ve published a book, because everyone knows that books are always 100% true and verified fact, rather than just someone’s OPINION that publishers think they can sell])

(That last part was sarcasm at my own unhelpful views, btw… only just woke up & not sure if I’m making much sense…)

Anyway, point was that I suspect going back over many of these books I’d find a whooooole lot of similarly pseudo-psychological crap that is, as you say, not only wrong but actively HARMFUL for those of us who have been “screwed up” NOT by our own thoughts but by CHILD ABUSE.

My brain wants me to try and “balance” things out here by trying to imagine if the “screwed up by picture in our heads” statement COULD be true/helpful for people who didn’t suffer child abuse. But I suspect this is a form of my long-term abusive training to automatically blame myself and automatically defend, write off, or find excuses for everyone who hurts me.

What a f**king mess. Stupid parents!!!!!

(That seems an improvement from saying/thinking “stupid brain!!!” as I often tend to do. I’m going to choose to see that as a big positive!) 🙂

My birthday is creeping ever closer. Already chosen to turn down one offer for dinner from old family friends. Was actually honest and said I didn’t feel like celebrating at the moment. That friend has depression too, and understood fortunately. Not expecting the same understanding from family. Oh well.

Thanks again Darlene. I think it’s only been a month or two since I first found this site (at least since I found the courage to start posting) and I’m already applying for welfare, low-income housing to try and get the hell away from this dysfunction factory (ie my family home). Much of it feels like luck/chance etc, and finding it pretty difficult to reconcile that my father was the one who suggested the people who are currently helping me with the applications (given that I’m still planning to cut off if/when I do get out, at least to start with), but hey.

I really think that the most important part of your message (for me, at least) is just the clarity/validation around BEING CLEAR and HONEST about what was done to me, and NOT just automatically blaming myself for every single dysfunction/mental ilness/difficulty I have in my life. I think that’s what’s really helping me to try and make changes and remove myself from the negative influence of my parents after all these years, rather than just sinking further and further into the stagnation that I’ve been drowning in. FINALLY started to kick back! (even if in very small, and mostly private ways for now)

🙂 (that’s gotta be worth a smily, right?!)

wishing everyone peace, love and light


There ae tiems when some of the posts on facebook feel like a slap in the face. Glib, trite phrases that are trotted out to “inspire” – or perhaps they just let someone off the hook, so they don’t have to look at the reality of some peoples’ lives. Another recent post was about how “wonderful” families are. Not mine – not yours either. It was like being punched in the stomach.
I remember dreaming about a different family, trying to think myself into being “better” so that I would get better attention and care – it never happened. So then the thought process develops that this is all tehre is, this is what I “deserve”, that it will never be any different. Workshops I have attended over the decades told me variations on the theme that if I only BELIEVED enough/properly then I would be healed. Another lie. Or give myself over to a higher power – Hmmm – in my childhood, the “higher power” was my abuser. So I was not about to go there again….. Religion – well, in my mind, where was God when I was being hurt?? He was no more present than my parents when it came to protecting me, punishing my abusers. SO much psycho-babble and B……t.
It was not me who needed to “believe” – it was the responsibility of others – parents, teachers, etc, to BELIEVE ME when I told them I was being abused. The truth is setting me free – I am slowly discovering what REALLY happened, seeing the reality for what it was – memories are emerging from the depths – having been repressed for decades. Each week something changes – sometimes I am reeeling from the shock and horror, some days I feel awake and alert, somedays I am just shattered. Today is one of the latter.
Fantasy thinking sustained me as a child – it was the only “hope” I had. I won’t have it belittled by some half-assed pseudo-guru who thinks a poster will help you to “get over it”.
Sorry Darlene, that’s MY rant for the day!


Thanks again, Darlene. I also found that all those years of trying to change my thinking didn’t help, just made it worse it seems. But the last two years of simply finding and facing the truth, the truth that it was not my thoughts that hurt me, but abuse and neglect on the part of others, and then feeling ALL the emotions that came up as a result, has truly changed me and my life. I have moved beyond long-term addictions of all kinds, and I am becoming confident and effective in ways I never dreamed possible. I still have many rough patches, but realizing the truth gives me the tools I need to cope with them.


Hi Mike
Sad truth though isn’t it? (that some professionals don’t have a clue about the solution)

Leslea Tash
I don’t think the quote is meant to assign blame either. I write a lot about the way things impact the belief system and the development of that belief system. All I was attempting to share here is the way some people “hear” a quote like this.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Sherie
Would you mind defining “reframed”?
having asked that, remember that the belief system formation is not a fault. It is what it is. The way that I overcame all this stuff was to see things as they were and realize what my beliefs were. I had so many beliefs that were false and that is what needed to be changed.
I look forward to your explaining what you mean by “reframed”
hugs, Darlene


Hi Libby
Yes I agree ~ many of these seem like ways to just not look at reality and without meaning to, they inspire a deep down guilt and the feeling that the reader is the only one that doesn’t “get it” and the only one that can’t move forward.
I love your comments. Fantasy thinking sustained us all as children. It was such a gift… but it got in the way when I was trying to live as an adult.
and You are right, it was the responsibility of others to believe YOU. And I love the rant…so don’t be sorry.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Sophia,
The longer that I live in the truth and discover more truth, the more freedom and happiness that I experience.
I love your victory comments here! Thank you so much for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


i still get told t this day that the way i see things is wrong because it doesnt fit into how someone else wants me to see a situation. also because i now wont take what others say to me as truth and question ho wthings are in reality and not just in their heads, i am and have had abuse heaped on me. how i hate that my opinions of family life have been skewed by how my parents and their families treated me, but then to have someone tell me i havent a clue what im on about and am projecting my anger from my childhood into the present. and how am i meant to project my opinion then? if i cannot use my life experiences to state an opinion what do i have to use, the opinions of others – who might never have been in the situations i have been in and use words of academia’s giants to state my case. mmm why is my truth not as relevant as someone who has researched the issue but never been in the situation in reality. (got me uni head on). arghhhhh so who’s version should we agree is based in fact or fantasy, mine or theirs. it that horrible word perception that causes so many problems


Hi J
I love that you are realizing some of the forward steps that you are actually taking in the midst of the pain you also having. That is so valuable! YAY
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


I may be misunderstanding you; what you have written is a little complicated but ~ Why do they have to agree with you in order for you to be right? One of the biggest freedoms for me has been to just KNOW that I am right about MY truth and that “they” (some) are always going to say that I am wrong. I don’t care if they think or say that I am wrong. I dont need them to validate my “right” any more. AND I am free. I disagree with many many so called professionals. I get requests from therapists all the time who want to guest post for me. (they are trolling for clients) I have never agreed with a post enough to allow it on my site! What is funny about this is that I am the one with all the readers! NOT them!

My daughther is in UNI now too, and she regularly disagrees with her psych proff and she doesn’t worry about who is right. I love to hear the stories about how they are taught this stuff. I don’t agree with much of it!
Here is what I do know for sure. This process that I write about has set me free. The truth about my past and facing that truth is what set me free. I don’t care if it validated by the medical/psychiatric community because I am free. (and many of them don’t want to recommend facing the past becasue they themselves might have to do it too)


Hi Darlene, I watched a movie on Lifetime (I am on vacation)about a mother and father who were being abused by their teenage daughter. In an argument over what was happening to them, the dad told the mom that no matter what the kids dis wrong while they were growing up, she twisted it around until it seemed that it was her fault. I jumped when he said that because that is exactly how I was when I raised my kids and with some of the same result. I not only hurt myself by trying to accept responsibility for everything that went wrong, the way I was taught to, but I hurt my children too. One thing I’ve learned about inspirational teachings is that they seldom adress the needs of people from highly dysfunctional families. However, the Bible itself has helped me when I tossed out the way that cerain portions of scripture are taught and spiritually, applied them to my own situation. The truth is so important in healing and each survivor must find that truth for themselves. Trying to control the uncontrolable or taking responsibility when something goes wrong as the result of another’s actions, is a lie. Like you, when I quit lying to myself, things started to get better.Bearing the responsibility for my own actions only is so much easier and life is so much happier.



We are 100% NOT responsible for other people’s actions or behavior. We are only 100% responsible for our own behavior. I try not to tell my son, “You MAKE me so angry.” No, instead, I CHOOSE to let his behavior anger me or I CHOOSE to remain calm. It’s MY choice.


The price of mass education is high. It cost us our sanity if we try to follow it. It takes money from our bank accounts to support those who provide it. It divides us from others, who otherwise might have been our friends, but in these settings, end up being our judges.


I’ll see what I can do to clarify what I meant earlier, Darlene.

An example. In the past, when an incident would haunt me, repeating through my head, I would be thinking about all the things that I could have done to keep what happened from coming about in an attempt to recognize my mistakes in the future and correct for them sooner.

Now, I try to sit with the memory of the experience. Hold it, let it remind me of the feelings that went with the event. Then, instead of looking at things *I* could have done, take each and every one that my mind might try to throw at me and reframe it into something that someone else could have done instead.

Or remind myself that if it hadn’t happened in the way it did, I wouldn’t have learned that lesson as quickly, and who knows how far behind I could be now if that were the case? Asking myself why? Why is it just this way? Why are these statements sounding so certain, when I know I was a victim? Why am I still looking at what *I* did, searching for my fault in there?

All of those come into play too, but for me it has to start with reminding myself to find the root memory, live in it fully for a moment, and then ask why *I* am still looking for my own fault in something that was not of my making or under my control. Stopping that line of self-blame from continuing, and even being compassionate and comforting to the part of me that would feel better if it *were* all my fault after all, that all feels so very important to me.


I just realized that these kind of sayings used to make me feel guilty and “backward” too! Same thing with people who would so earnestly tell me how they “understood” and “forgave” their parents for hurting them. I felt that I must really be some kind of monster for not being so compassionate, and I would beat myself up further. Now I realize I’ve changed, I’m not interested in what sounds pretty or makes someone look like some kind of saint. I’m interested in what WORKS.


Hi Pam
There was an element of this the way that I raised my kids too, and an even bigger one in my marriage where I was willing to take responsibility for the results of everything that went wrong. I spend a huge amount of time on this in my healing esp. in the first year. And people LOVE to let others take the blame and it seemed like my life was just spiralling out of control until I wanted to leave home. (the beginning of my journey to real recovery started 8 years ago when I began to see that my kids were learning, agreeing with and contributing to the discounting treatment of me that I had actually taught them was acceptable by letting my parents and my husband do it! This is a huge subject, thanks for highlighting it!
Thanks for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

Exactly what I am getting at here! Yay
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sherie,
I have heard of this type of exercise; thank you for clarifying.
My system and process of recovery were very different from what you describe here. I just look at the facts about what happened and what I believed about myself because of them without trying to do all that other stuff. For instance I looked at this trauma event where a babysitter sexually abused me. As I processed it, I realized that I believed I should have been able to stop it. That enabled me to realize that I thought I “chose” not to stop it. That made me realize that I believed that I had “consented” not to stop it because I believed I could have and did not. This was a HUGE revelation for me. Overcoming those beliefs was the process of seeing that I COULD not have stopped it first by processing how I thought I could have stopped it, and then by realizing how wrong that was.
Hugs, Darlene


HI Darlene, I agree it is always a good day to give thanks! I have been on my healing journey since I was 28 years old. I am now 48 and truth is very important to me. I understand the things my biological family did to me. Having said that, I used to volunteer for 9 years on a suicide hot line. We have to take a lot of information to figure out if a person is actually suicidal or not. Many are just lonely and call just to talk. From my experience on the suicide line and with someone I was once close to the majority are not always depressed but just on Holidays where they are told by society to feel a certain way. I agree with hat you are saying but there is also truth in the reason some are depressed is because of unrealistic expectations. Not saying they didnt have a dysfunctional family, just saying that society puts so much pressure and some give into it to feel a certain way just because it is a certain day and they expect to feel a certain way. I am talking about people such as my ex husband who was a drug addict who was only really depressed at the holidays or those who call the suicide line who think by a certain age they should be married with kids and commercials and society pressures them into thinking they are lacking. As far as abuse I think you know I feel it is 100% wrong on any level and abuser survivors suffer tremendously on all levels. But I do agree with the idea that many just get depressed for the holidays due to giving into society pressures and expectations. I always have been a nonconformist and conforming to peoples expectations has never been my thing. I have been physically sick. There are a lot of physical issues at once. But I am grateful for my life and dont expect because it is a holiday I won’t feel sick. My husband serves the homeless on holidays in spite of challenges he has with his family and life and I just feel expecting that because it is a holiday that all of the sudden life will be very different is unrealistic and just know from experience that some who suffer mainly on the holidays suffer due to unrealistic expectations. I am saying this all as an abuse survivor who has survived incest, rape physical abuse from parents and my ex husband,also cancer and physical illness , and I have faced it all in truth. Not saying I do not struggle not saying that at all just saying that there are real truths on both side of this and both can and are right in my opinion.


Something else occurs to me when I think about this phrase, this idea that it is a problem to believe that things could or should be different than how they are. Hey, people have change the world because they refused to give up on the idea that conditions should be different! This is what brought an end to slavery, or allowed women to vote, or created all sorts of changes socially, politically, spiritually, because some people DID think that having a vision of how things could be better was not a problem they should give up on, because they were not content with accepting the “reality” of the times.


That is my goal. To change the way we think about love, parenting, equality and personal value. To expose the misuse of power and control at the root of it all. I don’t like the reality of the times; it kept me sick and stuck. I don’t agree with the way things are now!
Great Points Sophia, thanks for sharing them!


Sort of reveals how manipulators work, doesn’t it? GREAT point about change! Anyone can do it.


Yes Kate
and part of the whole problem is how disempowered as children we are; how brainwashed that if we make the wrong choice, we will be rejected and that being rejected (as a child) equals death.. and that belief is still in there.
Imagine if the world was full of empowered children who were nurtured to grow up and be individuals who learned to think for themselves??
Hugs, Darlene


@Darlene, The thinking for themselves to me is the most powerful statement in this whole thread. I do believe one of the problems with having expectations based on society pressures is that people dont think for themselves. I live in NYC but had the misfortune of living on Long Island for 2 and a half horrible years. The entire island thinks alike. Interesting child abuse is rampant there and people cover it up. There are some good people but most do not think for themselves which causes people to go along with it.I think thinking outside the box is one powerful defense against child abuse or any other kind of abuse. I do not think I would have been 100& healed of cancer if I did or thought what was expected. I am not in remission. Doctors say I am healed and they have never seen anything like it.


Hi Darlene..

It took me so long to come to a place where I can begin to open up to anyone what had happened to me. It was a grace the first time I could speak to someone the hurt that I had pushed so very deep down inside me into some very small hidden place.I use to believe that if I kept on . .no one need know what happened. I had everyone believing life was wonderful. I never dared say I come from a \totally screwed up dysfunctional family and I was probably totally screwed up and dysfuntioal to. I was doing so well at keeping it hid!!so well.

then 2009 happend..something so traumatic triggered all the traumatic that was hidden deep down in me to erupt big time.. I was shaking and shaking the first time i came to admit to myself I needed help. what kind of person would allow another adult to take over their life and order them to do this and that.. I knew I was a very broken and hurt person. I was ashamed to admit I needed help .but tears were falling for the first time and I couldn’t handle the normal every day things because i was totally traumatized and re traumatized. now i had not just one traumatic time in my life but two ..

THere are still those who are “CHRISTIAN” who are telling me just give it all to God .. tell it to God sweety …. etc etc.. Thing is all my life I was telling it to God.. but I was still so so broken.. God seems to be telling me now tell it to the doctors.. tell it to the therapists.. tell it to the world.

I am shy . .and scared to say all but I am beginning to uncover all those things I had kept inside my secret place.. .. I have a wonderful therapist now and all you good people here in this group .. and Darlene who is so supportive.. How can I not begin to heal?





just wanted to say I’m still thinking of you w/court coming up. Hope the deep breathing I remember you mentioning might be helping you ease the pain even a little.

I feel like I had gotten very very good at putting on the happy face mask for most of my life and felt like I convinced most people things were good. It felt like a huge thing to ever actually reply to “how’s it going?” with anything even slightly honest. I also relate to what you mention about religion.

Anyway keep giving yourself as much love and care as you possibly can while you get through this horrible time and know that I’m doing my best to think of you & wish you peace as often as I can.

(My brain’s giving me some grief about being a “broken record” or trying to make myself seem like a “good” person by trying to be so sympathetic for others etc. But I’m not going to let it stop me posting this, because I know how much I’ve appreciated comments and support from people on here since I started posting).

take care Joy!


You know, if the 12-step organizers and church personel need proof that something real is happening to people, all they need to do is look at the scores of people who are suffering as a result of the abuse. If it wasn’t really a problem and was all in our heads then the 12-steps and the churches would have ‘cured’ it by now, right?

People trip me out sometimes.



This is such a valid statement you have made here. That is what I keep saying too. People are even in denial about that too; when I was in both those orginizations, I said it was the answer all the time. But then it wore off and I was back to hurting agian. I didn’t want to admit that I was hurting agian becaue I felt that I had found my last hope, so I lied to myself and beat myself up that “I couldn’t get over it”. I made sure that the true healing I found was NOT a band aid BEFORE I started this website. This time I am not whisteling in the dark to keep my spirits up. I am really living in wholeness and freedom because I finally got to the bottom of the dang problem!
The truth and facing the truth is the cure. (and I know that is a HUGE non specific statement but I have written hundereds of articles about what I mean by that in this site…)
Hugs, Darlene



Thanks for being here.. still. It means so much to me .. all the support and love given here.. You are wonderful.. It’s very very hard for me right now.. so much so I am “hiding” .. afraid. . because am so nervous I might pass on the wrong energy.

I am sorry for late response. I hope your birthday was beautiful.



My pleasure Joy…

I’ve been on the receiving end here and I know how much it can mean. I wish you strength, hope, support, love & light…. and protection (in terms of being afraid of going to court).

Did you mean you’re “hiding” from this site? I often feel worried too about letting all my negativity out…. this may not be a good thing, but I usually just do it anyway and figure it’s better out than in, and that people don’t have to read it (in fact as I think about it, sometimes I put a little “disclaimer” at the start of a msg before I post, so people can at least skip ahead if they don’t want to see negative stuff)

Anyway the point I’m trying to get to is (from my viewpoint at any rate) if you think it would help you to be on here at the moment, I think you should just do it. Maybe others can pass some more positive energy on to you — and although I haven’t been posting here that long myself, it’s been long enough to know that you pass on a LOT of positivity of your own to others!! 🙂

I guess that’s advice again. Or maybe it’s just an opinion. Hard to figure out what’s kosher sometimes.

Nothing to be sorry about btw (I figure no such thing as a late response – everyone’s got their own lives going on). Any response is a good one, I reckon! 🙂 Thankyou very much for the birthday wishes too — I’d been so worried about things “coming to a head” in terms of my family being all happy & wanting me to play the dutiful happy son role, but it was definitely manageable. (I crashed pretty hard the next day though — hadn’t really considered the potential “comedown” after all the stress leading up to it)

And while I think of it, I actually have some GOOD news for once 🙂 I got a letter today saying I’d be receiving a back-payment for several months welfare money, and just remembered to check my bank account — it’s actually in there!!!! (The number has three “zero’s” on the end — my bank account hasn’t seen that in a loooooong time!) 🙂

So I’m thinking I might spoil myself with something I’ve been eyeing off on ebay for a while.

Take care Joy – still thinking of you!!!

Sending you hugs & wishing you strength!



Yet another amazing post. Am so happy I happened upon this place the other day!

I have been told by many people in my life that my expectations are/were too high and for a long time, I believed that. The thing is – and this post sort of confirms it for me – my expectations really AREN’T that unreasonable. Simply wanting to be treated with kindness and respect, to not have people who are supposed to love you purposely seek out ways to hurt you, or even to just be left alone if they can’t/won’t be nice is NOT that unreasonable a request!

Thank you so much Darlene for this forum and your amazing insights!

DA xx



No, I am not hiding from this site.. I am just hiding out from everyone in general till the case happens. I love everyone but am so nervous that I need to just back away from everything, I havent even been on facebook as much. I just need time to clear my head and rest.. because I have som very stressful days..

I am sorry if anyone thought I was hiding from them or here..

Thanks for all the support, Please pray for me



@Joy I do not have time to come on as much and doing a lot of self care myself and I do not know your history as I dont come on often but I just read your last post and having been trough a never ending court case that made International news where I was called a whore they bribed the judge and on and on and on it would sound like science3 fiction if I explained it it was so bad that Dr. Phil taped my story followed me for 5 years and then didnt air the show because his legal team was afraid to get sued. I feel for you whatever your case is about. Mine was so crazy it wasnt about anything except covering up the truth. But most of the opposition we face is bottom line someone in denial covering up the truth. Joy I will pray for you and as a breast cancer survivor I can say for sure ,dont pressure yourself to be “positive” The truth isnt always positive and will cause others to oppose you but in the end it is healing and about expectations I dont believe in being a clone of anyone’s thinking about court or anything else. I have seen so many breast cancer survivors get caught up in trying to be “positive” Then they blame themselves and get depressed if they are not. Self care is very important at this time. Hugs and prayers! This is from a woman who runs the blog Overcoming Sexual abuse and I like it so much it is on my page on Fb.
“I don’t judge my thoughts as positive or negative; I filter them as truth or lies.”-
Christina Enevoldsen
I wish you well in court! As a survivor of so many kinds of abuse I think legal abuse is by far the worse for me. xo


Hi Joy,

There’s nothing for you to be sorry about in my view (even if you had been hiding from the site).

I have days where it seems almost impossible to leave the house. I don’t think usually I’m even hiding from anything specific, maybe it’s just needing to “recharge my batteries” or something.

Anyway still thinking of you – take care!

Hi Pinky,

that must have been terrible! I really like the quote you mentioned and what you said about getting “caught up” trying to be positive. In fact I think I’m going to put the quote in my “inspiring quotes” file. Thanks for sharing!

I haven’t thought of the “justice” system (I sometimes think “injustice system” would be a better name) in the terms you use before (ie legal abuse) but I think it’s a very good description of what many people’s experience.

I really hope things are less crazy for you now than what you described. I can’t imagine what it must be like to deal with that sort of s**t.



@Joy, thanks so much. It got better for a while (its been going on since 2002) and basically they are a bunch of rich abusers who pay off judges. The judge went into hiding for a few months it made the news and everything then she came back and got reelected fro 14 years. As far as court goes because my elderly attorney stepped in right now I dont need to go to court. But they (a bunch of attorneys one judge) because they made the top judge who was good step down and a few extremely wealthy civilians including one of Forbes richest men are still stalking my every move. But the only choice for me is truth. Thanks for caring. ON a side note of legal abuse there was a news story that I have no connection to that the rape victim now has to pay her rapist back!
I do believe that full justice is not found on earth only on the other side of eternity. I agree the injustice system. Right now I have a serious back injury from a hospital from breast cancer surgery. I am not mad at them they wee trying to save my life. But if I was even inclined to sue I would not. The courts are fixed and all of the judges in NY know me or know of me. I would never get justice there so it is more peaceful for me to just do rehabilitation on my own. I wish you well in court!


Hi DisturbedAngel,

I totally agree, it should NOT be too much to ask! Hope you can have some success with finding people who treat you as you deserve to be treated (not to mention treating yourself how you deserve – often also very hard I find)

Hi Pinky,
I’m glad at least you don’t have to go to court right now – that sort of ongoing abuse within legal system must be truly horrible. It sounds really positive that you feel more peaceful in your own rehabilitation.
I’m really sorry to hear of all your health problems, and really hope that your back improves real soon. If you don’t mind me asking, did the surgery help with the cancer?

Take care of yourself!

Hi Joy,
the broken record is back! 🙂 THinking of you and hope it’s all going ok. Sending you love and light and strength!


@Joy thanks for asking. I have been cancer free for 2 years not in remission but cancer free. But an interesting fact to know in case a loved one ever gets breast cancer is that during the initial stages of breast cancer women feel good if not great because they are on an estrogen high or estrogen over load. Once the cancer is removed the estrogen that caused it is removed and then there is a feeling of sickness sometimes or pain. But for me they injured my back. There is a barbaric procedure called a stereo tactic core biopsy. NO pain killers are allowed since you have to cooperate with the doctors. I had \5 of them. It is much worse than cancer itself and cancer surgery. I told my new surgeon if ever needed I will never have one again! She said okay. Anyway you put your boobies through a hole in a table laying on the table, a mammogram is under the table (the process can take 3 hours) some women have bled to death and some have gone psychotic on the table not from cancer but from the procedure cancer is nothing this is gruesome. Anyway the machine compresses your boobie they take pictures tell you dont breather and stuff. My cells were not in my breast tissue but in the cell wall. PLus my breasts are considered small size 34 B. THey couldn’t get a picture so they would push my back, if you jump your breast can rip off your body or you can bleed to death, since they couldn’t get pictures because of the location of the cells, and it took 3 hours a piece and I had 5 of them, the girls or women some over 300 pounds would sit on my back so they could get a picture. Plus I couldn’t breath. They were all about 300 pounds at least. I am about 125 pounds. So needless to say they injured my back. Doctors want to ignore it because they dont want me to sue them which I have no intention of, long story as you see but that is a part of my back injury.
The law suit as far as going to court is over but they stalk me at home, on line everywhere. They are a fact of my life. Yes it is beyond horrible. I owe my attorney so much. It took so long for it to end as far as court goes. The judge went into hiding over the summer then came back and got reelected. Thanks for asking. I wish you well in court as well.


Hi Pinky,

I meant to reply to this one ages ago but obviously didn’t make it back here (to this post I mean, not the site)

Anyway I just wanted to share my feelings of shock at your description of the procedure — something’s just not right when the cure’s worse than the illness!!

Very glad to hear you’re cancer free now! I hope your back is improving too.

Take care!



J, Thank you! I just saw a show with Susan Summers on Dr. Oz she had breast cancer and had to go to Tokyo for effective treatment. I am glad God is with me! Thanks for your thoughts!


What this quote means to me: We need to let go of our “ideals” and trust that God is the one in control. We are a species of controllers. We think we know what our lives should look like. The truth is, we don’t know. I have come to realize that everything happens in God’s time and in God’s way. I do the work, I do the trusting, I do the loving, I do the giving…and in the end, God helps me on my path. We must relinquish contol – put our trust and faith in our Lord and Savior. I don’t think this quote is harmful. I think it says it all. (Jeremiah 17:7)


Hi Dana
Did you read what I wrote about the quote? Perhaps you could expand on “how” you do what you said is the answer. In my case you are telling me that the fact that I was abused was God’s will and that I should accept that? Do you think that I should have wished that my life was not filled with abuse and disrespect towards me? That the problem I had (past tense) was that I was not submitting my control to God and that is why He didn’t help me when I was being abused? I don’t think you understand the reason I disapgreed with the quote.


Hi Darlene,
I also had a well meaning counselor tell me, that I have “unrealistic expectations” & “magical thinking” regarding my mom and she encouraged me to “keep visiting” & “you were loved”. Well, I’ve known I was being emotionally abused. I was trying to cut ties with my family and I kept telling her that. She told me, that I “really don’t WANT” to cut ties.

She did say, to expect my mom to “bite” because that’s what dogs do. Well if a dog is that DANGEROUS, isn’t it logical to stay away!..I was told to go towards my mom but at the same time she inflicts harm?..I knew that was a mixed message. I did cut ties with the counselor and find another counselor, who was listening to me. However, she also said, that I don’t WANT to cut ties with my family either. I was confused and trying to have some relationship with my parents and limiting my visits. I see now, that I was looking to the professionals to give me permission to cut ties and I also needed encouragement and strength to do that. That was 4 years ago, and I still visit my parents, although I’m limited with my contact and set boundaries with them.

It’s like a tug of war inside me….Should I stay or should I go now…actually, that’s part of a song by Stray Cats lol….I don’t know what it’s going to take for me to say Enough is Enough….My parents are good at hooking me in, by being good to my kids. My mom is treating me better, but I never know when she is going to lash out at me, and my radar stays up. My recent counselor told me, that when I do visit and there is any upheaval, to just say goodbye & go right then & there.
Sincerely, SMD


Totally mixed messages from that counselor. I always remind myself that most of them can’t help but put things through their own grid of experience and through the grid of their own belief system. I felt that same tug of war with parents, in-laws and even my husband. In the end I decided that I would set my boundaries, and that they have a choice. All of them except my husband chose to walk away; they didn’t like our boundaries. BUT back then the boundaries were very simple; mutual respect and equal value. The truth was very hard to face; it was very painful to accept that I (we) was not even worth that.
Remember ~ it is okay to be in the process. I didn’t do much before I was totally ready!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,
Thanks for letting me know that it’s okay to be in the process and I will do something, when I’m ready. I agree with you that mutual respect & equal value is important. Sorry to hear that everyone walked away from you & your family. They lost out! I think that is my biggest fear. My brother is “done with me”, because I called him out, on ignoring me & my kids during the Holidays. He played favorites with my sister’s kids. What IS hurtful is that, his actions tell me we are not worth it!….I will continue to process my experiences through my grid of Truth.
Thanks for sharing your experiences with family!
Sincerely, SMD


It was my biggest fear too and that fear kept me in the grip of their control for many years. The funny thing was that when I faced it, when I said no more, it was quite quickly that I felt the freedom from all the opression and the truth became more clear by the day. but that is another story!
Hugs, Darlene


I call it the “happy police”. I think there is a mass cultural delusional and “unrealistc expectation” for people to be perpetually happy. It’s as if we have been brainwashed into buying the commercial as the expected reality. In our culture, no matter how justified it may be, anger sadness or depression are just not acceptable emotions. If you are experiencing them, you are doing something wrong and you should see your doctor for a pill or “just think positive”. Why are we as a culture denying such a large chunk of human emotion and experience? It’s almost as if we have put a new face on “pull yourself up by your boot straps” and remarketed it for further profit. It is very similar to the beauty culture in which we are not pretty enough, skinny enough or wealthy enough to deserve to be loved…if only we tried harder, dieted more, exercised more bought more of such and such product, then we could have the glossy magazine of starving vacant eyed women as our reality. This is mass insanity in my opinion. In the same way…if only we smiled more, looked at things in a positive light, moved on etc. etc. …then we would have that happy, sucessful, love filled life that we deserve. And most importantly we wouldn’t bother anyone with our messy “negative” emotions. Who decides that they are negative? I don’t buy it.
I had an extremely abusive childhood and have tried for years to just move on and get over it in various ways, so that I can have that happy life that a better outlook or attitude promises. At this point I have come to the conclusion that if I am having an emotion…there is a reason and it is neither wrong or bad, it simply is. And there is not one single person who can tell me how much time I am allowed to grieve or be angry about the things that happened to me. If there is someone in my life who can’t deal with my emotions…they don’t belong in my life. I will no longer “buy”, make no mistake this is what it’s all about, making a profit off of people not feeling good enough, the mass delusion that I must fit my emotions into the happy box in order to be acceptable. I will no longer wrap up my anger in a pretty bow so that I am a more palatable human being for anyone. I will no longer conform to the culture of perpetual happiness and total denial of the “normal” human spectrum of experience and emotion.


Welcome to emerging from broken!
Very well said! This is a very big part of what this website is about! Validating the self and finding ways to move forward without discounting the abuse or invalidation of the past.
Glad you are here
Hugs, Darlene


To MS at “Not Happening”
Fake people with fake email addresses go into a warning pile in the back end of my blog.
It is obvious by your comments that you didn’t actually read the post but I thought you should know that I don’t publish comments that are only meant to stir up trouble.


[…] and away from my struggles, depressions, and oppression. Today I see some of these sayings as “directionless directives”. They sound great, ideal in fact, but they didn’t actually HELP […]

NEW post related to this topic!


[…] I found was this worthy argument against some quotes, like this one. Granted, life requires more than succinct “psalms” and […]


[…] It is not motivating or inspiring to try to convince people that they have a misconception about their own lives.  It causes further damage. It adds to the trauma that being mistreated and devalued already caused. It is not helpful when people or organizations try to encourage people to move forward before the actual truth has been validated.  It is abusive to invalidate the truth by teaching that facing it or talking about it is the same as whining and even the same as lying about it. […]


Thanks for this article! I like your point on how quotes like these are escapes.
When I read motivational quotes like, “happiness is a choice” or quotes having to do with thinking more positively, I think these people are trying to avoid dealing with something in their lives. So, they just put on a fake smile and say they are happy.


Hi Eva
Welcome to EFB ~ Glad you are here, thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


I can relate to being spun out by a quote that just doesn’t go well with abuse recovery. The writer or speaker who delivers the trite phrase intends to inspire but has no idea what their statement may mean to someone who is trapped in abuse or who is recovering from years of abuse.

So many such quotes assume that we can control outcomes–if we just have the right attitude. A child trapped with abusive parents has no power or control to stop abuse. A child tries to find some way to reduce the abuse (I hid and tried to be a perfect good girl) but no efforts produce freedom from abuse. Even an adult trapped in abuse has a tough journey to recover some sense of ability to break away from an abuser. Abusers are experts at dis-empowering their victims. No attitude adjustment will save a child from the devastation of abuse. No attitude adjustment alone is adequate to protect even an adult victim.

I haven’t liked it when I feel really upset by some philosophical statement that is popular but totally non-helpful in abuse or in recovery. But the wrestling match that follows always seems to lead to a healing place. Figuring out why it upsets me, encourages me to examine buried feelings. Verbalizing why the message is harmful to me and others helps me to stand up for self and for other abuse victims. The end result is that it adds more clarity to my understanding of abuse and its damage and it encourages me to reach for continued healing. I have been strengthened by the wrestling matches.

I am proud of each of us who has questioned sayings. We are working through the damage caused by abuse and seeing truths about ourselves and our recovery process. Being survivors and overcomers allows us to choose what we will believe, what we will tell ourselves, how we will treat ourselves and how we will allow others to treat us. We can choose! What a wonderful gift of recovery–we are no longer helpless and trapped–we are free and have choices.


I have a whole wall full of laminated quotes. They only make me feel like a failure because I can’t achieve the “state of mind” that I have been trying to achieve for years now. I felt guilty having a temper tantrum over them and saying “for today I can’t do it”. I read once that our emotions are like the seasons, but “westerners” just wanted summer all the time. I guess pills help summer remain… This past 2 weeks, my partner and I were examining the works of “self help” authors- arriving at the conclusion that they are more geared towards middle class main streamers. They certainly couldn’t be effective for people like me (PTSD, agoraphobia, anxiety disorder, panic disorder, eating disorder) and most likely a few other labels could be assigned by the medical profession if they worked at it – probably clinical depression too!! Mores specifically, most seem to be geared towards negating the “normal” range of emotions, such as irritation, anger, sadness etc. basically all the emotions that makes one feel “bad”. My partner made an interesting observation when he quipped that the authors who write this searching for enlightenment and want to share the story do so for money. Otherwise they would be living in their cave in enlightened bliss. I’m not sure if I agree with him, but food for thought!

Whilst considering all of this, something magical happened. I found “emerging from broken”. I took a week “off”, read Darlene’s books cover to cover and started reading all the threads. Finally I feel I’ve come home. I’ve been no contact with FOOs for 18 months (but I prefer to call them fools). I’ve struggled with guilt every day. This week I achieved peace finally and came to terms with quite a few things. A long way to go, and much more to share in this safe and respectful environment (yes I was in the shadows reading for a week most of the site to make sure I would be safe). I have read many comments out to my partner, where we cried together. He is so committed to me and my “recovery”, although we have agreed to call it reaching peace. We have both been struck at the sharing, kindness, compassion and respect that fellow contributors give to one another. A welcome relief to what is often seen in other forums.

After a lot of reflection and self examination I feel an overwhelming freedom. I have finally given myself permission (guilt free) to place the blame squarely on the abusers. There is a lot more work to be done, but I remind myself at this beginning of this journey Darlene’s quote “success is a series of accomplishments” (or words to that effect). So for today, I will take this accomplishment and liken it to one small step taken to glue back my shattered self.

Whilst I think I’ll hold on to the quote “scars only tell us where we have been, they don’t dictate where we’re going”, I think I’ll leave the rest thank you!

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