May
10

Missing Self Esteem? It Happens in Childhood

By

 After I wrote my Mother’s day post, the comments and emails inspired me to write this additional post. It is not my usual style; more of a collection of snapshots, but I believe it gets the point across.  

The truth will set you free

~Why didn’t you hear me when I told you I was being abused?

~Why didn’t you see me as a person?

~Why didn’t you fight for me?

~Why did you disregard my feelings, my pain, my existence and my right as a human being?

~Why did you hit me?

~Why didn’t you care?

And the question that I never dared even think about, much less ever say out loud ~

Why didn’t you love me?

So I changed the question in my head to “why am I not lovable, not worthy, not good enough?”  It seemed easier to face if it was something that was wrong with me.

These were all the questions that I had for the adults in my life; my teachers, my family, my parents. And I tried to deny that I had these questions. I tried to disregard them. I tried to shove the pain back down into the dark where I had learned to keep it in order to survive.

I learned to discount myself, just as I had been discounted. The way they mistreated me was my example of love. It was the only example that I had. It became my teacher. And I learned self love and self worth by the examples of love and worth that I was shown.  And since the examples were so faulty and so absent, I learned my value and worth was not.

Still, my teachers were god. They set themselves up to be gods over my life and how was I to know they weren’t?  My parents held my life in their hands. They brought me into this world and they could take me out of it.  I had to survive.

And because I was born with a will to live, I had to learn how to survive; without the tools that I had a right to. Without the tools that I should have been given.

I could not fight for myself and yet when I got older I was blamed for the abuses and told that I could have fought, could have stopped it, could have behaved better, so that I deserved better; so therefore it must have been my own doing. Something that I wanted. Something that I caused. Something that I deserved.

So confusing for a child. So confusing for an adult child who never grew up properly because of all the lies.

And what they taught me, by example, was so contradictory to the way that I had to regard them. There were two sets of rules. The rules for them and the rules for me.

I had to comply with their wishes and orders if I was to survive. I had to accept. I had to understand, I had to conform to the ways and the rules they set out; I was too afraid not to.  The consequences of not complying, not accepting, of fighting or questioning, were steep. 

And then I grew up in age

~ With no understanding of my value, no identity of my own, with the wrong definition of love and with fear as my constant companion.  Fear of being wrong, fear of their wrath, fear of being cast aside.

Not knowing that I had already been cast aside.

My self esteem was missing. I had not yet become a person.  I had no rights because I had not been given any. I was completely brainwashed but I couldn’t know that, couldn’t see that, I had never had any other example of life or love.

Only survival, always survival

And the depressions started when I was a child. No wonder.

And I felt that I had no right to my struggles; I existed only to serve the needs of others and I failed at that too, because I had never learned by example. NO one took care of my needs ~ my need for love and for protection… and the guilt and shame and feelings of failure grew.

I was not seen

I was not heard

I was not valid

I knew not love

And all of this had to come to the light, so that I could make a difference in my own life. I had to realize what happened to me, so that I could grow myself up, validate my own existence, learn the right and true definition of love and embrace myself. I had to give myself permission, first to struggle, then to validate and acknowledge the pain, and then to live, to heal, to flourish and thrive and carry on to make a difference in the lives of my own children, and others too.

That is “Emerging from Broken”

This is Emerging from Broken.

The darkness did lift. My joy is abundant.  There are no more depressions. I found my true self. I live for a purpose. My life has worth. I have equal value. I am living alive.

The world lied. I am not unworthy; I am not here to fill their needs and serve their purposes. They lied, they still lie.

They are not god. I do not OWE them. I am not obligated to them.

They DO NOT OWN me. They do not decide if I live or die.

I no longer fear their wrath,

They were wrong about me; I have dispelled all the lies, replacing them with life giving truth.

I am free; I have emerged from broken.

Please share your thoughts.

A collection of little snapshots of truth;

Darlene Ouimet

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

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Recommended Reading ~ The truth will Set You Free ~ Alice Miller

For more information visit the Family Category and the Mother daugher Category in this blog

Categories : Self Esteem

160 Comments

1

The most ruthless abuser of me was me. My parents abuse became the abuse of myself then the sexual abuse when I was a teen led to more self-abuse. I could not even begin to deal with the abuse I had suffered from others until I quit abusing myself. That took an intervention by God. It wasn’t magic. I wasn’t suddenly whole but there was no hope for me before but through faith, I found love and hope. I am still mending and regenerating. I surely haven’t arrived yet but I’ve come a long, long way. I’m sure I’ll make it the rest of the way.

It is really good to know I’m not the only one on the journey.:0)

2

(Susa) My problem is getting the truth [that we were born with worth] through to the very “walled off” parts of me who still believe the lies that we are worthless. Communication with the fragmented parts of me is still a problem re: developing any semblance of self-esteem throughout my system. I work on this constantly, but lately, the darker, more hopeless parts of me have been gaining strength. Inner communication and cooperation is key for me… still trying.

3

Darlene; you had said ” I had not yet become a person.”

That was also one of my core revelations; that I had not been allowed to exist – and that as an adult I was still seeking permission to do so. And I found it in “doing things right enough”. The doing and seeking approval from others was the only way I knew how to “be”. I existed solely to do enough right enough that I could feel like I was enough. And this validation came only through the approval of others. And if someone did not smile at me, nod at me or compliment how good I looked, the car I drove, the house I lived in, the stores I shopped at, the way my children behaved (for them to misbehave was evidence that I was not enough so sadly and unwittingly I perpetrated the whole power/control thing to validate my existence through my control of them).

Whew! I worked so hard at being validated by others that I just wore myself out.

Another great post Darlene and thank you for creating this space where we can all see that it wasn’t our fault and that we can learn to give the burden back to those who needed us to carry their worth for them.

4

we HAVE rights, according to Declaration of Independence, granted at birth by creator, but yes I completely understand not being aware of them in childhood, because our elders [parents, teachers, babysitters…] had an agenda to keep us stifled, controlled, docile and compliant with their selfish whims. thank you for being what you are today.

5

Hi Pam,
Yes, that is the progression of abuse. So many of us don’t realize that we actually take over with the devaluing process of ourselves and that fits well with the self blame that we take on in order to feel some hope in childhood.
I tried faith for many years before I found what I have today (And now my faith works a lot better) There were lots of changes for the good, but not the kinds of changes that made me love life like I do now. It is interesting all the different ways that we can each come to healing ~ the moments where we find the turning point. It reflects the uniqueness of each one of our journeys!
Hugs! Thanks for sharing,
Darlene

Hi Susa
I am not sure if this applies to you, but I began to to try to look at myself as all parts of one whole, instead of looking at the system. It was really hard at first, it felt like I was discounting ME, but in the end that was what worked the best. I had come to realize that all my personalities had been created to cope for the main person, which was “the original me” and when I started to think that way, it helped a lot. Just my thoughts about what worked for me ~ not to make your way wrong.
As long as you are still trying though, there is hope!
Hugs, Darlene

6

Hi Susan Kingsley-Smith
Excellent comments! Permission was a huge thing for me in my recovery process. When I realized that I sought permission for almost everything, I was really angry! It was the only way that I knew how to be too. What a great point! I worked so hard at being validated by others it nearly killed me! YES
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Ian
Good points here too Ian. We do have rights, but controllers/abusers don’t want us to know that! It lessens their control! uggg….. round and round it goes!
Thanks for being here
Hugs, Darlene

7

missing self and the process of finding self, give the burden back…!!

8

Darlene,

I agree. I needed the psychological approach to obtain a more minute understanding of behavior so that I could change more than just habits that were really just symtoms of the deeper problem. Some people try to pit faith and science against one another but I think they fit together hand and glove.

9

Permission = even permission to live. One of the components of not being heard as a child was being raised under the school of “children should be seen and not heard.” So why bother? Telling, that is. If you’re not meant to be heard. I needed permission to live my life. I didn’t have it. If you have no identity of your own, how can you stand up for that identity? How can that identity stand up in the cruel world? I had an aha moment based on a brief conversation I was having in another thread here a couple of days ago. It’s too long to post here, but the experience in real time showed me how our discussions on the internet can reveal to us what we need to know to heal and evolve in our face time too. I think I was talking to Tina here. We talked about accepting others’ opinions over our own opinions out of habit. We had this brief talk on EFB, then I actually did accept another’s opinion over my own in a therapeutic painting class on Saturday, to the point that the teacher actually noticed my pattern, called it discreetly to my attention, and I had a breakthrough. If this scenario makes sense… Thank you Darlene for providing medium 4 healing, more than you know.

10

Hi Darlene,

Thanks for your reply. I do look at myself as all parts of one whole, but the individual parts of me are as different as night and day. I am in control now, but am not the original birth person, “Susan” – she is still an infant. I am, however, part of the “whole”. I am trying to create a safe environment so that other parts of me will be able to eventually communicate, and cooperate, and gain some sense of self esteem. I experience a lot of “lost time”. This has been so difficult… we have been this way for 62 years… My goals are not lofty – but all I am striving for is some peace and happiness… and maybe a little self worth… finally. I believe that we deserve at least a couple of years of that.

Thanks again,
Susa/all

11

Hi Pam,
I also believe that faith and science fit together. The perfect design!
Hugs!

Hi Lynn
Very important points! I am really glad that you are here Lynn!
Thanks!
Hugs,

Hi Artcathartic
You DO deserve all that and more! Absolutely!
Hugs, Darlene

12

I love your snapshot post Darlene, and your words capture so much. Not only do they capture the lies but the truth, and the comments make the discussion go even further.

My last post on Scarred Seeker was very much about standing alone, watching them walk away and this post just makes my determination to redirect, recreate and re-model my life without them in it.

Thank you!

13
terminalcitygirl
May 11th, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Great post. My depressions also started early. I drank bleach when I was 12 because I wanted to die but nobody knows about that. What was going on in my life that I would want to die at that young age? I don’t know. I am still covered by the cloak of “happy, normal childhood” although I remember little things like this and know there is a disconnect. I’m not sure that I have DID but I’m taking a good hard look…

14

I was about to post a question asking you if the works of Alice Miller were helpful in your journey. Then I thought that instead of wasting your time, I would just type it in the search engine and it came up with this page. So I had a good read, and found it at the end – “The truth will set you free”! Don’t know how I missed it, when I read through your posts with a toothcomb!

Do you recommend her other books, eg “Thou shalt not be aware” as well?

Thanks again, Darlene. So much to digest and slowly, it is sinking in!

15

Hi Shanyn,
Your comment is inspiring! I had to keep reminding myself over and over that THEY have a choice too. My family was never willing to meet me half way.
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs!

Hi Terminalcitygirl
I had so few memories, but when I got digging around I found enough to get started. Some of the memories filled in, some didn’t but I certainly discovered why I was so unhappy, why I had depressions so young etc. This “brainwashing” that I lived with from so young was hard to break through, but so worth the effort.
Hang in here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Krissy,
It’s so funny that you were going to ask me about the works of Alice Miller! I found out about Alice Miller through my work and associations with other mental health professionals who were asking me if I had studied her work because mine seemed so related. I had never heard of her. I looked her up on the internet and liked her quotes, but I just finally bought two of her books last month! So just this past 2 weeks I have now read “the truth will set you free” and “The Drama of the gifted Child” and I plan to get a few more! I think ALL her books would be helpful. She makes wonderful points!
Hugs, Darlene

16

terminalcitygirl,
How many siblings did you have?

17

A prominent psychologist, Albert Ellis proposed that we become distressed not because of what other people do or say to us, but how we internalize these beliefs. I think he’s right to a large extent (though I don’t totally uphold his therapeutic style).

Like many others who have been through abuse, I felt really small and worthless. Despite openly telling people that I am “recovered”, I know that there are many aspects that I still have to work extra hard on…and this is one of them. Lately, I’ve spent some time listening to my “inner voice”, and realized just how harsh I am towards myself. I may appear okay and confident on the outside, but deep within I felt quite the opposite. It came to a point that every time my parents spent ANY money on me, I would feel really guilty – even if it’s a necessary dentist visit!

It’s a struggle, but I made myself ask…why is it that it is okay for others to be treated wayyy better than I am treated? What makes me so worthless (and find proof for that)? The thing is I cannot find evidence to confront the reasons for my “smallness”. In the end, I was confronted with the fact that I deserve the best and the only problem that I have is to accept the best and feel good about it 🙂

18

Hi Jasmine,
I wonder if that psychologist (Albert Ellis) is talking about children or adults in that statement? The way that I see it is that we become distressed as children because of what people do or say to us. THEN as adults, we have these already formed internalized beliefs, and therefore react to the way that we are treated as adults. In our society it is as though children don’t have rights ~ as though we were not people yet. SO, suddenly at a certain age, we are supposed to be equipped and have some sort of maturity and ability to process what happens to us in the present. In my journey, I went back to childhood and filled in those missing steps to that maturity. That is why I talk so much about validation and invalidation etc. For me, it all went wrong in childhood, so that is where the key was and that was what I worked on repairing. That was when I found my equality and embraced it. It was in finding out where the root of the broken began, that I was able to mend and really realize that ALL people including me deserve and have equal worth, value and purpose.
Thanks for being here, you make such a difference!
Hugs, Darlene

19

Note: Sorry guys, getting a lil bit theoretical here. Just bear with me for a while…hope it makes sense 🙂

Thanks Darlene for bringing that point up. I think what I meant by Ellis being right in saying that we are depressed mostly because of what we internalize, is because I am trying to look at it from HIS point of view – in a more simplistic way. Ellis does not look into insights and childhood like some other therapists do, he’s BIG on rational thinking. Hence, looking from his angle, yes, I do believe that it is because we have internalized what we have learned from childhood and made it our own beliefs (actually, Ellis acknowledges that too…just that he places the entire responsibility on the client).

Having said that, you’re right in saying that the patterns are formed in childhood and then carried into adults as schemas and imprints and the only way to tackle them is to go back to the roots of childhood. That is what the traditional Freudian psychoanalysis believes (though now it has been largely replaced by psychodynamic therapy which can be shorter in length), something that I hold most strongly to. I also find that the other therapists like cognitive therapists make things look too simplistic than they are supposed to be.

Okay, sorry for the psycho-babble 🙂

Children’s brains are very plastic (what we call neuro-plasticity). They absorb things from the environment like no other and will take in just everything – good AND bad. Therefore, in order to move into recovery…plenty of work has to be done in order to uproot and re-plant. It’s very much possible, but plenty of hard work. Persistence does pay off 🙂

20

Jasmine,
What is Ellis’ therapuetic style?

21

Darlene,

What was helpful for me in understanding what was missed at what stage in normal child development, was to study the Chart, Table 3.1 Normal Child Development and Development of MPD, partially based on Erikson and Clarke. Even though it is mainly for MPD (now DID), it is helpful to read what dysfunctional parenting caused specific problems. It contrasts healthy parenting with dysfunctional parenting, and outcomes of certain child abuses. Very helpful. I wish I could find a link to this chart, but have been unable to. It can be found in the book, “The Family Inside – Working with the Multiple” by Doris Bryant, Judy Kessler, and Lynda Shirar. To me, this chart was probably one of the most important parts of the book.

Susa/all

22

“The Family Inside – Working with the Multiple” by Doris Bryant, Judy Kessler, and Lynda Shirar

This booki got great reviews on Amazon, thanks for posting about it!

23

Kate:

Ellis is a cognitive therapist who is all about rational thinking and little about insight. He acknowledges that the past affects the present, but says that the client has most responsibility for STAYING in their current state. Hence, his therapeutic style is to help clients identify irrational beliefs that leads to undesirable emotions and behaviors, and then disputing those beliefs and replacing them with healthier ones. For example, thinking that I am worthless leads to depression (emotion/affect) and withdrawal (behavior). I will the have to dispute that belief with one that says that I deserve the best, and it’s supposed to change the way I feel and behave. Pretty simplistic and straightforward, but unfortunately many things in life are much more complicated than that…

24

Jasmine,

About Ellis ~ it all sounds so good, but just replacing the belief without a deep examination of where it comes from makes it pretty hard to dispute and replace, because we were KIDS. Like you said, it is complicated!
I think the the responsibility to recovery is on the client too. To do the work involved, yes. But how I recovered was by realizing that I was not responsible for getting messed up in the first place and that is what seems to be missing in so many therapeutic approaches. AND it is a major stick point. I had to get that part, that was the part that I would say was the real beginning for me. I put the responsibility for the damage where it belonged and then I took responsibility for the mending process.

And YES children’s brains absorb everything… and so it really bugs me that the childhood is rarely the focus in most therapeutic processes.

I like the work of Alice Miller ~ she really defines the fears around facing the childhood stuff and also how many therapists have not faced their own child stuff, which really gets in the way of the therapeutic relationship.

Thanks for sharing this ~ very good stuff.
Hugs, Darlene
p.s. I don’t mind psycho babble.. LOL It kind of gets my blood moving!

Hi Susa,
Thanks for sharing that information too. I agree that it is in finding the dysfunctional that is the key to becoming functional.

25

” I will the have to dispute that belief with one that says that I deserve the best, and it’s supposed to change the way I feel and behave. Pretty simplistic and straightforward, but unfortunately many things in life are much more complicated than that…”

YES, more complicated! Like, use your pain, (not your irrational belief who says it is irrational, for one thing…yet who can argue with pain??) SO, use your pain as your guide. What has caused you the most pain, the earliest pain, continual pain, etc.? so getting at what has caused pain and making related discoveries, like, now I have faulty beliefs that resulted from the pain, THAT would motivate me more to healthier beliefs, because I want to feel healthy, whole, and well, and alive.

Life is more complicated than theory, for sure.

Thanks for this trip into Ellis, etc., it takes me back to my bachelor’s psychology days. I could never really absorb it well, in theory. And in our school, JESUS was the “blank check” answer to it all, not my pain, not my intuition, not my heart, my feelings, but what someone else called “Jesus”.

26

“I like the work of Alice Miller ~ she really defines the fears around facing the childhood stuff and also how many therapists have not faced their own child stuff, which really gets in the way of the therapeutic relationship.”

Cant’ wait to read Miller. One recent therapist said that he doesn’t get into pre-birth trauma, which was his way of making fun of the very thing we are talking about here, facing childhood issues, which are stil standing in our way. And it definitely got in the way of the therapy process/relationship, as it left the therapist thinking that he was there to educate us, rather than to be educated by us, (dare I even talk that way?) but really, rather than t oask us questions about what we are saying so that he even knows where we are coming from, he was more in a judgemental mode about what we meant, and instructing mode to fix it. I am still reeling from it. And he was a nice guy, I have met worse.

27

Darlene:
That’s why I will not make Ellis’ therapy as a basis WHEN I become a therapist one day…due to the extreme lack of insight focus. He does not really care much about why people think, feel or behave the way they do…what causes them.

I do agree with you that most therapies don’t look into childhood like Freudian does, but they do have their reasons. Firstly, it takes extremely long to go back to childhood, undo all those damage and get to where we all are today. And the thing about therapy is that sometimes extensive therapy leads to problems like over-dependency, and even therapist manipulation. With brief-focused therapies like CBT, time is very much shortened (average 15-20 sessions vs years of psychoanalysis!) and work is more effective. Plus, it’s easier to equip clients with cognitive behavior skills than to look into the own unconscious (especially when the defense mechanisms were there to protect us!). Hence, though I really believe in psychodynamic therapy especially with it being shorter than traditional psychoanalysis, I still have a problem with not being able to have a sense of when therapy can end – psychodynamic therapists don’t have such a structure to plan ahead. Plus, talking about client responsibility, CBT is the one that gives clients 50% of the responsibility whereas psychoanalysis says that the therapist is the expert (though client still has a huge responsibility).

Having said that, I’m still more of a believer in psychodynamic theory…especially where issues such as abuse is concerned.

28

Kate:

There are certain therapeutic methods that are more directional, which can me misused by therapists. I’m not sure if this is the case with you and your therapist, though…so I won’t comment on that. Having said that, I think that while it is important to uphold a therapy as a basic, all clients are different and may not suit that particular therapeutic method. I can’t use psychoanalysis on a client who just wants to know which career to choose from!

29

Pre-birth trauma. I used to wonder if I was crazy to even consider if it was possible that I had sensations related to what I perceived as pre-birth. I mentioned this in therapy to a counselor named “Karen” when I was in my forties. Fortunately, she was able to follow my theory. She also taught me how men often escalate domestic violence when their wives/partners are pregnant. Here’s an entry from that session: ***”I told Karen that I swear I witnessed my father’s mental illness and my mother’s emotional distress from the womb. My father’s anger and my mother’s anguish made me feel unwelcome. My father treated my pregnant mother like a venomous black-widow spider about to hatch a billion eggs.*** My question today is how is anyone supposed to be born without threat of harm and with secure self-esteem under these conditions? Which we are learning were not at all uncommon.

30

“the client has most responsibility for STAYING in their current state. Hence, his therapeutic style is to help clients identify irrational beliefs that leads to undesirable emotions and behaviors, and then disputing those beliefs and replacing them with healthier ones.”

Oookay. What if you (meaning me and my others; my souls, my beings – LOL, you can call me anything, just don’t call me “alters”! LOL!) – have finally gotten pretty much where you get along and all? Yeah, there’s a few family problems here and there … but for the most part, a loving, helping family inside. Should I give up my family just based upon some therapist’s notion (or society’s idea) that “it’s insane” and “it’s not normal?”. We firmly think NOT. Got this far by being who I am and we are and all that – lots of work in that folks! Why take a step behind?

Sometimes ya just gotta take a look past what society is telling ya – and go with your own gut feeling. That’s with survivors in mind. Sometimes the therapists will tell you something different – and sometimes they’re right, and sometimes they’re wrong.

Nothing wrong with being human. Even if you do get messed up sometimes! (LOL, ain’t that the human thing to be doing, we’re asking all ourselves, laughing and looking around!)

31

Hi Kate,
Good points about not even being asked to clarify where you are coming from!

Hi Lynn
Thanks for sharing this. It makes for some interesting food for thought. My husband and I were just talking about how the baby in the womb picks up on all that is going on in the home before the he or she is even born. I think this is part of the same picture that I am always talking about. The truth must be found and embraced in order for us to heal from any trauma. If a baby is born into a family that blames all their unhappiness on that baby, then the baby will absorb that. But does that make it true that it is the baby’s fault? Of course not.
That is the truth that has to be discovered.
Thanks for sharing your own exp. That was a nasty environment for sure!
Hugs, Darlene

32
terminalcitygirl
May 12th, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Thanks Darlene! Hugs back to you too!
Kate, I have one younger brother, he is 5 years younger. He is also cloaked in “happy childhood” and has serious issues (esp with women) but is not willing to do any work. It’s so sad, I wish he would. I remember running away from home in the dead of winter & taking him when I was around 12 so he was 7? I wrote a note (I wish I knew today what it said!) Our parents never came to look for us. After 3 hours in minus 40 we came home and my parents response was “so you finally decided to come back.” I was so angry and hurt and frustrated.
Re: psychoanalysis and cbt. I used to believe digging into all the childhood stuff was not very important – you can’t change what happened so why spend time & money looking at the past? Better to focus on the present and the future. Of course I know now that for me anyway, focussing on current issues resulted in me blaming myself for my problematic behaviours and didn’t help me understand the why. Without that critical piece, I think thats why I’ve never been able tyo recover/ why the depression keeps coming back, why I’ve never been able to hold on to my sense of self/ self esteem for very long. Plus continuing to have a relationship with my manipulative mom without understanding who she is really and how that made me who I am is dangerous for me and keeps me stuck/ returning to old patterns and I’m not even aware of it! Does that make sense? I have to do this work and get grounded in it if I want any hope of real and permanent healing. (PS: I liked the house building analogy on another thread – thanks to whoever wrote that!)

33

terminalcitygirl,
Well, I just thought to ask about siblings, because I also have one sibling, five years younger, and I relate to your thing about not having memories.

“I am still covered by the cloak of “happy, normal childhood” although I remember little things like this and know there is a disconnect. I’m not sure that I have DID but I’m taking a good hard look…”

By “little things like this…” you are referring to the snapshots in this article?

34

Well, it’s pretty hard to count yourself when you have a repeated memory of blood running down the wall-your own blood-and the same memory includes that woman, who I don’t even like to CALL my mother, literally getting out a frying pan and cooking an egg.
I’m pretty sure nobody will believe that it happened once, much less over and over-it’s the kind of thing that’s just naturally hard to believe-but it’s still true.
I don’t understand that part more than anything ELSE I don’t understand.
But I think the worst part of all of it is when I had a therapist who gave the woman a rational reason for why she did it. That surprised me even more than the fact that it happened in the first place.
If you’re GONNA have a therapist, I think it should be one who DOESN’T give an abuser a “rational” reason for doing abusive things, but that’s why I don’t trust professionals the same as some people do. Because I had one who tried to make me understand my mom’s viewpoint. She didn’t want to talk about MY view at all, just why my mom would be forced into a situation where she couldn’t HELP but respond that way.

I’ve told myself since 1994 that I’m worthwhile. I can say it so many times you’d think I would believe it. Unfortunately, my feelings never match the statement. I mean I say I’m worthwhile but never believe it in my heart of hearts. I wish I DID believe it, but I’d be lying if I said I did, and lying never works for me.
I hope that wasn’t too depressing. I tried to make it somewhat positive by mentioning that I’ve told myself I’m worthwhile for a long time now.

35

Hi Vicki
That is terrible that a professional therapist excused and even rationalized abusive neglectful behaviour. That is stunning!

I tried affirmations for years too. They had no long term lasting effects for me either. I had to get to the root of why I had no self esteem and only then could I replace it and take my life back.

Thank you for sharing; it doesn’t matter if the shares are depressing, it is important for YOU to share them for you. Others also feel validated when we share the bad stuff, because they know they were not alone. Then we all know that we are right in feeling angry about this stuff. It all works towards recovery because it is truth that has been denied for so long.
Hugs, Darlene

36

Note: I realized that I’m treading on dangerous grounds, talking about psychology when I’ve barely graduated from my Bachelor’s. Hehehe. And so an upfront disclaimer – these are what I know of, please look up for yourself if it’s accurate 🙂

Kate –

All therapies have their strengths and weaknesses, and the strength of cognitive therapies like Ellis’ is that it is relatively short term as compared to, say, psychoanalysis. The weakness is, of course, it tends to simplify things. Psychoanalysis is also open to abuse and misuse by therapists due to the “expert” style that the therapist holds. Hence, you can never only use a single therapeutic method…integration and understanding individual (client) differences is the key. One thing also – different therapies look at one issue from a different perspective, and therefore they might have different beliefs about certain things. This might be why some believe in, say, pre-birth trauma while others think that it is just the client giving excuses to stay in their pain! When looking for a therapist, you’ve just got to look for someone whose therapeutic style you can fit into.

JefferyW-

You’re right in saying that therapists are not always right. Sometimes we go in thinking that they are the experts and don’t realize when this “expert” power is being abused. It is unethical to impose values on clients (i.e insisting on what is right and wrong), but instead they have to help the clients find their OWN values and then work around it.

37

Darlene, you said “And all of this had to come to the light, so that I could make a difference in my own life. I had to realize what happened to me, so that I could grow myself up, validate my own existence, learn the right and true definition of love and embrace myself. I had to give myself permission, first to struggle, then to validate and acknowledge the pain, and then to live, to heal, to flourish and thrive and carry on to make a difference in the lives of my own children, and others too.”

I think this is the bit that I am desperately trying to figure out. Obviously, for you, this was a process that took time. After I read some stuff of Alice Miller’s(I have ordered the books), my heart really hurt. Most of what I have gleaned from this blog up till now has been from the angle of my abusive relationship. But now I am beginning to see why it took me so long to escape – I had no mother.

Not just because she is physically far away, but because she had never been there. Growing up, I clung on to her because she was all I knew, and I learnt to identify with aggressors. She primed me to receive abuse. I was adept at giving my power away and defending abusers to make them happy.

Now I know that what she offered me was not love. She just wanted her dream child. She never heard who I was. I never minded, because she was nice as long as I behaved the right way. Nobody accepted me for who I was – the teachers loved me, only because I was a star pupil. So now I am left with the realization that I have never been mothered, never been validated for being who I am. So how in the world can I ever nurture another? How in the world do I even validate myself? How does one parent oneself?

I am sure I will learn more about it as I keep reading your old posts and look out for new ones.

38

Hi Krissy,
It was a shock for me when I first realized that the childhood stuff was the root of my problem after spending YEARS trying to just put it behind me ~ leave the past in the past etc.. which only served to invalidate me farther. And that was just the abuse that I realized at the time, not the emotional invalidation from both my parents, that was an even bigger shock, BUT it was then with those realizations that I was able to go forward ~ finally. I know that you feel shocked, but you may have just had a huge breakthrough!
I have a feeling that you might see my old posts with new eyes now Krissy. =)
Keep me posted!
Hugs, Darlene

39

One thing that has never ceased to amaze me is how a child’s mind can help a victim endure such cruelty by using various defense mechanisms. In fact, these defenses are so intricately made part of our belief systems that without proper techniques and/or self-awareness, they might not even be surfaced. As unhealthy as defenses are sometimes, I must admit that they do help us survive to a large extent.

Sometimes we think that children don’t understand abuse and therefore will not be affected by it. Oh how wrong is that! I actually believe that this “ignorance” is what makes it dangerous – because you won’t run away from it!

40

Susa > Jasmine:

Being able to fracture, and spread the abuses throughout many parts of me (having D.I.D.) actually saved my life. Many who have D.I.D. do not consider it a “disorder”, rather a gift.

41

Susa:

I do agree with you, that symptoms of these “disorders” might often be just part of how our mind works to help us survive. Without them, many of us might not have survived. Imagine having to be constantly aware of how much damage has been done! Sometimes, I do believe that ignorance is bliss.

Having said that, there comes a time when these defenses must go. “Disorders” like DID come about because the defenses have begun to destroy our lives.

42

Susa > Jasmine:

I agree that for some with D.I.D. at younger chrono-ages that this might be an option and a choice, but then how the heck is that accomplished? We have been this way for 62 years, and it is doubtful that things will change in this lifetime.

Everyone has defense mechanisms, and coping methods. Many are readily accepted in this society, and not considered “destructive”. Some do this through the use of things like alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, and other drugs. Some through other body-oriented methods, and approaches like yoga, reiki, meditation, prayer, etc… This list could go on and on… They are ALL coping mechanisms, and defenses.

So, we do what we can, however we can, to get us through this life. We all deserve to exercise our own ways of coping without having to endure stigma, scrutiny, and opposition to our realities. I do not consider D.I.D. to be a “disorder”, nor do I consider it to be a life destroying “defense”. Yes, there are obstacles and issues which arise over the years when a system is not “in sync”, but then isn’t this is normal with any singleton individual’s reality?

Nobody has the right to determine if someone else’s reality, and way of coping is dysfunctional or destructive. I try to be respectful of everyone’s right to survive however they are able to…. and I also expect some validation for the only way that I know how to survive. Having D.I.D. is NOT wrong, destructive, nor is it dysfunctional – it is our only way of life… and the reason we are alive today.

Respectfully,
Susa/all
.

43

I survived by tuning out. dissociation. [layaway plan with heavily compounded interest] but it was all I had then.

44

Hi Susa,
I understand what Jasmine is saying, but of course you do have a choice. No one is telling you that you are wrong or that you should change or that DID didn’t save your life. It saved mine too. But, I wanted more, I was getting sicker instead of coping better, and in my recovery, my DID was no longer necessary for me because I moved out of coping methods. This blog is about how I moved from coping to conquering. From surviving to thriving.. and it is just the stories of how I did it in hopes of inspiring others. I don’t want to offend anyone or make anyone feel that the way they are doing it is wrong but that doesn’t change what worked for me. For me, looking back, (for me) DID was dysfunctional and I only see that in looking back. AND yes, so are many other coping methods and as you say there are thousands of them. If DID is working for you, then that is fine! No one is telling you that you have to give that up! We are just sharing that we sought other ways. And that is okay too.
I value your presence on this blog Susa. There are many readers who cope in that same way and together we all make a difference.
Hugs, Darlene

45

Susa > Darlene:

Thank you for your comment, Darlene. I am happy that you made a choice for you that worked. What worked for you would not be an option for me, however. I totally respect your opinion that D.I.D. was dysfunctional for you – it is just the opposite for me/us.

All I am saying is that I believe that it is not helpful, nor is it validating for someone to pass judgement on another’s way of living… in fact it is extremely invalidating. We have been invalidated enough in this lifetime. I am not ashamed of who I am, and make no apologies for the way we have to cope with living. My opinion is that once a multiple, always a multiple… also that “integration” is a myth… we only learn to function with more inner communication and cooperation. These are simply my opinions, and may not apply to others’ beliefs regarding D.I.D. I acknowledge and respect that fact.

We have friends who choose to use alcohol, marijuana, caffeine, and other substances as coping mechanisms. We have never once said anything against their way of living, and using these substances. I simply do not choose to use any of these ways of coping. Even Allan drinks alcohol (beer), and I have never criticized him for doing that. It is his right to do so.

We are all different, and should respect each of our realities and ways of living.

Thanks,
Susa/all

46

Susa,
Okay, I did not realize that you felt that some of the view points here, (mine and Jasmines unless I missed something..) are invalidating and are passing judgement on your way of living and I think the basic problem is that we may have different definitions of the word “recovery”. And that is fine but it is important to realize that too.

For the sake of the other readers especially, I have to point out that I have fully integrated ~ you believe integration to be a myth and by saying that, you are invalidating my recovery. Integration is a myth to you. But not to me. And I think that many readers here have the hope of integration too, so I would hate for them to be discouraged by hearing that it is a myth. Opinions are very often taken as truth. I realize that it is okay to have a different opinion, and that these are all ways that we look at things differently, I know, and I respect that, however, this is my blog and my passion and purpose is to inspire hope for complete healing. If I believe that complete healing is integration, it is because that is MY recovery story.

I understand that you find DID is what enables you to function therefore it is not dysfunctional. That is fine, but for me I moved into a different definition of functional. And that is what I talk about here. I am sorry if you find that to be invalidating, but I can’t change my message. Does that make sense?

It is fine if it is not an option for you, no one said you had to do anything any differently.

Hugs, Darlene

47

Susa > Darlene:

Oh, Darlene, of course I respect your reality as I do all others’ realities who post here. And, as I said, “I am happy that you made a choice for you that worked. What worked for you would not be an option for me, however. I totally respect your opinion that D.I.D. was dysfunctional for you – it is just the opposite for me/us.”

I do not, nor have I ever intimated that I have “the only answer” for everyone. What works for me may not work for anyone else… I simply state my opinions, and make very clear that that is all that they are – my opinions.

The posts which I take issue with are those that convey “etched in stone” statements with very little regard for others’ way of living, and the author does not designate it as an opinion, only that this is “the way” it should be.

As in my last comment, “We are all different, and should respect each of our realities and ways of living.”

Respectfully,
Susa/all
.

48

I actually can agree with everything here. I can agree that this applies to some and not all. Everything that we gain from looking out there and appling it within is of our own choosing. One thing helpfull here is the validation from seeing that my truth is very similar to many others thus I get the I am not alone type of confirmation. I know some people who could not bear to read this stuff at one time I was that way.yet I feel fortunate to see this now. So my point is this we are not rigid we are evolving people and this being so at this point in my thriving I also see room for others to gain from what Darlene has to offer if not today maybe some time. Thanks just my opinion.

49

I had an example of what “right” love is once, but it was so alien to me that I screwed it up and now the person’s gone. He couldn’t handle my not being able to recognize and handle normal concern for a person.
So in my case, seeing an example of it confused me more than helped me.
It’s still too painful to even think about that person for long, and I feel angry about losing him just b/c I’d never seen an example of that before he came along-and I was 18 when he came along.
That just seems like a sad state of affairs: to lose somebody b/c you didn’t know what genuine caring looked like.
The fact that he had anything to do with me, even after noticing something was wrong w/ the way I view myself, is nothing short of a miracle. Most self-assured people who like themselves avoid people like me. He didn’t.
I’m grateful I knew him, b/c he showed me what a healthy self-image looks like.
One thing I don’t understand though is how you change your image of yourself after you know where you got it from. I know I got my lower self-esteem from the people who did those things, said those things, to me; but I’m still trying to work out how I go from that to feeling a LITTLE better about myself.
I think it’s going to take a while to feel LOTS better, so I’m starting small.

50

I forgot to mention something.
Artcathartic pointed out that some people think their way is the only way to get better. In the last grief group I attended, one of the leaders did that to me, and they ended up kicking me out of the group b/c I didn’t use the same techniques as the one leader in order to get better.
That hasn’t happened to me here. I’ve read stuff that’s difficult to hear, but nobody has threatened to ask me to leave just b/c I don’t do every little thing their way.
I think the woman running the other group was a damn control freak, not to mention unyielding about using any other way than her preferred method of improving yourself.
I’d understand it better if a group member did it. It stunned me to notice a leader acting that way

BTW her preferred method was to say ‘It doesn’t bother me anymore,’ and then it didn’t bother her. I’ve never understood that way of improving. You have to believe yourself when you say it; unfortunately, saying ‘I’m going to survive and be okay’ DIDN’T reduce my grief.
She said that was because I really didn’t want to get better, but that was a false statement.
Anyway, I’ve done better since I joined the online forum Families of 9/11 Victims. They let us remember the person who died by writing our favorite memories of the deceased person. \

51

Vicki,
Well of course you would want to remember those people, loved ones, who were tragically killed. My dad lost his mom suddenly, when he was 19 and she was 42. That tragedy impacted my entire life in ways I am still struggling to understand. His dad was diagnosed with Secondary Addison’s Disease, (pituitary induced adrenal failure) five years later, it is typically a condition associated with a shock daeth of a loved one. I have shared the adrenal failure (adrenal shock) episodes (without the diagnosis) for most of my adult life. So, the emotional and physical complications, not to mention or even begin to understand geneitics, all play long lasting roles…
I always longed for someone to tell me about my grandmother, whom I never knew.

I attended the funeral of my grandfather when I was three. My mother told me not to say anything that would make his wife (my step-grandmother) cry. Suddenly, a strange feeling of burden; why is it up to me to keep her from crying? At the death of her husband, guess what? She cried anyway!! Little three-year-old watching!! Horrified. How will this now come back on me?? Will they both hate me? Crying is a serious thing!!

Funny, I have a life long “friend” whose full-time job is running a grief share operation, and her response to a recent question about something in OUR histories, was that it wasn’t doing me any good to be thinking about that. I finally decided that I didn’t need another Narc Mom, and cut off the friendship. It wsn’t up to her to tell me what to think about, duh; finally got it!

52

Hi Vicki,
A professional mental health person told you to say “it doesn’t bother me anymore?” YUCK. I have heard stories like that and like you said, doing that NEVER helps! But generation after generation is told to just get over it, put it behind, leave it in the past… but no one ever tells you HOW and I never felt like I had “permission” to say that it didn’t work.. I thought something was WRONG with ME.
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

Kate;
Thanks for sharing your grandfather story too. That is another thing that happens to kids ALL the time and it is so wrong and does so much damage!
Hugs, Darlene

53

Susa:

I’m sorry if what I said have made you felt invalidated, but again these are just my own experiences with recovery. I’ve never meant to stigmatize mental “disorders” – in fact, I truly believe that each “disorder” is simply a way to cope with the various tragedies of life. The fact that you have DID speaks of very deep wounds and abuse, and no one should ever deny that.

Having said that, I will still stand by MY opinion that recovery is all the more possible. I may not have DID, but I do (did) have schizoaffective disorder which according to research, is incurable. It came to a point where the hallucinations got out of hand (and that was when I was in therapy!!), and my clinical psychologist got worried and she even suggested medications (something she had rarely advocated)…but I refused. I wanted to try harder and I trust that I will get better no matter what research says (again, I am NOT saying that anyone should avoid medications, I just didn’t want them for MYSELF). Well, within a few months the hallucinations gradually subsided to a point where I don’t notice them anymore (one key to work with hallucinations is to ignore them, and that’s what I did). Doctors and professionals are still dumbfounded that this can even happen…but it did.

My point is, I hope that you will not give up hope on recovery. This brings me to another point – YOU define what is okay for yourself. Nobody can tell you whether defenses are okay or not. In fact, no therapist can force a client to work on something that they find functional…not even if it’s a “disorder” in the DSM. I had disordered eating and my therapist knew it ALL ALONG, but she never brought it up because I didn’t know (or think) that it was a problem…until I came to that realization MYSELF.

Like Darlene said, we probably have different ideas of “recovery”. For me, I have also gotten sick of simply surviving and existing, because I know that there must be something more – that I can be victorious over this. I know that I’m not made to suffer the way I had suffered. I had to decide for my own life, and that decision brought me to where I am today.

I have to say, though, that I too find your idea of “recovery” invalidating. I too want to think that I made the right decisions in my recovery process and if I were to be in the process trying to recover, reading what you’ve just said would be highly disheartening. This is why I am a believer in giving hope – and not just empty hope, but hope that can be evidenced by where I am today.

🙂
Jasmine

54

Susa > Jasmine:

Thank you for your message, Jasmine. With all due respect, I didn’t “feel” invalidated, I was invalidated. My opinion regarding the difference is: We can choose to control how we react (feel) to others’ “opinions”, however, when a statement is made and presented as “fact”, without including the disclaimer that it is only the author’s “opinion”, it may be perceived to be proven fact – therein lies the true invalidation. I always try to include a disclaimer, that my posts are my opinions – the readers can take what they want, and leave the rest.

My opinion is that I do not feel that multiplicity is a “disorder”, even though the “experts” have named it as such. In my opinion, the DSM appears to not be fact either. The inclusions in the DSM change from issue to issue. Does that mean the the so called “disorders” which appeared in the previous edition but not included in the current edition are now magically not disorders anymore? Even though homosexuality was included in the DSM up until the early mid 1970s, would it be acceptable to tell someone who is homosexual that they have a disorder, and to not give up on recovery? Does labeling someone’s reality as a “disorder” totally depend on whether it is currently listed in a specific book?

Could the use of psychotherapy, life coaching, yoga, reiki, prayer, meditation, etc. be classified as a “disorder” because people depend on them to cope with life? Are they coping mechanisms? Are they dysfunctional just because they are coping mechanisms? These methods all seem to be accompanied by their own special sets of highs and lows, and none seem to be “perfect” ways to cope. Would it be appropriate for someone to pointedly state to another person who was in the process of using one of these methods of coping with life, that they were “disordered” and needed to “recover”?

These are my opinions and questions. I respect others’ opinions even if I do not agree with them. This is the helpful part of posting on a blog. There is not one person who has the “etched in stone” answer for all… and it is my opinion that an individual’s process of healing should not be represented here as “fact” for all. We are all different.

I am coping the best way I know how, and deserve respect for doing so. I do not use alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, caffeine, or any other societally accepted means which many people use in order to cope with life. These coping mechanisms are used freely without the users having to endure statements that they are “disordered” for coping with life’s issues by using these drugs/chemicals.

I’m sorry that you chose to label my opinion about my personal “recovery” invalidating. It is my opinion that you had the choice to ignore it, or to agree with it since I didn’t represent it as truth for all. It was only my opinion, and was not presented as a formal or authoritative proclamation as your following statement was:

“Having said that, there comes a time when these defenses must go. “Disorders” like DID come about because the defenses have begun to destroy our lives.”

That statement which was presented as fact and not opinion, was extremely upsetting to me/us. My insiders are living, breathing parts of me, and they deserve respect. They deserve to not be referred to as “defenses”. They have saved my life – not destroyed it. By the way, D.I.D. is NOT a result of “defenses have begun to destroy our lives” as you stated… In my case, multiplicity developed as a result of repeated and severe young childhood sexual traumas when there seemed to be no other means of escape other than fracturing, and compartmentalizing the traumas within separate parts of me.

I am working toward enhanced communication and cooperation with my inside family… It could be compared to a non-multiple working on communication and cooperation with their outside family. This is an ongoing process as it is regarding non-multiples working on these issues with outside family members. My working on these issues does not indicate that I am not “recovered”. They are normal issues which non-multiples also deal with regarding their own family dynamics. Multiplicity is our reality, and this post reflects our opinions regarding our reality… I do not represent it as “fact”.

We should ALL be respected and validated for our individual realities, and for the ways that we choose to cope with life. There is no “one size fits all” way to deal with our issues. I have worked through all of my trauma memories that I choose to, but still, the separate inside parts of me remain intact. That doesn’t mean that I should think of myself as “not recovered”. I still have issues similar to the ones which many non-multiples seem to have. That also does not mean that I am “disordered”. The way I cope is normal for me. These are simply my opinions. Ideas and opinions are just that – ideas and opinions – one person’s way of coping. Readers can either understand them, agree with them, or discard them.

I value your opinions, Jasmine. I also value what you have shared in how you chose to deal with your issues. I do not, however, value them because I agree or disagree with them – I value them because they are your TRUTH and your REALITY. I am simply asking for the same consideration.

I am happy that your therapeutic choices worked for you, and I wish you the best.

Respectfully,
Susa/all

55

Hi Susa
I want you to understand that when I speak about recovery from my point of view, I do so out of love for all. I left therapy when I was in my twenties because I didn’t want to integrate. It terrified me. I did not want to face any of it at all and I continued on until I found a new way when I was in my forties. Looking back now, those were such tough years. My whole life was a struggle and now it isn’t. So I write about how I recovered and I wish the freedom that I have found for everyone. And I never knew that it was possible for life to be so much better without DID so I am excited to tell others that there is another way to live! There is hope!

But I realize that in your view, it is as though I am telling you that your “way” is wrong. And that telling you that you can “recover” when you don’t consider yourself to have a “disorder” is NOT loving to you. And that is not my intention at all, and although I can’t speak for Jasmine, I don’t think she is invalidating you or your choice either. It is just the way that we express this ‘HOPE” that we have. Like Jasmine said that she beat the odds in her recovery. Same for me. There are many who don’t believe that DID can be cured ~ that the damage caused in childhood that causes the person to fragment, cannot be repaired. But for me it was possible.

I cringe when I hear people say that they will never recover ~ to me it sounds like they have accepted a death sentence. I never considered that my cringing was judgement. I know that this is a hot spot for me because my mother told me that I would have chronic depression because she had it. She told me that there is no cure. And it terrified me because of the way that she was. So when I started to have it, when the depressions got closer and closer together, and I was losing the will to live, I felt like I was drowning in the black cold water everyday and I kept thinking, what if there really IS NO HOPE?. But I think I am understanding what you are sharing better now. Your choice is how YOU embrace life. And that is okay too.

This has been a helpful discussion for me. I have gained a little more understanding, and that is always good!
Hugs, Darlene

56

Hi Darlene,

Thank you for your input re: my message to Jasmine. I suppose that the “bone of contention” would be that I do not consider multiplicity (DID) as a state of being that needs to be “cured”, and “recovered” from. Being a multiple has been, and is a blessing and a life saver for me. We have our issues, just as non-multiples do… but that doesn’t mean that I am “disordered”. These are my realities, my truths, and my opinions. I simply don’t appreciate multiplicity being characterized as something that is harmful, dysfunctional, and unhealthy…. as something that needs to be repaired in me. Something that is “wrong” with me… It is simply a way of life for me – it is as normal as anyone else’s reality (in my opinion). It works for me… if it ain’t broke, why “fix” it?

Hugs to you too,
Susa/all

57

Susa,

There is a reason why I said “disorders” – and that is simply because I do not necessarily see it as a DISORDER that has been generally viewed and stigmatized as society. I, too, see it as a defense or coping mechanism, and which is why I said it with a “”…because there is something about that word that I don’t quite agree with. I’m sorry that that wasn’t clear to you, that you chose to think that by “disorders” I had meant it as a label or judgment. I understand the stigmatization, especially coming from a country where the last person that people will seek help from are psychologists.

Of course, I cannot agree that these coping mechanisms are the healthiest ALL the time. As children, we might not have survived without them. But then later on and with proper support and therapeutic help, I do believe that it is possible (AND healthier) to face these issues head on instead of continuing to use these defenses. Because like it or not, as comfortable as they may be…they MIGHT have affected our lives one way or another. Of course, one cannot heal if you believe that you can’t. These are just MY two cents.

I’m sick of arguing, actually. But I just want to make this clear – i) There is a purpose of my putting down a “”, and that is to emphasize that I don’t quite agree with the general use of the word “disorders” and I think that it’s pretty clear (well, at least to me) ii) My opinion is that some defense mechanisms can help us SURVIVE, but not CONQUER. We need to get to a point where we decide that we have “survived” for far too long, and it’s time to rise up above it.

58

Susa > Jasmine:

Jasmine, I have never “argued” with you. I was simply explaining my reality by contrasting other scenarios, and I was also asking for the same validation and respect that I have given all others here regarding their personal realities. I do not consider being a multiple as bad, something to “heal from”, or a defense mechanism… it is simply a way of life, and who I am. Until you have walked in my shoes as a multiple, I do not believe that you are qualified nor do you have the right to act as an authority about our reality.

I wish you well.

Respectfully,
Susa/all

59

Susa,

This will be my LAST time talking about this. I have never intended to be an “authority” over your reality and I still believe that by saying “disorders”, I have made it clear enough that my stand on it was different from the general stigmatizing stance of the society. Speaking of validation and respect, I wished the same for my own realities (and I don’t think I got it either).

I respect your opinion that DID (or any coping mechanism for that matter) as a way of life, but I also think that I can respectfully disagree without being invalidating to you. I also do not agree that empathy comes only through having the same experiences. Are you going to say that you cannot empathize with me because you don’t have schizoaffective? Yes, I may not have DID and hence my knowledge and experience of it may be limited…but just as no one has the authority to judge anybody’s reality like you said, the same goes to judging a person’s “qualifications”. I don’t have to understand the symptoms of a “diagnosis” if I CAN’T, but I can TRY to understand the issues underlying it. Why place such emphasis on seeing symptoms as a disorder?

I still think that there is nothing wrong saying that DID or schizoaffective is a “disorder”, because it simply meant speaking the “language” of the general society without agreeing with it (without the ” ” it would have meant a different thing). Again, this is MY definition and I still stand by MY opinion that I had no intentions to judge or be an “authority” over you. I hope I’ve made this clear enough.

All the best,
Jasmine

60

I went to my writers’ group today and came home with several lines that I am going to turn into my own blog post over the next few days but I want to share those lines with you here because they are about the fear that comes from having low or no self-worth as a child.

“Remember the feelings of being asked a question and being afraid to answer because you didn’t know what the other person who asked the question wanted you to say. Any answer you might give could be wrong. The person might not like you if you answer wrong.”

I remember. Do you?

61

Patricia,
this is so interesting; when I worked in the marriage seminars (about the misuse of power and control) this was always a huge topic among the men. They were still afraid of being wrong and it caused no end of problems in the marriage. Of course it all stems from childhood. I am not saying that only men continue with those fears from childhood, I just got over my fear of saying “the wrong answer” about 4 years ago! But the whole thing always originates in childhood! Great topic Patricia, let us know when you publish the blog post!
Hugs, Darlene

62

Darlene, it was a man writer that gave me the inspiration for those words. I shared them with him at the end of the day. I will be sure to come back and post the blog article link when I finish writing it. Thanks.

63

Patricia, I remember. I’ve been married since 1988. To this day my husband notices my habit of circumventing a distinct answer. For example, he might ask, “What time do you want dinner?” and I might answer, “Oh, in 15 minutes, or a half-hour.” (nice of him to be the cook and ask me what time I want dinner). My “aha” moment as to why I don’t answer directly came in a rather benign conversation with my mother about seven years ago. She had sent two Christmas presents, one to open Christmas Eve, one to open Christmas Day, but no instructions as to which was which. So, Christmas Eve I opened one, let’s say it was a blouse. I called her to thank her. She said, “Oh, you opened the blouse first? Too bad, you should have opened the other one first.” I said, “What’s in the other one?” She said, “It’s a surprise.” Total non-sense. I realize I am using shallow examples for in-depth manipulations we were trying to deflect. Or perhaps we were trying to not get our face smacked for spouting the wrong answer, whichever. I’m just saying I know exactly what you mean, and I remember.

64

I wish I could find a writer’s group. I write poetry and short stories. I would write a blog if I understood how to set one up. But when I looked up information on it, the directions for doing it were more complicated than they needed to be.
All he did was make me worry that someone will spam my Web Site. I DON’T like spammers.
How much does it cost to run a successful blog?
The guy talking about it said free blogs mess up your site. You don’t get to use your own name unless you allow ads on your site.
I told you: He made it sound confusing to someone who’s almost completely unfamiliar with the process.
I just want a place where I can enter my poems, short stories and other writings, so I can possibly become discovered on a moderate level and have extra money to pay off some bills. It would be nice if I didn’t always have bills every time I turn around. ; )

65

Lynn, thank you for your comment and your examples. Stuff like your mother did in your example is crazy making, meaning that participating in your mother’s games makes you feel crazy no matter what you do.

Vicki, my blog is on Blogger.com and there are step by step things that you can do to set up your blog on it. It is free. You do not have to have ads on your blog. It is under your control as to what is on there. I don’t have any ads on my blog. I don’t want the clutter. I only get an occasional Spammer and I just delete them. Spam hasn’t been that much of a problem for me but my blog is smaller than Darlene’s, for example. My technical skills are not very well developed so things have to be simple for me to be able to do them. I think that I took about 3 days or more to set my blog up back on June 1, 2007. I have my 4 year anniversary coming up soon. I don’t make money off of my blog so I don’t know how that would work exactly.

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Patricia,

You said: “Remember the feelings of being asked a question and being afraid to answer because you didn’t know what the other person who asked the question wanted you to say. Any answer you might give could be wrong. The person might not like you if you answer wrong.”

YES! It is something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. I was in first grade, 6 years old, still the only child, although I believe my mother was in the early stage of her pregnancy with my twin sisters then. My parents and I were all three cuddled up together on the big sofa… they did that sometimes, and I liked it, it was one of the few healthy things I remember my parents doing.

One night when we were all 3 together like that, one of my parents asked me, Which one did I love BEST? Did I love Mommy best, or did I love Daddy best?

It never occurred to me to answer, “I love you both the same.” That would have been the “best” answer, and the truest answer, as well, but that didn’t seem to me to be an option. I remember feeling like I had been given a TEST, like the teacher did at school. I had been given a question that I MUST answer, I couldn’t just refuse to answer, that wasn’t an option, to my 6-year-old self, either.

The question had two possible answers, and only one answer was the right answer, just like a test question in school where you MUST choose either answer A., or answer B.

They kept at me, both of them, telling me they wanted to know who I loved MOST, Daddy or Mommy? I remember how frantic I felt inside, as I tried to come up with the “RIGHT” answer. I remember trying to tally it up in my head, the different reasons why I might love one more than the other one…. Mommy told me interesting stories about her childhood… but Daddy often took me with him when he needed to go to the hardware store or the bank or the post office… Mommy let me lick out the yummy extra batter from the bowl when she made cake or cookies… Daddy frequently brought me some candy home from the vending machine at the place where he worked… Daddy spanked much, much harder than Mommy, but Mommy spanked much more frequently than Daddy…

It was such a close call, that truly the answer really was, “I love both of you the same.” But as I said, I did not know that was an option. I was SIX, for crying out loud! I had been given and either/or question, and question with just two possible answers, and only one of those answers could be RIGHT. I had to come up with the RIGHT answer….

Finally, as they kept “teasing” me and pressuring me for an answer, I decided that Daddy’s bringing me candy home from his workplace almost every day, won out. So I blurted out, “I love Daddy the best.”

I can STILL see the HURT and ANGRY look on my mother’s face. For many years after that terrible question, I thought that my “WRONG ANSWER” was the reason my mother was so CRUEL to me.

Lynda

67

Lynda,

ouch. what an unkind thing to pressure a young girl into doing….. parenting is not supposed to be a freaking contest, although in evolutionary terms it IS. passing on genes and ideas…….

in that much she succeeded brilliantly, but such toxic ideas !!!!!!!! eeaagh, you deserved better, we all do. That is a great point that all parents should be aware of, not to make an adversarial sport of who loves who more. fear and love are mutually antagonistic.

“should” be common sense, but is not. thank you for sharing that.

68

All this is like a long piece of string, tossed up in the air on a windy day, and it lands in a tangled mess on the ground with neither end in sight. Where to begin to find one of those ends so as to begin to undo the snarls and wind it up again into a neat little ball? Childhood – yes! A domineering, mean, binge alcoholic, adoptive father who was abusive and took great delight in recalling and relating how much fun it was to use a leather strap on a little girl’s silky-undie clad butt! Or for that little girl to recall, now 50+ years later, wailing on her father’s arm and screaming “stop hitting my brother” in an attempt to make him stop the abuse! Or to remember how, as a little girl, he would let her sit on his lap but as she got a little older, for that to stop with no explanation as to why. Rejected, dejected, abused, misused, unloved, and totally bewildered. Used those (and many other) instances as guidance for adult life only to have a 28 year marriage fall apart and a subsequent long-term relationship of 10+ years go south, then come to realize how dysfunctional both of those relationships were, the partners involved were both psychopathic, but bore similar personalities and dysfunctions to the father figure of long ago.

How and where to begin to sort through all of this so as to begin the long and painful healing process set before me?

69

Hi Ingie,
Welcome to emerging from broken,
I think you have already started to begin to sort through all of it, at least in this comment you have defined where some of it originated. That was where I began. The things that happened to me that were wrong and not my fault and what I believed about myself because of them.
Glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene

70

Lynda, asking you a question like that and expecting you to answer with the “right” answer is horrible. There was no right answer. Either answer, someone was going to be hurt. Don’t blame your answer as the reason your mother treated you the way she did. She was the abuser, not you. They were playing a mean game with each other and you were the tool they used to hurt each other. They were mean to you in the process by making you choose. You were only 6 years old. They were the adults.

Here is the link to my blog post on this subject:

http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2011/05/fear-you-might-not-like-me-if-i-have.html

71

Lynda reminded me of being in court, pitted between my step-mother and my father. Now there’s a question with an impossible answer: whose side am I on? OMG I earlier pointed out the most benign of circumstances (re: Christmas presents) when in fact we (we as victims of child abuse) have been through the most malignant of impossible decisions to make! Who do we love? Prove it, dam it, like a do or die proposition. Thx 4 a perspective.

72

I remember the feeling of being put in the middle between my parents in one of their major arguments over a stupid rug that my uncle had given my mother and my dad didn’t want it in the car or in the house.

I was around 10 or 11 with my younger brother and sister sitting in the back seat of the car as we were leaving my uncle’s house. Daddy threw the rug out the car window. Mom got out to retrieve it. Daddy threw it out the window again. Mom picked up the rug and started walking home. We are riding along with Daddy as he yelled at Mom to get into the car. They are both yelling back and forth. Mom isn’t doing what Daddy wants her to do. Suddenly he starts telling us that we better talk Mom into getting into the car if we know what is good for her and for us.

By this time, we are all 3 really scared and crying. We start begging Mom to get back into the car. Finally she and her rug are in the car. I don’t remember the rest of the trip but it was probably made in total silence. I do remember the fear. My Dad was good at putting fear into us.

Just remembering this brings butterflies to my stomach even today so many years later. Parents should never use their children as weapons against each other or as ways to manipulate behavior. That is emotional abuse.

73

Hi all,

Lynn, I have a whole rant about “proving love” by doing what someone else wants. And I believed it too, that if I did what my mother wanted that proved I loved her. It was a long road for me to learn the real definition of love!

Patricia,
Yes Very good example of that whole thing. Yikes, I was scared for you all reading it!

on a side note; kids will so often side with the parent they are the most scared of, and label the parent that is actually the safest, as the crazy one.
Darlene

74

Patricia, what you described is exactly what happened all the time with my x-husband and the kids. He STILL does that to the little kids who see him, and that’s why I fear for their mental health. They don’t really want to be with him either, but fear his disapproval. They often carry messages to me or to their other siblings. Every time they come home, I get some sort of lecture from one of them, like the other night, it was “Don’t you know that the Bible says God hates divorce” – how would a 7 year old know this, and when did I ever talk about divorce to him? Then he tells me how it’s good for me to have a husband, and how I need one, because God gave one to me, etc. I told my ex-husband several times not to do this, but it just causes him to abuse me every time I have a conversation about it. So I have just ignored him. But I know this is damaging the kids the longer it goes on.

75

Hey Krissy,
I did a bible study on that passage and I found out that what it means is that God hates divorce “FROM HIM”
Your ex is playing dirty pool at the expense of your children.
I am so sorry that you are going through all this and that your kids are too. Hang on and be strong and keep working on your own health!
Love Darlene

76

Thanks, Darlene. With regards to “God hates divorce”, in fact the original manuscript refers to a third party singular pronoun, meaning “he hates divorce” which is why some translations (ESV, Holman, the latest 2001 edition NIV) have it as “He who hates and divorces covers his wife with violence”. Those translators that translated it as “God hates divorce” admit that it doesn’t say “God hates” but since it is a “he” they thought it might as well refer to God. I did a word study on what God hates and really everything made sense except for that one, because what He hates are attitudes, not institutions, it would be like saying God hates schools, or God hates restaurants, etc. The only objects He hates are violent people – Ps 11:5 “He hates those who love violence”

77

Darlene, you said: “kids will so often side with the parent they are the most scared of, and label the parent that is actually the safest, as the crazy one.” Yes, I’ve seen that! Thanks for explaining it that way!

Krissy, thanks for this: Ps 11:5 “He hates those who love violence” ~ awesome. That is exactly what I hate, too ~ violence, both the physical and the verbal kinds of violence.

I’m so sorry your ex is being so selfish and evil as to put your young children in the middle. That is so abusive. My ex did that too, and for a long time it seemed that he had “won.” But then my children grew up, and their eyes were opened. When my youngest one told me, when he was in his 20s, that if he had it to do all over again, he would have chose to live with me… yes. Some healing happened then. Truly my children did initially side with the unsafe, abusive parent against me, the “crazy” mother. It was devastating, after a lifetime of devastations… but with age has come wisdom and understanding, for all of us. With the exception of the abusive ex. He now has alzheimers.
Lynda

78

I meant that my youngest told me he would have CHOSEN to live with me, if he had it to do all over again. I have a tiny netbook keyboard that is hard to type one.

79

If I had to start my whys.. they would be endless..Why did you have me if you didnt want me? WHy did you try to smother me with a pillow? Why did you throw me into the boiling bath? Why did you hold me and allow my brother to hurt me? Why did you beat me everyday .. .? why dont you love me even now? What could i do to change how you feel about me? joy

someone recommended the book courage to heal and the workbook but i dont think i am ready for it. its by Laura Davis ..has anyone read it? I have both they are big thick books . and just few paragraphs tells me it will be tough reading. joy

80

Joy, I had both the Courage to Heal and the workbook. A big majority of my healing came from doing the exercises in those books. I had a 12-Step sponsor and close friends who listened to much of what I wrote as answers in the work that I did from those books. I did not do it all by myself. It is tough work to do and you are worth the healing that would come from doing it. Only you know when you are ready. I recently bought the Courage to Heal book again because I had loaned my copy to a friend years ago. When that friend died about 5 years ago, I allowed her daughter to keep it in the hopes that she might would do some work of her own. If I could only pick 2 books that helped me to heal the most of all of the books that I have read and worked with, it would be those 2.

81

Patricia: Thank you . I think little by little. I dont have many people around me at moment in my 3d life.. so having someone to hear it with me .. might be an impossible.

With deciding to heal my entire family left..which is not unexpected. They were never really fans of mine just that I would seek counseling has put a forever closed sign on their doors.. so they said .

I lost friends who simply cannot understand why I am starting the healing journey now; having never spoke up before. They being really religious see it as not being good before God what I am doing now. ..

I am happy you found good from book. Maybe i will try again. I paid a good penny..even on Amazon. for the book.

Joy

82

@Patricia..Maybe I will find someone to go through the book with me but its very hard to even talk to much about it ..the s/a happend when i was just a little girl.. 6 years old. about ..they took us away for some time after that and the put us back home but the physical abuse intensified .. the s/a lessened. joy

83

Hi Joy,
Friends cannot understand why you would want to heal now? Ya, because it threatens them! Maybe they might have to look deeper at their own lives..
About the why questions; understanding why (even if we ever could). We ask them out of our pain and we often “think” that if we could grasp what goes through an abusers mind that we might understand, and that it might help us heal, but it doesn’t because the damage is done in the belief system, and that damage won’t go away by understanding the why.
Hugs, Darlene

84

Dear Darlene:

You are so right on with your answesrs;) and I know I shouldn’t focus on the “whys” but if I were given that close encounter meeting .. which never would happen.. I might have just blurted out those questions….What you said at the end makes sense…even if I knew the whys it wouldn’t undo whats done..so am wasting time if I focus on why.. my T also said don’t focus on the whys….Two great people echoing the same thing ..wow. . hugs: joy

85

Joy,
We are human, and we are always going to wonder why ~ it is human nature, so i am not saying to tell yourself that you are wasting time, but rather to just realize that even if we could “Know” the answers, it doesn’t help. I have a “thing” about this subject because my mother constantly told me how bad her childhood was, so I excused all her mean ways towards me and in the end, I had to start facing what was done to ME without excusing anyone else.
Hugs, Darlene

86

Hello Darlene..
I understand and am sorry that you suffered so much ..
because you felt your mom couldnt help herself.. Am glad
you are now sharing with us the ways you overcome all that..
its so very helpful to me.

By nature, I always want to know why ..maybe because as a kid
i could never ask. .now I cant stop asking..;)

hugs
joy

87

I’ve been following this thread via the emails and Joy and Darlene – have looked at the same circular argument of “why”. In the past this was often, I found, to be the core of many crazy-feeling arguments with my abusers. They would use this to get the focus off what they had done that I might be confronting them on. Crazy making is what I’ve learned to identify it in these relationships but – also in my own relationship with myself. What I found is that often when I felt stuck I was stuck in the “why” of something. Like – why can’t I get out of bed again? Or “why can’t I stick to anything and get things done?” Or “why would they say that to me” (which always opened the door for them to abuse and manipulate me further).

What I’ve learned is that when I catch myself in the circular argument and logic of “why” – that I can use that to move myself to “it is” and “It is and what can I do about it?”. It takes me from that frozen place where I felt helpless as I tried to defend myself to a place where I feel powerful over my choices and can establish healthy boundaries instead of tolerating the crazy making that kept me in that place where I felt as though I was drowning and being told “well, its your fault. you should have known better”.

88

Hi Susan:

What you are saying so makes sense. I think just recently my therapist asked me to try not to get hung up on the why. ..
I can see how it can become “circular” as its never really answered.
I don’t want to get stuck on the “why” at this point of my journey..since I am just beginning..
joy

89

Asking why’s keep me stuck in my head rather than doing my feelings. The why’s don’t really help me to heal. They are a distraction that just gives the abusers more excuses for what they did. Excuses don’t help me to heal. Excuses are another way for the abusers to get out of the responsibility for their hurtful actions. I totally agree with what Darlene and Susan said about why’s.

90

Patricia:

So like your explanation as well.
Like how you said the why’s are a distraction and do nothing to help
us heal. 🙂

joy

91

Patricia; that makes a lot of sense. Getting stuck in “why” is another way that I was able to avoid entering the emotional healing process that could only happen when I got to “it is” and “it was” and acknowledged that it was nothring I could control today or change from yesterday. I think for me “why” was my brain and self preservation where I was trying if I could figure out the “why” then of course it was something I could have or could control and therefore if I could have controlled it or changed it then I also was responsible for it right? Letting go of the “why” helped me move into giving back the responsibility to the abusers although it also left me in that place where I felt the feelings of that complete powerlessness. So yes; letting go of why was part of integrating those feelings of helplessness, anger at being violated…and allowed me to finally move through the pain that I could finally finally live beyond it. Letting it go also left me in that position to now embrace my freedom. Wow….Its been a long time since I’ve looked at how all the parts of the process kind of work together.

92

Joy, I am glad that my words helped you. Susan, yes. You explained the process that I also went through once I let go of the why’s. Thank you.

93

Thanks everyone for sharing!

Love all this conversation from Pat and Susan and JOy!
Very good points!!

Hugs Darlene

94

The book The Courage to Heal was a main source of knowledge and self-education. The book chased me for several years before I was ready to read/work at it. I remember going to a public library with that title in mind, and when I saw the sub-title, I quickly put the book back on the shelf where I found it, even though the sign said “Do Not Re-Shelf Books.” I was in denial that the book could apply to me. Besides, how would I check it out? The librarian would see what I was reading, and what would she think? How deep was my shame! Some time later, I (re) entered therapy. The therapist asked me if I knew about the book, and I said yes. Then she brought a new copy out of her closet, and gave it to me (she had purchased a stack of them). BUT without her support, I don’t know if I could have done the book. It’s powerful work for personal growth.

95

Lynn

I have the book and workbook of Courage to Heal sitting here but am waiting for my T to ask more questions. I have been told by great many people its not good to go through it alone.. and this on several forums. so am waiting to see if my T will or if i can find a mentor who has gone through it .as I a very easily triggered..

I have heard only good things of the book but all said not to go through it alone.

Joy

96

My question became, “What did I do wrong to deserve this?” My answer was, “. . . be born into this world!”

97

@Ronnie

My thoughts exactly but my mom tells me she didnt want me .. I wasn’t suppose to be. .

Her links with religion would not allow her to abort me yet.never stopped her from beating burning and attemptingn to end my life..

Has left me in a great fog.. knowing I was never wanted in the first place.. and because I was not wanted.. was a mistake must bare the blame for it all .. Its totally mixed up .. the one who shouldn’t be taken the blame for all the wrong. . really confusing

joy

98

Ronnie and Joy
Yes, but it is in our power to take our lives back from them. It doesn’t matter what the circumatances were Joy, or the lies that you are coming face to face with now, you can go forward from here. I did it. The details of being wanted or not wanted are not what makes us who we are today, they are just details of how we were defined. I re-defined myself when I got to the bottom of the lies and found the truth. I am NOT who they painted me to be.
Keep haning in here! It takes time for all this fog to lift!
Hugs, Darlene

99

Joy, I am really sorry for what your mother did to you. Darlene, what a good, life-affirming response. My mother said she did not want to be pregnant with me, but loved me when she had me. Until I turned into a teen, and dared to answer back and disobey, and she said, “Were you born just to make my life miserable?” I should have had the wherewithal to remind her that she was miserable long before I was born, although I did remind her that I did not ask to be born. Been here 57 years, might as well make the best of it!

100

Hi Darlene
Am going forth with good company with one holding on to EFB and the
other to my T:) I am sure I will get there if even slowly . thanks for all you do and say. I am slowly getting through the fog. Joy

101

Lynn

What was done to me is awful but what she has done to herself is worse as she cannot me because of herself and whatever brough me into this world. Its painful to me but must be more so for her..though she will never admit it. that me being a mistake is on her.. though she wants it on me.

joy

102

Hi Lynn
My mother went out of her way to say how much she wanted a girl.. (me) in the end I was just as badly abused as anyone else. What she really wanted was a baby who would fulfill HER needs. Not a real child; she never wanted the responsibility of a real child, and she resented me.
I hear you Lynn! and I have vowed to make the best of the rest of my life! (and I have been doing just that for a while now; it’s going great!)
Hugs, Darlene

103

I was not seen
I was not heard
I was not valid
I knew not love

Came back to this post and thought how true this is.. I was never seen by the world or anyone as a broken, beating, molested hurting child.

I was not hear by the church leaders. they told me to apologize to god for having complained ..to ask god to help me keep silent to help me suffer better.

I was not valid. I felt if people of the church who spoke for God told me i was wrong in complaining , i had not reason .. that all the beatings..abuse, attempts on my life were valid and ok and my hurting. my tears, my brokenness was not.

Love is something I only heard of in songs and seen on some shows like Brady Bunch and little house on the prairied and wondered why they had it so nice and I had it so bad.. Seeing how things were on tv only dug deeper wounds in my heart.

I have been struggling with thoughts from my nightmares last night.. and thus early was talking to the universe and pondering pretty thoughts by the lake inside my mind. ..I found peace there but no resolutions as the questions still remain unanswered.

Why didnt i have any value to anyone , not even God, as a child? Why was abuse and near death ok with those who knew.. why was I punished and called bad for speaking of the abuse to people of God..

I know I was not a bad girl I never had a chance to be. I was too busy surviving and keep my mouth shut..

Still pondering these things still wanting to erase them from my mind and they keep coming to me in my sleep.

I am leaving my thoughts here again and running for the lake inside to call back the good thoughts from this morning.

Hope some day I see why everyone that could have helped: didnt . not even the creator of all.

Was there a reason he let it all happen?

joy

104

Hi Joy,
I grieved for all that happened to me too, and the grieving served as part of how I finally validated myself (and aknowledged that my life had not been fair to me) where I had never been validated before. The grieving is very important.
As for the God stuff, I guess I always believed in that God gave us “free will” and that God had nothing to do with what happened to me. Man did. And I have this vision of God weeping and having a broken heart over what people did to us. I never really thought that He could have stopped it. That is just how I feel. for me, I don’t think he let it happen.
Hugs, Darlene

105

Hi Darlene

Am here sitting on hold for my company so replying.. Just when I think I go forward a few steps I fall all the way back. like something just takes me by the scruff of the neck and sits me back where I started.

I start my day out purposely by the lake . because I wake most morns from night mares. . I try to think an be present to all that is beautiful and try to push aside all the ugly

BUt pushing it aside doesn’t make it stop hurting or disappear. I am still lost in my big questionmark.

It baffles my mind that i find all the world outside so alive and meaningful. I find all creation so simple to understand but cannot understand my broken world inside me. I see beauty outside and a big mess inside. Does that make logical sense. .I see beauty yet am a mess..

I love all that is good but feel am not worth much at all. i do tell myself not to pay attention to such thoughts but they are engraved there in my being and constantly battling my efforts to heal.

joy

106

Hi Joy
It makes total sense to see a mess inside and beauty outside, in fact I think that is a wonderful sign! eventually the inside will catch up to the outside! Mine did.
Something that I stopped doing in my process was that I stopped telling those voices to shut up and ignoring them and I faced them. I asked them to tell me everything, (kept saying “what else”) and eventually I got to the bottom of where they came from. And I could really see the lies that they kept telling me, and I was able to correct those lies. It was very powerful. (I did this a lot for almost a year)
Hugs, Darlene

107

If I may contribute? Me too on the wanting it to all just go away and leave me alone. And like Darlene – I learned to use those thoughts and memories that kept haunting me to guide my healing. As they came up – I would journal about what it brought up, draw, paint, do collages that went from angry, dark and lifeless to art that had a full spectrum of color. I learned to use the “triggered” feelings and memories, including body memories to tap the anger that I’d buried and been told was wrong and invalid. This allowed me to open the door to the grief where I was finally able to really grieve the loss of the life I’d deserved and mourn the life that I’d had too. It was in the going through the pain that I finally began to live beyond it.

It seemed overwhelming at first and at different times because this was foreign to me but I understood that this was the case so it became less scary as I allowed myself to practice this new life skill of having and expressing my emotions/feelings instead of avoiding them through acting out or acting in.

108

Joy, my heart goes out to you. Really. It seems to be that there is this immense thirst to be accepted by the people you look up to. Love is something that every child should have grown up with, but sadly for you, you never had it. You longed for what you see around you, but it only brings more loneliness. The people who should have cared for you, hurt you instead. I hear that inner child that years to be fed, but is cast aside.

I agree with Darlene. I believe that it wasn’t God’s fault that men treated us badly. This was something that I had taken a long time to learn…because I went through tremendous spiritual abuse as well. I eventually realized that the abuse did not change the way God loves me. He gives men a free will, a choice. It is men who chooses to abuse. It is men who invalidated me.

And Susan, I like the way you dealt with your negative emotions. It shows how far you’ve come. When I found my freedom, I made it a point to be honest with how I feel, and face the pain. It means being aware of what is going on within. It means acceptance. It means dealing with it properly and then move on. I personally believe that if we were to deal with our emotions properly, we won’t have to force ourselves to “snap out of it”. Those emotions just go away on its own. But if you keep pushing them aside, there will come a day when you will break again. And I don’t want that to happen anymore.

109

Hi Jasmine
I think you meant to say “those emotions DON’T just go away on their own. Well I hope that is what you are saying anyway!
Just to clarify, about dealing with our emotions properly, you mean as we progress in the process, right? because if we learned how to deal with them as children, we would not have to heal to the extent that we do now.
It does take a long time to keep facing what is within.
Hugs, Darlene

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Joy, I agree with everything said by Darlene, Susan and Jasmine. I too believe in Free Will which means God doesn’t step in and rescue His children or it wouldn’t be Free Will. I believe He cries for his hurt children. I also believe that those church people abused you emotionally. I believe that God has a special place in Hell for those religious people that use their power to abuse little children and young adults who look to them for protection and guidance. All of the adults in your life who should have protected you failed miserably and they will someday have to pay for that.

Joy, I know how hard it is to let go of the “whys”. It seems right now that the “whys” which usually don’t have any answers are keeping you stuck in the overwhelming pain that you are in right now.

Like everyone else said, the only way that I have found out of the pain is to go through the pain by allowing myself to feel all of my feelings. I forgot that myself on Father’s Day and the week before. The little kids in me got scared of what may be exposed with the inner child work that I will soon be starting. We all felt overwhelmed by the fear and sadness and I did my overeating to not feel up until Father’s Day when I did better.

As I was writing my blog post on Father’s Day, all the feelings that I had been overeating to avoid came out during that day. As I was writing my blog post, I did my best to stay with the feelings and to let the words flow. Feeling the emotions after all these years is still sometimes hard for me to do. That is where I have to remember to be gentle with myself and to just sit with the feelings for as long as I can and to keep writing. I have a big breakthrough, as Darlene called it in the comment that she left on my blog, waiting to happen if I can let it out. There are memories wanting to come to the surface and I have to be okay with how and when they come out. I can slow down or even stop the process if I go back into the “why” questions or I can get the adult me out of the way and give the inner children the floor to speak and tell what they remember.

“Why” questions are the way my adult mind tries to stay in control of the feelings instead of just letting them come. If I can quiet the questions instead, then the feelings and words of the inner children can come to the surface. I have learned that facing my fears head on is the only way to get rid of the fear.

Joy, I know that this is a lot to deal with in the beginning but know that everyone of us who is here on this blog has been there before you. Some of us aren’t that far ahead of you on the path. Don’t make the mistake of putting any of us that you are following up on a pedestal. We will fall off. We are human with human hurts, wants and needs; fears, grief and sometimes joy just like you. None of us are perfect even though we might want to be. We make mistakes and we still have to deal with our own hurts and grief just like you. That is one reason that I wrote about Father’s Day on my blog. I may be a little further along than you in healing but I still have my days and even weeks and sometimes months when I hurt. To me it is important to show my readers that I hurt too sometimes. I don’t hurt all the time like I did in the beginning. I have days, weeks and sometimes months where there is happiness, joy and laughter that I feel as well. It is important to share that with my readers too. I sometimes forget that. A Facebook friend reminded me of that recently when he asked me to lighten up sometimes with what I post on my Facebook page. I am not perfect and I don’t do my healing perfectly. I struggle just not as often as in the beginning. If you put anybody on a pedestal they will fall off and disappoint you.

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@ Darlene

Thanks for validating my feelings . that am not too crazy..that its normal to be messed up inside while be able to see and appreciate the beauty outside.I can hear you saying that i mustnt ignore the voices . .the innner accusations..but to hear them . give them their say and try to process them.. find out why they are there?

@ Susan

Keeping notes is quite a good idea. I do reach out to my box of crayons alot and I am not even an artist but find happiness in coloring . as when I am coloring I have to focus on that picture… I guess I really should allow my emotions to paint or color. I have not really allowed much anger in to my picture yet as I am still confused about everything . not able to be mad as I dont understand why.

@Jasmine..
Yes the little child in me has a lot of hurt and she is wanting to be healed because she has been very disappointed in those who should have helped her but didnt.. She has tried to find happiness in lovely things outside but they are only passiing . they cannot fix the hurt in her so she is hoping there is some healing to come soon . She tells me too long she has been silent..

Joy

ps as a child the only thing i learned was my lessons at school and the rule of the house which was to suffer and be quiet …to take all my punishment or else. .I have never learned all the things normal kids learned from mom and dad.. so I suppose i have so much to catch up on.

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One more thing, any time that we make comparisons, we are comparing our insides to the other person’s outsides. We never see what is going on with a person inside. They can be hurting or just as scattered or damaged or worthless as we feel on the inside. What we see when we look at other people is the image that they are projecting on the outside. We all do the projecting. It is how we protect ourselves from others.

I may appear calm to you. That is my outside image. I am good at projecting that calmness when on the inside I may be falling apart. My husband and children had no idea what I was feeling on Father’s Day. They saw that I wasn’t feeling well physically because I told them I was dizzy and nauseous and I laid down for an hour but they had no idea what was going on inside of me. My husband knows some of it now because last night I shared my Father’s Day blog post with him.

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Can anybody here reading these comments tell me what normal is for a child? None of us experienced normal as children living in an abusive home. None of us learned normal things. I certainly wasn’t taught much by my abusive and passive parents. Everything that I learned was at school or on my own, mostly by trial and error.

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Hi Patricia:

Your response came right after I had finished this bundled answer and I understand its a long process and really I don’t compare .. I say I am behind as I know I am ..it is a fact. .I know this. I am constantly getting messages, things people say, all mixed up. I don’t get it. I don’t understand things of life. I don’t know how to tell when peopel are going to hurt me. I keep getting hurt. almost every week . . no matter how hard i try to protect myself . there is someone who pulls the wool over my eyes. because I just dont have good inner radars. I dont know if you understand this.

I wont try to hurry as I wouldnt get too far. .I don’t even know where to start. I am glad I have all you good folks as friends and a T go guide me.

I wont try to tackle God right now . He knows how I feel and He knows where I am and I really believe that God understands.. all my hurt .. and won’t ask me to do anything more than I can …

joy

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Joy,
Yes, to find out “where the came from” to look at the roots in order to see the lies. I wrote a post about this system of listening to Neg. Self talk. and useing it to help my process.
you can read it here: http://emergingfrombroken.com/hearing-negative-self-talk/
hugs, Darlene

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Joy,
YOu keep saying that you know you are “behind” but we all started right where you are… and there are many here that are exactly where you are too. You describe the place where I myself was five or six years ago. Exactly. It is fine not to get it as long as you keep being interested in “getting it”. 🙂
It will all work out!
Hugs, Darlene

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Patricia,
That is why I keep going back to the belief system; finding out what I believed WAS normal and comparing it to what I have learned about the real definition of love, and what abuse is and what my rights as a person really are. I had to relearn almost everything from a new grid of understanding. None of us grew us with an idea of true normal or proper treatment or regard. Thanks for sharing all that you have today too, I am behind and can’t answer all the comments ! YIKES… (I have two kids graduating (two diff grads) this week and both of them in finals… )

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Patricia; the way I’ve defined “normal” is first that my “normal” was my reality. Abuse was my “normal” and in the way of the bigger world and healthy families it is “normal” for children to not be used to satisfy the needs of the adults around them. It is “normal” for a child to be a child and not know about sex and caretaking of their parents etc.

My reactions to the abuse ie the acting out/acting in, the maladaptive coping and survival skills – are NORMAL REACTIONS to ABNORMAL life experiences.

That I am not “disordered” my behaviors and coping skills are not disordered, not a disease not a character defect but are NORMAL human responses to some very ABNORMAL life experiences.

Normal in my definition is in the context of ones everyday life experiences and societal expectations.

I hope that helps although I’m sure that there are many other ways to describe this thing called “normal” too. But this is what works for me and helps me make sense of the senseless crap I’ve had to endure and learn to live beyond.

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Oh – and – it is normal for us to recreate the dysfunction as we, all humans and all species….gravitate toward what feels “normal”…because “normal” is “safe”. Change feels unsafe, scary and leaves me not knowing what to expect or what to do.

Thats why all the “regular” ie not abusive folks – seem so scary to me and why I always gravitated toward those who exhibited the same or similar characteristics as my original abusers.

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Susan,
YES and what you are talking about is what I refer to as “false normal” it was MY normal, but it was not right. We lived in false systems. False love, false truth. And in recovery I had to find the real truth. find out what is real love. Find out that funky was funky. LOL
Love all your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

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Jasmine – I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that your intention was to be supportive yet at the same time I need to point out that your comment to me is not really helpful nor validating.

You said:

And Susan, I like the way you dealt with your negative emotions. It shows how far you’ve come.

While I appreciate what you seem to be trying to do here, I’m wondering if you are aware of how judgmental, offensive and invalidating this statement is? You don’t know me, I’ve not interacted with you that I recall, I’ve not seen you or engaged with you on FB or at my blog so how is it that you can determine where I started or how far I’ve come?

If I may? I’d like to suggest that you reconsider offering value judgements and telling others what “they” or “You” need to do and consider framing your comments in the context of your own story minus the advice giving and value judgments.

Validation is not giving approval and when the focus become that of measuring or qualifying my experiences in the context of your approval that is actually very invalidating.

I appreciate what I’m assuming was intended to be supportive but I needed to let you know that I’m not ok with anyone judging my journey or my progress.

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“Find out that funky was funky”

Lol!

Love it Darlene!

and thank you! 🙂

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@ Darlene

I understand your point.. and thank you for what you say. guess I have lots of unprogramming since i was told by mom i was stupid all my childhood and even after.. teachers at school said “not another pachowicz..they will never amount to anything’..teachers pitied us..

I have a brain but i think when God was handing out sense and maturity and worldly wisdom . I was out picking flowers or day dreaming..

My family now excuse my behavior saying what can be expected of me.. considering my circumstances..

Guess some things i have accepted because everyone said they are true of me..

I know despite my weaknesses and despite what others say I have something no one can take from me . i love and i sincerely love people .i love nature .i love life and love poetry..

I may not be a rocket scientist but i never heard that to be a requirement to get to Heaven.

I dont mean to put myself down but i do know things about me that I simply to have it all there.. and thats not bad.. its i still have to get it.

Joy

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Susan Kingsley Smith
June 21st, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Joy: I was told the same things.

Then one day I grasped on a physics concept…chaos is the beginning of brilliance.

I took that in the broadest context. From a shiny light to intelligence beyond measure…

I started saying out loud – every time I heard stupid, idiot and all the other lies that told me I was worthless….

“I’m brilliant….I’m f’ing brilliant…I’m Einstein brilliant…”

I wrote it in my journal, I got pictures of Einstein and others I admired.

And I never let anyone call me stupid or crazy again.

We are not our past and each if us has the same brilliant wisdom and light within.

For those raised in healthy environments – they get this in their upbringing. For me though – I decided that what I didn’t get – I would take. I wasn’t waiting any longer for anyone to give me what was rightfully mine any more.

I just wanted to share that because I was almost 50 before I realized that my IQ was nearly 130 – and that was on all the drugs psych drugs. I started seeing my brain as something I could learn to tap into instead of a dead weight that was useless. I began to discover that I had everything I needed to create the life I wanted for myself. I just had to learn how to tap into my inner wisdom by starting to shutout and turn off the lies that said “less than”.

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Dear Susan

You don’t know how perfectly timed this post was..and yes everything about it I am going to try to use. .It really makes so much sense to my soul. .all the words you wrote.

Have been shouting at the bad memories all day today and the louder I have shouted they shouted even louder. am worn out from the day’s battle..literally….

I had all my armor ready this morning but one thing after another broke through my carefully placed walls.. today.. I was about to raise my white flag for the day when you post come into my email

How very welcome it is .and has motivated me to battle on some more though am tired from the today’s fight.

You speak in a way I understand..thank you .I will keep on trying.
and will keep fighting the senseless words of others that would handicap me.

much gratitude,

Joy

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Hi Joy! Well thats a good thing – WordPress told me that my comment didn’t post so I was happy to receive the note that you got it and it made sense!

One of the lessons that helped me in this process was learning that I couldn’t control the process…but that it was an organic thing and when I just went with it it went a lot easier. I say that only to let you know that I completely understand what you are saying and to let you know that your experiences are normal and expected…I and so many others have traveled similar paths:)

Its hard letting go after a lifetime of being told to “do” (everything and anything) “RIGHT” or GOOD ENOUGH. It felt so good to get to the place where letting go no longer terrified me – although I still address it every day. Just like everyone else in the world:)

I’m glad it makes sense Joy:) Thank you for your note:)

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Hi Susan

As I said on your wall. it was perfect timing ..Everything everyone says is always good but yours..literally ..fell into my box when I was saying my regrets about something that transpired today

I get so tired of fighting ..but then if I don’t stand up for me who will. no one else in my family .

I was weak today and was tempted and could have very well jumped at an offer handed to me but in my brokenness I still held to my need to heal but after I was questioning myself.. ..

I was like in a mini desert. told i would be forever and ever by myself.. no one would ever like me from the famly. I had heard it all before but today was just a weak moment day .

Thank you for your words and for your kindness and will be saving your last post before this as it fell at the right time..and said just the right thing for the time.

joy

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I’m so glad to hear that Joy:) Thank you for letting me know it was helpful!

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Hi Darlene,

What I meant to say was that from what I see for myself, the negative emotions just fade away if I deal with them properly instead of stashing them up and ignoring them. I don’t mean to say that they will go away on their own, as it definitely takes some work! What I meant was that if we were to deal with them honestly and appropriately, we probably won’t have to try so hard to “forget them”. I hope I made this clear 🙂

And oh yes, we learn to deal with our emotions properly as we progress in healing. Children are made to absorb everything that the environment throws at them and there is no way that we could understand all the injustice that was done to us as a child. But as we begin to heal, we also need to employ new coping mechanisms that are healthier.

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Susan – I’m so sorry if I came across as offensive. It was absolutely not my intention to invalidate your progress. I had just wanted to affirm that by how you’ve learned to employ such healthy coping methods, you must have come a long way. I never said that I know where you started or where you are now, or even how far you’ve come.

I don’t know, but we might see things from different cultural viewpoints. In our culture, it is uncharacteristic to focus on the individual. We have been trained to see and talk in the “you, they, we” perspective. Hence, to focus all on my own experiences it would seem to me that I am being self-centered. Hence, I might also see abuse in a very different way that is seen by many people here. For example remember “Tiger Mum” – she calls her children “garbage” and they accepted it probably because it is in the cultural beliefs that parents love you if they scold and beat you up.

I hope that you’ll understand that we probably see things from many different perspective. To be honest, I’ve been taking risks with every comment that I write in here, because I know that the way I think may be very different from how others think in here. It doesn’t mean that any is right or wrong – it’s just different. Still, my fears are proven this time.

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Jasmine, I can understand what you mean, because I come from the same background. However, having lived in a western community for many years, I have adapted, as I’m sure you must have, to the way they operate. My parents’ voices are still very strong, and I have had to work through what is justification for abuse and what is truly cultural. For my siblings and friends who now live in the West, this is also a constant and unending challenge.

At the same time, I am still in a community of Oriental people as well, so it seems like I am always living in duality. I think this is a pretty unique challenge to those from other cultures who have to find support from the community we live in. If I didn’t, I would be isolated because family is far away. Also, it seems like the Western culture has far greater clarity about abuse – don’t see this level of understanding among the Asian community, for example. So I need to engage and get something from a community I was not born into. Mostly, it is not a problem, but at times, belief systems and presumptions that I never even thought were unique to my background get me into hot water. I’m not using your comment as an example, but simply agreeing with your post that there is a difference in the way we were taught.

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Krissy, THANK YOU. I’m quite relieved that I’m not alone here 🙂

However, I’m still in southeast Asia, and so unfortunately I haven’t come across many people from non-Asian cultures yet. I must agree with you though, that we might view abuse in a really different way. Thanks to this blog…I’ve really learned that my way of seeing things is not absolute. I understand growing up being taught that our parents are ultimate. I can’t imagine having to adopt the values and systems of two cultures at the same time.

I also agree that the individualistic cultures can have a greater clarity about abuse. In the collectivistic culture that I was brought up in, there is a very blurred line between what constitutes emotional, verbal and psychological abuse – and what is okay. We grow up not knowing that what was done was even wrong.

Yet again, I must say that it doesn’t mean that the views of either culture is wrong. I think that we do need a good balance of both. And just because I might think differently and get myself misunderstood, it doesn’t mean that I’m wrong either. It simply teaches me that not everyone thinks the same way 🙂

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Jasmine; I’m not approaching my note to you as that you intentionally meant any disrespect but rather I was letting you know that your comment was offensive. There is no right or wrong in the context of my note to you and your defense and explanations of your actions make it clear that you did not hear me and view any cultural differences as justification.

I was not implying that you did know me Jasmine; but that you DID not and do not know me yet you saw it as appropriate to put such a value judgement on me.

I take no offense and wish you well. While I understand cultural difference I also understand the concept being dismissive and defensive and that each experience and interaction is an opportunity to learn and grow.

I’m quite sure you were not ever intending to be offensive Jasmine. Yet – I told you that I was offended, what exactly I was offended about and attempted to point out why I felt that way.

Yet – you opted to justify and defend yourself at no time even acknowledging that my feelings were important but instead suggesting that I dismiss your actions as a cultural difference.

So no; I do not view this as a cultural difference. The fact that you would even suggest that view this as a difference in perspective and that I set aside my feelings says it all.

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Hi Krissy and Jasmine,
I would like to offer an opinion about the definition of abuse ~ I just published a post today called “when children are not regarded as actual people” and I talk about the ways that children are “taught” their value. I don’t think a cultural norm would make the meaning of that that post any different. I also don’t think that children in Asia have a higher self esteem then children in North America because their culture has more acceptance when it comes to abuse. (cultural norm) Jasmine has spoken before about the difference in cultures, but every time she does, I don’t “get it” because it is never any different then how I grew up. I was devalued. And she was devalued. What I am trying to say is that I don’t care what the culture is, I believe the devastating results and damage to the self esteem of the child (or wife or whatever) is the same. I was not born into a family instilled any sense of self esteem into me in the first place and I was taught “respect”, but it was at the expense of me. SO.. it was abusive.
In my work, I meet people all the time who say that they can’t recover because their situation is different. BUT I don’t believe that. I think that itself is a belief. A false belief set in place by brainwashing. I think that understanding culture might be one of those things that allows a person to make excuses for the abuser, just like I made excuses for mine because of her past. Excuses none the less. I hope that I am making sense. I guess you will have to read the post that I just published to get more clarity on what I am saying which, again, is about the results when children are not being valued as people no matter what the cultural norm is. AND also, is a cultural norm excusable? (I don’t think so, damage is damage)
Hugs, Darlene

135

oops, I forgot to share the link! This is my newest post and really goes along with this post.

“when children are not regarded as actual people”

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I’m not implying that cultural norms are to be used as an excuse for abuse. I do believe that abuse is abuse no matter what the culture says. What I’m trying to say is, that culture makes us see things in different ways. Hence, what is seen as abuse in one culture might just be the norm in the other…and we all take different routes to understand its gravity. Do i think that Tiger Mum is abusive? YOU BET. But unfortunately, many Asian children and parents don’t see it that way.

Another example will be that I’ve been taught to keep the peace and not argue (and hence writing all this is really difficult), whether I was right in the first place or not. This has opened the door for plenty of abuse to happen. But because of the norms, it took me a long time to see what was going on.

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But Jasmine, I think I really do understand what you are saying… I was also taught that I should keep the peace and not argue. I was taught that I came last and that being a servant was always the more worthy position to be in. I was taught to respect those who did not respect me. AND I was taught that my value was sexual, all of which are wrong. Cultural doesn’t have to come into it, does it??
hugs, Darlene

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Susan, I hate to say this but neither do I think that you want to understand things from my perspective. To me, what you were trying to do is to make me agree with you…and do you think that’s validating?

To set the record straight – I think that I was misunderstood and that you chose to see my explanations as being dismissive. And to imply that I don’t understand what it means to be dismissive…well? To me, that’s almost saying that I don’t understand what it means to be abused!

If you take my explanations as defensiveness…then did you expect me to just agree with you? You said that you didn’t take offense, and yet you were offended. You said that you did not imply that I didn’t know you, and yet seem to contradict yourself in the same sentence.

My question is, don’t you think that you were disregarding my feelings as well?

139

Jasmine; we are now crossing the point where this is simply becoming the crazy making that most of us are very familiar with. I do not agree with you or your statements about me and I am not going to try to change your mind about anything. At this point it is moot to even attempt to enter into any discussion or exchange.

140

Susan,
As an outsider reading from both side of this situation, and in all fairness, I really think that Jasmine is sincerely trying to resolve this situation. I am fine with you leaving it alone, but for the sake of the other readers, I wanted to make this comment.
Both of you are very frequent commenters on this blog. I see both sides of what has happened. I understand both of your points of view. I think there might be some misunderstanding going on, but again, as a netural reader, I dont think Jasmine is crazy making. I think that she is trying to sort it out.
I am not asking either of you to go any farther with this, but I did want you to know my point of view. Sometimes there is not just one wrong and one right. Sometimes there is confusion in the middle somewhere and if we can get to that, everyone grows and learns.

I once had a problem with a commenter on my blog one time. We really go into it in email.. It really bothered me, but I kept trying to sort it out FOR ME not for her. I am so glad that I did. She ended up being a great contribulter to the blog and she had a huge breakthrough about HER reaction to me. I was understood about my issues, without backing down from the truth, and We both won. We both had reactions (were triggered) by the exchange and we sorted it out. sometimes that can be done, sometimes not.. I will let you decide.
Hugs and love, Darlene

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You know what, the truth is that there is a disagreement and misunderstanding. The other truth is this – there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t agree with Susan how how she responded, but we’re just different individuals. Hence, I don’t see how we can assert that the other is wrong.

I think the only way to resolve this is to understand things from each other’s perspective. I can disagree but it doesn’t mean that I can disregard.

Darlene, I agree that there might be no wrong or right in this.

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Darlene, I agree with your post regarding culture. In many ways, your mother’s behavior is similar to the typical Asian mother – the effect of abuse and invalidation is certainly the same. I guess the difference is the degree to which it is accepted. Eg, you have a blog like this and people kind of get what you are saying. Even on a macro, governmental level, there is a recognition of what children need and what is abusive and/or not, although on a micro level, it is not practised. But in a typical (whatever that means, we are talking many many different subsets of nationalities and races) Asian community, the abuse is totally acceptable and ingrained at all levels, so what happens at home happens at school happens at work happens at church happens on the streest, etc. There is no such thing as mandatory notification, or womens services, or criminal justice for childhood abuse. Such avenues may not ease the trauma (courts often re-traumatize), but at least at some level there is clarity and knowledge of what is acceptable and what is not.

How do you even start to work through or recognize stuff if there is NO clarity to be found anywhere? The only reason I have found clarity is because I live in the West! I was given a womens advocate through an organisation that ex got engaged in. Then I was recommended to counselling that was abuse-aware. Before that, all the counselling I ever got never recognized abuse. Yes, that is the case everywhere, but I have not met a single person among hundreds in my Asian community who understand abuse. Not only that, when I do explain it, they say they do it all the time. To them abuse is what happens in Saudi Arabia or orphanages in China.

It is of course no excuse to perpetrate abuse. But it takes time to even uncover what is abusive and what is not. I can understand what Jasmine meant, but I also understand what Susan said. If she hadn’t pointed it out, I wouldn’t have picked it, only because those things are said to me all the time! Does that mean it’s OK? No, but it does mean that it would not have occurred to me that it was unacceptable. And many other boundary violations are in fact commonplace in my original community and it will take time for me to find out all the ways in which I am accepting or perpetrating invalidation.

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Krissy,

I totally get where you’re coming at. I think you’re right in saying that the difference is not whether the actions are invalidating or not; but the degree to which such actions are accepted. It’s just the same way as how I had never seen how others have been invalidating, had I not talk through it with someone else, like in this very case. But just because I don’t see it, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen!

I had never meant to invalidate in the first place, and I don’t think that I was being invalidating either. But that’s MY view, and it’s okay to see it otherwise. If someone attacks me, isn’t it normal to “protect” myself? I was just explaining where I’m coming from, but I understand that I can’t make everyone see my point. And hence, I’m also not expected to agree with everyone. I’ve grown up being forced to swallow other people’s perspectives, and I’ve had enough. It isn’t my intention to dismiss her feelings, but that’s just because I don’t see how my initial comment was invalidating in the first place.

I’m glad that you’ve had the opportunity to see abuse as it is 🙂

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Krissy
I really do understand what you are saying, but what I am saying is that this is what is said to me every day by north American people. Millions of people (children) were told that abuse was NOT abuse and that they had no right to complain about it. Millions went for help and were rejected and told to hush up. SOME were lucky enough to find an advocate, but it is shocking how many never did. The court system has failed way more than it has helped. SO it takes time for all of us to realize what abuse is. It may be harder in the east, but it is not as different either because it is the brainwashing that we are talking about at the root of everything. That false belief system. In my family system, the abuse I suffered was not viewed as abuse at all. It is really all about realizing the brainwashing. I understand that you are saying the definition of abuse is far different in Asian countries. But that is just another belief system that country has. I could see the abuse of others but not my own, (because of the brainwashing) and I was never understood by anyone I talked to until about 5 years ago. I had been to lots of therapy, no one ever thought the abuse in my childhood had anything to do with my present struggles. When I read what you write it is so similar to what I lived here in Canada and what I hear from everyone here on this blog ~ which has regular readers from over 900 countries. That is all I am trying to say. (well maybe not “all” LOL)
Hugs, Darlene

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That’s one thing that was always made painfully clear to me: what abuse is. I mean being sent out into 25 degree weather without a coat to sit until she tells you you’re allowed to come back in–and she never did, I always just came back in when she wasn’t around, which took up to 45 minutes sometimes–well that’s pretty damn obvious abuse.
If there’s any subtle abuse, it didn’t come from my first mom. She would hit people in the face with wooden spoons, force them outside in 25 degree weather, make them go without dinner if they were 15 minutes late to the table and bang their heads against walls over and over and over. Either until she got tired of it or blood was running down the walls like a den of Beezlebub.
I used to listen to Satanic music. This one song had the words ‘Splattered red you’ll find my den, blood running down the walls.’
It always reminded me of what she did. And I found comfort in the song, when I was a teenager, b/c I thought it meant somebody else knows about it. Like maybe it had happened to them and I WASN’T the only one.
Until I heard that song, I never knew that. People don’t burst out in casual conversation with ‘My mom used to bang my head against walls.’ So nobody had talked about it.
I don’t listen to the music anymore, b/c I found out that most of the bands singing it were liars. By their own admission. Eminem said none of the stuff he sings about has happened to him, he’s just trying to sell records. After I found that out, I lost whatever respect I had for them. I only like the ones who really know what it’s like.

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Yes, Darlene, I see your point. Which is the whole point of your writings – that there is a belief system that is handed down. One of lies. Perhaps what I was referring to is not really relevant here, except that I just wanted to let Jasmine know that sometimes I find my cultural background problematic.

With the kind of upbringing we have, both in the family and in the wider society, we are way behind the 8 ball, even after making some breakthrough in knowledge, because that knowledge is counter-intuitive to the culture, not just the dysfunctional family. So it’s one thing to discover that one’s family was abnormal, but to find out that the whole society is as well? And I’m also referring to stuff apart from abuse, which is universal, but other stuff like how we relate, do friendships, work, etc. So how that’s different to anyone else? Don’t know, except that I observe my Asian friends and there’s definitely presumptions there that I don’t see in Westerners, even if they have been victims of abuse. I guess it’s part of my journey to uncover it. Sorry for the diversion.

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@Jasmine – I wanted to let you know that I appreciate your effort to work this out AND that I’m not trying to intentionally avoid the issue. I’ve not had a chance to go back and read through the posts/notes since I was here last and am off to work again this evening and out most of tomorrow.

It is important to me to not perpetrate hard feelings or be offensive and I can see how my last note did just that; so please forgive me for making such a blunt accusatory statement. I was rushed and really had not taken the time to truly read and understand what you were saying and yes; I can see that there is some misunderstanding going on.

I’m off now for the day and will come back and reread your notes more thoroughly when I can take the time to do so thoughtfully.

SusanKs

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Jasmine; First – I do understand that in cultural differences and an online forum it can be difficult to express intent. My last note to you was accusatory, abrupt and insensitive. I truly apologize. My lesson learned is to be more careful about throwing around assumptions of others intention.

You had said: “Susan – I’m so sorry if I came across as offensive. It was absolutely not my intention to invalidate your progress. I had just wanted to affirm that by how you’ve learned to employ such healthy coping methods, you must have come a long way. ”

And rather than accepting that I latched on to trying to argue the points and explanations you were offering….I clearly had not read or comprehended your note in the spirit in which it was offered.

Thank you for your continued understanding and contributions; I’m grateful for the opportunity to “meet” you and hope to learn more from your perspective.

In appreciation:)

Susan Ks

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Hi Susan,

Thank you SO much for attempting to understand. Indeed, it is very difficult to express intent through the web, and hence I do understand when misunderstandings happen.

You’ve no idea how much your actions meant to me. I’ve never really had anyone apologizing to me, and have always felt that I’m responsible for every misunderstanding. Hence, I’ve always avoided confrontation (hey, that’s pretty cultural too :D).

We all give in to emotions once a while, and the most important thing is to settle things amicably – which was what you did. I truly appreciate your efforts in sorting this out 🙂

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Likewise Jasmine!

I’m always concerned when things like this happen online and I do understand the feelings you describe around conflict….I feel grateful at your willingness to communicate and that we can both share our vulnerabilities in a respectful and safe space that is EFB.

I’m very glad to “meet” you and look forward to seeing you again!

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Wow, I feel honoured to witness such a “noble” exchange. What an example of speaking your thoughts, truthfully and openly, even painfully, and then having the grace to work the through the conflict, apologize and re-connect.

Shows it can be done. I have seen too many on-line stoushes, and while I understand how easy it is for misunderstandings to happen, I have not often witnessed a resolution like this.

Thanks, guys.

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Hello!!
I echo what Krissy posted! YAY, this is an awesome example that it can be done! I am thrilled with the results of this thread, the conflict, (which I totally supported, and was pleased that both Susan and Jasmine posted their true feelings and responses to the other) and then the resolution. This is such a great example to all the readers here!
Thank you both Jasmine and Susan for having the courage to see this through to the end.
Hugs, Darlene

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[…] As I started my journey to emotional healing, I began to realize that all my life I was either trying to escape myself or trying to re-invent myself. When I was trying to accept myself, it was through the eyes of others.  Subconsciously, I saw finding the original me as counterproductive, because all my life the truth was that I had been trying to escape me. […]

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That process of healing …giving myself permission to struggle and then the next step and the next is exactly where I feel I am right now….and I feel I am on the brink of being healed now…or at least I am certain that i am on the right path and taking the right steps forward. The more I go backward, the more I feel freer to move forward with greater hope and strength and ME! I also am finding myself able to just “be”. I don’t know how to articulate this, except to say that I am finding more and more days where I am able to just sit or just do whatever it is that I am doing, and just feel a stillness inside…no pressure, no worry, no anxiety. I grew up in feeling such terror and anxiety and by the time I was18 yrs old I would literally shake uncontrollably from head to toe when I was scared….which was often enough since I had no idea how to even exist in the real world. I remember being so embarrassed because I could see my clothing shaking too. I struggled with severe anxiety for most of my life. At least, for me it was severe! Getting in trouble for something was sheer terror for me…and there was always going to be something in my “family” that had me in trouble. So for me to cut them off, deal head on with my issues, work on my marriage and myself, find this EFB site to help me has been like a miracle for my life and my mind. I feel so tired out….and some self pity too from working so hard to be liked, to be lovable, to not be in trouble with THEM or anyone for something I said or did or forgot to do or mistakes I made . I hadn’t realized how exhausted my brain felt. That sounds funny, but I feel li,e my brain is so tired that now that it is beginning to relax . I just want to “be” as much as I can too. I look forward to the day when there isnt pain in my heart and thoughts about my “family” and cutting them off. I loved them so much! I can’t be treated or liked or loved by them so I am glad that I did cut them off though. I long to have a balanced, healthy self esteem!

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This article hit it for me! I have been slowly getting comfortable with this whole process. And it IS a process! A crappy one, but no less important than getting the foundation right before you build a new house on it. My new house is going to be a wonderful place where I am no longer scared. But it is going to be SOLID! The lies are exposed. Self denial must be fought daily, self care must be on the daily ‘to do’ list. It is still very much a struggle to believe in my real self worth as an automatic default. After reading from this site, I can honestly say that I’m going to be fine. But I won’t lie to myself and say that I will be fine without tremendous dedication and time. It took a long time to make this mess. It will be a rewarding time well spent cleaning it up. Thank you to all for your time. 🙂

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Hi Diane,
I had to look at what I believed about the definition of love in this process. I looked at what I had been trained to believe love was according to people who raised me. And I realized that their definition of love only applied to them and they didn’t love me the way I had to love… sorting this out went a long way towards the recovery of my self esteem. (there is lots more to read in this site!!)
Just food for thought..
hugs, Darlene

Hi Blair
It is kind of crappy but looking back it was very exciting too… like being re-born and getting a second chance! Even the way you write your comments to me is exciting! your clarity and your goals! yay
and yes, you ARE going to be fine!
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene, I appreciate your response! I am having difficulty with something and I dont understand what it is about my belief system. I do understand that they didnt love, like or tolerate ME and who I am. And I do understand what my definition of love is vs. theirs. Where there is a disconnect is that there is still something inside of me that has been crushed like a bug which means that I must still be believing a lie…but I cant figure out what the lie is! I wouldnt still be so sad and feel the loss if there wasnt some lie I will keep reading . I have been taking one article a day…and pouring out my heart on the comment section. It really helps!

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Diane
It will come to you. I figured out the lies along the way ~ it was as though they suddenly clicked, one at a time, and I wondered how I hadn’t seen them before. It takes time to undo what has been present for a lifetime.
Hugs, Darlene

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psychodynamic theory
July 16th, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Thank you for share.Nobody has the right to determine if someone else’s reality, and way of coping is dysfunctional or destructive.

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I just figured out that I have fear of wrath. I didn’t notice this until now but that created so much pain in me. How to get rid of that fear? I can’t find articles about that.

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