Feb
18

Not Being Heard and Finding My Voice

By
Finding my voice, beyond silence
“Alive” photo credit ~ Theodora MacLeod

I was not heard for most of my life. My voice was silenced in many ways. I was sexually abused from a young age. I don’t remember if I “told” or not in those young years, but there were signs. There were physical and mental distress signs that went unaddressed. That is a form of not being heard.

My mother used violence to vent her anger and frustration. My father either didn’t notice or didn’t care; he never tried to stop it. Who could I tell? The way things were in my family was “my normal”.  In my survival mode, I only knew to keep trying harder to be “good”, to be what those manipulative people wanted and to be quiet because it seemed to me that I was causing a problem for them.

I don’t know how I kept going.

 I know I told about a teacher who was emotionally and psychologically abusing me in grade 5. I told but I was ignored. I was shushed. I was silenced. I was lectured about “respecting my elders.” I was not heard.  When I finally got so sick that the pediatric specialist asked to speak to me alone (without my parents) he ordered my parents to take me out of the class I was in. My parents didn’t want to do it and the Dr. said he was going to get a court order if they didn’t remove me from the presence of that teacher.

That doctor heard me. But my parents did not hear me. I felt I was “wrong” for telling. I knew that I had caused my father embarrassment. I felt ashamed for bringing this to light with an “outsider” who confronted my parents. I knew that my parents had been “told.” They had been reprimanded for not listening to me. I knew that they had been “forced” to act on my behalf but perhaps more importantly, I also knew that they didn’t want to. They didn’t take action because it was right or because it was best or because they loved me. They did it because they were threatened with a court order. Today I know that that was the bigger damage to my self esteem; the fact that they didn’t “want” to listen to me or take action on my behalf.

And in order to save face, my manipulative parents told people the story in a much different way than what had actually happened. The doctor was never mentioned. And in doing so, the message that was communicated to me was that I was invalid. My illness was invalid and the abuse I had suffered was invalid. My father became the hero with his version of the story that he “marched into that principles office and demanded that I be removed from that “bully” teachers classroom”. I kept silent about that lie until I was in my 40’s because I knew that I would not be heard. I didn’t matter.

My new teacher was nice but the guilt I felt made me feel as though she was afraid of me and didn’t trust me. I felt like she was only nice because she was afraid I would complain about her. It felt like I was in the spotlight; the problem child that reported a teacher. I was full of shame and completely believed that I was the problem and that I had caused a huge problem.  I disconnected and dissociated further from myself.

Somehow I kept going.

So I learned not to talk. I learned that my voice was not important so I stopped using it. I learned that I was not going to have any impact so why bother trying? I learned that other people were more important than I was. I learned that my value was in how good I could make other people feel.

I learned that even if the truth were exposed, the people in power could change a few details and make it about them.

I learned to discount myself exactly the way that I was being discounted.

I kept going but I was a puppet. I was going through the motions. I was living in survivor mode, doing things according to what I thought those manipulative people wanted and not from living with a mind of my own.

And I got depressed. I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know that I was worth anything. I didn’t know that I was lovable or that I was an individual. I didn’t know that perhaps there was a reason I was on this earth. I couldn’t figure it out.

I kept going.

And I accepted the blame for the things that happened to me. I accepted the blame for the abuse that was perpetrated against me by evil and manipulative people. I accepted the blame for the fact that I was not heard and unloved.

I was offered to men. I was told that my virginity was a small price to pay… I was taught that my value was only in the way I was viewed by others.  I lived in fear and sometimes in terror.

I kept going.

I tried to find love, acceptance, solace and escape. I tried to find it in drugs. I tried to find it in alcohol. None of that worked. There was no answer in those things.

I kept going.

I tried to find love, acceptance and self esteem in men.  I had been taught that romantic love was the answer. Again I was not heard. My voice did not matter. I was valued for what I could do for them, and how I could listen to them and how I could make them feel. I did not find my self esteem in them or in those relationships. 

I tried to find it in the bible. I tried to “give my life to Christ” but the false and dysfunctional system was there too. I was taught that I was “good and acceptable to Christ” when I was obedient and compliant to what the teachers, pastors, leaders and elders said. I was not encouraged to let the bible speak to me. I was taught to listen to men and women (manipulative people) who were wiser than I. I pointed out things that I was reading in the Bible, things that I thought spoke of a different kind of love, but I was not heard. I was shushed. I was lectured to “respect my elders”. I was shut down and silenced. Even there my voice was unacceptable; I was unworthy, and I was silenced.

I kept going.

And one day, I listened to myself. I heard ME. I realized that what I had been trying to say and trying not to say was valid. I realized that my value was not in those other manipulative people or how they defined me but that it was within me. I realized that I could validate myself. And a little seed of hope grew. I nurtured that little seed each day, I listened to myself and to my pain and I learned to stop discounting it. I learned to stop discounting ME.

I went back to some of those events that communicated the message to me that I was invalid, unworthy, and less important than the adults in my life and I realized how wrong those messages were. I looked at the truth and I told it to myself over and over again.

Perhaps the adults in my life didn’t fight for me, but I can fight for me now. I can overcome those false messages that I received in the past.  

I listened to me. I validated me. I kept going.

Out of self validation grew self love. Out of self love grew self esteem. Out of self esteem and self love grew self respect and an understanding of what real love and mutual respect in relationship is.

It doesn’t matter anymore if other people hear me or not since I started to learn to hear myself. I don’t need those dysfunctional manipulative people to hear me or agree with me anymore.  I can do this for me now. I can love me now. I can validate me now.

I know me now ~ not who they said I was and not by what they define as worthy and acceptable about me; they disregarded me, they didn’t protect me, they blamed me for attracting the abuse or accused me of lying about it. They refused to hear me. That discounts their credibility, NOT mine.  I know that it wasn’t “me” that was the problem. I have found “the truth”.   

I still keep going.

Please share your thoughts.

There is freedom on the other side of broken;

Darlene Ouimet

Related Posts ~ Please click on the sentences in coloured bold print within the blog post itself

~Psychological abuse ~ How self doubt grows ~ this is the actual story of the emotionally abusive teacher

~ My power tool for Rebuilding after Abuse by Christina Enevoldsen from Overcomeing Sexual Abuse

Categories : Self Esteem

98 Comments

1

You hit the nail on the head7

2

You hit the nail on the head!

3

Ah, yes. I have spent much of my life in survival mode.

I have to say that I feel the Bible did help me very much, but it is about MY personal relationship with Jesus Christ and His Almighty Father, not through a “religion”. I was raised in a large, centuries old, well established “religion”, but this only opened my eyes to the real God. I no longer attend that “church”. When I spend time in the Word daily, pray and commune with God, I feel much better, happier and stronger. However, my human weakness pulls me toward other things that get in the way. I identify very much with King David, who was God’s “beloved”, but failed Him many times due to his humanness. It gives me hope to go on. I am not worthy of God’s love, but I have it anyway because I believe in Him and Jesus’ death on the cross.

I wanted to share this for anyone who feels that they are not “good enough” for God. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”; Romans 3:22-24 (NIV).

I have friends that tell me that all the issues I have had to deal with are “sin” issues, in which they are correct. However, my life experiences were not all my sin issues, but others’ abusing me, and I am still dealing with those issues. As you said, not being heard, either verbally or by “signs” that our parents should have noticed; of not having a voice and having to do as I was told, even when it felt wrong.

I will have to write a book to cover all that my family and myself have been through. It’s nice to have found a place to express some of the feelings and thoughts with others who have been through similar situations.

4

PS: I told my mother about my childhood sexual abuse when I was 30 years old. She said she had no idea. She was a single, working mother who was tired a lot of the time. She died just a few months later, and for years I felt that my telling her had something to do with her death. Talk about guilt!

In the 25 years since, I have forgiven myself that much. She was responsible for her own health and didn’t follow through as the doctor ordered.

However, I think that my grandmother knew at the time that things were happening, but she never said a word, except her last words to me where “you’re a good girl, Margie”.

5

Hi Darlene,
Wow! Another powerful post. I could see myself in this post, from a child to an adult. As a child, my voice was silenced repeatedly and I learned at a young age to not trust my feelings, but to trust the false beliefs of my dysfunctional family. I was a sweet and forlorn child, for as long as I can remember. My mom treated me as an extension of herself and she is a Narcissist. I felt a strong responsibility as a child & an adult to please my parents. They consistently disregarded my fears & feelings.

I was called the girl who cried wolf when I was having anxiety attacks and I made a “mountain out of a molehill!”…To this day, I cringe when I hear those statements. I don’t say that to my kids knowing how I felt NOT HEARD. I was an honest & sweet girl but my parents broke my spirit. They wanted a perfect little girl, which I tried so hard to be and when I fell short, I felt bad about myself. I carry that into adulthood, when I make mistakes especially when I hurt someone’s feelings. I’m not a malicious person but my family has tried to toughen me up. I was the problem for being “too sensitive”, well I know THEY are not loving or sensitive.

I’m having difficulty writing this, because it’s the painful truth and it triggers loads of anger towards my parents. I have trouble expressing my anger- I wasn’t allowed to with my parents- that was viewed as disrespectful. I allow my daughter to express her feelings but, if she goes into a tantrum and starts being physical like kicking or punching, I step in & tell her that’s BAD BEHAVIOR and it’s ok to feel angry, however it’s not acceptable to hurt anyone, which she was trying to do with me.

She wasn’t listening to me either, which made it so hard to deal with. I ended up getting her to her room & closed the door. She ranted & kicked the door and came out more than once. I continued to put her back in her room and finally she came out of her room calm & handed me a note that said, “I’m going to be a Good Girl”, that brought tears to my eyes. I do not, in any way, think she is a demon child and I hate that word too, because it sends the message that a child is innately bad.

I explained to my dtr, that it was her BEHAVIOR (kicking, screaming & punching me) that was bad. This happened over telling her “No” about something she wanted to do. I feel guilty, when I say no like I’m depriving her, but that is another untrue belief I have. Anyway, I don’t know where I’m going with this, it’s just that I don’t want to shame my daughter for having feelings. I was shamed & not given freedom to express MY feelings. Anyway, I hope this makes sense…I didn’t have a good parental role model to follow, and I have to re-parent myself, even now as a parent.
Sincerely, SMD

6

Excellent frame of reference for all who *lost their voice* along the way. Thank you for posting this.

7

Margie,

Just wanted to say “amen” to all you wrote about Jesus. I don’t know how I’d be sane today, or still live this life with hope without His faithfulness to me and the promise of eternity. I, also had a grandma who told me I was a good girl regardless of what she may or may not have known about my absive parents and the things they said about me. She was also a Christian void of “religious hypocrisy” and she was the reason I didn’t just commit suicide and spare myself the misery.

Wishing you well.
Jen

8

Hi Ruth,
Glad you liked it! Hugs, Darlene

Hi Margie
I especially like the part you wrote about “sin issues” I smiled when I read that! It took me a long time to realize that the sins I was dealing with were NOT my sins. I can relate to the guilt you speak of too and realizing where it came from went miles towards becomming free of it.
~ I believe that I AM worthy of God’s love.
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

9

Hi SMD
I can relate to all that you have shared. There were times that I felt a huge panic because I had to raise my kids WHILE I was in this process of figuring out what the heck had happened to me and why I had gotten so messed up! I was terrified of making the same mistakes my parents made. And life didn’t stop for the process! But I made it ~ my husband made it, and our kids made it, and they are all doing really great! Our relationships are better that I ever imagined they could be. (But I worked hard for this and it paid off!)
There are some tough days, and I had to learn to stay conscious, and somehow I had to learn to separate my issues from theirs (and me from them) and look at each child as an individual and each incident through the truth about what was going on. I let them have their feelings even though sometimes it terrified me. Everything was rooted in such a false belief system and all my frame of references were rooted in dysfunction, so it was a huge task. One day at a time was all I could manage.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Roxanne!
Thanks!
Hugs, Darlene

10

Much of the time, except when my dad wanted sex or my mother wanted a cup of coffee or a cigarette brought to her or wanted more house work done, I felt invisible to everyone. At school, I made good grades and was sometimes teacher’s pet in the classroom but at recess and lunch time, I again became the invisible child so afraid of everyone that I did my best to be quiet and fade into the background. The classmates that do remember me say I was a sweet girl and they had no idea of the problems that I had at home. I never told anyone.

Darlene, thanks for sharing this part of your story.

11

Hi Patricia
I can totally related to being “invisible” and I was really afraid to be “visible” and in fact became most visible when I adopted alter personalities to “live and cope for me”.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

12

Hi Darlene, What you said about your dad using what happened to you as a way to get attention for himself, reminded me of the way my mom used my illnesses to get attention. It’s like I wasn’t the perfect baby she wanted so she turned the tables on it and played the poor young mom with a sickly child. I watched a show on television about a little girl who’d been kept in a closet for six years. When she was eight, she weighed only 25 pounds. I was startled because I wasn’t able to start school until I was almost seven and I weighed 22 pounds. I never really thought about whether it was necessary for me to spend as much time in bed as I did when I was little. I just accepted everything they said about it. I know I wasn’t taken to the doctor when I should have been when I had strep throat and then scarlet fever but now I’m wondering if having to learn how to walk again wasn’t more from being forced to stay in bed for a year, as well as being so sick. It seems like the more I think I understand what happened, the more I uncover.

I don’t know how I lived through much of it either or kept going. I don’t know how you kept going either. I’m glad you did though and I’m glad you learned that Jesus loves you just because you are you and you found your way to equality. It’s wonderful to see how your life is being used to help others find their way out of abuse and its aftermath, no matter how hard the abusers in your life tried to beat you down and make nothing of you. I’m thankful for you, Darlene and I’m glad you had the resiliance to keep going and eventually, overcome to help me also, find my way to equal treatment and realizing that I deserve that. Everyone deserves that.

Love,
Pam

13

Patricia, I didn’t know how to talk about what was wrong in my house. I went through a stage of making up stories, as a child, of physical abuse. It was wrong but I know it was the only way I knew to describe how I felt. Beatings were the only kind of abuse that I knew of and even though I wasn’t beaten, I surely felt beaten up on the inside.

Pam

14

Pam, child abuse in all of its horrible forms does beat you up emotionally even if there are no physical beatings going on. You made up the stories to try to understand what you were feeling and why. I hope you have forgiven yourself for the stories. They were a tool you used to survive. Being invisible was a tool I used to survive. Darlene’s alter personalities were a tool she used to survive. We all have different tools that we used and Thank God they worked. We are all here to tell our stories. We survived. That is awesome in itself.

15

Darlene..right now i’m having to live with my mother whose emotional hatefulness after 58 years seems to know no end.The abusive outright meaness comes in spurts…you never know … it’s either sleep on her floor or homelessness… i’ve been in recovery nearly 13 years and have lost both my brothers to both immediate and long term effects of alcohol and drugs… she said the reason she chose not to acknowlege the sexual abuse i encounterd more than once as a child was “she wanted to leave it behind HER”…
Health wise i’m waiting to have surgery done that will put me down for about a month.. so i will be “dependent” on her care to a large extent…with no financial income i feel trapped…i understand that “some of us are sicker than others”… i known she had many needs that were not addressed herself as a child…but for the best of my intentions i just feel phyically ill and tremendously sad at just being here…
The good news is i’ve made a concious decesion that with my own daughters and granddaughter the same kind of abusiveness did not happpen..i take responsibilty for my actions of my past and pray that any lessons of this current cituation will lead to solutions…Blessings and Strength,Norgie

16

Voicelessness is something I am currently working thru. It is such a painful issue for me. Thank you for writing this.

17

Patricia, I have forgiven myself. I needed to talk about how I felt to someone and that’s the way it came out. I’m glad we all survived and are doing much more than just surviving. I’m always happy when the bad guys don’t win. Maybe that is over simplifying but it is a form of justice. I’m really glad that I found Darlene, you, and others who’ve shared here on emerging from broken and other blogs. It has changed my life.

Pam

18

Wow I just realized tonight is the first night I see myself
It’s like I forgot about the me who needs the care and awareness all week
( don’t know if I am making sense) ?
Feeling lost

19

This will be long. Please bear with me. to Darlene and SMD – you are truly my heroes in life. There is no one i respect more and value opinions more than yours. You are both truly remarkable people who need a platform bigger than this to share your stories. I am not discounting this but we need to get you on Oprah or Dr. Phil so that millions can hear your stories and truly understand the abuse and neglect that has continued to be perpetrated on kids. I almost got on the Oprah show a couple of years ago with a chance to tell my story but it fell through at the last minute.

anyway – its like Darlene and I grew up in the same house. My mother was verbally, emotionally and spiritually abusive. She got me involved in the occult when i was 7 years old. She made me participate in seances and other occult activities regularly for years including doing transcendental meditation for about 12 years almost twice a day every day. I have no idea how much damage this did to my soul but i would imagine it did tremendous damage. My mother told me repeatedly that i was “stupid and a bloody fool and that i could not do anything right and that i would never amount to anything.” My mother had a vicious tongue and after she unsuccessfully tried to kill herself when i was 7, she dove head first into the occult and new age and that became her life. When my father called my sister from the hospital after my mother tried to kill herself and told my sister “you know this is all your fault dont you ?” – my sister told me later in life that she decided she had to get away at that point. She was 14 at the time. She began using drugs and drinking and running away from home. This went on for a while. Police would show up at our house when she disappeared. I was told that “ceris is bad and she is the reason that we have to keep caling the police.” – there was no one around to step in and help. I went to the clinic at school with stomach aches at least two or three times a week. No one ever asked me what was wrong or why i came to the clinic so much. I was a very good student but i started to become depressed from all the abuse every day. My father was silent most of the time but then suddenly he would explode in anger over something that seemed very insignificant to me. He would yell and scream. he was a pretty big man. I became deathly afraid of him. I used to hide in my closet in the bedroom or just stay outside. When my mother almost beat my sister to deathwith a butcher knife with me watching, i became so afraid that i decided i had to be perfect otherwise she would kill me for sure. My sister was put into a half-way house for 6 months or so and i didnt understand what was going on or if she was going to come home or not. When she did finally return she started running away again. It continued until she finally married an alcoholic at age 17 to get away for good. both my parents drank every weekend and there was always alcohol in the house. there were also a lot of prescription pills like valium and percoset that both my parents used every day.

so i stayed compliant because now it was just me and my parents and my secret of having been molested by an older cousin when i was 7 or 8. It was close to the time after my mother tried to kill herself. He paid me a dime or quarter each time he molested me. It was 3 or 4 nights in a row on a pull out sofa bed. It was the first time i ever shared a bed with anyone. So now i had my secret and my abusive parents and had no one else.

I lived with the continual verbal abuse which just got worse and worse until i was 21 and finally got away. I knew something was wrong but i didnt know what it was. My mother was the most controlling and manipulative person i have ever known. She knew exactly how to manipulate me to get me to do what she wanted. I had become her mate since my father was pretty much checked out most of the time. I used to make her meals, do the housework, the cooking, roll her out of bed, give her massages and do anything to make her happy.

So fast forward to 1998 and i am 35 years old. Unmarried and living alone. I had become a christian about 7 years earlier. We never went to church growing up as the occult was our religion. We had things literally disappering in mid air – shoes, vitamins, clothing items etc.. We had a clock with a pendulum on it that swung back and forth. One time the pendulum flew off the clock all the way across the room and hit a wall about 15 feet away. I was scared to death. We were doing levitation in the living room lifting people all the way up to the ceiling with just a couple of fingers. My mother had a “pyramid energy tent” that she slept in that was setup in the bedroom. I thought this was normal. No one ever told me otherwise. No one ever said “this isnt right” or “something is wrong here”. No one.

So i started crying in 1998. I am still crying today. I cry every single day. This is not an exaggeration. I have cried an average of 350 days per year for the last 14 years. again – i am being totally honest here. My heart and soul were shattered as a child. I never had a single date all through high school. I was bad. I was told i was bad and could never do anything right and my mother constantly said “whats wrong with you. why cant you do anything right.?”. the truth is i hardly ever did anything wrong. I was a perfect child, as much as one can be under the circumstances.

I get headaches almost every day because the tears just keep coming and coming and coming and i cannot control them or hold them back. 14 years of crying. All of my friends have abandoned me. I am married to a woman who was sexually abused in college and who was parented very strictly. she still has a lot of pain and anger that she has not worked through and she continues to put off working on it. I have thought about leaving at times but have hung in there but its getting worse because she wont work on her issues. We dont have children.

I have approached pastors in church for help and they have completely ignored my request for help. they wont even ask me how i am doing. This is from 3 different churches – several different pastors (all men). None of them will give me the time of day. they know most of my story. we were in a small group with 4 other couples for 3 years up until jan. 2009. they all know my whole story. None of them ever check in with me to see how i am doing except for one guy who emails once in a while. but he is married and has four kids and a busy job.

So i cant reconcile how can a loving, caring God, who supposedly has my best interest at heart, not send anyone to help me through this ? Where is the “body of christ” who is supposed to walk along side me as i suffer every day and cry every day and feel so alone every day. I dont drink. i never used drinks. I dont look at porn. I never have sex with my wife. I want to but she is a teacher and leaves early in the morning. she has endemetriosis pretty bad and when she has her period she can be a monster to live with, reminding me of my mother at times. I have wanted to go out and have sex with a woman just so that i can enjoy a little pleasure. I know i am sharing a lot here but i dont care. I am being honest. this is my life every day. My wife loves me but she is broken too but she is not working on getting better. I HAVE to work on healing because the tears are there every single day when i wake up. I wonder “god where are you and why have i been in pain for 40 years and you wont send people to help me ? Why didnt you send someone to help me when i was young ? Why have all my friends abanonded me (these are all supposedly christian people) ?? Why wont any of the pastors make time for me or listen to me or follow up with me ? Why cant i find any type of support to deal with the sexual abuse ? Men think about sex 33 times as often as women. that is how our brains our wired. Many women think “men just want sex all the time.” Well – that’s because our brains send us messages constantly throughout the day about sex and stimulating that part of our bodies. Its very hard to control. especially when you are as broken as i am. We have tried to get help with the intimacy aspect but cant find anyone to help us. Everywhere i have turned for help i have come up empty with the exception of one lady who is a counselor that i have seen twice in the past 3 months. her schedule is so busy that i can only get in to see her once every six weeks. I see her again next week.

I am broken, lonely, hurting, suffering and in constant pain. This has been my life for 40 years. Yet i go on. I have given up on God. I know i will go to heaven because i have accepted christ but i have given up on God. Pls dont tell me to “read this or that scripture” I have read the bible over and over again. It doesnt help. I feel abandoned and that my only purpose in life is to suffer. I am 48 now so for over 40 years i have suffered. and i cry every day with no end in sight. I am on an anti depressant which i have been on for almost 4 years. I dont know if it helps or not but i keep taking it. Thanks for reading. I have no family other than my wife. No one to turn to. No one to share my story with. No one that will listen without trying to fix me like i am a broken car part.

thanks again darlene for this blog. Its pretty much all i have.

hugs and blessings,

Dave

20

Hi Norgie
Welcome to EFB
Thank you for sharing. It never ceases to amaze me how often I hear about parents saying stuff about putting the abuse that happened to their own kids “behind THEM”. That is so wrong! I am sorry that this happened to you. I know that trapped feeling. I hope you keep reading here. I found my way out of that prison.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pam
Wow. I never thought about it that way before but I have seen that happen! (where the parent garnered all the support by playing the poor mom with a sickly child!)
For years I comforted myself with the fact that my mom did take me to the dr. which must have meant that she loved me, right?? I had food and clothing. Those were the things that I used for excuses that I must be wrong. Those were some of the “good things” that I used to “cancel the bad things”. But even so, our outcomes, both yours and mine, were very similar.
I am glad we both kept going too!!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

21

Hi Kelly ~
It IS a painful issue. Thanks for sharing,
hang in here!!!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Joan
Yay for seeing yourself! The first time is the most important time. For me it was the real beginning!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Dave
Thank you for sharing about what you went through with your parents and also for sharing what you are going through to this day as a result of the child abuse that you suffered. This kind of sharing always helps other readers identify, and it gives the assurance that “I am not alone”.
I had to take my life back Dave. My husband was not interested in change, so I pressed on without him. We had 3 school age kids, and I considered that my timing (to finally face my issues) was really bad, but I pressed on, sometimes just because I had a tiny spark of hope that maybe in the end, it would be better for them if I got over some of this stuff. When my husband saw the amazing changes in me, he decided to do his own work too. (and after we both faced our own personal issues and damage caused by the past, we worked on our marriage together and resolved that too)
You can do this too Dave. Healing does not depend on the church, or your friends, or your wife. It is not going to happen because you get the kind of support that you dream of. That for me was one of the lies that I believed. My mother convinced me all my life by her actions that only she could stamp me worthy and I kept trying harder, just like you describe in your share here. So I kept looking for someone to define me as worthy. I had to look at HOW I got broken in order to heal. I was worthy all along. I swear to you that when I realized my worth and that NO ONE could define me as otherwise, my life changed 100% and I grew in that knowledge.
Thank you for sharing. I know that it takes courage to share like this. Hang in here Dave!
Hugs, Darlene

22

I also want to add that i do not misuse prescription drugs at all nor have i ever done so. I also have been in counseling most of the past 20 years with every different type of therapist i could find – psychologist, counselor, psychiatrist, sex therapist, theophostic prayer therapist, neurofeedback therapist, and another lady who was helping me with trauma, anxiety and ptsd a few years ago. I wanted you to know that i have sought as much help as i could possibly find and afford the past 20 years.

23

Darlene – thank you so much for the support. you are truly the only person in my life who understands. Who will encourage and support me and help me to grow and heal. Is there any other area of the blog that you think would be helpful for me to read ? Are there materials or maybe a book or two that helped you to realize your worth as a person ? I will do anything to get better but you are the only voice that i really trust and can depend on. I want to get better. I know you know that. I just need guidance and i know what worked for you may not be exactly what will work for me but if i have a couple of resources that may be helpful that would be so much appreciated. You are the best Darlene !!!

24

I never realized that by trying to conform to what others wanted me to be or to what i thought they wanted me to be, that i was rejecting myself. that never dawned on me until just now. I never saw it that way. I just went back and read a couple of your older blogs on accepting yourself and our true identity and accepting ourselves.

i realize that because i had no idea who i was that i constantly tried to conform to who my mother wanted and needed me to be. And now i have done it in my marriage. I have probably subconsciously tried to conform to who i think my wife wants and needs me to be even without her saying so. Instead of finding out who i really am, I have been a rescuer of women my whole life. I find needy women who need rescuing and i come to their rescue and thats how i have learned to feel good about myself my whole life. that has been my identity. I have had “needy women” in my life almost my whole life so i have not hardly had any time in my life where i did not have to respond to meet the needs of a woman. What about my needs ? What about what i want ? Where are the people who love and accept me for who i am (whoever that is).

I have longed to connect to someone my whole life without having to meet their needs. I have longed for a deep soul connection my whole life where my needs are met and i can meet someone else’s needs. I dont have that in my marriage right now unfortunately. My marriage is more about meeting my wifes needs that my needs getting met. she never asks me what i need. Just like my mother never asked me what i need. I guess i have to be the one to ask me what i need and then figure that out. And then find a way to meet those needs. I guess this is part of learning to love and accept myself. Wow. so much to learn and put into practice. I think i need a nap !

25

What does it mean “seeing me”
What’s next , lolllll so confused :)

26

Hi Dave,

Thanks so much for your positive words!..You put a smile on my face today!…I can relate to what you say, especially about meeting others’ needs. I’ve done that my whole life! If it wasn’t my family, it was my husband, and then my kids. I see the pattern, and now I know I was trained by MY parents to be that way- (compliant, selfless & obedient). Dave, we are in the same boat finding our way out of the mucky waters of abuse! So glad you are on EFB. Have a good day!
Sincerely, SMD

27

Joan,
I am not sure what you are refering to with your question ~please clarify,
Darlene

28

Dave…
I can relate to a lot of what you said. Especially about you tending to others needs, before your own.

All I ever did was worry and serve others needs. My mother, because she never could get it together and used to call on me for help from a very young age, (eg; she would call out to me in the middle of the night to save her from the hands of the stepfather).. She said that I used to ask her as soon as I could talk ‘mummy, why are you so sad?’ you see, I was programmed from a very young age to look out for, and indeed try and help my mother, with all her various dramas.. ( most, if not all, brought upon herself).

I then in turn tried to protect and my siblings from the abuse and everything else, I mothered them for as long as I can remember. I am only now learning how that is no longer my responsibility. I am 39. (and the eldest of four, minus my dear brother who suicided 4 years ago).

I tried to protect my abusers biological son from the truth about his father for so long, to my extreme detriment. It has now become clear to me that my brother has no respect for me, he is actually very disrespectful to me, even though he believes what happened to me, and he himself no longer has any contact with his father or our mother. But he was lied to and manipulated by them for years. I believe he just has so much baggage, that he can’t cope with even the thought of mine. It’s like he resents me somehow. (still understanding this, but not losing a lot of sleep over it anymore)..

I’ve spent the last few years trying to repair the damage my mother and stepfather have caused to my relationship with him, and now I realize, it’s not up to me. I thought it was. He will choose to see me the way he wants to, no amount of self sacrifice or long suffering on my part will change his opinion or treatment of me. That’s up to him.
I’ll be here if he ever decides to treat me as I deserve to be treated.

I can gladly say I have finally let go of my perceived responsibility in our relationship. It’s just not my problem. ‘I’ am my priority, and my immediate family. I had to repair myself before I was any good to anyone else. I had to treat my self as I was treating everyone else! With care, patience, and understanding! I had it all around the wrong way. because that’s what selfish abusive parents do. Manipulate you to meet their needs and make you feel like crap if you should DARE fall short of their needs.

I spent the next LONG years feeling guilty about pretty much everything I did or DIDN’T do. Still that old programming hanging around. Wow am I glad to be free of that. I just had to keep going, keep holding on, because deep down inside I knew what was healthy and what wasn’t. It just took time and processes along the way. (and I have learned to reflect on positives I have achieved as well.. Looking back now I have come a LONG WAY, I think it’s important to be able to see your own progress, it can spur you on, or even keep you HOLDING on when that’s about all you can do :”(

Dave, I believe you have that ‘inner voice’ (for lack of a better phrase), because you ARE making sense of all the nonsense. I think you are well on your way. I feel the same way you do about this blog and it’s community. I have benefitted tremendously from the wisdom and experience here, and I’m with you. Get Darlene on Dr Phil or something! There is just so much to share here.

Thinking of you,
Michelle

29

Thanks Darlene,

Your post reads like an autobiography of my life. The abuse and then the intense need for a relationship with a male. I had to have a boyfriend and I would do WHATEVER he wanted. Then I turned to religion. I haven’t found answers in any of those things. I use medication and therapy and blogs like this to help me on my healing journey. Thank you so much for sharing with us. It has really helped me understand some things about myself that I never got before.

30

All of those lost years…. We don’t get those back. And I’m still playing catch up.

31

Deirdre
I hear you! I mourned those lost years for a long time and that is part of the healing process. But I also remember the day when I was healed enough that I realized “HEY ~ I have the rest of my life…” and I never looked back!
Hugs, Darlene

32

Hi Jackie!
Thank you for your comments! I am really glad that you are here too.
Hugs, Darlene

33

Darlene and Pam,
To a lesser degree, my mother has used my misfortune or illness as a means to draw attention to herself as well. An example of that was when I had panic attacks so bad and often in my early 20s, I became agoraphobic very quickly, but thankfully for a fairly short period of time. My mother used that to her advantage with everyone she knew I think. There were no secrets about it for sure. She portrayed herself as my saving grace, and simultaneously as a self proclaimed basket case because, “what am I going to do with my daughter?” Never mind that it was ME who was afflicted!!

She did that same thing again last year when I discovered my husband had an affair. Long story about how she found out and not worth mentioning, but the minute she found out, she stormed out of her office and told the secretary (in a drama filled performance no doubt) “I have to go, my daughter’s had an emergency”. Next, she went back to the office and told the secretary what the emergency was. That my husband had had an affair. Then she went to church meeting that night and told all of them. I’m sure through tears of anguish. There were between 6-8 people there. My husband and I know at least half of them and their spouses.

My point is my mom used my private issues to transform herself into a sponge, willing to soak up any attention she could gain from the drama and tears. I could puke!

About 3 months ago, my husband and I were leaving a church function and wouldn’t you know we ran into a couple that my mother had told about my husband’s affair. We were walking out of the church, just the four of us. Talk about uncomfortable. I just walked as fast as I could, way ahead of the rest. My husband had no idea they knew, but luckily he barely knows them so he wasn’t inclined to stand around and chew the fat. I just gritted my teeth and marched straight to the car. (thanks mom)!

Peace to all,
Mimi

34

Just catching up on this blog – forgot to hit the “notify me” box last time and “lost it”.

There is a psychological syndrome called “Munchhausen’s By Proxy” wherein the parent garners attention at the expense of the health of the child. Just something for others to look into if interested.

And yes, WE HAVE TO ASK FOR WHAT WE NEED. No one is going to know by instinct, as much as we think they should. I am learning to do this now.

ASKING for what we need example:
Last week I asked my son to stop using a term that was triggering bad memories for me, back to my childhood abuse and two of my ex-husbands abuse toward me. They have been using the term frequently, which is not uncommon for boys their age to do among themselves. I just happened to be in earshot, although not the same room. But I finally realized what was happening and I thought they were old enough to get it. I really felt good once I told my 17 year old and his friend WHY I didn’t want them to say that in my house and I have not heard it since.

TELLING other people about ourselves:
About 5 years ago I had another “eye opening” experience. I got to talk to my first husband on the phone. We had connected via a high school contact list and wondered what each of us were up to after 30 some years. When we were married he wanted to swing; I wouldn’t have gotten married if I wanted to swing. Long story short (I’m trying), he picked up as my boyfriend when I was 17, right where the abuser left off with me around age 10! Back then I was young and I didn’t get it. But in talking to him on this particular day when I was in my 50′s and after my healing had begun, his offering to have a three way with his current wife of 30+ years, or meeting me at a local hotel and going to his high school reunion with him struck a familiar chord. I was able to tell him that I WAS NOT THE PERSON HE THOUGHT I WAS OR WANTED ME TO BE. I told him that I was very different, that I did not want or live the lifestyle he wanted for himself. Another freeing moment in my life!

Healing takes time and we all move at our own pace.
I’m looking forward to more “A-HA” moments in the months and years to come.
Blessings all!

35

Margie,
I think I saw a movie on this disease you mention back in the 90s. It was on the lifetime channel which had great dramas. I enjoyed the movie, but wow, what a sick mind a mother has to have. In the movie she was actually poisoning her child, then reaping all the attention. I thought it was bad at my house ~ can’t imagine that!!

Congrats for the respect your 17 year old has shown you with your request. That’s awesome. And, congrats for getting to speak your “voice” to your ex. Must have been liberating!!

Kudos,
Mimi

36

Thanks, Mimi, for the encouragement.

Munchhausen’s a sad disease.
I think I remember that movie as well.

37

What happened to you in 5th Grade rang SO many bells for me – I was 6 or 7 when I was first abused at school – my body remembers, my mind doesn’t. My changed behaviour was put down to other reasons, I was not heard.
This was followed up by more mental and emotional abuse at school when I was 8 – so I truanted. It was MONTHS before I was found out. I remember the interview with the Head Master – he didn’t ask WHY, he just made me promise never to do it again. As far as know there were no other consequences for the teacher. So again, I was not heard.
At another school (I was a military child – constantly changing places), I was just 13. THIS school was a whole other league. In this place I was in fear of my life, as well as my sanity and my innocence. But I kept my promise not to truant – and I kept the silence forced upon me. I remember being so desperate and so scared…but hwo could I now tell anyone and expect anything good to come out of it? I had learned that I was not listened to as a matter of course. I didn’t matter.
Over the years I can cite other incidents of me being on the receiving end of other abuse including a major bout of cyber bullying only 3 yrs ago… It was this that finally cracked the lid of the Pandora’s Box of my life….but it wasn’t done yet – the following year I got a throat problem – I couldn’t swallow or speak! My throat was paralysedtotally for about a week, and then slowly I began to regain some function….but it took months of speech therpay for me to start to get my voice back. At one session the therapist remarked that she though some of the problem was emotional – at that point I stopped dead in my tracks. Actually this Speech Therapist was not the first person to notice my suffering for what it was… there were others – but I was still in denial.. and so paid no attention to them – preferring my “memories” of my childhood.
I was SO shocked – she saw clearly what I could not….and I spent the next week sitting stunned…thinking what in the world do I do now?
What I DID do was, finally, to acknowledge to myself, that my childhood was crap – I had been severely abused in just about every way I could think of – and then I got help. My voice became precious to me through being so ill. I began to hear myself!
Now, I still need to protect my voice – I have learned to breathe and not hold my breath, I have learned to listen to my guts, I have learned to speak out about what happened to me – I have broken the silence and will not be silenced again (and that includes firing a non-listening couples’ therapist). I am not thriving yet – but I am on my way…

38

Hi Margie,
Yes, good points. I had to find out what I needed before I could even begin to ask for it!
This is certainly a process!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Libby
WOW ~ This is awesome! Thank you so much for sharing this victory story and some of the history behind it. This stuff happens and it needs to be talked about! YAY
Hugs, Darlene

39

Great post, Darlene!! These could have been my words … although I was never offered as a sex toy by my mother, she did confuse me about when sex is okay though. Weird.

For me, it was reading the Bible and studying it in my own time with a Concordance, alongside my husband that I came to know what real and true love is and I can tell you, I NEVER grew up with God’s idea of love. His love is unconditional – growing up, love was always very conditional, yet unattainable. The Lord, more than anyone else, is who showed me how incredibly dysfunctional my family was. My mother being verbally, psychologically and emotionally abusive, and my father being passively abusive (not caring two hoots about how his wife was treating his daughter.)

Learning to love myself has been the hardest thing – tearing down those lies that have rooted themselves at my core are the hardest to uproot … but day by day, it’s getting easier and easier.

40

Mimi, My mom remained a little girl and in her little girl world, everything is about her. I was her first baby. I was born too soon and too small. I wasn’t the perfect child she wanted so she turned that to her advantage by getting attention for having a small, sickly baby. I think keeping me in bed so much, giving me alcohol for medication, and allowing me to eat only candy had more to do with my sickly condition than my being born too early. I always accepted the story that was told to me about all of that but I’m coming to understand it very differently. I was alone in a dark room so much when I was little and it really been only in the last couple of years that I’ve begun to recognize that as neglect and grapple with the effect it had on me.

When I asked my mom why she didn’t do anything when a hebephile talked me into leaving home, she was stunned and said it was because she didn’t have a driver’s license. It was then that I knew she never really even considered what it was like for me when that happened because it was a tradgedy all about her and her sickly daughter that ended up being so bad and wild. In her eyes, nothing that has ever happened to me was about me. When I told her it was abusive for she and my dad to just live off of my husband and I when they were still capable of working, she told me that God took care of her through other people. It didn’t matter what my husband and had done for her, in her eyes, it was our duty to God to support her. I was stunned. We’re all somewhat self-centered but with my parents, it is in a state of malignancy. It is like a black hole that sucks anyone who gets too close into nothingness.

Pam

41

Pam,
and this is so interesting to me… I think about where this thinking gets started! I think that the invisible child believes they will finally be heard and seen when they have children of their own to do it. It is so backwards, but because it is so widely accepted, 3/4 of the world thinks it is right.
WOW… hugs, Darlene

42

I read this earlier. I honestly could have wrote all of this myself just slightly different parental figures. Learning not to talk, discounting myself, being the puppet, being depressed, grabbing the blame, being passed around as a toy, searching for love, chemically soothing, religion… All of it. 

Right now I’m trying to know me. Validate me. Love me. It is the hardest thing. 

I keep going. But I don’t want to go where I’ve been. Life tries to make me. More than anything I DO just want someone to listen to me. Just shut up and listen. 

Nobody wanted to fight for me. How do I truly see my worth? 

Until I truly figure it out, I keep going. Sigh. 

43

Libby,
I once read that a common characteristic among people who struggle with anxiety (me), is holding your breath. I catch myself doing it all the time. I’m baffled by where or how it started or even why I do it. I thought it was so interesting that you brought that up. I also remember before I was ever diagnosed with any kind of anxiety, I would go through times where I couldn’t swallow. Of course in the mind of an anxious person, I secretly worried that I had throat cancer. I got a really good book after I was diagnosed that listed all of the symptoms, so I was blessed to find difficulty swallowing was on the list.

May I ask if the problem with your throat was determined to be related to anxiety, emotions (like the one person said), or was there a medical diagnosis?

I always want to be within guidelines, so if this question is outside of guidelines, Darlene, please step in.

Libby, I’m shocked at all you’ve been through, and I wish you the best.

Blessings,
Mimi

44

Rise’,
I too have decided that the only way I’ll have the truth that lies in the Bible is to pour through it and open MY heart to it ~ without all the filters that other people have used to feed me the Word. I have felt relief from that decision. I feel like I don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations of me as a “Christian”. Even among Christians, the judging, and finger pointing, the stiff necked saints, etc. I was getting full all right. But, right now I really need to seek this truth without the input of the people around me. I have an app on my iPhone that brings in sermons from around the country. I really enjoy listening to different pastors, etc. I have decided to let those ministries go for a while, until I feel more grounded at least. Thanks for sharing your success in reading the bible.
xoxo,
Mimi

45

Darlene, I know a lot of us who were abused want children, to finally be loved, and to fix the things that were wrong in our childhood. I was guilty of that and had to change my thinking. I think you are right about people thinking they will find what they lacked in their children. I can understand that part but I think my parents really think my siblings and I were born to care for them. I remember them talking about us taking care of them when they were old from the time I was little. It’s like they were insuring their future by training us to take over,when asked. That’s exactly what I did and my husband too. We didn’t think about it enough. We just did it because they were my parents and they asked. They nearly sucked us dry before we finally said, enough! I don’t think they would ever have stopped the taking without giving on their own. In their eyes, I’m to serve their purposes and if I won’t or can’t, I have no purpose. I don’t think I even exist to them outside of their own need. I can’t fully understand them.

Pam

46

i wanna print this out change a few things here and there and send it to my mother, But i don’t think her understanding how i really feel will change the way she feels for me at all, No one else in my family is talking to me anymore because of my mother’s lies about how i treat her like crap, Recovery (in my case anyway) is a very scarry and lonley road to go down, it almost feels like me against the world.

47

Mimi, I also have to remind myself to breath. I don’t just hold my breath, I breathe very shallow and fast. My heart goes a hundred miles per hour too. I’ve gain a lot in the struggle with my anxiety but I can’t get past being on guard duty all of the time. Maybe, someday, I’ll know what it is like to relax.

It’s interesting how many of us go through searching the scriptures on our own for truth. That is encouraging to me, as I did that and I still do that. I wish everyone would do that. It would put an end to religious abuse.

Pam

48

Nikki,
It is such a lonely feeling when your mother “takes” everyone from you. It’s the way I’ve felt much of my life. She’s tried to take everyone from me. I can remember just last year saying to my sister, “why is it my mother wants to rob me of literally everyone?” I don’t understand it still today. My sister’s have caught on to my mother too, so I do have two allies who see what I see, but for many many years, I was on my own, up against everyone it seemed. It was heartbreaking and devastating. It fed the seed of shame my mother planted in me long long ago.

I’ve realized just in the past few weeks, that I really don’t even need my sisters to reaffirm what I’m feeling. In the not so distant past, I was running ideas by them, (of how to deal with my mother), and gathering their input. It’s just very recently occurred to me that I really don’t need that anymore. I can’t really say what happened to change it. Perhaps I’m just beginning to trust and believe myself.

Anyhow, when I was younger it was harder. It was torture to feel like everyone was staring at me at my own family gatherings. You aren’t alone here. I hope to see you again and moreso, I hope relief is on the way.

Pam,
I’m continually amazed at the likenesses on these pages. I have a pretty rapid heartrate too. I didn’t think of it like that before; being on guard. But, if I let my shoulders hang loose, I can feel that they’ve been tensed up around my neck (sort of). My upper back as well. Do you think holding your breath is a part of being on guard?? I’ve just never been able to really figure out why. I can say this, if I’m tensed up and I lay down to try and relax and focus on breathing deep and long, I go to sleep within minutes!! I guess that’s a confirmation that breathing exercizes really do help me relax!! Asleep is as relaxed as it gets!! haha!

I’ve come a long way with anxiety as well, but, it’s something I never forget, it’s a part of me now. I don’t have panic attacks anymore, but, it seems to be like a chameleon in that takes on different forms and surprises me. UGH!! I hope to relax one day too Pam!! I think we’ll both get there!! Thanks for sharing your experience about this and about your approach with the bible. I totally agree about the religious abuse.

Hope to all,
Mimi

49

i have been suffering for more than 20 years..but always interrupted and told i am hated because i “talk”,i met a fellow victim/survivor and it turned out her abusers were the same people who enabled my abuser..because these people are in my circle, some people in my circle told me to stop chatting with my “friend”/fellow survivor,i told them i will not stop because i feel for my “friend”, these people calling my attention are friends with my abuser and they never heard my pleas that i am hurting,they never cared if i get hurt..now that i am talking with a fellow survivor ,they still call my attention . ..i told them i am not afraid and if i stop chatting, these people/the abusers will be more powerful and this is what they want, that me and my friend to stop talking so they will not be exposed.G

50

Mimi, For me, I think it is guard duty. I’m always ready for something bad to happen. It’s worse at night and I know that is why I have such terrible insomnia. When the sun comes up, I go right to sleep. It’s like night is over and the possibility of danger is past.

I concentrate on my breathing through yoga and I’ve learned to lower my heart rate some with that technique. It keeps me more aware of needing to breath and concentrating on relaxing.

I wonder if we never feel really safe when we are children if we ever can feel safe. I keep trying though.

Pam

51

Pam,
That’s a curious question (your last statement). I am striving to one day shake anxiety altogether. I hope I can.

Interesting about the day/night sleep cycles. I don’t ever like to go to bed unless I can’t stay awake any longer. I’ve always been one to stay up late into the night. I just thought I was a night person, although somewhere along the line, I realized I do avoid going to bed until I can no longer stay awake. I sleep very deeply during the daytime also, and was very comfortable working night shifts for several years. I’ve never given this a lot of thought, but I’m thinking it over now.

I remember when I was little, I was always the first to go to bed because i was the youngest. I could never sleep when I went to bed. I was awake until someone else went to bed too, usually my sister who shared the room with me. I remember worrying for that half hour between 7:30 and 8pm. About anything really.

Perhaps I just answered my own question of why I don’t like to go to bed until I can’t stay awake!! Funny how that happens. :)

I should try yoga. Thanks for the comments!!
xoxo,
Mimi

52

Mimi, My parents drank and fought at night. I was the oldest and I was on guard duty. That’s what started it and traumas that followed took place at night, also. We always do have our answers. After we start listening to ourselves, they come pretty quick! Thanks for talking this through with me too.

Love,
Pam

p.s. Sweet dreams!lol!

53

Mimi ~ Post 40 & 44 … I know about the whole black hole thing … emotional vampires – aren’t they lovely??

And yeah, so glad about the Bible for you … its the best way to go – get the info for yourself, know it for yourself. In Christian circle there can be a lot of hyprocisy, judgment, people telling you what you should do and not do that has nothing to do with Christian living. Thanks for sharing this with me. :)

54

Thanks to you too Rise’. I love reading about people succeeding and being comfortable with their choices. It gives me hope!!

Pam, my mother never drank, but my dad was always drunk. We never knew when he was coming home, and I always knew if it came to be dark outside, it was likely that things weren’t going to be well in the world when he did get home. Seems like there was usually a fight and he’d be drunk enough to do strange things. Peeing in our shoes, passing out in strange places, puking down the hallway, just things that were alarming for a little person to see. My mother’s drama didn’t help either. She never tried to shield us in any way and it was our duty (my oldest sister mostly) to care for and comfort her. No one ever asked if WE were okay. It was all about her, and in looking back, she kept it going that way. When we visited family, etc, it was a dramatic recall of events that all surrounded her and how bad she had it. Kids sitting idly by, while she soaked up buckets of sympathy and made sure everyone’s focus was on her. YUCK!! I remember feeling so sorry for her, and I was very young. I would cry because my heart hurt for her. WELL, things have changed in 40 years!! She’s still attention seeking about her marriage to him and how horrible he was to her. Everyone’s over it but her! And, she’s really over it too in my belief, but, she doesn’t want to let go of that certain ticket to sympathy, so she repeats it all.

I feel like I’m going to nod off, so we know what that means!! I better go to bed. I can’t remember a time in life where I wasn’t asleep within seconds of my head hitting the pillow, and tonight will be no different!! haha! So funny the things I realize when I’m corresponding here.

Hope you rest well tonight (or tomorrow) Pam!! :)
Mimi

55

Hi Genesis
Trying to know me and validate me, was the BEST thing I ever did and the one thing that produced the most positive results!
~I think I just finally accepted that nobody wanted to fight for me as I kept deciding to fight for myself. The happened simultaneously over time. We were not born without worth, we got defined by others actions. I had to remove that false definition.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Nikki
It felt the same to me; ~ you wrote “Recovery (in my case anyway) is a very scary and lonely road to go down, it almost feels like me against the world.” That happened to me too.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi g.
Exactly!~ If there was nothing to hide, no one would be telling you to stop talking.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

56

HI ITs Clare
I know where your coming from We should make a stand and have our voice heard and let out what happened it doesnt make any difference what other people say even if they twist your story round at least we know that we are telling the truth. I have seen a lot of people coming on to facebook and saying that they have been Abused they all say that they feel much better letting it out they should feel so Brave for doing it and feeling really chuffed with them selfs thats what I want to do. I am know feeling as if Im moving on from my past even though Iknow that it will always still be there.

From Clare

57

Mimi, That sounds like an anxiety producing invironment. If your sister took care of you, maybe that’s why you couldn’t sleep until she came to bed. When your parents aare alcoholics, anything can happen at any time. I’m sure it is the same for kids growing up in a home where any substance is abused. To say the least, inebriated behaviour is poor modeling. It took me a long time to work through that one piece of the puzzle.

I did sleep well. I do much better than I used to but I still have to take a mild something to help me nod of or I’ll start to and then snap back awake. There are a few nights now though when I can sleep naturally. It’s wonderful. I stopped being able to sleep when I was twelve. People who can sleep, should never take it for granted. My doctor is very understanding and works with me on it. I’m blessed to have her.

Love,
Pam

58

Darlene, My son tells me that he knew from childhood that it was his mom against the world. I know about that lonely journey that became even more lonely when I started standing up for myself with my family of origin. That’s why your blog is such a blessing to me. I know how hard you work and I want you to know how important your work is in my life.

Love you, Darlene and thank you for sharing the story of your life to help others.

Pam

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Hi Clare!
Yes ! and we ARE making a stand! Mine is a big one, but I didn’t start here in EFB and through my writing.
Thanks for sharing,

Hi Pam,
Thank you for your life affirming words! I really appreciate it!

My daughter read this post and some of the comments, (and the thread with MEMEMEME) and she said that if she had time (she is in her first year university) she would write a guest post as MY daughter. (she is so supportive of what I do here)
My kids got to see that overcoming is possible, that healing is possible, that equality IS possible! That is huge!!! My life has made a difference in their lives too because I was not the mom back then that I am today!

Hugs, Darlene

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Thanks everyone, by reading your post I’m getting an idea of what my emotions are and validating myself.
I learn that I’m ok, I was always trying to fix me!
Now I understand and want to love me and protect me.
There is a few of “Me” even the way I dress
I never noticed that before. So now I must figure out who the real ‘me’ is :)

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Pam,
It was an anxiety producing environment for sure. Neither of my sisters really mothered me that I remember. They were just as scared as I was, but I never knew it at the time. They sort of retreated into their own worlds too. Of course, we just didn’t talk about it. Maybe I just felt safer having someone else in the room since my dad would wander around and do crazy stuff.

Good news your sleeping without an aid at all at times. Progress is progress!!
Love,
Mimi

62

Darlene, I wish I would have figured it out sooner but I still see the difference in my kids too. There was so much they understood about the way my family treated me before I did. They tried to tell me in so many ways, but I couldn’t understand as long as I continued to believe that everything was my fault and to make things better, I had to change me and be like someone else. They are happy just to have their mom finally, being the real, Pam, all of the time. They’ve got some healing to do too. I hurt them a lot by accepting poor treatment of myself as normal. We teach our kids so much by the way we treat ourselves. It took me a long time to figure that out or even understand when I wasn’t being treated the way I should be. I’ll never be what I might have been if I hadn’t been abused as a child but I’m learning that it’s great being who I am, anyway. Like you, I’m thankful for loving support from the family I created. Most of the time, we’re not perfect!

Mimi, I remember drawing the fire so that my dad would go after me instead of my siblings. I don’t think they remember that. All of us would hide if we could,but when we couldn’t, I’d take him on. I drew the fire, which isn’t unusual for the oldest child of an alcoholic. It was another way for me to carry responsibility that not only didn’t belong to me but was much too big for a child to carry. A lot of anxiety came with that job! My sister would withdraw into herself and she doesn’t remember very much. My brother doesn’t remember his childhood either. He has a lot of problems as a little boy though with sleep walking, waking dreams, bed-wetting, inability to wake up in the morning, and starting fires. He’s never been able to pull himself out of his drug use. He’s pretty much a hermit that lives in the middle of nowhere and cuts woood and does carpentry side jobs for a living. I’m not sure what all happened to him but I think he got the worst of it. He’s never done anything to find healing and I don’t think he even realizes he needs it. I barely know him, really but when I think about him, it really makes me feel sad and frustrated.

Sorry for dumping that but I guess I’ll leave it there since I did.

Love,
Pam

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Pam,
That is incredibly sad about your brother. It truly is proof of what abuse and neglect does to a person. I’m saddened by all the people that live a lifetime of self abuse, never to see freedom from their pain. So easy to prevent too. Sickening!!

My dad lives the same way for the most part. In the country in a little house drinking himself to death. His anger and violence was never aimed at my sisters or I. My mother says she told him she’d kill him if he ever touched us. I don’t know if that’s true, but he never did touch any of us. I feel sorrow for him. His life has been given to alcohol. He is taken care of because of an inheritance, but he lives very simply and has vodka in his orange juice every morning. Then, the day just progresses, one drink after another. I have such empathy for him. Something happened to him too, I believe. I just think to myself, if someone would have asked him at age 5 what he wanted to be when he grew up, his answer wouldn’t have been “a drunk ~ and I want to lose everything I’ve ever had, marriage, children, family, money, jobs, homes, etc” I’m so thankful by the grace of God, I don’t struggle with a decision to drink or not to drink, every waking second. I can’t imagine, and I don’t think I’m strong enough. I may have been just where he is today.

And, bless your heart for taking care and shielding the younger ones. WAY too much for a young person to take on. I remember my sister telling me that when she was like 7 (the oldest sister), my mom had told her when she went to school that if my dad came for her at school, not to go with him. She remembers just that little statement as being an enormous burden at such a young age. What a little child’s imagination can do with information like that. :(

I’m thankful that you “dumped”. :)
Maybe you’ll sleep well tonight??
Peace and blessings,
Mimi
ps-I have really bad dreams about my mom, it’s been a few months now, since I’ve had one, but I’ve had them off and on for years. Always the same story, she’s laughing at me, pointing fingers at me and whispering in a crowd of people (usually family); always something along those lines. I hope the dreams are my way of ridding my mind of toxins!!

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Hi Mimi re your comment #43
Thank you for your comments – I think some of us start to hold our breath, hoping by keeping still and silent we won’t be noticed – and stay safe. I think it is part of the freezing reaction someof us have – as opposed to Fight or Flight – I’m Freezer!
My throat problem was actually an acute physical illness – it normally affects young children (That alone is interesting to me, given how I have ignored my hurt inner child!). I was extemely lucky NOT to have had throat cancer, I do count my blessings – although at the time, I wasn’t so relieved, I wanted to die; I had had enough of my life.
I was severely ill with that infection – that alone nearly killed me. But now I am on the healing journey I think it was a real blessing in disguise. The swallowing thing can sometimes still be difficult – I have to focus on my swallow at times – and yes, often it is associated with anxiety now. I have clearly been forced to perform oral sex, and the thought of that now makes me gag. By the way, I have a dreadful gag reflex – and at times I struggle to clean my teeth. But – like many survivors I learned to swallow my emotions, swallow my rage, my pain, my despair – its a lot for a child to swallow.
It should not have happened – so many people let me down – as they have let other survivors here down.
But there are other reasons for problems with swallowing, and if you are worried, it may be worth getting checked out – if only to take away one source of worry for you.
Thank you for your kind words, Mimi, I appreciate what you said. None of us here have had the childhoods we deserved, we have all suffered – but now we have the chance to heal – to make futures that are different from our pasts – what a blessing.
Libby

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Mimi, Our dreams have a way of telling us what we need to know. When I went through treatment for hep c, I went through a period of psychosis, mostly because I was taking so many high powered drugs. It was like a waking dream and it kind of blew the doors off of everything I’d hidden from myself. There was a very critical woman who could do nothing but critcize. I know that is the voice of my mother now. I’m not say psychosis is a good idea for healing but it was like a very intense period of dreaming and it has helped me work out a lot of things inside myself. I don’t have that critsizing voice in my head anymore. I’ve also accepted parts of my life and parts of myself that I’d locked away and left behind. It’s wierd to be thankful for experiending psychosis but I am. As long as I never have to do that again!lol! Our dreams are important, in them we process what we can’t fully understand or cope with during the day. I always listen to my dreams.

I’ve been sleeping well this week but not without a little help. When the weather gets warmer, I’ll do better. The more sunshine I get, the better I do all around. Thanks for the good wishes, Mimi.

Love,
Pam

p.s. I feel sorry for my parents too but it doesn’t help either of us. None of us can be helped until we take on the responsibility to help ourselves. I think pity often prevents that from happening.

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Libby,
I don’t have the swallowing symptoms anymore. It’s been 20 years or more now since I experienced it. I was really worried at the time though. All the physical symptoms that come with anxiety have plagued me at one time or another. Although, it seems to take a different form these days. I don’t generally have physical symptoms now; as in the sudden attack kind of symptoms. Interesting, I have such a fear of vomiting, my gag reflex is nearly non-existent. It takes a WHOLE lot to bring me to that point, and I’m thankful for that, because it terrifies me. I’m glad to hear you’re back to good health, despite all that’s happened to you. YaY!!

Pam, I know you’re right. Pity doesn’t help. I don’t have a close relationship by any means, but, we do have contact a handful of times a year. He lives in another state, so I don’t have to battle being an enabler. He has no idea I feel this way either. He likely thinks I don’t even know he has vodka in his morning juice. I imagine that he thinks his sneakiness has snowed me. It hasn’t.

I went through a time last year where I just had too many things going on. Too many collapses. I couldn’t deal with it. I went to a hotel room for a week to escape and just cry and try to figure out what to do. I just left without telling even my husband where I went. I can’t really describe that week except that it seems surreal now. Perhaps I should have been in the hospital, but I was four square against that. I wonder if that experience was psychosis. I mean, it’s not like there’s a test to determine psychosis. For the very first time on EFB, I’m a little embarassed to talk about it. I guess because I felt so mentally and emotionally fragile. We live in a society that praises strength and power. I was not at all strong or powerful. And, I’m still not. I’m just happy we aren’t skyping!! :)
(as if I have “weak” stamped on my forehead, haha)

Peace and love to everyone,
Mimi

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Pam and Libby,
How could I forget. I want to say thank you for sharing your stories of abuse and pain. I understand the courage it takes, so thank you for sharing the pain and memories.
xoxo,
Mimi

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Mimi, My experience was like this: I had a horrible fungal infection that they couldn’t get under control and I was taking several high powered medications. Mentally, I broke because of the horror of the infection (it was like being in a horror movie, it attacked my occipital nerve so I had horrible sensations of movement and it made me feel like my skull was being crushed)and I dissociated. At first it was pleasant, I thought my old tom cat was with me again and taking care of me. That was the fantasy I developed to cope with the sensations of movement all of the time. I didn’t see the cat, I just felt him. (I’m sure I dissociated a lot when I was a teenager and was being sexually abused)Then the fantasy I escaped into began to turn sinister. I began to relive the past abuse, most of which I can’t consciously remember, and I had a lot of tactile flashbacks. I thought it was happening in real time. I kept telling my husband that I was being raped and I was angry when he wouldn’t believe me. I’m sure that I also “met” all the other personalities I broke into when I was a kid. This is so hard to describe.I’m sure I was fading in and out a lot and I didn’t always know when I was dreaming or awake, I was so sick and weak. It was horrible, my family didn’t know if I was going to come back and I had to make a real effort to leave that world and come back to this one. They gave me antipsychotics and it calmed it down but it didn’t completely go away until I stopped treatment. It was like being on a double tracked reality. If you didn’t know I was crazy, I sounded cognizant and my doctors really didn’t understand how out there I was.

After I met my husband, I’m sure now that I dissociated from those other personalities (all named, Pam by the way)and created a new me. It’s wierd but that whole experience really helped me accept what happened to me and bring it out into the open. I can’t tell you how different I feel just being able to say outloud that I was sexually abused. I carried it all so long, felt that it was my fault, and kept it secret and hidden inside me for such a long time. I was literlly haunted by it. It makes me want to cry just thinking about how much better it is to have it out in the open and be free of that guilt. There’s still a lot I can’t remember and I kind of have fear that the doors will blow off and swallow me again but the further I get from it, the less I think that it is likely.

I really don’t mind talking about it now and I know that means I’ve come a long way to being well. I’m not ashamed of it. It is something horrible that happened to me and I’ve overcome it. Anyone can have a mental break. We are only flesh and blood and our brains are no different.

I don’t know if that sounds anything like how you felt and I hope it made enough sense for you to be able to compare. You aren’t weak, Mimi. You’re facing the problems in your life and that takes courage.

Love,
Pam

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Hi Pam,
Thank you so much for sharing this part of you and your history. I didn’t have any medications that could have facilitated the problem. It was strictly a result of what had been going on in life. I had several relational collapses last year, and it just got to a point where I couldn’t deal with it. One of them was my husband’s affair of 4 months. When I left home, I was so “ungrounded” I had no idea what I was going to do. Didn’t know if I should leave him or not. My mother’s crap had been coming to light, my sister/best friend moved 500 miles away and then we had a disagreement shortly after, a new relationship with my dad’s sister was developing and then collapsed thanks to my mother (ultimately my decision to back off though). Just a lot of things in a short time.

I’ve never had the experience of different personalities, and I knew I was awake, there wasn’t really a dream like state. Maybe it was just intense inability to cope. I couldn’t seem to handle everyday tasks. I couldn’t think clearly enough to do anything really. Like, cook dinner. I couldn’t make decisions, or concentrate. I wrote a lot during that week. I filled page after page of my journal. I was overwhelmed by even the smallest responsibility.

It was a strange time, and it took a while to bounce back when I came home. I remember my husband did everything around the house for quite a while.

I don’t really know anyone, friends, family, coworkers, etc., that have these times where they can’t cope. I’m embarassed to share it with anyone near me. My sisters know I went to the hotel, but, to tell others I feel like a crazy person, weak, unable to cope. I’ve always desperately wished I was a person who let things roll off their back. Continue on in life, functioning well, etc. I just couldn’t do it at that time. Other times in life I’ve been nearly disabled by the disappointments of life, or anxiety, etc. I really want to be free of all that.

You and so many others give me hope!! Thanks for saying, I’m not weak. One day, I WILL believe that!! I think the day is getting closer. Again, thanks for sharing so much of your private life.
With hope and love,
Mimi

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Hi Everyone!

I published a new post today about Facing the Damage. Before I faced it however, I had to find out exactly what it was… and some of what I thought it was was not the most difficult stuff to face.
Hope you read my new post: “To heal from emotional Damage, know what the damage was

Hugs, Darlene

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Thank you to everyone who is sharing.. I am fairly new on here but relate so much… after my marriage broke down and when I put my life on hold to come back to Australia from the UK feeling I was responsible for my mother and sister who had a cerebral haemorraghe at 34 and was then 54…i stopped sleeping properly.. when the marriage ended I had two really bad accidents on the first and second anniversaries.. my husband couldnt cope when I started trying to work on my neglect/subtle emotional abuse history… this kind of abuse doesnt leave physical scars but I began to use alcohol from age 17 to cope with my abysmal self esteem…. also lots of promiscuity looking for the love and sense of value I didnt get from absent parents… when i got sober at 31 Mum said well done but your a late maturer and of course the only one in this family with a problem… I was the family scapegoat but that role switched around to other siblings once they started to come out of denial about abuse which was so subtle….I relate to what has been written about mothers using our difficulties to gain sympathy from others……I began to confront my Mum after 7 years sober but she denied a lot… as she had to deny her own history.. she understood why her mother had to beat her and put her head through the wall or send her out into domestic service at age 13…..because she was frustrated and on her own without financial support…(eventually my grandmother remarried a year down the track so i dont know how valid that was.. Stilll.. there is NEVER an excuse for hitting a child….. its abuse pure and simple…. we werent beaten like that only threatened with the wooden spoon but I was often laughed at and told “your just too sensitive” “you look too deeply into things” and “lighten up” and suffered injuries due to my parents attention being consistently elsewhere…..

Anyway my abuse story is so mild when I hear how much others have suffered and continue to suffer.. but I so identify with the headaches and months and months of crying that start once the unconscious material begins to come to light.. our bodies and souls carry these traumatic imprints and we literally have to expell them. or ex-press them out of our system.. I have had huge blood clots clearing from my system as I began to give myself permision to express the anger and rage I felt… it was scarey to do and sometimes id turn it back on me or feel such guilt.. Only this week I wrote to my ex and told him how much his emotional abuse had hurt. I said I dont care how this is received.. and it doesnt matter to me if you dont hear it I simply have to express it for me……only self love will heal us.. Ive stopped looking anywhere else now.. finally beginning to feel at home within my own life and body.

To all who share here particularly Dave and Pam who have had to walk such a terribly painful love I say .. you are so very brave…..and such an example to me….and to Darlene this site is amazing…. thanks for all the consistent hard work you put into it.. love Deborah

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Sorry i meant to write.. walk such a painful path…….its a very very long journey home xo

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Hi Deborah
Wow, thank you for sharing this. Your “clearing process” is really amazing. I had some physical stuff too.
About your sentence ~ “my abuse story is so mild” ~ it might surprise you how many of us think the same thing. I used to think that mine was so mild I had no right to even be upset or hurt. Abuse is abuse and it causes damage; It is that damage that we need to deal with.
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Deborah,
Congratulations on writing to your ex, not for a response, but to unload it. I bet that was incredibly liberating.

When I first came here I wondered if my mother’s tactics were really abuse also. She’s incredibly sneaky. She’s really an actress. There was the “home” behavior, and the “outward” behavior. If I look at only what was going on at home, I can see now that it was abusive. It was a rare occasion that she got physical, so I thought, well, a whipping is a whipping and that’s that. She taught me it was okay to leave marks/welts on my leg with a flyswatter, by downplaying it; even denying it later. I’m sure she still would today. I can’t figure out how she convinced me, but somehow she did convince me that it wasn’t abuse, and even had me questioning what I saw with my own eyes on my leg. I was never molested either. These things had me wondering if I really WAS too sensitive, or if it WAS abusive. After all, I wasn’t bruised up all the time. I wasn’t molested, etc. But, Darlene and the contributors here have helped me understand so much about my value and how my damage is my damage, no matter how it happened or really even who caused it (for me anyway). I’m soooooo thankful to be at the place I am now. If not for EFB, I know I wouldn’t have this new outlook and ability to look within myself. I find great hope in the people who’ve survived. Your statement about finally starting to feel at home in your life and body….it’s where I want to be. Your strength is an inspiration and I’m happy you shared your story. Hope to see you again.
xoxo,
Mimi

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Funny the things that invalidate us, and our perception that we have no worth, I tried to tell my mom when I was 27 what happened to my as a child, and instead of show my care and compassion, she drilled my with questions on how she could. It see that ever happening and I must be imagining it. Really!?? You do cook up shame and disgust as a child because you WANTED to live like that!! So you learn to keep it all inside, you learn not to tell anyone, cause your own mother doesn’t believe you, you live with the shame that there is something terribly wrong with you and that you are not worth love, cause your not loveable was the message you received from your abuser and the people closets to you. Your voice = silence

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Hi Suz
Welcome to efb
Exactly Suz… we never wanted that life, and we all learn to keep it all inside. There is way to much risk involved with doing anything else.
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Mimi.. oh thanks so much for your comments……it was almost like I needed validation from my Mum to know the abuse/abandonment/neglect I suffered was real.. i have to laugh when she says how grateful I must have been to have parents who were still together and not separated.. but I remember longing all the time for their attention and that pattern replayed in my relationships….trust your gut.. its so hard especially in my case as i broke off from healthier relationshps to stay true to the ones who had hurt me and never tried to show understanding….and only see that now… it felt just too lonely to let them go and I felt I would not survive .. but those feelings come from the regresssed place… standing up to my Mum owning my truth felt like dying the first time i tried to do it.. i just terminated the conversation three times and she rang back two trying to say my perceptions were warped.. or “you misunderstood me” or “you are taking me out of context” before owning her stuff and apologising on the third call…..to hold onto my truth was so hard and god now I am 50 and im only just getting it.. so much waste i continually gave away my truth to be accepted and loved.. only just really seeing it now…… even when I set a boundary as I did with my ex had second thoughts cause it feels just so scarey to stand up.. that is an inherited pattern and now its starting to feel good that I can have the anger and know it wont hurt anyone but is about learning to know when boundaries have been violated.. and so stand strong… we are not to blame.. we should not have to take on that shame.. you Mimi are valuable and lovable.. anything else is a lie and an untruth… love Deborah

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Sorry Suz meant that valuable loveable comment for you too… how dare your Mum excuse that level of abuse…..funny (not) how abusers try to tell us its all our fault that they react the way they do… and we swallow it.. until we wise up…

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Dear Darlene,

You said a couple things that kind is how I feel

“I learned not to talk” “What was happening in my family was my normal”

I too felt what is the use to talk .. no one was going to listen and when I tried to talk I was rewarded with either a slap across the face of a board across the bottom.

Children were to be “seen and not heard”

My normal was I was to do and not to ask why. I was to receive what was given me and be grateful I had a roof over my head.. Too bad if i didnt like being beat .. too bad if I didnt appreciate the names I was called.. I should be grateful someone noticed me enough to hit me . . enough to call me names that belittle me..

I didnt realize right away that other kids got hugs and kisses and new shoes and nice clothes. I thought my normal was the normal for all.. So I didnt know that I should want something more than what I got…

That I was beat and slapped and punished.. I thought that was how all kids were treated. I wasn’t allowed to have friends.. so I didnt hear from others that they were not beat, slapped or punished..

I only learns bits and pieces from church but even that institution stood behind what my mom did. Taking a beating, taking the belittling was all a way to Heaven.. so i learned to keep silent.

I was so quiet in school; they put me in a special reading class. Kids use to think I couldnt talk or had some speech problem..

Psychologically i had been scared into silence and that was my normal ..

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Hi Joy
It is so horrible when a child learns this “normal”. It is very likely that you were not allowed to have friends in case you told. In case you found out that your life was NOT normal. Most kids won’t tell either way. I am so sorry for all that you have gone through but so happy that you are here and working it out now! There is hope Joy. It takes a while but healing is totally possible! Everything changed for me as I learned that “normal” was not normal and began to cement in the real truth.
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Darlene, I can so relate to what you have said here and my feelings are still not being validated by my sisters. So they pretty much have left off where my mother stopped due to her death. As of recently I was working so hard on myself but have since have had an interruption that put me spiraling back to pretty much where I was before in my mind. This time I feel i can’t come back to feeling somewhat, what is considered normal these days. The interruption is that my oldest daughter has sinced moved in with me after my living by myself for eight years. I can’t handle it and I don’t know why. I’ve stopped bathing, I only eat enough so I don’t starve, I am sleeping most of the time and I am very short tempered with everyone, even with my pets. She to takes part in not validating how I feel and I think to myself why should she, she is my child. But it bothers me. This sounds terrible but I believe if I admit myself to the hospital, she’ll never leave. She isn’t much support. Actually she has very little tolerance for me. I’ve just recently been discharged from “group therapy” because I am so immobilized with stress that I can’t leave my house, not even to walk my dog. I was walking him three times a day, every day and going to my group therapy and things, Also, everything smells bad to me and everything tastes bad as well and I don’t know where this is coming from. I keeping thinking, hang in there she’s going to be moving out soon but soon, isn’t soon enough for me.

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Hi Denise
I am worried about you and I hope you can get some in person support for this. Sometimes things go too far “down” for us to empower ourselves in the ways that I write about in this site. I remember being there myself and I went to the dr. and told them what was going on with me so that I could get some help with that “sinking deeper stuff”.
Having said that, the thing that was so important for me was to get out of that thinking that “someone” was going to save me. My whole childhood set me up for that belief because my mother gave me the message that I needed her and without her I would not survive. SO I concluded that I needed someone to validate me and that was a huge problem because when no one did, I stayed feeling invalid. BUT when I was at that stage of sleeping all the time and not eating etc. I was too deep in to depression to do anything without some help. Hoping for family to do that for me however made it worse. They could not give me what I needed and besides that they were all used to treating me in a devauing way because I had learned to treat myself in that way. It was like a cycle that went round and round and I needed an outside influence to help me stop that spin.
Please take care and thank you for sharing. I know that it is very hard to share that kind of stuff.
Hugs, Darlene

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Denise,
I wish you well, and for relief very very soon. It’s sad so many people have to go through days like the ones you describe. I’m pulling for you.

Darlene,
I never tire of reading your words of wisdom and experience. Your post truly blessed me too. I need this kind of encouragement ~ although I’m doing fairly well, the reinforcement along the way sure is a big help.
Thank you Darlene,
Mimi

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Hi Denise,

I can relate to the depression. Over a year ago, I had another Depressive episode, which was among many in my life, and I had difficulty functioning at work. On top of that, I was at a new job, where I was not liked by a few individuals. Not being valued and talked down to, added to my feelings of sadness & powerlessness. I slept my mornings away and I had difficulty peeling myself from my sheets. I lacked the energy and felt weighed down. Step by step, I got stronger with the help from a great counselor and an APRN who prescribes my medication. I believe the combination of support I have, has made all the difference. This site is also very validating & supportive. Because of this site, I’m digging deeper into my tangled mess of false beliefs from my family and how I’ve regarded myself. It is hard work and takes much energy.
I’ve only recently, been ready to dig deeper. To me stronger is not feeling panicked about facing the damage- I had to realize the truth, that I have been mistreated in my family and then when I got validated by others, I started facing the root issues & beliefs. It is confusing & hard work but it is worth it!…Hang in there…I’ve been there with depression & still have sadness/anxiety, but stopping the spin, before I fall into the pit! Just wanted to share this & hope it helps in some way….
Peace,
SMD

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[...] at some point in my childhood, I accepted the fact that I was not heard and not going to be heard. I did not consciously accept it, but it was an effective part of the grooming process and I came [...]

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WOW,WOW,WOW – as I read this I felt like I was reading about by own life right down to the teacher in grade 5 that abused me emotionally. I will never forget the day after my Dad died and how he bullied me into telling him every detail about how he dead and from what, not to mention why by Dad didnt live with us before he died. I too am a survivor of sexual abuse from both a family member and an outsider. When I decided t find my voice and tell my mother it was dismissed. I was informed that I was WRONG and that it was just how my self father “played”. My mother wasn’t willing to heard me as she would/could lose her man and she wasn’t willing/strong enough to do that. I have struggled for years to have my voice heard and at 48yrs old I still have good and bad days mostly in my romantic relationships as it brings up my abandonment issues. I am trying every day to continue to be stronger and it helps to know that I am not alone. Thank you. <3

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Hi J9
Welcome to EFB! When I first started to speak in mental health seminars about my own recovery I was shocked at how many people could relate to me! The reaction “wow wow wow” was shocking to me. I started this website because I wanted to let a bigger audience know that we are not alone. And it is empowering to know that. I am glad that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

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[...] I was not the same as my siblings. They somehow managed to stay within the lines most of the time. They were high achievers. I was a disappointment in every way I can imagine. I consistently made poor decisions according to my abuser. I was bullied, verbally, and emotionally abused, and neglected because I couldn’t measure up. There were a few times I was physically abused as well, but for me, that didn’t leave the marks on my soul quite like not being good enough, or loved and accepted for the person I am. I was the scapegoat. I was brainwashed to believe that my abuser came before me. Her emotions and her pain were more important than mine. I had no value. I was to put everything aside to attend to how things affected her, even when it came to my own illness. My thoughts and feelings meant nothing, and I was trained to believe that. Until last year, I did believe it. [...]

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It is overwhelmingly sad, to see just how many survivors of abuse are in this world. But, through your words, bring forth understanding. It is a process that not many want to work through. I hope, that one day, I will have worked through it enough, mom and dad will gain some sort of knowledge, too. They need to emerge from broken, too. Some day…

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Hi Darlene! thank you for this article. As usual your timing is perfect and it’s the encouragement I needed. I have recently let go of an addiction that I had once let go of, I started it up again to deal with my emotional pain. Through a lot of therapy I am able to let go of it and deal with another layer. I am going to honor my pain and anger and listen to “me”. I care about what happened to me and I realize that I am the most important person in my life and I am the only person that can save and protect me. I learned to dismiss the abuse because even though I did go to other family members I kept hearing that “your parents are doing the best they can”..blah blah. I don’t care what they did anymore, I care about how my life is going because of their best. I feel my soul pushing so hard to come forth and I will not deny her any longer. I’ve been treating myself the way they treated me and it stops here. I may have come into this world a victim of abuse but I am leaving as a warrior. I am fighting for my right to be heard and valued and only I can give that to myself. You have no idea how grateful I am to have found your web site. Darlene…bless your loving heart for giving us all this support and reminding us who we really are. Namaste!

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Hi Lora
YAY ~ I love your comments and your determination to be there for yourself! I am so glad that you are here too!
Hugs Darlene

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Hi Erica
I have that hope for my parents too. It is never too late!
Hugs, Darlene

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Not being heard is the silent story of most of my life. Not speaking up became my “coping skill” against more abuse. But that voice was still talking, inside, to myself. It was talking a language foreign to those who were supposed to love, protect, believe in me. I was talking the language of pain that no one could translate in words that made sense. To them. So they made up their own translation by calling me crazy.
I was paralyzed in fear at the thought of telling. So I got into the habit of over analyzing events. Trying to turn it around on me so it could make sense, because if the adults around me didn’t want to hear it, I thought for sure it was all my fault or maybe the teachers and doctors, uncle who did stuff to me were entitled to because they were ADULTS I was to respect and trust them. Why talk? The rejection was worse to deal with than the actual act that had been done to me. The enormous amount of shame for “letting” them do this to me was suffocating. It was MY fault. Therefore, I HAD to deal with it by myself. I knew they were gonna defend them anyway. I knew they were gonna use excuses for what they did and make me feel even more confused. Why talk? When you very well know you will not be heard.

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Hi Celine
YES ~ That is my story too. Why talk? and then I found out why (which this site is about) and finally I was set free. The difference now is that I know WHO to talk to and who to not bother with. They didn’t want to hear me, they squsihed me so they lost me. I stopped trying to talk to the people who had never validated me in the first place. There was no answer or solution in talking to them.
They will do anything to deflect the blame. There was nothing I could do to make them see it any differently so I focused on my healing instead. I turned from them as the source of my validation and took it into my own hands. And I found the solution!
Thanks for sharing! I can relate to what you are saying here!
Hugs, Darlene

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Thank you Darlene. It warms my heart to finally be HEARD and understood. I am learning to unveiling my truth little by little. You have been essential to my healing process as your website is my Bible.
I found my voice not too long ago and it’s getting louder and louder. I still have a lot of work to do but now I know that Freedom is reachable. They crushed me over and over but I’m still here and I’m still standing. I will remain for ME.
Warm hugs :0)

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Wow I loved reading this blog…so much insight into me not being heard as a child…Thanks to all who have written in. I think there is a lot of wisdom where that is eye opening and life changing.
I am a Christain and go to an amazing church called the Rock Church where I truely feel heard. It took me over 10 years to find it though.

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Hi Melissa
Welcome to EFB
This is a life changing place about a life changing process! !
Hugs, Darlene

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Voice not heard. Sounds like the children are seen and not heard still implies in today’s generation but nobody wants to admit that yet people say ‘oh kids have a voice now that the previous generations never had.’ I know this is about sexual abuse, but I wasn’t sexually abused. Growing up with tons of verbal abuse and seen physical abuse (my mom threw me on my bed when I was kid and twisted my arm yelling do you want me to kill you? That would be physical abuse right?)

I have told people, told my aunt (dad’s sister, all she can say is ‘parents make mistakes, give them a chance, and that was it)), told CPS, and told other adults but nothing happen. I got he usual BS ‘respect your elders,’ ‘people make mistakes,’ ‘there’s no such thing as abused children; you kids just want attention to make us parents look bad. if you behave properly, then you wouldn’t be abused like you claim,’ ‘learn to suck it up and get over it, **** happens and lots of people had it worse than you,’ etc. Nobody cared to listen, they were all concerned about what “society felt/thought about how kids act/speak.”

I told my therapist how I am not going to comment about my parents ever again to people because it has done nothing but backfired on me and has been used against me. I was told “a grown adult shouldn’t be whining about “parental abuse,” a grown adult would just shove it under the rug.” Couldn’t believe I heard that one. I don’t feel people need to know anything; I am not 12, nobody needs to ask me about mommy and daddy or ‘how are your parents doing?’ Treating me like some little kid.

People tried to shush me and said nobody will not shush me ever! I hated putting on the phony, white picket fence family to people, but my parents had no problems with it. Being silent was like coping, but it really did a lot of damage on the inside. I prefer if people out there in the streets don’t ask anything about my parents and if they wanna know something about me personally, they can ask but family is off limits. My therapist says ‘omg, you are dictating to people what they should ask you.’ I told her ‘who wants to hear a dark story/past? Although, they are true stories, but who wants to hear a story filled with negativity and having no hope?’

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