Dec
03

Positional Power ~ When Your Therapist Doesn’t Get It

By

The Path for EFBChild abuse and neglect result in low self-esteem, depression and a whole lot of other issues. Part of the grooming process that occurs in ALL abuse including emotional abuse and psychological abuse is that the blame is transferred to the child and in order to cope and survive children accept that blame and focus inward in order to try harder for the love and acceptance they long for. In the dysfunctional family, the abuse doesn’t end in childhood and often the child who is now an adult will seek professional help in order to overcome the damage that the child abuse caused. Just as our parents and all adult abusers, controllers and manipulators had positional power, doctors, therapists and helping professionals have it too.

When we have been convinced through actions, inactions and words that there is something ‘wrong’ with us and we finally go to a helping professional such as a therapist, counselor or psychologist ~ if that mental health professional defends our parents, or focuses on US as the problem it serves us as confirmation that we are in fact the problem and it is very much a re-traumatization.

Mental health professionals have tons of positional power ~ they are endorsed and accredited as being able to help and therefore we often see them as an even bigger authority then the way that we saw our parents when we were kids, so if they AGREE with our parents or if they focus with us on what WE could do or could have done differently, it very often causes a bigger problem than the one we went to talk about.

Just as abuse and neglect invalidated me as a child, a therapist who asks me what I could have done better or differently, or asks me to understand the abuser by suggesting that they did the best they could or suggests that I was part of the problem ~ those things all VALIDATE the abuser, controller or caregiver or whoever had the power in the situation I am talking about. Sometimes worse was when the therapist remained neutral. In all cases I was still stuck in the pain of the story. When a therapist or helping professional has any of those reactions they aren’t HELPING.

Years ago when I was in my twenties, I volunteered to be in a group therapy situation. We all sat around looking for the ways that we were accountable for what happened to us as kids and thinking about what we could have done differently. There were some serious situations being discussed; one girl admitted that when she was 17 years old she snuck out of the house after bedtime to go to a party where she had been raped. Her parents found out that she was out, and then she got a severe beating from her father who used his belt to thrash her for over a half an hour. She told us that she thought he was literally going to kill her. Then she told us that she realized that she had brought the whole thing on herself by sneaking out of the house. She admitted that she was selfish and ungrateful for the boundaries her parents set in place for her and that she deserved what had happened to her.

She was willing to be accountable for having been raped and for also for the beating. And the therapist just sat there. I remember looking at him to see what our ‘leader’ was going to say about this. I was so brainwashed in that kind of accountability myself that I don’t think I questioned if she was accountable or not but I know that I didn’t have “my own thoughts” about what happened to her. I looked to the therapist and relied on his authority, waiting for his opinion.

Here is the shocking truth about this though; two things happened to that girl that night and both were horrific and illegal but the only thing that was addressed was that her own actions resulted in what happened to her. She was blamed, she was shamed, she accepted the guilt and responsibility for all of it.

She went home from the party where she had been raped; maybe she didn’t have a chance to tell her parents what happened, or maybe she knew she could never tell them what happened, that part was never discussed or revealed, but she went home and got a severe beating with a belt. She got raped and beaten and then (because she was blamed and shown why it was her own fault) she blamed the whole thing on herself.

So where was she supposed to go from there? How does someone reconcile something like that? How does a teenager get her head around something like that?

Think about it; She was raped. She was sexually assaulted; brutally raped by a man who had no regard for her as a person. He disregarded her human rights and then he cast aside like the object that he used her for. Imagine her devastation. And then she went home to what should have been a safe haven. She should have been allowed to fall sobbing into the arms of her mother and blurt the whole story out. And then her father, after a bit of ranting and raving and threatening to KILL the bastard who violated his daughter, would have phoned the police and reported the entire thing. She should have been taken to the hospital where they would have checked for damage and taken some DNA samples so that the perpetrator of this crime would have been convicted of it. Then her parents would have taken her home, made her some tea and stayed with her for as long as she needed.

But that isn’t what happened.

She came in the door and without pausing for any explanation from her, her father took off his leather belt and began his brutal and unrelenting physical assault on her. The second crime of the night was perpetrated against her. How do you think she felt after all that? Worthless? Shameful?

Yes.

And there she was many years later, trying to get some help and willing to take the blame for the whole thing; willing to accept responsibility for both the crimes against her. And the helping professional in the room said NOTHING! He nodded his approval when she said that her bad choices had resulted in her having been rapped and then beaten by her father. He nodded as she related that if only she would not have snuck out to that party, none of it would have happened.

BUT it did happen! So how was she able to deal with having been raped that night? Well quite simply, she wasn’t able to deal with it in any way that enabled her to heal from the damage that it caused to her.

Nobody EVER validated for her that it wasn’t her fault and believing it WAS her own fault, she could not let go of the guilt and shame and she was stuck in the invalidation of it all.

Mental Health Professionals have a lot of positional power. I gave many of them my power because I didn’t know any different. I believed that because they were certified and licensed to help me, that they knew best and that they certainly knew better than I did. I believed that they WERE helping me and when they encouraged me to take blame that didn’t belong to me, I was stuck in the pain of being objectified, unheard, unseen and invalidated, believing that once again something was wrong with me because I STILL struggled with depression, sadness and low self-esteem.

That day in the group therapy, that therapist could have set the record straight for the young woman who had been raped at a party and then beaten by her father. He could have told her that first of all, rape is always the fault of the rapist. Rape is an illegal crime and is always the fault of the perpetrator of that crime. And then he could have also told her that the violent beating she received was also a crime that the responsibility for that crime also belonged to the perpetrator of that crime. And each of us sitting there in that circle would have walked away with a totally different experience of the way that we thought about our own life experiences.

I didn’t tell my real story that day; I guess I knew it wasn’t safe.

Positional power applies to anyone that we give authority to or a person who is respected AS an authority for their title or training. Please share your thoughts about positional power or any other thoughts you would like to share. Perhaps this story reminds you of a different situation where you were invalidated by someone with positional power such as a teacher, grandparent or a police officer.

Exposing Truth, one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

Have you downloaded a copy of my book “Emerging from Broken; The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” yet? It is the first in a series I am going to publish and this first book is all about setting the foundation for healing by seeing HOW the false beliefs, depressions, low self-esteem etc. came from in the first place. The reviews are fantastic! Click on the book image in the upper right side bar and get yours today.

Related posts ~ Dysfunctional Relationship with Mental Health Providers by Susan Kingsley-Smith

Categories : Therapy

216 Comments

1

That story just reminds of how when someone does tell about a particular event where they are hit or punished in someway as a young person, they very quickly say, but I deserved it or I had it coming. It’s almost a reflex.
I think that I was also in constant fear of being judged by any person in some kind of authority, extended family, teachers, police, anyone taller than me.

2

Hi Heather
This story bothered me for years and what you have shared is exactly why. I too was constantly in fear of anyone in authority until I realized this whole thing about the misuse of power and control. I was blamed and directed to be accountable for everything that happened to me when in fact it was never my fault. Freedom and recovery came when I validated that fact.
Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

3

When I spoke up to a therapist about being raped as a teenager while I was recognizing my marriage was falling apart, he insisted that I tell my family. So I scheduled them all to come to a session as he had told me to do, and when I couldn’t finish my sentences, he told my family the story. The appointment was awkward.
Within a week, my mother called me to tell me I was a liar making excuses for being a horrible kid. Apparently she was drunk enough that she has no memory of doing that.
My ex-husband told me that he wouldn’t have married me if he knew I was raped – he didn’t think it was fair that I was that damaged and I lied to him. Isn’t he sweet?
That was about 30 years ago. Since then I’ve begun to understand the dysfunction of the family. I’ve learned that the up side to being the scapegoat is that eventually the scapegoat actually escapes!

4

This sheds light on so much of my childhood. And even into adulthood. I had such fear of people in authority. And if they said I was wrong and they blamed me, I accepted it as the truth. And it became so automatic to accept blame and not question it even well into adulthood when I had a horrible supervisor at the school I worked at who blamed me for a bunch of things that never happened.

As a child lots of blame was heaped on me from my mother. But I also see the part other “adults” used their positional power to blame and shame me. My first grade teacher shamed me for not reciting something with the rest if the clas and then forced me to go to the front of the room and recite the entire thing in front if the glass when I was trembling with fear and had tears in my eyes. The salesclerk who excused me at age nine of trying to steal something, and me feeling shame even though I was innocent of what she accused me of. My ” friends” mother who called me a liar when I went to their house to ask for something back that this girl borrowed and never returned. The mother outright lied and said that she bought the item for her daughter, and this lying woman turned around and called ME the liar.

The world appeared to be a very unsafe place to me as I was growing up and a lot of it had to do with being shamed by people with positional power. And the feeling of being unsafe came with me into adulthood. To this day, certain people still frighten me.

Darlene, the story about the young girl who was raped and then subsequently beaten by her father when she got home gave me chills. I can’t imagine how painful it must have been to go through such an awful thing and then have it followed by a second traumatic event of getting beaten and not having a safe venue of support to deal with the first trauma if the evening. I hope that wherever she is now she is doing well.

5

I put something like this on the other comment thread ‘ when a mother’. I think I should move it here. My silly mother firmly believes there’s something wrong with me not them. Also if a child professional makes you out to be a problem child this can really give false messages. I once had an evil report and in it this expert virtually said she felt sorry for my parents I can’t have been easy. This was when I was fighting for my baby as my adopted father gave me severe pnd. I know she said it to be a bitch as the whole report was just nasty. She knew as a psych that would make my guilt worse and it did.let me tell you I let that adoptrd father treat me like dirt grovelling to him as I had no- one else. I also did the housework cooking everything as a child. One mother said her daughter wouldn’t have done all the families ironing like I did. Not that I ever got thanks. But sating they took me to a psych to find out what’s wrong with me has had a profound effect and my mother kept repeating it as though they were wonderful thoughtful parents for doing this. I read records in my 30’s and psych said all my problems were down to their disturbed parenting. I told my mother which she didn’t like. Lol

6

I feel so sad for that girl. I cannot imagine how much pain she must have to continue living in with nobody to understand or care for her. How can she ever reach out since she has been so shamed into silence? Why even try anymore? I think I may know a some of what she must feel/felt. I cannot count the thousands of dollars, time, effort and pain I’ve expended throughout the years in an effort to find so-called “help” in order to heal. No matter how many times I tried to find a “counselor” or “therapist” to just HEAR me and validate what I’d been through the result was wasted money and still in the quagmire of pain and depression. Most of them would sit and listen unemotionally to my “story” without any indication that they really heard me and then jump straight to how I just needed to take responsibility for my choices in life, take charge, put the past behind me and “learn” from it, change myself and the world will change around me, and my favorite, “well the only person you can change is yourself and we all do the best with what we know at the time.” Oh, and another good one is, “You attract to you what you give out to the world. If you just thing positive, good things will always come to you.” The Oprah Winfrey mantra. I even had a so-called biblical counselor heap massive guilt upon me because my “unforgiveness” was what was getting in the way of my happiness and was a sin that needed to be “rooted out” before God would ever allow me to be happy. That one did a real number on me for a long time. All of the abusers in my life loved to use that one. I was the evil one because I wouldn’t forgive and forget. I, too, didn’t know how to address those charges/statements when they were leveled against me- the victim. I can so relate to this part of your post Darlene. I’ve always thought, since the fog lifted, that these “counselors” get into the business because they were likely abused as a child and never resolved their own issues. So how in the world can they help others when they’re still broken themselves? I didn’t even begin to really heal or feel the fog begin to lift until I found EFB. After I read everything on EFB and bought the book so many things started to make sense. It isn’t/wasn’t about me. It’s that the “helping” professions for the most part have no idea what they’re doing. I’ve gotten more help, validation, and healing from EFB than anywhere else. What we need is someone(s) to really hear us, show at least a little that they care and tell us that what has happened to us was wrong, a travesty of justice, devastating, sad, unfair, etc. When we are really heard, the healing can begin. I don’t understand why this is so hard for, what seems, most of the human race to understand- especially “professional.”
Thank for listening, Lynne

7

This article comes right on time for me.I’m soon going to therapy for the first time.I’m afraid the doctor might use his positional power over me,especially that money for treatement is coming from my abusers.If it goes wrong,i don’t want to hear about therapy ever in my life.I don’t want to be retraumatised,it’s certainly the last thing i neeed.I can’t imagine myself answering stupid questions like:”What was your role in the abuse? What could you have done better?”.In that case,i’ll suggest to my therapist to ask my abusers those questions,not me.

Many victims actually believe and give full credit to the therapist,as he knows human psychology and the brain.Doctors have access to information and to a medical field that we have never studied.That’s the big lie:”If the therapist says so,then it must be true”.Many victims fall into the trap of “doctors know best”.

Personally,i’m terrified of my self image after the session.

8

I had an extreme fear of anyone in authority as I was abused by social workers. Anyone in any power of me I froze up and felt was a threat even a strict landlord. Its only now I realise I have a fear of adults as I still feel like an abused child.

That father for want of a better word should have been prosecuted for child abuse.

9

Hi Darlene, This one hits home and I do know the kind of undeserved shame this girl carried all of her life because I carried that kind of shame too. It’s the kind that makes you dissociate from yourself. The weight of this kind of shame is crippling. I really have no problem accepting responsibility for things I’ve done wrong because the weight of that shame is as light as a feather and very manageable compared to the weight of undeserved shame.

This story causes me to consider not only, how the victim is affected but how people in authority are able to commit crimes, blame the victim, and get away with it. In fact, the greater one’s authority the greater the cart’ blanche’. I see it every day on the part of politicians who commit all kinds of crimes and suffer nothing more than a scandal in the press.

Changing the way people distribute responsibility between authoritative abusers and victims, would go a long way toward ending corruption. It really does begin in the family.

Love,
Pam

10

Hi Hobie
The first thing that struck me is that the therapist felt the best way to help you was for you to tell your family that you had been raped. I think that right there is a weird response! And even then your mother called you a liar and your husband accused you of being unfair to HIM. None of those 3 people considered what happened to YOU! UGG
YAY that you escaped all that crap!
Hugs, Darlene

11

Hi Amber
Yes, there are far too many people who misuse their positional power. The story I have shared here about this young girl really represents the trauma that so many of us lived through. We are hurt and then blamed for it. We are discounted, used, lied to etc. and then blamed for it or accused of lying about it. This causes us to define ourselves through the eyes of those mistreating us. SO sad.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

12

Hi Moria
Yes this is another good point! There are a lot of parents who do this very thing hoping that the psych will agree with them which gives them “permission” to treat a child the wrong way! YIKES. I run across this all the time! And one of the most important points you make here is that we don’t actually KNOW what our parents were told if we didn’t hear it with our own ears (and even then sometimes brainwashing comes into play)
Thanks for sharing this point Moria.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lynne
What you are sharing is exactly what I am talking about and it is the story of millions of others too! For me it all started when someone finally HEARD me and validated that what happened to ME was wrong.
(that is why I do what I do with this blog and with my private coaching practice!)
hugs, Darlene

13

Hi Laura
If you find that the doctor turns it on you, ask him directly if he is going to help you or not? Phrases like that sometimes cause them to ‘think’ about what they are doing.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pam,
Very good points here too and yes, this is what I realized when I was coming out of the fog. I had learned to accept being treated as less than others. I learned that if I wanted to be safe that I needed to agree with authority. Healing for me was about realizing that I was NOT less than others and that a ton of people out there were totally wrong and way off base about love and truth.
Hugs, Darlene

14

Thanks for your spot on response Darlene. I have a question. In the present day, if someone was to hurt you, lie to you, discount you and then put blame on to you, how would you respond? Would you go NC right away,; would you give a particular verbal response? This is an area I still struggle with. Thanks.

15

Thank you,Darlene! I’ll put your idea into practice.If need be,i’ll set boundaries with the doctor,just as i did with my abusers.And it was about time.What matters now is that i do it calmly.The thing is,i got so much anger inside me,that a single word of invalidation from my doctor will set me on fire.I know it will,as i can’t take it anymore.Then i’ll be officially crazy,not just a cruel remark thrown at me by my abusers.I hope i’ll be able to control myself.When i get angry,i usually raise my voice,my face gets red and i start shaking.I hope i encounter a true professional,not any doctor looking for money.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed and i’ll keep all of you posted.With good news,i hope.

16

Thanks Darlene,

The sad thing is that I escaped the marriage, but I’m still in the process of escaping the family dysfunction that swirls around my mother. At the moment it feels like I’m still getting sticky stuff off my fingers and toes, but sometimes that process stings like hell!

I’m facing my second Christmas without my family of origin. The upside of that is that I’m not asking myself if I didn’t give them a fair chance to be loving. They had more than enough chances to be loving and they chose to be cruel.

This will be my first Christmas without my adult children who have basically sided with my family of origin. Maybe there will be an opportunity to iron that out in the future, but I don’t see it right now.

I’ve made huge progress in being on my own side and trusting myself. I will be celebrating that.

Merry Christmas,
Hobie

17

Excellent article as per usual Darlene. In your post #13, I can totally relate to learning to accept being treated as less than others and agreeing with authority. In my life I have dealt with so many people who abuse authority. It seems like a given in many circumstances. I agree that there are tons of people out there who are totally wrong and way off base about love and truth. This is why your message is so important to our world.
Thank you,

Andria

18

When I was 21, a long time ago, I worked in a psychiatric unit. I had developed panic disorder (I did not realise at the time that I had been suffering from PTSD since aged 7 after being sexually molested). I approached a friendly psychiatrist in the dept for help because I had difficulty getting to work on a tube train and two buses because of the panic. He asked me a few cursory questions about my parents then showed me the door saying “you’re just a malingerer and this is an excuse for coming in late”. I was too humiliated and scared to ask for help after that. Didn’t get help till 25 years later.

19

“Positional power applies to anyone that we give authority to or a person who is respected AS an authority for their title or training.”

For some reason,reading that statement made me shiver and cringe. I’ve always had problems with people in authoritative positions, probably because of my childhood. And when I spoke up or contradicted the so-called authority figure, I was the one who was punished, whether it happened at school or later in life at work. I get very angry at people who abuse their position. I also have a hard time holding a job. It’s either speak up and get fired, or hold it in until I explode and walk off of the job.

20

Hi Darlene, thank you for this post. I remember a university counsellour telling me, “They did the best they could”. It bothered me but she seemed sincere and I felt somehow she must be right, because of her position, her degrees and “knowledge”.

Teachers also hold a lot of power in re-interpreting your story if you disclose to them.
When I was 16 or 17 a teacher saw me by myself looking sad. She took me aside and asked me if I was pregnant. I said no, it was my home life. She said she’d talk to my parents if they would be willing. After their talk the teacher told me, “You made them seem like monsters, they’re not, they care, etc”. She completely invalidated my perspective, based on one meeting with my parents. Of course my parents came off well, they weren’t idiots. What was she expecting? I never talked to her about my problems again. She was telling me she knew more about my situation than I did. A few days later my mother told me, angrily, that this teacher told them that something had to be done or they were going to have to bury me. My mother was very put out by this. Looking back it seems I was treated like “the problem” by both my parents and the teacher.

A few years ago I went to our local Women’s Health Centre, and after some disclosure the therapist asked me, “Why do you call it abuse?” I recounted this to another therapist afterwards and she kind of made excuses for the comment, like, “maybe she just wanted your perspective”. It didn’t feel that way hearing the question…it felt totally invalidating. I never challenged these therapists though, I still find that very difficult. I would just never return if a comment bothered me like that.

21

I focused on the girl’s rape because it echoed in my most painful, damaging experiences in life. What I skimmed over, the first time, was the power of therapists and in my case, psychiatrists. I received so little help from these people and I came very close to losing my life from all the drugs they gave me. My childhood was mostly, ignored and I was treated as if all of my problems were my chemistry. I feel now, that I was very abused by my therapists and psychiatrists who ignored the wounding of my childhood, fed into the defective feelings I had about myself by blaming my chemistry, and went right to work makings lots of money for themselves by treating my symptoms with drugs. Maybe some of them are victims of their training and don’t know better but I think many of them spot patients who are victims of abuse and use their damaged self-view for their profit. In fact, I think a lot of doctors make money treating symptoms, even creating more symptoms to treat with their drugs, to make money at the expense of the patient. In my opinion, it is a rampant form of abuse that is only whispered about. Doctors of all kinds are given too much power and not enough accountability. Education and letters after someone’s name doesn’t say anything about what kind of a person a doctor or therapist is and that is every bit as important to the patient’s wellbeing as any amount of education.

Love,
Pam

22

Hobie Post #3

Scapegoat = becomes = Escapegoat!

23

Hi Amber
In the present day I am very open and not afraid to speak the truth. I don’t have people in my life who do the type of things that used to happen to me, but I am more than fine with openly pointing out anything funky. (this week someone sort of sneakily took credit for something that I did and I confronted right away. I am strong, honest etc. and I am not afraid to stick up for me. )
hugs, Darlene

Hi Laura
looking forward to the update!
hugs, Darlene

24

Hi Hobie
I will be celebrating that with you!!!! It is sad when our children get duped but I know you are on the right track with being on your own side! That was the path for healing for me AND my kids!
Love and hugs, Darlene

Hi Andria
Thank you. I appreciate your comments!
hugs, Darlene

25

Hobie #3…I am sorry you had to go through that. You were violated all over again in that situation with your therapist and I am happy you were able to overcome it and now look how far you have come. Glad you got their goat before they could get yours!!!!

Doren #20… When I hear “they did the best that they could” I cringe. I guess they call being physically, sexually, and emotionally abused the best that our parents could do!!! It is almost laughable if it weren’t so sick. The truth is our parents CHOSE to do those things to us and instead of being held accountable for their actions they are left off the hook by other so-called “authority” figures that also know better but CHOOSE to do the wrong thing that re-traumatizes us all over again. It’s like we have to get well DESPITE all these sick authority figures that are supposed to be out there helping us but who are only adding more fuel to the fire of abuse in the end.

26

Hi Sheila
That is horrible that a helping professional said that to you! He is an embarrassment to his profession!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Spence
I always had problems with them too Spence. Finding the truth set me free to be me and to figure out the balance in living in the sick world.
Hugs, Darlene

27

Hi Doren
YES a typical example of more abuse being heaped on the poor child! It is so tragic that so few adults actually HEAR the children and are so willing to believe the parents or other adults! ugg. And your other story of the womens health centre; YES it IS totally invalidating!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

28

I think many therapists today just don’t want to deal with complex trauma patient’s period. It is too much work. They can make the same amount of money by treating every day common issues as they can make treating somebody like me who has DID. I think Pam is spot on with her assessment of psychiatrists today, doling out drugs like they are candy, not helping one darn person along the way except themselves financially.

When I was in high school I walked the halls drunk and stoned every day and not one teacher ever said a darn thing to me about it. They chose the same deaf dumb and blind routine that my mother chose when my father was abusing me at home. God to me was just another authority figure that was out to hurt me. I could not separate God from my abusive father in my mind. Overcoming that authority figure fear was no easy task. I attended a 12-step group through Celebrate Recovery for the better part of a year and not once did anyone ever mention the fact that the reason WHY we were all suffering from our own addictions and depressions and food disorders was because we were abused when we were children. Maybe that would have been a good place to start before we all sat there trying to forgive ourselves for things that we didn’t do to begin with.

Someone like me needed to hear those words because my parents had me so brainwashed that I never believed that I was abused to begin with. Maybe it would have triggered something inside of me to see that I didn’t develop these addictions out of thin air. There was a good reason WHY I developed them and yes we need to be accountable for our own actions but that was never the question to start with. Where did all of these addictions stem from was the question and no one wanted to answer it because once again it pointed the finger at our abusive parents and no one seems to want to do that. They are viewed as the impenetrable authority figure who can do no wrong and that is where the problem lies. I took the blame for their poor decisions because that is what being abused teaches you to do. No one was disagreeing with them. It had to be my fault. Now I see the truth and it is so freeing to be in this place.

I also see the beauty in developing a good client /patient relationship with your therapist. They can be the instrument that God uses to set you free from the bondage of your past. They have a very difficult job to do but they need to make a decision before they get into this line of work. Are they doing it to help people or are they doing it for the almighty buck??? You can’t mix the two together in this line of work. People come to them beyond wounded. They need a soft place to land. Not someone who is looking to take advantage of their pain.

Hugs,
Kris

29

Hi Kris,

I’m really sorry that you were let down in a Celebrate Recovery Program. I’m sure that the program is significantly shaped by the people involved in the specific group that I attend, but I’ve found people very willing to look at the abuse at the bottom of addiction. The twelve steps have actually been rewritten specifically to address the needs of victims of abuse and they acknowledge that abuse is NEVER the fault of the victim.

I’ve gotten a lot of good out of the program, and I understand how a flaw in the system would have left a big important piece of the puzzle out for you. I’m glad you seem to have found freedom in spite of that.

I like the way you said that people “beyond wounded…need a soft place to land, not someone who is looking to take advantage of their pain.” That creates a very suitable image!

Hobie

30

Hi Kris, I think a lot of medical doctors do the same. The whole system promotes the treatment of symptoms, mostly with drugs, while ignoring underlying issues. I’ve done the same thing for my underlying medical issues as I have for my underlying emotional issues (and both are sometimes, closely related). I’ve found underlying problems that I treat nutritionally and I keep my medications at a minimum. At one point, when I followed my doctors’ orders to the letter, I was taking 13 medications. Now, I take three. I had to become proactive and my own advocate. Every time I see any kind of professional, I remind myself that they work for me and I’m the one running the show. Facing and finding greater healing for my emotional issues enables me to be more proactive in my healthcare. It was nearly dying from being over-medicated by my psychiatrist and other specialists, (who were called in to treat the side-effects from the psycho-tropics that they told me were new disease)that also, led me into becoming more proactive in uncovering the root cause of my depression and anxiety. It’s amazing how things work out sometimes. I’m glad to be where I am today but I wish I could have gotten here without all the layers of trauma from abuse.

It’s horrible for a professional to put themselves out there as a person of help and then abuse their patients for profit. Of course, insurance companies also, abuse patients by deciding which treatments they will pay for and which they won’t pay for. They play a huge role in destroying the doctor/patient relationship. The whole system is set up to make money from people who are suffering. The focus is all wrong. It should be about healing and not about the bottom line. I know everyone needs money to live but there needs to be a better balance that keeps the patient as the central focus.

Love,
Pam

31

Hi Hobie,

I didn’t mean to take away the good work that Celebrate Recovery is capable of doing. Unfortunately our group WAS lacking in leadership abilities. They erred on the side of being codependent and they used God’s name in order to do it and it crippled our group along the way. You never heard about how your parent’s abuse affected you as an adult. All you heard was forgive, forgive, forgive when you should have been hearing it takes time to work through the betrayal and pain of what your parents did to you and these are the steps to take in order to get to that place of forgiveness.

Didn’t mean to offend anyone who attends CR. It helped me with overcoming my isolation and the people there were very nice. I did feel safe there which is huge but at our sector you will not recover!!!!

PEACE,

Kris

32

Hi Pam,

I agree with what you are saying. I think any time you mix money with people’s health you have a recipe for disaster. We are at the insurance company’s mercy and that is a huge problem in all of this because their first priority should be us but it’s not. The lines get blurred along the way and we are the one’s who end up suffering the consequences for it with more suffering and pain not to mention going to the poorhouse trying to keep up with all of their demands all the time.

I don’t see a way around this other then making everything even across the board for everyone involved. That way when you get doctors in the health care system you know that they are doing it for the right reasons instead of using hurt people for their own personal wealth. Same goes for all the insurance companies out there. The choices that people are forced to make regarding their health is sickening to me. It is wrong on so many levels yet it is accepted as normal here.

Greed is destroying this world in all realms and I can’t help but think it stems from so many people being abused and so little help to overcome that abuse. It feeds off of itself until one day no one will give a darn about anyone else except for a handful of people like us who are willing to do what it takes to overcome the devastating affects of being abused so that in turn we can show other people how to do it too.

How can you care about other people when you were never taught how to do that when you were a child? How can you love other people when you can’t love yourself? How can you help other people when you think your very “being” is flawed??? That’s what being abused does to you and oh wonder there are so many wounded souls out there because this world does not want to recognize the source of where all of this pain stems from and it all ties in with Darlene’s post about how authority figures get to tramp all over wounded souls and get away with it without ever having to pay any consequences for their actions due to society as a whole believing that authority figure over the abused individual the majority of the time.

Thank goodness we have each other. It’s scary out there!!!!

Hugs,
Kris

33

Hi Kris #25

Yes, I think “They did the best they could” as been run into the ground…I imagine most survivors have heard it at one point, along with “Get over it”. Because I spoke mostly of emotional abuse I walked away feeling that that was being minimized as “abuse lite”…I couldn’t imagine therapists saying that beatings and incest were the “best” a parent could do…but unfortunately there must be therapists who defend any and all abuses. When I first sought therapy on my own as a teenager—which my parents mocked as ‘going to see my head-shrinker’, and more ‘evidence’ that I was a mess—emotional abuse was barely recognized, and nobody called my exposure to pornography sexual abuse.

My parents knew how to act with the teacher, and really you gotta be a bonehead to expect to see the truth of what’s going on from one meeting. My Dad knew enough to not sit in her office with his genitals coming out of his boxers, like he did so often at home. If they were really doing the best they could they would not be cleaning up their act so much in public. This was my favourite teacher and she let me down chastising me like that. And my parents were just reinforced with the belief that they were normal parents.

The worst of it was, though, I took it in, I internalized her opinion.
She was in her 40s and ‘together’ and I was a kid being told again that I was making more of something than it was. I still remember that moment and the shame I felt. I was all alone with it and my self-esteem really nosedived in the following years. I remember asking the principal if he thought I was human. I told him I needed dental care and he arranged for me to see a dentist for the first time at 17. He let me stay in the portable after everyone left for the day, gave me keys to lock up, and I often stayed into the evening alone doing homework. I’m grateful for his help, but looking back I don’t know why he didn’t speak to my parents, or involve them, I was underage. My parents never got the message from authority figures that what they were doing was abusive or wrong. It was dealt with ‘quietly’. Nothing was asked or expected of my parents, more than what they were doing. And that left me with a deeply ingrained feeling that something was very wrong with ME and I was the family problem. I think many of these authority figures either can’t deal with their own histories or refuse to see abuse in front of them, and not ‘out there’.

34

Kris – I didn’t think that you did “take away the good” that CR can do. I was really sad to know that it missed on that level for you. It happens.

Just like there are good and bad therapists, there are good and probably bad CR groups. The problem isn’t with therapy in general, or in Celebrate Recovery in general. I guess that was what I wanted to say.

Some of the speakers or teachers at my CR get a bit heavy-handed with the “forgiveness cures everything” line of thinking. I get a little bent out of shape with that sometimes. But there are others that recognize that forgiveness has it’s proper timing and process, so I pay more attention to them.

I wasn’t offended and I hope I haven’t offended you either.

Hobie

35

Kris, It is scary and there are so many wounded souls. Some of them manage to claw their way to the top and fill those seats of authority. Good authority isn’t a problem but twisted, wicked authority is. People have to change from the inside out. That’s why Darlene’s work is so powerful.

I’m not sure if you are in the U.S. but what we have these days is the insurance corporate giants and the federal government becoming one. It isn’t socialized medicine, it is just a big mess and I think as far as the patient is concerned, things will be worse than ever. I’d like to see things move in the opposite direction with private physicians forming their own heath-care pools, among their own patients. They probably wouldn’t make the kind of money they do now, but I think it would help put the focus back on the doctor/patient relationship. Big isn’t always better. I think smaller communities do a better job of holding people in authority accountable. Not always. The real problem is inside people. Poor people can be just as greedy as rich people. That brings the conversation back to the work we do here.

Love,
Pam

36

Doren, I’m so sorry you were treated that way and I too, know what it is to be sexualized by parents. It had a huge affect on the way I viewed myself and left me open to all kinds of sexual abuse. I still feel creepy crawly inside when I think about it.

You know, the system doesn’t support people who really want to do something to help a child. Abuse has to be really extreme, where I live, before authorities will take any action. When they do, children are often still abused within the system. It is a very opaque system that hides things people don’t want to look at anyway. The problem is children aren’t valued and most of the crimes committed against them are ignored. Extended family members have no rights when it comes to trying to help a grandchild, niece, or nephew who is being abused. Confronting abusers without any backup from the system can end with putting the child in more danger. It’s ridiculous and everything in me rebels against this idea, but people who love a child who is being abused often have no other recourse but to try and help that child survive their situation. It’s all just too sad. How do you teach a child to ‘cope’ with abuse and neglect?

I’m spiraling downward on this one so, I guess I’ll stop…

Love,
Pam

37

Thnx Hobie.

No offense taken here at all. Sometimes I totally overlook what people are really trying to say to me because it just never registers in my mind that someone actually cares about how I feel or what I have to say and in general cares about “me”. You have managed to acknowledge all of these things and I thank you for doing that for me.

No need to feel sad over my CR experience. (See… now I get it!!!!) lol Good things did come out of it too. It was a stepping stone in the early phase of my recovery process so I am thankful I got to do it. It helped me take a risk and it allowed me to not isolate myself and it gave me a sense of accomplishment when I completed the program. Unfortunately I missed the very last meeting due to my husband needing to go to the ER. Do you want to believe that!!!! I never got my 12-step chip!!!! Lol lol. That is the story of my life!!!!

Anyway thnx for caring. It feels nice.

Kris

38

Pam and Kris,

I agree with every word you’re writing about the totally broken healing system and insurance companies. I used to erroneously believe that it was simply my dumb luck for attracting all the wrong therapists. Why were all of them so incredibly cold and angry? Is that part of their job description? Was it because I was a young girl at the time and these middle aged people looked down on me? Guess what–now I’m older in my 40’s and my whole life has been an exteneded search for truth and self-understanding. My metaphysical studies and psychic development are what healed me. It’s not because I was abused that I “understand” feelings with strong intuition. It’s the same story repeated over again with these therapists. They just don’t get it and they will never understand the problem. I felt as if I should be the one being paid to do their job but I do not possess the necessary credentials to become one of these therapists. There were a string of these therapists in my past as a teenager and in my 20’s, with women, men, Catholic, Jewish, HMO insurance, private practice…and they were all cut from the same so-called cloth. A very big part of the problem was these therapists do not really listen. Every time I would talk about my parents and childhood these therapists were seemingly very jealous of me. Yes, I lived in a rather upper class neighborhood, but I was very neglected, unwanted, and physically and emotionally abused by my mom. I feel more like I was treated like Princess Diana’s maid, rather than a spoiled princess. All the neighborhood kids had more time, attention, and material goods than me. Many of these therapists come from abuse themselves and they try to become therapists and social workers in order to heal their own stuff. These therapists want to be adored and worshipped like doctors—rather like white coated gods!

There are too many incidents to describe where I would end up fighting and arguing with these therapists. I feel it was all garbage and a waste of my time and they knew it, too. My problem was listening to mainstream culture which says that I must be a “good girl” and that the only way to heal was by talking to these therapists. These therapists pretend to be your pseudo-friend but in reality they couldn’t care less about you or your past. I have heard that the reason that men sometimes see prostitutes is to have someone to talk to! I couldn’t care less what others do but these therapists are like a pretend friend. I can place a big teddy bear on a chair in front of me and talk about my problems and get the same effect. In fact when I was a kid, that’s exactly who my “therapist” was—my stuffed animal! LOL!

But then it gets worse. I had a very serious suicide attempt when I was 19 years old after having moved with my parents to Arizona. I was forced to move and leave my home state behind. I was depressed and at the lowest point in my life. It’s still hard for me to face that I was shamed and further abused by these doctors in a psychiatric hospital. They kept me there for a month and I begged and begged to be let go. No, they wanted money and enjoyed their sadistic behavior. It’s a long and complicated story but my father repeatedly told them that they had no money and could not pay for the bill. It was all about money and that’s how they let me go.

I found an interesting writer named Daniel Mackler. He has youtube videos and a website on child abuse issues. He is a former therapist and he even admits that most “therapy” is total garbage. He is incredibly interesting and he is all for self-healing. I will write more later but it’s late now….thanks for reading.

39

I wasn’t going to comment on this, as I didn’t think I could relate. But then I remembered. The OB/GYN exam when I was 12. It was necessary, I HAD to have an OB/GYN exam. Things weren’t going right on the “monthly thing.” Well, Mom LIED to me. She will deny she LIED, but she did. I asked her “what are they going to do?” She claimed, “Oh, just check you over, and stuff.”

I get to the doctor and this “pinch faced” nurse is telling me to get my clothes off and I am resisting. The pinch faced nurse acts like I’m a big baby or something.

After all was said and done, I felt violated, I felt traumatized. And mom didn’t even notice. Instead, she CHASTISED me for being “rude” to the [male] doctor. Talk about “positional authority.” She cared more about what HER doctor thought than about me being traumatized. Then she tried to back pedal by claiming she “didn’t know” I was going to get THAT kind of exam. She KNEW! She KNEW all along. The doctor did nothing wrong, but her not preparing me for this was the biggest act of cowardice! And she thinks I should be “over” this! This affected me! Took me years to realize how much it affected me.

40

In my 20’s I went to an OB/GYN for a regular exam. I had never met her before. She put a speculum in me and then left the room for an extended time with it still in me. I’ve always felt this was sexually abusive. I didn’t report her because I didn’t have the sense of self to even consider reporting her. It wasn’t even an option in my head.

Another OB/GYN made faces of disgust during the exam and was rough. I told another doctor in the practice and he said other people had complained as well. She was gone soon thereafter.

I’ve had bad therapists and some good ones too. My experience is that for every ten or so bad, there’s a good one so it takes a lot of trying out and being willing to leave after one or two appointments if you can’t figure it out over the initial phone call. The irony is that this is especially hard for someone who is emotionally fragile and doesn’t have the internal resources to keep trying.

Lately I’ve been wishing I had had the wherewithal to bring my parent’s behavior to other authority people, like a school counselor, and eventually the legal system. I never even considered doing this. My story might have been squashed back then because schools were not sensitive to child victims of abuse. But to have it taken out of my hands, and see them have to deal with the legal system and let the system decide if they were in the wrong (hopefully with a positive outcome for me) would have been a great relief. I wouldn’t have to fight with them and other family members for decades for validation.

I still might research it because I don’t know the statute of limitations. If Bill Cosby’s past victims can come forward decades later, I’d like to know if I have that option.

41

Psychology and psychiatry books all agree that abuse is pathological /not normal and that victims are not guilty for being abused.Some therapists use victim blaming and retraumatising as humans,not as professionals.Meaning they do it because they want to,not because science entitles them,enabling abusers.They do it out of malice,not out of knowledge.Enough with “if it’s coming from the doctor,then it must be true”.Internalising therapists words is very damaging.

Science in general is impartial,cold and distant.It’s the people who work in a certain field who interpret science as they wish.Speaking of therapists who retraumatise adult children and side with their abusers.I wonder what kind of parents they are.Maybe their kids will end up in therapy themselves?

Still,not all therapists are rotten apples.On the internet,i read many testimonials of people who have been helped in therapy.After all,human brain studies were the first to discover that there are such things as narcissists and emotional abuse.Up till then,we felt something was wrong,but we didn’t know exactly what.Too many great minds had fallen prey to human predators in the past,due to lack of information.

All my respect to good therapy!

42

Hi Light # 40,

I am sorry that ob/gyn violated you in that way. It was abusive letting the speculum hang out of you while she left the room. I had an ob/gyn do the same thing to me and it rattled my nerves. I still remember that day and that was 20 years ago. It affects you because it is down right wrong to do to somebody. It is a total violation of the mind body and soul and an absolute betrayal of trust from someone who was supposed to be a professional …who was supposed to be helping us out instead of traumatizing us.

Due to my inability to stand up for my self due to my own wounded ness she got away with her poor behavior and I ended up paying her too boot which only added more insult to injury. I remember my hand shaking when I wrote out the check. I deemed her the hatchet lady because I bled so much from the pap smear. She didn’t deserve one red cent of my money for what she did to me and I ended up traumatizing myself even more by paying her for abusing me but that’s how the sick cycle of abuse continues on in the adult child who still doesn’t know her own worth.

Sorry that happened to you. It was so wrong on so many levels.

I also thought about what you said with for every 10 therapists one might work out for you and I thought about my own situation. I don’t have ten therapists to even choose from. They don’t handle DID. My insurance company could not provide me with one single name that handles DID. It scares me half to death. That is why I always feel like I am at their mercy because unless I want to move I don’t have anyone else to go to. I don’t know anyone who ever healed by themselves from having Dissociative Identity Disorder. It won’t happen.

Hugs,
Kris

43

Yvonne, The history of how the mentally ill have been treated, leaves one feeling that the wrong people were locked up.:0/ Compassion and empathy is missing and I don’t think it’s possible to help someone heal from emotional and psychological damage without them.

I do have one good family psychologist who’s been there for us for years but I still never got exactly, what I needed from him. I found that here…or what I found here pointed me toward what I had inside already, but needed to activate.

Love,
Pam

44

Light, When I was a kid, I did talk to a school counselor about my parents drinking (I put everything that happened at home under that label)but it went no where. She asked if I had an aunt or uncle I could live with and I didn’t, so that was that. The system has never worked for me, not just as a child but as an adult too.

Pam

45

RE: OB/GYN visits, I feel bad about all of the terrible experiences so many on here have had. And all because of someone else’s lack of sensitivity and compassion. I have a developmentally delayed daughter and when the time came to take her to an OB/GYN, I told her what kind of a doctor it was and what he would be doing. I described putting her feet up in the stirrups as well as what the exam would include. I also told the doctor I would be staying in the room with her. She did surprisingly well through it all. The BEST thing parents can do is be totally honest about the exam. It eliminates much of the fear. The best thing the doctor can do is be compassionate and caring and also available to answer questions. I’m sorry that so many doctors and parents failed to do these things that would have saved girls so much heartache.

46

Amber, Honesty really does go a long way, doesn’t it? I was raised with so many secrets. People say things are worse now than they were back then but I think it is about the same but these days, we are open about things that people in my parents generation never talked about. I wasn’t even taught the right names for my private parts. I’m not sure my mother even knows that now…

Love,
Pam

47

Laura, I think we have to accept everyone as an individual. I live in a rural area and I know that has an effect on the quality of the healthcare. Really good doctors and therapists don’t usually, end up in Podunk. There are exceptions though. There are people who see their patients as more than cash cows…

Psychology has helped me a lot but more from what I’ve read and studied on my own than what I got from my doctors. I don’t fancy myself as a psychologist but I’ve done my best to become an expert on ‘Pam’ and I’ve worked hard to understand what applies to me. I’ve done that with my physical health too. I couldn’t have done this when I was more broken but I question everything my doctors want to do and do my own research before I make decisions on treatment. Really, I started doing that because the other choice was to do as I was told and die. The will to survive can push people to do amazing things!

Love,
Pam

48

Hi Pam, thank you for caring. I hope when you say in #36 that you are spiraling downward on that post that it isn’t over something I said. I still am worried about saying the wrong thing, in person and in writing. I know it’s not rational, it’s from living with critical people for so long and not having control over their anger. It helps me a lot to write of different experiences I had because I still tell myself it wasn’t that bad, I was just super-sensitive, etc.

About 10 or 15 years ago I wanted to join an incest support group at our local hospital and was told I didn’t qualify. I talked about the years of my father buying porn while I stood there as a kid, him leering at my breasts once, and his laying around on the couch spilling out of his boxers and telling my Mom “they will see it one day anyway”, but I did not qualify in their eyes because there was no physical contact. I felt angry but again, “Oh they’re the professionals they must be right”. I also felt the message that I was making more of my experiences than they were, as if I wanted to dramatize them and be in some “club”. The emphasis was not on how I felt but on the actions themselves and how they had to be deemed overt enough to qualify as traumatic or as incest.

I am proud that at 16 I took myself down the street to Children’s Aid, that was the first outside help I sought, but I didn’t know that at 16 I was now too old for their help. In the 34 years since I have got mostly inadequate, minimizing ‘help’ from professionals; nobody called it trauma until about 5 years ago. But in that time my head was convinced I am the problem, since my life seemed to be evidence of this, with addiction, depression, social anxiety, etc.

I must say in my experience the last few years I have gotten compassionate, nonjudgmental professional help, have gotten benefit from EMDR and my relapses are getting shorter and shorter. But I continue to be so hard on myself when those professionals see so much strength in me. How I see myself is most important though, and that self-acceptance is just a slow, painstaking process. I still essentially feel the same as I did at 10 years old. I still resist thinking that the things my parents did were criminal. I can think it about everyone else here, but not me. I guess I think to myself, “No way could I have been screwed over that bad”. Well it was that bad. It hurt me to my soul, that’s proof enough. That’s the proof I want to hold on to, not what anyone else says. I think a part of me has always believed in my feelings but felt doubt from the lack of support. I think I’m flip-flopping even as I write, hope it makes sense.

49

Doren, No, you didn’t say anything wrong. I feel hopeless about the ‘help’ that is out there for abused kids. I feel hopeless about what I can do, legally to help abused kids. That’s the downward spiral.

Everything else you write, I could have written about myself. I want to try EMDR but I’m in the middle of a health insurance nightmare. Right now, I have to buy really expensive insurance, in case I have to go to the hospital, but it has a huge deductible and no co-pays. I’m stuck in this situation of paying so much for health insurance that I can’t afford to go to the doctor unless, it is an emergency. Obamadoesn’tcare about me.:0/

I think I have finally, reached the point where I’ve embraced what is true about my life and deep down, knew was true all along. I still wobble on it now and then but when I walk through the confrontation with my family, it reaffirms my decision and the rightness of it. Until I confronted them with the truth about me, their lies held power over me in uncertainty about how they really felt about me. There was a lot I could excuse thinking they loved me, knowing they really don’t love me, may be incapable in their current state of loving anyone, was like a dark veil lifting. The truth melted all the old secrets and revealed a truth that was ugly and hard to accept but once I accepted it, I found freedom and greater inner strength. Reality is so much better than deception.

The things you write make a lot of sense. It is hard to dig that deep and find the right words.

Love,
Pam

50

Hi Doreen. I wanted to let you know that you make sense to me. I understand the trauma involved in spite of the absence of contact.

My dad wasn’t like your dad – openly viewing pornography or underdressing – but he did have a stash of magazines. A babysitter found it and showed it to me. I remember sometimes being encouraged to undress and pose like the pictures.

It felt so weird and embarrassing and shameful, but I remember enjoying just the fact that this babysitter was paying any attention to me at all. The long term affect is hard to recognize or measure and I think that’s what makes it in some ways worse. It doesn’t manifest like other kinds of abuse and when it causes trouble it’s hard to know why.

The babysitter was a girl who wasn’t that much older than I was. All the more confusing.

Hobie

51

Hey Darlene! I so appreciate how you delve into such complicated subjects and break them down to see the truth issue and put accountability where it belongs.

Sometimes I think I’m done in terms of how far I’ve come in my healing work and I have setbacks because of a memory that triggers an old suppressed feeling. I’m beginning to understand more and more how much I suppressed growing up and how I’ve blamed myself for the events. I’m still very sensitive to judgement and criticisms from others and it helps me realize that there is still more to heal.

I supposed people choose to be therapists for different reasons and what I’ve learned is that I only trust the ones that have gone through it themselves and have healed from it. I’ve experienced ones that made it hard to open up or I just ended up feeling worse about myself. It’s difficult enough reaching out for help after you’ve been dismissed by the ones that were supposed to be there in the first place. I still struggle with the fact that my parents had too many issues of their own to be raising kids of their own. I was groomed to be more understanding of their circumstances that what it felt like to be on the receiving end of their treatment towards me. I have to really dig deep to stand up for myself and believe I deserve the gift of healing. I need to express the anger and hurt so it no longer has power over me.

I am so grateful for your work and all you have achieved through it all. You are truly an inspiration to us all. I hope in time therapists truly understand the power they hold when they help vulnerable people looking for healing. It takes a special person to help another truly heal and you are one of those people. Thank you!

52

Kris 42 –

I am so sorry for your GYN experience and the hatchet lady. It was such a violation, wasn’t it? At first I typed “like a rape” in my post #40, then thought the wording was too strong so erased it….but when she put a foreign object up in my body, then leaves the room for several minutes, it is almost like a rape with an object. There is something so quietly violent and sadistic about it. I wish I had pulled it out, gotten dressed, walked by her office, and chucked it on her desk on my way out the door.

I feel for you not having many choices at all to find someone who is qualified to treat your DID. I can see how it would be harder to find qualified individuals with experience. I wish Darlene’s therapist she has written about was available for you, he seemed like he was a very healing force in her life. There was a time for myself that I did some joint therapy over the phone (though the therapist wasn’t that good). Something I’ve done in the past too, is go for longer than the conventional one hour appt. Perhaps travelling to a longer appt with less frequency might be an option.

Doren #48 – I too was a victim of mostly covert sexual abuse, and to this day I don’t know if my mother truly believes it’s abuse. What a message that intake person gave to you, that somehow the covert abuse wasn’t harmful, while the overt abuse is validated. In some ways I am more damaged than my sibling who got the overt physical-touching sexual abuse. My mother validated her experience right away, for me it took almost three decades of fighting for it and to this day she’s reluctant to acknowledge how her response hurt the family dynamics for me. That was so unenlightened and ignorant of the group leaders!!

53

Hi Light,

Right now I do have a good doctor who is treating me but the fear of “how long will he last?” always is in the back of my mind. Thnx for the good suggestions in your post. I actually did do SKYPE with my original therapist when she moved out of state but then she no longer wanted to do it plus my insurance company would not cover it anyway so she probably did me a favor in the long run.

I liked your idea on how to handle the next ob/gyn that lets a speculum hang out of our bodies. At least now we know what to do!!! lol Imagine their faces as that speculum comes flying across their desk!!! What’s even more horrible about this whole thing is I never viewed it as a violation until I read your post. Then it struck me just how abusive this event really was. This event stuck with me all of these years but I never once put the blame where it should be. Somehow it was my fault. I could have done something differently to prevent it. YEAH RIGHT!!!

Being able to see this now is HUGE!!! Thnx for sharing what happened to you because it helped reveal the truth for me too. I feel validated with inside of my self regarding this event and now maybe I can put it in its proper place instead of letting it breed more anger over the next 20 years.

Peace,
Kris

54

Hi Doren #33

I am sorry that no one had your back while growing up. When you wrote “head shrinker” I almost fell off my chair. My mother used those same exact words. I can hear her voice saying it now!!! She thought all doctors were a bunch of quacks. What she really was afraid of was facing the truth if one of them ever got a hold of her. My father was crude too. He would flash his junk every time he got out of the shower. My brother would say how uncouth he was and he would just laugh with this shitty ass grin on his face…. forever imprinted on my mind!!! YUCK

Society as a whole does not want to recognize child abuse is happening. It is too close to home. Then people might have to take a good look at them selves to see how they measure up on the old abuse scale!!! The teachers at my school didn’t have my back either. My mother taught in that same school district and I think protecting her and their image was more important then standing up for me. Total abuse of power all around us. Oh wonder this world is such a mess. You cannot count on any authority figure anymore today. Kids can’t go to school, church, home, or any place else without having to worry about being violated in some way. Until people are willing to take a good look at them selves and get their heads out of the sand and find the courage to stick up for the children who do not have a voice this world is going to go right down the toilet and it is going to take everyone else right down along with it.

I really do believe that abuse is the catalyst that will bring this world to its end. Until people are willing to be educated on the devastating and life long affects of child abuse and actually do something about it this world is only going to get worse. There is no other possible outcome and with these major drug companies ruling the health care field right along with their lackies the psychiatrists we are looking at a bunch of drug upped wounded people masquerading around as if everything is ok when the truth is they are dying inside each and every day and these drug companies and doctors who encourage this drug abuse ought to be shot for taking the lives of these innocent victims and subjecting them to more abuse at the hands of people who know exactly what they are doing, who should be helping people out instead of killing an already wounded duck. They are just another example of total abuse of power.

Had to get that off of my chest!!

Hugs,
Kris

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The mental health field is big business, and unfortunately, as with any business, you can encounter individuals who would rather make more money off keeping you at a disadvantage, than to really help you. Our society is way over medicated. Instead of dealing with a root issue, the symptoms get treated. What helped me to continue on is me using my own measuring stick. If I didn’t feel any better within a given amount of time, I deemed the therapy ineffective.

Carrying around a false sense of responsibility and shame for a good portion of my life has done a lot of damage. But the blame doesn’t lie with me. It lies with the adults who raised me who spent way too much time blaming me for their issues instead of dealing with them.

When i found the right therapist who pointed that out, it was as if a whole new world was opened to me.

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I found some very good therapists in the first relms of reovery but lately I have found some that know less than me, I like the person above if it does not seem to work after a short while I let go…recently my husband was seeing some for hynotherapy and the work was over a week and he was working through something but I could see he knew more than the therapist, anyway we were paying and she has a diffcult lady in accounts, but I I could see this is a good money spinner when I asked for a reduction as he was out of work they were having none of it, so I will not be telling people how good she was…

i

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Hi Light and Hobie, I’m an escapegoat too:)

Great post Darlene. I’ve seen some really scary people go into the “helping professions” and they do it because it gives them a sense of agency over their OWN issues and (likely) experiences of abuse.
The “you attract what you give out” crowd is theology, not psychology and in my opinion it should have no place in therapy. But we see that so often, therapists preaching “forgiveness” instead of allowing the people in their care to approach the truth with their support.

And we’re seeing it all over the place in the media right now with victim blaming, whether that be sexual or physical assault victims.

For years I couldn’t talk to anyone about what I went through with my family because that person would take the side of the abuser.So I just stopped talking.

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I am catching up on all the shares about the OB/GYN visits. Gosh it really is horrifying what some people in power positions do!
I had to have an exam by a male dr. with my first pregnancy. The nurse stayed in the room but he used his fingers in an inappropriate way! I was almost 30 years old when this happened and although I switched doctors it was really a horrific thing; I was afraid to report the dr. and I felt guilty for not reporting the dr. This is a pretty long story but it was something that looking at it became a necessary part of my recovery process because I had added it to the long list of things that I had sort of ‘let go’ without action or confrontation.
I appreciate all the honesty on this topic! I wonder how many millions of women out there have been violated in these ways by both male and female doctors!
hugs, Darlene

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Hi Lora,
I had that same experience of realizing how much I HAD supressed. (and I know it was in order to survive and cope!) I had a hard time with expressing my anger but when I finally accepted my right to have it in the first place, things began to change! I wrote it out and it was really healing! Thanks for all your encouragement and validation!
hugs, Darlene

On a different note, I just returned from two weeks in France and I had such an amazing experience there and when I got home and met with my current clients I was deeply moved and honored by their trust in me and reminded of just how much being validated means to people. Just to be seen and heard for who we are is really healing and I am so grateful for the gift that I have been given in that department!
hugs, Darlene

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I have also been catching up on the “head shirker” comments. MANY parents will talk in a terrible way about therapists in order to ensure that the child never TELLS anyone the family secrets. The grooming process starts WAY sooner than I ever realized when I first sought help. This is a whole topic in itself!
hugs, Darlene

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Hi Alice
I hear you on this one. That is what I did too; I just stopped talking. When I realized that this whole thing almost killed me and that it was never my fault, and I saw the truth about the way my family didn’t give a shit about me anyhow, I decided to talk because I had nothing to lose and it isn’t that I thought I had something to gain by talking, but I thought / saw that other people MAY have a whole lot to gain if I started talking. And EFB was born and it took off! My suspicion was correct!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Kris #54

yes, I can also hear my mother saying “So you going to your head-shrinker eh” after all these years. I understand they grew up thinking that mental illness and seeking help for it were shameful things, it was a generational thing but they refused to move with the times. I never considered that they may be worried about what I’d say, since they never faced consequences anyway.

I’m sorry for what you went through as well. It was made to look pretty innocent and casual, eh? “Oh hey, I’m just stepping out of the shower, oh hey, I’m just sleeping on the couch spilling out my shorts”. A normal father would be mortified and it wouldn’t happen again. It took me decades to realize my father was doing it intentionally and getting something out of it. Partly I didn’t want to see it that way, partly I was never validated by professionals to view it as sexual abuse. And I would be in groups or know women who were raped or had babies by their fathers and I would just clam up thinking, “What story do I have in comparison?” There was too much emphasis on the actions and not on the boundary being crossed, and how you felt about it.

That is pretty gross what your father did, I am sorry. I think the passing things off as normal and no big deal really messes with one’s mind. I know for myself I’ve had a much harder time accepting my experiences as abusive because they were what is called covert and non-contact. On the one hand I appreciate there is now recognition of this kind of abuse, but on the other I bristle at the word “covert” because isn’t abuse abuse without making a distinction? The damage it did to me was not covert. It doesn’t matter to my soul or mind that it was overt or covert, what matters is I was getting the message I was unworthy of love or respect.

Yes, doctors do like to throw the pills at you, or some label so that they can just fit you into a box when they write their reports. Several years ago I briefly saw the most highly respected psychiatrist in town. A couple of years later I was talking to a counsellour in the hospital with access to my chart and she told me the shrink had written down I have Borderline Personality Disorder. I said, “Oh wow that’s news to me”, never was told that. So due to that I believed I had that bullshit diagnosis for several years even though I’m a generally easy going person. This doctor just wrote this down based on me telling her I drank, got depressed and had a bad childhood, and then couldn’t be bothered telling me I was thusly afflicted anyway. But it made her feel like she knew the answers and got her paid.
I’m sure the mental health field attracts many people with troubled histories and many never dealt with their own stuff or they feel that because they are successful or productive they are fine and over it.

Doren

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Hobie #50

that is awful what your babysitter did to you…even though she wasn’t much older she was in a position of authority. I’m so sorry.
I know I’ve carried so much shame for all that I saw in my Dad’s magazines. I still wrestle with guilt and shame because I went looking for it in my parents bedroom when they were at work. My older sister told me I was invading their privacy, my mother figured out what I was doing and basically said I was a pervert. So I took on a lot of shame, but kept doing it. I was drawn to it. The worst experience about it was seeing slavery themed porn one day when I was 12 or so. I never told anyone for over 30 years, I carried it and felt bad about myself. I told my sister about it in an email a few years ago, but she never replied about it. Seems she’s able to make some kind of disconnect with it all, and I can’t. For years Dad kept porn paperbacks in a bookshelf with glass doors in the dining room. I’d flip through them when they were at work. Now my sister has that bookcase with knickknacks in her living room, and I’d feel funny seeing it when I visited. But again I thought, something wrong with me, since she had no issue with the bookcase.

I want to thank you Hobie, and others for your kind words, cause I have felt so alone with my story, and trusting my feelings about it. It is especially helpful to me this time of year. I’m sorry if I miss people’s comments back to me at times, I can get so self-conscious about what I’ve written I don’t check back. Love to all, Doren

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Light #52

thank you for your support and validation. It is so important to get that validation and I am very grateful for it here. I’m sorry that your mother treated your experience so differently. I feel like family silence or lack of acknowledgement of abuse is probably worse than the abuse itself. But that seems to be a big part of these families. I was the scapegoat too and still feel hostility from my sister, even though she’s “grown up” and past it all as far as our mother. I think because I don’t visit Mom or involve myself in her care I am spoiling the normal family thing my sister wants.

Our mothers badly let us down. A loving mother will see the hurt in you and acknowledge the abuse, in whatever form it took, from that alone. My own mother was narcissistic and never bonded with her kids. I mentioned this before, when my aunt lost her son my mother came back from visiting her and asked my sister, “Why is she still crying, it’s been 3 months”. I have nothing in the tank left for my mother. But I also know I still want her love and still want to hear her say “I’m sorry”. You sound like a very strong person Light, fighting for your truth all those years. Once again, I think I have rambled off topic.

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Hi Yvonne #38

Many doctors do have this God-like err about them. Misguided but there none the less!! Many think that they are beyond being questioned and that leaves a bad taste in my mouth too. They are there to be helpers not condescending know-it-alls. Like we didn’t have enough of that throughout our childhoods to last us a lifetime???!!!

It sounds like you have been put through the ringer when it comes to dealing with different doctors. I am sorry you had to deal with all of that when you were trying to heal. I am on my third therapist in less then 2 years myself. I never knew that it would be this way. Something is so wrong with this picture. Doesn’t anyone know what complex trauma is and what it takes to overcome it??? Having a constant stream of different therapists certainly isn’t the answer but from reading the many posts on this site one would think it was. I feel like I have to get well despite having to deal with this so called mental health “care” industry. Who the heck do they think is walking through the therapist’s door???? It just mind boggles me how backwards this whole system really is.

I also wanted to let you know I did check out the website on Daniel Mackler. Thnx for sharing this. I like getting other people’s point of view on things. I enjoyed many of his articles and I found his outlook on AA interesting and have to say that I agree with him.

Hi Callynt #55

Well said!!! Putting the blame where it should have been all along is key to overcoming the devastating affects of being abused. As long as you still believe that you are the problem nothing will ever change. It just keeps you stuck in a never ending cycle of self condemnation. I’m so happy that you found someone who could help you see this truth. It really does make all the difference.

Peace,
Kris

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Hi Doren #63,

I second guess myself all the time too but it is getting better. This site is a safe place to test out the waters so to speak. I had to laugh when I saw Darlene’s comments about how there were so many posts about OB/GYN nightmares and head shrinker comments that she could have a whole new post dedicated to just that as she shared her own personal story to add to ours as she thanked us for our courage to share!!! Made me feel good. Don’t deprive yourself of that by being too scared to check back. It really is something how certain topics just take flight but I love that about this site. I believe you are the one who spear headed the head shrinker topic!! Thanks for having the courage to bring it up. No topic is taboo. You can say what you want and you don’t have to worry about being ridiculed and condemned for sharing how you feel or what you think. We no longer live with our abusers here.

It is safe here.

God Bless,
Kris

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Hi Kris,

every time I think “head shrinker” I see those little shrunken heads in my mind. It’s quite an old expression I think, I don’t know how it made sense to the person who coined it.
It’s distressing that so many women have bad experiences with the OB/GYN. I had a friend whose doctor touched her breast while she was there for a gyno exam; she complained but decided not to follow through with any legal action because it was too stressful. Doctors are so protected, and the emotional cost to take them on is high. He was still practicing when she told me years later.
I remember being about 14 and having to take my top off, still leaving my bra on, with this one doctor, while he stayed in the room, and I was so embarrassed and he snapped, “Hurry up, I don’t have all day”. I’ve been fortunate to have a sensitive gp when it comes to pap exams, but this September was the first time in 25 years he said he couldn’t do it, I kept clenching and finally he said it must be my weight, which I couldn’t understand the logic there, especially as he’s done it before when I’ve been heavy.

Thank you for your support, it means a lot:) I do wonder if I go into too much detail. I also struggle with feelings of guilt over my sister ever finding and reading my posts. I find posting here in general takes a certain amount of courage, especially as I use my real name and it is fairly unique. But I’m only speaking the truth as I see it and not out to hurt anyone. God Bless you too Kris

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Thank you so much! I have been saying this for years and thank god someone else agrees with me and others about this!

“Child abuse and neglect result in low self-esteem, depression and a whole lot of other issues. Part of the grooming process that occurs in ALL abuse including emotional abuse and psychological abuse is that the blame is transferred to the child and in order to cope and survive children accept that blame and focus inward in order to try harder for the love and acceptance they long for. In the dysfunctional family, the abuse doesn’t end in childhood and often the child who is now an adult will seek professional help in order to overcome the damage that the child abuse caused. Just as our parents and all adult abusers, controllers and manipulators had positional power, doctors, therapists and helping professionals have it too.
When we have been convinced through actions, inactions and words that there is something ‘wrong’ with us and we finally go to a helping professional such as a therapist, counselor or psychologist ~ if that mental health professional defends our parents, or focuses on US as the problem it serves us as confirmation that we are in fact the problem and it is very much a re-traumatization.”

Agreed. That is what abuse is all about is having power and control over a person I thought these MHPs proved that? Now, they tell us something else completely bogus and expect us to “keep continuing an abusive relationship with the abusers.” People really believe that abuse ends once you enter adulthood the typical ‘suck it up, deal with it, others have it worse than you’ ideological thinking.

“Mental health professionals have tons of positional power ~ they are endorsed and accredited as being able to help and therefore we often see them as an even bigger authority then the way that we saw our parents when we were kids, so if they AGREE with our parents or if they focus with us on what WE could do or could have done differently, it very often causes a bigger problem than the one we went to talk about.”

Amen! They study the human mind ad can manipulate the client when they please which is why I told my ex-therapist I find you people to be dangerous to your own clients. Yes, they are endorsed which I told my ex-therapist you can write prescriptions according to the FDA. You get your info from NIMH about “what fits a person’s state of mind,” not everything is a one size fits all. I said you are a bought and paid for – a guinea pig! Ohh, my ex-therapist wanted to kill me for it. She said I love my job and love to help people I said then mean it and show what you mean. Why don’t you say the real that’s going on because that white picket fence you keep spouting isn’t doing shit. I told ex-therapist let’s get this straight: you get paid to help people, you don’t get paid to be right or sit in God’s chair and play him telling others you must listen to me because I have a degree as a therapist/shrink/psychotherapist/etc. You haven’t figured out the human mind, you got quite a bit that you uncovered but it’s still a mystery. Oh, she turned another color gave me the evil eye! I said being God or being right isn’t in the employee contract! It took her a long time to regain her composure; I was serious I was going all out!

I said being in a positional power doesn’t declare anybody of being God nor right. Those who are in power are the ones who are always in trouble with the law or something, are you sure I should trust you? Yep, therapy was over that day!! lol

“Just as abuse and neglect invalidated me as a child, a therapist who asks me what I could have done better or differently, or asks me to understand the abuser by suggesting that they did the best they could or suggests that I was part of the problem ~ those things all VALIDATE the abuser, controller or caregiver or whoever had the power in the situation I am talking about. Sometimes worse was when the therapist remained neutral. In all cases I was still stuck in the pain of the story. When a therapist or helping professional has any of those reactions they aren’t HELPING.”

I was asked what could I have done different or better? I don’t care to understand the abuser the same trauma/abuse they went through is the same thing the victim is going through. People made it sound like I need to understand the abuser and see “where they are coming with.” Are you serious?!? I told my ex-therapist ‘I am sorry, did I come to therapy for ME or for my parents? I hear nothing about my sympathy only for them as I am casted off somewhere. If that’s the case, I don’t need to be here this is not therapy.’ Ohh, we went at it and she said I am twisting her words. No, I wasn’t twisting shit she was twisting my words like always. I told her you’re a parent, you have no entitlement nobody asked to be born on this planet! It does no good to understand the abuser, it’s like are you on the abuser’s side or mine? I am here for me not them!

I have said on Darlene’s blogs a lot that this therapy did nothing for me. I went home always upset about what the therapist said and last summer she undermine me and got me so upset that I was so enraged for 2 weeks and barely slept. I was hoping it would be better than in the past, nope, I am always stuck with jerk therapists who think they know it all when they don’t. Too many of them are in such denial about life yet believe their own lies which is sad it’s also proven most of them are broken themselves and pointed that out to her which had her to shut up! I told her I don’t care how many pieces of paper (degrees/licensing) you have, you still don’t have it all. I said you are so involved in your title proves you don’t sound all that qualified to me. I believe she is the type that will kiss ass to anybody who bends over for her and I said to ex-therapist not my cup of tea.

“Years ago when I was in my twenties, I volunteered to be in a group therapy situation. We all sat around looking for the ways that we were accountable for what happened to us as kids and thinking about what we could have done differently. There were some serious situations being discussed; one girl admitted that when she was 17 years old she snuck out of the house after bedtime to go to a party where she had been raped. Her parents found out that she was out, and then she got a severe beating from her father who used his belt to thrash her for over a half an hour. She told us that she thought he was literally going to kill her. Then she told us that she realized that she had brought the whole thing on herself by sneaking out of the house. She admitted that she was selfish and ungrateful for the boundaries her parents set in place for her and that she deserved what had happened to her.
She was willing to be accountable for having been raped and for also for the beating. And the therapist just sat there. I remember looking at him to see what our ‘leader’ was going to say about this. I was so brainwashed in that kind of accountability myself that I don’t think I questioned if she was accountable or not but I know that I didn’t have “my own thoughts” about what happened to her. I looked to the therapist and relied on his authority, waiting for his opinion.”

Lousy therapist. I always hear people say you shouldn’t have left to go to a party to get raped. I am sorry, who plans on going anywhere to get hurt by someone?!? Are we suppose to read a crystal ball to figure out everything? Omg, people out there really do believe that it’s appalling! That is irrelevant the point is a young girl was violated yet people focus on you shouldn’t have snucked out of the house. Yea, it is invalidating. I think that therapist should have been fired because he didn’t do his job didn’t he get she was taking all the blame herself? All of that training yet they let a client take blame for themselves.

“Here is the shocking truth about this though; two things happened to that girl that night and both were horrific and illegal but the only thing that was addressed was that her own actions resulted in what happened to her. She was blamed, she was shamed, she accepted the guilt and responsibility for all of it. She went home from the party where she had been raped; maybe she didn’t have a chance to tell her parents what happened, or maybe she knew she could never tell them what happened, that part was never discussed or revealed, but she went home and got a severe beating with a belt. She got raped and beaten and then (because she was blamed and shown why it was her own fault) she blamed the whole thing on herself.”

Someone should have called the cops on her parents and can’t believe the parents were concerned about beating her instead of helping their daughter. My ex-therapist wanted me to agree to shit that wasn’t true I said that is abusive and I’d take a chill pill if I were you. I will not agree to something that isn’t true and I didn’t! When you are agreeing/validating the abuser, you are not doing the victim any good it’s like why are we here? I have something against MHPs like this one described and my ex-therapist who clearly don’t see the bigger picture about life (doesn’t matter how old the person is any idiot is still an idiot) and thinks whatever Society tells them is correct!

I told ex-therapist why do you think we have such a mental health problem? You tell people to suck it up and get over it typical Western thinking we wonder why the mentally go out and shoot a group of people! She said that isn’t always true, I said go read your case studies! Obama said we need to fix the mental health field and we do, who wants to keep going to see a therapist only to be told by not one, maybe a few different therapist that your problems mean nothing or exaggerating the whole thing? Then, you are still stuck with the issues that you can’t get over and still carrying a lot of guilt what kind of therapy is that??!? I don’t need to pay an MHP to give me a guilt trip is what I told my ex-therapist I get that daily at home and sorry if you don’t agree with what I have to say that’s fine. Your job is to support me regardless of your feelings of what I say and nevermind what I said about parents as a whole! Yep, had to tell her how to do her job!

“So where was she supposed to go from there? How does someone reconcile something like that? How does a teenager get her head around something like that? Think about it; She was raped. She was sexually assaulted; brutally raped by a man who had no regard for her as a person. He disregarded her human rights and then he cast aside like the object that he used her for. Imagine her devastation. And then she went home to what should have been a safe haven. She should have been allowed to fall sobbing into the arms of her mother and blurt the whole story out. And then her father, after a bit of ranting and raving and threatening to KILL the bastard who violated his daughter, would have phoned the police and reported the entire thing. She should have been taken to the hospital where they would have checked for damage and taken some DNA samples so that the perpetrator of this crime would have been convicted of it. Then her parents would have taken her home, made her some tea and stayed with her for as long as she needed.But that isn’t what happened. She came in the door and without pausing for any explanation from her, her father took off his leather belt and began his brutal and unrelenting physical assault on her. The second crime of the night was perpetrated against her. How do you think she felt after all that? Worthless? Shameful? Yes. And there she was many years later, trying to get some help and willing to take the blame for the whole thing; willing to accept responsibility for both the crimes against her. And the helping professional in the room said NOTHING! He nodded his approval when she said that her bad choices had resulted in her having been rapped and then beaten by her father. He nodded as she related that if only she would not have snuck out to that party, none of it would have happened. BUT it did happen! So how was she able to deal with having been raped that night? Well quite simply, she wasn’t able to deal with it in any way that enabled her to heal from the damage that it caused to her. Nobody EVER validated for her that it wasn’t her fault and believing it WAS her own fault, she could not let go of the guilt and shame and she was stuck in the invalidation of it all.”

Yep, that therapist is dangerous. I wouldn’t want parenting advice from him if he was a parent and told that to my ex-therapist who is a parent! His job is to help people, yea, only if the invalidation fits his vernacular! I told that to my ex-therapist who got irate when I said that to her. It’s true as long as I agreed with what she said, everything was fine. That’s why I call her a fascist dictator, agreeing with you because you said is the definition of fascism.

“Mental Health Professionals have a lot of positional power. I gave many of them my power because I didn’t know any different. I believed that because they were certified and licensed to help me, that they knew best and that they certainly knew better than I did. I believed that they WERE helping me and when they encouraged me to take blame that didn’t belong to me, I was stuck in the pain of being objectified, unheard, unseen and invalidated, believing that once again something was wrong with me because I STILL struggled with depression, sadness and low self-esteem. That day in the group therapy, that therapist could have set the record straight for the young woman who had been raped at a party and then beaten by her father. He could have told her that first of all, rape is always the fault of the rapist. Rape is an illegal crime and is always the fault of the perpetrator of that crime. And then he could have also told her that the violent beating she received was also a crime that the responsibility for that crime also belonged to the perpetrator of that crime. And each of us sitting there in that circle would have walked away with a totally different experience of the way that we thought about our own life experiences. I didn’t tell my real story that day; I guess I knew it wasn’t safe. Positional power applies to anyone that we give authority to or a person who is respected AS an authority for their title or training. Please share your thoughts about positional power or any other thoughts you would like to share. Perhaps this story reminds you of a different situation where you were invalidated by someone with positional power such as a teacher, grandparent or a police officer.”

I gave them my power too and the responses I got was you’re not a parent, you wouldn’t know blah blah I said are you trying to be a victim?!? The poor I’m a parent, the struggles I went through with my child(ren) blah blah and you’re just someone whining about your probs with your parents. I’ve had people say you’re mad because it’s not what you want to hear. This isn’t about what I wanna hear or not; this is about truth and speaking up for those who don’t have a voice! Period! Say, in your own beliefs that parents like ours (abusive ones) shouldn’t have made babies and wasted a sperm and egg to make babies they didn’t want or babies they wanted as maidservants as they got older – call it like it is. I asked my ex-therapist what the hell are you so afraid of? What the fuck were you spoon fed before becoming a mom? She just sat there looking stupid and pissed off as always. I told ex-therapist oh but people like you are so quick to judge a man who cheats but not an irresponsible “parent!” Very hypocritical and she wanted to kill me like always lol. This is why I am so fed up with therapy because of these types of attitudes and mistreatment, lack of understanding, etc which is why I love seeing my social worker way more supportive than my ex-therapist.

Also, I finished a 7 week support group on Courage to Change hosted by my social worker who ran the group. I loved and learned a lot about it the handout she gave was awesome nothing that my ex-therapist did as she would say “that’s one view point” not something she would tell me. My ex-therapist didn’t give me any handouts, we talked very little about boundaries and talked somewhat about assertiveness that was that. At least my social worker went all out on the info than my ex-therapist ever did! My ex-therapist would sneer in my face about the info my social worker gave out is “just some crap info that didn’t come from a real therapist.” That’s her attitude miss know it all because she has a Masters degree!

Seriously, ex-therapist (other people) still wonder why I can’t tell people the truth about my parents? Undermining, invalidation, being a jerk, etc are the reasons why I refuse to speak about my parents and tell the truth. I mean I have told the truth, it caused people not wanting to know me because it isn’t the white picket fence that they envision and this is why I hate speaking about my parents. I spoke my truth, but I am not gaining anything from people just a bunch of lip and attitude! That’s why in the past, I never liked group therapy (still don’t) and support groups the one at the women’s center is the best and would go back to it again.

I am thinking about seeing a life coach at the women’s center for free, but not sure what to talk about. I still have things that are foggy that I am not sure how to productively act on and have issues with my personal development that I am still working on. I have been working on things on my own and the help of my social worker I still have a stuck mindset that is still blocking me from what I need to do.

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Marquis, I love reading your accounts of therapy sessions (some vicarious payback for all those “helpful” types I saw before finally understanding wtf was going on). I said the role of therapist as I see it is “allowing the people in their care to approach the truth with their support.” But I don’t think that’s what their training tells them to do.

It sounds way more like “therapy” is about getting people to accept their circumstances and place in abusive situations. I sometimes wonder if there is a fear of what might happen if people stop buying the idea they are worthless and that at the same time they are “responsible” for what happened to them.

In some ways I’d like to offer reassurance that healing from abuse doesn’t suddenly turn a person into an unreasonable anarchist.

What it will do, however, is make a person require equality and respect. NOT hierarchy and obedience, which is so often confounded with the former. Are we all ready for that? Not everyone is.

And perhaps the fear too is that the “victims” will gain some kind of power and start treating the former abusers as they had been treated.

Certainly my request for mutual respect had that effect on some people. I’m sure they misunderstood it. I’d like to reassure that this is also not the case. Once you have the experience of equality and respect, it becomes really hard on yourself to mistreat people. And we ought not to confuse mistreating people with not giving them what they want or allowing them to mistreat us or just straight-up taking care of ourselves.

70

Thanks for this post Darlene. “When Your Therapist Doesn’t Get It,” it may be time to find new support. You would not believe the horror I felt when, while attending therapy with my spouse, my therapist made the statement that one day I was going to “love sex” and “not be able to get enough of it.” Are you kidding me?! Was she not listening and/or hearing what I had shared with her in previous sessions *both privately and with spouse?” I had been able to control my body for many years, not faking the sexual experience but “retreating” from the experience in my mind when triggered during the process until one time when my spouse felt the change in my body – he was definitely tuned in. He asked me where I had gone and I sobbed as I found the words to tell him that something that he innocently whispered was something my abuser used to say. He ultimately found out that I had been using this “retreating” method for many years and he felt “misled” and “lied to” about the abuse. He didn’t understand why I didn’t share more with him, which then led to an entire new slew of problems, including being “invalidated” by my very own counselor. “We” as in my counselor and myself, had been a good fit for many years until this incident, at which point I realized I had outgrown her and she was no longer able to assist as I felt she lacked the empathy and true understanding of the effects of the sexual abuse. The good that emerged from this is that I took back the positional power I had given her and searched out new healing methods with those who I considered my equals – not due to title or credentials but rather due to their understanding and healing of their sexual abuse and the long-term effects. To me it is sort of like you don’t ask the butcher to bake pies and you don’t ask a pastry chef to butcher meat. Why would you seek support from someone who has not walked in your shoes and can only comment on what is learned from a textbook and their own experiences of learning from other survivors? Why not find a therapist/counselor/coach who can truly empathize and understand? Personally, I can say I have learned much more from other survivors who have made progress in their healing journeys and feel like there is a more “equal” ground and not one necessarily of “positional power” but rather the power of equality in group healing and support from other survivors who truly understand the complexities of the healing journey. I say take back your power to those you have given it to and give that power to yourself – the power of validation, equality, and respect because you deserve it! Leave those who say “just get over it” and move toward those who say “let’s work through this.” As survivors, we have been invalidated enough and it is high time to say “no more!” Peace to all on their healing journey!

71

I agree don’t see how they come across as caring and supportive when they mostly just attack you because “you refuse to love your parents.” I was told to accept the circumstances and I thought maybe that’s why I could never leave home because people told me “oh, woe is me just accept things for how they are.” That’s the problem with the world accepting things for how they are like I told my ex-therapist that thinking has gotten us nowhere which is why we still have racism, sexism, discrimination, crime, idiotic thinking, no one isn’t being held accountable, etc too much dusting shit under the rug! Fine, I get how my “parents” won’t change as I wanted them to change long ago but they refused. Accept my position in this abusive home which is why I could never leave and be on my own because of bullshit like that plus codependency. People telling me if you leave, what about your parents? One minute I am grown and the next back to child mode!

I was told to accept my circumstance for years and this is what I get from people?! That’s the problem I have with therapy just accept the circumstances. I thought the point of therapy is you go there to make changes for yourself for the better. However, someone I know from high school (he lives in another state) told me his wife in AZ is looking for a roommate and have spoken to her about the offer. I haven’t seen the place yet as her cousin and his gf are being kicked out. Once, I see and meet her if it’s everything I want I am thinking of leaving home. Not sure if I would have to put any money down.

72

Hi Marquis # 68,

You have the guts to say what other people only think. Felt like I was a fan cheering on the under dog in the movie theater!! “Here take that you beast” and put them in their place!!! You have a unique way of saying things and at times you made me laugh to myself but I didn’t miss out on injustice that was being done to you at all. Sorry you had to deal with crap therapists!! Unfortunately it is a reoccurring theme here. When you are someone who is so broken these therapists have all the power in the world over you. You aren’t able to discern what the “real” truth is and how you should be viewing things. That’s why you are there to begin with. It is such a violation of the mind, body, and soul it makes me sick. It’s like being abused when we were a child means absolutely nothing to people and I will never understand that lack of empathy and concern for people in general other then people are so wounded themselves that they just can’t see past their own pain to feel any of yours.

I believe change will come about when more people who emerge from broken are willing to go out on a limb and talk about the injustices that were done to them and expose all the lies that the public still believes to be true. People just don’t grasp how something that happened to you 40 years ago can still affect you now. We need to educate them on how the mind works and how abuse affects that mind for a lifetime until an intervention of some sort is made to break the sick cycle of the “damaging affects” from being abused before it is passed down to the next generation.

Recently my pastor was talking about the 5 truths that God wants us to know about ourselves and they were I am acceptable, I am valuable, I am lovable, I am forgivable and I am capable. He talked about a woman that he knew who told him that she read all the Joyce Meyer books but she was never able to follow through with what she said to do and how negative that she was. He presented this story in a way that made her look like the bad guy. She was the one who didn’t follow through and it was her negative attitude that was getting in the way. It was like hearing a page from my own story book. My first thought was there is a reason WHY people don’t believe those 5 truths about themselves and it usually stems from mommy and daddy because if it didn’t, that woman wouldn’t have a problem with believing those 5 truths to begin with.

I emailed my pastor and I told him: Today when you talked about Julie who read all the Joyce Meyer books to no avail it reminded me of myself. I beat myself up for I don’t know how long never being able to do any of the things that she said to do either. I told myself that I was so negative too. In other words I believed all the lies that my parent’s abuse taught me about myself but they were never the real truth about who I was. What happened to me is what was so negative, not me. Adults who were abused when they were children were never given the proper tools to begin with to do the things that Joyce Meyer’s and others are asking us to do in their well meaning books. You are setting yourself up for failure and you don’t even know it. These books just feed into our self condemnation because what they are asking us to do is outside of our skill set because we were never taught how to stand up on our own two feet to begin with. It is like asking a two year old to be able to drive a car.

I learned this from one of Darlene’s posts. It took me 2 years to get to a place of believing that what I had to say was worth anything but I was able to do it none the less and yes I am sitting here like Doren wondering what the heck my pastor thinks about me and I am feeling pangs of anxiety because of it but I did it and I did it because of the support from people like Doren and everyone else on this site and now maybe the next time someone comes to my pastor for help they will get the help that they need instead of the well intentioned but misguided information from before because people just don’t get the ins and outs of what being brainwashed by our parents did to us all throughout our lives until people like me who are emerging from broken get the courage up to share our own experiences and knowledge because who knows better then us??? Now maybe this woman will be on the right path to freedom instead of that never ending path of self condemnation. It feels good to think that maybe I had something to do with it.

Hugs,
Kris

73

Hi Just Faith
Welcome to Emerging from Broken! Thanks for sharing, you make very good points! I actually went to a therapist that had never been abused in any of the ways that I had been but he listened and he validated my pain and that was where hope began for me. He used his power to empower and never to undermine or to make me feel like he was the authority and I think that is the big difference. Having said that, I think he had a rare gift though. I had been to many others who didn’t get it at all! I have also been to others who HAVE walked in my shoes and they didn’t help either ~ it all depends on how much they ‘get it’ I think. Needless to say, (since I am a coach as well) that there are many people who really CAN and DO help that are not ‘therapists’. 🙂
Glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene

74

Hi Kris –
#72
Joyce Meyer has a “just do it” approach to just about everything. I actually got a lot out of her work, but there was a lot missing in the “How-to” area. That’s why a lot of us, like Julie, you & me, end up just drowning in further condemnation.

From my point of view, Darlene has found the way to articulate the “how-to” for those of us who have believed the lies for so long. Maybe it’s because she has the guts to call the people who lie, LIARS, instead of falling under the misapplication of “judge not”. Maybe it’s because she emphasizes accepting our own feelings and understanding ourselves WAY AHEAD of understanding those who have hurt us and made excuses for themselves for so long.

Here we have a map to navigate all the places that “Just do it” jumps over. Maybe some people have a mindset that allows them to just jump over these places. Good for them as long as they don’t shake their heads a smirk at those of us who weren’t born with springs.

Thank you Darlene for doing what you do.
Thank you God for Darlene.

Hobie

75

Hi Hobie!
Thank you for the wonderful compliment and the validation you sent to me! I appreciate it!
I think that ‘it is because’ of all of the above that you mentioned!
hugs, Darlene

76

Hello: My only two contacts with therapists were not in any way helpful to me, nor did they shed any light on why I was having what I would call anger issues. The first time I had let a job I loved and had debilitating foot surgery. I developed clinical depression. Classic signs. This was back in 92 so no internet to do research. I suffered for 3 months. My mother told me vodka would help me control my panic attacks. Yup. Vodka. I went to a mental health clinic about 6 x, told the therapist what was going on and about my childhood. After 6 visits he said he was confident I could overcome the depression on my own and didn’t need any therapy or meds. Fast forward 18 yrs. After my son committed suicide, we had many personal and financial issues on top of that for 2 years, I was really struggling just to cope on a day to day basis, upset, angry, disassociating, self harming, you name it. Just plain losing my grip and decided to go for therapy. I needed someone out of the situation to help me cope. Im a pretty chatty person, don’t have much trouble talking about stuff and never once in 6 months did he ever suggest that any of my issues went back to abuse. My childhood was a classic emotional abuse situation. Violent PTSD narcissist father, emotionally abandoning mother, I was the scapegoat. The self harm, no self esteem (evident by 2nd grade), reckless behavior as a teen, teen pregnancy by a 25 yr old man. My therapist knew all this. Never even suggested that any thing was amiss in my family. Only thru this website did I find truth, understanding and the beginnings of self care where I am finally realizing at age 60 that I am not and never have been, a bad, no good useless person. So therapy didn’t help me and I have no plans to ever go back. I guess I just don’t trust that well any more.

77

Hi Hobie,

Nice hearing from you. I love your analogies!!! So many talented people on this site. I think you hit the nail right on the head. The “how to” is what was missing for me and without that I don’t think it is possible to emerge from broken when you are someone who was as wounded as I was. I was never taught “how to” do anything and that was the problem. Darlene has a knack on how to present that “how to” in a way that I could absorb it and more importantly run with it and share it with others. You brought up so many good points.

Peace,
Kris

78

Kris, I have tears in my eyes reading your post 72. What a great thing you did emailing your pastor and speaking up for Julie and other survivors. Not a lot of people would speak up to a pastor or minister, I think, since they too are authority figures. He really re-victimized that woman and used her for his own purposes, well-meaning they may be, in that moment. That kind of shaming just reinforces all one’s horrible feelings about themselves and inhibits one from opening up again. You had the courage to speak up, and hopefully he can sit down and really take in what you said without feeling undermined or whatever.

I don’t know much about Joyce Meyer, I know she’s a survivor, but it can be very easy for me to listen to her and other “successful” people and compare myself harshly. “How come I can’t get it together? How come she went through worse than me and I can’t make it like that?” On top of that I do have resistance to religion from the past, distrust I guess. And I can feel so bad about myself I feel evil and beyond God’s love.

A lot of people don’t know how hard it is to build a new relationship with yourself after believing you are crap for a lifetime. I have maybe 2 or 3 fuzzy little memories of feeling like a bouncy normal kid and after that 45 years of feeling that I’m dragging rocks around. I have deep belief in the spiritual side of life and have prayed and read books and the Bible and talked to my minister, and there’s no instant enlightenment, it’s hard grinding work trying to find myself again. Some days are better than others, some days I get out of bed to go to church, some days I get up to go to the liquor store, but I do know that I refuse to give up, because I deserve a good life.

This is pure brainwashing that happened to us as survivors, it is criminal, and a lot of people don’t get it, don’t want to get it.
To me the whole world is traumatized, full of half-alive people buying stuff constantly, too afraid to really feel, and I’m one of them, but I want to be really alive. I used to have chat times with my doctor and don’t anymore, I didn’t want to hear anymore about how sometimes I feel sorry for myself and then I drink. Sometimes he’d bring up how the people suffered in concentration camps, what am I supposed to do with that? The last time I chatted with him was earlier this year, he told me about his trip to China, he saw a woman dragging herself on the ground she had no pelvis. I don’t even know why he’s telling me these things—oh I know, don’t I understand there are people with far worse problems than me? Yes, I do know the world is full of people with terrible problems, and my feeling is, let’s have compassion for each and every one of us, each one, without comparing. Each person’s pain matters. Every time I hear, “There’s someone worse off than you”, I feel silenced, I hear “I don’t want to hear it”.

Kris, when you mentioned me it did bring tears to my eyes because I woke up feeling very small. What people do here for each other is just wonderful. This site makes the process far less lonely, and I never feel judged here. I feel like I’m at a point where it’s starting to sink in emotionally that I’m not “bad”, and that leaves me with the emotional realization of how bad then it was—I have fought that realization on a deep level because the pain and the anger is immense. I am terrified of feeling it.

God bless you Kris

Doren

79

Marquis, I can say that I found a world of difference between “accept the abusive situation and your place in it” vs “accept that you are/were abused and that you don’t have to take that shit any more”. The first idea is wholly invalidating, the second is supportive.

To even get to accepting the truth of what was done and said to you by people who also said they “loved” you and whom you believed were supposed to love you takes a certain effort.

The second part, the overcoming behaviors and thought patterns and emotional triggers part requires that the truth of the matter be brought to light, otherwise it’s putting a band-aid on a pus-filled scar (sorry for the grotesque image but I couldn’t find a different one that fit). It sounds like some therapists think they can skip the first part. I’m not read up enough on the history of psychotherapy, but didn’t they used to be more interested in a “patient’s” early life as well as their current issues? Didn’t they consider childhood to be the root?

80

Hi Doren,

Glad I could make you cry!!! LOL LOL. You made me cry too. Thnx for your kind words as usual. My pastor meant no harm and I don’t think that other people even had a clue what he said was off point. I knew it because I went through the exact same thing. As for Joyce Meyer she is a wonderful speaker. She has dedicated her life to helping others. Before I entered into therapy I relied heavily on her teachings. She was a voice of hope and she was very candid which I liked but for me I have moved on to other authors who I feel will help me out more with what I am going through now but I would never take away all the good things that Joyce Meyer did for me and still continues to do. My point was that self help books can do more harm then good when you are someone who needs to overcome complex trauma. It can feed into your self condemnation because you do not have the tools with inside of yourself to do the things that they ask you to do therefore making you feel even worse about yourself then you did before you read the darn book.

Her name just happened to be the one that came up in church that day. It could have been anyone. I think I need to use pseudo names in the future. I don’t want anyone to think that I am discrediting these people because I am not. These are merely my experiences but I do not want to inadvertently throw anyone under the bus either. I think moving on from her works is a sign that I am growing. What worked for me at the beginning of my journey no longer does and that is ok. That’s what is supposed to happen. It means that I am growing and I am thankful for that.

I am glad you saw right though that doctor who brought up the holocaust victims. WHAT THE HECK!!! This is what we have to deal with!!! When I first started therapy I told my therapist that people had it a whole lot worse then I ever did and what she said to me stuck with me forever. She said people have it a whole lot better then you do to. Where does that leave you??? In other words stop comparing yourself to other people and deal with what you need to deal with because if you keep on feeding yourself that lie you will be stuck forever.

I am glad that things are starting to sink in emotionally for you. That’s when the real healing begins. We just have to hang in there long enough to reap the benefits of all of our hard work and suffering we go through. It is a process. A long one at that but it will work if we just keep supporting each other and do the hard work and accept the fact that it takes a lot of time to overcome the mess that we have been dealt.

Peace,
Kris

81

Kris – your story made that much more sense to me because you said “Joyce Meyer” and I really do appreciate what she does. She’s been doing it a long enough time that I think she broke ground by sharing her own story of survival. She really just misses some of the how-to that would be an even bigger help to some of us.

I also don’t really blame her for those missing pieces. There have been some times that I had no idea how I got from one point to another. It was frustrating that I didn’t have directions to offer someone else.

I also didn’t see anything you said as a put-down of Joyce Meyer and I very much relate to the point you were making. It is very courageous of you to write to your pastor about it. I suspect your pastor is someone who has a way of making you feel safe to bring these things up, so good for him too (or her?).

Glad you’re here!

Hobie

82

Hi all,
My therapy session left me humiliated and emotionally raped.All the time,my doctor tried to find the fault in me.All his questions pointed to that.He asked me if i’m violent,if i’m on hormonal medication,what other diseases i have,if i was born prematurely,if i have many friends or if i’m shy.Not once did he inquire about how i feel around my father or about the pain in my heart.The worst part of all was that he said that my violent father had every right to refuse treatement or medication.What about my right to safety? I could not set things straight with my doctor for fear of bad consequences for me at home.I felt empty,discarded and coward,as i had to keep quiet,afraid of a bad diagnosis for me.The psychiatric system in itself is mentally ill.How can abusers have every rights in the world,including to refuse medication? How can victims be protected then?

I need trauma therapy,a lifetime doctor with whom i can bond.I need a real human being to help me and heal me.In case i manage to leave,what will i do with all my memories from childhood?What if past trauma won’t let me live happily ever after? It’s not like looking for the perfect furniture until i find it.It’s about letting myself be vulnerable to various sick individuals until i find a good doctor.In the process of searching,i let therapists play with my heart,soul,mind and brain.

My doctor:”What do you expect to change in relationship with your father?” Well,since he hit me and verbally abused me,isn’t that obvious? I want him to stop the abuse and start respecting me.My doctor’s questions seemed intrusive and retard.It was like he didn’t get what the problem was,although i explained it to him in detail.I quote from my father:”You make your own children so that you can hit your own,not other people’s kids.It’s perfectly ok for parents who lack money to kill their kids so that they don’t endure poverty.They wouldn’t stand a chance in the jungle outside”.I told this to my doctor and he said that i missunderstood it all and it was just context.In other words,my doctor justified violence in general.

He did not write down anything i said.He treated everything superficially and,after i left his office,he stormed out in a hurry,as he had another client somewhere else.Oh,the almighty money!Also,there was no meet and greet.When i stepped into his office,he looked silently into my eyes.When i gazed back at him,he said coldly:”Talk”.About what,if you didn’t ask me anything?

83

Hi…back in 1980, I went to a psychologist and was seduced. It was an 5 month ‘affair’ that he said would help save my marriage. I discovered that it was an agreement between my husband and this therapist: he get me and my husband gets his much older wife. It was a descent into Hell.

My marriage ended (and the therapist suggested we have an ‘open’ marriage) and I ended up suing the therapist. The Ga. Psychological Board had previous complaints about this bastard, but wouldn’t ‘man up’ to my complaint. Only after I won my case, did I get a ‘backdoor’ acknowledgement from them. And I was told part of the ‘agreement’ was that I was never to speak about his abuse. Hah!

It took me many years to understand how I had been abused by all around. And actually, I had gone to the therapist because of my pathological narcissist mother. The only thing that was said by this ‘therapist’ was this: “Forgive your mother, she’s your mother”.

For the past 10 years I have seen a wonderful older woman therapist who had addressed the abuse, but frankly? There is a time when you can feel that you aren’t making any ground in therapy. I have enough information, etc. on narcissism to leave and to go forth. And because of the recovery with this very gentle therapist, I have been able to regain the creativity that was squashed by the path. mother and ex husband. I am publishing my 5th book Spring, 2015.

So, there are good therapists and there are rotten ones that are nothing but opportunists. By the way, he was charged and convicted for insurance fraud in my case: he presigned paperwork and made me presign same documents and IF he was really seeing me, it would have been 24/7. He got 14,000.00 for those few months but unfortunately is still practicing. There were other women who suffered the same (and his drug dealing) before me, but only one testified. The others waited to see whether I would be successful.

Transference is a serious matter. This ‘therapist’ violated everything in the book.

Jane

84

Laura, It makes me sad to think of you going through this. The good thing is you were able to see through his superficial ‘treatment’. When I first started going to professionals, they made me feel like a bug on a pin but I still saw the problem as being me so, I thought I was that ‘bug’ on a pin. I’m glad you have your insight.

Love,
Pam

85

Thank you,Pam.I was able to see through his superficial treatement due to EFB.It opened my eyes and gave me clarity,so i didn’t internalise his offenses against me.Still,i could not sleep the night,especially that the therapy was late in the evening.I tossed and turned in my bed till morning.I wonder what kind of parent he is.Since he sees violence as no big deal,my guess is he hits his child,too.

86

It’s always sad to see / hear all these mistreat, especially from so-called professionals. No body can understand what’s the pain/hurt have suffered as an abused survivor. I don’t understand why people keep on saying forgive, let go, or explain that’s the best the abuser can do. As a childhood abused survivor, after long term abuse, to live a normal life is still a struggle from day to day. especially during holiday seasons, for example now, many things can trigger my emotions. While keeping myself on the track, it’s the most painful to see my abusers walk, laugh and enjoying life. It’s just tough and i agree those who simply ignore our pain is actually pouring salt on our wounds. I have read a quote recently which i found very accurate, “i need to heal or join therapy session because someone supposed to be in the therapy. the healing journey is so lonely as people usually don’t understand much about the whole situation.

87

Hi All,

This thread has opened up a total and painful Pandora’s box memory for me. It’s been like 26 years since I had that very serious suicide attempt,at 20 years old. It’s a very long and complicated story. I felt like I was treated like a slave, with no value or worth as a person. There was a a few days stay in the hospital and then by law the doctor had to sign papers to have me admitted into a psychiatric hospital. This was just about the most horrifying experience of my life.

I was angry. My mom was the abuser and the crazy one and she should have been the one who was locked up! Like all of the above comments, no one ever listens or believes kids. The older adults with titles and positions of authority, and money are believed, not teens or young adults. I was afraid that they would keep me there for months or years? I was so terrified of being a “prisoner” that I ran fantasies in my head of how I could kill myself again than live like forever in this prison. They told me that I needed to sit in the common room with all of the “crazies” but I refused. I shouted back that I was safe in my room and that I did not feel safe with these people. They threatened me by saying that they could drug me to comply. So, there was the very real danger of becoming some kind of addict. Meanwhile, everyday there was a huge increasing hospital bill. My parents who had sold their big, luxury house in Seattle had another bank account. They were temporarily renting a small place and would lie and say that they were retired people with no money. The only way that they let me out was due to the fact that my parents made them believe that we really had no money! (Actually it was my father’s money and I believe that if it had been up to my mom that she would have let me rot there forever!) So, yes, everyone’s comments about the evil white coated gods and mental health practitioners here on EFB is totally right on! I feared for my life living with parents and then again I feared becoming a prisoner in the psych. hospital. I honestly don’t know how the hell these “shrinks” and orderlies can sleep at night! I believe that any moral and sane person could not even work in such an environment, and it’s only due to them being completely cold, narcissistic, mean, cocky, and arrogant monsters! THESE SHRINKS ENJOY BEING SADISTIC! They derive some kind of sick pleasure from keeping people as their slaves. It’s not really about money since their are many professions which earn loads of money, such as very successful lawyers and business people. Life is choice and they choose to control others (very abusive) and frighten them. I had one good friend from the former city, an older neighbor lady named Mary Ann, and she was intelligent and insightful enough to understand. She knew a little bit about my family background, but not all of it. I remember her saying to me on the phone, “that if these so-called doctors are smug enough to think that they have some kind of victory over their “patient”—(more like prisoners)—then these doctors only have a “hollow” victory!” But they derive some kind of sadistic pleasure from treating people like this.

But there is more….I was especially terrified of one doctor with a German last name and accent. He personified evil and got away with it. His partner was a younger woman doctor with a Jewish last name and they worked together. I felt as if I had ended up in a concentration camp—-(I mean no disrespect toward those with Jewish heritage here on EFB). The German doctor would lie and threaten me in his office with my parents there. He told me that if I tried to escape that he would call the sheriff on me and that I would go to jail! He threatened me by saying that if I did not behave, meaning follow his orders to the letter, that I would be drugged! I remember being so exhausted from not sleeping at night and my body being very weak from taking the initial overdose that I was late for a couple of appointments with him. This evil doctor then accused me of lying to him and I was crying and screaming back saying that “I’m tired and falling asleep”. He still screamed back that I was lying! He was an arrogant and sadistic bastard. There were times when the “orderlies”, those employees with a whole six months job training from the crappy vocational schools which are advertised on TV, would yell at me as group and then laugh at me. They would stand around me in a group, looking as if they were ready to pounce on me, like a pack of hungry wolves. What they wanted was to see me try to run away from them or scream, so that they were allowed to tackle me like in a football game. Of course, I was too clever for them.

When I was released, I moved back to my parents’ rental house. I begged my parents to let me move back home to Seattle, and you would think at that point that my mean parents would have let me go. Well, not! Once again, I am nothing more than a slave or a prisoner. My story continues and I chose to live in this Southwestern city and have since moved to the major city, same state.

For years I was still afraid. If I had had any good family members left at all, I would have moved. I was young and single and all that I needed to do was to save every penny from a PT job, and go Greyhound bus with my suitcase to start a new life, moving in with the good relative. But I had no one. Luckily, the medium sized city was known for retired persons and college students, so that the costs of living was quite cheap. Then I lived in a few roommate places while working at customer service jobs in food and retail. I was proud of myself to get away from my mom. In my late 20′, I applied for all the college financial aid that I could qualify for and got my first very cheap apartment, without roommates. I put myself through college and earned a BA degree. Fast forward fifteen years later, I’m now living in the major city and I work and I’m a homeowner. I could write a book about all of my experiences—at least I have EFB! LOL!

After the psych hospital experience, I would have nightmares of running into the “Nazi” doctor. Thank the gods for the internet, since I was able to find his name online through a search engine. He had moved far away to another state so there was no chance of ever running into him at the mall or any place. I changed my hair color and style. I always wear glasses and not contact lenses to hide more of my face. There is NO criminal background in my past, but rather I just want to get away from any of my past connected with my parents. I insist that everyone I meet call me by my middle name, Yvonne, and it’s on my name badge at work. I still want to legally change my first name and I will after my parents’ deaths and I have more money. I do not need parents’ permission anymore to do things, but I just want to be free.

My religion, Celtic Paganism, and my metaphysical studies are what has truly healed me. I do respect all positive Faiths—anything to help people. It’s sad but I must keep my true religion in the closet since I have been hurt too badly by nasty Christians. My Faith made me feel alive and free, with a sense of peace and childlike wonder. I am grateful that I turned out OK and I’m truly sorry for those with far worse abuse issues and experiences than mine. Thanks everyone for reading and sharing!

Blessed Be,

Yvonne

88

Hi Again,

I just wanted to continue but on a more positive healing note. There is help for trauma victims through alternative programs. I think that I gave the website for Daniel Mackler, writer and film maker on child abuse:

see http://www.wildtruth.net

I really enjoyed his youtube videos and they are all excellent. It’s hard to find someone honest who understands the victim’s pain. He worked for ten years in NYC as a therapist and one day just quit. He realized how worthless this therapy really was and that people just need self-healing.

Daniel Mackler made an excellent documentary titled, “Healing Homes”. This film was made in Europe and it’s about alternative healing for those diagnosed with severe psych disorders and trauma. The patients are sent out to live in a rural area in a home and they do various farm chores. They are NOT given psych drugs at all. There is a very high healing rate for these patients.

I wanted to share another true story about my friend—-I’ll call her “Mary”. The point is that there are many ways to heal without traditional psych drugs and western medicine. I swear on all that I hold sacred that this is a true story and that truth is often stranger than fiction.

When Mary was younger, about 20 years old and she is now currently about 65 years old, she was living in Portland, Oregon. This would have been around 1970. Mary came from a totally dysfunctional family and she was raped at 16 years old by her half-brother. It’s a long story, but she ran away from home and found a place to stay and her first PT job as a dishwasher in a restaurant. Part of her pay included a free meal, which was her only hot meal for the day. She achieved her big goal which was to graduate from high school on time. But then she somehow ended up living on the streets of the not so good part of Portland, OR. Mary became a drug addict and alcoholic. One night she took an overdose and she knew that she was going to die on the street and accepted her fate. She drifted into a long sleep, knowing that she would be gone in the morning. But a weird thing happened and she didn’t die.

No, instead my friend was put into a car by a perfect stranger (she believes that there were two separate cars on her trip) and she was taken in the back seat to another state. My friend opened her eyes in the daytime and there was no more city street scene. Instead she was way out in the country and standing in front of her was a tall, dark, strange man. For a moment, she believed that she had actually died and crossed over. Mary asked herself, “is that where you go when you die?” It took her a few minutes to get readjusted and then she realized that she was not dead! Mary asked the man where she was and he told her, “Montana—on the Indian reservation!” No lie! Then she realized that someone had placed in a car and drove across state lines to Montana and anonymously saved her life. She came to and realized that she had no purse, no wallet, no ID, no cash and virtually nothing. So, she ended up staying on the reservation for almost two years and it healed her life. She healed by learning the Indian ways and going through their healing rituals. She finally returned to Oregon two years later and she claims that she healed all of her child abuse issues.

I met another person who was healed of their trauma also by spending time on an Indian reservation. He was an older man who had been in Vietnam and he had an Indian friend who invited him to visit. So this man spent like two years living on the reservation. He basically healed all of his trauma issues by practicing the Indian rituals. He told me that he was afraid to end up in a VA Hospital. He said that many guys who ended up there were never completely well with PTSD and other problems. He told me that he did the right thing and that these other men were put on psych drugs and never healed. Here is another true story of someone who healed without therapy and psych drugs. I don’t know exactly what they do on these Indian reservations, but they seem to be much more healing than traditional allopathic medicine! Go figure! I am all for healing and whatever helps people. So, there is hope for the very traumatized.
Thanks for reading and sharing on EFB!

Blessed Be,

Yvonne 🙂

89

Hi Kris #80

I hope we’ve both stopped crying now 🙂 Take a little breakie.
I still admire you for speaking your mind to the pastor. I find it very difficult to speak in any critical way to someone. If I don’t know the person well or they are not in my life I often just disappear or lessen contact with them without explaining why.

Funny after I posted I felt somewhat guilty for mentioning the times he brought up the camps or the woman he saw in China. There have been many times he’s helped me and I felt supported. I used to see him for half hour chats a lot–he told me I was the patient he talked to most in 25 years–but 2 years ago I felt like I’d outgrown that and actually knew more than he did therapeutically.
I do recall one time I told him I loved my mother. He’d heard a lot of stories about her. He said, “You care about your mother, you don’t love her”. I said, “No, I love her”. He said, “You CARE about her, because, what’s to love?”. I can smile about that now, cause he was telling me how I felt, but at the time I was very confused. I was comforted by his paternal way for many years, but now I’m in a different place.

Hi Vivian #86

I can so relate to what you say about struggling day to day. So often I think I’m the only one, or that I’m not dealing as well as others are. When my sister emailed me a picture of her and her husband visiting Mom at Thanksgiving in the retirement home I had a mixture of feelings, because I was alone that day and without family. I am glad mom is taken care of but hurt that she is so much more important than I am. Just because she’s “Mother”, and fragile and elderly it’s supposed to wipe away everything. And because I don’t “let go” there’s something wrong with me (unforgiving, immature, selfish, etc).

This isn’t about therapists, but I’m really struggling with depression this holiday season, and at the same time increasingly aware of deep anger inside. I think I’m finally getting really tired of being the “sick” one in the family. I know I’ve played that role believing implicitly that I had to be so. But a part of me is feeling more and more that the family itself is so sick, but I’ve not been strong enough to validate my own feelings. I just feel seething with anger inside but getting depressed more and drinking rather than really sitting with it. It’s like some kind of volcano thing that wants to erupt. I’m feeling sick to my stomach over the price I have paid, the lack of aknowledgment over what happened, and the veiled hostility and belittling that’s continued. Implicit from family is the message that it wasn’t so bad, I am to blame more than anyone, and that I am ruining the possibility for present day family “normalcy”. Deep down I’ve believed it still. I wonder if the depressions and drinking and low self-esteem is another way of telling myself I deserved it as a kid, I was to blame. I hope this anger is actually a good sign.

90

I know this is a little different than what is being described in the article, but we went to family therapy with my step father when I was young. The therapist was a woman, a young woman, my stepfather was a narcissist and immediately charmed her. I honestly am not sure what my Mother is all I can say is she is a chameleon of sorts.

Anyway, I had lived with my Grandparents until my Mother remarried when I was 7. This therapist supported my stepfather in the idea that my sister and I needed to separate from our Grandparents and initiated a no contact policy for six months.

This was devastating for me, they were my lifeline. This therapist also bought into the notion that I was a problem child. I remember my stepfather would actually cry in therapy, the raging monster who attacked me at every turn at home was a struggling parent whose love I was rejecting in therapy.

It was a terrible situation and my stepfather was able to use therapy as a tool to isolate my sister and I from our extended family and as a tool to solidify my position as the lowest ranking person in the family deserving of his abuse.

It wasn’t until years later, when my Mom sought out counseling again, this time with a seasoned male therapist that he threw all of us out of the room, had a long talk with my Mother and told her that her husband was a diagnosable crazy person that she would never be able to change. It took another year or so, but she finally did leave.

It was too late for me. Although she admitted she was wrong about him, she never will admit to being wrong about me or to her participation in framing me to absorb the blame, using me as a lighting rod to defuse her crazy husband or using me as a projection screen for all the parts of herself she could not integrate.

I often wonder if the first therapist we went to as a family had been a good one, how my life might have turned out differently.

91

Hi Jane
Welcome to EFB ~ yes, there are good ones and bad ones and it sounds like you had a HORRIFIC experience with a really bad one.
For me the bottom line is always ‘the truth’ (the real truth) heals. Realizing all the lies I was told about me, about life, about love and about what is actually ‘best’ went miles and miles towards my healing and wholeness.
hugs, Darlene

92

Hi Vivian
I wonder if they really do enjoy life? All the shallow and empty ways that they relate to others, all the pain and damage they have caused… I don’t actually believe they are happy at all. 🙂
Just my thoughts,
hugs, Darlene

93

Hi Kaycee
It really helped me to look at the damage all that stuff did and to see what it contributed to my false belief system. In that way (although we can’t change the past) I was able to change the false beliefs I had about me and my life etc. to the truth. That is where I found freedom.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

94

Yvonne,

I am sorry for your horrible experience in the psychiatric hospital. It certainly sounds like it was a prison. There was no compassion for the residents. How in the world is a person supposed to heal in a place like that?

I found your story about your friend Mary very interesting. How amazing that someone took her to Montana to heal. I can understand how someone could be healed in the native american traditions and rituals.

Your own story is amazing in itself. You are such a strong person. Many blessings to you.

Andria

95

Hi Kris,

Glad you enjoyed my thinking lol as most people hate it calling me negative or have a poor way of phrasing things. You know how many times I put both hands and feet in my mouth? The usual saying sticking your foot in your mouth, not when it comes to me! lmao Very few people enjoy my thinking and how I challenge things as many out there are threaten by me. I told this to my ex-therapist if you had any of this (pointing to my brain) in you, you wouldn’t be sitting there spewing dogma to me or anybody else as you would spewing truth – the real truth about parenting, lies, generational abuse, etc. However, she did agree that this abuse goes on for generations then contradicted herself saying this is how they are, that’s your poor family, dear god, blah blah blah!!

I told her I thought the saying goes knowledge is power? It appears that way as long as you “don’t question/test anything else about life/society then everything is fine, right?” She was livid when I said that to her, yep, I was very tough and told her I will not show mercy don’t care how many pieces of papers (degrees/licensing) you have! Never questioning anything is a type of hierarchical and obedience if people are made/told to think/feel this way, then there is no uniqueness to being an individual. She turned so red in the face she wanted to kill me! I love when these so called experts say ‘we are so unique as people’ yea when you become different then you want nothing to do with the person – see the contradictions?

My ex-therapist said I “allowed” myself to be so angry with my “parents” for all of these years instead of letting it go wtf?!? That sounds like blame towards me and it’s funny I had to tell her how to do her job yet she is the one with the Masters degree! I told her look how much knowledge I have without going to school for therapy and if I went I would sound like you oblivious to everything about life. Yep, she was livid again lmao! I made her so mad in a lot of sessions, hell, she was testing my buttons too!

“Like all of the above comments, no one ever listens or believes kids. The older adults with titles and positions of authority, and money are believed, not teens or young adults.”

Amen. I have been seeing this thought/attitude pattern for years and told my ex-therapist this look around at the children/young adults out there who are not believed at all. Don’t you find anything wrong with what how they are not believed by anybody and gotta carry a giant burden for the rest of their lives? Yep, silence from her and other people.

Nobody out there cares about our feelings and what we went through this is why when this shit happens; people always remain silent. I have been silent for years, told people about my life, they blew up screamed/cursed/blamed/shamed/guilted me etc for everything while my “parents” are “the victims” and not me!

Alice,

Agreed. My ex-therapist agreed that the root of the issue is childhood, but that shouldn’t be the core root issue wtf?!? She said abuse makes up one part of you I was livid hearing that. Sorry, that is history that doesn’t make up one part of you that was very damaging to tell me that. I told her I refuse to accept that comment and she got pissed off like always, bitching at me, etc I said that doesn’t make a person for who they are. An abused person is not their true self, wow, she has no idea what makes a true person. My ex-therapist always had to throw in her parenting crap into everything. I said that’s nice you didn’t have me nor are you that old enough to be my mom.

Laura,

Sorry, that happen to you with this therapist. He clearly has issues of his own glad you saw the red flags before going further. I wish I would have walked away within 6 months of my therapy there’s just way too many foolish mental health professionals with their God-like attitudes all because they are endorsed/accredited through the NIMH and FDA. Rude attitude from the beginning, like I told my ex-therapist how do you people still have a job? What are you getting paid for? She was irate when I said that. Have you spoken to his supervisor?

96

Hi Andria,

Thank you so much for your kind words. You won’t believe how many times that I have tried to talk to close friends about my past and they did not even want to hear it. I don’t know how anyone can call themselves a “grownup” and not want to know or understand that there are some truly evil people in the world. It’s like that little monkey character of “hear and see no evil” with it’s eyes closed and it’s ears plugged that if you can just tune it out then it will all go away.

I wanted to add that there is a great movie, although a very sad and a true story made into a movie about the actress Frances Farmer, having the same title? Anyway, the movie stars Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard, her real life partner. This actress, Frances Farmer, was very big in the 1930’s and 40’s and known as a comedian actress. She suffered abuse from her mother who then threatened to place her in the state psychiatric hospital in Washington State. The movie concerns itself with her very real abuses of being starved, gang raped, and so on in the hospital. They gave her electric shock treatments which totally erased her memory. She could no longer act or recognize her partner at the end. It was quite sad and you can rent the movie on amazon.com? There is a weird coincidence to all this. If you’re a fan of Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, he wrote a famous song titled “Frances Farmer Gets Her Revenge on Seattle”. It’s been said that Kurt Cobain was so impressed with the Frances Farmer story that he even named his daughter Frances for this tragic actress. Interesting…

Amazingly, there are people who have called me timid to my face. I am a survivor and I’m very stubborn with a mouth on me, if and only if I am pushed too far. If I have something to say then I will say it. I am an introvert and I bury myself in a world of books, movies, my computer, plus knitting and sport. I have learned how to protect myself from the nasty people of the world. It’s not about being shy or snooty, but rather like building walls of protection around me. My life is not over yet (in my 40’s) and there are many things in life that I want to do and have. What I’m trying to say here is that these evil ones wanted to destroy me as a prisoner, including years of neglect and abuse issues through parents. They did NOT destroy me but made me stronger! I like literature and I’m quite articulate and can easily cut down the nasty people in ten seconds or less with words! I surprise many people and I like it that way. Thanks everybody for sharing on EFB.

Blessed Be,

Yvonne

97

Hi Yvonne,

most of the time I’ve tried to divulge to friends about my childhood experiences, the topic’s been brushed away or minimized. As I recall, those people also were abused as children. They had all the stock replies, betraying that they hadn’t really dealt with it, wanted it to stay firmly in the past, and didn’t see its relation to the present. More than with therapists, I’ve been cut off by other survivors who seem to not see how affected they are by childhood. Those people tended to be struggling with current abusive relationships as if it was “normal” to have such, and making no real connection between that and how their parents treated them. They were flippant about such things and not engaging with me on a deeper emotional level.

I saw the movie about Frances Farmer when it came out in the early 80s. I also read her biography Will There Really Be a a Morning? Her experiences were harrowing. She was systematically shut up. But even after what she endured in the psychiatric wards, she wrote that book. It is a courageous act any time one says, “This was my experience, and it was wrong”. That is what we do here.

98

Yvonne,

I am familiar with the Frances Farmer movie. It is a sad tale. I was not aware of the Kurt Cobain connection-the song or the fact that he named his daughter Frances.

Yes, there are always people out there who want to “test” you. People mistake being an introvert as being a weak person. It has nothing to do with it. These types may have small minds, and they are easily dealt with a few well chosen words. It is fun surprising people like this.

You seem like an interesting and thoughtful person. The world needs to acknowledge that introverts have a lot to offer. The culture is beginning to come around to the fact that there is nothing “wrong” with being a introvert. It is not something that needs to be fixed. I am an introvert who learned to be extroverted…sometimes….

Andria

99

Hi Hobie #81,

I don’t blame anyone for missing the “how to’s” either. I’m just glad I found Darlene for that and now I can share her knowledge to help someone else!!! Overcoming complex trauma has so many twists and turns to it and everyone needs to work at their own pace due to the complexities of overcoming childhood abuse in general even though we share so many of the same characteristics due to being abused to begin with.

The level of mass destruction that my parent’s abuse caused me still blows my mind away. Every aspect of my “being” was affected be their abuse. There is no way to explain to someone what it feels like to be robbed of “who” you are and then have the daunting task of putting all of those shattered pieces of your self back together. How the heck do you write a “how to” on that!!!! The list goes on and on.

Kris

100

Hi Vivian #86,

I find the healing journey lonely too. You spend a lifetime surrounding yourself with a bunch of abusers unbeknownst to you at the time, and when you finally do see the light, they refuse to and abuse you even more. You have to get well despite being around them and unfortunately it is everyone that you know. One day I had a family, as sick as it was, and the next day I didn’t. Everyone thinks that it’s your own darn fault for separating yourself away from them. Then you start seeing the truth about everyone else that is around you and it makes you even more sick to your stomach. They all need help but won’t ask for it and they think that you are the crazy one when you do. Lonely indeed. I never felt so misunderstood and judged in my life for something that was never my fault to begin with and when I think about all the things that I missed out on and continue to miss out on and the massive losses like never having my own children or being able to have grandchildren, I could spit nails into each one of my parent’s eyes and into all the people’s eyes who are too blind and selfish to see what a travesty losing your childhood was let alone the majority of your adulthood as well. The whole thing makes me sick and rightfully so.

Hi Yvonne #87,

It is an absolute travesty what happened to you. So glad that you survived these idiots. Shame on them. Shame on all of them who were involved with this.

On a lighter note I came across this quote from one of the articles I was reading and it makes me laugh every time. Here it is:

“Trying to reform narcissists by reasoning with them or by appealing to their better nature is about as effective as spitting in the ocean”!!!!

This cracks me up every time because it is so true. Had to share it because I KNOW that there is a sea of us who had to deal with these impossible lost souls as well. I’d say this quote pretty much sums it up.

Marquis you made my day!! I can hear you think out loud with the way that you write. Truly enjoy your posts.

Peace Everyone.

Kris

101

Yvonne, your story about Mary confirms to me, the presence of “angels.”

102

hi Doren

Yup, struggling day to day especially during holiday season is tough for me, as it always trigger a lot of sad, hurt feelings. same here, i do feel awkward from time to time among others, seems nobody understands what’s my situation like and people surround me are so normal. Same here, my dad is getting old and since he always act a perfect image : nice, generous guy, nobody will believe what i’ve been through. I still have huge problem to hear people say i should let go, don’t be such stubborn, unforgiving, selfish…etc.

The more i heard people/professionals/friends saying all these, the more i shut down myself and don’t want to explain, as i just feel it’s unfair and kind of injustice to any victims. Most of people care how the abusers feel, but what about me? my depression, painful hurts, low self-esteem and all the consequences i have suffered after those mistreatment? why i should be the one who need to forget everything and seems like nothing happen? Why abusers will think as long as i don’t think then time will help me to forget? Why they think all the things can be wiped away so easily?

I agree people who don’t understand what we have been suffered through, should keep quiet at least, the more they try to say or help, most of the time, i found are extremely hurtful. of course i am not saying i must angry forever, but it doesn’t mean everything can be un-do so easy. many of the times, the damages it create can never go back to the original.

Hi Darlene Ouimet

i don’t know, at least i’m the only who always suffered from emotional turmoil from time to time, while they are laughing, chit chat or humiliating me. My family is very dysfunctional and my dad will never think he’s the one who bring all these craps up, i’m the only one who always blamed for everyone’s troubles. As far as i see, i don’t believe he will ever change, the more i approach psychology stuffs the more i understand he’s a psychopath. These people will never think they themselves are the problems.

i stopped to expect anything from this dysfunctional family since long time ago, but all the damages, hurts that accumulated inside me just drag me down from time to time. i’m kind of walk 5 steps forward then 8 steps backward. The anger is not only towards abusers but always myself, not able to spot the truth as early as i can, not able to be strong enough to leap forward.

103

Hi Marquis #95,
Sorry for my late answer.I just came back from town,taking care of things regarding my university diploma exam which is due in february 2015.My heart is already heavy with all the abuse at home,yet i have to be calm and concentrate to a university teacher who doesn’t even know what burden i carry in my soul.

Thank you for your kind words.I appreciate you being there for me.No,i didn’t talk to his supervisor,as it’s an already lost battle.There’s no use,as the psychiatric system in itself is mentally ill.It should be restrained and tied to the bed,like it does to patients in my country.Just joking!Neither of our therapists were even aware that we were victims of narc abuse or domestic violence.Just like mine,your doctor dismissed your words.He kept silent and looked for signs of hostility in us.The more we talked,the more he thought we were damaged.The same injustice happened to you too.I hope this post is read by therapists,too.

104

Laura and Marquis, I have often thought that we can get far more out of talking to an understanding and validating friend, including talking here online than talking to an alleged ” professional” who dismisses and invalidates what you say. Laura, that therapist sounds awful, and Marquis, I know you’ve talked a lot about your negative experiences with your ex therapist. Who needs to pay money to someone who is gonna throw you under the bus? That leaves us with finding the rare good understanding therapist or doing it on our own with the help of people who validate us.

105

Hi Vivian

the holidays are a hard time for many people, but knowing this does not make it any easier on a personal level. I’m sorry it is this way for you, too. I hope you keep posting as you need and feel some connection with others here.

Hearing people’s stories here, I feel fortunate with my experiences with therapists the last few years. One therapist a couple of years ago mentioned forgiveness, and I’m sure she felt it was the ultimate step in healing. But what I really need to focus on is forgiving myself, especially for the self-destructive ways I’ve lived my life.
I don’t think forgiveness is a necessary step, or that forgiveness of our abusers is appropriate to mention at all. “Forgiveness” is not asked of the survivor of crime by strangers.

As far as family members, I find it very confusing and hurtful that the “forgiveness” shown to my Mother is not extended to me. My mother was a very hurtful person up until she got alzheimer’s and dementia and now all she did is supposed to be wiped away, and I am the “unforgiving” one for staying away. The message I get is that my staying away is far worse than anything Mom did. And I know I would be there for holidays if my feelings were respected, and the abuse acknowledged. My mother wouldn’t have to do anything, since she’s mentally incapable. It would take acknowledgment from others, but that won’t happen because that means acknowledging what happened to themselves. So in my view I receive the misplaced, underground anger of those who think they’ve dealt with the past and haven’t.

This is particularly about my older sister, and a few weeks ago my therapist asked me if I thought her hostility was due to my drinking. And I don’t know one way or the other, cause I can’t read minds. She hasn’t seen me drink in 25 years, I never did when she used to visit. Also, her husband is a functioning alcoholic, she can live with that ok. Basically the therapist asked me to figure out a difficult family member, and I’ve got my hands full figuring myself out. I don’t have a crystal ball. My sister may have a lot of feelings about my drinking and the years she saw it, but I cannot sit in therapy and try to get in someone’s head, trying to understand family who won’t communicate, and who don’t want resolution. That seems to me a waste of my energy. What I really need to understand is my part, why I’ve kept tolerating her treatment. I know I’m afraid to let go of all family, to live with my truth alone—because, I think, what if I’m wrong about how I feel?

106

Hi Doren # 105

Today I made a breakthrough with the whole forgiving of the self thing that I want to share with you after reading your post. Last year I read this article on line and here is what it had to say: Adult survivors of emotional child abuse have only two life choices: learn to self-reference, that means developing your own standard, deciding what “goodness” really is or you can remain the victim. He went on to say that when your self-concept has been shredded and you have been deeply injured and made to feel like that injury was all your fault, when you look for approval to those who can not or will not provide it- you play the role assigned to you by your abusers. He said victims of emotional abuse carry the cure in their own hearts and souls. Salvation means learning self-respect, earning the respect of others and making that respect the absolutely irreducible minimum requirement for all intimate relationships. For the emotionally abused child, healing does come down to “forgiveness”…forgiveness of your self.

I didn’t get what all he was saying back then but I get every single last word of it now. I was able to forgive my husband for not treating me well but I was not able to forgive myself for allowing him to do those things to me to begin with. I was still blaming myself for allowing other people to use and abuse me all of my life but what I wasn’t seeing was the real truth behind WHY I allowed myself to be disrespected. The truth is my parents never taught me what it felt like to be respected. How was I to know that there was a whole other world out there where people actually treated each other right? You attract what you are used to and what I was used to was being my parent’s doormat. I had no self respect because they robbed that away from me out of no fault of my own. I didn’t have control over how they treated me back then. Today it finally clicked and 48 years of self blame and self hatred for allowing my self to continue to be abused all of my life went right down the proverbial toilet because now I know the truth. There was no possible way for me to know that that is what other people were doing to me.

Today I left myself off the hook. I forgave myself for not knowing any better because the truth is my parents didn’t teach me how to know any better. They taught me that it was ok for me to be treated like garbage and I believed that lie my whole entire life blaming myself along the way when the truth is it was their abuse that caused this mess and they are the one’s to blame, not me. I don’t know if this will help anyone but I sure do hope that it does because I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders now. It just finally clicked. How was I supposed to know that other people were mistreating me when all I ever knew was that exact same treatment from my parents who brainwashed me into believing that that is what a normal respectful relationship was??? I wouldn’t.

Once I started to develop my own self respect the rest started to fall into place. I was able to pick up on when people weren’t treating me right. I no longer silenced my inner voices(DID!!!) when they were telling me that something didn’t feel right. I paid attention to that feeling inside of my gut that warned me that something isn’t right here. With all of these things I finally was able to see the truth and once I put the blame where it should have been all along, into the lap of my abusive parents, I was finally able to free myself from blaming myself for things that were never my fault to begin with and then I was able to finally forgive myself in the end. I really do hope this helps someone.

Peace,
Kris

107

Hi Kris,

that is a wonderful article by Andrew Vachss, I’ve read it several times over the last few years and continue to do so every now and then. It was a revelatory article for me because it spoke of emotional child abuse alone, which had been greatly minimized by others, and then myself, my whole life. Thank you for sharing that with me, and for being so compassionate. I certainly see myself in that article.

I know that overall I am living as a victim, and that I’ve been so scared to be my authentic self. It truly means breaking away from family and generations of trauma that was seen as normal somehow, just life, life sucks. But I don’t want to think life sucks. I see content, happy people around me and I want that, too. But that’s going to take forgiving myself for the choices I’ve made. And it’s true, I haven’t tried to hurt anybody, I’ve just been trying to survive. I saw self-destruction all around me in my family. The worst thing I was taught was that I was weak, but I also had to solve my own problems. That didn’t leave much room for me but to turn to substances, taking care of myself somehow, alone, but relying on an external. I need to forgive myself for making addiction my top priority in life, because I fully believed what I was taught about myself.

I’ve wanted family to come around, to see me, forgive me, but that’s playing into the old story that I’m a mess-up and I’m to blame. But I was broken inside by 10 or so and that was going to make it very difficult for me to make healthy choices in life. I know I re-victimize myself when I drink or overeat, when I reach out to my sister only to be disappointed again. I’m telling myself I’m not capable, I’m no good, I’ll take whatever scraps of attention someone will give me.

For me to live I have to write a new story. It’s my story and not dependent on family. The story re-frames my life since leaving home, and I see that I was given no tools to survive in a healthy way. I can see that I was taught to not trust myself or others, to not expect love or respect or people sticking around. To take whatever they offered even when I was so dissatisfied with it. Very implicit in my relationship with my sister is the feeling that I owe her and the family something, and I can never repay what I supposedly owe. I’ve believed it somehow, I’ve played my role. I want to forgive myself for tolerating that for so long, for going to an empty well expecting water this time.

My gut tells me I’m actually a very strong survivor. That I don’t owe my family anything. I do believe I’m here today to become whole again. My doctor told me I’ve been more self-destructive than any patient he’s had in 30 years. I once took 100 tylenol 3s in 3 days, just to get high. Many many overdoses on top of the drinking, the bingeing. For some reason I’m alive, I have a purpose. I can forgive myself, I can say, “What a lot of pain you’ve been in, I’m so sorry”. Kris, your post sure does help me. Compassion is the key, isn’t it, showing ourselves that loving understanding we never received.
I think I’m getting ready to take that weight off, too.

Doren

108

Hi Kris,

““Trying to reform narcissists by reasoning with them or by appealing to their better nature is about as effective as spitting in the ocean”!!!!”

My ex-therapist told me to play their games just to “keep the peace” been doing that for years what has really changed? Horrific advice to give to anyone and told her do you tell abused women to play the game that their husbands use just so he won’t blow up at her? The usual she got irate. That’s more like kissing their asses than anything else!

Amber,

Agreed. I have been looking into a life coach at the women’s center, but unsure of what to say. I have spoken to a life coach through Google Plus for a free consultation as she grew up with narc parents. I am not sure where to start to talk to a life coach about anything. I am also looking into holistic therapy which is gonna cost quite a bit of money, but they are different from your traditional mental health idiots.

Laura,

Your welcome! I wanted to talk to my ex-therapist’s boss, but I heard of stories of people doing that and were treated like bat shit crazy trainwreck clients and the MHPs got a pass! It’s a customer who has a legitimate complaint about an employee who isn’t doing the job, treated like shit, etc what’s wrong with that?! I enjoyed telling her off every chance I got.

Here’s a great article to read everybody http://www.shrink4men.com/2013/05/06/ending-a-relationship-with-an-abusive-parent-child-or-sibling-part-one/

I was told the same thing either be a victim or be empowered. I love Andrew Vachss makes a hella lot more sense than a therapist ever will!

“My gut tells me I’m actually a very strong survivor.”

Me too. It’s funny, this girl I know from high school who I talk to on FB says I am such a strong woman yet I don’t feel that way. I live at home where I didn’t have the strength to leave home 10 yrs ago but still striving to leave now. I still have issues with assertive communication and boundaries yet I still get told I am a strong woman. I learned what it meant to be a strong woman after my boyfriend and I had a talk a month ago.

109

Hi Amber and Marquis,
My father just went to the same doctor,and it did more harm than good.He gave my father some mild tranquilisers,so he could be more calm and face the stress in HIS(?!) life.Not a word about his violence.The doctor tested his memory by asking my father to repeat some words etc.The doctor gave him general tests,nothing personalised.If he had asked my father what his faults are or how he reacts to oppinions that differ from his or if he ever apologised for anything ever,THEN my doctor would have seen my father as abusive.But he didn’t do any of this,although i had previously explained everything in detail when the doctor asked me what’s happening at home.In domestic violence cases,shouldn’t the doctor cooperate with the police,too? Isn’t that a logical thing to do?

Marquis,you ARE a strong woman.Living with abusers does not make you a coward,on the contrary.Sometimes it’s not about the strength to leave home.It’s about money and having a place to stay and getting a restraint order and putting your own parents into jail if they don’t respect it,which leads to false guilt etc.It’s a never ending avalanche of consequences.Don’t blame yourself for not leaving,for you have no reason.In the jungle outside,there are plenty of people to point their finger at you,at us for staying.

Searching the internet,i found that narcissists can’t be cured.Ok,i get that,but there are pills to control violence,which my doctor did not prescribe.I’m furious for this was my only chance for the truth to finally come to light,after i’ve struggled in silence for 33 years.My father will never go to another doctor,so my last chance is forever lost and burried.Rest in peace!

Hi Darlene,
i’d like to read about what happens when abusers go to good quality therapy.When the doctor takes off their mask and shows them how much harm they’ve done.What happens then? does a miracle take place and abusers magically wake up? Is there such a thing or am i hoping in vain? Whenever you can,i’d be very interested to read such an article.Thank you!

110

Pam post #44

Sorry for my delayed response to your post! Yes, I have a feeling that way back then when I was a child “the system” may have responded as yours did, which was minimal. It is so unfortunate that you didn’t get more help. You were so brave to even bring up the drinking.

Nowadays hopefully there is a strong and swift response to children who come forward.

Somehow I was put in a group of (for lack of a better word) “misfits”. I don’t know how it got decided, and my parents didn’t know anything about it. I do recall the leader going around the circle and asking each child what their problems were. I was so guarded and ashamed and unable to cope that I denied I had any problems. That secret stayed in the vault which is sad. It speaks to what I’ve said here on the boards before: it is ironic that often the child that needs help is unable to ask for it because of conditioning, low self-esteem, fear, and lack of inner resources.

111

Marquis, now I know why that person is your EX-Therapist. Why should WE have to “play games” to keep the peace? Why can’t we just remove ourself from the situation? Or not show up for the situation?

112

Laura
Abusers can go to the best therapy in the world and they can be confronted with the truth BUT if they don’t want to look at themselves, and if they don’t want to change or heal the relationship then it isn’t going to happen. It is up to them. It isn’t that you are hoping in vain, it is that the outcome is up to them, not to other people. I have seen some ‘miracles’ with people who really want to heal the brokenness that they have caused but it is always a choice they make themselves.
hugs, Darlene

113

Hi Doren,

I kept that very same article from Andrew Vachss too!! It really resonated with me. It encompassed so much of how I felt at the time. It was validating to me. It acknowledged my pain in so many ways but it also gave me food for thought even though I didn’t know what would all be involved with getting to the point of being able to forgive myself at the time. I am sure glad I held onto it now. For anyone else out there it is called: “You Carry the Cure In Your Own Heart”.

I wanted to share this with you about myself in hopes of giving you hope for overcoming your own addictions. I suffered through a 24 year old cocaine and alcohol addiction. Prior to that I tried every drug in the book from shrooming, to micro dots mescaline, acid, pot, Quaaludes, meth and anything else that I could get a hold of to kill the pain off but nothing ever worked except for me getting real with myself and having the courage to take a look as to where all of this pain inside of my self all originated from. I quit a 35 year old smoking habit. I am still battling compulsive eating and dissociation. I have gained and lost 80-90 pounds on and off forever never even thinking about how out of the ordinary that kind of weight gain really was. When someone would say that they had to lose ten pounds I thought to myself that is a drop in the bucket. I never just gain 10 pounds but I never made the connection as to why I gained 90 pounds at a stint because subconsciously I knew why I did it but I did not want to go to that place inside of my self.

By the grace of God I have been clean and sober for over 9 years now. When I quit using drugs I resorted to being a work-a-holic!!! People like us will always look for our next fix to deaden the pain from our past until we are willing to face the truth about how our abusive parent’s killed every last part of our “being” and smashed “who” we were to smithereens teaching us that “who” we were wasn’t good enough in the process. It is a daunting task to say the least but it can be done. Work on yourself. Find people who can help you with overcoming your addictions. Stop punishing yourself for things that your parents should be sorry for. They aren’t worth it.

You are strong. Anyone who has survived what we went through is tough as nails. When I think about how little I was and what I went through. That survival instinct is inside of us. That may be the only thing positive that we have going for us from our abusive childhoods but it is enough to help propel us to the next level in our recoveries. Use it. Rely on it. It will get you through all the tough times and of course, wonderful people like on this site will be cheering you on every step of the way.

You deserve so much more then a life plagued with addictions to numb the pain of your past that punishes you for things that were never your fault to begin with. We all do. You are worth it.

God Bless,
Kris

114

Hi Marquis 108,

The only solution I know on how to deal with a narcissist is to stay the heck away from them!!!! They are beyond toxic and since they never think that they do anything wrong the chances of them asking for help are slim to none. Your therapist was an idiot!! You really are one tough cookie to survive the abuse and then have to survive these string of so-called therapist’s crappy advice on top of it. Kudos to you!!!

Kris

115

Hi Light, Don’t worry about being late. I know I miss some things too.:0)

I know it is different from stat-to-state but where I live, I think the system lets children down all of the time. It functions in a very arbitrary way. It is as dysfunctional as the families they are supposed to help. I live in one of the worst states for children and believe me, it isn’t hidden.

I labeled everything wrong in my childhood as “alcoholism”. I didn’t have the vocabulary or the understanding to express the emotional abuse and neglect in any other way. Sadly, that didn’t happen until much later in life. One of the hopes I have is that by victims speaking out as we do here, children who are abused will be able to understand better and also, have the words to express it. There’s so much I can’t change but I hope my choosing to no longer remain silent will make a difference. My story is really all I have to fight with.

Love,
Pam

116

Hi Pam,

Just think if everyone who was abused shared their story… how much healing could be accomplished. This world would be flooded with love and compassion instead of hate and disregard. We could change the whole sick dynamic of how people look at child abuse in general. We could save so many lives. Nobody knows better then us how it feels to be thrown away. We will always be a soft place to fall…if people only opened up their hearts enough to let us in. I think that you are on the right path. Nothing will change until people like us are willing to share what happened to us so people can understand just how devastating being abused really is and how it not only affects the one’s who were abused but each and every one of us as a whole. Thanks for your great insight. You encourage me to be able to do the same thing to make a difference.

Hugs,
Kris

117

Kris, thank you for your encouragement and for sharing about your battles with addiction too. Nine years drug free is a great achievement! There’s a lot that you say I can relate to. Once I discovered alcohol at 15 I went after anything I could to escape mentally. I understand why I went down that road but have a harder time forgiving myself for continuing for 35 more years. I’ve seen a drug counsellour for several years who’s very supportive, and always reminds me the use goes back to trauma and brain development.

Like yourself I’ve got the issue with compulsive eating, and that one’s the hardest to deal with. I was alcohol and drug free over 5 months last year, and over 7 months this year, but the food compulsion remained. I faced some very painful days this year while sober and stayed sober, which was a breakthrough for me. Rejection and loss of relationships is a huge trigger to use food or alcohol.

I’m working on accepting that the deep hurt inside me is not a reflection of my “weakness” or “over-sensitivity” or inability to cope, or something negative about me—that I hurt this much because I was wounded that much. That’s still internalized in me, that the way I’ve lived is about my inadequacies, and not about what happened. It seems very slow going getting to that place of really separating myself from the family’s messages about me. I am trying, that’s why I post and read here.

I know you’ve mentioned church Kris, I’m looking to find community in a church here (not sure which yet). I’ve found it very difficult to mingle and haven’t stayed for coffee hour even though I’m looking to make friends. I found it as hard to mingle as I do to stay on topic in my posts here. It’s bad. Often I feel like a hodgepodge of misplaced pieces inside while I perceive everyone else as being smooth and “normal”. Yet one on one people tell me nice things about myself. It seems the disconnect between what I feel about myself and what others see is immense. This aspect of healing is the hardest for me, even harder than staying sober: trusting myself with people. That makes sense, that I expect the same reactions from people that I got from family.

You do inspire me Kris, thank you for caring, and for being so thoughtful

Doren

118

Thank you, Kris.:0)It’s good to have the opportunity to take experiences that were so destructive, so devastating and turn them into something that helps others heal their devastation. You and all the others here do that for me too.

Love,
Pam

119

Hi Doren, one of the first glimmers of light I had was after hearing Andrew Vachss speak. He is a phenomenal advocate.

120

Doren, I relate to so many things you struggle with. My self abuse with drugs and alcohol was very interconnected with those damaging messages of self that I received in my childhood. I felt so bad about myself that punishing and hurting myself was the way I sought relief. Of course, I wanted that numbing effect too but I did worse things when inebriated than sober so, then I hated me even more. The last time I reached for alcohol, instead of pouring it down me, I poured every bit of it down the sink. It was a major thing for me. It was when I decided to stop hurting myself to feel better. The struggle with the self-loathing dialogue was much more difficult and I never got a handle on that until EFB. My husband hasn’t had to say, “Pamela, stop beating up on yourself.” for a few years now. I know this can happen for you too.

I always struggled with trusting people too much or not enough. I internalized everything they said to me or seemed to think about me. Now I know that trusting others is more about trusting myself. When the inner dialogue changed, I stabilized inside. I can still be affected by what people think of me, of course, but it doesn’t send me spinning the way it used to do. I’ve healed to the point of being sure of what is true about me and my life. I’m anchored in myself now. That happened for me when I rejected my family’s version of events and embraced what I knew inside of myself is true. When the truth gets in, it does its work. It starts a ball rolling that can’t be stopped. That’s how it happened, is happening for me.

Hang in there.

Love,
Pam

121

Hi Kaycee,

that particular article of his really impacted me when I first read it. For at least the first 20 years of seeking help I had virtually no therapeutic validation of emotional abuse. Most of the time doctors and therapists focused only on the symptoms in isolation, like my eating habits, or drinking, or depressions, without getting to the root of why I had these afflictions.

I remember in 1982 when I was 18, I attempted suicide and went on a psych ward for the first time. They gave me what they called “happy” pills and was told by a nurse it was time I grow up now and take responsibility. I was put on a diet I didn’t want to be on, and got written up for taking a piece of pie for a snack. Professionals didn’t want to look deep. Most couldn’t see beyond my weight.

There’s a part of me that’s always known better than any therapist, known that what happened was very damaging, and I’ve kept searching for that validation. Aside from this site I also get a lot from The Invisible Scar site.

122

Hi Doren #117,

You should be proud or yourself for maintaining your sobriety for all of those months. I know how hard it is to do. I didn’t get sober the first or second or third time around either!!! Compulsive eating is a bear!!! I think it is the hardest because we have access to food 24/7 and you have to eat to survive! I am trying to treat my compulsive eating like I treat by drug and alcohol addictions now. I have cut out all the foods that trigger me. I am accepting the fact that I just can’t eat those types of food anymore unless I want to gain 90 pounds for the umpteenth time in my life. Easier said then done, that’s for sure!!!

When I go to church I make it there just on time so that way I can make a b-line for the church pew without having to say boo to anyone along the way!!! If they do meet and greet your neighbor in the pew I could just cringe!! One day soon it won’t be this way. Our parent’s
abuse robbed us from the ability to trust ourselves because they never taught us how to stand up on our own two feet out of their own fear that one day we would leave them if we knew how to do it for ourselves. It takes time to build ourselves back up after they tore us down so badly before.

I can tell you I am anything but smooth and normal and I am ok with that now!!! Trying to be perfect all the time was hard work. I much rather be a little rough around the edges!! And believe me if anyone has any problems staying on topic it is me and my DID!! All I can say is sorry Darlene!!!

Thnx for your kind words and support too.

Peace,
Kris

123

Hi Laura,

“Living with abusers does not make you a coward,on the contrary.Sometimes it’s not about the strength to leave home.It’s about money and having a place to stay and getting a restraint order and putting your own parents into jail if they don’t respect it,which leads to false guilt etc.”

True, I was called a coward for living with abusers. Yea, for me, it’s about money and finding a place to live – not enough money for me at all. I have been thinking more and more of just leaving home finding a roommate who will collateral in conjunction of rent. I have heard of people doing that, it’s a matter of finding WHO will do that. I know bills need to be paid, but it’s still taking me longer to get full time. I do have another job interview lined up next Tuesday another pt temp. Honestly, I feel like I’m gonna be stuck here forever still trying to find a full time job while still gaining more job skills. At least a 2nd job would help give me more money; however, I believe I need to leave soon. Like I said, if I can’t help you pay rent, then we need to make a contract on something. People need to go back to bargaining because if people still can’t have enough money to do xyz, then it just feels like saving forever still trying to reach that goal.

About being strong, in person I can’t seem to stand up for myself. When I try to be strong, I get knots in my tummy not sure if that’s normal. When I look at my sister being strong, she can just say shit and it just flows and she never hesitates.

About what Darlene said, I agree. That’s why I don’t put any effort in an abuser can change, like she a miracle would happen. How do you get an abuser to change when they are suppose to have all the answers? That’s what that idiot ex-therapist didn’t get! I told her they have all the answers right? So, they should be able to figure it out.

DXS,

Agreed. I told her some therapist can’t even see everything I am saying is a huge problem but all I get is love thy parents!

Kris,

Exactly. Soon, I hope to stay far away from my parents.

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Hi Darlene and Marquis,
You are both right.Knowing that abusers don’t wake up unless they want to, it takes away my anger and calms me down.Maybe if my father had gone to good therapy,he would have reacted violently to the attempt of taking his mask off.Abusers can be very intelligent intellectually speaking,but emotionally,they are retard.That’s why they can’t change,because they can’t love.For them, feelings in general are something they strongly reject.It’s like they are afraid of feelings and see them as an enemy.

Marquis,it’s perfectly normal to have knots in your tummy whenever you try to stand up for yourself.People who had happy childhood also feel the fear,they are just good at hiding it.It’s a social mask,nothing else.Even bosses have their own insecurities.I think fear stems from the terror of being punished by our parents if we fail at something.A normally raised adult child knows that failure is not the end of the world,that it too shall pass.But not for us.If i’m supposed to get something done and i fail,my brain goes into a turmoil on my way home:”What will i tell my parents this time? How do i cover up my mistake? What will they do to me if they catch my lie?”.Children coming from loving families have no such worries.That’s why i know it’s not your fault.

We are survivors,not cowards.

125

Just a quick note to say I am hoping to continue a conversation over on the “Christmas Feelings When Family Rejects You” thread from December 2013. Don’t know about anyone else but I’m feeling more anxious as Christmas approaches!

126

Hi Kris #122,

That’s funny you called compulsive eating a bear, cause that’s exactly how I was going to describe it at first before changing my mind…a BEAR. No doubt because we need food it is so much more difficult to overcome. As with so many people, sugar and carbs are my go-to foods. There is a numbness to overeating but of course it’s not the same as drugs and alcohol provide. I’m also aware that eating is a kind of dissociative activity for me; I find it very difficult to concentrate on the eating and my thoughts race all over the place.
I’ve mentioned it before, I can’t remember not eating this way, I was very young when it took hold. It was encouraged by my father, who ate compulsively as well. His whole solace was food and tranquilizers. It’s been a part of my identity for a long time but I believe it can be overcome. I’m giving up my trigger foods too, Kris. After Christmas.

Thank you for your encouragement over my periods of sobriety. I think this is about my 80th time trying to give up alcohol—but I’ve always believed I will overcome that, too. The mental cost is very high now, the depressions from it very intense, but I’ve chosen to escape rather than face what’s inside. I had some days in September which were very triggering and did not drink, and it was horrible, I felt like I was on fire inside, and I’m scared to feel that inner pain again. But I know I have to feel what comes up if I’m to get better.

I feel better now knowing I’m not the only one who feels very self-conscious about the mingly thing in church. I’m inspired that you still go despite that. I think I’ve been pretty hard on myself, it’s a major step just getting there (or any social setting) in the first place. I also have a lifelong habit of automatically comparing myself to others and seeing them as more “normal” and together. But we don’t know how people are struggling inside, plus I have this distorted filter through which I see the world in comparison to myself.

Peace to you,
Doren

127

Hi Pam #120,

thanks so much for your support. When you say you can relate to many of my struggles, that alone makes me feel more hopeful for myself, and that I’m not so different.

I don’t think it’s possible to feel good about yourself in addiction. I have a couple of very understanding, well trained counsellours who always affirm me in sobriety or in relapse. They both tell me I’m progressing and have worked hard. This is much harder for myself to see. I think my relapses are particularly hard now because of the longer and longer sober times preceding them.

I know for sure my substance abuse is connected to childhood. I really needed a way out mentally, but unfortunately alcohol and drugs really clicked with me immediately. I never had a stage of social use, it was excessive from the start. Most of my life I’ve just told myself I like getting high. I never thought too much about why I’m hurting myself so much. I never thought, “If I love myself, I wouldn’t do this to myself”. I’ve asked counsellours, would they drink like me, drink a magnum of wine at a sitting, they say “No. That would hurt me”. And I sit there wondering, “That’s enough? That it would hurt you, that’s enough?” It’s almost like another language to me. Hurting myself never made much difference to me. Not feeling was what mattered.

I know there’s a lot of shame connected to it. I feel very self-conscious in the liquor store. I feel marked or stained somehow, and exposed. Then I go home alone and put my life to sleep for a while. The recrimination after is awful. I think every time I drink or use I’m being that bad, shameful, weak whatever they said I was. I have so internalized their take on me, I know it, I know it’s been killing me. I know when I reach out to my sister, I’m being that person I was taught to be. I come here to read and to get some strength, because I am so scared of being truly self-reliant. It’s a matter of self-trust, as you say. Dare I trust myself when my perspective on my family is so different from everyone else’s? To take myself back from those limitations after a lifetime? I am SO scared. But if I don’t do that, I am not living, and I’ll never know who I am. I have to trust in that ball rolling, right, that it won’t be so scary always. Thanks again Pam.

128

Kris and Doren: Congratulations to you both on your sobriety!! It sounds like it is so very hard, or can be, depending on triggers. And Doren, I can relate to feeling so scared (post 127) of taking oneself back and reclaiming power. There is an emptiness ahead, to be filled with love and loving, but right now it is empty. Perhaps I need a new visualization rather than the one of jumping off into the abyss!!

I can relate to not wanting to socialize in the church setting. I used to arrive on purpose 10 min late so I wouldn’t be around for the handshake with your neighbors on either side. I don’t care for forced socialization like that…I’d rather let physical contact and greetings happen naturally.

129

Kris, I am so grateful for your post. I too have been suffering from self blame about how I’ve allowed people to treat me; I still suffer from a silence self at times, although not as much.

Reading that you DID NOT KNOW is exactly what I needed to read because it explains why I allowed people to treat me so poorly. Just tonight I was sitting in a movie theatre, distracted by my own anger at MYSELF and not the people who abused me!

My reactions are always delayed; the abuse happens and once in awhile I will step up but often I don’t see it until it’s much later. There must be a way of knowing you don’t deserve it, that triggers a healthy response and this is where I want to be.

There are the words from you that made such a difference:

I was able to forgive my husband for not treating me well but I was not able to forgive myself for allowing him to do those things to me to begin with. I was still blaming myself for allowing other people to use and abuse me all of my life but what I wasn’t seeing was the real truth behind WHY I allowed myself to be disrespected. The truth is my parents never taught me what it felt like to be respected.

YES. The culture tells us that we are to blame for allowing it. But if allowing it is an every day thing we are hypnotized into allowing it.

How was I to know that there was a whole other world out there where people actually treated each other right? You attract what you are used to and what I was used to was being my parent’s doormat. I had no self respect because they robbed that away from me out of no fault of my own.

YES.
I didn’t have control over how they treated me back then. Today it finally clicked and 48 years of self blame and self hatred for allowing my self to continue to be abused all of my life went right down the proverbial toilet because now I know the truth. There was no possible way for me to know that that is what other people were doing to me. –

Yes. We can’t see it because it is the air we’ve been breathing; thank you so much for identifying this elephant that’s been hiding in plain sight.

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Mary,

Everything you wrote is so RIGHT! You’ve expressed it wonderfully.

I caught on to a strange way I was reacting to myself. I would get so busy being angry at myself and feeling guilty for allowing people to mistreat me for so long, that I didn’t realize that I had every reason to STOP allowing it NOW. I think I felt that because I had not caught on earlier, I didn’t deserve to try to stop it now.

I found there’s a bit of a learning curve in the process of NOT ALLOWING people to continue to mistreat me. There is actually a lot of healing and strengthening involved to be good at it. I’ve learned to forgive myself for not knowing better when I didn’t and to give myself the time I need to heal and learn.

I can do something different with the rest of my life. That’s a good thing!

Hobie

131

Doren, You’re welcome. My journey away from abusing myself with substances was incremental too. Some aspects of it, I achieved through will power but there had to be a certain level of inner healing before I could completely, set it aside. I’ve been sober for thirty years now. I still had a lot of inner work to do after achieving sobriety. We can only accomplish what we are ready to accomplish, in the time we are meant to do so. Letting truth do its work inside can take some of the pressure off. A little inner work every day is what it takes to reach the goal.

Love,
Pam

132

My reactions are always delayed; the abuse happens and once in awhile I will step up but often I don’t see it until it’s much later. There must be a way of knowing you don’t deserve it, that triggers a healthy response and this is where I want to be.

Mary, did you have a mother who “told” you how to “feel?” I, too, have “delayed” reactions because I was “told” how to “feel.” As a result, when I figure out I have been abused, and try to resolve it, the other person has “forgot” and I get the “why didn’t you bring it up at the time?” I have tried to explain the “delayed reactions” but Mom won’t hear of it. If it’s that important I should bring it up at the time and not two weeks later (common for me). Thus, things get repressed and repressed, and hear I am in my late 50’s trying to “Spill the basket” and Mom won’t deal with it.

Mom once told me that her mom “told” her how to “feel.” This explains a lot. My mom does not know herself and refuses to. She hates being “analyzed.” (Translation: She doesn’t want to hear the truth about herself.) She tries to convince people she is a duck when she is a goose. (Or vice versa.) When you show her that she is a duck as opposed to a goose, she gets really mad. Even if you prove it.

133

DXS, I don’t recall my mother acknowledging me much at all, not to tell me how to feel or anything. I don’t recall having any conversations with her as a child, ever; it was just a process of going here, then going somewhere else, eating, sleeping, an utter deprivation of love. My father was the only one who saw me, but he was afraid of my mother’s wrath. If it hadn’t been for my dad, I might not have thrived in that home.

I was molested by neighbor kids as a preschooler, and my mother knew about it and did nothing. This was how I received my primary message that my feelings of trauma are not worth acknowledging. When a male sibling was caught peeping through a hole in the wall to watch me dress, I told her about it, she said she didn’t want to alienate him.

My brother doesn’t think it’s much of a big deal to this day, of course. God knows how many times he’d probably ‘observed’ me.

I’ve talked to people who say they have normal relationships with siblings who’ve sexually abused them, but I don’t see how this can ever be. I cannot. I can forgive, but there are lines that must never be crossed. Therapy has always been along the lines of ‘there’s nothing you can do about it now.’ Well, that’s just not true.

DXS,my mother does not like to discuss the past or reality in the least. She confessed being abused by her uncles, but she said it was just something that happened, and not to focus on it. I think our mothers do pass down to us what happened to them, and hate the thought of their worlds crashing down on them. My mother couldn’t believe that her son would ever be so abusive; I’m sure she thought it was my fault somehow.

I’m happy to say that I have no contact with these people, and that my life while lonely at times, it is far better.

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How do you respond to people who attack you for speaking the truth about about your experience? I try to be “safe” when disclosing my estrangement now as there’s no benefit to setting myself up for an attack every time but what if you make a mistake about who is “safe” to talk to and the person attacks you when you talk about your experience?

I don’t feel good about having to walk on eggshells every time someone launches into the “motherhood” topic (and it seems to be a favorite topic for some people when I’m around for some reason) and I want to be able to talk about my own experience without being silenced. Obviously I’m asking because the shit hit the fan in this respect pretty recently:( My response was a mess (and the other person wasn’t listening to them anyway)

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and my mother knew about it and did nothing. This was how I received my primary message that my feelings of trauma are not worth acknowledging.

Kind of like how I was traumatized by an OB/GYN exam at age 12 (which was necessary) and my mom LIED to me about it (didn’t prepare me for it) and then got angry at me for being “rude” to the doctor! Yeppers, your feelings of trauma are NOT IMPORTANT, just as mine weren’t. How can someone say they love us, and treat us this way?

136

DXS,my mother does not like to discuss the past or reality in the least. She confessed being abused by her uncles, but she said it was just something that happened, and not to focus on it. I think our mothers do pass down to us what happened to them, and hate the thought of their worlds crashing down on them.

Yeppers, that is why they say “leave the past alone.” They would rather repress it and pretend it never happened than to deal with it. And that is what my mom wants me to do.

137

Hi Light,

thank you for the congrats! I had a good stretch this year without substances, and got experience handling very difficult emotions without totally numbing out. Last month when I felt completely alone without a friend or family, I caved. But progress was made.

Growing up Catholic we routinely shook hands with neighbours in surrounding pews as part of each service, so that doesn’t bother me. It’s the coffee hour after, and the drifting around chatting. I feel so awkward with chit chat like that, and I know I’m worried of saying the “wrong” thing. That’s a big bugaboo, saying the wrong thing, coming off weird. It has to be from growing up with so much criticism.

I got turned off church as a teenager, partly because my mother would get angry at me for not going, but she and Dad weren’t going either! I think they went once a year but expected me and my sister to go every week. They were very do as I say, not as I do.

Nothing to do with church, but another example of that do as I say thing involved their shoplifting. I remember things being put in my winter coat for hiding when we were in a supermarket. I also remember my fear of being caught at the checkout. I started shoplifting too around that age, under 10, stealing candy bars. I got caught one day, a policeman lectured me at home while my parents stood there. For all I know they called the police on me. A few years after that, I wanted some Barbie thing from K-Mart, Mom told me, “Just rip it out and take it”, so I did. They believed there was a different set of rules for themselves because they were the parents. This behaviour left me very confused but therapists 30, 20 years ago generally didn’t address it. Being called sick, crazy etc by people engaged in criminal activity really messed with my head, but therapists were only really concerned with labeling me, fitting me in a diagnostic category.

I’m sure so much therapy over the years has hindered me more than helped, contributing to my sense of being apart from others.

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Hi Light,

Thnx for the congrats on sobriety. It is a life changer for the better that we all should take time to celebrate now and again. Thnx for doing that for me today. It was really nice to hear. I lit a candle in honor of all of us who survived and lived to tell about it and those who didn’t. Addictions BITE to say the least!!! No… the abuse that caused those addictions and the people who inflicted it upon us is what bites!!!!

Hi Mary 129,

Glad I could help!! You mentioned about having a delayed reaction when people aren’t treating you right. I have felt this way numerous times too. I believe it is because other dynamics are playing with our heads beneath the surface that we aren’t consciously aware of at the time. For me these things got in my way from being able to see the truth of what really was happening in any given situation. 1.) I used to believe the lie that any time something went wrong it had to be my fault no matter how obvious that it wasn’t 2). I created a fantasy world in my head where I believed everyone else out there was the nice guy as a safe haven trying to escape the reality of being abused when I was a child. Between those 2 belief systems working underneath the surface of my mind there was never any room for me to see that just maybe the other person wasn’t such a nice guy and just maybe he is the one who was doing ME wrong and not the other way around. My delayed reaction stemmed from knowing underneath it all that what was happening to me really wasn’t right but at the SAME time I was still believing both of those lies. You are stuck in a double bind. A catch 22. Mulling over these things inside my head is what took so much time hence the delayed reaction.

I believe there is a way of knowing it. Giving yourself the time to heal from the affects of being abused when you were a child and learning the truths about the pack of lies that you had to tell yourself in order to survive it and then coming to the point of knowing that you are worth just as much as anyone else out there so you no longer will believe that other people’s poor behavior is your fault anymore and once you get there you will be able to spot other people’s poor behavior a mile away and you will think to yourself why the heck wasn’t I able to see this before and we are right back to where you stated so brilliantly:

“ We can’t see it because it is the air we’ve been breathing… and its the elephant that’s been hiding in plain sight. “

But once that elephant is exposed there is no hiding it again. Once you know the truth about all the lies that you once believed about yourself in order to survive your parent’s abuse no one on God’s green earth can take that knowledge away from you and that’s when the abuse ENDS.

Peace,
Kris

139

Hi Doren,

I had to laugh today. At church they did the meet and greet thing that I just got done mentioning to you but you know what. It wasn’t so bad!!! The people were very nice and now I am beginning to think that I am the one who was missing out on something all of this time!!! Wasn’t so scary today. Can’t help but think maybe it had to do with having all of your support and everyone else’s on this site. Things are changing inside of me. I pray for this for you too. AMEN!!! Hallelujah!!

Hugs,
Kris

140

“I was able to forgive my husband for not treating me well but I was not able to forgive myself for allowing him to do those things to me to begin with. I was still blaming myself for allowing other people to use and abuse me all of my life but what I wasn’t seeing was the real truth behind WHY I allowed myself to be disrespected. The truth is my parents never taught me what it felt like to be respected.

YES. The culture tells us that we are to blame for allowing it. But if allowing it is an every day thing we are hypnotized into allowing it.

How was I to know that there was a whole other world out there where people actually treated each other right? You attract what you are used to and what I was used to was being my parent’s doormat. I had no self respect because they robbed that away from me out of no fault of my own.

YES.
I didn’t have control over how they treated me back then. Today it finally clicked and 48 years of self blame and self hatred for allowing my self to continue to be abused all of my life went right down the proverbial toilet because now I know the truth. There was no possible way for me to know that that is what other people were doing to me.”

Amen culture says blame the victims. I told this to my ex-therapist/people I said if you study culture and look at how “our culture” aka Society says how it’s the victim’s fault for xyz, then you can see where the problem lies within our “cultural thinking.” Oh people, completely dismissed what I said. I didn’t have control over how to be treated either another piece of info that people out there don’t get.

“How do you respond to people who attack you for speaking the truth about about your experience? I try to be “safe” when disclosing my estrangement now as there’s no benefit to setting myself up for an attack every time but what if you make a mistake about who is “safe” to talk to and the person attacks you when you talk about your experience?
I don’t feel good about having to walk on eggshells every time someone launches into the “motherhood” topic (and it seems to be a favorite topic for some people when I’m around for some reason) and I want to be able to talk about my own experience without being silenced. Obviously I’m asking because the shit hit the fan in this respect pretty recently:( My response was a mess (and the other person wasn’t listening to them anyway)”

Agreed. I hate walking on eggshells when speaking to people and I don’t feel I should be sileneced. This is what I told ex-therapist/people ‘if you don’t like what I have to say then don’t ask me anything family-related since you are so used to “hearing fictional type of families.”‘ Oh, they were livid when I said that. I did tell someone that is not a subject I am interested in talking about and the guy blew up in my face saying lots of people love speaking about their families and cut him off saying ‘well, I am not one of them as there’s nothing to talk about.’ He was so pissed, he refused to talk to me and walked away speaking ill about me in front of people.

Ex-therapist said ‘by not telling people anything about your family, you are trying to remove a piece of you and that’s not fair to other people.’ I said ‘excuse me, might as well remove something that wasn’t true from the jump! You gotta be careful asking people questions about their families as it could be so bad they don’t wanna hear the word family again or they could be the last descendant and that could be hard on them. We have to be careful choosing what subjects we want to speak to people about and we all should respected if we choose not to speak about a certain subject either we need to feel safe/comfy around the person in order to share the story or it’s not worth speaking about at all.’

I don’t need to be attacked by people I tell them you asked me to be honest as I am and this is what I get?!? Shit, this is real life this is what happened/still happening to me – this is not Disneyland! Why bother asking for honesty? My ex-therapist said why even lie? I said ‘you people don’t appreciate it. It seems lying is better than the truth, disguise it where people can hear what they want and everything is okay – that’s exactly how people are in today’s world!’

Yea, I am still searching other ways to not want to politely speak about the idiots who created me. Like I told my ex-therapist, they might as well not be called parents might as well take that piece from me. Like I told her and other people life will still continue to move forward whether we have “family” or not.

141

If only the people in positions of power held power because of the merit of their work, and if only we lived in a world where merit wasn’t subjective (not that truth doesn’t exist but if someone is held up by a system of lies, they’re held up by a system of lies, and until you know that, you don’t know that, so for you, for all intents and purposes, until the point you know, the lies are your truth). So life is a crapshoot, where you have to learn how to maneuver in a world that is not organized by truth and goodness. There’s no one in charge of that. Like the wizard of oz scene, the guy behind the curtain is just a guy behind the curtain. So we have to learn how to dissect/decipher the truth and organize ourselves the best we can. Being able to see is everything. It doesn’t give you any kind of guarantee about your position in the world around you. You may be victim to the world, but your spirit prevails because it is connected to the truth. The leap of faith is in trusting yourself to believe that’s true, no matter what anyone else wants you to think, no matter what they say or do to you. What I know is you will take some knocks to the head and the heart and how much you can prepare yourself or shield yourself will never be 100%. I think that once you’re on the right path, and dedicated to it, you can transform these situations, take ahold of them, even if not in the moment that they happened (most often not), but learn from them, hope you grow, become stronger, because what else can you do? The world is what it is, often harsh, so either you opt out of it or try to figure your way through it. Finding likeminded, loving, caring, honest people is one of the best armoury you can find, because life is so much harder being alone in a sea of lies. I think it will pull you under and drown you if not for those friends, true friends, who will link arms with you.

142

“If only the people in positions of power held power because of the merit of their work, and if only we lived in a world where merit wasn’t subjective (not that truth doesn’t exist but if someone is held up by a system of lies, they’re held up by a system of lies, and until you know that, you don’t know that, so for you, for all intents and purposes, until the point you know, the lies are your truth). So life is a crapshoot, where you have to learn how to maneuver in a world that is not organized by truth and goodness.”

Amen! Sad, how these so called “intelligent adults” out there don’t even know that or refuse to know the real truth. That’s why I told my ex-therapist/people that “the little man behind the curtain” aka Society is pulling the strings as he is the puppet master and we (the people) are the puppets who tells us when to eat, breathe, shit, love, think, work, etc. Their eyes popped out of their sockets hearing that and I get told by people that I am stupid that “no young person like myself isn’t suppose to know this info until I am at the “proper age” to fully understand life.” Hmm, I seem to fully understand better than most adults out there do as a lot of them live in fantasyland.

“There’s no one in charge of that. Like the wizard of oz scene, the guy behind the curtain is just a guy behind the curtain. So we have to learn how to dissect/decipher the truth and organize ourselves the best we can. Being able to see is everything. It doesn’t give you any kind of guarantee about your position in the world around you. You may be victim to the world, but your spirit prevails because it is connected to the truth.”

Amen.

“to think, no matter what they say or do to you. What I know is you will take some knocks to the head and the heart and how much you can prepare yourself or shield yourself will never be 100%. I think that once you’re on the right path, and dedicated to it, you can transform these situations, take ahold of them, even if not in the moment that they happened (most often not), but learn from them, hope you grow, become stronger, because what else can you do? The world is what it is, often harsh, so either you opt out of it or try to figure your way through it. Finding likeminded, loving, caring, honest people is one of the best armoury you can find, because life is so much harder being alone in a sea of lies. I think it will pull you under and drown you if not for those friends, true friends, who will link arms with you.”

Exactly.

143

Thanks for the backup, Marquis!

Just got an email from my grandma. I don’t have contact with her but she writes me sometimes—always the same thing about how I’m loved and missed and how she hopes I’ll come home soon and how she’s praying for me. I try not to let my head explode. I’d like to tell my grandma that maybe if she learned how to be a mother to my mother (along with her other children), my mother would learn how to be a mother to me. I’d like to ask her if she knows, and how does she feel, that her daughter has simply accepted a long time ago that she (my grandma) was a narcissist and that there was nothing that could be done (that was my mom’s response to me when I was trying to elicit her understanding, asking her how she would feel if her own mother ever took responsibility for all the abuse and parental negligence she suffered, my mom totally missing my point, by simply saying that she’d accepted her own mother as a narcissist a long time ago). Personally, I’d think it would suck to know that a child of mine had simply decided I wasn’t capable of being a decent human being but she kept a nice image, patronizingly compassionate to an emotionally abusive mother who never took responsibility for herself—-but I guess that’s what you get when you fail to act like a decent human being; people will come to the conclusion that you aren’t capable of being one. I’m sure it’s easy to see me as the jerk, the one who doesn’t understand the complexity of life, like what people said to you, Marquis, about being too young to fully understand but it’s insane to think that these dysfunctional relationships can only be held together by pretending and not talking about reality, by lying about one’s experience of life, or keeping a lid on it, as if the ability to be a phoney is a mark of maturity and wisdom. It’s not that I’m not able to be compassionate and understanding; I’m just not going to play some game with someone who doesn’t want to extend the same curtesy of compassion and understanding to me, and then have me out to be the unreasonable and abusive one simply for wanting the family to recognize the truth and change the dynamics… Argh.

144

I find it so disturbing that Camille Cosby is “standing by her man”. Denial is very, very powerful. Perhaps the denier (in general) feels powerless and doesn’t know who she/he would be without her/his partner.

Multitudes of women are coming forward, and she’s still in denial. Yes, innocent until proven guilty, yet Bill Cosby appears to be a serial rapist.

Reminds me of Dottie Sandusky (Jerry Sandusky’s wife).

145

Excellent post Alaina. As a good friend asked me “Why would you keep company with someone who is mean to you?” And I was more or less able to answer that one. I keep looking for mother figures is the short answer.
I also received a “We’re thinking of you” e-mail the other day but I wasn’t comfortable with the idea that they were.
The instance I refer to in my earlier post involved a person who had told me her mom was a narc and so I (stupidly perhaps?) assumed it was ok to to discuss it with her but she seems to have found a very different way of dealing with the ensuing pain. Or rather NOT dealing with it, which is how she came to be attacking me in the first place.

I think you and Marquis understand the complexity of life very well.

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Alaina, Alice, and others who commented on the “You don’t know what it’s like” stuff.

I’m childless by choice. I get the “You don’t know what it’s like to have children.” I’ll admit, I don’t. But when I see other families who give “validation” to their children, I want to say, “You didn’t know how to be a mother, you didn’t know how to love me, nor did you want to even try to figure me out, you just swept me under the rug hoping I would someday “change” (translation: Fit in with the rest of the world instead of being a precocious child)

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Hi Marquis #142,

“Amen! Sad, how these so called “intelligent adults” out there don’t even know that or refuse to know the real truth. That’s why I told my ex-therapist/people that “the little man behind the curtain” aka Society is pulling the strings as he is the puppet master and we (the people) are the puppets who tells us when to eat, breathe, shit, love, think, work, etc. Their eyes popped out of their sockets hearing that and I get told by people that I am stupid that “no young person like myself isn’t suppose to know this info until I am at the “proper age” to fully understand life.” Hmm, I seem to fully understand better than most adults out there do as a lot of them live in fantasyland. ”

Right on sister!! It doesn’t get any better then that!!! Well said. I just love reading your posts. You have the guts to say what other people only think. I’m sick of having to accept the old “head in the sand routine” as a legitimate excuse for abusing people in the process. It’s bullcrap.

Peace.

Kris

148

DXS, on being child free, I did not have a child for the first 16 years I was married and I was considered high risk because of advanced maternal age when I did. I got the same lines over and over again. Not having a child was another thing they used to lower my place in the pecking order. I didn’t know anything because I was not a mother, nor was I mother material. Not only that, nothing else I did mattered because being a Mother is the most important thing one can as I was told when I graduated college. For nearly two decades i lived in the shadow of my golden sister as my Mother endlessly worshiped her for being and old soul and a worthy of canonization for her mothering skills.

Let me tell you, having a child did not change a thing. My Mom blew my confidence at every turn when I had a baby and i put up with her snide comments about my Mothering skills for 8 years before I blew up at her. Now the best she can do is say my child really loves me. She will not say I am a good Mother though, it is like my child is giving me a gift by loving me and I should be grateful because after all, I am unlovable.

Don’t get trapped in the “you are not a mother” excuse. it is just another one of the straws they grasp at to explain you away and if it wasn’t that it would be something else. Having a child has made it even more difficult for me to understand how my Mother could have treated me the way she did.

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Kaycee “Don’t get trapped in the “you are not a mother” excuse. it is just another one of the straws they grasp at to explain you away and if it wasn’t that it would be something else. Having a child has made it even more difficult for me to understand how my Mother could have treated me the way she did.” Hear, hear! This was also thrown at me by my “friend” as a way of invalidating me.

I have also chosen to be childfree. This did not sit well with my mother although I couldn’t explain why, given that she had clearly told me that had she had the opportunity to do things over she would not have become a mother. Well, ‘newsflash’, she didn’t “become a mother”. But that didn’t stop her hiding behind the mythology from behind where she could get away with lots of mean shit to her kids.

Susan Forward’s latest book refers to the taboo of speaking against your mother. Like EFB, a pretty vindicating read.

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“I’m sure it’s easy to see me as the jerk, the one who doesn’t understand the complexity of life, like what people said to you, Marquis, about being too young to fully understand but it’s insane to think that these dysfunctional relationships can only be held together by pretending and not talking about reality, by lying about one’s experience of life, or keeping a lid on it, as if the ability to be a phoney is a mark of maturity and wisdom. It’s not that I’m not able to be compassionate and understanding; I’m just not going to play some game with someone who doesn’t want to extend the same curtesy of compassion and understanding to me, and then have me out to be the unreasonable and abusive one simply for wanting the family to recognize the truth and change the dynamics… Argh.”

Amen. I always told people who were older than me ‘I saw a lot of shit growing up, a bunch of lies, physical abuse towards my idiot mom, hmmm affairs, the contradictions about life/love/people/relationships, and became a very deep thinker on my own. I was about to turn out ignorant when I was like 8 because I thought that was the way to go and go by what Society tells people. I was able to distinguish a lot of shit at a young age that you really don’t see kids do or ever need to do.’ I told a lot of people about all kinds of things at a young age and they couldn’t believe it.

One time in grade school, I told a teacher if she didn’t like her job she needs to leave apparently she hates teaching children. Is this just a job for her, a paycheck, or no other employer wanted her? She was enraged by how I told her off and had people tell me usually you don’t hear kids speak like that at an adult level – guess what? I did! Why? We were placed into “adult roles” as children growing up which is something people never heard of or even believe. I told people why do you think my friends in grade school and middle school too said you sound like your 25 instead of sounding like an 8, 10, 12, or 15 yr old. I’ve told off adults didn’t matter, so I spoke the same language as adults had enough experience to know what is true and what isn’t. I was told by people I needed to be a wise old person to “give advice using a vast knowledge of past experiences.” really?!?

I guess that’s why children back then couldn’t relate to me nor could I relate to them may be I “matured” quicker intellectual wise than them. Too many “older adults” I have seen/spoken with are dumb as a box of rocks yet got the nerve to call themselves “wise and mature!?” My ex-therapist said my parents must have some wisdom and said to her “wisdom is not lying through your teeth and having a cult of followers behind you.” Typical, she got irate! They are married so there must be some kind of wisdom according to her and other people I said wow dumb!

Older people can say what they want like I always told them “how could you say you’re wise, mature, and have experience when I hear the vast of your so called knowledge comes from fairytales and what Society says? That is not wisdom, maturity, grown, etc when your told how to live life instead of you living it and finding out yourselves. Anybody of any age can be dumb and stupid as those words DO NOT discriminate a person’s age!” Seriously, I have heard shit, stupid shit, coming out of a person who was like 59 yrs old and you’re like gee, that person must have a lot of experience. Age and experience goes hand in hand, but I tell myself don’t be fooled by a person’s age if their mouths don’t match up to their experiences at all. Sad, I have seen people applaud an ignorant older person all because “of their age” but when someone who is older has experience and speaks truth people boo them yep seen it! Like I told my idiot ex-therapist, ‘you could be 200 years old, but you have absolutely nothing to show for it all those years and zero accomplishments/experiences, then being 200 yrs old or whatever means absolutely nothing there is no wisdom, you are not a sage, etc. I asked did Jesus speak with no experience? Did He write a book on false contradictions? Where in Scripture does He contradict himself? Do more studying is what I told her and she shut the hell up real quick! She couldn’t argue that one with me.

I said that to a lot of people of any age they all stfu real quick! They have a very hard time getting me in a trap. I am almost 29 yrs old, hmm, have a perfectly good understanding about life.

Glad this topic came up about “you are not a mom, you don’t understand bullshit.” Okay, yep, I tell people ‘you are right, I don’t know and never been a mom. However, how could the shit my parents did be considered “good parenting” explain that one?! I’m smart enough to recognize horrible parenting and have taken it flipping it as to what is suppose to be good parenting and I don’t have a child to do it on. A lot of you so called parents call me a liar about my parents and I always wondered if you are practicing what you’re preaching. I will never take any kind of parenting advice from fools who no better don’t care how married you or how many kids you have!’ Ohh everybody became deaf when I said that lmao!

I don’t have children as I see no benefit of it because I didn’t have a good life maybe if I did I might have children. I told my friends in high school if I had a child, I would like to adopt. They didn’t like that at all ‘why can’t you produce a child using your own DNA? I can and fired back how about start taking care of the kids in foster cares first before using your own DNA? We got a huge problem in foster care yet stupid people can go make a baby when they please!’ Everybody shut up after that didn’t mention to me about kids when I was present. Adopting a child it was an idea, again, I see no benefit in having kids because I didn’t see any real good parenting from “my parents.” I didn’t grow up with kids until I started kindergarten is when the kids moved into the area, I am so used to older people from when I was a kid and didn’t like being around other kids when I was a kid lol.

The stuff you hear parents go through with their kids, one parent isn’t being responsible, etc would be very hard to deal with and I am not dismissing that at all. However, it’s funny how these “parents” can be such victims but tell me I can’t be a victim because “I will figure it out sure enough,” and told them “who sounds like a victim now?” Yep, they screamed at me. I don’t date people who have children not for me at all. Having no kids certainly isn’t in the books for a lot of women out there the typical ‘how dare you’ attitude gets thrown at me. Hell, I am still trying to get a career started and too damn costly to even have a kid now that’s how I feel.

It’s fine if people don’t like what I or other survivors have to say, that’s great, it doesn’t change what actually happens out there in the real world and real life! If they want to sweep mud under the rug and let it build up; that’s their problem don’t bring me into your dogmas! Told my ex-therapist ‘grow a dick and balls shut the hell up! Start having a guy’s persona I know I do and don’t care not hung up on why someone doesn’t have kids or kissing some lousy parents’ asses for not shit for their kids you would never see me do that to other lousy parents!

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About the childless thing or “you don’t know what it’s like,” or the insinuation that you are too young to understand the complexities of life, well, I know life is hard and I know that I don’t know what I haven’t experienced, haven’t learned from what I haven’t experienced, but that doesn’t mean that the reality I did experience didn’t happen, or that which harmed me somehow isn’t harmful. It’s one of those things similar to the forgiveness mandate because it does admit/assume that there is SOMETHING that needs to be, in this case not forgiven, but taken into context to the larger realm of the world that you just can’t do because you’re missing that magical factor… at the same time that you’re not having whatever that “something” is recognized. In short, as long as you’re holding them responsible for something they don’t want to recognize, be faulted for, or have to change, they will say whatever to put it back on you, even when not recognizing what “it” is, as Darlene often points out.

DXS,
your response to the “you don’t know what it’s like” is more or less the same as mine would be.

Alice,
No, I don’t think you were stupid to engage in conversation when she brought it up. She spoiled an opportunity. You were a friend opening up a potential for deeper friendship. You didn’t know it would turn out that way. Because she had a narc mom, you thought there might be a chance to connect there, which makes complete and utter sense, and if it had worked out, then it would have been completely worth the risk of speaking up and you and others here might be congratulating you right now on taking that risk. You’d have another ally in life right now and you can never have too many of them. You gave life a shot and that’s commendable, not stupid. She was the one who was stupid if she thought it was okay to hurt/upset a friend just for her ideas about motherhood, as though your choices and your opinion were anything other than your choices and opinions. She’s the one who blew it. If you hadn’t given it a shot, you wouldn’t know, and you would’ve acted in a way that assumed less of her than what friendship means. Do you know what I mean? If you had decided to not go there because it’s a contentious subject, you’re making the assumption that she’s not mature enough to handle the topic… And it turns out she wasn’t. Even if she didn’t hold the same beliefs and understanding as you, she could have disagreed without attacking you. The friendship should have been more important to her than her need to assert her opinions, etc, especially once she saw how she was impacting you. She made it clear to you that she isn’t your friend (unless she wants to apologize and recognize how she has hurt you, etc, and you’re interested in patching things up). But if you hadn’t gone down that road, it would be from the belief/fear/potential that she might react that way, i.e. not trusting her to be a friend. So… why be a friend with someone you don’t trust or want to give a chance to be your friend? In some ways, it’s better to know, isn’t it? The real problem isn’t that you have different ideas on motherhood because of course you don’t have to have that as a component of a friendship (though it may inform how close you are) but the fact that she couldn’t respect or care about your feelings and experiences and your right to your opinions. Not to have given her the chance would have been in some way to say “I don’t think you’re capable of being a mature adult.” Of course it’s better if finding out these things didn’t result in painful and difficult experiences that can be hard to stop when in the midst of it. Personally, I just want to keep trying my best, to not give up on myself, but also to not give up on the world. I don’t think you did anything wrong or stupid at all with your friend. Perhaps one day she will come to understand what she did wrong and stupid. You gave her Truth and that’s good, even if she can’t recognize it. You gave her an opening and she slammed the door in your face. Maybe one day she will open it—even if just for herself for her own sake.

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I agree too many people read into shit or take things out of context too many I met are like that and just wanna scoop up the dust and throw it somewhere. It’s like throwing someone under the bus which I’ve been thrown under way too many times and not even paying attention what’s actually being said. I always tell peopkle I have a good understanding of life and what parenting isn’t. I remember my mom and also my ex-therapist saying you think parenting is easy? I never said that and I don’t find it to be easy, it has its challenges like with other things out there. Told them I believe I could do a damn better job of parenting than you and they blew up as always lol.

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Hi Alaina!

Thank you for writing that. I need to read it several more times I think because it points to things I hadn’t considered before. “If you had decided to not go there because it’s a contentious subject, you’re making the assumption that she’s not mature enough to handle the topic… And it turns out she wasn’t. Even if she didn’t hold the same beliefs and understanding as you, she could have disagreed without attacking you.”

I guess what I’m saying is I have rarely had the experience of NOT being attacked for holding very disparate views (especially on the topics we’re referring to). But till now I didn’t see my own wariness as negating the other person’s maturity. It was pure defense. Blind defense most likely? I’m guessing, yes.

To say that in making the assumption a person is “not mature enough to handle the topic…” I, myself am not acting in a friendly manner, well there’s something good about that. I can’t put my finger on what the good is though!

And indeed it points to one of the ways in which discord or “difficult topics” were (mis)handled by my own family. “Don’t talk about it”. And the way in which if your opinion was different, well, you were just wrong. Or “Agree to disagree” which is to say “don’t discuss this difficult subject again”.

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Like I always tell people ‘I must be mature enough to handle the topic since I LIVED THROUGH THE HORROR.’ That is what I said to people/ex-therapist which shut their damn mouths up! So, if a person has lived through xyz good or bad, then you are mature enough to speak about the topic no matter what age. I told people ‘you will not shut me up all because it isn’t your fictional white picket fence life!’

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There is this strange phenomenon that happens to women who are child free. People feel free to take many liberties in their comments and really do say shocking things. One of the things I think happens is this, most women have children so as they learn and grow they do so along the child rearing path. They mistakenly assume that because the path they have chosen is parenting, parenting is what allows the growth they experience along the way.

They do not understand that growth, maturing, learning how to love with all of your being happens on many paths, that it is in our very nature to expand in our capacity to love and understand and contribute to the world we all live in.They also fail to see that not everybody grows on the parenting path, though they will be quick to point out those who have stunted growth on the child free path.

The other disturbing thing I found after having a child later in life, is those who wish to put you beneath them will continue to do so even if you become a parent and shine in the role of being a Mother. You will have had too many children, not enough children, your children will be of the wrong sex.

You will be less then if you had a c section or if you didn’t nurse and if you do nurse you will be throttled for nursing on demand, in the wrong place or in the middle of the night. You will be the wrong kind of parent, too permissive, hoovering, or an uncaring, selfish person who works and lets someone else raise your child.

You can’t ever be good enough to know what these people know or to have anything valuable to contribute from your own experience.

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Hi Alice!

The good of it in my mind is that you’re not blocking someone from growth. You know a truth that they don’t know. You know that we’re all equals, deserving of equality, and the idea of equality doesn’t mean anything if it isn’t applicable to everyone, including parents and children. People learn from what’s available and add to what’s available. They can reject it if they don’t like it but why deprive them from something that might help them? (Of course I totally understand the self-protective thing, and I write this only as a different perspective to take because I think it’s a way to circumvent the pain to the self when you open up to someone who decides to act like a jerk. I also think it’s the truth, though.) It isn’t like you’re forcing your beliefs upon them; they can take what they want and reject what they don’t. This is the basis of any kind of growth in any area of life. But they take your words like a personal threat to them and tear you down and then it’s a stalemate. No growth, not for the friendship and not for themselves.

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“People learn from what’s available and add to what’s available. They can reject it if they don’t like it but why deprive them from something that might help them?”

Agreed and very profound.

I agree with Kaycee. What I have seen from women with kids that I don’t like is a lot of them need children in order to love themselves (main problem), overly attached to their kids like the kids are their spouses, etc no concept of raising children only by what they saw in Disney or what their parents told them. This is what I argued with other moms like my ex-therapist I asked her ‘what the hell were you spoon fed about motherhood before becoming a mom? What you’ve been saying to me isn’t any kind of real parenting and to say what my parents are doing; considering that to be “good parenting” and “that’s the best they can do” really shows no parent out there knows what true parenting is.” Oh yes, that got very heated in there. Funny, I never had fathers go off on me just the mothers lol.

I said think about it: what the hell were you spoon fed about motherhood? What the hell were we spoon fed about anything in life? That’s what we should be asking which is why I told ex-therapist/people to put your stones back in your sacks take a damn good look in the mirror before they shatter and don’t think even think about casting any stones toward me. Everybody shut up when I said that!

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Kaycee, I believe you’ve nailed it!

“They mistakenly assume that because the path they have chosen is parenting, parenting is what allows the growth they experience along the way.

They do not understand that growth, maturing, learning how to love with all of your being happens on many paths, that it is in our very nature to expand in our capacity to love and understand and contribute to the world we all live in. They also fail to see that not everybody grows on the parenting path, though they will be quick to point out those who have stunted growth on the child free path.”

If they’re so “quick to point out those who have stunted growth on the child free path” could it be that their chosen (or maybe not so chosen?) path of parenting has NOT in fact so far brought them the growth on the level they hoped? Or brought them the love they hoped to receive from others?

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Hi Alaina!

“It isn’t like you’re forcing your beliefs upon them; they can take what they want and reject what they don’t”. Now this one, I find especially captivating because this person (and others before them, including family) have indeed acted as if I was forcing my beliefs on them just by talking about the subject.
That my talking was enough to “set them off” so to speak. You know, as if my talking about my experience invalidated the other person by default. I’m not sure how that works, or what I might be doing exactly to have that effect. The image of a person covering their ears and singing “lalalala can’t hear you”.

And then, maybe I was trying too hard to convince? I don’t know. It became a blur at one point.

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Hi Alice,
Yes, with family when it came to my beliefs about what was happening there, I’d say I was probably trying to force my beliefs or very strongly trying to get them across, but that was for obvious reasons—lots at stake, so you argue intently, as strongly as you can. You’re arguing against a system that does serious, measurable damage and that does deserve passion. To give a lesser fight is to do a disservice. Plus I was being invalidated, blamed, etc. and it hurt like hell. To have been cool and collected would probably mean I was a sociopath or something—because not to have feeling around this subject when it does so much collective damage in the world, and you can clearly see that fact, would mean you lack some serious humanity. The people covering their ears singing lalalala are avoiding truth and pain and they are also doing nothing to help themselves or the world. It’s rough dealing with them, it’s hell, and all you can do is walk away if they are intent on their ignorance, but there is nothing bad in arguing a viewpoint whose motivation is salvation, healing, growth…. You weren’t trying to do something bad, even if they disagreed. You didn’t have a knife at their throat. All you had were words. The danger of words is the danger of influence (that’s why Darlene is hated by some people), which is, yes, very dangerous. But what’s the motivation, what’s the point, what are you fighting for? Love, empathy, equality. And they can reject your words. They can hold firm in their own beliefs without resorting to attacking you, but that takes maturity, strength, certainty, belief in oneself and what one believes in and you’re going to lack all those qualities if you’ve grown up in dysfunction and have not dealt with it. What I’m saying is that their behaviour was inevitable—-it sprung out of their own self that is always there, always what it is, you just didn’t know it till you stumbled on it, triggered her, and you’re trying to figure out what you did, what about you could’ve been different to not spur this on in the other person, as though you brought something to life… but you didn’t bring something to life. It was already alive—fully formed ugliness inside her that you didn’t know, didn’t see, because until that moment, it was cloaked from you. You did nothing wrong. The person just has issues. You may be “invalidating” their belief system but think about that—what is that belief system, does it deserve to validated or invalidated? You’re not invalidating her personally (even if she feels like you are). I think they maybe hear, “You’re a bad person; you don’t deserve to live.” What’s really insane, though, is that in fact it’s the opposite, the message from the dysfunction system in action, the impact is the core belief that were bad people who don’t deserve to live as we are—we have to change to become what they want so that we’re good enough, which is a spiritual/emotional death. So we’re trying to argue for a belief system that urges the blooming of the real self, of equality, self-esteem, love, etc. but they’ve embraced the opposite belief and they stake it to their identity (this is who I am—the person I changed myself into to please the system, so if you’re against the system, that means you’re against me, you think I’m bad and you don’t want me to be me which means you want me “dead”) because they have no connection to their true self anymore; they’ve swallowed their false self in whole as being who they are, their true self. It doesn’t mean they can’t “come back from the dead” but they don’t understand or know that they have their real true self buried under there somewhere. It’s terrifying. I think that’s why they react the way they do. But just remember what team you’re fighting for. They are confused. You know the truth. You come from a place of love and empathy and wanting everyone to be their own, whole selves.

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Hi all,
My abusive father was just diagnosed with mild depression after numerous verbal put downs and hitting me.I looked up the symptoms on the internet and NONE of them fit.Depressive people are not violent,like he is.On the contrary.The depressed don’t get out of the house,they don’t speak to people etc.This is NOT my father.Violence belongs to another mental illness,not depression.I took my information from well documented mental health professional sites.All my father’s symptoms are of narcissism:verbal and emotional abuse,denial of his acts,refusing to take responsability,the oh so painful “it’s your fault” after hitting me etc.Here on EFB,we all had narc parents and we all know what this torture feels like.That’s why no doctor can fool me by giving wrong diagnosis.Some things are crystal clear.I don’t have to be a doctor myself to know the truth.I’m boiling inside with anger right now,as i just found out the news.

In movies,i often see caring therapists listening and understanding and really hearing the victims.I know movies are about imagination and romance.But in real life,there are real therapists like Susan Forward and others.I’m sure her patients trully heal.Why can’t i find someone like her? I put my trust in the system and all i got was the doctor telling me “let’s help your father and make HIS life better”.What about my life?

Sorry for ranting,but i needed to get it off my chest and to express my anger,so it would not stay inside and poison me.

Hi Alaina,i enjoyed your most recent comment.Indeed,all we have is our truth and our words.This is an idea that rings true for me,too.

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Up until three weeks ago I thought my therapist understood me. Then something felt wrong in that session. Money was an issue with her husband and I had missed a few sessions with my daughter’s work schedule. I had a major break through which I wanted to share with her and she flat out told me your not the only one this has happened to. There are plenty of people out there like you. That was by far the rudest treatment from her ever. She has never went out of her way to help me. She has never been there for me. I remember she always yawned and seemed like she could sleep in our sessions. Does she ever even listen to me or to what I say, did she ever listen to me really. It was sad and pathetic, she has nothing to offer, no words, nothing. She dismissed me off that day. And this is the first time I put two and two together. Is it about the money to her to them. What if I had no money would you turn me away. Strange I don’t feel the same going there. I think I felt this way from the beginning but I just needed someone to talk to that I thought cared about me. But maybe I was wrong about her maybe she just used me like everyone else. I’m not sure about this anymore strange vibes, strange thoughts. I just feel strange altogether. There is sorrow inside me, My heart feels crushed, my soul feels empty. I feel empty from all of this. from every memory that has surfaced and I have let go of that she has heard I feel empty, not strong, somehow I feel weak, I feel betrayed somewhat, this person knows everything and I let her in and she is not who I thought she was. Liars have a way of getting you to feel comfortable to let your guard down and then they attack you with your own words. They slice you open and spill your life on the floor for everyone to see what a mess you are. And you stand alone cleaning your life up off the floor to take it back and never get close to anyone again to never let anyone in again because they are all liars, thieves, and users. They claim to know you and how you feel but they don’t not really, they just nod their head and shed a tear to get you to spill more of your life out to make you more weak and more dependent on them. I feel like I have taken two steps backward again.

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Kaycee, thanks for the validation that having children did not change a thing.

Marquis, regarding “out of context,” I am always the one who is accused of that. But when I accuse someone else of taking MY comments out of context, OH NO, I AM OBVIOUSLY WRONG! I am locked into this thing of “please don’t stand up for yourself, please continue to be the wimp we always knew so we can continue to threaten you and scare you.” Also, your comment on people who had children to get the love they wanted….. I think my Mom had children because she didn’t feel loved by her mom. Her mom was a good Grandma, but I still feel that if B/C were available back then, she would NOT have had children.

Alice and Alaina: In addition to the constant criticism for being childfree/childless whatever you call it, I get criticism for choosing to stay single! “All you have had to worry about is yourself.” Ok, and why is that a problem? Are we seeing my life and wishing we had made that choice? Regarding marriage or singlehood, kids, or not, ALL of those are nothing more than LIFESTYLE CHOICES and none are better than the others!

Kaycee, yes, I have heard the “mommy attacks” on whether you did this or that. SHEESH! Regarding C section, what are you supposed to do? Refuse the C section and let your baby die? And I wouldn’t want to have a C section because it’s major surgery and there is always a risk, but if it’s the only option….. I just don’t “get” that thing about, “if you don’t deliver naturally, you aren’t a real woman.” Ok, I took B/C pills, thusly my monthly things were “regulated” instead of “natural.” Was I not a real woman during that time?

Jane Keene, your therapist comment reminded me of a house I bought. I was using a buyer’s broker (who is supposed to represent the BUYER!). Well, I had some issues and I wanted to delay closing until the issues were resolved. The “buyers broker” (who was supposed to represent ME) kept trying to get me to “close” and just let the builder take care of the issues later. YEAH RIGHT!!!!!! I refused. The buyers broker, who was supposed to represent me, said, “why are you trying to prevent the builder from getting his money?” (Methinks the real issue was the broker wanted her commission by a certain date……)

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Darlene, Welcome Home from your trip! I hope it was fabulous and fulfilling. I would love to hear more about it.

For those of you who don’t know, Darlene keeps this website going by using her own funds as well as from donations. Typically the website expenses exceed whatever comes in from others, so there are many months where she simply covers what is needed from her own bank account. If I remember correctly, her expenses typically come to ~$200 per month and I don’t think that money (or very little) goes toward her time!

Perhaps you will consider donating if you are able? I feel confident in saying that any amount would be very much appreciated, even $1.00 or $5.00. It is a tangible way to show Darlene that we support her and her generous work here.

It is easy to do so. Simply scroll up toward the top of this page, and look on the right side for the large “Donate” button, click and follow the link.

THANK YOU DARLENE!! Your words of insight and compassionate support have been invaluable in helping your readers to feel understood, to start to heal, and to hopefully find a way to move forward in life.

Light

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Hi Kaycee (155) and DXS, Alice, Alaina, and all child-free women:

I, too, am a child-free woman. I made the choice as a teenager back in high school. The word “housewife” was never in my vocabulary. I am a straight, single woman and I’m still seeking a long-term stable relationship with a good man, either ending up living together or married. I have no sadness or regrets at all. As a teenager, my only thoughts were that someday I would graduate from high school and then somehow go on to college. I would fantasize about getting that first apartment—(very comfortable and decorated), own a new car, have a fun social life. I assumed that someday I would become a homeowner–(now I own a house)—and surely married. I don’t apologize for wanting money and time for hobbies and sport. I wanted money for shopping and trips and enjoying life. How is it that others can label me “selfish” since all I have ever done is work hard? I have earned everything that I have, but I am still called selfish for not having a child. I have also been called selfish for wanting a relationship/marriage with a partner who is child-free. I think that others are just jealous of the fact that there is potentially more income by not having children. I believe that there is a better relationship between couples when they are not always fighting about money and problems with their kids. Don’t get me wrong–I am happy for the women who are happy having their kids if that’s what they want.

My issue has been enduring years of emotional abuse by nasty people who don’t get me. They can’t understand that I can be happy being a child-free woman. According to their beliefs, there is something really wrong with me.

There is a lot of discrimination by women with children versus the child-free women. I liked Kaycee’s comments on how women are always judged for not being a good mother for not buying the right products or methods. I am not a medical person but I find it weird that mothers are socially attacked for having a C-section and for not breast feeding an infant. The majority mothers like to emotionally attack other women for not doing everything their way. Plus, Kaycee wrote about mothers being attacked for not having enough children, or having that boy/girl combination, etc… You are a selfish mother for having an only child and it never ends.

I was also emotionally abused growing up for being an only child. I think that these jealous adults wished that they could have had an only child. I think that it’s also about money issues—-kind of damned if you do or don’t! You’re shamed for being child-free, but also envied for having more money, time, and independence. I have also noticed that once certain women become a mother, then they tend to dump their single and child-free women friends. It’s like saying that I am no longer good enough for them or understand them.

I am happiest when I do not have to socialize with a group of young mothers. I even quit a yahoo meetup knitting group due to the fact that the entire group consisted of housewives and young mothers. They only wanted to talk about the child care stuff, like diapers and bottles. I was so glad to quit and find a more diverse knitting group with members that I could talk to.

I am so glad that I’m not a Christian woman (Celtic Pagan). Their entire program for women is about having children and then grand children. In my humble opinion, they don’t care at all for single parent moms, and especially single women who have a relationship past with other men. I don’t fit into their box and I couldn’t care less! So glad that I’m not alone here on this site! Thanks all!

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Hey Yvonne,

I am also a child-free woman. I have been married for 33 years. My husband never wanted children, but said if I wanted a child we could have one. I like to make lists. So I made a list of pros and cons for having children. In the middle of making the list I realized that I should not have kids. You have to unequivocally want children in your life. If I am listing the pros and cons the answer is no: I don’t want kids.

Our family consists of seven cats and five horses. We enjoy and love animals. I don’t look at the animals as my children, but they are family members. I grew up with many animals. They were important to me. My FOO does not care about pets and animals in general. They allowed me to take care of them pretty well. (My pets could go to the vet when sick, and had plenty of food). My parents especially my father never got over the fact that I didn’t have kids. He has been a grandfather to my sister’s kids, but it was late in life for him. He was almost 70 years old when he became a grandfather.

When I was a young married woman, I often had people asking why I didn’t have kids and that I would be sorry if I remained childless. It used to bother me a little, but you learn to shrug it off. It’s their stuff not mine. My sister likes to feel superior to people. I am sure she feels superior to me because she has kids.

I used to feel out of place at gatherings with my husbands co-workers and wives. I was usually one of the few women with no children. I didn’t have any kids to talk about. I got used to that too. I just listen to them talk about their kids. I would say, I don’t have kids, but I have cats.

Now that I am 56 years old it is not such an issue anymore. I can’t have biological children now. I also find there are more and more women choosing the lifestyle choice of no children. They are lots of humans on earth and if some of us don’t reproduce that is okay.

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Hi All,

I feel like I just want to write today and let it all out. Amazingly, I was enjoying the holiday season. I put lights on my house with front yard seasonal decorations. I did baking and shopping and even went to a local holiday show with friends. Normally, I do a minor Christmas as an American holiday, like Thanksgiving, along with my real religious winter holiday of Yule/Winter Solstice–(Celtic Pagan–and most of the Christmas decorations come from European Paganism like the tree….LOL!)So far, so good. There are some nasty folks out there who say why should a single woman even bother celebrating the holidays, as if I have no value or worth for not having that traditional nuclear family. But anyway I was having a good time for a change.

Then out of the blue came a weird phone call from my father. He started by saying, “Where the hell have you been?” I have extremely low contact with my elderly parents so this surprised me. My father went on to say how hard it was being old and that they were not putting up a Christmas tree or lights this year. They were not doing any holiday baking or shopping. It’s like he was trying to imply that all of their problems were my fault. So it was a very angry phone call. I know that my parents are disappointed in me that I do not have a high paid job (although I’m a college grad) and also the fact that I don’t have that traditional family with a husband and kids.

I don’t believe that there is any real love at all between us. My Narc mom and dad only care about showing off their luxury house. They want to fit in with their neighbor friends and this time of the year it’s all about the grandkids. My father, of course, had to insult me over my lack of a high paid career and the fact that I have no kids. I want to go back to college in a couple of years when I can afford to.

My excuse for not visiting parents is the fact that my budget is tight and I can’t afford the gas money. My parents live in a different town about a three hour drive away from my house. I am safe again for another holiday!!!! The problem now is that their big house is for sale and they are planning to move near me. They are quite elderly (mom is 82 and dad is almost 86—and not in good health). I don’t know how much more of this mess I can take. It seems as if I am never free of these people. They just want to harrass and destroy me until the very end. I dream of the day when they are both passed away and then I can feel safe, very safe. It’s like an unending nightmare for me.

I know there are those who could say, “Why didn’t she move out of state years ago to get away from her parents if they’re so bad?” Well, the truth was that I did try to move away but it was complicated. I stayed with a friend and found a job right away but my savings ran out. This happened twice in my life–once where I tried to move back to the northwest to Portland, OR and then another time to Minneapolis. I felt like such a failure for not being able to make it work with two chances. But not many people know how hard it is being at the time very young, single, and with little money. I had no really good family members to speak of, so I had to rely on friends. I turned around and went home and I’m glad that I did. My life has greatly improved since those days, but I still want to better myself.

I can’t think of the new year 2015. It’s all about eat, drink, and be merry and enjoy the holidays while I can. I fear that these crazy parents may move nearby and try to further sabotage my life and happiness. If I think this way,then I can’t sleep at night. I am trying to focus on the present. If anyone here can help me I would appreciate it. I’m open to all suggestions, THX!!!! Blessed Be, Yvonne

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Hi Yvonne, I actually have one child, I had him after being married for 16 years and when I was older than most women. Because of that I have seen it from both sides of the coin. I just want to make a couple observations. I am far more selfish now that I have a child than I was before. I don’t volunteer my time, give money, lend a helping hand or do many of the things the way I did before my son was born. The world has enough people, having a child is a selfish act in many ways. Pretty much everything I had to give goes into my child now.

When I had my son, a family member touched my arm with tears in her eyes and said “Thank God! Did you ever know you could love so much?” I just stared at her dead pan and said “Of course.” Children do not make you love, or love deeply. I think a lot of us here can attest to that!

Having a child did not make my life more meaningful or better. Having my son just made my life go on a different path. Before you think I am a bad Mom, I love my son with all my heart, I am dedicated to being a nurturing, loving Mom and I would die for him in a heart beat.

I just think it is somewhat hysterical, these people who act like having a child is the be all and end all and somehow people who do not have children miss out on something. I’ve been privy to what people WITH children miss out on too. You give up something by being a working Mom, you give up something being a stay at home Mom. Whatever path in life you chose you will be missing something another path has. It is unavoidable. Both the path of having children or the path of being child free are equally meaningful, both provide equal opportunities to love and grow. I just don’t understand the need to regulate women who are child free to a lower status.

I really do think that because most women have children, they make a fundamental attribution error. Because they grow on their path and they have children, they assume the path of having children is a requirement to experience that kind of growth. It comes out of egocentric viewpoint.

And I kid you not, if you gave birth to triplets tomorrow, the caddy group that is so concerned about you being child free will find just as many concerns about your ability to Mother and most likely will emphatically state that you ruined it all by getting a spinal block instead of having a natural birth. It never, ever ends.

Andria, I have pets too, I always have. People used to say I had them out of longing to be a Mother. They completely ignored the fact that I have been a devoted animal lover from childhood. Someone asked me when I was pregnant what I would do if the baby was allergic to the animals. I said, very convincingly, I would give it up for adoption (just to mess with her head a little). It was hysterically funny.

Believe me, I know this for sure, having a child would not change the fact that you sister uses this to feel superior to you. She would just deem herself a far better Mother than you (really). And yeah, stay in the Goddess religion where your worth as a woman isn’t determined by your willingness to overpopulate the Earth. Blessed be.

DXS, I think the Mommy wars might even be worse than what I got all those years I did not have a child. Seriously!

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I am a childless woman as well. I can relate to the undercurrent of superiority I felt from one (ex) SIL in particular and sometimes from society as well. While I’ve been in relationships, I am not (and wasn’t)married. My SIL actually had the nerve to say to me “You don’t change”. I had the wherewithal to ask her if that was good or bad, to which she responded with a broad smile, no words. She could hurl daggers of insults like that.

I was so offended on many levels. While I did accomplish an advanced degree (paid for myself), and she didn’t particular know me, she had the nerve to comment about my life. I suppose not being married, and not having children, along with not owning a single family home made me someone to look down on. Newsflash to SIL: Those things aren’t the be all and end all milestones. Because I’ve had to afford most things on my own including most of my education and taking out loans, having a home was beyond reach. I’ve had difficulty with relationships because of a tumultuous childhood that I’m trying to work through, and I was never confident about being a parent. Most significant life events taken longer and have been a struggle. But maybe if you’d gotten to know me, you’d learn about my interests and my struggles and have some understanding.

I recall when this same brother and SIL were visiting my brother commented about a plant in my home that was obviously thriving “Look at it!!” I had the feeling that he or she was surprised I could nurture a living thing and have it be healthy.

I’ve had a family member comment on my attractive neighborhood “YOU live HERE???”

I got a cat a few years ago, and there were some interesting family dynamics. I had family members who made comments that showed that they thought I was handling some interactions wrong. I made some mistakes but my cat gets so much love he cuts me slack. When they saw how socialized he became in my care and how attached he became to me, it both shut them up and seemed to surprise them.

Single women can be vibrant, interesting and nurturing beings. We can nurture ourselves, our friends, our pets, and our environment. We can experience the satisfaction of giving to others and accomplishing small and big goals. We can own property, travel, and develop a full social life.

I have felt the bias toward marrieds and against singles…there seems to be a stigma against being single, whereas being married seems to garner a quietly approving response.

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Light, I got my marriage license right after I got my high school diploma. I never gave myself the opportunity to make it on my own. I envy what you have done and I can easily see myself being happy alone, just me and my cat. No doubt I have missed something that you have experienced. In a better world I think we could all value and honor the many paths we take and learn from each other’s unique but equally valid experiences.

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Hi Light!
Thank you so VERY much for the generous donation you sent me for EFB and for the post you wrote to others asking others to help too. 🙂
I don’t get many donations anymore since I stopped asking for them myself so I REALLY appreciate the ones that I do get! I think that people assume that because there are so many readers and comments that I must get tons of donations, but the truth is that there are about 4 people that donate regularly and a few random donations here and there.
Thank you for your big “THANK YOU” as well! When I had this dream to be a voice in this world, this is exactly what I pictured! A safe place where people could share the pain of being in a dysfunctional system and a place where there was hope and healing. I am really grateful for all of the comments, sharing and the community that is here! I wish I had more time to contribute to the comments myself!
Love and hugs and Merry Christmas Light! I really appreciate you and your efforts. I will let you know if anyone takes you up on your suggestion!
Darlene

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Hi all,
I have been catching up on the comments about being a single woman, or a childless woman, or married with children etc. Something that I realized in my own journey to wholeness is that these are ALL ways that we are defined by society but that just like being defined as “unworthy” these definitions are also false. I love what Light said here ~ “Single women can be vibrant, interesting and nurturing beings. We can nurture ourselves, our friends, our pets, and our environment. We can experience the satisfaction of giving to others and accomplishing small and big goals. We can own property, travel, and develop a full social life.” and I would add that this is true for ALL PEOPLE.

The ways that people define other people are always motive based and if misused, they are for the purpose of control. If you think about it this is what we are talking about all the time here. People put other people down in order to make them look at themselves so that we never notice them. It is pathetic to see anyone as less important or successful just because they have kids OR don’t have kids, are Married OR Unmarried, etc. Our circumstances don’t make us who we are.

Having said all that, we do live in the world so it is great to have these discussions ~ I just wanted to point out that when people look down on other people for ANY reason at all, it is almost always to make the one doing the judgement feel better about themselves.. SO very pathetic!
I am not what I do. Who I am in not what I do or my marital status. Being a mother doesn’t define me as better or worse.. but I have a good heart, I am a nice person, a good friend, a loving person (to my family and to others as well, I care, I love, I listen and that is how I define myself.

Love!! Merry Christmas to Everyone!
Darlene

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Yvonne, there is a really busy forum called “THE CHILDFREE LIFE.” I used to be on but I got kicked off. Since you would like a relationship, you would fit right in. I got kicked off when I started threads on being happily single. Others who also started threads on this were kind of treated rudely.

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Hi Alaina!
I loved this most recent post. I still fight within myself for equality but it is the “good fight” I believe.
On being single. I really believed that all it would take to prove my mother wrong about how loveable I was was a man to love me for a long time. Real relationships aren’t exactly that and my ideals (and hope for validation) did not stand up to reality. Sometimes I’ve heard the fact that I’m not currently in a long term relationship used against my character or my ability to get on with other people. It really hurts to be defined in that manner. It also hurts because until I realized what I was doing with “love relationships”, I was really using that someone else to prove something to a person who doesn’t love me.

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Alaina, my mother has had two failed marriages and has been alone for three decades, she hasn’t even dated. She still deems my success at maintaining a marriage of over 25 years to the goodness of my husband and his wiilingness to put up with me despite all of my inherit flaws. She considers me very lucky. She thinks he is a Saint, much like herself.

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Kaycee (148)

I didn’t have kids because I was afraid I’d have one that would turn out to be duplicates of my personality-disordered parents or sister, or that I’d be cruel and neglectful like my parents were. I also believe that the world is overpopulated and that people should only have kids if they really want them and make raising them well a priority.

My younger sister, a sociopath, finally cranked out three kids after having had 30 (thirty) abortions. A few years into it, she decided that she was put-upon and abandoned the care of the kids to her harried alcoholic husband and our mother. Two of the three kids are very troubled; I hear that the third is doing well.

Though my mother sees that my sister made a mess of her kids, she tries to make me feel “less than” because I had none. For certain, I could have had kids if I’d wanted to, but Mommy Dear, who claims to be a staunch feminist, really believes that children are the only thing that give a woman worth.

Despite my barren condition, I amazed my mom and sister by easily handling the kids’ feeding, diapers and shenanigans when they were babies and toddlers. It’s instinctual, I reminded them, not some sacred skill that surfaces when you pop out a baby.

I always knew in my gut that if I had kids my mom would have treated them as less-than my sibling’s kids in order to hurt me.

My family’s unwillingness to know and understand me and to value me is one of the many reasons that I no longer have contact with them.

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Yvonne — 165

You are not alone in your feelings about children and your boredom with the women who are obsessed with only that. It has been done billions of times. Some believe that many of those people use kid-having as a way to feel powerful and in charge of something.

About 20% of baby boomers chose not to have kids and that number is rising in the generation after the baby boomers. Now that people can choose, many don’t have kids.

Long-established civilizations in India, China and Africa have too many people and many of them are suffering for lack of food, housing and jobs. If everybody keeps automatically reproducing, that will eventually happen everywhere.

There used to be a display at the Smithsonian museum in Washington DC showing that when everyone has kids and the kids have kids and the kid’s kid’s have kids, within 100 years, the population explodes. Our planet can’t support that.

Years ago a neighbor called me selfish for not having kids. I replied: How can you be selfish to someone who doesn’t exist?

Other than him, no one ever tries to make me feel guilty for not having kids–I think they can see that I am happy.

People have admitted that they envy my freedom and that they would have no kids or just one if they had it to do over.

You’ve got your head on straight, Yvonne! Live your life as you please.

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Davina, the idea that having a baby makes somebody into something they are not is a profound misconception. This world filled with children of parents who just are not parent material. So many of these people would have contributed so much more to humanity by working on themselves rather then procreating.

The idea that people who would make great parents should have children even if their passions lie elsewhere is utterly absurd. There are so many ways people can contribute and be of value that do not necessitate having children.

Barren, a powerful word filled with implications I am all too familiar with, sadly.

I have learned to keep my child at arms length from his Grandma, I will never allow her to be close enough to make him a lesser like me. It has worked out well, she rushes in to be the good guy in their infrequent interactions now. There was a time though, when he was younger, and I was less wiser when she tried to use him to demean me.

There was a time when she made it known that my sister and her children trumped me and my son. I was reduced to begging and groveling for her time and she let me know in no uncertain terms that my sister and her kids came first. The time she gave to my son was given begrudgingly, it was a sacrifice met with deep sighs.

Then came the barbs, “I don’t know how to say this but he said you……” or “He’s being so difficult he……………”

Then there was the deep sighs when she was there with me and my son. The undermining of my decisions, the idea that saying he could not have a candy bar, an Icee and then a Blizzard from Dairy Queen in one afternoon was somehow abusing him (this from the lady who deemed me fat enough for weight watchers camp at 10 when I got the puberty pudge).

And to make it all the more unbearable, her golden, my sister, was a Madonna, an old soul, her ability to Mother was a heavenly event to behold.

My sister is a great Mom. I love my sister and I know she loves me despite her golden status. She is not perfect though, nor am I and we both are good Moms. I have benefited greatly from having my child many years after my sister had hers (I was an advanced maternal age Mom).

But still, I have had to pull back and pull my child back. I had to stop asking for my Mother’s time in order for her to understand and value her time with him as something she wants rather than something she is giving in martyrdom to the undeserving.

In my barren years, both my Mother and my sister made it clear I was not Mother material. They would have happily perpetuated that myth and ruined my confidence as a Mother if I would have allowed it.

I totally get your decision to go no contact, it is commendable. There is a point when allowing them to demean you is harmful not only to yourself, but to them as well. I see so may people who truly are making a altruistic decision in going no contact. To do otherwise is simply enabling an abuser.

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Is something wrong with the site? It says page not found.

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Hi Yvonne #167,
About your parents moving near you.I see 3 solutions.You might get a restraint order from the police.I know it’s a radical option,but they are abusers,not parents.They have been brutal to you in the past.So now it’s not revenge,but a survival matter.It’s about keeping your sanity.You might hire a nurse for them or put them in an asylum.In both cases,it’s a kinder option and they’ll have medical care.These options may not be helpful for you,since everybody’s situation is different.However,the main idea is to keep no contact.

Years ago,you had the strength to leave and never return.You fought for your freedom and your birthright to live.You found a shelter,but no moral support.You were tough enough to stay there and not come back.You worked,saved money and made a new home.This time,it’s about maintaining your position as a free woman.Now you’re an adult who can choose not to be the target of abusers anymore.You can say NO to the dirt they are preparing to throw at you again.If you become their caretaker,not necessarily moving in with them but visiting them often,you’ll probably suffer at their hands again and your traumatic childhood will return.On the internet,i read about abusers continuing to do harm emotionally even on their deathbed.

I didn’t manage to leave,and my abusers are old and ill.Just like yours,they expect me to be their caretaker.That’s why i understand you feel stuck with them for life,hence the nightmares or sleepless nights filled with worry.But it doesn’t have to be that way.I wish you the same strength you once had,the power to say NO.You overcame all the obstacles,you confronted all your fears with one goal in mind: to go no contact forever.Keep it that way.My guess is that your parents came back with the purpose to torment you,believing you owe them.What about the peace you owe to yourself? So,don’t let them.Moving close to you,i see it as a tactic of manipulation and control.Surely other tactics will follow,if you allow it.

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When I think of some people’s perceptions that not having children is a viable and respected option and to be judged negatively, the word “legitimate” comes to mind. Women who choose not to have children can sometimes be thought of as not legitimate. This is a very powerful concept, as if we’re not worthy enough to be in this world and are breaking a primitive unwritten, unspoken code – the circle of life. It also brings up thoughts that being childless is somehow childISH and to be pitied (even when it’s our choice!)- that we’re not fully grown and developed women, and that we won’t be a true adult woman until we have a baby in our womb.

As Kaycee said, “barren” is also a powerful word. How desolate, deprived, and sad. The word inherently brings forth that something is missing. I reject that notion and plan on continuing to have a full and joyful life that includes a variety of people of all ages.

I’m really glad we’re having this conversation. I would like the respect of others (and more importantly to continue to overcome these negative messages and respect myself) for the life I lead.

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Correction: “not having children is NOT a viable and respected option”

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Yvonne,

I hope you can find a way out of this situation with your parents. I hope you don’t feel the need to care for them. I have been a caretaker of family members for many years. If there is not a good relationship there it is not worth it and very damaging to the person who is doing the care taking. In the end, I just felt like I was being used and I was being used. Perhaps they fein appreciation, but what is a thank you when later you are treated badly. Some parents feel they have a right to have their children at their beck and call. I wish you peace. Please let all of us know how this turns out. I am on your side.

Andria

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I’ve avoided the choice to have or not have children debate. I absolutely see the choice as viable and respectable. It’s not wrong or less than.

It is however a different choice from my own and is hard to understand because I never thought about making that choice.

Those of you who have chosen not to have children have quoted questions and phrases that you have found insulting and hurtful and I get it. When those kinds of questions are posed rhetorically the implication that you’re just wrong is cruel.

I have often been in the position of wanting to understand differences as SIMPLY DIFFERENCES, but found myself saying all the wrong things because the words I’m using have carried implications when spoken by others that I don’t want to make myself.

I am sometimes on the other side of this same situation. There are words and phrases that put me immediately on the defensive and make it hard to get to a point of understanding.

How do I express an interest in understanding someone who is different from me, without implying those differences make us unequal? How do I make amends if I’ve said something hurtful because I didn’t know any better?

Hobie

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Marquis
Sometimes when there is too much traffic at once people will get that error message. The site is fine and your comment posted too. (or are you having a problem with a different post?)
Darlene

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Hobie and all in this discussion ~ One of the key issues here is the cycle of abuse. I too found myself not realizing the damage I was causing with my own children prior to healing etc. I was passing on the false definition of love without realizing it because it was all I knew and I am still working hard to change and amend that. Perhaps I am very fortunate that I broke out of the fog when they were still young enough.
Hobie, the only amends in those situations (other then the verbal ones) are living amends. I had to prove that I really had changed. BUT I am not in your situation because my kids stuck around for me to be able to prove it. AND in your situation, your family of origin has brainwashed your kids against you which I sometimes wonder (because I see this all the time too) if that is yet another punishment against you for daring to stand up to them and another way that they ‘prove to you’ and to everyone who is watching ~ that it isn’t them… “SEE it is YOU” they say with all their horrid actions. In this case I suspect that you are doing all that you can. There comes a point where all you can do is hope.
Hugs, Darlene

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Hobie, I dont know if this is similar to your situation because I dont personally know you or your children…so please bear that in mind. My three brothers and I were close and all of a sudden it seemed to me that they chose to live their lives very differently than I did and they chose to adopt differing philosophies about life, love, religion, health, food…etc…and I figured it was a phase for them. I didnt do the drugs or drinking or want to live the way they were but I did try to respect their choices and be accepting. What I got in return was that they looked down on me OR decided that I was thinking I was better than they were. There was no discussions or middle ground. All of them mocked me in my choices , but they seemed to demand that I be respectful and understanding of theirs as time went on. As I look back now, all of the kindness, understanding, time I spent was wasted on them and time out of my own life and healing because I was trying very hard to ….once again….please family who would never be pleased or loving or happy with me. My parents werent and somehow the brothers ended up the same towards me. I feel that I did try everything I knew with them, but they would not change toward me, so I cut them off. They all came back and it seemed for a short while that things were different. Then they all treated me the same again. It was very very sad to me, but I cut them off permanently. I feel peace of mind now because now I can move on and be happy. They will be as happy now without me as they were with me…and I leave them to live their lives. I now respect myself enough to wish not only them a happy life, but also myself…and to be happy has to be without the games and the disrespect and the putdowns and making fun of me. It was very difficult, but I feel totally free of all of their unhealthy ways of communicating and lack of respect. why should I show interest in their lives and keep chasing after them? We are unequals because they chose it to be that way, not me. I wanted to be equal with them and have mutually respectful relationships…they chose differently..so why should I hang around and try to always be understanding? I also figure if I did things to hurt them, then if they cannot be forgiving or are not a place in their lives where they can forgive because of whatever their reasons…that is THEIR responsibility and issue, not mine anymore. At a certain point, it ended up becoming abuse toward me, but I stopped it because I became healthier and understood that I didnt deserve that. Hobie, no matter what you did or didnt do…at a certain point people end up being responsible for their choices to forgive or not to forgive and nothing we say or do can help them choose that. I am so sorry that you were hurt so badly that you made mistakes with your own children! I can imagine the torment and pain. I will say this…you deserve to be happy now and to live a life without that pain and torment. I wish for you to find that peace of mind!!! whatever you choose or dont choose in this situation, we all support you here!! Hugs and peace to you! 🙂

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How do I express an interest in understanding someone who is different from me, without implying those differences make us unequal? How do I make amends if I’ve said something hurtful because I didn’t know any better?

Hobie, I think that is where my Mom is at. But it just doesn’t occur to her that OTHER people perceive things differently than she does. She just thinks it’s only me that does that. I try to teach her, but she doesn’t want to hear it. 99% of the world is like her and I’m just the odd ball so why should she make an effort to understand me?

I applaud you for the effort you made, and I’m sorry it’s been rejected.

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Darlene, re: False definition of love. In my case, $$$ is supposed to equal love. IT DOESN’T! And to try to talk to my mom about “emotional” abuse? She will say it’s poppycock.

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Years ago, I sought out a therapist who was affiliated with a clinic that was part of a large church in our metropolitan area. At the time, I wanted to work with a therapist to attempt to heal the spiritual damage done and somehow work to a point of forgiveness. As I relayed to him the details of the systematic childhood sexual abuse (rape), physical abuse of my father, emotional emptiness of the home, etc., the therapist’s response was “Well, maybe you were just a melancholy child, some people are just born that way.” I was stunned. He was laying all this at my feet and totally excusing those crimes of others. HELLO!?! Maybe you haven’t heard – raping children is a crime. But at the time, I was just speechless and left that session and never returned again. At least I had the clarity of thought to realize this idiot for what he was.

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Thank you for all the supportive responses. I was out of contact with everyone for a few months. I supposed it was the holidays that prompted my daughters to contact me, and pulled me back into doubts. Before that contact I was beginning to really be happy.

I can’t put any relationship back together without the cooperation of the other person in the relationship. I’m willing to own my part, but I can’t own their parts.

At this point, I think I need to just maintain no contact until they see for themselves their part in the relationship. They may never do that, and I am finding myself more content without them.

Once Christmas is in the past again, I think I’ll be a lot better.

Hobie

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As a child that chose the escape route I have experienced that idea that everyone sees themselves as better than me because they did seek an escape through substances. To be truthful, my fist escape was books. When I met my bio Father for the first time when I was 11, his new wife picked up on this immediately. I lived in books. She wan’t happy about it, she was right.

I had a severe dissociative disorder, I would be walking walking to the bus stop and all of a sudden I would be in the woods, sitting at the base of a tree watching the birds. To everyone else, this meant I was truant. I did not know what happened, how I got there, I only knew I was glad I was there.
I had my stash of books there.

Real life just doesn’t match the books. The world I always lived in, the altered states helped me be stay alive when I often wanted to sink myself beneath the water of the lake and drown. I am reluctantly sober, for many, many years. But there is always this sense of disappointment. I grew up in a safe, fantasy world inside my mind that nothing in the real world can come close to matching. I miss that place now, even though I am still judged harshly for having gone there.

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Ackk, no edit key. I sought an escape route through substances where others presumably did NOT.

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Hi Laura (161)

I have been helped in counselling. My first counsellor was beyond awesome the connection we had was very powerful and the most nurturing relationship I have ever experienced. Not only was I validated and heard for the first time ever I received a thorough education in the tactics and ways of my Mother

I read the Susan Forward book as an autobiography of my life, I was blown away when I read about love. To read what I had always believed, To have myself validated was so powerful.

With other counsellors I have experienced a disconnect its very corrosive to the relationship when my anger is questioned, or I’m told to understand and forgive. Its disrespectful and demeaning. In the early days these so called counsellors would get away with it, By the end I was standing up for myself something I had struggled with previously.

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Hi Colin #194. Do you recall the title of the Susan Forward book you mentioned? Thanks, Light

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Hi Darlene,

I am trying to post my comment on here on childless women and it’s very long. I am still getting the error message on the page not being found try to search the navigation bar.

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Hey Everyone!
I just published a New Post for the Holidays ~ I was originally going to title this post “Tips on Getting through Christmas Holidays when Family is an F Word” but I thought perhaps that would offend people who saw it here or in EFB Facebook so I amended the title, but I still wanted to share it with you because sometimes that is how I feel. ~ BUT I called it “Tips on Getting through Christmas and Family Dysfunction” instead.
Hope that everyone will sort of “congregate there” for support and sharing over the holidays.
Hugs, Darlene

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““Positional power applies to anyone that we give authority to or a person who is respected AS an authority for their title or training.”
For some reason,reading that statement made me shiver and cringe. I’ve always had problems with people in authoritative positions, probably because of my childhood. And when I spoke up or contradicted the so-called authority figure, I was the one who was punished, whether it happened at school or later in life at work. I get very angry at people who abuse their position. I also have a hard time holding a job. It’s either speak up and get fired, or hold it in until I explode and walk off of the job.”

Very true. Just by reading your statement, this is coming to mind: it’s funny, how the public out there say we need to speak up asking for respect and equality yet when you, an individual, speak up you are always punished. It seems assertive communication isn’t embraced it’s either be a doormat or aggressive like you were saying either speak up or be fired. Giving others position power, my ex-therapist said that to me about giving power to those who don’t deserve it. Told her that applies to mental health professionals – don’t think you people are exempt from that statement! Yep, she was pissed as always lol.

Growing up, I had those same problems with authoritative people. A lot of them were full of shit and their auras shouted “problem problem over here!” A lot of them got called out and told them what’s up about xyz which they couldn’t believe at a very young age what I knew and understood…but tried to “put me in my place as a child as children don’t know any better or they say the darnest things; they didn’t mean that or children shouldn’t speak unkindly to their elders/leaders.” Sorry, you are not a leader/my leader if you can’t practice what you preach!

I had a bitch woman teacher long ago told me ‘you will always have problems with people with that nasty attitude and that mouth of yours.’ I said ‘do you have a problem with the truth or those who can add 2+2 and speak their minds? Are you saying I don’t have an opinion or not allowed to until “I am old enough?” that sounds like my mom right there! I thought children should form their own thoughts but now it’s considered “rude to the adult?!”‘ Teacher turned dark red thought her head was gonna shoot up to space lmao! I have always been a threat to people they always tell me ‘speak my mind too much, big mouth, won’t do as they say, wants to challenge them until I win the fight (which is true), makes people “use critical thinking” (really?!? people have an issue with that), etc.’

One of my school friends said I should have been a lawyer or judge – a lawyer would’ve been better for me lol or police officer. I am very assertive when it comes to topics like Darlene’s posts or something about me or “those fools who raised us” (where people feel they are right), that I will jump at them like a snake attacking its prey. I had one friend who told me I was like a leopard never knowing when I will attack – a silent/stealth fighter. When it comes to being assertive in other areas, I am back to being a doormat. I had to become assertive with my boyfriend in October when we had our talk about our relationship status. I really like those women who are stealth fighters, warriors, etc who are like men will fight to be the one will win and get what they want.

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Hi Laura and Andria,

I am trying not to worry about the future. It’s unfair that I have worked so hard to better myself and my parents are still after me. I really don’t know what will happen next year. If my dad dies first, there is NO WAY that my mom will move into my house. I have a 3 bedroom house and I could easily rent out a bedroom—(find an emergency roommate on Craig’s List)—and I’ll keep the second bedroom as my home office. My parents are not that destitute and if they can’t afford to buy a small home, then they can always rent. I am worried about my mom perhaps snooping around my place. I am not sure if I gave my parents a key to my house a long time ago–long story–but I could change the lock. I use my garage door opener to go out and keep another dead bolt lock on my front door. Also, I am not too open or friendly with my neighbors so they know nothing about me or my dysfunctional family problems.

Once when I was renting a former apartment they got an extra apartment key—somehow they lied to the apt.manager who gave them an extra key–and my mom was snooping into my bookcase and papers. I also keep my real religion (Celtic Pagan) quiet from my parents since they’re both so emotionally immature. It’s hard when you’re always walking on eggshells around them. Most normal people do not get any of this at all. I am concerned that if I were to meet a good man relationship, then my mom would wonder why is there another car at my home on weekends? I know that it’s my life, but she has the power to make my life a living hell.

Like my friend once said to me, “the old people are afraid of dying and then they’re afraid that they won’t die!” My parents have become meaner and nastier in their old age than ten or twenty years ago. I didn’t think that it was possible for them to become any nastier but they have. I have another co-worker friend who suggested that they buy a condo in an assisted adult living community. They would have others their own age and help with shopping trips.

I had another friend who told me the story of her elderly, abusive Narc mom. Her elderly mom ended up living in a nursing care home in Florida. My friend at the time was working as a substitute teacher and divorced while renting an apartment and did not have a lot of money. These nursing care workers actually called my friend a few times on the phone complaining about this woman. My friend would cry out, “Please take my mom since I’m a substitute school teacher and I have no money. You have to take my mom and I beg of you…” Apparently her mom wanted to terrorize all of the health care workers before she passed away. It was like her final battle to terrorize them as an evil, elderly woman. My friend told me that she was relieved and glad when her mom finally passed away. She just couldn’t take one more day of it! I totally understand.

I do have a rather tight budget so if my mom were to live for many more years then she may have to use social services. I don’t know if these nursing care homes are covered by medicaid, etc.? but I am not paying the bill! I can show them my income tax statements that I really can’t afford it. I know that they will not last too much longer and I’m glad.

Another option that I have is if I could meet a good man relationship and just move in with him in the future so we could be living together—hopefully the other side of town! Then I could rent my house temporarily until my parents are both gone. I don’t know. I would feel much safer with both a dog and a roommate in my house than entirely living alone.

What I don’t understand is what do they want from me? We’re not close and I spent Christmas in my house alone. I know that their neighbors ask about the adult daughter but I couldn’t care less. Do they want me to be their driver for shopping and appointments? Do they want me to entertain them? Do they just want to be nasty and dump all their anger on me? Whenever my mom occasionally calls me on the phone, it’s all about verbal abuse over my weight issues and not having an especially high paid job.

My parents are starting to outlive many of their friends and family members. My mom just lost a brother and sister who are like ten years younger than her. They have lost friends from their former state who are like five years younger than them. My grandparents, father’s parents, died in their 70’s and now my father is ten years older than his parents in his 80’s! My father has always had a rather difficult and whiny attitude towards death since he is an Atheist. I have a religion and I’m not a Christian. His parents, my grandparents, were not that angry and fearful towards death. I never heard them complain that there were both old without much time left. I don’t know how my grandparents could raise a son like my father, so oddball, cold, grouchy, nasty, and supports his abusive wife but never me! Both of my parents have no hobbies, religion, or social activities—the opposite of me. My father was retired for a very long time, like 25 years, and he only watched the TV set all day long. My Narc mom only cared about entertaining the neighbors by having formal dinner parties. I am just so tired of it all and I have had the patience of a saint for too many years. How much more of it do I have to take before it’s all over? I never dreamed that at my age I would have to be “abused” for the second time and live in fear!

Thanks everyone for reading and sharing! Blessed Be!

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Darlene,
Yet another brilliant post. You are absolutely right that when someone opens up and shares their story of how they were harmed, too often the response is “But what did you do?”. That question is so insensitive and just re-traumatizes the victim. This year one of my resolutions is to stop trying to defend myself and stop giving other people power to affirm or deny my truth.

Light to you!

Alex
Theupcasts.com

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Hi Alex
That is a great resolution!
hugs, Darlene

202

I wanted to say “thank you” to the members of this blog. I am a therapist and found the abuse and invalidation suffered at the hands of other therapist appalling. Blaming a child for being born into a family with dysfunctional and mean people (i.e. excusing abuse) is ridiculous! It’s like a seed being asked to grow without proper water and soil and then when the seed does miraculously manage to grow, it’s blamed for not doing it right and is used as a reason to harm the sprout. I had chills up my spine reading some of the comments. I was angry and embarrassed regarding my profession and will double and triple-check myself to make sure I am doing the absolute best I can supporting my clients in their journeys (the people I have been given an amazing honor of letting me into their lives.) Again, I am so sorry for the pain and mistrust people have suffered – I am also glad this blog exists.

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Hi Cindy
Welcome to EFB ~ I have been to some really bad therapists and one great one. I am not saying they are all bad. I am glad that you are not
one of the ‘bad ones’.
hugs, Darlene

204

Hello all,
I am a social worker and adult therapist. My passion is to work with those who have experienced trauma which continues to impact them today. I appreciate the responsibility this entails and all of your words here remind me of this responsibility. I pray that my clients’ trust is well-placed and that I can help improve their quality of life through our therapeutic relationship. God bless you all and may we all find the words and thoughts that heal our wounds.

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Hi Everyone,
There is a new post on the home page called “What we hear when people say that our expectations are too high”. I really want to talk about this one..
See you there!
hugs, Darlene

206

I left counseling feeling very invalidated when it came to the abuse i experienced. I was told that my mother was out of her mind from drugs and shock treatments so none of the abuse i experienced was intentional. I was told about another clients childhood and told that his was much worse than mine as if that would help me. Then i was told that the abusive relationship i was in at age 20 was my fault because i didnt put in place healthy boundries.I had no idea what healthy boundries were. your blog helped me see that despite my abusers state of mind on drugs or shock treatments it was still abuse and doesnt excuse it. I also see that just because another victim was seen as being more abused than me in my counselors opinion doesn’t mean my abuse wasnt valid as well. Abuse is abuse and this site has helped me heal from it by validating it For myself. Finally i understand now that i wasnt to blame for my abusive relationship, even though i was over 18, because i had no idea what healthy boundaries were. I was never shown or taught what healthy boundries were or that i even had a right to have them. all i knew was how to let others violate them. Thank you Darlene for this article and your other articles. I walked out of counseling feeling defeated and invalidated. It seemed i was the one with the problem and just needed to get over it. Your site has helped me to heal and overcome abuse. Also to see that not all counselors offer truth. Thank you!

207

I went to see an NHS psychologist today. I came out nearly crying. It was my 8th session. She said I wasn’t engaging and she was trying to trick me to prove this. She hasn’t been clear with her instructions. She obviously doesn’t want to see me for another 8 sessions. When I said I had improved in some things she accused me of not telling the truth to continue getting treatment. I said I’m not the kind of person to lie. She says everyone does sometimes.my son is scared of me dying since bereavement so she said Had I arranged to see an NHS mental health about it. I said it was my business and I’d arranged something but not on NHS. She said its nothing personal. I neither like you or dislike you. I don’t have any feelings towards you. Then tried to play mind games is I don’t like rejection to cover for her behaviour.

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Darlene;

I just found your site via face book, as a certified Trauma Recovery & Wellness Coach; Specialized Key Note Speaker & the CA state advocate for several organizations who focus on issues of sexual abuse, domestic violence, mental illness and suicide attempt & loss.

After reading several of your writings, and responses I must say frankly I am a bit stunned. As Coaches we first must heal ourselves from our own trauma past, then and only then are we able to detach meaning not allow our personal experiences, opinions, or judgement’s from influencing our work.

To state that all mental health professionals are engaging in “Positional Power” is both a generalization which is based on your experience that does not make your statement true.

I have worked along side several highly gifted mental health professionals some well known some local to my city, are there some who do exist as your writing states? Of course just as there “poorly trained” coaches, and poorly trained individuals in all fields. To be that general blanketing a certain industry soley based on your experience reflects to me as a coach myself of there is inner work in need of facing inside of you.

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Hi Kimberle
I am a bit stunned myself here by your comment. I have never said that ALL mental health professionals are engaging in positional power. I stated that healing professionals HAVE positional power. I have nothing but respect for healing professionals but this article is about the one who are un-helpful and actually cause more harm. I work with therapists and I have been hired to help psychologists. There is no ‘general blanketing’ as you suggest here. I don’t think you have read very much of my work at all. I sincerely hope that you will reconsider your judgement of me and what I am doing here. You have totally misunderstood my message and my passion for helping others.
Darlene

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Hi Kimberle,

I was surprised by your comment as well. I’ve been reading and posting here for well over a year and I know very well that Darlene is not in the habit of making blanket generalizations about anything. I also know that her own healing is the basis for everything that she offers.

I’m really sad that you’ve interpreted what you read in a way that led you to comment as you did.

Hobie

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Hey all,
I have published a new post on the blog ~ this one is called “the first time a boy roughed me up” ~ I wrote about this because I am being interviewed tonight by domestic violence expert Liz Simpson but this isn’t just about physical abuse, it is about how the belief system forms and causes us to become desensitized to what abuse really is. I hope you will read this new one and share your thoughts. http://emergingfrombroken.com/the-first-time-a-boy-roughed-me-up-and-why-i-took-the-blame/
hugs, Darlene

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That’s disgusting. Such medical professionals should be reported and either be banned from practice or have to go through a coarse teaching them proper conduct and empathy. Anyone who doesn’t have the basic level of common sense to recognize that the blame always falls on the perpetrator of a crime, should never be in a position of counselling others.

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I come from a severely dysfunctional family, among whom several are mental health professionals, and I can tell you first hand that many of them enter this profession because they are power hungry, and/or want to distract themselves from their own pain and shortcomings by immersing themselves in others problems and/or think they know what’s best for everyone..not because they are truly interested in helping and healing. Use discernment when choosing a therapist or you may just end up coming out in worse shape then when you went in.

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i ve seen this happen too when in group therapy –

and it was hurtful – at one point a girl was validated for being great and taking responsibilit when in fact she stated often she was barely holding on and that it was all too much, they kept telling her she was doin fine – as soon as she lived independent again she wanted to come back after a month as she was drowning and again she was told she was doin fine –

no one validated her experience of he life situation – they applauded her contact withher family even tho she had stated abusive situations and a dynamic that had not healed, they applauded her whenever she did things she could barely manage and they only mentioend a few tings about her dressing style –

as for one s own responsibility – when i wanted to talk about my mother as well they said what is your part in the relationship for making it go wrong – and they kept pushing me to admit i did some thing wrong til i went back to her and lether buy me a cake for my birthday – which wa sapplauded caues you have to be in touch with your mother – she was kind that day and i was applauded they all said i had changed for the better, but one girl stated – i don t think she did do anything different, from the sound of it her mother just behaved nice for once but this was lost to the professionals –

it s weird to see that help is not Always safe evn and can end up abusive as well – hwoever when i tried to talk about this people said i was arrogant, i had to know everything better didn t i, everyone tried to help me and if i kenw it all then why was i this ill and not improving even –

so i kept giving my power away and kept getting worse as well –

at one poit it seems you start forgetting yourself, and you start to believe what they tell you – but when you still do not improve even tho they keep on pushing you back in your family s arms and keep on pushng you to ignore every physical symptom your body is shouting out –

they stated i was a lost cause and would never heal so it was best to just try it all on myown as i was beyond help

it took time to see i was beyond what they could offer – that the problems stated were due to the ward rather then to me and due to their limited perception – and that indeed i do know what i need even tho the result, a healthy body mind set , is not present- then again how could it be present after aal these years – how can i not bu tbe in needo f true healing

it did feel lonely btw – it for sure did – especially when the psychiatriast told me to stop talkig – after all these years of being told talking was the cure i was told to stop talkin and to just accept that i was in too deep that i had lived through too much and that i was beyond help

i don t believe i am btw, but as said, it does get lonely

thx for writing, too often i ve heard when i was online and mentioned i felt rough, to get therapy, when i felt like screaming that they often dismissed me or send me home or o ro ro or……..
it s refreshing to see someone write about how things can get wonky as well and how it s not a one way ticket to bliss in three sessions –

thx for sharing

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Wow, there are so many comments on here I couldn’t read them all! I don’t know if anyone will read this.

2 questions:
My therapist always validates what happened with my parents and other people, but if my sister (two years younger than me) did anything physically or emotionally harmful to me she will say that is because we had the same parents, and so I’m invalidated by the harm done by my sister. Does it not count if it’s your sister? “She was just acting that way because she was trying to get attention from your parents.” My therapist encourages me to have less contact w my parents, but said it was safe for me to build a relationship with my sister.
My second question: Is asking the patient what they could have done differently supposed to be a line of questioning in EMDR therapy? Is it a question they ask you to help you realize you couldn’t have done anything differently, like tricking you in to realizing that? I’m not sure I get this therapy. Maybe I didn’t go long enough before my insurance changed and I had to quit. It just seemed like: say over and over again the horrible thing that happened to you.

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I had been invalidated in the therapy (sarcastic remarks,anger, making fun of my situation..)… he pushed to go on no contact with my mother on the 2nd session. I was often so anxious going there, but I thought “it was the therapy, I need it”. It took me a long time to get out of there. With helps of this side. I guess the therapist just repeated my complex traumatic domestic violance.

I search about the good, healing therapy since that time -esp. for the people with complex PTSD. I believe there are good therapist, only I had not met them yet (I live outside of USA and western countries). It is such a pain to be invalidated from professionals.

LaVerne,
not sure. I would need personally to feel safe in every aspect of the therapy. Currently, I found someone who seems diligently to help, but I guess he is not familiar with PTSD (even though I said I am searching for it, but…I did not ask explicitely). I feel helped to some extends, but then I am being pushed into something that I ended in dissociation, fear…..it is usually change of the topic, not letting me process my emotions, going with what I want to -what my body wants to process, interrupting me (the hurry). Maybe I can work with the therapist through that (tell him about what bothers me), but actually – I´d wish a different relationship.
The therapist who invalidated me supported my father and general men in my life (who abused me to), perhaps in order to get somebody I can attach to. It felt unsafe to me. It proved. I lost several years of finding a better support, trying to put my abusers on a pedestal (and it felt bad).
The new therapist told me, maybe also too straight away or soon, but he did validated me, that yes, I had been also abused by men…
If your sister hurts you, it would be great to be validated in your truth.
Reading your comment, I feel that when one has to decide himself what it is safe (nobody can tell me what I have to feel)….
but to me personally, it is soo difficult, as I lived through the terrible abuse at home, thus being unsafe and in a kind of life-threat is “normal” to me.

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