Jun
04

Psychological Abuse is the Root of All Abuse ~ many years later

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Hola! It is great to be home from my travels, although it was great to be there too.  In my last post I talked about re-wiring the belief system. This post continues with a snap shot of how it looks when I confront that belief system today. Even though this story stems from sexual abuse, this is the same system that I use to drill down to the roots of all anxiety.

This was the first time that I went to a resort without my husband, and I had a few interesting experiences as I came up against my old belief system. In my blog post “sexualized at a young age“, I told how my mother taught me that my value was in my sexuality, and that I also believed that all sexual encounters ~ positive, negative or dangerous ~ were my fault and were somehow caused by my behaviour.  Please bear with me while I set the context for this post.

At our resort, each evening when the maid comes to do the turn down service, they leave chocolates on the beds as well as a program schedule for the events of the following day. I am one of those people that loves to get that schedule and pour over it. Our second night, the schedule left on the bed was in Spanish, so the next morning I went down to the front desk and asked for one in English. The front desk guy was teasing me and joking around telling me that he only had one in Italian. Eventually, after some joking around, I had my English program in my hand and we were on our way to breakfast. That evening there was no program in the room at all.

I felt a little uneasy the next day about having to ask the same front desk guy if I could get a schedule from him. I wasn’t sure what my discomfort was about but I started paying attention to the chatter in my head as I have learned that is a great way to drill down to the belief behind the anxiety. To my surprise, my thoughts were that the guy would think that I was lying, or that I forgot the schedule in my room and was too lazy to go back and get it. I asked him for one anyway and once again he teased me about only having them in foreign languages other than English.

That night, once again… no program schedule. The next morning I mentally refused to go to the front desk and get one. Instead of going to get one, I went to the board where all the activities of the day are posted and read the one there. I really wanted to have one of my own, but I could not seem to make myself go and get one, and I could not get it off my mind. So once again I listened to the chatter in my head and I realized that I was very certain that if I went for the third day in a row to the front desk, that the man who was so friendly would think that I was flirting with him and then what would I do? I was afraid that I would give him the “wrong idea”. I was afraid that if he got the “wrong idea” that something bad would happen to me AND that it would be my fault. I had come up against my old belief system.

My mother had made it very clear to me that it was my fault that I had been sexually molested when I was 13 by her boyfriend. Because of that false belief ~ which was reinforced regularly after that, I naturally believed that the abuse that happened to me when I was much younger, must have been my fault too.  The problem was that I didn’t know what the heck that I had actually done to cause it, so for the rest of my life I lived in fear of doing “it” again.  I have done a lot of work on this part of my belief system, but it is the biggie for me. It was connected to the biggest root I had to dig out, and I found out in therapy that many of my other beliefs were attached to this root. It isn’t really surprising that this came up for me again when I was on a vacation without my husband where Spanish men, (known for their flirtatiousness) would be joking around with me.

When I processed the whole thing, it was easy for me to realize what I was afraid of. I was able to reassure myself that since the abuse in my childhood was in fact NOT caused by me, that I was not going to ‘do something’ to cause this man to think he could just have his way with me. I also reminded myself that even if the front desk guy was flirting with me I did not have to get involved with him, I was no longer a child freezing up and dissociating when someone was about to abuse me. There were other beliefs that I had worked on in therapy also that we right there under the surface. One of them was that every man in the world wants to use me because I believed that was all I was “good” for.

My sexuality has been a huge part of the overall problem in my life. In my next post I will talk about how I was afraid of men but longed to be validated by them in the wrong way because of my fears and messed up belief system.

Living in Truth!

Darlene Ouimet

Categories : Freedom & Wholeness

19 Comments

1

I so identify with this. The voices in the head thing, so hard for me to hear because they’re so automatic. But I am beginning to catch what’s being said and find it gets easier to tune into it with practice. Thanks for this. Again. 😉

2

I feel like a broken record, I can relate to every single part of every post it seems like. You are so strong and so brave and its awesome to see. Im still in the child freezing up stage and its no fun, but at least I know its not going to be that way forever.

3

This strikes a chord with me. I nearly always freeze up and won’t ask a second or third time, especially if it is a man. For me, as a child when I asked for anything, I had to “pay.” My father exacted sexual favors for his assisting me in a normal parental role. Consequently, my “voices” go crazy when I feel like my requests are ignored. Automatically, I feel like I have done something wrong.

Thanks again for sharing!

4

I have always struggled with thinking that I’m only worthy for sexual flirtations, acts, etc. Once I hit my thirties somehow I was no longer of value and WOW what a horrible thing to realize! My whole self depended on disgusting people to flirt with me? To want nothing but sex from me? It took until then, when the whistles, looks, etc. stopped, to realize I took my own value of looks, brains, anything, from other people, but most definitely all in regards to sexual things. What?? Adding 20 (ok 30) pounds to that and again, lost. Or is it free? I sometimes think I carry an extra few (fine more than few) pounds just to ‘make sure’ that someone is truly interested in “ME”. How sick is that? It’s like a barrier I keep so that I don’t have to be used for sex. Yes, I have always truly felt with all my heart that sex was all I was good for. And you know what? I was PROUD of that. Man alive… And sadly, my memories of the young abuse didn’t appear until I was 13 and reappear at 21 after I shoved them back down. It all still stays a foggy memory but reading this confirms for me that I have most definitely had my belief system created from a heap of garbage. I guess I’m glad to ‘get old’ and ‘have the looks go’ in some ways. It has made me realize where I was getting my self worth from. A terribly incorrect, unhealthy place. Thanks for letting me know that I am not just some crazy person who was ‘easy’ in the past.Thanks for finally letting me have someone tell me that I truly am not alone with all of this. I hate modern technology, but I have to say, after finding this blog I think my opinion is quickly changing. Thank you for sharing yourself and doing this blog and for your stories and inspiration. Especially for this topic as no one ever wants to admit this portion of the damage that is done.

5

I think some of what you are experiencing has a lot to do with the concept of Rape Culture…as women it’s hard enough to deal with our vulnerabilities; as survivors…it’s a whole new level of frustration and anxiety. Every man is a potential aggressor, it’s not fair to them, any more than it is to us.

I’m glad you post your experiences here, I think it helps get people talking. *hugs*

6

I still struggle with accepting that the abuse is not my fault. It is so easy to fall into that cylce again and then what is worse accepting how you are being treated as that is what you deserve. It is one thing to know in your head that how you are being treated is wrong wether it is in the past or present, it is quit another to have it rooted in your heart that you did not deserve being abused. For me it is easier to allow that blame to fall on me because I can change me then to accept that the one who has hurt you is responsible for their actions.

Right now I am processing through events of my childhood those memories come back….its kinda like looking through a camera and having the lense adjusted and each time you look though it the scene infront of you becomes more clear. This is a very painfull process because the result of that clarity helps you to see the things in your present life that need to change. The evolution of your heart changes so that you cannot accept the abuse and wish to god that you could seperate that person from the actions they intitiate on you but unfortunatly that may not happen.

As hard as the process is of learning a new way to think and learning what the new belief system should look like it is worth it.

7

Hello everyone! I have been feeling a little under the weather since I returned from Mexico ~ Please excuse me for not answering each comment individually today.

It is great that so many of you relate to what I am talking about. This whole process is hard, and I found that realizing these things about my belief system were such great “fog busting” clues for me, to get me started on the re-wire process.

Laura, eventually I want to write a whole series on the body image and weight and food issues that go with this whole thing for so many of us. This is such a huge area and I really appreciate your willingness to write your experience here. For me as with everything else, there are always two sides of the problem when it comes to my physical body and my thinking got really messed up about if my weight kept me safe (heavy or not) because my body was so tied to my self worth and because I have two completely opposite and conflicting beliefs when it come to my weight and body.

Ligeia, thanks for your explanation of Rape Culture… that is exactly what is going on.

Hugs, Darlene

8

Angela, It is terrific to see you!

I am not sure what you mean when you say that you wish that “you could separate the person (abuser) from the actions they initiate on you” If I understand you correctly, accepting that people who were supposed to love me actually did not act in a loving way, is a big part of what set me free. I stopped trying to separate the actions from the person and I embraced the truth about my own family and some of whom I believed were my best friends.
If I have misunderstood, can you clarify what you wrote?

Thanks so much for your comments. Hugs, Darlene

9

Hi Darlene

Thanks for this very honest post about your experiences on holiday, and how pervasive our belief systems can be!

You are a wonderful example of how listening to ourselves and our internal chatter can lead to freedom!

Thanks again for your courage!

john
wilsoncounselling.co.uk

10

Hi John,
It is so great have a “visit” from you and to receive your lovely comments.
Hugs, Darlene

11

Hi Darlene,

I will clarify further to what I meant or maybe am trying to say…I hate their actions and their choice to live in certian way which therefore means that no real relationship can happen because what I would have to agree to is allowing them to abuse so they would stick around thus no relationship can be fostered. This is not out of hate for that person but not being able to tolerate their false definition of “love” that they would so graciously bestow on me..lol

I think that what a lot of people do not understand when a victim finally stands and says enough you cannot treat me this way..that it breaks the victims heart to have to break that agreement. Fully knowing that drawing their line in the sand may mean that the person what has abused may not want to stop or even take a look at the mere possibitly that the victim is not all in the wrong and actually may have some valid points in intiating positve change in the relationship. However, when the abuser takes the opinion that the victim is of no value to them. They walk away. The victim is sad however even though a great loss has happened they have gained themselves. 🙂

12
sandra partridge
June 6th, 2010 at 12:39 am

There are so many things that each of you write that ‘make sense’.Thank you. I wish you well Darlene.

13

Angela,
Thanks for sharing this. You are right, it is heartbreaking on all counts; we have been taught to accept the agreement which is the abuse, and we have accepted that it is “wrong” to stand up against it so if feels “wrong” when we stand up for ourselves. and yes…It is such a blow when we realize that they don’t care enough to even listen to us, and that they would so often rather not have any relationship at all, then one where they might listen to us, or even have to care about us. Such a weird thing for us to try to understand.
Thanks for clarifying, and for adding in such an insightful way to this discussion.
Hugs, Darlene

14

Sandra,
It is great to have you here and thank you for your well wishes.
Hugs, Darlene

15

What is hard is finally admitting to yourself that the person that you want to love you isn’t ever going to do that in a healthy manner. You saying no to the abuse finally closes the door on that fairy tale that you tell yourself about them one day waking up and loving you the way that they should and the way that the child needs to be loved as a child, not as a sex object. The lies are so woven into our lives that the only way to see them is by taking them apart one at a time as you have very well illustrated in this post, Darlene.

16

Very well said Patricia, this is so true.

There is such a difference between healthy and unhealthy love, but when we don’t even know what healthy love is, it can be confusing. I think that is what takes so long to shut the door on. Thanks so much for your comment!

Darlene

17

[…] my last post “Psychological Abuse is the Root of All Abuse ~ many years later ” I talked about one incident that reflected on how my belief system impacted my life. I […]

18

You mention therapy here, but in other posts you mentioned therapy that was adverse. Can you help us here what was healthy therapy/therapist(s) for you vs. those that were not. So that some don’t pick up on the takeaway that all therapy/therapists are a waste of time. Healing is an inside job, however a therapist can be a good tool in the toolbox towards healing…I too have had some TERRIBLE TERRIBLE ones. Would love your input on this subject, the subject of “therapy/therapists, in general. Thx.

19

Hi Niccole
I had one good therapist and several bad therapists. For me, good therapy was therapy that validated the origin of the trauma and difficulties and looked at the effect the damage had on the belief system. I personally can’t tell a person who a good therapist is unless I know the methods of that particular therapist therefore all will have to draw their own conclusions about specific individuals. A therapist can be the greatest tool in the toolbox, OR the worst.
Hugs, Darlene

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