Jan
18

Psychological and Emotional Abuse; I was Dying my Whole Life

By

psychological abuse emotional abuse

Pondering Freedom

I was dying my whole life; I just didn’t know it until I started living.

The fog that I grew up with was almost completely transparent. I didn’t know that I didn’t know. I lived in a false normal and growing up like that was the way it was. It was my truth and my “real”. I didn’t know that there was any other way. I didn’t know that I didn’t know there was indeed another way; most of my life, my reality and my truth were dysfunctional.  The adults, the reality all malfunctioned.

And therefore so did I.

That is what living in a dysfunctional family was like for me. Those were the effects of psychological abuse emotional abuse and trauma. That is the effect of being groomed and being trained in silence, compliance, obedience and obligation. That is what happens when a child is taught that their value as an individual is not the same as the value of others. There are consequences and negative results when we are raised in a false normal.

Psychological abuse is at the root of all forms of abuse. It is part of the grooming process. Emotional abuse and neglect makes a statement to a child. Abuse in any form makes a statement about human value. It teaches things that to the child that no child should be taught.  It teaches the WRONG thing.

Sexual and physical abuse leave a child living in fear every day of their lives. It doesn’t make “sense”; abuse is incomprehensible and as a child I had to try to understand. Trying to understand something that is incomprehensible as a child is impossible.  So, I “tried” to understand “them” for the rest of my life and as I was slowly dying I didn’t realize that my life was being extinguished by the very people who did all the harm in the first place.  Perhaps the people who didn’t take care of me properly didn’t realize that there was harm being done. Perhaps those who covered it all up didn’t know that they were contributing to murder and to the death of a child. “Understanding them” didn’t change the damage. Perhaps the perpetrators of the abuse itself were sick people who also came from dysfunctional families, but that didn’t change or excuse the damage they perpetrated on me either.  

I was taught to protect them when they didn’t protect me. I was taught to value them above myself although they didn’t value me.  The proof of this was in their actions and inactions. I was taught to consider what “they needed” when no one considered what I needed.

And as I was growing up and even into adulthood, every time I felt like life was going to be okay, I was squished. Like a happy puppy being slapped away with a newspaper, I was shushed, I was reprimanded and I was told in words, looks, actions and inaction that I was not worthy. And not by just ONE person. Many people contributed to the devaluing of me and my personhood. I felt like I had a sign on me somewhere that I could not see, and the sign read “if it makes you feel better about you, kick me down, I can take it” And instead of realizing that I was not the one at fault, I tried harder. I tried to understand them so that I could excuse them.

I WANTED to make them feel better because I believed that if they felt better about themselves, they would love me.  This is psychological abuse and I had to finally accept that love doesn’t work that way.

Not worthy of love. Not worthy of protection. Not worthy. I didn’t know that they had no right to declare me unworthy. I didn’t know that they were WRONG. I believed that they knew if I had value or not. What child would question that?  Children don’t process problems through the grid of truth, but rather through the grid of understanding based on what they have been taught.

Protecting and valuing the very people who disregarded my human value made sense to me because as a child that was survival. I HAD to find a way to survive the dysfunctional world that I lived in. That world was “my normal”. That false normal world was all I knew. I had to find a way to cope with my increasing sense of failure and lack of human worth. Compliance and hope was my daily diet. I pinned my hopes on the fact that one day I would find the KEY that would enable them to love me and that was all I understood.

As an adult, I needed to find a new way to cope because as long as I didn’t see the truth, I was stuck in that childhood survival mode.

My process of emotional healing was about finding out what those wrong messages were and how they got stuck in my mind so that I could overcome them and replace them with healthy truth so that I could LIVE again. That is what I am doing on this site. I am sharing all that. I am sharing the truth that set me free.

As an adult, I had to face the damage. I had to find the truth about the way it should have been. I had to get a glimpse of what real love was and what a functional loving family would have looked like. In this was I was able to heal myself and then stop the cycle within my own family, take my life back and now make a difference within the world with my message.

Psychological, emotional abuse and neglect makes a statement to a child. Emotional Abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, domestic violence and abuse in general, makes a statement about human value. It teaches things that no child should be taught.  It teaches the WRONG thing.

Emerging from Broken is about how I found a new way. It is about how I moved from coping to conquering. Emerging from Broken is about how I moved from surviving to thriving and about how I moved from dysfunctional to functional.

There is freedom on the other side of broken;

Darlene Ouimet

Related posts ~ “Stop that Crying or I will give you something to Cry about”

“Over coming Self Blame”

Categories : Self Esteem

49 Comments

1

Hi Darlene, I love that term “healthy truth”. I would probably call that wisdom, truth used properly. It isn’t enough just to know what is wrong. Knowledge of what is wrong has to be put to task to free abuse survivors from the effects of their abuse. I never found very much of that in the mental health care system. Mostly, I was told you are this, they are that, neither of you can help it, and the only “help” are these pills to manage your symptoms. “Healthy truth” works so much better and actually, cures the cause of “symptoms”.

Pam

2

Darlene,

May I ask? Did you have anyone who truly loved you when you were a little girl? A safe place to go? A friend whose family took you in as one of their own, at least during the times you came to visit? Any place like this? I ask because even though my parents were horrible, I had good grandparents in which I could clearly see very early in life what real love was. They were a safe place for me. Later on, I had friends whose families were very good to me, loved me as their own, and they were my escape. I learned very early that my parents were not going to protect or support me so I stopped looking to them for those things. I did the things that meant “survival” for my home life, but I didn’t live with the same beliefs as you share in this post. I always felt I was biding my time waiting for someone to take me away from it. I could not get away fast enough when he did arrive. But, even so, there is still much damage to overcome.

Anyway, just wondering..
Thank you yet again for your words and wisdom.

Jen

3

Hi Pam
I am always trying to “say things differently” because that was what helped me to break through the fog… I changed the words I was so used to hearing in the dysfunction. Learning new ways to look at things seems easier when I changed the way I talked about them before.
Great comments Pam! I hate that unhopeful junk about “neither of you can help it”… like we are all born victims of the world. When I started to think that maybe I could “help it” I did!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jen
I felt loved by my grandparents on my fathers side… although today I remember things that still indicate that compliance over individuality was still the order of the day. I had my best friend next door growing up and I loved going to her house. (we are still friends today) When I was 14 or 15 I met a girl who seemed to sense that I was going off the deep end. (I started to write a post about her the other day and may publish it soon) Her family totally accepted me and welcomed me and I spent a lot of weekends there until I was around 17. I recently reunited on the phone with that girl, and I asked her if I ever told her what was going on in my home. (and I had not told her anything!) I did have some people who accepted me I think. At least I knew that there were some families that were not like mine! I also escaped into the arms of a man when I was 17 and moved out of the house that way. That didn’t turn out so well though.
Hugs, Darlene

4

‘I was taught to protect them when they didn’t protect me. I was taught to value them above myself although they didn’t value me. The proof of this was in their actions and inactions. I was taught to consider what “they needed” when no one considered what I needed.’

I WANTED to make them feel better because I believed that if they felt better about themselves, they would love me. This is psychological abuse and I had to finally accept that love doesn’t work that way.

‘Not worthy of love. Not worthy of protection. Not worthy. I didn’t know that they had no right to declare me unworthy. I didn’t know that they were WRONG. I believed that they knew if I had value or not. What child would question that? Children don’t process problems through the grid of truth, but rather through the grid of understanding based on what they have been taught.’

‘that false normal world was all I knew.’

Darlene, I had to repost these quotes because they resonate so strongly in me. I felt EXACTLY the same way as you have in this whole blog post and now in therapy am now unraveling the damage and abuse I couldn’t even admit was done to me because it was my family and I thought it was normal. I thought being terrified of my parents was normal. I thought my parents ‘overlooking’ my uncles’ sadism and molesting me must’ve been right because I wasn’t allowed to have feelings and NEVER EVER anger or I would be beaten and ridiculed. I thought my mother obeying my grandmother’s demands to beat us and to join her beating us was what happened in every family and even when I was able to see a difference, I felt lost and hopeless because I was a prisoner in that house. There was absolutely no safe place for me because even away from home, I was terrified I would be found out if I told. I was well conditioned in terror. But now the healing has begun.

5

I have struggled in my relationships because I was attracted to and loved broken men. I thought that if I fixed them, or myself because if I was perfect they would be happy, that they would love me. That if I gained their approval, it would be like the uncles who molested and abused me–they wouldn’t hurt me anymore. I didn’t even realize the link until therapy. I dated and even married, in essence, my family. No. Love does not work that way. I deserve love. I am worthy. I am loving and I am lovable.

6

THat first phrase “I was dying my whole life” resonated with me – this was how I have felt for decades. Its a delusion that is hard to shift, inspiute of evidence to the contrary. That I did survive my childhood is no thanks to the many people who could have and should have protected me – and did not. Like you, there were many of them. Looking back I don’t know how I survived. But – I did know love. Like you Darlene and Jen – I had grandparents who adored me – and I did have a few spells of living with them for a few weeks or months at different points in my childhood. I think they made the difference. With them I felt safe, wanted and totally and unconditionally loved, it was wonderful to be with them.
As I write this it is a trigger. I can smell their house.
Sadly, my parents and teachers had more power and control over me – and the greater access – and so the abuse was the major influence in my young life – and the one which for a long time over-rode the good influence that my grandparents were.
Now, as memories return, I am able to see the truth of the greater part of my abusive and neglected childhood for what it was. As I have progressed through therapy I am now remembering how it was at Granmas house too. And that is a comfort when the bleaker days are here, or when the work I have been doing in therapy feels overwhelming and I am exhausted.
Thanks again Darlene

7

I wonder, is it possible to see the same patterns when you go into the work environment. Do companies sometimes cultivate these negative things?

8

Mike – YES!!! I have worked in a couple of places that were abusive in general – and at times of me personally. The last one was so bad I decided to go self-employed – then I have only me to worry about!

9

Hi Lainey
Glad this resonated with you! When I wrote this post I was thinking about all the ways that I didn’t know that this stuff wasn’t normal and how I came to realize it wasn’t normal. And it goes so deep because this “false truth” was modeled to us from such a young age that we don’t know any different… we have to start at least a bit of the dysfunction in all of it in order to begin. We have to realize that what happened was NOT RIGHT and that not telling is not helping anymore.
I am so glad the healing has begun for you!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Libby
When I wrote that phrase “I was dying my whole life” I had thought that looking back on my life, that is what it really felt like.
I don’t know how loved or safe I felt with my grandparents, I just know that it was no where near as scary with them as it was at home, and like you said, the people that I was with for the majority of the time were the the most influence.
YAY for seeing the truth about the past… it has only been facing the truth that has set me free… but just like I didn’t know I was dying my whole life, I also didn’t know that I didn’t know “the truth”. That is what was the hardest part for me too.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Mike
Yes. If you look at the misuse of power and control like a pecking order, you can see this dysfunction in all areas of life. (Even between countries there is the misuse of power and control and therefore abuse) At the root of all of it is the controllers belief that He or She is the most important and disregards the value of another. And the sad part is that the rare companies who run things more equality based, and see the value in EACH employee, are SO much more productive! But abusers/controllers would rather sacrifice productivity in order to be all powerful. They don’t want to give up the rush they get when everyone jumps at every command. (and as in families, there are many different ways to abuse employees too)
Hugs, Darlene

10

wow, get out of my head, even though these words were about yourself the echo so very loudly fo rme,there are things i havent yet had the courage to face as it family, those who were meant to protect me hurt me and left me weak and vnerable to others to abuse. for me it the persecption of how a family should be and how my mine was that keeps me in the cycle im in. how can i say i love someone when love is what got me hurt as a child. why dare to love incase it again gets turned against me. i use verbal abuse to keep people at bay and then hate my self as i know snapping at people isnt the answer, but when i havent even a clue what the question was how can i kow an answer. i remember sitting in a parenting class as a 15 yr old and saying i was never gona marry or have kids after what i had seen and been through, yet it was the divorce the beatings, the emotional distance of my parents, the way we were spoken to and dealt with in private which was so at odds to how we were treated in public. then as my brothers grew older and bigger than me they started to treat me as if they had a right to control me and my actions, with violence the consequence if i didnt. standing up for muself didnt help, hiding away didnt help sleeping the day away helped alot, then as i got into teenage yrs alcohol became my poison, and as i started to recover memories in my late teens it became my way to get sleep, and stay there for as long as possible. i worked for money so i could be in the pub to get drunk so i could sleep so i could get up for work. im so glad i realised i really did not function on booze, though i just swapped one crutch for another as i could function on weed. at first to sleep and as my stress became bad it became my blanket. i still use but not as much as i did. mainly because my lungs wont let me, and i dont really get the high anymore but it stablises me for the time beoing, and im hopeful once i crack the core of my onion, i can slowly wean my self of the weed and the anti depressants. well thats the end goal anyways

11

hello darlene,
i suffered too much in my past, all aspects of my life was been abused. i am struggling with borderline personality disorder, an illness that holds my life and blurs my vision. i kept it not until this month i have seen a psychiatrist and prescribed me pills,a mood stabilizer.i wanted to be well but i couldn’t afford the medical expenses as i just graduated from my degree and my country do not have enough awareness about personality disorders,therefore there’s no sector that you can run to. i have dreams in life, it is very painful to me that this struggles i am facing right now delayed my journey and bars my way. honestly, i am confused and do not know what to do. sad thing as well because i don’t have support system as i am living on my own.i am an orphan since i was a little girl. i was raised up with my auntie in my maternal side that did not treated us well.your blog is inspirational because all the articles u had i really can relate.

12

Hi Carol!
Over this last 5 years of working as a mental health advocate, I have come to realize that facing the family stuff is one of the biggest stick points in the way of healing. I looked at the walls (you talk about verbal abuse being one of those) that I had up, and I realized why I put them there. I looked at all the things that I had done that I was ashamed of or confused about “why” I did them, and connected them to the child abuse. They were my defense. When I finally saw the roots of the broken, I was able to heal. Self understanding and self forgiveness followed, and THAT was when those coping methods (including dissociation and depression) fell away. But seeing where it all came from was a huge key for me.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Betsy
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
I struggled with a few disorders including bi polar disorder and dissociative identity disorder. It wasn’t by being treated for those things that helped me recover. It was by realizing what the abuse in childhood caused me to believe about myself and it was in changing that false belief stuff back to the truth where I found freedom from all those issues. There are lots of articles (especially the earlier ones) about this kind of stuff that you can read to get started on figuring out your belief system and how it formed. That was where I found the answers.
I am glad you are here.
Hugs, Darlene

13

Adding to my favorites in the health section for reference. Thanks!

14

Happiness squished sounds so familiar. My parents always looked for and expressed the negative. Enthusiasm in any form was looked at as being phony. I am so fortunate that my husband of 23 yrs is a completely different kind of person. One of the last conversations I had with my NM (we are NC now)she snarled that I was brainwashed by him. She could not hear a word I said so I just said goodbye and hung up. I have worked hard to discipline my thinking and speaking and if she wants to call it brainwashing – what do I care? I love this post it really expresses so much that I have lived …thanks!

15

I felt like I was dying my whole life came home to me when I was told I probably had cancer – I thought then this was it – finally I could/would die and be set free.
I have “jokingly” said throughout my adult life, that I was older than I ever expected to be. I now know this to be part of the PTSD that was the result of my childhood. Even in the face of the reality I remained convinced I would(a) die young, and (b) die a terrible death. Well, it didn’t happen. The cancer diagnosis proved incorrect. But – it left me shocked and horrifed that, actually, I had to carry on living. Finally, I realised that this was not normal thinking and went and got help. At last I am learning that my “normal” really isn’t/wasn’t. At last I have the help and support of skilled people adn friends who are helping me to face the truth – adn heal the past. What a helluva way to get there – but I am well on the way now.

16

Darlene, I would love to hear your opinion of my current job situation. I just started it. During my interview and training, I was told that the work would be challenging, but that we would have a lot of support and guidance from our manager and senior staff. But I am now actually in an office with a manager that we share with another office. She is almost never here, and she has not expressed any interest in my personal development or made any real attempt to get to know me.

While we do have some senior staff with us, there are quite a few periods when us newbies are alone in the office to cope with clients and we have no one to ask if there are things we don’t know. I have already made mistakes, but only realized them in retrospect.

I am so used to taking blame, and have already poured guilt on myself, but tonight I thought, are we not being neglected? I realized I have also started making excuses for my manager’s aloofness! Even if it’s true that she has too much to do, I don’t deserve to be ignored, right? I am not asking for advice, but validation. This seems like another fog-busting experience! It FEELS like neglect, and I want to know that, and not blame myself.

17

Hi Tamara
Thanks for sharing; it IS hard work to change our thinking. It is funny that she says your husband brainwashed you! (like you don’t have a brain of your own ~ and you could not possibly make up your own mind about anything… it is the same old insult! )
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Libby
Thanks for sharing your hope and your breakthrough! YAY for being well on the way!
Hugs, Darlene

18

Hi Sophia
I would agree that you are being neglected. None of this is your fault! And it your manager can’t handle the work that is NOT your problem and you should not have to pay for it! Isn’t it interesting how similar that this is to the “dysfunctional family system”. This is a great example of how our belief systems rule our lives when we have grown up this way. Making excuses for the manager who is neglecting you just like we made excuses for our parents… and on it goes. In the work system, this is SO hard!

Can you talk to the person who hired you and tell them that you do not in fact have the support that you had been assured of? (leaving newbies to fend for themselves with clients is not good for the overall end results for the company so it is in their best interest to make sure you get the support that you need)
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

19

Thanks, Darlene. I know intellectually that I should be wanting to stand up for what is best for me and the company. But emotionally I am afraid to approach the district manager to complain about our office manager, who has been there for years and is so well-regarded by the company. I don’t really know if I can trust the district manager. Also I wonder what my manager will do if I complain about her to her boss.

It IS such a reflection of our society that businesses reflect family dysfunction. But of course, the same people who hurt their families go to work every day too! I’m finding it really painful that my manager shows so little interest in me and my development. This is interesting, she’s not outwardly harsh or abusive, just…. kind of looks right through me! I feel like she really doesn’t care if I make it or not. There are others in her office who she seems to regard with affection. At least when we do have senior employees in the office with us, they seem to be friendly and always willing to advise or help us.

I will give it a little more time before I decide how to act. But I will NOT ignore my feelings, make excuses for anybody else, or take on feelings of guilt, responsibility, or deservingness for other people’s neglect.

20

On another note, I’ve been noting my emotional recovery progress by tracking certain dream symbolism, in this case the appearance in my dreams of babies and small children, which I think represent the part of myself that never received adequate emotional nurturing. In my dark days, I would dream about babies that were tiny and weak and tended to disappear or I would “lose” them during the course of the dream. Last night I dreamed about a strong, capable, and energetic little girl, who fell on the floor and cried for a bit. I reached out my hands to help her up and she sprung right up and smiled, looked me in the eye, and spoke some wise words that I can’t actually remember! But we stayed with each other and hand an affectionate connection.

So I guess I can trust that I can help myself and figure out how to deal with this current job situation, eh?

21

It has been a while since I have posted on here Darlene, but I had to today to let you know how your words were such a relief to me. I am currently going through an incredibly hard time. My circumstances are very painful and each day is an effort to continue living through them. My insanity causes me to keep seeking solace and comfort from my family, even though harsh judgement towards me is what they are best at. I am the black sheep of our family and no amount of changing on my part has ever made a difference.

A good friend has witnessed my sick need for their approval over the years, as well as my insane desire to somehow CONVINCE them That bad things CAN happen to good people without it ALWAYS being their fault. Today, as I wept over a chilly conversation from a family member who I had hoped to hear some words of encouragement from, my dear friend attempted to give me some clarity in my relationship with my family. She encouraged me to stop going to that well of poison and get out and drink from the good wells of the friends that have been with me though the good and bad, who have seen me at my worst and best and loved me the same. With that in mind, I thought of you and decided to catch up on your blog. Darlene, after reading this post, I felt such an affirmation from God that He was wanting me to understand some truths that I had been blind to for all of these years.

Thank you for being so passionate about sharing what you have learned. You are a vessel of light and hope to those of us who are still trying to figure it all out. Using your words, I am tired of being a victim and want to stop living in a survival mode and cross over to a thriving mode.

I love you for what you are doing and want you to know how much you are helping me during these dark days.
With lots of love from a grateful heart,
Cindy Leigh

22

Sophia,
YES ~ You can trust yourself. I love that. I too have done (and do) a lot of work around my dreams and the very often assist me in understanding what my mind is trying to tell me.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Cindy Leigh!
It is so great to hear from you! I am so very familiar with how hard it is to stop going to that well of poison. I write about how we get brainwashed in the first place to believe that we NEED that exact well and we need to find a way to make that well work… to find the antidote when all along the antidote was looking at things through the eyes of truth instead of through the false truth that they brainwashed me with. It takes time, it didn’t happen for me over night. I discovered the truth in layers just as the false was exposed and then fell away in layers. And my recovery and healing happened in layers too.
Keep striving to come forward Cindy Leigh. That is what worked for me.
Hugs, Darlene

23

The fog is rapidly being blown away and I see things so much more clearly now than ever before. My mother wrote my niece and nephew a card which included, “No one ever comes to visit me. I’m all alone.” (My niece said it made her want to cry.) Never mind that she’s got someone over to help her three times a week and I’m over there at least once a week myself, with my fake smile pasted on my face because she is the only one in the world entitled to negative feelings. I see now that once again I’m “nobody”, the same nobody that was putting her back out trying to fix her humongous wardrobe while she cried on the phone to her cousin that “nobody” ever came to help her. (If I had put my back out, she would have, as she has forever before, tell me about her back problems and all the problems they’ve caused her. Not one drop of empathy. Once the ambulance came, though, it would be a different story. She would be full of sympathy.)

I used to feel guilty when she said stuff like this and sought ways to make myself more useful to her. This is, I see now, exactly what her agenda was in the first place.

I wouldn’t want to make a liar out of her. Maybe I will, for my part, make her statement true that no one ever comes to see her and nobody helps her. But I can’t because she’s got folks in admiration with her false self and they would be talking about me behind my back.

And she’s lied to me too, I realize now. She’s dealt with it well, moving slowly, doing something while thinking up a cover story as fast as she could. And she never misses an opportunity to say something negative to me about something I’m doing.

It’s not her fault she’s this way. She was horribly abused herself as a child, but you’d think after 85 years that she would have slowed down some.

24

Hi MZC
I still find it shocking when the fog clears, how much more transparent the game really is. And as the years go by I am even more shocked at how much more fog that lifts! I am not so much in favor of thinking that it is not their fault anymore (after all, I had the same choices and I didn’t go that way) and one thing I am very very clear on today is that it certainly isn’t MY fault. 🙂 and that I deserve better! We all do!
Hugs, Darlene

25

The abuse my mother showed me was like her making me wear a backpack of bricks and then criticizing me for not standing up straight. Nothing ever made sense. Everything was somehow MY fault. I tried to fix her broken self esteem while she just kept chipping away at mine. Now I see myself through a different lens. My vision is no longer distorted by her lies. I can look at myself now and say, “I’m proud of you. You deserved better. You are a lovely person and NO child (or adult) should be devalued the way you were! You ARE worthy of love, joy and peace.” Until I believed it, I couldn’t experience it. Freedom is found by replacing lies with the TRUTH. So right on, Darlene. All the negative tapes playing in my head are being erased, finally, one lie at a time. And it is so freeing. 🙂

26

I like what you said about trying to fix her broken self esteem while she chipped away at mine; and nothing ever made sense. It never made sense because IT DOES NOT makes sense. I remember being a 14 yr old and my mom constantly telling me that she wanted to crawl in a hole and die and that all men and women were creeps; etc…I looked up numbers for counseling for her and Dr.s etc. She wanted no part of that and I was so stupid to think that any problems could have solutions.I remember feeling suicidal before turning rebelious a couple of years later.

Like MCZ my NM is late 70’s and I would think she could cut back on the cruel remarks and just plain UN-thankfulness. My brother takes the brunt of it now because I no longer see or talk to her. I just send gifts with minimal words of “greeting” on special occasions. Sometimes I wish the random memories of awful events would just stop – it seems like I have to face each one to erase each one. Freedom is in the now and on the horizon…

27

Hi Karen
You describe it perfectly. That is exactly how it goes. I like the picture of all the tapes being erased!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Tamara
Yay for freedom being on the horizon. I don’t find so much pain in facing the memories anymore. There seems to be a relationship between validating ME through them, that has turned that around. Because I no longer question if they (abusers and controllers) were right.. I know “they” were wrong. I know that I didn’t deserve any of that now.
Hugs, Darlene

Everyone, my new post is published! It is about the way our childhood beliefs impact our adulthood actions ~ I hope you will read it
“How Victim Mentality works in Relation to Keeping Family Secrets”

28

you wrote:
“..And instead of realizing that I was not the one at fault, I tried harder. I tried to understand them so that I could excuse them.”

I think this might be the pattern of my life. I would ask myself “why do I attract these kind of people”. Now I realize I attach myself to them..so that I can excuse them.

But you can’t heal the old damage by repeating it over and over again with others. Like pulling the scab off a wound believing it will heal better this time and not leave a scar.
maybe it’s healthier to just accept the early damage, and avoid people who cause you to relive the old abuses. A healed wound with scar tissue is better than a constant bleeding wound.
In other words, I will STOP attaching myself to people who mirror the old abuses just so that I can excuse them.
I will surround myself with people who validate me as a person — flaws and all — and learn to LIVE in the NOW. Whole and complete.
Thanks for writing this.
Roxy

29

Hi Roxanne
I asked myself that same question for years! I had to start to take care of me. I had to finally see that I was important and valuable… that they would never validate that and in fact no one can if I don’t believe it myself! The process for me has been about finding out why I didn’t beleive it so that I could see how false that was and change it all around.
Glad you are here
Hugs, Darlene

30

I remember at a young age,standing at the top of the stairs,wondering if I fell down the stairs,if anyone would notice or care. I think now,how sad was that! I needed love that bad,sometimes i wonder if I am a bit narcissistic,but I think I needed more love than most.I dont know why,and would love to get to the bottom of this…is it because I was 2nd oldest of 6, one who died 2 years after me, maybe my mother had a hard time showing love for me then.But knew she had to.We never have had a “good” relationship as far back as i can remember.Recently both my sisters have died,one older, one younger.Both having a WONDERFUL relationship with her.She has now been so cold to me again.But pouring love on both my younger brothers and their children.My daughter and I have been left in the dust,so to speak.She has now lost 3 of 6 children,and I think has no more love for me.I can accept this but it is not fair to my daughter

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I am happy that someone has been able to escape the torment of being abused/neglected. I myself will never escape my experiences. I’m 52 years old and have realized my whole life has passed me by. I have no one; no brothers or sisters or even friends to turn to. I am alone except for those who inflict pain upon my life; my experiences have left me empty and void, hence I have no friends because I’m so different as a person, no one cares to be my friend. I’m not a mean person, just most folks would find me very boring to be around. A life full of abuse makes one “numb” to living; it’s to protect ones self. If you avoid things you have a better chance to avoid abuse and hurt; I have stopped living because of it. My life has been full of “bad luck”; more than most folks have in entire lifetime. My escape will be the day I die; there is no other way for me. My mother is 94 years old, I know I will never live that long. Too much pain and hurt in my soul will cause me to die young. Do not feel bad for me as not everyone will have a happy life. My life was destroyed by others that enjoyed seeing people fail…even my own school made sure that I didn’t get a scholarship for college so that someone else with lessor qualifications would get it. That is my life, my story; one that I can never change as long as people enjoy hurting others…I am a magnet for abuse; but I am a kind and gentle person who would hurt no one…maybe that’s why I attract abusers. I write this story for one reason; everyone likes a story with a happy ending, but life isn’t that way. Some of us will be unhappy, abused and will live their whole life in hurt and pain. That will be me…a man who will find his peace and happiness only on the day I die.

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Hi Herb
One of the most life changing things for me was when I stopped believing there was no hope for me. I started this blog because I found hope after years with no hope (waiting to just die like you say here) and I wanted the whole world to know that there IS hope. There isn’t much hope however if we have decided that there isn’t any. For me the first step was seeing that if ohters could heal and have a full life, then so could I.
You have much to offer this world as a kind and gentle person who would hurt no one. I wish hope for you.
Hugs, Darlene

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Where DO you find the words… I write a lot, supporting other people in my groups…..but I would never be able to find these words that just go to the heart of the matter. You are so gifted.

I can relate so strongly, and people, especially Herb, there is hope. There is always hope. I found my hope in the 12 steps, but there are other ways to heal. And I am so grateful to not live in the darkness and misery that Darlene described. We do make ourselves numb, and we lose our authenticity. But it’s there, under the surface. Just find that one thing that gives you a spark and do it! And find a support group. We NEED people just like us, who have been there, to validate our experiences. No one can do that except for someone who has been there, and knows your pain. With validation, comes healing. You realize you are NOT alone. You get to write the ending to your own story.

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Hi Darlene,

‘I was dying my whole life’ is the perfect description to a life I’ve only yet realised. I dont for one minute compare my life to anyone’s however at 48years my eyes have been open to a fearful life, I was frightened of everything, having children, new situations even driving. Now, well there’s something in the pit of my stomach that’s always been clouding my life that’s, I can’t even describe, is dispersing. I do feel a little guilty that the feeling I have for both my parent will never been the same, the fantasy ‘good’ relationship no longer excists, but that’s fair enough, it was meant to happen. I read this early on this cold and wintry day in England and thought I needed to comment.
Love
Lesley

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Hi Brenda
I live this. The words are part of me now. Thank you for your encouragement and acknowledgement 🙂
There IS hope. Hope was the first key for me. Hope opened the door to all else. I write this website to inspire hope!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lesley
Welcome to EFB
Coming out of the fog brought on all kinds of new awareness for me ~ it was scary, but it lead to so much freedom and wonder! I am glad that you are here and thanks for your comment!
Hugs, Darlene
(on a cold wintery day in Alberta Canada)

36

i feel like you’ve written MY life story,very scary. I’m 57, and i don’t think I have much more time on earth. I would like to see changes for my children, though.

37

Hi Donna,
Welcome to EFB ~ I am glad that you are here and that you can relate to my story. There is hope for healing no matter what age you are!
Hugs, Darlene

38

I don’t want to be led
To my death in shackles.
I want to walk
Freely,
Graciously,
Smiling with the joy of freedom
To die in peace and contentment
Of knowing my worth.

39

Hi Cindy
This is really beautiful. Can I use it for a poster on my FB page. (did you write it?) If you wrote it, may I use your first name?
hugs, Darlene

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Thank you, Darlene! Yes, I wrote it last night. It came to me while I was reminding myself of why I need to stay out of contact with my family of origin. I’d be delighted and honored if you’d use it on a poster on your FB page. You may use my first and last name, as I no longer feel vulnerable to remain anonymous.
~ Cynthia Daavettila

P.S. I’ve been reading a little bit from these archives every day. Just wanted you to know that they have been a tremendous help and support to me. They have given me so much clarity on what happened to me, and what I can do about it now. I really appreciate all you have done, and continue to do. Thank you so much. Lots of love and light to you, Darlene. Hugs, too.

41

Cindy
(I sent it to my poster creation lady ~ 🙂
There have been a lot of people who have made major progress by going through the articles here a little at a time. Thanks for sharing your experience with doing that!
hugs, Darlene

42

Looking forward to the poster. 🙂

43

Hi Cindy,
The poster is published ~ here is the link ~ https://www.facebook.com/emergingfrombroken

44

“And not by just ONE person. Many people contributed to the devaluing of me and my personhood.”

I’m surprised when I think about it at the number of people in my youth, and after youth years that also contributed to my devaluing. When I was from around nine thru eleven years old I used to go over to an old man’s house that lived on the property that was adjacent to my family’s, he was around mid-50’s at that time, and he was retired. This man had a big garden that he kept and he always seemed to me doing something, always tinkering around. He had converted his one car garage into a workshop and it was immaculate, there was a place for everything and everything in its place. His wife and my mother worked for the same company.

I still remember how that man chased me away one evening from coming over to his house. I figure I had to be around eleven years old. I do not remember all that he said but I do remember one thing that he said as he was telling me what basically ended up as me not being welcome there anymore, he said, “all you are is gimme, gimme, gimme”. And I most likely was gimme, gimme, gimme. Maybe I did ask him one too many times for one of his tools that he had in his workshop. I don’t remember, but maybe he did try to tell me in kinder words that I didn’t need to be coming over to his house so much and maybe I wasn’t getting the message so he had to use more harsher words, I don’t know.

Thinking about it now there must have been some reason that I had been going over to that man’s house so much and sitting on the patio with him, and his dog, and just basically being, or wasting time.

I figure I was around maybe eight or nine and I’m in my bedroom and my dad is giving me a whipping with his belt, and I do not now remember the reason for this whipping. He doesn’t have me stretched over his knees hitting my bottom with his belt, he is standing maybe four or five feet in front of me swinging the belt, just hoping to hit some body part I guess, and I see one of his swings coming at me and I duck and the belt goes above me, missing its target, and hits air. I still remember my dad’s exact response to that. He said, “Why You!”. I was thinking about that incident a few months ago and I realized that I had ceased to be a “son” and had become a “you”.

Though I related a whipping story that happened, my dad wasn’t an actively violent man, but I do know now that he had the air that it might not have taken much to set him off.

So now I believe that may have been one of the reasons I hung out at that old man’s house so much. My family home was maladjusted and cold, without outward signs of love or emotional affection. I did have playmates in the neighborhood and we would play softball or half rubber, but that old man’s house was kind of like a refuge or another place to go to. The old man was busy and doing interesting things.

One thing about that old man was that one day when I was ten, or eleven, maybe shortly before he chased me off, he and I drove in his truck to some sleazy man’s junkyard. I’ll call the man sleazy because that’s what he was. I only saw this guy once in my life, but I’m standing there and the old man and this sleazy guy are talking about whatever they are talking about and the sleazy guy looks at me and points to a wall and says something, though I don’t remember now what he said and I might not have understood what he had said back then. On the wall is what I now know to have been a pin up calendar or something like that with a picture of a nude woman. I’d never seen a nude woman before and the concept of seeing a woman nude was not in my mindset at that age or my understanding. What did that man and maybe even that old man I had driven there with expect me, a young boy, to do. Did they expect me to whistle or something. As I remember it, I just stood there. I didn’t know what I was looking at. Sad really.

45

In the above post where I wrote that the old man when he chased me away had said, “all you are is gimme, gimme, gimme.” What he actually was saying was, “all you are is give me, give me, give me”. To my young ears, and the speed at which he was speaking, “give me” sounded like “gimme”. So that is why I wrote it that way.

The first part of the below has caused me great pain in my life. I understand now that it was really the parental indifference I suffered that caused the greater pain, but still the first part of what is written below was a major factor in my development in my teenage years. And it is what I kept hidden and ran from all of my life.

The below post is long, too long, I hope it will be allowed, It will be the last long post I make on this website. If I post again I will determine to keep it to a reasonable few paragraphs or less. I do honestly and sincerely wish for everyone on this site that needs it, hope and healing.

When I was seven something happened between me and the boy that lived next door and this happened in his family’s garage. That boy was at least a year younger than me; so he was roughly six years old. I remember almost nothing of what took place but I do honestly believe that I was not the provoker of what had taken place. But how can I say that I was molested at the age of seven by a boy that was six years old? I do remember that whatever was happening in the garage was interrupted by someone coming into the garage from the house. I think that person may have been one of the boy’s older sisters. I do not remember the duration of time that whatever happened in the garage went on; it may have been only a few minutes, or it may have been longer.

That boy and his family moved from the neighborhood maybe a year later and I never saw him or any of his family again. My family moved to a new neighborhood, seven miles away, when I was thirteen.

One day when I was fourteen in the new neighborhood one of my new friends there asked me if I knew the boy from the old neighborhood, the boy from the garage, the boy who I had not seen in some six years since his family had moved. I think all I said to the question was, yes. It turned out that the friend from the new neighborhood went to the same school as the boy from the old neighborhood, a different school than mine. The past garage experience with the boy wasn’t in my conscious mind but I do believe it had to be in the back of my mind somewhere.

A few days later, but no more than a week, after having been asked if I knew the boy from the old neighborhood I was standing near the street in front of the vacant lot next to my family’s home, and I see the boy that had asked me if I knew the other boy approaching me. Most likely I had been waiting for him to get home from school as I could see the back of his house from where I was standing, and he was a friend. This boy stopped some forty feet in front of me and he said, in what I now take as having been a confrontational voice:

“Hey [my nickname], [boy’s name from the garage] said he [did oral sex on you]!”

Immediately when my ears heard that sentence I ran inside my family’s house and I never again interacted with the boy that said that sentence to me. My life changed, I became frightened. I became withdrawn. While thereafter I did have interaction with people to various degrees throughout my life, after that sentence was said to me I never felt easy within myself again. I don’t know if what that boy from the old neighborhood said he had done to me happened or not; I really don’t remember. I will have to assume that it did. I did know that something had happened in that garage.

I don’t know how my name came up in their talking at their school, and I don’t know in what context the boy from the garage relayed his information to the boy from the new neighborhood. I don’t know why I ran when I heard that sentence. It may have been because I didn’t know what one of those words the boy said meant. I don’t know. All that boy did was tell me what someone else had said that they had done. I am not proud to have that garage experience in my life history.

At fourteen, before that sentence was said to me I was already starting to have trouble adjusting. Earlier that year I had invited some friends from the new neighborhood over one evening, I forget what the occasion was, but it was the first time I had had that many people over, it may have been only five or six people.

My mother for some reason during that time period had taken up the habit of calling me by some nonsensical name she made up. I guess she thought it was cute. I was already called by my nickname since birth, which is short for my middle name, but for some reason my mother started calling me by a name that had nothing to do with any of my names. Shortly before the people came over that evening I said to my mother, almost in a pleading voice, “Don’t call me [stupid name] when they come over”. She didn’t say anything in reply to my request (maybe she took my request as being a demand). Well, the people from the neighborhood arrive and no sooner than the door closes, and they are all inside, I hear my mother calling me by that name that I had asked her not to call me. I didn’t say anything when I heard my mother call me that name but even now I can see myself standing there with my little heart sinking to the floor, and as soon as she said that name I heard one of my friends that had come over repeating that name as if in questioning voice of, what is this you are being called?

I never said anything to my mother about her calling me that name when I had asked her not to, except for last year when I was fifty, and I don’t remember her ever again calling me by that name after that night, but I am sure that is when I stopped having trust in my mother.

Throughout my life when I had my various bouts with depression, and I considered my life failure, I always thought of that day that boy said that sentence to me and the night my mother called me that name when I had asked her not to. But I never took the time to analyze those two events. I never thought to do that. I understand now that I was always running from them trying to get them out of my memory, hoping they would go away, or not have happened.

The last time I attempted therapy was when I was in my late thirties and that was the first time that I had ever told anybody about the day that boy said that sentence to me, that sentence that sent me and my life into a tailspin. I told the therapist what had happened, and I asked her, “Why would a child (the one from the garage) remember something like that (the garage happening) and then tell someone else about it years later, as if bragging?”. She replied that she didn’t know.

After that boy said that sentence to me and I became withdrawn I continued to live in the house with my parents and nobody seemed to be aware that something was seriously wrong with me, and that I needed help. I understand now that my parent’s were indifferent toward me but I didn’t know that then. I can understand strangers not noticing or helping, but even at school when I walked around in a depressed daze for years, no one questioned, no one probed. It was just that I had a problem. I didn’t know how to ask for help, I may have not realized that I needed help. I may have just thought that this is the way life is.

I don’t know if I was sixteen or seventeen but around that time my dad passed me in the hallway one day as I was walking to my bedroom and he said, “Are you on drugs?”. I gave him no answer and continued walking to my room. I wasn’t on drugs; I had already been in a state of depression for years by that time, and that is the kind of inquiry I got.

Last year I broke down and told my mother about the garage thing that happened when I was seven, and the boy saying that sentence to me when I was fourteen. The unfiltered sentence is what I told her, and my mother’s reply was, “You should have said something”. Her reply wasn’t, Son, I’m sorry that happened to you, or anything like that. She said that she and my dad thought I was just going through growing pains, and she added that the boy from the garage had probably seen someone else do that. My mother didn’t ask me if I remembered the boy doing that to me, she just made a statement as if what the boy from the garage had said he had done, had taken place.

Parental indifference is a killer. In my life I always thought of that night my mother called me that name when I had asked her not to, and I really never considered if my dad had done damage to me. But now in my 50’s I realize, in truth, that my father’s ways contributed very much to my having developed in a dysfunctional way. Maybe more so than my mother’s had.

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Hi Charles,
(first of all please don’t worry about the length of your shares here. I am fine with however much you want to share)
I am sorry that happened to you. I am sorry that our mothers were never sorry for the ways that we were treated, and they ways that we were so confused by the world and sick people including them.
Thank you very much for sharing
hugs, Darlene

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I thought I knew what the word indifference meant. I thought it meant not loving or hating something. Basically not caring one way or the other.

I looked the word up online some time ago and the definition of the word for me is much more telling, and has more impact on a personal level, than just my thinking the word means between love and hate.

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary gives the first definition for indifference as:

: lack of interest in or concern about something

That is a heck of a thing to confront when one realizes that that is the way one’s parents regarded oneself when one was but a young child and then throughout one’s life. IT IS VERY COLD.

When my mother responded with, “You should have said something”, when I told her what had happened to me some thirty-seven years in the past, and the way I had reacted to it by running; I wasn’t a whiny, wimpy, mama’s boy in her presence. It was just that I realized then that my mother was incapable of having empathy. Somewhere in her past my mother had shut down emotionally.

I do believe my mother is capable of being a loving, authentic (to herself) woman, but I can’t “fix” her and I will not try to “fix” her. The only thing I can do is try not to do, or to continue to do, to myself (and others) what was done to me.

I have still a lot of learning and realizing to do. It is tough. I’ve been reading a bit of the Alice Miller website. She seemed to have been a bit dogmatic concerning some things, but I can pick and choose on what to heed and what not to heed.

Best Regards to You,

Charles

One other thing. I read on a website recently, I forget which one, where the person writing the article said that when they were younger that they had learned to think about their feelings instead of “feeling” them. I believe that is what I did to. I learned to think about my feelings, instead of feeling them.

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I wrote above, “It was just that I realized then that my mother was incapable of having empathy”.

It may well be that my mother does have empathy and feels it, but just doesn’t know how to express it. I really don’t know which it is though. The same for my dad when he was around.

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Hi Darlene,
I have now reached a point where I’m stuck with all the regrets. Its anger really.

I was lucky in that I did confront my mother, stood up to her for the first time and then ended the relationship. A decision I’ve revisited many times since, really though ending the relationship was about my personal survival.

I have these moments where I just sit and say out loud all the things I should have said to her. 5 weeks after the confrontation she died, to be honest and it sounds terrible but I sing with relief I no longer have to do that relationship anymore,

Both my parents shifted responsibility onto me, my father was an extremely angry and violent person. I’m holding onto a lot of regret there as well. He would dump his issues onto me and then become aggressive.

I’m now divorced, I woke up in a cold sweat one night to the realisation I had married someone very similar to my mother.

I think about these people and they all have this overwhelming belief in their own entitlement the needs of others are invisible they’re invested in protecting their own self-concepts.

Like I said I’m struggling with regret a shift has taken place I’m angry not at how I was treated but at how I allowed myself to be treated. Darlene how do I start to work through the regrets?

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