Apr
07

Sexualized at a Young Age~ my Mother my Teacher

By

I have been writing about the belief system and how it develops; the ways that we view the world and ourselves according to the teachings that we receive from our parents, teachers, media and society in general. Today I continue with a more personal account of behaviour that was modeled for me by my mother.

Growing up, I was taught in so many ways that my value was in my looks and body. That I had to be appealing, attractive and if I were, my life would be successful. My value as a woman would be determined by men.  At the same time I was taught that when I got molested at the age of 13, it was my own fault and that I had done something to invite it. All the terror, horror, and the nightmares that followed that event, got mixed in with the teaching that my value was in my looks and body.

There is something really confusing about these mixed messages. The fact is that neither one is true, however for years I went back and forth between these two lies; they ruled much of my life. I found my value in men, I loved to be noticed, my self esteem came from the men who pursued me regardless of how old they were; married or not; nice or not. Most of these men devalued me, used me, treated me in disrespectful ways which I realize today I believed was my fault BUT I also lived in fear of being hurt because I was attractive and if I did get hurt, raped, or assaulted, I had learned that it was certainly something that I had asked for~ again, my fault.

Parents are encouraged to model good behaviour to their children. As a parent myself, I learned things like “if you want your child to eat the right food, then you eat the right foods. If you don’t want your child to have bad manners, then you model good manners. Easy stuff like that makes sense.  But our parents often model wrong behaviour and we learn from that too. My mother modeled sexuality to me; she told me that the only power women have is in their sexuality. She taught me that men were lucky, that men had all the power but that women had sexuality. We could make men do what we wanted with our sexuality. Sexuality was control. But what about when men did what I didn’t want them to do? Well I had been taught that was my own fault, so how does a person comprehend that kind of thing? How does a woman or child sort that kind of thing out?

 My mother sexualized me. She taught me in so many ways that my only power in life was in my body, my sexuality. This was of course her own reality. She flirted her way through life. She is what would have been called a “cock tease” in my youth. She flirted with men right in front of my father and in front of us children. It was worse when Dad wasn’t around. She acted as though her value, her validation depended upon how men reacted to her. Especially important to her was how they reacted to her sexually and as a woman. She taught me that my value was rooted in my sexuality too. She modeled it for me.

 My mother started competing with me not long after her boyfriend came in my room when I was 13. This further reinforced her accusation that her boyfriend sneaking into my room was my fault; my mother no longer trusted me with her men. She started accusing me of flirting with her boyfriend’s when I was 14. She started flirting with my boyfriends by the time I was 16. She publically accused me of being sexually active way before I was sexually active.  What a mess.

These are the kinds of things that cause us as adults to get stuck in our own lives. Our beliefs conflict, they argue, they make no sense and they don’t add up.  These conflicts cause depression, and all kinds of mental health struggles. When I began to sort through all this in therapy, I saw the confusion and I identified the conflicts which was the beginning of emerging from broken for me.

Let the light of truth shine on,

Darlene Ouimet

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

 

Categories : Mother Daughter

22 Comments

1

Thanks for having the guts to survive this and to write this … humbled and honored to be reading your writing as always!

John

2

Thanks again for this. The insidious messages, they’re everywhere. When you speak I see you looking at the bad, confusing messages as being outside yourself, so it’s much easier to heal without adding on yet moe responsibility and shame. In realizing what it is that you DO think. It is a greal modeling thing for me.

Your courage is stunning.

3

I’ve lived this out from more than one direction. It leads to destruction from every angle.

4

WOW Darlene! It took enormous courage for you to post this, and I applaud you for it! It sounds like you really dug deep into the belief system nightmare to put these thoughts together. What an awful situation, and how badly you were mistreated!

Amazing courage! Keep going!

5

Thanks everyone for the high fives and encouragement!

I am getting private email over this too, so I know it is important to shed the light on this topic. I was six year old when my mom sent me out to dance in front of my fathers biz associate wearing her black lace teddy. SIX.. She really had no clue what she was doing to me.. and I had no clue that it wasn’t normal, but I am here to say that there is a way out of that darkness!

Love Darlene

6

I grew up with these messages coming from my father. He told me over and over as he was molesting me that women were only good for one thing—sex. Then he talked about good girls and bad girls. In my mind, for me to be sexually abused that meant that I had to be in the bad girl category. He also told me that you couldn’t trust men because sex was all they were after. He also said he loved me while he was abusing me.

7

Thanks for sharing this with us Patricia.

The abuse was only part of the abuse; there are so many aspects to it. What you have written here is exactly what I am talking about. A huge mess of mixed messages and lies, and as children we have no filter, no way to figure it out, and by the time we are adults we are so brainwashed that we don’t even know where to begin.
This is a powerful comment about the horror and lies and you are proof that we can overcome!

Love Darlene

8

Darlene – it’s great for me to see how you write and have found your voice. And me too. From as young as I can remember and even today, the message from my family is that a woman is not valuable without a man. As well as, stick it out no matter how bad it is because whatever the problem is – it’s your fault. It’s so good to be connecting with others who are not afraid to speak up and tell the story.

9

[…] having an incestuous relationship with my mother, but yet this book hit me like a ton of bricks. My mother sexualized me. She taught me the wrong definition of value. She taught me inappropriate things, she modeled […]

10

Wow,
as a missionary child,I never knew “who” I was supposed to be. The school nurse brought us cookies to eat after she engaged in examining our little girl bodies; I knew it didn’t feel right..but , as one of my peers said, we had no words for prostitution at our young ages. Those damned cookies!
I recall that men were a higher class than women. I always wanted to be a boy, because with maleness came favoritism.

I wanted to copy mom, but she was so erratic..so hysterical..literally hysterical..most of the time.. I feared and even hated her.
Gone from home so long at one time.. 9 plus months at a shot every year for 4 years, I had no idea mom was suffering nervous breakdown.

I have serious issues with my father..neither do I like or love him. He just was such a nonentity..yet by his absence, he taught me that women were people that “you can’t live with and you can’t live without”. (at that time I did not know he was referring to sexual activity.)
He was a tyrant in many ways. He dominated everyone in the family with his “missionary leadership”, the Great Ken Palmer, Missionary to Deepest, Darkest Africa.”He revelled in those words of introduction.

I wish I could adequately explain how twisted, wretched, fearful, inside-out I’ve been most of my life.

I don’t know how I can adequately express my thankfulness and gratefulness for this place of safety and sharing.. You are a Gift from the Heavenlies, Darlene.

11

Vivian,
Thank you for your deep and honest share. I can realte in so many ways, although our stories are so different. My mother similar and my father so unavailable and I think that he was one of her biggest problems. She just could not have any impact on him. I don’t think you have to explain how “twisted, wretched, fearful and inside out” that you’ve been most of your life… I completely understand. But I also know that I am not that way any longer. There is hope for all because we were not meant to live this way.
Keep sharing, Love Darlene

12

[…] emotional abuse. I have told you about how my mother began to teach me at a very young age that my only power and value was in sexuality, which even as a young child I knew had something to do with my looks and my body. Over the years I […]

13

A key that Darlene touched on is that her mother’s issue was her father. Her mother was actually forever trying to win the unconditional love of her father, the one who promised to love and cherish her, til death do us part, even when she didn’t deserve it.

IF he had been able to muscle through the delayed gratification of loving her anyway…the way that she needed to be loved to heal from her own childhood wounds….then the power of his unconditional love, (in the Bible, this is agape love), would have annialated her wounds….would have healed them.

And then, she would not have needed to seek love, attention, and validation from other men….and men and men and men.

I have witnessed and helped husbands learn to do this. It is miraculous, actually.

When a wife is unloved (and then abused by whatever form, including silence and neglect) by her husband, then the deep holes in her heart get filled with unhealthy things….and she tends to pass along the abuse to her children.

Is she responsible for her own behavior and for not abusing her children anyway? YES. And some women are able to keep their deep hurt to themselves and not pass it to their children….but eventually, the stress comes out, sometimes in self medicating behavior like alcohol/drugs, promiscuous sex, and/or shopping (the big 3 self-medicators). Sometimes it manifests in one’s body with illnesses like cancers. (The telomeres on DNA molecules shorten due to stress, and therefore, cells are less able to duplicate themselves and fught off oxidants.)

Basically, the weed grows back unless the root is dug out. Trace back to the root of the problem, and in most cases, there is some sort of selfishness and unlove from a husband / father.

If men were to realize their healing power of love, then the divorce rate would plummet and generations would be healed.

We all perish because we do not know this.

Sometimes, wives do not get all the way healed by their husband’s love. When this happens, because the husband is no longer part of the condemnation crew, the wife is much more easily able to look in the mirror and start working on healing her remaining issues on her own.

The end goal: Total mutuality. The husband initiates the healing love, and then the wife responds (in time…there are definitely lag times to establish trust), by initiating healing love back.

The above is a simplification, but the foundational idea is actually pretty simple. It’s the execution that is difficult.

14

Hi Abigail,
Thanks so much for sharing, you make many great points in your post here. I just have a few things to add to what you have stated, mostly for the sake of the readers.

From the way that I understand it, my mothers issue and her behavior with believing that her own value was in her sexuality, happened way before she met my father. I think it is dangerous to say that her issue was my father. You are right that my father was emotionally detached and that she didn’t get enough attention (or anything else) from him, but my father did not protect me either. My broken and hurt mother, married a broken and dissociated man. Neither was equipped to raise emotionally healthy children. I don’t want my readers to think that a man can love them enough to “fix” them or heal them because that is the fairy tale that I grew up with and searched for too, and it doesn’t work that way. My father could not recognize or utilize the healing power of love, because my father had not experienced it either. I agree that my mother was still responsible NOT to abuse me, and so was my father.

I understand what you are talking about here, and some of your points are very good, but I would like everyone to understand that everyone needs to do their own healing work. I think we are on dangerous ground when we think someone else can love us enough to heal us. In my experience as a inspirational speaker in mental health seminars I don’t run into emotionally healthy men who married emotionally unhealthy women. Men might present that way, but in my experience it isn’t so. My husband had to do his own work before we worked on healing our marriage. AND now he can use his power for good in the way that you have described at the end of your comment and we experience mutuality however, he didn’t initiate healing love in order for us to come to the relationship that we enjoy now.

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment as you have, and please don’t be offended by my reply. I just share what has worked for me.
I hope that you will share again.
Hugs, Darlene

15

Darlene, this morning after I read your reply to my comment on your “That ~ Makes Me Angry” blog post, in which you mentioned that your mother saw you as competition too, I have spent the entire day reading all of your posts under the Mother Daughter tab. I went to the very earliest post on that topic, and read them all in chronological order. Now I am going through and reading the comments on these posts, again starting at the very beginning.

I just had to comment here, that your past comment to Abigail, was “right on,” in my opinion, and so beautifully and lovingly expressed. Birds of a feather flock together, and healthy men do not typically get into relationships with unhealthy women (and vice versa), regardless of how they may outwardly present themselves. Also, while agape love is tremendously healing, we first need to work on ourselves and our issues, before we can even receive that kind of love.

That has been my experience, anyway. I was always looking for a Prince Charming to rescue me. It wasn’t until I had learned to be happy and whole all by myself, that I finally was able to have a healthy and mutually nurturing relationship with a loving and respectful man.

Lynda

PS~ I just have to say this, too, after reading through all your posts about your mother…. you and zi really do have very similar mothers.

16

Hi Lynda,
I thought you might find that our mothers were similar.. LOL
I am honoured that you are going through the blog posts and reading the posts that I wrote before Lynda. I really hope that you gain some insight and support from the articles and from the comments. I am so blessed to have so many contribute their stories of victory and struggle here and we all get the benefits!
And thank you for sharing that you are now able to have a relationship with a loving man! That is wonderful. I have a wonderful husband too, although we went through our very difficult times and he, like so many others in my life, thought that he was more important then me for years in our marriage. He went through the recovery process too and now he even comments on this blog! Life is very different now.
So glad that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

17

I’m so Glad that YOU are here, Darlene! Thank you.

I want to add that my husband and I went through some very difficult times, too. We met in October 2003, when we were hired on the same day for the same job, trained together and then worked together side by side, became best friends, and then we were married – by my uncle – in July 2004. But before the ink was dry on the marriage license, my kind, loving, understanding, compassionate co-worker/best-friend was YELLING at me, at the top of his lungs, for things like hearing an old song by the Beatles on the radio, “Hey Jude,” and singing along with it (Don’t you know the Beatles were Communists!?!), or for commenting on the Presidential debates between John Kerry and George Bush: “I was impressed with how articulate Kerry was, and how he could think on his feet, while Bush stuttered and stammered like an awkward schoolboy.” (KERRY IS A TRAITOR TO US VIETNAM VETERANS! HE WAS IN LEAGUE WITH JANE FONDA!!)

Stan and I met several months after I had checked myself in to the psychiatric clinic where I was diagnosed with PTSD, so I had just enough healing and healthy self-esteem to know that I wasn’t going to put up with being yelled at for simply having my own musical and political opinions. Looking back on it, I see that I was healthy enough to pack up and leave him, which I did do immediately… but I wasn’t yet healthy enough to consciously see the subtle warning signs BEFORE I married him, and run the other way, as I should have done.

So I left, then after a day or two to calm down, Stan would call my cell phone crying and begging for forgiveness, promising it would never happen again, and I would come back, and then after a short while it would happen again, and I would immediately leave again.

This happened for several months, him yelling and me leaving, him begging forgiveness and me coming back, until finally, in Feb 2005, he got physical for the first time, and forcibly pushed me out of the door of “his house,” with me barefoot and in my pjs, out into the cold 20 degree winter night. He did this because earlier that day he had decided that we both needed to go sell our plasma for some much-needed money, as we both were unraveling emotionally and missing a lot of work and therefore not getting paid, and I had said that I was afraid to sell my plasma, having never done it before. I have a metabolic blood disorder called Hereditary Hemochromatosis, which is where your body stores up toxic levels of iron, to the point that it will start damaging all your organs and eventually kill you, if you aren’t takig proper measures to keep your iron levels low. I said I was afraid that selling my plasma might concentrate the iron in my blood and make it more toxic to my organs, and that possibility scared me.

Stan flipped out, yelled at me about how a Christian wife is supposed to submit to her husband by doing what he wants her to do, and then he went out the door in a huff to sell his plasma, and was gone all day. I had no money to leave and go somewhere warm in the cold, so I stayed this time, hoping he would be calmer when he got back. He was, in fact he apologized. But by the middle of that night he was raging again, because I had said that I wanted to sleep on the sofa in the living room rather than in our bedroom, just for that one night I said, because I wasn’t feeling safe, with his anger seeminig to be seething just below the surface. I could see it and sense it, and I felt afraid. He had never hit me, but my abusive exes had hit me, many times, so his raging at me at the top of his lungs was triggering my fear. I told him as nicely as I could, that I was feeling afraid due to my ptsd triggers, thinking he would understand, since he had been diagnosed with ptsd. I was talking softly, like a little girl pleading, really, walking on eggshells, trying not to offend him, hoping he really was sorry enough for his earlier outburst that he wouldn’t rage again, that he would just let me sleep on my sofa. But instead he started raging at me and he pushed me out the front door. As he was shoving me out the door, in my panic and frustration, I hit him one time on the side of his arm, a very small, glanciing blow, which he didn’t even seem to notice, he was too enraged, too intent of trying to push me out into the cold winter night.

The police arrived… Stan then yelled at THEM at the top of his lungs, demanding they get off his property! He is 6’3″ and weighs 300 lbs, and the two cops were about half his size, put together. He was big and intimidating and clearly out of control. They insisted they would leave only after they made sure that I was ok, and they came into the house and there I was on the sofa, sobbing my eyes out, cryign so hard I could hardly breathe. They asked me, “Mam, did he hit you?” I said, “No, but he was trying to push me out of the door when I was barefoot, out into the cold night, he was telling me to get out of his house, but we are married!” I was sobbing so hard as I said this that I could barely get the words out. “OK Mam, did you hit him?” the cop asked in his brisk, business-llike voice. I was always taught to tell the truth no matter what, and it was ingrained in me with many beatings in my childhood. I said, “Yes, but only one time, I just barely hit him, like this,” I demonstrated by hitting my own arm on the side, a glancing hit, with my fist. “I did that because I was trying to stop him from pushing me out the door into the cold.”

I Was freaking handcuffed and arrested on the spot! I had never ever been arrested for anything in my 51 years until that moment! It took me right back to the horror of being locked up in that evil mental institution when I was 14 – 16 years old!!!

THAT did it. When Stan saw the cuffs going on me…. and nobody ever read me my rights, by the way, it was all a total shock…. Stan immediately stopped raging and said, “NO, she never hit me, she never did anything wrong, it was ME! Arrest ME, don’t arrest HER!” And the ignorant cop said, “Sir, your wife is already under arrest. If you want us to arrest you too, we will, but she is going to jail. Do you want to go to jail too? It won’t stop her from going to jail, you understand that?” So Stan immediately shut his mouth. But what he did was, as soon as the DA was open, he went there and refused to leave until he was seen by the DA, and he told them the truth of what had happened, and he made them drop the charges. THEN Stan went voluntarily into the psych ward of the VA hospital, because he was ready to comnmit suicide over what had happened to me/us, and from there he went for 9 weeks to an inhouse PTSD program for veterans in Topeka, Kansas. His doctors there told him at the end of that 9 weeks that they were sure he was one who wouldn’t make it, because he was so bad when he got there, and they congratulated him on how he made it through the program, they said they never saw anyone work harder on his self-healing, and he said it was because he knew he would lose his new bride forever if didn’t do whatever it took to work on himself.

When Stan came home from that program, he was a different man. He goes to a VA counselor and to a group for veterans with ptsd, every week. His willingness to work on his own healing, and to do whatever it took, is what saved our marriage and made it as wonderful as it is today.

BUT my FAMILY… my mother, my siblings, my kids… they all used the fact that I had been arrested at the age of 51 for spousal battery as just ONE MORE PROOF that LYNDA IS CRAZY. My God, all the times I was beaten SENSELESS, beaten with broken bones and concussions and made to have a miscarriage once, and I never hit ANYBODY, not even in self-defense, I was trained too well…. I take it back, I am too honest, I slapped my first husband one time. I never did it again. But I went thru more beatings at the hands of my exes than I can even begin to remember, and I never, except for that one solitary slap, hit anyone, and then I got arrested in 2005 at the age of 51, and its one more PROOF that I am CRAZY. And the fact that my husband has tried to tell anyone who would listen that as far as he is concerned, I did Not hit him, because he didn’t feel it or see it, he was too busy trying to shove me in my bare feet out into the cold night…

AUUUUUUUUGH.

Darlene, I apologize for going on and on and on! But it is helping me SO MUCH! We can’t afford therapy for me right now, nor have I found a good therapist in this area, mainly because I can’t afford one. But this is helping me so much, YOU are helping me, SO MUCH. Thank you!!!

18

Wow Lynda,
Thanks for sharing this story. I am really glad that you are finding so much here in my blog. That is why I decided to write it! I knew that what I had learned was powerful and 4 years ago I decided that I wanted to carry this message of healing and wholeness. I started speaking in mental health seminars, and when I realized the impact this message had I wanted to take it to a bigger audience. So that is what I am doing!
I’m really glad that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

19

I really liked your blog! It helped me alot…

20

[…] dysfunctional mother daughter relationship began between my mother and I. The emotional abuse and dysfunction began before this event, but this was the point of no […]

21

I think we live in a very sick society which has it’s values so confused and works on a pecking order. The society has the value of an individual tied up with external parameters.

For many its external beauty, for some it’s money, for others it’s intelligence while for some others it’s the fan following (real or virtual). I think all of these are damaging but the worst pain inflicted on women is the teaching that their only power is by controlling men using their sexuality.

Men can speak for themselves.

22

I too received the message that I would be successful if I looked beautiful. Now I do not know what kind of a success that was but my mum constantly emphasised on looking good because if I didn’t then I would find it difficult to get married.

Maybe the success she talked about was having a husband with lots of money. I am not against success nor money but the myth they all perpetrated was that for a girl to be lucky, she had to be beautiful and attract a rich husband. I remember all the people around me obsessed with their daughters looking good for this very purpose.

This reminds me of the characters in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice wherein the lead female characters are pre-occupied with attracting rich men. I would like to do a survey someday on how happy these rich husband hunters are after marrying because I do have a faint idea that it may not all be rosy but I do not have proof of that.

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