Archive for darlene ouimet
“Putting up with abuse or abusive treatment is not love for the abuser. It is not love for the self. It has nothing to do with love at all. Finding out what LOVE really is went miles towards my recovery” ~ Darlene Ouimet
Long before I ever ‘emerged from broken’ I had this burning question about the obligation involved in loving my parents. I had been told/warned that it was a sin if I didn’t honor them, and I had honor and love all mixed up. I didn’t really understand what either word actually meant since I had never been taught the true meaning of those words. My real question was more about my right to ‘stand up to them’ and since I believed that standing up to them was not a loving action, that standing up to them was going against them which meant “noncompliance” I believed that love was putting up with unacceptable treatment.
Each year around Mother’s Day, I re-visit my belief system and the longings that I had in the past, the judgments that I made on myself and the roots of where they came from; In order to find out what love really is, I had to realize what it was not. I had to realize how I had been taught what love was and realize that that teaching was false and not based on truth or the true definition of love at all.
I had been told that love was the answer but I had not been taught what LOVE actually was. So I took my false belief about love and what I ‘thought’ it was, and I applied that false definition of ‘love’ to everyone in my life.
I believed that loving abusive people like my mother, until they could love themselves was equal to having a higher purpose. I believed that I was ‘the better person’ because I could take the abuse, mistreatment or disrespect and that would communicate that I could love unconditionally. I believed that accepting devaluing treatment in some way ‘proved’ my value; even if it only proved it to God.
The truth is that putting up with the abuse, disrespect and devaluing treatment only served to validate the way they treated me. It communicated my permission for them to treat me like dirt. How can that be love? Sometimes I wonder if deep down they were laughing at me. I wonder if they ever thought “What an idiot this girl is! No matter how nasty I am to her she keeps coming back for more; no matter how I treat her she ‘LOVES’ me!”
I don’t think my acceptance of abuse did anything to serve any kind of higher purpose once I entered into adulthood; I think it served to communicate that these people (like my mother) had rights that I didn’t have which is really what abuse is; compliance to abusive treatment communicates to the abuser that Read More→
If you have not already downloaded my complimentary Guide to Getting Unstuck on the Journey to Emotional Healing, please grab a copy of it now! There is a box in the right hand side bar here>>> just fill in your first name (or any name you wish to use) and your primary email address and you will be sent the download link. In this 9 page mini booklet I answer some of the most popular questions that I get here on the Emerging from Broken blog, privately through the contact form and on the Emerging from Broken Facebook Page.
Welcome to the discussion page for the Guide to Getting Unstuck on the Journey to Emotional Healing.
As you may notice when you read the guide, there is a common thread expressed through the most popular questions that I get asked. Behind the questions is the belief that the people who have been authority in our lives are ‘right’. That if the people that have authority in our lives say in words or with actions such as disregard or disrespect, that we don’t deserve better or that we are not worthy, then for some reason their opinion is not questioned as much as it is ‘accepted’.
This is because for most of us it was communicated to us from a very young age that ‘they’ know best and that ‘they’ are right and that ‘they’ are not to be questioned. This belief is linked to the belief that ‘without them’ we may not survive. As an adult I had to work very hard at realizing that I COULD survive; through facing the origins of my belief system and how it was formed I was able to see my own strength; I was able to take my life back and learn to love myself and take care of myself. I learned this by seeing the truth about why I believed that I was ‘less important’ and why I ‘accepted’ that my needs were less valid than the needs of others. Seeing the roots of why I believed this about myself enabled me to see that it was a lie and that I was just as worthy and valid as everyone else on this planet!
People in authority are not always right just because they are in authority. I had not considered that truth when I was a child and growing up because of my dependence on those people. Going against the adults and caregivers in my life threatened my survival and therefore my life. That was true then. Seeing that it was no longer true was a huge part of how I was able to take my life back and overcome the manifestations of trauma, abuse and neglect. (When I refer to the manifestations I am referring to the resulting struggles such as depressions, post-traumatic stress disorder, dissociative identity disorder, anxiety, eating disorders, low self-esteem and a few other common issues.)
There is another common belief expressed behind these questions; it leaks out through the questions how many of us had never been taught that we have the right to have boundaries and how habitual it is to accept that our feelings are not valid. I was taught that I ‘had’ to accept things the way they were. The funky part of that teaching is that many of the things I learned to accept were truly unacceptable but they were so normalized that I didn’t know they were wrong; in some cases the treatment was even Read More→
What if My Mother or Father Dies Before We Resolve our Relationship?
“I used to worry that my mother or father might die before we ever have any kind of understanding or resolution between us. As I grew in understanding about the truth and got to the bottom root of all the dysfunction, I was set free from that fear.” ~ Darlene Ouimet
It is one thing for me to worry that my parents might die, but it is a whole other insulting thing when people ask me how I will FEEL if my parents die and they ask it as a judgement question; a judgement against me. It’s all in the voice infliction; the tone they use and I used to react to that tone in the way that I reacted to it when I was a kid. That tone was meant to snap me back to compliant and ‘respectful’ and it worked on me. My “guilt, shame and self-blame button” was very sensitized.
People share with me all the time how folks throw the following statement and question at them; “your father/mother is getting old and is in poor health, how are you going to feel if he/she dies?” My response to this question is; “what does his or her health have to do with the reason that I don’t communicate with my parents?” My parents had their whole lives to make a positive difference when it came to me. They made their choices, and apparently through the grid of how these type of statements are meant to be taken, my parents choices are acceptable but my choice NOT to put up with abusive and disrespectful disregarding treatment is NOT acceptable? That is insane. It’s like people are so brainwashed by this whole thing that they don’t even realize how stupid it sounds to be told to accept abuse/neglect/disrespect just because ‘they’ are ‘family’.
I wonder why no one ever asks parents estranged from their kids “how are you going to feel if your son or daughter dies?” Judging by the way my parents act, they won’t feel anything.
There are laws in place to protect children from some of the things that happened to me. Why are my parents exempt from those laws? Why is it up to me to put their minds at ease as they get closer to their final Read More→
I have written about how my mother accused me of flirting with her boyfriend’s when I was only a young teenage girl. I have expressed the pain of being accused of causing one of her boyfriends to come into my bedroom in the night and how it was communicated to me by my mother that I must have done something to send him the message that I wanted him to… and that I ‘invited him’ by some action that I wasn’t aware of. I have expressed the terror of “causing this to happen again” that I lived with for so long after that, because I was not protected or believed and instead I was blamed. And soon after that it was as though my mother saw me as a threat to HER after her, which makes sense if she really believed that I HAD done something to attract him even though I was an innocent teenager and a victim of his assault. By the time I was 15 my mother was accusing me of acting inappropriately with her men.
But there was another consequence to that event that I have not written about; my mother flirted with my boyfriends. It was very confusing to me when my mother expressed inappropriate interest in some of the boys in my life. She said inappropriate things to them. She acted in a way that confused me, embarrassed me and hurt me. I felt powerless and stunned ~ I can’t even express everything about HOW it made me feel when my mother did this stuff. I still don’t have the words.
The first time I heard the expression ‘Cougar’ as a description for a mature woman who goes after young men, I cringed. The though repulsed me and I felt creeped out. In my mind’s eye I felt like I was physically trying to push something away from me.
As is common for me when a new ‘reminder of the past pops up” I thought those feelings of disgust that I had had something to do with me…that perhaps I needed to check my actions in case I was acting like a cougar, but I quickly realized that if this expression had existed when I was a teenager, my mother may have been called a cougar. She certainly fit the description of one. That little fact was the actual trigger of my reaction to the word and concept of what a “Cougar” is. My mother may have been a cougar.
I started to recall the feelings that came up for me back then when my mother acted flirty towards my male friends. What a terrible feeling it was to feel ‘threatened’ by my own mother; to feel afraid that my own mother might Read More→
It is very common that when the lights go on and we start to come out of ‘the fog’ that we realize we have been living in for a long time, we are excited to tell others what we are discovering and it is frustrating when they react as though we are crazy. You know that look; the look that says “WHAT the HECK? You must be Nuts”
Sometimes people try to talk us out of what we are discovering before we are even finished talking about it. Even worse is when people refuse to listen at all as if to say that if they can’t ‘shut us down’ they will simply block us out. This type of reaction is defining in the way that it sent me the message that I was not worth listening to, or that I ‘was crazy’ or out of my mind, ridiculous, exaggerating etcetera. It was dismissive. The bottom line with these types of reactions is that I had been discounted, devalued, not permitted to have any impact and very much what exactly what I have been used to living with for so long, so the automatic response is NOT to fight to have a voice, it was to question myself again.
It’s typical for a survivor of any type of abuse to try and understand “why” these people do not want to ‘hear them’ and it is also typical to conclude that the person on the receiving end of our story is rejecting our story because they don’t understand it, have never been a victim of any type of abuse, neglect or devaluing/discounting treatment and don’t relate to it in any personal way.
But this is usually NOT why the receiver of the information we so desperately want to discuss, will reject our discoveries. It is far more common that the receiver of this information is Read More→
One of the biggest stick points on the journey to emotional healing has to do with the subject of TRUST. Somewhere along the way I came to believe that I had to trust people until they were proven untrustworthy. That is a false understanding of trust. It was through understanding how I learned the meaning of the word ‘trust’ in a manipulative way that really only served the ones teaching me that false definition of the word trust, that I was able to realize the truth; I didn’t have to trust anyone until they proved to be trustworthy. By the same token, I do not expect people to blindly trust me either. Trust in healthy relationship develops over time. Trust in healthy relationship is not mandatory and ‘blind trust’ does not prove acceptance or love. NOT trusting someone does not mean anything ‘bad’ and it is not a judgement against that person. Not trusting someone that you don’t know well enough to decide about trusting or not, is healthy. When I am expected or required to trust someone blindly, I consider that a red flag about the person who has this expectation of me.
From the Free Dictionary.com ~ Here is the definition of trust:
1. Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing.
2. Custody; care.
3. Something committed into the care of another; charge.
Noun~ Firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something
Verb~ Believe in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of
Based on this definition of Trust, I can see how I had the false understanding of the word and concept in the first place.
Trust is optional. Trust is something that needs to be earned more than it needs to be freely given without any knowledge of the persons ability, strength or reliability. As children, everyone older than us has ‘positional power’ over us. We learn to submit to that positional power because NOT submitting to it is a sure way to bring on a punishment, rejection, physical abuse and a host of other unwanted results. I learned to submit to positional power and I got my learned understanding of submission mixed up with the concept of trust.
As children we are taught to trust through other people; the people in charge of our welfare communicate Read More→
“It wasn’t just that I didn’t know what I was feeling; I was also afraid to acknowledge my feelings in case they were wrong. Survival for me had become about making sure that I didn’t do or say the wrong thing”. Darlene Ouimet
This morning my husband needed me to pick him up at one of our hay fields where he was dropping off his semi in preparation to haul some hay. The ground is covered in several inches of snow here and the last couple of days have been mild and the snow is very heavy, wet and slippery now. He pulled into the field in the Semi and I was driving the pick-up truck close behind. I was trying to ‘guess’ where he was going to park the Semi with the good intention of picking him up to avoid making him trek on foot through the snow. I advanced into the field and he held his hand up to alert me to ‘stop’ where I was. I felt uncomfortable.
He seemed to be driving the semi in random patterns and I jumped to the conclusion that I must have gotten in his way when I drove into the field. I assumed that he was trying to back the Semi up to the haystack, but he couldn’t because I was parked in between the Semi and the stack. I tried to get out of the way but I realized it was really slippery and I was starting to get stuck in the snow. On top of that, I didn’t know exactly where to ‘go’ now and I didn’t want to make things worse, so I just stayed where I was.
I became aware of my old default mode coming up. My old default mode operated under the belief that I could never do the right thing and that I always did something stupid when I was trying to help. I felt my face get a little hot. I imagined that Read More→
Every so often I get a comment that I just have to share with everyone because it is so full of the truth that can help so many others. This is one such time! This comment from Doren came in on my article “Survival Mode and an Alternate view of Narcissism.” Doren has given me permission to re-print her comments for the sake of highlighting this very common concern;
Doren wrote: “All my life I’ve been in survival mode, barely able to make eye contact in public (in case people see the ‘real’ bad me I guess), trying always to please them, and if they have a problem with me they are right and I am wrong. It stems from this deep down feeling of badness in me—it’s hard to admit, but this feeling of badness gets to where I think I’m evil or the devil himself and that I will go to hell when I die. This has caused me a lot of distress and I wonder if feeling such a degree of badness is normal?
Here is what I struggle with—that I’m the ‘exception to the rule’, that yes other survivors deserve healing and are essentially good but NOT me. Perhaps this just tells me how ingrained my sense of badness is.
I have no choice but to work to heal or to die. My entire life has been greatly diminished due to childhood. It hurts so much to see the extent of the damage, but inside I feel, to get better I have to face this. Essentially I have been in hibernation since about 15. And I have thought that this was because I am weak, bad, unmotivated, etc.” Doren
I can assure you that this degree of ‘feeling’ is normal and even common. This is how we are brainwashed to become submissive and compliant. We are convinced that we are ‘bad’. We are slowly persuaded that everything would be okay with ‘them’ if only we were not such a problem. Part of the problem is that we have been so convinced of their faultlessness that we forget to examine them or any of their actions. It doesn’t occur to us that they don’t abide by the rules of love and relationship that they demand we abide by. That is what ‘brainwashing’ is.
The definition of Brainwashing: (link from the free dictionary by Farlex)
1. Intensive, forcible indoctrination, usually political or religious, aimed at destroying a person’s basic convictions and attitudes and replacing them with an alternative set of fixed beliefs.
2. The application of a concentrated means of persuasion, such as Read More→