Archive for emotional abuse
“When someone is unrelentingly critical of you, always finds fault, can never be pleased, and blames you for everything that goes wrong, it is the insidious nature and cumulative effects of the abuse that do the damage. Over time, this type of abuse eats away at your self-confidence and sense of self-worth, undermining any good feelings you have about yourself and about your accomplishments.” The Emotionally Abusive Relationship by Beverly Engle
Although this quote is aimed at the victim for the purpose of exposing how the self-esteem gets torn down, the first time I read this quote I thought of my mother and how much she said that I hurt her; she always said that I was the problem and that I did this to her ~ that I tore HER down;
“Darlene, you are so critical”
“Darlene, I can never do anything right in your eyes, I am always wrong”.
“Darlene, there is no pleasing you”
And overtime I believed that my words, actions and behavior (although I could not figure out what I was doing that was so offending) had eaten away at her self-confidence and harmed her sense of self-worth and undermined any good feelings that she ever had about herself and her accomplishments. I believed everything she said about me. I believed that I was the critical one and that I was the one doing all the damage.
When I became an adult she adjusted her accusations. She used a different voice infliction when she said things like;
“Darlene you always were so hard on me”. This was to remind me that I was “always” this way and always the problem.
“Darlene I have always been afraid that you would take your kids away from me and use them as a weapon against me”. She said this as a kind of reverse psychology or a warning that if I did it, she had predicted that I would do it because I am a mean and spiteful daughter who has always done mean and spiteful things to her. And I set out to prove that I would never do something ‘like that’.
This is the brainwashing; this is what happened that caused me to try harder with her and to try so hard to ‘understand her.’ I tried to reassure her, to soothe her and to be the daughter she always wanted.
And when I started to look at the way SHE treated me in this profoundly dysfunctional mother daughter relationship we had, I became aware that now I was saying some of the same critical type things about her too. When I started to look at the truth about how toxic our mother daughter relationship was, I felt guilty because I believed that I was being critical of my mother, and I had tried so hard all my life to prove her wrong about me! In the first couple years of my healing process I kept saying stuff like “well in all fairness to my mother, I was not the perfect Read More→
Recently someone wrote, telling me that because she stood up to her dysfunctional family and drew a boundary, she is now missing out on ‘the good things in life’. The first question that came to my mind was “what good things are you missing out on because you drew a boundary?” In my coaching practice, the homework would be: Define ‘good things’ ~ what are ‘the good things’? What do you feel that you are missing now, that you had before? Why did you have to draw a boundary in the first place?
And the answers to these types of questions are always very revealing. When I answered these questions for myself I found out some of the lies that I believed and how they were rooted in the shaky foundation of my belief system.
For most people including me, those ‘good things’ that had to do with my dysfunctional family were a fantasy. I ‘wished’ that I had a loving family. The reality of those ‘good things’ was something very different from how I fantasised it was or hoped that it could one day be.
Christmas dinner and family holidays or celebrations were stressful for me and this continued on with when I married into my husband’s family too. Every family thing I went to was a reminder of how insignificant that I was even when at the time I wasn’t able to articulate how those occasions made me feel.
The boundary that I drew with my father was different than the boundaries that I drew when it came to over (more obvious) abuse. A couple of years ago I told my father that seeing him was a reminder of how little he knew about me and how disinterested he was in me as an individual. The way he disregards me is a constant reminder of how little I matter to him. It has always been that way.
My father is passive abusive. His emotional abuse is very covert. Mostly he just doesn’t care, doesn’t listen when I talk to him, doesn’t know anything about me, my life or my kids because he doesn’t care to know and he doesn’t listen to anyone who tries to tell him. To the general public, (and according to my siblings) my father is regarded as this ‘nice’ guy and he is never violent, never mean and never hurtful with his words, but the truth is that his relationship style is dismissive and disinterested all of which is very hurtful. I spent many years in childhood and in adulthood ‘begging’ (in all kinds of ways) my emotionally abusive father to notice me. The fact that he didn’t was and is very hurtful. There is a very loud message that is delivered to me when I am disregarded. The message is that Read More→
R.E.S.P.E.C.T. find out what it means to YOU………
A lot of my emotional healing grew out of realizing the truth about some of the concepts that I had been taught wrong. The people who were in a position of power in my life taught me a lot of false definitions of words like love, respect, relationship, trust, forgiveness and a few others. Growing up from so young with the false definitions I had been taught caused me to automatically accept them as the truth.
Yesterday on my previous post “how to recognize when your best interest are not being considered” when referring to her mother a commenter wrote “I am sure she thinks she deserves to be respected…” and it got me thinking about how much learning the truth about definitions of certain key words and concepts helped me in my process of overcoming depression, trauma and low self-esteem.
When I refer to a person in a position of power I am not just referring to our teachers, the police, or judges or government. I am also referring to “our elders” and our families. My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were all in a positions of power in my life. My in-laws were in a position of power in my marriage and in our lives. All these people were in that power position because they were “the adults” and I was a child. In my childhood that meant that they were right and I was wrong. In my adulthood, this belief didn’t change because they never let it. In both cases (as a child and as an adult) this is called a dysfunctional relationship because the elders decide and communicate that not everyone in the relationship has equal value.
It was a huge part of my survival mode to go along with these false teachings and when I became an adult I still believed the false truth that Read More→
Deep in my subconscious mind (my belief system) I have always thought that taking some leisure time was the same as being lazy. When I started to learn how to do self-care, that little “feeling” constantly whispering to me that I was being lazy began to get stronger. I found that when I took time off to just kick around, read a book or watch a movie, deep down I would reprimand myself. I wasn’t even aware that I was doing it for a very long time.
If I was spending my leisure time with my kids are with another person I was not so hard on myself because I knew that was important to the relationships that I have with them, but if I was just doing something to rejuvenate ME, I got a little restless. I really noticed my conflict with this when my oldest two children moved out of the house to attend school this fall.
Because we are selling the farm/ranch I had spent the summer cleaning, packing, sorting, purging and organizing 30 years worth of accumulated stuff and as a result of all that hard work I feel really caught up on everything. I feel really good about having done all of this but emotionally it took a toll on me. It has been an emotional roller coaster to decide to let go of this life here and on top of that to have two kids move out of the house! Add that to the level of emotion that I invest in this website and with my clients and I found I needed some extra time for myself this past few months.
BUT when I took that time I realized that my self-talk was whispering some judgemental things to me. I was hearing words like lazy and unproductive barely under the surface of my subconscious mind.
Within minutes of reading my clients homework, I get a glimpse of what is operating under the surface in their belief systems but when it comes to me it takes a little more work because I am up against MY OWN belief system. And since our belief systems form in the first place as a way to help us survive, sometimes they are not easy to crack into.
I was journaling about this whole thing and as I was experiencing a deeper realization that when I take time off I feel guilty about it, I suddenly heard my mother’s voice talking about my father.
This is where it gets complicated. My father, as I have talked about in other posts was emotionally unavailable. He was a passive abusive father and husband. He abused by his passive ‘whatever’ kind of attitude towards everything. My mother used to say that the house could be burning down and my father would sit in the middle of it playing his guitar and ignoring the emergency. As an adult today I can see why she said that. My mother could not get my father to do anything or even to ‘react to anything’ and I remember as a child thinking Read More→
I want to validate all the readers who comment here in Emerging from Broken. There is nothing wrong with talking about the pain of child abuse and neglect. There is nothing wrong with healing and becoming empowered by exposing how we lost our power and choice in our lives. We have everything to gain by doing this! I took my life back when I finally validated the pain of rejection that I had felt most of my life at the hands of other people. If the truth is what sets us free then it’s time to expose the truth and talk about it.
I think that fear gets in the way most of the time. Although there is a lot of personal fear when we begin to face the truth about what caused the damage to our self-esteem in the first place, there is also fear that comes up in the people around us too. There are people who can’t stand anyone else facing the truth or facing their fears in case they have to face their own truth ~ so rather than listening or simply ignoring, they have to jump in and try to STOP other people from achieving self-love and freedom from oppression by reprimanding them. Abused people use abuse tactics to keep other people in the prison abuse put them in in the first place.
Although it ‘seems’ logical that everyone would want to escape this prison of oppression , it is surprising how many are terrified to look past it. Fear of facing the truth petrifies many. Such is the case when back in Feb of 2012 this woman tried to post the following comment (which I did not publish) on a post I had written in October of 2010. This is a typical example of the lengths people will go to, to shut down the healing process of others in order defend their own choices and deny themselves true freedom and wholeness in their own lives.
Here is what this woman had to say to me and then to the rest of the readers here.
This week I keep running across sayings, posters and quotes that I find frustrating because they are all sayings and directives that I believed in and strived towards for so many years. The problem was that in reality I was spinning my wheels and not really making any progress with moving forward and away from my struggles, depressions, and oppression. Today I see some of these sayings as “directionless directives”. They sound great, ideal in fact, but they didn’t actually HELP me.
They motivated me and inspired hope in me for about twenty minutes or even a few days before the familiar feeling of personal failure set in once again. I thought I was the only one who could not achieve the decisions these little sayings were meant to inspire.
For instance the directive “Stand up for yourself even if you stand alone”; No one ever empowered me to know how to do stand up for myself. No one actually even stood up for me. I was a victim in my own home for most of my life and as I grew into my twenties and thirties I tried to change the course of my life by trying to follow some of these directions but standing up for myself was not something I knew how to do or even felt that I had “the right” to choose to do. I had no idea where to even START standing up for myself.
My self esteem had to be repaired and restored first. I didn’t know that I didn’t actually deserve the disregard for my feelings that was my reality. In my victim mentality I thought that the way to emotional health was Read More→
This week I am excited to introduce a new EFB community event called “Freedom ROCKS” Today Lauralee shares her story about what Freedom ROCKS means to her. For more information about Freedom ROCKS and how you can participate see the Freedom ROCKS about page. The first global Freedom Rocks event will be held the weekend of May 12 and 13th. Darlene Ouimet~ founder of Emerging from Broken
What “Freedom Rocks” Means to Me by Lauralee Hunter Rivet
Nobody grows up wishing their life would be hell; we expect it to be normal. Well, mine wasn’t. Let’s just say I went to hell and back MANY times. My life was never normal; I grew up around drugs, alcohol and had an incestuous father who molested me. I remember wanting to die, and yes I did try to die but I guess God didn’t want me yet. I hated God at times for putting me in this situation, I blamed him. But that was wrong, because no matter how bad your life is and I can attest to this 100%, you CAN get out of it. There is ALWAYS a way. I never turned to drugs and alcohol, I got off the merry go round and so can you.
I thought of the throwing the rock idea one day after my brother died on October 30th, 2011. The “family” called me, hours later of course, to tell me about my brother. I met with my mother and sister first; after 10 years without any contact with them it was hard. I cried, went to the funeral home, paid for the funeral and then I was in “mother” role again like I had been all my young adult life. I took care of my mother, slept there with her, moved her to a new apartment and took care of her for a month. Then the drama started. My sister who likes to call me princess, I think she has a lot of jealousy towards me, (she is the eldest and I am the youngest one in my family) would talk about my mother and my mother would talk about her and I felt like I had just gone to a gun fight armed with a knife. I was back to the same crap as before. I couldn’t do it anymore; I was done with being talked about and used.
Finally I said to my “mother”; “if you knew I was dying would you come to my house this year for Read More→
I convinced myself of many things in order to cope with child abuse, emotional abuse and being defined as less important than others in my life.
I was unable to cope with the truth so I changed the truth to suit me. I learned how to view “unhealthy attention” as though it was healthy and validating in order to cope with my dysfunctional world the way that it was and by doing so I was able to pretend that my world was actually functional. I found a way to believe that I was special.
But in order to feel loved and to believe that I had at least some degree of self worth, I had to change my understanding of the word “special”. I had to warp my definition of that word in order to fit it to the actual circumstances. The things I accepted as “proof” and validation that I was “special” became pretty sick and unhealthy.
I remember when I was about 13 or 14 years old, my mother started Read More→