Archive for emotional healing
The other night we had a birthday dinner for our oldest son. All of our kids were home as well as a few of their friends. The conversation was lively, everyone was included, there was laughter, jokes, intellectual conversation about the chemistry my son studies and the neuroscience my oldest daughter studies. All kinds of information was shared and everyone had a voice. There were jokes and stories; everyone at the table was equally important.
I love those family dinners. We were joking with our youngest daughters friend who had never had dinner with us before this evening; we were explaining during our laughter about ‘bathroom talk at the table’ that this is how we are sometimes and we hoped we didn’t scare her off. She felt comfortable enough to add a few of her own jokes and the next day she texted our daughter saying “your family is awesome”.
I was thinking about our family dinners and how amazing they are. We talk to each other and we listen to each other. We are genuinely interested in each other! There are no cell phones or electronic media allowed at the table. We usually sit around talking about every subject under the sun well after the meal is over even when we don’t have company and it is just the 5 of us. This is incredible to me!
These dinners and this kind of communication are what make me feel the most successful as a mother. I was saying to my husband that sometimes when we are all sitting around eating, talking and laughing that I feel as though I 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→
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→
Sometimes I get comments from people that are so filled with judgement that I don’t even consider publishing them. I am sharing the following comment with you today because it is a fantastic example of the judgement that is out there in the world about what we reveal when it comes to our dysfunctional family stuff. I didn’t publish this comment on the post it came in on~ I didn’t see the point in giving this woman a voice and her comment is so ridiculous ~ especially since it is from this total stranger who doesn’t know me, my story or my family.
This comment speaks volumes about her judgements; she really thinks that she knows my family history and sides with my father. She offers proof that I misunderstood my father’s intentions and decides that it is up to me to mend this broken fence. She absolves my father of all responsibility for the abandonment that I suffered at his hands.
And because this kind of lecture is SO common, and since we have been hearing this kind of stuff since childhood, it is easy to get sucked into this kind of judgement and “feel bad” for MY actions; or at least it might have made me feel bad 5 years ago. Today I was shocked. I thought “how the heck does this woman KNOW anything about my parents or what happened in my family or to my mother? Why does she think she knows anything about my father, his decisions, his actions or his intentions?
I didn’t publish this comment on the post where she left it because this kind of stuff heaps more damage on the already damaged reader. I am publishing it today to highlight a typical example of what survivors of abuse and dysfunctional family stuff hear all the time from 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→
Earlier this week I received a comment on the post “Thanksgiving and Gratitude ~ When the little voice rebels” and a commenter asked some excellent questions. Since I get questions like these frequently, I decided to answer them in this new post. Here is the paragraph from “Coffee” with her questions;
Coffee79 wrote: One area I struggle with is when that voice comes along I want to call someone, anyone to tell me this isn’t the truth. When I tell myself that truth, why can’t I believe it? Why does it mean more coming from someone else? My self-esteem will not stay consistent, and my therapist says I need to learn how to be my own best friend. I feel like I do work at it more than I used to, but how does someone become these things when they never had it? I do not have a healthy reference. I respond to this voice by telling myself it isn’t true and I tell myself positive affirmations but I am not convinced. Darlene, how did you become your own best friend? How did you build your self-esteem without relying on the words others?”
Anyone who has been reading Emerging from Broken for any length of time knows that I find the answers by looking back to where the damage was caused and the messages I got and accepted about myself. I had to find out where my self-esteem went ‘missing’ in the first place. I know that’s easier said than done and I am not minimizing the actual ‘work’ for one second but that was the first part of the work. Becoming my own best friend came later. I had to clear a new foundation on which to build my relationship with me, before I started working on becoming my own best friend and validating myself.
When I look back on my own life, I realize that I was ‘trained’ or taught (by words and actions, outcomes and circumstances) to believe that without certain people I would not survive. When a child’s efforts are met with impatience there is a clear message communicated to that child. This message does not have to be communicated in words. It was only by finding out what that message WAS that I was able to overcome it. There were a LOT of false messages stuck in my belief system but the bottom line was that in the mind of a child, not being loved, ‘good enough’ or acceptable means being rejected and rejection means death. (I had to think deeply about this concept in my own life in order to relate to it. It isn’t something that I understood just by hearing it).
Through looking closely at these messages that were communicated to me, I came to the conclusion that I associated not being approved of or not being “good enough” with death. MY DEATH. And the survival instinct is very strong and something I realized is that I was Read More→
It is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada and I have been thinking about gratitude these past few days in relation to the past and the present. I had been in the process of ‘trying’ to heal a lot longer than I have been in the actual process of healing and I have many new insights today that I didn’t have in the past.
Something that sprang to mind this morning while I was doing my gratitude journal* was how much the way that I practice gratitude has changed over the last few years.
I have heard most of my adult like that practicing gratitude is one of the most important aspects in any kind of recovery and I am no newbie to the action of being grateful. What is different today is that I don’t have that little voice in the background reprimanding me for my failure with the concept of gratitude.
For example, my gratitude practice in the past would go something like this:
“I am grateful for the abundance in my life! I have food, shelter, clothing and friends. I have everything I need” and the little reprimanding voice full of self-defeating disgust would respond “jeeze but you still think you are so hard done by; you have no excuse for ever being depressed, you have no excuse for ever being sad, you are pathetic and you SHOULD be grateful. If you were really grateful you would not have any of those ‘problems’ that you have.”
The problem is that I didn’t actually ‘hear’ the voice. It was hidden under the surface of my mind, whispering at me constantly, tearing me down in my subconscious and I didn’t actually ‘hear it’ until Read More→
“You can’t solve the problems of today by using the same thinking that created them” Einstein
As I started to go through the healing process I realized that there were roots to the feelings of loneliness and that feeling of being alone. I felt let down in a world where I didn’t fit in and didn’t belong and believed I wasn’t worthy of the love that I craved. I believed that I had brought on my own problems that I created the life of depression that I lived in and believed that if I could just figure out what was wrong with me then everything would be okay. I believed this stuff because it had been communicated to me through the actions of other people.
I started to realize that some of the things that had happened to me left me believing that I was somehow lacking and that I was somehow undeserving of the love that other people deserved. As I progressed farther into my emotional healing journey, I realized that my own parents had contributed to those beliefs and were still contributing to them well into my adult life. I was a disappointment to my parents and nothing I did was ever “good enough” and as I grew older I was beginning to comprehend that nothing I ever accomplished was EVER going to be “good enough”.
When I first started this website I never intended to talk about my parents as part of where the problem began. I thought I could just keep it about the belief system development resulting from trauma and I could just sort of keep my parents out of it.
As my confidence grew, I started to write about some specific incidents with my mother and father that caused some of the false beliefs about myself to take root in my belief system. And when I started to get really specific about 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.
I was reading one of my own quotes today about my willingness to share the blame in the past and thought that it deserved to be expanded upon because it is a popular subject here on Emerging from Broken. Blame sharing or willingness to share blame seems to be especially difficult if we are dealing with it within our own families. ‘Blame sharing’ and ‘blame sparing’ both seem to be part of the problem and are stick points in recovery from neglectful or abusive childhoods.
Here is the quote: “When I started to try to figure out why I was such a mess, I found that one of the stumbling blocks in my way was that I was and had been willing to share the blame for everything that happened to me. I had been told that acceptance was the answer, and I tried to accept that something must be WRONG with me because “I couldn’t accept,” and I concluded that I deserved to carry the responsibility for the mistreatment I had suffered.” Darlene Ouimet
I got thinking about the concept of “blame sharing”, where it comes from, how it starts and what it actually means, and how I could communicate that information more clearly by showing exactly the way that I overcame blame sharing in my own process of emotional healing. As always I have to show how it got there in the first place in order to show how I overcame it.
When I talk about my willingness to share the blame for the treatment that I received I am talking about specific things that should never have happened to a child that I was willing to actually take a share of the blame for. I was willing to share the blame for things that happened to me when I was powerless over my circumstances; things that I convinced myself that I was NOT actually powerless over. There is a chain of events when a child is damaged. There are consequences to the messages that children hear and accept as the truth when Read More→