Archive for emotional recovery
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→
Eventually, at some point in my childhood, I accepted the fact that I was not heard and not going to be heard. I did not consciously accept it, but it was an effective part of the grooming process and I came to understand that it was “just the way it was”. I think perhaps I believed that when I was “older” or when I was an adult, I would have “my chance” to be a part of the world and finally have a voice.
When I grew up however, nothing changed. I had been taught compliance and subservience and I didn’t step out of that role just because I became an adult.
I wasn’t heard so I stopped expecting to be heard. I was not “allowed” the impact that I saw other people had. I had to listen to what everyone else wanted, but I was not given that same consideration. My opinions rarely had any impact. I sought out friends who were similar to me in their own victim mentality and found fellowship with them but I continued to have bosses, parents, boyfriends who communicated that they were more important than I was. Once again with those types of people in my life, I stopped trying to be heard. I accepted that I was not going to be heard and that my voice didn’t really matter. Not having a voice and not being heard had become Read More→
I reached a point in my adult life where I found myself wondering why some people who seemed to be so nice to other people, were not so nice to me. I realized as I grew in this process of emotional healing that it had a lot to do with my own inner value. It was as though people could “see” how much I would put up with. My worth, before I emerged from broken had a lot to do with what I could do for others. I thought that my value was in what I had to offer. A lot of people took advantage of me and used me. I did a lot of service work but wasn’t really appreciated for it. I tried not to do if for the appreciation, but when people treated me like I didn’t matter, it really hurt me. I bent over backwards to “be good enough to deserve acceptance.”
I had to learn to value myself ~ enough to call them on it. I had to realize that they were wrong to treat me that way and if I let it go, they were likely to keep doing it. I had to care enough about me to reject that kind of treatment. I had to realize that when people talk down to me, it doesn’t define me as beneath them. On the other hand I also had to learn that when people fall all over themselves to be with me, that doesn’t define me as worthy either. That was the false definition of love and acceptance that I had to come to understand in this process of emotional healing.
This was a huge part of my recovery process.
First I had to own my anger at this injustice towards me as a person. I had to own my equality and believe in myself. Instead of constantly asking myself what was wrong with me and searching my heart for how I could be worthy of love and respect, I started to ask myself why people felt they had permission to Read More→
It was so important for me to believe that my childhood had in fact been difficult. I had been brainwashed that my childhood was wonderful, normal and that I was one of the “privileged” people in the world. I believed that something was wrong with me because I had so many struggles with depressions and emotional issues. I felt guilty that I was so unhappy because I had been convinced that I was so fortunate to have grown up in the family I had. I believed that I had wonderful, hard working parents who did their best for me. I constantly looked to those “less fortunate” in order to beat myself up about how “ungrateful” that I was.
I bought their definition of “normal” hook, line and sinker. No wonder I always felt like I was drowning.
The way that I was raised was not healthy nor was it “normal”. But how was I to know that? It was my normal. It was all I knew. I had no frame of reference for any other way of life. I had to face that although I had been “told” that I was a liar and an exaggerator, I did in fact know the truth about at least some of the things that had happened to me and that those things were wrong. I had to listen to myself. I had to believe myself. I had to validate the pain that being devalued, dismissed and treated as “not quite valid” as a person had an effect on me. A lasting effect. There was damage done. TO ME.
I deserved to heal, but first I had to believe that I had something I needed to heal from. I had to believe myself regardless of the lifelong message that I had Read More→
“When a child has been in a dysfunctional family system, that child grows up with some dysfunctional thinking. It can’t be helped. The dysfunctional ways of thinking in my family system got passed on to me. Dysfunction and mistreatment, psychological abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse all contributed to the survival methods that I had to adopt in order to stay alive”. ~Darlene Ouimet
I have this “to do” list. I tell myself that I am going to get “this much done” each day. I have it all mapped out. But I don’t stick to the plan. I get distracted, I want to chat on the phone, I want to read a book, I want to spend more time on facebook talking to all my peeps and updating the Emerging from Broken facebook page. I want to catch up on Twitter. I tell myself that all these activities are part of the greater goals that I have to spread this message. But the truth is that I am not Read More→
I believe that depression comes from somewhere and that it starts somewhere. I don’t believe that I was born with it, or that I was born with something missing in me that would later determine that I would struggle with depression. I don’t believe that my mother, who struggled with multiple depressions, passed her condition down to me. I believe that my mother had her own post traumatic stress and abuse that caused her struggles and break downs, and that because she didn’t have the tools that she needed to raise an emotionally healthy child, I too was placed at risk. I was not protected from the things that caused my trauma; both me and the trauma were neglected. My self esteem and personal value and individuality was never established.
I would even go so far as to say that my depressions were a coping method. They were a way for me to shut down and to get through the overwhelming circumstances in my life. They were a way that enabled me to survive.
That is what I have come to understand now ~ that is my NEW belief system, and coming to understand this and all my other false belief systems greatly assisted me in overcoming my constant depressions and in living beyond depression. That is what I used to believe about depression, so now what about the old belief system that I broke out of?
The Stigma of Depression
There is a huge stigma in our society about mental health struggles. There is a universal judgment about depression and about Read More→
Why do we care so much about what everyone else thinks? Why did I NEED to be believed especially by the very people who invalidate me in the first place? I think it is because I was brainwashed very young to believe that everyone else knew better then I knew and that “they” had the ability and the right to define me. They “owned me”. I didn’t belong to myself.
There was a comment on Susan Kingsley-Smith’s post ~ Dysfunctional Relationship with Mental Health Providers ~that has been simmering in the back of my mind since I read it about 5 days ago now. This comment, although simply put, is really profound and I want to expand on the whole concept of what Mountain is writing about because this aspect of recovery has been so key for me and as well as being a result of doing my recovery work, it was the beginning of the process of transitioning from surviving to thriving.
A note from “Mountain”
“With regards to need and the need to be understood ~ I stopped giving my energy away to people who didn’t receive my love. I stopped trying to convince other people of my reasons why I did things, the whys of things don’t matter to other people and often leaves us open to judgment which is very painful for sensitives. Most don’t want to know and most don’t really care. We do here; I’m talking the outside world.” You can see Mountains full comment (#59) on Susans Post.
I personally had a huge need to PROVE that I was right. I thought I had to prove that I was justified in being hurt, that I had been devalued and that I had been mistreated. That I was NOT crazy, that I was a good person with good intentions… continued.. Read More→
Controllers, abusers and manipulative people don’t question themselves. They don’t ask themselves if the problem is them. They always say the problem is someone else. This was a huge problem for me when I went into therapy because I was very willing to convince my therapist that the problem was me ~ I believed it so deeply. I went to therapy because I thought I needed help changing. I had tried everything I could think of, and now I wanted a professional to tell me how to change so that I could be acceptable to certain people in my life. I was fortunate that my therapist realized that I had been so devalued my entire life that I believed all those lies I had been fed about how I was the one that needed to change. He was accustomed to this type of victim thinking and he resisted my insistence that the problem was me.
One of the most productive, powerful and freeing things that my therapist and I talked about was the fact that “controllers” “abusers” and otherwise manipulative people never question that the problem might be them. That concept stopped me dead in my tracks and caused me to think about the people in my life that had I had tried so hard to change for. I scanned my memory for clues or indications that I my therapist was wrong about that fact. I think I wanted the problem to be me. I had learned to accept it and I was used to trying harder and If it wasn’t ME then that meant they had to change… and I had lost faith in that possibility.
It turned out that my therapist wasn’t wrong. Abusive and controlling people do not ask themselves if they are being abusive or controlling. What they do is demand changes from other people. They excuse their behaviour by blaming it on the defects or shortcomings that they have decided someone else has.
I could not ever remember a time when someone who devalued me, or someone who told me that I had a problem or that I was the problem had ever stopped to question themselves. The people who told me (usually not in words) that I needed to change somehow had ever looked at their own behaviour. I could not remember a time when one of those people had ever taken a look at themselves the way they thought I should take a look at myself! The only time one of the people in my life that mistreated me ever hinted at some sort of personal change, apology OR regret, was usually when they had a personal manipulative motive for doing so. Like if they were afraid to lose me as their victim or afraid that I was catching on to the one sided relationship.
I spent a lot of time thinking about this revelation. It was eventually one of the major truths that helped me to see that relationships are not meant to be one sided and that I should not have to carry the entire burden of each relationship. The success of relationship does not depend solely on ME. Abusers do not ask themselves if they are abusing. When I realized this truth; that the controlling manipulative and abusive people in my life NEVER looked at themselves while they constantly pointed fingers at me, I turned a new corner in my process and entered a brighter and healthier pathway.
Please share your thoughts about this subject. Don’t forget to subscribe to the comments since this blog always generates amazing discussions.
Exposing truth, One Snapshot at a Time;
Emerging from Broken
Final note: Later on I realized that some people, my mother for instance, changed and adjusted for other people, just like I did for her, but she didn’t for me. That was the beginning of my understanding that there seems to be somewhat of a “pecking order” in dysfunctional family systems and in dysfunctional relationships. The key for me was to decide that I would no longer accept my place in the pecking order.
Related Reading ~Demonstrating Appreciation in Relationships
“The best way to keep relationships happy, healthy, and supportive can be summed up in one word: appreciation. What you appreciate, appreciates. When we demonstrate our appreciation for the support we receive from others, it reinforces that behaviour and deepens our connection to them.” Marci Shimoff
This is a beautiful quote. I tried to live my life by these types of quotes in the past, never realizing that they were extremely conflicting for me. Today, this quote works for me in the relationships that I have now but in the past a quote like this actually caused internal, subconscious, harm.
Without realizing it, I was trying to appreciate people who were treating me badly. I didn’t think that I deserved support; I don’t think I even knew what it was so I didn’t see that key part of the quote. Instead, I kept trying to see the positive in abusive people and overlook the negative. That was how I viewed quotes like this one. I thought it meant that I should just ignore the mean stuff. But trying to overlook someone’s ill treatment of me was the same as agreeing with them that I wasn’t really worth being treated properly.
Trying to appreciate a person who devalues you is conflicting; it’s like putting a band-aid on top of a severed limb that requires surgery, stitches, recovery time and then rehabilitation.
I am one of those people who fought against depression all my life. I was bi-polar, likely from a very young age and depressions were connected to my dissociative identity disorder issues. I began seeking solutions in self help programs, seminars and self help books when I was eighteen years old. I started in 12 step meetings when I was eighteen too. And for reasons that I could never understand, no matter how much I tried to work those steps, they too were like a band-aid when I needed surgery.
In the past when I read a quote like this one by Marci Shimoff I tried to focus on appreciating the people in my life that were devaluing me, defining me as not good enough, controlling me and squishing me into the ground. I tried to concentrate on how wonderful they were and thought that if I was more appreciative ~ which in a victim mindset means more compliant and more subservient, that they would finally reciprocate and appreciate me. This was all part of my victim mentality which whispered in the deepest part of my mind and belief system, that if I could just find the magic secret recipe for how to make them LOVE me, that they would stop hurting me and love me.
Today I understand and appreciate quotes like this one. I had to get the victim mentality (that I lived in and survived by) sorted out and set right first though. I had to clean up the old foundation ~ which was rotting and full of gaping life sucking lies and build a new strong and sturdy foundation before quotes like these could serve me. Trying to implement positive thinking quotes in the past added to my already low self esteem. Subconsciously I just jumped to guilt, shame, self blame and failure thoughts.
Having realized my own value and truly embraced it has enabled me to appreciate the people in my life today from a more truthful and equal viewpoint and THAT has deepened the connections. Appreciation is no longer a one way street. Now that I know my own value, it is easier to appreciate others for who they really are too.
Please share your thoughts about one sided appreciation or about how this article resonates with you.