Archive for self esteem recovery
For me the whole month of December and lead up to Christmas and then celebrating a new year is an amazing time of year for me and for many reasons. As a young adult I dreaded Christmas as it was a reminder of my lacking and longing for love. Christmas was lonely. Some years it was scary.
Since I began my journey to wholeness, Christmas and the few weeks following New Year’s has become a time to validate and acknowledge the wonder of life, the changes I’ve made and the things that I have accomplished. The holiday season has become about real love and real relationships and celebrating that love. January and the weeks following New Years are also about coming home to me and the journey of life. Christmas marks the end of one year and New Years marks the beginning of another and during this time of year I also celebrate and validate all accomplishments of the previous year and get ready for a new year welcoming the many more accomplishments and victories to come.
And some times when I am pondering all of this wonder in my life, I have a healing dream;
A few nights ago I dreamed a very vivid healing dream. I dreamt that I was a professional basketball player. I was playing a very intense game and the crowd was cheering wildly. I saw myself from the outside of my body and I was also aware of myself from the inside where my thoughts and feelings were. I was dreaming, but I was experiencing myself as the dreamer as well.
The lights were bright almost too bright. I was out of breath and very aware of how much I was perspiring and how warm I felt. I noticed a faint sheen of perspiration on my arms and on my upper lip. My hair felt damp. I felt good! I felt healthy and strong. Everything was loud; the crowd, the announcer, my coach, the other teams coach; there was this feeling of intense excitement. And I noticed the brightly lit score board; the game was tied!
In a flurry of activity, a lot of dribbling and passing and what seemed like organized confusion, I scored the winning basket!
For those of you who don’t know, I am in my Read More→
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→
“I learned to set boundaries by realizing where they were missing in my life. I learned where they were missing in my life by seeing the truth about abuse etc. As long as my value was in question (by me as a result of the way I had been defined) I could not set boundaries.” Darlene Ouimet
I googled the key words “setting personal boundaries” and the top info I found on it included understanding the abusers and not judging or placing blame on them because after all, we are all wounded souls! No wonder we have so much trouble healing from abuse! Oh it all sounds so lovely, but the truth is that I healed by setting ALL that aside after trying it that way for well over 20 years with the main result being that the depressions only increased and my boundaries got weaker. (see the links at the end of this post)
Have you ever thought about why setting personal boundaries is so dang hard in the first place? Here in Emerging from Broken, I always talk about how everything has a root. Depression starts somewhere. We are not born with low self esteem. And it is the root of both those things that makes setting personal boundaries so hard!
When I was defined as “not good enough” or “not worthy” by the actions of others in my life, it is understandable that I believed that definition of “me”. And as long as I believed that the definition of me was correct, I didn’t believe I had a right to HAVE boundaries. I didn’t believe that I had a choice in my own life about what kind of treatment I had to accept. I didn’t understand that I was being treated badly and that I had a right to say no to that treatment.
There was a root to why I had no idea Read More→
I was not heard for most of my life. My voice was silenced in many ways. I was sexually abused from a young age. I don’t remember if I “told” or not in those young years, but there were signs. There were physical and mental distress signs that went unaddressed. That is a form of not being heard.
My mother used violence to vent her anger and frustration. My father either didn’t notice or didn’t care; he never tried to stop it. Who could I tell? The way things were in my family was “my normal”. In my survival mode, I only knew to keep trying harder to be “good”, to be what those manipulative people wanted and to be quiet because it seemed to me that I was causing a problem for them.
I don’t know how I kept going.
I know I told about a teacher who was emotionally and psychologically abusing me in grade 5. I told but I was ignored. I was shushed. I was silenced. I was lectured about “respecting my elders.” I was not heard. When I finally got so sick that the pediatric specialist asked to speak to me alone (without my parents) he ordered my parents to take me out of the class I was in. My parents didn’t want to do it and the Dr. said he was going to get a court order if they didn’t remove me from the presence of that teacher.
That doctor heard me. But my parents did not hear me. I felt I was “wrong” for telling. I knew that I had caused Read More→
When I finally drew my boundaries and make it clear to my mother that I was no longer going to accept her devaluing treatment of me, she walked away. She never called again. Oh she played her usual manipulative tricks including telling me that I could contact her “when I have thought about it” but I quickly told her that I it wasn’t up to me anymore. It was now up to her to decide if she was going to have a real relationship with me based on love, mutual respect and equal value, OR if she was going to continue to abuse me. (An option I would no longer tolerate)
She wanted to just put the whole thing behind us and “start over” I said no and that this time I wanted to deal with it. This time I wanted my say.
She said “Oh Darlene, we have always had our differences but we have always worked them out in the past” and I responded “No Mom, in the past I have always backed down and let you have your way”.
That was the last time I spoke to her. I left it with her and she refused to bend. She refused to meet me half way. She turned me down. My mother abandoned our relationship.
When I realized that she wasn’t going to contact me again, it cut me to the core. I was rejected all over again. By walking away from me she was saying “you are not worth it Darlene. I can’t be bothered 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→
“The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost” Anonymous
I came across this quote the other day and it caused a multitude of flashbacks to rush through my brain all at once. At first glance I thought “yes” this is true, but very quickly my mind was filled with all my old fears; I learned to FEAR losing love and at the same time realizing that this was not the way that I was loved at all. It was communicated to me that it didn’t matter if I was lost or if I was never to be seen again and I lived with the fear that I might find that out to be the truth.
As I got older and sought love from outside my dysfunctional family, I believed that it was how much the object of my desire proved his need for me, his longing for me, his fear of losing me, that PROVED his love for me. This was how I had been taught love. And most of my boyfriends sought to possess me more than to love me.