Archive for truth
I am an advocate for truth. I am an advocate for the truth that leads to freedom, wholeness and healing. I am an advocate for the truth that leads to healthy self esteem, the true definition of love and equal value for adults and children, bosses and employees, teachers and students because in the eyes of the truth, we are ALL people with equal value. Although we may have more authority in some situations, we do not suddenly reach a certain age or status which gives us more value than someone else has.
I will no longer do what “they” have decided is best for me to do or what “they” think I should do. I will do what I believe is right and best for me. When others tell me what to do or what I am doing wrong according to them, my ability to make decisions for myself is insulted and that kind of put down is devaluing.
I am not going to be who others say I am or who others want me to be. I am who I really am. No one else can define me. When I am defined by others I feel judged and unappreciated and it stifles my ability to be who I AM.
Taking my life back means that I am in charge of it now. I am the captain of my own ship. My happiness does not depend on someone else’s happiness anymore. In learning what was best for me and living in that definition, I empower all those around me to Read More→
I thought it might be fun to publish some of my early writing once in a while here on Emerging from Broken. I found some things I had written in 2007 when I was still coming out of the fog on many things. In this post (written to myself) I was trying to convince myself that the process was worth it but I disguised that uncertainty with a lovely comparison to gardening.
I wrote this in September of 2007.
“Gardening isn’t just about planting and harvesting. It is about peace, serenity and reality. I can truly be in a deep state of relaxation and feel at one with myself and my surroundings when I am on my knees in the garden with my hands plunged deeply into the soft earth.
Gardening is like life. I had to get the soil all ready to plant tiny seeds of freedom and wholeness. It is a lot of work to make ready fertile ground. I can’t just throw the seeds in any old way on any old type of soil and expect to yield a bountiful result.
I like to plant in nice neat rows, however they don’t always come up in nice straight paths but rather crooked lines sometimes there are even empty spaces as though there were a missed connection. Should I fix it, or should I leave some blanks?
And there are weeds. Oh man, don’t we hate the weeds? We certainly don’t plant them, so where do they come from? How do their seeds get in there? Year after year the same weeds too. Most of the work in my garden is really about tending to the weeds, picking them out so that Read More→
I was dying my whole life; I just didn’t know it until I started living.
The fog that I grew up with was almost completely transparent. I didn’t know that I didn’t know. I lived in a false normal and growing up like that was the way it was. It was my truth and my “real”. I didn’t know that there was any other way. I didn’t know that I didn’t know there was indeed another way; most of my life, my reality and my truth were dysfunctional. The adults, the reality all malfunctioned.
And therefore so did I.
That is what living in a dysfunctional family was like for me. Those were the effects of psychological abuse emotional abuse and trauma. That is the effect of being groomed and being trained in silence, compliance, obedience and obligation. That is what happens when a child is taught that their value as an individual is not the same as the value of others. There are consequences and negative results when we are raised in a false normal.
Psychological abuse is at the root of all forms of abuse. It is part of the grooming process. Emotional abuse and neglect makes a statement to a child. Abuse in any form makes a statement about human value. It teaches things that to the child that no child should be taught. It teaches the WRONG thing.
Sexual and physical abuse leave a child living in fear every day of their lives. It doesn’t make “sense”; abuse is incomprehensible and as a child I had to try to understand. Trying to understand something that is incomprehensible as a child is impossible. So, I “tried” to understand “them” for the rest of my life and as I was slowly dying I didn’t realize that my life was being extinguished by the very people who 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 am really excited to welcome my friend and guest blogger Carla Dippel. Today Carla is writing about a coaching session we recently did. This post is an excellent example of how to dig down and discover your belief system about a specific concept; in this case “love”. As always please feel free to contribute to this wonderful post by leaving your feedback and comments. ~ Darlene Ouimet, founder of Emerging from Broken
Cocahing with Darlene on my Definition of Love by Carla Dippel
A few weeks ago, I was freaking out about love. I felt anxious, confused, and stuck. I had this sense that I was missing something, that I was scrambling in the surface of myself while there was much deeper stuff going on beneath that I couldn’t get at. I described this “freaking out”-ness to Darlene. In her masterful way, she asked me a couple simple questions that changed everything. I really cared about working through this struggle because I really cared about the part of my life that it was affecting. So I decided to be open and reveal the truth as honestly as possible. I had hope that in doing this I would find better answers than the ones I was working with at the time.
First Darlene asked me to reveal my definition of love. She added, “Don’t worry about sounding silly or trying to have the RIGHT answer. Just write what naturally comes out, what you believe off the top of your head.” I had this sense of taking my focus off the leaves of the tree that were sick and shifting it to the soil. What was really down there?… I felt afraid to be so honest. I don’t like feeling vulnerable or sounding stupid (especially). But I went to work. Here is what came out, un-edited and un-analzyed: Read More→
There are several really HOT topics when it comes to recovery. One of them is “accountability” I’m talking about the destructive practice of “self blame” that is disguised as the virtue of accountability. This week I posted the following update on the Emerging from Broken facebook page:
“Recovery started with me. That alone was a hard truth to swallow. I had to face the pain. I had to do the work. It didn’t seem fair ~ none of this was my fault in the first place which was ALSO a hard truth to swallow because for some reason I thought it WAS my fault. These were the stick points; the road blocks. The bottom line is that I am the only one that can “take my life back”.
When I posted this in EFB facebook, I was thinking the discussion would be about my statement “I am the only one that can take my life back”.
An awesome discussion started which quickly turned into a discussion about accountability. This happens frequently. I am talking about when people say “although I didn’t know better as a child I certainly knew better as an adult”. Accountability can be a nice way of saying “it was my own fault”. This is a topic I seem to be running into a lot this week and it is one that is very close to my heart because that kind of accountability almost killed me. Continued… Read More→
A whole book could be written about this subject. There is so much “baggage” around the whole concept of forgiveness that I hesitate to even go there, however…. there have been a few discussions lately on the facebook page for Emerging from Broken; some to do with my last post “Emotional Healing and the Will to go forward” and it is time for me to post just a little bit about this huge topic for forgiveness. Please remember that this is just one blog post. One little snapshot of truth; one little view in to a very large subject.
- First, a note about blame: In my view, blame is about placing the responsibility for the trauma where it belongs. In my recovery, blame was necessary and part of the natural progression on the journey to wholeness. I am not suggesting that we need to stay in the emotional part of blame forever, just that it is an important stepping stone in this process of emerging from broken.
So, fasten your seatbelts because I feel a rant coming on. I hope that you will join in and express your own feelings about the kind of invalidation that we and so many others have suffered.
Forgiveness; What I am suggesting is that we are taught to skip a step in the whole forgiveness arena. We are told to forgive before we are even validated that we have something to forgive. Some examples of this are when we have been abused emotionally, physically or sexually; (abuse is abuse) and we are ignored, not heard, discounted, not given a voice. Our trauma and our grievance is invalidated. I have heard people told in for example, church situations that they must not take an accusation outside of the church but that it must be settled in the church ~ and then the situation is swept under the carpet. These are just a few of the stories that I hear over and over again; I have heard wives told that they are being beaten by husbands because they have failed to submit. I have heard of wives who have been raped by spouses being told that it is not rape and that it is a husbands right. I have been told when a husband is cheating sexually that it must have something to do with the wife not meeting his needs. This is all abuse. And then these same abused people are told to “get over it already” and that they “must forgive” Something foundational is missing in the forgiveness advice. These people were invalidated by the abuser and then re-invalidated by the ones they sought help from. And this is not at all unique to the church. I am just using that example because it seems like most of the people that tell me to “just forgive” come from that background.
Children are equally devalued. As children, IF we even realize that it is wrong to be called dumb, stupid and useless, IF we even realize that being beaten on a whim or because someone else is in a bad mood is wrong; IF we somehow figure out that adults having sexual relations of any kind with children is illegal, and IF that victim child tells and is ignored, called a liar, OR anything else other than protected and validated, then the child has an extra layer of abuse to deal with. When this child grows up IF they ever disclose the abuse, they are SO OFTEN met with more invalidation and unhelpful instruction such as “you must forgive”.
Are you getting the picture about why so many people DON’T tell? Many keep the secret in the dark recesses of their minds ~ so convinced that the guilt and shame are theirs to bear and that they must have somehow deserved this kind of mistreatment and added on to that is the whole insistence that forgiveness is the only answer which makes many of us reluctant to disclose abuse least we be seen as unforgiving!
SO let’s just say we finally DO talk about it and then we are told to jump ahead to forgiveness. HOW the heck is that supposed to be possible? This ticks me off. It isn’t possible to “just get over it and forgive”. I tried it for years! It didn’t work this way for me.
When we are encouraged to try to understand the abuser, it is worse. Why should we try to understand something so incomprehensible? WHY do we need to understand them when we have not been encouraged to understand our own feelings yet? This is so backwards. I spent years trying to understand them, even fooling myself that I did understand, and that I did forgive, and looking back I realize that in doing that before I even validated myself and the abuse that I survived, I became my own abuser. I became the one who discounted myself, picking up where they left off… oh it is so twisted how this all works.
I was told that forgiveness was for me, and had nothing to do with the other person, but I was told that as though forgiveness was just an easy choice. No one offered me any assistance on HOW to do it. (just do it ~ duh)
So why all the panic about forgiveness in the first place? This is a HOT topic all over the place. I had to stop and think about that one; right off the top of my head; I had this idea that if I suddenly died, and I had not forgiven (my abusers and oppressors whom I didn’t even realize were abusers until much later) that I would instantly be cast into Hell. I think that was where my desperation to “forgive” came from. I had this anxiety about it and today I don’t believe that anymore; I see it as ridiculous.
So my point is not to put the blame where it belongs in order to stay there in that anger or resentment, but rather as a stepping stone to healing. I have no resentment anymore. I am not angry about my past because I have worked my way through it. But I HAD to go through the stage where I was really angry, and where I did not think forgiveness would ever be possible or necessary. I had to give myself permission to be angry, permission to speak, to have a voice, to vent and rage and FEEL all the emotions that I was not allowed to feel before as a victim.
Forgiveness for me came as a result of the work I did for ME. It came as an unexpected bonus ~ it was something that I didn’t consciously “work on” and I actually put the whole concept of forgiveness aside and tried not to think about it when I was in the depth of my process. Not forgiving had its own guilt and shame attached to it…none of which was MINE and in the healing process I had to get a really good grasp of what was mine to deal with and what wasn’t.
It is with mixed emotions that I hit the publish button on this ~ for the most part “unedited” rant.
Love is my biggest motivator..
One of my readers sent me this great video by ex-psychotherapist, Daniel Mackler on You Tube, about this subject of forgiveness.
Related post: What about forgiveness?
As a child, I had no understanding of why things were the way they were. I don’t think I even thought that the rest of the world was any different from my world. My parents lived in denial which stemmed from their own childhoods and the situations that they were raised in. They had organized their worlds around their own wounds and traumas and they developed their own belief systems. I would imagine that years of denial led them to raise their children in a similar way to how they were raised, expecting their children to have that fierce loyalty that they themselves developed for their parents and never questioning why.
I don’t write this blog to blame my parents for their shortcomings; I refer to them only to illustrate what happened to me in the parts that had to do with my parents. I write about how I came to be an emotional mess, constantly struggling with depression due to many different incidents, how I discovered the lies that formed my belief system and how exposing the lies enabled me to see the truth; the same truth that set me free.
I was conditioned to hold it all in. When we are children, we don’t have a choice if we have not been helped through a trauma. We just go forward from there, with the pain and the scars of the trauma. We can only learn positive self care if we are taught self care but because no one helps us through the things that happened to us, we learn to not take care of ourselves we learn not to speak about the trauma or about anything else. We don’t know the difference between what is serious abuse or what is just a person or parent in a bad mood. Everything becomes our version of “normal” We keep silent because either we have been told to keep silent, or because we have learned from experience that we will not have any impact if we do tell. We learn not to speak about our emotions, believing they are wrong and that no one will listen. If we learn that telling won’t make a difference we also learn that we are not important and we try very hard to prove that we are important. If only we believed it ourselves we wouldn’t have to prove it.
So much of this problem comes from being told who we are and who we are not and from being told who we should be and who we should not be. When we are defined by others we are invalidated as an individual and as a person. Invalid. That means NOT VALID. That is a serious thing for a human being and it can cause serious problems with emotional health, physical health self image, self worth and self esteem. One lie (one false belief about ourselves) builds on another lie and we carry the whole mess with us into our adulthoods.
The false beliefs that we have about ourselves have to be undone if we are going to have any lasting freedom from the results that manifested in our lives from being invalidated, mistreated, unloved, devalued, neglected or abused.
We have to relearn how to validate ourselves.
I had to learn how to validate myself. I had to dig into that foundation that was built on those lies, expose it and talk about it so that I could knock it down and start fresh with the truth. I had to face the fear that the situations and the people who taught me “who I was” might actually be right ~ because in facing that fear, I found out they were wrong.
The truth will set you free,
Note: This week I did a ten minute audio interview with Christina Enevoldsen from Overcoming Sexual Abuse ~ here is the link : how we uncover the truth.
For the article I wrote and refer to in the audio about the Dr. discovering that I was being psychologically abused ~ you can find it here: Psychological Abuse ~ how self doubt grows
I read the following quote on twitter and it really bugged me: If a person who went through domestic violence asks you “Why me?” then answer; “you’ve been put on this Earth to help others who went through the same thing.”
I think not.
This ticks me off because I used to believe this kind of thing; I accepted it as the truth, but today I see it for the skewed way of thinking that it is. If I believe this saying, then I have to believe that there was some grand plan for my life that included me being mistreated, abused, invalidated and devalued. If I believed this then I would believe that abuse is and mistreatment is for character building and actually has a place in our world.
I was not abused because the universe, fate, God or some other higher power had some amazing plan for my life. A plan that included me being beaten down and squished, devalued, mistreated, abused and invalidated for the first 40 or so years of my life, so that I could emerge from the rubble, bleeding and broken and become this fantastic encouragement to the world and make a huge difference. I think not.
I can use my adversities and the struggles that I had to overcome to encourage others, yes, but that isn’t why they happened. We all want the answer to the question “why did this happen to me?” The answer that this was so that we can use our adversity to help others ~ is just the best answer many of us can come up with, but I often think that the reason we come up with that answer is because we don’t want to look at the real answer. People, sick people, abused us psychologically, mentally and emotionally, physically, or sexually ~ the point isn’t how it happened; the point is that it did happen. Sometimes these people were our parents, OR we are afraid to look at the possibility that our parents knew something was wrong and didn’t do anything about it or didn’t look farther into it. The truth will set you free, but we are deathly afraid of it. Some of us were beaten and lived in horrific situations of domestic violence, often daily. Even witnessing abuse is terribly traumatic. I can’t believe that this was “meant to be”.
Some of us were sexually abused and physically abused and completely invalidated in our own homes by people we trusted, people that were supposed to take care of us and we lived in fear, guilt, shame and confusion. Others of us suffered sexual abuse by a neighbor, an uncle, aunt or grandparent, and we were coerced into not telling. I can’t accept that this is because God had a plan to use that situation to better the rest of the world in the future. That would be almost as bad as the abuse itself.
Some of us were called stupid, selfish, useless, ugly and all other manner of abusive and devaluing statements against our personhood. Some of us were told called liars, trouble makers, and told that our feelings were “wrong”. ~ do you really want to accept that this was “all God’s plan” for your life? What kind of God would organize the world that way? No wonder there is so much controversy about God. No wonder people hate the very concept of a God. But it isn’t God that decided this would be the way, it is Man who blames God for the outcome of the world.
All of these types of abuse ~ physical abuse and domestic violence, sexual abuse and psychological abuse, and even witnessing any of these kinds of abuse attack us at the core of who we are. They rip away at our individuality and our personhood; they force us to try and deal with things we have no way to comprehend how to deal with; they tear down our chances of productivity and cause damage that we so often don’t realize was the cause as we grow up in years, resulting in depressions, physical illness, mental breakdowns and mental health problems, low self esteem, failure to thrive in life, oh the list goes on.
Every so often I go on a rant. This was one of those times. Thank you for reading; I would love to hear your comments!
Exposing Truth, one snapshot at a time;
I have talked a lot about taking a look at the truth in order to realize how I arrived with repeated depression, broken, exhausted and ready to throw my life away in my early forties. I had to look at what happened to me through new lenses. I had to realize that I was innocent of blame for the mess in my childhood that resulted in my adult life still being a mess. There is a gap between childhood and adulthood that I discovered is a very common place where many of us get stuck. We reach a certain age in our early twenties and we are told that we are adults and we are responsible for our lives. Stop blaming others, get over it and get on with it. But no one helped me sort it out when I was a kid. I had been treated like I was less important than the adults in my life. SO how was I supposed to suddenly know my value, get over “it” and get on with it? As a child I had this sense of having been abandoned ~ my feelings didn’t matter, I was not taken care of and I did not grow up “properly” as a result. No one helped me with this mess, a mess that I was innocent of creating, BUT nevertheless, it was still my mess. It was finally clear that no one was going to rescue me. It was clear that my family was not going to suddenly wake up and love me. No one was going to suddenly realize my value. It was up to me.
I did not realize that I was a victim. I didn’t like that word and didn’t really understand it. I thought it meant that I was a whiner. I thought a victim was someone who complained all the time about the world and it’s people and about what a tough hand of cards they had been dealt. I wasn’t a whiner. I grew up in a world where depression has a stigma. Deep down no matter how much I heard that depression was common, that many struggled, yada yada yada, there was a stigma surrounding it and I believed it was a weakness. I didn’t want to admit that I was on anti depressants; I would have been seen as weak, lacking in faith, and like everything else in my life, I must be doing something wrong. I tried positive thinking, affirmation, bible study, self help books and seminars. They all worked for a while, but nothing had a lasting effect. I was exhausted. The depressions that I had dealt with since I was ten years old were getting worse and more frequent. I was losing the fight. I felt like I was being held under water, struggling to breathe, fighting to have a voice and a place in this world. And I was losing.
It was time to step back and take a look at my life. I put all the puzzle pieces on the table. The mess was overwhelming. I didn’t think I could face it, I didn’t think that I could sort it out. There was so much confusion, so many mixed messages, so much that I had accepted the blame for and I was so tired. I had to go back to beginning and realize where my emotional growth was stunted. I had to face one thing at a time and break that one thing down. There was abuse that resulted in destructive coping methods. I had been focusing on the destructive coping methods, even questioning WHY I had depression as though that too was my fault and beating myself up for the way that I dealt with everything. I saw myself as a failure because I looked at my life through the expectations of the very people who held me under that water. I had to make my beginning and at first it was only a decision to try. I started with one thing and was willing to look at one abusive situation in my childhood. My therapist chose my first memory of an abusive trauma to take a look at first. I laid it out on the table piece by piece and looked at it the way it happened, bit by bit. I revealed every thought I had that I remembered including the baggage of self blame. I had not even been conscious that I had self blame. I dumped all the thoughts about how I could have prevented it, how I must have done something to cause it onto the table as I focused on this one event. I talked about the adults’ expressions, the eye movement, the secrecy, all of which helped me understand that I was innocent. I recognized the beginning of my dissociative identity disorder. I felt the horror of what had happened to me and for the first time I realized that it happened “TO ME”. I faced the pain of child abuse, and came to understand that I had been wronged.
One event at a time, one small snapshot of truth, one little breakthrough, one new way of looking at it, one little realization and then another.
This was the beginning of Emerging from Broken ~ I invite you to contribute to this post in any way that you wish.