The Twisted Accountability Tactic & How it Works


As an adult at the age of 23, I landed in a 12 step program with a pretty big drinking and drug problem. I was already sick of my life, sick of running and sick of feeling sick. I really was sick and tired of everything including myself and my life.

The first two years was really hard but I made it. I learned some really great stuff in the program. I did all the steps, not just the first three. I wanted to live. I wanted to recover and not just from addiction, but from everything. I wanted life. I was a model student and I did what I was told, but there were some not so good things that happened within that structure too.

For starters, I got the accountability part mixed up in the forth step when I did my personal inventory. This is dangerous ground for a victim of any kind.  And since there were a whole lot of other victims of abuse in that program, I wasn’t the only one getting it mixed up. We were all a bunch of messed up people helping each other but most of us had the same messed up belief system that we had since childhood so we could only get so far out of the muck. My life got better, my outsides got better, my job got better, and I stopped picking really terrible boyfriends, but the root of the problem still lived deep within me. I still had dark depression. I still thought about dying. I still struggled with eating disorder issues. I still knew that there must be a lot more to life then what I was living. So what the heck was wrong with me?

I am a firm supporter of accountability, but it is a tricky subject. My mother’s answer to her boyfriend sneaking into my room at night when I was 13, was “well Darlene, you did have a crush on him”. And since I did have a crush on him, I believed that it WAS my fault. I believed that my innocent crush on her very handsome Italian and very YOUNG boyfriend caused that terrible thing to happen to me. Since I didn’t know where the hell to go from there, I didn’t know how to get through it. I couldn’t get through it. I didn’t really understand how I could have prevented it, so I lived in fear of my own feelings, my own thoughts, convinced that they would all cause me so much horror AND I hadn’t been validated or protected from the abuse, so I was afraid of men, unidentified noises, the dark, afraid of sleeping, and many other things.

When I was raped at the age of 17, I didn’t realize it was rape… I thought it must have been my fault. It was just another incident in a long line of incidents that I had somehow caused.

Darlene Ouimet                                                                            

P.S. The first step to wholeness for me, was to comprehend and believe that I had done nothing to cause any of the abuse that had happened to me. Not even the abuse I suffered as an adult.

Categories : Self Esteem



We “discover” the truth that it wasn’t our fault pretty much every day. Unfortunately we also forget that we weren’t responsible. It’s not an issue for the forward-thinking adults. Or for The Genius, who knows everything. On this intellectual level we totally get it.

Unfortunately that doesn’t count for much, does it? The splinters who have survived experience the world from
the perspective of a 2 or 4 or 11 year old. Young kids who were totally neglected by a mentally I’ll
mother. All they could do was to run and hide. Or freeze.

We work on this every single day. Being so polyfragmented, though, it is going to take alot of time and
patience to work thru this issue with each of them. It is so difficult to let go of that illusion of control that comes with responsibility. How to make sense of a fundamentally different world…it’s a
big jump that seems impossible for some splinters today. But we know that we will get this out. Because we will work on it every single day until we do. Another fabulous post, thank you


Bless your heart I do understand what you are saying here the very last part hit a area in my life that I am still trying to figure out the part where you said “The first step to wholeness for me, was to comprehend and believe that I had done nothing to cause any of the abuse that had happened to me. Not even the abuse I suffered as an adult.” I am still having issues within myself over a lot of things in my adult life .. I carried over those negatives in my childhood into my adult life and really opened myself up to various abuses as an adult for the most part i do blame myself because I was old enough to know better yet I continued in such situations that I was in… sometimes I feel as though for me to blame the other individual/s is shirking my own responsibility in the matter … it is a huge tug of war because i really dont know where those boundaries are to when it becomes my fault or the other person all I know is I didn’t have healthy boundaries in my life and because of that I became a door mat or worse .. thank you for sharing this!


[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Darlene Ouimet, Dan L Hays. Dan L Hays said: RT @DarleneOuimet: The Twisted Accountability Tactic and How it Works ~ how I concluded that rape was my fault […]


I am not responsible for what happened to me as a child. As a young adult, I still didn’t “know better”. Today I do.

Today I can take responsibility for my behavior and thoughts. Today I have boundaries. It was a difficult struggle to discover and set up those boundaries. Today I can honor those boundaries and the inner children inside of me who are all depending upon me to keep them safe and loved. I wasn’t always able to do the safety or love.

Forgiving myself in 12-Step programs was confusing because I thought that I was responsible for all of the abuse that ever happened to me. I didn’t need forgiveness for the incest happening to me. I needed self-forgiveness for my adult reactions that continued to harm me and my inner children. As a step of self-forgiveness, I worked really hard and long to learn what self-love meant. I had to learn how to love myself and how to keep my adult self and inner children safe as an adult.

I had to stop blaming myself for not being able to keep myself safe as a child. I didn’t have the tools to do it then. I had to forgive myself for the blaming of myself that I did. Forgiveness for the blaming was easy to do. I acknowledged that I was never taught the tools to keep myself safe. I was also taught the art of blaming at a very early age. Neither of my parents knew how to take responsibility for their actions either so they couldn’t teach me. Blaming was taught to them as well so they passed it on to me.

I am getting ready to start my 4th Step for a second time in Al-Anon. It will be interesting to see the differences between this 4th Step and the one that I did back in the 1990’s in Al-Anon. I am using the 4th Step from AA that my sponsor gave me to do originally. It is 70+ questions. I prefer it because it goes into so much detail.

Thanks for bringing up this topic of conversation. You helped me to bring out some thoughts for myself that I hadn’t considered before about my own ties to blaming and forgiveness.


Thank you for this… I tend to blame myself for things that weren’t my fault and I had no control over. I hope to be able to let go of that someday.


Thank you Darlene,
Every time I read your page I am encouraged and gently guided toward what reality is.
I’ve lived in realms of craziness; no doubt the perps in my life lived in theirs as they dumped their horrifying philosophies, excuses and belief systems on me.
Able to see where I have come from, how i have believed and consequently acted, and seeing the Truth, which in its self is terrifying( just because it challenges everything I have believed)I still find myself in freeze position.Not always am I sure how to do differently.
Transitions are difficult.
Anyway, thank you for investing your life, spirit and soul in ours!


Thanks to everyone for the comments on this post! Sometimes when I write these blog posts I feel so inadequate to communicate what I am trying to explain, and I feel a little insecure about pressing that “publish” button, but then I get such great feedback and it keeps me encouraged.

Splinteredones ~ You are doing wonderfully, keep pursuing truth and wholeness and it will pay off.

Nikki ~you used the phrase “old enough to know better” and that inspired me to write a whole post on that topic , so stay tuned, that will be my next entry. Patricia you made a similar mention, so thanks for the inspiration ladies!

Vivian, thanks for visiting, and for the way that you express your thanks to me here, it touches me deeply.

I am honored by the way that everyone shares so much of themselves and I can’t begin to express how much of a difference that you all are making in the lives of others. Not everyone has the courage to comment, so I thank you all.

Edde, welcome to Emerging from Broken, it is wonderful to have you with us on the journey! I hope you visit often and feel encouraged and inspired. I didn’t think that I could get over most of this stuff after trying for so many years but I did. I didn’t think the day would come when I stopped blaming myself for everything and could actually live life in the moment, feeling alive, whole, healthy and happy! But here I am and I live to tell the tale!

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!
Darlene Ouimet


Hi. That whole self blame thing. I went through the same thing. I do better now but still find myself falling back into that way of thinking. But now I can talk myself out of it. And find support here in the blogging world of survivors! Thanks!


Hi Colleen and welcome to my blog!

I have to stay on top of my old belief system.. I still hear that small voice whispering at me that I must be crazy, how could all those adults be wrong… but it gets easier and easier to self correct the lie. It wasn’t me.

Thanks for your comments, I had a quick peak at your lovely blog, and I bookmarked it so I can return for a longer read


[…] last post “The Twisted Accountability Tactic & How it Works” caused a few comments using the phrase “old enough to know better” or “I […]



I have a different perspective of accountability, but for myself.

What happeneed to me when i was young, unable to protect myself, was not my fault. Even though the blame was laid on me.

As an adult, I find myself taking accountability for my choice, directly related to the abuse or not. I have known nothing but abuse, exception the last fifteen months of my recovery. I’m not to blame for the abuse that happened, per se, but I ignored what were obvious red flags in men who were abusive. I allowed the abuse to continue, even when it was quite obvious that I was being exploited used and abused. This is what I have a hard time with, not the accountability, but forgiving myself for those adult choices.

Those choices also affected my children. I neglected their needs at times for the abuser. that isn’t my children’s fault, it was MINE and it was MY choices that rendered them victims. So now, not only am I dealing with the profound and multiple abuse history, I am at the same time, dealing with profound guilt, grieving and sadness about my children and waht they lived through because of MY choices.

There is no one here to blame, once I passed from childhood to adulthood, for my choices, but me.


The idea that my parents be accountable for their abuse is
such a foreign idea to me. Amazing actually. In my family someone
was always “to blame”. It was usually me. I was constantly punished
for even the smallest mistake. Always told how bad I was, and I
really was quite normal. This site and the many many comments
have allowed me to finally see after 58 years that I was not the
only child treated with such invalidation as to believe that
nothing I could ever think , say, do, or yes achieve was good or
right. I always thought I was flawed and thats why I was punished.
I could never question any treatment. To this day I punish myself
whenever I feel I dont measure up. I never understood why I
did it. I see I have taken over the task from my parents. My
mother is still alive. Now I say noto her abuse tactics. Now
I hold her accountable for her abuse. Its slow going. Very hard to
change a lifetime of brainwashing. Its still hard to see that I have
value. I have never been able to speak of this for I would be labeled
crazy Karen.


Hi Kelli
What this post is introducing is the way the belief system works. When we are taught as children that things that happened to us were our own fault, we go on to ignore the red flags because abuse is what we know and what we are comfortable. I look at some of the abusive relationships that I was in as an adult and I realize that accountability for choosing them was better understood if I found out WHY I ignored the red flags. There is a lot of information in this site that further highlights what I am talking about. I was groomed to pick distructive relationships. Growing up or reaching a certain age did not suddenly enable me to function in a healthy way.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

Wow! Another insightful post, that has triggered a flashback. I was around 12 yrs old and sitting with my parents, my uncle & aunt at the dining room table, while my uncle was fondled me under the table! I was so afraid we were going to be caught and I was too scared to say anything, for fear of getting in trouble. I was frozen. I knew it was wrong on some level, but I was confused over the feelings of pleasure. I’ve recently read, that experiencing pleasure is not uncommon, since children have these feelings too. I felt so ashamed of myself afterwards. I remember battling anxiety over whether or not to tell my mom. I really thought she would get mad & blame me. My mom blamed me for things all the time, that weren’t my fault and I believed her because she was my mom & told me the truth.

My mom was at that table that night, and I wonder did she see my uncle and pretended it didn’t happen?!! I’ll never know, if she knew. She never brought it up. Even though, my uncle fondled me covertly and whispered things to me like, “you are better than my wife” & etc…He had his creepy tactics!…He would watch me a lot and smile. I always picked up on that & rightfully felt anxious around him. After the table incident, I remember my mom telling me to go to bed because it was my bedtime. I can remember freezing up under my sheets and feeling dirty & ashamed. I was terrified he would come into my room & finish what he started! Sex. I knew what sex was, but I never had that experience, at 12 years old. My mom had told me I was a “woman” when I got my period at 11 and I could get pregnant.

I wasn’t even attracted to my uncle…it was more about the confusing feelings of pleasure and shame that baffled me. I never told anyone, even counselors over the years. I also remember having nightmares, being afraid of the dark, fear of sleeping, and I would scream out for my mom at night, when I was this age. I never saw the connection to my fears & this one incident. I pretended it never happened. No one saw it, so I convinced myself it did not happen…Big Denial!…Of course, I was seen as crazy for my fears. I was told to put up & shut up. I’m angry about this!..I did not feel safe and I was not protected!…My fears were ignored and I was blamed for my “weaknesses”, as my dad would say!…So unfair!….


Hi Karen
Excellent comments. Thank you for sharing and YAY for sayin no to abuse. We are not the ones who are “crazy”
Hugs, Darlene


Oh wow! I can relate to your feelings, fears, reactions etc. Did you notice how you said “I was so afraid “WE” were going to be caught”? just food for thought but there was no WE. By saying WE you are implying that you were participating in the abuse act he perpatrated on you. He was sexually abusing a minor at the dinner table! What a sicko. There was no “WE” in that act and he SHOULD have been caught, charged and gone to prison for it.
You are doing some really awesome work here and having some excellent insights into what happened to you and how nasty it was. I am angry too! It is absolutly SO unfair!!!
Thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Thank You for validating my feelings & clarifying that it was not “WE”. It was him! He was a pedophile!.. Yes, It was legally liable abuse! Your comments bring tears to my eyes…It means so much to be believed….It just goes to show, how much I could not trust my family! This was a family secret that I just shared after all these years….Wow!…It’s empowering & painful!
Thanks, Darlene….


Thank you for sharing it ~ it is amazing how much comes up when we start to see things through a new grid of truth. Little things, just like using the word “we” and realizing there was NO WE. “they” make us believe it was ‘we’.
I am so glad you are a part of this site.
hugs, Darlene


Yes, the right words do make a difference!…It puts the Accountability where it needs to be. Thanks for pointing that out!
I’m glad I found your site.
Sincerely, SMD


To everyone,

Always, always trust your first gut instincts. If you genuinely feel in your heart and soul that something is wrong, it usually is.

Something to think about….Have a Good Day!!

Sincerely, SMD


Hi Everyone
I have just published a new post regarding how this twisted accountability works when we are trying to reverse the damage and finally BE HEARD.
You can read it on the home page or via this link:
The Unheard Invisible child ~ being heard and finding my voice
Hugs, Darlene

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