Dec
26

Tomorrow I will Start to Face the Pain

By

emotional healing from abuse
Healing and Holidays

Throughout the years of trying to change, I tried many things; in fact I tried almost everything that was suggested to me to try. Seminars, self help books, 12 step programs, I tried holistic medicine, cleanses, meditation, medication, vacations; I tried diet plans, fitness plans, naturopathic medicine, homeopathic medicine, you name it I likely tried it. Most of them became another obsession and another way to escape. And I am not saying that any of it was useless, just that none of it got me that much farther ahead. ALL of it was pointing me in the right direction towards emotional healing, but it just wasn’t the entire answer.

(NOTE: Something I noticed in the editing process of this post is that I opened this post with; “Throughout the years of trying to change” ~ See how deeply it goes? I never considered that I was trying to HEAL, just that I was trying to “change” as though I needed to “change” in order to be “okay” when in reality I was trying to give up coping methods without understanding why they were born.)

I was thinking about all the things I had tried attempting to enhance my recovery because of the quote I posted as a mental health tip on the emerging from broken facebook page. This is the quote: “Do not wait; the time will never be “just right”. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”  Napoleon Hill

I thought about this one thing that I told myself when I was trying to stay out of this coping method that was escaping into a fantasy life that I really loved to live in. The fantasy world was what I thought to be a “safe escape” but I was spending so much time there that I knew it was becoming self harming and destructive and that it wasn’t really helping me get where I really wanted to go.  I tried very hard to notice when I was going into that fantasy world, trying to catch myself before I was immersed in the depth of disconnection from reality. And I remember that for a long time I would tell myself “just this once more”.  I would promise myself that I would only escape there one more time.  I would plead and convince myself that it was not harmful, that it didn’t hurt anyone… that one more time would not really change or damage anything.

I did this with almost every coping method that I ever tried to give up.  I did it with binge eating. I did it with purging when I was bulimic. I did it with skipping my fitness programs when I was finally doing them for the right reasons. I even did it when I was going into a self berating spin and trying to learn to stop myself from beating myself up. I told myself that I would start tomorrow. Tomorrow would be the first day of my new life. Tomorrow I would make the necessary changes.

I did almost anything I could to avoid progressing into “better mental health”.

And when I finally noticed that I was doing this avoidance technique, I finally started looking at what I was avoiding. Why was I so afraid to STAY in reality? What was I avoiding taking a look at? What exactly was I trying so hard to escape from? WHY did I have so many coping methods?

And the answer, (or at least the root of the answer) of course was ME ~ I was trying to escape me. I was trying to avoid facing me but NOT for the reasons that I thought; 

Deep down I really truly believed that I was the problem and that was why I could empathize with you and see your value ~ I could validate you and try to convince you that you didn’t deserve whatever happened to you, but I could not see that for me. The reason I was so afraid to face reality was because I was afraid that I would find out that I HAD NO REAL VALUE and I was avoiding finding that out.

I had to stop running from that fatal lie and when I did, that is when everything began to change. That was when I began to emerge from broken. That was when I finally turned that corner and began to progress into the new life that I live now.

How does this resonate with you? I find this stuff MUCH harder at holiday times of the year. Please feel welcome to share your thoughts and comments.

Darlene Ouimet

p.s. this is a process and I am not perfect.  When I was almost but not quite finished writing this blog post, I jumped up and grabbed some crackers out of the pantry. I got some raspberry jam and cream cheese out of the fridge and proceeded to make myself an afternoon snack. When I thought about what I had been doing when I decided I needed the snack, and that I wasn’t really hungry, I realized that for some reason sharing this post with you made me want to escape. And that is very much what it looks like for me ~ I suddenly feel like “running”.

Do I worry about it? No….. well at least not nearly as much as I used to… it is all part of the process of emotional recovery. I often feel insecure about writing the things I write and lately I have been looking at some of the unhealthy ways that I deal with those thoughts and insecurities.  And so today I decided to actually tell you. =)

Due to the depth of the comments on this post I wrote a follow up post which you can read by clicking the post title: “Before I faced the Pain I had to face the lies”

Categories : Survival

97 Comments

1

Darlene, God bless you! You hit the nail on the head here. As I was reading this I found myself thinking that I could have written this very thing. I can relate to all of it. Thank you for your bravery and insight and for sharing, (even the part about the crackers and jam!). What you are doing here is making a difference and I ant to say “thank you”!

2

Welcome Gabrielle,
Thank you for saying so! I am very glad that you can relate. It makes a difference when we “get each other” hey??
Hugs, Darlene

3

Darlene that is so good. I find I avoid doing what I want also. I have found out I have pushed away the emotion of being happy. Because of the lies we were taught at boarding school if I didn’t become a missionary I would not be in God’s will therefore I would live an unhappy life. I am finding out how great it is to just be really honest with myself. Not trying to think what I a suppose to think. But thinking about what is my honest feelings and thoughts about things. I ask myself a lot of questions. For me saying I’ll start tomorrow is often a good answer. I do way to many things because “I should” not for the right reason. I have enjoyed this Christmas so much more because I can clean the mess up tomorrow, I can make the cookies another day. Living in the truth is great.

4

WOW! I can re-late to this in so many ways but want to share with you what just popped in my head reading this. For the longest time I had this deep overwhelming pain of not having a loving mother and I would beat myself up all the time asking the why questions, why did she abuse me? Why does she hate me? Why is she so mean? ect………I would escape from this deep pain by living in a fantasy that I had what I wanted…a loving mother that cared for me. In time this became a very dangerous coping skill for me because I would continue to hurt myself even more fantisizing something that would never happen. I would cut myself, starve myself, isolate myself, and even depend on other relationships to fulfill my need. Recently, I have finally gotten rid of that fantasy and accepted that my mom is who she is, I can not change what happened to me, nor can I change her or replace her. By really letting go of this the freedom I have recieved has been enormous! It was a really hard process for me to work through but I had to set into reality and learn that nothing in this entire world will replace that void of not having a loving mother and for me I’ve been able to heal that wound with God’s unconditional love. This is still a healing process I am fragily working on….but I recognize it, I’m facing it, and overcoming it!

5

hi these are comments i posted on the f/b page
tomorrow is always a better day to do it, another is ‘when-i-get-round-to-it hahaha
me i kept finding issues that i wasnt able to deal with so i went round them, carried on working on other stuff so now that i done skirting and am ready to start thro it i have laid down newer better coping skilss to help me cope n heal faster. thanks for this darlene it has helped so much xxx
i have done alot of mental preperation like trying to figure out the stuff i could work on. doing the linking and learning how others have tried to do things and which bits i cld manage to try. gaining insight into the why it happened and the half realiasation that i wsant at fault and the shame isnt mine it is and was always theirs. big stuff but i still missing huge chucks of me, all the heart stuff and those earliest years when all my mind patterns and problem solving skills where laid down. shame i now have to unpick them now, as they really wasnt laid down in what is considered to be healthy by any means. gettin gto the root has been hard when there was so many bits stickong out to snag my attention.
now i am calm, but i know it wont last as i am already planning that assult on my fortress, hopefully i can break thro my walls and see and finally heal from what it has been hiding from me all these years

6

Love,love,love this!!! You certainly hit the nail on the head. For years I tried to change all my coping mechanisms without facing the reasons why I acquired them. I wanted to be the reason, it certainly is easier to change yourself than others behaviors towards you. It was a lot easier to keep believing the lies I was told (that I deserved to be unhappy).

When I finally decided to grow up and “get over myself” I realized I never got the validation and love that a child needs to develop a healthy sense of self. I think it was easier at the time than starting WW3 in my family. Holidays without extended family are hard, but I think in the long run it will be easier than passing on this hate to my own children.

But we can do this together, and writing posts like you did today is one step in the path towards healing.
Thank you!!!!!

7

went back on f/b and the comments there are great and it set a train of thought off that i thought i would share here.
i have come to realise that the sooner you face what happened the less hold your coping skills will have on you later on. my defences becames barricades keeping in the past and denying me the chance to change how i coped as it was so ingrained into me that i was it. at 18b i described myself as me, myself and i. it was the only way i could cope with the memories that surfaced then, some i skirted, some i have worked on removing layer upon layer. it hard when you become your own worst enemy, but once ya start and then find ways that work for you,it does get easier. honest it does it must do cos there are people further along the road than i am

8

Thanks- you helped me get out of my current ‘tomorrow’ trap have a wonderful year

9

There are other ways I have to put off facing things I should. “Later” is one along with “wait till things are back to normal” and “when I have time”. Like that would ever happen and we know it won’t. Then there is the fact that we have “too much to do now” or “too busy”. I heard one time that busy is an acronym. BUSY: Being Under Satan’s Yoke.
The thing you talked about eating when you aren’t hungry as a way of escape made me think. This is a problem I’ve had for some time now and have been trying to figure out why. It is something to think about. Thank you.

10

I’ve given up avoiding difficulties anymore. Much better to face them sooner than later.

I have learned that no matter what I did to avoid what I needed to deal with, God has always brought about the right circumstances to allow me to face these things, at the right time. The times I had to face these things, the right people, who had been through something similar were there too. Perhaps the years of struggle were for a reason too. There is so much that I have learned. I wouldn’t trade that for anything now.

And because of my experiences, I started the facebook page below. It is my way of sharing what God continues to do in my life
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Because-I-love-you/119680164730814

11

Hi Shary,
Yes exactly, and you have described the upside of “tomorrow”. I had this all mixed up in the past. I had to put all the “doing things” as priority and the BEING things I put off! Thanks for sharing Shary!

Hi Kathy!
You sound so great Kathy; I see so much growth in you with this post. You are certainly on the right track with this ~ keep going and please keep sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Carol!
Thanks for coming over from Facebook to post these great comments! I think that what you have posted here is very key for many people. Kathy touched on it above too. Realizing that the guilt and shame isn’t MINE and that I wasn’t at fault is HUGE for all of us and we didn’t even know that was where we were stuck!
Once we get to that point and uncover that part and start to really take a look at it, it is way less scary to face some of the other lies lurking in the background.
And YES to what you said about it is HARD when you have become your own worst enemy!
Thanks so much for being such a big part of this blog! The changes and growth I have seen in you this year are fantastic and inspiring!

Hugs, Darlene

12

Hi Josi
Welcome to EFB I’m glad that this post resonated with you and I love what you have added to it with your comments! Realizing that I never got the proper foundation in the first place was really a huge beginning for me too. Thanks for being here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Shimon!
Glad I helped you escape the tomorrow trap!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Sally
I can really relate to these additions to my avoidance methods! When I have time and ESPECIALLY the ones about “when things are back to normal!” and “too busy” right now. And the truth is that it is never the “right time” when we are avoiding. There was never enough time to take care of me… and I had to ask myself WHY NOT? When am I going to put me first? And that was part of the whole thing I was talking about in my last couple of posts… I was waiting for someone esle to tell me that I was worth it! (round and round it goes)
Thanks for sharing Sally! So glad to see you here by the way!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jen Lynn
Yes it is much better to face difficulties sooner rather than later! And I have noticed timing being right often times too! Thanks for sharing your FB page with us!
Hugs, Darlene

13

thank you darlene and all the wonderful people who have gathered because of your courage to share, even the new stuff that as the days are going by you realise without the pain that nomrally comes with those eruka moments because you ahve already absorbed the message you need to hear. this site nad the facebook group all help play a part in normalising (this is not the right word but couldnt think of an alterative) the horrifing stuff we went thro and allowing us to speak freely amd know that someone somewhere wil understand what you mean and can help expand our knowledge that bit more

14

Shary! I love your post! It took me a long time to realize I can dust tomorrow or finish pies for whatever another day. It doesn’t all HAVE to be done now. Another thing that is hard to not feel guilty about. I am glad you have figured out that what you were taught were definite lies. If you were supposed to be a missionary, God would have put that into YOUR heart. He didn’t so you aren’t. The one thing God does want for you and all of us is to be happy. To enjoy our lives without guilt and shame. Guys, anything that makes us feel guilty or shamed is not what we are to be a part of. Most guilt is false anyway. God will never use guilt or fear or shame. The one thing that is built into our being, physically and emotionally, is love. The rest is a perverted form. They have proven that scientifically by the way!

15

there is some good research out there, the wavereport.org (well it something like that)have some really interesting reports written about the long term affects of abuseive n neglectful childhoods have on the child into adulthood. it is british government reports but they dont take any notice even when the academics say it, makes it so much harder for us survivoirs to speak out when they dismiss what you have to say. but dnt stop talking as they will listen eventuall as the voices are getting stronger and are pishing for the changes society need to make tooo

16

Amen Carol! We have to keep speaking out for others and ourselves! I heard that we believe ourselves more than we believe anyone else, so if we will keep speaking things we want our loud it helps! Keeping quiet is where the trouble kept getting worse also. So….. SPEAK and speak LOUD!

17

I have never spent Christmas, Thanksgiving, or a birthday with mom after I left home. I did spend Christmas with my sisters one year with my sons. I did visit mom, but at her house then. We had already started the healing process a long time before. I’m glad we did. She died a few years later. But the rest of the years I spent it alone or with husband and kids after they came along. It isn’t a hard thing if you’re used to it.

18

The holidays were always the worst time of the year for me…even after having my 2 girls. But as I have grown over the year and a half in my healing journey, I have to say this Christmas by far has been MY BEST CHRISTMAS with my beautiful family ever! Healing not only heals the survivor but those that are closes to them as well….a lesson I have learned!
I could go on and on of my past holiday experience’s but I’m in a different place now and there is no need for me to go there…I have happiness, joy, love and people I can trust in my life. I’m going to bed living in this moment! I deserve it!

19

The holidays were always the worst time of the year for me…even after having my 2 girls. But as I have grown over the year and a half in my healing journey, I have to say this Christmas by far has been MY BEST CHRISTMAS with my beautiful family ever! Healing not only heals the survivor but those that are closes to them as well….a lesson I have learned!
I could go on and on of my past holiday experience’s but I’m in a different place now and there is no need for me to go there…I have happiness, joy, love and people I can trust in my life. I’m going to bed living in this moment! I deserve it!

20

“The reason I was so afraid to face reality was because I was afraid that I would find out that I HAD NO REAL VALUE and I was avoiding finding that out.

I had to stop running from that fatal lie and when I did, that is when everything began to change. That was when I began to emerge from broken. That was when I finally turned that corner and began to progress into the new life that I live now.”
In regards to this statement , in my opinion this is true for every human being who ever lived! I think it is key not only to recovery from the kinds of things we are all in recovery from, but anyone who has low self esteem, anyone who makes wrong choices anyone who struggles with root issues that are controlling their lives this I believe is the root of it!
I believe that once a human being no matter what their background is when they realize they have real value that if they let people in to see who they really are they won’t be rejected that is the only real way to be whole. This is really great insight! Again I think it is true across the board for everyone and as people in life grow and begin to be healthy their ability to face reality and willingness to face reality starts with the realization that they have value that they are lovable!

21

It seems to me my whole life is a coping method and the sad thing is I cope to survive the coping methods.
Most days it doesn’t bother me much but something will happen to trigger me and there I am in the midst of a very self defeating down fall.
Thank you for posting this and for being so open and honest.

22

I have just realized that i was running away from myself, yesterday i wrote a little about if on fb. now tht i realize this i must face my past head on. i have feelings that i do not want to accept some things that happened to nme because they were so horrifying i find it hard to believe someone would take me there and put me through such abuse. i see what happened but have not really felt it, though my PTSD symptoms are gearing up. but i am ready to stop running.

23

I read some of your posts now and then. Takes a lot of courage and honesty to write about your recovery process. By reading about your coping methods, I realize how many people will use them to different degrees and for many different reasons.

Hugs
Jo

24

Hi Carol,
I know what you mean about using the word “normalizing” being the wrong word, because abuse and abusers try to make us accept abuse as “normal” but I understand your comment to mean that exposing the depth of our supressed feelings makes us feel not alone, and that normalizing in that way that we all feel this way so how can it NOT be normal. Its like the proper use of the word “normalizing” VS. when abuse is normalized, that isn’t proper AT ALL!! Thanks for adding this comment!
Hugs, Darlene

Sally,
Thanks for the additional things you have added too! I agree that we need to keep talking about what happened. We don’t have to tell the whole world; it isn’t that everyone has to be like me, it’s that for the sake of our own healing the truth of what happened to us as individuals needs to be exposed to others, we need to talk about it so that we can come out of the darkness.
Hugs, Darlene

Kathy,
I love your statement; “I am going to bed living in the moment” and I am so happy to hear that this was a wonderful Christmas for you!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pinky,
I Believe that you are right of course =) That is my theory too. Thanks for sharing, thanks for putting it the way you did.
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

25

Darlene,
I’ve read the blog for some time but I’m only now delurking to tell you how I see myself in every word you write. You’re much further down the road to recovery, and you’re such an inspiration during a very difficult time for me. In theory, I’m very well aware of everything that you describe as coping mechanisms, but in practice I tend to dissociate a lot. It’s a constant struggle for awareness. That’s why I recently started an anonymous blog, so I would make sure that I would regularly check in with myself, even if I don’t feel like it much.
Thank you so much for spreading hope and light.

26

Hi Nikki
I completely understand what you wrote today. That was the conclusion that I came to several months into my process. My coping methods were riding piggyback! BUT the more unraveling that I did, the more clear and settled that I became and then I started dropping coping methods.. some of them just naturally disappeared. I just didn’t need them anymore.
Thank you for being here Nikki and for being such a wonderful part of this blog!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lorriaine
It is really hard for us to get our heads around the things that really did happen TO US! ~ as strange as that sounds, it is really true! When I finally told it and connected myself to it (not on the same day) it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I finally felt sad for myself which was a surprise. I finally realized “oh my gosh, they did that to ME, that happened to Me… it was horrible and so very sad to realize that my whole life was shaped by the sick acts of others.
Thanks for sharing Lorriaine! I love your last line: I am ready to stop running!
YAHOO
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jo,
Welcome to EFB ~ great to see you here.
Yes isn’t that true. So many coping methods, so many reasons for them too. =)
Thanks for your comments,
Hugs, Darlene

27

Hi Jane!
I laughed when I read that you were “delurking” ~ I am really glad that you did! Thanks for this comment and for sharing. I am really glad that my words resonate well with you. I get the in theory and in practice thing too, I have been there and sometimes still go there with coping methods (not so much with dsissociation anymore) but I keep pushing forward and that is all we can do. I just keep striving. That is all we can ask of ourselves. =)
Thanks for being here and for coming out of lurk mode. =)
Hugs, Darlene

28

Darlene, I like what you wrote to Lorraine about realizing that it happened to me. My abuse was 40 years ago and I blocked it until 22 years ago but still never got to the realization that it is true, it DID happen, it happened to ME. Now I’m grieving like I never have before. To a person who hasn’t experienced this, it would seem like I should be over it by now, but I’m just getting started. I’m tired of living in a fog just to survive. I want to know what it FEELS like to LIVE my life. I just hate the way I feel right now.

29

Well, this is fascinating. I’m doing this. Right now. Trying this that and the other “thing”. Searching. Examining. And yes, even eating sometimes. I decided a few months ago to go back to my therapist because I felt I had avoided dealing with my father during my therapy. I declared that having avoided talking about the abuse was the reason for so many of my problems and I needed to face it once and for all. So much time had been spent on my mother and my father was much scarier. Anyway, I was wrong. We were done with him in 4 sessions. There just wasn’t anything left to examine or talk about. And I’m still feeling “off”. Like you, I can validate anyone and feel compassion for others but for myself….that’s a tough one. And you’re right. All these things I try are just new and improved ways of avoiding looking at me. Great post!

30

I’ve postponed a lot. I’ve postponed my life because my coping mechanisms take up all my energy. I bought The Courage to Heal today and read the introduction and the first chapter and am already (once again) talking myself out of the fact that I need to heal at all…that I really wasn’t abused…that my “abuser” was also a child…that I don’t need to focus on all this.

The problem is I can’t get past the fact that, even if I am never able to justify my own abuse as “bad enough”, the results are the same. I still have all the symptoms of poor self-esteem, even self-hatred. And my other problem is that I feel the need to pigeon-hole the sexual abuse as the only bad thing that happened…and I conveniently forget all of the verbal, emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual abuse that was layered on top of it…and that is still going on.

So I’m going to try to at least take one step today. To admit that whether or not I was abused ENOUGH, I was in fact abused. And that it has had many long-term effects on my life. I guess it’s a step. 😀

31

Sorry…forgot to click notify me, so posting again…please disregard this post. 😉

32

Darlene ~ Loved this post as it so resonates with me. I have looked into many a self-help book looking for solutions or at least anecdotes that would enable me to make real change in my life. These last few months, it hasn’t been about changing myself at all, but healing. As I see my therapist and continue to work through the crap – more and more healing comes, and the more healing that takes place, the more change I see. It’s not about change – its about healing.

So when we emotionally overeat, binge, are bulimic or anorexic – those things are symptoms of something broken. A reflection of a broken heart and spirit looking for something to fill that unmet need in life. What is your unmet need? What happened to you that needs healing?? Whatever it is, it is that that is the key to moving toward wholeness … at least in my experience! :o)

33

Hi Gabrielle
There are no shoulds in this process ~ it happens how it happens. The best part of your comment is when you said that you want to know what it feels like to live your life. BRAVO ~ this is all it takes. The desire. And even hating the way it feels is part of that journey Gabrielle. Some of us get stuck there however, because we think it will get worse! Facing the truth for me (and I am talking about the belief system that formed out of the lies that I swallowed about myself because of the abuse) led me to the freedom I longed for for so long.
I am really glad that you are here.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Cyndi!
The off feeling comes for me when I am missing something about a belief that I have that is still wrong, but I missed it. For instance, after I published that post I had a realization that my mother never hit me when my father was away on a business trip. And I also realized that she used food to say she was sorry. (she was never sorry in my memory but she would do special food things which I now realize was like “make up” food. That gave me a whole new starting place to think about in relation to my belief system about food. (and about why she was so dang much better when my father was away??) See how this one revelation has two separate parts… and so goes the process… LOL
Thanks for being here and for being part of this Cyndi!
Hugs, Darlene

34

Lisa B. – I’ve been where you are … I finally broke and found myself a therapist – she’s helped me more than any book ever could (and I’ve bought my share of them.) But that’s me. I found that having someone validate me was huge. It’s like that was the real missing piece. I needed the validation of a professional to say that I was in fact abused. If you were abused in any way, great or small – you were abused. A little abuse is still abuse. Therapists are not cheap – but, so worth it. Getting my sense of self back bit by bit is worth every minute. Even I never realized how much abuse affects us – it is huge, as you well know.

35

thanks darlene for getting where i wanted to go with my htoughts. you seem to have that knack. i am finding it really hard to use my language skills at the moment, it like i regress back to when i was lil and it gives me an indicator of how stressed i am, i have picked up some useful tips n awareness that helps me monitor myself and catch what i am doing, sometimes i can work with it but other times it brushed aside as it popped up somewhere i couldnt think about it n it had gone when i had time. plus avoidance is sometimes nessary for our brain to be able to process it without it shutting down the body in shock,
things like catching my shouldres rising i work on bringin them dwn, grind my jaw or teeth stop as soon as become aware, i try to unclunch hands when i notice them just lil things but the cut down on the physical harsh ness abit, mmm well has me

36

Hi Lisa,
That is a great step ~ to realize that the bottom line is that you were abused.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Paulette,
Yes it is about healing. I had that mixed up for a very long time. I do change but it is a result of the healing, not because I NEED to change. I heal. I grow and I heal some more and I grow some more. 🙂
Hugs, Darene

Hey Carol,
Thanks for bringing up some of the body signs too. I used to wake up with clenched hands so bad that I had marks in my palms from my nails. My jaw used to ache, and I too had to become conscious of some of that stuff and tend to the stress signs in my body. This is a very good point!
Hugs, Darlene

37

Darlene ~ This was such a thought-provoking post for me that I did my own blogpost on the same subject and thought I’d share it here with you: http://breakingintobeauty.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/its-not-about-changing/

38

Darlene, thank you for persisting in unveiling the truths about abuse and healing. Your words and the words of other survivors are what I hang on to – that it is possible to move on.

What you wrote about is so currently relevant – I keep thinking about tomorrow – that it will bring the end of pain. How I don’t know. My coping method of this scariness is to be paralyzed and not do anything. When I think of where that got me – decades of abuse, something has to change. And it starts with acknowledging and self-validating.

The scary bit is that I fear I am too old to start over; that I have practically wasted my life and I am the culprit. And I am crumbling under the weight of it. I think that is why I would rather face the pain tomorrow. Because the closer I come to it, the more I have to realize that I made the lousy choices that kept me in an abusive relationship. I gave up a high-paying career and a life to serve someone else’s life and make him happy. Now I have nothing to show for the last 25 years of life and it is hard to start over again. I can’t retrain and I can’t go to work because I have little ones. But I need to, to support all of them, including older ones chasing their dreams. And I need to get financial freedom to escape his clutches because he knows he can still mess me around because he has the money.

I think what you are saying is that I have to stop heaping the condemnation upon myself for being such an idiot and wasting my precious life. I had a reunion with my college classmates the day after Christmas and while it was great, I couldn’t help beating myself over the head for being the daftest one there – throwing away my life to be ex’s slave. How could I have been that stupid – and I can’t blame my mother, siblings or ex even if they were all abusive. And that’s the scary bit – this one is my own doing, and I dare not get angry with myself or I may explode.

39

Krissy,
You managed to get the self bashing into your comments ~ did you see it? You said “I have to stop heaping the condemnation upon myself for being such an idiot and wasting my precious life.”
I know exaxtly how you feel; I felt that same way and I was so disapointed about how much of my life was “gone” that I could have been stuck there for the rest of it, but actuallly it is a good stage because it meant that I had come to realize that I didn’t want “that” anymore.

I also remember the day when I finally realized HOW MUCH of my life that I still had left to live! How much I still had to do things differently, how much time I still had to make a difference in the lives of my children and in the lives of others. I was frozen in worried about the present that was caused by the past instead of just getting on with what I could do for just this one new day. Don’t lose hope and don’t lose sight of where you are going with all this!
Hugs, Darlene

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That was so totally beautiful and amazing, Darlene – and you sharing this was correct and meaningful for all involved. I know you feel vulnerable for sharing yourself, we all do and all will on some levels. But you are in safe hands here and all who participate are willing to learn and support; which is just beautiful, in the right sense of the word.

When I first started ‘feeling’ myself, I would go into states of being in the womb, as I called it. Times where I could be alone, with a blanket and just cry and sob. And sometimes get very angry and hit something. It is also very embedded in the physical. We need to visualize fighting back; taking what’s mine. Saying NO!

Anyway – here I am – still alive and if not ‘whole’ then very close to.

All this running ‘to others’ – whether it be savior-types or wise women or stone or cards or whatever – the journey is towards the self. You do not need all these ‘things’ and special words and whatnot. Just go inside. And yes; it is gonna hurt, but it hurts anyway, so?

And it gets so much better.

Love you all,
Anne

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Hi all, this is my first posting.. and wow once again darlene is in myhead. lol. and Josi – wow you could have been speaking my words.. I know exactly .. I mean exactly how you feel. I am complacent being content in and with mediocrity. or at least i notice that i do whatever i can to stay under the radar.. I dont go out, I dont go for the jobs I want, I dont live my life and i know the abuse has caused my invalidation of self etc etc.. do you realize how hard it is to know something youre never taught? and how hard it is to try to learn something that should have been ingrained? well im sure you guys do.. but man others cna just be mean and vicious. ages 7-14 is hard to take abuse of every sort – sexual, emotional, verbal and physical. I just retreated and felt like no one has ever loved me again. My mom let the asshole talk her out of believing me when I told her after i turned 8. She stopped loving me. She stopped being my mom. I was completely abandoned and grew up f*cked up. I feel like i cant be that sweet girl i used to be.. Its not safe and everyone wants something. everyone. I feel there is no love without motive and I hate myself for feeling this and for being stuck. I am afraid to have my own family.. Im afraid to date because all guys want is sex it seems.. and rationally I KNOW there are exceptions out there… I do know this rationally, but i just cant believe it. Im a hermit by choice and now a prisoner of my mind and its symptoms. Its an illusionary prison that i cant seem to get out of.. its not as easy as ‘just do it’ like most think.. you cant just ‘go to the mall’ or ‘deal with lots of ppl’ etc.. they dont understand the helplessness you feel. and they all leave in the end because i refuse to grow because im scared. Im scared to expose myself in any fashion except being a control freak. lol and i joke about it.. but man i hate it. I hate it. and i cant stop. thats the worst.

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Bravo, Darlene, Standing Ovation from me… Bravo! ~??~

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Great comments.

One of my coping methods- the worst one- is to NOT pay attention to issues in my life.I sleep. I play on the computer:)I eat.I find ’causes’ to read about…its still escaping. I haven’t taken care of myself well. Some things I just don’t want to deal with and look at because it hurts- or I think it will hurt too much, or be too overwhelming.

This has been an awful Christmas.I was snowed in, alone,in my mom’s old house, where I live for almost two days.It was so bad I tell people I had a ‘great Christmas’ without a second thought. I just don’t want to go there.

I do alot of things to avoid anxiety.Many times things are not as bad as I worry about- or bad at all. I just got into the habit in some areas of my life of just ‘not wanting to know’…
Many times in the past I have delved into things and been horrified.
I was raised to not ASK, nor was I told about alot of things in my family; it was discouraged spokenly and unspokenly.So in my family when I dug to find out about a situation I was labelled obsessive and crazy – again.

When I zone out, get anxious for unknown reasons I know there either IS something I need to look at or do, OR its this free floating periodic anxiety triggered by something reminding me of the past.Its very tiring and frustrating.Determining the difference has been anxiety provoking in itself.

I have this feeling of having to reconstruct everything in my life and am not sure what exactly I have to build on.It feels like my entire history of family was a farce; evidently built on smoke and mirrors and untruths. Suddenly I find myself really facing that I have NO family, other than my daughter and neither does she, other than me. Her dad is not in her life by his own choice. I have to maintain.That is why it angers me so much that my family acted as they did-no one required them to be jerks- they chose it.But they hurt a very sweet and loving girl in the process as well as me. That really makes me angry.

So facing my fears for me is daunting. I AM alone.That is my fear.I am alone.Its a fear come true.Almost every connection built on familiarity and history is gone.Now I feel like I have to ingratiate myself to prople to be part of something.It feels conditional. I still feel like I can’t create my own life; I can only hope to be part of someone else’s life that they let me into. Does that sound crazy? Its damned embarrassing; this feeling.

Its also kind of embarrasing because around me I see people connected, healthily or unhealthily in families-or friend networks- but at least they HAVE family or friend networks. They have a network and unless they are faking it, and I have no reason to think they are; they are having some great times. I wonder what I am doing wrong at times.I just feel kind of frozen and unsure of what to do next.

For some reason lghting a nice candle and taking a bubble bath with soothing music playing, and saying affirmations and reading inspirational books isn’t getting it for me.

There isn’t a ‘second’ family to have Christmas with and to continue your life with for many of us.Dysfunctional or not, every significant relationship from my past is gone.its almost embarrassing how little I apparently mattered to people who mattered to me.I still feel like I am looking through a window at other people’s lives wondering how they came to be thriving in recovery. It seems most of those people have a support system in place and/or friends and family who are supportive of their healing in real time.

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Anne,
Here is what I most love about your comment: “All this running ‘to others’ – whether it be savior-types or wise women or stone or cards or whatever – the journey is towards the self. You do not need all these ‘things’ and special words and whatnot. Just go inside. And yes; it is gonna hurt, but it hurts anyway, so?” That is so simple yet so profound! IT HURTS ANYWAY! so what do you have to lose really? (I could write another post about that actually… what we THINK we are going to lose.)
Thank you so much for being part of this blog!
Hugs, Darlene

Thanks Kim for the standing ovation… I feel honoured and blessed!

Welcome Rachey!
It is great to have you join us! I really understand what you have said in your comments. This whole thing is like a vicious cycle that is very hard to stop, I had to somehow find a way to step out of it for mere moments at a time. Picture being inside of a small tornado spinning you around so fast that everything is a blur. Now picture stepping back just enough that you can SEE the spin in front of you but you are not in it, just for one minute. That is how it began for me. And I began by just looking at one thing at a time for those moments when I could step back from the spin. As time went on, I learned to love myself and fill the void in me for myself. This was not quick OR easy but it was and is possible. I know because I didn’t think I could do it either, but here I am.
I hated it too. I feel and understand your frustration. Hang in there! I never thought that my life would be like it is today. I never realized that it could be this good! I never even wanted it to be ‘this good’ I just wanted a bit better!
Hugs, Darlene

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Elizabeth;

Believe it or not I felt exactly the same way even though I was married with children. The journey is lonely. I felt totally alone, I felt like I was starting over from scratch and I felt like I was too old to start over. But in retrospect I realize that in some ways the feelings that you describe in this post were somehow “the new beginning”. I was accepting that this was what had happened; that my family had done this to me; that my life was built on lies; and so on and so on, but in the acceptance of all that, I also accepted that I needed to start building a new life. FOR ME. Learning to love and value MYSELF. And in realizing that my old foundation was not functional, I was able to begin to build a new one. It wasn’t too late, I wasn’t too old. I have the rest of my life NOW.

Elizabeth, hang in here! Reading your post reminded me so much of some of the stages that I went through, where it felt SO hopeless but really they were breakthroughs in disguise!

Hugs and Love Darlene

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Wow Darlene; you hit the nail on the head here! I also tried everything under the sun to figure our how to “fix” myself…because of course, I was the problem, I was broken, one paster even called me “damaged goods” to my husband as though I was not in the room. It was when I stopped chasing the dream and started living my life that I realized it was in learning about myself and understanding that my seeking comfort and help from others that I realized “the issue is not the issue” 🙂 Be engaging in seeking my answers outside of myself I was succeeding only in avoiding myself. When I learned to identify when I was “avoiding” I learned I could choose to stop avoiding and start healing.

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Susan,
Thank you ~ I wish there was a “font setting” for these comments. I would repost the following sentence of yours in one inch high bold font:

“By engaging in seeking my answers outside of myself I was succeeding only in avoiding myself. When I learned to identify when I was “avoiding” I learned I could choose to stop avoiding and start healing.”

This is profound. (I am having a “profound” day) Thank you.
Hugs, Darlene

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I wanted to respond again after reading several comments i am wondering about coping metheds, are you saying some coping methods are avoidance,binge eating,stop running,do it now, do not wait when things get to bog you down, take one step at a time, do one thing then another and after some time accomplishments will be felt and appreciated. what are some other avoidance coping methods you are talking about darlene, could you expand some on that? Just trying to see what all around are coping methods. before i had none, now i have some. your response will be appreciated. look forward to hearing from you.

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Hi Lorriaine
I have written a lot about coping methods ~ mostly about realizing that my depressions were actually coping methods. So really, the bottom line for me was more about avoiding recovery then about specific coping methods.
Here are a few of the posts that I have written. Click post titles to read them;
Familiar and comfortable coping methods
My coping methods failed and my depression increased
Dissociated Identity as a Coping Method for Mental Health

Hope these help a bit! Hugs, Darlene

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I always second guess what I’ve written, such as here. I enter the caring circle, read, relate, and share, then want to take back what I said. If there was a disorder to coincide, it would be “attachment-avoidance disorder.” It’s as if I am drawn to what may be healing, and yet I am afraid of what insights may happen. Speaking of “happen” IT did not just happen like some random fender-bender on the freeway. Sexual abuse, child abuse, is a premeditated act of a deliberate and forceful nature. I thought that reincarnation was required to change my life; I relied heavily on suicidal thinking (and activity) as a coping method. When that did not work, I was thrown into a psych circle: hug therapy, anger therapy, physical therapy, biofeedback, psychodrama, and psychobabble. Perhaps a lobotomy or shock therapy could knock some sense into me. For years, I preferred my warm fuzzies full strength in a pill. Only recently did I realize the anesthetic/amnesic effect on my memory bank. And, like Darlene, I tried practical explanations, achievable destinations, affirmations, meditations, and celebrations. In other words, it was a learning process for new healthy coping methods.

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I read Elizabeth’s comments and I could relate to feeling a similar way in fact only at the beginning of 2010 did I start to not feel so lonely. Like Darlene I am also married and have kids. I want to live for the here and now, I want to be the person I know I am. I am still in the process of working that out, I do not feel as lonely though, but it is still there. I still avoid stuff and learning about what they are and why I do it. I am not scared of it mind you at the time I realise it is a avoidance thing I am. I do not want to avoid my life anymore, I want to heal.

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I did take the running literally before knowing that I wasn’t the ‘problem’. I always thought that somewhere I would get happy instead of searching for the solution inside myself.
Since a year I’m actively working on my trauma and grief. I’m living in the here and now, most of the time.
I’m having some problems right now that confuse me. I’m studying since about 4 years with breaks now and then to run again. As I said, I stopped running a year ago. I was moving lots of times but since a year I was finally feeling comfortable being somewhere. Now I will have to move out of the place I considered my home and I have the feeling that I can’t start over anymore. Because it is all just temporally. I don’t want to bore you with more details here. If you are interested you can read more on my blog (http://memythoughtandi.blogspot.com).
I have a long distance relationship and the plan was for me to move to him after graduation.
Now that I have the feeling I have to decide between my mental health and school I am considering moving there earlier.

As I was running all my life, I’m not sure.. am I running again when I do that?

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Hi Lynn
Your comment caused me to nod, smile, laugh, shake my head in memory… I can relate to so much of that stuff! It is a learning process ~ yes ~
Thank you for sharing!

Hi Clare,
I love your statements in your comment. They are filled with determination and conviction. I once made this same decision, and then I went for it!
Looking forward to the updates along the journey.

Thanks for being here.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Andrea;
I can relate to having had the feeling that I can’t start over anymore.. but I decided to stop thinking about it as starting over in favour of thinking about it as picking up where ever I left off… more like continuing with my journey. It makes things a little “softer” that way. I am not sure why you feel that you have to pick between your mental health and school… maybe you could have both?
I wish I could be more helpful Andrea.. but only you can answer the question about if you are running again or not.
I am really glad that you are here and I am sorry you are in such a struggle right now, but keep going, keep trying to move forward!
Hugs, Darlene

I am writing a follow up post to this post that I will publish today and then I am going to write one about why we are afraid of facing this stuff and I am going to go a little deeper into belief system stuff on that one again.

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[…] post is the follow up to my last post ~ “Tomorrow I will Start to Face the Pain” . If you have not read it, I really recommend that you take the time to read it and the 50 […]

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I have written a follow up post for this post ~ you can access it by clicking this title:

Before I faced the Pain I had to Face the Lies

Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene, on Dec 26, when I read the title you gave this post: “Tomorrow I will start to Face The Pain” ~ I couldn’t face the pain of reading any further. So I saved this in my favorites, to read…. tomorrow. 😉

Now that I’ve read through this post and all the comments, I realize there is a fine balance between procrastinating to the point of staying stuck and never getting better, and trying to do too much all at once, which can be just as damaging.

Christmas was a very big, exhausting, emotionally healing day for my husband and me and our neighbor friends, as I commented about on your “That ~ Makes Me Angry” post. After the 4 of us made our long pilgrimage to the Vietnam Veteran Memorial in Angel Fire, I really needed to rest for a few days, and recharge my emotional and physical batteries, so I could read this great post and understand what I was reading.

Maintaining a healthy BALANCE is a key part of my healing, because for most of my life I have been an All or Nothing kind of person, either doing way too much or way too little, and neither one is healthy.

Lynda

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Just this week while working on an issue with me, my therapist was suggesting possible responses I might make to address the problem. One was: From what I see happening, I feel that I’m not being treated fairly. It was like a bolt of lightening. What struck me about this was the honesty that sentence requires. My viewpoint and my needs were never to be addressed. I have never been really honest, I’ve been so busy trying to be that person my mother demanded I be, the one who had no needs, who wasn’t selfish or whiny. I had/have no idea who I really was/am. I have been living a lie. But I’m working on that and have gone from fear of finding ME to excitement at what I may uncover.

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Darlene! Another one hit right over the fence and out of the ball park! I have so been struggling with the ‘things’ that I felt gave me ‘value’ and when I’m not able to (for various reasons) use those talents I’ve felt quite useless and without value. When I purposefully pulled back from places where I used to be, and there wasn’t any response I was feeling like a stick being pulled out of water. I left nothing behind but a fading ripple and a small dent in the mud below. I’ve been blocked and haven’t written for weeks as I struggle with the value of BEING and the value of DOING. I’ve got value, I’m valuable for WHO I am, not for what I DO. Sole value of a person shouldn’t be whether they are impressed by another person, or whether they can do something – it should be based on who they are and how far they have come to be there.

Where is my value? Where am I if doing the things I love or thought were of value to others are not there or not used? I fear sometimes, even through my prayers, that I’ll be foot prints in the snow – filled in and forgotten in the cold wind. I don’t WANT that, but finding my way through the reasons that I learned it from my childhood forward has been very difficult. My whole life was based on a few key, foundational lies, and now that I am dismantling them some of my former foundation stones are crumbling…do I shore up the wobbly parts or let them fall?

Great post my dear, I’m way far behind on my reading so I’m off to read and comment some more!

Much love and bright blessings…

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Judy,
This is my story too ~ and the discovery that I could not say or even think things like “I am not being treated fairly” because I didn’t even believe I had the right to feel anything like that! ~so busy trying to be who they said I was and who I thought they wanted me to be, and it was never good enough, but today I am good enough.
Thanks for sharing, I’m glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

Shanyn,
(looks like you might have gotten over your writers block by the sounds of your comments here! You could write a blog post based on this comment!)
I can only tell you what I did: I let the wobbly parts fall; after all, I could pick them up later if I needed them right? I let it all come undone, it felt horrible and I was empty, lost and really uncomfortable, but I let it go. So there I was in this barren desert type place in my mind… nothing but sand/ space/ wind for miles around me and no end in sight, but I rebuilt from there. And it worked…
So glad that you are here my friend.
Hugs, Darlene

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I did it Darlene, I wrote today – it was hard and easy, scary and good.

http://scarred-seeker.blogspot.com/2010/12/let-them-fall.html

Much love and many bright blessings!

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I read it Shanyn, thanks for sharing it with us. I left a comment there too. It’s a great post.
Hugs, Darlene

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I didn’t think I was worthless and without value. At least I didn’t what one doctor called ‘come down the chute thinking I was worthless.’ He meant you’re born w/out ideas. All the people around you in the first 5 years of your life put ideas into you. He was a psychiatrist.
Anyway, the people in the first 5 years of my life-the one my brother DEMANDS I respect-told me I was “good for nothing,” “will never amount to anything” and “worthless b/c of being born legally blind.”
It’s kind of difficult to think the adults are wrong when they’re saying something after being told repeatedly that adults know more than kids.

I’m mostly angry about it, b/c I worked on the life squad long enough to see that most of the people who do this to their kids aren’t even sorry in the least that they’ve done it. And some are outright hostile about it.
We came to the scene of one such incident, and the lady was trying to convince the police her kids had deserved what they got.
One of the kids was diabetic and she’d sent her to bed w/out dinner, and we were there b/c she was in hypoglycemic shock. The other kid had been locked in a closet for days, b/c she said something the mother thought was disrespectful, and they found her too late. A third child was chained to the table and had died of an infection that took a week to kill her. But the woman still had the nerve to think her kids had “asked for the punishments” she gave them, and she was trying to talk the police out of arresting her.
Besides disgusting me, the call made me realize my own parents also were never sorry. They never admitted they did anything wrong and certainly had no sorrow for what they did-they never stopped blaming Children’s Services for taking us out of the home. I suppose, in their view, one of the kids was supposed to literally starve to death and that would have been preferable to Children’s Services taking her out of the home.
Anyway, after the call I responded to, I stopped “loving them in spite of their actions,” which every member of my family still does. And, according to them, that means they’re stronger than I am; b/c they let people think of them like they’re shit, they’re stronger than I am.
IDK what I am other than angry after seeing it so much when I was a paramedic, and seeing so many “adults,” who blamed the kids for the chaos in the home.
I hope this post made sense. It’s really difficult to stay focused when telling what happened to me.

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Oh, Vicki. I’m aching inside after reading your post. Aching for you, aching for the children you wrote about……. aching for me, too, and for my siblings, because our childhood was like that too, what you describe. Different, but the same… mother trying to gas us all to death, trying several times and failing to figure out how to override the safety shutoff valve on the furnace. Father, holding my 2-year-old sister loosely in his arms over the side of the top floor of a tall parking garage, chanting “I’m going to drop you Nancy, I’m going to drop you Nancy,” while 2-year-old Karen, Nancy’s twin, and I, age 9, are pleading “NO DADDY, NO, PLEASE DON’T HURT OUR SISTER!”

My first trauma memory was like that. I was not yet 3, and we were stuck dead in a traffic jam on the big suspension bridge over the San Fransisco Bay, my dad and me, on our way to get mother from work. Suddenly my daddy is chanting in that scary sing-song voice, “I’m going to throw you off the bridge Lynda, I really will, I’m going to throw you off the bridge. Look waaaaaay down to the water, see how far down it is? I’m going to throw you way down there, and then you will die!”

I didn’t know what ‘die’ meant, but I knew I didn’t want to be thrown off the bridge into the water. I didn’t believe him at first, I thought he was teasing, but he kept saying it, saying he wasn’t teasing, telling me he really meant it, and then…. I believed him. I felt so small, so helpless. Resigned, I remember that feeling. He is going to throw me off and I can’t stop him…. I can still see the bright sunlight sparkling on the bay, I can still see the little boats so far below. To this day, I can’t go over a suspension bridge, without flashing back. Traffic started moving again, it seemed like that was the only thing that saved me.

My dad died in 1988, but my mother is still living. She’s in her 70s now. Is she sorry? Has she ever been sorry? Or does she still think that we deserved all the verbal and physical and emotional and mental HELL she put us through? Does she still believe what she told me when I was 12, that she had the right to kill us all, because she had brought us all into the world, and that she would be doing us a favor by taking us out of this cold cruel world… does she still believe that?

I have lived several states and many hundreds of miles away from my family of origin since 1974, with only a few brief visits back to my home state over these many years. In 2001 I went back for a big family reunion. My mother took me aside on that day, and told me very fervently how SORRY she was for not treating me better when I was growing up. “I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you things to make you feel good about yourself. I’m sorry I didn’t buy you pretty dresses. I saw you as an extension of myself, and I hated myself, so I treated you the way I felt about myself. I am really so very, very, sorry….”

Wow….WOW!!! FINALLY my mother had said what I had longed to hear all my life, that she was wrong, not me, that she had mistreated me, not the other way around. Finally she had told me that she was SORRY!!!!!! AND, for the icing on the cake, she had even given me an EXPLANATION for all the hate and hell she had heaped on me all my life, an explanation that wasn’t about how I was so unworthy. My mother had hated herself… my mother saw me as an extension of herself… and so she had treated me accordingly. WOW!

I stayed in frequent touch with my mother after that, by phone and by mail, for the next couple of years. Then one day during one of our phone conversations, I told her how much her apology and explanation had meant to me. My mother said, “I don’t remember that at all. I don’t remember saying any of that. I don’t know what you’re talking about!” And then, not long after that, she started verbally putting me down again, just like old times, and spreading lies about me to the rest of the family, again like old times. I haven’t been in contact with my mother since 2006.

So the “moral” to my story is this… I had my apology, and then, I had it taken completely away. In the end, it was worth less than the paper it wasn’t written on.

Hugs,
Lynda

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Hi Vicki,
Thanks for posting about your experience on the life squad and how they made you realize the things you did about people and about your own family. This stuff is really hard. Your post makes sense ~ don’t worry about that. There is so much stuff that we are trying to sort out. As long as we keep tyring to talk and triyng to sort it out, we do get closer to the truth of it all. The truth hurts but there is freedom in the end. When I try not to look at the truth, I just hurt.

Lynda,
Keep talking and sharing. Thank you for sharing the stories that you do, I know that this helps others to think about sharing their own stories and it helps us to realize that some things never should have happened ~ things that we used to think were just “normal” and it is hard to change our definition of Normal.

Hugs, Darlene

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Lynda’s story resonated with me in that my mother never saw any of her actions as wrong or abusive either. As many a time as I gave her to fess up and apologize and explain, she just never did. But just in these last 4-5 months I discovered that my mother will never change and cannot change when living in her own fantasy world in which she can do no wrong. Someone, who I am convinced 110%, has Narcissistic Personality Disorder truly think that they can do no wrong – they really are the center of their own universe.

Like Lynda – I had to cut off all ties to my mother – she has not been in my life since the year 2000! It was one of the wisest decisions I ever made. 🙂

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I have value. I’m the only one of me on the planet. I might not have any of the other accoutrements that people consider achievements – a house, a car, a job, money etc. But I have value. I hope I live long enough that I get to heal and translate some of what I’m here for into purpose and helpfulness and joy. I’d like to be in a position where I have enough. But even if I lose everything I have, I never want to give up the self value I’ve found.

In buddhism they talk about selflessness, but as a trauma survivor, I had lost my self in a very negative damaging way so it confused me to practise imagining invisible deities and try to transform feelings I didn’t/couldn’t feel – I’d already spent my life imagining a way out so this was ironically damaging to try and do. But one of the teachings is also the preciousness of life, of each life! 🙂

So, I’m practising this thought that I am precious. How can I hurt this precious things there’s only one of – there will only ever be one of! I cannot stand by while others put words in my mouth and lies in my heart and negative opinions in my head – I’m not those things. I’m precious. How dare they? The audacity that you can think to know and tell someone else what their life experience is or may have been and negate what they themselves have told you happened. You can only ever reflect on your own life and declare it’s similarities.
And yet people who did not know me have said my experience of when I was ill did not happened, that I did not have the chronic fatigue I had and that I was responsible for causing the suffering of others. It makes me so enraged. How could they? I would never do anything like that, how do I know what someone else’s experience is? And what galls me is that my brother who did know my past could have said ‘She’s had a tough life’ but he said nothing. And of course I couldn’t speak, a little feeling is impossible to relate to, a big feeling beyond impossible.

I have had so many times people have devalued my experience in favour of their judgement. I wish there could be a way you could touch someone and let them know how it feels to be you, in your body with your life. I reckon people who judge me would die before they’d seen the half of it. I reckon that’s the truth. And they’re a long way away from understanding anything as their judgement clearly shows. I want to do what’s good for me now, not what’s good for them. It’s not good for me to hate them but nor is it good for me to forgive them although I can because they’re ignorant. It’s good for me to place the wrongness where it lies in their hands and leave it there and walk away. I’m such a strong person for existing before I’ve done anything else… So much worth if strength is worth something then I am rich. Gandhi said strength was indomitable will and I have that in reams. I guess this time I have to stand up in a different way – not just after the hurt and the wish for life to cease, but FOR myself.

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Louise ~ this is profound where you are going with this! “In buddhism they talk about selflessness, but as a trauma survivor, I had lost my self in a very negative damaging way so it confused me to practise imagining invisible deities and try to transform feelings I didn’t/couldn’t feel – I’d already spent my life imagining a way out so this was ironically damaging to try and do. But one of the teachings is also the preciousness of life, of each life!” This is exactly what I am talking about! We can’t apply those teachings (those wonderful healing teachings) until we clear some of that wreckage away and start with a new foundation in order to really be able to comprehend what these wonderful teachings even mean. We have been so devalued that this step is very hard, but once we make a beginning it get easier.
I LOVE that you are practicing the thought that you are precious! YOU ARE! WE ARE. way to go! thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene, you’ve hit the nail on the head again!

One of the reasons why recovery is so difficult is because facing the pain can be almost brutal. I once heard that recovery is like “going for a surgery without anesthesia”. To recover from emotional pain, we need to be completely aware of the process, face the pain and brace through it!

My clinical psychologist told me many times that she was surprised when I walked in through the door. Through her many years of experience, she has seen many clients walking out of the door and never coming back again. Not because she was a bad therapist, but because it was just too painful. Many times in therapy, I dealt with so many issues that I have hidden. Often I would just cry and bawl in agony…but when the next appointment comes, I was always there. On time.

People asked me how can I be so resilient. Even professionals questioned. I think I was desperate for recovery. I badly wanted to heal. I never knew a life without pain, but if my friends can have it…then maybe I can too. I didn’t have much hope, but with the very little that I had, I “borrowed” some faith from my therapist…and walked through recovery.

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Jasmine – your post is so inspirational!! It gives me great hope of overcoming my past and its abuse! And so true – it is painful and there is always a part of me that just wants to withdraw back into my invisible cocoon – but I strive forward because I hate being and feeling ‘stuck.’

I’ve broke down in my therapist’s office a few times but always leave feeling as though another ‘monkey’ has been pried off of my back – and then I have to work at keeping the ‘monkey’ off!! It’s not easy – but am determined to live and recover day-by-day – to take one day at a time.

Recovery is my great hope – to finally be who I am and not who my mother always said I was!

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Paulette,

Recovery is and will never be easy. Worst, the journey can seem long and daunting…and you don’t know if it will ever end. Yes, it’s sometimes a lot easier to just retrieve back to where you once were – because it’s familiar. But think about it – is that where you want to be? FOR LIFE?

One of the things that kept me going was the trust in my therapist. “Therapy is a 50-50 effort”, my clinical psychologist once told me. It means that I can trust in her judgement of my progress, and I need to believe it when she believes in me. It wasn’t easy to trust in myself, but I can trust my therapist. If she thinks that I can do it, maybe I can.

The pain often gets worst before it gets any better. Whoever goes in to therapy and says that it’s an “easy” experience, hasn’t gotten the real deal (yet). It takes courage to be honest and resilient. But you know what – it’s worth it. 13 months (34 sessions) to undo almost all of my pain and start living life – is amazing. Oh yeah that’s partly because my therapist practices short-term therapy (supposed to be 12 sessions). Speaking of which – as brutal as termination sounds, I’m all for it as it forces me to stand on my own two feet.

I broke down in the therapy room ALWAYS. Every session, except for one. And the “aftermath” of that session was regretful – I was so drained! Crying was a relief, and I learned to be in touch with my emotions within a safe environment. I know that the person sitting across the couch will not be tired or judgemental of my tears. I know I’m safe. I know that I don’t have to hide anything.

71

So true about the pain gets worse before it gets better. I’ve been experiencing that. I still have anger that surfaces too, but its so much less than it ever used to be. And yeah, I don’t want to stay where I was – I was miserable there. I have this ideal in my mind of who I want to be … and every day I have to consciously choose to work towards being the woman I long to be!!

I do feel safe with my therapist and I also feel safe on this site. I know I can share and not be judged in any way, and I’m believed … experiencing this has helped further confirm what my therapist tells me, ‘I am not the crazy one.’ So glad to have met you Jasmine!

72

I’m probably going to be in trouble for saying this but, after hearing that I have irreversible physical damage to my brain-on top of the existing PTSD-I don’t see how I’ll ever be able to “love them in spite of their actions.”
Once cells are killed in the brain, there’s no bringing them back.
My oldest sister wrote a letter to another of my older sisters and said she loves our mom despite my mom’s actions and that she (my mom) “has a special place in” oldest sister’s heart.
None of them even believes I HAVE traumatic brain injury, to which I quickly replied “And of course you know more than Dr. Freeman, you w/ your Licensed Social Worker degree certainly tops his M.D degree.”
I’m sorry but I also work in health care, as a paramedic, and one of the first things we’re told is that the doctor’s always right. Even when the doctor in question is wrong, we have to treat the him or her as if he or she knows more than we do.
We have a paramedic license, but it’s an extension of the Emergency Physician’s license. If anything goes awry, the doctor will be ultimately blamed even in situations that weren’t strictly their doing. That’s b/c we operate UNDER a physician’s license.
But amazingly, my sister, who doesn’t have ANY degree in Medical Science, knows more than Dr. Freeman.
It’s bullshit plain and simple. It’s bad enough that they talk only to impart what *I* consider stupid advice, but it’s pretty d*%$ annoying when they start acting like they know more than a medical doctor about traumatic brain injury.
*I* wouldn’t even claim to know more than a doctor on the matter, and I work more directly w/ physical brain trauma than my oldest sister does. She approaches everything from a psychiatric evaluation’s point of view. And even psychiatrists see something wrong w/ banging children’s heads against walls when the brain is still in developing mode. From 0-8, the brain undergoes the most significant fundamental and physiological changes.
So even psychiatrists disagree w/ my oldest sister, who refuses to admit her reaction is emotional and continually tries to say it’s a professional opinion.
And you wouldn’t believe-or maybe wouldn’t want to see-all the people she has fooled.
It disgusts me on both a professional and personal level. But, even though it disgusts me, it also makes me upset that I always feel like I’M the wrong one. Even knowing what I do about traumatic brain injury, I still feel like I’M the one w/ the problem.
I don’t understand why that’s happening. How I can question myself after three doctors, one of them a psychiatrist, and a Medical Technologist have agreed w/ me about brain injury.

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Dear Vicki,
The ignorant DENIAL by others of our trauma realities can be very re-traumatizing. Especially when the ones doing the denying are family members, people we expect to care about us.

“Trauma and Recovery,” the landmark book by Harvard Clinical Psychiatrist Judith Herman, MD, helped me to understand that the tendency of most people to deny horrific realities, is actually a defensive, coping mechanism. The almost universal response to hearing anything terrible is to say “NO.” NO, the person I love most in the world, isn’t dead. NO, terrorists didn’t just fly two jets into the Twin Towers. ~ ETC. How many people deny the horrible reality of the halocaust, or “blame the victims” for being too docile, etc.?

For years I didn’t tell about the abuses that happened in my childhood home, because I believed my mother’s warning that she would go to prison for the rest of her life, and the 5 of us kids would go to separate foster homes and never see each other again. To my little girl’s mind, that was a fate worse than death, so I did not tell for years. Then, when I finally told, I was not believed. The extreme trauma of my childhood had caused me to have a PTSD breakdown at the age of 14, in 1967 this was, years before PTSD was known ~ so, because I was certifiably “crazy,” my story of horrific child abuse could not possibly be true~~~

It was like being abused all over again. It also made me doubt myself~ was I really so insane, that events which seemed as real and true to me as knowing my own name, and seeing my own face in the mirror, were nothing but a fantasy, a product of my warped imaginatioin?

But~ I KNOW what is true. I KNOW what happened to me. Even if no one else knows it, and no one else believes it, I KNOW WHAT IS TRUE. And, so do you.

I’m sending you a big hug in my heart~
Lynda

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Hi Vicki
I don’t know why you think you might get in trouble for saying that you doubt that you will come to ” love them in spite of their actions”, but you won’t get in trouble here. I understand how you feel.
About not being believed; one of the most amazing empowering parts of my healing has been to realize that it no longer matters who believes me. I know my family does not believe me, and I don’t care. I don’t need anyone to believe me. It makes no difference if they do or not, becasue I KNOW what happened to me, I believe me, and I deserved better than that. I validate myself now.
Hang in here! We believe you!
Love Darlene

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Darlene, YES YES YES to what you said:

“…one of the most amazing empowering parts of my healing has been to realize that it no longer matters who believes me. I know my family does not believe me, and I don’t care. I don’t need anyone to believe me. It makes no difference if they do or not, becasue I KNOW what happened to me, I believe me, and I deserved better than that. I validate myself now.”

Hugs,
Lynda

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I have just been reading all your comments and coming from a place where I’ve spent twenty years experiencing the ramifications of trauma I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) even remember your words are amazing. So comforting. I realised just being here on this website and finding so many words of experience and insight is sufficient validation for me . After all why would people seek to be fixed if they’re not already broken somehow? I’ve had so much negative judgement (from family) people that know what I went through (unless it hurt too much for them to remember so they too forgot it even though they weren’t experiencing it). Makes me so angry how many times I stood there and just took people’s invalidation and destructive remarks, after all they were older, or a man, or had a degree or I ‘owed’ them for allowing me my life.

Well, I don’t owe them anything. You don’t owe people for giving you life, if you do, that’s no sort of love. Family seems to be some kind of conditional set up. Sometimes I think maybe I feel that way because my perceptions are all off. But I got my perceptions from somewhere didn’t I.

Anyway I recognise now I don’t ever want to ‘take’ that sort of judgement again that denies my own truth and experience. I AM deserving of respect, just as I give anyone I meet that respect because I DON’T KNOW their experience. It doesn’t mean I am less than anyone, respect is about equality. I have earned my own self respect because I KNOW what I have gone through – that’s all I need. I will never let anyone talk down to me again, they have no idea.

However I noticed that the same effect can happen even if someone isn’t talking TOO you, maybe they’re talking ABOUT you to someone else and it has the same effect of being invalidating and disempowering -what do we do about that – anything??
This is where I think being surrounded by positive people is a great boon. I don’t have the luxury of that option physcially right now – be nice though one day. I can get a glimpse of it though here with you guys

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Louise, what you wrote really speaks to me, on the deepest levels:

“…why would people seek to be fixed if they’re not already broken…”

“Makes me so angry how many times I stood there and just took people’s invalidation and destructive remarks, after all they were older, or a man, or had a degree or I ‘owed’ them for allowing me my life.”

“You don’t owe people for giving you life, if you do, that’s no sort of love.”

“…I don’t ever want to ‘take’ that sort of judgement again that denies my own truth and experience. I AM deserving of respect, just as I give anyone I meet that respect because I DON’T KNOW their experience. It doesn’t mean I am less than anyone, respect is about equality. I have earned my own self respect because I KNOW what I have gone through – that’s all I need. I will never let anyone talk down to me again, they have no idea.”

“…the same effect can happen even if someone isn’t talking TOO you, maybe they’re talking ABOUT you to someone else and it has the same effect of being invalidating and disempowering -what do we do about that – anything??”

I’m right on the same page with you, Louise. Also, I, too, wish I knew how to deal with the people who aren’t talking directly to me, but are talking about me to others. It’s called Character Assasination, and it can be deadly, killing to the heart and soul. As someone here on Darlene’s blog has said ~ it may have been Darlene who said it ~ people BOND over talking dirt about YOU. And it HURTS, and it’s so unfair and hateful.

For me, where I am in my life now, I just let them go ahead and bond with each other in whatever way they choose. I know the truth, I know who I am, I know what I’ve been through and all that I’ve survived, and I’m proud of me. I like me. If hateful people want to bond with each other by telling ignorant judgmental lies about me ~ whatever. They deserve each other. I’m staying out of it.

BUT if there is a better way to deal with that sort of thing, I would love to hear it. Meanwhile, as you said, Lousie:

“…being surrounded by positive people is a great boon… I can get a glimpse of it here with you guys.”

Lynda

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Lynda. That fate is exactly what happened to me, but not b/c people in the family told about the abuse. And even Children’s Services refused to call it abuse. They called it ‘neglect’ instead, as if ‘neglect’ has any more of a positive feeling to the one being neglected.
Anyway, the law found out about what was happening b/c of a police investigation. My brother always gets angry at me for saying yes to becoming adopted, and acts like I’m a large cause of the family’s troubles, but HE’S the one who broke into a neighbor’s basement, stole $100 and precipitated the investigation. He never mentions that though, but he knows about it. He was the first one to be taken from the home, so he HAS to know it.
Kathy and I were second. Paul was third, and my youngest sister wasn’t even allowed to come home from the hospital right at first. She has no memory of anything that happened and is the one who believes everything the oldest sister says, using the reasoning that ‘Ruthann was the oldest, so she’ll remember what happened most vividly.’ Except when she doesn’t WANT TO, that is; but, for some reason, my youngest sister doesn’t want to believe Ruthann lives in a state of perpetual delusion.
Oh. And Ruthann is the one who told my youngest sister that I never had my head banged into walls. Even though I have all these visible scars on my head, my youngest sister believes Ruthann. That kinds of denial is IMO going beyond simple denial. I’ve never been able to deny physical evidence.
Everybody but me has Ruthann on some pedestal, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. I don’t even think about God the way they act like they think about Ruthann.
I had a supervisor, who was a social worker-when I worked for Hospice Home Care-and he saw through Ruthann faster than any other educated person I know. I mean he saw through everything, even noticing stuff about her that I’d missed b/c I guess I was putting her on a pedestal too. But never the one that everyone else has her on. I was always able to recognize that she’s not perfect.
IMO you’re not really having a relationship w/ someone you’ve deified. Not when the person is human and, therefore, not subject to deification in the first place.
BTW our biological mother died blaming Children’s Services for what happened to everybody. Once, in a letter, she said I’ve had a stormy life since I left. Not before, but after I left.
I don’t even get how someone can believe that when they tell it to themselves. I understand how they can say it, but I don’t see how they can actually, honestly believe it. And, unless she was the world’s greatest actor, she truly believed everyone was making her a victim.

79

Louise ~
Oh my gosh the things you are saying lately are absolutely amazing and wonderfully clear. Thank you for posting this comment.
about your question ~
“However I noticed that the same effect can happen even if someone isn’t talking TOO you, maybe they’re talking ABOUT you to someone else and it has the same effect of being invalidating and disempowering -what do we do about that – anything??” That was a harder one because the being devalued was more covert, but as time went on I dealt with that too. The fog lifts in stages. The clarity comes as the fog lifts. The truth gets stronger and stronger the more of it that we have. That is the process.

A neighbour man phoned one day and started yelling at me about my husband and the cows that got into his garden (which I later found out was a lie). I asked him ” why are you talking to me like that I already said that I would tell Jim?” He was flabbergasted that I would dare to ask him such a question. I knew that he would never speak to Jim that way. When he recovered his shock he started on me again and I said “why don’t you say all this to Jim instead of going off on me” and he hung up on me! LOL And he never dared to call here again! But the point is that even if the cows got out, he did not have the right to talk to me that way. There is no excuse for the way that some people treat others. Once I found my voice there was no stopping me. I am clam about it too. When someone is sarcastic to me, indicating that they can’t believe I am so stupid by their very voice infliction, I bluntly ask them why they are speaking to me with such dripping sarcasm as though they think I am stupid. People are SHOCKED.
(some people are afraid of me.. LOLOL)
I have even told a few people that it hurts my feelings when they talk that way, because when I began to own my power, I realized that I didn’t have to give it away if I said something that in the past would make me feel vulnerable.
Thank you Louise, for being here.
Hugs, Darlene

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Vicki,
I was so stuck believing that if someone from my past admitted that the abuse happened, then I would be able to move on. But no one ever did admit it, and I had to come to realize that it DID happen and that my mother, or my siblings coming forward and agreeing with me that there was abuse was not going to happen. I couldn’t let that stop me from recovery. I had to believe in myself. I had to just take what I knew as truth and go from there. It was amazing when I finally stopped trying to PROVE that I had been abused and just believed myself KNOWING that it was true. The whole world got brighter and I was finally able to move forward.
My mothers sister came forward and told my mother that she had caught my mothers boyfriend in my room trying to get in bed with me when I was a teen. My mother didn’t believe her either. I had a witness that ONE time and it made absolutely NO difference. I had to find a way to move beyond the desire to have my memories validated by someone other then me.
Hugs, Darlene

81

“I had to find a way to move beyond the desire to have my memories validated by someone other then me.”
And there is the key! Memories, feelings, beliefs, do not need validation from anyone other than myself, they dare not!

82

Oh I’m really surprised you found my comments helpful and clear and wotnot, I’m feeling anything but clear at the moment. Getting all sorts of memories back from my childhood, some are quite funny – we had blue straws with our milk at school, I had a toy that was a monkey when I was little.
What’s amazing is they come back as flash when I’m doing something totally different. These sort are quite delightful although I get anxious they just hide other stuff. My dreams are much more unnerving and my body memories just ridiculous (not in the funny sense but in the unsettling overwhelming sense). Like I can be talking to someone or another survivor about not being able to talk about something and then I virtually feel like I’m getting convulsions and the overwhelming sense of not wanting to be in my body.

So clarity is a surprise, I think it’s coming with the revelations and realisations I get whenever I read a post here or on OSA or like in @Lynda’s comment about it being called ‘Character Assassination’ I never knew that, but knowing that’s what it IS and then thinking about your just leaving them to it and not letting it affect you is really helpful. When for example I hear my ma say something on the phone, or directly to people about me, it about destroys me inside and rarely do I say anything to the contrary, if I do I usually get undermined by another comment that invalidates me, It’s not always like this but I react badly when it is. Reading what @Darlenes said about not ‘receiving’ people when they’re talking disrespectfully at you without cause and just reflecting their behaviour back at them IS really powerful. I guess we could also hang up, interrupt, point it out after the event, request them not to do it again, and if they do point it out again. I have pointed people’s behaviour out and said how it makes me feel and they keep doing it. So maybe I will say this is the last time I will point this out and give some sort of ultimatum, only I don’t really have any ultimatums up my sleeve… Wish I could shock people. I mean the only time I think I have is with friend’s of mine who had sided against another friend, and were giving her the silent treatment. I was horrified I respected all these people and saw our group as a sort of refuge. I never raised my voice or swore, but on this day I shouted and swore and cried at the same time and told all of them they were being superficial and should be ashamed of themselves and to be nice to her… They were all so shocked AND ashamed of themselves 🙂 And it worked! But I felt safe with them you know, one of them had survived abuse and neglect, another her brother abused her, the friend the ganged up on she was abused – somehow we all found each other in our twenties. Only I couldn’t speak because I was still in the fog so to speak I think with DID and PTSD very severe and my memory gone, it’s sad. They were all speaking and sharing and I couldn’t say anything only feel and being distant.

83

Exactly Sheryl!
Thanks for your comment.. I found myself looking for a “like” button.. LOL

Louise,
Remember what I said about all of this happening in stages. I thought about all this for months before I stood up to anyone. My mother stated in front of people that her boyfriend had come into my room when I was 14 because I had a crush on him ~ when I was in my 2nd year of this process and I sat there. Before I verbally responded to any of this stuff, I had thought about it all for a very long time. I took my power back and found my voice long before I lived it out loud. AND that is just fine! It happnes how and when it happens.
About clarity, something I noticed looking back at my progress is that I often wrote things that were amazingly clear but I didn’t see them as clear at first. I would have these “breakthroughs” that I didn’t even get the depth of until sometimes MONTHS later. It is all part of the journey!
Hugs, Darlene

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From approximtely ages 1-5, I banged my head on my crib or wall, rhthymically,everynight to go to sleep and later, sat on the edge of my bed and bounced rhythmically and sang for an hour before I could go to sleep. Has anyone else ever done this or had any experience with this behavior? I know I can read books, but I want to hear from people.

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Sheryl,
My comment about “exactly” was about your last comment, not your latest one about head banging etc. I personally did not do this, but I have heard MANY such stories. You may not get much feedback on this post becasue the article itself is a month old. You might get better feedback if you post your question on a newer post or if you post it in the facebook page for Emerging from Broken ~
Hugs, Darlene

86

My friend did this (she banged her head on things) at boarding school but I don’t know why. I figured it was a way to express stress and channel pain just like all the other ways, for me I scratched and rocked occasionally too – and I would scream when I was little too

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The only problem w/ people not admitting it, and acting like it didn’t happen, is that I ALSO have to not admit it and act like it didn’t happen when I’m around them. And they genuinely wonder why I wanted to spend Christmas w/ a friend instead of them. Then, I guess I felt bad about that too, but not bad enough to refrain from doing it.
If I have to keep playing these games every single time I talk to them, I don’t see how it’s going to help me.
That’s one of the reasons I had to find a support group in the first place although, when I started looking, it was to help a person I’ve treated several times over for domestic violence.
We still treat her to this day, so she either didn’t listen or doesn’t believe it’ll work or something. But he also monitors every little tiny detail of what she does, so I don’t see how she could do anything w/ him around.
Once I gave her the book, Dolores Claiborne, and hoped she’d get a message from it. I was frustrated coming to their house all the time, and I’m still wondering when we’re going to arrive too late?
We’ve arrived too late so many times I prefer not to dwell on it but, fortunately, I’ve never been w/ a man like that. Watching someone go through it when I had no choice but to watch turned me against doing it myself.

88

If going through recovery is like going through surgery w/out anesthesia, I can definitely say I’m probably not going to make it.
I started waking up during my CTR surgery, and I couldn’t take the pain I was only just starting to feel.
They put me back under when I asked why he was putting freezing water into my hand.
I feel like I’m going through hell on earth right now, b/c this guy I’m friends with has to get yet another operation as a result of being severely burned on September 11, 2001. This will be the second surgery since I met him. Four months ago.
There’s nothing I can do to make him feel even a little better-or, if there is, I haven’t found it-and he’s been staying away from me, from everyone, since he heard he has to have another operation.
He thinks he has to be strong or isolate himself, I guess, and I have no idea what it must be like to go through what he’s been through. Being set on fire in a literal way? I think I’d die from the emotional fallout.
I believe what Robert Stack said on Unsolved Mysteries:
Some things go too hard against the heart, and you never fully recover from it.
I think the emotional effects of being physically set on fire probably qualify as going too hard against the heart.
Whoever did that to him, I don’t really care who it was like other people do, whoever did it are the biggest jackasses that ever walked the face of the earth.

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[…] Ouimet Sometimes facing the pain seemed so overwhelming that I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to face what I had to face in order to get on with my life. I didn’t want to feel anything. I had survived by shutting down my feelings and by shutting down […]

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TO ELIZABETH #43:

Oh my gosh. When I read your post I truly felt as though I could have written it. Every point you made is exactly how I feel and what is going on in my life as well.

The computer, eating, doing projects…whatever it takes to avoid the complexity of facing my life.

I don’t know how old you are, but I’m 52, and I think I’m actually in shock that absolutely everyone I have ever known is out of my life. I think this is by me pushing people away. I don’t want intimate relationships…at least I think I don’t. More accurately…I can’t.

For years of my life, I went out with friends, I worked good jobs, I always had a boyfriend and a husband too for 8 years, but little by little everything was eroded away and I found myself totally alone; in the middle of 10 other adult siblings who are wicked dysfunctional. I, like you, have a daughter, who is 28 and of course she is a great comfort to me, but she is busy with her job and children and doesn’t have a whole lot of time for me.

I was just thinking yesterday, if someone would have told me when I was 25 or 35, or even 45 for that matter, that I would be in such a pathetic condition at 52 years old….there’s is no way I would have believed them. Worse yet, I believe my life has become pretty much the worse fears of most women. Fat, alone, emotionally ill.

I haven’t always been fat…I was actually quite a good looking woman up to my divorce about 5 years ago. My divorce, which was very bad, just capped off the PTSD I have carried from my childhood with another large dose of stress, and I just couldn’t take anymore. I just totally withdrew from the world. I haven’t dated a man in 5 years, and I really didn’t care if I gained weight, because food was the only comfort I had….plus I really have self-hatred and don’t do the things necessary to promote physical health.

I used to work out on a regular basis, but after my divorce I obviously learned I only did for men. And I thought the only thing I had to offer men was my body, so I kept it in good shape.

I think the key to me trying to heal is getting to the point where I want to work out FOR ME. I want to take care of myself FOR ME. I am plugging along here on emerging from broken. I do a lot of reading and some writing about my issues, but I know very soon I will have to find a way to identify and then face all the emotional pain I have lived through in my life. I really hope I can do it.

Again, Elizabeth, don’t feel like your alone….I so relate to all that you said. Maybe we should be friends….

Connie

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Sheryl,

Though I don’t remember it, my parents tell me I banged my head against a wall and smashed a mirror over my head when I was 14 (I remember that one). It was awful, because my mother would come in my room to torment me when I was already sad, and then I would react this way after she finally felt like she’d taken all of her negative emotions on me and crushed me enough. My father would close the door with the creepiest calmness if he ever heard crying my crying annoyed him, but didn’t affect him.

They used this as a reason to medicate me and then as an excuse to have me forcibly removed from my home and locked up for almost a year. I mean, two years later! My father paid a lot of money to not have to parent me and still guilts me about how much he spent. As if that traumatic event was something I ever would have chosen on my own! It messed me up a lot. He never took responsibility for not parenting, let alone look at the fact their behavior might have been a reason for my distress (I am at my most stable with NC so that’s proof enough for me!). It’s always my fault. That is something I am really dealing with and trying so hard to challenge.
I was so ashamed. They blamed me for getting ‘sent away’ in a ‘letter of accountabilty’ so I had to read about the smashing mirror thing to a group of people I didn’t know, some of whom were bullies. Parents’ only reasons were the mirror thing and a single joyride I took with my sister for 20 minutes in town.

Now he guilt trips me, “If your mother really didn’t love you, why did she spend hours in your room, trying to make you feel better?” Really, really? If she was trying to make me feel better, I would have felt the intent, but she had her own issues that she had to (and still tries to, though we are NC) today.
It was always about making her feel better at MY expense, never the other way around.

So many other examples of how she didn’t love me- involving neglect/emotional abuse- I still have this awful feeling of having to prove myself. They are intent everything bad in their lives is my fault.
Last time I spoke with her she said, “Everything is good in my life except you’re not in it” while simultaneously bawling and cutting me off. Every boundary I tried to set on that call was disregarded. Of course she mattered, poor her, but I was nothing. Even when I don’t talk to her or communicate I the reason for her unhappiness. How sick is that? And family members guilt me “If my daughter didn’t talk to me”….

I have an aunt and her boyfriend’s family whom are people who understand the concept of love and respect. So when I contrast their behavior and my own parents, I poke so many holes through the “We love you/it’s all your fault” logic.
I spent the holidays with them last christmas- best holidays I’ve had in 10 years. Why is that now?? 🙂
Even if they hadn’t invited me, I would have been happier alone in my apartment.

Sorry this is so long!
Wow, what a great community this is. I can no longer live in the dark, I never will again.

G

93

Sorry I want to make a correction: I am not implying that I deserve to have someone make me feel better at their expense as if I have the right to cause pain because I’m sad- no.
What I mean is that as a child I was responsible for her emotions and I paid the price for basically existing, when I feel like it’s a parents job (not expense) to comfort and care for a child emotionally when they feel down. Instead of nurturing me, she was behaving cruelly and expecting me to nurture her. Only now that I’m grown up and not asking her for emotional support, while she continues to do so (NC!!NC!!) do I realize how backwards this all is.

I also remember that she would tell me how ‘angry’ I was. For some reason it was ok for them to spew anger constantly but me getting mad back, was not ok! The more I write, the more I see how they always twist it: me= bad; them=good. Other people do not see me that way.

94

Hi G
I am going to use part of your comment (92) in my new blog post. I have been working on a blog post about when ‘the abusers’ play the victim.
I was addicted to proof for YEARS and even in the beginning of this healing process I had to constantly remind myself that I didn’t need to PROVE anything about what happened to me. What you are talking about in this post is the root of so much of the root of the problem in millions of adult childrens lives today.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

95

P.S. GDW
in your last comment; I totally understood what you were saying in your first comment. You deserved to be treated like a valuable human being (that is a child’s human rights!) and you do have a right to have that mistreatment validated now. As you say, as a child you were NOT responsible for whatever your mother was going through.
You are certainly on the right website!!
Hugs, Darlene

96

Hi Everyone
I just published the new post I was writing that I mentioned using GDW’s comments in; It is called “Abusers who Blame Victims and the People who Support Them”
Yesterday this subject was being discussed on several different posts in the website and I used some of the comments to highlight how this looks.
Looking forward to the conversation,
Darlene

97

I see I read this three years after it has been posted, however it is so me! I am so happy to find these posts! This site is incredible!

Since the age of 8 until the age of 17 I have been so dissociative, I imagined I was another person, gifted, being able to sing, act, do hundreds of different complicated things. I am probably blessed, because if I started it a year earlier probably I would have been able to develop another personality…

However, only a couple of years ago I realized that my mom was admiring my peers for their skills and abilities, while she ignored me and my brother, and called us suckers, idiors, incapable of anything. She always left us in favour of my peers, who seemed to be so perfect. I had an eye disease, I had never received any diagnosis and I was so terribly clumsy and not being able to see simple things. She was complaining to everyone about me, and it sounded as if I was some permanently damaged product. Every time she put me down, my default was to switch to my fantasy… It is a very bad habbit, because I cannot do anything properly or at time I set it to be done, this pertains to mainly stuff that concerns me. I tend to postpone and in my pleasant reality… it is to a lesser extent now, but it happens everytime someone me down or if I am unhappy with myself…

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