Mar
10

Why is it so Scary to Share the Truth about Child Abuse?

By

talking about emotional abuse

Sometimes I get emails and comments like the one that I got this week on the post “Mom and Grandma had a Dysfunctional Mother Daughter Relationship”  expressing feeling overwhelmed about sharing stories of the past. The comment said: “I am feeling lost right now. I feel like I have shared way too much here, and I’m feeling very vulnerable. It hurts.”  

Sharing feelings, our pain, our abuse and rejections and stories and sharing about our families makes us feel really vulnerable.  This comment got me thinking about how I felt so vulnerable and scared that I never told anyone about my first blog. There were very few comments, it had very little traffic and even though I was already speaking in mental health seminars, I never gave the name of that website out to anyone.  I was afraid of something.  I didn’t really think that much about what it was. 

Sharing in the first few months of this blog was also scary but it gets easier all the time although  once in a while, sometimes pressing the publish button still makes me feel a little uneasy.

Sharing some of my deepest and darkest moments makes me feel exposed AND it makes me feel like I am in danger. Continued……

In my healing journey I’ve learned to ask myself questions as a way of digging down into my belief system to find the roots of where these feelings and fears come from on any given subject because in doing so it usually helps me to understand why those fears and feelings are still there. 

Incest survivor, Patricia Singleton from the blog “Spiritual Journey of a Lightworker”, also shared her view on this topic. Her  comment came in when I was almost finished writing the first draft of this post, so I thought I would take it as a “hint from the universe” and share it; it is amazingly similar to what I was believe about this particular topic.

Patricia wrote: “When I share something new like I did here yesterday, I face some more of the fear that the abusers put into me to not break the silence of what they did to me.  I think, at least for me, that is why I feel overwhelmed with what I share sometimes.  I will continue to break that silence and share more and more of my story if it means that it might help another survivor to feel not alone.  When we share, it gives someone else the permission to share their stories too.”

For many of us, both as children and as adults, we were not allowed to tell the real truth. We may have had some family secrets that somehow we just knew that we were not supposed to say anything about to anyone else. There were all kinds of things that we just didn’t talk about. I thought that was being “loyal” to my family.  The mere thought of saying the wrong thing was very very scary.

There were a few things outside of family secrets that I did try to tell. Like when my grade 5 teacher was emotionally abusing me. But when I told just a few little things I was discounted, unprotected, called a story teller, and exaggerator and a liar.  I was not protected because I was not believed. Finally a medical doctor had to step in.

Then there was the time that I told about my mother’s boyfriend sneaking in my room that night. I only told because my Aunt caught him and she told first and still I was discounted and then later accused of doing something to have caused it to happen.

Sometimes I said things and I was ridiculed, sneered at or glared at.  Those were warnings. I was afraid of what might come after those sorts of comments and looks.

When I cried, I was told that if I didn’t stop crying, that I would be given something to cry about. (Do children really cry for no reason? I don’t think so, but when I was told that l cried for no reason enough times I believed that I did cry for no reason.)  What that taught me was that my feelings were invalid. That my pain was invalid and that I was not allowed to have feelings or pain. My tears were wrong.

So when I decided to share my life and my past with others, it triggered fears. It triggered fears of rejection; fears of being called a liar, story teller and an exaggerator. Sharing secrets triggers fears of being humiliated, discounted, dismissed and laughed at. Fears of being proven that maybe I am not valid. Maybe I am not worthy. Maybe no one will love me or even like me.  Maybe the abusers were right about me.

It also brings up feelings of being in danger. That danger is close. As I child I learned to guard against danger and not to bring punishment upon myself.  Feelings of being in danger bring up specific fears; that I might be punished; I might get hit, hurt, sent away or all of these things at once. These were the consequences of telling when I was a child.   

And all those fears and thoughts can flash through my memory very quickly. Familiar feelings from the past, flashing, terrifying and tearing down my self esteem, all in a few split seconds and until I really began to understand where those fears were born and raised, I was not able to stop them.  

Please share your thoughts about the fear sharing or the feelings of being exposed. Were there consequences in your childhood for telling the truth?

Exposing truth, one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

Note: Click the blue highlighted sentences within the body of the post to read the stories I am refering to.

Categories : Family

64 Comments

1

Wow! I don’t know what to say except thank you for writing this post. It needs to be addressed because this fear is something that each of us who chooses to break the silence of abuse faces over and over again as we share our stories.

2

I can relate to this fear in a big way. I came forward publicly with my story of incest and dissociative identity disorder on New Years and I made it public both on facebook and with my blog- http://youmeantheskyisntblue.blogspot.com/
I was and sometimes am terrified to press the “publish” button too. But despite my fears of being disbelieved, laughed at, rejected or getting “in trouble”, I have decided that I cannot keep quiet any longer. Scary as it is, we must bring it out of the shadows and into the light if we have any hope of reaching out and helping those who were abused and are being abused today. I try to remember that if I had only known that I wasn’t the only one, it would have made all the difference for me. I want to make the difference for someone else. Keep up the good work Darlene!

3

wow darlene
i think that the reason i cannot remember my abuse at the hands of my grandfathers, yep they both did it independantly and without the other knowing, is because of two reasons.
1. my mothers father had invited me to spemd the school hols with them , my family took me and left me there. i felt so loved that week, i was 8yrs old. that week he caught me smoking in the kitchen with his 3rd wife, and he never shouted or told my parents. oh the sun shone out of him for not telling my dad. it was only later i realised the reason he nevr told, he had a secret i was keeping and i would give him up if he didnt tell on me.
2. i have a vivid memory of being 10, and my drunken father was holding a bread knife to his own fathers stomach sayin gif i ever find out you have touched her i will kill you. right there and then i vowed that my dad wouldnt end uo in jail because of me, and i then made sure that my grandfather could nver be accused of touching me. shame he had already abused me. that has kept what has happened to me hidden away except for a few conversations, that i also have no actual memory of having.
how can i break those barriers, the 1st one is dead, the second is 92 n sill lying and giving me gifts when ever i have the misfortune to see him

4
Renee-A Ressurected Spirit
March 10th, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I wrote in my blog about the fear being so bad that I stuffed my fist in my mouth so it would muffle the cry. My heart beat so hard I felt like it was going to burst threw my chest. I can’t tell you how many times I did that. To this day I can feel that horror. I am reliving it by writing and you know it is ok. It’s ok because my adult self is strong and can protect us. Fear is a little seed that grows and controls our choices. In 2005 I woke up and felt the lord tell me I didn’t need to fear my abuser any more. That fear was gone. The freedom was so overwhelming. Then I noticed all the holes it left inside of me. I asked Jesus what I should do and he said he was filling them up with love. I never looked back. I found out months later the abuser was dying of cancer. I wanted to go to his funeral so I could tell the women and children they no longer had to fear him and that in death and hell he will get his true reward. I fear nothing any more. I make my choices that are not based on fear.
Renee

5

“As I child I learned to guard against danger and not to bring punishment upon myself. Feelings of being in danger bring up specific fears; that I might be punished; I might get hit, hurt, sent away or all of these things at once. These were the consequences of telling when I was a child”.

Darlene, I/we also constantly walked on eggshells, trying not to make our Mother (in this case) angry, because if we did anything that made her so, the results for us could be devestating. We risked the hairbrush and not only the hairbrush. What really ate at me was if we did something wrong in her eyes the derision that came with it and which often went on for days; the constant reminder that we had erred in her book. She also never hesitated to remind us of our perceived failures even months after the event and often years afterwards. I could never understand it as a child; that even though you were as good as gold, sometimes you just simply couldn’t, wouldn’t be good enough. No matter what you did, she exploded anyway. That really frustrated, puzzled me.

It was one savage beating with that hairbrush at age four which I will never forget and that all started because our eldest brother was cheeky towards our Mother; something that was Not permitted; the authority of the adult was absolute in a family such as ours.

I also remember well the phrase I’ll give you something to cry about and of being, of risking being called a liar. You’re too sensitive was another one that was uttered if we dared complain or tell about something that she, our Mother just simply did not want to hear.

6

Speaking out about abuse doesn’t occur often because you don’t know that your upbringing wasn’t normal. It took me the last few years to start to understand things. But, by reading this blog, I realize that I don’t know how my siblings feel about their upbringing either. If they start talkign though, I’m going to ask questions. There’s a lot of things i don’t remember cause I’m the youngest. But, also, since I think 2 of my family members have NPD, from what i’ve read, it would be pointless to discuss anything. i’ve focused on dealing with them in a way that is healthy for me. I haven’t seen any signs of growth in them and if i saw that sign, then I might pursue a deeper relationship, but like I said, I’m not sure they are capable of that. I also like to let people face consequences of their actions. Like, for instance if my aunt doesn’t speak to or visit my mom. Mom tries to tell me to tell them to give her pictures and tells me I shoudl bring them to visit. I just blow that off. But since she hasn’t seen the connection with her treatment of them and the lack of relationship and how SHE should be the one to try to mend fences, it proves that it is pathological. My sister also has not pursued a relationship with my aunt. She asks about one of our cousins who is supposed to be successful and also young and married to a hispanic like my sister. It seems to me that she would pursue that relationship because she wants to enhance her own image. She doesn’t how interest in 2 other cousins that I am living with that are not married or successful.

My interest also is to model empathic behavior to my neices. So, my behavior will be different around my mom & sister and more open toward neices. I think they notice a difference. Although I speak to my sister at my mom’s house, I do not go over my sister’s house on my own or accept invitations readily. I think if my sister was in a healthy place, she might try to figure out why, but what she does is continue to try to get me to go places that SHE wants to do at a moment notice. She doesn’t seem to notice that she & i do not talk regularly or keep in touch regularly unless I am at my mom’s house. To me that also is evidence of not being healthy. I am learning to express myself and have more empathy in healthy relationships and set boundaries. But it seems like I am living separate lives because I change behaviors with different people. its like I have to hide any happiness that I have cause it could upset the equilibrium of the situation. Like they couldn’t handle it. I’m not being my authentic self with them, but yet they know that I’m going into social work. I wonder as my life evolves how it could merge or if it ever will. My mother is almost 82, so she may never see my full growth as a person. I’m not sure she notices it now.

7

Yeah, this is huge Darlene. I’m sorry all those things happened to you. For me, anytime I tell anyone about the abuse, such as a therapist, it’s as if I have to knock through a huge wall in order to do that. Then I feel unbelievably ashamed. Although I also know what happened to me was not my fault. So why all the shame?

There were huge rules of silence in my family also, rules that never had to be spelled out – I just knew they were there. About many other less serious things than abuse. Something about telling is just breaking so many old taboos – it’s still a shattering experience for me every time. As if the telling was the problem, not the abuse itself. Just backwards it seems. Take care

8

Hi Patricia,
~Thanks for being here and for sharing so much of your experience with myself and the readers here.

Gabrielle
~ YES to everything you said in your comment and one more thing that I didn’t put in my blog post; I have a right to talk about my life. I have a right to tell the truth about it. I am telling the truth. If they didn’t want the secrets to ever be told, then maybe they should have thought of that BEFORE they did the things they did. If you don’t want to do the time, then don’t do the crime. You know when I think of the great lengths and amounts of energy that some abusers/controllers have spent of making sure the secrets are not revealed… it burns me!
Thanks for sharing!
Good for you for coming forward and for sharing your story and having a blog! It really does make a difference!

Hi Carol
~ It isn’t about getting resolution through the people who did the stuff or about having complete memories, it is about finding out what your belief system became (about yourself, about love about saftey etc.) about yourself that is the way to break the barriers. For instance, the fact that you feared your Dad would go to jail, that is great information.
Thanks so much for sharing.
hugs, Darlene

9

“When we share, it gives someone else the permission to share their stories too.”

LOVE this!!

“When I cried, I was told that if I didn’t stop crying, that I would be given something to cry about. (Do children really cry for no reason? I don’t think so, but when I was told that l cried for no reason enough times I believed that I did cry for no reason.) What that taught me was that my feelings were invalid. That my pain was invalid and that I was not allowed to have feelings or pain. My tears were wrong.”

THANK YOU!!!

10

Why it is scary to share your own story? Because everyone you know belongs to a church and is going to tell you how you are somehow WRONG for telling it, feeling it, whatever. You are bitter, you need to do this, forgive, whatever…they kick when you are down

11

It has taken me a really long time to be able to talk about myself; my feelings, my thoughts, my dreams and desires, my past. I remember being told the same thing by my parents and my 5 older siblings; “I”ll give you something to cry about”. As I’ve come out of denial and realized my family is my normal, but that it is not “normal” I’ve found so much validation here and in my online communities and been able to learn and share the journey amongst those who understand. I can share my reality and myself here in a way that is not possible in my family who still tells me that to talk about my past is to blame others; those who abused me, mistreated me. From an early age I learned to not speak and am grateful that this is a safe place to do so:)

12

Hi Renee
Thanks for sharing your struggles and your victories!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Katherine
This is exactly what I am talking about, that children MUST conform to this unattainable standard or else… and we live in fear of the consequences. And it was WRONG. You should not have gotten a beating with a hairbrush. That was very wrong and it was so important for me to realize that the type of discipline that I got was WRONG. They were wrong to do this to us.
Katherine, thank you for sharing these examples.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Bonnie,
YES~ how the heck are we (children) supposed to figure out that our upbringing wasn’t normal??? This is such a big part of it too.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

13

Hi Ellen
I realized that the shame was a product of the way I was groomed to accept the blame and the failures of others. I write a lot about shame in other posts. It was by realizing who was really responsible for the abuse that I was able to let go of that shame that was not mine.
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Sheryl,
This happens far too often in Church “families” because so many of the members live in that same dysfunctional system. The power and control system. And when that system is in place there is no health. And where there is no health, nothing grows, nothing flourishes.
Thanks for sharing.
Darlene

Hi Susan
Thanks for chiming in! As always you add such clarity. I am so grateful that you found your voice and that you share it.
Hugs Darlene

P.S. to everyone ~ My family can say whatever they want about me blaming others, it matters nothing to me. I do blame others! I didn’t abuse myself. I wasn’t born broken. I was not born with any sorts of depressions and coping methods. I had to develop them because some people did bad things to me and in order to survive, I had to figure out how to cope. But now I have taken my life back and I have found my own voice, and I am going to speak my truth until the whole world realizes that we were innocent children and none of us deserved to have been treated that way. This is my gift and it is too important to keep it to myself.
HUGE SMILES!!!
Love to everyone! Darlene

14

I don’t often share my feelings with my family exactly because they tell me things like “oh, it wasn’t that bad” and “just get over it already” and behind my back I’m called a liar and delusional – none of them are brave enough to say those things to my face, I think because they KNOW that what happened to me really happened and they didn’t do a damned thing to stop it. Even my husband isn’t as supportive as I would like, and tells me “you should have beaten her up” or even “you should have killed her when you had the chance” he can’t comprehend why I was TERRIFIED of my mother until I was 24 even though I never lived with her again after she kicked me out at 14, and he makes me feel, sometimes like he thinks much of it was my own fault, and that I should have put an end to it when I was very young… he can’t really understand because he didn’t experience what I did, coming as he did from a close and loving family. Even my sister discounted my feelings by leaving my son unattended with our mother when he was young – *I was afraid she would abuse him, and while other family convinced me to let her see him, I insisted that there was always someone around to witness her behavour* – and she lied to me about it… he told me, once his vocabulary could handle the job, that Auntie always left him alone with Grandmother, and she still denies it to this day, 2 decades later.
It’s only in places like this, that I can express my feelings and memories without feeling exposed and vulnerable.

15

Hi Darlene,

As always, you get to the heart of the matter. 🙂 I can so relate to the fear of sharing our stories. I agonized over starting my blog. I wondered if anyone would really care about emotional abuse. I wondered if I’d get people telling me that I was over-sensitive or imagining things and should be grateful for all my parents did for me. I too feel fear sometimes of hitting that “Publish” button.

We may feel horrible sometimes, but we need to appreciate how valuable it is for other abuse survivors to hear about our experiences and our healing. Whether we admit it or not, we all look for validation, the knowledge that what we experienced was real and we’re not crazy or over-reacting. I know I do even now when I read posts on blogs and forums about the abusive experiences of others.

So perhaps it helps to think about all of those who are looking for validation of their experiences. If we don’t come forward and tell about our pain in all of its gory detail, they might assume that what they went through or are going through isn’t as bad as it really is.

Stay strong!
Rainbow

16

Past, Present, & Future Tense:

We are the product of our yesterdays

the sum total

of all things good and beautiful

and all things bad and ugly

the abuser says

forget the past

the past doesn’t matter

the past is over

I don’t remember

therefore I’m not responsible

whatever are you talking about?

you lie

you exaggerate

you’re overly sensitive

you’re crazy

it never happened

it wasn’t that bad

and anyway, you had it coming

you brought it on yourself

your duty now is to forgive and forget

so I can do it again

and be forgiven again

why did it take so long for me to notice

the abuser’s compassion

is only for herself?

~Lynda Lee ’09

17

Hi Darlene
~ Welcome to EFB ~ out of over 5200 comments, you are the first commenter that shares my name!
When I look back, I sometimes think that if I had ever been validated, maybe I could have gotten over it. If I had of been supported, understood. It was that bad. And other peoples suggestions about what I could have done differently, feel like I am being blamed for it so they actually add to the distress that is already there. No one can put an end to anything when they are very young. I believed that same lie ~ that I could have done something about it, and because I didn’t, then somehow I consented. That was a very big part of the re-wiring my brain part of the process for me.
Glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Rainbow
~ Exactly! Thanks for sharing your encouragement to all of us that have found our voices!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lynda
Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece with us.
Hugs, Darlene

18

Lynda; that is a beautiful poem! Thank you for sharing!

Hi Darlene! (#14) I’ve had such similar experiences as you describe; and I agree…this is a very safe place to practice sharing our truth. 🙂

19

Lynda,
That poem would make a great template for writing my own story! Thank you for this gift of your own pain and one of the conclusions that you found~!

Does anyone have any experience of having your children or grandchildren blurt out the “sexual abuse” accusation in the wrong direction and a grandparent or step-grandparent ends up in prison for life? I have a friend that told me that is what happened to her husband and I wonder if there are others??

20

Hi Sheryl,
There is no way to know if that story is actually true; that the child was lying. If you think about the millions of sexual abuse charges where the abuser gets off without any penalty, then it stands to reason that there is a real reason that person went to prison. If you think about the denial that we are talking about on this blog ~ that families refuse to acknowledge the abuse even when there are witnesses, then how can you be sure that this is not the case with this story that you heard? This is an invalidating topic for the readers here who have been told for years that they are lying about abuse and falsely accusing parents and grandparents, or whoever so I would really rather stay away from it. It would be very triggering for some.
Thanks and hugs,
Darlene

21

Darlene,
Well, that is one thing I wondered!

22

~Abuse of Innocence~

in innocence born

consciousness awakes
to all things new

wonderful
beautiful
mysterious world

reaching out

with eyes and ears and arms
mouth open

hungry for life
eager to explore
yearning to learn

stumbling forward on wobbly legs
bumping hard edges

falling
ridiculed
clumsy-stupid

why-don’t-you-look-where-you’re-going

crying

i’ll-give-you-something-to-cry-about

battered
~ why?

i didn’t mean to displease you

i will try harder mother
i will be better father

thrown out like garbage
I-BROUGHT-YOU-INTO-THE-WORLD-I-CAN-TAKE-YOU-OUT

this is not a test
this is an actual emergency

alone-cold-hungry-lost-rejected-neglected

shattered mind

broken heart

dying soul

pain is everywhere

pain is everything

it must be my fault

all my fault
they said it was

clutching my pillow, my only friend

~Lynda

23

Lynda; your poetry is so touching; I don’t want to interpret your thoughts or feelings so will only say I get it and am glad you have chosen to share your creative expressions here. This poem reminds me of that place where I was facing the grief about my reality and learning to let go of the pain vs the numbness when I denied or avoided it. Thank you for sharing this:) Many hugs and appreciation….

24

Sheryl – post #19
A friend of my family was accused by his step-daughter of molestation and rape. He spent 2 years and 10s of thousands of dollars defending himself from those charges… spent weeks in remand pre-trial, and when the case finally went before a judge, the girl recanted and said UNDER OATH that she had lied because her mother put her up to it, and the abuser was actually her mother’s boyfriend, not her step-father. Turned out, the mother just wanted her son back. My friend, the step-father was the bio-dad of the boy and he had custody because when the mother had the baby, she didn’t want to be bothered with taking care of him, but he had grown up some (he was 6 or 7) and could start doing work around the house like the older girl was forced to do.
As the story finally played out, the mother had been “renting” her daughter out to men, and was planning the same fate for her son. She still walks the streets, no charges ever having been laid, because of the girl’s original lie – she wasn’t a “reliable witness”.

25

This fear is so paralysing. It’s fear of many things.

Fear that I won’t be believed because ‘they’ said I wouldn’t be believed.

Fear that no one would believe things so horrific could possibly have happened.

Fear of all the things ‘they’ threatened me would befall me if I ever told.

Fear that I will be called a liar.

Fear that maybe I’ve got it all wrong although I know it to be the truth.

Fear of being accused of making it all up.

Fear of what will friends say if I tell them the truth after years of evading questions about family etc

Fear of being dismissed or minimised by those I take into my confidence

That names just a few of the fears.

My entire life has been ruled by fear, sheer terror a lot of the time.

The fear kept me silent for many years and so nearly killed. The fear makes me freeze when I try to talk about the events of my childhood. I feel the fear every time I make a comment and hit ‘publish’.

I remember how when I first established my blog nearly 3 years ago I was so afraid of being vulnerable and exposing the truth and how it affects me.

I keep choosing to face the fear head on because I cannot continue to be ruled by it!

26

Fi MacLeod:

“Fear that I won’t be believed because ‘they’ said I wouldn’t be believed.”

“Fear that no one would believe things so horrific could possibly have happened.”

“Fear that I will be called a liar.”

“Fear that maybe I’ve got it all wrong although I know it to be the truth.”

“Fear of being accused of making it all up.”

“Fear of being dismissed or minimised by those I take into my confidence.”

ME, TOO~
Lynda

27

Hi Fi!
Thank you for sharing your “fear list”. It’s really great, really complete. I can relate to all of it and I know that others can and will too. The fears are valid and come from no where strange, but we have been ridiculed for having fears too, so even admitting fear seems unsafe!
I made that decision too, not only not to be ruled by the fear, but not to be ruled by the past, not to be ruled by THEM and not to be ruled by the lies.
It is so great to have you here!!
Hugs, Darlene

28

Those who abuse FEAR the revelation, so they project that FEAR into those they abuse, and do so in many ways…. they become adept at manipulating others to protect themselves.

Those who have not faced their own abuse or mistreatment FEAR those who are honest about their abuse or mistreatment because it demands that they FACE the truth of their experience… which they have been suppressing. So the suppress those who cry for help.

Hierarchy FEARS the honest transparent child, for that child will immediately speak out when he or she feels an injustice, and so Hierarchy demands that ALL children be terrorised into compliance.

Hierarchy and Abusers are of the same manipulative psychology.

Bravo! To you, for writing of your own experience so honestly. Bravo!

Your honesty is a gift and is wisdom.

The sad truth is that it is ONLY because Survivors have spoken out that the TRUTH is being revealed about how the mistreatment and abuse of children is all too common, and if looked at honestly we can see that this mistreatment of children is at the base of ALL hierarchical power systems, from the personal to the collective.

29

Darlene,

I get butterflies when I post here. To be honest, I think I fear criticism from people who read the posts — although that has not happened yet. Also, the first three or four time I posted, I wasn’t sure what to expect from you, the Boss of the website. (: Lucky for me, so far, I have only found warm reception and kind words of encouragement. I hope that will continue. It is why, when I felt so down the other day, I felt like I had no better place to come than right here to Emerging From Broken. I am happy to have a “safe place” to talk through what is happening in my life. You have all blessed me.

Kellie

30

Susan Kingsley Smith,

You mentioned here “I’ll give you something to cry about.” Man! I had completely forgotten it, but my mom always said that to us when we were upset about something that she didn’t think we should be upset about.

It reminds me once again of how our feelings were not only discounted and ignored, but also the excuse used to cause even more harm! If a child is frightened, or sad, or angry, what the hell good does it do to scare them more just to try to shut them up?! I am so incensed when I remember these things my mother did to me! I think of the little girl I was, and how terribly unfair it was to have been treated that way. I see myself as a tiny light in a fog and my mother kept trying to snuff me out one way or the other. I was never convenient. I hate that! I had a younger brother who was very tender hearted, and if he cried, the whole house came to his aid! Now, my mother wonders why her children aren’t close. What did she expect?! UGH. I could go on and on. I guess it’s journal time. Thanks for sharing and helping me unearth old bones so I can lay them to rest properly.

Kellie

31

Sheryl,

Regarding churches, I’ve often heard the phrase, “We shoot our own wounded.” How sad, but how very, very true I have found that to be. I try to remember that Jesus particularly targeted the downtrodden in His ministry on earth, and encouraged us to be kind to “the least of these”. He is our Great High Priest according to Hebrews, and suffered the ultimate abuse and rejection for our sakes. It gives me great hope to think that His “followers” are just wounded and misguided humans themselves, and that they don’t necessarily represent His character. I look forward to the judgment when He will wipe away all our pain.

Kellie

32
Renee-A Ressurected Spirit
March 12th, 2011 at 7:14 am

Dear people,
I need some encouragement because I can’t quite crying. Yesturday I called one of my brothers to ask about the tsunami that was going to hit Hawaii. His son lives there as does my sister. He was in the Coast Guard there so for info I go to him. We were talking about family members and I mentioned my youngest daughter. He said of all the Neices and Nephews we have she is on the top of his list. Then he said I hate her and she is nothing but a F—- B—-. He said he could care less if she lived or died. It broke my heart. My daughter has mental issues and we are unable to have a relationship because of the things she does. My oldest daughter feels the same and Lisa and I have a good relationship. But it hurts all the same that someone could hate her that much, because when I was growing up I knew how it felt to be unloved.
Renee

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Dear Renee, my heart aches with you. People don’t seem to realize the power of WORDS, especially words spoken by a family member. One of my sisters wrote some hateful words about me on fb several months ago that shattered me, I couldn’t stop crying then, either.

I know my sister is ignorant about many things, judgmental, and cold. It sounds like your brother is, too. I have decided not to allow my sister’s hateful judgmental ignorance bring me down, ever again. I hope you can make that determination about your brother.

It is terribly sad that the ones who need love the most, like you troubled daughter, are the ones who receive the most rejection in life. If her injuries were physical, no one would expect her to heal if they kept punching her in her wounds… anyone with half a brain would know that would only worsen her physical condition. But our society makes it a practice to cause repeated psychological harm to those who are mentally ill…. and then wonder why they continue to get worse, not better. Now, THAT’S crazy!

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Hi Lynda

Thanks for telling me how you related to my fear list. I love the poem you wrote – “pain is everywhere, pain is everything, it must be my fault, they said it was”. That describes it so well and so succinctly.

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Renee – I hear your pain – I too grew up being hated, despised and knowing I wasn’t loved and my heart aches when I hear of other people be treated so hatefully. It makes me so angry, it is such unnecessary suffering, is it really so hard to love?

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Hi Corneilius,
Welcome ~ Thank you for your summary, it is very true and very well done. That is how it works. I often refer to the hierarchy as “the pecking order system” I agree with you that abusers follow the same manipulative psychology but today I do not summit to it. Today I strive to live in equality, to use my power to empower others who found themselves in that same abusive and dysfunctional system.
Thanks for joining in the conversation!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Kellie,
I totally related to your comment and I appreciate you expanding on this subject in that way. I hadn’t thought to include my fears of the readers! (and that is a huge part of this subject!) I also fear what others will say, or think, or how they will judge me. That part gets easier all the time!
I am so glad that you feel safe here! I am really really pleased about how much warmth and encouragement there is for all of us, and how everyone is so supportive of each other. It is really cool.
So glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Renee,
I am so sorry that you are going through this with your brothers cruelty. It is SO hard when someone dislikes our precious children. Try to remember that just because he has that opinion, it doesn’t mean that he is right. This is not about your daughter, but about his character.
Sending you big hugs,
Darlene

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Very well said, Darlene, in your comment to Renee re her brother: “This is not about your daughter, but about his character.”

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Renee, When someone hates our child, it does hurt us. My prayers are with you and your daughter. I can even say prayers for your brother because he is acting out of his dysfunction. His dysfunction isn’t an excuse for his behavior or hurting words but it is his reality. You have my phone number if you want to talk.

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When you expose things, bring things out into the light, whether you are dealing with the truth of what happened to you, or the truth of how it still affects you and your everyday life and relationships, you do in fact place yourself in a vulnerable position, with the possibility of being rejected and facing that final abandonment that you have always feared. And even if we are no longer the helpless child we were, the pain is still very real, both the pain of the past, and the pain that those long ago fears are now realized. And I know that living in denial of the fact that you are not loved unconditionally is not healthy, it is still painful when you face that fact in all it’s truth. And sometimes it takes a long time and a lot of work to be strong enough to face this and accept it and move on.

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Hi Carla,
This is so very true. This is what we are facing. It is a huge risk and a huge decision to go all the way with healing. I have met many who settle for half the journey, because that final risk of facing the possibility of the final abandonment is just too much to face. and it does take a long time and a lot of work to go forward. Looking back it has always been worth it and that is what keeps me going forward still today.
Thanks for sharing this Carla, even though it carries a certain amount of pain, it also carries a certain amount of hope. And where there is pain, hope is what we need the most!
hugs, Darlene

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Carla, thank you for explaining the fear and the pain so eloquently. You helped me understand my fear even more clearly… it’s not a “bad” thing, not a “weakness,” but real and very normal.

Darlene, thank you for your constant encouragement to believe that the healing is worth the pain of getting there.

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Renee-A Ressurected Spirit
March 14th, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Carla,
It took me years to get me where I am at today. I have traveled so long and the road has been rough. But I am here and it was worth it. The alternative was not an option. I am tougher, in some ways. I am always cautious of my suroundings. But I am here and that counts hugh. It does in my book any way. I have my youngest sister living with me and it gets hard. She is just beginning and it reminds me of how far I have come. I keep telling her that it’s a long journey and its worth it. She wants to give up and I tell her that is no option. I told her that it is ok to get into counseling for a while (about a year) then if she needs to step back and rest that is ok. As long as she knows she has to start up again. She asked me how long will it take and I said her journey is up to her and how hard she wants to work on “her”. She keeps sayiong over and over, I don’t want to do this. I keep saying ” How is your life working for you right now.?” She say’s I get your point.
I want to be angry because it is so unfair, not right, cruel, and why me! Then I pick myself up and get back to work on myself.
Renee

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What I want to talk about more is realizing the truth. I think I have finally figured something out and that is that my dad was a sex addict in addition to being an alcoholic. I’ve encountered at least 2 obvious sex addicts and I’ve done some research. My mom proudly said that they had sex EVERY night because they wanted to have children. And, he was with another woman for a long time before finally getting divorced from my mom. Sometimes when he would visit they would go in another room and lock the door. And, so I think she thought she could eventually get him back because of the sex. When I was older and at a reception after his new marriage, he turned to me and looked deep in my eyes and put his hand on my thigh. I looked angrily back at him and some of my new inlaws thought the scene was funny. (don’t know why)

But, at 21 I was still a virgin and the guys I dated I somehow found out they wanted to use me. So, I saw my mother as a victim, waited for the perfect guy to get married. I decided I wouldn’t be like her and that I would pick the first guy. The guy I picked was a sex addict! Interesting.

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Well, the goodlooking sex addict that everyone in town wanted ended up having to tell everyone in town that he was HIV positive, including me. I later found out that he had raped one of my friends and tried to pickup another friend at a gas station while she was sitting in her car. Then there were the rumors that he was at gay bars. Ugg!

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Oh Bonnie I am sorry. It is like “Just one more thing” I hope you get tested and are ok. Please take care.
Renee

Thank you for all your support and for being here for me. I know you care, and I know it is real and not words. that means “life” to me because I feel connected with people which never has happened to me…Thank you
Renee

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@ Renee – Actually that happened some time ago. I was in the military and got tested for HIV regularly. Never got it! Thanks anyway.

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Darlene,

I am afraid to share too much because it is scary to show my vulnerability. Abuse leaves marks upon us that seem to attrack new abusers. It is scary to share because I don’t want to be abused again.
Also part of me still thinks that I was stupid not to know what was happening to me with the sexual abuse. I was gullible and I’m afraid that part of me still is.

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Hi Pam,
I, too, believe that abusers look for people who have been abused, and are therefore vulnerable to more abuse. I have certainly experienced that in my own life ~ abusers being drawn to me BECAUSE I was so obviously “broken.”

I have also found that it is very important to carefully pick and choose the people we will share our trauma stories with. It is re-traumatizing to share our stories with people who don’t care, or don’t understand, or who ignorantly think that telling us to “just forgive,” or “just stop thinking about it,” will make our problems magically all go away.

Try telling that to the paraplegiac who was paralyzed in an automobile accident many years ago. “Just forgive the person who crashed into you… just stop thinking about it, and get on with your life, it happened so long ago, stop living in the past…” You can forgive, you may be able to stop thinking about it, you can focus all your attention on the present, but you are still going to be paralyzed, until and unless someone finds a way to heal that physical paralysis.

Lynda

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Lynda,

People don’t understand and most don’t try to understand. I know what you mean by retraumatizing because I have spent the last four years trying to get through to my birth family and get them to acknowlege that I was sexually abused. I got nowhere with them and all those old injuries have brought me new pain. What I did achieve is that I know for sure that the disreguard I have felt is very real. When they tell me to forget the past, they have no empathy for my pain but are seeking to cover their own evil. When they say that I don’t forgive, they are in truth asking me to carry pretense for them. I do forgive but they can’t receive that forgiveness because they won’t acknowledge what they’ve done. I would like nothing better than for them to be able to receive my forgiveness. It would mean that they felt sorry for what they did but they don’t and I know that if they had the opportunity, they would do it again. Divorcing my birth family is a matter of self-preservation. I do forgive because I will not allow them to fill me with hate. They will not polute my soul and I will not become like them. I forgive but I don’t trust. I would be very foolish to trust them.

I don’t know how to stop a flash-back. Those memories come and go as they please. They are not under my control just as the things that happened to me were not under my control. If those people had survived the things we’ve survived they’d know that our behavior isn’t all that unreasonable.

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Hi Pam,
That is one of the biggest things that I learned; that I still feared that I would be vulnerable to all sorts of abuse. (and the fear was very real, and just telling myself that I could protect myself now was not enough) I had to find out why I had those beliefs. That is what I write about . Finding the truth, and the beliefs that I accepted because of those events, and replacing those lies with the truth. That is how I got my life back.
It IS SCARY to face this stuff.. but for me it has been the most life changing and rewarding work that I never imagined. I just wanted to be okay. I just wanted to be able to get up in the morning. I got WAY more then that!
Hugs, Darlene

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YAAAY Darlene!!

That is the biggest reason why I love your blog so much. YOU FOUND A WAY, and in your blog you are showing us that way. I’m following in your blog-steps, Darlene.

Lynda

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PS~ I have just totally been ignoring my own blog for months, because I keep coming HERE, to read, and then comment, several times a day.

I started my own blog, “Coming Out of the cRaZy Closet,” after I found this “Emerging From Broken” blog back in October or November, when I was searching so desperately online for HELP, because I had just been re-traumatized, in a way that had opened up many of those old trauma wounds that I had thought were healed. Being on a low income, and living far out in a remote area, I had no one local to go to for help, so I had no choice but to look online.

After I started reading your blog, Darlene, I felt emboldened to start my own blog, as a way of demonstrating to myself, and to the world, that I am no longer Hating Myself, and I no longer feel Ashamed of my “CRAZY” History, but instead, I now am learning to genuinely LIKE and LOVE Myself, and I now feel PROUD of all that I have Survived in my traumatic life! No More Hiding in SHAME… I am OUT OF THE CRAZY CLOSET, BABY!!

I also started my “Coming Out of the cRaZy Closet” blog, and book, as a means of reaching out to help others who have been so badly hurt and broken, as I have been.

But FIRST, I need MORE HEALING. So here I am, day after day, greedily feasting on your wonderful encouraging empowering blog, Darlene… while my own blog just sits there, with no new posts, day after day, week after week, month after month… I don’t even check very often for comments on the few posts that I do have on my blog, I’m ashamed to say.

However, I believe that is OK. I need this, now… just as you had your season of healing, Darlene, with the great savvy therapist you found, BEFORE you were ready to share with the world how you have been healed from being so badly broken. When I am ready, my blog, and my book, will be written. It may be days from now, it may be years from now… I don’t know, and I am not going to rush my healing journey, to make it happen faster. OH how I WANT to be 100% healed, RIGHT NOW. But I will take these healing steps, no faster than it is healthy for me to go. I will trust my inner instincts on that. As I said in one of my other comments on your Mothers Day post, I believe that no two trauma victims are exactly alike, no two trauma histories are exactly alike, and therefore the timetable, and even the pathway, to total healing, will probably not be exactly alike for any two people, either, in my opinion.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for being here, and for sharing YOURSELF with us, Darlene.

Lynda

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PPS~ Darlene, I have a file on my computer labelled “Blog Post Ideas.” I have a total of 81 separate ideas in that file, for posts on my blog. So I haven’t given up on it by any means… I’m just not quite ready. It’s gelling, though!

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Lynda
You are welcome , welcome, welcome! I am so glad that it is making a difference to you! When I faced my history, everything changed for me.
Hugs, Darlene

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Hello lovely survivors
We are child abuse survivors and we are strong
We unite JULY 20th http://www.SURVIVORSANDVICTIMSDAY.com
We connect with survivors of child abuse and in solidarity we break our silence
Activities vary
Balloon launch for awareness
Candle vigil in honor of those that did not survive
Poetry reading Guest speakers
Giveaways – music and more
Host in your area please
contact info@lindaBeaudoin.com

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Darlene,

You wrote abour being discounted and about having fear and not really exploring the cause of that fear (relating to your first blog that you didn’t tell anyone about). I have those fears also. How were you able to overcome them? I feel very stuck and stagnant in my life. I have ideas and goals that for whatever reason, I fear to follow through with them.

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I sent this story to my best friend who constantly invalidates anything and everything I share with her. This was her response: As a person who truly went through child abuse, I refuse to be a victim. I did what was needed to finally break free of any chains that may have kept me down. I learned a ‘recipe’ that helped me come to terms with it all.
1) Let go of all bitterness and anger – none of it was your fault
2) Make the best of the situation – what are your positives
3) Wait on God – He will eventually right all wrongs.
This brings great peace of mind…given to me by those I trust. The hardest part is step 1. Once it’s understood that things that happen like that are not your fault, It works and helps eliminate a lot of pain, and brings acceptance.
Just had to give my feedback since I feel so strongly about child abuse…I lived it.

She TOTALLY invalidates MY feelings about the abuse I went through…like mine was not near as bad as hers. With her, it’s always a contest about who had it worse. IT WAS AS BAD FOR ME. Maybe not in the way SHE thinks about it, but it WAS horrible for me. I was stunned by her response and can’t find the words to put together to let her know how I feel.

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Hi Chris
This whole website is about how I overcame. How I overcame fear, depressions and dissociations. All of these things had roots. They all began somewhere and it was in finding out where they began and realizing that because of events that happened to me and false messages that i had been given all throughout childhood, I had developed a belief system full of lies. It was in getting to the bottom of all that stuff and changeing those lies baci to the truth, that I overcame.
I hope you will read more of the articles here for insight. You are certainly not alone!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Teresa
Have you tried to tell your freind how this makes you feel? Abuse is abuse and it is unfair for anyone to decide that theirs was worse; it is invalidating and unsupportive. AND most of all, it does not help. I have written a lot in this site about unhelpful things people say in order to shed light on how them.
Perhaps your friend could tell you HOW she did all that in order to find her freedom. What are HER positives about child abuse? And the thing about waiting on God.. although I have a strong faith, when I hear directives like that it makes me think about the thousands of people who ask me “where was god?” I did all the things that your friend told you to do… (or so I thought) and in the end it didn’t work until I faced this stuff the way that I write about here.
Some people however can’t stand what I write about here. They do not want to look that closely or do what it takes to recover that deeply.
Hugs, Darlene

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I’m so happy I dug up this post today, I really needed to hear that … thank you …
My husband is aware of the work I’m doing emotionally – and regularly asks me for ‘updates’ on what I’ve been thinking about … etc. (SO supportive!) But, I have to overcome SO many walls of fear just to be able to get the words out, to even begin to tell him what experience I’m thinking on … (Clawing my way past the fear of being laughed at, fear of being told I’m being ‘overly dramatic’, fear of being discounted, fear of being told I’m ‘remembering it wrong’, fear of … well – pretty much all the things that happened every time I tried to express myself and look for support while I was growing up.) Even though he has PROVEN for years that HE isn’t that way, that he listens and has such a caring heart – it’s still such a part of me to believe that NO one would listen if I DID talk …

It feels good to realize where all that fear is coming from, and to know that I can eventually work through it. (thanks for another great, seriously helpful post!)
KR

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YAY Kera
Thanks for sharing! That is a really fantastic discovery!
Hugs, Darlene

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Thank you Darlene for this post. I’m right smack dab in another process of my healing. I am standing in the middle of my two beautiful nieces and their mother..my sister. Although I have come a long way in my own healing journey I find myself being triggered with being in my original family dysfunction. My nieces share things my sister does (and she doesn’t know it) and it’s very upsetting to me. Since I’ve been on this journey I share resources with them and let them know I am here for them. It’s very challenging to know how much information to give them and what I am realizing is that when you are heavy in the dysfunction, the truth does not go over very well, in fact because I now represent the truth, I am receiving a lot of back lash from my sister. I read over some posts I made on my facebook and was trying to understand some of my sisters comments. I couldn’t see what she was seeing in them which made me realize how wounded she still is. She is doing a lot of projecting and blaming me for acting like a victim and not moving forward with my life. Very interesting comment from someone that chooses not to deal with her pain. I’m not taking the comments personally which really shows me how far I have come. My challenge now is that when my sister confronts the girls if they are being “abused” they tell her no, which of course makes me look like I am accusing her of being an abuser. My sister and I have exchanged some angry emails and it’s clear we don’t want a relationship with each other anymore. I don’t know how to have a relationship with my nieces now because I feel like I am some kind of wedge between them. I realize that my truths are not welcome in my family and I sense the girls feel torn between me and my sister. I’m doing my best to be the bigger person here but let me tell you my anger can get the best of me if I’m not careful. The last thing I want to do is drag my nieces deeper into the dysfunction. There is so much lying going on in my sisters family just like there was in our family. I love my nieces dearly but I have no idea what to do with all this lying. They told me they are afraid of my sister’s reactions when they tell the truth so I totally get why they tell her what she wants to here…same old, same old happening once again. I know my sister is using what I say to her as weapons to her girls. She is angry at me for giving her the truth but she lashes out to the girls and it puts them in a very bad position. My two nieces are coming in alone to visit with me and I’m at a loss at how to interact with them since all this drama just happened. I’m just going to let them bring it up if they want to talk because me initiating it seems to open up too much stuff. I am tapping into everything I am learning right now and it’s a bit overwhelming. Just like you talk about here, I feel all this fear for standing up to my sister…I feel wrong or bad for speaking my truth. She is in complete denial about her own behaviour and she’s not used to me standing up to her in this way. I think what I have really learned from all this is people have to “choose” this journey…otherwise anything that I have to offer just gets rejected and makes me feel bad. Taking care of myself through all this will be proof that I have come a long way. I’m taking this whole situation that the Universe is showing me how strong I really am. I’m very vulnerable right now and I would be lying if I said this doesn’t hurt me, it does, but I won’t allow it to tear me down. My nieces are in the middle of a storm and I need to be the calm. It’s because of people like you Darlene that step up and break the cycle. I’m it in my family and when I look at my whole family history, I’m pretty much it too. No one likes to look at this stuff, they have just accepted the unacceptable. I choose more for myself and when it comes to my own family I need to just walk away and let them come to me when they are ready to deal with the real issues. I take full responsibility for my short comings because I am still learning and one day I hope all of this will just be a distant memory with no emotional attachments. I sure admire all of us for doing this work, it’s not easy but it sure is worth. Love to all!

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Hi Lora
Yay for taking care of you! The real healing began when I saw that when I take care of me, I can make a huge difference in the lives I touch.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

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