After a lifetime of Invalidation Self Love Began with Self Validating



Darlene Ouimet

It was so important for me to believe that my childhood had in fact been difficult. I had been brainwashed that my childhood was wonderful, normal and that I was one of the “privileged” people in the world.  I believed that something was wrong with me because I had so many struggles with depressions and emotional issues.  I felt guilty that I was so unhappy because I had been convinced that I was so fortunate to have grown up in the family I had. I believed that I had wonderful, hard working parents who did their best for me. I constantly looked to those “less fortunate” in order to beat myself up about how “ungrateful” that I was.

I bought their definition of “normal” hook, line and sinker.  No wonder I always felt like I was drowning.

The way that I was raised was not healthy nor was it “normal”.  But how was I to know that? It was my normal. It was all I knew. I had no frame of reference for any other way of life.  I had to face that although I had been “told” that I was a liar and an exaggerator, I did in fact know the truth about at least some of the things that had happened to me and that those things were wrong. I had to listen to myself. I had to believe myself. I had to validate the pain that being devalued, dismissed and treated as “not quite valid” as a person had an effect on me. A lasting effect. There was damage done. TO ME.

I deserved to heal, but first I had to believe that I had something I needed to heal from. I had to believe myself regardless of the lifelong message that I had nothing to complain about.  I had to validate my story. I had to validate my pain. I had to validate ME and stop waiting for someone else to validate me.

This was the beginning of healing for me.

I was in my early 40’s the first time I connected that the sexual abuse in my childhood had happened to me. I had effectively separated those events from myself.  I dissociated (hence the term “dissociative identity disorder) and dissociating enabled me to cope.

(Regarding Dissociative Identity Disorder and Multiple Personality Disorder ~ not everyone who has dissociative identity disorder or dissociative issues, fragments into alter personalities. Many people who have dissociative identity do just that ~ they dissociate from their identity. They disconnect from themselves without developing other personalities to cope “for them”. The dissociation in itself is the coping method.)

I also developed multiple personality disorder (now known as dissociative identity disorder), which means in my case, that I fragmented or split into multiple personalities as a method of survival. The first time I realized that it was MY body that was violated I sat stunned, repeating over and over again; “That happened to me… that happened to ME!”  I finally connected one horrible and frightening event to myself. I was shocked that I’d never realized that it happened to ME and in fact I was realizing it for the very first time.  I had effectively disconnected myself and my body from the feelings and the pain and even from the truth.

Furthermore I convinced myself that because I had split into “more than one person” that the abuse did not actually happen to me, but instead, I believed that it happened “to them”. I believed it happened to “those alter personalities” inside of me. I personally disconnected from it. I disconnected from myself. Although as a child, having dissociative identity disorder was what kept me alive and it was how I coped and survived, it was also what was in my way as an adult. 

In order to move forward and out of survival mode, I had to face what caused me to go into survivor mode.  I had to face what caused me to fragment into multiple personalities. I had to shift my focus from being fascinated with my alter personalities, to realizing where they came from and that each of them was really me and that each of them held memories of things that happened to ME. Then I had to connect myself to the memories I had.  

I was afraid of the pain. I was afraid to “go there” and take a look.  I was afraid of the feelings. I thought I could just keep going forward and forget that stuff from so long ago. But my depressions increased. I was withdrawing from life more and more so my quality of life was poor. My children were beginning to suffer from my dissociation and dissociative identity issues and my children were getting old enough to realize that mommy was often “somewhere else”.

 Deep down I thought the “truth” might kill me. But when I thought about it, all my life I had been taught to deny the truth. I had been taught that feeling the pain was never an option. That is why I dissociated.  I was surprised that the pain of facing the past was never as bad as the pain that I had been living in for so long.  I was exhausted from the energy it took to avoid facing the past. My depressions were getting worse because of all that denial! In facing it all, I found my identity and I was able to overcome all mental health issues.

It is so important to talk about abuse ~ ALL abuse. It was so important for me to talk about what happened to me. In talking about it I was able to hear myself and realize that it had been wrong. It was important to talk to an understanding person.  Since my family had invalidated me all of my life, they were not the people to tell. I was careful not to talk with people that would tell me that I had to forgive. (because that was invalidating) I was careful not to choose people fond of expressions like “the past is in the past” or “just get over it”. (because that was also invalidating) The goal was to validate that what happened to me was wrong. The goal was to affirm that there was damage that there was a reason that I had been struggling. The goal was to realize that my chronic depressions came from somewhere. I found out and embraced the truth that my depressions and dissociative identity issues had a root cause.

By looking at the truth and validating myself, I affirmed that I needed to heal and that I had a right to heal.  I needed to validate that the things that happened to me did happen and to FEEL the feelings that I tried to avoid most of my life. It was in facing, validating and feeling those feelings that I found healing, wholeness, and freedom.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and feelings here.  I look forward to your feedback.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time

Darlene Ouimet

All the “how” I did this has been compiled into a 197 page e-book “The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” and is available on the upper right side bar of this website. 

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Categories : Self Esteem




Thank you for being here…I always have an appreciation for what you have to say because you speak from the heart and it is always the truth…I have great respect for those that speak the truth.

I feel lost in the dysfunction of my childhood at times and fight for clarity to heal all that was lost….it hurts that there are few pictures of me as a child…like no one cared enough to even photograph me….it hurts to the core of my soul to have never been heard and validated as I grappled with the horror of being abused as a baby by a horrible old man….I completely relate to feeling as if the truth of my life could possibly kill me….I feel it almost did as a child…I remember having a horrific nightmare about my abuser one night and subsequently it seemed like only a short time afterward I got spinal meningitis and was in the hospital fighting to live. I think it is the isolation that almost kills you more than anything else….the isolation of the abuse and then in my case the isolation of my sickness and the lack of loving support from my mother could have killed me….for some reason god wants me here still…so, here I sit….hopefully able to make some clarity of it all and help others along the way…..I just kind of rambled…thanks for reading


you are my hero . where do i start ? i try to read all your blogs they are so powerful. i am trying to peal off the toxic layers of my childhood abuse , this passed two weeks ive been back to the old darkness at its deepest my depression i dont know how to validate myself from all the dammage my parents did to me as a child and young adult. but iam a work in progress, i really admire and respect you ,you’ve lite path journey that we the abuse suriviers have to walk to heal . your words are so inspiring i want to thank you for all you post on here there are so many children/adults that are hidden in the darkness of the pain of the unhealed abuse . threw you we can have a voice threw you we can be seen as we was toxily told your to be seen not hurd . you make us all that are abused heal you make us matter and i want to really thank you for making us matter making our pain matter when we didnt matter then or now . i dont know if speak for all of us in pain but i speak from my heart and soul thank you for all you do .


I can associate with your words here so very very much. They resonate through to he very core of my being.

Your strength is an inspiration.


This feeling, the feeling i am left with after reading this is just, i am not alone.. a feeling of, taking a much needed deep breath.. i believe children have an inherent drive to make sense of their reality, in a childhood like mine, yours, ours it is made so difficult to make sense of it.. as how it feels, is not how it looks, how it feels, is not how we are being told it is… Its frightening, confusing enough as i look back at that time in my life.. i can’t even imagine i dont think,or i don’t completely remember how it truly felt back then… i know i dissociated,(i was also diagnosed as having dissociation disorder).. there are vast amounts of my life that i still don’t remember, vasts amounts of feelings i had that i can’t describe or express. I slept, a lot, as a child.. my way of escaping i guess. Looking back at pictures of my childhood, you would see me sleeping in the background, Life happening all around me, celebrations happening around me, family get togethers all around me, but there sitting, laying, leaning in the background, was me.. sleeping…


Thanks for sharing Kelly


Kelly’s comment about sleeping…in my case, my mother made me sleep all afternoon it seemed until I went to school all day, and to bed EARLY in the evening. It was enforced upon me, and now my dad abuses me with statements like, “What do you do, stay in bed all day?” I can’t tell you how angry that makes me. They didn’t want me around to begin with, and I have been through hell of 20 years of abuse, single with children, struggling to make it at all, and he STILL is like “enforcing” this lazy/bed image on me!!

And after my son has run away, SO many things said by my dad come back to mind. One, because I never stood up to him until my 40’s, and two, because he said SO many hurtful things to my children. He yelled at them right after the divorce when we had to live with my parents. It was at, of all things, my sister’s b’day party dinner, and he yelled at my two youngest boys and called them heathens. My youngest son ran into the living room, looked up heathen in the dictionary and collapsed on the couch in tears, refusing to come back in the room. I told my dad to apologize, but I did it in private; it should have been requested in public. I was at a real down time and disadvantage and they took advantage of me badly.

Now, no one’s paycheck is more important to me than my own. This means that I do not support a pastor (who tells me how to think) I don’t depend on my parents anymore (who take advantage and abuse us all, like always) etc. And for my 17-year-old runaway son, he wants so badly to “feel what it is like to be his OWN person” that he is speeding up the time table. I truly believe that we are not able to face the truth until we are NOT financially dependent upon these people that abuse us!


Hi Darlene

It’s so hard for me to speak about the thing that happened because as you have said so often in your own story: I had been brainwashed.. I had been brainwashed to not think of myself . not speak of myself and above all not to let anyone know my sufferings..

Of course the trauma of having a priest tell me I was displeasing to God for crying out and sharing the abuse done to me .. even in the confessional .. was enough to shape my mind into believing that speaking of hurt was displeasing to God.

As I grew up and talked to the nuns they only fed me more nonsense.. they were good to me .. they allowed me to read any book in their library.. THose books however told me pretty much what the priest did, that the more one suffered the more pleasing one was to God..

Suffering in silence was considered saintly while complaining was seen as selfish. I wanted so badly to be a saint because we were taught only saints go to Heaven.

I “slipped” once in telling that teacher but after that I was a good girl and lived under the rule of silence and accepted all the abuse emotional, physical sexual as ways to God.

Now I am wondering why would God who is all good and loving want to see anyone suffer..but back then it made sense as everyone believed it. .The whole church believed it.. Just look up the lives of saints.. they were saints because they suffered ..

I am wanting to become more open but so much junk from the past is blocking the way so I have to keep pushing through the junk before I can do what I must to heal.

I get so discouraged . I dont know how to do anything.. Literally I am like a child as I don’t know how to open up. . I don’t know how to talk of hurts since that was taboo for all my life. .how do you do what you dont know how to do? I want to heal but I have many obstacles

I do know I deserve a better life. I am learning to care for myself but the one thing I have trouble with still is talking about myself.. my hurts.. it sounds so foreign and I can hear years and years of voices telling me it’s selfish to talk about past hurt.



I too believe the truth, the trueness of our lives, ourselves, our pains, dont’ fully come to the surface until we are no longer dependant on these people.. it isn’t safe until then.. That doesn’t mean they will stop trying to drag us down, because they do will.. We can only change ourselves, not them.. we can change the way we react to them, but we can’t change how they act towards us.. Its not easy though is it Kate, to continually try to move forward, as they continually try to drag us back?


Do you have friends or a friend that you can talk to on the phone at least, or in person?


Hi Karla
You honour me greatly! Thank you so much. I am so blessed to have you here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi JanMetalMan
Thank you for your comments! I am so pleased to know when I write something that resonates deeply!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jenny
Thank you so much! (I feel like I am being showered with love and affirmation today! I LOVE it!) I am a truth seeker and a truth speaker! Abuse isolates us for sure. If a child is abused and taken care of; loved, validated and nurtured, then the horror of the abuse is validated, the child is soothed. The child knows that they are still loved and not alone. BUT when abuse is ignored, or invalidated, the CHILD is ignored and invalidated. The child IS alone. And that is not the easiest thing to recover from… but knowing that is what enabled me to have a place to begin.
Thank you so much for adding your voice to this today! Isolation and feelings of isolation are a huge part of this!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Kelly
YES. I love your comments. I totally relate.
And I still love to know that I am not alone! I still love when I get feedback from others, that they felt that way too, they they KNOW, we know, you know what I am talking about here.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kate,
My mother did that too. I was forced to sleep and then had trouble sleeping at night. (and some parents abuse by depriving sleep) However when depressions set in, I was a sleeper too. My depressions looked like me not being able to get enough sleep. That was another coping method for me as well. About your comment : (kate said) “I truly believe that we are not able to face the truth until we are NOT financially dependent upon these people that abuse us!” I will add one thing to that. We are most often not able to face the whole truth as long as we are ANY KIND OF dependent on the people who abused us.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Joy
I just kept pressing forward. I just kept looking, talking and trying. That is how I did it. I kept looking for the truth leaks, the teachings that didn’t make sense. The way that they did not follow their own rules. That was how I broke through the brainwashing barrier. Keep going forward! the more I pressed on, the less trouble I had talking about stuff. I began to value me. I knew I had to get that stuff out. it took time!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Kate

Yes I have a few contacts.. Talk to my landlord and her twin sister almost every day . .they are older and just like to have someone to listen to them. I have another friend.. who is also older and talk with her.. I don’t really have anyone else by phone .. I do talk with my T weekly which is very therapeutic.



Hi Darlene..

I value you myself but am so shy about talking about myself and hurts.. it sounds so strange to me .. I know its ok to do so but .. its still so hard.. I keep on trying..

Thank you, Darlene, for your beautiful words and support. you are so special




this explains all I am living through that in itself helps with my validation. I still have a sense of living in a mist as time moves forward I seem to go through different levels of awareness. mind and body emerging painfully slowly from deep traumatic shocks. thank you for this very helpful post. I want to read all these comments and posts again when I am less tired.


Darlene, Thanks for writing this. I know I’m still connecting myself to past events and I’m embracing the pieces of myself. All those pieces were called, Pam but were not the whole me. I don’t feel like I have the words to describe what is happening inside of me. I do know I’m not imagining it because my family sees it happening from the outside. It is self validating because, really, I knew why I was depressed and anxious but every time I said why, I was told that it wasn’t really that bad, or it didn’t really happen that way,or it shouldn’t bother me so much because ‘it’ is a common problem, or they did the best they could and I was difficult and I just needed to forgive(but they never said what they wanted me to forgive them for). Then one day, I started listening to myself about what was wrong with me and when I did, I started getting better. Now I look forward to greater healing than I ever imagined possible.



Thank you so much for sharing your journey, for putting your thoughts, hurts, disappointments, as well as your joys, after seeing the light of things in your past. It has awakened in me the ability to unlock the thoughts, the words stuck inside of me enough so that i can sit at my laptop and type, when i see or feel things in your writing that i relate too.. It is a bit freeing to finally be able to get the words that are stuck inside of me, in order and out on this page. So, thank you so much for helping my find a path to freedom.


I have to admit, I only read the first couple of sentences before posting this comment, so you may have touched on this:

I think I perpetuated those lies in my own head — how blessed I was in my family — as a defense or survival mechanism. I mean, facing the truth as an adult has been no picnic! As a child, it probably would have done me in.



Hi Beverly
I had that “mist” feeling too… I think that is why I call the process “coming out of the fog”. I also saw my recovery happening in layers and levels.
Thanks for your comments.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pam
there is so much around this whole thing! I can relate to what you have posted. Each point you made is a separate point all of which add to the devaluing of the person.
I have found greater healing than I ever imagined possible… and I look forward to even more as well!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Kelly
Thank you for your wonderful compliments! That is my true goal. To unlock that stuff that is stuck inside others the way that it was stuck inside me so that others can find the path to freedom!
Love how you put it!
Hugs, Darlene

It is really too bad that the truth about my childhood had not been so hard to face in the first place.
Hugs, Darlene


There are moments of my childhood I remember as vividly as if they were this morning, happy moment. Interestingly, only ONE of them includes my egg donor. There are many more giant chunks of time throughout my life that I honestly don’t remember, but I know if I find and unblock them, the pain is fresh and new.
I remember almost nothing of my second son’s infancy and toddler-hood, because I was trapped, abused, and forced to comply when my then-husband moved and moved and moved us.
Now that two of my sons are grown and in the Army, my sister and my ex are on a new campaign to remind me that they exist, and if I want any relationship with either of them, or the grandson I’ve never been allowed to meet, I’ll forget their father raped, beat, stalked, and threatened me for 19 years and has made my life a living hell ever since I divorced him.
It hurt horribly, but after receiving a hateful note from my middle son yesterday, telling me he would accept my friend request on a social networking website, but I was not to act like I was his friend or knew ANYTHING about him. I pointed out to him that I had commented on things, such as his amazing cooking skills, that I HAD witnessed. A much as it hurt, I told him that friendship is based on kindness, forgiveness of any *perceived* wrongs in the past, and respect.
He told me he’d done fine without a mother for 10 years, and his dad (the abuser) had done such a wonderful job all on his own (while i paid child support and he never once let me see my younger 2 sons). He said it’s okay with him if he does without a mother for the next 10, 20, 40 years, or however many. He doesn’t NEED me.
I won’t be replying. In the 13 years I WAS allowed to be part of his life, I was supermom, and anyone who knew me knows this. I had to tell my 22-year-old son that I am removing toxic people, toxic relationships, and toxic past events from my life, one at a time. If he plans on being toxic, expending deliberate effort to make me feel “less than”, I DON’T know him, because that wasn’t the child I raised. I do know if I met a stranger who was as cruel to me as he now is, I wouldn’t befriend that person, so it’s his decision. I’d literally give my life to save his, but I won’t give the rest of my life so he can please his father and hate me for things that I didn’t do to him.


Hi Laurie
Oh my gosh, what a horror you have been through. I have heard of this happening to woman when an extremely abusive and controlling man causes such destruction that the kids see him as the good guy too. (some people can accomplish this without even prohibiting the kids to see the mom) This is a HUGE misuse of power and control on the part of your ex. He has convinced your kids that it was YOU. This is a very very difficult situation Laurie, I am so sorry that your kids believe their father. I wish I had more comforting words.
Hugs, Darlene



I am so sorry for the situation you are in as well. I went through a really abusive relationship with the my daughter’s dad. We split up “amicably” but he threatened me with no support payments and he was just so manipulative in general…he had me brainwashed….and he molested our daughter….when I realized it…..I put a swift stop to it and made sure I got full physical custody…..I don’t remember my daughter as a baby either as you you had stated about your 2nd son….and I regret the fact that I didn’t leave sooner…but thank god I left at all….you are not alone…I hear your pain…big hugs to you…



Thank you for being so honest and for expressing yourself so well. I felt a sigh of relief in reading this today.

I especially liked the part when you said: “I was surprised that the pain of facing the past was never as bad as the pain that I had been living in for so long”. Really??? Good to know!!!

Permission to listen to ourselves and our own truth. Yes.

I also like that you use the word ‘brain wash’ – because that is exactly what it is/was. In fact, healing and getting better is a bit like ‘going sane’.

I have compiled a photo album beginning with a copy of my birth certificate…proving that I am, in fact, REAL and have chronologically placed photos of myself at different ages. It is a goal of mine to be able to one day, look at this album with enough emotional continuity to be able to seamlessly acknowledge that yes, it has been ME all along…not some other ‘member of the family’ or ‘neighborhood kid’ etc…

I read somewhere: “Feel, Deal, Heal”.

Towards those ends, I have recently begun to think/feel back on those times in my life when I felt safe. From a ride in an ambulance when I broke my ankle and in the hospital for different surgeries (gee, someone really does care that I am in pain and is taking this pain seriously) to nights spent at different relatives’ & friends’ homes.

I like this feeling. I like basking in this….of introducing safety into the mix. I’m finding it extremely helpful!

My sense is that this will start to lay the necessary groundwork to validate myself. To keep the demons at bay just long enough to consider that safety is in fact, not only possible and plausible…but need not be relegated to these very few instances (though its vital to be able to draw upon, IMO)…and that GA (Generalized Anxiety) can be transposed into GS (Generalized Safety)…because man oh man, when I feel safe…then I can think so clearly and I feel that by doing that – somewhere deep-down, it is kind of giving the buried feelings a thumbs up…that it is now OK to finally “go there”.

Again, bringing it around full-circle to my second paragraph….Good to know!!!

Thanks again.


Agree with you! Our 17yo son has run away two days ago.
My ex just got the detectives wrapped around his finger, as usual, for two hours yesterday. The detective was to call me, but my ex called me instead and told me to call another police dapartment. I called that other department in another state and they kept asking why I was calling and why the other police department wasn’t calling them. I could scream at him. I called the detective and wanted to add that I think my son is motivated to NOT go back home and was trying to explain why, and the guy kept interrupting and saying he didn’t need to know that stuff, it was irrelevent, which made me mad, and he said that if I didn’t stop being loud, he would hang up and go talk to my ex who is civil. I said to remember that the man who is civil shoved a whole bottle of rum down our son’s mouth, etc.


Darlene, I re-read this and I know that I am also reconnecting the sexual abuse to me. What I can remember anyway.I know I’ve separated from it and stuffed it away somewhere. I do know that I’ve changed emotionally because now my disgust is for those who used and abused me rather than for myself. I’m still afraid of what I might remember but I also know that facing my past is better than denying it and trying to pretend that it has no affect on me. Thanks again for writing this. There is a lot here that speaks to me.


Hi Brenda
That is a cool idea to do a photo album! I think all that you describe is laying the groundwork towards validation! and yes, it was good to know when I knew it too! It gave me courage to keep going forward after the first few layers were faced! I love your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pam
I am glad to hear that this post speaks to you Pam. I think that it is normal for us to be afraid of what we might remember ~I am still aware of that fear sometimes. It really makes a difference when we realize that the disgust applies to them and not to us! That is a big part of what this process is all about!
Hugs, Darlene


My son, who ran away, called after about 60 hours, from a payphone about 800 miles away, and told his dad that he didn’t have long to talk, that he loved his dad, tell mom that I called, that he is ok, that he is not coming home anytime soon, that he has never felt better in all his life! ( now THAT wouldn’t surprise us, would it? )

I felt much better after hearing this. That is all for now, and we have facebook to thank for allowing a family so torn apart to keep in touch. We write to him on his inbox everyday. Supportive messages, not condemnation for what he is doing or feeling.

And all My dad can do is say, “damn computers” and THAT is why I don’t talk with my dad.


Kate. So glad to hear he has called and that you are feeling a little relieved. I will continue to keep you and he in my thoughts



Am happy to hear you heard from your son.. I even said some words to God.but in my heart..

You are a good mother.



Me too Darlene. 🙂

You have such a way with telling the story and lighting the path to freedom from these issues.

Another home run:)


Kate, I’m glad he’s okay and that he called to let you know he’s alright. I think he’ll get it worked out.



Hi Kate,
So glad to hear that your son is okay and doing well! I left home as 17. My mother was so mad and she told me I was in for a shock. I never looked back. I am certain that the supportive letter to his inbox are going to be a very positive thing for him regarding your relationship! My mother never stopped picking at me!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Susan KS
Thank you… I like that line “lighting the path on the journey to freedom”. I am going to use that!


I tried to post a thank you to Joy and Kelly a while ago, so thank you, and thanks to all for responding!

Darlene, thank you for letting me know that my messages would be a positive thing. I told his narc dad that IF he gets him back, to give him more space and independence. He told me he already does that. It is really hard to keep from telling the dad what I think…help!!!

I think his dad did the math” and figured he needs to butter up the detectives and make me look bad, because the facts are that I left him six years ago, our daughter left last summer, now our son runs away, and the other two live with me.


My dad would say “damn computers” when that is the best way for him to communicate with me!! My mother does it, but he won’t. So I got him a “damn computer” birthday card this year. Dog: “The internet is fascinating!” Cat: “That’s the toaster oven.”


Not that we are surprised, but I am absolutely furious that my ex deosn’t ask me if I have any ideas about our son’s running away!?!?!?!?! DUH!!!!!

Darlene, were you done with high school at 17? How did you do it?


I was raised the same way. Better not tell the emperor he has no clothes! Just keep smiling, pretend and act as if everything is normal. Lies kill, the truth heals.


Joy: I still hear those same voices telling me ‘I’m selfish’ to talk about my hurts. In fact, any validation of my pain feels self centered because that’s how I was raised to think. I didn’t have any rights. I was taught to unconditionally love people who conditionally loved me. That’s WRONG! We all have rights…

We have the right:

to feel safe in the relationship
to be treated respectfully
to not be abused verbally, emotionally, or physically
to be heard
to be appreciated and valued
to have our needs met
to feel good about ourself in the relationship

I was raised to believe just the opposite! But now I know the TRUTH and the truth tells me to not keep silent about secrets. Talking and sharing leads to my healing. Knowing I am not alone. Knowing it’s OK to talk about these things. Knowing I don’t need to carry other people’s shame anymore! It’s not my job. It never was. Knowing I deserve to be heard and understood. My feelings count. I am going to parent myself now the way I should have been parented all along. If my son came to me and said, “A boy pushed me down and I hurt my knee!” and began to cry, would I wipe his tears and give them a hug and talk about the fight with him? You betcha. Is my son being selfish for having hurt feelings! No way. Neither are we. I would never minimize my son’s pain and tell him to ‘suck it up’ (or tell him God will love him more if he does) and I won’t treat myself this way either. I had to learn I deserved to be treated this way first, though. I needed to learn to love myself first before I could change my thought process. I needed to learn my rights and keep repeating them to myself over and over again until they replaced the old tapes in my head and heart.


Hi Karen..

I love all that you wrote here.. it all makes so much sense ..It’s taking the step to put it into practice..pushing aside all my fears.. and just go forward..

I have so much fear ..fear from the long past and fear from the most recent hurt.. I don’t trust me .. my decisions.. as every time I made some decision, I ended up being the victim of some abuser.. I don’t know how to tell who I can trust..

I know talking my hurts out is necessary. and am trying little by little to share with my T things that are buried..there is still so much more.. but she is very patient and am sure she knows .. from knowing me how hard it is for me and each time i open up is a little victory..

I don’t quite understand what it means to parent oneself..? I know I missed most my childhood.. and am stuck somewhere in that time .. trying to get out of where the trauma hurt me.. ..

I am repeating little phrases .. positive things to me. still they are like a new language to me but am doing . .T . .gave that early on as a nice practice..

THank you for your kind words and insight. .I hope I get to the point where you are at..



another topic discussed just as i begin to struggle with my mother and her point of veiw concerning my childhood. today she accused me of slagging her off on f/b because i had replied to a comment on my wall. the post was one about using anothers sanity whilst yours is ot working basically the jist of it. anyways aomeone answered about how their parent was similar to mine and my mother decided to have a go at that person. i left a polite replyon my wall and then sent her and email about how i had thought hard before letting her back inot my f/b world as i had started to use here and OSA and knew she wouldnt like my posts concerning how she had raised me. i told her i didnt care how she saw my childhood as that was her right, but i was using support from people who had been in the same situation and it was bout how i saw it and not how she thinks i should see it. i accept her warts and all it such a shame she cannot return the favour. it not even as if her circle of friends could even see my wall as i dont have any joint conections excpt family. so she cannot accuse me of spreading rumours about her parenting skills. but her commenting on my wall and then her post on her wall made her friends all come out and soothe her worried brow that her nasty daughter doesnt appreicaite all she has done for her. arghhhhhhh. she is soooo one sided it is unreal. our relationship such as it was, ws alwasy on her terms and standpoint of historical fact. now i challenge those facts and have a brain that tells me that actually no she was in the wrong not you and as the adult the actions and choices where hers not mine to make.
ooo that woman rattles my cage so bad. because i dont react like that with many people in my life anymore because i dont have it, wont have it. had it and dont want it anymore thank you very much. yet just 1 contact and she has me feeling guilty for doing what i know is the right thing, whixh is staying away from her till she can respct me as an individual as well as her first born.


Hi Everyone ~
Joy, Karen and Carol.. for some reason I didn’t get the notifications for your comments… I just saw them now.

Joy and Karen ~ I have to remind myself to validate my pain and to resist giving into that old default method of turning on myself. When we have learned to do that from such a young age, it is a hard habit to break! It is really important to listen to those thoughts so that we can correct them right away.

Carol ~
Great comments! I also have to remember that my mothers point of view is not important. I was addicted to trying her to validate me ~ as though I thought that if only she would see and agree with me that bad stuff happened to me, then I would believe it too or that unless I could make her see where I was coming from, I was wrong. And all that stuff about “after all she did for you” That is a whole huge rant in itself. I am going to write it one of these days… (or maybe I did?? LOL) That phrase “after all I have done for you” is a very manipulative abusive phrase designed to guilt and shame people into once again, looking at how bad “I AM” and invalidating myself again.
Thanks for sharing. It was when I owned the truth at a very deep level that my mother stopped being able to get to me. (well that and the fact that as soon as I stood up to her she stopped talking to me, but that is another story.. LOL)
Hugs!! Darlene


Were you done with high school at age 17 when you left? How did you do it?


Hi Kate,
By the time I was 17 I was desperate to get away from my mother. It was all that I’d thought about for 2 years. I quit school to do it. I knew I needed to work full time if I was going to move out. I did get a job but I ended up moving in with a guy, (he was 22 or 23 I think…) because that was the only way that I thought I could survive. It is a really long story that I might write about one day. I felt a lot of guilt and shame most of my life for having done that (both quitting school and moving in with a guy that young) … but today I feel great about it. I did what I had to do. My life turned out to be amazing, it just took awhile!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene..

Thank you for you kind words..always they are helpful and healing. you are such a blessing to so many people. !! Thank you a million ..




it took me a few standoffs before i finally saw the light. she sent me a message telling me she loved me no matter what and didnt like seeing her past on f/b. me i replied well im sorry that it hurts you but i aint stopping. that the posts are focused on how ifelt and thought not on how she did or saw things and as such i wont stop posting any reply i want to, she can always remove me.
someone siad i should be proud of this way of dealing wit her, but im not proud as i am dealing with her as i would a stranger, that is the only way i can cope with her. at the moment anyways, she still has to many buttons that react without any prodding just thinking about being arond her. so i choose to have lil or no contact with her. and now i feel good and alot calmer.
another asked why have her on f/b anyway. to me it about not hiding what i am saying about her, she can go looking if she likes. she may not like what is said but that is not my problem, that is hers to sort out.
only took me 42 yrs to figure out and still have huge chunks to unpick because of her and the rest of my birth family. good news is that I AM GETTING THERE


Joy: trusting is a process, especially when you’ve been abused. I used to always be drawn to what I was familiar with, so I chose emotionally unavailable men or abusive relationships. Unconsciously, victims often do this. Then I learned what a healthy relationship is and what ‘flags’ to look for in a guy to know he’s no good or has traits that are controlling or abusive. Once I had the tools and education that I should have been taught if I grew up in a healthy home, I knew how to choose a healthy person. When I was ready to date again I knew what to look for in a guy and what to watch out for. I used to avoid the nice guy and say they were boring, but I ended up marrying a nice guy and I’ve NEVER regretted it. It’s so refreshing not to have the drama anymore. I never trusted myself either and always second-guessed myself. It helped to have a friend give me reality checks because my friends usually could see things I might have been blind to. Usually I was always giving more than I received. I was so afraid to hurt someone else’s feelings, yet they had no respect for mine! Sometimes I knew a relationship was wrong, but I stuck with it because I was too afraid to be lonely or that I’d end up a spinster or I didn’t want to hurt them by breaking it off. Or, like an addict, I just couldn’t walk away. I had this strong desire to try and ‘fix’ them to prove I was worthy because I never was able to fix my mother who rejected me. As I began to change, I realized that guy was still the same and abusive, so I finally broke up with him. I just got to the point where my self esteem grew and I knew I deserved better or I was better off alone than settling for a jerk or man who was unable to love fully because of his own wounds. It took baby steps to learn to trust again and I would be very cautious at first and guarded, but once a person proves they are trustworthy, it’s wonderful to be close and it’s the only way to learn to truly love and be loved. BELIEVE YOU’RE WORTH IT because you are! That’s always a step in the right direction. 🙂


Carol: Oh, your mom sounds so much like mine! My mom is giving me the cold shoulder and silent treatment because I finally stood up to her and told her no about something. Her last two letters have been so ABUSIVE and full of guilt-trips. She ranted and raged for two pages then ended the letter with ‘no hard feelings’ and ‘I need time to think about our relationship.’ She says I was NEVER abused and was spoiled rotten. Her reality of my childhood is so different from mine. She thinks I was treated like a princess and they paid for my education and I had a nice room and lots of toys growing up, etc., so I shouldn’t act as ungrateful as I am now by claiming I was abused. Yes, I had lots of dolls and I grew closer to them than my own parents! Sad. Pathetic. They thought ‘things’ could replace their absent love! Because they placed value on ‘things’ and accumulating wealth, they thought I’d feel loved that way. Money doesn’t fill the emptiness inside a child’s heart. I am happier now in my 1200 s.f. home than I ever was living in their 6,000 s.f. mansion on the beach!! They can have their things. Relationships are more important to me and that’s where my value lies. That’s what brings true happiness, healthy and loving relationships. Something they will never know or value. Now that’s truly what’s sad and pathetic.


P.S. Hey, I think I’m finally getting in touch with some repressed anger! Yippee!! Good for me! I think I’ll go beat my pillow now…


Darlene: I stood up to my narcissistic mother and now she’s not talking to me, which is fine because I have decided not to maintain a relationship with her ever again. How long has it been for you having no contact? I wonder if she’ll try to worm her way into my life again or just write me off. I’ve heard some mothers who feel they own you try to manipulate you back to suit their narcissistic needs once again and some just walk away without giving you a second thought. I hope it’s the latter. I hope she realizes I won’t tolerate her abuse anymore, but sometimes these type of people don’t really get it. She loves keeping me off kilter, but I keep telling myself ‘she has no more control than what I give her.’ And that means NONE.

“I’m no longer a puppet on a string.
There’s no more bowing to the queen.
I am a person who will be seen.
If not by her than at least by me.”


Hi Carol
Yay. Thanks for sharing your insights regarding you mother! When I read your comment I thought to myself “I love you no matter what, unless you post things about me on FB” That may not be what your mother said, but that is the way that I took it, likely because this reminded me of all sorts of things about my mother. She seemed to always say “I love you, but…” I started a post about it a few days ago actually. Good for you! Progress is progress and this is fantastic!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen
I stood up to my mother and she doesn’t talk to me either… (at first I thought you were quoting me!) Love your poem! I am pretty sure it is 3 years this month since I last spoke with my mother.
I don’t miss all the crap.
Hugs, Darlene


karen, hard as it is to accept but life is so much nicer without mother dearests commentary on my life and mistakes. infaact i have grown sooooo much since cutting contact and allowing my ideas and stance come out. still have a long way to go with her but slowly but surely is the key. and by talking about it it helps lessen the lasting damage as it gets less painful each time you repeat somethign. well it has been for me, bu tthen i sound like a broken record repeating the same things, eventually something nudges the needla and off i go again in the proper groove and not the one i was stuck in


Dear Darlene,
I can not begin to tell you how refreshing your article is to read! Wow! Finally, some validation for the adult who bear the slivers of their childhood’s shattered soul. You have truly captured my inner thoughts, and because of your emerging from broken, I too, have hope to survive from now on…stronger, more confident, and more able to receive and give love more freely.


Hi Laurie
Welcome. I am inspired to speak to the inner child in all of us. I believe that it was being heard and validated that changed my life and enabled me to hear and validate myself. I want to pass that forward and inspire this hope, and I love to hear that this is being accomplished. Thank you for your note!
Hugs, Darlene


Wow! Never in my life would I have thought that there were other women like myself, who had broken/destructive/abusive/hurtful relationships with their mothers. My mother & I have not spoken for over 1.5 years. It, still breaks my heart & stings worse than I ever imagined it could by not having a mother in my life.
I felt these words were my own when reading them.
My mother has always been “fragile”, in terms of everyone in the family walking on eggshells to avoid upsetting her, as younever know what she would do. I did, finally at the age of 30, “stand up” to her.
Explaining ways she had hurt me & continued to do so. Since that day, she has called me the most awful things, made horrific accusations about me & my husband, made up the most hurtful lies I could ever imagine, turned other extended family members away from me… and the list just goes on.
We had recently moved to be closer to my side of the family. It was within days, that was all destroyed. Over the past year and a half, I have felt the most sadness I have ever felt. I, also do not remember much about mychildhood. My mother was never married to my father, nor was he ever a part of my life. My mother did go on to marry & divorce 4x during my childhood & is now marrying for the 5th time.
I couldn’t agree more or relate more to the notion of you not knowing or realizing the way you were feeling was normal or ok. I feel I am stuck there. Feeling like it has got to be me. It must all be in my head. Nothing all that bad could have really happened b/c I had a roof over my head & food to eat. I feel that I’m just stuck. My past is so grainy- in that I either don’t remember parts of it, and those that I do, almost don’t seem real. There is so much to it, it would take daysto write. I guess I just want to thank you all for sharing your histories. It takes bravery & courage to do so. I’m embarrassed to say that I have been reading many ofthe comments & posts- but this is the first time in which I have ever commented. I still find myself being terrified someone in my family will see that I have written this. Because shouldn’t I be able to just truly move forward, forgive (if even just for myself) & begin these relationships anew? It seems that is what I feel would’ve the way to move forward according to my faith. I feel I can& have (to some extent) forgive. I just can’t go there again, andbe so hurt, so controlled & feel like I am 8 years old again doing anything I can to receive some sort of signal that I am loved by those I thought were embedded with unconditional love.


Hi Brooke,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
You are not alone my friend! This topic is one of the hottest topic on this blog.
I totally understand what you are saying here and I want you to know that I felt that way too. I was stuck. I felt so much the same way as you are talking about and I too was very afraid to write things about my family. (I use my real name on this blog so I certainly overcame that fear) But this is not about hurting anyone. This is about healing. I had to see the damage before I could heal from it. I had to realize that there was damage to me. You will understand more as you read more. Forgiveness came as a result of doing this healing work. I had to let go of worrying about forgiveness and set that aside. I have no resentments anymore… I live in freedom now. My validation didn’t come from anyone else. I just had to learn that. That was a big part of this process.
I’m so gald you are here and sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


[…] I had to learn to value myself ~ enough to call them on it. I had to realize that they were wrong to treat me that way and if I let it go, they were likely to keep doing it. I had to care enough about me to reject that kind of treatment. I had to realize that when people talk down to me, it doesn’t define me as beneath them.  On the other hand I also had to learn that when people fall all over themselves to be with me, that doesn’t define me as worthy either. That was the false definition of love and acceptance that I had to come to understand in this process of emotional healing. […]


I just published a new post about dealing with people talking down to me..
It is related to this post about being invalidated..
you can access it here:


Hi Pam
I can relate to this. I let go of the need for compliments a long time before I realized that by wondering what I had done wrong I was actually letting others define me as having done something wrong because of their actions. (now there is a sentence!)

I love the way you highlight this! That you thought you were treating them the way that you wanted to be treated!! YES , that was at the heart of it for me too and yes, it is the wrong definition of that action!

Great points Pam! thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


[…] write a lot about self validation, self care and self love. This is the goal. Sometimes I make it sound like being validated by others serves no purpose but […]


I too was abused by my mother in just about every way imaginable. She would tell me that she loved me one minute and five minutes later tell me how i was a “stupid sod’ or a “bloody fool” and that i could do nothing right. I lived with that for 21 years before i finally got away from her. I finally confronted her about all of her abuse and her lies about 6 years ago. She denied everything and told the woman where she was staying at the time that i was the reason her marriage was so bad and that i ruined her marriage. she blamed everyone for everything but never took any responsibility for her own actions. She was manipulative and tried to control everything about me. The ironic thing is that i knew she loved me in her twisted, crazy, psychotic way. she would rant and rave about how awful my father was and how she should never had married him but she refused to ever do anything about it. she made all of our lives a living hell. she would never get any help. when she tried to kill herself when i was about 7 years old my parents blamed my sister for it and then she started running away from home. it was just me and my sister. She was labeled as “the black sheep” of the family. I just learned to be good and lived in constant fear and walked on eggshells all the time. when i witnessed my mother almost murder my sister in our apt. it scared me so much that i started hiding in the closet in the bedroom or just stayed outside. i had no one to turn to. my father was a very abusive and angry man and we had no family anywhere close by. My life was a living hell. It was a nightmare. I can remember not wanting to come out of the womb because i knew it would be bad. My mother would leave me alone in the crib and close the door. i would cry and cry and cry and no one would ever come. no one – i felt so alone and abandoned. I have felt that way almost my whole life. i thought this was love.

what really strikes me about this site is that there are virtually no males that post on here. Men have no idea where to go for help. there are many men that are hurting and broken too but have nowhere to turn. Men need a place too. No offense ladies but its easier for a woman to be accepted as dealing with pain, abuse, suffering etc. As a man its not considered acceptable to even talk about pain and suffering and abuse. No one wants to hear it. Almost all of my male friends have abandoned me. I feel like Job in the bible. A combination of Job and Daniel. i am grateful for darlene and for this site. I am so sorry that so many of you have been abused by men. Our society has no idea how to help men heal. Its a huge need/void. Someone has to step up and be a voice for men in the area of healing. Its a huge need. Men need someone they identify with. I know i am rambling but trying to find a man to connect with in healing has been almost impossible for me. Pray that more men have the courage to come forward and that a counterpart male will rise up to be a voice like darlene.




Hi Dave
You know, the wonderful thing about Darlene and EFB is that everyone is welcome, everyone is heard and everyone is valadated. One of the best things here is that it is not just a boys club or a girls club. It is a club for all to heal. I think that many men read here and don’t comment but get just as much value by reading. You are already at a disadvantage thinking that men can only talk to men or learn from men. Darlene’s gift is rare, so perhaps should heed her advice.



FYI: There is a website: which deals with sexual abuse of boys and men.

“We are committed to preventing, healing, and eliminating all forms of sexual victimization of boys and men through support, treatment, research, education, advocacy, and activism.”

I think it is important to rally in as much support as you can from as many different available sources as possible…and this particular site might be helpful for you as you mention, in establishing a safe camaraderie with other males.

Just one more tool to consider…taking nothing away from this site.

If there is a positive thing which has come out in the wake of the sexual abuse crimes at Penn State, it is that organizations such as Malesurvivor are gaining National attention and a well-needed and long overdue focus that abuse happens to males as well and its long-term effects, damages and devastation is no less felt simply because of gender.


Hi Dave
I am sorry that you have struggled so long. I want to assure you that there ARE men on this site. Many of them use a code name (genderless) and many don’t comment often. I don’t think that this site promotes any gender favour. All are welcome here and as for abuse ~ I was sexually abused by both male and female and also hit by both so I have no energy on either sex that was either.
I thing that our society has no idea how to help ANYONE heal.. that is the bigger problem. What is different about EFB and my site is that I KNOW how to heal and it isn’t the accepted norm in therapy which is to deal with the issues “today” and leave the past in the past.
I am a little insulted that you are asking my readers here to pray for a male counterpart who is like me… I think that anyone who has “done it” can model healing for anyone else who wants to heal. Gender is not an issue unless you make it one.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jim!
Thanks for your support!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Brenda,
Thank you for sharing that link.
Hugs, Darlene


[…] truth is that when I finally loved me, I was okay. When I found me and embraced me, I was okay. When I realized that putting myself last […]


[…] ~ I realized that I HAD to face the pain that damage caused in order to validate myself where I had never been validated before. In a way it was like giving myself permission to be right and to be alive. I began to embrace my own value for the first time ever. […]


[…] from Broken is largely about how I uncovered that false truth and re wired my brain to understand and accept the true […]


We have the right:

to feel safe in the relationship
to be treated respectfully
to not be abused verbally, emotionally, or physically
to be heard
to be appreciated and valued
to have our needs met
to feel good about ourself in the relationship
Like that Karen!
I got tired of asking or begging for respect and started to demand it and that’s when the shit hit the fan. I don’t regret it a bit. It brought out my family’s true colors. They can call me a b—- if it makes them feel better, but if they really reflected back there isn’t too much of any thing that they can say I did abusive towards them. The only thing they have is when I acted out as a teen years ago. Mom never failed to bawl out, “You don’t know the hell you put us through!” when you tried to reason about anything in the present. I’m in my 50’s and tried to be nothing but to be a good daughter since my teens. As my cousins said I had all the reason to rebel.
They felt free to say and do abusive things along with my siblings on a regular basis, and if I got mad it was a defensive reaction from being outraged and in shock. I now know that is what they wanted, needed. I am glad to not have them feed off me emotionally anymore, I am happy I don’t have to feel outraged and humiliated. They don’t get it that they wore me down or maybe they do, but I don’t care, either way they left me no choice but to turn away before they totally destroyed me.
They can no longer hide in their shadows using me for their shield. I turned around and shone the truth right back in their eyes.
I clung on to hope for them to hear me, see me, respect me, I know now that will never come, so I guess that’s what finally has made the difference. It feels good not having to be that desperate anymore to take their abuses just to be a part of the family.
My Dad told me once I don’t have a daughter, what I should’ve said back is I never had a family! Not a true family anyhow.


Hi Mary
I can really relate to your comments. I love the way you express yourself saying “I shone the truth right back in their eyes”. that is how I feel too when I told my mother that I would not accept her treating me like less than her anymore. I clung on to hope to, but it was when I valued myself enough to decide that if they refused to respect me, that I could respect me enough for the whole lot them, that was when I began the deepest part of my journey to freedom.
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene and all,

Just a note in reference to the “mist”… I go through that too, only I’ve been calling it the fuzzy bubble. Insulated against feeling or connecting, with all things going through my head disjointed, and having no impact. I can sit around my apartment all day and at the end of the day realize I haven’t done anything at all and yet it seems like I just woke up. It’s kind of scary. Where am I? It’s so weird.

I’ve got a ways to go.


Hi Darlene,

I think there are so many people out there in the world who have escaped painful experiences, only to be left with the problem of how to heal their mind body and spirit from their experiences. Your blog is so positive and inspiring and gives people hope that they can get better, they can overcome their despair and find peace. You mentioned that there are methods you used to heal yourself, which were different to mainstream therapy. Have you written a book about how you healed yourself and the steps you took, as I think it would be so valuable for people to use while they work through their pasts. God bless you for your words, and positive wishes to every person who is reading your inspiring words, have a healthy and happy 2012. x


Hi Emma
Thank you so much. I am in the process of putting a book together. It is taking me longer than I hoped! For now, almost everything ~ all my answers~ can be found here in the blog. I am going to create a work book that people can use to follow along with the articles to make it easier to apply these thoughts to their own healing work when I do the final edit of my book. Thank you for your encouragement.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

just re-read this one (link from “Self-esteem – How did YOU learn YOUR importance?”). I think this might be one of the first articles of yours I read that really started to sneak through the lifetime of brainwashing and help convince me that I’d been f**ked over good and proper by my parents.

Haven’t felt like posting as much lately; still not entirely sure why (I think so much going on IRL probably. And also got to remember as you’ve said to me before, how very draining thinking about & attempting to process this sort of stuff is).

The whole first paragraph was me to a “T”. I remember how unable I was to comprehend friends in the youth group growing up who would openly argue with, disagree with, or have shouting matches with their parents in my presence. Helps me to realise in hindsight how f**king secretive and “behind closed doors” the whole emotional/mental/spiritual control & abuse was in my “family” (for want of a better word).

I also remember saying (and I think, genuinely believing at the time) how much I loved my parents and how well we got on. Doesn’t even feel like me anymore – I’ve come a long way! (Seems a strange way to describe the “process” of basically hating my parents…. but at least it’s real instead of indoctrinated fantasy by those same parents) That also brings up the good ol’ christian demonizing of the word/emotion “hatred” (what was it, “he who calls his brother ‘fool’ is in danger of the fires of hell” from memory?) Meh. Often used to console myself (in a somewhat twisted way, admittedly) that I’d probably see many of the same people preaching it there with me.

I think I’ve pretty much convinced myself by now that I’ve basically been dissociated from myself my whole life (or at least a very great part of it). Enough to not really have any idea who the f**k “I” am in lots of ways. And I think this is a big part of what I’m afraid of in moving out (eg having to try and discover it). I can imagine some people saying to me “you should be excited about that”, but it’s hard when I’ve been trained to be so helpless, and also have such a lack of energy etc. Oh well, maybe one day it’ll improve.

(There’s actually a tiny hint of hope hidden under all this, although it probably doesn’t sound like it. Actually doesn’t even really feel like it, but it must be there, or I’d be feeling a lot worse than I do. Brain/psyche actually feels ok right now — well at least, not blatantly negative, which is basically a “win” for me at the moment).

Anyway enough for now – hope you’re going well!

PS just thought of your son & his accident – hope his recovery is still progressing well!

And again, because I can…. HUGS! 🙂


Hi J
There was great hope for me when I realized things like that. Once I understood things (like that I had been disconnected from myself for most of my life) I had something to work on. Once i understood some of the ways that abuse/neglect had effected me, I was able to look at what those things caused me to believe about myself. Each step had a valid purpose in the “process”~ The progression of forward movement. so YES there is hope in your comments!
Hugs, Darlene


[…]  I learned how to validate, love and nurture myself by practice and persistence. For the first two years or three years of what I call “cementing my new belief system” I wrote 10 minutes every morning on gratitude and self worth. I practiced learning to love myself and taking care of myself by being aware of the self defeating voices and overcoming and correcting them. I was intentional about self talk and self nurturing. I pictured myself hugging and taking care of a little version of myself. I pictured myself loving me. […]


Hi Darlene,

Thanks again for another insightful & validating post. I’m new here, just about 2 weeks ago, I came across EFB, while I was doing a search on facebook. I started reading your posts and they rang TRUTH. Finally, a place I can feel validated and hopeful. I believe that through your posts, I’m seeing clearly for the first time, that it was not ME. I have chronic depressions & anxiety for most of my life, and I’m now 43. I too felt responsible for everything. I’m changing that believe & I’m talking back to those critical voices in my head, which came from my FAMILY. I’m connecting many dots from my past memories & how I felt.

Even now, I’m understanding why I react the way I do, when being put down, not heard & having my feelings invalidated. I know I’m not crazy, just sick and wounded, from the damage that was done to me! It’s hard to say the word abuse without feeling very sad & angry, but I know that in order for ME to get better, I have to face the beliefs that I was conditioned & programmed to believe from my parents. I hear what you are saying & I’m grateful for your support.

It means so much to hear the Truth and not the lies!…Even Professionals, lied to me- not intentionally, but from their perspective they were treating MY mental health problems. I did have a Psychiatrist who did tell me the truth about my family, but I still believed that I was defective, because I was conditioned to belief that.

I was also referred to DBT Intensive Day Treatment in 2010 and this felt like a slap in the face. More therapy for ME got interpreted as there is something really wrong with me- I wasn’t aware of that then, but after reading your posts, it’s clearer. My psychiatrist really was helpful, empathetic and kind to me, but I misinterpreted her as another person putting me down like my family. I did leave her a message on her VM, after I discontinued therapy, that she was helpful & that the DBT was what I needed. I learned new coping skills that have become second nature to me.

In 2010, I wasn’t ready to accept that My parents were damaging to me, because I wasn’t physically or sexually abused, but I was emotionally & psychologically abused in covert ways. I don’t buy the excuse, that because my parents are from a different generation they were just strict. It was because they were abused as children and the same beliefs & behaviors carried over to the next generation… ME…

I could see that my family was invalidating to me, but i did not want to believe that they didn’t really love me, the way I needed to be loved. In their Narcissistic minds they believe it’s love. Thanks for listening & being there for me. EFB is a God Send!…Sincerely, SMD


HI Darlene,

Thanks for this really interesting piece. I think I am writing a few years after you wrote it and hope you can read this.
Clearly I’ve been searching the internet for Invalidation. I wasn’t sexually abused as a child, but I was invalidated. I was also invalidated as an adult.
My mother was a difficult stoical woman who didn’t express emotions or validate my emotions. I lost my father when I was seven and that was that, no time for grief or visiting a grave. No mention of him infact!
We moved in with another man and his children, and I was told not to mention my father anymore as it wasn’t fair to the others. I was only eight and had lost my lovely dad a year earlier.
I remember trying to approach my mother one day to tell her I wasn’t coping the dynamics in the house were awful and the adults didn’t talk to me, and there were four damaged kids – you can imagine. I remember this little part of me so sincere wanting to reach out, I did in a way i should be proud of, I expressed that I wasn’t coping, calmly and honestly.. I felt vulnerable but true… I was told that it was easier for me!!! That again it wasn’t fair on the others and that I had to think of them?
I was denied part of myself and I think I lost this part of myself. As an adult I’m not really sure that this part of me had really been able to grow I wasn’t in touch with it. Then I had a breakdown, lot’s of stress, directionless and invalidation – I did all the usual things such as non-stop rumination, cigarette smoking, pacing and desperate dependency upon a new invalidator. I fought for validation but I had lost this part of me… it had gone disintegrated.
Unwell I returned to my mother’s house, she wasn’t all bad you must understand it was very inconsistent. However she was so angry with me for having a breakdown. I tried to bring up a few things from the past – again quite honestly – this part of me seemed to be reaching out again. But – invalidation, mockery again.. I feel I had a long protracted breakdown and since then accumulated such a sense of loss. However I am a little more in touch with that part of me now.
It is so confusing. I wonder if the invalidation turned to self-validation.


Hi Vicky
Welcome to EFB! Yes, this is a really old post but I try really hard to read all the comments so I am glad that you posted!
I can relate to what you are saying ~ wow that is horrific that you were not permitted to grieve for your Dad. I had a few major breakdowns too before I found the way to heal which I have written about extensively in this site. (over 350 articles and discussions here) There is a community here too if you would like to join the discussions more towards the current dates.
Healing is possible! It is confusing but I have written all the ways that I stepped out of that fog and so many of the things that helped me to repair those missing and broken parts of me.
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks Darlene for your warm and empathetic reply, I will investigate your site more it seems very genuine.
By the way I just re-read my post and I meant I wonder if the invalidation turned to self invalidation? Not validation.

But many thanks and I hope you are well,

Hugs to you to Vicky 🙂


Hi, Such a great piece of work you have published. I’m working on self-invalidation, since last night, i found out I was self-invalidating my self so deeply, that i could even feel it deep in my bones. How do you really get to love yourself? I’ve been wondering that through out my life, and i have tried lots of different things. However, I’ve come to the conclusion, that the one who can really validate myself is me. So… i get confused when i think about that, for instance, If i’m not in the mood of going out even though the sun is shining bright up in the sky, I have nothing else to do, nothing to worry about, so then why I don’t feel like going out… I finally found the image, it was my mother’s thoughts, and those came from grandma. So, i realised that, but then again… even though I think I am aware of that, I still feel there are too many things I dislike about the world, so I keep on choosing the opposite, the lethargy, the nothingness instead of the whole…

I feel trapped on this situation, it seems and looks so complicated to move on… and I’ve been feeling like this for a quiet a long time… and I have tried many many different ways of solving this out…

But when it comes to this, it seems so hard to me to see the positive, i see life as something so boring, and i realised, I’m so full of fear.

there’s no magic pill to stop feeling this over night. i know. i wish there was something to lean on… something real…


Hi Felipe
Keep reading. I have shared in these pages all of the things that I realized in order to move forward and take my life back. Hang in there, there is hope!
Welcome to EFB!
hugs, Darlene


Thank you so much for this article.I feel like I have found a sister in you,a sister that I never had,someone who has validated my feelings.You have articulated so perfectly how I have felt all my life but now I have reached a stage where I need to validate myself.It had never occurred to me that I was so invalidated in my family.I have 5 siblings who have rallied around the abusive,sadistic ,narcissistic mother and who have constantly told me that I am `too sensitive` and that I blow things out of proportion etc.I was convinced that I had a good childhood even though deep in my heart I knew that I had been abused.

I have designed a format to reframe my negative perceptions of myself and this is how I came to realize that I was invalidated as a child and even now.It is such a relief to realize that I am actually NOT insane.I have been asking the wrong people to validate me.Heck!! What an amazing discovery.Happy new year to us all. Onwards and upwards


My brother sent an email, he was blocked so it showed up in the junk email. It was short, just a “Miss my sister, hope 2014 is good to you!” I sent him articles about family dynamics in an incest family and the roles played and how the victim is made out to be the problem while the perpetrator is protected and the dysfunctional family tighten ranks against the outcast. He hasn’t written back since. That’s okay because I’ve moved on without family years ago. If he was able to come to terms then I would’ve started a real dialogue, but obviously he is still in denial, so it’s best he not bother me.


Could the effects of never being validated make someone think they could’ve been sexually abused? I have no memory of abuse but it’s this ongoing worry that I was that is always nagging at me.


Hi So
Welcome to Emerging from Broken, The effects of never being validated are endless. There is a really good book by Renee Fredrickson called “Repressed Memories” and it really shed some light on this stuff for me.
Hugs, Darlene


Would you be able to summarize. I don’t want to go down a path of no answers. I’d rather put my energy trying being ok in the unknown and learning to validate myself.


Hi So,
There are over 400 articles in this website, all with discussions on them ~ there are over 34,000 comments in this website. There are SO many answers here. Unfortunately there is no quick summarize!
Hugs, Darlene


Ok. It’s not the right path for me to go down then. Frantically searching for answers, etc.



Thank you so much for your website! Everything is written so well and accurate to the very bizarre things I’ve been feeling and thinking.

Thanks. It means so much.


Hi Lulu
Welcome to Emerging from broken!
I am really glad that you are here.
hugs, Darlene


Great stuff…….
A must read for all who have borderline, ptsd, dissocationn…………


I too have been invalidated my whole life. I was always trying to fix “problems” in my family of origin that stem from the cause no one wanted to admit in my family. My dad was severely mentally ill. He could hold a job but that was about it. He had a psychotic break when I was 3…paranoid schizophrenia and never got adequate treatment. He became obsessive compulsive and also I believe anorexic after he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. My mom tells me all sorts of things about my dad…that he heard things…that he wouldn’t get a pace maker…that he didn’t want my younger siblings because he wasn’t thinking right. Then when I would bring them up to her she would deny everything or minimize things…dad was just “organized”…he didn’t record his bodily functions all day long because he was OCD…”a lot of people don’t get pace makers” (but not because they believe they will be controlled by someone through them)…dad was an electrical engineer and he just “knew things we didn’t”. My dad died in September of 2015 and honestly I believe I am grieving a completely different person than my mom and siblings. They call me the “angry” one in the family. I was hit the most by far because my mom couldn’t deal with essentially being a single parent to the 4 of us kids. My dad was physically there but never there emotionally. My parents were married for 45 years and my mother was verbally abusive to my dad all along…resentful of his behaviors that in her eyes were willful and had nothing to do with his incapacity to be what she wanted him to be. It is crazy making when a parent dumps reality on you to make themselves feel better and then denies that reality when you want to share your feelings about what you have been told by them. My family believes that denial is the way to deal with problems plain and simple. We all married addicts or those with mental illness incapable of being present for us. How can everyone in my family NOT see the madness!? I have always been the truth teller and beat for it. I have realized I need to retire that role I have played in my family. I am the pressure valve of release so they can live their lives of delusion. I have tried my whole life to get validation (for my feelings…for reality) from people who are just incapable. That is the problem with denial and invalidation of reality…it infects one’s whole life. Denial becomes a coping mechanism not just for mental illness or addiction or abuse…but for the problems big and small of everyday living. I choose to live in sacred truth. It is a very lonely place but I truly believe the truth can eventually set you free…to become whole again (or maybe for the first time ever). If you don’t know the cards you are dealt…how can you play the game?

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