But HOW Do I Recover? ~ Emotional and other Abuse

psychological abuse, abuse recovery
Success is a series of small accomplishments

I wanted to know HOW I would recover from emotional abuse; how do I do it? What do I do?

As though knowing HOW would make it possible.

I wanted to know HOW the healing would take place, as though knowing how would make it real or as though knowing how would enable me to make the decision on whether or not I was willing to go through with it.

But the truth is that I didn’t ever get to know how. I didn’t ever get prior knowledge as to where the journey would take me.

I was held back on some aspects because I thought the pain would kill me, but the pain of recovery was never as bad as the pain of living broken. Unfortunately, we don’t know that for sure until we are on the other side of broken.

I thought that if I ventured forward but didn’t succeed, that the pain of another failure would kill me; so I hesitated about moving forward.

I hear this question all the time; “But how does it work? How will I do it?”

I didn’t know, I never knew, and looking back I don’t see how I could have even been told. Because it is different for everyone. Because it is a step by step process that takes time. Because on breakthrough builds on another.

What I remember is that I believed it was possible. That belief came because my therapist told me that there were others that had overcome and recovered from chronic depressions and dissociative behavior. I had not actually met anyone that had overcome, but when I started to trust him, I started to believe him and after I began to believe him and when I had my first little breakthrough, then I believed that I could do recover too. I finally had hope. I finally believed that if someone else could overcome ~ if someone else had recovered from dissociative identity disorder, sexual abuse, and a lifetime of psychological abuse, then maybe I could recover too.

I finally believed that I was worth taking the chance on.  I was worth the effort. And I also realized that the reason that I had not considered that I was worth it prior to this was because from a very young age I had been treated as though I was not worth it. As a child I had no choice but to believe that lie.

I dug my heals in and went for it. I just put one foot in front of the other and took my time looking at the reasons that I had been in this state of difficulty and struggle with my mental health for so long. All I had was hope and it turned out that was all I needed. Each little success, each little breakthrough no matter how tiny was what kept me going forward after that. My breakthroughs became my motivation and hope was my foundation.

Blind faith I guess you could say.  

I realize today that success is not the end result but rather a collection of accomplishments.

I took someone else’s word for it; that recovery was possible and it ended up being the truth. This is my biggest inspiration for writing this blog. I want to inspire hope as it was inspired in me.

I made the decision to face the pain. I made the decision to go forward but I didn’t know the answer to the HOW question. And in the end, it didn’t matter.

What are your thoughts on the “HOW” question? Please share them with us in the comments.

Exposing Truth ~ One Snapshot at a Time

Darlene Ouimet

64 response to "But HOW Do I Recover? ~ Emotional and other Abuse"

  1. By: Spence Posted: 10th June

    I thought about it and I think I got the answer. I stems back to my childhood. You know when three year olds try to venture out on their own to test their independence? Normally, it is a very healthy thing to do. However, my mother took this independence as a threat. She waited for me to fail throughout my whole childhood! She couldn’t wait for me to fall on my face! She stood there like a salivating lion. She took my normal growth experiences as a threat and took every opportunity to laugh at and belittle me! That does not make me afraid, it makes me ANGRY! I hope I can hold onto this new perception. It will help me cut the ties from that cruel witch!

  2. By: Spence Posted: 10th June

    My question isn’t “how?” but “what if I fail?” The FAILURE is what is stopping me from getting out of my abusive situation. There are a few reasons why. First, both my narcissistic mother and ex-husband would laugh their asses off if I failed. They get delicious pleasure out of seeing other people fall.
    More importantly, I don’t trust MYSELF to save me. You know how you get a “feeling” when someone isn’t right or trustworthy? That is the feeling that I get about myself. I am like a lion who can sense a weak animal. Not only do I not trust myself, but that lion in me is waiting, salivating for the time when I make a mistake. Then that lion will come in for the kill. Only this lion is an abusive one. it will berate and humiliate me until I crawl away defeated.
    I’m in a catch-22 situation. I must leave this abusive living environment, but I do not trust myself to save me.

  3. By: Evelyn Posted: 23rd December

    They could not destroy my spirit…..my spirit carried me and the kindness of friends’ families. I wanted better for myself and I sought it. Accepting that my family was evil…people I loved with all my heart … This was the most painful..people I trusted with my heart and whom I would protect and always be there for, shit on me. But I always knew they were broken…..My spirit carried me to truth…my faith in myself. I pitied them…they still do it to themselves…can’t help themselves. I took it because I knew they needed me. II made them laugh…I am genuine and accept them as they are….they pretend between themselves….have to lie to get what they need from each other. I knew they were broken. I had to love myself more. I had to learn that I AM lovable without self sacrificing and suffering. I knew it was all a lie but I starved for the truth…..my journey for truth and answers became and Is my life. Tje pain I can take …no problem because my faith in myself is stronger…..truth is free.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th December

      Hi Stitch,
      Great comments! Thanks for sharing!
      hugs, Darlene

      Hi Evelyn!
      YES truth is free!
      hugs, Darlene

  4. By: stitch Posted: 22nd December

    I started looking for professional help 37 years ago for having been left in the “care” of my paternal grandfather, a pedophile who committed 3rd degree sexual assault. He molested me more than once when I was between the ages of 10-12. Grandpa lived with us. Where were narcissist mom & dad? Oh it was their bowling night. I never told anyone. The abuser died when I was 19. Now I wonder how I could have done that, protected evil incarnate until his death. My search for answers and wanting to heal my oldest, deepest hurts led me here a year ago. In that short year, through this website, I learned who the worst, most destructive abusers in my life have been all along, and that I was the scapegoated oldest child my entire life. Through this website, I learned to love the self they nearly obliterated. It was never me. It was always them, always. They needed an emotional shit carrier. I just quit. Handed all the shit I endured back to them. Daddio’s reaction was so hate filled and vitriolic that I realized his father must have done the same thing to him.
    Thanks to this website, I am finally free.
    How do you get there? Never give up on yourself. You deserve freedom, joy, wholeness, peace and love. The tiniest steps will lead you to the giant leaps that will get you there.
    Love to all.

  5. By: DXS Posted: 29th July

    Flying fingers again. Paying attention to ourselves and our emotions. Our experiences also guide us. I didn’t even start to look at my Mom until I dated a passive aggressive self absorbed insecure narcissist for six months. This guy was WAY WORSE than my mom. But it helped me see what my Mom was about.

  6. By: DXS Posted: 29th July

    I still have a long ways to go. I need to feel that I AM WORTH IT! I still have the “putting yourself first means you have a big ego” issue to overcome.

    I think maintaining the N/C with my Mom will help. I am starting to feel sorry for her, but still want N/C with her.

    What Sahitha said about paying atte

  7. By: sahitha Posted: 29th July

    I was thinking about “what else to do next?” on my healing journey because I had come to a still point few weeks ago and then I found this website. I also started seeing a healer at the same time and together, they have helped/are helping me move forward.

    I had been on the journey for few years now and it has been very intense. I kind of know where I want to go and want my future to be but there was so much stuff holding me back. I was very surprised at the amount of fear and insecurity holding me back. I am undoing each one at a time. Also our life points out the issues that need healing. When we pay close attention to ourselves and our emotions, they guide us to what needs healing.

  8. By: DarleneOuimet Posted: 1st May

    Hi Shelle
    Welcome to EFB
    Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed reading your positive and hope filled contribution! Much of that same stuff worked for me too!
    Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Shelle Posted: 30th April

    I am finally emerging on the other side. It has taken me three long years, one foot in front of the other, most times at a snails pace, to come close to the fence of the ” greener grass.” The walk varies from person to person. In all of us, the walk is truely our own. I had many, many people telling me I would be okay. That I would come out so much better. All of that is very easy and sometimes hard to hear but very hard to believe when you are going through it. I have personally witnessed some unbelieveable tragic stories, since I began my own walk. The people the stories belong too took all the negatives and turned them into positives. And I am sure it took them awhile to do this. But I gained quite a bit of knowledge and strength just seeing/knowing these people through their walk. And I too thought ” if they can do this, so can I. ” I was fortunate to be in a community with alot of support ( free if you qualify ) that deal exclusively with the such. Fortunate that I had people looking out for my best intrest. Who held me accountable, lifted my sprits and kept me on all the right paths. Indeed, Faith helps! If I had the chance to change anything, I would keep it the way it has been. My walk helps my growth because it is all about experiences. Had I not had these experiences, be them good or bad, I would not be who I am today.
    So set some goals. Love yourself in the moment. Be angry when you feel like it. Sad when you are sad, happy when you are happy, cry when you feel like crying. Take time to pamper yourself even if it means just going for a walk to the corner and back or a hot bath/shower. Try harder each day, but dont kill yourself trying too hard. Push yourself when you can and always give yourself a break and pat yourself on your back when you have reached an accomplishment or goal. One small accomplishment turns into two, then ten, hundreds if not thousands and then millions of accomplishments. Soon you will loose track of them all. I have found writing helps me immensely! I document everything and have become compulsive about documenting my journey. Thank you Darlene for such an amazing blog. I pray peace for all those struggling.

  10. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 4th April

    Hi Brandon
    Welcome to EFB ~ I have been on vacation and just returned.
    There is a lot of information in this site about the things I did and the things I learned.
    Something that helped me a lot was considering that each part was really me, (not separate from me) and I began to concentrate on not seeing the parts as separate from the original me. I started doing this by realizing that each part was a way that I coped and that I no longer needed those ways of coping. Eventually in this way, I came back together. Its a huge process but it worked although it took a long time.
    Hugs, Darlene
    Thank you for sharing.
    Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Brandon Posted: 27th March

    In the beginning of 2012, my friend woke me up to the fact that I had DID. I fell into a hole and started writing out the ways that I was different from myself. My gaps in memory, understand, and effort were worlds apart along with other traits. I began putting the pieces of my memory together, trying to understand what made me cope in this way. I had mad substantial progress in recovering my true self, though I was on shaky ground I was still standing. In my efforts to better my condition, I failed to realize that my brother was suffering from multiple layers of depression. Being my brother he was good at hiding the way he felt, around me, until one day he had enough and committed suicide. My shaky ground dissolved and I fell in to a deeper state of DID than I had been in before. To this day I am struggling to reorganize my thoughts, and “pulling myself together” is quite the task. Just when I feel I’ve made a breakthrough I’m blindsided by the new trauma of discovering my brothers body and completely lose my focus on recovery. I’m assuming there are close to 7 parts to myself, now, but have not the understand as to why the four formed so suddenly. I switch an exhausting amount of times a day and can only progress so far before switching switching again, completely frustrating myself from losing that frame of thought.
    My separate parts constantly talk and bicker amongst themselves, and the only way I have found to silence the for a short while is by repeating a word until it is all I hear. This method is becoming obsolete and fear being broken and feeling alone for the rest of my life. I feel as though I’m starting to lose hope in “tomorrow”, but don’t want to lose hope at all. I’m lost in my head, which is preventing me from physically working, and just want to get better so I can begin building a foundation for the rest of my life. My first trauma was at age 5, and have had too many to count since then. If there is any hints you can give me, to a way of thinking I may have missed, please let me know. I’m not weak, but may try to be too strong. Thank you for your time.

  12. By: Doren Posted: 22nd November

    Hi Darlene,

    I came across this article and thought, “Yes please tell me, steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…”. It’s all so overwhelming, facing one’s entire life and making sense of it. Many days I wonder, “Am I processing? What is processing anyway? Am I doing it right?” Like there must be something spelled out X, Y and Z to it.

    For me, I must face it…whatever happened to me as a kid, bring it on, I want to remember and face it. I know that only happens when one is ready though. I have a need to go back and get the little me out of there. But I have to really appreciate what ‘there’ was. I need to make the connections from then to now, because it makes sense the way I’ve lived my life, I just can’t see that right now.

    I need to talk or write painful experiences out until I know that need is gone. One day, that day will come. I need to feel rather than just tell a story from the intellect. For 20 years I’ve told stories but never really accepted it as abuse because I wasn’t feeling it. As long as I went to the bottle I couldn’t accept the abuse.

    I believe this is a good thing, but I feel more angry these days, ever more so, as I realize it wasn’t my failings, it wasn’t my fault. I’m also angry that I have to deal with this shit still. I didn’t ask for it, I didn’t deserve it, and it goes totally unacknowledged in the family. My pain is enormous and there is no acknowledgment and I must deal with that. Those are the cards and some days it just pisses me off. But anger is healthy and I’ve not allowed myself to really feel that either.

    It is also very important that I realize it doesn’t matter one bit how my sister deals with the past, or how she interprets my approach to life. I’ve for so long felt that everyone else knew better than me about everything. But I must trust in and follow what my guts tell me to do. I am the expert on my life. I must respect more her approach, her choice to deny, but I also have a right to limit contact or have no contact with her if my needs are ignored. Putting myself first is part of healing, and it’s going to feel like selfishness for a while.

    Over the last few years I’ve had friendships with women who were very broken by life. I’d either end up doing drugs with them or always talk heavy stuff about trauma issues. Since my breakthrough a few months ago I’m drawing more of a line. I feel greatly for such people but for once in my life I want healthy relationships with healthy people. I know I have to be healthy myself first to attract that or to even feel comfortable with that. Before, I’d feel like to be spiritual or kind I’d have to listen and take it in. Now I know I must protect myself and trust my guts about who to let in. I can’t absorb all that heavy in my real life interactions, I can’t fix people, and I am unwilling to be close to negative folk. I don’t want to be around perky chipper people either because I just wanna KILL ’em, but I can’t handle doom and gloomers either. That’s learning boundaries, I guess.

    Lastly, I’m going for a holistic approach to healing addressing mind, body and soul, so I’m going back to the gym and checking out what church I may feel comfortable in. I may not find one, but an essential part of my getting better is lessening my isolation and being around people more.


    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 22nd November

      Hi Doren
      For me the first year was practically just about coming ‘out of the fog’ which IS about processing. Processing the truth and when we process we can’t help but progress. It is important to remember that it takes time and even if you sat down and read this entire site in 2 weeks, it would still take time to take it all in. It takes time to undo what took a lifetime to do. The good news is that it doesn’t take a whole lifetime!
      Love your comments! Hugs, Darlene

  13. By: Sam Posted: 26th October

    Hi Darlene I had ‘issues’ and did not function very well at all. I had come to the conclusion that I would never be able to change and I even thought maybe I had aspergers. About 8 months ago I came across your blog via Facebook and reading about ‘placing the blame where it belongs’ was like music to my ears, at last I can dump the blame on someone else! I felt great for a short time but then it suddenly started to get rather painful. I knew then that I’d have to carry on this process not knowing whether it was going to help and having to suspend the usual beliefs of “it wasn’t that bad”, “but you’ve got to move on, it’s in the past” and the knotty question of forgiveness, (at the moment, no way). As I’ve said before I was lucky to find a sympathetic clergyman who could agree that what happened was bad and this helped me to see it for what it was – abuse. That was the start of me being able to separate from it. As someone else put it I’m in the middle between ‘no longer’ and ‘not yet’. I have still some way to go yet but I think I’ll get there thanks to your blog 🙂

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 27th October

      Hi Sam
      Yes, this whole healing process unfolds in stages and each stage is important ~ and for me I found myself in that place (the middle but not yet” too, and I just kept going and trying to go forward! It paid off!
      Your comments are very well said! It was so important to let go of my attachment to the outcome when I stood up for me.
      Hugs, Darlene

  14. By: j Posted: 25th October

    good article & I’m trying to recover ,i found myself addicted & obswssed with a woman that emotionally abused me for years when I finallu broke & stood up for myself she left bexause I yelled at her I just broke couldnt take the neglect & abuse any more & niw am recovering from it and learning my self worth,i’m not worthless like she said ,i did all for her & backed against the wall when she walked by to not get in her way,i could go on but just b strong & u will get past it ,strange but yes it happens to men too.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th October

      Hi J
      Welcome to emerging from broken
      Yes this is not a womans problem at all, men are abused and boys are abused. This site is about recovery from the abuse by seeing the roots of it and how it effected the belief system of the individual so that we can change the way we view it. Glad you are here,
      Hugs, Darlene

  15. By: XS Posted: 13th August

    Great post – keep going because coming out the other side and being able to live with your life before is so freeing. I realised that I cannot accept and move beyond, but I can and do live with it so it no longer rules my life and my choices (both knowing and unknowing) I overcame D.I.D and have learned to live with all aspects of me integrated – it wasn’t easy and some days I still miss it as its all I knew, but I do prefer the life I’m living now, I feel free to be me and know that I will never be in an abusive position again – because I did the work I needed to on me I know what is right for me now. and you are right in the end the HOW question didn’t matter, what mattered was being free for the first time since i was 3 years old – scary but exhilarating 🙂

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 14th August

      Hi XS and welcome to EFB
      Isn’t it wonderful to live on the other side of broken!
      Thanks for sharing,
      Hugs, Darlene

  16. By: Dave Posted: 25th March

    I cant find my recent post about all of the shame that i have been feeling, carrying etc.and asking about DID ? I posted it yesterday but i cant find it – did you see it darlene ? I am not seeing responses to my posts anywhere ? How can i see when you or someone else responds to one of my posts ?

    thanks !

  17. By: MIa Posted: 27th September

    Hi I’m 15 years old and have always felt bad about myself but never knew why. I always thought my parents were controlling and when my dad hit me it was normal and wouldn’t happen again. I was searching for the answer to why I had terrible bursts of rage and uncontrollable anger and I came across an article on emotional abuse and it was like I had written it. I tried talking to my mom about it but she is so far in denial she didn’t believe me and said it was all in my head. I believed her for a while and then I just stopped and said “Wait, then why did all of that make so much sense to me?” and it was because thats what they do! Now I know theres no hope of getting help, she wont admit her problem and that hurts alot. So does being invalidated. I have nobody because we just moved and I don’t feel emotionally safe. She has broken down my self esteem and self worth so much and all I feel is anger and outrage at what she does to me everyday, and also at my self for being so stupid and only realizing it now. I have no idea what to do, everyday gets worse and I just wish she would stop and admit what she’s doing because she is sick and needs help.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 28th September

      Hi MIa
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken. I hope that you find comfort in the community here. Can you go to your school counsellor to talk about this? There are programs for teens in most places; that might be an option. There is hope for help, it doesn’t depend on your family though. You are not being stupid. What choice did you have in any of this??
      Please share often, I am glad you are here.
      Hugs, Darlene

  18. By: Krissy Posted: 9th May

    Thanks, Pam, Lynda and Fi – great to hear your stories.

    Darlene, you know that every time you write about part of your journey, you are committing yourself to writing another post to answer all the other questions that come out of it! So look forward to hearing more about what you discovered about what was true and false in Bible teaching. One day, of course…

    Ps – my faith survived the crisis. I am able to draw near to God again, and I am NOT backslidden/secular as ex tries to make out to people because I am very careful at church and not visible with my presence.

  19. By: Lynda ~ Coming Out Of The cRaZy Closet Posted: 9th May

    Darlene, I love what you wrote:

    “I am very careful what I write about in that regard today because of the baggage that surrounds the whole thing for so many, but I am a follower of the message of Christ. His true teachings are about love, equal value, peace, freedom and living life to the fullest.”



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