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: Fi MacLeod Posted: 9th May

    Hi Pam

    Thanks for sharing the difference knowing Jesus has made to you. I too know Jesus, I’ve known Him since I was 15, I’m now 45. Jesus is everything to me. I’d not be able to carry on without him.

    But even after 30 years of knowing Jesus I still find it very hard to trust Him or relate to God as Father because I was religiously abused, satanically ritually abused and also raped and sexually abused by my father. It all really mixed things up for me big time. I have severe trust issues.

    The bible was used by my parents to explain and excuse their abuse of me so I have huge problems just picking up a bible. I had a very religious upbringing as well as one filled with the black arts. It was a very toxic mixture. Spiritually I have a lot of problems and battles from day to day.

    I also have huge problems with language. For instance, I cannot relate to God as Father but He is my Safe Daddy now. Jesus is my big bruvver, that’s how I’m able to relate to Him.

    I also have huge problems with church, I cannot cope with churches that do any kind of ritual and everyday language in church is fraught with danger and triggers for me. Along with that I’ve had a lot of religious abuse from many Christians down the years who’ve used their beliefs, dogma and the bible to judge and condemn me for having all these struggles. Sad to say for ‘church’ I’m doing so much better out of church life than I was in it. Jesus is my reason for living but knowing Jesus has not solved all my problems, healing from these kind of issues is very tough but going through it with Jesus makes it all do-able!!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 9th May

      Great discussion in these last few comments!
      I studied the bible formally for 8 years ~ greek and hebrew word origins. I was so confused that what was being preached and taught to me, was not what I was discovering in my studies. As some of you have posted ~ lots of abuse around the bible which causes tons of damage. And not just the horrific abuse that you talk about Fi, but emotional abuse and manipulation too. (I could really relate to what you wrote Fi)
      ~ My relationship with God and Christ completely changed when I discovered the REAL TRUTH, and I realized that so much of what I had been taught was plain WRONG. I had been told so many lies, all for the purpose of people getting what they wanted, justifying what they were doing and for controlling and manipulating others. All my formal studies came in handy AFTER I healed, so all was not lost. =) 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.
      Hugs, Darlene

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

    Thanks for sharing that, Pam. I relate to everything you said there. But in my case, becasue my abusive parents were very religous ~ in fact, my dad was the minister ~ it took me to age 50, after decades of being stuanchly agnostic, before I finally came to believe in, and accepted, Jesus Christ as my Savior and my Lord.

    That single step made all the difference in my heart, and in my life. But I still have to guard against the “wolves in sheeps clothing,” they are just about everywhere, it seems.


  3. By: Pam Posted: 9th May

    This will sound corny but my first step in recovery came at 19 when I found Jesus.:0)I found unconditional love and a Father who ‘disciplined me for my own good’ and not for his sick pleasure. The Bible changed my view of myself and the world and has been a big part in my rewiring. However, many use the Bible and faith to abuse and I fell subject to that for a time but I have come out the other side with my faith in tact and stronger than ever before. Raising my children was hard because I had no model to rely on but it forced me to look for answers, to really think about my parenting, and this also caused me to see the wrongness of how my parents treated me. Therapy has played a part along with lots of reading and life experiences. In short, it is a journey of personal growth that I think is common to most human beings. The things that I’ve overcome and am working to overcome may be different but everyone faces obsticles. It helps a lot to look at the struggles of others and to know that I’m not alone.

  4. By: Amy Posted: 11th January

    Hi Darlene,
    I love this blog and so many of the articles and comments resonate with my life and how I feel about it. I am struggling with the “how” question in the sense of not knowing what I’m supposed to DO to move forward, not knowing how to facilitate healing, not knowing what things to do to help myself. I feel like I am in a maze and can’t get out. I had moved thousands of miles away from my mother in 1994 and established my own life, I thought, but she moved to be near me after her parents died, saying she did not want to be elderly and alone without family. I thought maybe God might be wanting to bring healing between us, but soon she started all her sick manipulative antics again. When I finally put my foot down and enforced my very minimal but non-negotiable boundaries, she punished me for it. I lived in a small community and she basically poisoned everyone I know against me. For 3 years I was being shunned and rejected every time I went to the store or ran into anyone I knew, because they believed her stories about me. That I was a liar. That I was abusive to her. That I was pretending to be someone I’m not. That I was on drugs. That I was sleeping with a man who was my friend and didn’t they realize he wasn’t just my friend. All this was in the guise of praying for me. Prayer requests for her wayward daughter. Don’t you know the real Amy? When none of that was true. It took me a while to find this out, since no one was telling me why they were turning on their heel and walking away from me. I had this happen over 15 years ago when someone influential I worked for did preventative damage control and spread lies about me after finding out I was going to quit. No one would associate with me, either for fear of that person’s disapproval and retaliation or out of disgust that those lies were true. I felt like I was going crazy. But I decided I would not let that person drive me out of town, and I stuck it out until finally the truth came out and I was vindicated and many of the relationships were restored. But it took almost 10 years. Then my mother came along and it started all over again. This time I couldn’t handle it anymore. She poisoned and sowed seeds of doubt and distrust in those same people and also my closest friends. I felt like the abuse and rejection was going to kill me if I stayed in the middle of it this time, so I moved away. I left everything. Sold it or gave it away or threw it out. I didn’t want any reminders of my old life, not furniture, not clothes, not dishes, nothing – because most of it came from her anyway, in one way or another. Like for example, once a year she used to send me a big box of new clothes when a particular store had their annual sale, and I would think, wow, thank you God, because if I want clothes I have to drive 150 miles to the nearest shopping mall. Of course I would thank her, but I was thinking really it was God giving her the idea just when I needed it. Because I have always hated shopping, especially for clothes, and didn’t want to waste my weekend driving that far only to not find much. But then when she moved out here, I realized all those years she had bought 2 of everything, and we had all the same clothes, 15 years worth! I can’t even describe how icky and weird and spooky that felt to me. I spent 3 years cringing every day getting dressed, realizing more and more sick things about the relationship and how it had affected the whole course of my life. And then she would scream and shout at me that, no, God is not your provider, I am, and everything you have is because of ME.

    So I finally fled and went somewhere I thought there were several healthy churches where I could meet like-minded believers and heal, where I thought I could find work in my field, but it didn’t turn out that way. I have not been able to find work or find counseling or find a place to live that’s safe, or a church that’s safe, and I am dissociating all the time. When I have tried to explain to people that I have DID and I need help (which I only discovered in the 6 months before I left), they say, well, then, maybe your mother is right. Maybe you really have been doing all those things and just don’t remember! Maybe you should go back home where you’ll be taken care of! Can you imagine how crazy that makes me feel?

    It’s so encouraging to read other people’s stories here and realize that in some sense, this is all “classic”, as hard as it is for others who weren’t abused to believe.

    I just wish I knew where to get help and what to do. When you don’t have any money and can’t find a job because you’re over-qualified, but you know you need to do menial work because of your fragile mental and emotional state, and you don’t know anyone you can trust to stay with or steer you in a safe direction, it’s hard to know what the priority should be. I can’t even keep track of whether or not I brushed my teeth or ate, or whether it was yesterday or today that I went somewhere, or if I told someone something or only thought about telling them… I’m always confused and crying. I change my mind and come to different conclusions about the same thing every few hours, like having opposing and conflicting light bulbs going off and then realizing there’s no way both convictions can be right, so not being able to decide what I really believe. And I keep trusting the wrong people. I was never like this. I used to be like that girl in True Grit, I even had a couple real cowboys and an Indian tell me I had true grit. I don’t know what happened to that part of me, but I wish she would come back.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th January

      Hi Amy,
      I have read your comment twice, it is SO very full of information and describes the cycle SO well. Do you know how common this is? Do you realize how often this kind of thing happens when someone stands up to the controller in their lives? (not just parents but this is VERY common when it comes to women standing up to husbands too, this exact same kind of stuff ~ discrediting the person.
      Please keep a copy of this comment. There is so much foundational information for you in it about how you got into such a struggle. If you were seeing a therapist, I would encourage you to print it out and take it with you.
      I hope you keep reading this blog, (and the posts before this one) and you might be able to get an even more clear idea of “how” to start. This part doesn’t come over night even if we have the exact instructions. We are dealing with years of belief system stuff, but this comment that you just wrote is awesome! This comment is exactly on the right track to get you started!
      I wish I could write MORE but I have only so much time! I am working on having a membership site where I can do more of this kind of coaching work.
      hang in here with us and stay tuned!
      Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Krissy Posted: 21st December

    Darlene, once again, you are spot on, and once again, I am late! But I am glad I read it. It is a question I was so eager and anxious to get an answer to. I think that itself if a symptom of being abused – getting everything right. I just didn’t want to make a mistake. I could never trust myself to find the right way – I always had to be told.

    Although I am so glad to be out of abuse, one of the things I didn’t expect was living with a sense of dread, like something is going to go horribly wrong because I am in charge of myself. And the ex will find out and blame me to the kids, to friends, and worse to the family court. I have to learn to relax and that healing will come, and that it is OK to make mistakes. I am not there yet, and still find myself panicking, stressing out and suffering worse consequences because of it, like getting traffic fines or having unnecessary accidents due to being stressed. I just don’t allow myself the freedom of finding my own way in my own time. I have these voices telling me I have to get it right. And that’s the reason I was searching the net and found your site. I was desperately waiting for you to be more specific on how to recover.

    But what I got was better – it was an encouragement that it will happen, step by step and in the way that is just right for the individual.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 21st December

      Hi Eileen,
      Welcome to EFB
      Thanks for sharing this very insightful comment and for sharing your victory! I can relate to that too, that I had to stare at the truth and begin climbing out of that hole.
      I am really glad that you are here!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Lynn,
      I can relate to everything you wrote. I wanted to quote you on EFB facebook, but can’t decide which part to use! (I will figure it out though! )
      Thank you so much for sharing this. Taking back what was taken from me is absolutely what helped me heal too!
      Thank you for being here and for sharing! This is so excellent!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Krissy
      (You are not late at all! this is the current post! LOL and I don’t care if I get comments 2 months later! I am just glad that people have the urge to comment!)
      Just one thing here and I think you said it when you said that you know that IT WILL HAPPEN ~ I also had that fear big time, that I fail if I was in charge and I learned that even that was a belief that had been taught to me for so long. The belief that I was incompetent, that I could not possible make the right decision, that I could never do the right thing, that I was stupid, that I was “off”. This was the conditioning that I had to break out of, this was the self empowering that I did, little by little until I rarely question myself now.
      The process is just that… a process. =)
      I am so glad that you did find this site! I love your contributions!
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: clare gryphon Posted: 20th December

    @ Lynn I did the same thing befriended people just about everyone who would talk to me or show me attention :(. Now I seem to be doing the complete opposite in my face to face meetings. I am now not befriending anyone as I did not trust myself.
    I thought I was only able to attract emotionally and psychologically harmful people. I was not trusting my instincts. I did not no how to. I blocked everyone out in my day to day dealings. Now I feel that I am able to make the right decisions and realise the world is a mix of people good and not so good.

    Thanks for what you wrote I could so relate.

  7. By: Lynn Tolson Posted: 20th December

    Hi. I’m glad I read this blog and its comments. HOW do you recover? There are no road maps. I was used to a family out of control, a family that took control of my body. A breakthrough I had in therapy was that I’d been allowing bits and pieces of myself to be swept away. I learned that the whole of life was more about how I shaped it, day by day, by making good decisions and better choices. That took a determination of my own values, not the ones that were placed upon me. I had to start from scratch… what do I value? Honesty. However I befriended everyone who seemed to like me, or I did anything to get him or her to like me. It did not matter if I liked them, as long as they showed me some sign of the affection and acceptance I craved. My so-called friends used me in ways that I was accustomed to, physically and emotionally. It’s like I automatically put myself in harm’s way. I had to learn to take control : have the ability to assess my surroundings (instinct) and the power to control my activities (empower). So it looks like taking back what was taking from me (instinct and power) helped me heal.

  8. By: Eileen Posted: 20th December

    I have journeyed for years trying to work through the pain and thinking by staying and replacing that pain with other things that I would be alright. But it quickly caught up to me and the reality kicked in that I was falling deeper into the hole rather then digging myself out. I was a contradiction and finally stared at the truth and begin climbing out. It is an individual process but support is vital, educating yourself, empowering yourself and your voice, breaking your silence. It will be one year that I broke my silence on January 1st. Life is good but I am still a work in progress and thank you so much for sharing your journey. It helps in so many ways to know you are not alone.


  9. By: Shanyn Posted: 20th December

    Darlene, you have (along with a few others)encouraged me, inspired me and supported me as I’ve worked my way along this path called healing. My first big challenge in understanding the ‘how’ was the ‘who’. Who am I? Once I started to understand that I am my own person, that WHO I am is not dependent on my past or the people in it. They, to be sure, had a part to play in the formation of me but I’m here not solely because of them but in some cases in spite of them.

    The pressure and control that was part and parcel of the system I grew up with exerts itself in my life, and at almost 40, I’m just learning how to set, hold and protect the boundaries I need for my own little family.

    The how is starting to come together but without the who I’d still be lost, still be wondering why I couldn’t ever fit in enough, cut enough of myself off or squeeze it in so I was the right shape for them.

    Great blog Darlene and awesome comments by everyone – much inspiration and food for thought.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 20th December

      Hi Supovedea,
      Recovery happens in many different ways for each of us. I think that is why it is so powerful to share our experiences with each other; because we all learn so much from what works for others and being able to relate is very powerful too.
      My children (and not wanting to them to grow up in the same system) have been a huge inspiration to me along this journey too. Thank you for being here,
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Shanyn,
      Something about your comment triggered a whole lot of thoughts in my mind about the lack of individuality that I found at the rotting foundation my life and belief system was built on. Finding myself was a huge task because I was never encouraged or expected to BE myself, but rather what “they” thought I should be. (which was always conflicting ~ so what a mess!)
      I love your comment… I could (and might) write a whole blog post in response to it!
      Thank you for being a part of EFB and for sharing your truth, discoveries and your heart.
      Love Darlene

  10. By: Supovadea Posted: 19th December

    Yep. I still have nightmares. I am better, but I have a long way to go. I draw my strength more from my need to make sure my 3 yr old daughter doesn’t suffer the abuses I did. One reason I keep going and keep strong is because she deserves it. Already growing up in a world without a father or grandparents, puts her at a disadvantage, but I am driven to make her life not suffer any more than necessary because of what happened to me. I left her father so she wouldn’t’ have to deal with it. I can’t afford therapy and don’t understand the acronyms you use but I do know the cycle needs to stop with me. Somehow. As I build her into a strong woman, I feel myself becoming the woman I want her to be. It’s a strange therapy without the help of professionals, but it seems to be working. For me anyway.

  11. By: IAmEchad Posted: 19th December

    I feel like i’m wading through a swamp filled with alligators, snakes & quicksand, but rays of light still break through and I hear the voices from those who have made it through. that’s what keeps me going & not giving up on myself or the process

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th December

      Thank you so much! I am really honoured to be included as one of the lights of hope for full recovery! And you are so special to me too.
      You are one of my life treasures too. I am blessed to have been able to watch you grow for as long as I have ~ and wowee, you are an inspiration. I have loved sharing my recovery and journey with you and being part of yours.
      Thank you for being part of this blog too!
      Hugs and love and Merry Christmas, =)

      Hi IAmEchad
      This is really inspirational too! I can feel it, I can feel the fear and the dangers and I can see the rays of light and hear those voices and for me it feels like I “was” there and know that was what kept me going too.
      Thank you so much for sharing!
      Hugs, Darlene

  12. By: Carla Logan Posted: 19th December

    Darlene, I think you know that you and my therapist have been the lights that have given ME that hope of recovery! And I am sooooo grateful, my friend. 🙂

    I still, at times, get stuck in that “How” spin, when I feel pulled under by pain and turmoil, because in those moments I can’t feel or see anything else. I can’t see the progress I’ve made, or feel the new feelings that I have been experiencing for the first time in life. But once I get through that cycle and come out with another ‘gain’, the perspective comes back, that I am moving forward and making great strides, and that I don’t need to doubt the process, just keep my eyes looking forward.

    I appreciate having the kind of support and encouragement that you have freely offered, you are one of my life treasures. <3

    And Merry Christmas! 🙂

    Love and hugs,

  13. By: clare gryphon Posted: 19th December

    A few years ago if someone had of asked me about healing I would have said I am as far as I can go. I was just existing, that is it, compared to how things had been in the past just waking up in the morning and making it to bed at night unscathed was all I could wish for.

    I had surrounded myself with people who were going no where fast, I felt as if I was slowly dying fading away even more. I had given up on life, I had no idea what or how to go about things. I had been seeing a counselor and I realized I had no idea what I was doing there. It felt as if I was going for a chat and a whine and now and then she would suggest things to try. I knew she had no idea about what to do.

    I have D I D I am sure the counselor I had was out of her area of understanding. I decided to stop seeing her and listening to a psychiatrist who was apparently a specialist in the area. Thing is they were only a academic expert, I wanted to learn skills. I wanted to heal, I did not want to talk about my abuse the hows why and wherefores. Not long after I left the psychiatrist and well decided to do it on my own. I was over seeking assistance and being part of face to face groups ( they seemed to not move forward and sometimes I would be triggered. I had it pointed out to me that I have already some healthy coping skills I just needed to learn to trust myself and stop second guessing. I looked at what it was that I did not like when I saw the many professionals over the years.

    I felt some had missed the point, I even had one doctor tell me to not tell anyone about my past at all as I would not want it down on record that I had been sexually abused. What was it that I needed to regain to feel that “I” was getting somewhere. Easy it was my voice I had not felt I had a voice or had any of my ideas or suggestions listened to. I did not have a disorder I was not diseased. I was reacting and responding to what had occurred to me during my childhood and it was valid and it made perfect sense. I wish more professionals in Australia saw it this way.

    I started looking into more of the effects of how to recover from childhood abuse. I went to a support center here for people who had suffered abuse as children. There are people there who help just by listening and not judging. suggesting things to allow me to find the words I have struggled with so long for to find.

    I started reading books, trying to make sense of what was going on for me. What did I need. I was fortunate to have a husband/ life partner who has been supportive. He just wanted to see me okay again. He had no idea what to do at all none there was no where he could get information other than the net. Which at times it can be suspicious. So how does a person recover it takes time, it is very slow but it is worth it. I was the one who needed to listen to me I was the one who had the instincts on what I needed to do. I am doing that now. I have a great future ahead of me. I have to many thing to do and to see. I have a life to live to the fullest I can. This is something I am going to do for me not for anyone else.

    I lived in a massive fog actually it felt more like transparent tar and now it is starting to clear. I use to have days that I would curl up and shut off from things now I have mornings or afternoons it does not last all day.

    I can see that there is hope and if it was not for me. I want to embrace life, I am still learning how to, I spend more time laughing and being present with my two children. I work at being positive as it is so easy to sound negative and it just makes me feel down. I will recover by being gentle and understanding to myself and most important thing of all is to trust me and my instincts. I have a move to another state to plan for, a different chapter in my life to live.

    One last thing Darlene I am here at your blog because you have been a massive inspiration to me I have gained so much knowledge by coming here and reading over things you have written and shared. I only got the courage to comment not that long ago and I had been reading for about 2 months before that. I enjoy reading other peoples blogs to and their comments.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th December

      Hi Lynda!
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts about healing and your own process of trusting your instincts. I had to relearn HOW to trust my instincts, and that serves me well much of the time now too. I appreciate you sharing this perspective!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Clare!
      I really appreciate the depth of what you have shared here today. There are many similarities to my own healing process in the healing process that you describe. I had so many that “missed the point” that I missed the point too. I was so stuck in “my issues” as though I had caused them all by myself. When I began to look at the past, it was so logical that the problems started somewhere. (I never considered that the problems started “SOMEWHERE”.. just that I had a “problem”.
      I love your comments Clare, I am so glad that you are here and have the courage to add to this blog!
      Hugs, Darlene
      p.s. and thank you so much for your encouragement and compliments at the end of your post too! That also makes a difference!

      Hi Shelly and welcome!
      I get this comment! I was totally like this too before, but take heart, I got unstuck and I emerged! I was also afraid to admit (even to myself) that my life was what it was and there were massive conflicts in my belief system because of it which got in the way too.
      I look forward to hearing about your journey,
      Thanks for your comment, glad you are here!
      Hugs, Darlene

  14. By: SHELLY BONCHE Posted: 19th December

    Hi Darlene, The word “HOW”!! is a very insightful and useful word and tool to understand in ones healing journey….BUT that small three lettered word has me immobilized!!But reading your blog has made me think past the frozen state and the fear that is chained to me.I have been searching and searching reading blogs,reading self help books just trying to find the answer and direction of HOW I DO IT??? But nothing has jumped out at me, my counsellor only in my last session told me that you are really stuck and have been for a while. Again this brought that “HOW” word to my surface. I now can see that I am frighten/fearful of accepting that I have been abused my whole life because that will mean that I will have to nurture myself and “HOW” can I do that when I hate the person that I am, she doesn’t deserve any kindness…..I am frighten of allowing this person to be treated as a women deserves to be treated…again “HOW” do I change a negetive belief system that has been instilled in me for the past 46 years that there’s only one place for me and that is that I am unworthy and my place in life is at the back of the line!!!! So I know “HOW” to utilise the word “HOW”!!!! I need to go into my next session and talk the talk that is blocking me, not be frighten of failure, not be frighten of nuturing this women and the most important thing is that I need to reach out and hold my inner childs hand and wipe away the tears and walk this journey together to find happiness!!!!

    Thanks Darelene for allowing my thoughts to be extended…I have made the shift in theory. I hope that I will be courageous enough to follow through with my everyday life…

    Cheers Shelly B

  15. By: Lynda Robinson Posted: 18th December

    PS~ Oops, I meant to say that we exhale carbon dioxide. Hopefully none of you are breathing carbon monoxide! 😉

  16. By: Lynda Robinson Posted: 18th December

    As I was reading through this post and the comments I was struck by the thought that healing is really a very natural, and spontaneous, process. When we are physically injured or sick our bodies immediately go into healing mode. Depending on the severity of the injury or illness, the healing process may be very fast, or it may take a long time. but even people who were told they were terminally ill and that nothing could be done to save them have been known to recover, so there is always hope.

    HOW do we heal? I have learned to trust my instincts. When I’m thirsty, I drink water. When I’m hungry, I eat. When I’m tired, I rest, or sleep. We have instincts that guide us in keeping our bodies healthy; it’s as natural and simple as taking a breath when we need oxygen, and exhaling when we need to get rid of carbon monoxide. In the same way, I believe we can tap into our inner instincts for guidance in our emotional healing.

    This is what has helped me the most: going into a bookstore, going to the aisle with the self-help books, and letting my inner instincts guide me to the right books to buy. Searching online for articles and support groups and blogs, and letting my instincts guide me as to which ones are helpful and which ones may be harmful. Going to a support group, or a church, and staying if it feels peaceful to my inner spirit, and leaving if it doesn’t. By doing what feels Right, and avoiding what feels Wrong… letting PEACE, or the lack of it, be my guide… I keep moving forward in my healing, step by step, day by day.

    Today, I’m not (yet) completely healed… but I am far more Whole, and a thousand times Happier, than I ever was before I began this adventurous journey, almost eight years ago, of simply following my heart. One of the first things I did was move 2,000 miles away to a place where I didn’t know a soul, and start a new life. It proved to be the best move I could have made! But, that was MY journey… your journey will be unique to you, of course.

    Happy Trails!

  17. By: Nomy Posted: 18th December

    Jen –

    I remember the day I finally got validation that I didn’t know I needed. I’m 41 and it happened finally two years ago. Just in passing, my therapist said, “That’s neglect and abuse, Nomy. She was an abuser.”

    No one had ever said that. Ever. We all knew it, I guess. But no one ever said it. She said it and something snapped in me – if she think it, too, maybe I’m *not* making this up or being a cry baby.

    — The next thing is faith. Minus that I am not here. I’m so glad you have that. I honestly don’t know how it’s done without it.

    Thanks, Darlene! I accidentally found this blog today, so I’ll be reading for a spell. I’m so glad you’ve given folks this tangible proof of possibility and support.

  18. By: Louise Posted: 18th December

    I am struggling very much in the space of not being able to go forward, I don’t trust myself to not revert into being self destructive. I am recognising how fragmented I’ve become and how I do have alters. Like recently I had a dream where I pulled a kid (who’d capsized a boat) out of a raging river only she was dead, but when I tried to do heart massage she kept batting my hands out of the way. I was totally confused – how can she be dead yet moving? In the end I walked away and was talking to someone who saw her standing behind me soaking wet where she’d followed me. I was glad there was someone else there to help me with her. But this is how part of me feels, a child who doesn’t want to be alive, who would rather cling to death and not feeling than come back, and is suffering still. Everyday I get up I have to carry the weight of her, which is not so bad compared to what she is carrying, I’m prevented from knowing most of that by my memory gaps. Like you say about addressing things bit by bits and having hope of recovery – that’s the only reason I’m still here from holding to that hope. I would like to know if you’ve have recognised any stages in your recovery from DID that you personally have noticed – to give s kind of ladder for us to discuss, follow… Thank you 🙂

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th December

      Hi Louise,
      I can relate to your dream a lot. I wanted to tell you that I continue to have a lot of memory gaps, but what I did was I went with the few memories that I did have and once I started to figure out the bliefe system that I developed from those events, I didn’t need to remember everything.
      Yes, I have realized many stages; my whole blog is about the stages although they are kind of mixed up, but then again, each of us go through them in a slightly different order and the blog posts are all short. I understand that means a lot of reading through things ~
      One of the things about DID is that I don’t see it as any different then any other recovery because I have come to realize (mostly in retrospect) that it was a coping method ~ same as my depressions OR addictions. I am trying to work on something that is a more step by step discussion, hopefully that will be ready soon.
      I will keep you posted. =)
      Meanwhile, thank you so much for sharing today. I know this is very hard. I also thought that living without feeling would be easier, but it wasn’t. There is hope.
      Thanks for being here.
      Love and hugs, Darlene

  19. By: Fi MacLeod exNicholson Posted: 18th December

    Hi Darlene, lol you’re the second person to tell me within an hour how I inspired someone by something I wrote. It’s both humbling and inspiring.

    I remember typing those words and knowing that I didn’t know the ‘how’ but I knew I’d find a way somehow. By saying I didn’t know how suddenly helped me see it didn’t matter I didn’t know how because I knew deep inside I would find a way.

  20. By: Jen M Posted: 18th December

    The hardest part for me was admitting that I had been abused. What happened to me was not as bad as the experiences of others’ abuse and so I didn’t think what I had experienced was abuse. So what was there to deal with? It has only been recently, through reading this blog, that I came to see what happened to me as abuse too. And no matter how bad the abuse is, it has the same effect on the person receiving it. That has been such a healing for me. So now that I can see it for what it is, I’m now on the road to healing from it. And it’s truly one step at a time.

    What really helped me is to realize more and more how God sees me. So differently than anything I’ve ever believed about myself! And that is helping to challenge those lies I’ve believed all my life and cling to the truth that God has shown me.

    So thank you, Darlene, and to all the others who have shared their experiences too. I’ve been so blessed by this.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th December

      Hi Nikki,
      I really relate to what you say here and it reminded me of something I learned that really helped me that I try very hard to communicate ~ If I had not been mistreated the way that I was as a child, if I had not learned to accept the abuse and believe that I was not as valuable as others, then I would NOT have accepted the abuse that went on in my adult life. I always felt that it was my fault that people walked all over me too, but when I realized where the root of that came from, I realized that it wasn’t actually MY fault after all.
      I am excited to hear that you are beginning to stand up for you! No more suffering!
      Love Darlene

      Hi Jen
      I did this too! I think that I even sought friends that had been abused worse than I was so that I could say I wasn’t. It was this way that I discounted myself without realizing it!
      I am really thrilled to hear that you are on the road to healing by challenging all those lies!
      I am so happy that you shared this today!
      Hugs, Darlene

  21. By: Nikki Posted: 18th December

    It is a process and for each person it can be different. With each pit of anger I find myself in I come out learning something new and realizing some truth that I had not known … I think the reason I have been angry at myself is not because of the abuse that went on in my childhood but the abuse that has happened in my adult life. I feel it is my fault that I allowed people to walk all over me and use me. But I also see that if it hadn’t been me then they would have used someone else or walk all over someone else … I have always stood up for others but never felt worthy enough to stand up for myself … but I am learning by God I am learning because I am fed up with putting myself on the back shelf and suffering for it.

  22. By: Nomy Posted: 18th December

    I love this piece and agree with it almost in its entirety. I would get a breakthrough and the light would go on and I’d say, “Ok, great! How do I fix it!?” My therapist would just stare at me and grin and explain the whole process again.

    We ended up basically rebuilding my foundation, the thing constructed and wired so faulty from my beginning, while I lived in the house I’d built on top of it.

    She pointed out the evidence that contradicted every thing I believed: I’m not worth it and no one thinks so; They don’t want me around; I’m a burden. You get the point. But every where around me, around us, is evidence to the contrary. It is everywhere once I began looking.

    Once you begin to see the evidence you can’t un-see it. You can’t un-ring that bell. And that was like an earthquake that shook my foundation of self-belief. It has helped me immensely.

    It’s the hardest part of therapy so far. Almost 30 years, now, of tracking down that ghost. It shook me to my core.

    But it’s the best thing I’ve done so far. And I’m still doing it.

    Now. Having said that, I’ll say this:

    Not every person living inside D.I.D. *wants* the kind of “healing” you infer. We’ve become masters at this, and uprooting this, tearing it apart in the name of “integration” would be like tearing out my fingernails.

    This system is not the problem. This system saved my life. Period. D.I.D. is a creative child’s response to trauma. You can’t steal this away without making the shell crumble, in my personal opinion; for me. I know no other way, see. Ask me to drive, but take away the engine.

    I just wanted to throw that in there. Healing can come to a Dissociative system without integrating the system. You must increase internal communication in whatever way it is that you communicate, you have to encourage working together, but it can be done. I even have one or two that aren’t entirely on board. We try to stay away from balconies and toasters because … well, because. But still we move towards healing and everyone is valid and needed for the whole to stand.

    And I think “healing” is a process that will, and for me is supposed to, last my lifetime.

    I hate this. Hate. It. I hate that I had to get here in the crowded way that I did, but to undo it is to discredit my youth and their saving of me. Change one thing in your past and you are a completely different person than you are now.

    And believe it or not, as soooo freaking hard as this is, I have no desire to be anyone else and envy no one their lot. That always amazed my therapists. But there you go. D.I.D. manifests differently in everyone. I’ve chosen to play the hand I was dealt. It pisses me off that I have to, but the minute I stopped lamenting and screaming why me I began to heal. Stop fighting the tide and learn to swim along side it.

    Thanks for the piece. Sorry if I got off track.

    ~ Nomy

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th December

      Hi Supovedea
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken

      I think it is fantastic that you are convincing yourself that you do deserve to be happy and that you KNOW you will be whole one day. That is how it was for me too. I just believed and kept going forward, little by little, step by step. Not everyone that I have met who has overcome has had the help of a therapist, so don’t worry about that. That is one of the reasons I write the “fog busting” truth posts that I write ~ because realizing what the lies I believed about me were… and realizing them were the keys to freedom. (and I know how my therapist helped me to bust into them, that is why I write. )
      Really glad that you are here.
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Nomy
      Welcome to EFB!
      I had to rebuild my entire foundation too. I like your expression ~ “Once you begin to see the evidence you can’t un-see it. You can’t un-ring that bell.” I also had to realize that although they might have seen me as a burden, they were wrong ~ all part of the re wiring process.

      As for me, I never thought so much about integration actually. My therapist didn’t talk about it much either; it was a result of rebuilding the foundation. It just happened because I no longer needed to be fragmented. Today I see that the alters were all created to take care of me, so that I could survive; that is very true. but I am not trying to survive anymore so the engine is no longer separate from the vehicle. I am still the same person, only better; settled, peaceful, happy and living fully. I respect what you have posted here, and your opinions too. I only post this addition for the sake of my readers who hope to become “one” or have the goal of no longer having an internal system.

      The bottom line for me is to inspire recovery ~ not to define it for the individual.
      I am really glad that you are here and thank you very much for posting this part of your journey!
      Hugs, Darlene

  23. By: Supovadea Posted: 18th December

    I still haven’t had an epiphany. I don’t expect I ever will. I have belief & hope that I will someday recover & be whole. But the truth is I still lack faith that I can do it. I haven’t had the luxury of spending tome with a therapist, though. The current economy has made that impossible for me with limited mobility & finances to increase that. Instead I am spending a lot of time trying to convince myself I do deserve to be happy. I have no doubt that someday I will be whole. I don’t know the how either, but I know it will happen. That’s the best I can do for now.

  24. By: Fi MacLeod exNicholson Posted: 18th December

    I think the key lies in when you said
    “I realize today that success is not the end result but rather a collection of accomplishments.”

    The “how” is each tiny little step forwards – every tiny breakthrough – every time I recognise a lie and replace it with the truth – every time I’m reminded the shame and blame aren’t mine but belong to my abusers – every time I do something positive with my anger rather than destructive – every time I refuse to remain silent – every time I trust just that little bit more – every time I refuse to run away but face the pain instead – even when I do take a step back or freeze when I manage to move forward again that’s another little step up.

    They’re all little building blocks.

    For me it’s trying not to look too far ahead, I have to look at it in bite size chunks otherwise I get totally overwhelmed with the scale of what’s ahead of me.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th December

      Hi UnEk_DiMoNz
      This was one of my biggest fears too. One of the things that helped me is when I realized that the alters held the pain (because that is why they were created) but that “they” want recovery too and they didn’t stop operating until I didn’t need them anymore. You are not a coward, you are a very hurt person with very valid fears. Facing this stuff is very hard. I was a major runner. But when things were broken down and the steps were taken slowly, I was able to hang on in the times that I wanted to run.
      Just remember that you have already begun. You are already in the process and therefore you have already taken the first step. Desire is absolutely the beginning.
      Thank you so much for sharing and for your bravery and honesty. =) You are inspiring.
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Fi,
      This is fantastic Fi! This is exactly what I am talking about ~ this is the perfect expansion for this post. Thank you for this contribution.
      You were my inspiration for this post. I should have dedicated it to you. It isn’t that you asked the “how” question, it was because you made a comment saying “I don’t know how I will..” and it reminded me of how many times a week that I get asked “HOW?” and when you said “I don’t know how” but you still knew that you were going forward, that was so inspiring to me!
      Hugs Darlene

  25. By: UnEk_DiMoNz Posted: 18th December

    That’s the biggest step for me to overcome, is the pain my alters hold. I’m so afraid I’ll have to relive it all again and I don’t think I can do that. I’m so afraid the “runner” will take off or the “cutter” will do it real deep or my suicidal will take over or even me…maybe I’m just a coward but I’m so afraid YET…I do want to heal and be whole, so in order for me to do this, the first step would be to trust my therapist in what she’s doin and then go from there…….

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