Emotional Abuse and Identity Hunger


Carla Dippel Co-Authored this blog with me for the first 6 months of its life.  I am really excited to welcome Carla back again as a guest blogger!  As always please feel free to contribute to this wonderful post by leaving your feedback and comments.  ~ Darlene Ouimet, founder of Emerging from Broken

It is easy for me to understand the concepts of recovery on an intellectual level. What helps the truth in my head become real in my heart is action of some kind, and this is something I find really tough. Almost a year ago, I decided to sign up with a matchmaking service. My conscious reason was to engage in the process of finding a life partner. In the last few months, I’ve discovered a subconscious reason: to overcome some of my greatest fears through real life situations in an area that has been one of my greatest struggles: the realm of romantic relationships with men.

Please know that I’m not recommending everyone should approach their recovery in this way. It has its benefits and definite challenges. But this is one approach that I chose for myself. It’s a way that I have found that I “test” my new truth foundations.

A few months ago I met a guy and fell for him head over heels. He was intelligent, cute, confident, and successful. He drove a Porsche (yes, that was attractive to me too!) He was very polite and kind, considerate, not pretentious. He engaged in his world, knew what he liked and what he wanted. He was ambitious. He had stories to tell and goals and dreams to pursue. We dated for a month and a half. I believed I had found “the one.” As it had been some time since I had felt this way towards a man, I fell pretty hard.

All the while, I was absolutely anxious. I chalked it up to “my own issues” and tried to relax. But it never really went away. It’s difficult to be 100% honest with yourself in the midst of falling in love… It was in hindsight that I realized I had questioned from the beginning whether he was equally as interested in me as I was in him. I had gut feelings that I ignored, hoping I was wrong (because I wanted to be wrong). I over-analyzed and panicked time after time because, as much as I so highly admired him, at the very same time I compared myself to him and believed I came up short. I loved that he was ambitious, but was I equally so? I loved that he engaged with his world, but I couldn’t really talk about worldly things like he could… I loved that he was so kind and considerate, and subsequently put huge amounts of pressure on myself to be just as kind, and in the same way as him. I looked at him and believed he was so much better than me. My heart broke when I finally realized this, but in comparing myself to him, I looked at my own growth and emerging identity and felt it was worthless. My anxiety actually turned into mild arthritis in my right hand… And I could sense that I was turning myself off both in and outside of the relationship.

The relationship ended, and I fell into some deep self-loathing and depression which was really scary. I hadn’t felt that depressed since before I started counseling. All the truth I had learned somehow seemed hollow. My friends told me that I ultimately deserved better and that it wasn’t my fault. In my head I understood what they were saying. But my heart only felt the pain of rejection. And the pain of something else… something even more important for me to pay attention to. I started to realize that I may not have been in love with this guy as much as I was desperate for him to fill a certain hunger in my soul. My admiration for him over-rode my gauge on whether or not he was actually a good relationship match for me. As I was subconsciously hoping to do, I came face to face with a belief still echoing from my childhood- that in and of myself I was not “enough.” Still struggling to turn this belief around, I began functioning in the hope that if I could attach myself to this man I admired, all of the qualities I saw in him that I wanted for myself would somehow rub off on me and I would finally become a person of equal value.

It’s like an identity hunger. Seeking this kind of “self defining” from a man makes a lot of sense to me.  In my last guest post “Emotional Abuse and Anger” (click the title to visit) I described the nature of the emotional abuse from my childhood. I’ve also described the impact of my relationship with my Dad in older posts published here (check out “The Unengaged Gardener”). Ultimately, I would have grown up knowing that I was uniquely and wonderfully made. I would have learned to take pride in my strengths and consider my weaknesses with compassion. I would have been encouraged to pursue avenues, activities and dreams that really made me excited, rather than learning to perform and achieve for affirmation. I would have learned to engage with my world for enjoyment sake and not be entirely afraid or cynical of it. Though I lacked for little in terms of physical needs, this emotional aspect of my life was not cultivated and my Dad’s lack of involvement left the biggest hole. A vacuum was created in my earliest years that I have presented to many men (not always obviously) in an attempt to have it filled with something meaningful.

I am in the thick of the process of figuring all this out. I have started meeting other men and I am much more aware of this potential pitfall to have them solve any identity hunger. I am feeling excited… interestingly, not only about finding a life partner, but even more so about finding myself… Feeling empowered to do this brought me out of the depression I had sunk into. In facing some of my biggest fears, letting myself struggle with the truth and what I really believe about who I am, I am developing a deeper relationship with myself. I am seeing myself grow to own who I really am, without comparing my unique-ness to other people’s. I am learning to battle the lie of “you aren’t enough” that the emotional abuse/neglect left me floundering in. I am learning to tend to my own identity hunger, to accept exactly who and where I am at this point in my life, apart from what I do, apart from how other people might define me. No matter what the outcome of my dating adventures, I am confident I will emerge with a stronger foundation in the Truth about ME, tried and tested. Bit by bit, I continue on my path of emerging from broken.

With hope that my journey will inspire yours,


Bio: Carla Dippel lives in beautiful Alberta Canada. She loves to cook, dance, write and grow in knowing what is good and true about this life.  As Carla has emerged from broken, she delights in being a distinct and adventurous woman, living her life to the full, exploring new possibilities and making her dreams a reality.  Carla loves to share reflections of her journey with others and to hear the stories of others in return.

Note from Darlene: If you would like to read more posts written by Carla, please click on her name which is highlighted in blue, under the post title. This will take you to her “author archive” where you can access all the other posts that she has written for Emerging From Broken.


Categories : Depression



[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Darlene Ouimet, Splinteredones. Splinteredones said: RT @DarleneOuimet: New blog post: Emotional Abuse and Identity Hunger http://emergingfrombroken.com/emotional-abuse-and-identity-hunger/ […]


Great post which reminds me of a book we are reading right now, Rex Briggs, Transforming Anxiety, Transcending Shame. We are half way th rough it, so I don’t have a lot of comments right now, other than to say that I am learning to recognize the shame I have from my earliest years. And in learning to recoognize the shame, I am learning to let it go. He does address how real intimacy helps us overcome shame.


Hi Sheryl; thank you. Your comment reminds me of an anonymous quote I’ve been contemplating a lot these days: “It is only when we expose our inner selves to the white hot flame of rejection, that love can burn so brightly as to join two souls, melding the two into one, creating a bond that joins forever. It is from this bond that we draw strength eternal and power ever lasting. It is in this thing that we call love that we find the means to achieve greatness, both in ourselves and in our lives.” Thanks Sheryl. ~ Carla


Carla–Fabulous! A thousand “amens!”


Wow awesome! Identity hunger! What a phrase one I shall never forget! I won’t get into great detail since this is not the forum for it but I know people who were not even abused on any level and their “identity hunger” has left them broken and lost in every aspect of the word. Identity is so important for all human beings. Right now a young 18 year old woman I know is going through this and though mature and wise well beyond her years her identity hunger is causing her to act out due to her absent father. I know that women do not start to deal with this until they are older. For me it was in my mid to late twenties. So I have to watch her grow up and get hurt in the process. I cant learn the lessons for her. I read a book and literature years ago in my early twenties by a man who has a successful recovery program and his philosophy is that people enter into dysfunction many times though a loss of identity. I never forgot it. I was in transition in my life at the time professionally and started to work on healing and recovery through this wise words. I really appreciate this latest truth!


Do you remember the name of the book/author you read?


Yes Sheryl, well not the name of the book but I do know the name of the author but his recovery program doesn’t have anything to do with abuse but a subject a close friend of mine was suffering from. It freaked me out and this friend who is intelligent and has a PHD just lost it and went to Europe to run from their problems. Anyway it has nothing to do with abuse and it is a Christian recovery program and might be considered controversial by this group and I don’t feel right posting it. If you want to send me a private message at face book I am Pinksugarbaby on FB I will send it if it is allowable by the group but as i said it doesn’t have anything to do with abuse but it just came at the right time for me and answered questions for me about my friend and helped bring clarity to me and caused me to seek healing at that time. It is just what worked for me it doesnt mean it will work for anyone else.



Thanks for posting. As I read this, I was reminded of something that I once read in the early stages of escaping an abusive marriage. I remember it like this, “I used to think that anything was better than nothing. But, now I know that sometimes, nothing is better.” As women, we feel that urgency in our hearts to become wives and mothers — it’s only natural. And, for those of us who are overcoming an abusive past, the tendency, in my opinion, is always to struggle a little harder to make those things happen. Like so many hopes and dreams in life, tomorrow just feels like it will never come. You are brave and strong, and you deserve the best of everything that life has to offer. And that will be worth waiting for every time, whether it is a relationship or just your favorite cup of coffee. Someone recently said to me, “Life is to be enjoyed, not endured.” How true. And how sweet it is to wait for something (even though it’s tough) and finally hit on that one thing we’ve waited for. I give you my second marriage for example. I had just come from the trenches of divorce and a scary and very unhealthy summer romance and I decided to slow down, be demanding, and get the things I really wanted in a husband. I also made sure to tell him that, for me, there is no such thing as forever and ever, no matter what. There are conditions on our marriage, and I made that clear from the very beginning. Luckily, my husband really does love me, and he is amenable to those conditions.

I know you will hear this over and over, but you’re young, beautiful, and deserve the best. Don’t settle for anything or anyone who is not truly compatible with your personality and personal preferences. I read Dr. Neil Clark Warren’s book, “Finding the Love of Your Life” and I HIGHLY recommend that everyone read it, especially if you are still seeking your life mate.

God bless you and give you patience with yourself and others on your journey to all your tomorrows.




I felt like reaching out and wanting to give you a virtual hug after reading this post. I know. To my very depths I know what you are writing about. I also at times ‘get it’ about this healing business in my head, but in my heart is where the real truth of where I am is.My healing steps have been halting and jagged and uneven.There have been some areas I’ve thought I really understood the dynamics now, and bang— I enter into an experience and I realize its a long way from my head to my heart on so much of this healing business.

In fact, I’ve been so sure I understood some of my issues, and myself in a couple of areas that I just didn’t think those areas would trouble me again- I thought I had them dowm. Mt extensive research, talking about issues and analyzing them had felt so solid and strong that I didn’t always realize face to face experience is what lets me know how healed I am in relation to other people.

I have a deep deep need to be approved of that has dogged me in many situations. I have a caution button that does not always turn itself ON and BEEP loudly to warn me when I get those signals that situations or a person is not THAT good for me; OR that what is operating is my fear of being judged or rejected again, and the and fear of that pain again.

IN FACT when I am stressed, tired, nervous/anxious, I make errors in judgement about people and situations’ whether the anxiety is about THAT situation or others.I misread signals; I ‘ignore’ signals; my ‘early warning system’ doesn’t go off. I attribute this directly to early experiences where I quashed the early warning signals BECAUSE I wanted to be accepted so badly; I wanted or needed to pretend nothing was wrong because it was too awkward to do otherwise; OR I had this fog descend on my brain and just smiled and stopped evaluating; stopped thinking, because I got too anxious to THINK. I just HOPED everything turned out great.Maybe things will just work out…

That’s the one I have the biggest problem with.

Its hard to settle down,calm down, and decide “what do I want. What do I need? What makes MY heart sing? NOT how can I make THEIR heart sing…What qualities in the other person make me feel comfortable and warm?” I’m not sure this ‘I’m not enough’ feeling will ever go totally away.

I like this post so much and it inspires me to just go on with my journey of observation and acceptance of myself.

I also accept these hardships; that I have some hard issues that require compassion for myself; because sometimes I get frustrated with myself: ‘Why can’t I get it right? How LONG will it take before I’m really comfortable in my own skin?” I develop more patience with myself as time goes on.

One thing I’m sure of we can’t heal in a vacuum or with detached unemotional counselling; There have to be compassionate humans around us and the freedom to share with others who understand and have their own thoughts and experiences to tell us about.

This is not easy stuff. Where the pain is, is where the injury occurred and where the healing needs to start.

Thanks again for a great post.


Thanks for your “amens” Christina!

Hi Pinky! Thanks for sharing your response. I can definitely see how people struggling with “identity hunger” (I have coined a new phrase) can fall into dysfunction. There’s this constant seeking for the answer to “who am I?” And for me, there was always also this question of “and why is it so HARD for me to know who I am?” It was easy for me to blame myself for my lack of “identity” (the feeling of it, at least). Working backwards and seeing how my earliest years set me up for this “hungering” was really important for me. Understanding the past is so powerful for healing in the present. Thank you for sharing Pinky!



Kellie, thank you so much for sharing! Hm. Over the course of the last year I’ve met a number of men and it has been such a learning experience for me. Learning to listen to my heart has been a huge and exciting process most of all, learning to listen to those “deepest” desires and feelings and taking the time to hear what they are telling me (because it still takes me time sometimes). I just love your story and your commitment to wait for what it is that you truly truly want. And I love how you say that “nothing” is better than settling for something that’s not exactly what you want… (if I can paraphrase you!) I am learning that our hearts are happiest that way- living true, learning to let go of what isn’t “best” to make room for what is best. And in all of it, learning to truly put myself first. Because if all else is lost, I cannot lose myself.

Thanks so much for sharing wisdom from your journey. 🙂 ~Carla


Hi Elizabeth! I can definitely relate to growing at different rates in different areas. You know, I think that’s the only way it happens! It’s a chance to be compassionate with myself and just let my growing process go along in its own way.

I also really relate to that deep deep need to be approved of. It’s kind of magical, but one of my most important steps in recovery from this is learning to approve of myself, in the littlest ways and exactly where I am at at whatever point in my life I am at. It takes some work to get there, but it is well worth whatever effort you feel you can give. And over time, it gets becomes more natural- it really does. Seriously, I sometimes still feel like I am encouraging the 2 year old inside of me. 🙂 But that’s okay!

It sounds like you are really on the right path… learning to look at yourself with compassion and digging down to why you struggle with certain things. You are SO not alone! EFB is a great place to find that encouragement and the “good” people to support you. And I’ve recommended this book before on here- “Compassion and Self Hate” by Theodore I Rubin. An excellent resource for the journey you describe.

Thank you Elizabeth~ Carla


Hi Carla,
Thank you for guest posting on emerging from broken!
When I first read this post it struck me once again that it always seems to come down to finding my own worth. Recovery is about owning MY value. I look all sorts of other places and to other people for my value, and none of them fulfill me or restore me. But each time I realize this I am able to go back and look within myself again. I am able to see my progress and validate myself again. That IS the process. It doesn’t matter how many times that I forget that my self esteem comes from me, as long as I keep coming back to that realization.
Thanks so much Carla,
Hugs, Darlene


In and of myself – I AM enough! Wow, that’s a thought and a half. It’s odd that we accept this as true for everyone else we encounter but not for ourselves. For myself I constantly make inner compensations for the loss I anticipate others are bound to encounter when they encounter me! That’s why apologise a lot, in essence I’m saying, ‘I’m sorry for existing’, I’m sorry for something I haven’t done already, I’m sorry for the badness you must see in me I’m sure…

Yet all that’s not true. I have nothing to apologise for, I haven’t done anything, I’m inherently good. It’s not that I don’t try hard enough – I have tried harder than many people I have ever met – it’s just no one ever knows this.If we could only see each other’s lives as we stood next to one another – I think we would have a lot more appreciation of each other’s struggles. Also if we could look at our own lives through the eyes of someone who cared for us I think we would have more self value and not need to search for it elsewhere, in the fridge, or in a shop or in a partner.


Relating to people is very difficult for me even outside of a romantic relationship. So when things are intimate everything is heightened and more intensified. Sometimes I feel and sense feelings as TOO loud! Especially my own 🙂

I seek quietness and solitude and the quiet of night time because that’s when the world’s emotional volume is at it’s lowest. Emotional energy to me is a particularly condensed quality of wordless thoughts – they can be described in words as anger or control. Only until recently I never had the words for the feelings. It’s something we should have had at school when people could have held up flashcards of feelings and we would have learn their associated words.

Even knowing those things relating them inwardly was difficult as I used a protective tool of NOT feeling, not recognising and essentially NOT learning those labels in relation to myself. Which makes relationships REALLY hard.

People say ‘How are you?’ I didn’t know all I had was ‘a big feeling’. If I did know and say honestly I would have said ‘Well I have this pain inside that is so huge I cannot bear to be alive another moment with ALL of it present’ but I said instead ‘I’m FINE’ or I cried unexpectedly and inappropriately…

Some months ago I recognised the ‘big feeling’ as a swirling dark cloud – NOT physical or as I would have translated/channelled it physically. It was the first time in my life I became emotionally intelligent in regards to myself. It was lesson 1 from all those years ago when I should have learned it as a child.

The swirling ‘DARK’ cloud was my unhappiness and uninterpreted pain. I had not been able to interpret it when it was caused, I had not been able to name it or cope with it – instead it took on a persona all of it’s own. It was full of rage and the anguish of a very lost child, permanently not heard. Imagine speaking and no one hears you ever, this was that child. I myself did NOT want to hear. So I never connected to MY feelings, or valued them or protected them in any way. She stored up and accrued more and more pain…

Now if someone asks me How I am feeling. If they really want to know they might get this -‘Well I have a sore tummy because I’m anxious, because I’m remembering what happened to me and last night I had a dream, and something just triggered the same feelings I had then – now – even though I know THAT’s not happening any more, I wasn’t able to feel it then or say it then. But now I’m safe and well, here it is and you know what I learned something from it that was false AS well. Please bear with me while I figure out how to do this. How to speak this inner language of self value, that you already can speak… and how to tell what’s true from what’s not. And learn how to do that while caring for others without detriment to ourselves or them… which is a hard one’


‘And learn how to do that while caring for others without detriment to ourselves or them… which is a hard one..’
This last sentence I wrote says a lot because it is TRUE – this is how I think. Here I am learning to filter through a lot of violence and suffering I have been through and I am MOST worried that my first trials of putting up boundaries to protect ME will hurt OTHERS…
I am so worried I wonder if it is WRONG that I should have boundaries to protect myself… ‘If others are suffering should I BE this happy?’
Should I return to BEING miserable WITH them because that’s what they seem to want… How does that help ANYONE?

How can I be caring without sacrificing my own sense of well being, joy and happiness? I can’t MAKE them join me… There is nothing that I can say to get them to not wallow and get themselves out of their own muddy self perception without dragging myself down. Should I say BUCK UP? Should I leave to protect myself? Are they working as hard as I am to help themselves? Are they using me to feel better about themselves?

Because when I am unhappy somehow they suddenly have power and meaning… Why is that? Why when I am HAPPY do they lose their power and meaning and start to push and pull at me with some kind of emotional blackmail barrage. ‘Oh look at me, POOR ME. Look how I AM suffering.. YOU DON’T CARE about me…’ JUST BECAUSE I AM HAPPY??? I don’t do that to THEM EVER.

If I am sharing some suffering its because I don’t understand it and want to understand it to heal – I don’t do it to make someone else LOVE me or care for me – I do it so (((I))) can learn to love me and care for me the right way round. Because no one else can do that for me. Relationships aren’t FOR THAT.

A relationship is TWO HAPPY people who can be HAPPY by themselves, being HAPPY together. They derive MORE happiness from being together, but apart they are still HAPPY ALONE… That is the kind of relationship I would want and it would come about by happy chance because I don’t NEED one. I think there’s a difference. I’m not seeking a relationship like I look in the fridge to assuage my sadness and my deficit of good or healthy perceptions about myself.


Thanks Darlene, and thanks for the privilege of being able to write here and interact with your amazing readers. You are a masterful “process encourager.”

Louise, thank you for sharing all of this. I love the things you say in your first section especially- so much truth there. Every day I have to work this truth deeper and deeper into my belief system.

I’m coming to see that often times, all my “trying” takes up so much space that my real “being” is just plain stifled. It’s THERE, but it’s held back by all the trying to be a certain way or please certain ideals. It’s so freeing to stop trying so hard…

I also agree that emotions should be taught in schools- how amazing would that be? Our feelings are part of who we are. They tell us about ourselves and our priorities and how to take active steps for our own best interest.

And I truly believe our own best interest DOES matter. In fact, contrary to what a lot of society might teach us, we have to make ourselves our first priority. At least, that’s the only way living and giving works for me. And like you say, that’s a really important part of the foundation of healthy relationship. Thank you for sharing your journey with me and EFB and I wish you all the best in your growth and healing. Your thoughts have inspired my day. 🙂



I loved this Carla – so encouraging for me who is still figuring out who she is!! I have accepted that some people will not like me. This used to be so hard for me to accept. I’ve learned so much. For me I have learned that other people don’t define me. The only One who can really define me is my Creator, my heavenly Father, who knows me better than I know myself. He knows who I want to be. I have learned to not take rejection seriously – another hard lesson.

A few years before I met my husband I was in a 3 1/2 year relationship and when it ended I was a total mess. The guy hooked up with a married woman whom he married maybe a year afterward. I beat myself up wondering what was so wrong with me, that he didn’t want to marry ME. It took a long time to learn that his rejecting me said that he just wasn’t THAT into me. It took some learning on my part that it wasn’t necessarily about me. And as I look back now – its a good thing we never married. I know now it would have been a mess, for many reasons, but mostly because I wasn’t what he was really looking for. It didn’t mean I didn’t have great qualities – I know now that I do, I really do – they just weren’t what he wanted. When I met my husband, he was the first man who pursued me – HARD. I’ll tell you its a wonderful thing when you don’t look for a human being to define you and you also find that person who is totally into you, who wants to be with you more than anyone else.

When dating, I think its important to realize that is the great guy doesn’t choose you, its not because you’re fantastic and lovely – its because he wants something else, and that’s okay (even though it really hurts when a relationship ends!) Wait for the guy who doesn’t expect you to fulfill him and who wants to really be with you. When my husband and I started dating – I think we were a month into it when I told him, “I will date you for a year and a half to two years – if you don’t know that you want to marry me after that time, then you never will and I will break up with you.” He seemed to like that and agreed he’d do the same. He proposed after 1 1/2 years of dating!

My therapist is so amazed how I didn’t marry someone abusive – I think its because I knew I didn’t want to be married to anyone like my parents. Even when I was getting married, I was very aware that my mother didn’t treat me the same way as my siblings – and my sister (1 1/2 yrs younger) was her favourite. As a result, this particular sister and I were never close – not by choice but because my mother set it up that way. (NPD) Oops – getting off topic here … the short of the long of it is I found a guy (or a guy found me) who saw me worthy to be his wife. I purposely chose someone who would not treat me the way my mother did. When my husband and I were dating, he actually helped me to see through her manipulations and false guilt trips which I was always bombarded with. God had a HUGE hand in my life … I’ll leave it at that. :o)

Sorry for the rambling … I just wanted to say, Carla, I loved your post!!


I forgot the check the ‘notify me of follow-up’ box … did that now! :o)


End of first paragraph, I meant to say, “I have learned not to take rejection PERSONALLY …”



You said it:’Our best interest DOES matter.’

OUR best interest is so important, because most of us never had much done in OUR best interest.We find it hard to know what that feels like. I felt confused and uncertain when seeing things in that light because I felt either selfish, or that it didn’t matter that much anyway. I learned not to matter unles I was the satellite of someone else.

These comments are so great to read and re read.


Paulette, I love your story! Very inspiring. The root of it all, the foundation of it all, is re-connecting with the truth about our value, our worth. Knowing that what we want is important, how we feel is important, all of it. I love how you knew what you wanted and you took the risk of putting it out there with your husband, and that it was your process of loving yourself again that gave you the foundation to do that. Thank you so much for sharing and enhancing my post. 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

Elizabeth, I agree about these comments! I am getting so much out of this. I relate too, to feeling “selfish” about looking out for my best interest. That’s just from years of being told that, or being treated as if it were true. But, I think it’s just a feeling that eventually goes away the more we cultivate and live in the truth. Thanks Elizabeth.



In thinking of ‘in our best interests’ I wanted to share a little something. I have been friends with a man the past couple of years or so. We have both been through alot. We would meet for dinner, but he was always resistent to eating anywhere other than two restaurants on the same tretch of road, near HIS home. I would travel 10 miles or so to mee with him- not a huge deal- but it got old-AND boring after awhile eating in the same places.He also would invite ME and then would tell the cashier to split the check.That’s fine- it defined to me that he was not interested in me other than a friend, I suppose.It was still nice to meet up with a familiar face once a week .

One night I felt ill after eating, and said I needed to go home afterwards. He said ‘But I thought you were going to accompany me to my support group meeting.’ I said ‘I’M SICK!’ He said he would call and check on me the next day. He didn’t. He called two days later.

BUT we went on meeting for dinner.

My car died and I had to get aniother FAST. Did he even offer to go with me to look at others, or ask what he might do? No

We had tentavely planned to eat one night but my plumbing went crazy that afternoon. I was cobered in dirty water and frazzled when he called and told him so. He said ‘That’s why I pay extra money to the water co. every month, so I won’t have to pay a plumber out of pocket..’ Not: ‘can I look at it to see what I can do?’ or anything like that. He said ‘well, maybe another time.’

The ‘closeness’ and ‘caring’ level that came across to me was that of someone at a business office.
Detached, not UNfriendly but uninterested. Detached.

When I invited HIM to a bird festival, he was driving a rental because he was having his car repaired after a fender bender and I asked if he wanted to drive or whatever, he said: ‘If I have a fender bender I’ll have to pay another deductable to get it repaired.’
Well I had just had my daughter’s car AND my car repaired after fender benders on the ice we had here, and had to pay TWO deductables..which he knew.But I really had not been thinking of THAT when I asked if he wanted to drive.

We drove in my car.No big deal. In thwe lunch line at the place I paid for mine and he told the cashier:’she’s such a cheap date,’

I was so irritated with him by the time we got back,….

I talked to his ex who I’ve know for ages. They divorced ten years ago and she told me he had been calling her adnd wanted to come spend the night. She said she let him but told him nothing was going to ‘happen’. She did tell me after they got married they had no sex for the 8 yrs they were married, nor did he ever want to spend time with her. It seemed to be a name only marriage.

We did meet the next week and I told him I appreciated his being a benign presence the last two years but it was obvious to me he didn’t want anything more than a friendship.In the next conversation he said I was putting words in his mouth but i been very careful not to.I just said his idea of a relationship beyond friendship and mine were different and I was not going to lock myself into being a ‘couple’ when what we had seemed to be a rather detached ‘friendship’.

I did not mention his spending the night with his ex as it was really wasn’t my business.

The bottom line here is I would like to be in a friendship or even a relationship with a man, however, I have felt like things were not equal or reciprocal. I felt like I was receiving crumbs in every way.

I am worth more than this. I feel he has misrepresented his relationship with his ex with me. I’m not saying he’s a bad person but HE comes first in his life in every WAY. tHERE IS NO room FOR ME EXCEPT AS a warm body accompanying him to support group meetings and across the table at the restaurants of HIS choice.

We DO matter. So now I have lost a friend except he wasn’t even a friend.Nothing in my life mattered to him. I have alot of work to do.
Thanks for letting me share.


Thanks so much for sharing your heart Carla! It is a beautiful thing that you fight for yourself. May you feel the amazing benefits of choosing to do so.


Carla, I had to learn that before I could have a worthwhile relationship with anyone else, I had to have a good relationship with myself. You are heading in that direction. The feeling not good enough, not smart enough, not active enough, not_____ enough, you fill in the blank – all of those come from low self-worth, from not feeling good enough. The very best thing that you can do for yourself is to learn that you are worthy and not to compare yourself to anyone else. You are of equal value to anybody that you choose to compare yourself with. I was once told by a very wise lady to stop comparing myself to the other person’s outside when I had no clue what they were going through on the inside. Outside we can all look pretty good even when we are falling apart on the inside. I love watching you grow through your posts.


Thank you Jennelle. Hugs and love to you.

Patricia, it is a privilege to meet up with you on this journey through my blog posts. 🙂 Everything you say is absolutely true and thank you so much for reading and sharing.



Well, the fact that the guy I like is from New York City means I’ll never have to worry that he’s going to hide anything from me for form’s sake.
He tells me everything he thinks. Most people think he’s rude b/c he’s so honest, but he isn’t rude. In fact, I think it’s rude to keep things from people and play those kind of games w/ them, especially when you know you’re doing it.

I’m not an economist like he is and I don’t make money like he does, but everything else about us is similar. And I like being around him, especially since he’s one of the few people who understands one of the toughest issues I’ve ever dealt with.
That’s how I met him. He has a group for families of 9/11 victims, and I know someone who died in the Towers. He was a a victim of what happened too, b/c he worked in Tower 1 and was severely burned by the flames.
He’s the first person who told me I don’t have to forgive the people who did it. And it took 9 years to find him.
These two web sites, OSA and EFB, are the other two places I’ve heard that, but he told it to me before I found the sites.
There’s such an overwhelming number of people who tell you that forgiveness is a requirement for healing that I found it difficult to go against virtually everyone who talked to me.
I don’t go to church now, so I don’t feel overwhelmed about it anymore, but I’m still having difficulty sorting it all out. And right now I can’t read Bible verses about forgiveness.
I hope that made sense. I feel confused a lot these days.


Hi Vicki. Thank you so much for reading and for your comment, and I apologize that it took me this long to respond. I agree with you, that forgiveness is not necessary for freedom. My freedom comes from knowing the truth about myself and my past. Becoming more and more free to live in this truth is a something I fully deserve, whether I find the desire to forgive the people who hurt me or not. Forgiveness is not the top priority, in my mind. Seeking my own healing is. Thanks again for sharing, and I truly hope you will keep finding your truth and freedom, amidst the daunting confusion. You have what it takes. ~Carla


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Elizabeth, you wrote:

“Where the pain is, is where the injury occurred and where the healing needs to start.”

Wow. So profound. Thank you for that.



I completely relate to what you wrote in your last post here, about the “emotional blackmail barrage.” I’ve been feeling that way too lately; some people seem determined to wallow and drown in their own misery, stubbornly refusing any life-ring of hope we try to throw them… but more than that, they seem to want to take those of us who are FINALLY finding some LONG OVERDUE Healing, Peace, and Happiness, right back down into the pit with them! And if we don’t go there, or if we don’t agree that they are hopeless and worse off than we ever were, then we “don’t care.”

I don’t get that, either. Even when I am at my MOST miserable and broken and hopeless, I try very hard NOT to drag anyone else down with me. I prefer to isolate, than risk contaminating others with my misery.

NOW, I am happier than I have ever been in my life. NOW, after a lifetime of hating me, and looking for a White Knight/Prince Charming to give me worth and value, today I LIKE ME. I even LOVE me. I enjoy my life today, and I look forward to the future. TODAY, when I share terrible stories from my past trauma and abuse, I do it NOT to drag others down, but to say, “THIS is how bad I was… THIS is how bad my life was… if I can now be happy and healthy today, NOBODY is too far gone, or too hopeless!”

It also helps my continued healing process, as I share these old ancient wounds here on this safe and supportive forum. But even then, I still sometimes feel guilty, wondering if I have gone too far… I don’t want to bring anyone down, with my old tales of woe. Please forgive me if I have done that. Please let me know if I do that, and I will stop.

After 4….. count ’em: ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR divorces, from men I married in the mistaken belief that they would complete me, give me worth and value, love me to wholeness, and give me an identity… after my last divorce, at the age of 50 I got some really GOOD therapy finally, I found my own identity and my own self-worth at long last, and I learned to enjoy life, all by myself… THEN I met my best-friend-husband, he fell madly in love with me and pursued me, and we adore each other more every day. This July we’ll have been married 7 years, and these have been the best 7 years of my life.



Wow Lynda… What a hope-filled story. Thanks so much for sharing with everyone. You have definitely inspired me today. 🙂 ~Carla


I can relate to the expectations that a relationship would be the answer to what was wrong with my self esteem, and also latching on to an identity. The reason was that I was taught several things by my mother. One, that women are inferior ( except for her but that is a whole other story). Two, that a woman’s worth was based on only two things : if she was pretty, and if she could catch a man. Intelligence, a sense of humor, accomplishments and talents meant nothing. The kind of person a woman was meant nothing. Only ” pretty” and ” catching a man ” mattered. Three, she taught me that I was ugly. So there you go, I already lacked one of those two only traits that mattered. But she went further. Because I was defined as ugly by her, she let me know I would have a heck of a time catching a man. So, by the age of nine or ten I felt like a total failure as a female.
In my teens I was disparate to have a boyfriend…to PRZoVE yo everyone, especially my mother that I could catch a guy and therefore was worth something. But not just any guy would do. Not the kind, intelligent, fun guy who wanted to date me at 15. He wasn’t good looking enough to count, in the eyes of my mother so he wouldn’t bring me much status. When I did date a guy, who would be considered handsome in my mothers eyes, I was so desperate to hold on to him. I acted needy and was a complete doormat. I also gave up any identity of my own by trying to be whatever I determined that he wanted me to be. I thought if I complied ( just like with mother) that somehow I could hold on to him. I was completely wrong. All I got was disrespect and then I got dumped by several guys. When I didn’t have a boyfriend I felt worthless and when I did I was desperate to hold on. Neither made me happy. It never occurred to me that I could find self worth within myself and that I didn’t have to have a boyfriend at all.
My way if thinking was so mixed up but in retrospect, it was completely a function of how I was groomed by my mother. I also believe that it was a ploy to make herself, as she was aging, feel that she was prettier and superior to her daughter. Looking back, it was so sick and dysfunctional.
Fortunately, I met someone who I was very compatible with and I decided to hell with whatever my mother thinks about him. We have been happily married ( with a few minor issues that are being worked on) for many years.
Things always seem to be better when I reject my mothers dysfunctional thinking patterns.


Things always seem to be better when I reject my mothers dysfunctional thinking patterns.

I’m on my second round of N/C to my mom, been four months. I find I am more positive about my life and I trust my feelings!


Hi DXS, I find that even though my mother passed on almost three years ago, her dysfunctional thoughts and her grooming of me still invade my life. The good thing is that I am much more aware, through EFB and other reading I’ve done, that her way of thinking and living life was dysfunctional and that so much of what she said was for manipulative purposes and untrue. Recognition of this is where my freedom is starting to come from. Recognition makes it easier to reject these intrusive dysfunctional invasions when they come up.
Tonight my husband asked me to tell him when the dog needed to be walked. When I told him, he ended up snapping at me because walking the dog was interrupting something he was doing. At that moment I felt the old guilt feelings starting to rise up. I upset him, I caused him to have to drop what he was doing….etc. Then Isaid to myself hold on! That’s the old pattern I had developed from my mothers grooming to feel guilty any time something I did or said inconvenienced her. That he got in a bad mood because the dog had to be walked ( which he had volunteered to do earlier) was his problem to own, not mine. I did nothing wrong, I simply told him the dog was ready to go. He got annoyed because the dogs schedule didn’t end up to be at a convenient time for him. I let go of the false guilt and told him I didn’t appreciate being snapped at and reminded him that HE had asked me to tell him when the dog was ready. When he came back in from the walk he apologized for snapping and admitted that it had just come at the wrong time abd he shouldn’t have taken it out on me. In the old days it probably would have been ME apologizing for inconveniencing him by reminding him of something he had promised to do. Just like I would have done with my mother in the old days due to her training.


Amber, good for you! I’m still working on it. I think my mom just repeats all the cliches she hears to throw it back on me because she can’t “own up” to it.

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