Emotional Healing and Busting through Brainwashing



Busting through Brainwashing

Have you ever gone on a ride at the fair? I am talking about one of those scary ones like the roller coaster that flips upside down.  I get this fear inside my belly, this wonderful horrible and yet irresistible fear. The fear is there because I am afraid the ride will crash, that when the roller coaster goes upside down the cart will just fly off and fall to the ground… but then I tell myself that this ride runs hundreds of times a day, thousands of times a week and it hasn’t crashed and I reassure myself that my fear is not real.  So I take the risk…

 Have you ever gone to a natural hot springs for a dip? I have been to several of them.  In the winter, the steam rises into the chilly air; sometimes there is snow around the outside of the pool area. If there are people lounging and relaxing in the pool, I automatically trust that the steamy water is not going to burn me.  If I dip my foot in the water, and it feels too hot, I know that it is just because my foot is cold. If the water WAS too hot, all those other people would not be in the water, so I just quickly get in, and suffer the few minutes that the water “feels” too hot. 

 But what would happen if the water was too hot? What if I got all the way in and I started to burn and scream… because it really was scalding hot. Continued….. I would ask myself why I just blindly trusted that I could go in that water. (Even though I know that I trusted the water temperature because other people were already in there)

 What I am getting at is that I blindly trust that the ride is going to be safe, and that the water isn’t going to burn me based on the fact that others are in it and they say it is fine. They seem safe so I trust therefore I will also be safe.

 Abuse works on a similar principle. When we are children, we have no choice but to trust our caregivers. They tell us it is fine. Even when they do things that are not fine, they lie and tell us that we are okay.  Eventually our definition of okay is wrong.  We tell ourselves that we are okay, not knowing what okay is. We want to trust the adults in our lives. Not to trust them is even scarier then what we are living in. We learn a false normal.

The fear that I had about going against the adults in my life was trained into me.  I was taught not to stand up to them in any way. I was taught not to ever challenge their views, and to blindly accept that they were right.  (or else) In my young mind I believed that it was too dangerous to stand up to them. I had this very familiar scary feeling like I had about the roller coaster, but I had learned to ignore that feeling.  Think about it. These are your parents, teachers, aunts and uncles and grandparents; they are ADULTS. Just the size and strength of them alone is daunting to a chid. The fear was real then and I carried it with me into my adulthood.  It was not a choice, it was a solid belief.

There were physical AND emotional fears. Rejection hurts. I had had lots of it and was far too intimately acquainted with it to it to want any more of it in my life. I would do almost anything to avoid the sting of rejection.  My fears of rejection were a big part of the problem when it came to my emotional healing.  But what I learned about rejection is that had to realize that I had been rejected my whole life. If I didn’t matter then, what difference would it make if I still didn’t matter? This was one of these weird things that I just had to take a closer look at in order for my fear of rejection to lose the power it had over me.

What I had to realize through the process of emotional healing is that they can’t do to me NOW what they could have done to me then, if and when I draw my boundaries now.  I am not so powerless anymore. I can actually keep myself safe now and I have educated myself about all forms of abuse.  I know that when they tell me it is alright if they treat me like nothing, that they are wrong. I am no longer defined by them as “nothing.” I know that they are wrong to treat me as less important than they are. I know they are lying when they say it is all in my mind. I am not crazy.  I know I have a brain of my own. I am not stupid.  I know that I am not lying about what happened to me in the past.  I know that I was not taken care of, and I know that I no longer need them to protect me or stand up for me.  I can do that for myself now.  

I had to learn to trust a different source; one that actually offered some hope and real solution towards my emotional healing.

 Please share your thoughts:

Darlene Ouimet

related posts: how blame, guilt and shame get misapplied to self

want me, need me? relationship dysfunction by Shanyn Silinski

52 response to "Emotional Healing and Busting through Brainwashing"

  1. By: Carlos Posted: 3rd April

    My false normal was composed of this recurring situation: When I am pissed off at another “loving” action that ohe of my abusers (take grandma for example) have done, I was told the reason (by the trusty side kick son in law) as to why they have chosen to be the people they are today, that I should understand them. Hang on a minute, isn’t that a tactic that is used to make the abuse justified!? The funny thing is this is always their last resort when my anger has escalated towards the actions that I am supposed to, in their words, “understand”.” Yeah well I am done understanding! There’s only so much I can do until I realise that we are not really speaking the same language. No more sob stories. I received a lot of abuse from them, but will I allow my past, or present considering that these things still happen or will happen, to turn me into a heartless douchebag!? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

  2. By: Naomi Posted: 30th July

    Thank you, Darlene! “This is not about placing blame as much as it is about finding freedom through validating our own pain.” ~ I LOVE this. Thank you. Hugs back, Naomi

  3. By: Naomi Posted: 29th July

    Thank you for sharing this. It is so challenging to be vulnerable sometimes and to still have courage to share. I appreciate your willingness to create space for those of us who can relate. I am still sorting out brainwashing, abuse, and manipulation that happened to me as a child. I am aware that there are many layers to my life~ physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental. As a 32 year old with a tenacious courage and commitment to succeed I have learned lots about healing my body and mind through herbs, digestive cleansing, and positive intentions. There is more, though. There are still memories that surface late in the evening and sometimes keep me up all night. There is still a tendency to feel utter confusion around my own feelings and experience. So here I am facing a new layer of the abuse from my childhood. Recognizing once more that my experience and feelings are valid. At least as valid as those of all else who are in my life. I have wanted to desperately to protect and to defend the positions of my parents~ even the one who was most abusive. How does this support me? It feels so wrong and uncomfortable to blame my father or to put any weight to the possibility that things that he did were wrong. There is such a deep seeded want to protect and defend him. Bizarre, right? Especially when evidence suggests that there was emotional and even sexual abuse happening. How can I sort out these feelings of wanting so much for what happened to be OK and not anyone’s fault~ and also wanting to see enlightened justice and my own healing. I have compassion for my dad, I guess~ awareness that he is a fallible person who was operating the best that he could in his level of awareness (as Deepak Chopra talks about). At the same time I have seen the pain that I suffer as a result of allowing myself to stay in a relationship with someone who has wronged me~ and whom I have never held accountable~ or confronted for those wrongs. Any thoughts or guidance here?

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th July

      Hi Naomi
      Welcome to EFB ~ there is a ton of info on this site! There are over 400 articles with discussions on this website. (a ton of thoughts and guidance. 🙂 Meanwhile, I have compassion for my parents, just not at my emotional expense anymore. This is not about placing blame as much as it is about finding freedom through validating our own pain.
      Glad you are here, you are not alone,
      hugs, Darlene

      (and stay tuned for my first book which is a collection of the work that I have produced here on the foundation of the healing process)

  4. By: Celine Posted: 19th March

    I’m so confused. Coming out of the fog right now for me is yet another challenge. I’m so profoundly hurt that my mind cannot sort out what’s manipulation, what’s sincere, or even what the truth is. It is inconceivable to have let one bring me down so far to the point of doubting everybody else’s intentions. I’m back in a thick fog. And I wonder if I’m really made for this.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th March

      Hi Celine
      It is a challenge to come out of the fog; it certainly isn’t easy to sort all this out and I didn’t know how to distinguish ‘the truth’ at first either. The lies were way more normal for me and I was so used to believing them and living in them. I kept going and eventually things became more clear. There have been times where things seemed foggy again, but I never went backwards too far even when I felt like I did.
      Hang in there!
      hugs, Darlene

      Hi Lora
      When I first started to try to communicate with the child that was me, the child within, she would not even look at me. (in my minds eye) and I had no idea how to begin… so I tried to notice what I looked like, (I was little, dirty, messy, and abandoned looking and these were my feelings about me) and I tried to just ‘sit with my child self’ and just ‘be there for me’ in the way that I felt I would have liked my parents to be. It took some time but it progressed from there and eventually I was learning how to meet all my own needs.
      Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Lora Posted: 19th March

    Thank you Darlene for this timely post. I have recently hit a childhood root that has caused me to feel a deep sadness that I could not shake all my life. I’ve carried a pain so deep that it was ingrained to my whole being. I felt that I was the cause to all my parents problems, issues and basically I felt that I had ruined my parents lives for being born. I “felt” the truth all my life but was unable to express it due to lack of education and knowledge. I never stood up for my truth out of fear of being squashed down even further. Even as a adult I behaved like a wounded child and I understand why I could not move past my history of abuse. I never felt worthy of a life of my own because of what “I” did to my parents. Even though on a logical side I know it was their choices that led to them feeling the way they did, that didn’t satisfy the child that longed to be part of a loving family. How can a child feel good abour herself knowing that she is responsible for robbing her parents of a life they wished they had chosen. I always knew my parents didn’t really want to be parents by the way they expressed themselves and behaved. They think I wasn’t paying attention but I was. They lied their way through my life and covered up the truth with pretty things but I always knew the truth. I understand why I wanted to end my life and as rediculous as it sounds from an adult perspective, the child inside of me thought by ending her life she could un do the mistake her parents made by having her. This is a wound I am dealing with today and I am at a loss at what to say to my wounded child who carries this burden of feeling that she is responsible for all her parents wounds. I have surrendered this wound to God and trust that the healing will be received in time. Being able to have this site to express how I really feel has been my blessing. I feel very grateful for my courage to break out of this horrible, abusive cycle. It’s an ugly, ulgy trap that keeps people hostage..sometimes until dealth for some. I am determined to be one of the people who makes it out of this cycle and to discover the beautiful soul I know that is hiding within. I’ve never reached this depth in my healing before so I know there is hope and one day I will be completely free to honor the gift I truly am. Thank you all so much for all your sharing and for believing there is a better way to live. Namaste!

  6. By: webby Posted: 20th December

    I totally know what you are saying.the waiting for a signal. the signal that never comes!!

  7. By: webby Posted: 19th December

    my family was never a place of safety.
    how come at almost 40 I have never said those words?

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th December

      Hi Webby
      Welcome to EFB
      I have written a lot about this very question in this site. I am sure you will find some insight here,
      Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Heather Posted: 1st November

    How do you know they are wrong? Everybody says they are wrong but what if they are right?

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 1st November

      Hi Heather,
      Welcome. How could they be right? How could someone decide that you are unworthy and be right? Who could decide such a thing? The way that I busted through this worry was to go back and look at specific things that caused me to question my own value. When I realized where those questions come from, I was able to realize that “they” were wrong. I really hope you read more of this site and the articles here about this very subject. There are many of them. It takes time to change the belief system but it is possible.
      Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Dru Posted: 25th May

    All my life I’ve been waiting for something to happen, something that signals that I can start (a project/living/eating/etc.). It interferes in my ability to do anything (including eat and shower, as well as work). Even now, I should be working (I freelance from home) but instead there’s something inside of me waiting for a signal that I can start and immerse myself in the work I’m doing. Only recently have I realized that I’m not waiting for a sign from the universe that I’m on the right path. Instead, I’m waiting for permission from my mother that what I’m doing is ok.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th May

      I totally realate to that! I was always waiting for someone else too, but today I know that all my mother ever did was hold me back and today I empower myself and give myself permission! You can too!
      Hugs, Darlene

  10. By: Lynda ~ Coming Out of the cRaZy Closet Posted: 27th March

    Kellie, your religious upbringing sounds very much like mine. I, too, was told that I had a “spirit of rejection” as well as generational curses. I mean, I was told that, in those very same words. I, too, went straight from my N-mother’s home to someone with BPD or sociopathic or something… abusive is what he was. Unloving, unfaithful, emotionally unavailable, and physically and verbally abusive. It was the marriage that my upbringing had so thoroughly trained me for.

  11. By: Kellie Posted: 27th March


    Your comment is so good, I have to respond. I too was labeled as a baby really by my family. No wonder I believed I was the problem! And the church added to the noise by telling me I had a “spirit of rejection” as well as generational curses. Well, I jumped through every frigging hoop they held out for me, but nothing ever changed. How, I ask you, can a person compete with those messages?! If its all “spiritual” or “generational”, so the implication is that I had little or nothing to do with the origination of my own rejection, what the hell am I supposed to be able to do to fix it?! Whoo! This gets me a little fired up! Parents and church family, in my opinion, “owe” us unconditional love. If they fail, it is not our fault! Its supposed to be unconditional! There is way too much excuse making and not enough action or risk taking on their part, and that is something we had nothing whatsoever to do with.


    Thanks for your great comment, Elizabeth. You move me.


  12. By: Kellie Posted: 27th March


    I missed this one but caught the link from yesterday’s post. Thank heaven (and you) for the links. This is a great post and way too good to have missed!

    To Sheryl (comment #1), I married a BPD right out of my mother’s NPD arms. I kept having those unneasy feelings that I’m sure now are characteristic of growing up in/without appropriate love/attachments, and I kept getting treated for depression essentially. When the tension would ease slightly, I would stop treatment and try to return to “normal life”. After about the fifth or sixth go round in traditional allopathic treatment (with no lasting results), I stumbled on a ministry that taught about grace in the Biblical sense. Not the typical teachings I was accustomed to from my Protestant roots of submitting MORE or just having more sex to heal my marriage. It took almost two years of weekly ninety minute sessions before I could accept and barely risk whispering that I had a traumatic and not at all normal or healthy childhood. That was the beginning of real change in my life. I was hooked! Today, little by little, I slough off layer after layer of the old lies and fog (AND the F.O.G. of BPD) and I tell myself the truth. It’s been a battle at times, but worth every step I take into the light of recovery.


  13. By: Lynda ~ Coming Out of the cRaZy Closet Posted: 23rd March

    Thank you! That last comment of yours really clarifies it for me. I’m going to have fun doing this…. especially, as you say, when it’s just on my time. No harm no foul!

  14. By: Renee-A Ressurected Spirit Posted: 22nd March

    It’s fun when you make a game out of it. I just worked on one until I felt like I was consistant then went for another one. I would’nt start with any thing that had an appointment, not until I got really good with simple things. The store, the mall, the neighbor, I used simple things to get me started. that way I could be late on my “time” and it would be ok because it was just me and my watch knowing what I was doing. Good luck

  15. By: Lynda ~ Coming Out of the cRaZy Closet Posted: 22nd March

    Not too bad, Renee… I was aiming for a 30 minute walk, and we got back home in 27 minutes. I did take a totally different route through town, so I didn’t have a clue that way, but I must confess that the setting sun was something of a clue! I will try it tomorrow earlier in the day, when the sun’s movement isn’t so obvious.

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