Emotional Healing and the Return of Self Esteem


Self Esteem RecoveryI talk a lot about realizing all the lies that were in my belief system.  I realized that I believed I deserved to be treated the way that I was. But that was a lie.  I believed that I was not good enough, and that I was unlovable. Those were both lies.  I believed that I somehow attracted the abuse and even that I asked for it… and that was also a lie. Because I believed that I had done “something” to either deserve it or attract it, I lived in fear of doing whatever it was that I was doing that was causing me to be hurt!


As you can see, this belief system stuff is complicated and takes some detective work to unravel.


A big part of the problem was that I was addicted to proving that I was worthy by doing things that would prove to others that I was good enough and that I was lovable. But I was addicted to proving it to others.  Add to that the fact that although I didn’t consciously KNOW it ~ I didn’t believe that I even had self worth. Deep down I believed that I was all that they communicated to me that I was.  Their words and their actions had defined me as unworthy, unlovable and not good enough. I thought that my worth would come when THEY validated it.  I thought that when other people agreed that I was actually worthy, that I would believe it too. I especially wanted to be worthy in the eyes of the people who controlled me and defined me the most.  I invested so much time trying to change ME so that I would be validated by others.


It didn’t occur to me to convince myself that I was already good enough. It never dawned on me that I didn’t need anyone else to validate me!  I had always been defined and invalidated by others ~ I was who they said I was… which was NOT good enough, unworthy and all that devaluing and discounting other stuff. When I began to realize all the lies that were at the bottom of my low self esteem, realizing that they were lies wasn’t enough. I had to change them to the truth.  That might sound easier than it really is though because those lies are so deeply rooted in the belief system and because I’d developed and accepted the belief SO DEEPLY, that I was the one that had to change and try harder to make everyone accept me.


This belief had its roots in the belief that their worth was greater than my worth.  I had no concept of equal value when it came to myself, which was also part of my false belief system.


The only way that I could unwind all this was to see it for what it really was by looking at the individual events that defined me as unworthy and that had convinced me that “they” were more worthy.  (I only had to look at a few of them) There were actual reasons that I had accepted guilt and shame that was not mine to carry.  There was a reason that I believed that I was responsible for the emotional welfare of everyone else. I had to dig down into my belief system in order to discover where the roots of those beliefs had their foundations.  Then I needed to clear them out and build a new foundation.  This was where my emotional healing originated.


I wasn’t born depressed. I wasn’t born broken.  I wasn’t born dissociated and with multiple personalities. I wasn’t born with low self esteem.


The truth is that I don’t need to be validated by others. The truth is that I was born valid. The truth is that I was born equally valuable to everyone else. I was born whole and emotionally healthy. That is the absolute truth. How could it not be the truth? I had to look at both sides; why I thought the lies were truth, and why these new healthy truths HAD to be true.


It was in finding out where I lost that knowledge (the knowledge that I was born with self esteem, that I was worthy, lovable and deserving,) that I found the keys to having that knowledge again. I took my life back. I found my true identity and I live in it today.  I found freedom from depression and low self esteem and I embrace my life and my individuality.  I am equally valuable to everyone else.


I live in that truth.  You can too. There IS emotional healing from abuse. There is life to the fullest. There is freedom and wholeness on the other side of broken!


Please share with the other readers and with me, anything you wish to share.


Exposing Truth one snapshot at a time;


Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

~ For more information on Self Esteem Recovery see the Category above for “Self Esteem”


107 response to "Emotional Healing and the Return of Self Esteem"

  1. By: Amber Posted: 2nd April

    Carlos, I understand. I grew up being called ugly and I was told I wasn’t as important as my two brothers. I was criticized a lot, and called moody, silly, selfish and many more things. I felt worthless. I’m sorry you went through awful stuff too.
    From reading your other posts I see that you are young. I am glad you are working on trying to heal now. You have your whole life in front of you and I am wishing you healing and lots of good years ahead. You are worthy of this no matter what anyone told you to the contrary. There are so many false beliefs to overturn. They were wrong in how they treated you and how they labelled you. You rock, Carlos! ?

  2. By: Carlos Posted: 2nd April

    When my father didn’t like some of the stuff I wrote on my essays and projects, I copped words like: “Stupid” “Learn to read” During those times I was given martial arts training and I couldn’t deliver, I also had the same stuff dished out on me. When I spilled a glass of coke “on purpose” in our apartel I was treated like a criminal by my maternal grandmother and father. Verbal abuse also came with an additional package of other things like being hit on the face for not being able to do certain things like opening the packaging of an overseas adapter, during the holidays. As a result of all the abuse I have received, I learnt to be careful to ensure that I won’t ever spill a glass of water, either by accident or on purpose, I made sure I was organised, I started coming up with strategies on how to address certain situations to avoid being hit, bottom line is I made a lot of adjustments for the sole purpose of “protecting myself.” Although I must say, at least my essays don’t sound as bad anymore, I am solving most of my problems by myself, I am avoiding my “loving” father, my being careful will ensure that I won’t ever flop at work and best of all I no longer believe whatever it is that was dished out on me.

    It’s just sad that I had to be broken before I could do all of this. That I couldn’t have blossomed to be the best that I could be within the family that I had always thought was the best for me. No pain, no gain as society has so badly embraced. Whilst I am appreciative of the things that have come out of the hurt, that will be the last time that I am ever going to get something good out of their “loving” intentions. Sadly though the workplace will have its share of people like that of the mother-in-law and son-in-law tandem from hell, but it’s okay I have already received “formal training” first hand. I have my coping mechanisms and survival tactics on full blast for people like them ha!

  3. By: sandra Posted: 25th August

    I think that healing enables us to blossom and be able to face the world. But there is no such thing as facing the abusers after the healing, being strong enough, setting boundaries etc.

    I belive weO can only fully recover and heal if we remove our abusers from our life permanently, no “limited form of contact”, nothing.

  4. By: sandra Posted: 25th August

    @Amber & DXS: oh my God! I am the same way! It is like in the army. I freeze, my stomach feels like a stone and I “obey the orders” like a robot, regardless how stupid, damaging and non sense the requests are.
    You nailed it….and I thought only I act like a child at this age.

    EMDR is supposedly proven to help with trauma. You don’t forget bad memories but you sort of finally “digest” them.
    Here’s how it is supposed to work:


  5. By: Amber Posted: 25th August

    DXS, you were probably groomed to jump into compliance when someone yells at you. I’m the same way. I did get yelled at a lot as a child, and I did comply. So of course they would use this tactic again and again because it worked for them. Hard to overcome this, even far into adulthood.

    Sandra, sometimes I just need a break from thinking about all this stuff. I don’t abandon it altogether; I just give myself a little break. That happens when I feel overloaded like Im trying to process too much at once. So I slow it down a little. It works for me.

  6. By: DXS Posted: 25th August

    Sandra: I have heard of EMDR, not really sure what it is. What I need is “noise desensitation.” When someone YELLS at me in a loud NOISE, I react. Mother, Supervisor, any type of “authority” figure. Or even if you are just a jerk I encounter, if you talk to me with “noise,” I “snap into compliance with whatever.” And when I see people who aren’t affected by “noise,” I wonder how they do it.

  7. By: sandra Posted: 25th August

    I just realized that …escaping my abusers did not rid me of the poison planted within me: Fear of being judged,fear of being ridiculed, guilt, gratitude, inability of confrontation, escape as the only coping mechanism.

  8. By: sandra Posted: 25th August

    Darlene, you FB post today…so true:“Most survivors reach points in their healing where they want to move on simply because recovery is such a painful process. When you’re motivated by the fact that you don’t want to face your rage, your parents, your abusers, or your vulnerability, moving on is an escape, not a liberation. Authentic moving on is a natural result of going through each step of the healing process.” The Courage to Heal by Bass & Davis

    Which would mean that my past “moving on”, my espace was exactly what it was….just an escape. Maybe this is where the flashbacks are coming from in my case…maybe my body blocked out and denied so many emotions for such a long time that there we go…a big boom…

  9. By: sandra Posted: 25th August

    I feel like I lost my ability to erase bad memories.
    It is true that it is so much easier to bounce back when you are younger.
    When I was 18 I decided to take action and not dwell on anything. I LITERALLY ERASED most of the memories from my childhood. That allowed me to flourish beautifully. As some of you know from my earlier posts,it was to the point that I felt so strong, positive and happy, that I gave in to my sister’s requests. I thought I could be able to let our mother back to my life (in a form of a limited phone contact and rare visits. They would be destructive, naturally, but the effects lasted a day or 2 maybe, I had my own life and was coping well).

    Now, I am not going to repeat myself here (Darlene, are you rolling your eyes yet? 🙂 ) but last year as an adult, 25- yeard old woman I introduced my mom to my life in 100%.I still cannot belive how that happened, I was not being myself at all! I fell for her tricks, guilt trips etc, I ALLOWED her to abuse me severely as an adult! This is something I cannot forgive myself. I feel angry and embarrassed. Than I found myself in an extremely abusive (5 months “only”- thank God) live-in relationship with an awful guy. The truth is, I know that would have NEVER happened if I did not got myself into the mother-daughter relationship FIRST (I never had a history of any abusive romantic relationships, in fact I have been very lucky with people other than my family and extremely intuitive, able to spot “the bad seed” from a mile away).

    Now all these events triggered what I think might be a PSTD.
    I am literally a mess. The memories of my childhood which I thought have been long forgotten, are now comig back to me with insane speed, everyday something new. It is like “holy sh**** oh yeah and that, I remeber that” and than there is a very vivid scene of what happened in front of my eyes, I can almost hear the dialoges. But I do not want to recall any of these events but I cannot help it. They are like an invasion.
    Which is why I have been doing some research on EMDR therapy. I know it is not a magic wand, it is not hypnosis and will not make me forget. I came to the terms when I can finally accept what happened last year. What I now want is to forget just as I did when I was 18. Otherwise I will never get my personality back.

    I am hoping to soon get a new job (I am waiting for a feedback).I am now enempolyed also as an indirect result of those events. I am hoping that once I am back on my feet professionally things will speed up. I keep repeating myself that the reason I am beeing sucked deeper and deeper into the past, is because there is nothing good happening in the present. However my fear is that once I get a job, I will screw up, that I will not be able to focus at work, that I will be dissociating.

    I am normally an early bird, always physically active.
    Now… I have been trying to force myself back into jogging and yoga but is is not too frequent (used to be everyday), I sleep 12-14 hrs a day and just cannot get back on track. I do not want to start my new job as an emotional and physical wreck. I cannot focus on anything I cannot watch the news, read a paper. I basically think the entire time I am awake. And no I do not want any anti- depressants!
    How do I get back to my old self? It saddens me because I know that I will never be the same way I was before 2012.

  10. By: sandra Posted: 25th August

    Anyone here ever tried EMDR therapy?
    (Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing)
    Thanks in advance for any insight.

  11. By: Kathleen Posted: 10th August

    Yesterday was a very bad day for me. I’m not sure why but I was consumed with sadness and could barely breathe.
    I started thinking about my belief system, what exactly was it? I stayed up most of the night thinking about it. I was taught I wasn’t good enough. That there are people in “another league” that I shouldn’t try to associate with. I was told from the start I wasn’t smart. I started kindergarten at 4, clearly I should have been held until five but that would mean my mother would have had me home an extra year. School was tough, I never had help from my parents and I clearly remember once in science class thinking “I am not smart enough to do this” and felt horrible. I was told I wasn’t smart enough for algebra, for the SAT test and certainly not for college. I was told there are two kinds of people in this world chiefs and Indians and I was an Indian. Indians could never become chiefs, case closed! Never speak unless spoken to, that’s one that has caused me enormous problems and combined with the whole Indian scenereo I had no self esteem and often found myself with that horrible aching feeling in my chest in social settings. This morning I feel much better acknowledging this! What a bunch of crap I was taught and shame on them! To raise kids to not have dreams or hopes? What kind of parents do this? I am lucky to have found is website and I am busy clawing my way to a healthy normal existence.

  12. By: Ginger Cooper Posted: 9th August

    Oh my word you hit the lies and abuse and how I had always felt about myself right between the eyes. Thank you so much for sharing…your thoughts are always uplifting. just me ging

  13. By: Bern Posted: 6th August

    Joy: Glad you understand your feelings and its source. We will heal someday…

  14. By: J Posted: 10th December

    Hi Darlene,

    I’m not sure if I’ve read this one before. It’s very late here & I’m very tired, but I’m still trying to figure out the whole “work” thing & don’t know if I’m missing stuff, or just can’t get my head clear enough to figure stuff out, or if I’m just trying to do everything at once and getting stuck or what’s going on.

    I think I invalidate myself, because I believed that my actions defined me. (eg swearing, being interested in sex/porn etc, choosing to reject christianity). The sex thing especially is very confusing. It probably was my parents & the church that convinced me that sex is evil, but I don’t really remember it specifically happening (it was probably just early & constant indoctrination). I remember a childhood friend having playboy magazines before I found my father’s hardcore porn on his computer, but I suspect the training that it was “evil” pre-dated even all that.

    Anyway I guess the point is that I don’t know how to get rid of that belief. Also, having got into hardcore porn as I did has only complicated things further, because I feel like I have no concept of what a “normal” (ie non-porn-addict) would class as “normal” sexual desires etc, and what would cross the line into perversion etc. I used to believe that you had to only ever have one sexual partner (the person you married), and that if you had sex even with them before you were married you were probably going to hell. And there’s probably still part of that left now. I don’t know if that belief is why I’ve remained so obsessed with my first serious (eg sexual) relationship, or if that’s just something separate.

    Ok feeling pretty depressed now so gonna stop. Hope you don’t mind me writing about all this stuff.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 10th December

      You are really making progress J.
      It takes time so don’t get discouraged. The belief does not alwasy dispell just because we discover it. Most often it takes time and there are layers to it and the layers lift slowly. There are many “theads” to a belief that need to be exposed too.. but you are on the right track!
      Hugs, Darlene

  15. By: Louise Posted: 22nd August

    This was my birthday day post! The day where you get valued! I had loads of people wishing me happy birthday and I baked cake for everyone else… and lots of happy birthday singing and hugs and perfect presents including a card from everyone and chocolate hearts. Felt really valued and cared for and for once was able to receive it! Thanks Darlene for all your hardwork

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 22nd August

      Thanks for sharing this! That is awesome! I am so glad that you are a part of this whole thing and that I get so see all the wonders and changes and watch you grow!
      Hugs, Darlene

  16. By: Kate Posted: 13th August

    I am working through reading what is on your blog. Biographies are so instructive, I think. WOW. Thank you for writing!

  17. By: Renee Posted: 12th August

    You are right. I am trying to figure this out. It’s like asking for directions when your lost on a trip. I ask every few blocks others may ask every few miles! I will get it figured out. I don’t want what I am writing the reason why others aren’t writing. I am always scared of causing someone to trip up. Or have negative feelings toward me because im speaking. I am always aware it could happen and I could get hurt because I spoke.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th August

      Hi Renee
      One of the things that I have learned along the way is that people have a choice. They can choose to write or not. I don’t think that most readers here read all the comments anyway. (There is an average of 1000 comments per month!) Don’t worry about how others feel about you. That is their problem! Shareing is for you. Not for anyone else. You are doing fine. This is a huge thing to work out and I invite you to work it out anyway that helps you.
      Because of my training, and the role I take on this blog, and my ultimate purpose and passion for the healing message that I try to delever, I have to think about things in a “whole picture” way. I am not asking anyone else to think that way. Having said that, if I feel a commenter is causing harm, I will step in. But sharing your own stuff doesn’t cause harm to somoene else.
      Hope that makes sense.
      Hugs, Darlene
      Hugs, Darlene

      • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th August

        Hi Everyone!
        I published my new post last night and it has a fantastic discussion going on already! (20 comments) I use an episode of Hoarders to illustrate Psychological and Emotional abuse and how the abuser so often gets all the sympathy and none of the responsibility. The comments are not so much about hoarding as they are about facing the truth about the damage.

        Please read it here and I hope that you leave a comment. Hoarders ~ Illustrating Psychological abuse and Protecting Abusers

        I think I could have come up with a better title.. but oh well!
        Hugs, Darlene

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