False Normal Systems about Love and Self Love


The truth about love

I came across this quote, and at first I loved it; “If you put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price”. ~ Author unknown

And then I thought about it a bit more deeply ~ For the most part on “emerging from broken” I am not talking about the value that we put on ourselves, I am talking about the value that was put on us by others and that same value that we accepted. We do need to raise our own value however we can’t do that until we understand how we received our value in the first place.  There is a step that has to happen before we can follow the above quote!

The last blog entry was about a coaching session that I did with Carla Dippel about her belief system when it comes to the concept of love. In my recovery, one of the most powerful things that I discovered was about how these false definitions form and how discovering and changing my belief system contributed significantly to my complete recovery from depressions, low self esteem and so many other difficult struggles that I lived with.

We all have beliefs about many things that we don’t realize we have.  We don’t even really realize that we have these “wrong ideas” about certain things because we have had that idea for so long it has become our normal.  But for me, most of my beliefs were a “false normal” or a “false truth”  In the coaching session that I did with Carla, I asked her specific questions that enabled her to discover her beliefs about love and she discovered her “false normal beliefs” when it came to love.  These beliefs come from many influences, not just from our families. They can come from anywhere and from a multiple of experiences; we learn from teachers, neighbours, books and media. We learn our “normal” from many places and combinations of events…. continue

I had to look at what I believed about love from the different angles just like I asked Carla to do in the coaching session that I did her. I was taught that in order to be loved I had to be compliant. Obedience was a big thing. Therefore, I concluded that LOVE is obedience and compliance. The problem with compliance and obedience is that I learned to be those things at the wrong times and in the wrong ways. The authorities in my life taught me the rules as they suited them and not necessarily according to what was ever best for me. I wanted to be loved. I wanted to be valued. I wanted to be appreciated and feel like I belonged. I wanted connection and I was taught the wrong way to go after it. But I wanted love, acceptance and connection badly enough to comply in the ways that I was taught. It was survival. I was too young to even question any of it. This whole system became so much a part of “my normal” that I didn’t have a clue that what I was going after was not really love.

Because this false normal system started so young it didn’t dawn on me that the ways that I had been “taught” were wrong.

The balance was all wrong. I thought and believed that everyone else was more important than I was. It was the absolute truth that I was taught in words but even more by examples and by actions. It didn’t occur to me that love is a two way street. Adults treat children as though we/they are not really people yet. As though children don’t know anything; as though children have no memories of anything, as though nothing affects children because they are merely children. I learned that I had to tow the line but the rules kept changing. There was an absence of real love and real acceptance. And if that is where the foundation was built, if that was the starting point of education and belief system, then what other result could there have possibly been other than to draw the conclusions that I was not really a person yet, that I was not as good or as valuable as everyone else?

If I had been taught, both in words and in actions, that I was equally valuable to others then the false belief system would not have been set in place.

If I had been taught, both in words and in actions, that my needs mattered then I would not have learned to discount them myself.

If I had been taught that I was a treasure and a delight as the individual that I was born to be, and if I had been encouraged to be that individual then I would have grown up BEING and LIVING as the individual that I was born to be and I would not have had the identity crisis that I had for so long.  

And Just When Was I Supposed to Become an EQUAL? In this pecking order system, it never happened.

And if these actual truths had been taught to me, I would not have found myself lost in a sea of one depression after another. I would not have had to re-parent myself in my early forties. I would not have had to learn the true definition of love and learn to love myself because I would have already known love. I would not have had those self esteem issues. And when I learned these things I was able to pass on the true definition of love to the next generation and begin to break the cycle that had continued for many generations in both my family or origin and my husbands.

It was very hard to realize these false normal truths though, because as I said in the beginning, learning to work for love and acceptance instead of being loved and accepted left me believing that love and acceptance was something I had to work for and not something that I deserved as all human beings deserve love and acceptance.  

It was the truth that set me free; 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


177 response to "False Normal Systems about Love and Self Love"

  1. By: Carlos Posted: 29th March

    In my teens, Dad once uttered: “Hey, I love you no matter what.”
    Then came the comparisons with the younger sister and younger cousin, the pressure to fulfil my “eldest child in the family” duties, constant criticisms, humiliation in front of other family members, confrontations during holidays oh and my favourite: Dad telling me stories about how horrible my mother was to him and how I remind him of her, hence the reason as to why he did all of those “Loving” things to me.
    This was the kind of love that I was taught to embrace and perhaps (god forbid) eventually pass on to my yet to be (more like never will be) born children.

    Validate my

    I always fell under the impression that if I cleaned parts of the house, washed the dishes, did what he asked of me, responded to his comparisons between my sister and cousin, dressed the way he wanted me to, be independent, listened to his “sob-stories”, constantly let the sound of his voice running in my mind to push me to try harder in anything I do in life, that I would probably be the best son he could look up to with pride and honour.

    But the strenuous effort to conform to all of those things only resulted in one thing: His spirits being lifted, with mine slowly going down the drain.

    I was loved for helping him get back on track whenever he felt that Mom was “too much” to handle. I was loved whenever I needed his assistance, to the point that when I finally wanted to take the initiative to do things on my own, he would be like: “No, I’ll take care of it.” I was loved for always listening to him, even if I didn’t want to and I just swallowed my
    pride and my pain, hoping that even just a tiny bit of consideration would come from him. NOTHING. ZERO.
    Oh wait he did listen to my problems, some credit should be given where it’s due, right? Even if he still managed to make the conversation about him or the abusers and how I should understand why they did what they did, yes he listened! *claps*

    Now in my early 20’s, I have awoken to a new perception of love. No longer am I going to Let Others Validate my Esteem. Had it not been for all of what I have read in this website, will I come to the realisation that love is actually:

    Letting go
    Off all those
    Vile and Vicious
    Errors that people implanted on me

    Rebuilding myself from that point of view, is what I hope to be able to achieve. For that is one thing I can see myself succeeding in (albeit not immediately) as opposed to constantly doing my share of the work, in relationships where the others are just slouching around thinking how picture perfect they are.

  2. By: syan de lumargh Posted: 22nd April

    Thank you Darlene for this very enlightening article. This mirrors my life to a tee! It goes way beyond the platitudes that were used by my MH provider; e.g., “you’re a human Be-ing, not a Human Do-ing”. I ended my relationship with my MH provider because I felt there were places she was unprepared and unskilled to lead me through even after 12 yrs. of working together. I am very glad to have found your blog. In just a few posts it has shed much light on areas of my life that my MH provider was unable to uncover to help me attain greater healing and wellness. Thank you for being a way show-er; that there IS life and light and the end of the tunnel; that we (collectively)will come all the way home to ourselves. That we are all of us whole and not broken.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 22nd April

      Hi Syan
      Welcome to EFB ~ Thank you for your comments! I don’t know why so many MH providers do not want to look at things through the grid that I talk about here. In my coaching practice, helping people see things through the eyes of actual truth and validating that their pain doesn’t come from their imagination, gets results so fast!
      Thanks for sharing,
      hugs, Darlene

  3. By: DXS (JJ) Posted: 7th June

    And just when do I get to be an “equal?”


    Why am I laughing? This is like my “going home for Christmas” story. Every year, people would ask me, “Are you going home for Christmas?” My reply, “No, I am going to visit my parents.” To which, I would get the “quizzical look.” Once I saw the “quizzical look,” I would smugly say, “I am XX years old. I no longer live with my parents. ‘home’ is where *I* live, not where my parents live…..” And people would walk away red faced.

  4. By: Jenna Posted: 10th April

    When I was a little girl, there was a swing set in my backyard. I remember being all of 4 years old, and my so-called “daddy” was outside with me. I wanted him to watch me swing. He told me, go across the handlebars. I remember looking at those bars. It was really far for a little girl. I gulped. I remember. Then, despite my crushed heart, I grabbed each bar, struggling all the way across.

    That was my first lesson in performance for “love.” It controls me to this day… but thankfully I’m finally rising out of the FOG.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 10th April

      Hi Jenna
      Thank you for sharing. This is a great snapshot of how this kind of thing happens.
      Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Renee Posted: 9th October

    You bring up an interesting point. “Im worth something but I know my actions show something different”. I think I felt happiness once. I lived in Ogden Utah. I had a tiny apartment and it was just me. I remember being in my pickup heading for (college)school. The emotion I felt was “happy” It took me by surprise because I had never experienced that emotion. I remember stoping at the stop sign and just soaked it all in. Afterwards I started to question the emotion but decided it was so new I didn’t want it to go away. I haven’t felt that feeling since then, and to me thats ok because when my days come to an end I can say I felt happiness once in my life time, and know it’s a dimond that I hold close to my heart that no one can take away, especially my family.

  6. By: Roxy Posted: 8th October

    How do you stay consistent in letting yourself know.. or knowing that you are worth something more than what you were taught? Some days I feel it, and others, I don’t. I want to learn how to be consistent.

    One of the articles on this site also talks about happiness and how happiness is not a “choice” for some people (like me). I can’t choose to be consistently “happy” or consistently know that I am valuable. I can, at any time, say “yes, I’m worth something” but I know my actions show something different.

  7. By: Renee Posted: 5th September

    I realize I have a warped view of love. I am not capable of distinguishes the misconstrude version and the real deal. Sick I know but that is all I know about love. I have never had the opportunity of experiencing the actual true act of love. I wouldn’t know where to begin. Is it how I feel toward my grandkids? I think that is love and want to beleive that it is love. I love them with out anything attached to it. I love their faults as well as their strenghts. In fact, I look at their faults as an opportunity to teach them to turn their faults into a strenght. If they are unable to conqur them then it is used to except them without the sence of them feeling as a failure.

  8. By: Renee Posted: 5th September

    This has been a beleif to me all my life. I have NEVER felt loved. If it is not attached with sex or something else I would have never experienced it. So does that make what I felt a lie? I beleive so. Unless it has a condition attached to it, then it is not love. That is the lie I have been forced to live. I know what I feel for my daughters, I beleive it’s love. Yet my youngest doesn’t beleive I love her. Am I capable of loving someone in the truest form of the word. Honestly I don’t know. Don’t you have to experience love first, in order to define it? I think you do. This is a subject I have always failed at.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 5th September

      how it worked for me was to look at what WASN’T LOVE first. I looked at how I was taught love, the obligation, the “ownership” the one way street and I realized that I was not loved the way that I was taught TO love. The closer that I looked, the more I realized that what I was taught was NOT love. It was not BEST for me and love is always best. I don’t think I had to expierence love in order to define it. I just had to realize what it was NOt.
      Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Pinky Posted: 17th May

    @Cheng Li,Darlen if I may I understand what Cheng Li is saying because I understand the Chinese culture a little.
    Hi from NYC. I do have a little frame of reference for what you are talking about as my husband is Chinese and though he is ABC (American born Chinese) his family is from China proper and he has relatives in Hong Kong. I know Hong Kong is more Westernized and they are more free and open than China but there are still many Chinese strong holds. Many of the issues you are facing are complex due to your dual culture. The first thing that is important is to tell the difference between mental illness and cultural illness and I believe much of what you are experiening is cultural.Only a doctor can diagnose you and there may be illness present too but the dividing line between cultural and psychological is thin in your situation.
    There is so much I can say but it is not my blog and I do not have the space. Try to get a Westernized therapist because many of the ancient Chinese ways are ways to bondage. It is important to go to a doctor or therapist who has a college degree and does not perpetuate your situation. I wish you the best Cheng Li and glad you are here!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th May

      Thank you for sharing this Pinky,
      This helps a lot. I suspected that there was a cultural factor involved here.
      hugs, Darlene

  10. By: Cheng Li Posted: 17th May

    Hi It is me again, Cheng Li, the male ghost in Hong Kong who has been hiding inside an older woman’s brain since SEP 2006. I treated her as if she were my mother, and took my anger on her. I have been evil and demonic toward her doing all kinds of wicked thing to her. I am SICK. I desparately need counselling on my post traumatic stress disorder on my young death at mid-20s. I think about it. I deserved to die young as I have always been wicked in my whole life, perhaps, in my soul journey in the past. Can someone help me, please? I feel stuck inside her head, and do not know where to go. I do NOT want to return to GOD. I want to be a ghost…. Thanks

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th May

      Hello Cheng Li
      My heart goes out to you for the pain that you are in. I would suggest that you find a therapist or other mental health professional that you can talk with in person about this problem. It isn’t something that I know anything about and I am not sure what to even reply to you about it.
      Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Cheng Li Posted: 16th May

    I am a Hong Kong Chinese male who has suffered from depression since I was a little boy. After reading Darlene’s sharing, I enchoed some of her feelings and views toward the meaning of love and acceptance. I feel that I can earn self-esteem, love and trust by loving myself first. I found it very hard to love myself because of past pain in the relationships with my MOTHER. I suspected that she suffers from depression all her life. She might have been verbally abused by her parents, and took out her anger on me (her son). I am still drilling on the past pain as I am already dead, but did not cross-over to the LIGHT and return to GOD. I am hiding a woman’s head and influenced her to write these words for me so that I can download my past and pain in this space. If you are reading this, please do NOT be afraid. WE are ALL eternal being with a physical body experience in this planet earth. if you believe in Jesus, you GO to GOD after your death. If you do NOT believe in Jesus like me and do not know much about our souls and eternal existence and have attached to the physical world, I did not cross-over to the LIGHT and stay in this physical world to fight against the fact that I am already dead with my body. My soul (consciousness) is still alive by hiding inside this woman’s brain (head). I would like to share with you who are alive and reading my texts: LOVE yourself, then you learn how to love others as yourself, and then you love GOD eventually if you never love GOD before. I am fighting against GOD by playing mind games inside the woman’s head. I am SICK. No, I am NOT sick. I must LOVE myself. This is all I want to share. Thanks for reading.

  12. By: Lynda ~ Coming Out Of The cRaZy Closet Posted: 21st April

    Thanks, Vicki, you are right, my husband will be seeing his dr. about that soon.

    I was reading your poem….. poignant, beautiful, deeply moving, and so sad.

    Poetry helps me express my feelings, too, when ordinary words are too… ordinary. Your poem reminds me of a similar one that I wrote about 20 years ago when a loved one had died an untimely death:

    O let me die
    and lie beside you in the grave
    together brave
    that dread unknown ~

    For sorrow shared
    is half the pain that sorrow gave
    How could you die
    and leave me all alone?

    ((HUGS)) to you and your daughter, Vicki,

  13. By: Vicki Posted: 20th April

    I can’t read ANY of these from here. I read it on my email, so I can only see one post at a time, which makes it easier to read each post.
    I just read the one about the two antidepressants and a change of personality. I’m not a doctor, I’m a paramedic, but that’s a warning sign the doctor needs to hear about. He needs to tell his doctor that information asap.

  14. By: JefferyW Posted: 19th April

    Normal: setting on a dishwasher. I am not a dishwasher, though I have washed dishes.
    Left brain vs. right brain. They gave me a test. Said I was ‘skewed’ which rhymes with screwed. Go figure: dominant in both areas. Beauty. Of MPD.
    Gotta question girls. We gotta tad bit of ‘ye ol’ system problem’ – nothing drastic (o’tay, maybe a little fudge with that one.) Makes it sweeter, LOL: here’s the deal: whip out those analytical brains of yours; do some psycho-analyzing. We could use some help.

    Here’s this child (my child OUR child, very precious one to us, okay?). We see his past, hurt pain etc. ad infinitum. BUT: here’s the deal: we thought we knew all about him, the effects; a leads to b leads to c etc. ad infinitum etcetra ad nauseum.
    But here we go: We were / child was rejected at age 10 by the man he loved sooo very much (yeah, pedophile, so what: teen’s words) – we are beginning to see this was inevitable; the pedophile had a fondness for children much younger: 5-11? perhaps we don’t know; do knew were were ‘recruited’ by pedophile to adopt other children into the fold (ended at 11 when we were moved).
    PROBLEM: We have identified this child as being ‘shamed’ by this scorn and rejection, BUT it has become to our awareness that this is NOT ALL. We are trying to race the underlying threads, seeing that this one (of 3 times) single event had some pretty massive reprecussions during our adulthood – indeed from THAT POINT ON that night of tears mocking and rejection (after being used, okay, kids words plucked from my mind: ‘like a damned used condom’.
    Sorry if I hurt anyone with that; but .. we are about out of places to turn with this question: looking for someone in a similiar situation / has been – or could know through sympathetic analysis: what would be the effects on this child in terms of his outlooks on: love? sex? and effects on behaviors down the road.
    It is something we are studying; needless to say, a troubling issue when it’s your own child inside and your own issues eating at you a bit, eh?
    BTW: we’re ‘good’ with it; lots of strength in us survivors; not great; a few fighting (thus far avoiding the self-injury BS and such; but hey, temptation sucks no matter if you know you ‘aren’t going there’ -eh?)
    Anyway, no rush; just hard for a guy to ask anything (hey, directions anyone? not us guys, LO hard L’s!) – and I am confident we shall sort all these strings before it’s all laid out, however, additional thoughts on “those effects” of a groomed child scorned may give us some enlightenments.
    Appreciate it throroughly whether you’re able to help or not.
    Thank you very much for your help on this issue
    the systems

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 20th April

      This would effect you and your outlook about ALL those things in many many ways. I write about this all the time ~ the effects of trauma on the belief system. I encourage you to read this blog in depth; I have overcome DID / MPD. and I no longer live with fragmented self but am one whole now. This blog is about how I did that.
      Hugs, Darlene

  15. By: Pinky Posted: 19th April

    @Lynda I knew who you meant I just didn’t remember the names well. I have read almost all of their books. A@ Patricia okay I will log onto FB now.

  16. By: Vicki Posted: 19th April

    I’m going to put a poem here that I helped my daughter write. It’s about how we feel, even now, w/out my former husband/her dad in our lives.
    I hope it’s okay w/ people, b/c I’m way better able to talk about something when I put it into poetic form. Although this one doesn’t adhere to any standard form, it still rhymes.

    I Died But Live

    I died a death but still I live
    to witness life w/out you here
    my soul was punctured like a sieve
    with holes of grief and filled with tears.
    I drift beside the bitter sea
    my brain is numb, my heart a stone
    Without you I feel agony
    My body lives but walks alone
    a vessel filled by a sea of grief.
    VGMB, April 19, 2011

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 21st April

      Vicki and Lynda
      Thanks for sharing your poetry! it love the depths…
      Hugs, Darlene

  17. By: Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker Posted: 19th April

    Pinky, I am Patricia Caldwell Singleton on Facebook. I just sent you a Friend Request. Use my words in any way that will help others with my approval.

    My very first book that I read on healthy boundaries and how to set them came from Drs. Cloud and Townsend and was called Boundaries. That book taught me so much.

  18. By: Pinky Posted: 19th April

    @ Lynda yes I read the boundary series. It is in storage now but I do refer to it from time to time.

  19. By: Pinky Posted: 19th April

    @ Lynda yes and his sermons make him seem a lot more harsh than he really is.Because I have been kind of shaped by him spiritually I know I come across as harsh sometimes too I think spiritually nobody has shape me more.
    It is just the way he preaches but face to face he is very meek and ohumble and I know in his sermons he doesn’t appear that way but it is fr lack of a better way to say it his stage persona. He is shy and has to kind of zone out when he preaches because he is actually really almost overly sensitive so he hides behind the cross an roars when he preaches but if you met him in person you would be like is that the same person?
    Thanks for your payers! He doesn’t get a lot of prayer because people think he is invincible and BTW your blog really helped my niece! Anyway I better get back to work!

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