Going Forward; Looking Back ~ Emotional Healing Process


the other side of broken

In the recovery process of emotional healing and overcoming abuse I created a lot of images in my mind that helped me to look at things in different ways. Sometimes I dreamed of images, and sometimes they just came to me. 

One of the readers on the facebook page for emerging from broken wrote “and I think the problem starts the moment I convince myself that I can already move on, because the truth is I’m trying to walk forward while looking back.” This is a profound statement which brought me back to a very frequent image that I adopted in my mind along the journey to recovery.

Early in my therapy process, in my mind’s eye I saw a door. It was an eighteen inch thick solid steel door, like the kind you might see on a bank vault or possibly in a prison. This door was firmly closed, and had about seven huge locks; huge deadbolts all in a row, each one of them a different design or brand. This door was impenetrable. Somehow I knew that my freedom was on the other side of that door. My wholeness, my new life and my recovery from dissociative identity and chronic depression was on the other side of that impenetrable door. Emotional healing was just one the other side. And it wasn’t long before I realized that I was the only one that could open those locks and walk through it.

I know it sounds so easy; just unlock the deadbolts and walk through, right? But it was far from easy. Along the course of the journey to wholeness I saw that same door many times, but as I grew in my emotional strength and towards healing, it changed.

As I had my breakthroughs I noticed that some of the locks were disappearing from my “vision” of the door. At first several of them were just unlocked, sometimes with a combination lock like one you would see on a school locker, just hanging open. One day I noticed that there was only one lock left on the door and that the door suddenly had a window in it.  It is interesting to note that all these things made me excited and nervous at the same time. I wondered if I should look through the window. It was a scary thought. But I realized later that the window wasn’t for the purpose of looking out into the new world. It was for the purpose of looking back into the old world.

Eventually as I continued to grow and discover the lies that I had adopted as truth and realized how my survival system had been set in place, the door was actually unlocked and open a few inches. I slowly waked forward and I opened it a bit more. I cautiously crept through the opening, frightened, hesitant, and even on the other side I was afraid to look; I ran back through to the other side from which I had come and slammed the door shut, clicking the lock into place. WAY too scary for me!

My survival system was created to keep me safe. My brain and every fibre of my being believed that my coping methods kept me safe and in this process of recovery, my brain told me that it was not safe to travel to the other side of broken. I was afraid of emotional healing and letting go of those deep depressions because I still believed they were the answer. So even opening that door was a frightening concept.  As I began to comprehend it this way, I began to really understand the importance of doing that re-wiring work I always talk about. I also began to understand the fear of just walking through that door and the significance of the locks.

I keep going forward and there came a day when I saw the door in my mind open and welcoming. There was no longer a lock on my side. I took a deep breath and I walked through it and I saw a beautiful garden, somewhat like a jungle, lush with flowers and foliage and bright green grass. The sky was not visible but still this place was beautiful and welcoming.  I went a few yards in, but I felt nervous and kept looking back to make sure that the door was still open. I wanted to make sure that I could return to the old belief system if this new one was too scary or too overwhelming for me to stay there. I had this feeling that I HAD to know there was an escape out of the new world. This stemmed from the depth of my belief that the systems I had in place for my survival from abuse, were really what was best for me. My survival methods were all I knew prior to this.

There came the day when I went through that door and carefully closed it behind me. As I turned to face my new surroundings, gone was the lush garden and in front of me was the most beautiful meadow ~ nothing but blue skies and the brightest sunshine, wide open spaces, the freshest air I had ever breathed, and thousands of wild flowers. As I walked forward and took it all in, I noticed that I was on the top of a mountain, that the whole world was waiting for me, that I was free and that this was the other side of broken.  I felt safe, excited, euphoric even. I felt as though my life was about to begin.

Forever seeking healing, truth and freedom

 Darlene Ouimet

It never ceases to amaze me how the world works.  Yesterday, my friend Wendy Logan sent me the following poem that she wrote. This poem blessed me deeply and I asked her if I could publish it with my blog post because I thought it went so well with what I am writing about today. Please feel free to comment to me or to Wendy or to both of us!

Eyes of A Prisoner ~ by Wendy Logan

When you look in my heart, what do you see?
Do you feel intense love or a life of misery?
Do you see a place where you can live?
Or a heart that’s just now learning to forgive?

Are you getting confused when you look in my eyes?
Conflicting messages that tell little white lies.
Can you feel a brick wall that sometimes comes up?
You can’t get passed them, and even I feel stuck.

I can’t get out and you can’t get in.
Trust me I know I’ve tried again and again.
You can stand and look from a distance
In that I’m safe, you’ll meet no resistance.

A prisoner in this life, emotions locked up inside.
I’m trying to be transparent but also want to hide.
The chains on my feet, pain’s the ball on my side.
My wrist handcuffed with the enemies pride.

Can you see my hands pressing through the bars?
I’m reaching for help but it seems so hard.
The screams get louder but do you hear?
I’m trying to break free, not walk in in fear.

Emaciated and deprived from a lack of affection.
Every path I could try is the wrong direction.
A never ending road takes me another path
That leads to the mouth of the enemies wrath.

He taunts and toils with me like a rag doll.
Tossing me back and forth like a ragged tennis ball.
The chain linked fence surrounds my perimeter.
Sharp bob wire represents my temper.

I can’t let you in, because it’s not safe
A prisoner to love that turned to hate.
Help me come pass the cold steel bars.
I see hope standing from a far.

As you approached I could this light.
Hope pressed in with all its might.
You carried the keys to my prison doors.
I knew that life had to mean much more.

Unlock it fast, before I change my mind.
The hands in the wall try to hold back time.
They can’t stand to lose yet another victim.
As the enemy screams his final dictum.

Been locked up so long, I’m scared to be free.
Is this another mirage or is it really happening?
Wishful thinking kept me alive when things were dark.
But the darkness has a hold, it doesn’t want to part.

One foot out the door of the prison I’ve known.
No more place of dwelling, no more my home.
Is this a dream or am I really free?
Scared to look in the mirror and see the new me.

With the past behind and the future at hand
There’s hope for tomorrow, a new right to stand.
An escapee from a prison of a life of hell
To a place of freedom, a new place to dwell.

Wendy Logan February 10, 2009

17 response to "Going Forward; Looking Back ~ Emotional Healing Process"

  1. By: Nickki Posted: 15th October

    Hi there,
    I stumbled on this site while looking for a poem for a friend who is in pain right now. Although I have not been subjected to the abuses that is being shared here, my heart goes out to you all and the journey you are on, and I felt the need to say Thank You to each of you for sharing your truths. The courage and strength of spirit found here is inspiring and amazing. Thank you so much.

  2. By: Ashley Posted: 12th June

    Wendy’s poem blessed me as well. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th June

      Welcome Ashley
      I am glad that you have been blessed here. Several readers have shared their poems in this blog. Poetry is so healing!
      Hugs, Darlene

  3. By: Kathy Posted: 26th October

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for re-lating to me. I’ve been married for 8 years so having sex with my husband definetly trigger’s me at times. Plus he was my first time ever (out of my choice) So since my abuse getting married really stirred some stuff up. We are working together about it in therapy. I very much hate flashbacks and nightmares…it’s like you are reliving the abuse and for me my body literally remembers! It’s painful but I’m doing the hard work. It sucks, it hurts, and it’s exhausting but I will get MY RED HEART!

  4. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th October

    I am really glad that you are here.. It is my deepest wish that you will find hope and inspiration for healing here. I had so many issues and when I found freedom in doing this type of “root” of the problem work, I just wanted to tell the world.. and this has become my purpose now. To inspire hope and to deliver the message that complete recovery from abuse, depression etc. is possible! The truth is what set me free, and I am very good at sharing how I found the truth. Thank you so much for sharing your life here.
    Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Chris Times Posted: 24th October


    As to the black heart toward others except the Lord and family, I am sure that that will pass in time as you learn to cope with your feelings. Take care of yourself.

  6. By: Chris Times Posted: 24th October


    I hear you and have been forced to give my abuser oral sex when I was a very young boy. While growing up as a teen, I would relive my abuse via dreams. For years I was so very confused about what happened to me, not knowing if I just dreamed this stuff of not. I learned to deny my pain and avoid feeling for most of my life until about 1990. All of the abuse came back to me and I hit a “brick wall”. I didn’t know what to think about myself. That year, I had sex, if you could call it that, for the first time as an adult. I freaked out. I have been deeply depressed every since that day. So I get it. I understand what you were saying. I hear you.

  7. By: Tonya Dalton Posted: 19th October

    I really like this too. The whole thing about having a wall around my heart and feeling like it’s there to keep me safe, yet also makes me a prisoner, with my emotions locked inside. I like this poem a lot. I can relate. Never been too big on poems. Maybe I need to rethink that! 🙂

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 20th October

      Hi Tonya,
      I like how you re-framed this the way that you have. This is such an important realization to have! Even though I (eventually) realized that everything I really wanted was on the other side of that door… I was afraid of it. The real me was also locked inside.
      It’s a tough place to be, but the good news is that as soon as we realize that we are “there” we have a better chance of moving forward. The awareness is a big thing!
      Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Kathy Posted: 19th October

    I just have to put this out there! My family and I are in Daytona Beach on vacation for the week and I trusted that I would leave my abuse behind and just relax while we are here. BULLSHIT!!!!!!! My abuse and memories followed me and I’ve had a terribly bad flashback recently. This is hard for me to say, but my mom, brother, grandfather, and great grandfather gave me oral sex and at time’s I DID have a orgasm. F*&#%*g pisses me off! I’m so confused…..my own husband can not give me a orgasm when having sex! What is wrong with me?

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th October

      There is nothing wrong with you, this is a result of the abuse that you endured. This is a big part of the damage that was done. You are not alone in this, many people have these problems when they have been sexually abused the way that you were. I am so sorry that this happened to you and that you are in so much pain and having flashbacks now while you are trying to have have family time. Please try to be gentle with yourself.
      Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: clare Posted: 19th October

    Hi Kathy I am sure that you will have a bright red heart, I loved how you described things it makes sense to me and I am able to relate some of it.

    Darlene I love the poem it is just so fitting with the post what an amazing friend you have in Wendy to share the poem with you and now your readers 😀

    For me I feel that I am about to have a huge breakthrough and move forward, usually when things have been not so good emotionally and I struggle with sleeping I am starting to realize that there is light and hope.

    Sometimes I feel like my life is on hold and I have large icy cold steel doors protecting me from things but it also holds me back, I realize that my fear is strong and that I would like things to be happier in my life.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th October

      Hi Clare,
      Your comment is timely for me today! I have been tossing and turning the last couple of nights, and I didn’t really think that maybe it was because I am in the process of working something out.. but when I read your comment I thought ~ HEY ~ this makes sense… I am in the process, I am going to uncover another layer! Funny how that happens. I still fight it sometimes too, it is second nature for me (for most of us) to fight a new level of understanding and to let go of our old belief systems. We had them for SO long.
      Thanks Clare! I am glad that you are here!
      Hugs, Darlene

  10. By: Kathy Posted: 18th October

    This does not really re-late to this post. I am in tears as I grieve my mother telling me she never wanted me, never wanted a girl. And she abused me so badly, sexually, physically and emotionaly! It’s so sad that I hate my own mother…but she never wanted me and treated me so badly! Memories are coming up and I am so overwheled right now! My heart is breaking….breaking so bad!

  11. By: Kathy Posted: 18th October

    It’s been hours since I commented on this post. I’m very suprised that no one else has said anything…Was my comment not understood? Usally with Darlene puts up a new post ther are TONS of comments! Just confused!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th October

      Hi Kathy!
      It is really cool how we all see different things along the way. Your share is inspirational, that you are telling your story, and that healing is happening, and one day YOU WILL have your bright red heart!
      Grieving is very much related to this post. I think that is one of the things I was most afraid of when it came to getting through that door. I was so afraid to face the pain and the grief that I knew were going to be part of my recovery process. What has happened to you is very painful, but it isn’t your fault, and really it is so sad that your mother did that to you. The process IS overwhelming, so just take it easy, be gentle with yourself and have faith. I was so afraid to acknowledge my breaking heart but there was some freedom and recovery from each bit of the truth.
      Hugs Kathy, hang in there.

      p.s. don’t worry about the comments, lots of times it takes a while for comments to come in. Your comments make total sense.

  12. By: Kathy Posted: 18th October

    Instead of door’s I see a black heart…my heart. There’s a little red in there for my family and love for God…a little for my friends but the rest of it is cold black. As I work through this very painful process bits and piece’s of my black heart get’s brighter…starting off a dark brown then gradually getting lighter. When I journal I write a lot about my heart and how badly it was hurting and I write about the color’s. I also, write about the bright spots in my heart to keep me focused and thankful and it gives me hope that one day, one day, I will have a bright RED, beautiful heart! The journey of getting there is in a working process. Some days are good days, and other’s are terrible days and I don’t want to acknowlege my heart at all. But I’m telling my story and healing is happening…one day, one day, I will have a bright red heart!

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