How Victim Mentality works in Relation to Family Secrets


understanding victim mentality and famiily secretsWe are conditioned not to talk about family secrets. I was taught in so many ways that ‘some things are not talked about’ and I was so afraid of the consequences of bringing shame on my family that I ignored the solution to overcoming the mental health issues that I had. Rejection from my family when I was a little child would have meant death. I believed as an adult that it STILL meant death.  I had to overcome that fear.

Even when the family members are dead, the victims of dysfunctional family situations are very often STILL just as afraid to reveal the family secrets, which is very telling about just how deep this fear goes when it comes to the belief system.

People told me that they didn’t have a choice about keeping the secrets even when they became adults. I agreed with them because not taking my choice about telling enabled me to have an excuse to not have to do the work that it took to take my life back. I had to look more closely at what it meant for me to believe that I didn’t have a choice. I had to see that it wasn’t that I DIDN’T have a choice as much as it was just that I didn’t KNOW I had a choice.

This belief that I could not, must not tell was rooted in victim mentality and I had to keep in mind that this “victim mentality” is how I survived a childhood of abuse and emotional neglect. Victim mentality was my friend when I was a kid. It saved me. It was hard to understand that victim mentality was not my friend anymore. My mind warned me constantly NOT to see things differently, believing with all my heart that the only way to survive this life was to operate in that same child mindset that kept me “safe” from further harm.  Telling would have made things so much worse and I could not accept that telling (at least someone) was part of the answer now.

Victim mentality taught me to FEAR the consequences of honoring my choice to reveal those secrets. Victim mentality tells me that I am safer to keep the secrets and protect the perpetrator.  Victim mentality taught me to protect the person who covered up for the perpetrator, believing that I am less deserving than the perpetrator, BECAUSE that is what I was taught about myself through the actions of those who were in charge of me.  

When I first started this website I would have a fear related adrenalin rush when I clicked the publish button on certain articles especially if they revealed anything about toxic and dysfunctional family relationships. That was my childhood fear of going public with my past. It was not fear for what others would then know about me but fear of what the consequences would be if I “told” on the abusers and those that didn’t protect me or if I revealed the family secrets. I didn’t understand that fear based adrenalin rush then as well as I do now. I had to reassure myself that the consequences for talking would not kill me that I was no longer that helpless child anymore. I had to remind myself that hundreds of times.

Another huge fear that I had was that deep down I was sure that if I could love my mother the way she needed me to love her, then everything would be fine. Telling the family secrets was like giving up on the last thread of hope because I knew that if I told the truth about what had gone on in my life, I would burn my last bridge and ruin my only chance that my mother and possibly even my whole family would love me. “Telling” represented the death of that hope.  

I had to be willing to face the possibility of that rejection.

Today I see this so differently. Why was I willing to protect the people who never protected me? They taught me to believe that I didn’t have enough worth to have equal value to the perpetrators, the neglectors, the abusers, the withholders, the teachers and all the other adult gods in my childhood.  

I no longer care if the truth hurts someone else’s feelings. When I decided to heal and move forward with MY life, I had to stop taking care of other people’s feelings and finally validate MY feelings. When I finally put my own healing first, I began to see the dysfunction more clearly. I finally saw that I was contributing to the sick dysfunctional cycle by going along with it.

As I took those baby steps in the beginning and started to look at the dysfunctional family conditions that I had been raised with, I started to realize that in many ways I had in fact always been rejected. Not being heard is a rejection.  I had not been protected is a rejection. Not being valued and not having my human rights validated is a rejection.

When I began to see things through new eyes, I started to get a glimmer of hope that perhaps I could be good enough for me, and that if I could achieve that status, then others opinions including my own families’ opinions, would no longer matter. I began to realize that I had been agreeing with their rejection of me because I didn’t know anything else.  As I grew stronger I began to stop rejecting myself.

Perhaps the truth hurts, but does that mean that we should stifle the truth? I don’t think so anymore. It was important for me to look at who I was protecting and the truth about why I thought that they were more important than I was.

Please share your thoughts or feedback. I look forward to the discussion here.

Darlene Ouimet

NOTE: I did not reveal anything publically when it came to family secrets until I had several years of healing and I am not suggesting that you reveal your family secrets before you are ready. It would not have helped me to push myself too quickly and very few people choose to write as publically as I do. Please feel free to use a screen name. Only the name you use in the comment form will be seen by others.

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


Related Posts ~ Overcoming that Nasty Self Blame in Dysfunctional Relationships

140 response to "How Victim Mentality works in Relation to Family Secrets"

  1. By: Will Posted: 19th January

    Darlene I never saw myself as the victim. Maybe if I did I wouldn’t be ill, maybe I wouldn’t have this disconnect. Even with knowing what I know through the flashes I don’t feel like the victim. Do you think I should accept I’m a victim and not be so head strong? I’m all I ever had, along with my faith that I have a Higher Power with me. I do cry and I do know the rejection of family but even as a young teen I was always seeking myself, trying to find that place where I was safe. I learned to looked to no one after so much betrayal and I wasn’t angry about it. Being a seeker started at a young age for me, so I must have not had the understanding that I was a victim….It gets confusing at times, so much to work through….Will

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th January

      Hi Will
      I think that is at the root of the problem very often. Many of us did not realize that we were a ‘victim’ of someone else. Non victims do not feel the need to seek a safe place. Non victims are NOT betrayed. I remember fighting so hard against believing that I had ever been a victim! But when I realized I was, things began to change.
      Thank you for sharing,
      hugs, Darlene

  2. By: dory Posted: 27th November

    rejection. The proverbial slap to the face or the year-long “time out”.

    She is very good/adept at cutting people (family) off in her life and then burying herself into her work and whomever she can find as a friend through her various jobs. I know that her childhood was way more dysfunctional than mine. She is trapped in alot of pain.

    I fear she will cut me off. Why do I fear that? It just feels so wrong I guess. I am the only child of essentially a single mom (divorced at age 4).

    I am sensing that I have alot of stuff to dig out from under, I just don’t know where to begin. I have 4 kids who should not be cut off from their grandparents, I think..

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 27th November

      Hi Dory
      It takes time to sort through all this stuff. There are hundreds of articles in this site all with discussions and insights from others. A huge percentage of the articles are about this subject. Reading the ways that I came out of the fog and into clarity might help you get started.
      Hugs, Darlene

  3. By: dory Posted: 27th November

    > When I first started this website I would have a fear related adrenalin rush when I clicked the publish button on certain articles especially if they revealed anything about toxic and dysfunctional family relationships.< I feel that rush often when I e-mail something to my mom that could be perceived wrong by her. So that adrenaline rush is a "pointer" of sorts to a childhood wound?

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 27th November

      Hi Dory
      Welcome to EFB ~ yes it certainly might be a pointer of sorts. Dig into what is behind that fear or that rush you feel when you email her. Where does it come from? What are you afraid of?
      Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: Silent One Posted: 14th November

    Oh I have to add, I am now engaged to said “bad boyfriend”. He is the most loving, kind, supportive person I have ever met. He has done nothing but love me from the moment we met and not in a needy, clingy way or an abusive, using way. He treats me with respect and kindness.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 14th November

      Hi Silent One
      My only advice is to keep reading. “The fog” lifts in stages as understanding and truth become more clear. You will find your answers if you keep looking.
      Hugs, Darlene

      • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 14th November

        Hi Everyone!
        I have published a new post using a quote about narcissism and narcisists from the mayo clinic that sheds some light on why victims of abuse so often question if they are actually the problem (as we have all been told we are). I look forward to the discussion!
        “Survival Mode and an Alternate view of Narcissism”
        hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Silent One Posted: 14th November

    I fully agree with your article, but unfortunately my parents just recently paid money toward my college loans. They had promised to pay, pulled funding, then gave funding back all based on life choices they didn’t approve of (nothing like drugs or the like. Just the wrong boyfriend). So….I don’t know how I can distance myself from people who ignored abuse, told me to take the abuse, then said they don’t remember the abuse (all the while protecting the abuser in their own home). They have done some outright terrible things over the years, but I’m not sure how to distance myself now that they have paid some of my bills. I could pay them back immediately, but they would be horribly offended (not sure if I want to cut off all ties yet) and I would be in financial difficulties.

    Do you have any advice?

  6. By: butterfly Posted: 23rd October

    Hi Amy, as you can see from my post above yours, yes I can relate~ especially when you wrote “the family secrets are eating me alive!” It seems to be a common issue in families ~ where one member has become the family scapegoat, because they refuse to lie & play the dysfunctional lets keep it in the family game! It’s taken me many years of therapy, healing, self help & work with angels to get to me to the point where I can speak my truth without feeling like a total criminal! I am still working my way through layers of false guilt & fear which have been created by various false beliefs I was programmed with by my family ~ mainly that I must protect my family at all costs & I must put others before myself. And some where along the line I came to the wrong conclusion that my family were not strong enough to cope with the truth coming out. These days I realise that I am not serving anyone, even my family, by hiding how I feel about what took place. There are so many people in the world who benefit from people having the courage to speak their truth. And our families could benefit from it if they were willing to! None of this is about blame. It’s all about taking responsibility & being true to ourselves & loving ourselves enough to be honest about what has gone on & why. Being real allows us to feel which allows us to heal~ and each time one of us heals we heal a part of the world! And on that note, I am going to take some of my own medicine ~ and go write a song about how I feel right now! Bravo for being real, thank you for sharing your story. I trust my response is helpful for you. Love Simba x

  7. By: amy Posted: 21st October

    I grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone and their secrets. I am the middle child of three girls. My father emotionally abused us, chased us around the house in drunken rages and my mother did NOTHING. I was also molested by a next door neighbor. Mom played the victim for years. She played Dad against us, then sat back and watched the drama unfold, only to blame Dad for everything because of his drinking. Oddly enough I have always known why he drank. His father walked out on him at age 9. No wonder Dad drank, he grew up without a Dad and felt rejected. Did anyone listen to me? Did they give any credence to my theories about Dad’s drinking? Nope. Even in my 30’s Mom would always say “when you grow up, you’ll understand and move on.” Basically, I REFUSE TO LISTEN TO YOU and shut up. I get the same comments from my sisters. Just drop it Amy. Stop whining. You’re weak. I would love to take my whole freaking family on Dr Phil! Maybe he can knock sense into them. But I was told point blank growing up “we have the family name to protect.” “Noone can know what goes on here.” So if I talk, the whole town will know. Trust me, everyone knows my father! And there’s a measure of wanting to protect him. Is that sick? I’m not what is going on in my brain. I don’t want to air the family secrets, but the secrets are eating me alive! I suspect nothing major will change. My parents are in the 80’s and their health is going downhill. I don’t want to feel guilty at their funeral(s). Can anybody relate?

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 21st October

      Hi Amy
      I was sure that someone could knock some sense into my family too.. but it was when I realized that I was not listening to myself anymore than they were that I started to understand how to take care of me. The guilt didn’t belong to me. Like I say all the time, if this stuff didn’t happen I would have nothing to talk about. But if this stuff didn’t happen then I would not have been so messed up either.
      I totally relate to what you are saying and I had to find a way to validate myself and listen to ME so that I could see just how much what was going on was killing me and set some healthy boundaries.
      Thanks for sharing,
      Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: butterfly Posted: 25th August

    Sorry to hear that about your mum, but glad you found yourself in the process. I feel that is what is going to happen to me, in fact it’s already happening! It’s good to know that it is possible to not only survive but thrive after the loss of a mother-daughter relationship. Although I don’t have children yet, I could relate to your article about wanting your mum~for me it’s the same~i mourn the loss of what could have been, not for what was. It’s just getting over that burning bridges thing~I want to have both, fulfill my life purpose and have a mother and sometimes I feel angry that I can’t, because of her fear of facing up to the truth. It feels like a her or me situation~or rather a them versus me~as the rest of my family are either on her side or are sitting on the fence. Well as I always say~if you sit on the fence, you will only get splinters in your ass~so rather them than me!!!! Thank you for your warm welcome and for inspiring me to write my truth. best wishes~ Simba

  9. By: butterfly Posted: 24th August

    thanks Darlene, i did actually read part of those articles before I posted my comment, but to be honest with you i wasn’t in the right space to read all of your story~I was in the space where i just wanted a quick answer! i also read through the current posts. My intuition says just keep going, I guess I wanted to hear someone else who knows what I’m going through say it. thanks again and good on you and all those who contribute here~it is comforting to know that I am not alone in my quest to speak my truth & that my fears are quite common! best wishes, simba

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th August

      thats the problem; there are no quick answers. 🙁 I totally understand what you are going through. And I also know that there is total healing! I did lose the relationship with my mom, but I found me. There are over 1000 new comments per month on this site. There is tons of stuff here, you will find lots of support from others. Good to have you and I look forward to hearing from you. please feel free to share often!
      Hugs, Darlene

  10. By: butterfly Posted: 24th August

    Thank you Darlene for sharing this wonderful piece of writing from your heart. I can relate to it a lot! I was moved by your honesty & inspired by your courage, especially when you wrote~

    “That was my childhood fear of going public with my past. It was not fear for what others would then know about me but fear of what the consequences would be if I “told” on the abusers and those that didn’t protect me or if I revealed the family secrets.” and~

    “I had to reassure myself that the consequences for talking would not kill me that I was no longer that helpless child anymore. I had to remind myself that hundreds of times.”

    “Another huge fear that I had was that deep down I was sure that if I could love my mother the way she needed me to love her, then everything would be fine. Telling the family secrets was like giving up on the last thread of hope because I knew that if I told the truth about what had gone on in my life, I would burn my last bridge and ruin my only chance that my mother and possibly even my whole family would love me. “Telling” represented the death of that hope.

    I had to be willing to face the possibility of that rejection.”

    This is how I feel! I am about to start writing my life story (which I also intend to publish), something I have been putting off for many years, due to a fear of & a false sense of guilt of hurting my family, by revealing family secrets & a fear of losing them if I go public. I realise my core fear is of killing my father with my honesty about the abuse I experienced all my life and the fear of my mother & sister blaming me for his death. The adult me knows these fears are false & that I am only responsible for myself & my family are responsible for themselves & we all have the power of choice as to what we choose to feel. But in spite of years of therapy/healing/personal/spiritual growth, I realise my inner child still feels traumatized by all the times I’ve been accused, by most of my family, of lying about my childhood & adult events in the past. And I still don’t feel I have recovered from my mother telling me a few years ago when I was having a nervous breakdown & ill with Hepatitis (I thought I was going to die of Aids)& desperately wanted her and my father to visit me, that “she would not risk her husband having a heart attack at the wheel by coming to visit a madhouse”. My relationship with my parents is delicate & not what I would call a loving honest bond, but thanks to my efforts, healing & forgiveness, we do have some contact, which is a miracle, having been ousted from the family for years & also having gone through a phase of not being able to have contact with them, in the early days of my healing process. My sister has rejected me again~this time for good~she wants nothing more to do with me~she isn’t happy about my intentions to write my book and album of healing songs, and I feel she is also jealous of me & me having contact with the parents~I think she preferred it when I was the outcast too terrified to even think of putting pen to paper! So what I’m saying here is, I feel that my fears of telling, are based on a real fear that I will be blamed & rejected. I feel my book & album will be the “final nail in an already dilapidated coffin”!!! Although I feel I am making progress with overcoming these issues~and am getting to the point where I can’t hold back anymore from doing what I came here to do~helping & inspiring others with my story~I must admit though, I still feel scared & guilty & I notice I am still procrastinating!! This is in spite of my very best efforts to daily dissolve my fear & guilt, let go of the limiting beliefs in my subconscious, let go of my family & the need to be loved/validated by them, love & reassure my inner child~ so I can empower & motivate the warrior woman in me who has a passion to write and sing my truth! I was wondering if you had any advice? Is it just a question of keep going & be patient with myself & I will have my breakthrough when I am ready? or am I missing something? I so want to move forward! How did you finally come to terms with the real possibility of losing your mother for good? Did you lose her in the end? If so, how do you cope with it? Thanks in advance! p.s it’s taking a lot of courage for me to click “submit comment”~so if anyone is reading this, know that fear can be overcome! ha ha that was a big note to self!!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th August

      Hi butterfly
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken.
      All the answers to your questions (there is SO much to answer) are within the articles in this site if you are interested in reading them. It might help you to start with the family category and the mother daughter category.
      YAY for your courage in hitting the submit button! If you read the current posts (on the home button; the last few posts have a LOT of discussion about family stuff) you can join a more current conversation here. There is a lot of input from a lot of people! You are not alone!
      Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Glen Posted: 23rd April

    This is an awesome site. For years I have been the black sheep of the family because I asked questions about the rampant sexual abuse and had big dreams. I just stood up to an ex-brother in-law trying to control what I could and couldn’t say about my childhood sexual abuse and rampant sexual misconduct in the family. He had threatened me two times and finally I had enough on the last one and reported it to the police. They dismissed it but I took a stand when I feel so weak. I have been tortured over my decision to stop protecting him and finding this page means a lot to me.
    Thank you.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd April

      Hi Glen
      Welcome to EFB ~ You found the right site!! We talk about all this kind of stuff here. Good for you for reporting him! Even if they dismissed it, at least there will be a record of it now and your ex BIL knows you are not going to be pushed around; more importantly YOU know you are not going to be pushed around anymore because you did something validating for you. you took care of you! That is huge!
      Thank you so much for sharing!
      Hugs, Darlene

  12. By: Deborah Posted: 27th February

    Hi Mimi and Mitzi…. ive just found this article.. a few weeks
    after most of your comments were made and they so moved me..

    When I got into recovery i started to develop a relationship with my niece… (my eldest brother’s only daughter) as I saw her suffering as I had suffered at age 21 and patterns being repeated .. we were close for a few years but then I moved away and since then she had little to do with me although I tried to reach out…My sister in law has made sure she has no contact with any of the aunts…..has convinced her that “we are all mad”…. she has a reason to be very angry with my mother who walked all over her boundaries.. but to carry it over to us….has been so very hurtful….when my niece and I were close she started to reveal some things about my sister in laws life.. how she never once told my brother she loved him.. and other secrets.. It now comes to my mind (after reading this) that she was threatened and so has done a number on my niece to convince her to have no contact…..

    I cried over this rupture for over 5 years and then just had to accept it was the way it was and I was powerless over it (the first step in the 12 steps)… niece ended up having a breakdown at the exact same age as my eldest sister and it was after that my sister in law said.. i never want her to have anything to do with my sister….but as i see it the history just repeated…

    Anyway I have had to accept we are not in her life and it was a repeat of what my father did.. cut off all contact with his own sisters not deliberately but just ignored them… when I finally met my aunt in Holland in 2000 i cried for two days straight.. she longed to have us in her life..had pictures of our family everywhere… and gave me so much love when my marriage ended 4 years later… she is dead now but I was so grateful for that connection which taught me so much more about my Dad, though I felt it was very very poor the way my Dad treated all of his siblings.

    It seems to me so much healing can come through the family if we can share about our injuries and see this pattern.. but it does depend on people being willing to do the work.. if they want to close us out, ignore or deny its just not possible to have a relationship and so we must take care of ourselves.

    When ever I see my sister in law i end up crying as she makes it obvious she looks down on me…treats me as if I were a leper.. after the last time I said “no more” its too damaging… and so I see my brother independently….

    Anyway thanks I just wanted to share that and how happy it made me to read others have began to repair some of these painful ruptures…

  13. By: Karen Posted: 17th February

    On “Secrets”
    My family was so dysfunctional. We had a family secret. Oh yes. Its wasn’t spoken of for 33 years.
    The big issue was “we have to live in this town”; “what will the neighbors think?” They weren’t even on
    social terms with ANY of the neighbors. We were isolated. We were not allowed to associate with extended family, friends and certainly not neighbors. I had a child I gave up for adoption. I was NEVER to speak
    of it to anyone ever. I kept that silence for 33 years. I was not allowed to mourn the loss of my child or
    express ANY feelings on the situation. IT DID NOT HAPPEN. It was so damaging. But I was damaged goods.
    After years of emotional abuse, they could not understand why I was not an even tempered successful
    career person that could be bragged about. My Dad was NPD and my Mom was a perpetually abused passive co-dependent until he died in 2003 and we all sighed in blessed relief.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th February

      Hi Karen
      I am so sorry that this happened to you and that you had to keep that to yourself all these years. I am glad that you can talk now and that you have joined us on the journey!
      Welcome to EFB,
      Hugs, Darlene

  14. By: judy Posted: 16th February

    I’m not sure if what I shared was posted or not.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 16th February

      Hi Judy
      As far as I can tell, this is the first comment you have posted. If you shared another one, I don’t have any record of it..
      Welcome to EFB. sorry your comment got lost!
      Hugs, Darlene

  15. By: Mimi Posted: 8th February

    It was a tough realization for me too. I was so brainwashed that I wondered if what I was thinking or suspecting, was even legitimate. I remember first coming here, I would ask a question, and the seasoned people (Darlene and a few others) would encourage me to ask myself questions that would ultimately bring me to clarity. I’m so thankful for that. I was angry and sad too when it first became undeniably clear. Like you, I knew intellectually for I’d say 10 years, but I still believed my mom loved me and wouldn’t dream of hurting me. She is 69 years old now, and has become sloppy in her secrets and lies. That helped me realize the truth as well. When there are concrete instances, how could I deny it? She was a bully to me specifically, I was always the scapegoat. It was liberating to write her the email a few weeks ago. I did feel I took back my power. Right now she’s retreated because she has been caught. I carbon copied my email to both my sisters, so she would know that we all three knew the truth about the lies she told. She could always conquer any one of us, as long as we stood alone. United though, she is at a loss of words and manipulations. She hasn’t owned it obviously. If I know her, she will try to let some time pass and hope we forget it, without taking any responsibility. I’m certain she hopes we will brush it under the rug and not hold her accountable. I will not forget it though. There was hell to pay if we lied when we were growing up. I am now holding her to those same standards. She always made the three of us believe she NEVER lied. A ton of effort was put into convincing us of that. The disgusting thing is, we believed it. Looking back, it amazes me how I excused things that were without a doubt inexcusable. I don’t even know how I rationalized it. I just thought it didn’t apply to her or something. An example would be, she represented us in our home purchase and the sale of our former home. She took commission on both transactions, but tells people she forfeits commission with family. She did a lot of crazy fast talk to convince me she wasn’t taking commission. Somehow, she convinced me I just didn’t understand the intricasies of real estate transactions. I pulled those papers out a few months back. It’s right there in black and white. How did she fast talk out of that?? I have no answer. I just excused it because she doesn’t lie, and because she was the professional, and SHE said it wasn’t so. I gave up trying to understand it really, regarding it as not important. But, it is important because she lied and manipulated. She could be the greediest person I know. She also charged commission on her own elderly mother’s home sale. To this day, she says she didn’t and tries to fast talk out of it. She’s crazy!!

    Anyhow, I had difficulty concentrating too. I was incredibly sad and I spent days ruminating over whether she ever loved me or not. I sorted through childhood memories trying to decide if one action proved or disproved her love for me. It was an incredible three month process. I cried every day. I journaled sometimes for an entire day. I am out on the other side of acceptance. That doesn’t mean the damage is reversed, just that my eyes are open. That period of eye opening was hell, but I’m thankful to know the truth. All those things in my life that didn’t really add up, now make sense to me. The reason it didnt’ make sense is because it was nonsense. It was BS designed to protect her from accountability and to keep my sisters and I under her thumb, in her control, and loyal to her; and we all were very loyal. She had me convinced she was the only person I ever had, yet she showed over and over she didn’t want me. It was all so twisted. I’m happy to be in the light, no matter what I had to go through to get here. I wish you the best SMD, in this time of discovery and acceptance. I hope you know you’ll feel better in time.
    With love,

  16. By: SMD Posted: 8th February

    Wow! Another person that was in the healthcare field and is 43 too! That’s wants nice about EFB, we can talk to like minded people! After writing my posts these past few days, i’ve come to realize the abuse I’ve been suffering for so long!….I feel i’m at a place now, that I can finally admit to myself i’ve been abused. For so long, i did not want to believe that, because it was too painful to face. I’ve known it intellectually, since a child, but it feels like death, when I admit I was put down & pushed around by my own family. I’m having many feelings about this- anger & sadness mostly. I guess it’s like coming out of a fog and realizing my reality was based on false beliefs & secrets!…I’m having difficulty concentrating & having thought blocking right now, so i will stop writing for now….Tomorrow is a new day!….Sincerely, SMD

  17. By: Mimi Posted: 7th February

    Thank you! The mindset surrounding my dad, the mental work I had to do before that first meeting, was really a necessity. It was something I had to do to get through it, otherwise, I might have lost that opportunity. I didn’t want that to happen. My fear of him was so deep. I remember when I was about 9 or 10 years old and he picked me up and swung me around (playfully) and I was so scared of him, even at that age, I peed my pants.

    My mother told me early last year that if something happened to her husband, she knew my dad would be the first person at her door. LOL!! I wanted to laugh because she was so serious. Over 30 years have passed since he has contacted her in ANY way. She doesn’t realize how stupid that sounded. She mistakenly thought I was still under her influence about him. Looking back I should have laughed in her face, and laid out the facts, and then asked her what she based that statement on. All while pointing out it must be flattering for her to think that!! She’s been using this abuse/sympathy card for so many years, she thinks people believe she still lives in abject fear of him, despite his lack of contact for almost half her life!!! She doesn’t have a clue that my sisters and I don’t buy into that crap anymore.

    Ah, well, I had a lot to say today!! Thanks for listening EFB!!
    Blessings to all,

  18. By: Mimi Posted: 7th February

    Clarification: I read my post above and I think it sounds contradictory. I have fantasized about doing renovations as a career, but never seriously. These posts have made me think maybe it’s something I could take seriously, if this clarifies that at all.

  19. By: Mimi Posted: 7th February

    Hi all!
    I think it’s so striking how many people I’ve met here that are also 43 years old. Just an observation. Also, I’m in the healthcare field and have stopped working. My art form and “therapy” is renovations. I have planned to renovate several rooms in our house during this time of hiatus. I have a lot to do. And, I love doing it. I’ve thought of changing careers as well. It’s hard to sell people on female renovators however. And, my only selling point is that I have a lot of experience, but no formal education. It is something I’ve definitely considered however. I know I would miss nursing. It’s been very satisfying work for many years, and I’ve always loved it. I can’t imagine doing anything else, yet, these posts have made me think a little. Perhaps I made my place in nursing, was successful, even praised, so I closed my mind and sealed my fate. I’ve never thought about making a different skill a lucrative career. I’m blessed by these posts…. it’s got me thinking!!

    Now, I’m remembering how my mother would discourage any kind of art form as a career. Drama/acting, music, dance, painting…literally any art form was frowned upon. My mother is about money. In her mind, the only way to support yourself is to have the security of a 9-5 job. She would say it’s foolish to try to support yourself in any other way. I have wondered what talents my sisters or I have/had that were squelched. Both my sisters have corporate careers. However, my mother has never had a 9-5 job. She has always done things that would allow her to be her own boss. For years she was a hairdresser in our home. After that, she became a realtor and still is. That was a six week course, and back when she became a hairdresser I think she was able to do it in high school (if I remember right), or at least partly in high school. She really preferred to be supported by a man though. She always told me I would NOT be allowed to be lazy like my dad, yet she did hairdressing 2 days a week in our home for years and years. She would take an afternoon nap every day for about a half hour. But, we weren’t allowed to take naps.

    So many weird things come up when I start typing!! Sometimes, it brings so many things to the forefront that I hadn’t associated with my screwed up way of thinking. Therapeutic for sure!! Thanks Darlene for this opportunity for all of us!!
    Peace to all,

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 7th February

      My mother is about money too! (but I am sure if I was oprah my mother would not see me any differently) My mother can not validate me; it is as if she thinks that if she lets me know that perhaps I am worthy, I will do to her what she has always done to me. That is how so many abusive people think.
      Great shares everyone. I took a few days off and I just can’t answer all the comments! Yesterday I went to visit my daughter at university for the day! We had a blast and I could see how important it was to her. Sometimes I can see what was missing in my life, by the way my own kids respond to me!
      Love Darlene

  20. By: SMD Posted: 6th February

    Hi Mimi!
    You are inspiring to have the inner strength to change your belief system regarding your dad to be able to develop a relationship with him. I admire that!…Your mom sounds like she did most of the damage by planting seeds of fear in your mind, as a little girl!..She was so wrong to do that to you!….So glad that you were able to get out your thoughts to your mom, whether she acknowledged it or not!…You did it for herself to reclaim your power….Just maybe she will feel ashamed or quilty for her actions!…Anyway, kudos to you!

  21. By: SMD Posted: 6th February

    That is wonderful that you are reclaiming yourself & talents!..I too worked in the helping profession for most of my adult life and I’m now 43. I finally decided not be working, for my mental health. I was motivated to help others, who were struggling but I lost myself in the process, by taking care of everyone else’s needs and not my own. Since, I left my work, I have been free to pursue my talent, which is painting nature scenes. I’m more at peace and more tuned into my needs. Thanks for sharing!

  22. By: Mimi Posted: 4th February

    Hi everyone!
    When I was a little girl, I was terrified of my dad. He is an alcoholic, and still is, and would get violent at times. I didn’t usually see it, but I heard it. That left a lot to my imagination. Then, my mother would play it up as much as possible, playing the victim. 30 years later, I still hear the same stories over and over about how horrible it was. About 10 years ago, I was faced with seeing my dad again. (he had left when I was 11, I’m 43 now). I had incredible fear at first. Fear of being around him alone. Because my mother had told me he would try to steal me when I was little. Because she said he didn’t love me and he would hurt me to get at her. That’s not really my point though. My point is, the fear in me was incredible and lasting. When I was faced with seeing my dad again after so many years, it was like I went straight back to being 5 years old, terrified. I had some time to think things out in “present day”, rather than through the eyes of a 5 year old. It was tough to convince myself, but I waded through the muck to a place where I realized, I was an adult, he is older and probably not as strong as he once was, I have any number of things I can swing at him if I have to. These were my thought processes, no matter how silly they may seem. After I came to a realization that I wasn’t 5 anymore, that only my thoughts were taking me there, I could face him with more courage. It worked out okay. Today we have a slightly deeper relationship, but he still has to drink to keep from getting sick. He’s more feeble than ever. I have forgiven him for leaving and not looking back. We don’t have a whole lot of contact, but, I’m okay, just the way it is.

    I’m sorry this has happened to you. I wish you the very best as you work through this.

    I can so identify. It’s been a couple weeks now that I sent my mother a letter pointing out some lies she told. She has not contacted me. I’m okay with that, in fact, I’m relieved. I’ve been where you are though. I never want to see my mom cry. I saw it so much growing up and it always always hurt me. To this day, it’s very hard to see her cry. I hope I don’t have to see her anytime soon. If she cried, I would have to dig to the depths of my inner strength to stand up to her, and maintain the truth I sent her in the email without crumbling. She’s very manipulative. I wish you strength!!
    Love to all,

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 6th February

      Hi Mimi
      Yes.. that stuff does a ton of damage! What a horrible way for a child to live! I too had to reassure myself that I was not a child anymore, with many many things when I was in the process of changing my belief system.
      Thanks for sharing,
      Hugs, Darlene

  23. By: Nicki Posted: 3rd February

    I’m still afraid of losing what little connection I have to my family. To my brother, his wife and kids. I’m afraid of hurting my Mom, and I know I already have by starting down this road. I’m afraid of everybody finding out that I’m the black sheep. I’m afraid of rejection, like you said. I want to speak the truth, even though it’s painful. I can take the pain, for myself, but inflicting my pain on them, even the ones who caused it? I don’t know.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 4th February

      Hi Nicki
      I understand what you are saying. I was extremely afraid too! This is a process. I didn’t actually take action for several years into the process of healing. One day I just realized that I was important and that I was being treated like I was not. All I did was set my boundary; that I would no longer be treated like “nothing”. I was not writing EFB yet. I didn’t want to hurt anyone so I took all the hurt and finally I valued myself enough to stand up. It took time though. I look at it this way today; I didn’t inflict any pain on them, they just finally had to face the consequences of their own behaviour. The truth.
      Having said that, there is no “deadline” for healing and we don’t have to do anything before we are ready. It is okay to BE in the Process.
      Hugs, Darlene

  24. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd February

    Hi Kia
    Wow, I understand all the emotion and shock that is coming up for you. Can you think up a plan? Can you directly ask him not to call again and tell him why? If he calls again after you tell him not to, you might be able to get something done legally. My heart goes out to you hon. Thanks for sharing!
    Hang in here, share as often as you like.
    Hugs, Darlene

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