I Avoided the Pain of Abuse by Altering the Truth

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self deception and child abuseI convinced myself of many things in order to cope with child abuse, emotional abuse and being defined as less important than others in my life.  

I was unable to cope with the truth so I changed the truth to suit me. I learned how to view “unhealthy attention” as though it was healthy and validating in order to cope with my dysfunctional world the way that it was and by doing so I was able to pretend that my world was actually functional. I found a way to believe that I was special.   

But in order to feel loved and to believe that I had at least some degree of self worth, I had to change my understanding of the word “special”. I had to warp my definition of that word in order to fit it to the actual circumstances.  The things I accepted as “proof” and validation that I was “special” became pretty sick and unhealthy.

I remember when I was about 13 or 14 years old, my mother started commenting about the way men were looking at me. I remember that it was embarrassing to me. She would whisper to me in the grocery store “Darlene, did you see the way that man looked at you??” She told me that I was attractive to older men as though this was some great gift I had.  I felt uncomfortable about it, but at the same time I felt validated by my mom. I felt like “finally!! I have done something right!” She looked so happy when she told me these things. She looked pleased with me. It was important to her that I was attractive and she was saying that I was. I found some value for myself when she commented on these “older men” who were looking at me with appreciation.  

I thought I was special because my mother wanted to take me out to bars with her to pick up men when I was 17. I thought that meant that I was attractive; SHE thought I was attractive. I thought she was validating me and I longed for her approval and acceptance, so I accepted this as the way I could get it. 

I believed that I was special when I was sought out by older men when I was too young to be in any kind of man/ woman relationship with them.

My mother usually took me to hotel bars; bars where men were staying on business trips. The men that hit on me in the bars I was in with my mother were married men. In my youth and naive way of thinking I thought that I must be “really special” if they were giving me attention when they were married. This kind of thinking sounds really sick now but it comes from the situations that I was put into without knowing that this kind of thing was not “normal” or right.

I remember the duality of the way that I processed this kind of dysfunctional relationship that I had with my mother and the men that were hitting on me. On the one hand I thought I was special. On the other hand I was scared of what might happen.  One night this man hit on me and it was clear that he was married; he was wearing a wedding band for one thing.  But he asked me to go out to the lobby of the hotel with him.  He made a phone call to his wife while he had his arm around me. I was SO uncomfortable. I wanted to run. On the phone he asked his wife about her day and about the kids while he was stroking my arm and rubbing my hip and he kept smiling at me.

Thoughts were firing through my mind at warp speed. I didn’t really know what the hell he was doing and I felt dirty, but there was the thrill of danger, mixed with the relief of acceptance and approval. At the same time I was wondering why my mother wasn’t worried about where I was. I felt sick to my stomach and I felt powerless. I felt like a hooker, but somehow the whole thing felt like a compliment. I felt special; I felt like I had some kind of exotic power that this man would take this RISK “for me” in that way.  At some level I knew he was using me but I was too young to understand the cheap thrill he was getting talking to his wife with a 17 year old girl tucked into his side.  He winked at me which scared me and reassured me at the same time. I wanted to walk away but I didn’t think, (didn’t know) that I had a choice. When had I EVER had a choice? How would I have learned that I had a choice? I didn’t want to be rejected by him; I didn’t want to disappoint my mother. Where the hell WAS my mother?? 

And under all of these thoughts, I had just a whisper of a feeling that I wanted to avoid feeling more than anything else. I couldn’t face the truth that both this man and my mother had absolutely NO regard for me at all. I was just a means to an end for that married man. Perhaps he thought he would get me in bed at the end of the night? I was nothing to him. I was nothing. I was just some object some “thing” to distract him from the tedium of being on a business trip out of town with nothing to do in the evening. I was just a good story to tell to the boys at home. He had to have known that I was just a kid; even though I was in a bar I could not legally have been less than 19.  

And to my toxic mother I was just someone to go to the bar with. I was likely a good man magnet too. What did she care about what could happen to me? As an adult it took me YEARS to face that what my mother was doing was wrong (not to mention illegal!) and that her actions showed how little regard she had for me. This was all about her.

Talk about an example of dysfunctional mother daughter relationship.

The world might have judged me accountable for being in this situation if the world had known about it so to protect myself, I couldn’t tell the world. I had to keep it to myself. In my world the girl always got blamed. That man was married and fooling around on his wife but I would have been labeled as the tramp that had enticed him. I would have been judged as a home wrecker and a slut.  I knew that stuff already so I went along with him… smiled at him while he sweet talked his wife as he winked at me somehow knowing that I wouldn’t talk, wouldn’t expose him and that I would submit to this objectifying treatment.  In order to comfort myself, I told myself that this defined me as “the special one” in the situation.  

By the time I was 18 years old I had lived without value long enough to believe that there was something wrong with me. I was full of shame and disappointment; full of self loathing, full of self disgust. I wasn’t even legal age yet and I believed that no one would ever love me. And even though I believed that all I needed was to be rescued by a man, I didn’t trust them anymore.

This story represents the how I took a situation and broke it down in order to understand my belief system and how it formed and how this situation resulted in being one of the ways that I came to view myself. Because of circumstances that I didn’t know how to process, I decided that I was special because my toxic mother thought that I was attractive enough to take to bars when I was underage. This conclusion was a lie. That didn’t make me special at all. Believing that I was special because a married man was attracted to me and therefore used me to boost his ego was not a healthy self view and it was a lie about me. The way he acted didn’t define my value in a good way at all. I was coping with the fact that my mother was using me and putting me in a very dangerous situation by reassuring myself that her actions defined me as special. And the pain that I had to face was that her actions defined me as nothing. Not important, not worthy of respect or protection, not loved, and certainly not special.  The truth is that my mother and I had an extremely dysfunctional mother daughter relationship.

~Just a little more context ~ Although this was nowhere near the first time that my toxic mother had taken me to bars with her, (she had started doing that when I was still living at home) I was living with my boyfriend at the time of this occurrence and on this night he was in jail serving time for impaired driving. I told myself that my mother must have thought that if I was old enough to live with a man then I was old enough to drink in bars with her.

But here is the funny thing and the conflict that I never saw the truth about; the reason that I was living with my boyfriend was because my mother had told me to get out of her house for staying out too late twice.  I wonder why I wasn’t old enough to stay out late, but I was old enough to go to bars and help her pick up men?

Like I said, my mother and I had an extremely dysfunctional mother daughter relationship.

Please share your thoughts on this subject of the fear of not being special and switching the truth around in order to avoid the truth and cope with the pain.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

Are you aware my of my e-book “Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing”? If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you and you would like to find out “HOW” I broke out of the oppression I lived in, this 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to busting out of the fog and to healing. I’ve received hundreds of thank you notes from people that have bought my book. Get yours here for 9.97 through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

For Related posts on Mother Daughter Dysfunctional Relationship or Toxic Mother Daughter Relationship please see the “Mother Daughter Category”  ( also see links (the words) in highlighted bold print throughout the article)

Seeking understanding and validation from the WRONG people

 

 

96 response to "I Avoided the Pain of Abuse by Altering the Truth"

  1. By: Karin Hiebert Posted: 22nd April

    It’s like we were raised by the same mother- same experiences…unbelievable how close I feel to you right now…powerful post.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 22nd April

      Hi Karen
      It is crazy how many of us feel this way! It is really sad that so many of us were raised in this kind of dysfunction! Thank you for your comments!
      Hugs, Darlene

  2. By: Mimi Posted: 19th April

    Darlene,
    No worries… I don’t expect you to comment ~ I always appreciate it though! Yes, it’s crazy how abusers get angry when you resist. My mother is EXACTLY the same way. Yet, she denies ever having any rage. It’s always been me with the bad temper…. according to her anyway.
    Love,
    Mimi

  3. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th April

    Hi Mimi
    Somehow I missed your comment here (# 54) ~ so sorry!
    Isn’t it amazing how our minds cope with things like this when our self esteem is weak in the first place. (not realizing that it was sexual abuse because there was no penetration)
    Something that your comment reminded me of is how abusers act all “angry” about our resistence. This goes for ALL abusers. Like as if to say “how dare you resist me”. Well I guess that is another story for another day.
    Hugs, Darlene

    Kelly
    Thanks for sharing your victory here! This is great news!
    Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: kelly Posted: 19th April

    Just an update on my problem! Thank you for all the insight. After reading many testimonials,and articles. I have taken a proactive roll in my ne and my daughter’s relationship.I have had her baker acted, they put her on meds and set up therapy. The change in her is night and day! She has been admitted to Full sail University for fine arts, is currently at the doctors for info on lap band surgery. The smiles and hugs are endless and I think we have crossed a milestone…I could not have done this without your support. Thank you so much. If there is anyone who would like my advice,please let me know

  5. By: Mimi Posted: 19th April

    Drained,
    I agree, it’s awful. Your second paragraph, first sentence…. that’s me exactly. So full of self loathing. I couldn’t figure out where it came from. Depression, anxiety, and anger have all graced my life at different times. I thought I was doomed…. eternally screwed up, the crazy one. I’m ready to show my mother just how crazy I am. Haha!! Crazy enough to stand up to her and not back down. I cannot wait!!!!
    Love to you,
    Mimi

  6. By: Drained Posted: 17th April

    Mimi and Darlene – Isn’t it awful what society and bad parenting teach us about these things? Like we should feel that incidents like this aren’t important enough, like we shouldn’t feel justified in our outrage. But since we were programmed to feel valueless, we had to overlook damaging events. It’s no wonder our trust in people is so warped.

    So many realizations I’ve been making lately are showing me why I’ve felt such self-loathing, depression and anger for decades! These important steps, as unpleasant as they are, I feel are the beginning of the healing process. I never would have made this progress without sites like EFB, and researching toxic mothers and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. So many emotions. Thank you again for listening and your valuable feedback.

  7. By: Mimi Posted: 17th April

    WOW!!!
    I am just in awe of what you just wrote Drained. Something that happened to me in my twenties, which I’ve never thought of as sexual abuse, is similar to your dorm incident. Because there was no penetration, I disregarded it.

    I was at a bar drinking. A man I’d often seen out and had very limited casual conversations with, asked me to take him to his apartment near the bar. It was so close, he had walked to the bar, but asked me to take him home to get something from his apartment, and I can’t remember what it was. Seems like it was keys or something. Anyway, I took him, put the car in park and left it running. I planned to wait in the car while he ran upstairs to get the thing he needed. He said, come on up with me, it’s only going to take me a second. I thought it sounded harmless enough, and I’d seen him out a lot of times. We were very light acquaintances so for whatever reason, I felt he was trustworthy. When we got upstairs to his apartment, he threw me down on the bed and started ripping at my clothes. He was a very tall and stalky man. He overpowered me by volumes. I struggled beneath him. I pushed and wiggled and tried to get away. He just got more forceful and angry. I saw that he had a sliding glass door in his bedroom and it was open to his balcany with only the screen between me and the outside world. I started screaming as loud as I could. He put his hand over my mouth to try to muffle me and kept telling me to shut the “F” up. I was still struggling with him on top of me. I did NOT stop screaming though. Somehow, the fear of someone hearing me must have captivated him. When he realized after struggling to shut me up, that I was going to continue to scream, he let me up. I shot up out of his bed and ran out of his apartment downstairs to my car and got out as fast as I could. All the while he was yelling what a whore and bitch I was! I’m fascinated by that memory now. I had neatly tucked it away until now. EFB continues to amaze me. Thanks for sharing your story Drained. I’m thankful I wasn’t actually raped or murdered, and that the screen door was there for me to scream for help. If it hadn’t been, who knows what would have happened.
    Peace and love,
    Mimi

  8. By: Drained Posted: 17th April

    I altered the truth (and I’m still unsure about some things) by thinking I was never sexually abused. Since I was not raped, I figured the 3 “incidents” in my life didn’t count.

    1st incident, I was around 11 years old, when my brother, who was ordinarily antagonistic, ridiculing and unaffectionate, came into my bedroom late one night to “talk.” I was amazed at how kind he seemed, and willing to listen to me babble about things (he never cared up until then). This was all so unfamiliar to me, I just thought he had matured and we were moving into a new, friendlier, brother/sister relationship where he had more respect for me. Then he crawled into bed and put his arm around me, and I became very uncomfortable. I felt he was crossing the line and I questioned what he was doing. He responded with “everyone’s doing it” and I thought… what? Doing what?!!! He can’t mean… so I picked up my pillow and headed for the living room. He mumbled something apologetic, went back to his own room and nothing like that happened ever again with him and it was never mentioned again. Since nothing actually “happened” I was always left scratching my head, confused about the whole thing, wondering what and how far he was planning to go. I just figured it was something all sisters went through with their brothers, so brushed it aside.

    The 2nd “incident” was when I was a maid at a motel. I was a very naive 16 year old and one of the old men (70s?) that was a frequent guest there got drunk (again) and cornered me in a bathroom while I was cleaning it. He pushed me against the wall, groped me and described some sexual things that I “needed.” I was shocked and terrified and managed to squeeze out of the bathroom and tell my co-workers and boss. My boss was an older woman who just laughed it off and said he was always doing things like that. A few of my co-workers were concerned, the others just laughed it off like my boss. I told my parents when I got home and mother’s only reaction was asking if I reported it, and that was the end of it. Since no one treated it very seriously, I just figured I was over-reacting since I was sensitive and naive and it was dropped. This was many years ago and I know it would have been handled a lot differently today at the work place!!!

    3rd incident was when I was 18 and stranded at a bus station by a snowstorm. I befriended a young man who “seemed” nice and offered me a ride back to my college dorm. I stupidly accepted and followed him, lugging my heavy suitcase and trudging through deep snow. When I saw him heading for a hotel, I stopped and questioned him about where his car was. Well, he had no intention of giving me a ride, so he pushed me against a brick wall in an alley and started kissing and groping me, then asked for money. I was trembling in terror, said I had no money and tried to leave. He groped me some more and tried to get me into the hotel. I tried to get away and then bribed him with a few dollars get him to let me leave. He got angry saying I lied to him about having money and I thought right there he was going to kill me. Miraculously, he just took my money and left me there, stranded in the snow. I eventually found a drugstore that was still open and had them call me a cab (the only one available in a snowbound town!) and finally got back to my dorm safely but pretty shaken up. I never told my parents because I knew what an incredibly stupid thing I did and how badly I handled it and did not want to get a scolding lecture.

    Back then I never considered this sexual abuse since it didn’t involve rape and that I needed to just forget it. But those events are still very vivid in my mind though they happened so long ago. Thanks for listening. I never really wrote or spoke about these events before.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th April

      Hi Drained
      This is such a huge thing; I am working on a post about how we discount our own abuse in so many ways one of which is what you are talking about here. That post should be published in another week or so. Discounting the severity of abuse It is another coping method to tell ourselves that it wasn’t really “abuse”. A temporary band-aid.
      I had an issue with my brother too and it was one of the most difficult things to face when I got older. My mother told me it was “just kid stuff” and totally ignored it. Yay for you for leaving the room. I froze!

      I had several similar incidents to the ones you describe here too and just like you I tried to “minimize them”. Something that helped me was realizing that anything that does any kind of damage is no less worthy of major attention. Abuse is abuse. All three of these things that happened to you were sexual abuse and actually serious abuse too. There are no levels of abuse. Mine is mine and yours is yours but they are equally damaging, equally serious, equally disrespectful and discounting and equally terrifying! The people that didnt’ act on your behalf when you told really let you down. Thank you for sharing about them here. My heart goes out to yours.
      Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Mimi Posted: 15th April

    Darlene and Dave,
    Thank you both very much for your comments. I welcome anything that can lead to understanding the “why” of it. My husband has done a lot to try to prove his integrity and his resolve toward healing our marriage. It is helpful, but it certainly doesn’t change the past. I feel some guilt for taking time off from “life”, to heal and regain composure. I especially felt that when he was off to work everyday, and he would come home and find me in the same clothes I was in when he left, and maybe I had journaled and cried all day. I am just beginning to go back to work. Just last week I worked two days, and this coming week I’m working two more. Our budget has begun to suffer since I’ve not worked in over a year. Anyhow, I’m just now at a point where I feel I can handle the responsibilities of working. What I have observed is that my husband doesn’t do well alone. I worked 2nd shifts last week and will this coming week. That leaves him home alone in the evenings. He just doesn’t do that well being alone. I will be back in classes in the summer too. I have to pick up and go on at some point in life. I’m scared of how I will cope with getting back to life. I hope like hell I’ve learned something from 2011. I fear I haven’t. I suppose I won’t know until I’m faced with a challenge that would normally be a trigger. I want to be free of the life before the avalanches of 2011. I can look back and realize that I was just existing. I wasn’t content, I was anxious, depressed, etc. I hope I’ve learned something new as a result of uncovering all the crap from childhood and beyond. I hope to have enough confidence now, that the crap that comes from the work environment won’t render me totally stressed and unhappy. Confidence that I make sound nursing decisions, and the people (management) I work with are unable to drive a fork right into my heart with the label attached, “not good enough”. I’m sick of that feeling. I have to realize the praise I’ve earned as a nurse, and try to remind myself that I do my work because I want to help others. Management seem to do it to line their wallets, without regard to helping others, or even so far as to hurt others. I know it will require constant mental reminders. I hope I’m up for that challenge. I also had a really bad experience with my last college class. It still bothers me when I think of stepping foot back into that school. I realize now, that when the professor addressed me and embarrassed and belittled me so many times in front of the class, it sank clear to my innermost being…. in some way, she morphed into my mother right before my very eyes. That is still a sore spot and an embarrassment. I hope I’ve learned to separate that. I hope I’ve learned better coping skills ~ to let that crap roll off. I hope I never see that woman again.

    Well, thanks for letting me ramble. I have some challenges coming up, and I just hope I’m prepared….. in a different way than before.

    Thanks for listening!
    Peace and love,
    Mimi

  10. By: Dave Posted: 14th April

    Pam – i totally agree with you. I did not feel that you were “dumping on me” It did not come across that way at all. I should have clarified that i was not at all referring to men pursuing children for sex. That thought never entered my mind and in the book he never talks about that. He talks about men’s pursuit of adventure and fun and risk taking and how they try and get those needs met. when he talks about men looking outside of the marriage he only references men pursuing women. NEVER children.

    Mimi – so sorry for what you have been through. When i almost had an affair last year i never thought about my wife. I never thought about the vows. I never thought ‘what would this do to my wife’ – i was only thinking about me and what i wanted at the time. There was a beautful women there who wanted to have sex with me. I never have sex with my wife so here was an opportunity to have pleasure and intimacy with someone that i had met and was getting to know. she wanted me and wanted what i might be willing to give her. Because i never felt wanted as a child or in my early adult life, she appealed to the part of me that has been very broken and wounded. Of course i knew it was wrong. Of course i knew i should not do it. I justified by saying – well i pretty much always do the right thing. I am hurting, lonely and in pain and here is a chance to get away from it for one night and enjoy some pleasure. I am not excusing my behavior. I am simply explaining my thought process. She was not married. My belief system was formed way before I got married. Because i was sexually abused i have believed that pretty much any type of sexual encounter is ok. In my head i know that is not the truth but in my heart its a different story.

    As you can tell on here i am working extremely hard to try and heal and get better. As you know its a very long and slow and painful process. I make mistakes along the way sometimes. As a christian i know i am forgiven for the mistakes i make and when i do make a mistake i always confess and repent.

    I shared my experience with the woman that i met last year with 5 other men about 3 months after it happened. I shared my need for accountability and help in this area. All of the men that i shared with are professing christians. I asked for help. I said “this is a weakness for me and an area that i need help with.” I asked for emails, phone calls, texts – anything to help keep me accountable. About two months went by and i had not gotten ANYTHING from any of the men – nothing at all. So again i put myself out there and said “i really need some accountability (part of the purpose of our group was supposed to be to lift up and encourage one other) – i shared a couple of things out of the book wild at heart. I shared about my brokenness and my pain.

    Another 4 months went by with virtually NOTHING. No one called. No one texted. One guy emailed a couple of times to “check in” – that was it. After 6 months – thats all i got. I have prayed and prayed and prayed for accountability with other men. I cant find it anywhere. I know we are all accountable to God for our actions but i have a weakness and took a chance and asked for help and i felt betryed. I finally told the men to forget it – clearly i was not worth their time or my request fell on deaf ears.

    When i shared all this with my wife she just was very sad. she understands the whole situation. she knows my pain and my struggle and how i have searched and searched for some accountability for years. I cant find one man who cares enough to just hold me accountable for one area in my life that is a struggle. And i have made more than an honest effort. This is why i dont trust men by and large. I have a huge distrust of men because my father was very abusive to me and the first time i shared a bed with anyone, my male cousin molested me. And when i turn to men time and time again they prove untrustworthy and unavailable. thats why i come here. I trust the people on here and i know you care about me. I cannot tell you how hard it is to be a man in this day and age in our society who longs for real relationship with other men and cannot find it. I have lost almost all my friends. I am still in pain every day. I never abuse my wife. I try and be the best husband i can but i make mistakes sometimes. my wife is starting to become more and more critical of others. She is starting to sound more and more like my mother. My wife has a deep heart wound from her father that she does not want to look at. I begged her to get help for a year and a half before she finally got into a womens group a few weeks ago. The pain from her wound surfaces almost every day and is causing tension in our marriage. Its hard. I will carry on no matter what. Please pray for me – those of you who do pray – i need it very much. Thank you all for your love and support. I treasure it deeply and am so grateful for all of you and for this blog.

    love,

    Dave

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 14th April

      Dave and Mimi
      Dave, I appreciate your sharing what you shared about almost having an affair. I know it isn’t an excuse, but I hear that the whole thing came out of your pain. You were looking for a love source, even though you are married, you didn’t feel validated through that. This is such a complicated part of the process ~ finally learning that no other person can fill my need in that area. This is where the personal healing work comes in. Jim (my husband) was really upset when I started realizing that I didn’t NEED him and that he could not fill my needs because he thought it meant I was saying that I didn’t “love” him. But in truth, I was finding out through healing that I had to do this for me and if I don’t believe I am valid and worthy of love from another person, then I can’t accept that love in the first place. Mimi ~ if your husband is in pain from his own past, he may still have been looking for a “band-aid” for that pain. The fact that you can’t fill the void is based on the false definition of love anyway. NO ONE can fill the void in another person but in the beginning of “love” it feels like they can. we are sure that they can and those heady feelings are so easy to get addicted to. Affiars (male or female) are not born out of a need for adventure. They are born out of pain and a searching and longing to escape that pain. It has nothing to do with sex or lack of sex or anything related to that. It has to do with that leftover pain from the past. It was never my job to resolve my mothers pain, or my husbands pain. It was my job to resolve MY pain.
      It was in doing the healing work that I write about in this site that I finally loved myself enough to accept love from others and today have a beautiful marriage with Jim.
      Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: joy Posted: 13th April

    I Like the topic fits into what I am learning…and what I posted above..Heading to the new post.

  12. By: Mimi Posted: 13th April

    Darlene,
    Thank you for taking the time to write a heartfelt comment/explanation. Very shortly after finding out this information about my husband, all the truth started coming out about my crazy mother too. 2011 was a tough year. I was so happy at midnight on December 31st. I barely survived the year.

    Interesting point about rabbit trails. I never heard of or thought of that before. It’s true…. my husband had a gazillion rabbit trails when the affair was first discovered. He would say anything to try to lead me off topic ~ the topic of the truth.

    You know they say people marry a person who’s like one of their parents? Lately, the past 5 days, I’ve been grappling with whether I married, not my drunk father, but, my lying narcissistic MOTHER!! I wonder if my husband really has no emotions, just acts them out as he’s observed what other people do in response to emotional stimulus. Does he have a conscience? My mother doesn’t. Does he actually love anyone? My mother doesn’t. He knows the fine art of diplomacy and uses it at all times. Shmoozing really. He’s always been very good to me. He is the type to compliment, bring home flowers nearly every week, make lunch for me to take to work, run to the store if I’m feeling lazy, rub my feet, etc. His actions toward me spoke love as much as his words did. I’ll probably never understand. I’ve just tried to move forward since the incredible processing of it. I thought my marriage was bullet proof. That was my first mistake.

    Pam,
    Thank you for your sweet comment!! The one year anniversary of discovering the affair was on Feb 6th. Things are soooooo much better than they were last year. I’m not what I would say “actively” suffering anymore. The shock and disbelief and horror and anger have all worn off. I still feel a little pain when I think about it deeply, but, by miles, my days are better than they were this time last year. Thank you for your kindness.

    Hugs and love to you both,
    Mimi

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 13th April

      Mimi
      I don’t think any relationship is “bullet proof”. We are people. Healing takes time but it is possible. My husband was all that too. Emotionally even he realized that he was shut down, but that took time as well. He was in survivor mode, just a different one that I was in. In the end we both decided that we wanted to be together. Simple really. Not that we needed to. Not that we HAD to because of a legal paper. I wanted to be with him and I wanted to make it work. And as long as I saw that same desire in him, as long as there was some kind of forward movement, (that I could see he was tyring to carry his half of the marriage and engageing in emotional relationship with me, then I was willing to stay. It was a choice. I do love him but I can’t love him more than I love me.
      Hugs Darlene

      Everyone ~ I just published a new post. This one comes from my heart and was inspired by some of the comments here recently. I think I wrote it for me as much as for anyone else ~ I got emotional when I realized what I was willing to go through and my determination when it came to healing. Its a look back over the last 8 years. I hope you like it.
      You can read it here: Emerging from Broken ~ The greatest adventure is healing ~
      https://emergingfrombroken.com/emerging-from-broken-the-greatest-adventure-is-healing/

  13. By: joy Posted: 13th April

    Hi Darlene,

    Agreed, most people don’t move on ..perhaps I should that the potential to move on is there for most people. Some folks can’t because they are too broken; others kind of might get use to being a victim and don’t know how to get out of the mind set especially if that is all he/she has ever known..Wanting to get out . and working at it is really part of how one moves away more and more from victim to survivor. It isn’t going to just happen..and change is not always a nice comfy feeling..it sometimes is painful!! 😉

    hugs Joy

  14. By: Pam Posted: 13th April

    Mimi, You made me cry. I’m sad that you are having to go through this and I think the rules you’ve put in place are appropriate. If the man is still so much a child that he can’t control his sexual urges, then he must be monitored as a child. You go girl! I hope he grows up and things get better for you soon.

    Love,
    Pam

  15. By: Pam Posted: 13th April

    Darlene, Submitting articles isn’t that hard. I’d love to see you work swimming in the mainstream!

  16. By: Pam Posted: 13th April

    Kelly, I did the same thing but my kids know I love them like fire, no matter how many stupid things I did and we’re working through it. My kids are going to be 30 and 33 and I feel blessed that they still want me to be part of their lives. Now we’re all trying to focus on my grandsons and do what’s best for them. I think breaking the cycle is like being a recovering alcoholic or drug addict, it takes constant vigelence, a lot of acceptance, and a lot of love. The main ingredient is truth and then responsibillity and keeping those in play all the time. I know how hard the letting go part can be but you will be so amazed at how much better it makes things between you and your child feel and it is wonderful to see them blossom into adults. You’re on the right track, i think, Kelly. It gets scary sometimes, but we all need to stay on that track. I’m talking to myself here as much as anyone else.lol!

    Pam

  17. By: Mimi Posted: 13th April

    Dave,
    Thank you for clarifying and writing a little personal exerpt from the books you’ve read. It meant a lot to read this stuff, because last year, my husband had an affair. I was devastated, and still am at times. It helps to have some insight because even he has never been able to answer the question, “why”? He calls himself a christian man. I think, how could he dishonor his wife, but even more, God? The vows I took before God mean so much to me. I wasn’t just playing house, going through the motions. I meant it for REAL!! I’ll never understand why my husband didn’t mean it for real and forever, in sickness and health, until death do us part. I have a need for more money right now…. I’m not out looking for a sugar daddy! I’m making it work the way it is at home. There is something so selfish about acting out your sense of adventure when it betrays and devastates someone who loves you and has committed their life to you. I have needs…. if it’s something that would destroy my husband, I simply put it aside. He, and the vows I spoke before God, mean enough to me that I don’t act on them. There is something childlike about acting on needs that can ONLY end in destruction of people, trust, marriage, etc. Simply stated, I didn’t mean enough, our life together as we know it, our home, our future, our family…. didn’t mean enough. I am happy to say I am more loyal than that. I’m a fiercely loyal person so this makes little sense to me. I do appreciate you explaining the need for adventure, and how it has been cultivated into something ugly in modern times. It does clarify things somewhat, but, I get stuck in the place where I think the answer is so simple. NO, is so simple when you appreciate what you have to lose. When you appriate the heart of someone else, someone you took vows with before God. Those vows meant the world to me. Now, I feel like he was just giving lip service to the words. We are still together, but, only because if he wanted me to stay, he had to fill a very tall order. Several of them actually. He was willing, so that helped me to believe that it was a really big mistake and that he won’t do it again. When I uncovered the truth, initially, he thought if I wanted a divorce, I would be moving out, although I had nowhere to go. I had sold my house, and we bought the one we live in together. He thought it was HIS. My response to that was, “so, you screw around and jack up my whole world, and then you want to leave me homeless?” Part of the agreements of staying were in the form of contracts. He signed a contract that states if he ever does it again, I get to remain in the house, and he gets to get out, and pay for it too. Why should I be homeless? It wasn’t ME who effed everything up!!!!! He also coughed up several thousand dollars into an account with my name only, so if the contract doesn’t hold up in court for some reason, I at least have a healthy downpayment on a home. I’ll never figure out that line of thinking either. He totally screwed me over, then wanted to leave me homeless. The ONLY reason I’m still here is because he has committed to the very high stakes I put in place. He has no privelege of privacy anymore. I open all the mail, I am free to look at his phone whenever I want to, I have a monitoring device on his computer, and a device in his car. He doesn’t know about the monitoring devices though. He agreed at the outset that anytime I wanted to know where he was or what he was doing, I could send him a text message and he had 60 seconds to respond with a picture of where he is. I wonder….. was it worth it??

    So, now you get to hear from the side of the adult who’s dealing with this “adventurous” side of a grown man. Pam wrote an excellent point when she clarified that the men being spoken about here were preying on CHILDREN! That is a whole other disgusting and perverted adventure. I’m not sure these cases can be chalked up to “adventure”, but rather, effing insane!! Any grown man who has to go on an adventure with a child needs to be examined. I mean that seriously.

    Okay, so I went off a little deeper than I intended to, and I want to make sure you understand that your explanation really did speak to me, and clarified things a little, so I thank you for that. I know this particular post wasn’t really intended for this subject matter, but, I also know Darlene says to let it out! Thank you for that Darlene. And, thank you Dave for posting and going out on a limb here.
    Peace to everyone,
    Mimi

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 13th April

      Hi Mimi
      Thank you for sharing your heart about this subject. As you know, my husband and I went through the eye of a needle to put our marriage back together ~ not because he had an affair, but because he operated under the assumption that he had “rights” as the man, and that men are “just that way”. One of the biggest things I have learned in this process has been about “rabbit trails”. Rabbit trails are things that take me down a path that leads to no solution or gets me off the original subject. I learned to STAY the hell off them. I did not glorify my alter personalities which helped tremendously when I was learning not to dissociate anymore. I did not think all about which one felt which way and which one was “in charge” of which memories. I just dived in and believed that it was all me that had to deal with all of that in the end. In the same way, I came to realize that men are not “different” and that minor differences between men and woman do not help me understand why my husband thought he was more important than he was. He just did. He was raised to think he was simply because he is a man. And when I said NO more, he changed. On this website I have heard hundreds of people who in one way or another state why “it is different for them” and why recovery is harder for them. To me that is a big rabbit trail. Looking into what makes men operate differently than women is a rabbit trail too. I do not glorify the differences because that is not how I found freedom and equal value. I found it by sticking to the facts and the truth. The truth is that WE all have equal value and so what if men need adventure? Does that help heal the damage? no. I am not saying that the book isn’t a good book, I am saying “so what?” would it help me heal? no. I read all these books in the past trying to understand why some people abuse… all it did was help me to give them excuses. Those days are gone for me.

      I am really sorry that your husband cheated on you. Getting over that kind of damage takes a long time. Rebuilding that kind of damaged trust is dang hard. I am not surprised that he can’t tell you why he did it. I suspect there is no answer for that. (other than “because he wanted to”) There came a day when my husband finally knew that he treated me as less than him, because he believed it and because I let him. period. It is amazing that we are doing so well now but it took a ton of work and a lot of time. This is a sore spot for me too; I was cheated on in the past before my husband. It messed all over again with my self worth. It cemented into place what the other abuses had already made me believe about myself. That I wasn’t worth it.

      My self worth today comes from me and from the truth. Not from understanding the nature of anyone else. Not from the approval from someone else. Not from forgiveness, not from acceptance of others “just the way they are; (they can’t help it) and not from following rabbit trails. Today I know I AM worth it. And I know you are too.
      Hugs, Darlene

  18. By: kelly Posted: 13th April

    i am so worried about my daughter.I hope I haven,t hurt her by going the complete opposite way with her. Trying to give her love I didn’t get from my mom.I have done everything for her (out of love)or so I thought.now after friends have had some sort of intervention. The best thing to do is to let her grow up,without me holding her hand. She is 21 and I take care of her like she is 12. I am so sorry it makes me cry.How do you stop this cycle?

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 13th April

      Kelly
      There are hundreds of articles (with discussions) here in this site that will help you to realize how to stopt he cycle and coming to a balance with our present day relationships.
      Hugs, Darlene

  19. By: kelly Posted: 12th April

    thank you so much for your comments. its nice to be able to talk to someone about this. hopefully we can delve into this more, and maybe i will be able to help someone else in this situation

  20. By: Brenda Posted: 12th April

    …probably because it came straight from my heart! 🙂

    You know, I think this particular blog would make for an excellent article in a mainstream periodical. Psychology Today or maybe Huffington Post or Alternet…or maybe even Reader’s Digest, Oprah magazine or Guidepost (just to name a few off the top of my head.)

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th April

      Thanks Brenda,
      I have never looked into going about anything like that!
      Hugs, Darlene

  21. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th April

    Hi Brenda,
    I don’t what it was about your comment but I got a little emotional when I read it… Thank you so much! You made my day.
    Hugs, Darlene

  22. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th April

    Hi Kelly
    Welcome to emerging from broken!
    I am so sorry that happened to you ~ what a nasty thing to say. Those statements are used to control; they are meant to make others try harder. It is most often the adult kids who tell me those things that seem to be the very ones in the family who do the most for the parents who then say cutting and devaluing things like that.
    Glad you are here!
    Hugs, Darlene

  23. By: Brenda Posted: 12th April

    ((((((Darlene))))))

    Thank you so much for your gut-wrenching honesty & courage. The idea of *specialness* is really hitting a raw nerve for me and I know it will be worth it in the end to explore: “I wonder why………”

    I don’t think you have any idea just how much your blog truly helps to shine a big ole floodlight into the deepest, darkest of secrets so many of us carry unnecessarily.

    Thank you so much for just being you!!!

    Sincerely,
    Brenda

  24. By: Julia Fry Posted: 12th April

    hi Kelly,
    it’s so shockingly hurtful to receive comments like that. I’m so sorry you were treated in that way. I hear you.
    Julia

  25. By: kelly Posted: 12th April

    I have a very strained relationship with my mother. I am from a family of 5 children. Both my sisters have died in the last 4 years. In Nov. when my second sister died,At the funeral,my mother said to my brothers (thank God I have you.You are all I have left.I have lost my best friend.)I was standing right there!!It is very hard to know that the wrong child died. Im not sure how to get past this,and hav’t dealt with it yet. iI do start Grief therapy tomorrow.

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