I was Just an Object Just a Thing by Susan Kingsley-Smith

This week’s special feature is Susan Kingsley Smith from Empowering Solutions writing on the topic of “objectification” ~ being objectified. Susan explains her experience of being regarded as an object instead of a person. Susan is a frequent contributor to Emerging from Broken and her articles are always popular. Please join Susan and I on blog talk radio on the third Thursday of each month at 2:00 pm EST for “Breaking Free from Broken with Susan and Darlene” Next broadcast is July 21st, 2011. ~ Darlene Ouimet
treated as an object

Susan Kingsley-Smith

I was Just an Object; Just a Thing by Susan Kingsley-Smith
When Darlene asked me to write on being objectified I remember in the past hearing about how women were “objectified” – and having no clue what that meant.
I also realized that in order to change this in myself and no longer be “objectified” by others that I had to understand what this meant and what it looked like in my life.
And I came to this understanding; an object is something that has no ability to move, think, feel or act on its own behalf. It is subject to those and the world around it to determine its fate. It is an “it”; not a being, not a “who”, not a “self”. It is powerless to act in its own best interest. It feels no pain, no anger, and no joy.
It has no effect on its state of existence and is often credited with being the problem for others who may see it as something to be done with, tossed in the trash, used, abused or thrown away. “It” – is a thing. Used for decoration, as a distraction, a tool, a weapon. An object is something external from oneself to be used at will, to serve an agenda or a purpose.
“It” is often qualified or judged. It is a thing that can be changed to suit ones interest by manipulating its characteristics.
It is a thing that is disposable when broken. Some things, like a car, a pretty girl or a handsome boy – can be used to fulfill ones need for status or recognition; admiration of others, validation of ones worth through approval and lusting of others who have similar desires.
I was a thing.
To be used to satisfy the needs and wants of those around me. When I was inconvenient – I was disregarded, dismissed and disposed of.
I felt immobile, hopeless, and powerless. I was easily overwhelmed by life. I struggled to make decisions, I doubted myself and lived in a constant state of fear; frozen, incapable of acting in my own best interest.
I was obsessed with being validated by others and when I didn’t get that head-nod of approval I would often crumble into depression and dissociation – but only after years of self-harming behaviors like eating disorders, drug and alcohol use, relationships that simply repeated the drama and left me empty and alone. Isolation was the only safe place where I could escape the eyes of the world and the pain of relationships that only seemed to hurt.
In the end when nothing else would ease my pain I spent the next 15 years living in a chronic state of pharmaceutical induced numbness as I succumbed to the idea that my distress was because my brain was broken and only the drugs would “fix” me. I felt hopeless and powerless, I had no sense of “self”; no idea who “I” was.
In the beginning and as a small child I don’t carry memories of happiness and safety; of being nurtured and held close or soothed when I was hurt. What I remember was being alone. I had 5 older siblings that were the favored ones of my mother’s deceased husband. My younger sister and I were the product of her second marriage to my pedophile father who had several brothers who also took advantage of having access to a houseful of girls from infant to almost 18.
As siblings we have never discussed the abuse but now and then one of them would make a comment about the various brothers who molested them over the years. My only brother became their sole male adversary in the home and was treated horribly.
As a child I was not heard when my siblings were hurtful or cruel to me. No one acknowledged the jealousy that seemed to prevent me from ever becoming close to my sisters. But the comments, criticisms and abuse were always there.
They made fun of my hair, my body, my German nose, my name. “Lazy Susan” was a reference to the spinning salad tray at family reunions. “Suey” was a favorite as we were farmers and raised pigs and cows. Ugly duckling was the way my mother addressed my insecurities. Stupid, idiot and as I got older my father used terms like “whore” and “slut” in regards to us girls. Our only brother was a “bastard” or a “son-of-a-bitch”.
I remember trying to “tell” that they were being hurtful to me; then being told to “shut up”. I was labeled a “tattle tale” from an early age even when my older brother would pin me down and torture me by tickling me until I was screaming. As he got older he would, with his teenage friends, chase me threatening to make me wear my “birthday suit” and I didn’t know what that meant; all I knew is that I was terrified. Our parents were not home very often and he would turn his head while his friends “made out” and molested me. I was ten.
I learned early on that I had no say in what happened to me or my body – I’d become a natural victim to adult men in my world who molested me from my earliest memories which was a natural set up for the adult men in the small farming community who on the weekends would take turns raping me from about age 12 to age 14 or 15. I thought I’d done something wrong when they no longer wanted to “play” with me. I felt rejected and as though I’d done something to deserve being abandoned time and time again by these men. In hindsight I can see that I’d grown up and that was beyond their perverted taste.
The very first memory I have of being objectified was that of my father proudly telling me the story as a little girl of how when I was an infant I cried a lot. The solution that he and my mother had was to put me in the back seat of the car and go for a drive until I cried myself to sleep. Mind you – this was 1958. Big cars, no seat belts, no car seats.
“We threw you in the back seat…let you cry until you stopped”.
There were no stories of how cute I was or my developmental milestones but instead he told me stories like this as a very small child with much pride as though I was one of his farm animals that he intended to break my spirit…and he did.
And when I was 34 while at my younger sisters first wedding I had found the courage to tell him to stop grabbing my butt and feeling up my breasts.
His response?
“But it feels so good, Suzy!”.
I learned very early that I had no power over my life, my body; that I existed to be moved around like a chess piece at the whim of others. I’d been taught, conditioned and brainwashed to believe that I held no power over my own life and was responsible for the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of others.
I’d learned that to take a step, have an independent thought or make my own decision was to be bullied and shamed by those who had been charged with my care; that “I” as a “being” held no value or power but that I was a “thing” for them to use and then throw away.
What changed this pattern in my life and relationships?
Understanding that there was a reason why I had no “self” esteem and lacked confidence and that it was the lies told me by those who needed me to be that thing they could manipulate and move vs. a human being with a sense of self, independent thoughts, feelings and desires.
Once I understood there was a reason I had gotten lost in depression and dissociation after a lifetime of repeating these patterns in all of my relationships – and that the reason was that my power had been taken from me in this dysfunctional and sick family dynamic and…
by learning to recognize and challenge the lies within myselfthose whispering words that would run constantly through the back of my mind telling me that I was worthless, hopeless, stupid, a piece of garbage, that I did not deserve a good life…
By learning to work through the realization of my reality and that my normal was in no way normal I was able to give back the burden of responsibility for the abuse to those it rightfully belonged to.
And in doing so I was able to begin to feel and work through the anger and the grief over the life I had that was horrible and the life I will never have that I deserved…
And I began to see and believe that I could learn to live beyond broken.
Thank you for reading and joining me on my journey today. And thank you for inviting me to walk beside you on yours.
In gratitude for you and every man or woman who knows this pain and welcome to this place where we can all learn that it is possible and probable to finally emerge from that place of broken. ~ Susan
Please share your comments and thoughts
Susan Kingsley-Smith was a victim of long-term parental abuse and neglect, domestic violence, poly-pharmacy, mental health and religious abuse. Today Susan is a Certified Intrinsic Coach with an emphasis on creating health and wellness. Susan is thrilled to be helping others to discover their own intrinsic power and shares her journey of hope, healing and lives far beyond survival while creating her own best life each day!
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Categories : Self Esteem



Hi Everyone,
I am so sorry that this published without the paragraph breaks. I tried for hours to get this right, (not sure what is wrong, this happened a few weeks ago too) but it just keeps dumping the paragraph spaces!

Sorry Susan. The post ia awesome… it just doesnt look so pretty!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene; someone recently said in a comment – technology is wonderful! Except when it doesn’t work!

Thanks for inviting me to share on overcoming objectification…I always feel so blessed to be a part of this community!



This object vs. Person thing has been a big one in recent years. Sometimes in business you are a person and sometimes you are an object. Before dealing with PTSD and healing I never noticed the difference. Now I do, now I feel the difference.

Slowly with some people I’m working on a re-education program. If they treat me like an object then I will respond in kind. If they treat me like a person I will respond in kind. It’s taken a while but some have caught on and consistently treat me like a person.

What I will no longer do is the asymmetry thing where they want to be treated as people and treat me as an object.

For me at this time in recovering my life, the right to demand appropriate treatment and the right to exist as another human being are issues. Feeling able to return warmth with warmth and coldness with coldness are healing things. In one case I’m sharing myself and in the other case I’m recognising my right to not share, to not ignore my feelings.

A big part of the PTSD for me was about being made an object without any rights or feelings etc. In order to survive and do the things I needed to do I also had to treat myself as an object to some extent.

Now I think I’m working through it all and redefining the rules that I live by and who I associate with. I am not a thing. I am not a toy. If people cannot get that then they don’t get to play.

My office cubicle is covered in artwork, some of it mine. Every week I change some of the pictures. I’m making clear that I’m not just a role, I’m a person. I’m creating opportunities for people to treat me as a person. They get to choose AND so do I.



Obtw I find names important because it ties in with tis whole object thing. People name objects, objects do ot have intrinsic names. Objects do not get to choose their names. People have names. People choose their own names.

If possible I will respond when people use my name and ignore when they use some variant that I don’t use. “hi mike” warrants a response “hay mickey” does not. People work it out soon enough, I don’t need to explain any thing.


Mike; I really like the position you’ve taken on redefining your role and boundaries in the way you view yourself. You’ve identified the issues and given us a bit of a blueprint on how to begin to make these changes for ourselves. You said:

“Slowly with some people I’m working on a re-education program. If they treat me like an object then I will respond in kind. If they treat me like a person I will respond in kind. It’s taken a while but some have caught on and consistently treat me like a person.”

The first thing I noticed is how you identified that we can work with some and not necessarily all who are in our lives in creating this kind of change. For me this was key as I needed to begin to see that it wasn’t about controlling everyone and how they did or did not treat me.

In trying to “make” others treat me like a person I was spending all kinds of energy in trying to tell others what to do to treat me the way I wanted to be treated.

Instead, as you pointed out so clearly, it was not about trying to influence what others did or said to/around/about me but rather its about establishing those clear boundaries and making sure they know what I will let into my space by acknowledging and engaging with them. The other side is letting them know what is not ok by not feeding into it and accepting “less than” treatment.

The biggest thing was learning to see these things in my life and changing what I accepted vs trying to change what others thought was acceptable.

And yes! Choosing how we are addressed is important to letting others know that they cannot define us.

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and wisdom on this issue Mike!


That goes along with ‘you teach people how to treat you.’ I love that saying!

Thanks, Susan, for sharing. I can relate to being treated like an object and being labeled the ‘spoiled brat, idiot, ungrateful, selfish, conceited’ one, etc. Even now as I’m going through this healing process, I feel SELFISH! I’ve been so brainwashed! Taking care of oneself is NOT selfish. I have to re-learn everything I was taught growing up because it was all a LIE. Such a grueling process, but freedom awaits and that keeps me climbing this rugged hill.


Susan, thanks for this wonderful post. I was an object to both of my parents. I was a sex object to my uncle, dad and first boyfriend who abused me sexually as well as emotionally. Today, I am a person, not an object. I like your definitions of object. Thanks for sharing more of your story. I wasn’t sure if there was sexual abuse in your childhood or not. That is one more thing that we have in common with our healing journey.

I like how Mike talks about re-educating people to see him as a person rather than an object. It is better to walk about from those who refuse to give up the “object” mentality. Today I can say “No” to abuse.


Hi Karen and yes! Freedom is on the other side of broken!

This is the hard work, I’ve discovered; first the learning to see where I was at, then to see what I wanted for myself and then the learning and practicing to make these changes. Reprogramming the brainwashing I found to be core – learning to recognize the lies the key:)

I’m glad you are continuing to keep on keeping on Karen!

@ Patricia – Thanks for your note! We do have a lot in common and this learning how to identifying being objectified and treated as a non-person was a challenge for the simple reason it was my normal that was in no way “normal”. I didn’t realized that everyone didn’t exist in this sick vaccuum. Learning to recognize these dynamics is the first step to being aware of them in myself and like Mike pointed out – that I could do anything about it. 🙂

I’m always grateful for your notes and support Patricia!


you said: “An object is something external from oneself to be used at will, to serve an agenda or a purpose. It is a “thing” that is disposable when broken.”

I think this is what is so painful about coming out of the fog and facing the truth about my life. That I had been viewed as an object. That I had not been SEEN as a person. And then realizing that that my usefulness in some areas was no longer valid or necessary, so I was rejected. Cast aside. Not useful anymore. And so I learned to be as useful as possible. And then in the end when I began to see the truth about how I was regarded and the even bigger truth that NO ONE deserves to be regarded as “less than” anyone else, and in fact NO ONE IS LESS valuable than anyone else ~ I stood up to them. And since I was no longer of any use… I was disposed of.

But the good news is that I got my life. I got ME. I am free of the chains and definitions of who I was that were given to me then.
Thank you for sharing on Emerging from Broken. This topic is a painful one, but realizing the truth on this one is like seeing the sunshine on the top of a mountain, for the first time.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Susan,
As a human object,being objectified in the thinking of my abusers, I was a slave to the whims and desires of those same abusers. As a human object, being objectified in my own thinking, I was a slave with no thoughts of escape or freedom. I was resigned to living out my life in fulfilling the purposes of others.

The realization of my objectification, my slavery,gave me the drive I needed to seek my own freedom and to obtain it. It was a miracle moment when I realized that my usefulnes was at my direction. I had the choice to be useful to myself alone or to others but never did I have to move at the direction of others. What I give is by my own choice. I am valuable whether any other approves of me or not.

I am no longer living in slavery with my life subject to the conditions set by others. I am free.

Susan,thank you for choosing to open your heart and share the suffering in your life so that others might travel that same road to freedom.



Yes Darlene; realizing this truth WAS painful. It was also one of those truths that set me free. When I stopped trying to prove my worth to those who did not value me was when I understood the meaning of “self” – self love, self interest, self respect, self confidence….

And to reach that mountaintop where I could see the life I had waiting for me – well, as in all journeys there were storms and bumps along the way. But it was in going through them that I finally became free of the constant struggle when I believed there was nothing better.

@Pam – thank you:) this is the plus side if doing this kind if work…it is no longer painful and becomes something to share and I always hope others can somehow relate and maybe start to see that this freedom is for them too. I’m so glad to hear that you have and are finding your way too:) thank you Pam!


Hi Susan

I must confess I have been hiding from this post .. it sounded so much like how i felt and still feel in regard to who I am to my family . I would say some “things” were better treated than I was . .When Things were broken.. we were beaten. No one was beaten because I was broken.

I never had any say. never was allowed to speak unless asked to speak. I had become so use to being mute that people at school wondered if I could talk.

You have only to ask people who know me. they thought I didn’t know how to speak .

I still am so afraid to “Speak up” . .speaking up . .in any tone that seem to loud or raised was rewarded with a hard smack across the mouth.

The fact that my abuser and my older brother did what they did to me when wasn’t even able to tell left from right, right from wrong. made me feel like a worthless piece of trash. .

I found it hard to believe that I was worth anything after they finished with me and then when I tried to tell people of the church they made me feel evil worthless, siding with the abusers saying I was displeasing God for having brought such things into the house of god.

I was so crushed .. in my little mind. even god saw me as worthless. because .. we were brought up to believe .that whatever the minister said was god speaking 🙁

I was made even smaller when I spoke the events to a teacher who asked our class one day if we feared anyone and I volunteered that I was afraid of my brother and my abuser (mom) ..

Some time after police come to our house. I remember my auser putting in the window with scissors to my neck i don’t remember what happened after as I blacked out..

When we come back I was shunned even more for having broke up the family ..

Way i saw it the people who took us away put us back into a bad place to be hurt over and over again..

ANything I ever did was not good enough. I never washed dishes good enough so I was beat for that. Never cleaned hosue good enough was beat for that. Never kept the siblings quiet enough so was beat for that.

But I think the worst thing i ever did was come out into this world.. If as a baby .. I knew that coming out would land me into such a terrible mess I would have held on with all my little might and refuse to come out

But I couldnt know that and even if I did I never could have resisted the pull of the doctors to get me out.

I was mom’s worst mistake. I know it . I accept it. It’s true . I was here worst mistake. I remind her of it. Seeing me . .thinking of me . .hearing others speak of me . reminds her of the fact that I was just the result of a need for money.

Ironically I don’t care the least about money at aall. I am too free with it. and were it not for someone teaching me I would be lost for I care nothing about anything that people fussed about when I was little.

I am not believing I am a mistake. I know there is a reason I am here. I know “TO THEM” I am a mistake and not worth anything but .. to others I matter. and have gifts that can be used for others.



Joy; I’m really sorry that this was what you’d had to experience. It is so wrong and what a powerless feeling to tell, hope for safety and then be put back in the abuse. And – I’m glad to see you here, reading and processing through this. For me that was when I was trying to make sense of the senselessness of the abuse and neglect. No child should have to experience these things and it takes a lot of courage and inner strength to do so. It takes time Joy; I also had to learn to find my voice and can say that while the journey can be challenging it is so worth the effort. 🙂



After writing what i did I feel like I put too much and probably shouldnt have written what I did . am quite emotional today and should really be quiet when am upset.. The letter from the other day has me under. am sorry



Joy; that is what we do here on EFB…we share what comes up for us around a post. We support others and validate our feelings, thoughts and experiences. That is what this community is about. We share, we support and encourage. It was in seeing that others experiences were similar to mine that I began to see that what I’d survived was wrong and learn to recognize the lies that kept me feeling powerless. I’m glad you are finding your way:)


You have gifts that can be used just for you too. Your value is yours. I’m so sad that you’ve had to endure so much. I always wanted a daughter, not that I want to trade my boys in or anything, but your mom should have been glad to have gained a daughter out of what was her mistake. People are not mistakes. I believe that God has a purpose for everyone. I hear you beginning to see yourself as you truly are. Keep up the good work.




Thanks again for your support.. am having delayed reactions to some realizations I came to other day.. so am trying to get my heart in mind with my mind .. .. ..Heart is breaking my mind is resolved to do everything..



I know who I am just the realization that I will never be what she wants me to be has really taken over me today. I resolved not to let her hurt me any more and spent the whole day “grieving” over hoping she will change. she wont… not unless i stop healing and i cannot do that i have to go forward..

I know am not mistake but to her. I am . I accept that because she never planned me . never wanted me . .. I know this. I know that’s why she doesn’t like me and calls me the names. I cannot pretend her reasons don’t exist

I simply cannot let her reasons affect me despite the fact that they have broken my heart in many pieces.

Thank you for your support Pam.




Joy, you are growing stronger by the week. Please believe that about yourself. I remember when I finally let go of the fairy tale that I told myself sometimes that said that my parents would one day love me the way that I needed them to love me. That never happened. Hanging on to the fairy tale just kept me in the pain, hurting and crying for what would never be. That kind of hope was not good for me. It kept me wishing and being disappointed and then resentful when my parents didn’t change. It also kept me chained to the abusers.

You deserved to be loved by your mother. You did not deserve to be labeled a mistake or to be made to feel worthless or to be on the receiving end of beatings. I can see the beautiful little girl who just wanted her mother’s love in your amazing poetry. You can’t make your mother love you but you can learn to love that beautiful little girl that is inside of you. Through your poetry you can light up the world for another survivor who can feel her own pain and see her own healing through your words.



You are right .. i cannot make my mom do anything ..love me was a fairy tale hope i just decided to let go of other day.. I had hoped the letter would have a miracle but it did not ..

I feel so small yet. and so in my mind i can’t imagine why people can go on being mean so long. .i would imagine after awhile.. they would get tired of meanness.

Then again .. perhaps.. thats me projecting me..thinking people will get tired of being mean..

I dont have to work hard to do poetry not at all its just in me . .and I like to let it out. perhaps it is the little girl .. who i feel is more me than the adult .. she makes the poems. . i feel am just a little girl inside an adult body.. but maybe because no one taught me anything adult.



Joy, each of us that has ever been abused has inner children inside of us who carry the pain and the memories of the abuse with them. I think most of us spend some time expecting others to be like us and to react like us but it just doesn’t happen usually. You are a very nice, very sweet lady, not at all like your mother. People who are mean usually don’t like themselves. That is why they are so full of hate and meanness. They are so unhappy that they want everyone to be that way. They often hate themselves and the world and nothing you can do will ever change them. They have to want to change and most of them don’t.


I don’t see people as mean . I usually start out trusting everyone .. it’s what is in my heat to do ..to believe every one is good. I have no reason to not believe this .. Only after they do me bad do I see they are not good.


Joy, I do the same thing. I, too, believe that there is good in everyone. I believe that is a good thing. It is what keeps me believing and seeing the good in Life rather than living in darkness all the time. Because of the abuse as a child, I would look for the good but still expect the bad to happen. Today I have the awareness that not everyone is good and not everyone is bad. We all have elements of both in us.

I try not to judge a person and at the same time I use my ability to be discerning to see how things and people are rather than how I wish they were. You have that innocence of the child still guiding you. There seem to be people out there that search out people with that innocence and take advantage of that innocence like your old boss. I have grown to know that I have to protect myself from that sort of person. I hate that you had that kind of experience but you have learned from it.


Good morning Patricia

I wish I could tell but am not able to tell ..who is going to be mean to me. I think many times I know people and they end up hurting me. So many, even on facebook, pull me into their friend circle then they tell me they care and then they ask questions which I share and then they try to tell me things to do and do and when I don’t want to they say mean things and unfriend me.

I don’t know why, but, I seem to attract meanie peoples .. they hurt me many times. Sometimes, I say I am going to get off of facebook; then my real friends say not to do that .. that not all are bad.

I don’t know how to tell; I trust people .give everyone a first chance and sometimes that turns out to be a bad thing..

I have many many nightmares about my mean boss



Thank you for this post. I was in a cult for 8 years (because that is where my dad took his family) and finally left the cult and my abusive family 2-1/2 years ago on a mission to find healing and Jesus. For the last 1-1/2 years, I have been very frustrated because I can’t remember anything and don’t know what to say to anyone – even in a casual conversation, yet I felt that something trying to out I just didn’t know what. When I first read on here about ‘objectification’, it clicked with me. I have been truly objectimized. And that’s as far as I am able to go – just a realization that my past is completely wrapped up in that term. I also finally admit that I don’t want God in my life because I want to be me, not someone else. I am so tired on being criticized for everything and being pushed around to suit everyone’s whims. All my life I have felt used by my family and cult. I give up trying to heal; I’m so overwhelmed, powerless and can’t think for myself anyway so why try? This is effecting my work and all my relationships with even my true friends. I have buried everything so deep, but lately it is pushing up in every area in my life and I can’t get away from it. My sister is going to college in 5 weeks and I am frieked out; I depend on her to think for me even though she is way younger than me. But my depending on her like that has hurt her and my relationship. I hope you can see through what I am trying to say to how I feel. I don’t know how to relay how I feel and what I’ve been through even though it was hell. Sorry.


Marie; I do so get what you are saying. I also was subjected to religious abuse for many years. What you are experiencing sounds and feels so familiar to me. When i finally began to see that I had a “me” – sort of what you are describing I think – I had no clue how to “exist”. I didn’t know how to think, feel or speak for myself. One day after months of struggling and wondering why I couldn’t “do” anything I realized I was waiting for permission from someone – anyone – to exist. That awareness you describe…for me was the first light, the beginning of following a new way. I’m sorry that you’ve experienced being objectified; This is a good place to be and as we get connected with others and learn to connect with our “self” bit by bit we learn the skills we missed out on and we find our voice. The first step for me was the learning to recognize this in myself and my relationships so I could begin to peel the layers of lies away and in time – I found the “me” that had been hiding. I”m glad you’re here and thank you for sharing your reality and story.


Objects, possessions and wow Susan you did a great job on this post!

When I think of all the times I was made to feel like an object or a possession I start to think of the value we place on people. It is for who they are, what they can do for us (image, material provisions, etc) or by how much they can be controlled. For us on the healing path learning our value as beings (and not doings or as things) is so huge. Learning to respect that value, and respect that in others is something that in our society is very hard to do.

This post is well written and I love the quality of guests Darlene brings to EFB. You’ve helped me a lot!


Shanyn; what a great compliment! Thank you! I am always honored to share and be a part of this community!

And yes on every point you make; it is/was about what we can do for others and the healing for me was about learning how to “be” outside of that framework. Society has a ways to go for sure but I see us as leading the way!

Thanks so much for your support and encouragement Shanyn!


You hit it right on the head, Susan. I don’t know how to ‘exist’ nor do I know how to connect with myself. I feel that to have the awareness of being objectimized is a huge break through for me even though it is extreemly painful. I hate not knowing where to go from here; if I don’t have a plan/goal, I go crazy from the uncertainty. The people of my past delighted in keeping in that place. Thank you all for understanding.


I feel like you Marie. .”I hate know knowing where to go from here” “I don’t know how to exist” ..

I have missed out of 18 years of lessons that “normal children” get from their parents. I wasn’t a child to them .. wasn’t suppose to be there. I was there but only to be mom’s punching bag

I am sorry Marie. what you went through



@Marie; Its a hard place to be at that point of awareness of what the issue is and not knowing what to do about it. I’m sorry this is where you are at – and yet glad you are here and experiencing this awareness.

That was such a scary – but exhilarating – place to be for me; not knowing how to exist or the next step. Scary because I didn’t know what to “do”; I would watch others to see how they behaved in different situations. Exhilarating because this awareness empowered me to see that I could do something about this. I can totally related to not having a next step…I felt as though I needed a map, literally, in order to know what I was supposed to be doing next. What I discovered though is as I continued to be aware of “me” ie my thoughts, my body, my feelings in my body…I began to “make sense” of the lies and find my way to the truth. I learned to recognize when something felt ‘bad” to trust that and when it felt ok, to trust that and separate that from the fear that could weigh me down. I guess for me the next step…at this point of awareness was to also discover “me” and – since I had no idea who “me” was I began by asking myself “what do I like and what do I not like”. It sounds simple but simple was exactly what I needed. 🙂

@Joy – I’m sorry you were not given what you needed from your parents. This for me was one of the key issues in the grieving of the losses and life lost never to be regained yet – it was through this awareness that I also began to piece things together, find my voice, practice learning to establish good boundaries…all the things a “person” does in their life. Its always good to see you here Joy and I’m glad you are able to identify objectification as an issue as this is the first step to turning over the lies…seeing that I was living them. 🙂


Reading these blogs allows me to put words to the MUTE life I was forced to live. I was never asked for my opinion, for ideas for anything. Any and every body was allowed to take what they wanted from me, reguardless of the cost I was forced to pay. So thank you Susan for adding another word to the horror list I have. I had to stop feeling because the pain was so overwhelming, I quiet living as a person and exsisted as a shell or as you put it an object something that couldn’t feel or have thoughts. The only feeling I have ever remembered feeling was heartbreaking pain. I can’t tell you how many times I had to switch in order to survive.



“I was mom’s worst mistake.” her words…but really,

Your mom’s worst mistake was not loving you.



IT has hurt me immensely so very much not ever had heard an “I love you” from my mom.Even if she never said it if she would have took me in her arms and hugged me and loved me . would have been so nice but i didnt deserve that . according to her.

I agree her mistake not to love me. I will never know what a mother’s love is like



Renee; it IS hard putting word to what we’ve experienced and I’m glad this post helped you make sense of the source of these issues. In the midst of the pain its normal for us to turn off our thoughts and feelings and its through this kind of awareness that we begin to understand and learn how to discover our “self” and take back the power that was taken from us. Thank you for letting me know this post helped you find that awareness:)

@Joy; it is so painful to start looking at these issues. I’m sorry you never heard your mom say those words; every child needs to feel and be loved. This was a hard place for me as I began to feel the anger and grieve the loss of that childhood and family that I will never have. Thank you for sharing and working through your pain here. Its a good place to do that. 🙂


Hi Susan

THank you for sharing .it makes me wonder what a normal childhood would have been like..what would I have been like had I been loved and hugged and cared for? Its all so overwhelming yet i know i have to go through the feelings. .they are intense right now.



Joy; I understand and spent many years in that place wondering what might I have been like, what life might have been like had I not been abused. I used to look at others who had what I saw as a “life”…they’d gotten to go to school, college, careers, families…they got to put their children in college and watch them become whatever they wanted. But that never helped me find freedom. I found freedom when I looked at my reality and understood that this was why I felt so broken and powerless and as I challenged those lies and realized that I may never be or have the life I might have had if I’d not been abused – I can be all that I want and choose for myself today. It is pretty intense in the beginning:) In time it becomes less so.:)


Hi Susan

I never knew people lived differently then I knew it. when I was little i thought my lot was the lot that every child knew.. I really never had chance to find out how other children lived as we were never allowed to have friends come to the home. . We were not allowed to stay after school for extra things everything extra had to be during school hours.. as I had to work ..clean ..care for younger siblings.. no time to play.

Now I know there are difference. Iknow that I don’t have the same way of seeing things as most adults my age. I am on one level and everyone else somewhere else out there.

I don’t know if mixing with other children and being taught things would made me different but i wonder would it .not in a negative way but in my ever questioning way I have..

I do know i see things differently. that I understand things differently .that I am not interested in things people my age norally are. .so I know. .there are things different about me. but I cannot change it. not over night. i don’t know if ever.

i feel very very small next to every one else who is adult.like I am still a child .



Joy; thats one of the revelations in this journey. Coming to the realization that my “normal” was not at all “normal”. Its also ok to feel very small and it was in nuturing and parenting myself that I was able to start the process of growing myself up. The issues of being an adult but not having been allowed to grow up is very common; once I understood that I didn’t feel so odd anymore. If you are interested heres a link to 3 articles at my blog on this idea:http://zebraspolkadotsandplaids.blogspot.com/search/label/Guess%20What%20Normal%20Is

Start at the bottom to get to the first in the series. There are 3 articles there.

I can tell you from experience we can learn whatever we didn’t get; we are not forever broken:)


Hi Susan

I will definitely read your articles and thank you for sharing them with me . I will read them slowly as I tend to miss things when I read to fast.

Thank you for all your kindly support; it means so very much to me

(gentle hugs) if ok



Of course its ok, Joy; hugs accepted currency any day:)

I hope you find something helpful in those articles!

Glad you are here and thanks for sharing your story and your journey with us:)



Reading through the article was like reading an excerpt from an autobiography of my life. I was insignificant to those around me. What struck me most was how her depression as well as mine was partly because we expected to be noticed by the world. I worked though unrealistic expectations over the years and that alone has been incredibly freeing.


Hi Renee; it really is key to see ie recognize those expectations as that false normal ie NOT normal. Once I began to see and able to define “this is being treated as a thing, not a person” I was enabled to begin to decide how to handle my feelings vs simply swallowing them. Knowing that I no longer had to let others walk on me helped me to find the energy to overcome all the issues that had kept me bound up and bogged down.


What an interesting and thought provoking post!

I was used as a kind of pawn as a child in my family- ‘You’re upsetting the kids!’ – kind of thing between my parents. My family did that kind of communication for many years, always leaving me in a haze of thinking I was valued but then not being sure.Looking back, I see I was usually part of someone else’s agenda;

They didn’t really care how I felt- they were just having conflicts with another person, and I was thrown into the mix as ‘proof’ of how ‘bad’ that person was acting. I was part of their agenda.

That has happened again over the years a few times; recently I was able to look again at this. It hurts to realize that I was used as an object but the truth hurts less than believing a lie: that I was not valued for who I am, but for my puppet ‘part’ in other people’s control games, to lend ‘teeth’ and ‘proof’ to their own agenda. The reveal came when after the situation was over, I was discarded, basically.I was a thing, not a person.
Its good to be able to see how this has influenced my relationships, and to look at where I as well, might be doing this; and to stop it.



Hi Martha; it is so painful when this is happening and then when we begin to put the pieces together its another kind of painful. It hurts deeply to acknowledge I was thrown away and I”m sorry you experienced that too. It takes time and awareness of being able to recognize or “see” these dynamics in action and I totally appreciate how you describe doing that for yourself when you said:”Its good to be able to see how this has influenced my relationships, and to look at where I as well, might be doing this; and to stop it.”

Yes! This is where our power lies. 🙂

Thank you for sharing this part of your story:)


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