Little Lies Accepted as Truth and Belief System Formation



belief system lies

lies build on each other

When my son T.J. was a little guy, between the ages of 3 and 6 he was a big fan of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks Hockey Team. Jim, (my husband) always teased him that the Mighty Ducks played hockey with crutches and canes. His Daddy told him that they didn’t even have a real goalie; that Granny Smith played in net. It was a big joke in our family.  T.J. would wear his Mighty Ducks jacket and his Mighty ducks jersey and everyone would ask him if he was a fan and he would tell  that the Mighty Ducks were the BEST ever hockey team! And Jimmy would tease him and say “NO WAY… the mighty ducks play with crutches and canes, they can’t really compete with any other hockey team”….. and so it went for a few years. 

As you can imagine T.J. was really excited when Daddy finally took him to his first real hockey game to see the Mighty Ducks play against Jim’s favorite team, the Calgary Flames.

But when the two hockey teams skated out onto the ice, his excitement truned to confusion. T.J. was really shocked and in all seriousness said to his father “Dad…. They don’t play hockey with crutches and canes.. they have hockey sticks.” And still very serious he commented  “Dad.. there isn’t an old granny in the net. They have a goalie. “

TJ had already begun to play hockey himself and really loved the game. He had even begun to understand the game.  No one in our family thought that Jim telling TJ those stories was anything but teasing. Neither Jim nor I ever once suspected that TJ didn’t know that it was teasing but that he believed that Jim was telling the truth. And he was shocked AND confused to realize that it was not the truth. He had been told over and over for years that the Mighty Ducks played hockey with crutches and canes and that their only goalie was “Granny Smith”. That had become “the truth” to him.

And if you think about it ~ WHY wouldn’t TJ believe his father?  He had no reason to doubt him.

Perhaps you have been reading my blog and trying to sort some of the belief system stuff out in your own life. Perhaps you have discovered some of the foundations where the lies were born and you can’t seem to change the way you still believe them. People tell me all the time that that “everyone can’t be wrong about them”. And I say why not?

A belief system comes from somewhere. It is built through stories, experience, events trauma, joy, punishment; it is made up of everything true, false, good and bad. It becomes part of you. It IS your reality. The best way that I know to explain how I recovered from all this stuff is to look at how I came to accept the lies and how they just naturally settled in my mind and became the truth. A false truth.

Here is another illustration. Say you had lived your whole life in a secluded or segregated society that taught you that the color blue was called red, and when you are 35 years old you find out that the rest of the world believes Blue is called Blue… it would be very hard to accept and believe that blue is really not called red. At first you would argue that the Blue they believe in is really called Red.  You wouldn’t believe that this new society is right. How can they be? You might fight them and then fight yourself. You would call up your original society to see if they ever heard about it. They might get angry at you for doubting them. Maybe you would get the feeling that they HAD heard about it and hidden it from you. Maybe they refuse to explain the reasons behind why they call Blue, Red.  Maybe they wouldn’t listen to you at all.

If you did come around to believing that this new way of seeing Blue was in fact right, you might have to change the word Red to Blue in your head for years while you are trying to rewire that the society you came from was wrong. Changing a belief system is hard when it is established from such a young age. 

Finally you realize that you have believed your whole life the false truth that Blue is Red. You are sure of it now.  You have renewed strength to go back to prove it to the people who always told you that the opposite was true. They deserve to know the truth!

When they resist you, mock you, ignore you, laugh at you and tell the rest of the community that you have always been a little crazy and this just proves the point, once again, you may doubt that your new truth is actually the truth after all. (see **Note)

A belief system is very hard to change. The wires are all wired in the wrong way and there are a lot of them. But with some effort and determination, I completely re-wired my belief system and found the roots of that false truth and was able to achieve emotional healing. There is plenty of hope!  

Please share. 

Darlene Ouimet

**Note; you may mistakenly think that unless “they” believe you, that you must be wrong. I personally had a huge problem with this; I honestly thought that unless they believed me AND thereby VALIDATED me as being right, I wasn’t right. So, I was wrong and worse than just being wrong, I was USED to being wrong. That was part of my belief system too!  Darlene

Related posts ~ False Normal Systems about Love and Self Love

Emotional Healing and busting through brainwashing

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

Categories : Family



It’s like to me right now, I’m still in the phase of everythin that happen to me was my fault due to many scenarios I was told or I had done or somethin ya know. My entire head needs a rewirin because this belief is strong and I’m doin my best to see it the other way but it’s losin battle right now. I was told all my life, “it was me, it was my fault” “I asksed for it” and other phrases. I guess the path for me at this time is to stay on the road of tryin to see it as not a fault of mine. Thank you for sharin this story with us Ms. Darlene. I’m not givin up yet.


I’m sorry I don’t make much sense in my words but I try to understand what it is bein said and if I can, then I relate to it. Please forgive me when I speak nonsense.


Hi Jackie,
Always remember that I write from the “after the process” position. This was not easy for me to do. I re wired and the wireing came undone and went back to the default belief ~ all the time.. but it would stick longer and longer each time. This took me a while so hang in! I am so glad to hear that you are not giving up! (and forget about that YET word!) So glad to hear from you my friend!
Hugs, Darlene


This is a good post. As I rewire and am learning to validate myself Im seeing that most of my earlier relationships were destined to be dysfunctional, not just those of my birth family but also those with partners and even female friends. What Im wondering is do I try and negotiate new terms with friends and establish the ‘new’ me or is it more realistic to start again with most relationships. Im finding that some of the ‘little lies’ which led to abuse in general being minimised and the idea of ‘healing’ being ridiculed, is what comes between me and many long term friends even. In some ways it seems to risky trying to ‘convert’ people to the ideas of healing and recovery as I dont want to risk being invalidated and undermined. It might be easier to make a fresh start, though it does mean the loss of some friendships , or maybe you can learn to hold your’e own views- even with people who still live with ‘little lies’ ?


I still believe deep down that everything was my fault but I’m very slowly beginning to hear and take on board that it wasn’t and slowly I’m finding myself thinking occasionally “maybe it wasn’t”, it’s just a “maybe” so far but that is progress!!


I can so relate. My mother used to enjoy telling and retelling the follwoing story. She would say that when I was born I was so ugly and so covered with hair that I looked more like a monkey than a child. She said I was so traumatizing to her that she coudln’t even hold me for several days. She said they had to wait nearly a week before they even dared take a picture of me. I heard this so many times…It never occurred to me that it might not be true. In fact later in my life I would even retell the story to get a laugh… It wasn’t until recently that I have learned that it wasn’t true at all. So after having believed that all these years and now knowing it wasn’t true doesn’t change the feelings that I carried about it overnight. Because I was told over and over again that I was unwanted, that I was born uncommonly ugly and hair, that no one would love me, because my mother told me that I ruined her life…all of this as become part of my conciousness. The fact that I am re-training my brain to accept that that was all wrong. That her truth is not my truth. Even now at 44 years old I feel ugly and hairy and unwanted when that’s not the truth at all.

So of course when my stepfather (after years of grooming) started molesting me at the age of 12 when I told my mom and she told me he was just showing me he loved me, I believed her. I believed everything she said. Now here I am sorting out what’s the truth and what isn’t the truth.

Incidentally I finally had my step father charged with my childhood sexual abuse last August (no statute of limitaions on this in Canada) and he did plead guilty. Sentencing will take place Aug 22… I will be reading my victim impact statement in person. I tell you this because I want to shout it from a mountain top but don’t have a mountain…hahaha!

Anyhow now I am worried he will get a harsh punishment and he’s old and even though I know the abuse was not my fault, I will feel responsible for sending an old man to jail…just more ‘truths’ I need to sort out..

…boy did I ever get off track…thanks for reading and being there…I think I really needed to get this out.

Thanks for all you do for so many of us.




Thanks for this. It also helps me to understand why my family reacts to me the way they do. They still think blue is red. I am the crazy one in the family because I’m the only one who has tried to find the truth and change. In a way, I am so thankful that I was the scape-goated child and not the golden child. I always knew I needed to change and even if I was carrying the responsibility for things I hadn’t done it was in taking responsibility for my behavior that allowed me to pull myself up and to eventually reach the point of truely healing. My sister has to be perfect because she was wired that way and I don’t think that wiring will ever let her come to the point of knowing that blue really is blue.


DARLENE~ THIS post is one of your best EVER, in my opinion. This gives me the “visual” that I so badly need, to help me figure out, in a concrete way, How To Heal.

I particularly love what you said in your comment to Jackie: “This was not easy for me to do. I re wired and the wireing came undone and went back to the default belief ~ all the time.. but it would stick longer and longer each time. This took me a while so hang in!”

Again, a great visual… yes, my re-wiring does tend to come undone and revert back to the default belief, again and again. It helps me to know that this is a normal part of the healing process, and not a reason to give up on myself as a hopeless case!

@ Layla, you wrote: “ seems to risky trying to ‘convert’ people to the ideas of healing and recovery as I dont want to risk being invalidated and undermined. It might be easier to make a fresh start, though it does mean the loss of some friendships , or maybe you can learn to hold your’e own views- even with people who still live with ‘little lies’ ?”

Speaking just from my own personal experience, I had to move far away and start a whole new life where I didn’t know anyone, and no one had any preconcieved ideas about me. I felt stuck where I was, like I was “typecast” in my life, the way actors sometimes get cast into a particular type of role, and then that is the only kind of role they are ever given, as though they can’t act in any different way. I felt like my wiring was doomed to stay stuck in the default, WRONG position, if I didn’t get the heck out of Dodge, as they say, and start fresh with new people, new friends, a whole new environment. I had carried my abusive childhood and my wrong belief system about myself with me into adulthood, and into every place I ever lived and every relationship I ever had. When I began to learn the truth about myself, the truth that I am NOT unworthy, unloveable, less-than, CRAZY, toxic, a “mistake who should never have been born” ~ I needed to run far away from the people in my life who had been taught by my own faulty belief system, to believe those negative things about me. I was on the very brink of suicide, so I was definitely NOT STRONG ENOUGH to start fresh, and to heal, and to unlearn my faulty belief system, in the same old place with the same old people, while surrounded by the same old hurtful memories around every corner.

Maybe you are much stronger than I was, Layla, so maybe my answer to your question does not apply to you. But I have no doubt that I would be dead today, if I had not moved far away from the place I lived when I began to emerge from my being so badly broken.

They say that you take you with you, when you move. YES, this is certainly true. But when I moved nearly 2,000 miles away all by myself to start a whole new life at the age of 50, I took a HEALING, ENLIGHTENED ME, with me. And in this new place where I didn’t know a soul, I spent a long time all by myself, with just me, getting to know this new, healing, enlightened me… and I made the most amazing discovery… I DISCOVERED THAT I REALLY LIKE MYSELF!

So, taking myself with me wherever go is a wonderful thing!



Suzanne, I am glad that you have brought your abuser to justice. I know what you mean about feeling bad, because now he is getting old. You feel that way because you have a kind a caring heart. But, if your stepfather had had a kind and caring heart, he would never have abused you. HE did this to himself, not YOU. And we are all getting older, right? How unfair is it to YOU, that you have carried this pain from his abuse, all your whole life long?

I have no doubt that you have already thought of all these things that I am saying, you are too bright, not to have thought of these things. So I’m not telling you something new, I’m just adding my voice of agreement to the healthy part of you that is seeig that justice is done, and that he can’t abuse any other child. As people age, they tend to lose their inhibitions. I have seen this when I used to work in nursing homes. I have seen men in nursing homes, still behaving in abusive ways. They don’t seem to ever outgrow that evil, so you are doing the right thing, Dear One.



how do I re wire myselves?
Ugh, I’m stumped. But this story was so good. Thank you for sharing. x


Thanks for your’e comment to me – very inspiring and reassuring. Im at a critical point and quite fragile and you have given me courage and food for thought on making decisions that will allow me to create the life I need and want. Im realising Im almost there its just that in the transition phase it can be scary and lonely and as Darlene says sometimes the rewiring reverts to default- which had led me to recontact wrong people. Im back on track in my awareness and am going to remember to protect myself when making decisions just now. Many Thanks and Hugs.


Susa > Suzanne:

YEA for you Suzanne for being SO brave, and reporting this monster!

I wish the laws were the same here in the U.S. re: statutes of limitations, but sadly, they’re not.

I will shout it for you from our mountain top!

Please try not to be afraid. I know that is easier said than done, but rest assured that you have done the right thing…

Sending strength, and calmness to you!



@Darlene; amazing, as always! It is so helpful to hear how you experienced this metamorphosis and emerged from your cocoon of lies. I can still catch myself wondering if it was really as bad as it was. My family of course doesn’t see anything wrong with the way I was raised or treated or how each of them contributed to my fathers abuse or the overall parental neglect. It is still their “normal” so of course the fact that I’m no longer their scapegoat means something is wrong with me in their eyes. In order to do this reprogramming I had to separate myself from my family and even limit my contact with my children (now adults) because to even be around their silent judgement can cause me to begin to wonder and question myself. Great post and thank you for shining the light!



“They say that you take you with you, when you move. YES, this is certainly true. But when I moved nearly 2,000 miles away all by myself to start a whole new life at the age of 50, I took a HEALING, ENLIGHTENED ME, with me…”

So you did the thing that you wrote about in your novel! How many years later? Fascinating dream, goal, and now reality!!

Good comments about men in nursing homes. Suzanne, go for it. It is not just for you, but creates a better world for others who need protection…

I remember Fred in the nursing home when I was a late teen working there. He told me that I had bedroom eyes and I really didn’t have a clue what was being said. In later years, got back in to the nursing home work, and saw it again and “got it” this time. It gets worse with age with these guys. “Get in here and help me finish this, one guy yelled out at the aides.” Social Services was called to handle it. (Dumb! Another woman to handle a man-thing, she told him to keep his private time to himself…yeah, in her “35-year-old” way)


Love this comment about the “silent judgement” of relatives, even your kids. Would love to hear more details about this one!!


Thanks Darlene, and for your comment to me on another post too. This week, for the first time in my 48 years, I am questioning whether I am actually mad, ugly, dirty and scuzzy. I was made to believe that I was a long time ago, to carry their shame, and unfortunately it’s taken me to places where those ideas were confirmed.I guess I made them a self-fulfilling prophecy when I believed them. I believed them as objective facts, rather than opinions, blame-shifting or unfair judgements. It’s as though the sun is coming out for the first time EVER in my life. I have stopped wearing this veil of self-disgust and loathing and I feel younger and lighter. Hugs to everyone who’s gone through this. It’s not until it stops that you can see where you’ve been. How very sad.


Darlene, What a great post! I’m going to keep this visual with me as my rewired areas become unwired. There are so many things in my life I regarded as “truths” that I am realizing are untruths. You are right, it is hard but we just need to persevere.

Suzanne, I understand how you feel. My father was finally taken to court last summer for what he did and I felt so guilty that I was responsible for a 73 year old man having to go through the court system. Just remember, your stepfather is the only one that is responsible for his actions. There are NO other guilty parties. Just “hold fast”. You are doing the right thing.


WOW. great post. Is very funny, and even touching, in ways that Plato’s allegory of the cave never was and never will be. perfect story Darlene! thank you for making this community possible.


Thanks for the supportive comments. Tears rolling down my face. It’s a good thing. I must have really needed the validation. Been feeling so ‘bad’. I needed to be reminded I am not in the wrong and it’s all those false truths that need to continue to be sorted out. thank you thank you thank you.


You are so right Darlene! This is EXACTLY what I meant when I named my blog “You mean the sky isn’t blue?!”
The whole “other worldliness” thing is so hard to break free from.
I like the way you explain false beliefs and how they become part of us. Challenging those beliefs is such hard work but so worth doing! I’m finally at the point where I’m ready to do that. I’ve started it already. Thank you for doing what you do and for showing me that there is more than light at the end of the tunnel; there is no more tunnel!


Wow; everyones sharing and insights is so powerful!

Sheryl; (15) thanks for that and I’ll see what I can come up with:)

All – have a wonderful weekend and keep sharing – the support and growth in this forum is amazing to partake in!

Hugs to everyone!


I was taught there was no God. Boy, did that come as a shock when I learnt the sky didn’t evolve from a monkey! It was created, but the Creator isn’t looking after me, I am, and so is my friend. I used to believe that IF there was a God, then he’d be there for me, so it was a double whammy to realise the truth. I also believed that I couldn’t move because of post traumatic stress disorder culminating in agoraphobia. Now I’m just starting to realise that I CAN move, but I have an anxiety disorder which saps my energy to do so. It’s a learning curve but I’m determined to break the vicious cycle that goes with agoraphobia and leave my home one day, but not YET.


Hi Everyone!
Wow great comments, great discussion going on. I am going to try to answer some of them, but I am having trouble keeping up with the responses lately!

Hi Layla,
~ I hear you on this issue! I realized that it was pointless to try to “convert” anyone to the idea of anything! They have their own fears that hold them back and when they don’t want to accept my changes that is really about them, not about me. Here is the thing though ~ when people were holding me back it became about my worth ~ it became about my SELF worth and my belief system about my own value. Did I want to “put up with it” just for the sake of keeping friends… friends who by their actions didn’t care about ME. In the end, it was a mix of both. Fresh start and holding my own views/values/ etc. With the people who kept putting me down and kept trying to keep me in the box that THEY are so comfortable with, they are no longer in my life. But with others, there has been change and growth and mutual respect. It is a process that seemed to just work out over time.

Hi Fi
A thought to maybe accelerate your progress… Picture a new born baby. Do you think that baby is born with fault? Do you think that baby deserves to be abused, or could do anything to deserve not being loved and cherished? Could that baby be at fault, be defective or do something to ASK for any kind of mistreatment?
You are that baby Fi. Born blameless and powerless. Born perfect and lovely and beautiful.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Suzanne
My goodness, please read what I just wrote above to Fi and also my comment to Jackie about how the re-wiring comes undone.
I totally understand you feeling guilty about him going to prison ~ I feel those same feelings sometimes about my abusers… but that is my default belief system about ME. That I am mean and wrong and don’t deserve.. Congrats for pursuing charging him! He doesn’t deserve to live in freedom after what he did to you. Your freedom was limited in so many ways because of what he did. HE broke the law and caused so much damage. Hang in and KEEP SHARING those feelings and fears! That stuff is really really important to talk about!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Pam!
Interesting how many of us can say what you said! That we are the crazy ones because we pursued truth and healing! LOL

~ I am so glad that this post makes so much sense! I sometimes wrack my brains to figure out HOW to explain this stuff!
About moving far away, I did that too, but found out that distance will not change the belief system, however when there is no contact at all, (even if just for a time) the fog is permitted to lift a lot!

Susa ~ yes we can all contribute to shouting from the mountain top for Suzanne and her awesome news!

Hi Susan!
VERY WELL SAID! Love your comments and hope that everyone reads them! Hugs, Darlene

Hi Tina
Thank you for sharing your victories and sharing hope and inspiration to so many others!

Hi Lisa Michelle
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
Keep reading. I have written lots of stuff about this on this blog that will give you some answers.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sid
Welcome! YES ~ you can move! This process really helps with all disorders. I had so many fears, so many disorders and when I pursued wholeness and recovery in the way that I talk about in my blog posts, the fears fell away and the depressions, anxiety lifted! Keep hanging in here with us!
Hugs, Darlene

Hold Fast!
Thank you for sharing and for your encouragement to Suzanne!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Ian

I am so glad that this post resonated with you and so many others!
Glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene


I have to agree with Lynda this is one of the best truth telling blogs to date. I know we are all at a different places in our journey. It is just a confirmation to me of how and why people refuse truth.
As some of you know I wrote on this blog about a church situation a few weeks that was draining me and hurting me and especially hurting my beloved pastor.
And as some of you know he was killed in a tragic car accident. The entire belief system that many who love him have accepted is mind boggling to me.
He was forced out of NYC and at his age (he woudl be 80 May 19th) should not have been driving in Texas. (after living in NYC since the late 50’s where you don’t drive driving at his age was not something he was used to)
If he was in NYC he would just walk. The people who systematically over threw his ministry are not being called to accountability and his family and friends are still on this clowns facebook page.
As for me I can’t ignore truth or allow someone who is clearly untrustworthy to have any say in my life.
I said all of this to say this belief system led to his death in my opinion. My pastor should have been protected and should have stayed in NYC but nobody felt confronting the truth was important.Nobody protected his ministry or his home or him.
This false sense of forgiveness which is not really forgiveness took hold. Forgiveness is when you acknowledge the damage done but chose not to take revenge but still acknowledge that the damage was severe in this case.
As for me I can’t turn a blind eye. The issue is not forgiveness to me it is truth.
I see it in a young lady’s life who is an abusive relationship. As a young women many of us me included think feelings are the most important thing. The guy who can make your heart beat faster that is what true love is to many young women. If the pay off is getting hit then they will take it for the rush of feelings and feel good hormones that this guy gives you. So the bottom line here is in the belief system. The feelings are more important than safety or self esteem.

I can see now especially after reading this post how a belief system can mean life or death.
What is even more complicated is for those with extreme black and white thinking that in the case of my dear pastor people are saying and thinking they are doing God’s will and maybe they are in terms of not doing wrong.
But you can also obey or please God and not put your life at risk. I have believed for a long time even before ever knowing about this blog that truth is the key to freedom it is the key to so many issues in life.
Ignoring truth can be fatal.
And you can ignore truth in a few cases (not all) and still be a good person as I did not consider that an option before. I always thought if you ignore truth it is because you are evil. I never considered any other option. Now I know that the belief system is behind that. For me truth is the most important thing but for others maybe a false sense of forgiveness is. I don’t know but all I know is this blog post made this clear to me now.Your belief system can mean the difference between life and death. Thanks for posting!


Wow! This so resonated with me, Darlene! Hit the nail on the head!! Exactly my experience!! All the while you’re told something is ‘red’ when its actually ‘blue.’ And now that I’ve accepted that ‘red’ is ‘red’ and ‘blue’ is ‘blue’ – when I tried to tell my family, they labeled me the crazy lady. But I refuse to go back into thinking that ‘red’ is ‘blue.’ I won’t do it.

Therapy is the greatest gift I’ve given myself – the rewiring seems to be happening faster than I ever thought it could. I no longer feel like I’m in a prison of sorts, but am free – free to live truthfully, abundantly, guilt-free … and I’m free to be ME – the best thing of all. I am discovering that I am likeable, and lovable – I never ever thought I was before … after all, if even your own mother doesn’t love you, then who else could possibly?? The truth is, lots of people!!

Your blog has been an inspiration to me and an incredible source of healing for me … keep it all coming … God is doing a great work in you, healing the broken-hearted. 🙂


Whoops – forgot to check the little box ..


@Pinky, your wrote: “Your belief system can mean the difference between life and death.” ~ and~ “…truth is the key to freedom it is the key to so many issues in life. Ignoring truth can be fatal.”

I absolutely agree with that.

My belief system about myself, which I was taught from the cradle on throughout my childhood and adulthood, was that I was a mistake that should never have been born. My belief system, which I learned mainly from my mother, was that I was born “crazy like your father,” I was “not likeable,” and the reason I was “not likeable” was: “it’s just YOU, it’s just the way you are…”

I believed my mother, when she told me that I was crazy, lazy, ignorant, bad, stupid, and not likeable. I believed my mother when I was 16 and I told her that my new boyfriend had asked me to marry him, and her immediate response was, “He only thinks he loves you because he doesn’t really know you. After he has lived with you a while, and has gotten to know you, he won’t love you anymore.”

It was because I believed my mother, that when my new husband starting cheating on me, and beating me, within a few weeks of our marriage, I then believed him when he told me that he “had to hit me” and “needed to cheat on me,” because I “wasn’t woman enough” for him… whatever the hell that’s supposed to even mean.

About a year ago I made a shockig discovery… I discovered that I am NOT related to any of our US Presidents!! I had believed all of my life that I was a direct descendent of the 10th US President, John Tyler, and a distant cousin of the man who was in the white house back in 1953 when I was born, Dwight Eisenhower. When President Eisenhower’s son married President Rchard Nixon’s daughter, why then I believed I was a distand cousin-by-marriage, to a third President.

I believed these things because my parents had told me those things, all my life long. My mother’s mother’s maiden name is Tyler, and so my mother said we were descended from President Tyler. I remember coming home from school in an early grade, when we were being made to memorize all of the US Presidents, in order, and I asked my mother if Tayler was the one we were related to. “Oh, no, it was John Tyler,” she said. “He had two wives and something like 10 children between the two of them, so I am sure there are many other people, too, who are related to him.”

My dad’s mother’s maiden name was Eisenhour, and, despite the different spelling of the name, my dad and my paternal grandmother told me that President Eisenhower was a distant cousin. Like Darlene said in her post, I had no reason NOT to believe my parents and my grandmother about these things. I even had it put on the back of my novel that was published 11 years ago, the “fact” that I was related to these two presidents!

Then about a year or so ago, I decided to do a genealogy search on my family tree, and see. Guess What….. I have found zero evidence so far that I am related in any way, to any US President.

I asked my aunt, my mother’s only sibling, if she happened to know which of President Tyler’s 2 wives we were descended from, and my aunt said, “Lynda, I have never heard that we are related in any way to President Tyler.”

I felt……. WEIRD. Like a bomb had gone off and totally rearranged my entire inner landscape. It was exactly like being told that blue is red, and believing it all my life. How many people had I told this LIE to, over the years? I told my children as they were growing up, of course, and I told my grandchildren. NOT TRUE?? And novel is still out there, still for sale on Amazon, still with that LIE on the back cover.

But as shocking as it was for me to learn that something I had been taught by my parents, and had believed all my life, was a lie… the lies about ME that my family of origin made me believe about my self, were by far more damaging.

Darlene, you are right that moving far away from a dysfunctional life and dysfunctional family and dysfunctional friends will not change your belief system! But my point was that when I made that 2,000 mile move in 2003 at the age of 50, I did NOT take my old sick untrue belief system with me.

Still, there were times, after I made my move, when my rewiring would unravel and revert to the default. There were times when I would feel lonely and remember the good times with someone who had so badly hurt me, and so then I would call… my mother… or my latest abusive ex. And things would be lovely until they would start verbally abusing me again, especially my ex, filling up the voicemail on my turned off cell phone with screaming cursing messages telling me how CRAZy and WORTHLESS I am. I would change my cell phone number, be ok all by myself for a few days, then feel lonely, wonder if he was sorry, and call back…. Repeat Cycle.

I called it “still looking in the rearview mirror.” I had driven that big rental Ryder truck all by myself form eastern Pennsylvania to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to a place where I did not know a soul, to start my whole new life at the age of 50. ME, who also used to have agoriphobia and could not leave my apartment… not even my bedroom, on my worst days. I drove all those miles to a new life, yet, I kept looking in the rearview mirror.

And, a big part of me was hoping that the abusive ones would miss me, would realize how badly they must have hurt me to drive me away like that, and would then be so sorry that they would want to come after me and apologize, to make it right, to beg me to come back…. or even to offer to give up their life back in Pennsylvania, and come and join me in my new life.

I wasa 50, and still like a little kid in some ways “I’ll show them, I’ll run away from home, and THEN THEY’LL BE SORRY.” But it didn’t work that way, and that’s just fine with me, now, especially since my biggest reason for making my big move was to find a new life for ME, and not to try to make someone who had been abusive sorry.

Finally, here’s the BIGGIE: Like Susan in comment #13 I, too, ” had to separate myself from my family and even limit my contact with my children (now adults) because to even be around their silent judgement can cause me to begin to wonder and question myself.”

Yes. And that, for me, has been the hardest part. “What kind of a mother/grandmother are you, to move so far away from your three grown children and your grandchildren?” My abusive mother asked me that… and, I have asked myself that.

Here is the answer to that question: I am the kind of mother who would willingly lay down her life in a heartbeat, if that were necessary to save the life of any one of my 3 grown children or any of my grandchildren. However, as much as I love and MISS them, and as much as I sometimes feel horribly GUILTY for moving so far away from them, they, too, HAD LEARNED FROM MY ABUSIVE EX-HUSBAND, that their mom was crazy, weak, an embarrassment, a slut, too messed up to have a good healthy long-lasting relationship with anyone. My kids saw the BROKEN MESS that I had become after a childhood of severe abuse, followed by an adulthood of attracting men who look for a woman with no self-esteem that they can abuse and lord it over. My kids learned to be ashamed of me. They were in survival mode, and they saw survival as being on the side of the strong abuser, and against the weak wimpy crazy mother.

My daughter will be flying here for a visit on Monday, she just made her flight reservations. It will be the first time I’ve seen her since my grandson’s funeral 5 years ago, although we have kept in touch via the internet and phone. I’m glad she is coming, but a bit nervous, too. Like Susan said, my daughter’s “silent judgement can cause me to begin to wonder and question myself,” and sometimes, her judgment isn’t so silent.

I am praying that this visit will be a big turning point in healing for my daughter and me. I am praying that this time she will be able to see the REAL ME, and that I will be able to see her reality, too.



@Lynda, I will pray for you tonight we both will me and my husband. I wish those with generic judgments about forgiving and forgetting could just read one of your posts. The problem with not remembering the past and forgiving and forgetting is people label you for life and you are the one who has to deal with that. It is a life long process. I hope the best for you Lynda. It sounds so tough!


Suzanne and Layla,
It gave me tears of joy to read that you were encouraged by my comments to you. THAT means the world to me… being able to reach out and help someone, who has been wounded in the ways that I have been wounded.

I remember… OH WOW, do I remember… how utterly ALONE I felt, in my pain. In my MADNESS!! I felt utterly alone and completely unworthy, unloved, unloveable… and the PAIN I felt was UNbearable.

When I say that my pain was unbearable, I do not say that lightly!!! That is not a euphemism, that is reality. I was in so much emotional pain, that it was physical, as well as emotional. My Heart HURT, HORRIBLY, and the pain U was ub was unrelenting and unbearable. I hated ME, I hated my LIFE, and I was right on the brink of suicide, when my life was saved when I took my divorce settlement money and checkws myself in to a renowned mental health clinic, the Meier Clinic in Richardson, TX. THERE, my lifelong faulty belief system about myself was finally exposed for the damanable LIES that they were, and with the invaluable help of Paul Meier, MD, and his wonderful staff, I began to emerge from being so completely, miserably broken. Like a beautfiful butterfly emerging from a confining ugly cramped cocoon, I left that clinic with ready to FLY.

It’s because I remember how horrible and lonely that PAIN of NOT LIKING MYSELF felt, and also because I have so much gratitude for those loving gentle souls who set me on the right track, at long last… that’s why I take such great pleasure now in reaching out to help others, who are hurting like I was.

I’m nowhere near being as healthy as Darlene… although I haven’t given up on that goal. I can’t do what Darlene does, by any means. But I can do my small part in reaching out to those who are hurting as I have been hurt, and WOW, it makes me feel so great when I am able to do that!

THAT is the truth aboutwho Lynda really is. I am someone who… unlike my abusers…. REALLY CARES about others. I am someone who will go out of my way to try to help another hurting person, whereas my abusers went out of their way to inflict more PAIN.

My abusers no longer get to define me. Their judgment is warped and very wrong.



Lynda, and EVERYONE ~ this is important

This is exactly what I am talking about. So if my son had NO REASON or frame of reference not to believe that the mighty ducks did NOT play hockey with crutches and canes, ~ exactly like your president story ~ then you can see that it would also be easy for us to believe that we were useless, unlovable, unacceptable, a pain in the butt and all those other horrible things that we have been told.

And remember not everything we were told was in WORDS! So much of it was communicated to us by actions and reactions, looks, non verbal expressions, withholding attention, affection, etc. This is so key.

Lynda, I am also glad to hear that you are not giving up on the goal to be as healthy as me! (thanks for the compliment) Because there is just NO reason that you can’t. We can all reach this destination! I think that just knowing that we really do care about others is huge. That in itself is a belief system breakthrough!

Thank you for sharing Lynda,
Hugs, Darlene



What really made me different from the rest of my family and the men who sexually abused me is my empathy. They don’t understand it because they don’t have it. You can’t manipulate people if you have empathy for them. My empathy was used against me as an avenue of manipulation. There were times when I tried not to care as I was always taught that the problem was that I feel too much, that I was weak because I care; but really the problem was that they feel too little. They abused me and think of themselves as strong but they don’t even know what it is to be human because they lack that which makes us more than animals. They took my dignity from me for a time but they never put a dent in my capacity to love. They could never kill my empathy. That capacity is what has kept me going and eventually given me the strength to reclaim what was stolen from me. I win! All of you who survived with your empathy intact win too!


@Pinky, thank you so much for your loving comment and especially for your prayers. You apparently posted that while I was writing my last comment, so I did not see it until just now. ((HUGS))

Darlene, you said in your last key comment: “remember not everything we were told was in WORDS! So much of it was communicated to us by actions and reactions, looks, non verbal expressions, withholding attention, affection, etc.” ….OH, YES, ABSOLUTELY.

Also, so much of what we were told about our “worthlessness,” came across in the tone of voice, more than in the actual words that were being said.

The last time that I called and talked with my mother, in February 2006, was when I called to tell her the horrible news that my youngest son’s baby boy Kyle had just died. My husband and I were getting ready to leave that day from our home in New Mexico, to drive the approx. 1800 miles to the funeral in Pennsylvania. A lot of the roads along the way were treacherous with snow and ice storms, so I wanted to let my professing-Christian mother know, so she could pray for a safe trip, pray most of all for comfort for my son and daughter-in-law, whose baby had just died, and also, because my mother lives nearly halfway between where my husband and I lived at the time, and my kids, I was thinking we could use her house as a brief rest stop, both coming and going.

But my mother’s disdainful treatment of me during that phone conversation was so rude, that it was my “last straw”… THAT is when I just completely gave up on my mother. My heart and soul was shattered by grief from the loss of my eagerly awaited and deeply loved baby grandson ~ and my mother was being such a hateful SNOT!

Yet it wasn’t WHAT she said that was so bad, it was the WAY she said it. My mother’s hateful, disdainful, UNCARING attitude toward me came through loud and clear in her tone of voice… and, in my painful time of sorrow, that was when I was FINALLY FINISHED with trying to have a relationship with my “mother.”

It was a Sunday afternoon when I placed that call. My younger half-sister answered the phone, she was there with her husband and children for an after-church dinner at our mother’s house. When my sister answered, she asked me how I was doing, and I began to cry and told her that my baby grandson had just died, and my husband and I were getting ready to leave for the funeral.

My half-sister said, “Oh, Lynda, I am so very sorry, that’s just so horrible. What an awful, heartbreaking thing! I wish there were something I could do… I’m just so sorry and sad for you.”

At that point, my mother, who was standing close enough to hear my sister’s condolences, took the phone away from her and, with a loud, theatrical, put-upon SIGH, she said, “What’s wrong NOW, Lynda?”

What’s wrong NOW, Lynda…. innocuous words, all by thenselves. But said in that disdainful TONE, a tone that was clearly meant to convey to all of my family members that were assembled in my mother’s little house, that Lynda was an albatross around my mother’s neck, thoughtlessly calling her up to ruin her nice Sunday-after-church family dinner… my mother had just heard my sister’s compassionate, heartfelt condolences, so my mother KNEW that whatever I was calling about, had to be Bad News. It could have been anything… my husband could have just been killed in a car accident, one of my children could have just been severely injured or killed, I could have recently gotten the news that I had terminal cancer… I could have been calling about any number of horrors!

But my mother clearly did not concern herself with any of that, she clearly had no compassion or worry about whatever sad news I might be calling about…. her irritated, put-upon, martyr’s tone of voice told me that, whatever my problem was, she resented me for calling to tell her about it, and put a damper on the happy mood of her nice family dinner.

ALSO, I felt certain that my mother was using her martyr’s tone of voice, so LOUDLY, so that everyone in her little house could hear, as a way to demonstrate to the rest of the family that Lynda is nothing but a PAIN, a DRAMA QUEEN who is always calling to complain about every little thing, burdening our “poor old mother” unneccessarily ~ which is SOOOO NOT the kind of person that I have EVER been! On the contrary, I have been exactly the opposite…

My mother’s heavy sighing “WHAT’S WRONG NOW, LYNDA,” when my baby grandson had just died, showed me how utterly COLD her heart toward me, really is. Of course she didn’t KNOW that’s what had happened, until I answered her question… although I came very close to not answering her question, and just hanging up. But the fact that she did not yet know that my dearly beloved little grandson Kyle had just died, does not excuse it, because after hearing my half-sister’s end of the conversation, our mother knew that something WAS VERY WRONG… Our mother had heard my sister’s very compassionate, heartfelt, sorrowful-sounding condolences, so she knew that the news I was calling about, had to be really awful.

But instead of getting on the phone and expressing concern and worry, the way that a LOVING mother would do, she spits out, “What’s wrong NOW….” making it sound like I called her every other day with something insignificant to complain about, when the truth is, God as my witness, the very last time I can recall calling my mother to tell her about something bad happening, prior to Kyles death in 2006, was when one of my then-teeanged sons was in trouble in 1989! I’m not kidding, I called her in 1989 when I had a catastrophe happen, and my mother was so bitchy THEN, she actually said, “With all the kids and stepkids and grandkids that I have, every damn time the phone rings, it seems, it is someone else calling with bad new…” When she said that, then I didn’t bother to ever call to tell my mother about another problem, for SEVENTEEN YEARS! I just dealt with all of my life’s up and downs myself, and only called my mother during those years, to chat.

“What’s wrong NOW.”

I KNOW that seems like a really minor thing, after all the MAJOR things my mother has done to me in years past… sitting on my own husband’s lap on my 17th birthday, half-drunk, crying, telling him that she LOVED HIM and that she was SO SORRY she hadn’t warned him about the crazy terrible kind of person I am, before he married me… doing this, minutes after my mother had told me that she didn’t blame my husband one bit for BEATING me, because, she said, when I acted like a spoiled child, I should be “spanked” like a spoiled child…

Of course, of all the abuse my mother ever did to me, the worst was when I was 12 and my mother confessed to me that she had been trying to override the safey shutoff valve on the whole house gas furnace, so she could gas us all to death in our beds while we slept, and because she had failed at that, she was planning to drive us all off a cliff and kill us that way. Her excuse: “I brought you all into the world, so I have the right to take you out of it.” Her reason: “Life is so horrible, I would be doing you all a favor by killing you.”

Of ALL the MANY HORRIBLE abusive things that my mother has ever done or said to me, it almost seems ridiculous that the final straw, for me, was her theatrical loud SIGH, and her saying, “What’s wrong NOW, Lynda?”

My 76-year-old mother has been widowed now for over a year, and all 6 of my younger brothers and sisters and half-sisters are all still living near her, and they all, still, as far as I know, are doing her bidding, pampering and taking care of the all-important Queen Bee (which is all that the DRONES are ever any good for, in the Queen Bee’s eyes). I have no doubt that my brothers and sisters are feeling very saintly in comparison to their eldest sister who hasn’t been in our mother’s life since February 2006. I’m also sure that, if I were to tell them that the Final Straw for me was when our mother sighed and said “What’s wrong NOW, Lynda” ~ that this would just confirm to them the “truth” of what our mother has been telling the whole family since I was 14 years old and she had me committed to an insane asylum”: “Lynda is CRAZY.”

For most of my life, I fully believed that I am crazy. HOW COULD “EVERYBODY” BE WRONG, AND ME BE RIGHT? Well, now I know the truth, that THEY are all wrong about me, and I am the one who is right. I beliece that I am far more in touch with reality, than all of my sisters and brothers, put together.



Pam ~ I love what you said about empathy. The abusers who don’t have any, tell those of us who do, that we are “too sensitive.” The truth is, they are TOO COLD.

I would rather be a Drama Queen than the Ice Queen.




Me too.:0)


Darlene, your son only discovered the lie when he saw the truth. But what if he had never been to the game? How do you know that what was told to you was a lie if the lie has been accepted as truth? Which false truth do you start with?



This is kind of the bottom line of the whole thing. This is the whole message, the whole blog the whole point. There would have come a time in his life where he realized that NO pro hockey team can play with crutches and canes. Just like we grow up to realize that beating is illegal. Rape is illegal. And because our belief system is so IN PLACE we may not apply that truth to ourselves, but realize it for others only
The first breakthrough that I had with this was when I was going through point by point having been molested by an adult babysitter. (woman) when I was just over 2 years old. I had so much guilt and shame around the whole thing… but why? Through the process, I realized that I thought that I could have stopped her from doing it. In realizing that I thought I should have been able to stop her, and why I thought I should have been able to stop her, I realized that BECAUSE I thought I could have been able to stop her but I did not stop her… I blamed myself. Two belief system discoveries that went together. I questioned WHY I even knew it was wrong at that age… that I thought I could have stopped her. AND in remembering her actions.. how she glanced at the door and window all the time… I realized that she had transferred her own guilt and shame on to me. I picked it up from her.
Huge huge topic Krissy ~ it doesn’t matter which false truth that you start with… just start. (I started with the youngest possible memory) I found out that the false beliefs ended up building on each other anyway so it wasn’t like I had to do years of examination to figure the whole thing out. It was way harder keeping the wires in their new places because they always wanted to go back to the places they were used to being.

Hugs, Darlene


@Darlene – I’m amazed at how you’re so spot on right again. It’s often so tragic when you see how these lies are so deeply rooted that they almost dictate our lives. Even though we might find evidence contrary to these lies, or find no evidence to confirm them…they still govern us. Indeed, it takes a lot of effort to deliberately remind ourselves of the truth.

However, the other side of the truth is that we hold a tremendous amount of responsibility for the “re-wiring”. Truth of the matter is, even though there might be people who will instill new truths in us, they need to come from within.

@Layla – My heart goes out to you. It is true that there are people around us who just cannot mourn when we mourn, and rejoice when we rejoice. In fact, what’s worse is that they might appear to be our “friends” when we hurt, but then when we find our freedom…we wonder where they are. It’s just another tragic truth.

However, what I want to assure you is that there ARE people who will mourn and rejoice with you all the way. It may be hard to find, but you’ve just gotta press on. People don’t like changes – sometimes even the positive ones. And plus, this is when you truly know who your true friends are.


to comment 38:

WOW. such a powerful insight about how the babysitter’s projected shame, and so many lies wove together. I was groomed at age ten by an older man for weeks leading up to the molestation, and this abuse was the 2nd of many major events in my PTSD complex. [parents’ divorce was first]. I started psych rehab in 1999, decades after those events. then started addiction treatment program in 2010. I would not be who I am now without these programs, and my wonderful girlfriend. Yes, rewiring is tough work. I totally get you. new habits take weeks to “gel” and unlearning old beliefs takes even longer. SO glad to be here, thank you for this community ! It is gratifying that I am not alone, and to witness how supportive you all are of one another. I have been wanting safe place for my whole life.


Sadly just fell out with my brother over ‘ little lies’ that have been in the family for decades. He was sexually abused by an uncle, bullied by his Dad- but when trauma surfaced he was told he was schizophrenic , had a chemical imbalance in his brain and he was totally brainwashed to believe this by psychiatric system and by my parents. He is a very sensitive guy and Ive kept hoping he would break free and stop seeing himself as some sort of leper, as I do love him. Ive tried to be patient as he tends to minimise the fact I was sexually abused by our Dad.However he came for dinner and started saying people with ‘mental illness’ should not have children as they pass the illness on. I told him this is not acceptable in my house – it feels as offensive as saying colored people should not be able to have kids. For a start I believe its by dealing with abuse issues that ‘mental health’ issue are overcome, but he just doesn’t see the connection. Sadly I cant let him undermine me anymore and when he got angry and stomped out , I just let him go. It seems my beliefs are now stronger than family ties and ties of friends – for the sake of my own wellbeing and survival I have to stand up for myself and break down all those little lies one by one. I will not accept the labels ‘mad’ etc any longer, the only acceptable label is ‘ human’. I had a human reaction to unacceptable behaviour- that is my truth
Darlene and Jasmine – thank you so much for your’e kind words it helps me to hold on to my reality xx



sorry to hear how your brother has knuckled under to the brainwashing. Good for you to stand your ground. Hope he emerges out of the mire someday. My mother made me doubt my sanity for many years, and today I had enough. I said the armtwisting and thumbscrews [guilt trips] had to stop. I would not help her ever again if it continued. I still need to distance myself from her at earliest opportunity. May your brother reclaim his dignity one day. We all deserve this.


Absolutely! Your comments (# 39) are absolutely exactly right! Thank you for being here, I appreciate your wisdom input and support so very much.
Hugs, Darlene

Thank you for sharing the story of your brother. It is a profound illustration of how we can understand how someone got really messed up and to have compassion for them, but still NOT let them be abusive towards us. This was very key for me in this process of emotional healing. I feel very sorry for my mother for instance, but I cannot let her hurt me anymore. Two separate sides of the same relationship. Two separate issues but I had to side with the healthiest choice which is NOT to let others treat me badly because I understand that they too were damaged by others. Not his or her fault cannot be the excuse anymore. Thank you for sharing! This is a victory for you and I am so blessed to be a part of it!
Hugs, Darlene

You make me smile. Your gratitude is infectious! I am glad that you are here too!
Hugs, Darlene


Dear Layla: Your comment, “I will not accept the labels ‘mad’ etc any longer, the only acceptable label is ‘ human’. I had a human reaction to unacceptable behaviour- that is my truth.”

Very profound, and very well said. Thank you for giving us that~

Dear Darlene: What you said to Layla, about her brother: “It is a profound illustration of how we can understand how someone got really messed up and to have compassion for them, but still NOT let them be abusive towards us. This was very key for me in this process of emotional healing. I feel very sorry for my mother for instance, but I cannot let her hurt me anymore…. I had to side with the healthiest choice which is NOT to let others treat me badly because I understand that they too were damaged by others. Not his or her fault cannot be the excuse anymore.”

Thank you for that! Something deep inside my heart seemed to thaw, when I read that. I didn’t realize, until I read your words, that I had been hanging on to guilt for maintaining healthy boundaries with certain people that I know are so abusive and messed up, because they have been very badly hurt in life, too. Your words lifted a burden that I have carried so long, I didn’t even know I was carrying it!

Dear Ian: I agree with everything Darlene said to you. Your enthsiasm and gratitude is so COOL! I am so glad you are here, too. I, too, have wanted a healing, understanding, caring community of fellow survivors for so long… but it was nowhere to be found, until I came across this awesome blog community of Darlene’s, last October or November. The help and healing I have gotten here in these past several months is absolutely life-changing.



PS~ AND ~ I know that this caring community values and cares about me… AND, I also know that I am valuable and worthy, even IF no one in this community cared about me or values me (although I know that you do)….. I know this, despite the fact that no one has replied in any way to my comment #34.

I’m not saying that to put a “guilt trip” on anybody! I realize that it’s very hard to answer every comment, and furthermore, I have already talked about the issues I brought up in my comment #34, elsewhere on Darlene’s EFB blog, and when I did, Darlene, and others, had some very affirming and healing things to say to me, in response to these very painful issues. So, maybe I have talked about these certain painful things “too much,” and people are weary of reading it… or really just too busy, this weekend… to respond to my over-long ramblings, yet again?

What I’m trying to say is this: the hurting mess that I was back in October or November, would have felt shattered that no one has responded in any way to my comment #34. BUT, thanks to Darlene, and thanks to ALL of the other wonderful caring people here on her blog, who do regularly reach out to me with healing, loving, validating, affirming words, I am NOT feeling shattered! Not even a little bit!

AND THAT AMAZES ME! Because, WOW, I really am getting so much BETTER!

Receiving affirmations and words of compassion from other survivors is always nice, but I no longer feel like I NEED that, in order to feel ok, and to know that I am in fact ok, and to know that what I am talking about is important…. important to ME, if not to anyone else.




Hi Lynda!
This is great ~ thank you for sharing your victory! YAY. I am so proud of you Lynda! You are doing so well and working so hard and I can see that it is paying off.
Hugs! Darlene

Hi Everyone
~ Just a note to all about comments ~ I get hundreds of comments. I generate 1000 comments every 7 to 9 weeks! I am trying to edit my book and develop some workbooks and other tools, but I have to cut back on how much I comment and respond in order to create the time that I need to do that so please, please know that I would comment back to my readers ALL DAY LONG if I could. But I just can’t. 🙁 I finally made the decision a few weeks ago to just get my other work done because I believe that it is for the greater good for all!

Please keep sharing. Hugs, Darlene

p.s. my new mothers day post (a letter to my mother) has now been published on the home page.


glad for the progress Lynda =)
never intended to ignore anyone, am brand new here. I can understand about wanting validation, [still angry at my mom, and have felt invisible for too many years, etc….] and thanks again for helping me feel welcome. =)

Darlene, good luck with the book !!!


Ian, Dear One, I didn’t feel ignored by you at all. Maybe I shouldn’t have posted that last commnet, because it could look like a passive-agressive insult or a ploy for attention, but it honestly wasn’t anything like that, I was just so amazed that something that wuold have bothered me badly months ago, now doesn’t! Wow, huh?

Because yes, Ian, I was made to feel invisible, ignored, a worthless nothing and a nobody, for so long. I really did FEEL invisible, much of the time. How awesome it is now to have DARELENE’S mantra in my head: I AM EQUAL.

I am Equally Worthy. I really AM! AWESOME.


Thanks Darlene for another great blog, and thanks particularly for highlighting so evocatively how we can pick up other people feelings, such as guilt and shame.. Although I am very aware of this, the more subtle messages I got from abusers was harder to spot. My father killed himself and one of the energetic feelings I have carried for a long time is a NO to life. That life was too overwhelming, full of pain, and that I was unequipped to deal with it and if I wasn’t careful I’d go the same way as my father. They were not my feelings, but his -and I believed them for the longest time. There were also unsubtle messages about that coming from my mother such as: you are weak just like your dad! Why can’t you be as strong as me? She also did everything for me. e.g cooking, cleaning, reminding me about this and that, so I never learnt to take care of myself. The message was affirmed again-“you are weak, stupid, overly sensitive”(voiced).And you are a damaged being and you cannot survive without your mother (unvoiced) So from both parents I was handed feelings that were not my own-indirectly from my father by his un-integrated feelings and subsequant suicide and directly from my mother’s voiced and unvoiced messages and actions. The messages were their own unresolved traumas-feelings of shame, fear, hopelessness, despair, grief and rage that they couldn’t/didn’t acknowledge as their own so like a hot potato they passed it on to me- and I took it, because I believed it was truth as of course my mother had my best intentions at heart. All lies.

@ Pam….And thanks Pam for your post about empathy. It really resonated with me because I was brutally criticised for having empathy-that it was a weakness, that my empathy would leave me destitute, alone and taken advantage of-just as it had done my father (my mother again). Whereas it was their weakness not to feel- whether it was pain, fear, anger, compassion or love. One of the biggest breakthroughs for me was realising my sensitivity was my greatest strength and actually a blessing, because I can feel things deeply. It is like a kaleidoscope of colours-how wonderful to feel so many different colours and intensity of emotions. However I needed to learn to separate feeling other people’s emotions and needs at the cost to my own. Being groomed by my mother to take care of her, I did this with others for the longest time. Now I am able to do both-I allow myself to feel deeply for others, but I do not take myself out of the equation. I am present to my own needs and feelings much, much more. I am still working on myself of course, the re-wiring can take time to strengthen so it is permanent, however I have a map now and fellow companions-so I am not alone anymore-even though so much of my work is done by myself.


Lynda and all,
Lynda, you mentioned that you have “Darlene’s Mantra” in your head ~ “I am equal” it made me smile. I thought I would share the Mantra that was in my head for so long when I was in the process of breaking through all the false belief systems and having to stand up to so many who wanted to keep me stuck, down, and as slave to their needs! My mantra was “Nobody’s going to break my stride” It was the song from the 80’s ~ here is the you tube video!


Hi Nadia,
Yes, these are very good points, great examples and additions to this subject. Thank you for sharing and for being here!
Hugs, Darlene


Great post and a lot of food for thought
To the readers that don’t know, I am Darlene’s husband and TJ’s dad
I will never forget the look on T’s face when the teams skated out for warm-up. He was so excited for the birthday present of a hockey game and especially his favorite team. My “teasing” was not age appropriate and my wanting for some sports bantering was too confusing for my little son. Eventhough T had started to play hockey he took my teasing as the truth. I had taken forgranted how this confusion would make him feel. I was one of the people who he trusted to tell the truth. I was molding and teaching him to become my rival but yet he was too young to know I was “lieing”
I know that this isn’t as horrific as some of the other “belief systems” that I instilled in my kids. There are many stories that I am sure will come out in the future. I am proud of you Darlene to show how such a little thing can be huge in a childs mind.
It saddens my heart to read the stories from survivors that were involved in “grooming”, who were involved in such horrific events that have devastated thier lives. I am glad for the ones who are trying to surface from the muck they have believed to be their truth.
To this day T does not take teasing. He is a deep minded young man. He is still confused about what is teasing and what might be subtle put-downs towards his thoughts and his beliefs and his grownig up to become a man.


Jimmy, thanks for your comments. I love reading Darlene’s thoughts and insights into her past, but it is equally helpful reading your perspective. From someone who is baffled at why her abusive ex can’t seem to get it (even though he has always professed to be trying his hardest), I am amazed that you have had the courage and awareness to acknowledge and successfully work on your issues.


Thanks Krissy. My journey has not been an easy one for me or my family. When I started I was just trying to get everyone off my back. It wasn’t until I started to work on my own beliefs and false truths that I “did” do my hardest to become a good father and husband. Darlene did do alot of “drawing her boundry” and would not settle for 2nd best, thank God, I am a better man for it. Not just for my family and wife but for myself. I am more at peace


I am so blessed by Jimmy B’s comments. It makes me very happy to know that Darlene has a husband who is worthy of her.

Being worthy, in my mind, doesn’t mean being perfect. It means caring enough to do the hard work to become a better person. It also means caring enough to be honest, even when the truth hurts.

That’s the kind of husband I have, too, and I am so blessed!



Lynda, I am so truly happy for you. Bet you never thought that you would have someone who would love you for who you are! I must admit I often wonder if such people exist!

I just got another note from ex full of platitudes, promises and pleadings. How can someone be so self-deceived? He proclaims his changes and vows never to revert to that abusive, harsh person he was – but who declared him changed anyway? I don’t know why, I can’t explain it, but when I read it, instead of being excited, I feel guilty and manipulated. I guess I have heard these promises before.

The other red flag (I think) is that he tells me that we both have to submit to God and His presence so we don’t have so much stress and arguing. But I hardly ever interact with him, so how can we have arguments? He pleads with me to sit down and talk, because he is now changed. I have refused. What he means in arguments is that he is not getting what he wants and gets angry.

Why is it that others are so quick to believe his lies? I guess for the same reason that I was, for many years. I guess people like us are trained to believe lies as truths. If others of authority say something, then it must be true. If they question our opinion, then we must be wrong and they are right. It is amazing that there are so many that are so easily hoodwinked into believe irrational statements, eg that just because he says he is sorry, I have to try harder; if I am non-communicative, then I am cold/bitter and God has to warm my heart; that if I cut off contact, we lose out on a chance to see what God could have done with a changed man in our lives, etc.

Sometimes I do wonder, though, after seeing Darlene’s and Jimmy’s experience, whether one ought to hang on? I mean, if Darlene had detached herself, what would have happened?


Actually, I did detach myself. I just didn’t kick him out, although he knew that was an option. I didn’t believe that he had changed until he proved it for a while. If your husband is getting angry because he isn’t getting his way, then he hasn’t changed yet. It isn’t that he can’t, but he might not ever believe that he has to. If Jim had not changed, I would have divorced him. I made that very clear. He had to do his own work though, and at the heart of the problem was that Jim really believed that he WAS more important then me. He believed that because he brought in the money, that he got to make all the decisions; he thought that because he was tired from work, he could be moody and yell at the rest of us and we should just understand. (I could go on and on about this) And he had to change that way of thinking. And if people change, they don’t have to keep saying it. They just DO IT.
And I told a lot of people that they are not GOD so stop playing the “God Card” on me. Using God as a manipulative tool is really dirty if you ask me.
Anyway, Jim said he was “sorry” too, but everytime I accepted his apology, he went back to acting like he should get his own way again. And everytime he did something that actually was a change, he thought he should get a reward. It was a long tough process.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Krissy and Darlene,
You are right, Darlene, it is a tough process. Within 24 hours after I married Stan, he was bullying, yelling, verbally abusive, and trying to convince me that, as a Christian wife, I needed to submit to his demands. He said if I didn’t, then I wasn’t really a Christian!

I told him: 1. Only God and I get to judge my heart and decide if I am “really a Christian,” 2. In my opinion, a misogynistic MAN wrote that scripture about wives submitting to their husbands, not God… HOWEVER, if my belief about that is mistaken, God will deal with me about it, when the time is right, in His own loving and merciful way, No Screaming Involved, and 3. Even IF that part of the Bible that tells wives to submit to their husbands is truly from God, right next to that scripture is a verse that commands husbands to love their wives, as Christ loved the Church, enough to DIE for her. THEREFORE, I said, Here is my bottom line is: If you aren’t dying, I am not submitting. End Of Discussion.

I also told my husband that, at the age I was then, 51, after all the abusive hell I had been through in my childhood, and then in my previous abusive marriages, that I had gone through too much hard work to ESCAPE from all of that abuse, to ever again willingly stay in yet another abusive relationship ~ not even for one MINUTE. I had healed enough by that point in my life that I no longer NEEDED a man. I no longer NEEDED anybody. All I NEEDED, was myself, and my Creator. Period. If I had to live in my car, or under a bridge somewhere, all alone and homeless, then that was what I was going to do, rather than continue to stay in a marriage where I was being yelled at and BULLIED.

And then I left him, immediately. I didn’t stay to argue, I just packed my things, and left. With him running behind me shouting after me, “That’s it, go ahead and RUN like a BIG CHICKEN, instead of staying and talking it out like a grown woman! You came here to New Mexico to RUN AWAY from your ex! That’s all you know how to do is, RUN AWAY!”

WHATever! It didn’t matter to me at that point, what Stan said, I was not going to allow him to BAIT me into staying and taking more of his verbal ABUSE. Screaming and yelling at me at the top his lungs, is ABUSE ~ it is NOT “talking things out.”

If the house is on fire, I told him once, you may yell at me to warn me f the danger. But, with the exception of a life or death emergency, Do Not Raise Your Voice to me, EVER. I refuse to stay in the same house with someone who is literally SCREAMING at me.

I left and checked myself into a hotel. A few minutes later, he was calling my cell phone, crying that he was going to kill himself. I told him, “You have had 4 wives before me leave you. If you were the type to kill yourself over something like that, I suspect you would have done it a long time ago. But, just in case you are serious, I am calling 911 and telling them that you are threatening suicide.” So I hung up, and I called 911. They sent a couple of cops out to his place to check on him. I know he didn’t like that!

After the cops left, then he was calling and cursing into my cell phone. So, I turned it off. The next day I found that he had left several screaming cursing verbally abusive HATEFUL messages in my voice mail. I saved them… just in case.

A few days later Stan called me in tears, OH he’s SO sorry, the problem, he says, is that he had not taken his prescribed antianxiety and antidepressant and mood stabilizing meds since we had gotten married, because he thought that he was “so happy now that he didn’t need them.”

“I finally called my psychiatrist at the VA hospital and told him what was happening, and he said that coming off all those meds all at once had given me a really bad withdrawal reaction. So I am now back on my medication. PLease forgive me! Please come home!”

I agreed to come home… but ONLY if we first went together to see his doctor and therapist. We did, and then I felt like it was safe to come home. But first, I told Stan, “Before I come back, I want you to listen to yourself, to the messages you left in my voice mail.” He listened, and he turned white as a sheet and started shaking. “I never knew I sounded like that! My God, somebody should shoot me! I sound just like my crazy brother!”

I told Stan that I didn’t care what or who he sounded like, or WHY he was sounding that way… DO NOT EVER TALK TO ME THAT WAY AGAIN. I will not stay married to you if you do.

Everything was lovely for a little while… and then some stupid thing that he didn’t like happened, and he was screaming again. I’m talking about idiotic stuff, like walking into the living room where I have my Bose stereo on, and I am happily singing along with an old Beatles song, “Hey Jude,” while I’m doing some housecleaning…. and Stan YELLS at me that the Beatles were druggies and commies and anti-Christian and how DARE I be singing along to one of their songs! Brilliant arguments, like THAT, was what we were having.

So, once again, I immediately grabbed some clothes and stuff, and I was out of there.

We went round and round like that several times, over the course of several months. Sometimes when I left, I checked into a hotel somewhere. If I didn’t have the money for that, then I slept in my car, with a sleeping bag, even when it was below freezing at night. I would sleep in one of the Walmart parking lots, where the lots were patrolled, and there was food and a restroom handy, 24 hours a day.

One day, when we were tentatively trying once again to make it together, and we weren’t even arguing at all, I noticed as he was getting ready for work one day that Stan seemed unusually guiet and subdued. So I asked him what he was feeling, just before he walked out the door. And then he told me that he was seriously considering running his motorcycle into a pole on the way to work, to commit suicide, because he “knew our marriage wasn’t going to last, just like all the others,” and he figured that I would be better off with his life insurance, than with him.

I could see that he was serious, so I told him, “You are going to the VA Hospital Emergency Room, right now.” He didn’t want to go, but I told him it was either that, or I would call both his psychiatrist, and 911, and let them force him to go. I then called a buddy of his, who is also a Vietnam Veteran with severe PTSD, told him what was going on, and he talked to Stan, and told him he would meet us at the Emergency Room, which he did, and he stayed with us for the several hours of observation that the ER drs did, until they decided to admit Stan.

So then Stan spend several weeks on the VA psych ward. The medicine they gave him at first made him like a zombie, with his tongue jumping all around in his mouth. I told the nurse, and she immediately gave him a med to counteract that dangerous side effect, and called his dr. and got his meds changed to something that finally helped him to settle down.

But, it still wasn’t enough to stabilized him. So his doctors told him that he really needed to go to a 9-week in-house VA program for combat Veterans with PTSD. He did not want to go. I told him, “You go, and maybe our marriage will work out, if you work the program and get the help there that is available to you. But if you don’t go, I will not be home when you get out of this psych ward.”

SO, he went. And, 9 weeks later, my husband came back a genuinely Changed Man.

This all happened within the first year of our marriage. If he hadn’t gone through that program, and really WORKED the program, we definitly wouldn’t be together today. (When he was being released, after his 9 weeks there, his doctor and counselors all told him how proud they were of him, because they had thought that he would be one of those who would NOT make it through the program~ that’s how bad he was when he got there!)

It wasn’t easy for me, though, when Stan came back home. I kept holding my breath, waiting for the other shoe to fall, and all hell to break loose once again. But, with the very rare exception of when Stan’s drs have changed his medicine and he reacts badly, we have been getting along beautifully ever since he came home from the PTSD program.

That was 6 years ago. Stan is making plans to go back through the PTSD program again soon, for a “tune-up.” We are also going to go together later this year, as soon as we’ve saved the money for the trip, to a couples PTSD week-long retreat in Angel Fire, New Mexico, at the first Vietnam Veterans Memorial that is located there. This retreat is free, and open to all combat veterans and their spouses. Since I also have PTSD, I am really looking forward to this!

OH how I wish, with all of my heart, that there were good solid helpful and AFFORDABLE programs out there, for non-veterans, with these kinds of issues. I know how scarce good help is… I had to take my divorce settlement money from my last divorce in 2003, which was enough money to pay cash for a decent, modest house, and I used most of that money to pay my way through the renowned mental health clinic where my PTSD was finally diagnosed, and where I got some good helpful therapy at long last. They saved my life there, very literally… but, unfortunately, because I had lost my good health insurance in the divorce, it took most of my thousands of dollars, to get the therapeutic help that I have so desperately needed since I was 12 years old!

It shouldn’t have to be that way, in my opinion!



Hi Lynda. Very interesting and touching to hear about how you had to build your’e relationship with your’e husband. Also appreciate hearing about Darlene’s experience with Jimmy. You are both so honest.Ive had two marriages and a few relationships but haven’t met a man who’s willing to do the work yet – though I hope to, as I get healthier.
I agree with you totally Lynda that there should be help with PTSD programs for non veterans too. PTSD is the most significant issue in most societies and if adequate, long term care, education and support was adequately funded then maybe we would make some headway in building healthier communities and in breaking the cycle of abuse and in reducing crime.


Susa > Lynda:

Have you considered a therapist who works on a sliding scale? Some will see clients for anywhere from free, to whatever you can afford to pay.


Hi Susa,
Yes I’ve tried that, with results ranging from hellish to somewhat helpful.

My biggest help, besides the Meier Clinic in Richardson, Texas, where Paul Meier, MD, was my personal doctor… but VERY expensive… is this blog of Darlene’s, her posts, as well as the readers’ comments, and a book that really helped me to understand myself and my whole “crazy” life, which is entitled: “Trauma and Abuse,” by Harvard Clinical Psychiatrist Judith Herman, MD.

It is a pithy, scholarly book, not an “easy” read, but I’ve read it several times and intend to read it again. In Dr. Herman’s landmark book (which has a longer title, I can only remember the short version of that book’s title), she coined the term “Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.” Her premise is that PTSD, and C-PTSD, are perfectly NORMAL responses to horrific trauma experiences. (Which makes me wonder why they can’t go ahead and lose the word “Disorder” from the name of this condition?? Why not: Complex Post-Traumatic Shock?)



Susa > Lynda:

True… You sometimes have to go through quite a few to find a compatible one, but then that is true no matter what they charge… I found that out the hard way… UGH.

I also read quite a lot, and have many books – especially about dissociation and PTSD. I may even have the one you mentioned. I find that I start reading the books, and dissociate, and don’t remember a thing, though. I have to read, and re-read over and over in order to absorb things throughout my system.

Richardson, Tx was where I was inpatient back in the late seventies for the better part of a year. (But not the same clinic).


Lynda, WOW, what a “big man” to project his insecurities on someone he is supposed to love and honor…
you are right, yelling is not talking. good for you. nobody needs that nonsense. and the 911 call, LMAO…. maybe not so funny, I know a few things about depression, but wowww….. grats for standing your ground. That takes courage. I was in bad relationship on-off seven years. She had chronic case of the gimmes. complained for hours on end about things I had heard a dozen times already, yet refused to DO anything to change those situations, [okay, I’m a guy… took long time to learn how to just listen, she was no help in that department. is long story.]

glad your husband got help. IT IS hard work, even when we sign ourselves up.



I too was trained to meet the needs of others and ignore my own. I think that is why empathy is so strong in me but I also think I lost empathy for myself. I now view my needs as equal to the needs of others. I have empathy for myself…on the good days anyway.:0)


Lynda ~ thank you for sharing your story with Stan and how you drew your boundaries!

Layla ~ good points about breaking the cycle of abuse and lowering crime! I also think that so much of the help that IS in place focuses on the wrong things. I went to some really bad therapists.

Pam ~ I LOVE your comment so I am going to re-post it!

Pam wrote:
“I too was trained to meet the needs of others and ignore my own. I think that is why empathy is so strong in me but I also think I lost empathy for myself. I now view my needs as equal to the needs of others. “

YOUR NEEDS ARE EQUAL to the needs of others. All of our needs are! That is one of the most important components of equal value!
Hugs, Darlene


Lynda, thanks again for sharing yourself. I don’t think I had heard the full story about Stan. I just assumed that after all the horrible marriage experiences you had, suddenly this dream empathetic warm person came along, and voila – you are married, in a “normal” healthy relationship.

Sometimes, though, I must admit I feel a tad guilty reading the great stories – how is it that you and Darlene had the wherewithal to stick through it? (Yes, Darlene said she had detached, but still found it “liveable” and “communicable” to be in the same house.) A lot of people also wondered how I stuck it out for nearly 25 years (someone apparently told a friend that she would have quit after one day with him!). In the end, I really didn’t care even about the theology any more – I said, “You guys debate the theology of marriage/divorce, I am getting my hand out of the boiling water because you are taking too long, and I’m about to lose my hand.” How come your “hand” wasn’t burning? (A rhetorical question, I know, because all our situations are different.)


Hi Krissy!
Good for you! I love your “Im getting my hand out of the boiling water” statement! If Jim had not shown REAL FORWARD MOVEMENT, I would have left. If divorce isn’t an option, then there is NO HOPE for change, healing or anything else. I did not keep my hand in the boiling water.
I have worked with lots who chose divorce and I stood by them. Some abusers are NOT willing to change at all, not one bit. And that is their problem not mine!
Hugs! Darlene


Krissy, my hand WAS burning… that’s why I kept pulling it out of the boiling water and leaving. I don’t know how many times I left Stan during our first 8 months of marriage, before he finally went into the hospital and got the help he needed for his severe combat-related PTSD, but it was several times.

The real question is: WHY did I keep coming back to Stan, during those 8 months before he got some real help, and made some real, healthy changes? The answer is long and complicated but to make it short and sweet, basically I kept coming back because I saw in Stan the willingness to really try to change, whereas with the others I had been married to, all I ever got was lip-service at best, with no real effort at any real, lasting change.

I will also say this, Krissy: I was Brand New in my recovery from my lifelong Zero-Self-Esteem and Extreme Emotional Brokenness problems…. what I call my Complex-Post Traumatic Shock condition… and, because I was so new to the concept that I really do have equal value to anyone else, I wasn’t quite far enough along in my recovery, to avoid making yet another marriage mistake. In other words, if I had been healthier, back in July 2004, I wouldn’t have married Stan in the first place! The danger signs were there, before I married him, but I was still operating “just enough” under my old unhealthy conditioning, to either not consciously see those danger signs, or to minimize and rationalize them away. But, although I wasn’t yet quite healthy enough to not marry Stan, I WAS healthy enough, to not STAY with him, when he started verbally abusing me before the ink was dry on the marriage license.

I am very glad, now, that I am married to my Best-Friend-Husband Stan! HOWEVER, if I were to meet him TODAY for the first time, and if he were, today, the un-recovered Stan that he was when I met him, I would not even date him, let alone marry him. Since it’s all turned out so well though, I have to say that I’m glad that I was still just “broken” enough, to marry someone who was also pretty badly broken at the time… if you know what I mean! I just thank God that Stan had reached a point in his life where he was FINALLY ready to get some REAL HELP, and make some REAL CHANGES… I am his 5th wife, and Stan was 54 when I married him, so it took him a lot of years and a lot of failures, to finally “GET IT” ~ and the same is true for me!

My awesome, supportive 71-year-old Aunt, who is a newlywed now, after losing her first husband of 45 years to cancer in 2006, tells us that she admires our willingness to put into practice that old proverb that says “If at first you don’t succeed, try, and try again.” But I have to tell you the truth, it is EXHAUSTIING and EXTREMELY DAMAGING to go through multiple broken marriages/relationships. It doesn’t get any easier with each failure, either… it actually gets harder. It’s like going through multiple severe car crashes: each one leaves you more damaged, more scarred, more broken, more traumatized, and each one also leaves you even less capable than you were before, of finding, and maintaining a healthy relationship, because it is very difficult to attract a healthy partner when you are carrying a ton of baggage and covered in a mass of emotional scars.

You know about trauma/PTSD flashbacks, right? Believe me when I say that you have RELATIONSHIP flashbacks, when you’ve gone through the kinds of failures that we have! It didn’t help, either, that I moved in with him into the house where he had lived with his previous wife. DUH! HINDSIGHT!!

ANYWAY, my point is, that if Stan and I could finally get it right, at this late stage in our lives, despite our respective long string of multiple major car crashes…. ANYBODY can do it!!



PS~ Things got a lot better for us, too, when we moved out of that house and out of that town where he had lived with the wife he refers to as “Number Four.” Stan is bad with names, so he just goes by the number when he talks about any of his exes. Which he seldom does, thank God. Seldom talks about the exes, I mean…


…one of Stan’s exes, Number Three it was, POKED him on his facebook the other day! That REALLY ANNOYED me!!!! OK, so maybe I was having a bad menopausal hormone day that day, but regardless, I do NOT want any of our exes POKING us, and Stan feels the same way. We don’t want them poking us on Facebook, and we also don’t want any of them poking us anywhere, anytime, ever again, with anything. The POKING days are LONG OVER…



good for you Lynda.

stalking exes don’t help anything or anyone. I certainly would not advise anyone to stick with a problematic partner, but very glad your effort [and Stans] paid off. That is a humbling experience, to know how bad things used to be, and how much work it took to grow into what you know today. and also something to be proud of. You both get the rewards of that hard work. I am still in middle of the process. [recovering from an addiction that has hurt my girlfriend a lot, in ways I am only starting to fully appreciate] I am not out of the chrysalis yet. there is a lot of fears to break through, old programs to dismantle … and the really hard part, revealing things I am still ashamed of, taking a risk to trust other people, after so much pain, rejection, abuse, neglect, and so much evidence of people who are not trustworthy.

It helps me to know that this work pays off. Thank you.


Hello Everyone,
I wanted to mention here that I wrote and publsihed a new post about how some of those lies that we hear, the lies that end up forming our belief system, manifest themselves in our thoughts and lives.

You can read the new post here: ” Missing Self Esteem? It Happens in Childhood”

Great comments on this post too! Thanks for sharing everyone!


Hello again. Well done Lynda, I’m pleased you’ve worked it out – what more can I say!

I wonder if anyone can help me overcome my anxiety about leaving home. I’ve had counselling and now can’t afford to keep it up (we’re on disability only). I know walking out is a NORMAL thing to do for most people, but I have had C-PTSD issues and I’m working through those with the help of my wife who also has C-PTSD issues of her own. I don’t really want to talk about my past traumas and grieving here.

I want to go out, and I know I’ve nothing to FEAR, but I just can’t seem to get the confidence? or enthusiasm? or the right mindset? to go. I’m not really sure what’s wrong with my mindset at all, but I do know it’s a subtle anxiety feeling, whenever I think of leaving. I’m trying to be logical, and tell myself it should be easy, but! I have MORE stress to cope with in STAYING indoors just talking to my wife, who is compassionately looking after me, whereas I could lose ALL that distress and guilt feelings by deciding to go – why won’t I? Why won’t I even try? I can’t understand myself yet. I know I’ve nothing to FEAR, as I said before, so it’s not agoraphobia. If anyone has any bright ideas, I’d be grateful to hear from you.

Keep up the good work everyone,
Sid xx


@ Lynda about the exes most of mine want to kill me LOL! So its not an issue and one is such a nice guy and a gentleman he would not. And he is probably in jail anyway. LOL! I am fortunate that my husband really does not have any exes. He is Chinese and grew up going to school and working in his parents and uncles Chinese restaurants and their laundry’s. He did not have time to date. MY advice is send the ex a scary crazy but non threatening message so they don’t contact him again! Or have a friend do it I will volunteer if you want. I have got nothing to lose!
Just a comment not a question really. We have a friend who is an ex NAVY seal who is a genius but obviously suffering from very severe PTSD. I confronted him on it so he would get help he denied it then got caught doing crazy stuff and is making very positive changes to his life. He did finally admit to having a problem but is against getting help because he is pastor. I have known him for 34 years going on 35. He would never hurt or use us I know that from experience and I am not in the position to give him ultimatums. Plus he is one fo the few friedns I have that steps up for me when I need a friend.
All I can do is pray for him. Your post gives me hope and he is starting to make very positive changes. And the posts on his page are not as crazy as they were.


Hi Sid
I can understand not wanting to talk about issues here, many feel that way. Lots of people use a screen name so they don’t feel so “exposed” but for others that is not helpful. I am so sorry that you are going to have to give up your counselling.

The only way that I know about HOW to get through the process is to talk about the issues somewhere. There is something about “saying it to others, and getting it out of my head” that makes a huge difference. For me even more important then that, was to discover and talk about where the issues began. I discovered that all of mine had a root and there were lies attached to the roots. I wish I could offer you more solution then that!
Hugs, Darlene


I had some terrifying shocks, and froze solid. I could not move a muscle, and couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t move for a long time (I didn’t know about the fight/flight/freeze process in those days). I was traumatised not only by the shock, but the shock of not being able to move. Once I realised that I COULD move again, my mindset had become stuck in a groove of believing that moving was a difficult thing to do – it sort of left me with a kind of ‘agoraphobia’ but it’s not FEAR, it’s anxiety that’s the cause. I can’t seem to regain the normality of it, and yet I’m working daily saying to myself ‘it’s easy, not difficult to go’ – the trouble is, I don’t really believe what I’m telling myself about it. I haven’t gone, therefore it’s NOT easy, is what comes to mind – vicious circle! I can’t just ‘pull myself together’ and go.

My wife has been supportive, but she doesn’t know all the answers either. She talks to me for hours and hours about my problem – and she says that talking about it only confirms my belief that it’s hard to go out! I stew in it, she says, and tries to stop me being so anxious by taking my mind off my problem for awhile. We live quite isolated, and have no other friends or family we can confide in.

My counsellor said he’s taken me as far as he can go – he’s been good at helping me overcome the C-PT shocks, but he can’t MAKE me do something I balk at, and I can’t afford to keep going to him. I do want to get over this. I’m elderly, (actually old), but won’t make that an excuse. I’m living in fear about other things, like losing our home, and lack of income, and that’s stressful. But I need to get over this whether or not we lose our home.

I’ve changed a lot of my old beliefs recently, (all part of my trauma counselling) so I know I can change this belief too, but HOW? I just want to get up and go out, as any normal person would.

Sid xx


Hi Sid,
I wish that I could “tell” you how. I can only tell you how I did it, and my blog posts are reflections and accounts of how I realized where those beliefs came from. I had “freezing problems” too. I found out that they began very young and them that was a default way of coping. I realized the lies that I believed about myself in relation to the times that I began freezing. I realized that they were in fact lies, that it was not my fault, that I did not cause the event that caused me to freeze and that by freezing I was NOT giving permission for the trauma to take place. It was the process that enabled me to finally realize that I am not that young powerless person anymore.
I can feel your desire to break through this barrier Sid. Keep going forward; in my case the persistence really paid off!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

Thank you for your kind reply. I’m about to read more of your blogs to see if they have any help for me.

I’ll keep ‘noticing’ my subtle mindset that causes me to think that it’s a ‘difficult’ thing to do, and ensure I try to change that mindset each time I notice it. I keep trying to tell myself it’s ‘easy to leave’ but I don’t yet believe it. Maybe if I can believe it, I’ll just get up and go. It’s my strategy for the moment, but whether it will work or not I’ve no idea yet.

Sid xx


I am sure you will find lots more info and help in the other blog posts! I overcame so many things it is like I was re invented! My life (and the life of my family) had changed 100% ~ I live, really really live today. I thrive!
keep sharing! I look forward to hearing from you,
hugs, Darlene


Hey Sid,

I just read your latest posts about the C-PTSD, which is what my dr. diagnosed me with, and your anxiety about leaving the house. I have that anxiety, too.

One BIG help for me with that is our rescue dog, Lady. We got her 4 years ago from a no-kill rescue organization, where she had been adopted, and taken back, “many many times” during the 6 months they had her, due to her behavorial issues. She had originally been found as a puppy, abandoned, injured, starving on the streets.

It soon became apparent to my husband and I that our Lady-dog has PTSD. She has all the symptoms… startle reflex, panic attacks triggered by various movements/sounds/places, frequent nightmares in which she sobs like a child in her sleep, then moans and howls and growls heartbreakingly when we hold her and comfort her out of a nightmare, it is as though she is trying to tell us all about it. When we say, “Did bad people hurt you and make you cry,” she snarls and moans… it is so pitiful.

So Lady is a perfect match for us, and Stan and I just about live to keep her HAPPY. Lady LOVES going for a walk all over town. So, almost every day, I take her, no matter how much my insides want to isolate in the house and stay invisible and “safe.” With Lady at my side, I boldy go where I otherwise might not be able to go, and I do it just to see her big toothy happy doggie smile.

Lady also loves to go for rides. So we take her, at least once a week, if not more. Again, it gets us out of the house… FOR HER.

We rescued our Lady-dog, and she is rescuing us right back!!

Sid, you mentioned the possibility of losing your house, income worries, old age worries. I am 58, my husband is 62. Just over a year ago, we did lose our house. We thought it was the end of the world. I didn’t think we would survive it!

Well guess what… it turned out to be, literally, the Best Thing that could have happened to us. Where we are now… PERFECT for us, for so many reasons. The best part is that our next-door neighbors are our new best friends. They are a couple our age, well she is 59, he is 66 today… (gotta go print the b-day card on the desktop, we got the cake already. They brought me a card and cake on my May 2 b’day.) This couple are like our hispanic twins, they are just like us, except not nearly so tall. He has PTSD from Vietnam, just like my husband, and she has C-PTSD from past domestic abuse, just like me. We all 4 have a problem with leaving our respective little houses… so, we help each other with that.

Only problem… our female dog hates their female dog. Luckily there is a 6 ft. privacy fence between our back yards!

As Darlene said in one of her recent comments that I just read, I, too, believe that we all have a “light” inside of us, that will guide us on the right path to the best place for us, if we will just be still, and listen, and then follow that light. My husband and I were praying hard… crying hard, too!, when we lost our house, and my husband said he felt a prompting in his spirit to look on craigslist for low-down, inexpensive, no-credit-check homes for sale. He found this place, that way. He had a “strong good feeling” about it, when he read the ad.

NOT ME, though, I thought it was a SCAM. There are a lot of evil scammers out there, and if it sounds too good to be true…. you know the rest, right?! I was so leery of this place, I told Stan I wasn’t going to ride along the 200 miles to see it. But THEN, something inside of MY spirit nudged me to go. So I did. WOW. HOME! And so inexpensive, we will have it paid off in less that 4 years from now, paying a few hundred LESS than we were paying for a 30 year loan on the old place.

We closed through a well-established, reputable title company, with title insurance and all, so we KNOW this is legit. We believe we were led here… ok, it’s not perfect, it needs a little work, but then, so do we! It’s a peaceful place.

My point of the story is that, IF you lose your home, try thinking of it as a great adventure on your spiritual journey… you never know where you may end up, and it may just be the place you need to be, to help you end your isolating.

HUGS to you and your wife,


@Pinky, your comment made me smile ~ thanks!!

When my hubby’s ex poked him on his fb, I was sitting across the room and he said, “Oh, NO! Guess who just poked me on FB!” He was upset, because this happened a couple of months AFTER we had gently set some boundaries with her… which she said she understood and accepted at the time, but, apparently not… it’s a long story, I won’t go into all of it, what the boundary setting was about and WHY it had become necessary. To bottom line it, it seems that the man she is now married to (whom she left Stan for, back in the mid-90s, after their 10-year relationship/marriage)… this new husband of hers is now in very poor health, wheelchair-bound, and from the sounds of it, he may not be alive much longer. So it became apparent to us, from the tone of her messages when she first reached out to Stan several months ago on FB, that she was trolling for a replacement husband, getting ready for when the current husband dies… posting on his wall about how she was “loving” the changes, etc, she sees in Stan, that is apparent on his fb page, and tripping down memory lane with him, all fond memories, of course..

SO, when she went and POKED him on fb, after we had told her, a few months ago, that Stan and I had agreed to have no exes as fb friends, for the sake of the health of our union… Stan asked me, being the non-techie type, HOW DO I BLOCK HER? So we, I mean I, but at his request, IMMEDIATELY blocked her A**……… TAKE THAT, #3!! Number Five pulls no punches and takes no prisoners.



Thank You Lynda! We’re not quite in the same boat as you were, but are really grateful for your positive reply. Both my wife and I are disabled, and have cats to look after, and they wouldn’t kindly accept a dog (which we couldn’t walk anyhow).

We try to ‘think positive thoughts’ daily – it’s one of my wife’s strategies 🙂 She is very supportive, but also has her own C-PTSD to deal with. She says, ‘we’ll cross those bridges when we come to them’ as regards our home and income, but I worry myself sick over it all. I wanted to be able to look after my wife properly, as a good husband should. She tells me I’m good enough 🙂

I have been told that this anxiety (agoraphobia) is a ‘normal’ reaction to PTSD, and not to dwell upon it too much. I’ll try that strategy for awhile, and try to calm down.

Hugs back,


You just made me laugh so much. Its good to remember we can have fun and softness for each other on our journeys. Thankyou xx


Some days I’m agrophobic. Here in the uk I phone samaritans and one day a lovely lady spoke me through getting out the door. She spoke to me about getting outside my comfort zone and realizing I, as an adult, could keep myself safe now. Some days it takes a while but I find by listening to, and reassuring myself Im making more and more trips. In many ways I realize as a child I was taught to be harsh on myself. Now Im beginning to see overcoming Fear is more genuine when it is gently mastered with kindness.
By the way my dog is a bit scared of both my cats but loves them too, we all cosy up daily. Hugs xx


Sid, cats are precious and so low maintenence. Unfortunately Stan and I are both allergic to cats. Our Lady-dog LOVES them, we suspect she had cats in her original home. She grooms herself like a cat. And when she sees a cat, she gets SO EXCITED.. she jumped straight over our 6 ft tall fence with ease, to get to our neighbor’s cat, that’s back when we first got her and she was skinny. Now she’s too fat to jump quite that high, thank goodness. One time I was walking her in the park, when a CAT appeared out of nowhere, and Lady pulled my shoulder halfway out of socket trying to run after it. No lie! So then, the following week, as I was holding her leash with my left hand to protect my healing right shoulder, she saw another cat, and took off after it at a dead run… I was standing still, looking the other way when that happened, and wasn’t prepared.. I had her leash wrapped around my left wrist and as she ran, before I could stop her, the leash tightened and simultaneously slid down my hand and… BROKE my middle finger! Again, No Lie!! So now when I walk her, I do it Hands Free…. her leash is looped through the belt around my waist.

She’s an Australian Cattle Dog, aka Red Heeler, and seems to have a lot of Dingo in her, hence the high jumps and amazing vocals. She wieghs almost 70 pounds, so she keeps me in shape!

Anyway, Sid, that last thing you said, about being gentle with yourself… I have found that is ALWAYS the best way for me.

sigh…. Lady didn’t get her walk today, I was so busy. The sun set an hour ago, and now she is lying at my feet pouting and grumping and looking miserable. I can’t stand it. SO I will now log off this netbook, get the ballcap with the 3 led lights in the brim, hook the fur-girl up to my waist, and we’ll go do a night walk.



[…] up well into my adult years not ever realizing that I did in fact have a choice.  And as a child, I bought that lie, that I was the one who was […]



Another great blog.. I guess I have many different belief systems intertwined that I need to sort out. I am so glad it doesn’t have to be done in one day. I think the biggest belief systme I need to work on is my value as a human being. I tell myself that the past things said over and over are not true..but I see many of my reactions are programmed by that old way of believing.

I love how you explain things.




My belief system is indeed skewed. That is as much as I can acknowledge at this time. This is the beginning and where I am currently.

Another thought came to me: I have always hated it when I talk about something that occurred when I was abused and someone says, “I believe you if no one else does.” I do not need people to believe me! I know what happened and that it is not my imagination or a lie. While I appreciate the support and the sentiment expressed, those comments somehow feel condescending to my story, life, and memories. This is somewhat of a tangent from the original quote but is what came to mind immediately upon reading the post.


Hi Ronnie
That sounds like a great place to begin!
I have heard that expression too! I never thought about it that way though! You are right, that is an ODD thing to say isn’t it? It sounds manipulative too.
Thanks for highlighting that point.
Hugs, Darlene


This is so my family…….they called them little white lies.


Darlene, your posts are so good for me. I find something relevant in every one of them.

I was lied to by my mother, not so much in flat statements, but in her repeated actions toward me. I was shoved into my little coat so often as she got me ready for school I got the message–I was ruining her life. I loved her and wanted her to be happy, so I thought that the way to do that was to remove myself from her life–I told a little classmate that I felt like sticking a knife in my heart. I was, oh, around 7 or 8.

Just a couple of years ago, she herself told me that, unlike other mothers, she was not happy to see the yellow school buses because that meant that she had to stay up after her third-shift job and get me ready for school. Ah, that explains the coat thing. I am so sorry I was born, mom, you couldn’t go to bed until after I left the house.

But that wasn’t the real reason. It was because she has NPD and someone will pay for any situation that she finds displeasing to her. The fact that she had to take care of me as a single mother was not pleasant to her even after I learned to get myself ready for school, and she made that clear in myriad ways.

I grew up believing I wasn’t worth the air I breathed. I wanted to die so many times, and tried to make that happen twice. After the second time, I found someone to talk to who began telling me some truths–it was hard, after so many decades, to wrap my head around them. But she made sense. My experiences I had had did not mesh with reality, and I slowly came around to believing I WAS worth the air I breathed, and so much more.

It has been a rewiring in my brain–you know, it’s not just a metaphor; your neurons, as you start believing truth, start sending messages over your new “truth tracks” in your brain–and it’s been so slow, but then, things had been quite firmly entrenched for quite awhile; the train had been running on the same lie-engendered tracks for so long it was running by itself, and I had to purposefully tell myself things that most people grow up just knowing because their tracks haven’t been laid by lying, resentful, narcissistic people.

For a long time, my truth train started out of the station after the lie train did, and that was while I was telling myself the truth (sometimes actually out-loud talking to myself). Then it started leaving at the same time, and that was when things got confusing and I had to choose quickly which one I’d be on. Now the truth train is beginning to leave the lie train at the station. It feels so good after so long feeling badly.

I am hoping everyone else on here gets their truth train beating out their lie train. Keep plugging away, everyone.


My mama said that when I was a baby, I hardly ever cried. I hardly even babbled. I just *sat there* and looked around or *stared off into space.*

My mama said that I was such a *good, quiet baby* that a family friend began to worry about me. The friend said that maybe I was deaf, and that was why I never babbled like other babies, and why I never cried very much.

My mama said that when she was pregnant with me, she was miserable. That she had a bad tooth and two little ones to care for. That she didn’t breast feed me like the others, she was just too sick.

My mama said, when I asked her once why there were so few photos of me as a baby, toddler, small child, that we were too poor to afford film during that time. (Though not a year went by without plenty of photos of my older brother and sister, or my two year younger brother.)

My mama said to her confidante, not knowing I could hear, “I did not want these last two children. They were certainly not my idea! L. (my dad) insisted on sex and got me pregnant. I told him Karenina was HIS to raise, I had mine, these were HIS. But I have to deal with them anyway, sigh, because he has to work shift work so I can work day shift.”

My mama said, to her mother, thinking I wouldnt understand what I heard… or perhaps knowing I could and not caring…”I just can’t love Karenina. She looks like L.’s people (my dad’s) not like me. Sometimes it’s hard to realize she was ever inside me, she’s so unlike me.” My grandmother said, to my horror, but in my defense, “Her coloring is not like you, but she looks a lot like you in her features, Mildred.” My mama looks hard at my features, holding my little face between her hands, “Well, maybe, but I can’t see it.”

My mama said,”You had earaches, and ran high fevers. Many a night I had to sit up with you all night, so tired I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I would fall asleep and you would start your screaming and wake me up all over again.”

My mama said “You were born defective. You have two ureters from one of your kidneys. You had real bad infections and we had to give you sulfa drugs until you outgrew it. I nearly went crazy with your crying and complaining.”

My mama said, “You are too old to be wetting this bed! (I am 3, still with kidney pain) I am going to spank you every morning until you stop this!”

My mama said, “One time when you were just a toddler, you were outside in the yard playing and bent over, and a rooster found a little hole in your panties, and pecked your butt. Your daddy wrung that rooster’s neck. That rooster was an Easter chick pet of GB and GG (my golden older brother and sister) that I had let them raise in the yard. They cried and cried, and when I cooked it they would not eat a bit of it. Poor little children, they were so upset.”

My mama said, “One time when you were just a toddler, you were out in the yard playing, and picked up a bee right off a flower.” She acted it out playing the part of me, with me looking vacant and dumb, picking up a bee. “I could not believe you had done that. Picked up a bee, for heaven’s sake. Your little hand swelled up until the skin started to crack. I was afraid we might have to take you to the doctor, but you got over it, finally.”

My mama said, “You were such a daydreamer. You would just sit there, looking out the window, with one eye crossed in toward your nose. It’s a wonder it didn’t stick that way.”

My mama said, “I love you, Karenina. I always have.”

My mama said, “


Oh just one more?

My mama said, “Poor GG (golden girl) has had allergies all her life. She used to get croup, and I would get in the shower with her and hold her in my arms, and rock her back and forth until she could breathe right. Then I would dry off, dry her off so gently, and rock her sweet little body in my arms watching over her all night long. I am so glad that you have always been such a healthy child, not like poor little GG.”


YAY for the truth train! That is awesome! I love your comments. Thank you for sharing with me.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Donna,
Ya, I heard that “little white lies” thing too… jeeze..
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, “little white lies”, like my sister had “nerve problems” when in fact she got the worst of the abuse, but that’s what my parents used to tell everyone. I had “authority” issues because rather than let him get his way with me, I fought back or at least that’s what I remember (so much is still blocked), so I got the physical abuse. It got so bad that I stayed away from the house as much as I possibly could, even past my curfew times, knowing that I was going to get it when I got home. And they hid behind their religious beliefs. I hated going to church watching him stand up there as a deacon and pillar of the church professing to be this Christian, all the while in the privacy of his home, he was abusing his wife and children. To this day, I have control issues. My first marriage failed because my ex tried to control me. As I look back, I realize he was too much like my father. I moved out as soon as I graduated, and we married very young. My husband now is nothing like my ex or my father. He has been so supportive of me and all my issues.


Hi Donna,
YES that is the big thing ~ the abuse cause life long damage; that is what we are doing here; validating and healing from that damage!
hugs, Darlene

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