Loneliness in Recovery and Emotional Healing




Lonely in a crowdAs a child I was aware of a feeling of longing for something and of not being sure what I was longing for. It was as though something was missing but I didn’t know what. I naturally concluded that whatever was missing was in me and my fault.  As an eight year old child, I remember watching the musical movie “Oliver” and “knowing” deep in my soul that I understood that orphan boy, even though I was not an orphan myself. When Oliver sang the song “Where is Love” I thought that he was reading my mind. I didn’t even question why I felt such an affinity with the character in that movie who was a very young and unwanted orphan, kicked out of the orphanage because he admitted that he was hungry. I took that as a warning that I better not do or say anything in my own unhappy home least I also be banished.

 As an adult I could relate those same feelings and I labelled them the feeling of extreme loneliness. I felt guilty and ashamed that I felt that way. I thought that by feeling that way I was letting down my friends and family. I could feel alone in a crowd; I could feel alone with my best friends.  As I looked back on my life I realize that I had felt alone all my life. I felt different. I felt like something was missing in me. I felt like something was wrong with me.  I was alone.

 As I began to recover, I was acutely aware of those feelings.  At first I thought that it is because ultimately, we are all alone on the healing journey.  But as I got stronger and sorted out so much of my past and my pain, the loneliness began to feel different.  It began to dissipate.

 I talk about re-parenting myself, and what that really means is that I went back and looked at certain events that were mishandled by the adults in my life.  It wasn’t that I “changed the memory of the event”, but I looked at how I had been discounted through the event. I looked at how I had not been taken care of and how my emotional pain had been dismissed. First by them and then by me.

 This includes times when emotional pain was ignored and when any kind of abuse was ignored or invalidated.  This also includes psychological abuse such as neglect and or verbal abuse; physical abuse, sexual abuse, spiritual abuse or any other kind of devaluing treatment. And looking at the roots of all this stuff was not about what “they did” or what I was taught they had a “right” to do either.  This was not about blame, this was about MY FEELINGS. Realizing now I felt about certain events, validating and owning those feelings and emotions where they had not been validated in the past.

 From there, I looked at what I believed about myself because of those events.  For example, My father never paid attention to me, he barely noticed me, and I never once considered that HE was wrong or that it had to do with something missing in him.  I assumed that it had something to do with me and something wrong or missing in me.

 If I was blamed for my mother’s bad mood (if you were not so naughty, I would not be in this bad mood) or for her depression (because if she was really sad, it must be because I was so naughty) then over time I believed that I actually caused her bad mood or depression. I believed that I was a failure ~ that I had failed her and let her down and that I was a disappointment.  I believed that I was not good enough. I concluded and believed therefore that I was not lovable or valuable.

 The longing that I felt, which I thought was loneliness was the longing to have some sort of real relationship with another person. A relationship based on equal value instead of what I had become so accustomed to; that the other person in the relationship was much more valuable then I was. Deep down I believed that everyone else had more value than I did. Worse than that was that I didn’t even realize I believed it. I had a very false view of myself.  I noticed that I accepted treatment from many people that I would NEVER dish out to anyone else, and that showed me that I didn’t even regard myself as though I was just as valuable as everyone else.

 I wanted to be heard, understood and I wanted my opinion to be accepted as a valid opinion and not dismissed as “oh, what do you know? But I didn’t know how to stand up for ME with all those false beliefs in the way. No wonder my self esteem was in the gutter. Not only was my personhood invalidated, BUT I was going along with it.  No wonder I was so alone; I had no voice, I had no self love, I had no personal rights.  I had no self esteem which means that I didn’t even like myself. I didn’t even want to hang out with me! Not valid. Not worthy. No wonder I felt as though I was different and that I didn’t fit in.

 No wonder I was lonely.

 As I validated myself and re-parented myself by looking at the origins of my low self esteem, I began to grow in the ways that I had not grown as a child and teenager. I grew up.  Things got sorted out. Sometimes quickly and sometimes painfully slowly but I kept going forward.

 And those loneliness feelings began to dissipate. It wasn’t because I had more people in my life or because my family finally saw the truth. My family of origin has not changed their minds about how they feel about me. It was because I was finally heard. BY ME. I finally had to guts to say ~ like Oliver said “I am hungry” because I finally knew that the consequences would not kill me anymore like they could have killed me when I was a child. I heard myself. I embraced the statement; “I am worthy” I faced the roots of the problem, the roots of where I got broken in the first place and I realized that I AM VALID.  I rarely feel lonely anymore.

 Sharing another benefit of the process of emotional healing;

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken bookThe Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” 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 : Self Esteem



I AM VALID. Hmmm… How unlikely.


Thanks Darlene, another article that speaks volumes to me.. I read your posts and understand its a healing process. I am getting there, its a slow process, but as long as its forward its all good..


wow Darlene again you put my life on you’re page . I spent my entire life lonely I never fit in anywhere, I could be in a room full of people and still be alone. I never really liked interacting with people because everyone I have ever known has let me down, so I could sit in a room and everyone around me could be having fun I truly didn’t know what fun was ! I have been trying to teach myself to laugh I really like that feeling its not to often that I can laugh but each time I do I enjoy it my daughter gets so excited when I do shes 10 and realizes mommy is learning to lighten up and have fun. I think my first four had a harder time because I didn’t even realize back then I could fix being broken I just kept going because I had to I had children that needed me so I pretended to laugh at there jokes but there were no true feelings connected. Since I started re-parenting myself I am actually getting some feelings besides pain I always had my caring feelings but I never used them on myself now I take care of me first ,I have realized if I don’t fix me I can’t even begin to teach my children to care for themselves I still feel very lonely ,I think part of it is I have surrounded myself with people who only take from me I am hoping to find some true friends that will give back . I hadn’t even realized that I had no one to count on until recently I am going through a very rough patch and there is no one I can go to because I never set that up in my life ! I hope to some day have some give and take relationships because I am truly realizing that I am Valid at least to myself where that was never the case before.



Wow..oliver was my most watched movie.. i was so much convinced that he and I shared
similar feelings of emptiness and abandonment..

It is amazing how what you said about being alone .. not having anything in common .. is
very much how I feel . that i too feel different then others. everything you have said in this
article could have been grabbed out of my mind at the present stage.

Only I havent gotten to the re-parenting stage . but at the recognizing it. stage and I feel
overwhelmed realizing how much I have to catch up with.

LIke you I was totally ignored accept I got the attention of all the beatings. if you can call that
attetion and I was ALWAYS blamed for mom’s moods..for things breaking ..for cigarettes
running out. .. a whole laundry list of things. THe only time I was given attention was when
I was on the receiving end of abuse..

I am crying as I write this as all this could have not come at a better time for me as I am
feeling that deep lonelines of not being understood and wanting somehow to get fixed so
I don’t feel this way any more. I know its because of my brokenness and lack of childhool;
but cannot fix it all at once.

Like you . i have said the same words of me ..everyone else is more valuable to me.
I just can’t get over how much this is playing on to where I am now. and have been thinking
it just before I found your post.

I get discouraged because when I think I am catching on; I fall back to square one ..

I hope I can get to that stage where you are . .some day.



Hi June
Welcome to EFB! YAY for getting there!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Splinty!
Not sure what you are getting at… but thanks for the comment! Good to hear from you though!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Char
This is so great! I love your comments! I too realized that doing this work for me was going to be so positive for my 3 children, and it really HAS BEEN and still is. There was a reason that I surrounded myself with people who only took. Once I realized what those reasons were, everything changed!
Thank you so much for your comments! love them!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Joy
I was at your stage too. I really was and it took time. You will get there. I know it is hard to face this stuff but it is in facing it that you get closer to freedom. Keep striving!
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks so much for giving me a little bit of hope, Darlene! I’ve been having a difficult time with intrusive “does it matter that I’m here right now” thoughts. Ive even been avoiding being in large groups because the thoughts get worse… And the answer I always come up with is “If I were not here right now these people would be having an equally good time. I would not be missed.”. I started telling myself that we’re really all alone here, and those who don’t see it are just fooling themselves. I’ve even pushed away my closest friends. Thanks for showing me this may be temporary after all… Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of that and feel hopeless.



Hi Aerin,
I can really relate to your post comments. Because we are relearning so many new things in recovery, it is hard to hold on to all of it all the time. And for me, I am learning new things and having deeper insights into myself and into recovery all the time and sometimes I have to remember things that I already learned but forgot; which is just fine as long as I don’t give up the hope!
Gald you are here, Hugs, Darlene



Thank you for your words..I have been letting out some gut wrenching tears today . completely overwhelmed by the day ..the journey and all that is happening. It hard to face things when there are few who understand. I have a very hard time communicating. since I have not had much opportunity to do so… So I suffer from this inability to express myself everything I want to say.. .. I wish i had more self confidence and wouldn’t be so sensitive and immature..



When my depression started, I would be in so much emotional pain and I wanted so badly for someone to notice and ask me what was wrong. No one ever did. Instead, I was ridiculed and told that I was always sulking and I needed to get over it, think positive thoughts, just stop it, etc. That kept me from ever seeking someone to talk to when I was depressed as an adult. I was in overwhelming emotional pain and I was ashamed of feeling that way. Loniliness was like a black hole in the pit of my stomach that drew me deeper and deeper inside myself and always that deep longing for someone to notice and care.

I no longer have that feeling. I have a new family that cares, and I care, and God cares, and I’m satisfied with that. I know that I always wanted a mom who cared about what was going on inside of me but I’m over that need. I can’t really define why it doesn’t bother me anymore other than I just grew up and accepted that I’m an orphan.


@ Darlene, I rarely feel lonely any more either! I am blessed to have a great support system and when someone does not support me and my journey I do try to let them know they are important to me but will not take any form of nor caring. I think it is important to honor our healing and those in our lives must to! This blog is also healing since everyone has the same goal!


Thank you so much for this post – and for your whole blog. I have recently started the process of acknowledging that I was abused, and reparenting myself. It’s hard work, but I can already tell that it’s changing me in good ways.

You’re an inspiration, and you articulate things so beautifully. And yes, *so much* yes to this post. I also related a great deal to Oliver Twist (as well as Jane Eyre, Frodo Baggins and other fictional orphans) and wondered why.


Hi Pam
I can relate to the longing to have someone notice me and to everything else you shared in your first paragraph. Yes, the deep longing for someone to notice and care. I think I got sick a lot because I got “some attention” from that. What a way to get attention. I don’t get sick very much anymore either.
Thank you for sharing and for your consistent contribution to this blog!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pinky
Thanks for you comments. I don’t take to being “dismissed” anymore either! yay for that.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Elly
Welcome to EFB and I am so glad that you are enjoying my blog. I got choked up when I was linking the Oliver movie songs to the You Tube videos.. the Where is Love song STILL gets me. As a child I was in so much pain.
Glad you are here Elly!
Hugs, Darlene


I also think that part of my health problems were due to my wanting my mother’s attention. She still didn’t pay attention to my thoughts or my feelings but she would try to take care of me physically. Unless, my dad wouldn’t allow me to be taken to the doctor. She would never stand up against him.

It’s funny that you posted this now. My current post on my blog is about isolation due to illlness which is different but also the same. Again, we are on the same page.:0)



Darlene, another great post. Right to the middle of me where I’m still figuring out if my wiring is permanently messed up. I have always, and will always I fear, be alone in most groups. I WANT to interact but for so many things I either don’t ‘get it’ or have had no experience with it and that fear reveals the things I never got to learn that it seems most children did. I don’t know sing song games, I don’t know popular board games, I don’t know how to play flirty boy girl games.

I grew up either being told I was almost too stupid to live or forced into acting like an miniature adult to impress people. There was never a time when the interior me got a chance to grow, it was shellacked under layers of ‘gottas’ ‘better dos’ and ‘look likes’. It was encased in the shell of ‘well I had it bad I’m okay’ B.S.

Seeking, desiring and believing in genuine relationships makes it hard to small talk, impossible to gossip and I’m still that gangly dorky girl who didn’t even get ‘in’ with the outcasts.

Lonely I have been, but I’m afraid I’ve learned how to live with (and sometimes love)being alone, being sufficient with what I have, being content to follow my own solitary path. I do try, Lord knows I try, but something just doesn’t connect properly. Thank God (truly, faith filled) that my husband and son are so good at being social. I CAN do it, but it’s like dress up. It’s only surface deep and I can only keep the mask on for so long. Ask some of my friends though and they will say I’m not at all like that…but I know I am.

Lesson for today for me – over tired people who read posts that are straight to the heart get maudlin! 🙂 Forgive me…


Me too Darlene; I was like a fish drowning in an ocean sometimes. People around me. Busy all the time. Volunteering. Taking care of others but never myself. And yet I was starved for attention and affection – or so I thought. What I was really looking for was someone to validate my existence. To give me permission to exist. And I never got it – until I gave it to myself.

Another great post; thank you!


Yet now look at you Susan.. you are doing so much and ever so gently and humbly. .You are such a gifted yet you are so gentle with your gifts you share..

I know for me to never had been heard was so very painful ..but I got to a point that I expected not to be heard. I began talk to my teddy bear.. What secrets we share. I still have the bear and still he is the keeper of my secret;)



Hi Joy! Thank you! What a kind and generous thing to say!

The loneliness I found is not forever – although in the beginning it sure felt that way. Part of the journey also allowed me to find my voice, Joy. Everyone deserves to be heard and to know they have been heard. I’m glad you keep sharing:)


Thank you, Darlene, for continuing to post your journey online. It is so helpful to see how you’re making it through and emerging.

What is so confusing sometimes is to see that those childhood experiences stay around a long time, and won’t go away unless addressed. I’ve learned from you that looking into the past is a way to a better future; a future where I am free and all that I can be.

thanks again. 🙂


Hi Pam
I will have to pop over to your blog to read your current post! I wanted attention, but I was told that I wanted attention, so I tried NOT to want attention! what a mess.
Ha ha ha…

Hi Shanyn
I like to believe that this messed up “wiring” doesn’t have to be permanent because my own wiring got sorted out!
I can relate to you comments… I didn’t know how to do any of that either. Except the flirty stuff.. I was really good at that. 🙁 and that was not a positive. I remember feeling like Social was just like playing pretend! But now that you mention it, it went away. For me a lot of that depends on WHO I am with though. I HAD to pretend in family situations since they were so dangerous.
Thanks for your comments!
They are awesome!
Hugs, Darlene

p.s Everyone ~ Shanyn wrote a poem on her blog about the feelings from this post. You can see it here: Surrounded Alone


Hi Susan
Great points. I felt that way too. And I didn’t know I was looking for validation OR that HOW to validate myself. It was so confusing and the brainwashing went so deep.
Hugs, Darlene

Joy ~ this is so true. I got to that same point, where I didn’t expect anything. What a lonely existence I had. Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Connie,
My life is 100% different and 100% better today because I faced the past. I can’t say enough that after over 20 years of searching for the answer to healing, I found it by facing the past and my childhood history. And you can be free and be all that you can be! That is how my life is today.
So glad that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Because I never had permission to give my opinion or how I feel it handicaps me. When I am asked how do I feel. what do I think. I go blank >.it’s like automatically those words push a button in my brain that raises a wall that stops me from saying what I feel or what I think. And if someone says they want to know how i feel or think . .i find myself going back to my little girl mode and thinking naw. I didnt just hear that. no way are they wanting to know about my hurts or pains or feelings. Surely, they were talking to someone else or I imagined they want to know I feel or think. I am not yet convinced enough of my right to speak or feel or have an opinion. Intellectually .i hear it and know but interiorly, in the little me it’s hard to fathom or believe.. .


this one fits my teenage years to a tee. i was so unhappy but no-one noticed. i identified with micheal jacksons BEN and smokey robinsons TEARS OF A CLOWN. these songs fit me so well, an outsider and the clown. nobody thought to ask why i chose those songs, or why i was sad. those who did notice never probed and jsut accepted me as i was. it hard as an adult looking back to see where it started, this feeling of aloneness. the isolation of not having anyone safe to speak about how lsot i felt, how unattached i felt. how i hide behind a blustering front, living by the tenet of ‘best form of defense is a good offence’. heard that said on tv once, was about american football, but it suited my mood when i was about 13 and so i became a drinker, stealing the home made wine and staying at friends at weekends so i didnt get found out. i hated the limitations in my life not understanding that i was right not to believe what they were doing was right yet having no where to go. who would believe me. still i dont think my word is good ennough and only say something if i have seen it with my own eyes or heard it with my own ears. it still i am a liar because it is not what people want to hear.
im so sick of being judged by people who’s own life is not rosy or perfect. they shut me down and isolate me, marginalising my voice to that of the mad victim, who claims to be a survivor. if she was a survivor she would just get on with her life. i am a surivivor because i chose to speak out so others do not have to face the stress and mud slinging that i have. oooo i just hate everything at the moment


The worst kind of lonliness, and one I haven’t read about anywhere here, is when you have raised a child and he is abusive. I know I made a lot of mistakes and my personal boundries were really bad. I pulled my kids too close and as I did with all others, I made sure I was there to fill every need. I made my kids the center of my world. I thought I was giving them everything I didn’t have but because I really didn’t understand, I ended up raising a son who is a lot like my dad. We’ve all been in counseling and it is better than it was before but it still isn’t good. I don’t know how to handle it.


I was interupted and I want to add that my son’s abuse is verbal. He likes to push buttons and watch people squirm. I’ve learned to not let him see how what he says hurts me but there are times when I can’t really hide it. When he was in his teens, it was much worse and it came to a point where I could have had him put in prision but in the end, he served a year’s probation. He’s careful now not to cross certain lines but I know I don’t want to be old and dependent on him in any way. My oldest son handles it all so differently. I know I hurt him also but I’ve gone to them both and been accountable. The oldest understands and we have a good relationship now. It wasn’t enough for the youngest and I actually think he sees my accountability as weakness. He despises weakness especeilly, his own. I am not the only one that he verbally and emotionally abuses, he take turns with all of us. There are times when its okay and I’d prefer healing for him and all of us but I don’t know how to get through to him. I also can’t get past feeling guilty for the way he views other people and himself. We teach our kids who they are. I wish I would have known that sooner.



Hi Kellie
I can relate to being shut down with many emotions. My mother used to bug me that I didn’t “smile” enough. My grandmother constantly reminded everyone how she hated the laughter of children, how it got on her nerves.
About the movie Tangled, I haven’t seen it but I will keep my eye out for it.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Maya
I am so glad you found my blog! I began to write this stuff because after I went through my healing process and started speaking in mental health seminars, I realized that everyone feels this way but no one knows it! SO I thought I would tell my story to the world so that MORE people would realize just how many of us actually feel this way. It was in facing this whole thing that I found full recovery and freedom from so many life time issues!
Glad you are here now.
Hugs, Darlene


I am actually writing a whole blog post about being asked “how do you feel” and “what do you think” so stay tuned for that!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Carol,
I can relate to everything you shared too. I found that the stronger that I got the less I was questioned. I also found that the stronger I got the less I cared who thought what about me and that was a huge freedom! This is also part of the process; a more advanced part of the recovery. People judge others because they are so afraid ~ afraid that you are right and they want to shove you back down so they don’t have to face themselves. And that is their problem! Glad you are here! I know this is frustrating.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Pam
This whole thing was harder when it came to my own kids. I did the exact same thing that you are talking about here; I made the kids my everything and I did everything for them and so I was shocked when thing started to go wrong. (in fact that was the final straw for my mental health issues) It took me a few years to realize that abuse is abuse weather I had a hand in allowing it and even modeling it, or not.
I don’t hide it anymore when one of my kids hurts me. I tell them. Sometimes they look shocked, like they can’t believe I said it out loud. I don’t share very much about this on my blog because I don’t think sharing the details is fair to my kids ~ the oldest is only 19, and since I am one for using details to illustrate my point, I have trouble expressing what I did about this whole thing, but I had to realize that as long as I wasn’t abusing, OR using my positional power as a parent against my kids, that I don’t deserve to be treated as “less than” anyone else. SO I stand up to it now. I don’t accept it anymore. I speak my feelings and my truth. I say things like “don’t talk to me that way.” OR “WHY are you talking to me that way, as if I am “nothing” and have no feelings?” Statements like that are a shock to the person who is verbally hurting someone else and (hopefully) causes the other person to stop and think about what they are doing. Our family has huge talks when stuff like this happens. (and the rest of the time too.. LOL) We are all people, all equally valuable and we all deserve respect. I made my amends to my kids for years and more important that that I LIVED them. I am not going to pay by letting them treat me badly (like they saw me treated for so long) any longer. They don’t have speacial privlidges to treat me nasty because they are my kids. Just like I don’t get to treat them nasty because I am the parent. I strive for equality all the way around. Equal value. (in the case of my minor children, I still have more authority, but not more value)
I hope this makes sense. When my kids are a lot older I might get more into this part of the whole process, but right now I don’t think it would be fair to them.
Hugs, Darlene


Yes,it makes sense and I also understand why you don’t write more about it. I also feel good about what I said yesterday. I told him that I would talk about anything but he had to treat me as an equal. He was shocked and he left the room. Last night, after I posted here, I wrote him a letter and I told him what I viewed as the mistakes I made, as a parent, in raising him. I hope he will receive it. I made it clear, in a gentle way, that I had put up with people treating me as less than equal just because I loved them but that I don’t do that anymore. I also told him that my love was unconditional but that relaltionships never are, they take work. I told him I was willing to work at it because I love him so much and that he would have to decide if it was worth it to him. I think part of what is happening is that he was always able to manipulate me so easily and now he can’t. It sends him into a kind of frenzy looking for all of those old familiar buttons. What is happening now is no longer horrible, as it was a few years ago (I also want to say that he was put on psychotropics as a teenager with the disasterous effects that are common with that kind of treatment)the situation was very complex. He was very hurt and somewhat damaged by it. I hate it because he has lost his teenage years just as I did. The only difference is that my husband and I did all we could to hang on to him and get him through it. However, hanging on no matter what he did also caused problems. I just want him to get past all of it and find his indepence. I’m doing my best to face it honestly. Thanks for giving me a place to unload and also for letting me know that I’m not alone. I know you have a lot on your plate right now. You thanked me for my support of your blog and I thank you for your devotion to your blog that makes it much more than just a blog. I love my son very much and I know he also loves me. He has some bad habits but if I can change then he can also, if he chooses to.



If you’d like to delete these posts about our children, it’s fine with me and I understand. Before I go though, I’d like to tell you what I dreamed last night.

I dreamed that there were a group of people abusing me physcially. The were beating the hell out of me and I felt like a rag doll being tossed all around. Part of the abuse was that they wouldn’t let me look at any of them, saying they would kill me if I did, and if I remembered anything, they would kill me. In my dream I split and I was watching what was happening and I was so shocked because I didn’t remember it. I could see me but it was like it was happening to someone else. When I woke up, I had that feeling of remembering and it was so strong. Now I don’t know if I had some kind of flashback or if it was my mind unwinding the events of the day. My sister and her husband were in my dream and they didn’t abuse me directly but I had the feeling that they were controlling what was happening from behind the scences.

Probably just a weird dream but I keep thinking about my “house” dream and the deep black hole in the basement that I’m afraid to enter. I’m also afraid to enter the top story of the house because it is haunted. Somehow, these dreams relate.



p.s. I don’t expect an answer right now. I just wanted to write it down while it is fresh.


Hi Pam
No I am fine with leaving the posts ~ I think that it is important that we talk about the stuff with our children, I just have a more difficult time communicating when I can’t share the details ~ like the actual stories and events. My kids all know about my blog and so do some of their friends and I want to respect that. But I am fine with what I wrote today. And I will share stuff like that anytime!

Your dream is interesting. I would say that it is about “something” you are trying to work out. Dreams like that always are. I bet it will come to you. For me I might think that being told “if you look at them they will kill you” that I would think that to be about facing the truth. That you are thinking about how much they don’t want you to? In a way, the truth will kill but not how we think ~ it will kill the lies. I don’t know… but it sure is interesting.


Darlene; I caught you recent comment as it came through my inbox and you said:

“I am not going to pay by letting them treat me badly (like they saw me treated for so long) any longer. They don’t have speacial privlidges to treat me nasty because they are my kids. Just like I don’t get to treat them nasty because I am the parent. I strive for equality all the way around. Equal value. (in the case of my minor children, I still have more authority, but not more value)”

I find this to be very helpful as a sort of yardstick to determine a basis for how to decide how to accept how others treat me and how I treat others. For the longest time – I knew that how I was engaging with others (not just my kids) was not so healthy or helpful but I didn’t know anything else. Like everyone else – I learned how to treat others by observing how others engaged in their relationships but – there was no one to model this new way of interacting. I always like things that give me a framework to work within so I can make my own calls…vs what it used to be like when others were telling me what to do because I felt so powerless over my own life and self.


I have always had to think about what I was doing. I didn’t have any kind of default to rely on in my relationships. There is so much time envolved in unlearning and relearning. I’m wondering if it will get to the point where it isn’t a constant.

One of the things that baffles me is the realization of how many people in my life I have taken care of while thinking that I was unable to take care of myself. I saw myself as dependent but the abusive people in my life were the dependent ones. I really have a lot of strength, I just have to take ownership of it (I want to say back but I don’t remember having ownership of myself before it was taken away). I need those yard sticks too.


I really relate Pam. I’ve always felt “different” and that I was doing my best but my best was never good enough. It does take time to learn to recognize the core issue is the beliefs that shape our today. And the good news … learning some frameworks for myself like recognizing abuse not just so I could recognize an abuser but so I could recognize it in myself – really helped me to determine if I was devaluing someone and to set some limits by recognizing when others were devaluing me.

And me too; I see it the way you described. Learning to recognize the difference between helping/enabling and the connection to power/control and taking care of others, the self sacrifice…learning to “see” those things in myself and in my relationships became that “yard stick” so I could direct my own life and not always be wondering what to do or how to engage with the bigger world.

Its a learning process and learning means practice…I try to remember baby steps:) I try to shed light on some of these issues at my blog and at the Empowering Solutions page if you are interested. 🙂 Darlene and I are also doing a monthly radio show on learning to live beyond broken and recognizing the lies that kept us feeling so powerless.

Thank you for your note; I really appreciate everything you have to say. 🙂


I’ve read some of your blog. I’ll look for that page in particular. You’re a good writer and you have good things to say. Sharing you experience that was simular to mine helped more than hours and hours of therapy. I think all of us human beings need to know that we aren’t alone and even that everything we suffer is common. Everyone suffers.

I missed the broadcast yesterday but I’ll try to catch it in the future.



omg it is so frustrating and when i feel under attack i tend to withdraw, yet if i withdraw to far they will have won. my nerves are shot and the slightest bit of aggression is setting of my flight response so badly. yet i still stand there waiting for those in my real life to throw their posionuos darts. saying it doesnt hurt but it does and am i really strong enough for the level of understandin gi have achieved. with not dealing with how my family treate dme for solong is bubbling away under the surface, making me susceptable to my old reactions and not the ones i have spent years building. my defence from having to deal with the emotions has always been by focusing on the behaviour and altering how i appeared to the general public. spoke out about what i felt needed to be said about bad parenting and its efects and have been called alsorts of names because of it. i hate the way i am treated by those who have nmo right to judge me and my voice. ooooo i am so wound up by this issue and feel so alone all over again. even though i know there are people who could help if only they knew how bad i am shaking inside, shame i carn tlet it show though in my real world


The page I mentioned is the Facebook Community page. There is a link to it on my blog or you can buzz me at FB if you can’t find it:) The shows are archived so folks can listen anytime…not just live:)

I’m so glad that you are finding support and hope here Pam. You are absolutely right; we each need to connect and belong where we feel accepted and safe. I’m glad you’re here and thanks so much for your notes.



When I first read this, I was amazed because it was like you had crawled into my skin and described how I felt completely (as so many of your posts do).

Then, out of nowhere, I started to feel angry. Like once again, I’m trying to blame the past for my current problems. I overeat and smoke and isolate and do so many things that are really bad for me. And I feel like blaming the past is just an excuse to not cope with what I’m doing wrong in the present.

Also, I read everyone’s comments and, like many times before, I admire their courage and strength. But I wonder if any of you ever experience inappropriate anger. You describe feelings of worthlessness and sadness and unworthiness. You talk about how you always put others ahead of yourselves. I have done this too. I have certainly felt these things. And if my mother counts, I’ve always put someone else ahead of myself. I’ve never had anybody else to put ahead of myself (no husband, no kids, never even a serious relationship). But my resentment at putting my mother (and sometimes my siblings) ahead of myself bursts out at inappropriate times towards innocent people (the clerk at McDonalds, the guy in the car next to me, the quiet, slow girl at work, etc.). I see myself exploding with rage at these people and I have even more reason for self-hatred. It’s not okay to act like this. I become glad that I don’t have a husband or children (which usually breaks my heart) because I’m afraid I would become an abuser too.

And I’ve read often in this blog how we can’t excuse abusers for their behavior because of their own history of being abused. How is that different than excusing my own bad behavior by blaming my past?

Obviously, I have a lot of emotions about this issue. But I feel like this rage is blocking any real insight into my loneliness and emotional healing still feels impossible. Darlene, you wrote on the FB page today that, as you “replaced the lies with the truth, the coping methods fell away, because I didn’t need them anymore.” This feels impossible too.

And I feel like I am the only one on this page who ever behaves in a negative or inappropriate way to the people around me and that makes me feel even more isolated.

Anyway, thanks for letting me rant. I feel like I’m right where I started and haven’t made even the slightest bit of progress!


Hi Lisa
This is such a complicated subject. Many readers have shared about this same issue, so you are not alone. And I totally relate to it too. I had inappropriate anger all over the place mostly with my kids and not so much with other people. And it isn’t that I excused it. I had to be accountable for it BUT I had to realize where it came from before I stopped experiencing it. I had to stop focusing on beating myself up and look at what happened to me first. I was really stuck there because I really believed that I was the problem and used those things (ranting at my kids because I was in a bad mood) as the proof that it really was ME who was always the problem and I added that belief to all the childhood stuff that happened to me, concluding that the damage was really my own fault.. But when it came to abusive people in my life, (like my mother) I made excuses for them. So I excused her which was also really in the way of my healing. I had to separate this stuff and look at it separately. This was one of the foundational starting points for me and it is really about the REAL truth about everything. I was very stuck on “I have no right to feel any anger because I am not perfect” so I went round and round on that almost forever.
This is so foundational Lisa and such a huge part of the process that it is impossible for me to explain it in just this one answer, but there are snippits of it all over this website.
I made amends to my kids, and I never do this anymore and I no longer have inappropriate anger. It all went away as a result of facing the truth and healing. I had to look at the damage caused to me without making excuses for the people who did it AND I had to stop looking for reasons why I wasn’t worthy of any better or how I had been so bad that I didn’t deserve to heal. It all went together for me and I had to separate it in order to get through it.
Hope this helps..again, I totally get what you are expressing here.
Hugs, Darlene


Lisa…this is a great topic and for me, personally, an issue I dealt with for a long time. I asked similar questions and had heard similar things about blaming my past for my today. The thing for me that helped was to understand that the anger, rage and self hatered came from my beginnings.

And the key for me was to separate my adult responsibilities from my childhood experiences. I was A CHILD. My parents put their own unresolved issues on me as that child and then blamed me as a child for THEIR issues. My entire life was based on the lies that told me something was wrong with me, that I had no value and deserved to be dismissed and treated horribly.

By going through this process and separating their childhood issues from mine and seeing that they had a responsibility as parents to figure their own stuff out – but they didn’t. Instead as adults they passed it on to me and made me responsible for making them ok and made it my fault that all the bad had happened because of something wrong with me. No matter how hard I tried I was never good enough and I carried that as my truth ie false truth for many years.

In the end, I have great compassion for what they experienced at the same time by acknowledging my own needs as a child I was able to see that the deep rage that kept popping up came from that beginning.

By beginning to go through this process I was able to let go of that ingrained sense of worthlessness that they left me with and as the adult I am today, let go of the anger by going through it vs stuffing it which is what I was doing with all the self harming/acting out/acting in behaviors I engaged in. When I solved the core issue – the behaviors just stopped because I no longer had to avoid the pain of the past. I don’t know if this is what you were talking about and I hope this is somewhat helpful. Susan:)


Yes, Susan, it is what I’m talking about…

My problem is largely that I can’t seem to stop being angry long enough to look at WHY I’m angry. And because my anger scares me, I stuff it with food and nicotine and other (seemingly innocuous) pursuits that leave me feeling empty, sad, lonely, and ultimately EVEN MORE ANGRY. Facing the truth when I’m terrified of it is such a challenge!

And I keep on putting it off hoping it will get better on its own, even when I know that’s impossible. And of course, the only thing that happens is that my own unresolved issues get worse and worse!


it hard not to be angry at what they put us through as children, and im told it is useful to vent the anger. in my case i have spent all my adult life trying not to be angry just well and it isnt working. the anger seeps out of me at the slightest thing on some days and then on other days i can controll the urge to scream and rant, and those days are ussually in the upper end not lower end. yet my moods and emotions are still very chamelon like and change as the mood around me changes, as the tension raise so does my temper and i hate that i can recognise the behaviour and the trigger but still cannot alter the instinctive reaction. i get it is a reaction to my parents yelling at me all the time and me never knowing if today id done a job the right way, even though i did it the same way everytime, somedays i got screamed at others i didnt. i am repeating the pattern and hate myself for it as it is affecting my child, and though i speak to her about how i can avoid screamin gis it fair to ask a 8yr to help me alter my behaviour by tailoring her badgering and distractedness that drives me nuts cos i wouldnt have been able to get away with it, argh i hate being a parent cos i didnt wana pass on my bad habits but have done so, even if i have been able to compenste for some of it and teach her without phyiscal punishment or verbal degregation, so i am doing soem thing right for her


[…] I Didn’t Know how I Felt about Anything By Darlene Ouimet On the blog post about the feelings of loneliness in recovery a commenter wrote about “going blank” when she is asked how she ‘feels’ or what she […]


I’m glad that you found that helpful Lisa:)

And yes – you are so right. And me – I fought it too. It seemed so HUGE and consuming…I’d been punished terribly for expressing anger in the past that it was terrifying to go there. The thing that I found though is that being stuck in “why” wasn’t so helpful….I figured out that this was one more way of avoiding dealing directly with my demons. I was fortunate to have someone who sort of mentored me in learning to connect with my whole self (body, mind/thought and consciousness of my mind and body).

I started slow; sort of like a teapot letting some steam out. To take the lid off all the way to me was like opening a volcano and that was scary because I’d not yet learned how to or that I could – control my emotional expressions. I started with just tossing a soft ball at a corner or throwing a ball outside along with writing about it. Another survivor suggested I begin with something like “I hate you for what you did to me” and just follow it from there.

I also learned that I could do this in small chunks…and it was sort of like sticking my toe in the water and pulling it back…a little at a time.

I’m glad you wrote about this today Lisa. And I hope sharing how I handled this part of the journey might be helpful:)



PS….when I said “connect with my whole self (body, mind/thought and consciousness of my mind and body)”…when I say body and mind I”m including my thoughts and my emotional responses to those thoughts that showed up in my body as feelings and the physical responses to my feelings.


Hi Everyone
Joy commented that when she is asked “how do you feel” she goes blank. I said I was writing a post about why that happens and I just published that post:

You can read it here: “Why I didn’t Know how I Felt about anything”


I think there is a big difference between reasons and excuses. If we’re looking for reasons then we are looking for the root of a problem so that it can be uprooted and changed. Excuses don’t seek change but just a cover for doing something that is wrong.

I have had inappropriate anger in the past. I don’t have that problem anymore since I know what I was angry about, have faced it, and worked to change my life and my response to life.

That’s my take, anyway.



I first tried to deal with my anger by stuffing it also. Even stuffing it without understanding it. That led to huge explosions being triggered by something small. It began to change for me when I took a close look at anger as a normal emotion and the good purposes that it serves. I learned to “be angry and sin not”,according to my faith, in that I learned how to direct my anger and also contol the extent to which I released it. The way you were treated and I was treated as children is an approptiate target for our anger as it is injustice. Anger aimed at injustice is righteous anger. It is the same kind of anger that won rights for black people. It is the anger that Jesus used to clear the temple.It was wrong for me to turn that anger inward and try to stuff it. It was also wrong for me to turn that anger on someone who had no part in the injustices that I suffered. I think I’m meandering from the subject:0) but by understanding good anger vs bad anger, rather than thinking of all anger as bad, I learned to use it to help me heal. I was freed from my PTSD rages. I learned to control and direct my anger rather than allowing my anger to control and direct me.


Its hard to deal with that feeling of loneliness. Of being surrounded by people and still feeling all alone and isolated. Or even worse, being in a relationship and thinking you are loved, only to find out it was based on what you did or didn’t do, not on who you are. Sad to one day realize that because you didn’t buy them something or do something they wanted that you are now no longer good enough to be with them. That you are a failure as a person and therefore, no longer worthy of being loved because you didn’t take them out when they wanted to go.

I know how much I gave and gave. How much I loved. Its disappointing and painful to know that all they can remember is I didn’t take them out when they thought I should have, then they aren’t the person I thought they were either. And I am better off without them.


Thanks for sharing how you found peace from your anger Pam. Although I have to admit…I tried the managing my anger but it wasn’t until I connected my today rage/anger to the past and my beleif that my anger was somehow wrong or bad that I found freedom. Learning to listen to what my anger was telling me allows me to embrace these feelings as a part of me – a good part of me – that helps me to trust me and know that I have all I need to protect myself. There is a shift from the anger of wanting revenge and anger that is productive but by labeling my anger as bad or wrong or connecting it to “sin” that only reinforced my feelings of shame and the idea that I still was not good enough. I’m really glad you find this direction to be helpful but having come from and through a lot…LOT of religious oppression and abuse I found my strength and my faith by finding my own power and understanding that anger is not bad and does not need to be managed but is my guide and should be heard.


I have experienced religious repression also. Most ‘teachings’ that I’ve heard teach that all human anger is wrong,”sinful”. That isn’t what I find in the Bible. I believe that God gave us our emotions for a good purpose. In finding that purpose for anger, I no longer felt guilty for being angry. Anger is for self-defense and I just had to learn where my anger was properly placed and properly vented. I’m not very religious. I am spiritual and Jesus is the center of my spirituality. Sin is just another word for abuse. I have been spiritually abused too. I have different expectations from the church than I do from God. I don’t trust too much to the church but I do trust everything to God. I also listen to all teachings with a somewhat, critacle ear. I don’t allow anyone between me and God. I also try not to put myself between someone else and God. I’m not out to make clones of me.:0)I don’t expect everyone to believe the way I do but my faith is so much a part of who I am that I can’t hide it either! I find that in what you have shared also.


Susan KS
I love your comments in comment # 42 ~ brilliantly put! The longer I try to articulate what worked for me, the more that the word “separate” becomes key. Separate my issues from theirs; Separate the details of the events because abusive people like to create a way to blame victims for what happens to the victims so that the the blame is easily shifted. Children are without defence against this tactic, and if we grow up without defense against that tactic, we have to relearn how to see the real truth. The only way that I was able to do that was to separate the issues into their stuff and my stuff and stop mixing it all together.
Thanks for your comments!

There is a great discussion going on in this post!

Hi Carol
I am angry at what happened to me, but through recovery, I learned to vent my anger in the right ways and stopped taking it out on the innocents. I used to scream and yell at my kids about the toys on the floor and I just didn’t understand why I was so angry on some days. I realized that in my mind it was safe to be angry at the kids, but it was NOT safe (in my mind) to be angry at the people who treated me so badly when I was a child. I was still afraid of them. So my anger outbursts were misplaced and misdirected. Once I got on the right track with all of this, the anger subsided! I just didn’t need to express it the wrong way anymore. And my youngest was 7 when I started this process, and they remember when I used to be out of control and they certainly see and acknowledge the difference now. I made sure to tell the kids many times that they didn’t DO anything to cause my ranting and yelling back then, that it was my wrong doing, that I took my moods out on them verbally in the past and that I was so very wrong. I know that doesn’t take away from what I did, but I know it made a big difference in going forward. Once I found out where the anger belonged, and directed it there, everything changed!
Thank you for sharing your heart here.
Hugs, Darlene


HI Darlene:

you said: “The only way that I was able to do that was to separate the issues into their stuff and my stuff and stop mixing it all together.”

What you say here took time, didn’t it. I think sometimes, when it can be discouraging knowing what needs to be done and not being able to do that yet.

You didn’t just come to do this over a short period of time. it took time right?

Sometimes you know .. we have all the things laid out before us: the should dos and the should not do’s and get overwhelmed by such. When in reality all those who are writing of their success had a long journey to get there and we shouldnt be discouraged that we are not there yet?

And people go at different paces.. .isn’t this right?

I know I get upset that I am not there yet but then have to tell myself that not too many people, if any, got there over night or in a half year or year..it takes time right..



Hi Mac Aeron
The situation you are talking about reminds me of a very important part of my own recovery. It was very important for me to look at why I had become accepting of these kinds of people in my adult life so that I stopped being attracted to those situations and all that conditional love.
I could tell myself that I was better off without them, but the hurt remained until I knew where it all began, which for me was in my childhood and was rooted in my belief system.
Thanks for being here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Joy
yes, it takes time. when I look back on my process (the bulk of it was over 3 years time)
I look back and picture it this way; there were “strings” of thing that I learned.. and they overlapped each other and eventually the all joined together. I had to undo tangled strings, and I had to smooth out wrinkled strings.. I had to take “their strings” out of “my strings”.

When we are talking about things where you are not ‘there’ yet, think of them as something to look forward to on the journey. That one day you will be there too, but we all had to go through lots of stuff on the way there.

It really takes time, but you are on the road and that is all that matters!
Hugs, Darlene



that is interesting that the topic of loneliness and recovery would be the discussion as the 20th was my mother’s birthday, and what a painful day that was (though more so for her) As I mentioned prior, my mother has suffered from schizophrenia throughout most of her life and though we no longer are able to be together, she is in my constant thoughts. As someone who for years was programmed to not show emotion, I struggled upon realization and thoughts of her, to stop crying. Here I was sitting in the library, on the brink of full tears. There are so much sadness and I was not quite sure weeks prior how I would cope with this important day. I hoped I would just ‘get through it’ though I struggled with the temptation to self harm once again.

My goal for myself is to become emotional, at least to understand and find beauty in my emotions. Still I struggle with deep loneliness, and certain days are better than others, I want to continue to find ways to turn that loneliness into something that will make me strong


Hi Celeste
I am sorry that you have been having such a rough time. I understand the pain though. I admire your courage and your resolve to turn that loneliness into something that will make you stronger. (I think you might already be strong. 🙂 \
Thank you so much for sharing,
Hugs and a squish for comfort,


Hi Pam! I really appreciate that you’ve found solace in your faith and I’m glad you are able to share and appreicate the discussion around the issue of anger. So many of us and for myself personally – the subject of anger and learning to listen to it was never a part of any discussions…it was always used to shame. Its great to hear that so many of us are finding our way in spite of that:)


I kind of had to find my own way when it came to my anger. I not only had shame to deal with but my family always told me that I felt too much. The reality is that they don’t feel hardly at all and they think that is normal. So, I thought I was really abnormal to be so angry and then later, I was introduced to shame through traditional teachings. It’s amazing how much abuse has been institutionalized in our culture and in the church. These old ways of interpretation are like walls that keep us from the truth. I’ve become really adept at scaling walls! I think you are a fellow wall climber!


Pam; you bring up a point I’ve talked about myself. How our dysfunctional familes and society in general does not allow expression of emotions outside of a very narrow range. Anything outside of that tight constraint is seen as well, not “normal”. Thus those of use who have suffered are then pegged as something being wrong with us vs something being wrong with this norm. And yes! I’m glad to be among the brave and the few breaking down the walls and climbing over them to let the light shine on the truth!


@Susan I did not read the whole blog I have not been on here latley but I just saw your comment and wanted to add my thoughts. You said “How our dysfunctional familes and society in general does not allow expression of emotions outside of a very narrow range. Anything outside of that tight constraint is seen as well, not “normal”. Thus those of use who have suffered are then pegged as something being wrong with us vs something being wrong with this norm. And yes! I’m glad to be among the brave and the few breaking down the walls and climbing over them to let the light shine on the truth!”
Wow! What you say is so true as we all know (all of us on the blog) And I just wanted to add that in America and I assume Canada as well, we are looked at by the rest of the world such as England and especially Asia, as our countries being the self expressive self absorbed , not into family and wreck less with our expressions. I can’t imagine how bad it must be to be raised in an even more repressed society. Thank God for those of you who are willing to step out and break tradition and break taboos and speak the truth! Thank God for those and other similar blogs!


Hi Pinky! Thanks for contributing your thoughts and feelings on this issue. It IS a worldwide and societal issue. Hopefully with exposing this kind of thing bit by bit we’ll see some change and those who have these extreme life experiences will no longer be treated as though something is wrong with them when they express their pain. Yay for all of us who are breaking through the chains of broken!


@Susan I realize it is world wide just saying that in several other countries it is taboo to express almost anything. And in some countries it is illegal to voice an opinion about certian things. We at least have a legal right to talk about it though faced with huge resistance.


Yes; very good point Pinky. Change will come…:)


Thank you so much Darlene. And to think that I had thought no one would know or understand those feelings. Everyone in my family thought I was too deep and that those “little things” that they did to me that made me feel not good enough werent supposed to get to me. To them, letting their verbal and physical abuse towards me mean something to me was a weakness. I was always the underdog, the weak one. I didn’t want to connect to anyone because I thought and believed that in someone else’s eyes I would never be more than some girl who lacked self esteem, courage, and the ability to stand up for herself. And it is still hard for me to stand up for myself. They thought in order for me to not feel emotional and physical pain was to beat me up with both emotional and physical pain constantly. It was as if I wasn’t good enough to feel anything, even pain. But I had determination to prove them wrong. Like I am a human being and I do have a voice, and my voice means something. I will stand up knowing that I am not alone anymore. I have learned to cope with my emotions and not ignore them and bury them.


Hi Joy J.
I love your comments! This is exactly my hope ~ for others to realize that WE count and how we are convinced that we don’t count. Your voice does MEAN something and you are NOT alone!
Hugs, Darlene


[…] I started to go through the healing process I realized that there were roots to the feelings of loneliness and that feeling of being alone. I felt let down in a world where I didn’t fit in and didn’t […]

This is the newest post about the pain of rejection by my own mother…
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, I’ve spent a lifetime longing for a meaningful and loving relationship with my mother. I’ve wasted years seeking out alternative mother figures in the hope they could provide something to replace the missing connection, only to be repeatedly disappointed.
A couple of days ago, I read your mother/daughter articles. Finally I believe I have enlightenment to the source my unhappiness: My life’s biggest fear – that my mother does not love me; that my parents do not love me. It felt almost too difficult to think the words let alone say them but despite overwhelming sadness and fear, I shared my realisation with my counsellor yesterday. It’s like being laid bare to the world, all my protective layers removed. I had become completely transparent.
I share the extreme loneliness; guilt; shame, feeling alone in a crowd and yes that something is missing inside. Longing for a real relationship with another person. I see now that I never really valued my side of any relationship, that I see other people as more important and valuable.
My hope is that having made this realisation, I can move forward and work on my self-defeating behaviours and learn to love myself. Instead of fearing and avoiding love, perhaps I can learn to express my feelings of love to others and begin to feel my worth in relationships. I do have a long-term, loving partner and many very good friends (friends whom I am told love me even though I find that hard to accept).
People have told me I am a survivor, well I dont feel like I am surviving. Right now I am filled with fear, anxiety and at my lowest ebb. But I do thank you for the insight, Darlene, because whilst it’s been a very painful realisation – it is very likely a huge turning point for me.


Hi Tess
Welcome to e.f.b.
Your comments are so insightful, and so much what so many go through and are going through. The fear was so deep for me that I thought it might kill me to realize the truth about so many of the people in my life. And finding out about MY value made all the difference. Considering that I deserved to be treated with respect was huge. I learned to love myself and that is the key as we work on all this other stuff. It all comes together!
Hugs, Darlene


Dear Darlene,
I have just come across your site and it is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It resonates so much with my own childhood. This post about loneliness is so helpful. I was and am feeling very isolated and this has helped as it articulates many of the feeling I currently feel. These feelings stem from childhood but almost feel more painful now.

I have been having therapy for year and recently I started having theta healing. Prior to this I had worked on a lot of the abuse but some aspects were too painful to address. However, having the theta healing has brought everything to the surface and now I am facing the emormity of my experience as a child,. It is extremely painful. On a rational level, I knew I was not to blame for the abuse I suffered but there was still a large part of me that blamed myself. I felt like there was something intrinsically bad about as I had endured so much abuse a the hands of so many and I had not been protected. I had no value for myself and hated parts of myself for being “vulnerable” and needy so I wore a mask to cover up these aspects of myself and the unhappiness. The mask that I have been wearing for years no longer “work” and I feel exposed and lonely. I have recognised how I have not looked after myself and instead have prioritised the needs of others at my own expense. This has been incredibly painful and I now feel that I don’t know the first thing about taking care of myself. I have felt so lonely, unloveable and bad that I have always acted to please others but now I feel as if I don’t know who I am or what I like.

I feel very lost and tearful at the moment and have taken some time off work and hope to use the opportunity to discover, nurture and delop more love for myself but I have little motivation and feel as if I don’t know how to. I feel as if I have reverted to a child and have even got myself a teddy!

Reading your post today had been really helpful and I if you or anyone else has any further insights please feel free to share



Hi Rosie
Welcome to emerging from broken!
I can relate to what you are sharing too. I had to relearn all this stuff. Self care, self love etc. all grew out of self validation which started by finding out how I got broken in the first place. That is what this site is about!
Yay for getting a teddy! I think that is awesome!
Hugs, Darlene


Well Darlene, alot has happened since I posted in October last year. I have continued to work on grieving for the loss of my mother’s love after I realised it wasnt going to come, ever. It was reading articles on your website that helped me make this realisation.
Recently I managed to confront my parents about emotional abuse I suffered at the hands of my brothers. To keep things on an even keel, I didnt mention anything to do with the lack of support I refeived from my parents.
Well they both deny any knowledge of it happening but instead of further rejecting me, they have said I can talk to them any time about it if I want. They did react in such a way that it suggests they might (just might) not have been aware. I know one brother was particularly devious in the way he did things to me.
They say they would have put a stop to it if they’d known. Its hard not to continue fighting them as this has become the habit of a lifetime but I need to move on and it may be that now they have seemingly acknowledged there was a problem, I can keep the lines of communication open with them in the hope we might heal further. For me this is the last stage in dealing with all this. I know it doesnt mean my mother is suddenly going to run to me with open arms but at least we are able to talk about the past. That is a first because any previous attempts to start this dialogue have been met with a brick wall.


Hi Tess
That is awesome that they are willing to listen to you!! This site isn’t about going no contact, it is about equal value and if they are willing to listen to you, the is a turn in the right direction!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs Darlene


Well, Darlene, Unfortunately it didnt go quite according to plan. When I contacted them a week down the line, my mother was sketchy about the whole thing (but she is having problems with her memory so I understand that).
Then I spoke to my father & referred back to the conversation & started talking about how it affected my self-esteem. He cut me dead saying “we will never know the truth of it”. Then he said “its best left in the past”. So that was it. Brick wall treatment again.
They seem unable to accept any responsibility for the situation & this feels like confirmation they dont have my interests at heart. I feel rejected & abandoned. I had hoped it wouldnt come to this but now I guess its up to me to move on & try to rid myself of the anger of the past. Leaving all this behind isnt proving very easy though. But I feel having made the point to them, they cant deny it now as I brought it out in the open. That much at least I have acheieved.


It was a bit of a shock to me that my parents didn’t want to work towards healing, but today when I look back I am really glad that I was able to say the things that I said. I said them for me. None of this is easy, but there is so much life on the other side of it! Good for you Tess
Hugs, Darlene


This explains my feelings of intense loneliness I faced around 2005. I had just become single and had a few friends but suddenly had these overwhelming feelings of loneliness that I could not share with anyone. The few people who I shared with could not handle it and cut short communication.


i can relate to loneliness in recovery. i wnt to a tradtional rehab, and was not accepted by the women.
i came hone i was alone with out a driver’s license. That high end rehab had little follow up.

even anniversary night at rehab is very lonely for me. because i don’t want to be part of clicque
i am not accepted. i do what works for my recovery. i was rejeted and bammed in 12 steps groups
because i neded space not to be part of clicque. i have always struggled socially.
my family never listened to me. i was taught to keep quiet.

i feel the reason many relapse i that they ar not helped with functioning skills.

what about thosr of us who are unable to manage in groups. many of us struggle to pick people and get used by 12 preditors


Hi Elf
Welcome to EFB ~ sorry for the late reply, I have been out of the country on my first big EFB biz trip! ~ sounds like you have found the right place to share. (please join us on the current conversations through the home button ~ there is always a conversation going on.)
Glad you are here, thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


thanks for the reply. wjere the home botton to join the currrent conversation?



Hi Elf
The home button is at the top of the page on the left right under the header graphic (picture) ~ it is the button with the little house on it. (or you can go to http://www.emergingfrombroken.com at any time and the current blog post will be there.) I have published a new post today called “Positional Power; When your therapist doesn’t get it”.
hugs, Darlene


Ahhh.. Your wisdom is very refreshing. I feel you. I would like to ask you how you connected to yourself when the resistance was stronger? There are so many times I want to bring in kindness for myself, but there’s a lack of space with all of the fear and negativity. How did you do it? Great writing, great practice.


Hi D.
Welcome to EFB
I have written all the “how” answers here in this site and much of it is also in my book (upper right side bar here) which is a collection of my work about the foundation of my healing.
Glad you are here and seeking the answers. Hugs, Darlene


i found recovety very lonely at times. rehab was difficult and felt so alone.

I have been abaondened by the catty women from the rehab center.
i was dumped becaus i choose methods other than 12 step goups.
Meetings are the wort place for me. i keep to my self and i am shy, and the women just want to prey on me.

i wonder how many others have suffered because of the promise of fellowship in 12 step groups.

i am still alone in recovery. i go back the rehab center once a yr. i try to encourage the clients there. It is very lonely.

i ave never fit any where. i feel he recovery commnity igonores thos who
are introverted and don’t fit in recovery groups.


For me it was Eponine in Les Miserables and her song “On my own”. It is only now that I look back and see that isn’t exactly the song most teenagers obsess over but I would play it over and over and sing along. Often in tears, it connected me to my real feelings that I wasn’t supposed to have. It doesn’t have the same effect on me anymore. I am starting to believe that maybe I’m not all on my own anymore.


Hi Mo
Yay for believing that you are not alone anymore! This issue is an epidemic in our societies.
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene for showing me that it is possible to recover.It is a lonely road because for all intents and purposes I appear to be a ‘normal’ grown woman but inside I feel like a child full of fear and uncertainty.
I am in therapy and I have been in and out of therapy for years.I feel that this time I have gained a lot of understanding and context into my behaviour.I do behave like a child so I hide how I feel.I don’t even know how I feel.I am working hard to identifying what I feel at any given moment.

Please wish me luck and give me courage.I believe that I am codependent and in recovery from it all.Childhood was pretty horrible with an adult child mother.

Thank you and sorry for hijacking this reply.Londi

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