My Therapist Winced when I Told Him…….

The unknown path
the road is mysterious

Unless you are new to this blog, you have realized by now that my life has not always been happy joyous and free. I prayed to die for many years. I tried hard to change my life, to change my heart and to just “get over it”. I didn’t know what the heck was wrong with me, but I knew something was. I did everything that I was told might work, and I can honestly say that I was sincere in my desire to live without the baggage of my past dragging me down forever. I just never felt happy or good for very long.

I did make some progress over the years through some of the people that I met and the places that I went for help. Some books gave me hope; some seminars lifted my spirits for a while. I am not discounting any of the methods that I tried; it is just that none of them were the total answer. The improvement never felt finished. I still had this emptiness, this hole in me that would not fill. I had this restlessness and desire for something better, to find and know myself, to find my purpose in life. I longed to be free of the depression that came unexpectedly and yet regularly into my life. I just wanted to be okay instead of lost, broken, exhausted and disconnected.

I found fresh hope one day when sitting across from a new therapist talking about the hopelessness that was me; In my intake session I told him that I had the best life, the most wonderful husband, 3 great kids and was living my dream on a big farm/ranch riding my horse, but for some reason I had no reason to live. I thought that my family would be better off without me. I was tired, frustrated and heading for my third serious depression in 5 years. The last two depressions had lasted for almost 2 years each. I was terrified of antidepressants since I’d had a terrible withdrawal experience the last time I had taken them. The only stone left unturned that I knew of was that I had not followed through on the therapy for the dissociated identity disorder that I had been diagnosed with when I was in my mid twenties. I had decided to make one last attempt at dealing with that.

I caught just a glimmer of something different in the methods this therapist was using. He didn’t just listen to me, he reacted to me. He winced when I asked if it “was normal for a mother to put her tongue in her 9 year old daughter’s mouth?” He assured me that this was not “normal” and it was in that moment that I knew this therapy would be different. Not because of what he said though, because he winced. Other therapists had never reacted to that question. It was what I later realized was my “test question” and I was not going to tell absolutely everything if I wasn’t going to get an idea if this stuff was just run of the mill no big deal stuff or if something really wrong had happened to me. I had been raised to believe after all, that my life and my upbringing was better than most.

That glimmer of hope is what kept me going week after week, dumping some of the most difficult stories, and being validated by my therapist who was sometimes moved to tears. He showed his disgust for the things that happened to me. He assured me that it was not my fault, but more importantly than that, he showed me why I thought it was my fault, and then he helped me to see why it was not my fault. This was the beginning of my emerging from broken and into to a life of wholeness and splendid mental health beyond anything I had ever hoped for.

Living life to the fullest,

Darlene Ouimet

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


52 response to "My Therapist Winced when I Told Him……."

  1. By: Sam Posted: 19th October

    Hi Darlene
    I’ve been lucky, (or perhaps it was God-given) to find a very supportive clergyman and when I started to apply what you teach he was able to ‘get it’ and said I should put the whole issue of forgiveness to one side; (I had been put under a lot of pressure to do that at a previous church). He has been able to react when I have told him upsetting stuff which is a great help – a ‘blank canvas’ would be awful. I was gradually able to trust him with more and more stuff as I gradually believed he would not reject me, (I have major trust & rejection issues). He has even stayed on board when I reluctantly told him that I saw him as a replacement parent; he said he could not be a replacement parent but he would support me as a friend and that he would not ‘run to the hills’. I am confident that I will not need therapy as I’ve made more progress in the last 8 months when I first discovered your site that I had made in 20 + years; your site is life-giving and I am so grateful for it. Sam

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 20th October

      Hi Sam
      This is so excellent! Thanks so much for sharing. I really appreciate your words, compliments and all of it!
      Hugs, Darlene

  2. By: Gloria Posted: 17th July


    I too had an experience with a therapist that made all the difference in my healing. She kept saying that what happened to me was “heinous” and used that word when I told her some of the worst stuff that happened. She also reacted visibly when I told parts of my story. That’s when I began to believe that what happened to me was NOT normal and it wasn’t as simple as just “get over it.” My depression never disabled me entirely but was pervasive. I had bad reactions to Zoloft (a horribly itchy rash that grew geographically and in intensity every day that I took that damn pill) and decided to not take any other prescriptions for depression. I take St John’s Wort daily and it helps and I’ve accepted that I may need to take it the rest of my life. My therapist is an incredible gift from God for me. I strongly encourage those who have not found the right one to keep trying. She was certainly not my first attempt at therapy and I’m so glad I kept trying. Thank you for providing this forum for those of us who were so severely broken in childhood. This entry moved me to tears, as so many others have.


    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th July

      Hi Gloria
      Welcome to emerging from broken and thank you so much for sharing your story here too. It is really hard to find a great therapist, they seem to be so rare but for those of us that do it really is a huge blessing. There are so many on my site who have had the most awful exp. with professionals too so it is a good thing that this process can be done with support from regular people who are not therapists and I have had great success coaching people too; I think the key is being validated for the pain and the damage that was caused in the first place.
      Glad you are here!
      Hugs, Darlene

  3. By: Janie Posted: 6th July

    Remembering a horrible therapist experience: My therapist, who I’ve later come to beieve is a misogynist, was trying to expound on a point about Quantum Physics to me, something we had both spoken about in the past. But I was having a pretty bad day emotionaly, and couldn’t focus on what he was saying. He jumped up, opened the door to the office, and THREW ME OUT!!! Wow! I guess his needs were more important………
    He also told me, if I ended up trying to work in the “9 to 5 world” (I was in a creative field at the time), I would end up killing myself. Nice things to say to a 25 year old young lady. He was definitely wacky……


    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 6th July

      Hi Janie
      Wow.. he sounds like a pretty BAD therapist!
      Thanks for Sharing,
      Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: Cheryl Posted: 10th March

    Great, Darlene! I look forward to seeing such an article.

  5. By: Cheryl Posted: 10th March

    I once had a therapist wave a magic wand at me to get rid of my troubles. I didn’t stay with her long. I’ve found that the quickest way to find out whether a therapist has looked at their own history, and therefore will be able to help you with yours, is to come right out and ask. I interviewed about ten before I picked one, after having so many unsatisfactory and unhelpful relationships with therapists throughout my life, to the point where I refused for several years to go to any more of them. (I think this was good because it was part of the process of beginning to listen to my own voice.) This time, I explicitly told them, “I’m taking a break from contact with my family. What do you think about that?” and asked “What’s your relationship with your parents? What was it like when you were a child, and what is it like now?” It was scary to ask such personal questions, and some people got defensive, but I quickly found out who was willing to support their own child self — and by extension mine — and who stayed in contact with their parents out of obligation, rather than true enjoyment. The majority of the people I interviewed did not have a good relationship with their child selves, and therefore could not have helped me develop a better relationship with myself. I did find one I love.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 10th March

      That should be what everyone asks therapists! This is excellent! (we need an article about this here! )
      I especially LOVE your second to last sentence ~ “The majority of the people I interviewed did not have a good relationship with their child selves, and therefore could not have helped me develop a better relationship with myself.” There is where the proof is!
      Thank you so much for sharing this today… I really hope everyone reads it.
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: Laura Posted: 10th March


    As I read the above article I had to smile, because I have been telling the psych community for a while now, that it is normal and ok to show horror when a client describes the abuses they endured. Too many psychiatrists just sit there like statues saying “uh huhhhhh and then what happened? how did you feel about that? ohhhhh and so you thought blah blah blah…” I actually had a therapist hold up a peace sign repeatedly when I asked him what was wrong with me. On pressing further, I realized he was saying “two” meaning two diagnoses, which he wanted me to GUESS what they were! He was a NUT as far as I’m concerned! People expect other people to be HUMAN, to have reactions, feelings, empathy, concern. Too many in this world have been conditioned to be “professional” at the expense of compassion! Great article, Darlene!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 10th March

      Hi Laura
      That is the thing; they are still only human beings with all their own stuff and if that stuff isn’t dealt with they are not able to effectively help others.
      Hugs, Darlene

  7. By: Cheryl Posted: 1st September

    Darlene, I can’t tell you how valuable your writing is to me. Nearly every post has me wanting to say “thank you for being so real and so honest”! It’s encouraging me to be more real and honest about my own experiences. I used to have no idea how to find a good therapist, and the implication was that they were all good, or at least better than me. Their “training” meant more than my experience. Most of them like to practice as if that’s the case. I had my experience discounted so many times that I refused to see a therapist for years because I sensed that it was more damaging to me than helpful. Now I’m seeing therapists again, and finding some helpful ones. I’m not afraid to test them anymore, and to look elsewhere if they don’t pass. ~Cheryl

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 1st September

      Hi Cheryl,
      Thank you for your note! When I started coming out of that “fog” I thought I had been living in a si fi movie… and everyone was in on it. No one seemed to understand or agree with how discounted that I had been! When I overcame all the results of the mistreatment that I suffered by validating it, I vowed to tell about it! So … here I am!!
      Glad you are here too!
      Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Lynda Robinson - Posted: 24th December

    Dear Darlene,
    As I’m going back and rereading your Mother Daughter posts, I just had to tell you that I winced at this one, too.

    My mother was also sexually inappropriate with me in some weird ways on a few occasions.

    I’ve been to the therapists who remain totally blank and impassive, no matter what you tell them. I’ve got some therapist horror stories, too.

    When I had a counselor whose eyes filled with tears when I told about my mother trying to gas us all to death when I was 12, and then she said, “I have a 12-year-old child at home right now. I’m just thinking how horrible that is, what you went through when you were 12,” it was a pivotal and healing moment in my therapy.

    Darlene, this blog of yours is the best healing community I have found anywhere, and I’ve done a lot of searching. There are some other great ones too, but I believe this is the best. I think what makes yours so special, is your ability and willingness to be completely REAL and HONEST. You don’t whitewash anything, you are positive and full of hope, but not in a sickeningly sweet, pollyanna way, you present a healthy, realistic balance in your positivity. You are always respectful of others’ differing views, while sticking to your own guns, so to speak. Your writing is always coherent and understandable, which is no small accomplishment, especially with these tough topics, and the volume of writing you do.

    You know the saying that “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”? I think that, in your case, Pain is the Mother of Creativity.

    There’s some irony in the fact that the word “mother” is used in that old proverb, though!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th December

      Thank you Lynda,
      Thank you so much for all the lovely things you say about me and about my work.
      I might need to quote you one day ~ LOL

      I thought about what you said at the end;
      “You know the saying that “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”? I think that, in your case, Pain is the Mother of Creativity.”and the more that I thought about it, the more I would say that in the case of this blog “necessity is the mother of invention” too. When I realized how I had made such stunning progress in my recovery, I realized that this was something that needed to be said ~ needed to be written. This was a community that needed to be born.
      I just had to add that!
      Hugs and love, Darlene

  9. By: Barb Posted: 29th June

    “I still had this emptiness, this hole in me that would not fill. I had this restlessness and desire for something better, to find and know myself, to find my purpose in life.”
    I feel this way. I started therapy almost a year ago. I’m going through a group session for the second time. I had some therapy when i was quite young, 19 but i didn’t continue with it. I finally think that what i went through was terrible. Only because my therapist reacts strongly to my stories. She says what i wanted to hear from others, how terrible it was for me. Especially as I don’t feel it was that bad. Yes, I’m being validated. I’m struggling with my feelings about my father. All the stories i listed to or read talk about these strong feelings of hate and anger and disgust. I wonder why i don’t feel this way. I feel it when i hear others stories but i don’t identify with it. I love my father and wanted so much for a relationship with him. A normal relationship. I just don’t understand. I’m still a confused child even at 50.
    Anyway, I’ve been reading a lot of your blog and many things you say ring true for me. Thank you.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th June

      Hi Barb,
      It is okay to be a confused child at 50, because you realize it and that is so important and exactly what I am talking about in this blog. The thing about the confusion, which I like to thing of and refer to as “the fog” is that there are so many layers of it to get through that we get scared and give up. The layers are full of lies, one building on the other one, and we have to get to the bottom of it, one lie at a time, in order to see straight. Once you figure out a few lies, it begins to get easier. I think that I got lost because of abuse and because I was not valued for who I am, so who I am got squished right out of me. I learned to be what others wanted, and therefore could not find purpose. It was in hacking away at that rotten foundation, and replacing it with a new strong foundation, that I was able to find the real me agian.
      Thanks for you heartfelt comment and for sharing some of your story with me.
      Hugs, Darlene

  10. By: HiddenHeart Posted: 18th June

    How are people healed? Is it just telling someone our story? Because of the abuse, I don’t trust anyone. If telling someone involves trusting them, then it will never happen. Are we healed because we change the way we think? I can “think” myself until I am blue in the face but my insides don’t change – they still hurt. They hurt or I am so numb, I have no emotions at all and I can’t connect with anything. I am glad you found someone who could help you – who had some emotional response that let you know “it” was not alright. My guts want me to “get a grip”and “get over it”. It’s no big deal. But I am reading that incest is emotional murder. I tend to agree with that. I feel dead inside. Is there hope for real lasting healing or am I chasing an illusion?

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th June

      Dearest HiddenHeart
      Telling the story is part of the healing, yes. I am not sure that telling someone means having to trust them right away, I learned to trust along the way with my therapist. For me it was not about changing my thinking but rather digging down to the truth about how my belief system was formed, and realizing the lies that were fed me about myself, and they are there in a tricky way. It was easy for me to believe that I was not at fault for the sexual abuse when I was a child, but it was the beliefs that I adopted about myself and my value that had to change. That was the process. When I told myself to “get a grip” etc. it was like I was re-abusing myself. I felt dead inside too, for a very long time but I can tell you this, I have been living fully and feeling so much better for the last 5 years. It has been at least 6 years since my last depression. I have not dissociated for over 2 years at least. There is hope. I talk about lots of aspects of healing on this blog.
      Thanks for your honesty,
      Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Lisa Posted: 24th May

    The first two paragraphs of this post are how I feel almost all the time now. Thank you for having the courage to share. I’m glad you found an understanding therapist.

  12. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th May

    Hi Colleen,
    Yes it is really wonderful when we find the right person! I have met people who were helped by a best friend, or by books even! Thanks for leaving a comment.
    Hugs, Darlene

    Hi Robin,
    Thanks for stopping by!
    For me I think that my mind got stronger first, and then the physical health followed. I love how we all have such different healing stories to share. There is so much hope in that!
    Hugs, Darlene

  13. By: Robin Sampson Posted: 11th May

    Thank you for sharing your pain. i recenty wrote on forgivness. It’s much easier for me once I body was stronger ( (Satan loves it when we are weak) becoming nutritionally stronger helped me with spiritual forgiveness.

  14. By: Colleen Posted: 7th May

    It was a priest who helped me the most. Amazing what difference it makes when we find the right “healer.”

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