Permission to Live; Busting through Beliefs and Survival Systems

Permission to live and the truth about family

When the Lies Die by Azelinn

For many years, I didn’t even know that I sought “permission.”  It was a normal way of life for me growing up to need permission for everything. I am not talking about permission to sleep over at my friends, or permission to go to the corner store. It is healthy for children to need to seek permission for those things. That is about safety. I am talking about needing and seeking permission to think, permission to be who I really am, permission to make a decision on my own and in reality, seeking permission to live.

Seeking permission started because a big part of my survival system was about doing what was expected of me and being what and who the adults and my dysfunctional paretents wanted me to be.  And I was so afraid to be wrong. It was dangerous to decide anything on my own without approval. That was just the way I grew up. I didn’t know that I COULD think for myself. I had never been allowed to OR encouraged to so I had never learned how. And this is largely because of the consequences of saying or doing something wrong when I was a kid.

Eventually, I felt like I needed permission to breathe.

As I got older I had this constant feeling of not being able to breathe.

I wondered “how I should feel” instead of having feelings.  It was like I had to have the “right” to have my own feelings. I was not given permission to feel. “I am scared”, was met with “don’t be silly, there is nothing to be scared of.” “That hurts” was met with “no it doesn’t”and when I think about it today, how did someone else KNOW if something hurt me or not? How many times do kids get slapped when they yell “OW”? How validating is that?

Not having permission to say no, to say stop, to say ouch or to feel sad. Not having permission to be happy, to be me, or to say that I don’t like mashed potatoes. I didn’t like them, and I gagged on them, but my father made me eat them. And I never thought that that was wrong of him, but I put having to like or dislike certain foods, into the grid of not having permission.

I was constantly told that I was wrong. I was shut down and told that my personality was too dramatic and that I talked to hear myself talk. Then I was reprimanded for being too quiet, moody and sullen. I was spanked and then told that if I didn’t stop crying that I would be given something to cry about. I learned and believed that crying, even for being hit and consequently being in physical pain, must be wrong. All of that is extremely invalidating not to mention confusing! Having a steady diet of mixed messages nurtures confusion and a faulty belief system full of conflicting beliefs and no permission.  This is a dysfunctional way to grow up.

Over time I learned that at the root of the problem was always something that I did wrong. No wonder I learned to try harder and harder to do things right. But “right” was never defined. One day something I did was right and then the next day it was wrong. Nothing was consistent.

Being hit with a belt and convinced that I deserved it went along with the other false beliefs and they blended into each other; false beliefs such as that I caused other people to fly into a rage, that I caused people to dislike me and that I caused people to feel certain ways and to be in certain moods. I believed that I caused my mother’s depressions. I believed that I caused her to get the strap out and beat the shit out of me. As a teenager I believed that I caused the sexual abuse that happened to me. I was not believed, validated or protected afterwards.  At the same time I was told that it happened because I had a crush on the man who came into my room, which in reality indicates that I was believed but denied my right to be safe. Since I did have a crush on him, then I thought that it must be my fault after all and that I “must have” done something to cause it.

Because of the times when I was convinced that I had done things to deserve those beatings, or done something to “attract” being sexually assaulted, I even went back in time and applied these lies to child sexual abuse and physical abuse that I suffered as a small child, believing that if the assaults and molestations were my fault when I was a teenager, then they must have ALWAYS been my fault. Therefore, I believed I was the reason I was targeted for sexual abuse; the reason my mother cried and why she was so depressed; the reason my mother raged and even the reason that my father left. I believed that I was doing something wrong in the ways that I talked to my mother’s boyfriends, and the list of what I thought I was responsible for was absolutely endless.  And it formed because each of these beliefs built on each other and each one served to support the other one.

It is not just the blatant suggestions that cause the belief system to form full of lies, but phrases carelessly thrown out to a child by an adult also serve as the glue that supports all the self blame. Statements such as “you asked for it” “if you were more like “someone else”, “if you were not so loud, or so quiet” “you get on my nerves” … the list is too long to even go farther, but these lies and beliefs intertwined together with all manner of indications that I myself, attracted certain situations, sometimes mixed with “just enough truth” that I was too confused to think straight. All this created the lasting cement that was the foundation of my belief system.

And it was time to get out the jackhammer and break it down. And when I took a good look at all of it and began to expose the lies at the roots of all this “programming” and dysfunctional family system stuff, I was able to begin to embrace the truth and finally give myself validation and permission. Permission to think for myself, permission to speak; permission to live; permission to be me; permission to be right and to make choices; permission to feel and permission to breathe.

Please share your views and feedback

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time

Darlene Ouimet

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Categories : Family



can SOOO relate to feeling invisible, and wanting permission [without having words to say so back then] to just be who I am, not have all these pressures, guilt trips, expectations that were not age-appropriate, and not be so hungry for approval !!!! If we have to ask for it, it is a “privilege”. We have rights at birth, we don’t have to ask for those. But we don’t know yet, how to exercise rights, other than wail when hungry, when teething, when wet, etcetera. Our sense of being okay, gets chipped away with each NO spoken in anger. Even when it is for our good, such as being yanked from dangers we cannot comprehend yet. [fire, electricity, sharp objects, poisons….] thanks again for writing these.


I didn’t ask permission, you were seen and not heard. You had to be on the ball because of the constant violence. I remember going to the store with mom we always had to stay in the car while she did her grocery shopping or when my parents went out to eat and drink we had to stay in the car while they ate a steak dinner. Well there were a few times one of us would have to go to the bathroom and if we weren’t there in the car when they got there it wasn’t unusual for them to leave us. Then when they got home they would ask where so and so was and they would say they left the car to go to the bathroom. Who ever got left would get a beating because mom or dad would have to drive back into town. I remember once they didn’t and one of my older brother and younger brother had to walk the 14 miles to home. So permission never worked in our family we did have to ask permission if we wanted to spend the night at someone elses house.




You are helping me to realize that a lot of my beliefs from the past were actually ‘unconscious’ and this is helping to explain why I feel so ‘stuck’ and trapped in the past. Youre helping me to unravel my beliefs ( its working !) and gradually Im seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.
Ive been struggling with guilt as my mother died at the end of last year and I hadn’t seen much of her in the year before. I visited her when she took a stroke but the week before her actual death Id written a letter to the hospital saying I couldn’t be her carer for rehab as I was receiving therapy for childhood sexual abuse by dad and still had anger at my mother for her denial of this . I did not think she would die the following week. My guilt and grief has been crippling as I did also love my mother very much, despite her wall of denial. I am coming through this tho and realize I had a right to reclaim my life and all along I was ENTITLED to give MYSELF Permission to live the life I choose TO THE FULL .
Because of a confusion of love /Guilt/fear/false loyalty I was tangled up in the toxic belief system of my family/psychiatry/society and I can see now thats what was making me ill.I am also seeing its not a betrayal to get well. its a RIGHT.
Its taken me till my fifties but finally I am coming out the fog and tho these posts are sometimes painful and scary to read ,I’m not sure I would have got so far without them (certainly not so quickly). So thank you so much Darlene for youre brave wonderful work


Oh, Ian . . .invisibility can be such a blessing and such a curse. As a kid I just wanted to blend in with the walls because maybe then I wouldn’t be singled out. . . lying under those covers, pretending to be asleep. . . and being in terror, one with the bed and the shadows. And now as an adult as I have put on more weight than all the rest of my life, I’ve acquired a new invisibility — how can I be so huge, and still not have anyone see me? And with being overweight, I have encountered a whole new world of abuse. However, I can finally see that none of these life strategies has worked . . . so, like the other souls here, I am on the quest to find me.

And Renee, I understand the violence and the confusion. As the oldest child, with two younger brothers, and being part of a once military family that moved into law enforcement — when there was trouble in the house, it was line up the usual suspects. The beatings always started with me. Didn’t matter if I was the trouble maker or not. I was always paddled first. My middle brother was most always the one in hot water, so he’d take some of the punishment. My little brother always got off. It wasn’t fair. I didn’t understand. But I grew up thinking — no matter what I did, good or bad, right or wrong — it was my fault, and I was going to get punished.

And Joann — that the unresolved abuse and childhood conflicts wears us down and makes us susceptible to all sorts of illness, I have no doubt. I’m battling my own ailments right now, with a broken immune system and obesity. However, we have a right to wellness, too. I am finally giving myself permission to be healthy and well — and I’m finally taking some (very small) steps to do this. I’ve had my first physical exam in 25 years. I’ll have my first female exam in a couple of weeks. I’ve had a mammogram. I haven’t had the courage to make an appointment with a dentist. I’ll be meeting with a new therapist this afternoon. Despite all the negative thoughts my dad, my mom, and my ex-es have laid on me about my worthlessness — As Darlene repeatedly reminds me, it’s all been a lie. I spent most of my life and energy pouring myself out for people in my life who treated my efforts with contempt. All those were life-affirming actions I spent on others — It’s time I learned to spend that energy on myself.

Joann, and Layla! I’m in my 50s (almost 60) — and I’ve been stuck in this muck most of my life. Here we are! I hear you! I was my parents’ caregiver for almost 10 years. Mom passed away — and in the end, the abuse hasn’t ended. I’m battling in my body the ravages of the accumulated toxic relationships in my life. I’m having to contend with my dad and my brothers, and other exes in this life. However, with the help of Darlene and the amazing folks here — you are so right, Layla. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s to healing, inside and out — Here’s to a FULL life — for you, for me, for all of us.

Thanks, again, Darlene. There is power here. It’s changing lives. It’s changing mine. God bless.


I had to ponder on this one for awhile, Darlene. I believe you are saying that your treatment as a child left you subservient. I would have to say that I have experienced the same in my life. It is impossible to be subservient without someone to serve. If subservience is the only reason for existence then it is impossible to exist alone. Subservience when it is chosen for us by those who rear us can doom us to a life only partially lived. When our wings are broken even before the instinct to fly urges us toward independence then that independence remains illusive. The only answer is in the mending of our wings. That mending process can last a very, very long time.

The culture that we live in does not value servanthood. However, there are many attributes of servanthood that are valuable to society and lacking today. I don’t want to give up the attributes I have developed as one who serves in order to become more independent. I still want to help those who are in need. I just don’t want to give up what I am to do it. Jesus lived on earth as a servant but He promised to return as a King. However, He served God and not the billions of people who have benefitted from His service. I think this is the pattern for me also. I am very cognizant now of what I have been and what I am and how I got here. It was never wrong for me to serve but I have often been subservient to people when that service should belong only to God. I believe that if I begin to be the person that I was created to be rather than what others think I should be, then my life will fulfill its own purpose. Permission has already been granted. All I have to do is live it out. Even if it is late in life and much of my life seems to have been wasted in pain, I can fly on mended wings. I can be the person God intended me to be. All that my enemy has meant for my destruction, God can and will work for my good.

You are a blessing to me, Darlene. We were told and told that we are weak but we are strong. Maybe I should say, I am strong and you also are very strong. A sister who survived to thrive just like me!:0)



You make me want to cry. I know what it means to be used up and sick. When the ones you’ve used yourself up for don’t even notice, it is doubly hard. I’m glad that you are taking steps to care for yourself and love yourself. After all, there is only one of you. You are a treasure to be valued and guarded.



no child deserves what we have endured. Sorry for your pain. such hard work to rebuild, and make a safe place for the kid buried inside us. The work is near impossible without the hope that circles such as we have, provide us. sooo instrumental.


Hi Ian
Yes, you bring up great points. There are times when it really IS for our own good and for our safety and those times get all mixed in with the times when it is abusive. That is how we learn to accept the abuse and even believe that it is also for our own good and our own fault. SO very difficult to untangle!
Thank you so much for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Renee,
This story is exactly what I am talking about also. Being treated like you were nothing. Being stuck in a car ~ totally devalued ~ and beaten for having a human need. I am so sorry that this happened to you Renee; It is wrong. It is illegal, it is unacceptable.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Layla
YAY ~ That is how I recovered, by unravelling my beliefs. I am so glad to hear that you are realizing your right to reclaim your life. For most of us there is that guilt fear and loyalty that keeps us from really seeking recovery, as though recovery would be the ultimate BAD thing and as though recovery would take away all the definitions of us that THEY and the abuse put on us in the first place ~ which isn’t a bad thing at all, but the guilt fear and loyalty issues convince us that it IS a bad thing… it is a “going against” them.
It is a hard thing to break out of!
Hugs, Darlene


Brilliant post Darlene, thank you! How wonderfully validating to hear yours and others stories. Me too; I couldn’t breath, I felt like I was choking, I couldn’t find the words to express myself….One day as I looked at the “why” behind where I was still stuck I realized that the “freeze” I was in came down to the fact that I had been told what to my entire life. From my original family to my abusive husbands, then the church then being stuck in the mental health system and drugged into submission and compliance. When I finally broke free – I did not know how to live. As I sat and looked at this I realized that I felt “stuck’ because I was waiting for permission to exist. It has been scary learning that I can direct my own life but today if I feel “stuck” I can follow it back and ask myself what it is I’m feeling powerless over and then take the steps to validate myself and take the steps to do what needs to be done. I find a lot of strength in telling myself that I am ok simply because I exist; that I don’t need permission any more.


Hi Joann
Thank you for sharing and welcome to Emerging from Broken.
I hate that saying “it’s all in your head” it is one of the most common ways that abusers and controllers keep us in that spin of questioning if they are right. They can say “it never happened” but it is up to us to validate ourselves that we KNOW it happened even if they deny it.
You asked how long does it go on? It goes on until someone says “enough” It goes on until the victim in the situation stands up to it. BUT that is not as easy as it sounds. In my case I had to validate myself and go through the process of realizing all the things they said to me about me were lies and that I didn’t have to accept that anymore. I was so stuck in proving to the ones that devalued me in the first place!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Ultralite,
This is a fantastic comment! I relate to it deeply. I had to face my physical health in the process too, go to the dr. and catch up with dental stuff. I was physically fit because my identity was in my body, and now I am not so fit as this past few years I let that identity go and let the obsession with my body go, but I have a new identity, my real identity and I think that my fitness will be reinstated in my life for the right reasons now. (by the way, my obsession with being the perfect weight was also for protection and fear of rejection. Just a different thread then gaining weight to be “safer”. )

I see so much growth and victory in your comments even though it is mixed with the pain of the past, I can see the fog of all the lies, lifting!
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Pam
I like the way you expand on my blog post. About serving.. I think that I also have a heart to serve. I have been involved in mentoring work for many years, but guess what happened when I went through the healing process!! I have 100% more impact now, because I mentor from a new standpoint. I serve out of wholeness, and I know that I have to take care of me. I can only teach what I know, and in the old days what I knew was that I was not very valuable. I was always exhausted. The rewards from serving others were very short lived. But today they are HUGE and I am not exhausted. (well sometimes I spend way too much time on the computer and I GET exhausted but that is a different story) I like to think that I serve God too. I am flying on mended wings too! I love that image!
Thanks for all that you share!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Susan Kingsley-Smith
YES, waiting to have permission to exist! That is exactly what it is! I remember this one day that I defined that feeling of drowning or not being able to breathe when I was in therapy. I told my therapist that I felt like someone was sitting on my chest and holding me down. He asked me “who is it?” I felt this huge fear… I hadn’t thought about WHO it was… but only thought about the feeling. The answer came to me very quickly ~ it was almost everyone that was holding me back and holding me down. Almost everyone defined me, told me who I was and what I could do or what I was “good for”. I decided that I was no longer going to be held down and squished. That was another big turning point for me.
Great comments Susan, as always!
Hugs, Darlene

Renee/A Resurrected Spirit
May 23rd, 2011 at 10:19 am

Thank you all for your kind comments and encouragements. Sometimes I vision the old mummy that has their body wrapped in gauze, except it is my head and hands that are wraped. My head because I was not allowed to speak of the abuses and my hands because I was to small to fight back,yet I feel because of the way my family is and I guess I want them to speak of their abuses because it would validate mine. My little sister told me she hates it when I bring up negative memories because she only want to discuss the “make beleive” world she has created. Let me tell you it is lala land with everyone all happy and loving one another! OMG


Today I realize that wanting my family to admitt that this all happened, was the way that I thought I could get validation and proof. To be affirmed that it happened. BUT I knew it happened. I realized that I can’t make anyone esle face anything they dont’ want to face. I can’t make anyone esle want to recover or deal with any of it either. I had to do this for me. I had to validate myself and I did. and I found so much freedom there. I was really afraid to lose my family, but in the end our relationships were never about love anyway.
Hugs, Darlene



I know exactly how you feel when it comes to wanting your family to face the reality of what life in that family was and is like. My sister does exactly what you describe. She has total dissociative amnesia when it comes to her childhood and she thinks I should do the same. I think she believes she is honoring our parents by doing so since they refuse to face anything they have done and demand it all be forgiven and forgotten without ever acknowledging any wrong. They all think that living a lie will make it better. I want truth and if I have to have truth without them then it is their loss. It makes me sad but my compliance won’t make it better. It just makes me sick. I know you are better off with the truth also.

It is just hard to leave one’s family behind no matter how painful being a part of that family is.


“It is just hard to leave one’s family behind no matter how painful being a part of that family is.”

Even though it is hard, it is so good to be able to do it.

I had to move back with my parents (and with my children (pre-teens and teens) after (20 years)a divorce). Talk about hell…talk about facing all past issues in my life, and realizing where they came from, yeah, no more pretending at all, about anything, with anyone, ever again. Talk about freedom when that process was over! Still working it thorugh, but MUCH better off than I ever thought I would be.


I know this feeling well, of there being a right and wrong way to act/think/feel. Even my tastes in things like music were so thoroughly criticised that I can’t just admit if I like something or not for fear of getting it wrong. And then they go and move the goal posts…

And I still feel like that little kid who can’t just be herself. I feel like being me is wrong and selfish and a punishable offence. I have panic attacks and social phobia and live in constant fear of making a mistake and being punished or ridiculed for it. I can still hear their voices and laughter in my head wherever I go and whatever I do.

I’m only just starting to realise that i am free to live my life and be myself – I don’t have to let other people define me or control me. I can choose not to accept other people’s criticism. It’s wonderful, but such hard work. At 36, I’m young in comparison to some of the people who post here, but I’ve still lost a big chunk of my life to these lies.

But now I’m putting my outrage to good work – using it as the fuel to drive change, raher than turning it in on myself and creating more self-blame.

Viva la revolution! And more power to everyone else who is travelling this road.



That happened to me when my parents moved onto my property. I thought I’d worked through the issues and could handle it. I found out that I didn’t even really know what the issues were! In the end, it couldn’t be worked out because I can’t have a working relationship with them through my own effort alone. All of it coming to a head has been painful as was my demand that they treat me with respect and their silence afterward. I know myself a lot better and am stronger for it.


Another brilliant post Darlene, and one that echoes so closely what I learned growing up, the messages that still get ‘sent’ to me my family members (although I’ve learned that catastrophic things won’t happen if I ignore them!).

My family wanted to make sure that every one said the ‘right things’ and ‘did the right things’ but it was their right things, not ours. We didnt get to have our own opinions without risking the wrath and anger for not toeing the party line. Even to the point of re-writing history just to make someone wrong, so they could be blamed.

The night I was raped, and didn’t tell anyone but my husband until now, I couldn’t say anything because the first words out of their mouths when I came in late was, “You know staying out late like this is an invitation to be raped, and that would embarass us so much, we would be so ashamed.” I took myself and went to bed, never telling a soul what happened. People knew, there were witnessess but I was always to blame and my silence enforeced that sense of self punishment.

I think that the reason I can speak of it now is that I know I didn’t ask for anything other than love, protection and a safe place to discover who I was as a person.

Not needing the weight of permission, the weight of being wrong, and the weight of needing to be accepted to be ‘safe’ is huge for me. Thanks for this post, the echoes of my childhood are resonating. It’s not all bad but not all good either…I think I will always hear the footsteps on the stairs and the snap of the belt in the air. I’ll always remember how it finally stopped – I make it so I didn’t react and when there was no reaction it wasn’t as satisfactory so it stopped. Now I have to relearn trusting and relearn feeling and that is VERY hard for someone who taught herself that being able to be on her own was not only safe but also desirable.

Thank you for your honesty, your heart and your words my sister in spirit! Bless you Darlene!

I wrote a post a while back giving myself permission, even wrote a permission slip, not sure if you saw it.



Amen to that realization that it must be two sided. And NO more guilt over what they are unwilling to do!

I was sort of forced to realize this time, because my children were caught in the middle and it was for their survival that I fought back and would not take it, even if the “opposition” happened in front of my kids. I told my dad to stop calling me stupid in front of my daughter. I got real emphatic. Then we moved out, then my daughter started cleaning my parents’ house, lots of hours, money, and lots more talking was going on. Lots of ocnfusion. I would never again have moved back to that town, etc., and I tell my kids that now. But I also refer (in what ever quantity they can handle)to what I learned about my childhood, etc., so that maybe they will understand and not make some of the same mistakes.


“I can still hear their voices and laughter in my head wherever I go and whatever I do.”

Yes, I would say that everyday certain voices have to be told to shut up. And then I realize, that they are not there anymore in my life in the same ways as before.

And then there is simply the reality, like the verse says, “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak…” we simply will be more tired some times, and that is OK.

Renee/A Resurrected Spirit
May 23rd, 2011 at 2:45 pm

You may be young, age doesn’t count here. Care, respect, and seeking the truth is what matters. What you said discribes a large portion of me, funny I can not lump every thing together and say yep that discribes all of me. I have different souls within me and we all can’t seem to be on one page because of the age differences. When you mention that they moved the goal post every time you think your getting it right, I remember doing that. Then I came to the heart breaking truth that it didn’t matter to them because I didn’t matter to them. Yet I still want to love them hoping for the miricle that will never come that some day they would want to sit with me and tell me that they love and value me……… I will wait to my dying day and I know i still won’t get that oportunity.
Also it is like we are trained to be a camilion none of it being our beleif but everyone elses.

Renee/A Resurrected Spirit
May 23rd, 2011 at 2:54 pm

I read James 1:13-14 and it talks about the person doing the wrong and it becomes the sin of that person. OK where is it in the bible that says that when we are sinned against that healing, love, hope, and that we will no longer be broken but healed, normal, and free of the sick creeps that attached themselves to us when they abused us. And why are they so attached that we live with the pain and distruction that they caused. Why are we the everlasting wounded? Why are we stuck with life passing us by while the abusers live their live free and full? Where is the justus WHY DOESN’T GOD HAVE OUR BACKS? Thats what I want to know.


Thank you so much for posting this! Everything just about resonated with me, To hear that I am not the cause for all this is sooo freeing. I have asked permission for so much and so many things, that now to make my own decisions is daunting, I realized they were always made in some way for me. Now my boyfriend is helping me to not lean on everyone else for decisions. It’s wonderful but so difficult sometimes.


I do believe that your/our longing for righteousness (the lingering pain of abuse) will be fulfilled fully in the next life.

Renee/A Resurrected Spirit
May 23rd, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I saw your permission slip, good for you! There are things that stay with a person forever, why I want to know, Im glad though that you are making head way in finding your self.


Hi Carolyn,
You might be surprised to know how young or how old some of the readers here are! Age really has nothing to do with it. I think it all depend on what age we get sick of the old system and start to seek a new one. And yes, we have all lost a big chunk of our lives due to the lies! I had to ask myself what DO I like to do? I wasn’t even sure at first.
It is GREAT to hear that you are putting your outrage to drive change and I love “Viva la revolution!”

I can so relate to that. The silence after asking for respect was really painful, but in the end the truth about that was that there was never “love” in the first place. SO… freedom is better than that dysfunctional system!

Oh my gosh Shanyn
Thats what I am talking about! Those are the things that are SAID to us! Those are the things that confuse the hell out of us and then we feel the shame and blame as OURS AND we have to keep those secrets. It is like DEATH to a child. (or an adult too) Like being “pre treated” for rape. GOSH! THEY would be so ashamed???
This makes me sick. I thank you for sharing it, I know that it isn’t easy! I am SO glad that you KNOW that that crap is a crock of lies!
Hugs, Darlene
p.s. Please come back and post the link to your permission slip blog post!



God does have your back, that’s why your here and the people who hurt you are still abusers. You could have chosen that path also but you didn’t. You chose love and long for that love to be received. You choose to live in truth while they rest in their lies. The 21 and 22 chapter of Revelation is your chapter.

I believe there will be a reckoning and all who have suffered will be validated. The waiting is hard. I validate you now. I believe what you say happened really happened and my heart breaks for you. I also have great hope for you because of your great love.


Hi Naomi
I am so glad that this resonated with you! It is wonderful and difficult, but it is really worth the effort!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kate,
Thanks for sharing your exp. with your parents too. I can feel/hear your conviction that it was time to stand up!
Thanks for sharing

Hi Renee
I am free and I am not in the next life. I don’t feel like God didn’t have my back either. The way my life is today is the product of really getting to the bottom of the lies etc and really drawing those new boundaries. That is the journey that we are on! Life is not passing me by anymore! There is hope for all in THIS life. (oh and I would not be so sure that abusers get to live free and full… when I came out of the fog, and really saw them for what they were, not one of them was a happy person at all!
Hugs, and hang in here!


I wouldn’t go back to participating in their lies about me for anything. I’m glad I asked because I didn’t ask for that much and I know for sure now how little they value me no matter what words pour out of their mouths.

My mom used to tell me that she wished she could keep me in a bubble where she could see me but nothing could hurt me. This always made me feel so angry but I didn’t fully understand why. Now I know. It is the same as a little girl putting one of her prettiest dolls in a glass case to keep it pristine. I know now that when a grown man led me away as a teenager and she allowed him to keep me, it was because her treasured doll had become soiled. I was no longer pure enough for her admiration so she threw me away. That is why when I asked for respect and an answer to why she threw me away, she threw me away again. It’s okay though because I am not a doll and I am so glad I escaped that damn bubble!


Pam; omgosh. A similar situation happened to me only it was my father who threw me away and completely rejected me when a pedophile more than 20 years my senior lured me to leave the state with him. He died never making things right with me but I continued to try to be “good enough” long after his death. I’m so thankful I know how to blast through those lies now:) We are just too fabulous:) and its great to be free of that bondage via the lies!


This is a very interesting story ~ it hit me hard. So true for so many! and I was thinking also that maybe in the bubble you would never talk back or have an idea of your own, or do anything to offend or embarrass them….
I relate to the expression “thrown away” also. That would be a good name for a blog post! It hurts like hell to accept that that is what they did… but accepting it truth and truth is freedom.
Thank you for your constant courage in sharing this really hard stuff.
Hugs, Darlene

Susan Kingsley-Smith
I feel the same way ~ I am so thankful that they finally rejected me ~ because out of that rejection, out of that truth leak ~ I was BORN.
(and we are fabulous, I love that!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you, I am troubled about a few things, Part of me understands what your saying but it’s not filtering through to me. You talk about getting down to the lies, fog, stuff like that. Im trying really hard to understand your meanings. The adult deals with most of the outside daily stuff. I hope you don’t mind i’m really trying to be good and not sound so stupid, I just want to understand so I can learn too.


I’m still NOT allowed to do anything like that with my family. If I do it, I do it without permission, and the let me know so when my so-called Aunt Rosemary said that she’d “beat the shit out of anyone who talks bad about” my mom, her sister.
If that’s not saying you have absolutely no permission to do what she doesn’t want you to do NOTHING is. I’ve just decided to tell what she said, b/c I think that all these secrets of it is what makes it even worse. That, and I really don’t care what she does. She’s in her 70’s and she’s still going around threatening to beat people up if they don’t do what she says. I don’t know how anyone else feels about it, but I think she looks stupid being in her 70’s and still threatening to beat people up.
Since I’m the one she threatened though, I might possibly be biased in that thought.


Thanks Renee for stopping by at the blog, and Darlene thanks for your comment back and the loving friendship that you bless me with.

Here is that link:


Hi Renee
Keep one thing in mind as you read the posts here; it doesn’t matter how much you “study” this, it takes time. The fog won’t lift any faster then it will lift. My whole life went before my process, I had a LOT of beliefs that were false and it took time to first see them, and then change them. Time. This is a process. I “heard” this message too, when I was in those difficult years of coming out of the fog, and sometimes I understood a concept for a few days and then suddenly it didn’t sit so clearly again. That is the process. You are doing fine and I can tell by what you share here that you ARE in the process. I hope that helps Renee
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Vicki,
I was terrified of my mother. She is 4 feet and 11 inches tall and really, there is no way that she could “beat me up anymore” BUT sometimes fear makes no sense. I realized that most of my fear around my mother was the same fear that I had when I was a small child. Discovering all that it was, was part of my process. and then I was able to let it go. As an adult, I have no reason to be afraid of my mother. My biggest fear turned out to be the fear of rejection, and it turns out I realized that they rejected me a long long time ago. So nothing really changed. 🙂

Hi Shanyn,
I loved that permission post of yours the first time I read it and I loved it again this time too!
Thanks for posting the link!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene for the much needed encouragement. You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned to Vicki that it was the fear of rejection. I think I am so consumed by that fear of rejection that reality gets put on the back burner. Yet i felt I dealt with that fear years ago in counseling that I was free from it. At one time as heart breaking as it was I excepted the fact that my family made me an outcast, someone lesser than them. Left out of family gatherings constantly and how much that just brought up all that pain of abuse fresh as if it was yesturday. It hurts that I still feel that fear and angers me because I dealt with it years ago, and its back roaring it’s ugly hurtful head! Was it a waste of time and money (I made $5.25 an hour and single parent of 2 girls). Then the thought comes did I make my girls sacrifice needlessly because that rejection is hitting me really hard right now? Im healthier because I did so much work on me yet if I have to deals with this crap what is the use? I know im not the only one that has to deal with this issue “rejection” and it would be good to know because information is power in itself.


Hi Renee,
I thought that I had dealt with all this years ago too. I think about it differently today. I did deal with lots of stuff, but I didn’t go this deep. The real freedom for me was in the depth of looking at the real truth. The truth about my childhood history. It was worth it. I realize now that I only thought that I had dealt with “all of it” and there was lots more. It was this process of really facing the past, that really set me free.
Please be patient with yourself and your process.
Hugs, Darlene



Actually, my mom and dad both threw me away. I just happened to be talking about my mom at the moment.:0)

I’ve never talked to anyone who had the same thing happen. My family treats me as if I seduced him. My parents made a big point of ‘forgiving’ him. They never acknowledged what happened to me. My husband says he doesn’t thing they’ve even ever thought about what it was like for me. It’s all about how I hurt them.

The sad thing is that I had so much shame that I bought their version and never questioned it. I was fifty before I really realized what had happened. In a way, I think my pride kept me from understanding how I’d been manipulated. It is almost easier, sometimes, to take responsibility for wrong doing rather than face the fact that one has been victimized.


In that bubble, I wasn’t allowed to live. I was a pretty object kept safe from corruption. When she refused to acknowledge that I had been sexually abused and she knew I was going to break off the relationship, she came back with the bubble fantasy again telling me how much she wanted to protect me from pain. She wouldn’t even acknowledge the reality of my pain! I needed her to call the cops not dream about keeping me in a bubble! Argh! My throat tightens in a knot just thinking about it!

Thanks for giving me a place to talk about this ‘stuff’. My dad didn’t talk about keeping me in a bubble but in his mind, I was a soiled woman and an emberrasment. I think he thought I’d ‘get what I was asking for’.


Yes! This is why my blog is named “Permission to Live”. I could relate to everything you wrote.


I’m sorry if I said too much yesterday. This is one of my boundary issues that I’m working on. When I see someone hurting, I tend to want to take away all of their pain. I pull them too close and say too much. I know I don’t have all of the answers for you and I’m sorry if I sounded like I think I do. I’m just sad that you are hurting.



You didn’t say to much, I don’t feel that at all. I come on here to this blog because it helps me. I have DID and I don’t know how to organize “us”. When I was in counseling and I was diagnoised with it they trierd to force us to merge. It didn’t work, it can’t be forced at least I don’t think it can be, least it didn’t for me. I am exhausted from the emotional side and from my physical disabilities, im in a lot of body pain right now. I am learning from all of you and thank God he has lead me to all of you. I don’t feel isolated when I read this blog. I need it and choose and open myself to this healing. So all of you Darlene, Pam, Pat, Vicki, FI, Shanyn, Susan, Lynda, even my brother Jack and the many others that write in here, I NEED your caring and support. I never had this kind of support any where in my life and I just wanted you all to know your contribution helps me and I am truely gratefull.


I’m glad I didn’t hurt you. I don’t want to say something stupid and hurt you more. I’m glad you are here too because you deserve the support. You also are an encouragment to me to keep trying. I am grateful to you too.


Glad you are here too! I am glad ALL of you are here too! I am so glad that I didn’t let my fears stop me from creating and writing emerging from broken!! I am so blessed by all of you.

That “thrown away” phrase is one that really hits a lot of people. I can relate.
hugs, Darlene


It is almost as if you are writing for me, as if you grew up in the same home with the same parents. Thank you for writing about these things. I cannot articulate what I went through.


Good Morning to all of you. Once again, there is so much to catch up on. . . new voices, new victories. . . new challenges — valuable new insights.

Layla (and Darlene and Renee), you mentioned coming out of the fog. I made it to the appointment with my new therapist — and she was like a headlight beam coming at me through the fog — “We need to get you some power, girl.” And let’s get some light on all this stuff that’s holding you fast (like a deer in headlights). . . she was kind and concerned for my safety — and while I’m incredibly anxious about what I need to do before I see her again, I did get a sense she would do the work to help me find the help I need. Doesn’t mean I didn’t have a complete melt down when I got home — because I did climb into bed and wrap up in my fuzzy blanket for comfort. The storm seems to have passed, and in the interim I got lost in a book my daughter gave me: The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I got to this one section (chapter 7, pp 91-92 — hope that’s enough attribution). I was so moved, I felt it needed to be shared:

“Mae Mobley? Mae Mobley Leefolt!”

Miss Leefolt just now noticing her child isn’t setting in the same room with her. “She out here with me, Miss Leefolt,” I say through the screen door.

“I told you to eat in your high chair, Mae Mobley. How I ended up with you when all my friends have angels, I just do not know. . .” But then the phone ring and I her her stomping off to get it.

I look down at Baby Girl, see how her forehead’s all wrinkled up between the eyes. She studying hard on something.

I touch her cheek. “You alright, baby?”

She say, “Mae Mo bad.”

The way she say it, like it’s a fact, make my insides hurt.

“Mae Mobley,” I say cause I got a notion to try something. “You a smart girl?”

She just look at me, like she don’t know.

“You a smart girl,” I say again.

She say, “Mae Mo smart.”

I say, “You a kind little girl?”

She just look at me. She two years old. She don’t know what she is yet.

I say, “You a kind girl,” and she nod, repeat it back to me. But before I can do another one, she get up and chase that poor dog around the yard and laugh and that’s when I get to wondering, what would happen if I told her she something good, ever day?

. . . After a while, Mae Mobley come over and press her cheek up to mine and just hold it there, like she know I be hurting. I hold her tight, whisper, “You a smart girl. You a kind girl, Mae Mobley. You hear me?” And I keep saying it till she repeat it back to me.

* * *

You all are smart. You all are kind. I love you all. I need to say this to you — because I’ve been talking to myself for too long. And let’s please keep reminding one another — and telling one another — until it can pierce the fog, and becomes the truth that lights up our lives.



what a gift, to have just ONE person to instill positive messages at a young age.

I think many of mine were from childrens magazines, PBS and a select few of my teachers.

thank you for sharing that. very touching.


Hi Ultralite
When I was in really great therapy, I got in bed with a PILE of blanket after EVERY session. It was a great way for me to sort of come to terms with all that came up. A way for me to comfort myself. I did it for a long time; it really worked for me.
Thank you for sharing the section of the book! That is great.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Janelle,
Welcome! I am glad to hear that this post resonated with you.
Hugs, Darlene


[…] been denied permission to exist as an individual as I mentioned in the previous blog post, I grew up a mal functioning adult woman not knowing my own identity. Being denied autonomy, I also […]


Awhhhh Ultrlite,
That was beautiful! Thank you

Darlene, Fi, Pam, and all of you that supported me in the desision I made to speak to me brother. I decided I needed to. We had never had a talk like this one not even close. It turned out well and found out some vital information that would help connect the dots in my maze of life. Though you couldn’t “give” me advice you encouraged me to be strong and true to myself. Not to except lies or turn from them. It was bare bone heart to heart. Im glad I did it. He and my brother Jack are the only 2 out of 11 children that treated me as a sister, the others were more like I had leprasee. Some to a stronger degree than others but unfair all the same. I beleive it will strenghten out relationship and if it doesn’t at least he will know more about who I am. I told him every thing. Im glad I did. Thank all of you for being in my corner.


Hi Janelle;
It is safe here and it’s ok (Darlene I hope you don’t mind)to just read the posts. It is your time, and your journey,you do what is safe for you.


The “step mom” always saw to it we were taken care of in her way, from manners right on down to cleanliness…and so on. She’d see to it we learned on a daily basis, no matter what it took. When she became the “stepmother”…allot of things changed between her and us. She began to do things to us and not her own kids for one thing. Another thing was…new rules were made and some of them were very hard to live up to but we’d do our best because if ya broke a rule, you were in for it so below are some of the rules and consequences of a life lived with her…

Toothpaste in the home was more like a “treat” to us. You had toothpaste ya but you had to make it last for a month because if you ran out before that month was over (which many a time we did)…you had to brush your teeth another way so we would try to make that tube of toothpaste last a whole month… but it was at times impossible so when we ran out, we were made to use “step moms” way…comet and bleach. No, it didn’t taste good and no it wasn’t cool but ya never back talk your “step mom” or even look at her funny because you’d be brushing less teeth if ya did. I got use to the comet allot easier than I did the bleach but you’d use the comet like toothpaste. You’d put some comet in your hand, enough to cover the top of the toothbrush…take the toothbrush and dip it a cup of bleach to wet it (also provided by “step mom”)… then you’d take the bleach soaked toothbrush and press it into the palm of your “comet” filled hand so the comet would stick to it, then you’d brush your teeth like usual. When you were done brushing them, you’d use he cup of bleach to then rinse your mouth first, then you were allowed to get some water after “step mom” checked your teeth out. She had to make sure we brushed them good enough so we wouldn’t have to go to the Dentist because then folks would find out what was going on in our home. I learned how to keep my teeth in my mouth for a change.

We took baths ya…we got to use hot water too…only thing was, we couldn’t have no more than 2 inches of water in the tub. If it went over 2 inches we got out bare butts whipped big time or our head hit against the tub wall. The “step mom” would keep a ruler in the bathroom so we could put the right amount of water in the tub. Then we’d all have to use the same water, rag and towel and go in an order that the “step mom” picked, I was always the last one to get my bath and sometimes it bothered me ya because I always ended up taken my bath in black, cold water. Then one day I decided to change part of that rule and as quiet as I could be…I drained some of the water out of the tub, then quietly turned on the hot water real low so it could warm up the water. I eventually got caught doing that and got my face slapped around a bit but the good thing…. I learned how to turn on the hot water quietly and drain some of the cold water out and I thought that was cool so I was glad I was last.

Toilet paper
“1 for “pee” and 2 for “poo” if you use more than that, I pity you” you’d think this wouldn’t be such a big deal wouldn’t ya well, in our house, it was a major deal to the “step mom”… we had to use 1 sheet for “pee” and 2 sheets for “poo” and if you used more than that, you got it good. The “step mom” basically knew in her own way how many times one should be allowed to use the bathroom, right down to what time one should go, including how many times a day one should “poo” so, she would mark on the toilet paper how much should be used in a single day, if it went over that mark boy did she have a fit! Toilet paper was expensive she would yell so we had to abide by her rule. It was hard at first ya, because without thinking, I would just grab the toilet paper and roll it out, then tear it off and use it. I soon got out of doing that though because if the “step mom” found out…you not only got your face smacked around but you were also called out into the living room in front of everyone with your pants still down, and ya got told again how you were to use the toilet paper, all the while with the “step mom” hitting ya in your face or upside your head…and then you got your “bare” butt whipped with a leather strap right in front of everyone. Some may think it funny but you try pulling up your pants over welts, and then tell me how funny it is. I learned quickly how to be more conservative “her” way then….

In our home growing up, we weren’t allowed to talk to no one, not even our other siblings’…Only ones we were allowed to talk to or even answer for that matter was the parents and that was mainly when we were in trouble and fixing to get a whipping or have our face rearranged again. The “step mom” thought it best we use our time wisely and in her eyes, time wasn’t well spent if you were talking. Ya know the statement of “children should be seen and not heard”, well imagine that statement been more like “children weren’t to be seen or heard”… as far as my “step mom” was concerned. Most times we weren’t even allowed out of our rooms unless we were chosen to “fulfill a need”, or do something for our parents or their friends. The majority of our time we were kept in our room, on our bed, in silence. If we so even much as whispered, the “step mom” would come in there with both fists in position and she’d go to hitting whoever it was that “talked” and then hit whoever looked at her. My “step mom” use to say she had very good eyes and ears …she’d say she had eyes in the back of her head that let her know who would talk and ears like bats so she could hear everything, including your breath whenever she wanted to and I believed her because she’d hit me just for the heck of it and say she “saw” me look at her whether or not I did. We weren’t even allowed to look up at her, much less anyone else. If you talked, you did it in sign language or some by gestures, never by mouth. What I learned out of this rule of no talking was to be silent.

TV is not for all kids, just those who knew how to be civil enough to sit on the floor and watch it. That line usually meant no TV for us because she said we acted like a bunch a heathens so no one could watch TV. When the “step mom” would leave somewhere, she’d put the TV on a certain channel when she’d leave, so she’d know if someone even so much as touched the TV. No one was allowed to watch it but her and she’d make sure no one did. If you got caught glancing at it the TV when you were rubbing her feet or brushing her hair or just passing through to put her clothes away…her hand or fist would meet your face in either the lips, nose, eyes or cheek…other times she’d come off that couch with both hands punching at ya while she told you again the rule about “gawking at the TV” and how it’s forbidden to you to watch. IF you did and got caught…your face would meet the hand or fist of the “step mom” anyway she felt like introducing it. Most times after such an introduction, you’d end up with a busted and bloody lip…bloody nose…a black and blue eye or a reddened cheek that would bruise later. You then learn quickly NOT to even think about laying one eye on that TV.

You don’t need friends to make it through school so absolutely no friends allowed. This rule was an ok rule to me because back then, what friend would even want to come over to a home where everything looked “ghostly”. When you walked up the drive to our home, all you saw was barren ground with stumps and trees so when the wind blew, all you’d hear is the rustling of leaves. The “step mom” had this rule so that no one would visit because if they did, the questions would be next and the “step mom” had no answers as to why she did what she did except that we were “bad” kids. Our house set way off the main dirt road so the parents could see anyone who walked or drove up the drive and that walk or ride, would give them ample time to say one threat to us we all understood”, open your mouth and you’ve had it”…which back then was enough to make us all keep silent. When the church folk would come up the drive, the “step mom” would yell for everyone to shut up and act like a nobody because a “nobody” didn’t exist and that way she could get through those “holy rollers” she would call them…without them wanting to see us. One day one of those “holy roller” men asked about us though and the “step mom” told him we were all doing great. He then asked if he could give us a small bag of candy and she said “sure”…but before he set off to our room, the “step mom” calls us all to the living room. She’d watch every move and listen to every word one of us would say and if we said anything out of line, we’d see her fist do the “punch sign” into the other hand and we knew we were in trouble so we learned how to put on a “smile” even when things weren’t ok. That small bag of candy we always got, went in the trash, along with any pamphlet those men would leave to.

Ok you’re really wondering what kind of rules could possibly be made on meals right, our main rule was at dinner time but here’s a brief of the other 2 meals we ate when we deserved to eat. Breakfast was always instant grits, no salt & pepper, no butter, no nothing but a packet of cold grits in a very small bowl, I wasn’t allowed to have them hot and just 1 packet, no more. If you showed you were hungry and at real fast, the back of your head would meet the palm of the “step moms” hand or you’d get “clipped” backhanded in the face. Most of the time I went without eatin because I was always in trouble with the “step mom” and one way she’d make sure I’d “behave” was to make me go hungry, since I was a “bad” kid…When I did get breakfast, I had to learn how to NOT shove it down as well as hide my hunger no matter how hard that was. Sometimes, I would wait until the “step mom” went back to bed like she usually did, and then I’d pick up my little bowl of grits and lick it clean. Our lunch was a bit bigger… I would get a scraped off peanut butter & jelly sandwich and 4 cookies, every day. “Scraped off” means the peanut butter & jelly would be put on the bread, then scraped back off to where there was barely any left for tasting in case you’re wondering so it was more like just 2 pieces of bread and cookies…and I was always so hungry that I soon began to eyeball the dog’s food because…he at least got 3 meals a day. Dinner was our biggest meal and the “step mom” would fix our plates. She would then put them in front of us and set the timer. If you got through with your plate before 30 minutes, you ended up being yelled at, hit with a fist and then given another plate full of food loaded with more than the first one and you were expected to “match” a time the “step mom” set, if you went over it well…let’s just say not many times did any of us go over the “step moms” set time because we learned quickly, her games of play. I eventually snuck the dog’s food because of the harsh ways the “step mom” would “feed” us so, I mean if the dog could eat dry food, why couldn’t I and it looked good enough to eat so eventually I began to eat it in order to survive…until I got caught and when I did, I not only got my butt beat, I also had to eat dog food for a week but anyway…in a home where food was only scarce when the “step mom” thinks it should be and then it was only given to those who she felt deserved to eat well…you’d be hungry for something else too. So the rule at mealtime was I learned to eat like I had some sense before it all got knocked out of me.

Not being allowed to use a broom, toilet brush, a mop, or anything to clean with…we had chores to do and the way they had to be done was another thing. Our room had carpet and we couldn’t use a broom on it so we picked it up best we could, with our fingers and hands. Our fingers we’d use to basically pick up stuff we saw like lint or string and our hands we used as a sweeper. Our palms would do the sweeping, and then our fingers would pick up any foreign object that wasn’t allowed on the floors. In other words, if the “step mom” come in and saw lint on your floor, you got kicked in the side and told to get it up. If you didn’t get it up in her timing, you got yelled at. If you said you didn’t see any lint or you already cleaned it or even if you asked “where”…you got snatched up by the back of your hair, punched in the face a bit, then pushed to the floor with your head still in her grip so while she smothered your face in the floor making sure you saw the “lint”. Then we found an easier way to clean our floor and that was to use our own hairbrush, made it allot easier then. On the bathroom we had to use the rag we took a bath with and the “step mom” made us use the toilet water so as not to waste a drop of “the good water” she called it. We mopped on our hands and knees, which hurt most the time, but we learned to adapt to it. For marks on the walls, we were to wet them with our tongue and clean them with the same rag we used on the floors and bathroom. The only cleaning supplies we ever had were comet and bleach and those were already in use when we ran out of toothpaste. When we behaved good enough, we were allowed to do dishes and that was exciting to me because I didn’t get out of my room much so I enjoyed doing the dishes. I would have to put a pot of Boiling water from the stove into the sink, use bar soap and a rag to wash them and then dry them really good. If I so much as left one speck of food or water on them, I was had for so I learned how to do them well. There were other chores we did but some of those chores were of a different nature here and I’m sorry, I don’t think it wise to mention them.

“No one is to know what goes on in our home, if anyone finds out, you’ll be taken away and locked up for being bad”. That was a rule in the home and it was a strong one. You never told anyone what happened in the home because if you did, no one would believe you anyway. The parents would find ways to make you out to be a liar all the time. If a cop comes to the door, they’d invite them in for coffee and be oh so nice to them while all the time telling them how you “fell” or “tripped” or some other line and bad thing here was they were ALWAYS believed no matter what. School was one of my favorite places to go, I could escape the life at home and be in a world of excitement. I loved to go to school not just to get away from the abuse at home but also because it was where I could truly be happy and have a different outlook on life, I loved school to the max! When we went to school though, we had to wear long sleeves and pants because the “step mom” didn’t want anyone to know bout our home life so she would pick our clothes out each morning and then lock the closet back up so no one would sneak something else out because my older sister would do that constantly so…the “step mom” would lock up our clothes after that. At school I had this one teacher who I looked up to, she was very kind and she always saw potential in me. I soon developed a friendship with this teacher to the point of she began to ask me about some of the bruises on my face and that scared me. I would tell her I fell or it was dirt and I just forgot to wash my face or. I’d find all kinds of excuses not to tell her the truth because I didn’t want to be locked up for being bad like the parents said. She became the “mom” I never had and I began to confide in her eventually. One day she come right out and asked me was I being hit at home and without thinking I said “all the time” and that did it. The teacher who I trusted, told the guidance counselor who in turn called me into her office and she was nice to me so when she told me what she thought was going on at home and I truthfully said yes to all of it. Counselors aren’t suppose to “rat” you out though right…well no sooner did I get home than the “step mom” yell for me to come in the living room, she was on the phone with the school. The minute she got off, she didn’t even wait to ask me what I said or nothing but I got the beaten of my life and then had to write an apology to the teacher and counselor for lying. I told the “step mom” I wasn’t lying and she knew it and that was a big mistake. You never talk back; I should have remembered that rule if not any other.

Bathroom privileges
I wasn’t allowed to go to the bathroom after 8 pm. Bedtime was at 8 on the dot every single night up until I turned 18. You didn’t dare try and uses the bathroom after the “step mom” said go to bed. The “step mom” was very strict about this rule…you only had a certain amount of time in that bathroom and if you didn’t finish your business by the time she set, you were pulled out by your hair even if your pants weren’t up and literally kicked, to your room. If you got caught using it after 8 pm, the “step mom” would slam your head into a wall so hard that you’d be picking yourself up off the floor and or you’d get your face and back smacked around all the way back to your bed while she yelled at you for disobeying. We soon learned when we had to use the bathroom to “pee” quietly and the ways we had to do it were very inhuman. We were already afraid to “pee” the bed because we knew our noses would get rubbed in it and our face smacked for it. When we had to go real bad and knew we couldn’t hold it, we began to “pee” on the bottom of our beds where the “step mom” wouldn’t notice, then cover it up before she came in to get us up. Eventually that way backfired because the smell got us in trouble so we had to think of another way to use the bathroom. We were scared because we knew the consequences if we got caught, but when you have to use the bathroom you shouldn’t be told NO. We then began to think of other ways to go to the bathroom and eventually we found a solution. We began to “pee” on the side of the tub near the back so it wouldn’t be loud when it went down the drain and pray to God it would drain silently so the “step mom” wouldn’t hear it. Then we’d take the rag, wet it in the toilet bowl and wash down the back of the tub so she wouldn’t notice it…and if we couldn’t get to the bathroom, we’d “pee” out our bedroom window. This was one of the most indecent rules we had and having to find ways to use the bathroom wasn’t cool but it was the only way we could. No, it wasn’t a good way either but ya know, there’s just so much one could take before they got tired of having the “hell” beat out of them on a daily basis so…The bad thing bout this rule is you shouldn’t hold your “pee” no matter how old you are because it can and will cause damage. My younger sister ended up holding hers for so long that slowly as days progressed, her urinary ended up closing down. Then one night she woke up trying to muffle her screams so the “step mom” wouldn’t hear her and come hit her…but being in severe pain as she was she couldn’t help but scream. The “step mom” did come in our room and when she turned on the light, let’s just say the parents ended up taking my sister to the hospital for an emergency operation of a D/C and a reconstruction of her urinary tract due to this inhuman rule the “step mom” had. My sisters’ belly had swollen up to what the Doc said, a 4-6 month pregnant woman and the “step mom” got chewed out for her idiotic rule and even still the Doc saw no reason to call child abuse so go figure….

Sometimes I use to wonder why God made parents ya know, I use to think they were here to love us and take care of us but now I’m not sure. I only know that today I’m a mother and I love my kids very much, more than these words I write…speak out. I’m a very protective Mom with one warning…don’t mess with my kids because when ya do, you mess with me.


My dear Jackie,
Thank you for sharing the rules you lived by. Your childhood home life was far worse then prison. This is the bottom line of major dysfunction and major abuse. I thank you for your courage in posting this and I know that you will give others permission to share their own horror. We all need to get this stuff out. We need to share it with understanding human beigns. We NEED to be told that we are HEARD and that what happened to us was very wrong, very sick. This is all part of the healing.
Thank you so much,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Renee
Thank you for your kind comments to Janelle. Yes, it is perfectly fine to do whatever is right for YOU (and that goes for all readers) and whatever feels safe for you! This is YOUR recovery and your choice.
Hugs, Darlene


I almost missed you comment #50
Thank you for sharing the outcome! YAY for you!
Hugs, Darlene


“I was constantly told that I was wrong. I was shut down and told that my personality was too dramatic and that I talked to hear myself talk. Then I was reprimanded for being too quiet, moody and sullen. I was spanked and then told that if I didn’t stop crying that I would be given something to cry about. I learned and believed that crying, even for being hit and consequently being in physical pain, must be wrong. All of that is extremely invalidating not to mention confusing! Having a steady diet of mixed messages nurtures confusion and a faulty belief system full of conflicting beliefs and no permission. This is a dysfunctional way to grow up.”

Yes, Oh yes. In my youth, in my romantic relationships in my work for a lot of years. I finally learned to walk away, and stay away without guilt. Life is good now, I mourn the years I did not know that, but now, it is so sweet.


Sounds like my family, throw in guns, knives, maschettes,forced being shot up with drugs(my little brothers ages 6-9 by the prediphile and serial rapist of a brother) and you discribed in a small way my family dynamics. Everyone we knew were evil. I think it is called grooming. I have a nephew that is in foster care, his social worker puts him in homes that are doing just that. She is using the power of her position to allow it. I had him and we were bonded, first chance she got she lied to the court and took him away broke my heart and his. Then my neice now has him. I can see the damage that was done to him while he was away. I was in a bad marriage and they told me I couldn’t have him, it didn’t matter that it caused damage to that little guy. Now my neice and her husband are going through a rough patch she is facing the same thing and im afraid he will be shiped back to the state that case worker is at. Im so afraid of what the out come of this precious little boy is going to be.


Yay Star!
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Charlotte Antee
May 28th, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Awesome posts I am so glad I am here I hope someday I can share my story here I just don’t feel safe yet I hope that’s ok *hugs* to you all .


Hi Charlotte,
I am so gald you are here, and when you are ready I will still be here! I love that you post a hello!
Hugs, Darlene

Renee/A Resurrected Spirit
May 28th, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Hello Charlotte,
I would like to read your story. It is safe here and we help each other by telling our memories. When your ready we are here for you, all of us.

I wrote on a different post but I want you to know we are doing a lot of healing, more than I ever thought could be.


I just read the other post! I love it! I will comment there!
Hugs, Darlene


Ok, this post just *almost* made me want to *SCREAM* when I read it just now. I haven’t, yet, read any of the comments here because I am just so freking blown away by this post.

Thank you for writing this, Darlene. Thank you for putting my painful reality into words.

Lynda ~ no longer “COMING” Out of the Crazy Closet, because I am OUT Of The Crazy Closet


Hi Lynda,
It is by realizing all this stuff that I was able to take my life back and give myself BACK the permission to live that was taken from me.
Glad you are back!
Hugs, Darlene


I had to come back to read this one. Where you wrote ‘I wondered “how I should feel” instead of having feelings’, I did the same thing or had to do it. And also about how responsible we feel for the wrongs, it amazes me how many things I subconsciously think are my fault – I don’t even have to be present for me to take on the responsibility for some thing messed up! To feel bad because of it, or that there’s ‘something I could have done’ or not done… And feeling like you needed permission to breathe… Oh my that’s a sore point. I always get yelled at in such an exasperated tone of despair… like I’m irredeemable. And what’s mad is that I can’t breathe, I feel suffocated. And then my ‘self’ comes out highly anxious, really stressed, has tongue tied outbursts or gets depressed. It’s like night and day when I’m elsewhere with different people. Know I won’t get yelled at for being me, like a heavy weight coming down. I’m glad I’ve had some distance in the past to have some , I think it would be even harder if I hadn’t had that space.


have some ”perspective’ I meant to write


Hi Louise,
I totally relate to this. I don’t know how many times I was aware that I “couldn’t breathe” and felt suffocated before I realized that I also felt like I was being held down and not given permission to breathe.. or to live.
As I took my life back and got stronger, those feelings went away!
Hugs, Darlene


Oh Goddess yes! This X 1,000,000,000! As a teen I often had the though that I was a horse on a picket line. I had total freedom to think(like my abusers insisted I did) but ONLY within the radius of my picket line.

I literally could not form my own opinions, my thoughts were whatever the most dominate person I was currently with was. This could change hour to hour. It was exhausting. When I got out I asked my spouse permission for everything. “Can I got some water?” “Can I turn on the TV?” Eventually she turned it into a game. I would say “can I watch TV?” and she would yell playfully “NO! YOU MAY NOT!!!!” I would laugh and do it anyway.

Now I don’t ask permission, I have opinions, and I can argue without breaking down in tears and giving in. I can tell people “I don’t agree with that” and stick to my guns. It feels god damn WONDERFUL!


These are amazing narratives. You wrote what I think and how I feel as if you were in my own head. I don’t have the outright sexual abuse but there were a lot of sexual boundary problems. Nudity and uncomfortable comments. Everything else you said is true also of me. As a result I have Complex PTSD and Bipolar disorder.

Now imagine for a moment…I am a parent of three kids ages 3, 5, and 9. Not having a model of good parenting and not having ever learned to manage my own emotions, I have struggled not to carry on the cycle. I have yelled terrible things to my kids, I have spanked when I didn’t want to (never with a belt though), I have told them they drive me crazy, make me angry, make me miserable. Everything I do a a parent I scruitinze because I am terrified of the developmental implications, but the next time something happens and I can’t control myself….I HATE MYSELF FOR IT. Granted I am 10 times better than my parents and there are multitudes more LOVING times with my kids than I ever had with my folks, and granted I am getting help and getting better. But now I see where my parents were coming from because their parents did it to them, probably 10 times worse, and they were hurting too….so with such compassion for them…I have no idea how to heal myself and clean up the collateral damage.


Wow, what an article. I have been reading some of the posts on Face Book and a lot of it has helped. I still find it extremely hard to talk about because I don’t want my mother to be hurt. My “biological sperm doner” who helped to create me (he doesn’t deserve the title of “Dad” or “Father”) has been dead now for a long time. I can’t even remember the year that he died. I hadn’t spoken to my parents for 9 or 10 years and when I finally got a hold of my mom she told me that he had died. I was upset for about 5 minutes and then it dawned on me that I was relieved. I was so glad that he was dead. That meant I never had to face him again and hear his breathing as he looks at me. What I always hear ringing in my head is “How can you be so selfish”. “Think of other people”. How he would berate me and tell me how useless I was for not filling up the sugar bowl or the butter dish. Calling me a bitch and pushing me up against the wall with his hands on my neck because I dared stick up for my mother. I still can’t figure out how to do something for myself without feeling guilty. Then getting married at 19 years old ( my you know what forced us) and staying in a terribly emotionally abusive marriage for 14 years. When he kicked me out, I was so lost and of course went from the frying pan into the fire by hooking up with another emotional, and physically abusive man. Didn’t see my kids for over 2 years because of him. My guilt to this day overwhelms me at times. I have been to many counselors and most of them were very nice people, but it just didn’t help and I always stopped seeing them, I don’t know why. Reading this has put some more pieces of the puzzle together for me as to why I would do or say some of the things that I do. It’s just really tough trying to get yourself out of it is all. Some days are really good and other days…well all I can say is I don’t do much and don’t go anywhere. Then having Fibromyalgia on top of it all along with PTSD, anxiety and depression, some days I wonder why, but thanks for being to open with your words and helping me to understand, well…me. I look forward to reading more and learning more about myself as well. Take care.


Hi Sonja
Welcome to EFB
I hope you will read more; there is a lot of info in this site about how I put my life back together. I am glad that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Amy
Yay for having your own opinions etc. and getting that part of your life back! It does feel awesome!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Manda
I had to set aside the ‘compassion’ that I had for my parents because I was using the “how they got the way they got” to excuse what happened to me. In order for me to heal I had to validate the damage that was done to me without adding on that my parents had it worse. There was no solution until I could validate myself without excusing them. (Today I can feel sorry for them, but not at my own expense anymore) This whole site is about how I did that.
Hugs, Darlene


I still find myself needing to gain permission to do certain things. My parents trained me well. I craved their attention, but as a child, if I touched one of them, or asked them for something the best I could expect was a no. More often than that my requests were met with slaps, spankings, beatings, yelling, foul language, etc. I learned to curb my needs. Nothing worked, & it was quite clear that I was strictly there to do as my parents demanded. Asking why meant physical pain…I didn’t like it, but I did get used to it. I mostly kept to myself…trying desperately to stay as quiet as possible lest I upset my parents. If they needed something though, I was expected to jump at their requests.

I learned over the years that my needs were really inconsequential. If I needed anything beyond what my parents gave me, the answer was no. I have to say though…reading Jackie’s story really got to me. I cannot believe that anyone could get away with that much abuse. I am so sorry, Jackie. Hope you never have to put up with anyone like that again.



Even though I went through quite a bit of recovery in my haling process I never quite thought it out to the point where I thought I needed permission to breath.I took singing lessons as a child and I was never able to get the breathing down. I had several teachers but one great coach who has since passed away of AIDS. He always told me how good I was and felt I was withdrawn and said if I just got the breathing properly down I would be great , I was a dancer and only took voice lessons to help my dance career so I didnt think much about that but over the years I always wondered why I didnt get the breathing down. I take Tai Chi now and I do have the breathing down but now I am a different person your post made a light go off.All of the ther stuff I said is stuff I already knew. As you know I was one of my that ran a rape support group. It was faith based on run by a mental health clinic. A professional was only there to observe in case of problems. They wanted it to be a peer run group and people seemed to open up more that way leaders were always voted on. Anyway I have heard just about everything but this just hot me about the breathing. Thanks for posting!


I apologize beforehand for the very long comment. I hadn’t intended to type a lengthy personal history. I have read a lot of the comments that others have left on the website and many of those comments have been helpful to me in beginning to figure my own things out.

I don’t know how, but maybe in some way my own experience might be of help to someone someday. I’m just sorry I ended up telling of the experience in one go.


when I was thirty-eight I found myself walking up to the place that I worked at the time saying these things out loud to myself, with no one else around that could hear: You don’t define me, Let me be me, Permission to live, sir.

I know I was saying “let me be me” more or less to my mother. And “You don’t define me” I was saying more or less to everyone in the world (besides myself) and I was probably saying “Permission to live, sir” to my dad. The thing is I didn’t or just wasn’t able to take those phrases I said to myself back then any further than just saying them to myself those few times. I never stopped to analyze the phrases, or question what they were really about, or where they were coming from; though I think now that inside myself I might have known.

Then when I was around forty-seven the sixty-three year old daughter of my neighbor across the street came to visit her mother and I found myself asking this woman that I didn’t really know if she had had a happy childhood, and she replied that she had. And I didn’t say anything further to her in regards to that topic, not that I had anything else to say at that time, but I think now that an understanding must have been coming to the surface in my mind that all of my life’s troubles in my adulthood stemmed from the treatment and the negative experiences of my youth.

So there have been long time gaps in my coming to the realization of what exactly happened to me and what exactly I HAD lived through, and that is so sad to know when I think about it. I seem to be a slow learner with certain things. So much time wasted. So many things that might have been that never will be, because those were the things of youth.

I know that in articles on this website Darlene Ouimet has written that when she was in her late thirties or early forties that she was close to ‘giving up’. Well I did give up at around age thirty-nine. I had been on the hamster wheel of life constantly since I had entered adulthood at the age of eighteen. I had fallen off of that wheel, and gotten back on it, so many times that it became tiring.

The wheel that I rode is the same wheel that a lot of people have ridden. The wheel of “got to fix me”, “got to make me better”. The wheel of “What’s wrong with me?”; “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Somethings wrong with me. Years of this and I haven’t been able to figure it out yet!” The wheel of “I hope this gets better soon.”

I did seek therapy three separate times in my life. Once at age twenty-seven, once at around the age of thirty-three, and another time at around the age of thirty-seven, if I remember correctly. And all three attempts ended up being one or two time visits because I didn’t know what, or how to tell them what, I was seeking help with.

In my early, mid twenties I read a few of the self-help books: “The Power of Positive Thinking”, “You Can if You Think You Can” and “Think & Grow Rich”. I read David Burns’ book “Feeling Good”, though I now remember almost nothing of what was in it. And some books I don’t remember the names of. I even did Benjamin Franklin’s ‘self-improvement’ plan for a short while in my twenties. Nothing helped.

At the age of fifty I reached my desperation point and literally cried out to God and asked him to let me know before I died what had gone wrong in my life. And I did receive an answer at my fifty years age. And I do believe the answer came from God. And the answer was “Parental Indifference” and “Shocked into Isolation”.

I knew what the “Shocked into Isolation” was though I had never thought of it in those words. That happened when I was fourteen years old when one of my “friends” said a nine word sentence to me that brought back memories to me of something that had happened when I was seven years old, and that one sentence sent my little fourteen year old world reeling, and turned my existence upside down. I became a loner. I became scared and literally hid from people. I started to overdress. Meaning in summer time I would often wear a jacket. I suddenly became acutely aware of shame though I didn’t know what shame was. No one seemed to care. And even if I could have, I didn’t know who to ask for help. I don’t think that asking someone for help ever crossed my mind.

I went to a private Baptist school from kindergarten to eleventh grade. For my last two or three years at that school I never again went into the school cafeteria to eat lunch with the rest of the students. I sat by myself, alone, on the side of the building at lunch time. One day the vice principal of the school strolled up the sidewalk and saw me sitting, leaning against the building and said to me, “What, Are you a loner?” and kept on walking. Never paused in his walking to his destination. I didn’t try to give a reply to his question. I probably wouldn’t have been able to give a reply to his unkind question. I was only around fifteen years old.

Had my parents not been indifferent toward me things might have, probably would have, turned out differently. I can’t remember one ‘real’ conversation that me and my parents ever had in my life. My dad wasn’t a question asker in the caring sense; he was a statement maker. I came to realize last year when I started honestly thinking about things, through the grid of what Darlene calls ‘self-love’ and ‘self-validation’, that I was most likely scared of my dad. Both of my parents, though I think they told themselves that they did care about me, were never available for me parentally or emotionally, though we all lived in the same house. My parents never sexually abused me or physically abused me. The whippings I got with a belt, when I did something wrong, seemed to stop when I was around ten.

At that Baptist school I went to I wasn’t bullied or anything like that, I just withdrew into myself and ceased knowing how to BE. I was left on my own to figure things out. And in my twenties and early thirties I tried various things to come out of my ‘shell shocked’ existence with varying and short-lived levels of success. But always there was this inner hurt/confusion that I couldn’t seem to understand or heal, or get rid of, or even know where it came from.

Last year when I got to thinking about the three phrases that I said to myself at the age of thirty-eight (that I mentioned at the beginning of this comment) I did a Google search and one of the phrases, or a variation of it, had the emergingfrombroken website come up in the search results. And that’s how I came upon this website.

I wrote above that at around thiry-nine years old I did give up. Perhaps I just really took a long break.


Charles Browne, you describe my life so far. Your story reminded me of another story in a book I just read about a man who had given up a similar struggle [1]. As with the book chapter, I found myself in your story and started crying while reading it. Reading about other people’s experiences helps validate my own experiences, lessening the feeling that “I imagined it all and I was just born/somehow turned out like this”. In the same spirit I decided to also give a longer account of my own story.

I was a very insecure, sensitive and fearful child. I had horrible nightmares that I couldn’t wake out of. I sometimes saw horrible “creatures” while awake. On occasion, when I was alone, I saw physical objects moving that simply shouldn’t have moved. Even now, especially when I’m low, I still get scared of the dark and need to light a lamp to be able to sleep. There’s a childish fear inside of me that something will “get me” or something “horrible” will happen. I know it’s irrational but sometimes I don’t have the energy to argue with myself and just turn the damn light on.

I still feel like Darlene describes, that I need permission from someone to do things, or just to live my life as I see fit. I’ve only recently realized that this is a big problem, this fear of “failing my life”, which makes any important decision impossible to make.

I see my parents’ attitudes to me as similar to the ones you describe. My father was rarely a part of our family and when he was he was very controlling. Not explicitly, he never voiced an honest opinion of his own or wanted anything, but he somehow “set” the emotional mood that made me feel very afraid. He felt like a unpredictable psychological bomb, waiting to go off, but he never did. Without saying or doing anything you could touch or even THINK of, you ended up thinking like he wanted or just feeling plain awful. He creates a strong desire in everyone around him to somehow appease him. To this day, when I spend time with my father, I get the feeling I’d imagined all my worries and my insecurities, that I’m just like that. It’s what I know he wants me to think. He has a way of politically playing or just “being” that establishes his world and overrules everyone else’s. I can’t understand how he does it, or even what it is that he does. But children/my friends were always scared of him, even the desobedient ones turned into “angels”/scared puppies with him. Needless to say, he’s very successful in his career and financially he’s currently in the top 1-2 % in my country. I still don’t understand his motives, what drives him in life, or even who his real friends are.

My mother was severely abused as a child. Her fight to “undo” her wounds and give us a “normal life” overshadowed my own life. Somehow, we weren’t allowed to think that things weren’t good. Whenever I voiced concerns, I got to hear how good things were. At every turn, she would tell me what a happy, wonderful life I’d lead and how easy things were for me and my siblings. Somehow, though, my life was always about my mother. About her success in freeing herself from her past, from her parents. I started to associate my mother with what was “good”. Whatever she said, I would do. After all, she was the great martyr, sacrificing her whole life for our betterment. She trusted me especially – she even told me that I was her “favorite child”. She also entrusted me with the information that my father had problems “getting it up” in bed. I was around 13 years old. I now realize that my mother had great emotional needs of acceptance and nurturing, and that she unconsciously filled these with her children. After my parents’ (horrible) divorce, she blamed any problem I/we had on my father, convinced that he was the root cause of evil while she had done everything “for us, for the family”. Of course, we never discussed that she left my father for his little brother. That was somehow a necessity, the way “she could survive” and “escape” from my father’s horrible grip. Even today, ten years later, she became convinced my father poisoned her with heavy metals at the end of their marriage and this was the reason for her latest physical problems. The worst part is that, after trying to communicate a bit with my father, I actually can’t exclude that possibility. If he’s ruthless in general, I can only imagine what he’d become if somebody crossed him in such a humiliating way as she had done.

Today, all of us children fear our father (though not all of us admit this) and we generally (consciously or subconsciously) do our best to avoid or distance ourselves from our parents.

Now I see people aren’t together because of chance. Neither of my parents were open to me emotionally. I don’t feel my parents were ill-intentioned. I believe they both had grand plans for me, or at least for “me in THEIR lives”, but they were completely indifferent to what I was (a child) and who I was (me?) and my needs (nurturing, listening, attention). Not because they wanted to be, or necessarily lacked conscience, but because they couldn’t be anything else. There was simply no room for me, or my siblings, in our family. None of us got into any love relationship before moving into our own flats, all of us in our twenties. Because I understand all of this, I can’t be angry with my parents. My mother did the same, she often talked to me about her process with her parents, that she “understood” them. Frankly, I don’t feel that understanding my parents help me much in any way.

All of this led me to a problem of sexual addiction at a very young age. Then, when I was in middle school, I got shocked into isolation too. I experienced a deeply humiliating event, in the scientifically worst sense of the world [2, 3]. I cut myself off from everyone and spent my youth playing games, reading fantasy books, listening to hard music and imagining I was someone powerful, burning down the world. Besides other nightmares I began to have dreams of me sexually abusing women, controlling them with strange machines, etc. Not healthy.

I still don’t know if I can love or if I just have a need to take care of someone or if I’m just scared to death of being alone. I can’t get too close to anyone either, though, then I feel scared to death again and angry. So I play this social “back-and-forth” game with everyone, friends included, helplessly alienating myself from the people that I feel would help make me normal.

Somehow I’m thankful for somehow managing to escape the effects of my family conditions long enough to get involved in other organizations. By pure force of will, I forced myself to act normal, to always work and never rest/think. This was a consequence of me pushing myself down, I know, but it was also how I met my girlfriend. She fell for that dependent, stable act.

This was a stroke of luck. She’s been very patient with me, clinging on to me in spite of my semi-unconscious attempts to shake her off. She’s (impossibly) earned my trust which allowed me to voice my deepest feelings and thoughts to her. And I realized that I do need to see a professional therapist, I do need to stop jumping on a million work-related projects and instead start to care for myself. Now I think we’re about to break up – maybe she DID fall for the act or perhaps I just tired even her out – but she made me realize who I was, how badly I’d fared and how very weak I really am deep down. I’ve been running around mindlessly for the past 10 years and just now, with her help, I’ve forced myself to calm down, realize how deeply my problems really run and start to truly want to “fix” myself.

Me, I’m still in my twenties. But I don’t know what to do, how to fix this. I recognize what you’re describing, the wheel of “got to fix me”. I’m in that same wheel, and I just can’t seem to just “live my life”. Sometimes I feel all this personal analyzing is causing many of my problems in life, but when I didn’t do any thinking, I became a mindless, super-productive working zealot. When I stop to think, I become depressed and can do nothing. I’m planning to go see a therapist as soon as I got the cash to do it. I should’ve done that much earlier, I just didn’t realize there was a “problem”, I always thought I was just that useless, that I somehow deserved this emotional torture that I unconsciously made my life into. I don’t know how to accept myself fully, and who/what I am and what has happened with me, without turning myself into a victim, helpless to improve the way I live my life.

If you find a solution, please tell me. Personally, I’ve come to believe that these problems are subconscious – especially because there is no physical abuse event that I can associate my problems to. It’s as if “nothing happened” but obviously a lot of things happened. It’s like being afraid of an emotional fog where my mind is the sun. The fog disappears when I turn my mind towards it, but whenever I look away and try to focus on living life the fog comes back, bringing its feelings of anxiousness and fear with it. Perhaps subconscious problems need subconscious solutions.

I’ve been doing Kundalini Yoga for the past year [4]. I’ve tried so many things – especially religious/spiritual things – and for the first time, I feel as if “something” is really happening. For moments I feel like I’m 16 again, and I feel some of my childhood fears strongly. Some strange dreams have returned. Just some days ago I felt really scared, as if I would be able to remember something that I wouldn’t be able to handle. I pushed it away with a cigarette, but I felt hope. It’s taken me 10 months of almost daily yoga practice to reach this point.

Its still too early for me to say whether this practice really helps me, or if it just makes me more emotional. I feel that I won’t get anywhere with just my mind, that I’m running in circles, hitting invisible walls everywhere. People help, but they can’t bring me out. I’ve always felt that some spirital activities go deeper, somehow. Perhaps they speak with the unconscious. Sometimes for the better and sometimes for worse, depending on the people and belief system involved. In my personal experience, the less of strict belief systems and the healthier/more normal/truly compassionate people involved, the better. Now if this yoga practice can somehow help break that circle, or at least change it, I’ll continue to try it out.

As somebody mentioned, joy is perhaps the most important part in all of this. My life has been so dark, so serious. I feel that if I wait to try to have fun and enjoy life – at least as much as I can – until I “fix myself” I’ll be living a very serious and lonely life.

My determination now is to continue my work with myself. Meanwhile, I want to try to make the most out of life. To live as fully as I can, have as close relationships as I can tolerate, to try to get new friends, try to have fun, try to stay in the moment whenever I can. And just accept myself, that I have these issues and that I’m down from time to time. I don’t want to put my whole existence on hold just because I’m fucked up. I don’t deserve that, never did.

I guess that’s continuing like before except that, this time, I’m not trying to hide anything from myself and I’m consciously try to heal myself at the same time. I hope that’s possible, to heal myself AND live.

[1] The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz, chapter “On not being in a couple”
[2] Check out “Humiliation: Its Nature and Consequences” by Torres and Bergner ( and
[3] “The Humiliation Dynamic” by Donald Klein (
[4] I’ve been doing exercises for the first three chakras “Journey through the Chakras (1) – yoga DVD” (


Welcome to EFB ~ You wrote : “I hope that’s possible, to heal myself AND live.” My answer: It IS certainly possible! I did it.
I think you are going to like it here.
hugs, Darlene


Hi AM,

You have written a lot to consider. As I remember it the only fantasy type thinking I got into in my teenage years when I had started to withdraw and hide from people was to want to be a mountain man. To live by myself somewhere. At that time a program called Grizzly Adams was popular on television and Grizzly seemed to have it good.

When I was thirteen to around sixteen I did listen a lot to the Kiss group that was popular back then. When I was around sixteen I got rid of the albums because I felt that my listening to them was starting to have a negative affect on me. But I substituted the Beatles for Kiss and started listening to them a lot.

When I was eighteen the only option open to me for employment was to go in the military. I did four years in the navy and spent the time refueling jets on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. The navy bootcamp is, at that time anyway, one of the easiest bootcamps and I barely passed it due to my physical condition. I was malnurished and basically not much more than skin and bones. I was fortunate to be on the ship I was on and the division I was in because I got along fairly well with the people there.

I liked the work on the flight deck because it kept me busy, and I realize now, that I didn’t have to think about things. On the flight deck you had to pay attention at all times on what was going on around you because if you didn’t you could literally die.

But when there weren’t flight operations going on, and I was below decks doing nothing, my timidity would come out sometimes. I was someone who had been traumatized in his adolescence and someone that got to where he intentionally avoided people, and now I was living in close quarters and close working conditions with other men on a military ship. The time that I was in the navy women weren’t on aircraft carriers, except maybe the occasional female pilot or nurse, and we rarely saw them.

Though I got along with the people and they liked me I was still me; I was still the people avoider. I never went up for rank in the navy. I stayed an E-3 even though the chiefs at times did ask me to take the petty officer exam. Even though in time I did become one of the refueling crewleaders and was responsible for the two or three guys that were in my crew; I think I was afraid of having the official designation of having authority which even a lowly designation of E-4 would have brought.

The times the ship would pull into ports in other countries, I may or may not have gone ashore. So the ship might be in a port for three days, and even when it was a day that I could go ashore, I might choose to remain on the ship. I didn’t know how to relax; I didn’t know how to just be.

When my four years was up I got out and returned to my hometown and my parent’s house and proceeded to go into the deepest depression that I had ever been in. That depression lasted for six months until I found employment as a stockroom worker in an electronics store.

AM, from what I have read in your post you have asked yourself questions and made realizations that I never thought or considered to ask myself, or realized, when I was in my twenties or even thirties.

When I was in my twenties the Internet didn’t exist. The only options for help, information wise, were what could be found at a bookstore or whatever was in the local library. And those options were hit and miss on locating information that might actually help. I remember being in my mid-twenties I think it was and checking out a book from the library that had some title like, ‘On Being a Man’ or ‘Becoming a Man’, or something like that. There I was in my twenties trying to find information on HOW I SHOULD BE! Sad Stuff.

When I was seven I had an unfortunate experience with another boy in his family’s garage. That experience stained my life. I have never had a question of my sexuality; I know that I am a heterosexual. But having had that experience in my early life it left me to doubt myself in my life. Couple that with the fact that my parents, for whatever reason, did not validate me as having worth, and I was left to look to other people to tell me who I am and when you run up against people, as I have, that look for homosexuals under every rock, and they question on if you are ‘gay’ or not, it gets tiring. Plus I do not act effeminate, and never have that I know of, but it got to where I automatically watched my actions just to make sure that I didn’t make some effeminate gesture or do something that might be construed by others as being such.

Plus in my case I was never a ‘chick magnet’. I would have liked to have been :), but I wasn’t.

The next to last time that I sought therapy, I think it would have been in the mid nineties, I set up an appointment with a therapist and when the evening came to meet her I went to her office, and I’m sitting in a chair and I get about two or three sentences out of my mouth, and this woman that I had just met some three minutes earlier said to me, “If you told me you were gay I could help you”. I said to her, “Well, I’m not”. And that was another fairly short therapy attempt by me. I didn’t even ask her why she had said what she said. I wasn’t going to get in a dialogue with her.

What happened to me in life AM, and what I needed to learn in my twenties when I was actually looking for help but didn’t find it, is that I grew up in childhood and teenage years starving for affection that should have come naturally from my parents but didn’t. I was left with a void inside myself that I didn’t understand, and emotional hurt that I didn’t even know that is what it was, and mental anguish. I didn’t intuitively know how to self-soothe in a positive way. Wait a minute! Real men don’t self-soothe do they? Real men drink lead and spit bullets don’t they? Actually I think real men self-soothe quite a bit. Only most learned to do it in childhood, when they didn’t even know they were learning to do it, and so in their adult years probably do it by reflex without thinking about it.

BTW, Thanks for the title of the Stephen Grosz book. It has been around seventeen years since I read any books having to do with personal growth or personal problems, but I’ll pick up a copy of the book from Amazon when I am able.



I need to clarify something in regard to myself and I need to post this for my own sake. I’m not being defensive when I post this because I have lived my life in the past defensively, and in a reactive manner for a considerable part of my life, and I know what that is.

When I post above about my having put up with a few people at various times im my life having made the insinuation that I might be ‘gay’, and how that affected me. It is not a case of my somehow being ‘in the closet’ and just needing to own up to my condition.

The simple fact of the matter is that at a very young age I fell into the hands of a perverted child. A perverted child that just happen to be younger than even I was.

And many years later that child told someone else about it, how he even remembered it I don’t know, and I got slammed with that information unexpectedly one day at a time when I was still very young and already starting to have trouble adjusting to life.

And for the next four years (and really thereafter) I spent my life in a very confused and depressed state, and no human adult that was in a position to help even bothered. I was just ‘a problem’, but no one even bothered to investigate or delve into why I was ‘a problem’. The years of fourteen to eighteen to my understanding are critical years in a young person’s development. It is where they start to spread their wings and learn to live in a social society. Well, I missed the boat on that one. And had that garage experience never have happened I suspect that I might still have had life issues just because of the way my parents were. But maybe my life issues wouldn’t have been as deep.

From fourteen to eighteen there were a few people in my life. I wasn’t a total loner, but inside I was a loner, and I did spend many unhappy hours and days alone. The friendships I had back then though were one sided. I didn’t know how to interact; I was a friendship sponge. I offered nothing. I had nothing to offer and I didn’t know how to be a part of friendship. I was in survival mode.

In the Bible Jesus makes the statement (I’m going by memory so it might not be exact), “If a man lust upon a woman with his eye, then he has already committed adultery with her in his heart”. I’ve known about that verse, those words, and I know what it means, but recently I got to thinking about it. What it means is that NOT ONCE was a man that has ever been on this earth to have ever lusted after any woman. Man and Woman would have still entered into marriages and babies would have still been born, and Man and Woman would have still had marital sex.

One of my many transgressions in life is that I committed literal adultery with a woman that worked at a place I did a long time ago, she happened to be married, and that lasted for many months. What both she and I were were two broken people doing broken things together.

I do wish for you the healing you seek AM. YOU CAN DO IT!!!



Thanks for the encouragement!

Sometimes I think my main problem is that I’m more self-focused than other people. It’s as if the experiences I’ve had force me to consider everything in life as a threat to my own existence; that I simply can’t change, can’t move on, and keep fighting every change, trying to stay in limbo, in a gray zone where I don’t have to be someone or something, where I can live without existing too much.

I can’t make friends or get intimate because I’m afraid I’ll disappear, I’m afraid I’ll change somehow, that I won’t be me. Somehow I don’t accept myself “unconditionally”. I have to work very hard to accept a self-image that I create for myself, and if some person challenges that image I perceive as deadly threat to my existence. Of course we are social creatures, every interaction changes us, every deeper relationship changes us..

Perhaps this is what we didn’t get from our parents, somehow, that we think we need to fit a certain, precise image to feel OK about ourselves. Perhaps this is a child’s understanding of the “Divine Plan”? If things happen too fast, if we get too involved with someone, if we “show ourselves” too honestly, then we run the risk of judgement, of love, of having to be someone for someone else: we risk all the natural social processes that change people.

And we don’t trust people? We’re afraid of people? I wonder if I’m just afraid of rucking my self-image. Perhaps I value this image of myself that I can finally live with higher than any relationship or life experience. Perhaps this is what keeps me living in my cage of fear?

There’s a maimed ex-slave from Greece who wrote something about this stuff. He has interesting perspectives, one of them being:
“For what else is tragedy, but the dramatized sufferings of men, bewildered by an admiration of externals?”

In my case, I wonder if not my “external” is my sense of self, the identity that I can live with and am afraid to change since I, ultimately, don’t believe that “I” — whomever I become — is acceptable, lovable or even just OK. I think what he’s talking about is that the point is our lives, how we choose to live it, not who we are or what we are or what has happened to us.

I feel I agree with this in some sense. At some point it’s time to accept our pains and start to try building our lives. Nobody will ever be perfect. What kind of life do we want to build? Can I accept myself enough to do that without being paralyzed by second-guessing myself and dooming every change to failure?

I don’t know how this works, but at some point we have to ask ourselves this question and add building our lives to the process of healing ourselves. I’ve been afraid to do it because I’ve felt that I wasn’t qualified to want things in my life — as if I still only have the authority of a child, even in my own life.

I’ve thought a lot about nature. If I take an axe and hack away at a tree a bit (but don’t kill it), the tree doesn’t complain.. It just starts growing again immediately after, as fast as it can. It does the best it can do. Do we?

For us, it’s as if our sense of self gets damaged, that we can’t grow again until we accept the changes to our identities that the damage has forced.

Then again, to ignore our pains and just force life by “pure will”, because we need to “get over it” probably leads us to repeat our parents’ mistakes but in different formats.

It seems like a difficult problem. I’ve started reading the following book too, and doing the exercises that they contain.

I’m going to try this one too:

It’s a damn maze, all the things that are available today. But as you said, it’s for sure a lot easier for someone earnestly seeking help to find it today. I’m going to try to look for a good therapist, but I’m ready for a period of being picky. There’s too many people out there who don’t really have the capacity to care for others but do it for other reasons (your “Just tell me your gay”-therapist seems like one of these ones).

Anyway, good luck to us both and other people looking for healing. Who’s to say a life was better or worse than any other life?



“…because I’m afraid I’ll disappear, I’m afraid I’ll change somehow, that I won’t be me”.

I think the psychological definition is “enmeshment”. I’ve read some on the word; it comes from us not having our own identity. Thinking/believing that we/ourselves are not enough. That somehow we don’t measure up.

My looking for help in my twenties didn’t start until I was about twenty-four. The kind of help I was looking for in my twenties was focused on how to have a positive attitude and how not to be shy/insecure around girls. I really thought my lack of a positive attitude and my insecurities were the problem. I only made a few trips to the library and bookstore during those years. I didn’t spend much time in those places. I mainly focused on reading things like the “Quotable Quotes” section of “Reader’s Digest” and things of that nature. I really think I thought that if I could change what I thought was my bad attitude into a positive attitude then bango presto life would be wonderful.

When I was around fourteen my dad was in the process of starting his own business while still being employed with the company he worked for. I don’t remember being aware of this business venture at that time but when I was fifteen the new business had started. I didn’t know it at the time but my dad’s new business venture started to fail fairly quickly. All I recall is that life within the family had become even more isolated. When I was fifteen my mother was on the phone with someone, I don’t think she knew I could hear, and the only thing I remember her saying to whoever she was talking to was, “I can’t take it anymore”. Meaning she couldn’t take it anymore. I can’t say for certain but looking back at that now I may have walked away with the knowledge that I (me) wasn’t going to get any help, and I really needed help.

When I was around late sixteen or early seventeen my family moved to a different neighborhood. Whereas before my parents had owned their homes, this time they were renting. I think my dad at that time was in the process of wrapping up the legalities of his failed business. One morning, I think it was a weekday and shortly before I left for school, my dad was by the front door hitting my mother. I remember seeing that and saying to my dad, “Don’t hit my mother”. He did stop.

I can only remember one other time that my dad may have hit my mother that I am aware of, but that might be a false memory of mine. Anyway my dad wasn’t a habitual hitter but obviously under the surface that tendency/threat was there.

When it came to girls I was very insecure. In the eleventh grade I walked up to a girl at school that I had never spoken to before and asked her if she wanted to go to the prom with me. Yea, I was that guy. Of course she said no.

Google books had the “On not being in a couple” chapter from the Stephen Grosz book online so I was able to read the chapter without purchasing the book, though I might still purchase the book at some time in the future. I am glad that the story in the chapter evolved into something other than where the first few pages implied that the story was heading :).

Having read the chapter I can’t see that chapter as being similar to my ‘struggle’. But maybe on some level in a way it is. But at my present age I wouldn’t choose to use a word like “struggle” to give it a definition. When I was younger I might have chosen to look at it that way, but now I would see it as just the way things went, and I can also see now that it needn’t have gone that way and it was well within my capability to have changed the direction, if only I had been able to see where the dysfunction originated, and to truly realize, and understand, that I am not my father, and I am not my mother. I am ME.

I did end up not getting married and I never even came close to being married. I never had a girlfriend, and never came close to being in a relationship (adultery doesn’t count). When I got out of the navy I ended up being a job hopper. There is no stability in that. I didn’t “individuate” from my parents and I think they liked it that way, or at least were accepting of it. They never gave me any indication that there was a ME. They were so wrapped up in their own individual emotional wounds, and lives, to even notice that I was.

In some ways, looking back across some thirty plus years, I think I can see that some of my insecurities might have been “acts” and that I might have actually been way better than I gave myself credit for being.

I think on some subconscious level I might not have wanted to find out if I was like my dad. I wouldn’t have wanted to hit my wife, or girlfriend, even once and I suppose there would have always been the chance of that having had happened. Once would have been one too many times for me. Best, for me, I guess not to have gone there (relationship) to find out if it would happen.

But I am not my father and, this isn’t advice, whatever you experienced with your parents growing up, you are not your father, or your mother, either. You are you, not them, or anyone else in the world, YOU ARE YOU.

You picked up on my experience with the next to last therapist. I did include that in my comment, without explaining why had included it, though I should have, to show that when going to therapist one isn’t going before God. Just because someone wants to lead us somewhere, even if that might not be their intention, doesn’t mean we have to go. I think what happened in my next to last therapy attempt is that the woman asked me why I had come to see her, and I think I told her I didn’t know, or something like that, and she tossed out what she had tossed out as a possibility as to why I had come to see her. She didn’t seem interested in having me as a client. It was in the evening time when I saw her so maybe she was wanting to go home.

BTW, at this older age I am not seeking a relationship anymore. I don’t even want to entertain the thought anymore. Too much water under the bridge for me. But if I had been in my twenties or even early thirties and known what I know now, I surely would have worked on myself, in the correct areas, and should the opportunity have presented itself I would have jumped right into a “healthy relationship” with a woman. That will be one of the regrets of my life, that that didn’t happen for me.



Hi Charles, thanks for sharing. I’m starting to agree with the “I am me” part, although its slow. I know it rationally but my feelings aren’t really tagging along. I’m balancing on a rope and if I fall to one side I’m crying, feeling sorry for myself and think I’m stupid to do all of this. If I fall on the other side I’m full of rage and feel obliged to continue and push myself ever harder.

Sometimes I still believe I’m imagining it all. That if I’d just drop my self-inquiries and my will to self-improve and focus on what I do instead, and make new plans and try to “get what I can get” from life, then I’ll be better off than trying to understand myself.

I don’t buy it anymore, but I do agree there has to be a balance somewhere.. I’ve realized that this kind of work takes a looong time. Like years, SEVERAL YEARS. And most of the things I find and discover about myself is really not positive things. I’ve got an especially hard time accepting “bad” sides of me since I was always momma’s little good boy. There’s a kind of “hope” element in all of this, to trust on blind faith that things will get better “later”, which is pretty hard to do for me at least.

I wonder how everybody else is doing life. How they are living their lives without thinking on these things. How they can be carefree and I can’t. Or maybe rather how they can tackle their problems in life and function as human beings in more healthy and natural ways than I can. Why can’t I shrug it off and “get on with it”? I kind of know why, but it still annoys me.

By the way I think I’ve found my improvement resource for the next couple of years:
I’ve been focusing on that website along with this one for the past couple of months. I think the difference between the two is that this website is about self-empowerment while is about understanding human nature (doing parts work). For now, I’m following the program at (it’s damn slow and damn hard, it will probably take me at least 3 years) while reading articles here on different specific topics I need help with, or if I need to express myself or tell some part of “my story”.

It’s saddening to read that you’ve given up hope on relationships.. I know we should really be working for ourselves, but I think I get a lot of energy/willpower from wanting to have (good) relationships in the future. It’s hard for me to lower the walls and let people in so it’s probably ten times worse for you. I hope that your path will cross with somebody who’ll inspire you to invite some hope into your heart again.



I have come across the website in my searches before, too.

Since you mentioned sex addiction in your first comment on this page I would like to leave the below links. I have also dealt with sex addiction in my life. If not useful to you directly. The links may be useful to someone else.

On the below page, scroll down to where it reads “Coping and the “feeling thermostat””. That section tells why we were drawn to the addiction in the first place.

The below “7 Negative Effects of Porn” page is the only page I have read on the below website.

Roots of Sexual Addiction – Mp3 Audio File

The below audio file is from a Christian perspective but for non Christians I think it has a lot of useful information on sex addiction.

The below web page I have saved and read from time to time; when I need a reminder.

Advice from a Failure by Jo Coudert


I am sitting here in tears. This is my childhood minus the sexual abuse. I am sorry you had to experience that. And the sad, but eye opening thing is, I say the same negative crap to my six year old. Thank you for this post. It helped me start to understand me and my life. But, most importantly it pointed a finger in my face telling me to stop the vicious cycle! I always swore I would never treat my kids like my parents treated me. I will change this. My kids are simply too important not to.


Hi Aren
Welcome to Emerging from Broken! I am so glad that you have realized this!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

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