Permission to Live; Busting through Beliefs and Survival Systems

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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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87 response to "Permission to Live; Busting through Beliefs and Survival Systems"

  1. By: Renee Posted: 23rd May

    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.

  2. By: Susan Kingsley-Smith Posted: 23rd May

    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!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd May

      Pam,
      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

  3. By: Pam Posted: 23rd May

    Darlene,
    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!

  4. By: Pam Posted: 23rd May

    Renee,

    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.

  5. By: Renee/A Resurrected Spirit Posted: 23rd May

    Shanyn,
    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.

  6. By: Kate Posted: 23rd May

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

  7. By: Naomi Posted: 23rd May

    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.

  8. By: Renee/A Resurrected Spirit Posted: 23rd May

    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.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd May

      Hi Naomi
      Welcome!
      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!
      Darlene

  9. By: Renee/A Resurrected Spirit Posted: 23rd May

    Carolyn,
    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.

  10. By: Kate Posted: 23rd May

    Pam,

    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.

    Carolyn,

    “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.

  11. By: Shanyn Posted: 23rd May

    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.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd May

      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!”

      Pam
      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!

  12. By: Pam Posted: 23rd May

    Kate,

    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.

  13. By: Carolyn Posted: 23rd May

    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.

  14. By: Kate Posted: 23rd May

    “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.

  15. By: Pam Posted: 23rd May

    Renee,

    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.

  16. By: Renee/A Resurrected Spirit Posted: 23rd May

    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

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd May

      Renee,
      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

  17. By: Susan Kingsley-Smith Posted: 23rd May

    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.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd May

      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

  18. By: ian Posted: 23rd May

    Ultralite,

    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.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd May

      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

  19. By: Pam Posted: 23rd May

    Ultrilite,

    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.

  20. By: Pam Posted: 23rd May

    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)

  21. By: Ultralite Posted: 23rd May

    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.

  22. By: Layla Posted: 22nd May

    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

  23. By: JOANN Posted: 22nd May

    wOW GOOD FOR YOU FOR COMING TO THIS REALIZATION, I AM SO PROUD YOU HAVE BROKEN THE LIES. I AM 48 AND STILL STRUGGLE WITH THIS. I DIDN’T HAVE THE PHYSICAL ABUSE, SOME SEXUAL EMOTIONAL ABUSE THOUGH. STILL TO THIS DAY I HEAR “IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD”. THEY ABUSE ME EMOTIONALLY AND MENTALLY IN FRONT OF MY KIDS AND IT’S “THEY NEVER SAID THAT” OR THAT NEVER HAPPENED” “I DON’T KNOW WHATS WRONG WITH YOU THAT’S NOT THE WAY IT WAS” AND ON AND ON. I KNOW I’M NOT CRAZY MANY OTHERS HAVE SEEN IT AS WELL. BUT MY GOD HOW LONG DOES IT GO ON. MY MOTHER IS DYING AND THERE ARE TIMES I HAVE REFUSED TO SEE THEM FOR YEARS OR MONTHS AT A TIME. I AM CHRONICALLY SICK AND DISABLED AND THEY THINK IT IS ALL IN MY HEAD AND NOTHING IS WRONG WITH ME—THAT HURTS BEYOND REPAIR. I AM JUST SUPPOSE TO DEAL WITH IT IN SILENCE AND DO EVERYTHING THEY EXPECT OF ME WITHOUT THEM EVEN ASKING AND I NO LONGER CAN—-SO I AM THE BITCH–AT 48 THEY HAVE TO TELL ME HOW TO COOK, HOW TO DO DISHES, HOW TO DO ANYTHING. AND GOD FORBID I WENT BACK TO SCHOOL WITH 3 KIDS TO GET MY BACHELORS—HOW STUPID IS THAT—THEY DIDN’T EVEN COME TO MY GRADUATION. OH WELL I USE TO BE STRONGER AND I’LL GET THERE AGAIN–I’M CLIMBING MY WAY UP—FOR YEARS I BELIEVED WHAT GOD BELIEVED ABOUT ME AND THEY DID EVERYTHING THEY COULD TO TAKE IT AWAY AND I LET THEM—BECAUSE OF MY ANGER INSIDE TOWARDS THEM—NO MORE—-THANKS FOR SHARING IT REALLY HELPED ME KNOW OTHERS HAVE BEEN THERE TOO

  24. By: Renee Posted: 22nd May

    Darlene
    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.

  25. By: Ian Posted: 22nd May

    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.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd May

      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

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