Prince Charming was a Murder Suspect


Emotional Healing, Mental Health Recovery

When we are not heard as children, then naturally we learn that we are not important enough to be heard. Every action has a reaction. Having no voice ~ not being heard~  naturally results in having lower self esteem.  Trying to accept that I had no voice which equals having no value is not a very healthy place to be mentally but as a child I had no choice in how I arrived at those conclusions.  

Believing that I didn’t count and actually accepting that I was not heard lead me to many unhappy places and resulted in many depressions, low self esteem, relationship struggle and trust issues. I made choices based on what I believed about myself as a result of accepting that I did not have equal value to others.

When I was in my early twenties, I met a really charming and extremely good looking young man who I would say I had a “red flag” feeling about right from the start. I ignored it.  He was working with the security team in the major hospital that I worked in.  He told me that he was a city police officer who had been laid off due to cutbacks.  Everyone knew about the cutbacks so I had no problem believing that.  I started to date him.

I was pretty messed up about the guy that I had just broken up with because I found out he was cheating on me and I used my pain over that relationship as an excuse to ignore the red flags that I was getting over this new one. And this handsome man said he was a cop… which for some unknown reason in my mind made some sort of difference when it came to trust. By the time I thought about escaping this relationship, I needed police assistance. My beautiful boyfriend wasn’t a cop or anything else he pretended to be. He was a compulsive liar and a murder suspect.

So what on earth made me ignore those red flags that I got from the very beginning?

It is a natural progression to go from believing that I am not worth being heard, to going on to have self doubts such as not believing in my own feelings and not listening to myself; no one else was listening to me either. Can the majority be wrong? Eventually I started to ignore my own feelings… telling myself that my feelings are wrong. And pretty soon I was also ignoring danger signals, because I must be wrong about those too. Although I had trust issues in general, not trusting myself is an entirely different problem then not trusting others. Survivors are groomed not to trust themselves.

I was taught in the cycle of abuse to discount my own feelings. Then I was taught to discount myself and my value. Then I naturally accepted that I didn’t deserve a love relationship that was mutually beneficial, fulfilling or even safe.  Remember that this was a coping method. We are not at fault for accepting that we are not valued. I accepted it as a way of surviving. I was just trying to make sense of my life. It is much easier for a child to decide that he or she is “wrong” than it is for a child to decide that the “all powerful” adults are wrong. If we decide that the adults are wrong, where does that leave us? (Abandoned, rejected and even more alone then we already are. When we blame ourselves, we convince ourselves that we have a chance, ie: I can be better.)

If you combine the facts that I had learned to discount myself and my feelings and I had learned to ignore all my intuition with the fact that I learned to accept the false definition of love, it is understandable that I ignored the red flags that I got when I met an attractive man who just happened to be a compulsive liar and a murder suspect. I was flattered that he was interested in me. At the same time I had learned to be thrilled by danger. (abuse grooms you for that too) I only wanted to see that he seemed to be this dream come true kind of guy, very attentive, soft spoken, a real knight in shining armor and prince charming type and I believe that he would sooth my aching heart and he was “the one” who would take me away from all this. (and that was exactly what he had in mind too except that it involved my death) It wasn’t long before he was telling me all his hurts and problems I went from the “treasure” to the emotional hostage, but it was too late. I thought I could love him enough to take his hurt away and then I would be the “treasure again.  Isn’t that what I had been trying to do with the people in my life that had taught me that I was unworthy?

On this journey to emotional healing, I had to undo all of the past false belief systems and coping methods and survival modes, in order to get my life and myself back. I had to learn NOT to discount danger signs and my own feelings, intuition and emotions.  

Today I don’t ignore those red flags because I successfully re wired my belief system. I don’t believe that I deserve less than anyone else. I am no longer attracted to danger therefore I no longer discount my intuition. I don’t believe that I am the answer to someone else’s pain, OR that they are the answer to mine.

The follow up to this post with the actual story is here: Dangerous Men, Red Flags, Victim Mentality.

I welcome your comments and contributions as always,

Darlene Ouimet

related post ~ Emotional Healing and the will to go forward

                         Self worth, where does it come from?

Categories : Self Esteem



It’s a story that repeats itself all too much. One day I listed all the men who sexually abused me. It was a long list and I wondered how anyone with any brains at all could experience all that. I marveled at my broken-ness. But from an early age I was taught to ignore certain things…and I learned that lesson in order to survive. I’m currently working on re-wiring my system so that I can both feel safe and actually BE safe. Thanks for the post.


Oh My, Darlene! That had to of been a very scary experience for you! I dated a guy once that I thought I loved but always doubted it. I kept trying to get out of the relationship then he through on me that GOD told him we were suppose to be togther. He abused me in making me think I had no choice of staying with him or not. Later I learned that when we met had had just gotten out of prison for committing a crime. He kept telling me over and over that he was a changed man and I vulnerabally believed him. Then our relationship started getting physical. He would hit me, then come back and say how sorry he was and how much he loved me and that God will keep us together. This went on for 2 years until he got caught with drugs and went back to prison. For me that was a great thing because I don’t know that I would have ever gotten out of that relationship nor what could have possible happened to me.


I remember after this prince charming incident ~ when the police came to my house and put me under protection ~ I remember thinking “what the heck is it about me that I keep getting myself involved with these guys that HURT me. I was SO proud of myself for finally realizing that it was ME~ and thought that if I took the blame for these failed relationships, accepting that somehow this was my fault, then somehow it would stop! It didn’t. but I went on learning to take more and more blame as I got older for every little thing that went wrong in every relationship after that. (even with my girl friends!) and I sank deeper and deeper into depression and dissociation. I didn’t realize the root of this “problem” had to do with abuse or mistreatment which resulted in my choices and attractions being less then nurturing!

The re-wiring was the key for me! Thanks for being here!
Hugs, Darlene


I’m so sick of ignoring the flags and signs. I’m so tired of being afraid to do things alone. I’m tired of “putting up” with people that only view me in a hyper sexual way because “I feel loved”. I’m so sick of showing emotion and then running to claim I didn’t feel something because nobody is responding to me. I cry because I just want to move away from all this negativity. I try to look at things as positive traits but today I just see how screwed up I am. Why anyone would really want to screw up a child so much is beyond me. The damage just gones on for years or decades. I repeat this cycle with new abusers. I’m approaching another huge anniversary. I lay here and think I’m just screwed. I don’t know which way is up right now. A list of abusers? I’ve got one but right now it doesn’t matter how long it is. Why? I’m back at #1.


Re-wiring I look forward to. If I become any more unwired I may cease to exist. Great. I already feel invisible.


Well being back at number 1 is the best place to begin. That is where I began, with the first trauma incident that I could remember. I took it apart, and realized that deep down I thought I could have done something different to stop it. I took on her shame and sneaky behaviour, as though I was participating in it with her. Realizing just that one thing, that I thought I could stop it, which once I said that out loud and then tried to explain why I believed that, and I heard myself ~ and realized that I could not have stopped it at all…. that changed the course of the next couple of years for me. That was my beginning.
Thank you for being here.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Kathy,
That is exactly how it happens too, they lie and promise they have changed. And we believe them because we are used to believing lies. We believed lies all our lives. I kept thinking that this guy was going to go back to the way he was the first 2 weeks that I knew him. I kept believing that I had done something that made him change so I could make him change back! And they use ANY manipulation, the God thing is only one of them. “God told me” is a very big abuse line and so many people use it.
Thanks for sharing your story Kathy, I am glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene, How we are groomed is so scary now that we can pick it apart objectively. We were groomed for everything you said and more. My main take on that is we were groomed to be obedient and needed a strong man to “take care” of us because we had no skills. They didn’t want us to view ourselves as independent or anything else positive.

That book/novel I wrote the year prior to my breaking amnesia was “Cinderella, R.I.P.” Basically, reality sucks. The fairytale doesn’t exist. I didn’t know to what depth until several years after writing that work driven by my inner wisdom.

My second marriage, I knew just before it was time for me to walk down the aisle that it was wrong. I was too afraid to stop it at that point. Huge red flag the night before but didn’t hit me till the next day. One of the great things about therapy is learning about those red flags.


I was just thinking earlier today about how it was bad enough to have endured the traumas as a child. But it didn’t stop there. The vulnerability didn’t end in childhood. It continued into the teen years, where more trauma took place. And then into the adult years, more trauma, more memory loss, more shutting down. The vulnerability actually increased with each trauma, as dissociation kept increasing until it was all there was, total dissociation. I don’t even know what broke through really. No, that’s not true. I fell in love for the first time, that’s what broke through. But I couldn’t at that stage trust the only good person I actually ever did allow in. My intuition had gotten all screwed up, and the good ones were suspect, the bad ones were welcomed, because they were known to me and comfortable to my parts who only knew abuse. Losing the one good person who made it through that barrier was what broke my system. It crushed me in a different way. But it was necessary, I see this now. I was ill and needed to have my world turned upside down so I could finally see I had a problem that wasn’t going away unless I did something about it. It was time to stop the cycle and let the good ones in and let them stay.


All the way to the point of “ignoring” that which I seen with my own eye’s…. Then sat back and watched as I allowed myself to be lied to. Straight faced! Grrrrr…..


Darlene, the parallels in my life are just astounding.

It is not that I can’t understand a lot of what you are trying to share about being aware of how we go that way and how to grow/heal, it’s that I am too much in pain from the damage to really continue. It’s a bit like if you need to walk to heal from a wound but the wound itself stops you from walking.

Even the knots in the stomach are permanent now, not just in between the abusive episodes. It’s funny how I stayed for so long, thinking that I was strong and thinking that it wasn’t so bad. I am glad I got out before there was a complete breakdown, but the damage is there and sometimes it is hard to change the belief system when you need a sound mind/clear mind to do that but the mind is just overwhelmed with the pain. How long did it take you to heal from the pain?


Darlene, what were the red flags (from the handsome, cop, lyer, murder suspect guy)?


Geez Darlene; again, me too. Sadly. Being mistreated was just normal for me. It was so normal that when I got around “normal” people that felt so uncomfortable so I thought something was wrong with them and that they were the ones who would suddenly turn on me. Instead, I ran into relationships that were flattering, that ooohed and ahhed over how pretty I was, or guys who told me how sexy I was. I was invalidated in the presence of those who had a sense of self that I required someone who would validate me in the same way my abusers did so I could feel any sense of worth. I did not know how to exist otherwise. I had no sense of self to determine right or wrong, good or bad. I couldn’t see red flags because all of those things were my normal life. I did not know I had feelings and my worth was totally based on if others found me attractive or somehow validated my existence with their approval.

And the danger – my worth had become so enmeshed with what I had to give others by the sexual abuse and parental neglect that I was ripe for the pedophile that groomed me from the age of about 15 or 16 and ultimately convinced me to get in a car and leave the state with him when I was just 17. Death was always just a threat away and yet it felt normal.

I docily accepted my role in life and the sad part is (and if this is not appropriate here I apologize but this was part of my journey) – the saddest part is for me…when I turned to the mental health system for help to change this in my life following my second violent marriage I was told that my past didn’t matter and that I was “sick” and would require drugs for the rest of my life. I learned how to do this kind of work that you describe from another trauma survivor whom I had had the good fortune to connect with.

Everything you share in this post is applicable to me personally Darlene. I”m grateful that you are able to expose these issues and light the path forward for so many of us.


@Sarah Smith – the list you mentioned….how many?….I made one like that when I was just 15. It was very long. And my family reinforced that I was a “whore ” as did the community in the small town where most of the rapes took place from about age 10 or 12 until I left the state with the one I’d mentioned previously. I was not a child to be protected – I was a loose slut, a whore. The bartenders in the small rural town I lived in were my “friends” and one disclosed to me that my own father sat at his bar one afternoon telling him that I was in fact a whore yet it was him and his brothers who had groomed me sexually and molested me since my earliest memories. I remember feeling shocked when I heard this but not surprised then nothing as I turned to find the guy that would give me a place to sleep that night. I think I was around 13 at the time.

I am grateful for this space to speak the unspeakable and be heard rather than denied or blamed.


Yes Maggie, we are groomed for all that and more. Speaking about inner wisdom, is amazing to me how much I realized that I “knew” looking back ~ I just didn’t know that I knew. I don’t think I learned about red flags in therapy, I think I remembered them through my process from talking about individual events of the past with my girlfriend. I still have memories of having “bad feelings” about a situation in the past and I ignored those bad feelings.

Hi Jennifer ~ I may write a follow up post to this one about the red flags, but something that really helped me to realize the red flags that I ignored is a book by Gavin deBecker called “The Gift of Fear”. Reading that book brought back ALL kinds of memories about times I knew that a person or situation was dangerous (even emotionally dangerous) and I even remembered pushing the “red flag” away.

hi Carla,
You make some very valid points in this post Carla. I remember being asked out by a few really really nice guys.. and thinking to myself.. Wow that guy is so boring and wondering what the heck was he hiding.. so yes ~ The good ones were suspect and the bad ones were comfortable, I was used to that. My exp. was that the only time someone was really “nice” was when they were grooming me to accept them NOT being so nice. Compliments had a motive, everything had a motive, so how are we to trust anyone who is actually nice with no motive? I think that deep down I thought EVERYONE had a motive. Life was a game.
Thanks for being here,

It was really important not to blame myself for “should have known better” stuff. I saw thing with my own eyes and heard things with my own ears, but ignored them too. But that is the system we grew up in… and really we were just looking for some love and affection ~ too bad that we never learned what “love” was in the first place..
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Krissy
This is a really great analogy about needing to walk to heal from a wound, but the wound keeps you from walking. I look back on so many things in my adult life that I wonder why I stayed so long or why I never stood up for myself. I remember my father in law talking to me me like I was nothing and I just sat there gaping… stunned and silent. The treatment I am talking about as an adult is mostly about emotional abuse, but when I talk to victims of domestic violence, there is no difference in the way that we felt about ourselves, OR in the way we came to accept abuse.

So for me I guess it all depended on how determined I was to walk again. Facing the pain was almost worse then not facing it.. but looking back I was dying anyway, so I am glad that I just kept going.
It took me about 2.5 years of intensive work in order to heal and a few more to stay strong and reinforce what I had learned. The healing was in stages though.. for instance it took me about a year and a half to learn to stop dissociating. I was also working on other healing things at that time and everything overlapped and sometimes I grew in leaps and bounds, and other times I was stuck on something or several things. The pain dissipated through the process of really discovering the truth about myself especially when I stopped blaming myself; when I really understood why it was never my fault, but keep in mind there were many events all intertwined, (as I try to write about on this blog) so it does take time.
Hang in there Krissy!
Love Darlene

Hi Susan,
Thank you for expanding on all of this. Being mistreated does become our normal, and it is very hard to even explain that here in this blog! (so I really appreciate everyone who expands on it! LOL) Validation was huge for me, and I sought it in all the wrong places too. It was KEY for me to know that no one could validate me if I would not validate myself.
Thanks so much for sharing this part of your story, I know that there are TONS of blog posts we could all write to expand on this whole area. (and I plan to do a few more)
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene I hear your words, and they resonated (again!) with me. I was stumbling to escape and falling into traps, escaping traps and fumbling with freedom while being stalked by those who wished to tie up my life, bury my spirit and silence my voice.

I was just talking about ‘bad becoming normal’ the other day, and I recalled how much I learned about myself by working through “Women who Run with Wolves”, Dr. Estes really has a way of weaving the knowing of stories with the lessons of life.

Learning to avoid ‘leg traps’, becoming who we are today by surviving the pain and the early stumbling stages of escape when our bleeding spirits and wounded souls smelled so much like easy treats for predators. My own vulnerability led me to some predators who were more than willing to put on a sweet face to get what they wanted – another victim. I wasn’t strong enough or wise enough to stay away because I didn’t know how to listen to my intuition, I didn’t know how to move my feet away from the sweet song of false safety and security.

I know better now and I’m so shocked and saddened to see how many young women are still being preyed upon, still falling into traps. So many that I know are struggling with abuse are still reeling from the realizations that their life, the abuse, isn’t ‘normal’ and that the lies which wrapped them up were meant to trap them, not protect them.

Thank you for your sharing, your heart and your words. Bless you!


Wow Darlene. Another awesome piece. You certainly have a gift for putting into words what (at least I) go through…the feelings, the overwhelming self-blame and self-distrust.

Plus, the hope you instill. To keep at it. To pick up my DBT & CBT exercises and skills, and put them in practice. To not give up. Sometimes it’s hard, ya’ know? *tears* And (to my knowledge) I didn’t endure near what other people have endured. I mean, my main thing was emotional neglect and (apparently) witnessing my older sister get beaten. And other stuff. :-/

I’m so glad you survived and thrived and share this blog. It is invaluable.

I have a few questions. You state: “At the same time I had learned to be thrilled by danger. (abuse grooms you for that too)”

My questions:
I’m wondering of the multifaceted reasons of how abuse grooms one for danger? Is one facet simply to be able to feel, due to neglect and abandonment? Is one to get back to a feeling of ‘comfort’ with familiarity (which, in reality, isn’t comfort at all), due to physical abuse? Is another facet perhaps an addiction to the adrenaline rush, due to both/either neglect or other abuses?

Do you have a blog piece about that aspect of how abuse grooms one to be thrilled by danger? If so, can you provide a link? I’m quite curious as I was so often attracted to danger. I chalked it up to youth, but now I wonder?

Thanks again for hope. Hope. Hope. Hope.



Believing I didn’t count or have any value. Believing that no one would want to know me because I was so awful – or so my abusers told me so many times in so many ways. Believing no one would want to know me because I was so violated and second hand goods. I knew no love and never believed I deserved love. I believed I deserved only bad things to happen to me.

All that sent me the other way away from relationships.

I put up a wall that no one could get past. I tested and tested and tested any friends I had virtually to breaking point. Only the very best made it through all my tests. But I kept everyone at arms length, could let no one close.

I was terrified of people. I was so terrified of being used and abused that I could let no one in. In some ways I never grew up. In some ways I remained a child in an adult’s body.

Then four months after being disowned and left for dead by my abusers (my family) I let a man help me with jobs that I needed doing around my digs but his payment was rape. I had red flags about him but ignored them thinking I was being silly and paranoid and he was different to all the males in my life up until that point. But I discovered he was just like them when he raped me in front of his grandson that day. That reinforced the belief that I was worthless, just a piece of meat that deserved nothing but bad things.

After that I vowed never to let a man close to me ever again. It confirmed all I’d grown up believing – that all men are rapists. I withdrew from men completely. I’ve been alone the whole of the intervening 24 years. The only men I’ve trusted down the years have been friends of friends or husbands of friends. As I’ve observed them I’ve slowly realised that not all men are rapists. There are some men out there who have respect for women.

In my friendships with female friends I kept them at arms length too, could let no one in. Anyone who’s raised a red flag during those years I’ve cut out of my life to avoid any further hurt.

I really believed I was so rotten that if I let anyone in close enough to see the real me they wouldn’t want to know me. It’s been lonely but SAFE, empty but SAFE.

But I’ve had enough of that life. I’m 44 now and so want to know how to be an adult and how to have adult relationships, but don’t even know where to start.

The child still trapped inside the adult body so desperately wanting things to be different but so terrified.

I’ve learned down the years that my intuition is always right. But I’ve discounted my needs throughout that time all for the sake of being SAFE. But in so doing I’ve only been merely existing, staying alive just for the sake of it.

But I have needs and I cannot keep people at arms length anymore. I need to start letting people in. I need to start being real, because I need to live now. I’m beginning to realise that this little girl in this adult’s body is just desperate to be loved and set free to love and live, so the adult can love and live too.


Hi Shanyn,
I love love this comment! I don’t even have any thing to add but that it is like poetry, and I love the imagery. I love how it resonates on my own heart. Thank you.
One of my personal missions is to break through the fog of those of us who have such a hard time hearing that what has happened to them is not normal combined most of the time with the other things you mentioned about traps etc..
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Carol,
The self blame was undone in layers for me.. it took a long time because I had real reasons to blame myself. (In my next post I am going to actually tell the story of Chris the murder suspect and highlight the red flags that I ignored. Some of them are embarrassing. Even then I wondered what kind of idiot would ignore the the things that I ignored. but what I didn’t know then was that I had been taught to not trust myself in the first place.
I am going to write a separate post about your questions re: thrilled by danger. I think it has much to do with all the things you mention and the way that we are raised to believe that abuse and danger is normal, and nice and loving is suspect because it leads to abuse and danger. =)
Thanks for being here,

Hi Fi,
Even though my childhood was nothing like yours, I totally relate to your post. Even though I was forced to grow up for so many reasons, I was trapped as a child too. I had the same trust issues. Tested the wrong people. AND my motivation for recovery was also the same as yours. I love your positive statements at the end of your comments! And I reached those goals ~ it isn’t perfect but that was not my goal. I love my life, I love to get out of bed in the morning. I have great friends, I take risks in relationships, I am growing and no longer afraid to face the past or the fears. I am living, really living! I think you are making that new beginning for yourself too Fi. I am so glad to be able to share in the journey.
Hugs, Darlene


One of my former Prince Charmings is still wanted by the feds. I hear ya and I totally get it.


my Prince Charming is my husband ……… we’ve been together for 25 years ……… he shows no interest in understanding (in fact taking it further ….. he had NEVER wanted 2 know ANYTHING about my life) ……. life is far from being a fairy tale …….. but i have security 75% of the time so it work 4 me 🙂


“It is much easier for a child to decide that he or she is “wrong” than it is for a child to decide that the “all powerful” adults are wrong. If we decide that the adults are wrong, where does that leave us? (Abandoned, rejected and even more alone then we already are. When we blame ourselves, we convince ourselves that we have a chance, ie: I can be better.)”

Thanks so much for putting my self deprecating action in my marriage atleast into words… haven’t got to the rest of my life and childhood reflecting yet, but do know that this is exactly what I did in my marriage. Put myself down before he could, convinced myself I must be wrong, and that my red flags and beliefs were wrong and misconstrued and he must be right!


Shanyn’s quote as follows: “My own vulnerability led me to some predators who were more than willing to put on a sweet face to get what they wanted – another victim. I wasn’t strong enough or wise enough to stay away because I didn’t know how to listen to my intuition, I didn’t know how to move my feet away from the sweet song of false safety and security.”

I have read on many boards/pages, etc. how sexual abuse/abuse period made us so much more vulnerable to other predators. Since I have recently been too consumed with supporting my child in the case we were dealing with with my mothers husband, which has now been stayed, I of course have not had much energy to reflect on my own childhood traumas as yet, but have started. My question that is pressing of late though that the above quote of Shanyn’s triggered is HOW DO I CONTINUE TO SUPPORT AND PREVENT AND BE AWARE OF POSSIBLE PREDATORS…as my daughter grows through adolescence to adulthood. It happened before, I saw the signs, but it was her that made it stop by being so brave to tell. Because of my own vulnerability after leaving my spouse to a shelter with 3 kids, he was able to groom her and bait her… and even when she started to refuse to go to my mom’s, I still made her go a few times, as I had no where else to turn, and they were the only trusted family members that ever had access! My concern now as a mother, is now that this happened, and everyone says it makes more vulnerability and opportunity for more predators… is it really a gloomy prediction?

Secondly for feedback sake, we have the opportunity now to do radio/campaign ads to speak out against child sexual abuse and advocate for prevention education here. There has never been a child that has gone public yet… and she wants to do it. However, as her mother, I am responsible to weight the risks and benefits for her, etc. Sure, breaking silence and taking a stand is good… but kids can be cruel in junior high, and if what all you say about vulnerability to future predators is a fact, then aren’t I in essence allowing her to be too open to preadators by letting her do a radio ad???

Feedback PLEASE!


Hi Lisa,
As I became more aware of how I was fooled into believing the lies, AND of how none of the abuse was my fault, I began to understand how to spot the danger signs when it comes to abuse and abusers. I notice how words are misplaced to be misleading, but are really a form of manipulation. This is ONLY as a result of MY recovery. My youngest daughter is 13. She is VERY different then I was and for the last 6 years she has been exposed to my “teaching” about awareness, the truth about love, (what it is, what it isn’t) about personal choice, manipulators, liars, bullys etc. This year she started in a new school. The bully’s swarmed around her from the first day. She had lots of bully preparation over these last years. My daughter drew her boundaries and stuck to them, because victim mentality tells us that if we are “nice” the bully’s will like us and leave us alone. But the truth is that abusers take “nice” as a licence to go farther; the think “nice” is compliance. When they got physical, she fought back. Everyone was shocked. She matched them verbally, but not with mind games ~ with the truth. One of the girls said in front of a big group “if you keep hanging out here I am going to kick your ass” My daughter replied “well I guess you got some ass to kick then”. The bully walked away. They all leave her alone now. What I am trying to tell you is that MY changes have inspired her. She has seen me do it, and she models me. She watched me stand up for myself. And she knows that I am happier now. Our lives are a testimony to our children. I also have two older teens who have also changed a lot over this past few years and have become a lot more comfortable living in this new system.

I wish I could answer your request for feedback, but I don’t really know how. I watched a show last week about a child sex abuse survivor, and she said that when the police rescued her and she went back to school, she was picked on horrifically by her peers! They called her all kinds of names and said she must have liked it and stuff like that. I have heard many stories like this from adults who got found out as CSA survivors. How would you know if this would or would not happen to your daughter? Could you keep her identity a secret?
Sorry Lisa, wish I could be of more help.
Hugs, Darlene


Lisa…wish I had the answer for you…wish there was ONE exact answer with all the right outcomes. I understand your fears about how the other kids may react…does your daughter…is she strong and self-confident in realizing that anything these kids may say to her is not about her, but about them and their fears and the prejudices and fears their families have instilled in them? If it was my child I would feel a little uncomfortable with telling them not to talk about something that there is no real reason they should not talk about, but I would want to prepare them for what may be resulting… I would hate to make my child feel in anyway like they should keep their mouth shut so other people won’t not like them due to something that someone else did to them…I would prefer my kids not have those kinds of friends…but I know Jr. High is tough. Not sure that she’ll have the response you think…never know, some kids may like to talk to her a little more about it…statistically speaking she walks through the halls with plenty of other boys and girls who could learn a lot from her journey and her courage…but tough call. My thoughts are with you both; you are both very brave 🙂


Oh, I only ever told my best friend in Jr. High…and guess what? her too… But neither of us went public, so to speak…don’t know quite what would have happened if we had, but I honestly suspect given the personality I already had I may have gotten a lot of male attention that was not good and the way I was, I would have seen it as good and taken it…like this prince charming story here. However, I was definitely not the type of strong and self-confident person that ever would have spoken out about it anyway, had I have been I may not have been the same person who would have been receptive to negative male attention that I received afterwards…


Thank you for your honest sharing. I too married in haste, on the rebound, and low self-esteem & rebellion were other factors in this choice which I have lived to regret deeply. I wonder what form the “red flags” took in your case – was it just a gut feeling of something being wrong, not adding up….or did you see actual behaviour/hear things in your man that made a part of you feel uneasy?


Thanks ladies. She already has been bold enough to help a friend, and had her friend sit down with me and tell… which now is of course under investigation. It was so special to hear her say on the way home from that, “Mom, my problem has made me a better person, I’m awesome!”
LOL. She really is a nostalgic soul. And, her response when I say, but kids are cruel, what if someone asks you gross questions for details, or what if another approaches you, etc. and she at her young age seems to think that she’s handled it this far, she could handle that too, if her siblings went and told the neighborhood kids at the park one day two summers ago, she can face anything now, lol. The radio ad of course would protect identity, maybe only use her first name?


Hi Jill,
I just wrote a post this morning to follow up on this one. In that post (I will publish it by tomorrow) I go into detail about several of the red flags, how I ignored them, how I dismissed them and my rational about it too.
Welcome to the blog and thank you for being here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Lisa,
My daughter was 19 when she started talking about her abuse to friends and 24 when she went public. I was concerned about the same things you are. Even though Bethany is much older than your daughter, she still faced a lot of the same dangers. She was ridiculed, told she wanted it, told to shut up about it, and treated by boyfriends as though she was ‘damaged goods’. Speaking out has its price. She’s an adult and can make her own choices and I respect them. I’m proud of her for choosing this path.

When she was younger, I never would have let her speak publicly about it. Like you mentioned, that attracts predators (not just of the sexual variety) and at that time I wasn’t qualified to protect her. The effects of my abuse made me ineffective at discerning certain things and standing up for her. I would have encouraged Bethany to write about it and publish it later after she’d had more time to heal. Healing is difficult and healing in the public eye is even more difficult.

I agree with what Darlene said— that your own healing will make the biggest difference in your daughter’s life.


personally i think it depends on her age and level of recovery. as you say darlene this could go either way, but if there is a strong support network available, a child telling how it was for her is no different really to what we adults are doing here. maybe they should keep her identiy quiet or somehow protect her from ‘joe public’ who want to name call n stuff


Lisa – awareness of being vulnerable is a first step, your daughter has shown courage in being able to speak up for herself and her friend. From my own experience, when I realized what was making me vulnerable, what was attracting predators to me, I was able to work on that. Predators count on people being unaware, being easy prey. They don’t want people who are aware and alert, especially those who would formerly be easy prey. By learning ourselves and learning to listen to the cues which can be ‘red flags’ or intuitive nudges we become less vulnerable. Your healing journey and your daughter’s will bring strength and healing and if you can be there for each other that will bless you both.

I don’t know the age of your daughter, but you mentioned Jr. High. That’s a tough age group but she has shown courage in helping her friend seek help and wants to speak out. My two thoughts are: is the organization she wants to do the ad for offering counselling or support? Would they feel comfortable giving her an alias or letting her use her initials? Secondly – are you able to speak to her school and see if there is a way to have the school addressing speaking out about abuse as a broader proactive move so that her courage can be seen as part of a greater movement towards speaking out against all abuse? Some schools will work with students who are willing to speak up.

Most importantly follow your instincts, and hers – write down all the positives and negatives you can each think of, deal with them one by one and see how you feel after that exercise. If this isn’t right for you and her, for whatever reason, perhaps there is another way you can encourage her speaking out? If you are going to counselling speak to your and perhaps with her, to your counselor.

Please share, if you would, with her that she has my utmost respect for her courage for herself and her friend, and my respect to you as her mother for listening to her and her friend. Blessings!


I do not think it’s a good idea for a child to go public on the radio about her sexual abuse. It is something that could backfire and once it is done it can’t be undone. It is something she might regret doing later. I would wait until she is older – at least 18.

Just my thoughts.

Linda D


yes thoz red flags r invisible wen he talks. my husband i was blindd by. he says blood comes 1st and wev been 2gether for 24 yrs. theyr very predjudisd and me being native. well u can imagine. they r condemning me for attending to my birthfather. we had been estrangd for years. but i 4gav him the moment i heard he was so sick. stage 4 bowel cancer. i spent the last 4 weeks of his life caring for him. im his only daughter, of cors i went 2 inlaws say he gav me nothing all his life. material things rnt important. i wantd love. i wantd a dad my whole life. my mom remarried wen i was a baby. my stepdad never treatd me like he did his own kids (my 1/2 brother/sister were very lucky, my sister and i would always be standing on the outside lookin in. never invited 2 play. my father drank a lot so we wernt close. i dont drink myself. my husband says he stiks up 4 me but iv never heard him.all iv heard is wtf r u doing there? wen r u coming home? i had no control over wen my father passd but they think i do.and i wasnt going 2 leav him wen its my place 2 be there.i helpd my inlaws a lot wen my father n law passed. they couldnt let me be. the nite be4 my father passed i got a call from them demanding i com hom & tak care of my husband. hes 48 yrs old he can take care of himself. it got super ugly. my husband had a racial slur in the end. yes im a f-ing indian. yes im on a reservation. im not leaving. i had been by my dads side the last 3 days of his life, sleeping propd up against his bed railing. watching him closely coz hes so old school never admitting hes in pain. i had 2 giv him meds every 2 hours. i was a walking zombie. i couldnt eat. i gav up after that fonecall. im gona go too, the rivers right there. itd be so easy. im only an f-ing indian. oh god my pain was immense but my dads was more. i hated 2 see him like that. everytime he had 2 be moved the pain was immense. he died the next day. i walkd him thru it. it was beautiful. he just fell asleep. wen i saw my husband i just flipd out on him. how dare he?? well now my husband says, blood comes 1st. his brother shaun says he remembers the wedding vows i said. mmhmm my husband doznt. hes standing behind his family. leaving me there by myself. he let them berate me. saying nothing. they think i hav phyclogical issues coz i get so mad. i get mad coz my husband doznt support me. now they all sneer at me. but i fixd them. its calld call block. mark says my father gav me nothing. he gav me love. he gav me a daddy. he gav me his strength so im walking away. but with my head held high coz i didnt do anything wrong. red flags? yes thoz wer invisible. theyr waving fiercly now. my crime. taking care of my dieing father. his family wants 2 see material items. well he willd me all his belonging + house but its from a reservation they say & sneer. they look down at me but im not on the ground. im standing here straight/tall and saying, i dont look down on people unless im helping them up. i will not pay u any mind watsoever. iv got a couple applications for work. im paying off our bills/ finish this house. sell it then walk away. therz no reason 2 stay if im a f-ing reserv indian. my husbands words r so endearing…now he crys but i dont want u 2 leave. thats not wat i hear…i hear- u f-ing lil indian you.standing there saying nothing wen theyr screaming at me. he was so smug too wen my step dad was calling him a nice guy. giving me heck for getting mad at marks lack of support. i saw him smile. ahhh he enjoys seeing me get hell??? he will blame his family for losing another girl. but that smug look…he can blame himself. he choz them.


Thanks everyone for the great feedback on Lisa’s question. I appreciate all the opinions and sharing. This is becomming a wonderful community!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Ivy and Welcome
Wow you have been lot with all of this, but I like how you are so positive and that you have made your decision to stand strong. =)
We all deserve to be equally valued ~ we are all equally valuable as human beings! Thank you for your share here.
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you so much Darlene for allowing this discussion on your site.
And to all you ladies, thank you for the feedback…. I lack the sounding board/support network in life to ask this anywhere really for some feedback like this.

Shanyn your idea for the school… wow, inspiring. Next year is junior high, that is why I keep telling her the risks and negatives, but she is wanting to do it, and respects my desire to have an alias or even a voice changer. Intend to get her into her therapist, even though she ‘graduated’, lol for a neutral assessment so to speak.

Carol, that was another thought I had too… her speaking out, although it may be the first time a kid has… the breaking the silence on the adult level just kinda started too… so maybe her hope to encourage other kids to be brave and speak up would be a good thing to helping the weak and timid?

Linda, that too is exactly my thought… if I allow it, I am also a part of whatever ramifications it has on the rest of her life. Of course, the details would never be shared, it would just be some ad that promotes awareness and education and speaking out I think.

Finally, in regards to my original concerns from other things I have read about abuse making us more vulnerable to predators, etc. I also understand that they seek out the ones they know won’t tell… doing this ad wouldn’t necessarily attract more predators perhaps???

Thank you for your support here.

Christina, the feeling of not being qualified to protect her put it into words for me too… I was able to protect her once I knew, but it happened in the first place, grrr. Like the idea of encouraging her to write too.


[…] This post is continued from the last post ~ Prince Charming was a Murder Suspect. […]


im glad that we are helping you become aware and raising your understanding, that is always a good thing and if it can be done safely for her it might give the same release it gives us adults, that she can be heard and validated. again it can help others to speak out earlier and getting the school to promote awareness n education is a brillant way of lessening the backlash she might have gone through otherwise.
hope you and your family find the support an help you need, big hugs


[…] Posts:  Is This Love That I’m Feeling? Power Play: How to Recognize an Abuser Prince Charming Was a Murder Suspect Dangerous Men, Red Flags, Victim Mentality   Bethany Ruck is cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse, […]


Susan, I wanted to get back to you – you asked “how many?” on my list….maybe it was 20….I highlighted a few in my book – the “bad” ones that society would easily recognize as abusive or down right illegal. But in reality, the abuse happens time and time again. If you count all the times I went out actually LOOKING for abuse, as it had become such habit that I sought it out for entertainment and ‘pleasure’ then the list becomes so long it’s uncountable. This really makes me sad, so I have to return to my theme for today – gratitude. It was in an act of terrible assault that my early system fell apart, and in falling apart I created a new “me” for the public world. This new “me” has enabled me to lead a productive and somewhat fulfilling life. I am grateful today for whatever it is in me that finds the strength to keep going, to keep getting better, and to keep loving.


Hey everyone,
I published the follow-up to this post ~ “Dangerous Men, Red Flags, Victim Mentality” In that post I tell the story about this guy. I talk about the red flags, and how I ignored them, and I talk about my rational.
Hugs, Darlene



That post was like we were just kicking back having a conversation about our past. WOW, I had the same intuitive reaction and red flag dismissal about my daughter’s father. I could have saved myself and her so much pain had I avoided him. I actually remember asking god about him and receiving a message I chose to ignore. You are once again amazingly on target. It just blows my mind that we all have so much in common…the abuses may not be all the same but the results are indeed identical. We share the same scars and aftermatth of these abuses we suffered. I actually had a real sense of calm and assurance when I read this one. After all of these years I feel like I am finally able to be honest with myself. I used to deny my own needs and wants, I wasn’t true to myself. I know I will be tested on this but I feel confident that I will slow down and listen to my voice because it is always always right, because when I listen to myself I am honoring my value as a person and I am chosing what is right for me. Thank you for the powerful message…


Hi Jenny,
Isn’t it interesting that we all have such similar scars and beliefs (aftermath) from abuse? I find it so profound because likely 80% or more of us are like this, (and victims are taught to teach others to keep quiet ~ mostly all without specific words) and we kept it a secret, thinking we were different, thinking we were the ones that were damaged and not good enough, and doing something wrong. And that is exactly what the abusers wanted. To keep us thinking we were alone, different, the only one who felt this way so it must be “wrong”. But here we are! exposing the truth, busting through that fog and helping each other heal! thank you for this reply Jenny, this kind of reply keeps me going forward with my purpose and my passion for sharing this message!
Hugs, Darlene


I was groomed by abusers, because I had no ‘no’ in me.
One of the worst abuses my parents acted out on me was to time and time again to overstep, ignore, walk over and crush my boundaries, -until I felt boundary-less.
No ‘no’ = no me = abuse


Now-although not always, but definetly more of…

no = me = yes to healthy beliefs, people


This is what happens, but not because you had no “no” ~ because you had no power as a child to say no. We are taught compliance. We are foreced into giving up our “no” until we don’t know the word anymore. I got my “me” back. I got my “no” back to, and so can you. I am so glad you are here; thank you for sharing your heart.
Hugs, Darlene


Nadia; me too. What I discovered as I began this healing journey is that I had no sense of self; that my “self” was not allowed to develop and grow. Part of my learning to set boundaries and all that goes with a clear sense self was to find “me” – I did that by starting to ask myself what I liked and didn’t like. It was at first intimidating because my own wants/likes/dislikes had been denied and I was shaped to believe only what others said I was. But after I started doing it – it became really kind of fun! In time I found the strength in doing this that made it easier to begin to set those healthy boundaries when in the past I would have thought “I need to set a boundary” but been to afraid to do so. Finding “me” – like you said – was core to being able to say “no”. thanks for sharing Nadiah. Your note caused me to think about this in a way I’ve not done for awhile.


Oh Darlene… thank you, thank you for continuing to highlight the journey to self love so eloquently. I also learned to discount my feelings and I devalued myself for the men I was with. With each man it got worse. I went from putting a gun in a man’s hand and telling him to go ahead and kill me, to finding another man so brilliantly abusive that I wanted to kill myself rather than leave him.

Breathe in, breathe out. What a journey. I just love what you offer here Darlene. Such insight. You are a gift.


[…] I decided to tell the Chris Story ~ the story about how Prince Charming was a Murder Suspect, I intended to write one post. I intended to keep the focus about my belief system, and highlight […]


Hi Everyone,
For some strange reason Sarah can’t publish her comments on this post so I offered to publish them for her:


Here is what Sarah from has to share today:
This post is so apprpriate and so spot on. I was recently having a discussion with a colleague about Red Flags and said. If we can see the red flags then why do we choose to ignore them. Her reply was because the “green ones” are far more appealing. We had both been out with lying psychopaths. Often these people are charming and if like myself you have grown up in a dysfunctional childhood when it comes to trusting our intuition me may choose to selectively ignore the red flags that are right in front of us. Also if we end up in a relationship as I did with a psychopathic narcissist I was left with the feeling that so many abused childhood victims are left with that in some ways it felt comfortable being around him. Just like “home” and yet on a conscious level it all felt completely wrong.

First of all many of us are so ignorant about these types of personalities in the first place, But once we become educated when we start to realise what we have been dealing with and step out of denial, faced with hard evidence and facts we may also start to realise that their our own family of origin has the very same traits that the person we have been dating or conned by and a cognitive dissonance starts to develop partly due to denial. We don’t want to believe it. So we make up for it by pretending its not true.

Also on an unconscious level we have a little flashing neon sign that these predators can see and we cannot that says “come and get me”. And as a result usually based on our childhood stuff as well want to blame ourselves and say its all our own fault that it happened which makes even more excuses for the abusers behaviour. The other thing is we want to make things right by trying to fix them up instead of fixing up our own issues that would be for example why would we have such low self and so on. Its a bit like the slot machine syndrome that George Simon talks about whereby we invest so much in the one armed bandit we are hoping for a payout someday.

However the healing process can be long and difficult and very painful for some especially when we leave those old beliefs behind.

Not only do we realise that everything about the relationship was a lie or a façade we may also start to realise that everything else we held dear was a lie too. This has a knock on effect on our healing process.

1. we are grieving the loss of the liar, narcissistic, sociopathic person (fill in the gap) whom never even existed in the first place.
2. we are coming to terms with the fact that our own family of origin were a façade too.
3. we are grieving over the loss of their own identity because they feel that their own childhood was a lie too.

Therefore as a result we may then slip back into denial again which is why many of us will not believe it when people tell us things like “Prince Charming is a murderer and so on”.
Once we accept that Prince Charming is not prince charming at all and that he’s probably the prince of Darkness. Once we accept that our lives were not all fairy tales when were were children and stop telling everyone our childhood was “OK” and it was “Alright”. and acept that it was probably more like show white and the wicked witch, or worse. Once we stop trying to replay our childhood horror movie in the hope that it will turn out into a fairy tale by re-enacting it out with the same characters from childhood we finally learn to grow up.
Once we learn to switch all that “stuff” off a new kind of adult awareness kicks in. We step out of denial, we become empowered and change our upside down map or belief system about ourself and we can start to see the wood for the trees and move away from a relationship of inevitable harm. The red flags become flashing beacons and the little neon sign our head starts to dim so we attract less and less dysfunctional people or at least can spot them before they spot us. ”

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