Psychological Abuse, Domestic Violence and the Belief System


physical abuse“What did you do to make “him” do that? What did you do to cause that reaction?” This is such a lame thing to ask someone because it immediately places blame on the victim.

I am guilty of saying similar things to my own kids when they were small.  I cringe with horror at the memory of it today. I know exactly what I communicated… that the bully was only defending themselves. I was inferring that the one who was complaining or reporting an offence must have done something to deserve it in the first place.  (This is psychological abuse)

I can comfort myself that usually I said this to two of my kids who were fighting with each other at the time and that I was trying to get to the bottom of it. I was trying to find out what really happened from the beginning.  Although it is bad enough to say this to a child who is having some sort of sibling rivalry crisis; “he stole my tractor” ~ “she hit me with her toy duck” and the adult is really just trying to get to the bottom of who really started it, it is a whole other story and a whole other accusation when you say this to a child who comes home from school with a black eye. This statement implies that the victim is really to blame for the abuse.

And this is only the beginning of the damage that statement causes.

I can’t begin to tell you how many grown women have told me that when they told their mothers that their husbands were hitting them, that this same expression was the mother’s response! “What did you do to provoke that reaction from him? What DID YOU DO to deserve it?” (this is psychological abuse)

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Like I could have done something to deserve getting hit? Like there is really something a person could do to deserve getting beaten? There is NOTHING that someone can DO that would deserve to be given a beating from another person.

Think about what happens in the belief system over time. Think about how these questions posed to a child could have a long term effect. What started off as a process of determining the truth, (in the case of myself with my kids although in many cases this is purely about placing the blame in the wrong place in order to confuse and undermine emotional health) becomes the process of training the victim to question what they did to cause bad things to happen to them and contributes to the destruction of  self esteem.

When I was about 19, I worked with a woman who was getting knocked around by her boyfriend.  We were all trying to convince her to leave him. Domestic violence is a chargeable offence!  One day she came into work with a swollen eye. We were all saying “Okay that’s it ~ you have to get out!” and she said that this time it really was her fault. She explained that she hadn’t put all the dirty dishes in the dishwasher before running it. I was dumbfounded. But my point in telling you this story is that she believed that she deserved it.  She believed that she had provoked the physical abuse.  And here is what I have learned; she didn’t get to that point of believing that she deserved to be beaten by her boyfriend by having been treated properly her whole entire life.  She may not have come from a home where there was domestic violence or physical abuse, but somewhere along the way she HAD learned that her value was less than it really was. Somehow, she learned to accept less then acceptable treatment and somehow or somewhere along the way, she thought she even deserved it. She justified someone hitting her for forgetting to put a few dishes in the dishwasher.  Somehow she was brainwashed to think that this was part of a loving relationship and that this was “normal” ~ that her action caused his reaction.

People at work said some strange stuff about this situation.  They were angry with her. No one understood her reasons for not leaving. No one realized that her acceptance of this kind of domestic violence and physical abuse was part of her damaged self esteem. And her self esteem didn’t end up that low when she met that guy.  It happened way before that.

People said things like “and they are not even married” as if being married would have somehow made the domestic violence and the beatings less offensive or more acceptable. People told her that if she wasn’t going to leave him, that they didn’t want to hear her whine about it anymore.  And to my way of understanding now, that was just one more rejection that she had to accept. That if she didn’t do what they said, she would lose the tiny bit of support that she had with her co-workers. As though really, ultimately, the situation that she was living in was really her own fault. And what these people are saying is another aspect of psychological abuse.

When adults ask children “what did you do first that “caused that reaction” they communicate that no one gets bullied unless the receiver of the mistreatment (the child) did something to cause it. When a child is held accountable for everything that happens to them that child will begin to accept that they are doing “something” to deserve the treatment. After a while, we become so accustomed to looking for what we might have done to “cause” the abusive treatment that we take over the questioning and ask ourselves those questions.  “What did I do to cause that reaction? What did I do that made him so angry? What did I do (or not do) that put him in such a bad mood? What did I do (or not do) that caused him to cheat on me? ” And without realizing it, as children we try harder to please, and we accept the blame because we have no choice and at the same time we get “brainwashed” into believing that we really are the cause of all our own problems. When you grow up being treated that way, and learning to try harder and harder, after a while it isn’t so hard to find the answer to the question “what did I do to cause that”.

The answer was that “I didn’t put all the dirty dishes in the dishwasher before I ran it”.  The answer for me was that I had a crush on the man who came in my room and I must have somehow giving him permission to come into my room.  The answer was that I was not enough of a woman to keep my boyfriend from sleeping with other woman. The answer was that my mother didn’t love me because I was such a disappointment and that I just didn’t deserve anything better. The answer was that my husband was angry because I didn’t realize what he really wanted for supper.  And those answers are no less of a lie then my co-workers answer about the dishwasher.

I realize today that my co-worker really was powerless because her belief system was so cemented in self blame.  (And so was I) That because of whatever her belief system was at the time, she really didn’t know she had a choice. (And neither did I) She really didn’t realize that he didn’t love her, that beating someone does not come from love. (And I didn’t know what love was either) That living in the chaos and unpredictability of domestic violence (or emotional abuse) has nothing to do with love.

We live in a world where statements and questions like this one are readily accepted, but think about why that is. (Because we are so used to them from such a young age) That doesn’t mean that they are fair questions though. That doesn’t mean that they any less damaging or manipulative.  It doesn’t mean that there is an actual ANSWER to questions like that or that I did actually do something to cause the reaction! I spent half my life trying to answer these kinds of questions. WHAT did I do to cause……? I found so much freedom in realizing that I didn’t “CAUSE” or deserve any of it.

Please share your thoughts;

Darlene Ouimet

Categories : Self Esteem




This comes at a time when I am in some pretty thick fog about everything in my life..It’s like all of a sudden big thick cloud dropped down in front of me and made a bunch of confusion.

What you are saying is pretty much going in my mind regarding the boss from 2009 who took control of my life after he gained my confidence..gathered my secrets and then used my trust as leverage if I shouldn’t obey his every order..

I went from being a friend .to being someone who had to obey every order..work orders..orders about my life. .everything. …

There was an online therapist.. so she said she was..that told me that if she was my therapist she’d whip me into strength saying she has no patience for women who let men do such things to them.. all this in a forum meant to help people suffering from PTSD.. She was considered the forum “t” and I was so humiliated by what she said I was questioning why I was such a “whimp” ..

I didnt have all the knowledge of how my poor self esteem created in my childhood had everything to do with my fear for the boss..

All I knew is I was threatened with death, with exposure of my secrets..with someone getting hurt who I care for.. so I obeyed my monster boss.

THen this online “t” said to me.. If you want me to be your “T” you are going to have to toughen up . . you are too whimply.. I told her. I didn’t need a “T” as I had just started with my present “T” she gave out to me . for refusing her Expert knowledge and unfriended me. and the admin of that group kicked me out of the group that same day.

I felt bad enough that I went through that ordeal but to have a “T” who as f/b forum t tell me she had no patience for people like me knocked me all the way down to the dust of nothingness.

I had already went through all the self blame for my childhood . why I didnt run away. She said I must have “liked it” .. otherwise I would have run away like the rest.

I had others tell me . .you reaction to how you were abused by your boss was not normal..”nobody in their right mind” would allow anyone to take control of their lives..

I am still trying to find out why I obeyed and feared my boss so much. I know he claimed powers.. I was not in my hometate, I knew no one . spoke to no one. I wasn’t even allowed a phone except the one to make company calls..

I wish I was stronger. .but right now am not strong at all. and its because everything I ever did was wrong.. and was always punished with beatings.. hot baths.. or other things.for everything.. Anything that went wrong in the home was my fault. and i was never called by my name most time I was called bad names or the word for a person who has no father. which I dont want to write. here..

The only thing I can say is I never stopped the bosses verbal, mental and psychological indirect abuse because I was and am stll afraid of him.



he Monster From 2009
You were such a monster scaring me every day
Drawing me to your state to take my rights away
You controlled my every moment demanded that I obey
And said that if I didnt . I’d have a price to pay ..

Yet this wasn’t how I knew you; you sounded so kind
Presented me with lies and false promises for my mind
Nothing was as promised and you scared me oh deep
Now its hard to trust . and thinking of you makes me weep.

You gathered all my secrets pretending that you cared
demanded my obedience “or my secrets would be shared”
You wouldnt let me sleep and I never had a say
You told me my new job was to shut up and obey

Cursing me by phone and ordering me to the tub
Pictures were demanded of the water and the bub (bubbles)
how could you have done this to one you called your friend
Now I live in fear wondering whent this will end..



Hi Darlene,
I think another reason for taking responsibility for abuse, especially violent physical abuse, is a round about way to convince one’s self that they can control the situation. I also think people say stupid judgemental things because they feel threatened and would like to think that they could prevent the same from happening to them. I think this is one reason it took me so long to realize that I had been sexually abused. It was hard for me to acknowledge how out of my control the whole situation had been. It’s a sick way of preserving one’s own self-image.


Joy P.,

This is my favorite statement from your last post:
“I had already went through all the self blame for my childhood . why I didnt run away. She said I must have “liked it” .. otherwise I would have run away like the rest…”

Uh, yeah, like the rest of who?? for one thing!!???

And this implies that you had somewhere to go?? And if you are talking to someone, telling them that you feel one way and they tell you that you feel/felt another way, guess what? END of conversation!! for me, anyway. Sorry if I am too blunt, not saying that you don’t see it this same way, jsut stating my reaction to that statement to you,…the most demeaning thing I can think of.

and it is like what Pam said,

“I think another reason for taking responsibility for abuse, especially violent physical abuse, is a round about way to convince one’s self that they can control the situation. I also think people say stupid judgemental things because they feel threatened and would like to think that they could prevent the same from happening to them. I think this is one reason it took me so long to realize that I had been sexually abused. It was hard for me to acknowledge how out of my control the whole situation had been. It’s a sick way of preserving one’s own self-image.”



the siblings who also were abused and one abuser sibling all ran away from the abuse mom dished out I didnt.. bad online person said i must have liked it. but I am shy 99.9 percent.. and the boss I feared for my life.


Joy P,
I have another friend who had a similar dynamic when she grew up. The other three left, and she was there trying to get the dad off the mom, etc.,


Joy P,
there is never a reason to suggest that a vitcim likes being abused or that ABUSE is ok–duh–because someone “liked” it


Hi Joy
The online therapist that you encountered through that forum should be reported. It makes me physically sick that a trained professional would say this to anyone. I suspect that she isn’t a real therapist. Anyone can say anything online. What she told you is SO damaging and so devaluing. (and it is just what I am talking about in this very blog post. There are so many mental health professionals that really don’t have a clue how a person becomes so victimized and so controlled that even as a grown adult, they don’t fight back. Not fighting was our survival method in childhood and we take it with us into adulthood. I am so sorry that this happened to you. ALL OF IT right down to the online group stuff but wow, I am kind of glad you are not involved with that group or “online therapist” anymore because it sounds like that was more of the abuse that you had had all your life by several people.
WE can’t “toughen up” because we don’t even know what the hell that means! She called you a wimp! What the heck kind of person (therapist??) does that or says stuff like that to someone who has been through what you have been through? A sick and abusive one, that is who! uggg
Thanks for sharing. I am on YOUR side Joy! (and thanks for the Poem ~ love it)
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pam,
You make very good and very true points. And also that we have been groomed from a young age that we bring things on ourselves. It really is a survival method that turns into the way that we cope later on.
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Dear Darlene..

What surprised me that though I told her I just started with “My T” she keep right on talking at me. like she had not respect for the fact I already had a “T” and I WASN’T asking her opinion..She was mad at me that I didn’t want her advice..But her advice sounded like that of my abuser who hurt me. I cried many tears when the admin of “that group” unfriended me and kicked me out / .but now I see it was the biggest favor they did for me.

I am still with “My T” and not once has she in any way belittled me .matter fact some of my homework is to help me think better of me.

Am so glad, Darlene you are here at my side too..it gets lonely when people don’t understand . I know you understand.

I was only brand new in my therapy, when that happened, I.think it was one week after I started with “my T” ..that the online one surfaced in that f/b group.

I can see why so many people are afraid of f/b .

Of course I am prime bait..people hear i am abused and they attack . I even had people of some cult trying to get me in there. …


now i proceed with caution..




I agree ..but some have said i stayed because i liked being abused…I don’t know too many people who like pain..but it did hurt me .the thoughtlessnes of people

Most time its people who befriend me and I learn later they have their own agenda in the background 🙁



There’s lots of butt-heads out there, Joy. Try not to take them to heart, sweatie. I know its hard when you are wounded but people like that are just wrong and there’s no use hurting over the stupidity that pours out of their mouths.



Hi Pam.

Guess that’s a good name for them. but they do more damage then help. and to think they run forums.. saying they will help people with PTSD who are so easily triggered..

Thanks for your kind words.



I hate blame the victim BS. What crap! Some of us were RAISED by abusive parents and then became magnets for it. My other 2 LEAST favorite phrases are “it was YOUR CHOICE” (no it wasn’t!) and “GET OVER IT” (locking & loading)

Victims rarely do ANYTHING – this COMPLETELY overlooks the disordered personalities who perpetrate abuse and give others the impression abuse of ANY sort is somehow OK if there’s a ‘reason’ for it!!!


Joy – be careful – there’s a lot of people out there who say they are coaches or therapists and AREN’T! I work with victims and clean up an awful lot of clueless “professionals” and other’s messes. Always google them, call their state or provincial licensing boards, etc.


Joy, I am glad as well you are not talking anymore to that online ‘T’. I’m sure you have discussed it with your real life ‘T’. That was a terrible thing to say to you!

I hate the ‘blame the victim’ BS as well, as Barbara mentioned. It seems to be in vogue to blame the victim, and someone always says, ‘Yeah, her self esteem must be really low!’, as if that explains everything- including the abuse.

As I look back remembering my childhood, we kids would freeze when our parents were angry. There was real anxiety and real fear about this when I was little. It was huge. Later in abusive situations I remember my one goal was not to further inflame the abuser. I would even have played dead – mentally and emotionally I did. It was/is a very strong instinct- to get very very still, and then get away when I could to prevent anyone else, or me from getting hurt. I don’t and never did make waves unless there was an escape route.


Thank you so much for writing this blog. I accidentally came across this the other day when I was trying to search for answers on finding self-worth. This article today made me really think. I have not experienced abuse, but do witness bullying a lot at my school. I think of how many times I have asked my students “What did you do for _____ to make fun of you?” I cringe now at that statement. I never thought of it the way you explained it before. I always root for the underdog, but am not sure how I am directly effecting their self-confidence. Knowing first hand, when adults constantly critizie a young child, he/she begins to believe it!

In the fall my school is starting a huge program to help prevent bullying. The program is called FLY:
First think of safety
Language of respect
You are responsible for you

I am planning on bringing up this post when the teachers get together to work on this anti-bullying program.


Dear Barbara:

I am learning about “taking caution” I .have not always done so before because I always thought people would be honest..but am learning that is something I would wish and not something that is reall.



Dear Evie:

Yes I have talked with my real life “T” who even told me to look her up so I can learn to be careful.. she said ..it’s good even if I feel confident in her that I even practice that caution for her.. I didn”t want to but I did ..becaue I trust her advice.

I know that “Freezing” is something that happens in me often..even when I am with “T” ..something simple will trigger and I freeze then blank out.. I have so many bad things that happened to me in my little life and then the other thing in my adult life that handicaps my thinking . I have to fight all my old ways of reacting and its hard..because they are all so much a part of me..

I am just beginning and i have to tell myself like I am being taught not to “beat myself up” because am just starting.. THe voices of my abuser mom .. still yell at me ..at any mistake. so I never feel good enough.. or like I will conquer it all. It’s lies. and bad fog.but I have to trust somehow I will get through it all..

I am grateful to Darlene for this blog and to all your. and to my “T” who is most patient.



Hi Barbara
I hate “blame the victim BS too!

Hi Evie
Yes… always the bottom line seems to be to blame the victim. I say ~ NO WONDER her self esteem is really low ~ what do you expect would happen when someone was treated like that? About that online “therapist” you know that is about her control issues. She is abusive and looking for victims to push around. It really ticks me off that there are therapists like that! One of these days I am going to write a blog post about people in the helping profession who are abusers.
Your description of the anxiety and fear is exactly what I am talking about in this post. The goal is always NOT to inflame the abuser and as children that was all we could do. And as adults we have to learn a new way of thinking before we can change that fear/anxiety response and that takes time! That is the process too!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Stefanie!
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
I have a real heart for this whole subject. It is wonderful to have a teacher “hear” what I am saying on this level.

I really believe that the adults in charge MUST look at the whole picture differently (then we do now) if the bullying problem is ever going to be solved. Kids learn to bully from somewhere. They are not born “bullies”. And so often the adults in schools (just like so many parents at home) ARE the ones modeling the bullying! My daughter just finished grade 8 and oh man, I am going to write a few blog posts about the abuse going on in that school. (I took her out and had her transferred) When someone pulled a knife on the playground, the school tried to make light of it and I got to see first hand exactly why the bullying program in that school doesn’t work.

Thanks for sharing, I love that you are going to bring this post up at your anti bullying program!
Hugs, Darlene



I don’t have problems with people giving advice; it’s when they make it mandatory. .. or make me feel like I am stupid and hopeless because I am weak. I need the online support I get from different sources but I don’t need to be hurt even more.

I hope I didn’t offend anyone by anything I said.. I appreciate all the support I get here.. Everyone here is a positive influence on my life.. ..

Thank you



“She didn’t know she really had a choice”


One of the things that I heard from family to church members/pastors and then when I sought help in the mental health system was “you have a choice”.

But I didn’t know I had a choice and had NO CLUE how to act on what I wanted. My entire life I had to have permission from others to exist, to even breathe at times. I was not allowed to think for myself, every decision had to be approved of, at times I was forced to request to go to the bathroom. How was I suppose to suddenly know how to make ANY choice? I’d never had one.


Joy P.,
You are not offending anyone. FYI
I always love your comments, and easily identify, which is how I read nad write. The comments are there for those that identify and edify.
Thanks for writing.


Thank you Kate

I was concerned that something I said may have been said wrong..
I love reading the blog here..

Have a super nice day



Hi Susan
Exactly. We hear all this stuff and we think it makes sense ~ we are told that we have a choice and it sounds logical. But it was in realizing that I didn’t KNOW that ever before, that I realized that I lived not knowing I had a choice so not actually exercising that right. My recovery happened sort of “backwards”. I had to realize what I didn’t know in order to know it. I love how you pick out the important things from my post and highlight them. Your example is excellent ~ (about forced to request going to the bathroom) and a big part of my message is that some of us were never hit or sexually abused, BUT if we were never given a choice, and never encouraged to think for ourselves, (which is still psychological abuse) then adulthood is freaking hard and it is no wonder our self esteem was never established.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Joy
No worries ~ there has never been anything that you have ever said that I found offensive.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene; your comment made me jump! Me too!

You said: “I had to realize what I didn’t know in order to know it”

It was the same for me….I had to be able to identify where I was in the spectrum of human behavior and experiences AND I had to know what “healthy” looked like. Then I was able to learn about emotional healing and had a sort of map to get from “here” to “there”.

Once I had that – It was learning to recognize the lies that were my truth and going through the emotions of realizing and acknowledging what had happened to me, what I lost (my childhood, family, “daddy” “mommy” etc) and that I can’t recreate it. All I knew was what I’d been taught and told. I had to learn how to give myself what I didn’t get in order to find healing and grow myself up emotionally while learning many of the basic life and social skills I didn’t get living in the environment I did during my developmental years.


“Dear” Darlene

Thank you for calming me.. i sure wouldnt want to give any bad impressions or say any bad things. I do appreciate and like my “T” i have now .. very much so… .and wouldnt want anyone to come to think its my present “T” ..

I have a hard time knowing who will hurt me and i think those who will hurt me know that.




Hi Darlene,
Excellent post! Thank you!

Although I remember very little about my childhood I do remember the day my mom betrayed me. Two little boys had been harassing me on the bus, picking on me. Then they followed me home, knocked on my door and told my mom a made up story that I’d done something to them. When they left my mom questioned me and punished me although I had done nothing at all!

The next day I decided to do the same to them. I followed them home knocked on their door and told their mom the truth of all they’d done to me. Their mom promptly shooed me away saying her boys would never do that.

I was only 7 or so when I stopped trusting my mom. She made a mistake that day and that mistake was so powerful that it impacted me forever. I wasn’t heard. I wasn’t honored. I wasn’t believed.



Stefanie~ I’m so glad you came across this post and your willingness to really consider it. That’s so awesome since you work with students. Yey!


What should of been a happy occasion in our marriage, turned out to be a bitter experience. The happy part was I was pregnant…the bitter part of it was the Dr. made an honest mistake and said 8 weeks instead of 6 but before he could correct it, my “husband” had already heard 8 and even though the Dr. said he made this mistake, it didn’t matter to my ‘husband” because he had already set in his mind it wasn’t his kid and right in front of the Dr, he said…”I don’t know who you been screwing, it isn’t my kid”. At that, I got so angry at those words and I let him know I hadn’t been with anyone else BUT him. From that day on, things took a drastic downfall in our marriage.

My “husband” became “the” husband now and in our home, I wasn’t to work anymore, I had to quit my job. I was to clean the house, cook the food, do the laundry, wash the dishes…you get the picture here? My friends couldn’t come over nor could I go visit them either. The “husband” had basically turned a total of 98 degrees, from a kind gentle man, to now who knows what. About a month after my Dr. appointment, he came home one day and told me he had joined the military, said that “God” told him to because he needed space from an “adulteress” and instead of leaving me, he up and did what “God” told him to do. For the next month he was in and out of the house even unto the late hours of the night, getting ready for the “military”. Many a time I’d go to bed alone and wake up to him being there so I figured I might as well get use to it if this is what “God” wanted of him so. Another month goes by and he is getting ready to leave to “where ever” because after our first “fall out” he kept his life private anymore so I didn’t know much of where he was to go and he walks out the door saying for me to keep the home clean he’ll write me when he can. What kind of a goodbye was that? I didn’t understand where in our marriage I had gone wrong already. We hadn’t been married 6 months yet and I had already become as the “husband” said…”a common whore in God’s eyes because I “soured the bed”… God didn’t want a woman like me to be in his fold the “husband” would say so I was just another outcast. The military thing didn’t last long and before I knew it, the “husband” was home in less than a week telling me it “it wasn’t Gods’ army” and he was discharged because he told them off. Ok now…. you can snowball me, I may look dumb and I may be stupid but I KNEW about military standard and I knew he was lying so I confronted him about it and that’s when his back hand met my face.

After that things just got worse…I would go outside to go take the trash out and he’d break a window out of anger. I’d fix dinner and he’d say “thank ya God for the food but do something with it” and then he’d pick up the silverware, knife included, and the plate with the food still on it and he’d throw it at me. I’d be in there doing the dishes and he’d come in there, open a cupboard and start throwing clean dishes on the floor, tell me to pick them and if I stood there he’d start trashing the entire kitchen. One day I had said something to him about taking a walk and I headed out the door. I was down about the 2nd step when the window crashed and if it weren’t for that screen, our unborn baby wouldn’t have made it to birth. Another time I was heading out the door to take the trash out and he had come out behind me. I turned around just in time, I had learned to be been terrified of him but he gets in my face and grins…then starts hitting on me making me step back until I lose my balance and fall down the stairs. I had hit the 4th step down when my hands finally grabbed the rail and held on but it was a scary moment for me. Was he was seriously trying to kill this baby? In an instant flash here, I finally realized how dangerous he truly was. I couldn’t divorce him though because everyone said it was against Gods’ law to divorce. I was told abuse was not in the Bible as reason for divorcing and if I did, I’d be out of Gods’ law and HE would be mad at me and I’d go to hell and etc, etc. I felt I had no choice but to stay with him…after all as the saying goes…” I made my bed…so I would lay in it” so I continued to stay in the marriage. One day I had asked him if he could teach me how to drive a stick shift so I could take myself to my Dr appointments and stuff. The “dad” had co-signed on the vehicle with me so I could get this vehicle for “the” husband and I saw no reason why I couldn’t learn to at least drive it. “The” husband saw reason I guess but he was going to show me how to drive is so that was good.

It was about noontime when he told me to go get in the car and I was excited because I thought he was going to teach me how to drive a stick. I get in the car, he gets in the drivers’ side and we start going pretty good, we didn’t talk much on our way out to where ever we were going. I tried to make conversation but he didn’t want to so I guessed he was still mad at me for something I had done. We took a long drive to a deserted road and I asked him why so far away from the house? Without answering me and without even looking at me…he then put his foot on the gas and took off. He had hit a speed well over 80 and then slammed the breaks and I went flying forward (thank God for seatbelts). He then threw the car in reverse and made it spin around, then again gunned the gas and went up to over 80 mph again…. then slammed his breaks. Then he looks at me and asked me did I learn anything. I get out of the car and literally kiss the gravel ground because I had never had such a scare in a vehicle as I had just then. I get up to get back in the car and he takes off, leaves me in the middle of no where and I throw my hand up in the air and tell myself yep my “step mom” was right, I would always be a nobody. I then begin walking home, although I didn’t know which was home was but I had no choice, he didn’t come back to get me. I had walked I don’t know how long before I saw a jiffy. I went in and asked for a glass of water, and a phone, then called Counselor to please come get me. I had no one else to call and I didn’t bother anyone unless I was in dire need to so, she sent Preacher Man. He came and picked me up and took me to my home and when we got there, Preacher Man was ticked at what “the” husband did to me and he didn’t leave until he had it out with him, in which after that, “the” husband began to hit me for “calling for help”. He said if I could of waited a few more hours, he would of come back to get me…WAKE UP HERE…it was nearly 5pm now. He had left me on that road 3-4 hours ago, I was hungry, I was cold and I was PREGNANT!

A few days later, I get up to go get something to eat and I opened the refrigerator to a whole bunch of items marked on. “The” husband had marked everything with a permanent marker; I mean he drew lines to show how much was in things like the milk or juice. He put numbers on packages of cheese that was opened, bologna, ham, you name it…”the” husband had marked everything in that refrigerator with a line or a number and these words “MINE not yours!” That was it…that was the last straw I could take so I went and woke him up and asked him why he did that. His reply was because he had bought it so he had a right to be the “only” one to eat or drink it, I said ok and walked out of his room. His room yes because he and I didn’t sleep together and hadn’t in a long while. I thought for a bit, then decided I wasn’t going to let this get the best of me and I went to the cupboards of baby food I had been collecting for the baby…I began to eat the baby food. I had to keep nutrients in me for our baby and no matter what this mad did to me, I wasn’t going to let it break me.

Throughout the remainder of my pregnancy, “the” husband found ways to torment me daily. He would hide money in my Bible and claim I stole it from him then hit me with “Gods word for lying” he’d say. I’d be cleaning up the house and he’d walk by and “knee” me as hard as he could, and say “sorry”. The baby’s room had been my room for a time so “the” husband would go in there and marker up the walls with filthy sayings, as well as urinate on the floor, or on the bed, then come tell me to go clean it up because it stinks. He would actually go so far as to lock me outside our home at night if I was 5 seconds late in getting back from taking the garbage out. When I was hungry and asked him for something to eat, he’d go pick through the trashcan in the kitchen and find something spoiled or other, then throw it at me and say eat that. Many things happened in this marriage that I still can’t talk about and I wasn’t prepared for any of it but I stayed in it because I was told it was against “God” to divorce. The last thing “the” husband did to me before our baby came was he raped me. YES it is RAPE if it’s not consensual, no matter if you are married or NOT. He had come home drunk one night and angry that he lost money on a game he’d been playing. He began to hit on me because I wouldn’t sit there and let him yell at me. He then grabbed me by my back, threw me on our couch and raped me. When he fell asleep, I got up and went in the bathroom and “tossed my stomach” to be polite here.


What a perfect story to illustrate what happens. Seemed like the constant theme in my life, too. Teachers, peers, pastors, everyone was always correct, and I was assumed to be wrong. My dad used to say that he prayed regularily that “God would give him grace” (oOOOOOO, close your eyes and think HARD what that could mean) to follow through with punishing hid children if the law found them guilty, or teachers, or whomever, that GOD would give him the GRACE to AGREE with whomever ACCUSED his children!!!! As if they are always correct and his own child is NEVER to be heard!!!!!!


How are things now?


That was a part of my life years ago. I express these things now because I honestly can, to where before I wasn’t allowed to. Today my life is Blessed with a wonderful man and 4 kids. But the memories of the days of my abuse as a child and an adult still haunt me. I have a wonderful therapist who works with me in what I’ve gone through so ya, today I can say I am good.


My story above was part of my life back in 1988, the year my son was born. The marriage didn’t last and I divorced in 1990. Today I can honestly say I’m happily REmarried to a wonderful husband and have been for 19 years. I’m sorry I didn’t put this before I told my story, please forgive me.


Hi Kim
There is so much to your story. That your mother didn’t believe you and then the boys mother didn’t believe you either. That their mother protected them, but your mother didn’t protect you. And that kind of thing DOES impact us forever. I learned not to bother trying to tell anyone anything. I was not going to be protected. I was not believed. I believed that I was not worthy. And I really believed it too.. because that is what those kinds of events taught me. Those kinds of events defined me.
Thank you so much for sharing this.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jackie
Your story also illustrates exactly what happens! This is a horrific story and I thank you for sharing it. People don’t realize that this kind of stuff really does go on. I am so glad that you got away from that one… and it sounds like no matter what, if he was like that, he was just looking for the trigger excuse to let all his abusive nature come out.
Hugs, Darlene


No problem!

I thought you might have been writing from another time in your life.

WOW. It reminds me of my first husband, but he wasn’t AS violent, but in different ways, it is all sort of the same control game they are playing.

I, too, was caught in the church/no-divorce/women-must-endure-abuse/pay-the-pastor/trap with my first husband for 20 years. I am glad you got out early.

I had my four with my first, lots of moves and chaos. Now married to a good guy, and what a difference, for the last three years.

We are reading the De Becker book on finding your intuition, called The Gift of Fear, and he actually says how common it is for people to lie on job applications about how long they worked somewhere, etc., and recently we found my ex-husband’s profile online, and he lied about so much more, where he got his college degrees, etc., our mouths dropped open. I can’t believe nobody notices this stuff. he is employed currently (as of last week)


I LOVE Gavin DeBeckers book “the Gift of Fear”
Deep down I think many people are loath to believe that some people LIE so they don’t check job history etc. info out. I worked in a really big hospital in the 80’s and there was this man who started coming in, grabbed a lab coat from the Dr.s lounge and went up to obs and gyn floor and he was doing physical exams (internal) of the women in the ward! He didn’t get caught for a while! Everyone started saying HI to him in the hallways… and one day someone suspected something off because no one knew who he was. I mean, this is the world we live in!
Hugs, Darlene


I hope my ex isn’t reading this!!


I’ve been thinking about this post over the last couple of days. I still think that it was the coping mechanism to regain control of the uncontrolable that kept me from realizing that I’d been abused. I imagined myself as in control. It was easier to think myself ‘bad’ than to acknowledge how out of control the situation was than to acknowledge the truth. However, as in the case with your friend who was being beaten, my family should have done as you all did and tell her that she wasn’t at fault and that putting the dishes in the dish washer wouldn’t prevent her from being beaten again. My family re-inforced my faulty belief to hide their own neglect. My coping mechannism became concrete and it took me decades to break through it to the truth. It was also molded into the form given to me by my parents that if I had sex before marriage, I was used merchandise. All of them together kept me blind and deaf to my own injury for years and years and also became my habitual view of myself in relaltion to others. I was crippled but now I am not!:0)



I was the same way. What I had been taught and experienced was upside down to healthy but I thought that was the way all relationships were.My view of myself was also upside down. When I realized that I had been sexually abused then suddenly, I was seeing things right side up and finally began to make progress toward a happier life.



I have the book The Gift of Fear and I’ve never read it. You ladies are inspiring me. Perhaps I need to pull that puppy out and do some reading…



Jackie, Wow is all I can come up with after I read what you shared. I was really happy to read your comment that your life is blessed now. I’m so glad you left that man.



The only “good” thing for me getting shot just below the eye with a b-b-gun my my 8yo neighbor when I was 5yo, is that I KNEW there was no way my mother could blame that on me; that was my perception at the time, and she didn’t blame it on me that I remember. She came out and met me in the front yard as I ran home, and asked if I had been shot, which was pretty apparent. We went straight to the hospital and I was there a while as an outpatient having the thing dug out of my face. I remember that the boy had to put his gun away for a long time, AND I remember NOT ever playing with them again. I do remember that.


What so many people do NOT realize, and even the professionals (counsellors, victim services, therapists, lawyers), and society in general, and even the people we think of as our very best friends… When we met the people who ended up being abusers, we DID have decent self-esteem. What nobody realizes is that it happens slowly — nobody gets beaten or psychologically or emotionally abused on Date #2. Of course not, we ALL would walk away, no big thing, we’re not invested in the relationship yet.
It’s tiny little subtle changes, and we all do the same thing — make amends for it. “He’s had a bad day at work” or “He’s stressed” or tired or sick… we adapt to one little change at a time often for YEARS, and it’s not till you look back and pick apart every little thing and write it all down in one place or think about it all, not just one thing at a time. THAT is when you realize it, that it’s chipping away at you and has been for what seems like forever, so by the time you get the shit knocked out of you, your self-esteem is GONE. Not just “low”, it’s entirely gone.

I’ve compared it to when you go to a 20-year high school reunion. You see people for the first time in 20 years and the changes are stunning in some people. Example, the football star who is now bald and fat. Or the star cheerleader who’s frumpy and overweight. Let’s say they might have gained 5 lbs a year, and so wouldn’t look much different to the people who saw them every day for 20 years but it’s shockingly so to those who haven’t seen them in 20 years. And it’s like that with most abuse, too — it’s not until you see it all at once that you understand it. You’ve been adapting and trying just a bit harder and doing a bit more for the person, because after all, that’s what you do in a marriage, try to hold up your end of the bargain, sickness/health and all that. But it goes form trying a bit harder, trying to be a good wife to eventually having to really scramble to make sure he doesn’t get mad.
The other thing they do is undo your work then tell you you’re stupid and didn’t do it right, that chips away at the old self-esteem, too. I used to take real pride of the floors in my home, all hardwood at a time when people didn’t have the money to have them (they were in the house when we bought it, and part of the reason we bought it). I would spend about 6 hours to vacuum and hand-wash every inch till it shone. I still remember the times my husband would come in from doing yard work, covered in dirt and dust, grass clippings all over his legs/socks, chunks of dirt stuck to his shoes… sometimes even dog fur because he’d shave our big dogs in the summer in the middle of the yard. Then he’d walk all through the house, then fall into his easy chair “exhausted” from mowing lawns and weed-whacking and edging the lawn, etc. My hard work ruined, utterly ruined. Then he’d be screaming at me a few days later that I was lazy and never did anything around here and I was useless. He’d undo everything in the last couple of years, from paperwork for our home businesses (I’d spend hours separating a year’s worth or receipts, utility bills, etc into piles because they had to be separated and added up separately before taking it to the accountant), and I’d go out for a sales meeting (I sold Avon) and come home to find the table cleared off — all the piles just swept into a huge cardboard box. And I’d get upset, and he’d freak on me because it was supposedly there for months (it would be about a week, because there was so much to sort through, no chance of getting it done in a single sitting). So again, it was me who was useless and stupid because it wasn’t done, and he had to “work so hard” cleaning up after me because I was so lazy and a slob.

My own best friends, all of them, were incredibly judgemental when I finally opened up to them what was going on here — there was nowhere to go live at the time a -3% vacancy rate (people were co-renting apartments and townhouses that weren’t meant to be co-rented because there was nowhere else AND even the campgrounds were full because people would buy or rent RVs so they could have a place to live!) — that I was “talking my time” leaving him, and that it didn’t matter, you “just leave”. I tried to say there was nowhere to “just leave” TO but that wasn’t good enough.

I now know that they were also abusive. I think that some people feed off of that, kicking someone when they’re down, making them feel MORE like shit about themselves because it makes the other person feel like they are a better person. They are no longer my friends, thankfully. I did finally muster the courage, the day after he raised his fist to me (he stopped in time and didn’t hit me, but he was going to), and I made the right phone call and the timing was right, and I called a friend who is a police officer who got me in touch with her hubby’s station (he’s also a police officer) who got me in touch with Victim Services. My life is a lot better now, although it was a very scary year following him being court-ordered out of our home. I was seeing someone for a while, but he started making me feel like I had to scramble to keep him happy — I dumped him flat on his ass, and I’m so glad I did!

I think another totally ferked-up message we give our girls (and that WE got as kids) is that the boys at school that pick on them do so because they like them, have crushes. How does THAT make sense to a little girl??? They boy that kicks her or throws dirt in her hair (or caterpillars or spiders) actually really likes her which is why he treats her like garbage.I explained to my daughter why that is nonsensical, and that she is not to stay with or date anyone who picks on her.


Hi Pam
Yes to everything you said in your comments. This was part of the major damage that was done.. our own families didn’t do anything, didn’t believe, didn’t seem to care enough to intervene. And our truth is warped. We are blind and crippled. But we don’t have to stay that way!
I am so glad that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

When I read that book I actually remembered red flags that I ignored. I remembered times when I told myself that what was happening WAS not as big a deal as I thought it was. I had learned to shut down my intuition. Gavin’s book opened a whole area of understanding for me and became part of my process and my current understanding of the belief system. (not that that is what he is talking about but for me I added it to all the other truth that I was learning.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Erin
Welcome! Yes, so few understand that ANY grooming process takes a bit of time. And often a person has been prepared by someone else first. Thank you for your contribution to this blog post. You make some great points and include highlight some very important facts about how it happens over time. Thank you so much for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


The only people that have choices are the ones that were taught that they have choices. I wasn’t taught that I had choices as a child. I didn’t know that I could say no to my abusers. I was taught that adults had all the authority. It is only by the grace of God that I did not grow up and marry an abusive man. I had several opportunities but they didn’t ask me to marry them. I would have to get away from my abusive, alcoholic dad. As a child, I was always told what to do by the adults in my life. That was by any and all of the adults in myself. They were the ones in control of my life. I was in several 12-Step programs for several years before I realized that I really did have choices. Only then did I start to have some control over my life. If you have never been allowed to make choices in your childhood, you do not grow up to know how to make choices in your adulthood either. Only with healing from incest, did I begin to have choices.


My goodness, that is a serious thing that happened to you. And not only did you know she couldn’t blame you, you also didn’t blame yourself. I found that as my childhood progressed there were very few things that I didn’t blame myself for.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Patricia
YES, very good points and well said. This is such an important point to understand and it really can’t be said too often. We were not taught that we had any choice, we were trained and raised to submit to the control of others, and we didn’t just magically know that we had choices when we got older.
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Wow Kate, I agree with Darlene. That’s a serious thing that happened when you were so young.

Patricia~ thank you for what you’ve shared. I am at the point where I am realizing that I have choices. Yippee! I thought forgiveness of others meant having them back in my life. I didn’t know I had the option of forgiveness and still keeping them out of my life. My choices as conditioned in childhood and teen years was to consider everyone’s feelings but my own. I was even supposed to consider the feelings of strangers and neighbors that we didn’t even know. To this day my Mom continues to encourage this, because this is how she lives. I am very glad for you that you didn’t go down the abusive man road. Been there, done that and it sucks.




It is taking me a bit to process all of this because when you are raised in it, it is so hard to see it as abuse…my mother was very emotionally abusive and controlling. I feel like I could just cry right now for all of the things I have said to my own daughter…she is everything to me and it just kills me that I could blame her for shit that isn’t hers….that was done to me, my sister and my brother everyday…we never knew what mood my mom would be in when she got hom so, we tried our best to be perfect and good…to please her so,she wouldn’t scream, yell and belittle us….it hurts my heart just to think about it….the truth really hurts sometimes.


Hi Jenny
When I came out of the fog and began to see the truth, I realized that I too had made some mistakes with my kids and I was so afraid that it was too late, but my husband and I tried very hard to be accountable and to talk to the kids the things that we had done wrong and asked them to tell us if they had any stuff they wanted to talk about. It took a long time, (because in some areas they didn’t trust us) but eventually each one of them told us things that had hurt them. And we listened and apologized. It was hard and we have to work on our relationships with them everyday but things are night and day in our home now! It wasn’t too late, and I don’t think it EVER is! I have learned to guard my tongue and I found that through the healing process I stopped flying off the handle so easily too, so it gets easier all the time.
Don’t worry. Just keep going forward.
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you so much for the encouragement Darlene…I really needed that 🙂


Kim, I am glad that my words helped you. Like you, I was raised to believe that the feelings of others were super important and mine were not. I actually remember with my first remembered abuser that I didn’t say anything to my mother and I went back outside where he was because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. That is so sick but it is what I believed when I was a child of 11.


Darlene, Kim,
Part of my facing the past was to also go to my children and ask for forgiveness. My husband and I did this together. They were both young adults at the time. It helped our family immensely. We still have problems to work through and I wish I would have understood sooner because I always wanted to do the right thing and be a responsible parent. We all make mistakes. The difference is accountability. If my parents would be accountable, I’m sure my family of origen could be healed, as well.




I appreciate the community you’ve created here. I’m no longer in an active healing phase but the conversations help me remember the pain of sorting out truth from lies.

I speak on forgiveness and your emphasis on finding out the truth first is crucial. I talk about the first step of forgiveness being identifying the sin. What actually happened? Who did what to whom? Who’s responsible? That can take a very long time. Your blog helps me remember the complexities of that process.



I like your comments. It is like you are saying that the comments here remind you of what it is like to go through the process, in other words, reminding you of reality, not ideas, but the reality. All the best to you in your helping others!



Absolutely, the comments remind me of my real years of sorting it out. I had two episodes of severe mental illness before I began to take my own sexual abuse seriously.

But, thank God, through much introspection, prayer, and emotional support, I got well and became a psychotherapist. After twenty years (1986-2005) of seeing clients, I began to write and speak, especially to Christian audiences.

Glad to hear you are now doing well. I remember how much I held onto the idea that if others could get free, I could, too.


Great comments. I also believe that my family of origin could be healed, if only they were willing to take a look and face the truth.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen,
Always good to hear from you. There are many readers here who have emerged from that old way of life and have healed. It is so important to have commenters who are willing to share their healing journeys too; we can share so much more hope that way!
Hugs, Darlene



Yes, and when we’re in the recovery process hope is what keeps us going, isn’t it?

Keep up the good work,



I know that whenever people ask me questions about where are your family, are you in touch with them etc I reply with something along the lines of “I am estranged from them and have no relationship with them at all” the response I get is “why, what happened, what did you do to cause that?”

It does my head in! Even if I go on to explain I was abused by my family throughout my childhood and they abandoned me I often get a “but they’re your family, you must want to be in touch with them”, I feel like saying “what part of they abandoned me and left me for dead do you not understand?”

Instead I smile sweetly and say “no I do not want to have anything to do with people who abused me and wrecked my life”. They really have nothing to say to that except for the “but they are your family” mantra and give me a pitying look or a look that firmly tells me I’m out of line.


Hi Fi
It is just unbelievable to me how many people say stuff like that. I always ask “what does that mean? “but they are your family” and no one can ever say what they mean. One time I asked my mother (regarding my brother) ~ “If I worked with a guy who treated me like crap, humiliated me every chance he got, belittled me in front of my co-workers, and regarded the garbage better then he did me, do you think I should hang out with him after work?” My mother said “well no of course not”… and I said then why should I hang out with “family?” She was speechless.
Thanks for sharing Fi!
Hugs ~ Darlene

p.s. did you see todays post on the home page ~ To Confront or not to Confront ~ that is the question?
Here is the link http://emergingfrombroken.com/to-confront-or-not-to-confront-that-is-the-question/



I really liked what you said here…. “I feel like saying “what part of they abandoned me and left me for dead do you not understand?”

It is so frustrating when people think they are well meaning when they say such dumb things like, “but their your family” family doesn’t treat family that way…I treat co-workers better than that.

That’s when you just keep on goin…. 🙂


Darlene, in reading all of your recent blog articles about the lies and beliefs that we are taught in our childhoods with our abusers, you got me to thinking about what comes after we recognise those beliefs for the lies that they are.

I also thought about how some survivors seem to get stuck in the blaming stage of healing. How do you know if you are stuck or just where you should be. In the beginning of our healing, we need to be aware of the lies and we need to stop blaming ourselves for what was done to us as children.

We also need to tell our stories in order to let go of the bond of silence that our abusers created. As long as we are all silent about our abuse, the abusers continue to abuse more children. We need to speak out about abuse in order to stop it.

At the same time, our stories are not who we are. Our stories are about what was done to us. It was not our fault and we are not to blame for the past. At some point in our healing, we have to step forward and take responsibility for our present and future lives.

We have to accept responsibility for our actions and reactions, otherwise we can easily pass the abuse on to the next generation by doing what was done to us. This is especially true for emotional abuse. We can let our anger turn into weapons of destruction used against innocent people, if we don’t learn to control our own rage. This can be done in the form of explosions of rage when we are triggered. This can be done by the use of sarcasm and gossip.

As an adult, I am responsibile for my own behavior. This is how I make the conscious decision to not harm another person from my own place of woundedness. Triggers happen for a reason – to show us our woundedness – the areas that we still need to work on to heal so that the abuse stops with us.

Here is my link to the blog article that I just posted called “Healing From Abuse Means Doing The Work of Healing.” You will find the link here:


Darlene, thanks so much for the posts that you are writing and the survivors that you are helping, including me.


Hi Patricia,
I found it to be a natural progression of recovery to move out of the (necessary) blame stage. I often refer to it as growing up. (because I never grew up properly before) When I finally faced the past and absolved myself of all blame, I began to find a balance come into my life. Along the way in my healing journey, I became very aware of my own actions and began to see them through the same truth grid that I had been working on seeing the past through. I think a lot of people get stuck in the blame part because they don’t replace the belief system that formed in childhood. That is the tricky part because it takes being aware of the past for longer then most people want to look at it. I also found (based on my own observation working in mental health) that a lot of people (because of childhood conditioning again) jump straight from realizing they were innocent where the abuse was concerned and jumping straight to accountability for what was really reactive abuse. What I mean is that I was totally willing to make amends to my family without ever facing what they did to me. I had reacted to them, I had upset my mother with mean remarks a few times, but it was reactive to what she was still doing to me. I had to let go of that stuff. I don’t need to make amends for trying to protect myself. Where I had to get strong was in realizing the difference. I am hyper aware of my own actions today, as many survivors are, it was in fact HOW we survived, but it took a long time to sort this all out. I think that I get stuck sometimes, but never on blame. It took me years to really place the blame / responsibility where it belonged. This process is very complicated… so I just keep trying to go forward.
Hugs, and thanks for sharing some very important points.
Hugs, Darlene


[…] Psychological abuse, domestic violence and the belief system […]


[…] it have gone over if I expressed my anger that my mother hit me? She was already in a bad mood. I was already getting hit. What would have happened to me if I had screamed my anger at the teacher who was emotionally […]


[…] all the abuse and the resulting depressions and dissociative identity disorder and most of all, overcoming the false belief system that defined my life and had determined my course up till that […]


Dear Joy P, you have the right to feel whatever you want. 🙂
And Don’t apologize for what you feel or want to express. Like Darlene writes about
If you work on validating yourself and loving yourself, you will see that there is nothing wrong with checking up on anyone in this world u want because your protection is #1.
You sound like a sweet person. I am working on the loving me too cuz I’m worth it


Darlene, I am re-visiting some of the old blogs to clear my mind on certain things. I was taken aback by some assertions made by some social advocates of domestic violence victims. While they say they are not blaming the victim and that the victim doesn’t cause the abuse, they are adamant that there is something in the victim that the abuser can latch on to, otherwise the abuser cannot do what he/she wants to do. They want the victims to look at themselves to ask what was in their personality that attracted the abuse.

I can understand what you (and Patricia, in the previous post) are saying about going beyond the blame stage to taking responsibility for our actions. I also understand what you are saying about jumping “straight into accountability”. That’s exactly what I am afraid will happen among my group of friends if our mentors are making statements like what I said above. It can give the impression that we need to own stuff because there is something wrong with us that causes us to partner with abusive people. Rather, my understanding is that we look at the DAMAGE caused, the beliefs we bought, the lies told, and we overturn them. Is that how you see it?


Hi Krissy
I bugs me when I hear stuff like this. (that they are still saying the victims need to look at themselves to question what it is about them that attracted the abuse) When I was in 12 step programs that is exactly what happened to me. While I don’t think the teaching was suggesting that I jump to accountability for what happened to me, that is what happened because of the way it was taught. (by the people!)
YES to you question “is that how I see it?” ~ The damage must be validated and the beliefs must be changed. The lies need to be exposed (if only to ourselves) and overturned.
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks so much for confirming that. So do you think that there’s any truth in the statement that an abuser needs a partner to abuse, and if the victim didn’t have something that the abuser couldn’t cling to, she (or he) wouldn’t have found herself in that position, so she should work through that. I guess we all have our vulnerabilities.

It’s just hard to sometimes separate the reality that our belief systems do make us vulnerable to abuse from the kind of statements that make out like victims carry a certain percentage (a small one, they claim!) of responsibility for being the other half of the abusive relationship.


The bottom line question is where did it all start? Everyone wants to do this 50/50 thing. The victim should take as much responsibility as the abuser ~ no wonder so many people are so messed up. While it is true that an abuser can’t abuse someone who isn’t there to abuse, suggesting that the victim leaves causes even more controversy! It still comes down to the victim sharing responsibility for the abuse so how dare he/she leave! That is the brainwashing that I am fighting against in this site. That is the brainwashing that I fought to undo in my own life and succeeded undoing, and that is what allowed me to emerge out of the darkness and the lies that I lived in for so long!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi All
My new post is finally published: “the fear of good bye if you don’t comply” is about why we are so afraid to stand up to someone else esp. a parent. It all starts somewhere and finding out what that fear really is and where it came from gave me some information about the lie behind it.
Hugs, Darlene

p.s. Krissy this post touches on what we were talking about in this thread about the brainwashing but I hope to expand on this conversation in another post soon.


When I told my Mom that my husband hit me her reply was “What did you do to make him that angry? ” When I told her I had been isolating myself in depression because I caught him cheating on me, she said “Oh I knew one of yous were going to do this. How shameful and embarassing!” No, she didn’t mean him she meant me. This is how I was given advice through life, basically take it and shut up. Yet she loves me? My head spins with horror.


Wow, I came across this FB page kinda by accident but wow feel like I was meant to find it. Been through a lot of things in my life too starting from childhood, through my many failed grown up relationships. Currently in a relationship I think I may need to just get out of but have been struggling with the “did I do something wrong, maybe I should try harder”. Not sure what to do or how to process it all right now.

But reading your posts and many of the comments that follow has been enlightening.


I just came across your page and I have to say it’s uplifting. Its hard to get out of that thinking and even though I know these things it still hard to truthfully absorb the reality that it’s not your fault. I have a loving boyfriend and a sister that keep me from drowning when I can’t help myself anymore. I’m a hard worker because my mom treated me like a slave. And if anything happened to me it had to be instigated by me. I was quiet and tried to never wrong anyone. I’m doing so I bottled up everything. I still am not doing everything healthily. But it’s just hard to rewire your brain after nearly twenty years of physical and mental abuse while also trying to protect my sister and in some ways succeeding and failing at the same time. My I my consolation is that even now both my sisters and father are proud of how far I have come in trying to be on my own. I just wish my mother was my mom again. But I can’t find a healthy way to keep contact with her. She doesn’t understand just how badly my view of myself is skewwed. I still can’t say I’m pretty as I am. I can’t find my way through my mental block. I don’t know how but I’m trying and I guess that’s something. Its not that I don’t understand what was wrong and that I didn’t cause all of my problems, I’m a really logical person and I know I’m not alone and what not blah blah. Its harder when I’ve never been good at asking for help even when it’s almost too late. Right now my only purpose is to be here for my little sister and so far it’s been saving me.


Hi Christian
I am really glad that you found this site. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene

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