Psychological and Emotional Abuse; I was Dying my Whole Life

psychological abuse emotional abuse
Pondering Freedom

I was dying my whole life; I just didn’t know it until I started living.

The fog that I grew up with was almost completely transparent. I didn’t know that I didn’t know. I lived in a false normal and growing up like that was the way it was. It was my truth and my “real”. I didn’t know that there was any other way. I didn’t know that I didn’t know there was indeed another way; most of my life, my reality and my truth were dysfunctional.  The adults, the reality all malfunctioned.

And therefore so did I.

That is what living in a dysfunctional family was like for me. Those were the effects of psychological abuse emotional abuse and trauma. That is the effect of being groomed and being trained in silence, compliance, obedience and obligation. That is what happens when a child is taught that their value as an individual is not the same as the value of others. There are consequences and negative results when we are raised in a false normal.

Psychological abuse is at the root of all forms of abuse. It is part of the grooming process. Emotional abuse and neglect makes a statement to a child. Abuse in any form makes a statement about human value. It teaches things that to the child that no child should be taught.  It teaches the WRONG thing.

Sexual and physical abuse leave a child living in fear every day of their lives. It doesn’t make “sense”; abuse is incomprehensible and as a child I had to try to understand. Trying to understand something that is incomprehensible as a child is impossible.  So, I “tried” to understand “them” for the rest of my life and as I was slowly dying I didn’t realize that my life was being extinguished by the very people who did all the harm in the first place.  Perhaps the people who didn’t take care of me properly didn’t realize that there was harm being done. Perhaps those who covered it all up didn’t know that they were contributing to murder and to the death of a child. “Understanding them” didn’t change the damage. Perhaps the perpetrators of the abuse itself were sick people who also came from dysfunctional families, but that didn’t change or excuse the damage they perpetrated on me either.  

I was taught to protect them when they didn’t protect me. I was taught to value them above myself although they didn’t value me.  The proof of this was in their actions and inactions. I was taught to consider what “they needed” when no one considered what I needed.

And as I was growing up and even into adulthood, every time I felt like life was going to be okay, I was squished. Like a happy puppy being slapped away with a newspaper, I was shushed, I was reprimanded and I was told in words, looks, actions and inaction that I was not worthy. And not by just ONE person. Many people contributed to the devaluing of me and my personhood. I felt like I had a sign on me somewhere that I could not see, and the sign read “if it makes you feel better about you, kick me down, I can take it” And instead of realizing that I was not the one at fault, I tried harder. I tried to understand them so that I could excuse them.

I WANTED to make them feel better because I believed that if they felt better about themselves, they would love me.  This is psychological abuse and I had to finally accept that love doesn’t work that way.

Not worthy of love. Not worthy of protection. Not worthy. I didn’t know that they had no right to declare me unworthy. I didn’t know that they were WRONG. I believed that they knew if I had value or not. What child would question that?  Children don’t process problems through the grid of truth, but rather through the grid of understanding based on what they have been taught.

Protecting and valuing the very people who disregarded my human value made sense to me because as a child that was survival. I HAD to find a way to survive the dysfunctional world that I lived in. That world was “my normal”. That false normal world was all I knew. I had to find a way to cope with my increasing sense of failure and lack of human worth. Compliance and hope was my daily diet. I pinned my hopes on the fact that one day I would find the KEY that would enable them to love me and that was all I understood.

As an adult, I needed to find a new way to cope because as long as I didn’t see the truth, I was stuck in that childhood survival mode.

My process of emotional healing was about finding out what those wrong messages were and how they got stuck in my mind so that I could overcome them and replace them with healthy truth so that I could LIVE again. That is what I am doing on this site. I am sharing all that. I am sharing the truth that set me free.

As an adult, I had to face the damage. I had to find the truth about the way it should have been. I had to get a glimpse of what real love was and what a functional loving family would have looked like. In this was I was able to heal myself and then stop the cycle within my own family, take my life back and now make a difference within the world with my message.

Psychological, emotional abuse and neglect makes a statement to a child. Emotional Abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, domestic violence and abuse in general, makes a statement about human value. It teaches things that no child should be taught.  It teaches the WRONG thing.

Emerging from Broken is about how I found a new way. It is about how I moved from coping to conquering. Emerging from Broken is about how I moved from surviving to thriving and about how I moved from dysfunctional to functional.

There is freedom on the other side of broken;

Darlene Ouimet

Are you aware my of my e-book “Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing”? If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you and you would like to find out “HOW” I broke out of the oppression I lived in, this 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to busting out of the fog and to healing. I’ve received hundreds of thank you notes from people that have bought my book. Get yours here for 9.97 through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

Related posts ~ “Stop that Crying or I will give you something to Cry about”

“Over coming Self Blame”

52 response to "Psychological and Emotional Abuse; I was Dying my Whole Life"

  1. By: A smith Posted: 7th June

    Growing up was not so good my mom left me when I was 2 she took me to my grandma and aunts over seas to raise me. When she came back for me I was 6 bout to start 1st grade I was getting used to the country and I started feeling hurt and holding things in my heart. I felt lonely I was the only child and my cousins and family from the other side where to good. I was the eyeball of the family. Growing up I felt alot of hate when I had my lil birthday parties I would only get 2 from the family and when I got invited to my cousins birthday they would have like 20 presents. I felt unwated. I’m trying to cope with everything I went through cause I have two kids of my own and I don’t want then to feel how I felt. I love them so much that sometimes I just feel like I still ain’t good enough. Nobody has ever came into my life to stay and believe me in. I always got verbally assaults from my dad’s family and molested by my older cousin. I suffer and thinking about this makes me mad all over again.

  2. By: Christina Posted: 23rd November

    Hi all. I thought for years that I was alone. I’m grateful for all who have posted their pain for all to see. It gives others pause. Time to rethink suicide or something else just as awful. I have considered suicide myself since I was 8. I swallowed a bottle of hydros at 14 and still no one cared. I got chewed about the having to go to the hospital. Anyway, I have read the hurt in all the posts. It took God 50 years to get me into position for me to even begin to see that I have any worth. Or who and why they were responsible for creating the mess I became. We don’t have a choice. It’s how we are. But understanding enough to know that this is all wrong is the hardest hit you’ll ever take. Realizing that you were betrayed is the most horrible feeling. I pray for all everyday. So know that someone out here has you in their heart. I don’t even need to know your name.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th November

      Hi Christina
      Welcome to EFB ~ Yes, realizing the betrayal is so painful but in the end those painful realizations helped me move out of the pain I had been in for so long. Thanks for sharing, and for being here.

  3. By: colin Posted: 22nd December

    Hi Darlene,
    I have now reached a point where I’m stuck with all the regrets. Its anger really.

    I was lucky in that I did confront my mother, stood up to her for the first time and then ended the relationship. A decision I’ve revisited many times since, really though ending the relationship was about my personal survival.

    I have these moments where I just sit and say out loud all the things I should have said to her. 5 weeks after the confrontation she died, to be honest and it sounds terrible but I sing with relief I no longer have to do that relationship anymore,

    Both my parents shifted responsibility onto me, my father was an extremely angry and violent person. I’m holding onto a lot of regret there as well. He would dump his issues onto me and then become aggressive.

    I’m now divorced, I woke up in a cold sweat one night to the realisation I had married someone very similar to my mother.

    I think about these people and they all have this overwhelming belief in their own entitlement the needs of others are invisible they’re invested in protecting their own self-concepts.

    Like I said I’m struggling with regret a shift has taken place I’m angry not at how I was treated but at how I allowed myself to be treated. Darlene how do I start to work through the regrets?

  4. By: Charles Browne Posted: 1st April

    I wrote above, “It was just that I realized then that my mother was incapable of having empathy”.

    It may well be that my mother does have empathy and feels it, but just doesn’t know how to express it. I really don’t know which it is though. The same for my dad when he was around.

  5. By: Charles Browne Posted: 1st April

    I thought I knew what the word indifference meant. I thought it meant not loving or hating something. Basically not caring one way or the other.

    I looked the word up online some time ago and the definition of the word for me is much more telling, and has more impact on a personal level, than just my thinking the word means between love and hate.

    The Merriam-Webster online dictionary gives the first definition for indifference as:

    : lack of interest in or concern about something

    That is a heck of a thing to confront when one realizes that that is the way one’s parents regarded oneself when one was but a young child and then throughout one’s life. IT IS VERY COLD.

    When my mother responded with, “You should have said something”, when I told her what had happened to me some thirty-seven years in the past, and the way I had reacted to it by running; I wasn’t a whiny, wimpy, mama’s boy in her presence. It was just that I realized then that my mother was incapable of having empathy. Somewhere in her past my mother had shut down emotionally.

    I do believe my mother is capable of being a loving, authentic (to herself) woman, but I can’t “fix” her and I will not try to “fix” her. The only thing I can do is try not to do, or to continue to do, to myself (and others) what was done to me.

    I have still a lot of learning and realizing to do. It is tough. I’ve been reading a bit of the Alice Miller website. She seemed to have been a bit dogmatic concerning some things, but I can pick and choose on what to heed and what not to heed.

    Best Regards to You,


    One other thing. I read on a website recently, I forget which one, where the person writing the article said that when they were younger that they had learned to think about their feelings instead of “feeling” them. I believe that is what I did to. I learned to think about my feelings, instead of feeling them.

  6. By: Charles Browne Posted: 30th March

    In the above post where I wrote that the old man when he chased me away had said, “all you are is gimme, gimme, gimme.” What he actually was saying was, “all you are is give me, give me, give me”. To my young ears, and the speed at which he was speaking, “give me” sounded like “gimme”. So that is why I wrote it that way.

    The first part of the below has caused me great pain in my life. I understand now that it was really the parental indifference I suffered that caused the greater pain, but still the first part of what is written below was a major factor in my development in my teenage years. And it is what I kept hidden and ran from all of my life.

    The below post is long, too long, I hope it will be allowed, It will be the last long post I make on this website. If I post again I will determine to keep it to a reasonable few paragraphs or less. I do honestly and sincerely wish for everyone on this site that needs it, hope and healing.

    When I was seven something happened between me and the boy that lived next door and this happened in his family’s garage. That boy was at least a year younger than me; so he was roughly six years old. I remember almost nothing of what took place but I do honestly believe that I was not the provoker of what had taken place. But how can I say that I was molested at the age of seven by a boy that was six years old? I do remember that whatever was happening in the garage was interrupted by someone coming into the garage from the house. I think that person may have been one of the boy’s older sisters. I do not remember the duration of time that whatever happened in the garage went on; it may have been only a few minutes, or it may have been longer.

    That boy and his family moved from the neighborhood maybe a year later and I never saw him or any of his family again. My family moved to a new neighborhood, seven miles away, when I was thirteen.

    One day when I was fourteen in the new neighborhood one of my new friends there asked me if I knew the boy from the old neighborhood, the boy from the garage, the boy who I had not seen in some six years since his family had moved. I think all I said to the question was, yes. It turned out that the friend from the new neighborhood went to the same school as the boy from the old neighborhood, a different school than mine. The past garage experience with the boy wasn’t in my conscious mind but I do believe it had to be in the back of my mind somewhere.

    A few days later, but no more than a week, after having been asked if I knew the boy from the old neighborhood I was standing near the street in front of the vacant lot next to my family’s home, and I see the boy that had asked me if I knew the other boy approaching me. Most likely I had been waiting for him to get home from school as I could see the back of his house from where I was standing, and he was a friend. This boy stopped some forty feet in front of me and he said, in what I now take as having been a confrontational voice:

    “Hey [my nickname], [boy’s name from the garage] said he [did oral sex on you]!”

    Immediately when my ears heard that sentence I ran inside my family’s house and I never again interacted with the boy that said that sentence to me. My life changed, I became frightened. I became withdrawn. While thereafter I did have interaction with people to various degrees throughout my life, after that sentence was said to me I never felt easy within myself again. I don’t know if what that boy from the old neighborhood said he had done to me happened or not; I really don’t remember. I will have to assume that it did. I did know that something had happened in that garage.

    I don’t know how my name came up in their talking at their school, and I don’t know in what context the boy from the garage relayed his information to the boy from the new neighborhood. I don’t know why I ran when I heard that sentence. It may have been because I didn’t know what one of those words the boy said meant. I don’t know. All that boy did was tell me what someone else had said that they had done. I am not proud to have that garage experience in my life history.

    At fourteen, before that sentence was said to me I was already starting to have trouble adjusting. Earlier that year I had invited some friends from the new neighborhood over one evening, I forget what the occasion was, but it was the first time I had had that many people over, it may have been only five or six people.

    My mother for some reason during that time period had taken up the habit of calling me by some nonsensical name she made up. I guess she thought it was cute. I was already called by my nickname since birth, which is short for my middle name, but for some reason my mother started calling me by a name that had nothing to do with any of my names. Shortly before the people came over that evening I said to my mother, almost in a pleading voice, “Don’t call me [stupid name] when they come over”. She didn’t say anything in reply to my request (maybe she took my request as being a demand). Well, the people from the neighborhood arrive and no sooner than the door closes, and they are all inside, I hear my mother calling me by that name that I had asked her not to call me. I didn’t say anything when I heard my mother call me that name but even now I can see myself standing there with my little heart sinking to the floor, and as soon as she said that name I heard one of my friends that had come over repeating that name as if in questioning voice of, what is this you are being called?

    I never said anything to my mother about her calling me that name when I had asked her not to, except for last year when I was fifty, and I don’t remember her ever again calling me by that name after that night, but I am sure that is when I stopped having trust in my mother.

    Throughout my life when I had my various bouts with depression, and I considered my life failure, I always thought of that day that boy said that sentence to me and the night my mother called me that name when I had asked her not to. But I never took the time to analyze those two events. I never thought to do that. I understand now that I was always running from them trying to get them out of my memory, hoping they would go away, or not have happened.

    The last time I attempted therapy was when I was in my late thirties and that was the first time that I had ever told anybody about the day that boy said that sentence to me, that sentence that sent me and my life into a tailspin. I told the therapist what had happened, and I asked her, “Why would a child (the one from the garage) remember something like that (the garage happening) and then tell someone else about it years later, as if bragging?”. She replied that she didn’t know.

    After that boy said that sentence to me and I became withdrawn I continued to live in the house with my parents and nobody seemed to be aware that something was seriously wrong with me, and that I needed help. I understand now that my parent’s were indifferent toward me but I didn’t know that then. I can understand strangers not noticing or helping, but even at school when I walked around in a depressed daze for years, no one questioned, no one probed. It was just that I had a problem. I didn’t know how to ask for help, I may have not realized that I needed help. I may have just thought that this is the way life is.

    I don’t know if I was sixteen or seventeen but around that time my dad passed me in the hallway one day as I was walking to my bedroom and he said, “Are you on drugs?”. I gave him no answer and continued walking to my room. I wasn’t on drugs; I had already been in a state of depression for years by that time, and that is the kind of inquiry I got.

    Last year I broke down and told my mother about the garage thing that happened when I was seven, and the boy saying that sentence to me when I was fourteen. The unfiltered sentence is what I told her, and my mother’s reply was, “You should have said something”. Her reply wasn’t, Son, I’m sorry that happened to you, or anything like that. She said that she and my dad thought I was just going through growing pains, and she added that the boy from the garage had probably seen someone else do that. My mother didn’t ask me if I remembered the boy doing that to me, she just made a statement as if what the boy from the garage had said he had done, had taken place.

    Parental indifference is a killer. In my life I always thought of that night my mother called me that name when I had asked her not to, and I really never considered if my dad had done damage to me. But now in my 50’s I realize, in truth, that my father’s ways contributed very much to my having developed in a dysfunctional way. Maybe more so than my mother’s had.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 30th March

      Hi Charles,
      (first of all please don’t worry about the length of your shares here. I am fine with however much you want to share)
      I am sorry that happened to you. I am sorry that our mothers were never sorry for the ways that we were treated, and they ways that we were so confused by the world and sick people including them.
      Thank you very much for sharing
      hugs, Darlene

  7. By: Charles Browne Posted: 27th March

    “And not by just ONE person. Many people contributed to the devaluing of me and my personhood.”

    I’m surprised when I think about it at the number of people in my youth, and after youth years that also contributed to my devaluing. When I was from around nine thru eleven years old I used to go over to an old man’s house that lived on the property that was adjacent to my family’s, he was around mid-50’s at that time, and he was retired. This man had a big garden that he kept and he always seemed to me doing something, always tinkering around. He had converted his one car garage into a workshop and it was immaculate, there was a place for everything and everything in its place. His wife and my mother worked for the same company.

    I still remember how that man chased me away one evening from coming over to his house. I figure I had to be around eleven years old. I do not remember all that he said but I do remember one thing that he said as he was telling me what basically ended up as me not being welcome there anymore, he said, “all you are is gimme, gimme, gimme”. And I most likely was gimme, gimme, gimme. Maybe I did ask him one too many times for one of his tools that he had in his workshop. I don’t remember, but maybe he did try to tell me in kinder words that I didn’t need to be coming over to his house so much and maybe I wasn’t getting the message so he had to use more harsher words, I don’t know.

    Thinking about it now there must have been some reason that I had been going over to that man’s house so much and sitting on the patio with him, and his dog, and just basically being, or wasting time.

    I figure I was around maybe eight or nine and I’m in my bedroom and my dad is giving me a whipping with his belt, and I do not now remember the reason for this whipping. He doesn’t have me stretched over his knees hitting my bottom with his belt, he is standing maybe four or five feet in front of me swinging the belt, just hoping to hit some body part I guess, and I see one of his swings coming at me and I duck and the belt goes above me, missing its target, and hits air. I still remember my dad’s exact response to that. He said, “Why You!”. I was thinking about that incident a few months ago and I realized that I had ceased to be a “son” and had become a “you”.

    Though I related a whipping story that happened, my dad wasn’t an actively violent man, but I do know now that he had the air that it might not have taken much to set him off.

    So now I believe that may have been one of the reasons I hung out at that old man’s house so much. My family home was maladjusted and cold, without outward signs of love or emotional affection. I did have playmates in the neighborhood and we would play softball or half rubber, but that old man’s house was kind of like a refuge or another place to go to. The old man was busy and doing interesting things.

    One thing about that old man was that one day when I was ten, or eleven, maybe shortly before he chased me off, he and I drove in his truck to some sleazy man’s junkyard. I’ll call the man sleazy because that’s what he was. I only saw this guy once in my life, but I’m standing there and the old man and this sleazy guy are talking about whatever they are talking about and the sleazy guy looks at me and points to a wall and says something, though I don’t remember now what he said and I might not have understood what he had said back then. On the wall is what I now know to have been a pin up calendar or something like that with a picture of a nude woman. I’d never seen a nude woman before and the concept of seeing a woman nude was not in my mindset at that age or my understanding. What did that man and maybe even that old man I had driven there with expect me, a young boy, to do. Did they expect me to whistle or something. As I remember it, I just stood there. I didn’t know what I was looking at. Sad really.

  8. By: Cindy Posted: 26th January

    Looking forward to the poster. 🙂

  9. By: Cindy Posted: 26th January

    Thank you, Darlene! Yes, I wrote it last night. It came to me while I was reminding myself of why I need to stay out of contact with my family of origin. I’d be delighted and honored if you’d use it on a poster on your FB page. You may use my first and last name, as I no longer feel vulnerable to remain anonymous.
    ~ Cynthia Daavettila

    P.S. I’ve been reading a little bit from these archives every day. Just wanted you to know that they have been a tremendous help and support to me. They have given me so much clarity on what happened to me, and what I can do about it now. I really appreciate all you have done, and continue to do. Thank you so much. Lots of love and light to you, Darlene. Hugs, too.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 26th January

      (I sent it to my poster creation lady ~ 🙂
      There have been a lot of people who have made major progress by going through the articles here a little at a time. Thanks for sharing your experience with doing that!
      hugs, Darlene

  10. By: Cindy Posted: 25th January

    I don’t want to be led
    To my death in shackles.
    I want to walk
    Smiling with the joy of freedom
    To die in peace and contentment
    Of knowing my worth.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 26th January

      Hi Cindy
      This is really beautiful. Can I use it for a poster on my FB page. (did you write it?) If you wrote it, may I use your first name?
      hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Donna L. Cline Posted: 22nd January

    i feel like you’ve written MY life story,very scary. I’m 57, and i don’t think I have much more time on earth. I would like to see changes for my children, though.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 22nd January

      Hi Donna,
      Welcome to EFB ~ I am glad that you are here and that you can relate to my story. There is hope for healing no matter what age you are!
      Hugs, Darlene

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