Self Esteem, My Value and Learning to Love My Self

Self Esteem, Self Worth, Self Love

The process of learning to love myself is best understood backwards; there are so many layers and levels to it; so much confusion. There was so much deception; deception that I had come to believe was truth, and on top of that deception, there was this thick layer of fog kind of hiding things, making my memories murky. At the core of my belief system were mixed messages and among them a very confusing conflict; I was sexually abused at a young age and at the same time raised to believe that my only value was in my looks and appeal. My parents were very popular and seemed to be well liked, but with me, my mother was controlling, unloving and very sexual; my father was disinterested, un-relational and emotionally unavailable. These things made up my life and formed my identity and resulted in a dissociated mess. I had some serious sorting, revealing and re-organizing to do in order to heal.

 It was in finding out why I did not value myself that I realized the lies I believed from the past. It was in discovering the lies about my past that I was able to find the actual truth. The lies, once I really looked at them, were obviously lies that I had been raised, fed and nurtured on and then I had to set those lies right.

 But I had to do the work.

 I had to dig through all that information. I had to face the pain. And each blog post is filled with stories about why and how I came to the false conclusion that I came to and processes of how those discoveries helped me to dispel the lies. I can tell you how I did this, but I can’t do it for you.

 I already doubted my memories were accurate because I was told that I made up stories and was punished for it. My mother told me that I needed too much attention. My father told me that I talked to hear myself talk.

The truth is that I didn’t have enough attention. I made up stories to get someone to notice me. I was ignored when I told the truth and there were some big things that happened to me that I should have been protected from, but I wasn’t. Continued… Eventually I believed that I must have lied about everything and deserved the punishment. I did not feel loved or valued. It became almost natural for me to also accept that the abuse that I suffered was my fault too.

Being affirmed as a liar and invalidated by the only people that mattered in my life, has its own path of destruction. I kept trying harder to be “good enough” believing that if I were good enough then I would be loved. I also believed that if I were loved by someone else, then I would be able to love myself. This goes to show that I believed my worth came from someone else, and that I accepted the low value that was assigned to me by others ~ what choice does a child have other than to believe their parents?

It was in the process of untangling the wild mess buried deep inside of me, that eventually I realized who I was in the first place and discovered the original me. I realized that I was not at fault, that I didn’t cause the abuse, that I didn’t deserve it, that I had been lied to, tricked and manipulated and that I never grew emotionally because of it. I realized that this faulty and rotten foundation my life was built on was why I believe that I was valueless, useless, unlovable and was the cause of not only my dissociation, which had become my survival method, but also my constant depressions.

In my last blog post there were some comments asking me for more details about how I recovered my value and learned to love myself. I get asked these kinds of questions often and I believe that I try to infuse the answers to those questions into each post that I write and publish.

I was 3 years in this process before I knew that I would never believe those lies again, or let anyone make me feel “less than” again. Then I worked in a counselling firm with a gifted therapist for 3 years as the director of client relations and learned how to support people in this process. I also returned to school for 1.5 years and studied under a brilliant Psychiatrist. I got my life coaching certification, learned the difference between coaching and counselling, and then took specialty training with that same Psychiatrist, learning about the process of coaching people to live a New Life Story while continuing to do my own New Life Story work.

My own process of recovery from depressions, addictions, and dissociative identity, combined with my training with these two men, and my continued exploration of where and how the broken happens and how it happens goes into producing this blog, Emerging from Broken.  I encourage those of you who have not done so to take advantage of the information here.

 The more that I discovered who I really am and recognized the gifts that I have and the truth of how they were shut down by other people, the more interested in life that I got.  I wasn’t born broken and I began to see that at my core I was very sweet, smart, loving and gifted. I worked hard on getting down to the core of myself and I am no longer willing to be defined by someone else or by someone else’s value system. When I started to value and appreciate myself, life took on a new meaning and I discovered living with a purpose and excitement that I never thought possible.  BUT I had to do the work.

I have great success helping others to find the truths that I have found but each of us has had to do our own work to find our own belief systems in order to restore them back to truth.

 Susa shared the following metaphor on my previous blog post and it illustrates the process of changing our life long learned belief system in order to re-establish our own self worth and value.

 “We envision that we’re driving a tractor out in a field… The wheel has been rusted in place, so that the tractor keeps going around in the same circle, again and again, until the ruts are very deep.  We must not only try to break the rust loose, but then use every ounce of strength that we can muster to turn the wheel the other direction, so that it climbs out of the “dysfunction ruts”.  The longer the unhealthy boundaries have been in place, the more rust there is, and more strength is required to break the steering wheel loose before we can even attempt to strong-arm the wheel and turn it to climb out of the old, dysfunctional ruts.  So far, I’m starting to break some of the rust loose!”  Susa

 I encourage you to add your comments. Revealing the lies and pain, and speaking the truth has so much healing power.

 Darlene Ouimet

63 response to "Self Esteem, My Value and Learning to Love My Self"

  1. By: dean Posted: 18th September

    and im presently on family of origin issues ,and alot into dad stuff ,im working through dealing with men im a guy but my dad took advantage of me so much ,that as im working through this painful issue im getting men at my work doing the same thing ,i know its what has my self esteem affected too but im better than what i used to be but stil have a ways to go ,i cant believe how deep it has gooten wow just to find me .thanks for all your articles on the self healing work.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th September

      Hi Dean
      I am really glad you are here. When it comes to this issue there is no gender; abuse is abuse and it destroys! Yay for rebuilding! Thank you for sharing your progress.
      Hugs, Darlene

  2. By: dean Posted: 17th September

    yes i too came from a family system and a dad that invalidated me and but the rnyire family system sold me on lies that im not worthy and to take care of them at all cost ,and im getting to the core of self esteem ,but as i been working through it i have people trying to hook me back into it but me being able to spot it immediately helps i am getting better thanks for reading this

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th September

      Hi Dean
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken.
      Yay for getting better. Glad you are here! I hope you feel free to share often.
      Hugs, Darlene

  3. By: Katy Posted: 24th February

    Thank you for replying. Its scary replying to something like this – good and challenging, but still a little scary.Its nice to be heard.

    My fragments are very small and I was only young. I’m scared I’ve convinced myself of my own trauma, if that makes sense. However the self blame of my seven year old. Just seems illogical when you break it down I guess. I shouldn’t need to forgive myself for my lies, instead I should be able to comfort my myself for the possibility I needed to. Regardless of whether I lied or didn’t lie for any particular incidents I am still hurt by it. Even if I was lying, I was lying for a reason.

  4. By: Katy Posted: 23rd February

    When you talked about making things up, and learning to understand why, that really did just make a lot of sense.

    Its my biggest worry at the moment. I don’t remember fully a potentially traumatic incident. If it happened it was bad, but my memories are so lost that I just don’t know. The thought of being a liar and having made it up, is keeping me quite stuck. When you said “Eventually I believed that I must have lied about everything and deserved the punishment. I did not feel loved or valued. It became almost natural for me to also accept that the abuse that I suffered was my fault too.” – it really resonated with me. It gives words to a few current feelings so thank you

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th February

      Hi Katy
      I didn’t have to remember all the details. I started off with fragments of memories. I had enough of one to realize what happened to me and the way that I processed it; how I took on the belief that I had something to do with it and how I believed that I deserved it. That was a huge key for me; to find out HOW/WHY I thought it was “me”.
      I am glad you are here,
      Thanks for sharing

  5. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th February

    Welcome to emerging from Broken.
    Wow, what happened to you is really harsh! The way that I was able to get my parents of my “wish list” was to reparent myself and become for myself all that they never were to me. I have written a lot in this site about how I have done that. There is hope
    Thank you for sharing,
    Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: Sharon Posted: 17th February

    I’ve just finished a uni assignment (as a mature age student) involving a photographic portfolio and narrative of family and I’m feeling sorry for the lecturer. I had an absent father (air force) and an abusive mother who constantly told me I was fat and put me on extreme diets from an early age. We moved around every two years and never brought friends home for fear of our mother getting angry. My brother could do no wrong in her eyes, my sister has that effect on my father and she always told me I was unwanted, fat and ugly. On my 23 rd birthday (20 years ago) she phoned me when I came home from work and said: if you’re not here for a birthday dinner tonight don’t bother coming here again. Lose my number, just don’t bother’. I already had plans that night so I kept them and didn’t go to mums. She slammed the door in my face when I went to see her after work the next day and refused to talk to me on the phone. After a while I stopped trying. My father left when I was 12 and my mother became a man hating person. It’s so hard to put her and my father out of my ‘wish they were here’ list

  7. By: Lynda ~ Coming Out of the cRaZy Closet Posted: 26th February

    Thank you for your validation and understanding. I’m so sorry your mother treated you the way she did.

    What I DON’T understand… if her mother treated her that way, why did she do the same to you? I was just the opposite, always trying to give my children the love and encouragement and affirmation that I never got from my mother.

    No, I didn’t always succeed, and sometimes, in my pain, and brokenness, and ignorance, and especially when my children pushed my trigger buttons, I made mistakes, sometimes pretty serious mistakes, with my 3 children, which I will always regret, and would give ANYTHING to undo.

    But still… as much as I possibly could be, I was the opposite of my mother. I’m sorry your mother didn’t try to go that route with you.

    Complicated stuff, isn’t it? But you’re right, bringing the truth out into the light of day helps somehow. I don’t always hate my mother, but when I’m really remembering/reliving her abuse, as I was doing when I wrote that last night, then the hate and anger wells up. I also feel very sorry for her, but no, not enough to let her back into my life again. I care about her and don’t want to hurt her… which is really why I have never given her “a taste of her own medicine” in the form of a long hate letter, in the 28 years since she sent that 50-page hate letter to me.

    BTW, my book was not published, the one that Zondervon was interested in. I was just too totally crushed by my mother’s hate letter, to pursue it. My book wasn’t going to be about her at all… but for some weird reason she must have assumed that it was. NOW, in this age of the internet and instant worldwide communication, in the book I am currently writing, and will self-publish if I can’t get it published any other way, I am going to tell it all. BUT… I will not use her name or any other real names, even my own last name is changed for the book. My main reason for changing the names is because I don’t want to hurt my mother!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 26th February

      I am going to answer your last comment in a blog post all on it’s own. You bring up a point that is frequently brought up with questions that are frequently asked. I will post the link in this thread when it is published.
      Thanks for all that you share!
      Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Lynda ~ Coming Out Of The cRaZy Closet Posted: 26th February

    PS~ OOps, I meant to say, that the only thing my mother wrote in that 50 page letter that was NOT a total slam, was when she wrote: “I know your dad does love you,” followed by the disclaimer “BUT he just doesn’t LIKE you.”

    Right now I hate my mother. I don’t love her, don’t like her, I just can’t stand her. I am almost 58-years-old and I am feeling guilty for having that emotion, like I am supposed to love my mother no matter what! And also there were a few good times with her… not many, but some. Like when she would bake a cake, and let me lick out the batter bowl. Or when she would make snow ice cream, and walnut cookies with the walnuts I brought in that fell off the trees.

    But the few good things I remember aren’t enough to even begin to outweigh all the really horrible badness. I didn’t deserve the way my mother treated me.

    I SAID I DIDN’T DESERVE THE WAY MY MOTHER TREATED ME. Not ever, not for any reason, she had NO RIGHT to treat me the way she did.

    Yet I worry that if I send her a letter telling her everything that she ever did wrong in my life… will she be able to stand it, now that she is old and alone?

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 26th February

      Hi Lynda,
      I wish my mother would read your comment.. I know that she would relate to it, her mother was like that too. I am almost sure that she would feel really bad for you but I am also pretty sure that she would not see that she is also that kind of mother. I really related to this comment. My mother didn’t write me a letter like that one, but she squished my joy every chance that she got until I said enough was enough. I was asked to do the content edit on a brilliant book by a therapist who teaches about the misuse of power and control in relationships. When I phoned my mother, she said “why you?” then she asked if I was having an affair with the therapist. I was crushed… and later wondered why I was so shocked and stunned that she would say something like that. She started talking like that about me when I was 14. I don’t miss the way that she squished me. 🙂
      And NO you didn’t deserve that treatment from your mother. I don’t hate my mother anymore.. I have come to a place where I feel sorry for her. (but not enough to put myself back into that line of fire) my mother lost out on having a relationship with me and I was a really wonderful daughter, a really wonderful person, but she decided not to see that which is HER problem. I am way beyond feeling obligated to be her daughter under her terms and impossible conditions. I could write volumes about this whole thing! LOL
      Thank you for sharing this Lynda. It is really important to get this stuff out ~ for me it was like letting the light of truth shine on it, so that I could see the truth about the devaluing relationship that I had with my mother. It was toxic.
      Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Lynda ~ Coming Out Of The cRaZy Closet Posted: 26th February

    28 years ago… the year I turned 30… my mother sent me a 50-page hate letter. She has small, neat handwriting and she had handwritten her letter on big legal-sized paper. 50 handwritten pages, of nothing but HATE. She said in her letter that it had taken her more than 2 weeks to write it.

    At that time, my mother and I were getting along really good. My then-active-duty military husband and I had moved about 1,500 miles away from where my mother lived, but I stayed in frequent touch with her through phone calls, and pleasant letters. I was the only one who ever called her, by the way, she never saw fit to spend money on long distance calls to me. But I made the effort, because I still so strongly needed my mother to love me and like me. I tried to forget all the hell she had put me through growing up, and just focused on the present.

    What provoked her 50 page hate letter was this: I called her up all excited because I had just received a letter from a major publishing house that they were interested in publishing my book. I had dreamed of being a writer since I was 8 years old, and my 3rd grade teacher had praised my writing, and told my parents that she could tell from the talent I had already at the age of 8 that I was very bright, and should go to college so as not to waste the intelligence and promising talent that I had.

    My mother had told me later that it was ridiculous to think of me ever going to college, because one day I would have a husband to take care of me, but my brothers would go to college, if any of us would, since they would be their family’s breadwinners some day. My mother also put down my dream of being a writer, telling me that I could never make it as a writer, that is was a fantasy and totally impractical as a career goal.

    But I clung to my dream, and even as I was raising 3 young children, I was writing while they were in school. Then I send an outline and synopsis and part of my book to several publishing houses, got mainly form rejection letters back, a couple of really nice personal but encouraging rejection letters, and THEN…. the one letter from Zondervon Publishing house asking to see the rest of my novel!!!! I was on cloud nine hundred ninety-nine!

    So I called my mother, all bubbling over with joy and excitement, and read Zondervon’s letter to her. I was not only thrilled by the possibility of fulfilling a lifelong dream, I was so sure this would make my mother really PROUD of me at long last.

    I was so exicted, I didn’t notice that she said very little, and had to get off the phone almost right away. She was shocked, in a happy way, that was what I told myself.

    Then, about 3 weeks later, came her 50 page hate letter. She started it off by saying along the lines of, “I would love to have the opportunity to write a book and tell the whole world about what a horrible person you are, but since I don’t have a book deal in the works, I will have to tell you in a letter.”

    Then she proceeded to write down in detail every little thing I had ever done wrong in my entire life, going all the way back to when I was just a toddler, continuing all the way up to the present, telling me off for things both real andr imagined, for things taken out of context, blown out of all proportion, and in many cases, completely and falsely mis-remembered.

    In that entire 50 legal-sized pages of her tight tiny handwriting, the one and only thing she said that was a TOTAL negative slam, was when she wrote: “I know your father does love you.” But then she followed that sweet sentiment up with this statement: “However, he just doesn’t LIKE you.” The very thing she always told me all my life, “I love you, of course, because you are my daughter, but I don’t like you.”

    The things that my mother wrote in that 50-page hate letter were all so nit-picky and stupid. Honest to God, the very worst thing she had to say against me, in all her putdowns, that made me feel bad about myself, was that when I had first gotten out of the mental institution at the age of 16, after having been locked up there since the age of 14, just before my mother threw me out of the house, she saw me out in the yard skipping rope, using one of my little siblings jump ropes that had been left lying on the lawn. “And your big breasts were bouncing up and down for everyone in the neighborhood to see, and your stepfather was inside the house, looking out the window and watching you.”

    I felt so embarrassed when I read that!!! I was very excessively modest as a girl and teenager, and the thought of my breasts bouncing up and down like that… and of my stepfather, or anyone else, seeing that, was horrifying to me. What was I thinking? I don’t remember… but I do remember that I was still very heavily medicated with the Thorazine the mental hospital had sent home with me, and truly it affects your judgment and awareness in a weird way.

    SO finally I knew why she told me to either “run away from home,” or she would take me back to the institution, shortly after I was released. “No house is big enough for two women,” she had told me then. “You are 16, and I was 16 when I got married, so you are old enough to be out on your own. Don’t worry, I won’t call the police and report you as a runaway,” she promised, with a big smile on her face, like she was offering me a wonderful prize. This was December, 1969, in a very tiny farming town in the middle of nowhere, with snow on the ground. I had not one penny to my name. I had no friends to turn to, having just spent 2 years in an insane asylum, and my family had moved far away from where we used to live while I was locked up. Where was I to go? What was I to do to survive in the cold winter, on my own? She didn’t offer any suggestions, didn’t offer any money, hey, I was 16, old enough to be on my own. My high school educatation had been interrupted at age 14 in the early part of 7th grade, due to me being institutionalized, so how was I to get a job… even if there were any jobs to be had in that tiny town?

    Of course, when she told me to run away, my stepfather was a work, my siblings all in school, so there were no witnesses. I was being as meek and quiet and good and helpful and unobtrusive as I could possibly be, out of my fear of being sent back to the Snake Pit. So there was no fight, no argument, no disagreement, nothing I did to provoke it that I knew of…. until years later when I read her complaint about my stepfather watching me jump rope.

    So I went upstairs to the room I shared with my sisters, put my clothes in a pillowcase, and walked out of the house into the snow. She watched me go. I looked at her, she looked at me, neither of us said a word. Then out the door I went, with no clue as to where I was going or how I was going to survive.

    My mother.

    It 2 yeares it will be 30 years since she sent me that 50-page hate letter when I was 30. I think it is high time that I send her one. Believe it or not, I’ve never done that, in all these years. Thought about it, but never done it. I still kept trying to reach out to my mother and make her see that she was wrong about me, that I was someone she could both love AND like, and be proud of. I didn’t give up trying until 2006. She is 76 years old now. And all my younger siblings don’t understand why I won’t have anything to do with our poor, widowed mother~


  10. By: carol Posted: 25th February

    wow, what a discussion.
    darlene your comment, no38, resonated with me. my mother alwys said she did everything she could to keep my fathers temper directed away from us kids, then blamed us children for what she suffered. has taken me till just before finding your site and blog, to break away from her toxicity. not that everyone believes me, she has her supporters who see me as the evil child for putting her through so much, but hand on heart i can say that the only thing i did to hurt her was to be born anything else she has to take responsibility for until i started saying NO that wasnt how i saw it or how it felt to me. then starts the manipulation and attempts to make me and my house fell unworhty. guess what mother you are wrong about that as well cos i do have worth and just because you do not wish to acknowledge your part in my past doesnt make me a bad person. only took 40 yrs to realise now i have to unpick it, mmm. it will be faster with you in my life thanks darlene

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th February

      Hi Carol,
      Thank you for your comments. They are very deep. I made a very similar statement regarding my own mother. I will share it with you:
      “Just becasue you (my mother) won’t aknowledge that I have worth and that I am lovable and valuable, does not mean that I don’t and it does not mean that you are right. You are wrong Mother.”
      Thanks to you too Carol!
      Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Pinky Posted: 25th February

    @Lynda, I was at that place but now at age 47 and I will be 48 next month I am in an unethical court case to silence the truth and even with documented truth I am being called a liar and the truth is indisputable but when judges are bribed there is nothing hat can be done. So I am at this place again and I am having to provide documentation for the case and when I do it is thrown out of court and I am called a liar. It has caused me to lose my career, my husbands retirement had to be cashed out to pay court fees, my reputation in the international news and my ability to even make a living all because I did the right thing and told the truth. I have literally lost everything except my husband and it is not even a possibility for me to get out of this. Denial is strong and these abusers especially the wealthy ones have an army of enablers and it goes to show how strong the truth is.

  12. By: Lynda ~ Coming Out Of The cRaZy Closet Posted: 25th February

    OH wow… there’s so many things here that I relate to, I want to respond to all of it, but only have the energy to address a couple of things at this time.

    1. Pallie, I love what you said, especially in your first comment. You make so much sense to me. As a Christian, I look at it this way: We live in a fallen world, surrounded by fallen people…. we aren’t in heaven yet!

    2. Being called a liar has always hurt me SO BADLY. NEEDING to be believed, and feeling traumatized, all over again, when I wasn’t believed. Being so careful to always tell the truth, the whole truth, and to have “proof” whenever possible, because that label my mother gave me at a very young age, “Lynda the Liar,” hurt so bad and…. it isn’t TRUE! But now, I accept the fact that I know what is true, and God knows what is true, and that’s good enough for me.

    A few years ago I came up with this motto: Fear No Truth.


  13. By: Bonnie Posted: 23rd February

    @Susa –
    Some of this is really really hard to read. I recognize the triangulation though. My mother will complain about my sister and then I get into it with my sister and then later my sister gets upset and calls mom about me. Then mom gets onto me about getting into it with my sister. I guess you’d say my mother has been neglectful, but my sister is abusive. I don’t understand this abusiveness towards my mother when she was the favorite.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd February

      Hi Everyone ~
      Just wanted to say that the comments that have been shared this post and several other recent posts inspired me to write an article about exactly HOW my belief system got so mixed up and full of lies by highlighting one trauma event. Not the details of the trauma itself, but the details of the outcome and my own thoughts that got skewed and how I processed it until I believed without know it, that I blamed myself. You can read it here: How one Trauma led to Several False Beliefs

  14. By: Pinky Posted: 23rd February

    Great to hear Darlene! I really believe what you talk about is ground breaking and I share many of the same beliefs but they are more intuitive nothing to really back them up other than experience your book would help so many like me who believe this but have no support in their beliefs. I have a list of people I want to give the book to so keep me informed! 🙂
    I just wanted to add that I no longer have self doubt but I feel like I have to provide documentation for every little thing both because of my past and the night mare I am experiencing in court. Listen these truths are powerful other wise extraordinarily wealthy people would not be trying to shut me down! Since I have been silenced by the Supreme court of New York and you haven’t I just feel your voice is valuable more so than even you do because I see the power of truth every day in a way that nobody else possibly can right now! You know how they say knowledge is power no, I disagree truth is power!

  15. By: Pinky Posted: 23rd February

    Darlene, I do hope you can some how hook up with publishers to get your story out. To have a publisher pick up a book you dont have to write the book. You write a book out line which would probably take you 20 minutes to a half an hour. Then you submit it to publishers.If they pick it up you get a ghost writer so you do not have to have a fully written book to get published. You can even just submit your blog and say you want to get it published, just copy and paste. You have a lot to say that can bring freedom to peoples lives.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd February

      Ah Pinky you always make me smile…
      Thank you so much for your encouragement… there is a book in the works. I am not saying much yet, but there is one!
      I will keep you posted!
      Hugs, Darlene

  16. By: Susa (Art Cathartic on FB) Posted: 23rd February


    It does appear unusual that we all come from slightly different dysfunctional beginnings in life, but we seem to arrive at similar places regarding feelings of self worthlessness. I suppose dysfunctional parenting produces much the same effects in children, no matter how the dysfunctional roles are exhibited.

    With us, the parental roles seem to be reversed from yours in that dad made it clear that his daughter was his favorite, and mother made it clear that her son was her favorite. This was even verbally stated. Mother was deaf, and that was clearly traumatizing in itself for a young child… A child learns instinctively not to cry when she falls and gets hurt even at an early age when she has a deaf mother who won’t hear her anyway. This child never spoke much at all… Relatives always asked (in our presence) what was wrong with Susan mentally? Dad said that she’s just shy and withdrawn. Now that I revisit these memories, this child’s behavior seems to be almost Autistic. These relatives knew that dad and mother were forcing their young daughter to share a bedroom with their teenaged son… and they did nothing…

    We had the open door policy in our house… We were not allowed to close any doors at all… even the bathroom door – no matter what we were doing in there. That may explain my fear of public restrooms… The only door that was ever closed, was when dad closed the bedroom door at night where his son and young daughter slept.

    Dad was one of the pillars of his church as he was the choir director. They had no idea what was going on at home in this dysfunctional bubble of private child abuse… We learned not to invite our neighborhood friend into the house, because when dad was home, he only wore a t-shirt and slippers… nothing else. At least we knew instinctively that it would not be appropriate for the neighborhood friend to be around dad who was essentially nude from the waist down. I suppose this was part exhibitionism, and part control over his “domain”, and who entered it.

    Even though the parental relationship was so co-dependent, probably because of mother’s deafness, there was rabid triangulation going on. I don’t know if others here have experienced triangulation with their families of origin… just another form of abuse. The mother goes to the child and complains that dad has hit her again in her breast (mother finally got breast cancer… we suspect some connection there), and the daughter confronts dad for hitting mother. The dad becomes enraged – gets his wide leather belt out, and the mother helps to hold the daughter while he holds the child’s other arm and straps her until she bleeds. The mother does this because she is using manipulation to make the dad like her sexually again – no matter what the consequences for her daughter are. She temporarily succeeds in her quest to turn the dad against the daughter. Parental triangulation is insidious.

    We visit the past not to cause more trauma, but to get answers to current struggles… and we’re solving them little by little.

    I AM emerging… one small step at a time!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd February

      This is excellent work, thank you so much for sharing it with me and the other readers! Many have shared about triangulation and yes it is so insidious. It is also related to the tactic “divide and conquer” and in a sick family system, survival of the fittest. Always making sure that the “primary abuser” is not ruffled or upset. The things that you are writing here are the types of things that helped me to get to the bottom of this whole mess, and do the work it took to get my mind straightened out.
      You reminded me of something ~ my relatives also asked “what is wrong with Darlene” right in front of me. I was called sullen, moody, and I was withdrawn. This was a big thing for me to come out of as it has been one of the ways that I had been defined and not so much about the withdrawn, (which was true) but about the “what is wrong with her? and the “something is wrong with her” which I believed all my life.
      My next post (I am publishing today) is about taking a close look at one process that helped me to see how my belief system formed. I think you are going to like it!
      Hugs, Darlene

  17. By: Sheryl Posted: 22nd February

    Yes! the last will be first!!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd February

      Hi Sheryl!
      Yes I agree ~ being affirmed as a liar and invalidated by the only people that mattered in my life IS destruction.
      Love your paraphrase also: “Being called a liar leads to the fog of self-doubt, a habit of self-doubt which prevents you from ever realizing another person’s responsibility! My paraphrase! Excellent!” Really true!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Bonnie
      It really is about your healing, I am glad that you know that. So glad that you are here,
      Hugs, Darlene

  18. By: Sheryl Posted: 22nd February

    You wrote:
    I try not to put levels on abuse. If your mother wasn’t there for you, that is neglect which is abuse and has life long effects. Being called a liar is extremely devaluing and causes a strange sort of self doubt, which so often is the goal of the accuser. It is hard to come out of the fog on this stuff, because the “training” started so young. The training not to ever look at anyone else’s responsibility. I wanted to reassure you that the things you are reading sound familiar because all abuse is abuse and it is all related. It is all just as hard to overcome.”

    Amazing comments!
    Being called a liar leads to the fog of self-doubt, a habit of self-doubt which prevents you from ever realizing another person’s responsibility! My paraphrase! Excellent!

  19. By: Sheryl Posted: 22nd February

    “Thank you for holding this healing space-I know I am of late, floundering, and exhausted from what appears to be never ending continued healing and all that entails if one still in contact w/foo. ie: more abuse and disbelief, being challenged, disbelieved, denied, etc… and attempting to live from the place of the innocent baby/child I once was.”

  20. By: Bonnie Posted: 22nd February

    I’m wondering if NPD is genetic. A couple of yrs ago I had to have mohl’s surgery to take out skin cancer in my face & plastic surgery to repair it. I had it done in DFW area and stayed at my aunts a couple of days to recuperate. I told the family of origin about it and the questions I kept getting from my sister was, “why did you get the surgery?” I sent her a link to what the surgery was and again told her it was for skin cancer and again I got the same, “Why did you get the surgery?” This to me was a very bizaar response. But, whenever she gets sick she goes all out for sympathy. I was just letting them know. There’s been more & more of these types of incidents popping up with her. But I know, its not about her or them, its about me healing and being around people who care for me.

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