Archive for belief system


“Putting up with abuse or abusive treatment is not love for the abuser. It is not love for the self. It has nothing to do with love at all. Finding out what LOVE really is went miles towards my recovery” ~ Darlene Ouimet

Long before I ever ‘emerged from broken’ I had this burning question about the obligation involved in loving my parents. I had been told/warned that it was a sin if I didn’t honor them, and I had honor and love all mixed up. I didn’t really understand what either word actually meant since I had never been taught the true meaning of those words. My real question was more about my right to ‘stand up to them’ and since I believed that standing up to them was not a loving action, that standing up to them was going against them which meant “noncompliance” I believed that love was putting up with unacceptable treatment.

Each year around Mother’s Day, I re-visit my belief system and the longings that I had in the past, the judgments that I made on myself and the roots of where they came from; In order to find out what love really is, I had to realize what it was not. I had to realize how I had been taught what love was and realize that that teaching was false and not based on truth or the true definition of love at all.

I had been told that love was the answer but I had not been taught what LOVE actually was. So I took my false belief about love and what I ‘thought’ it was, and I applied that false definition of ‘love’ to everyone in my life.

I believed that loving abusive people like my mother, until they could love themselves was equal to having a higher purpose. I believed that I was ‘the better person’ because I could take the abuse, mistreatment or disrespect and that would communicate that I could love unconditionally. I believed that accepting devaluing treatment in some way ‘proved’ my value; even if it only proved it to God. 

The truth is that putting up with the abuse, disrespect and devaluing treatment only served to validate the way they treated me. It communicated my permission for them to treat me like dirt. How can that be love?  Sometimes I wonder if deep down they were laughing at me. I wonder if they ever thought “What an idiot this girl is! No matter how nasty I am to her she keeps coming back for more; no matter how I treat her she ‘LOVES’ me!”

I don’t think my acceptance of abuse did anything to serve any kind of higher purpose once I entered into adulthood; I think it served to communicate that these people (like my mother) had rights that I didn’t have which is really what abuse is; compliance to abusive treatment communicates to the abuser that Read More→

Categories : Mother Daughter
Comments (868)


Getting Unstuck on the Healing Journey

Getting Unstuck on the Healing Journey

If you have not already downloaded my complimentary Guide to Getting Unstuck on the Journey to Emotional Healing, please grab a copy of it now! There is a box in the right hand side bar here>>> just fill in your first name (or any name you wish to use) and your primary email address and you will be sent the download link. In this 9 page mini booklet I answer some of the most popular questions that I get here on the Emerging from Broken blog, privately through the contact form and on the Emerging from Broken Facebook Page.


Welcome to the discussion page for the Guide to Getting Unstuck on the Journey to Emotional Healing.

As you may notice when you read the guide, there is a common thread expressed through the most popular questions that I get asked. Behind the questions is the belief that the people who have been authority in our lives are ‘right’. That if the people that have authority in our lives say in words or with actions such as disregard or disrespect, that we don’t deserve better or that we are not worthy, then for some reason their opinion is not questioned as much as it is ‘accepted’.

This is because for most of us it was communicated to us from a very young age that ‘they’ know best and that ‘they’ are right and that ‘they’ are not to be questioned. This belief is linked to the belief that ‘without them’ we may not survive. As an adult I had to work very hard at realizing that I COULD survive; through facing the origins of my belief system and how it was formed I was able to see my own strength; I was able to take my life back and learn to love myself and take care of myself. I learned this by seeing the truth about why I believed that I was ‘less important’ and why I ‘accepted’ that my needs were less valid than the needs of others. Seeing the roots of why I believed this about myself enabled me to see that it was a lie and that I was just as worthy and valid as everyone else on this planet!

People in authority are not always right just because they are in authority. I had not considered that truth when I was a child and growing up because of my dependence on those people. Going against the adults and caregivers in my life threatened my survival and therefore my life. That was true then. Seeing that it was no longer true was a huge part of how I was able to take my life back and overcome the manifestations of trauma, abuse and neglect. (When I refer to the manifestations I am referring to the resulting struggles such as depressions, post-traumatic stress disorder, dissociative identity disorder, anxiety, eating disorders, low self-esteem and a few other common issues.)

There is another common belief expressed behind these questions; it leaks out through the questions how many of us had never been taught that we have the right to have boundaries and how habitual it is to accept that our feelings are not valid. I was taught that I ‘had’ to accept things the way they were. The funky part of that teaching is that many of the things I learned to accept were truly unacceptable but they were so normalized that I didn’t know they were wrong; in some cases the treatment was even Read More→

Categories : Freedom Rocks
Comments (76)

Emotionally Unavailable Father ~ Passive AbuseRecently someone wrote, telling me that because she stood up to her dysfunctional family and drew a boundary, she is now missing out on ‘the good things in life’. The first question that came to my mind was “what good things are you missing out on because you drew a boundary?” In my coaching practice, the homework would be: Define ‘good things’ ~ what are ‘the good things’? What do you feel that you are missing now, that you had before? Why did you have to draw a boundary in the first place?

And the answers to these types of questions are always very revealing. When I answered these questions for myself I found out some of the lies that I believed and how they were rooted in the shaky foundation of my belief system.

For most people including me, those ‘good things’ that had to do with my dysfunctional family were a fantasy.  I ‘wished’ that I had a loving family. The reality of those ‘good things’ was something very different from how I fantasised it was or hoped that it could one day be.

Christmas dinner and family holidays or celebrations were stressful for me and this continued on with when I married into my husband’s family too. Every family thing I went to was a reminder of how insignificant that I was even when at the time I wasn’t able to articulate how those occasions made me feel.

The boundary that I drew with my father was different than the boundaries that I drew when it came to over (more obvious) abuse. A couple of years ago I told my father that seeing him was a reminder of how little he knew about me and how disinterested he was in me as an individual. The way he disregards me is a constant reminder of how little I matter to him.  It has always been that way.

My father is passive abusive. His emotional abuse is very covert.  Mostly he just doesn’t care, doesn’t listen when I talk to him, doesn’t know anything about me, my life or my kids because he doesn’t care to know and he doesn’t listen to anyone who tries to tell him. To the general public, (and according to my siblings) my father is regarded as this ‘nice’ guy and he is never violent, never mean and never hurtful with his words, but the truth is that his relationship style is dismissive and disinterested all of which is very hurtful. I spent many years in childhood and in adulthood ‘begging’ (in all kinds of ways) my emotionally abusive father to notice me. The fact that he didn’t was and is very hurtful.  There is a very loud message that is delivered to me when I am disregarded.  The message is that Read More→

Categories : Family
Comments (192)

I used to have a pattern (like a default way of responding) where I would give a lot more attention to the people who ‘fought me’ and told me I was wrong, compared to the way that I responded to people who agreed with me and validated my thoughts. I noticed that I actually tried harder and put more effort into relationship with people who didn’t accept me! This was my relational style with my family and friends when I lived in the dysfunctional relationship system of having to try harder all the time just to be accepted in the group and it took me awhile to recognize how much more energy that I gave to people who were fighting me and even how much more attracted that I was to people who looked down on me!  I had this weird attachment to ‘proving my worth’ proving that my opinion was valid. I was also so steeped in and accustomed to “trying harder” that I didn’t even know there was anything unbalanced about doing it.

Even when I started Emerging from Broken I noticed that I did it here too but the way this behaviour presented itself then was that I was more affected by the negative people and I would give them more ‘energy’. (Giving them more energy often meant thinking about their negative and judgemental comments and letting it drag me down way more than the hundreds of thankful and positive comments telling me that I was making a positive difference and letting those impact me for good.) For instance, I could get 50 thank you notes in a week and just one complaint or argument about what I was saying sent me off. I would engage with people who ‘told me off’ as though what they said was about me was true, instead of remembering that what they said was about them and their beliefs. I noticed that I wanted to work very hard to convince those judgemental people that they were wrong ‘about me’. I would spend so much energy thinking about ‘why’ that person was upset with me and how I had communicated in such a way that they had misunderstood me. I finally realized that this was also a part of my belief system ~ and it stemmed from the belief that I had to try harder and the false belief I had, that the success of any relationship was always Read More→

Categories : Freedom & Wholeness
Comments (143)
Abuse statement what goes around comes around

when abusers state “even God says you are wrong”

It amazes me what people think I will publish on this website. Emerging from Broken is about healing from abuse and neglect. It is about overcoming and healing from the damage after having been discounted, devalued and defined by the statements and actions of carless and for the most part unloving people. It is about having to submit to the thoughts and value system of our elders, parents, grandparents, grandparents, teachers or any others who placed their importance above ours.

I got this comment this week from Nancy on one of articles I wrote about my mother and our dysfunctional mother daughter relationship. I am highlighting it today because it is such a good example of toxic mother behaviour and attitudes. Children should “know their place” and “what goes around comes around”. This comment is so typical of what we were/are told and how we were/are treated.

Nancy is the very angry mother of a daughter who drew a boundary.  At first her comment communicates that the boundary her daughter is drawing is unfair. That she as a mother has done nothing but support her daughter and now she is being called selfish and accused of doing things with a wrong motive. She justifies her behaviour, all the while denying that she ever did anything wrong. But then her comments which I have highlighted in bold print reveal a different story. I read this comment several times and each time I saw with more clarity the depth of the manipulation and the disgusting (and false) belief system of the writer.

Nancy writes: (Note: I did not edit this comment)

To all of you young ladies who claim abuse, I am the 64 yr old mother of a 28 year old who claims she needs to stay away from me because i have so abused her. Now mind you, she’s not talking about hitting her or yelling at her, or telling her she is a worthless so and so that I don’t love her. No. She says I am selfish because I did all i could to help her pursue her interests and was right there in the front row clapping and encouraging her. Apparently according to her, I was doing all this in order to live through her and so I would look good in others peoples eyes that my daughter was such a success. What a bunch of BS!!!!! So let me get this straight, we parents are accused of being abusive no matter what we do!!! Is that right Get over yourslves. Your parents did the best they could and you just want to whine about your unhappiness and blame and it on the easiest target you can find. Your mother. What goes around comes around. Come back after your kids are grown and reject you for these rediculous “charges” because what goes around comes around. The Bible says “honor your mother and father that YOU will live long.” There’s nothing in there about honoring you children. In fact it says “spare the rod, spoil the child”. You are all spoiled and ungrateful and are cruel if you keep your children and parents estranged.


I put the most important part of her comments in BOLD print. This is where the ‘truth leaks” are about the belief system of this angry mother. Let’s take a closer look;

~”What goes around comes around” ~to warn the daughter that whatever ever she is doing to her mother now, will happen to her; that the daughters children are going to do this to her BECAUSE of what she is ‘doing’ to her mother.

~ “Come back after your kids are grown and reject you for these ridiculous “charges” because what goes around comes around”. ~ This is used as a threat to inspire FEAR. But fear of what? If I treated my children with the same disregard and disrespect that my mother treated me with, then I guess I could expect this same rejection from my kids. But it is not because I stood up to my mother that I need to have fear in Read More→

Categories : Mother Daughter
Comments (174)


escape abusive family

there is peace and freedom on the other side…

Happy New Year! Welcome to a new year Emerging from Broken!

I talk about the belief system and how it is developed and how we are brainwashed into believing that the problem is us in the first place. There are specific abuse tactics that are used to cement this brainwashing which cause the ‘fear of consequences’ for going against the controller in a dysfunctional relationship. One of these tactics is ‘punishment’ or ‘fear of punishment’ and like so many other abuse tactics it is very often issued in a way that is hard for the receiver of that punishment to put a finger on it. Remember that the foundation is laid very carefully to discredit a child in an abusive or dysfunctional family and to make sure the child is always looking at themselves when it comes to where the problem originated or who it originated with.  This part of the grooming process is usually rooted in psychological abuse although it is often cemented via other types of abuse.  

There are many ways to punish people without physically hitting them or calling them names.  There are tactics such as “the silent treatment” “withdrawal of attention” or “withdrawal of interest”, in other words “rejection” and those abuse tactics communicate a message very clearly, even if we are not consciously aware of that message. When we are kids and an adult uses psychologically abusive methods to ‘punish’, most kids understand the consequence of their action (rejection) but don’t always recognize the actual message with any clarity or consciousness.  Then, the way that we learn this acceptance of the message without questioning it very deeply (out of fear of the consequences), is carried into adulthood with us, therefore as adults we don’t see the tactics we have already been successfully groomed to accept without question.  But the fear of the consequences may be very much still in control of the now adult victim.

For example, the time my father-in-law took my 2 year old son out of the farm yard without telling me he was taking him. I freaked, thinking my baby crawled under the fence and was lost in one of the many fields or had been mauled by a cow or had been cornered by a coyote. We have literally miles of land. I jumped in my car to go get my husband and there was my father in law, with my husband in one of our hayfields with our 2 year old son. Without thinking (normally I would never have stood up to him) I told him to never take our child out of the yard again without letting me know. He got angry with me! He was so angry that he spat out that he would never take him again.

There was something about the way he said it though that gave me an erie feeling as though I was the one that had done something wrong. I agonized over that whole thing, justifying to myself that I was right, that I HAD to know where my son was, that I could not actually be expected to just “wonder” where he might be at any given time. But I was really scared too because I had dared to Read More→

Categories : Family
Comments (89)

I am my own best friendEarlier this week I received a comment on the post “Thanksgiving and Gratitude ~ When the little voice rebels” and a commenter asked some excellent questions. Since I get questions like these frequently, I decided to answer them in this new post. Here is the paragraph from “Coffee” with her questions;

Coffee79 wrote:  One area I struggle with is when that voice comes along I want to call someone, anyone to tell me this isn’t the truth. When I tell myself that truth, why can’t I believe it? Why does it mean more coming from someone else? My self-esteem will not stay consistent, and my therapist says I need to learn how to be my own best friend. I feel like I do work at it more than I used to, but how does someone become these things when they never had it? I do not have a healthy reference. I respond to this voice by telling myself it isn’t true and I tell myself positive affirmations but I am not convinced. Darlene, how did you become your own best friend? How did you build your self-esteem without relying on the words others?” 

Anyone who has been reading Emerging from Broken for any length of time knows that I find the answers by looking back to where the damage was caused and the messages I got and accepted about myself. I had to find out where my self-esteem went ‘missing’ in the first place. I know that’s easier said than done and I am not minimizing the actual ‘work’ for one second but that was the first part of the work. Becoming my own best friend came later. I had to clear a new foundation on which to build my relationship with me, before I started working on becoming my own best friend and validating myself.  

When I look back on my own life, I realize that I was ‘trained’ or taught (by words and actions, outcomes and circumstances) to believe that without certain people I would not survive. When a child’s efforts are met with impatience there is a clear message communicated to that child. This message does not have to be communicated in words. It was only by finding out what that message WAS that I was able to overcome it. There were a LOT of false messages stuck in my belief system but the bottom line was that in the mind of a child, not being loved, ‘good enough’ or acceptable means being rejected and rejection means death.  (I had to think deeply about this concept in my own life in order to relate to it. It isn’t something that I understood just by hearing it).

Through looking closely at these messages that were communicated to me, I came to the conclusion that I associated not being approved of or not being “good enough” with death. MY DEATH. And the survival instinct is very strong and something I realized is that I was Read More→

Categories : Self Esteem
Comments (126)
my mother doesn't love me

Burial Ground for Harmful Beliefs

“You can’t solve the problems of today by using the same thinking that created them” Einstein

As I started to go through the healing process I realized that there were roots to the feelings of loneliness and that feeling of being alone. I felt let down in a world where I didn’t fit in and didn’t belong and believed I wasn’t worthy of the love that I craved. I believed that I had brought on my own problems that I created the life of depression that I lived in and believed that if I could just figure out what was wrong with me then everything would be okay.  I believed this stuff because it had been communicated to me through the actions of other people.

I started to realize that some of the things that had happened to me left me believing that I was somehow lacking and that I was somehow undeserving of the love that other people deserved. As I progressed farther into my emotional healing journey, I realized that my own parents had contributed to those beliefs and were still contributing to them well into my adult life. I was a disappointment to my parents and nothing I did was ever “good enough” and as I grew older I was beginning to comprehend that nothing I ever accomplished was EVER going to be “good enough”.

When I first started this website I never intended to talk about my parents as part of where the problem began. I thought I could just keep it about the belief system development resulting from trauma and I could just sort of keep my parents out of it.

As my confidence grew, I started to write about some specific incidents with my mother and father that caused some of the false beliefs about myself to take root in my belief system. And when I started to get really specific about Read More→

Categories : Mother Daughter
Comments (245)
like minded and the belief system

Like Minded?

I decided to do a search on Google using the key words “belief system” and one of the first things that came up was the instruction to “challenge your belief system” (not much instruction on “how to do the how”) But one of the suggestions on challenging your belief system struck me as odd; it said ~ “choose like minded friends”

That is an interesting directive; I chose like minded friends most of my life. And when I thought about that statement, choosing like minded friends was actually natural and also a part of the problem.  Like minded isn’t always a positive thing!

~ As a child at school I chose other kids who were withdrawn like I was. I fit in better with them.

~When I was a young adult, I chose other survivors of dysfunctional families who were in denial. We stayed in denial together.

~ I chose men who thought that they were more important than I was. I didn’t think I agreed with them, but my actions and the acceptance of the way that they treated me as “less than them” shows that we were in fact like minded.

~I chose friends who like me, were pretending that their lives were wonderful. We were like minded in our denial.

~ Sometimes I chose girlfriends that “used me” and took advantage of me to baby sit their kids or Read More→

Categories : Therapy
Comments (54)



where does the belief system come from

Darlene Ouimet ~ Smile

One of the biggest uncomfortable and reoccurring memories that I have is of constantly being told to smile. It was not encouragement, it was a directive. I didn’t realize it at the time, I was too young when it started but today I know that it was a judgment of me. It was said “as a judgment”  

I wonder why no one asked me why I was so unhappy. I bet my mother would say that she did ask. But what I remember is her asking why I didn’t smile more like this; “Why don’t you smile Darlene… you always look so sullen.” That was a rhetorical question.  She didn’t want an answer. She was not concerned. She just didn’t want me to look “sullen”.

It is important to keep in mind however, that it doesn’t matter what her intention was. It was what I heard that matters because the message that I got from this “request” or “judgment” is the damage that I had to overcome. The message received was the damage. That is what I am talking about when I talk about overcoming damage and having to find out what the damage actually was in the first place.

I was extremely quiet. Perhaps “withdrawn” is a better word.  Didn’t anyone think that there was a reason for that? 

I heard the whispers about me. I heard the question “what is wrong with her?” many times. I don’t think that statement or question helped me become the happy child that they “wanted” me to be. It made it worse.

I overheard a conversation once between my mother and her sister (my Aunt) when I was somewhere around the age of 8 or 9.  They were discussing my “sullenness” and my constant headaches. It was not so much that they were concerned about me that struck me, but they were trying to decide what was WRONG with me.  I connected the word sullen with the smile directive and Read More→

Categories : Therapy
Comments (98)