Archive for child abuse

The Path for EFBChild abuse and neglect result in low self-esteem, depression and a whole lot of other issues. Part of the grooming process that occurs in ALL abuse including emotional abuse and psychological abuse is that the blame is transferred to the child and in order to cope and survive children accept that blame and focus inward in order to try harder for the love and acceptance they long for. In the dysfunctional family, the abuse doesn’t end in childhood and often the child who is now an adult will seek professional help in order to overcome the damage that the child abuse caused. Just as our parents and all adult abusers, controllers and manipulators had positional power, doctors, therapists and helping professionals have it too.

When we have been convinced through actions, inactions and words that there is something ‘wrong’ with us and we finally go to a helping professional such as a therapist, counselor or psychologist ~ if that mental health professional defends our parents, or focuses on US as the problem it serves us as confirmation that we are in fact the problem and it is very much a re-traumatization.

Mental health professionals have tons of positional power ~ they are endorsed and accredited as being able to help and therefore we often see them as an even bigger authority then the way that we saw our parents when we were kids, so if they AGREE with our parents or if they focus with us on what WE could do or could have done differently, it very often causes a bigger problem than the one we went to talk about. Read More→

Categories : Therapy
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EFB blog butterflyMany of you have heard about the 5 year old little girl Alexa Linboom who was disciplined for drinking her step mothers grape soda without permission and as a punishment her father and step-mother forced her to drink 2.4 litres of water and several cans of grape soda which caused her to die. “Both parents were charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and two counts of aggravated child neglect.” (court date for this trial is Scheduled for October 2014)

Here is a summary paragraph, but if you are interested in the whole story follow the highlighted sentences and links at the end of the post. “The Vaughns disciplined Alexa by forcing her to drink about 2.4 liters of fluid, including several 12-ounce cans of grape soda, in a span of one to two hours, according to an autopsy report prepared by the Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University. She was bruised throughout her body and had cuts on her face, the report states.”

In an effort to show what children and adult survivors of child abuse are up against with the way society views child abuse, I am writing about the commenters who STUCK UP for the parents in this situation, saying that the punishment (charged with murder) they received for their actions which ultimately caused this little girl’s DEATH, was too harsh.

Too harsh?

The autopsy report and even the charges state that there were signs of ongoing abuse and neglect but some people commenting still defend the abusive parents.

It has been my experience that sticking up for abusive parents is about parental entitlement; if anything threatens the ‘rights’ of the parents, some people will freak out and defend parents; even parents who caused the death of their child. Adults posted on this article that their parents disciplined them in a similar way and they ‘turned out fine’. Some defended the parents saying that it wasn’t ‘that much liquid’ and they go down the rabbit trail leading nowhere defending that this little girl ‘should have been able to drink that much liquid’… As though the specialists who performed the autopsy must have made a mistake, but the bottom line is that there are people who are completely willing to ignore the DEATH of this child that directly resulted from the punishment she was given because validating that the child DIED as a result of the punishment, threatens Read More→

Categories : Family
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EFB car picEarlier this year my 16 year old daughter hit glare ice, flew off the road and crashed her car. She hit the first tree and took it out which caused her to roll and flip into the air, crashing 5 feet up on the passenger side and wrapped around a second tree.  Her face and hands were covered in blood and cuts from the broken glass and she thought her arm was broken. When she was taken to x-rays in the hospital she fainted.

The images of her near death were haunting.  I couldn’t stop imagining what she went through, her fear and how much worse it could have been. Even though she walked away, even though I was fairly sure she was going to have a complete recovery, the feelings, emotions and fears that came up for me were overwhelming.

On the third day after her accident my entire body was ‘humming’ with fear, emotion and flashes of the way my mind imagined the accident. I felt nauseous, exhausted and totally stressed out. I couldn’t sit still, I couldn’t concentrate on a book, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t even escape with mindless television shows.  I found myself reaching for weird food, like potato chips and chocolate and I reached for them as though they were a life preserver. I ate  mindlessly and in a frenzied manner and as I shoved things in my mouth I became aware of the thought that I somehow believed eating those foods might block the feelings of fear and anxiety out of my mind.  I had this crazy belief that eating those foods would squish the fear and flashbacks of her accident and all my feelings of helplessness, down and away from me.

I felt like I couldn’t cope. I felt like there was ‘nowhere’ to go and nothing I could do about it, that I was powerless over the outcome of her accident, that I was helpless and I had been helpless in that moment. And in the case of my daughters car accident I was powerless and helpless but the problem was that  I felt like that ‘powerlessness and helplessness’ defined me as ‘useless’ and as a ‘failure’ as a mother, as a woman and even as a person. 

Useless and a failure;

And I had this nagging feeling that this feeling I was trying to get away from was very familiar for me. I had this sense that this feeling was something that I had had for most of my life.  And while I was in bed that night, half awake, half asleep, it came to me; this is the feeling that Read More→

Categories : Survival
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helpless like a fish on a hook...

helpless like a fish on a hook…

This week I got an amazing comment on the post “The Grooming Process of Discrediting Children and the Cycle of Abuse” that caused my mouth to drop open. I said to my husband Jim “listen to this!!” and I read the comment out loud to him. As I read it, I looked up and saw his eyes open wider and I knew that he heard exactly what I had heard and that he was having the same reaction to it that I had had. This comment is so typical of the types of verbal abuse that children hear that it could have been from the verbally abusive parents play book.  It was almost painful to read it. When I was finished, Jim said “holy shit… I can HEAR it, I have heard it…I have been there.”

I read it over again and I knew that I wanted to share it with a larger audience so I have asked Tim for his permission to share it as a main article. I am thrilled that he has given me his permission along with his blessing! So many adult children of abusive parents don’t realize how common this type of ‘lecture’ is and don’t realize how many others have experienced so much of the same type of tearing down. This verbal battering goes on and on and the reader who has been there or has ever witnessed it can HEAR it in the writing.

I had the urge to highlight certain parts, make other parts bold and do a little editing, however (aside from adding a few periods and questions marks) I decided to let the reader have their own interpretation and reaction to it without my emphasis.  I am really looking forward to the comments on this one. ~ Darlene

Here is what Tim wrote;

Here is the sort of verbal theatre dis-played by my parents showing a mark getting made;

“Don’t do that, it’s horrible, you don’t do that, why did you do that? don’t pretend you don’t know, excuse me, how dare you I won’t let you try to begin telling me you don’t even know what you’ve done, because you do, don’t you, of course you do we’ve all told you about this before, haven’t we, in fact too many times, isn’t that right? How many times do I have to tell you people don’t do that, do they, how many people have you seen, none, that’s right so why do you keep doing it ~ other peoples children wouldn’t they would never do anything like it would they, no, so why do you why do you always do it you’re the only one at school like this they tell me they do, your school unless, that friend of yours…. maybe that’s where you pick it all this up from is it, it is, is it? why do you hang around people like that you know other people have been asking me why you decide to behave like this, you know that right so what are we meant to do say what do we tell them, when you won’t tell us that’s a horrible thing to do there concerned, were all concerned about you and we don’t know what to do if you won’t tell us what the problem is are you going to say something now, well, we’re waiting you know Read More→

Categories : Family
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psychological abuseI had to learn to shift my thinking in this process of overcoming the damage caused by emotional abuse. There were a few rather large shifts that I had to make in order to make progress and there was a process to shifting my thinking! It didn’t just happen overnight. 

Instead of trying to understand why ‘they’ didn’t like me or why ‘they’ didn’t love me and why I didn’t fit in and why ‘they’ treated me so badly and what was wrong with me, I started to try to understand why I kept trying.

 I started to ask myself new questions;

Although I had some suspicions that most of my relationships were not fair to me, deep down why did I believe I was the one that was wrong about everything ~ which kept me trying to fix me?  

Although I has some suspicions that there were some things my family was doing wrong, why was I so easily convinced that I was the problem in the relationship which also kept me trying to fix me?  

Why didn’t I expect to be treated the way they insisted that I treat them? 

Why did I accept such a one sided definition of love that so obviously had two very different sets of rules; a set for them and a set for me?

And as I started to ask myself different questions, I started to Read More→

Categories : Survival
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silencing child abuseSometimes I get comments from people that are so filled with judgement that I don’t even consider publishing them. I am sharing the following comment with you today because it is a fantastic example of the judgement that is out there in the world about what we reveal when it comes to our dysfunctional family stuff.  I didn’t publish this comment on the post it came in on~ I didn’t see the point in giving this woman a voice and her comment is so ridiculous ~ especially since it is from this total stranger who doesn’t know me, my story or my family.

This comment speaks volumes about her judgements; she really thinks that she knows my family history and sides with my father. She offers proof that I misunderstood my father’s intentions and decides that it is up to me to mend this broken fence. She absolves my father of all responsibility for the abandonment that I suffered at his hands.

And because this kind of lecture is SO common, and since we have been hearing this kind of stuff since childhood, it is easy to get sucked into this kind of judgement and “feel bad” for MY actions; or at least it might have made me feel bad 5 years ago. Today I was shocked. I thought “how the heck does this woman KNOW anything about my parents or what happened in my family or to my mother? Why does she think she knows anything about my father, his decisions, his actions or his intentions? 

I didn’t publish this comment on the post where she left it because this kind of stuff heaps more damage on the already damaged reader.  I am publishing it today to highlight a typical example of what survivors of abuse and dysfunctional family stuff hear all the time from Read More→

Categories : Family
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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
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I am pleased to welcome Kylie Devi back to Emerging from Broken. In January of 2012, Kylie wrote a guest post about having been sexually abused as a child and how much trouble she had getting professional help dealing with it. There were some unforeseen results due to her sharing this information however and this new post is about her abusers confronting her about that blog post and her reaction to that confrontation; how it froze her and how she got through it. It will be helpful for you to get the whole picture by reading her original blog post first. Please help me welcome Kylie back! ~ Darlene

 

stop the silence about child abuse

Kylie Devi

Breaking Through the Fear of Speaking About Child Abuse by Kylie Devi

In January of this year, I wrote a blog post sharing my experience with the “get better industry.” I shared how I felt that traditional psychology and social work failed me when I really needed it. And how I pulled myself out of the trenches of the horrors of sexual, emotional, and physical abuse as well as a ten year battle with drug addiction.

The belief I shared is that any industry designed to help me “get better” is only going to thrive when I don’t get better. An example of this is that the medical industry doesn’t thrive when nobody is sick, seeing doctors, or buying pharmaceuticals. Therefore, they are invested in people being sick. Make sense?

My main purpose for sharing this blog post was to reach out and say, hey, we all have our own unique path to healing… and it’s really awesome when we can share with each other too. For me, both of these are implicit – we have to do the work ourselves, but it is so powerful when we can participate in communities full of people who are also “doing the work.”

I do believe it was received that way by many people who read it, but there were some other people who weren’t too excited about what I had to say.

In February, I got a phone call from my main abuser saying: “I read your little blog post, what are you doing? Trying to get attention? Who abused you, and why am I hearing about it in this way?”

(I would like to say that “your little blog post” was kind of comedic to me, since this is a highly trafficked website that has helped thousands of people.)

And then 3 more phone calls from my other Read More→

Categories : Freedom & Wholeness
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dysfunctional families“I learned to set boundaries by realizing where they were missing in my life. I learned where they were missing in my life by seeing the truth about abuse etc. As long as my value was in question (by me as a result of the way I had been defined) I could not set boundaries.”  Darlene Ouimet

I googled the key words “setting personal boundaries” and the top info I found on it included understanding the abusers and not judging or placing blame on them because after all, we are all wounded souls! No wonder we have so much trouble healing from abuse! Oh it all sounds so lovely, but the truth is that I healed by setting ALL that aside after trying it that way for well over 20 years with the main result being that the depressions only increased and my boundaries got weaker. (see the links at the end of this post)

Have you ever thought about why setting personal boundaries is so dang hard in the first place? Here in Emerging from Broken, I always talk about how everything has a root. Depression starts somewhere. We are not born with low self esteem. And it is the root of both those things that makes setting personal boundaries so hard!

When I was defined as “not good enough” or “not worthy” by the actions of others in my life, it is understandable that I believed that definition of “me”. And as long as I believed that the definition of me was correct, I didn’t believe I had a right to HAVE boundaries.  I didn’t believe that I had a choice in my own life about what kind of treatment I had to accept. I didn’t understand that I was being treated badly and that I had a right to say no to that treatment. 

There was a root to why I had no idea Read More→

Categories : Self Esteem
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the problem with the saying love and you will be loved

Photo by Journi Roe Photography

This week I came across the expression “love and you will be loved” several times and it got me thinking about how in theory it can and does work but the problem is what it infers. Depending on what you have already learned about “love” different messages are received through this saying. This phrase is so often said as a solution for everything just like with other sayings such as; Love heals all wounds; Love is the answer; if you are lonely then simply Love someone. It implies that if you “are not loving” then you will not be loved and the message that I “heard” is that I was not loved because I was not loving enough which led to me trying harder in impossible and abusive situations. This directive “love and you will be loved” seems to imply that we are all able to love as though love is something we just “know” how to do.  Are we born knowing how to love or do we learn how to love by first being loved.

“Love and you will be loved” is often said as a reprimand. That phrase has some baggage that goes along with it. It decides that you will only be loved IF you love and that is fine. I am not disagreeing with that concept. It is the way that it is applied that I have an issue with.  In our society, it seems to be applied to the victim in any given situation. The statement seems to infer that if you are struggling then it must be YOUR fault. If you are lonely, it is YOUR fault. If you are oppressed, what did you do to cause it? If you are being abused, or if you were mistreated (in any way) in the past, what did you do bring that on to yourself?

 What if the saying “love and you shall be loved” was applied to the Read More→

Categories : Family
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