Archive for emotional abuse

beautyI saw a quote that said, “I’m exhausted from trying to be stronger than I feel.” And it really hit me; we live in a world that teaches things like “fake it till you make it” and “love heals all wounds” but the truth is that those lovely little phrases didn’t work for me. Pretending that I was fine and “believing” that LOVE would heal all wounds when the people who had done the wounding were telling me to “get over it” and “stop making such a big deal out of nothing” didn’t assist with the pain that I was in. It wasn’t until I realized what love really is that I was able to understand how love could heal my wounds. It wasn’t until I acknowledged where the exhaustion came from and how the wounds got there in the first place that I found healing.

I was exhausted too. I was exhausted from trying to be happy and from trying to be grateful for a life that seemed to be getting harder and harder. I was exhausted from being who other people wanted and expected me to be. I was exhausted from always trying harder and exhausted because nothing I did ever being enough.

I was exhausted because nobody heard me and because nobody cared that I was exhausted.

And I just couldn’t understand it. I believed that I might be the only person in the world that didn’t know how to make simple “gratitude” work for me; although I was practicing gratitude, it wasn’t working. I felt defeated. I felt stifled. I felt oppressed, I was weary and plain down to the bone tired. 

I believed that I had nothing to be unhappy about. And that made me feel guilty and ashamed of myself. I believed that I was living my dream; great husband, three amazing kids, ~ living on a huge farm/ranch with my own horses and the best dog in the world.

But I wasn’t happy. I was exhausted.  Read More→

Categories : Freedom & Wholeness
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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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My Flowers

My Flowers

Yesterday someone asked me for guidance on the “dreaded mother’s day card purchase”. Flashbacks of trying to find just the right card went zipping through my mind. I remember reading dozens of them trying to find something that my Mother would like, but that didn’t make me feel like a liar. I wanted to make her happy and I wanted approval but I also wanted to feel good about myself. Joke cards were fun, but my mother didn’t appreciate them at all. Mushy cards that said “thank you for being the most wonderful mother in the world… for always taking care of all my needs, for putting yourself last” and all that other stuff wasn’t truthful. Not getting a card was even more risky than buying a less than perfect card. Thinking about that whole dreaded mother’s day card shopping nightmare resulted in the following thoughts;

This week in honor of Mother’s day, don’t forget to acknowledge the Mother that YOU have been to yourself. I am talking about everyone who has survived any kind of family dysfunction, emotional neglect or psychological abuse. I am talking to everyone who lived in a violent home, and to everyone who was spiritually abused and told that even God is disappointed in you. I am reaching out to every human being who was taught to believe that they were less valuable than any other human being and to anyone who felt shame that was not theirs to bear, and to every individual who came to the conclusion that if actions speak louder than words, my mother didn’t love me. I am referring to everyone, man or woman, who has persisted in moving forward in spite of the baggage and false beliefs left over from child abuse that we have tried and tried to ditch although this has always been so much easier said than done.

I remember feeling horrified and even panicky at the point in my process of emotional healing when I realized that I was going to have to be the one that had to Read More→

Categories : Mother Daughter
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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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Poster creation by Judy Baxter

Poster creation by Judy Baxter

“They say “But she is your Mother!” and I respond “Yes, and I am her Daughter”.  Darlene Ouimet

I have found so much freedom in realizing that I don’t have to explain or justify my decision to draw boundaries with my parents or with anyone else, to anyone. I don’t have to help people ‘understand it’. I don’t have to defend myself or prove myself. There is a reason that some people don’t accept my decision to disengage from my parents and family. There is a reason that this offends certain people but the reason may not be what you think it is. It certainly isn’t what I originally thought it was.

Throughout the comments in this website, and on the Emerging from Broken Facebook page, people often share the belief that people who haven’t ‘been there’ or haven’t walked a mile in these shoes don’t understand what we are talking about when it comes to having parents who are unsupportive, disrespectful abusive or dysfunctional. For a long time I agreed but I have come to realize that this conclusion isn’t as accurate as I used to think it was.

I have discovered that people who have or have had loving parents actually do understand what I am talking about; it is the people still stuck in defending their own abusive /discounting parents that fight the hardest against what I am saying. It’s actually makes sense that it is that way too; People who KNOW what love really is don’t think my mother and her actions regarding me were very loving; they don’t think that the way she treated me had any foundation in her love for me. People who had parents who modeled real love, recognize the truth about what love is. And they don’t stand up for neglect, disrespectful actions, discounting actions, corporal punishment, emotional abuse, verbal abuse or any other type of communication from parents that is less than love.

People who know what love really is and experienced that love from their parents, don’t think my father’s neglect and disinterest in me was loving OR normal. They don’t think he did the best he could. The reaction that I get from people who actually WERE loved by their parents is understanding and empathy rather than the judgment and criticism that we so often hear. Statements such as “but they are your parents” or “I’m sure your parents did the best they could” are not flung in my face by people who know what loving parents really are.  Since I have come out of the fog about the whole dysfunctional family system I have met people who have a whole different reaction to my story; I have met people who say things like Read More→

Categories : Mother Daughter
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dysfunctional mother daughter relationship

Pure Truth

“When someone is unrelentingly critical of you, always finds fault, can never be pleased, and blames you for everything that goes wrong, it is the insidious nature and cumulative effects of the abuse that do the damage. Over time, this type of abuse eats away at your self-confidence and sense of self-worth, undermining any good feelings you have about yourself and about your accomplishments.” The Emotionally Abusive Relationship by Beverly Engle

Although this quote is aimed at the victim for the purpose of exposing how the self-esteem gets torn down, the first time I read this quote I thought of my mother and how much she said that I hurt her; she always said that I was the problem and that I did this to her ~ that I tore HER down;

“Darlene, you are so critical”

“Darlene, I can never do anything right in your eyes, I am always wrong”.

“Darlene, there is no pleasing you”

And overtime I believed that my words, actions and behavior (although I could not figure out what I was doing that was so offending) had eaten away at her self-confidence and harmed her sense of self-worth and undermined any good feelings that she ever had about herself and her accomplishments. I believed everything she said about me. I believed that I was the critical one and that I was the one doing all the damage.

When I became an adult she adjusted her accusations. She used a different voice infliction when she said things like;

 “Darlene you always were so hard on me”.  This was to remind me that I was “always” this way and always the problem.

“Darlene I have always been afraid that you would take your kids away from me and use them as a weapon against me”.  She said this as a kind of reverse psychology or a warning that if I did it, she had predicted that I would do it because I am a mean and spiteful daughter who has always done mean and spiteful things to her. And I set out to prove that I would never do something ‘like that’.

This is the brainwashing; this is what happened that caused me to try harder with her and to try so hard to ‘understand her.’ I tried to reassure her, to soothe her and to be the daughter she always wanted.

And when I started to look at the way SHE treated me in this profoundly dysfunctional mother daughter relationship we had, I became aware that now I was saying some of the same critical type things about her too.  When I started to look at the truth about how toxic our mother daughter relationship was, I felt guilty because I believed that I was being critical of my mother, and I had tried so hard all my life to prove her wrong about me! In the first couple years of my healing process I kept saying stuff like “well in all fairness to my mother, I was not the perfect Read More→

Categories : Mother Daughter
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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
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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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psychological abuse

poster by Judy Baxter ~ quote by Darlene Ouimet

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. find out what it means to YOU………

A lot of my emotional healing grew out of realizing the truth about some of the concepts that I had been taught wrong. The people who were in a position of power in my life taught me a lot of false definitions of words like love, respect, relationship, trust, forgiveness and a few others. Growing up from so young with the false definitions I had been taught caused me to automatically accept them as the truth.

Yesterday on my previous post “how to recognize when your best interest are not being considered” when referring to her mother a commenter wrote “I am sure she thinks she deserves to be respected…” and it got me thinking about how much learning the truth about definitions of certain key words and concepts helped me in my process of overcoming depression, trauma and low self-esteem.

When I refer to a person in a position of power I am not just referring to our teachers, the police, or judges or government. I am also referring to “our elders” and our families. My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were all in a positions of power in my life. My in-laws were in a position of power in my marriage and in our lives.  All these people were in that power position because they were “the adults” and I was a child. In my childhood that meant that they were right and I was wrong. In my adulthood, this belief didn’t change because they never let it. In both cases (as a child and as an adult) this is called a dysfunctional relationship because the elders decide and communicate that not everyone in the relationship has equal value.

It was a huge part of my survival mode to go along with these false teachings and when I became an adult I still believed the false truth that Read More→

Categories : Survival
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emotionally unavailable fatherDeep in my subconscious mind (my belief system) I have always thought that taking some leisure time was the same as being lazy. When I started to learn how to do self-care, that little “feeling” constantly whispering to me that I was being lazy began to get stronger. I found that when I took time off to just kick around, read a book or watch a movie, deep down I would reprimand myself. I wasn’t even aware that I was doing it for a very long time.

If I was spending my leisure time with my kids are with another person I was not so hard on myself because I knew that was important to the relationships that I have with them, but if I was just doing something to rejuvenate ME, I got a little restless. I really noticed my conflict with this when my oldest two children moved out of the house to attend school this fall.

Because we are selling the farm/ranch I had spent the summer cleaning, packing, sorting, purging and organizing 30 years worth of accumulated stuff and as a result of all that hard work I feel really caught up on everything. I feel really good about having done all of this but emotionally it took a toll on me. It has been an emotional roller coaster to decide to let go of this life here and on top of that to have two kids move out of the house! Add that to the level of emotion that I invest in this website and with my clients and I found I needed some extra time for myself this past few months.

BUT when I took that time I realized that my self-talk was whispering some judgemental things to me.  I was hearing words like lazy and unproductive barely under the surface of my subconscious mind.

Within minutes of reading my clients homework, I get a glimpse of what is operating under the surface in their belief systems but when it comes to me it takes a little more work because I am up against MY OWN belief system.  And since our belief systems form in the first place as a way to help us survive, sometimes they are not easy to crack into.

I was journaling about this whole thing and as I was experiencing a deeper realization that when I take time off I feel guilty about it, I suddenly heard my mother’s voice talking about my father.

This is where it gets complicated.  My father, as I have talked about in other posts was emotionally unavailable. He was a passive abusive father and husband. He abused by his passive ‘whatever’ kind of attitude towards everything. My mother used to say that the house could be burning down and my father would sit in the middle of it playing his guitar and ignoring the emergency. As an adult today I can see why she said that. My mother could not get my father to do anything or even to ‘react to anything’ and I remember as a child thinking Read More→

Categories : Freedom & Wholeness
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