Archive for overcoming depression

Dysfunctional family relationshipsMy Mother made me do a lot of housework and dishes when I was a teenager. I cooked supper almost every night from the age of 13 years old.  I didn’t get allowance. I didn’t acknowledgement unless it was because I was grumbling against being the one that had to do it all.

But that is not what I am talking about in my blog when I talk about dysfunctional family relationships and mother daughter relationship difficulties.

I am not blogging about how life was unfair because my mother took advantage of me, didn’t let me stay for after school events because she needed me to cook and didn’t give me an allowance. That was a very minor part of my difficulties.  Although those were the resentments that I could recall easily, those were not the real roots of the problem.

The real roots of the problem were much bigger than that. The real roots of the parent child dysfunction were about Read More→

Categories : Mother Daughter
Comments (277)

The truth about love

I came across this quote, and at first I loved it; “If you put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price”. ~ Author unknown

And then I thought about it a bit more deeply ~ For the most part on “emerging from broken” I am not talking about the value that we put on ourselves, I am talking about the value that was put on us by others and that same value that we accepted. We do need to raise our own value however we can’t do that until we understand how we received our value in the first place.  There is a step that has to happen before we can follow the above quote!

The last blog entry was about a coaching session that I did with Carla Dippel about her belief system when it comes to the concept of love. In my recovery, one of the most powerful things that I discovered was about how these false definitions form and how discovering and changing my belief system contributed significantly to my complete recovery from depressions, low self esteem and so many other difficult struggles that I lived with.

We all have beliefs about many things that we don’t realize we have.  We don’t even really realize that we have these “wrong ideas” about certain things because we have had that idea for so long it has become our normal.  But for me, most of my beliefs were a “false normal” or a “false truth”  In the coaching session that I did with Carla, I asked her specific questions that enabled her to discover her beliefs about love and she discovered her “false normal beliefs” when it came to love.  These beliefs come from many influences, not just from our families. They can come from anywhere and from a multiple of experiences; we learn from teachers, neighbours, books and media. We learn our “normal” from many places and combinations of events…. continue Read More→

Categories : Depression
Comments (177)

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Several years ago, I excitedly told my Mother over the phone that I was going to write a book about my process of recovery from chronic depression and dissociative identity disorder.  She reacted with strange sort of hesitation.  She didn’t ask any questions; she didn’t actually acknowledge this information at all.  I was used to her acting this way and I was only a bit more then mildly disappointed that she wasn’t interested.  I had been noticing in my recovery that she sucked the joy out of everything I was ever excited about. A few days later however, she brought it up as a sort of “by the way” conversation.  She said that if she read anything in my book about her that she didn’t like, she would sue me. I was stunned. I was actually speechless I was so stunned.  Why did she think it would be about her? I was so confused about her statement, that I couldn’t think straight.  I called a friend of mine who is a lawyer and asked her for some legal advice about it. 

 When I got over my shock about her reaction and her threat, I was able to look at this in a different way.  My narcissistic mother didn’t ask me about the contents of the book. She just assumed it would be about her. Why would she assume that?   I hadn’t even thought about talking about her in the book yet.  Her reaction is what I call a truth leak.  Continued….. Read More→

Categories : Mother Daughter
Comments (134)
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…  Read More→

Categories : Self Esteem
Comments (63)
emotional healing, mental health recovery
emotional healing from dysfunctional family

Sometimes I feel as though I can never go back far enough in order to tell you how I got myself out of the emotional mess that I was in. Today I have been thinking about some of the questions that I began to ask myself in the process of emotional healing and some of the ways that I began to wake up to the way that I was devalued in relationships. This relationship dysfunction was present in almost all of my adult relationships.

Here are the “fog busting” questions that I asked myself;  continued… Read More→

Categories : Freedom & Wholeness
Comments (82)
Low Self Esteem
I am because I am

I needed someone to validate my existence. I wanted someone who could tell me that I was worth the air that I breathed. But because I didn’t believe that I had value, I didn’t believe anyone who attempted to tell me that I did. If I met someone who liked me, I wondered what they wanted from me. I wondered if they were sincere; I was sure that they must have a hidden motive. If a waiter in a restaurant treated me like my business didn’t matter I was hurt and my mind would start spinning about why he was treating me that way. I would examine every single sentence that we exchanged, looking inward for something that I must have done to cause this attitude in him. By the same token if a waiter was really nice and attentive to me, I wondered if he was only doing it for the tip.

If friends invited me over, it wasn’t long before I questioned if it was because they wanted my company, or because they wanted me bring cooking or baking. Did they need an extra girl? Did they want to play a joke on me? I was always second guessing everyone and everything because of my history with abuse, but I also second guessed everyone, because I was always second guessing me. That was the way that my mind operated because that was the way my mind was trained to operate. If my mother told me that I looked nice, I wondered what she wanted; subconsciously I braced myself for what was coming next…. continued   Read More→

Categories : Self Esteem
Comments (83)
one day at a time

“I saw the light” by Azelinn

I thought that my present could be resolved by talking about what was wrong with the present… but it turned out it was resolved by sorting out what went wrong in the past. And I had been told all my life to live for today so …… you can imagine the conflict!  

This is one of the most foundational messages that I have to deliver. It is one of those things I just didn’t realize. Living in the present sounded so right and so perfect, I strived for that ideal, never realizing that what was in my way was the unresolved past. We hear things that can back up our belief in these sayings, such as “you can’t change the past” and “live one day at a time” and “live for today” and my favourite of all ~ “If you have one foot in yesterday and one foot in tomorrow, you are peeing on today”. When I look back over the years when I tried so hard to live by these sayings, I realize that they did me no good. I thought that acceptance was the answer, but I really didn’t know what I was trying to accept and so I accepted the blame and responsibility for abuse and for relationship difficulties that were there far before I was ever old enough to be a problem or even a factor in the demise of any one of them.

I got living for today and accepting the past mixed up with the realization that I can’t change the past, forgetting that the goal in healing from the past is not to change the past, it is to resolve it. The goal was to be ABLE to put it behind me in order for me to be able to live in freedom; to be able to LIVE in the present moment.

And I got so used to running from today that I didn’t know I was running.  I got so used to thinking that I WAS living in this day, and so accustomed to avoiding those feelings by using any number of coping mechanisms and escape tools, that my coping mechanisms rode piggyback on each other and every time I resolved or exposed and untangled one escape route, my cleaver surviving mind switched and adopted another one. The survival instinct is very strong and I got so messed up that I didn’t KNOW that I was even in survivor mode. I didn’t know that my coping methods were because my brain was so badly wired that it thought the escape tools WERE better and safer for me. I thought the problems WERE the answers.  

In order to live in the present I had to be willing to actually LOOK at what I was running from. I had to ask myself ~ why did I disconnect and dissociate. Why did I use food for comfort? Why did I go to bed for days on end? I had to ask myself what I was afraid of feeling. I had to become aware of my survival methods and look at where they came from; what they developed as a result of ~ and guess what??? All those questions led me back to the past.

But when I answered those questions one by one, month after month, over time I was able to stop using all those coping methods.  Little by little, as I understood the past and where my desire to run was born they just seemed to fall away and the more that they fell away, the more that I was able to live in today. And not just live in today, but LIVE. THRIVE.  Really live with the new energy that I found I had when I didn’t have to use all my energy to COPE so dang much. 

For the most part, I live in the moment today. The work that I do with Emerging from Broken is my chosen purpose and in order to shed light on how I found my own freedom, I write about my past almost every day in one way or another, however I do not live in the past any longer because my past is resolved. Today, the past is in the past and I can actually appreciate all those lovely quotes, understanding the true intention behind the sayings now.

Keep going, keep growing and please share with me and the other readers!

Darlene Ouimet

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

Related posts ~ “the problem with living one day at a time”

Related posts ~ “the problem with living one day at a time”

“tomorrow I will start to face the pain”

“self validation for emotional abuse”



Categories : Therapy
Comments (68)
psychological abuse, abuse recovery
Success is a series of small accomplishments

I wanted to know HOW I would recover from emotional abuse; how do I do it? What do I do?

As though knowing HOW would make it possible.

I wanted to know HOW the healing would take place, as though knowing how would make it real or as though knowing how would enable me to make the decision on whether or not I was willing to go through with it.

But the truth is that I didn’t ever get to know how. I didn’t ever get prior knowledge as to where the journey would take me.

I was held back on some aspects because I thought the pain would kill me, but the pain of recovery was never as bad as the pain of living broken. Unfortunately, we don’t know that for sure until we are on the other side of broken.

I thought that if I ventured forward but didn’t succeed, that the pain of another failure would kill me; so I hesitated about moving forward.

I hear this question all the time; “But how does it work? How will I do it?”

I didn’t know, I never knew, and looking back I don’t see how I could have even been told. Because it is different for everyone. Because it is a step by step process that takes time. Because on breakthrough builds on another.

What I remember is that I believed it was possible. That belief came because my therapist told me that there were others that had overcome and recovered from chronic depressions and dissociative behavior. I had not actually met anyone that had overcome, but when I started to trust him, I started to believe him and after I began to believe him and when I had my first little breakthrough, then I believed that I could do recover too. I finally had hope. I finally believed that if someone else could overcome ~ if someone else had recovered from dissociative identity disorder, sexual abuse, and a lifetime of psychological abuse, then maybe I could recover too.

I finally believed that I was worth taking the chance on.  I was worth the effort. And I also realized that the reason that I had not considered that I was worth it prior to this was because from a very young age I had been treated as though I was not worth it. As a child I had no choice but to believe that lie.

I dug my heals in and went for it. I just put one foot in front of the other and took my time looking at the reasons that I had been in this state of difficulty and struggle with my mental health for so long. All I had was hope and it turned out that was all I needed. Each little success, each little breakthrough no matter how tiny was what kept me going forward after that. My breakthroughs became my motivation and hope was my foundation.

Blind faith I guess you could say.  

I realize today that success is not the end result but rather a collection of accomplishments.

I took someone else’s word for it; that recovery was possible and it ended up being the truth. This is my biggest inspiration for writing this blog. I want to inspire hope as it was inspired in me.

I made the decision to face the pain. I made the decision to go forward but I didn’t know the answer to the HOW question. And in the end, it didn’t matter.

What are your thoughts on the “HOW” question? Please share them with us in the comments.

Exposing Truth ~ One Snapshot at a Time

Darlene Ouimet

Categories : Therapy
Comments (64)
emotional recovery, emotional healing
Darlene ~ Please join me for the celebration!

 Tomorrow, December 01st 2010 ~ this blog ”Emerging from Broken”; my baby is one year old. Emerging from Broken was born out of my life long pursuit of freedom and recovery from multiple depressions starting in childhood and dissociated identity disorder which resulted from the trauma of abuse. I was fortunate enough to find a therapist who believed in working on emotional healing and recovery from the root of the problem. The transformation and emotional healing was so profound ~ so liberating, that I quickly developed a passion to share the message of wholeness with others who struggle with mental health issues, dissociative issues, post traumatic stress disorder and bi polar disorder, but to name a few.  I started to speak in mental health seminars about my recovery process. I went back to school and obtained certification in life coaching, eventually specializing in “new life story” coaching and I became a mental health advocate.

 I pursued work in the mental health field. While speaking in mental health seminars and working as the director of client relations for a counselling company, I noticed that when I spoke about certain subjects, people’s eyes would light up as though they comprehended something amazing for the first time. I realized that there were some hidden truths that others, like me, had not ever realized. I started to comprehend that not very many people understood the truth about the foundations of depression, mental health struggle and abuse because no one was talking about it. I knew that this was the truth that set me free. After a few years of speaking, I developed a passion to share my message with an even larger audience.

Emerging from Broken was the platform that I chose with which to do just that.

 It has been an exciting year! Emerging from Broken has gone from zero to having over 7000 readers a month. According to Alexa, Emerging from Broken ranks in the top quarter of a million for all websites worldwide! EFB has an interactive page on facebook which has over 1200 members. But to me the most amazing and wonderful part is the comments.  Emerging from Broken has generated thousands of comments now averaging 1000 comments every 8 weeks. People are sharing their lives here. People are having breakthroughs here!  My goal to have my message of freedom and wholeness after depression and abuse, delivered to a larger audience is being achieved!

This week I am celebrating the first year anniversary of Emerging from Broken. I am celebrating freedom from depressions, wholeness and living life to the fullest. I am celebrating that there is a solution and full recovery from abuse and trauma is possible! I invite you to celebrate with me.

 Tomorrow, I am flying to Mexico with my daughter where we are spending two whole weeks vacationing in Puerto Vallarta. I am excited to be publishing a special series about anger and to have some special guest bloggers joining me this next two weeks. The blog will run as always and I will check in frequently.

 In honour of EFB being one year old, I am excited to welcome the first guest blog post from Carla Dippel, who co-authored EFB for the first 6 months of its life. While I am away I will be checking in here frequently.

 Thank you all for being here. Thanks to everyone who has ever shared my blog posts on Facebook; to everyone who has ever shared using the share button or the “like” button; to everyone who passes this blog along through twitter. Thanks to each one who had shared it with a friend who is not online and to everyone who comments and keeps the conversation going! Thank you for sharing your heartaches and your breakthroughs your wins and your devastation; all of it makes such a huge difference to the other readers. I would also like to extend a big thank you to every guest blogger who has ever posted and to all the readers. I am so blessed by each one of you. Together we can overcome. Together we are so much stronger. Together we can take back our lives and live in freedom.

 Please help me to celebrate this one year birthday and milestone by leaving a comment. Please feel free to share how Emerging from Broken has impacted your life, a special memory or breakthrough, or just say hello!   I look forward to hearing from you!

 Freedom is on the other side of broken!

With love, gratitude and appreciation;

Darlene Ouimet 

Please join us on  Facebook ~ Emerging from Broken page

Categories : Freedom & Wholeness
Comments (25)
romantic love,
What makes love real love?

Everything had a double meaning in my mind; almost all definitions that had to do with relationships had two opposite meanings to me and when I found this truth at the roots of my belief system and began to sort it out, I found some real freedom. I found out that I had learned to accept a lot of false truth about a lot of word meanings.

Take love for instance;  I believed in fairy tale romance, and believed that there would be a prince charming saviour type guy ride in on his trusty steed and sweep me off my feet and then life would be good. Then I would be good enough. I would be loved. Life would begin! Maybe I got that idea from fairy tales, I am not really sure, but I certainly held the belief inside me somewhere. The belief that I could be rescued and that love would be the cure for everything.

But there is another side to what I believe about “love.” For the trauma survivor or the person who suffers with depression, we also have a whole other different belief system about “love”.  Some of us have been taught (in words or in actions) that love is dangerous, frightening and hurtful.  Some of us have been taught (in actions or in consequences) that love is physically painful and terrifying.  Our personal reaction to being loved by someone else largely depends on what our belief system has become about the words and the emotion of “love”. And about how we feel about ourselves as a result of our past experience with it.

In my case I had polar opposite belief systems about love. In my fantasy world, love could cure all evil, love was the answer, love was all I needed. Songs like “If I had you…; you’re the only one that I would ever need “ or “I can’t live is living is without you”; “you are the sunshine of my life” or “All I need is the air that I breath and to love you” oh yeah baby, he (his love) would be the answer to everything.

In reality however, at least in my reality, love hurts, love is mean, love means nothing. I love you means obligation, ownership, disrespect, putting up with being devalued, manipulated and accepting that I am not as important and my needs are not important, but only the person who says that they love me, is important.  This is quite a mixed message and makes love a word charged with many different feelings and fears that are triggered just hearing the words.

My therapist told me that he loved me. I felt extremely uncomfortable and wanted to leave. I thought love was physical. I was sure that I had no choice about it. When I was very fragile, I felt powerless to say no to physical love. In many ways and for many years I didn’t know that I had a choice. I also believed that if someone loved me (even in the wrong definition of love) it was my fault. So good or bad, I believed that I brought everything on myself. Quite an illusion of control, which I thought kept me safe, but also quite a burden of responsibility which was not safe at all.

There was so much really bad stuff around the word love. My mind had been conditioned to believe that love was the most wonderful thing and the answer to everything, but the truth was that most bad things had happened to me under the disguise of love and “I love you” and “because I love you” and “I want what is best for you”. I also thought that romantic love had a lot of physical obligation attached to it. Sex was the price that I had to pay for love. (but was it REALLY love)

I love you is a phrase that is thrown carelessly around; When a child wants love and acceptance so deeply it becomes easy to ignore the red flags from some people and it is also very easy to accept the wrong definition of love.

It helped me immensely to realize that I had the wrong definition of love all along. It also helped me to realize that controllers and abusers NEVER love you with the same definition of love that they want you to follow when it comes to them. 

I thought about the things that I had to do to prove my love and thought about it “they” ever “proved theirs”. I thought about this a lot. If love means that you do what they want, then when will they do what I want? The truth is that love isn’t about doing what someone else wants. It isn’t about being who someone else wants either. I had to learn about what love really is in order to sort myself out. This was one very damaged area in my belief system that was full of lies.  At the root of this was the KEY fact that I did not love myself at all.

I started to ask myself; If love is doing what is best for the one loved then what would that look like in practice? (Remember that self love is a key part of the healing process. Remember that you may also have to think about the definition of “best”.)

 Looking at these complicated and yet logical viewpoints got me a long way out of the love fog I was in and really helped me to realize who loved me and who didn’t. It also gave me some practical application tools when it came to my relationships and with my children.

And when I was able to apply the true definition of love to myself, everything came together.

Please share your experience with the false definition of love, or how you came to feel about the concept of love.

Another little snapshot.

Darlene Ouimet

Related Posts: emotional abandonment, rejection and recovery

                             Invalidation ~ when the truth is not true

                              The problem with Love ~ Fi MacLeod from “you can fly with broken wings”

Categories : Therapy
Comments (50)