Archive for parents


Am I okay without a man

Darlene and Jim

My parents split up and eventually divorced when I was just turning 13 years old. After my mother went through her suicidal phase she started dating. She had not been separated from my father for very long when she started dating. Men and dating became her priority.

Through her behaviour she communicated to me that attracting men was the way to cope with low self esteem and pain. Looking back on what she taught me and how she impacted my belief system, she herself believed that men and having a man in her life was what she needed more than anything else.  She believed that she needed a man in order to survive. She needed a man in order for her to feel complete or even good about herself. Men defined her as worthy and good enough.  Her self esteem came from them. Their attraction to her identified her. Having a man meant that my mom was okay.

I had learned from my mother’s actions, words and teachings that men were the most important connection or relationship a woman can have. Because belief systems grow from layers of information, add to that teaching what I learned from the media (movies and books)  and from observing Read More→

Categories : Freedom & Wholeness
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dysfunctional mother daughter relationship

Seeing through New Eyes

This article is based on a page from the unauthorized biography “Oprah a biography by Kitty Kelley

When I grabbed this book off the shelf at Costco, I didn’t realize that it was an unauthorized biography about Oprah Winfrey. I thought that it was the real story. I thought that Oprah had agreed to the publication. I quickly realized that I had picked up something that might be full of lies and conclusions that had no right to be drawn; but since I bought it, I decided to read it anyway. 

One of the most popular subjects here on Emerging from Broken is the subject of dysfunctional and toxic relationships between mothers and daughters.  I think that as humans we are born craving love, community and acceptance from our mothers and when it appears that our mothers hate us, disapprove of us, judge us or generally never seem to love and accept us… it is a mystery that we are attracted to solving.  I want my mother to LOVE me.  I want a relationship with my mother. But I got tired of how the entire burden of that desire was left up to me with zero accountability on the part of my mother.

I came across a part in Kitty Kelley’s book about Oprah Winfrey that bugged me a great deal. I realize that this is an unauthorized biography, but the example that I found about dysfunctional and toxic mother daughter relationship was so good, that I just could not resist writing about it for Emerging from Broken. It shows the way that society Read More→

Categories : Mother Daughter
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Psychological Abuse

with clarity comes freedom

Continuing from part one “Emotional Healing by Understanding Psychological Abuse” I talked about how Psychological Abusers misuse their power in order to control and abuse others. In this post I continue with some of the statements that emotionally abusive controlling people make to create fear, confusion and the inability to think, and to force compliance and obedience.

NOTE: These statements are used by ALL controllers, and although I often refer to parents, these statements are used by everyone who misuses their power in order to control others.

I believed statements like this: Read More→

Categories : Freedom & Wholeness
Comments (148)
Abuse recovery
freedom is on the other side

I had this idea, well a belief actually, that my parents didn’t actually know that they were doing anything wrong with the way that they emotionally abused me. My father was extremely neglectful. He wasn’t interested in me or in my life. My mother constantly criticized me and humiliated me and stated in so many ways that I or my thoughts were not valid. I made excuses for them as a way to cope with it.  Emotional and psychological abuse is a tough thing to set straight in the belief system because for one thing, it isn’t legally liable, but I had to put the blame for emotional abuse where it belonged, the same as I did for physical and sexual abuse which WAS legally liable. All abuse has its origin in psychological abuse first.

At the very base of the lie, is the lie that abusers don’t really know what they are doing.  In order to survive, we create this “lie” to comfort ourselves; assuring ourselves that our abusers don’t realize that they are doing damage. (like they don’t know any better)  We can convince ourselves as adults that our parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and close family friends, (or ANYONE for that matter) don’t remember what they did. (as though they were in some trance while they were doing it) We question our memories. We doubt ourselves. We doubt that what we remember happened at all or that at least it didn’t happen the WAY we remember. But where do those doubts come from in the first place? Do they come from the fact that we were invalidated before we had those doubts? Even if we were invalidated about something other than the abuse itself? I think so)

So here is what I was thinking; If they didn’t know that they were doing something wrong, then why OR how do we get so good at not telling? Why did I have this “feeling” which was really knowledge, that it would be disloyal and even dangerous to tell? 

If serial killers didn’t know what they were doing, if they were really “out of their minds” and didn’t really know right from wrong the way that I was sure my abusers were, then why did they go to such great lengths to cover up the crime? Why wear gloves? Why dispose of the body and the weapon? If they don’t know right from wrong, then there would be no secrecy.

And why teach children to keep the secret? Why blame the children? Why do abusers go to such lengths to brainwash children into believing that without them they will die? Why convince the child that there is nothing wrong with what is going on? That it is for their own good, or that it is deserved punishment, also for their own betterment. Why convince children that they are to blame, and then tell them ~ convince them (in so many ways, not always with words) not to tell?

Have you seen an adult beat a kid black, blue and bloody in public? Not often I bet. Do adults molest or rape children right out in public, at the shopping mall for instance? If they don’t know it is wrong, then why don’t they do it in public? Why the big cover up?

I was in my forties when I told my mother that she could no longer “remind me” that it was my fault that her boyfriend came into my room when I was barely 14 years old.  If my mother didn’t know it was wrong to accuse me of deliberately attracting him into my bedroom, then why didn’t she accuse me of that publically?

And why didn’t I tell her a long time ago to stop throwing that LIE in my face? ( answer: because of the power she had over me and because I believed that if she rejected me I would die)   

One lie is built on a second lie and the layers go on and on ~ they become thick; the truth becomes cloudy, murky, masked ~ harder and harder to find, harder to remember, harder to acknowledge.  It was vital for me to start looking at the lies, and realize~ acknowledge TO MYSELF~ that they were LIES.

Please share your thoughts, feelings, and your truth.

Busting through the fog, one layer at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

P.S. Note: If your family decides to believe you (about abuse) then they have to make some choices. They have to make some new decisions and even take some action. If they don’t want to make those choices, then the choice they make is NOT to believe you. That is about them, not about you. Being believed does not change anything about the truth of what happened. Never forget that.

When people didn’t believe me, I doubted myself even more. Sticking to my guns and standing firm on my boundary is the only way that I can prove that I BELIEVE ME. ~ Darlene Ouimet

Related posts ~ Unfriending my Abuser by Patty Hite

Comments (53)

sexual abuse, recovery, depression

In my last post “Sexual Abuse ~ Devalued, Discounted and Unprotected” I talked about one incident where I was sexually abused and the damage that I became aware of. In this post I talk about some of the other events in my life that actually groomed me to believe that I had something to do with this incident of sexual abuse and some of the things that I realized about this particular sexual assault later on in my recovery process. I hope to illustrate how the belief system formed in me and how I was able to take it apart by looking at how it formed in the first place.

It took me several hours in therapy to dig through all the details so this is just the quick version to hopefully give you an idea of what I am talking about.

~When I was six years old my mother began teaching me that my value was sexual. It is important that you read the post about this in order to understand how my belief system formed. Click:  The Progression of Mental Health Breakdown

~I had already learned not to bother expecting to be protected via previous events that I had been ignored  ~ I highlight this in the post about the teacher who was picking on me so much that I developed a serious illness and the Pediatrician figured it out. Once again it is important to understand how a belief system forms even before the abusive or trauma event takes place. This was key in my recovery from abuse ~ to realize it began in several different places. This post has nothing to do with sexual abuse, but is about emotional abuse and how my parents failed to take care of me. Click: Psychological and Emotional Abuse ~ How Self Doubt Grows

~Regarding the sexual assault when I was 14~ it wasn’t me that told, it was my Aunt who told. I didn’t realize how key this was in why I gave up hope after this particular sexual assault. This is a huge point because I think deep down I believed that if someone ELSE told my Mom that she would actually do something ~ I was just so sure it was because I had been labeled as a “story teller” (and therefore my own fault) that that was the reason no one would believe me.

~My body responded. I woke up and my body had responded to his touch. I blocked this out and I didn’t acknowledge it for many years but deep down I knew it and it made me feel very guilty and ashamed. In my young mind I believed that I must be very bad for having that reaction.  

~My mother denied that it happened. She said that I was mistaken. She never for one minute gave any indication that it might have actually happened. Which at the time made me feel discounted and eventually it made me question my own memory. This had happened in the past too, but what was different this time is that my Aunt was a witness which helped me to at least partially accept that it was a true memory. I hoped that this time I would be heard and validated.

~although my mother denied that it happened, the fact that she added at the end that I had a crush on him, indicated not only that she believed it happened but that it was my fault. I didn’t realize this fact however until I was well into my late thirties.

~the fact that he was drunk was used as an excuse and it was HER excuse for letting him stay in the house that night. She had broken up with him because she found out he was married, and he showed up at the house drunk, and she didn’t want him to drive. SO she let him have her room and she slept downstairs on the couch. She also kept repeating that he didn’t remember doing it. (which in my mind meant that if he said he didn’t do it, then he didn’t ~ but that is like saying it isn’t raining when it is, makes it true)  If she had believed and defended me, this would not have been such a big deal, but the way she handled it made HIM more important than ME. And I concluded (what choice did I have?) that my value was less than his value.

~with each boyfriend that my mother had after that, she acted like I was her competition. She said inappropriate things about me in front of her boyfriends which I had no idea was strange, I just thought it was hurtful. I didn’t realize until much later that this was because she really believed that I had done something to invite her drunk boyfriend to come into my room. (I had a LOT of trouble accepting that she really truly blamed me and I preferred to make excuses for her in my own mind. I felt sorry for my mother for years and years.)

~Because I believed that my mother was right ~ that I had a crush on him and therefore I had done something to invite him to my room, psychologically, I believed that I had done something very wrong that somehow invited him to come into my room and I didn’t know what it was, so I spent YEARS living in fear that I would do “it” again and invite or cause another assault. I also spent years trying to figure out what the heck “it” was that I had done, believing that if I figured that out I would not repeat the mistake.

~Instead of being able to talk about the assault, to tell my mother how terrified that I was, what went through my mind, what he said, what he did, and how I tried to get away, I was caught in a second nightmare of defending myself to my mother. She never once asked me what happened.

This kind of self blame stayed with me until I got help re-wiring my belief system, and it had a effect on the way that I lived the rest of my life, the choices I made, my self esteem and my self image and the way that I did relationship. I also had to learn to re-parent myself and I had to start going back to that young age where I really needed a parent but didn’t really have one. I had to validate myself and stop believing that if she finally heard me and said that she believed me now ~ that I would finally be okay.

The complicated thing here is that the post about Phillip coming in my room was only ONE event. Mix a few more in there that are equally mishandled and add the other events that teach us that we don’t really have much value and guess what happens. Well I think you already know. 

I welcome comments, feedback, stories or whatever you would like to share.

Exposing Truth ~ one snapshot at a time!

Darlene Ouimet

Categories : Family
Comments (16)

With my Children ~ THEN and NOW

“If we are going to raise happy emotionally healthy, self reliant children with high self esteem and independence, who know their own value and the real definition of LOVE ~ then we have to be an example of those things and we have to know it for ourselves too”. ~ Darlene Ouimet

I used to feel a huge panic about the time it was taking to go through the process of recovery; like every moment that I struggled was going to damage my kids. On top of that I thought that every moment that I took to figure myself out was taking away from the time I needed to take care of all their needs. Mixed in with that was the thought that the depression and other mental health related struggles “should” just “go away” because I believed that depression was selfish too.  All of those beliefs, all at the same time, adds up to what I call “the spin” and it is a huge waste of time. Time that I learned I could spend on my recovery!

In some ways it is a good thing that I was desperate for some help and I was pretty much forced to deal with life as it was. There are two ways to look at everything, and looking back I see that there was a major upside to my having such a huge breakdown followed by recovery resulting in major changes; my kids also got to witness me dealing with life.  They got to see me FACE depression, tackle it and overcome it. They know now that it is possible that when life gets too hard, it isn’t hopeless. I was the example that they watched, and they watched me overcome. This makes sense to me now when I watch the way that they face the things that come up in their own lives verses the ways that they dealt with things in the past. The past was the way that my husband and I taught them to handle it. (and most of our examples were  “just don’t handle it!”)

In facing my depression and where it came from, I faced my parents too. I told my mother that she could not treat me like “nothing” any more. And eventually, my mother did what she always did ~ she didn’t bother with me anymore, but my kids got to see that I was stronger than the abusers. My kids learned that they don’t have to be treated like “nothing” they can say “no, I don’t think so” ~ and just like me they said it first to themselves and then to others.  In facing my depressions and dissociative issues, I stood up and declared that I was worth it; I stood up and declared my value, when up until that point my kids had witnessed their entire lives that my value was mostly in what I could do for them, how I could serve my family and my husband’s family. I thought that by putting my needs on the back burner, that I was modeling something GOOD for them. Did I want them to grow up thinking that a “good person” puts their own needs aside in favour of taking care of others, or did I want to be an example of independence, competence and individuality? Was I raising door mats or strong individuals with high self esteem? I hadn’t thought about it that way before.

In the old days, I modeled subservience to my children. I lived as though my only value was to serve others, to cook, clean and take care of everyone else. I was exhausted and believed that I was lazy. My husband (and I) have a big cattle and haying/grain operation. I was just his back up program though. I did the things he didn’t have time for, and I made sure that he and all the hired men were fed and taken care of every day. I didn’t have any life as an individual. I was just a wife and mother and I was dying. Instead of seeing that my life was way out of balance, I thought I was lazy, incompetent and selfish because I secretly wanted something else ~ something more.

Looking back I am not sure why I thought that I was going to raise happy self reliant children who took care of themselves, when I didn’t model that for them. That was part of the fog that I was in. My husband and I were still emotional slaves to our own parents, and I was really just a servant in my marriage and in our home. I just didn’t see the truth of it then.

No longer in that fog, I believe that everyone has equal value and I model that to my children. My children know that no matter what anyone says or how anyone acts towards them, THEY have equal value to every other human being and I live like I believe that I have equal value.

Love is not sacrificing oneself for others. Love is taking the very best care of me so that I can take the very best care of them and model real self esteem for them. it is never too late for parent child relationship recovery! My wishes for my 3 children make much more sense to me now that I pursue the same things for myself.

I welcome you to share your thoughts or your struggles and fears.

Exposing truth one snapshot at a time!

Darlene Ouimet

Please join me on the Emerging from Broken facebook page.

Categories : Family
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eating disorders

Here are some of the things children are told which contribute to the development of a belief system when it comes to food and food issues. I have said some of these things myself, not realizing what message I was sending. My point in writing this post is not written to criticise well meaning parents but for the reader to take a look at some of the ways our belief system about food was developed in the first place.

~ “Eat everything on your plate and you can have desert” This message indicates that desert is better, desert is a reward, and that desert is somehow special.

~ “If you can’t eat what is on your plate then I guess you are too full for desert” This message encourages us to overeat in order to get the prize, which is desert, which we have already learned is “better, special and the reward”.

~ “Save room for desert” Often only the adults in the room and at the same dinner table are told to save room for desert. How confusing is that to a child? As children we often have to eat the kinds of food and the amounts of food that THEY decide for us to eat, before we get desert. We think to ourselves ~ “I can’t wait till I am an adult. I don’t have to eat my sprouts, asparagus, meat, potatoes, (or whatever it is that you don’t want to eat that day), AND I can have desert whenever I want. I can’t wait to grow up and get away from controlling adults.”  

~ “Let’s celebrate ~ why do so many celebrations have to do with food?  

~ “You can’t have this (treat) unless you are “good” ~once again food is a reward for behavior and when we are adults we often consider food as a reward or recognition for any achievement.  

~ “You have been “good” so here is some money for candy”  I am not saying that all of this is wrong, I am just pointing out how we develop our relationship with food. How food becomes a reward and these things translate into a belief system about food. If an abuser has used treats and food this is even worse.

~ Making children eat food that makes them gag or making kids sit at the table until they finish a certain amount of food ~ think about the message you got when that happened. This is about power and control. This makes me feel like someone is saying to me “I don’t care what you like or how you feel, you eat it because I say you eat it.” This is a strange way to control a child and becomes a battle of wills. The parent always wins. Once again I encourage you to look at the message that you adopted into your belief system about food if this happened to you.

~”Because you disobeyed me, you can’t have desert for a week.”  

We see that in these last two points that now food has become a punishment. When food becomes both a reward and a punishment we have a bit of a conflicting belief about food.

What about these statements often prefaced by something like “You would be so pretty or you would be more popular if…?

~ “you would be so pretty if you lost (or gained) weight. You would be so happy if you lost (or gained) weight” These statements are loaded with innuendo and insinuation and come with additional info such as “you would be so happy if you cut your hair or grew your hair, if you stopped wearing makeup, or started wearing makeup; if you smiled more” and “You might have a boyfriend or girlfriend if you lost weight” All these statements indicate that you are not acceptable the way that you are. They teach us that we are not loveable unless our bodies, our hair, our clothing and our image, is a certain way! And we don’t even have an understanding of WHAT way. This big lie that we are not acceptable lives way deep down in our subconscious and cause problems that we don’t even begin to be aware of, tearing at our self esteem and destroying confidence.

Please add the things that you have heard or been told that contribute to mixed messages and a faulty belief system about food and food issues.

Exposing Truth ~ one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

Comments (20)
mental health, recovery,
The truth will set you free

As a child, I had no understanding of why things were the way they were. I don’t think I even thought that the rest of the world was any different from my world. My parents lived in denial which stemmed from their own childhoods and the situations that they were raised in. They had organized their worlds around their own wounds and traumas and they developed their own belief systems.  I would imagine that years of denial led them to raise their children in a similar way to how they were raised, expecting their children to have that fierce loyalty that they themselves developed for their parents and never questioning why.

I don’t write this blog to blame my parents for their shortcomings; I refer to them only to illustrate what happened to me in the parts that had to do with my parents. I write about how I came to be an emotional mess, constantly struggling with depression due to many different incidents, how I discovered the lies that formed my belief system and how exposing the lies enabled me to see the truth; the same truth that set me free.

I was conditioned to hold it all in. When we are children, we don’t have a choice if we have not been helped through a trauma. We just go forward from there, with the pain and the scars of the trauma. We can only learn positive self care if we are taught self care but because no one helps us through the things that happened to us, we learn to not take care of ourselves we learn not to speak about the trauma or about anything else. We don’t know the difference between what is serious abuse or what is just a person or parent in a bad mood. Everything becomes our version of  “normal”  We keep silent because either we have been told to keep silent, or because we have learned from experience that we will not have any impact if we do tell. We learn not to speak about our emotions, believing they are wrong and that no one will listen. If we learn that telling won’t make a difference we also learn that we are not important and we try very hard to prove that we are important. If only we believed it ourselves we wouldn’t have to prove it.  

So much of this problem comes from being told who we are and who we are not and from being told who we should be and who we should not be.  When we are defined by others we are invalidated as an individual and as a person. Invalid. That means NOT VALID. That is a serious thing for a human being and it can cause serious problems with emotional health, physical health self image, self worth and self esteem. One lie (one false belief about ourselves) builds on another lie and we carry the whole mess with us into our adulthoods.

The false beliefs that we have about ourselves have  to be undone if we are going to have any lasting freedom from the results that manifested in our lives from being invalidated, mistreated, unloved, devalued, neglected or abused.

We have to relearn how to validate ourselves.

I had to learn how to validate myself. I had to dig into that foundation that was built on those lies, expose it and talk about it so that I could knock it down and start fresh with the truth. I had to face the fear that the situations and the people who taught me “who I was” might actually be right ~ because in facing that fear, I found out they were wrong.  

The truth will set you free,

Darlene Ouimet

Note: This week I did a ten minute audio interview with Christina Enevoldsen from Overcoming Sexual Abuse ~ here is the link : how we uncover the truth.

For the article I wrote and refer to in the audio about the Dr. discovering that I was being psychologically abused  ~ you can find it here: Psychological Abuse ~ how self doubt grows

Categories : Depression
Comments (15)

hope for healing

I wrote a blog post a few days ago called “Parent Child Relationships ~ When Loyalty costs too much, about parent child relationships and when my parents split up, that triggered a few new things in me. I intended to write about how my mother leaned on me when I was 12 years old, because my Dad left us and my intention was to focus mostly on her actions and how they affected me and how dysfunctional our mother daughter relationship was. BUT I found myself getting really angry at my father. In some ways I feel like I never really had a father and I’ve known for a long time that whatever smidge of a father daughter relationship we had, it wasn’t much.  Writing that post however was emotionally draining and I knew that I needed to process the feelings and anger that was coming up for me. Memories and feelings were coming at me from all different directions and so as I have learned to do, I sorted them out and separated them from each other in order to get a better understanding.

Here is how it played out;    

~I was angry at my mother (in that instance) because she made me feel responsible for the outcome of her. But the anger at her self centeredness and selfish behavior came up too. I have always felt guilty for feeling that way.

~I was also angry at my father for moving her and us so far away from everyone that could have supported my mother. I had not really thought about his part in it to this degree before. With the anger came many other memories and flashes of memories that I had never thought about in this depth before either. Sometimes I tend to think I only have to look at the “REALLY” bad stuff in order to move on but this is not true.

Mixed in with both of those realizations was the deep down suspicion that I might have been able to save their marriage… that maybe if only I had been a better kid ~ and all that type of stuff. I felt like I had failed my mother somehow, and my father never noticed me anyway, which I thought must have been MY defect. I thought that if I had been “different” or “good enough” he would have noticed me for sure.

Right away I reminded myself that the defect in our father daughter relationship was HIS. He didn’t try. His lack of interest in me had to do with him as a father. Not with me as a daughter.

Next thing I did was get the “my fault stuff” out of the way by looking at the truth about the marriage breakup itself and assure myself that I have nothing to feel guilty about. I asked myself these kinds of questions:

~What was MY part in the event? ~ Well actually it had nothing to do with me (other then my pain of my parents splitting up and getting a divorce) and this was a truth that I never considered before. I had NO failure or responsibility in it at all.

~What could I have done differently? This is a question that I heard in 12 step programs since I was 18 years old. I took it out of context though and used it to hurt myself, reprimand myself, and reaffirm the belief that I always had a choice and the outcome was always something to do with me. In this case, there WAS nothing I could have done differently. I could not say to my mother when I was at the age of 12 ~ “MOM, do not make me responsible for your life. I will not support you in this way, you need professional help.” I didn’t understand any of that back then; I didn’t even have any context to put it into. But in the mind of a child, I thought there must have been something that I could have done, and I somehow failed to figure it out. I believed that this was my downfall, my defect ~ that I could not figure out how to fix things or stop things that really I had NO control over, but when you are made to feel like you are always responsible for the outcome of everything, and if that outcome is a beating or sexual abuse or being ignored, your ideas of what you can “do differently”~ get warped. I carried that old belief with me into my adulthood. I had to start taking this information into consideration and I had to become aware of it, in order to change my belief system.

It’s like there is this missing space between childhood and adulthood that needs to be looked at. And this works to the controller or abusers advantage too. We don’t fight them when we are kids, and as soon as we are in our twenties, (sometimes younger) they start preaching at us that we are adults now and our outcomes are our choices. Our messes are ours.  It is SO dang hard to sort out!

In this case there were several things that I needed to look at separately; the anger and disappointment in my mother, the anger and disappointment in my father and what I believed to be my failure.  In looking separately at the mother daughter relationship stuff and the father daughter relationship stuff and separating it all out from my failure stuff, I was able to get a clearer picture of all three and where my belief system worked against me. This helped me to get a clearer picture of the whole truth, the real truth and it also exposed the false truth that I had accepted all those years since I was 12.

I hope that I have been at least semi clear in illustrating how confusing this whole thing is to unravel. This has been just one snapshot of how I take something apart in order to see the truth, and how many other things get in the way of doing that. Please share your thoughts.

Exposing Truth, one snapshot at a time.

Darlene Ouimet

Note: I had these same deep down beliefs about the sexual abuse, emotional abuse and parental neglect; that I should have been able to figure out something to STOP them. Up until about 6 years ago, I never believed that I had “no choice”. As an adult I was taught and accepted that I was accountable for the events and the results in my life. I applied that teaching to my childhood and to the past without realizing it and it automatically reinforced the belief that I had since childhood that it was my fault, that I had a choice and that I was responsible. Several years ago I realized all my adult struggles resulted from the child hood events that molded my belief system and that I HAD to figure out the missing pieces of the puzzle in order to recover!

Categories : Family
Comments (27)

recovery from depression

When someone says that they are sick of being treated like a child, what comes to your mind? One of the commenter’s on my blog post Mother Daughter Relationship Lies said that she was sick of being treated like a child, and caused me to think about the meaning behind that statement. Such a familiar expression. What is being treated like a child like? What do we adults mean when we say that? Is it how a parent wipes your chin when you are eating a soft ice cream cone? Is it holding your hand when you cross the street? Is it being told to brush your teeth and get ready for bed? It would be pretty weird if our parents did that stuff when we were adults. So when an adult says that he is sick of being treated like a child, I get a whole different idea about what this statement means.

I have teen agers. My youngest teen doesn’t like it when I suggest things off the menu to her. She likes to read it for herself and make her own choice. My older teen says that I am treating her like a child when she feels like I am not giving her enough choice or freedom. My oldest teenager (who is legally and adult in Canada) doesn’t use this expression.

In my experience, when adults use this expression it means that a parent is treating an adult in similar ways to the way that both my daughters express this dislike above.  Using voice infliction and innuendo, parents can make adult children feel like we are not capable or too stupid to make our own decisions ~ still having the mind of a child.

Consider some of the following statements; these are meant to make you wonder about your thoughts and decisions. They are meant to make you question yourself.

~ You are not really going to do that, are you?

~ You don’t really believe that, do you?

~ You aren’t really thinking that are you?

~ You are not really going to wear that, are you?

~What were you thinking when you bought that?

~What were you thinking when you said that?

What were you thinking when you DID that?

The unspoken message is “are you nuts” or “you must be stupid”.

These questions are not designed to get you to think about what you did or said, they are meant to make you feel stupid. They are meant to make you question yourself. When we were children we depended on our parents to help us decide, to make good choices. This is what I think some of us mean when we say they are sick of being treated like a child.

My mother in law had a different way of trying to get me to do things her way. She would say “Well, you will most likely be ready to buy that next year. Well you will most likely breastfeed (my son) for six months. She seemed to have an issue with how long I was intending to nurse, and finally I told her that I would MOST LIKELY NURSE HIM until he or I was ready to stop. But I was really conflicted about it, and her words echoed in my head for years because I just didn’t understand her motive for trying to make me stop and I didn’t realize that she was constantly insinuating that I couldn’t decide, like I wasn’t capable of deciding what would be best.

Other questions are designed to control but even these still indicate a suggestion that you couldn’t possibly know what is best. Here are a few:

~ You aren’t going to eat that are you?” (I am talking about when someone thinks they are helping you with your diet, or insinuating that you need to lose weight.)

~You aren’t going to go there are you?

~ You aren’t really interested in HIM or HER are you?

~ Why would you want to do that?

~ Why would you want to go there?

If our adult / child relationships were conducted like this when we were children, we become accustomed to this kind of innuendo and control. It becomes part of how we do relationship. It is so familiar that we don’t really think about it. We don’t realize how devaluing it is. It has become part of our belief system, our false definition of relationship, respect and love.

When we fight this without really understanding what we are fighting, is it any wonder why we end up struggling with depression and other mental health issues?

Please feel free to contribute to this post with comments or share how this post impacted you.

Breaking out of familiar;

Darlene Ouimet

Categories : Family
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