Tending the Garden of Freedom and Wholeness

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I thought it might be fun to publish some of my early writing once in a while here on Emerging from Broken. I found some things I had written in 2007 when I was still coming out of the fog on many things. In this post (written to myself) I was trying to convince myself that the process was worth it but I disguised that uncertainty with a lovely comparison to gardening.

I wrote this in September of 2007.

Overcoming depression takes work
Darlene ~ 2005

“Gardening isn’t just about planting and harvesting.  It is about peace, serenity and reality.  I can truly be in a deep state of relaxation and feel at one with myself and my surroundings when I am on my knees in the garden with my hands plunged deeply into the soft earth. 

Gardening is like life.  I had to get the soil all ready to plant tiny seeds of freedom and wholeness.  It is a lot of work to make ready fertile ground.  I can’t just throw the seeds in any old way on any old type of soil and expect to yield a bountiful result. 

I like to plant in nice neat rows, however they don’t always come up in nice straight paths but rather crooked lines sometimes there are even empty spaces as though there were a missed connection.  Should I fix it, or should I leave some blanks?

And there are weeds.  Oh man, don’t we hate the weeds? We certainly don’t plant them, so where do they come from? How do their seeds get in there?  Year after year the same weeds too.  Most of the work in my garden is really about tending to the weeds, picking them out so that all the nutrition in the soil and from the rain can be used for the healthy life sustaining food sources I am growing.

Growing and building, that is what this process is all about.

Weeding out the lies that are rooted so deeply that they sprout up all the time. I have to stay on top of them ~ I have to keep weeding and tending my garden.

If I let my garden get out of hand, then the weeds very quickly shoot up and choke out the good plants causing me to lose the balance I have worked so hard to achieve.  It can take mere weeks to find myself overwhelmed by the battle with weeds.

The weeds represent the false belief system that my life had been ruled by. I had to get those (weeds) lies out. Some of them were stubborn, like thistles with deep roots that we all connected to each other… all throughout the garden.

A little weeding each day is necessary in order to maintain the beauty and tranquility that I feel when I am in my garden.  This is after all “My Life”. 

I didn’t always realize how valuable my own life is. I especially didn’t realize how valuable I am.  I didn’t know how to weed my garden or how to nurture or maintain growth. I had never been taught. I didn’t have a teacher.  The harvest had not been very pretty. Not much nutrition or nurturing in my garden in the past. 

So I had to start over.  I had to take in the big machines, the real farm equipment and turn that soil upside down, tilling and churning over and over, working out the roots of the weeds (which were like lies) until I had beautiful dark soft earth, almost the way it was in the beginning before anything grew there.  Then I planted truth, and when those old lies pop up, I gently and tenderly separate them from the tiny new plants of truth, I pluck them out and throw them away. A little bit each day. A little bit of tending, maintaining and watering goes a long way towards a beautiful life.

There is freedom and wholeness in truth. And when the truth is tended and nurtured, the truth grows stronger and bigger eventually taking over the space that was previously occupied by the lies.  The truth will eventually grow strong enough that the lies will not come back to rob my life of the serenity, freedom and wholeness that I have cultivated and grown.

Freedom grows here.”                                                                            

Darlene Ouimet Sept.2007

Please share your thoughts.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Related Posts ~ Who am I ? Will I like me?  See also words in bold throuhout this post.

61 response to "Tending the Garden of Freedom and Wholeness"

  1. By: Mimi Posted: 19th February

    Emma,
    I know my email seems so strong doesnt it?? I could never say these things face to face with my mother. Isn’t that crazy. I have to type it to feel like I can say what I want. In conversation with her, it always turns out bad. I love email for this very reason!! And, if she ever says she wants to meet in person to talk, I will refuse unless our relationship has been repaired. If it’s verbal, she can make it into whatever she wants and spread it like fire. If it’s in writing, she can hardly twist my words.

    I was definitely empowered, but now I feel like I was mean a little bit. I don’t wish to hurt her, but I do wish for her to stop hurting me.

    I didn’t know I was afraid of mother, and didn’t know the anxiety I’ve had in life was directly related to her until last year. It was when I had talked to her and I started feeling anxious things I hadn’t felt in several years. I made the connection then. It was alarming because I honestly had no idea she was at the root of my fears. It blows my mind now…. how could I have NOT known!!

    Thanks for reaffirming my email. I don’t have any expectations I don’t think. Just want to go about my day/life. When a situation presents itself, I’ll deal with it then. I was getting too comfortable without her.
    Thanks again for your comments,
    Mimi

  2. By: Emma Posted: 19th February

    Hi mimi,

    I think an alarm bell goes off when a woman is in her forties. She realises that she is no longer a child and as a woman has more responsibility and control over her life. I think when you are a teenager you don’t have as much control, so being 43 and worrying what your mother thinks about you sleeping in the afternoon becomes extreme.

    I remember owning my own business, paying for my own home and saying to myself why am I so terrified of my mother, I am a grown woman! It was only when I realised that by living independently did I see it was time for me to take back my own power in this relationship and to no longer be bullied.

    I think your email to your mum is spot on by the way and I have been exactly where you are and I know how it feels. I hope you get a positive response from her.

    xx

  3. By: Emma Posted: 19th February

    Hi mimi and darlene and all,

    I also remember that when I did mention things to my mother it didn’t actually change anything, it was a complete waste of time and I think actually made our relationship worse.

    I think a relationship grows genuinely stronger if you point out what hurts you and you can see the other person making the effort to improve the relationship, as opposed to making you feel that you are either telling lies, being over sensitive, taking everything “the wrong way”, being accused of being mentally ill or just being an irritating inconvenience to them.

    I actually asked my mother once, if you came to my house and my partner treated you the way your husband treated me would you come and see me again and she said NO SHE WOULDNT!! She also has at times admitted she knew what happened was wrong, but there was no sorry. She just shrugged and said I don’t know what to do about it all. She knows exactly what to do about everything, but she will do what suits her and as she is a controller she will do what she knows you don’t want her to do!!

    I totally agree mimi and darlene how the fact they put the responsibility on you to fix it rather than take responsibility themselves just shows how much they blame everything onto you as well. Its like its all your fault, now you fix it.

    Peace to all.xx

  4. By: Mimi Posted: 19th February

    Darlene,
    My mother has said that too. It always began with “YOU”. So carefully articulated so as to put the weight on you. I even found myself resisting saying that to her (using the word “you”) because it is an immediate transference of weight, and I had to somehow be creative enough to not directly point at her no matter what the circumstances were. I even found myself avoiding saying “you” in my email response to her just now. (but, thankfully, I forced myself so say it this time). Wow, the things that come to mind when we talk on here.

    I did just send her this response….

    Mom,
    If you look at the email exchanges below, I already pointed out that I was aware of some lies you told in 2011. You haven’t addressed the ones I brought to your attention yet. You have brought me up to have very high standards when it comes to lying. I am not drawn to people who lie, particularly when the lies are ABOUT me.

    In the midst of that, you also went to great lengths to prove to us that you NEVER lied. I believed that unfortunately. It was crushing to find out that you were lying, about several things ~ about your own daughters.

    At this point, I can’t see putting energy into making a list until you figure out what you’re going to do with the first two issues. I’ll hightlight them again……

    1) You said the 3 of us kept a secret from you when we met with XXXXXXX at a restaurant, and talked about our heritage. That isn’t true. YYYYY told you about it.

    2) You said you and XXXXXX had been getting together for 6 years but you kept it secret because you didn’t know how we would handle it. That is not true either.

    When you can write openly and honestly about these two issues, which are both huge, then I will know there’s been a breakthrough and I will work on a list. Until then, I don’t see a point in bringing up painful events, particularly because in the past you became enraged, ignored my pain, invalidated my feelings, and tried to convince me that black was white, or my memories were faulty, or my view was somehow skewed, or you just flat out bullied me, and lied. I’m not open to that kind of manipulation anymore. No matter what sacrifice you ever made in 43 years, it does NOT cover up or somehow cancel out the pain. Having said all this, I am in the same place I was to begin with. Before I do any work, I need an explanation for these two lies.
    Mimi

    So there you have it folks. The whole world is open to see my correspondence with my momster!! 🙂

    Emma,
    I read again what you wrote about your mom controlling every thought, behavior, etc. I had no idea that was happening to me, but it was. I remember one time last year I was going to take a nap in the daytime and when I was asleep, my mom called and left me a voicemail. Before I even called her back I was instantly trying to construct some excuse in my mind for taking a nap. She always strongly opposed nap taking (although she did for 20-30 minutes EVERY afternoon; she had that freedom because she worked at home, what little she did work). That day is when I realized I was orchestrating my thoughts and actions around her approval. At 43 years old, I didn’t want my mother to know I took a nap in my own home!! Jeez!! Ridiculous!!!

    Anyhow, thanks for the comments as always, to everyone!
    Peace and love,
    Mimi

  5. By: Mimi Posted: 19th February

    Emma,
    Thank you for your input. These comments are keeping me grounded. My mother has subtle ways of sucking me back in, and most the time, I never even realized it.

    Funny you should mention your mom glazing over. My mom does that too. She usually would answer, but, it was like she didn’t get it. She would say some off the wall, unrelated BS in order to derail the direction of the conversation.

    I have tried subtle approaches too. In the last few years. They were never things about me though. That was just off limits. They were things I observed her doing to my sisters. I could gently call them out, but she might say she’s too upset to talk about it right now, or, she’s just now getting to the point that she’s sleeping at night so she’d rather not go into that subject, or, if we were texting or emailing, she might not answer at all. These were ONLY at times when I was holding her accountable for something she did/said to one of my sisters. Any other time, she’d gladly talk about them and how horrible things were for her, between them. No matter what, when, or who I was referring to, I always knew to tread very lightly so as not to make her explode and blame me. Just BS.

    I don’t know what will become of our relationship. I didn’t know I feared her until about the last year (give or take). I was really even surprised when I realized it. I was surprised to realize she was at the root of the anxiety I’ve experienced in life, the depression, fear, anger, etc.

    The truth is, I don’t like her. I don’t want to spend time in her company. I don’t choose friends that have her qualities, in fact I avoid people like her. I can point out specifics to her, she could own them, but the fact remains, I don’t like the person she is. How do you really pinpoint envy?? It’s one of the things I believe resides so deeply in her that she’s nearly emotionally disabled by it. She drains the life and joy from me. How do I explain that she sucks the life out of me? Sometimes, it’s hard to define what it is about a person that you don’t like, you just know you don’t enjoy their presence. If that’s my mother, how do I say, “mom, I just don’t enjoy being around you”?

    Well, that bridge has yet to present itself, so in the interest of trying not to foresee, I guess I’ll give that a rest. I’ve spent too much time trying to predict/plan. I’ll just cross the bridges when I come to them. For now, little attention is going toward this email she sent, and equally to my response. I am of little hope that things will change anyway.

    Thanks for your comments. I appreciate each and every one.
    With love,
    Mimi

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th February

      Emma and Mimi
      Emma ~ YES ~ my mother doesn’t really “deny” the things I have mentioned (but I didn’t get to say many because she shut the door really quickly and never opened it again)
      The last time I spoke to my mother, she said “well you think about this and let me know….” she was putting the responsibility back on ME as always. And in the past I had always fallen for it. But this time I said “NO! I have already told you what I have been thinking about. YOU think about what I have said and you can let ME know.” (that was the last conversation) When I had some distance and breathing room to come out of the fog, I really began to understand HOW manipulative and controlling over me that she was and the subtle ways that she got away with it. (like this example i just shared) I don’t miss it.
      Thanks to both of you for sharing all that you have and do.
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: Emma Posted: 19th February

    Hi Mimi,

    I tried to speak to my mother using various different styles, writing letters, verbally explaining, being calm, getting angry and guess what nothing made any difference in healing our relationship.

    I also noticed that when I did mention specific instances of things that she did that upset me, I never got a straight answer,instead her face would just glaze over and she would not actually respond, she would be non committal, so in effect it was like telling a brick wall how hurt I was.

    My mother had absolute power over everything I thought, said, my behaviour, everything and it took me 35 years before I realised that she was not normal and that I was so terrified of her.

    Our relationship has completely permanently broken down and I have finally had the strength to stand up for myself and explain to my mother how her behaviour is abusive and harmful and that love shouldn’t be like that between a genuinely loving mother and her daughter.

    Over the years I have found that everytime I mentioned to her specific things that she did to hurt me, I was just giving her valuable weapons that she could use to hurt me again when she felt like abusing me. So if I said it hurts me that you give all your money to your other daughter and nothing to me, she will save that for the future when she will brag that she gave my sister thousands and has actually said don’t ask me for any money, I’ve given it all to her. (not that I want a penny from anyone, its more highlighting golden child syndrome and her cruel behaviour).

    I havent been on EFB for a few weeks as I have been away, but I continue to be so strengthened by the knowledge that Darlene has given in her powerful posts and the strength from all the comments and experiences I am reading about.

    I do hope mimi that your mother does respond to you in a positive way, but I also carry the realisation in my mind that if you have to explain or almost show a mother how to be loving to her child, that isn’t really a good sign for future harmony.

    Peace to everyone here. xx

  7. By: Mimi Posted: 19th February

    Darlene,
    The very same things that you listed, have come up in my mind as well. Why should I waste time composing some “list”, when she hasn’t even addressed the first lies I pointed out? That does mean I’m doing all the work. I’m not going there. I will send a brief reminder that she’s already ignored two lies I pointed out and when she can be honest with me on those, then we can move to other topics.

    I questioned the “God” statement too. I believe you’re right. If God tells her I’m wrong, then, I’m wrong because who better than the Almighty to have on her side? She’s a pretend Christian, really.

    I don’t have a lot of hope Darlene. It’s been shattered too many times and I have a really hard time wrapping my brain around a solid change at the age of 70. My sister gave her a very polite and loving accountability letter last year and she became enraged. Why would it be different for me? The only thing I think she might try to do is smooth it over and pretend to be reformed because I’m the only one left in our city. Pft!!

    I will draft this little note back to her, and forget it. I’m not at a place where I want to be dragged back into the pit after all I went through in discovering her BS. I’m just starting to have some great days. I’m not going to sacrifice those for her. It’s been too liberting and peaceful!!
    Thanks as always for your support and input Darlene.
    Much love,
    Mimi

  8. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th February

    Mimi
    I hate that “write them all out and I will pray about each one” stuff. What does that mean? Does that mean if “god” tells her that you are wrong, she will communicate that to you? and why can’t she remember what you have already stated? And why do you have to make all the effort here?
    This just bugs me. I know my own Mom stuff comes up when I read stuff like this. At first I feel like “OH YAY ~ your mom is willing”, but then I see the little manipulations that my mother always responded with and I feel that little red flag pop up. I am not suggesting that you give up! I have known mothers who really honestly wanted to resolve!! I am just sharing my feelings.
    Please keep us posted!
    Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Mimi Posted: 18th February

    Sophia,
    Ahhh yes, that’s where I saw it. I have her “prisoners of childhood” book and I think I looked up some other titles of hers recently. Now that I think about it, I might have read a “sneak peak” on amazon of that book. Wow, I musta been in a little distress because I couldn’t even remember where I saw it.

    I have enjoyed the “prisoners” book. Lots of insight in there.

    I’m glad you pointed out that our physical and emotional cues are more accurate. I dont’t think I realized that completely. Of course I could related the responses with the event, but I’m not sure I was aware that they’re MORE accurate. Good information.
    Thank YOU Sophia!!
    Love and peace,
    Mimi

  10. By: Sophia Posted: 18th February

    Mimi, the title of one of Alice Miller’s books is “The Body Never Lies.” Our physical and emotional cues are more accurate guides to reality than mental rationalizations. Brava to you for noticing and respecting that!

  11. By: Mimi Posted: 18th February

    Hello everyone!!

    Well, just when I was feeling settled and peaceful about the space my mother created with the silent treatment… BAM!! She sends me an email. Couldn’t have been an hour after I wrote the post above.

    Here is what she wrote….”Mimi, I am more than happy to be honest and accountable for anything or in anyway I have offened, hurt, insulted, etc. you. Would you please write out a list of what I have done, where and when I have done these things to you. I will have a better idea of what I have done and how to approach all of the things. I will pray about them and then we can address each one and hopefully move forward with a healthy relationship.
    I love and miss you. MOM”

    I’m sure this was written on the advice of her counselor. I have already given her two instances of lies she told in 2011 that caused great injury to a budding relationship I was developing with my dad’s sister. That relationship has basically dissolved at this point, although, some of that was my choice. I don’t feel that negates her effort to try to destroy it, however.

    I am working on a response that points back to the first email I sent that brought these lies to light. UGH!!

    When I saw there was email from her in my inbox, my stomach did a little somersault. That should tell me something!! I recently heard or read somewhere that the body never lies. I don’t think my tummy was lying…. there is some fear there.

    Blessings,
    Mimi

  12. By: SMD Posted: 17th February

    Sophia,

    OMG!…Thanks for sharing this piece about “Self-Doubt: Your Parents Still Live In Your Head.” It speaks to me about the struggle I’m having with visiting my family & maintaining some kind of relationship, despite their Toxic/Poisonous Ways.

    Now that I’m CONSCIOUS of their TOXIC ways, it does TORTURE me with it’s “POISONOUS ARROWS” and “ROADSIDE BOMBS”. In the past, it didn’t CONSCIOUSLY trouble ME much because I wasn’t doing battle with IT. I was simply trying to FIT IN and WIN IMPOSSIBLE LOVE just like I struggled to do as a child. My parents will SMILE & DENY IT ALL but MY SELF-DOUBT speaks LOUDER.

    This post has such good timing. I saw my APRN/Counselor today and she said something very similar. She told me that, if you go to dinner knowing your allergic to fish and eat it anyway, your poisoning yourself. Just like a TOXIC FAMILY. So, today I am not going to visit my family!….I already set limits as to how often & how long I visit, but starting today, I will re-evaluate setting more healthier boundaries as well. Thanks so much for this insightful post!…Amazing what I find on EFB!…Sincerely, SMD

  13. By: Mimi Posted: 17th February

    Hi everyone!

    Sophia,
    I love this piece you shared. The part about looking no further than in your own cruel self doubt; that really spoke to me because I spent a lot of time ruminating over what my mother’s motives were. There was a lot of confusion about whether she loved me. Her abuse was emotional and verbal. For me personally, it was hard to pin that down. There aren’t really definitive lines that clarify what’s abusive, and what’s acceptable parenting when the abuse is verbal and emotional. I got stuck there for a long time, trying to decide what was right and what was wrong. Did she love me. Was this every parent’s way of child rearing, etc. It has helped me to realize this…. would I be so screwed up if she’d offered some love and affection, encouragement, stopped bashing and lying about me, beating me down verbally, etc? I don’t believe I was born this way. To look at my self loathing, anxiety, depression, anger, fear, etc, was a lot of what afforded me truth. It was very hard to sort it out otherwise. Thanks for posting this.

    J,
    I’m happy to hear you’re still tuffing it out at your new place and that you did the dishes!! I have a lot of hope and good feelings about this transition for you. I was in similar place late last year where I was discovering things, and trying to know how to handle my mother at the same time (with this new knowledge of her). It was tough to know what to do. I wrote her letters I never sent, I spent days trying to decide the best approach if any at all, etc. Although I don’t have to think much about it today, because thankfully, I’m being graced with the silent treatment. RELIEF!! Before the silent treatment was in full force though, I did have to come to the conclusion that I can’t foresee what the future will bring. I had to finally let all that worrying (which is what it was for me personally) go and just say, I’ll handle it when an event arises. Until then, I have to do something else with my mind. Please understand, I did NOT have it mastered by any means, and I am not saying this should be your course of action. I only want to say, I understand J, and I wish you a mountain of peace while you make all these transitions.

    Darlene,
    I love this post. It really spoke to me as well. For me, it’s difficult to constantly remind myself of my worth. Like Daniel Mackler said, it’s just what you know, it’s where your mind is used to being positioned. I’m a work in progress, and I’m blessed to know others are with me. It’s really tough to turn you mind around and keep it facing the right direction. I have faith though, that eventually, my garden will produce fruit. I think I’ll try planting a nice ground cover… the kind that’s self weeding!!
    Thanks for all you do,
    Mimi

  14. By: Sophia Posted: 14th February

    Darlene, I was browsing on Daniel Mackler’s site and found this essay which is helping me to understand some of what I’m going through with the hateful voice in my head.

    J, I wonder if you would find anything useful in this, too.

    “Self-Doubt: Your Parents Still Live in Your Head

    “Self-doubt is part of the healing process. As you progressively break from your family on the quest to become a true individual, a part of yourself remains a clone of the family in attitude and behavior. This part does not want to change. It views the world through the sick family perspective and hates that the deepest part of you desires to free your spirit and stand on your own. The weak attacks the strong, and you feel this attack as self-doubt.

    “Self-doubt is painful and unpleasant, but valuable. It is the ever present reminder that the civil war within really is happening, and that this is no imaginary internal conflict. Self-doubt points out exactly who are the opposing armies and defines the relative strength and tactics of each. Self-doubt is the conscious expression of the battle between the true self and the false parent that you have internalized, and if you lack clarity about your parents’ deepest motives you need look no further than the cruelty in your own self-doubt. Your parents implanted this self-doubt in you long ago with full intention, however unconscious, of blocking you from progressing on the very journey you are undertaking today. Your parents of today may smile and deny it all, but your self-doubt speaks louder.

    “As you grow stronger your self-doubt will weaken. But this is not always obvious, because as you grow stronger you will become more conscious of your self-doubt and will hear it more clearly. Whereas in the past you heard your self-doubt unconsciously to the degree that you may have hardly even noticed it and simply followed its orders, now at times it can torture you with its poisoned arrows and roadside bombs. In the past it didn’t consciously trouble you much because you weren’t doing battle with it. You were simply trying to fit in and win impossible love just like you struggled to do as a child. Now you are stronger and realize that if you continue to heed its call it will kill you. So you fight. It is the only way out.”

    ~Daniel Mackler

  15. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 14th February

    Hi J.
    I had to work really hard on figuring out what MY feelings were. That was part of the coming out of the fog for me, realizing that I really didn’t know HOW I felt, I never really had to freedom to have my own feelings!
    Hugs, Darlene

  16. By: dave Posted: 13th February

    Hey J – good job with the dishes !! proud of you !! I have read some of what you have written on the blog and we have a lot of similarities in the way we were raised. I finally had enough of my parents and bascially told them to get out of my life and that i didnt want to ever see them again. it did not stop my father from threatening to kill me and my wife but i finally realized that i had to stop giving my power away to them and take it back for myself. thats when things started finally getting better for me. I took my life back from them and they lost control. they went crazy over it. another friend of mine did the same thing a couple of years ago. he got out of the controlling situation that he was in and quit the family business. his father tried to bribe him back into it with a nice boat but he said forget it. the bribery didnt work. He got out and his parents shamed him and tried to make him feel guilty for it. things have slowly gotten better for him.

    I can certainly related to not knowing myself or what i wanted or what i needed. it has taken me a long time and a lot of work to figure that out but it has been really helpful and i have a few people now who really value me and my friendship and i am so glad i took the steps to get my parents out of my life. they were doing everything they could do destroy me and my marriage and finally i had it and said “leave me and my wife alone and dont call or write me anymore” – of course they did not respect that so we changed our phone # and sent every letter back unopened with “return to sender” since i did that 7 years ago i have had much more peace in my life and marriage. You can do it too ! You have just as much value as anyone else J – you just have to believe it ! You can do it man – i have faith in you !!!

  17. By: J Posted: 13th February

    Hi again everyone,

    I was just thinking about my tendency to try and think about everything from everyone ELSE’S point of view first (as in, how will me doing/saying/thinking this affect THEM?)

    I’m pretty sure this was training from my mother. Somehow, I’m also pretty sure that thinking about how things made ME feel never came into it!

    I can’t really remember specifics, but I also suspect this was probably tied into the christianity thing somehow.

    Thinking about it now, it feels like this would be a huge part of the explanation why I don’t feel like I know myself, or my own thoughts/desires etc today.

    Ok that’s all for now. Hope everyone’s well!

    PS did some dishes at my new place other day. Hadn’t really done anything like that yet. Hooray for me! 🙂

  18. By: J Posted: 13th February

    Hi everyone,

    back again for more ranting… ok, I’ll be gentle to myself & call it processing instead…

    Umm… well I responded to my parents (a “nothing” text msg, just said I’m fine & hope they’re well. Just got reply asking if I’m free for dinner (nothing else). Meh.

    I guess as long as I’m afraid to say anything, nothing’s gonna change. I’m still gonna feel stressed every time my phone rings (not just from them). It’s pretty rare for my phone to ring, and even rarer for me to answer it.

    Ha. No sooner typed that than it rang. Friend who’s wedding I was meant to be in. I don’t think I’ll even be able to go to it anymore. My parents & sibling are going, and unless my friend told them, they still think I’m in it.

    Also there’s the whole feeling of my parents presence being more important than mine. But then I turn it around on myself, that it’s not my friend’s responsibility to uninvite my parents cos I’m too scared to stand up to them about anything.

    I don’t really like my new place. But then, I’m doubtful I’d really like anywhere. It feels very hard, if not impossible, to be happy when I feel like I have almost no control over my life. And when almost nothing seems to bring me happiness anyway.

    I don’t know if I’m truly lazy, or if it was the nagging, hen-pecking, anal perfectionism of my mother that left me a nervous wreck who stopped caring about anything as an attempted survival mechanism.

    I don’t even know about my father. He’s probably more to blame than I realize (or admit). I guess if I’m honest, he condoned the abuse by acting like it was ok, or something I should be able to deal with, as well as his own personal contributions.

    I used to work at a “christian” campsite, where I was bullied & belittled by the management. It ended up with them lying & falsifying documents & firing me on the basis of the false documents. (I had proof of this btw – they were also so f**king stupid, that the letter they falsified was one they’d already sent to me, which I had the original copy of). I had a friend I’d worked with who knew the head (or maybe 2IC, can’t remember) of the org, and he arranged a phone meeting, but the *@%# didn’t want to know. F**king so-called “christians”.

    Anyway, ranting aside, I know I used to talk to my father about all this. I don’t specifically remember what he’d say, but I don’t ever recall him affirming that I was being mistreated & didn’t deserve it, or that I should leave or stand up for myself. He did offer to pay for a lawyer after I was fired & had my complaint ignored by the head honcho. I had one appt with the lawyer, then gave up. Proof meant nothing.

    I’d actually totally forgotten until now that all the shit started when I spoke up about safety on the campsite. That was when the abuse started. And for the record, a couple of years later by total random chance, I found out from an insurance damage inspector who was inspecting damage at my new work, that the equipment the campsite was planning to install at the time I was there had collapsed. F**king miracle nobody’s died up there.

    Anyway, jumping back to parents, I can’t imagine ever feeling brave enough to actually tell my parents how I feel, and demanding better treatment if they want to have contact.

    Can’t imagine doing that with anyone. Afraid that I’m really the problem (too controlling, too anal, too unwilling to look at my own shortcomings etc). The fact that there’s hardly anyone left in my life, and that even the few who are I’m not sure I even want in my life, seems to indicate that as a distinct possibility. And either way, when I don’t trust myself enough to know, it doesn’t even really seem to matter.

    Ok. Think I’ve ranted myself out for now.

    PS thanks for your thoughts, Sophia. Not sure what to wish for you – I guess an end to the loneliness. Thinking of you, too.

    For me, even though I know there’s plenty of reasons to walk away, there’s part of me that just wants to go back to the “devil you know”. Also afraid of actually standing up (rather than just skulking away without saying anything, as I have so far) and finding I’ve got nothing left. Don’t know why it makes a difference… don’t have much as it is. I guess it’s just that family’s the final tie that I thought would always be there for me, despite all the flaws etc.

  19. By: Sophia Posted: 12th February

    I am at a point in my healing where I have learned to identify abusers of different kinds and I have removed them from my life, but can’t seem to get them out of my head. Developing compassion for myself is hard! There is a persistent inner voice which is constantly spewing insults and hate messages. Can anyone share specific techniques for working with this? I know I don’t want to shut this voice up or wall it off. I know that you have talked about how you worked with this to learn about your false belief system, Darlene. Can you provide any more details or point me to other blog posts?

    Congratulations, J! I empathize with your ambivalent feelings and am also struggling with the loneliness. But then, just a little time in the company of the abusers or simply the clueless reminds me of why I chose to walk away. I’m rooting for you!

    Hugs,
    Sophia

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th February

      Hi Pam
      I understand. When I read your post I realized that my mom’s birthday is this week. (but I have not had contact with her for a few years. The first one was the hardest) I feel love for my mother in a detached way I think. (which means that I believe drawing my boundary is love towards her because it isn’t love to let someone abuse you or treat you like crap. It isn’t love for me or her. Loving her means that I want her to live HER best life too, and she can’t do that in the sick system. So I am not in that sick system anymore)
      YAY to the bumper crop! Bring it on!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Sophia
      I have written about this a lot especially in comments on other posts.. Off the top of my head, I can’t remember which posts though. I listened to the voices. I asked them questions, like ‘what else do you have to say to me’. I listened to the hate messages, and asked myself it that were the truth about me. If I thought it was truth, then I asked myself why I believed it. The key is in finding the original message that I got in the first place and realizing that message was not in fact the truth about me. I did a lot of this work in writing.
      Hope that helps.
      Hugs, Darlene

  20. By: Pam Posted: 11th February

    Hi Darlene, I love the last sentence, “Freedom grows here.” I also, like the idea of freedom growing from seeds of truth. That’s what I’m hoping for. I have gained some freedom but last week reminded me that I’m still going through a lot of grief. My mom’s birthday was last week. It’s the first birthday that I didn’t send her anything or have any contact. It brought home what I am free of now but it also, brought home what I’ve never had. A good, functioning relationship with my mom. I’ll be glad when the new seeds I’m planting in my life completely fill in that dead spot in my garden. I’m not sure what will grow well in that space and I’m still amazed that after all that has happened and the way she’s treated me, I still love her and I can’t quite rid myself of the hope that someday, she’ll get it.

    I’m a gardener too. In the desert though, the main chore isn’t weeds, it’s irrigating and fighting off the bugs attracted to my little patch of green. The need is the same though. My truth seedlings need constant attention and nurture in order to bring a harvest of freedom. I’m hoping for a bumper crop!

    Love,
    Pam

  21. By: J Posted: 11th February

    Hi everyone,

    Been in new place bit over a week now. Not exactly thriving, but I’m here. My parents have called/msg’d several times; haven’t felt able to even respond at all. I’m see-sawing a whole lot – half wanting to confront them and have it all out (in fantasy at least – scared s**tless of doing so in reality), then feeling guilty when they call/msg and I don’t reply. Also felt pretty lonely at times & felt like it’s better than nothing (maintaining contact etc), but I’m not even sure it is.

    Think it’s also been harder since moving out not to blame myself for how my life is. Probably understandable, with everything all shaken up & different etc.

    Anyway I’m not sure what I want to do. I think I feel like by just not responding I’m at least claiming my power a little bit (admittedly in a very passive way, but hey). But of course I feel bad/guilty etc. Also since they’re still paying for some things, fair chance they’ll eventually play that card if I keep ignoring them. Oh well.

    Mitzi, btw I meant to say that’s great to hear you’re feeling positive! Thinking of you & really hope this is a defining moment for you in reclaiming your strength.

    Hope everyone’s doing well

  22. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th February

    Hi Mitzi
    Wow.. that is great that you are standing up for YOU and doing what is BEST for you and the kids! I made this decision too and I have never looked back. (in my case, my husband had to do his own work and in the end he saw his abusive ways and we learned relationship a new way in the true def. of love,but first I was totally willing to get the hell out!
    Thanks for sharing, glad you liked my gardening post!
    Hugs, Darlene

  23. By: Mitzi Posted: 11th February

    WOW!!! What an awesome comparison of life with gardening! I am saving this and re-reading it every single day!

    I have just recently been made aware of some things that have been going on in my husband’s life/marriage. I don’t know if I chose to be blind because I just couldn’t deal with any more pain at this time in my life, or I thought I was deserving of a marriage that wasn’t the fairy tale I convinced myself it was.

    So, a few days ago my husband moved out. It was such a relief. He has called and tried to ‘work things out’ but at this point, I have decided that I AM important and will never allow anyone to mistreat, abuse me again.

    I put up with the emotional abuse for so long, I actually began to feel that it was normal and I grew to expect and accept it on a daily basis. I was so caught up in trying to deal with my mother issues that I had no energy to fight back with him.

    Somehow, I have found the energy to do what is best for me and my children, now. I am done for now, done with the name calling. I have come to discover that if you listen to someone who is calling you names for so long, you begin to believe those lies about yourself. What a wonderful feeling to step outside this and be able to honestly say that I am NOT this person. Funny, how NOW, HE says he didn’t mean it.

    Too late…

  24. By: Roxanne Posted: 11th February

    Amazing. You speak for me.
    Thank you.

  25. By: Asha Posted: 11th February

    I really love this analogy – it really spoke to me because for me it represents everything that my journey is – growing, learning that things are not always going to grow how I want them to and being prepared for hard work.

    “It can take mere weeks to find myself overwhelmed by the battle with weeds.” – maybe a strange sentence to pick out of this post, but I think this is what hit me the hardest, because it is so easy to push aside the “weeding” to another day and before you know it you are completely overwhelmed by them and you don’t even know where to start when you reach that point.

    Thanks Darlene – your posts never fail to make me think and understand a little bit more about myself 🙂

    -Asha

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th February

      Asha,
      I agree! For me it has become important to stay on top of my new belief system. (How I think of the whole thing today) I had the lies for a long long time… I have to keep weeding little ones out by listening to myself and my self talk.
      Thanks for sharing!!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Roxanne
      Welcome to EFB ~ I am glad that my work resonates with you!
      hugs, Darlene

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