~At the heart of my message there is a sincere desire to somehow explain how the broken begins and where the healing starts. ~Darlene Ouimet
Once upon a time in the 1930’s there was a small sweet and innocent little blue eyed blond child who was born into a quickly growing family. Even before she was born, there were some obvious family dynamics. Her mother had lost her own mother at a young age and had become like a wife to her own father and the little girl’s father was often not around and liked to visit other women. And those weren’t the only problems.
This delicate young girl grew up never knowing that she was loved. She had no way of learning that she was a wonderful addition to the family. Her mother had not known she was loved either, and I’d imagine that the grandmother before that had the same story. Maybe her mother didn’t know how to show love since she had no example of it? The little girl had no sense of her own worth. No one had introduced her to her value. No one knew how to love. But she was cute, tiny, and innocent. Maybe that was her value? When the marriage between her mother and father ended, her beautiful mother was pursued by men. The little girl wondered if being pursued by men meant the same as ‘valued’, or if being beautiful was the source of value. The little girl had some problems with these new men in her mother’s life. They drank too much alcohol and were creepy and tried to touch her. She was often afraid. She may have wondered if being sexually attractive had something to do with being valuable.
This young girl worked very hard for very little attention and the attention she did get was often from strangers, neighbours and teachers. She was constantly criticized, never validated, never loved and not fed properly. She had to quit school very young because the family needed her to make money. One day her father disappeared and she never saw him again. I wonder what that did to her self esteem.
As she grew up and into her teens, the boys became interested in this sweet young blond haired and blue eyed beauty and of course that made her feel good, special, maybe even loved and valued. There were nasty men who were also interested in her, and that made her feel dirty, guilty and full of shame.
When she was 21 she married a handsome young man. She thought maybe her life would begin now. Maybe he would be the one that would rescue her. But very soon it wasn’t enough, something was still missing. She did not find her value as his wife; he did not fill her restless hunger for value or love. He was more interested in his work. Oh if only she had a child to love her. Then she would have value. She would be needed, loved and depended upon by another human being. Then maybe her life would have meaning. If just one person could love her, she was sure that would mean that she was lovable and she could begin to love herself.
The children came one by one. But children are a lot of work, and sometimes she was prone to depression and feeling that children are too much work and that the children should understand how tired their mother is, how much she has to do for them, how hard this is for her, and they should recognize her value. Children are so ungrateful. Children can be noisy, messy and cause accidents. They seemed to need a lot of attention, and she herself had always longed for a little attention. But she didn’t get it. She demanded her children obey her. She demanded them to respect her, but she didn’t teach them mutuality. She didn’t lead by example. She had an idea about how they should act towards her to prove their love, but she didn’t live by that same definition of love, just as she was never taught love. As in her own life growing up, relationship was barely present, and relationship was a one way street.
She began to have difficulty coping with life, and she needed to take medication in order to get through a day. She didn’t realize that she was repeating the same cycle with her own children that she had lived in as a child. She told her children stories of her difficult childhood, and as they grew up, they felt sorry for her, and tried to help her and assure her of her value, but because of the messages that she had accepted all her life, she could not accept value from an outside source and much to the distress of the children, their efforts failed. When the children grew into adults themselves, she still tried to make them restore her value.
Her children developed very low self esteem and self worth issues. Some of them started to use drugs, some of them got into trouble with the law. They all modeled self destructive behaviour. They went on to have their own issues, having little self worth, failed relationships, depressions, marriages and children all the while trying to find a sense of value in themselves; the same sense of value that their mother had never found; the same sense of self worth that their grandmother had never found. And I have only mentioned half of the family tree.
As I went through the process of emerging from broken, the single biggest key was in finding and restoring my own value. ~ Darlene Ouimet