The Life Long Damage of Abuse ~Food for Thought


bridge over troubled water

If someone told you that they beat you because they loved you; would you believe it? What if you were a child? What if you didn’t ever remember a time when there were no beatings, and each time it happened you were told that you were loved, that the brutality was necessary and it was because you were so loved? The beatings were for your own good. Do you think that over time this beating would somehow get mixed into your definition of love?

And if you were sexually abused, and the abuser whispered words of love, all the while taking the innocence away from you and hurting you but telling you that it would not hurt for long, and that it was all part of love, that you will like it and it is good for you. If this happened over and over again until it was just part of life, do you think that this kind of abuse would become mixed up with the definition of love?

What if your accomplishments were never good enough? What if you were told that they were never good enough until you thought the belief actually came from yourself? And what if you never thought about where the belief came from and you labeled yourself a perfectionist.

And if you were told that you were bad or if you were told that you were always in the way? Would that influence your definition of love?

What about your view of yourself? Do you think that you would have a clear picture of who you are and what your worth is? Do you think that your self esteem would have had a chance to grow and blossom? If you were listening to an abuse story from someone else, would it be more important than your own story? Would you be more horrified by their story then you are of your own? Do you compare one type of abuse with another type of abuse, defining one as worse then another one?

The definition of a word can have a different meaning to each person according to their own personal experience with the word and the way that they were taught to understand the word. I had been taught the wrong definition of what is “good for me”. When someone says “I love you” what do they mean? What is the definition of “best”? When the definition of good, love, respect or even the definition of abuse has skewed dimensions, we can have a big problem. We begin to struggle with truth because we have been taught false is true.

Mental health can be recovered at any age; these were many of the thoughts that I discovered which greatly assisted me on the road to healing and emerging from broken. It is my hope that some of them assist you too.

I would love to receive your comments on how this post makes you feel.

With all good wishes,

Darlene Ouimet

22 response to "The Life Long Damage of Abuse ~Food for Thought"

  1. By: Lora Posted: 13th March

    Hi Darlene! this puts a lot of things into perspective and helps me understand the layer of healing I am at right now. I’ve been reflecting lately about…”who am I” my life was consumed by the wounds of my parents and there are still parts of me that feel like a needy child..hoping that “my” needs will one day be filled. Being in an adult body but feeling like a child has been my life long struggle and now I am wakening more to the idea that I can take care of myself and all my needs. I am tapped into so many supports to help guide me through this process and sometimes I do wonder if there is an end to all this and one day I will wake up feeling “whole”. I won’t give up on myself and I trust the process of healing. One day at time is all I can do right now and I am grateful that I have made it as far as I have. I know there is light at the end of this tunnel and I will embrace it once I’m there. Thank you so much for all your loving support.

  2. By: January Posted: 12th March

    I can relate to your blog, Darlene & also to the comments above by the other posters. Brings back memories of having mom tell me she loved me, this from the woman who would physically & verbally attack me with either her hands, utensils, or just her mouth if she had nothing else. I am a fairly logical person & it never quite added up. How can a person love someone they so obviously hated? I learned to despise myself too. After all, if no one else could find a shred of good about me, then they all had to be right.

    Both of my parents participated in the tearing down my defenses & brainwashing me so thoroughly. I never did develop self-esteem. I stayed long after others would have fled a situation like that. But because my parents taught me that the world was a cruel hateful place, I put up with their abuse with the understanding that the known is much better than the unknown. After 51 years, I am just learning to find things about myself to like.

    Thanks to your blogs, Darlene, I am well aware that I am not alone! In fact, I have been sharing your site with others who have been through their own personal hell on earth.


    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 13th March

      Hi January
      Very good point about the fear of the known being so much “safer” than the unknown!
      Glad you are here,
      hugs, Darlene

  3. By: hermien Posted: 8th May

    This is true. I myself cant know or comprehend what love is really. and i think love would bore me perhaps. I keep falling into traps of things that feels like it must be love only to find out later it is not. Tho i dont want the false thing in the place of love ,i dont want it! one therapist told me that i have like a radar that brings the abusive people to me…..can u believe now i have a husband with…a what seems to b …….i cant talk of it yet here we are hoping for a professional outcome

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th May

      Hi Hermien,
      I think that I had the wrong definition of love for most of my life and I had to learn the right definition as I moved forward in recovery. Also, I think I had a radar too, but I think I was also attracted to abusive people because my self esteem was so low and “abusive” was so comfortable and familiar to me. I changed all that!
      Hang in there!
      Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 9th March

    Thanks so much for your comment Betty, please keep reading and visiting here.

    Cath mentioned not having a healthy framework to know what real love (etc.) should look like. That is a very big part of the process, to expose the lies, replace with the truth and rebuild that frame work.

    As so many of you commented, growing up in this fear and abuse has ripped off childhood, and done such huge amounts of damage, but I started this blog to inspire hope because I found a way to heal. I am free and whole today. The past doesn’t get in my way anymore.

    I am going to start writing a post that explains a little bit more in depth the process of recovery as it unfolded in my life.

    Thanks and Hugs,
    Darlene Ouimet

  5. By: Betty M Posted: 8th March

    I have lived 45 of my 50 years in pain. I isolate, I dont trust. I fear everyone and everything.
    At 5 my uncle started molesting me till I was 9. Then I was kidnapped and rapped for 3 days at 14 by 3 men. At 16 I met and moved in with the father of my children who beat me, put guns to my head . stabbed me . choked me. you name it I lost all self esteem if I had any to begin with. It took till I was 27 to get away .
    I suffer flash back and if I meet someone and get a bad vibe I dont hestate to show my dislike . I dont like to drive, I have to go the same was all the time to the same places. Like my dr or counselor. I am clastrphic terrible . I fear bugs bee snakes. If I bee comes near me I am back in the house to stay. So I cant not only leave my home i cant even sit on the stairs outside. Those dam bug know I am there LOL.
    I realize what was done to me is not my fault. But I have been hurt way to many times. Everytime I let someone in they hurt me in one way or another. Like the girl next store calls me a crazy B tch . Yea I am crazy she is the one high on drugs all kinds and dont watch her kids. I let her in and she stole from me. money , my meds you name it. I have a very short fuse verging on rage when I get angry . It all part of PTSD . aNGER RAGE , FLASH BACKS, FEAR

  6. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th March

    I am moved deeply by the honesty of the comments generated by this post. There is so much pain in the world and I hope this blog will be a way for some to feel understood and validated. The pain isn’t wrong. The abuse was wrong. The pain for me went away when I realized that what was done to me was not my fault, and that I was not wrong or bad.

    Thanks so much to everyone who commented and to the many who shared this blog post with others.

    Bright sunny blessings!

  7. By: Catherine Posted: 8th March

    These false truths were being poured into my mind before I could speak! I heard them night and day for almost 10 years! I was raised in an oppressive, controlling, cult like community. No one was allowed the freedom to think, express or question. Punishment and rebuke would follow any opposition! The words love and honor were always associated with punishment, humiliation, guilt and fear. Unraveling the mind field of a life impacted by sexual, spiritual and psychological abuse has been a huge battle!

    I had such emotional and physical symptoms in place by age 5, that I began disassociating in order to cope. There was no one, and no where to go for refuge. Everything and everyone was controlled by the leadership. No outside referrals we allowed, so any “support” was provided by the twisted minds within the community.

    Punishment, fear, humiliation…hell! I just remember being so little and sobbing! Voices were always screaming about surrendering and shame! Don’t fight it…! You need to be broken so that you will surrender to the truth and be saved! I remember the anxiety of my Mother to have me say “the prayer” before I reached the age of accountability.

    Cheri, I also share the loss and sadness of missing out on real love relationships on so many levels! I didn’t have any healthy framework to know what it should look like.

    Thanks so much for speaking out in truth Darlene


  8. By: Viv Palmer/Harvey Posted: 8th March

    Vivian R Palmer Harvey
    Well, since that has happened to me..I can tell you as a child I first refused to believe it..and I protested. But they kept telling me they beat me because they wanted me to be a good girl for Jesus. They were very worried about me going to heaven. So, in time I came to see I deserved those fact I began to look forward to my “proper punishment…”. This leads to some extremely SICK is extremely sick.
    This is the beginning of masochistic and sado masochistic disorders. Read my thoughts in chapter 12.It is well documented.. not just thoughts
    Chapter twelve in my book “The Missionary Myth, Through the eyes of a Missionary Kid” discusses the Abuse Tree.
    Thank you for your encouragment and support.

  9. By: Julie Posted: 8th March

    Hello Darlene,

    Thank you for your courage and honesty, for sharing a part of you that so many continue to hide, even after ‘healing’. I feel moved for you, for me and others who for some reason or other have a false concept of the word ‘love’. I have a story inside that one day I will share but for now the pages on the book beside me remain bare…one day.
    Sending real love and encouragement.

    Thank you.

  10. By: Just Be Real Posted: 7th March

    Darlene, this is an excellent post and is exactly what I am dealing with now. . . .”love” and the lack of. I appreciate your transparency and encouragement. Thank you.

  11. By: john wilson Posted: 7th March

    Hi Darlene

    Thanks for being courageous enough to share what’s inside of you. Its so hard to redefine our language and our outlook on the world, you are an inspiration!


  12. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 7th March

    Everyone,I am stunned by the depth of honesty in these comments. To be honest, I was very insecure about publishing this post, I felt like it was too “raw” and it spoke too much about what is inside of me, and the fear of rejection was looming just below the surface, but I saw it and I faced it. This is exactly what I want this blog to be about. The truth. Honesty. Depth. and the road to freedom.

    Thank you so much for your contributions, each one of you! You inspire me to keep going forward with this type of writing. These comments are validating, to a soul that never had much validating, and it is all the encouragement that I need.

    Have a wonderful day! Hugs and Squishes!

  13. By: Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT Posted: 7th March

    What an important topic – and rings true for so many people whether they struggle with self-esteem, perfectionism, confusion around what love is – and more.

    I feel sad for my own little girl – who quite understandably grew up with a set up beliefs that didn’t serve her well as she became an adult. I also have a surge of empathy for so many of my own therapy clients who sit before me as wounded children inside adult bodies.

    Thanks Darlene – you are a gifted writer who oozes authenticity.

    Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

  14. By: shimc1 Posted: 7th March

    I feel so much in awe of you- to be treateed like that and to survive and fight back to retain your sef-identity and self-respect. I you can do it, so many others will take heart from your story.

  15. By: poetry51 Posted: 6th March

    I think that recovery can happen at any age, i have empathy for the ones that take a long road to recover, your post made me feel ticked off that adults around me took away my child hood, but i am a better woman today. the one thing i like that was said ,is how hard it is to seperate what is false and what is the truth esp when we r young, i love topics on mental health and my heart thanks u

  16. By: Justice Writer Posted: 6th March

    So many questions, so little time. A few of these really struck home. As a survivor of child sexual abuse (multiple perpetrators), my experiences involved beatings, words of love, threats, and fear. You bet it was confusing to me. Love took on the wrong definition. Now in my my mid-forties, I can say I’ve never experienced a pure and loving relationship, other than from my step-mom and a handful of friends. The healing journey continues.

    I do have a tendency to minimize my story of abuse, and do not undersand why that is. Maybe because I was always strong enough to not allow it to cast me into drug addiction? Maybe because I was able to make a life for myself after all was said and done? Maybe because I know God took my mess and is using it for good. I don’t know. I used to live as a victim, and I’ve recovered from that. Now, I simply want to bring hope to others who are submerged in the despair, anger and fear I once lived with. If I were not at this place in my own healing journey, I may still feel my story was equally horrifying. When I give it real deep thought, and bring myself back to those isolated moments with my step-father, and look at the neglect and abuse on my mother’s part, I see the nature of my abuse as it really is. Healing and forgiveness toward my perpetrators has helped in not living with the horror of my trauma.

    So true, with false truths is the most common psychological aftereffect. It steals our identity.

  17. By: Jeanette Posted: 6th March

    Darlene, this post makes me feel sad for the child that didn’t know that life could be more than pain. I’m still that child, but hopeful to get beyond it through healing and emotional and cognitive growth.

    I’m still trying to decide which was more painful, the original experiences or the journey to uncover them and deal with them in order to come to that healing. I’m thinking the journey to uncover, as it is one of facing it all and learning to not dissociate to avoid it, a whole new experience that is tough tough tough!!!

    This post will resonate with every person who experienced a painful childhood. I know it took some getting in touch with a great deal of negative stuff to produce it. Thank you for doing that. 🙂

    Hugs to you as always!

  18. By: Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker Posted: 6th March

    In many ways this was my story too. I wasn’t beaten but I was sexually abused first by my mother’s oldest brother and then starting a month later by my dad. The abuse from my uncle was a one weekend event but the sexual abuse from my dad went on for at least 6 years. I know the abuse started when I was 11 years old. It could have started when I was as young as 3 years old. I don’t have the 3-year- old memories to prove it started that young, just some clues that it might have.

    What does this article make me feel? Very, very sad for the little girls that we were. I want to hug and hold those little girls and tell them that they are loved today. They are protected today. They have a great value to you and me today. Without my inner child, I would not have survived childhood. She was the essence of me that I hid from the hurts of the world. She went inside of me deep enough in hiding so that she couldn’t feel the physical pain. She is the part that I shut away deep inside of me to protect her.

  19. By: Splinteredones Posted: 6th March

    I’ve been crying for fifteen minutes after reading this and I don’t
    know why. You have that effect, thanks.

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