The Little Girl who cried Wolf; Belief System Development


Overcoming Depression

I was labelled as a story teller from a very young age. I remember my parents saying that I talked to hear myself talk. Although I don’t remember exactly what I used to do, apparently I was a little bit dramatic and I pretended that I needed help a lot and I was told that I would scream “help” for no reason. I remember when I was a little bit older in childhood years that I believed I was a liar and made things up, probably because I had been told that I was.

To put this in another way, I learned to question my memories ~ I learned to doubt myself. I learned to believe that I exaggerated and was a story teller. And I also remember embellishing the truth, nothing serious or life threatening, just kid stuff, but I think I did it for attention. I was so starved for attention and I think I did it because no one ever HEARD me.  So mix a little truth in with a little false, and add the mind of an abused child to the recipe, and you have some understandable results.

I do remember being told the story of the little boy who cried wolf especially after this one event when I got in a lot of trouble but I really did need help that time. 

I was about eight years old and my cousin was being baptised and we were all gathered at my grandparents for a big family after party. My grandmother smoked cigarettes and she had a lit cigarette in her hand and the kitchen was really crowded.  I was small, and I looking up and I remember seeing her cigarette as she held it above her head and navigated her way through the crowd, BUT she bumped into my grandfather; her cigarette hit him in the forehead, and as I was looking up at both of them, the burning embers fell into my eyes and onto my eyebrows and face. I screamed. I was no longer able to see, but I remember my father grabbing me by the arm and very sternly saying “that’s it”. I was about to get spanked for screaming, but someone explained to him what happened, or he saw my face and eyes, I am not sure about that part, but I didn’t get spanked. He had to go to the pharmacy to get something for my eyes. And that is when I got the lecture. I remember being told that this was a prime example of why I should not scream for help when I didn’t need help because my father admitted that he was going to spank me for screaming for what he assumed was for “no reason”.

All my life I remembered having the embers falling in my eyes as a shameful event. It was the time when something bad happened to me, but because I was so naughty and always screamed for help when i didn’t need help, that this bad thing, which was an accident, became a reaffirmation that I was a bad girl who screamed for attention (help) when I didn’t need it.

It was very hard for me to sort these particular things out, because there were a few other significant memories that added to the cigarette accident, and intertwined with it forming an even more solid belief system about myself. This is about how the foundation formed and about how I regarded myself ~ how I was able to end up blaming myself for the sexual abuse, neglect, physical abuse and the resulting depressions, failures, and so many other things. 

I will guess that I was between 7 and 9 years old when I did this horrible thing. I faked a nightmare. I had SO much trouble sleeping as a child, it seemed like I laid awake in bed for hours every night and in the daytime I tried so hard to get my father’s attention and I must have gotten some attention at one time from having nightmares (I do recall that I had a lot of real ones) so I screamed and cried and my father came in and he held me. Instead of that being a wonderful memory however, it was something I remembered for the rest of my life. It was an embarrassing memory filled with guilt and shame because I pretended to have a nightmare for attention ~ proving to myself that I was a liar and a faker. It was just one of the “things I did” that proved in my mind that it really was me that was the problem, that I brought it all on myself.

That time I lied, I was attention seeking, I was making something up, I was exaggerating, I was a bad girl and it was no wonder that my parents didn’t love me, didn’t want to listen to me, didn’t want to protect me from monsters that they told me only existed in my head. When I told the truth, I was ignored; I was told that I must be wrong, so I linked those admonishments to the times where I had been lying.

So let’s do a quick recap; (click on the sentence to see the related blog post)

~My first memory of sexual abuse was at the age of a little over two.  I don’t know if I told or not, but I was left to deal with it. 

~We have a story about how my mother dressed me up in a black lace teddy at the age of 6 and sending me out to dance in front of my father’s business associate, which I relate to being the beginning of learning that my value was sexual.

~We have the story of me telling my parents that I was being emotionally abused by a teacher and they didn’t believe me.

~In the present post we have a story of my being under a little shower of burning embers and getting heck for it, because it was a great way to “teach me” that I should not tell stories.

~ In the present post we have the story of an actual lie that I did tell. Yes there were others.

~ Then when I was 14, when my mother said it was in fact my fault that I got sexually assaulted in the night by her boyfriend… I accepted that.

If you keep in mind that as children we can’t blame our parents, because we believe they have the power to allow us to live or die, which means that our only choice is to change and be good enough to be loved ~ then do you see how these combined events worked together to help form my false belief system? Can you see how they led me to believe and accept false things about why I was not protected from emotional harm, and from sexual abuse? Can you relate to how I was convinced that it was me? That I was bad? I was unworthy of love, protection, and even simple affection and comfort?

It was in breaking this all down that I was able to understand how I came to those conclusions about myself. It was in understanding how the false belief system formed, that I was able to take it apart, re-wire it and put it back together in truth.

Please share anything you want to share, or if this post triggers memories in any way you are welcome to share them here if you wish.  

Darlene Ouimet


Therapist John Wilson from ~ Online Events ~ presents ~ Emerging From Broken – Interview with Darlene Ouimet on Sunday Nov.03 at 12:00 Noon Pacific, 3:00 pm EST and 1:00 pm Mountain time. London: 8:00 pm, Sydney: 5:00 am. Please visit the following link in order to reserve your ticket. Click on the first box ~ there is no charge for the live event. Hope to “see” you there.

57 response to "The Little Girl who cried Wolf; Belief System Development"

  1. By: Kristina Posted: 28th August

    By helping me to understand my false belief system and how it was created, you’ve truly opened my eyes to how great of a person I am. I can begin to rebuild my live on a solid foundation… All because you were courageous enough to share your story. You’re a life saver, whether you believe it or not. Thank you so very much dear soul.

  2. By: Meg Posted: 10th March

    Yes. What you say is so true… only I can know. And I do know a lot of healing has taken place in my heart and mind. Thank you.

  3. By: Meg Posted: 9th March

    Hey Darlene,
    I am really loving your blog. In the way that is helping me understand myself and others in a deeper, more truthful way. So thank you.
    Much of what you explain you went through I cannot relate to in the fact that I did not suffer from sexual abuse as a child. But I can recall having many stories of rejection and low self worth as a child which I believe led me to an abusive relationship I had in college when I was sexually assaulted over and over by my boyfriend.
    I haven’t wanted to think about those times and would rather just say, “I’m healed” and move on. Since then (6-7 years ago), I’ve come to know my worth as a person and come to fall in love with who I am, and really actually like myself. But how do we know when we’re really free and not bound by those past experiences? Will it take another relationship for me to find that I’m actually still stunted by my abuser? Should I see a therapist? I don’t feel these thoughts plague me daily… but I do think about it once in awhile.
    Thanks again for all you do.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 9th March

      Hi Meg
      Glad that you are enjoying my blog. I want mention that abuse is abuse and the kind of abuse matters not.
      I wish I could answer your questions, but I have no idea how to do that. Only you can know the answers. When I was free, I knew I was free. One day I knew that the depressions were over. I knew that I would not allow anyone to treat me in those ways again and that I am worthy of love and of being treated with respect and that I have equal value to every other human being. I just knew. That was not the “end” of my process, it was just a firm foundation I had built to stand on but it was a truning point.
      Just keep living and moving forward, the answers will come,
      Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: Kellie Posted: 6th February


    Another great post! I must admit I kind of speed read the end of it, but still got the gist I think. I was reminded about how un-empathetic my mom always was toward me. She was never the kind of person who just hugged away a boo-boo. It makes me feel sad to remember it. But, it also makes me understand myself so much more, and I want to root for myself — the underdog — for a change, instead of trying to protect her twisted feelings and emotions all the friggin’ time!

    Also, I was reminded of how one of my daughters, on a very small scale, had this little coping mechanism that reminds me a little of dissociating. When she was 6, she had this habit of having pain in her body any time anything was going on that she didn’t like. I was at a bit of a loss as to how to deal with it as I could clearly see that it was a psychosomatic response to life when things weren’t going her way. Luckily, she finally outgrew this habit. I just tried to be gentle with her whenever it happened and help her deal with the situation she didn’t like rather than coming down on her for “making up” pain that she didn’t have any reason for. As for the reasons that she has developed coping skills, there was my divorce from her dad, which he was very ugly about (I left an abusive marriage), and a couple of years ago, my son committed suicide. My daughters have had a world of things to deal with, none the least of which is a not perfect mom. She has other coping mechanisms now, but life seems to be settling down a little for her finally and she’s learning with counseling to be more presently aware of her own feelings.

    My favorite thing you said in one of the comments was “progress is the goal, not perfection”. How wonderful! I think I will add that to my Facebook profile! 🙂

    Again, I thank you for your transparency and the willingness to sort of “shepherd” others along their way. We all need a guiding light.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 7th February

      Hi Kellie,

      I LOVE THIS! that you want to root for yourself ~ the underdog~ for a change instead of trying to protect her twisted feelings and emotions all the time!!! YAHOO
      When I got to that point, it was a major turning point. To cheer myself on ~ wow what a concept. And always had been such a foreign concept too!
      Thank you for sharing !

      and as for our kids, they come along as we do. That is what my husband and I have realized over this last 6 years or so. When the kids see that the new way is the better way, they are willing to try it too. Healing is contagious, just like sickness is. We can model coping methods or we can model facing life and moving forwards/recovery stuff.

      Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Candie Posted: 12th January

    and to top it off they are using the SAME lawyer from back then!

  6. By: Candie Posted: 12th January

    Thanks Darlene.

    Actually it gets worse, because she is currently throwing all of this in my face again. She told her brother that I was abusing my oldest son and this uncle harassed me into letting my son stay with him for a week or two. Guess what? Haven’t got to see my son since. I got angry at my mother and told her to stay out of my life and away from my other children. I couldn’t take her drama anymore. She filed a false PFA on me stating I was threatening to kill her. at the hearing she give her twisted version of these happenings from 25 years ago and threw it all back in my face. She even went so far as to say I tried to exort money from a boy in high school stating I needed an abortion. I wasn’t even sexually active in high school. I now have to fight her illogical way of thinking and my uncle in court to get my son back after they forged my name to an “agreement” stating I give them full custody of my son, who i didn’t have full custody of in the first place…

    She is sick…

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 13th January

      I am sorry that you are going through all this! I hope that the truth will be stronger then all the horror and you can get your son back. I am so sorry for the nightmare that you are living through right now.
      Hang in here!
      Hugs, Darlene

  7. By: Candie Posted: 12th January

    To this day my mother tells people that I called CYS because I didn’t want to go to school and “it was proven false”. the truth was that I got up sick one morning and really didn’t feel like going to school, mouthed off to my mother and my father hit me so hard that i was slammed into the wall in the corner of the bathroom and hit my head off the hamper. I went to school with a black and blue face and concussion. The school nurse asked me what happened and I told her that I mouthed off to my mother. By the end of the day I was in foster care.

    Well she went and got the kind of lawyer that could convince a judge that the sky was purple and I was returned three weeks later. That is HER version if it being proven false. I spent the next four or five years being violently raped by my brothers almost every night. Every time I tried to speak up, my mother would drag me to the hospital and tell them that I either just tried to kill myself or threatened to do it. They would admit me to the psychiatric ward for observation for 30 days. I had to pretend to be lying in order to get out.

    To this day my mother still claims I called CYS because I was mad that I didn’t want to go to school.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th January

      Oh my gosh Candie,
      You had a brutal childhood. I am so sorry. Not being believed, protected or heard at all, is SO invalidating, confusing and damaging. And it is so hard to get over it because it was so hopeless and sometimes it IS so hopeless ~ as you say your mother STILL claims that you called CYS because you were mad. And she got away with it. And her story was validated… by the LAW! the whole thing is very difficult. This is a prime example of how we get so mixed up and how our belief systems develop in a tragic way.
      Thank you so much for sharing Candie.
      Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Elizabeth Posted: 5th October

    Having posted my last comment yesterday I proceeded last night to have huge panic attack. Ugh. i was nauseous last night and had to go home and take magnesium and anti anxiety meds to calm down. I hate this.So i learn declaring my emotional independence apparently scares me to death still.Has anyone else experienced this?

    Working thru the fears is the onl yway to get healthy but my fears are so debilitating. Its as if I am afraid of the way I feel so I avoid looking at certain topics.And that has narrowed my life considerably. Yet NOT looking at certain issues keeps the underlying anxiety going.

    What I have learned is that I AM a good person, I did try to help my family, I did try to be a good and protective parent, and I DO have empathy and AM compassionate. I can’t believe my family went out of their way to try to convince others as well as Me that this was not so. I found myself trying to be perfect to prove this but of course I am not perfect.But I see that the standards I was given to live up to were much higher for me than other family members.

    If I was ill, and worn out,and I was, with a chronic physical illness, I was characterized as being hateful; if I was in my room resting, my mother said I was in a snit; if I had anxieties my sister said I was crazy; if I tried to discuss behaviors in the family, I was accused of ‘attacking’; if I didn’t want to go somewhere with my mom, she interpretted it as not wanting to be around her;

    My mom used to say things like:’i’m such a bowl of shit’. It would really get to me after awhile and when I learned that nothing I said changed that and started getting irritated with her she would say:’I know you don’t like me…..’ and say I was attacking her.She actually would follow me to my room saying things like this, and any response I made she would say I didn’t love her or that I had ‘contempt’ for her. It was torturous.

    I AM angry, because I put up with this because after awhile I didn’t think I deserved any better and even thought at times;’maybe they are right about me’…But they were not right.

    I just don’t understand why this all had to happen. What I know is that I don’t have to be perfect; I don’t have to be ‘approved of’ by others; I do need to be as responsible as I can be in my own recovery and in living a sane reasonable life. My mom helped me alot over the years but the cost emotionally was very high. I took care her when she needed me to, as well.

    The person I most need to make amends to is my daughter for having placed her in this crazy environment, and to myself. I am taking steps to treat both of us with great respect and restraint…We both need alot of rest, quiet good times and to be free from manipulation, guilt trips, and mind games.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 6th October

      Hi Elizabeth,
      I am sorry that you had a panic attack ~ I do understand, I had one once after I posted a post about my mother! I was not even sure where it came from, but there it was.

      Your mother sounds a lot like mine. it was all about my mother and never about me. She was allowed to have moods and be mean, whatever she did or said was okay. Not so for me. Just as you write here.

      Watching you grow this last few weeks Elizabeth is amazing.. the things that you have realized are inspirational. Thank you so much for sharing your life here on this blog. This particular comment is filled with hope for the future, filled with new resolve, and I love that!
      Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Elizabeth Posted: 4th October

    I love all these comments here.

    The big anticlimax for me is having figured oyut the rudiments of the dynamics going on, is that the truth never really mattered to anyone in my family but me.That IS important but the loss of the family I wanted to have and that I loved hurts so much.

    How can we have come from the same family and supposedly love each other and NOT dig for truth- nor stand up for each other in the hard times? Why did the people I love never SEE me?

    The truth about behavior is not subjective, even though the reasons behind it may be. When it comes to abuse, if once you are aware that your actions are hurting someone else, or your not listening to someone is hurting them,why would you not try to listen and be mindful of what someone you say you love is going thru?

    I came to the conclusion that several people in my family have severe personality disorders. I have to have some emotional closure on this.
    In most ways they were/are more functional than me-but interacting with them is/was like trying to talk to cardboard cutouts who have an attached disclaimer that says: ‘we’ll jolly you along but we’ll tell everyone we know what a lowlife you really are’
    Almost everything my mother says about me in her journals, her accusations, is actually how she treated me, in a colder, detached fashion.

    She apparently ‘needed’ a abuser, but I never volunteered for that job and I resent that I was cast into that mold without my knowledge or permission.What made my blood run cold was she says she didn’t want me there living with her, but if she helped me to leave I might keep my daughter from her. This was never said to me in peron- it was in her journal…She apparently only tolerated me so she could stay connected to my daughter, as if she thought I wouldn’t let her see my daughter if I moved out. What a load of crap.

    There was not one word of love, admiration, empathy, understanding, or anything positive about me in her entire journal. The entire theme was what an abusive person I was to her AND my daughter, and that she felt this her fault for the way she spoiled me as a child. All roads led back to me being the monument to her failure….yuck.What a crappy job description: I was my mom’s testimony to the world of her failure as a parent, and I abused her everyday….what kind of need IS that?

    The whole damn journal is all about HER…none of the other things that made up our life that traumatic year…Its just I visited the Twilight Zone, reading that journal, much like having my mom for a mother….

    I am giving myself permission to say she haad a severe personality disorder and that she was also somewhat delusional and paranoid.I am giving myself permission to say that I did not volunteer to be the family fall guy, whilst dealing at the same time with some very serious family issues, some of which were not my primary responsibility but haD TO BE DONE.I wanted to be there for my Nana and was but doing it alone was hard….

    I am giving myself permission not to let my family off the hook for the way they treated me, and also not to dwell on it but to move on. I give myself permission to say I did my best; I sought help for years; I took advice; I had a breakdowns, and I kept turning to my family and kept having devastated emotions.I kept believing I WAS the problem, but that was not true. Now that I have little to no contact with my sister I feel much more healthy, less off balance. Most people you deal with in life don’t have an agenda to emotionally hogtie you and present you to the world as the resident piece of garbage. Wow.

    I do not know what all mom went thru in her childhood and those times will be lost in history, but I do believe she was treated as an adult by both her parents at very young age. She called her parents by their first names.I know she was sexually abused. She never told me- read it in her journal. But whatever happened to her she freely admits to disliking me in her writings and having never liked me. I guess I knew that. The rest of the family just fell in line with that, from what I can tell of my sister’s behavior to me.It was Ok in my family to treat me like inferior crap.

    I give myself permission not to accept my family’s assessment of me. I AM a good and worthy person, and I am brave to boot.

    Thanks for this blog Darlene!

  10. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 4th October

    You continue to amaze me with your sharing, and the way that you are working things out! Wonderful to be part of this process with you! Hugs, Darlene

    I totally understand what you are saying, I should have included in my response that was HUGE for me too, to realize it wasn’t ME and it was them! Sorry that I wasn’t clear about that.. when I read my previous reply over today I realized that it sounded like I was saying I didn’t agree with you, instead of that I was adding the point about making excuses for “them”. You are right though, it was huge for me to understand that it was them. Thanks for posting again Barbara! This is a very important point!
    Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Barbara Posted: 4th October

    Darlene – for me, knowing about Personality Disorders was so VALIDATING and freeing. It feel like a 10 ton weight off me. For YEARS I struggled with the inkling that something was seriously wrong with my mother and when I couldn’t find validation and I turned that to myself. Now I know for SURE – it wasn’t me, I am NOT crazy and I do not have to feel sorry for or allow someone with a PD to abuse me. Or anyone else. Ever again.

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