The Progression of Mental Health Breakdown


Mental Health, depression over time

“And then I identify as a failure…. I also believe I am stupid. And I don’t think I deserve anything better and sometimes I can see how it all spirals down into a deep dark foggy place where I am sinking in deep pockets of muck”. Darlene Ouimet ~ in the past.

At the age of 6 my mother dressed me up in one of her black lace teddies and panties which just hung like a black lacy sack on me, and she sent me out to ‘dance’ in front of my father and one of his business associates who was spending the night at our home. I was so excited and just bursting with nervous laughter; I loved to dress up and I already had a crush on this young man and thought it would be such a surprise when I popped out in my outfit dancing and twirling in his honour. I was baffled and really mortified when I saw the look of shock on my father’s face. That look told me that I had just done something terribly wrong, but I had no idea what the heck it was.

I have written about how as a teenager, I had a crush on my mother’s boyfriend, and one night he came into my bedroom when I was sleeping and he molested me. As I have said before, all my life, by my mother’s example due to what I think she believed her value was, my mother taught me that my value was sexual.  Having a grown man in my bedroom, touching me  telling me that I am beautiful and trying to lay beside me in bed was horrifying and frightful and I didn’t feel valued by it. I felt nothing but fear. Even though my Aunt, (my mom’s sister) rescued me from what was probably going to be rape, and told my mother that her boyfriend was trying to get in bed with me wearing nothing but his underwear,  my mother didn’t believe either of us. She insisted that I misunderstood and then she blamed it on me because I had a crush on him.  

It is important to note here how the lies work. My mother said that I was mistaken but then added “well Darlene, you did have a crush on him” which actually indicates that she did believe me after all. I didn’t realize that by her accusation, she admitted to believing me until I was in my early forties! Then to make matters worse, after that incident my mother treated me like her competition instead of her daughter, which further enforced my fear that the sexual encounter was something that I caused. My mother acted like I was after her boyfriends but I didn’t know what I had done that brought it on. Just like when I was dressed up in my mother’s black lace, once again I had no idea what I had actually done wrong. A young mind comes to all kinds of wrong conclusions.

My mother approved of me when I was quiet, compliant, and when I made her look good. Those things by themselves might not have caused a huge problem. She also approved of me when I was sexually appealing to men, and when men were attracted to me. This was true even when I was a teenager and the men were real men and not boys, unless she thought that the man in question was hers. I became what and who she wanted me to be, I became interested in being all those things, and eventually those things defined me. Ultimately I believed that my value was in how sexually attractive that I was. It was about whether or not men desired me.

There was a conflict though. I had been sexually molested several different times beginning at the age of two plus due to my conditioning, I accepted that I had done something to cause it, and I had no idea what I had done, which created confusion in my thinking process. Being desired validated me, and being desired was frightening and dangerous at the same time. Since I had been taught (over time) that everything that happened to me was my fault and the belief that I was also responsible for someone else’s actions and moods caused me to constantly question myself about what I had done or had neglected to do to cause the reaction of the other person. Since I could not figure it out, I lived in fear of doing “it” again by accident. I worte about this fear in my post about psychological abuse years later.

This kind of conditioning permeates into all of our future relationships.  Imagine what happens when we have this belief ~ that everything is our fault and that we deserve whatever results we create and then to make matters worse, we are told as adults that we are in charge of our own lives and we can’t for the life of us figure out how to change anything. This becomes the lens that we view our lives through and we easily accept that we are always the problem, except that we honestly don’t understand or comprehend why. (I refer to this state of mind as “the spin”.) All of the conditioning and belief systems stuff becomes part of how we live and we wonder why we have so many struggles with our mental health because we don’t always relate the past to the present in this way.

So you can see how I identified as a failure. I also thought I was stupid because I could not get a grip and kept getting into devaluing relationships;  I didn’t think I deserved anything better. You can see how it all spiralled down into a deep dark foggy place full of sludgy muck that was really hard to navigate my way out of. And since I did find my way out of it, I am really passionate about sharing my breakthroughs with you.

P.S. Many of you have not been sexually abused, but it is my hope that you can relate to this story about belief system development because the way it happens can be applied to so many other examples. I welcome your thoughts and feedback as always.

Darlene Ouimet  ~ in the present

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32 response to "The Progression of Mental Health Breakdown"

  1. By: Delia Posted: 27th March

    Thankyou, you are a very accepting person!

  2. By: Delia Posted: 20th March

    I can relate to so much on this site, thankyou for blazing this trail that allows us to walk comfortably together!
    I have been on this healing journey since my breakdown 2 years ago which forced me to face what was causing me to feel so overwhelmed. I fought to research about all the symptoms, issues,…and followed the trail to abusive behaviors, why children dont disclose, sexual predators, …
    The whole time feeling that creepy feeling in the back of my neck like they are somehow still watching me, and that they knew I was looking up something that goes against them and I was taking the chance to learn even if they found out and may freak out for my even considering that they would ever do something that would actually be wrong. It was the first time I stepped out of that prison. I am so proud that I did, even though it was the hardest thing I ever did. This world out of that prison is so different. Outside of that prison there is the chance that I can be me, be free, feel, think, do what I choose, raise my kids my way, heal, grow, question family, make mistakes…. I never had these chances before. I was trained to stay in my place, to know that there was nothing else, no other way. It was killing me, and my body, mind & spirit was shutting down. I couldn’t continue on that way.
    Now that I did learn that it was wrong on so many levels & in so many categories, I couldn’t go back.
    I have never felt better, even though my emotions are still very repressed, and I have to fight these habits of sacrificing my needs, I don’t have the physical symptoms since I went no contact!
    One thing I am struggling with is that I am pulled in 2 different directions from being abused simultaneously by two different family members. I am trying to learn to love myself. I am trying to learn to take care of myself. The problem is that my mom taught me that it was a sin(vanity) to love myself, and caring about how I looked. So, as a pre_teen, I would try and explore styles and skincare products… That time in my life I learned that looking like my mom and acting like my mom was the only way to protect myself from her punishments, and on the otherside, protecting myself from my brother’s arousal. Cause anytime I tried to be me, take care of me, follow which styles and things I like….my brother would be attracted to, and stalk me, invade my privacy, molest me, groom me into thinking he would never do anything actually wrong, what he was doing, did do, wanted to do was normal, and that I was spiteful and wrong to even have thoughts or feelings that questioned him. When I would not come home for weeks, I would just get punished more , so I learned that home is my only option, questioning myself, thoughts,feelings , memories, was my only option, and if I stayed in my place I was safer, but I had to stay home because my parents made it clear that I had no choice when they dropped me off on the side of the road with my brother and told us that we have to obey their rules or we can’t live there. So I believed there was no other option, so we made our way home, and I tried from then to be a good daughter. But, when my brother worked his way up to him thinking he can get away with anything, he tried to convince me that he needed to feel how I felt inside. Thankfully, my intuition screamed incest and I was able to question him that time. He tried convincing me that it was wrong for me to even think that as my brother, he would ever even consider to do anything near something like that. He usually wouldn’t leave until he regained my trust and was comfortably dissociated again, but this time I threatened to scream, made him get out, fought the door shut. I guess the thought of penetration was the last straw. I knew I had to find a way for him to look at me as a little sister instead of a sex toy. I knew my mom wouldnt care because he could get away with anything, I would be told to ignore him, or be punished for crying, or complaining just like old times. I planned a victimization. Then I cut myself up, laid on the floor,when my brother came home with his friend I told him that I had been attacked. For the first time in mylife, my big brother acted like a big brother. Of course the police could tell the injuries were self inflicted, I got stiched up, wrote a police report stating that I did it for attention. Got community service for public mischief. My family added crazy to my list of defects, never spoke of it as it was an embarassment to the family image. I was put on more meds to control me, and my brother never physically continued in his mission so I succeeded in that desperate attempt. I went on to be a good daughter, sister, girl and stayed in that prison of believing I was the problem, and the family is fine for the next 12 years till my breakdown.
    I have only told my husband, an aunt, my psychiatrist, and group therapy. Thank you for this opportunity to heal along side others who seem to understand!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 20th March

      Hi Delia
      Welcome to EFB!
      You are not alone in this ~ even in staging that you were attacked. This is a common way to get SOME validation and attention and if you were not so invalidated in the first place you wouldn’t have had to resort to those measures. And the worst part is that then ‘they’ use it as the proof against us! ugg. This is so hard. But they are still the ones at fault for never putting your self esteem in place in the first place.
      I am so glad that you are here!
      hugs, Darlene

  3. By: Gale Posted: 25th June

    I can relate to a mother treating you like her competition instead of her daughter. Being desired frightened me, because I ended up being rejected for not being good enough or alienated for being pretty from everyone, even to this day it feels like I have to hide under a rock or I am a bad person. All for show and tell. Dam if I do and dam if I don’t take pride in my appearance and try to love. I thought everything was my fault and so I tried harder, to earn what was never attainable. I thought my expectations were too high! There are nice men out there, but honestly, they scare me. I read this is the pattern we set up for ourselves, but who would want a person so insecure they can’t handle or trust another person to be genuine to them. I trust and the head games begin. And women, they don’t need to be intimidated, but they seem to relish in my weight gain or injuries, and see me as a threat or competition. I am so tired of women as two faced as my mother. I am trying to look after myself, inside and out but I realize I have very little value of myself. Your posts have helped, Thank you.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 26th June

      Hi Gale
      yes, I can relate to this. The bottom line for me has been to do the healing work. Then the changes that happened on the inside of me changed everything else included who I wanted to be friends with and get to know better. I stopped thinking about myself as a weight and more as a person. I started to trust myself that I could take care of myself including keeping myself safe. My self value came out of doing the healing work.
      Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: Chris Posted: 24th June

    I can completely relate when you talk about the downward spiral. I feel totally fine somedays – and then something triggers me (and I often don’t even notice it). I end up feeling down, worthless and filled with shame. Normally I just try to comfort myself through that experience, but it’s so debilitating to be scared in bed. I need to work or study and I’m curled up in a ball on my bed watching movies or cartoons. I try not to be hard on myself for needing the nurturing, but it’s frustrating to be 30 years old and acting like a 3 year old when I’m upset.

    I’ve been successful academically for years, so I don’t in many aspects consider myself a failure. But, I struggle with seeing myself as defective emotionally because I can’t seem to “get it together.” And, then my interpersonal relationships – mainly with men – are a complete disaster. The spin as you called it is exhausting.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th June

      Hi Chris
      I felt ashamed and even guilty for crawling into bed when I needed to take care of myself but I just kept telling myself that it was okay. I didn’t realize that I was learning to replace what had been missing. I just told myself that it was better than being drunk or using drugs and that it was an improvement over ALWAYS being in bed like when my depressions were at their worst and I couldn’t get OUT of bed. Eventually I found that I crawled under the covers less and less and looking back I feel so good about the fact that I learned to take care of myself and nurture myself! I got it together by facing the pain and going through the healing process and many days I just had to reassure myself over and over again that I could make my own decisions including when it was time to crawl under the covers!
      Thanks for sharing!
      Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Snowbaby Posted: 23rd April

    I disassociate often and I never know when it will happen. I have been sexually,physically and mentally abused by family members such as my father and grandfather…I was hospitalized a few times as a child and I remember several of the nurses forcing children to perform sexual acts on each other, little children to babies, orally. I remmber a nurse sexually abusing me too. How could that be?

    I am a difficult person to be around,nervous,anxious, always afraid of people, victim mentality and easy to take advantage of. I really have not much hope left after all these years. I am in my 50’s now. I am up and down like a yo yo and though I go to counselling, is like I am never the same way twice. Cannot make up my mind to make any decisons and so confused and disoriented by times.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd April

      Hi Snowbaby
      Welcome to EFB You have found the right website! All the things you mentioned are the things I write about and we disucss here!
      There is hope and I hope you will hang in here with us! Clarity takes time but I have overcome all of the past trauma and recovered from dissociation and chronic depressions.
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: J Posted: 24th June

    I don’t remember being sexually abused by anyone. That being said, when you were talking about your memories of childhood, a few things came to me. I can see my Mother doing a similar thing because she thinks I would be cute and I would have been all for it, just not in intimate wear. I also think it would have been her way to expose me to someone’s thoughts.

    She used to do this with my children when I lived with her. My son who would have been just over 1 and walking would come into the kitchen with no clothes or diaper on. My Mother and her boyfriend in the other room. I would ask where his clothes and diaper went. She’d claim he took them off. My son wasn’t old enough to know how to do it and I know my son. At 14 months he maybe could take off his pants and the odd time his diaper, but in about 60 seconds he went completely naked. All she could do when I was disgusted and telling her what a freak she was was giggle like it was funny. It turns my stomach when I think back to my childhood.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th June

      Hi J,
      The farther along I go in this life, the more I realize that sexual abuse was a lot more then what I thought it was. This kind of thing is pretty sick and it turns my stomach too. As I went along in my emotional healing, I realized all kinds of these little things that I had not realized were sick. (some not so little things too!) When we grow us this way, our normal is a false normal, but we don’t realize it because it is all we ever knew. The re-wireing process is really what this site is all about.
      Thanks for sharing, hugs, Darlene

  7. By: Vicki Posted: 12th January

    I hope I’m not going to be the only one who was, from the beginning of doing what I had to do-to a perverted next door neighbor-disgusted beyond all imagining. I didn’t feel a crush or any other type of liking for this person.
    All I knew is that he had food and, when I was 4, 5 and 6 I was literally being starved to death. It’s just that it was happening slowly instead of fast. By the time the law took me away from the home, I had enormous swellings on the backs of my knees and in other places like it (armpits and, to a lesser degree, elbows) that were a sign of severe malnutrition. I was also hallucinating from lack of food and probably passing out.
    Being sexually abused by a neighbor didn’t feel like a high price to pay to get some food-even if it was simple sugar and wouldn’t last and didn’t stop the hallucinations for good. It stopped them for at least 20 minutes, and I can’t explain what 20 minutes of being fed feels like to someone who’s never experienced not eating.
    It’s really true that hunger is a base instinct, b/c it trumps every other thing. Even, apparently, being fondled by a 35-yr. old neighbor when you’re 4, 5 and 6.
    NOTHING seemed worse than the constant gnawing pang of hunger, and the hallucinations were even worse.
    But everyone in my family has directly called me stupid for continuing to go into his house. They STOLE candy from the corner store, so I don’t see how they’re so high and mighty that they think they can call ME stupid. It’s not like they weren’t making sure they got food too, and they didn’t care that they were committing a crime to do it.
    I’m just really sick of everyone in that family, one of whom called tonight, telling me how stupid *I* am.
    It’s either that explanation, or maybe I really AM crazy for doing it. But I still believe the craziness was fueled by extreme hunger.
    BTW I was being starved b/c my dad used food stamps in 1972 to buy alcohol. He used ALL of them on alcohol.
    He’s one of the people who ended up bringing that law, which forbids you to buy beer w/ food stamps, into existence.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 13th January

      Oh Vicki,
      You lived such a horror story. My goodness, I would have done anything for food too. Everyone would becasue our survival instinct is so strong. I am so sorry that you got blamed, my goodness we have some screwed up stories to share! But I am glad that you know the truth ~ that this was not your fault and that anyone would have gone back every day to get some of that food.
      Thank you for sharing this Vicki. So many have lived in horror and are afraid to share it but when we share it, we help to set others free.
      Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Sheryl Matters Posted: 18th September

    Absolutely can identify with this, it is the same kind of process in spiritual or emotional abuse. Keep going!!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th September

      Thanks Sheryl,
      It is the exact same. Thats my message and I’m sticking to it! LOL
      Thanks and welcome to the blog!

  9. By: Debbie Posted: 25th June

    Yes, thanks to you ladies…friends 🙂 I think I’m where you are talking about Dar, I’m an in-between-y. I know what NOT to do to “feel” better for awhile. Yet I’m not sure about the break through….to the other side. I do know that I have been taught elsewhere to forgive, If “I” want to be forgiven. I also know anger scares me. I can visualize the look on my step moms face when I feel like I’m getting angry…so I try NOT to get angry. She and my ex husband would turn into something ugly, you could look into their eyes and see nothing but black….pure evil. I don’t EVER want to look like that….especially not to any child.

    I also know I was taught in recovery to “work” through this stuff, and I did what I was told because…well, because I don’t want to hate anyone, and I want to be forgiven. I also know what if feels like to think I don’t have enough faith.

    God Bless the people who try to help me, I’m not condemning them, but there’s something more…something ELSE….make any sense??? I’ve known for a long time that certain groups and steps were NOT the complete answer…so I’ve searched to find a place where I can fit in…where I can find the answers…and I’m still LOOKING 🙂

    It all gets confusing….but when my instincts are pushing me to keep going, I have to listen. I pick up bits and pieces on the way that keep me moving forward…both of my sponsors in TWO different groups have some wonderful answers MUCH of the time, they really do. But there’s more….

    I’m practicing just being in gratefulness for TODAY. I have no career goals, I don’t even know what I want to be when I grow up…I do know that the more I learn about myself, the more I’m nudged in the direction of using my past to help CHILDREN. I’m sitting with that for now….Need to put a little effort into finding out what that means….what I need to do to make it happen. I’m a Nanny for now…have been with children my entire adult life…I like it, I love the kids….and I get to spend every day with my 17 month old daughter. For now, it’s really good. Also, during this time, I need to see what I can be doing for >>>>>later???

    Welp, Sunshine is trying to tickle me by sticking her little finger under my arm….better go for now.

    Again, thanks….everyone’s experiences carry a little bit of my solution. This I know.

    Thanks Dar for making THIS work, and for being a friend of the best kind!

  10. By: Shanyn Posted: 25th June

    Debbie, oh Debbie, how I wish I could sit down with you – cup of coffee or tea, maybe an iced tea and tell you how I know the answer to your question, the one that makes you fret, worry and ache. Yes YES you can learn to love YOU again. It is the most amazing thing to shed the layers of lies, the layers of control and really scrap away the covering that has hidden you away for such a terribly long time.

    Don’t hate the feelings, that is the trap my Mom lives in. Take those feelings out and hold them up in the light and really examine them for the lie they are. They are the remains, residual abuse, that your mind snaps to without much of a tip because it was the normal, it was the lie called truth in your abuse.

    You are mourning and healing – those things require tears and will have strong feelings. It is not pity when a survivor says, “I’m going to mourn the child that was denied, the young woman who was trapped, the mother who risked it all to escape and lost so much in doing so.” It is healing, and by showing that you can have strong feelings and let go of hate (which is sort of like holding hot embers and thinking about chucking them at someone – it only hurts you) you can show your daughter that the emotions do not rule us but they can guide us, cleanse us and show us things we need to know.

    I used to hate myself, I used to think I had such little value I would make myself bleed and blot it with paper, sign my name and the date just to prove I existed in the world that denied I had any way to be my own person. (that was a world premier admission folks) Then I would hide those little envelopes away with a cherished possession hoping someday someone would find them and I wouldn’t be forgotten.

    I used to get so angry and feel hate, really burning like acid down in my core, I learned it only burns me and those I love.

    Debbie, you can learn to love you, and you can show your daughter that she can love you and herself as women, as people, whole and complete, growing and healing, running and falling, facing the sun or hiding under the covers. It isn’t so much WHERE you are in the journey as long as you KEEP MOVING! Like that song, “When you are going though hell keep on going.” There is another side…

    Hugs for you, a candle light for you and much love for the you that I can sense in your words that you will really love…she’s great! (if you need anything you can contact me through my blog by clicking on my name here)…

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th June

      Hi Shanyn,
      Thank you for your support and your world premier admission… so sad that so many of us have had to go to such lengths such as those in order to prove our existence. I am so happy to know that your life is so changed now and that you can inspire others!

      In my case regarding feeling anger and hate, it hurt me more to deny those feelings for all those years. Acknowledging my anger and hatred towards the ones who devalued me and abused me and didn’t protect me, was one of the ways that I was able to heal and be free of the anger and hate once and for all. I could not just let it go, it never really went. This was one of the things that I realized in that tough place between broken and whole; one of those missing steps I talked about in my comment to Debbie.

      Thanks for your lovely comment!
      Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Splinteredones Posted: 25th June

    That black sludgy mess in my mind has been a supermassive black hole. Eventually everything hurtles in on me, who sits at the bottom. No light, i am too dense foright to reach me.

    You can see as C said to me when I first described it, wow you are completely powerless. What a victim perspective. While I don’t yet have a replacement paradigm firm
    in my mind I’m working on it. That not knowing what one has done wrong yet feeling the inevitability thru the confusion. I totally get that. You make my soul hurt less. Thanks once again for the hope 😉

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th June

      There is a tough place right in-between broken and whole Splinty. Sometimes we are there for a while, but it is our persistence that gets us out of there! You are moving forward and that it all it takes to escape victim mentality. One step at a time, we can. Thanks for posting!
      Hugs, Darlene

  12. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th June

    I love the statement you make at the end of your post “When I achieve being good enough for my own self then it doesn’t matter what others think about me.” That is so true and how it works too! When we own our value and worth, we just don’t care what anyone else thinks! That is a whole new freedom hey!!
    Hugs, Darlene

  13. By: Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker Posted: 25th June

    Debbie, like Darlene, my life is a testimony to the fact that you can learn to love yourself and you are worth every bit of the effort. In the beginning, I cried a lot about all kinds of things. Feeling in the beginning isn’t pleasant because it is so new. For many years I stuffed my feelings down until I couldn’t stuff them any more and the pressure valve would finally blow and out would come the full-blown rage that I was trying so hard to hold in. Did you know that depression has been described as anger turned inward? I carried stuffed anger turned to rage inside of me for so many years. I was hurting myself and my husband when the valve would blow. I realized that my husband was a safe person for me to get angry at. He loved me and wasn’t going to hurt me or leave me if I got angry at him. He was my safety valve. All of that wasn’t fair to him or to me.

    Part of loving myself was to start feeling. That was and still is the hardest part for me to do. I recognize the little day to day irritations and can deal with them. It is the anger from childhood that I still sometimes don’t recognize until afterwords.

    Perfection is one of those things that I have also had to deal with and stop doing. It just doesn’t work for me. None of us can ever be perfect. I can be good enough for my own self. When I achieve being good enough for my own self then it doesn’t matter what others think about me.

  14. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th June

    I can assure you that I came out the other side of this, and that I can look in the mirror today and honestly know that I love myself.
    What I realized looking back on all the years that I tried to feel okay, was that I missed a few steps. The pity pot thing is a good example. Instead of trying to get to the bottom of the conditioning I had and really sort out the truth of my life story, (like the ones that I write about here in this blog) I would shut myself down and tell myself that I was having a pity party or that I didn’t have enough faith. That I needed to just forgive, or that I had to let go and let God. None of those things happened for me until I went through the process of taking a good look at what happened to ME and how I bought the conditioning and the treatment that told me that I was not worthy, and then changed my beliefs about me. So many places we go for help encourage us to skip that step for some reason. I didn’t ever realize it before, but even doing a 4th step in AA I always thought my resentments were wrong. I could never quite get over them for some reason until I validated myself. For a time I had to agree that I resented the people who wronged me and that I was justified, and REALLY feel that anger. Then I was able to look at the belief that came out of the conclusions I had drawn as a kid or teenager.
    I was not able to own my own value until I got all that stuff out. Thanks for your honest and heartbreaking comment. I cried reading it and I got angry at what your step mom and x husband did to you.
    I am so glad that you are part of this blog.

    Love Darlene

  15. By: Debbie Posted: 24th June

    OMGosh….ding, ding, ding!!! You are right. I didn’t realize it until YOU shared this. I told my dad about the physical abuse by his third wife…and his response was “Oh now…she’s just trying to disipline you girls..”

    He claims to this day to NOT knowing what was going on….but he knew damn good and well. Maybe not to the extreems of her twisting and pulling the skin off of our tummies and under are arms or pulling our hair out while beating our heads with her fists…but he knew. And THAT is why or where it began to be my NORMAL. I figured out when I was 32 years old…after my husband had gone to jail for beating me….that maybe I somehow didn’t really deserve that kind of treatment anymore. When I turned 34 and his verbal crap and emotional punishment didn’t stop for a single day…..I said “Screw it…I’m done!”

    The first stretch in my life since I was 8 years old, that abuse was ABSENT 🙂 And I’m still trying to figure out (I’m soon to be 41) WHY I can’t feel like I’m worth a damn much of the time. I’m so tired of trying to figure it out….but I know I HAVE to in order to be a good example to my daughter. I hate feeling this way, and I also Hate addressing it and feeling like I’m on a freakin’ pity pot. Because I’m not….I’m not there! I’m just not 100% right with myself and wonder if I’ll ever be??? I just keep trying.

    And the spinning…yep, they are really good at that too. I can visualize a cork screw or a gas ice oger drilling deeper and deeper….spinning terrible things all at the same time and at pretty good speed til you’ve reached bottom, then they keep you there. I was driven by FEAR, and thinking “I” was the crazy one, and feeling like If I just tried harder…only to be knocked back down.

    Life today really is better…I’m no longer drinking or using…so I’m feeling….crappy as it can be sometimes, it’s also so very good. But does ANYONE ever come out of this and look in the mirror and honestly LOVE themselves someday??? Tell me that they do! And I’ll just keep trying.

    I love reading this Dar. And I only visit from time to time because EVERY time you hit me square between the eyes…and I cry and cry and can’t figure out if this is good for me…..or if it’s too real at this time???

  16. By: Tracy Posted: 24th June

    I never did figure out what my mother wanted of me. It seemed to change from day to day, and as a consequence, everything I did was wrong. I learned very quickly that I had no value in and of myself, and that I only existed to serve her and anyone else she had around. Nothing I ever did ever measured up. I still struggle with making choices based on what I want, rather than what others expect of me. Most of the time, I’m not even sure what I want.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th June

      Hi Tracy,
      One of the ways that abusers control is that they make sure we never figure out exactly what they want. This is so that we never relax and think we have it figured out and so that we don’t come out of what I like to call “the spin”. I had to put all everything aside about other people and start looking at who I was, and what happened to me before I could even begin to realize what I wanted. (this took almost 4 years before I started to get some real strong feelings about it and even still I am learning and growing closer to the real me) it is very hard to go from living for others and according to what they want from us, (because in childhood be believe that if we don’t do as they wish we will be cast out and we will die) to owning our own value and right to be equal. It gets better Tracy! thanks so much for your post.
      Hugs, Darlene

  17. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th June

    Hi Cindi,
    Exactly Cindi. There are a million ways to relate to this with the bottom line being the same so often. My husband and I didn’t grow up the way that we strive to live now. When my son was a boy we pushed him too hard with hockey. He was good, but never quite good enough. It was very damaging to him. Thank God that we did get help but there was damage done anyway.
    My husband tells a story of how he was conditioned to believe that he never worked hard enough. He was a strong farm boy, and the more he tried to please his father, the more his father asked him to produce, mostly by communicating in some way that what he was doing was not quite enough. Maybe I will ask him to tell the stroy himself…

    (I feel like I am on stage asking for a round of applause so that he will step forward and speak… LOL)

    Thanks for sharing part of your story with us Cyndi

  18. By: Cyndi Posted: 24th June

    I was never sexually abused, although there was some covert sexual abuse going on in my family. I can still absolutely identify with the belief system you developed. I developed a similar one, although mine is rooted in achievement vs. sexuality. If I behaved well, did a good job, got good grades, won a competition or anything else then I was rewarded, and that was the only time I was rewarded. If I fell short (like getting a B instead of an A) then I heard, “you’ll have to try harder next time” and suffered verbal and physical abuse. It was my fault that I wasn’t perfect and if I wasn’t perfect I had no value was the message I received. I’m still battling this one to this day.

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