The Truth about Abuse and Reconnecting to Myself

Innocent, blameless, sexual abuse
I’m Innocent

“It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good.” Thomas Jefferson

I was dissociated. I grew up having dissociative identity disorder which means that I effectively disconnected from myself and from the events that happened to me. That is what dissociative identity disorder is. That was how I protected myself, how I survived, how I coped. In recovery it was extremely important that I eventually connected those events BACK to me. I had to realize that those things really happened and they happened to me. 

This isn’t as easy as it might sound.  For one thing I didn’t realize when I talked about certain abuse situations, that I didn’t connect them to me. The first time I connected being molested as a child, to myself, I was stunned. Shocked actually.  I had had the memory for years. But I didn’t actually relate it to something that happened to me as a person or to me as an individual or to me as someone who was violated. So when I talked about it in therapy this one day, it was just like I was talking about something slightly uncomfortable, like driving in bad weather. Like I was talking  about an event that was slightly awkward but not the devaluing and terrifying sexual assault that in truth is what actually took place. 

It doesn’t help if you are told constantly while growing up, that you are dramatic, that you talk to hear yourself talk, that you exaggerate. Or if you are told statements like “we don’t talk like that” or “we don’t talk about things like that”.  It doesn’t help if you are brainwashed to believe that your memories are wrong. That your memories are false, because the memory is horrifying enough.  It doesn’t help if you are told that you deserved it, that you asked for it, and the worst one of all ~ that you liked it. It doesn’t help if when you got older that you have become so sexualized that your body responds to something awful.  It is really confusing when you are told it didn’t happen AND you are told you deserved it and to forgive. (If it didn’t happen why are you told you deserved it or to forgive?)

It might be nice to believe that it never really happened. Like witnessing a fatal car accident. Your mind will often try to tell you that it didn’t happen the way that you saw it happen. Your mind will try to figure out all sorts of ways that it might have happened differently and with a different outcome. I could have done this or that differently. I could have stopped it. Your mind will try to protect you from the horror of what you saw. Well my mind tried to protect me too, so it split into different memory banks and separated one memory from another. My parents gladly assisted with this process by not validating me and by convincing me that my dramatic personality was full of shit.

When I finally connected that first event to myself, I was able to connect other events too and accept that these things happened to me. I had to accept more than just that certain abuse happened to me, I had to accept that I was not validated at the same time. I was not heard, I was not protected. And although my parents were not my sexual abusers, they didn’t listen to me, my mother had a violent temper, my father was emotionally unavailable, completely detached and disinterested in me and all of those things are also abusive.  I had to realize that. All of this was part of the picture of who I was and what happened to me and how I dealt with it or didn’t deal with it.

If I was to recover, if I was to heal, I had to put myself first for once and really look at this as a whole picture. And I had to realize that I had been abused, mistreated, not valued, heard or protected, and that those things happened to ME, that it was wrong, and that I didn’t deserve it. I also had to realize that I deserve recovery; that I deserve to have a full life. That I deserve to know what love is and to be loved and to know my own value.  I had to stop comparing my life and my past to everyone else’s and I had to stop believing that how other people defined me was TRUE. I had to realize at the depth of my entire being, that I WAS NOT who “they” said that I was and that they don’t get to define me anymore.

I fought for my life when I was abused, but I fought even harder to get it back.  and THIS truly is  “the good fight”.

Please share.

Written with more love then I ever knew I had or imagined that I could ever feel;

Darlene Ouimet

related posts: Mother Daughter Relationship Nightmares

  Facing and Speaking the Awful Truth ~from the blog “you can fly with broken wings ~  by Fi MacLeod

The little Girl who cried Wolf ~ belief system development

30 response to "The Truth about Abuse and Reconnecting to Myself"

  1. By: Vicki Posted: 31st January

    I just have questions: Like, Is saying “It happened but the abuser has special place in my heart regardless of what she did” the same as devaluing it? Because saying it happened makes it LOOK like you’re admitting it in one breath and adding that the abuser is still special to you is like taking away what you just acknowledged.
    But the person who said that is nothing if not good at playing stupid games like that. It makes me feel like she’s lying every time she says anything.
    But I really don’t know for sure anymore, b/c she places material acquisitions above everything. She thinks that LOOKING like she has her life together, b/c she still has a job while we don’t, means she’s the one w/ everything going for her.
    I know a guy who probably has more money than her and her husband combined, and he thinks-just like the guy I was w/ before him-that this person I’m talking about is full of it. He thinks she’s lying and isn’t really who she says she is. But he’s a native New Yorker, so he didn’t say it the way I just repeated it.
    But how do I get past all that when everyone who comes in contact w/ her-besides these two guys-acts like they think the sun rises and sets up her ass? Sorry, but that’s how everyone in my immediate world, other than him, acts about her.

    Another question I have is about how to even get started overcoming the image of two people in my family who, instead of taking the extra cats I had to the SPCA or some other place where they could be HUMANELY euthanized, put them in a gunny sack instead and drowned them in a river.
    And they think THEY’RE the normal ones.
    My former therapist told me that people who kill animals are one step away from being able to do it to humans. They START w/ animals and progress from there. They don’t always DO it, but they’re closer to being capable of it than I am.
    And I found out what really happened to the cats 3 months after my daughter’s dad was murdered.

  2. By: Louise Posted: 25th November

    Thanks Darlene for what you wrote I like what you say about the ‘understanding that sets us free’. Gaps, yuk – for so long my memory block like my childhood and people from my childhood has caused me anguish, so I have been angry at my gaps. If I had like a police-report-style memory I could just hold it up to explain all my irrational behaviour, pain and inability to function ever since – but I don’t – what I have are ‘gaps’. But now, I have a few filled gaps, because I’m safe to look at them and I wonder whether I could have survived without my gaps. What would life be like if I remembered all of it, if I could still feel all those feelings every time I glanced back or was triggered. I don’t think I would be here. Even with my gaps I didn’t want to be alive. I think my gaps probably saved my life. And I know, now I think my memory IS all still there somewhere. But my body/mind is like a guardian protecting me just like it did then. It wants a better life for me, the best even. Maybe gaps = good after all. Maybe gaps are a kind of grace

  3. By: Louise Posted: 25th November

    I really appreciated this post a lot. And everyone’s experiences too. I couldn’t remember anything before I was nine, I just had all the emotional fallout, not to mention confusion trying to address it without being able to explain even in words to myself. It’s taken me twenty years to realise I had a very not-normal version of normal. And now I have to put bad memories I have and uncomfortable feelings next to what I know as an adult, is ‘normal’ so as I can tell the difference.
    Symptoms of PTSD and trauma were me, were who I am. I couldn’t recognise this until I learned about them and was like hang on a mo – that IS me. Dissociation was a modus operandi for me. I didn’t want ANYTHING to be real. I clung to magic and space and ran from edges and solidity. Only in the last few weeks have I gained the ability to distinguish my emotional body as separate from my physical one just because for the first time I feel safe enough to be in it for longer than however long it takes before you get feelings! Suddnely my asthmas going. It’s marvellous, I realise how resilient I was to protect myself so well. I am absolutely thankful to feel this space. And what it took was speaking, being gentle on myself. getting out one word at a time, building up my confidence and comfort zone. But also beginning to comprehend that my truth, even if it is fuzzy, foggy, tunnel vision, only in an emotional form or only in a kind of visual, so many different kinds of separate, without date, time or place – is STILL my truth. And I don’t have to apologise for it forever or protect anyone else other than myself in my sharing of it. I don’t have to tell anyone anything. But I realise I have really empowered myself in learning how to just say how I feel, not to try and explain it or make reasons for it. It’s like I’ve given myself permission to be. I could never have done that had not other survivors also shared their experiences- so I could recognise mine. I had my childhood wrapped up in ribbons I’d fashioned out of thin air to make it bearable. I’d made the unbearable tolerable by normalising it somehow. Or I learned that. Its taken me twenty years to recognise that an adult’s desire should never be foisted upon a child and to recognise that’s what it was because I couldn’t tell. All I had was feeling incredibly ashamed and degraded. I was like what is wrong with this picture, oh this isn’t normal behaviour towards a child, this is what an adult should only have or do with an adult. So slow to realize when it’s your own life, in the context of this was me who went through this. When your traumas been covered in roses rather than bruises; it doesn’t mean the crossing of that boundary didn’t happen or was any the less damaging – just because they were nice some of the time or gave you what you needed somehow. I feel like I’m so slow, like it’s the ABC of self . Even if there were bruises and pain; I have complete gaps where that occurred only before and after images, safe ones. No wonder we end up like lost souls.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th November

      Once again you have totally hit the nail on the head.
      “Part of that is due to the total rejection of me. But part of it is about feeling ‘abnormal’. Nothing about my life has been normal. And it sucks.” All of those negitive self beliefs can be replaced with the truth in time. YES one day! You are on that journey!
      Hugs, Darlene

      What you have shared here is huge! I am highlighting this one part, because some people don’t read all the comments and I really want this one to be read!
      You wrote:
      “I don’t have to tell anyone anything. But I realise I have really empowered myself in learning how to just say how I feel, not to try and explain it or make reasons for it. It’s like I’ve given myself permission to be. I could never have done that had not other survivors also shared their experiences- so I could recognise mine. I had my childhood wrapped up in ribbons I’d fashioned out of thin air to make it bearable. I’d made the unbearable tolerable by normalising it somehow.”
      The time frame doesn’t matter, all that matters is that we progress… that we come to the understanding that sets us free. I like your ABC of self concept. That is what it was like for me too. (and by the way, I still have gaps, but they don’t matter to me anymore. Recalling the memories is not what healed me. Validating myself is what did)
      Thank you so much for this contribution; for sharing your truth!
      Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: Fi MacLeod exNicholson Posted: 25th November

    I can so relate to that not fitting in even in you’re somewhere where you are welcome and wanted.

    I’ve spent my entire life feeling different. Feeling I don’t fit. Feeling like I differ from my peers. Feeling like I don’t belong. Feeling this world would be a much better place without me because I’m just so different. Feeling an oddity because I’m just a silly little troublemaker with nothing of value about me. Feeling subnormal because I can’t do the ‘normal’ things of life most people do – relationships, hold down a job etc etc.

    Part of that is due to the total rejection of me. But part of it is about feeling ‘abnormal’. Nothing about my life has been normal. And it sucks.

    Maybe one day … maybe!

  5. By: Maggie a/k/a grace2244 Posted: 25th November

    Your post reminds me of my earliest memories in therapist office where I viewed from above the body, sharing what I was watching. Bringing myself down to join with myself was agonizing emotion. I didn’t connect with the physical except enough to connect the dots. But emotionally, it felt like it ripped my heart out every time. Within a few days of each of those kinds of sessions, I felt a new lightness of being. A lightness I still strive for even though much has been processed. Thanks for sharing.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th November

      I can really relate to this too. I spent several sessions “up in the corner”. It that particular session I was not aware of re-joining my body, that was the first time it happened and I didn’t realize that it was the first time I connected to myself until some days went by. I realized that it happened to me, yes, but I didn’t realize that I had actually connected to myself in that session. I can understand why you say that a few days later, you felt a new lightness. Such an amazing process!
      Thank you so much for sharing and for being here.
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: Christina Enevoldsen Posted: 25th November

    I’ve been labeled a trouble-maker and it was so frustrating because I was only standing up for what’s right. Now I don’t care what they call me or how they think of me. Actually, I’m pleased to be called a trouble-maker considering who I’m making trouble for. he he.
    Hugs, Christina

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th November

      I keep these kinds of statements in my head as I go about my day, or when I am out and about and people are negative about me; Hummm I wonder who s*&t in his cornflakes? LOL which is the same as thinking “what’s eating her?” and the biggest thing I keep having to remember is that the way people treat me is about them. The regard that they have for me is about THEM, not about me. It is not about you either. It is about them Carol.

      Christina ~ What a great point! That is exactly true. This is so important ~ and to think about WHO we are actually bugging with our speaking out and the why of it too! That is about them. Not about us.
      Hugs, Darlene

  7. By: carol Posted: 25th November

    thanks for the encouragement it means a lot especially when others are being so negative about me. i know i try not to lie and try to be as kind as i canto the people i meet but it still not enough for some people. arghhhh/ sometimes i wish i was the kinda person who didnt have to speak out about what i have seen happening to ohters and myself over the years. maybe people wouldnt see me as some kinda monster then

  8. By: michelle Posted: 25th November

    I no longer have any contact with my mother, i have just gone through the courts and charged my step – father. I changed all my phone numbers, (cant change my address, yet…) mother has turned up here a few times and i have been at a loss what to do, (she has attempted suicide three times). now i dont think she is able to drive anymore so it is unlikely she will turn up here again. if she does i will call a friend of hers and ask them to come and get her.

    my siblings have also finally cut them off too, even his own biological son. for years my siblings fell for the bullshit they’d been served up, but they finally see the light now. my step father sees this as me ‘winning’. what a f###ed up piece of shit he is. a game? thats how psychopaths see life i’m afraid.

    when i read my victim impact statement in court, i WILLED him to look at me. he would not, of course. never have i seen a ‘man’ with a face as deathly white as his. and the crazy thing is i almost blurted out ‘sorry’ to him!! i’m sure many of you understand the mentality behind that. after reading my VIS the woman (friend of mums, i have never even met her..) said ‘well that was an oscar winning performance’.. to which my mum applauded ever so slowly. WORDS STILL FAIL ME.

    imagine, your firstborn daughter, ‘the person i love most in the world’ she loved me so much ‘it hurt’ , sitting up there in the witness box (very intimidating) baring her soul, and then her ‘mum’ does that? no wonder my self identity is screwed up.

    i have worked SOOO hard to become a ‘complete’ person. the consequences of their actions severely affected my life up until now. i have three children, am married, and only now do i feel i can start to fulfill my obligations to them. not that i haven’t tried. but i struggled with alcohol addiction, nearly lost my marriage due to an affair, and have been on mind numbing anti-depressants for 14 years. the drugs helped with the day to day, and stopped me from suiciding, but they did have unpleasant side effects too. many many times i have survived on a day to day basis.

    it wasnt until a year ago when i was hospitalised (i had dissociated) that i had to re-learn how to start living for real. it was during this year i took my step father to court, and cut them off. all in all a good year!

    time for real recovery now.

  9. By: Elizabeth Posted: 24th November

    No. They do NOT get to define me anymore. In order to achieve this I literally have to physically stay away from the people who decided for decades that they had the right to define me.Saying away is no big feat now, because my family member who is left from my family of origin, wants nothing to do with me.but while in her proximity she lied, slandered me, actively tried to prevent me and my daughter from getting away from a stalker…I mean, its just weird.

    When no one offers explanations or apologies for their behavior towards you, even after you have asked for explanations; then you are well justified in coming to your own conclusions about the matter.

    I trusted my loved ones and I know this is why I was in such denial. I could not handle the truth.It would have killed me at one time.

    I look back at the last several years and I see my life all in tatters.I believe that the tatters can heal but they heal in their own way; My healed tatters will never again include the people who abused me and basically aided and abetted other abusers. Or people like them.

    I deserve to live in peace, in truth, and to have some kindness and beauty in my life.I deserve to live without being slandered, smeared or mocked , or condemned.

    People who value and loved you have no hesitation about letting you know that. They don’t try to stop your thought processes and they don’t try to invalidate or confuse you.They don’t hide important things from you.

    They no longer have the right, the means, or the proximity todefine me or hurt me. I don’t even stay in touch with people they know. That is how bad and poisonous it was.I don’t want to know anyone in common with them.

    I am still hurting and I still feel so betrayed and very alone, but its getting better.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th November

      Hi Lisa,
      I understand that feeling of unworthy and not fitting in even where I was completely welcome.. but it was this “thing” inside of me. One of the best results of doing this work is getting over that belief that I don’t have equal value to others. It is all part of the process Lisa; the good news is that you are IN the process!
      You make a great point about the oversensitive accusation being a perfect put down. That is what I refer to as a “coming out of the fog moment”. Realizing those statements are crazy manipulative. And not believing them anymore. (or finding out why you do believe it ~ which will greatly assist in busting free of it ~ all of them ARE lies!)
      The more that I looked at the tactics that were used on myself and others, the more I realized that all of them were designed for control over another person… thoughts, feelings, self image, all of it.

      Don’t “should” yourself. That is a waste of time. What I realized about why I still did this stuff as an adult is because my childhood survival method and mindset was still with me as an adult, (I wasn’t raised properly!) and in order to “re grow up properly” I had to do just what you are doing ~ realize the lies, know they are lies, and set them straight. but it takes time. It is a process. There is a gap missing between childhood (where were were great and perfect victims) and adult hood, where we and everyone else tells us that we SHOULD grow up, that there IS no excuse now that we are adult. but that is another lie. There is an excuse!
      Thanks for the tremendous courage and honesty in your post.
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Elizabeth,
      I had to eventually stay away too, because in my case they were not willing to stop putting me down and defining me. It is kind of sad, (I am writing a post for today (Nov. 25th) about this very thing. And it does hurt; it hurts very much. Thank you for sharing your truth and for expressing your thoughts about real love. You are so right. It is a wonderful thing to see others get to the point where they KNOW they don’t deserve that other false love anymore. I love reading your comments Elizabeth!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Michelle,
      Wow. Thank you for sharing this story. About what your Mom and her friend did/said ~ Words fail me too. I don’t know if I ever want to understand the mind of someone like that though. I have a sick mother too ~ but this is about them, not about you. A mother doing something like that; that is about her. And isn’t it revealing that she attempts suicide? Sounds like her life isn’t so great.
      Hang in there Michelle. YEAH and YAHOO for learning to start living for real. That is the best part and that is the way that I truly took my life back and started living for ME and as ME.
      Glad you are here,
      Hugs, Darlene

  10. By: Lisa Posted: 24th November

    I’ve had this post up on my computer for several hours, recording some thoughts in my journal before posting. And postponing saying anything at all, feeling “unworthy” somehow to be here among all the courageous people sharing their truths, while I still hide mine every chance I get. Even in this “community,” where I have always been welcomed without question, I question whether or not I belong here.

    I still rarely allow myself to acknowledge that “abuse” happened. I cannot allow myself to acknowledge that my pain is real because so many other victims experienced so much worse. I know on some level that this is just another delaying tactic, just another way to hide the truth, but there it is.

    I never “repressed” the memories of my molestation. I always acknowledged that it happened, but I always treated it as though it had happened to someone else. Or that, yes, it happened, but it wasn’t such a big deal. Intellectually, of course, I know it was a big deal, because I continue to deal with the consequences every day. It wasn’t until I read a post on Overcoming Sexual Abuse about possible indicators of sexual abuse (don’t know how to link it…) a couple of weeks ago that I allowed myself to admit that I might just have suffered some long-term consequences as a result of what was done to me as a child. I feel guilty for experiencing any anger at all about my childhood…as though I’m using it as an excuse to stay stuck.

    Amira’s last paragraph above is exactly how I sound to myself every day. And it is exhausting.

    My mother told me (very recently, within the last month or so) that I am “over-sensitive.” It took me a long time to realize that that was the absolute perfect put-down. If I defend myself, I am only proving her point. What she doesn’t see (what I know, again intellectually, she will NEVER see) is that I am sensitive now because I spent my entire LIFE until recently taking everything that everyone (especially she) said to me and just blindly AGREEING to it. I’m lazy. I’m stupid. I’m ugly. I’m fat. I over-dramatize things. I do everything for attention.

    Every single one of them a lie. I’ve held a job since the age of 12 (never been without a job since the age of 12 [now 42]) (not lazy). I read great literature and am intellectually curious (not stupid). Haven’t gotten past ugly and fat. Don’t have answers for those. I spent my life – still expend a great deal of energy – pretending nothing bad ever happened to me (if anything, I UNDER-dramatize things). I have spent the last 10 years (if not longer) isolating myself and silencing myself so that no one will be unhappy or uncomfortable or even inconvenienced by my taking up space in the world. I don’t even “like” EFB posts on FB (or if I do, I remove the posts from my wall right away) so that no one (read, mom) will feel uncomfortable (not the actions of someone doing things for attention).

    Escaping the tremendous mind-fuck that has been my life is overwhelmingly difficult. Yes, the lies that were told to me, that are still being told to me were/are abuse. But the fact that I continue them, that I perpetuate them, that I believe them enough to continue to act them out–how can I blame my childhood for that?! I am an adult. I should be better by now. I don’t want to spend the next five hours beating myself up, so I better stop now.

    Thanks again for letting me be here.

  11. By: michelle Posted: 24th November

    How GUILTY have i felt ALL MY LIFE for even thinking about putting myself first. Mum always put herself and her needs first, and i grew up automatically yielding to that. So much so, that my inner voice was always enmeshed with hers, so that i struggled to have; LET ALONE VOICE my opinions on even everyday things, such as whether a certain song was good, right up to being ‘allowed’ to feel and react about the filthy abuse i suffered.

    Thus i struggled to get in touch with the normal emotional reactions one should experience in relation to the abuse, and for years i was living in a forced denial of the real me. You know, everytime i tried to assert myself, with everyone in my life but ESPECIALLY my mother even in little things (eg, saying no to going out shopping) she would just cut me down and insult me, and make me feel guilty guilty guilty. really, i am beginning to realize she is a nasty selfish person. the reasons why she is like that? i guess there are reasons, but THAT IS NOT MY PROBLEM. meanwhile i have a family of my own to look after. how hard has that been…

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th November

      Hi Michelle,
      You describe my own mother in your comment. Funny how even though they modeled self centered, selfish behaviour, we got the message to never think of ourselves. Isn’t that odd? The rules that my mother taught me, the rules that I had to live by, did not apply to her. But I guess she never stood up to her abusive mother either. I like what you said, “BUT THAT IS NOT MY PROBLEM”. Those are freedom words!
      So glad that you are here!
      Hugs, Darlene

  12. By: Fi MacLeod exNicholson Posted: 24th November

    For all my life I’ve been able to talk about being abused and tortured without connecting to any of the feelings involved or the reality of it. It’s like it happened to someone else although that someone was me. I knew what the truth was. I knew what I remembered. I knew how dismissed, rejected and invalidated I was. I knew how I could not allow myself to feel as a child because feelings were not allowed. I did not have feelings. I did not have opinions. I did not have a voice. I did not exist beyond the abuse. I only existed within the abusive situation. That was my life. That was ‘normality’. That was just how it was.

    I know how it has damaged my life. BUT I had no real connection to it, it all seemed so unreal but I knew it had been horrifically real. That’s is until the last few days. I’ve always known what the truth is but had no feelings about it all.

    All that’s changed. Now I’ve started to tap into the feelings – the futility of it all – the trying so hard to be a good little girl all the time but no matter how much I complied, no matter how much I obeyed, no matter how hard I tried to be a good little girl it was never enough. I was always wrong, I was always never good enough. But now I’m feeling the confusion and the hurt, the futility, realising how I blamed myself for the abuse because I complied, because I tried so hard to be a good little girl. I so wanted to jump off gramps knee and stamp my feet and scream “bad gramps” at him but instead I just sat there, smiling at everyone in the room, complying, been a good little girl in spite of being in excruciating pain.

    My abusers are living their lives in total denial and delusion but I cannot. I can only live my life in truth, however painful that may be.

  13. By: Susan Posted: 24th November

    @amiria….I can SOOOOOO relate to your comment; every bit of it. From the detachment and not having any feelings about the abuses and that sense of disconnect of it not being “real”. And boy, me to; I doubted everything about myself and who wouldn’t? After being violated and dismissed, conditioned to question our every thought. Our feelings dismissed as not valid, wrong. Geez. To this day my family still tries to define who I am and how my thoughts, feelings and choices are somehow wrong because they are mine.

    And me too again – my entire life I was told that I was “crazy” “mental” “defective” “damaged goods” (this one was from a “pastor” no less…and then when I sought help from the mental health system this was reinforced as my life experiences and trauma’s were dismissed. I was told that my life experiences had nothing to do with this “illness” and that I had a brain disorder and yes; that this magic pill would fix me right up. And like you – when the drugs didn’t work…I was labeled with “personality disorders” and told that I was pretty much unfixable and would still need the drugs anyway to manage my thoughts, feelings and choices that were still pretty much just “wrong”.

    What you describe in your last paragraph is a natural result of being defined by others. Our sense of autonomy and sense of being a part of the world is messed with and we end up not knowing how to “be” as the focus has been on “doing” things right enough. Coming from these environments DOES leave us second guessing ourselves, doubting, not knowing how to think, feel or make decisions that we feel confident about. The thoughts and feelings you describe are exactly where I was for a very long time; I lived in a chronic state of feeling and believing I was powerless to change myself or my life and hopeless that I could ever have anything different.

    The good news is – that it is possible to learn to live beyond all of this. And – while it is not possible to tell you the “how” behind all of this in one comment thread…I can tell you that today my life is a complete 180 from what it was in the past.

    I’m really glad to see you here Amira and so grateful that you choose to share your truth here with us.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th November

      Hi Shanyn,
      Very great points and insights here. Very good. and you are so right, “it wasn’t wrong to question, remember OR to be hurt.
      Thanks for sharing
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Susan,
      I am so glad that you came by to share your experience with all of this! You make so many great points! This is a great addition ~ a wonderful expansion!
      Keep reading Amira, there is a lot of the HOW parts shared in this blog and in Susans blog too. There is tons of the “how” just in talking about the truth about what we did live through, and how we have been regarded (or not regarded)

      Hi Fi,
      You said a ton with this comment! Especially the part about “But now I’m feeling the confusion and the hurt, the futility, realising how I blamed myself for the abuse because I complied, because I tried so hard to be a good little girl.” This was HUGE for me, a huge breakthrough. I realized that I thought I could have DONE something to stop it. But that was a lie. A lie that I believed was true. And eventually that truth shone light on other truth and the whole thing got way more clear. Hang in there Fi, you are doing a HUGE amount of sorting out right now. I am so glad that I get to be a part of that process.
      Hugs, Darlene

  14. By: Shanyn Posted: 24th November

    “you are wrong” or “that never happened” and the always classic “you are so dramatic, you react to everything”

    No way it could be the way I remembered because if I remembered it right then they must be wrong, and wrong is what they never,ever wish to be. Wrong means they didn’t do or say what they should. But if, even weeks apart, I can be denied my own memories, my own feelings and my own thoughts then they can control the spin and doctor everything.

    When I started to realize that a ‘look’ shouldn’t be punished by a broken arm. When I started to understand that sexual assault wasn’t a ‘compliment’ I started to see that my feelings and memories had and have value. Now I know that not only was it not wrong to speak up but it wasn’t wrong to remember, it wasn’t wrong to be hurt, it wasn’t wrong to question why.

    Thanks for this great post Darlene…I don’t need them to hear me, I can honour my own voice and those of others who choose to not be silent.

  15. By: Fi MacLeod exNicholson Posted: 24th November

    By the way I could really relate to the picture of the cat and the caption underneath “I’m Innocent”. My heart melted towards it. I knew I was the cat if you know what I mean.

    BUT if you’d put a picture of a little girl there instead of the cat with the same caption underneath it – I’d have still melted towards it but I wouldn’t have connected with me. I’d have thought yeah yeah but not seen me in the picture.

    I think that every time I look at that picture. It’s wierd but true.

  16. By: carol Posted: 24th November

    gosh amira, you wrote exactly where i am at the moment in my healing process.
    i am constantly told i am wrong about what i see in the community that i lived in for 10yrs, the local authornties dont want to here how bad it is for some of the children living where i lived. i get called negative and aggressive and racists for the way which i have spoken out, all the time without any understanding of why i say what i say. i am told that i am a bad person to be around when all i am trying to do is make those meant to be helping such families break the cyclic nature of their family circumstances but all they see is a trouble maker. this hold sme back because of their deeming attitude and getting them to see how they treat me is abusive to my personal human rights to express my concern and horror and get help for those that need it, even if they dont want to see they need it or not. ignorance about the long term damage done to children is rife in normal society and they dont want to know why society is so broken.
    the constant rebuttal of my personal experiences gives me the feeling of being a lair and hypcondriac which makes everything much harder to face and overcome.
    i know i carnt change the world, i dont want to i just want to be heard and accepted, just like victims of other crimes are.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th November

      It is so crazy to me how hard it is for us to be heard, to be believed. It is crazy that they label the person who is trying to help as the trouble maker! I also questioned myself about if I was a liar, because I had been disregarded for so long, had no voice for so long!
      I want to be heard and accepted too. And today I am, just not by the people that I really wanted to hear me and accept me. But once I validated myself, it didn’t matter anymore who heard me or accepted me, because I DO now. I hear me and I accept me and I know that I don’t lie, I know that I don’t even exaggerate the truth. The day did come when I finally knew that the people that will not listen to me, have a problem which is about THEM and not about me. That includes the authorities.
      So glad that you are here! You make such a difference on this blog!
      Hugs, Darlene

  17. By: AJ Posted: 23rd November

    This post was hard to read and I realize that my response must sound confusing and a bit rambling. I apologize, but much of this is new to me, meaning that I have not thought about or faced up to it in decades. There is so much that I have sought to deny, cover up or even forget. The pain and abuse that took place in the girls home was the end result to allot of things I’d rather forget, or pretend never happened. I stated before that I was loved and that is true. I was loved, but love and security must go hand in hand. You can be secure in the knowledge of a parents love, while at the same time be fearful and insecure in that love.

    For example, say you were sexually betrayed by one parent, which in turn, destroyed the bond of trust and love you shared with that parent. You console yourself, and retreat inside. You cannot deal with things yet, because you are not ready. The family is ripped apart and they go their separate ways. You tell yourself that all is well, because you know that the parent you lost, was never the strong one. So though your world has been turned on its side, you still rest assured in the strength and love and steady hands of the other parent. Everything is uncertain and your future is unknown, but you are innocently unaware. You are safe.

    And then the remaining parent tries to end their life. Your world implodes around you, as you struggle desperately for a secure place to fall, but there is no safe place. You exist in limbo, trying to determine if you did anything wrong. Perhaps if you’d been better, acted better, had a sweeter disposition, maybe they’d have wanted to stay. You’re too young to understand that it was never you. As an adult, you will understand that they were running from their own demons and fears, but you are not an adult yet. In your child-like mind, you know only how to blame yourself. Soon you realize that the only safe place to exist is within the safe confines of your own strength of will. Nothing can harm you. Nothing bad will ever touch you again, because now you control what gets inside.

  18. By: Fi MacLeod exNicholson Posted: 23rd November

    I’m at the very beginning of making these connections. Part of my healing journey is about getting my life back, discovering who I really am, no longer settling for being who they said I was or who they made me to be. I want to be me, whoever and whatever me is!

    When I first discovered about my own dissociation I was shocked to realise that I was going to have to reparent myself and I had to begin with reparenting the one alter that I was connecting with.

    I’ve so wanted to rewrite my history and say I was loved, I had a wonderful safe childhood. But that is not the truth.

    To face the truth that I was totally invalidated, violated and devalued has been extremely painful but I realise key to my discovering my real identity. As well as key to honestly facing and dealing with the hurt and shame of all those terrible violations.

    Actually admitting to myself that I was abused, I was violated, I was trashed, I was devalued was excruciatingly painful but also stating fact which was incredibly liberating as well as very painful to do.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th November

      Hi Fi,
      I know what you mean, this is my story too. Very hard, goes against everything that I had ever been “taught”. But the truth is what set me free. There is some kind of “therapy” out there where they teach people to re write or re frame the past… (I forget what it is called). For me that is just more lies. Lies got me sicker and sicker ~ truth let me out of the darkness. If someone is going to go to all that effort to try to convince themselves that they had a different childhood then they really had, then why not just deal with the truth?? It is a crazy world we live in but I am done with crazy! Thanks so much for sharing your truth!
      Hugs, Darlene
      ( I had that same reaction to the kitty picture ~ that is why I used it. That is one of our barn kitties ~ all grown up now)

      Hi AJ
      I can relate to what you are saying. The whole thing is so complicated, isn’t it? I had so much self control in all the wrong places, but it was killing me. Sorting all of this out was the answer for me. Even just realizing that it wasn’t for me to be “different” so that they would love me, or so that they would be OKAY (my mother leaned on me all the time, ALL the time and I thought I had to be her support system) was huge for me and led me to more freedom and peace of mind then I had ever dreamed of.
      So glad that you are here AJ and thank you for sharing your thoughts,
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Kyla,
      It is inspiring to hear that you are working through this stuff, realizing the truth and healing!
      Thank you for sharing that hope!
      Hugs, Darlene

  19. By: Carla Logan Posted: 23rd November

    Darlene, thank you, your timing with this was perfect for me. You know my struggles, where I am in process, my constant struggle with denial, not wanting to face the pain. Not wanting to believe it, listening to my internalized abuser telling me everything but the truth. Struggling with the understanding that no one was there to protect me.

    And the fight for my life IS harder now, it’s harder because I am facing it for the first time in my conscious mind, facing it without the comfort of hiding in dissociation. I can be my own worst enemy in this process, calling myself delusional, calling myself crazy, calling myself a child who is mistaken. But the dissociation didn’t happen without a cause. And the pain that has followed me all my life is real. Not a phantom. Pain is an indicator of something being very wrong. I have to constantly struggle to keep these things in front of me, to ward off that abuser inside who lies to me.

    I needed the reassurance you gave me here, and I appreciate your constant encouragement. Priceless. 🙂 And you also provided me with the much needed release of tears today. I get all bottled up, sometimes I need a good dam breaker.

    Love and hugs,
    Carla (hope it all made sense, I’m in a state right now!)

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd November

      Hi Amira,
      It is okay to not be quite connected ~ I was like that for a long time too. We never know what the “key” will be, but just that you know this much is awesome. I believe that even mental illness can be a coping method and yes, another way to find fault with ourselves. I did that too. I had a personality disorder, (multiple personality disorder) but somehow I knew it came from somewhere. People who were supposed to care for me liked to keep me down with that info ~ and for a long time I accepted that, but when I really caught that it wasn’t me, (or what was about me and what was about them) that is when I started to emerge from this broken life.
      Your last paragraph ~ I could have written that. Every single word and concept. I lived that too. That was me… and that is not me anymore SO there is hope.
      Hang in there Amira,
      Sometimes it just takes time for the fire to catch.
      Thanks for sharing so much of your truth and your life. There are so many who will be able to relate.
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Carla,
      Well yeah for great timing! I hear everything that you are saying, and I did it and felt it too. Sometimes I still have that little internal abuser whispering bull crap at me, and I have to give my head a shake. It is harder when we start to be conscious more, I hear that too. But the cool thing is that although my one of my biggest fears was NOT dissociating anymore, it has been one of my biggest freedoms too. Connecting to myself again, as one person, has enabled me to feel the pain ~ which isn’t the best part ~ but because I could sort it out I was also able to put it behind me in a way that it just doesn’t hurt that way anymore. having that pain sort of stored up in a separate compartment (alter memory) made it as though it was always sort of “waiting” or hanging there. This was is better!
      You are doing great! Thank you so much for being here today and for sharing your process and progress with all of us!
      Love and Hugs, Darlene

  20. By: Amira Posted: 23rd November

    I think I still struggle with this. When I think about the abuse, or talk about it in therapy, I feel like I am making it up or exaggerating and I certainly dont feel like it happened to me for the most part. Some of the more difficult things, I didnt even remember that they had happened to me….I thought they happened to someone else and I just happened to be there. I dont feel emotion when I talk about them, I dont feel empathy for myself, I dont feel like a victim…I feel like its not real. I question my thoughts and feelings almost on a constant basis, all day every day. I never know if things that I think or feel are really valid, or if Im “exaggerating” or “making it up” or any number of other things that arent based in reality.

    I guess thats why for me, it was so easy to accept “oh you have always had mental problems” when things started becoming too difficult to deal with anymore by detaching and hiding from it. So when the doctor s said “oh this medicine will fix it” and the medicine didnt fix it…I thought I was the problem, not that the medicine wasnt working….that I was too far beyond fixing, and that maybe what I thought was an “illness” was really just that I was a psychopath or a liar or wanted attention, or was masochistic or I was really a narcissist or any other label that anyone wanted me to have. I was looking for answers to why I “felt crazy”. I was finally told that I had a personality disorder (translation to myself: you are inherently broken and irreparable and you just have to learn to live with it because no amount of medication or therapy will help you).

    I dont trust my own thoughts, feelings, beliefs or actions…and thats hard to wrap my head around. My therapist always asks me if my husband is abusive, and all I can say is “I dont know” because some days may seem like he is, and others seem like he isnt, and I dont know if even what I think isnt abuse, really is, and stuff that I think is abuse, really isnt or if none of its abuse and Im just so used to negative treatment that I dont even see the positive, or if there really is no positive and Im trying to make some where none exists and sugarcoating things for myself. I dont know if Im in denial, or if its really ok. I just know that I am constantly second guessing everything that I do, think, feel or say and I am always trying to find the hidden motives behind what everyone else says, does, thinks or feels…and nothing is as it seems…and I dont know what to do about it…but it has to change somehow, someway. I dont have empathy for people Im supposed to “love”, even for myself I have none. Does that make me a sociopath? That someone can make me upset or angry and I just shut off my emotions and feel nothing?!?! Is that one step from being a serial killer? I dont know. These are the kinds of crap that goes through my head and I just dont even know where to begin or how to explain it to get help with it, Im not even sure if Im really thinking these things and not jsut making them up as I go.

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