Three Keys to Breaking the Chains and Facing Emotional Pain


emotional healing from abuse Sometimes facing the pain seemed so overwhelming that I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to face what I had to face in order to get on with my life. I didn’t want to feel anything. I had survived by shutting down my feelings and by shutting down my needs. I didn’t want to feel or be aware; it was much too frightening.

This was the spin; the vicious cycle.

But I must have wanted to live. There was a tiny spark in me that didn’t go out. There was a tiny flame that belonged to me and a determined little flame it was. That spark was determined to live. The “how to go about doing that” was the problem. I wanted to be free but there were certain chains that had to be broken. Certain things held me back and because those chains formed when I was so young, I didn’t realize they were even there. They were familiar; they were part of me. I thought they helped me, and even thought they were “saving me”. I was afraid to break them and emerge into the sunlight. That was the spin that I was caught in.  I had lived in “survivor mode” for so long that it was all I knew. 

Survivor mode is the shut down place; not feeling, not needing, not facing the truth.  Survivor mode is the only way to get through any kind of childhood trauma. But as an adult it was in my way.  It became one of the road blocks to freedom.

Victim mentality believes that being compliant will keep me safe. Being compliant means never facing or talking about childhood trauma. Being compliant means never standing up to the abusers, oppressors, or to anyone who triggers those feelings or fears that are born out of survivor mode. Victim Mentality is a learned behavior also from childhood and being compliant was the only hope of being safe as a child; the problem is that I never grew into an adult with value when I was stuck in that way of thinking. Living in victim mentality, I perceived everyone as being more important than I was and therefore was compliant to almost everyone.

At the root of depression and low self esteem and wrapped all around my victim mentality and survivor mode was my difficulty with self love. I had not been taught my value. In fact, I had been taught to doubt my value. I had been taught that I had no real value. When I was told I had value, it was usually attached to some form of control or manipulation which carried the message that my value was only in what I could do for someone else. I had to learn to value myself. That might sound easy but in reality, self love has been one of the hardest things to learn. Even today, every struggle that I have has an element of struggle with self love at the root of it.

These three things; understanding survivor mode, understanding victim mentality, and realizing that I did not know I had value and therefore had not learned to love myself, held the keys to freedom.

I learned everything in this process of recovery and achieved all forward motion by looking backwards. I had to examine the results of being devalued and understand how I had come to live in victim mentality. I had to take a look at how I survived, so that I could see that I survivor mode, although necessary back then, was no longer necessary anymore. In order to learn my own value, I had to take a look at why I didn’t know my value. I had to take a look at how my self esteem got “broken” and went missing in the first place. It was there that I realized where all the depressions and dissociative identity originated. It was there that I began to see how to replace the missing links in my childhood so that I could overcome depression, low self esteem and dissociative identity disorder.  

It was there that I found so much HOPE that there really was freedom on the other side of broken.

And that was when I realized that my fear of the pain of facing that stuff was also in my way. Perhaps the pain would not be as bad as the pain that I finally realized I was already living in? I had to take that chance. Of course it paid off and I was right. The pain in the process, which is more acute but never permanent was never as bad as the constant although more subtle pain I had always been submerged in.

Facing those details was what set me on the path to overcoming low self esteem, overcoming all the abuse and the resulting depressions and dissociative identity disorder and most of all, overcoming the false belief system that defined my life and had determined my course up till that point.

Please share your thoughts. Please feel free to use any name you wish; It is important to me that you feel safe here.

Another Snapshot of Truth on the Journey to Freedom

Darlene Ouimet                    

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Categories : Survival



I could so relate to this post. I thought too that being compliant and being who people (namely my family) wanted me to be would earn me love – it didn’t. I grew up not knowing what love was, and I certainly didn’t know what it meant to love myself. And how could I love myself if I really didn’t know who I was?? How could I love myself when even my parents, especially my mother, didn’t love me.

I had an abusive mother who told me who she thought I was – the reality of it is that she didn’t know me at all. Not one little bit. Not only did she have her idea who I was, but who she said I was, was also translated to siblings, probably to my father as well. In the end, I felt like a true black sheep of the family. Who she said I was really kept me from knowing who I really was. And because her lack of love is what was reflected to me, I then believed that I wasn’t loveable, she didn’t reflect that I was worthy – so I saw myself as unworthy. I saw myself in these ways because that is how she saw me and felt about me.

I truly believe that a child learns healthy self love for oneself through the healthy love of a parent!! We didn’t get that Darlene … and its quite a journey learning to love oneself … and it does require us to have to face the fear and the pain of rejection. It requires seeing ourselves as worthy and loveable and sometimes we have to look for friends and other people who matter to reflect that onto us.


Darlene, It took awhile for me to realize that I should love myself unconditionally and I spent a good deal of my life not only trying to earn the love of others but also myself. I thought if I accomplished certain things that I might earn the right to be somebody but now I know that self love is expressed through my personal accomplishments and has to exist before hand. I wasn’t treated as having equal value with others as a child and I didn’t even think of or treat myself as equal. I thought I deserved desmissal and mistreatment by others and I treated me the same way. I see myself much differently now.


My value was always attached to how I could look, act or somehow benefit another person. It was never enough to just be me. I wish I knew the steps that took me to the mirror that day when I looked at myself. I really looked. And I realized that I could love that reflection just as she is, just as she was. It was that day that I started to move forward, and I started to understand the most intimate relationship people never have the courage to have is with themselves. They rarely take the time or invest the effort in really getting to know who they are, and accepting who they are, and putting the work into loving who they are. It isn’t what we do, it’s who we are. It is amazing. Even more amazing to me is how modelling that behaviour can be so good for the people around us. I don’t say I’m sorry for who I am anymore, just like I don’t try to be the one who makes everyone happy. Can’t be done. Not possible. Be happy that I’m trying! ha ha or that I’m not there trying (as the case may be!)

Great post Darlene, thanks again for all you do!



How true.. it is . your words mirror my own.. Tonight as I sit here with all my tears running out .. I ask myself why did I let her “do that”. .why do I let others “do that: ..why why why. then I see your blog. and shake my head..that’s why: because I was never valued. I was never valued .. to my family. to my mom, to my abusers.. to my therapist.. i was an easy accessible victim.. and I did nothing to protect myself.. because I didnt know how to . because being beaten down so many times you feel you don’t deserve any better.. Yet somehow i have to realize that that way of treating people..the way the abusers in my life treated me is not healthy, not fair and it has nothing to do with my worth. I hear myself writing this. intellectually i now it to be true.. but all my confidence..my self esteem is about the size of a tiny mite taking a ride on dogs back., I find myself wanting to be better, stronger, so I don’t continue to be that person that everyone hurts.. I don’t know how but I am willing to learn . so will be watching for all the hints and helps I can find and be open to all the words that instruct. .

I am having a pretty hard night. .clouds came and rained on my sunny day but I know rainbows often follow the rain so will be watching for one.

THank you Darlene for your beautiful post tonight and for all your support you have been given me and so many others: you are great..



Hi Risé
People kept telling us that doing what they wanted would earn us love. They didn’t say it in words, but in all actions and consequences. As a child, it never occurs that there is no truth in what we are being taught. For me, the fear of rejection was like the fear of death. As a child, we believe that rejection means death. Without exposure to the truth, it isn’t easy to change that belief. Thank you for adding your voice to this. Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pam
I totally relate to what you said here. Self love is an action statement and my value is not determined by the doing of “certain things” the “right way” for “certain people”.
I had to learn to treat myself with the love and respect that I was trying to get from others.
Thanks for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Shanyn
you said ” it was never enough just to be me”. That says SO MUCH. And yes, self love has a ripple effect and it really does reach out and touch the others in our lives!
Lovely share!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Joy
It isn’t really that you “let” people do that as much as that is what you know. For me it was familiar and even comfortable for me to be the one that got dumped on. I was the one who always tried harder. That was just the way it was. I was compliant; I accepted “less than”. That is what you have been taught. It takes time for all this to sink in, so just keep reminding yourself. And try to treat yourself the way that you treat someone that you love… or even the way you treat a kitty with love. Feed yourself, bath yourself, put yourself to bed. Do tender and nurturing things for yourself.
I had so much trouble with self love because I saw myself through the eyes of people who didn’t love me back.
Hang in here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hiya Darlene,
I think it is so beautiful that you found those origins and that it started with finding that little girl that sat alone in the dark way too long. It is like the journey starting, yet needing to come full circle before it could progress and guide you on your way. The world is lucky that you found that part of you, look how incredibly beautiful you have made her. Teaching her to have a voice and join you in this is probably one of the kindest things you could do for yourself. Thanks for working so hard!
((Big Hugs))


Hurting people hurt people; it doesn’t mean we are responsible for their abuse. It doesn’t mean we are guilty. It doesn’t mean we are unworthy. (As a child we don’t know this yet and have to learn the truth.) It means the abuser doesn’t know how to love, only abuse through power and control which makes them feel stronger, therefore, they project their feelings of unworthiness onto us victims. Once we realize the truth that it’s NOT about US, but it’s THEIR issue, we find freedom. We begin to see ourselves anew, afresh, and no longer distorted and weighed down by THEIR lies. One step at a time we emerge from broken and sprout our wings. Once we start to tell ourselves the TRUTH and once we believe it, we learn to fly. It’s not an easy process, sometimes it’s downright grueling, but it’s so worth it in the end, because WE’RE worth it!! Believe it, achieve it, live it! That’s my wish for everyone who’s wings were clipped in childhood. It’s never too late to learn to fly.


Dear darlene and to all those beautiful comments


I couldn’t agree more with everything that you have said here. It was definitely my case that I was not given those good things as a child. In retrospect, at 13 years old, to avoid suicide, I shut down to protect myself, and moved through life expecting (without realizing it) that my partner(s) would be able to give to me what I was lacking. The result was that this placed a restrictive burden on them, and I was never satisfied. I have been divorced three times, and each wife essentially said that they loved me, but could not be married to me. There was never any “abuse”, but in my heart there was a void that no one, including me, could navigate. Shutting down my heart placed me firmly into my ego where divine love had no room. I of course, never saw this, and was terribly hurt with each divorce, wondering what was wrong with me. Finally, a therapist pointed out that I had control issues that were useful at one time, but had been getting in my way, and were preventing me from experiencing the love that I, as a human being, deserve. It is exactly as you say. I had to realize what had happened (and not happened) at a young age, and how that had affected me. I am now learning where I was broken, and how to bring that brokenness back together without expecting someone else to complete me. After many years of feeling alienated and lonely even (and especially) in the context of being in a relationship, I am beginning to feel whole. Your blog has been a positive asset for me in this journey. Thank you.


Dear Darlene and all those beautiful comments. All your words have truely made So much sense to me, I couldn t explain the feelings of pain, rejection, torment, manipulation, abuse, black sheep, scapegoat, people pleaser the list is endless but I know You All Know where I m coming from and admire All Your courage and bravery to accept and come to terms with the insight that you re not to blame for any of what happened in your childhood. I have fought my entire life trying to do the best for everyone, the more I did, the more ammunition I seemed to give them to hurt me. I have attended psychotherapy 4 times a week for the past 2 years and the intense excruciating emotional pain I have experienced is far far worse than when All these destroying awful mind games, mixed messages, no love etc etc etc the list is endless was happening as a child. I have pushed on and on praying the pain would subside and my life could eventually at 41 begin. But sadly my and body have eventually given up and I m now lying and sleeping in the same clothes on a noisy disturbing psychiatric ward with not an ounce of strength even to wash my face. My appearance was always immaculate and hid the pain so well for so long but neither that nor my mask is hiding the pain. What makes things so much worse is my mum who I still absolutely adore despite everything is dying a slow and very undignified death and the carer/daughter role I have always always stepped into I am too paralysed with my own fear and trauma but do not want to be riddled with guilt when she does go. I cant win, I ve lost my will, fight and who I ever was or would become. No amount of pain and suffering throughout my life ever prepared me for this emotional pain and grief and I cant ever see it getting better. I ve worked so hard and its gone on too long. Sorry everyone but sincere thanks to you all esp darlene(have you written yr own book you are a survivor and I admire you So much) E x x


Hi Sandy
It is wonderful to be whole and one and at peace with myself and my life.
Thank you for your comments,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen
Very well said! Thank you for adding your voice to this post!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Robert
Thank you so much for sharing this! I also realized where my false belief system was hurting others and how I too believed that “someone” might be able to “complete me”. I am so happy that you are here sharing the journey and I am glad that you enjoy my blog!
Hugs, Darlene

Dear Emma
I am sorry that you are in so much pain right now. I hope that you have the much needed breakthrough soon.
It is okay for you to express that pain here; you do not have to be sorry.
Hugs and love, Darlene


Dear Darlene,

Once again, thank you very much for being the voice….OUR voice; saying the things that we all need to hear. Speaking the truth that sets us free.

Sometime the truth feels so ugly, but that’s just the shadows of lies dancing around the truth, trying to keep us from it.

For once in my life, just this morning, I’m facing the indifference, neglect and abuse that was my childhood. It’s finally making me angry. What’s up with that, anyway? Why have I not been angry and felt sorrow for how little I mattered to the people called my parents? Sometimes it seems to me that indifference and neglect is so insidious because we don’t feel it is abuse. But it is abuse.

I’m just now starting to sense the lack in my soul because all of my energies seem to be going towards protecting the little girl that no one gave a shit about when I was younger. I have no memories of childhood that are good…or…bad, just a lot of aloneness. I lived in my own little world, taking care of and paying attention to me.

I’ve got some work to do to get out of that survivor mode. It’s draining all my resources.


HI Darlene

I like how you say to be kind to myself..to love me like my kitty cat and to put myself to bed, bathe and be tender and nurturuing to me.. I am going to work on this since. .its totally opposite of that old way . not just that i didn’t get it at home but that the opposite was promoted as a closeness to God.. like God doesn’t want us to know kindness, tenderness but rather wants us to be suffering.. or fasting.. or not enjoying life.. So yeah, going to try to put these little gems into my mind so I can remember to be kind to me. They say you adopt as your own the habits of those around you and I have had alot of hurtful .. negative people.. I have kind of taken on their attitudes toward me as my attitude toward me.. .. I need to realize their problem is their problem not mine.. . I am going to try to be kind to me.. thank you : Joy


Dear Darlene, and everyone who has commented:
I am deeply moved by this post, and by every one of the comments.

What we believe about ourselves, and about the world around us… what we were taught to believe, when we were tiny dependant children, unable to survive, and as yet incapable of figuring things out on our own… the sick, false beliefs that our parents and other caregivers taught us about our worth, or our LACk of worthiness: THAT IS THE ROOT OF OUR BROKENNESS.

When we leave our childhood home, and we carry our damaged ego and our false beliefs out into the adult world, any person we encounter who discounts us, or who uses or abuses us in any way, not only are they very familiar~ their devaluing attitude and treatment of us, also reinforces the wrong beliefs that we were taught in our early childhood, the lies about our lack of worth. And, on and on it goes, and the problem continues to grow…

Until something breaks that endless vicious loop. Something, like hitting rock bottom, as Emma has done, and which I also did. Or something, like multiple broken marriages, as Robert has endured, and which I also went thru… 4 divorces, in my case. Or coming to the realization that our therapist who said she or he was going to help us, is in reality yet another sadistic narcissist abuser, as Joy has so recently, tragically, experienced… and yes, that happened to me, too, MORE than once. There seems to be a large number of therapists who are just like that, I’m very sorry to say.

Whatever happens that ultimately causes thatbig break in the endless loop of our life role as unworthy, unloveable victim… when we finally reach that end, WE WHO ARE SURVIVORS, will find, deep down inside us, a tiny spark of: LIFE. The tiny spark that says NO, I will NOT let the evil lies and beliefs destroy me. NO, I am NOT going to keep seeing myself as inherently unworthy and unloveable. And NO, I was NOT put on this earth to be used and abused and discarded. Even if the whole world is against me, that does NOT make the whole world right, and me wrong! I BELIEVE that a Holy God created me, the same God who created everyone else. I BELIEVE that I was born with EQUAL VALUE, to everyone else, by virtue of my having been created by a Holy God.

I, Lynda Lee Robinson, have Equal Value! Darlene Ouimet has Equal Value! Risé, and Pam, and Shanyn, and Joy, and Sandy, and Karen, and Emma, and Robert, and Connie, and EVERYONE who reads this blog but does not comment: EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU HAS EQUAL VALUE, simply because you EXIST. THIS IS TRUTH. THIS IS REALITY. This is the ONLY reality, that makes any logical SENSE! All Babies Are Born Equally Worthy. Period.

Rooting out those false, ego-and-life-destroying beliefs, is not an easy, pain-free task…. but, doing the hard work of rooting out all the lies that you were taught as a helpless child, will ultimately have the same pay-off as when you do the back-breaking job of pulling weeds out of a garden. Freed at last of those life-strangling lies, your ego, your precious one-of-a-kind SELF, can bloom and grow.

Albert Einstein said: “The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

Changing Our Thinking is what we are doing here. As we change our thinking, we are actively engaged in changing our world.

It sometimes bothers me that I am not changing my thinking faster, or more perfectly. I’m not progressing in a straight, perfect line, I sometimes take several steps backwards, and I sometimes run into roadblocks and detours. I get better and then, something happens, and I get worse again.

But I am beginning to see that that is OK. I am still on the journey, pressing forward. Even when I am lying in bed, unwashed, still wearing the clothes from the day before, and the day before that, I am also moving forward. If all I do is survive another day, I am moving forward. Simply by picking up my laptop and clicking here on Emerging From Broken and reading the posts and the comments, I AM MOVING FORWARD. We all are.

Even those times when I get hurt or confused or overwhelmed by something I read here, and then I take a break from EFB for a few days, or even longer… even during those times, I am moving forward. I am moving at my own pace, in my own time. Who is there who can honestly tell me that I am doing it “wrong”? Who, besides me, knows what it is like to walk in my shoes, to live in my skin, to have lived my life?

I am not perfect, but that is OK, because no human being is perfect. I cannot please all of the people all of the time. But, you know what I have recently realized?

Not even GOD can please all of the people all of the time!



How hard it is to learn self love, to develop self-esteem when the people who SHOULD love you and affirm you just don’t.
I am struggling with my therapuetic homework of positive self affirmations. My head knows what I say is absolutely true – my guts just squirm and I can’t look at myself in the mirror. I feel overwhelmed with the need to go back into hiding in case “he” overhears me (my late father).
I am getting fed up with this. I am starting to bring my anger up and express it. And I am as mad as hell with him. How dare he? How dare he let me down so badly?
His teasing and sarcasm, his emotional absenteeism, his inablity to BE a father left me unable to know how real men behave – and left me wide open to being abused.
I did not love my father – I didn’t trust him, or even like him – I despised and feared him, his unpredictability. His sins of omission were devastating in their effect on my life, and he never understood that, never took reponsibility, never stepped up to the plate for me. I was a far better, dutiful, daughter to him, than he ever was a father to me.
And now I can reclaim what I was always due – my self respect, my health and my life. And I am starting doing it


Lynda that message has given me an ounce of hope and I thank you from the depth of my pain for taking the time to explain so sensitively and clearly what so many of us have had to suffer from often the onset of being born into the world. Maybe I need to be lying in a hospital bed in the same clothes for the past week, maybe I need not to wash my face, brush my teeth. Maybe my pillow needs to be covered in blood from the deep scratches and head covered in lumps and bruises trying to free my thoughts of pain. Maybe just maybe this unknown alien territory could be the start of a beginning. Who knows? The pain, grief, hurt is purging out of me surely one day it will pass and I am able to use that ounce of hope to see it happen. Thank you Lynda So So much please take care Emma x x x


Hi Connie,
I got angry for the first time well into my healing process. I had not permission to be angry before! I didn’t think I had a right to be angry before. Wow… that is the lie we live under!
Thank you so much for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

YAY !!! I want the updates here on this blog on your progress with this “assignment!”
Hugs and Love, Darlene

Hi Lynda
Thank you for your beautiful, thoughtful comments. I appreciate what you have written here, to me and to everyone who comments and reads! I appreciate you.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Libby
Getting in touch with my anger somehow set me free to do that self validating work. It is funny how that works. I had to get angry for what was taken from me, for the lack of personal value that the abuse defined me with, and get angry at what the truth really was. I had no choice in the past. It was the truth that set me free and I had to go through justified anger on the journey to healing.
Thank you so much for your most excellent share! Get Angry Libby! It was one of the most liberating things I ever did. (and today I don’t have a lot of anger at all, not even at my abusers)
Hugs, Darlene

Sometimes the beginning comes when we least expect it.
There is hope!
Hugs, Darlene


Well Darlene.. its…kind of like no where to hide; but ok. I am quite proud of me tonight as I have been nursing a very sad hurt these past few days so I said I must do something nice to cheer me.so I went to store and bought me something I so like to eat and will have some for breakfast (cherry cheese danish..Yum) and found me some nice cocoa to warm me before I go to sleep .. Yah I am going to try to be good to me as tears have been pouring out me this week like the whole town of point pleasant had a major piper burst..now its time repair the broken pieces.. Thanks Darlene for being here at this very difficult time. love you . .Hugs a million: Joy. .


ps.. I think its great to share here, Darlene, you are so kind to give us so much space to chat with each other etc. and to get some guidance along the way!



Emma, I am so glad that my words gave you hope. I spent 2 years in a mental institution. I was as completely broken as a glass that has shattered on a stone floor. I was told that I was hopeless.

This is the truth, Emma: there is no such thing as hopeless. If you are still alive, there is hope. Healing is what we were created to do. Cut us and we will bleed. But, in the moment of our injury, our bodies immediately begin to heal. It is normal to bleed if we are cut, it is not a sign of weakness. It is also normal to heal.

I believe that our minds and emotions are no different. It is normal for our minds and our emotions to be damaged when we are traumatized, abused, and discounted. But, like our bodies, our minds and emotions were created to be self-healing. The healing takes time, but that’s ok. Trust the process, it really works!


She never saw it coming

She trusted in a professional and opened up her soul
Together they made a roadmap and a realistic goal
Never did she imagine that there would come a day
When the professional would break her up in a most cruel way

But one day it happened as she was starting therapy
The professional brurted out this will no longer be
No warning signs before hand for everything “was fine”
Now she’s left to wonder what the therapist had in mind.

Those who claim to give counseling must be truly aware
how fragile and broken are the people that come into their care
IF you’re not able to go the distance please dont even begin
Heal yourself physician before taking others in ..



Thank you for posting this Darlene, i am battling to deal with my childhood abuse and the fact i shut down for so many yrs and am now i am slowly opening up the feelings i experience are scary and new to me, but reading your post makes so much sense and is reassuring. I am very proud of myself that i am eventually seeking the help i need as i am so determined that i am not going to allow the past to infringe on my future anymore. You and your site is a blessing to us all and i am so very thankful to have found you. x


I have hit that point many times, the point of sheer exhaustion, the point of feeling so much pain while sorting through the mess that is me.. the point of not feeling as though i could get out of bed and face yet another day of heartwrenching, soul crushing hurt. But each day, the sun rises and so to do i.. i can’t lie, i have spent many a day curled up in the fetal position, under a blanket, trying to hide from everything, the problem was, all that i was trying to hide from, was hiding under that blanket with me.. There was no escaping it… Piglet in a pooh movie said, after pooh told him how brave he was for going on a exploration with them.. he said something like.. “i thought of hiding under my bed, but then thought i would hide out here with all of you rather then under my bed with all of me!” Darlene, i thank you for providing a safe place to hide, so i am no longer having to hide with only me.. This is a painful process, and have come to a point of giving up many many times.. but yes, as you say, there is always a spark left, and from that tiny spark a fire can grow… so i take my breaks, but i always come back to the fight, i battle on.. hoping one day, the pain will have been burnt away for good.


I could relate to this one and went through a very similar process to find my value. The short lived pain I went through to deal with it was better than the slow but debilitating pain I experienced before. And once through what I hope is the worst part, I am discovering aspects of me that I knew were there at some level but never fully appreciated or celebrated. And that is truly freeing.


when i 1st met the man who became my husband back in 1992, i was soooo very angry and though working i binge drank every chance i got to escape the memories that were ubbling away just nder the surface. i used to slap and punch most of the non family males i had as friends and wasnt afraid of much. my sentiment then was if i can survive my childhood nothing a stranger would try scares me. not a cool attitude for someone weighing 6 and half stone and only 5ft tall. i never trusted anyone but myself to do anything for me. and if i couldnt do it , well it didnt get done. i had been told since being small how i had to be quiet and not say anything or cry as it only got more hurt from the adults and family who were meant to protect me from the big bad world. hell the small good world wasnt as good as those looking in thought. it was all about shades of truth and layers of lies. lying for my father so he didnt get into trouble for the beatings, or lying to my father to cover up my mothers adultrous affair, or feeling it was all my fault as i laid in bed listening to mother wiht her newest lover who would take the already scare emotional warmth from the house. mother could never love more than one person at a time and having 3 kids it was always the youngest who took and then kept her love and affection, even after admitting she tried to self abort the baby, and has since disowned the youngest brother. mmm so how am i meant to know what love truat and fidelity are? mmm will let you know if i find the answer because so far i havent been able to deal with the total lack of even my basic needs emotional needs being met and even my physical needs were either too much or not enough depending on how her life was at any given time.
i hate that my mother bleats on about me blaming her more than my father, yet i dont. it just that though he phyiscal beat us and was controlling in soo many ways, we knew where we were with him. but mother swung hot then cold, calls me a liar and only ever sees a situation from her stance and no-one elses. oh unless i was a stranger because then it wouldnt be about her parenting skills but someone elses lack of them.


Thank you for posting your haunting yet beautifully expressed poem here. Poetry is such a wonderful way to “get this stuff out” and so many others benefit from it too.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Zuzanna
I am so happy that you are here and beginning to feel the feelings! Although it is scary and new, for me it was also the beginning of REAL life!!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kelly
Oh I love the way you expressed your self here! you wrote “The problem was hiding under the blanket with me”
Thank you so much for honouring ME with your company and the sharing of the process on this journey!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene

Thank you so much for allowing me to share it.. I remember giving a poem one time to my mom ..she tore it up and said its pride to show my poetry. . I feel sometimes I can express myself better n poetry than straight writing ..

It was traumatic when my poem was torn up in front of me as a child but I continued to write in secret my poetry despite mom saying it was prideful.. even that was made little of..

Seems anything that could have made me feel good about me as a child was downplayed 🙁



Hi Jen
YAY ~ thank you for sharing this today! That IS truly freeing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Carol
I didn’t learn any of this stuff from my past that is for sure! But I learned from looking at my past, where the problems were and what I HAD in fact learned. I also realized that most of what I learned back there, was wrong. I didn’t know what love was, but I realized I had learned SOMETHING about love… and I had a false definition of it. I had to undo that. I had to let go of the teachings that were so bad and I let go of some of the people who would not stop trying to pull me under.
Thanks for adding your voice here!
Hugs, Darlene


Kelly, oh, wow. The problem was hiding under the blanket with me, indeed! I love that, and I also love the Piglet line you shared from the Winnie the Pooh movie: “i thought of hiding under my bed, but then thought i would hide out here with all of you rather then under my bed with all of me!” BEAUTIFUL!!

I, too, have hit rock bottom many countless times in my life. But the good thing for me is that I never just stayed on those bottoms, not permanently, eventually I start to come back up. The little spark of life inside me won’t let me stay down forever. The other good thing is that every time I have hit a bottom, that has marked the beginning of yet another turning point, of deeper, longer lasting healing. When I hit a bottom, that means I am done falling, at least for that round. I would much rather be lying on the bottom of a deep dark well, catching my breath and gathering my strength to start the climb back
up, than to still be falling!

How amazing it is that we can talk about these things here, talk about being so low and so broken that we sometimes go for days without brushing our teeth or changing our clothes ~ and as we stop hiding these embarrassing secrets, we discover that we never were the “only one” hiding under the blankets in the fetal position, with all of our troubles. Knowing that I am not alone, that I’m not the ONLY ONE, gives me the courage to stop hiding from the world with all of me, and hide out here, instead, with all of you.



Lynda, So glad to know you could relate to what i had written, not because of course, i am glad you are hurting, that you have lived through hell, as i have.. glad though, that another human is on the journey… All of us that come here are on a journey, not the same exact journey.. i don’t believe there is one linear vision or path, we did not all start out in the same place, we did not all have the same exact experiences, nor will we all end up in the same place.. however, along this journey we all feel, we all fall, we all struggle, we all get back up and keep going.. We all are some of the strongest, most beautiful, unique beings that have travelled this earth… It is wonderful too meet you,all of you, on this pilgrimage.. i wish you peace, joy, love and light..


Beautifully said, Kelly. Thank you.

JOY, I was trying and trying to post a comment here about your mother’s cruel reaction to the poem you gave her, but my internet was out and I couldn’t get through until now.

When you posted about your mother tearing up your poem and calling it prideful, I remembered going through similar things with my mother. One time, it was a bunch of wild flowers that I picked for her. I had gone outside to play after an early spring rain, and to my surprise and delight, I noticed that the empty lot next door was covered with a myriad array of beautiful, vari-colored wildflowers. I remember how happy I felt as I ran around picking all the pretty flowers that my small hands could hold. I was imagining how delighted and surprised my mother would be when I presented her with my gift. I didn’t just grab flowers at random, either, I looked very carefully and picked only the ones that were perfectly formed. Each little blossom that I chose was fantastically beautiful to my eyes, and I wanted to share their sweet, delicate beauty with my mother. When I first saw the flowers, I had thought of calling her to come outside and see them, but then I decided that it would be even better to bring them indoors to my mother, for her to keep.

When I had picked what I thought was the perfect bouquet, I ran in the house with my hands behind my back, to hide my gift from view. Then I thrust my bouquet of flowers out in front of me and said, “SURPRISE! I picked these for you!”


I was about 7 or 8 at that time, I think. I remember how crushed I felt…. crushed, just like the flowers were, after I obediently threw them out into the yard. I also remember wondering what Hay Fever was, and how could flowers cause a fever?

I also liked to write, beginning in the 3rd grade. Our teacher had given the class a writing assignment, and she liked what I wrote so much, that she made a prominent display of my little essay, during the school’s annual Open House. When my parents and I arrived for the Open House, my 3rd grade teacher took them aside and told them that she thought I was amazingly talented and intelligent as a writer. “Whatever you do, you MUST make sure that Lynda can go to college someday,” my teacher told my parents.

I remember how proud I felt…. and also, how…. CONFUSED my parents both looked! They both had an expression on their faces like they wondered if my teacher had me confused with some other child. I was nobody special, didn’t she know that? Really, that’s how my mother and my father looked, when my teacher was praising my writing ability. They looked baffled, and disbelieving. NOT proud, as I would have been, if I were the parent and it was my child being so lavishly praised.

On the way home, as my father drove in silence, my mother lectured me from the front seat. “You can just forget about what your teacher said, young lady, she doesn’t know a hill of beans. How can we afford to put your through college? If we put anybody through college, it will be your brother. He will need to support a family someday. But YOU ~ you will have a husband to support you.”

Even though my parents weren’t won over by my teacher’s praise, I was full of dreams, after that, of being a writer some day. I loved books, reading was my favorite thing to do as a child, besides climbing trees and swimming. I knew that the day of me being a writer was very far off, I would need to grow up, first. But, in the meantime, I practiced. I wrote short stories, I wrote long stories, I wrote prose. I also poured out my creative writing skills, in my letters to my grandparents.

It was shortly after the school’s open house, that I was sitting in our back yard one day, writing in a school tablet. I decided to write a long letter to my grandmother, my mother’s mother, using my wonderful newfound writing skill. So I wrote, in minute, FLOWERY detail, telling my grandmother all about the golden sunshine that was pouring down like gold on the green grass of our back yard, as my toddler twin sisters, and my barely-out-of-diapers brother, were running around like dainty little fairies with their golden blonde curls shining in the setting sun like the haloes of little angels.

I wrote my letter, folded it, and put it in a carefully addressed and stamped the envelope, then gave it to my dad to mail. I couldn’t wait to hear back from my grandmother! She was going to be so impressed with my amazing writing ability! Surely my grammie would send me a letter in reply, giving me the same kind of praise that my teacher had given me.

Several days later my grandmother called and talked at length with my mother. As soon as she was off the phone, my mother told me, “That was your grammie. She wanted to know what on earth is WRONG with you?”

I remember how confused, and MORTIFIED I felt. What on earth was WRONG with me? I was barely 9 years old! I had no idea that ANYTHING was WRONG with me!

My mother waited for me to answer, with a hateful, TRIUMPHANT look on her face. “Your grandmother got your letter in the mail today. She read part of it to me on the phone. She said, and I agree, that you sound like a crazy person! All that talk about your sisters and brother being fairies, and the sunshine is liquid gold. You went on and on and on like that, your grandmother said, page after page of that nutty garbage. Why did you write that? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?”

I remember how HORRIBLE and STUPID I felt. What WAS wrong with me?

I also remember how my mother GLOATED over her own mother’s reaction to my “bizarre” letter. My teacher had tried to build me up, but my mother, and my grandmother, and my father by his silence, had pushed me right back into my place. I was a nothing, I was a no talent no good nobody. Worse than that, I wrote… like a CRAZY person.



As I wrote my last comment…. I felt the PAIN, all over again! I felt 7 years old again, I felt crushed. I felt so excited about pleasing my mother with my surprise gift of beautiful wildflowers, and then, with both me and my gift rejected, I felt CRUSHED. Then I felt the thrill of having my 3rd grade school teacher praise my writing, I relieved my early childhood dream of someday being a great writer, I felt all the hope and joy as I poured all of my 9-year-old talent into a long, flowery letter to my grandmother, and how eagerly and expectantly I waited for her amazed, proud, delighted response to what I had written… only to be CRUSHED by a phone call from my grandmother, asking my mother what was WRONG with Lynda. That was my grandmother’s only reply to my literary letter ~ her horrified phone call to my mother.


My fault wasn’t the sin of “pride,” you see, Joy ~ although it certainly could have been, because I was, very proud, when my teacher praised my writings. My fault was that I wrote like a crazy person! I had nothing to be proud of… THAT was what my family wanted me to know. Not only could I not be proud, I had to be ASHAMED.

It’s a wonder we survived our childhoods, isn’t it?! Joy, you, and me, and everyone else here, WE CAN BE PROUD, DAMN PROUD, THAT WE SURVIVED OUR CHILDHOOD.


Darlene, Thank you for this post. It has such valuable information to everyone who wants to heal from childhood abuse. You said,

“Survivor mode is the shut down place; not feeling, not needing, not facing the truth. Survivor mode is the only way to get through any kind of childhood trauma. But as an adult it was in my way. It became one of the road blocks to freedom.”

There is so much truth in that paragraph, so much wisdom, so much awareness. I did all of those things – shut down, not feeling, not needing and going into denial – in order to survive.

After leaving home, I went into denial mode in that I tried my best to forget the incest and I pretended that it wasn’t still affecting my life as an adult. I wanted to shut the door, lock it and throw away the key. I wanted it to all stay behind that locked door but it didn’t.

I got sick with migraines and stomach conditions as I stuffed more and more anger and pain down inside. The rage started leaking out in angry outbursts at my husband. The grief started coming out in crying jags that would last for 2 or 3 hours at a time usually late at night after I went to bed. My husband was kind enough to hold me and let me cry. When he would ask why I was crying, I couldn’t tell him. I didn’t know. I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want to cry but about once every 3 months these crying spells would come over me, out of my control. As a child, I was taught that crying was weak and left you vulnerable to more hurt. Like the rage, I held the tears in until I couldn’t any more. I was years away from getting the awarenesses that you talk about here.

Learning to love myself is the very best thing that I have ever done for myself or for my family.


Hi Lynda..so sorry for late response but I really have so many things going on and losing my Therapist has really put me in a backward slide.. I wish she would have stayed with me .. she left without warning. .when I needed her most.

I have also had my days when I offered flowers.only I didnt know weeds from flowers and I gathered some dandelions which really made a big bad response.. By time mom lookd at t hem they wilted.and she cursed me for bringing her possessed flowers. 🙁 Said I

I feel your pain as I know mine was immense constantly being rejected .. nothing ever done was right.. left me feeling worthless and unloved.

I can see now , Lynda, that you still write and the most beautiful way you write and no one will say its awful any more ..sorry you knew such things

(hugs) if ok



Thank you, Joy. Your precious words mean so much.

I’m so sorry you went through that constant rejection, too, as you were growing up, where nothing you did was right, or enough.

I was reading something tonight about compassion, and it suddenly hit me: COMPASSION is what is missing, in virtually every human interaction where one or more person is being hurt! The lack of compassion can be on just one side, or, as is often the case, it can be on both sides. Lack of Compassion, and Lack of Respect: those are the two Biggies that we have to watch out for!!

Everyone is guilty at least sometimes, I believe, in not having Compassion or Respect for others, or for ourselves. No one is perfect in anything. But Abusers are people who are chronically lacking in both Compassion, and Respect.

Tonight, as I thought about these things, I came up with a new saying (new to me, anyway, there have probably been other people that have thought of this, too):

“LOVE is not about PERFECTION, it is about COMPASSION.”

Yesterday I took a new antidepressant me, because the one I’ve been on for the past month was making me so terribly sleepy all the time, with no energy, and an awful druggie feeling. But by last night, after just the one dose of the new antidepressant med, I was an overly-sensitive, jittery, hostile MESS. Today I did not take that med, I went back to my previous antidepressant, and now I am feeling a lot more like me again…. except, sleepy and tired and druggie feeling. But at least I am not grouchy and overly sensitive!

I have asked Darlene to moderate my comments, at least until I am much more stabilized on my meds. Since I went to the ER in June, because I had gone into a steep nose-dive of depression and was having strong suicidal urges, I have been on 5 different antidepressant and antianxiety and mood stabilizing meds, none of which have been working very good. I mean, I am not suicidal anymore, but I am having lots of problems with side effects. That’s why my meds keep getting changed. I feel like the sudden changes are as bad for me, as the side effects are. So I apologize, Joy, for anything I have posted that may have been upsetting to you, or to anyone. That’s why I asked Darlene to either block or moderate my comments, because I realize that I am not that stable right now, and I do NOT want to hurt ANYONE. Not even my “enemies.”

That’s what COMPASSION and RESPECT is all about.

HUGS are very much OK, Joy! Hugs back,


Lynda, compassion is an important thing to have for ourselves as well as others.


Hi Lynda

Please know am late only because in between am trying to finish a paper that’s due on Monday and stil crying so much from the “letting go” of a week ago..Thank you for reaching out to me and letting me know you understand

We all have our days when the wrong words come out or what we wanted to say is not what we end up putting into the box to submit. I understand where you are coming from

I am so afraid of rejection now.. more so than before.. that I am afraid to seek a new therapist. If someone who I felt so connected to can let me down so cruelly .. what can I expect for the future.. I have been so broken and rebroken I think that the last breaking left a whole in my heart and I can’t stop crying.

I could handle rejection from dysuctional people; you expect it but from one you go to for help ..you never expect it. .No matter how hard I try the pain won’t go away. perhaps because Iam trying too hard to make sense of it

So rejection is all i have known and now from someone I never imagined would rejecr me. It’s like an arrow dipped in salt has been shot into my wounded heart. .so it not only wounds but stings all the more. because of who has let the arrow go.

I do believe compassion is an important factor of life. without it. how many hurtful things we are capable of..



Thank you for the article. I continuously struggle with this. I read some of the responses, and I guess I’m still wondering – How do you help yourself with overcoming self esteem issues? How do you let go of the “control” and defenses that were built up as a result of the abuse?

I’m currently in a relationship, and I know that if I were healthier, I would be able to let go of some issues (i.e., limited time we have to spend together being that we live an hour apart). We do our best to see each other every weekend… anyhow, I feel like there are issues that come up and I wonder if it’s really an issue or if I’m just overreacting. But, I am able to talk about it and he is incredibly receptive…

anyhow, I also noticed that my self esteem kinda sucks right now.
I recently started back on medications and began seeing a therapist. Therapy doesn’t seem to be working as much as I would like it to – although I do need to give it more time, I think. Maybe I need a different therapist. Depression has been pretty bad lately. I feel like there are a billion reasons why and am not always sure which one to tackle first. It seems that running and exercising helps a lot, and I really need to do better at keeping up with that.

For the most part, though, my life feels out of control almost all the time. Maybe now that I received an offer for a promotion, it will be better… I hope. Of course that doesn’t solve other issues in life. But the extra money will help a little bit. I don’t know.. lately, things have just felt really out of control. I want to know how to be okay with some things being that way. There ARE things that we just have to wait for and I need to be okay when some things are out of control.. I get that… I just am not sure how to be okay with it…


Hi Roxy
Welcome to Emerging from Broken,
This is not a quickie question to answer. I write a little bit of how I did this in each post. I write about going forward by looking backwards; how my self esteem got broken in the first place and what I “learned to believe” about myself because of those situations. Realizing that what I believed was not true about me. Its like unraveling a really big ball of tangled string and it takes time and work. It may become more clear as you read more of the articles here.
It seems overwhelming at first, but it is doable!
Hugs, Darlene


I couldn’t “shut down” my feelings if I tried for a hundred thousand years.
I had one mom who absolutely and utterly ignored everything around her and, when I say that, I mean if you had put your hand on the stove burner while it was hot-not knowing until it burned you-she would walk to the refrigerator while you’re screaming in pain, get out an egg and fry it. All the whole time you’d be crying from the pain, she’d be like some kind of ghost, who was there in body and nothing else. She never even looked over to see that something had happened.
I hate it and I hate her, and I hate the brother I just left, who sent me a message on Facebook to let him tag me in a picture. Like his idea, or what he was saying without saying the words was “Let me tag you in a picture and everything will be like it was before, but I’ll never say sorry for my part; OTOH you have to let me tag you in a photo.”
IDK if ignoring him was the right thing to do but that’s what I did.

My other mom thought showing any emotions other than the ‘happy-happy joy-joy’ ones meant you were “weak and pathetic and something to be treated with her scorn.
I wish I knew why she thought it. She even got disgusted and angry at my grandma when my grandma started to cry at a funeral after seeing the corpse in the casket.
That’s when I wrote my mom completely off; if someone can’t even cry at a goddam funeral, there’s something wrong with my mom for getting that damn upset about it.


Hi Everyone ~

I published a new post about how the belief system is formed through the messages we get in childhood; messages that contribute to damaged self esteem. There are some examples of how this happens.
You can read it here ~
Belief system Formation via the Messages received in childhood http://emergingfrombroken.com/belief-system-formation-via-the-message-received-in-childhood/

Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

I took a lot of time to digest this post. Wow. I didn’t realize how far I still have to go in this healing journey. I reallized that I’m still in survivor mode – not feeling, not needing… I had no idea I was still so bottled up. I’ve been running from the work needed to really emerge from broken. All I knew was that I didn’t feel overwhelming depression anymore, so I just wanted to move on with my life and make up for some of the time I’ve lost. But I have to take the time for myself that I need to work through the pain of the past as well as the present. I have to stop running. That thought scares me. I don’t know if I’m running from the pain or just don’t feel worth the time and effort. Probably both.

This was a wonderful post and has really changed my life.


Reading this post was very interesting to me. I wonder if this is where I am in the healing process? I was in an abusive relationship for 11 yrs. I have been separated from him for 2 yrs now and dating isn’t easy at all. I make sure they are the complete opposite of my ex but I feel nothing for them. I keep them at a distance. I don’t trust them. I never allow them around my children. I have this cutoff that seems to be between 3-6 months. In this time period I find one or two things I don’t like about him and I never see or speak to him again. I never even allow him a real chance. I’m just done. Am I holding myself back? Am I not allowing myself to care because I don’t think I am worth loving? This whole time I thought it was because I didn’t want to end up in another abusive relationship and that I am not one to take anymore crap from anyone but now I think it’s because there is a lot of pain that I haven’t worked out in myself that I am running away from these could be relationships because I don’t think I am worth it. That a part of me still doesn’t think I should be happy… Now that bothers me!


Hi Anna
Welcome to Emerging from Broken. When I started to look at the truth in this way, I had a lot of profound discoveries.
I am glad that you are here,
Hugs, Darlene


This post has got me thinking a lot. The first time I talked about the abuse I went through as a child and teen I was in a mental hospital, and when I left I felt like a new person. I found purpose and wanted to use my experience to help others, and decided to go to school for psychology. I was very happy, the medication helped but made me more sick than I already was. I got off of all of it and decided I was okay mentally but not physically. Five years later I am still searching for the cause of all of my health problems, and the stress has brought up a lot of those old feelings. I realize now I was never fully healed the way I thought I was.
I too am in survivor mode and do not love myself the way I know I should. Over the last few months, problems with my health, a loss of a loved one to suicide, and feeling hopeless that I will ever love myself, has led me to run from things I never thought I would. For the longest time I lived for my family and friends, even though my family is the one who did this to me. I was never angry at my mother, though I’ve been seeing lately I should be. After my sister’s long term boyfriend commit suicide, and my best friend wasn’t there for me, I completely cut her off. We were having problems before but I just didn’t want to deal with it. I know that she was depressed too, but for the first time in my life I did not want to help someone I wanted to help myself. At the funeral, I took care of my whole family, and no one seemed to take care of me.
Ever since then I’ve been having problems with all of them. My younger brother and I always fought, recently he has gotten physical with me. He is turning into his father and abusing me just like his father was. I never thought the police would come to my house again after my mother left him. But the other day they did because of my little brother. My mother just watched him. She told me to stop defending myself against him that I was making it worse. I yelled at her saying I am not her I am not going to just let him abuse me, even though I was terrified. My mom says stop acting like the victim, you aren’t innocent here. It makes me so angry just thinking that she said that. I know I am innocent in that situation with my brother, just like I was an innocent baby and child being abused. She has the victim mentality, and she tries to push that onto me. Even when I’m scared I try to stand up for myself. I do not want to die but I’d rather die fighting than live knowing I did nothing when I knew something was wrong. I hate that my mother does not respect that, instead she hates that. What kind of mother is that? My brother wanted to talk it over with me but instead I ran away. My therapist said this was a good idea because I am not safe there. I haven’t talked to my mother since the incident as well as my brother. Seeing her watch him abuse me and doing nothing, reminded me so much of my childhood. For the first time in my life, I am so angry at her. Not just for my brother, but for everything she ever did and didn’t do. Reading people’s post made me realize what people have always told me. That she is a terrible mother. She never hugged me or said she loves me, she never told me she was proud of me though I’ve already accomplished more than her in my short life. She doesn’t believe I can be a doctor, and so neither do I. I realize now my low self esteem doesn’t just come from her boyfriend and what he did, but what she did too. She is just as guilty. Right now, she really doesn’t deserve me in her life. Perhaps she never will. I always lived for other people. I live to help others. Why do I feel guilty for not talking to her? I know that she is hurt, I know that she feels guilty too, but why should I feel anything for her? Why should I hurt myself so that I can help her? Or hurt myself to help anyone? When will it be my turn? Now I try to be selfish and just focus on myself and my schooling.
The other day I had an issue with a teacher. The teacher gave me a 0 on an exam because I didn’t bring my I.D., then told me to run to my car to get it, I did, and when I came back he was gone. I know there are assholes everywhere already.But I ran to my car crying. I planned to go in the next day and resolve it, but I could not bring myself to get out of bed. I decided I should just drop out of that school and go somewhere else because I hate it there. This is me running away from every little problem I have. I try to face my fears, but recently I just haven’t been able to. I feel like even if I do every thing I’m supposed to, I’m still going to fail. I think I have to go back to that painful place again. I need to break down my walls, and feel the pain I did as a child again. Explore all of the reasons I am the way I am all over again, and this time dig deeper. Last time I was so focused on her boyfriend, this time it is going to be focused on her and all of the other people in my life who did not return the love I gave them. I always feared everything was my fault, because that is what everyone told me as a child, that is what I overheard upstairs in the midst of a yelling match and things being thrown, fearing for my mother’s life. Thinking that when I hear his feet stomping down the stairs I will run to the neighbors, I will leave all of them behind and save myself. But I never did. I just stayed and took it. I remember back then I wish I could have protected her even though she did not protect me. I would have given my life to save hers but she would not do the same for me. Now that is happening again with my little brother, but I am going to put myself first. I know that it is not my fault. None of it. The family, the friends, the teachers. In the back of my mind I fear it is though. But how it really is, I know that I did everything I should and more. I was the best daughter, I was the best friend. I was willing to risk my life, my sanity for them. I would do anything for them. I was always trying to please everyone but myself. The only thing that matters is that they think I matter. Now I am trying to show myself that I matter. It is hard because this is not my personality. I am not selfish, I am not an angry person, and I have never depended on myself. I have always based how I perceive myself by how others perceive me. My friends and many people in my family believe I am an angel, I am sweet and kind, and going further in life than I could ever imagine, so I believe that sometimes. But how my mother perceives me has always been as a burden and as someone who is going no where, and that is always how I see myself even though I have so many good people too. Now I see that my hidden anger, my self doubt, and lack of self love rules my life. It rules my behaviors. I am going to do as I always have done and keep fighting. But instead of fighting for other people’s love, I am going to fight for my own. I am not just good for others I am good for myself. I have a purpose other than to help other people. I just have to find out what it is. Everyone has to face stress in life. I need to face the stress early in life, and just how angry I really am at my mom, so that I can face the stress I have now. I barely know where to begin to love myself. I know deep down that I am good, but I don’t fully believe it. Someone told me the other day to never try and win someone’s love, because they will never give it to you. I realize that I will never get the love I deserve from my mother. So how do I love myself? I know a million reasons to love myself. I just need to let go of her feelings and find my own. Her feelings should not matter to me because mine never mattered to her. Once I do all this I will love myself, and believe in myself. I don’t need her to love me so that I can love me.


Hi Emily
Welcome to EFB
I totally relate to your story Emily. This family stuff is so very hard and painful to sort out. The way that I learned to love myself was really by looking at what happened to me in the first place. I looked at how I learned NOT to love myself. And certain beliefs about me developed because of certain messages that I got from those event. I looked closely at those things. The closer that I looked at the messages that I got and accepted about me, the more I realized that they were not true and I began to re wire my belief system. That has been the only thing that has ever worked for me. I had band aid therapy and band aid self help books, but this whole re wiring of the belief system is what did the permanent trick.
Glad you are here. Please keep reading and sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


I’m new to this site and have been reading some of Darlene’s posts & comments. Your story of the wildflowers and your writing poems rang true for me. I too loved to write poems. I rarely showed anyone my poems for fear of rejection. Once, i showed my mom and she laughed at how i described a beautiful day at the beach. Instead of praising my sensitive poem, she knocked it down. I internalized this as there was something wrong with my writing. She didn’t come out with what’s wrong with you but the reaction & message was there. You has always turned my sensitivity into the reason for me feeling bad. She would say, “You are too sensitive”, you make a mountain out of a molehill, your always afraid, but watch out…she could be very protective of me if someone else bullied me!…What mixed messages!!!…There have been many times she has not acknowledged my art work or my choices in books by making snide & sarcastic comments….what mom does that?- it like i’ve been a rival instead of her child! There is jealousy there which i could never understand…Isn’t your mom suppose to love her unconditionally- well not my mom!….sorry for being long winded…It feels good to get this load off my shoulders & to see others have been there done!…I like your posts Lynda, they are honest & insightful!…Thanks for sharing!


I too struggle with the same things – depressions and dissociative personality disorder. I have periods now where I feel better, I feel clear and free, but then something happens that will pull me back into my old patterns of dealing with things – mainly to withdraw, curl up in a ball on the sofa, disappear into myself. I know it comes from the state of helplessness I felt as a child. I wish I knew how to make the happiness, the healthiness state more stable. There’s a part of me that has always longed to be open about the pain and abuse I suffered as a child. More specifically, talking to the rest of my family and confronting them. I want to know why they didn’t do anything. Talk about the reality that no one can say peep to my mother about anything, because nothing is apparently ever her fault. I want to know why no one intervened in the years that I felt so bad during my childhood. There is so much talk about “love” in my family. Well the worth of a family is determined in how much they are there for the children. How much they protect and love them. That is where the family’s real values are. Not in how much they protect and find excuses for the parents. So I desperately must keep relating to REALITY, not to what I’m being told. I don’t want more nice words about love. Show me. The truth is it’s not just about me. It’s about the family’s whole attitude towards children and each other, and of course it’s going to affect the current children – the nieces and nephews. Are they going to be heard? Or are they going to be told our family is great and “loving”, only “wants what’s best”, “do the best they can”? Doing the best one can has to involve looking at the past, evaluating it, working through it and making sure it doesn’t happen again. And I can clearly see in my brother’s family that he hasn’t worked through the past at all – or he wouldn’t be screaming at the children, forcing them to stay at the dinner table until they’ve finished, forcing them to eat, manipulating and lying…..exactly how we were treated. It’s very painful to watch. It’s painful to be the one of us two who chose to remember – I remember our childhood and what it felt like. When I try to remind him of what it felt like when our parents treated us that way, forced us to eat, he looks at me incredulously and says “How do you remember that? I don’t”. That’s painful. It’s like, with the memories of those really bad things, he also chose to not remember our bond. Those memories are inseparable. Anyway, I don’t know how to feel stable and how to heal properly. I know that I do feel better simply being away from my family. I don’t have to feel that awful feeling of having to pretend. There are some that I would perhaps like to talk to at some point to find out what they feel. If they really do love me, care about me, they’re not going to defend how my parents treated me. They’re going to be appalled and upset by it, and want to know how that could happen so it can be prevented in the future for other children. They’re going to want to listen and validate my feelings. That is what I expect. They’re not going to make me feel as if my reaction is disproportionate to what happened – because IT IS proportionate. I look at other areas of my life, where people tell me I have a keen sense of judgement, they say I’m rational and intelligent, and I look at those areas and I feel that I do have good judgement. I do trust my ability to reason, more and more the more I am away from the source of my bad feelings. So I think that my emotional reaction is, and has always been, proportionate to what was done to me. I function correctly.


I don’t really feel so well after writing that. 🙁 I don’t know why. I feel really sad.


Well-written. I could fully relate. I went through the same process of needing to see and then change my beliefs. Abuse plants lies in our souls. Recovery comes as we question and then reject those lies.
I am so grateful for all the healing that we can experience.


Hi Tanya
Welcome to Emerging from broken. I am grateful for all the healing and community as well!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

Thank you for your important writing. What self-healing tools do you use when your self-value system isn’t as balanced. What are your recommendations for turning moments (days, weeks) of low-esteem into (or back into) self-love and self-respect.



Hi Deej
Welcome to Emerging from Broken ~ I have written everything here; there are over 400 articles all aimed at answering the question or some aspect of healing/self-esteem etc. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


I read this article about a year ago when I first came to this site. At that time it introduced the concepts of victim mentality, survivor mode and gave me an understanding of difficulty with self love. But while I gained an understanding of these things I wasn’t quite ready to delve into them and apply them to my own situation. Rereading this a year later I feel ready. My survival mode was and sometimes still is to completely stuff my feelings down inside me and to either forgo my needs or find some creative way of meeting my needs on my own. I remember how tight I felt inside. It’s like one of those pressure cooker pots; put the lid on tight so it doesn’t fly off the pot. But wow, there was a lot of pressure inside that pot. Just like inside of me. Survival mode meant spending long hours alone in my room. If I isolated myself, there was less chance of getting in trouble which would lead to a spanking or verbal abuse that would further rip apart my already severely damaged self esteem, and reinforce once again my feelings of lack of worthiness. Since I felt so unworthy, I lacked self love. I loathed the way I was and spend hours and hours, year after year, trying to figure out what was wrong with me that made people, including my own mother, despise me. I never figured out the answer. I guessed a lot at the answer, and tried to reinvent myself, trying to mold myself into a person they would accept. And I behaved so well. I was so good and compliant ( victim mentality) and always of service to people. It was non reciprocal. Certain rules for them and different rules for me. Guess who was on the losing end? And I never did find out what was wrong with me. It was a puzzle I couldn’t solve. I couldn’t find the answer because there was nothing wrong with me. I had been made to feel that there was something wrong by sick people who had their own agendas, ones that would benefit if I felt inferior or felt that I had to be a people pleaser, or if I felt bad enough to just stay out of the way and not ask for anything that would impose on anyone.

So this was my life, shut down, not able to express feelings, feeling guilty if I had certain feelings that were considered “bad” such as anger, envy, dislike for something or someon. And these feelings as well as the guilt went unexpressed. The tightness in me eventually lead to hyperventilation. The feelings stuffed inside had to surface somehow. And so at 19 I ended up in the emergency room hyperventilating and my heart beating twice as fast as it should be. Examination showed nothing physically wrong with me. The doctor said it was caused by anxiety.my mother asked what I was anxious about. I wasn’t exactly sure because I was really confused and also not feeling good., but I knew I could not even attempt to tell her, especially knowing that if I said anything having to do with her, she would go into a rage.

I started journaling after that. It gave me a place where I could attempt to express feelings. I started writing poems and short stories that would express my feelingson particular situations such as breaking up with a boyfriend and the heartache I felt. I started dating the guy I would eventually marry, and I think one of the reasons I fell in love with him was that I had found someone I felt comfortable expressing feelings to.there were many other reasons, but this was such a critical thing for me in a relationship.

I still had and sometimes still have difficulty expressing feelings to many other people. I believe it is left over survival mode. And there is still some victim mentality in me. I still have fears if I don’t comply with someone’s wishes. Mainly fear of rejection. I need to delve into why I would still be living in survivor mode.


Amber, I agree with you. We were punished for having feelings. Other people tried to define us so we could be their punching bags and not fight back.


i am new to the site and feeling so many emotions i am finding it hard to deal with. I found the strength to report the abuse only to have the family turn against me and i am no longer their daughter. i never wanted to hurt anyone just find answers to all my heartache, bad feelings, low self esteem. i have only ever told 120 percent the truth and why do i feel so bad. Some days i feel such emotional pain i just want to keep crying an crying. My husband and son have been so brilliant but i need something else to get me through and that is why i found your website.why did i deserve them to turn their back on me. I need to find the strength to trust my judgement but its really hard, can anyone relate to this or help me thanks


Hi Debby B. One big truth I learned since coming on here is that many things happened that we didn’t deserve. But because we were brought up through brainwashing to believe that we did deserve it, it is very hard to shake that false belief. I know because I have been working on shaking many false beliefs in the past 15 months since I began the process. In my opinion you had every right to report abuse. In no way did you deserve to have those people turn their backs on you. It unfortunately does happen sometimes when the truth comes out, and it makes me wonder what are these people afraid of and what are they trying to hide. I also believe that some people turn their backs because they want to keep things status quo. They don’t want something to shake up the “happy family life” even if the happy family life is cleverly disguised dysfunctionality. They are in denial.this website and Darlene’s book are very helpful in sorting all of this out. I’m still surprising myself with the things I am discovering. Trusting my judgement has come gradually as I’ve gotten past some of the false beliefs. I am sending you healing thoughts.


Dear amber thanks for your kind words of support, I Didn’t realise how much hurtful things my parents had said to me and how they can just discard me as if I don’t matter. One thing I have found is how many other people on this website are going through similar experiences which gives me realisation I am not going crazy


You’re welcome, Deborah! Are you and Debby B one and the same? I wasn’t sure, and I also posted a response to you on the other thread you posted on. I have found that many people have gone through similar situations on here. The stories may be unique, but there are so many common links within them. This website has been so helpful to me! I am not crazy and neither are you. People try to make us believe what they want us to believe. We have to sort through and throw out the stuff that is false. I’ve been doing this for a while now, and have been very happy with the results. I just have to keep going.


Yes me and debby b are the same I posted the first blog and it said it was a duplicate so I thought it hadn’t worked properly so tried a different one, I shall use Deborah from now on. I am a bit scared of my family threatening me if I speak out but I cannot be afraid I have said nothing that isn’t true


Hi Debby b (Deborah)
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
I can relate to your post here. I also was extremely honest and I felt like I was the bad guy… there is so much info here about how that happens and how to heal from it. The truth is that we don’t deserve the rejection. It isn’t about us at all, it is about them.
Glad you are here,
hugs, Darlene


p.s. Deborah
If none of it ever happened you would have nothing to talk about. You might enjoy my current post on the homepage and there is a current discussion there too.
hugs, Darlene


I didn’t disclose my abuse in a calm conversation, it was because my dad was telling me what a horrible parent I was for reminiscing about a funny story regarding my mom with a childhood friend. I also was called a liar, but it wasn’t when I reported the abuse but when my counselor sent me to a sexual assault counselor. My cousins sister started threatening me and messaging my minor daughter, it got so bad I obtained a 1 year restraining order against her. My daughters and I were disowned by my entire bio family. My husband has a hard time with emotions and confrontations so my main support has been counseling, friends and communities such as this one. I feel guilty I exposed my daughters to this toxic family (I wanted them to have as much love as possible) and regret the impact it’s had on them. I’m working hard to show them I value them and myself to provide a positive role model


Did anyone else hear “Just be yourself. You don’t have to impress anyone”, after being lectured or reprimanded?

I’ve ALWAYS felt some sort of way about that phrase, when it was told to me. But I’ve never been able to put my finger on it. Like a backhanded insult maybe?

Any thoughts?


Hi Summer Breeze,
Ya, just be yourself ~ when you have been taught your whole life that “yourself” isn’t good enough. That is quite a thing to get your head around, isn’t it!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Shirley!
Good for you!!! The hardest thing I have done in recovery has been to be the parent to my kids that I didn’t have myself. And yes, it has been hard on them but I had to ask myself in those really tough years “what would the alternative be” and the answer to that question always helped me go forward!. Today my kids are all grown up and our relationship is wonderful and they are really wonderful kids too!
Hugs, Darlene


Is the pain of facing the past really going to pass? is it really overcomable? is it really less then hiding my heart, as I have been doing for 60 years? I have just begun to encounter my heart again. I realize that I don’t have good emotional boundrys. I don’t even know what they are or should be. I am overwhelmed, and I have only just begun.


Hi Lynda,
I don’t know if the pain from facing the past will stay to the end of my life, but I know that if I start to feel as a better person, which was not possible to see through because of all my past, I think it will make me able to handle the pain from the past when I no longer have to live in the constant pain of believing I’m a bad person. I’m still having a lot of work to do myself for the reality of my past but I’m optimistic that making progress in the work even with a baby steps, it will get better. I know it won’t be tomorrow but this hard work it will pay off and I will feel better, free and independent at the end of it!


I so agree that the turning points in this battle are understanding the survival mode of a way of living and the victim mentality, because if I’m not aware of them I can’t help myself resolving my habits of living in this modes! The fear is so extreme for survival that so much gets blocked from my awareness and being stuck at the age of when the trauma started is the big key to finding the answers! I’m still living in a big part of my every day life as a age of 5-6 years old, who can’t change unless she starts to feel safe! I’m trying to parent her and to teach her different possibilities, which are safe for her and she can explore, learn and grow. That is the only way of getting better by getting out of the danger world she lives in all up to this moment and learning that there is a better way and this is possible! Thank you Darlene for the hard work and for your dedication to help others!

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