To Heal from Emotional Damage Know what the Damage Was


the truth about neglect and child abuseIf there is ONE place that I recommend starting the emotional healing process, it is starting with the damage.  That might sound easy, but I had to actually find out what “the damage” to me was. 

I had to find out how I got broken.  What happened to my self esteem in the first place? How did my self esteem get so low? What happened to me? That was where the keys were and those were the keys that led to freedom. 

I remember when I realized that my depressions and dissociative issues came from somewhere; I sat stunned, repeating to myself over and over ~ What happened to ME?

I had to look at the roots. I thought that I was born depressed.  But the more I thought about it, how could that be?? There were actual events that caused damage and my depressions were in fact related to those events! I just had to see it. I had to finally SEE it. 

The biggest obstacles in my way were avoiding looking at how I used by others, how I was objectified and not considered to be equally human, and how I was failed by others. By avoiding looking at the truth about that, I was able to excuse the damage they caused.  I excused them because I had to. As a child, survival is of the utmost importance and if we start complaining about the people who are failing us, but are also in charge of our welfare, it is a pretty sure fact that we are not going to survive.

When I tell stories about teachers who were bullies or outsiders who devalued or abused me, I get a huge response. It is much easier to face the truth about someone outside of the family that hurt me and damaged me than it is to face the truth that my parents let me down, but the truth is that my parents knew about the bullying and the way it was effecting me, (I was sick in bed for months) and they avoided doing anything about it until I was so sick that the Dr whose care I was under, figured it out and MADE them do something about it.  As I have written before, my parents tried to resist the Doctor, but he threatened to get a court order on my behalf.

If the damage, (including the emotional damage) is excused and ignored… there is further damage. I am saying “so what” if my parents were “sick”. They did a lot of damage with their “sickness” and instead of looking at them and making excuses for them, it was time to look at the damage ~ to call it like it is ~ and heal from it. EVEN if it makes them angry; even if it hurts them; even if they rejected me and even though they deny it, lie about it and don’t agree with me or validate my truth. They started covering their butts when I was a baby, why would now be any different? It finally had to be about me or I would have ended up just like them; dysfunctional, sick, chronically depressed and unhappy.

It was one thing to face the damage that the teacher herself caused to me. That was the easy part. It was way harder to face how much emotional damage was caused to me because my parents were unwilling to act on the information that they got, (even from the doctor) in favor of saving face in the community.

My parents were still discounting me and devaluing me when I was a grown woman married and with 3 children. My father was still disinterested in me or in my life and didn’t seem to acknowledge that I was alive. His phone calls were still all about him. No matter what was going on in my life, he switched the subject in order to talk about himself and what was going on in his life. Every phone call or visit from him was a painful reminder that I was not valid or important to him.  

I was in my 40’s and my mother was still accusing me of enticing her boyfriends when I was a teenager and how it was because I had a crush on one of her boyfriends when I was just turning 14 was what caused him to come to my room in the night and molest me. My mother was still putting me down and accusing me of being the biggest problem that she ever had.  I was not allowed to have a voice, I was not allowed to look at the truth; the fog spin that she created was way too thick for me to see through it.

I was getting really tired of carrying the entire burden of the relationship with my parents. There was no pay off. They still invalidated me.

My biggest fear was that my parents would reject me if I faced the truth.

The truth is that my parents rejected me when they didn’t take care of me in the first place. They rejected me when they refused to hear me and silenced my voice and instead protected the people hurting me. They rejected me when they called me “dramatic, and a story teller”.  They rejected me when the way the rest of the world saw them, was more important than I was.  They were still rejecting me in the exact same ways. That is what I had to face. That was the damage.

I had to start by facing the damage.  The truth is that both my parents were broken. I had to finally say “SO WHAT?”  Whatever happened to them did not excuse or make up for what happened to me and knowing about how hard “they had it”, didn’t help me to heal. There was no solution in realizing that my parents were abused and devalued too. There was no solution in knowing that my mother suffered from chronic depression. It didn’t cancel the way that I was treated.

I had to stop running from the truth. I stopped accepting that depression was a “gene” that I was born with and instead, face the roots of my distress. In order to heal, I had to find out how I got broken.  What happened to my self esteem in the first place? How did my self esteem get so low? What happened to me? That was where the keys to emotional healing were hidden and those were the keys that led to freedom from depression, low self esteem, dissociative identity disorder, and many other issues that I had. 

Depressions, dissociative identity, illnesses and addictions all manifested in my life as a result of not being protected, emotional neglect, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse and spiritual abuse.  The roots of all of these were grounded in being unloved in the true definition of love.

Finding and facing the damage led me to learning the truth about my value. Self love and self esteem finally became possible when I faced where the broken began.

Please share your thoughts on facing the damage.

There is freedom on the other side of broken

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing


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136 response to "To Heal from Emotional Damage Know what the Damage Was"

  1. By: R Posted: 4th March

    Just putting things down in writing, no response needed 🙂

    I have felt utterly wiped out emotionally today and my stomach has been doing eight loop somersaults and hurt like hell.

    Could barely keep my eyes open even though I slept well and suddenly got an image of me as a little girl, locked in my room as happened most days for hours on end.

    Everything entertaining was stripped from that room, absolutely everything aside from the bed and a desk and I started to wonder if I used to go and sleep during those times/days and the tiredness now is an old way of coping with these emotions stirred up from that past.

    I have memories of playing with an extension lead, loading my toys onto it and pretending it was a boat, that’s how empty my room was.

    Sometimes all the bedding and the mattress would be taken away at night, no pyjamas either, it was very cold
    and uncomfortable.

    Once I climbed out of the skylight in my room onto the low roof – I found a bread crust which was literally green with age.

    I actually ate that thing because I was so hungry, I’m still ashamed about that to this day.

    Can’t believe I’m actually writing this here, i could just list it all on a word document and keep it only for me to see but there is something dangerous and cathartic about writing it where others can see it.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 4th March

      The word cathartic really resonates with me “R.”
      I am so sorry for the horror that you lived. What happened to you was so very wrong. Thanks for sharing.
      Hugs, Darlene

  2. By: R Posted: 4th March

    Thanks again for your words Darlene, they mean a lot.

    My script runs even when taking up space on the Internet (shut up now, no one wants to hear that, stop clogging up someone else’s blog and on and on in that vein)

    I’ve just had some people round to buy something from me that I’d advertised and for the first time I was able to observe myself fretting and fussing and hiding things around my home that I feel would be unacceptable for even strangers to know about me.

    Very interesting and crazy at the same time 🙂

  3. By: R Posted: 4th March

    I was scared that I would wake up today and discount the insight gained here but happy to discover it’s still with me.

    Really knowing that it wasn’t my fault and I didn’t deserve any of it is such a gift and relief.

    I was so busy being grateful that I survived and am still here and telling myself to ‘quit crying and moaning or I’d give myself something to cry about’ (great article that btw) it never entered my head that I have every reason to feel that way.

    I was systematically tortured, beaten and starved every day for years by my original family, being scared for my life was a regular occurence, yet I actively discounted it, swept it under the rug, convinced I deserved it because I was just such an ugly looking, wilful and plain awkward child.

    Apologies, not sure why I’m writing essays here, just wanted to share my amazement and gratitude that the lightbulb this site has switched on is still glowing. Thank you.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 4th March

      Hi R
      I did that too! You are not alone! And please don’t worry about how much you write here. I welcome all of it. Some of us just have to get it out and it helps so much for many of us, just to be heard and to “write it” out loud.
      I am so happy for your lightbulb moments and for the comfort you are finding here!
      Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: R Posted: 3rd March

    Thank you very much!

    Pondering on how I’ve been told ‘it’s not your fault’ before but it always felt false and the compulsion to follow it up with a sarcastic ‘yeah, right’ was always there.

    All over the insides of me I’ve been the family dog for all this time (it was decided when I was about six years old that the family dog would be their daughter and I would be the dog, complete with collar, leash, kicks and a big tin of dog food for mealtimes)

    Just realised that you’re right actually, the pain of stuff like the above can’t be as bad as finally having a way to let it out.

    Well, they do say hope springs eternal 🙂

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd March

      Hi R.
      Oh my gosh. That is horrible. This is one of the things that I would put on the “proof that it was not YOU or YOUR fault” side of your processing notes. This treatment that you endured is legally liable abuse. Not even the kind that can be swept under the rug like some types of neglect can be.
      Thank you for sharing.
      You are not alone!
      Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: R Posted: 3rd March


    I’ve been reading this site with a feverish hunger and just had to post.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the existence of this place Darlene.

    I have wrestled with so much of what you’ve written about since I was very small but never before has anything written on these subjects actually spoken to my soul at such a deep and relevant level.

    God only knows what led me here but for the very first time since I was a little child I can see that my non existent self esteem is caused by lies – lies that have told to me for so long and I never thought of treating them as such.

    The relief of finally starting to really feel and believe that none of it was my fault is enormous (and very painful at the same time)

    Up until now I really believed that I had an active part to play in the abuse dished out to me as a child, teenager and adult and ‘all those people can’t be wrong’ thinking was rife.

    I remember recently discussing a problem at work with a friend and actually realising that my bottom line of any abuse, mistreatment etc would not result in my confronting it because the belief that this was to be expected because I’m just a crap human being and brought it on myself is/was an absolute fact in my mind.

    It’s a real lifeline to me to finally be able to begin to unload the very heavy ‘pack’ on my back of guilt and shame and anger and sadness and start to put this crap back where it belongs.

    Although I’m not looking forward to the pain of the emotions to come I feel this place will be a real life-line for me.

    Thank you again.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd March

      Hi R
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
      I love your comments; realizing some of the things you mention here was where the hope for healing was born for me.
      I was really afraid of the pain too, and it was painful but never as bad as I thought it was going to be. The pain I was living in all those years was far worse!
      I look forward to your future comments!
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: J Posted: 1st March


    It just occurred to me that the “double life” deal I mentioned earlier is probably a form of dissociation (or at least similar to it). Never thought about that before.

    That was probably my biggest fear growing up – having that “exposed” in public somehow. Probably only added to the desperation to be (or at least appear) perfect (already in place courtesy of parental “training”), in the hope no one would see beyond the facade. And hence the terror evoked by the “sin cinema” tale.

    Well this was only gonna be quick while I remembered the double life/dissociative connection. Planning to re-read your posts & write more later, but will say quickly that I do at least try not to assume things about all christians.

    Actually, as I think about it, I think in a lot of ways it’s closed-mindedness I find hardest to deal with. And when that’s combined with christianity (probably any religion actually, it’s just vast majority of my experiences have been with christianity) well, it doesn’t get much worse.

    For the record, I was the worst kind of judgmental “christian” in a lot of ways growing up, so that’s probably why I’m so conscious/militant etc.

    Hmmm. Even as I wrote that (and it feels like s/thing I’ve believed for a very long time, and a belief that came from me, not parents etc), a very unusual thing happened — my head actually jumped in and defended me! (Usually does the opposite).

    I remembered how I was often someone who’d talk to new people at church/youth group, or people who didn’t get talked to much. (Well that didn’t take long… Now my head’s back to its usual plan, telling me all that was just to make myself look good etc. Stupid head!)

    Anyway gotta cruise for now. More later probably!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 2nd March

      Hi J.
      I did my share of judgement too. I think of it as my “caving in period” when I had learned so well the abusive teachings of compliance and obedience and do what they want in order to be good enough that I became like them. Love and grace don’t make sense in that world…
      Hugs, Darlene

  7. By: J Posted: 1st March

    Thanks so much Darlene & Pam. I’ve been stressing pretty bad since my last post (worried that I’d finally gone too far and that this was gonna be the one to get me banned from the site or something) so discovering your msg’s was a lovely surprise (brought a tear or two to my eye)..

    It’s really late, and I think coming here was actually my masochistic side hoping that was the case so I’d feel even worse. Or something. Although now I suddenly feel really tired, so I think I’ll have to come back later to reply. But thankyou both again for looking beyond the bitterness etc & allowing me to be true to myself. Means a lot.

    PS – Hugs. Because I can. 🙂

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 1st March

      More good work! These things were all clues for me… realizing how I really felt, realizing that sometimes I hoped that the result would be damaging because in my world (before) love hurt. Love was related to rejection.. it is all very mixed up.
      Ad for your fears; I only ask that no one condemn a group of people as in saying ALL christians or ALL men or ALL mothers.. that sort of thing.
      Hugs, Darlene

      I loved your comments too. I don’t attend church anymore.. I am so much more spiritual without it. When I came out of that whole fog I saw how much I had to DO in order to be accepted as a christian. That was really wrong! One time I didn’t have time to help with a funeral lunch. The coordinator guilted and reprimanded me! I volunteered for everything, but I couldn’t do this one thing and I realize that the misuse of power and control and the true def. of love, relationship and respect, (including equal value for all people which I believe was CHRISTS message in the first place) was just NOT present within so many of the memembers there… so I quit. I could not do ONE thing and I was a failure. That is exactly how I grew up.
      The thing for me is that I finally realized that God is love, but not the love that I had been taught was love. Love is what is best… that helped me a LOT. thinking about things in terms of “best” for everyone including me.
      Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Pam Posted: 1st March

    Hi J,
    I so identify with your feelings about Christians, hell etc. For many years I sat in the pew and did all i could to promote God. I have come to realize that the reason why I can no longer do it is not because of God but because of mans interpretation of God’s word. For all those years i clunge to the promises that i would get everything back that I lost from years of living under my family and the many grooming rules I had to abide by. It has been several years since I have darkened the door of a church because I so want to try and figure out why i am so angry and why that anger has everything to do with GOd and his church.
    I lost years and years of my life, my children, and the life i dreamed of having. just like all survivors have. I dont have any answers for you i am trying to figure this out as you are. What i do know is i dont want to be angry with God i want to believe what i used to believe. Right now i dont, and if what i was taught is true that God is love, then i have to trust that he understands why for now i dont want anything to do with his church. I want so badly to believe that everything will be ok. Right now i just cant seem to find that belief, and thats where i am. Thank you for bringing up this subject, i hope you find peace. Pam

  9. By: J Posted: 1st March

    Hi Darlene,

    I still get pretty stuck/confused re exactly what to do/how to do it.

    It feels very hard to explain what goes thru my brain when I try to apply what you describe above to myself, but I want to try in case it helps me understand (or possibly helps you understand where I’m getting stuck).

    Ok, I’ve just been going over your post & trying to figure out what happens in my brain…

    I think the problem is I feel unable to believe good things about myself as the truth. I think if I went over some of my posts above (and/or from other blog entries) I could find plenty of ways my parents damaged me/taught me not to value myself etc, but I can’t seem to make the jump from seeing that a lot of what they did was totally f**ked up to actually changing the deeply ingrained belief that I’m helpless, hopeless & doomed to never find peace in this or any other life.

    It all started too early. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t afraid of hell (for general sinfulness etc). I think I must’ve been convinced that sex (in any form) = hell pretty early, and I think puberty was the end for me (in terms of now being utterly convinced I was destined for eternal torment due to having a sex drive). The double f**king whammy of brutal repression & shame around the slightest innocent interest in girls, along with my father being my introduction to explicit hardcore porn was game over. Believed I was utterly perverted etc, commenced double life as good christian boy with a dirty little secret. Not sure where this story comes from, but remember hearing it quite a few times either at church or church camps etc – the one about having all your sins displayed for all to see on a big movie screen when you die and having to watch. Anyway that one f**ked my skull into oblivion.

    Umm, feel like I’ve gotten off topic…

    Oh yeah, so the truth. Well, even though I finally chose to turn my back on christianity (as well as any entity that may be lurking behind the fog of religion), the basic fear that any part of it’s true definitely isn’t going anywhere in a hurry.

    I’ve tried to think in terms of what if it’s all lies, or what if there’s nothing beyond this life, but I can’t get anywhere. I refuse to bow to any omnipotent force that rules by fear & uses eternity as punishment (but I’m still scared shitless of it). I can’t picture any way in which there could be an afterlife that I’d want any part of (unless maybe memory is erased & it’s a fresh start beyond all pain & misery).

    Hmmm. No longer sure if any of this is relevant to what I was trying to say/figure out etc.

    Just flicked back over it. Guess the point is I can’t erase the fear/belief that god (or any other higher power out there) is a petulant little bitch who created me only to f**k me over from birth & condemn me to hell for eternity. And perhaps more importantly, the fear/belief that that’s exactly what I deserve.

    And although I fervently hope that none of that is true, if nothing else the eternal stakes make it a pretty big one to get wrong (and therefore seems impossible to be free of the fear).

    Even though in some ways I don’t think I actually think/worry about it that often anymore (at least nothing like I did for pretty much my whole life), I can’t imagine it ever disappearing completely.

    Ok. I’m never entirely sure what’s going to offend people, but pretty sure this post will manage that small thing. Then don’t know if I actually want to apologise or not. I guess there’s some people I’m quite happy to offend (in general), but then people on here who I respect & would rather not offend, but obviously having the bitter ex-christian thing going on, there’s kinda no way around it except not talking about it/toning it down, as I usually try to do (although I’m sure that would be very hard to believe from you guys’ point of view – a lot of this stuff is actually pretty restrained to how it is in my head at times.)

    I guess I’m just trying to silence the guilt about saying some of these things in a place where I know there are lots of christians. But at the same time, it’s how I feel. So I guess trying to be true to that when it’s relevant to what I’m trying to figure out/work thru etc.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 1st March

      Hi J.
      Actually this is really good work! (in your comments)
      One of the things that really helped me was to look at my definition of certain words… (such as “Christian” or “love” or “respect”) don’t assume that “all Christians” have the beliefs that the ones who abused you were. People are all individuals.
      Having said that, you are way more on the right track with your processing than you realize here. You refuse to worship the kind of God that you were “taught about” and at the same time afraid of him ~ but the TRUTH is that the God you were taught about IS NOT GOD. (that is the bottom line part of many processes).
      I “threw out” all the teachings (from man) that I had learned and found the real message and then decided if I wanted to accept the real message or not. In my case I put my healing first and just tried to trust that a loving God would not cast me into hell or whatever, just because I needed to sort out the years of damage from abuse; and abuse that included him, so I set it all aside. Every time I thought about it, I told myself that I would get back to that part later. As I learned self love by seeing how I had never learned self love, the whole God thing straightened out for me.

      As far as your worthlessness; when you see that video of yourself as a child… is that little boy worthless? When you see a little kid or a new born baby, do you think that child (any child) is born worthless? I often had to think of other kids in order to believe that I HAD value! I was defined as valueless, but not born that way.
      Hugs, Darlene

  10. By: Deborah Posted: 27th February

    Libby thanks for these gut wrenchingly truthful commments about PTSD the past IS present.. and in that case its not even past… our wounds are always there and we need to self parent so we can take care of them.. its taken me so many years to understand this truth.. the truth does set you free even though its incredibly painful…. better to know it and feel than live a life of denial… this takes such courage.. I am so inspired by these comments….thank you.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 28th February

      Hi Everyone!
      I just published a new post called “Smile ~ An Example of Belief System Formation”
      This new post illustrates an example of how “a message” transfers to the belief system. I use the story of how I was constantly told (and reprimanded) to smile… and the way that I processed that directive. Remember that it never matters what the intention was, we are trying to find out what the message was ~ the message we got is where the damage is living.
      Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Pam Posted: 27th February

    Libby, You’re right on about PTSD. The past is always right there. It’s the filter everything passes through until truth is applied. Even then, the past is part of you. I am leaving it behind now but sadly, I’ve had to leave my family of origin with it.—The way my parents treated me set me up for sexual abuse too. When the people who raise you don’t treat you with respect and say they love you, there’s no reason not to accept the same from others. I also, agree that time passing doesn’t heal all wounds. They have to be tended to correctly before they can begin to heal and it has to start with truth as the disinfectant. I had a lot of wounds that festered for a very long time.


  12. By: Monica Posted: 27th February

    Darlene, what are the steps you took to go back in the past and realize where you were affected? Did you write down all your memories that you knew were wrong? Did you just keep releasing them until you truly believed it? And what do you mean exactly when you say not to get stuck on forgiveness? How do you know if you are and how do you move on once you realize you are?

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 27th February

      Hi Monica,
      Welcome to EFB!
      I did write a lot of things out, but the key for me was not in releasing; it was in finding out what the events caused me to believe about me… the lies that I believed about myself; the messages that I got from them. I have written volumes in this site about how I did that ~ I hope you will read more of the articles here.
      As for forgiveness I have some blog posts on that topic too~ try this link or use the search tool in the right sidebar to see everything I have written on the topic you are looking for.
      Hope this helps.
      Hugs, Darlene

  13. By: Libby Posted: 27th February

    Pam – I saw your phrase” stop living in the past” – as said to you by family. It stopped me in my tracks…it was said to me too. A the time I was a bit hurt – but NOW – I am enraged!!!!
    Living in the past??? Well, hulloooo! How did THAT happen????
    PTSD – the flashbacks are about the unprocessed past being experienced as the present – it is not the past for us – we live with it daily on this healing journey, if only because we were not HELPED appropriately when we were crying out for it in so many ways. And how many of us survivors would call the past “living”? We existed, clung to survival by the tips of our fingers at times. That wasn’t living.
    Clare, I would previously have said my parents “did the best they could” but the truth is, they didn’t. At all. Moreover, while they didn’t actively abuse me (so far as I can remember) their behaviour did set me up for being sexulaly abused by others by failing to adequately parent me. They are as responsible for what happend to me, in my opinion, as the people who did rape me.
    In this instance I don’t regard the passage of time as being healing. If that was the case, I would have been healed fromthis abuse a long time ago. The truth is, I repressed all memories of what happened to me until just 3 yrs ago – nearly 50yrs. Time does NOT heal this, facing the truth does, naming the reality, processing those feelings consciously and conscientiously heals. Burying your head in teh sand, pretending it didn’t matter perpetuates the pain, prolongs the suffering and keeps you as a slave to the abuser.

  14. By: Clare Manley Posted: 27th February

    Hi Its Clare
    To what you were saying about your Parents Rejecting You they dont mean too Its just that they proberly find it hard of what has happened. Its like when it happened to me My work place didnt believe me so thats why they moved me some where else to shut me up from telling the Papers but when my Parents found out well they were so up set and wanted to get the person who had done this to there Daugter but my Mum finds it Difficult to talk about because she crys but my Dad wont even talk about it he says that I should of moved on by now and got a proper Job but they dont relise how scary it is for me. Your Parents will Come round graduley it takes time.

    From Clare

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 27th February

      Hi Tammy
      This is so tragic! A father who’s belief that it is the childs fault even transferred to his own little girl. I know how difficult it is to share this type of thing and yes, it is the cause of most problems, ~ self esteem, depression ~ ect. You were not heard, or SEEN or valued in any way, in fact you were continually devalued.
      Thank you for sharing this and that you have now found your voice and your worth! YES you are on the right path!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Clare
      You are taking a pretty big chance writing on this website in defence of parents. You may want to defend YOUR parents, but please don’t advise anyone else about “their” parents. You have no idea about anyone else’s parents. My Parents did not come around so please don’t tell me that it takes time or that they didn’t “mean” to reject me. (or others on this site) the truth is that they DID reject me, they devalued me and they discounted me, and they are not willing to stop doing it. There is no excuse. they made a choice and now so have I.
      hugs, Darlene

  15. By: Tammy Kevwitch Posted: 27th February

    Good morning Darlene,

    Thanks for sharing your experience of how you came to find peace and love yourself for your true worth. I’m still in the process of recovery and have experienced a similar path of having to recognize that my parent’s neglect and abuse was the ONLY reason for my low self-esteem. My story is similar to yours except that it was my grandfather who was the pedophile. It went on from age 5-13. When I was 9 or ten, I finally told my father because I needed it to stop. He told me that I was a little slut and it was my fault because “A man will go as far as you let him.” My father was extremely abusive but up to that point he had not committed sexual abuse toward me. After hearing about my maternal grandfather, it wasn’t long before my father molested me. I never told anyone until I was 16 and I was not believed. There was so much neglect and violence that it just added to my low self-esteem and my belief that I should apologize for the air I breathed. Thankfully I’ve done a lot of reclaiming my inherent worth and have found my voice. I still have a ways to go, but am on the right path.

  16. By: Denderah Posted: 27th February

    sorry. Repeat.

  17. By: Denderah Posted: 27th February

    I told my father and mother to leave me alone. I was a grown woman. Time to throw these degenerates out of my life and I cared not one iota for their “issues”. My father called the police! Believe it or not. He would report that I was a missing person. One day I got home from work (in London, England) to find the Metropolitan police searching my apartment because my father had contacted them. I knew he was doing this to control me. He said I wasn’t answering his letters so the police needed to check out my whereabouts. I was lectured by the sergeant to be a “Good Daughter” and pay attention to my father. Never mind that no one had ever paid attention to me except in negative ways. I was supposed to pay obeisance to them. My blood was boiling! This police intervention continued. Never knew when I would get a police call on my answering machine searching for me. The feeling was that my parents saw me as property and I would never get away from them. That I did not have enough personhood to demand my freedom. Other members felt they had a claim on me because we had the same DNA link. Came home from work one day-again in London-to find a family member had got into my house! She was upstairs! Creepy huh? You bet! Someone told me the only way to get rid of family was with an ax! HaHa. So I took the proverbial sword and cut the umbilical cord to bits. Cleaned house. Heads rolled. Heads on sticks. Bullets, blood spit and dirt. Filial love finally obliterated from every gloaming corner. I double-checked. It was quite a skirmish but I finally won my self esteem. All’s quiet on the western front now. Now that is my idea of forgiveness!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 27th February

      Hi Denderah
      WOW~!!!! You said a mouthful here! I totally can see a controller calling the police to report (their property) as a missing person! I am so familiar with the “HOW DARE YOU” think you can just walk away from me! I will SHOW you!!! ~ it is stunning how much the idea of “ownership” is involved with dysfunctional parent child relationships!
      Thanks so much for sharing!
      Hugs, Darlene

  18. By: Denderah Posted: 27th February

    I told my father and mother to leave me alone. I was a grown woman. Time to throw these degenerates out of my life and I cared not one iota for their “issues”. My father called the police! Believe it or not. He would report that I was a missing person. One day I got home from work (in London, England) to find the Metropolitan police searching my apartment because my father had contacted them. I knew he was doing this to control me. He said I wasn’t answering his letters so the police needed to check out my whereabouts. I was lectured by the sergeant to be a “Good Daughter” and pay attention to my father. Never mind that no one had ever paid attention to me except in negative ways. I was supposed to pay obeisance to them. My blood was boiling! This police intervention continued. Never knew when I would get a police call on my answering machine searching for me. The feeling was that my parents saw me as property and I would never get away from them. That I did not have enough personhood to demand my freedom. Other members felt they had a claim on me because we had the same DNA link. Came home from work one day-again in London-to find a family member had got into my house! She was upstairs! Creepy huh? You bet! Someone told me the only way to get rid of family was with an ax! HaHa. So I took the proverbial sword and cut the umbilical cord to bits. Cleaned house. Heads rolled. Heads on sticks. Bullets, blood spit and dirt. Filial love finally obliterated from every gloaming corner. I double-checked. It was quite a skirmish but I finally won my soul. All’s quiet on the western front now. Now that is my idea of forgiveness!

  19. By: J Posted: 27th February

    Keep posting then immediately remembering something else…

    At the wedding I was meant to be in, there will also be a friend of the groom’s (who I know a bit thru him) who actually did attempt suicide, but the groom still says to me he’s got to “grow up” or “man up” and “get over it”. (A girl he liked who wasn’t interested in him, and who’s recently got engaged to a guy he also knows). I relate more to the friend, since I still feel stuck on my first love & don’t know how to move on. So more invalidation etc. Sharing up to be one helluva wedding, no?

  20. By: J Posted: 27th February

    Just remembered something from around that time last year – my father often acts all generous with money (and has spent a lot on me over the years in fairness… although in fairness to ME, I’ve often felt like it was conditional etc). Anyway more than once last year after offering to pay for extra therapy & my mobile phone bill (which I had been paying for myself) he then turned around and said it was too much & I’d have to cut back on both. And with the phone bill, I’m almost certain it was after I’d told them hospitilisation was looking extremely likely, and I definitely remember saying to him that I needed to be able to call people when I was down, but he dismissed it (can’t remember what he said). So having dangled the carrot of additional therapy (I’d been paying for my own prior to that, but obviously could afford significantly less frequent sessions), he then added the stress of complaining about it, put a dollar value on my life & decided the dollars were more important. And with the phone, he’d actually convinced me to change providers & let him pay it saying it would be “easier”, then complained about it & told me that my mental health (which at that time, basically equalled my existence) wasn’t worth the extra dollars. Also just remembered him acting weird one time – I think he was trying to imply without actually saying directly that he knew I’d used the phone to look up porn. (Said something like the phone bill was “interesting”, and that he’d show it to me sometime). At that stage I didn’t really give a shit – was quite happy to tell my mother where I got my start on explicit hardcore porn and let him deal with that shitstorm for a while. (My mother is vocally anti-porn).

    Just remembered something else I wrote in the lost post just before – I f**king hate my parents.

    Still haven’t called them on any of this (scared shitless of them still). But with the wedding approaching, and the fact that I’ve been ignoring nearly all their calls/msg’s (haven’t even spoken to my mother since I moved), feels like the flashpoint may also be approaching. Also afraid to say anything and lose the car – would feel very trapped without it (brutal anxiety about public transport). Oh well. Same old, same old.

  21. By: Pam Posted: 27th February


    It took me a very long time to be able to talk about what was wrong. I thought most things were normal because that’s how things were in my house. I also accepted my parent’s narative about certain incidents and now I see them quite differently. A lot of things came to the surface as I was raising my own children. I believe that the environment we grow up in shapes all of us but everyone also, makes their own choice for good or evil. I wasn’t a perfect mom but I worked really hard at it and wanted the right things. Being responsible and seeking what was right for my children showed me what was missing in my own upbringing. We all raise our own children in the shadow of our parents and we also, make our own choices.

    I was ‘spoiled’ in many ways too, all to my detriment. When I was a todler, I was allowed to eat only candy and had cavities in every tooth by the time I was six. This was discovered when I developed an abcess. The narative was they were so worried about how little I was that they just let me eat what I wanted. There is no narative about why I wasn’t taken to a dentist before I developed an abcess. Basically, I could do whatever I wanted if I didn’t bother them. If I was sick, it had to get to the point of really bothering them before they would seek medical help. I didn’t understand, for a long time, that everything was about them. That was the key for my being able to understand how they think.

    I wish you luck on your own journey of truth.


    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 27th February

      “theweirdphilosopher” and Pam

      At the heart of this discussion is the false definition of love. Very often children who were damaged by being slaves to parents or who have found their value in what they can DO for their parents, will let their own kids do whatever they want. NO boundaries, no chores, no limitations… but that is no more love than using kids as slaves or objects. There are many forms of neglect. I had to look at; the true definition of love in order to heal. I had to look at how I was defined. How did I learn my value or lack of it. I see kids every day who have “no value” because they had no boundaries… how can it be “love” when parents let you eat whatever junk you want? How can it be love to let a kid do what they want, stay up however late they want… etc. etc. Kids learn their value from their caregivers… and we learned how to have a relationship in the way that it was modeled to us.
      Love the conversation here!!
      Hugs, Darlene

      (P.S. There is a difference between equal value and equal authority.)

  22. By: J Posted: 27th February

    So annoying – stupid phone just died. Was feeling nice & cathartic getting some shit out. Should be grateful I thought to post first one just in case I guess. Even distracted me from how crap I’m feeling for a bit! 🙂

    Not gonna bother trying to remember what I’d written, but just remembered last appt with my psych – he got quite… not angry exactly, but kinda firmer/showing more emotion in the way he spoke (usually very gentle in his manner) and said something like I’ve got to stop going over all the parental stuff (although he understands why I do) and focus on actually DOING things (eg activities) that I enjoy instead. I’m hoping Darlene that you’ll agree that that’s invalidating. (And now I’m worried you – or someone else -won’t). I’ve said to him quite often before that life seems like nothing but attempting to distract yourself from all the shit. Doesn’t seem like much of a way to live to me. (Although, can’t exactly say my “basic survival” method has anything going for it either. Actually I guess it’s pretty much the same thing anyway)

    Just remembered what I’d been writing – friend’s wedding approaching rapidly. Was meant to be best man, bailed on that a while back. Doubt I’ll be able to force myself to even go. My parents are invited. Feels invalidating (told him about the abuse last year after I broke down completely telling him I didn’t want to live anymore). I believe that was directly related to attending another wedding where my parents were present, and was stupid enough to go sit with them for a bit – just long enough for the pure joy I’d been feeling at how radiantly happy the bride was to be shat on thoroughly by my parents. (Lifetime of indoctrination & brainwashing has made me a painfully slow learner at times).

    Ok gonna stop here. Hope everyone’s doing well.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 27th February

      Hi Pam,
      Welcome to EFB ( ~ Everyone ~ please be aware that we have 2 Pams on this comment thread now)
      Thank you for sharing this; what a nightmare you lived. My wish is that people read your comments and realize the depth of how hard it is to actually SEE and accept that it was not your fault when there is that much brainwashing in childhood. The truth set me free too~
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi J.
      Great to hear from you! I have found it very helpful to write all this stuff out for the purpose of realizing what I believe about myself because of it, and then trying to see the truth (not the lies that I believe about myself because of the trauma etc) It is in doing that; facing the past and the damage for the purpose of seeing the lies that I believe about ME (and then changing them back to the truth; (lots of info in this site about that) ~ that I found freedom.
      Hugs, Darlene

  23. By: J Posted: 27th February

    Hi everyone,

    Long time since I’ve posted. Got a shocking cold (although ironically the weather here has been stupidly hot) so feeling rather sorry 4 myself.

    I’ve been in my new place for about 3 and 1/2 wks now (consecutive). Struggling with the feeling that it’s not worth it, and/or it’s all just going to collapse around me sooner or later. Either from my parents stopping letting me use their old car (they’re still paying for it), me getting sick of trying to jump thru welfare hoops, or me getting sick of the city. I’ve already called the cops 3 times while I’ve been here (2x loud music on my floor all night, one guy sneaking up on me & trying to force his way thru the locking gate as I let myself in), seen multiple cop cars & ambulance at the gate to my building as I drove past, and had a resident tell me another resident’s a neo-nazi who’s threatening to kill him because he’s jewish. (I live in a small town btw – not like it’s murder central or something). Oh and the first day I came here had a letter to all residents from management saying all floors smelt of drugs over the wkend, and sniffer dogs would be brought out if necessary (hasn’t happened yet). It’s supported accomodation so I guess they can do that.

    When I actually catalog all that, kinda makes me sit up and think “no wonder I don’t like it here”. I basically forced myself to do this cos I didn’t think I’d get another chance (with former workmates helping me thru process, filling in forms etc) cos I knew I wouldn’t be able to do all that by myself.

    But I’ve hated the city for years anyway, and almost never came here (except sometimes to see bands). And cos I’d been hanging on to the idea of music “saving” me (eg giving me s/thing to live for), I convinced myself also I should move here cos it would help from that point of view. But the friendship with my songwriting partner of six years soured last year, when I began to feel like she was also controlling/manipulating me. That was one of the few relationships that had felt positive prior to that.

  24. By: theweirdphilosopher Posted: 27th February

    Hi Pam,

    I saw your comment #21 only now, I´m sorry I didn´t reply earlier! Thanks for giving me such a detailed response! I´m glad to hear you´re doing better, and I´m sorry your family still doesn´t acknowledge what they did to you. This can feel like you are living in two different worlds.

    Your reply really evoked a lot of important insights.

    I think lack of care-taking (or discipline in the sense of taking care that there is any kind of structure that is beneficial to the child´s well-being and sense of safety) can be so damaging because it messes with the child´s integrity. Not having to do chores (or anything much at all) is “every child´s dream”, and yet that freedom can be way too much for a child. Even adults have difficulties when they don´t have a job and a regular schedule. That isn´t so easy to admit, though, and particularly at a young age. I think a child should be allowed to think she could get along perfectly fine without the “stupid rules” adults make up, while slowly being taught the necessary skills to really get along on her own. Denying a child structure is setting her up for failure. Eventually she is forced to take the perspective of the adults and think of herself as someone who needs more discipline – that is, something she and other kids don´t really want. This undermines a child´s self-worth.

    And another thing just occurred to me: I could always get my way just by behaving badly enough. I always seemed to have a stronger will than my parents. But this, too, is actually damaging. Because what basically happens is that they give you up. When you yell “I don´t want to”, and they reply, “well, okay, whatever” they basically abandon you. The lesson you learn is that when you fight for what you want, you will be abandoned. This might explain a lot of my submissive behavior in important relationships. And maybe also my difficulties at wanting anything at all.

    I´m sorry I´m making such general statements instead of talking about myself. I don´t mean to say that this always applies, I think it is one possible development. I just find it very difficult to talk about my experience in the first person, because I´m not even sure yet this is what I experienced. It just really rings a bell. So, again, thank you very much, Pam!

  25. By: Pam Posted: 26th February

    Thank you for this post. I so identify. I spent my childhood, and many of my young adult years, wondering what was wrong with me. Continuously asking myself, why I was not human. That was my conclusion, as a child who was being molested in the night, and hated by my mother in the daylight. She covered for him, and cleaned up all his messes. It has taken the last 10 years of healing work, to finally know I did not do anything wrong. Like so many others here, I did what I had to do to survive, including pretending that I did not give birth to my fathers children, when in fact I did. I do still struggle with disassociating, from time to time. However I now know what has happened, and can go back and look at what triggered it. Thank you for being a voice of abuse, and for giving all of us a safe place to Talk our Truth. It truly has set me free.

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