Valued for my Ability to Work Hard ~ By Jimmy B.


is identity and value about work?

Note from Darlene: My last post was about The Progression of Mental Health and how I (falsely) learned from a young age that my value was sexual. My husband, Jimmy B. started to comment (because I had asked him to in the comment section) and he ended up writing a wonderful comment on how he came to understand his value. He writes about how he was conditioned by his upbringing as a farm boy in Rural Alberta Canada. I decided to publish his comment as a post all on its own because it is such a great illustration of how we come to understand our value; not our true value but the value assigned to us by others.  ~ Darlene Ouimet

Valued for my Ability to Work Hard ~ By Jimmy B.  

 It started as early as age three or four.  I loved to eat and still love to eat but that is another coping method for a whole other blog post.  I loved pie; any kind of pie.  I always wanted a big slice like the adults got but my mom said when I could work as hard as the men I could have a bigger slice; a man size slice.  I learned to work hard; real hard.  By the time I was ten I could work as hard as any man and by the time I was twelve, I could out work two men.  This was rewarded sometimes with pie and other goodies.  This was also one of the first ways my Dad got me under his thumb.  I was told how big and strong I was.  I was praised for how hard I could work.  I was told how valuable I was because I could work so hard. I liked the approval.

 Because I tried so hard, I was also told I was needy and that I needed more attention than my siblings.  I was reminded that I constantly wanted recognition for my accomplishments and I was a pain in the ass.  “Just go out and do something” was a common phrase I heard.

 This was quite a conundrum.  Along with all these phrases and put downs and work came requests from neighbours and extended family. ”Hey Jimmy, want to come and make a little cash his weekend” or “come and give me a hand for an hour” were common offers.  This usually made my Dad make me work harder so he didn’t lose me to someone else.  I liked the praise but as a kid I also wanted my parent’s approval.

 All this work got in the way of my school work, which suffered, therefore  I was told I was stupid and I would never be able to run my own business or work for myself.  Another thing that suffered was my exhaustion tolerance.  When I got tired I was told I was lazy.  I thought I was lazy because I was always tired and when puberty hit man I had to push myself to prove I was good enough, worthy enough and valuable enough to be loved. 

 This way of working and thinking caught up with me and caused most of my problems in the rest of my life.  My relationships suffered.  My health suffered.

 I did not know what was right or wrong because my Parents kept me in a spin all the time depending what their motives were.  I felt I was never good enough and I was a big disappointment to them.  My dad always had a better way for me to do things; HIS WAY.  All my abusers had their own ways of how I should be doing things.  My way was never right.  Of course abusers tell you these things.  They change rules and lie and make up things to keep you oppressed and keep you in the spin so you can’t see really how pathetic they are.  Stay in the spin so you can’t see their down falls and short comings.  They keep us oppressed, mentally, sexually and physically, so we can never see that we are valuable because they are afraid that maybe we are better than they are; maybe we are better business men and women then they will ever dream about being. Maybe we can work harder and we are smarter than them.  They have to keep us thinking down and depressed, they have to squish us down so that we really don’t see who they really are; vile, pathetic, controlling, sick, stupid, lonely people.

 In summary I want to add that I was an honour student;  I bought a million dollar business when I was 19 and became very successful, but due to the conditioning of my father, and my whole family, I never acknowledged my own success;  it was never enough and I became a workaholic. I was driven to prove myself, but since I had never been recognized prior to adulthood, I never felt like anything was enough until I found help and like Darlene always says; got to the bottom of the lies, exposed them, got rid of them and replaced them with the truth.  

 Jimmy B.

Categories : Self Esteem



Bravo, Jimmy! By using your voice you are helping the world, immensely!! By replacing the lies with your truth is INCREDIBLE! I am so grateful for people like you and Darlene…keep rocking this world!!



This spoke to me so deeply. As a child my value was work orientated as well. As a 15 year old I worked with my very abusive step father in our housecleaning business. We sometimes cleaned 6 or 7 houses daily and I had to be up at 6am..sometimes working until 5 or 6 at night. He would “time” me on everything. Eating, cleaning, ect. If I broke my time or a record he would raise the bar to an even more unrealistic time. The presure was intense. Day’s would be torture, never knowing what to expect. One time when I didn’t polish a fixture in a bathtub perfectly he shoved my head down and pulled my hair saying “you didn’t do it right”!! For the first time in the years of abuse from him I motioned towards him with my fist clenched, he got up and chased me through this house and well lets say it wasn’t pleasent. I stood up for myself though and survived. When my mom finally said enough to him about working with him he looked at me and said “that’s ok, you were never a help to me anyway”..I have clung to the truth “it’s not what we do but who we are.”..The consequences of this still scares me today. I have really struggled with preformance = acceptance..Thank you for sharing this, thank you so much. It echoed those famiular voices in my own life, and we are not alone.


I have a friend who should read this…thank you for sharing it.

I used to clean the house, trim the rose bushes, manicure the lawn, make dinner, and when stayed in a constant state of worried that I forgot something which apparently I invariably did. Nothing was good enough. And it makes me think, reading this…never enough, and always too much. Never good enough, and always no matter how small whatever I needed or wanted was always too much.

I wasn’t good enough (too little), but I was liked better than my brother (too much) for which I suffered many many times.

You know…maybe I needed to read this, thanks. 🙂


Like better than the brother was by others outside the home…inside the home was a different story


Thank you Elita. I am very pleased you commented and you have encouraged me to write again

Christina–WOW I have been told that everyone has to work hard so suck it up. You touched my heart with your truth. You worked that hard and to be told you were worthless anyway is such abuse. Your step-father was very very wrong to have taken advantage of you. It IS not what we do but who we are!! By knowing the truth and aklowledgeing the abuse that happened to me, I could settle down and find some contentment in my life


Thanks for commenting Ligeia That was the conclusion I came to when I started to reconize the truth–Never good enough and do it better. The funny thing is if I was so bad at it why did I have to do it soooo much and sooo often. I still joke that I was the one who worked hard while my siblings learned to play. They even feel sorry for me


Jimmy – thank you for sharing this with us. I grew up in a ‘grow up and work like a grown up’ world where my value was directly related to the amount, speed and quality of my work. Not me as a person, but the results of my labour, even as a young child, and so many of the ‘fun kid things’ my husband now recalls from his childhood I realize I had no experience with. The crushing weight of having adults require your labours to equal or exceed their own, and yet knowing you will falls short, creates a place where a child has no where to be a child. I admire your honesty in sharing this with us, and I hope to see you writing more. I know for myself that those expectations and judgement have not stopped but I am working hard on setting boundaries so they do not come to impact my son. It stops at me, and I’ll stand firm on that. You are an inspiration and I’m so honoured to have read your words!


Shanyn I feel great that you related to my story and I am glad you are setting boundries. When I first began to set boundries I was like a little kid shaking in my boots and thinking I shouldn’t say anything or I might get a licking—I was 43


Jimmy, thank you so much for sharing this. It really resonated with me, especially, “My way was never right. Of course abusers tell you these things. They change rules and lie and make up things to keep you oppressed and keep you in the spin so you can’t see really how pathetic they are. Stay in the spin so you can’t see their down falls and short comings.”

That’s exactly the way I felt with my ex-husband. The rules always changed and the bar was always raised. It didn’t leave me any time to think or see the truth since I always felt behind and had to race to keep up. I never even questioned that system. The put-downs and my constant failures convinced me that I didn’t deserve better. I desperately wanted to please him, as though his validation was air and water and food. The suffocation and starvation only made me more dependent on him. I’m amazed it was even possible to escape, but I’m so happy to be living in the fresh air and banquet of my own self-validation.


Jimmy – thank you for sharing your truth here. Men as a people/gender don’t seem to be allowed to acknowledge this kind of experience – it seems to be the “suck it up” thing maybe, I think.

On a personal note – I so hear you. I had few success’ though and was chronically shamed and blamed for mine and everyone elses misery in my upbringing and went the opposite direction as you describe. No matter what I did – or didn’t do – it was wrong, bad, not ever “enough”. After a lifetime of trying to be good enough and the self sabotage out of fear of the expected rejection, correction and shame for not being “right” and knowing that something was “wrong” with me – and btw, a “pastor” told my husband he’d gotten “damaged goods” when he married me while we sat in “couples counseling” for his violence… more spiritual/church abuse issues – anyway over time I just shut down completely.

It has taken doing this kind of digging down to the beliefs that I was somehow responsible for being treated as though I had no value other than to allow men to handle me and people/family in general to mistreat me and that I was wrong for not liking it – that finally set me free from these kinds of lies.

Bravo Jimmy! Thanks Darlene and Carla for exposing the lies behind these issues!


Thanks Christina and Susan My beliefs of not being good enough were embedded deep inside me. Knowing the truth and BELIEVING the truth of what had really happened has been so freeing. Abuseres have to keep us in the spin so they can escape their own patheticness. Thanks again for your stories and our common bonds Keep striving for truth


Jimmy B, it is so great that your original comment became a post. I am always inspired by your spirit and your truth and how you share it. Warm congratulations on your first post!


Awesome!! This really spoke to me as I too was only valued for what I could do. Love was something to be earned. But, for me, no matter how hard I worked, I never did get recognized for it and came to despise doing it. It took a long time for me to see the lies – and so true of abusers Jimmy, they like to keep you down to make themselves look bigger and better. It took me a long time to see it, but once I saw it, once I saw what the truth was and what the lies were … it made it easy to break free from my abuser. Thanks so much for sharing!!


Thanks so much for you reaching deep into your upbringing, and giving us a part of your journey to understand and feel how your parents raised you.
I was the oldest and was the hardest to drive into the ground, my stubborness got inthe way for a while, and I could not understand how to even do the simpliest things like clean my own bedroom perfectly, and I remember I tried so very patiently hard to manage that task.
As an adult now I am a messy housekeeper now, and I do house work when I can ( full time work outside). But I realize I can do what or how I want without my parents approval or not, as this is my life, not theirs. I am at more content and peace, even tho I need more time to straighten up!!
The values of hard honest work is what we country folks were taught, and I believe we cannot blame our parents for what they did not know how to raise kids any other way, they were using the values they were taught from their parents/families. The cycle keeps going, but we live in a society today that we can learn and process, and make better for our children, so they can too.
Thank-you Jimmy for your words and leading the way for us all.


Thanks Carla Maybe I’ll do more


Paulette Thanks for reading and sharing your comments I really relate to the “despise doing it” Keep seeking truth and value


Thanks for reading my post Brenda
I do believe that HONEST hard work is a good thing, everyone needs to work and contribute to society how ever they can. I think it is shamefull to use work, school, church, innocence— to abuse and twist us. There are so many stories of abuse. We are the ones to break the cycle and to start living without opression


I can so relate to what you’re saying about being valued for what we do, Jimmy. My only value growing up was to be a trophy case for my mother. If I was outlandishly successful she was a great mother. I busted my ass, was valedictorian of a class abit less than 1000 students. I went to State in several individual sports.

I didn’t understand then that there would never be a good enough for me because the hole my mother needed to be filled, reassurance for her being a perfect mom, couldnever be. It was a black hole, sucking in any independent self-worth I might have. But just like black holes in astrophysics there is no stopping until
everything within reach has been completely subsumed. Such a bitch.

But the important thing here is that we can see these fallacies now and can re-raise ourselves with greater integrity for our wholeness. Great job and thanks!


Thanks you Splinteredones I can relate to the black hole analogy. It is a good thing for me to see my self worth and value as a human being and not as a puppet with strings that are too short.


Thanks Jimmy for contributing to our blog!

I think it great to have a man’s perspective; it adds balance. I also believe that it is encouraging for people to know that men get help too and can talk about it and that marriages like ours ~ which used to be a huge mess ~ can heal and recover.

I have received a lot of private email and notes on FaceBook about your courage and people admiring you for your willingness to share your view points and your past with everyone here.

Everyone, thanks so much for making Jimmy feel welcome on his first guest post! When he finished answering comments yesterday he told me he felt like a guest on the Oprah show!

Hugs, Darlene


Oprah, huh? You know Darlene, you did seem sooooo familiar to me! lol


And Jimmy, Sunglasses…ON… 🙂


I grew up with incest and alcoholism in my home. The alcoholic was also a rageaholic who constantly changed the rules. At age 11, I ceased to be a child. I was expected to act like an adult and had adult responsibilities. I was my mother’s protector and confidant and my dad’s sex object. I was the family hero in school making good grades and at the same time being told by my dad that anything that I ever did was not good enough. I hate doing housework to this day because when I did it as a child, my dad would always find something not done right.

Thanks, Jimmy, for writing this post. I can certainly relate to it.


I feel so sorry for the stories that I have read and the tradgedies that people have lived through and continue to live with. The “Leave it to Beaver” images that abusers portray are some of the most mixed messages I deal with and see. The perfect life. The perfect wife and kids, and all the time these types of abuse and dis-credit happen. I was strongly on my way in my own life abusing and treating my family like they came last. I kept saying I will have time for you and your dreams when mine slow down enough to let you in. I could justify my actions by saying at least I am not as bad as Bill down the road. The thing I had to know in my heart is abuse is wrong no matter the degree I am very happy Darlene gave me the chance to share some of my feelings and memories. Thanks for the encourgement to all



I just read your post, that was awesome. It shows how deep these beliefs really are. What is even more awesome is that you have been able to see where they began and heal them. Thanks for that. Inspiring indeed!


Thanks Jenny That is a very nice thing to say. I am working on changing my beliefs. It has been hard but it is totaly worth it and working toward living a happy, wholesome and fulfilling life. I am becoming a better husband and father. Thanks again for the comment


[…] post “valued for my ability to work hard” was a big hit and so many could relate to being valued by the work they produced and by the […]


AWE-FULL what happened to you, so sad to see young fellows work so hard just to get some kind of love. My sons went through a lot to get that with their dad. Even religion, nothing was good enough. When they keep us thinking down and depressed, they do so in such a way that you can’t see it so neither can others. I was told they never made me, or never said. They would treat you openly nice, and others saw the nice things then do things that squish you down and then you look bad, not them. No one can see who they really are; vile, pathetic, controlling, sick, stupid, lonely people. You forget EGOTISTICAL and JEALOUS! I never felt like anything was enough, I was invisible until it was convenient for them. I needed to see this because it was this way when I was younger, and a pattern. Nothing I did was good enough, when what I did WAS enough it’s like I was punished or someone else took the credit while I was pushed away. Thanks for your words; getting to the bottom of the lies and exposing them is difficult when it means exposing me and more denials, punishments, and triggers. Getting rid of the lies may just bring me closure, I don’t know if people care or truth will matter. But living for others to have value is not easy. I am my own worst enemy.


Gale Thanks for sharing. When the day came that I started to value myself and started to love myself was the day my whole life started to change. The changes were scarry at first but as I learned the truth about how I was being valued and treated by others the fog started to lift and I was able to see all the LIES!! It is pathetic that we live in a system where there is always a master that we have to bow to. A system where we work all of our lives just to become the master and repeate the cycle of control. The world would be a much better place where everone could live in equality, bringing our own special gifts to the table and be valadated for our thoughts and WORK. Living in the truth has brought me a big present..self esteme, worthiness, self love and I know my own value now. No one can take that away

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