When Inspirational Material Triggers Self Blame


Self Blame and recovery

I was watching a motivational video clip that someone shared from You Tube and something struck me “icky”. Something about it was just NOT motivational. It was near the beginning when the speaker said “but somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you that you are no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame….. ” The speaker goes on to say “let me tell you something you already know. The world aint all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.”  And the video goes on to inspire and motivate people to take their broken lives back.

Okay, this ticks me off. At first I wondered why it hit me so hard; I felt my heart react in the way it does when I hear abusive statements. The speaker is speaking in a similar way to the way that abusers speak, but that wasn’t what was triggering me.  This video really is intended to be inspirational. It is the famous speech from one of the Rocky movies and in some ways it really IS inspirational; The message on this video is that we were born to be great and that we can rise up and overcome anything that we have been through. That we can fight back, that we can “get over it” and that we can win at life and realize our full potential.

So why did it hit me like a punch in the gut? And how come only about 5% of people who hear this stuff can implement it into their own lives and benefit from it for more than a few minutes? Well here is what I think;

It is the language that the speaker is using that is all too familiar to me. After the intro about how you were born to be great, He jumps straight to “but something happened” “You changed

And this is the first problem; I didn’t change by choice. I HAD to change, I had to survive. I was a child! I stopped being me because NO ONE allowed me to be me in the first place. This began to happen to me when I was too young to have any opinion or understanding about it.

This is the same thing as people thinking that we grow up and suddenly we have a choice on how we live, because we are adults! But we were not equipped for life in the first place. We were not raised with the right understanding of self love, or any love at all.  There is a step missing between devalued, unloved and abused child, AND you are an adult and you have a choice.

This video reminds me that this was the way that I was brainwashed into believing that everything that ever happened to me was my own fault. It is that the speaker says that I LET this happen.  It isn’t that I LET someone tell me that I was no good. I didn’t LET that happen. I had no choice.

When self help books and motivational materials tell me that the problem started when I let someone tell me that I was useless, at some level I know that it means that this was a lie that I accepted about myself, but at another level, the deep down subconscious level where my belief system rules, I hear that IT IS MY OWN FAULT because I LET this person tell me that I didn’t count.

And again, the truth is that I never had a choice but to believe it, because I was way too young not to believe it. I was way too young to ignore it, or to refute it or reject that statement.  Just like in my forgiveness rant, when I said that there is a missing step in the whole forgiveness arena, this message also leaves out a very important step on the journey to taking our lives back. We have to validate how we lost them and validate to ourselves that it was not something we had any choice in, or something we LET happen. The reason that this video hit me like a punch to the guts is because I relived all those times that my spirit fell because I was told and I believed that I was really to blame for my situation.  And I was about 8 years old when I finally accepted that my lot in life was all my own fault. And I had no way to rearrange that belief into the truth.

Communication has so much to do with the way that we use our words, and the way that we perceive what is said to us. The reaction that I had was subconscious. It was that “feeling” that something wasn’t right. That familiar feeling that *I* could have prevented the abuse in the first place. This has so much to do with how our belief system has developed. I think that when inspirational material is presented like this, many people, especially victims like I was, hear it as permission to beat ourselves up again. Deep down I heard it as just another reminder that this is “my own fault” that I am the worthless one because I LET this happen.

Here is the link to the video that I am referring to. “Be Great ~ Powerful Beyond Measure”

Exposing Truth, one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken bookThe Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” 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

Categories : Self Esteem



Pertaining to the present and people saying that I have changed…my response…I haven’t changed, I’ve become myself. I used to be somebody else…whatever everybody else wanted. I was always in there and I felt like such a prisoner, hence all the seemingly unexplainable anger and sadness. Once I got to know myself and decided to become myself and say “oh well” to those who don’t care for the real me…I actually felt like I wanted to go stand outside in the sun and wind at the top of a mountain and spread out my arms and breathe and smile… But I don’t think I changed…I just started being. I quit acting and aiming to please, and just became myself and introduced me to not just the rest of the world, but to me. Just told my husband last night that I finally feel like I know what it’s like to be alive…and I am tempted to beat myself up for waiting 36 years to start living…but then what good would that do – I’m done with that 🙂


I love this! I love your statement “I haven’t changed, I have become myself!” That is so true! That is excellent! I have never heard it put that way but wow… it hit me really hard because that is exactly right. Thank you so much for sharing this!
In response to “you’ve changed” I always said “I needed to change” but your response is so much better. It was THINGS in my life that needed to change, but I became me.
Hugs, Darlene



This one is amazing. I recognize every word in it and thought. I’ve often wondered about these things and thought about them, and reading this, I feel I’m not alone, I’m not crazy and – most important of all, I understand why I get to that bad place when the same thing happens to me. I get so angry only now I’m starting to see and feel that I needn’t put that anger and rage towards myself. It’s a huge step for me to acknowledge that anger and hurt and this is so fundamental to recognizing the triggers. What to do next, I’m still working on, but at least I’m not hurting myself anymore and the suicidal parts of me, that I felt WASN’T ME when I had them, are all from feeling so powerless, so helpless.

I also find great relief in what you write about the step missing between childhood and adulthood. People keep saying this all the time, and I’ve even tried to ask social workers, doctors and therapists for help. My therapist helped me but I can no longer afford him, but it seems people are so clueless about this and no one knows how you should go about building that missing step and making the foundation of your adult life complete.

Thank you so much for your posts. They are tremendously helpful and I get so much hope from them. I’m not alone.


I suppose all I can think is that I was acted upon. Things beyond my control.. started long before I could even speak. It stole who I was for years and years. I’ve always had a choice. Always. I just like many others never knew it. Brainwashed into thinking all I can do is what people tell me and I can’t even choose how to respond. Years of not being “allowed” to tell the truth IF I WANTED TO. I have to consciously think now that EVERYTHING I DO IS MY OWN CHOICE. Yet, I get stuck. I revert back to auto-pilot and just do things. I don’t have to anymore. I am not supposed to be stuck in survival mode per se. I can choose to be happy now, I can choose to be depressed. I can choose to dwell on my past somedays. I can choose to let it go. I can choose to let my pain define who I am. My life is now filled with so many choices all I can do is just sit and think well damn.. I can even choose to do nothing and its really ok. The inspirational material I let stick within me tells me to choose something though.
I can’t stand it when people tell me “it could be worse” or “get over it already”. I can now choose to say shut the hell up and let me decide something for once. Even if its completely wrong, let me even choose to make it right. Right. I was born with a right and denied for what seemed like decades. Oh well. I may have a pity party today too. Its my choice. Its my choice if I want to be completely random and rant on a website for the entire internet world to see. Doesn’t matter. What matters is I’m alive and I have a opinion and i’m finally growing up.
I’m 31 years old sometimes going on 2 or 14 or 23 or 6 and I finally am okay with that.
Inspirational material sometimes just pisses me off and nothing more. I want to sometimes tell the inspiration I have been inspired to tell it where the sun still doesn’t shine in my life.
*sigh* Once again I respond to a blog and as I end immediately feel afraid to click submit. I hate that too. I felt inspired to share and grateful for the technology that allows me to type almost faster than I can think. I’m now inspired to hit submit… I’m such a character.


I haven’t read it yet but from the first paragraph I felt my heart beating a mile a minute. I’m really struggling today do to halloween, being triggered, flashbacks, and trying to be a regular mom and make today special for my little girls. SO much going on with me! I just want to hide…go to sleep…anything!!!!!!!!!


Hi Darlene,

Happy Halloween!!

Anyway, I just read and then listened, I can understand how it would rub you the wrong way. The content ok, the voice abrasive. I am more into soothing types of motivation. I already know that life is fucked up and fucked up people exist, sometimes the fucked up people are your parents and “loved” ones around you. So, we had to wade through all of that bullshit as children and survive…yes. you survived and so did I. We don’t need inspiration, we are inspiration. The fact that we are alive and have weeded through the lies and horror that was our childhood is a testament to that. (I had a teary eyed moment there) The inspiration there is more of a fighter’s inspiration, to get out there and kick some ass. You already have that in you….I am sure tons of that….so, really in my opinion all we really need to do is balance that fighter with a little more love. Hugs to you…. 🙂



Thanks for sharing. You crack me up. 😉


I feel for you having a hard day. They come and go…hang in there and be kind to yourself.


Hi Darlene,

You asked me to re-post my comments from your FB here to the blog so here it is.

Thank goodness I have my ‘Healing the Shame that Binds You’ book handy! 😉 I”m the one who posted the video and I did for a multitude of reasons which I did not clearly articulate when I posted for personal reasons. …However, what I DID post underneath the video was how the voice at the beginning of the video reminded me of the misuse of power that I recognized from my abusers as a child. So this video was actually a mixed message and was one of the reasons why I posted it. There was ‘ego’ mixed in with the message to motivate and inspire which was the subject of my comments underneath. It is this misuse of power that often gets distorted for those that were initially victimized but then sometimes grow up to be abusers themselves. Trying to PROVE themselves in a distorted way by needing to hurt others instead of what this ‘inspiration’ message SHOULD be reflecting. That being ‘great’ is not about the ego or domination or hurting others. Being ‘great’ is when we learn who we really are (what was virtually LOST to many of us at the point we were abused) and then finding and learning how to utilize our gifts and talents to the max to be who we really are meant to be. To let our lights shine as brightly as they are all meant to shine.

My viewpoint that I took away from the video is that we don’t need to hurt others in order to obtain power and that those of us that have been hurt can rise up from it. The other message I gave was that the events that happen to us from the outside (any traumatic event) then become a WAR we must engage within. Which is exactly what you are talking about and what I go through myself. Whether that is feeling self-blame because we aren’t ‘there’ yet when we receive messages from others, or if it’s a case of a shame attack when we DO find the courage to speak up and share our truth with others. This is about the war we wage within to bind up our wounds that were inflicted on us by others. I felt compelled to respond to this because it was a courageous act on my part to post what I did since I haven’t really shared about my sexual abuse OPENLY on FB. And I thank you for sharing your inner truth about how parts of the video impacted you.

Lots of good information all the way around on just how often triggers come up when we interact with others. Another good blog post to accompany this might be on how we can take care of ourselves WHEN we get triggered. And we all do.



Hi Anja,
I am glad that this one resonated with you. I was really into writing it.. it was like I couldn’t type fast enough! I am passionate about exposing that missing step, and I hope that I can help others to bridge that gap where those missing links are hiding.
Thanks for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Chalet
Have I ever told you about my blog that I used to have? Just a few years ago I had a blog similar to this one. I was afraid someone would READ it, and I would not even share it on FaceBook. I didn’t tag any of the posts… I was dang scared every time I hit publish. Well very few people ever did read it and I kept writing a few times per week.. no comments, no traffic. Look at me now!

About Pity party, I agree, it is fine and dandy to sit on that pity pot! (just don’t forget to flush!)

I love and appreciate your shares here and look forward to many more of them!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kathy,
Don’t be afraid to read this one, it isn’t that kind of ICKY! I think it explains a few things.. It isn’t a scary one to read.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jenny
Happy Halloween back to you!! I have one daughter that believes Halloween is every day of the year.. she is going to university next year and she still wore her kitty ears and a sort of costume to school yesterday.
I love inspirational material… just this one hit me wrong. I used and still use inspirational material to keep my new belief system cemented in place. I used Bob Proctor material and Napoleon Hill books to solidify my new foundation. But I like that stuff that leaves the blame, guilt and shame OUT of it.

YES WE are inspiration! That is very very true!!!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


This reminds me of what a “friend” that I had met at a “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life” Meetup said to me when I became unemployed and was very down. She said it was all my fault because I had thought negative thoughts. I felt so angry and even more dejected when she said that and was amazed at how uncaring and unfeeling her statement was. This was a person I thought genuinely cared about me. We don’t talk much anymore.


Before I knew I had DID, I was always trying to better myself. “Dress for Success”, better communication/problem resolution. I could do those things. If I had the opportunity to learn how to change for the better, I did it. I didn’t realize until hindsight, that having DID meant I had skipped several developmental phases from birth to adulthood. Have “always” had thirst for learning.

I recall being shocked with I took the course Marriage and Family when I was just starting college courses in the evening in my mid-20s. Already had two failed marriages. It said that the partners in a marriage could define what was right for them. I had tried to be “the good wife” by others’ standards previously and hated it. Only brought out huge anger…which brought me to therapy for the first time, thank goodness. Again, in hindsight, such rules and roles had been so ingrained into my being.

I think we respond to learning new things as opposed to feeling like we are lacking in something that should be there. That feels awful. Also, I don’t know much about NLP except it was a type of language used in programming. NLP is offered to therapists as a way to reach their clients. One Mentalist episode and some other tv show highlighted use of NLP and was sooooo triggered listening to it. Had to put fingers in my ears at time but really wanted to try to understand it’s power. Had purchased a book about it but barely made it into the first chapter.

Just sayin’ cuz I don’t when motivational speakers might use it. It’s supposed to be very “influential”. Thanks for another great topic. Am sure each who reads it has a different reaction. This was mine. 😛


Hi Samantha,
Thanks for coming over from FB!
YES I agree with your point! The misuse of power is really at the root of so much of the abuse we suffer not only as children but also as adults. And when we are adults we are USED to it. So others find it easy to manipulate us.
Thanks for your contribution and good idea about writing a blog about HOW we take care of ourselves when triggered. I personally like to analyze it and process it, dig to the root of it, like I write about in so many of my posts..and I like to get outside and walk and take deep breaths, but I bet there would be a thousand different answers on how others take care of themselves when triggered!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Photine and welcome
People can be really thoughtless. I did not stop struggling with any thoughts, until I figured out where they had their foundations… then my positive thought life took flight! This was such a big process, and I am so glad that I am no longer bound by self blame about all this stuff! I would have been just as disappointed and angry too, as you if someone said that to me.
Hugs, Darlene


I wish sometimes I kept a blog. My mind is too conflicting for that. I’m glad you were able to keep writing in yours though Darlene. I can just occasionally come out of my protective shell and write as much as I want in the comments.. I’m kidding, sort of. I’m going to be posting more poems on my facebook tonight and blame my Ambien. My last night of “normal” pc access…Might as well rant away.


Thanks Darlene,

What is so enlightening here is in the understanding of how we can all be viewing the same thing, but reach different interpretations and conclusions about something based on where we are at, and viewing the world through our own personal lens and filters. This is especially significant when it comes to triggers. Both triggering words and images. We all can look at the same thing but be triggered in entirely separate ways based on our own internal beliefs (whether true or false) that are operating in the background of our lives.

One of the other more secondary issues that came up for me when I initially viewed this video but did not comment on, was the scene of the children and Rocky is stating how his kid would be the best kid he knew, etc.

It was a reminder to me of the pressure I felt at times growing up that sometimes parents can try to live through their children and force the children to become better people then they can be themselves. Again, another misuse of power. Instead of focusing on nurturing our own gifts and talents, some may instead externalize it by trying to control and force someone else to BE what they believe they, themselves, cannot BE.

This was good because my own triggers act as the catalyst for shedding the light on what is going on inside of us that we may need to pull out and take a look at more closely. Why do I feel this way about it? What thoughts are going through my head right now that may be indicating a false belief of some kind that I have yet to explore? Whether it’s self-blame, self-criticism, shame attacks, or fill in the blank, the trigger can be a blessing because it is shining the light on something that is still living in the dark. (Kindling a light in the darkness of mere being. ~Carl Jung)

All good stuff!

Hugs back,


Hi Maggie,
Thanks for sharing your reaction! Even after I knew I had DID I was always trying to “be better, do better, get better, ” and all the other kinds of better! LOL There is so much to all of this, isn’t there?

Hi Chalet,
Please feel free to share a poem with us here too! I love poetry ~ there is something so soothing and validating about it. I think it is the depth of it.

Hi Samantha,
You mentioned “based on our own internal beliefs (whether true or false)” ~ such a valid point Samantha..
I don’t think I actually ‘watched’ this video.. how funny, I just realized that. I was caught up “listening” for what was bothering me about it.
You bring up a lot of great points in these comments. Lots of food for thought for everyone.
Hugs, Darlene


Well Darlene – you’ve hit the nail on the head again! I like the question you pose about why can only about 5% of the population do this stuff for more that a short time? (paraph.:))….I’d always heard about the 80/20 rule, and the top 3%…and just figured that something was just wrong with me. Why couldn’t I “get” this stuff? Why couldn’t I just do it right? And it was as you described because I’d been trained to believe that I was worthless AND powerless to change that…or anything else about me or my life. It was in recognizing the source of this stuff in my thoughts, feelings and behaviors that I could begin to learn how to change this to “I am” and that is enough. It’s a hard row to hoe but it bears the best fruit:)


This is exactly what I was thinking in regards to many motivaltional videos, speakers. This part really stands out to me what you wrote here “It isn’t that I LET someone tell me that I was no good. I didn’t LET that happen. I had no choice”. I dont like the think postive and you will be postive that I seems to be in many of the motivational or self help genre. I am with Chalet on all that, sometimes I go jeez get a life be in the real world with real people. I dont think it is just surviors that have issues with the motivaltional people. Trying to get us to be something we are not or sending the message we if we dont try then you are never going to get there. It is just a set up for feeling like a failure or worse. I have always tried to do better or be better it, eventually it just wore me out. Just so much pressure and it was comming from me, it was comming from because I never felt I was good enough, that it was my fault I was to blame for everything. I love what Wendi has said, I haven’t changed, I’ve become myself. I used to be somebody else…whatever everybody else wanted.” Exactly or if I may add for me or what I percieved some people in my life wanted me to be. I have only just realised now that my husband is happy for me to just do whatever I want to do, just as long as I am happy. I dont have to have a degree to show that I am smart or things similar to that. I would like to be more of who I really am instead of what people think I am or expect of me. I dont do well with expectations I run :(. I feel that at 36 years of age I can start to be me who I actually am, stuff what people think. If I want to be sad I will be if I want to be angry I will be and that it is okay. If I want to be happy I will be to. I am no longer able to keep up appearances of something or someone I am not deep inside. I am more motivated and inspired by reading about real people, ones who have blogs on the net like Darlene. People sharing their ideas or mentioning their issues I like to feel that I am normal and I dont have to be postive 24/7. You know I partially blame Oprah Winfrey and Doctor Phil, get over it pull your socks up.

Sorry if I have gone on a little tangent but all the blogs topics that are being covered for me are making a difference and I can relate to.


What a great observation. Sometimes it does seem that some people/schools of thought have become so entrenched in the ‘personal responsibility’ theme that they don’t really understand what victimization is.Or what abuse really is.

I have been afraid to tell many people what happened in my life because I frequently was countered with:’I would never let that happen to me/my child….”I would never put my child in that church..’ ‘I would have told them this or that…’
I would have left’..’I would have told them to leave me alone.’

A counsellor told me I ‘allowed’ my mother to manipulate my child and others around us, and I ‘allowed’ myself to be involuntarily committed while I was having panic attacks after three months of being followed and stalked by my mother’s friend. I was terrified, worn out, no one believed me and those who might have were ‘clued in’ by my family not to listen to me.

Trying to use CBT on the situation the counsellor tried to ‘reframe’ for me, the situation, telling me that others were ‘unable’ and ‘not capable’ of responding to my pleas for their help.Trying to get me to look at things differently. Hell, they knew what was going on!Reframe, my foot.CBT wasn’t helping my depression- accepting and grieving the past and getting out of the reach of certain people was what helped.

I’m not downing CBT. I understand its helpful. But you can’t always apply a philosophy to a real human being and wrap it up in a neat package.To try to force me to call abuse a misunderstanding on the part of other people was like telling me to call a pig a horse. It just ain’t so,

When you are outnumbered and there is abuse going on, I think ‘Allow’ is not the proper word.

We don’t ’empower ourselves’ until we are in a safe space to do so. We can’t. At least I couldn’t.I could not heal in a vacuum like the one I was in.

I think ‘shame’ is at the bottom of alot of this- people saying we allowed ourselves to be abused. I wonder if the very people who say this are ashamed to admit that similar things could happen to them, given the right circumstances.

Or maybe they have not understood the real dynamics of unwilling victims of abuse, or maybe they have never gone through the depths of abuse as some others.Or maybe they have but they have more work to do on it. Maybe they are still ashamed of their own abuse. The word ‘victim’ is wrongly associated with shame by others.

If someone breaks into a home,or a car, are the owners told they allowed it and are really the ones responsible? If you are mugged or murdered did you sllow it?

If you are standing alone with no emotional support, and no validation,and you or a family member is abused, did you ‘allow’ it?

Were you ‘asking for it?’

Even with the best training, learning, and coaching, things happen, and when people exercise power and control over you and a situation,being victimized and abused is due to the perpetrator’s cunning, planning, evaluation of the situation, manipulation,and exercise of power.


Darlene, can you hear the ‘smack’ of a hammer hitting a point straight on? Yup, your post did it for me. I’ve always struggled with the whole ‘greeting card’ and ‘motivational’ movement where there is this under current of blame. I’ve felt it, couldn’t put my finger on it, except that when I was a listener or required to be a participant I felt strangely hurt and disturbed. Now I know why and your post so eloquently lays it out for me in another’s words – how wonderful is THAT? To know it’s not just me being a nut, me being too sensitive or too ‘wrong’ that I found something hurtful in what seems, on the surface, to be such a good thing.

I’ve often felt that the whole culture around ‘you did it to yourself, you have to fix it’ which motivates so many is inherently one of bullying with a smile, small bits of malice couched in ‘I hate to do this but you really need this…’, tiny cutting shards meant not to help or heal but to wound and bleed those of us who aren’t ‘tough enough’ to ‘put our noses to the grind stone’ or ‘pull ourselves up by our boot straps’.

I’m ‘tough enough’, thank you very much, and I don’t need a pseudo motivator bringing me more shame and guilt either directly or be association (loser friends = loser your). I’ve earned these scars, not by pushing other people through the cutting machine of ‘motivation’ but oppositely by being pushed myself.

Motivational posters, speakers, cards, videos, seminars and even those wonderful (?) groups who push it so hard that if you succeed it’s because of YOU just like your failure is all YOURS. How isolating, how damaging to survivors, how abusive to those who have already been robbed from for so long?

The same tone of voice that may ‘seem’ to motivate someone is also the same tone of voice which starts a conversation with ,”I’m sorry but…” or “I hate to say this but…” or “This is for your own good…”…no wonder only 5% of people respond to this! It’s the sneak attack, couched in ‘honesty’. It’s the quiet pinch on your arm instead of a punch – just because there is a smile on a face or a bounce in a step doesn’t make it less hurtful or abusive.

I’ve found, for the most part, that those who ‘motivate’ with power instead of cooperation are those who are not doing it for those they would claim to be ‘helping’ but for their own egos (look what I DID! Look at ME! Pay to listen to ME!). They aren’t in it for YOU or ME – they are in it for themselves but in our culture of ‘independence’ as the goal instead of ‘community’ they are sanctioned in their mask of ‘motivation’ to heap cutting words upon those they are ‘helping’.

Save me from someone who thinks they can help me by telling me it’s my fault, my choice and my doing!

Thanks Darlene…I’m off to write a new post for http://scarred-seeker.blogspot.com now…it should be up later this morning!


Once again, a very potent and timely post.

A few years ago, I went through an experiential “training” that was all about finding your best self and taking responsibility for your choices and saying goodbye to the past that keeps you stuck. Unfortunately, for many of us who have been abused, it glossed over the more ugly aspects of our experience by saying, “put it behind you. Choose differently now.” As if it was that easy. And I turned out to have one more thing to abuse myself for, because I wasn’t able to just “put it behind me” as others seemed so able and willing to do.

Well, I “recruited” my sister into this training as well and she had much the same experience as I. We can quote the language from it (and mean it), but glossing over the experiences we had that made us as “damaged” as we are can be more dangerous (I think) than living in the damaged place. My sister now “takes responsibility” for her choices-read “blames herself”-without ever having acknowledged that she was abused and has a serious thought disorder as a result. What is even more tragic is she passes that thought disorder and that self-abuse on to her SIX children. I just spent the weekend with her and two of her sons, and I recognize so much of the craziness that was our reality as children, and I have such a mix of rage that she is passing it on to her children and pity for them and HER, and it comes out as rage at everything else and I get so mad that I think her kids are actually afraid of me. When I apologize to her for my own bad behavior, she just pretends it didn’t happen and moves on from there. Leaving me feeling even more crazy because I KNOW it happened. And I know I’m adding to the damage she is inflicting on her children by being enraged over “nothing” and not ever talking about what’s real. I also have a great deal of anger about the fact that she has so many children (when she doesn’t seem to like them much) and I am not able to have children. It gets very mixed up and confused.

And I really think that this motivational training that we both went through did much more harm than good, even though I am CERTAIN that was not its intention, nor the intention of the people running it. They are good people, who want the best for their fellow man, but I think oversimplifying solutions can only do damage to someone (like me-and my sister) with complex layers of neuroses and problems. It only makes me blame myself for being “less than” those that can let go and move on.

When I was ten years old, my brother (who was one of my abusers), went to a party at a friend’s house. My grandmother told him that if he went to the party, he shouldn’t come back (he was 15), and he didn’t – until after she was dead, 10 years later. Meanwhile, he was living on the streets of Washington, DC. I don’t know how this happened, but one day my mother took me with her to “meet” him, where he was living (in a public park). She waited by the car and sent me across to see if the man lying in the grass was him. I got close to him and started tip-toeing because I was afraid…he looked like he was dead. Suddenly a voice from behind the fence said, “Yeah, he’s alive. Do you know him?” For years and years, I blamed myself for the fact that I was afraid. For the fact that I couldn’t bring him home after that conversation. It was my fault he was homeless – a word I didn’t even associate with him until I myself was an adult. It was my fault that he couldn’t make peace with the family. It never occurred to me that my mother should never have sent me (a 10-year-old) to be an emissary to my abuser. That in itself was abusive. It’s not so black and white. It’s not a matter of “put it behind you and choose differently now.”

Sorry if my post got confused. But I am confused. I am sad after my weekend with my sister and her boys. I feel like, even though I have made some progress, there is so much more to do, and I feel a little hopeless about it. I am coming to peace with the fact that I can’t have children, not because I don’t want them, but because I would rather be barren than to play a primary role in passing this insanity on to another generation. My secondary role in hurting my sister’s kids is quite bad enough.



Thank you so much for your powerful post here! It triggered a memory for me about telling my sister (not the sister mentioned in my previous post…my other sister) about the fact that our brother had molested me. We were both adults when I told her. I was really telling her so I could find out if he had done it to her too. She said, “he tried, but I didn’t allow it.” She also shared that a stranger had once picked her up and she KNEW that he was going to harm her, but the purity of her soul got to him and he let her go. Both of these answers imply that the victims of molesters (within a family or without) somehow bring it on themselves. And if I had just been “pure enough” it would never have happened to me. Excuse me, but, WTF?!?!?! How could I have been anything less than pure at six years old or younger?! How could these victims have been anything less than pure. It doesn’t just diminish ME that she believe that. It diminishes all childhood sexual abuse victims. And it pisses me off!

And your analogy about the victims of other crimes…perfect. They are never blamed for what happened to them. What is it about abuse victims that they are always held at least partly to blame for the crimes committed against them?!


I wander if the people that abused me realize how much they brainwashed me and all the life they took out of me. It pisses me off that I HAVE to do this hard work, work through each and every issue, it’s my only way to survive, be a mother, a wife, and have my future. I could have a pity party and feel sorry for myself which is what I did for years…now I’m facing it head on, it hurts like hell, but telling myself, this is MY CHOICE NOT THERES give me a sense of comfort. I’m facing my childhood so I can LIVE my adulthood! Little baby steps is where I’m at today…but I’d rather be in this boat striving forward with a few steps backward then have completely fallen off the boat and drowned! That’s where I would have been if I hadn’t realized, I can not live my life in this secretive, painful, dark, whole anymore. I have to be a fighter and Damn it I AM!

Also, I’m really proud of myself…yesterday being Halloween always really triggers me. Well, sure enough it did and I was spiraling down quick. But something inside me picked myself up and said HELL NO! These asswholes that hurt me on Halloween are no longer going to have this control over me. So, I invited a bunch of friends over at the last minute…we had a cookout, did trick or treating with all the kids, all us adults dressed up and I had the time of my life! My best Halloween ever! GO ME!


I totally agree with you, Darlene. We were not fortunate enough to have nurturing childhoods, so that did not create a sturdy foundation on which to build a functional adulthood. We were scripted early on with dysfunctional tapes in our heads from our caretakers, and the “evolving into a “normal” adulthood” seemed doomed from the beginning. We are now faced with the huge task of “re-parenting” ourselves.


This is so obviously by someone who understands nothing of the dynamics of abuse. It is so abrasive, blaming, abusive and unvalidating!!

It’s sort of along the lines of “if only YOU could get YOUR act together and YOU STOP making the wrong choices and YOU STOP thinking the WRONG things, it’s YOUR choice YOU are how YOU are”

Really annoys me BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG TIME!!!

It totally sidesteps the fact that stuff happens to us which is not our choice which brainwashes us into thinking certain ways, acting certain ways and being certain ways THAT WE DID NOT CHOOSE TO HAVE DONE TO US, NOR DID WE JUST PASSIVELY JUST LET IT HAPPEN – WE HAD NO BLOOMING CHOICE IN THE MATTER.

This video is chock full with mixed messages, brain washing, victimising and control.

No amount of “positive thinking” is going to re-parent us or give us our value back as human beings not just pieces of meat.

Only guts, hard work and the right support will enable us to get back up off the floor where the abuse put us and help us hold our heads high and be proud of who we are rather than ashamed to just exist.

When people tell me it’s my own fault that I’m the way I am that just triggers all the old stuff that it was my own fault I was abused because I was so bad.

Do you know what I want to do with this video – if I could get it in my hands, I’d go down to the seafront and throw it as far into the sea as I possibly can because that’s where it belongs.

This got me real mad!!!


I just watched it but had to turn it off!!!! IT’S GOTTEN ME REAL MAD TOO! TRIGGERS ARE GOING OFF!


I have not read all the comments, but did watch the video. It struck me in two ways:

1) I have an imbedded thought process that tells me that others are able to ‘overcome’, reach their potential, be their best, etc. But, in my deepest self, I have always believed that I am the exception to that rule. I have always encouraged others to ‘go for it’, while all the time knowing that I myself was incapable, incompetent, and unworthy of achieving much of anything, least of all breaking free of those thoughts of self condemnation. I am learning differently and working hard to walk in truth now, so that is what I’d call my “OLD” response.

2) My “NEW” response is more along the lines of thinking that those simple, emotion-based sayings are just that – simple and emotion-based. To truly change from the core outward takes a LOT of work (as all the good people here can attest to), and I think of those sayings as sappy and simple minded. I don’t mean to sound harsh or condemning; I just think that if your issues are deep and far reaching, it takes so much more than just a mantra-type of approach. It takes hard work, it takes wrestling through the crappy stuff, it takes sitting in the pain and grieving the losses before you can move on to the new and better stuff. At least that has been my experience, and that’s why those Hollywood lines bug me – cuz they are only Hollywood lines, not real life.

Having said all that, I do appreciate Samantha’s perspective, that these things reminded her of the voices of the abusers in her early life. And maybe that’s why it bugs me also, because it feels like it’s basically saying, “Buck up and get over it. It’s no big deal what’s happened to you. If you weren’t so weak and stupid, these Hollywood lines would work for you like they do for everyone else.” And then again comes the self-condemnation because I know something so simple is not going to really help me get to the core and bring about lasting change. It’s almost as if I have to pretend it’s really going to work for me when I know it’s not. A vicious cycle indeed.

Just a few thoughts off the top of my head; hope they make some sense as they are tumbling out …
= )


Hi Everyone,
I wanted to check in and say that these comments are really excellent! I have some sort of stomach flu bug today and I am not up to answering all the comments yet, but I will respond as soon as I feel better!
Keep sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


I haven’t had a chance yet to read the other replies – but wanted to post my initial reaction first. I just read your post and watched the video.

Darlene, the statement you made, “I hear that IT IS MY OWN FAULT because I LET this person tell me that I didn’t count.” This bothers me too!! How is it as kids are we able to ‘let’ someone abuse us and beat us down?? How can we know, if we haven’t been taught, that how we were treated was abuse in the first place? In my case, I could not recognize the abuse as abuse until I learned what love really was (at 26), and especially when I had children of my own!

What about society holding other adults responsible for their actions??!!! Yeah, the world is an awful place and seeks to devour many – but why is it that no one attacks abusers, and why is it no one produces videos telling these awful people of their evil and to get their crap together and stop abusing??

Then, after watching the video, I find it so motivational that its abusive. Yep, I said it. “I”M SO GREAT” – is that not what seems to be the inner dialogue of an abuser, ‘I’mma so great … that I’m gonna beat or break you down like a brick’? This video, to me anyway, does not inspire, it dangerously elevates people to fight to the bitter end no matter who they hurt. That’s the message I got, and maybe that’s just me. Just because I was abused, gives me no right to be abusive. And like our abusers SHOULD, I take responsibility for my actions! Why does it seem like the abused are required to take responsibility for what we do, yet they don’t seem to be required to do the same?

As someone abused, I have strived to overcome, but that does not mean I can overcome to the point where I make sure I beat down others in order to ‘win.’ My abuser is not in my life because she fails to see the wrong she’s done. She fails to take responsibility for her actions against me. I have overcome in not that I chose to stay in a toxic relationship and then strive to fight back in whatever way possible to prove myself right with someone who doesn’t see ‘me’ in the first place, but that I found the strength to remove her from my life – it is not about beating down my abuser (which is fruitless), but to overcome the effects of her abuse.

Much of society tells abused people to ‘get over it’ all the time … what about society confronting abusers, telling them that they need to correct their terrible, awful, abusive behaviour! But you never see much in that arena … at least I haven’t.

I hope I’m understood and haven’t sounded like I’ve rambled … great post, Darlene!!! A whole lot more enlightenment for me!!! 🙂


[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by patriciasinglet, ANAPP. ANAPP said: Sometimes I hear something really inspirational that triggers me to feeling bad… how the heck does that happen?… http://fb.me/Jk5pAquI […]


Thanks Monica. 🙂

I wanted to add one final thought and it is this.

Context is VERY important here.

1. The video was a FAN MADE video posted on youtube. Meaning, this was more then likely a man who LOVES boxing and combined it with an inspirational message and shared it with others on youtube. So the creator of this video did not have you, me, or anyone on this blog in mind so it’s not a personal attack.

2. I do not like boxing in real life, but I loved the Rocky movies. (I was rooting for the underdog) I also LOVE Cinderella Man. Not because I loved the violence of boxing but because of the message behind the movie. He retained his integrity through hard times and pushed through. It was a ‘happy ending’.

3. I highly doubt that Sylvestor Stallone or any of the other script writers of the Rocky movies had any abuse victims in mind when they wrote the script. So taking these things out of context and personalizing it as if someone we KNOW is saying this to US in our very own personal situations here is taking it OUT of context.

I suffered MANY abuses in my childhood. We are ALL at different places along the healing journey. Context and respecting where each of us are at along the way is very important.

With the greatest of sincerity,


There is so much great stuff being shared and highlighted in these comments!

Susan and Clare and Shanyn~ One of the things that I started to realize even as I was writing this particular blog post is that WE represent a huge demographic in this world… and that if motivational companies understood the kind of reactions that this large demographic is having, then maybe they might be able to change their approach and become more successful! Thank you both for your comments, I have so much I could write back today!

Elizabeth ~ This is exactly my point. Even therapists will say these types of things! That YOU allowed …… without realizing that YOU needed foundational help around this subject in the first place! (hearing stuff like that makes me angry, therapists have so much power and when they say things like that it is just so NOT helpful!) Oh and that whole re-framing stuff.. don’t even get me started! LOL
Elizabeth you make some GREAT points in this share!

Hi Lisa,
This is exactly what I am talking about too. I did several of those types of training with the same results that you are talking about. All that stuff seemed really wonderful for a time.. but it wore off leaving me more confused then before. When I dug into the root of my belief system, and then looked at the things I had been involved in to “change it” it was freaky how I could SEE why these things caused more damage in the long run. Like you, I am sure these organizations do not intend to cause more damage, they just don’t know any better.
and by the way, your post was not at all confusing. Thank you for sharing, it all helps!
AND since I am reading your second post now, that statement “he tried but I didn’t allow it” … man that is one of those statements that really hits and usually there is some kind of ‘voice infliction’ that goes along with it.. not cool…
Hugs, Darlene

Kathy, Good for you, keep going!
I enjoyed reading your positive comments about moving forward and living and being a fighter!

Yes, the work of re parenting is ours to do. Thank you,
Hugs Everyone , Darlene


I met with my therapist this afternoon and talked with her about this video and the subject on this blog. She wasn’t too interested in the topic of the blog but more interested in knowing why I got so triggered and couldn’t finish watching it.

It was a very hard therapy session! I forced myself to talk about it and I did. What this triggers in me is my own abuse. I can NOT watch violent movies or anything with someone getting hurt or a dog dying. It triggers the physical abuse my mother did to me and the sexual abuse she did to me after the physical abuse (to make me feel better.)

Just in that sentence you can only imagine how many feelings are here! Anger,confused,disgusted,hurt,sadness,shame,guilt,ect…When I was 13 my childhood dog Penny who was my best friend…my mother killed her when I was at school one day. I would have rather taken another bloody beaten from her then for her to kill my dog! I was so heartbroken!
She is the cruelest person EVER! She is a psycho sick bitch that deserves to be dead! I hate her, I hate her, I hate her, I hate her , I hate her, I hate her, I hate her, I hate her, I HATE HER I HATE HER I HATE HER I HATE HER I HATE HER I HATE HER


Hi Fi,
I got a big smile out of your response! Love all the emphasis you put on things! Yes to everything you wrote. Exactly. Thank you for sharing your response!

Love the thoughts off the top of your head! I agree! Great points!

Hi Paulette,
exactly and it goes farther then kids. Take a grown woman who is married to a man who hits her. It it her own fault that she doesn’t walk away?? Or is it because she can’t get out of the old belief system from her child hood that she deserves it? We don’t just grow up and become responsible!
You bring up good points about the mindset of the abuser too.

Hi Samantha and everyone;

Samantha, I respect where you are coming from here but you got me thinking with this comment and I want to make sure that everyone understands mine;
I certainly hope that I did not inspire anyone to think that this video was meant to be abusive. I am not sure what you mean by taking it out of context.

I posted this video as an example of how this type of language effects us personally. Not that just this video effects some people, but thousands of them do, and thousands of the examples of the way that words are used and the way they trigger many people. I am not against motivational material at all, in fact I use it to cement my own recovery. I think that that Rocky movie was hugely inspirational. But I saw this video and it inspired me to write this blog post. I don’t think that ANY inspirational material is meant to purposely victimize or that they have abuse victims in mind when they create content.
Having said that, about your point #3 ~ I used this video to trigger memories of the times that these or similar things were said to me personally, and that was my intention in this blog post. To use those words, (scripted, and fictional or whatever) as a reminder of the ways that we are spoken to, and why it ends up inspiring feelings of failure so much of the time.

thank you everyone for the great contributions to this post of mine..
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene — Saturday night I was at a show held by a famous psychic medium. He was taking questions from the crowd and one woman was talking about what was obviously a dissociated state (which she had apparently never heard of). The medium asks if this was during a traumatic experience, affirmative.

Then the guy says this: “Stop being a victim. That’s it, it’s really that simple folks. Just stop being a victim”. I of course heard get your shit together. Don’t be sad, or mad, or crazy, or drift off, or have any response to what happened to you, Splint. Just pull yourself up by the bootstraps.

As you can imagine, I was furious. There were hundreds of people there but we had snagged a seat third row center. I wanted to yell at him, tell him to go fuck off etc. etc. to not say such dangerous things when he obviously has no training in trauma psychology. I am assuming he got the message, being a psychic and all.

This video, which I’m afraid will set me off, sounds like that guy. Something somewhere I changed? You bet your ass. I was not making a choice to be in those circumstances and neither did I choose my brain’s/body’s reactions. I want to scream DON’T INVALIDATE ME DAMMIT! I was invalidated pretty much my entire life. I blabbed what was happening to me and nobody, not a teacher mother aunt grandma sister NOBODY validated what was happening to me. And so the abuse went on and on and on and got more and more sadistic.

It is so important for us to point out this dangerous frame of mind whenever we find it. For all of those who can’t. Silence is permission. I so often feel that I am banging my head against a wall for my (I’ve been told) “extreme” position that awareness needs to be made, that little girls need to be saved. That it is not tolerable, NOT OKAY ever, to make jokes about luring behaviors, to not listen to children, to not be proactive about changing what is in the US such a common phenom that it’s just plain frightening. I mean, 1/3 of all girls will have to deal with sexual abuse by age 18. One. Third. Come on. Come fucking on.

I have a dream of winning the lottery and on one single day sue a hundred people like this guy who do damage by opening their mouths and retraumatizing so many. I’m not a litigious person, but somebody needs to go on the offense to Mainstream America. It’s great that there is a community gaining strength every day, but as long as people like this dickhead remain unchallenged they get stronger as well.

Thanks for your voice.


It really makes me angry to hear people say crap like, this too shall pass, forgive and forget. My parents said to me, “it’s all in your head, you need to forgive your brother and move on, you are Letting something so stupid bother you for nothing. Oh, does that hit a button for me! FUCK THEM! I DID NOT ASK TO BE ABUSED! I DID NOT HAVE A CHOICE IN THE MATTER, I WAS A CHILD, A INNOCENT TEEAGER WHO WAS BRAINWASHED SO BADLY I DIDN’T REALIZE HOW BAD TIL MUCH LATER. Oh, This makes me so angry! I believed all these lies for so long and would punish myself because I could NOT find within me to do as they said, feel the same way they do. I once had a pastor tell me that God made this happen to me to make me a strong person. BULLSHIT! That’s bullshit!


Oh yeah Kathy I had that bullshit from so many Christians that God let this happen so HIS healing power and strength could be seen through me and my strength and determination to survive. It is total bullshit!! God hated what was done to me and never wanted that for me and HE hates that my abusers are so unrepentant and defiant. It just makes me so angry when people say this (your past of abuse) is your cross to carry and so on.


Oh, I could not agree more Fi! It seems to me that it’s abusive to say such things like these. These people have NO idea what it is like to come from a traumatic childhood…and to have to face it later in life and re-parent yourself. I’m learning, struggling (very much today)so I won’t say anymore. But I will say, today has been a very difficult day for me. Flashbacks, triggers, lies I was told and convinced to believe…it is all boiling out! It hurts so bad…I have cried till my eyes are swollen. Just one of those days! The messages that I was taught, brainwashed to believe are coming to the surface and I’m re-training my brain the truth but I tell you it is exhausting! I have to write in my journal (once I see the truth) over and over the correct thing. It’s like write off’s. The more I write it the more I believe it and it erases the old message. I wish I knew other ways to do this. Something for me to ask my therapist.


Sorry you’ve having such a shit day Kathy. My day aint been much good either – was supposed to be seeing my worker this afternoon and she cancelled this morning and said she’d phone to rearrange, heard nothing from her. Been dissociating really bad and got so much rage I don’t know what to do with it. Really shit when that happens.

It too find that the more I write and the more I share the more I believe there’s a way through all this stuff and the more it validates my feelings and thought processes.#


i’ve recently started attending al-anon meetings and find myself feeling really hostile when people say things like “i can choose to be happy” or “choose to let that go” or even “you can choose not to think like a victim” i don’t think LIKE a victim, i WAS a victim.

so i have to fight everyday against the first messages i ever got in this world: that i am worthless. it doesn’t seem to matter what i accomplish or how far i’ve come, it is still there, this core belief that i am a waste of flesh.

and statements that say i choose to stay depressed or whatever ARE inaccurate, but it does trigger that feeling you are talking about. how one of my abusers used to say i was just doing everything for attention, even being sick. so i couldn’t be sick or sad or hurt without being ridiculed for it….

i’ve tried to “get over it” and “let it go”…god knows i’ve tried. i’vbe also lived in shame that i couldn’t do it for a long time. im still there really, convinced i SHOULD be stronger/able to move on..like those things that say that we all have to stop blaming our parents and take responsibility for our own lives…well, i’ve been doing that for the last 15 years, taking responsibility, trying to get better…what happened did happen in the past but it shapes my present more than anything else really.

im rambling but i wanted to say thank you for posting this.


Kathy, about your message about your parents: I just wanted to point out one thing here Kathy, and this is VERY typical too.. Your parents told you that it was all in your head. (this is very very common for abusers to do) but then they also said that you need to forgive your brother. If it was all in your head then why do you need to forgive anyone?? These kinds of revelations helped me to move forward. The abusers contradicted themselves all the time.

Kathy and Fi,
What you say is very true, the more you EXPOSE it, the more you actually believe it. (because we are taught NOT to believe it even happened in some instances like the one Kathy described today. ) And like in your case Fi ~ same thing.. we are taught to doubt. So keep writing, keep sharing, keep doing the things that work.
Thank you both for being here!


Hi Maggie,
Welcome! Your journey sounds similar to mine. On your journey, have you ever spent any length of time living with the validation that YOU WERE actually a victim? That is what changed things for me. (Lots of blog posts on this in this blog) I was in my forties when I finally really looked at things from the perspective of having been a victim. Finally, I validated myself as someone that had been unfairly treated, a child who had been violated, an innocent person that had been taken advantage of. I stayed there looking at it and validating myself long enough for me to be ABLE to move on. I have found this to be true for others as well. (and yes there are times that I felt guilty and full of shame for allowing myself to indulge in feeling sad for myself and the life that I had lost because of this, but I kept going; it was what I had to do ~ validate myself and the trauma that I went through. ) This was a key part of the journey to wholeness for me. I tried to get over it and let go of it for over 20 years… but until I faced it, relived it and validated that it happened, it was WRONG and it was not my fault etc… I didn’t seem to be able to move forward with my real life.
So glad that you are here.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene – In regards to your reply on my previous post … so true. Abusers have such control over us – and they are genius at it. They know how to keep us under, to keep us from recognizing the wrong done to us. How evil does this kind of thinking have to be???

Kathy – I wish I could hug ya! I don’t know exactly what abuse you have been through, but I can honestly say that I used to feel the same about my mother, ‘HATE, HATE, HATE’ for what she did to me. Sometimes hatred still surfaces in regards to the abuse – and so far, my husband’s ear has always been close by, allowing me to vent! It’s been 10 years since she’s been in my life, and I can honestly say, that I still hate that I was abused, but my feeling toward her as a person is nothing but indifference. I have no real feelings for her at all – I don’t think – well, not a loving feeling anyway.

And even though I am a Christian, it is absurd to think that God would inflict pain on us for His purpose and glory. I agree that He hates what was done to us and hates that our abusers are unrepentant with seemingly seared consciences. But He can change anything crappy into good. For years I never thought I deserved a wonderful husband (because she told me no good man would ever want me – that I was ruined.) She painted my future as being dismal and hard and that I would never ‘get ahead’ in life. God showed me I could have those things – and He has given me more than what I even thought possible. Point is, I learned there is hope – that our lives can be what we desire them to be. God hated that this was done to me (any anyone else who was abused) – I know this full well. But His graciousness took me out of that and placed me into a more blessed life. It doesn’t mean life is easy – it doesn’t mean I have everything I ever wanted. What it means is that I am NOW surrounded by people who truly love me (who are NOT my family), I have great friends, a wonderful husband, blessed with kids … but the most precious thing I have been given is rich contentment. I am so thankful that abuse does not define us.

Samantha – I don’t think you needed to explain the video you posted. Of course many wouldn’t be offended by it and I am sure it was not intended against those who have been abused. But I love how it made me think. It gave me a glimpse as to how I think an abuser would or could overpower someone. It gave me more understanding in the fact that being abused WAS NOT MY FAULT.


Splinteredones … that would have made me incredibly angry too. Psychic-mediums … I know they like to say their gift is from God, but it isn’t – but from the devil – if you believe in that sort of thing, which I do. I used to see psychics, palm-readers and the like when I was a young woman and all they did was make my life WORSE – they are liars!! So, yeah, when it tells you to just stop being a victim – I think I would have been infuriated too. GRRRRR! Victims are not who we chose to be – it is what had happened to us!! Evil likes us to bury or hide it’s evil in attempt to appear ‘good.’ Just like abusers do – they appear ‘good’ to everyone else, while in secret they are evil and nasty.


When it comes to my mother I have nothing but HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE for what she did to me.

She should never have the title “mother”, she should never have been allowed to have children.

To think that she replicated in precise detail down to the tiniest detail what happened to her in her abuse and torture of me is SICK SICK SICK SICK SICK SICK SICK. She never had anything in her heart for me but hatred, despising and destroying the very person that I was.

It’s really hard being a Christian and trying to process such strong feelings. And it’s so good to admit to having such strong feelings in this environment. Knowing it is safe and no-one is going to judge me or put me down.


So true Fi … I feel exactly the same as you. As Christians we have it drilled into us not to hate people, but to hate sin, and to love our enemies … loving our enemies … that can be such a tough one when we’ve been abused, especially by our mothers – our mothers were supposed to be the ones who loved us no matter what. I think that being abused by a parent is the worst kind of betrayal and hurt and pain there is!! Because its our parent, it goes down into the depths of our souls that we are not worth anything … only to find out that once we get out from underneath their thumb, if we ever do, that we eventually find out we are loveable and worthy and strong.

It is hard to process those feelings. And its so great having a safe place to vent – to get angry – I often still have days where I just want to scream at her for what she did. I HATE what was done to me. It took a long time for me to reach that place of feeling indifference for her.


Hi Splinty;
Thanks for your comments ~ it’s true, people really say careless things without giving any thought to what they are saying. I often wonder if they really are so clueless that they do not realize that it isn’t that easy, OR if they just don’t understand in the first place. I have met MANY people that I KNOW don’t mean to cause any extra harm with these kinds of comments. I am not as concerned with these kinds of comments as I am with how we process them. Staying in the fog about them, (feeling uncomfortable or even angry) doesn’t get us anywhere. Realizing how devaluing they are is only useful in order for us to realize that statements like “stop being a victim” are not coming from a helpful place of truth. They do not get us where we want to go. So awareness of them is really about combating the statements for ourselves. Not about the people who say them. Sorry I missed answering this comment yesterday!
Hugs, Darlene

Fi and Paulette
~ This may not relate to what you are talking about , but it came to my mind so I thought I would share it.

I was constantly going into this spin of processing my feelings through the grid of “what a good Christian should feel”. Finally I just gave that up. One of the things that I learned to do is to question myself when my thoughts started to spin into confusing areas. I would ask myself “is this line of thinking getting me any closer to where I want to go?” well I asked that question about almost everything under the sun, (and still need to stop and do that often) and one of the areas that it really paid off for me was in the area of the Christian teaching stuff. I had a lot of false teaching absorbed by the time I went through this healing process. In the end I just decided that when ever I thought about it, I would choose NOT to think about it. Eventually, the real teachings about love and grace, overpowered the teachings about guilt and shame.. and I was able to sort out my strong feelings against my parents. Sometimes I just had to put things aside in order to get some perspective. It was hard to UN learn the false teachings that I had learned, because like in so many other areas, I did not know they were false. Later on, I had to take a closer look at my definition of “Christian” and that is where I found a lot of the problem.

Hugs, Darlene


hi everyone.

glad to have found this page!

here is what i believe and i have crystallised for myself after reading the comments and the initial blog so thanks-

there is a missing and important step in being able to assert as an adult, after having been invaded as a child

as victims of child abuse, we were set up to be easy targets, unable to assert and protect ourselves for the rest of our lives because we were programmed this way at a time when our brains were still forming.
in addition to this hardwiring, we now have flashbacks when any remotely similar incident occurs in adulthood

For me, these flashbacks are debilitating. Physiologically, they actually freeze my autonomic nervous system so that I am literally unable to respond in the present and assert as an adult.
This is a physiological disability, not a lack of effort or will

My experience in recovery has taught me that there is a way out of this .
it involves getting on my side about what happened to me, embodying how I really felt throughout my childhood. feeling the feelings of helplessness and defenceless
As well as my autonomic nervous system healing this way, my psyche also learns that I am not a shameful object, but a very hurt human being who has the right to be treated with love.

an organic outcome of this feeling and healing process has been a growing assertiveness.
the more i heal at a cellular level, the more i naturally, instinctively thrive and unfold organically as a citizen of the planet
funnily enough its much easier to stay solid when you are not having terrifying flashbacks every five minutes!!!

but sadly i have also learned during my recovery, that the society i live in is actively invested in keeping me out of my authentic suffering.
i believe this active investment in my denial is for the following reasons…

if society buys into a story about victims ‘letting things happen to them’ abusers can continue blaming their victims instead of looking at themselves, bystanders can absolve themselves of their responsibility to both protect the victim and to stand up to the perpetrator, and also the bystander, (who will be traumatised to some degree living in our abusive society, ) will have had times when they were helpless and things were beyond their control. they can stay dissociated from those experiences by siding against other victims

its clear to me now that many of the ‘stories’ from motivational speaking and all of the new age belief systems serve one purpose. they create the illusion of control….. ‘at some level there is something i can do to change this situation. it is within my power’
but you can only buy into this illusion if you also buy into self blame and shame….
its still happening now because i am ‘letting it’ i am weak i am not trying hard enough

so the victims get abandoned, shamed and blamed by society and as a result it is much much harder for them to get inside their own skin and no longer be under the spell of their attackers

my truth is that i was a defenceless child and that there was nothing i could have done to reason with or reach, or change the people who were invading me at a time when i was defenseless.

its a sick society indeed that would try to stop me feeling the pain that would let me heal my wounds, whilst at the same time judging me for still being disabled by them

Last I want to say that the 5 percent of people who can carry out motivational instructions are probably much less wounded than me and so can drive themselves in this way and somehow keep going
. But they must still be traumatised to quite a degree to need to drive themselves like this because if someone is not traumatised they naturally thrive in the world

these five percent may carry on for the rest of their lives, dissociated from their true selves in this way because they probably wont reach a rock bottom and eventually have to address their childhoods. But this means they will never have the chance of a truly meaningful life.


actually having just posted and re read my last comment i want to add that there is a distinction for me between ‘supportive speeches’ that acknowledge vulnerability and humanity and connection


shaming speeches which deny this vulnerability and instead encourage us to split off from it into a state of driven and combative dissociation





I love that phrase, “getting on my side” about what happened. Every time I find myself defending the child me, the adult me comes in with a combination of the old abusive tapes and the newer, “supportive,” motivational tapes, both of which invalidate the child. It’s a vicious cycle for me, and I find myself still stuck in it. Telling myself things like, “after all the money and time you’ve spent in therapy and in self-help and in motivational trainings, you should be better by now. If you’re not, it’s your own fault and you just want to wallow in your misery.” Even if true, certainly not helpful.

Anyway, thanks everyone for this great discussion. There have been some great insights here.


Great to have you here, welcome!
I love what you wrote, so much great info here, very thoughtful and insightful. Thank you for sharing and highlighting my blog post in the the kind of depth you write in!

In my own experience with motivational materials (since I replaced all those head chatter lies with truth), is that I love most of it and find it works very well. I am careful which kinds of it I use, but I have several authors that I love and many audios! But I had tried it for over 20 years before that when it added to my burden!
Thanks for being here!
Oh and I agree with Lisa, I love the phrase “getting on my side” THAT says it very well!


ah thanks darlene

glad to have found this blog

i too have some audiobooks which aren’t toxic and i think they are great
again i m careful about which ones i listen to

i look forward to reading more from you

thanks lisa too for your comment!




I alway’s wandered why my parent’s would make me believe it was all in my head then turn around tell me I have to forgive my brother. You’re right, why would they even say that….sounds like denial on there part to me. No suprise to me at all, I just realized this. Also, my sick mother had NO RIGHT to tell me it was all in my head and to forgive my brother when she was sexually and physically abusing me herself. This really MAKES ME MAD!


Your post of today at 7:41am … I have to agree with you there, Darlene. It makes a lot of sense. As a Christian, if we have false teaching that is part of our core beliefs, it can very much set us into a tailspin. One thing I have learned is that God is not a God of confusion or chaos. So if our belief or belief system causes confusion, chances are it just might be ‘off.’ And then that is when we go searching for the truth of whatever we are dealing with.


Hi Darlene, your comment about “processing my feelings through the grid of “what a good Christian should feel” made a lot of sense to me.

There is a lot of pressure to conform to what is perceived to be the Christian way of doing things, which actually can really skew what the bible really says. I’ve felt that pressure a lot over the years, and was one reason why I could not continue going to church and conforming whilst being denied the reality of my own experiences, feelings and thoughts processes.


Hi Fi,
I think that along with all the “definitions” of things that I had wrong, I had a lot of GRIDS that I looked through that were messed up too. Getting down to the truth in all these areas was really all part of my process. I thought I knew what a good Christian was… but it was just what I was told /taught/ trained/ manipulated about what it was. I had to read the bible several times for myself before I realize that what I was TAUGHT it said, isn’t what it actually said! I was taught by many people ~ some of them teaching me what they were taught, and the false teaching is about…… guess what??……. the misuse of power and control! It is everywhere. I am not brainwashed by that stuff anymore, I am free to find and follow the truth now.
Hugs, Darlene


[…] Related posts ~ When inspirational material triggers self blame […]


to me its really clear that the included ‘motivational material’ is toxic and abusive
it is not just ‘presented in a way that can be misunderstood by people who are already shame based’
it is in itself actively shaming, covertly or otherwise and the fact that it is ‘wrapped up’ as a motivational speech does not change this

if this material were to be of any real value it would need to model compassion and empathy for the person in the story who has clearly been so traumatized by our society that they have not grown internal boundaries strong enough to keep out other peoples realities, abusive or otherwise.

the material also ignores the fact that the reason the world is such an abusive place right now is that every single person alive today is carrying huge unprocessed grief about their childhoods and that instead of splitting from this and joining the’ battle’ what actually needs to happen is for everyone to connect with their vulnerability and grief

the messages given in this speech are hugely damaging because they encourage an already delusional and dissociated society to go in the exact opposite direction from where they need to go


I am really glad that this is clear to you! I agree that this type of thing can not assist anyone to move forward.
I hate to say it, but the original speech was really intended to be empowering in the context that it was delivered in. (I took the snip of this video out of it’s original context (because I didn’t actually KNOW the original context at the time) to write my post and having said that ~ it doesn’t change the post content at all…because THIS is what victims hear subconsciously or consciously, when we hear speeches like this. I would have liked to stand up and shout “HEYYYYYYYY I did NOT Let anyone do this to me… they just went ahead and did it. I just heard the LET word and recognized the things that I heard when I listened to speeches like this one.) but I just want to say that I don’t think this video clip is at all intended to be actively shaming. Next time I will use a better example. (not a piece out of a movie I know nothing about) I was trying to shed more light (from a different angle) on how we hear things that keep us in self blame.

Having said all that I totally agree with the last part of your comments!!!! I just don’t want anyone to get the message that this post was about the video. I am only concerned with our reactions (as survivors) to these kinds of videos. when I hear things like this video now, I know right away that I don’t apply that kind of language to myself anymore because NOW I am aware of it.

Thanks so much for your contribution! Hugs, Darlene
p.s. I have also found excellent motivational material that does not place any blame of the listener for the emotional state they are in.


i appreciate you taking the time to reply to my post

however, the clip is actively shaming

placing the responsibility instead with the victim for how they ‘hear it’ is scapegoating them and not handing it back where it belongs

thats what we had to do to ourselves as as children to deny our feelings of helplessness and survive,
but it is not appropriate to carry on doing that to ourselves


I sincerely hope that you are not accusing me of placing the responsibility on the victim for how “they here it” If that is what you are doing, then you have misunderstood my entire intention for this post. I am saying that I had to come to realize that I did NOT let someone do this to me. The whole blog post is about how I thought “before when I was broken” that I had some responsibility in LETTING people do things to me and in my recovery, I came to realize that I did NOT LET anyone do anything to me.. that they just did it. THEN I was able to move forward with my healing.
I hope this clarifies.


no, i was simply saying that the reason we hear things that keep us in self blame is because they are also blaming us. its not just about our interpretation of the material.
thanks again for taking the time to reply



Thanks for clarifying that a bit more Izzy.
Hugs, Darlene


A lot of people out there who were obviously never abused themselves or are in denial of their own abuse issues want you to believe that healing from abuse is so easy and it isn’t. I read just a few days ago that sexual abuse of a child, especially incest, is the worst form of abuse because of all of the additional issues with the parents. No matter how many times people tell you to just get over it, it isn’t possible. That is just another lie to add to the many that we heard growing up with our abusers.


Thank you for that comment Patricia; that really rings true for me especially in the realm that I sought help from. I think if a therapy model isn’t working it may be viewed as something is wrong with us because they really don’t have a clue as to the kind of work that is required to actually heal from this stuff. In my own journey – after 17 years in the mental health system every time I attempted to bring up my abuse it was dismissed; they just sat there. I always felt guilty and ashamed as though I’d done something wrong again. I have found and use today many positive motivational speakers materials that in the past I’d tried to follow and just could not “get it” – until I did the emotional healing. Now I can apply “positive” but only after I acknowledged and experienced the past – not by pretending it didn’t happen.


Wow, I was just thinking about this over the last 2 days. These were the types of comments I would hear from family members when they found about that I was going to leave my abuser. Not surprisingly, I kept them out of the loop – didn’t need any more injury if I was to heal.

I read a comment the other day about reclaiming your identity after abuse, and how one way would be to find out who you were before you met the abuser. I am too embarrassed to wonder how I could ever do that if my earliest memories of abuse is of the maid consistently ignoring my cries for milk and feeding me the last few drops after feeding my brother? I was still in a cot! You mean, I have to find out who I was in the womb??

And before anyone thinks I am being facetious, I really mean that all of the experiences that should have been nourishing were abusive. I didn’t realise it at that time, of course, because my upbringing wasn’t too different from others around me – lack of affection, conditional and distant love, watching sibling abuse, neglect, etc. It did create an identity – that of a pleaser to avoid punishment and that was carried on in a marriage to an abuser. But honest to goodness, how can I ever find out who I was before the abuse started, or before I LET those people stick in a finger in my face.


Perhaps I should word “finding out who I was before the abuse”. It wasn’t that I knew or anything.. my first sexual abuse I was only two years old. What I mean by finding myself was the original me.. and that was something that happened as I grew stronger as a result of doing the work to realize how I got so beaten down etc. As I “found the original me and stepped into my own skin for the first time in my life, it was more like a feeling of coming home. It wasn’t that so much that I had been someone before the abuse started as much as a feeling that now I am who I was born to be. Some people were not abused from very young and they see it differently. Hope this makes sense.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Krissy

I can’t answer your question because I don’t know the answer. But I wanted to say you’re not alone in your struggles.

I was abused pretty much from birth and have no memories of my childhood which were not filled with abuse or negative and damaging in some way.

In reclaiming my identity I’ve done several things –

– begun to get to know one of the many hurting children living inside of me and begun to re-parent her, to listen to her and to respond to her needs and in so doing nourish myself at the same time without realising it

– listened to what my helpers and other people in my life have to say about me, about my character, about the person they see in me

– I’ve found it hard to believe and take on board the positive stuff they’ve had to say but as I have I’ve begun to see myself in a different light to the one I’ve always seen myself as – the person my abusers told me I was – I AM NOT THAT PERSON – I am slowly realising

– I’ve listened and slowly taken on board little by little the truth that none of it was about me but about my abusers’ need to manipulate and control etc

– I’ve decided to change my name and take on a name that I like and choose for myself

I will never be able to find out who I was before I met my abusers because I met them in the womb and at the point of my birth. BUT I can find out who I really am inside NOW – a creative strong sassy woman who has a great capacity for learning, who is a writer and photographer and who just loves to use her experiences to bring hope to others around her – and that’s just for starters – a very different person from the one my abusers’ defined for me.

I hope that helps in some way.


I love what you have written here! This is beautiful, and hope inspiring. It takes awareness, time, willingness and courage, but it is very possible to go forward and you are living proof of that. Thank you so much for being here!


Oh, this reminds me of the last service at church, where our pastor, whom I love dearly, but has no reference point to understand where I’m coming from, quoted somebody as saying if you’re not on the cutting edge of ministry, then you’re taking up too much space. He meant, of course, that people ought to be doing something for others, but it sounded to me like, if you’re not able to do something, then you’re not worth the space you are inhabiting. This is from being told over and over and over that if I didn’t do exactly what my abuser wanted that I was worthless, and that my worth was debatable even if I was a very good girl. I took my worthlessness to the extremes of suicidal thoughts and actions. After the service, when I told my pastor how I felt about it, he said that everybody could at least pray, but there were times in my life that I couldn’t even do that, and I think now of severely mentally disabled people who can only be on the taking end. Are they not worth the space they take up? Hmmm, seems I’ve heard that one from about sixty years ago. But there it is, he can’t understand. It is not the doing that makes us worthwhile, it is the being.


I think, mz, that these pastors make those comments out of a frustration that people are not more available for service and make the assumption that the reason is selfishness rather than genuinely being unable to because of trauma-related psychological injury that need healing or other genuine reasons like my ex not liking me being involved.

I am now finding that a lot of people assume reasons for your behavior. If I limit contact, it is because I am unforgiving, hard or selfish. If love believes the best, then why don’t they follow that and make the assumption that people have a good reason and not blame them for their choices?


Hi Mz
I don’t think that people consider how what they said might be heard. I think that is really important to at least consider these things. One of the things that I realized when I was well on my way to full recovery is that there are some people who consider themselves to be authorities, who will not let certain other people have any “impact” on the way that they think or act. They just “discount” other people. (which is very much how I was regarded in my former life!) But if someone who that same person regards as a “equal” shares the same opinion or information with this “authority” then they are willing to seriously listen and consider the information. This used to drive me nuts!

I have been in groups (churches etc) where the “leaders” made it clear that you were only as good as your contribution. (whatever that may be) The problem that I noticed is that it is never enough and you are right, it is the being that makes us worthwhile… not the doing. The worthiness of doing is always defined by someone else! (and who gets to decide?????)
Thanks for sharing!!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Krissy,
There is a lot of guilt tripping going on in a lot of organizations ~ that is for sure! And you are right, there are a los of reasons others don’t understand. Many women are controlled that way, having limited choices in everything they do!
I think there are hundreds of reasons that pastors and other leaders make those kinds of comments ~ many of them have control issues of their own. Many of them are being controlled and pressured by the church elders/leaders. The list goes on!
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


mz….the last sentence in your comment “It is not the doing that makes us worthwhile, it is the being.” This is exactly where I began to find freedom…when I could learn to recognize when I was focused on “doing” what I thought I “should” be doing or what I thought others thought I should be doing. I was so conditioned to believe that I had no right to exist that I shut down and literally disappeared into depression, dissociation and lived in complete isolation. I engaged in acting out behaviors and acting in against myself because I felt such hatred for myself.

Today I can catch those thoughts and recognize them as from the past lies that this is where my value was and instead tell myself that my best is good enough and that I am valuable simply because I exist. I no longer have to prove myself or earn space in the world; I am and that is good enough and all the reason I need to own my god given right to exist. Today I not only “take up space” but I can create the space I want for myself instead of taking what others decide I can have.


I wanted to share my new post about another kind of inspriation that triggers self blame ~ when people tell me that happiness is a decision or a choice.

This post is getting a lot of attention so I wanted to share the link with the commenters on this thread


Hi all

I pulbished a new post today related to this one about inspirational quotes called “Inspirational quotes that cause harm saying “how you got screwed up”.
You can read it here: http://emergingfrombroken.com/inspirational-quotes-that-cause-harm-saying-how-you-got-screwed-up/

Hugs, Darlene


[…] motivated me and inspired hope in me for about twenty minutes or even a few days before the familiar feeling of personal failure set in once again. I thought I was the only one who could not achieve the decisions these little […]

This is the newest post related to this one ~ Darlene


Samantha….If anyone reads something into something…They are not ‘taking it out of context’…They are having their own authentic response to something…Invalidation has always been an aspect of any abuse..and if ANYone says that something makes them feel and think a certain way..they are totally entitled to their feelings and thoughts..whether or not others intentions were deliberate..or not.

All this reminds me of the populist mantra..You ‘must’ forgive to be able to move on? Sorry but bull**it…I will never forgive my abuser..but I have still actually managed to move on from them…My journey of healing has involved refusing to give them another second of my head space..and that works for me..But as for forgiveness..No..for me..for that..someone has to be sorry first..

So adages and cliches and shoulds and should nots..have no place in any of our respective healing journeys from abuse…

What we feel..where we are at..and why we feel what we fell..is all valid…We have all earned our right to attempt to reach out to our authentic selves…and hopefully..to keep evolving towards our deserved good..



This reminds me of what a counselor said to me in the midst of psychosis many years ago. Something to the effect that I’d chosen that course. Talk about reinforcing my sense of craziness. Who would choose to be terrified, manic, and completely out of touch with reality.
Needless to say, it didn’t help my recovery!

What helped, of course, was understanding all the ways I’d been devalued and discounted and trained by parental anger and neglect.

And allowing myself to be loved by a good Father-God, who was not much like the nasty, distant god I’d grown up with.

Thanks again for your work.


Darlene and all,

My favorite part about this post is “And again, the truth is that I never had a choice but to believe it, because I was way too young not to believe it. I was way too young to ignore it, or to refute it or reject that statement.”

I’ve had MANY people tell me that I let things happen to me including Al Anon where I had to find ‘my part’ in things. When I was younger I also believed that once I became and adult, I would have CONTROL over my own life, including who could be in it and how I would be treated. I didn’t take into account for the damage to my self esteem as a result of what ‘I let’ happen to me as a child. In fact, in my 40’s I’m just realizing how damaging it was to have my mother keep one of my abusers in our lives even after I told her what he did – she said she believed me but as a precaution, I was never to come out of my bedroom or the bathroom unless I was fully clothed. That’s just one example but a perfect example in itself.

Don’t get me wrong about Al Anon, it IS helpful to MANY people. For me, many of my problems were a result of my childhood and not from the alcoholic in my life. His presence in my life was a result of the abuse I suffered as a child so I really had a hard time ‘seeing my part’. In any case, I really appreciated this post! As with just about everything I’ve read here, it helps to know that I am okay. That there are other people who know what it is to be in my shoes, really, and not just those that give it lip service…


Hi Karen
Great to hear from you. Yes this stuff is pretty mucky ESP when these things are said to us by professionals! yikes.
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Lucy
Yes, I had some huge problems with the way that 12 step was taught. Accountability is one of my fav subjects today, mostly about how it is taught wrong esp. when there is already a foundation built on victim mentality.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you for writing this Darlene. It is so true and yes, none of us need any more punches in the gut by feeling bad while reading a supposed “inspirational” quote! Jeez they like to kick us when we are down, “with good intentions” of course.


I see you have a problem with the speaker making it sound like “letting” abuse happen was your fault, when he probably meant there was a time when you finally accepted the lies that you were worthless and subhuman. However, my problem with the “letting” idea is greater. The human brain is trainable. The more times a neuron has done a particular thing, the easier it is to do again, and the harder it is to refuse, or to do the opposite. No matter how old you are, when people are telling you nonstop that you are subhuman, your psyche learns it even if you know it is not true. Or you learn to be constantly on the defensive and those neural pathways stay when the danger is less immediate. It is a farking fight to retrain, and enthusiasm doesn’t make it less tiring or slow.

One thing I can say about oversimplified motivational talk: not everybody who needs motivation has C/PTSD. Of people who learned the lie that they aren’t so great and shouldn’t try things, not all learned that they are subhuman and everything is dangerous. Maybe this video is helpful for the former. (Not watching.)


Wow, this is deep! I haven’t seen the video but I understand where you are coming from.

Sometimes “inspirational” material does indeed hurt more than it helps.
I think it comes from a place of promoting strength and empowerment and determination, but it can be harmful because it glosses over painful experiences.

I remember telling a former therapist about my abusive ex-boyfriend and do you know what this woman had the nerve to say?
“Well, you allowed him to treat you that way so you deserved it”. This therapist also read a lot of Eckhart Tolle and had a lot of wacky beliefs in general…I shouldn’t have been surprised.

I also think that many of the “inspirational” quotes and things come from a (false) idea that we are in control of our lives, when much of the time, that actually isn’t true.
There are SOME things that we can control but most of the time we can’t.
And since many people have the mentality of victim blaming, when they see somebody struggling, they are quick to tell that person it is their fault…they’re not strong enough or smart enough and they need to accept personal responsibility even in situations where that person is being hurt or unfairly treated.

Lord knows this has happened to me many times. I would reach out for help and the responses would be overwhelmingly cruel.
And yes, it can definitely trigger self-blame because it makes you feel like YOU’RE the problem.
Like YOU allowed people to hurt you and YOU failed to do what was right.

My former therapist viewed herself as trying to empower me but she was just another in a long line of people telling me that things were MY fault.
There was no compassion or understanding. Worse, she refused to allow me to share my past experiences.
She actually said: “I don’t care. I’m not interested in your stories”.
Yes, she called them my “stories”. And THAT was another way to invalidate me. By expecting me to deny experiences that were real and that shaped who I became, she was doing even more damage to my psyche.

Yet she tried to portray herself as a hip modern therapist who promoted inner strength to overcome adversity…yeah, right.


Oh Darlene,YES,YES,YES, you have hit the nail on the head! It reminds me of something my Psychiatric Nursing Tutor said to us” Be aware, psychopaths are attracted to psychiatric nursing and other “helping professions” because of the POWER they can wield over vulnerable people!” I agree not everyone who invalidates does so knowingly,but I DO believe that not everyone who has the status of ” helper” of any kind,has integrity.Some of them do it to feed their own egos and yes some of them ARE psychopathic,narcissistic or just plain BAD and do it because it gives them a buzz to kick others when they are down! By disguising as “motivational” “therapy” or help,they can get away with it more easily and the victim finds it more difficult to identify it as the abuse it truly is! That’s just underhand and sneaky!
This article resonated with me so much,as have so many of the comments.I don’t know when I will be able to share my story with you but I am building up to it;I feel a bit out of order because so many of ye have been sexually abused and I was only emotionally abused and adopted- the abuse I suffered was much more subtle and hard to identify but I hope ye won’t mind?I hope to be able to get the validation here I have never really found and I am 55 years old now. Anyway it’s gone half 2 in the morning so I am off to bed where I probably will have to read myself to sleep,but I hope to be able to tell my story soon.Good night,God bless and thank you so much!!!


THANK YOU DARLENE!! For putting into words what I have struggled with for years. I agree, agree, agree. I have always hated the condemning implications and statements that I LET things happen, that I am responsible for the mess that I have had to endure my whole life. I have never felt that I “lost” anything, because the truth is that I never had it in the first place. I can’t take back a life that was stolen from me, because I never had a life. I never stopped being “me”, because I never had a chance to become “me” in the first place.


Another thing I really hate is the people who declare that it is my fault that I am still in the (poor) condition that I am in. Really? If they went through what some of us have been through, they wouldn’t be doing any better. I have come to the place where NO ONE gets to tell me how to recover from a lifetime of abuse, or how fast to heal, especially those who have no clue what they are talking about. If they did understand, there would be some compassion offered, instead of condemnation. As I start to understand these things, I begin to feel stronger, but the condemnation never helps, ever.


Hi Theresa
Thank you so much for sharing! I took the life back that was rightfully mine by rejecting the false definitions about me that has been heaped on me by careless people and their actions. I became ME and fully embraced me when I was in my 40’s. Although I say that I took my life back, really it is better expressed when I say “I felt like I was becoming the “original me” that I had never been encouraged or empowered to become.

You are right about compassion too! Thanks for being here.
Hugs, Darlene

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