Emotional Healing & Will to Go Forward

going forward in recovery
the will to go forward on a snow blocked road

I understand wanting to give up. I understand what it feels like to lose hope and I am very familiar with that sinking feeling that there is no way out of the darkness, the depressions, and oppression. I remember feeling hopeless and believing that trying harder or even trying at all anymore, was just pointless. I was too tired of the fight. I didn’t see any way over it or even through it anymore.

And now that I am on the other side of all that, I realize why I felt that way. I know why I almost gave up my life and home, my husband and children and the will to live.

Although there are many factors that contribute to coming to a place of hopelessness, in this blog post I am only going to talk about the loss of my identity and the loss of my choice.

I had already lost my identity when I was still very young. By the time I was in my thirties I was finally convinced that I wasn’t worth saving. It wasn’t hard to convince myself of this because it was more like I just “agreed” with the opinions I had grown up with. I had been told in actions and in the reactions of others that I wasn’t really worth saving. Patty Hite from the website Overcoming Sexual Abuse just wrote a really insightful and excellent blog post about how she learned about her value. This post gives some foundation to the statement I just made.

There are some foundational reasons why I came to this drastic conclusion. It wasn’t that I had given up my identity. It was taken from me. I had slowly and over time been defined by other people. I felt as though I wasn’t worth the air I breathed, because when other people define you, THEY teach you that the real you isn’t worth anything.  That is the message that I got every time I did something I was told I was “wrong” “bad” or when I got that look of disapproval. That is the message I got when I was told that I was exaggerating or lying, and when I was told that what was happening to me WASN’T happening to me. That is the message that I got when I was not taken care of properly. That message is that I wasn’t worth it and that I didn’t matter. My identity was not approved of; I was invalid.

 It wasn’t that I had given up my choice either; it was taken from me. I didn’t DO something to be defined as unworthy; something was done to me FIRST ~ way before I ever added my own crimes to that list. But as soon as I added something that is viewed by the world as a “choice I made” (drug use, alcohol addiction, sleeping with a boy, swearing, stealing, hitting someone even if that was in self defence) I instantly believed every unworthy statement that had ever been assigned to me by someone else. 

No one encouraged me or empowered me to be myself.  I realized as an adult that I had a choice BUT it took me a long time to realize that I had a choice, because nothing was ever about ME growing up. When we grow up with all the decisions being made based on the motives of others, we don’t realize that we have a choice of our own in life. It wasn’t my fault or my defect that when I was an adult I didn’t know I had a choice. I was a product of my environment. A lot of my recovery was about realizing the sequence of events and the foundation that was set for me to arrive in the mess of emotions and confusion that I was in.

Eventually I did realize that I had a choice; I could give up or I could decide to empower myself. I could make a difference in my own life. I could choose to stop believing that I was unworthy. It was just a small decision at first but I got a glimpse of how I could change my own life and I chose yes. I decided that I was worth it. I made that decision on my own. I decided to take my life back. I decided to go on the journey. I picked ME.  That was the first choice I made on this new path that had nothing to do with anyone else’s definition of me, or with someone else’s motives.

(And then the real work started… and there are lots of other blog posts about that!) .

So what do you think? Did your identity get squished along the way? Can you see the value in taking your life back and redefining yourself?  

Darlene Ouimet

Related posts ~ the little girl who cried wolf and belief system development

                               Self worth ~ Where does it come from?

                              Understanding Victim Mentality ~ a key to freedom

39 response to "Emotional Healing & Will to Go Forward"

  1. By: Carlos Posted: 3rd April 2016

    There were times in which I felt like dying because living in fear of receiving more “loving” actions, was just too much to deal with. But then came the question in my mind: “You’re still alive right?” So that’s when I decided to slowly discredit all of the dirt dished out on me, to continue fighting the good fight. I not only had that drive to survive, but I also had people within my family of whom I felt were truly loving and caring. Life is slowly turning out for the better. I no longer dream of days in which I will eventually get the father and grandmother I should have had. When they say that true love means to be accepting towards others even if they have mishaps, I call bs on that. Yes I have accepted that they’re heartless and have graduated with honours on that particular aspect of their lives, but that’s not true love. I am just acknowledging something that will never change. It’s not love anymore if I am still willing to let them do that to me. It’s blindness and stupidity. I may be wearing glasses, but I am not “blind” in that sense (Heck the extra set of “eyes” probably even allowed me to see through the truth a lot quicker than expected). Furthermore, the fact that I realised what love really is and it’s not what I have been dished out by my abusers, proves that I am not stupid either! Graduated from that stage of my life, whoo!

  2. By: Cathy Posted: 31st October 2012

    After coming to “EFB” I’ve begun to realize that I’ve been sleeping through my life. I have been so hurt by the very people I call family. Called names and screamed at, told I am difficult. I know that I have been taught that being passive and going alone with everything is what you do, but those same rules don’t seem to apply to my parent’s or sibling’s. So basically I have trained them to treat me badly because I didn’t know any different. Now in my fifties I am beginning to see thing’s so differently, I don’t like what they say or how they are with me. I tried to talk but they usually roll their eyes and look up at the ceiling. What is that? So am I outgrowing all that’s been instilled? Am I finally seeing that I have been abused emotionally and I don’t want this anymore. Am I strong enough to break through this? I am so used to being the nice one, not hurting feeling’s, enabling both through my actions and giving money.

    I always felt like I was being “bad” if I didn’t go along with them, they weren’t love me. I am not bad at all. Actually I am a strong, independent woman who was wronged by the very people who should have protected and loved me without judgment.

    My mom will go out of her way to one-up me. It’s all about her. She look’s great to the outside world, she get’s the good appearance to the world award. If people really knew the thing’s she has said to me and done to me they would be appalled. At times she is the queen of drama. She actually went to a mutual friend of our’s and told her not to talk to me again. I am fifty! I one time bought myself something nice and she wanted me to buy the same thing for her, I told her it was a treat for me and I could not afford to buy it for her but she persisted. So I decided to buy her something similar and well she had a tantrum and fling the bag all over the room. I told you I wanted what you bought, so with my tail between my legs I marched back to the store and bought the same thing and gave it to her. I learned month’s later she had returned it. All that time, energy and emotion, wasted on her. The item I bought myself I actually threw it away, why, because she wrecked my moment of doing something nice for myself.
    I finally stopped buying her thing’s it’s too emotional and she is never happy.

    My dad is very controlling. He can be mean and he know’s it. Everything is always a game and he’s out to win. He once bought me something and I was surprised and told him how nice it was and he responded back that if I wasn’t like I am the gift would have been nicer. I did ask what he meant and he just repeated himself.

    I limit my time with my mother this is best for me. I do see my dad but only so often. I do holiday’s with them because there are other’s whom I want to see, but it’s hard. They treat the other’s differently than me. It’s very important to them that most of their children are wealthy and successful. They have favorites and some live nearby and other’s don’t. They visit the one’s that don’t every few months and I live within five minutes of them and they never visit.

    I have tried and tried to be what they want, but I will never be enough for them. I have bent over backwards and do whatever they ask, but when I ask well it doesn’t go anyway, nothing happens. If I conform to their desires then I am okay at least for them. But inside of me I am miserable and unhappy.

    I cannot change them, nor can I change what has happened but I can go forward and pray that I will have the courage I need to begin again.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 31st October 2012

      Hi Cathy
      Just a couple of tweaks to what you said: it isn’t that you trained them to treat you badly, it is that they trained you to let them and accept that treatment. I would say YES you are growing out of that by seeing the truth. They roll eyes and disrespect you for trying to speak and that is about them!
      Your comments here are excellent and very insightful and show much courage! keep going!
      Hugs, Darlene

  3. By: Jane Posted: 31st October 2012

    I have no words. I want the words to flow through me. The words are inside me but they don’t want to come out. They were pushed down inside me a very long time ago. They are in a place that even I can’t find let alone anyone else. When I speak it frightens me,my words frighten me,they are foreign to me,the sound of my voice is but a whisper. I can hear my voice loud and clear inside me. My voice flows it has meaning,it is safe,it is secure,it is beautiful,it has purpose,it has meaning. It is trapped. It won’t or can’t come out. Something is blocking it,something is choking the life out of my voice. I can feel a lump in my throat whenever I tried to speak. The words are there but they won’t come out. Why won’t they come out. I have asked my self this every day of my life. hugs JANE

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 31st October 2012

      Hi Jane
      I understand but there is hope because they want to come out. I had to think about what was in the way and who was in the way of my voice. Thinking about that helped me a lot. (one time I said that my voice was shutoff and it felt like someone was sitting on my chest; I did a journal writing on who was sitting on my chest, and that helped me a ton! Another time it was “who is holding me under water.. there was always a what (like what I was afraid of if I did talk) or a who behind those things. )
      Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: Celine Posted: 30th October 2012

    Wow Darlene. Thank you. Although I am not there yet, and by that I mean that choices absolutely terrify me, I WANT OUT of this mess. I want to live. I want to find myself because I know what’s been laying dormant for so long. Right now I’m holding on to everything you offer in your website. The hope, the validation, the kindness, the fact that I’m not alone in this.
    My voice has been silenced up until now or maybe I’m the one that let others silence it. You see, growin up with no self value, making sure my mother was taking care of BEFORE me led me to believe my needs were not important. I was the witness of violence against my brother from my father.
    I don’t know what it means to make choices. What if I make the wrong ones?
    Anyway, as you can see I have a lot of work to do. It’ll take as long as it takes. One day I will free myself. One day I will reconnect my soul to my heart. With your help Darlene as well as all of you who carry me through by telling your stories here you give me strength to come out and tell mine as well without the fear of being made fun of or be called a cry baby or exaggerating. I’m ready to work in therapy.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 31st October 2012

      Hi Celine!
      This is awesome! I know it is frightening! For me the choice was like dying in order to live again. I was called an exaggerator all my life and I finally had to realize that was not about me as much as it was about the way they controlled me! I had to just press on for me. I had to learn to be my own friend.
      Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Jenny Posted: 2nd November 2010

    I am actually having a really hard time with this subject tonight. I was talking to my boyfriend and I ended up getting really upset like he wasn’t hearing me so, I got louder. I do that if I feel like someone isn’t listening to me because that means I don’t matter, that my feelings don’t matter. My needs and feelings were completely ignored as a child and just at this moment I realize that is where my anger comes from. I get so pissed off when I get the message that someone isn’t listening to me. I had no choices as a child and I get so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of decisions I have to make as an adult. Sometimes, I feel like a little girl all over again and I do nothing and that ends up being the choice. I get so angry because it is my belief that every child deserves to be loved and heard and well cared for and I wonder why I couldn’t have had that life…sometimes the why’s really kill you inside…why couldn’t my mom just have heard me, why couldn’t she have saved me from my living hell….the answer I usually come up with is I must not have mattered that much….and that is an extremely difficult thought pattern to break…it is ingrained…but I want to change that and that’s why I am here….I don’t care how bad it gets, I will chose me every time….somewhere I know I am worth it…

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