Escape from the Prison of Crazy, Sick and Tired

personal recovery emotional healing
The Journey Ahead

Last night I had a dream that seemed to carry on throughout the entire night.  I dreamed that for some reason I was in prison, except that it seemed more like some kind of hospital or institution. I was innocent however I felt that I had little chance of proving it. It kept going through my mind that since every criminal claims innocence, no one would believe me… maybe I should just stay in the prison.

Some of us were hanging out in the hallway and I noticed that one of the doors leading to the outside was open. It was night time. A guy told me that if I crouched down, we could crawl out of there without being seen by the surveillance cameras. So we did, and we were outside! I kept thinking that my escape was justified because I didn’t do the crime that I was being accused of, but I felt slightly guilty about leaving without permission. My heart was racing as I expected to hear the alarms being sounded but I heard nothing.  Next thing I knew we were stowing away on a cargo train. (just like in the movies) I text messaged someone using coded messages about being “out” and all the while was aware of the fear of getting caught by my communications being traced. It was cold and I was tired and the train ride was really long. My traveling companion disappeared.

Eventually I was off the train and in a motel room with a laptop and a television.  No one was looking for me and there was nothing on the news about my escape. No one seemed to care and as the dream went on, (and now it is a few days later) I started to feel safer about having escaped but at the same time I felt kind of mystified that no one was looking for me and the rest of the dream was about wondering why the heck no one cared, even though I was innocent and even though I had not done the crime I was imprisoned for and I was getting weary, wondering when I would finally make it “home”. *

When I first woke up this morning, I thought this dream was pretty funny, but as I was telling my husband about it, I realized that it was actually really significant and it painted a picture of my past and of my journey to emotional healing.

Deep down I thought that I had been falsely accused but yet I was filled with guilt and shame, so I lived in the prison that they made for me. There was an open door, but I did not think that I had a right to use it, because no one would ever believe my innocence.  Even I questioned it. When I made my escape into the scary blackness of night, I was surprised it was successful. I had the feeling over and over again that it was so much easier than I thought it would be.

Throughout the dream, I kept waiting to be caught, and to be proven wrong and then put back into the prison. I was sure that they would track me down and put me back in “my place”. As the dream went on, I started wondering why no one came looking for me. And I felt sad that no one cared that I had escaped. I felt really abandoned and alone. It was so great to be free, but there was something really sad about it too. There was a kind of “now what” feeling as though escape was only part of the healing journey, and I have found that to be true to my recovery as well.

It has been very difficult for me to accept that my mother did not pursue a relationship with me when she realized that I was serious about not living in the extremely dysfunctional mother daughter relationship that we had for so many years.  I was so sure that she would want to journey to the other side of broken with me. I was so sure that finally, now that I understood what happened to me AND eventually I understood also what happened to her, that I would be “worth it.” I would be worth her effort. But it didn’t’ happen that way. One of my biggest fears was that if I stood up to her that she would walk away, proving that I was unlovable. But in reality her walking away did not prove that I was unlovable. What it proved was about HER. It was not about me.

This dream represented an analogy of the past. ~I was trapped in prison. ~The hospital or institutional feeling was about feeling all my life like I was CRAZY. ~The door being open represented that I had a choice. ~The night represented that it was scary, dark, with unknown and unforeseeable things ahead of me. ~The cell phone texting represented my fear of getting caught and being proven “wrong” again and having to go back to the crazy and the prison. ~The train ride was long = the journey to wholeness and recovery ~my travel companion disappeared was about having help getting started but ultimately I had to do the work on my own. ~Being bored in the hotel room with mixed feelings about NOT being pursued; my mother just walked away. ~The feeling of okay now what, was exactly how it was. Fairly early in recovery I had to find my “now what” and learn to live in this new life of clarity and freedom. 

~Possibly the most significant part of this dream was when I found myself weary and wondering when I would finally make it home. This was not about getting to a “building”, but rather about getting home to ME. This was about finding myself, or rather returning to myself and the peace, comfort and wholeness that I have found in doing that. ~Eventually getting back on my lap top unconcerned about who found out OR if I got “caught” represented that I did find myself, and now my work with others and my blog and how I talk openly about my past and about my journey to the other side of broken.

Please share your thoughts about how this post resonated with you.

There is freedom on the other side of broken….

Darlene Ouimet

Related Posts ~ Welcoming a New Year of Emotional Healing

Mother daughter Relationship Nightmares

Parent Child Relationships

59 response to "Escape from the Prison of Crazy, Sick and Tired"

  1. By: MissJ Posted: 30th January 2017

    Thank you for sharing this. It absolutely resonated with me and I felt teary while reading the latter part of the dream explanation. I am going through the journey right now and your story is inspirational to me.

  2. By: Krissy Posted: 7th January 2017

    Hi Christina, Thanks for sharing that. I, too, would like to share how much life has changed for me in 5 years. I have attained 3 tertiary qualifications since 2012, and am about to embark on postgraduate training to be a clinical psychologist, which is very exciting. I can’t say that things have improved when it comes to dealing with the abuser, but at least it’s not the only thing going on in my life now. I have to unfortunately still have interaction with the abuser because of the children, even though I managed to get sole parenting rights (which he obviously doesn’t accept and unless I go back to court I cannot enforce it). I also still have to deal with rejection from the community (because of his social abuse) but it doesn’t affect me the same way anymore. Knowing that others out there are going through the same things, and constantly growing and emerging stronger, really helps!

    • By: Christina Posted: 7th January 2017


      • By: Christina Posted: 7th January 2017

        Sorry, that was supposed to be a smiley face not a ? …. 🙂

  3. By: Christina Posted: 7th January 2017

    Somehow I rediscovered this post and also my comment I made about 5 years ago. It is amazing what 5 years and lots of hard work can do. I no longer feel hopeless. Not because my family has changed but because I have changed sooo much. I feel free and vibrant and love my life like never before. I have learned healthy boundaries and no longer feel responsible for ‘them’. I have tons more growth to discover but thank God I am on that path of discovery and no longer stuck in a rut.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th January 2017

      Hi Christina,
      This is super cool!! Thanks for sharing,
      Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: Cynthia Posted: 5th January 2017

    Very cool analogy and dream interpretation, Darlene! So spot on. Thank You for sharing….

  5. By: Catherine Todd Posted: 29th December 2012

    #44: “Self Esteem and Seeking Validation from Others :: Emerging From Broken, April 15th, 2011 at 7:56 am

    “[…] of my life, people complimented me when they had a motive. Something bad was surly going to follow.”

    Exactly! To this day, my stomach still tenses up if anyone pays me a compliment – I can’t bear it as I’m waiting for the blow to follow.

    How is it that every single person on this site is telling MY STORY TOO? It’s like we are all reading from the same sick and twisted script.

    But we can write our own script and quit that sick theater play. And I intend to, and reading here is how I am learning how to do it. I’m in Drama School, except it’s for a Drama Free life! What could be better than that?!

  6. By: Catherine Todd Posted: 29th December 2012

    “We shall she.” correction: “We shall see.”

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th December 2012

      Yes, it is like the abusers have a script. And if you think about it they sort of do because this is how they were raised as well. That is the cycle of abuse and we are breaking it. Isn’t it exciting!
      Hugs, Darlene

  7. By: Catherine Todd Posted: 29th December 2012

    Every single word in every single line in every single paragraph on every single page resonated with me. It could have been my story and you put it so well. This is what happens when we break free of our prisons, and everyone else is still inside.

    “Now What?”

    We shall she.

    And the journey continues… with diamonds and pearls.

    Wow. I am just speechless after reading this. Diamonds and Pearls, diamonds and pearls, unearthed from digging all those graves. Time to string a necklace with our diamonds and pearls.

    Love, and thank you Darlene. Your friend Catherine Todd

  8. By: SMD Posted: 7th March 2012

    Thanks for sharing that you had house dreams too. This is validating in My recovery process! It’s a slow process, but knowing I’m on track is encouraging me to move forward….Thanks for all that you do!…I’m usually a private person but since coming her, I’m opening up and it feels good!
    Sincerely, SMD

  9. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 7th March 2012

    Hi SMD
    Wow, this is awesome! Thank you for sharing it. I had many house dreams… all of which I realize represented things about my life ~ frustrations and freedoms… or indications of where I was stuck.. I had progress dreams in the process too! I had 2 major reoccurring dreams (house dreams and hotel dreams) for most of my adult life and throughout my 3 year process and they have stopped now for over 4 years!
    Hugs, Darlene

  10. By: SMD Posted: 6th March 2012

    Thanks for sharing this dream. It triggered a dream I had, when I was first realizing the truth of my dysfunctional family, I had a dream about a Big Old House with never-ending rooms and hidden passages. Every room had slides and obstacles to climb. I kept going and felt frustrated and scared, because I could not find my way out. Every room led to other rooms on different floors. It was a maze!…I began to feel trapped.

    When I entered one room, I saw my sister & my sister-in-law laughing together and jumping over the obstacles. There was actually holes in the floor, which I stayed away from due to fear of falling through. We were on the top floor of the house and it looked like an unfinished attic with bare wooden beams and fiber glass on the walls. I was warning them about the dangers. What baffled me was I finally found a way out, down a slide towards the light. I remember calling to my sister & sister-in-law to come with me, but they ignored me. I felt left out but also very excited to have found my way out. I looked back at the house with regret, that they did not follow me. There was a security guard standing at the bottom of the slide, where I came out and I felt like I did something wrong and asked am I “breaking a rule” and “Where am I?”…He said the “Mall”- that’s when I saw my sister & sister-in-law walking together into the mall which was separate from the Big House I just came from…I was so confused…Upon awakening I remembered the dream vividly.

    What struck me were my feelings of happiness & sadness, when I broke free from the house. I was grieving the loss my sister & s-i-l and I felt lonely, but I was so excited to be free!….This dream happened a few years ago, when I started my healing journey, by looking at the truth of my dysfunctional relationship to my family. I was seeking a way out but my sister & s-i-l chose to go a different way & by doing so they rejected me. Well, I suppose I rejected their way too- I did not follow them and found MY own way out!

    So many different incidents with my family have happened since this dream, however, when I think of this now, it was a turning point for me in breaking away from the dysfunction. The House with all it’s complicated obstacles and hidden passages represented my struggle to get out of the dysfunctional system. My sister & s-i-l must of represented my family in my dream and I was having issues with them, at the time. My sister favors my s-i-l and will ignore me, when she is around. So, they went off on their own without me.

    I think this dream represented my mixed feelings of grief, loneliness, & anxiety in breaking away from my family, but also my realization that I am separate and finding my own way! So much symbolism & feelings in this dream…confusing! Perhaps, I’m missing a different message, since I’m not looking at it from the outside in. Would appreciate any feedback you may have…Is this part of the recovery process?…It was a light bulb dream for me! Sorry for my wordiness…it was hard for me to describe the dream….
    Sincerely, SMD

  11. By: Kellie Posted: 4th February 2011

    It’s like we’ve met! I have just left the prison. No one is coming after me, and I have that sick, sad feeling of not being wanted once again. Just starting on my journey to healthy living without and abusive parent standing by. I appreciate your willingness to share you journey with others.

    Here’s to you,

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 4th February 2011

      Welcome Kellie!
      Yay for your victory. I look forward to sharing the journey with you.
      Hugs Darlene

  12. By: Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker Posted: 9th January 2011

    When I started the grieving process, one of the things that I had to let go of and grieve was the fairy tale image in my mind of my “healthy, loving parents” and the family I always wanted us to be but we never were. I grew up watching The Donna Reed Show and Father Knows Best and wanting to be part of both of those “perfect” families where the kids knew even when they got into trouble that they were loved. I didn’t know that in reality the dad in Father Knows Best was an alcoholic in his real life and Kathy, the youngest daughter, was in reality being sexually abused in her real life. Reality vs. Make Believe.

    I really love the healing that comes about through our dreams. Dreams can give us such clarity, vision, and understanding. Thanks for sharing this dream and your interpretation, Darlene.

    Susan, I remember when my younger sister told me that my dad had abused her too. I remember being angry that she was hurt too. I also remember being hurt and sad because I wasn’t enough for him that he had to touch her too. I thought I was protecting her from him by being so compliant and I wasn’t.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 10th January 2011

      Thanks for sharing Patricia,
      I think that I lived in a fantasy world most of my young life ~ well even for a good long while in my adult life too. Fantasy became a coping method that I had to deal with along with the rest of my coping methods.
      I think that dreams are a part of our subconscious, trying to help us sort out our conscious minds. I have learned a lot from my dreams over the years.
      Thank you for sharing about your Dad and your Sister. These kinds of feelings are confusing, but also very common and so many need to know that they are not uncommon.
      Hugs, Darlene

  13. By: Young Mom Posted: 7th January 2011

    I feel this too. The boredom, not knowing who I am, waiting for them to value me, feeling incapable of doing something different than I was programmed too.

    I grew up the oldest in a Quiverfull fundamentalist family, and in the last 2 years I’ve rejected most of what they believe and started to separate from them to avoid the pressure and judgement from them.

    In many ways, it’s like I’ve lost my value. When I was their prisoner I meant something to them. Now, I find myself unsure of what I want out of life, feeling guilty whenever I have desires for anything that the family system never allowed, and feeling lonely.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 7th January 2011

      Hello Young Mom,
      I think I know how you feel; here is how I look at it today. I felt like I lost my value but in actuality I had the wrong understanding of my value. They gave me my value and they defined me and that was all I knew. Recovery for me was about discovering MY actual value, my real value, not what they had decided, and it was about sorting out why I felt guilty etc. and what the real truth is.
      In the religiion and system that I was raised in they didn’t practice or follow what they preached anyway. The rules only applied to me, (and others) but I never questioned that until I took my life back.
      Hang in here with us!
      Hugs, Darlene

  14. By: Kathy Posted: 7th January 2011

    This blog brings up so much for me! It takes me back to the night I finally told my secret and prayed to God that I had never told! I would have rathered continued being sexually abused then to endure what I did that night. My parents did not believe me and I was abused worse that night then anytime of my life. The saying of being in prison…I was so broken and torn that I told and was called a liar and beaten that I wanted to stay in that prison of holding the secret!
    As I have been working in my healing this is the one memory I still can not talk about or even allow myself to go back there. I have done a lot of work but there was just so much damamge done to me that night it’s really hard to even mention on this blog. I will get there though. I have a lot of work ahead of me and this just opens my mind that maybe it’s time I work with my therapist on this.
    Thanks Darlene for this blog! It really hit me in a good way!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 7th January 2011

      Hi Kathy,
      This is brutal and horrible. I am so sorry that it happened to you. (all of it) It is wonderful however to hear the sound of hope in this post, and the determination that I hear you express when you say that you will get there; sounds like you are willing and that is HUGE when it comes to forward motion!
      Thanks for sharing,
      Hugs, Darlene

  15. By: Sheryl Posted: 7th January 2011

    thank you for sharing this very real struggle. It sounds like a big part of my life as well. For now, a step toward more freedom for you, try only allowing communication with him that is directly necessary, like the children, or the assets as it would be legally necessary for you to discuss this (if that makes any sense) but when it comes to others’ opinions, my experience was that was never a good thing, unless, of course YOU are asking someone for it! So do whatever it takes to start drawing that boundary line with him, whether it means telling him directly or not (depending on how manipulative he is) that you will not discuss certain things with him anymore, and the opions of others is one of those, don’t respond on the phone about it, delete the emails, texts, etc., and replace that time/space in your mind and heart with some other benefit to your life, simple as it may be, a favorite food, something enjoyable for you, books, friends, whatever supports you in where YOU are going.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 7th January 2011

      Hi Lisa B.
      I know what you mean about the “I wish”. I realized one day that my mother did me a favour. I didn’t have to constantly stand up to her and fight about it with myself. In the “old system” it would have been up to me to pursue her ~ in the old system I would have had to “restore her order”, but in the new system I don’t do that anymore. So I really understand what you are saying about “i wish”. My mother did try to “get me back” but again it was on her terms and I was strong enough to say no. In real relationships there are two people, each with a choice. I knew that if I made my choice that my mother also would make hers and that hers might not be what I want, but my will to live in wholeness became stronger then my desire to have a mother. Even if my mother wanted to come along I would still refuse to carry her. My definition of relationship has changed dramatically.
      Thanks for sharing your journey with this. One of the top search phrases for this blog is “dysfunctional mother daughter relationships”. That means that people are looking for info on this! It is not one of the most popular topics for comments, and it does not get as many “likes” on the face book like button, but when I post about my mother stuff, I get a lot of traffic. We are not alone in this whole thing, it’s just that most are really afraid to talk about it.
      Hugs, Darlene

      Welcome Christina and Jenn ~ Great to have you with us!
      I started this blog because I had lived in hopeless for so long and when I escaped, I wanted to tell the world that there is HOPE!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Krissy,
      I have been thinking a lot about this topic about being rejected by the abuser. My mother was pretty much an emotional abuser. She stopped hitting me when I was 15 (because I finally told her that I would hit her back next time and I finally meant it) I really understand your statement about seeing controlling and possessive behaviour as love. And it comes from the very core of our beliefs about ourselves and about what love really is. (which it really isn’t) We see acceptance (if he finally realizes that you are not going to get hooked) as rejection. It’s really mixed up. We think that everyone’s actions towards us are about us. But they are about them. I had to start looking at why I was so willing to have that treatment in my life and why I thought it was love in the first place. .
      Hang in here Krissy, you are doing awesome!
      Hugs, Darlene

  16. By: Krissy Posted: 7th January 2011

    Darlene, you always seem to write something that I am going through in my journey. What you and the others have said is something that really bothered me but I thought no one else would understand what I mean by being rejected by the abuser. I mean, it just doesn’t make sense in a rational way.

    For me, instead of wanting to be sexually abused or raped to be loved, I am looking at his controlling possession of me as love – at least he (that is, someone) still wants me, even if it is creepy and over-the-top. What if he really gets the message that I don’t want to have anything to do with him anymore, and he just walks away? The only person to have professed undying love, give me constant attention and buy me lavish gifts doesn’t want me anymore. That’s all I had for over 25 years. And it was all a lie. At least now, he still tries to be nice but when he realizes that I am not going to get hooked, will the rejection be just too much to bear?

    Thanks for the reminder that the rejection has nothing to do with our value. A person who is incapable of loving or showing empathy is not the person who should be telling us how lovable we are. He never loved anyway – he just hoodwinked me to believe that it was love. Love doesn’t scare others. Period.

    I too have been having disturbing dreams lately, more than when I was going through the separation. It’s like he is featuring more, rather than less, in my life. Perhaps it is me struggling with regaining that power and facing that fear of really letting go of any obligation towards him. I just don’t know why he has that much power over me.

    If only I could really go No Contact. I still have to respond to his texts because it is about the kids or shared assets. And shared friendships – still getting people calling and giving me their opinion, etc. Still, I can sense that I am slowly gaining ground toward freedom because I actually feel a lot lighter and my mind justs get clearer and more at peace. Tomorrow he comes to pick up the kids. I will remember this post about walking out of prison. No more getting sucked in.

  17. By: Christina Posted: 6th January 2011

    Thank you Darlene. I saw hope in your dream.
    In my life right now I feel so hopeless that I will find the freedom and healing I so desire.
    I feel hopeless that I will ever be able to have a healthy family. But that’s their choice isn’t it.

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