I Avoided the Pain of Abuse by Altering the Truth

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self deception and child abuseI convinced myself of many things in order to cope with child abuse, emotional abuse and being defined as less important than others in my life.  

I was unable to cope with the truth so I changed the truth to suit me. I learned how to view “unhealthy attention” as though it was healthy and validating in order to cope with my dysfunctional world the way that it was and by doing so I was able to pretend that my world was actually functional. I found a way to believe that I was special.   

But in order to feel loved and to believe that I had at least some degree of self worth, I had to change my understanding of the word “special”. I had to warp my definition of that word in order to fit it to the actual circumstances.  The things I accepted as “proof” and validation that I was “special” became pretty sick and unhealthy.

I remember when I was about 13 or 14 years old, my mother started commenting about the way men were looking at me. I remember that it was embarrassing to me. She would whisper to me in the grocery store “Darlene, did you see the way that man looked at you??” She told me that I was attractive to older men as though this was some great gift I had.  I felt uncomfortable about it, but at the same time I felt validated by my mom. I felt like “finally!! I have done something right!” She looked so happy when she told me these things. She looked pleased with me. It was important to her that I was attractive and she was saying that I was. I found some value for myself when she commented on these “older men” who were looking at me with appreciation.  

I thought I was special because my mother wanted to take me out to bars with her to pick up men when I was 17. I thought that meant that I was attractive; SHE thought I was attractive. I thought she was validating me and I longed for her approval and acceptance, so I accepted this as the way I could get it. 

I believed that I was special when I was sought out by older men when I was too young to be in any kind of man/ woman relationship with them.

My mother usually took me to hotel bars; bars where men were staying on business trips. The men that hit on me in the bars I was in with my mother were married men. In my youth and naive way of thinking I thought that I must be “really special” if they were giving me attention when they were married. This kind of thinking sounds really sick now but it comes from the situations that I was put into without knowing that this kind of thing was not “normal” or right.

I remember the duality of the way that I processed this kind of dysfunctional relationship that I had with my mother and the men that were hitting on me. On the one hand I thought I was special. On the other hand I was scared of what might happen.  One night this man hit on me and it was clear that he was married; he was wearing a wedding band for one thing.  But he asked me to go out to the lobby of the hotel with him.  He made a phone call to his wife while he had his arm around me. I was SO uncomfortable. I wanted to run. On the phone he asked his wife about her day and about the kids while he was stroking my arm and rubbing my hip and he kept smiling at me.

Thoughts were firing through my mind at warp speed. I didn’t really know what the hell he was doing and I felt dirty, but there was the thrill of danger, mixed with the relief of acceptance and approval. At the same time I was wondering why my mother wasn’t worried about where I was. I felt sick to my stomach and I felt powerless. I felt like a hooker, but somehow the whole thing felt like a compliment. I felt special; I felt like I had some kind of exotic power that this man would take this RISK “for me” in that way.  At some level I knew he was using me but I was too young to understand the cheap thrill he was getting talking to his wife with a 17 year old girl tucked into his side.  He winked at me which scared me and reassured me at the same time. I wanted to walk away but I didn’t think, (didn’t know) that I had a choice. When had I EVER had a choice? How would I have learned that I had a choice? I didn’t want to be rejected by him; I didn’t want to disappoint my mother. Where the hell WAS my mother?? 

And under all of these thoughts, I had just a whisper of a feeling that I wanted to avoid feeling more than anything else. I couldn’t face the truth that both this man and my mother had absolutely NO regard for me at all. I was just a means to an end for that married man. Perhaps he thought he would get me in bed at the end of the night? I was nothing to him. I was nothing. I was just some object some “thing” to distract him from the tedium of being on a business trip out of town with nothing to do in the evening. I was just a good story to tell to the boys at home. He had to have known that I was just a kid; even though I was in a bar I could not legally have been less than 19.  

And to my toxic mother I was just someone to go to the bar with. I was likely a good man magnet too. What did she care about what could happen to me? As an adult it took me YEARS to face that what my mother was doing was wrong (not to mention illegal!) and that her actions showed how little regard she had for me. This was all about her.

Talk about an example of dysfunctional mother daughter relationship.

The world might have judged me accountable for being in this situation if the world had known about it so to protect myself, I couldn’t tell the world. I had to keep it to myself. In my world the girl always got blamed. That man was married and fooling around on his wife but I would have been labeled as the tramp that had enticed him. I would have been judged as a home wrecker and a slut.  I knew that stuff already so I went along with him… smiled at him while he sweet talked his wife as he winked at me somehow knowing that I wouldn’t talk, wouldn’t expose him and that I would submit to this objectifying treatment.  In order to comfort myself, I told myself that this defined me as “the special one” in the situation.  

By the time I was 18 years old I had lived without value long enough to believe that there was something wrong with me. I was full of shame and disappointment; full of self loathing, full of self disgust. I wasn’t even legal age yet and I believed that no one would ever love me. And even though I believed that all I needed was to be rescued by a man, I didn’t trust them anymore.

This story represents the how I took a situation and broke it down in order to understand my belief system and how it formed and how this situation resulted in being one of the ways that I came to view myself. Because of circumstances that I didn’t know how to process, I decided that I was special because my toxic mother thought that I was attractive enough to take to bars when I was underage. This conclusion was a lie. That didn’t make me special at all. Believing that I was special because a married man was attracted to me and therefore used me to boost his ego was not a healthy self view and it was a lie about me. The way he acted didn’t define my value in a good way at all. I was coping with the fact that my mother was using me and putting me in a very dangerous situation by reassuring myself that her actions defined me as special. And the pain that I had to face was that her actions defined me as nothing. Not important, not worthy of respect or protection, not loved, and certainly not special.  The truth is that my mother and I had an extremely dysfunctional mother daughter relationship.

~Just a little more context ~ Although this was nowhere near the first time that my toxic mother had taken me to bars with her, (she had started doing that when I was still living at home) I was living with my boyfriend at the time of this occurrence and on this night he was in jail serving time for impaired driving. I told myself that my mother must have thought that if I was old enough to live with a man then I was old enough to drink in bars with her.

But here is the funny thing and the conflict that I never saw the truth about; the reason that I was living with my boyfriend was because my mother had told me to get out of her house for staying out too late twice.  I wonder why I wasn’t old enough to stay out late, but I was old enough to go to bars and help her pick up men?

Like I said, my mother and I had an extremely dysfunctional mother daughter relationship.

Please share your thoughts on this subject of the fear of not being special and switching the truth around in order to avoid the truth and cope with the pain.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

Are you aware my of my e-book “Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing”? If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you and you would like to find out “HOW” I broke out of the oppression I lived in, this 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to busting out of the fog and to healing. I’ve received hundreds of thank you notes from people that have bought my book. Get yours here for 9.97 through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

For Related posts on Mother Daughter Dysfunctional Relationship or Toxic Mother Daughter Relationship please see the “Mother Daughter Category”  ( also see links (the words) in highlighted bold print throughout the article)

Seeking understanding and validation from the WRONG people

 

 

96 response to "I Avoided the Pain of Abuse by Altering the Truth"

  1. By: kat Posted: 14th April 2013

    P.S. We all must hang in there and love ourselves enough to do our work and cut off all Toxic people until we are given the tools to handle them. Thank God for the internet and sites and people who were brave enough to tell the truth. Thank You!

  2. By: kat Posted: 14th April 2013

    Absolutely,
    It is amazing to watch the denial of those around us by telling my story looking for validation , love , acceptance I was actually doing the opposite of what I was looking for. I was actually teaching people how to abuse me. I still find myself doing it though. It is so simple yet so complex I believe its called a paradox. I have stayed away from my familiy, should I ever see them again which I doubt I will listen and look with different eyes and ears. I actually listen to everything differently and know it is not me I am no better no worse than anyone else. My heart goes out to those in prison and mental institutions due to the lies. Could have easilly been me. They suffered in families like mine and then suffered in life due to the covert cover ups of this dysfunction. Society perpetuates. I think we on our way one awaken person at a time hopefully we will be heard not as victims but the warriors we truly are. “We have the power of life or death in our words”. Its a long and not easy process but yet easier and easier as truths are revealed.

  3. By: kat Posted: 13th April 2013

    Isn’t that the truth – we did not tell anyone because we would have been judged the slut the throw away, but truth is even though we did not tell we were judged anyway. By school system, juditial system neighbors so called friends. They new something was wrong and just like us asumed it was us. I attracted so much abuse in my life and excepted the same because I was raised to believe it was who I was and what I deserved. To find the real truth took me over 40+ years and only the first time a therapist told me I was abused did I own the truth because up to that point no one listened no one understood because I had developed so many mask to hid behind that searching for something to validate me I now though still hard am learning to validate myself. Thank the higher power I did not die that way and I do get the chance to learn I am worth loving even if I am the only one who see’s it. The Juditial system still brands us based on our familiys and yes we are held to blame and unfortanate as it is unless we take responsibility we now are and thats seems unfair but true. Love your site. Kat

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 13th April 2013

      Hi Kat
      Welcome to EFB!
      I totally relate to what you have just said! Someone with “credibility” also told me that I was abused and that was the beginning for me too. Something that I have found out now though is that when I believe that all that past stuff about me was all lies, the system treats me differently too. I can say all kinds of stuff about the dysfunctional family system now and nobody opposes me like before when I wasn’t totally sure about it. Its amazing how much people pick up on what they can get away with and what they pick up that they WON’T get away with anymore! Glad you are here, thanks for sharing!
      Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: Jeffry Brown Posted: 12th April 2013

    My heart goes out to you all. Era hasn’t done much to protect women. But it’s sure set up perverts up in paradise. It’s so heart breaking what they’ve done to so many young girls.

  5. By: Lora Posted: 12th April 2013

    Hi Darlene! I’m amazed how much of your sharing stirs up old memories that I thought I had put to rest. When I look at myself now and take responsibility for what belief systems I created from the way I was treated, it’s really heartbreaking to think how little I thought of myself. I had no sense of value and bottom line, I just didn’t think I mattered to anyone. I have gone through my whole family history and all the dynamics and it’s clear to me that I come from a long line of deeply wounded people who did not know how to love and nurture their children. Both my parents came from abuse and neglect and passed that down to me and my sister. I was pretty much set up to fail in my life and I’m truly grateful that I found my way to the truth of who I really am. I really like where I am on my journey because I know I finally found a path to true empowerment. I’m very proud of myself for breaking out of my family dysfunction and I’m looking forward to experiencing life through unconditional love. I still have some challenges ahead and I’m facing them with strength, courage and hope. I like the person I am today and I know i will continue to expand the love I have inside myself. Thank you so much for sharing all your insights and truths, they are priceless to me. Namaste!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 13th April 2013

      Hi Lora
      I am very proud of you (and myself) for breaking out of it too! YAY. I love your positive post today!
      Thanks for sharing,
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: Kady Posted: 2nd December 2012

    Darlene. I am hoping so after 4 years this has been the first time i have read anything that gave me hope there are other human beings that understand. It is all so covert and cleaverly webbed. I also was in two pathological narcisistic marriages my motger told me i would not make it without my x. She reminds me of the song ” kick them when there down. Thanks for respinding to my post. Hugs kady

  7. By: Kady Posted: 2nd December 2012

    I ran away from home 1st time at 15 a story in itself. I went back to ma’s house after 2 weeks i wondered what i was doing there she and her boyfriend now huaband xid not hardly say a word to me. I was offered by a new boyfriend tk move a Harley MC shop to california 3k miles away. I left with $2.00 in my pocket and a bag of clothes.
    After a few beatings from him. I called Ma i was in Long Beach California no whee to sleep. She told me how lucky she was most runnaways never call there parents. She still hung up the phone. luckilly I found an unlocked Uhaul truck to sleep in. I lived on those streets for two years raised by outlaw bikers with more heart than my mother I was 16 now I am 50. I came back here after 15 years took 17 in full of her sick behavior to almost go insane. When i was 16 she told me to go on SSI id never amount to anything. Well i did go back to College i did amount to something that she could never acknowlege because that would mean she was wrong and shed rather me be in an insane asylem than be wrong. Thats the live of my mother. I once said u spent no time with me as a child. She said “what u want me to watch the brady bunch with you” Completely meant to demean me and it worked but i wish i would have said jo be i. Bar with 200 Hessians and one man dead now Guyrun put me to sleep in there leather coats with colors Maybe she should been one tucking me in. Maybe the legal system politicians and those who judge people like us should learn some respect for us instead prisons are full of us. Throw away people. They live in a world of blindness. Sorry all they would have done for me back then would have been to lock me up. God help this very sick cold world and thank god for the internet where we an have a voice and meat others of our kind. God bless us all for surviving with little ir no help dark jn our own pain. Kady

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 2nd December 2012

      Hi Kady
      You are not alone in this, that is for sure! What a nightmare your childhood was. I don’t understand these mothers either, but there is hope for healing from the damage that all this caused! It is amazing that you survived and I am really glad you are here now! You will find lots of info and support on this site.
      Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Kimberly Posted: 25th November 2012

    Mandy…I could not agree more with your post! Sadly. Yes. I find that being a doormat and always apologetic is my curse in life. Because I wear my heart on my sleeve and naturally want to help…I get kicked for that…over and over again. I finally figured out that I can’t help my mom anymore. I can’t be her friend or help her see or pray fir her. Cause she is who she is and she won’t ever change. Yes it’s us who have to change…who have to accept this loss and that people aren’t who we thought they were.
    It’s horrible losing your entire family you lived all your life…downright horrible…and there are no real greuving groups fir that loss…it’s like it’s your fault cause you choose to protect yourself.

  9. By: Doren Posted: 25th November 2012

    Hi Darlene,

    at the time it just felt so awkward to be there while he phoned her, but I didn’t see, on a conscious level anyway, that it was also disrespect towards me. I was taking all his actions at face value. I just took things and accepted scraps because something was better than nothing. I wasn’t aware that I was telling myself that scraps were all I deserved. But, I was continually placing myself in these kind of situations where I would end up ashamed, used, left behind and feeling unimportant and disappointed.

    It was not conscious on my part but I was reinforcing the same messages I’d received as a child. I know I have sought unavailable or disrespectful men who never feel accountable for anything. I find myself drawn to them because they showed sexual interest in me, they found me desirable, and that is loaded for me. I know I was taught this was my number one worth as a woman. Over and over again I’ve felt a need to have these men ‘see’ how special I am. Women too, but more men. Can’t just be average, but special. It’s compounded in my head by the fact that I have been called special, in a good way, many times in life, by teachers, and sometimes men, who then reject me right away anyway.

    I want to work on my relationship with myself so that I’m not looking for people to fill me up and tell me who I am. That is a big risk partly because, as you’ve written, there’s the fear that I will find out for sure how bad I am. But, another part of me knows the truth….I am not bad at all. Rather perhaps, I’ve been afraid to really accept when people have said I’m special (and meant it). I’ve been afraid of my power, of stepping into myself. I’ve dreamt and fantasized about transformation for years but in truth I am afraid of it. What do I do with that power? It is pressing on me inside that the time has come to push myself despite this fear…

    {{{HUgs}}}

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 26th November 2012

      Hi Doren
      I was afraid of finding the real me and finding out ‘they’ were right about me, that was a big part of this, but that never happened. I did see some things about me (like over reacting to people or mean judgement of people) that I did need to change about me, but that all came with healing. My reactions etc. came from the dysfunction in the first place. Seeing the truth about the roots of all this helped in every area.
      I believe that the purpose of power is to empower. Everyone has power and it is what we do with it that counts. I was very afraid of my power because my exp. of power was always negitive! Today I know that as long as I don’t abuse my power, (use it to squish other people) that I have nothing to be afraid of. I can hold my head high and know that I live in truth and that ALL people have equal value.
      Hugs, Darlene

  10. By: Doren Posted: 25th November 2012

    Thanks {{{Darlene}}} I am really touched…

    I forgot to mention that, similar to your story in this post, the Chicago businessman made a call to his wife while I was in the room with him. I felt very uncomfortable and guilty for hurting another woman who had done nothing to me. He of course felt fine and I imagine it was an ego boost. But I was taking the shame for everyone.

    My parents were fairly overt in treating me as weak and sick mentally. They not only said those things but sabotaged my sense of independence. They laughed when I said at 14 I’d be out of the house by the age of 20. When I first got a room at 19 my Dad was angry, telling me I was giving money to a stranger. I see now that any signs of health were going to be shot down, and I was always to think of them first.

    Your support means a great deal. This site is helping me discover the true powerful woman inside underneath all that oppression. I’m starting to not feel so ashamed of my life as ‘wasted’—but rather as a survivor’s story and a testament to my strength.

    {{{HUgs}}}

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th November 2012

      Doren
      I had to pay special attention to these things (like the guy called his wife while he was with you) because these were the things that used as “proof” against myself that “they” were right about me. I never realized that I had learned that I was ‘bad’ or that I was not important’ and I therfore sought ‘love’ and attention from unloving and even dangerous sources. It isn’t that I was not accountable for the choices that I made as an adult as much as it is about that I saw and validated WHERE and HOW I learned to treat myself that way and to feel more comfortable in the abusive and dysfunctional relationships that I attracted and was attracted to.
      Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Doren Posted: 24th November 2012

    Darlene,

    thank you for writing this. I am feeling a lot of pain and loneliness tonite and it’s related to the choices I’ve made with men being rooted in a great need to feel ‘special’.

    As I’ve mentioned before, my dad bought a lot of porn and bought it in my presence starting from when I was a little kid. I only remember it being the two of us when he did that, and I always felt very uncomfortable and ‘wrong’. He one time endangered me by depositing me in front of an adult bookstore while he went inside. It was a seedy part of Yonge Street in Toronto and I wondered why the ladies were pacing back and forth; I felt down that the man staring at me as he walked by saw my ‘ugliness’.

    He locked himself in the bathroom all night, Mom had a bucket but I don’t remember us kids having one. Years later when I told mom I knew what he was doing she laughed. Always had inappropiate reactions. I saw his genitals exposed many times as he slept on the couch and can’t forget the image. I would not be surprised if it went further but I don’t remember. I know he spoke of me like I was almost in a second wife position.

    I started to really downgrade my looks as a teenager. My mom said I’d never get a man. I finally moved away to university. I needed a student loan and one day I saw the Head of the College for the necessary approval. In his office, he kissed me on the forehead. I felt special. I came back again and in his office he french-kissed me. I was so surprised but felt chosen, special. We started what I’ll graciously call an “affair”. Cheap sex stuff in the office or his home. I fell for him and felt wanted and special. It lasted a year and a half. I was SO hungry for sexual validation. That meant I was wanted and desired.

    I met my ex at that time, and I couldn’t believe someone wanted me for a relationship. He knew I was a heavy drinker right away but threw it in my face when it continued. I had a few hangovers where I’d be lying in bed with him right in my face demanding the keys. He ripped a door off its hinge when he was locked out after a fight, once gave me a black eye, punched walls a couple of times. But I stayed, who else would want me. He had the same attitude as my family, I was the messed up one in need of care.

    He stopped having sex with me, I felt completely undesirable. He told me he was a pedophile, I stayed. I struggle with that one, but therapy has helped. I never saw him act strange toward a child. I loved him by the time he said that, and he also backtracked when he saw my reaction, saying “Oh that was long ago when I was a teenager, it was really more the guy I hung out with”. I never forgot his admission, but he would from then on deny having said it. He denied it on his dead son’s life. Two years ago, after we broke up he was arrested on internet child porn offenses and spent ayear and a half in prison. I still see him on the buses today.

    After years without sexual attention from him, I had casual encounters with men who showed interest. Came out of the hospital one night, chatted with a man having a cigarette, ended up spending the night. Hooked up with men from the internet. The last few months I was with my ex, I started an online thing with a Chicago businessman who was due to take a business trip to Toronto. I was in a hotel 4 nights with him, my ex did not protest. I was 42 years old, and I believed this man when he said online he loved me. Before we met even.

    I’m embarrassed by that today but that was my need to be loved and seen as special. I got him flowers and a book on a topic he was interested in. He didn’t pay attention to the flowers and made a big show of the dollar store necklace he had for me. He did things that were degrading sexually. He wanted pictures, I posed. He called me beautiful, I really liked that. How often I had been called ugly in life, snorted at and barked at on the street when I was heavy. I had very little spending money, I was on disability. I wanted to see a movie during the day while he worked. He said he wanted to help but his credit card had been jammed in a machine back in Chicago.

    When I got back home I felt terrible, my ex had put up the Christmas tree and decorations. I felt like the biggest piece of shit. I knew I could not continue, I had to get my own place, and I did within 2 months, after being with him for 19 years. It was my very first apartment, I’d had rooms in my twenties, but never my own apartment.

    I’m still in this apartment and feel so lonely. I’ve focused so much on getting attention from others, but realize now I must repair my relationship with myself. I’ve never really even had a relationship with myself, I’ve been avoiding me much as I can, not wanting to get near the ‘bad’.

    I never really knew how much damage was done to me before this year. I just thought I was weak and desperate and HURTING people when I never meant to, I never have wanted to hurt anyone. When I told my sister last year about the online encounters with strange men she got angry and said, “Do you know how painful this is?” and I dropped it feeling like a screw up again. Now I think, “What about MY pain?”

    Her statement is really the family view of things: I am hurting them, I have always hurt them, even in my pain I hurt them, what’s wrong with me? But there wasn’t anything wrong with me, I was just looking for some support.

    I’m beginning to think there never was anything wrong with me, and I feel like this really powerful woman is ready to come out, a real survivor courageous enough to be my great authentic self. I do feel better for having written this.

    {{{HUgs}}}

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th November 2012

      Hi Doren
      Thank you for sharing these painful and difficult stories with me. You have certainly been through a lot. I know that feeling too, when I began to realize there was nothing ever really wrong with me, it was what happened to me that was the problem. My dysfunctional childhood served to prepare me for dysfunctional relationships in adulthood.

      When I came to that realization that I had to repair the relationship with me I was almost more dejected than when I thought I had to repair it with my mother. It helped me to remember that I had been taught HOW to treat me in a very dysfunctional way. I continue to learn how to imporve my relationship with me as more clarity comes all the time about how I learned to treat myself as “nothing” and how everyone else came first.

      I am excited to meet the really powerful woman (you) who is ready to come out!
      Hugs, Darlene

  12. By: Mandy Posted: 12th July 2012

    Kimberley – I sympathise with you. I was always the lovely child that wanted to help anyone and everyone, and would nurse an injured bird back to health. I was always a good girl, I didn’t play up, I was into my books, never had a teenage angst phase. People used to walk all over me, my mum criticised me for being a doormat many times and then you think, oh it must be me, I must have a sign on my head, saying come and abuse me. Then you think, oh I must change, I must become less of an easy target and be more self serving, and do what suits me, and block out the thoughts of their pain from my actions. But, how I am as a person and how I act are 2 different things. My nature and fabric is that I care deeply, I love deeply, I am hugely empathetic. I cut out all the doormat behaviour, came out of my shell, and learned to put my needs first and challenge where I should. Now I’m too assertive, and too this, too that. It doesn’t stop an abuser from smelling your lovely character traits from afar and worming their way in. I’ve felt pushed and pulled in different directions by my Mum, boyfriends and friends and more recently my boss. I don’t want to be one those people that thinks everyone is going to abuse me, or I’ll never be able to love and trust properly again.

    I’ve tried to find a balance between making early observations and letting something play out until my instinct tells me to get rid. If someone that enters my life seems to not have a set of working ears, that will trigger an alarm, and then if it starts to develop into near constant criticisms or you find yourself feeling guilty or apologetic for how you are, for doing your thing, chances are, I will probably be inclined to think I might be repeating another mistake!

  13. By: Kimberly Posted: 18th May 2012

    Darlene ….how do you recognize people who are abusive? I have a difficult time doing that…some times….is there. A way to see early on? I have looked at lists for abuser traits…but I only find these out after I been sucked I….ellà your very young…time is your friend! I really hate when I fall into doormat mode…it seems to creep up on me…however I know better! I usually love to help people out…even when I can’t…I would like to stop doing that…I mean no one has ever done for me what I put out there…I feel stupid for being like this.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th May 2012

      Hi Kimberly
      For me the more that the fog lifted the more I saw things that I had not seen before. It’s just a time and healing thing.
      Hugs, Darlene

  14. By: Karenina Posted: 18th May 2012

    Hugs back to you, Darlene.
    I don’t know how you keep up with all these comments. But I really appreciate your comments and your posts. I am glad to be here too.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th May 2012

      Hi Karenina
      Thank you for your appreciation! Well sometimes I don’t know how I keep up with it either. (the last two days I have not been able to so I will read them but likely not be able to comment back to many. In the last 3.5 weeks I have had 1000 comments. eeks. I am going on vacation with my daughter next week for some much needed time off!
      Hugs, Darlene

  15. By: Karenina Posted: 17th May 2012

    My Dad once told me that his mama’s favorite saying was “I never hit a lick amiss.”
    It was a play on words. It meant “I never hit unless it was well deserved.” But it sounded like she never missed.

    Dad, who grew up on a farm during the Great Depression, told how if he did not clean his plate, he would have to eat off the mantel for a week. This meant it would take at least a week for his backside to heal enough to sit.

    Now my grandma was not generally, a mean person, nor was she in the habit of making up clever phrases, so I feel sure this was handed down for generations. Dad said she never hit hard, and grandpa would get mad about that sometimes. Dad didn’t say what grandpa would do about that, to grandma or to the kid that wasn’t punished severely enough. But having to go to the woodshed was apparently serious indeed: grandpa, like his father before him, used his leather shaving strop there.

    Of course, my grandma lived in the time when the “rule of thumb” was still practiced. In case you don’t know, this meant that a husband could beat his wife as long as he did not use a rod greater in diameter than his thumb, and it was common law. Consider this a bit. Consider also that few wives dared take husbands to court for using bigger rods.

    Her mama lived when little kids could be used in towns as factory workers, and on farms as day laborers. And could be punished by bosses as easily as by parents.

    Funny, my mama said she never was spanked as a child, even though she did most of the beating at my house.(she said she was never bad enough to deserve one) or else she did the “wait til your father gets home” and told dad to do her dirty work. So he, like many fathers of the day, was required to beat his kids for whatever their mother said they did, whether or not she told the truth or got the whole story.

    This was the norm.

  16. By: Karenina Posted: 17th May 2012

    Thanks Mimi and SMD, for responding. I agree that abuse is abuse…now and for the last decade or so, I have been coming to terms with it, on my own. But for the most part, in the way that Darlene describes so well, Bless her!

    But I wrote this so people who were confused about abuse could maybe see themselves here, and begin to realize that some abusers had some “good actions” mixed in to the abuse. Hardly any abusers are abusing kids in a way everybody can see, after all.

    Also for some of the older abused folks like me, I’m 60 now, who grew up in a time before abuse was called abuse.
    Back when abuse was “good parenting, ” and preached in church and all. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” was taken very literally, let me tell you.

    Not that it excuses anything, but I would guarantee most of your grandparents, or even your parents, depending on how old you are, reader, would have similar upbringing, similar internalized normals. And most of them, still in the fog themselves, wouldn’t define their upbringing as abnormal or abusive. Sometimes it helps to know these things. For me it cut down the amount of rage I felt, although it didn’t stop me from saying no to continued abuse, that is, AFTER I began to realize it WAS abuse. And while rage can be cleansing to some degree just like a fever, like a fever if rage gets too hot or stays too long, it can cause convulsions and brain death.

    For me just knowing the customary norms of the past kept me from such convulsions, let me use the rage/fever constructively to “kill the germs of erroneous understanding” but not too much or too long so that it harmed more than helped.

    Before i began to recognize what was the norm of the past as abuse, like I said, I thought it was normal, because..it was.

  17. By: Mimi Posted: 17th May 2012

    SMD,
    I’ve struggled lately to call it abuse. Yep, a step back. UGH!! I have said I was the black sheep and made bad decisions…. because I was told that. I’m starting to emerge from that lately. I wonder if I really did make bad decisions. I wonder if my mom just made a catastrophe out of everything, making me think it was a bad decision. I have to ponder and write this stuff out and sort through it. Was I really that bad?? Or, was I a normal teen? I wasn’t doing anything my friends weren’t doing. I don’t think their parents were making them out to be criminals with no future. I don’t know anymore. I’m struggling with confusion. One of those steps back I love so much!! Haha!
    Love,
    Mimi

  18. By: SMD Posted: 16th May 2012

    Karenina,
    It took me 43 years to sort out the abuse & I too doubted whether or not I was abused. I knew my family could be “mean” & there was “favoritism”. I’ve been saying mistreatment for a while & now I say “abuse”, since coming here. The things they would say to me & how they treated me was not normal. I was in denial myself because they cooked good meals, kept a roof over my head, paid for my schooling & wedding. However, I did not get the emotional support I needed. I was put down & pushed around. Always trying too hard to get their approval & acceptance.

    I would overlook hurtful comments & behavior, so as to keep the peace which only added to my depressions & low self-esteem. I don’t remember physical beatings, but was very obedient, as to not get myself in trouble. I had such anxiety about making any mistakes for fear of being shamed, beaten or rejected. That is not normal! It’s not wrong to make mistakes or question things but that was the message I received. It was always my fault, if I had a problem or if I was crying about something. Feelings were not encouraged & my dad was emotionally closed off. My parents were always concerned/fearful of spoiling me & my siblings. You don’t spoil a child with Love!…That is an important emotional need to have your parents love you as that creates trust & stability. Sorry for rambling but your comments spoke to me about the abuse & calling it something else for so long. It is what it is and it’s UGLY!
    Sonia

  19. By: Karenina Posted: 16th May 2012

    The strangest thing about truth altering is that you don’t know you are altering it. If you grow up with abuse, and you know nothing else, and your whole family thinks things are normal, you will internalize things as normal. Especially if your Mama is your abuser, but she also makes really great home cooked meals, keeps you clothed, reads stories to you and your siblings, tucks you in tight, keeps a clean home, keeps a roof over your head, makes you all laugh sometimes, and if you are all really really good, and clean the whole house on Friday evenings, you can watch your favorite tv show and have cookies on Friday nights.or catch lightening bugs on the lawn. Or play games on the sidewalk with the kids on the block. Normal is what you know.
    And normal changes over time too. Whippings with belts or small tree branches was normal for everyone I knew as a child. Not giving spankings was bad, children were supposed to be disciplined or they got spoiled, and into trouble. it might have been abuse, but nobody thought so back then. Kids shared wisdom about how to pick out the least painful kind of branch when you had to go fetch the stick you wer going to get hit with: green thin branches looked harmless but stung and left welts, fat hard branches too much, but if you could find a medium thick dead branch, it would break quick and end the punishment sooner…
    When I was 20, 30, 40 I thought I had had a lucky, happy childhood. I just didn’t get along all the time with my mom. But sometimes I did.
    It took 45 years to begin to sort out the abuse, and I would have doubted physical abuse until very recently.
    I figured out the mental abuse as a kid, but I would have called it by some other name. Like favoritism, or lying, or just general unfairness. The word “abuse” wouldn’t have even crossed my mind. I would have defined that as broken bones, beatings bad enough to require hospitalization, or mental abuse that put someone into a mental hospital forever.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th May 2012

      Karenina
      This is exactly the way it is. We don’t know we are even doing it. We don’t know what abuse is or that it happened to us. (although strangely when someone else tells a similar story of their own childhood we seem to know THAT was abuse) It takes lots of time to sort out. I am glad that you are here!
      Hugs, Darlene

  20. By: K. Ella Posted: 6th May 2012

    Yes I will continue to be a reader of this blog. I believe we can all help each other with this site, and thank you for responding. 🙂

  21. By: K. Ella Posted: 6th May 2012

    I forgot to add how I felt that I had to be a therapist, best friend, confidant and mother for my own mother, as a teen she would cry on my shoulders about the things people did to her, how her mother wasn’t a good mom, giving me examples of which, I just wish I had a mother and could have been a child.

  22. By: K. Ella Posted: 6th May 2012

    @Kimberly, I also felt that the way I was raised had something to do with me being timid and allowing people to treat me any kind of way. I am finally 25 and now I’m taking a stand, however I always felt like a personal doormat of life, smh!

    @Darlene Ouimet I want to say this blog you have created took guts and is much appreciated. While I knew I was not alone in my feelings and experiences, it is nice to read that I am not alone. No one can help you understand or tell you how to feel unless they have been in your shoes. I hope to not make this long.

    In a previous post I read two comments that were very familiar to my life.. You wrote of how your mother told her she loved you and wanted you yet did opposite and another commenter named Sally wrote of how overall she had a reverse parenting type of relationship with her mother. I can identify with both of those. My mother was big on love because she felt that her mother did not show her much of it.

    However all my life i felt she did not love me because of how she treated me. She made me believe that my family believed the same things she did as far as me not being a “good” kid. And from this i develop issues of trust with my family. I was made to feel bad because I was a moody kid, but she never took the time to ask why i was so moody.

    As a small child i felt my mother did more for me and was very kind, however like someone else said, as you get old your expectations become more, so you were born to fill the void but then its not good enough. I eventually took great care of my little sister and brother, to the point where I had to find a baby sitter for them when I wanted to go places. Or if I did spend the night with other relatives they would have to come too, she wanted to be a mother for our love, but did not want the responsibility.

    I feel she takes great pride in our accomplishments and enjoys what we are becoming or have became but envy us as well, its like we can not have too much. She also states I am her best friend, but I can not identify with this because of old feelings I have about her, which in turn makes me feel bad. At the age of 25 she continues to use the kids to manipulate me into doing things for her, once again taking away the responsibility from herself, if you do not do it she gets upset, says i never do anything for her, and even will tell the kids I do not care about them, when I asked why she let them believe that she said she didn’t, but only she knows she loves them, she doesnt know if others do. That is another pattern, she wants to stand alone in our lives, she is the only one who will be there and who loves us, but she hurts us the most. I also felt her boyfriends were more important to her than us as her children.

    My mother was abusive once saying to me over an issue over house hold chores at the age of 17, “i hate you b****”, spanking me at the age of 10 for telling her about a project at the last min. Once I confided in the family about how i felt, they talked to her, and she was livid and swore I was turning the family against her, I was 13 and she came in my room while i was sleep, punched me and tried to drag me down the steps by my hair. Throughout all of this, I was told my father did not care about me and how she had to raise me, and I once told her I did not ask to be here and she stated “neither did I” As far as the father issue she would not like me see him due to continuing punishments i was on, because i did not clean up good enough, or didn’t take care of the kids.

    Now that I am older the issues do not remain the same, the only thing is that she can be spiteful and hurtful in the things she say. I believe she has borderline personality disorder, and I know she has had a sad tough childhood herself, however I am upset she will not get help. I am finally fed up with her being nice when things are her way but once you say no, you don’t care, etc. so I have decided to take a step back. Now i am debating on if it will ever be worth having a relationship outside of just being cordial. Like should we ever go out to eat or movies? Sorry for the long rant, but it feels good to talk to someone who understands. Ill end by saying this..I feel my mother did the best she could with what she had, but I feel she could have done better by getting the help she needed and still needs.
    -K. Ella

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 6th May 2012

      Hi K. Ella
      Welcome to emerging from broken
      I am glad you like my blog; thank you ~ I had to change all my definitions of words like “friends” “relationship” and “love” because they had been taught to me all wrong. The way that I was taught them was manipulative and only applied to me.
      Thank you for your post and there are no restrictions here about the length of comments. It IS good to talk about this stuff with others who understand.
      There is a lot of stuff in this site about overcoming this kind of problem relationship ~ hope you stick around!
      hugs, Darlene

  23. By: Kimberly Posted: 6th May 2012

    What my abuse taught me or conditioned me to do was to be very complient and even when strangers talked to me, asked me questions, I felt like I had to answer them, I wanted everyones approval and that set me up to be used and harrassed at work, made the scapegoat basically and to be a doormat to men who only wanted me for one thing and when they did not happen, they left me…which they did anyhow, I always felt like I could not win no matter what I did in life, till I healed and learned more about why i was the way i was and how i have to fight that to this day even at times.

    I always seem to draw women who are are spider like just like my mom…I always seemed to get entrapped into a web and used or made to feel bad about myself, my last friend did that to me, she would listen to my abuse stories and then somehow put me in tears and I have no idea how she did it, she used triggers to make me cry, at coffee shops while having lunch…

    It dawned on me that she was narcassitic and needed supply and to torment me in feeling bad cause I spoke up about abuse made her feel powerful and helped her not face her own abuse. her sister has schizophriena, so she says, and she treates her really poorly, I think I know the real reason why her sister is like that, cause she is alot like her mom, and when two go against one, its a horrible mix, esp when the scapegoat calls them out on their abuse, look out!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 6th May 2012

      Hi Kimberly
      That is exactly what abuse teaches everyone. I can relate to having been attracted to friendship with people like my parents. It was because they were so familiar. It wasn’t until I did the reparenting work for myself, and empowered myself, cementing in the truth that all of that was dysfunctional and that my parents did not teach me love, that I stopped being attracted to people who treated me the wrong way. I had to make a new “familiar” and change my definitions of love. I had to start loving me.
      Hugs, Darlene

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