The Beginning of Emotional Recovery

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Darlene Ouimet and Shadows

When I accomplished something I was told in so many ways that it didn’t matter, it was no big deal, or the credit was given to someone else. This was a big part of my continuing depressions; that I was just so “nothing” and that I didn’t count. I was used to it. Although in some small ways I still fought to be validated, I gave up pretty easy. I was used to being “not important”.

On your journey to emotional recovery and wholeness, have you ever spent any length of time living with the validation that YOU WERE actually a victim?  It was exploring this fact that changed things for me. This was the real beginning of emotional recovery.  All my life I was squished; I was told that I was nothing and that I would amount to nothing. I was told this, not so much in words but in the way that I was disregarded, brushed aside, not heard and mistreated and by the way that I was taught false messages about love and by how I was defined by everyone else rather than accepted and encouraged to be ME.  

I had to realize that I had become comfortable with wrong treatment. Being unimportant and always trying so hard to find someone to say that I was important as I had no way to validate myself (I had no frame of reference for that) I became comfortable with being discounted and unimportant.

I started to beat myself up; I started to reprimand myself about the things I did wrong, told myself to try harder, told myself that I was lazy. I took over invalidating myself. And there I sat. Stuck. Wanting someone to TELL me that I was worth loving, but never believing it if they did tell me.  The big dark secrets of having been sexually abused and chronically depressed had long ceased to be anywhere near what I thought to be the real problem because I was still very young when I believed that the real problem was me. 

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. A child that had not been empowered to know she had any worth. That was when the real emotional healing began for me.

I stayed there in that place of validation, realizing that I had been a victim and placing the blame of the responsibility in the proper place, (not on myself) for as long as it took for me to get to a new place of understanding. I had to look at my life through a new grid; a more truthful grid and had to validate myself without any self blame, long enough for me to be ABLE to move on.

There were 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 25 years… but until I faced it, relived it and validated that it happened, that it was WRONG and it was not my fault etc… I didn’t seem to be able to move forward with my real life.

The point of the process towards recovery and emotional healing is not to blame ourselves. And it is not to blame everyone else either, at least not forever. I had to place blame/responsibility where it belonged long enough to find a way out of that darkness by recognizing the truth about HOW I got to the state of emotional brokenness and chronic depression in the first place.

How do you feel about this first step in your own recovery journey?

Darlene Ouimet

Related posts ~ When inspirational material triggers self blame

                             ~ Emotional healing and the will to go forward

                               ~ Understanding Victim Mentality ~ A key to freedom

39 response to "The Beginning of Emotional Recovery"

  1. By: DXSet Posted: 17th May 2014

    This didn’t happen to me in accomplishments, but only in feelings. As in, if I didn’t feel what mom thought I SHOULD feel, I was discounted and in so many ways told I was “wrong.” This led to me believing guys when they told me I was “crazy.” I would accuse them of misbehavior (flirting with other women) and I was told, “it was my imagination.” No, it wasn’t!

    Then, when I started working, I became fearful that any cross word said to be by a supervisor meant I WOULD BE FIRED while others just let it roll off their back. I didn’t understand how others could let this roll off their backs, why weren’t they worried?

    I still have issues with this.

  2. By: Karina Posted: 16th May 2014

    Hi Darlene
    Thank you. For making sense. For bringing clarity. For reminding me I am not alone and despite feeling that it’s pointless, doing the work is worth it.
    It’s tough defining the punch in the gut moments, there are too many. Words were cruel, indifference even crueler. Now with 40 a breath away, I start again. Unravel the knots starting with the in my stomach, and learn to breathe for me. I’ve spent my life time trying to prove my worthiness, only to wake up and find myself fighting still. Only this time in a marriage that has brought pain and no joy. It’s hard being accountable for my choices knowing they have contributed towards my charred heart. Harder still staying stuck in a place I do not belong any more. My obliteration was almost complete, from love to family to work to faith. All that I had left was my inner child who keeps crying out she is worthy, and doesn’t know how to get the world to see worth. For the choices I’ve made contradict her.
    It’s hard to start from zero when I feel old, used up and have nothing to give. Harder still knowing I’ve put myself here,

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th May 2014

      Hi Karina
      It is never pointless as long as we change our goal or understanding about “the point”. I used to think that because it was pointless trying to get my mother to hear me, that there was no point…. But it was when I understood that the point was about MY life and that my worth was not determined by her, (or anyone else) that everything changed. It isn’t the world that had to see my worth. It was me that had to see it.
      hugs, Darlene

  3. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 16th May 2011

    Hi Pam,
    That is great! I think you are too!
    Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: Pam Posted: 16th May 2011

    Darlene,

    I used to stay depressed for months at a time. I didn’t know where they came from and it would lift as quickly as it came. It was easy for doctors to convince me that this was chemical. Then when the medication made me manic, it was easy for them to convince me that I was bipolar. I could fit all of my lifes problems neatly into a bipolar box. It was an easy explanation and one that fit my habit of self blame. In the end, the medicatioins kept making me crazier and crazier and when I came off of them, I was no longer bipolar. I was back to square one.

    I agree that depression is a coping mechanism. The first depression I remember was when I was 12. I remember hiding in my closet and thinking about cutting my wrists. The khaos in my home was incredible that year and I know that khaos and my inability to cope with it were the reasons for my wanting to hide. I also know that my mom is very good at emotionally cutting me off at the knees. Those are the depressions that lay upon me like lead weights keeping me in bed paralyzed.

    I also have depressions when my body chemistry is out of whack but those can be fixed with exercise, supliments, and sunshine.

    My depressions are not so frequent and not so long lasting anymore. Even with the confrontation of my family over the last few years, my depression is more managable. I allow myself to hurt and like my wounds but I don’t stay there. I guess I am emerging from brokeness and no longer wallowing in it.:0)

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