Survivors, Mother’s day and Mixed Emotions

dysfunctional mother daughter relationship
freedom in recovery

Mother’s Day can be a tough time for Survivors.  There are many reasons for this and often we don’t look at those reasons but rather wonder why there is some anxiety or even depression around that time of the year.

Sometimes deep down I felt that my mother didn’t protect me.  She didn’t listen to me when I tried to tell her things. She made light of some things and minimized other things.  She put me in danger with men and she didn’t pick up on the clues that there was sexual abuse going on. She was a flirt herself and communicated to me that my only value was sexual.  Having these deep down feelings and resentments about my mother caused me to feel guilty and ungrateful.

At the same time, I always felt sorry for my mother. I knew that she herself had a really tough childhood, and I felt for her. I excused her narcissistic behaviour towards me and our dysfunctional mother daughter relationship because of her own difficult childhood.  She put me in the role of establishing her value, and I tried to fulfill that need in her but no one can ever do that for another person. I was a child who was trying to prove to my mother that she was lovable. I thought that if I could love her enough, then she would love me. I tried harder and harder. That is what children do. It is one of the ways that we try to survive. Somehow I thought that if I failed to restore her value, that she would reject me and that I would die all alone; too young and too little to survive in the big world.

I was not aware of any of this while I was growing up and though I struggled with depressions and low self esteem I did not realize that my own depressions were not only related to child sexual abuse, but also related to this emotional abuse and emotional neglect. My mother did not have enough self esteem herself to help me to establish my own self esteem. Her mother did not have enough self esteem to help my mother establish hers either. So the mother daughter dysfunctional relationships were passed down from generation to generation.

It was in separating these two issues; that my mother was badly hurt by her own mother, AND that my mother did not parent me (both of which were true) that I found emotional healing in relation to my mother.

I also realized as an adult that I still had the childhood fears that if I didn’t find that key to prove my worth and hers, that she would reject me and I would die and in realizing that deep seated belief, I was able to realize that belief isn’t true; it is a lie. I can survive now. I am no longer that dependent child.  That truth opened doors to many other truths on my journey to freedom and full emotional recovery from trauma, depression and abuse.

Happy Mother’s Day ~

In the end I had to re-parent myself in order to put the missing building blocks in place. Today I have three teenage children whose lives are very different then mine was.

Please visit my blog and growing community at Emerging from Broken

Darlene Ouimet

Making a Positive Difference in the lives of Survivors

overcoming abuse and domestic violenceI have such an affinity for survivors and the struggles that we go through on the road to healing. I see the pain inside a survivor of sexual abuse or domestic violence. I see the brokenness, I feel it too and I understand the trust issues and remember the feelings of hopelessness. But I also see the beauty, the possibility and the uniqueness and gifts in each person who survives and I know that with recovery comes freedom and when we find freedom it is never too late to live up to your full and true potential.

Angela Shelton talks about recovery and potential on her video about raising money for this site in order to make a series of helpful videos. She talks about her journey making the documentary “Searching for Angela Shelton” and how the lives of all the women she found were impacted. It is an amazing story. Like Angela, I have a heart for this work. I am passionate about the healing process. I am dedicated to the message of surviving to thriving on the journey to wholeness. There is life after abuse; full life, rewarding and amazing life. Like Angela, I am passionate about contributing to the solution.

On my blog, “Emerging from Broken”, I try to write about how I got to where I am today; how I worked through the issues, how I realized that they were not my fault, that I didn’t deserve them. There is no magic bullet but there is some sense and order to the process. There were some really amazing things in the process of recovery that I realized looking back were a huge part of the wall that was between me and overcoming the past. I try to articulate the obstacles and the victories.

I can honestly tell you that I don’t feel the pain of the memories anymore and I don’t have the burning anger, or the feelings of shame. I have not forgotten, but I don’t re-live the abuse anymore and the nightmares no longer come. I am free of the resentment over having my innocence taken from me, and from feeling like my life was ripped off. I feel safe most of the time. I have come a long long way when it comes to trust, especially self trust. This is a gift beyond my wildest dreams or expectations. Really, I just wanted to be “okay”. I never dreamed that I could live in such wholeness, fullness and freedom. I never dreamed that I would be a mental health advocate because I believed that I was crazy, invalid, unimportant, used, unlovable, damaged and unworthy. I never dreamed that I could make a positive difference in the world because of my past, but each day I reach for the stars, and I do.

To your dreams; may they be realized,

Darlene Ouimet

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Broken, Different, Shame Filled and Guilty ~ and Then…

The Journey, the Path to recovery

We find each other when we are ready to face some of the abuse that happened to us. We search for others in order not to feel so alone ourselves. We enjoy the camaraderie, the feeling of being understood and our common bonds. There is a unity, a common bond and an understanding that we don’t feel with everyone.

I felt different for so many years. I felt like I didn’t fit in, like I didn’t belong and I thought there was something wrong with me. I felt guilty for not being grateful, for not being happy and was ashamed of the depressions that I struggled with. I didn’t realize they were born out of the childhood abuse events that had not been taken care of properly.

I sought others who had suffered abuse worse than the abuse that I suffered so I could tell myself to stop complaining about what happened to me. This did not help me at all. I only talked about one abusive event in my life and I shrugged my shoulders when I even thought about some of the violence that I lived in, as if to say “ah, it was no big deal”. I had attempted to talk to a few professionals about my past, but I was often met with a neutral attitude, which really just affirmed to me that I was making too big a deal out of my story. I had always been told by my family that I was dramatic.  One day when I was at the end of my rope, I decided to try one last mental health professional and something happened that became the beginning of my recovery.

Last week I published a blog post on the blog “Emerging from Broken” about the first session I had with that same therapist who eventually took me from shattered and broken, to wholeness and freedom.  At the time of this writing there are 29 comments on that post. It really stirred up some feelings within my readers, and I thought I would share it with you here as well.

I called it “My Therapist Winced when I told him…..” I hope you stop by to read it and the comments that it generated from other survivors too.

Wishing you Freedom and Wholeness,

Darlene Ouimet