Getting To The Truth: The Role Of Truth In Our Recovery

Aug 17th, 2010 | By | Category: All Posts, Truth Talks--10 Minute Audio

by Christina Enevoldsen & Darlene Ouimet

Abuse misinforms us about our identity and our value. Recovery is the restoration of our true selves. Find out how we uncover the truth in this ten minute audio discussion by Christina Enevoldsen and Darlene Ouimet.

“I became my own advocate and I believe that’s the only way we get to the real truth. I had to look at that situation and I had just accepted that she hated me because I was not an attractive child or I was some kind of a child that made this adult hate me. But was I REALLY doing something as a child that was so irritating to this teacher that she should threaten to cut my hair off or give me zeros on my test? She was humiliating me in front of the whole class. Was that really right? NO, the truth is that it wasn’t right and I wasn’t the one who was wrong. That was a big deal in the way I saw myself—whether I was important or not, whether I was loveable or not, whether I was worthy of love and protection or not. I grew thinking I wasn’t worthy of love or protection, that the defect was in me and I had to turn that around. And our abusers are not going to do that for us. We have to do that for ourselves if we are going to recover.”

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Christina Enevoldsen is cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse, an online resource for male and female abuse survivors looking for practical answers and tools for healing. Christina’s passions are writing and speaking about her own journey of healing from abuse and inspiring people toward wholeness. She and her husband live in Los Angeles and share three children and four grandchildren.

 

Darlene Ouimet is an inspirational speaker, certified professional life coach and mental health advocate.  While speaking in mental health seminars about her complete recovery from dissociated identity disorder, chronic depression, and a lifetime of low self-esteem, Darlene realized that her journey to wholeness had a unique kind of impact and she embraced a new life purpose—to deliver this message of hope, healing and full recovery to a hurting world.  Darlene authors a high traffic blog called “Emerging from Broken—from surviving to thriving on the journey to wholeness.”

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22 comments
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  1. Christina,
    This is really good. I know it was ME who had this conversation with YOU but I really enjoyed listening to it. HIGH FIVES!
    Thanks again for having me on the truth talks show!
    Hugs, Darlene

  2. Darlene,
    LOL! HIGH FIVE back at ya! It’s amazing the truth that comes out when we’re talking with each other. I’m quite impressed! Thank you so much for joining me.
    Love, Christina

  3. Hey,

    For those of us who can’t listen to this for one reason or another, is there a way to get a transcript? I would really appreciate. Thanks, Maggie

  4. Just listened … really good ladies!

  5. Hi Maggie,
    I’m so sorry, but we don’t have a transcript. I hope you get to listen to it some way! :)
    Christina

    Thanks, Amaryllis!

  6. Christina and Darlene,

    Great Truth Talks. I appreciate the wisdom and the way you both get to the heart of a discussion. You not only share your life, but you help pinpoint the reasons why this happened this way, or that happened that way.

    Thanks gals ! Patty

  7. Patty,
    Thanks! Darlene has such clarity and she helps me to get to the heart of the matter.
    Christina

  8. Thank you both for this I could totally relate in so many ways. It has given me food for thought especially where Darlene talks about becoming whatever people expected of her if they wanted her to be tough she was tough .. because much of my life I lived that way myself for various reasons mainly to be accepted and out of fear of rejection.. as well as for protection! Recovery for me has been to get my true identity back piece by piece and accepting myself .. and truth is the key to joining all those pieces together to make us the whole individual that we are..

    It is like with a computer, a hacker sends out a virus it takes over the hard drive and rewrites the way your computer processes which causes a malfunction within the computer in order to restore the computer to its proper working function it has to be debugged and often times reformatted with the right information in order to function again.. in other words the computer looses its ability to be its own self instead it starts trying to be something it can not be so in order to restore it to its natural state of operation the virus has to be completely removed and in its place the right information (the truth)

    The same can be said about us except we are more valuable than a computer .. (i was not trying to use the metaphor of a computer to devalue any of us just to make a point) the hacker is the abuser and the lies we are told is the virus that eats away at the very core of who we are. Recovery is the stage of removing the virus (the lies) and reformatting takes place when we apply the truth to our lives..

  9. Hi Nikki,
    Yes, and I like your example using the computer analogy.
    In order for me to be restored to my nautual state of being ~ to become the real me again ~ I had to see where the lies were born. And then I had to change the lies back to the truth. (I was told that I was not important or not valuable ~ not in words but by the actions of others ~ and I had to realize that I was valuable and that I AM valuable, and I had to kick that lie out of the way. the thing is that there are MANY lies. That is why it is important to pursue the truth. And it takes time to bust through all that!
    Hugs, Darlene

  10. Nikki,
    I like your computer analogy, too. That’s so true and what a great picture! Thanks for contributing that.
    Hugs, Christina

  11. Hi,
    Am going to start by posting what I posted on Emerging from Broken fb page- I think that will help me analyze and synthesize what has happened in/to me.

    “I remember when I first had my eyes opened to abuse – I had read an article on it that mentioned a 30 year old woman whose father still abused her- and the comment was when she was asked why she let …him, “You don’t want to believe it of your parents who you are taught to love and respect.” Somehow the child-mind wants to take the blame rather than stand against the parents and blame them. Later as I began to realize how my entire relationship with my parents was informed by abuse- I also saw how I went into every encounter expecting them not to do it again- because my compulsion was to believe that I was wrong about them and so I made that my reality. Thus I never protected myself for another 15 years or so.
    The thing is that that chosen blindness walked me right into several very severe spiritual abuse situations that just added trauma onto trauma.

    It’s true tho that I have a really difficult time validating what I know to be so for myself. It’s always a lovely surprise when someone else validates it- but to heal, I think I have to face the true reality of my pain which I have been escaping from for many, many years. The pain I’ve already endured has been so unutterably awful, part of me believes that facing the real stuff will kill me. Hence the terror.”

    So then I listened to the audio and several things happened in that 10 minutes.
    First as Darlene talked about the teacher’s abuse I flashed back to by grade 4 teacher who used to put tape across my mouth- for days at a time- the same piece- until all the stickiness was off- then a new one. I was expected to answer questions etc even with the tape on- so humiliating.
    I’m dealing with my talkativeness- have had some major breakthroughs this week in understanding some of that which I will post on my blog rather than here. (I don’t know if my url is posted here so will give it here: http://athomewithmaribeth.blogspot.com/ )

    The thing was, I was punished for just being me. I don’t know if was ADHD or just that I was very smart- I had a whole slew of IQ tests that year then told that I should be getting much higher grades etc- it was spun to me so negatively that I was smart- but the think was with the teacher- I was always miles ahead of her in her logic process… so when she asked one question I was answering the 3rd or 4th one next to come- so I was accused of not paying attention. I was so bored! I’m also a multi-tasker- I almost never do only one thing at a time- so of course I was accused of not paying attention again- LOTS of detentions, my whole life because of who I am… I was paranoid about being obedient and ‘good’- would never have been the person they accused me of because I, at all costs did what I could to avoid rejection and that awful humiliation. No wonder I had trouble finding friends among my classmates when they’d all be told in effect that I was worthless and did not deserve friendship!

    Listening to Darlene I found myself envying her the MD- I don’t ever remember being defended- only by my maternal grandfather- and then when I was 35 he robbed me of my home which started my PTSD stuff… which has been layered upon so many times and is so easily triggered… that’s another tale.

    I can’t remember my other point so am going to listen again and see if it comes back.

    But thank you both so much for sharing- it really helps to know others walk alongside.
    Hugs,
    Maribeth

  12. Interesting- in grade 4 with this abusive teacher is when I started getting migraines and I’d miss whole weeks of school with them Also interesting, it was only in those days the my mother actually nurtured me. Migraines were hereditary in her family and she fully understood my pain and I remember so well, her teaching me things the help me cope- darkened room, cold cloth, pillows surrounding me etc.

    I’ve completely forgotten those other thoughts but after the 2nd listening I realized that inside me there’s never been a sense that I am worth protecting, that I have value, just for me. My grandfather used to try to build that in me- so I guess I shouldn’t say ‘never’ but when he colluded with my mother who had abused me all my life, to take away my home- it shattered something and I think subconsciously- because I’m not sure I’ve really verbalized it before- I just expected that no one would ever protect me.

    So I was attacked from the pulpit many times, humiliated, attacked by people who are SUPPOSED to be shepherds and care givers. I kept trusting, denying the possibility that I’d be betrayed and rejected again but it always happened – over and over and over until finally the straw that broke the camel’s back came and in 2002, it was as though a bomb went off down in the deep sub-basement of my soul… my faith shattered as did I. First there was just this hollowness inside the still intact walls and then the walls collapsed into a pile of rubble. Over time the wind and elements destroyed those building materials that had been me and they were blown away til now I don’t even know where all the parts of me even are, much less how to put me back together again.

    I can hear the words, “God knows.” That has to be Him and a result of this past week because in these 8 years I’ve never once thought that after describing how I see myself this way- so if He knows, He’ll have to find them…

    I’m going to post on my blog about the ‘big mouth’ issue – it’s still in progress but I want to get it down before it’s gone too.

    Thank you ladies.
    Your willingness to share is a blessing,
    Maribeth

  13. Wow so very poignant thank you so much for this.

  14. ‘She was humiliating me in front of the whole class. Was that really right? NO, the truth is that it wasn’t right and I wasn’t the one who was wrong.’
    I’ve been humiliated a lot like this with all sorts of judgement that are completely unfounded – even so part of me believed them – because there was no me there anyway.
    I conform to ‘whoever you want me to be’ like that and get ill with asthma etc because of the stress involved in doing that. I’d like to just be me and find out who that was/is. That doctor Darlene sounds amazing. I want to be able to stand up for the beliefs in my life. People have even discounted my experiences like when I had chronic fatigue and said it wasn’t real and have placed blame on me where no blame lies- how can they have the audacity to do that when they didn’t even know me? And I couldn’t do anything but cry, I couldn’t defend myself or assert myself. It made me hate them and myself because I couldn’t stand up and say ‘You’re wrong’
    I believed them because there was no solid me – no identity so what they said or wanted I just took in and added to my collage identity.

  15. This was great to hear. I feel like i have hope in my recovery now. thank you so much . I am so glad i found this website today.

  16. Katherine–I’m glad that was helpful to you!

  17. I WAS NOT THE ONE THAT WAS WRONG!!!!….word that i hear in my head..YET my heart wont accept it….how can i explain the darkness deep inside me..so deeply in my soul that my soul feels blacken by so many shadows.When will it all go away?

  18. Deb,
    I can identify with your head knowing one thing and your heart believing another. Since our lives are lived out of what we believe in our heart, “knowing” intellectually that something is true doesn’t do much good. This process that Darlene and I talked about is the process that we use to get our heart to know the truth.
    Christina

  19. [...] roots of all this “programming” and dysfunctional family system stuff, I was able to begin to embrace the truth and finally give myself validation and permission. Permission to think for myself, permission to [...]

  20. ….Killing me softly!!!! Listening to you both… one snapshot at a time… telling my whole life…. thank you!!!!

  21. I started the long and rocky road to recovery about 10 years ago after an incident sparked some repressed and very disturbing memories. I started counselling but after 12 or more sessions, felt like I deserved everything that happened then, since and in future. I was so much more alienated from me than ever, so I shoved it all back into my metaphoric castle, pulled up the drawbridge and dropped the key in the moat. After another recent “you deserve it” incident, I have reconsidered counselling, only because I know (desperately hope) that the world of psychology has moved on and there’s at least a chance my new therapist will be aware of CPTSD. In my search for understanding more about counselling methods and making sure it’s at least neutral if not beneficial for me this time round, I came across this recording and for the first time know that I’m not alone.
    Maggie (post 3) If you haven’t had the chance to hear this yet, and anyone else who wants a read, here’s the transcript.
    Christina and Darlene – hope I got this right, and thank you so so much for sharing. Your Truth Talk has helped me so much and I can’t wait to get back to reading and listening to the rest of your site.

    Audio Transcript between Christina Enevoldsen (CE) and Darlene Ouimet (DO)

    CE:
    Hi, this is Christina Enevoldsen at overcomingsexualabuse.com and this is Truth Talks. Today on Truth Talks we are discussing getting to the truth and the role of truth in our recovery process and I have with me my good friend Darlene Ouimet from Emerging from Broken.

    DO:
    Hi Christina.

    CE:
    Hi Darlene. I just love your tagline; exposing truth one snapshot at a time. That’s the way I look at the process of recovery, that any kind of abuse or neglect, any maltreatment, distorts the truth and that the process of recovery, of healing is to restore the truth.

    DO:
    That’s exactly how I see it. I actually accidentally found a blog post without even thinking about with that line one day just exposing truth one snapshot at a time. Because I see my blog post as a loophole, tiny ways of getting people to relate to where the fog was and how the fog lifted so that they could see the truth and it just kind of stuck and I don’t post it on every post, but when it’s appropriate to sign that way, I do.

    CE:
    That really seems to be your philosophy and I think that’s why we really connected like we have, because that’s the way I’ve approached my healing, that the abuse has so distorted the image that I had of myself that I say myself as a seductress, as a victim, as a tough girl and that wasn’t the true Christina, that wasn’t me at all. So my goal in healing, the thing I’m always looking for is the real me.

    DO:
    Yeah, that’s a really good point and in my case, having associative identity disorder, I had different personalities that would conform to whoever you wanted me to be, so if that was a tough girl, I could be a tough girl – if it was that of innocent like a child, I could be that and my purpose for being all those different personalities was all about survival. I believed that if I could be who you wanted me be then you wouldn’t hurt me and this was one of the first truths that I had to realise, that being whatever other people wanted me to be did not keep me safe.

    CE:
    So can we talk a little bit about how we discover the lies in the first place, because the lies that we believe are our truths – we don’t know that they’re lies, they’re true to us.

    DO:
    That’s such a good point. One of the things that I did, and it helped a lot, I took one incident and what I believed because of it. A really impactful post I wrote on my blog one time was about a teacher who, when I was in grade 5, picked on me, she picked on me so much that I got, I got physically sick and had to go to the doctor and I developed asthma. Even though I had all the symptoms of asthma, things just didn’t quite click and I could get so sick I would be home for a whole week at a time from school, so when I told my parents I was being picked on, they told me, you know, respect your elders and that kind of stuff; that really didn’t do me any good. But what I think, in my head I thought, well, they’re not going to help me, so I have to figure this out on my own, they don’t believe me, or whatever.
    The doctor finally, he asked me to come into his, he told my parents he wanted to speak to me alone. I remember him sitting on the corner of his desk and he’s chatting with me, getting up, walking around and sitting at his desk across from me and, I don’t remember exactly what I told him, but I remember him calling my parents back into the room and saying “it’s the teacher – the teacher’s abusing her emotionally, she’s picking on her and I want her out of that classroom”. Well my parents thought, like they’re, like, I don’t think we can do that and he just told them “You know, if you don’t, I’m going to phone a lawyer” and he made them deal with it or he was going to take it into his own hands and deal with it and, you see, that’s how I started to realise that the truth was, the teacher was wrong, I wasn’t wrong. The teacher was wrong and my parents were wrong for not listening to me and believing me and not taking care of me.
    That was it for me, a really good incident for me to pick apart and look at the truth and there were 4 or 5 truths about my life in there and about how I was being devalued and about how I was being seen by the adults in my life; the teacher, both my parents and the doctor. He didn’t care about the consequences, he wasn’t afraid of being bullied, he didn’t care if he had to go to the law. He was willing to stick out for his patient, this child and he said “No more. If you’re not going to take care of her as her parents, then I will”.
    So it was a good example for me also and for me to follow in my own life for myself, so I became the person who was going to be responsible for me to grow up and mature and to stand up to the beliefs in my life. I became my own advocate and I believe that that’s the only way we really get to the real truth.
    Like the thing is that, I had to look at that situation like OK, I just had to accept that she hated me because I was not an attractive child. I was some kind of a child that made this adult hate me. Was I really doing something as a child that was so irritating to the teacher that she should threaten to cut my hair off and give me zeros on my tests, you know she was humiliating me in front of the whole class – was that really right? No, the truth is that wasn’t really wasn’t right. I wasn’t the one who was wrong.
    Again, that’s one tiny snapshot of a life and if that was the only thing that ever happened to me, it still would have been a big deal in the way I saw myself; whether I was important or not, whether I was loveable or not, whether I was worthy of love and protection or not. Now I grew up believing I wasn’t worthy of love or protection, and that was a belief that was in me and I, I had to turn that around. And you know our abusers are not going to do that for us, we have to do that for ourselves if we’re going to recover.

    CE:
    The way that I uncover the lies is that I recognise something that’s happening in my life right now. Sometimes it’s that I seem to be overreacting to something, that whatever the current situation is, it seems that either I reacted in a way that the situation didn’t call for, or I feel more deeply about something than it seems like I should and so that tells me that I’m not just responding to the current situation, that I’m responding to something in my past. So I look at what happened, what did this remind me of, when did I feel rejected like this, when did I feel betrayed or misunderstood and I look at commonalities in the feelings rather than in the pattern of the experience.
    And then when I examine the situation, the original event, I ask myself – so what are the messages I believed about that, what does this tell me about myself, about my values, about how I should be treated because that is where the pain is coming from. The pain is coming from those lies that I believed. Abusers may tell us that we’re trash or only good for sex. That’s bad enough, but the way that they treated us informed us about our value about ourselves, about who we were and what we were worth and we need to make sure we uncover the lies in both of those; the overt and the covert messages.

    DO:
    Which brings us right back down to the maltreatment which informed us.

    CE:
    Right – it’s our image of ourselves that we need to rebuild and that will protect us from further abuse and it will restore our full identity so that we can live our full life that we were meant to live

    DO:
    Exactly, yeah; who were we meant to be? And when we’re abused and devalued and hurt and not listened to and neglected and all those things, the true self, it doesn’t grow, it doesn’t form, and it doesn’t emerge.

    CE:
    So we’ve been talking about the power of truth in our recovery process. I hope that’s helped you. Darlene, thanks for joining me, I had a really great time talking with you and I think we brought out some real truths.

    DO:
    I loved talking to you too. I always have learnt something, every time we’ve talked.

    CE:
    This is then Christina Enevoldsen at Overcoming Sexual Abuse with Darlene Ouimet from Emerging from Broken with Truth Talks. Thanks for joining us.

  22. Hi Hurt Again,
    Welcome to OSA! I’m so glad you’re finding hope again for healing and that you know you’re not alone. What you wrote is very inspiring. Thank you so much for transcribing this. What a wonderful gift!
    Christina

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