Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Dysfunctional Childhood

I just came from reading a blog that I have recently discovered called Emerging From Broken which you will find at the following link:  http://emergingfrombroken.com/ .  The blog is written by Carla Dippel and Darlene Ouimet.  I hope that you will go to their blog and read the articles that I am going to give you links to in this article.

I recently read an article that Darlene wrote called "The Twisted Accountability Tactic & How it Works http://emergingfrombroken.com/?p=671.  Darlene posted this article on March 26.  Here is my comment [with some minor editing on my part] to Darlene's article.  My comment is about responsibility and self-forgiveness:

"I am not responsible for what happened to me as a child [incest].  As a young adult, I still didn't 'know better'.  Today I do.

Today I can take responsibility for my behavior and thoughts.  Today I have boundaries.  It was a difficult struggle to discover and set up those boundaries.  Today I can honor those boundaries and the inner children inside of me who are all depending upon me to keep them safe and loved.  I wasn't always able to do the safety or love.

Forgiving myself in 12-Step programs [Al-Anon and Adult Children of Alcoholics] was confusing because I thought that I was responsible for all of the abuse that ever happened to me.  I didn't need forgiveness for the incest happening to me.  I needed self-forgiveness for my adult reactions that continued to harm me and my inner children.  As a step of self-forgiveness, I worked really hard and long to learn what self-love meant.  I had to learn to love myself and how to keep my adult self and inner children safe as an adult.

I had to stop blaming myself for not being able to keep myself safe as a child.  I didn't have the tools to do it then.  I had to forgive myself for the blaming of myself that I did.  Forgiveness for the blaming was easy to do.  I acknowledged that I was never taught the tools to keep myself safe.  I was also taught the art of blaming at a very early age.  Neither of my parents knew how to take responsibility for their actions either so they couldn't teach me.  Blaming was taught to them as well so they passed it on to me. . ."

The second article from Emerging From Broken is called "Valued Because. . ." and was written by Carla Dippel.  Here is the link for this article:  http://emergingfrombroken.com/?p=676 .  This article was posted on March 28.  Go and read Carla's article.  Carla's article brought up memories for me of when I would try so desperately to be a "perfect", "good little girl" for the adults in my life.  These two things put such stress on me that I was having headaches at least by the age of seven, if not before.  Here is my comment to Carla's article:

"Carla, well said.  I was the "perfect" "good little girl".  I was the quiet child that everyone said was "different" because I was so well behaved.  I was afraid not to be good.  I saw when and what my younger siblings got spankings for so I didn't do those things.  I did nothing to call attention to myself except that I attempted to excel in my grades at school.  I wasn't a straight A student but I got mostly A's and a few B's and usually 2 C's---one in math and one in science.

Instead of playing in church, I sat perfectly still beside my grandmother watching and wishing that I was the little girl in the pew in front of us who played and talked to her mother and finally laid down and fell asleep in her mother's arms when she was tired. [I have this memory from at least the age of three, maybe younger.] No matter how good I was, it never felt good enough.

As I grew up, I talked little and I had no opinion on anything because you might not like me if my opinion was different than yours.  I was so afraid of saying the wrong thing that I didn't have anything to say.  I was so afraid that you might not like me that I never explored who I might be.  I didn't know who I was.

Then I met and married this wonderful man when I was 20 years old and a college student.  He taught me to laugh and wanted to know what I thought.  He slowly pulled me out of my shell.  Whatever he saw in me, he liked and grew to love.  He gave me a safe place to let out the real, inner me that no one else seemed to see.  We have been married for 37 years.  Our love grows stronger each year. [Yes, I am going to share this article and what I just said about him with him. He can handle it.]  The worst times were those early years when I was struggling so to know myself and learning to love myself.  I hated who I thought I was for years.

Today I love myself and by some strange miracle, he does too.  I am the complicated one who put both of us through Hell for quite a few years.  I had to figure out what I didn't like before I could figure out what was okay and then discover what I did like.

Today I know myself pretty well, still not completely since changes happen every day but that is what keeps life interesting.  I send you blessings for your journey of today.  I wish for you the best that life has to offer. . ."

As of this weekend, I am now using my Facebook page to reach more people with my blog articles.  I also learned how to use Twitter so you will find me on Twitter as patriciasinglet if you are interested in following me.  Over the weekend, on Facebook and Twitter both, I have had some really interesting conversations with several friends about recovery.  I hope you will join me as I learn what I am doing.

I also gave my blog a new look.  I hope you like it.  I love the look.  I love bold colors and the red seems right for the topic of incest.  It isn't quiet or shy like I was as a child.  It suits my personality of today much better. I am sometimes bold and loud and not perfect by any means.  Let me know what you think about the new look.

Also, another new blog that I have discovered this weekend is called Stepping Stones which is written by Ellen Brown, a Certified Professional Coach.  I started out reading an interview that Ellen did with my friend Dan L. Hays.  You will find this interview at the following link: http://ellen-brown.com/blog/2009/11/23/an-interview-with-dan-l-hays-healing-from-abuse-a-journey-of-faith-hope-and-forgiveness .This interview is about Dan's book Freedom's Just Another Word. 

I just ordered this book to read and am expecting it any day now in the mail from Amazon.com.  I will be sure to do a review of the book and share it with you when I finish reading it.  After the severe storms across the U. S. this weekend, I hope that you are all having a glorious Spring day like I am.


Darlene Ouimet said...

Patricia! (I am like a kid when it comes to this stuff, so if I "gush" please forgive me.)

I was thrilled when Dan Hays sent me a message telling me that you had written this post and talked about the blog that Carla and I have; Emerging from Broken. I feel so validated when I impact people with what I write. The truth is like this shining light that chases the darkness.. but you know in the old days sometimes the light came in disguise and so sometimes I still second guess myself when I write blog posts, and feel unsure if I am making sense, or if the post is worthy for anyone else to read. I really appreciate your contributions to our blog!

It is wonderful to have friends on the journey, isn't it? I love you blog too; it is so great to be making a difference together! Thanks again for the wonderful post you have written here.
Have a great day!
Darlene Ouimet

Patricia Singleton said...

Darlene, you are making a difference and you are getting your message across. I remember my own doubts in the beginning when I first started blogging. You and Carla are both doing a great job. What we do is helping other survivors.

Carla said...

Hi Patricia! Thanks so much for highlighting our blog! It's very cool to connect with you and share our stories and inspire each other. I look forward to getting to know you better.

Thanks again,

Patricia Singleton said...

Carla, you are welcome. I can so relate to what you and Darlene both write.

Anonymous said...

Patricia - what a wonderful blog post! You have a wonderful way of assimilating what you hear and applying it to your own situation. I felt compelled to add your blog post on Emerging From Broken and Ellen Brown's FB Page, because you highlighted so well what they shared!

And thank you for the wonderful and kind words about my book! I can't wait for you to read it!

Love the new look - it is bold and fits! :)

Patricia Singleton said...

Dan, thank you for everything. I am excited about reading your book. I appreciate you putting my article link on Ellen's and Darlene's fan pages on Facebook. Tonight I learned how to use bit.ly for the shorter links too. Thanks for the information.

Carl said...

Now you've gone and done it -- now I am going to have to start writing and sharing here and other places. I have been following you since Dan Hays first called my attention to your blog with your comments about his tiger story. I have read your blog since from time to time, and then had my attention called to it again today by Dan. When I returned here I found a whole new look and another powerful message. The red really speaks to me and my rage, which is what I am going to have to start writing and sharing about. Thank you for the trigger.Carl

Patricia Singleton said...

Carl, welcome. Comment as often as you want to. Dan has called attention to my blog quite a bit lately on Facebook and Twitter. I appreciate it too.

The red of my blog background would have once upon a time represented my rage as well. Today it represents my passion for life and for writing. God blessed me with the talent of writing and the friends to encourage me to write. I look forward to reading when you do write. It is an interesting journey full of twists and turns, struggles and joy.

cmc4rw said...

Thank you Patricia,
I am still in the early years of marriage (it will be 7 years in May). I too am married to a wonderful man with enduring patience and unconditional (so far) love. I know I have put him through hell with my struggles and working through my pain. I keep waiting and expecting him to leave, but somehow he remains by my side. Steady and strong. Congratulations on your 37 years of marriage! I hope to see that in my life as well one day.

Patricia Singleton said...

Cmc4rw, you are welcome. I am glad that you are married to a patient and loving man. My husband blesses my life with his continued presence.

Marj aka Thriver said...

I like those blogs and follow those writers and advocates on Twitter also. Great find, don't you agree?

It took me a while to comment on this post because I could relate so much to what you said about being a child and trying to be invisible...never having an opinion, etc. It still makes me grieve for those little girls we once were.

Thank you for your sharing and your healing words. And thanks so much for your continued contributions to THE BLOG CARNIVAL AGAINST CHILD ABUSE.

P.S. Love the new colorful layout!

Patricia Singleton said...

Marj, thank you. I like the new colors too. I am starting a new grieving process myself with this new "old" issue being in my face.

Patricia Singleton said...

This article was included in the April Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse hosted by Enola @ http://enola-survivor.blogspot.com/2010/04/april-blog-carnival-against-child-abuse.html .