Saturday, November 1, 2014

"EMERGING from BROKEN" to "LEARNING TO LOVE MYSELF" by being My Own Best Friend

Why have you visited this blog? What were you searching for when you came across the link to  "Coming out from under Incest"? Unless you're doing an investigation or research for a project or book, my guess is you came here for one reason only: you are a victim of incest or child sexual abuse and you are looking for answers and/or validation that you aren't the only one who has suffered this way, and above all, you are looking for help in getting over and past what happened to you perhaps 10, 20 even 50 years ago. Right?

Because that's what you want to find, I've decided today to share with you information from one of the best books I've ever come across to help people like you and me: It's "Emerging from Broken", by Darlene Ouimet, a fellow Canadian, a victim of child sexual abuse, and today a certified professional coach specializing in life transitions. She has a private practice and a massive following on her blog of the same name, "Emerging from Broken".

There are many excellent books on the market like, "The Courage to Heal", designed to help abuse victims heal themselves but Darlene's book is the one to which I could most relate. Why? Because everything she writes in it is true for me! It's based on her own journey of emerging from broken, but her truths are truths that apply to all of us who have been sexually abused as youngsters.

And what hit home to me most, early in the book, is what Darlene said about believing the lies that I had grown up with, the lies that had been drummed into my head and into my entire being about myself. Lies like I was the problem; I deserved the abuse; that everything that happened was my fault; that I was a bad daughter unless I did what my father told me to do; that what I was living with wasn't unusual, quite normal in fact; that I had asked for it; that I had brought this on myself ... on and on and on. All of this led to self-doubt, low self-esteem, always trying to live up to someone else's ideas of what I should be or how I should act. Because the real me and what I wanted was being rejected by someone else far more powerful than me, a parent, as I grew, I too rejected myself and was always trying to please others.

But what we have to recognize, in order to heal, according to Darlene, is that our "validation does not come from outside ourselves". It must come from within. And ultimately, to do that, we need to face the trauma of the past, no matter how much it hurts, sift through the lies we've been told about ourselves and see them for what they are: lies! And then, yes, we need to re-program our thinking and what we are telling ourselves daily about ourselves, so that we eventually learn to love ourselves. That idea, by the way, is the theme of my second, just released follow-up memoir, "Learning to Love Myself".

Purchase a signed, printed softcover copy or a kindle or ePub version of
 "LEARNING TO LOVE MYSELF" directly from the author, Viga Boland

"Loving myself has so much to do with being there for myself" says Darlene. That's exactly right! It's finally putting ourselves first, not last, not trying to please everyone else and never pleasing ourselves. It's about having faith in our own judgement and decisions. And of course, that's not easy with all the voices of the past telling us we're stupid, incapable, selfish or whatever garbage was drummed into our heads by parents who more than likely had their own unresolved issues! You see, every time we try to conform to those lies they told us, we are rejecting ourselves! That has to stop if we are to heal. As Darlene writes: 

"It was when I stopped fighting to prove that I was right and just believed that I was right, that the healing really began. It was when I saw the truth through the grid of love that I realized that love doesn’t harm. It was when I stopped trying to get the abusive people in my life and the people who supported them and their practices to HEAR me, and listened to myself instead, that my world began to look brighter."

God that makes so much sense, doesn't it?

Speaking of God, Darlene brings up something else in her book (which is actually a collection of the first 2 years of the posts on her blog) that also thundered through my brain and had me hollering "Yes, yes!" Darlene brought up an answer so often supplied by well-meaning people who believe it's God's will that we suffer because

"You've been put on this earth to help others who went through the same thing"

Really? Really? If that is so, then as Darlene points out you and I would have to believe that "there is some grand plan for my life that included me being mistreated, abused, invalidated and devalued." Just like her, I cannot and will not accept that explanation. It's like she says elsewhere in the book that it's so easy for believers to simply say if you want to heal, read the bible. Well, Darlene takes one of the most famous biblical teachings that is used not just in Christianity but many religions puts a perspective on it, when it comes to abuse victims, that made my head spin with its profound wisdom. It's too long to copy/paste here but you MUST read it. You can find it here on her website:

If you were raised Christian and believe in and live by the bible, brace yourself. You might not like how she interprets it in reference to herself and other abuse victims, but you cannot deny its logic. 

You came to this blog looking for answers, for help in healing. I am suggesting you will find it in Darlene Ouimet's book, EMERGING from BROKEN. You will find the answers to your suffering there and you will find what you need to start healing. 

But she will tell you as I do: in the end, it's up to you to do the work yourself. All Darlene and other victim/survivors like me who write blogs and books can do is share what we've learned from our own struggles to emerge from broken. I've told my story of child sexual abuse in my gold medal book,  NO TEARS FOR MY FATHER, and now, have also shared my story of self-discovery and recovery from that abuse in NO TEARS FOR MY FATHER, PART 2: LEARNING TO LOVE MYSELF. 

I'd like to leave you with this poem from my most recent book. It summarizes what both Darlene and I are trying to tell you: you need to learn to love yourself by becoming your own best friend: 

My Own Best Friend

Today I resolve to be my own best friend
To stand up for myself rather than bend
To pick myself up when I slide down
To undo the shackles that have kept me bound.

To silence the voices that stole my liberty
To trust my own judgement on what's best for me
To love the person emerging from the shell
And spend my days getting to know her well.

I will take on each day as if it were my last
I will decide my own future, uncontrolled by my past
I will move ever forward using what I've learned 
To discover the world for which I've yearned.

What's right for others, may not be right for me
But I'll do what I must to be the best I can be
Each day's another year to start all over again
And I have all I need when I'm my own best friend.

©Viga Boland, January 1, 2014