I was lying in bed the other morning and this phrase “when mothers blame others” kept running through my mind as though some unknown source was whispering at me to write about it. I agreed that it would make a catchy title but I questioned why it was running through my head in the first place.
And then I laughed!
This idea is so prevalent that it’s a wonder it isn’t in my head all the time. Survivors of dysfunctional mother daughter relationships can’t escape the constant reminder that some mothers will blame anyone and everyone as long as they don’t have to look at their own actions. It is still frustrating to me that no matter what proof I had, no matter how many times I tried to explain the situation, no matter how much I defended myself, my mother blamed me OR she blamed something or someone else for HER decisions and behavior.
And although this problem is more widely discussed when it is the adult daughter who is targeted and blamed, this happens very often with adults sons as well. This isn’t exclusive to mothers who blame daughters, but very often fathers blame daughters and or sons as well. Sometimes ALL the children in the family are blamed and defined as “the problem” and sometimes only one or two of them are singled out and blamed and defined as “the problem” in the family.
Many adult children of Narcissistic mothers know this all too well and although my mother is not a true narcissist (because she has total control over her actions), she fits the narcissistic mother pattern of not taking responsibility for her own actions that have ultimately led to the failure of our relationship. Most importantly for the purpose of this article is the fact that the results have been the same with my mother and I as they are with others who do have more typically narcissistic mothers.
When children (of any age) are blamed and labeled as the problem, a burden or “less important’ than the parents, the damage to the self-esteem and overall emotional wellbeing of the child is substantial!
And the treatment and tactics used by the parents are so typical that it is almost as though there is secret manual that these mothers (parents) subscribe to. A manual endorsing that parents have the right to do this stuff and act this way with their children without any consequences to themselves!
The children of these mothers, MEN and WOMAN who have been blamed as children for the ways in which we have been treated, are blamed as adults as well; Read More→
“Could the cause of most of our problems be that we live with expectations? Live without expectations and accept things for what they are? No expectations, no disappointments.”
Lets talk about this.
This brought up so many things for me and it isn’t the first time I’ve been told that my expectations were the root of the problem… “my problem”.
The first thing that came to my mind was the child, (and not just ‘the child’ but the child who was ME) who is abused, molested, discounted, shamed, hit, blamed, neglected, … is being told that he or she should not have ever expected to be loved, cherished, nurtured, respected, protected and taken care of.
Is this person suggesting that “Most of my problem” is that I wanted to be loved……….??
Then I thought about how this is the same ‘self -blame’ that I talk about all the time; if only I had never expected to be loved, then I wouldn’t have been disappointed.
This directive suggests that asking for simple respect and regard is expecting too much.
And what about the part that directs us to “accept things for what they are”. It’s interesting to me that this writer didn’t realize that accepting things as they really are is exactly what this blog is about; the difficulty is that actually ‘doing’ it is not nearly as easy or simple as it sounds and we are NOT trying to accept that our expectations are too high in the first place because they aren’t. Here is a tiny list of the things that I accepted for what they are which resulted in the freedom I enjoy today; Read More→
I was originally going to title this post “Tips on Getting through Christmas Holidays when Family is an F Word” but I thought perhaps that would offend people who saw it here or in EFB Facebook so I amended the title, but I still wanted to share it with you because sometimes that is how I feel.
Christmas and the holiday season in general is often a really difficult time for anyone who is involved with or has ever been involved with dysfunctional family situations. It has been at least 6 years now since I have spoken to my mother at Christmas time. Each year is easier. This year when I began to think about writing something about this time of year for my blog, I realized that I don’t think about my family very much anymore during the holidays. For a minute I wondered if I ‘should’ feel guilty about that but the truth is that by their own choice they are not part of my life and when I think about it, there is nothing to miss. I haven’t spent Christmas with my family of origin since I was age 15 with my mother and age 18 with my father.
For those of us who have gone no contact with our families, the holiday season can be a time of questioning our decisions and second guessing ourselves.
For those of us who are getting ready to see abusive or controlling parents during the holidays, it can be a time of anxiety and dread mixed with the hope that things will be better this year.
Here are some Tips for getting through the Holidays; Read More→
Child abuse and neglect result in low self-esteem, depression and a whole lot of other issues. Part of the grooming process that occurs in ALL abuse including emotional abuse and psychological abuse is that the blame is transferred to the child and in order to cope and survive children accept that blame and focus inward in order to try harder for the love and acceptance they long for. In the dysfunctional family, the abuse doesn’t end in childhood and often the child who is now an adult will seek professional help in order to overcome the damage that the child abuse caused. Just as our parents and all adult abusers, controllers and manipulators had positional power, doctors, therapists and helping professionals have it too.
When we have been convinced through actions, inactions and words that there is something ‘wrong’ with us and we finally go to a helping professional such as a therapist, counselor or psychologist ~ if that mental health professional defends our parents, or focuses on US as the problem it serves us as confirmation that we are in fact the problem and it is very much a re-traumatization.
Mental health professionals have tons of positional power ~ they are endorsed and accredited as being able to help and therefore we often see them as an even bigger authority then the way that we saw our parents when we were kids, so if they AGREE with our parents or if they focus with us on what WE could do or could have done differently, it very often causes a bigger problem than the one we went to talk about. Read More→
Please help me welcome back one of our most popular guest writers ~ Pam Witzemann! In this post Pam shares about how seeing the truth in a bigger picture way, helped her to recognize what her inner critic voices were telling her. Truth was the balance in accountability that Pam needed to silence the lies those inner voices told her about herself that she had believed for so long as part of her coping method. This post is extremely content rich and I encourage you to read it through more than once! ~ Darlene
How The Truth Silences Inner Critics Voices and Healing Begins by Pam Witzemann
An abusive childhood left me with little self-worth and a damaged ability to trust and form healthy relationships. I have lived most of my life with both a strong inner and outer critic. The inner critic tells me that I’m defective and responsible for every bad thing that happens to me. The outer critic tells me that most human beings shouldn’t be trusted because they are all potentially, dangerous. Both my inner critic and outer critic lie to me and they present themselves as my greatest obstacle in healing from the abuse I suffered during my childhood. Truth is the balance in accountability I need to heal from childhood abuse. Only the truth has the power to silence my inner and outer critics, who are never satisfied until they fully disable me, driving me into deep depression and isolation from others.
Human beings are social creatures. I am a human being and I too am meant to enjoy relationships. However, my early childhood taught me that I wasn’t quite human and the second half of my childhood taught me that all human beings, not just my alcoholic parents, were dangerous. I decided that if I had the choice, I’d rather not be a human being and I spent several decades of my life seeking safety through various forms of isolation and very limited close relationships. As a small child, my isolation was involuntary and imposed on me by poor health and by the way my parents chose to treat my unhealthy condition. From birth, until age seven, I spent most of my time in bed and usually, I was medicated with alcohol. All during my elementary school years I was often, sick and kept in bed. I had a deep longing for something that I didn’t understand, an empty, excruciating, emotional ache; but I grew used to being alone and that state of aloneness became my safe haven from the alcoholic drama that characterized my home life. Read More→
Next week (November 18th 2014) finds me on my way to Bordeaux France to meet with Mel Carnegie, Author of “I’m Still Standing” (Mel’s personal story of her own traumatic and dysfunctional childhood followed by marriage to a sociopath and how she took her life back) and creator of DeNA Revolution. For the past 17 years Mel has worked as a professional leadership development specialist and executive coach, working with CEOs and their teams from some of the world’s best-known organizations.
As most of you know, I am going to be a featured expert in the Movie “The Secrets of the Keys” which is currently in production and not only is Mel Carnegie also appearing in the movie, she is the woman responsible for alerting film producer Robin Jay to my story and my message on Emerging from Broken
Naturally, when I found out that Mel was a fan of my work, I was interested in her work; long story short ~ we connected, met each other on skype, the universe collided and the earth breathed a huge sigh… and almost instantly, both Mel and I knew that something BIG was brewing here!
Although our experience with life is quite a bit different, our messages are so synched, and yet so individual, so complimentary and yet both so original that we quickly knew we had to do something together!
The most amazing part about our connection aside from our amazingly similar courage and authenticity is our unique common goal which is to help people who have been stuck in false thinking and to set them free to embrace life to the fullest and free to accomplish their deepest desires and dreams. And you can get involved; we need your feedback for our meetings! Please continue reading; Read More→
Victim mentality is the wish, hope and belief that by accepting nasty behavior and even covering up or excusing nasty behavior, that love will be the end result. I can’t think of one time that compliance led to love. Not even once.
As a Victim I believed that my love could heal others.
I believed that if I could prove to them that they were lovable, that they would love me back. And I put a lot of effort into proving that they were worthy of love. I cooked, I cleaned and I complied. I was quiet and polite or I was funny and bright; I kept the secret, I didn’t ‘bring shame on them’, I turned a blind eye. I accepted what they dished out as it was the normal that they taught me. I thought that was love. I thought that my love was ‘unconditional’.
I tried to ‘earn’ love.
I tried to prove my worth so that I would BE loved.
I didn’t really understand love.
As a victim I believed that if I was compliant, and if I did what they seemed to require from me that I would be appreciated. But the rules always changed. Instead of realizing that their rules always changed, I thought I was stupid.
I believed that if I jumped through their hoops and proved that I was ‘trying’ to be who they wanted me to be, that they would SEE me as worthy. Nobody ever saw me… Read More→
“Abusive, controlling, entitled people and the people who are afraid of them will say almost anything to get you to shut up. They will label you as angry, hateful and unforgiving if you decide to stand up to them and the ways that they regard you. I want to shout at them and to the ones that defend them ~ “What do you think I am angry about? Anger is justifiable in this situation!” Darlene Ouimet
The quote came from one of my recent blog posts about spiritual abuse when the name of God is used to Guilt and Shame victims of abuse, and I wrote it in the context of explaining the abuse tactic of being told what God would expect you to do or what would make God proud of you according to what abusive controlling, manipulative people want you to do, which has nothing to do with God OR his/her expectations of you.
For many of the readers, this quote was validating. But for others it was upsetting. As I read through the comments it became clear to me that the word “justifiable” was the primary culprit that triggered so many reactions. Apparently, the idea of “justifiable anger” upsets a lot of people.
Some people believe that justifiable anger is dangerous and inappropriate. This quote is about standing up to abusive people and how those people reacted to me standing up to them to and the control tactics that are used in abusive relationships to keep a victim in the web. As most of you know I have a passion for the topic of parent abuse which seems to be an even bigger hot button. The quote exposes spiritual abuse, and the controlling and manipulative people I am referring to, happen to be my parents. BUT as soon as I mentioned “justifiable anger” the meaning of the quote was lost to some of the readers. The meaning of the quote lost its purpose and its importance because a “fear belief” was triggered. Read More→
I am excited to have our very own Pam Witzemann guest blogging on Emerging from Broken this week! Pam was a frequent guest blogger here in 2011 and 2012 and she has always been a contributor in the conversations. Please welcome Pam;
An Invisible Child in a Hostile World by Pam Witzemann
Where there is substance abuse and children, there is child neglect and abuse.
I was born to parents who abused alcohol and from my birth I was an invisible child in a hostile world. Alcohol abuse is considered a disease but my life’s experience has taught me to view it as a symptom of underlying mental illness and psychological disorder. Though my parents have never seen a psychologist or psychiatrist and aren’t likely ever to do so, I am quite certain of their underlying psychological disorders. Alcohol was gasoline added to the flame of their mental illness that created the distorted and sometimes, dangerous environment of my childhood home.
There was a time when I hated my parents. I still hate the things they did to me and neglected to do for me; but I now view them as pitiable persons who choose the false safety of denial, rather than face the truth about themselves and the lives they’ve led. They are no longer a part of my life because in order to be in a relationship with them I would have to deny the truth about my life and continue in the denial that rules my family of origin. That is abusive to me and I refuse to allow them to abuse me any longer. In any event, the truths I share here are about my life and not really about my parents at all. I now choose when and where to share my personal history and what I share here is for the purpose of helping others who suffer as I have suffered and not about any kind of exposure or revenge.
I don’t think my parents ever saw me as an individual separate from themselves. I was simply an extension of them. I was their firstborn child and to them, a disappointing reflection of themselves. I only weighed four pounds and my mother brought me home wearing doll clothes and lying in a shoe box. My mother had many childish fantasies of a baby daughter who would change her life for the better and it didn’t seem likely that I would fulfill any of them. She says my dad was jealous of me and didn’t like her giving me the attention I constantly cried for.
I nearly died when I was only a few weeks old. Read More→
“I was reading on your FB page about a post you had written about a year ago. It was about a “narcissistic mother” that demanded honor from her daughter. But I have a question for you; what about a mother that has truly been hurt by her children? I am one such mother. I have been “there” for my children countless times. I have emotionally, mentally, spiritually and financially supported them in anything they wanted and wanted to do in their lives. I have told them all of their lives that I love them and believe they have the power to do and be anything they set their minds to. As a result they have thrown insults back at me and called me names. To this end they have basically abandoned me telling me I am worthless and a burden. I am a little upset that you seem to take the side of the child in most of your posts without balance. I would like to see you post that there is balance in all things. Signed, Hurt Mother who loves her children endlessly and doesn’t understand.”
First of all, I would like to qualify that in my work here in Emerging from Broken I am not advocating or empowering grown children to rise up and abuse their parents. I am not in favor of abuse of any kind. I am not supporting revenge on parents and I am NOT advocating or recommending that grown children go ‘no contact’ with their parents which I believe is an individual choice that each person has the right to make. Emerging from Broken and my work here represents the concept of equal value for all human beings and it’s about learning what love is through the truth about equal value, which in dysfunctional families is grossly misunderstood. What I am trying to do with my articles, speaking etc. is EXPOSE the TRUTH about relationships that are out of balance such as where the entitlement of parents rules over everyone or where the rules in love and relationship that apply to the children (even grown children) are not the same for the children as they are for the parents. EVERYONE has a choice about continuing or discontinuing in relationship. I am advocating for and empowering people to make those choices through looking at the truth through understanding equal value and the true definition of love.
The first part of her question is Read More→