Feb
12

Abusers who Blame Victims and the People who Support Them

By

Abusive manipulative people

I can’t believe how many abusers, controllers, and manipulative people present themselves as the victim. This is so normal that it is usually accepted without question in our society! These controlling and manipulative people tell everyone that some horrible thing has been done to them and no one questions them about where it started. But when a child of any age tries to communicate harm done to them, especially if the harm was done by family or parents, so many people defend the abusive/manipulative parent or family member and completely discount and dismiss the offended child! It’s crazy to me how many people defend these toxic people and discount the actual victim of this disrespectful and abusive treatment ~ BEFORE they even hear the whole story. Being invalidated in this way contributes to the distress of children and adult children in such a huge way.

I have been thinking a lot about this subject this week and interestingly enough some great examples have come in through the comments;

Because there is so much information in this comment, I am going to put my comments in green throughout “G’s” comments. Here is what G. shared:

 “Though I don’t remember it, my parents tell me I banged my head against a wall and smashed a mirror over my head when I was 14 (I remember that one). It was awful, because my mother would come in my room to torment me when I was already sad, and then I would react this way after she finally felt like she’d taken all of her negative emotions on me and crushed me enough.

Darlene says: “It sounds like your mother burdened you with her negative emotions so much that you reacted in a self-harming way. This is very common when a child has been brainwashed to believe that ‘she or he’ is the problem. They blame themselves just like the parents blame them and then they self-punish.”

  My father would close the door with the creepiest calmness if he ever heard crying my crying annoyed him, but didn’t affect him.

Darlene says: “And then the father adds to the damage by shutting the child out; closing the door is further punishment and defines the child as being unworthy of comfort. This shutting out also defines the child ‘the problem’ and invalidates the reason for the crying as if there IS no reason for the crying but that the problem IS the crying. This is very difficult for a child to comprehend and forces a child to find survival techniques”.

They used this as a reason to medicate me and then as an excuse to have me forcibly removed from my home and locked up for almost a year.

Darlene says: “They used that event as something YOU did in your distress to PROVE that you were the problem which then justifies their actions. As you say in this paragraph, he never took responsibility for HIS inaction when it came to parenting and never considered that perhaps it was what they were doing and not doing that was the real cause of the problem.”

 I mean, two years later! My father paid a lot of money to not have to parent me and still guilts me about how much he spent. As if that traumatic event was something I ever would have chosen on my own! It messed me up a lot. He never took responsibility for not parenting, let alone look at the fact their behavior might have been a reason for my distress (I am at my most stable with NC so that’s proof enough for me!). It’s always my fault. That is something I am really dealing with and trying so hard to challenge.

Darlene says: “And see how these parents see themselves as the ‘victims’ in these situations?  A child is NEVER a burden; it is the responsibility of the parent to take care of the child’s needs in every way. When a parent communicates that a child was a burden in this way, the child BELIEVES they are a burden. One of the hardest things I had to work through was un-doing the brainwashing that my mother was a victim of my behaviour and see what HER behaviour communicated to me about me and her feelings about me. Realizing how much I had assumed the blame for everything and seeing the truth that the blame did not belong to me, was a huge pathway to healing”. 

  I was so ashamed. They blamed me for getting ‘sent away’ in a ‘letter of accountability’ so I had to read about the smashing mirror thing to a group of people I didn’t know, some of whom were bullies. Parents’ only reasons were the mirror thing and a single joyride I took with my sister for 20 minutes in town.

Darlene says: “In my recovery I realized that there were a couple of things that that I had done that I applied to myself as “proof” that they were right about me. Like you there were not many but it doesn’t take much when a child has been defined as “the problem.”

Now he guilt trips me, “If your mother really didn’t love you, why did she spend hours in your room, trying to make you feel better?” Really, really? If she was trying to make me feel better, I would have felt the intent, but she had her own issues that she had to (and still tries to, though we are NC) today. It was always about making her feel better at MY expense, never the other way around.

Darlene says: “This is an important realization. I had to take a long look at what the role of the parent was supposed to be so I could come out of the fog about where I believed that I had failed in the dysfunctional family relationships. I was a child and I had NO responsibility as that child to assist in any way with an adults emotional issues. ”

So many other examples of how she didn’t love me- involving neglect/emotional abuse- I still have this awful feeling of having to prove myself. They are intent everything bad in their lives is my fault. Last time I spoke with her she said, “Everything is good in my life except you’re not in it” while simultaneously bawling and cutting me off. Every boundary I tried to set on that call was disregarded. Of course she mattered, poor her, but I was nothing. Even when I don’t talk to her or communicate, I am the reason for her unhappiness. How sick is that? And family members guilt me “If my daughter didn’t talk to me”….

Darlene says: This is how it is done. They refuse to see any part in the dysfunction of the relationship with their own child. They use guilt and shame, we are groomed with guilt and shame until we don’t question it anymore. My mother used to tell me that she was going to have a breakdown if I kept talking about my feelings. She could tear me down but if I tried to communicate my side of it, she cut me off. I didn’t deserve a say. And for many years I accepted or tried to accept that but my depressions got worse as I got older. Today I see a direct relationship between the way that I was disregarded and those constant depressions.”

I have an aunt and her boyfriend’s family whom are people who understand the concept of love and respect. So when I contrast their behavior and my own parents, I poke so many holes through the “We love you/it’s all your fault” logic.

Darlene says: “I had to learn the real definition of the word “Love”. I had to look up the laws when it comes to children and children’s rights. I had to look at the government definition of child neglect. Through doing all these things I came to see the truth that set me free ~ I was not the problem. I was the injured and discounted party”. 

 I spent the holidays with them last Christmas- best holidays I’ve had in 10 years. Why is that now?? Even if they hadn’t invited me, I would have been happier alone in my apartment.

Sorry this is so long! Wow, what a great community this is. I can no longer live in the dark, I never will again. G”  Thank you so much G for your great examples of the real root of the problem. 

I also received a comment from a reader who expressed to her Dr. her difficulty with people who automatically defend her mother;  Read what this commenter had to say and what her Dr. advised:

A writes: “I just got back from a doctor’s appt (annual) where he asked me about any stressors I’d had over the past year. Among other things, I mentioned my mother and how hard it was when people to whom I’d otherwise look for support immediately defended her and discounted me.

I told him that was a major source of stress. He told me that since my parents were old, I should expect to take care of them. He told me that many people would defend her just like he was and that I should just get used to it.

He told me that I should consult a psychiatrist if my anxiety over this issue increased and that I should look at meds.” ~ A

Darlene says: “It makes me crazy when I read about stuff like this! This woman told HER doctor about what was causing her stress and he told her that SHE was the problem and that SHE should seek help and consider going on medication! Why is it so accepted that our ‘parents’ have all these ‘human rights’ that WE don’t have??  What this doctor did is so devaluing, so discounting of HIS PATIENTS feelings and concerns. He doesn’t even know the mother or the circumstances in this situation! How could he possibly know the details of why this woman needs support when it comes to her mother?  He told her that she SHOULD take care of her parents and even that it is expected of her to do so! And what makes this so disgusting is that in my experience, children NEVER are right. Not when they are kids, not when they are teens, young adults or older adults.  In our society, in almost ALL society, No matter what age children are, when it comes to parents, the parents are always right. This is devaluing. This is defining to the child or adult child; it defines the child as ‘wrong’. It assigns the blame to the wrong party, validates the perpetrator of the abuse or mistreatment and serves to perpetuate and continue the cycle of abuse and dysfunctional family dynamics.  But it NEVER serves the child or validates them as a person with needs, feelings and human rights.

Here is one more example from my own life; I remember telling my mother when I was an adult, that when I was a teenager I stole my clothes because she didn’t give me any money to buy them. She immediately turned this around to make the story about HER, bringing up all her crap about all the sacrifices she made for us kids and then she finds something like ‘this’ out. She said things like “well…you think you know your kids…” but she never once addressed, admitted or validated WHY I was stealing clothing. She skipped right over that part of the story and made this disappointing information about her, her difficult life and her pain.

Please share your thoughts and examples with us in the comment form. Please remember that you may use any name you wish here; only the name you use in the comment form will be seen by other readers. Your email address is not published. Your privacy is important to me.

Food for thought on the journey to wholeness!

Darlene Ouimet

Categories : Family

97 Comments

1

While I agree the parent/child relationship adds a dimension to this problem of who’s supposed to be the one taking responsibility, I have experienced a lot of this vicitm drama in my marriage. In fact it was this very pattern that lead to the ‘big arguement’ that was the proverbial straw – I decided after that fight I needed to leave. I had told him I was stressed and was going to bed. He asked what I was stressed about. I listed a few things from work and then included the fact that I wasn’t making any progress on my to do list around the house and he wasn’t helping, instead he was spending his days playing with his friends since he was working most evenings. He proceeded to tell me how he earned some time off because of all those years he worked 2 jobs, and what about all the trips I take for work…he got very defensive and started attacking my ‘record/character’. I just looked at him and said “you don’t care a thing about me do you?” Again he got defensive but showed no concern for me or my feelings. The next morning, I left him a note. It said “if you want to make a deposit in the I care about my wife account, please take the trash to the dump today.” He woke up before I left the house and began a verbal tyrade, physically cornering me and calling me all sorts of names, saying I shouldn’t be guilting him into things- all the while “sounding” very rational but not letting me walk away, all in front of our 1 year old. I finally went in another direction and escaped through another door to my car. He grabbed the 1 year old and followed me, telling me I should probably call into work because I was going to get nothing done today, then he got into the passenger side of the car with our child, refusing to let me leave. He claimed to want to resolve this, but I told him to get out, it was clear to me all he wanted was to be right. Enter the victim “well if that’s what you think, I guess I’ll be looking for another place to live.” He did no such thing, and as was common everytime we had a blow up like this, with in 24 hours he would act as if nothing had happned.

Now that we’re seperated, he has ramped up his efforts to keep me spinning, but is having less success. He actually wrote me a note telling me that all those times he had cheated, he thought I needed him to mess up to meet a need in me, and that because things were better for him after he’d get caught (I would pay more attention to him/give him more sex) that he had rationalized that it was working to get him the attention he craved, so he repeated the process whenever he felt disconnected with me. He’s attacked my faith, claiming that he is the one in the right now because he’s fighting the divorce and I’ve clearly lost touch with my faith walk because I would dare to seek a divorce. He doesn’t understand how I could stay all those years he was unfaithful and because he kept it in his pants the last 2 years once HE decided we were going to start a family, how I could leave now that we had a child. I tried for years to express how his selfish decisions that included, but were not limited to the infidelity. were choking our marriage – he never listened, he believe I lied to him and to myself so he heard everything through a filter. For years, I made the excuse that I knew he was messed up because of some trama that had occured when he was a preteen…and I thought if someone would stick around long enough and love him despite himself, that he would be able to heal…it never happened, and it took becoming a mamma for me to realize how much of myself I had lost in the process of ‘doing the right thing’ and how I didn’t have the energy to hold this enmeshed relationship together and be a good mom- I had to choose. Unfortunatly, the dose of victimization is only going to get bigger as his choice to fight the divorce is going to financially ruin him and he will have no problem establishing in his mind that it is all my fault.

2

Hi Darlene, Now that I’m no longer ‘in the fog’, I read these and recall events in my childhood and I also, recall events in my parenting. This post makes me realize how our culture makes the central focus of parenting, control by the parent of the child. How often have we heard others complain about parents who ‘have no control’ over their children? I’ve heard it often and I know as a parent, I was under that preasure to control my children, almost all of the time. At the heart of it, I was afraid of the disaproval I’d receive from my mother and little sister if I failed in controling my children. Although, my mother wanted my children to rebel because then I would suffer as she did when I rebelled. The approval I really wanted was from my sister and she is never out of control. I was emotionally enmeshed with my foo to the point that even when they were miles away, I could feel the puppet strings tug when something in my life threatened to fly out of control and I would fight for control as if my life depended on it. If you are really going to control a child, you can’t allow them to have their own thoughts and feelings and there is nothing so threatening to an enmeshed family system as a rebellious teenager who demands to become an individual, in control of their own life. I felt those puppet strings pull really tight when my children began to seek that independence that is rightfully, theirs. I’m glad they fought and didn’t give up. Even if it caused them and their dad and I pain and confusion because it was the catalyst for severing those puppet strings, forever. I hope the children growing up in the next generation of our family will be priveleged to have parents who train them in self-control and independence. Everyone has a right to that and no one should live life being controlled by puppet strings hoping, to gain family approval. I know I’m a much more balanced grandmother than I was a mother and I can’t express how wonderful it is to be out from under that cloud of constant disapproval and no longer feel those strings tighten and tug. Grammy doesn’t have to control anyone but herself, all I have to do is love my children and grandchildren for the individuals they are. Their accomplishments and mistakes are their own and I’m very blessed that they continue to let me be a part of their lives.

Love,
Pam

3

Great post Darlene. It is this ‘control’ thing. And I became really kind of obsessed about not being controlled by anyone. I thought that was a problem. Now I can say I really don’t appreciate attempts at controlling me but it’s no longer a problem:-) I remember so many times where I was trying to assert myself as distinct from my mother, or another female family member and it was so difficult. I’d get punished for it and they would question my character and tell me my intentions were bad.
It was really difficult to understand what I was doing wrong and as far as I knew my intentions weren’t negative towards them.
It was as if I was expected to ‘just know’ because of who they were and my place in the family.

I think the doctor wasn’t particularly aware that what he was saying to me was at issue. If I were able to switch to someone else I would, but it’s pretty hard to get on a doctor’s list here. I’ll definitely not be talking to him about this subject again. I was horrified when he suggested that medication could be a solution.

4

Powerful, very powerful Darlene. Thanks for sharing this.

5

Once again, sounds very much like my story. This whole thing.

That bit at the end about the clothes…My mother’s version of that was to scream at me for “embarrassing her” by borrowing $ from my friends to buy lunch. Otherwise I would not have $ to eat because she never gave me lunch money. She also didn’t keep food around the house that was handy to take to school for a lunch. (What kid ever took a can of green beans or a raw potato to school for lunch? Wasn’t happening.)

She only bought food when she felt like it (we had plenty of $), and usually she drank her dinner. Whenever food came in the door I would be so hungry I would just inhale it. Then I would be punished for eating all “her” food.

I always had clothes because clothes were important to her. My looks were important to her. Maybe she enjoyed having a thin child, I don’t know, but I know I got in trouble many, many times for borrowing $ from my friends to buy lunch at school.

I was also susceptible to anyone who would buy me a milkshake and a large fry, basically. I fell in love with a guy who gave me a bag of Cheeto’s.

But, yes, I was an embarrassment for that reason.

How dare I be a growing child who needed to eat. The *shame* of that.

I, too, was sent away for being a “bad child.” The thing I did wrong? My father died. Suddenly my mother had no one to push the parenting onto anymore, so I got punished by being sent away to school, and then I got guilted for the price of tuition, as well. As if any child who just lost her dad at the age of 14 would choose to leave all her friends and go live with a bunch of strangers at a Catholic boarding school. No, thanks.

The ONLY benefit that has come out of my mother’s lifetime of abuse is that I learned what not to do. I still struggle with the scars and the legacy of abuse but I have a huge leg-up in knowing when to stop myself from doing all the horrible things she did to me. I’m not perfect but I know I do better than her.

6

Thank you so much. I have tried so hard to explain this very thing to people. It’s nice to be able to see it explained for me.

7

I am so glad I found this website. After 32 years of being told I was the cause of it all, I have finally had enough. My mother constantly physically and emotionally abused me throughout my life. She would often time the physical attacks for when my father wasn’t home. Then when he would arrive home, she would tell him I attacked her, and I would be punished for attacking her. I was 10, 11, 12, super skinny little girl, couldn’t have been more then 80 lbs. To this day my father still says I attacked her at that age and weight…even though logically a small young girl attacking a grown women of average height and weight is totally illogical. Especially since I never got in trouble at school for violence or attacked my sisters or anyone else. I mean, really??? I only attack my mother???? I was terrified of her. I just wanted her to leave me alone. Its ludicrous. The last time I confronted them about the attacks (My dad is now 69 and my mom is 61) and they said the exact same thing after all these years, I just looked at both of them, and thought, they are really mentally insane. I mean really. I should have known that anyone who justifies child abuse is insane. But all these years I have still been seeking their love, approval, validation, recognition, apology and some form of justice. Now I understand to expect that from people who are literally insane, is also insane. To know this is a common tactic of abusers and their supporters helps a lot. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

8

JMarie,

You told my story with just changing a few details. My ex was into internet porn an we have 2 children. The way he verbally tore me down when i finally said enough was crazy. And his parents defend him also. I have been told that this is all my fault and i am wrong for walking out. They even make excuses for the two times i had to have the police out to our home. The one that made me see how insain he was was when he convinced our 6 year old son to tell me that daddy would be nice to me and it would all be okay if i just let him move back home. Really!? And our pastor told me that i was wrong for seperating amd seeking divorce. This same pastor also told me that 10 years of searching out internet pornography wasn’t an affair because he hadn’t touched anyone. Now he didn’t give up searching this stuff out even after i told hom it hurt me and i wouldn’t put up with it forever because “it was hard to do”. Well seems as f it wasn’t to hard to have a new girlfriend a month after the papers were signed and be married within 6 months. Much easier than following thru woth your commitment before God, but it is all my fault!

9

JMarie, wow, our husbands sound so much alike! I’m the one with the bruises and bloody nose, and it’s all my fault. I make him do this with my constant demands. We live in a dump because he quit a good job with the intention of punishing me for wanting a job, and then getting seasonal, low-paying jobs. One day he told me that he couldn’t give me an allowance for food that week. (I sneaked over to the food pantry to pick up groceries; I had to sneak because he wouldn’t hear of us being on “charity”.) After a few years of trying to keep us (my son, him, and me) warm in winter in an old farmhouse which threatened to burn down every time I built a decent fire in the woodstove, and having to go outside to the outhouse and to get water), I was pregnant with our second child, and he got angry about something (I forget what, but it was just an excuse for him to have a rage attack) and said that I loved the house too much and, to prove how much the house didn’t matter, he picked up a chair and threw it across the room and through the window glass. I sat paralyzed because I was convinced that I and my children were going to die. My daughter was born with colic, and I’m sure it was because of the stress hormones. And all this was my fault. Shortly after she was born, he was sitting in the corner of the living room and my two friends came in and the midwife handed them to her. He told me that he felt like bashing his baby’s brains out on the corner of the woodstove because he didn’t feel “connected” to her because he wasn’t the first to hold her.

10

This article resonates with me very much. I’m realizing my FOO does place blame on me the victim, after me sister blasted & bullied me on the phone. I come out with being molested at 12 to my mom and now I’m being gas lighted and bullied by my sister. She places the blame on me that our mom is broken up about it because, I said the word “molest”. Mom is being portrayed as the victim?!! Totally discounting that I was the victim. I’m angry!!..How dare she blame me. I was a child and telling me that I’m “mean”, “distorted”, “not getting the right help”, and treating my mom “bad by cutting her off”. It’s twisted logic for sure. All to blame & shame me. It’s not working!…I’m not in a spin of doubt and anxiety anymore. I see her and my mom clearly. My dad & brother are more passive aggressive with their abuse, so they lay low. It’s sick how the victim carries the blame & shame, while being silenced & then when the victim comes out, the cycle continues!!

11

J. Marie
I personally relate to what you have shared; My husband had a LONG way to go when I came out of the fog.
Before I did what I do now (life tranitions coaching and writing this site) I worked in a therapy company specializing in relationship recovery. This is the most common problem in marriage! That one person blames the other person for their moods, their anger, etc. It seems that who ever has the most power in the marriage (most commonly the man) will misuse that power to ‘own’ the other person. It is very much like what I am talking about in this blog post today. Only the ‘abuser’ name changes but the abuse tactics are typical. BUT they are no less discounting and wrong. Once I realized that no matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried and no matter how much I explained it to ‘them’ they were never going to hear me, that it would never NOT be my fault, I was able to give up on proving anything to these kind of people. That was the beginning of my freedom. :)
Thanks for sharing this other view of being in a relationship that is unbalanced and dysfunctional.
Hugs, Darlene

12

Hi Alice
Isn’t it funny how much we think our defenses are actually a problem! That is also a result of this brainwashing we grow up with. I took over where they left off in every area and blamed me for all the problems just like they did. I totally relate to your comments!
Thanks for sharing and for your original comments that are part of this post.
Hugs, Darlene

13

Hi Linda!
Great to hear from you! Thanks, glad you like it.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Leslea,
Wow, that is exactly what I am talking about! The horror you lived in somehow became YOUR fault, that YOU were the one who brought shame! Thank you for sharing your story about this!
Hugs, Darlene

14

Hi Candie
I am so glad that you could relate to it!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Rebecca
Welcome to EFB
Wow! I have heard of this before too where the child is set up by the parent! This makes me sick. You have found the right website; this whole site is about overcoming the damage that was caused and it starts by validating that there WAS damage. Glad you are here.
Hugs, Darlene

15

Hi Laura and MCZ
I hope you will also read my comments to JMarie. In many cases only the name of the abuser is changed (instead of parent it is husband or wife)
Thanks for sharing here! There are thousands of husband stories too.
Hugs, Darlene

16

Hi SMD
EXACTLY! HOW can this be your fault? you are being re-victimized. This stuff makes me crazy! I am so glad to hear that it isn’t working on you anymore and that you are not in that spin anymore!
Hugs, Darlene

17

Thank you for publishing this. It has really got me thinking…

18

After finally contacting Children’s Services when I was 12 and telling them that I was being beaten (couldn’t discuss the sexual abuse yet), they went to see my mum and her boyfriend to talk with them about it. When I went back to see them, they said there was nothing they could do, that it sounded to them that although when they’d arrived for their meeting with my mum, the house was filthy, her and her boyfriend were both blind rotten drunk and naked… during the course of their conversation it became apparent that I had some very anti-authoritarian behaviours that they were trying to correct.

I actually spat on the woman telling me this and ran away again until (and this is the CLASSIC victim blaming) the police took me back home again. They knew me well by then, this running away business was pretty common for me … and I even had one cop tell me they knew it was horrible there for me, but the law’s the law and they have to take me back home.

I was incredibly fortunate in that when my very devout catholic dad died when I was 6, our parish priest, who’d been coming to our house every day for years while my dad was dying, told me and my mother and brother and sister that dad had died because we weren’t holy enough. The next year when I started grade 2, he used to take me out of class to give me lessons on how to be holy, because if I didn’t mind what he said, my mother would die too and it would be my fault. Why was I fortunate in this? Because it was SO ludicrous that even my 6 year old self was able to go BullSh**!!

After that I questioned everything, which really is the only reason I didn’t die decades ago with a needle in my arm.

19

Hi Darlene! Great comments, it makes me so sad when I here other people share their abuse. There are so many of us that feel this way and I am so grateful we have this support to get us all through. I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent in workshops, classes, therapy to figure out what was “wrong” with me. I turned myself into a never ending project trying to be this perfect human being so I could feel loved. My moms mental illness was my problem all my life in that my behaviour affected how comfortable she felt in her own body. I realized that I did not matter and having needs just made my situation worse. I would have outbursts when I couldn’t take the toxic exchange any longer then of course I was the bad guy for the outburst. You are so right about them getting away with a lot, I think there is an abuser club where they justify their behaviour so “they” don’t have to change and the real victim does. I’m still struggling to find my self worth and feel safe and comfortable in my own body. When you are violated on so many levels, it doesn’t even feel safe to be in your own body anymore. I have come along way and yet there are still layers that come to the surface to be healed. My whole life is dedicated to saving my own Soul and giving it all the love it desires. Thank you so much Darlene for being a huge support for all of us. Namaste!

20

Leslea, My looks were the only thing my mother ever complimented me on. It seemed to be the only thing about me that she valued. I think she has body dismorphic disorder because she focuses on certain features on her face and body in a way that is distored and sees herself as ugly. I look an awful lot like her, more so than the other children and it puzzles me that she sees me as beautiful but herself as ugly. That’s an aspect that I’ve never been able to figure out. When I was little, she dressed me like a Shirley Temple doll and I don’t think she ever quite forgave me for not continuing to be her ‘baby doll’.

Pam

21

Hi Charmaine
Thats awesome! Hugs!, Darlene

Hi Debbie
One of the things that hurts children the very most is when they get up the guts to tell and they are NOT taken care of! The system fails, parents fail, teachers fail… the child once again is sold down the river. People say that “telling” is the answer, there are huge organizations promoting ‘telling’ but I hear stories like yours all the time. Telling very often made the abuse much much worse and as in your case brought on new abuse from new people who discounted you and ignored your needs.
I am really glad you are here. This site is about dealing with all the damage that was caused.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

22

Hi Lora
That was me too; For over 20 years I sought help to figure out what was wrong with me! I never considered that it was what happened to me and it was NOT me that brought any of it on. When I realized that I had been looking for the solution in all the wrong places, and started to see the truth about all this, my whole world changed!
I am glad you are here too,
Hugs, Darlene

23

HI. It makes me so amazed and befuddled how this crap goes on and is so similar with everyone. It is so strange, stupid, bewildering to me that surely I must be having a problem sinc eabuser behaviour is so dumb I can never measure up to that, and am certainly doomed to a life of incompentently not understanding how stupid your behaviour is. I never will get it.
I will also not get who the people are that side with abusers. I imagine they are also very stupid. Those are the people that stand near the crime and watch it happen.
I once saw a movie about how the people that stood by Jesus chrucifiction and did nothing. They are also condemned.

I have read so many books on this topic and spoken to so many super qualified people that I finally believe I am correct. It has taken me years. It helps me to know I have all those books and people and sites like these to refer to when I run into the next moron that will tell me that my parents, really actually loved me. And I know that my grandmas are also guilty for not saving me. Literally my whole family is a bunch of idiots that didn’t give a crap to help me and sttod there doing nothing while I went home to get abused.
I used to think my grandma loved me but she didnt. She did some nice things but in the end she didnt stand up to my parents. Even just to tell me I am right and I just need to bear it until I am older. If she only said that one thing it would have changed so much in me. There would have been that one person in my childhood that supported my idea about what is going on. And maybe it wouldnt have take me next 25 of total dissociation to come back to this knowledge I knew as a child.

24

This is a great article. My mother also turned virtually every conversation we had around to being about HER and her issues, she never listened to me once. When I went away to college, I overheard my mother say “this is the freedom I’ve been waiting for my whole life!” Because in her mind, it was I that had been oppressing her. But she was already free, to not have kids, get an abortion, put us up for adoption…anything but terribly abusing her kids and then X’ing off the days on the calender ever since I turned twelve, desperately waiting for me to get out, and resenting my very life. I bet if she complained to a doctor, she would have gotten a sympathetic nod, not been told that she should expect to take care of the children she gave birth to and that if she couldn’t handle it, she should see a therapist. In fact, I know for a fact that everyone sympathized with her and shook their heads at me, believing her insane version as the absolute truth.

Of course even after I moved out, she still needed someone (other then the people who actually hurt her as a child) to blame for her problems, so she continued to paint herself as a ‘victim’ of her children, and a martyr for never finding that precious freedom, when in fact she deserves to be in jail for what she did to me.

25

Hi. I’ve been reading for quite a while. I would like to share my story/ask a question. This post resonates with me. Thank you so much, Darlene, for this website.

My father was a “covert” sexual molester with me (flashing me, “accidentally” barging in on me in the bathroom, sticking his hand down his pants, hugging my chest, etc.) and more overt with my sibling and others. This all came out in the open when I was in my mid-20s. I was an unhappy child dealing with consistent emotional neglect (no small thing) from both parents e.g. minimally asking about school, no help with relationships, little shepherding through life. There was medical neglect, and alcohol was in the picture. They were also super controlling – one therapist told me they were the most controlling parents he had heard about in his twenty five years of practice.

I was withdrawn and spent a lot of time on my bed in my room. My siblings were older and “saved” me by being the buffer and spending time with me. They really loved me when I was young, but the situation has changed dramatically over the years and is a source of deep grief for me.

When my sister outed the sexual abuse, I only told a bit of my story – the focus was on my sister. I was angry about it all: the sexual abuse, the inability to connect, being ignored and dismissed, the alcohol as yet another barrier, the neglect. And I had outbursts. My mother didn’t really support my story, and didn’t back me up. She said she wasn’t on my father’s side, but she wasn’t on my side either. I calmly confronted my father a few years ago which made her angry (“he’s old and sick”). It was excruciatingly painful to have my mother not stand with me, and refuse to go to therapy. It wasn’t until my early 50’s that she acknowledged the sexual abuse of me to my FOO.

All through these years, in my 20’s, 30’s 40’s and now 50’s, my brothers have backed up my mother and mostly see me as at fault… for outbursts, for distancing myself from my parents (“they feel so guilty”, “stop beating them up (figuratively)”), for being generally irritable around my parents. “You should forgive and forget”, “you’re delusional”, etc. There were a few times where they seemed a bit more supportive, but their negative words ring in my ears. My relationship with my sister is mixed– I often feel cut down.

I’ve had many outbursts – this is my dilemma. It’s not right to blow up at someone, but what my parents were doing/not doing was so painful and I felt so not heard. I also carry a lot of anger around and can get snarky with random people. Does anyone else experience this? I am doing better with it, but I have my days. I think Lora, in an earlier post, mentioned this.

My siblings have distanced themselves from me, and there is a ripple effect with their kids which heartbreaking. My mother gets so many of the social family “goodies” e.g. phone calls, letters, visits, attention. I don’t feel loved in my FOO. They are a clique and I am not in it. I have not married (yet). I do think about moving, but I’m not sure how far away since my friends are in the general area. Sometimes I think of cutting loose and moving far away to try to get out from under the negative blanket which rests on me. I’m going to use the name Light, since that is what I am seeking.

26

Hi Caden
That comment your mother made, isn’t that just the icing on the cake! I heard a woman saying this to another woman at a concert that I was at; she commented that she was counting the days till her kids were grown up and gone and I just cringed. My mother’s fav. line and her excuse for everything was “I didn’t ask to be a single parent” as if that justified her carlessness and abusiveness. I wonder what her excuse was BEFORE she got divorced?? I HATE the way adults talk about kids as if they are demonic when the truth is that having them and raising them was thier choice! I am sure that there may be some kids out there who really are a handful, but that is not what we are talking about here in EFB. We are talking about who the REAL victims of the dysfunction were and in our cases, we were never the ones to blame.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

27

Hi Light,
Welcome to EFB
You share what many others share; you are not alone and all your feelings are justified! There came a time when I asked myself why I tried to be accepted by such nasty people? When my mother walked away from me, it took a few months but pretty soon I realized how much better things were in MY life. I began to realize that I HAD a life! That I deserved peace and life! :)
You are not alone here!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Kathryn
There is hope for overcoming all this. That is why I have this site. Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

29

My family did this in a different way. After I exposed the abuse they tried to deny it. When I wouldn’t allow that they started the blame game. But, instead of saying “it’s your fault” they would say “you can’t be mad at him because they…fill in the blank here with a hundred different excuses. They blamed everyone/thing except the parents who actually did it. They used that to make it all my fault. I also heard “well, you know how Tracy is”. Im so sick of blame. Can’t, for once, they say “yes, I did it. It was wrong. I’m sorry”? Nope!

30

It blows my mind how our society functions. Like you Pam, and many others, I was raised to think kids needed to be controlled. My mother even brags about how well controlled we were in public settings and the like. She brags about yanking me out of the bathtub when I was 5 and whipping my bare butt because I said she was a dumby. My father said it, isn’t it just what I learned?? She’s told that story proudly more times than I can count. As a matter of fact, she’s bragged my whole life about her control measures, and her disciplinary actions…. unless of course it was an act that could be viewed as poor parenting. She kept those a secret.

I too am guilty of believing that kids need to be controlled. I STILL find myself thinking on those lines occasionally when a child is throwing a fit in public or something similar. The difference is, NOW, I quickly correct that thinking. It is flawed and it is what got me to this place to begin with. 44 years old, and struggling to get out from under her control. She still resides in my mind, even if there’s no contact. Her twisted beliefs and control tactics were woven in deeply.

I view the world so much differently since coming to this site. Mainly because I was a part of our world’s mentality for so long. That kids don’t have a voice, and they don’t have feelings that need to be attended to, and they have no individuality, no thought processes of their own, and deserve no respect. I made mistakes when I had my God daughter in my home. I am regretful that this was what I knew, and at times, I passed it down. The difference is, I can acknowledge it (whereas my mother refuses). I have always respected her much more than my mother ever did me. I have shown her volumes more affection than I ever got. I’m thankful that some part of me knew she needed this. I am thankful I knew she needed unconditional love. I regret that I tried to control her at times. I can make it up to her, and I will. That’s the difference. I’m so thankful to know this new perspective now, rather than never.

Peace to everyone!
Mimi

31

Hi Tracy
That is a very common way this problem is dealt with by families who deny. The result is always the same; the victim is invalidated when the abuse is ignored; the victim is discounted the abuser is validated when a family says it was the victims fault. I have no idea why it is so hard for people to feel sorry for their actions or inaction but that is part of the damage we are delaing with too.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

32

Hi Mimi
The ways that my thinking has changed is so huge. I too saw defects in the way that I was raising my kids and saw how driven I was by what other people would think. Not just my family and my husbands family, but so many others. A lot of the ways that I was raising my kids were right, but the motive was all wrong! Instead of my motives being about love for them and looking at things through the grid of ‘what would be best for them’ my motive was based on how it made me look! I am not proud of that, but I am proud of the steps that I took to be accountable for it and how I changed it. My kids flourished in all areas as we began to use our power as parents to empower our kids, instead of using it for control. As you say, you can make it up to her! It was a huge learning curve for us, and for me I had the added problem of having communicated to my kids (through them seeing how I ‘let’ inlaws and my family treat me) that I was a push over whimp. I had to have boundaries because back then my kids were pushing for control too so it was a balancing act for a while! But I did it! Today I have mutual respectful relationships based on equal value with all three of our kids!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

33

Hi Mimi, I’ve missed you.:0)Contol over others seems to be the core of how our culture operates. In the U.S., we have a government out of control trying to control every aspect of our lives and a lot of people want it that way. Discipline should focus on helping children learn to control themselves. Sometimes, when they are a threat to themselves or another, they do need to be controled but lovingly, with consistent discipline. Too many parents react to children having difficulty with self-control by going further out of control themselves. I was guilty of this at times because it was a trained response. It’s like a “who can be the most frightening contest” and it can end with teenagers doing some truly, life threatening things to gain control over their own lives.

I love the old American flag with the coiled snake that says, “Don’t Tread On Me”. That coiled snake makes me imagine a circle drawn around myself that reminds me of what is mine to defend and also, of my limits when it comes to controling another person, even a child. We all need to look to conscience and self-governance and teach that to children, if we are ever to create a better system than the pecking order that results with a bully at the top. We need governance from within and not so much from without.

It’s so important in this to recognize and take responsibility for our own abusive actions, whether done passively or agressively. Finding balance in what I’m responsible for and what I’m not responsible for has been a central part of my healing. It’s a very common disease.

Love,
Pam

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I am the only child of five that has a different father. My oldest is 16 years older than me and I am 12 years younger than the youngest. I was hated, berrated, laughed at, ridiculed, bullied, made fun of for the 19 years I had to live with my siblings. My mother called me a cry baby. She used to call my father’s mother up on the phone and talk about me as if I was not her child. She was awful. When she died, I left to live with my father. I had no idea that other people didn’t live like I did. Once I found out that I was a scapegoat, I became depressed even more. I only recently cut them off (3 years ago) The guilt I have is because I don’t know why I didn’t cut them off earlier. I had to because one of their children (a 43 year old grown man) started picking on my 11 year old daughter!!!! On the outside, I am a success; 6 figure income; loving husband and family (the American dream) but on the inside, I’m sad and really hurt that my mother, of all people, really hated me.

35

One of the most frustrating things I feel is, when ‘others’ know the truth but they continue to look the other way or ignore the one who’s being hurt. I am such a stickler for keeping my eyes open and really seeing the truth within the lies. Being raised in such a dysfunctional abusive home, I learned how to be more interested in seeing what the magician’s other hand was doing, than the one he would bring to the forefront. And this wonderful skill, got me in trouble so many times. Damned if I do, if I don’t, and if I wasn’t even there!
I was born with a cleft palate. My younger sibling was born with dyslexia. I got picked on all during my school years. There were even times where my teachers would pick on me as well,. and, forget about even crying, I just learned to suck it all in, or make fun of myself because I could somehow deflect whatever abuse that my classmates would throw my way. I was sad all the time. I knew I couldn’t come home and tell my mother, her way in dealing with things, was, If she didn’t bother to know, then she was never responsible for providing help or answers. It was like, don’t come to me, because I can’t possibly help you. I remember feeling really depressed at times and wanting to tell my parents, being rebuffed by my mother, I would sometimes look to my stepdad. My stepdad, (my little sis’s real father) he never believed me in anything i said. He would either say “If you’re trying to make me feel sorry for you, it isn’t going to work, or, feel sorry for your little sis, she’s dyslexic.” I remember I retorted with, when is anyone ever going to feel sorry for me. I can’t even get through a door way without someone recognizing my defect. Someone has to really actually get to know my little sis before they figure out something might be wrong. I don’t stand a chance.” My problems were never considered real. No wonder I was diagnosed with dysthymia first, then PTSD and severe depression, on top of having cleft palate and all the developmental things that went along with it. Is it any wonder so many of us feel we have to have so much truth, to prove what we say is correct. To this day, my stepdad says there was never any abuse in our home. I am the liar, he says I have cognitive dysfunction. And, to top it off, my mother started saying that as well. (and she doesn’t even know what that word even means, how could she, she never bothers to know anything…..)

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Hi Bella
Welcome to emerging from broken; you have found the right website. I relate so much to what you are saying and I found a way to overcome all of this stuff. That is what I write about in this site. Your mother/family defined you as ‘defective and even unlovable’ ~ which is a total lie; this site is about how I learned to re-define myself with the truth. The fact that your mother treated you like that is about her, not about you. There was nothing wrong with you.
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

37

Hi Raven
My heart goes out to you. I totally relate; I remember feeling that way so often; what about me?? when is someone going to care about me… and I was trying so hard to live by the “love and you will be loved” rule ~ which never worked. In this process I had to learn to hear me, validate me and honour me in all those things that had not been taken care. Meanwhile, I HEAR YOU. I feel sorry for you ~not pity, but compassion. I understand. Please know that there is a sloution. And the solution it is not going to come from them.
Hugs, Darlene

38

Raven, I know you weren’t commenting to me but there is so much pain in what you wrote and so much that I also, relate to. My parents always choose ignorance as a cover too and my problems were never acknowledged in a way that was about helping me, they were only, used and often they were invented, as a way to guilt me into shutting up and not expecting my parents to take responsibility that belonged to them. Ignorance causes a lot of pain and damage but willful ignorance is just down right evil.

Love,
Pam

39

Pam,
I was thinking about you when I was reading Raven’s comments! So glad you replied to her!
Hugs, Darlene

40

Wow, thank you so much for commenting. All of you. I am so grateful for finding this website, and Thank you Darlene for giving a voice, a reality to so many of us feeling empty, invalid, alone, and thinking we must all be crazy because, surely, no one else ever goes through this… It’s sad but also there’s a strength in knowing that there are so many who understand, and do so with compassion and empathy. Thanks Pam. Your last line in your comment reminds me of M. Scott Peck’s book, “People of the Lie: The Hope For Healing Human Evil”. Your words state how exactly how ignorance is personnified as evil, ” Evil is described by Peck as “militant ignorance”. Again, thank you for your comments and thanks for Darlene and her compassionate work.

41

Darlene, yes, it is true. People I’ve known have upheld the actions and behaviors of abusers, and it is infuriating to me.

My mother to this very day will tell you that my stepfather never did anything abusive to us! And he was a sadistic man. Very abusive.

There has been some child abuse in my family, and my brother and I seem to be the only two people concerned about it. As for me, it was devastating to see two precious children I loved being treated like dirt. I did everything in my power to alleviate their suffering, getting involved with CPS and making sure that the children knew what love and consistency felt like, at least whenever they were with me.

Why so many people refuse to stand up for the oppressed, I will never know. Children seem to be the most oppressed group of people on the face of the earth. I’ve always thought so.

It does appear that there is much victim-blaming in our society. I have so little respect for people who stick their heads in the sand and refuse to help children who are being chronically hurt.

In my family, I am the one who is mocked and belittled….because I care so much about child abuse and about child abuse victims. I am viewed as a weakling and as a silly, overly sentimental whacko. So be it.

I have always intervened on behalf of child I’ve seen who are being mistreated. In public and in my own family. And I will continue to do so, no matter what people say or think.

Children have no voice. We must stand up for them and we must speak up for them.

Thank you, Darlene. What a wonderful topic.

42

medical doctor gets money for psychiatric referral

43

This topic stirs up so many memories. I remember when I was little, my grandfather had come over to visit. My parents started another one of their arguments (which always started but nothing of importance). My father, as per usual, became violent towards my mother. He dragged her into the bedroom…..as it was his habit to do it behind closed doors….as if we couldn’t hear or imagine what was going on.

I remember looking to my grandfather for help. I remember also feeling embarrassed…..because he was exposed to our dirty family secret. My grandfather surprised me by just walking out. He didn’t say a word. He just left. He abandoned me and pretended that our dirty family secret didn’t exist.

I remember another time when I was being abused by my mother, I just lost it. I ran to my bedroom which was at the front of the house, opened up the window and started screaming. My mother had chased me into the room and she was still smacking me but I just kept screaming as loudly as I could…..but noone came.

Even from a young age, I knew that our neighbours could hear the craziness coming from our house……but noone ever intervened. I often wonder how much heartache and dysfunction could have been avoided for me and my brothers if someone had bothered to care.

Gosh – health professionals…..they’re like people. The good ones are so rare. I got lucky the second time around.

The first one had me so confused. I was still an absolute mess from my nervous breakdown. It took me months to reveal to her about my childhood……and it actually only happened because my children were distressed about spending time with my parents. After my nervous breakdown, my children would go over about once or twice a week. Over time, my children would complain about going over.

I hate to admit but it took me a while to understand why they were distressed….my parents had become so use to my children being around, they started acting as though my children were part of the furniture….and fight and scream around my babies. My poor babies have never previously been exposed to their madness. I confronted my parents and I was told that they could do whatever they liked in their own house and would not be told how to behave.

I told my parents they could do whatever they liked. They could kill themselves if that is what they wanted……but not while they cared for my children.

I stopped my children from visiting my parents for months. They have since started seeing their grandparents again (whom they love – they are still too young to understand) – however visits are always supervised by either myself or another trusted family member.

Anyway, I told my psychologist about my run in with my crazy parents and she said that I was wrong to be so disrespectful towards my parents. She reminded me that my parents were old and despite their faults, they obviously loved their family…….and I was punishing them by not letting them see my children. Her suggestion was that if my parents argued, I should teach my children to laugh it off…and I should do the same.

This same therapist also advised me that if I loved my husband, I should accept him and his choices. This was after I had discovered my husband was cheating and was a sex addict. She claimed that there was nothing wrong with him…..but how I viewed the situation.

My conversations with her were so crazy that I doubted myself. I would come away from the sessions feeling horrible and sad. I didn’t understand my feelings. If my therapist told me that I was wrong, perhaps I was….but why then did I always come away from those sessions feeling so bad.

One day, I woke up. It took months to recover (not completely) from my nervous breakdown…..but I remember one day I started feeling better and stronger.

On this day, I was scheduled to see my therapist…..but the day was different from the other times I had seen her. On the this day, I started screaming. Just like I did when I was a child begging for someone to come and help.

The best thing that my crazy therapist did was to refer me to a Mental Health Clinic. And that is how I found my second therapist……and she helped save me and my husband.

44

Raven
I love the book “people of the lie” and I highly recommend it to others. That book helped me a lot when I was on the beginning of this journey.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Marore
Yay for sticking up for children!
Hugs, Darlene

45

Wow Ginger
You had a very distructive therapist! There are a few articles in this site about that kind of abuse! Alice Miller (books) has some great information about therapists like this and how they are coming from thier own dysfunction. T=
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

46

Darlene,
Love the format you used here. Very nice to read with so many perspectives encapsulated nicely. You might want to keep it in mind when compiling your book. Very Nice.
And as always, I can identify with each and every comment made in the above article…uncanny.

Thanks Darlene,
Connie

47

Hi Connie
Thanks! Hugs, Darlene

48

Hi Everyone
I just published a new post about the process of changing my thinking on the healing journey; when where and why the fear would come up when I DID shift my thinking.. You can read it here: “Shifting my Thinking on the Journey to Overcoming Emotional Damage”
As I always I look forward to your thoughts.
Hugs, Darlene

49

Hi Darlene,

Could you remind me what article this comment is originally from? I am interested in seeing follow up comments, but can’t seem to find it and I forgot to subscribe!

Thanks,
G

50

Hi G,
I believe that your original comments that I quote in this post are from the post “Tomorrow I will start to face the Pain”
You can read it here:
http://emergingfrombroken.com/tomorrow-i-will-start-to-face-the-pain/
Hugs, Darlene

51

I thank GOD every day that I was raised by a parent, yes a single mother (raising 3 girls on her) that did not believe she needed to use strict disciplinary methods in order to keep us in line and neither did she believe in controlling us to the stage that many parents did when I was young, neither did she spank, slap us across the face, grab us by the ear or humiliate us in public as I see so many parents do with their children today. All three of us turned out relatively okay, other than my being born with a mental illness – my mother believed in talking to us trying to make us understand our wrong doings and not speaking above us or shouting and screaming at us to make us understand.

This is my way of trying to get through to kids today. Even as a mom.. I do not believe in speaking above the child just because I the mom, or make them feel I am better than them and the one with authority so they have no choice but to listen. BECAUSE quite frankly, whether we are a parent, authority figure, older or whatever, we are not better than the kids and can often be worse than them..

I feel the best way to get kids to listen or want to listen to you these days – is let them know you do not feel they are lesser than you and you are willing to talk to them at their own level, calmly and rationally discuss the issue at hand, even ask them how they would see this behavior coming from someone else, let them know how whatever behavior is unacceptable. If there is to be punishment, maybe ask them what the punishment should be <<< more meant for an older child. But for the younger ones just speak to them and let them know what they did or the behavior is not nice and how it made you feel, I feel most young kids will feel something just from this discussion.

But by screaming, yelling at them and spanking them is only going to want to make a parent or authority figure want to challenge the parent or act out more.

My mother use to have this saying, you can go allot further with 'honey than you can with sugar'.

*Just a side note: just giving my own opinion on some of the comments above.

52

Hi, this is the first time I am writing. My dad was murdered on his way to work. So my mom was left with 3 kids, which I know was hard. But she was so resentful about being left with the kids. She worked all the time and told u she preferred to be t work rather than with us. By 7 yrs old, I had to cook the dinner. It became a total free for all. We were all Under 10 yrs without any supervision or encouragement. Her rages were completely unpredictable. We always hid when her car came in the driveway. If you said no to anything, she would lock you out of the house all night, no coat, nothing. I started to learn to sneak back in hough the basement window. My older brother was very abusive so she left me to deal with him. No surprise that i don’t deal well with raging people during my career.when I was 8, she sent me o camp because she wanted to take classes for work. She did work hard but it was her main source of Satisfaction. I broke my ankle and when the camp called, she said “how stupid of you” , its not my fault you did simethin so stupid! and left me there for a month. Dirty clothes, not enough food, and she became a hoarder so by the 6th grade I was living in 4 feet of junk and told to ignore it. She came home and went right to bed. I was completely isolated and we 3 kids raised ourselves and all got as far away as possible. My 2 older brothers won full scholarships to Harvard, but she still criticized them. I got accepted but no cholarship so I became the “slacker” and “loser” in the family. She wanted me o stay him an go to Community College because I was too stupid to win a cholarship, was a slut an wouldbprobablybget pregnant and embarrass her more. I did get away, got thru an Ivy Masters program, had 2 books published, lived overseas for 5 years, learned 2 languages fluently, became a VP at a Fortune 50 company by 34 yrs. why did I need that woman’s approval so badly? And I continued to take care of her and the verbal and emotional abuse continued. She died 3 years ago and told me that I was a big failure because I wasn’t married and for all the other things. I have never been able to tell many people about this and the men have run the other way if I said even small stuff. All while she died in2 tons of trash. Now 2 years after her death, my brothers have both told me that I’m a failure and have slowing been cutting me out of all family events. not even a call when i broke my back in 2009. i paid for their kids college educations! How stupid do I feel? I always acted like this didn’t matter, I would get through. But now what happens when you are alone and resentful? I have tried 4 years of therapy but he keeps on focusing on awareness. How do I move to the next stage? I’m 46 yrs old and the road ahead doesn’t look pleasant. I’ve run out of denial juice. And my friends tell me, what you, you can handle anything! Ha! I only handle their problems, not mine. Any suggestions are welcomed.

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i have worked hard to be able to say and believe what was posted in green. has taken me a long time and still get really bad days but things are getting there slowly

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Carol-
Yay!
I am feeling so positive when I hear things like this. I am far from the end of my journey- but far from the beginning. To get where you are would be divine- and I’m gonna get there! :)
G

55

Darlene and Pam,
Thank you Pam. I’ve missed you too. Thank you both for responding. What you write is profound Pam. The careful balance in what is within our control, and what is not for us to control. After wading through the crap and coming out of the fog, seeing things the way they really are…. that’s when wisdom begins to come. Not a minute before. When I was processing all the stuff about my mother, I couldn’t learn anything. I was incapacitated for months. After getting to a place of acceptance, now, I am able to learn.

Recently, I have been babysitting for a girl who is just out of prison and living in a home that I have been supporting for quite some time. It came to my attention that this young girl needs someone to keep her 1 year old child while she attends college. She went straight from prison into the local community college. I felt the nudge to help her. In keeping this little boy, I have observed him and his needs, and myself and what my needs were at his tender age, and what my beliefs are now that I’ve been nearly two years into the discovery of my mother’s dysfunction. I can look at this precious boy and realize that when he cries, he generally has a basic need. When he puts his arms up for me to hold him, it’s an honor. It’s not just my responsiblity to keep him safe. I am part of the formation of his tender little mind and heart. I don’t think I could take it this seriously when I was under my mother’s beliefs. It’s my responsibility to help him feel safe and secure in his surroundings. It’s my responsiblity to teach him. I’m not saying this is what his mommy has put on me. I’m saying this baby is in my care, and in order to help him not be fearful, or uncomfortable, or neglected, and to help him develop trust and affection, I am a part of this. On some deeply buried level, it feels like I’m giving him what I missed, and in doing so, I’m reparenting myself. I can look at him and realize needs I never knew a 1 year old has before. I can try to connect with him because he’s a tiny human….. rather than buy into the age old approach that they are spoiled by affection, they are to be seen and not heard, they are just a little figure in the house that deserves to be treated like a fixture. Something the adults step around, keep walking and ignore. I feel blessed by this opportunity to observe a 1 year old. Doing so has helped me, perhaps as much as I am helping him and his mother. I am in awe of what his needs truly are. It makes me realize perhaps my mother never observed me, ever. It’s said that nobody knows us like our mother. Nothing is further from the truth in my case. My mother doesn’t have a clue who I am, or what I’m about. She believes what she’s told me about myself, and that’s how she would describe me. Not by observing who I really am…even at the age of 1 year. She told me she could never imagine me being a nurse and was surprised that I was a success. If she’d observed me when I was a very young girl, she might have seen it coming. I was a caregiver even back then.

Anyhow, I appreciate you both being honest in the struggles you faced with your own children, and overcoming them. As Dr. Phil says, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. I acknowledge my wrong approaches at times. I am free to embrace my responsibility to change, and to repair any damage I did along the way.

With Love,
Mimi

56

Hi Julie
What a horrific childhood that you had. I understand and relate to what you are sharing here. Something that really helped me move forward with this was realizing how wrong they were/are. I had been defined this way my whole life and I didn’t realize that they were wrong/ their judgements are not true and are really about them. In this site I have written the ways that I moved forward ito healing. Awareness is not what helped me, looking at the damage that was caused to me in my childhood validating myself where I had never been validated and seeing things through a more truthful grid is what helped me. This is a process that takes some time. I hope that you will consider continuing to read the things that I have written about the process of healing.
Hugs, Darlene

57

Hello Darlene,
I haven’t yet read through all the information you have shared here, but I want to thank you for posting. I’ve been subject to several abusive relationships—All vastly different—which have left me broken and wrecked in every facet of life. How these relationships developed and the “whys” of course I have been investigating. Although I had different reasons for continuing with them to a certain point, in most cases I was compelled after I left by their actions and continued unwelcome influence. They continue to confuse which is usually what lands us in the cycle of an abusive relationship—questioning our intuition versus judgement in a state of self-doubt. It’s how they control. What isn’t so often addressed I have found is how abusers collude and use others to continue to abuse and exert their destructive power on their target nor how a community responds incorrectly to abuse. There needs to be more public awareness of how to deal with someone who suffers at the hands of abusers. In my case all blamed me and all believed whatever he or she said no matter how outlandish or unfounded while knowing the damage that was done to me physically, financially, socially. Society blames the victim more often than not—It’s easier. Thanks again. And also for the platform to discuss the subject.

58

Hi Lisa
Welcome to efb!
There is a ton of information in this site. The solution is not in understanding the abusers so I don’t focus my work on that although I have written about it in this site. The solution for me was in seeing how I got sucked into it and then learning to stand up to it which only happened when I understood how my self esteem was damaged in the first place. All blamed me too which was one of the lies that I had so much trouble from childhood NOT believing. This whole site is about how I learned to see things through a different grid, stood up for myself and found freedom and wholeness. :)
Thanks for sharing. Hugs, Darlene

59

Hi Charmaine
I just realized that I did not answer your comment; my blog must have had a glitch in it; I realized today that I have not been getting notifications for this particular post!
I agree that yelling and screaming at kids is not the way to have great relationships with them! I think that there needs to be a LOT of calm communication between parents and children and that children need to be allowed to have a voice when it comes to this too if there is going to be successful parenting!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

60

Lisa,

This is so true. I remember being taken against my will to see a rape counselor after a horrible year living in squalor and hunger. It may have looked ‘kind’ but my father took me against my will. Also, the rape counselor was one of his co-workers so I was I believe, a pawn once again.
While he appeared to be helping me, he also told me that “At least you learned your lesson” after I told him I was afraid to be in public (stalking by the guy who molested me) so…how much did he really care about how I felt?
He is now getting a promotion, does loads of volunteer work with this woman (all very public events in a small community so he looks like a good guy), and appeared on TV with Miss America. He used me, but instead of saying, “thanks for being my pawn” he continued to blame and villify me for his problems! All while saying “I’m great/I don’t have to go to therapy” And at the same time, gossiping with the rape counselor about me (it got back to me), refusing to support me emotionally or financially to go to college, making an appointment and talking to my psychiatrist (against the law), gossiping about me to my therapist with whom I had had a good relationship, trying to get me put into a mental hospital (they wouldn’t admit me because I wasn’t unstable enough), breaking promises he made explicitly to me and my aunt regarding finances so that I once more had to live with unsafe people. I would be with some creep right now no doubt if not for my aunt helping me with college (though he won’t help, I couldn’t get financial aid because he makes so much money).

Ugh! It makes me sick.
It seems like he will go to any lengths to turn people who had a) previously liked me or b) say they like me behind his back, but side with him when they feel it benefits them.
He seems to especially be interested in cutting off my support systems, gossiping to the people I need most.

This information really does need to get out!
G

61

Hi Darlene,

I have started blogging recently. I included the things my parents did to my sister in my first post. A part of me feels bad, and a part of me feels like this information needs to get out there- the things that were done to her were horrific and for literally no reason. The things my parents did to my sister make up about half of the abuse- there is just so much. Is this disrespectful though? I have no problem talking about me, or my parents, what do you think? What about when things were done to us collectively? It seems more ok to say “my sister and I” than just a story about her. I hate editing myself, but am considering taking it down. Hmmm…

You seem to understand the concept of respect quite well. What is your philosophy? I feel like I might feel guilty that her info is out there, or I’d feel guilty for not having the information out there to others who can relate, she might get angry…

It really would make me sick to think this info could get out there and won’t. Like when my father kicked her down the stairs, locked her outside to sleep outside, etc. Those are clear factual examples of what is a wrong way to treat a child and it helps validate me that yes, these are dangerous, malicious people. Also I feel like if they read my blog and just see me ‘whining’, they will say I’m a drama queen, annoying, lying, etc. But if they are reminded of the things they did to her, that bother me deeply, that are things I just witnessed, it’s harder to say, “G is just feeling sorry for herself”. Hmmmm….

G

62

GDW – I know you weren’t directing your last two entries to me, but I just wanted to tell you that your posts about your experiences sadden me, and make me angry with the people who did this to you and your sister. I wish you all the strength in the world to overcome your past, and I hope positive good people come into your life. —Light

63

Hi GDW
I don’t include stories about my siblings as far as our childhoods go and what happened when “they” were children but that is my personal choice. I try to keep this about my personal exp. although sometimes there is a slight crossover. This is also a professional blog and I don’t write this like a journal type blog. I started writing after I started to work professionally in this field because I have such a passion for sharing the message that healing is possible and because I realized how few people talk about abusive families. Having said that, only you can make this personal decision.
Hugs, Darlene

64

Hi Darlene-

Thanks for the feedback. It was helpful to hear the mention about personal experience, and yes I do see there is a big difference between a slight crossover and telling someone else’s story entirely.

I don’t know if I in some way offended you or if I am misreading? I am certainly not claiming to have your experience or training. I noticed that you mentioned the fact it was professional a few times. I suppose my blog may be more of a journal type (though I’ve been through so much therapy its hard to tell sometimes). It is helpful, for me to be able to exchange stories and hope. I am starting to see yes, healing is possible, and after learning how common it is both online and off, I agree, it is not talked about much. This feels intuitively like what I should do now- write and be honest about my life.

Hi Light-

Thanks for that. One of the recent posts I read was about you and your fear of standing up to your family, and fear of being alone. I just wanted to say, there is nothing worse than that fear. And after you stand up to them and they reject you, which is often the case, you realize you were alone all the time. Even when you were with them. If they didn’t respect you, didn’t see you as a human being, they didn’t really SEE you. You might as well have not been there, if that makes sense. Sometimes I think “I am so alone” and then I think, “Wait, I was alone and disregarded when I was in the same room as they were, in the same car! They didn’t respond to hunger, crying, etc…” They only took notice of you when it would benefit them, like you were a servant or something. So all you are doing is removing people who suck the life out of you.
(this next part is partly related to this but also a question, and about where I’m at, so keep reading!)

To anyone who may be reading:

Right now I am at a very lonely point. I have stood up to a number of people, and having told the truth, I do feel better about myself. However, I have isolated myself. I have isolated myself from people who are abusive, or enablers, but that is most of the people who were in my life. I am not sure how to act. Who to be. All I know is who I won’t be (a victim) and what I won’t put up with (abuse, because I can recognize it now).
It’s terrifying. There are times that I think I can’t do it alone, though I have been more stable than I ever was with FOO and others who did not respect me. I have not spent a decent amount of time with anyone in weeks, been all by myself. I even took a break from my therapist, because it was extremely triggering to listen to her try to convince me that “my parents really loved me”. She is a wonderful kind woman, who has primarily very good advice, but these ideas are like poison for me. I am just starting to form my own opinions, and cannot afford to be doubting/arguing with an authority figure on my parents intentions. I have to help me, and see the truth. No one understands what I’m going through, I don’t know who to go to for help, without being grossly invalidated, even by those with good intent, and high intelligence.

The fact that most people do not see things the way I do, “they did the best they could”/”are you sure they did that”/”what was your part” etc just makes getting triggered a daily occurrance, and dealing with people is too exhausting. It’s not healthy to avoid people, but buying into a false belief system isn’t either.

What should I do?
I don’t know where any of you are from but if anyone knows of any good therapists in the Bay Area, I would be so grateful!

Thanks,
G

Thanks

65

Hi GDW
Sorry for the misunderstanding and no you did not offend me in any way. What I mean is that writing this blog for me is not cathartic; I don’t write it as part of my healing process. I don’t write from “my pain” here. I was very intentional when I started this website but the kind of blog and reason for your blog is different than mine. It may be helpful for you to include stuff about your sister if you are writing yours for you as part of your healing process. I kept an offline journal and included all kinds of stuff about my siblings when I was going through my process and it was so helpful for me to write that stuff out. I don’t know how I would have done it if it were a blog that might be seen by them. I don’t think that I could have written with the freedom I wanted to if there was a chance it may have been seen, but that is just me. I hope this helps explain.

I found myself in a very lonely place when I stood up to everyone too. That is such a hard place to be in. A note about the therapist that is sticking up for your parents… she might be a kind woman but telling you that is NOT kind; it is invalidating. Most therapists offer a short phone time to see if you would be a good fit. It might work well to ask the next one what his or her stand is on dealing with abusive parents before you start the process with them. Being asked “what was your part in it” stuff is exactly that old system that we are trying to escape!
Hugs, Darlene

66

Hi,GDW.

It sounds like you are working on changing therapists. I know I wouldn’t be able to withstand hearing the kinds of things she is saying, even if other things were good with her.

I too have struggled with loneliness. It sounds cliche, but I found that making friends really helps. At the same time, it can be hard to find people that “click” but for me there is value in just being out and socializing. Even with my close friends though, I am cautious about what I say about family because I don’t want to hear hurtful responses from them. And I have, which can be so disappointing.

Finally, I got my first kitty companion. What a difference having a pet makes! Really, really helps with the loneliness. Would that be an option for you?

67

THANK YOU so much for writing this Darlene!
This is why I am estranged from my mother. Every time I tried to talk to he about something she did or said that hurt me, she would ignore me and give an example from my childhood of what a good mom she thinks she was. She is in complete denial and refuses to admit that she did abything wrong.

68

Hi Amy
I am working on a post for next week about this subject. It’s a slippery one and very hard for the victim to transcend!
Hugs, Darlene

69

Everyone ~ I have just published a new post about Passive Abuse and how the message I got from passive abuse was the same as the message I got from more obvious abuse. I use my father as an example. (the only reason I don’t share much about my father is because there isn’t much to share; he didn’t bother himself with me too much; and that is passive abuse) I look forward to the comments on the new post;
Here is the link ~ “Emotionally Unavailable Father; The message of passive abuse”
Hugs, Darlene

70

My bf who became a heroine addict at 21, grew up in a household where his single mother was a victim of abuse herself and suffered from PTSD. She woke up every morning raging her son.
Fast forward to our relationship, and her son now weeks up every morning the same way. Granted he tries and has gotten better, but still unable to participate in the world because he starts the day negative and angry. He has had a huge negative impact on my life. He become so verbally abusive to the point where I cannot function properly myself. He has woken up and thrown my nursing textbooks across the room because he doesn’t agree with the way that I’m approaching my homework. He insists that it’s no big deal that he gets up late and that he’s trying, and yet, every few days or so wake up in a rage. Let’s start my day off in the most horrific way. I cannot function in a professional setting…I have explained this to him and he interested that on one hand it’s no big deal, and on the other hand that he will stop.

This morning, I Started grinding coffee in a blender. It took 10 seconds. He woke up and came in the room and started screaming at me about how many times he has had to tell me to shut the door. He had been asleep for 10 hours and is off work today. When I Said how many times have I asked you not to yell at me in the morning, he responded with a comment about how I had yelled at him in the past. I said seriously, I forgot to shut the door….. you are screaming at me because you woke up. He continued to protest and get angry that I had left the door open. Then it got ugly. I was so angry that he would compare a simple mistake to his dishes morning attack which are holding me back from being positive and optimistic in life and my career. He continued about the door. He continued that it was no big deal that it is okay now and then if he wakes up miserable but it’s not now and then…. and it’s not simply forgetting to close the door. The point if this is that I became angry and told him to shut up. I think he was looking for me to get angry so that he could do what he always does, which is to turn around and say that I am the one. He kept telling me to look at my own behavior and how enraged I am. I told him to shut up and leave me alone I have someplace to go, I told him I need a clear head to work in the real world.
Then he told me that I was the abuser. He told me that he was sick of it and that I needed to learn to control my anger. Imagine that! Someone very angry instigating another person so that they look better, and then telling them that they are the problem! He woke up raging at me and before I left the house told me that it was actually myself that was the angry abusive one. I want him to leave but unfortunately think that I am the one who is going to have to leave. He is just too far gone.

71

Wow,

He sounds exactly like my parents, specifically my mother. The pattern of harassment to the point of being unable to function, waiting for a reaction, and then screaming self righteously, “You’re abusing me!” when you’re the one in power, abusing your power.

My sister and I used to lock our doors in the morning, we started skipping school from the stress, and we’d fake being asleep to avoid harassment. And yet, my mother and father were “Thinking about getting a divorce because of you”. I really wish this kind of behavior was outlawed, and enforced. It is so cruel, and makes me nauseated.

Thanks for sharing- it helps to know we are not alone.

G

72

Anna
That is the typical pattern. The ‘rules’ don’t apply to abusive people. When I started to see this clearly I was able to finally stand up to it.
Thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

73

Hi GDW,
So basically you could not function normally, and then when they were abusive, they would turn around and tell you the you were the ones abusing them because they were getting a divorce because of you. This despite the obvious fact that parents are responsible for ensuring that their children function normally and not the other way around.

How terrifying a child to experience such a thing. You deserved strong and loving parents, and you got that. I’m sorry that you suffered.

?Anna

74

Hi Darlene;

Thank you for giving me an outlet today. And thank you for all the hard work you do in responding so thoughtfully to people.

Can you tell me more about how you came to see clearly that ‘rules’ don’t apply to abusers?

?Anna

75

Darlene,
Since the frantic call from my sister a few weeks ago, where upon she blamed me for my mom being broken up and directed hurtful words towards me. I’m “mean”, “distorted”, “not getting the right help”,”we had a loving family growing up” & blah blah blah….I have not heard from her…Thank God!!..Peace…What a stressful Foo I have & it has made me sick with worry & sadness for years. My point is, I’m not crushed, as I would have been in the past. I do feel anger,sadness & irritability about what happened. I don’t believe anything she said, so I’m not doubting myself, which is a change from the past. I have not spoken to anyone in my foo, since this call from my bully sister. I wake up some morning worried about my mom’s pain, like I’ve been conditioned to & replaying those hurtful things my sister said to me. I know my feelings have been triggered & I’m able to turn my thoughts around most days. It’s just that I think I’m grieving the loss of a loving foo. I am triggered by real loving families and the good times they have together. I’ve created that with my kids & I’m living my life with less stress & more happiness. I’m not expecting foo to change nor am I trying anymore. I’m done processing this crap, yet the feelings of hurt/rejection run deep!! I know in my heart & mind that I deserve better :)
Sonia

76

Hi Anna
This entire website is about how I did that. There are hundreds of articles available to you!
Hugs, Darlene

77

Hi SMD-Sonia
YAY for not believing her accusations! That is wonderful growth. Yay for learning to turn those thoughts around. That was how I did it and it takes time. It is hard and grieving is part of it. Rejection hurts like hell but like you said, you didn’t deserve it and you know you deserve better. Thanks for the update!
Hugs, Darlene

78

The abusive parent, like the functional parent may for example take their child to soccer practice, dress his/her child in new clothes, and get the latest electronics for the household etc..(and numerous other activities that ‘look’ like good parenting). It’s all about intention though. While the healthy parent struggles to provide richness and health for their child’s, the unhealthy abusive one is using certain activities and behaviors as ‘proof’ that they are a good parent, and in doing so teaches his/her child how to be an abuser as well. For anyone to put this distorted view down, triggers them to claims of victimization. For parents who are really doing the work and not deluding themselves, well, what can I say? To keep it simple, in a healthy parent any ‘attack’ on his or her parenting is accepted without claiming victim status, as just a normal part of life. People are critical, especially when it comes to child rearing. If someone has something to say, the healthy parent accepts that people are entitled to their own opinions.

All parents make mistakes. The difference is that healthy, well adjusted parents learn from their mistakes AND take action to prevent those same mistakes again. Unhealthy parents on the other hand, do not learn and make the necessary changes. In fact the unhealthy parent may even admit their mistake but continue to make the same mistake over and over doing serious damage to their child. And if they are making the same mistake over and over, they are sending the message that it is not in their control. It follows, that if they have no control over learning and doing better, then it is not their fault and they naturally are the victim. And this is a key point…the abuser really is a victim! The difference is that unlike in childhood where it was out of their control, they are self victimizing. In a very real way, they never grew up. And so the cycle continues.

It’s up to adults to take responsibility and treat our children healthfully, because they don’t know how.

79

Hi Anna
Great points!!!
Hugs, Darlene

80

Hi Anna-

Thanks for your comments. Everything you say makes total sense.

Darlene-

What I’m wondering is, do the physical symptoms ever go away? And if so, how long does it take? Ever since I’ve become aware of what has happened, I have also become aware of the fact that I am shaking all the time. From when I wake up in the morning, until I go to sleep, my body is shaking, my fists are clenched, and my teeth are gritting. Though I don’t have any illnesses from the abuse (as a child and teen I can trace back loads of psychosomatic health problems), I am basically a walking tremor. I can’t even smile because my jaw is so locked. How can a person possibly function with this level of fear?

It’s terrifying, and makes socializing very hard, and holding down a job impossible. I am scared that with these symptoms, also the possibility of bullying is more likely as my fear is so obvious.

I guess that, while I feel safer knowing who my parents are, the physical feeling of danger is always with me. Do you have clients like this, or did you experience something like this, and how/what changed?
I’m also feeling hopeless and overwhelmed. There are a lot of therapists out there, and a lot of different ‘body therapies’ out there. I’m scared to commit, and afraid that no one can really help me (I’ve been through a lot of therapy) with the physical aspect. While some of my realizations are new, I am in no better shape physically.

???

G

81

I guess what I’m referring to is some of the techniques I’ve read/heard about:
rolfing, Alexander Technique, Primal Scream Therapy, Somatic Experiencing, hypnosis, neurofeedback.
Are any of these things techniques you have found personally effective, or others you worked with have?
I’m not sure if they are a waste of time/money, could make things worse, or what I need, or which one.
I am just at my wits end, I can’t live like this, it is not life.

Pharmaceuticals have not helped, and I have done a very slight amount of somatic work, with no relief.

Anyone else who has any insight or experiences with physical relief, I would be so grateful.

Thanks so much and apologies for the length of all this.

G

82

Hi GDW
For me the symptoms went away. I do not know how long it takes for eveyrone. Everyone is different. I have had clients who worked through this stuff in 6 months. It took me longer than that but I had a different kind of help.
For me I alwasy relate that the process worked ‘backwards’. It was through seeing the damage and the messages that I got from that damage about ME, and then truning those lies back to the truth about me ~ re-parenting myself where I had not been parented which led to healing my broken self esteem; that is what worked for me. I have written 350 articles on this site on different realizations I have had and different aspects of this healing. It takes time for all of it to come together.

As far as your questions about different therapy practices, I have no knowledge or exp. with any of the ones you mention here. I focus on and advocate for causal therpay (the root cause of the problem or what caused the problem in the first place, why was the coping method necessary in the first place) and if you can find a therapist who is willing to work with you on that, that might help a lot. :)

I tried a zillion things before I looked at the root causes and I was stuck in this horror until I found a way to go to the roots, dig up that rotten foundation, and replace it with truth. I built my new life from there and that is what I teach now. :)
Hugs, Darlene

83

For me, the hurt has lessened over time…….not just through physical time passing……but by giving myself time to think and tell a few trusted few people about what happened to me. writing down my thoughts and feelings, as well as learning and reading about the experiences of others has been more therapeutic than any counselling sessions i have ever attended. Through these actions that I have taken, I feel less sorry for myself. I feel stronger emotionally as I have started to trust my own truths. As Darlene said above, it wasn’t until I could look at the root cause with a level of objectivity that I was finally free to be myself.

I still doubt myself. I still worry about exposing myself too much …….but not obsessively as I use to. Gosh, I have lived so much of my life trying to make myself as small a target as possible. In the last couple of years, I have been a big xxxx target……and it was felt so good.

Pity it took me 48 years to finally live life like I want to. Not through obligations or expectations of others, but the way I want to. I cannot take back lost years, but I can try really hard to not lose any more.

84

I also wanted to add something else to my last post. That is,

I have come to realise that the people who have hurt me in the past did it so easily and thoughtlessly because they never truly loved or cared about me anyway. I did not mean anything to them other than what I could do for them. I was in essence a non-entity to them. Once I realised and accepted that, it was easier to let go of the pain.

85

Hi Ginger
Yes, the pain certainly didn’t stay sharp! Facing it was not nearly as horrible as I was sure it would be and I didn’t expect to feel this much freedom and wholeness when I finally faced the truth! I love your comments! Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

86

Hi Everyone ~
I just published a new post about how I was convinced that I was the problem and the ways that belief came out. My mother had a way of reminding me about how she saw me too, which of course got in the way of the truth. Lots of examples of how my mom made sure that MY focus was on MY faults in order to deflect and even justify hers hers. Here is the link;
“Toxic mother daughter relationship ~ when mom says the problem is YOU”
Looking forward to the discussion there;
hugs, Darlene

87

Hi Darlene,
This link to Gaslighting really helped me to understand this Control Tactic Abusers use. Abusers are the gaslighters who tell the victim that their truth is wrong. It’s about them being in control and right all the time. I see this clearly now, esp in my sister. She plays this mind game very well. I don’t believe want she says, however there usually some grain of truth focused on the victim’s insecurites.

http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2011/10/gaslighters-seek-to-destroy-your-sanity/

Sonia

88

Please tell me I’m not crazy.

It’s hard for me to say this because I have a hard time finding the words to describe the seriousness of how I feel.

A little while ago I discovered how very abusive, controlling, and cruel my mom was. And gosh the very fact that I was blind to it for so long just shows me how serious the brainwashing was. But anyways, seeing how much control she had over me I broke off contact with her, because I knew how easily she could get into my head and I wasn’t gonna let that happen again.
Everyone in my family though seems to act as if everything’s fine.

But my pastor found out a lot about what was going on, and despite how many times he denied it, he didn’t believe me. I don’t remember all the articles you said it in, Darlene, but he fit the profile exactly of those kind of people who support abuse: Gave me the “respect your parents speech”, tried to shove reconciliation down my throat, judged me constantly, blamed me for my “loss of joy” (as if being depressed or in pain is a non-Christian thing) and using it later as proof that I wasn’t doing the right thing, told me I was doing everything wrong, kept on wanting me to let go and acted as if being angry towards this injustice was a bad thing, I wouldn’t talk to him about it(because I wasn’t going to trust him with this information if he wasn’t going to believe me) and told me it was wrong to isolate.

I keep feeling so much guilt and doubt. It’s really hard to trust my judgement because he talked about my “trust issues” (quoting: Your conclusions are based on a small sample in a bubble…made with a heart that doesnt trust many people, which looks for ALL PERCEIVED HIDDEN AGENDAS.”) he told me that I was perceiving things wrong, making assumptions, over processing motives and intentions. He completely denied judging me or not believing me.

And maybe the thing that I have a problem with most of all. He tried calling me and I told him I didn’t want to talk about it, he tried calling me again and I told him I didn’t want to talk about it, then he called my home phone (which I had no way of knowing it was him) to pretty much force me to talk. And on top of that threatened to go to my mom and talk to her.
I told him I made boundaries and he completely disrespected them, that confiding in him and opening up to him was a privilege, not a right, and that he had disregarded my choice.

I confronted him with all of these things today and he either justified them in some way or put the blame back on me. I can’t help feel like I’m crazy. Like maybe I over-exaggerated because I have trust issues, or that I’m wrong about everything I’m feeling and seeing because my “perception” is altered.

I even have a really hard time writing this because I think that I haven’t written enough or given enough details to establish my credibility, or that I haven’t said every single little tiny thing that happened and I’m being biased with what I choose to say. Or even that I’m wrong about the things I’m saying he did because of him saying things like “that’s not what I said” or “You have generalizations and conclusions that are far from the truth.”

I’m just so sick of people in my life that are not on my side.

Do I sound sane to you?

89

Gabbi,
You are NOT crazy!!!!

Some pastors have a tendency to turn things around to “make” you do what is “right” in there eyes. They never hold the person doing the abusing responsible. I have been there while mine was with a husband who was into pornography. If I went home and made it “right” and not divorce him it would all be okay and I would not be screwing up my kids. He had been into it for over 10 years. I had nothing to do with it. I did have to dig deep, read my Bible and search out what God had to say about things for myself instead of letting someone spiritually abuse me. I felt for a long time that I couldn’t explain enough, be clear enough or be viligent enough about making sure I did what was “right”. The problem was that I had to define for myself what was right and wrong. It wasn’t wrong when I stood up to my mother and stopped letting her verbally asault me when I had done my best. It wasn’t wrong for me to say that if this is how you chose to act then I will not communicate with you. Abusers will always justify their actions and if they can make you think it is your fault all the better.

Oh, I don’t miss that part of the healing process. You put into words things I have felt, said, done, or just thought about in the last several years. It has gotten better. I have learned to let go of the guilt and the second guessing myself. It has taken a lot of counseling to get through it all and some really great friends. I have spent time searching out truth at every corner. God didn’t make me stupid or to need and accept any answer that comes out of a man’s (preacher, preast or anyone) mouth.

Keep searching Gabbi. It does get better!

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Anna said: “…the unhealthy abusive one is using certain activities and behaviors as ‘proof’ that they are a good parent…”

My mother got up every Sunday morning. Dressed us for Sunday school, drove us 15 minutes to church. Dropped us off. Drove home. Turned around 15 minutes later and picked us up again.

Unless it was a wedding or something, she never went to church. In 51 years I never heard her discuss religion, god, morals, etc…

So why did she go to all this trouble to take us to Church?

Because it was what parents were supposed to do. They were supposed to take their kids to church. It was PROOF she was a conscientious parent. When we were 13 we were confirmed and had a family party.

It was totally meaningless.

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Hi Gabbi
You sound perfectly sane to me! I totally relate to your whole post. I was “hooked on proving” that I deserved to be heard and that I had a valid story. It took me over a year to get over that after I dealt with the damage and faced the truth. I STILL felt like I had to prove that I was justified. All my life I would give in to the defence of the people who hurt me so it is understandable that I had a hard time believing ME or even ‘hearing’ me. These people can give me all the b.s. song and dance they want today, and I don’t have to believe it. I KNOW what my situation was and I KNOW it was never fair to me. I also know that from what the Bible says, Jesus Christ would not defend them so I pity these people who do! If there is one thing I am sure of it is that Jesus is an advocate for truth and equal value and he never gave parents the right to abuse just because they are parents, however, if the world preached that, they would lose all thier control and that is not nearly as appealing as being in power over someone esle..
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

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[...] that they should make the effort everyone thinks that I should make, but I don’t understand why people stick up for them and try to shame me, when I HAVE legitimate reasons for not seeing them. This sick and dysfunctional family system has [...]
(NEW POST ON EFB)

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Hi, Darlene and everbody.
This site has been very good for my recovery.
I am a former amerikan living in Israel. After 40 years of living in a non Christian country I begin to see very big differances. So every body asks us to forgive the unforgivable, forgive distroying basic trust. Just realized that this Christian ethic of forgivness is Christian and has nothing to do with Jews!! Before Yom Kippor we go to people we may have hurt and beg them to forgive us. O Yom Kippor we beg God to forgive us. We don’t forgive so easily, yet it has creeped into our culture too. No dead or alive the people who hurt me have to beg me to forgive them. If I just write it off than I myself deny that what happened to me and that I myself are important

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I am so sick of people being so insensitive towards child abuse victims saying this like “stop blaming your parents” is one of the most insensitive things you can say because to me it implies making excuses for the abusive parents and a total disregard for what that person had to deal with. Sure we can’t blame our parents for everything, but they do play a MAJOR role in how you turn out. Parents have a responsibility to have the child’s physical AND emotional needs met. If they abuse and disrespect the child it causes all kinds of issues. So blaming parents is not completely immature and it’s silly to think abusive parents does not affect you in some way or another.

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Hear Hear! For me and my mom, it was mostly emotional stuff, covert stuff. So covert even SHE didn’t realize it.

And it did affect me. But my mom still says, “it’s in the past get over it.”

I’ll get over it when you admit you had problems and took them out on me. And APOLOGIZE.

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This is a very timely article as my mother just told me that she has forgiven me for “what [I] have done.” She says that I need to “acknowledge [my] role in this mess.” (All I have “done” is expose the dysfunction and ask for kindness).

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At my grandmother’s funeral, my aunt tried to get through to me, talking about how no one knew my mother like she and I did. It was when she said, “You know your mother loves you. And you know your father loves you.” that something in me just clicked. If I had it to do over again I would say, “You think this is about love?” But it was that moment when I knew no one was on my side, no one had ever been, and it was time for me to be on my own side and on my daughter’s side.

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