Being Told to Leave the Past in the Past



being told to leave the past in the past

Photo by Journi Roe Photography

“I will leave the past alone when it leaves me alone” Commenter on Emerging from Broken

I heard so many things against speaking about the past.  Questions which are actually statements and judgements more than they are actual questions such as “why do you want to talk about your problems in public” or “why do you want to air your dirty laundry in front of the whole world?” These judgements always concluded with some version of “you are only making yourself look like a fool.” Statements like that carried with them the all too familiar indication that the speakers (the judges) were concerned for ME; that they truly cared about what was “best for me”.

When I faced the cold hard truth, I began to comprehend the actuality reality; I realized that their concern was never for me. I didn’t need to make myself look like a fool, they did that for me all of my life. I think of the times they delighted in finding ways to embarrass me or humiliate me in front of others. In fact I think that some of their motives were based on discrediting me in case I ever revealed the truth.  They were not concerned about MY dirty laundry. They were only concerned about what I was exposing about THEM. They didn’t want me to expose THEIR dirty laundry.  And I think this would be a good time to add that if they didn’t KNOW what they were doing was wrong, if they didn’t “know any better” then WHY did they know that they needed to keep me quiet about it?

The biggest reason that people persuaded me not to talk about child abuse and dysfunctional family stuff was either because THEY didn’t want to be exposed or because they knew that if they sided with me or even if they validated me, then they would have to face their own dysfunctional family stuff. They were not trying to help me live a better life in freedom and wholeness with their “just let it go” directives. They were concerned with covering their own butts and staying in denial by not facing the truth and so they could keep getting away with all the stuff that everyone knows deep down is wrong.

The legal definitions of child abuse and neglect were a huge eye opener for me. But an even bigger eye opener was when I realized the lengths that so many people went to, to make sure I kept quiet.  Like I said, if they did not know their behaviour was wrong, they would not have spent so much energy making sure it didn’t come out in the open. 

I wish I had found a website or like this when I was searching for answers all those years. Nobody was talking about holding family accountable for abuse or about exposing abusers… everyone seemed to be talking about forgiveness or letting go of the past. “Live for today” and “acceptance is the answer” but nobody wanted to talk about WHAT we were supposed to accept! Were they really telling me to accept that people messed with my head, discounted and devalued me, took advantage of me, taught me that something was “wrong with me”, abused, mistreated and objectified me, and telling me that I should just “get over it”? In that dysfunctional recovery system, everyone endorsed “keeping the silence” and no one wanted to talk about spending some time actually validating the dysfunction first. I was never able to put the past behind me until I actually validated the damage that was done. There are even therapists out there that will refuse to work with you if you want to talk about the past!

I spent over 25 years of my adult life trying to let go and let God and get over it, accept it, forgive and feel sorry for the sick people in my past and I ended up having increasingly difficult chronic depressions.  I spent only 2 years facing and validate it and all the results that I ever could have hoped for were achieved. So what is so wrong with my way? At least I am living proof that it worked!

I speak and I write EFB because it is my story and MINE to tell. I celebrate the permission I give myself to tell my story after years of being silenced.  It is validating for me and for others to hear the benefits of living in truth. Finding, facing and embracing the truth is what set me free from oppression, depression and the low self esteem that hindered me all of my life before I faced the lies so I could embrace this truth.

I will speak my truth. I will tell my story. Look at my life today! I am free. I am living a full and happy life bursting with wholeness and freedom in the sunlight of the truth and no longer in the shadow of the lie.  The fact that they are not happy for me is actually more proof of the dysfunctional system they live in. Like crabs in a bucket, clambering over each other to get out but only pulling each other back down because really, no one wants another little crab to escape into freedom if the darkness of the bucket is the fate of the rest. Well too bad for them. I finally stood up to them and stood up for me. I finally chose ME over them. I escaped. I don’t live in that darkness anymore and it feels GREAT to have the sun on my face!

Note: speaking up for myself and drawing boundaries does not always mean that I have to confront controlling and manipulative people; in many cases they walked away from the relationship as soon as they sensed that I had caught on to the disrespect and devaluing treatment. They skulked away like guilty dogs, which tells a tale now doesn’t it?  

Please share your thoughts about being told to leave the past in the past.

Another snapshot of truth;

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing


Legal definitions of Child Neglect and Child Abuse and also see US department of Health

Related Posts: Standing up to Damaging Advice and Unhelpful Trauma Directives

Forgive the Abusers ~ A bit of a Rant

Manipulative and Controlling People and some abuse tactics

Categories : Freedom & Wholeness



I’ve come up against that, a friend knows how bad my background was and how damaging it has been to me but he still tends to say “yes but you must move on” – I think it bumps up against his own unresolved stuff. I am fortunate that I have the support of a very understanding clergyman who can see what I am trying to do and he has noticed changes in me saying I’m becoming much stronger and confident. He also gave me permission to put aside the whole issue of forgiveness as it is too soon. I have tried to forgive before but I found it stuffed all my feelings down and I couldn’t heal. I did try all that stuff, acceptance, forgiveness, giving over to God etc and it just doesn’t work. I was blissfully unaware of my false belief system, now I’ve discovered it and brought it down so many things make so much sense now that didn’t before – why self affirmation talk wouldn’t sink in, why I couldn’t take a compliment, why I couldn’t like myself and much more. I say now “I am moving on but it will take a while so bear with me.”


Thanks for talking about it,,with every word you share I get better,,


Thank you so much for that post. It is so true… it is not about ME its about THEIR comfort. They don’t want face the true, they want quiet safe life without conferences… So why you “put dirt past into the light” “since we give our life to Jesus everything change, don’t you think?” …so why you come back to past “probably you didn’t forgive properly” its my mom comments why I after 30 years keeping silence have decided to tell I have been sexually abused. Its so true all that 30 years “let it go”, “concentrate on NOW”, “forgiveness”, “be positive” “live for Jesus and serve others” doesn’t help !!! to sort out my hidden depression, suicidal thoughts, and PTSD. My body remember !!! even my mouth keep quiet. But since I have decided to validate myself and my past and have stopped contact my toxic abusers things have started changing immediately. Of course its not easy start talking and break the silence… huge gilt come… gilt always my toxic mom implement on me. Overwhelming coz its not easy face the true those who you trusted the most betrayed you and actually never loved you. Buy you deserve integrity and clarity, need discover ( be aware about) the true about your past and tell the true …even they want keep you quiet…and they will do everything to make THEM not YOU shine.
….I have decided: “This Little Light of Mine I’m gonna let it shine”


OMG! I feel like this was written for me and my Son. I escaped years ago but didn’t realize what had happened to me wasn’t my fault. I got married and we had a beautiful little boy. My wife passed away 2 and a half years later. My family happily walked right in and took up where they left off. Seven horrible years later and I hit the wall. I couldn’t figure out why we weren’t moving on after such a loss. My 9 year old son asked me why no one liked me? He said that was all he heard when my mom was looking after him.


It’s funny how folks will use God to fit their own selfish purposes. I’m a believer and The Creator is the one who gives me the courage to face the facts that my parents and grandparents raped me repeatedly when I was just a little girl. For many years I asked, I questioned the grief inside I carry. For many years I asked my siblings about our childhood, searching for answers. My traumatic childhood left me crippled, left me confused and put to death the little girl of me. It was in my early, mid forties God allowed the flashes of these horrible events to come. Pieces of my life coming together like a jig saw puzzle. It is my God who tells me to talk about it, to feel the pain and to know that I can experience a good life after this hell. Letting go for me involves talking about it and it doesn’t include me approaching my parents for any validation of what they did, for I already know what they did. I don’t need their permission to grieve, nor do I need their approval to live. I do forgive them but I don’t trust them, especially my mother who hasn’t changed from her controlling and manipulating ways. I get angry because of the life they took from me, all the years I can’t remember. I get angry because I can’t recognize myself sometimes in photos because of dissociative disorder. It makes me very angry that this evil was done to me. But my God lets me know that all these emotions are a path to my healing. He helps me to experience the anger in a healthy way and even when I fall short He always reminds me that I can get back up and keep moving towards complete healing. My past is a part of me and always will be. I will not deny myself for the sake of anyone feeling uncomfortable. If you love me then that love will encompass all of me, past, present and future….Thanks Darlene. Please remember me as I continue to heal.


The vast majority of my friends are not comfortable at all with me talking about my past. they dont want to acknowledge it or discuss it. they dont want to admit that it happened and that it was terrible. It makes them uncomfortable so they change the subject quickly. I often wondered why people kept disappearing out of my life with no explanation. Now i know why. Me talking about being abused hit a nerve with them and they didnt want to deal with their own issues so they just hid or walked away. Our society has more escape mechanisms than Harry houdini and everyone has an answer even though their own lives are a wreck and they havent worked on their own issues. I dont let anyone speak into my life anymore unless i fully respect them and know that they have my best interest at heart. I have found that those kind of people are few and far between now because the vast majority of people we know have not worked on their issues so they certainly cant handle me talking about being sexually abused and being abandoned and betrayed by my family. I dont even do it in a blaming way. I am just sharing what happened to me and how much damage it has caused to my soul and my spirit. I work hard to get better and work through all the pain and suffering from many years of abuse. As i get older it becomes very apparent to me very quickly that the vast majority of people i know do not support me in my recovery. they dont even ask how its going. I have realized that they dont really want to know because it would force them to look at their own issues which they dont want to do. Its amazing how many people are living a lie. Its astonishing to me that people wont own their feelings and wont be honest about them. I am astounded that the country(U.S) i thought valued morals and honesty and integrity so highly has thrown those values out the window and they no longer have much meaning at all. People will lie, cheat, steal and disrespect others if they think they can get away with it. I am getting better and healing, albeit slowly while those around me continue to get worse and wont acknowledge their issues and wont be honest about their emotions and feelings let alone validate mine. I dont have a single man in my life who validates me or my feelings or my pain and suffering. Fortunately i have a few very kind hearted women who continue to encourage and support me through my recovery but i can honestly say that i dont have a single man supporting me in getting better. I will carry on nevertheless and work through my pain and hurt and try and become whole by revealing and sharing the truth about how hard life has been for me and how much pain and suffering i go through almost every day just trying to get better. I lost a friend to colon cancer yesterday. Its been tough watching people die that i have known for years. I feel like life is starting to slip away from me with so many friends dying recently and i need to grab it and hold on before it slips away from me too.


Wow! I’ve heard similar statements & judgments from my family! They don’t want to face the truth, but in the mean time I was suffering with depressions & anxiety. The focus was on me not them. “You let things fester” and “Why are you bringing it up?” Like not talking about the damage, will let it go. Any time, I bring up hurtful/abusive incidents in the past, I was blamed for bringing it up or that happened years ago.I was unable to heal, because I continued to take on the guilt & shame of the abuse.

First of all, I could not acknowledge that I was abused, because I was taught to stuff my feelings & deny it happened. I believe the consequences of that, is at the root cause of my depressions & anxiety. It has been liberating to have discovered this site, because I’m facing the truth of the emotional & sexual abuse and validating it for myself. Believing myself and knowing the truth is a big step for me. Second guessing & doubting myself is part of the process. When I started to ACKNOWLEDGE & BELIEVE I’ve been mistreated by my family, it was like my memories came flooding back into my consciousness!

For years, I’ve questioned whether I was sexually abused or not and now I know the truth! I had an intuition that something traumatic happened to me, but had no recall of the incident, until 30 years later. I’ve thought I was flawed & convinced myself that I was the problem. I was getting that message at school & at home! My parents even discouraged me from getting therapy & taking medication for my depression. They thought it was a “crutch” and I was “weak”. Recently, my Aunt told me that my mom wasn’t going to tell me about my cousin attempting suicide & being in a psych hospital. My aunt told me she stood up for me by saying, “she is stronger than you think”.

I’m 43 yrs old now & don’t need my mom treating me like a child! She controlled too much, when I was growing up & my aunt actually told me “she didn’t let you grow up”…That says it all! It’s sinking in as to how I was sheltered and grew up believing Over Protection/Control was Love, and at the same time, they emotionally put me down and pushed me around. I’m feeling very emotional & anxious, as I write this. It’s like I have to relive my feelings through the filter of truth of what happened to me. Wow!..I get what you are saying Darlene! It’s hard work but, I do believe I’m getting stronger because I’m doing the work!



I feel the same way when you said, “I can’t recognize myself sometimes in photos because of dissociative disorder.” I recently looked at a family photo and I almost couldn’t recognize me. It wasn’t so much the appearance, but the memory of how I felt. I could see for the first time how I pretended to be happy for the camera. I had a fake smile. Although my family & I looked nice, I knew that wasn’t real. I remember the photographer telling us to smile many times. If that’s not telling in itself?! Anyway, pictures from my past strike me that way- past memories & feelings are triggered. I’m realizing that the past is part of me too, and sorting, processing & coming to terms with the truth is part of the healing process.


Thanks again for shining light on this shadow of deceit … I have always wanted to tell my story, but I knew if I wanted to keep any kind of connection with my family of origin. I had better play the game their way… lie, hide, shame… I tried, all it got me was pain, confusion and more of the same. It’s taken me a long time to finally walk away, over 40 years. And it feels wonderful to take my power back. The past has left it’s scars and I struggle with putting the pieces together, but I can see clearly now. What you wrote about here is so true I always knew it but didn’t want to believe it. My story is not one of sexual abuse, but abuse is abuse and it shapes how we see ourselves… It’s true when the student is ready the teacher will appear. My thinking shifted and I found your sight. Thanks for being real. What a breath of fresh air!


Hi Everyone,
I love that quote at the very beginning that a commenter had written. I have had some recent setbacks. New discoveries about my sisters and their lack of willingness to hold my mom accountable. They were not the scapegoats…. I wonder how many people here are the scapegoats? I don’t recall anyone claiming they were the golden child and the hell they went through as a result.

My point is only that I think my sisters prefer to just let it go. They neither one have anxiety or depression. My middle sister has suggested to me that since something happened 30 years ago, I/we had to let it go and stick to only current issues. Now, I’m wondering what the excuse is for that. Why? I think she feels I/we have to forgive and forget because it was so long ago. I think she would say that’s what God wants. She doesn’t realize how much of the revelation I’ve had has been a gift from God. He orchestrated it. He showed me things I wouldn’t have known or seen otherwise. That doesn’t offer much to the “it was so long ago” excuse. He knows I’m damaged. As much as I beg him to heal my brain and heart, it’s still a process. I believe He is working in me to get there, but, brushing it under the rug is NOT a path to freedom. It’s something I’ll trip over eventually. The bible even says you can’t heal a wound by pretending it’s not there. I’m not pretending anymore.

All my life I’ve heard my mom bad mouth her mother. Even as recently as last year. On the side though, she runs to her crying and lying. Creating drama. Her mom is the only one left that buys into her crap, and her friends of course. That’s a whole other talk show though. It’s just been on my mind lately.
Peace and hugs,


Hi Sam
I think when forgiveness is taught in a false way, it only encourages to stuff the feelings and pain down and as you say, there is no healing. The key for me was in discovering my belief system ~ all of what you say here was true for me too. Moving on IS about facing it! Thank you so much for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Helen
It is great to hear that you are getting better!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Meerkat
Thank you for sharing this. I love this and I too decided to let my little light shine! It’s funny, about that little childrens song ~ when I think about it, it was the adults in my life that forced me to “hide it under a bush”. I was never permitted to shine ~ never encouraged, always shut down. I feel like I “re-lit” my own lamp by doing this healing work! It was never us that was wrong to talk, it was them that were wrong to discourage the talking.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Blair
It was like getting hit by a truck when I realized that the TRUTH was that it wasn’t my fault. It was huge! (and it led me to so many other realizations too) I am so sorry that you lost your wife and that your family spoke that way in front of your son! How wonderful though that he was able to tell you about it! Those little things help so much when it comes to getting out of that life sucking fog we have lived in when it comes to dysfunctional family stuff!
Thank you so much for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Will
Excellent points! Thanks for sharing them! The way that people use God to manipulate other people and situations makes me sick. I often say “who would want to believe in a god like that?” Why would anyone want to “worship” and trust a god that would ask us to accept being abused that way? Why would GOD want adults to get away with such vile acts???
I agree with you and thank you so much for your comments! I will remember you!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Dave
Healing can be the loneliest time in a person’s life. I look back and see how my denial was used for my comfort. I look back and see how the spin I was constantly in took up all my thinking time so that I couldn’t actually get to the bottom of this. There were so many lies deep down there that I could not sort out the true from the false. It is true that people don’t want to see themselves through the pain of others. The vast majority would like to just stay in denial. You are on the road Dave. I see changes in you since you first started sharing here. The absence of pain is not always the greatest measuring stick for progress. Please keep sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

They always keep the focus on you, but always in an invalidating way… it is as if they believe if we figure out we have value, they will lose the power they have over us. Some families totally support going to therapy and then they use that knowledge as “proof” of crazy. Other families teach that only crazy people “need” therapy. Whatever it takes to keep the control. I have seen parents teach their kids totally oposite things to each kid in the family because what worked on one kid, didn’t work on the other kid..
I see so many changes in you too Sonia! You ARE doing the work and it will pay off bigger and bigger!
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Brenda
You word this in a very deep way. You say that you “KNEW” that if you wanted to keep any kind of connection with family of origin that you better play the game their way ~ and that is exactly how this works. When we are kids we know that rejection means death and when we grow up we don’t realize we can now take care of ourselves. (because they don’t ever want us to realize that or they would lose “the puppet”) Abuse is abuse. All grooming processes are the same deep down. All damage has to be acknowledged and healed.
I am so glad you are here, thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Mimi
One of the things that happened in the healing process is that I started to see the truth about other people in my life that I thought were doing so much better than I was. The truth about struggle can be hidden. I hid mine for years. Depression and anxiety are not the only things that reflect emotional struggle either. There is a list a mile long.

Again I say what kind of God would want this stuff brushed under the carpet? What does “so long ago” have to do with anything! These are all such great examples of the beliefs we have to face and overcome. (thanks for bringing them up!)

My brother was the golden child but he is no less messed up than I was… his issues are different than mine, the way they controlled him was different too. He is the biggest bully and dysfunctional parent … being the golden child didn’t do him any favors…
Thanks for sharing Mimi!
Hugs, Darlene


Still lurking, soaking up the wisdom.

I’m struggling a lot with the messages I received not in my birh family but in the second foster family I was placed with.

I was supposed to go and visit them next month but i realised that I’m just not bothered if I see any of them ever again.

Contact has been once every 5 years on average, they’re in another country whose language I’m no longer familiar with. I don’t know them and they don’t know me, they never have and never wanted to.

Still I feel like such a lowlife for appearing ungrateful for the little help they did give me (with them for 7 years, 11-18)

This is long already but I’ve never dared air this so hope it’s ok to vomit it all out here.

I never felt like I belonged there, all of my physical needs were met but can’t recall any genuine love of kindness.

I was so terrified of being rejected again that I twisted myself into a pretzel shape trying to fit in – it was never good enough, there was always someone else who had already done better than me….

I’d been through so much at such a young age – so who in their right mind would think the way to encourage a child like that would be to always let her know just how far behind she was and always would be, to lower her non existent self esteem by putting her on diet after diet, critizing her (admittedly) odd looks, telling her that bullying at school was all her own fault for being an odd loner, not allowing any talk of the past (it’s done now, no need to drag it up again)

No, no need for you to drag it up but I was howling inside when you rejected counselling offered to me, to have someone to talk to about it all sounded wonderful to me even at 11 years old.

But no, you always knew best didn’t you, you with you ‘you’ve made your bed, don’t come crying to us’ mentality.

First chance I had I left there, moved abroad and never went back – there has to be a reason for me to have done that and not wanting them in my life over the last 20 years.

Is what I think in my more reasonable moments but then immediately beat myself up for being so ungrateful.

No one else would have taken me on at my age, with my problems and without them I would have never learnt how to at least present a ‘normal’ facade to the world but still.

Ah, rambling on here, apologies again, think reading this article/post tonight set something in motion to get this story out of me.


Hi R.
Yes. Like I always say, healing is the answer. The real solution is always facing and acknowledging damage, validating self and healing. I am so sorry that this happened to you; you were an innocent child! You said a mouthfull when you said “who in their right mind would think the way to encourage a child……..” exactly. It was not us that had something missing in us. Not us that had something “Odd” going on now was it.
I beat myself up with “ungrateful” for so so long. But gratitude had nothing to do with it. Having or not having gratitude did not help me until I validated that I had a reason to be angry, sad, bitter. I did not fully live until I accepted that what happened to me was wrong and that it did damage.
thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


I have been told countless times to let the past go. This coming from a mother that still lives in denial about my dysfunctional past. Thanks so much for this article.


Thanks Darlene – I will ! The last sentence you wrote gave me kind of an epiphany. to me, no pain equals being healed but clearly i am healing in the midst of the pain and there may always be some pain but it does not mean that i cant heal from it and have it not effect me so much. The wisdom you have is amazing. the way you are able to communicate so effectively is what helps make this site so valuable. Your feedback is incredibly effective, helpful and encouraging and is so needed ! You are wonderful !!




Some days I will have insane triggers, bringing on anxiety attacks – not as severe as they used to be – but I am still experiencing them. Many times I think its brought on by the false guilt that I somehow did my family wrong or disappointed them – and then I have to snap myself out of it to look at everything objectively … again. Do they feel wrong or disappointed that they rejected me?? Who can really know – but I am guessing that they don’t because in a year and a half, I have heard nothing from them.

I like the idea of not having them in my life. I told them only this, “If you think I’m the liar, then I don’t want relationship – why would I want a relationship with people who think I’m the liar, or worse, crazy.” Never heard from them, I got my answer.

Being told to get over it or to forgive and move on is debilitating to someone whose soul is broken, whose heart is BROKEN! And its frustrating having no one who wants to hear you, or hears you but cannot understand what you’ve been through. This site and meeting other women on this site helped me to really start healing … moving me to seek therapy. To finally see that the abuse I suffered was even worse than I thought it was (which is typical.)

This kind of abuse should be talked about – people need to be made aware of the damage it does. I truly believe that it changed who we might have been. But the good news is, it is never too late to be who you could have been.


Thank you.


Brenda and Darlene,
You mentioned playing the game. I’ve just in the last 48 hours really let it settle in my soul that the game involves players I didn’t think it involved and there isnt anything I can do about it. I let it define me for several days. I questioned the game. It’s so bizarre that I actually thought it in my mind…. this game. And, then I read it here. I know, it’s no big revelation. I’m forever amazed at the likenesses in the lives of the people who come here and share. My mom recently pulled some crap that involved singling me out. She doesn’t even know I’m aware. She’s storing it up in her arsenal to use at a later date… to shock me. It IS A GAME to her. So elementary.

Thank you for pointing out that people do hide behind their sorrow and dysfunction ~ that I don’t know what they might be suffering from. The truth is, my golden child sister didn’t escape unscathed either. She’s just “golden” enough that she doesn’t see herself as having any problems (from my perspective anyway). I am not so good at brushing things under the rug. It got me nowhere for 43 years. But, I have to keep the mindset that if they want to trip over it again and again, that’s okay…. but, don’t expect me to go around that mountain again and again. I have a CHOICE… even without my sisters!! It’s been a tough week or so, but, it’s sinking in I think!! Thank you for pointing out that others likely have hidden “treasures”!!! I’m finally getting it that because they want to continue in the game, doesn’t obligate me to and it doesn’t make my feelings or actions any less valid. That was a big sticking point for me recently. I had to reaffirm things ALL over again!! sheesh!

I’m sorry they never came back to try to repair your relationship with them. It is painful and heartbreaking. I am so glad you posted what you did above. I needed to see it from the perspective that if they think I’m the liar or the crazy one, what makes it appealing to me?? That’s a form of self respect I hope to be able to feel deep in my soul someday. You have made an excellent point for me, so thank you for that!!
Love and peace and hope to everyone,


I was always told this. I tried very hardto do it even. Then the past kept happening!! The past was never over!!!i wish I would have read this a couple of Christmases ago!!!!
Thank you


I couldnt agree more with this post. Its ridiculous that some people believe just avoiding the past will heal you. Thats not true or healthy. in fact it is the opposite because you have not faced it. The more I felt I was avoiding my past the worse I felt the more mistakes I made. I spent more time burying the past and “trying” to move on then actually living.


“I spent over 25 years of my adult life trying to let go and let God and get over it, accept it, forgive and feel sorry for the sick people in my past and I ended up having increasingly difficult chronic depressions. I spent only 2 years facing and validate it and all the results that I ever could have hoped for were achieved. So what is so wrong with my way? At least I am living proof that it worked!”
yes DARLENE, i spent the same years as you too and I am still here like you alive, breathing and beautiful inside..because nobody knows these people very well but us.G


Mimi ~ You’re so welcome. The self respect you speak of is a beautiful gift we give ourselves – it starts with the knowing that you are more than they think you are and you deserve happiness and respect as much as the next guy – maybe you already know this, but if not, I hope you know it now. My husband and I just talked about this again tonight in fact – these severed relationships, so it was a delight to get some feedback on it. Thank you. 🙂 I refuse to be the one to fix what I didn’t break – it’s not mine to fix. It’s theirs whether they see it or not. I grew up feeling like it was always my responsibility to make things right with my mother even though she did all the abusing (and lying) – I have learned that this is not my responsibility, just as its not my responsibility to make amends with the family or origin who basically rejected me when I called them on how they think of me.


You mentioned to Dave that healing is often a lonely place. I just want to comment on that loneliness because lately I’ve been really feeling it. I finally get jolted back to the reality that I don’t have to have allies to be honest with myself about what went on, or to stand up to it and claim the TRUTH. I seem to somehow pull strength from the tips of my toes after a time of mourning people. The light bulb goes back on, and I realize once again that even though my circle continues to shrink, I can still do this. I have to do it. I was only existing before. If someone wants to tell me I should be back in that place of mere existance, I probably don’t want them around anyway. Even if it is my sister(s). I’m not turning back now, not even for them. Thanks for mentioning that loneliness is in fact a part of the process.

Rise’, thank you. I needed to read these words today!
Blessings to everyone,


“I will speak my truth. I will tell my story. Look at my life today! I am free. I am living a full and happy life bursting with wholeness and freedom in the sunlight of the truth and no longer in the shadow of the lie. . . .I finally chose ME over them. I escaped. I don’t live in that darkness anymore and it feels GREAT to have the sun on my face!” Love this!! Thanks for speaking out!


Hi J.
Welcome to EFB!
There is another regular commenter who uses the initial “J” ~ so if you get comments that don’t make sense, it would be because I am the only one who can tell which one of you is which! If you would like to change your screen name, you can do so at any time by changing it in the comment form.
Hope you will share with us often.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Bittersweet
Welcome to EFB
I totally related to what you just said! I spent WAY more time trying to avoid the past than I did living! Great way to put it.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Ann
Welcome to EFB! Glad you are here
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sue and Emmy
Welcome to EFB
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

I had this experence too. Going back and forth with “were they right about me?” the good news is that I never think about it anymore. It takes time to undo that many years of brainwashing that it was YOU. It wasn’t me ~ I know that for sure today. I sometimes wonder if I will ever run out of things to write about that illustrate that fact.. I think about writing as “chopping holes in the fog that the lies create”. There were so many things that I came to realize I was in the fog about and so many things that served to disprove the lies I believed as a result of that brainwashing. bUT all of this has gone towards my freedom!
Thanks for sharing! Hugs, Darlene

Hi G
Beautiful inside and outside!
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone!
I want to point out that we have a new page on emerging from broken. I am introducing a new EFB and survivor community event called “Freedom ROCKS” You can read all about it on the freedom rocks about page (button under header graphic) to see what it is, how it came about and how you can participate!

I have also created a new category (called “freedom rocks”) for this event and all the posts, stories and comments will be found in that category. I hope you will check it out. The first post by Larualee is published and can be viewed here: http://emergingfrombroken.com/what-freedom-rocks-means-to-me-by-lauralee-hunter-rivet/

If you belong to or run a survivor community or if you have a like minded blog of your own, please share this positive and self-empowering event!
Hugs, Darlene


“It’s in the past, get over it.”

That was a line I heard many times from my friends and family. I would become furious whenever someone told me to. I would think, “Don’t they understand that if I could ‘get over it,’ I would?”

I tried for years to get over that I was raped at 7 years old. I tried to leave the 8 men who had molested me in the past…but, just as you said, they would not leave me alone! The rape haunted me. The molestation was in every single thing I thought. It changed me.


Loneliness … I experience that – and its hard. I miss the idea of family – but not mine in particular. I have a loving husband and great kids – so am not lonely at their expense, I am referring to the loneliness from loss of family of origin and even a few friends – all of which fail to see or refuse to see the truth. Trouble is with insidious abusers with NPD – the only ones who really know the truth are the abuser and the victim.


With all of the abuse that I suffered at the hands of my family, the ugliest problem that I’ve encountered is that the way I was raised has left me susceptable to all the other abusive people in the world. It’s almost like they branded me with a sign inviting other abusers to line up for thier turn to use me. Seeing that brought the roof down on me. It made some of the difficulties in my life seem like my fault. In the end, I decided that I’d place all the useles blame at my families feet but I would take responsibility for my actions, good or bad, and move into the future alone. And then came the lonliness. My counsellor has said that this idea of lonliness is actually my true self finally being allowed to be sad about all the things I was lied to about. It is the residue of a final recognition of THE TRUTH! These feelings must be respected. They must be truely experienced and really allowed to be felt by the real me. They have been! And it hurts like you all know it does! As each new day fades into the past, I do feel better knowing that I am with my best friend through all this. ME! I saw the truth! I faced the reality! I faced the pain! And it is getting better! Every day since I finally stood up to my abusers gets sweeter and more positive. I deserve to be happy. I will look at this lonliness as evidence that I am on the right track. Physical surgery hurts, and so Emotional surgery hurts too. The pain will subside, it will ease, WE CAN GET THROUGH THIS!!! …and we are. Here come the tears. And thats okay by me. It means it was real!

And what of the lonliness? It is a necessary evil. It will fade into the past, just like all of the memories of abuse from my family.


I was in an abusive relationship for 25 years (Married for 20 of those years). I was 15 when I met him and he controlled every aspect of my life. I refused to believe I was responsible for everything wrong with his life. I figured out (with help) that it was him, not me, who was causing his anger toward me &, knowing that I had to get out because of the kids, I reached out to find out how…(thank you to the Coalition Against Domestic Violence and their support group and therapists. During my time with him, I never told anyone but my therapists about him and bad it really was. I was so embarrassed about how I let him control, manipulate and degrade me. I’ll never forget when I finally got him out our good friend asked me “What did you do to make him act like that?” It was my fault. When I finally told my parents, they also didn’t believe me. I covered for him for all those years to hide his treatment of me, as I always covered for my family.
Now I am married 12 years to a good man who I used to talk to about it but now he doesn’t want me talk about it, does not want to hear about my dysfunctional family and yet, accuses me of not telling him when something happens with my family.
I cannot forget those horrible years. I can repressit until there is a trigger that send me into silence. I cannot explain to anyone what those triggers are because I am not able to talk. My ex passed away suddenly 2 years ago and I just wished that he would have just said that he was sorry for how he treated me. I was so scared of him, I couldn’t talk to him – even after the separation and divorce. Now, I have to be everything to my kids and grandchildren. I do not talk about their father to my kids who witnessed many things that I couldn’t hide from them. I do not feel whole and never will. It is so hard to stand up for myself, still, and easier to let it be, sweep it under the rug and not deal. It makes everyone else happier. I am agonizing about even writing this and letting it out into the world.


Note: speaking up for myself and drawing boundaries does not always mean that I have to confront controlling and manipulative people; in many cases they walked away from the relationship as soon as they sensed that I had caught on to the disrespect and devaluing treatment. They skulked away like guilty dogs, which tells a tale now doesn’t it?

Wow, this comment is so true. I experienced this with GC sister. Actually both of them( I have 2 N sisters), but for different reasons.
When I went LC with my NM, well, you know that negative energy that was once directed at you, must go somewhere, no? So, my younger sister, a bona fied GC, was putting healthy boundaries up with NM, who was trying to interject herself into her parenting and her marriage. Also, calling GC a liar, and claiming she was never informed when sporting events with the children were going on.Using facebook to spy on her children, then denying she knew how to use it!(All upset b/c my nephew had a “black girl” on his FB friends,lol!) On top of that,NM was doing the She said, she said thing, between the 2 Nsisters. So, they were pretty pissed of at NM. My older NS called me,and I told her about what I had just discovered about NPD. You could literally just go down the check list for NM and, check, check,check! So, I had the rare opportunity of going out to dinner with them both and discussing NM! They both acknowledged that they knew, to a certain extent, how NM tried to alienate me from family members, bullied me, was physically and very verbally and emotionally abusive. But, they could not account for their own actions nor give a genuine apology for the parts they played and had continued to play. We left there with a “let byognes be bygones”, and promise to make a new start. I can see how wrong that was, not holding them accountable. Older NS is a terrible tattletale, and delighted in driving a wedge between myself and my Dad. Any information she could use to paint me in a bad light, nothing too small. She does it with extended family as well, especially those I have close relationships with. All learned at the knee of NM, who had a pathological need to turn my Father against me, since birth, it would seem. Later did I realize, b/c she couldn’t manipulate and trick me, like she did the others, I was arch enemy number one!(I might reveal the real, mean her!) And I reminded her of her successful sister, whom she still dispises, both of them 80+ years of age!
So, older NS is married to a guy who has never supported the family and is an alcoholic. She is for some reason blessed with a child, in her mid 40’s. Recently, BIL got pulled over for his 4th DUI, lost my NS’s car to the police, which she was still paying on, and escaped jailtime on a technicality! He is a day drinker, so that translates into picking my nephew up at school after drinking!(didnt know at the time, or would have reported it) Thank God he lost his liscence again. While it had been temporarily restored, he was in a car accident with my nephew, luckily hit on BIL’s side. So my poor nephew has developmental delays which NS ignores, b/c she is ALL ABOUT APPEARANCES! 8 years old, cant ride a bike, wipe his bum, dress or eat properly, could never color like other kids, etc. Very poor fine motor skills. Victim of neglect! And NS goes to a wacky church that started it’s own school, 3 kids in his class,and no one on the school register has degree in special ed. So, he is not being screened properly. Needless to say, this is upsetting (with my job, I am a mandated reporter), so discussing with little GCNS, not to gossip, but to do something about this. Talking about having a meeting with older NS, especially since the state would be out to investigate NS’s home, if hubby was being put on house arrest. Then, GC turns on me like a rapid dog, lashing out, “What do YOU have against our sister? Why cant you just leave her alone? What has she ever done to you?” Um, lots of things, but the issue is child neglect and endangerment.
About the same time, I had informed GCNS about my mother’s latest trick. Whenever GC called, and she saw her on caller ID, she would say to my fahter, “Oh! There’s GC calling. I wonder what she wants from us now?” Ever so subtly trying to turn my father against GC, to punish her for putting up boundaries, and attempting to live her own life. Something she had done to me my whole life, which angered me. I thought GCe should know, and nip her in the bud.
Then GCNS goes into a rage, which she is famous for, lashing out at me for “trying to turn her against my mother”. No. GCNS recounted many events with NM, at that dinner, in which she recognized her NPD, and her meanness. She just wasnt used to being on the receiving end. I did not say those mean things about her. I received more than a few heartless, judgemental emails from her, and that was that. Because I had an answer for everything she accused me of, or denied about NM. Concrete examples. Therefore, she had no choice but to walk away, and remain GC.
She then informed older NS that I was “out to get her” and I think she forwarded an email I had written GC stating why we needed to step in and try to help our nephew, and older NS went no contact with me, lickety split. lol. When you think of the lunacy that was and is her life, and the little things she tried to blow up about me, to my father, it is insane.
I notice that certain relatives are distant from me, which was at first upsetting, but now it’s ok. They would certainly not bring peace into my life.
So, NC with both nisters, and very LC with NM. I only stay LC with NM for my fathers sake. She isolates him, so she can control the information he receives. They both have cell phones, but she carries his. I try to stop by when I know she will be out, but when she is there, you should see her answer the door, with a big shit eating grin, like, I’ve won again. You cant have access to your own father…………..
Thanks for listening!

P.S. though nephew is thankfully not exposed to a drunk driver anymore, I still worry about him. I discussed it with my family doctor, who thinks, if my nephew appears happy, which he does, it may bring pain into his life to be thought of as different, calling attention to all he cant do. Does this seem right? He is a smart boy, and does well in school, a good reader, but poor penmanship. And the other things mentioned. Does this seem right,to leave it alone?


The last line you wrote “Trouble is with insidious abusers with NPD – the only ones who really know the truth are the abuser and the victim.”

This is sooooo painfully true. It’s also what makes it a lonely place to be. No one really gets it. (outside of EFB). Even my mom’s counselor, who I and my sister have both emailed about my mother, doesn’t get it. She has a master’s degree ~ yet, it eludes her. I even came right out and told her she would never get it, I got so frustrated trying to explain it. I gave up. She was another person to add to the list of “invalidators”. I don’t even know why my mom ever sought counseling. I did read in a documentary once that NPD mom’s seek counseling only to find validation in their abuse ~ to get confirmation from an “educated professional” that what they are doing is okay. Trouble with that is, my mother’s an actress. And, she only tells the counselor half of what’s going on. She fails to tell her the crappy things SHE does to instigate and stir up trouble wherever she goes. She only tells her of the consequences she’s suffering for being a stellar human being. So insidious!

I feel the same. I have been in abusive relationships for what seems like my whole life now. Even professionally. The one man I finally said “I do” to, who has none of the characteristics of the abusive men I had dated in the past, has also really let me down. I thought I was free of abusive relationships. My husband isn’t abusive in the same sense. He’s not outwardly abusive. But, he’s emotionally unavailable at times, and he had an affair for four months last year. Even though he’s everything the other men were not, he still managed to rip my heart out. 2011 was the big year of pain and discovery, and I’m so glad it’s over.


Hi Janie
Welcome to emerging from broken!
Wow! Lots of dysfunction in those family dynamics! Thanks for sharing these examples!
~ For the readers ~ N is narcissist NS is Narcissistic sister and M is mother.
NPD is Narcissistic personality disorder. I don’t know what GC is.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Barb
Welcome to EFB
Letting it out is the first step. I thought that I would never be whole either but thankfully I was wrong. One of the things that you said here struck me; you said that you were embarrassed about how you “let him control you” ~ we dont’ LET this happen we are groomed to believe it is normal or that we deserve it. Like your friend who asked what you did to cause him to act that way ~ these are the beliefs that we are combating in order to change our lives. It is so terribly invalidating to be accused of causing the problem AND to not be believed. I had to finally realize that I never LET any of it happen, I was groomed from such a young age to accept and be compliant that I really had no choice until I finally saw the value in validating me and facing the real truth.
So glad you are here! Please share often
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Rise
I miss the idea of having loving parents and relationships with my siblings too. That is a tough part of all this. One of the key things for me has been to stand up for myself to the point where I didn’t need anyone else to believe me. It is funny that so many of my family has backed away, but not because they think I am lying, (which is what I used to think) but because they KNOW I am not.
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Blair
That is exactly what EFB is about. The only way that I escaped attracting other abusers was to change my belief system. The trauma of being devalued and the way that I was regarded caused me to believe that it was something about me too.
I love what your counsellor said about loneliness~ that really resonates with me! And I love how you say that you have been your best friend through all this; me too!
Thank you so much for sharing all of your comments!
Hugs, Darlene


Sorry if my post was so long. And I’m still angry about all of this, I guess that comes across. Why does this have to be my lot in life?
It is amazing to me, how much we all have in common. Why does this script play itself out, over and over again? How strange it all is, when you think about it!


I just want to say I’m so thankful for this post. The timing is impeccable. I was really needing some strength to process my sisters’ indifference and lack of action. Since my middle sister has said it was so long ago, and she only intends to hold our mom accountable for recent offenses, I felt defective. She was basically telling me that was the best way for me too. I’m not in agreement with her now, but the real breakthrough is, I don’t question myself on it. I don’t have this internal dialogue saying what a screw up I am because I can’t let go of things from 30 years ago (because SHE said I should). I don’t HAVE to agree, and I’m not at all OBLIGATED to do what either of them think is “right”. I don’t constantly berate myself for not being able to let it “slide off”. I have found such incredible freedom in that small step. In finally saying, “look, I CAN choose my own path”. It doesn’t matter if my sister(s) agree. Simple and profound, all at the same time. Thank you for this post!!


Hi Mimi,
Your right on!..You don’t have to agree with your sister or let it go..I feel the same way, and I’m not berating myself, like I use to out of guilt & shame. So what if they don’t agree…they certainly choose their own way by not facing the truth! That’s unhealthy!! Although the truth can hurt it is better than living in denial…I prayed before coming to EFB for God to “open my eyes” and I believe he is answering me!
Your doing great Mimi!
Hugs, Sonia


I too believe God had a big hand in bringing me here. It was just to coincidental. I saw a little link on a friends FB post, and I clicked on it. I have never seen that link since. I know God could see me floundering and so uncertain about life and my future, and my past. I was surrounded by constant confusion and pain. I couldn’t even stay in school. I was a mess. He knew I was on the brink of seeking eternal relief and it was time to intervene. Oh, how thankful I am that he did. And, thank you for the compliment!! 🙂


Mimi, I was reading over the posts on this topic this morning, and came across yours, related to your sisters. Wow, my sisters are certainly not the scapegoats either. Little sis is the goldenchild, and older sister has the narcisistic traits like my mother. My sisters do have anxiety and depression, and also obesity. I guess they did not come through untouched, but they are unconscious to it all.
My sisters, when they were speaking to me, also wanted to let it all go, “let bygones be bygones”. The problem is, we all had different mothers growing up. Repeated hurts and digs, neglect, can shape our growing psyches, especially when we are the target. When we come to the realization this is so, we have a right to be angry or not forgive, as their actions changed the very person we are. The irony is, it changed who our sisters are as well, the roles they had to play, though they just cant see it (yet?) Asleep in the comfort of their cherished assigned roles. They did not choose their roles, they did not earn their dubious positions, they were selected and assigned by dysfunction.
My mother also denegrates her own mother, who is deceased. Looking back, I was never allowed one second alone with my Nana, literally. We all learned the stories NM had designed about her, true or not, we will never know. They are accepted lore in our family, and just a few words about something mean and selfish Nana did,can send the family into gales of laughter, as we remember mother’s “memory”.
She also speaks ill of my great Aunt and a dear cousin, both also deceased. They were my saviors in childhood. And she knows it. She pulled it last Christmas, at the Christmas dinner table, and I got back to back migraines, actually lost my vision (scotoma phase) and got a headache, twice! Two different episodes. My body was teling me to get out.
I dont desire any relationship with my mother, other than the surface level one I have to not lose touch with my Dad. She does not have it in her to have an honest, empathetic, caring relationship. Her pieces for that are missing. Whether gone at birth, or taken by her own abuse, it matters not to me. I’m done hurting, and doing the same thing and expecting a different result!
I am so glad you are trusting your intuitive feelings on what your mother wil be held accountable for. Your sister does not have the right to make the rules for how your emotional situations will be handled. Our feelings can not be legislated by others! I wonder how she would feel, if someone attempted to control how she were allowed to feel about a sensitive subject in her own life?

Hugs and understanding,


Hi Janie
Don’t worry about long posts here! It is necessary to get the anger out, to get any of those feelings out. I realized one day that my emotions had been squished by the upbringing that I had. I was so busy trying to be what others wanted that I didn’t know much about me or how I felt about anything. I had to get it all out. please share as much as you want!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Mimi
You are not even obligated to believe that they KNOW what is right! I remember the first time I said (to my husband) that I didn’t care what HE thought about my opinion ~ suddenly I realized that I had a chioce! That I could be right too. That I didn’t need him to agree with me and I didn’t need to PROVE to him that my opinion was valid too. Suddenly I began to see that half the time people told me I was wrong was because they didn’t want me to be right. Not because I was actually wrong. That was the day that I stopped explaining myself for an hour everytime someone disagreed with me. I stopped having to “prove” my opinions.
Love Darlene


Hi Darlene!
Thanks for telling me that, it makes me feel better! It does need to come out.
I loved the above comment:”Suddenly I began to see that half the time people told me I was wrong was because they didn’t want me to be right”. How true is that? And also, those are the same people who will give an off the cuff opinion or decision, in an authoritative manner, with little forethought, because they need to be right!
I had a wonderful experience yesterday. I started out the day feeling like a “bad person” for carrying the anger. Then, through out the day, I saw myself as a little girl, feeling the wonder of life and the beauty of nature where we lived, interjected with the sporadic attacks by my mother, mostly verbal, but more than a few thrashings, and being tied up, for her convenience,when she did not care to watch me. (Still suffer with claustrophobia)Seeing those scenes gave me much validation!
Anyway, I have some large personal decisions coming up, and I took them all to prayer with my Heavenly Father. Earnestly, on my knees. It was so comforting to feel the spirit. Had not felt the Holy Spirit for a while. I felt comforted that I would make the right decisions, even though I don’t quite know what they are yet!
This morning when I woke up, I had a feeling of peacefulness settle over me. And I had within me the feeling of forgiveness. Never thought it would happen. I have heard people speak of this, but thought they were kidding! I could forgive these people, whether or not they deserved it, because it freed ME. I had always thought, if I “lived my own life”, and just got on with it, that forgiveness in my heart would come. But, for me, God put forgiveness and peace in my heart, now, because then I could LIVE MY OWN LIFE, and make the decisions I need to make, from a place of peace. It wasnt even on my prayer list, to forgive, but I got forgiveness to be able to answer my other prayers. Does that make sense?
I feel as though I’m operating from a cloud, knowing all the bad they did, and not caring. Having my good memories of people who were there for me, all the wonderful people who blessed my childhood and loved me and supported me. My wonderful brothers, Aunts, Granny, teachers, friends’ moms. The abusers will not take them from me.
A healing I did not ask for,certainly did not expect, maybe did not deserve, but received, anyways. What a great gift!



Hi Janie
(when I was a kid I invented an alter child and I pretended that she was my twin sister. I named her “Janie” so when I see your name I flash back to those times. I was such a lonely child)
Thank you for this uplifting post! Sounds like you had a really beautiful day with some amazing insights!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Janie,
Thanks for your comment. My sisters both struggle with weight also. I do too, but not quite to the degree they do. My middle sister has had lap band surgery. Then, she had it drained and gained 75% of her weight back. It is telling ~ that she can’t figure out what it is that causes it. Yet, she suggests that the past is dead and buried, and no sense bringing it up now. I think she feels if she does, it means she is in unforgiveness of my mother. And, that might be true for a while, but I think through processing it all, TRUE and LASTING forgiveness is possible. She hasn’t really forgiven for the past 30 years. She just tells herself she has. She’s passive aggressive in the way she handles the damage she suffered from my mother, yet she claims she has “forgiven” and let it all go. She only wants to hold her accountable for things in the past year. But, the truth is, she’s not even doing that. It helps me understand that if she can’t stick to her own words about accountability for the last 12 months, it’s unlikely she’s honest with herself and me, about forgiveness for things from 30 years ago.

My oldest sister texted me a few weeks ago and asked if I was okay. She said I kept coming to her mind more and more and she asked if there was something I needed prayer for. I told her I was okay, but, I had something that kept invading my thoughts and she could pray for that. She basically dropped out of the conversation. She started the conversation, seemed like she was genuinely concerned, but in reality she either didn’t care, or she was disappointed that I’m not a basket case. I think both could be true. I’m wondering if she needs me to be emotionally unstable…… if she misses me needing her support to get through unstable times. When I had nothing significant to report, she was let down. The one thing I did mention having her pray for, she pretty much ignored. I think the whole thing was more about her than me. It was shortly thereafter that the realization starting coming that I don’t truly have their support and they don’t have intentions of being united in handling my mother, despite their claims that they would be over the last year. It’s been me doing the leg work, holding mother accountable. They’ve been silent observers. I was hit pretty hard by that revelation, but, now I’m feeling relief and even freedom from their sneaky contempt. I’ve said I couldn’t do this without them. I was wrong. I can, and I will. I’m not afraid anymore. I feel empowered by releasing them. I never EVER thought I would get to the day where it no longer mattered if they supported me, called me, emailed, etc. I can say today, it doesn’t matter. I don’t really even want to hear from them. I’m still processing, so hearing from them now would likely end up causing a little confusion. I don’t welcome that.
Thanks again for your comments Janie. I hope you’re doing well.


I read the comment about playing the game their way in order to keep connected to the family and that is also exactly what I did for most of my life until last year. I feel angry as I read this because it makes me understand that I lied to myself and to my own husband and daughter in order to keep things going in a “family” that, in reality, could have cared very little to nothing if I was there or not….but they certainly cared how I SAID something. My entire life being devalued so that the “controller” stayed controlling and eveyone cowtowed to her…even my father adopted her ways and shunned me. I havent felt anger like this before. I also feel tears because of the embarrassment I am feeling because of the lies and the putting myself last so that they would notice me at all so that I could still keep my “family”…some shred of a family feeling. It was all false because the truth is that I wasnt truly loved or liked…I was the annoying, blunt, weak and unintelligent, worthless dog of the family. I always believed that they liked my husband better than they liked me…my dad even said on my wedding day to my husband in front of everyone, “thank you for taking her!” Everyone laughed, but I could tell the truth behind the words. Anyway…I just wanted to get it out and I am grateful to be able to find my voice on this website. I had not realized why I overeat, and I do know now. To crush down all of the many feelings that I didnt understand how to process…and some that I didnt even know that I had to process. It is always about them, isnt it? So…at least I have chosen to let them all go and begin MY life without any of them interferring. I allowed them to do so for too long and I feel angry with myself for that today.


Sometimes I just don’t where to start, the bombardment of thoughts, when I read each article/writing.
Back in 1995 I did some confronting with family of origin about sexual abuse. Response from step-father “I didn’t mean to hurt you”, but at the same time couldn’t admit to anything in front of my mother. My mother to whom in one breath says I asked for it and in the second breath won’t believe anything because my step-dad won’t admit to it. My older brother dodged me and my confrontations for years finally saying “I didn’t think you would remember.” I have not re-confronted or brought up the topic since 1995.
Oct. of 2011 my step-father was accused of sexual harassment. Now here it is 2012 and I have chosen to distance myself from this so called family. Here are things I hear now: Father, “I don’t know why she can’t forgive me!” Mother, “he didn’t beat me and treated me good compared to your real father.” Older brother, “remember a piece of rope has 3 parts but when you break it down it is easily broken, people need each other to be strong! Love you Ann and I will keep you in my prayers!”
Lol, now they want me to attend a family reunion for mothers day! I Know they will obviously never comprehend nothing! I want to be here for my children and grandchildren but sometimes I just want to leave state to get away from family of origin!


Not sure how this post came up with this profile pic., have used it in yrs!?


Hi Ann
Welcome to EFB (the profile pic that comes up is associated with your email address, it has nothing to do with this blog. It has to do with gmail or the gravatar program that some bloggers use. If you want it to go away, you would have to use a different email addresss in the comment form.)

These comments really shed some deep light on the things we hear from abusive and dysfunctinal family! Thank you for sharing them as I am sure others will relate too!
Hugs, Darlene


OMGoodness….I know this is so true for me: NOTE:…in many cases they walked away from the relationship as soon as they sensed that I had caught on to the disrespect and devaluing treatment. They skulked away like guilty dogs, which tells a tale now doesn’t it?
This is exactly what happened with my ex and I. But as these tears are streaming down my face I want to know why do I still care about whether are not they still care? We have both moved on but frequently I have this unearthly desire to make sure we can be friends. I know this all sounds crazy and there is much more back ground to it than this but I absolutely HATE not being able to STOP this desire to email and make sure we are still friends. Why can’t I just let this go….not everyone has to like me and I know that the way my Mother treated me has everything to do with this. I had to be compliant and constantly making sure I did whatever I had to to keep her happy. I know that I have done this in this past relationship and the minute I began standing up for myself I was picking fights and so on and so forth.
I just want the feeling of having to do something to keep them happy and remain friends to stop forever. I want know how to handle it when it slaps me in the face!!!!! Goodness….
P.S. I LOVE everything you do…Thank you so much for your bravery, knowledge and willingness to share them with all of us.


Hi Darlene,
Just wanted to say I set up a new email, this is Ann D, I not sure why I was so startle when I saw my pic come up. I really have no desire to hide my identity, but I do like using changesandnewbeginnigs because it represents everything I’m trying to accomplish!

Hi ViollaLyne,
I hear ya. My personal feeling, for self, is the clinging to the hope of a loving family that’s functional. Our hopes, needs, and desires help us to remain subjected to the dysfunctional!


Hi ViolaLyne
Welcome to EFB
YES the skulking away IS what I call a “truth leak” about them. I can relate to what you are talking about. I had learned for years to prove that I was trying my hardest and doing my best. I got addicted to proving that I was not in the wrong. And since no one ever let me off the hook I couldn’t stop doing it until I finally realized that it wasn’t right for me to have to do it. I realized that the burden of relationship never rests all on one person AND the biggie is that I finally realized that they are going to think whatever the hell they want, regardless of what I do or say. So.. the key was in healing me. All the rest fell into place.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Ann
I am glad that you firgued it out and got it changed. Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


1.What’s wrong with your way? Only one thing…you weren’t online ten years ago! Bless your heart!

2.What would our current and past culture think was wrong with your way? It’s honest! Straightforward! Western culture is well known for hiding things, especially emotional things, keeping a stiff upper lip and all that.

3.What would Big Pharma think is wrong with your way? Well, their way is to medicate to help you cope with lies. It makes them lots of money, and keeps you addicted.

4.What would psychiatry think is wrong with your way? See 3 above. Also, it sort of leads one to balance or recovery, which means psychiatrists and drugs might not be needed by people who follow your way, forever?And didja ever stop to think that too much happiness is abnormal, and needs to be medicated? That sadness and grief are immediately medicated out of us, because sadness is considered abnormal, even when it’s a normal response? So nowadays, only Stepford-wife attitude ia normal, right?

5. Darlene, you are the kid who said aloud, “This particular societal, psychiatric, evil emperor is buck naked…” and some people are willing to actually look at “him” and see clearly too!


“Addicted to proving I was not in the wrong”
Me too. Won a set of Encyclopaedia Britannica at 11 in a spelling bee (Mama didn’t come to the bee, Daddy had to work) Read them all, cover to cover. Memorized what I could, remembered where on a page things were. When they the sister, two brothers, Mama, (Daddy mostly at work) would not believe me, when they put me down, when they said I was “stoopid” …I flipped open the right volume and read it to them. Did anyone notice I was smart? Nope, just smart alecky, too big for my britches, smarty pants, wiseacre….
Got beat a couple times for it, but too stubborn to quit entirely. learned to run into the woods and stay til dark, after Mama took her Librium…she would ignore me more when she was mellow. But it was scary in the woods in the dark…just not as scary as home. Brother golden boy, 5 years older, GB decided to beat me one day, but I decided that was NOT gonna happen. I looked him straight in the eye and said “Remember, you gotta sleep sometime…”
He changed his mind.


you found the right website! I have a big leftover anger about the “stupid thing” but that is what recovery here is all about; learning to do our own validation! Great shares! Glad you are here and Good for your quick thinking with your brother.
Hugs, Darlene


Some days I feel alone in my quest to speak out for survivors. I really needed this today. Family who have totally disowned me make me often think I did something terribly wrong. Comments from them that I am just out to destroy the family because I am speaking out are hurtful. In the long run I needed the reminder that they never cared about me. They are only concerned with their ego’s. Bless you and thank you.


Hi Elsie
You are not alone! welcome to emerging from broken! Just from what you have written here I know you are going to find some answers in this website.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene.. sorry for jumping in late.. just trying to settle down a little here.. .. my secret place..tee hee. .well i have heard and continue to hear. .that I should let the past go.. most my life.. I tried to keep it stuffed into some little corner underneath all the busyness I could make to avoid facing it..but nothing good come from that.. i keep getting re-abused because i never dealt with the roots of why I am so easy to abuse.. I am still a timid frightened child inside ..because the little girl never was allowed to come out completely. she has had some glimpses of sunlight but still she is not yet free from all that nonsens.. I hear things oh.. mom is sick now.. but what she did back then happened.. and has traumatized and hurt me in so many ways and also what was allowed to happen to me by a sibling and other relative .. I will never ever feel like it will be safe to go back to that again.. because no one there believes i have a right to cry or heal.. its lonely sometimes not having a family.. but i rather be alone that continue to deny all the hurt thats inside needing healing.

I know I am getting closer to freedom but I have lots of work ..to do.. and many other things ..wounds are coming to light as i get closer to that light..

Thanks Darlene for speaking out.. am shy but am telling my truth a little at a time;)



They often teased me.my self esteem was so low already, they just kept me lower.made me doubt myself always.only last week did I put a name too the feeling…doubt.It has many implications.Affects everything.your very core.I am trying to rise above this.I wish you all the same 🙂


Hi Joy
You are doing great simply because you keep striving to move forward! It is okay to be IN the process. Lots of work is just the way it is!
I sometimes wonder what I will feel when I hear that my mother is sick or something… and I have decided that her being sick changes nothing about the truth. It is lonely but it is healthy too!
Thanks so much for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Melanie
Thank you for sharing. Yes, doubt and self doubt are big results of being a victim of dysfunction. Healing led me to overcome those doubts.
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


This article only speaks the truth. Period. That is the reaction of those who are guilty. They don’t want you to dig up the past and face it; for it may mean that they will have to face the consequences of their actions. They coward and want you to do it as well. I stay away from my abusers and they know who they are. I am not interested in naming names but naming the horrific deeds done to me…so that others may know how child abuse can and does occur. Thank you again for exposing another angle on child abuse and the many tactics used to silence children.


Hi ButtaFli
It is so important that we validate the abuse that we suffered by talking about it. Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks SO MUCH for airing your dirty laundry. This is really helping me. My husband is abusive in so many ways (btw, I left, but it hasn’t been a year yet, so in my state I can’t get a divorce, which makes me REALLY MAD– I asked him not to contact me anymore, which he is respecting–YAY!) and so is my grandpa, and so was my dad (and his siblings). My mom’s just depressed (just like my dad’s mom). My brother’s working on not being abusive– as a kid we really tried to destroy one another. I remember being on the receiving end mostly, but I remember a couple of times as a young kid doing some really nasty things just to make my brother feel powerless. I grew up feeling worthless and that my feelings were not real (my mom’s strategy was to suppress hers and told me to do so as well). My mother isolated me after my dad committed suicide. I’ve got to heal NOW– leaving my husband was SO empowering, but left me SO lonely. I wonder if I can ever heal. It is so good to hear that others are making SO much progress.

I just found this site and realized today that even my poor self-esteem that got me into this mess with my husband is not my fault. It is my responsibility to fix it now, but I learned it from the people who were supposed to teach me to love myself and to love others, but also to expect love from others.

I really think it is important to love the people that hurt me in a detached sense. In the sense that I want the best for them and want them to be good people. Not in the sense that I have to feel their pain and be around them for them to cause me pain. I forgive them in the sense that I don’t want them to hurt, not in the sense that I think doing things that are evil are ok.

This was a lot of rambling, but I just wanted to say thank you and to express myself. It makes me feel better.


Hi Mary Ann
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
I wrote this whole website for the purpose of inspiring hope for healing. I love your comments. I too believe that it is love to stand up to abusers. I really appreciate your last paragraph! Very well said.
Hugs, Darlene


My paternal cousin sent me an inbox message on facebook about a year ago. because I liked a comment someone else wrote on her page. She asked me if I was trying to gain points from someone I don’t know. I wasn’t going to respond. But, the question she asked me was stupid and disrespectful and uncalled for that I couldn’t let it go. I was bewildered! I told her I liked the comment,nothing more, nothing less. She went off on me. “Well if you can say what u want to say, I’m gonna say what I want to say! Get your son checked out. No one sees him smile. The paper you used to print out pictures of him was tacky. You should have used gloss paper. Your father was right about you. You’re nothing but a bitch. You got us. I’m going to make sure you get nothing else from this family. Give us back our baby shower gifts. But I still love you ur my cousin…blah,blah,blah”

I went off on that bitch. I left the inbox and took the convo to her wall for everybody on Facebook to see. I asked her if she gets off by looking at my sons pictures? (I later learned she molested one of our male cousins).

I told her to send his picture back to me if she was not satisfied with the quality of the photo-she didn’t send it back. She deleted me after I took the convo to her wall. We continued to fight via inbox. I intentionally made sure my last word to her was “biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitch!” And then I blocked her so the last word was mine! To hell with her. I updated my facebook status to let the world know I’m not going to tolerate certain behaviors just because we’re relatives. it’s been 20+ years without knowing my father and his family. I can go another 20. I didn’t get any protection from my mothers side of the family. I was told I need to move on. I was told I was giving power to the other person by responding. I was told to keep my business off FB. I was told I was wasting energy. I told them all I was on the receiving end of the disrespectful behavior and I’ll be the one who decides when to let go, move on, or if my time is being wasted. I really needed a hug and for someone to ask me if I was ok.

It’s been over a year of no contact with that cousin. I saw her at her mother’s funeral this year over the summer. My late aunt’s husband asked me to read her obituary. Talk about being put on the spot! I also had to come out with kind words to say. Did I mention I’ve only met my late aunt 5 times in my entire life? I will be 31 years old this year. But that’s another story.


And my cousin and I didn’t say a word to each other at the funeral either! I would have ignored her if she tried to be friendly. I would have told her off right there over her mothers coffin had she dared disrepect me that day. Telling someone off on FB isn’t nearly as satisfying as it is to tell them off to their face. My late aunt’s husband assured me she knows better than to start anything in that setting. Lucky for her!


I’m sure the preacher knew nothing about our personal conflict. But, for some reason he was preaching for the entire family to “Let it go”. I found it highly inappropriate and off-putting for him to preach those words to the entire family. We didn’t come there for over generalised and indirect family counseling. However, there is a lot of dysfunction on my fathers side of the family and its a problem.


Sorry that this all happened. I totally understand your frustration.
I’m glad that you shared it.
Hugs, Darlene


…And I think this would be a good time to add that if they didn’t KNOW what they were doing was wrong, if they didn’t “know any better” then WHY did they know that they needed to keep me quiet about it?…

WOW, I have come up against this since I took a stand against my parents abuse. Ive heard so many excuses, they didn’t know better, he had this or that happen, wouldn’t you if you were married to her, he doesn’t do it now, ect, ect, ect. NO ONE has ever said “he did it, it was wrong, end of story.” Im so tired of hearing that I need to “get over it” and “move on” and “not live in the past” blah, blah blah. Like you said, that is just their way of not acknowldging the abuse.

As far as “getting over it” and “moving on”. I have done just that. Just not in the forget and continue to let it happen way that my abusers and their supporters (sisters)wanted. I am free, one thing my parents hoped I’d never be. =)

Thanks Darlene! Keep up the great work!

Joetta Colquette
May 1st, 2013 at 7:14 am

Thank you SO VERY MUCH for telling your story! When I read your story, your thoughts, I identify because so much of your story is MY story. I am 54 years old, just found out two years ago about my Dad, whom I and my sisters always thought growing up, was the model Christian, because that is all that we saw or knew. Instead he was a sex addict, having multiple affairs. We grew up being abused physically, mentally and verbally by our mother, and thought that at least there was one parent who loved God and loved us. Needless to say, that even at 52, when I found out, I felt as if my whole world had crashed, and that everything I had believed to true had been and is a lie. I understand perfectly about others saying to “Let it go~” and to move on. I am doing masters work in counseling, and so thankful that I am, for not only is it preparing me to help others, but to help myself. I am thankful for the Lord being with me every step of the way, and for those that he uses to help me in this healing journey. THANK YOU for being forthright and saying succinctly what we all need to hear to truly heal.
May the Lord continue His Work in you and in all of us~


Hi Joetta
Welcome to EFB; Thanks for sharing and Thank you for your compliments!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Tracy


Hi Darlene! This one triggers a lot of emotion for me and once again I feel it’s the Universe’s way of validating me on so many levels. I can’t believe how much anger I have been feeling on and off for the past couple of weeks. I think this is the biggest piece that I have been missing for myself. The humiliation, blame, setups etc that my parents put me through and then I took all those twisted beliefs of who I was and lived my life the same way. I kept choosing partners that would play out my family dynamics over and over again. No matter how much help I received, books I read, workshops I attended I couldn’t seem to get to that place where it was about “me” and how it all affected me. Why was it so difficult for people to see that I was in pain and I needed some attention too. To have to cover up my pain all my life just so others could feel comfortable in their little bubbles makes me sick to my core. My whole life has been about being silent and taking all the crap that my parents laid out. They could use how they provided a good home, food and shelter as their way to control me into believing how good I really had it while I suffered inside. This was another wonderful skill I learned, to hide the truth at any cost to protect those who were causing me so much turmoil.

All I keep hearing in my head over and over is how they did their best for what they knew etc. This just seems to keep me in my place of moving forward because once again it’s like my pain didn’t or doesn’t matter. I can’t tell you how difficult it is to find counselors that will really go deep and address the real issues. You are one of the first resources I have found that actually address the real pain. I admire you so much especially because you are a parent. I don’t have children because that’s a choice I made and sometimes I feel like people who are parents are some kind of secret club that protect each other. I reached out to family members and some of the counselors I saw had children of their own and they seem to share the same belief that parents were gods who did their best and children need to respect this no matter how the parents treated them. You are so right and I have learned this now that there are so many people that have been abused who have not dealt with their own issues that they cover it all up so once again how can they possibly see the truth in someone else if they can’t face their own truth.

I feel like pieces of my soul have been taken from me all my life and I am left with this empty shell of a person to rebuild. I’m doing my best with the resources I have and I am very grateful for that part. I’m just in the need of venting and honoring myself because I realize that no one can do that for me except for me. I feel a disappointment right to the core of being and whether it is blame, anger, resentment I don’t know anymore because I go numb after awhile because it feels so intense. I’m trying to understand why a parent would bring a child into such a nightmare. My parents didn’t want the first child and then they end up having me as well. This caused resentment for my sister against me because she felt my mom loved me more than her. Since I am the baby of the family I feel like was some kind of trash can for everyone to dump on. With everything I am learning right now I feel like I’m just supposed to get past all of this like it’s no big deal, leave the past in the past and carry on. When will people understand how much damage is caused by poor parenting. I don’t care how judgmental I sound right now, I am so pissed off for being born into a world of hurt that I am responsible for healing because my parents don’t have the balls to step up an own their part. We could have gone for counseling but they chose to hold on to their false pride because they didn’t want to face that they were the problem not my sister and I. We were children for gods sake and we had needs that needed tending too and if that’s what made us a problem well F U!!!! I feel like stray animal that was just disguarded once I reached 18. They fulfilled their parental contract for having the burden of taking care of us, we were lucky that they did what they did for us.

I could go on and on but I’m going to stop here. I feel so angry sometimes that I actually understand why people get so violent and need to act out their pain. What is really going on inside is a cry for help that my pain matters and I want someone…anyone to notice me and validate that I am a human being and I deserve to receive unconditional love just like everyone else. I didn’t choose to be treated this way but I am left to deal with the damage and no one gives a shit. I am not a danger to myself or anyone else, I just feel the need to validate my anger and honor my healing process and I am very grateful to have the resource to do it in. Thank you so much Darlene for offering this safe plat form to do it in.


I keep getting told, “You live in the past.” Nope, I have unresolved issues which Mom refuses to address. That’s not the same. I get told, “get over it, it happened in the past.”

Ok, here is the real story. You made an incorrect choice that affected me in a way that you couldn’t predict. You don’t want to own up to making that mistake so I HAVE TO SUFFER.

And you wonder why I don’t want to be around my family,


I am so tired of being told to leave the past in the past. If one more person says be positive, think positive, talk positive or be quiet I will scream!


Leave it in the past huh? It would be nice if people would stop asking personal questions to something you have no wish to speak about anymore! My soon to be ex therapist has told me months ago ‘by doing that, you are not letting people get close to you and know the real you.’ I told her who wants to hear a “dark past filled with no love?” People cling onto their white picket fence, artificial lives/happiness and those are the stories they wanna hear – believe me, experienced it myself!

I got told the same bs ‘why do you wanna air your laundry out?’ I have told people ‘what do I have to hide? I am not gonna be the one who will lose everything.’ They got quiet when I said that!! My parents would scold me in a nasty way (and my sister) about “airing our laundry out there” and asked them ‘what do you have to hide? I won’t lose everything, but you two will lose a whole lot!” Ahh, the silence from my parents!

With these abusers, they don’t want their dirty, shall I say filthy laundry out because they don’t want the public to know the real them. Why not? If they have nothing to hide, then show everybody who you really are! I was told to leave it in the past, but when something gets mentioned about family, that’s kinda hard to leave it in the past.

My soon to be ex therapist told me ‘your abuse history makes up one part of you not everything.’ Does anybody agree with that? I don’t recall anybody asking to have a negative history sometime in their lives and be “grateful for it.” I’d prefer if people ask me something about me in the present not from the past!


[…] Being Told to Leave the Past in the Past […]


[…] I speak and I write EFB because it is my story and MINE to tell. I celebrate the permission I give myself to tell my story after years of being silenced.  It is validating for me and for others to hear the benefits of living in truth. Finding, facing and embracing the truth is what set me free from oppression, depression and the low self esteem that hindered me all of my life before I faced the lies so I could embrace this truth.  –Darlene Ouimet, Being Told to Leave the Past in the Past […]


I really love the paragraph you wrote saying

“The fact that they are not happy for me is actually more proof of the dysfunctional system they live in…”

I’m so glad to be out of my family crab bucket, and it is so helpful to read that whole paragraph.

I’ve also experienced that I don’t necessarily have to confront abusers in business now, though it really upsets me when they turn up.

But I’ve also found that abusers either try in vain to hurl insults and threats at me or simply go silent, like my family, when they DO catch on, that I have figured out that they are manipulators or abusers and that I won’t “play their game”.


Thank you for this! I always felt so bad about bringing things up. I feel as though I’m just meant to get over all the things that have happened with my family – and that’s what I’ve always been told. That it’s in the past, and that I’m dwelling on things, and that it’s actually bad for me to hold onto it all. Thank you for the validation that facing it is really the answer rather than trying to bury it all away and pretend like it never happened – as I’ve been told to do all these years.


“The fact that they are not happy for me is actually more proof of the dysfunctional system they live in…”

Love this and totally agree! I always tell people what happiness do the birth people have? If happiness is the root of their misery, then that is some serious, serious problems yet nobody in the mental health field seems to find that to be a problem.

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