Belief System Formation about Money and Worthiness


Belief system about moneyIt was bad enough that my parents divorced, but then they started fighting about child support. My mother had custody and my father paid child support. My mother said she didn’t have enough money from my father; my father said that he couldn’t afford what he was paying.  No one seemed to care about the difficult emotions that I was going through as a child whose parents had split up.  They only seemed to care about what it was costing them. 

Imagine the message I got as that child. I was 13 years old when the child support argument started. The message that they communicated to me was that my father thought I was a financial burden. My mother thought I was a financial burden too.  No one thought I was “worth it”.  I felt as though suddenly everyone wished I was never born because now that they divorced, no one wanted to be financially responsible for me.

My needing to be supported seemed to be causing a lot of fighting and anxiety and fighting and anxiety went against everything that I had EVER learned about survival.  As a survivor I lived by the rule “don’t cause fighting or anxiety”. Now I was caught in the crossfire of this divorce and it seemed that I was causing a very big problem. 

I started stealing my clothes within a year of their separation.  I would do almost anything not to be a burden to my parents. Stealing was like “my contribution” to helping out with the financial burden that I was. But stealing also made me feel really bad about myself and added to the growing body of evidence that I was unworthy, just like they communicated to me.

I still remember all the things my mother would say about not having enough money.  I remember the way she said “your father” as though it was my fault that he was the way he was. “Your father” was an accusation but I wasn’t sure what I was being accused of and I concluded that I was just not worth the burden that she had to endure over this whole thing. 

I got my period for the first time at school.  I was in grade 8 and I was 13 years old and it just happened that I was going to stay at my father’s for the weekend right after school that day.  I asked him if I could have some money so I could go to the drug store. I was so embarrassed; I didn’t want to have to tell him that I had to buy pads.  But he would not give me any money unless I told him what it was for.  The whole thing was just so humiliating because to me it was a reminder that he already paid enough child support and he didn’t want to give me a few dollars for anything else.  I felt like a beggar. I felt like an orphan. I felt like a NOTHING and I was reminded of how alone I really was.  I was 13 and other girls shared that “event” with their mothers but I had to tell my father who was really only concerned with what it was going to cost him.  I was reminded of all the feelings of abandonment that I ever felt. It was painful. It was one more time that I was discounted.

When I got home from that weekend, I told my mother that I had gotten my period and she was angry! SHE felt ripped off that she didn’t’ get to share that “special moment” with me. She continued to remind me of how hurt she was over it many times throughout my life.  I couldn’t win. No matter what I did it was always wrong. I was always in the way and always a burden. I couldn’t even start my period at the right time. 

People wonder why kids run away from home when their parents split up and get divorced but the truth is that rarely are the kids supported emotionally through any of it. Most kids feel like the divorce had something to with them and their failures.  I remember telling people when I was an adult that divorce is hardest on the parents! That was the belief I had struggled and succeeded in accepting. I don’t believe or accept THAT anymore.

It was communicated to me that the divorce was devastating my mother, but that it was not really my pain because I would still have a father but my mother would not have a husband and so as with everything else my feelings didn’t matter and I tried to convince myself that I was wrong to feel anything but sympathy for my mother.  I reprimanded myself for feeling that I had been rejected by my father too, telling myself that I was “being selfish” I told myself that this was “Not my pain” and think of what your poor mother is going through. I told myself “don’t be so self centered Darlene; I don’t think that this is about you ~ stop making this about you!”…

But the truth is that it wasn’t me that was making it about me. THEY kept making it about me with that fight about child support. And neither one of my parents ever tried to talk to me or help me with all that I was going through as a child of parents who were getting a divorce. They discounted me and my need for emotional support and reassurance so I discounted my needs too.  They discounted my need for financial support so I discounted those needs as well. It was communicated to me that I didn’t deserve to be taken care of properly, emotionally OR financially. Those beliefs didn’t resolve just because I “grew up”.  Even when it became my own responsibility to take care of myself, I had never been taught or shown how to do that.  My “self value” was not known to me.

This ordeal with the ongoing child support argument between my parents contributed to the already formed belief that I was not equally valuable to everyone else in the world and also thing led to the foundation of my belief system about my self worth when it came to money. (Spending it, making it; all of it.)

Another snapshot of truth;

Darlene Ouimet

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Categories : Family



Hi Darlene,

not much going through my brain re my own worth/money etc (although I do always seem to have felt like I’d never be ABLE to make money and support myself…. hmmmm….) And perhaps more importantly, that I would always be dependent on my parents for money, and that I’d be living on the street if they ever chose not to support me, and there we have the basis for trying to be whatever they seemed to want me to be (and always trying to appear perfect). *$#*$&@&!!!!!

Anyway I just wanted to say that despite the obvious lack of personal experience, I felt pain at your description of your first period. I think particularly the way that you not only didn’t get basic practical support, it was turned against you as a shaming tool (via $$$ and the fact that you dared to let it happen when your mother wasn’t there).

This is something I would be highly embarrassed to admit to IRL, but I used to take lots of my sister’s books to read when I wsa growing up, and Judy Blume was among them. Can’t remember the name of the one, but I definitely remember some vivid descriptions that impressed upon me at least a hint of the emotional turmoil involved with that time of life.

Also the description of feeling like you had to steal to justify your existence…. a long way from my experience, but I felt sadness for you. Thanks (as always!) for sharing!

I have decided to steal your usual signoff for this post….




Hi J.
Your first paragraph contains much information about your belief system.
Thanks for sharing. Keep moving forward with that part!
Hugs, Darlene


You know Darlene, this touches on something that I rarely ever even think about, except when I hear it through my children “dont ask mom/dad for “x” because we can’t afford it” and then I have all these thoughts and emotions that you described coming from my babies…and I am the one who is making them feel like a financial burden…not intentionally, but I know that is the message they receive when all they ask for is turned down with a “we cant afford it” and I think that bothers me the most, and I didnt even fully understand it….because I feel like there are things that we CAN afford, but use the “we cant afford it” just to not have to work out the logistics of how to afford it and since its a child’s want (not needs, at least not intentionally) we dont see them as important in the “big” picture, but they really are. I dont want to “spoil” my children and give them everything, but at the same time…gving them nothing of their wants, sends just as destructive of a message.

When I was growing up, I never had anything, but I never wanted anything either…I knew I wasnt important enough to ask for what I wanted and actually receive it…except for holiday gifts from my dad…every year for xmas, he asked me what I wanted….I told him…and I got exactly that gift…every single time.

To some people, that may look like “oh he didnt care enough to come up with a gift that would please you on his own” or “he didnt want to waste time trying to decide on a gift” but to me, it meant “you mean enough to me, that I will get you what you really want, since I cant buy you everything you might wish for”. Now whether that was his intentions or not, it was what the message was.

I always knew I loved that, and I have tried to recreate that with my own kids and my husband, but it has caused a lot of pain and heartache in my marriage….because for my husband…the idea of thinking about the gift, paying attention to what me and the kids like/want, remembering it, buying it and wrapping it and all those things…are just as important to him, as the gift itself…and to be given a list of “I wants” seems impersonal and the antithesis of gift giving as a whole…and makes him feel unloved.

So we had a lot of issues surrounding this. I remember it being a big issue with my parents when they were married, one of the few stories my mom told me about her and my dad was about a time when he gave her some nice pots for Xmas rather than some nice jewelry or something extravagant…and she was angry with him for it.

To her, gifts were always about how much they cost, how expensive they were and what they told the world about her…if I have the nicest most expensive jewelry, that will tell people I am loved by my husband and have lots of money and therefore am better than them…(at least thats the impression I get) so to get something useful (albeit expensive and top quality) was a horrible insult to her.

So even something as simple as gift giving, can be so complex and complicated emotionally…. and have such unintended consequences for all involved.

I really wanted to touch on how the issue of “we can’t afford it” inputs negative emotions into people’s minds about them…at least it does for me. Hearing my husband tell me and the kids “we cant afford it” all the time, really says to me (and maybe them, Im not sure) “your wants arent important enough to warrant paying for them, “x,y,z” is” (even though, to be fair, we really cant afford much more than basic necessities and the kids do get really nice gifts on holidays…so I may be overestimating the impact of this on them, I hope I am at least).

I am going to do some research into money and emotional healing and finances, because I think there is a big link here that could be really explored and a lot could come from it and change people’s minds about their future. I know that many of the most financially successful people in the world (Dale Carnegie, Donald Trump etc.) have always made comments about “believe you can succeed, make your money work for YOU… not YOU work for your money, personal finance is 20% knowledge and 80% behavior” and stuff like that. Which emphasizes to me that a certain measure of ability to take risks, believing in yourself, self confidence, self esteem, healthy worldview, optimism and similar attributes…may have more to do with our finanicial well being than we realize.

Maybe the “have nots” are partially that way because they dont believe they can be a “have” and dont know how to change their thoughts to become like one? Its not solely about education and opportunity, because if it was, Americans as a whole should be a lot better off financially, it has to have some component outside of social construct.


Thanks Darlene,

I thought so too. It was strange because it all popped into my head even as I was writing “not much in my brain re self-worth/money…”

To expand a bit on that, (not sure if I’ve thought to write about this next bit before??) after my last relationship ended, I realized that since my parents were going to start kicking up a stink if I ever chose to bring a girl home, that I’d pretty well never be able to have sex again (cos I didn’t think I’d ever be able to hold down a job long enough to support myself & get my own place etc, or probably even have enough to go to a hotel or something…. and even if I did, they’d be sure to bug me about where I’d been, and I din’t think I’d be strong enough to lie convincingly etc etc)

So I pretty much gave up on bothering about ever being in a relationship again. (not to mention that I felt like I was responsible for bringing a tidal wave of shit down upon my only two serious ones…. even though I know [to a degree, at least] that both of them had significant problems of their own, it was very hard to convince my self-blaming brain of this)

Kinda feel like justifying my earlier bits, in that sex wasn’t the only thing I wanted, but having overcome the mental hurdle enough to actually have sex with my last partner, it seemed like a relationship would eventually lead to it (if the relationship grew, obviously). And that then jumped ahead to the problems, so I felt like it was too much to bother about. Probably felt like I didn’t deserve love anyway. The whole sexual repression thing on one hand, plus the nasty hardcore porn on the other, was enough to convince me I was pretty fucked up. In fact I’ve felt pretty sure for a while that if I did meet someone and the topic of sex came up, I’d probably just start crying. (not exactly a major turn-on, as I understand it)

(sorry bleak humor again. can’t help myself sometimes)

also the whole body image, almost constant profuse sweating, lack of care re grooming etc, kinda seemed to make the whole topic fairly irrelevant anyway. (I think that comment’s at least a little bit tongue-in-cheek…. but also not).

Ok wondering if I can (comparitively) quickly try and sum up beliefs I’ve held about myself (or still do)?

– destined for eternal damnation
– pervert
– worthless
– the common factor in unhealthy relationships (or ones that have just faded away)
– undeserving of love (from myself or others)
– deserving of the sort of abuse I’ve received over the years
– stupid
– helpless
– incapable of holding down a job, supporting myself etc
– dependent on parents for life
– the cause of all grief for everyone in my life (mild exaggeration, but the basic idea I think is real)
– physically repulsive & unlovable
– desperate for human contact/touch & therefore back to perverted
– desperate for POSITIVE, HEALTHY relationships, but unworthy of them because **I’M** so pessimistic/cynical etc
– responsible for other people’s actions/mental state/happiness or lack thereof etc etc
– in eternal debt to my parents & therefore compelled to try and be who/what they want me to be
– undeserving of living my own life & being respected; making my own life choices etc
– destined to be disowned if I ever make any of my feelings known
– destined to a life of misery (as it’s largely already seemed to be)
– destined to be fighting off suicide for the rest of my life.
– completely egotistical about my creative talents, and unworthy of ever receiving any praise for them or being able to share them in any way
– too dark to be able to express my creative ideas due to the harm they might do to others (and the shitstorm they’d probably bring down on me from people who’d be offended by what i say)

Ok that’s probably enough to be going on with. Looks like dawn’s here again. Maybe I’ll be able to sleep soon.

Take care everyone


Hi Darlene,

My parents did not divorce when I was a child. That came much later but I can identify with MUCH of what you have written regardless. My mother also referred to my father as “Your Father” and it was indeed an accusation. That just fueled the hatred I already had for him.

When I was 13, I got a job working at a stable cleaning stalls and grooming horses so that I’d have money to buy myself what I needed. It wasn’t so much because they would not meet my basic needs but more because I didn’t want to be indebeted to them any more than necessary. I had my own horse at that time so part of that work was to pay the board and buy feed, etc. I’d ride the schoolbus to the barn, saddle up, ride my horse to work for a few hours, and then ride back to the barn where my mother would pick me up on her way home from work. I wished I could just live at that barn.

After that, I always had a job of some sort and as I made more money, I bought my own food, etc. As much as I could do for myself, I did. They never minded of course. They were greedy people at heart.

When my own son got cancer, my husband and our 3 other children gave up their entire lives for 4 years to take care of him. Everyone sacrificed fun and a normal life so that we could live every second of his life with him. He always knew his worth, that he was loved and he never once worried that he was ever a burden. It was our honor and privilege to take care of him from birth to death. Every person we came into contact with noted our devotion to him. He had one doctor who noted in the chart that “Samuel always comes to clinic with his while family. Make sure they get assigned to the bigger exam rooms.” I have told my husband for years now that if I had been that sick in my own family, they’d have found a place to dump me off to die so that their lives would not be interrupted. I can only imagine that my parents witnessing my devotion to my own child was a very bitter pill.

Thanks for all you do!


Hi Amira
Something to keep in mind is the mixed message factor in all this. If the truth is that “we can’t afford it” then the children see others things that have to be sacrificed such as special treats, or movies and stuff like that. In my case, my mother said “we can’t afford it etc.. all the time, BUT she bought herself evening gowns to wear on her man hunts and dates, and she had a diamond ring made for herself from her wedding rings and she didn’t go without anything. In my case, I got the message that can’t afford it was a lie when it came to her, and the message was more like “I can’t afford that for you” and I am talking about basic stuff here too, not wants. It was a lot easier for me to see how I contributed to my own kids belief systems about money, (and we communicated major mixed messages to our own kids we realized) when I figured out my own belief system first.
One more note about this; my husband was in charge of deciding what we could and couldn’t afford.. and in the past this was very devaluing to me and was something we had to look at for at least a full year in our marriage recovery. I had no say unless he wanted to to have one. (and often he let me think I had decided something so that he could leave me out of the next financial decision) This was a huge mess!
I agree, the money thing is a huge issue but there is so much that I was able to sort out about many other things through looking at this.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Jen
These money beliefs happen because of messages that we got so I am not surprised that you identified with my article although your parents were not divorced.

In my own case the divorce was a huge shift in life as I knew it; my mother did take care of me differently when my parents were married. It was after the break up that everything changed so much. There was always abuse, but it branched into a lot of different areas when my parents split up.

Thank you for sharing how differently you did things with your own son. That is inspiring. We can do things differently when we realize how hurt we were in our own lives. That is part of the truth and another reason for continuing my search for truth.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi J.
Why are you unable to support yourself? Why do you believe that you could not be self supporting? Think about those beliefs. Where do they originate?
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

It’s a bit strange really. I was raised as a “gifted” child, and from memory was quite ready to believe this about myself (still do now in some ways, although very differently to how I did then). Anyway it always seemed like, although I was intelligent, I didn’t have any practical skills to go with it – eg didn’t feel very good at relating to people; was scared of having to get a job & didn’t feel like I could ever do it…. possibly to do with having everything handed to me in a lot of ways (eg schoolwork just being easy for me) so I never really learned how to “work hard” etc.

Now it’s similar, but I think different in some ways…. I no longer aspire to having a “real” job (eg high-earning, “respected” business-type job, as I assume I must’ve been constantly steered towards from youth — I don’t think kids just automatically think that way), but still can’t seem to find anything that fits me.

I let little shit of having to interact with people f**k with my head way too much (also have a knack of finding those who are willing and ready to do so — curious coincidence that the worst offenders have always been those who identify as christian. In fact at a supposed “christian” organisation I worked at [when I still considered myself a christian], when I started speaking out about safety conditions, I was bullied and harassed in what I believe was an attempt to make me quit. When that didn’t work, they started telling lies about me, and ended up falsifying documents which they used to fire me. I had proof of all this too, and had actually been to a lawyer at one stage, but it was f**king my head so hard I just gave up and walked away in the end.)

My ego kicks in regarding my creative talents. I had a brief taste of (comparitive) fame about a decade ago, and had no doubts whatsoever that I deserved it. (In fact probably thought I deserved significantly more than I got). There’s still part of me that wants recognition for my talents, even while knowing that I would utterly despise it if I ever actually did become famous. I think I’ve bought into my own hype that I’m “special” because of my creative talents, and perhaps feel that I’m “above” doing menial tasks for menial pay or something. I dunno. But I AM very creative, and I do feel like I have an interesting and unique point of view, as well as interesting ways of expressing it.

But I only seem ot be getting more “sensitive” both as I age, and as I try to embrace my creativity…. I’ve long held contempt for those “arty-farty” type artists who don’t really seem to be walking on the same plane as most people; yet seem to be in serious “danger” of becoming exactly that.

It actually made sense to me, in that by trying to become more conscious of & responsive to “creative promptings”, it’s felt like I’ve “lowered my shields” so to speak to enable inspiration to enter. When I thought of it that way, it made sense to me why I’ve felt like I’m getting even more sensitive to sound/light etc — because in letting down my mental shields, it seemed logical to me that EVERYTHING would get in easier, until such time as I learned ways to prevent the things I DIDN’T want from getting in. (Not being around it, in the case of tv/media/advertising etc)

As I think about it, I’ve remembered that I’ve basically been afraid to try and express myself, because so many of the song titles/lyric ideas I’ve got are against religion in many ways, and I’ve been afraid of the effect it would have on my mother of me “coming out” so to speak as a non-christian (and a pretty bitter one at that). Hadn’t thought about that in a while, but it was a big fear from (I think) prior to the realizastion of the extent of the abuse I suffered, and the shift in blame from myself to my parents.

I hope some of this makes sense. It’s flowing out pretty fast, but my brain feels barely conscious by now. (It’s well and truly past daybreak here now).

Just saw your last Q Darlene (where do they originate?). Can’t logically go thru it all right now, but feel pretty sure they can all be traced back to my parents (even if not specifically remembered).

Well I think that’ll have to do for now. Hopefully catch up on some z’s now! 🙂


wow J, I can relate so much to what you are sharing here. The job I have now, is one of only two jobs (of any substance…I did some part time waitressing for a friend for a month or so, but not a “real” job to speak of) that I have had in more than a decade. The other one, I got fired…not because I was a bad at my work (I actually got excellent supervisor reviews), but simply because I was too emotionally wrecked to deal with people and couldnt stand the anxiety of working, at the time and would literally have panic attacks before work every single day….and that being my first “real” job in more than 10 years, I felt I was doomed to be dependent on my husband and/or my children when they were grown, for the rest of my life. It was confirmation that I was “broken” and “f-ed up” and all those things I had believed about myself all my life. I know where mine originates, and I have always known, but now I also know that its total bullsh*t.

Now, I have a new job, after several years of intense healing work and weekly therapy and the like….and I have been there a couple of months, and I have the same social pressures and issues and “not fitting in” that I have always felt, and I feel entirely overqualified intellectually for my position and I know that Im underemployed, and thats a struggle for me some days, but I also know that in time, I will prove my abilities, and as much as it sucks…working is probably just as much about getting along with people as it is about the actual job itself. So I am relishing in the lack of intelligence needed in my current position because that allows me to focus my thinking and learning in an area that I need it more, in processing and learning and understanding how to get along socially in the work environment, and I’m learning a 2nd (and 3rd) language and Im reading a lot more, and to me, those things are just as much work as a mentally challenging job would be. So dont get discouraged by taking a position that may be below your competency (at least at first, dont be content to stay there forever when you know you are capable of more) just to ease into the world at a pace that you can handle.

I was in a hospital program and the therapist we had there told us to look at our healing journey as a bridge over a river, and you start on one side of the bridge, and work your way towards the other…and sometimes you stop for a while at one point on the bridge, because there is something beautiful to look at (ie. you learned something great about yourself, some beautiful truth) and you spend some time there digesting that, then you move on along the bridge, then maybe you have to go back to look at something you didnt see the first time (a new realization of some kind, a trigger sets you back and you learn something else) and you feel like “shit Im NEVER going to get across the bridge” but you can turn around and look at all the beautiful things you saw on the bridge that you passed already, and see the beautiful things up ahead, and you realize that maybe the important part of the journey is in going across the bridge period, and what you learned along the way, not in what happens after you get to the end of the bridge.

Think of your future in babysteps. One thing I did that really helped me, was to realize that I ALONE was responsible for my future, whether my parents liked it, hated it, thought I was insane or not, whether it meant I had to share an apartment with five other people and eat ramen noodles for a year, it was MY choice, and nothing was going to change for the better until I got up the nerve to tell them to “f–k off” and did what was best for me….but first I had to figure out what that was…and I’m a total list person (you seem to be too from the way you write your posts) so I wrote a list of “what does independence mean to me, what do I want my “successful” life to look like?” and I had things like: pay my own bills, have a job, have enough money to invest in the stockmarket, lose weight, be physically strong, not cry everyday, not have panic attacks at work, not be afraid of my husband, etc….and when I really sat down and thought about what I wanted the world to look like, without any thought about how it would affect anyone else in the world (I imagined what I would do if I had no kids, no family, no husband, no religious beliefs, nothing but my own inner thoughts and ideas and that was all that mattered in the world…what would I do with my life) and I wrote that down…and then I looked at it realistically and said “ok I cant travel the world and raise my kids effectively…so that has to wait, but I can do that after they are grown…so what can I do TODAY to make that future travel become real…and obviously that takes money, and a job is one of the few ways to get money…so number one was get a job…ok thats a lot easier said than done…what do I need to do to be able to get a job and actually KEEP it?? I need to figure out what the hell is going on in my head…how do I do that…reading books, EFB, therapy, etc….and literally I did that for a couple of years…and that was all I did….my whole focus was on being able to work a job as the first step in my “successful life plan”

and thats kinda how it started..I also lost a good amount of weight and had a LOT of growth in my marriage (please get your own emotions sorted out before having a serious relationship…trust me, if you have that option its sooo much easier that way) all the social issues I have in the workplace are magnified exponentially with my husband….we are probably the two most opposite people emotionally on the planet, and he doesnt get half of what Im saying most of the time and vice versa…and its a big pain in the butt, especially when it comes to my healing, but he has learned to just leave me be and I will get through it on my own and If I need his help, I ask for it.

One of the very first things I did, in my quest to be independent of my family/husband/children etc. was make a meal for dinner that I really enjoyed that no one else liked at all. I made tempeh stir fry, and my husband and kids think its the most digusting dish on the earth….but I told them that they were on their own for dinner if they dont want to eat what Im cooking (I was responsible for meals and I NEVER made things that I liked because my tastes are very different from theirs…so I hated food and cooking and meals in general because of it (well there are a lot of reasons, but that was one of them)

so I made tempeh stir fry, and they had hot dogs or something (I dont remember what they ate) and I realized that it was okay to do things that I LIKE and other people dont…and granted, I had to hash that out in therapy for probably a month before I actually did it, and I cried and was horrifically nervous and afraid and thought I was weak and stupid and crazy for being so worked up over cooking a dinner….but it was a HUGE deal for me….and that was literally my first independent step, so maybe you could do something similar when you are ready, and do some small thing to stand up for your wants and needs that goes contrary to what makes everyone else perfectly happy…and just one small step at a time…and see how that goes…

see..I told you I could relate 🙂


Darlene – are you sure we didnt grow up in the same household ? My God darlene my family was exactly the same way ! Except my parents never got divorced. they fought all the time over everything. My dad had a good job but my mother convinced me and my sister that we were “poor” but they funny thing is Mom got everything she wanted !! fur coats, jewelry, tv’s, shoes – he bought her everything she wanted but i could not even ask for a fishing rod for my birthday without getting yelled at and having it thrown back in my face. I think around age 11 or 12 i just stopped asking. they made me get a job delivering newspapers because my mother quit school and went to work at age 14 because her family was poor. it wasnt enough that i did housework, started cooking, helped get my mother out of bed, made her tea etc…no that wasnt good enough ! I had good grades but that wasnt good enough either ! My mother was a psychopath !!! I worked delivering papers and then they made me get a dishwashing job on the weekends at 7 am when i was 15 because we were “poor”.

Overcoming the “poverty mindset” has been very hard. still to this day rarely do i ever spoil myself. I buy what we need and that is usually it. We do travel and spend money on vacations but i dont really have any hobbies that i spend any $$ on at all except season tickets for a local college basketball team. I think we spend more money on our dog than i spend on myself – i am not kidding. I have a playstation system but i dont allow myself to buy any games for it. I need to have fun and enjoy life more but i dont give myself the freedom or the permission to do it. My wife tries to help with this but she kind of grew up the same way. I am almost 50 years old and feel guilty everytime i spend more than $5 or $10 for something. I can hear my mother saying “you dont need that” or “we cant afford that” while she goes out and gets a new microwave or short wave radio or vcr or whatever the hell she thought would make her happy that day or that week. I bet my father easily spend $50,000 to appease her and try and keep her happy. they continued fighting until the bitter end. thank god i escaped when i was 21 otherwise i probably would not still be alive. thank you for your insight Darlene. I KNOW you understand !!


at 14 I wanted to run away from my mother and abusive step-father. I remember thinking I did not know IF my father would feed or clothe me! So i went back home! It was my mother’s 4th marriage! My oldest sister was off in college doing drugs and my middle sister was having nightmares but while I was instructed to sleep with her… i was never told WHY she had nightmares. I was in my 40’s before I ever knew “the rest of the story”! Now they are all dead. I ended up with worse in-laws! I did not think that was possible!… now I have no one… not even healthy people… I’m pretty sure there are no healthy people!


Darlene, This is convoluted, so hang on. My mom and dad are both completely incapable of admitting failure. For instance, my dad dropped out of high school and instead of admitting that it was a mistake, he taught us that it was a superior choice to that of staying in school and going to college just to become an “egg-head”. We were very poor. I wore hand-me-downs and clothes made from my mom’s old clothes with underwear and nightgowns made from flower sacks. I never had a new dress until I was in the sixth grade. We used dishsoap for shampoo as we couldn’t afford to buy both. We ate mostly pinto beans and corn bread. In order to deflect from my dad’s inability to provide for his family, we were taught that poverty is a virtue and rich people, morally corrupt. As an adult, when my husband and I achieved some success, it was always met with disapproving looks and remarks about how we never were satisfied and content with what we have. Of course, it was okay for them to mooch off of us because we had more than we needed therefore, we were morally obligated to share our wealth with them as they continue to live in poverty because they retired when my dad was about 50 years old and my mom 40 and they like to sit and watch t.v. every day. In the last conversation that I had with my mom, she said that God took care of her through other people. Whatever I had done for her didn’t matter and she felt no obligation what-so-ever because in her mind, the money we gave them wasn’t from us but from God who chose to use us to meet their needs and I guess, anyone else they could mooch off of. My only value was in meeting their needs and when I quit doing that, in their eyes, I had no value at all. Everything was always all about them and never about me. They sometimes made me feel that I didn’t even exist and I don’t think there is any less value than that of nonexistence.


Hi Dave
Yes. I do understand. That is the mixed message I am talking about in my comment to Amira. We can’t get our heads around that when we are kids. Then we grow up with that confusion in place.
In your paragraph about overcoming the “poverty mindset” you have posted a lot of really great insight that you can use to help you dig deeper into this. Here is one of the things that I did when it came to me feeling like I was not worthy of material things;
I bought myself something fun. (in your case buy yourself a playstation game (or something) and process how that makes you feel. Look at where those feelings come from (where they have their roots.) When the “voice” says you don’t need that.. converse with that voice. (I got into some great arguments with those voices in my healing journey ~ and it was like “someone” finally stuck up for me. I had to do it myself, but it was wonderful! It felt like I was fighting for me. )
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Redaunt4
I wrote a post about this very thing a while back. I asked if I could live with my father. He said no. I am really sorry that you had to go through that. About healthy people, there has to be some! I am one of them and I have a healthy husband too! The healthier I got the easier it was to find others. Don’t give up hope!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Pam
This is great! I mean it is awful that you had to live like that, but your insight here is great!
I cringed when I read the part about “god took care of them through other people” OH wow. I know that line so well but I never thought about how devaluing and discounting it is to the PEOPLE who are giving others money.
Looking back, my only value was in meeting the needs of others and those needs have looked different in different situations with different people. One of the things that still hurts me when I look back at the relationships that I had is that fact. That I didn’t matter except for what I could do for them. I was not seen as valuable. As you say, I was nonexistent outside of what I could “do” for them. And when I said “no” or “what about me?” they dumped me!

It has been a tough journey for me to overcome the ways that the actions of other people defined me.
Thanks for these great comments!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi J.
That is quiet a list! Good work but don’t stay there. That is a painful place to get stuck.
A huge thing that I found out when I was in the intensive part of my recovery is that I had to find the roots of those things in order to be able to dispel and overcome those false beliefs. There were always “events” at the roots of what I thought were my character defects and failures. There were reasons why I had those struggles. Getting to the bottom of the events they were attached to enabled me to realize how those beliefs and messages formed my belief system about me, and GOT stuck there. I thought all of that was true. But most of it was not true at all.
Thank you for your courage in sharing all this J. please be gentle with yourself ~ you have done a huge amount of processing this past few days.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

which bit did you mean not to get stuck in? or just the whole thing?

I’m just looking back at each paragraph from my last post & trying to think about the “events @ the roots of my character defects” as you mention. About being gifted, I suspect my parents pushed me to excel in school etc. I definitely remember feeling life I always had to have top (or near top) marks, that “B’s” were failures etc & can only assume that came from them (actually, I don’t know. can you be born as a perfectionist?) But I feel pretty certain (although I don’t really remember any specific examples) that there was a constant, if not blatant, pressure to achieve, be the best, and aim for “real” jobs (eg money, business-related etc). I was accelerated thru early school (skipped a grade) and then sent to private high school (although I didn’t want to go. I didn’t know anyone there etc). I can specifically remember my father telling me it was the last big decision they’d make for me against my wishes.

Anyway somewhere around the last year or 2 of high school, (I suspect coinciding with “careers advice”, “work experience” etc) I either stopped caring, or maybe just other people caught up with me, or maybe my lack of strong work habits (due to finding most things easy) finally caught up with me and my grades started to drop (by my standards anyway — or maybe it was by my parents’ standards rather than mine). Having said all this, I still finished in the top 50 of my graduating year. But it felt like something changed. I can remember in grade 8 a girl in my homeroom class getting a job (not sure that would’ve even been legal, in retrospect) but it COMPLETELY freaked me out – I remember thinking how scared I’d be of trying to get a job & how inadequate I felt even then.

When I graduated, I went straight into a business course. To this day have no idea why I did. I think my parents subtle (or maybe not-so-subtle, but just not well-remembered) influence. I’d gone to do work experience at a small, high-brow financial practics owned by a friend of my parents while at high school (probably their influence again – although I probably had no idea what I wanted to do) and ended up working there. Never felt like I had much idea what I was doing. Felt completely out of place there. Didn’t know what else to do. Don’t think I had much confidence. Anyway by my 2nd year of university, I just didn’t give a shit anymore & was failing miserably. I remember all too clearly sitting in my car in the carpark, feeling physically unable to make myself go inside. I didn’t want to be doing it, but was too scared of what my parents would say/do if I dropped out. Plus I don’t think I had any idea of what I DID want to do. Makes me feel sad thinking about it.

This has just led me on to an aspect of my mother’s worldview – she prides herself on never missing work through sickness, and “sticking at” things, and forced that upon me growing up. I always remember the feeling of having to try and convince her I was sick enough to stay home from school (my memory of it is that I missed very little school). I don’t think I ever played hooky (or whatever you call it – eg just didn’t rock up). It was like I was a liar, just trying to fool her so I could stay home – every f**king time.

And as to the “sticking at” things, the &*#^&@&^* bitch would get in a huff any time I made a decision basically. Dad would laugh it off as “she doesn’t do well with change” or some shit. This translated to me staying in what I’d now call an abusive workplace, church, family (obviously) blah blah f**king blah.

OK nosedive time. Deep breaths.

It just makes me so mad.

Probably time to stop for a bit. I appreciate you saying “be gentle” Darlene. I drive myself unmercifully most of the time (mentally, at least). I wonder where THAT could possibly come from, hmmm???

(I’m now imagining a giant neon sign flashing on and off “YOUR MOTHER!!!”)

ha. funny, but just not at the same time.

hope everyone’s doing well


Hi J.
I especially was referring to you list of beliefs about yourself. It was so so important for me to see the negative beliefs that I had about me, but that I didn’t get stuck there, the I kept going forward to find out where they came from so that I could realize the lies that they were. They were my truth, but they were false truth.
I tend to believe that babies are born with a blank slate ~ perfect in every way until the slate is written on by others. Others who can communicate my value or my lack of it. Others who can teach me what would make me valuable to them, and what will not. Those teachings became the false definitions of love and relationship and the way that I believed the world worked.

About your first full paragraph; about being gifted, you are gifted. Not because your parents pushed you but because you are. Realizing truths like that helped me so much to sort through everything. I can be gifted without someone helping me.
You are really doing some great work here. I am glad that you recognize the need to be gentle.
Hugs, Darlene

p.s. I am shocked at how many gifted people find themselves in the depths of what we talk about here. It makes me think that the truth is the majority of people ARE gifted!


Oh, my heart ached for your 13 year old self reading this.
My parents did not divorce (although they should have) but I can relate to many of the feelings you’ve written about, specifically about worth/worthlessness. I was the youngest child and, whether it was because my mother was worn out or wrapped up in her own stuff or really felt that I was not worth it (or some combination of all of those things) I did not get more than a few new clothing items a year. I specifically remember having one pair of jeans and two blouses one year in high school, and having to wash them constantly. Eventually I sewed some of my own things and got a job and bought many of my own clothes. I was also told that I was not worth the investment in anything more than state college, after my siblings were both sent to expensive private schools. My mother made it clear that I could go to the local community college and live at home or another state school and live in the dorm. I chose to move away.
I think there is a big difference between letting your kids know you will do the best for them that you can and being honest about financial limitations, and tying financial rewards/punishments to the child.
It’s sad how these things stay with us and shape who we become. Even though we might overcome… they are there, deep down.


Hi Tara
Welcome to emerging from broken. How sad that you were regarded that way and that you were defined as “not worth the investment!” ouch. that stings.
Yes, It is very sad how these things stay with us But also enlightening and hope producing. Realizing that these were the things that interfered with my self esteem etc. has been liberating and the foundation of my recovery. I never realized how much those events dictated the way I felt about myself. It has been exciting to overturn those false beliefs by understanding where they came from. Thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


I remember being told that when I turned 12 my parents considered me to be an adult. So I was on my own financially then.

They said they’d give me 50p pocket money a month which was absolutely nothing. 1/10th of the 50p had to go in the collection at church each week which left me 10p a month to live on which was impossible. They must have known I’d have to steal to survive. Maybe they hoped I’d be arrested and put away so they wouldn’t have to ever pay anything for me again!

They also said they’d pay for my school uniform but other than that I was to count myself lucky if there was a meal on the table or a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in.

Anything that cost them concerning my life was obviously considered to be an unacceptable burden to them.

So I had to steal food, drink, clothes, shoes and sanitary pads just to survive. How I never got caught I’ll never know. I can remember when security mirrors first appeared in shops. From then on I had to be very very cautious.

I’ve always carried deep shame over all of that. Ever since I was beaten up and left for dead I have lived from hand to mouth. I’ve never ever had enough for the essentials of life.

Surviving abuse has meant a life of financial poverty.

It’s not a side of surviving abuse that gets talked about so I’m glad to be able to in this forum.


Pocket money. Big issue in my family. My friends all got allowances – not just for little bits of this and that – they got clothing allowances, could get a Saturday job and earn some more. Not me. I got a small token amount of money (both my parents were in work and well paid). I didn’t need any more, they told me. I already “got so much”. What????? I didn’t choose or buy my own sanitary wear, my Mum got what she thought I should have.[She hadn’t even thought to prepare me for getting my period – and she was a nurse] I didn’t get to choose my clothes or shoes. I didn’t get to go out in the evening with my school mates – because I had no money, even aside from permission or transport.
I really think they just didn’t understand what it meant to be parents. ALthough I wasn’t sexually abused at home, I was neglected and emotionally abused, physically abused (Mum would give me gin). Mum also would say she didn’t like kids – since I was a kid what was I supposed to think. I was clearly a bother and a burden, the least I could do was not ask for stuff. When I did disclose about my abuse at school it was like World War 3 erupted in our house. I was subjected to their rage and upset – and interrogated for hours – it seemed like all night.
Self worth??? What on earth was that?


Hi Fi
Wow. an adult at 12! That is crazy! What a nightmare you have survived. My youngest is 14 and I am shocked when I look at her and her friends and realize that I was younger than her when I was going through this stuff. The biggest horror to realize is what you said about anything about our lives was considered an unacceptable burden to them. And we wonder how we felt defined by that! It is so obvious to me NOW where all my self esteem went. And WE carried that shame?? They let us down like that; they defined us like that and WE carry that shame! I felt that I had no choice about stealing. I let that shame go now. It doesn’t belong to me anymore than any other shame did. (I told my mother when I was an adult that I stole my cloths and she made it all about her. She never considered that SHE caused it. )
Thanks for sharing Fi,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Libby
Abuse is abuse. Reading the definitions of neglect and emotional abuse was a huge eye opener for me. (although I had been abused other ways too, but abuse is abuse and ALL abuse starts with psychological abuse anyway)
My mother also communicated that she didn’t like kids. AT ALL. And her mother communicated it even more. SO as you say, as a kid, what were we supposed to think!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


In our one-income home, I heard the same attitudes about money and me from my parents. This inability to relate to the real people in their own homes is typical in my experience from people in loveless relationships. I worked in the local hospital as soon as they would hire me, ages 16-18. We attended a large church. I had an active social life as a result for two years. My life was full.

After this same church split (major impact in a small town) when I was 18, my sister, five years younger than myself, asked my parents if she could get a job. But since it was my dad and buddies who split the church, his whole world became identifying with them. So, at age 16, my sister was told that she could not work outside the home, but needed to stay home “learn how to run a household ( be a “godly woman” ) like the H— family does!!!” So all the “training” she got was to put clean dishes away after my mother washed them, naturally since my mother is NOT going to be told what to do, even if it is train her daughter to do something that happens to be useful. So my mother was to “pay” my sister whenever she felt like it, which wasn’t very often. When my sister asked to attend a school social event, she was told that she had not been putting away the dishes well enough (it is a good thing she asked about attending this school function, because that way, she got feedback on how well she was performing her dish duty).

When my daughter was 13, I divorced my ex-husband. I was constantly worried about how my children would ever learn that money did not grow on trees. His example was the other end of the spectrum from my parents, too much money used wastefully. But the bad messages attached were there also. Playing favorites, and dishonesty about how it was used, and of course, the devaluing of family members in the process. So while I ached for my kids during thsoe first years after the divorce, I was glad that they have learned some of being more responsible than their dad was.


Hi everyone!
Darlene, your timing is impeccable. I just got email from my mother last night that my dad’s inheritance (which he just recently came into) has a lien against it for back child support. If I calculate back to when he left (or got kicked out by my mother), that was 32 years ago. My mother always complained about it back then and how horrible my dad was for not paying it. I think she had enough support from others, but, she wanted to make sure my sisters and I realized what little regard he had for us. She actually said he and his family never loved us…. numerous times. And, the lack of child support was just one way of proving that. Anyhow, I hadn’t even thought about child support for so many years, until I got that email from her last night. She has always insisted it was her money and if given the chance, she would pursnue getting it. This year she has been made aware in subtle ways that my sisters and I are onto her narcissism. So, in the email last night she said we were free to pursue it and keep the money if we got it. I was shocked!! It can only mean one thing in my mind ~ it must be pennies or she wouldn’t give it up. She’s one of the greediest people I know. On a sidenote though, I have reunited with my father (about 7 years ago, in pursuit of some truth). It’s a very low intensity relationship. He has contacted my sisters and I the past few weeks to let us know his will is changing and he wanted to make sure we get equal parts of his inheritance. Hahaha…. I think it’s mildly entertaining because my mother has no idea he did this. We will get something from him whether we pursue the child support thing or not. It would make me supremely happy to be able to show her a check from him, written to me, in an amount that would blow her mind. Please understand it’s not because I feel I deserve it or that I’m greedy. I’d just like to wave it in front of her so she will shut up about the money she pretends she’s leaving us. She frequently brings up the inheritance her and my stepdad have for us (5 kids total) which I’m sure really is pennies. She wants me to perceive her as loaded ~ a feeble attempt at planting a seed of jealousy. She lives in such a way that she wants people to perceive her as very well off. But, she’s middle class, so if she continues in that way, I don’t expect there will be anything left. And, I don’t think I want it if there is. Bottom line is she still has much bitterness and hatred for my father. She would crap in her pants if she thought he ever had an edge over her financially. There’s one simple reason for that…. she has an absurd sense of entitlement. I honestly believe if she told the truth, she would say she’s deserving of at least some of my dad’s inheritance, and she would find a way to justify those feelings. He lives a very meager and simple lifestyle, although she always said he had to have the best of everything. It was her projecting onto him, and I’ve since learned that truth.

Anyhow, I haven’t often explored what messages that whole child support scenario sent to my childhood mind. The first thing that comes to mind right now though, is that my dad didn’t love us, nor did his family. That was so often repeated that it’s naturally what I think of when I ponder the child support situation. And, second to that would be how greedy my mother is, that up until last night, she’s maintained that money is hers, and she earned it. I don’t necessarily disagree, but she’s said it for 32 years. Even in times when I was desperate and really struggling financially, she made sure I knew I wouldn’t see a dime of it. And, these were times when she had re-established herself in a different marriage and was financially comfortable. I feel a little hate for that. Thanks for posting this.


I forgot to click the box below about notifications on this string, so I had to type a little message here so I can check that box. 🙂


Hi Darlene,

I think I meant more that because I was gifted, I was pushed to achieve (rather than that I became gifted from being pushed) if that makes sense. I actually can see quite a lot of the positive things about myself (intelligent, funny, caring nature, perceptive, creative etc… oh and nice smile! :)).

I think the problem now is that the many “less positive” things seem even clearer since seeing thru the brainwashing…. even though I no longer blame myself for them (at least nowhere near as much as I used to, anyway), I guess I can see a lot of the things that I hadn’t even realized weren’t healthy or normal (cos they’d been modelled as normal to me growing up) and can’t see how to get past it all.

Especially cos I’d been checking out of life so much last few years, I’ve got very few friends left (hadn’t really paid attention to the extent of that either I think) and even with the handful I do have left there are patterns in those relationships that I don’t like but don’t know what to do about them.

I’m quite confused about that. I want so badly to have healthy, positive relationships, but I find it very hard to feel like I deserve them (even if I could find them) because there’s so much negativity in me, and so many things that make me difficult to be around (or so I see it — depression, weird sleep habits, high sensitivity, easily offended/overreact a lot – I think because I’m so unused to standing up for myself, I kinda have to work myself up & almost shut off my feelings to be able to say anything at all.)

And since I’ve been thinking about cutting off from my family, that’d leave me extremely isolated. I think before I had the “brainwashing” epiphany, I’d been feeling like my friends (and particularly my last relationship, I guess – I’d already cut off/drifted away from most friends) were the problem and had been hanging around my family MORE…. (what a mess!!)

Next paragraphs discuss probably my darkest thoughts ever – feel free to skip ahead

That’s kinda got me back to my greatest fear that I’d struggled with really badly the last year or two – that the common thread in all this shit was ME, and that I was the problem all along, but just wasn’t aware of it. Now I think even at the time, I was aware that at the very least, everyone’s got their own shit etc & nothing was going to be 100% my fault…. nonetheless, I think it’s possibly the biggest underlying fear of all. This was the one that, when my ex got angry at me (I think I’d told her my darkest thought – that if my parents came home to find me dead, that it wouldn’t take them long to convince themselves they were in the right & it was all my fault & start telling people how f**ked up I always was and how much they’d always tried to help me etc) and started saying angrily that maybe it WAS all my fault, and that they HAD always tried to help me etc etc, made me lose it completely and just hung up crying harder than I ever had before and ringing the few friends I have til I got someone to come help me cos I didn’t want to live anymore. I’ve only gotten to that stage a handful of times, but that was probably the worst one.

As long as I’m on the dark stuff, (just going to try and get it all out sorry), I once had what felt like a vision of my dead body lying on my first ex’s sibling’s grave. (Scared the shit outta me). This is probably also very important, because she was my first love, the one I wanted to marry but couldn’t get past my porn habit (she’s far less militant about it now, as it happens), and that was when I first felt like I was starting to lose my mind (pre-depression diagnosis etc). Also when self-harm started. Also, I felt like a kid, and unable to ever support myself, let alone her as well.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever specifically mentioned this, but we were in the UBER lovey-dovey kinda relationship (gave cards/pressys every month we were together; always holding hands or cuddling, wasn’t uncommon for random strangers to comment on how in love we looked). When it all went pear-shaped (seriously complicated by her sibling’s death, which at the time I thought was god punishing me because we’d hooked up the night it happened for the first time since we’d “broken up” so I could try and do something about my porn habit). Poor lil’ me. That is such a f**ked up thing to think. Wish I’d realized/known this at the time.

Anyway, sibling died, she wouldn’t speak to me. (I don’t really remember this time – about a year ago she told me this. Not long after that she said she didn’t want any contact with me anymore. I’d still been holding on to hope we could work things out.) I must’ve just freaked out completely, ended up bailing and then met girl who became my new g/f maybe a month after that. But with new relationship, I think in hindsight in an attempt to avoid getting hurt so bad, I actively DIDN’T do any of the lovey-dovey stuff (at least, nothing like before. Still said “I love you” etc – which I at least thought I did). Even remember telling her that this was the worst case of “textbook rebound” going, but she still was happy to be with me. I think I was just desperate for someone to care, cos I didn’t think I could live without my first love. Still feel bad about it all. Left to try and get back with first g/f at least once during new rel’nship, then came back when it didn’t work. But couldn’t stop thinking about her.

Feeling pretty guilty about all this. Trying to remind myself I was utterly headf**ked, and even despite that at least tried to warn her about where I was at (so at least I didn’t feel like I just blatantly lied to her), but still a lot of pain was caused.

Ok think I’ve got to stop for now. Head’s struggling pretty bad.

Amira, I came in specifically meaning to write back to your earlier post, but obviously got distracted sorry. Did appreciate your reply, and hopefully brain will be bit more functional soon. So much going on atm.

Final note: I went to a painting workshop run at my new apartment place today (group painting of a mural), met some people, they all seemed nice! Big step for me to manage to get myself there given sleep, anxiety etc. Also took my fav sunset photo I took years ago, a little Japanese “luck” god (I think??) my friend gave me, and couple of other bits to put in my room as a VERY gentle first step to making it mine. Also just hung out in it for maybe half hour to try and get used to it a little. So very proud of that!

Hope everyone’s going really well.

Feeling very grateful for the friendships & community I’ve found here! Thank you all very much 🙂


Hi Mimi
Your comments brought up lots for me! There is so much to all of this; my mother also was bent on proving that my father never cared. And that was about HER. It was another way that she got her self esteem boost. Her belief seems to have been that there is not enough love to go around, so she wanted to make sure he didn’t get any of hers… or something. In the end… she may have been right; judging by the actions of my father, he didn’t seem to care at all. BUT those are two separate things. The way she turned us against him and all her manipulations about money etc., and the way he didn’t care. Lots of processing there!
For years I was caught between them. And then I finally separated the truth about both. That was where I found my freedom from all of it.
Thanks for sharing today Mimi!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kate
Interesting how so many have stories about “what the rest of the world would think” and then acted accordingly to that belief! There is so much at the bottom of that whole thing
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

Hi J.
Yes, that is what I meant too. (about gifted)
There is a painful middle to all this coming out of the fog / recovery stuff. Realizing how much life was lost and damaged, realizing our own faults because of our learned survival mechanisms, all of that stuff is painful but it IS the road to freedom and wholeness.
For me my entire life and all relationships under went a huge overhaul! And I got past that painful stuff and went on to find freedom on the other side!
Hugs, Darlene


I was asking myself the same questions as I read the post with the list. (the same questions Darlene posted). Just want to say I was also isolated, but, I think for me to sort things out, I needed that, and even welcomed it. I didn’t want people to see me the way I was, crying all the time, angry, etc. You’ll still have all your friends here and with the new people you met at your building today, well, there you have it. I know it’s tough for friends to replace family, but I’ve had to face that this year as well. I sobbed and mourned the losses. I haven’t cut all contact, but I’ve made it minimal. Long story, but, anyhow, I wish you the very best of times in your new place. I hope the fear vanishes and you find comfort there. I’m patiently waiting for a post about your first day. 🙂

There hasn’t been a lot of “caught between” my parents because my mom had us so brainwashed, and my dad made no effort for years. He’s older now, slightly more feeble, and I think he looks back on his life with regret. I can talk to him now and see his points of view from HIM rather than through the filter of my hate filled and deceptive mother. It’s strange, although my dad checked out long ago and offered us nothiing, missed all our birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc. ~ I have more contempt for my mother than I do for him. I think because I’m older, I realize time is ticking and I can choose to be hung up on all that stuff about him, or I can embrace the time that’s left, get to know him a little and learn some things about my heritage. I have completely forgiven him. And, I think that sometimes, people don’t automatically love their children in the way we expect they should. I do believe he loves me on some level, no matter what the past says. No matter what my mother says.
Blessings and thanks!!


Oh Darlene,
I meant to comment on the beliefs you mentioned with your mom in that she seemed to think there wasn’t enough love to go around. My mother is the textbook image of that. We have also reunited with a couple of my dad’s sisters the past couple of years. Gradually, deceptively, and very dishonestly, my mother has wedged herself between our paternal aunts and us, stating she needs someone to talk to, a family friend, although she divorced that family 32 years ago. She has my dad’s sister (the one who lives locally) wrapped around her finger because she started planting all her pain in their hearts before we ever knew what was happening. She successfully drove a wedge there and now any hope of that relationship really flourishing has been shot down. I keep thinking, she had her father and mother and all her paternal and maternal aunts and uncles her whole life. Why does she need mine all the sudden? That still angers me a little, but earlier in the year when it was all uncovered and she proved she would put herself before me in that relationship, I was stunned, appalled, angry, etc. I sobbed for what seemed like weeks, that my mother was so selfish she would try to rob me of a relationship with my paternal aunt that I have gone without for 32 years. I can’t tell you how selfish she is in my eyes and how much that changed my entire view of her. UGH!!
Thanks again for all you do Darlene!!


Thanks Darlene.

Yeah, I’ve had a lot of that lately. I’m going to try to keep in my mind what you say about that BEING the path to freedom (even if I can’t easily see it/imagine it yet). I guess that “overhaul” bit is always going to be scary, but maybe an easier way to look at it for me is to think of it as “giving people a chance to prove themselves (or not)”. As in, if/when I do start standing up for myself/setting boundaries etc, I can try and see it as a chance for people to either be understanding & start a dialog etc, or to get shitty BECAUSE I’m standing up for myself, and that will probably make it easier to set stronger boundaries, or choose to move further away from those people.

Not sure I’ve explained that heaps well, but it makes sense in my head at least. I think my brain now starts in on the whole “what if people start doing that to me?”, but I guess either they already have, or at the end of the day, there’s not that many friendships left to lose. Sometimes I kinda wish I was just a total “free agent” so to speak, and didn’t care what anyone thought, and said what I really think etc (probably thinking particularly with art/creative ideas here). But I guess just life as well. Be less afraid of what people think or how they’ll react, and just follow intuition etc & pursue people that I like/admire etc.

Darlene, I was just wondering if you’ve done any specific posts re the “overhaul” process (eg mindset in doing it, what helped, what didn’t etc). I just thought of it then, and too tired to go trawling through the archives right now.

Mimi, thanks for the response & your kind wishes! It will be a very gradual move I think. Still kinda thinking I should basically be ready to go (as in actually able to stay there) before telling my parents, just in case my mother reacts badly. And my brain starts the chorus of “not fair on them” blah blah blah. (Well, *#&$& to you brain!) 🙂 Gotta do what I gotta do.

Brain’s slowing fast – I think I’ll have to re-read your post later too Mimi. And just remembered Amira, I’ve done the same thing again sorry! (Always tend to read the bottom ones first & start replying)

Thanks again everyone


Hi Mimi
I started to write a post about this “not enough love to go around” thing. That is why I used that expression! And you just highlighted interesting points! I have 2 half sisters. My mother tried to do this with them the first time she met them at one of my brothers wedding. It is totally about control, ownership and manipulation. (and the divide and conquer tactic ~ if she can get them on her side BEFORE you seek support; that sort of thing. ) This is all about them. And it doesn’t make sense unless you view it through the grid of their OWN low self esteem and their belief system about what makes them feel better about themselves… great comments!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi J.
Most of my posts indicate in some way the “how” part of all this. Sometimes it is just the way that I highlight HOW I came out of the fog and then once out of it, I saw things differently. Sometimes more specifics,, but . no I can’t really point you to a specific post. I have written hundreds… (and they are being compiled into a book which will make navigation easier. )
Hugs, Darlene


Do you mean your mother tried to win over your half sisters who are paternal halves? Not your mother’s own children?? Maddening if so. Same kind of crap my mom has pulled the last several months with her NON relative. So crazy I don’t even know where to start to approach it with her. I do want her to know I’m onto her tactics and that it was one of the most selfish acts I’ve endured. Not sure how/when to unload that on her though.


This is really only the second time that I have read one of your posts and I must say that I am floored by the similarities in our lives! After reading this, I realized that at least one other person in this world was raised by a mother like mine. I, as you, felt worthless. Although my parents didn’t divorce, my dad worked so much overtime he was hardly around, so my mother was the one who made rules, enforced rules, criticized, taught me a belief system that took years of therapy and work to let go of. When my father was at home, all my two brothers and I heard were the screaming fights. My dad spoiled my mom, giving her any and everything she ever asked for, trying to keep her happy. In the process of all of that my older brother and I were not given very much at all. I left home when I was 15 to escape the physical and emotional abuse of my mother.

Although, I eventually, got married, had my own children, for decades I allowed my mother to continue to criticize me and I gave her the power to control me.

It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I took a stand. As nicely as I could, and upon a therapists advice, I tried discussing our unhealthy relationship, hoping that we could mend the broken pieces. Instead of healing, she now has so much control over my father that she has chosen to convince him that their lives are better off without me in it. This has left me with 3 wonderful children of my own and 3 grandchildren that are devastated and can not possibly understand. I had no choice but to be 100% honest with my children about their grandmother.

To sum it all up, because of my mother’s self-centereness and narcissism, she will never know her grandchildren or great grandchildren. What saddens me the most, is that she doesn’t care.

Thank you for creating this page and I will begin reading your posts daily now.


Hi Mitz
Welcome to Emerging from Broken! It is always so cool to get a new reader that gets that total “I can relate to this!” reaction. Keep reading, you will find that there are thousands of us in this site alone who had a mother like that. You are not alone!
I understand the shock of having a mother who doesn’t care if she sees you or not. That is my story too but eventually I truly realized that this is about her and not about me and I also realized how much better I am now. I never have to deal with her craziness anymore. My kids are so much better off.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mitz.

My heart goes out to you. I know the hurt of rejection from my entire family as well. I am also aware that all of my family’s friends who knew me growing up have rejected me as the “bad egg.” I just want to encourage you as you grieve this loss that I did not truly even begin to heal until all contact was cut. When I was finally able to stop worrying about seeing them, speaking to them, what if things, etc, only then were the pieces of the puzzle finally exposed so that I could put them together properly.

Like you, a lot opened up for me in finding this site. Reading so many similar stories, I know I’m not insane which helps a lot. I also see truth neatly spelled out and easily taken in as it is “my” truth. A truth I never could put into words because I was afraid, “I” was the one at fault. Well, not anymore. Now it’s just a matter of letting it sit in my consciousness and take root inside me. That takes time and it requires grieving the losses. Both to your family and as you say, your children’s as well.

I believe you will be better off even if you cannot see it yet.



To Jen and Darlene:

Thank you thank you thank you!!! I know I have a long journey ahead of me, but after today, I have more hope because of you’s. I now look forward to the journey with a feeling of profound hope because I honestly know I am not alone!!! Big hugs!!


December 11th, 2011 at 9:19 pm
Darlene – are you sure we didnt grow up in the same household ? My God darlene my family was exactly the same way ! Except my parents never got divorced. they fought all the time over everything. My dad had a good job but my mother convinced me and my sister that we were “poor” but they funny thing is Mom got everything she wanted !! fur coats, jewelry, tv’s, shoes – he bought her everything she wanted but i could not even ask for a fishing rod for my birthday without getting yelled at and having it thrown back in my face. I think around age 11 or 12 i just stopped asking.

OMIGOSH!!!! I just read this and am actually sitting here dumbfounded!! I used to think the exact same thing..that we were poor, because my older brother and I had to wear the same clothes, same shoes, etc. I could never understand why my mom had the best wardrobe of anyone we knew, being that we were poor and all. (wink) My dad spoiled her to no cars every year, etc. I just can’t believe how much we all have in common. I can’t say it enough times…..THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE..I AM NOT ALONE ANY MORE!


Yes, that is exactly what I mean! LOL

Jen, LOVE the way you wrote that comment ~ “Now it’s just a matter of letting it sit in my consciousness and take root inside me”
That is exactly how it works for me with each new discovery.
Hugs, Darlene


You are going to continue to have this reaction; you are certainly not alone anymore; like I said, there are thousands of us just here in this site alone.
I am getting a huge smile out of your comments today!
Hugs, Darlene


Ugh, fighting over child support.. I grew up with it nonstop for 20 years now, basically until I somewhat recently ended the situation as it got very nasty towards me personally in the end, by officially refusing to accept money I’d actually legally should get.. definitely not the way it should be! but it worked out relatively well so far.
At least by denying to accept money my father never wanted to spare for me anyway, I don’t always get reminded that I am obviously worth much less than a certain amount of euros to him, which is kind of sad, but I am ok with this indifference.

Unfortunately though I have these strong and stupid believes (“who doesn’t work should not eat!” or something like this) about financial income & status equaling worthiness implanted in my head.
And I know that the belief is false, that the lack of income does neither make you worthless nor that I was and am nothing but a financial burden.. also I know exactly when these thoughts & feelings started – yet I haven’t succeeded in finding out what exactly caused them, and can’t get rid of them. So I kind of still feel like this self-discounting ideas are just my own creation and fault. (which they are not, I know which people made me feel unworthy & like a terrible financial burden, but I can’t get to the root entirely yet..)

As I am physically ill and have, umm, lots of healing work to do as well (it takes time and lots of effort after all, doesn’t it) I currently don’t earn money, and even though I have valid reasons for it, it’s not enough for me, I’m very ashamed and feel like a terrible burden. Sigh.. I wonder when I’ll have worked through this.. well I’m on it.

xx, Helena



I tend to think of healing as gardening. You find a weed and you remove it planting something healthy in it’s place. It takes awhile for that new plant to root and grow well. You must nourish it especially well in those first weeks before you can trust that it’s established. Sometimes the weeds are so big that pulling them out damages the soil and good plants next it them so it takes time to repair those things as well. Patience and attention to ourselves is what is called for here.

Hugs and many thanks. Looking forward to your next post. Reading the archives while I wait.


I know how you’re feeling just now. It’s such a relief, right?? I felt the same little celebration inside when I found Darlene’s blog as well. It has meant so much to me to come here, write, read, feel, mourn, celebrate, cry, etc. The confirmation that it’s not ME. It took a little while to really believe it, but, after coming back so often, always being supported, always identifying with others, I know the truth now. More than ever in my life, I believe it is the truth that sets us free. I’ve never been a person who could brush it under a rug and pretend it wasn’t there. I succeeded in brushing it under the rug, but the hurt and pain was so deep, I could never pretend it wasn’t there. I always felt it…. in everyday life. The self loathing, self sabotage, depression, hopelessness, sadness…. all of it. It hung over me like a black cloud, all the time. Even in times of joy, which were becoming fewer and fewer, that black cloud was still there lingering, dictating to my heart. I’m so happy you found freedom here too. I’m celebrating with you; because I know the feeling!!


Oh Mimi…YES Relief! I can relate so much to the feelings of depression, hopelessness, sadness, self loathing, etc. I used to try to explain it to my husband and my exact words were: “Imagine that there is a dark, ugly, black cloud that just seems to follow you wherever you go.” Even in a room full of people, I always felt alone. Now with my new found friends, today has been a day of hope with rays of sunshine emerging.


Darlene, Talk about getting a huge smile…I haven’t smiled this much for a continual period of time in a very long time!! Woohooo!! HOPE, I sure feel a whole bunch of it now.


Mimi: ” My mother tried to do this with them the first time she met them at one of my brothers wedding. It is totally about control, ownership and manipulation. (and the divide and conquer tactic ~ if she can get them on her side BEFORE you seek support;”

This just made me think of the times that my mother convinced me that if she had ill feelings towards someone, that I was expected, as a ‘good daughter’ to have the same negative thoughts about whomever she was mad at. If she saw me being nice to someone/anyone that she was mad towards, it was not only disrespect against her but against God as well, was her beliefs of which she tried to convince me of and this became MY belief system as well. There were thousands of times she would use the verse from the Bible “Honor thy Mother and Father…” Then one day I stumbled across a bible verse: Ephesians 6:4
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: This was my first step in allowingmyself to begin to dismiss her beliefs as MY beliefs. Needless to say, when I shared this with her, she was furious.


I love your analogy about gardening! I totally relate to that one; thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Helena
I had some of those beliefs too! This stuff takes time to sort out. The realizations did not come to me all at once. I had been in a huge intensive process for several years before I started this site (2 years ago)
MY fav line you wrote here is “well I am on it!”
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Amira,

finally got back to reply! Apparently head’s a bit hazy though; been sitting here for a bit & struggling to get started….

I just looked back over my post you replied to. First thing to jump out was saying “not good at relating to people” — gonna call BS on myself there in retrospect. I’m actually really good at relating to a wide variety of people (and probably in particular people that some others might choose not to relate to). As I thought about it, the real problem re jobs (and life, really) is not having learned to stand up for myself. Kinda hard when you’re trained that everything’s your fault though (eg my mother’s moods, reactions, problems etc).

And also having been trained that what I do = how accepted (or otherwise) I’ll be, I’d always be trying to make sure I didn’t f**k up, and feeling like I had to do things (like get people drinks etc) to try and distract attention away from my perceived shortcomings (I never really felt like I knew what I was doing, although I was probably doing fine in most ways).

Damn, this has been sitting here for couple hours – not in the writing mood tonight apparently.


@Darlene, I think though I have been estranged from my biological family longer than I actually had them in my life the beliefs about money were the last I had to work on and unlearn.
I lived with high school teachers the last 2 years of high school and then went out on my own. I was fortunate to have other role models besides my parents. I think that would be true if they were healthy but they were not.
Attitudes about work and money the bottom line is always self esteem. My dad was an eye doctor but choose to work at a welfare clinic so we were poor. He could have made alot of money but chose not to.
He did it due to religious guilt and low self esteem. My mom and him always had an argument about it. He implied that when he was younger he killed someone and would tell the story over and over about how when you kill someone you never get over it.I can still hear the story the sound of the trigger and on and on. And that was the foundation for his beliefs about money that he didnt deserve any.
So he never felt worthy of money or of anything else. In fact he was a highly intelligent talented likeable person with social skills. But in my opinion it was his guilt and how my mom used and manipulated him with it to control him that kept him in prison. IT was his choice to be in her prison but it was the religious guilt and low self esteem that she used.
He never felt worthy of money. I never bought into his religion and always thought for myself. But it still took me years to develop my own belief system about money. I was an honor student in high school. But flunked math and the teacher finally passed me due to her feeling that I was smart but just didnt get math and she didnt want to hold me back.
There were quite a few reasons I was not good in math. But a few of them were the attitudes about money I saw. However I had better role models later. My husband who I have been with now since 1993 grew up working in his parents Chinese laundry and restaurants. He learned to budget as a young child and is a math genius. He has shown me how to budget but also helped me learn a new healthier perspective on money. He is not obsessed with money. I believe worrying and thinking about money too much which is what I tend to do without his influence is not healthy. My attitude was so unhealthy about myself and money ( I have been working since I was 10 years old) I remember being young and thanking a boss for my pay. I remember her saying I owe this to you you dont need to thank me this is yours. But I still felt I didnt deserve it.
But then I went to the other extreme I learned to negotiate like Donald Trump and anyone coming up against my money negotiations would lose.
That was years ago then I balanced out and faith in Gods grace towards me and my husband and other role models helped me. At 2 jobs I was forced to do pay roll which to me was a fate worse than death. But I learned and especially in the past year have calmed down about money and put it in Gods hands.
I have always worked hard. Last year we were having financial trouble due to legal and medical bills. My husband had bought me a pink diamond eternity ring and we had to go to the diamond district here in NY to sell it.
We got it appraised at 2000 but could only sell it for 200. However this year he got me a new pink diamond ring. I didnt want to post it on my page. I find some cant be happy for others just jealous so I dont rub it in. But in the past I would have felt I was not worth the pink diamonds. They cost too much. Now I know I am worth it! Yes self esteem shows up in our attitude about money. Good teaching. For me it was the last issue I addressed! Everything else came first then I had to address this issue.


When I wrote this post about 2 weeks ago after I had written a post appealing to the readership for support with the expenses of doing this blog and also when one of my readers made an appeal on my behalf for donations. This post was inspired by the fact that I felt a little invalidated by the fact that only 5 people chose to help help me financially in this effort. People actually avoided the post. (please don’t let this comment make you uncomfortable! this is just my learning process. I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to donate!) I put a little blurb on my facebook page and people ignored that too. That brought up my “I’m not worth it” issues. I am a professional who has not taken clients for a while now due to the amount of work that I put into this site. AND I have paid for this site and all of the expenses that go with it out of my own pocket for 2 years now. I am no techie so I pay someone every month to maintain the site that way. I concluded that it was actually costing ME to help others. And I noticed some beliefs coming up for me about money and worthiness. SO I did some work on that belief system. I came up with this post in that process.
I realized that many of us do not think we are worth getting paid to help people, (which I thought was my issue, but I realized it isn’t) but I realized something else; many of us don’t think WE are worth paying anything for help either. I went around in my head about if this was “my issue” (that I was sending out “don’t pay me vibes” or “I am not worth it” vibes) or if it was the issue of others.
It has been an interesting process for me and I don’t feel invalidated anymore. (and I am not trying to make anyone feel obligated or guilty or anything like that! I am just sharing my own stuff here.)
In the process of publishing this ~ I totally forgot what motivated me to write it! Originally I was going to include it IN the post!
Hugs, Darlene

p.s. ~ I have decided that I need to finish my book so I can generate some income and I have also decided to take clients again once the book is done. I will have to spend less time here, but that is okay with me now. I had some belief system problems concerning that too, that I have worked through now. It is amazing to me that I learned so much from realizing the way my parents “taught me my worth” by the way they fought over (my) child support issues.


Hi I was not on lien much for the past few months other than the past few days. I had no idea you had asked for donations. I already made out my holiday donations and will put this on for next year.
I have appreciated this blog and also that you have not harassed for donations because some blogs I felt had to stop reading it was a constant harassment for donations from other blogs where the leader of the blog asked me for money and I had told her about my court issues and medical bills and she got all mad. It was actually at a low point financially as well. I feel she was only in it for the money and she completely ignored my situation so I left the blog and got harassed for leaving the blog as well.
I also had to put serious boundaries on a few free loaders in my life to the point of cutting them all off but one and said I would not give any more.
Probably what I appreciate about you the most is not harassing for money. I personally didnt ignore I just havent been on the blog.
Will send something next year.


Hi Pinky
I was in no way aiming my comments at you or at any other individuals! I don’t think I have ever harassed anyone about anything. I don’t want anyone to feel like they “have to” or anything like that. The thing I found and find hard is that no one volunteered to give me a donation before I asked. I just kept paying for the site on my own thinking that one day I would have to go back to work but because EFB is the work I have paid for my education to do, it IS my work. Then one day a guy wrote me and asked if I would accept a donation and he suggested that I ask for them so I tried it. It was just an idea that I had to get help supporting EFB so I didn’t have to cut back on it. When I posted that stuff before, I thought it was more about asking for help or giving back but not out of pressure. I don’t want anyone feeling harassed or anything like that. And again, I did not mean you personally Pinky.

To Everyone
I am sorry that I posted the original comments now. I was intending to share ‘my stuff’ about how this blog post came about. I am not sure how my asking for donations is being taken but I suspect that some sort of “obligation” button or “strings attached” button is being pushed for many because the comments and the likes have gone down all three or four times I have talked about it. For survivors, those “buttons” are the worst ones because they have been used against us for most of our lives. I would never want to make anyone feel manipulated. To everyone in this thread who got my comments about donations, PLEASE do not feel like I was directing them at you. Obligation is something that I HATE with a passion. I know that everyone who subscribed to the comments button read what I posted, so deleting it won’t help, but please understand that I am not trying to guilt, pressure or bug anyone to help me with this.
This blog and the participation of the readers is really important to me. I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable in any way other then the way it feels to look outside the existing belief system. (which is usually uncomfortable 🙂

Thanks everyone, and if anyone wants to share how my comments about donations made you feel, please feel free! I would love the feedback.
Hugs, Darlene


@Darlene ,I didn’t think it was aimed at me I would have said just letting you know I wasn’t on. have been having some health problems. I know there are several free blogs on the internet so as for me it didn’t occur to e that it was a pay for site. Maybe the others thought the same thing. I remember thinking about the lady who was harassing me in spite of me sharing my problems with her and I thought of you and thought it was a free site like wordpress or whatever. Making your needs known is important I never would think you were harassing that other lady though really was and I shared with her what I was going through at court and hospital and I could not afford to give at the time. She got mad and I said then I need to leave the blog and asked her tot take me off the list (it was an e-mail list) and she refused so I deleted that account. It was really bizarre.
But anyway as for as me I thought your site was free because there are free blogs of all kinds.I happen to see your news feeds more than the other blogs on FB which is why I log onto it more often than the others but havent been on line much lately except the last 2 days.


Hi Darlene,

Though I haven’t been reading long, I do have some experience with putting extremely helpful information on the internet “free” to help others. I put “free” in quotes because like you, it isn’t free to me. My experience is that if you offer something “free” people will take it as such. I, like you, have a donation button on my page but it’s been well over two years since I’ve received a dime yet the specific page I’m referring to gets dozens of hits per day. I also get several e-mails monthly asking for help in regard to the info on said page. I think that people as a whole surf the net very impersonally and will take more often than they give back. I don’t like this aspect of the internet at all. I think you just need to determine your goals for this site and make them visible. For my, my informational site is linked up with my business web site so I pay one fee for all and the donation thing isn’t such a big deal because I have to pay for the business site regardless. My wish is ultimately to help others and most of the people I help are so deep in the cancer system that they cannot afford more than what they are currently doing. That’s fine. God compensates me in other ways for this.

All of this said, I do know of a specific site which posts a lot of valuable material for public consumption but not all of it is free. There is a section of the site that is free where you can read and move on. There is another section which costs members a very reasonable $10 a month to read (different articles) and also allows them to participate in the discussion groups. They did this mainly so they would not have trolls and their readers had no problem with the fee as a prohibitive. I have read through some of the archives on your site in which there are warmings associated with the comments for sensitive topics and I wonder if this would be an area of this blog where you could make things “members only.” Just something to think about.

PS, I wasn’t offended. I understand where you are coming from here.

PPS, Every Christmas since my son died, God has given me a wonderful gift of truth and healing. This year it’s finding you. Seriously! I would be happy to pay a reasonable monthly membership here.



Speaking only for myself, I would be delighted to donate to help enable this blog to continue. Although, I am a new reader, one day, I feel from the bottom of my heart, I was MEANT to be here with all of you. You can expect my credit card on here tomorrow! : )


I appreciate the support I’ve felt here so much. I appreciate you so much. Here are the things that ran through my mind when I read your post.

~I have no idea how much it costs to run the site, or how much you get from people. If two people contribute, is that enough? Do you need 100, or 300 people to contribute? My point is, I don’t know specifically what you need. I’m so uneducated that in my imagination it could cost $40 or $4,000 a month. I literally have no idea.

~I feel truth is what I seek now. That said, my truth is, I’m embarassed to send only $10.

~I haven’t seen a post on Facebook about money. I have only seen one post on Facebook period, and I believe even that one was a link I stumbled upon. I can’t say for sure, but none the less, it was only once; the very first time I came here. I’m sorry I did not see the one about your need for support. 🙁

~I did see the post that someone else wrote quite a while ago, pleading for money on your behalf. I was still pretty new, (again, if I remember right; things are pretty sketchy from when I first joined. I was in a total tailspin with my life and that always compromises my memory) Anyhow, I wasn’t sure where I was headed with respect to the group. The plea from what I perceived at the time, seemed like it was from a veteran, I told myself it was aimed toward other veterans. I know, handy, right??

~I do understand what you mean by people avoiding. I support a home that recently opened in my city. It’s a faith based, non profit home for women who need guidance when being released from prison. I have supported the home from the beginning with my own financial, material, and various other contributions. I really want to see it succeed. It is capable of housing six women. About 6 weeks ago I sent out a message to the group on facebook which consists of 168 members. I asked them to commit to a contribution of $10 a month because I know it’s hard for people to supply the $3,000 they need monthly for operating costs. I certainly can’t give $3,000 a month, not even $500. So, I did some quick thinking and realized if 100 of the members committed to give only $10 a month, that cuts their operating costs by one third. I am sad to say only about 7 people replied to the post. That’s not to say people didn’t make the commitment. I don’t know that. But, it seems like if they had, they would have likely posted it.

~Confidentiality is a concern. I wonder about linking myself with facebook and here. I am still friends with many of my family members on facebook and I have already had one scare since I posted here. I thought my sister had read and responded once and when I saw the post I panicked a little. The poster shares my sister’s name. I’m really not even sure I belong to this group on facebook. It seems like I remember seeing this blog through a group link called “hold my hand” which I do subscribe to. Anyhow, I got a little freaked out by it. A lot of things went through my head when I DID consider contributing financially. First was, you would know my full name. Second, you could easily find me on facebook and friend me, post to my wall, make comments or likes, or anything along those lines. I feared any innocent act such as those might lead to my family finding me here. I have given enough details about my life that if one of them did somehow follow a trail from my page to here, it wouldn’t be tough for them to figure out my posts. Random facts like how many siblings, my age, facts about my father and when he left, my sister, my mother, my aunt, etc. I apologize that I don’t know how it all works or if even if there is a trail between here and facebook, and that I’m so fearful of my family finding me here.

~I don’t consider myself a newbie so much now. I’ve taken up plenty of space on your blog and experienced support and validation that literally is invaluable.

That said, I would be happy to contribute, and do so on a regular basis. I do have that lingering fear about my family though. As the administrator, you know all the intricate details and I obviously do not. Can explain it a little bit?? As in, how to avoid being busted out by my family on facebook if I give to the cause? Maybe it doesn’t make sense to you, and it’s entirely possible that I’m not making sense. It’s happened before!! 🙂 Anyhow, just wanted to respond to your inquiry and also let you know I was in no way offended. You have helped me beyond measure and to me that’s worth a whole lot!!


Your gratittude and enthusiasm is simply contagious!! I’m so happy you came here too!!


Oh thank you Mimi!!! I have been so absorbed today reading the archives. I couldn’t wait to tell my husband when he got home from work! ha! I told him I finally found women “just like me”. Looking forward to getting to know everyone and thank you Mimi for your wonderful words of encouragement and support.

love and hugs


I actually intended to turn this into a membership site which would provide some content behind a log in for a small monthly fee. BUT because I can barely keep up with the traffic that I already have, and because of the things that I have learned over the last year or so I decided against doing it. Moderating comments is so important and in a private setting even more important. There are a lot of reasons that I have not done that but I am going to set up small group coaching programs using that model which I think will be more manageable for me. Thank you so much for your feedback. I really appreciate it and thank you for your comments about the way the internet is ~ that is very true. I get hundreds of emails asking for help and hundreds of thank you notes too. Deep down I thought people would ‘want’ to give back. And I don’t think that they don’t want to give back I think that it is just something that is what it is. I am going to be setting new goals for this site in this new year!
Thank you so much for your huge compliment at the end of your comment! I am so glad that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Mitz,
Thank you ! I appreciate that and I am really glad that you are here.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Mimi
It costs me close to 300.00 a month to run this site. There are monthly fees and I pay someone to do the back ups and maintenance stuff. But that is only part of it. I have been doing this blog for 2 years now and it is time for me to contribute to the support of my family again. I went back to school after my own personal transformation, and that wasn’t free. I never thought that EFB would get so big so fast. (EFB ranks in the top 200,000 websites for traffic. That is out of billions of websites world wide) When I asked for donations, I was just trying to avoid cutting back on the time I spend doing this because there is so much pain out there! This blog generates an average of 1000 comments every month! It takes me 4 to 6 hours to write a blog post. I try to produce one every 3 days. My heart is in the right place with this. Jen made some good points about the way the internet is though. (Although I understand what you said about being embarrassed to send 10.00 Please don’t feel like any amount is too small. One of the donations I got was 5.00 and I was grateful for it. I have over 100,000 readers a month. If a fraction of those donated 10.00 here and there, all my needs would be taken care of. Having said that, I am not going to shoot for that goal!)

Now about facebook; it is interesting that you brought that up because yesterday I added a line about this into my new blog post before you sent this comment. Your feedback is awesome and has really given me some fantastic insight!
~I never friend anyone on facebook when they are part of my blog. I leave that decision up to the individual. AND when people from here friend me, I never make personal comments (that indicate how we know each other) on anyone’s page. Half the people who friend me on FB use a different name on the blog anyway so no one really connects them to here even if they post on the EFB face book page.
~ about the EFB facebook page. That is separate from this. That page is just the facebook page. I get a lot of traffic from facebook, but I get more from google. This blog is not connected to FB in anyway. If you don’t post anything about EFB in FB then no one will ever know you have been here. None of the comments here are connected in any way to facebook nor will they ever be published on facebook.
~ as far as contributing here, I am the only one who knows who does what and even then, if you use a different name on the blog I don’t know who you are if you donate!. I don’t announce the contributions and they are private.

I hope this addresses your concerns. Your feedback has been so helpful! I welcome anyone else who would like to share their fears/feelings about this, either here or through the contact form.
Hugs, Darlene


Can I just give a big WOOOOOHOOOOO for your ranking among websites!! You are amazingly giving and have made a difference for so many people. That’s reflected in your ranking. You’re an Icon!!

I didn’t necessarily expect you to lay your operating costs out publicly, but, I did somehow rationalize this ~ if I give you $20 and your costs are $40, then yahoooo; you’re halfway there, and my contribution really made an impact. If I give you $20 and your costs are $4,000, then my contribution didn’t make a dent. I guess maybe that discouraged me on some level too. Can I afford to make a really big dent in your costs, and if not, should I even bother? I have to admit, I’m a very “all-or-nothing” thinker. That likely applies here too.

Thank you for addressing the whole facebook thing. That scare I had really did freak me out. My sister’s name isn’t that common, so I just about threw up when I saw it right after my post once. And, the comment was so short, I could interpret it many ways. UGH, whew, I’m so glad it wasn’t her!!!

So, I feel so much better about it now. Thanks for hearing my concerns and responding.

A little money coming right up!!
love and blessings,


The thought occurs to me that if the operating costs of this site are $300 per month, you might receive more donations if you put a “chip in” donation style button on your side bar. Then people can see what the monthly goal is and how close you are to meeting it. I believe that most internet travelers just have no clue what it costs to host a site nor the time it takes to moderate and keep it operating properly. Most especially when you are so personally involved in it.


Hi Mimi
(your comments made me smile! Esp. the Icon thing.. LOL)
I understand that all or nothing thinking! I am so glad you feel better now. Thank you for your gift! I appreciate your feedback so much too.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jen
I don’t want to put any kind of pressure on anyone in anyway as far as donations go. Even if I put my operating costs out in public, (using a button like that) that won’t help me with the income part of my problem, because I still work at least 8 hours a day on EFB. So I am just going to go ahead with my other plan. I really appreciate your suggestions and all your ideas and insights. Thank you so much. This whole thread has been very very helpfuf for me!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone ~
Just wanted to mention that I published a new post about depression ~ and the way it feels and the way I found the root of it in order to overcome it.

You can read it here: Understanding depression and that Sinking “I can’t breathe” feeling
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Amira,

Back again! See how far I get this time. Actually I was looking for the comment that mentioned getting my own s**t sorted before looking for love (didn’t remember it was from you).

It’s been playing on my mind quite a bit actually. I think because it’s not what I want to hear, but in some ways what I’d suspected all along myself. The sticking point is that I can’t EVER imagine being at a place where things are “sorted” enough to try. (And seeing as I’ve already checked out of life so much, even if I somehow did arrive at that place in the future, I feel like I’d be such a recluse that it’d be a complete lost cause anyway).

Ok. The move positive way of looking at it that has occasionally presented itself to me would be to have my own LIFE first. (As in, away from parents, own space, free to make my own decisions for first time ever [apart from my own mental s**t, which I’m sure isn’t going to just magically disappear], build my own routine etc). And up until about a month ago, that seemed like a total pipe dream (own place) that was never going to happen, so maybe I can just try and adjust to that first and see what happens.

It f**king sucks though. Another sticking point that’s popped out is loneliness.

Ok, brain’s stuck now — what’s the balance between trying to take action (eg meet people) to combat loneliness, and not seeking relationships? (I know you said “serious” relationships, which is probably the key, but again I get stuck. I mentioned somewhere that I went on my first date in over 2+1/2 yrs recently, and think I talked about having to basically convince myself that I wasn’t as f**ked up as I felt, otherwise I wouldn’t have ever been able to pursue anything. Not sure if I mentioned that, having done that, pretty much instant obsession reared its ugly head. The 2-3 weeks that I was seeing that as an option felt like f**king years. Always waiting for a reply etc. So, that was less than positive in terms of having to realize where I’m actually at.

But it’s SUCH a f**king tightrope between that and utter hopelessness at ever finding love (or even friendship) again. I guess when I say friendship, I mean the kind that’s actually there for you, and is positive etc. I get so stuck on the few people that actually return my calls, feeling like I don’t really want to be friends with them in a lot of ways. (Maybe if I become able to speak my truth it’d be better. Cos then at least I’d know one way or the other; depending on how they react to my truth)

Ok. Deep breath time (yet again. This seems a very common theme in my posts). Suppose I could see that as a positive (actually being aware enough to realize I need to slow down).

Kinda feel like writing about my extremely confused views of women. But kinda not too (gonna be pretty hard to do. Also at least somewhat aware of not wanting to upset anyone). Oh well, give it a shot.

talking about porn use next few paragraphs

So, I know I’ve mentioned my hardore porn use (arguably addiction) here before. Not sure if I’ve really talked about the effect I feel it’s had on my view of women (or perhaps my view of myself). My f**ked-up, repressive, guilt-ridden christian upbringing is tightly interweaved here too.

Ok this line of thought is bringing my brain to a screeching halt. (The time being near dawn again probably isn’t helping. Also having bought a case of beers for first time in ages won’t be doing any favors). On that note, I’ve always been scared of becoming an alcoholic. Feels like it’d be so easy to do (become one, not be one). Jumping over to eating disorders, I’ve discovered that if I have food in the house, I eat it (usually at night when I can’t sleep). Same tends to go with alcohol. But I suppose I can at least slightly console myself that I bought 24 beers, and if that was true I’d have none left.

So, women. Having “discovered” internet porn around age 13-14 (thanks for nothing, father dearest), I’ve had more than half my life to become numbed to it. Have definitely noticed the whole “escalation” thing (things that used to disgust me now turning me on etc). Haven’t wanted to admit it, but have also noticed erectile troubles without porn. (I found “psychology today” [I think] articles talking about this as becoming common among my generation. It said that stopping internet porn use will fix the problem. Unfortunately (for me) it didn’t mention anything about repression/religious guilt over sex. It mentioned guys stopping use then finding their sex lives greatly improved after a while. But I think for me, it’s the very strange double standard in my mind that finds “real life” sex (at least thinking about people I know doing it) utterly disgusting, yet has spent over half my life watching people I don’t know doing it. There’s also the whole “comfort factor” thing involved. (I can go for quite a while without it, but recently I’ve been trying to simultaneously cut out sugar, porn, and come off meds, all while confronting one of the biggest fears of my life [living alone]. Been ending up pretty much thinking it’s probably better in some ways to spread the dissociating out between various behaviors. Not sure I even really mean that; I guess more that I hadn’t really been paying attention to how much I was just zoning out of life (or how many methods I had of doing so). And I put so much f**king pressure on myself when I try to do something. Even if it’s a “good” thing I’m trying to do, I don’t think crushing myself mentally is a healthy way to accomplish good things.

I think what I was trying to get to before was the fact that I think I’ve had to “train” myself to switch off normal emotions etc when it comes to porn. (By which I mean, even if you’re not actively looking for the really f**ked up stuff, if you’re trawling the internet you’re going to come across stuff that makes you feel sick one way or another). So I guess it seems like I’ve had to completely objectify women in that area. But in real life, I’m mostly scared shitless of women. Or, f**king hate them when I think they’re trying to control/manipulate me. (My mother, ex’s in some ways). But in terms of friendship type relationships, I guess I’ve always kinda tried to be the “gentleman” type. I no longer really know if that’s how I actually am, or if it’s just been my means of hoping to distract from all the porn-related s**t inside.

F**king hell this is hard to write. Can’t imagine it’s much fun to read either, so apologies for anyone who is. I guess I figure it’s probably good for me to try and get this shit out rather than just holding it in all the time, so I’m gonna keep trying.

Actually, to kinda tie in to earlier paragraph, I think because I was mostly too scared to even kiss a girl growing up, it kinda feels like a very thin line between attraction of any sort, and sex (at least in my mind, if not actually). And I don’t know what to do about that. I guess I figure, adult relationships will eventually lead to sex (unless choosing not to for religious reasons etc), so kinda don’t want to repress myself even further. There’s part of me that would love to feel able to just aim for one-nighters, but I can’t see how that would actually make anyone happy. And in my case, it’s a moot point anyway. (There’s an automatic belief for you. Unf**able.)

Ok. Apologies. Feeling pretty dark and pessimistic. I don’t know how “normal” people think about sex, or deal with the fact that they think about it. (As in, if they’re going on a first date or something). I don’t want the fact that I’ve been hooked on hardcore porn to mean that I can’t ever have any form of intimacy again. But feels like that (not to mention all my various other mental dysfunctions, current life circumstances etc) DOES mean I can’t. F**king depressing.

Ok. Can’t seem to get out of this low patch so I’m going to stop.

Hope everyone’s going well. Hopefully I’ll feel at least a bit better after some sleep.


Darlene – thank you so much for your feedback. As an adult no one really give us “permission” to spoil ourselves or spend $$ on ourselves. I have been afraid that at times i would just go on a crazy shopping binge and spend $ i dont have. I am going out today to look for a remote controlled model airplane that i have wanted for a long time ! Thanks Darlene !


That is awesome Dave!
Enjoy your gift to yourself! You deserve it!
Hugs, Darlene


Oh. This is a doozy. Basically my parents communicated to us that money was more important than we were. A lot of my most stinging memories involve money.

Both parents shoplifted and at about 10 I remember items being hidden in my coat in a grocery store. I also remember the check-out and feeling scared to be caught. I started swiping candy bars from convenience stores and was lectured by a policeman one night as I lay in bed. That’s a “bad kid” memory, there’s still residual guilt. That tells me they got on my case about it. My parents had no understanding or desire to understand modelling behaviour. They would have felt no responsibility for what I did. A few years later me and Mom were in K-Mart looking at Barbie accessories. I wanted something and she told me to just take it, so I did, I ripped open the package and we left. I didn’t really want to, I had sense that it was wrong. It took me years and years to realize the message was I wasn’t worth spending the money.

Keeping a record of the pop he bought me, with tax, Dad showed me the paper when I was a teenager. I don’t think I could believe my eyeballs. With TAX ffs? I felt like I meant nothing, it was disheartening. Talked about me paying for my own meals when we ate out started at 14. He made good union money, but that didn’t matter, he wanted me to feel as devalued as he did as a kid. That I was a financial burden, and me getting to working age meant he could start to recoup. Unfortunately by 16 I had no self esteem and failed at getting a job. I’ve rationalized that with Dad’s own poor and abusive childhood, he knew no better. He knew better. He made a choice. Couldn’t be bothered making the right one.

I can reframe memories now…one is of having to take envelopes to Avco Finance by myself, never really understanding what this was about. One day I asked for some money so I could buy some comics, magazines, candy. Dad gave me money but I always had to make other pit stops, errands. Now I can see, the message was I had to be useful somehow, you don’t just give your kid money for nothing in return. I remember this day, having to drop off the envelope at Avco first before going to the store for my treats. And how the receptionist looked at me weird, and I thought it said something bad about me. Course now I understand she was wondering why a kid was being sent to do this.

I never have worked much in my life and have a hard time with money. It slips through my fingers and usually has gone to addictions. But I have hope and belief that this will change as I heal. I never lose sight of getting better. I am special and worth it. It will take a lot of work, but I am so glad I’ve lived to see the fog lift, and I owe it to myself now.


Money was just another tool my parents used to control me. From an early age I was exposed to my parents’ worries over their finances, a constant reminder of how much of a BURDEN it was for them to provide for me and my younger brother. We lived in a house on 50 acres (rural farm and woodland, some leased to the farmer up the road for growing crops), with two cars, an aboveground pool, and a small motor boat for trips to the lake. My dad was the sole income earner while my mom was a stay-at-home housewife. It seems to me we lived a solid middle class life, but my dad would frequently rant about us being “one step away from living in the poor house!!”

When we were growing teenagers my mom would get angry about how fast we went through groceries. We were never denied access to as much food (i.e. snacks) as we wanted, but I felt GUILTY for my teenage appetite every time my mother bitterly complained about the grocery bills.

Money was also used as an excuse to not let us do things. For example I wasn’t allowed to participate in summer soccer because all the trips back and forth to the school would cost too much in terms of gas and “wear and tear” on the car. Instead I spent the entire summer bored half to death at home – it’s not like I had anywhere else to go since we lived miles from town and there’s no bus system out in the country. My parents had a carton-a-week smoking habit and my dad drank beer (lots and lots of beer), so I guess they knew what their priorities were with respect to discretionary spending.

I spent most of my twenties paranoid about money, and it didn’t help that I started out with $20k in student debt and entering a very low-wage career path (environmental/wildife work). I was so scared I would be a slave to debt like my parents were, I anxiously deliberated the costs associated doing anything “fun.” It took YEARS for me to realize that having life experiences (enjoying music, going on a road trip, eating out with friends) was something I deserved, not to mention it enhanced my opportunity for social interaction, and that moderate spending to enjoy life was not going to put me “in the poor house.” What a waste of my early youth when I should have felt free to have fun with my peers!

I wonder how much my parents’ thinking has affected my choices regarding my own career. Sometimes I sabotage my success with the negative thinking I learned from them. They trained me to handle setbacks as emergencies, accept unfair treatment, and fail to recognize or pursue good opportunities because I think I’m “not qualified” (not worthy). My salary at my last job was at least $5k below the industry average for my type of position in this geographic area (I didn’t negotiate when I started, and since then I’ve done a TON of salary research). The department I worked in was an absolute disaster and the company got rid of my entire group. I saw it coming but didn’t get out in time, in part because I believed I shouldn’t “give up” and I thought I had more time to find something else. I have been unemployed for 6 months. When the time comes, will I accept whatever I can get because my CORE BELIEF dictates that’s what I deserve? Or will I be able to overcome my tendency to UNDERVALUE myself and my skills to insist on a fair wage/salary, reasonable managers, and opportunities for professional growth? (Unlike my last job situation, and a few others before…hmm, a pattern emerges). Is it even a good idea to practice asserting myself in this way during a weak economy in which so many employers are looking for overqualified people willing to accept low pay?

My mom’s only job ever was as a home health aid when I was in high school. She became inspired to help seniors after caring for my grandfather when he was dying of Parkinson’s disease. She completed training courses, got a job right away, and then quit a few months later because the money she made wasn’t “worth” anything when combined with my dad’s income. Never mind the fact it got her out of the house. Never mind I thought the whole point was to help people, not to make money that would supplement my dad’s income. And so much for the opportunity to role model goal setting, perseverance, and following your passion/motivation. “What’s the point?” she would say. Just what your teenage daughter needs to hear.

Then there’s my dad who spent his entire career paranoid and absolutely convinced he would lose his job, get screwed by the union, lose his retirement/pension to mis-management, etc. He started as a mechanic in the glass container industry (imagine an alcoholic making beer bottles all day). With no college education, he worked his way to a corporate level senior engineering position – this might be the only thing I’m actually proud of my dad for. Last I knew he was making $90k/year (and in a relatively low cost of living area) yet somehow continued to insist he was on the brink of financial ruin and would never be able to afford retirement, plus any day the company was going to replace him with “some college kid.” When the company finally did eliminate his position (most likely due to changes in business needs), they valued him enough as a long term employee to create an assistant plant manager position for him so he didn’t have to choose being layed off or forced into early retirement. They did not cut his pay, even though the new position was below his salary grade, plus they covered relocation expenses! My dad took the new position while at the same time making a huge fuss over “losing” his job, and evidently felt this was a good excuse to drink more than ever before. A year later he was caught DRUNK on the job, and even then he couldn’t get fired because his state considers alcohol abuse as a medical condition. Thus he went on long-term disability and kept his company health insurance, which covered the cost of a detox program. In order to return to work he had to successfully complete follow-up rehab, but he quit going to AA after just a couple of meetings. A year after that he ended up hospitalized for serious medical problems related to his drinking and was diagnosed with alcoholic dementia.

My mom recently did their estate plan. She decided she wants me to assume power of attorney for her and my dad if she ever becomes incapacitated (she already has POA over my dad and wants me to fill in as his secondary). Of course she didn’t discuss this with me ahead of time – one day out of the blue I received a packet of forms from the attorney in my mailbox. My mom wouldn’t or couldn’t explain what I was expected to do as POA and said I should call the attorney’s office. I spoke to a legal assistant who was very dismissive, telling me “oh, this isn’t something you’ll need to worry about for a long time” and “I’ve never had someone ask me these questions before.” I finally asked her to specifically walk me through the first steps. The way she put it, I would need to drop everything and fly out to their house (they live about 1600 miles away) so I could sort through their mail and files, make calls to banks and insurance companies, and basically try to make heads or tails out of their financial records so I could pay their bills and manage their money while under legal obligation to act in their “best interests.”

My parents never taught me anything about money, not even how to balance a checkbook. Money was always something to fear, obsess and feel helpless over. Yet also not something to discuss in an intelligent, practical way with your children. On the other hand my mother thinks it’s okay to ask me detailed questions about my finances, like how much money I make, or how much my house is worth, or how I’m going to manage getting my bills paid while I’m unemployed (not that it’s any of her business, but I’ll be just fine because I taught myself how to make a budget, spend wisely, and prepare for emergencies). Not only that but I have been in very limited contact with my parents for years, and now they expect me to take responsibility for their affairs with no explanation. What a twisted situation! I have decided to NOT sign the paperwork.


Hi Steph
Yes, all of this stuff (parents choices and messages from parents about money or whatever) goes into the grid of the way we view the world. It was important to me to look at the truth about all those messages because some of them were very false and in my way.
p.s. Good for you deciding not to sign the papers.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene! I saw your article with my posts 🙂 that was cool, and pretty validating.

Oh my god this hits home. I actually asked my father once why he had children if we were such an expensive burden and he answers, “I don’t know….” That just says it all. Comments like those are intended to make a child feel guilty.

I too remember stealing and feeling like I was helping out my already high-income family.
My sister has had to pay the price too, but I do think it’s hard for her to go there. She knows that being hungry and cold and getting molested are the consequences for standing up for yourself in our family and I don’t blame her for being afraid. She could literally die if she voices an opinion. The fact that she had to work 3 jobs while doing well in school full time and care for my brother at age 19-20 sucks.
Especially when I think about what my mother contributed- nothing, emotionally, or financially. She got to stay home and sleep in, and go shopping. Gross.

I made less Dr. appointments than I should have and NEVER asked for new clothes. I remember that our school bus driver’s daughter had nicer clothes than I did, which I thought was odd, since I always thought doctors made good money (later, I found out they do! haha). My sister had nice clothes, as she was a talented shoplifter.

My father alternates between “You took all my money” in reference to times when I didn’t, and “You never took our money” in reference to times when he offered me a pittance after he got embarassed after other’s in the community found out after the consequences of him not supporting me in any way– (that a doctor’s daughter was hungry, molested, essentially homeless, not going to be able to afford college). Its crazy. I remember after a year of eating one meal a day, he put $200 into my account and left this angry message on my phone about how grateful I should have been. I just threw the phone against the sidewalk and it smashed. I hadn’t seen a doctor in a long time, and I was cold almost all the time, owned one pair of pants. I was over 18, but the economy was awful, I had no emotional, educational, or job skills, and he had connections but when I asked for help with that for a job, he said, “Get a phonebook, my dad lived in the depression and HE got a job”. Wow.
Needless to say, even when I was working, I didn’t have enough to pay rent. But it was my fault for these living conditions. In tough times I saw families work together and grow closer. However, in my family that was not the case.


Oh, I have question Darlene.

What I am struggling with right now is genuinely wondering if it IS my fault.
My logic goes like this: “If my father is a bad person and he has convinced himself that he is good, then how do I know I’m not BAD too and convincing myself I’m good?”. How do I know that I’m not exactly like him?

This is always the thing that rears its ugly head whenever I tell myself it’s not my fault. The whole apple doesn’t fall far from the tree thing. I am making progress with the blame- but this thought is stopping me in my tracks.



Hi Emerging from Broken Friends!

If anyone else has any feedback on how to deal with the “What if I am just like my abusive father in denial?” question in my previous post- I would love to hear it. This is a huge challenge of mine right now- it seems to be stopping my progress and I feel so bad, like I’m lying to myself, despite all the facts I point to re: abuse.

Thanks guys.


This is a huge topic! I have written about it in this site lots, but can’t remember where exactly. Something that helped me with this problem was being told that abusers NEVER question themselves. (I wrote a post with that title if you google it) and the other thing that helped me was looking at motives. Is your motive for any of your actions for ‘control’ or is it for good, for trying to resolve relationship or for resolving problems. Looking at things through the motive grid helped me a ton. One time my husband declared that he didn’t see the difference between me and his controlling father. (one of the most hurtful things he ever said to me) and it was the motive examination that helped him to see the anwer. He had confused the fact that I was insisting on having our relationship a different way, and to him he saw it the same as when his father always communicated that he wasn’t good enough, didn’t do anything good enough etc. When Jim understood the motive difference, things got a little easier. Now, having said that, abusers will tell you that they are ‘doing this for your own good’, but that is a lie and the truth leaks about that are very easy to see. (as in my current post where I use some of your comments)
Hugs, Darlene


You are not like your father at all. Everyone goes through the healing thinking this. Its a normal stage. I did. There is a post on this site about it. I still try to catch if I have any abusive behaviours from copying my parents but deep down I know I am a good person. Abusers/Narcissists are not able to question themselves and analyze like you are.
Your father is a positively evil man. Similar to mine. When I was recently in financial stress after divorce, he would not give me any money until I threatened to kill myself. I wouldnt have but apparently I had to go this far to get a measly bit of help. I have not asked them for money since birth! And my father certainly can afford it. It hurts so much to know my father would not support me. Maybe this is why I end up with men that will not support me financially. It is incomprehansively sad my father and monther refuse to help in tough times. Its so painful to know that no one has your back, when sh..t hits the fan I am going with it. There is not going to be mom or dad there.. or anyone the world which is a looking at it from my childhood eyes and them being the world. This is why I feel so alone and financially unsupported and shakey. Among many reasons..

At around 11 years old I used to go food shopping for my mom. Cross roads etc my peers were not allowed, and get to the supermarket on foot. Then I would carry bags and bags of groceries back. And then I would hand my mother the change. And then I thought I dam earned some change just to buy myself gum!! a fricken peace of littel gum! So I ask her if I can have the change, not the bills. And she snaps.. hell no who do you think you are. When you are competent enough to have a job, which is never , obviously you are not competent enough to have a job now, then you can have your own money, which is never because you are not compatent enough for a job or handling money. You certainly dont deserve any change. You just going to waste it. You waste everything, you have no idea about money and you are going to waste it, like everything else. Why would I give you any change to waste on apeace of gum. What a stupid idea, and a waste of money, it only proves you have stupid ideas and dont know how to manage my hard earned money. my father and I work so hard for this money and you want to just waste it on gum, what is wrong with you, seriously who do you think you are. You have no clue…
..From then on I bought gum without permission, while shaking ofcourse. All of this has certainly impacted me. It seems I have not been able to save a dime until I started healing. I am finding out just now that I am good with money. It also impacted me treating myself with my money. I would spend too much on clothes, but my room is bare of furniture. I still barely have furniture and things I can treat myself with. My belief system of appropriate reward with my money is so screwed.
Then the feeling of competence, being worth more money at work.. doeant end. I am finally finding out that I am very smart and deserve so much better. I deserve lots of money for comfortable life with all the perks normal people have.. like furniture!!


Hey! I’m just posting so I can subscribe to follow up comments! I fully intend on reading what everyone has to say once subscribed!



Your family does sound a lot like mine. A lot. I also get the shaking- I am curious- has it ever gone away? It is really a terrible, embarassing symptom of PTSD for me. Like the body saying “you are not safe- hide”. I also remember always being accussed of stealing grocery money. I think once I did pocket about 5 dollars for health supplements, because I had so many health problems and he wouldn’t take me to the doctors I wanted to see – thought could help me. But even when I didn’t all those other times, I mean wow. I lied like once when I was 17 and now at 23, I am forever a liar. When he lies, I am the liar. When others tell me honesty is my biggest quality, I am a liar. He also insinuates so many crazy things: wanting clothing and food: greed. Flirting even when you’re a virgin: slut. And so on.
Really, the man is just nuts. Its too bad people don’t see it very easily. He’s so arrogant he’d kill us all before he’d look bad in public.

I remember the whole “Get a job!” screaming lecture from a young age. In a small town, with no car, we didn’t live in town or near public transpo, no job experience or connections, my sister was 14. How could she pay for clothes, lunch money? I don’t blame her for stealing. And my father had the nerve to flaunt his wealth.

But yeah, when it comes to tough times, I would NEVER betray my family. I would never let my daughter go hungry. I would never yell at my teenage daughters about how much money I made and get angry at them for not making the same amount- THOSE ARE KIDS, NOT YOUR MED SCHOOL CLASSMATES YOU #%@%#$!!!! (trying so hard not to swear) I just don’t understand how a father can see his teenage daughters as competition, especially in the financial arena? Sheesh, no wonder he didn’t want me to go to college.

When you can’t go to family, that’s when you know, they are related to you by blood and blood only. Those people are not family.

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