Feb
28

Emotional Abandonment and Dysfunctional Relationships

By
my cold heartless mother
My Cold Mother

I was in grade eight just thirteen and a half years old and I was crazy in love (I thought) with a boy at school. I was so shut down at that age. I was awkward, quiet and withdrawn. He was this really cool popular boy who was captain of his football team and on the basketball team; all the boys looked up to him and he was making it pretty clear that he liked me. ME! He asked me to “go around” with him which was the term used in that city when a guy asks a girl to be his girlfriend. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  The most popular guy in the whole school just asked me to be HIS girlfriend. And I was looking for a love source, an identity and someone to make me believe that I was special. I was trying to find self acceptance and self esteem through being his girlfriend. And I was sure that being liked or loved by someone like him could do all that! I believed that this was it; finally I was going to be “good enough”.

It was going great. A few weeks later school was breaking for the Christmas holidays. He gave me earrings with rings and hearts on them; I had never felt more special in my life and then he kissed me. I got dizzy and felt my knees go weak, just like I imagined it happened in romance books and movies. My first kiss was a fantasy come to life.

He defended me too. One of the boys at school said something mean to me and my boyfriend slammed him up against a wall.  I was sure that this was the proof that finally someone loved me! Finally I meant something to someone and suddenly, I was popular too. He had a temper and there were other incidents of him fighting for me too but I thought it was just wonderful. Those were magical days.

Soon came the day that he wanted me to let him do a little bit more than just kissing. Continued…I said no and he said that if I wouldn’t let him go a little farther, that he was going to dump me and go out with this other girl. Oh…… I was devastated. I felt like I was having a nightmare and hoped that I would wake up soon.  But it was really happening. And I still said no, and he broke up with me.  And he went with the other girl that same day.

I have a vivid memory of crying my heart out on my bed and later that night my mother stopped by my bedroom and found me crying in my room. Our mother daughter relationship had always been dysfunctional but this time she took the time to ask me what was wrong, and although I should have known better, I told her what had happened, hoping for maybe something different from her this time… maybe she would listen to me, give me some sort of advice or even some comfort. Maybe she would be MY MOTHER and give me a moment of her time. But she told me that there were plenty of fish in the sea and left the room making everything so much worse.

It was as though I realized that all my worst fears were true; I wasn’t worth loving. I was just not important and I was never going to be important to anyone. I was alone; I believed that I would always be alone with my 13 year old understanding of the way the world worked and I was pretty sure already, that it always worked against me. I was hurting. I needed her. I told myself that I didn’t need her to understand, but that was just me trying to comfort myself. If it was no big deal to my mother, then why did I think it was such a big deal? Something must be wrong with me. And when I think about it today, she didn’t even bother to tell me that my body was mine, that I had a choice about who touched it ~ or that I was too young to be in a situation like that OR that if he REALLY liked me it would not depend on how far I let him go…and other good advice or support that a mother COULD offer! She just discounted me. She was too busy with her own boyfriends.

It never occurred to me that my Mother was dysfunctional or that her way of mothering me was dysfunctional. I didn’t consider that our relationship was pathetic, or that she was pathetic. I only considered that I must be pathetic. I must be dysfunctional. I must be unworthy, unlovable and disposable. I remember when she left the room that night. I remember feeling stupid. I wondered if I should have given in to my boyfriend. I wondered why he didn’t want me to be his girlfriend just because I wouldn’t let him touch me in a sexual way. My thoughts were not mature enough to sort this out but I had to figure all this out by myself. That boy made me feel special. For the first time in my life I felt like someone SAW me, wanted me, liked me and valued me. I had been raised by my dysfunctional mother, to believe that my value was in my body and my sexuality. And when I said “no” I was rejected, proving that maybe it was true; maybe my value was in my body and sexuality.

I had a lot to think about for a 13.5 year old kid.

The next day my boyfriend said he was sorry. He had gone with the other girl and she said “no” too. Although I was still pretty devastated, I forgave him and I was thrilled to get back together with him. The next time that he wanted to do more than kiss… I didn’t put up a fight.  

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Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time

Darlene Ouimet

Related Posts: More on Mother Daughter Dysfunctional Relationship

Dysfunctional Mother Daughter Relationship Nightmares

Sexual Abuse ~ Devalued and Unprotected

Categories : Mother Daughter

97 Comments

1

This makes me sad Darlene. My daughter is 13 and I’m imagining what I would have said to you at that age if I had been your mother. You needed a hug and support for being able to say no even if it meant losing your first love. I’m sorry she let you down. You deserved better!

2

Hi Gabrielle,
I have a daughter that same age as I was then too. I can’t imagine discounting her the way that my mother blew me off when I told her my devastating story. I love my daughter. It kills me when something makes her sad or hurts her. My kids spend hours talking to me about their lives and when I get tired I remind myself what it felt like to be ME when I was their ages. I deserved more ~ that is for sure!
Thanks for being here,
Hugs, Darlene

3

I was 15 when I met my high school sweetheart. For me too, it was an escape from a terribly dysfunctional relationship with my mother. In my case, my mother paid attention; if anything all too much. I carried the weight of taking care of her; keeping her company and protecting her from pain at the cost of ignoring my own. My older brother (10 yrs my senior) had died from cancer when I was 11. My mother was never able to heal from the loss, always saying she had nothing more to live for. I never knew how, if at all, I fit in.

She was mired down in a world of self destructive behaviors. Her hatred for the human body, anti-sexual philosophies, and the endless shame she tried to invoke in me tore me apart. Here I was, 15 going on 16, and I didn’t even know the facts of life. My nick name was Sandra Dee. I was indeed – clueless. But here at last, a guy was truly interested in me -for me. He respected my resolve to remain a virgin, but we did go a bit beyond kissing.

She had taking a liking to my boyfriend. He had lost his mother 4 years earlier, witnessing her fall to her death due to a seizure. They talked and comforted each other, although God forbid I utter my brother’s name. I would be accused of trying to kill her. It wasn’t easy. My boyfriend and he had the same name.

One evening she walked in on us making out. She didn’t say a word until the following morning when she accused me of being a filthy slut and seducing the poor boy. I was never allowed to live this down. Then to add insult to injury I was beginning to suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder, and would go hysterical each time he attempted to walk out our door to go home, in fear that I’d never see him again. During these fits she would tell me that I was unlovable and would push me away, always coming to his defense instead. She never tried to comfort me.

We dated for almost 2 years until he broke up with me – three days before our Junior Prom. I guess I was fortunate in a way. It wasn’t another girl. He had committed himself to the Roman Catholic Church. He had plans to become a priest. (You can’t make those things up!) Being a gentleman, he took me anyway and I spent a tearful night, “Dancing in the Moonlight”, with my former love. Until then, we had talked about marrying once we graduated.

When he left me my mother accused me of breaking “her” heart by destroying the relationship, again claiming I was obviously unlovable.

I had the chance to make peace with her after undergoing therapy for BPD at age 23. I healed and found it in my heart to understand the pain she was living with day in and out; pain she never received help for. While I managed to recover in full, she died when I was 31 from years of self destruction, morbid obesity, diabetes, depression and pneumonia. It was through her death that I learned to – live.

4

i hated to be out with my parents if they were drinking, because it caused me nthin but embarassment. father got angry and mother flirted with anything. oh i nevr wanted to be like her. then when i had my breakdown at 18, well then i started to see where the blame laid and it wasnt me. that didnt sit right for ages cos when we were on good terms id ask questions and her asnswer always had a different lense. the lense of how central she was to things. not sure if other survivors have a filter where eventually they can see who did what and who causes what to trigger, i do. years of agreeing with everyone makes it easy for me to argue both sides of an arguement and that leads to tensions with my family as my mother still believes that i started abusing her mentally and emotnionally since i was 11 months old, when my brother was born. head knows that aint true just gotta figure why i still numb about it

5

Darlene,

I am so sorry you had to endure that. I can relate all too well.

Susan,
((hugs)) to you! I am so sorry your mother treated you that way, even though her pain is valid and understandable, it does not excuse what she did to you and I am glad you were able to heal.

wow. does this bring back memories I wish I could forget. I had my first boyfriend (real honest to goodness asked me to be his girlfriend relationship–not the sexual abuse before then) when I was 12. He was a boy from church, and he was 17. I already knew by the time he got around to wanting “more than kissing” not to put up a fight or he would do it anyways (or so I thought based on previous experience) so I never even questioned that I had a choice and could say no at all and actually be listened to and respected, it just never occurred to me that it was possible. So he asked, and I just said ok, and left (mentally, my body was still there physically, but I was not) and he told me that its how people showed they love eachother, but I knew that wasnt true, because it had happened before and those men in the park didnt love me, they didnt even ask me at all, so I thought in my mind after that “men will lie to get what they want and tell you whatever they think is good” but I had never told anyone about the men in the park, and I didnt tell him either, and I never told my mom about him, or anyone else. Then when I was 15, I actually decided on my own that I was going to have sex by choice, and I picked the same boyfriend from when I was 12 (I had dated other boys in the meantime but I still kept in touch with him…I have no idea why…maybe just because he let me call him and actually answered…I dont know) and that time, I got caught by my mom’s boyfriend at the time. He told my mom that he caught me, and she just said “nice girls dont do that” and then I was on a plane to my dad’s in another state the next week. That was my “sex ed”, just “nice girls dont do that”, and it was long after my first sexual experiences, but of course she didnt know that, and she wouldnt have done anything or cared anyways, which I knew instinctively. But what that did leave me with was that I was not “nice”, I was not “good”, and it conflicted with every other message I had gotten about my sexuality in my entire life. She had always told me that no man would want me and take care of me if I was fat, ugly, stupid or didnt make him happy (sexually and by taking care of the house and doing what I was told) and if I had a man and then did something wrong, he would leave or cheat on me and I would be alone….so growing up hearing all that, and then her saying that nice girls dont do that, then in my mind, that meant that I hadnt ever been seen as “nice” because she told me to do it in order to be taken care of, so I guess I wasnt supposed to want to be a nice girl, or else I would be alone, and it was very confusing, but I didnt think any of this at the time, I dont even remember thinking anything at all.

and that was just from my mom. My dad at least didnt give me conflicting messages, he made it plain that he didnt care. He just said “get good grades and dont get pregnant” and that was it. I was obviously a burden and unwanted, he made no attempts at hiding it, and I was left alone for holidays and birthdays and he didnt even remember one of my biggest high school events, or that I had moved out at 17 in my senior year of highschool to live with a friend, he has no memory of that, and he never even came to my sports events. But it was better to know that I didnt matter than to hope that I did I guess. Looking back now, its a miracle from God that I didnt get pregnant before I got married, or didnt get an incurable STD (I had several growing up, but no one bothered to talk to me about them, the health clinic just gave me medicine and sent me home…I didnt even know that they were STD’s at the time, I found out later in life, I thought it was just a normal sickness or something)

so I can totally relate to how you felt, and when I tried, later as an adult (earlier this year actually) to disclose just one tiny instance of sexual abuse (not the worst of them by far) she didnt give me a hug, she didnt say she was sorry for me, she didnt say she loved me, she said “oh, I didnt know that happened to one of my kids” and that was all. So I never brought it up again and have stopped speaking to her.

Its sad, but what can we do but treat our daughters better. I have an 11 year old and I will NEVER do what my parents did.

6

Thank you for this. It’s a good reminder when my children go through this. I’m curious. Are you a Christian?

7

Darlene,

I find what you discuss exactly what the world needs, a good dose of reality…of what really goes on. A lot of these issues happen to more people than we think and people turn a blind eye; or some are don’t want to speak up.
This post really struck a chord with me because my entire history is plagued with trauma, abuse, & sexual abuse. Because of that and not having the proper guidance from my mother & structure in the home, which is another topic in itself…I made poor choices. When I got attention, I thought that meant love, and I was starving for it. I abused my body in so many ways, but hurting people hurt themselves. I lived the only way I knew how.
What you shared & what others commented I connected to on so many levels. There’s a problem in the household when at 10yrs old I can have a boy in my room & start ‘dating’. Boys, drinking, drugs, sex, reckless behaviour, began as early as 10.
I’m now 28 years old and discovering recovery everyday…living with bipolar and healing from other battles from the past.
I also write about it in my blog:
http://notcrazyimbipolar.blogspot.com/ I believe we can all heal by sharing our experiences. I look forward to reading more!!

“I am what I am today because of what I believed about myself yesterday. And I will be tomorrow what I believe about myself right now.”
~CC

8

I was 15 when I dated my first real boyfriend. He was a pretty decent guy and 17 at the time. After a couple months, he wanted to go further and he respected me when I said no. When my dad found out about this a couple days later, he told me I was cruel. How could I lead a guy on and withhold like that? It made me feel like crap. I recently shared this incident with my mom (she was forced out of my life during that time) and her response was to hug me and tell me that I made the right decision and my dad is scum for saying that to me. I can’t tell you how much her saying that to me now, 22 years later, meant. A lot of healing.

9

Hi Susan,
Wow, I am sorry that this all happened to you and thank you for sharing. I am really glad that you were able to make peace with your mother. That is great!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Carol,
I have heard of other parents that believe babies can manipulate and abuse parents… that always makes my mouth hang open.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Amira
I am sorry that happened to you. It is really hard to hear those devaluing messages the way that you had to and then all the mixed messages. How could anyone figure it all out?
Thanks for sharing your life in this way. It really helps everyone so much to have this kind of community sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

10

P.S. Amira,
When you said “but what can we do but treat our daughters better?” ~ we can heal and make our own healing a priority for us and for them. My mother treated me better then her mother treated her. But she didn’t heal and I know she thought that it was so much better that it didn’t matter. She could not see what she was doing because she was still so sick. Through my own healing, my kids have flourished. They have learned SO much from my healing, from watching me become who I was born to be, for finding meaning outside of the definition of me that was assigned to me so long ago. I don’t let anyone push me around anymore. I speak the truth and I stick up for them. I am not writing this to you Amira, because I know your healing is important to you, and that you moving forward each day, but I write it to others who might actually wonder what else we can do.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Chantelle
Welcome to Emerging from Broken,
Thank you for your encouragement about my work and thank you for sharing you blog too.
We can heal by sharing, I agree and more importantly I we can heal.
I look forward to hearing more from you too!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jen,
It never ceases to amaze me how many different ways that we can all be mistreated and abused. One gets torn down for doing it, the other for not doing it. It just goes on and on! Thank you for sharing. I was so glad to read that your Mom called you Dad a scum. YAY for your Mom.
Hugs, Darlene

11

Unbelievable how much you sound like me Darlene! Same kind of stuff from my NarcMother. SAME.

Here’s some of my story for you:
http://www.rantrave.com/Rant/The-Box.aspx

Here’s even more:
The year was 1977 and I was a sophomore in college (so now you all know I’m in my 50s… yeah I’m old.). In high school I had dated a boy for a while. The relationship had a very traumatic, and in retrospect – truly criminal ending. In retrospect I should have been in therapy and on medication for the severe effects it had on me – effects that huge on me mentally & physically for years later. Not your usual high school drama. I won’t get into that all here… it’s almost unbelievable. However, when I got to college he started writing me again within a month of starting my freshman year. He’d gotten (lied his way into) an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. and had been there for 2 months already as a plebe.

I wrote him back at first and told him to go away, I didn’t want to be played with any more. I had no desire to be one of his harem. He had at least 3 girls he slept with aside from the ‘steady’ girlfriend. I was still deeply traumatized by what had happened, trying to move on and trying to sort it all out while concentrating on my studies.

Of course, predators hunt the wounded so he must have smelled blood 5 states away, when in very early June 1976, I’d terminated a pregnancy. Yes, stupid me – I’d met someone in college who I liked a lot and who I thought liked me. I was vulnerable, young and we were together a couple times. By the end of July 1976, I’d found out he no longer wanted anything to do with me and was just using me. A few years ago I ran into him and realized – he’s a sociopath.

I vividly remember the first week of September 1976 – my sophomore year, Mr. Naval Academy wrote me again. He wasn’t giving up that fast. He wanted to ‘try and be friends’ (for him that meant friends with benefits), he ‘felt bad’ about what had happened and said we were the victims of circumstances. Talk about minimizing for something that deepened my PTSD so much I was tranquilized my entire senior year of high school! That December 1976, just before I went home for the holidays – he’d talked me into letting him come see me. Being the con artist he was I was stunned he was willing to drive all the way to Lake Ontario. After he left, I never heard from him again and I never knew why until many years later.

March 1977, my dear friend Bill had me in his car driving me to Annapolis. Bill drove all night to get us there. We stayed at a nice hotel, Bill insisted on paying. Bill and I were JUST friends but he’d been begging me to marry him. I said no, I was still hurting over being discarded by one guy and duped twice by Mr. Naval Academy. But I was in trouble. Getting married would have been a solution. A solution I completely rejected.

I went to Halsey Field House at the Naval Academy twice. Bill even tried to talk man to man with someone there. They were polite but firm. He didn’t want to see me, he was busy. Military police watched me the second time as I walked off the Naval Academy grounds. Bill was furious. I told him to keep walking and not look back.

I didn’t really get serious with anyone again for 7 years.

I didn’t see Mr. Naval Academy again until 1991 – when he decided to smear me and didn’t believe me when I told him what had happened to me because of him. Stupid me looking for closure from a Destructive Narcissist. 14 years later and he still couldn’t be honest with me. I think he just, as is typical of a Narcissist, landed on a story that ‘worked’ for him and that others believed & that made HIM look good and there was no way he was going to even apologize, like a gentleman. I haven’t seen him since nor have I made my contact information available where he could find it.

Yes, 30+ years ago and yes, it still makes me angry. Sad thing is this person will destroy more lives because of his chronic inability to tell the truth or be faithful to anyone. (he’s on marriage #2 to one of his harem and is still sleeping around) and yes he’s still telling the LIE that I was a “drug abuser” that’s why he LEFT me. Yeah, drugs I was taking to keep me from committing suicide after being involved with HIM!

My NMother blamed me for the whole thing until the day she died. I was an unlovable freak who ‘no man could or should love.’ In fact, in 1995 when I became permanently disabled – she called my (now ex) husband and told him to leave me because I was “useless” to him.

(maybe you can post this to this blog? I am sure our stories will validate many many more people!)

HUGS Darlene

12

Darlene, this post of yours REALLY hits home for me. In reading these stories about you and your mother, I see me, and my mother, as though I’m on the outside, looking in. Your stories are giving me a whole new persepctive on the way I was treated when I was growing up.

My God, how can a mother be so cold and cruel to her own child?

The saddest thing is that we don’t know, when we are children, that the problem is mother, not us. Every cruelty, every unkind, harsh, unloving deed and word, wounds us TWICE… first, we ae wounded by the initial hurt from the hateful word or action, and secondly, and more terribly, we are wounded by the LIES these cruelties make us believe about ourselves, the LIES that we are unworthy, bad, guilty, at fault for our own pain, unwanted, and unloved, because we are not good enough to be loved.

This, I believe, is the most cruel aspect of abuse: the effect it has on our self-image. NOTHING HURTS WORSE THAN NOT LIKING YOURSELF.

Lynda

13

My hair was light blonde when I was a little girl, it didn’t start turning dark until I was in my teens. When I was little, out in public with my mother ~ whose hair had always been dark brown, almost black ~ people, strangers, would sometimes comment on my “pretty blonde curls.” Later, when no one was there to hear but me, my mother would say, “I don’t like blonde hair, it looks so colorless and washed-out.”

I remember times when someone would comment to my mother, “What a good little girl you have,” and she would snap, “No, she isn’t!”

I was the only child until I was almost seven, then my twin sisters were born, and 17 months later, my crippled brother was born. With three babies in diapers, and me, an 8-year-old third grader, people would make on over the cute babies, and then say to me, “I’ll bet you are a great big help to your mother!” My mother would retort with, “NO, Lynda is LAZY, she doesn’t lift a finger if she can help it.” (Which SO wasn’t true, I was changing diapers, cleaning up vomit, feeding and rocking and walking the floor with crying babies, almost every waking moment when I wasn’t in school.)

I had a best friend named Kathy, she and I became close friends in first grade and remained best friends throughout grade school. During every school year, she would invite me over to her house for a sleepover, at least once, and sometimes twice, during the year. Such FUN! I ssked my mother many times, when we could return the favor and have Kathy over to spend the night. Mother always said NO, we had too much “going on” for that. My mother had never even met my best friend Kathy.

Finally, near the end of the 6th grade, mother agreed at last that we could have Kathy over to spend the night. I was so EXCITED. Kathy was on her most perfect, polite behavior that evening she spent with us, saying “Yes, Ma’am,” No, Ma’am,” “Please,” and “Thank You” and offering to help Mother in the kitchen while she was making dinner. Finally, when we were all sitting at the diner table eating, my mother smiled at Kathy and said “You are the sweetest, most polite and helpful young lady!” OH I could feel my heart SWELL with pride… my mother had finally met my dear lifelong friend, and she LIKED her!

“I wish Lynda were like you,” my mother went on, with her sickly-sweet smile. “But she is nothing like you. She won’t help me around the house, she won’t obey me, she’s lazy and a liar….”

CRUSHED doesn’t even begin to describe what I felt.

And the worst thing was… KATHY REFUSED TO BE MY FRIEND AFTER THAT! Her dad was a Lutheran minister, her mother was just like June Cleaver on Leave It To Beaver. Kathy was loved and cherished by her parents, groomed with high expectations. Her family was very closeknit and extremely protective. They had had to “approve” of me to be her friend. I had never displeased them in any way, all the times I’d been over at her house. But after Kathy’s one night in my house, she wasn’t allowed to be my friend anymore. She wouldn’t even allow me to speak to her or get near her in school.

A couple of years ago I found Kathy on facebook, and messaged her. She responded by blocking me!

When I was 16, my new boyfriend asked me to marry him. I came home all excited and told my mother. She said, “He only thinks he loves you because he doesn’t really know you. After he has lived with you for a while, and gotten to know you, he won’t love you.”

A few months after we married, my first husband left me. My mother saw me crying, and she snapped, “What makes you think you are so special that he should love you, any way?”

Day in and day out, all through the years of my growing up, and beyond, these are the things my mother said to me. IN EVERY SITUATION, IT WAS AS THOUGH SHE RACKED HER BRAIN FOR THE ONE THING SHE COULD SAY THAT WOULD HURT ME THE WORST, AND THAT WAS WHAT SHE’D SAY.

But ~ just like Darlene ~ I didn’t know the problem was Mother, I thought the problem was ME! And THAT is what hurt me the MOST…. learning to Not Like ME.

Lynda

14

>>A couple of years ago I found Kathy on facebook, and messaged her. She responded by blocking me!<<

same with a couple exfriends of mine, Lynda – still believing either my mother or some predator/ narcissist who is lying about me to this day… more convenient to believe the lies than face the truth that they were wrong and contributed to my PTSD.

15

He lied? He didn’t really go with the other girl, just used it as a threat against you? I have found that I don’t believe anything I am told by certain persons, unless it is proven to me somehow.

16
Renee-A Ressurected Spirit
March 1st, 2011 at 9:36 am

Ohhhhhhh Darlene!
Ahhhh this one is mine for sure! Two points, 1. I never spoke to my mother about any of that because she hated me. I had two boy friends in high school. I didn’t do any thing because I felt being raped was the price I paid for being me, so if it was going to be my CHOICE I didn’t want it.2.I vowed that I was going to talk to my daughters about everything that dealt with boys. I didn’t realize they were going to ask me when they were 5 yrs old! I about died right then and there! I had to think of something fast and not lose that moment. Because if you hesitate to long those girls will think of something else and hurt their self esteem. I had no answer and my window of opportunity was closing fast. So being a good mom I said: well your kinda young to be asking me about boys so when your 8 I will tell you all you need to know! I told both of them that.I walked away all nervous and sweaty thinking I JUST MISSED THE BIG ONE! The day they turned 8 guess what, yep they asked me about boys! OMG I had no way of escaping. So I sat on the bed and told them that boys are built different they are stronger muscle wise but we are smarter brain wise. I told them we have a choice and a voice. Never forget that and use those rights because when it comes to boys you can’t use them (choices)enough! They walked away feeling older and I walked away feeling like I was about to have a breakdown!
Renee

17

Renee–I tell my daughter the same things! I have never been the least bit shy with telling them because no one ever told me, and I dont want to have them go through pain because they didnt know any better. She doesnt want to know any details, but we have discussed sexuality in general and both me and her dad tell her that no one is allowed to touch her at all anywhere for any reason if she doesnt want them to, including us, except in cases of life threatening emergencies that she will die if they dont help her….and I had the “girls are smarter than boys” talk just the other day with her, she liked that! LOL! Im struggling with when and how and if I should tell her about my abuse (obviously not specifics, just that it occurred when I was young, and that its the reason for my past issues and current struggles…to help her understand a little better maybe?)

Her older brother found out (he is very nosy and watches over my shoulder on the computer and eavesdrops and notices books and things…so he found out on his own and asked me) and I just told him that it had happened to me and thats why I have such a difficult time somedays, and he has been much more helpful and much kinder and obedient than he was before then…but I dont know that she will react the same way, or if she is even old enough, but she asked me this morning something abuse related, but I cant remember what exactly now, and I told her I would talk to her about it when she gets home (she was late for school) and I am just wondering if its better to just tell her and get it out and talk about it right now, or wait and just tell her about her rights and choices and leave out personal experience (she is 11 by the way)

what do you all think?

18

I was never sexually abused that I know of. But I had the self-damaging effects of being told to be what I was not and of being told that I was not good enough as I was. I was always “to fat” (even though I had barely the weight I should have had), had to many zits – I was an adolescent by then for crying out loud!, didn’t look men in the eye, was to discriptive, on and on. I don’t know who I am. I learned not to be discriptive, and now it is affecting my school. In Composition class, I am supposed to be discriptive and I don’t know how anymore. My school grades were never high enough. I just couldn’t measure up to their “standards”. When someone accepts me, I end up thinking it is just a matter of time till I am rejected again cause they think they know who I am. I can’t accept it at face value. And how can they know who I am if I don’t even know? I guess like the rest of you, I am discovering that I was not the problem, it is the church and my parents.

19

Hi Barbara,
Thanks for sharing your stories. I am so sorry that you mother blamed it all on you. You mentioned these kinds of men as hunters smelling the wounded; we are originally wounded before those predators “sense or smell a victim” and then the very people who lay the foundations for us to be so vulnerable to predators BLAME us for the circumstances. They say we are unlovable?? Well isn’t that what they have been saying by their actions all along? This is the backwards mess that I had to sort out to come to full recovery.
Thanks for posting all that you did.
Hugs, Darlene

Lynda
Thank you for posting your stories too. They are really so helpful. I will never understand the coldness of these kinds of mothers; I know that my mother thinks that it is me. Again, what I just wrote to Barbara applies. They “break us” and then they hate us because we are broken. But this is about them. We can take our lives back in spite of them. We can rebuild our own self esteem, and the way that I did that is by realizing exactly what happened and how I was brainwashed into thinking that I was not worthy.
Thanks for being here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Sheryl
No, he didn’t lie. He did go with the other girl. (She was also in our class so I knew it was true and his best friend told me the next day that he had tried to go up her shirt on the first kiss, and she said no, so he came back to me… not a pretty story, is it? It is so easy for me to reprimand myself for “going back” but remember that I thought he was “the answer” to the ache inside me.
Hugs, Darlene

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Renee and Amira,
Each child is different, each situation is different. It is really hard (and sometimes dangerous) to give an opinion about when is the best time to talk about it. I always say it is best to talk about it when it comes up. And I make sure not to overburden with the truth with kids. She is pretty young. With my own kids I look for the motive too ~ why are they asking. (I try not to ask that question directly) Sometimes with my youngest, a bullying story comes out eventually. Sometimes the bully is a teacher. Kids have a different way of communicating then adults do. Remember that the grid of understanding is not only formed at home, just because I so often talk about it happening at home. All kinds of other things factor in. Telling a kid that they are too young to hear certain things is also damaging, so I always remind myself that just not telling EVERY detail is not lying. The definition of best is something to always consider.
I think this may have come out jumbled, but there it is…
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kia
The type of abuse you describe in your comment is every bit as damaging as any other kind of abuse. This comment illuminates volumes about what happens when a child is devalued. And we all end up with that same trust issues that you describe. When we are able to place responsibility for the damage done to us, where it really belongs, something really healing happens and we can move forward and start the repair job. that is how it worked for me anyway.
Thank you for sharing. This kind of emotional abuse is very hard to get over but we can do it!
Hugs, Darlene

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Kia,
This all sounds so familiar. It also sounds like they didn’t have standards for you to measure up to; they just put you down for everything that made you YOU! In everyway in which you were attempting to bloom as a gowing person, it was acknowledged and you were put down for it. I can relate to this.

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Darlene: ‘They “break us” and then they hate us because we are broken.’

I keep staring at that sentence and saying WOW. MY GOD. That’s it EXACTLY.

When I finally “cracked” at the age of 14 and was diagnosed with the catch-all psychiatric label of the 1960s, “Schizophrenia,” this being years before my real problem of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was even known, my mother brought me a book about a girl with schizophrenia, entitles I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN. As she thrust the book into my hand, she said, “Read this, this is what you have. It’s a true story, and it says that schizophrenia has no known cause, and no known cure. So it’s not MY fault that you have this.”

Gee, thanks, Mom, for thinking only of YOU when my world had ended and I was being committed to the State Lunatic Asylum. “No Known Cause” ~ that was all my mother cared about, it meant that none of it was HER fault. “No Known Cure” ~ all that told me was that my life was OVER at the age of 14.

Thanks for the book, Mom, but I really would have preferred flowers, It was my funeral, after all.

Love to all my fellow survivors and THRIVERS,
Lynda

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What an amazing day this has been for me! My 71-year-old, but very youthful, lovely, and brilliant Aunt ~ my mother’s only sibling ~ read my blog post on this topic today, because I had “shared” it on my facebook page. She also read this post of Darlene’s, via the link I have on my own blog, to Darlene’s post. THEN, my precious aunt sent me a series of deeply emotional, very loving and affirming emails, telling me how my mother, my childhood, and my teenaged breakdown and institutionalization had looked from HER perspective, all those many years ago.

My aunt and I have only really known each other well, for the past 13 years, because she and my mother were estranged during most of my childhood. My aunt is younger than my mother by 5 years. Aunt Beverly was the daughter who could do no wrong, my mother was the daughter who could do no right…. and on and on it goes.

My aunt gave me permission to share her emails, so I will be posting them on my blog in the near future… after I’ve had some time to assimilate them. Heady, HEALING stuff~

Lynda

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Sheryl,
exactly! I was 11 when I had “hands laid on me” to “cast out the evil spirit” in me. This was very traumatic for me. It told me that they thought I was the devil. It was even taken to the piont that the head “preacher” was called over to do the “laying on of hands”. I’m still trying to heal from that incident 9 years ago. From that day, I knew that to the preacher and my parents, I was not a person, I was a possession to be used for their percieved power and glory.
At Darlene, yes, they “broke me” then hated me. Yet when I let it slip that I hated what they did to me for years, I had to “repent” and tell the whole church I was sorry for my hatred. Was it not justified? I certainly don’t feel bad for hating what they did to me. I get all upset and uptight thinking about it. Then they told me that since I “hated” men, I hated Jesus cause He was/is a man. What does that do to a person? My perception of God changed so much, I didn’t care if He was God or not. I wanted nothing at all to do with religion.

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Renee,
That is good, what you told your girls. I didn’t tell my mother anything about my teen life either. I already felt that wasn’t an option and I never would have let her see me cry. But when you are still 13, that is pretty young, and there is still some hope that your mom can come through, yet that is the year that I realized it wouldn’t ever be, at least not in the upcoming years. I really think that my singing and piano playing kept me sane and as Pinky said yesterday, it kept me from being in denial. (her arts in school helped her that way)

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Darlene, I’m sorry to hear about your story and how it must felt to have your wounds stabbed twice. Once by your boyfriend and then by your mother.

This is off-topic, but when I hear about 13 year old boys pushing girls to do more…it brings up triggers, but triggers that you wouldn’t even think.

I was very sexually aggressive in the 8th grade, but the boys tortured me for it. I got things thrown at me, I was called names, I was told I was ugly and disgusting, and the boys would make vomiting noises when I walked by. My sexually abusive father had taught me that sex was my value, so the boys making fun of me made me feel worthless. Whenever I was rejected for sex, I felt so hideous and unlovable.

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Lynda!
This is awesome! Wow, let me know when the emails are posted, we can direct everyone to go read them. This is such a wonderful gift that your Aunt has given you! She validated you and that is so wonderful! I am really thrilled to hear this.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kia,
I have heard way too many stories of this kind of abuse. I have no idea what these people think they are accomplishing when they do things like this! One of my daughters had to write a confession letter and ask for forgiveness in her Christian School classroom in grade 3, because another girl had lied and the teacher believed the other girl. My daughter came home crying that she had been forced to LIE to Jesus. The amount of damage that did is huge and many years later she still brings it up. (and that is just one small story) Her faith was damaged, it just caused damage. Her perception of God was changed too. Stories like this are heartbreaking.
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hello “Nolongeraslave” and welcome!
I don’t think what you have shared here is off topic at all. Although my own history is different, I can really relate to your story. Abuse is abuse. My grooming was similar. My reaction to sex might be different then yours was, but I also believed that my value was sexual and that had a negative impact on my whole life. Thank you so much for your willingness to share this painful time in your life. It makes such a difference when we know we are not the only ones…
Thank you,
Hugs, Darlene

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Thanks Darlene, but now I’m worried that people must think I’m ugly for being made fun of by boys. I have body dysmorphic disorder, and the sexual abuse and bullying is what caused it.

My mom didn’t try to protect me from the bullying (even though she said she did). She made me go to school daily and tell me to ignore it. She even once said the principal was blaming me. I begged her not to go to school, but she didn’t care. It was all about how SHE felt. She loved how my school made her look good in front of her friends, as my school was known for being one of the best.

The bullying sometimes feels worse than my sexual abuse, and the scars have been hard to get rid of. What’s worse is that NOBODY suspected that sexual abuse was going on. I was showing all of the classic signs by being so sexual at a young age.

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(((hugs))) nolongeraslave–I agree with Darlene, the underlying belief that our worth is in our bodies is sometimes more damaging and causes a long term problem moreso than just the actual act may have done. I had the same belief growing up and I had a different eperience, but the effects are the same.

Boys can make fun of girls for some really stupid reasons, especially young boys, things like “you are too tall, too short, have boobs, dont have boobs, have curly hair, have straight hair” and any variation ad nauseum. I have a physical disability and was constantly made fun of, but no one bullied me because I knew that was wrong and didnt accept it, but if they approached me sexually, it was a whole different ball game in terms of knowing it and accepting it.

I didnt know that sex wasnt love and that not all boys (or men) will not listen if you say no, so for me, the sexual abuse and the messages that went along with it were much more damaging than the bullying was, but it all is different for everyone. Just because you have BDD and dont think you are beautiful does not mean that anyone else thinks that. Most people (the ones that are worth knowing anyway) will love you and respect you and care about you because of your INSIDE and that makes your outside more beautiful than if your inside was mean and nasty and you looked like a supermodel. It has taken me a LONG time to get that, a really long time, and a lot of heartache.

When I started to gain weight after I got married, I thought I was worthless, and my husband would always say that he loved me because of the person I was, and I never believed him, and it took him not leaving me after 6 years of constant hell and never once saying he didnt love me or that I was ugly or fat or that I was a bad person or that my weight mattered at all in whether he loved me or not. He used to tell me that he didnt like the way my body looked at a larger size, but he never said he didnt love “me” at that size, which was a huge difference that I never saw, until much later. Even now, Im not sure if I believe it 100% but Im starting to, because he is brutally honest with me when I ask him things, and I know he wont lie to me, so if I ask him “do you love me for who I am?” he would never say yes if he didnt mean it 100%, he would be tactful and not say something mean, but help me to see areas to change, but he still wouldnt tell me something if it was a lie….and that brutal, unwavering honesty and him being faithful and really committed to our life, has made all the difference for me.

So you can learn to love you, it might just take someone loving you through the worst of the worst and then being there after its all said and done and having trust in what they tell you before you can learn how to love you. I never had love, so I didnt know how to love me, and still dont, but Im learning, because of seeing how he loves me. So its possible and it will happen, just maybe not as soon as you want it to :)

Dont give up, the journey is long and hard, but its so worth it!

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Kia,

I was thinking about your comments last night and my husband and I were talking about it some. So I wanted to ad that it does not matter what words they use, hurtful or hateful as the words may be. It is all about dominating you, controlling you, as you said, using you for to build themselves up in perceived glory and power.

How horrible what you went through. I am older than you and have accumulated years of religious stories from churches as well, things that were said and done to me and my family based on their way of doing things, which didn’t include casting out demons, but as I said, it doesn’t matter how they word it. We were excommunicated for leaving quietly after they ignored and abused us.

I am still trying to heal from my teen years in church. The youth group director told the youth group that I was preventing kids from repenting and getting saved because I refused to be wet dunked baptised (since I was sprinkled as an infant). So I gave in because I wanted to go on the youth group’s mission trip that summer. Getting wet dunked by a man in a tank was a haunting experience that stayed with me and made me feel dirty and creeped out for many years.

I would say to only do what you are comfortable with in a situation by situation analysis. If it means not going to church, then don’t go. You don’t answer to anyone for your choices. I wish I would have learned this many years ago and saved my children the grief they have had to face in their young lives.

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Darlene,
Wow, what a line!
I had to lie to Jesus! Wow!!!

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Hi Amira,

Well, I somehow thought the more guys that wanted to have sex with you, the more prettier you were. The reason why I thought my sexual abuser was nicer was b/c he told me I was pretty and better than my mom. My mom, like the bullies at school, was also putting me down. She loved to criticize my looks.

I know this is weird, but I feel like to have let others know that were SOME guys that liked me sexually as a teenager. I feel like I need to prove that I’m not as ugly and disgusting as those 8th grade boys made me feel. Some people say that just b/c a guy is willing to have sex with you doesn’t mean he finds you attractive.

I wrote a couple of posts about this stuff on my blog

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Hello “nolongeraslave”
I understand all of what you are writing. I felt that same pull in my own physical identity. They made me feel beautiful, they made me feel ugly. They said that I was beautiful but usually then I got used or abused or both. I was beautiful, but I didn’t know that until I was in my forties and I finally saw myself through the lens of truth. And in this process of healing I realized that “they” can’t decide what I am anymore. I get to do that. I had to prove everything all my life. I could be having this conversation about my brain, my choices, you name it, but today I realize that I don’t have to prove anything and that it only matters what I KNOW about me. A big part of my healing has been about owning my value, realizing that I HAVE equal value to every other person on this planet. And the people that took that knowledge away from me did it for power and control. They took the ME out of me, for nasty selfish motives. (sometimes just to feel a bit better about themselves) I really understand what you are saying, and I never once thought you were “ugly” because of what anyone said to you. The crazy part about sexual, emotional, physical or another other kind of abuse is that it all gets mixed up together, and we are the ones left with all the confusion about ourselves. We are dealing with the belief system that formed as a result of all the bad things that happened to us.
I am really glad that you are here and sharing this stuff.
Hugs, Darlene

Amira,
THANK-YOU for posting comment number 5000 on this blog today! How cool is that?? It is really cool that at each of the comment milestones (1000, 2000, etc.) the person who posts the milestone comment has always been someone who has been part of Emerging from Broken for a long time!

Thank you for sharing your heart here and for the encouragement that you have posted to “nolongeraslave”. We are dealing with the belief system that formed as a result of this stuff. The more belief systems that we expose, the quicker that we see the truth through our own work and through the discoveries of each other!
Hugs, Darlene

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Sheryl,
Thanks for sharing more GREAT examples of how this misuse of power happens. These people that have “positional power” such a pastors, youth leaders, church elders, DEFINE us. Sometimes they sneak it in, sometimes (especially with children) it is blatant verbal abuse, and they back it up with the bible. Oh if we look closely and if we are not stuck in the fog that they want us to be in, we can see that they are not preaching what the bible really says, but usually we don’t know what the heck to do, so we just do what they want and very often we don’t question what is happening… we just “feel bad” and feel “not good enough”

So yes, my daughter (who was about 8 at the time) came home so upset because she was FORCED to LIE to Jesus…
My other daughter (after a very bad year in grade 4) told me that she didn’t want to “talk to Jesus” anymore because she was afraid of him. Guess why? Because she had been told her whole school life that she had to be an example of Christ, and her teacher told her that SHE (the teacher) was an example of Christ ~ but the truth was the this teacher was so emotionally abusive, that my daughter concluded that if Christ was like that, she wanted nothing to do with him and that she was even AFRAID of him… oh man, where is the love part of the bible?? . And we are still picking up the pieces of those kinds of thing from when our three kids went to a Christian school.
I could write a lot more!
Thanks for being here!
Hugs, Darlene

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My sister is near 40 and has never stopped talking about the crap from her k-8 years in a church school. My dad is getting old, over 80 now, and he will start rolling his eyes, as he has heard her complain for years, and now he just says, “Did I do anything right?” Funny for a moment, (when it is her talking), not really, when I consider that he still hangs out with these church men for their prayer breakfasts and tells them what my current address is so that they can write me letters about not being in church. The last letter said I have 60 days to get membership somewhere else or they are taking off their rolls. My husband and I decided to write back and tell them that that was inappropriate. My husband and I are on the same page even on Sundays!

BTW, the guy that excommunicated us in 2004, I wrote to him in 2007 and told him why he was wrong to treat me the way he did. I said that I hoped it wasn’t HIS wife that was complaining of pornography the next time he decided to tell someone that pornography is not a big deal, or the tip of the iceberg!! Anyway, his wife actually left him six months after I wrote him. I also told him that he enjoys the freedoms of our country while denying them to those in his church. This country was founded on the right to leave a church–personal choice!!He wrote back and defended, of course, and then, my oldest, age 17, got in there and emailed him as well. It was profound. Then my son and I discovered Pagan Christianity, which is a timeline of paganism in the “church” and we were “set free” from all the garbage, the guilt, the trappings of “Christianity” once and for all. After reading that plus The Inescapable Love of God, Talbot, we carry no more feelings of obligations to any church/etc. and only hope for the future that God is restoring all people in His time.

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Sheryl,
I think spiritual abuse can happen in any religion, just like abuse can happen anywhere too. I think that the damage in churches and schools is about the misuse of power. I have no problem with Christianity as it is set our in the new testament.. what I have a problem with is that it is so rarely taught that way. It is twisted, misused, misrepresented by people who lust for control over other people. They long for power and they long to be seen as “an authority” but they do not want to live by the teachings of equal value ~ so they leave the foundation of the message of Christ (equal value) OUT of it. This is an age old story that can even be found all over the bible! Controlling other people becomes how they feed their own egos, totally against the actual teachings and truth that could set us free. And one of the ways that they get that power is by twisting the words and leaving stuff out… using just enough truth to make it believable… makes me sick. It is really very sad..
Thanks for sharing. Hugs, Darlene

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Kia and Sheryl–I totally missed all of those spiritual abuse comments somehow…but I suppose God is trying to tell me something after all. My entire childhood I was raised in psycho evangelical land (im not saying that all evangelicals are crazy, but the ones I knew certainly were) and as a preteen (7th grade) I vaguely remember (I have very fuzzy memories about it, like I made it up or something, but I have come to trust those memories as more valid than I used to think they were) some kind of exorcism at our church in what was my math classroom. I dont remember who or what or why, but I was horrified, and it just added to all the other insanity going on at that time, and I became extremely disillusioned with religion after that and eventually I found a faith that allowed me to reconcile my beliefs with what God said too, and its been fantastic. I am so sorry you both went through things like that, and it sounds like it was worse than my experiences with that kind of thing, and I got all kinds of screwed up messages from it, so I am proud of both of you for even having the courage to have any kind of faith at all after that. (((hugs)))

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Once it got out to the public that my dad raped and molested me I became the imediate girl to go to for sex in hs. I became the town slut overnight without sleeping with one guy at hs. I became the underground popular one. Not one person stood up for me. Adult or kid. I had a couple male teachers hit on me. Nobody helped me. So I began to think maybe that is all I will ever be, a whore. So for years I blinded myself with alcohol and men thinking sex was love. Today I am not thyat way. Today I value my body and myself. I am worth more than merely sex. Today I am free from thinking all I’d amount to was a mattress for men. I turned my life over and live a clean, healthy, happy life. I am single with 4 kids and am happy. I don’t need a man to feel whole. I am already whole.

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“Well, I somehow thought the more guys that wanted to have sex with you, the more prettier you were.”

nolongeraslave–this exact thought is what kept me from dealing with my issues. I thought because men never stopped coming around that I was valuable and loveable and good, if only to them, at least it was to someone…but then I got married, and I used to talk to my husband about how I thought I used to look pretty and all that before we met, and he said “well you were pretty but you weren’t ALL that” and I was like…what?!?! I didnt get it at all, I thought I was a supermodel or something in my head as long as men wanted me. So that coupled with the weight gain, really made me start looking at what I really felt about myself and my body and how it really affected me in my life.

Later on, I either read something or heard it somewhere, or both, that men will line up to get with a woman who doesnt respect herself enough (not always done consciously of course) to draw boundaries and keep them away. So because we were vulnerable and we allowed it, men used us and abused us, and kept doing it, as long as we kept letting them, and because we didnt know any better, we thought that was love and value and it gave us (well…me at least) a false self esteem based on my body, that wasnt based in reality at all, and even though I didnt feel the same way about my body as I assumed these men did (they wouldnt sleep with me if I was fat/ugly etc. so I must not be as bad as I think I am, and their opinion matters more than mine anyway because I need a man to take care of me–was my thought process there) I accepted this false esteem because even if it was bullshit, it still made me feel good, then when my husband gave me reality, I didnt know how to handle it, and I thought he hated me and thought I was the most disgusting woman on the planet because he would actually “not” want sex sometimes, so I must be worthless and gross and unloveable. So it was VERY hard to break out of that, but it happened over time, and now I still have a very skewed sense of self and body image and all that, but I no longer think that my ONLY value is in my body. I dont feel like there is much value at all, but I know that what I do have, isnt in my body, its in my mind and in my heart, and even that tiny bit of true, real self esteem will grow into something great someday.

Now I am no where near healed in this, I was just crying the other night about how I am afraid that my husband is going to find another woman, at work or online or somewhere, that has more in common with him, or is prettier or thinner, or smarter, or funnier or more positive (he says Im very negative a lot) and that he will realize just how bad he really has it and how much better he would be with someone else, and he will leave me, and we have been married for six years, and I still have panic attacks over that, and he has NEVER EVER even so much as talked to another woman on the phone that wasnt his family (or his co-worker to tell her he is going to be late or something…but never a social call to another woman) and that STILL haunts me to the point of paranoia. He comes home 10 minutes late and Im instantly worried he was out somewhere with someone else, but I never say it out loud because its baseless and I dont want him to feel like Im crazy. He knows I have these issues, but I try not to voice them very often with him. So you can even be somewhat healed in some areas and have huge issues in other areas, so dont think its all or nothing :)

LOL ok, im done with today’s book!!!

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@ Darlene –
Very sad. I never confided anything about a guy to my mother. I learned after getting upset about not making cheerleader, and crying and she just said, “It’s a good thing you didn’t make it cause we’re moving.” That’s all she said. And, there was a girl who was miss everything in sports & straight A’s. Mom said, “Why aren’t you like that girl.” The thing was, that girl’s parents attended her games, supported her, etc. I was supposed to do everythign on my own and make her look good. Funny, everyone’s true character seemed to come out at what were supposed to be special events. At my graduation my dad arrived with his new wife. After the graduation ceremony he came up to me and was completely wasted, more drunk than I’d ever seen him. Mom didn’t attend the graduation and I didn’t miss her. It didn’t occur to me that maybe she shoudl be there! LOL.

I met the wrong guys too. Or they found me. A guy that was high ranking in my first military unit came to the personnel office and said he wanted me to work for him in “his” office. But, he thought I would have an affair with him and I wouldn’t. Then, wasted time with the wrong guys. I still can’t say taht I ever completely let my guard down or that I loved any of them. Then, when you realize that you do want a healthy relationship and you think you have an idea of what that is, it’s too late. All you seem to see is lots of guys with issues. And the losers realize they can’t get anywhere with you.

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So sad for you reading this story. Mine is very different I want to just share quickly if I can make it quick. If you remember I went to a performing arts high school and we were all close. I was popular and felt really accepted and so on. The guy I fell in love with it was a fluke really. Its because he was there. I was a freshman he was a senior we had the same group of friends. Then he went to college and I was a sophomore. That’s when I feel in love with him but mostly because he was there. Right now at age 51 he is one of the most famous musicians alive and famous and popular. I have him blocked on face book even to thsi day. I am not angry at him but feel he is unsafe.He was the first person I confided in about my sexual abuse. I did get a lot of support from alot of friends. He did not want me for sex and at th time I thought it meant he really cared. But no he was messed up and thought all girls wanted sex from him. So that was not an issue. But what he did do was so outside of the norm. Because he was older, and becoming very good at his craft and becoming famous early on he befriended one of my rapists. The rapist raped me again and told me to get me in a weak place all that my former friend told him. It was the first time I cut someone off. I knew I had to to survive. To this day he has a bunch if girls chasing him but is single. So many of our childhood friends are so enamored by his fame that they dont see what a cold person he is. I do not stay close to anyone who is enamored by him that way. To me it means they cant be supportive of me. he has never tried to make amends. he cant get over the fact that I am not one of his fans. That is how blind he is. He goes around telling people how mean I am because I wont let him back into my life. At this point in my life I have no feelings for him no love no hate but I dont trust him and dont respect him.That is why the next guy I truly fell in love with in my eyes though he was a drug dealer was my hero. He didn’t sell me out to my rapist. Well that rapist did end up stealing 25000 from my former friend and his only excuse was I had to learn for myself. From that point on unless someone supports me in my healing I do not deal with them at all!

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PS_ I forgot to add that my former friend hired my former rapist as his first body guard!

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Kia, my heart breaks for you. God never intended for anyone to go through what you were forced to go through.

I was spiritually abused in a pastor’s home. My mom would go into these times when it was like something passed over her face and it would change instantly from “normal” to one of white hot rage. She would lunge for me. I instinctively would race for the door, getting shoes and coat were a bonus…..but getting out was absolutely essential. If I managed to get out she would scream at my fleeing body, “And don’t you ever come back!” If I came back too soon, when I thought the coast was clear, she would scream, “I thought I told you never to come back.” I would then leave again until I thought for sure the coast was clear.
If she caught me there would be fingernails drawing blood down my arm, buttons pulled off my shirt and hair pulling…sometimes out of my head, in her attempt to capture me. She would scream in Finnish, “Saatana, Paska naama, Perkele, Saatanan Paska naame!!” She would repeat this over and over as a river flowing out of her mouth. Translated, “Satan, shit face, devil, satan’s shit face!!” She would then beat me,adrenaline rushing through her body. As she reached for the metal vacuum cleaner hose I would instinctively drop to my knees, curling up face down in fetal position using my arms to shield my head. Her cursing me would continue as she beat me.
When she was finally exhausted she would stop and stomp up the stairs to her bedroom, continuing to curse me as she went. I was too weak to get up for a long time afterward.
My father would tell me afterwards that I needed to forgive my mother or God would not forgive me. Verses upon verses were quoted to me about forgiveness and putting away anger, etc. etc. So I stuffed it. I knew better than to say anything to anyone inside or outside the home about anything.
In church my parents were paragons of virtue. People would approach us (my brother, sister and me) and tell us that we were so lucky to have parents like we did. We were speechless. At my mother’s funeral, a few years ago the pastor told everyone that my mother was the best Bible teacher that church had ever known. She taught the teachers. The church numbered in the thousands.
It has been taking a long time to get past the self hatred, the stuffed pain, anger, hatred and fear. I’m making progress. The adult me gets it, but the younger versions of me that PTSD brings up from time to time still struggle.
The polar opposites have been extremely difficult to wrap my mind around…..leaving my child and teenage mind to surmise that my mom must have been speaking the truth as she cursed me. Why else would she have saved all her hatred for me?!
I have left organized religion fairly recently and in doing so have strengthened my relationship with the God who is…..the God of love….who truly loves me…..no matter what….who doesn’t require the impossible in order to have a relationship with me.
God loves you and me because of who He is. His love is not dependent or contingent at all on our performance of any kind. That is the most healing truth for me.

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I can relate to the religious stuff also. I thought I needed to go to a church to be around people with “values” and was looking for role models. Looking for mentors. Well, I quickly outgrew that. I learned on my own and after attending college see much of what they do as juvenile. It seemed like they kept trying to put me in a box and tell me I needed to listen to them. I thought, no that would mean I would have to take my brain out. It made me sad though because I realized that I’m still walking alone. Still misunderstood and trying to be understanding to people that have very narrow views. Another thing I realized which is a positive thing about the people posting here, I think we have all in our own ways more character than a lot of people. Suffering builds character.

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Renee-A Ressurected Spirit
March 2nd, 2011 at 3:14 pm

From the religious view I have mixed feelings. I went to church because I felt I needed a change. What I found was other abusers male and female that abuse in the name of Jesus. Horrible mis-truths and a lot of condemnation. My girls were abused and scarred in the name of Jesus. I was also, yet I have to put blame where blame belongs and that is the abusers. Jesus nor God had any part of what the men and women did to us. We are given a choice and that is where it stems from. They chose to be evil, they chose to distroy and hurt us. Jesus had nothing to do with it. From a child pleading to Jesus to rescue me to the adult looking for answers I know Jesus and God had nothing to do with it. I am finding a peace about that. Their hands are tied and they can not break a promise to man. Until the second coming Man has a choice. That is my belief and shame , shame on those that hurt us in the name of God.
Renee

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Sheryl – wow! I’m not the only one that was ‘wet dunked’ and for whom it was a haunted experience. It was forced on me also. Although I tried to tell them that I was terrified by water. They said they would keep that in mind…so much for that. For me it was in a creek and when they told me to kneel in the water my knees did not even touch bottom. Then they pushed me under. I was totally freaked out. So I can totally relate to to your expereince there.
At Arja, thanks. You had more physical abuse than I did, but I can so relate to hearing what your dad told you. And what the church people said about your parents. For me it was my mom’s health. She is not well, hasn’t been for years and I was told that it was my fault she was not well. And yeah, one part of my mind gets that it was wrong, and not true, but the little girl in me still believes that they were right and that everyone is out to get me. I was 16 before I realized that not everyone was abusive. And now I am still watching those that aren’t abusive because it seems to good to be true. And that was through our Lutheran neighbors who were supposedly the ‘bad guys’.
I don’t visit my parents or have contact with anyone in that church since I left. Those people do not help me toward my healing so they are no longer a part of my life.

47

okay now I see the spiritual abuse comments. I thought it was the actual blog title and missed it. I am fortunate in some ways not to have grown up in a Christian home so I was not spiritually abused so I could be open to God. But I see it happening all the time and get away from it when I see it.

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Hey Kia and Sheryl,

I’m so sorry for the experiences that you’ve had in church. Years ago when I was a youth, I decided to join a youth group of another church because I felt that it fit me. News got around, and I got a call from the youth advisor of my OWN church, warning me to not even go for their meetings (though I would still attend church services as usual). I still went, and for 10 months boy did they torment me – from blackmailing to enticing me with ministerial positions.

I eventually changed church, and was really happy in my new church…until about 3 years later. Someone went to my youth pastor’s wife (YPW) to gossip about something really personal about me, and the YPW got me and insisted that I changed that something personal. When I refused, she got more and more demanding – even doing it infront of other people. In the end, I exploded. Even before that happened, rumors and lies were already spread around. Thankfully, there were a few who knew the truth and defended me…but still, they were leaders and people still believed them. I tried to have a proper discussion to bring closure, but they refused and asked me to “leave behind the past and move on”. Finally, they decided to silence me and my YP asked me to leave and not come back.

Many people do not realize, but spiritual abuse can be most damaging.

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Arja,
God bless you! The words have no meaning; the hatred has no meaning (not that it doesn’t hurt you or I when we are treated badly) but they do this to control, to dominate, that is it. There is no truth to the behavior; the words are weapons. People will say anything, espeically for a paycheck, for a crowd, for power, for ???

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I wrote a long comment in answer to this post last night and it was lost. I’m going to try to recreate my comment as much as I can, but I’ve lost the thread of where I was with it. So please forgive me if I wander.

I always find profound and enlightening insights on this blog, but I think that this might be the most profound thing I have ever read (anywhere): “They break us and then they hate us because we are broken.” (Darlene in comment 19).

I learned that love was conditional. That I had to earn it. And I never quite “measured up.” I never quite got it right. I struggle and I strive and I keep silent or I shut up and “mind my manners” because that’s what I was taught to do. And my mother hates me for it. She is astonished that I learned to be such a mealy-mouthed mouse – afraid of my own shadow and never strong enough to voice an opinion. She seems to forget all the times she bullied me into silence by ridiculing me or shouting me down or slapping me or telling me to shut up. And it makes me furious that she conveniently “forgets” these things. (I was told just how much God loved me by a priest when I was a senior in high school. He said, “He’s crazy about you, Lisa, he loves you so much.” Because of what I had learned about love, I looked that priest directly in his very kind eyes and said, “He can keep it.”)

I remember learning that my value was in sexuality too. But I cannot get a handle on HOW I learned this. Because I also learned the contradictory message that sex was shameful and dirty and all girls/women who engaged in it were sluts and whores. So you can imagine my confusion. I was only valuable if I was “sexy” and yet, if I wanted or had sex, then I would go to hell. God wouldn’t love me anymore, and my mother would certainly hate me too. Again, I have no idea (specifically) where these beliefs came from. I don’t believe that they were overt words or actions. They were sly and covert and I sometimes believe I made these things up myself.

At any rate, these mixed messages were what I was left with. I wanted a boyfriend, but I really believed my mother would stop loving me if I ever got one. So…I read about so many of you who had boyfriends from such a young age and I’m sorry for all the pain that you’ve experienced because of identifying yourself through sexuality. But it makes me wonder what I was doing during that time in my teens when it would have been normal to be experimenting, rebelling, going on dates, learning about my normal sexuality. All I can come up with is that I was trying to hold on to my mother’s love. I’m still doing it.

I recently had my 43rd birthday and, I’m ashamed to admit, I’m still waiting for my first “real” boyfriend. When I tell people this (admittedly, I don’t talk about it often with many people), they look at me with a combination of pity and envy. They wish they could have avoided all their painful relationships and been “brand new” again. But I’m not brand new. It hasn’t been an excess of virtue that has kept me alone. It has been fear. (My only sexual encounters have been when I was drunk, with unavailable men who were also drunk…reinforcing the message that sex was shameful and something that needed to be hidden and that I was a bad person for wanting it). Coupled with these contradictory messages about sex was a blatant hatred for men. From my mother. The thing is, she hated women even more. With all these conflicting messages, it was hard to know who to be, what to want, to keep her happy. She kept moving the damn target! And I feel her contempt now, so strongly, even through words of love. She hates my brokenness. It pisses her off. Because, as she sees it, I had it so much easier than she did, so I should be just fine.

I wonder what kind of subliminal message I’m sending out to men to keep them at bay. Of course, I’ve made up all kinds of things (with plenty of encouragement from my mother): I’m too fat, too tall, too smart, too dumb, too needy, too desperate. (Some additions from my mother: you don’t cook [how they can tell that when they meet me I’m not sure]; you’re a slob [I’ve got nothing on you, Mom], you don’t put out [oh yes, yes I do…]). Any or all of these things might be true but are all likely false. Although I do think the “desperate” thing comes across, even when I’m not consciously feeling it. But I have to tell you, when you spend your life trying to please other people…trying to be what they want and never quite measuring up, it’s hard not to feel a little desperate. And we all know that desperation is a single woman’s kiss of death.

This is far more confused and confusing than my original comment. But this is where I am today, and no matter how much I think I never move, where I am today is not where I was yesterday. I feel like I’m forgetting something important that I tried to say last night, but I guess I’ll have to believe that, if it’s important enough, I’ll remember it eventually. :D

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Damaging indeed. One year after my wet-dunking, the church split. LOOKING back, I see the coddling that went on, since the ones instigating the split had to have certain friends on their side. My fam is still their friends, and what hell it all was. I lost all practical friends I had, young nad old, my boyfriend, and trying to figure out what to study in college na ddo with my life. It was devastating, all so one family could find a better group to control.

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Lisa B,
yes, trying to figure out a mother like this?? Don’t be trapped by that! You are free to go and do what works for you. She was abusive; that is all that really matters, as far as understanding it goes, not that you don’t or won’t have issues to work through.

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@ Lisa – I am looking for my first “real” boyfriend too. I will be 43 later this year!

I remember being about 12 & getting my first pet, a pug. I loved that dog. I taught him lots of tricks. Well, mom got jealous. She said, “You love that dog more than me!” I remember just being confused when she said that. It didn’t make any sense. But, I think also confused because I didn’t really know that I loved her. I hadn’t felt a connection to her since she wasn’t there for me I didn’t know what that kind of love was. I knew that my dog seemed to love me unconditionally and I could identify with that! But, strangely, I now have a cat and now if say to the cat, “oh you are soo cute! such a good cat!” My mother gets jealous! LOl. I’m taking extra time to take care of mom, make sure she takes her medicine, clean & cook for her & she still gets jealous of a cat!?

And I think my taking care of her is more based on that its the decent thing to do. She’s a human being and needs my help. Not because she did anything special for me or was ever there for me.

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Bonnie,
Is it fair to look at your mother’s dog statement like this? Don’t interpret it. She said, “You love that dog more than me!” She accused you of something. That was inappropriate of her.

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@ Sheryl – Well, she said she always paid more attention to my sister because my sister was loving toward her. I think, I was a child and it was her job to teach me to love. Do you teach a child by ignoring them because they don’t automatically know how to act “as loving” as you feel you need them to love you? I see that her behavior was inappropriate now, but I had no idea then.

So, my sister now says that my mother was abusive towards her as a child. Yet, she attended all her basketball games, let her leave a school when she was unhappy and live with her grandmother and I was basicly not listened to or paid attention to. I have to watch my sister because she doesn’t seem to know what the definition of abuse is when it comes to how to treat mom. I keep watching to make sure mom isn’t abused. And, if I met a guy I wouldn’t want him to have to come anywhere near either one of them! It’s a good thing that I live 2 hours away and most of the time I’m not around them.

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Bonnie,
VERY good point about the other girl ~ that her parents supported her and were interested in her and she did so well. That is such a good point!

Amira,
I had to learn that those guys that will just “line up” for sex ~ that speaks about THEIR character, not about the girls character. There are tons of really nice guys in the world that have some morals and ethics and they don’t see woman as “things to use” I never really thought about the two way street stuff before.

Hi Arja ~
Thanks for sharing your horror story ~ oh my gosh, this stuff really happens and as kids we really don’t know that it is NOT normal. It is also NOT LEGAL. And then when the forgiveness lecture starts it is like being abused again. What kid can sort that out??? and then the icing on the cake… people telling you that you were so LUCKY~ (oh ya, that was really “lucky”
Thanks for being here!

Hi Kia
Good Grief ~ they excused your mom because she was not well… and then they blamed you for her not being well! that is one of the biggest issues that I have with abuse. They seem to find a way to justify it AND blame the victim for it too. It is so important that we come to realize the truth about those facts, so that we can be free of the lies, which are in this case that that someone didn’t know any better and it was your fault anyway. I love your statement ~ “Those people do not help me toward my healing so they are no longer a part of my life.” YES that is awesome.

Jasmine ~
Thanks for sharing your story too. This is a great example of how when a person really desires to have closure and are told “no” that eventually they are just asked to “leave”. Not much an example of Christian Love there, hey???

Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Lisa b.
This is a fantastic comment! This is exactly what I am talking about. They force us to be a certain way, the teach us and train us, and then they are so shocked that we are messed up. It is CRAZY.. but they are the crazy ones…
I have written a few things about how I learned my value was sexual, for more info read the mother daughter category. A lot of it had nothing to do with being sexually abused, but rather about being sexualized. It took me some time to solve that mystery.
And as a few have mentioned in these comments ~ abusers always “Move the target” so that we can never measure up. It is so important to realize that this problem is about THEM, not about us. Thanks for sharing, and for coming back to reconstruct your comment.
Hugs, Darlene

P.S. Sheryl
I don’t think that Lisa is trying to figure out her mother as much as she is trying to figure out herself and what happened to her ~at the hands of her mother. I had to do a lot of dumping before I found my way to wholeness.

Hi Bonnie
It is fine to write whatever you like on this blog. It certainly sounds like your mother had issues about your pets getting any attention. That is about her though, not about you. About your sister, abusive is about a lot of things. I know kids that their parents did everything with them, all the time, but they were being abused like crazy behind closed doors.
I think you are on the right track when you comment “do you teach a child by ignoring them? I had to think about what the adults in my life DID teach me by their actions and WOW that truth went a very long way towards me finding my freedom.

Thanks so much for being here and for all these great comments! Sorry that I can’t answer each one of them in a bit more detail!
Hugs, Darlene

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Bonnie,
How hurtful. Those words were never said directly to me in my upbringing, yet, that is the same dynamic I saw happening. And it still hurts. I just understand it now and can deal with it. Thank you for adding more context!

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Darlene,

I love this that you pointed out from what Bonnie shared:

“I think you are on the right track when you comment “do you teach a child by ignoring them? I had to think about what the adults in my life DID teach me by their actions and WOW that truth went a very long way towards me finding my freedom.”

Another question would be “What do you teach a child by ignoring…?”
The answer is likely found in observing the child after the child is ignored…as Bonnie came to realize

I love this insight because I relate to it as well. You match up their words with their actions, do the subtraction, and figure it out.

Where do we learn this abusive lying? Little snipets of things that sound like truth, but are really only being used to dominate others…naturally occurs in organized religion, and wherever experts exist, I suspect

I was not able to pay adequate attention to my four children when I went through a divorce when they were 9-15 years-old. We all moved in with my parents, and I had to face all of my childhood issues along with attempting to parent my four children alone, without their dad, and with my parents taking over parenting them and me, as well. It was what you would call, Hell.

I could not get my children’s attention while we were living in that house. My mother told my daughter that I was weird for fixing my supper at 8 pm after church choir rehersals were over for the five of us. A very long evening and I was tired and hungry! But my mother doesn’t eat at 8pm, so if I am doing it, then I am weird and my daughter needs to be told this.

My dad yelled at my two youngest that they were pagans during my sister’s b’day dinner because the boys were laughing at the table. MY youngest ran in the living room and looked up the word in the dictionary and then collapsed on the couch in tears.

Yeah, the stories of control and ugliness continue…

It lasted four months before I moved us all out. But we were in the same little town for three years before I married again. I made the mistake of introducing my new husband-to-be to my parents only to have them tell him that he had no idea what he was getting into (when I left the room) We literally had almost no support at all from any of our relatives in getting married. This is why the courthouse ceremony and lunch at Applebee’s (with the four children) was FINE for us.

Then my daughter left to live with her dad and my oldest boy went to college. (National Merit Winner–I had one thing to feel proud of at that time, plus that I had a new husband who valued me) My daughter (had NEVER seen anyone value me) and I hardly ever talked for those first two years she was gone, but as she was nearing age 18, I asked her by phone one day what she wanted to do with her life at age 18 and has more choices. She decided to move out on her own. She lives far away from all of her relatives. My third, a son, age 17, now living with his dad for past year. My youngest son, 15, is with me, 1,000 miles away from his brother and dad, but that is their choice/s. It has been six years since filing for divorce. After reading this article, I am just looking back at what I couldn’t do for my kids when they, and especially my daughter, were about 13 on up.

60

I would add that although my daughter had never seen any adults value me, I think that she saw her brothers, all in some ways, value me. The oldest one valued me the most due to his age and whatever other factors, personality, etc., and she has stayed close enough to him, that is a good thing.

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Sheryl,
I wish that I would have done a few things differently with my own kids but the thing that made the biggest difference in our family is when I started to value me. This is where people and our own children can really learn from example. I learned to value me and to say no to anyone devaluing me. I learned to balance that with still valuing them too though. There was a LOT of talking and explaining involved because they grew up a different way then it is now. They didn’t even KNOW that they didn’t value me, or that their father didn’t see me as equally important to him. (which means that he devalued me too)
This is a really big subject!
Thanks for being here and sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene – I can relate to your children being told they were to be examples. I was told that my whole life that I was the preacher’s kid, so I was supposed to be the example to everyone else. That leaves a person no room at all to be human, to have needs or to mess up from time to time.

Lisa – I too learned that love was conditional. I had to love everyone, because God loved them. Therefore I needed to love them unconditionally. Yet, it was very one-sided in that I never was on the receiving end of that.

Also, I had to perform. I had to get A’s in school or I wasn’t doing my best and God ALWAYS wants us to do our best. We are never to give God less than our best ever.

I performed to the n’th degree to win my parent’s love…and also to win God’s love.

I am now beginning to realize that none of this was the real message from the God who is. All of it was from “the God of impossible expectations” or from “the abusive God” or from “the God who doesn’t care.” Those gods are imposters. They are not the One true God…the God of love….the God who loved us “while we were yet sinners.”

I’m beginning to sense the relief.

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Arja,
This is excellent! I want to highlight one more thing about what you have said here;
It isn’t only that it doesn’t leave any room to be human, it is that the ones who teach that, NEVER highlight their own mess up’s or humanness, they don’t live up to their own standards, they present themselves as authorities and they keep changing the standard that they want US to live up to. This is the fog that we live in.
Thanks for sharing what I think is a VICTORY comment!
Hugs, Darlene

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Bonnie–you wrote “But, strangely, I now have a cat and now if say to the cat, “oh you are soo cute! such a good cat!” My mother gets jealous! LOl. I’m taking extra time to take care of mom, make sure she takes her medicine, clean & cook for her & she still gets jealous of a cat!?” and I can relate to that, from your mom’s point of view, and it’s all about her issues (assuming she is jealous for the same reasons, because I am like that about my husband’s cat, that he has had since long before we got married)

the cat sits on his lap all night long while he watches TV and he talks sweet to her and she gives him kisses and whatever, normal pet/owner behaviors…and it hurts my feelings, bad…and I have never admitted that to anyone because it sounds insane to be jealous of a cat!!!

But for me, the simple lack of value that I feel in myself and the lack of importance I feel in my marriage and in my life and in the world (all in my head at this point in life I think, but still it FEELS as real as it did when it was really happening everyday) and I feel like, why does he love the cat so much? He doesnt hug and kiss me all the time and he doesnt let me sit on his lap and he doesnt do this and he doesnt do that…and blah blah blah, basically saying in my head that “if he loved me, he would do things differently” but in reality, I AM NOT A CAT, and he treats me like a human being who is loved and valued and worthy of those things, and always has…but because I dont value ME, I dont feel that love as much as I would if I felt good about myself, so no matter how much he does for me in logical real world ways that “should” make me feel loved, I still dont. I dont trust him, I dont believe him when he tells me good things about myself (Im starting to believe and trust him, but its not 100% there yet) and the extreme lack of self worth and insecurity in ME, is the main factor in all of that.

So, not to let your mom off the hook at all with her behavior, but for me, its all about my own shit and it might be that way for your mom too…but it may not, she might just be manipulative and trying to get you to feel sad and guilty about loving the cat and not focusing on her 100% just out of meanness (and I have that somewhat too (not the mean part, but the guilt tripping for attention) internally, but its never a conscious thing to want 100% of his attention, but if I do notice it, I do something to change it because I know its unrealistic to expect that from someone) and maybe your mom just notices that the more she makes you feel bad, the more you give to her, and she uses it instead of trying to change the behaviors and issues in her that caused it to begin with.

I read something recently that I feel applies to this somewhat…and its not trying to let abusive parents off the hook by any means, but it is a way to reconcile the pain with them and move on I think.

Basically it said that every person, goes through life trying to get their unmet needs in their childhood, met through the people in their adult lives…via parents, friends, lovers, children etc. and the key to changing that cycle is to see those patterns in you and work to heal yourself and meet your own needs as an adult and recognize that EVERY OTHER PERSON in the world, is trying to fix themselves through others, and often its unconscious, so in reality we are all abused neglected children in adult bodies, some to a greater degree than others and in order to have positive functional healthy adult relationships with others, we have to recognize and start to heal those unconscious wounds from our past.

And to think of my mom, dad, brothers, sisters, husband, exes and any other people as broken in some way too, really helps me to see their goodness, and their humanness beyond the negative things about them, and that makes it easier for me to connect with them in some way and not hate them for what they did or did not do (even if it doesnt change that I wont communicate with them or be around them at all, it removes the hatred from inside me and makes me see them as people, and that is healing all on its own…at least for me)

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Amira and Bonnie,
One thing that I have learned that most wounded people do is to try to fix our past through our present. My therapist put it in a way that made a world of sense to me. He told me that my husband loved me and that I was taking that love and throwing it down that black hole…that black bottomless hole. I didn’t get my needs met as a child, so I people please and look desperately for that love, nurture and recognition that was missing for so long….for my entire formative years of my life. I need to accept that it is gone and that nothing in today will give me what I didn’t get then. Even if my parents would miraculously change in their older years that still won’t give me what is missing. It will always be missing. That pain will always be there.

Because I take my husband’s love and throw it down the black hole I still end up empty…..with nothing at all….because I threw it down that hole and now it’s gone. My husband gives and gives and gives until he has no more left himself. Then we are both empty. We both end up with nothing.

If I take the love that he gives me and let it be for today and not yesterday. If I let him love me for today…..not trying to fill yesterday’s black hole, then I can enjoy his love for what it is…..for today.

That truth has transformed our marriage. It’s pretty awesome.

It did take me a long time to reconcile that yesterday’s needs will never be met. I still find myself trying to fill that black hole with people’s approval, with accomplishments that were meant to seek the approval of the internalized parent that will never be pleased….because the target is forever being moved. The further I get up the ladder, when I get to the top rung the freakin’ ladder grows another rung! When I claw my way up the mountain and get to the top the mountain grows another couple feet. When that happens my therapist tells me to “go play in the valley….get off the mountain.”

One day a few years ago I called my therapist and told him I wanted to die. “I try and try and try and it’s never enough!” He asked me, “Do you have to die to stop trying?” Knock me over with a feather! I’ll never forget that!

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Hi Amira
I am very careful with the way that I communicate this whole recovery process because there are some very specific differences that worked so well for me. I was not new to depression or emotional struggle when I found the answers that I write about in this blog. Everyone does have issues, yes. One of the differences for me in this healing process however was to stop viewing it that way. So many self help teachings suggest that we just accept that others have issues and that we heal our own wounds… which is really the bottom line, that we have to heal ourselves. But the problem that I had was that I tried to accept that THEY abused me out of their own issues making that an excuse and I could NOT heal without recognizing and being angry over the wounds I had. I could not skip that step. Today I have no anger or hatred for them anymore. But that came as a result of being angry and blaming and feeling the pain and really sticking up for myself that I did not deserve that. I had to take into consideration that some of these “issues” that others have were things they should have gone to jail for. This isn’t just about a little mistake someone made in my life. I had to validate myself by really seeing the truth about how invalidated that I was before I could move on to realizing that everyone is “broken” in some way and that no one had a perfect life. I hope that makes sense… it is hard to put in one paragraph!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Arja
I love what your therapist said to you “”I try and try and try and it’s never enough!” He asked me, “Do you have to die to stop trying?” That is brilliant! Thanks for sharing.
I agree that yesterdays needs will never be met, but through this process, I found a way to meet them NOW. I can validate me, I can recognize myself. In re-parenting myself, I learned to be the parent that I wanted… and now it is good enough! I am good enough. We are good enough.
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

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I’ve been off the grid for the past couple of days, due to a couiple of painful medical procedures that took the wind out of my sails, in a manner of speaking. This morning, when I finally felt well enough to check back here, I found that more than 30 new comments had been added during my absence. I’ve just read thru them all, and WOW…. I don’t even know what to say. There isn’t a single comment here that I don’t relate to in some way.

I agree wholeheartedly with what Lisa B. said in comment 50: “I think that this might be the most profound thing I have ever read (anywhere): “They break us and then they hate us because we are broken.” (Darlene in comment 19).”

I, too, have been reeling ever since I read that statement:

***THEY BREAK US AND THEN THEY HATE US BECAUSE WE ARE BROKEN.***

Love to Everyone Here~
Lynda

PS~ I’ll get my aunt’s emails posted on my blog later today. You are right, what a Great Gift to be validated by someone who Knows!

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Oops, I meant to direct my PS to Darlene, in reply to her comment to me on comment #27.

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“They break us and they hate us because they are broken” means they hate us and we break and they hate us some more.

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Sheryl, yes, so true. It was their hatefulness that broke us in the first place.

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Sheryl, you wrote “because THEY are broken”. and isn’t that the truth.
I think that they couldn’t STAND it if I wasn’t broken too… for instance, my family does not see me. Neither do my in laws see us. They could not accept the changes, the boundaries, the positive growth in our home. But my choice is positive growth! My choice is life today.

(well my father would see me if he lived closer, but I am not so sure I want to see him. He has never been a father to me. He is so clueless.. He actually told my daughter (on facebook) that he reads my blog to keep up with the news! (I write about news???) LOLOL

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Darlene this post touched me deeply I cannot tell you!

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Thanks for your comment “just be real” I am so glad this post resonates with you!
Hugs, Darlene

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Lisa B and Bonnie, guess what, I am also 43 and never had a real boyfriend, at least not as an adult! I went out with a few guys as a teenager but my mother made it so miserable I decided I was better off as a tomboy with guy friends instead of boyfriends. I finally met someone a few years ago who was like my twin, and when people in my life (friends or old coworkers or acquaintances) found out I was connected with this guy through work, they all said, Wow, I always thought you would be perfect for each other! but never said anything because they thought I was not interested in dating or meeting men… or something like that, which generally I wasn’t. (For most of my life I thought I was happy alone and glad I wasn’t in the horrible relationships I saw around me. I thought I was free. But it was just a lie I told myself.) They thought I would be offended if they tried to set me up, since usually I was. A number of people said they had prayed that God would have our paths cross. But I was never able to allow him to express any interest in me. I didn’t give him any opportunity. I would abruptly end conversations and walk away or do something to discourage him from interacting with me on anything other than a business level. I didn’t plan it, it just would unfold that way every time. My biggest fear was that my mother would ruin it. She did. But I let her. Which is what makes it so much worse.

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Amy, you said: “For most of my life I thought I was happy alone and glad I wasn’t in the horrible relationships I saw around me. I thought I was free. But it was just a lie I told myself.”

This is me too. I congratulated myself on not engaging in the relationship dramas of my peers. But really I was covering for my own self loathing and loneliness. Your story is so close to mine, it’s scary! Thanks for sharing it!

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When you are a teenager, romance and dating can be so confusing. Questions like how far should you go with your boyfriend are confusing for typical teenagers. Does your boyfriend really love you like he says or does he just want you for the sex? I can understand why you didn’t say no the second time.

There is nothing normal or healthy about being a teenager who is being sexually abused by a family member at the time that you are supposed to be exploring being an almost adult. It wasn’t my mother that gave me my sexual lessons. It was my dad. As I said on another post here on EFB, my dad told me that men were only interested in a woman for sex; that all women were whores; and that men weren’t after love, they were only after sex. How confusing are those messages when you are a teenager who wants so badly to find someone to love her rather than hurt her. Being told that you are only good for sex and for nothing else does nothing for your sense of self-worth. Being sexually active because of the incest made it hard for me to say no to any boy that wanted to be sexual. I said no to sex with 3 of my dates in college and they didn’t stick around for very long at all. That didn’t disprove what my dad told me. It proved that what he said was true, or so I thought at the time.

I was 19 and in my second year of college still living at home before the first boy asked me out on a date. Like you Darlene at 13.5, I thought I was in love. That very first date, I thought about saying no but I didn’t. When the boy came to my home to meet my parents, he and my dad were nice to each other but both expressed intense dislike later. My boyfriend made the comment to me that night that he should just run off with me and teach my dad. I thought it was a strange comment but didn’t ask just what he would teach my dad. He also didn’t ask me to run off with him. I thank God for that. I would have gone with him because I thought we were in love. I didn’t see the similarities between him and my dad. They both thought they owned me. I came from a poor family. I had put together a pants suit that I really thought looked nice for our date. This was the early 1970′s when pants suits were in. I loved mine. Before our date that night, he took me to his sister’s house and asked if I could borrow one of her outfits to wear for our date. I went along with it. Today I know how demeaning he was being to me. At the time, I chose to not look very closely at how that made me feel. I wanted to please him so I went along with it. There is so much more that I could say along these lines. I was sexual with my boy friend for all 3 of the dates that we had because I thought if I loved him then it would be okay. A part of me wanted to say no but I was afraid that he wouldn’t stay and wouldn’t love me if I said no. All of this happened because of the messages from the incest. I didn’t know that I owned my own body, that I had the right to say no. Today I know that if this boyfriend had married me that I would be a battered wife if I was still alive.

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Lynda, hating yourself hurts much, much more than not liking yourself. I hated myself for a lot of years because I thought I was to blame for the incest. Learning to love myself is the best thing that I have ever done for me.

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Patricia, that is what I mean when I say that nothing hurts worse than not liking yourself. I am talking about hating yourself. To me, not liking myself, and hating myself, was one and the same. I have been through many truamas, pain, and abuses in my life. But the thing that hurt me most, was not liking, HATING, myself.

That was what my abuse taught me. To Hate Myself.

I don’t hate myself anymore. But that didn’t happen for me until the year I turned 50, and finally got some good therapy. Now, I still struggle with my self-esteem at times, but I no longer hate myself.

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Patricia ~
Wow. This is a great comment full of great information. I also realized that my boyfriend thought he owned me and when he contacted me a few years ago, (33 years after we broke up) he STILL thought he owned me. Crazy.
Your story about your first date is very revealing and exposes so much of what I am talking about in this blog. He decided he didn’t like your outfit so he made you change. So devaluing.
Thanks so much for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

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Lynda, I felt that you probably meant that you hated yourself instead of just disliking yourself but I wasn’t sure. I have been through the same process of hating myself and moving to learning to love myself. How could we not hate ourselves when we feel that all of the abuse was our fault? Learning to let go of that lie that our abusers told us is a very big deal. So is learning to love ourselves. My recovery process depended upon me learning to love myself and letting go of the self-hatred.

Thanks for sharing your stories here on EFB. They help me and so many others. Please don’t quit sharing. I have discovered, for myself, that when I share something new like I did here yesterday, I face some more of the fear that the abusers put into me to not break the silence of what they did to me. I think, at least for me, that is why I feel overwhelmed with what I share sometimes. I will continue to break that silence and share more and more of my story if it means that it might help another survivor to feel not alone. When we share, it gives someone else the permission to share their stories too.

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Patricia ~ WOW, what you said really resonated very deeply with me. You wrote: “I have discovered, for myself, that when I share something new like I did here yesterday, I face some more of the fear that the abusers put into me to not break the silence of what they did to me. I think, at least for me, that is why I feel overwhelmed with what I share sometimes.”

THAT makes a lot of sense to me. I think, in my case, that is at least part of the reason that I got so upset after I commented in detail on another one of Darlene’s posts, about when I was drugged and raped and almost died. I had TOLD about this before, to a few people over the years, and the telling of it always upset me. But to write about it in detail, and post it here on the internet… somehow that freaked me out. For want of a better phrase~

Yes, hating myself is what I did for many many many years. I hated myself so much, Patricia, that I did not believe that I deserved to live. I really thought that if I only had enough “courage,” that I would do the “honorable thing” and kill myself! THAT is how bad I hated me. I believed I deserved to be dead. But, since I didn’t have the “courage” to kill myself the way I thought I should, I did the next best thing… really it was the next worst thing… I REFUSED TO ALLOW MYSELF TO BE HAPPY. Both consciously, and unconsiously, I sabotaged myself, my relationships that could have been healthy and loving, my attempts to get an education, and to have a career. Here’s a prime example: I went to Practical Nursing School when I was in my early 40′s. Most of the class of approx. 50 students were straight out of high school, still in their teens. There were only a few in their 30s or 40s. At the end of the first month, the class had to vote on officers. I did not run for anything, why would I, with the way I felt about me? To my utter amazement, the class nominated me, and elected me, Class President. WOW what an ego boost! But, because I still believed deep down in my heart that I was worthless, that I was no good, that I deserved to be stoned to death like the adulteresses in the Bible that I was raised on…. I believed that the words my mother had told me as I was growing up, would come true: “If they really knew me, they wouldn’t like me.” I ACTUALLY STOOD UP IN FRONT OF MY LARGE CLASS OF FELLOW NURSING STUDENTS ONE DAY AND TOLD THEM, “IF YOU REALLY KNEW ME, YOU WOULD NOT LIKE ME!”

And guess what… they began to agree with me, as the arduous year went on. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Also, as in any organization, the head is the target of everyone’s discontent. Nursing school is HARD, so there was a lot of discontent.

So, WHY did I HATE myself so badly, for most of my life? First and foremost, I was taught to not like myself, by my parents, my mother especially, and by my grandparents, too. Then, my best friend in the world turned against me, thanks my mother poisoning her against me the one time she was allowed to stay the night, in all the years we had been friends.

When I had a breakdown and was institutionalized at the age of 14… believe me when I say, you can’t get much lower on the totem pole than that.

Finally, the BIGGIE…. after being released from the mental institution, after being told I was responsible for the ruin and suicide of a “wonderful brilliant psychiatrist,” I went straight (2 months after the institution) into an abusive marriage with someone who really did a number on my zero self-esteem, by cheating on me – beating on me – and telling me it was my fault because I was crazy and wasn’t “woman enough.” And THEN, his married with three kids, much older boss, who was a father-figure to me the minute I met him… he came by to tell me how bad he felt for me being married to a man who cheated on me with anything that walked, and beat me up all the time, the neighbors heard and saw in that little town, so it was no secret. And then I had an affair with that married older man, became pregnant with my daughter, and destroyed his family. I mean I DESTROYED that family, all in my desperation to finally be LOVED.

And my looking for love in all the wrong places didn’t end there. SO, I thought I deserved to be stoned to death. I was hated by the families I had destroyed, and I hated me, too.

I was exactly like a starving person, stealing other people’s food so that I wouldn’t die. And hating myself for not having the courage to just die, rather than steal the sustenance away from other families.

When I finally learned, at the age of 50, that I had been so broken by my childhood and abuse and trauma of the institution and rapes and abusive marriages, and that that had caused me to have complex-post traumatic stress disorder, and that it was NORMAL for me to be so totally messed up and NEEDY after my childhood, just as it is NORMAL to bleed if you are stabbed… then I could finally forgive myself, accept myself, and even love myself. I learned to have compassion for myself. I still hate the things that I did when I was so desperately needed, alone, and unloved. But I understand the WHY behind it, and I have compassion for me today.

Sometimes though, I can momentarily slip back somewhat. This blog and you wonderful women are helping me tremendously with that!

HUGS – Lynda

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Lynda, last night I wrote out a really long reply to your last comment. When I pushed the Submit Comment button the whole thing disappeared. I was hoping it would reappear this morning but I guess that isn’t going to happen. I know there were technical glitches on EFB last night because there were several times that I tried to get on and couldn’t.

When we make prophesies like “IF YOU KNEW ME, YOU WOULD NOT LIKE ME.” We do make them come true by our attitudes about ourselves. We have to make them come true so that we are at least right about something in our lives. When others tell us over and over again that we are unlovable, we come to believe them. We create situations that tell us this is so and we attract other people that agree with us too. That is the consequences of the lies that we were taught and that we believe about ourselves.

“IF YOU KNEW ME, YOU WOULD NOT LIKE ME.” was one of my biggest fears as a child and as a young adult so I hid the “real” me so deep inside of me that I didn’t even know who the real me was. I just knew that she was very bad; that she was not lovable; that she was a whore because that is what women were according to my dad. I knew the abuse was her fault so how could I do anything else but fear and hate her? I knew that she was tainted, broken, damaged goods, terrified of others finding out her secrets, terrified that the lies might be the truth about her. With these messages how does a young child have any chance of ever loving herself? How can she ever trust herself or anyone else to keep her safe? How can anyone else really love her? These were all the questions that I had to deal with in order to heal and to learn to love myself – that hurting little girl inside.

You were not responsible for what any of the men in your life did. The psychiatrist, the ex-husband, the ex-husband’s boss were all responsible for their own behavior. You were still living in victim mode with each of them. You might see yourself as a willing participant but did you know to act any differently with your childhood training?

You told someone about the psychiatrist abusing you. You did nothing to make him commit suicide. That was his own shame at work because he got caught.

With your ex-husband, he was the one who was not man enough to stay committed to his marriage vows. It had nothing to do with you not being woman enough. People who put others down as your ex- did to you, do so because of their own poor self-worth, not because of something that you did or didn’t do. His being unfaithful to you had to do with his issues, not yours. When he got caught, he tried to shift his shame to you with his accusations.

With the ex-husband’s boss, you said it yourself, you wanted a father – a father who would love you, not sexually abuse you. You didn’t make the decision for him to stray from his marriage vows, he did. When he did that, he destroyed his marriage. You were just the instrument or vessel that he used to do it. His marriage breaking up wouldn’t have happened if he had stayed committed to his wife and his marriage. Again, you were still in victim mode. You were a child looking for a father. Yes, you were a starving person, starving for love and you didn’t take anything that wasn’t offered. You didn’t go looking for an affair. You didn’t go looking for a man to take away from his wife and kids. He came looking for you because he knew you were lonely, hurting and vulnerable. He used you.

Growing up abused, we don’t know what normal is. My 12-Step sponsor told me that when I was ready to do forgiveness that I had to put myself at the top of the list. I had to do the same with compassion. I had to learn to have compassion for myself before I could offer it to anyone else.

This isn’t exactly what I said last night but it will have to do. I think that I remembered the main points that I wanted to make.

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Thank you, Patricia. Your healing comments are gratefully received; doubly so, since you had to write it twice.

I’ve had a few of my long comments vanish, too… maddening. Now I usually copy them as I go along, or write it in my word program and save, then copy/paste… but usually I’m too lazy to do all of that. I never intend for my comments to be that long when I get started!

Sometimes when I push the Submit Comment and my post vanishes, if I hit the back arrow, occasionally my comment reappears. Then I can copy it and save it in my word program to try again later when the glitches are gone.

Thanks again for writing everything twice!

Lynda

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I had a very different experience. With my first boyfriend, when I told my mother, her response was “oh no.” She told me several times she was worried I would not be able to handle a relationship or make good decisions. I believed her. I definitely made poor choices with who I dated but looking back, at all the key times I made the right decisions. I think she wanted me to never date because she never gave me advice other than to just stay away from boys. I now realize she had some terrible experiences of her own. It was about her trying to live through me and have me avoid the same mistakes by just staying out of it.

It’s like almost drowning so you teach your kid to never try swimming.

I hope to be able to coach my daughter a bit when it comes to dating. No matter what mistakes she makes, I want to be able to praise her for her strengths … so that she believes she can have a relationship without losing everything.

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Chloe,
I have two children who have been dating age for a few years now. I found that what works best is to just be there. Let them know that you are there, and let them make mistakes. Both of mine made mistakes, and they learned from them, and they also learned that we still loved them and that mistakes are not the end of the world AND that we are there for them if they need us or want us. I tried not to interfere unless they asked specifically for some help. I learned a ton by trail and error too and I made mistakes coaching them!! They learn to handle things as they went and go alone, and at the moment both of them have successful relationships with really great people! They have a far better chance then I did, that if for sure.
Hugs, Darlene

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Chloe and Darlene,
When my oldest daughter started dating I always gave her enough money for a phone call and a taxi ride. She never had to use either. I wanted her to know I had her back if she needed help. It wasnt until later as an adult that she told me that she tried drugs. She said one time (I remember the incident) she and her date came to our house to use the hot tub. They were on a drug. I knew something was off but I kept the suspition to myself. They left early and went to dinner. She told me that it freaked her out because she KNEW I knew she took drugs. It made her feel horrible and sick to her stomach to think she let me down and that she hated the fact that the drug was controlling her. I did something right, I knew the love we share was unconditional. I love both girls and hope that my youngest will someday realize she means as much to me as her oldest sister. What Darlene says is true trial and error, when they know you have their backs it paves the way to more sharing and a trust that is priceless.

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Hi Renee,
Yes that is a great account of how it goes in a far more supportive system. Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

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Renee – Thank you for sharing what you have learned! I’m still a ways off from my daughter dating, but I know I definitely want her to know that she can talk to me about good things and bad things without ridicule. I think what wasn’t working for me was the fact that if I made a mistake it became something forever in the family storybook. My mother would tell other people I had a knack for dating creeps for YEARS. The narrative was basically that I was too wimpy (and “oversensitive”) for a relationship so it was better if I just stayed single. Looking back on this time again though, and reading other comments, I have nothing to be ashamed of. I went through the same trial and errors as other teens and – best of all – I stopped believing the narrative.

Darlene- one thing you said really resonated with me. “mistakes are not the end of the world” After years of trying to avoid criticism and personal attacks, this is something I am still learning. It is better to make a mistake and still have value for yourself than to have all your value wrapped up in what other people think. I think I need to keep learning this one!!

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Hi Chloe,
It takes a long time to change a belief system that has been firmly in place for a long time. But we can do it!
I had to keep learning a LOT of things!
Hugs, Darlene

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Somehow I always knew my mom was crazy. I even told her once when she was hitting me for the umpteenth time and had that crazed look in her eyes. I stared right at her and said, “You’re CRAZY!” GOOD FOR ME!! Doesn’t mean I still wasn’t damaged by her toxicity, but at least some part deep down in me KNEW she was the messed up one.

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Hi Karen,
I hear you; although it may help somewhat to realize they are not quite right, it is really about realizing the damage and healing from that.
hugs, Darlene

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[...] That was the last time I spoke to her. I left it with her and she refused to bend. She refused to meet me half way.  She turned me down. My mother abandoned our relationship. [...]

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Before I went N/C with her, I got the, “I am always here for you, I won’t abandon you.”

Um, well, you ARE abandoning me. Emotionally. All my life it was pounded into my head, “Think of how OTHER people might feel before you say/do anything.”

Well, why is SHE exempt from having to think of how *I* feel? Oh I forgot. She is the mommy. She isn’t required to think of how I feel.

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Golden child turned scapegoat
February 5th, 2014 at 10:11 pm

Thank you for this post Darlene. Your thoughts and emotional experiences really resonate with a lot of mine.

I am 27 and have had a mixed bag in life so far. I come from a toxic family across multiple generations all living in one country town. My mother and my maternal grandmother are both ignoring narcissists and my father was (clean for a few years now) an addict. I remember I was ten and had learnt at school that bathing once a week wasn’t normal and was being bullied because of it. I was so ashamed and embarrassed. I had already been groomed not to question the parents way of doing things, but the thought of my siblings being bullied hurt me so much I vowed to take charge by looking after myself and them too. My mother hid all our families dirty secrets just well enough so she would never be viewed as a bad mother, but no more than benefited her public image. Myself looking out for my siblings in silence only helped her cause to look like a great mother. My extended family would laugh at my attempts at washing, cooking etc. but I had never been taught how to do any of these things! I did them because I had to, otherwise I would have no clothes, I would have no lunch. I stupidly began to believe I was useless.

Nothing I did was ever good enough, though I was a naturally good student across most areas of study. My mother would gloat about my school accomplishments to other people but give me a half baked smile and told me to do better next time. I developed perfectionistic traits over time particularly in my studies. I would say to friends in my teens “I don’t know who I am, I have no identity” and couldn’t understand why I felt that way, so I looked for identity in a career. I know now why, I was groomed to be the golden child poster girl for the family – but the real me wasn’t allowed to exist. So I moved to a city and worked to the bone for scraps of love. I completed an undergrad and masters degree, whilst working a multitude of jobs by the time I was 25. I graduated with a high distinction average and a great full time job to go to. However by this time my anxiety was through the roof, I was a struggling addict and had developed an eating disorder which would ‘flare up’ if I didn’t receive an A grade. I had tried to talk to mum about my anxiety and being unable to eat. She would say “You have always been the independent one, you have always made it through and you will now”. That comment referring to when I was a baby and I was the “independent one” born prematurely but who she knew wasn’t going to die like she was told – my sister born late the “sensitive one” who was born with heart issues and needs mummas help all the time – my brother born right on time “the quiet one” who was perfect and mum didn’t know what to do because she had never had a normal baby before.

I have written enough, but long story short I gave up drugs and alcohol cold turkey two years ago with my partner. Since then I have woken up to my role in the family as pains from the past have been made clearer by my sobriety. I tried to communicate the issues and heal what I thought was a relationship with mum, but I soon realised that it was never going to happen because their never really was a relationship. As I have ‘made a scene’ in the family, mum has gone from not acknowledging my past with drugs and alcohol to bad mouthing me around the family about it. Further my cousins and siblings appear to enjoy me being demoted from golden child to scapegoat. I am the only one of us to have even finished high school.

Only a couple of weeks ago – for my own healing process and sanity – I went no contact with my mother and sister. The other family members have toppled like dominos in response. It took a while to disconnect from the family before I made this decision and I still miss a couple of family members on occasion. I just hope all of this is worth it. I am getting pangs of guilt when I know I am not doing anything wrong and weird feelings like that. It must be my grooming habits instilled into me from birth giving way. That’s what I’m hoping for anyway

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Golden child turned scapegoat
February 5th, 2014 at 10:16 pm

I also forgot to say that there seems to be an idea that Golden Children never break out of the dysfunction mould – I wanted to write the above to illustrate that they definitely can and do break out (to their detriment if they decide to speak out) however. P.S. Sorry for some of the horrendous grammar mistakes!! Thanks again Darlene

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well actually i dont think its wrong to say there is plenty of fish, doesnt comunicat eyou are worthless at all…?

my mother in sililar circumstance would feel sorry- pitty me which is alot worth to me than if she didnt say much

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