Feelings and the Trigger Connection – No Longer a Powerless Child


EFB car picEarlier this year my 16 year old daughter hit glare ice, flew off the road and crashed her car. She hit the first tree and took it out which caused her to roll and flip into the air, crashing 5 feet up on the passenger side and wrapped around a second tree.  Her face and hands were covered in blood and cuts from the broken glass and she thought her arm was broken. When she was taken to x-rays in the hospital she fainted.

The images of her near death were haunting.  I couldn’t stop imagining what she went through, her fear and how much worse it could have been. Even though she walked away, even though I was fairly sure she was going to have a complete recovery, the feelings, emotions and fears that came up for me were overwhelming.

On the third day after her accident my entire body was ‘humming’ with fear, emotion and flashes of the way my mind imagined the accident. I felt nauseous, exhausted and totally stressed out. I couldn’t sit still, I couldn’t concentrate on a book, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t even escape with mindless television shows.  I found myself reaching for weird food, like potato chips and chocolate and I reached for them as though they were a life preserver. I ate  mindlessly and in a frenzied manner and as I shoved things in my mouth I became aware of the thought that I somehow believed eating those foods might block the feelings of fear and anxiety out of my mind.  I had this crazy belief that eating those foods would squish the fear and flashbacks of her accident and all my feelings of helplessness, down and away from me.

I felt like I couldn’t cope. I felt like there was ‘nowhere’ to go and nothing I could do about it, that I was powerless over the outcome of her accident, that I was helpless and I had been helpless in that moment. And in the case of my daughters car accident I was powerless and helpless but the problem was that  I felt like that ‘powerlessness and helplessness’ defined me as ‘useless’ and as a ‘failure’ as a mother, as a woman and even as a person. 

Useless and a failure;

And I had this nagging feeling that this feeling I was trying to get away from was very familiar for me. I had this sense that this feeling was something that I had had for most of my life.  And while I was in bed that night, half awake, half asleep, it came to me; this is the feeling that I tried so hard to escape from after I had been invalidated and mistreated. This was the feeling that I had when I didn’t understand the ways I was regarded, discounted, not heard, smacked, hit with a belt or with the hairbrush. This was the feeling that I had when I was being yelled at, reprimanded belittled and ignored, and this was the feeling that I had after I was sexually abused and nobody did anything about it.

Powerless, helpless, useless and a failure;

This same “helpless and powerless feeling” was the feeling that caused me to dissociate and develop all sorts of other coping methods just to survive. This was the feeling ~ powerless, helpless and worthless ~ that caused me to get lost in alcohol and drugs when I was a teenager and into my early twenties. This was the feeling that I binged and purged over in a desperate attempt to block it out and to block out what I was so afraid of.

It was this exact feeling that caused me so much fear and caused me to resist facing the pain of my past. I didn’t want to have the very feeling that I had worked so hard to escape from in the first place. Realizing that THIS was the very feeling that I worked so hard not to feel, helped me to realize another root lie at the bottom of my belief system;

The truth is that I was just as helpless and powerless when I was a child as I was when my daughter had her car accident. I couldn’t MAKE it stop, I couldn’t make the accident disappear as though it had never happened, I was powerless to change that it did happen and there was nothing that I could have done to prevent it, just like I was powerless as a child to prevent getting spanked and beaten with a belt and just like I was as a child powerless to prevent adults from using my body for whatever evil desires they wanted to perpetrate on me. 

The lie that I had believed all along was that I WASN’T actually powerless. I believed that I COULD have stopped the abuse if only I could have been different. I falsely believed that if I was more lovable, more lovely, more sweet, more compliant, more worthy, more… just more, that I would never have been treated those ways in the first place. The lie I believed was that it was me… when all along it was them.

Growing up and coping by avoiding those feelings of helplessness and powerlessness for so long, it was second nature for me to avoid feeling that feeling as an adult to0. Avoiding that feeling was how I survived as a child. It was second nature for me to believe, even as an adult, that I was helpless and powerless over abuse because it was how I had always survived.

Healing was about changing that belief in the present. Although I WAS powerless over my daughters accident and I WAS helpless and powerless over the abuse, neglect and discounting actions of adults in my childhood, I am no longer powerless today. Today I am an adult and I have a choice. I can take care of myself now. I have a choice now. If someone hit me I would charge them with assault. If someone molested me, I would charge them with sexual assault. If someone talks down to me or devalues me in any way I can stand up to them. That is my power. I know that I have just as much value as other people do. Today I know that respect is a two way street.

Today I know that over certain things I am NOT powerless and that power can be used for good; even for MY good.

It was getting past the childhood belief that I didn’t have a choice then, (and I  truly didn’t, none of us do) and understanding that I had carried that childhood belief and those coping methods into my adult life with me ~ and flipping them over to realize that I DO have a choice now (today and as an adult) that made all the difference in my journey to wholeness and freedom.

Today I am an adult and I know the true definition of love and that respect is ALWAYS mutual in healthy relationships. Since I had never been taught that nor had it ever been modeled for me when I was a child, it is easy to understand why we grow up into adulthood not knowing that we actually have a choice in most situations when as children we never did.

I rarely have that ‘powerless sinking feeling’ anymore except in cases such as my daughters car accident. When I do have it, I see it as a clue about the situation that I find myself in. I ask myself if my feelings of powerlessness are truth based feelings (as in my true powerlessness over Amy’s car accident) or if they are a left over from childhood, but I had to understand where that feeling came from in the first place before I was able to navigate through them in order to be set free.  

My daughter Amy made a full recovery; and so did I.

Exposing Truth, one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

Your contribution to the cost of running this website is greatly appreciated! If you are able please help me spread this message of hope.  Thank you in advance! ~ Darlene

UPCOMING SHOW on March 20th 2014 ~ I am being interviewed by Mike Domitrz from the Date Safe Project on His Web show The Gift of Respect .  The show is Live on Video so you will be able to see me and listen to the interview. The show will also be on Blog Talk Radio 

Categories : Survival



Humming with fear…yep, that’s me right now. Panic attacks, anxiety and humming.
I believe I can recover and that my childhood abuse doesn’t define me “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become” Carl Jung.
But how? How, when I only realised 2 months ago through counselling that my childhood was abusive (dad abusive and mum allowing it by doing nothing) do I move forward?
I found this site a few days ago and it’s amazing to see that people just like me have got their lives back, their pride, their worthiness, their calm.
All I have is hurt and anxiety. I grew up scared and since Christmas the panic has been persistent.
My dad is not in my life and I have told my mum that she abandoned me too, she’s very sorry.
Does this now just magically disappear because I’m aware of the cause and once I’ve grieved and worked it all out.
So scared.
Sorry to be negative, I will get through this it’s just all a bit much at the moment and the guys posting on this site are so positive/helpful.
I love my mum, I have an amazing husband, a good job, some great friends and a good life.
I just need help getting over this blip, and then I can help ithers too
N, xxx


Hi Nixon
Welcome to Emerging from Broken,
I have written HUGE amounts in this website about the how part. It takes time and it takes courage but I did it and so have many others. 🙂 For me it was about validating that there WAS damage in order to really see what that damage was. I was able then to look at the false belief system that had developed about ME as a result of that damage. Once I saw the lies at the root of my coping methods, the anxiety, depressions etc. lifted and everything got much better. Over time, EVERYTHING changed for the better.
Thank you for sharing, I hope you will stay and read more. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


Thanks 🙂
Just knowing that other people have been on this journey gives me so much hope. I was hated and in every way told I was nothing, useless, the list goes on. These are lies. I am worthy, I am loveable, we all are. I am trying to nurture that little lovely girl. Right now it still really hurts. Like I said, it was buried so deeply that I didn’t realise I was abused. I buried everything and now the lid has popped off and it’s so raw. I know my faulty coping/survival mechanisms, well, I’m getting to know them 🙂 I never realized my childhood could affect me so much, I’m not a dumbass I promise, just someone who thought if she ignored it then she could be who she wanted to be.
Hugs back atcha
N, x


I hate how my mother pushes all those triggers in my stomach. the sharp stabbing pain that precedes the shouting and accusations, the tremor the bated breath waiting for the hammer to fall. even now she still gives me those jolts of fear. even after all the work ive done to undo the failures she laid at my door but were hers in truth. this week she told someone that she wishes she never had me, not something I haven’t heard repeatedly throughout my 45 years, but shocking because she told someone she knew I had fallen out with and expected them to agree with her. I spoke aout about how she makes me feel and got slated by my sister in law and then blocked, all because I wouldn’t admit that I was wrong and my mother was right. mmm that coming from a woman who my mother had spoken badly about for years until she only had the 1 son out of 3 children left to do her bidding. the best bit is thought it hurts, you helped me see how much I should pity her because I have broken the cycle and speak out, my own child will never hear me cuss her like mine does me and that means the most to me. that even though my base nature is what my mother trained me to have, I have as an adult been out and retrained my brain to act the way I want to and not in the old abusive ways.
thanks darlene


I’m constantly grinding my teeth. Paralyzed with fear and shame from the constant humuliation of it all . With your help I believe I’m going to finally overcome this hell . My prayer for you is that God will bless you beyound measure, and protect you and everything concerning you forever .


Hi Carol
There is a lot of truth revealed in your comments about the system you come from. One of the hardest things for me to accept was that they were NEVER going to hear me, they never wanted to SEE me, and that they will say what the say, do what they do and believe what they believe. They always have and they probably always will. The freedom for me is that I don’t care because I know the truth and I don’t have to prove it to anyone anymore. Good for your Carol!
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Jeffry
YAY for overcoming the hell of it all! Thank you for your blessing. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene


Ah Darlene your article came through at exactly the right time. For the past months I have been berating myself why I can not move forward from my past. I finished counselling in January as I felt I no longer needed it,having spent 2years coming to terms with incest and my abusive parents.

Yet Im triggered in my work place(which sends me spiraling back in to memories) which ironically happens to be a replica of my childhood home,totally dysfunctional,triangulation etc. Anyway all of a sudden I am a toddler powerless,helpless I just ant somebody to hug me and hold me ( I am 39yrs old) as if I can not stop people entering my mind(Mostly women) or invading my space my body ( men).. so much turmoil and pain. reverting back to old coping methods. Running home crying,shaking in fear screaming inside and praying for help I feel tiny.

After months of enduring that, this weekend I realised that I am STRONG, I am POWERFUL now. I can stop it and take control. So reading you article right now has validating all that..thank you. As horrific as it has been it has also been very eye opening, as new memories open up to me 🙁

This week has been a roller coaster of feeling powerless and helpless and taking myself to a quiet place and reassuring myself that I am an adult now and I can take care of things. It has been pretty eye opening.
Thanks Darlene


Ps; I am really glad that your daughter was not harmed and was able to walk away. I can imagine it was terrifying for both of you
love always


Nixon: Hang on!! Read the articles on this site on the archives tab on the right sidebar. The more you read the more it helps. Its amazing how understanding you are not alone helps. You can talk it out here. Others listen with compassion. We have been there too. Don’t give up..its a process. Im over two years here, not done fixing myself.
Today was a bad day. Today was a good day. I had some bad stuff going on but instead of coping in a bad way, boy those feelings were so strong, I was triggered to that angry helpless feeling when I am belittled and not heard. I hate feeling powerless and out of control (in my head) All sorts of bad responses went thru my mind. I hurt. Gosh the feelings are SO uncomfortable. But I stayed in the moment. I didn’t bad cope instead I did my yard work. I got past it. I am proud of myself. I did good. Hugs Karen


Another great article, thanks.


Yes Darlene,

You have expressed exactly how I felt while growing up. I always felt guilty that I couldn’t get the abuse to stop. I had a hard time raising my sons because I was terrified I was going to make a mistake and be “punished”. With my husband’s help, we think we did a wonderful job. They are two remarkable men and they have grown up to be extremely independent, which is what we wanted. I have been so dependent growing up and for much of my married life.

I still have the physical problems of PTSD when someone talks about my mother. I can still hear her voice in my head. I still have nightmares. But I have made great progress in 65 years.

I love this website. I have gotten more benefit from all of you here than I ever did with therapists or experts trying to “help” me. The really odd thing is a lot of this is because you have validated a lot of what my husband had done and said over the years. It was that I did not trust him. I did not trust myself. I don’t know if this makes sense. An example is my husband saying that “I was the other woman” in my parents’ home. I thought that this was a joke. But I now see that it is nothing but the truth.

My mother has always hated me and she was the one who set things in motion for my father to commit incest with me starting at age four. She hated the act that I managed to stop the sex when I was sixteen. But she still has always treated me like the other woman. It is a contradiction in terms. I was the first child. She set all of it in motion and punished me at the same time.

Now she says I am lying. I finally am coming to terms with the fact that I don’t care what she says. I don’t want to ever see her again and I now could not care less who knows it.

Thank you for your website. Thank you for being you. I am not there yet, but I am getting there.



Karen R, thank you.


Hi Darlene,

So glad that your daughter is safe and your nightmare is over. You are a very brave and strong woman. I have immensely enjoyed reading all of your articles and I thank everyone here for their kind support. Congratulations on the blogtalk radio interview!

Blessed Be,

Yvonne )0(


Hi All,

I like Linda’s post (12): “Now she says that I am lying. I finally am coming to terms with the fact that I don’t care what she says. I don’t want to see her again and now could not care less who knows it”.

Love this powerhouse article! I was just thinking to myself the other day about my past and how I constantly wished as a child that I could grow up ‘really fast’ and graduate from high school to be free. Those years felt to me as if I was in some kind of a horse race with just another birthday and school year and each year was closer to my freedom. I also played the “if only game”. If only I were more perfect with my grades, house chores, and activities then my parents would have their ‘perfect’ child and maybe then I would become more acceptable, if not loved. There were too many examples in my past, but there were moments like when I would come home excited to read to my father my prized school essay having the highest grade in the class, while the old man ignored me watching the TV set. The TV set was like a plug-in drug to tune out my mom and in the modern world it would have been the virtual online world of the computer.

Today, I am haunted by my perfectionist tendencies and it’s hard. I have been insulted by others saying, “why can’t you just lighten up a bit?” Sometimes I just wish I could go one day without making my bed or always having a perfectly clean kitchen, but I just can’t. The actual guilt and shame that I feel is overwhelming and it’s easier to perform like a robot. Well, I can’t and this is who I am and I don’t apologize for being me. It seems like all abused kids share certain universal themes and one of them is becoming your own parent and raising yourself. I learned how at a young age how to perform the household duties and became a mother to myself. I NEVER really had a mother, only a monster who never loved me. It’s hard when you are a kid going over to your playmate’s home and observing their family’s behavior. For example, whenever a friend would accidently spill her milk at the table I could see her mother cleaning it up–not a big deal. At my house it was a totally different scenario with my mom chasing me out of the kitchen, calling me every name in the book, and then depending on her mood and time of day, she would beat me with a belt or object. But the thing was that I was INTELLIGENT and ANGRY. I asked myself would my mom hit a neighbor or guest in the house if they spilled a drink or had any minor accident? No,not! How come my father never beat her if my mom had a minor mishap in the kitchen? How come this evil woman held all the power behind closed doors? I felt powerless because I had no voice. My home was worse since I was an only child with no other kids or witnesses in the home, nor did I have a magical aunt or uncle’s house to run away to. I wondered when my father accidentally had spilled a drink, then how come my mom did not beat him too? Of course he was an adult and earned the income for the home.

I felt like my life growing up was like living in an in-between plane of reality, neither here nor there. I was always a good student and well-behaved, normally well liked by teachers. I was labeled “shy” as if it was some kind of badge of shame but I couldn’t care less. I learned how to become very observant and intuitive to survive my home problems. I learned at a young age never to trust my parents and always be one step ahead of my mom. I want to believe that my past child abuse issues helped me to tune into my psychic abilities. I am a sane person, and I was an older student who put myself through college and earned a B.A. degree. But I was always connected with ghosts and spirits as kid, kind of like a natural medium. I have given messages at the Spiritualist Church services and I hope to use my gift to help people more in the future.

I remember once when I went to an evening music night at a local new age bookstore. There was a regular store in the front of the building and the back of the building featured a small café with tables and chairs and a snack bar. I got there early to the concert and was sitting alone at a table. There was a man sitting alone at a table, near me. This man (American Indian) would look at me and then look away. He repeated this behavior a few more times and then he finally blurted out, “do you know that you have a VERY strong spiritual aura and you’re what my people would call a ‘Spirit Walker’. Apparently, I am not totally into the Earth plane, but I can access the in-between levels of spirit and easily tune into ghosts….go, figure!

I agree with both Darlene and Linda’s posts and I have healed and cleared so much that I don’t give a hang about the opinions of others. It’s hard when we live in a world that clings to the “Mother Cult” and we’re more hurt for speaking the truth. I am proud of myself. I am so much tougher and stronger than when I was a teenager and I think that I have developed a thicker skin regarding what other’s say–with both my child abuse issues and my true religion—-(Celtic Pagan). I want to enjoy the rest of my life and be happy. People who want to verbally abuse me or hurt me in any way are promptly dumped now! But that’s the beauty of being an adult woman, not that girl living at home with parents!

Blessed Be,

Yvonne )0(


Another powerful message, thank you Darelene. I am glad that sinking feeling has left you, I still have this when facing my past which is what I am doing in counselling (7 years so far of counselling! and i prob need another 10!) due to the severity of the traumas. It was like car crashes, one thing happened, you recover,then another, then another, then another and so on…I am trying to come to terms of my own actions through drug use and dissociation that I too hurt my kids by not ‘being there’ emotionally for them and It almost feels like ive passed it on to them through staying in domestic violence for 10 years with their father and their granny almost raised them while i got off my face on drugs to numb my own pain, I have apologised and spoken to them about it but the guilt will always remain.The abuse i endured over and over again at the hands of a family member and then a neighbour, then a rape at 19, i felt i had no right to bring my kids into my hurt and pain. That was 10 years ago and the mum I am today is horrified and ashamed reading this , i am drug free over 15 years but the damage is done. I am only learning now what love means because I had no role models to show me that, but I do adore my children and wish to god I had been more of a Mum to them, it kills me. What I do not understand is the lack of remorse or guilt that came from my so called parents, I will whole heartedly put my hand up and say I was wrong but they blame me for all the abuse that was inflicted on me as a child. That powerlessness you speak of really helped me to deal with this today, thank you for being you I came across this site 3 weeks ago and it is really helping me process what has been a life of pain and misery , Love R xxx


Nixon (thanks) said most of what I am feeling. Happy your mother friends and husband are there for you. I isolate myself… Days like these can see no hope, cant eat, sleep well, nerve pains arms and stomach, preoccupied with worries.Have gone over it again and again, but find myself back.

Most recent was a realisation I act in retraumatising myself, either create or find abusive situations (mental) / realtionships in looking for acceptance.

Advice online abounds and there are sweet moments of forgetting/distraction.


Hi Sanita
It was hard work sorting out the past from the present; I had to look at the roots of the pain and validate it in order to see that the present was different than that past (or that it could be). I didn’t believe I was strong until I saw what had made me so week!
Thanks for sharing this! I can see your forward motion here!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Karen!
Yay for yard work! It is awesome to just ‘get out and do something’ sometimes when things don’t go so well!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Linda
I had that fear with raising my kids too. My husband was also afraid to make a mistake; it was a difficult combination!
Validation is one of the biggest keys in this whole process. When I look back it is like something was wrong with my understanding of “logic” because I was so convinced that I was the one who was wrong. If someone had told me my story, but said it was their story I would have seen how wrong it was and how abusive it was, but I couldn’t see it for me. Once I started to see that it wasn’t my fault that any of this happened to me, (and the damage it caused TO ME) I began to see things differently. Today, like you, it doesn’t matter what ‘they’ say. I know better. I know I am not lying or exaggerating. I also know that part of the grooming process used on me was that I was brainwashed to believe that I made things up and exaggerated. Now I know the truth about that too.

I can hear the difference in you Linda! Thank you for sharing so honestly here! It is an honor to be part of your healing process!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Yvonne
I couldn’t wait to get out either. I made a vow when I was 15 that I would get out as soon as I could and that I would never be like my mother. (I got out when I was 17 and looking back that was the easy part.)

I didn’t think to ask any of those questions as a kid, (like why didn’t she hit her friends) but today I do. I also wonder why my Dad didn’t do anything about the way she acted. He was oblivious to everything. (passive abuser).

That is cool about the spirit walker stuff. I too am very intuitive and spiritual.
Thanks for sharing
hugs, Darlene


Hi Marie

Knowing that there even was damage is so amazing ~ the difference between you and I and lets say MY mom is that my mom is not willing to be accountable at all. (well she has said “I’m sorry.. but… you..” and it always comes back to me or is followed by an excuse) So although you are horrified by what you have done, the fact that you are willing to make amends to the kids is huge.
For me things changed so much with my own kids when I saw and validated the damage done to me. Just a few tweaks in my thinking helped so much; ie: the abuse you endured is what led you to make the mistakes you made ~ the drug use was a coping method used to cope with that abuse. (not to excuse yourself, but to allow yourself some space to heal in. when I was so consumed with guilt and shame etc. I just kept going round and round in that, and could not stop long enough to see the whole story in it’s actual parts and through the grid of the truth.)

Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi JayBe
Welcome to EFB ~ I hope you will keep reading, there is so much hope within the pages of this website. 🙂
I did all that too, recreated, re-traumatized, etc. and in the healing process I found out how to find acceptance for myself.
Thanks for sharing
hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene, I have to live with the fact that i swore I would never ‘turn out like her’ and thought i was making a better job of it for my kids. But because I stayed in the violent relationship for 10 yrs it really did damage to my eldest girl who is almost 18 and a wonderful human being. For her to have turned out half as good as she did is down to her determination to better her life. My middle child was 3 and I was pregnant on my son when i left as he almost killed me in front of my girls when i was 6 weeks pregnant. I have stayed alone since then as I kept connecting with really toxic people. Now with the work I have done through counselling I have admitted the mistakes I have made and spoken to my girls for being a dissociated mom. Little did i know that because i was so hooked on my past and what happened that i kept the abuse going by not being there for my kids. I am slowly learning to accept myself but find the guilt eats away at me and comfort eating replaced the drugs. I am getting there slowly but will never hide my mistakes from my children , my counsellor told me by doing what im doing i have broken the cycle of abuse in my family which makes me very proud. I will never be in the same room as those people again, my job now is to protect myself and my kids from this toxic mess. xxxx


Thank you Darlene for thie post. I’m at this place in my healing where I am re creating myself and how I would have liked my life to have been.

I have divorced all my family members from both my parents sides but I am willing to have a relationship with my 2 nieces who I love very much. We all agreed that we would not involve their mother in our relationship and to respect each others boundaries. They no where I stand on the whole abuse issue and we are just taking our relationship one day at a time. I must admit it’s challenging because from time to time they are affected by their mother’s behaviour and they need to talk about it.

I don’t want to dismiss them in anyway and yet I have learned to also respect my own boundaries. I have so many resources I can tap them into if they want to deal with issues and I learned that I can still be supportive in a detached way. Lots of learning for me on boundaries but so far so good.

I feel like an orphan now and I am totally fine with this because it’s my choice. After everything I have endured with my parents I can honestly say I wished they would have given me up for adoption to a family that actually wanted to have a child. I know there are no guarantees how my life would have been different but for me now I feel like my healing work has becme about putting myself in a loving home.

I have resources like this and a spiritual mentorship which make me feel like I am receiving the love and nurturing I missed out on. I am able to see myself from a totally different perspective and it feels amazing. I am truly grateful that I am still at an age where I can become a whole, balanced version of myself. I know I will always be a work in progress but at least now it feels more like living than just surviving.

Putting my past behind me and letting go of all the hurts has been a process but it’s getting easier as my wounds heal. I’m even going to take singing lessons which was a childhood dream I had. I decided to explore my childhood interests that were always dismissed or critized. I know these interests are going to bring out some pain from the past but that’s ok because they are safe to be healed now.

I am so grateful that I can combine healing with enjoyable interests, I would have never believed I could heal this way. I realize healing doesn’t have to mean sitting in a therapist chair, it can come in the form of nature walks, reading a good book, being around loving people or just sitting quietly in my own presence. I’ve opened up so much since I’ve taken this journey and I am so grateful to have come this far.

Thank you for all you have given us, Namaste!


I was with you through the entire article. I know exactly what you are talking about. Except, for me, full recovery is not there. I’m in an abusive marriage. Find your voice my therapist tells me over & over. When I finally summon the courage to do it, instead of giving me power, it makes the situation worse. I made it worse. What am I doing wrong? Will I forever be damaged goods? Reaching out for help when I was in high school was more an act of defiance then anything else. Boy, did it ever backfire. Another example of me making things worse. Reaching out for help now, in this situation was so scary, but I did it. I kind of felt a little power. It was not to be though. You see, my kids are teens & my abuse is not always physical. It is mostly verbal, emotional & controlling behavior. I’m disabled now. (Doesn’t matter.) My abuser is holding me prisoner. (Too bad.) He got rid of my car. He won’t let me drive his. I lost my Disability because of him. I’m totally dependent & controlled by the person who abuses me. It was horrible & devastating to be turned away by the organizations that are supposed to help people like me just because my kids aren’t “little”. I still can’t & would never walk away from them & leave them with this crazy professional manipulative liar! So I accept my fate. I was the stupid one who let myself be tricked again by another abuser. I’m glad he just hurts me & not the kids. He does manipulate them & the truth though (about me & my illness). They are smart. They secretly see through him. I feel sad that need to stay tied to him because he controls the finances & they need him for college. It’s my fault. I should have been smart enough to see through him years ago & left with them.


Dear all;

Darlene wrote: “powerless, helpless, useless and a failure.” This about says it all. Because of these feelings from childhood I developed all sorts of dysfunctional coping mechanisms that were unhealthy to my body, mind, and soul. It started with alcohol & drugs in my teens and early 20’s and ended with food to shove down the feelings. I still think about going to food to push down the uncomfortable feelings that arise from normal day-to-day living along with memories from the past. Another vice has been latching on to dysfunctional friendships with women who make me feel bad about myself. These relationships are comfortable / familiar to me. It is safer for me to be in unhealthy relationships because I don’t have to require as much of myself or be “friendless.” I can feel some semblance of normalcy that I have a friend that acknowledges my existence.

So it is truly a journey. I didn’t think I would ever have the strength to get away from my family of origin but through resources such as this web site I have the strength and courage to do the work on myself so I can attract healthy friendships.

I am married with children. Like others have mentioned, I have guilt & shame about my “issues” and how they have negatively impacted my family. I pray for forgiveness from God and my husband / children. They are allowed to confront me and I promptly apologize and validate their feelings. I try to do something every day to improve myself spiritually, mentally, and physically. I think of something nice I can say about my husband & children to them every day.

Although my father was an alcoholic, his pathology was distributed equally amongst the 4 children and he did not allow my mother to scapegoat me in front of him. After my parents divorced when I was 8, my mother was allowed to scapegoat me along with older sister golden child. There were no witnesses and no protection. Being singled out as the brunt of all the abuse affected my confidence and self-esteem to such an extreme degree I could barely function socially as an adult for years. I had anxiety, depression, panic attacks, eating disorders, etc.

I am learning – one day at a time – to know that I will be ok and I can do more than survive. I can thrive and have a good life with things to look forward to. My family of origin seemed as though they intentionally tried to destroy me and any potential happiness in this life. I don’t want them to be successful and I am going to continue on this journey to health and wholeness.

Thank you Darlene for your dedication to this site. So glad your daughter is OK.


Hi Lora
Great to hear from you as always! I love to read your updates, victories and even the struggles.
You reminded me of something when you said that you feel like an orphan now… I felt that same way for a very long time but I don’t anymore! Even that ‘passed’. 🙂 And yay for knowing that it is YOUR choice! WE do have a choice and having a choice was something I didn’t really understand in the old days!
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Mary
I understand what you are talking about here and that is one of the most difficult situations! I hope that you can make a plan with your therapist. Keep reading here; sometimes, like in my case, I didn’t find my voice until I realized my rights and where and how I lost my voice. Once I started to find validation for myself, (from myself) I saw things differently and was able to see different solutions that I had never seen before. Keep hanging in!
Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi OnMyWay
Your screen name is terrific! Knowing that I was going to be okay was HUGE for me. It wasn’t even the first key! (the first key was hope and that was way before certainty)
Yay for going forward with your healing journey! Yay
hugs and thanks for sharing!


Omg what timing for this topic for me.

But first off u had me on the edge hoping ur daughter was ok. I wanted to get through that horror story and thank god its a happy ending. Whew!
Big whew! Hope she will recover well from this.

I had many things at once hit the fan in my life and my ptsd flared up and i went into the freeze of powerless child. I managed not to spiral into worthless or useless… some failure. I managed to keep taking action by talking to people about my situation. The people that failed to help i attacked with anger. The people that felt good i brought closer and allowed to help me. I was like the helpless cornered child. But this time anyone reminding me of my parents behaviour was booted. I demanded help and i got it!! My helpless freeze was gone. I stopped eating too much potatoe chips and chocolate as well. I still do a bit but i am back to better things like exercising my right to fight or flee.
I have been examining what transpired to learn and your post is so spot on with the core feelings of powerlessness, helplessness, failure, uselesness. I think that those feelings come from the helpless freeze respose to stress. That is the big abuse tactic to break fight and flight and male victim freeze. Thats how the mind unravels into all the negativity.
I am going to focus on exploring where all those feelings are attached too and preventing my voice.

Wish u best on the radio tomorrow. I will be at work. Hope its recorded.


I really connected with this message! I spent my growing up and adult years trying to always numb myself in order to cope with real life situations. Trying to push them away and comfort myself. I used different things, and they were always negative and damaging and not healthy at all! I have seen very few ppl in my life who do healthy things to manage life and emotions and who will face difficulties in a proactive way. I am learning that it is not as scary as I was made to believe as a child by my parents, and I am learning that I am actually a capable and reliable and intelligent ENOUGH person. I never thought I was good enough or strong enough or capable or smart enough most of my life. It is a process that I am still going through with each and every situation that is difficult and that I go through. I am learning to walk through the anxiety and fear and face my life in ways I never could before and it does feel empowering. I fall sometimes and have to work it out in my thinking, but it is getting easier. I think because of all of the suffering and pain of my past abuses, I believed that everything difficult would bring more of the same….that difficulties and grief were the end of my world and a form of abuse maybe? I am learning to talk about my feelings even when noone wants to hear them. I got trapped in the habit of closing down how I felt or what I thought because almost all of the people around me wanted me to be the “listener” and the “nurturer” and to help them and give them the attention. I did not receive the same consideration or value and I realize now that I deserve that and I now have found my voice and people have to listen and pay attention. I even ask for hugs when I need them. Sometimes people are less enthusiastic than others, but I dont let myself be bothered by that. My needs are getting met, and the people or family dont really mind either! Reading this story about Amy and what you felt and how you fell into old coping ways for awhile…triggered because it was out of your scope of experience and control at that time really touched my heart. I dont know how I would cope in that situation, but it makes sense that we instantly turn back to old familiar ways until we come to our new senses and our new ways of coping and dealing. I think it is wonderful that you were able to recognize what was really underlying your emotions and then in healthy ways deal with it all. I admire that! I am very glad that your daughter is recovered and so are you! 🙂


Finally free, I LOVE what you have written. I totally became the crutch for everyone I know – that was my role, to put everyone else first. Now it’s my turn. I am worthy of love and nurturing and a good job and nice friends. I don’t have to try/need to BE the BEST at everything I do in the hope that people will like me because I AM LIKEABLE. Nothing I was told when I was a kid is real, none of it! If I want a hug I’ll have a hug!!!
This journey is new to me. I only realised a couple of months ago that my childhood was abusive – to me it was normal (even though I knew it wasn’t). I am going to figure out how to love me, even though I was never taught, and I am going to protect myself in the way I wasn’t protected. I’m worth it! We all are!


I am glad I found your website. Awhile back, I started reading your posts on FB, but never went back and read the whole article. “Healing was about changing that belief in the present.” I can learn so much about myself from your helpful insight. Thank you :).


Thank you Darlene,
It was when the initial anger died down and thought about it, I didn’t need to do anything really, other than continue with the way I have been growing. Unfortunately the 1 son left came round this week asking me not to inflame the situation by posting things that upsets mother, he got told if she wanted me to be kinder to her she should of acted that way. He didn’t like that at all, tried telling to listen but I just came back to the same thing, I’m speaking about how I feel about how I was treated and I’m not doing it to hurt her, I’m doing it to help mysel and the others that think I know what I’m on about when I speak about abuse and it’s effects. Something he denies works or is true. How we have dealt with our childhood is polar opposite, me I forgot till I had left home, and the. I’ve been in counselling on and off ever since. Him he says it did no damage yet screams abuse at his kids just we had, rules by fear and punishments.
So I still doing as I did, if they have a problem with it, that’s their issue not mine. Stephen Fry says something like that in posting I saw the other day, and it made absolute sense


Every day I find myself having flashbacks.

Every day I find myself thinking, “now wait a minute, in this situation my mother told me x, whereas in that situation she told me y, which is diametrically opposed to x. What on earth was she thinking?”

And every day I remind myself, “she was thinking that anything that kept you quiet and easily controlled was the story to tell in the present moment. It didn’t have to match up with anything else she’d ever said. It didn’t have to match up with something she’d said 30 seconds ago. She had kept you under direct supervision and totalitarian control all your life – wouldn’t let you leave the house except for school, and had you so convinced that something was wrong with you that you didn’t dare leave the house without her blessing. She might not have been your God but she was doing a fine job as a competing evil goddess. She made herself such an omnipresent and all-powerful presence in your life that she determined your reality. That reality could totally shift from moment to moment, day to day, yes, but you dared not step outside it lest everything come unraveled at once. You were hard-wired from birth to accept her as your proxy measure of what the universe was; you couldn’t afford to think she was nuts and hateful for no reason. But now you know she was. She was totally nuts with no continuity of mind and no conscience as to what she did to you. That’s why she told you stuff that made absolutely no sense. And that’s why the last 2 years of your life, spent no-contact, have been the best years of your life.”


Mary. I understand. Im stuck too. Im married to a full NPD who will never change, never get better. Hes extreemly controlling and uses silent treatment daily. All the money and resources are his. Im just the housekeeper. He pretends in front of everyone. He has a fake persona. All ill will and badness is projected onto me. I am working on my issues healing from emotionally abusive family, now NC. So hard when Im very isolated. Real people see thru him and avoid us. The lack of any meaningful conversation feels like isolation in prison.
He has no empathy. No real genuine feelings about anything.
He buys things instead. Then says I do everything you want. I have stopped trying to connect now. Theres no point.
Its like a dead end with no exit.
People say go out make friends, enjoy doing stuff.
I am on such a ridgid scheduale with him in control I get punished if I stay up past 9 pm to watch TV.
He badgers me if I read. Im punished with silence and anger if I do anything he doesnt like.
He absolutely sucks the joy out of everything.
I understand your situation well, feeling stuck and powerless.
Every time he rages at me over something that means nothing I have taken an emotional step back. I am slowly detaching from him. Whatever affection I had has died. We live in the same house now. Thats about all til I can figure a way to get away from him.


Pooloftears. WOW. Thats what my mother did. She is a manipulating liar. She did that same thing with me for over 50 years. I was never a person to her. Just some thing to manage to her benefit. She is who I am trying to heal from. No contact is a blessing. She is very passive aggressive like my husband.


Grateful that your daughter made full recovery…As adults we do have a choice and we have power in our voice. I don’t want my family. My sisters and a brother are not healthy for me. I’m in so much pain tonight because of them and I feel like I will dissociate to block how destructive they are. They exclude me because I am not like them but when they need my help they call upon me. I was raped by our parents and I shared this with my sisters. We grew up so dysfunctional and I don’t want that for my life now. I can’t carry them and I don’t want to. They are very triggering to me and tonight I feel I will not overcome. I hate it when they threaten to take their presence away from me if I don’t live or make choices that they approve of. I asked my sisters did they our parents raped them too. I only I was sexually abused. But they want me to not see it as my truth. I love them but I truly believe that for me to continue to heal it is best that they go their way and we separate. As for my younger brother he hates me for no reason other than he’s afraid to face his insecurities..again I’m grateful to God that your daughter has made full recovery .


Nixon, thank you! I love what you wrote too! I am so happy that you are fighting to figure out how to walk in the reality of who you really are and not what the abusers in your childhood lied about in their words and actions! I think the most difficult thing for me was to discover that I am worthy and likeable even when noone was telling me so or showing me that about myself. To figure it out here at the website and by myself at home has been really empowering for me. It is true that you are likeable and lovable and thats worth putting YOU first! I wish you the best in your journey! 🙂


I don’t know how I feel about finding these sites… My younger Sister had been repeating the word Narcissist for a very long time and I really didn’t know what she was referring to until she tied the word to mother… then I found these sites and cried..
I lost my father ‘the enabler’ by default mostly because when he did get home he was generally given a really hard time about how ‘bad’ we were that day which was most days… We were always told not to discuss anything with him because he was having a hard day or whatever to make sure we didn’t talk about anything… we grew up he left her… 25 years later and divorced and deceased… almost as soon as we were dealing with his estate my npdm told my ‘golden child’ that she was going to sue us two girls for part of his estate… that was it, we told golden boy he’d be sued too, that stopped the npdm but didn’t stop us girls from having a “NC” on her for the rest of her life..
Now she’s using my Only Daughter and my Only Grand Daughter in her antics and I have absolutely no idea what to do other than have a “NC” on her too… Sad oh so Sad…
Any Ideas?


Here’s the Hurt I’m feeling right now… the realization that the moment in the delivery room where I was born the moment that my MNPDM found out she had a girl that was the end of me having a mother ever… My Sister, too! Second child same thing…
Last child the Golden One – little brother – still the Golden One… he had a mother from the moment he was born but was used by her to abuse his sisters…
Grieving is not the right word for this I don’t even know what word to use when you figure out in your 50’s that you never had a mother, not ever……
I’ve had to go NC with almost my entire extended family, aunts, uncles, cousins, and two of the people I want most in my life, my Daughter and Granddaughter. My MNPDM is using them to abuse me as well as my Daughters father to continue abusing me…. HELP!


Hi Kelly
Welcome to EFB ~
I don’t have any ideas aside from doing what ever it takes to stop the cycle of abuse and try to heal from the damage. And that is just what this whole site is about!
Hugs, Darlene


Kelly, I can understand your pain, and I think for me the pain was greater at the beginning of finally understanding what had been done to me my entire life and realizing how much of my life had been consumed with “family” drama and abuse and dysfunction no matter how hard I had tried to fit in and be liked and loved. I realized one day that they werent going to ever love or like me any more than they already did, and I also realized that I didnt want to put up with that kind of abuse and treatment any more. I also realized that THEY were the ones who started the abuse and neglect and family patterns and that I was not the one asking to be treated so badly. Once I began to realize everything, it was horribly painful, but also a relief to figure out the truth. It ended up setting me free in my heart and mind and life because I was able to step away from being constantly devalued and treated badly. I did choose to cut off everyone from my family because they were all unwilling to meet me even half way and treat me with the respect that I realized I deserved. They wouldnt change and so I cut them out of my life because the pain was too much and I wanted better for myself. Today I only surround myself with people who want to try and treat me as I deserve to be treated…and as I try to treat them. It is wonderfully freeing and makes me happy. I still feel sad from time to time when I think of the losses because I do for some reason still love them very much, BUT I will never allow them back in. They broke my spirit, my trust, and trampled on me when I needed them the most. I am much happier and am now doing things that I never dreamed I could or would do because I am free from all of them and that abuse. I feel for your pain and send you hugs and comfort! This website has loads of pointers and help for every type of situation you are facing! You are not alone in this! xoxo


Kelly and FinallyFree
I love your comments finallyfree! I hate that I am no longer able to keep up with all the comments personally, (although I do read them) and I am so glad you came and offered this support to Kelly. What you are saying is exactly what I would say too!
Kelly, you are certainly NOT alone!
hugs, Darlene


FinallyFree and Darlene
Thank you Both,
I’m so tired, bone tired, exhausted to the core, with all of this realization…
I’m Smart and I know what I have to do and I know how hard it’s going to be…
I’ve Started taking all of the steps to stop this from ruining my current Beautiful Life with my Wonderful, Loving Husband who Loves me for me!
I can be Free. Free from abuse, negativity, and just plain nasty people.
I will not even look at emails, texts, facebook pages, or anything else where my ‘bad’ people exist.
I will not let the past define me or my future.
I am now and have always been a good caring person in my heart and soul!
And I’m going to cry and have all of the feelings that I should have had.
Although, there is one thing that I can’t figure out…
Why am I so Angry? I can’t seem to find any posts that answers this problem…


Hi Kelly
Anger was a great stepping stone for me. Here are some links to articles about anger.

(actually if you google “emerging from broken anger” a bunch of links will come up)

I had a right to be angry! the way that I was defined by the actions and disregard from others was WRONG. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


Gratefully, I just stumbled upon this website.

I have been drinking very heavily on and off for about 10 years now. I’ve been doing this as a “coping mechanism” but it’s only hurt me. That “deep sinking feeling” is what I feel all day every day.

I’ve been in therapy for years but for some reason that sinking feeling is always there. I notice that it worsens when I feel heartbreak from a man.

Today I am trying to start anew. I want to lose some weight and feel better about myself. I’ve been single for so many years now, that it has started to make me feel like some kind of freak. I’m 34 years old and long for something stable with a man I desire in every way.

I’ll keep it short and sweet for now, but this site looks very empowering and I look forward to reading more.


Hi everyone,
I need encouragement. I have to confront someone tomorrow who used shaming techniques to try to manipulate something out of me, and it’s triggering lots of childhood memories of being manipulated in a similar way and back then I ultimately would end up giving in to avoid the consequences. I don’t want to give in to this person. I want to push past the fears that are surfacing. I’m fearing the yelling and the confrontation. I’m fearing the belittling remarks that may come. I’m fearing being further shamed. I’m scared.

But…..I don’t want to back down. I want to hold my ground. If I don’t, this person will continue to push for more. It’s almost like I feel a boulder on my chest pushing me down, trying to keep me from asserting myself. It worked before. But I want yo push the boulder off. I want to say NO to this person. It’s the fear of the old stuff that is pushing me down. That’s the boulder. I want to push it off. Can I gather the strength to push past the fear? Has anyone else felt like this right before a confrontation? Were you able to keep going and get past the fear? I will let you know how I do tomorrow. Wish me strength and courage! Thanks!


Triggers are a bane I do not understand well. I have recently come to know that all these incidents and situations where my body reacts with feelings that sometimes show on my face, often prevent me from speaking and otherwise affect my function while my mind seems absolutely clear that this should not be happening right now because that is not what I feel about what is happening right now, are triggered events. I’m staring to learn that the memories of the part of my life that was always a black hole to me until fall 07 show me what it is I am reacting to in the present. Sometimes I can make a direct association to a present event and say X is the trigger but usually I don’t know what particular thing was the trigger.
If I understand at all that I have been triggered it is usually a general way and I have to deduce that the person I got triggered by resembled & or behaved like one of the people that abused me, or I simply attached to because I felt safe for a moment with them and these events setup these trigger points in my psych because of how intentionally abusive and mentally destructive these things I lived through were.
I eat to feel better but I never imagined that it would cure anything. I consciously made the direct connection to times I felt good and those times always involved big meals so I would try to eat those foods and if I couldn’t I would eat something else that I liked and as a last resort I would just eat. Over time I figured out it was quantity of starchy calories that triggered the good feelings which I think most know now is an endorphin release in the brain.

The story I began recalling in fall 07. Careful it may trigger you.


My experience with my own failing to self protect is that I did not learn proper boundaries for many reasons. I understand now that one thing that halts me is I never processed that I like these people who lets call it “take advantage ” of me. Once I accepted that I realised they did not respect or like me and were abusing me and my confusion which they never bothered to find the source of or reason for.

I guess I am saying that maybe you should look at why you like them and rationally consider the feeling you have as you interact with them. The auto fear, the auto paralysis of mind (I hate that one) and all the other automatic self letting down reactions that in me came out of my confusion over what I felt as opposed to how I was treated. Turns out I needed to learn to accept that some people do not like me in spite of my liking them and they were perfectly willing to inflict emotional, financial, and social damage and harm on me for as long as I continued to fail to recognise this fact.

I’m no expert and bad at people too.
Good Luck.


Hi Amber!

I had this situation where it became clear that a confrontation would probably lead to the end of a relationship and I really wanted to avoid that happening for some reason. Yes, even thought the person in question was treating me badly and with quite some disrespect and had been for a while, I feared it.

The confrontation itself went as reasonably well as it could given this person twisted my words and attempted throughout to turn the blame on me for being upset with her behavior. She really laid it on thick and followed up with several lengthy emails about how wrong I was for being unhappy with her.

You know, all that just illustrated how much better off I’d be without having to deal with her. So while I extended an opening for a better, mutually respectful relationship in the future, I also realised that it probably wasn’t going to happen. And I’m fine with that.

What I did do during the conversations was stick to the events that I was unhappy with and suggest what I would like from her in the future and just try to avoid getting derailed by her “it’s your fault you’re unhappy with my behavior” stuff. “Yes I’m unhappy about this way you did XYZ” I likely ended up sounding like a broken record but I felt good about not getting dragged into her burrow.


Alice and Chris, thanks for your perspectives on my message 48. Both of you gave me things to think about. My auto reaction to confrontations is still fear. Even when I go through with a confrontation, I feel my heart pounding and my voice shaking. And there are still those seeds of doubt even when intellectually I know I am right. It’s those leftover feelings of guilt and shame I had drilled into me years ago.. Chris, I too did not learn how to set proper boundaries, and my situation is definitely one where boundaries have to be set.

It involves a woman who watches my daughter, usually a few hours a week. She does other home healthcare type jobs, but the elderly person who she was care taking for five days a week went to Florida so she was left without her main source of income. This has happened other times and she ramps up pressure for me to give her more work whenever her other jobs end. My budget can only accommodate a few hours here and there, and I’m not going to hire her when I don’t need her. She was annoyed that I didn’t give her any hours last week, but it was because my entire family including me had flu. When I called her this week to set up something for Friday she first tried to shame me because “she and her husband just couldn’t believe that I didn’t remember that the first time she worked for me was 10 years ago” never before had we celebrated any of these yearly milestones, nor had I kept track of when she started. I felt like I was being shaken down for some kind of gift. She then demanded a raise because she wasn’t given work last week (flu week) just for yucks, no where did we have an agreement for “make up” days. She gets paid when she works, that is it, but she has started making assumptions about things we never agreed to.

I may have made a mistake in not confronting her immediately on the phone when she pulled her shame first and then ask for a raise act, but I was so stunned that I felt myself freezing up. I bought time by saying I would talk to her when she comes on Friday.

Well, tomorrow is Friday. And I’m gonna hold my ground. No raise. She is not up for one for five months, and even more important, her tactics were nasty and manipulative and I will not reward them. I am also going to tell her that she and she alone is responsible for finding herself work. It is not my responsibility to pick up the slack when one of her other jobs ends, and I will not tolerate any pressure tactics from her anymore. And finally, and most important, if there is any further disrespect, it is OVER!

Thanks again, Chris and Alice, and wish me luck!


I suggest you use that second paragraph as a format and work out how to tell her exactly what you told me there. I think you explained yourself very well and she needs to hear that.
I assume she is at least somewhat likeable or trustworthy since she looks after your daughter so it shouldn’t be that hard. Maybe she’s a frenemy sort of person and you’ll know that soon enough if she starts pressing your buttons in the right order to steer you her way. I know its hard to track in real time sometimes, try not to feel bad about that I think it is a normal human reaction to our situations. I try to review a bad situation as soon as possible after the fact as I can and own my part and look for where I failed to stand on my boundaries so I can hopefully be ready the next time.

Good Luck:)


Amber, I often get shaky (still) before I have to have discussions that involve conflict. I don’t know that there’s much to be done to rid myself of that. I think that the outcome is more important than my discomfort short term. Well at least that’s what I tell myself. I think that a reasonable person wouldn’t be pulling this kind of bull in the first place. It goes back to this “what is it about me that causes them to mistreat me?” idea – when it’s very much about them and what they want and not about you – I mean you’re sort of accessory to what this person wants – which is more/more secure income but she’s really not considering you further than that. And it’s not my job to convince someone who doesn’t consider me more than that that I’m worth it. I suppose if you want to offer concessions you could acknowledge that she’s missing out on income. Validate her. That doesn’t mean you have to do anything further.
And if she pulls up the past, you could acknowledge that and say “Thanks for your ongoing help but I’m unable to XYZ. If I hear of anyone who needs your services I’ll let them know you have some more availability”.


Alice, actually I have not only validated her in the past, but have given her job leads, some of which even lead to work for her for a while. Her problem is that she wants the perfect, easy job. She will pass something up if she is expected to start too early (8:00 is too early!) or if it’s more than 15 minutes from home. What I resent most is the disrespect. The way she went into the whole thing that I didn’t remember she started 10 years ago, and how she and her husband can’t believe my lack of acknowledgement……we’re talking about a job where she works no more than four hours in a week, and not even every week, .and we never before commemorated any “anniversaries”. I didn’t deserve to be reprimanded for that, and then she used it as leverage along with the fact that I didn’t give her work when we had the flu, to say she deserved a raise. She always has been well paid for her services and given nice gifts at Christmas and her birthday. I felt that she may have brought this anniversary thing up in search of another gift as well as to lead into the raise discussion. It came across as highly manipulative, and she used shaming tactics in an attempt to guilt trip me into giving her more money. And as I mentioned before, she isn’t due for a raise for quite a few months yet.

Chris, thanks, I’m glad my points came across well to you. That gives me some additional confidence as I get ready to deal with this tomorrow.

My heart might be hammering and my voice may shake, but I’m going to give it my best tomorrow. Thanks again, Alice and Chris. I will let you both know how it goes. Have a good night. Amber.


Thanks for this. I found your site not long ago, and have been slowly reading through your posts. I know the helpless feeling you spoke about today, feeling useless and a failure. I blame myself for my csa because I think I should have known better. At 5, I should have known not to trust him (not a family member). That if I’d only known better, he wouldn’t have hurt me. But I didn’t know better, I trusted him, and instead blame myself. I’m still working through this, but thanks for your reminder that I wasn’t supposed to be strong enough.


Hi Marissa
Welcome to EFB~ there is lots of clarity here, lots of info about how myself and other found our voices and took our lives back!
Glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Healing
There is no possible way that a five year old had any choice about trust or not. The person who did that to you was wrong and all the guilt and shame is his.
Glad you are here. Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hello Darlene,

I found your site about 2 weeks ago and found it very insightful. Not due to my experience, but for my concern with my 10 yr old step-daughter. She is the middle of 3 girls and seems to get the blunt of the abuse. When things don’t go well for Mom, she lashes out at her middle daughter. I can only imagine that it’s because she is the only one of the 3 that talks back and stands up for herself. The other 2 girls just kinda take it. Mom has smacked her around, pushed her, dug her nails into her, and grab her daughter so hard that it leaves bruises around her arms – and not to mention the horrible words. My step-daughter comes over telling us how her mother has told her that if she rode a horse (daughter loves horses) she would break its back (daughter is over weight), tells her that she can go live with her father (my husband) as she will no longer “fight for her”. Mom also tells her that her father never wanted her. Mom also tells all 3 that it is their fault that she cannot keep a relationship, etc, etc….

Darlene, as a step-mother, I have no idea how to handle this. We try to encourage her and tell her that none of this is her fault. We love all 3 of them very much and the treatment at our house is very different than what they experience with Mom. All 3 have had it with Mom’s abusive words but do not know how to react or even cope as they are constantly threatened and fear that they will be “dis-owned” or hit if they are not on “her side”.

Praying for some guidance… <3



Kelly your words are exactly true in my life. From the moment I was born I did not matter. From the moment GC brother was born when I was 6 he was adored and still is. My father was going to kill him on the day she came home from the hospital but she held him and protected him and said No!! so he picked me up by the feet and started banging my head on the floor. She never said a word. I was 6. I remember it so clearly.
I just came out of the fog two years ago and am NC with her and my GC brother. I am only upset I didnt see her for what she is sooner. She projected all badness and blame on me.
Oh Im not compliant anymore. She better not approach me in any way. Im sure Im being called crazy and shes telling anyone who will listen that I have always had issues and been a problem. I dont care anymore because I know shes a liar and many more things. Im glad not to be a part of it anymore. Hugs Karen


Hi Hilda
Welcome to emerging from broken.
Look up the definitions of child abuse and child neglect according to your government and laws in your country, state or province. If there is legal liability, go from there.

My mother told me to go and live with my father too. When I first told him, he didn’t say anything. Eventually I got up the guts to ask him if I could live with him and he said no. Then my mother had even more amo. One of the things that I came to resent about my father is that he didn’t take any action with regards to what was happening to me.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Karen!
Love your comments today! It is so great to have your voice here and I appreciate you so much for all that you contribute to Emerging from Broken and the work we are doing here to spread the message of hope and freedom!
hugs, Darlene


I should have included you in my post to Karen too! I wanted to add to what you said; in time for me the shaking stopped. I still get a slight ‘rush’ but it never gets in my way. The more that I arm myself with the truth, the less their unreasonable crap strikes me as anything new and the easier it is for me to see the “game” that so many people want to play. Thank you so much for all you contribute to EFB as well! It is wonderful to have your voice here. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


Hilda, I second what Darlene wrote to you! I can tell you that there is no pain deeper than when your father wont stand up and end the abuse. My father also did nothing, and then ended up joining in on the abuse verbally, emotionally and physically to keep “peace” in the home. My father married a woman who was very cruel and he did nothing to intervene. I think that it is the actual bio parent’s responsibility to care and protect his children and not dump it all on the step-parent. I wish you the very best and most courage to handle this!


Hi FinallyFree
Yes, exactly. Thanks for adding your thoughts. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


First I want to say that I hope your daughter is feeling better.
I know that they are times in our loves that trigger negative and positive feelings from our past.
This week my hubby surprised me with a 4 night vacation, just the two of us. We really need some time away together. I was happy but what came afterward was very upsetting to him. The guilt started. The feeling that I don’t deserve to have anything that gives me joy. He didn’t want to hear it.
My daughter had two car accidents in the span of six months. When they happened, my thought process was that “it was Gods plan and it happened for a reason. Why is it that when good,things happen, I feel like I don’t deserve this?
All I know is that my mother was always jealous when good things happened to me. It was always “must be nice” or “I wish I could go somewhere like that” it was never I’m happy for you ….have a wonderful time…don’t worry about the kids….you deserve some time away…etc. NEVER …I believe this is where that feeling comes from. I am grateful and blessed and appreciative, and don’t take anything for granted…why can’t I just be happy without feeling like I don’t deserve it?


Nadia, my mother would never say anything nice about anything I did or earned or any nice event in my life. You are right. She never said Im happy for you. It was always about her jealous behavior but she made me feel undeserving.
Undeserving. So when something cool happens or someone compliments me that undeserving feeling kills the buzz!
I started to see the truth leaks a few years ago. I tested her and sure enough the envious look and comments were there. She caused me to feel bad about myself in so many ways. Its what I am slowly working to overcome. Catch those thoughts when they pop up in your head. Are they yours or just a repeat of her voice? Mine are hers. Little digs and invalidations. Put downs. Never being pleased. She never smiles. Ever. Its always frowns and doom.
I just stopped listening to her lies. Hugs Karen


Hi Karen!
I can relate! My mother would respond to my good news with things in such a joy sucking way. As I came out of the fog (but before I drew good boundaries) I started to play it through in my head before I told her things, because it was that predictable! Doing that helped me on those occasions that I missed the idea of having a mother. I could think about sharing my good news with her and remember how she always responded in a way that make me feel bad.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


I need to raise an issue but I do not wish to offend or take away from what Karen has said. I am absolutely sure her read of the situation is correct.
My natural facial expression is blank. Many assume it is an angry expression. I have often been admonished to “smile” and treated badly if I don’t. Some just treat me badly and refuse to explain if I ask politely if anything is wrong. I have been screamed at for asking that question by a perfect stranger. These are all boundary crossing behaviors by people who are making assumptions about something they imagine due to what they think they see.
I’m not sure if that comes from the general degradation of society into “collective” behavior or some personal isue thye need ot grow past. By collective I mean it in the most negative devious 1950’s commie mind control way. The simple minded sort of Stepford wife uniformity of interpretation and defining of all things lacking sophistication and nuance as if the world were so easily defined.

In my case my default facial expression is not to have one it and is a combination cultural thing where overly expressive is tantamount to an attempt to manipulate and an effect of the abuse by ECT, lobotomy, and constant mental attack which I endured. My face and mind are in a perpetual state of anticipation waiting to see if it is safe to react before reacting no matter what my circumstances.
I do wish people would start obeying the rule that one should not judge a book by its cover again.


Boy I get you Chris. Where I grew up it was never safe to react to anything. Feelings and response were not allowed. I learned to hold everything in and was punished for my “ugly moods”. I would sit in a corner for hours in complete upset anger confusion, not speaking. No facial expression is safe. I get that WOW. If by some chance I was completely overwhelmed and reacted, I was labeled crazy, out of control, bad, too emotional, you name it. If I reacted in this withdrawn way it was labeled bad too. Once labeled and defined as too emotional and wrong by my family, they have held to that no matter what I accomplished.
By collective behavior do you mean fitting in? ; because I never have and saw that as a grievous fault.
Now I revel in belonging to non stereotype groups. The fact that I’m a bit outside the box for a 60 year old is OK. Hugs Karen


The collective reference is something that well it refers to group think rather than thinking. It has nothing to do with fitting in and everything to do with controlling & limiting the scope of individuality and depth of thought. It is a sort of milder form of how cults mentally control their victims.
It is a bad habit as old as the human race that depends on keeping people focused on physical and emotional feelings to steer them away from thoughts that lead to deeper and more sophisticated understanding of emotions and the world.


Chris, Karen, Darlene, you’ve put into words something that I am well familiar with too. My mother could never glean any joy out of an event that was important to me. She showed no interest in my wedding plans and didn’t even hang around on the evening of my Junior Prom to see me off. If I was excited about a date she would find something nasty to say about the guy. If I was in a good mood, she would manage to twist it into me being self- absorbed. And Karen, if I was in a bad mood, usually I would become very quiet. My mother would tell the whole family to ignore me. Even worse, she would decide that I needed to have that pouty expression slapped off my face, and, yes, she would slap me. It never occurred to her to ask what was wrong or if I needed help with something. I was on my own from a young age as far as solving problems. No mood or emotion was safe; not joy, not anger, not sadness, not fear, so I learned to stuff it all down and not even ask for basic needs.

Chris, I have a friend whose natural expression looks like a frown. I always thought it was unfair that people would comment that she looks like she’s mad at the world. Why should people be required to have a smile on their faces anyway? Because someone else feels put out or inconvenienced? People tell me I have a very expressive face and that they can easily read my emotions ( after all the efforts to stuff feelings down, they still surface!) I’ve been criticized for not smiling, and my response is why should I put a smile on my face if I don’t feel like smiling? I’m done faking how I feel because it might annoy or inconvenience someone else. I don’t see anyone changing their emotional landscape for my convenience, nor would I expect them to. That’s just plain wrong.


How’d it go for you with that part time babysitter if I may ask?

I’d say that your friends may read your emotions because they know you and have learned what expressions to associate with what feelings you express to be having. BUt as a rule no one can ‘read’ anothers emotions based on their face. What they are doing is applying names to expressions that they have been taught or learned from others apply to that expression. The thing with people is that each of us is different and while expressions for specific unambiguous big feelings are generally similar, ones feelings at any point in time do not necessarily relate to what ones face is doing. That is an over simplification that takes away from whom ever is pinned with a label of ‘he’s feeling X’. A lot of the mental abuse I was subjected to had to do with situations in which an abuser would assert that I was thinking or feeling something that I wasn’t and it was based in this false concept that it is possible to read people with specificity like that based only on ones subjective interpretation of appearance.


Chris, yeah, I agree that people are presumptuous in thinking they know how another feels based on their expression. My friend with the expression that looks like a frown is a good example, with people commenting that she looks like she is mad at the world. She actually seemed pretty even tempered to me, and I knew her very well, and she confided in me a lot. She did not act angry at all, but people who didn’t really know her made assumptions from her expression.

Thanks Chris for asking about the babysitter. Ironically she called me yesterday morning and said she couldn’t come on Friday because now SHE has the flu! So I don’t think she will be here again for atleast a week. I am still planning on having that conversation with her when she comes back. And I’m feeling confident; I’ve had extra time to organize my thoughts, I know what my boundaries are, and will be putting them in place. I got to the point where I look forward to the discussion, because although I still feel some fear and I worry about shaking, rapid heartbeat and freezing, I want to push through the fear and do this. I will let you know how it goes when it happens; maybe about a week from now. Thanks again for caring!


Karen, thank you for you response and for your supportive words.
I am so grateful to Darlene, and Karen and everyone on this forum.
We are not alone.


Chris and Amber,

You both read my mind….I have been very hurt by the comments of others telling me that I must “smile”! I don’t know what is wrong with people. It’s exactly what you were saying that it is NOT my job to please them. A girlfriend of mine once told me that this modern society cannot tolerate any genuine negative human emotion. Apparently, you are considered weak or defective for ever having a hard day and feeling depressed or anxious. At times, I have almost been afraid of going out to these stores and being attacked by another store clerk.

There have been many times when I was much younger where I would stop at a store just to buy a few items. I seemed to always attract the nasty cashier who would insult me with a funny remark telling me that I needed to just “lighten up” or “smile” or not to appear quite so “nervous”. I was NEVER rude, insulting, or using any curse words but because I was not smiling, perky, and making small talk, then I really disturbed these clerks. It’s sad that they can not respect others and feel and understand others’ deep-seated pain. When I was in my twenties, I just didn’t feel good! I did not like myself and I just couldn’t project a very cheery and phony exterior like an actress. I am just way too honest, which I believe is part and parcel of being an abused kid. The mainstream culture is very good at acting and giving others what they want to see. It’s not about me having any sort of “disorder” where I can’t understand and read other’s emotions. Mind you when I was in my twenties, I worked at several PT customer service jobs where I had to please customers and learn how to communicate well by asking questions in a polite way.

This modern society does not allow any “negative” human emotion. If I was having a bad week (say my dog died) and I was in grief (wearing sunglasses to shop at stores) and not appearing as very high and happy, then I know that there would be some rude store clerk to give me a bad time. (I have actually witnessed just such a scene in real life with another girlfriend in grief over a pet’s death).

Back when I was a child (1970’s), in my humble opinion, I don’t believe that there was quite the controlling, hyper sensitive society of today. I remember another bad incident at a coffee house where I was talking on my cell phone, just minding my own business, sitting alone at a table. I was NOT disturbing anyone and having a deep conversation with a former very close friend who had serious problems dealing with her husband and a disease. I admit to being a rather emotional person and I had just raised my voice a little bit on the phone. All of a sudden, there was a young woman sitting with a group at a long table who started yelling at me saying that “I need to take an anger management class”. I remember yelling back at her and getting up to leave. Do people no longer have ANY MANNERS THESE DAYS? Back when I was a kid, I can remember going out to dinner with my parents to the best restaurants in Seattle. The men and women were well dressed, with the men wearing suits and the women wearing dresses. There was a smoking section and a non-smoking section and the hostess would direct you to wherever you wanted to sit. Back then nobody was so incredibly hyper sensitive about smoking. Then we would sit down and I being a child would get bored and start to listen to the conversation at the nearby tables. It’s interesting how people would sometimes have rather heated discussions at their table regarding politics and the other nearby tables had polite customers pretending NOT to hear anything. Now if you say just one word regarding politics, religion, or any ethnic group it’s like call the ‘Thought Police’ and have you arrested! It’s like a scene from that classic “1984” novel by George Orwell—(science fiction novel of future extreme thought control). I consider myself to be a polite person and I don’t make derogatory comments about groups or use curse words in public, but I think that that society has become too crazy and sensitive. I only have private conversations in email or on my cell with friends and we only have a “Mickey Mouse” conversation whenever we go out to restaurants for lunch.

I just had to share another recent bad experience. I went to a car repair shop the other week for a car oil change and checkup. My work hours have been cut down to like 30 HRS/week and I’m on a tight budget. (My finances are not too bad and I do own my own small house—no mortgage—and my car). So I was starting to worry about the car expenses and I did not want to pay for any extra repair work. The store clerk made a rude comment that “I really needed to chill”….and then I got mad and snapped back with another rude comment. Note: I did not start anything with him and was only sitting down looking slightly worried and nervous. I don’t get it and when I was younger working at these many customer service jobs, no way would a clerk get away with saying anything that rough to a customer. Then people are surprised when I have a strong temper and a way with words.

I don’t know but I’m trying really hard to wear a phony exterior these days with a fake smile. I don’t deserve to be attacked so often when I go out for errands. I am tired of this and I know that it goes back to self-esteem and child abuse. However there is a process involved and you just can’t please everyone all the time.

There was another recent incident when I was riding in the car with a girlfriend and I was talking about how I have worse problems dealing with my elderly parents. Both of my Narc. parents are living and they hopefully don’t have a lot of time left(both in their 80’s). My friend (who is a truly good friend and kind person) told me that whenever I was talking about my parents that my voice changed and that she could “feel” my fear while riding in the car and only when they came up. Her mother just died and she is now getting the mother’s condo ready to sell. My horrible parents have their big luxury house for sale (another city—same state) and now they want to buy a smaller house near me. Yes, I am very frightened and upset at this news but I know that they will NOT last too much longer. I have said many times here that I’m a VERY new age/metaphysical person (Celtic Pagan) and I have had readings with the best psychics…(and their past predictions have come true for me). I am VERY sensitive and a bit of a natural Medium and psychic myself. I do feel and sense so very deeply, but it’s not such a bad thing. If I did not have the power to sense and feel so deeply, tune into Spirits (clairvoyant), then I would have been more hurt by my past. Many of the most gifted Mediums had very bad childhoods, almost like it is a pre-requisite for the job description. I just wish that I could learn how to control myself better and tone it down when I’m dealing with the business world.

I remember that Darlene wrote a good article on “Smiling”. Apparently when she was younger, people attacked her for NOT smiling and being cheery and perky every minute. It’s very good and now she smiles when she wants to and NOT to please others. But I don’t quit and I’m working on all this….thanks again guys…..

Blessed Be,

Yvonne )0(


Hi Darlene!

Good to hear that the “shakes” became something else for you:) Amber, great that you’re set on standing up for yourself:)

I’m also in the group of people who were told, especially by the women in their family and especially by their mothers that I had to look as if I felt the way she wanted me to feel rather than the way I actually felt. And no, there was no kind enquiry into any possible reasons there might be for my demeanour because nothing I felt was important to them. What was important was that I looked “enthusiastic” or whatever else she wanted my expression to show.

If I was feeling down or bad or whatever I’d also get told “go to your room and don’t come back until you’re in a more pleasant frame of mind”. My grandmother once complained to me “You used to be such a smiley little girl, I liked you better then”. No question of why I wasn’t “smiley” anymore.


Thank you KarenR, Amber Alice, Yvonne and everyone for the responses.

Yvonne, That is a lot to take in at once. I think I get what I’ve managed to digest and well the 1984 big brother is one of the many Kafkaesque, nazi, commie, tortures and abuses I endured as a child in ‘protective custody’ from my abusers. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s living in Berkeley that people started telling me to smile and subtly and not so subtley abusing me if I didn’t. They like my childhood abusers also had the habit if ignoring what I said for what they decided out of thin air I “really” meant. Funnily enough that real meaning they claimed to perceive was in line with their desires.

People can suck and then you nice meet folks like on here 🙂 Be well I will try to finish reading and take it in later Yvonne.


Hi Yvonne,
OK I read it. You have a lot on your mind and I hope that was a relief to get that out.
I can’t offer much more except to say that you might want to consider dealing with that parent related fear before they die. I don’t know you or enough about you and I’m not a therapist but it sounded to me like maybe that’s a resentment that a letter you don’t mail is not going discharge very well.

Ever have a Spiked Murphy in Seattle?


After reading through the last comments, I could relate to some of the experiences that were shared. I recall when I was a child, I would get angry which I suppressed and got quiet with kind of a pinched expression on my face. My mother would laugh at me.

It does seem like the world is changing, and random strangers are more outspoken than before. People seem emotionally “trigger-happy” and willing to jump on others for the most minor of “infractions”.


I am wondering if others are having this realization/issue: I have realized over the past few years just how much I didn’t know myself, was passive about my life, and didn’t feel as if I was in the “driver’s seat”.

I was so passive yet I didn’t even realize I was passive. I was never encouraged to critically think about or talk about issues of the day, nor given messages of trust and confidence in me. I didn’t develop opinions about current issues, or become focused or confident about where I wanted to take my life. I had some hobbies and interests (mostly solitary) but I wasn’t given strong consistent encouragement and shown how one step leads to another. For instance I drew a lot as a child, but my parents didn’t set me up with art classes, etc. As a result I may have become sort of good at any particular activity, but I let it slide and never became really knowledgeable and competent. I feel like I didn’t develop an IDENTITY. Who am I, what are my likes and dislikes, what are my opinions, how would I debate those opinions, what are my plans, my dreams, my goals? What do I WANT? All of this takes confidence and feeling powerFUL and grounded and centered, not powerLESS.

How did this play out?

…trying over and over again to “work it out” with people who didn’t really want to meet me halfway if at all.

…learned how to endure pain in childhood – now when something painful happens I don’t “get out” easily

…Not listening to my body when stress is too much. Now have chronic condition and some orthopedic injuries

…Not paying attention to my inner voice that told me important things (disregarding intuition only to see it validated later)

…Stymied professionally. I chose the wrong profession, but did not get out early even though it was bad (enduring pain again – note to self: feeling exhausted and crying is NOT a good sign!!). Not knowing myself enough or feeling powerful enough to leave the profession and feel confident that something better would work out.

…Did not have children – I was way too emotionally upset (ongoing) regarding my FOO, and I also just didn’t have the confidence that I could do it. Couldn’t even see myself in that role.

…Did not get married. Not sure why, but I think it’s connected. It’s like I never really became my own person first, where I could trust MYSELF no matter what happens in the relationship. Ironically it seems that feeling grounded and secure in oneself leads to an ability to let go and connect with another.

I’d be really interested to hear about anyone else’s thoughts about this, and Darlene if you have any links about forming an identity I’d love to read about it.


Hi Light!

I can totally relate since my place in the family’s life was to be what they wanted. Be an extension of my mother and a projection of their “success”. Not a new person for them to discover. The interests that I was allowed to cultivate were things they approved of or wanted to take a chance on “competitively”. Several that really came from me were not permitted. I really do feel as if who I really am was squelched at every opportunity. I also realized through the course of this process that I took up a lot of “contrary” stances and behaviors in reaction to them.

So there’s a real mixture of what I’d call “sanctioned” behavior and personality in me as well as a rebellious self-destructive streak. At one point and this is maybe only a year or so ago, I realized I had never been allowed to be myself so in effect I felt like I didn’t really have a self. I’d say that the discovery of who I am is in process but I now have more faith that there is a distinct “me” after all. And it’s stronger than their BS.


Whenever I find myself in any situation when I feel as if I have no recourse and I must accept the will of others, it triggers certain feelings that overwhelm me. I have flashbacks and a sense of helplessness, along with plummeting self worth. This, of course, has the potential to permeate all areas of my life. Plus, I can never predict ahead of time what might come up that will set the wheels in motion, so I can’t prepare myself for any specific events. What I’d like to do is get myself to a place where I can handle anything like this that comes my way, no matter what it might be, but it’s really hard! Not impossible, but very difficult to navigate this particular terrain for me. I’m so glad I found this site!


Light, reading you post I was nodding my head relating to so many things you spoke about. All my life i was passive too. I went around with a smile on my face being nice to everyone i met, trusting too easy and like you, because of accepting pain in childhood i re-created so much pain in my life. Holding on to relationships where i was mentally and physically abused, begging them to please love me, what did i do wrong to deserve this, (probably words i used as a child after the abuse and now re-created). I have been going around for 40 years split from myself- my mind was not connected to my body! I did not realise this and thought that everything i endured was ‘normal’. That life was supposed to be hard and people cruel. With the new therapist i have for the last 12 months (im 7 yrs in therapy altogether and will need life help from the amount of traumas ive endured), this new therapist works with mindfulness and focusing on
the breath. This was really hard for me to do at the start because my breathing was so shallow and it really scared me, but your asking what can work to bring you to connectedness, this works! My last session was 2 weeks ago and this was the first time i relaised i had a body as well as my mind, i know this sounds crazy (well maybe not) but because i was so disconnected from my body i did not know who i was. She looked me in the eyes and said ‘congratulations, you have been going around in your head but now you have made the connection with your body) she smiled and told me that the work i have done on myself most people will never do- I had to look at the mistakes i had made as an adult and the people i had hurt too because of the lack of parenting i had as a child. I highly recommend mindfulness based counselling if you want that connection- Darlene i wonder how you feel about this approach.


“It does seem like the world is changing, and random strangers are more outspoken than before. People seem emotionally “trigger-happy” and willing to jump on others for the most minor of “infractions”.”
IMO this is a direct result of lowering standards of formality in social interaction, failing to teach people to accept fault in others and an arrogant ego based belief that wanting to help, then acting on that desires actually amounts to help even if the helper is entirely ignorant of the nuance and depth or possible stress and harm they might cause the person or people they ‘want’ to help.
Which mostly looks like imposing on others to change in ways that makes the “teacher” more comfortable or the student more like the teacher. It is insidious and can make one paranoid to see ignorance marching along so happily with no apparent opposing force to be seen.

My defense is the correct use of grammar, at least as well as I am able. If one is pedantic one can limit the manipulations of others and mistakes one makes.


Hi Michele
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
Yes, exactly! For me I was able to accomplish what you are describing by seeing how I didn’t have that in the first place. I looked at how my self esteem went missing or was never set in place. I looked at what happened to me and sorted out the lies that I believed about me that were attached to the damage. Today I can handle anything that comes up.
I am glad you are here too!
hugs, Darlene


Yvonne, I appreciated what you wrote in your #76 comments. You sound very honest and sensitive by nature and very kind and I know from experience all about the people who will blurt out unkind and abusive comments for no seeming reason at all. I have come to think that it might be because those people are chronically unhappy themselves, and have problems with boundaries and filtering what they say or dont say. I also used to feel that I had a target on my back because people would say horrible things to me or seem to gravitate my way in a crowd and then say some cruel things over the years.

I just want to say that there IS a way to get rid of these comments almost entirely, and how to deal with these people and comments in ways that they no longer sting or bother . I remember the day that I became free and began working on this myself. It took me a few months to really understand, and now I can figure it out almost immediately when someone begins to talk to me which is amazing to me even now! I learned from this website how to manage in situations that were turning negative on me,( I still search out articles to figure things out!) and I also realized that I did have to ability and power inside myself to stop being treated that way by others. I dont put up with it anymore. Sometimes it is a bit like dealing with a bully: stop them by turning the conversation back on THEM and making THEM accountable for the words they are spewing onto you and not sitting or standing there just taking it and listening to it and being hurt by it all. I dont even get angry anymore when or if it happens. I have noticed that ever since I began to change myself and not allow someone to plow me over verbally, but to challenge them, I developed a better sense of self esteem AND rarely does anyone ever speak to me that way these days at all. I dont seem to draw people like that anymore. What I have also noticed this last year in particular, is that I can see people sizing me up. I never noticed this before, but now I can tell when ppl are deciding if they will try something or not. It is very interesting! I am still sensitive, but I am not vulnerable in the same ways and once I learned that I could actually keep ppl from talking down to me, I dont seem to give of the same vulnerable “target” that I used to have.
It is great that you are sensitive and spiritual, but you also deserve respect and kindness back! hugs and comfort to you!


Hi Everyone,
Just wanted to bring your awareness to a new post on the home page today! Guest Author Carrie shares the grief over being ignored by her family of origin when she drew her boundary. This post is beautifully written and so full of emotional honesty. I hope you will share your thoughts with Carrie ~ here is the link: Self Love and Navigating the Waters of Grief by Carrie H
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Marie!

I know your question was for Darlene but since mindfulness meditation is one of many things in my “arsenal” against the negative effects of such an awful upbringing I thought I could jump in with my experience.

It has definitely helped me, although because I was so detached from myself, when I finally made that connection, there was so much “body memory” there, I thought it would never end. It has gotten easier for me with time but I have found the way is definitely “through” and not otherwise. YMMV and this is by no means definitive, just my understanding.

Peter Levine is another person (contemporary) that I’d suggest for trauma-related approaches. And of course Alice Miller.
Shinzen Young describes mindfulness meditation as a “divide and conquer” approach for experience that could be overwhelming otherwise. I have a good text from him that I would like to post with Darlene’s ok. I am not affiliated in any way.

I’d add, to conclude, that all of these approaches seem to me to quite dependent on the (conditioned) consciousness that is doing them. So for example if you were taught to suppress and keep yourself and your feeling down then there is a risk that that will carry through in anything one tries. At least, that has been my experience.

At least to begin with and for a while into it. But I’d still do it anyway because once you make that connection, it starts working by itself and pretty much nothing will stand in its way. You know this may not be to the liking of everyone who is used to having things “just so”. But like I said above, it’s stronger than their BS:)


Hi Marie!
My opinion is that if it works it is good! Different things work for different people and as long as I was going forward (or willing to go forward) I was hopeful! I remember the first time I connected to myself, I had been recalling what I remembered of a sexual abuse perpetrated on me by an adult babysitter. I was asked about things like ‘the curtains’ and ‘the doorway’ and I thought it was so lame.. but suddenly I realized (after I talked for well over 50 minutes) that I was talking about ME. That had happened to ME and I had never realized it before because I was so disconnected (dissociated) from myself for so long. There was extreme pain and sadness simultaneously with the wonder of being connected to myself.. After that it got easier and easier. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


Alice and Chris, several days ago you both gave me encouragement because I said I needed to stand up to someone. (My messages 48 and 52) I want to thank you again for your support. I wanted to let you know that I saw the woman I spoke about in message 52 today and I was able to make my point to her that I am only able to provide her with a few hours of work each week watching my daughter and that she needs to be actively looking for other sources of income. I offered to pass her name along if I hear of someone who needs her services. During today’s Stand Up For Myself session, I managed to pull it off with less of a shaking voice and my heart wasn’t racing quite as fast as in other confrontations. I think I am starting to emerge!! Thanks again for your suggestions and encouragement!


[…] had shared a picture I posted of my youngest daughter getting her cast changed in the hospital, (my daughter had been in a car accident a couple of weeks earlier) I thought that was downright […]


Hi All
NEW post on the home page! This one is about how I caught my ‘family of origin’ trying to stalk my personal facebook page and what I did about it.
Hope to have an awesome discussion there!
here is the link ~
hugs, Darlene


Omg. I can’t believe I found this web site. It has saved me from living this world. Taking back my self esteem is something I want. All my life I thought it was me the cause of all the chaos. My heart is still hurting from not measuring up. Right now my self image is smeared to the ground because I allowed my self to think that others were better than me. Today I will take back my life. I will strive to exercise my esteem muscles and gave them strength to endure a life where I one day will stand up for myself with dignity and self respect.


Hi Apple
Welcome to EFB!! So glad you are here! There are 400 articles on this site all about this kind of stuff and there is always a current conversation; (check the home page or the side bar for recent comments to see what is active)
Hugs, Darlene


I always hated the feeling of helplessness when I was a child. I learned to keep my mouth shut, but I COULD NOT WAIT to grow up and GET OUT of the dysfunction. I kept hearing “enjoy your childhood, you’ll miss it”. But I don’t. My life started when I left home during senior year. I graduated and NEVER went back. Coming to terms with being unloved by both (long divorced) parents was hard at first, but I was saved by always blaming them and not myself. I was lucky. I finally completely gave up on my mom this week. It’s how I ended up here;)

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