May
11

Honor your Mother and Father; Is Drawing A Boundary a Sin?

By

sailboat

“Putting up with abuse or abusive treatment is not love for the abuser. It is not love for the self. It has nothing to do with love at all. Finding out what LOVE really is went miles towards my recovery” ~ Darlene Ouimet

Long before I ever ‘emerged from broken’ I had this burning question about the obligation involved in loving my parents. I had been told/warned that it was a sin if I didn’t honor them, and I had honor and love all mixed up. I didn’t really understand what either word actually meant since I had never been taught the true meaning of those words. My real question was more about my right to ‘stand up to them’ and since I believed that standing up to them was not a loving action, that standing up to them was going against them which meant “noncompliance” I believed that love was putting up with unacceptable treatment.

Each year around Mother’s Day, I re-visit my belief system and the longings that I had in the past, the judgments that I made on myself and the roots of where they came from; In order to find out what love really is, I had to realize what it was not. I had to realize how I had been taught what love was and realize that that teaching was false and not based on truth or the true definition of love at all.

I had been told that love was the answer but I had not been taught what LOVE actually was. So I took my false belief about love and what I ‘thought’ it was, and I applied that false definition of ‘love’ to everyone in my life.

I believed that loving abusive people like my mother, until they could love themselves was equal to having a higher purpose. I believed that I was ‘the better person’ because I could take the abuse, mistreatment or disrespect and that would communicate that I could love unconditionally. I believed that accepting devaluing treatment in some way ‘proved’ my value; even if it only proved it to God. 

The truth is that putting up with the abuse, disrespect and devaluing treatment only served to validate the way they treated me. It communicated my permission for them to treat me like dirt. How can that be love?  Sometimes I wonder if deep down they were laughing at me. I wonder if they ever thought “What an idiot this girl is! No matter how nasty I am to her she keeps coming back for more; no matter how I treat her she ‘LOVES’ me!”

I don’t think my acceptance of abuse did anything to serve any kind of higher purpose once I entered into adulthood; I think it served to communicate that these people (like my mother) had rights that I didn’t have which is really what abuse is; compliance to abusive treatment communicates to the abuser that they have more right and more value than the victim they are mistreating. So the compliance that I liked to think of as unconditional love, validated them. My compliance said to my mother and to eveyone else that I complied with “sure you can keep on spitting on me and I am going to love you. I can accept anything you serve up to me because I know what real love is and by MY example of love, I can teach you to love”.

But that wasn’t real love at all. The way my mother and others treated me didn’t communicate love or acceptance of me.  And my acceptance of them didn’t communicate love of them either.

Doesn’t it make sense that love, real love for self AND for the other person, would be to stand up to the nasty treatment? Doesn’t it make sense that if you want to express love for someone, that you DON’T validate that it is okay for them to treat you or other people in a devaluing way? How is love modeled through accepting abusive behavior? Isn’t abusive behavior wrong in the first place? And if it is wrong in the first place, isn’t it wrong for everyone no matter what position the abusive person has in your life?

Doesn’t it make sense that we can only model love by acting in a loving way? I had to look at what modeling love really looked like. I realized that accepting myself with having less value than them wasn’t love at all. (And it wasn’t the truth either!) Accepting abusive treatment in no way communicates love or unconditional love. It communicates that you will accept abusive treatment.

When I was a child there was no alternative but to accept whatever was dished out to me. I had no power and I had no choice. It had to live in survival mode. I was taught by action and inaction, words and other forms of communication that showing ‘love’ was about compliance and acceptance. But that definition of love and acceptance only applied to me and that was not how THEY showed love. They didn’t love me in the way that they insisted that I love them. They taught me that love was about obedience and about never questioning the authorities in my life which of course only served them and their desires. My compliance and acceptance served to restore their low self-esteem and fulfilled their own ideas about what love was and what it could do. And this is why abuse is a cycle. These false teachings are passed on from generation to generation, each broken child waiting for the time when they too will be loved either by the false definition of love that they have been taught (submission and compliance to everyone; in other words to keep trying to comply or submit believing that this acceptance of abusive treatment will eventually enable to communicate love to the abusive person who will then return your love) or by someone else’s compliance and acceptance of their unacceptable treatment which is falsely believed to communicate that the victim of their mistreatment ‘loves’ them.  

I am no longer a child. I have learned what right and wrong is. I have learned that love is not a one way street. I have learned that it is wrong to go along with the teaching that the one who gets loved is the one with the most power in the relationship.  I have learned that the proper use of power is to empower and the last thing that I ever was by my mother and father and these people who taught me this false definition of love was empowerment. They taught me slavery. They taught me obedience, submission, compliance and with those teachings they slayed my choice, my power and my individuality. I was not empowered and I was not taught anything about true love.

The most important thing I have learned is the truth about my own value and worth. I have learned that I have equal value to everyone. I have learned that I deserve the same respect that everyone else deserves and that I do not deserve to be treated as ‘less worthy than anyone else’. I have learned that real love treats everyone the same and that the rules of love are not different for children or adult children. I have learned that love is always about what is best. When people do not treat me with equal value, it is best not to accept that treatment. Refusing to comply with unacceptable treatment IS loving ~ both towards myself and towards the abuser. How can it be loving to allow them to continue their abusive behavior by accepting it as acceptable?

I have learned that victim mentality (believing that reacting in acceptance will eventually pay off and cause the abuser to change) will never be part of the solution but in truth will only serve to allow abuse to continue. And this is why learning to love myself first has enabled me to love others and be that example of love to others. This is why I see having no communication with my own mother is a loving action (to her, to myself and to my children) on my part.

This Mothers Day I do not miss the fantasy of having a loving mother. As I grow closer and closer to the truth about love, I wake up more and more in love….

Please share your thoughts, feelings, discoveries and ideas about love and what it really is when it comes to your mothers and fathers and how the thought of setting boundaries is really a loving action for all instead of a “sin” defining standing up to mistreatment as dishonoring your mother and father.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

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

For additional articles on Mother Daughter or Family issues, please scroll through the Mother Daughter Category and the Family Category on the buttons above.

Related Posts ~ See the phrases through out the post in bold as well as: What If My Mother or Father Dies Before We resolve our relationship?  

 

 

 

Categories : Mother Daughter

867 Comments

1

you wrote: “Sometimes I wonder if deep down they were laughing at me. I wonder if they ever thought “What an idiot this girl is! No matter how nasty I am to her she keeps coming back for more; no matter how I treat her she ‘LOVES’ me!”

Dear Darlene – This is exactly what happened to me! I saw the look of humor mixed with contemptuous disgust on my mother’s face. Often she laughed right at me, or went from mocking to rage to get me to chase her for her love. Even though I was a mother, too, and I never ever did these things to my children, somehow I allowed my mother to treat like this, and I still believed her line that she was “the best mother in the world”. I find that incredible to imagine that I had such a split in what I did as a good mother and believed that good mothers should do, and what I permitted and even invited my mother to do to me.

2

Hi Lolo
Something I realized later on was that when I was accepting my mothers treatment of me in front of MY children, I was teaching my children that I would accept that treatment and that the treatment was acceptable. ugg… I am so glad that I realized it and stopped validating abusive / disrespectful treatment.
hugs, Darlene

3

Yes! I can’t believe I put up with that for so long. Often she’d try to draw one of my children in with her to bully me, and I not only allowed it but I really did believe I would be disrespectful to not allow her to do it. So backwards! I never even thought about how disrespectful it was to me! My kids usually tried to “keep peace” and wouldn’t exactly side with her, but knew I didn’t want them to stand up to her. (Because that would be “disrespectful”.) It was only when she began treating my children the same way, and it started to look like she believed she had 4 of me, that it clicked in for me. I wasn’t at all willing to let her treat my children the way she treated me, and that’s when I stood up to her with a small boundary. When I did, she refused to have a relationship with me and never spoke to me again. (The boundary was, “No, I can’t come over today – lets pick a day this week that’s good for everyone.” It’s been almost 2 years since then. I’m not happy to have my entire FOO out of my life (they all refuse to speak with me, as well), but I would be lying to say I’m not incredibly relieved and feel so free — so so so so free — to be free of that abuse. Thank you for being here! Thank you for giving me things to think about and process as part of my own healing, too! 🙂

4

thank you for this article. my boyfriend asked what do i want to do for mother’s day and the day fills me with dread. my mother was an abusive bipolar who killed herself and everyone was relieved. my son died in a car accident and i am separated from my daughter due to my health and a pesticide program i had to escape. i am returning to where they live in the fall and my boyfriend wants me to stand up to my daughter and say you can’t talk to me like that. (like a stupid burden because i have cfs/mcs.) i thought every relationship meant screaming and throwing things, blackmail and imprisonment but it doesn’t. i thought it was me, it wasn’t. letting people treat u like shit is the sin. at my mother’s memorial things he used to do to me started pouring out of my mouth. now the family doesn’t talk to me. like i have to be punished again for being abused. my aunt said it was a mutually destructive relationship. what is mutual when you’re 4 years old?

5

Hi Sue
Welcome to EFB ~ there is no mutuality when you are a child. A child has every right to be respected and valued and only learns love by the example of BEING loved. Thank you for sharing; you are not alone here. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene

6

Darlene, I was bought up with “sex is love” from my father and “obedience and compliance are love” from my mother.

I haven’t seen my father for almost ten years now, but have gone low contact with my mother. I understand that my mother suffered under the abusive wrath of my father (I was there and saw it for myself), but I didn’t realise my mother was also abusive, and continuing this abuse till the present day.

In January, after getting out of in patient for my DID, I was having a drink with mum and her support worker, and she just tore me down in front of her worker. It was lethal. I never realised this was abuse until I mentioned it to my Psychologist a few weeks later.

I am doing really well with my healing. My mental health team are really great. They actually noticed stuff about my mother that wasn’t right before I did.

Your blog has really been a huge help and an aid alongside therapy for me. It has also helped me validate my DID experience, and made me realise just how far I have come since starting healing from issues I didn’t even know I had. I just thought that something was “wrong” with me and that I was “always mentally ill.”

I’m not sure if you realise how good a resource your blog is for people who are healing. I found it through Michele Rosenthal’s Heal My PTSD website when I thought I had PTSD.

Like you, I was diagnosed with Bipolar, depression, and DID.

I am learning to love myself properly this time, not like “they” said I should, and am grateful for this wonderful resource you have created for fellow survivors and thrivers.

Much love,
Anli

7

what is DID?

8

Hi Darlene! I really like this quote….”I believed that loving abusive people like my mother, until they could love themselves was equal to having a higher purpose. I believed that I was ‘the better person’ because I could take the abuse, mistreatment or disrespect and that would communicate that I could love unconditionally. I believed that accepting devaluing treatment in some way ‘proved’ my value; even if it only proved it to God.”

This is very profound to me and I love the way you express yourself, it always reaches my core. I have recently been wrestling with the concept of unconditional love and what it really means in my reality. My partners mom is another version of my mom but with a twist. My mom is very self centered and uses her financial status as her way of valuing herself where my partners mom is the opposite. She lives humbly even though she does have the money to improve her situation. Instead of using her money to better her situation, she prefers to guilt her family into taking care of her.

I find myself standing back and being a witness to the dynamics to learn a lesson I find myself still struggling with. I would prefer to not have a relationship with her because I am tired of being manipulated into doing things for her that she can do for herself. She is playing the victim big time and because I have grown so much I see this clearly. I find myself feeling like the bad guy for not wanting to see her. My partner tells me that she likes me and wants to have a relationship with me and wonders why I don’t want to come around anymore.

What I find so uncomfortable is that his family really doesn’t want anything to do with her either but for some reason because I have made an effort to help her or take an interest in her it has now become my responsibility to carry this on. I am growing leaps and bounds right now and find myself being turned off from this whole situation. I honestly don’t know how to respond to this anymore because I feel like I am having a whole new version of my mom played out for me.

I really want to just speak my truth and let her know what she is doing is not acceptable to me but I know if I do all hell will break loose from my partners family. I know his mom will tell my partner what I said and he will be upset with me. My partner and I don’t seem to see eye to eye on this whole subject and sometimes I find myself being pulled back into old patterns. I’m still learning so much and I would just love to have a partner who shares the same beliefs I do so we can support the process more effectively. I can see his disappointment in me when I say I don’t want to go visit her because on some level I feel like I am not supporting him.

I feel like I am being tested on standing up for myself and honoring my own boundaries and I must say it sure is challenging when those old patterns try to pull you back. I feel all this anger and resentment that I don’t want to feel anymore come bubbling up. Sometimes I get confused if this is just my own stuff that needs to be healed or if it’s my new boundaries trying to take root.

I’ve been reflecting a bit because it is mother’s day and I have come to realize it isn’t my mom I miss, I miss not having a loving bond with a loving mom. I used to have dreams of what that would feel like if my mom actually took in interest in my life and nurtured any gifts or talents I had. I longed to share hobbies and common interests but unfortunately most of my experiences involved talking about her and her issues or pushing me away when she had something better to do, the better to do usually involved hooking up with a man.

I also had a recent purge of emotions when I think about all the ways I tried to have a relationship with both my parents. I was chasing a man that was trying to push me away and I was trying to run away from a mom who only wanted to use me for her own needs. No wonder I have no idea what a healthy relationship looks or feels like.

Who I am is still a bit of a mystery to me but I know I am getting closer to knowing who I really am every time I acknowledge and let go of all the shame, guilt etc that I have clung to because I thought it was there to keep me in my place. My place was to honor and respect my parents because they held all the power and their needs and lives were more important than mine.

I don’t want to hate my parents because I realize that it’s only poison to my own soul. I have learned to see them as people that brought me into this world to teach me that self love is the most important lesson I need to learn on this planet. They have done a fine job at directing me towards an inward journey. I’m grateful to learn that to truly honor and respect anyone, it first must begin with the way I treat myself. My parents taught me how to abuse myself, now I have a chance to teach myself how to heal and love myself.

This is where my real journey begins and I am truly blessed to have so many people who share my path with me. I send my heartfelt blessings to all of you and hope you all discover your own brilliance. Namaste!

9

Sue, DID stands for Dissociative Identity Disorder. I know for me, as a son (age 39), I find that purchasing a mother’s day card or a birthday card is hard for me considering my feelings for her have become more resentful. She was the one who neglected how I felt when her half-brother molested me. I respect the position of motherhood, but I don’t respect my mother at all. In fact, her actions indicate to me that she is an evil woman (I can say that because I’m able to read through her hidden agendas). She wants total control over everything and to where everyone bows down to her. The boundary I had to set are as follows:
1. If she wants to see me, I go out there, but she can’t come to my house (her spirit can linger in my house and I have no peace). I can easily excuse myself when I’m visiting (and make the visits no longer than a week – and yes, that’s only see her 7 days out the year).
2. Because she stalks me on FB, I blocked her to where she can’t see my comments and likes.
3. I watch what I say around her (I’m still learning to disengage from her narcissistic behavior).

Her attitude has become more controlling ever since her husband (my father) passed last year. He was the silent partner in their marriage and wanted me to bow down to her to alleviate an argument. I resented him for not standing up, but the end result of him was he drank to ease his mind whenever she would act out who she is (she treated my father like she treats me). Of course, his drinking caused kidney failure and he passed away. The day after, I confronted my mother about why she still defends her half-brother and communicates to him. She denied it and when I told her I had PTSD as a result of what my half-brother did, she tried to deny that I had it (she said “I’d be in counseling” and I said I am!).

That’s a starting point. If I disconnect from her, she would literally try to kill me. I just don’t trust somebody who’s that narcissistic in nature. But the boundaries mentioned above is a start for me. Oh, I have forgiven her for the past, dealing with her today is unbearable.

10

I think all of the posts/blogs are valuable, but this one is one of the very best I have ever read! It is so clear about what love IS NOT, and the mind set of parents who have abused and used their children and tried to label that misuse of authority as genuine love. Putting it bluntly….it is like slavery and captivity when parents treat their children with such disrespect and contempt in order to rebuild their low self esteems. Forcing your children into a victim mentality because of abuse, neglect and using them is disgusting and not real, healthy love. I can actually look back now and feel such relief at being FREE of that now….when just two years ago I was stuck and I absolutely had the victim mentality, but didn’t understand that I did. Once I fully understood that I wanted to get free even if that meant cutting off my relatives and parents in order to break those dysfunctional and disrespectfully abusive chains of behaviors from them, and once I understood that it wasn’t me at fault all those years….and once I understood that chasing my fantasy of a close relationship with my parents and other family members was just that…a total fantasy!…..was when I began to actually love my SELF. I had to want it badly enough….and I desperately wanted free from all of the emotional prison I had been in my entire life.
I did not have one happy “Mothers Day” or “Fathers Day” with my parents…I dreaded them every single year, but out of that victim obligatory feeling, I danced around them in efforts to please them. I walked on eggshells each and every time I was around my parents and I was consistently on guard . I don’t miss any of it. I have an empty place in my life/heart still because I don’t consider my neglectful, abusing childhood as one that has a real father or mother in it. I don’t have memories of hugs, comfort, encouragement, or love with them. I will never know those wonderful feelings. HOWEVER, I don’t feel deep pain any longer and I am not wasting my years waiting for them to come around and change. They never will or maybe they never could, but I don’t care what the reason is….I have changed the way I view what love is…what respect is…what equality is. I have a beautiful family and am a very loving mother…in a healthy way…to my daughter. She will thankfully have great memories when she looks back one day…and she already has a healthy sense of self. So Mother’s Day is a happy day for me! I don’t feel guilt over my parents…even though they said they were sorry and showered me with material blessings. They didn’t change in their behaviors toward me, or the way they discussed me. They are stuck and I am free….and my hope and wish is that they one day will choose freedom. I wish I could help others become free! There is no way that I can begin to describe the changes that have taken place in my life this last year! The best way to sum it up is what Darlene has written! :). I hope and wish and pray that everyone here will be able to understand the vast difference between what abuse and victim mentality is VS. Healthy real love. Peace and joy

11

Hi Annelien
Welcome to EFB!
Glad you are finding the support that you need!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Sue
DID stands for dissociative identity disorder.
Hugs, Darlene

12

Hi Lora
I especially love your line ” I’m grateful to learn that to truly honor and respect anyone, it first must begin with the way I treat myself. My parents taught me how to abuse myself, now I have a chance to teach myself how to heal and love myself.” yes, learning this has been the keystone to my healing! I had to see what the damage WAS first, but then it was all about healing that damage and learning self care and self love so that I could pass it on!
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

13

I’m almost certain that my abusers were laughing all the time that they were kicking me around.

14

Hi Darlene, What you describe as unconditional love meaning we have to accept abuse is taught in a lot of Christian circles but that is so twisted. Boundariless love isn’t unconditional love and God who does love unconditionally, doesn’t engage in boundariless relationships with human beings. Anyway…it amazes me how simple things can get twisted and then get passed down for generations when the twisted concept holds no common sense. That is something new I notice about myself lately, I’m in better contact with my common sense than ever before. All the religious twists and turns that were used to confuse me and control me no longer have any power.

I’ve had so many intense dreams about my FOO in the last few weeks and I am strong in all of them. It’s Mother’s Day and lots of family birthdays that are triggering the dreams but it’s different because in my dreams I’m in control of myself and confident in myself. It still hurts, I still wish things were different, but I can’t help but celebrate a stronger me.

Pam

15

Thank you for this article today. It was just what I needed to hear. You have helped me make a serious boundary decision today. There are no words I can say that will express the depth of my pain and the comfort that your blog gives to me. Today, I tried to take my mother out for a nice Mother’s Day lunch. Failure. It was painful. She stabs me over and over in my emotional heart. You give me courage to stop the pain and set a boundary. Thank you.

16

Darlene,
I can so much relate to your article. For me, I must be a slow learner when it comes to boundaries, because I always thought somehow family would love me even as they piled on the abuse and rejection through the years. One thing for certain, I have always maintained my own identity. Of course this was always the source of conflict, I was somehow expected to also reject the unique person my Creator lovingly made,me. I was always at fault (in their eyes.)
I moved far across the country independently,not knowing a soul and started a good life away from them. Six years later my mom would plead with me to come back as I was getting older and needed my family, she said. I had a sweet,simple, close to stess-less life at that time with the exception of great guilt and depression because I wanted so much for them to love me. I felt led to move back across the country to my home state and FOO. That was nearly 14 years ago. I have had much Trauma, STRESS, work issues, finances,and loss of good health since. I have faced them all alone. My family has again finalized the rejection because I am me: of course not living up to their expectations, whatever that is? It is not my issue, I now am living this truth. They give me nothing and they want nothing from me.

What I have gained, is my own worth; this is [finally] NOT attached to their abuse or mistreatment of me past and present. My siblings have chosen to not have contact. I have kept in touch by phone with my ailing, near 90 year old mother from time to time when I feel compelled. She does not want to see me and that too is now ok. I no longer feel the despair, brokenness or hurt or any expectations or loss that I was never nutured or loved.
This is the miracle! I now understand I had to come back to finalize this pain and face it once and for all in me and close the book. I no longer think I can change them or even expect it. It might sound strange but I am free. I have released the pain,it is final!

I no longer have anger or deep, deep, sorrow about what was not in my life so void of love and acceptance. I truly know and embrace [true] unconditional love and it is not of this world. This truly is: worth the “good life,” I left behind. I have healed!

I found it joyfull at the last moment to decide not to send the “dreaded,” mother’s day card this year. I observed people frantically picking out last minute cards and flowers at the store. Just picking out a card used to bring on severe despair and horrid memories. I thought to myself, “well it is nice if people know what mother love is.” I personally know many who do. Some commonly think someting must be wrong with me to not have ever had this love, I must have to fix it. This also I will no longer accept; others undue judgement. How can anyone have compassion for what others have lacking? They have had bestowed upon them since infancy, mother’s love They simply cannot. I no longer envy this love or see myself as unlovable. I have great compassion and understanding for the broken hearted. This is only learned through experience not found in education or books, we on this blog commonly share. I do not and will not ever know this human love.
For the first time in 60 years; for me it is more than ok. The child inside no longer cries for a mommy who was never there. I have grown up.

17

One final note to add to your article: I have honored my parents. I was here to bury my father 5 years ago when he passed on May 14th. We had a bond in my early childhood, it was quality not quanity;moments of good memories. In his final years he suffered much physically and somehow he became soft hearted to me again. During his final days I was only able to give him quality time, not quanity time so much like the moments of early childhood only reversed.
I honor both my parents by forgiving them and releasing all past, present and future pain. I give to myself when I release the hurt. This is a journey of understanding and knowing love; what it is and and is not. Abuse is not love, we MUST love ourselves, it is also a commandment.
My Savior said, “He who loves their father, mother, sister,etc. more then me is not worthy of me.”
Yes, for many of us;loving others from a [great] distance is obedience.

18

Thank you for sharing your heart,hurts and insights with us Darlene.

For years I have had an issue with the term “unconditional love”, especially when “like G-d loves” was added, with the way most of the world defines unconditional love. I wondered “what bible are they reading?”. The TaNaK, the Jewish scriptures (Christianities “Old Testament”, though actually they are not truly the same.) teaches G-d does set boundaries for Him/Herself, and teaches we should do the same. He says do abc and you will receive life and blessings, do xyz and you will receive curses and death.

If I am created in the image of G-d and He/she sets boundaries than it is a given that I am free to as well. I will not accept poor treatment from anyone towards me, or towards those I care about. My issue that I am still working on is to not treat myself poorly either 😉

In March of this year I closed the door to my mother, and the majority of my family. One of my sexual abusers died March 13, he was my second step father. My mother knew about the abuse and did nothing. As I an adult, when I started to deal with the abuse, I on a few occasions had to step away from her. But it was always a “for now”, there was always the hope that by my stepping away she would see what she had done and feel convicted. I thought she would feel it and come to me and ask for forgiveness and finally throw his sorry butt out. Of course that never happened. She was always too selfish to let me do what I needed to do, if she had a way to contact me she would, ignoring my request that she give me space to heal.

Once I had contact with her I would give in and tell myself I would “love her into doing the right thing”. HA! What a joke that was! I even tried to “love him” into admitting what he did and asking for forgiveness. What was I thinking? Well it is easy, within Christianity we are taught over and over to “forgive and forget” and that will heap fire on their heads and they will “repent”! We are taught to “turn the other cheek” and feed them if they are hungry!

Though I tried to believe them they just didn’t line up with what felt “true” to me in the depths of my soul! In Judaism I now understand why those teaching didn’t feel right…it is because they are not!

Well when my step father died so did the possibility of my mother ever choosing me over him. Therefore for me she died that day as well. It wouldn’t matter to me now if she came crawling to me on her hands and knees asking for forgiveness I would not have a relationship with her. Her opportunity to be my mother is over, no possibility of restoration is available to her.

For those who think I am bitter, no, I am mad as hell and that is that! I am finally getting in touch with decades of buried anger and I am finally feeling it and expressing it, and when I am ready I will let it go.

As far as forgiveness goes, I am not G-d and I have no power to forgive, that is and always will be between each person and their G-d. What I can do, and have done, is to turn them over to G-d for His/Her blessings and correction as He/she sees fit, they are no longer my burden.

May HaShem bless and keep you and may we all be healed in our broken places.

Jenna

19

Hi Jeffry
it is painful to realize that this has often been the case. I am sorry that happened to you.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pam
YES isn’t that the truth! And thanks for sharing your dreams and the positive difference even in them! That is awesome! I am celebrating myself (and all of us here) along with you!
Hugs, Darlene

20

Hi Amy
I am so glad that you have been inspired to take care of you and stop the pain!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Le’ah
YAY that is wonderful! Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

21

Hi Jenna
Welcome to EFB
Thank you for sharing your story (part of your story) ~
Getting in touch with my anger was also a huge part of the healing process for me. I can relate to what you are sharing here in your comments.
Hugs, Darlene

22

I’m about to leave for my mother’s house to celebrate Mother’s Day. I have a card that says, “You must have been a perfect mother…to have a wonderful daughter like me!” She’ll agree with the first part, but grimace when she reads the second. She won’t be able to get in any major verbal jabs because my sister will be there and mother doesn’t like witnesses. My emotional wall is up and my insincerity is turned on full blast. I will listen to her complaints, backhanded compliments, hearing about things that do not interest me in the slightest but ought to since they interest her and answer with polite amusement, sorrow, contriteness, or whatever the conversation (I should say monologue)calls for. This is the way I honor her. It’s the way she likes it. She’s expressed a nominal interest in my life because it’s the “thing to do”, but she doesn’t really give a rat’s behind what I do or want or think. I am there to serve her, and that includes giving her a good dose of “narcissistic supply”, which I can do without becoming emotionally involved.

23

mzc,

she is not mean to her other daughter?

24

Thank you so much for this article. I have been wrestling with this, and here you have made it all so clear. I am bookmarking this so I can reread it when necessary. It helps a lot to read others’ experiences and know I am not alone.

25

just from reading the facebook newsfeed today, you are not alone. i am glad that the climate, the way things have changed in the past few decades, that people seem to feel more free to speak their truth, even if they lose relatives and friends over it. one writer called his mother abusive and psychotic and pushed his book for sale, “you gave me what to write about!” another literally told his mother to ##%^&* off. i was also thinking about the girl who had been kidnapped in ohio and does not want to live with her mother or grandmother , i knew someone would give her a hard time for that. maybe she realized that that wasn’t a safe haven either and that she needed one. finally, no matter what. good for her.

26

I really needed this article–another good one by Darlene! I just had another birthday on May 11, the day before Mother’s Day. These holidays for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day have always been the hardest ones for me, worse than Christmas or Thanksgiving. For years, I would go through the motions like a robot, buying a phony card from the drugstore and mailing it to my parent. (I have very LC with my FOO.) It made me mad and I felt so guilty and phony having to “act” and pretend that my FOO was good like other families.

I KNOW that there is no love involved with my FOO and that’s fine by me. Both parents were abusive to me, and my father was like a perfect stranger. Many times I have wanted to scream and yell in a store as to why there is so much social/economic pressure to celebrate these holidays? I am shamed by society’s standards for wanting to be honest and shout that “not everybody has a wonderful, kind and loving mother!”

I liked Le’ah’s post very much! I have to kick and remind myself that I’m NOT unlovable, nor am I a “bad” person or “loser” for coming out of such a dysfunctional family. I am proud of how far that I have come in my life in all areas. It’s hard living alone. I know that I will get a new job this year and a new circle of friends and even a new relationship. But it’s hard since there are so many nasty and rude people out there who really don’t understand…you know like the ones who erroneously believe that if you come from a hard background that you’re some kind of future sociopath. NOT!

I have cleared so many of my past issues and I want to focus on my goals. I just want to be happy. I am so tired of giving away all of my energy for “them” and healing my past. It’s another birthday and I want to work harder on my goals and attracting more of a social life.

There was a comic strip called “Sylvia” years ago which featured a wise and witty, single woman. I remember once when Sylvia made a comment like “Why are gifts given when people are happy and celebrating big events like weddings, but not for events like a divorce, or basically other hardships?” Yes, it makes sense and now I have decided to celebrate these difficult family holidays my own way. In the future, I will personally buy myself a gift of flowers, candy, jewelry, and so on for me and tell no one! I believe that I’m the one who deserves the gift and not my abuser! Happy Holidays Everybody! Yvonne 🙂

27

Thank you Darlene and others for sharing your pain and gain through it all.

Yvonne, it is a blessing to me through sharing my journey it has spoken to you. No, I still do not have it all together, but I am removed from living in a battle of unworthiness I experienced all my life. I celebrate your birthday with you, so glad you were born! Very Happy Birthday, Yvonne. Keep celebrating, hard times too!

Thank you so much for your upmost dedication Darlene to this blog and your life’s work through it. When we write here, it is a safe haven to share our personal journal understood by most all who read and write. We all go through many stages in understanding our own personal rejection of the FOO we desperately want to be accepted by. Yes, anger is a part of healing. It is all in the journey, For me only in restoring that which was lost is by not letting my own anger do me in, it has! We can be our own worst enemies by believing others’ cruel judgments and actions toward us that are simply not valid.

28

This was my first Mother’s Day in 52 years that I had no mother to worry about. I had a lovely time with my Daughter and Grandsons and cherished every minute of it. I hardly gave my own mother a second thought. I only a few weeks ago made the decision to distance my self from the toxic members of my family (my mother being tops on that list).

A friend of mine stopped over today who knows that I am trying to get healthy after a lifetime of severe emotional, abuse and neglect. He asked me if I had called my Mother for Mother’s day….and I told him “absolutely not.” I tried to make him understand just how serious I am about no further contact. It’s best for me and for my mother. There is no way I could honor her if I were still around her.

I then told my friend just one story of abuse I suffered as a 5 year old, and he started crying. No, I didn’t miss Mom today. A mother who abused 13 children, but would not admit she ever did one unsavory thing in her entire life. It was a relief to have a quiet and sane mother’s day.

Happy Mother’s Day Darlene!

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Hi MZC
Thanks for sharing. My heart goes out to you.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jora
You are certainly not alone! Glad you are here,
hugs, Darlene

30

Hi Yvonne
Happy belated birthday!
I LOVE your idea to buy yourself gifts at those difficult times! YAY what a great self supporting idea. I do similar things for me too!
Hugs, Darlene

Connie
Your mothers day sound wonderful! My kids all got together and made dinner for me! We had a Mexican fiesta complete with homemade tortilla shells. It was a wonderful day!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Sue
I read that the girl who was kidnapped and does not want to see her family was also abused by them before she was kidnapped. I too am so happy for her that she isn’t going back to yet another type of prison.
We are certainly not alone here!
hugs, Darlene

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I wholeheartedly believe that one of the biggest problems with our world today is the inherent idea that “you should always respect your parents” and you will be struck by lightning if you think or say anything bad about your mother. “Mother Immunity” is the driving enabler behind child abuse. Damaged adults can never heal unless they acknowledge the abuse at the hands of their parent(s), and they can never acknowledge that fact when the parents are still alive. Therefore they must “respect their parents”, endure their continued harmful behavior towards them, and continue life with mental illness, pain, and suffering. They pass that pain and suffering onto their own children as well. It’s a horrible cycle that very few are capable of recognizing. I repeat this again and again but Dottie Sandusky is living free from any responsibility/accountability for allowing her husband to abuse children, some of them she herself adopted, in her home for decades, simply because society is scared to death to question a mother, or woman in general.

33

i’m not sure you have to wait till they are dead for you to acknowledge it

34

Tornadosrul
About this sentence you posted: “Damaged adults can never heal unless they acknowledge the abuse at the hands of their parent(s), and they can never acknowledge that fact when the parents are still alive.” Did you intend to communicate that there is no possibility for adults to acknowledge that parents were abusive while parents are still alive? Or were you saying that this is what so often is the problem?

Sue ~ Both my parents are alive. I faced the damage and stopped the cycle of abuse in my life and in the lives of my children which is of course what this entire site is about. 🙂
hugs, Darlene

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Great article Darlene. I’ve been no contact with my family since earlier this year. I have kept my decision to go no contact mostly to myself since I feared the ‘but it’s your mother’ backlash. Lots of people just don’t (and can’t) understand. I’m no longer interested in convincing them. Our final conversation with my mother showed me how unwilling she was to alter anything about our relationship. She’s had almost 40 years of my life to do things differently and has chosen not to.

And since I have gone ‘no contact’ I’ve also been able to clarify several other relationships in my life where (emotional) abuse was taking place. Some of them have ended, some have changed for the better.

I don’t think I would have been in a position to do any of that had I still been involved in an abusive relationship with my mother. I feel her pain in losing me (I guess that sounds strange) but I can also now say that she would be proud of how I have come through it – even if she was the main cause. This to me is ‘honoring’ her.

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Thank you for another poignant posting, Darlene.

How do you honor someone who has never been there? I am at a loss as to how I’ve tolerated & put up with two lost causes over the years. I could maybe understand it, if they treated everyone as badly, or if they had had so many kids that they just didn’t have the time or energy to deal with a large family. However, I was an only child. So it wasn’t the size of the family that made them act so badly towards me. Likewise, they treated others well…mostly because they wanted to be the center of attention. They never did come out & tell me what I had done for them to find me so vile. So why did I feel like I always had to do their bidding? I tried everything to be the perfect daughter over the years. No matter how bad things were, I willingly did everything I could to please them. I thought I was doing the right thing.

I thought wrong! Why honor those who couldn’t stand to be around me? Why indeed. There is no honor for those who do not deserve it. Mom is gone now. Dad is still around. However, there is no energy left in me to honor him. In some ways I feel bad, but there’s so much more to life than wasting it on someone who can’t be bothered. I have a new life & a new focus. There is no room for an abusive individual there, even if he is/was my parent. I would rather choose to be around good people than one who is evil.

January.

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January,

“I thought I was doing the right thing” really struck a chord within me. …and the whole concept Darlene brought up in her original post about feeling morally superior for accepting abusive behavior of others is so fascinating. I know when I was nearing the rift with my mother, I did have this idea that killing myself was the only “moral” way out of it. In a way, my sister will always be the better daughter because she did kill herself. Despite all my giving, good grades, and whatever else is expected of a good daughter, in the end I’m the one with that element of “cruelty” that allowed me to take the steps to protect myself. Sometimes, I’ve even wondered if my ability to stay away from my toxic family is a sign of a callousness, a bit of evil that I inherited from my mom. That idea is alluring because it seems powerful, like a supervillain. Oh, if only I were a supervillain rather than one of the many suckers my mom has manipulated. Darlene touched on the victim/power paradox before. Gosh, it’s twisted. I can’t wait for the day when I just don’t think about it much at all — neither as a victim nor as an aspiring world dominator.

About Mothers Day… A colleague ended an e-mail last friday with “Have a great Mothers Day weekend!” I thought, “You know nothing about me. You know nothing about what my situation is. My mother could be dead. I might have never met her. Who the hell are you to assume anything at all?” Yes, I am easily offended, but it comes from the constant bombardment of the mother as angel myth. I once severely offended a friend of the family because something I said implied that I don’t trust my mother. “You don’t trust your MOTHER?” she said, her voice raised in disbelief and disgust. To that, I desperately wanted to say, “Have you met my mother?” but at the time I chose instead to “honor” her, and I diffused the whole thing.

Hugs,
Malina

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I grew up with totally dysfunctional fractured family members.I became the scapegoat since I always wanted to know why no one else admitted there was an elephant in the room.my x-husband attempted to kill me /the night I received the call my stepdad was dead,I didn’t cry.I kept ironing the ladies clothes.At the funeral I was told I wasn’t family.so I sat alone 3 pews back.When I was able to see my mom,I told her we needed to heal together.HONOR,RESPECT …NO I DIDN’T THINK IT ODD.MY ROLE AS A CHRISTIAN IS TO OBEY GOD EVEN THOUGH MY PARENTS WERE UNJUSTIFIED.I KNEW WHAT I DID COUNTED AS OBEDIENCE FROM ME TO GOD; they will have to answer to Him for themselves.I used to live in fear . Now I live in love .HIS/God’s

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I know this may seem a bit silly.one day I chose to stop being just a survivor.I chose to learn how to laugh,be silly,plant flowers and realise that every thought given life can either build me up or tear me down …so I carefully chose intentionally to think on the good things.I also have learned the “GIFT OF GOODBYE” this means if someone wants to leave,they can talk to my hand as I wave goodbye.I figure if they really cared about me,then my quirks wouldn’t be a problem.I won’t lie to a person that I call friend,for a friend won’t lie to you/about you.Does anyone else feel freedom to not have to people please to be accepted?Also,I use erasers because I know I make mistakes!

40

Regarding whether the topic is a sin and the other religious references in this article… I just want to say that in my personal opinion religion has been seriously abused in order to carry out and inflict abuse on others. There are way too many verses and teachings that allow this in religion and sometimes it makes me question the true purpose or intent or religious orders. There must be some that have good intentions but I personally have a hard time buying a lot of what they preach for the above reason. Just something I wanted to put out there as I have become so much more enlightened to the truth of abuse. I just see a lot of things differently that I used to. I don’t mean to start a wide open discussion on religion period, but just sharing my thoughts. You are wonderful Darlene!

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Diane (or anyone), how did you become free?

Mother’s Day was once again mixed. Some immediate family were nice to me, a niece snubbed me, and a sibling laughed at me. I once again spent a few hours in bed recovering and angry. I am disappointed in myself for not standing up to being laughed at. In the moment of invalidation, I tend to go inward…I go somewhere else; I’m don’t even SEE who/what is around me. It’s like my brain crashes briefly. Then later I feel it. I can’t seem to react in the moment and defend myself. If anyone has an assertiveness training/book recommendation I would appreciate it, though even though I’ve read a few I find it a difficult habit to incorporate. Years of conditioning I guess.

I need to break the pattern of me seeking approval, attention and validation. I am almost always on margins at these family get-togethers…other people get the extra hugs, the warm words, the attention about their lives. When leaving, my niece made the rounds to say goodbye and said something warm to everyone (e.g. “I love you”, “So nice to see you”…etc) but when it came to me she said “Have a good rest of the weekend”. She knows what she is doing – it wasn’t random.

I gave my mother flowers but not a card. I bought extra loose flowers and made a bouquet for me as well.

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light,

i get shocked into silence too sometimes when someone says something unexpectedly cruel. i try not to berate myself for it later. i chose to cut communication with my mother. i hardly ever speak to my father. i just divorced my husband. it is lonely and sad sometimes but better than hell. i have someone who loves and respects me; it is quite different and new to me. i never thought it would happen. i was told one of the reasons my mother was upset when she killed herself was that i was not speaking to her. i don’t care. i don’t feel guilty. i need some peace while i’m still alive.

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Hi Alice
Your comment “she had almost 40 years of my life to do things differently and she has chosen not to” really really resonated with me. That was something that I saw as a ‘truth leak’ ~ that there was so much choice involved and I could SEE it when I came out of the fog and even when I articulated exactly what was wrong between us, she still chose “no…not for you” and that was HER decision. I feel my mothers pain too, I really relate to that, but that too is her choice.
Thank you for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi January
I agree! Love your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

Malina
I just wanted to mention that I really relate to the comment you wrote to January!
hugs, Darlene

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Hi Lori
Yes, I agree. I have studied Christianity extensively (greek and Hebrew word origins for 8 years) and it is the people who falsely teach what it actually says that cause the problem ~ and yes, it is all for power over others. It isn’t the bible itself that is the problem. People say things like GOD told me and ‘the holy spirit laid this on my heart’ ~and they use that to manipulate and control others. This started BEFORE Jesus walked the earth! He preached against it but just like in His day, people don’t really want to give up their power so they alter the teachings to suit their motives. It’s disgusting.
Thanks for sharing Lori
Hugs, Darlene

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Linnietea
When it came to obeying God I had to look at what I had learned about doing that; and what I learned is that I was obeying what abusive and manipulative people TOLD me was obedience to God and not really what God wanted at all. I set aside all of this in order to get those false teachings out so I could replace them with the truth. That set me free!
Thanks for sharing.

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Here’s a definition of honor: recognize, treat with respect; praise, award. There are others, but these were the top ones. If we honor those who mistreat us, are we not then dishonoring (disrespecting) ourselves? Honor is not, should not, ever be a one way street. I respect those who treat me with value too. We’re not designed to be shackled in fear because our parents tell us “do it or else” because the Bible says we can act this way. It’s a misinterpretation & it’s quite misleading. It’s a source of power for the one who makes all the demands. How easy is it for a parent (or another authority figure) to mistreat a child or subordinate, just because they can? How easy it is to use something from Biblical text to use, manipulate, or instill fear? It happens constantly! It’s an excuse, & a poor one at that! The Bible often uses a pair of yoked oxen to make its point. You can’t have one animal doing all the work within the yoke. You can’t have one animal pulling harder while another one refuses to move or just wants to shuffle along at its own pace. They must work together as a team. They’re trained from an early age to be a team. Honor is no different. It’s not just one figure who gets respect. Even God has said (forget where it’s stated in the New Testament) that if we allow Him to come along side us just like yoked oxen, our burdens will be lighter. He wants to come along side us in a relationship. Even God wants a respectful relationship with us. Shouldn’t our family members treat us the same way? Yes, but only those who wish to have a good connection whether it’s a parent, child, sibling, etc. There’s nothing wrong with wanting an equal relationship. It’s not weak but strong, since we can do so much more when we do things with teamwork than on our own. Think of building roads or the railroads….it wasn’t one person who labored to make them, it was a team effort. Same with buildings! No large buildings have ever been completed by only one individual.

Religion is a tool that people use to control others all the time. The Bible doesn’t say that parents should be honored above all else. Yes those words (honor thy mother & father) are in there, but it’s been removed from context. It also doesn’t say “beat your children until they do your bidding” (spare the rod, spoil the child analogy). That’s another misinterpretation. Watch a shepherd with his/her flock sometime. The rod is meant to guide not to inflict pain. It’s understood (or should be) that children need to be nurtured until they reach adulthood. There’s nothing written in the Bible that says anything about abuse, using, manipulating, etc to force others to submit. In the New Testament, Jesus talked about love & forgiveness. But even He knew that there were some people you just can’t change. The Bible however, does teach that we should all be responsible for our behavior & actions, & be held accountable. How can one honor the dishonorable? God tried & so did Jesus. Unfortunately, it often took Divine intervention for God or Jesus to make their points. It’s all over both the Old & New Testaments.

Anything people can do to control or manipulate no matter what the cost will always happen. Our governments are also adept at behaving this way (thinking of the US since this is where I live & am most familiar with political events), however this is not exclusive. It’s been prominent since history has been recorded. We can’t do much about those in office but we can do something about those in our immediate lives. It’s only when we begin to see it, that we recognize there’s an elephant in the room. After all, if it’s there but people act like it doesn’t exist, then it’s quite easy to cover up mistakes, blame, conceal truth, etc. It’s this way in churches, temples, work environments, & homes. It can happen anywhere. Once we know it’s there, that’s when we can decide how to handle the elephant & only then, not a moment sooner.

As far as honoring my dad, well he’s had plenty of time to change his ways. I am now 51 years old, & have also (as another poster stated) waited long enough for him to decide to have a relationship with me. He made it quite clear that he was too busy for me as a child unless he wanted or needed something from me. As I got older, he became even more neglectful(my mother was no different). He couldn’t be bothered to spend time with me unless it was doing what he wanted (always on his terms doing the things he enjoyed). There was never any discussion about what I liked to do or even what I thought. It was “do as I command or else I will punish you.” One of the most insulting things dad has ever said to me is that “I liked doing his stuff with him.” I told him I didn’t (this happened just a few years ago). Again he wasn’t interested in what I had to say, he already made up his mind that I enjoyed doing what he did. Subject both dropped & changed after my short comment. Questioning his actions (or mom’s) led to maltreatment, even when I became an adult. I never knew if it would be physical, emotional, financial, or verbal, but I knew that the possibilities of retribution existed, & none of them were ever pleasant. I was seldom rewarded for good behavior, because I was never good enough in their eyes…I always fell short of their expectations. Nothing has changed. In fact, since mom died, he has gone out of his way to push me out of his life. He continues to do things/say hurtful things to others that make me out to be the bad guy. No one can see the truth & it never ceases to amaze me that he is so clever at getting people to feel sorry for him (victim) & take his side without ever hearing my side of the story. Well if that what’s he wants, I have no desire left to support a relationship that was never there to begin with. I am tired of feeling like the guilty party when I wasn’t the one who was wrong. It’s just easier for him to make excuses if he tells others that I am a bad person. God knows my heart & the truth. Dad never bothered to get to know the real me. His loss, not mine. I have learned to like myself. Guess what? I can actually say that I think I am a pretty cool person. It’s taken me 50 years to get to this point. Yes I have flaws, but then who doesn’t? I’m ok with that.

All I can say is to others going down this road is that there will be plenty of cynics. But the majority of them have not walked in the shoes of the abused, never witnessed the fallout, or are in denial if they have. Do not let their opinions sway healing. It takes a long time to get back on track. Do not let them make light of what you’ve been through since only the abused truly knows what he/she has endured.

Hugs to all,

January

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January,

What an insightful post. Thank you!

This line resonates with me:
He couldn’t be bothered to spend time with me unless it was doing what he wanted (always on his terms doing the things he enjoyed). There was never any discussion about what I liked to do or even what I thought. It was “do as I command or else I will punish you.” One of the most insulting things dad has ever said to me is that “I liked doing his stuff with him.” I told him I didn’t.

I came to this blog initially because of my mother’s abuse, but I’m finding all these posts that describe pieces of my father. I hate to see it, because I clung to him as the parent who loved me. I believe he loved me, but he was definitely difficult. …and if he were from my generation, he probably wouldn’t have had kids. One needed to join in his orbit to be with him. He did not seem to care about my thoughts on anything nor anybody else’s really. He’d bark over you even if when you mostly agreed. My brother and I were competive for his affection. When our insecurities came to light, he said, “My children must be idiots if they think I don’t love them.” We weren’t the center of his world by any stretch.

Thoughts of my mother are much more painful. She bad talked my father a lot. Closer towards our eventual rift I defended him more. One day while I was out on a walk with her, I just let her bad mouth him out of my own exhaustion. She was pleased, turned to me and said, “I have my Malina back.” I was heartbroken. It was one of the first times it was clear to me that I only had value as a mute. …and I was disappointed in myself, that being quiet was so “me.” Remembering that moment makes me feel utterly worthless and useless.

Malina

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I MADE A MISTAKE COMING TO THIS SITE.I THOUGHT EVERYONE HAD EQUAL RIGHTS TO SHARE HOW THEY FEEL.ALL I HEAR IS THE SAME ABUSE FROM YOU I LIVED WITHIN THE DARK DEVIL ROOM.I DON’T NEED TO LIVE IT AGAIN.

50

Sue, reading this, “i was also thinking about the girl who had been kidnapped in ohio and does not want to live with her mother or grandmother, i knew someone would give her a hard time for that. maybe she realized that that wasn’t a safe haven either and that she needed one. finally, no matter what. good for her.”

When I read this I remembered the best part of being hospitalized for depression: I did not have to see anyone I did not want to. If I said no, the nurses kept them away. What a relief! How safe I felt, finally! It was a hint to me what needed to change when I got out. Like everyone else, I am learning. Slowly, day by day, I am making the changes needed to be healthy. I am so thankful for this site.

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Linnietea
I am not sure what has upset you; I don’t understand your response here at all. There has been nothing abusive here said to you or in reference to anything that you have said.
Hug, Darlene

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Hi Malina,

I too always thought of my dad as the better of my parents. Mom was so openly angry with me all the time. Dad was more or less a background player, if you will. However, looking back on some of my worse experiences…the pain he inflicted was more severe & hurtful even if it didn’t happen with the same frequency.

I am so sorry that you have found that your dad was not as good a person as you wanted him to be. I think we come up with those visions to cling to some semblance of normalcy. Family dynamics are so variable. Yours was different because your mother put your dad down when you were around her. My parents formed a united front against me. To outsiders, I was always the bad seed. Abuse is abuse is abuse. Just because there are differences in how it’s dealt, doesn’t make it any less destructive. In both cases, I would say our moms were pretty miserable women to act out the way they did.

I understand that all people are far from perfect & even the best have flaws. Everyone I know has always looked up to Mother Theresa…she was as close to a perfect mom as we can get of an image. However, I am sure, as she was human, that she had her good & bad days. This is not to knock her…we all have our good sides & bad. She’s a complete opposite of my mother who was stingy & full of anger. MT was caring, & took on as many orphans as she could in her lifetime. But because she was human meant she also had her fair share of flaws. Sure wish I had been one of the orphans in her care though! As children, we want to see our parents as others do. I often heard how lucky I was to have such nice parents. However, none of those individuals who made that statement lived with my family or ever visited our home. It was never a warm environment, but cold & unfriendly. Not a nurturing place for human betterment by any stretch…be it friend, extended family, or a child.

It’s difficult for me to look back on my life & find ways to honor my dad. He was dishonorable to me as a child. But even worse is that the abuse didn’t end when I got married, but has continued on throughout my life. His attitude disgusts me. Hard to honor that which almost makes me physically ill.

Best of luck on your healing journey!

January

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Thank you, January.

You say the abuse didn’t end when you got married. It reminds me of my general attitude towards my parents. I always thought, oh, they’ll be dead one day. Let me be the best towards them that I can. Who cares that my mom insists on picking out my clothes into my 20s or makes fun of me. My dad referred to children as their parents’ property, and that made sense to me at the time. I was “loving” them with my compliance, but I was also biding my time. I figured I’d reach that magical age when the dynamic shifts, and we’d move on without conflict. I thought I was so wise as the family peacekeeper. What a shock to learn that that dynamic never changes! I had been so foolish.

I never imagined life as a married woman including my parents. Maybe I had this idea that they just wouldn’t be around by then. My grandparents died in their 60s, so the math would have worked out. It seems a part of me always knew that my adult life would be separate from theirs… Or at least that sad fact started to become obvious when they resented my growing into adulthood.

So unfair really that they didn’t want to let me reach adulthood. I had to parent them throughout my childhood — I often described then as teenagers — yet when the time came, I was somehow less of an adult than they were? Nonsense!!

Malina

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Hello Darlene,
Everything I read on EFB I find very encouraging and supportive.There is no end of help and advice which has helped me since accidentally finding this site at Christmas time when I was at an all time low.For that I thank you Darlene. Wendy am.x

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January
When you wrote the paragraph that began: “As far as honoring my dad…” it could have been me writing that. He is gone now but my mother picked up the reins of abuse and on we went for 9 years . Im 59 now so Im glad to finally see the light and get away.
I feel so much better after a year NC . To realize it was not about whats wrong with me (nothing) but what happened to me (childhood) abuse has taken an enormous weight off me. My abusive FOO will never get another shot at me. Glad that you too see the light. Hugs Karen R

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Malina, no the abuse didn’t end when I got married. Unfortunately, the “man” (he looked like an adult but often acted like a child) I married was handpicked for me by my mother & his family. Long story short, I not only put up with my parents’ bad behavior, but also from my then husband, m-i-l, s-i-ls, & 2 b-i-ls. I got put down, left out, chastised, sexually harassed, etc. Only my f-i-l was nice to me. As time went on, my ex developed a perversion where he enjoyed causing me physical pain. Most of his family treated me like dirt, & I just had enough of trying to raise my 2 daughters without any help or support from their dad or anyone else.

Once I left him, the real fun began. I went to a domestic violence shelter (super dysfunctional & full of abusive staff). Other women screamed at me as well & no one said anything to them about their behavior. Not only was I mistreated, but also my kids. It was scary & I cried a lot. So once I left there, my ex started taking me to court. Every time I was hauled into court, my custody was reduced as was alimony & child support. I tried a multitude of attorneys who never listened to me about the abuse, but they sure knew how to take money from me while my kids suffered. I was an emotional wreck. At this time, my parents were also bragging to others about how they were helping me get custody of my kids. Lies! One of their friends bought into those lies & told me I was crazy. Once I lost custody completely, my “mom” told me that “It’s ok, if they really love you, they’ll come back to you eventually.” I should also add that I had been in touch with my birth-mother & my parents couldn’t stand it, & messed that up for me too. Since they both hated me so much, you’d think they would be happy that someone else was interested in my life. Not so! They threatened more punishment unless I stopped talking to her.

I ended up losing everything I had & had to move back in with my parents. It was a nightmare. My parents treated me just like they had when I was a kid (both an intruder & a criminal). There was no support, no love…only more abuse. It was a horrible year. My kids suffered a lot during those years with their dad. My youngest begged me to return to our town, but I didn’t have the money to go back. Everything I said my ex would either do personally or allow others to do happened. He was every bit as bad as my dad. Ironic, since as a little girl I used to say that when I grew up I was going to marry my dad. 🙁 They’re exactly alike other than career choices. Dad was blue collar, while my ex held down a white collar job. I never have been able to regain custody of my girls. Both are adults now. We are working to repair our relationships.

I have since remarried. My hubby & I met through a divorce group, & we have a lot in common. He is very supportive, & I love his mom! Of course, we’re not physically close, since she lives several thousand miles away. Still we talk weekly. It’s not easy. I am currently unemployed & cannot find another suitable job. So I am doing what I can to start my own business. Hoping it works out. I just ordered my first business cards.

Several years ago, when I relayed my story to a shrink, she couldn’t believe how much I had been through & survived it. I have tried other counselors, but none have been helpful. Most just tell me that I need meds to deal with everything I’ve been through. I am not crazy. Have tried some of the meds but none that I’ve tried made any difference. I have dealt with a lifetime of anxiety, depression, & other issues so long on my own that maybe the meds just don’t work.

I survived everything I have been through due to perseverance, God, creativity, & my ability to find the good in life eventually in spite of all the horrible circumstances that have been thrown my way. I would never recommend anyone walk in my shoes, but everyone has their own trials. Some more than others. I don’t think of my life as tragic. A lot of it sucked. But because I endured, things are turning around for me. We just can’t give up.

January

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Karen R, sometimes parents do that. Sorry that you’ve had to go NC too.

Hugs,

January

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January,

I’m so sorry about your trials. …and parents taking credit for the support they’re not giving adds salt to the wound. I love how you end your posts on a positive note. Right on!

Hugs,
Malina

59

I am in low-contact mode with my elderly mother whose behavior vacillates between scary calm, agitated, and screaming lunatic depending on the day. I always knew she was emotionally unstable and abusive, but as a child I “sucked it up” for my own survival mode. As I got older every effort of mine to exert independent thought and action was deemed as creating chaos….I was the black sheep of the family, I was the problem.

I’d like to share with you the call to my mom on Mother’s Day. When I called she indicated that she wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t talk. I responded with oh I’m sorry to hear that… I’ll have my cell phone on me all day today so if you’re feeling better, give me a call and we can talk then.

Instead of saying the expected ok or goodbye, she proceeded to tell me that she couldn’t take it anymore that she had been hurt so much over all the years of us not getting along and arguing and now with her health issues and age she just can’t take the stress anymore. Without coming up for air, she retells me this all again….I am basically listening and not saying too much other than I understand, that I have felt the pain and stress as well.

She then repeated herself (not acknowledging my statement) a third time, so this time I said “so what would you like to do about it”……she said “she did not know”…..I said “well that is something you’ll have to think about.”

She then processed to tell me that she did the best she could, but it obviously wasn’t what I needed…she topped it off with you never told me in the past that you were unhappy….how was I to know you were so unhappy….I responded with I guess the big hint was a life time of arguing… and the family dynamics of completely dissing me following my brother’s passing…this forced me to take a long hard look at my emotions. She repeated “well if I knew that you were really unhappy maybe I could have done things differently. (My blood is boiling and I am now getting emotionally stressed. So I know it is time to end the call.)

She then started speed talking with an historical example of her hurt, so I quickly and calmly cut her off, ending the conversation saying that we’re now talking in circles and it getting me overwhelmed so I am going to say good bye….ending with something like have a good day and I will talk with you another time. I think she said ok.

My insights from what transpired: The fact that she needs to keep telling her story translates to “If I say it enough, it becomes true.” Obviously her truth changes as time goes by. She can only cope with blame. Meanwhile, I gave her a gift of just letting her say what she thinks will help her. Her guilt, is there someplace being covered by rose colored glasses…but the louder and more often she repeats her truth… the happier she will feel. Meanwhile, I think I am detaching more and more without poison or regret….I was going to go no contact a few years ago (when my brother died, her “angel” who physically abused me), but I felt sorry for her….I couldn’t do that to her…meanwhile years pass and nothing has changed…I am still the outsider (thankfully) .. so now I am closer to going no contact, I am nearing the end of my need for her to just love me.

Thanks for letting me share this with you.

JJ

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Malina, unfortunately we cannot change our past. We can only learn from it. 🙂 Hardship comes in all shapes & sizes & can happen at anytime of our lives. Christianity has been teaching me how to take a bad situation & turn it into something useful.

Hugs to you too,

January

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OK, I had to stop in for a reality check. I’ve been really anxious lately, and working on knit and crochet, gardening, keeping my hands busy as my mind is processing. I seem to spend alot of time here, then need to be physically active, walk alot, etc.
Does this seem wrong to anybody. It seems very mean to me. My mother confided the weirdest thing to me. My brother dates a very nice girl, that I wish were my real sister. She posted pics of her family on FB. My mother found a pic of this nice girls mother, photocopied it, and sent it to a man. Who was the man? After this nice girls dad passed away, her mother had a 10 year relationship with another man. The man was still married for a time, and it was the talk of our little nosy community. So, anyways, it ended years ago. NG’s mom was always a very beautiful woman. I knew, but I asked anyways, and said, “Mom, did NG’s mom look pretty as always?” and she delighted in saying “No, no she didn’t. She didn’t age well”. So, for NO REASON, my mother anonymously sent a less than flattering photo of this woman to her ex love! Does this seem really mean to anybody else?
It answers my question if she had a mean intent, when she showed my BF’s mom a photo of me as a brunette, behind my back (I’m dyed blond now). For so long, my BF’s mother told me, I think you should go to being a brunette, you were so pretty as a brunette. It took me a while to think how she knew how I looked, in my younger days, as a brunette. BF’s mom says “Oh! your mother was showing me pictures of you and your family, at the mothers day party you threw us!” Funny, she must have done that while I was in the rest room, lol.Yeah, no more parties for you.
She just seems like a mean bee-yatch to me. Does anyone else find this heinous? It is almost like she wanted to destroy the image the man had in his mind of his former love (she lives cross country now, and he probably hasn’t seen her for many years). A viscious act against her possible daughter in law’s mother? Why???

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Janie,
Yes, that’s heinous. Sneaky weirdness with the objective of cruelty. Let’s all be so grateful for not having that mind!
Malina

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Janie, I think she is trying to “level” other people. In other words, bring them down in order to make herself look better. In reality, she looks worse for committing such mean acts. Unfortunately in the process she is damaging other people. I know people like her. A couple of former friends and another one on the verge of becoming a former friend. Best to keep a distance from people like that.

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Yes,that seems about right, Amber. The really heinous part of it, to me,is that she never got to see first hand the result of her misdeeds,she must have derived alot of pleasure just thinking about it. In hindsight, I remember when my brother had broken up with this girl, and my mother confided in me that she hated NG. I was shocked, and pointed out how she used to let NG take her here and there,how she always acted like she liked her at family functions. And she said, “well I didnt! And I hated her little car, hated going anywhere in that death trap!” And I could just picture her, buzzing along inthe little car, smiling and laughing and talking with NG, and thinking,what? Jokes on you. Sucker.
Also, she told me yesterday that my brother and his wife would be visiting from a distance. Their daughter, her grand daughter wants to visit. She said, “I hope she doesnt stay here. Shes got that stupid inhaler thing”. I was like, really? What is wrong I didnt know she was ill? And she said, yes, she SUPPOSEDLY has asthma or something. I hope she stays with her other grandmother!
Last weird thing,she told me how a woman she used to work with her,I always thought they were friends,was ill with cancer. She said, I watch the obits everyday, guess shes stll alive. I just thought, really? Wouldnt you go and visit your friend when she was ill? You sure go to enough community meetings and events, you can get around on your own just fine.
Could it be that she just doesnt like ANYBODY?

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January I commend you. You are a strong person to live thru all that. Thoughout my adult life my parents treated me like I was an unruly over-emotional teenager. Any opinion choice or thought was wrong. They have never regarded me as an intelligent adult. I have always been a useful servant. I walked away once years ago but slid back again looking for approval. Boy was I stuck on that. I wanted it so badly. I always thought it was my “defective personality” and emotional problems that they had to put up with that kept them from showing me their unconditional approval. Notice I say approval not love. There was never love shown to me by my parents. There was never loving behavior towards me except from my maternal gramma. But she was not alllowed contact. My father isolated us from all family and friend relationships so he could utterly control and abuse us with impunity. He did it for years. There were no normal contacts to compare our abusive situation too. It was aweful. I was thrown out at 18 for defiant behavior. With absolutely no life skills or understanding beyond how to accept abuse. As you can imagine that did not go well. Thats another story.
At 20 I married my husband also an abuse survivor and we have been married 39 years. Those first years we just clung to each other . We had some rough times but worked thru it. Now I finally understand why all of it happened. All of you have been instrumental to my understanding and healing. Thank you!!!

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Janie she obviously has a huge chip on her shoulder based on all the negativity you’ve described. My Mom would get down on a lot of people too but to a lesser extreme. She would expect the rest of the family to take her side if she fought with a relative. As a child I found this very difficult because she’d order us not to see whoever she was fighting with. When I reached 18 I decided she wasn’t going to tell me who I could or couldn’t visit with. It wasn’t my fight after all. She got very angry with me when I didn’t follow her orders. She also wouldn’t speak to me for years when I wouldn’t lend her a substantial amount of money that I knew I would never see again. That was her abuse; do what she wants or she’ll throw you out like a piece of trash. I decided that I was better off being the discarded piece of trash than to give in to unreasonable demands.

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Amber, Im sorryyour mother made you take sides against other family members, as a small child. That is unfair! My mother did that with my next door neighbor, we couldnt play with her children. Or talk to any of them, as she felt threatened by the woman, because she chatted with my father, when they mowed their lawns. I thought the neighbor was the evilest woman! She wasnt! My mother was intimidated by any woman who spoke up, or was direct. She despised my great Aunt, who was outspoken. She also showed me love and attention, which my mother couldnt stand, and discouraged!
I guess what is finally sinking in, is that I was right all along. My gut was right, she is meanspirited and cruel. I have come here many times and talked about it,vented,raged. But there was always that piece of me that felt, you could have tried harder. You could have complied more. Maybe you were strange and different. No. I was, and will always be to her,the scapegoat.
The reason she is sharing all of this now, is that I dont speak to my sisters, so. Who would I tell? She considers me some kind of partner in crime. She does not realize that, I find her behavior and hateful feelings abhorrent.
What bothers me greatly, is watching people approach my mother, in a spirit of good will, with both arms open,and how she delights in tearing them down. Anyone who has the courage to try something new, to grow as a person: start a new business, move to a new location,take up a hobby, is spoke of disparagingly. And I can see now, that is because she never had the courage to go out on a limb, herself! I am also thankful she never became a nurse, her stated lifelong ambition, that her mother supposedly squashed,as she would have to see men without clothes on.
Amber, did you go no contact with your mother? And do you have contact with other family members?
Im very interested to know, how your life has turned out, and how you deal with family members, if at all!
Thanks.
Janie

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Janie, I went no contact for a few years. It was easy because we were on opposite sides of the country. As time went by, she became a little more reasonable and actually saw some of her mistakes. I decided to have a relationship, with some limitation, with her. If she demanded something unreasonable from me, I learned to say no. I stayed out of her fights. I let her know that I no longer bought into her “girls are inferior” crap. When I got behind the wheel of the car to drive on a winding mountain road and she started making comments from the back seat about how I’ll never be able to handle driving that road I told her the next comment she makes I’m pulling over and she can drive. She quieted down immediately. I have a good relationship with my siblings. They also sustained damage fom bad parenting, though I got the brunt as the only daughter (inferior to the boys).
My mother is now deceased. I’m glad we were able to have some sort of relationship at the end but it was definitely not up to par with the relationships many friends had with their Moms.

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i recently unfriended a cousin on facebook because he argued with everything i posted. he is bipolar and the son of my mother’s twin sister. they’re all bipolar. i am a writer and artist and have a lot of friends on fb. i also have chronic fatigue syndrome and not a lot of energy to argue. i feel like i can’t relax and be myself in a place which is sometimes my only social outlet. now he wants to be friends on there again and i feel the family guilt thing twisting me into knots like i am reading on here! i don’t know what to do. i wish he just took the hint. i asked if he liked to argue for the sake of it and said that i don’t. he called himself an argumentative prick. why would i want to be friends with one? FAMILY.

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Darlene,
WOW, I’ve been upset over yet another blow out w my mother since Mother’s day and just stumbled across your blog. THANK YOU for your honesty and helping me realize that I am not crazy, mean, and disrespectful.
I am 35 weeks pregnant and trying to set some boundaries w my mother. She is being very selfish, shooting down my requests and feelings. and I keep snapping and yelling at her like the hurt little powerless girl I once was.
Your words finally allow me to make sense of my satiation. My sisters still don’t get it, and they keep yelling at me to stop being mean to her and respect her.
On the other hand, my brother has not spoke to my mother in 4 yrs because him and his wife couldn’t deal with her emotionally neediness.
I know deep down she is a good hearted person, and she was just taught love very wrong.
any advice on me trying to keep the peace w her while keeping myself and baby safe from more abuse?

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Hi Wendy am
I am so glad that you are here and that you are finding comfort and validation here!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi JJ
Welcome to EFB ~ your conversation with your mother could have been a conversation with my mother. My mother said such similar things to me all the time. It was always about her. Thank you for sharing, you are certainly in good company here on this site.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Janie
Who knows why they do this stuff? It’s sick for sure.
Thanks for sharing, hugs, Darlene

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Hi Andrea,
Welcome to EFB! Your question is kind of the whole crux of the problem; it was in trying so hard to keep peace with my mother that I discounted myself so very much. In a way, my trying to keep peace validated her rights to treat me the way she did. Keeping myself safe (and my kids safe) in the end looked very different than I ever thought it would look but it was only in drawing the boundary that needed to be drawn that worked.
Thanks for sharing; there is a ton of reading here in this site about all this stuff ~ I hope you will keep checking it out
Hugs, Darlene

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My Aunt used to say this to me and was often confused about this. When I was 15 I said, yes you can honour them, but what if they are not honourable? I can only someone that promotes that ideal, not someone who assumes that they deserve it without working for that respect. My Mother has a difficult time figuring this out today.

Just because I came from her vagina doesn’t mean I have to honour her if she promotes a selfish regime.

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Big Question for Darlene and others on here: I now intellectually understand the damage done to me by my mother’s rejection. But I feel like my emotional reactions haven’t yet caught up to what my mind now understands. Here’s what I mean. I have a neighbor that I was once sort of friendly with. A while back she began to ignore me, put her head down if I pass her in the street or at the store. I took the high road and attempted to engage her in conversation, but she will not acknowledge me. I feel the sting of rejection. In my mind I know that I have many friends and don’t need this person. In my mind I also realize that I never did anything to her that deserves this treatment. So why do I feel the sting of rejection anyway? Is it because I constantly see this person and am reminded of her rejection each time? When do my emotions cat h up to what I know intellectually?

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Hello Amber,
Nobody likes or dislikes everybody all of the time.Your neighbour might have serious worries. She like us could be suffering from rejection and have confidence problems.She might have a relationship problem or money worries or might not know what to talk about.I do not think it is personal against you.You cant be wrong all of the time,because you have lots of friends.So if you were awful why have you retained your friends? It is not you. Continue to be pleasant and say hello if need be and keep smilinggggg. Wendy am. xxx

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Thanks Wendy for your response. Yes, I do have many friends, some going back for many years. This thing has been going on for a long time with my neighbor. We were friends and would visit each others homes, sometimes just the girls and other times as couples. Her hostility is directed at me and not at our other neighbors. That’s why I feel there is something personal going on. We never had a falling out, so I’ve wondered if she is envious of something, though I’m not sure what it could be. My marriage? Friendships? who knows! I’ve gone the smiling and saying hello route but after getting continuously snubbed I’ve stopped doing it.
My question is, why does this bother me? Because of mother-rejection, do I feel that I need to be liked by everyone or I’m somehow no good? Why do I look for this kind of validation from others rather than getting it from within? Even though I know in my mind that I got false messages about my worth from my mother, some other adults and schoolmates, do I still believe on an emotional level that I need evidence that I am loved by everyone in order to truly feel worthy. Therein lies the problem. Thanks again Wendy for answering.

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amber,

can u just ask her what her problem is? i think the core rejection from our mothers goes much deeper than we’d like to think. it is very hard to get over especially if you move on to an abusive spouse. i understand that you want to feel stronger and not need other’s approval but u are being hard on yourself for being sensitive. there are good things about being sensitive-compassion is one. show it to yourself and the people who deserve it, not some snotty neighbor.

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Hi Jessie
Yes, love is a two way street. Real love does not abuse anyone.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Amber
I am considering writing a whole post about your question. It isn’t that I don’t feel hurt anymore by that type of treatment and not feeling hurt is not the goal; rather, through a process of healing I have learned to re-assure myself that sometimes I don’t understand the actions of others and that is okay. If she is unwilling to give you any reason for her behaviour then it is something that she has chosen not to resolve for whatever her reason is. However, It IS very hurtful when people do stuff like this without any reason.
Hugs, Darlene

80

the sentence:” real love does not abuse anyone” took me by surprise. then i felt shamed that it was such a foreign concept. i’ve only had it for such a short time and i am 54. i quickly stopped myself, i do not want to absorb the abusive voices as my own. it’s not my fault i was treated that way. it felt like growth to turn the voices off. maybe it is like amber is saying that intellectually i know that sentence makes sense, it just hasn’t been part of my reality for very long. it’s time for a love fest!

81

Darlene that would be great if you did a post about my question, I like what you said about reassuring yourself that sometimes you aren’t going to understand why someone behaves in a certain way and that that is okay. We can’t control someone else’s behavior, and not every problem is solvable, so maybe I’ve reached the point where I’ve done what I could, and should direct my energy elsewhere. By accepting that I most likely willnever understand what happened, I release myself from the time wasting and energy wasting burden of trying over and over to make sense of this. Thank you Darlene for sharing your thoughts on this with me.

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Hi Sue,
That’s awesome!! Thanks for sharing!
hugs Darlene

Amber,
I have a really busy time coming up until the second week of June but I made a note about it.
hugs, Darlene

83

Hi, I am new to this website, blog, etc. The parts that I have read so far, I can relate to all of it. Mother’s Day has passed and did bring along with it a lot of issues. I have had very little contact with my mother this year. I tried to set boundaries with her but they failed because any bit of what I feel is a step in the direction of a “positive relationship” gets knocked back into the “reality” of her not having any love for me at all.

I was adopted at the age of 2 months old by a couple. The mother not wanting to adopt me but the father wanting to adopt me. I was told several times by various aunts that my mother did not want to adopt me. I was closer to my father than my mother and I have very little early memories of her. My father, the love of my life, passed away when I was 8 years old. I then began to suffer the wrath of the mother that did not want to adopt me. Verbal and emotional neglect and abuse. My aunt was my saving grace and my paternal grandmother and the fact that I was deeply involved in church and began to get to know Jesus as a personal friend. I got all the material things I wanted but not the love from my mother.

I am now 43 years old and several incidents later, several dysfunctional relationships later, resentment and anger etc. I managed with the help of the Lord to have a one sided life successful in my work, and even as a mother (focusing on not being like the mother I have). I am now just at the realization that I had been living in an illusion to help me cope with reality. Every since my aunt passed away, who served as a savior and an enabler, I can feel what she worked so hard for me not feel my whole life and thats the truth about my mother. She did tell me that “You will never be able to have the realtionship that you want with your mother, you will have to have it with your daugher”. She said that a long time before my daughter was even born.

Well, trying to get to the nitty gritty, I am now grieving over what I never had in the first place, and trying to deal with severing the relationship entirely. I stop celebrating mother’s day a long time ago, just giving her a generic card and meaningless gifts, and then allowing my daughter to give her gifts. Now realizing I was damned if I did, and damned if I didn’t. I am trying to cope, grieve or something not sure. Can anyone speak as to how they felt when they severed their relationship with their mother.

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hi mpact,

i felt relief and i felt safer. i did not miss her. i tried not to feel sorry for myself for what i really never had anyway. i felt some power in making my own decisions. i know it’s not easy and we shouldn’t have to make these decisions. i tried not to feel guilty and most of the time it worked.

85

I think that a post on Amber’s question would be great too! In recognizing my tendency to want to be liked, I’ve also noticed that some people do seem to think they can talk to me any old way and get away with it. I make sure I watch to see if they do it with others too, to make sure it’s ‘not just me’. I still worry about my responsibility in these situations. Even if the other person is out of order, sigh.

It seems to happen the most in situations where people think they have ascendency over me in some kind of pecking order (usually created by them without my agreement in the first place – sexism is a great example of this FWIW but it can happen in the workplace or in groups of people).

I’m only now starting to really ‘practice’ allowing myself to not be liked in favor of my self-respect. But there’s still a lot of fear of something awful happening (like a brick through my windows or heavy gossip or shunning). I know the fear makes me exaggerate what I think might happen, but I have also had to deal with heavy gossip and shunning when I stood up for myself so it’s not ‘all in my head’.

I keep reading articles ‘do you want to be right or happy?’ and it really gets me down that these two things are put in opposition to each other.

86

alice.

this made me sad too, realizing how much of an issue it is worrying about whether people will like us and being actually shunned, in my case if i spoke about the abuse to my mother’s family or left when i needed to or cut off communication. almost like they were in on it too, let’s just keep it quiet and pretend everything is fine. when i went to visit her my dad and my aunt said they would pick me up if my mother was abusive and then when it inevitably happened they wouldn’t come get me. they would say u are a grown up and u need to learn how to handle it. so i handled it by never putting myself in a position where i would need their help again.

87

Hi Mpact…I was moved by your story…and I am sorry you have had to deal with all of it! My bio mother died when I was small and my dad remarried and she adopted me legally. She created an environment of rejection…and she was cruel and neglectful…so I can relate with you on not being wanted and the abuse/neglect. I can also relate with your feelings as an adult as a result of being unloved by someone you have been calling your mother all of these years…when she really hasnt been a mother in the true sense of the word. I totally broke off from my parents…both of them…two years ago completely and I have not looked back. It has been a relief to be free of the rejection, the lies and pretending and in general….almost everything. It was too dysfunctional! I feel very sad that I have no family at all, but I never had a family from them anyway! I feel relief that I am now free to be myself and I dont have to worry about what she thinks of me or how I talk or walk or dress or decorate my home or raised my child , etc . The pro’s outweigh the con’s in ways that I could never have imagined, and it has helped me heal so much because of cutting the ties. Every so often one of my family members seeks me out….just this week a cousin tried to get ahold of me…but I have let go of that definition of family because the dynamic was toxic for me…and have created my own…my husband, daughter and friends! I am much happier. I hope that helps you a bit….I know how tormenting it is to rehash everything and I am so sorry that you were so hurt and treated so disrespectfully and abusively. hugs and peace and comfort to you!

88

Mpact…what I meant about being sad about not having them as family anymore….is that I tried my entire life to be pleasing, to gain their love and affection…always believing that one day they would change and they would love and like me. It never happened and I was sad to cut them off. That wasnt my first choice. I had tried and wanted them to always be in my life, but they really didnt want that enough to be respectful…to treat me equally…to be interested in my life. However, now that I have cut them off, it has been a positive and I have redefined my family.

89

Hi Mpact
Welcome to EFB ~ The grieving process was a great and healing thing for me. There was anger along with it too but facing the truth about my relationship with my mother and father was a huge turning point in my life.
There is a ton of info within the pages of this website where you will find everything you are looking for on this subject! (not just my articles but thousands of comments about this mother daughter issue. Check the ‘mother daughter category’ and the family category too)
Thank you for sharing, you are not alone.
Hugs, Darlene

90

Hi Alice
I can relate to what you are saying. A lifetime of twisting to be what others want is a hard habit to break out of without a lot of second guessing! About being right or happy ~ I don’t think that is a valid question for the things we are talking about! I want to be happy but being happy doesn’t have anything to do with being right when it comes to self validation or to exposing and standing up to wrong treatment. (in most cases anyway.. I can hear my mother saying this statement to ME and taking it all out of context so that my insistence of being treated with respect becomes her way of proving that I ‘have to be right even though I am wrong’…. )
Hugs, Darlene

91

Hi Darlene,

When you said “…my insistence of being treated with respect becomes her way of proving that I ‘have to be right even though I am wrong’….” this is EXACTLY the way I understand this message – wherever it happens to come up – and it frequently does. I get a huge reaction to it every time I see it. It’s right up there with ‘you choose how to think’, ‘your choice’ and ‘personal responsibility’.

Those things set my teeth on edge. They are also all things my mother would regularly say to me. Later on, I learned the terms ‘invalidation’ and ‘gaslighting’ and those fit exactly with the way she was using those ideas with me.

These ideas are also hard at work in the bigger society too. It’s not just something people who have been abused have to deal with but I think my experience with an abusive mother makes me more sensitive/aware of it. Not ‘oversensitive’. In case that gets misconstrued:-)

I actually haven’t seen ‘would you rather be right or happy?’ used in ANY context it would actually make sense in, so I’m curious about where it might make sense. Rather, I’ve seen it used most often in so-called ‘helpful articles’ – mostly online, or in the comments when people are talking about abusive situations and are being given ‘advice’ by other commentators who probably haven’t been through whatever is up for discussion.

I got a call from my mother (with whom I am NC) this morning. I let it go to voicemail and when I listened to the message this wave of nausea flooded me. She had left yet another of those ‘Hello, just calling to see how you are’ messages when I had clearly told her I wanted no further contact. She can’t even respect that request:-(

I’m sure she could make the case to others that she’s ‘being nice’ to me by calling and that I’m the ‘bad guy’ for ignoring her but I know differently. She’s acting as if nothing has happened. As if her doing so will change things. It will not. I’m sort of annoyed but since this is her ‘MO’, there’s nothing to do about it except sit tight and wait until I feel better (it tends to pass). The idea of changing my phone number crossed my mind but yet again that would me it’s ‘up to me’. So I’ll just let it go, let it go to voicemail and let the feelings pass.

92

Hi Sue,

This happened to me too. I was on vacation with my aunt and uncle and they were treating me horribly. I called my parents in desperation to get them to help, or at least tell my aunt and uncle to stop mistreating me.

I remember after the call feeling relief and thinking all would be well and that I would be ‘defended’. It didn’t turn out that way at all since my parents didn’t dare speak up to either my aunt or my uncle.

I have several (how many are too many?) other examples of similar situations where I’ll imagine I’ve been heard and something positive is going to come of it but it ends up being ‘used against me’ in some fashion.

So it’s no wonder I prefer ‘keeping my own counsel’. But I’ve also realized I have the right to find supporters of my own. Even if they’re paid for (e.g. therapists).

93

I wanted to add: my mother called me back this evening and left another message. This time it was just ‘Give me a call please’. To me this means her first call wasn’t actually ‘just calling to see how you are’. But I knew that already.

I know this seems like minutiae, but I don’t think it is.

94

hi alice,

a therapist told me to get an answering machine, just let her rant into the machine. i know it’s stressful to feel pestered by the machine. (her voice is in your house.) did you tell your mother that you didn’t want to speak to her? you could choose to delete her messages without listening to them if there is a way to do that or maybe block the calls somehow. i thought would u rather be right or happy was about choosing which battles to fight and sometimes it’s not worth getting your point across if you are going to be exhausted and upset. your mother is escalating the situation by calling again and sounding more urgent instead of pretending to be casual. i don’t miss those days. it only ended when she died. u are not the bad guy but with all this mother worship i know it is hard not to feel like one sometimes.

95

Hi Sue,

I let her calls go to voicemail. This is actually quite big progress, for me. In the past I would have been right back on that line, yelling at her. Or, before that, calling with a heavy heart, hoping this time she’d listen, apologise.

Yes I did tell her I wanted no further contact at our last conversation. She just has a lifelong habit of ignoring whatever I say or request. Yes, I’m choosing to listen to her messages. It’s hard to explain why I want to do that. I guess a sort of morbid curiosity, also just to see if I can stand it. I won’t deny there’s satisfaction to be had in knowing I’m not going to give in. I guess that sounds terrible, huh?

I’ve been doing more digging on the ‘right or happy’ idea. So far I have found what looks like an origin. “A Course in Miracles”. A religious text. And it seems there has been much concern and diverging opinion over this statement and that it did have a context, originally.

I appreciate your message. I hate that we go through these things but it feels better to be amongst people who understand. Yes, the mother-worship is dead to me. I think there was (sometimes still is) a point where I really wanted to convince people they were WRONG about the mother-worship stuff, because it couldn’t, wasn’t my experience of my mother (as if an individual could be resumed by some all-encompassing term, they can’t) She’s relied so heavily on the mother-worship, she’s relied on social expectations around ‘mother-daughter’, she’s relied on the ‘done thing’ so much when it comes to our situation that I can only conclude she sees neither of us as people. I realised only recently that I *as a person* did not exist as such for her, except in opposition to her. To think I spent so much time fighting for her recognition of me as a person when she is incapable of seeing it.

96

i’m glad u made progress and it doesn’t sound terrible if u have any feelings of payback for ignoring her calls. (u are feeling your power) it’s probably nothing compared to what she did to u as a child and now u have the choice to not let it take over your whole adulthood. yelling at her is engaging her and your energy is precious. it’s sad to face the fact that she will probably never change or listen, that u don’t have a nurturing and loving mother. i don’t even know what that looks or feels like. i’m sorry your efforts to reach her did not work.

97

Hi Darlene (or anyone else that has advice),
Thanks so much for your response. I feel like I am in crisis. I am due to have my 1st baby over the next month. Now that I have confronted my mother and asked her to STOP being so mean, my sisters have jumped to her rescue. ((Just as we were raised to)) and they are thretening to ditch me and my baby if I don’t start “respecting my mother and them.” I know I am SUPER sensitive being pregnant and just discovered that I have been abused. Any tips on how to deal w sibilings?? Do you have a post on this?? I feel like my options are 1. keep letting them demean and over power me or 2. Have my baby alone w out most of family there.
so sad and confused :(:(

98

Hi Andrea
It is sad and tragic that family will threaten to abandon and reject you if you don’t do things the way ‘they want’. It is horrible and painful when everyone sticks up for them and disregards you. But for me it was in realizing that my siblings all have a choice too, and not everyone is cut out for living in the truth when the lies ‘seem’ so much more safe and cozy. 🙂 that helped me move forward with my own emotional recovery.
Hugs, Darlene

99

Alice
This isn’t minutiae at all! The way that I see stuff like this in my minds eye is the person who has always been in control is getting ticked off at your insistence of standing your ground ~ showing impatience with your choice ~ kind of like the “HOW DARE YOU stand up to me” thing. Just like when I made it very clear to my mother verbally, what I wanted (equal respect) going forward and she said “well I will let YOU think about it and you can get back to me” WHAT? There is some sort of entitlement glitch in her that doesn’t hear the word MUTUAL! and I am standing my ground on this!
Hugs, Darlene

100

think about what and get back to you?!

101

Sue
She meant that she would let me think about our phone call and I could get back to her when I have thought about it. Even though in the phone call I told her MY boundaries and the truth is that I was very clear about my boundaries in that call, and she pulled the same control tactic, which I was no longer going to accept. She tried to make me think that SHE gave me something to think about, like how a mother reprimands a child and puts them in their room saying ” now you stay in there and THINK about what you have done”.
Darlene

102

think about what you have done even if you’ve done nothing at all

103

Hi Darlene,

Sounds like your mom is upset because you aren’t responding in the way she expects. LOL It sounds like she is saying that you are making her upset. It’s as though she cannot see what she has done to bring this on herself. If she were respectful of you & your choices, you wouldn’t have had to go NC. Interesting that she cannot see how her behavior has been the driving force. That she is the one who has the attitude problem? She’s acting like she is the wonderful mother, & once again is making you out to be the one with the issues. Good for you for standing your ground. You’re right, it’s the kind of punishment one would expect a mom to dole out on a misbehaving child. Seems like your mom has forgotten that you are no longer the same little girl who needed/wanted her approval. How sad that she refuses to let you be an adult.

Stay strong, Darlene!

Hugs,

January

104

HI,
I survived mothers day. I am sincerely pissed off with the whole thing, and anyone pushing mothers day on me obviously doesn’t know me and should not be my friend. I have to say I have good friends . I contemplated a call or a card to my mom saying something along the lines, you win the worst mother ever and deserve a mention for it. Basically something bitter and resentful, rageful and full of revenge. I stopped myself, maybe I shouldn’t have though. Last year I still felt guilty, on top of pissed. Now I am only angry, no guilt, i hate my mother. I hate her with my whole heart. The only thing I hate more in life is wasting my time hating her. Wish she was just gone, out of my thoughts entirely. I wish I can forgive her and release her entirely from my life and get it down to thinking about her once or twice a year. One day I will be there. One beautiful day I will not give a crap at all about my mother, I hope it happens on stupid mothers day!!

THE BEST PART, my brother sent me a present for mothers day. I WIN I WIN!! My mother doesn’t get to have my brother, he is mine!! I pray to god he will continue his recovery and progress towards light.

I have come against the honor your parents bs many times. I have tried it many times and failed. It sounds so questionable I bet the meaning was lost in translation. I had people look at me in aghast wonder how dare I say things like that about my parents. I’m not going to honor my parents. its not going to happen. Why should I honor anyone that hasn’t done anything honorable. You don’t get a medal for being an evolutionary dead end.

105

Hi Darlene,

Yes, I agree with you. It did very much seem to me to be a ‘call to order’. I can’t decide whether to laugh at her expectation I’d fall for it, or be upset that she’s trying this again. Both I guess. But like I said earlier, I’ve only realised very recently that she doesn’t see me as person. Or at least that’s what her behaviour is telling me. So I guess I shouldn’t take this stuff personally, if you see what I mean. The dark side of this is that I don’t see her as a person either. That’s a horrible confession:-(

106

if u have a choice between laughing and being upset, LAUGH!

107

Hey Sue,

Sure:-) Like the old gal used to say “That’s YOUR choice Alice” after having offered me two equally bad options. “Take it or leave it”. Or, another favourite, “If you don’t like it, you know what you can do”.

108

Kathryn-
I agree with you 100%. I hate my mother for what she did to me and how she set me up to fail in life because she didnt care about me at all even as a child. I wish I could completely erase her and that anger from my thoughts but I guess it will pass as I never see her or hear about her ever again. At least I no longer blame and punish myself for being an unlikable/unlovable person as I was forever taught by my family. Gosh Im actually quite normal except for being a doormat. They had me believing Im crazy
too emotional too noisy ugly flawed and any other number of bad things. I was always held accountable for my flaws while their abusive demeaning behavior was never to be acknowledged only overlooked and never never questioned. I was so Unequal in the family view it was rediculous!

109

Darlene,
It’s like you have read my mind, and written my experience. Wow.
So much here for me.
Thankyou.

110

Darlene,

I’ve heard that too, in the past…”I’ll LET you..blah blah”. As if one person is in charge of the conversation process.

111

A lot of what is said/experienced on this board resonates with me and I have had many similar experiences.

However, sometimes I doubt myself. For instance, my siblings have gone “low contact” with me since I have a problem with my parents (sexual abuse and neglect). Granted I wasn’t always respectful to my parents – there was rage at being treated like that. So when my siblings back away it is so painful and it feels like my fault. It has a ripple effect to their children as well. And because the family is dysfunctional, there isn’t much communication. It’s not like my siblings are asking for my side of the story, or want to know what happened to trigger an outburst or an estrangement. They see the end result and then “it must be Light’s fault”.

112

Light….I so get this….your experience mirrors mine. My siblings went “no contact” with me since I was in high school. It was very painful growing up knowing that there was nothing I could do to make make them love me….and sadly the dysfunctional parents choose not to see the problems, or more typically blamed me for being the problem. Today, since my brother has passed, I have made extraordinary efforts to reach out to my nephew since he was 19 … sadly we never developed a bond when he was a little boy, so I am merely Aunt JJ who he knows from afar….I am good with this, as I “ain’t getting anything else.”

113

Yes, the sadness from not having stronger bonds with nieces and nephews. I so wanted to have a stronger bond with all of them. If I knew then what I know now…..that it is vitally important to have a good connection with their mother, otherwise she will reduce access. This SIL was another family member who could not understand the estrangement, but never asked me more (even though she knew there was sexual abuse). I could have initiated more of the conversation but unfortunately back then my communication skills were not as strong…I don’t know how much good it would have done. I used to visit all the time, and I was sending cards/letters to my nieces and nephews as they got older and left the nest…but when they don’t reciprocate it starts to feel futile…

Also what I don’t understand is why “they” don’t understand. This particular brother and SIL: She is ivy-educated and in a profession caring for children…still she did not seem to take the knowledge of sexual abuse in the family very seriously. People in the family seem very invested in their story in their head…

114

I have a very distant relationship with my own two sick sisters. It seems they only rear their heads when they want to exert and display some kind of weird dominance over me, at least, in their minds. For instance, both of them have taken to planning all events at either of their houses, knowing I won’t go there. They are purposely trying to set up an unequal situation, where they have more power (My house, my rules, you don’t like it? Leave! type mentality). So, they group text the event info, and then dont respond if I respond with a question: May we bring something? Is there a group gift? They delight in being rude and not responding.
I instinctively felt my sister would try to do this with Fathers Day, which also coincides with a visit from my brother and his family from afar. I know her, and I was sure she was going to plan the event, so that not only would i miss Fathers day, but also the visit of my brother, whom I truly love and adore. So, questioned my mother, who said, Oh! Yes! Joy is planning to do her back yard over, and if it is done in time, having Fathers day there. I then told my mother, I was not comfortable going there, and she should sched the party for her house.(We live at a distance) At first, she feigned, Oh! What can I do? I have no control!! (yeah, right!). And then I said, well, its your husband,and aren’t you the “matriarch of the family”? (which she loves to call herself. I know, hahaha) Well, that worked, and she was like Yes! Yes I am! We will have the party here! So, I group texted all of my siblings, told of the party plans,that we would handle all of the grilling, and could they bring a dessert or a salad? No response.
This morning, I receive an email from my sister in question, cc’ed to me, thanking my mother profusely for being a gracious hostess, and informing her she would bring pie and a salad. Just really like a giant F you, to me, letting me know I am not in charge of anything. Paying homage to the queen. I really despise both of my sisters, and dont appreciate my mother setting up this situation.
If they both dropped dead tomorrow, I wouldn’t care.Sounds extreme, but that is how I feel. And it all stems from my sick mother teaching them to treat me with disrespect and cruelty.
My nieces and nephews from these two, I don’t have any contact with.They really did not want me to have a relationship, anyways. How can you fight that? So, this past year, I decided to stop being the “Christmas Gift Aunt”. I didnt give them any gifts. I never get even a card from these people, why should I bother?
My older niece and nephew, I do have a nice relationship with, and try to do for them when they need me. They update me on the events in their lives, we chat from time to time. I also keep in contact with my stepson from a previous marriage. Since he came back from the army, we have been chatting by phone and email. He asked that we not discuss his Dad, who has let him down continually (my ex). So, I just ask questions about whats going on in his life, give encouragement, etc. It’s all very positive! He is married and a Dad now, and I am so proud of him!
JJ, I hope you can develop a bond with your nephew. Now that he is “of age”, he is an adult, and can make his own decisions. Sometimes the children are not totally or successfully brainwashed against you. I think they may ask themselves, “Why? Why is everyone mean and why is she excluded from everything? She seemed nice the few times I saw her!”.
I am blessed to have good relationships with two brothers, which these two beasts are constantly attacking. I always try to take the high road and refrain from getting in the game. I won’t let them destroy my good family contacts. They are relentless, though!
This issue is obviously bothering me today, and sorry if I over commented! It makes me feel so not all alone when I see that others experience this as well. Light and JJ, thank you for sharing your feeings and experiences! I apologize also for coming off angry. But I am angry. This was always the game in my family, to abuse me, set up an unfair situation, then be shocked and throw up their hands, when they succeeded in getting Janie angry. I’m really tired of it. I express it here, to those who may understand, as it is a healthy outlet!
Hugs to you all!

115

Hi Light! We were typing at the same time! I think the reason why they go with the story in their head, is that it is easier. It is easier to hold the favored position in the family, and enjoy the blessings of same. My sister is college educated, and it does not matter. She originally approached me, when she attempted to establish a healthy boundary with my mother, and my mother attacked her, on some subtle and not so subtle levels. She succeeded in making my sister feel guilty, and she turned all of her negative feelings on to me. How dare I try to turn her against her own mother? Really?? B/C she approached me, and I shared my experiences,and directed her towards some literature. I reminded her, it was mother who did this to you,not me, it was mother who said thus and thus behind your back. But that fell on deaf ears! I think the sickening “bowing to the queen” displayed in the email I received today, is an attempt to erase any memory of her trying to find her authentic self, and not be the automaton my mother set her up to be. Who she would date, what she would wear, what she would say, where she would study, where she would live, what religion she would practice. She always says, Mom and I, we like all of the same things! That used to make me sad for her, now, I could give a care. She will also always say that her and I were never close in childhood (not true). When I bring up an event in conversation that would demonstrate that, she recognizes it, and pretends she did not hear me!
How old are your nieces and nephews now? When they are adults, I think that is a good time to try and re-establish a bond, or, establish one. I hope one of them “gets it”, and sees you for the lovely person and wonderful Auntie you are, and could be for them!

116

This thought just came to me: In our family, the fee for maternal “affection” is your very soul…………

117

Hi Janie, no need to apologize for anything. I am interested to read about your experiences. It helps me to feel not so alone too. Before this board, I thought some of my experiences were unique. They’re not, which is reassuring.

I am sorry about your ongoing family difficulties and the anger and pain. My sister does a “not responding” thing too. I know how exhausting it all is.

118

Light, thank you! Yes it is exhausting. I am kind of grateful that some of these situations follow similar patterns,because we can help each other and relate! I am not grateful we have to go through it, though 🙁

119

Hello Andria,
Switch off from you mother and sisters right now.Think about you and the health of your baby. What sort of scum are they to treat so badly.By responding to them you are fueling their fire. Do not reply to any messages of any kind. When your beautiful baby arrives under no circumstances inform them of the birth because if you get any more caustic replies that will hurt again. So save your energy for baby. Leave them out completely. They will be expecting to hear something from you jsut have no time for them. They will get intouch. When they ring ask them to hold on because you are busy and even if you not just leave the phone with them hanging on.They are s—s. They do not deserve your thoughts and it is making me angry for you. Wish I lived near I would stick up for you.Hope this is of help. Let us know when baby arrives and take care right now. This is me being bossy. Wendy am xxxx

120

Light
My only sibling my brother completely sided with my mother when I went NC. Like I dont exist. Hes her darling golden child and can do no wrong. He has always treated me as beneath him so it was not surprising that he has chosen the gifts she can bestow over his hurting sister. Hes very self centered.
But it was hurtful to be shamed and blamed by him without being heard at all. He lives in the lie.

121

Janie
I too was there for my brothers son. He rarely ever responded to my contact or B Day and Christmas gifts. Hes 21 now and firmly entrenched in their dysfunction. Putting me down was not only taught but modeled to him. My parents and brother kept me in that spin all my life. Because I taught everyone I met that I was a doormat the treatment I received reenforced my belief that I was as bad and defective as my family always implied. That whenever I got fed up and responded in anger at their treatment it was more proof that I was the family burden. Too emotional to cope with day to day life normally.
My own inner emotional turmoil over this was again to me more proof.
Everything always pointed to me as “the problem”.
I really hated being seen that way when I was as compliant and obedient as I could be. Always muting myself. Never complaining. My brother choses to discount me and now I chose to have no contact.
Thanks for listening!!

family always

122

Family always brings out my emotional side because of the discounting. Hugs to all Karen

123

Hello Karen,
I have just read 121. My friends if they knew of this site and read your words would think you were writing about me. Forever the door mat. It reminds me of me. So sorry you sound very sad today. When I was young 10yrs old I had a wonderful auntie who would have given her life for me but I was never able to tell her about all the abuse we suffered. She would have killed my parents for what they have done. My mother suffered from my fathers violence but then she blamed me for his behaviour. It was always about sex and jealously. When I was about 11yrs old she started to dye my hair red, I was natural blonde. We never had tooth paste and consequently my teeth were not good. The school dentist wanted to fill them but she made me have them out.When I was young photographs were all black and white.Can you believe I have dyed my hair all my life but now it is blonde(dyed of course).I have never been liked because I was labelled a trouble maker and liar.But I am not,and the friends I have know differently.Please laugh at this Karen — One Christmas my mother bought my much younger beautiful princess sister some wonderful presents, and for me a “toilet roll cover” in the style of a doll in a frilly dress,the toilet roll sat underneath.I was heart broken and cried for days at the cruelty.Please all have a good laugh, I dont mind, but I might tomorrow. So get laughing!!! Wendy am. xxx

124

janie,

“if they dropped dead i wouldn’t care.” when my husband took the call from my dad that my mother had killed herself this is the first thing that popped into my head: ding dong the witch is dead, the wicked witch is dead. ( wizard of oz) i don’t feel horrible for that at all. that is how she appeared most of the time, then “love” was mixed in to make it more confusing

re. siblings, my sister said she didn’t remember any abuse but i remember my mother dragging her on the sidewalk and kicking at her for some reason near the supermarket. a man said, that’s beautiful lady and she started yelling at him. my sister remembers being dropped down some very steep steps at the bowling alley. i told her my mother put an opened can of pears on the table when she was little with the lid sticking up in the air, blood spurting everywhere when she grabbed the can. me and my sister and my dad who remarried can barely deal with each other at all. my mother was the toxic glue that held us all together out of manipulative guilt. i choose emptiness, loneliness over abuse.

someone mentioned we can support each other here with feedback and support, so we know we are not alone. it bothers me that we still feel so unsafe re. our families as adults, the little children are somewhat still stuck inside of us as we try to grow and get stronger. to see what kind people you are, it’s obvious to me these families were way demented. nobody deserved any of this and the siblings and extended family are equally guilty.

125

janie,

“the price for maternal affection is your very soul.” a friend recently spoke of soul murder, his mother was an abusive psychotic holocaust survivor. i truly belived my soul is only intact through art.

126

121 Karen, yes, I am always the “problem”, too. Family gatherings always go fine without me. Why? Because I stand up for myself, and hold them accountable for their actions. This makes my little sister yell and scream like a banchee. But usually, no one stops her. This is why I wont go to her house, even with a half assed invitation.
That is sad abt your nephew. I guess you might decide if you think investing energy into him may brong about a relationship later. If it has some value to you. I know it hurts. But what is best for you, is the question!
Wendy am, wow! I cried when I read about the toilet paper doll! She was a sicko! And doing all she could to make you less attra ctive, with your teeth and hair. To feel threatened by your own daughter and behave so insanely. Do you have contact with her or your sister? How did your sisters life go?
124 Sue Your mother sounds like a monster. Most would have PTSD after such torture. Neglectful, leaving that can there. I think many of us are frozen in time from traumatic events. I know I need to let the Big me take care of the little me. My mother was more neglectful, but physically and mentally abusive as well. My age would be 4. That is the age when she would tie me up and leave me outside crying, and go inside with the GC little sister. Also,she was not watching me, and I rode my tricycle down a set of cement stairs and had head trauma. No hospital. I had a few head traumas, no hospital. I suffered poisoning twice as a small child, from things not being properly secured. I wonder. The second time may have been staged, as she got to call the police again, all dramatic, and receive alot of attention as the poor little mother. Also, I was hospitalized frequently when very small for fevers, and she would leave me at the hospital and go home. That is my first memory of sexual molestation, by a man who was an orderly, or a janitor,I do not know. I must have been 2 or 3 at the time. They way I confirmed my memory, was to describe the hospital room to her. Also,I remember being held into my bed by a little harness. Yes! She marvelled that I could remember that. As that is not common practice now, or in the recent past, it must be true. I was molested while trapped in the harness. It is no wonder, between that, and the tree tying, how claustrophobic I am.
Thank you again for listening!
PS, Wendy am, how could you think we would ever laugh over the TP doll. I wanted to rescoe the little wendy, give her a nice Christmas, and a safe place to live and thrive!

127

The price for me having a differing view from ny mother was to be shut out, ignored, discarded like a piece of trash. And when something was important to me, she didn’t want to be bothered. The night of my Junior Prom, she wasn’t interested in seeing me off or taking pictures like most parents would be. It was more important to leave before I even got dressed up so she could visit a friend. The day I left for college was the day she picked to get her divorce. I had to make my way up to college alone. When I was getting married fresh out of college she and hernew husband decide to relocate thousands of miles away, leaving me in the middle of making wedding plans to do it all myself. When I was having my first baby right before Christmas she wanted to come with her inconsiderate husband and stay at my house, and expecting me to host Christmas with a newborn. When I said no, she picked a fight with me, and refused to listen to me, upsetting me when I was a week away from giving birth. It was always all about her. I think she resented the important events in my life because it took the attention off Ms. Narcissist. So she would just disappear at those times.

128

janie,

i probably do have ptsd. i am so sorry you were tied up (like an animal) and sexually molested. i can’t imagine that.

amber,

i am so sorry u were neglected like that. then when u say no, more abuse. that seems to be the way abuse works. they want us to remain powerless and get really mad if we make our own decisions to protect ourselves. (finally.) they manipulate us and guilt trip us until they die or we cut off from them.

129

Hi Wendy am 123,

So sorry….I have had so many incidents regarding my mom over my looks and clothing, a lot of jealousy from a true Narc! When I was a child, ‘the woman’ would take me to the mall for the annual back-to-school shopping trip. What a nightmare! Mind you, this was back in the ’70’s and thank goodness the styles for kids were rather unisex back then. ‘The Woman’ of course just had to humiliate me and she could spend money on herself shopping, but with me, she was extremely frugal. The shopping trip consisted of us shopping in the boy’s department–that’s right! (I think that we only bought basic underwear,socks,and nightgowns in the girl’s dept.) So, the basic tee-shirts,jeans,jean jacket, and nylon winter jacket were purchased from the boy’s dept. because it was cheaper. ‘The Woman’ would say “if you make one remark or even one look then we’re going home and you can go without!” I would pray that the sales clerk assumed that I had a brother and we were just taking everything home for him!

When I got a little older, ‘the woman’ and me were almost the same size but I grew a couple of inches taller, with wider bones as a teenager. Then she wanted me to wear some of her hand-me-down clothes, which of course were too tight and a bit matronly! (I only got braces since my father had a good profession and his company paid for everything dental.)

I think it was at this point that I really developed issues with fashion and body image as a teen. I was NEVER good enough. I learned to hide my face with glasses and wearing plain pants and shirts. Even as an adult, I’m uncomfortable wearing makeup, preferring to blend in the crowd. I don’t get too much attention from men and other women are not too jealous of me. I can remember at this point beginning to put on a little weight, like 20 pounds or so, as a teenager. I would start to get comments like, “she has a good face, but if only she could take off the weight!”

I do have issues in my adult life with weight. I believe that I put on the excess weight, like 75 pounds or so?, due to rebellion against these attacks. I’m now starting the South Beach diet, and I live alone so there is no extra junk food in the house, and I do this for me alone. It’s crazy but I still fear ‘the woman’ seeing me go out of my house dressed up, wearing makeup with accessories. (I grew up to become a straight, single woman so the boy’s clothing did not totally traumatize me.)I wonder why these mothers are always so jealous of their own daughter’s looks?

Moreover, holidays have always been very bad! I’m sure that we all have our own personal horror stories dealing with Christmas, etc….Once, when I was like in pre-school ‘the woman’ told me that she had heard from my grandparents(father’s family)that they were buying me an Easter basket that year, and that they(parents) did not need to buy me a second Easter basket, since I would be too spoiled!! So much for keeping the belief in Santa and the Easter Bunny! LOL! My birthdays also stand out….my grandparents (lower-middle class) would always buy me a birthday card, with small practical gifts like socks, underwear and a tee-shirt, and of course ‘the woman’ would humiliate me. “Your grandparents only bought you this cheap gift….” Then I would have to defend my grandparents saying that they were older people and on a fixed income and not everyone has grandparents with loads of money to spoil their grandchildren! But there’s more….maybe I will share what I call “The Christmas Story”–(I thought of saving this one for the holidays–no need to bring up the holiday horrors half-way through the year!)one of my worst Christmas stories ever around the age of ten/eleven that would rival Joan Crawford’s “Mommie Dearest” movie!! So sad how we never forget all the minor details of these bad incidents after so many years!

Thanks for reading! Hugs! Yvonne 🙂

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Yvonne, wow, The Woman was a nasty piece of work! I am sorry she tried to make you feel bad, because she was jealous of your beauty and youth! I am sad for you, that you feel unable to express yourself, through clothing and make up. It is very creepy, The Woman made you dress in boys clothing. She did not even want you to have childhood innocence around the holidays!
My mother also dressed me in cheap polyester, and bargain basement clothing. Her favorite thing was to get hand me downs from her friends kids. I would feel so depressed, when I would see that friend coming through the door, with her daughters ugly cast offs. When I started working in my teens. To purchase my own clothing, my nicer, favorite items would go missing. Or, say I had hand washed a special dress and hung it to dry in the laundry room. She would purposely throw it in the dryer and shrink it, and play all innocent when confronted. She also neglected mu hygeine when very young. My early years were spent in catholic school, and she would wash my uniform maybe once a month. Often I was not bathed regularly. I was teased in school for lack of hygeine. I would go to visit my granny next door, and she would look at me, and start the tub water running. Then she would wash and mend my clothes, and darn my socks. My mother did not like her, needless to say. She also could only afford to give us socks and underwear as gifts, but it didnt matter. I loved my Granny so.

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PS Where your witchy mothers dressed to the nines, with the latest hairdo, like mine? Im willing to guess yes.

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Yvonne and Janie!! I could almost believe I was reading about me! Hand me down clothing and hygiene not being attended to, and getting only the cheapest unflattering clothing from my Mom, while she bought hoards of clothing for herself and got her hair done every week. I too was the but of jokes in my sixth grade class because baths were for Sunday nights only and my clothing was either cheap unstylish stuff Mom bought for me or several years out of style hand me downs from my ousting. The boys of course got new things. As I wrote in message 127 my narcissistic mother had a way of not being around for things that were important to me. Like taking off with her new husband and moving cross country right as I was planning my wedding leaving me to do all the work myself, then coming to the wedding dressed to the nines as the mother of the bride. There were other times too as I mentioned in message 127. So what was it with our mothers? They didn’t want to be upstaged by us? We’re they that narcissistic? I grew up with such a lack of self worth due to her lack of interest or caring. I always felt I was being the fair one by giving up my own needs for hers. Who was the parent here?? And god forbid if I didn’t give in to her demands. Then I’d be ignored, shamed, discarded and trashed like a piece of garbage. Well, thanks for listening. I needed to vent especially to people who I know will understand.

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[…] Honor your Mother and Father; Is Drawing A Boundary a Sin? […]

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Hello Janie,126
Thank you for your reply.Please do not cry the toilet roll cover happened when I was about 45yrs old and my sister is 18yrs younger than me.Some of the things far worse that happened to me would make you and me cry now but I am over the TRC. When my brother died suddenly my sister was born the year after, I suppose making her my parents “love child”. The trouble being that my father in between having other women used me, thus making it easier for my mother because she could control me but of course not other woman. Although my mother was jealous and still can be in her old age now living in a care home she took her anger out on me.He did not want her that was the trouble and she was pregnant when they married meeting in another country during the 2nd WW.Her parents disowned her. She was good looking and came from a wealthy family but marrying my father she thought (so I believe) that life would be roseier living in England. Of course her Nationality was dispised in 1945.He just could not keep it in cling film and she was left at home not speaking a word of English whilst he went out carrying on from where he left off before the war. There is no doubt about it I witnessed all sorts of abuse to her and my brother and me but she allowed it and twisted the screw in to make me suffer more. I hated him and could hardly speak some days because of the no win situation. I would go days without eating. Rake thin. He had a filthy temper which he took out on her and my brother but her temper was used on me.
My sister who was very beatuiful and is extremely high maintenance was little miss pricess and I treated her the same and still do.She was sexually abused by my father but my mother does not know.She lives in another country very hot and zero tolerant about marriage and living in sin etc. I am not able to say too much I am afraid of her identity being exposed. The top and tale of this is she in a dangerous situation because of something she has done and it has blown my mind at the stupidy almost as if she has a death wish. I went to visit her staying in a hotel a month ago to try and make some sense of everything and to try and help her.She has this goody two shoes image which will kill my mother with shock if she found out.I love my sister as if she were my daughter unfortunately she is not “there” for me when I need help and neither are my parents.
This site has opened up all my emotional wounds but reading and corresponding with others is helping me to take control of my life clearing the rubbish out and moving forward making better decisions putting myself first instead of what others expect all the time,last.Recently I have stood up for myself more and this week joined a Spa Club and have booked and started some very intense swimming lessons and to all the so called friends that have been freeloading on me for years it is goodbye to the old me. My life is just starting. Thank you Janie for your very kind words. May I ask which country you are from. Wendy am xxxxxx

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Yep, another hand-me-down wardrobe here. And I do worry about clothes a lot still. Not so much in a ‘is this fashionable’ kind of a way, but ‘do I deserve to get something new’ way. I’ve worked around this for years by telling myself I can get ‘expensive’ things like boots and coats because those things are supposed to last and so they should be good quality. Buying myself something to wear just for fun is out. But maybe I should:-)

I remember her and I disagreeing in stores and me getting slapped for it. Not when I got home, in the middle of the store. And no-one said anything. I’m sure nobody dared.

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alice,

that is horrible to be slapped in public over clothing. u deserve to buy something just for fun, treat yourself how u should’ve been treated. i’m sorry nobody said or did anything but my mother yelled at a man who commented on how my mother was treating my sister in public. sometimes today people call the police and the parent gets in trouble but there is a lot of controversy over what to do. seems like protecting the child should always be the priority. you know, the helpless little ones who have nowhere else to go.

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Sue I remember at age 14 being at a fair with my family. I was getting tired and asked when we were leaving. My mother slapped me across the face in the middle of a crowd. In my house new clothes were for the boys. I got my cousins hand me downs. Would have been nice to have something new, which I began to get when I started babysitting and bought it myself.
Wendy glad to hear this site is helping you giving you a place to share your feelings. I’m new here and looking for the same thing here.

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Hi Karen
I had the same exact experience of always being told i was the one with the problem. My father has a phd so it was dam hard to get out of their brainwashing. My parents are high functioning sociopaths or whatever the name of very smart brainwashing bastard.
Istill all the time make things my fault. As if i am deficient of being perfect all the timen. Its smth i work on getting rid off.
i have noticed that every single thing i have been accused of is a projection of what is wrong with them. Its always about them. How else can it be with master selfish people. I am now using their exact words they used to say to me on them. My last email to my dad reads… i fail to find the proper words how everything with you is so weirds and backwards..
was a tinsy revenge email 😉

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amber,

i’m sorry you were slapped for the crime of being tired. fairs make me tired too. my mother showed her “love” for me by dressing me very well and i remember being told i always looked like i stepped out of seventeen magazine when i was a teen. (it wasn’t a compliment.) at one point my ex and i had to move back in with my parents for financial reasons and the night before we were going to go i remembered my mother taking me in the bathroom and slapping me across the face because i had told my father that she had smashed my head against a wall for getting water on the floor while showering with my sister after a day at the beach. then i realized i was trapped and it was abuse. our stay with them lasted 3 weeks and i witnessed my mother yelling at her very young students and how scared they looked.

kathyrn, i went out with a man who had 2 phd’s. you have to be very smart to figure out how to be stupid in the way u treat women. your dad sounds like my ex, everything becomes some crazy making mind twisting game which leaves everyone stressed and confused. so toxic. a tiny revenge is better than none at all. so glad to be free of it.

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Sue, that makes me angry hearing about how your mother slapped you around. I really feel for you,because I was the victim of my mother’s bad moods. She is Ina mood and anything I say could provoke a smack. The day at the fair is a perfect example. She came after me with a belt chasing me around the kitchen table with it terrifying me when I was just trying to tell her that I needed money each week because my 6th grade class would’ve buying the daily newspaper for current events. I was once beaten with a belt on my behind until I had welts because of something my brother and I both did, but when he denied it and said I had done it she came after me. She hated girls, and I was the only girl child so Ibore the brunt of her anger.
Katheryn, my mother was a brilliant woman academically, but hadn’t a clue on how to raise a daughter. She did everything she could to demean me and let me know I was inferior for being a girl. I am really getting sad now with these memories.
She moved cross country…while I was planning my wedding as a girl just out of college, leaving me to do all the arrangements. Years later she expected that I would fly cross country to take her to her six month doctor appts, because that’s a daughters job. The boys are busy with their lives she said. I blew up at her about that one. Now she is gone, but I realize how afraid of people I had become from her treatment of me. My father was a nitpicking perfectionist and very critical so that impacted my negative concept of myself too.
Thanks for listening, I needed to vent!

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Diane #10 wrote: ” I can actually look back now and feel such relief at being FREE of that now….when just two years ago I was stuck and I absolutely had the victim mentality, but didn’t understand that I did. Once I fully understood that I wanted to get free even if that meant cutting off my relatives and parents in order to break those dysfunctional and disrespectfully abusive chains of behaviors from them, and once I understood that it wasn’t me at fault all those years….and once I understood that chasing my fantasy of a close relationship with my parents and other family members was just that…a total fantasy!…..was when I began to actually love my SELF. I had to want it badly enough….and I desperately wanted free from all of the emotional prison I had been in my entire life.”

Wow. Diane, you “said it all” here – thank you so much! Will print out your whole comment and post it on my wall. This is such an excellent discussion. I have long said what our family does and how our parents act “is not love” and of course, like others here, no one would speak to me afterwards. But thank God for that! Makes it easier to disconnect. When the going gets rough, the rough get going, and then it’s smooth sailing ahead!

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amber, my mother’s anger was fueled by bipolar disease and i wish someone had told me earlier that it had a name etc, my aunt told us when i was 16 and my sister was 10. i just thought she hated me. if your mother hated girls she hated herself. when my daughter was little she looked like a porcelain doll, the sweetest thing. i’ve been away from her for 3 years because of pesticide spraying where i lived and i am trying to go back, it is really hard for me knowing she feels abandoned but i couldn’t let the govt. poison me monthly and i am going back despite that risk which is a little bit downgraded and still being fought. it’s hard to raise a teenager when you are chemically sensitive. i relate to the sadness u feel while these memories come up. i have a really strong feelings that no matter how hard it is to talk about it it’s better than trying to suppress all the rage and the shame and have it eat us alive through disease or addiction.

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Le’ah wrote #16: “For the first time in 60 years; for me it is more than ok. The child inside no longer cries for a mommy who was never there. I have grown up.”

Your whole post moved me to tears, in the best possible way. Thank you so much! There’s so much good here I’m going to print out all of it and read it at my leisure. Just what I needed to hear. Now to put it into practice! Dear God please show us The Way.

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Amber & Sue, thank you so much for all your comments in this discussion! You both make me feel proud, that someone can stand up to family abuse and guess what? If you can, even if it’s a “teensy revenge,” so can I! Gracias amigas. I am also chemically sensitive and emotionally sensitive, so have to stay away from toxic environments on both counts. Otherwise I am sick for days, weeks, months and even years afterwards.
There’s not much difference in chemical or emotional toxicity, is there?

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hi catherine,

it would be good if we didn’t have to wait till we’re 60 but better late than never. i’m sorry we share the same illness. i am going back to where my toxic ex is in order to be with my daughter but i hope that i’m stronger and i have a boyfriend who is bigger than him and accepts me with my health problems. it’s been over 30 years since a man was nice to me. can u imagine trying to hide chemical sensitivity on dates? (who are wearing cologne) i also have cfs and there has been research that a lot of us were abused as kids and that being stressed and scared at such a young age and for such a long time damages our immune systems. so thanks mom etc. the gift that keeps on giving. true, any kind of toxicity will leave u nauseous, dizzy, vulnerable, afraid, shocked-u name it. the isolation is hard too, you’re so starved for company u will take anyone. but we can’t. out of control bizarre feelings and symptoms where if someone doesn’t know what’s wrong with us we look crazy. so i usually talk about it as i try not to wear a mask when i’m out.

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Catherine Todd, you can stand up to bad treatment! I guess at some point I had had enough crap and I wasn’t going to get guilt-tripped into giving into unreasonable demands from my mother. Hey, she wasn’t there for me so many times when I needed support, so where does she get the feeling of entitlement that I have to do her bidding? It was a one way street for her. She gave no emotional support, but yet she expects all her needs to be met.
Catherine remember, we are fearing that if we stand up for ourselves we will get rejected. But through their disrespect and lousy treatment, we have already been rejected, so what’s to fear? I say go for it even if you stand up in a small way. Good luck and let us know how things are going.

147

Thanks for your comments Sue. And you and Amber, both, what horrible mistreatment. I’m glad people are starting to speak up more about this. I was thinking this morning, every single thing these people have done needs to be said out loud. Or written out loud. I think this is helpful. At least to me it is because when I write it out loud I get this ‘reality’ check around just how I was treated. Some days I’m just gobsmacked. I’m still not taking it very personally, because it wasn’t about me – or is that a defense-mechanism?

Also, this thread helped me to remember that the things I enjoyed doing with my father were also ‘his’ things really. But I enjoyed them with him. When I think of things that were ‘mine’ I can think of one, or maybe two. But those were things I did by myself mostly.

When I was 9 or 10 or maybe older, a very good friend of mine suffered from what looked to me like an abusive father. He would scream at her for what I saw as ‘no reason’ and he’d hit her hard.
I told my parents about it but they made it clear to me it was none of ‘their’ business getting into that subject with my friend’s parents. Instead they’d just comment quietly over dinner about what a ‘nut’ they thought he was and his ‘poor daughters’.

I think (and I thought at the time) it’s because they considered that a person’s children ‘belonged’ to him/her. And so that meant they could do whatever they wanted (although I figured there must be limits for extreme mistreatment, at least that’s what the TV news suggested).

My friend’s sister had multiple allergies and what was called at the time ‘M.E’. By the time we moved, she was in a wheelchair. I was convinced it was a direct result of her father’s abuse and my parents sort of agreed with me that it might be. Which I now find pretty incredible considering their refusal to see that the way they were treating me had consequences for my health too.

One summer, a year before I finally left home, I asked my mother to take me to the doctor’s because I was suffering very heavy depression. She told me ‘You’re not depressed’. And refused to take me to see the doc. I insisted and in the end she had to concede. But basically she was afraid of how it would make her look. The doctor acknowledged that I had a problem and gave me some relaxation tapes to listen to. I’ve been trying to ‘fix’ myself ever since!

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hi alice,

it is a reality check, this really happened to me-instead of some vague nightmare u want to forget or u remember it in a patchy way. i would leave my body while my mother screamed at me for hours. it probably wasn’t about u, it was about their sickness and need for control and manipulation. they owned us. but not in a good way. M.E. is what chronic fatigue syndrome is called in england. i am not in a wheelchair but i am no longer an aerobics instructor and was stuck in an abusive marriage for half my life because i was too sick to work or i would’ve left. your parent’s denial that u were treated badly too seems typical, unfortunately. blindness. did your depression get better?

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God bless you so much Catherine for sharing in my life story #143. I am here to read,learn, express and cry for the pain of others’ too. I feel so much for all who have broken lives posted here yet, I get more encouraged as I read and reflect on the millions of others who have experienced my kind of rejection and sometimes far worse.

By the grace of God we can all have the courage to move on and leave behind the hurt that has driven us to life long despair to put it lightly! It is OUR life and God gave it to us. My aim is to grow better not bitter and yes it has taken 60 years to finally grow up! More later, bless you all!

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thanks to everyone here… so much to read, listen and learn! Le’ah, God bless YOU for sharing your story!

” My aim is to grow better not bitter” – what a wonderful way to put it!

“and yes it has taken 60 years to finally grow up! More later, bless you all!”

Looking foward to more from you, Sue, Alice and everyone here. God bless!

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Amber wrote: “Catherine remember, we are fearing that if we stand up for ourselves we will get rejected. But through their disrespect and lousy treatment, we have already been rejected, so what’s to fear? I say go for it even if you stand up in a small way. Good luck and let us know how things are going.”

Yes! And you are right, we are already “rejected” so we might as well stand up for ourselves. What do we have to lose? Nothing, and all to gain. Love the way you put it. Going up on my wall!

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Catherine Todd, I can’t take credit for that quote in 151′ I was paraphrasing something that Darlene has said in many of her blogs. What I can take credit for is learning from what Darlene said and passing it on. It hurts to realize that my mother held it against me that I was born a female. I tried my whole life to please her, to correct whatever it was that I was doing wrong. Reading this website, I realized that I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I was a child looking for something that. I should have had all along, love from my mother. I tried staying out of her way, doing well in school, not asking for even basic things that I needed, but none of it worked. She was not going to love a female child no matter what I did. This website woke me up to the fact that I had already been rejected and nothing I did would have changed it. It also woke me up to the fact that I was not at fault. Hey, I was a young child just looking for something that I should have been given, but my mother wasn’t going to give it to me. I feared that if I crossed her or didn’t give in to her, she would discard me like she did with other people. If she didn’t get her way she’d toss you out of her life. She couldn’t, or wouldn’t compromise or listen to others points of view. So I feared being tossed out if I didn’t give in to her. When she tried to borrow a large amount of money from me, and I knew I’d never get it back, I said NO. As expected, she refused to talk to me for three years. But I held my ground. In later life she expected that the daughter would fly across country every six months to take her to all her doctor appts. BAfter all, that’s a daughters job! She got angry when I told her that was unreasonable. But I held my ground. You see, the worst she could do was reject me, but she never accepted me in the first place. So Catherine Todd, go for it. Stand up for yourself. The worst that can happen is that you’ll see rejection in action that has been there all along. But you’ll feel respect for yourself. Start with small steps. I didn’t do it in a loud confrontational way. I just used that wonderful word, NO!

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Hi Sue,

I’m sorry you suffered so much! Yes I was thinking M.E And CFS might be similar.
For the depression, it’s a sort of a ‘come and go’ thing. Some days when it does happen (which these days is not that frequent) it feels purely physical/nervous, there’s no emotional content to it at all, but I kind of ‘know’ by now that it does pass, or to take action of some kind. I think it just needs listening to sometimes and sometimes it doesn’t and pushing through is the only thing that lifts it. It is vary variable though. My mother told me that my father suffered anxiety and depression. I guess she was possibly allowing for the idea that I might have inherited it rather than there being any parenting-related cause. She still denies any responsibility to this day. What is now pretty well known is that mental health or illness is a combination of internal (including genetic) and external factors. So while it’s possible that I do have that ‘orchid’ gene, or that I’m predisposed to high sensitivity, the way I was mistreated has had effects that another person with similar ‘make up’ to me wouldn’t have to deal with. So these days I just find ways of dealing with the internal and external. Going NC with my mother (and the rest of the people who don’t see me as a person) has been very helpful.

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Thank you Amber and Alice. NC (“no contact”) helped me for over 20 years, and my suffering has returned when I made the mistake of recontacting family members and my mother when she was dying of cancer. You would think that reconciliations would be in order, but you would be wrong! I surely was. I have had chronic fatigue for years now, and depression (off and on, whenever I have contact with family members), so I know the two are linked. I’m working on the inside and outside at the same time now. As Alice said, mental health is genetic and it’s also situational. So I know I have it “both ways.” That’s what I have to work on now.

Amber wrote: “Stand up for yourself. The worst that can happen is that you’ll see rejection in action that has been there all along. But you’ll feel respect for yourself. Start with small steps. I didn’t do it in a loud confrontational way. I just used that wonderful word, NO!”

“”Stand up for yourself. The worst that can happen is that you’ll see rejection in action that has been there all along.”

That’s it in a nutshell, isn’t it? It has BEEN THERE ALL ALONG. I just didn’t know it before. That’s what hurts so much right now… that I could have been in the dark about the ongoing back-stabbing for over 30 years that I didn’t know about. But now that it has been brought out into the open, the hatred is plain to see. Denial and cruelty, too. It’s time for me to find a way to put balm and salve on the wounds, the buried deep ones and the new current ones, and that’s what I’m working on now. How to do this?

I have to learn how to PRAY and I ask daily for FAITH for NOW and the FUTURE.
Dear God please show me The Way.

Thanks to everyone here…

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Hello Catherine!

This is my second round of NC. When I first left the country (and the family) I was NC for a few years – not sure how many, and those seemed like the happiest of my life:-) Then my “mother-in-law” (she was just my boyfriend’s mother but we were very serious so I felt she was MIL) kept talking to me about my estrangement from my mother – lots of ‘But it’s your MOTHER’ talk. At the time I didn’t think of telling her to butt out. And I gave in and got back in touch. It’s so tempting to say that I had been right all along to go NC and that breaking it was the wrong thing to do but I did want to try again. My MIL made a very compelling case for me getting back in touch, she pleaded ‘love’ to me. Had she gone on about ‘owing’ or ‘honoring’ I wouldn’t have listened. Those are things my parents and FOO refer to.

I think Sue says it well when she mentions these things, the mistreatment, is not about you or me but about the people doing it. Thinking about them, trying to put myself in their shoes, how can they begin to know a new person? That might be a bit like them and also not at all? That’s sort of there and forming, but not really formed?

I’m not saying the above to excuse them but more to explain why it’s pointless to take it personally. I know I’m repeating myself a bit:-) At the same time, I still wonder why when the child (me or anyone) starts to be able to say “I don’t like this way’ and ‘I disagree’ the mistreatment increases. At least it did in my case. But that too, I can’t take it personally.

I do think being in the dark helps survival, except one is not entirely in the dark but both in the dark AND hiding the rest until it’s safe to leave. One of the things for me is recognizing when I am safe. Not as easy as it sounds.

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Alice, very good point about not taking their shortcomings personally. I was thinking the same thing when reading Catherine’s post. And you know what? It does hurt a little less when we stop blaming ourselves and put the responsibility for mean behavior on the ones that are doing it. I think this is one of the big keys to the whole thing. We didn’t bring on someone else’s bad behavior. The people doing it hold the responsibility.

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I so agree with you Amber! I had another idea about this ”it’s not you it’s them” idea yesterday. I find it very freeing to finally see that. In fact it frees me so I’m no longer afraid to look at what I might have done or do that might be hurtfull towards them. I don’t mean that as in “I did X so they treated me badly by Y” because that’s an argument that they use to justify their mistreatment in the first place. However for all this great ‘understanding’ I wouldn’t be able at this point to reverse the NC, so maybe I’m not as far along as I thought. But at this point, I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I guess if it takes NC for me to be functional in the rest of my relationships…

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Alice, I think people with bad behavior are very skilled at making the person they’re hurting feel guilt. So part of no longer taking the blame for their behavior is an elimination of that (unwarranted) guilt feeling. It gives a sense of freedom to no longer feel guilt for something that you shouldn’t have felt it for in the first place. The reason those people pour on the guilt is to make I look like you are wrong and not them. Alice don’t beat yourself up. No one said it would be instantaneous. It must take quite a while to undo years and years of damage. I’m feeling lots better just with realizing that I did nothing to deserve being put down and slapped around as a child. As a matter of fact i was the kind of kid a parent should have been very happy to have. I stayed out of trouble, was kind to people and did well in school. But to m Mom I was a convenient scapegoat and the biggest crime was being a girl. No I have nothing to feel blame or guilt for.

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alice,

what i see is another mother figure pushed u around and made u feel guilty about nc with your mother. that is a really hard thing to resist. it was a lesson to learn. it doesn’t make u weak and neither does the fact that if u began communication again it would be just as crazy because it’s their crazy, not yours. nc means u are trying not to let it make u crazy. it seems in reading all these posts that for the most part these people do not change because they don’t think they are doing anything wrong and if they had to start treating u with respect, well it’s just not worth the effort to them. we were children when this was done to us.

amber, it makes me happy that u realize how special u were and your parents should have been proud, not hateful.

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I remember asking a therapist about, having so much guilt because I did not cry because my mother died. But, a month later, my dog, that we had for 14 years died of heart failure and I cried like a baby. I felt so much guilt for not crying for my mother and ‘over’ crying for my dog. She told me this, and I think it echoes what Darlene says. My therapist said, if you weren’t raised with love, in a loving manner, how on earth are you supposed to feel a sense of loss for something you did not have with that person? It also reminds me of the poem by Dorothy Law-Nolte poem:
CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVE

If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.
If a child lives with fear,
he learns to be apprehensive.
If a child lives with pity,
he learns to feel sorry for himself.
If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with jealousy,
he learns what envy is.
If a child lives with shame,
he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns to be confident.
If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with praise,
he learns to be appreciative.
If a child lives with acceptance,
he learns to love.
If a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with recognition,
he learns that it is good to have a goal.
If a child lives with sharing,
he learns about generosity.
If a child lives with honesty and fairness,
he learns what truth and justice are.
If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith in himself and in those about him.
If a child lives with friendliness,
he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live.
If you live with serenity,
your child will live with peace of mind.
With what is your child living?

Or, What did we all grow up with?
I can see what Darlene talks about, it’s about realizing what happened, how these thoughts and patterns came about, and understanding with a grown up mind and heart what the truth is. And then, moving forward, productively, with a clear mind and knowing that although that was our childhood, we are now adult enough to know how to change and let go of this brainwashing.
What I still have problems with is that this ideology continues within the family, it passes on from parents to siblings. And they seem content to continue with the roles that have been predetermined. This is where I am stuck. My mother and step father treated me in such a way, I wonder how I ever got married and have kids of my own. My parents did not teach me how to parent, they taught me how not to parent. I’m just slow when it comes to reparenting myself.

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Hello Raven,
Thank you for sharing the poem, I have not heard of it before. How true.I know how you feel when a pet dies we recently lost one of our cats, and we cried buckets. As for my parents if they die before me any tears I cry will be for two wasted lives. Two people who were totally selfish, mean spirited, cruel++++. Like I have said many times before I dont wish them dead. Their punishment is being kept alive.Thank you Raven .God bless. Wendy am. xxx

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Thank you for your comments Amber. It does seem like I have been fighting this ‘forever’. It’s such a shame that your mother had these strange ideas about being female and treated you badly as a result. She must have hated herself too then?

My brother has recently been crowned ‘head of the family’ by my aunt (this follows my father’s death) and I’m damned if I’m buying it. I’ve discovered recently a real intolerence of sexism in any form. I don’t know how much this has its origin in the family. But really any ‘power structure’ that has its roots in things you can’t change or roles that are enforced upon you without consent have my contempt.

I also got a load of reproach for not doing what the daughter of the family is “supposed” to do in terms of caregiving. Sometimes I still feel guilty I haven’t just gone along with whatever they wanted. I suppose it’s one of the prices to pay. But I think my freedom is worth it. Worth being unhappy sometimes.
In fact I haven’t met any of their expectations as an adult. My rationalization is that I looked after aging family members as a child so I’ve ‘paid my dues’ already. I guess that sounds harsh.

Sue, yes, my mother for one is entirely convinced she was a great mother, that she did her absolute best despite ‘not being perfect’ or having children that “come with an instruction book” (she’s said all of these to me when I’ve brought up how the way I was treated by her has affected me). On one occasion she said that there were a ‘couple of times’ she ‘might have handled’ me better. And I do often fall into traps with mother figures. I have to keep stopping myself from looking at older women as mothers. I guess it’s obvious I’m looking to them for what I did not receive. The ‘literature’ on getting past this ‘looking for mother’ thing is vast but it mostly says you have to give up trying to get something you never had. I think that’s an interesting statement for several reasons, not least the question that it raises ‘Why would I keep on searching for something I never had?’

I’m still digging around in the psychology trying to understand that one:-)

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Raven, thanks for the poem. I have seen it but it is worth revisiting!
Alice, yes it is extremely irritating when these gender roles are handed to us like the daughter is the caregiver and the son becomes head of the family. I learned to not accept roles I don’t agree with, and as a matter of fact, with two brothers, I feel I fell into the role of head of the family with many decisions after my parents passed on. The daughter could be good at something more than just the caretaker. Alice I too have wondered about what my mother thought of herself. I do know she hated her mother, and complained that her brother was treated like a king and the girls didn’t matter. She hated that yet she did the same thing to me. Go figure!
Sue, thanks for your sweet comment tha my parents should have been proud. I do think my Dad was to some extent but he was a picky perfectionist much of the time. My mother hAd that anti female thing and it precluded getting any enjoyment out of anything I did.
Lastlly Alice I got to comment on what you were told about giving up looking for something you never had. I don’t completely agree, but I think you need to look for it WITHIN YOURSELF. You can tell yourself that you are a wonderful person, you can pat yourself on the back for something well done. You can soothe yourself when you need comforting.. You can say “I didn’t get this from my mother, but I deserve it so I am going to give it to myself”. I think the first step is to start believing that you do deserve these things no matter what you have been told as a child.

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alice,

the poem above raven posted, if a child lives with shame he learns to be guilty. we did not bring this shame upon ourselves. the way we were treated was shameful. i’m sorry the price for freedom is being unhappy sometimes. when i confronted my mother re. abuse she said she wouldn’t call it abuse. we keep looking for what we never had because we need it, we needed it more when we were little. we’re sort of working with a deficit. it is sad how the dysfunction poisons our sibling and other relationships too. the guilt is just more poison. if we take care of ourselves we seem selfish.

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Sue, Alice, and amber,
I’ve loved the conversation here. It is just speaking volumes to me. So much in common.
Btw, I had to go NC with my ‘mother’ and stepfather a few years ago. The first step was changing mt mobile and home phone numbers. She kept calling me. EVERYTIME my phone rang my heart lurched into my throat. It was like that for years. Once she left a disgustingly abusive message on my answering machine, part of it was’i hate you I hate I HATE YOU you’re nothing but a (couldn’t hear what she said coz the line went static) ‘you try and destroy me and I WILL destroy you etc etc… EVERYTIME I came home after that I would check for the red flashing light in the answering machine with my heart in my throat.. Just dreadful. I lived like that for a few years.. I didn’t feel I was ‘allowed’ to get rid of the answering machine… Coz I felt that was too assertive to DRASTIC, after all, I’d been called a hypochondriac all my life. Fancy being scared to do something to PROTECT myself and my family. (My small kids and my beloved neice heard that message, how was I to know that message was on the machine, so as to hide it from them???? Uuggghh she was AWFUL and MANIPULATIVE …. A few years after this I FINALLY got the courage to change my home and mobile numbers, and make them unlisted. Took so much courage. I was seriously sick EVERYTIME the phone rang, and a lot if the time I wouldn’t even answer, until i got a mobile phone, and could see the caller id. Even now I rarely answer unknown callers. I figure if somebody wants me bad enough they’ll text me! I still live in the same house and sometimes I wonder if she will turn up at my door. I often wonder what I would do if she did. I’d love to just close the door but I’m not a mean person so I probably wouldn’t do that. I don’t love my mother…. But I do pity her as a human being. To love someone I think they have to have somehow earn it. She didn’t, she hasn’t, and she never will. I do not hold out hope for a relationship if any kind with her. My sister and half brother also have NC. So it can’t just be me, hey??
Michelle

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hi michelle,

it was a turning point for me to let my mother rant into the machine and not listen to it, it was my 30th birthday. she could not even control herself for a birthday call. i’m sorry other kids had to hear her hateful message. they have to poison every generation they can. i’m sorry u lived like that for years as if she turned into the answering machine haunting u, making u still feel unsafe. the fear it creates. they become furious when we try to protect ourselves. my ex did turn up at my door unannounced from california to new mexico! it does not make u a mean person to want to be treated well. i understand why u don’t love her. that doesn’t make u mean either. it is not just u.

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Michelle, it is not mean to protect yourself and not take abuse. And you are also protecting your kids! You all have the right to a peaceful and happy life, and you don’t have to have anyone in it who disrupts it. I know it’s hard not to feel guilt when we take a stand with family members, especially parents. Somehow it’s drilled into us that we’re supposed to love them, and maybe in most cases people do love their family members. But family members who don’t treat us right shouldn’t be expecting unconditional love from us. Where is it written that someone can mistreat us and they’ll be loved no matter what? If they don’t deserve the love, well, they don’t deserve it.
My household with my husband and two kids was loving and peaceful. But if my mother and stepfather showed up there would be yelling, fighting and trying to force us to be involved and choose sides against other family members. And they would turn on us too. That is why I said NO when they wanted to come in and stay with us when I had my first baby. Imagine having to put up with that when I had a newborn? It’s hard not to feel guilt because they trained us that way, but we have to research ourselves that we have the right to take care of ourselves and our kids. I think the guilt will go away when we change our thinking about this.
Sue made some good points. Just because someone calls we are not under obligation to speak to them, and we owe it to ourselves not to pick up the phone when it’s someone who is going to mistreat us. Like Sue says, it does not make you a mean person to want to be treated well.

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RE:message 167, I hate when spellcheck kicks in. It should be “remind”, not “research”. Michelle I reread your post, and if you felt physically ill worrying about your mother calling and leaving verbally abusive messages, you had every right to do what you did and not feel guilty.

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Sue, you’ve hit the nail on the head as far as giving to myself is concerned. Amber, I agree with you that I “should” be able to do these things for myself but it rings false so often that it can end up feeling worse than if I don’t bother trying.
I think it’s worth perservering on however. See, as long as I can squeeze things into the category of ‘self-improvement’ or health or something like that it seems admissible. I have to sort of laugh at how I get around myself:-)
Michelle, I’m happy this discussion is useful. When my mother calls I let her go straight to voicemail. I get a wave of nausea when I see the number. I do listen to the messages, which aren’t offensive, just her pretending nothing has changed between us and a firm request to call her back when I’ve been clear on what she needs to do for that to happen. I debated myself on changing my number but decided it wasn’t worth the trouble.
Noticing also in this thread that the legitimate act of protecting oneself is sometimes questioned. Sometimes it does feel like a ‘weakness’ that I’m unable to deal with my family. But I can’t imagine it without feeling sick and angry.

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Alice, could be that you aren’t quite ready to give certain things to yourself yet. What I mean is that before I could start doing that (and even now I don’t succeed at doing it all the time) I had to start to believe that I truly deserve these things that I wasn’t given as a child, and had been made to feel that I had no right to have and didn’t deserve. It is very hard to undo a belief so deeply ingrained.
Intellectually I know that I do deserve love, loyalty and a whole host of other things. I also know I wasn’t at fault and didn’t deserve to be put down, made to feel inferior, and have “love” used as a tool of manipulation, being withdrawn when I didn’t read the right lines of the script or let myself be used. What I find is that my emotions haven’t caught up to what my mind knows, at least not all the time. But I’ve definitely made progress. I now can say NO to unreasonable demands. I am sometimes able to tell someone that I don’t like how they are treating me. There is still some residual fear and guilt that lingers,but it has lessened. Alice, I think it is a long process, one that I am partially through at this point. But the first step is becoming aware of what you didn’t deserve to have happen to you, and also to become aware of what you do deserve in life. Then it starts to become easier to say no to people who ask for unreasonable things and to give yourself what you should have.

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Thank you Amber for your well-written reply. I agree that I’m probably not far enough into this yet.
She called me again today and left a message. This time it was about giving me all her ‘love’. You know, I’ve come to hate that word.

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don’t let her make you hate that word because you are a loving person despite the drastic steps you need to take to protect yourself, like amber said- fear and guilt; no one should have to make these choices. today would’ve been my 30th wedding anniversary. i am free of my mother and free of my spouse. now if i can only slay fear and guilt and learn to love and take care of myself……….

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Alice, you’re welcome!! About the message you got, I’ve gotten similar ones from my mother, but I had come to realize that she could quickly withdraw her “love” when I disagreed with her or didn’t give in to her. But as Sue said, don’t let her make you hate the word love. Just because some people misuse it it shouldn’t discount the fact that there are many loving people in this world.

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Thank you both for your messages Amber and Sue. I see them as very loving. I also feel as if I’m taking up too much of the thread with my stuff. The woman on my shoulder suggesting I’m getting too much attention or taking up too much space. It’s true that there are many loving people in the world.

I mean there’s not *actually* a woman on my shoulder but it’s a good image of my ‘internal mother’ who’s such a ‘joy’ to listen to, haha. I do find it incredible that we grow up with these internal sources of abuse. ‘Is it a bug or a feature’? Has it ever struck anyone as just very strange to carry it forward?

Sue, you sound very grounded to me from what I’ve read so far. I don’t know that eliminating fear itself would be a ‘good’ thing since it does serve a purpose, but the thing to aim for perhaps would be ‘appropriate fear’? I suppose ‘guilt’ serves some purpose if ‘appropriate’ as well. I don’t think I’d want to give either of them up to the extent that I’d *want* to feel guilt if I did something unkind to someone and I definitely want my fear to kick in if I’m in danger.

In insisting how I felt and how I ‘should’ feel all the time rather than accepting the truth of how I did feel, my mother inadvertently screwed up my emotional compass. I really don’t think she had a clue about the consequences.

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Amber:
My mother hated girls too. Lack of medical care and abandonement in every important event in my life. I came to expect and accept that as normal adapting to standing alone unsupported. Not so my GC brother. My acceptance of this lack of mothering disturbs me most
of all.

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hi alice,

don’t apologize for getting some loving finally! in all these messages i see how we dip back into lower self-esteem and get easily rattled. i feel grounded only because i’m in a good relationship now. if i move back to where my ex and daughter live all kinds of fear and guilt come up, environmental fear as well. by fear and guilt i mean the kind that is unhealthy, the guilt that eats away at us as we protect ourselves that will seem drastic to people who have healthy families. they can see us as abusive. people tell me fear runs my life. i am trying not to let it. i’m afraid of almost everything.

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Alice, I for one do not think you are taking up too much of this thread! And I bet others would agree. I think I know why you feel that way. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I think it goes back to that feeling that many of us here have that our needs are not important. Well, guess what? Our needs ARE important, but many of us have had them discounted for so long that we have been groomed to think they don’t matter. And we all have the right to have friends that will listen and understand.

Karen, I feel for you since I’m also the daughter of a woman who hated girls. I wonder if my mothers lack of interest in things like my prom and wedding may have been jealousy. She wasn’t at all interested in the preparations for my wedding, but showed up all dressed up as the mother of the bride. My kids have complained that she wasn’t around as a grandmother either. Karen, like you I stood alone and unsupported, though the one good thing is that I learned to do things myself. This too was hard because I had to learn a lot of things through trial and error rather than through the guidance of a parent. While my mother was disinterested, my father (they divorced when I was 18) was so restricting that that held me back too from normal progression from child to adulthood.

Karen I don’t accept the lack of mothering I received. That’s why in later years when she was far away. (Remember she took off to move cross country as I started planning my wedding) in later years when she was widowed and far away I didn’t feel that responsibility to rush out there to help out, even though she tried o guilt trip me with the “it’s a daughters job” crap. Well how bout the Mothers job?? She felt no need to do that job! It’s not that I didn’t go visit her or help her with things when I was there. I chose how much I felt like doing and didn’t feel guilty anout what I didn’t do. She thought I should fly out to take her to her doctor visits. If I was visiting and she needed to go I took her, but I was not going to rearrange my schedule every six months to go out there when she could easily go with an aide from her assisted living place.

Sue I understand that guilt feeling. It seems to come up at times when others have unreasonable demands and I say no. But I realize I was trained this way through years of manipulation so others could get what they want. But how bout what I want? I’m learning to let others know that my needs count too. No I’m not becoming selfish, I still do for others, but now I’m part of the equation too. My needs are important also, and there is more of a balance now between theirs and mine. And it seems to be working, though there is some residual guilt at times when I do things that are in my best interest. But Inremind myself that I had been trained to feel that guilt over the years and that it takes a long time to undo that.

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amber, i agree. alice can talk on this thread for the rest of her life and i would listen. we are finally being heard and i don’t know how many of our unabused friends would understand or listen.

i’m noticing the fathers, the husbands of abusive wives are not ranking too well here also. when karen says she accepts the lack of mothering i thought she meant that she just accepts that as a reality, that is what happened to her. she can’t do anything about it except try to mother herself and there is a sad, hollow, empty feeling that comes with that acknowledgment. i don’t think she accepts it as anything good that she is ok with, it’s just the cards she was dealt.

re. guilt, i read somewhere u have to almost become a narcissist to get over the abuse, meaning u have to swing to the other extreme to make up for it because u were so uncared for. maybe it just feels like narcissism to focus on your needs at all.

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Sue, yes there is Something very sad and empty about accepting the reality of a lack of mothering. As far as my Dad goes, he was very strict and a perfectionist which had its own implications. But the difference is that I did believe he cared about me. My mother never missed the chance to show how she hated girls, and did not show signs of caring about me. If she needed something, her needs always came before mine, if mine were even recognized at all.
As far as the guilt thing goes, I view it a little differently. I don’t feel that I have to swing to the other extreme, just to a middle ground. There is a huge deficit because of the lack of a caring mother, and I don think anything can make up for it but things can be better. I can focus on my needs and still focus on the needs of my family. Maybe I’ve gotten past the point where I view my needs as unimportant, and I no longer feel that it is selfish to give some things to myself. Those ideas had been drilled into me by people who themselves were selfish and would sacrifice my needs to get the things they wanted. Knowing hat plays a huge part in reducing the guilt because the guilt is based on a false belief.

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Hi Sue, Hi Amber, Hi Karen!

Yes, you nailed it again, Amber. Sue, the friends who agree to listen to this stuff at any length, well, not too many of those. What I’ve settled for from some is their acknowledgement that my mother was abusive.

It makes me very angry to hear that a mother would treat her daughter that badly because she’s female, or damn, for any other ostensible ‘reason’ that she can’t change about herself. I can’t say my mom did that. I think she did it because she was neglectful and has narcissistic tendencies. I was quite surprised when my brother turned out to have weird ideas about women because as far as I could tell, the household was pretty egalitarian on that front with both parents taking part in chores. When we weren’t treated equally, my mother would say it was because I was the oldest or that my brother had ‘developmental problems’. The only problem I had with him was him beating the crap out of me here and there, but it was of course always something I’d done to provoke.

The care-taking for the grandmother (mother’s mother) did fall on me however. But I can’t imagine a young boy undressing and dressing an old woman either.

And later,when my father fell sick, I was very much reproached because I did not do my ‘daughterly duty’ and return home to take part in caring for him. In fact I didn’t even visit very often, living overseas. The words ‘Go ahead, you have your own life Alice’ were said often in disgust by my mother. My father’s sister just stopped talking to me for (another) while. She’s another of my abusers and I am also NC with her.

I didn’t go back to take care of my father because I was so scared of getting sucked in and not being able to leave again. In hindsight that sounds absurd. But it happened to my brother – and of course that was reproached me as well. So I was to be expected to bathe my father as well, it seems? And why couldn’t his sister have gone to stay and take part in his care rather than criticizing me for not doing enough? I didn’t mention the hours spent on the phone with him trying to ‘talk him down’ after a difficult bout of depression or anxiety because that wasn’t ‘enough’.

I’m also worried that my mother wants me back in touch so I will take care of her as she ages further. I feel it would be terrible if my brother had to do it again for her and part of me wants to spare him that, but I don’t feel I would be able to care for her. So I’m hoping she has her own arrangements.

Yesterday I was thinking through just how little (aside from care-giving) that I can or want to offer my mother. I don’t enjoy her company as an individual and I don’t appreciate her treatment of me, or her refusal to admit to any wrongdoing. I’ve asked her a few times what she wants from me now and she has always said ‘Nothing’. But I find myself uneasy with this. I don’t believe her and I believe I should trust myself in not believing her.

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Hello all,

Catherine thank you again for the acknowldgement of my life. I too can relate to yours. Has your mother yet passed? My mother will be 90 tomorrow. Although she lives an hour and 1/2 from me, she does not want to see me and that is SO ok as I posted earlier. I plan to call her and have a short conversation. She is dying and cannot eat, has to be tube fed. My siblings and other family will be there for her. I sent her a card and wrote to please enjoy her celebration with those she loves. I wrote the truth yet was it cruel?

One thought just recently; we that post here are shame based, not uncommon in people but extreme for most of us. We are all so desperately wanting first to find answers, and then know there are none [really] as to why we were not loved. There are many stages and years for most moving out of shame to genuine healing. Just please don’t give up!
It is a true blessing to know we all share the bond like a family here because we understand,feel and want to encourage eachother. I do not have a friend in the world like this. Yet this life long pain has caused me to seek my God in a profound way. So many post the same Catherine and others. A good thing indeed. I also can now look for the good in others and not be so untrusting because I am free from expectations. I now KNOW God really cares for me; my everything!

We have a special gift to have had these lives, truly; once we cross over the “shame bridge” and see ourselves for who we are.

Yes, thanks for the prompting of Darlene’s vision, her posts and blog; we ARE emerging from broken!

Please don’t give up. we are worth it.
Big thanks to all for sharing.
Love to all,
Le’ah

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Hello Le’ah,
Beautifully written. No you are not cruel you are saying as it is. She is the cruel person and is getting who she wants around her on her death bed. Why bother speaking to her? Of course you could telephone and say something like you hope she is comfortable and that you are saying goodbye. Will you then feel better or more upset? You say you know God cares and I believe he does. Unfortunately He does not show favouritism, that we all know. Before you ring if you do ,speak with God and ask for his support and help. Ask for the strenght in dealing with whatever you do. You know what I mean. Sorry I am not very clever with words but I do understand. Please let us know how you dealt with this. Take care Wendy am. xxx

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Le’ah if you need the closure of communicating with her and saying goodbye, then go make the call. But for your self protection, do it without any expectation of getting anything from her, and also be aware that she can say something hurtful to you. You may have to say to yourself that you are taking this last step of saying goodbye, it feels like the right thing to do to you, but you know the way your mother is and know that whatever she does is because of something within her, not you.

I like the way you expressed “crossing over the shame bridge” in your post. I feel I have started walking over it but haven’t gotten to the other side just yet. You are right that there are no answers as to why we were not loved by our mothers, at least no answers within ourselves. After all it came from them in the first place, and we can’t change another person. Only that person can do it, and that is only if they want to. Many will not even recognize that they have a problem, so the result is “stuck at square one”.

Please let us know how things go and also be prepared for a roller coaster of emotions after she passes. I experienced that last year. You may still have to mourn what you wish you had had. Hugs to you! Amber

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alice,

i’m not sure you should worry about a brother who beat the crap out of you from time to time, although i’m sure that could be looked at as normal family relations for some people. go have your life alice, finally alice gets to have her own life, thank god, imagine that. it sounds like in your family dynamics you could easily have gotten sucked in by guilt and shame and held there for much of your life.

le’ah, what a hard decision to have to make. complicated bereavement. i had/have that with my son and mother for different reasons. they both died suddenly. no time to say goodbye. was nc with my mother at the time. i agree with both opinions, why bother now- she could leave u with some last bitter words of revenge or it might go better than u expect but if u do decide to talk to her sadly, don’t expect anything in return is probably a good way to approach it. heartbreaking really but not uncommon. they make funny scenes in the movies about this stuff because it is so hard. it doesn’t even end with the death sometimes with family members sparring over money and who could’ve done what better. we wish u luck and have your back. grief groups and counseling have both helped except for one clueless therapist who should not have a license had i had the energy to fight him.

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Hi Sue,

It’s by dint of ‘fairness’ that I’m worrying about the bro. We don’t have a relationship and have not since I left over 25 years ago. I was thinking about it yesterday (thanks for the opportunity) and I was figuring it shouldn’t actually mean that because he looked after my dad and that I’d rather spare him mom’s care that I *should* then “by default” look after mom myself.

A third or fourth choice might well be in order and we do have time to think. But I was thinking very ‘tit for tat’ which I’m guessing is ‘kid-thinking’. And it comes directly from mom’s way of handling us sibs. I’m guessing my fear of getting sucked back in wasn’t that unfounded.

Le’ah and Sue, so sorry to hear about these very difficult times. My thoughts on deathbed presence are that it’s extremely individual. For me, I would prefer to let the reality of my relationships with people decide how things go but I realise there is a lot of social and familial complication (unnecessary?) around who is there and not there.

Below is my recent experience if you (or anyone else) may find any of it helpful.
I definitely fear I will be ‘non grata’ at any future death-bedside or funeral (I expect the remaining family members to hold me to some special blame or ostracism at that point, some of them already did so at my father’s funeral).

When my father was dying, I tried to get the care-home to pass me him by phone or pass on a message and I asked that the rest of the family not be informed of my call. Of course they were and I got blowback, as if it were unthinkable that they should not be informed that his irresponsible daughter had called. At least that was the message.

Like I mentioned above and I think the fam missed the fact that relationships between family members can absolutely be different depending on each person as an individual and that each individual relationship ought to be honored as it is. I had a relationship with my father as a person (and he was the only person out of all of them that respected me as such). Such a difference from the rest of the fam who have no idea who I am and haven’t bothered finding out beyond their dislike or missed expectations.

The ‘collective’ bedside thing with my father was about not letting him die alone. But they took ‘shifts’.

I had visited him a month or two before his death without all of the fam there and I knew when I saw him it was for soon so I said all I wanted and he knew I was there and, so the folks at the home said, had brightened so much over the course of my visit. My mother harrumphed that I was seeing him ‘at his best’. ‘Best’ meaning hours spent beside him as he slept in a chair or holding his sippy cup for him to drink. Anyway, that was when I said my goodbyes and told him I loved him.

Le’ah, I think your letter sounds very kind. I wish for you to figure out how you wish to engage with your mother or not before she passes.

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hi alice,

i can see why u think u should care for your mother for your brother’s sake, it is weighing on u like a burden. there is a reason u don’t have a relationship with him but there it is, that shame bridge. are we ever safely across it for good or do we get dragged back over it over and over by guilt. it reminds me of my daughter’s visithere, we went to visit a gorge and in the middle of the bridge when cars would pass, i wold stand frozen and grab her and scream as we both cracked up.

when i traveled cross country for my mother’s funeral my husband chose not to come with me and support me. i was not safe there, not with my foo or my mother’s extended family. i was extremely ill. i did not want to go home to my husband but i had to.(i came to realize he wasn’t safe either, he just seemed that way in his dislike of my family) my son was 5 or 6. i had nowhere else to go. now my dad is sick with cancer, i live 2,000 miles away. my sister lives an hour away and he has neglected her and his grandkids. she is very angry with him. his wife hates us. i kicked her out of my house once, my kids were very upset and confused by it. but compared to my mother he is a saint. just neglectful and sometimes mean in a teasing way that is supposed to be funny and it’s at your expense, can’t u take a joke? i’m not good at death and this stuff doesn’t make it any easier.

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Hi Sue,

You asked if we are ever safely across? I think it’s possible and that’s it’s possible to have moments where we get dragged back. I think there’s an expectation too that doing this work of healing will have a clear cut ‘end’ to it and I’m not sure if that’s how it goes, perhaps Darlene might speak to that? I can’t work out if my concern over the bro and mom is guilt or actual love. Suspect there’s a bit of both in there. I think as long as I can keep my head out of my ‘kid-thinking’ then solutions to this will come easier.

I’m sorry to hear you were not supported during your mother’s passing and funeral. I’ve had a couple of experiences where people I thought were ‘safe’ turned out not to be. I’m sorry too to hear of your father’s illness and strained family relationships. None of that makes an already difficult time any easier. My warm wishes go with you at this time.

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Sue and Alice, I don’t know that there is a clear cut end. There’s so much to deal with that I will be happy with getting better and better even if there is never a time when I can say I’ve reached the other side of the bridge. And Alice, I guess when we are more vulnerable we can get dragged back. I like your expression “kid thinking”. I understand exa ctly what you mean, and I sometimes find that I am thinking the old way (kid thinking) and inevitably feel more vulnerable when I think that way.

Sue that must have been awful not being supported at your mothers funeral. And I’m sorry to hear that your Dad is ill. Why must people be difficult at thes times?? As a person who tries to be supportive of others I can never understand people who act out at difficult times.

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Such brave, honest, heartfelt and sincere women who have told their stories within this blog. I feel such relief just knowing that this blog is here within my reach. My mother is not that unique as I now understand by reading your entries. Thank you all for your validation and not your reprimands. Those daughters who had wonderful mothers do not know the pain we have felt. Not understanding why my mother does not care about me (she has said this to my face) is emotionally unbearable. I have been physically and emotionally abused by my mother and I let her get away with it for so long. I allowed the mistreatment because I am suppose to honor my mother…she is my mother for God’s sake. I said goodbye to my mother for the last time a year ago and I am no longer feeling sorry for myself or for her…I just feel like a brick has been lifted off of me. BYE MOM…I am not looking back.

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Hi Stacy
Welcome to EFB! you are certainly not alone. 🙂 It was when I realized that it is abusive parents that teach this belief that we must honor them and that it isn’t actually a true teaching (to honor abusive people no matter who they are in our lives) that I began to find freedom and wholeness which led to great happiness.
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Everyone
Welcome to the new people. I wanted to let everyone know that I am on vacation with my daughter and I have not been keeping up with anything here so please understand my lack of involvement this past week. 🙂
Love and Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Stacy, I grew up being told I was awkward, ugly, boring, silly, and constantly reminded that I was inferior being a girl. I had extra chores and extra responsibilities that m brothers didn’t. My mother was not affectionate o me though it was different with the boys. I’m sorry to hear that you had a similarly bad experience Stacy and you are right that those who never went through it don’t understand. Those are he people that tell us to snap out of it, get over it, or dismiss our pain in other ways.
One thing Stacy that I am working on is to stop beating up on myself for accepting her bad treatment when I was growing up. As I have read in many of the blogs here, I had no choice then. Yes it did continue into adulthood because I ad gotten used to playing the submissive, always trying to please role. I finally took a stand when very unreasonable things were asked, or should I say, demanded of me. Like my mother wanting to borrow a ridiculous amount of money, and when she demanded that I fly cross country to take her to doctor appts that she easily could have gone to with an aid from her assisted living place. I finally said no to these things and she played the guilt card that its the daughters duty. Not the boys, they’re busy living their lives. As if I have no life!
I had to start believing that I don’t owe anything to a person who gave me nothing emotionally and wasn’t interested in my life, even my prom or helping me plan my wedding, ignored her grandchildren, hit me with a belt until I got welts, verbally abused me…….I could go on and on. The point is, where the hell did she get the idea that I owed her anything after the way she treated me? As Darlene just wrote, why should I honor someone who was abusive? These people teach us that to keep themselves on top.
My mother is gone a year now. I am still sorting through the residual feelings from her treatment over the years, but I do not feel guilty for the times I said no to her. I feel proud for standing up to her.

Darlene, glad to hear you are on vacation. Enjoy!!

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hi stacy,

i am so sorry your mother could say such a hateful thing to you, that she doesn’t care about you. it’s inexcusable. i recently mentioned the abuse to a friend i knew 30 years ago in college. she had no idea. i don’t think i knew it was abuse then. i can’t even imagine a nurturing mother and what that would be like. i’m glad that it was helpful for you to see that you aren’t alone. this certainly seems like a safe supportive place.

amber, (some of this is from my husband too): boring, stupid, useless, disgusting. these are our loved ones?

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Sue, sad thing is that we probably thought it was normal for mothers to talk to kids that way. Although, even as a lung kid I noticed that as the daughter there were differences in how I was spoken to compared to my brothers. Again, the unpardonable sin of being born a girl!

Sorry you were called all those terrible things Sue. Just seeing the things you post on here, I see a compassionate, smart and caring lady in you. I think people name-call to destroy another’s self esteem so that they can get control over that person. And that stinks!

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Spellcheck fails again! Should have been “young kid” in post 194!

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Oh yeah. HOnor thy parents. Parents deserve respect. In my family, respect is spelled SUCK UP.

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that is a sad thing to think that it’s normal. thank you for your positive feedback. i’ve been guilty of name calling too because that is what i learned. not in my current relationship which has done wonders for me. i’m sorry for how u were treated. now that i have a daughter i just can’t imagine why parents would want to hurt one. i felt so protective of her.

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Sue, I’m happy that you are in a good relationship. It does help! I’ve been fortunate in that area of my life too. I must have picked my husband based on his kindness. That’s another reason I didn’t like when my mother visited. She did her best to disrupt my household and try to start conflicts. I think she resented that I found someone I was happy with. Sue I’m glad you have a good relationship with your daughter. I can understand why your protectiveness kicked in, especially knowing that the world of relationships isn’t always a pretty one.

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I haven’t been on here in awhile. I’m in tears today since my NM controls my whole family and my sisters have now unfriended me from Facebook as some kind of solidarity ploy. It feels so final. The kicker is that I just saw my one sister at my daughters’ baby shower on Saturday. The older sister was not invited since she has not been around for my daughter at all. (my daughters’ choice not to invite, her not mine.) I have not told her anything about who to include at her wedding reception her wedding or now her baby shower and they unfriend me! I know my NM is calling the shots straight from her home down south. It’s just so painful to know that no matter what you do they still don’t like you or may even hate you. But they are cowardly and won’t call you up and confront they just do sneaky things behind the scenes. I’ve been there for these two sisters and their children also. One sister never did a thing for me or my kids and I still supported all of her kids events. I guess I just wait for them to crash and burn, because my NM has been NC with both of my sisters and her own two sisters at many times throughout the years. I’ll just sit back and laugh. Right now it’s painful but I’ve been strong throughout this road. I can do this also… Peace all…

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hi melody,

what is NM? my sister has unfriended me on fb too. sounds like a whole lot of turmoil there. i know how bad it feels. things like weddings, births, funerals just make the emotions even more heightened. sometimes it’s only temporary and sometimes we have to find or make new families that are nicer to us.

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NM is Narcissistic Mother, she is most of my problem although she affects the whole family. My NF covers for her by telling me that he loves me over and over all the while she is abusive towards me. It’s completely gaslighting. I definately have my own family, but these things that keep happening are so hard to take. NM made it known that she was coming up for the holidays this year and I am sure they all got together for Christmas. I would have had to grovel to be invited and I wouldn’t do it. It all stemmed from my NM saying hatefully that she wouldn’t come to my daughters’ wedding and put a fake smile on her face for me. Who says that to their daughter and about their granddaughters wedding. I just will not back down this time. So it just goes on and on and on. I agree about the events, I have to get a thick skin and just stop going. Getting out of the FOG. Thanks Sue for the support and I hope that Darlene is having a great vacation…

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i had to look up gaslighting too, which sounds like some abusive form of lying and crazy making. i’m glad u have your own family. a dysfunctional family says that, it sounds very familiar. my stepmother pointed to a pic of her grandchild and asked my sister isn’t that an ugly baby?! it’s funny if it’s not happening to u. everyone longs for family and connection. a few posts up we were discussing how empty and lonely it feels to accept the fact that u don’t have a good, healthy one and u never did. i live far from my families and i don’t travel to their weddings etc because traveling makes me sick and when i land i want to be safe.

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The term gas lighting comes from the 1940’s movie “Gaslight”. The husband does subtle little things to get his wife to doubt her sanity. For example he takes a piece of her jewelry and places it in her purse, then speaks to her as if she’s an errant child, telling her that she is becoming forgetful lately and that she must have placed it in her purse. I guess it’s another psychological weapon used by manipulative people to put an innocent person in the wrong and gain the upper hand in a relationship.

Sorry Melody that you are going through so much and that family can be so selfish at such an important time. I myself have been through a lot with a mother who had narcissistic traits. It’s always them first no matter what you might need or be going through.

Sue that’s just awful what your stepmother did. How anyone can call another person ugly, especially a baby, I will never be able to fathom.

As far as families go, I just so thankful that my family from marriage is so much healthier emotionally than the one I grew up in. This was a great source of jealousy for my mother. I think she resented that my household was a happy one, and did her best to stir things up. Good thing she was far away.

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Amber and Sue, with being on this site it was so helpful to have the lightbulb go off and you see #1 you are not crazy and #2 you are not alone. When I was a young mother I never imagined that I would be NC with my family 20 some years later. Looking back on it I think I kept them near me and put up with the abuse for the sake of my kids. (Guilt of how could I take my kids away from their Grandma and Grandpa?) Now I see that although NM did the worst thing ever last year, it really was very bad all along. I think I was too busy with my kids to see how poorly I was being treated. I am now in self protection mode from my Nrents and even my sibs. My husband won’t let me ever be alone with my Nrents again and they are no longer welcome in my home. As NM used to say, She made her bed and now she’s gonna lay in it, well I’m saying that to her now. Peace all…

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Again, thanks to all of you for sharing your stories. I am very happy that this website is available and only wish I had accessed it earlier. Independently, as a single woman, I had to pray to the Lord for strength. I needed somebody with empathy to hear me and understand me…not feel sorry for me. I was not going to allow my family members to sway me to give into my NM…”you know how she is”. You see, all of my family members are needy and are takers. They will kiss my Mother’s ass to get what they need…money, babysitting, food, and anything else they can manage to swindle my mother out of. It gives my mother a license in her eyes to treat these needy family members with disrespect and emotional abuse and then give the taker what they need. I am my mother’s only family member who is financially independant and I do ot need anything she has to give me. I was hoping that she and I would have a decent relationship someday but it never happenned…it only got worse because I stood up to her abuse. I do not want to be around her because she is extremely hurtful to all walks of life. Darlene has made the statement: I DO NOT ACCEPT UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR. Thanks Darlene for that statement because I use it everyday. When I have confronted my NM with the actual things she says and does she denies it totally and then puts it on me that I have issues or that I am jealous of my family members….W H A T! My NM thrives on negativity and the more the merrier. NEVER has my NM said anything kind, has never offered a hug and has never uttered or written the word LOVE. Once I told her I loved her and her response was for me not to be sickening. I tried to hug my aging NM last year and when I began the process she threw her body back as though I was going to hurt her and she yelled that she was going to call the police. I said to her that her parents did a real number on her and that is when I told her that she has lost a child and will never see me again. It has been a year since that has happened and guess what…I find it refreshing. FINALLY, at age 58, I escaped and as I have said……will not look back. I do not plan to see her ever again…she is 85 years old. Thanks for reading my story and I hope that I will be welcomed to continue writing in the future. LOVE is a word I share everyday!

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Melody, I can understand how you felt about not keeping your kids from their grandparents. But I think it is okay to do it if the grandparents are toxic people. What I wouldn’t want to teach my kids is that family members get a pass even though they’re abusive. So I think you made the right decision, and hope you are feeling good about it.

Stacy, my mother also thrived on negativity. She loved to cause conflicts. I’m not surprised your mother thinks she’s done nothing wrong. They’re always perfect, right?? I’ve gone years without being in contact with my mother. It started when she wanted to borrow a huge amount of money and I said no. I knew I would never get it back and it would have been a big chunk of my savings. She threw me out of her life when I said no. But I still had the money in the bank and I had my self respect! Eventually we did start talking again. I chose to have a relationship with her with limitations. I was not going to take any nonsense from her. I also knew not to expect certain things from her. In other words I knew we could never have a full fledged mother-daughter relationship, but I chose to have a limited one with much lowered expectations, and that worked. I chose the level of contact, and I said no to unreasonable demands from her, and it worked. She also backed off on making nasty comments for the most part, and if she did make one I put her in her place immediately. She had finally realized that I had set some boundaries that she had to respect if she wanted a relationship with me.

She is gone now, and even though we had that limited relationship at the end, I still have some internal things to resolve. The effects of being diminished and deemed unworthy for so many years don’t disappear just because I set boundaries in our relationship. That’s because I have internalized those feelings and the effects have spread to other areas of my life. I am now becoming aware of where they came from and dealing with them. I am getting rid of self blame for things that others hold the responsibility for, I am starting to understand where relationship related fears come from and feelings of unworthiness. And I’m getting better at setting boundaries with people. But I still have a ways to go.

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Wow Stacy, she threatened to call the police when you tried to hug her? That is insane!

Amber,as far as my NM and not cutting off ties, I feel ok about it. Like I said I would get through a visit with them, knew something was wrong,but being a mom I was busy and
went back to my life. There were a couple of years that due to abuse and lies, I did go no contact with the Nrents. My problem now is that I am soon to be a Grandma and my daughter is proud of herself and her life and seems to want to share with her Grandparents, even though she knows what NM did. I raised her to be respectful of adults so she continues to be nice to them when they call. It makes me sick because I am done with both of them, but I cannot tell my daughter what to do. My husband is very supportive of me. Unfortunately we have also found recently that he is a SG child too. My NMIL is also causing trouble. A couple of years ago she told my husband “It is not your turn anymore. And we only came to your house to see the Grandkids and not to see you anyway.” Who says that to their son? I never in a million years when I first started having children would have thought I would be in this position at my age. It’s disheartening to see that really it was only about my children on both sides, and they just tolerated us. So suffice to say Mother’s Day and Father’s Day have been celebrated just with my children and not with the Grandparents. Thanks for the comments and support again peace to us all….

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Melody, my son is grown up and he also knows the things that transpired between me and my mother. While she was still living I felt that it was up to him to decide what kind of relationship to have with her. He visited her once when he was in her area (cross country) but feels she did not contact him much as he was growing up and therefore did not want much contact. As I said, it was his choice.

Now my mother had a poor relationship with her parents, but I and my siblings felt that they were good grandparents. I resented that when my mother had issues with them that she would demand that we stop seeing them too. As an adult it should have been my choice based on what my relationship with my grandparents was. Sometimes the child grandparent relationship is different than the child parent with the same people as was the case with us as grand kids and my mother as the daughter. So even if it hurts, try to see it from your daughters perspective. She is aware of what happened with ou so I am sure that if they disrespected her in any way she will deal with it.

Your mother in law sounds like a piece of work. That was very disrespectful of her to say that.. Judy reassure your husband that it is about her, not him, and of course he can set boundaries with her if she. Continues to act that way. Yes, it’s sad that as adults we still have had to deal with this stuff. My mother is gone a year, but I still have residual issues to deal with in the here and now.

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In my family, “honor your parents” also means, “I will treat you how I want, you have no say in it, and you have to put up with it because I’m your parent.”

Of course, I get the “IF I say something that upsets you let me know…” YEAH RIGHT. Just try! If you even try, you get the whining and whining and “I didn’t mean anything by it why are you so sensitive?”

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maybe u are “so” sensitive because u had a shitty childhood where u had no power to do anything about it and now that u can or u should we’ll call u something else. why can’t u take a joke ? (when it’s mean and at your expense) u need to develop a thicker skin. i don’t have any skin, u tore it off. now i’m transparent.

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I really dislike when someone says something mean and then says “can’t you take a joke?” To me, it is a sneaky, and nasty way of avoiding taking the responsibility for hurting another person. I had a friend who would make hurtful remarks and respond that way if I got upset. It is a way of telling us we have to take their garbage or else have more insults heaped upon us. (ie. you’re too sensitive, you have no sense of humor). And these people can’t handle it if the tables are turned.

We should not feel an obligation to honor anyone who doesn’t show us respect!

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DXS (same as JJ)
June 5th, 2013 at 4:17 pm

[quote]We should not feel an obligation to honor anyone who doesn’t show us respect![/quote]

Yet we are “obligated” to honor our parents. we aren’t allowed “respect.” Oh especially if you are childfree and never married.

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DXS/JJ

I have decided not to have kids as a direct result of my upbringing. At one point I did think my mother might respect me more if I had kids and I felt like an absolute loser for not having any. To some extent, ‘society’ echoes this but I don’t give a crap anymore.

The ‘Wait till you have your own kids’ thing has been thrown at me so often. What does that mean? That if I have my own children I will be compelled somehow to mistreat them? Because children are the cause of their parent’s inability to be kind? That by having my own kids my mother will suddenly be ‘right’? That I will understand her more by doing something myself under a whole bunch of different circumstances? That’s a whole bunch of unexamined assumptions, none of which are actually about the kids one may or may not have – always about the parents.

I still think that yes, I’d suddenly ‘get’ more respect for having kids, but I’m not going to have them just for that.

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Yes, there are things that I do understand better as a result of having had kids. But I don’t see how it justifies anyone being mean or judgmental towards someone who did not have children. In my case, I don’t think that having kids changed the level of respect, or lack of, that I got from my mother. She still came first in her mind, before her kids and grand kids. Getting married, and having kids is an individual choice. It should never be done to please someone else.

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I’m childfree and marriage free. I get the “You don’t know what it’s like cuz you haven’t been a mom” thing.

What I “get” is that Mom had issues she never dealt with, and those issues got taken out on me. A counselor told me, “nobody ever really means to do that. They just ‘squeak out the side’.” It’s like she wants us to worship her or bow down or something.

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DXS/JJ, marriage & kids are my mother’s ‘mark of success’ for some reason. She didn’t care about the things I cared about. She would keep telling me about her friend’s kids’ marriage and kids, and worse, my high-school friends’ marriage and kids long after we were no longer in touch. I could be earning 100K$ and she looked at my absence of marriage and kids

I’m sure being a parent leads to understandings – as does the experience of being a mistreated child. One is not be used as justification for the other – that makes no sense at all but this is, it seems, what happens.

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Hi Alice,

I had the opposite issue with my mother. She didn’t want me to have kids. Well, I had two. But she rarely ever wanted anything to do with the 3 of us. Instead, she would spend time with my cousin & his young daughter, & would then call me to tell me how cute, how smart, how sweet she was. She never bothered to get to know my kids, but they were nothing to her. Never did develop a relationship with them. She’s gone now, & my kids have pretty much forgotten her.

I think parents do these things to keep the control. It wouldn’t have mattered if you had children. She would have still found ways to make you feel bad at your expense. It’s how this personality establishes its authority & control.

Hope you can find your way out from under your mom’s control.

Hugs,

January

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Funny thing happened when I had kids, I, for the first time found that having kids provided me insight that I never imagined. Growing up I tried and tried to figure out what I was doing wrong and how to stop from getting and being hurt so badly. I could never get to a place where I could question my upbringing and beliefs. I always got stuck.

My husband had once commented, “…your parents didn’t teach you anything about this world.” And he is exactly correct. I realised something that I had never seen before. I had learned how NOT to be myself and not to trust much less stand up and protect myself. I lost any sense of who the real me is. Much less, who I wanted to be.

I could poll 100 parents and ask, what are the best things you can do for/with your child? And there could possibly be 100 different answers, some of these might be duplicates. Now if I asked what are/is the worst things you can do for/with your kids? I realise that there wouldn’t be as many answers, and many would be duplicates. In my mind, it’s easier to grasp the concept of what NOT to do, than what to do. (Maybe because growing up, as Darlene has stated, being a child, we learned REAL quickly what not to do, and how not to get in trouble.)
Having children has at times made me look deeply into the eyes and heart of my children. They are innocent little beings, it is my job to be the guide in their lives. I hate to sound corny and borrow the words of Dr. Phil,. but, ‘parents DO write on the slates of their children.’ I realise now how much damage can be afflicted on a child, and if there is no other healthy adult figure in that child’s life, how doomed that child can be. No wonder there are so many adults walking around so sad, and never seem to understand or find out why. THey just blankly believe. This is so sad.

I’m not a perfect parent, I don’t believe anyone is, but I am a way better parent that my parents ever were.
This being said, I am not saying, that the only way to have insight to one’s own abuse and upbringing is by being a parent. I just never realized that my children would teach me so much about being a child myself. Because I have always felt like an old lady, a mom. I was never allowed to be just a kid. Never allowed to make the mistakes that kids and people make to LEARN. Having children provided me insight to my own little child that has always been there, just waiting for me to recognize and validate that yes, I do exist and my parents and family were so very wrong.

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Amber
My mother had me flying 1300 miles to serve her at least 5x a year because my GC brother who lives 30 miles away is a single parent of a teenager was way too busy. I was trained as her servant from age 6. Cleaning cooking errands lying for her. Emotional
abandonment. No affection for me. Ever. She fawns over my brother always has. My father was a violent abusive narcissist. No love there only compliance rules punishment. I learned to accept all bad treatment because I was inherently bad and began self abuse to cope by age 10. That was seen as proof of my emotional instability and proved I was bad.
I was an A student never in trouble with nice friends.
I worked summers. Clean room. I did many chores.
But I was labeled bad and no good convinced of it by them. Thrown out at 18.
He is dead now 10 yrs. She needs a caretaker. Im NC.
Shes a nasty piece of work. I see it all now.
Im the bad guy as usual but I know the truth. It was
not me. It was a lifetime of abuse. Im just happy to have escaped.

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First of all: Having a child of my own or not, my NM has always been a NM and is only getting worse.

I really like the term NM because now I understand it all a little bit better. Tagging my mother a NM is perfect because she is NO mother! My NM wants the entire family to revolve around her and I said NO. I do not need this person in my life…she has never gotten to know me; I am surprised if she even knows where I worked for 32 years. I believe I am right in saying that SHE IS JEALOUS OF ME…ha ha. YES, a NM cannot get past the fact that her only daughter has had more successes than her. My NM has never held a job yet my father allows her to control the household. The money she has is all from my father…she is so lucky that she chose a loyal partner who didn’t leave her a long time ago but my father is under her spell. My NM preys on the weak; the strong like me she cannot accept. My NM is such a loser. I laugh now at how dumb, uneducated and sad she is.I feel so much better now that I have rid myself of her and am the successor no matter what! I do not think I have ever heard my NM laugh or share a story about love or kindness…always hate and corruption and how bad somebody else is doing. Everything she does is out of obligation and not pleasure. When she returns from a family gathering all of her stories about the event are negative and hurtful towards her own family members. She discusses how bad everybody looks, how rotten their lives are, etc. I hear nothing positive…she enjoys belittling people behind their backs and then pretends that she never said that. She walks past my father and says: DIE BASTARD and when you tell her that it is inappropriate to say that especially around her grandchildren she denies it altogether and looks at you as though you have a serious problem or something. I don’t get her denial. Who does she think she is? I see through her and won’t have it in my life.
I am a mother myself and have talked to my daughter about the abuse I have endured all of my life. I refuse to repeat this pattern and tell my daughter and granddaughter that I love them everyday and how special they are and how proud I am of them. I need love so I look forward and not back. OH YES, I cry from time to time yet not that often anymore because I, like any normal person, wish that I was cherished and adored by my parents. I deserve to be loved but can only work on loving myself. I am thankful to be writing here and knowing that beautiful people who GET IT will read my stories and not judge me.
LOVE, Stacy

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[quote=Raven]My husband had once commented, “…your parents didn’t teach you anything about this world.” And he is exactly correct. I realised something that I had never seen before. I had learned how NOT to be myself and not to trust much less stand up and protect myself. I lost any sense of who the real me is. Much less, who I wanted to be. [/quote]

Holy cats, that is ME! I felt like my mom wanted me to be “this other person.” She couldn’t love the real me for some reason. So, I totally faked my childhood.

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[quote]she has never gotten to know me[/quote]

That is how I feel. My mom doesn’t want to know ME. She only wants to know the person I had to pretend to be as a child to get her to love me. And to her, my faking it is my fault. And I continued to fake it with boyfriends, because it’s what I knew how to do.

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Hi January,

Thanks for your message. I actually worry now that my decision to not have kids was a lot more about ‘I’ll show HER’ or to avoid ‘giving her the satisfaction’ of being ‘right’ rather than a fully free individual decision. I’ve done SO many things in reaction to my upbringing – right down to the job I do, where I live (far away from FOO), the things I enjoy, what I spend my money on (or not) and many more details that would sound crazy if I enumerated them. I have denied myself things that my mother enjoyed for example just because I didn’t want to be like her (as she was always so insistent I was her likeness).

It’s like a life lived ‘in reaction’ and I only recently realized it (through working with Darlene). At this point my mother is no longer involved with any of it. So then it becomes a very strange situation where I have to look at my choices (even if they weren’t ‘free’ exactly) and ask myself whether these things are things I wish to continue doing or change a bit or a lot. I have gotten very angry with this.

Raven, I think your husband’s comment was very wise. My father tried a little to impart a bit of this way of seeing things to me and he did well enough. I credit him with my not being more of a basket-case than I am.

JJ, I totally relate to having a family who didn’t want to know me as I was/am (which is this pretty awesome, weird, smart, cynical, wide-open, grouchy, loving, artistic, pseudo-intellectual, kind of philosophic, defender/lover of people – and the list goes on:-)). I think (and this is quite difficult) that even though my father went some ways in that direction, he didn’t go beyond himself either.

My current situation with boyfriends is not very clear. Something between just dating a lot of different people and not really wanting to settle with anyone. The idea I have of ‘marriage’ is not a very good one I don’t think.

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Alice, you need to live as far away as you can (which you said you did), in order to find out who YOU are. That’s what it took for me. For years, I tried to be what my mom wanted me to be. Then I got the opportunity to move 3,000 miles away. It was cathartic. Slowly over 15 years I discovered who *I* was. I managed to shed the “mom wants me to be” and found out who *I* was. But when I visit my mom, the “mom wants me to be” crap comes back.

I’m currently NC with her. I also wrote a letter to my sisters and told them I had no ill will toward them, but to avoid tension, I had to go NC with them.

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DXS (JJ) -it’s so clear to me I DID have to go away, far away. And I did. And I have been for 25 + years (we could count the Km’s:-)) But still, until I looked at myself, I didn’t realise, didn’t discover this ‘me’. I understand what happens when you return to the FOO fold. And each time I did I would hate myself for falling back into it. So now I don’t go.

To some extent it would be an awesome victory for me if I COULD go back to see these people and remain, BE myself whatever happens, but at this point I need the distance. I need to be away.

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My mom is not smart enough to be this devious. It’s not like she is saying to herself, “I am going to treat my daughter bad.” What I think is the case is that Mom has something in herself that she has never come to grips with, and somehow I seem to “push that button” in her, and I get treated in a way I don’t want to be, and then when I complain about her treatment, all of a sudden, “I’m “too sensitive.” Is it a crime to be sensitive?

Yet, all these years *I* was the problem. She kept telling me, “You need to SEE SOMEBODY because you have all these issues.” I have issues because she treated me in a way I didn’t want treated! And now she won’t address them, she just wants to sweep them under the rug and pretend they never happened without so much as even an apology or showing some empathy for my feelings. Oh yeah. She can’t feel empathy because “everyone” feels the same as she does. And yet I’m the one who gets told “think of how someone might feel before you say or do things.” well, SHE somehow thinks she is exempt from that rule.

I’M NOT THE PROBLEM! SHE IS THE ONE WHO HAS ISSUES SHE HASN’T ADDRESSED!

Guess what, I told her outright that I don’t (feel any) love her. Yes, she was hurt. Well, I don’t feel love FROM her, either, and of course she can’t understand why I don’t after ALL SHE HAS DONE FOR ME!

Love is supposed to feel good. It doesn’t to me. To me, love = OB-LI-GA-TION. As a child, I “manufactured” feelings. I did that with boyfriends. I “manufactured” feelings. I just got tired of it. It’s a lot of the reason I have chosen not to marry.

I was always thankful that Mom never harassed me about marriage or children. But, then I found out that she used that to her advantage. Mom once confessed to me, “you pay more attention to me when you don’t have a boyfriend.” I had to back her into a corner to get that revelation.

My mom never tells the truth. Mom “justifies her hidden agenda” and to her that is “truth.” To get the TRUTH out of her, I have to do a Law and Order SVU interrogation!

During one of my “interrogations” of her, I got her to say that she doesn’t want to be “held accountable.” HUH? Everyone is accountable! Why does she get to be an exception?

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I love my mother, though she’ll never love me. That’s just how it is.

Going No Contact was the most loving thing I could do for her. What good did it do her for me to continue to react to her bad treatment of me? Whether I served her or fought back, it all felt so wrong. After reading these posts, I’m thinking it’s no different from keeping drugs away from an addict. How can that be wrong? Perpetuating a bad situation is bad for all.

I used to have this fantasy about my mom changing — finally seeing her actions for what they were, apologizing to the world, and starting on an enlightened path. It wasn’t my main motivation for No Contact, but it was a passing thought. If ANYTHING in the world could have a tiny impact on her, wouldn’t it be the walking away of her only surviving daughter? If she has an iota of love, empathy, or even general good will, wouldn’t such an extreme situation strike a chord? Force self-reflection?

Nope. Not at all. Five years later, she is EXACTLY the same. She is perfect. Everyone else is in the wrong. Any abuse she’s ever imposed was simply misunderstood. Blah blah blah. Doesn’t care about anything outside her false reality. Doesn’t love me. That still hurts.

She used to employ my dad to yell at me if I failed to call back right away (within the hour!), because they were worried I was dead. To avoid such a dreadful oversight in the future, I kept my ringer on high and jumped every time the phone rang. It was THAT important. In the five years of No Contact, she never once was concerned about my health or life status. It’s not about whether I exist or not. It’s whether I exist for her, and what a victim she is for losing her servant.

I can’t believe how many people have had this experience! This blog helps so much.
Hugs!

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Maria, at least your dad communicated to you, albeit, negative. Mine didn’t even communicate with me except “through” my mom, as in, “Your dad and I feel that…….” Or, sometimes if it came from Dad, Mom would act like it was HER idea.

My mom wrote a letter to me and said, “My door is always open, but you cannot bring up any issues.” Again with the “make sure you help me preserve my rose colored glasses view of the world.” Telling me how to “feel.” I wrote her and said, “I will not visit you unless you invite me, and are prepared to discuss issues.” Gave her my schedule and haven’t heard from her since. Been two months. Apparently, everything is supposed to flow UP to her, but nothing is to flow DOWN to us.

229

OOPS, Maria, I forgot to add, “No, I’m not invalidating your experience with your dad. Yours was negative in the way you felt it, not better or worse than mine.”

230

OOPS again. Your name is MALINA not MARIA. Guess I need stronger glasses.

231

Yep, DXS/JJ. I totally second what you say. I have learned too that love is selfless, not selfish. I think this is why it was so much easier for me to cry when my beloved pet had died. He was 14 1/2 years old and had heart failure. He showed me what unconditional was, my mother didn’t, neither has my siblings or stepfather.
My stepdad expects me to fly to him. Once we were living in Wyoming, (my hubby’s job was there) we were driving to Delaware to visit my in laws. My step dad expected us to travel an additional 6-8 hours to go to South Carolina. In the end, my hubby told him that maybe we’ll catch him next time we’re in the area. Later that month, my stepdad flew all the way to California to visit my half sibling. Go figure. The whole time I have been married, he has never visited once. (20 yrs later) And I have cognitive disorder, because I only see things the way I see them and not how they really are. Really? Funny how these abusive gaslighting people really see things. It hurts to really see clearly the disorder and abuse. I see it, and I have to deal with it’s effects, these people, don’t see anything. They are too far up their own butts to notice anyone else. In the end, as Darlene has said, you have to really question and dissect each and every lie. It’s time consuming, but well worth it. We are all worth the time!

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[quote]And I have cognitive disorder, because I only see things the way I see them and not how they really are.[/quote]

Sounds like SOMEONE is doing some seriously “gas lighting.” I think you see truth and someone else sees rose colored glasses. That’s my situation.

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jj,

you can’t have a relationship without discussing issues. i’m doing that with my boyfriend today and it is no fun but things have to be dealt with, especially if it’s rough. it’s hard to do small talk when there so many issues in dysfunctional familes-they are always there ready to explode. who wants to live like that, walking on eggshells.

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malina,

what exactly is it about your mother that u love? did u see the other posts about people being held hostage by their phones and answering machines? panic attacks……..

235

The best thing I have done for myself is Jazzercise and I recommend it to all women. It is fun, helps your lose weight and burn calories, make friends, and keeps you in the know about new music out there…and it relieves anxiety. I jazzercise everyday since 01/12 and have lost 45 pounds but most of all…I feel so much more in control of my emotions.

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I feel attacked by these comments. But I guess I’ve made much progress, since I feel compelled to defend myself rather than just cry in a corner.

DXS, thanks for the clarifying comments after your initial post.

I relate to the earlier posts about being held hostage by a phone. I don’t understand why I’m being referred to them. Having a loving moment is no less valid than having a hateful one. I declared hate towards my mom many times during this process. Doesn’t the invested emotion lead to the hate? Don’t I hurt so much because I cared in the first place? I’m not indifferent yet, though I wish to be. I’ve often used anger to empower myself, but that’s not all there is. I’m proud of myself for acknowledging this moment of weakness… Or was it a moment of real understanding? Today it was love: compassion, pity, sense of good will. That’s it. I’m allowed to be conflicted and to feel hurt by it.

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malina,

i don’t see anyone attacking you here. i just wondered why you would love a mother who you say will never love you. i was just trying to understand it. i wanted you to know that there is more than one person who panics when the phone rings and it’s a terrible way to live, to feel unsafe in your own home. i was trying to say you are not alone and it’s not right. for all we’ve been through i think people on this site get along very well. when i go on facebook everyone is arguing and sometimes being very mean.

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I think Malina has some great compassion if she can love someone who cannot love her. I’m having difficulty with this. I can’t feel love for someone who doesn’t love me. The “love” is kind of…. “demanded.”

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I feel a whole lot better about my mother now I don’t have to see her or have her in my life anymore. I don’t know if I’d call that love though. Although it’s a pretty good feeling. Other people might wonder how I can feel love but not wish to have her in my life or do the things she wants. It’s not something I can explain at this point so I’d be interested in other opinions and experiences with this.

240

it just sounds so terribly painful for malina, unrequited love from your own mother.

alice, it sounds more like relief than love. the people who don’t understand can’t comprehend having these kinds of mothers

241

I think it’s an individual decision on how to handle these situations. What is right for one person may not work for another. And each person is at their own stage in healing. Sometimes you just aren’t ready for the next step yet. I agree, it is hard to love someone who doesn’t love you back. At some point I must have decided that respect for me was vitally important. I was far away from my mother so this made it easier to do what I wanted. I decided on frequency of visits, and while I was there, I challenged any old patterns that I didn’t like. One sore point was her belief that girls are inferior to guys. When my husband and I switched drivers. When we were driving on winding mountain roads my mother started making all sorts of comments from the back seat. I found them degrading , but it also showed me how little confidence she had in me. These were the kinds of things thy happened often in my growing years and I realized what a slap to my self esteem it was. I finally said in a very firm voice, that the next nasty remark she. Makes, I am pulling over and she can drive through the mountains. She didn’t say another word about my driving , and later even grudgingly admitted that I had done very well on the winding roads. Much of what I needed to challenge both with her, and with my own ingrained beliefs was this girls are inferior theme. I think it was at the roots of her bad feelings towards me.
I did have a three year period of no contact with her. It was when we started talking again that I knew that if we were going to have a relationship ( and I knew it would be with limitations), that I was going to have to set boundaries. It was a challenge but it allowed for me to have a relationship with her where I wouldn’t let her devalue me. This is what worked for me, but as I said before, each case is different and each person has to find what works for them

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Thank you. 🙂

243

I thought my Moms attitude and treatment of me would change
when my abusive N father died. But surprise it became more demeaning.
The discounting and belittling that I thought was an effect of his abuse was actually
all her own behavior. With this blog I slowly came to that realization. No
one was holding a gun to her head. Thats how she really saw me.
A servant. A scapegoat. An emotional basket case. A crazy burden.
A person with no self esteem, confidence or valid opinions. But
I was always “useful”. She cant blame him anymore. Hes dead these
10 years and shes still up to her nasty tricks.

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Karen, I understand “useful”. And burden and scapegoat. I understand the daughter is inferior to the sons, the boys have their lives to live, and it is a daughter’s duty to do things for her mother even though the mother couldn’t be bothered caring for the daughter properly and did many things to wreck her self esteem. These were the things I was groomed to believe. Of course now I realize that it is all a bunch of falsehoods designed to get me to do what she wanted. My mother is gone a year now. I am working on the deeply ingrained ways I deal with the world, many of which were my coping mechanisms to not upset Mom or burden her with having to see to my needs. I found my own creative ways of meeting my needs like erasing my math loose leaf papers and reusing them rather than asking my mother to go to the store because I needed more. And sneaking out one of my mothers long skirts for a costume for a play so I wouldn’t get yelled at for burdening her with putting a costume together. Meanwhile my friends mother was so excited about her daughter being in the play that she sewed her a whole medieval dress.
It’s hard to undo these beliefs, like feeling that I can’t ask people for things, but I am getting better at it. I understand now that I should have had a mother that saw to thes things without me feeling guilty that I had needs.
And then she expects me to go across the country to meet her needs later on in life. Keep in mind that it was her choice to move away and she even refused to move back as she was getting older and it was obvious that she was going to need more help. And of course she poured on the guilt…..”it’s the daughter’s job!” The mother who couldn’t be bothered let’s the daughter know what she expects her to do. Unbelievable!

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amber,

that image of u erasing your homework, especially if you could afford looseleaf paper, makes me so sad.

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We could afford it. But I couldn’t afford having her mad because she wouldhaveto vo to the store.. Luckily my brother ran out too a few days later so she went to the store and got more.

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Amber, wow……erasing your math paper so you could reuse it? In a way it’s funny, but I KNOW it’s NOT funny to you. It just screams out, well, (I’m reading between lines…..) just what you said. It is sad……

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DXS and Sue, I guess I became pretty resourceful in coming up with ways to not have to ask my mother for things. Erasing homework on loose leaf paper and reusing it was one. In kindergarten we were supposed to bring in a smock for easel painting. I brought in a big napkin. The problem is,in both cases the teachers yelled at me! My third grade teacher for the sloppy looking paper I handed in and the kindergarten teacher because I was about to pick up the dripping paintbrush while wearing a napkin tucked into the top of my blouse.But somehow I didn’t mind it as much when it was the teacher that was mad. Maybe because it didn’t matter so much if the teacher disapproved of something I did.

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Wow Amber.
I agree with the others, what incredible ressourcefulness!
Has that carried through to today for you? I think for some people with parents like this, deprivation becomes a habit more than a means to an end.

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Please remember not to give advice here. (don’t tell someone what they should do, the solution is different for everyone and the process is also individual. It is far more helpful to share what YOU did and what worked for you instead of giving directives to others about what they should do)

I just returned from vacation and there has certainly been a lot of conversation going on on the site! I am not going to be able to respond to much but I am looking through the comments!
Hugs, Darlene

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QUOTE: “I just returned from vacation and there has certainly been a lot of conversation going on on the site! ”

Blame me, I’m the culprit. I found your website and I’M VENTING!

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DXS, I think the comments space in this blog is a place for venting:-) I think we’re amongst people who understand through shared experience. This might not be the case elsewhere online where people might be more interested in their own experiences as parents (or children) and wish to deny expression of anything that doesn’t jibe with their own understanding.

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Alice, actually, today I am self sufficient in meeting most of my needs, but I will ask for assistance if needed. But looking back, no kid should have to get knots in her stomach when some reasonable item is needed for school, and there is a fear of getting yelled at if you ask for it. That is why I tried to obtain things myself, be it by erasing homework to recycle notebook paper or put together my own costume for a play. I suppose all of this made me self sufficient, but I would rather have gotten this way through loving guidance by parents rather than through fear and avoidance of punishment.

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Amber says: “but I would rather have gotten this way through loving guidance by parents rather than through fear and avoidance of punishment.”

You summed up my whole childhood. Only it wasn’t really….. “fear” but more of….. OB-LI-GA-TION, as in, “the way things*are*SUPPOSED*TO*BE.” But for me, it was “fear” in being punished for not complying with THE WAY THINGS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE.

255

When I hear my mother talk, I hear a lot of the manipulations, and I hear a lot of the criticism, and I understand what it means…finally. She used to hurt me so bad, but I feel sad now. Sad, and pity, and I feel anger towards her continuous manipulations between my sisters and I. I have stopped gossiping with her about anything and anyone, I simply don’t respond and talk about something else. Like my daily moisturizer routine. It is interesting to observe her changes. In addition I’ve been doing really well in life, and there have been changes in her behavior towards me on that front too.

The changes I see convince me more and more, that she knows what she’s done is wrong, that she is on some level aware of her denial and her extreme black and white thinking. When I look back, I see her behavior towards me as something like I’m her junkyard. She couldn’t complain to anyone else, so she would dump it all on me. I always felt bad if I didn’t let her complain away, and she would complain for hours dominating the entire conversation. I don’t let her do that anymore, and I feel better at the end of the day, and she behaves very strangely.

It was my birthday a few days ago, and when my mother asked if I wanted anything I said that I didn’t want anything at first (everything comes for a price OR it doesn’t happen at all, I can’t even count the number of times she’s done cruel things to me around my birthday, last year she told me she wished she could have aborted my older sister, this implied I would never have been born, and she said this at our birthday brunch, as we were eating), then I told her that I didn’t want anything because I felt she had given me enough in recent months. So, on my birthday, she wished me a happy birthday, but then I got three texts from her over the course of the day saying basically ‘ask what you got for your birthday’…it was weird, like she was demanding me to ask (feels like begging to me) about my birthday gift that I didn’t even want, so finally I said okay, what did I get for my birthday? and she said she and Dad were forgiving my debt to them over the years. It feels very shady, and feels like “wrong” all over the place. So, I am keeping my distance for the time being.

They hurt me, and they want me to go along with it, and pretend like none of the crap happened, but they are not all important like I used to think. They aren’t very interesting, kind, gentle, loving, caring; I cannot think of many admirable or likeable qualities these people have. On top of that, I have years of cruel memories (that they deny), and every time I see them cruel acts are committed against me.

I don’t even want them in my life. I judge them completely and honestly by their behavior towards me, started afresh from this realization, and still they have hurt me. It’s not just the memories, it is the now too.

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Hi Jackie,
You make a good point about it being “not just the memories, but the now too”. So many families preach ‘get over it, it’s in the past’ but the thing is for most, it isn’t in the past. It is still in the present.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

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Malina
(I just returned from vacation and I’m trying to catch up a bit)
I wanted to say that I am proud of you for your comments and your clarity here. I have love for my mother as well. (compassion even) the only difference today is that it isn’t at my expense anymore! I don’t confuse love for her with compliance to her abusive treatment of me. I know that love isn’t being obedient to her. Love for her is wanting her to find her own wholeness and she can’t do that if she is insisting on living in the dysfunctional system so therefore LOVE for her is about MY boundary!
Love, Darlene

258

Ok,next time my Mom tries to “manipulate” me and I don’t want to play along, is it best to ignore her and pretend I didn’t hear her, or to just call her out on it (“Mom, I refuse to play along with this game.”) If I “call her out on it” I get a big lecture about disrespect and how I should not disrespect my mom. If I ignore her, well, then I just get harassed about ignoring her…. but that’s the path of least resistance. I would rather “call her out on it.”

259

DXS it depends on what you want to do. What I do today is I engage with how I feel, and if I am told that I disrespect, I ask for the definition of respect according to them, and keep going with the truth. I have never had anyone want to engage with me on this for very long. NOTE: I didn’t do this until I was well grounded in my new way of thinking because the ‘fog’ kept me from having those responses in my head for a long time.
Hugs, Darlene

260

DXS

I too used to get the respect comeback. Especially when I started standing up for myself and other members of the family. Or as you put it ‘calling her on it’. (Love that). The ploys she used to try and get what she wanted from me were so desperate when I think about it now. And by doing that she showed me no RESPECT at all, ever. She wanted the boundaries to stay firmly where she set them, and change them to suit her. It was when I started to realize that there WERE SUCH A THING AS BOUNDARIES, and I started to try and define those boundaries, that things really started to get out of hand. I spent years trying to figure out appropriate boundaries ( I really had NO IDEA, how could I? I was never shown) and bit by bit the boundaries were established. She fought it until the very end. I now have NO CONTACT with her whatsoever. And my life has been improving ever since. She was a constant source of tension and stress, and when I look back now I completely understand why I was sooooo sick with depression/anxiety etc. imagine living for 33 years in a constant state of worry and expectation of something bad happening, and not really being able to put your finger on it!! The stomach lurches EVERYTIME the phone rang. Or EVERYTIME I thought a white car was at the top of my driveway, or keeping your head down but eyes out in case you see her at the shops.. The list goes on.

I have no respect for her, because she has not earnt it. What she demanded was obedience, absolution from her ‘sins’ (even though she never showed sorrow to me, only sorrow at the bad predicament it put her in). She wanted us to cater to her needs instead of her cater to ours. She was not a parent in the true sense. We were clothed and fed adequately (half of the time), but never looked after emotionally or protected physically and sexually. I was more her mother than she was mine.

She failed as a mother. In every way.

Michelle

261

Jackie #255

I couldn’t help but think your mother and mine sound very similar.. Especially the paragraph where you mention how they hurt you and just want you to go along with it. Just so very selfish and wrong and abusive.

So glad I’m done with her and her filthy pathetic husband.

262

Hi all,

As stated previously in this post my mother is in the dying stage. She could last a year or pass next week. In many respects she still has much of her wits about her, yet she is slipping daily and is on life support, she cannot eat. She gets about at the extended care facility and plays bridge when she is able. I am sure she is on meds to alter her deposition. I sent her the Birthday card & I stated to enjoy her celebration with those she loves; she turned 90. She received the card several days after it was delivered. I am now convinced my eldest sister who is 2 years older and has, along with my mother jealous of me & has detested me since birth. SEVERE sibling riverly she never got over; is now a ” successful adult” with a nursing career= now justifies it. She never allowed my mom to bond with me and I was the pretty baby, more for her to hate. I had 2 mothers actually,yet my eldest sister would also describe my mom as cold.

Fast forward 60 years later, my sister has power of attorney(go figure) and is censoring my mom’s mail. When I just put this together because my mom did not receive my card; I was relieved; it was my way to finally exit any more contact with my mom or very, very little. A few days later my mom called and said she received the card, then bragging about the great time she had with my sibblings. I still feel my sister to this day is repeating the same abuse as in my infancy. My mom does not want to see me, ingores when I have suggested this past 3 years, yet denies when confronted.

During her final days, months, I choose not to confront her on any level. I have tried ernestly to communicate for 3 years and a lifetime through erratice emotional trauma, to no avail causing more emotional harm to me.

Darlene, you stated how very little your family cared when you tried to express your turmoil, and they turned their backs, I can so relate!

Now I take each moment,a day at a time, my good bye to her and a family who never received me as their own fades in the background of memories I choose to no longer visit. I am free emotionally from the wounds that have gripped my heart and soul for 60 years. I have hurt enough, expected too much from those who are not capable of loving me.

It has to be ok for me,and it is, I have peace. Good by mom and family, good bye, you are still in my prayers, I will never stop loving you but hate your actions. I have learned to finally live and know the difference.

263

Malina, post #227,
Thank you for sharing your journey. Your heart seems to be close to mine, how now see your mother who never loved you. Yet you still love. I don’t know your age yet I commend you for your maturity. I have taken a lifetime to come to a real place of peace and serenity. Pain I could not face head on for many years because I was convinced it would kill me. The pain was such a destuctive force in my life, attracting more abuse from others outside my own family. After all, is this not what I was told I deserved? I was always looking inward for everything that was wrong with me. I was wrong and underserving; ingrained since infancy.

Now, it is so very freeing to take only my responsibility for my actions & reactions and put the rest back on them for theirs.

We can choose love, as you say, “and thats just how it is.”

264

Please excuse the typing and grammar errors above. I visited and posted at 2 A.M; usually the case when issues of my past tend to come up and I feel the need to read and express.

I hope it was not confusing as it reads, and possibly helpfull to anyone who can relate.
God bless everyone in their healing path, the comfort is knowing we are NOT alone.

265

from Le’ah: I will never stop loving you but hate your actions

I admire you. I feel no love. None from her, none to her. I don’t feel neglected, just don’t feel loved.

266

I caved in and called my mom back. She had left yet another message. This time it was ostensibly about my father’s estate although this has already been dealt with through lawyers. I knew it was just another excuse for her to call me but I was fed up of sitting back and not doing anything. Fed up of HIDING from her. So I called her back.

In the space of 15 minutes, from me asking her ‘Why do you keep calling me when I told you specifically that I needed space and asked you not to call?’ the following came up. I’m writing this here because I’m still a little awed by some of the things. I’m writing it down as a ‘reality check’ and if this may be of any use to others. I suppose it does have to do with boundaries. I’m also writing it because although I thought I handled things ok, my blood was definitely up and I want to make sure I was being fair to her and reasonable in my arguments. I said the f-word a lot during that call.

So when I asked her why she wanted to stay in touch with me she said ‘Because you’re my daughter’. I told her I didn’t belong to her. That I wasn’t her anything. There was a silence.

When I asked her what she wanted out of staying in touch with me she said she didn’t know. “I just want to” she said. I tried to get out of her what it was exactly she wanted – she just said a few times ‘I don’t know’ and ‘I want to’.

She told me she probably won’t come to where I’m living now because of her health. (I haven’t invited her). I told her that she could come to this country if she wants but I don’t wish her here.

I asked her why she would want to stay in touch with me given we didn’t get on at all. She told me that it was my fault we didn’t get on because I pushed her away most of my life. I told her not to blame me for it.

I told her until she is able to examine how she mistreated me and understand the consequences and apologize for specifics, we’re not going to get further in terms of our relationship today. She blamed her wrongdoing and those of the rest of the family on being ‘unconscious’.
I said ‘you didn’t NEED to be conscious as I was THERE TELLING YOU when something hurt or didn’t work but you wouldn’t listen’.

She started to say ‘It’s your choice’. I told her it was up to her to make the changes in her behavior towards me that I had spelled out to her if she wanted things to be different. She told me she didn’t understand.

She wanted to know if the lawyer had closed my part of the estate – I told her it was between me and the lawyer. She said she could have stopped them from allowing me my share I told her it was a question of legality and she had no say in the matter and that she didn’t know what she was talking about.

I told her to stop calling me and not to call again. She said she wouldn’t.

She sounded upset at the very end of the call so I feel ‘off’ for that.

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Alice, did my mom call you by mistake?

“Because you’re my daughter.” Um, what exactly does that mean?

And there is no such thing as “I just want to.” That statement is a “justification” statement for some other reason that the other person either doesn’t want to say or cannot say. There is some “need” by her to talk to you, something she thinks she will get, or does get, whether or not you intentionally provided whatever it is.

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DXS, I often wonder about what makes these people do and say such similar things! I wonder about culture in this respect. I was reading earlier about whether children were ‘owned’ by their parents since this seems to be at the bottom of my mom’s behaviour. I had the idea she might herself have been bound to something similar and now expects the same from me. Which is why she couldn’t answer the question – because it has no basis in reality. None.

I was really tempted to say “I know what you want, you want to control me and I won’t be controlled” but I held off. One, because she would deny it, two because although I’m sure that’s what she does want, I made a promise to myself some time ago that I wouldn’t tell other people what they feel or think. Because that’s what she did to me. And three, I ought to be open to the possibility I’m wrong. I think my mom is operating off a different version of reality than me. It’s been like this with her for as long as I can recall. It’s like talking with a person who isn’t there. The last part is tough to explain but you know when you have a conversation and exchange with someone, you can feel a person there, responding in return? Well that doesn’t happen with her.

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Alice and DXS
So much of your conversation is familiar for me. My mother always said it was my fault too. How could she believe that I was born pushing her away? I was in a seminar one time (as staff) where a man told his wife that he loved her, (they were having problems and she was considering divorce) and she asked him what that meant. She asked him HOW he loved her. He couldn’t answer. Because he didn’t know. Because he didn’t realize that his actions didn’t communicate LOVE. And my mother doesn’t know what it means either and her actions didn’t communicate love at all. (well some of them did, but the good doesn’t cancel out the bad)

The cycle of abuse is understandable only in that these ways of communicating are passed down from generation to generation. The root of the dysfunction is in the belief that respect is obedience and that love is respect. BUT it is taught as a one way street. I am guessing that my mother grew up waiting for the day that SHE would be loved (that she would have impact on someone else) and because it was taught to her that love is acceptance of devaluing and disrespectful one sided treatment, she waited for the day that someone would jump to her wishes and thereby prove that she too was ‘lovable’. But it doesn’t work that way because love isn’t any of the things that she was taught and it isn’t the things that she taught me either. It was in finding out what real love is that I was able to emerge from the fog and heal the broken parts of me. The biggest and HARDEST thing that I had to do was to learn to treat myself with the love that I didn’t have. First I had to realize that I deserved better and I had to realize that she had NO right over me. It was HER job (and my fathers job) to raise me, provide for me and that includes emotional provisions. she is the one that filled the blank canvas that was me. I am the one that had to fix it but Our relationship is HER failure because there was no regard for me as a person in the first place. My response to my mother in compliance to her whacked out idea of relationship was not love.

Hugs, Darlene

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Le’ah
It was shocking to me how little anyone cared. Sometimes it still is but that is the nature of the misuse of power and control in relationship. Showing care communicates something related to equality and there is no equality when it comes to the one who believes that love is related to being ‘in power over’ another person.
Hugs, Darlene

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Michelle
I literally broke out in a huge smile at your sentence “So glad I’m done with her and her filthy pathetic husband” I feel the same way! It’s funny about the word ‘pathetic’ ~ when I came out of the fog it was one of my favorite descriptive words of all time because I began to see just how pathetic it is to believe that treating people the way they do is ‘good’ or ‘right’ ~ it’s disgusting.
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene, you’ve absolutely nailed it! What my mother didn’t count on was that my father loved me (and I mean in the sense he treated me as an actual person, even if so often he did not stand up for me when my mother was mistreating me) so I had an example of love in the family. That’s something she really has a hard time with. She would tell me ‘You prefer your father to me’ when in reality it was the way he was treating me (as a person) that I preferred. She still hasn’t understood that. I have tried to explain a few times without success.

Our conversation hurt, it hurt me to have to say what I said – and I’m sure it hurt her to hear it. I can hear ‘in my other ear’ ‘Well, you shouldn’t have done that to your mother then!’ but it is the truth.

People say ‘don’t be a victim’ and so I’m removing myself from that situation to ensure I am not one any longer ‘Don’t be a victim’ also sometimes means, ‘grow a thicker skin so we can continue to treat you the way we’ve always done’. No. The answer is no.

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Alice,
I love that! People say ‘don’t be a victim’ but then they think they know the directives for NOT being one. It’s like everyone is ‘talking’ but no one realizes what is coming out of their mouths. Like they are saying “Don’t be a victim but don’t actually draw a boundary”? I decided not to be a victim and I drew a boundary. I gave them a choice and they chose to treat me the same way. (well actually in the case of my mother, she chose never to try even speaking to me again) BUT I am no longer a victim and that is the freedom part of this whole thing! My mother must be happy with her decision; If I was such a huge problem, she should be celebrating that I am not a problem any more! And I am okay with that!
hugs, Darlene

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Draw a boundary. Draw a boundary. WHAT? You aren’t supposed to draw a boundary, that means you don’t love us!

Darlene has said that her mother “knew” what she was doing. I honestly don’t believe my mom “knew” what she was doing. And I don’t think she really meant to hurt me. My mom is a “parrot.” She “parrots” what other people do, because she doesn’t know her own self and doesn’t want to. It’s just that things she said and did, actually DID HURT me. In her mind, if she didn’t MEAN to hurt me, then ipso facto I should not feel hurt. And if I do feel hurt, then I’m wrong because she didn’t MEAN to hurt me. She just can’t get it through her head that even if someone just says “hi how’s the weather” that someone’s feelings *can* get hurt. For a variety of reasons. And sometimes it’s not the words she uses, but the VOICE TONE she uses with it. the VOICE TONE sends a completely different message. And of course she denies the “voice tone.” I’m so happy I have musical talent. I don’t do anything with it, but having the talent, well, I detect changes in people’s voice. It took me years to figure out that I was detecting changes in my Mom’s voice and that is what I reacted to.

For me, “connecting all the dots” has been a lifelong process involving:

– Training at work where they tell you about managing different personalities

– Training at work on “sight” people (who react to what they see) and “sound” people (who react to what they hear). The words you say don’t have that much impact. It’s all in the body language and the sound.

– Reading Deborah Tannen’s books on communication

– BaggageReclaim.com about romantic relationships (which I found after a disaster a few years ago with a passive aggressive self absorbed insecure narcissist!)

– and culminating with THIS website. This website helped me “connect the dots” on all of the previous things I have read and internalized.

My Mom was always telling me the “to thine own self be true” thing. The “message” I actually heard (voice tone!) was: “Be true to what Dad and Mom want you to be!!! which I couldn’t be.

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Darlene well put and fully understood. “there is no equality when it comes to the one who believes that love is related to being ‘in power over’ another.”
There is no time like the present, I only can say I would have made better choices and not pushed away a former husband and at times my own son because I did not know love, or how to love myself, especially. These were not perfect relationships either; they had their issues and faults and knew how to push my buttons & not living in truth. Yet, I walked away; for me back then it became way too much. I was fighting for my equality on all levels.
I can no longer look back, living is: only moving forward. I am no longer fighting for equality.
hugs back,
Le’ah

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Hi DXS, well put. I’ve had many romantic relationships (including my current one) where I’ve heard the “well, I didn’t MEAN to hurt you” line in the same way your mother used it. I’ve also been confronted with the complete denial of the importance of voice tone and other forms of nonverbal communication. I can’t stand it when someone uses an angry tone of voice while telling me they’re not angry. This kind of thing has played out in my personal and work relationships all my life, and I’m sure it has everything to do with my parents’ completely hurtful and disrespectful treatment of me since day 1. My feelings never mattered and boundaries were non-existent.

I’m just starting to learn how to set boundaries, at work and at home. For the longest time I had no idea I had a right to, and because I’m pretty new at it, it can be a tough and uncomfortable process. Boundaries mean I no longer accept my boyfriend thinking he can rest in his comfort zone to let me carry 100% of the burden and responsibility for improving our relationship, which is very much on the rocks right now. At work, it means not letting my “temp-to-hire” employer treat me like a day-by-day on-call worker by finding other work on the side instead of maintaining 40 hours of availability to them in exchange for no schedule and no guarantee of work volume. It means that in order to maintain those boundaries, there could be consequences (either my relationship gets better or we break up, and at my job they either offer me full time with benefits or maybe one of my side gigs leads to something better) and I’m learning to be okay with that. Boundaries mean I get to believe I have equal value and deserve happiness. I do not have to stuff my feelings inside, justify or apologize for my feelings/thoughts/opinions when they don’t match someone else, or deny that problems exist and might require some communication and compromise, which would make other people comfortable at my expense thus giving them the same control over me that my abusive parents had.

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Darlene, thank you a million times over for being with us on these immensely painful days. It seems like such a fantasyland idea to most of us, that these caring parents actually exist. I treasure your work and your efforts. You have helped me more than any expensive therapy that I have tried. I believe that I speak for many, that I come here to contact you rather than “sharing” on Facebook because of the shame that we feel connected to our families. To not be “normal” or be able to feel gratitude toward the most important two people in our lives, as though we did something wrong, still, and I’m 62 years old. In our family the damage to brain wiring and the nervous system were already inflicted by the time we were 3 years old, from beating, slapping, jerking and screaming. And the threats of even more bizarre punishments were constant, into the even more inappropriate teen years. Holidays are the hardest of all. Thank you for giving voice to a large community of strong survivors!

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Hi Colleen
Thank you for sharing and for your validation re my work here. 🙂 I appreciate your words so much.
It’s the “as though WE did something wrong” part that is so dang hard to overcome when the brainwashing begins so young; but there is HOPE for total healing. It was that hope that became the first key for me.
Hugs, Darlene

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All my life I never knew me
You never showed me
I never knew who to be
Because you never let me be
I couldn’t make up my own mind
Without guessing your mind
I didn’t know what it meant to love
You told me it hurts to love
Then demanded my love
You told me to forgive and forget
I’ll never forget

You chose him over me
And now I see, who I can be,
I AM FREE

Michelle.

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Michelle, WOW. Nice poem!

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DSXMac
Thanks. It was one of those nights last, I couldn’t stop tossing and turning and thinking about a few things.. I had to look through personal stuff the other day to find my birth certificate (so I can get a passport) and I’ve kept a lot of stuff I’ve written over the years. So I was reading through some and it struck me how I already knew a lot about how they were abusing and manipulating me, but at the time I felt powerless to stop it, although I really wanted to. I just kept trying to fix everything. I’ve been a fixer since I was a toddler. Apparently even then I used to comfort my mother and ask her ‘why are you so sad?’ . So I guess I kind of grew up that way. Until, after excruciating effort and to dreadful effect on my own beautiful family, I realized I DID NOT BREAK ANYTHING, so it’s not my job to fix it! Only until then, when I let go of the ‘responsibility’ to fix everything, did I begin to heal, and put together my own self identity, and learn what my true responsibilities were. Myself; and my little family. And how ironic that she would still further deflect any responsibility from herself and her disgusting husband, and tell everyone nothing was broken in the first place. That its just me hashing up the past and exaggerating as usual. Wow, what a ride its been painted with that brush!
From time to time I hear whispers through others about things they’ve said or done, and it does get me fuming, but m learning to remember that I DONT KNOW WHAT OTHERS THINK, and even if I did THEY DONT KNOW ME! So really, all the BS coming out of their mouths is just white noise really. 😉

Michelle

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Wow, Michelle, I wish I could get to where you are. I’m still trying to “process” all the crap from my childhood, and I’m being told “It’s in the past, get over it.” I still want my Mom to love me, but I guess I have to accept that she doesn’t. Oh, I get told by my siblings, “She loves you in her own way…..” WHAT does that mean and is it supposed to make me feel better?

BS and white noise…… I need to get to that point……

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DXSMac

I understand when you say you’re still trying to process all the crap. I gather from what you say, you have no family support in that regard? It took me a long time through severe pain and depression (and PSTD) to even remember stuff, and then to realize it was s. abuse. (And as a consequence of realizing those things, the emotional abuse from dear ‘mother’ .How very dark those days were. I felt so alone and sometimes I felt maybe I WAS overreacting, and would then try and move on and ignore the rising bile I’d get Everytime I saw that pathetic creature . (Step-father).
I didn’t have support for a long time. Except my sister who I knew would never tell me to forget it and move on, we never really talked about a lot together, (too much for her) although we did talk enough for me to know she was with me all the way. She had her own crap to deal with too. Awful, and she’s always been quite timid in nature and not as outspoken as me. (So I’ve been led to believe).

For people to say get over it, completely invalidates your feelings. If it were that easy to ‘get on with it’ don’t they think you would have done that already? Or do they think you actually enjoy struggling through the haze of depression and anxiety, PTSD and goodness knows what else you’ve got going on on your life. If they want you to get on with it, are they prepared to help you do that? There are certain requirements you’ll want from them. aka BOUNDARIES! Are they prepared to respect that?

For a long time I wanted my mum, I EXPECTED my mum to love me. (In the true sense of the word, not her definition of) . When I realized she wouldn’t, (because she was not prepared to put herself there) I still craved for a mother. I used to befriend older nice caring women and hope they could give me some of what I craved. A mothers nurturing.
I still do have some of those lovely friends, and without them I wouldn’t be who I am today. But thankfully, I am a mother of 3 beautiful girls, and I am very close to my neice (my supportive sisters daughter) so I get to channel the mother and nurturing towards them. My husband is also very supportive. (Hasn’t always been, but that’s another story for another day)

She needed to be able to put herself in my shoes. No empathy, no understanding. My mother kept forcing me into her shoes. It was impossible for me to understand how she couldn’t see past her pain and into mine. I Said once on one of those desperate moments when I so wanted to trust her (to not hurt me, to truly see what had been done to me) that I felt like scraping myself inside out. I was pleading with her in my mind to nod her head AT THE VERY LEAST … Instead she looked at me and said ‘how do you think I feel?’
Well far out mum you married the asshole after you knew almost everything (some things did not occur to me until I had my own beautiful girls). So how do I think you feel !?!? I already know how you feel, I tried to protect you from my feelings as long as I could, but I finally realized you weren’t prepared to help or even support what you broke. Actually you made my life a living hell, verbally and emotionally and having me in and out as a ‘part of the family’ at your will.. Well, HOW DID SHE THINK I, ME, HER DAUGHTER, FELT?

Having empathy for someone means being able to feel what they are feeling, as if its happened to you, but its worse, because it’s happened to someone else (i.e. your firstborn). I believe she dipped her toe in and that was enough for her. Otherwise she would have to admit to herself she has failed as a mother, and because she used to always tell us how good a mother she was, (could never get us enough for xmas etc, tell us repeatedly she’d take the shirt off her back for us, that she loved us so much it hurt…. Still don’t know what that meant) why shatter that pretense of yourself?
Well she certainly never achieved anything else worth rating in her life so she had to stick to something hey?

I should mention that the things I said I realized were s. abuse when I got older and had girls myself; I never forgot those things. I just didn’t realize they were s. abuse at the time. But now, I imagine those same things being done by some nice trusted male friends I know and I realize that those men WOULD NEVER do those things. They wouldn’t even think them.
Also I used to get really upset and try to remember everything that happened, of course I can’t. That used to really stress me out to the point of mental breakdown. I still sometimes wonder. But it’s gotten easier for me I think because I’ve dealt with a lot of painful emotions and so maybe I don’t need to remember everything(?)… I honestly don’t think I could hate him anymore than I already do, and as far as my mother is concerned, well, she never really was my mother so no loss there. And anyone including my siblings that continue to pressure me to LET IT GO, well, they don’t get it then do they? We can’t make them get it, they have to want to get it… That’s not our responsibility. We have enough.
I’ve rambled on…. Sorry for long post.

Michelle

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Hi everyone,

I would be interested to have your opinion.
I have planned to move to another town (70 far way from mine) to put distance between me and my past and also because my abusive family still live in my town and I don’t feel very secure.
But I jus’t can’t. I feel a huge sadness, panic, fear of being toally alone in antoher town.
I recently broke off all contact with my family.
I quit a job I hated and I know moving will be the last step but it so so hard.
My genitor threw me out of the house whenb I was 19 with any money nothing, and the several times I ran away during my teenagehood, he always succeeded to catch me again and severly attacked me when I escaped the house.
So moving for me, brings back these feelings to the surface and it is very hard.

I need to move of my flat because the fee is too high for me and also because the gourou guy who scared me a lot this summer know where I live.
I don’t know if I have to move directly in another town as I thought (although I have no job actually) or if I have to proceed step by step and to go first in another flat, in another area of my town where I won’t give my adress to anybody and then, when I’ll feel more secure and ready to leave this town.
But to move out not far, is also hard because I litterally live in fear. And I can’t go down town because I feel so stressed and in danger. So it will be a lonely life too.
And I feel the difference when I travel a little, I feel so relieved when I leave my birth town.
An agency made me an offer for a new flat in the distant town I planned to go and I have visited the flat. The real estate tried to contact me and I didn’t answered the phone 🙁 because I was afraid and too sad to say I refused their offer :-(.

I thank you very much.

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Sorry when I said, “But to move out not far (…) danger” ; I would like to say “But to move out not far from where I live now, (…) danger.
Thank you.

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Hi Michelle
Thanks for sharing this poem. I love it. I have no words to express how much it touched me.
Hugs, Darlene

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From Michelle: For people to say get over it, completely invalidates your feelings. If it were that easy to ‘get on with it’ don’t they think you would have done that already? Or do they think you actually enjoy struggling through the haze of depression and anxiety, PTSD and goodness knows what else you’ve got going on on your life. If they want you to get on with it, are they prepared to help you do that? There are certain requirements you’ll want from them. aka BOUNDARIES! Are they prepared to respect that?

Well, I didn’t experience biggie trauma that a lot of you did. Mine was more…. “covert emotional.” My mom couldn’t deal with having a precocious child. I didn’t “fit” into the norms of the local small town society. Instead of helping me cope and learn and to try to be the best I could be, she tried to force me to “fit” and to be someone I couldn’t be. She didn’t love ME, she loved the person I had to “pretend” to be as a child. And this is the issue I am trying to address with an 80 year old mother. I’m sorry she is 80, but it took me this long to figure it out and I want answers! My sisters don’t understand. It took me years to figure out who *I* really was. Even though I don’t think my situation even compares to the majority on here, Darlene’s blog does address even MY situation, and I’m thankful.

For years, my mom pounded into my head, “think of how OTHER people might feel.” But of course, that rule didn’t seem to apply to her. She never once considered how I feel. Because, whatever she feels, I’m supposed to feel. And, like you, I got the “how do you think I feel?” Recently, I tried to flip that around on my Mom, and ask if she could for once think about how I feel. All I got was “you make your own problems.” I am single and did not have children. So, mom puts the “you don’t know what it’s like to be a parent” trip on me. No, I don’t know what it’s like to be a parent, except to my cat. But I did not ever feel loved. Didn’t feel hated, just didn’t feel loved. Felt ZERO, nothing. My my sisters had issues, and understanding why they had issues.

To Aurele:

Unless you have significant ties to where you are now, how about moving as far away as you can? 300 miles? For me when I did that, it was cathartic. Did that a few years, then got a job 3,000 miles away, and that was even more cathartic. My mistake was going back, but I went back because I knew there were unresolved issues and I wanted to address them, only to find out Mom doesn’t want to know there were issues.

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Great post DXS.
My mom has been “following me” again on Linkedin. This is since our last discussion by telephone where I told her not to contact me again (see post in this thread above).
I know I can’t do anything about her being on an open social media network and looking at my profile every couple of days but it feels plenty unpleasant. Plus I’ve read about mothers doing way worse when it comes to their daughters’ going no contact. But I wanted to share how it makes me feel. It makes me feel as if I’ll never be able to get rid of her. That she will never just leave me alone. I guess I could change my privacy settings so she can’t see my profile but “as usual” it’s up to me to change what I’m doing to accommodate her behaviour. It drives me nuts, the woman is retired. It’s not like she ‘needs’ to be on a professional network. But she’s there anyway and the ‘who’s viewed your profile’ shows her visiting mine every couple of days.

I don’t update much on there either so I can’t imagine what’s she’s getting out of it. I wish Linkedin had a feature to block specific users.

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From Alice:

I don’t update much on there either so I can’t imagine what’s she’s getting out of it. I wish Linkedin had a feature to block specific users.

Ah yes. Can’t block specific users, and you have reasons you want to be “public.” And having to accommodate “her” behavior…. it’s just MOTS (More of the same…..)

In an earlier post, you said your mom has an alternate version of reality. I call that, “the rose colored glasses.”

I see why you are “creeped” by your mom reading your LinkedIn. For me, I WISH my mom would read my Twitters. But she’s not too literate on the computer. She just does what she knows how, and won’t try anything else.

290

Thanks DXS, love the abbreviation MOTS:-) Spot on.
You’d like your mom to read your Twitters? I’m crossing my fingers that mine has no knowledge of the existence of Twitter. I reckon it was another family member who got her on Linkedin. I suppose that could be a way of getting older moms online.

291

Boy, this all sounds familiar. I received a LinkdIn request, numerous times, asking me to add my mother to my circle. I just ignored it. I dont really use my LI account. She just wanted to see who was in my circle. She herself is long retired.
I blocked her on Facebook, as I could tell by little comments she made that she was scouring my site. My instinct was right. She just confided in me a most horrible thing she had done via FB. My brothers GF has a page, and is friends with my mother. This GF had posted some family photos. GF’s mother had been widowed in the 1970’s, and she began to keep company with a man who wasnt divorced yet. It was very scandlous in my hometown, and people talked, including my mother. So, these two broke up and moved on, aged,life went on.
So, anyways, GF posted a photo of her mother, in which she had aged, and gained weight, not most flattering pic. My mother printed the photo out on her printer, and sent it anonymiusly to said gentleman. They had not seen each other for years, and I didnt know if she wanted to burst the man’s bubble and destroy his memiry of her, or, more likely, put this woman in her place, bc she had been threatened or jealous if her youthful beauty (my guess).
But that is an exampl of my mother using FB for her own sick pleasure. She is not interested in listening to you, if you talk about your life or accomplishments , in real life. Nor can she remember any of the details, bc she really doesnt care on that level. Same as if you are sick, or going through health problems, she doesnt remember the details, nor is she able to express empathy. Its just not there.
She enjoys creeping around on these sites, and finding out things you DONT tell her, as it is a source of power and control for her. She monitors my nieces and nephews sites, and tells on them for frienships she deems inappropriate. Lik
e my nephew had a “black girl” on his friends list. Gasp! She was blocked for a while from their sites.
These sites are just a source of power and control for them. To creep and sneak, without having to bother with engaging in a real, equal relationship with you. To gain information, that would normally be imparted in a real relationship, without having to participate in one!

292

Janie, this is the stuff I can’t stand about social media. It’s why I’m not on FB.
I have a highly prickly sense of privacy that’s definitely related to the way my mother (and others in the family) considered (and obviously still do) that it’s ok to be looking over my shoulder or prying into my life without permission because they are related to me. It’s still about boundaries. I wish the tech companies would take account of this kind of situation instead of imposing so-called ‘transparency’ on people.

My very-critical aunt also requested a contact on Linkedin and I accepted but my contacts list is tweaked so only people who are connected to each other can see each other on my list. I know it runs counter to the ‘spirit’ of online networking but I prefer to protect my interests. And professional interests are directly linked to my financial independence. There’s no way I’ll allow the creeps in my family to mess with that.

293

Alice and Janie,
I can relate to this social media stuff. I befriended an old classmate who had been shy and bullied at school years ago. I should have become suspicious when she began sending me e- mails viciously complaining about many of our classmates, and it wasn’t limited to those who had bullied her. I should not have been surprised when, for some unknown reason she turned her viciousness towards me, which I found out about from another classmate who was receiving vicious e-mails about me.
It appears that this former target of bullies had swung so far in the other direction that she became a playground bully in middle age! I too had been bullied as a child an even as an adult. I think this is why I befriended her. But I have been learning to be assertive,not mean and aggressive like her.
Wh do people use the Internet for destroying others? There must be deep seated insecurity in these people, and they are cowards hiding behind a computer screen.
Needless to say, I am no longer Facebook friends with this person. She took extreme offense when I unfriended her and stepped up the attacks for a while (behind my back of course), and I think it bothers her that I just ignore her. It has now eased off.

294

Amber, yes, some people are very scary when you reconnect with them. I connected with one girl, whom I knew in junior high. She had moved away during high school. She tried to take control of all of our graduating high school class, tho she was not a member of this group! She created secret groups, attempted to pit one person against another, etc.Even planned our reunion! Total control freak. We are both nurses, and she had been unemployed for a while. The turning point for me was, when she asked me to LIE and give her a job reference. She did not have one person from her previous job she could ask. Then she was posting pic after pic of her teen daughter, after she was in a serious car accident. I think to invoke sympathy from FB people. I blocked her. She then worked through all other members, having them approach me, asking why I defriended her. In reality, it was a thinly disguised method to point out to others what a mean person I was for defriending her for no reason. She even came through her daughter’s FB, asking me to explain what had happened. But I knew, once I opened a discussion, it would give her fuel for the fire, and she could take the info to my classmates and say how untrue this was, and again, how mean I was. So, no response does seem to be the best policy!

295

Wow, Amber and Janie, what horrible things some people will do!
It made me think of my (slowly changing) tendency to befriend people to whom similar or difficult things had happened to. Yes that has come back to bite me more than a few times.

296

Janie, wow she sounds very dangerous and dysfunctional. And very similar to the woman I defriended. Like your former friend, mine also formed exclusive groups on FB. After I unfriended her due to her bullying behavior online, she blocked me. When she formed this new exclusionary group, she temporarily unblocked me, most likely just to show that this group exists, and maybe hoping I would ask to join so shecould have the opportunity to start a conflict. I know she hates that I just ignore. Her, but sometimes with dangerous people like this it is the only way to deal with them. They look for contact for the sole purpose of starting a confrontation, which I am not interested in. I observed this behavior in her towards others during the time period that we were friendly. Lots of game playing and trying to make people feel excluded. Was the only thing she learned from being bullied was how to bully others?? I want no part of her dysfunctional behavior so I will continue to ignore her and also not react to any of her groups.

297

Holy cats! I am counting my blessings that my mom is computer ignorant. I don’t do FB for the very reasons all of you have mentioned. The politics of “friending.” I don’t like it.

Boy, what you have all described, this gives a whole new meaning to “not letting go of your children.” I’m seeing a whole new field for psychologists and therapists to specialize in: “Although you let go of your kids physically, you gotta let go of them in social media.”

Healthy boundaries in social media. That’s a touchy area!

298

DXSMac , if people use social media as a way of staying in touch with old friends, like high school classmates, it can be a very good thing. It is when it is abused, when people like the woman I described use it as a weapon to hurt people, then it is a bad thing. So my solution was to discontinue contact with this person. Instead of just dropping it, she went on to make up stories concerning me and spread these lies to other classmates. One lady informed me as to what was going on. Some of these people also dropped her when they got tired of her malicious, and forever complaiining behavior.

299

From Amber:

Instead of just dropping it, she went on to make up stories concerning me and spread these lies to other classmates. One lady informed me as to what was going on. Some of these people also dropped her when they got tired of her malicious, and forever complaiining behavior.

That’s why I don’t like social media. If anyone inadvertently, and I mean INADVERTENTLY, P***ed someone off, they will over react and blast the person on social media and that person is [expletive]. I do ok with Twitter, but I won’t do FB because of that fear.

300

DXS, I’m ditto on FB for the reasons mentioned. When it first came out I did try it because a friend of mine I also worked with ‘friended’ me. I could see right away how fast the relationships could get mixed up and given my sucky boundaries (or rather, my need for hulking big ones) I just figured I couldn’t deal with the complexity imposed by FB. It also triggered my feelings of being an outsider as well as this idea of ‘friendship’ that I don’t get. So on the one hand I’ve missed out on the ‘good’ stuff Amber is talking about and I’ve missed out on some other ‘less good’ stuff. I like Twitter:-)But I’ve also seen some icky relationship stuff play out on there.

301

Hi Dianne and Darlene, Thanks for your responses on May 20th and 21st.
My daughter and I are doing well in this new existence. Certainly I feel relieved and less pressured about everything as many others have mentioned. I am dealing with how others are viewing this situation. As the woman who called herself mother to me is telling everyone that we are not calling her, and that is true, no contact. In the African American community “mother” is looked at highly and almost praised. So this whole thing is hard for others to take and have to find the fault in me. My NM is also in her eighties but has no form of Alzheimer’s or dementia. She can handle her business and everyone else’s. I feel sorry for my daughter because at times we feel isolated (even when it’s not true). Some family gets it and others don’t. Whatever I have to do what is best for me and my offspring. This decision is vital in the development of my current and future family.

302

Thanks DXSMac for yor answer.

303

Darlene, please help me on something I am stuck on. Why is it that I use rejection by a few people as a barometer of my worthiness, particularly when I have many friends and most people accept me? I know that this originated in feelings of rejection in my family as a child, and some peer rejection in grade school. How do I get unstuck on this? Thanks.

304

Hi Amber
I was ‘taught’ that my worth was defined by others according to whatever they decided worth was. What I have learned is that they never had to authority to decide my worth in the first place. I was born worthy. Being defined that way was always about how they had control over me. The key is in exposing the lies to yourself and then re-wiring the false belief system back to truth.
Hugs, Darlene

305

Thank you so much Darlene! 🙂 🙂

306

Darlene, I have been thinking about your response to me (304 in response to 303). I too was taught that my worth was defined by others, and I can see how believing this would keep me in a continuous struggle tp please and be compliant in order to be accepted. Never ending pressure to earn the right to be loved, while, first of all it doesn’t end in love anyway, and, second, as you stated, these people don’t have the right to determine my worthiness in the first place! This gave me a lot to think about. I understand what you are saying, and also given my history, how I came to believe that it was the right of others to define my worthiness. I think it’s going to take time to rewire my belief system after thinking in a certain way my whole life. I can imagine it must be such a great feeling when you reach the othe side of this, where you understand the lies and really, truly believe that your worth comes from within you, and the way you interact with the world is completely different when you get to this point.a

307

I don’t think I ever “stood up” to my parents except for once, (firmly and respectfully) and then I just slowly quietly moved away. I never ever came close to disrespecting them, I was never ever my whole life rude to them, even as a teenager. I did, however plead with them, explained to them, tried to make them understand. When I finally distanced myself for my own sanity it was great, I started to grow into the person I was always meant to be. The sad part is, they took a hold of my own daughter and told her because I don’t see them, she doesn’t need to see me either. They encourage her adamantly to distance herself from me. They encourage her hatred towards me, they cry victim and tell her I am the cause of their depression. While distancing myself from them has set me free, it’s been my worst nightmare.

308

Amber, Darlene (and I figure it’s similar for many here), this same “definition of my worth by others” has been running me for as long as I can remember. For me it extends into the workplace, romantic relationships and some more difficult “friendships” I’ve had. I’m smack in the middle of a process of defining my own self while trying not to attend to the ‘noise’ of others when whatever I do goes against what they’ve decided is my value or role. Or when I ask for better treatment and they are unwilling to give it. It’s a strange process but I am also having some fun with it. It’s not the same as rebellion exactly – which to me is more unconsciously going against the values that others have assigned me. There’s a more conscious component to this thing.
When considering whether I will ever get entirely to the other side, be free of it, well I don’t know. I suspect it’s ongoing and gets subtler with time.

309

Alice, when I think of the people outside of family, the random ones, that tried to define me negatively I see: the boyfriend I had at 16 that would give constant put downs “you’re too skinny, If you break up with me, no one else will date you etc). And guess what? Three days kAfter we broke up, another guy asked me out! The rude neighbor who ignores me and won’t speak to me, it turns out she is rude to lots of people. The kids who picked on me at school, I can see their Achilles Heels. The girl who tried to make me feel ugly because she had severe weight issues, the girl with the bad complexion who tried to make me feel bad about myself. I understand none of us are perfect and we all have something we wish we could hange. But do we need to resort to meanness to others to lift ourselves up? I wouldn’t do that but I sure was the victim of those who did act this way. I was vulnerable because my unworthy feelings originated with my parents and were ingrained enough by the time I reached school age for me to beli,ve that I was unworthy and that others defined me. I was an easy target. Only then, I didn’t realize that thes people were putting me down because they were trying to elevate themselves, in a sick way. This wisdom only came later on. This does not excuse what they did. They are responsible for what they did. And I hold them accountable even if they don’t hold themselves accountable.. As Darlene said a few posts back, we are born worthy. I can see now that I let other flawed individuals define me due to the way I was taught. Now it is time to undo this damage.

310

Oh…… AMBER, you have hit a nerve with me! Letting others define your worth, and I will add further, letting them decide who and what you will be. Like you, I have carried this in relationships, family, work. If you go against what “they” have “decided” you should be, you are persecuted. I’m glad you brought that up. Now I know I have more work to do.

311

My mom is all about, “Why can’t you focus on [all the wonderful things you had that other people didn’t have], etc.” Well, this “fog” I have been in since I was a child (and Darlene was right about the “fog” it’s exactly what I was in!) seems to outweigh all of the “good things.” I just with she would admit she had problems and that her problems affected me! The emotional problems of a parent will end up being thrust on the child. But no, I’m the one with issues because I won’t let her treat me in a way I don’t want treated, but it’s MY fault because I am accusing her of being “wrong.”

312

Hi Simone
Welcome to EFB ~ Wow, this is one of the worst outcomes; when they get a hold of your child and brainwash the child! I am so sorry that this happened to you. Hopefully one day your child will see the truth about them too. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene

313

The day I learned that I could hate my abusers, even if they are family was the beginning of freedom, comfort, & safety for me. Many doors opened with that. I was no longer bound to the obligation. I finally felt aligned with my feelings, memories, thoughts, & desires in my life. I didn’t have to continue on the limited path they confined me to. I could be me.
Since then I have gained confidence, established what I need and don’t need in my life, and make conscious decisions instead of reacting or living with survival behaviours still! I have realized that respecting my value and respecting other peoples value and potential is more important than maintaining the family image!

314

So right Delia! Why is it that when abusers are partners we’re told to get out fast but when they’re family we’re told to make amends? I still haven’t understood this.

315

Sorry for the “split personality” on my posting name, I started off as JJ, then I saw there was already another JJ so I started to switch over to DXS but then sometimes I put it as DXSMac, but it’s all the same, I still have the pretty green logo. I like that Darlene’s blog gives you your own unique little logo.

Anyway, Amber’s and Alice’s comments about “letting others define you” is really hitting me hard. (Not A & A’s fault, they are just speaking their experience.) If I were my Mom, I would be lashing out at A & A and doing the “how dare you make those comments and now I feel bad.” But that is why we are all here now. A & A’s comments were about their personal experiences. But I’m seeing from their comments that I am still, myself, having issues with letting other people define who I am. Kind of like….. “it’s ok for Person A to act a certain way but it’s not ok for JJ to act that way.” Why is this? Why is it ok for Person A to act a certain way, but I feel pressured to be whatever someone wants me to be? It prevents me from being consistent and from STANDING UP FOR MYSELF. This personality with this person, another personality with a different person, lordy, I can’t keep up!

I have never felt love from my Mom (didn’t feel hated, just felt ZERO!) and I never felt love TO her. I wondered exactly WHAT I was “supposed” to feel. I feel ZERO. Well, I feel OB-LI-GA-TION because she is my mom, but I do not feel love. So, to me, love = obligation and I got sick of the obligation.

I have never heard my Mom say she loved her mom. All I’ve ever heard from here is, “It’s my DUTY to…… it’s my DUTY to…… it’s my DUTY to…….” So, again, the “message” is that love = duty. Well, it doesn’t feel good.

Well, I’ll try to keep my posting name consistent, but just remember, I’m the pretty green logo of that particular design.

316

DXS, one of my mom’s favourite things to say was “You’re your own person, Alice”. She’s an excellent manipulator, no empathy. I hear you on ‘duty’, my aunt recently wrote to me that the only reason she stayed in touch with my mom was out of duty to her. This stuff is all over my family. I also recently heard another female relative discussing a younger one, that she was “too willful” and that this should somehow be brought under control or ‘broken’. It’s all pretty 19th century!

317

“You’re your own person” I GOT THAT ALL MY LIFE! There is nothing wrong with being your own person, but mom “said” it with a “voice tone” like it’s “wrong.”

And empathy! All my life it was pounded into my head, “Think of how OTHERS might feel!” But does SHE have to do that? No! Somehow, she is exempt from that requirement, and thusly is not required to think of how *I* might feel. I threw that in her face during what was our last conversation before N/C. She just said, “you make your own problems.”

318

Yep DXS, it went with “That’s your choice Alice”. And yep, putting others first was something only I (it seemed) had to do. Out of ‘duty’ of course.

Perhaps our mothers were separated at birth, haha.

319

Oh, I got another one for you. When I told my mom how much it hurt me to be locked outside the back door in the dark because I was crying she told me “It was just the done thing”.

320

DXS and Alice,
First of all, DXS, I would guess you are having very similar experiences if my comments and Alice’s are hitting you hard. And if, as you wrote, if your mother was to lash out at me and say “how dare you…..and now I feel bad” I am now at the stage where I would say that I have every right to state my opinion and feelings and don’t try to manipulate me by telling me you feel bad when you never gav a crap about how I feel. This would be my response to my own mother. You see, I was the kind of child who loved adventure but was so tamped down by oth of my parents. They had many rules especially for girls. I was groomed to be the compliant good girl and to be unselfish, and to stuff down my own desires and feelings. My mother and other family members took advantage of me. When my grandmother was old and unable to take care of herself, my aunt tried to push the responsibility off on me because she, my mother and their brother didn’t want to be bothered. My aunt encouraged my grandmother to call me and ask to move in with me. I was put in a difficult position, but I felt strongly that the children, not the grandchild had this responsibility. I had young kids and no extra room. I explained to my grandmother why I couldn’t do this and that her children needed to take responsibility for her care. Eventually it got resolved, but I felt that all three of my grandmothers children knew how I was groomed to be the family wimp and tied o push their responsibility off on me.
I put up with garbage from so many people at school, work, and in the family. I got so sick of the good compliant girl role. I got tired of being the wimp who gets taken advantage of, made fun of and whose needs were given no regard. My mother moved away when as a young college grad I was in the middle of planning my wedding. She had no interest in it. She would not purchase my graduation picture….too uly.. But proudly displayed those of my two brothers.
My eyes are wide open now. I see exactly where the rejection came from. And the grooming to mold me into someone to be used and to swallow my own feelings and wishes. That’s why, DXS I would now answer my mother in the way I described above. And I basically did when she wanted me to go cross country to take her to all her doctor visits while excusing the sons as being busy with their lives, and its a daughters duty etc etc. I told her I will take no more of the girl being inferior garbage. She was mad but had no choice but to accept that things had changed.

321

Think of how others feel! Ugh! I did that my whole life. I wondered when anyone would think about how I felt. They never did. Amber was compliant and she never voiced an opposing opinion or expressed her feelings. That was nice and easy for everyone. That is, everyone but Amber. It didn’t matter if I was hurt or unhappy, as long as it didn’t generate any work or bother for others. So everyone was happy with the way things were, except for one person. Alice, I too wondered why I was the only one with duties, and also the only one whose feelings never mattered.

322

Amber, I think it suited the family that way. My own experience with taking care of old people (mother’s mother) as a kid until I left home at 17 led me straight to telling my parents I wouldn’t be doing it for them later on. Oh, and was I made to feel rotten for that! When my father fell ill, it was heavily reproached me that I did not return home to take part in his care.

When I think of my family, I am reminded of what they wanted me to be and the fights (because I fought) around me being ‘allowed’ to live my own life. It was ‘me or them’ for some reason. Of course I chose me, but that choice was emminently ‘selfish’ as far as they were concerned and it has led all the way to NC. I don’t understand why it’s ‘either/or’ – surely there must be somewhere in the middle of these extremes??

323

Alice, I think in a healthy family relationship it would be in the middle. I was guilt tripped into complying with a lot of things I didn’t want to do. Yet if I wanted or needed something I was “selfish”. That was no middle ground for sure!

324

Amber, I agree with you. The other thing this did was put me in a pattern of ‘overgiving’ to people when I wanted them to like me. And then getting pissed when my ‘generosity’ was not reciprocated (by healthy folks, I should add, some other people were all too keen to take). I think this idea it’s ‘selfish’ to want take care of oneself makes things like therapy a bit more difficult for some people. The way i got around it was to say it was ‘self-improvement’. I mean in some respects it is but it wouldn’t have been (as?) necessary had the people whose responsibility it was to ‘parent’ me not fouled up as much as they had because they were more interested in what I’d be doing for them (or that reflected on them) rather than anything else. Selfish, no?

325

From Alice:

When I told my mom how much it hurt me to be locked outside the back door in the dark because I was crying she told me “It was just the done thing”.

(shaking my head…..) Oh yes….. that’s what everyone else did and I (our moms) don’t question it……. or don’t take the time to figure out if that makes any sense…… And you have no right to feel hurt about anything I (our moms) did…….

The emperor is not wearing any clothes. And we are the only ones who will dare say it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emperor%27s_New_Clothes

326

Darlene:

Because he didn’t realize that his actions didn’t communicate LOVE. And my mother doesn’t know what it means either and her actions didn’t communicate love at all. (well some of them did, but the good doesn’t cancel out the bad)

Mom can say the words, but can’t back them up with actions or reasons. Why can’t I focus on the good things? Why am I only focusing on the bad things? (My mom’s questions) Because as Darlene said, the good didn’t cancel out the bad. I grew up in a fog, as Darlene did.

327

In the “be what other people want you to be” department….. Well, I am unmarried by choice, and I truly believe I chose it, as the “trigger moment” that cause me to choose this happened when I was 12.

Surprisingly, Mom has never hassled me about marrying (or having grandkids). At first, I thought this was because she was supportive of my choice. But in the last four years, I have become aware of some things that make me wonder if I am playing right into the hands of “be what they want you to be.”

When I was in my 30’s, I got in an argument with Mom and I said, “you don’t want me to have a boyfriend.” She, of course, denied this. And I wondered what made me say this to her, because I had made a conscious choice not to marry. About four years ago, I was dating someone, and my sister told me “Mom doesn’t like it when you have a boyfriend.” I was shocked! My sister is not aware of that conversation I had in my 30’s. But it confirmed what I had said to her in my 30’s. So, I went to Mom and did a “Law and Order SVU” interrogation, backed her into a corner, and she admitted it. She said, “you pay more attention to me when you don’t have a boyfriend.” Well, I don’t have a boyfriend now, and I’m N/C with you, so how do you like that?!?!?!?!?

328

Darlene,

You write,
“I believed that loving abusive people like my mother, until they could love themselves was equal to having a higher purpose. I believed that I was ‘the better person’ because I could take the abuse, mistreatment or disrespect and that would communicate that I could love unconditionally. I believed that accepting devaluing treatment in some way ‘proved’ my value; even if it only proved it to God.”

How else can we begin to justify all those years of emotional slavery? It’s frightening to think it was all for nothing, a waste of precious time and nothing more. Of course we will try to find meaning where there may be none, or create meaning where there was none. Do these experiences make us somehow stronger or more insightful than people who had normal loving families? Maybe. Did we learn anything of value from them? I don’t know if these are even valid questions to ask, but human nature demands that our suffering shouldn’t go to waste.

329

DXS, I decided very young never to have kids. My mother however does not see this in a good light.
My decision holds today for a few reasons, one I have trouble enough with taking care of myself that I’m not going to inflict that on an innocent child, two, I worry I will unconsciously treat them the way I was treated and three, since I didn’t have a ‘childhood’ as such because I was taking care of others, now I want time to take care of me. That’s the selfish part. My mother told her friends (in front of me) that had she the opportunity she would not have had kids. I suppose that’s a valid enough thing to say but did she have to say it in front of me? I think she forgot I was there that time.

330

From Veronica:

Do these experiences make us somehow stronger or more insightful than people who had normal loving families?

In my case, NO. I’ve been a wimp for 50 years. I still suffer from nothing being “real,” as in, “I’m SUPPOSED to feel X way, I’m NOT SUPPOSED to feel Y way….”

My cat is at the vet. Routine yearly exam procedures, but I have to leave it all day. I hate being separated from my cat. I miss it terribly. But I don’t have these same feelings for my family. I feel nothing. What am I supposed to feel? I don’t feel it. So, am I supposed to “fake it?” Pretend? Apparently, because that is what my Mom did. She denies that she faked it. But….. I learned to fake it from watching her.

331

Hi Veronica
I don’t like to think of these things as “having made me stronger” if it leads me to being ‘grateful’ for them because I would rather wonder what I was meant to be like in the first place and much of my quest for recovery has been about ‘getting back to me’. It was validating for me to empower myself with the knowledge that my suffering NEVER should have had to happen instead of trying to convince myself that “it made me stronger, or it made me who I am today”. Learning that I never should have had to go through that stuff is what made me stronger in the end. 🙂 Self validation where I had never been validated before is what made me who I am today.
Thanks for your thoughtful questions!
Hugs, Darlene

332

Veronica and Amber, I agree with Darlene.

I do like to think that there must be something “positive” in amongst all this but I’ve come to consider that it’s only the strengths I’VE brought to bear on the consequences of my upbringing NOT the upbringing itself, if that makes any sense?

My mother did have the gall to tell me that I had succeeded very well ‘thanks’ to my experiences (I think the only time she might have admitted something negative had been part of my life with her) and I argued with her that if I had it was bleeding well *despite* the way I had been treated and that if I had succeeded I had done it myself and so she ought not to even try claiming recognition for that one (but she did try, incredible!)

333

Darlene
I totally get what you are saying about self validation making you strong. But sitting around self-validating is pretty lonely right now. I will get through it, I know it is a process, and in strengthening my self image and trying to find “self love” I will live in a better world. I feel better each day but then “a rock comes flying through the window” in the form of an email from my stepdad which was inappropriate, dishonest, manipulative and almost silly if it didn’t hurt me so much. It was a plea to do something to make up to my mother. Like I never told him in very lucid and unemotional terms that the issues were behind us and I wouldn’t be discussing it any more, but they know where I am if they need me. My so-called mom must be going nuts now that I’m not arguing with her and trying to make things right between us. Yes it’s lonely here learning to self-validate, but thank you again for this space to say what I need to say and know there is understanding out there.

334

hi kathy,

i’m glad u can see the silliness in it, i think it’s easier to see when you’ve been outside it for awhile. i know it’s lonely but it sounds like you are healing yourself.

335

thank you Sue!
K

336

Amber, I am so sorry your mother locked you out in the dark when you were crying. And then a reinjury on top of it: no empathy from her, no apology, when you told her how much it hurt her.

And it really resonated with me when you described other family members as being happy and content, everyone but you that is, and they couldn’t be bothered with helping you.

337

Everyone,

My mother has had a surgery, and very soon I will most likely have interactions with other family members who are calling on her to see how she is/show that they care.

This will be especially hard because these are the people who didn’t necessarily show me that they cared about me when I needed them, who exclude me, and blame me for not “letting go” or want me to “forgive and forget” re: my mom who didn’t back me up in the face of sexual abuse.

I just found out about an upcoming social gathering where I have not (again) been included. Now I have to make nice and be polite over the phone re: my mother’s health to them when I feel very hurt about this.

Need strength for this.

Regarding how our experiences can be shape-shifted into “something good”: The one positive that I can think of about this is that it has made me very empathetic towards others with family problems. I think we as a community have special insight into this so much more than the general population.

Other than that, it sucks. And it has been a huge energy drain, an emotional drain, traumatizing, and a waste.

338

DXS # 327
So, I went to Mom and did a “Law and Order SVU” interrogation, backed her into a corner, and she admitted it. She said, “you pay more attention to me when you don’t have a boyfriend.” Well, I don’t have a boyfriend now, and I’m N/C with you, so how do you like that?!?!?!?!? ”

Love it.
You go girl!

Michelle

339

Hi –

There is so much here that I relate to.
Janie and others-

I can totally relate when you talk about hand me downs and your mother getting her hair done.

My mother had to get a cut and colored every month. She would always use excuses like, “It’s so cheap, only like $60 bucks” (that was the cheapt for her) and “I have thin hair, so I HAVE to dye it blonde” (ok…?).

Meanwhile she would ‘allow’ me to get 1 haircut a year and demand I thank her profusely for it. It was funny too, because she always acted like she worked herself to the bone to pay for that one haircut, when she didn’t work, or really parent us at all.

It was a lot like when she gave me a used boy’s mountain bike that I didn’t ask for and couldn’t ride and then harassed me over and over to thank her (I already had but 5 times wasn’t enough).
She always felt like she was so generous! When she spent all day shopping for herself. I do wonder if she just couldn’t handle young beautiful teenagers living in her house? There are so many mothers out there who aren’t jealous of their daughters- I am always in such awe of these women. Their kindness. We sure didn’t look beautiful she made damn sure of it. Bedraggled and lifeless.

Karen-
I think we’ve related a lot in the past- boy the details you mention are familiar!
I think it’s interesting how you used to think your mother’s abuse was a result of your father’s abuse towards her and now don’t. I really found that comment helpful.

My mother is generally happy when she is happy- I am coming to realize she literally has NO regard for my feelings. It used to comfort me to think maybe my father was just a bad guy to everyone (not that I wanted everyone to suffer but coming to admit that you are a scapegoat a scary thought-survival wise) and that one day she’d divorce him and we’d leave and heal and live happily ever after and safe without his negative infulence. The more I think back, the more I realize, they are equally abusive, and in some ways my mother is more so. There is something about that mother daughter relationship. We want so badly to be close to our mothers. To be loved. It’s easier to admit I think, that our fathers are bad, and bad to mommy, and deep down she’s good person. in truth, she is a wicked, wicked woman. I’ve made up so many excuses for her behavior- personality, stress, upbringing, not working, my father, anxiety, etc, but at the end of the day, I don’t see any other word to describe being responsible for a helpless child and then taunting, bullying, and depriving them of what they can’t get for themselves, while you overindulge and live the life you’ve always dreamed at their expense. Wicked.

I am definitely in a backsliding place right now. After searching for jobs all over this small town I live in, and even considering something far away (not having a car makes that difficult) and even stripping (I just couldn’t go through with it) I finally broke down and asked her for some money. It is for a summer program to certify me to train at gyms. I’ve had such scary poor days in my past (my aunt is helping me but she doesn’t really understand my desparation and the fact that a job in not guranteed after college) and I want to be able to do something I can do, and that is not degrading. Thanks to constant threats, bullying, criticisms, lies, put downs, shaming, screaming, humililations of many sorts, blaming, I am afraid of most people. Physical fitness is not as much about social skills as skills and its not cutthroat where being fake and not bullied is important.

Anyway, my point is, I am back in contact, low contact, with her because of this, and I feel as if I’ve been flung over a bridge. The short conversation was just her of course talking about how great she was. what was appalling was not just that she pretended like NOTHING happened this past year (and sooo much has) and didn’t apologize like someone with empathy would, but she said “it’s been hard for all of us this past couple years, and we’re all starting to heal”. Like her blatant disregard for my most basic needs while in crisis for her daughter, so she could just drive off to la, Berkeley and whatever other fun vacation spot she wanted to. Like her going out of her way to bring up things she knew bothered me after I asked her to stop. Like her gross hand me downs. Like she multiples screaming/shaming/blaming phone calls when all I was doing was asking for help. For the abuser to put themselves in the same camp as the victim, is just beyond disgusting. That was the humiliating part for me. I do wonder if it was more humiliating than stripping would have been.

Even as I write this, I feel guilty. I always always feel guilty. But at the end of the day, she is my mother. And she never acted like anyone’s feeling mattered but hers (and sometimes my father’s if he was enough of a bully).

I feel like accepting this money while smiling and saying I love you and how are you mom is like saying “yes, you win, I am the evil, shameful, bad, ugly, horrible child you always said I was. you were right! Everything that happened as a child was 100% my fault and my bad decisions, nothing has to do with how you raised me! Keep on treating me that way, afterall, I do deserve it!” Or just that I took back all of the angry true things I said when I stood up to her, my father, other family members, colleagues of my father (that’s another story). I know if I went back to shaming myself, accepting blame, accepting far worse treatment, allowing humiliation, lies, criticism and bullying in every encounter, they would let me back into the family- they love a scapegoat! I also know they do not start to be mean, until they know they’ve roped me in. they don’t have me roped in yet. But in all honesty, it just makes me sick. She’s the damn devil.

You’re post is really helpful at this time- I do get scared I’ll get roped back into “she really loves me” at which point she goes in for the kill. But she just…isn’t a good person. I think it also helps just to remember how far back it does go….she’s been doing odd, self-centered, cruel, humiliating things for almost as far back as I remember. Its not as if it will change now. After 24 years? I can’t live that fairytale. Happy for those whose parents have changed, but when my parents say things are better, their actions say, we are still the same…just sneakier.

Best to all on EFB

340

Michelle (#338)

Thank you for your comment.

And for GDW, I did another “Law and Order SVU” interrogation to my mom a couple years go and got my mom to admit that “She did not care one IOTA about my feelings.” Funny…….. I wasn’t even shocked or angry when she admitted it…..

My mom always says, “If you want to know why, just ask me, I’ll tell you.”

My experience is…… She doesn’t tell you the REAL reason, what she tells you is the “justification for her hidden agenda.” To her, the justification for hidden agenda is “truth.” Mom is so full of hidden agenda. It’s so hidden, she isn’t consciously aware of it, I have to INTERROGATE her to get it.

I am at the point where I feel sorry for my mom. I don’t hate her. I don’t feel love for her. I think something really bad happened to her when she was a child. She won’t face those “demons.” Instead she just buries them. I got her to tell me one story from her childhood. It was a story that was pretty bad. I think there is more, and that one story was the “tip of the iceberg.” A psychologist I dealt with for me told me that when you don’t deal with things they “squeak out the side.” Well, her demons that she won’t deal with have “squeaked out” to me in various manifestations.

341

DXS

Wow! That’s pretty insane! But the funny thing is how she probably communicated that all along. My mother on the other hand goes out of her way to say “We love you obviously because we did x (almost always something abusive on her part that for whatever twisted reason I am supposed to feel guilty for).
Maybe it was a relief for you to just hear the truth- then you can move on.

I try to limit contact with my mother as much as possible- I know she doesn’t love me. But my mind plays tricks on me when her words (i love you) don’t match her abusive actions which actually say ‘I hate you’.
My parents especially make me feel guilty about the years they actually chose to provide medical care, the place they had me taken away and locked up in (though I did nothing illegal and didn’t qualify for inpatient psychiatric care) it was an abusive enviornment and traumatic experience that where my free will was denied but ‘We spent so much money on you’- my father said acting like it wasn’t his choice. Bascially anything that cost them time or money, I am supposed to feel guilty for. And I do! There is also times when my father will stick up for her saying she spent so much time trying to ‘help’ me when I was sad. Actually what she did when I was mildly sad (vulnerable) was come into my room and harass me hysterically, until I was hysterical, and then after hours of emotional abuse and blame, leave and go “there’s nothing I can do” – she’s get hysterical and be telling my dad how much she ‘loved me’- and no matter how mean she was, he’d always defend her. It was so crazy I really thought she loved me, cared, and it was my fault.

I think it’s just so painful when a parent despises a child for no reason other than existing. I think whether they say they hate them outright (sort of closer to what your mom did it sounds like) or claims to ‘love’ them to justify their awful scapegoating and abuse, it just sucks. I mean, parents are supposed to care for their children, right?

When ever I reminded my mother of the fact that we were her kids and why couldn’t she take care of us, she’d start up with. “No, we don’t have to, look at (some random reason why she didn’t need to be responsible/a legal argument for why she wasn’t responsible/an example of another abusive family and why it was ok/why she came first).” I remember when she told me that she shouldn’t have to help with college (my family is too well off for me to qualify for financial aid so I was stuck) and used this example of this con artist family who I think faked disability or something when they had plenty of resources. Basically- one other person I’ve heard of is steals so I can be keep more than my share and deny my family too. They spend the money on silly things too- vacations, clothes, cars, tennis club stuff- and then cry “we don’t have any money, it’s so hard for us”. Well, its pretty hard not to have food or clothes or an education. But my parents just don’t see me.

It hurts so bad sometimes. I feel sick.

342

There is a song by a band called Powderfinger; It’s called ‘sail the widest stretch’. Music has long helped me get thru some pretty rough times, and I thought I’d provide the link here. Reading all of these posts and the picture accompanying this blog, I can’t help but think of it.

http://youtu.be/J7bXSbIJ7sk

If you had your time over again
Would you do it all the same?
Down through all the twists and bends
Are there moments you’d erase?

Would you just leave me standing
in the doorway frozen through?
Waiting on the coldest comfort from you

And if your course could be reset
Would you steer your ship my way?
Or would you sail the widest stretch
Just to feel the force of the waves?

Would you just leave me waving
On the dock as you pull away?
Savouring the bitter taste

And if the mirror don’t reflect the illusion you made
You could stop and take a breath
To feel the damage’s weight.

Fade into silence

If you had your time over again
If you had your time over again
Would you sail the widest stretch?
If you had your time over again

343

I should point out that the YouTube clip has nothing to do with the meaning of the song… They were just having a bit of fun with this one.., that’s Powderfinger for ya.. Bunch of Aussie blokes hammin it up.. I’ve seen this sung live, and the performance sent shivers down my spine. So much meaning for me..

344

@GDW. OH MY GAWD! That is sicko! I hate to criticize anyone’s parents, but that is SICKO SICKO!

345

So sad to read of your awful experience with your family GDW. DXS, I dunno about not criticizing, I think the reverse happens more often and that parents’ wrongdoing gets to keep happening because there’s an unspoken allowance that parents have rights over ‘their’ kids, are ‘doing the best they can’ and ‘aren’t perfect’.
While those things may be true, they don’t give anyone a free pass to emotionally, physically or sexually abuse another person.

“Mine”, “Did the best I could”, and “Not perfect” and “Just the done thing” are the stock excuses my mom hides behind still. Sorry to keep referring back to my experience everyone but I guess I’m just so glad I can talk about it with people who know what I’m talking about!

From what I understand of this stuff, kids will take on the belief it’s their fault as a way of trying to respond/control the situation (which is uncontrolable because it’s the parents doing the mistreating) to ensure their survival. Same goes for adult victims of trauma. To get to a place of understanding that it’s not/wasn’t your fault is, I think, an immense step forward.

But then there’s all the ‘responsibility’ talk and ideology. Another tough topic.

346

From @Alice:

“Did the best I could”, and “Not perfect” and “Just the done thing” are the stock excuses my mom hides behind still.

My mom also hides behind “did the best I could.” And Alice, yours and Amber’s stuff is helping me understand my stuff, I appreciate what you are saying.

When I was 12, I “had” to have an OB/GYN exam, there was a reason. Mom LIED (by omission) about what was going to happen. She didn’t tell me what was going to happen because she was “afraid I would refuse to go.” Um…. she still OWED it to me to have told me. It traumatized me, but then my mom had the GALL to SCOLD me for being “rude” to HER doctor! In my opinion, that is sexual abuse by proxy! The doctor didn’t do anything wrong. But my mom did by proxy! I want an apology from her for that, but she doesn’t think she needs to apologize for something “long ago.” Also, she swears she HAS apologized to me, but her “apology” is insincere, it’s nothing but a “one size fits all just want to sweep all the bases” apology. My relationship with her went downhill after that. And she wonders why I don’t trust people…..

I’m doing some volunteer work and today the boss said, “Need to talk to you about something” well, my first thought was, “What did I mess up?” Turns out I didn’t mess up at all, boss just wanted me to watch out for a certain situation. I gotta stop assuming I messed up when someone says that.

347

I am new to discovering my mother is narcissistic. I am reading and reading and things are clicking into place. She is text book case. I have been led to believe my parents were perfect. Dad was a religious leader and my mother was believed to be a good loving mother. For decades she has not been that though yelling screaming physical abuse not there for me but wanting to look good to others. I helped her look good. I was great at that. I started to realize she didn’t love me when I wanted to get married. They wouldnt let me and told me to stay away from him for a year then they would consider it . I did as they asked. There was no emotional support from them. 18 months later I said I wanted to marry him still. They said no, we considered it and still no. I felt so unloved then but was told I had to honour them so I continued not seeing him and was not supported and nOt to speak of him. Eventually 2 years later I’d had enough. They were controlling and not showing love. I told them I was going to see him again and they saidto move out and called a family meeting in which they prayed for me told me I was sinning and that I would be cursed and said there is no basis for a relationship. Oh man it’s a long story. They came to my wedding with long faces (my mother rolled her eyes at me as i walked down the ilse alone without my father)and then didn’t tAlk to me for 2 years when I was told that they had forgiven me and would treat their daughters equally as they loved me. My mother has manipulated me ever since. Oh the stories I could tell. The pain is so bad. They have not treated us the same. My sisters believe I did wrong too. The thing is tthey seem respectable and godly and my mother talks about gods love and I cringe when it comes from her. It makes me sick. I have a strong faith and I have never lost or doubted that. I have struggled to understand what is going on I appreciate your insights into the sin of not honoring your parents issue which I sometimes still feel guilty about. I am all grown up now and looking at what to do to free myself and family further from the hold my family has on me

348

DXS, what a rotten thing your mom did. I have very similar experience with mine who would pull what I call a ‘bait and switch’ on stuff she thought I wouldn’t go for if she told me the truth. And on the non-apologies. I have asked her to apologize for very specific things but also got “why don’t you just get over it Alice?”
and “Why don’t you just move on?” as if the fact something happened in the past makes it ineffectual in the present. But that’s the whole damn point! The way I was mistreated absolutely has a bearing on how I look at things and my behaviour today. She got as far as “There are some things I could have handled better.”
“Handled”?? I didn’t know how to take that. I’m not something to be “handled”. I’m a person!
Anyway, I also have this fear everytime someone says “I want to talk to you” and doesn’t say what it is. I worry about what I’ve done wrong or what they’re going to do. Every job I’ve had, I’ve lived in fear of being fired (so now I’m self-employed to avoid it).
Every new romantic relationship, I feel I’m just going to be used.
Or that things will be ok until I cave in and show my feelings (at which point I’ll be dumped).
So I more or less avoid anything serious.

349

I think Darlene may have said this somewhere on this blog, don’t remember, but I think being told “get over it” is nothing more than the perpetrator not wanting to be held accountable for wrongdoing. My mom admitted that to me (that she didn’t want to be held accountable for what she has said and done) when I backed her in a corner and pressed! Where your mom said, “I could have handled better” my mom said, “I made mistakes……” And, I get the “you can overcome this and be a better person.” Why do *I* have to “overcome” something YOU did?!?!?!?!?! Because…. as Darlene says, “everything is one way.” Everything is about her. Nothing is about us.

I’m still having trouble emotionally accepting that my Mom is this horrible person. All these years it’s been, “Mom is a decent person, she didn’t beat me or this or that….. why do I feel this ANGER toward her? Something must be wrong with me.” No, it’s HER. My mom is CO-VERT! Nothing is real.

Alice, when I read your comments, it’s INSERT TWILIGHT ZONE MUSIC HERE!!!! doo DOO doo do….doo DOO doo do….

350

@Charli, OH MY GAWD! The “sin” you committed was to not agree with them and be what THEY wanted you to be. How dare you. (Just kidding…)

How come “respect your parents” = “agree with whatever they say and you aren’t allowed to feel hurt by anything they say….”

That is what it is with my Mom, and I think with your parents.

351

Wow! what a timely article for me. 2 weeks ago I had a row with FOO about me not contacting birth parents. I had given them many chances and tried too much to gain their love and approval but then my own health started to suffer and they could not care less. They tried to argue that nothing was wrong with me. It was so difficult to finally accept the inevitable that they are so self-centered and will never care for me. In fact, they never have and I only realised this in my early thirties and realised that what they did to me was “abuse” and would normally be locked up for it.

Anyway, I had returned from abroad as my aunt insisted that she was now aware of the situation and wanted me to stay with her until I get a foothold. I had my doubts about her but chose to believe her because my health and finances deteriorated. I find out on arrival that it was all part of a conjured up plan with her brother aka my birth father to get me back in touch with them by asking me to return to my home country. I had told her prior to my arrival that I had nothing to do with my birth parents and would accept her hospitality until I was back on my 2 feet. I also thanked her for that.

Now that I am here, she insists that I speak with her brother. We had a few rows about it and I gave in a couple of times but they simply haven’t changed and through my own healing, I have come to accept that they never will. They will continue to treat me like shit and I have to make my decisions. Anyway, a month ago, my biological dad breaks a toe in his foot and has a cast. My biological aunt and uncle (both siblings of birth father) visit him and find this out. My aunt along with grandmother requested me to call my birth father. I politely said NO and all hell breaks loose. I had a row, pretty cruel in fact with both of them accusing me of being selfish and using people for my needs. Also that I was worth nothing and I was better off dead.
I had previously been hurt by such remarks but this time, I gave them back as good as I got.
I felt really proud of myself for standing up to them though I would have liked it to be peaceful. Again, that was the first time I ever stood up to their bickering and demeaning behaviour. The gist of that was that they were my parents and I should worship them and respect them. I was told off in no uncertain terms that I should comply with this and all fault was mine. Apparently it was my own doing that I screwed up my life and should comply with my birth parents.

So much for “supporting me” hey! I understood that all the FOO (extended family) were in it and they lied to me and pretended to be on my side so that I would return home. Now they started showing their true colors. I think my energy levels are tied up to this situation. It’s a catch 22- I want to leave them and go but do not have enough energy nor friends here yet to do that. On the other hand, I also think my energy levels won’t pick up until after I have cut cords with them.
Then, there is this fear that if I leave too soon, I may be alone and have no support. It is really difficult because I have been independent for nearly 10 years now, immediately after college and only because of my exhaustion, I have become dependent on FOO.

They use that as an excuse to abuse me all over again. I cannot say this situation was entirely bad because it actually made me see them for who they are: abusive, dysfunctional. Even though I did not get along with birth parents when I had initially chosen to live abroad, I did not know that they were abusive. Now I can see that clearly in all of FOO- controlling, manipulative, lying, mean, self-centered,deceiving, back stabbing, low lying scum. I remind myself that its not personal because they do it to each other but want to show off as an ideal family to others.

The villain in this whole thing, biological dad, to this day, has not said a bad word in front of me . He still tries to be nice to me on the outside and wants to deceive me into believing that he is innocent. Actually, that ploy worked well for him up until 2 years ago but I know what a vile person he is behind. He is the one stirring them all up and bad-mouthing me. How do I know this? Well! I listened to them talk on the phone about me when they thought I had not been listening. I mean, what do they think? I am a 2- year old? It is so insulting. I cannot possibly imagine why anyone would think that a highly educated, intelligent woman of 34 years is a naive, 2- year old child.

I sometimes think, are they out of their minds? or are they so arrogant to not see me grown up? I do not know. It is mind-boggling.

352

Hi Charli,
Welcome to EFB ~ Wow, thank you for sharing your story. This is so much of what I am talking about in this site.
Please feel free to share often as you read through some of the other articles and comments from others here.
Hugs, Darlene

353

Hi KathyA
Yes, there is a LOT of loneliness in this healing process. And there is pain. and it was so very hard being the only one that listened to me, and I don’t think I even tried it until I finally realized that ‘they’ were NOT going to validate or listen to me. The resulting healing is so worth it!
Hugs, Darlene

354

Alice and the commenters to do with the expression “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”~
There may not be a positive from the way that my life was in the past. But today the positive thing for me in all this (the bottom line and in a nut shell of course) is that I got ME back. I got me. I have me. I am ME. I am not what they wanted or expected nor do I try to jump through their hoops anymore in order to fill their unreasonable expectations. I don’t let them define me anymore. I have re-defined me and I am free. YAY
Freedom and wholeness (I am the whole me now) is the biggest positive.
Hugs, Darlene

355

DXS ~ here is the link for my article “the problem with statements like get over it” http://emergingfrombroken.com/the-problem-with-statements-like-%E2%80%9Cget-over-it%E2%80%9D/
p.s. when I was coming out of the fog and realizing just how NUTS the whole family system that so many zillions of people live in and have been brainwashed to believe is ‘normal’ the twilight zone music went through MY HEAD too! LOL
hugs, Darlene

356

Hi Sahitha
Great insights and comments. Thank you for sharing.
There is a big element of “parent entitlement’ operating in the dysfunctional family system as well as the misconception that these parents “own” their kids. And at the root of all of it, many parents are trying to fill the void inside themselves left from the dysfunctional systems that they grew up in. When I filled that void in myself for myself, (and my husband also did his work) the cycle of abuse in my family with our kids was halted.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

357

I grew up hearing my mother say “I am the Mother!” as a rationalization for her actions and her position in the family. It was to convey that being our mother meant that she could do or say anything she wanted, as motherhood itself entitled her to respect and obedience. My father felt the same way, though he didn’t say it outright. They did not in any way feel that they had to earn respect, or treat us respectfully as human beings in our own right. Children were not equal to adults. This to me is the deepest problem of all, when children are not seen as equal human beings, because it allows parents to justify all kinds of violations. Parenthood becomes a power trip rather than a responsibility to nurture.
In 49 years of living I cannot remember ever liking or loving myself. I know now I was brainwashed to think poorly of myself, and that intensified as I got older and voiced my opposition and anger towards them. Then I was called “sick” by my parents, and I internalized that deeply. When I began to seek professional help at 16 they saw that as further evidence of my “sickness”, and unfortunately, despite my anger, so did I.

Today my father is deceased and my mother is in a retirement home. It took me about 2 years to finally not feel guilty for not visiting my mother. I am finally getting that I am my own person and have the right to choose who is or isn’t in my life, including family. It took me a long time to get that. My sister is all the family I have left, and I have mentally let her go. Or rather, she let me go a long time ago, and I am facing that. She has Power of Attorney over mom and has done a good job for her, but our relationship has pretty much died because I want nothing to do with our mother.

I know my sister wants a family, she wants the three of us to be a unit especially now that Mom is in her 80s with Alzheimers and dementia, and has been “de-barked” and is a placid childlike thing now. And aren’t I a meanie for turning away from Mom now and for holding on to the past—that’s the unspoken message. I feel very much from my sister that I am ruining her vision of family. But I am not ruining this vision, Mom and Dad ruined it, and they did that a long time ago. If I were to come on board and see Mom and keep silent about the past I would be untrue to myself, minimizing my pain and keeping up a lie. There is no family to honor and be a part of, my parents ruined that. And I am sorry it hurts my sister too much to see that, because I know she got badly hurt too, but the fault does not lie with me.

Nobody protected me when my mother called me a fat pig at the age of 8, or told me as a teenager I wouldn’t get a man, or she wished she never had me. When she threatened to take the toilet paper away from us when I was a teenager because we used too much, and we could just use our fingers, she was saying we were not worth the cost of toilet paper, and it has taken me 30 years for that message to really sink in. Why on earth would I want to visit somebody who treated me that way? With no apology or acknowledgement to this day, only judgement upon me by my sister for not letting go.

My boundary against her is not about being a mean person, it’s about saying, I’M WORTH RESPECT and it’s never going to be ok that they treated me this way. Just because they fed and clothed us and we got toys, that was their JOB, they were supposed to take care of us. I was not supposed to be there when my Dad bought pornography for years, I was not supposed to see his genitals over and over again, I was not supposed to sleep in the same bed as my sister til I was 22 and moved out and she was 30, even though they had the money to give us separate rooms never mind beds, and we were not supposed to go our entire childhoods without seeing a dentist even though he had dental insurance. And my sister who wants to forget about childhood now because she’s “too old” or too “mature” was not supposed to throw a typewriter at me or kick me hard in the crotch so that she could release her frustrations out on me.

I feel this deep resentment from my sister that I am ruining this vision of family for her and the crime I’m committing is putting myself first—somebody has to! I owe this to myself. Family does not get special dispensation. I will not carry the sins of my family anymore. I know it hurts like hell to see family as they really are but I have paid enough, and now my concern is with honoring myself. In my view if the sickness does not get addressed it doesn’t go away, no matter how much time goes by. It only gets expressed in other ways or transferred onto someone else in a punishing manner. But I cannot accept that anymore, because as my parents had a responsibility to me, I now have the knowledge to know I am responsible for taking care of myself, however uncomfortable that may make others feel.

358

“Gee, Doren, why can’t you just go along?” (NO, I’M NOT SERIOUS! But that is what my Mom would say…… “why can’t you just ‘go along’?”)

Sounds like somebody wants to preserve a facade and you are refusing to go along with it. People who refuse to go along with preserving a facade are bad people. That’s the message I got, in subtle covert ways.

Doren, I feel for you.

359

Thank you, DXS…..it means a great deal to know people get it, they understand…I have found myself in such emotional isolation for so long, due to the childhood experiences, the effects and then, perhaps equally damaging as the original wounds, the silence and lack of acknowledgement of them.

I’m sorry for what you went through, including the exam you speak of in post 346. That was a violation. For most of my life I’ve discounted my abuse because I didn’t get beat, and I didn’t even call some of my experiences sexual abuse because I wasn’t touched. But sexual abuse covers a broad range of offenses, and I’m glad that you called it that. A lot of things happen that are covert or seemingly “accidental” but the effects are just as damaging to us. Covert abuse can be crazy-making and I think a lot of abuse is done in a sly way so that parents can deny responsibility.
For example my father never stood in front of me and exposed himself; he did it by sleeping on the couch and spilling out of his boxer shorts countless times. It wasn’t an accident because he told my mom once, “Well they’re going to see it one day anyway”. It was also telling that he wasn’t at all mortified to know his daughters saw his genitalia, nor made any effort over the years this happened to put on pants or cover with a blanket. That says a lot more than the fact he was “only sleeping” and didn’t mean it. The truth is he got something from it, because his response was abnormal.

This kind of thing, abuse in the guise of normalcy, has made it extra difficult for me to see it for what it was, and to validate my feelings. And then with these lifelong messages that my feelings are WRONG, and why am I being so difficult, and why don’t I let it go—when I don’t think for a second that my sister has let it go, she’s just transferred a lot of her anger onto me—it is a system designed to cripple me if I continue to participate in it, so I have backed out. Of course this decision makes me look like the baddie even more, but that is out of my control. Hugs to you, thank you…

360

Doren, that’s the first time I have even CALLED it sexual abuse. By Proxy. It felt cathartic to say that. My mom refuses to talk about it.

What you said:

For most of my life I’ve discounted my abuse because I didn’t get beat, and I didn’t even call some of my experiences sexual abuse because I wasn’t touched.

That’s similar to my situation, I wasn’t beaten, blah blah blah….. I kind of feel guilty as my experiences aren’t as horrific as Darlene’s or some of the others on here. But again, as you said:

Covert abuse can be crazy-making and I think a lot of abuse is done in a sly way so that parents can deny responsibility.

NO KIDDING! I got my mom to admit she does not want to be ‘held accountable’ for anything she said and did. Um…. how does she think she is so special that she isn’t required to be accountable? Oh that’s right. She is a mother, I was a kid, I’m supposed to just “grin and bear it” as mother can do no wrong or if she inadvertently does do wrong, we aren’t allowed to mention it….. Oh yes, your feelings are wrong wrong wrong. Just like mine were always WRONG WRONG WRONG because they weren’t like I “ought” to feel……

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My husband and I were just sitting here and he’s like, ‘where’s M, (our 17yo daughter) has she texted you? She’s usually home by now’
So he texts her and she replies saying she’s just leaving the gym.

It struck me suddenly how my husband has only beautiful concern for our children, yet I was brought up with a man who always had an ulterior motive. Unfortunately these things pop up from time to time for me… I wanted to write something that contrasted my husband with him ???? but this flowed instead.

THE OPPOSITE OF YOU
I used to worry
I’d end up like you
If I thought I’d come close
My life was through
See, you are the woman
I never wanted to be
I’ve fought long and hard
To set myself free

Free from guilt and self inflicted pain
I wondered what it was you had to gain
Then I realized
The man I despised
You craved for
Again, and again and again.

Then it took time for me
To unburden my guilt
And honestly see
I am nothing like you
I just never knew me

And now I am sure
As never before
The person you are
The person you were
Bears no resemblance to me

Not even a little
Not at all.

Michelle

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Michelle, YAY and WOW!

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Great poem Michelle! Aargh, my mom so wanted to impress upon me how much I was like her. She would very often report back that people had told her how much I looked like her. She was pleased at this. I was not pleased at this ever. She would be so happy at my frown if someone said it in front of both of us. My father told me we argued because we were ‘so alike’. It drove me f&cking nuts. In fact it just upset me more than anything. Again I was a nothing. Just a version of her, even my arguing.

Sometimes I look at my aging face and I see aspects of hers in there and I hate it. I hate myself for it. I hate all the things in me that remind me of her. There’s a feeling that goes with it that I can’t put my finger on but it’s like ‘being her’ in small moments.. Even talking too much in this thread about my experience feels like her. It’s what she’d do.

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Hi Doren
Today when I hear someone use that expression “I am the mother” I ask for an explanation! What the hell does that even mean! It is an ownership statement. It is a demand for respect! There is no love in it! UGG and yuck. Great comments; thank you for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

Hi DXS
You would be surprised how many survivors of this kind of family system feel like they didn’t ‘have it as bad’ as others. Even today when I read a comment like yours ( you worte “I kind of feel guilty as my experiences aren’t as horrific as Darlene’s or some of the others on here”.) I think ~ “oh my, what do you think happened to me??” And what I mean is that the abuse I suffered was not any more horrific than anyone elses. Abuse is abuse and it is so important that we all realize that we are all dealing with the damage and that damage must be validated completely and not discounted in any way the way it has always been invalidated by our families etc. Yay for you seeing that about covert vs. overt abuse in your own life and thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

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alice,

i used to want to throw up when people told me i looked like my mother even though she was pretty. especially when i dyed my hair black i would catch a glimpse of her in my face and feel ill. get out of my mirror! i don’t want to hate myself for looking like her, i can’t help it. i have a feeling u are very different from her because u are doing this work and making sure you’re not her. you’re not a nothing, u are your own person finally, thankfully. you’re not talking too much, u are reaching out for support because this is hard and scary sometimes and these abusive people purposely try to confuse us with their crazy making manipulation.

re. the thread about was it worth it to go through horrid childhoods to end up being stronger, i’m sure none of us would choose those childhoods. people who know me think that is why i am chronically ill. in addition to strength it has given us compassion. i don’t find this level of compassion in many other places. every time someone is violated by a phone call etc. we know where to go, where to be lifted up. we feel safer just being acknowledged and heard after the buttons are pushed and we might doubt ourselves again.

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Michelle
Thanks for sharing your poem! It’s wonderful.
hugs, Darlene

Alice.
I can totally relate to your comments about your mom saying how much you were like her and how much you hated her saying it! I see bits of my mother in my looks and I hate it. I see my body changing in a similar way to hers as she aged and I hate it. (some parts more than others) I have to remind myself that I am not her. I have had to do a lot of work in this area!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

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Sue
I like your comments in your second paragraph about compassion.
Hugs, Darlene

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darlene,

BECAUSE I AM YOUR MOTHER AND WAIT TILL YOUR FATHER COMES HOME………..double terror

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From Darlene:

And what I mean is that the abuse I suffered was not any more horrific than anyone elses. Abuse is abuse and it is so important that we all realize that we are all dealing with the damage and that damage must be validated completely and not discounted in any way the way it has always been invalidated by our families etc.

Darlene, I appreciate your comments, and I appreciate being able to vent and get support here.

Alice, I’m still wondering if mom had a secret life and you and I are half sisters……

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Hi Darlene!

I like how you explain the superiority thing in this post. My mom basically positions herself this way in relationship to her own mother. The way you break it down makes it so simple to understand…. but if you take a look at it from a child’s point of view, it’s a really complex/complicated/convoluted mess. I was my mom’s confidante through my teens. There are all sorts of weird messages that you get when your mother positions herself in this way. One, I knew she’d been abused as a child and that it was bad (I suffered that whole “I have no right to complain because my mom’s life has been so hard and painful” complex). She passed letters back and forth with her mom (some of them were shared with me), addressing the issues, but my grandma never took accountability and my mom never held firm with needing accountability (though my mom claims to have strong boundaries). So as a child, I had no example whatsoever of “accountability.” I had absolutely no notion of what accountability even was. And then, this is where things get really messed up—when the superiority stuff comes in. I understand now that my mom was being discounted and devalued, going around in circles, talking to a brick wall and that it was driving her bananas. She always said that she kept her relationship with her mom for her kids’ sake but the truth is I really didn’t have a relationship with my grandma at the point. I mean, come on, I was my mom’s confidante, the good daughter. I was supposed to tell her if she ever turned into her mom. The subtext was always that I was not to like my grandma (I could “love” her because she was my “grandma” but I really didn’t have a relationship with her so how would that be possible anyway?). The thing is my mom would spend so much time deconstructing her mom—the way she acted, her character and personality. Also a lot was put onto the fact that my grandma was “clinically depressed” and that depression was a mental illness and in my mom’s opinion mental illness was basically no different than any kind of physical illness. What ended up happening was that my mom would send these messages that were basically turning any kind of behaviour, personality or character trait of my grandma’s that my mom didn’t like into symptoms of my grandma’s “mental illness” that was nothing but biochemicals. Also anything that she said, felt or thought that my mom didn’t like could be dismissed in an instant, rendering her more or less a non-person. When you’re a child and you don’t really understand the truth of the situation, you’re just being used as a sounding board and things aren’t really being properly explained (because my mom was too much inside it to be able to anyway), it’s dangerous to have this kind of stuff communicated to you. My grandma was a person and there was nothing wrong with her personality; there was something wrong with her behaviour. But my mom wasn’t holding the behaviour accountable. She was being victimized. It’s incredibly confusing from a child’s eyes, because I didn’t even understand that it was accountability that was necessary and missing. But here’s the deal: I was being given the message that I could be reduced to nothing, a non-person, if I was anything like my grandma (whom I really didn’t know) or if my depression was made visible. But all of this was also couched as loving behaviour, that my mother was being the bigger, spiritual person (although “spiritual” wouldn’t be the term used but yes that was the gist), like she was all-embracing, compassionate, caring. The thing is being “superior” like that doesn’t lend itself to the notion of “equal value”. It’s on the other end. So, here you have someone being victimized (someone less than) who is projecting herself as “better than” in private. How does a child make sense of any of this? And if the child relates to legitimate (completely neutral) personality traits of her grandmother? And in a way, this is only the beginning because there’s a bunch of other stuff that bleeds into this—-my uncle’s (her brother’s) suicide (someone whom she also labeled, compartmentalized, and shelved away as being mentally ill as a way, I believe, to disconnect from the pain of his death, but whom I also identified myself with as young child), as well as her own (constantly) denied depression, that could never be admitted because she was “superior” to that. Not to mention all her problems with my dad, a lot of them unfair but some of them reasonable too, which she complained to me about, holding herself as superior there, too. But, though I have no way of knowing, my impression is that she’d nag and get mad at my dad for the stuff that was unfair (and very much had him completely controlled and brainwashed about that stuff—he is her victim for the most part) but the reasonable stuff she just accepted—his emotional unavailability, she understood as being the result of his own dysfunctional upbringing and didn’t seem to ask for more from him (and instead used me as a kind of replacement). All the while I’m being told frequently that I was just like my dad! (but not really as an insult, just a neutral-voiced comment, just a fact) The guy she complained to me about all the time! Whom she expressed clear superiority to! But accepted emotional neglect from! But… “loved”! and was “accepting of”! (not her words but that was the idea). What a bunch of mixed messages!!!! …. But anyway, can you imagine if she cut it down to the basics—-to behaviour and accountability? So much damage there for no reason. This stuff is simple. It’s basic. It’s crazy how much work you have to do, how much thinking and deconstructing, and in the end, it’s pretty simple and straightforward. It makes sense!

Whew! That was a lot! I haven’t been on here for a while! …Everything’s over with my family now (for me anyway). They decided I wasn’t worth it. And honestly, the way they are, the way they treat me, they’re not worth it to me, either. I wish them well. Underneath all their sickness are human spirits no different than yours or mine, children who were broken and made mean and ugly. But if I stay accepting disrespectful, devaluing treatment, in order to compensate, to cope, I have to adopt that “superior” thing and I am not superior. I am not. I am equal. They may not be where I am, they may not understand what I understand, they may not value me, but I value them and I do so by holding them accountable, in knowing that they are capable of doing everything I’ve been doing in their own lives if only they CHOOSE, one little choice at a time….

Thank you so much for this article, as always. You are such a force!
xo, Alaina

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p.s. I value my parents because they are human beings, not because they are “my parents.” As parents, I don’t really value them because, well, they haven’t proven themselves worthy of the role, considering I’d probably be dead if the course of my life was entirely up to them.

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Alaina, all I can say is….. CRAZY MAKING! Lordy! I see why you are befuddled.

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Thanks again Darlene for your support. How I wish that one day my self-consciousness over expressing myself fades…every single time I post I worry that I’ve said the “wrong” thing, or whatever negative thing about me is going to “show”. It’s a terrible fear of exposure.

DXS, thanks also to you…I didn’t call what I experienced sexual abuse until last fall. No therapist had in all my years of therapy, not until I went to a local sexual assault centre. Fifteen years ago I wanted to join a group at our hospital—either for incest or child sexual abuse survivors—and was told by a counselour I didn’t qualify. That made me feel so small and like I just wanted to “exaggerate” things. There was far too much invalidation of non contact abuse even then. About 20 years ago a college therapist told me my parents just did the best they could. There is no way most therapists would say that to a survivor of physical abuse or incest—it was a statement minimizing emotional abuse.

DXS, I have found it very helpful to call my experiences sexual abuse. I needed to call it what it was in plain terms. And I needed a lot of validation—and still do, because I still resist that definition sometimes. It hurts me in a way that’s hard to describe. Sometimes when I think about it I feel ill. Almost always I feel deep shame.

Both my parents infused me with shame. They acted like they were ashamed I was their daughter. My mother was ashamed of my body once I started to gain weight at 6. She poked at my underarm fat saying, “We have to get rid of that”. As a teenager she started examining my underwear, getting mad at me when there was “too much” discharge. I felt shame watching my Dad flip through the porn magazines, then deeper shame when I went looking for them myself in their bedroom closet while they were gone to work. Shame when my Mom figured out my trespassing and basically called me a pervert. Shame when my sister angrily told me she’d found one of the sex stories I’d started to write at 12 or so. Shame seeing my Dad’s genitals, shame seeing his leer as he looked through my sheer nightie.

But my mother had no shame whatsoever. Nobody ever tried to get me help, they just got mad at me when I started to drink. More shame when I got sick everywhere. Always the feeling from my family, “Why was I doing this to THEM?”

Two years ago when I started to tell my sister how I had met men online and had sex with them, she angrily cut me off and said, “Do you know how much this hurts me??” And I felt shame. How could I be so stupid and keep hurting people, I thought. None of them have ever tried to understand my hurt. All I wanted was support and compassion. I can’t get it because the family system won’t allow it. The system is made to protect our parents and to normalize things as much as possible so as not to face hurt. But there is no protection for me, I have been exposed from childhood.

When my sister visited last December and told me, “You know what they call Mom at the home, they have names for everyone there, you know what they call her? Lovable”. I didn’t say much. I wondered why she was telling me that, knowing how I felt. In that moment I felt betrayed. My sister lay in Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto for a month at 13 getting a rod put in her back for scoliosis, and our parents visited her once in that time. We lived within driving distance and had a car. The next year at 14 Mom called her ugly. After Dad’s funeral my sister cried looking at pictures of Dad and Mom turned to her and said, “Why are you crying, you weren’t married to him”. A few years later Mom visited an aunt who’d lost her son, came back home and said to my sister, “Why is she still crying, it’s been 3 months”. She repeatedly said she’d leave everything in her will to the cat rather than us.

I don’t care how lovable she is now, in a retirement home. She majorly damaged her two bright, beautiful children. I’m going to find my peace and eventually let it go—but you have to have a grasp of something before you let it go, you have to see it, you have to face it. That woman was never lovable when she needed to be.

After telling me about her being called lovable, my sister asked me if I’d gotten Mom anything for Christmas, and if not, could she get Mom something and say it was from me? I said yes but am glad I told her later to please not interfere, and not buy anything, knowing I would be seen negatively once more.

Honor to me is something free-flowing, from the heart. It is an expression of respect, and I can’t feel respect for someone who showed me none. My sister interprets my actions through the lens of how they may hurt her and our mother, not how they show MY hurt. I believe until she’s ready to face some of her own pain that will be an irreconcilable blind spot between us.

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Wow Alaina! So it sounds like we have to practically get our psych PHD’s to understand this stuff! I’ve been doing a lot of reading around it. Some of it to validate my own experience, some to understand how I can change my behaviours and when it comes to my family, I just don’t understand. Or I guess I could make another attempt with them with all this stuff I’m learning but I am exhausted and don’t want to try anymore. They are and they’re not ‘textbook’. I am and I’m not very advanced in this stuff. Somewhere in this blog Darlene has a piece about making the attempt to understand the people who mistreated us. At some point, I think, making the attempt to understand oneself under the effects of such mistreatment (like we’d do for our parents) might have more ‘bang for the buck’, I dunno.

Sue, thanks for the vote of confidence:-) Likewise. DXS, my mother used to ramble on about humans descending from space (the Mayan stuff) and at one point I though to myself “THAT would explain things”!:-)
So maybe you’re on to something:-)

Darlene, thanks for your comments on this aging thing. I’d be interested in hearing about your work in this area. For me it’s as if it’s halfway between a ‘regular’ vanity-thing and this hatred of my mother in myself because that’s exactly where she lived for too long (I know that sounds weird). From what I’ve seen of her pictures when young (she would often show me them with pride) she was a good-looking woman, also very invested in her looks. Not at all interested in helping me in that area. I never figured I was anything but ugly but it turns out not, exactly. If I got my “psych PHD” out, I’d wonder if my mom was actually resentful of having a pretty daughter. More speculation…Another wondering about WHY when as Alaina mentioned, it’s the “WHAT” that does the damage.

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Doren, re your sister, and how your meeting men online “hurts” her? HUH?????? Am I allowed to say WTF? on here? I don’t get it. Unless it’s a…. “you’re dating and she isn’t” kind of thing…… You’re not allowed to be doing something she isn’t doing……

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Hi DXS,

when I was hooking up with men from online I never dated them, it was more me trying to find love or attention the wrong way, and I attribute that behaviour to my childhood. I remember when I told my sister this, we were in a busy food court, which added to my sense of shame and inappropriate disclosure. Also, a man in the booth next to us overheard me and looked at me with disgust which added to my feelings further.

My sister was saying that I had done something harmful to myself and therefore that hurt her. I spoke of it because I wanted support but the focus became her feelings over my self-destructive behaviour. Of course, I also got the message not to bring this stuff to her. I got silenced.

I immediately internalized shame due to her response and the stranger’s look. It didn’t occur to me to look at the man directly and tell him to mind his own f’ing business. The feeling of deep shame was immediate, as was her anger. Only when a counselour told me that my sister had made it about her feelings alone did my shame start to abate.

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Aw. Ok, she was making it about her. I’m still shaking my head, it’s obvious to me you wanted support, and she flipped it around. And, as you kind of sort of said, “you’re not supposed to talk about this because it makes the family look bad, we don’t want to know.” The Borg collective….. (Star Trek)

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Hi DXS,

your comment puts a smile on my face cause my sister is a Star Trek freak….maybe if I had quoted the Borg she would have been more receptive…

Thank you again 🙂 Part of my shame was wondering why I told her this in a food court, but I’ve gotten little private time with her in person or the phone; she avoids me but denies it, saying she wants to bond as sisters. She prefers email but will not respond to heavy topics.
She is the last and most painful boundary I am setting against. I have not wanted to admit that I’ve never had family in any real emotional sense. As with my mother, I feel pushed by self-preservation to do something that will make family say, “Look at how she distances herself”, my ultimate sin being not accepting their conditions and standards.

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Hi Alaina
That is the thing in a nutshell ~ yes! It is almost logical and even simple sometimes if we look at it through the eyes of an adult, but we look at it through the eyes of a hurt and rejected child UNTIL we alter the grid we are looking through. That is the tough part! Nothing easy or simple about it. Hindsight is always perfect. I had to stop trying to understand them; there is no solution in understanding them because the solution comes in validating the damage. And funny enough after I spent enough time on me I had a greater understanding of them but not at MY expense anymore! It was crucial for me find a way to see what happened to me as a child through the eyes of myself as an adult. I did a lot of work telling my story and my pain to myself and hearing it as though it was a little girl I didn’t know who was telling me. In that way I heard myself as an adult and was able to validate myself by my reaction to the story the little girl was telling me about herself, as though it wasn’t me. Then I was able to connect to myself.

Today, with my new and more mature understanding of relationships I think it is weird how many parents say that they put up with their abusive parents for the sake of their own children! That makes NO sense to me today! (I could write a whole series of articles on this subject…)

It was through doing the work on myself that I was able to realize that they are not willing to see my side of this and that is okay today. They are not going to agree that I have any cause to have felt hurt and rejected. And that is about them, not about me.
Thanks for your comments! As always they are awesome and thought provoking! I have missed you!
Hugs, Darlene

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Alice
Yes, I have written a lot about trying to understand our parents and I always say that there is no solution there. Even if we can understand them, (actually believe I do understand them now) even if my mother had come to me with a full apology complete with examples of all the things she had done ‘wrong’ and the ways that she discounted me and put me last, I would still be left with the damage caused to my belief system. So at the end of the day, the solution was in directing all that energy that I spent on ‘them’ all those years, back on to me. I had to look at the roots of what happened to me and see where the lies had taken root. It took a lot of energy (spent on ME) to re-wire that false belief system. 🙂 However, I went back and forth between looking at me and looking at them… human nature I guess. 🙁
The good news is that I got through to the other side of broken and found the beauty that was in me all along!
Hugs, Darlene

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Thanks for your answer Darlene! I’m finding it interesting (now that I’m NC it struck me hard) that not one member of the whole family has ever tried to approach me with anything other than reproach and criticism. I also noticed how little contact (before even NC) I had with anyone else in the family aside from my mom and my aunt.

The one time I was asked more about my difficulties with mom it ended up being used “against me” as a session where I was blasted for not having the right solution – which was for me to ‘make peace’ ‘because she is your mother’.
It never occurred to me to say “And?”

I guess the search for understanding was really only going on in me, not them. So aside from these couple of female family members and friends of my mom telling me what *I* should do about my relationship with my mother. I wonder if they have approached her and told her what *she* should do? Somehow I doubt it because I figure they share the same views on ownership and what “their daughters” ought to be doing.
God, every time I think of her I hate her more.

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It was through doing the work on myself that I was able to realize that they are not willing to see my side of this and that is okay today. They are not going to agree that I have any cause to have felt hurt and rejected. And that is about them, not about me.

Darlene, but they will STILL think it’s all your fault!!!!! I just want Mom to just call me up and say, “you were right, I was wrong, I’m sorry I treated you that way….”

It’s not going to happen, but emotionally I cannot accept it. I’m not asking her to say the ILY words….. just tell me that I’m RIGHT and she was WRONG!

And this is a lady who kept quoting the “To thine own self be true” line…..

Get out the Universal Decoder Book and what it REALLY means is: “Be true to what Dad and Mom want you to be.” I confronted her with that, and…. although she didn’t confirm it, she didn’t deny it, either.

The ONLY ONLY ONLY positive thing from dealing with my mom is that I survived seven years working for a dysfunctional employer. I survived because of the “Universal Decoder Book” that I had in my head.

I have felt anger my entire life toward Mom, but was never allowed to say it. When I grew up, it was easier to move 3,000 miles away than to deal with the anger.

I hope and pray that before she dies, she and I come to a meeting of the minds. But, if not, I’m prepared to accept that, and to think that I did good in spite of her.

And I still think her case is demons and issues she refuses to confront. (Ostrich with rose colored glasses on….)

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One of the last conversations I had with Mom before N/C, she said, “You have no idea of the sacrifices parents make because you didn’t have children.”

So, my reply to her was, “Dad gave you a pretty comfortable life. What in the HELL was the ‘sacrifice’ you made? Did you lose a good figure from having kids? Did you give up a career because of kids? (really doubt this applies, as she married in the 50’s…..) Was there something you couldn’t do because you had kids? WHAT WAS THE SACRIFICE?????”

She has not answered this question. Like I said in another comment, my mom is a “parrot.” She just says “words that she heard somewhere” when they don’t apply to her.

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From @Alice:

‘because she is your mother’

I’m with Darlene. What does this mean?

That’s like…. when you are a child, and your mom wants you to do your chores, and you say “why” and she says, “Because I said so.” WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? I constantly argued with Mom that I deserved a justification and “Because I said so” is not a justification but just a lame line that means you don’t really have a reason. Ok, perhaps I was a pain in the **** as a child…… but come on!

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Darlene, it must be human nature to try to understand them, to try to make sense of things. It makes me wonder if inside me, emotionally, is still that very hurt little girl, and as children we try to make sense of our environment and treatment. And how can we not as children believe it us and our fault, when we are told it is by these people who must know us, and if it is our fault then we can change and get their love. How can you think as a child there is nothing you can do?
I still go back and tell myself it wasn’t that bad, I am too sensitive, and I try to understand them so that the pain will be less.

And I am always reminded when I do this that if strangers treated me that way, or if I was a survivor of someone who’d been murdered, there would be no expectation or pressure upon me to “understand” the perpetrator. It would be understood in those cases that it doesn’t MATTER what happened to that criminal to make him or her turn out that way, the survivor would not be expected to care or focus on that. But it all hinges on the fact these are our parents, and we must understand them, maybe because society has granted them so much entitlement for so long, and because it cannot as a whole truly accept that some parents DO NOT love their children.

Every time I’ve been told that my mother is now lovable, and she asks about me all the time I am being told to forget all the things she’s done, and when I am being asked to let the past slide, I feel like I’m told my feelings don’t matter, and it’s the same message I got then.
And on a gut level I feel like everything’s the same as it was, the discounting’s the same, the silence, the invalidation, and so is the anger towards me the same, shown to me as a child, now shown to me as an adult. And it drives me nuts because all that talk about being over things, being mature, taking the Buddhist “Middle Way”, while I feel the same crap coming to me as I ever did, it’s been on my back, and I have fed into it unknowingly by talking about my troubles to family.

I don’t know if it’s a good thing, but since I quit drinking and in the last month or so I feel more anger, almost bristling with anger, because I don’t deserve this continuing treatment, and yet I’ve fed into it so partly I’m angry with myself too. I hated it but went along with it as I pushed things down with the bottle. And I’ve sat and tried to figure out WHAT I did as a kid, did I do something and I can’t remember it, did I hurt my sister, was I caught doing something, but even if I did something I was a kid, and why must I bear all this guilt and shame?? It doesn’t make any sense unless I am bad, and I am not bad, but I was different….I was sensitive and gifted and maybe they just had to tear me down..I was such a good kid

My mother was angry at me for getting chubby, for looking at Dad’s magazines, my sister was angry at me for sharing her room and bed, it wasn’t any of my fault, and family wants something from me they won’t give me, that understanding and that clean slate, and the scariest hardest thing for me is to not break my own self anymore and go along with it, but I’m starting to do that, and nobody there will understand, and I still have to do it, and it was easier to hate myself then to face all the lies and the years of damage.

I feel like I’ve been buried in rubble, all of other people’s shit about me, it makes me angry that all this happened for no good reason. And this protection of people, it’s a sick system…I get to be number one now, I get to define myself and have the nerve to feel good about myself and about life, I am glad I am waking up, but right now I just carry a lot of anger.

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Doren, I share your questioning about why when PARENTS commit abuses, the children are expected to understand, to reconcile – if not to keep on letting the behaviour (or some variant of it) continue in the name of “family”. My conclusion is that society is dead wrong on this (although we’re seeing some changes all over as people come together to share what happens) and I couldn’t give a crap about whether other people agree with me or not.

DXS, I was considering what my mother gave up for having two kids and I’m not seeing it either. She did lose her figure (that was specifically pointed out as my fault) but she kept on working, going from part-time when we were young to full time later on. Our food for lunch and dinner except the breakfast cereal was made by the housekeeper who came every day except weekends. The housekeeper and myself looked after her mother. I remember looking after my brother too. My father did his share of housework.

My mother has told me she didn’t understand me ever. I’ve wondered if there really is/was some kind of intellectual gap between us too and whether she might just not be very “smart”. And having a “smart” kid in your face who is likely to question you must look and feel suspiciously like “disrespect”. But I’m speculating again.

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Alice, you sound like you were a precocious kid like I was.

I remember when I was 10, I told my mom that the sun was a star. (It’s considered a yellow dwarf.) She flat out told me I was wrong. That’s when I first realized there was an intellectual gap. She wanted me to get good grades, but she didn’t care if I learned anything. I might as well have cheated for all she cared…..

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DXS, I think we might share many experiences. Ditto on the grades (since that’s something she could brag to others about) but I think she hated it when I would question her reasoning or ‘logic’.
The focus on getting great grades left me with this idea I was pretty damn smart and my mom encouraged me in this idea. It was also one of the only two things I would get rewarded for. Anyway, having been out in the world some time I’ve realised that I’m NOT all that ‘smart’ at all. I’ve met whiplash-brilliant people and my thinking skills are just horribly pale in comparison. Bottom line is that I thought I was smarter than I am.

At another point I wondered to myself if I had something like Aspergers, but I’m leaning more towards the idea that I just wasn’t what she wanted in a daughter. In any way, shape or form.

Before I went NC she would ask me why I couldn’t have a mother/daughter relationship with her like her friends’ daughters did with their mothers and I couldn’t really answer her. We just never had a “mother-daughter” relationship. Or, if these things can be cultivated, whatever was supposed to make that happen didn’t. So on the ‘NC’ call when I asked her what she wanted from me and what she would give/do for me now she couldn’t answer. And I have no idea what I’d do with her in my life now. I don’t need a mother, I’m pushing 40 and have lived by myself for 23 years.

And when I needed a mother, I didn’t really have one. But she denies this and tells me she did a good job and that I had a happy childhood. She TELLS me what my own experience was. I used to argue about this with her, now it just seems ridiculous that someone else can tell me what I think or how I felt or feel.

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Hi all,

My thinking about understanding our parents is that when we’re doing it either to find fault with ourselves or to excuse their behaviour or deflect from our damage because they had such and such a problem/sickness/personality, using pity as a way to stall us from feeling our pain and facing the truth, then that’s not good or productive. Or when we’re trying to make their actions acceptable, or even “good” in some way—that’s not good. But I do feel like understanding them has value in terms of frame of reference. I actually think that it’s quite common that people who have had loved ones murdered do go about trying to understand the perpetrator, in the sense that they want to know why it happened, which is a different thing. Some of them enter into communication with the murderer. It’s very hard as humans to rest inside chaos and helplessness. We want reasons because we want order and sense to our universe. I feel that this has value as long as you also know that reasons are not excuses and that as adults we all have personal responsibility and free will.

I was also a smart kid. My mom didn’t resent it, though—maybe in young childhood but not later. She told me I was an adult at the age of three. I was always hearing how I was wise for my years and when I was a late teen, or maybe when I was in university, she said something about how I’d been smarter than her for years now or something like that. I don’t buy this or not totally. I feel like it was a kind of trick, playing on my ego. There was a kind of feeling of purpose, of being needed, when my mom would talk to me about her issues. I was important and “special”—a smart, perceptive kid. I remember seeing my mom brooding one day and I gave some piece of advice (I knew it was about her issues with her mom because that was the latest drama). She said, “How did you know?” and I felt her pride in me. Regardless of how smart or perceptive I may have been, she was using me for years. Thinking to myself, “What if I was really just a dumb kid and not smart at all?” helped me feel the weight of being used. It didn’t matter if I was smart or dumb, being used is being used. It’s wrong and it does the same amount of damage, either way. Holding onto my real or supposed intelligence was a coping mechanism, a way to deny the reality. I also know that my mom would praise perceptive comments I made that she liked and would ignore, brush away or deny ones that she didn’t, ones that perhaps exposed something she didn’t want to see.

My mom is actually a smart woman. When a person is being held accountable for abuse, it’s in their best interest to be as ignorant as possible because ignorance is as close to innocence as they are going to get.

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Hi everyone, (especially GDW 341)

I have been off for awhile–but I had to post….I am so very sorry GDW for your past “hospital” and severe cruelty and neglect. I read your post and I think we could have been like twins! I have been holding back, but one of the worst incidents in my entire life was living through a very serious suicide attempt when I was 19 years old. Both of my parents live in their own world and back then the only thing they cared about was moving to the Southwest, after my father retired, and building a brand new luxury house! Of course, my college plans and that most important life transition right after high school graduation was treated like I was some kind of annoyance to them. I “should” be happy to be moving to a new state and both of them being a pair of Narcs. simply ignored my severe state of depression. Anyway, things got so bad that I simply “lost” it with a home drug overdose, and ended up almost a month in a psych.hospital. My parents, “The Man and The Woman” had to lie and claim that we had just moved from another state and they had no money–(conveniently leaving out that they had just recently bought a property and were hiring an architect to design their new luxury house.)

I mean NO disrespect toward any ethnic group but being locked up in this so-called “hospital” was so horrific that I called it a “concentration camp.” I remember these so-called doctors trying to force me to say that I had been hearing voices and getting messages from the TV set, etc in order to put me on psych. meds. NO WAY—and I had to constantly argue with them! I found that these patients were all drugged and kept there forever like prisoners. I have long moved on from Christianity toward a Neo-Pagan religion, but I recall silently praying for hours in a bedroom for my freedom!

When I finally went home, then “the man and the woman” accused me that I had been trying to “trick” them to get more attention and that I was a little “brat”—(I kid you not!) They were angry at the hospital bill and this was all my fault. No, they never admitted any guilt about neglecting my needs and abusing me (everything except sexual abuse) in the past which led to this tragedy. I think that the worst part was having to live with both “the man and the woman” gossiping about me to distant cousins, friends, neighbors, etc. that “we just don’t know what to do with our daughter!” I wanted to scream back and defend myself.

I don’t understand why these kind of people always have to have a child. They are so angry, abusive and selfish and so overly concerned with money and appearances. It would be a far better society if couples could understand that marriage equals marriage and marriage does not require having a child. But these same people are so concerned about appearances that they can’t be perceived as being “odd” and child-free, so they just have to have one!

Anyway, this incident was well over twenty years ago and no one can accuse me of any type of dysfunctional behavior. I have no criminal background, no drug/alcohol abuse, no single parent mom with a child I can’t support, and non-smoker. I managed to earn a BA degree as an older student who put myself through college and bought my first house a couple of years ago. I am single, child-free, but still hoping to meet a good man for a lasting relationship!

I think sometimes we all forget on this site actually how far we have come. I remind myself how good it is to be an adult woman and no longer a teenager or kid living with daily abuse in an unhappy home. I now have very LC with “the man and the woman” and I truly wanted NC years ago but I couldn’t do it. (I had no opportunities with a good man relationship or career opening in another state when I was younger.) I live in a different city but in the same state as my Narc. parents. I can’t give up my long-term friendships and spiritual groups since I consider them to be my “true” family.

Darlene–Thanks for creating a wonderful site! Hugs!! Yvonne 🙂

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Darlene,
You’re so sweet! Thank you so much for your comments! I’ve missed you, too! There’s been so much intensity in my life of late but I’m finally coming down from it and getting back to my own life and priorities.
xo, A

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Alaina, you make excellent points. I harbour the fantasy that my mom will suddenly call me up and tell me both the *real truth* about why she treated me the way she did as well as offer up a sincere apology that I can feel as genuine.
I used to find that childish as it’s very unlikely that it’ll happen. Now I don’t find it childish, even as I realise it will likely never happen.

Trying to figure it out for me is still a bit about trying for it not to be my fault. Then there’s the idea that these actions were fully intentional on her part and that just makes her ‘evil’ and I don’t want to have ‘evil’ for a mother because that would mean (would it?) well, I’m not sure. I can’t put words on it.

I’ve also looked at whether I might be a narcissist…anyway, still more of the “What’s wrong with me?” line of questioning/seeking…

Yvonne, and everyone, I’m so heartened by the people here expressing “so sorry that happened to you” as we each tell everyone something as it tells me there ARE people with empathy and compassion and that there ARE people who will listen to the truth without trying to deny it, reject the teller or say ‘they were doing their best’. I too am sorry that you were treated so badly by these people.

I think that some of these people who shouldn’t be having kids want them so much as part of their narcissism. When I questioned my mom on why she had had kids if (as she had said in front of me she hadn’t really wanted them) she answered that it was “Just what you did in those days”. I think that’s a possibility. I’m extremely grateful that we’ve moved on a little in our society’s expectations of how lives should play out.

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alice,

it’s probably never going to happen (the apologetic phone call) with these types of mothers, even if they realize they were wrong they would never admit it. it’s not childish to want that, it’s sad that we still yearn for it because we are still walking around with this hole of love missing where unconditional love was supposed to be. my mother thought i was narcissistic too. i couldn’t win know matter what i did and i’m so glad it’s over. you did nothing wrong and maybe it will never make sense because it doesn’t, maybe there’s no reason for it. my mother was mentally ill but that doesn’t let her off the hook for me because she didn’t scream at and beat her relatives and friends. the excuse of parenthood is stressful just doesn’t cut it. she would not admit to the word “abuse.” “well, i wouldn’t call it that.” what would you call kicking your children in the stomach and smashing their heads against the wall? i could call it EVIL and have no problem with it.

you’re not narcissistic after a brutal childhood. you’re learning to care for yourself and put up boundaries. it probably feels narcissistic because the focus was on her and not u. so u got the message u weren’t important and didn’t deserve love. i had a friend recently say of his abusive father that he did the best he could. no, he didn’t. he was a shitty father. u just want to love him because he was your father.

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Thanks for your comments Sue. I appreciate hearing them.

I’d call what you went through evil too.

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[Insert Twilight Zone music……] From @Alice:

At another point I wondered to myself if I had something like Aspergers, but I’m leaning more towards the idea that I just wasn’t what she wanted in a daughter. In any way, shape or form.

ME TOO! I started to think I had mild Aspergers. But now I think I’m just not the daughter she wanted. I think she wanted me to be EXACTLY like her (or something other than what I am), because when she buys me clothes, she buys stuff SHE would wear (GAG GAG!!!!) not things I would wear….. Then she gets all hurt because I don’t like anything she gets me.

She doesn’t “get” me, she resents my constant questioning of her ‘logic.’

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DXS, it’s weird isn’t it? At least on the clothes thing I eventually got her to buy me stuff I wanted by appealing to the way my grandmother would shop with me (which was a real joy) but I also ended up by not wanting her to buy me anything since I didn’t want to be ‘bought’ anymore, nor did I want her to say “But I bought you clothes” as a reason for anything else. I reasoned that if she had nothing material to offer she’d have to work on the other stuff. Of course was I ever wrong. The clothes she enjoyed wearing were, to put it bluntly, “old biddy”.

She doesn’t ‘get’ me either. But now I don’t want her to (now THAT sounds childish!)

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I’ve been left out again – whether actively excluded or “overlooked” I don’t know. My siblings all lived in a community at one time – I visited often for decades. Someone in the community (not a relative) has passed away and I only know about it because a sibling wants me to cover for duties at home while she goes to the service. There is a “community reunion” after-party.

Tonight I overheard my oldest brother ask my other siblings if they received the notification (a card was sent out) – they were all in the kitchen. They had.

So I am feeling left out again. Last summer I wrote a letter to family when they got together 10 min away without telling me. I am wondering how to think about it: if this is different since I didn’t actually live there and they all did, or if this is same-old-crap. I know I feel hurt. Not sure what “to do” if there is anything to do. I already sent the letter last year. Does anyone have any comments/thoughts? I am hurt and angry at once again being on the outside. In my 50s now – this pain really needs to end.

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@Light, when I lived 3,000 miles from my family, often decisions were made without talking to me. It was, “well, your siblings all thought it was ok…..” So…… my opinion is not valuable or it’s not worth the effort to contact me since I live 3,000 miles away? Out of site, out of mind? Light, I’m kind of “reading between lines” and forgive me if I am not seeing it right, but I’m guessing you committed the “sin” of not living in a 10 mile radius of your FOO. And your FOO has to keep up the “myth” of being “close knit” and you are far away so that part is swept under the rug and not acknowledged.

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Hi Alice,
I completely agree with everything Sue said. It is never our fault. Parents have 100% responsibility for their children’s wellbeing. It doesn’t matter who you are. Who you are is who they are supposed to be raising. My parents have lots of ways of trying to get me to share in on the blame. (Darlene wrote an excellent post on this subject a while back.) They put a lot on my personality. But they changed my personality and they exploited my personality, and I think it’s entirely arbitrary, that I could have been someone totally different, and while the exact nature of the abuse might have change, the dynamics of the events would have been different, the fact of being abused/used in some way would not have…. but most importantly, that doesn’t even matter one iota because I, myself, was born to them and it was their job to take care of ME, whoever I am. It is not for the child to fit the parent’s needs/wants. It’s up to the parent to figure out who their child is and respond to their child’s needs in a fitting manner. And if they fail, it’s for them to take 100% responsibility. Most parents will fail at some point and in some way because we’re all human, we all have flaws, weaknesses and the accumulation of all the effects of our experiences and how we have dealt with our experiences, our choices, etc., but a good parent, who has their child’s interest at heart, will listen, take responsibility, and take the measures to change. They love their child and they don’t want to hurt their child. It breaks their heart when they hear that they have and how they have and it’s the last thing they ever want to do again.

I think we go round and round trying to understand them because in some way we have to. It doesn’t help us heal, but it’s something you do because it’s just something you do, and it’s certainly not worth shaming yourself for, as we’ve all had enough shame on our plates already. When I was trying to deal with my delayed grief over my uncle’s suicide, the readings I did all spoke about survivors dealing with the question of why. There was an understanding that you have to keep asking it as long as you have to keep asking it. There was a sense that eventually you will exhaust yourself and you will come to some kind of answer that will satisfy, even if it’s “I don’t know, I’ll never know, I CAN’T ever know.” And I think at its most basic level, that always is the answer. The biggest thing that you have to shed is the idea that you’re responsible in any way for their action. People make choices and are responsible for their own actions. No one makes another person act in a certain way. In every interaction we have with each other, we incite emotional and psychological responses within each other, but how each of us deals with those responses is our own responsibility. I should say this applies to adults. You can’t put this on children—they are still learning and need to be taught this.

In the last communication I had with my mom, she wrote about how I’d been such a chatterbox as a young child and about a time when she tuned me out and I got mad at her. At the time she explained how she had lots of things to think about and couldn’t always be listening to me (or something like that) and I’d responded (back then when I was a child, I mean) that, well, I had lots of important things to say. Then, my mom wrote about how quiet I’d become over the years and that she understood that she’d lost my trust in her to open up. It was like she was right there on the cusp. Maybe, just maybe, she might slip inside my skin and imagine what it would be like to me with a mom like her. But no. The next moment she was remembering a trip she’d taken me on down to the States, and how she’d wracked her brain, trying to figure out what on earth she was going to talk to me about for the three hour trip. And so again, it was about her and how hard it was for her to have a daughter who didn’t trust her to open up and talk to her…. In a way, though, if she had taken full responsibility for everything that had gone on and had set my dad and brother straight, instead of keeping quiet as they blame me and think it’s for me to come around and fix this situation and do what they want, fit their idea of how healing should happen, I probably could’ve established some kind of functional relationship with her, where I’d choose how much I’d want to put into it. What I feel mostly, though, is recognition and resignation. One day she may be able to slip inside my skin and feel what it was maybe like for me, but maybe she never will. I have no expectation that she ever will. But I know. I know how sad and lonely and invisible and unimportant I felt, all those hours, years of my life I spent with her. That’s the saddest part—-how much time I spent with her and never once did she see me. She had my full loyalty and allegiance, this woman who openly spoke about how she’d hated me as a young child as if it was nothing. This woman who would used me to complain about my dad, a man she said I was just like, completely and utterly clueless to the fact that she was actually indirectly berating me every time she was berating him because she lumped me up with him as being the same. This woman who used me to talk to about her brother and his suicide, completely clueless to the fact that he had been my most favourite person in the entire world and that I’d buried incredible amounts of pain deep down and thought that maybe it was my fault, that if I had done this or if I had been something more or something else, he might never have died. This woman who used me to complain to about her mother and had me living my life to prove that she was not her mom, that had me burying my own pain and supporting the notion that she was a wonderful mother, born to be mom, as I drowned in ideas that I was just crazy and defective as a human being, that whatever pain I had was entirely my own fault, the production of my own character and personality. This woman who never let me go. This woman who was so depressed but so in denial of her depression that I felt hostage to her because who knows what would have sunk herself so deep that she’d go off the edge and kill herself like her brother because god knows she couldn’t admit to herself or others that she needed help, and how much I knew already of what the effects would be on the entire family, how her brother’s death had ripped apart so many relationships and lives in so many ways and how I could never do that to her, to the whole family, never, ever, ever…. until I was nearly the one who went off the edge, but didn’t because I saved myself…. only to find out that my family would throw me overboard anyway to keep on living in a way that would kill me, essentially saying that they would have preferred it if I had killed myself. These people who say they love me the most. These people who required me to give up my life to care for them, that required me to forsake being known or loved by anyone outside of them. They’d rather essentially have me dead, so that they could’ve kept their fantasy. How sad! But sad for them mostly. I’m alive and I get to go on now. They lose out getting to know me. I gain my freedom and my life. I’ve lost my nephew (and any other child my brother may eventually have) and he (they) have (will have) lost an aunt and I’m really sad about that, but maybe one day he (they) will find me. You never know what course life is going to take. It’s a bit surreal to be here at this point, everything turned up on its head, but I’m glad. I’m alive and I’m free. I’ll get through the grief—I’m strong and I’m competent… And I think that’s true for everyone here. Just keep on going. If you’re here, it means you have the courage to face the truth, unlike our parents, and yes the truth will set you free, if you just stay the course…. xo, Alaina

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hi alaina,

i’m really sorry that your own mother said she hated you and compared you to your father who she berated. my mother did kill herself. my dad asked me if i felt guilty about being relieved. at the memorial i made the mistake of speaking of the abuse, it just started pouring out of my mouth. they don’t talk to me anymore. my mother’s twin said one of the reasons my mother was upset was that i wasn’t talking to her. i don’t feel guilty. it was one of the best decisions of my life, to protect myself and save myself, finally.

401

Hi Alaina,

I’m so sorry you had to go through all this with your family. I found your comments well-considered and thoughtful. I’m going to take some time with them. I’m going to go back and read that post about blame. Yes I’m going to talk about it until I don’t have to any more. Yes, my mother (and other family members) have often blamed me for things they have done to me. When my grandfather died, right before we were going to his funeral, my aunt (his daughter) told me that he hated me. I had no idea whether he did or not but I couldn’t ask him if he was dead, so unfair!
When my uncle threatened to hit me (because his wife, my aunt, had confided to me that he was behaving abusively and I told her to leave) my aunt told me it was my fault and that my asking for an apology was a threat to their marriage. When my brother pushed me out of a car because I told him to show some respect (he was making sexist comments) yep, my fault. Anyway, I’m glad to be shot of them all. But also very saddened.

402

as if going to a funeral isn’t stressful enough. the family from hell, there are so many of them. i wonder why this is.

403

Hi Sue,
Thank you for sharing. I’m really sorry that happened and that your family treated you that way, but I’m glad that you did what was best for you, that you know the truth and do not feel guilty. You have no reason to and have every right to freedom, happiness and a life of your own, like every one on this planet does. When I was confronting my mom, I reached a point where I was really scared that if she realized the truth, she might kill herself, either that or she’d finally see me and take responsibility. Neither happened, but I was scared too, or perhaps not so much scared but just anticipating the unpleasantness that if she did kill herself, my dad and brother would blame me. In my family, though, everything just festers under the surface; they wouldn’t say anything, unless I pushed them into a place where they felt a need to. They’d be quiet and superior. But they would be wrong. They are grown-ups…. Anyway, thank you for sharing and thank you for seeing me. It did hurt to be told that she’d hated me and that she compared me to someone she berated… I’m glad you got out of that situation. They were not looking out for you and your best interests, do not support you and clearly, by their actions, don’t care. And that is awful, worse than awful, disgusting. I feel like there are no appropriate words to really offer to this kind of pain everyone speaks of on this website. It’s just so much, too much, you know? Words seem paltry and yet we need them, the feeling in them. My heart goes out to you. We’re better off without them.

404

Sue, I’m tempted to say it’s a cultural thing but I think it’s a people-thing. I figure as long as they have a scapegoat (that would be me, obviously, although my brother has also had that role, but now he’s golden) they don’t have to look at whatever their own problems are. My aunt did similar at my father’s funeral. She glared at me without speaking from the moment I arrived to the moment I left. At the ‘family’ dinner I was placed opposite my uncle (the dude who never apologized for physically threatening me). We managed to make ‘polite’ conversation (I’m assuming others in the fam took this as a sign that all was well when it most certainly is not, I was in a situation I couldn’t get out of so made sure I didn’t escalate anything for my own safety).

Sometimes I’m greatful that these people are to be found in little concentrations, it’s means they leave the rest of the world alone.

405

Jeez, Alice, that’s all really sick. You can see clearly how you were just trying to do the right and caring, respectful thing to do and also just trying to live a decent life. One of my aunts (an in-law) made a comment about my grandmother—that it seemed the people who were the most compassionate to her were the ones she abused the most.

406

Alaina, thanks for your comment. I was especially hurt by my aunt when she later wrote to me and told me my intentions were dishonorable when they (to me) clearly were about trying to help. I’m glad you noticed that.
It’s an interesting thing about your grandma. Yes I do think some people just walk all over kind people. Perhaps because they know reprisal is unlikely? I dunno. Certainly i refuse to turn into a stone because of my experience but it has contributed to my withdrawal. I’m interested in “working” on being kind and strong.

407

In my family, there are a lot of needy people and I think they just “take what they can get,” so they take and take and take from the nice ones because they’re nice and they’ll let you, in fact they’ll give it. They’re taught to give themselves away. But nothing is ever enough and those people come to expect more, like they have a right, and when the nice ones can’t take it anymore and fight back, or in my case, breakdown and withdraw (though slowly I learned to stand up), they get mad. They think they’re the ones being abused (and other family members see it that way, too, because they’re also under the grip of the “victim” in power and probably want to keep their “privileges”… or something, I don’t know…). And so you get even more abuse.

I know what you’re talking about with your aunt. There was a period of time when I defended my dad against mean treatment by my mom. He interpreted it as an attack on her, got mad at me, shamed me, and later rewrote history to make my mom look like she had been such a loving wife in that particular instance. I threw my hands up and vowed never to defend him again. Anyway, he was MY DAD and not doing much to care for me, that’s for sure. I’m not into role-reversals anyway, especially when they’re going to come back and bite me.

I refuse to turn into a stone, too. There’s a way to hold firm in your boundaries, to take back your power and not allow anyone to walk over you and still be a considerate, kind person. Darlene is a pretty awesome example and I know others as well. I also feel like I’m really getting there myself, if I can say so much… 😉

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p.s. it’s worth knowing, though, that abusive, controlling people are going to think you’re mean even if you’re loving and kind when you’re standing up to them. It’s perhaps a bit futile but in the end you get to feel a little more proud of yourself, that you stayed true to your principles and character (or at least that’s how I feel). Though if you totally blow up, I say, “whatever”—if they were loving people, taking responsibility for themselves, they’d be able to understand what they’d done and why you were blowing up and even be proud of you for defending someone (you) that they (supposedly) love, even if it’s they you are standing up to.

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Lots of good stuff to think about Alaina, thank you!

Light, I’ve been musing over your post and part of me doesn’t dare give you my thoughts because, well, I don’t think I’m competent. But what struck me the most about your post was the fact that you acknowledge you feel the way you feel. For me it has been *something* even just getting to the point where I can admit whatever I feel to myself.

So often I have said to myself ‘I shouldn’t feel this way’ and then go through a thinking process around the motivations and reasons for whatever the other person is doing that often minimizes or changes how I feel (e.g. because they ‘needed’ me to do XYZ I *shouldn’t* feel that XYZ is unfair or ‘their intentions were not to hurt me so I *shouldn’t* feel hurt).

I don’t know where I’m going with that last idea but I wanted to mention it.

I could relate to the questioning in your ‘what to think’ statement and also in your ‘what to do’ question. I wanted to ask what you felt about being called upon to take care of things while the others were away at the service?

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Hi DXS and Alice,

Thank you for your comments. I ended up mentioning this issue directly with my sibling who was most connected to the notifications/invitations. Actually he’s been away for a month (but in contact with his family who sent out the invitations). I said I “didn’t know what to make of it…I seem to be receiving my mail and phone messages…it seemed like I wasn’t invited…this is an example of what I meant about being excluded”.

His response was brief. He started telling me how the person passed away, which – while I was interested – wasn’t the point, the point was that I felt excluded. To that he said “hmmm” then someone came to the door, the conversation was over, and I have no idea what he’s thinking.

I decided to talk about it briefly with another sibling. I am tired of keeping quiet. There is so much silence and not talking about it in my family. So I said something. And Alice, how I feel about being asked to cover is that it feels bad. I will see how this week plays out. Right now we are taking care of our mother, a new development. My sister has suggested that I stay with my mother, so she can go to the service. I said nothing at the time, because that was the first time I had heard about the service. If she asks again, I am thinking of stating that the situation feels awkward and tell her why. I am pretty sure I will decline for that reason and other reasons that have to do with my mother’s care.

So many difficult family dynamics all of the time. It’s not just exclusion from this memorial service, this brother does not seem to understand why I would be upset with my mother for not standing up for me in the face of sexual abuse. He is loyal to her and thinks I should “forgive and forget”. I also asked him nicely over the years if he would initiate spending some time with me…he has shown me with his (non)actions that he is declining. I am at the end of the line with him. Yes I’ll still see him at family functions once in a while, but I don’t think our “relationship” will be revived. This has been such a painful realization. Accepting it has been so hard. Many family members have been against me in some way, blaming me – my therapist says I am the whistleblower. I’m not saying I’ve been a mature angel every step of the way, but they’ve all made mistakes too, and somehow I get the bulk of the blame. I used to love these people sooo much, and I feel so betrayed.

When I recently told my sister about an interaction with her that hurt me (she had laughed at me) she told me that she “had no response” about it. Nice, huh?

It also hurts to see her so close with my mom, my mom getting emotional with her, when my mother doesn’t get emotional with me.

One fear I have is that I am turning into a stone from all of the rejection. That I won’t be able to open my heart to a partner/friends for a truly intimate/close relationship(s). I read dating horror stories and that scares me even more.

On the other hand, I am stronger now than I have ever been. I have pulled back from them. This website, and another dating/relationship website (called Baggage Reclaim…it’s great, but be ready for the horror stories) have really been empowering.

I know my comments haven’t really been on track with the thread. Thank you for reading. Stay strong everyone.

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light,

now that alice mentioned it, it did strike me that you were excluded and were asked to help other people attend the service. it sounded like it would fee really bad. nobody should ever makes excuses, cover up or tell you to forgive and forget sexual abuse. we yearn for family so much that we forget we would never put up with this treatment from friends or strangers or if it were happening to our own children.

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Thanks Sue. I meant to say that my comments were directed to everyone. I don’t know if he is saying “forgive and forget” about the sexual abuse. But my mother wouldn’t stand squarely with me (my father was the abuser) and my brother IS saying “forgive and forget” re: my mother. Her non-support or quasi-support felt just as victimizing, and does my brother’s lack of understanding towards me.

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light,

i was abused in a lot of ways but not sexually. i can’t even imagine, your own father. if your mother and brother are telling you to just move on instead of supporting u, they are not a whole lot better. u don’t owe them anything. i’m sure it was hard for u to approach your sister that you were hurt because she laughed at u. it’s not nice to laugh at people–and then she can’t deal with it and just dismisses u. i dated for 3 years after a 23 yr. marriage. some of it was just absurd. i thought every relationship i’d be in would be insane and dysfunctional. screaming, throwing things, games etc. there are people who will listen to u and treat u with respect. i hope u find them. you’re on your way by talking about it and other people can see from a distance it’s so wrong and it’s still going on.

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Light, your mother was point blank wrong not to take your side and defend you in the issue of sexual abuse. There’s no two ways about it. I’d be tempted to ask for clarification from the brother about *what* exactly he thinks should be forgiven and forgotten but that’s my current approach and it hasn’t gotten me anywhere but NC. Ah well, so be it.

What I’m learning about people in these situations is that they can be really invested in NOT accepting something awful has been actively perpetrated by a partner or beloved family member so it’s easier for them to gilde over it with trite ‘stock’ comments like ‘forgive and forget’. My bet is that asking that question will force a light (:-)) on things and that anger will be the first thing to rise. Somewhere under that will be the way the other person really feels.

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My father was a covert sexual abuser towards me. Flashing, “accidentally” walking in on me in the bathroom multiple times, keeping his hand rubbing himself in his groin area (with a blanket over him) while watching television in the family room, hugging too tight in my chest area…those are some examples. He was more of an overt sexual abuser with my sister – (molesting is probably the correct word, approx two to five times) – and toward a neighbor girl. He also had other sexualized behaviors. He was messed up. I do think he loved me, but he didn’t know how to show it appropriately and be protective. He also was antagonistic. He did do some nice things, and he provided for his family, which makes it very confusing.

Yes, Alice, all siblings and especially the males seem to be very invested in not accepting the awfulness of the situation. It is a huge betrayal for me – I loved them so much and they loved me. My siblings were my buffer when I was younger (they are all older). They were like my substitute parents. But as time went on, and I became more and more angry about sexual abuse and emotional/medical neglect, they backed away. Unfortunately I underreacted to their blame, dismissiveness and some highly offensive things that were said to me. I did not challenge them or become indignant. No more, though. I am much more willing and able to defend myself. I am learning how to be much more in the moment with my reactions.

My relationship with my sister is more complicated. I am reading a book about verbal abuse and many of the boxes I can tick off. We used to be very close but there is so much resentment there now. She seems to require feeling that she is “one up” over me and seems to enjoy punishing me when she thinks I have slighted her on purpose. Trying to discuss an issue with her is impossible – she gets instantly defensive. So lately I don’t really attempt to “discuss” with her I just state what I feel.

My relationships with my siblings have changed sooo much. It’s a huge loss for me because in order to be true to myself, it looks like it means I have to leave them.

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Light: Wow, your stories just amaze me with “What in the ****?????” reactions. I’m so sorry nobody wants to “hear” you. And I’m so sorry your brother doesn’t have a clue! I’m also glad you are reading baggagereclaim.com. Reading that one, and Darlene’s blog will really help you connect the dots.

Asking you to “Forgive” sexual abuse? I DON’T THINK SO! What if your brother had been abused? Would he want to forget? I know a guy from my childhood who was abused by a coach. That was the 70’s when those things were swept under the rug. Oh, now know what’s going on in your family. It’s like what Alice said, “That was the done thing at the time.” Sweep it under the rug.

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Light, I’m realising that challenging them is something I’m doing for me. In standing up for myself, it showed me what my ‘family’ relationships were about. While this has been very unpleasant and saddening, I think that the way to go IS in simply stating feelings and the bare facts. Getting into other people’s motivations or intentions is crossing over into somewhere little can really be known about, especially if there’s vested interest.
I could really speculate about how much the brothers would feel they’d failed you if they admitted to what happened but that would be the kind of thing I’m suggesting is not the way to go.

When i think of my mom, she was so invested in being a “good mother” that anything that showed she wasn’t all that had to be ignored or denied or swept away or wrapped up in the glib “wasn’t perfect” and “did my best”. So me falling into a deep depression at 16 was ignored, my requests to go to the doctor for my depression were met with “you’re not depressed” until at some point it was allowed I might be, but only because my father also suffered from anxiety.

So ironicallly, in trying to be “good” mom turned out to be a shit mother.

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Doren:
I totally get where you are coming from. When I was a teen I was desperate for someone to love me, someone to care for me. Both my parents were ashamed of me and blamed me for my emotional outbursts and self harm which began at about age 10. I was just “defective” as far as they were concerned. My mother was emotionally absent. No love there. No compassion either. She treated me like a servant who lived in the house. Of course I was her confidant when it was totally inappropriate. I had to lie for her and cover for her.
But her lack of empathy is striking now that I understand what “normal” mothering should have been.
The lack of any love or understanding from my parents drove me to look for it in a teenage relationship. Me with no boundries, self worth or worldly knowledge. I had sex with my teenage boyfriend twice.
Then to her I was a whore.
That when she had been running around with her boyfriend for 5 years behind my father’s back.
After reading this site for 18 months, my dysfunctional family system is classic. Isolation. Emotional abuse. Blaming and shaming. Scapegoat (me) and golden child (my brother),getting thrown out and being the one and only problem in the family. They have kept me in the spin for 40 years believing whole heartedly that it was alway me.
I dont believe it any more and refuse to accept shame and blame so I am now 14 months no contact and much much happier for it. Thanks for listening!! – Hugs Karen

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karen, good for you. it doesn’t sound like they gave you much choice.

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Karen R,

I’m so sorry you felt so alone at such a young age. To be so misused and not seen as a wonderful unique child, but to be really a stranger to the people who should have loved you more than anything. I don’t understand how parents can see their child be self-destructive and not do everything they can to help. It seems everything in this kind of system is geared toward protecting the parents or caregivers, at all costs.

I still struggle calling it “abuse” though the struggle is lessening over time. My mind wants to say, abuse is “out there”, it happens “out there”, I was not in it, it didn’t touch me. But it did. They made it so normal, it was a daily thing, always angry, I felt I had to be “bad” to get their anger so much, then my sister got angry at me too.

My father had an eating disorder and practically encouraged me to as well, 40 out of 49 years I’ve had it, then that shaming from my mother for getting bigger. Once as a teenager she took me to a larger clothing store, at the cash she told the cashier, “Oh these aren’t for me”, the cashier looked angry, I thought, “Oh the cashier’s angry at me, I’ve done something”, all the shame put on me that wasn’t mine to begin with…they watched the policeman lecture me on shoplifting as I lay in bed, I was caught shoplifting as a kid, then they continued shoplifting themselves and encouraging me as well….

I feel such an anger growing inside me for the long years I’ve spent believing what they told, I’ve spent my life drinking and drugging in emotional survival, no career, on disability, hard to make friends because that’s “exposure”, sex with strange men, the only real relationship with a man I had he turned out to be a pedophile, my sister treating me with this anger that belongs to our parents….the betrayal I’m feeling…I guess this is a good thing but…it’s SO much damage just to protect parents…

It does help though so much to know one is not alone, that this not about me and my inherent badness, it never was about me…I thought my mind was my own, that I thought autonomously, but it’s been full of THEIR sickness and distortions, they had to say I was sick because they would not take responsibility—-but even IF I was sick it would have been their job to get me help, at 15—-

I think what galls me the most is the scapegoating, the collusion from my sister that I’ve been the mess-up and the family problem, so difficult to come to terms with everyone else not being “right” about me…

While I’m angry it’s also incredible to have made it to this point, to realize I don’t have to understand them or put their feelings first, there’s nothing wrong with me, there never was! Kinda a mishmash of feelings right now about it all…40 years is a long time to believe this shit but we made it…I’m looking forward to discovering who I really am….thank you Karen, hugs back, glad you are finding more of the peace you deserve…

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Alice-

I have just skimmed over these recent comments but I think you’ve really hit on something with your comment on not wanting to be ‘bought’. For as long as I can remember I have not wanted my parents to buy me things (inculding school clothes, or giving back birthday ‘gifts’) because I knew that what I’d owe them, often for something I didn’t ask for was too high a price.

I think it is about being dependent. I cringe to think about how my mother demanded I practically drop to my knees in gratitude at getting her hand me downs (she is a thin woman) that made me look incredibly ragged and I had trouble feeling self-respecting looking so haggard (though I suppose the shame she instilled in me didn’t help with the self respect part).

I am currently going through this with another family member, who, while much healthier than my mother and father, is still my mother’s sister, raised by the same crazy (they never talk about it but if all the sibs are somewhat abusive…if the shoe fits… you know?). She is much nicer about buying my soul, if you will, but I see her doing what my parents did. The crazy thing is that she actually met me before a job interview and told me I couldnt work…then a bunch of trauma ensued. She is helping me through college, but the truth is all of this I could have done on my own…it’s just that she likes to ‘buy’ me (even if that means I find out later my ‘allowance’ isn’t enough for food/clothes). She expected such gratitude and I worshipped her for so long…I really was convinced I couldn’t take care of myself..convinced of all she told me (she says I’m disabled, while my parents say I’m crazy- untrue, and still not nice, but not quite as mean- more deceptive actually). It’s a bit of a shock to realize what really happened (again nowhere near as abusive as my parents…but still traumatic in the end to not have basic needs met and be dependent and be cutoff at the knees by someone who claims goodness).

I get caught up in intent too. Everyone is so quick to say “Well…so and so means well” which causes me to think, “Oh, wow, maybe they’re good people, and safe” which gets me sucked into their games, and into a whole world of trouble. I tend to make excuses for people who treat me like crap. I wish I could stop that, at least enough to get away from their life-altering behavior.
I do wish sometimes that abusive types, especially family members would leave me alone. I know I am vulnerable and it makes them feel better to label and weaken me, but I am so tired, just EXHAUSTED of letting people feed off my soul/dignity while I starve.

I am glad people are talking about this. It is a comfort to be able to relate (I mean- it sucks dont get me wrong- I just appreciate the support if that makes sense).

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gdw,

“she is nicer about buying my soul.” i used to get teased that i looked like i just stepped out of 17 magazine when i was a teenager. i feel my mother and spouse used to try to buy me at times, look; we really love you, can’t u tell? it was confusing at best. it seems like if we’re really being abused by someone, other family members are not AS bad. but you’re still in the abusive soup. we’re supposed to be so thankful that other people aren’t as horrible to us.

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GDW, this is about not letting them define me and not having to be accountable to that definition, which is what it boils down to with them when money (or any other ‘gift’) is involved. Basically, I figured – because it was clearly communicated to me that way – if I let them ‘buy’ me then they could ‘legitimately’ have a say in how I spent that money or even whatever else I was doing unrelated to that money just because their money was in there *somewhere*.

So not accepting the money (or whatever the ‘gift’ is) means not accepting the definition that it comes with = freedom. Which is why they got annoyed when I refused any more money (you would have thought they’d be pleased to save theirs, right?)

In the end they started sending me thoughtless crap or stuff they’d bought to do someone else a favor (I got a lot of ‘crafts’ for a while haha).

In practical terms it means I don’t have a financial ‘safety net’ from the family but I’ve made my own.

For myself, I’ve noticed it’s really hard to give a gift without any expectations of anything (even thanks) in return, but it’s great when I am able to do it:-)

Sue, everyone, I’m wondering whether anyone who starts out with requests for your ‘gratitude’ has something not so pleasant going on?

I’ve even heard ‘you should be grateful’ from a couple of ‘friends’ while they were in the process of being very UN-friendly and I wasn’t taking it.

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DXS and Alice

Thank you for your comments. It’s always nice (but not expected!) to receive comments on this board. I don’t know if my brother is saying “forgive and forget” to my father’s sexual abuse, but he is definitely saying it re: my mother who wouldn’t consistently stand up for me.

I try to go by my own personal goal of asking a person what they meant when I am having strong feelings about what is said, because maybe I have misinterpreted something. But with this particular sibling, even asking sets her off and she thinks she is being criticized. So with her, I have cut back on asking, and simply state what I feel/stand up for me.

Other times if someone is being obviously a jerk, I just stand up for myself.

GDW

I know what you mean about wanting to be left alone by the abusive types. I am finding it so hard to extricate myself physically and emotionally. It’s not that I don’t have the resources and knowledge to simply move away to another locale, but my friends and medical support people are here so I’d be moving away from support too.

I am having a new appreciation for why some battered women stay. I never blamed them, and I always felt sure that there were powerful dynamics at play, but now I am experiencing some of that myself. I am finally realizing that many family members are verbally violent, non- inclusive, and try to cut me down. It’s not outright cursing or name calling, it’s much more subtle. I can’t blossom.

Just this past year I learned about the term “trauma bonding” and some of the reasons why it can be so difficult to leave one’s family of origin.

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I try to go by my own personal goal of asking a person what they meant when I am having strong feelings about what is said, because maybe I have misinterpreted something.

Good idea….. Don’t know about you, but in my experience, when the statement is made “covertly” and you “got it” but was SUPPOSED to “get” some different message, well, that is when the “you mis-interpreted” excuse comes out.

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DXS and others

Yes my sibling said something to me yesterday that sounded like “attitude”. It was all in the facial expression and tone. Sounded like anger-based sarcasm to me, though she denies it.

What do you do when someone simply denies that they used a disrespectful tone/are angry?

Asking for clarification and talking things out only works in healthy relationships were there is trust and transparency and both people are willing to participate.

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Light, my Mom does that all the time. “I’m not mad, you are hearing things.”

Not much you can do except for…. who was the one that said it….. “report the facts.”

“This is what I heard in your voice.” But they will still deny it.

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Thanks everyone for all your comments. Sorry I can’t respond to everything (I am a bit distracted right now- partly because I am very much in the process) but each one means a lot and is really helpful.

So much of what I read on here is really shocking. Horrifying really. I am glad we can support each other and sad that these things happen to people. Something else that is currently stunning me is just how many forms abusive behavior can take. When I think about FOO I just can’t believe how long it took me to ‘figure out’ each person’s style of abusive behavior. None of them is healthy, but they are all so different. The only thing I can see them all having in common is the denial. Even the ones who seem nice aren’t really because they all either deny being abusive or deny that others are abusive (usually both!!!).

When people are so complicated and seem so nice/unharmful but end up being both abusive and siding with abuser/invalidating the abuse I went through when I even have proof, it makes me not want to trust anyone.
I also feel pretty stupid for believing everything I was told growing up, but even moreso now that I am no longer a child. That may be the self blame, but I can’t imagine right now, what will shake this feeling of being really really foolish, like I have been conned, and like “was I really that blind” kind of feeling.
Does anyone else feel that way- just really stupid for falling for it for so long or is that just me?

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hi gdw,

i get overwhelmed by what i read on here too sometimes, how people treat each other. how people treat children and yes, how even the nice ones aren’t really that nice, they are enabling and co-dependent like alcoholic families. if they are not treating you abominably they seem like they’re not so bad. the stupid part, most of this started when we were children and we were not stupid or bad. we just wanted to be loved and accepted. when i look at it like that i can see how it can carry into our adulthood unless we see it for what it is. you weren’t stupid or foolish, you just want to have a family and a sense of belonging. i noticed how i internalized people’s critical voices today. i have chronic fatigue syndrome and don’t feel well on a holiday and i started to think i’m lazy, i never go out, i’m stupid (yeah, me too)–when i should be most compassionate with myself. love is blind, maybe so with familial love too-except we can’t afford it to be.

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From @GDW:

I also feel pretty stupid for believing everything I was told growing up, but even moreso now that I am no longer a child. That may be the self blame, but I can’t imagine right now, what will shake this feeling of being really really foolish, like I have been conned, and like “was I really that blind” kind of feeling.
Does anyone else feel that way- just really stupid for falling for it for so long or is that just me?

As a child, I wondered why everyone “just knew right away” how they felt, and reacted accordingly, and why I just couldn’t “connect” to my feelings. Like @Alice said in another comment, I even thought maybe I had Aspbergers or something. Now I know. It’s because my feelings were DENIED and I was “told how to feel.” I spent my childhood “pretending.” And when I told my mom I did that because of her, of course, she denied it and said the “pretending” was my fault. I carried the “pretending” into adulthood in relationships because “pretending” is all I knew how to do to get loved.

I’m starting to think Mom “faked it” and that is “normal” to her, and she expects me to “Fake it” but it’s “normal behavior” to her. I KNOW BETTER!

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Hi Dxs and others, I have struggled also to see my nm as abusive. Other people told me what a wonderful mother she was and how lucky I was to have her. When I married someone she didn’t approve of (who is a good man by the way) I was told that I was to have nothing to do with my family anymore. This lasted 2 years until my sister got married and they told me they would forgive me and treat me as equal with my sisters. I had 2 babies and my mother left the country for both births. With the first she left 2 weeks before my baby was due and wasn’t to come back for 18 months. She did come home when my sister had her premi baby and came to visit me briefly. I asked for some help. I asked if she might vacuum and mop the floor. she argued that it just needed mopping, nor vacuuming. I eventually did it all myself while she held my baby while checking her emails. then she left. and that’s all the help I got. Meanwhile when my sister had her last baby she moved my sisters family into her house and cooked cleaned and entertained my sister and her visitors for 2 whole weeks. Making her home baked morning and afternoon teas and decorating her rooms with vases of flowers etc etc. I was supposed to visit and smile and say oh this is lovely. It was so hard not to compare.

My husband had a big party last year for a big birthday and I invited my family. they didn’t rsvp and when I asked if they were coming my mother said oh I thought I told you we we’re not coming. Meanwhile 2 weeks later she tells me she is going to a friends party (he is the same age as my husband and it’s an out of town party) and she wants photos of my children so she can include them in his present. I was again supposed to smile and say oh that’s nice. On school holidays my mother has these teenage girls(daughters of her friends adopted from Africa)stay with her for a week. she does fun things with them and then tells me and my daughter about this. We are both to smile and say this is nice, but then we get home and my teenage daughter asks why does she spend time with those girls and not me. I want to do that with her too. She has not once offered for my children to go and stay on the holidays and for 18months after returning home from a mission trip (no less) she invited us to dinner one time and that was to play happy families in front of old family friends. Such an act. My husband refused to go and I came home feeling like I helped them in their lie. I will not do that again.

A year ago I got upset with my mother on the phone and told her how I felt when she rejected me for 2 years and wasn’t there for me when I was a new mother having babies. She was acting all shocked and said she couldn’t believe that I thought that happened and flat out denied that she had not spoken to me in 2 years. She said it did not happen, that I rejected them. I told her I called her in and visited her and that she told me not to visit and not to call. She denied this and said she couldn’t believe I thought this. She couldn’t believe that I thought she was deliberately leaving the country every time I had a baby and needed her. She said I was ridiculous to think that and over reacting. She cried and acted all wounded that I should think she was not a good mother. I felt so bad I straight away got in the car and drove 1/2 hour to her house to say sorry and give her a hug. But she had gone out. I really can’t believe I did that.

There is the denial and it’s really mixed me up and caused me to doubt reality. It’s been so good for me to read others experiences. I feel like I’m getting my head around it all now. I am doing a little experiment and my husband is finding it quite amusing watching my response and he has more insight into my relationship with her than I do. I have not initiated any contact with my mother and I am waiting to see if she will. So far it’s been a month and no contact. I really didn’t realize it was only me who contacted her. It’s been eye opening.

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@Charli, wow, all I can say is HUGS HUGS HUGS! You presented the facts and got denial.

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Charlie, wow, I can relate to you! My Mom moved away, right in the middle of me making wedding plans, and I mean thousands of miles away. She left me holding the bag because she just plain was not interested. She never helped me at all with my kids, she just wanted to use my house as a hotel with her obnoxious and quarrelsome husband. Of course when she got older she tried to guilt trip me with how it’s a daughters duty to help her elderly mother. when did she do her Mothers duty to me?? She was a master at trying o push the lame for everything on others, most especially me the daughter. The boys were somehow exempt from the dirty work in her mind.
She is gone now but I still struggle with feelings of not counting and feeling inferior. Good to vent on here!

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Charli, that’s a LOT of stuff to deal with from your mother. I’m so sorry to hear yet another person having to deal with this. Does anyone else find this chronic??

What I’m learning (slowly) about this stuff is that bringing it to the people who have done you wrong so they can admit they have done wrong is more or less a losing proposition. I mean NOW it seems obvious, but I spent years (around 15 maybe) trying. Darlene has another great post on it. Somewhere.

Anyway, what I’m finding is the more I look to authority outside of myself to tell me (and so MANY are willing!) the less I have of myself. I’m not suggesting not to take advice from benevolent sources but to realize the import of discerning.

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Ha ha, so mom is still not capable of respecting NC. This time an email in which she tells me she has invited her friends to visit me at mu home while they are in my city. I was tempted to shoot a “WTF dare you” email back but have figured that’s what she might want. Anyway, *I* don’t want people I hardly remember showing up at my place, so nothing else required. God I hate her and I wish she would stop. Just another example of her using me to her benefit/benefit her image.
I was thinking maybe I should say yes if they visit and I can tell them the truth. But I don’t see that as any more helpful than shooting back “WTF”.

Sigh.

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Doren..
Exactly as you say is true for me. I thought I was “bad”, I thought I was ugly and thats why no one liked me and made fun of me in school. I was taught extreme obedience. To never speak up about needs or wants or problems as it would upset Dad and bring down his wrath.
I learned to never express. But I could not hold it all in. I began expressing anger against my self in moods and breaking my things by age 10. Everything I valued I broke, threw away or gave away. Always punishing myself for any upset or “feelings” when I was hurt or disappointed or experienced trauma or rejection.

This became my coping method. Automatic. I have punished myself for “feelings” all my adult life never even realizing what I was doing. As a child though, I did notice a feeling of relief after an episode and thought, gee that’s weird. Why should I feel relief breaking a favorite toy?
For the most part this behavior was ignored. As long as I was only hurting myself it was seen as my defective crazy emotional behavior. Kind of “proof” of my badness. Thats pretty uncaring.
I believed it. My mother saw me do it over and over.
She was so emotionally unavailable to me.
It was so normal to have no love, no emotional support, no praise, and only abusive indifference, invalidation of my feelings, that I began to expect that treatment from everyone.
It became my fault (to me) that I was treated that way. I was somehow “abnormal” but could never figure out why I was so emotional over everything.

My mother and brother always put me down sometimes they were subtle other times it was outright to my face. If I spoke up or defended myself it was “me being crazy again.”
The minute I said “no more” to my brother that was it. He shamed me and let me know he wants nothing to do with me. I’m OK if I’m his servant, provide him with a vacation spot every year and never, never ask him to be there for me in any way. Its been a one-side relationship for more than 30 years. I was so brainwashed, to me that was normal.

Dysfunctional families and abusive upbringing certainly set you up to fail in life. That failure
becomes their proof that they were right about you.

There’s nothing wrong with me but bad coping. I’m smart and friendly, caring and outgoing.
They lied to me. They lied about me. I see that now.

If I can break my bad coping by being very aware when I go to that bad place in my head I am
hopeful that for the rest of my life I CAN stop punishing myself for their lies.

437

Alice:
Extreem gratitude was always expected of me. If they did anything for me it was held over my head for years and they then saw it as their right to “advise” me. It was their foothold on my life. It was implied that I would always need them to take care of me. Nothing was ever given out of love. Always obligation was involved, at least when given to me.

My brother is the golden child. Everything was and is given and done for him because he deserves it. He needs so much extra care, just because. What??? I always knew that was off but now that I understand the whole scapegoat / golden child thing.. all the uneven treatment makes sense to me.
It was so extremely uncaring and upsetting to me a couple of years ago that it got me onto the internet searching to understand the dynamic going on. I found this site. Oh boy do I understand it all now.
The hardest part for me is getting past my anger for all the hurtful things done to me as a child. That my mother was truly uncaring and has tried to put the blame back on me (when a child) for being basically unlovable.
Second is the bad coping. But at least there I’m mindful if not fully in control yet.

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Charli..I did the same thing with my brother. Its been over a year. No contact of any kind. I was the one contacting and visiting. Sending birthday cards. Nothing from him. He’s too busy. He has a life you see. Yup. Its hard to understand that I have so little value to him.

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All of my sisters have nothing more than a “perfunctory” relationship with Mom. Nothing more. Same as what I had. But I look at my sisters and how proud I am of their own relationships with their own kids. It shows me they “broke” it somehow. It stopped with them. I’m glad I did not have kids. Don’t think I could have coped.

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dxs, if they were able to stop the pattern u probably could too. me and my sister are very loving parents. we were both scared to be parents.

i hate reading how parents singled out one of their children for special crappy treatment, based on what? no wonder you would feel like u were bad because it’s not based on anything reasonable. no wonder siblings would turn on each other. my sister denied any abuse and implied i imagined it when i witnessed it happening to her as well. she blamed me for moving 3,000 miles away. she could have done that as well but she wanted to be comfortable and i wanted to get out at all costs and i don’t regret it for a second.

alice, it’s chronic unless u can find a way to stop it. fortunately my mother died and the torture of various people ended. none of us deserved any of the abuse and neglect we received. had some e-mail exchanges with my ex-husband today and it brought back all of that crazy-making blame stuff from my childhood as well. i said u are the same angry, bitter man u have always been and it has nothing to do with me. i gave u your freedom which u seemed to want so very badly and you’re still not happy and u are still blaming me. i am broke now and it’s getting pretty scary but i am so glad i am free of someone who almost destroyed my self-esteem.

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Sue,
You have done everything right and you have heard that expression, “tough times don’t last, but tough people do!” I keep reminding myself everyday of how far I’ve come and that I’m safe and free! I’m not that teenager anymore living at home with parents in the midst of total chaos. I’m single and live alone and I do work at a not very high-paid job. But I own my own house and I want to go back to school in a couple of years…

It’s hard and I remember that one of the worst things that my parents did when I was a girl was to introduce me with a “label” when meeting new people. “This is our daughter, X, and she’s SHY!!!” No, I kid you not, so I was brain-washed into believing this myself like a negative affirmation. I really believed that they wanted me to be “shy” in order to control me and further break me down. So, I played the shy girl in school and it was like a form of protection. I chose to be studious and quiet, so I could avoid bringing new girl friends over to our house. Was I unhappy with this? Of course, but it saved me from further humiliation for these girls to witness the total chaos behind closed doors. I would rather be labeled “shy” than become the laughing stock of the entire school. Then, it got worse…My mother’s trashy family was always living in our basement, one person(s) after another. I feel like I did the right thing by playing the part of the “shy” girl in school and when I finally got out of parent’s house, my life became very different and joyous!

When I got older, I realized that I wasn’t actually a “shy” person at all. I was brainwashed into playing a role like an actor on a stage. People are surprised at how articulate I can be during a regular conversation, while being able to add insights about current events, good books I’ve read, and my life experiences. I’m easygoing and friendly, but I can become very angry if I’m pushed too far. It seems like I’ve had to prove myself over and over again in this lifetime. There are some people who perceive kindness as a sign of weakness and not as a strength. I can be very direct in giving a complaint against a bad customer experience and put these people in their place. I believe that my past abuse issues taught me how to NOT be afraid of rude and angry people in public situations. I developed a strong justice streak. I have even defended other women who have been rudely insulted in public. Go figure!

Anyway, I do cherish my freedom. I am so happy to come home at night from my job and relax in my house. When I was a teenager I would dream of one day being free. I can decorate my house the way I want, read the books I want, practice my “real” religion, pay for my entertainment and stay out late, and yes, I’m very happy and safe! Thanks everybody on the site.

Hugs,
Yvonne 🙂

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Sue, ah the crazy often returns I’ve noticed. I’m guessing my mom will persist in finding random things to contact me about but I’ve decided to sit tight and not respond. After all NC is something I’m doing (I just worked that out haha:-)).

Karen, I figure I’ve been both GC and SG, currently the latter. In my reading I have come across an idea that the SG is the one who knows the truth of the situation (also why they get mistreated) so the truth can exist as well as the lies but the truth must nevertheless exist. I’ve decided I’m more interested in the truth than anything else.

And I wanted to say congratulations to all on the thread who are freeing themselves, even if it’s financially crippling. It doesn’t stay that way:-)

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Yvonne, amazing how we can be assigned a role and end up playing what we were defined as. In my case, the good girl, the proper one, the plain one, and like you, the shy one. I was often talked out of hinges I really wanted to do, like trying out for a part in the school play ( you’ll laugh and embarrass us), even certain courses I wanted to take, and I was talked out of janing my major in college. Well, guess what? I ended up going back to school to get a degree in the area I had wanted to major in years ago, and also took the rowing language class I wanted to take as a teenager. But first I had o be out fom the influence of those who had no faith in my decisions.

Sue, yes why is one child singled out, and notice, it’s often the girl!!

Karen, I was also molded to be very obedient. I was afraid to be otherwise. And I had a lot of difficulty speaking up and asking for basic needs. I wrote in an earlier post how I erased loose leaf paper and reused it at school rather than ask my mother for more. And risk some sort of melt down from my short tempered mother. AndI did many other creative things to fulfill my needs rather Than ask her or anything. I was also groomed to feel ugly and had o deal with cruel classmates..

My mother s gone a year now but I am still trying to find my way to healthy self esteem. I understand where my beliefs came from, but it is much harder to undo the way I react to things which is still often in conjunction with the old belief system. I can intellectually understand why I came to believe certain things and know they are false, but learning to react differently is very hard since those old beliefs and ways of coping were so deeply ingrained.

444

Spell check really did a number on my last post! Hinges should be things and janing should be changing. A few other too but why waste space, you get the idea!

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Amber and Yvonne, I also thought that I was shy and bookish but now I don’t know whether that was me or what I was told I was! I’m definitely bookish:-) But shy? Maybe not so much. So anyway, reading a lot, that idea that we conform to others’ expectations, there was a research paper on it that offered evidence that (surprise?) yes we do. It was done with women though. I haven’t found a male version. They should do that one. I’m guessing it works both ways.

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interesting, i was shy too. i wonder how many of us have anger issues after having to keep a lid on it for so many years just to survive.

yvonne, i was afraid to have friends over too. never knew when my bipolar mom was gonna flip out and embarrass me. i am glad you sound so happy now.

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I was nerdy in high school. My mom kept telling me, “you are TOO SERIOUS and TOO SENSITIVE.” Like being serious and sensitive are BAD THINGS?? I actually do have a sense of humor, but I just cannot “let go” around mom. (And she is unable to “let go” around me but vehemently denies this…..) And, I LIKE my “sensitivity.” It lets me see “crap” for what it is. But it took me years to trust this “sensitivity” since my mom invalidated it.

@Sue, yes, I had to “keep a lid on it” as you say. Yes, I have anger issues about it…..

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Alice, yes, I am bookish, and I finally am okay with it. Why does it have a negative connotation? I wonder if the people who criticize bookish people are jealous. I’ve always done well in school and that didn’t sit well with some people. But that’s who I am and I’m okay with it.

Sue good point about “shy” people having to keep a lid on it and suppressing feelings. I always tried to be who I thought others wanted me to be. But the things I wanted kept bubbling up. Now, later in life I have been giving myself some of those things I missed out on. In message 443 I explained I was the proper, prudish, plain, shy , studious girl. Only because I was molded that way. Only the studious part had some truth to it. The rest was how others defined me. I had to let the fun loving adventurous part of me come to the surface. That happened later on after I was married and away from those who molded me into a fake sculpture.

My biggest thing now is breaking away from old bad habits so to speak. Like slipping back into letting someone else define me, which does happen from time to time. Or getting upset when someone rejects me. I know when this happens that it is due to old stuff that is still in there. I must be in an in between stage where I sometimes see things through the truth but sometimes slip back in to the old false belief system.

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Karen R. I really identify with your experience with anger at yourself and just anger in general. With so much inflicted on you the anger has to come out, and that seems to just give those inflicting it confirmation that you are as defective as they have labelled you. I really do like the idea of mothering yourself a bit and when your in a place of pain to say to yourself what you wish a loving mother would have said to you. I really wish that I had of known about that when I was little.

My mother never thought I was clever or social. I was so so shy. I couldn’t even open my mouth for years at school to say anything. I truly didn’t believe that anyone could want me as a friend all the way through school. My mother and sisters put me down with little comments. I was made to repeat 2nd grade and that for me set me back so badly. I felt of was a total failure. Once I heard a mother tell her daughter she was pretty. I asked mum why she never told me I was pretty. She said that I’d get a big head. I had lots of anger that never came out in public, just at home. I would be given hidings for getting angry at least once a week. My childhood was very restrictive. The hidings would leave me with welts on my legs and then I didn’t want to do swimming at school. My mother would loose it with the hidings. She would scream telling me I was wicked and evil. This went on until a few days after my 18th birthday when I screamed back at her and told her she couldn’t scream at me and hit me anymore as I was now an adult (I live in Australia). The hidings then stopped thank God. I am left with very bad teeth from all the grinding which I think is because of the stress and anger. IT had to come out some way. The sad thing is that it was all so wrong and there was no family friends who would have suspected that my “Christian” mother who prayed so fervently in the church and baked and had people over for meals and cups of tea was such a witch behind closed doors. Don’t get me wrong, I have a strong faith myself, but I am very aware of what can happen behind closed doors and I will be on the look out for little children who may be in the same situation in the hope that I could be of help in some way to them.

In my adult life I am quiet, but not shy, I’ve done a university degree and have a good job, and I try my best to be as beautiful as I can be on the inside and the out and am constantly telling the children I have contact with that they are beautiful and identifying their giftings. It’s so lovely to watch the children in my sunday school class as their faces light up when I tell them they are generous or helpful or caring. I guess if there is good to come out of it it’s made me more aware of how children are treated effects them for good or for bad.

450

Sue and Amber (and everyone). I LOVE books and I get angry (righfully so) at crazymaking. I know there’s some ideal of ‘anger-management’ around but I came across another book somewhere which suggested honoring anger as a signal that “something’s up” whether that thing be out there or inside. This ideal of ‘not angry’ is often aimed at women. I wonder how much of the fact that I female meant that I was allowed to feel or display anger even less than anything else.
When I was a kid, it was explained to me that my anger was this terrible destructive thing I was to keep from exploding otherwise it would really hurt people. Yes I bought it. And I remember being afraid of my own anger, that it would really do some serious harm.
Has it? Not ever. More BS from the mom.

451

“Don’t be angry, it will affect your health…..” That is what I got from my Mom before NC. Um……. there is a REASON for why I am angry and she won’t address it, because, OBVIOUSLY she is not at fault…..

I am still having to imagine her as an alien pretending to be human, until I fire the Star Trek phaser and peel off the human to see an alien underneath….

452

dxs,

maybe u have helped me to have the courage to look at my ex’s e-mail, just pretend he’s an alien. i’ve been thinking of all of u still having to deal with your mother calling or listening to her message. i feel unsafe. i’m a grown woman. why do i still feel unsafe? because i was terrorized by my mother when i was a helpless child left in her care. then i was stuck in a horrid marriage because i was too sick to work and had nowhere to go.

453

@Sue: Hugs hugs hugs…..

454

Hi,
My first time here. I’ve been reading through these posts and boy oh boy do I feel you! Terrible childhood here – scapegoat for sure. My parents never loved me and coming to terms with that has not been easy. I even yelled at my therapist recently because she kept using the words, “Your perceptions were..” Finally, I screamed out, “Someone has to believe me!” She said, “I do. I believe you.” I think she knew I needed someone to believe what I KNOW is the truth of what happened to me. My details – I cannot even begin to write them all down, but I think you can probably relate. It’s not easy to accept the one fact that I know to be the truth. They didn’t love me. The hard part is loving myself in spite of it. I am working hard to do that. Thank you for this place to speak my truth, my pain, and to hear about you too. It is truly the one thing that keeps me going. I see your posts and know you, because in a way, I am YOU. Love, peace, prayers and hope to all.

455

hi suzy,

maybe they loved u in some sick, twisted way that is the only love they knew how to give but it doesn’t really help u much. it is hard to think of a parent not loving their child at all but it could not be the kind that is necessary and appropriate for a child. i know my mother loved me but she had no right to do the things she did to me.

not all therapists are safe. if u are telling her about actual abuse and incidents that happened i would not like to hear anything about “my perceptions.” that is why u are going to her, to clear up the chaos and have someone believe u. someone to trust who validates u. i’ve had therapists cry when i told them about my childhood. i was so shocked by ridiculous abusive things one therapist did and said i couldn’t say anything but i went home and sent an e-mail why i wouldn’t be returning.

456

Thanks Sue. My parents didn’t love me – my mother told me (and others) that before she died. My father, if he does love me, it’s impossible to tell – he has put me down my entire life and just uses me to get what he needs from my other siblings. I was called weak, useless, and all the other words horrible parents called their kids my entire life. So, if that’s love, well, I can do without it. :).
My therapist… I’m kind of feeling like she doesn’t believe a word I say and it is frustrating. How many times can I go through it and be told I am perceiving stuff in a certain way. My parents were neglectful, mean-spirited and never said a kind word to me. How can I perceive that any other way. But, you are right, some of the therapists out there can cause more harm than good. I’m getting to know who I AM. Finally. My codependence, self-hatred, anxiety, etc. I wasn’t aware why I’d always felt that way. My memories of my childhood are mostly black… I remember bits and pieces – being locked in dark closets, being teased by my dad and falling down stairs because of his mean faces and constant taunts and jabs. My mom – telling me my dad sexual abused me – my dad saying she sexually abused me. All crazy stuff that adds up to MY truth – if they did love me – I never felt any of that.
I need to go back and read your entire story Sue… last night I began reading and began crying. I feel for others in a way that I cannot describe.. It’s nutty. It’s like it’s happening to me. So, I can only read in small doses. But thank you for validating ME. I need that. I do!

457

Sue,
One last thing. I am blessed to have an older sister who witnessed what happened to me and validates my memories and experiences all the time. She too was victimized by my mother but she had my father’s love and support throughout her life. Without my older sister I do not thing I could have survived my life. She knows the truth and tells me all the time that she KNOWS what happened to me as a child. Interestingly enough, she is no longer talking to my dad – because although he was a huge support to her, he has proven his narcissistic behavior with her as well. Dad is alone now… none of the sibs really talk to him anymore. I do – a tiny bit.. but the rest are done with the dad who hurt all of us (me the most) so much. My older sister – God bless her!!! She saved me.

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Hi Suzy, I feel your pain!

I never felt love from either of my parents ever. My mom is also gone. She told me when she was dying that she loved me. But as the old cliche goes “actions speak louder than words.” Her actions were scary & cruel. She terrified me as a child. I never knew what kind of mood either of my parents would be in…so I did my very best to be as close to invisible as possible. Unfortunately, it didn’t always work since I was an only child. I was their sole target & an easy one at that. My parents were hot & cold towards me. Meaning that they were either abusive or neglectful, there was nothing else in between. If I laid low, they couldn’t be bothered. If I did something wrong, I got the crap beat out of me. It was in my best interest to do everything to remain invisible. I had no choice.

I have bent over backwards for years trying to get both to like me. I have done so many things for them. I even provided a free place for them to stay anytime they needed it. Not that I ever even got a thank you for helping them. I was still trying with dad until last year. He’s a jerk. He won’t change, he sees me as some kind of monster. I suspect I know what I did that was wrong, however, I have no memory of the event(s). But both of them punished me over the years & treated me like the worst possible criminal. In any case, he won’t tell me. Nothing has changed.

My hubby & I have been paying for his cell service for some time. He used his phone to call everyone under the sun but could never bother to call us. It hurt to see the amount of time he could spend speaking with his friends, but he couldn’t even talk to me for more than 2 minutes without finding a way to hurt me before hanging up. Last month out of the blue my hubby was notified via email that dad’s cell phone service was suspended. I had to call him up to find out what happened. Well he lost his phone but couldn’t be bothered to inform me??? He said he thought I had died. Nice huh? He also said he loved me. Honest to God, how does he do it? First time in my life of 51 years he’s ever said those three words to me. I laughed at him & said I didn’t think so. All the years of hatred spewed in my direction, all the broken promises & lies, smear campaigns, all the times he ignored me & treated his dog with more respect than he did me adds up to someone who doesn’t love me. I just don’t see how it’s possible. After all, he has no clue who I am. To him, I am just a shadow figure…something that really doesn’t exist. He never bothered to talk to me, to discover my likes or dislikes, or what I wanted in life. He also has 2 grand daughters whom he has also ignored over the years. They are his only grand kids. I have gone no contact & he has made no attempt to get in touch with me or my children. How can someone honestly state that they love something they don’t even know? I am still mad at him. I thought I was making some progress, but now I find myself ruminating about the past all over again. All I want is peace. I don’t need dad & he certainly doesn’t need me. Back to no contact…he is not worthy of my time.

It sucks, but it’s all I can do.

January

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January,
Hugs, hugs and more hugs. I too am 51 years old and am finally coming to terms with this stuff.

One of my favorite books is The Art of Loving. Have you read it? Love is not a word – it is action, decisions, DOING. Hurting is not love. Your dad – gosh, although the details aren’t the same, he too ignores my child (all his grandchildren, in fact). He just doesn’t care about them (or me – perhaps all his children). I cannot get into his head, nor do I want to. For a long long time here’s what I wanted to know: WHY? What did I do? WHY? But, I know now that the whys don’t really matter. Perhaps they are evil, perhaps they are products of their own upbringing. Doesn’t matter to me anymore, why… I am blessed to be able to truly love others – not just in words, but in actions, decisions, showing. Hugs again January. I feel you sweetness!!!

460

The word LOVE… Is it an adjective or a verb? I can say I hike, but if I don’t actually put on my sneakers and hike, is it hiking? So, love. I can say I love but if I don’t actually do loving things do I love? No way. Love (when it comes to children especially) is not just feeling something, it’s about acting on the word. So, hearing from my dad, “I do love you… you just don’t know it.” Is kind of silly. At least my mom said she didn’t love me – kind of kept me from feeling confused. She decided to not love me. Her problem – was mine for a long time but thankfully she is gone now and I know the truth. But dad’s saying he loves me (after I cry about what he did to me) is just his way of feeling better about himself. He’s awful. He’s mean. He’s unloving. He’s missing the point of life in my opinion – because without being able to love, we are lost. That’s just my opinion…

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hi suzy,

i’m still trying to fathom a parent saying they don’t love their child. they don’t deserve children. i was called useless too. lovely thing to say to your kid. sounds like the therapist is undermining your reality. i had one who unzipped his pants, maybe they were too tight? he liked to sit by me and rub my stomach to help me learn to breathe correctly. then we did emdr. u don’t show enough emotion about the death of your son. so i told him some stories and i broke down. it was almost his birthday. he said i should be way past this amount of grief! couldn’t win! then saw some article about emotional abuse, when someone says to u that u don’t show enough emotion, u show too much emotion. great, i was paying for more abuse.

my dad also hardly ever contacts or visits his grandkids. it hurts them. it is worse for my sister because she lives near him. now he has cancer. my mother is gone too. abuse/neglect. neither one of them is love. it hurts to admit it but we have to know it wasn’t our fault. we didn’t do anything. there’s no reason sometimes. everyone pressures u to forgive. the unforgivable.

january, i’m sorry about the negligent grandfather and that u were terrified as a child. i was too. never knew when the crazy would start. never feeling safe. i know it sucks. we deserved so much more. how different our lives would’ve been but i am glad to hear of any of us being able to love, being happy, being free.

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Love……. I have no clue what it actually is…. except as a child, I felt love from my dog. I have a cat now, and I feel love from my cat. Maybe I’m anthromorphizing….. But I do feel love from my cat. And, I have a male friend that has been friends with me for 15 years (business partner, too…). We don’t have a dating relationship, but we talk so often I have felt more love (kind of a friendship love) from him than I felt from parents.

Mom just “went through the motions.” No real emotion or empathy. And she blames me because I “faked it?” Hey, who did I learn it from?

@January, @Suzy, @Sue, wow, your stories are just heartbreaking.

463

My mother tormented me – in the end, she left me out of her will… I swear, here was my crime. I told the truth. I hid most of my life (isolated from my family) but every so often mom would rear her ugly head. She loved to enlist all her friends, my relatives, anyone to attack me on the few occasions that I actually showed up. They would start screaming at me about how I hurt my mother. When I would prove otherwise (my mom wasn’t a very good liar) and tell the truth (and substantiate it – boy oh boy, she went for my blood. I was the one who told the truth. Mistake. My mother never wanted the truth revealed and I would have kept my mouth shut had she not enlisted everyone she knew to attack me. So, in the end, I got left out of her will, told I wasn’t loved, and found out after her death (of course I was the one around for many hospital visits, helping after her death) that she told all her friends, my sibs, EVERYONE that she wished I would NOT visit. But, she never told me that. I felt like a fool, ashamed and belittled. I got to hear how she never loved me and her will proved all of it. I almost crawled into a ball and died that day. I know who I am though. I was her victim, her prey, her truth. I know that. No matter what some therapist says. My mom hated me because I was the one she feared the most. I was the one revealing who she was. God rest her soul. I am so sorry Sue, DXS, January and all of the others here. I promise…it’s not US. We are okay. It’s them.

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I am the eldest of three and the only daughter. My mom has been verbally, physically and emotionally abusive my entire life. I am now 55! 3 days ago my mother informed me I don’t love her and will never be able to convince her I do. My brother (scapegoat) called her to give her a sanity check and she cut him off as well and changed her phone number. My baby brother (golden boy) had no idea any of this occurred, until tonight when I called and told him.
I said I am done playing games, she can’t take those words back and even tho she broke contact I no longer want anything to do with her. You are now the only one left with contact to her…..good luck with that! How freeing! How
Healing! My mother and baby brother are full of hate and are like a cancer eating away at our family. I have taken a huge step and have begun healing. Such relief from the pain! Finally the missing piece for me was telling my brother who also believed me and my brother. Wow I can finally move forward. We have done nothing wrong. My mother has issues and she can’t hurt me or my family any longer. I know going forward I will have bad days but tonight I feel better. Thanks for listening
Kathleen

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I think all the stories should come out. The abusive families have played too long on the fact their children feared them and feared telling the truth.
DXS I agree love is a verb. My mother sent me “lots of love” in her last email (where she had decided to invite people to my home even while we’re NC) I think she figures if she *says* “lots of love” it will somehow convince me that her actions are loving when they’re obviously not. It’s not because she says it’s love that it is. Perhaps she equates ‘love’ with the feeling of having power over me (which the message is really about “I can invite people to your home and then inform you after the fact).
Yes it’s heartbreaking to realise she doesn’t love me, but it’s not my fault. She was there first.

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From @Suzy:

My mom hated me because I was the one she feared the most.

BINGO! I have this “way” of making my mom “see herself” and she doesn’t like it, it contradicts the “pretend self” she tries to put out there. Suzy, it’s heartbreaking that your mom told you she didn’t love you. HUGS! For me, I WISH my mom would admit it. Because I already know it.

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DXS,
Hearing it was awful and she waited until she was dying to say it. Up until then the game was played. The problem was, I had no idea I was in a game – almost like Chess, or Stratego. I was a piece to her but the game was rigged and the goal for her was to WIN. When I got a tiny bit closer, she used her power and her lies to make sure I was less close to winning (like a check mate). So, the I don’t love you and not including me in her will was her KING. She won! I don’t think I could have played the game had I known. I was naïve and just in need of some kind of love. My dad is a narcissist too – he loved to make fun of me and keep me down. But dad has no power now (has lost all his money and his children – excluding me, are rich now and have no use for him) so he has become pathetic and angry.

DMX. Do you really want to hear the words? It’s a huge blow. But yeah, I’m glad I got the truth in the end. She waited though… had she not known she was dying she would have continued the game. I’m sure of it.

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suzy,

since when is parenthood supposed to be a game to win or lose. what a sick mindset. she lost big time. u were in need of some kind of love because u are supposed to have it, without asking and without conditions. daddy dearest doesn’t sound much better. my sister once said we were ripped off in the parental unit dept. i love you, i don’t love you is interchangeable for these people. it sounds cold, but i am glad for those of u where the parents are gone. it’s much more peaceful and easy. we still have the fallout to deal with.

469

Sue,
Your sister was so right! I know my parents had secrets – big ones! Some of them had to do with there own stuff and some had to do with how they treated us and horrible things they knew others were doing to us. My sibs and I did the best we could. Ignored, neglected, controlled, etc. I was the second born – the scapegoat. My younger sister – the hero/perfectionist. She doesn’t appear to feel but she is always doing and striving to be the best. My brother – completely uninvolved and has no idea how he feels – except anger – towards his own children especially. I don’t blame my brother, he endured so much – the youngest. My older sister – the caretaker – warm and sweet – especially towards me. But she has major issues too… She’s a loving mother as am I. We broke the pattern. In a way, although she was abused by mom too, she took me on as a kind of daughter. I’m so lucky to have her. It sounds like you have that kind of relationship with your sister too. I pray you have someone in your life who validates and LOVES you!!

470

me and my sister and dad take turns not talking to each other. my mom, the most evil, was the glue thru manipulation and guilt. i don’t understand people who don’t know how they feel. yes, they are usually stuck in anger mode. easier than admitting to hurt and pain. my sister always says she doesn’t care about my father’s neglect but i know she is hurt very deeply. she was very upset to hear he has cancer but she went back into anger mode pretty quickly. i think i don’t expect much from him. i don’t really feel angry or hurt, it’s just pathetic and i have my own life. he wasn’t as bad as my mom but he didn’t protect me. i have my boyfriend. i need more people. the divorce was rough on my health and my life is very limited now. my ex actually wrote me a nice apologetic e-mail yesterday while telling me he is nervous with either kindness or anger from me. i said kindness is a lot less tiring and he stole my energy unnecessarily for half my life.

471

From @Sue:

i don’t understand people who don’t know how they feel.

This is what it is like to “not know how you feel.” You are a child, and you say, “I feel X.” Your Mom says, “No you don’t no you don’t, you feel Y.” You think you are a “bad” person for feeling X so you “pretend” to feel Y. But you never ever do feel Y. But every time you tell your mom you feel X she tells you that you feel Y. So, you learn to “fake it.” Pretend. And you pretend for so many years that you don’t know what is real and what is not. The result is that…… someone could say something to me and I have no reaction….. Then, 48 hours later, I realize the comment was hurtful to me, but I cannot address it because the person has “forgotten.” So you learn to feel “nothing.”

Then, someone likes you romantically. You go out a few times. This person really likes you and wants to know if you feel the same. You still feel NOTHING, yet you think you are SUPPOSED to feel something so you fake it. You fake it because you want this person’s love. It’s the ONLY person right now expressing an interest in you. And you go along with the romantic partner, and the romantic partner makes a comment, which you don’t react to. Until 48 hours later, and the romantic partner doesn’t remember saying the comment or what the circumstances were. And you get frustration from doing this over and over.

And, you are now in your 50’s and you have had a light bulb moment where you realize you have been faking your entire life. I still have trouble with this. It takes me 48 hours (or more) to realize something has upset me. But now I know to watch for it.

I initially thought this was Aspberger Syndrome. Now I know it isn’t.

I find that pets are a good outlet for me. Pets let me “feel.” I felt love from my dog as a child, and I feel love from the cat I have now.

If you know how you feel, I envy you.

472

hi dxs,

i was thinking more about being baffled by adults who don’t know why they acted a certain way or felt a certain way so it’s hard for me to know what’s going on with them if they don’t. now i see you’re saying it stems from childhood and having your feelings questioned, told that they are wrong and u don’t feel that way as if u don’t know yourself because you’re a (stupid) child. i can relate to this in the 48 hours of not being able to respond ( i will usually know how i feel) because i am afraid to tell the person they hurt of insulted me. i kind of go into shock sometimes by the things people say. my sister has been married twice and said she never knew what love was till she had kids.

when u think it’s a disease: i used to read books about teenagers who went crazy and i didn’t know why, it hurt my mother’s feelings. would’ve been nice if someone told me she was bipolar before i was 16. pets: my daughter once asked if i wished my ex would be more like our guinea pig. when i left i was most sad about leaving the guinea pig. because i was ill i was the punching bag just like when i was a child. the scapegoat.

i hope u meet someone who is kind and gentle and takes care of your damaged heart. it shouldn’t feel like nothing. it should feel like a bunch of dogs and cats! my ex said nobody else would want me. i believed him. i didn’t believe my friends who said i would.

473

I noted two things that stood out for me in DXS and Sue’s posts. The taking turns thing. I have experienced that (between my brother, my mother, my paternal aunt and myself there was always one of us at any given time who was ‘the problem’) And the being told how you feel thing. That was my mother’s speciality. Some others in the fam ‘encouraged’ me to ‘feel X even though I know you feel Y’ which was way ‘better’ than ‘this is how you feel’ or (another classic) ‘you just feel Y because you are tired/hysterical (usually because of something, duh)/ haven’t eaten (because I sent you to your room without food, duh)/ you’re looking for a fight (ur, no, I’m fighting BACK). ‘ And I can’t remember the others. But if you notice, it was all ‘inside me’ and not due to anything she ever did.

474

Sue #468

“. i love you, i don’t love you is interchangeable for these people.”
Oh how I have found that to be true…. ‘Love’ when you go along with their distorted toxic ways, and the opposite when you assert yourself and stand up to them.. “Don’t call me mum, and I can’t call you daughter” yes, those very words came out of her mouth once, in front of my kids! then to only try and reel me back in to her quagmire a few weeks later.. SO DYSFUNCTIONAL.
I don’t care if she ‘loves’ me or not anymore. Because she has no idea of what real honest parental love is. She is a selfish, sick person, and that’s not my fault, nor is she my responsibility anymore.

475

Suzy #463

Why wouldn’t you ‘hide’ when that’s the way you were treated??!!?? Honestly… Sometimes I just sit here and shake my head… So very toxic and abusive..

Love to all here

Michelle

476

I also experienced taking turns! I actually said to my mother, it’s almost like you can’t love three kids at once and you take turns cutting us out of your life! To which she promptly cut me out and then decided to cut my brother out as well.
It’s nothing you have done Alice! It has taken me my entire life to figure that out. I couldn’t have tried any harder to please her! The problem is with them and the need to control, humiliate and pit one sibling against the others. Not great parenting
Kathleen

477

@Sue, yes, it appears you see it now. You probably don’t get it emotionally, but you understand it intellectually. And I understand about being “afraid” to tell someone, “hey, you upset me.”

As for meeting someone kind….. I had that two years ago. I was dating a guy who was so sweet, so pure. All his words were exactly what he said, no getting out the “Universal Decoder book.” The guy really loved me, purely. I couldn’t deal with it. So, I am staying away from dating until I can “heal” from this.

@Alice, yes, in my family, the “golden child” has rotated around.

@Michelle, hugs hugs, the dysfunction in your family is heartbreaking.

I don’t think my mom is knowingly selfish. I think she has issues she refuses to address. My mom tries to convince people she is a swan when she is really a goose. Or she convinces people she is a cougar when she is really a panther.

478

Alice #473

I was always told “you shouldn’t feel that way” “you’re over-reacting” or flat out told I was lying.
Today when I see little kids crying and their feral parents telling them to stop crying ‘or I’ll give u something to cry about’ it takes a little piece of my soul. I just want to take those children and comfort them and protect them.

It took me so long and I went through so much pain, depression and debilitating anxiety, to even begin to allow myself to discover how I felt, then deal with those feelings. I had start completely from scratch!
If I hadn’t undertaken this work on myself, my children would become part of the cycle.
I believe my ‘mother’ and awful ‘step-father’ made choices to save their own skin, and sacrifice mine/(and my siblings). I could’ve made those choices too… I could have stuck with the bottle and the drugs, and the self destructive behavior to get myself through, but I didn’t. I honestly think she is jealous of me for that. Oh well, she had plenty of chances, and she still chose to defend, minimize, lie and generally carry on like a psycho for too long. And now she has no-one. I used to be on the outer when they’d manipulate others, what a dreadfully lonely time for me while I was trying to find my way out of the haze I was in.
I wonder if she feels lonely now?
She once told me I was ‘the only problem remaining in our lives’ (her and ‘step-father’).
Well, I’m no longer in your life, so how’s ‘life’ going for you now, ‘mum’?

479

dxs,

someone talked of understanding some things intellectually but reacting in their old patterned way to hurt or anger still. if i am hormonal or hypoglycemic i can get pretty irrational when i’m angry. so i’m aware of it and try to deal with it. i’m sorry u couldn’t deal with love. it scares me sometimes and i want to run away and not deal with a relationship, compromise, conflicts. i’m not going anywhere though this time. my partner knows about my childhood and understands i have issues with rejection and abandonment.

michelle, i am really sorry u were told u were the only problem left in their lives. how cold can u get? now she has no problems and no one. a fitting ending.

480

@DXS #471. Wow. Thank you for that explanation. My younger sister seems to have delayed reactions (or no reactions) to hurtful stuff. She too has expressed that she too thought this was the result of Asperger’s Syndrome. I always thought that feeling was just too hard for her, but maybe she just doesn’t have a sense of what she feels because of what you explained. Thank you for this. It makes complete sense now.

@Michelle. Thank you. I did hide a lot. Especially as an adult.

As a child, I took out what was happening on myself. I stopped eating, would bang my head against the wall, and thought up ways to hurt myself. This didn’t ‘look good’ for the parents. My mom especially… Uh oh, she’s giving out clues to the world that life here is bad news. I was only 5 years old, 11 years old… I had no idea what I was doing. As an adult, my weight has always gone down during stress. My mother would say things like this to my daughter when we together (getting into her car): Hey, why don’t we just sit in the front and put your mom in one of that baby car seat in the back – she had a car seat for one of her grandchildren in the back seat. My mother hated when I was a little too thin – it reminded her of what she had done to me. Her remedy – shame me in front of my child and let me know how ‘bad’ I was for losing weight. This stuff happened into my late 40’s. She caused it. She was an evil woman!

481

Suzy,

Grrrrrrrr! That makes me so cranky when they belittle you in front of your own children!!!!
What an AWFUL thing to say to you! So emotionally abusive, and double whammy in front of your precious daughter!

My mother used to carry on a treat sometimes around me and my girls, and because I was only just beginning to see things for what they really were, I was still learning how to handle it… But my kids seeing me accepting this behavior, and her flipping out and taking me in and out of the elite family circle was also abusive and confusing for them…
I am so glad I’ve been able to shield them from that now…. My eldest daughter and my niece both wrote her letters expressing their feelings, (my daughter was only 16yo my niece 3 yrs older ) she texted me saying ‘not reading it’.
What a stupid woman. I texted back ‘what you choose to do now, will affect you in the future, either in a negative or positive way’. Got no reply to that.

Well she never took my feelings and emotions seriously, so why would she consider the kids?
It was her last chance with them, and SHE BLEW IT.

482

Michelle,
“Not reading it”. What an infantile response! Like a little baby throwing a tantrum.

The no reply. No surprise. She’s probably sulking or scheming. I hate to rush to judgment because I have never met your mom, but she seems to be my mom. :(.

Your kids are probably better off. After all, why would I person just reform and become nice people because we had children. More blood for them to suck. Mean people only change when they are cornered in my experience.

Hang in there!

483

“Not reading it”, because she cant stand honest and open coomunication, Im guessing. Good for these girls, if they get away from this abusive and manipulative behavior at a young age! She’s letting them know she doesnt care whats in their hearts,or how they feel, her being in control, being top dog, is what matters to her. I believe all of these women are sociopaths, with the inability to empathize. Mine has learned to mimic empathy, when necessary, but I know the real her. And she had known I have known, since a small child. “Ever since you were a little girl, I could never fool you, Janie”. What kind of a person needs to fool small children? I guess when you dont have the ability to truly care for others, ya needs ta foolem!
I worry as my niece will be in town next month, planning a visit. She is sweet, unassuming, guiless. I remember how nm and my nsisters ragged on her behind her back when she wad a child. Spoiled! Manipulative! Selfish! Taking my brother, her Dad, to the poor house! All bc they were soooo jealous, as to the attention and affection my brother showered upon her. Nothing like that ever happened in their miserable lives! Now they pretend to like her, and do all sorts of manipulative things, all bc she and I are close. Cant wait for that day, when they let the curtain drop,and she learns the truth. She doesnt need to be used by them!

484

Suzy, I love the baby throwing a tantrum analogy! Mine throws tantrums as well. Slamming doors,ripping down curtains. Screaming at the top of her lungs, fake chest pain. Boy! It must be exhausting, being them! What jokes they are!So nice, not to deal with that anymore. So much good in my life. . .

485

The comment from Suzy about her mother shaming her in front of her child reminded me of this time when my sister in law slammed me in front of my kids and I stood up to her. (this was near the beginning of my healing process) I am sure that she was shocked to the bottom of her boots, but something that occurred to me later was that I COULD stand up for myself! I had never realized that when it came to my mother or family on either side, I didn’t know that I could say something back. I didn’t know I had any choice! I always just took it. I sat there and let my mother and my in-laws say whatever ever they wanted to say to me, even in front of my children. This was a huge thing for me to realize and it was a primary step in the process of validating myself where I had always been invalidated and went along with being invalidated, almost as though I agreed with the way they regarded me. (because I never realized that I had any choice)
Great conversation! hugs, Darlene

486

Alice
I have also noticed the ‘taking turns’ thing. This was HUGE in my husbands family and also in mine! This grooms the children to focus on being compliant so that they can avoid being ‘the target’. But there is another benefit to the parents and adult family that uses this tactic; The result is often that the children will divide against each other in order to ‘side’ with the abusive and often feared adult in the situation. Once the children are against each other, the adults can get away with even more. Sick! Because it starts when kids are young, the kids grow up not catching on to the reasons that their sibling is going along with the abusive adult and they don’t trust the sibling anymore. This makes it much easier for the adult since the kids are not getting together to ‘discuss’ or gang up on the actual (primary) abuser.
Hugs, Darlene

487

To All (because I find I can relate to pieces of everything I’ve read here): Pitting the kids against each other. My mom was a champ at that. I guess we all went along with it because no one wanted to be on her enemy list. She would call me and tell me what this one was doing to their kids, or how she was hurt by another one. Then, she went to the next one on her list. She was a pro. As time went on she got sloppier – she was forgetting what she had said to one and how she had changed the story with another. But it was too late – damage was done. I got the worst of it at the end because I was the most gullible, the most codependent, the one trying to fix stuff. Little did I know that my sibs (and she) didn’t really care… every man for himself. Can’t really blame my sibs because it was a survival instinct for them. When my mom started in with my child, that was the worst. She used my daughter too. My daughter began to turn on me, or over defend me, or stop talking to my mother. She did a number on my child. I wish I had kept my daughter away from my mother – but my mother had power (money from her parents) and I was struggling to support the two of us. I wanted my daughter to have college and vacations. Since I couldn’t supply those things I allowed my mother to bad mouth me, humiliate me, confuse my child. I can’t go back and change that, but I wish I could have been stronger.
Dad – what a weakling… he watched, didn’t protect, joined in too. Sue – you’re so weak, Sue – I wish I could like you, but I just don’t, Sue – you’re too sensitive (don’t you love that one? classic), Sue – you’re mother hurt me so much what did you expect me to do? Sue – I am old now, time for you to take care of me. Huh? Sue – can you talk to your brother and sister and ask them to help me because I have too much pride? Sue… we are allies in this because we were the ones treated the worst. That one – the last one – ultimate manipulation. We are kindred spirits. Huh? But, he uses that – same as mom. Your sibs are mean to me (pit, pit, pit against each other) and you are the BEST. He is sloppy now too. All sociopathic, narcissistic people lose their edge in time. LOL

488

suzy,

maybe we’re so SENSITIVE because our parents say things like i wish could just like you but i don’t. hopefully being overly SENSITIVE will make us better people than these sorry excuses for parents let alone humanoids.

489

Sue,
Agreed! My dad uses the sympathy card with me a lot. Fact is – it works. I end forgetting all the horrible things he did and want to help him. It’s nuts. I want to stop that so badly. But, I can’t help feeling sensitive. It’s so twisted.

490

those needly little children are still inside us and we’re trying to figure out why we still want love and approval from people who are so unsafe to be around. he is mean.

491

Sue,
I feel like such a boob when I feel bad and sometimes offer to help him. I hate the man because he was awful and yet, I want him to love me so badly sometimes I do these things. I almost have to go against everything in my nature with this man – but it so hard. I want to help people who are suffering…but he was (and continues to be) mean. My sibs have no problem turning him down and seem to skip merrily along. But, I feel bad for this person. It’s bad news.

492

Sue,
Have you been successful with this dilemma? Needing that love so badly you can’t step away?

493

suzy,

like my sister said recently, he’s still my father (re. he has cancer and she is still angry with him.) she says every time she talks to him she feels like she’s 12 except she is a grown woman with a career and kids and she’s pushing 50. u say u feel bad for him but he’s bad for u. the things he says to u are horrid. my dad is pretty non-existent in my life, both of our choices i guess. my sister was not talking to him when she realized he was sick. even though he has 2 kinds of cancer she still went back to angry pretty fast.

he’s not as bad as my mom is so i don’t hate him. he’s just not there even while he’s still here. i live 2.000 miles away. with my mother i went completely nc. her older sister said we had a mutually destructive relationship but that is bs and i don’t like that aunt anymore. she found my mother after she committed suicide so i understand she was upset but nothing is mutual when u are a little kid trapped at home with a horrible abusive monster. (i had mentioned horrific physical abuse.) maybe they thought i should not discuss this at a memorial. it poured out of my mouth like a release. none of them talk to me i can’t care. i can’t keep my mouth shut any longer.

i’ve always been with older men and my mom said i was looking for a father. i dated a man my own age a few years ago and found him to be very immature. so, if u consider this success, then yes i’ve been successful. my illness keeps me isolated as well, it’s a lonely life but i was basically abused my whole life between my parents and my spouse except for 10 years. being lonely can maybe be cured. being put down and spat on and manipulated and guilt tripped by people who are supposed to love u is not and it can make u very sick. your father is alone and suffering for a reason. no one wants to take his abuse. i refuse to forgive the unforgivable. some people who said i should forgive are abusers themselves. didn’t every one beat the crap out of their kids in the 50-60’s? old age does not wipe out what they’ve done. 90 year old nazis are still prosecuted, they are still monsters. i can’t afford to need their love (and i know how hard it is, how painful.)

494

Sue,
First and MOST importantly, the abuse you endured, I am so sorry!!! I am hugging you right now – I know you can’t feel it physically, but I am wrapping my arms around you and hugging you. Terrible stuff.

I hear that too – all parents did that kind of stuff in the 60’s. No they didn’t. Parents didn’t do the things my parents did. But, I think others can’t wrap themselves around hearing these things.

When you wrote: those needly little children are still inside us and we’re trying to figure out why we still want love and approval from people who are so unsafe to be around. he is mean.

Oh my gosh…you hit it! I actually started to cry because no one has ever validated that for me. No one has ever explained it in such a way that hit me in my heart.

I completely understand you not wanting to keep your mouth shut any longer. Why should you have to? It happened to you. It’s the truth! Not discussing it at a memorial service – well, I completely get why you did that. Memories, feelings, emotions don’t have this time table – well now, let me see… maybe next week at 2:15 I will calmly discuss the horrific abuse I endured. Nice if that happened. But, you have been through hell, chaos, hurt, abuse and you are doing the best you can to deal with it. I sounds like you have come to terms with those who cannot understand that.

I needed to cry today after dad called me and I offered him help. He’s a bad father, a mean father… and I offered him help again. I needed to cry and to reach out to someone. Thanks Sue

495

From our fearless blog writer:

but something that occurred to me later was that I COULD stand up for myself! I had never realized that when it came to my mother or family on either side, I didn’t know that I could say something back. I didn’t know I had any choice! I always just took it

Darlene, as you have posted, your “standing up for yourself” had CON-SE-QUENC-ES. The CON-SE-QUENC-ES are what we all fear. But your courage is helping us all say DAMN THE CONSEQUENCES! YOU LEFT ME EMOTIONALLY SO I DON’T CARE IF YOU LEAVE ME PHYSICALLY!

And to whomever wrote the “we are still needy children who want love,” yeppers I am still that child.

I’m aghast at the stories I’m seeing on here. I still feel guilty because my stuff isn’t the horrific stuff I’m reading on here (more “covert hard to prove” stuff), but I appreciate the support of all of you! HUGS to all for the support!

496

Darlene,
The taking sides tactic. The parent(s) begins the process. The siblings turn on each other in order to either not be the target or gain some kind of standing with the parent(s). It gets even more twisted because as the siblings begin to turn on each other the parents take sides or worse, give the siblings advice on how to hurt the opposing sibling even more. If one of the children has the audacity to side with one of their siblings, the parent says things like: I can’t trust you because when I tell you things about your sister or brother you run to them and snitch. The child is left not knowing what to do. It’s so insane. You cannot figure how who to be loyal to, who to trust and when to speak…

497

Suzy
This is exactly what happens! Wow! And now years later my brother has sided with me and my mother has disowned us both! My remaining brother is so confused he doesn’t know
how to respond.
Very sad that my mother would treat her children this way. My brother and I are committed to breaking the cycle .
It’s difficult at best…
Kathleen

498

dxs, please don’t feel guilty that you didn’t have it worse! whatever you had it was enough or you wouldn’t be on here. it seems quite a huge thing to shake for many of us. maybe we’re part needy child and we have to find other ways to fill that need, non destructive ones. from the sounds of a lot of these parents, they are never going to fill it. self love, pets, partners.

suzy, no not everybody was treated like this in the 60’s. thanks for the hugs, i need them even if they’re virtual. i’m sorry u cried but it was probably a good cry of being heard. yes, u are trying to get love from a mean person. i find what comes along with it so potentially damaging that it is and was not worth it for me. i told my boyfriend do not ever leave me alone with my nuclear or extended families. that must sound weird to someone who had a much happier child. (although he was beaten with a belt because he deserved it!?)

maybe u need to be the good daughter because everyone else turned away from him. i know it’s scary to even be alone and have these thoughts and feel these feelings. how old is he? please don’t get down on yourself if you have offered to help him or you’ve been nice to him because that’s what they did to u. put u down. we didn’t learn any normal kind of boundaries. it is very hard to deal with. it’s a loss to cut someone off. we shouldn’t have to make these choices. they are the ones who put us in these situations. i couldn’t take living with that amount of crazy for the rest of my life. i have a bad mean father too and it hurts to see him like that. he was better than my mother. does he get a trophy?

499

The taking sides tactic sounds a lot like the way the Queen Bee playground bully operates, and everyone fallls into their proper place playing their role, ultimately giving the Queen Bee more power. Sad thing is that this stuff should have ended by Junior High, and even sadder, that it is being played out in families which should be a safe place for all family members. I’ve seen lots and lots of this in my family with my mother ousting this one and that one and trying to get people to take sides.

DXS, I understand how much fear of consequences plays into not standing up for yourself. We fear rejection and abandonment. I. Think that is what ultimately kept us from voicing how we felt about things. And that is the power that these people hold. It is very manipulative and all about them keeping their spot in the pecking order. Darlene had a very good point. It wasn’t that she originally chose to speak up for herself. She, like me, didn’t know that we COULD say something back. We didn’t know there even was a choice. What an eye opener!

500

Kathleen – Your brother sided with you and she disowned you both. So awful!

DXS – Oh my gosh – covert/hard to prove abuse is awful! It’s crazy making. Not guilt – please, like Sue just posted.

Amber – Queen Bee. Perfect! All the drones doing the work for the queen and she just lays the eggs.

Sue – they were tears of AHA. Light bulb moment for me. Good tears because I saw what was happening.

Darlene – another AHA moment. You used the word compliance and I never thought of it that way.

Here’s my question – obviously the physical abuse is awful and the people who do that know what they are doing. But the more covert stuff – the pitting sibs, etc. Is the queen bee aware of what she is doing? Is it a well thought out plan? Pre-meditated to hurt others? There is mean and then there is EVIL.

501

the covert stuff is crazy making, sometimes a therapist will spot it when u haven’t. yes, this stuff should’ve ended in junior high. is it intentional? my mother was crazy so she would sometimes apologize after. i felt like vomiting when she hugged me. are they mean or does it go into evil if it’s intentional? are they psychopaths or sociopaths? it seemed like all the other kinds of abuse were equally if not worse than physical abuse. that’s the stuff that damages your self esteem and makes you so confused (like someone said about their brother) you don’t know which end is up. what do others think, is it more forgivable if it’s not intentional? they don’t even know what they’re doing or that they’re being mean?

502

I can only speak for my own mother but I believe she knows what she’s doing. If you call her out on it she just smiles or says “I’m a big girl” My mother announced and I mean announced at a family reunion that my 28 year old son was “an accident” with him sitting right there stunned. Then she said if your mom denies it she’s lying…. Really? Why does a grandmother feel it necessary to say that to a grandchild in such a cruel cruel way? Yes she has cut me and my brother (who begged her to stop the craziness) from her life because according to her I don’t love her…… Hmm let me get this right, you humiliate me as a kid, beat me, lock us out of our own home, tell me I am to stupid to take the SAT much less go to college, I’m to fat to be a flight attendant, guys I date are out of my league, she doesn’t like my husband who has given so generously to her, doesn’t enjoy herself at my house during the holidays and so forth and I’m the one who doesn’t love her.

503

I have definitely noticed that my mother takes great delight when her daughters are against each other. She really loves it and I didn’t notice this until my mid thirties. It’s pretty sick. She doesn’t ever help us smooth things over and when we are really close she can’t handle it and disappears to the other side of the world (Russia) for a year or two. This has happened 4 times, always when she’s not the center of attention and after drama in the family. God forbid she should stay here and work things out. And no she’s not Russian. She goes there to do mission work which makes her look great and leaves those at home to pick up the pieces. She loves to play games with information too. Not telling me news that others expect her to pass on. She loves to treat my sisters better to make me upset and then watch my reaction. The differences are unbelievable and I am really not sure why I continue to need her love and seek it out.

I’m doing well with not contacting her to see if she will actually initiate contact. It has been well over a month and I finally got an email with an old photo of her (looking thin and young and caring)with an elderly neighbor. the email just said she found a photo from the old days. No how are you? or what’s happening with you? She is just fishing for a comment on how young and pretty she was. I feel really bad, but didn’t email back at all.

504

So much here I can relate to….how I wish I had heard from others like this 30 years ago, 20 years ago…my mother was the one taking sides and pitting one against the other. Whoever she was upset with, the others had to be too. One time I was so mad at her and she laughed and called my sister over to look at the “show”. Very sick lady. I always knew something was wrong with her, I argued and tried to logic with her as a teenager, not knowing better, but I still internalized the messages about me as well.

I think she was so unwell mentally she couldn’t change, but it doesn’t matter to me, at least at this stage. Nobody intervened nobody told her she was out of line. If she was that incapable then Dad should have done something; but he was sick, too.

There’s this awful thing happening now where I’m viewing all my experiences in a different way…no new information, but the colours are deepening, as it were. Feeling things differently…it’s not coming from my head anymore, not a story, a bunch of anecdotes…it’s from the heartspace. A therapist mentioned integration to me a couple of years ago, like when the intellect and the emotions come together…the lights are on now, the bullshit’s over. It makes me feel sick I wonder when it will end.

I can so relate to the covert stuff…all my life in so much self-doubt over my hurt and the effects on me because I wasn’t hit, I wasn’t touched…only my sister kicked me hard in the privates once, she said it was an accident. Everything was a ****ing accident in that house, the kick, my cat thrown and hitting its head on the wall, seeing my Dad’s junk while he slept on the couch. It’s time to call it what it was.

I hate this process. I hate realizing that it doesn’t matter if it was covert or overt, it was abuse all the same, it was meant to hurt, and it did. The intent was to hurt, and now they expect you to forget about it and not call them on their shit cause it was an “accident”, or they had it so bad growing up, or why don’t I just grow up already. They act like something’s wrong with me cause I don’t move on like them…but I wonder why if they’ve moved on so well why don’t they look back and lend me a helping hand…

I talk to myself like I’m a good mother, I tell myself it’s going to get better, trust myself, trust my feelings and perceptions. It doesn’t matter how my sister sees it, or anyone else, I am the expert on my life, only I lived it. Only now do I realize no one can judge me on how well I’ve handled my life, because they haven’t lived it. I have been so strong. I have carried incredible emotional pain for as long as I can remember, and I am not going to let them claim me. I am accepting that my father sexualized our relationship, intentionally exposing himself on the couch, intentionally leaving me in front of an adult bookstore while he went in, knowing I might be taken for a child prostitute, intentionally leering at my breasts one time. These people, the parents I depended on, took a polaroid of my Dad masturbating in the living room knowing I could have seen this if I got up to go to the bathroom. But I guess since I didn’t, the polaroid had to be left near the top of a box in the living room after a move. For 35 years I’ve wondered why that bothered me so much, “since I wasn’t touched”. He took his incestuous desires as far as he could without contact, and that messed with my mind. I just thought he was being clueless and thoughtless, I couldn’t bear to think he was actually equating me with sex.

Even if he wasn’t conscious of it, he was doing that. I feel sick, I feel like everything can see “it” on me when I walk down the street. All this hurt and pain cause I never got a bruise from them, so therefore, something’s wrong with me for being a mess all my life. I have had an eating disorder since I was about 7 years old, and nobody ever asked me why and or what’s wrong, not once. I told my sister in an email 2 months ago and in her reply, no reference to it. I have been surrounded by so much sickness-taken-as-normal, and completely internalized the messages from them that I am the problem OMG they can all kiss my ass bigtime.

Even though this stage is hurting so much, I’m so glad I’ve made it this far. I’m starting to crawl away from the crazy tree even though my legs are broken from the fall. My heart so goes out to everyone here, and I’ve gotten so much help from reading these posts….

505

I’m so sorry to read what has happened to you doren. I truly hope and send up a prayer for healing and peace for your precious heart so when you walk down the street you can hold you head up high, smile and feel whole. So when people see you they can see the depth of character that only comes out of brokenness 🙂

506

Bless you Charli…making me tear up…I hope you remember too that you are and always have been a precious being…I wish for you not to feel bad about not responding to your mother’s email; it was self-protection, you’re being a good mama to yourself.

We did not create these situations and do not owe abusers anything. But because we are so decent and taught for so long to put others first, it feels “selfish” to take care of ourselves. It says a lot when people don’t make real effort to maintain a relationship, when they don’t initiate contact. I don’t think they ever saw us as whole human beings in our own right, but projections of what they needed us to be.

May you find love and acceptance from within…and I believe you’ve created lasting memories for some children when you’ve smiled or had a kind word…

507

Kathleen – so awful. Saying that your son was an accident. All the ways she shames you and then puts the onus on you – “You don’t love me”.

Doren – Reading your story is heartbreaking. I can so relate to feeling like everyone can see it/like you wear it on you. I too, have been ignored by one sister when I told her what happened to me. Nada – no response. I did that because she kept blaming me for not being ‘responsible’ during those times in my life when NC was the only way with mommy dearest. I didn’t get that my sister knew all along why I did that but she is the HERO of the family and doing the responsible thing (in her mind – ignoring my own feelings and the horrible things my mother did) and that showing up was more important than anything else. That sister is in therapy no and is virtually NC with my dad. I think she is coming out of her on fog and realizes that responsible is a weird thing – it’s more like guilt. She is finding her own peace now. So, perhaps those who can’t hear you aren’t ready and never will be. No excuse. It hurts. But, I know for me that sometimes I feel better when I try and see that those who won’t see – maybe CAN’T right now. I’m not sure if that is your story. Hugs Doren.

I too feel broken, often. But, hearing your stories and always saying to myself: I know who I am. I know what happened. It just helps me sometimes.

508

I’ve come to see that family dysfunction kind of plays out similarly in families. As I open up to others I hear such similar stories. How the only child takes it all on and how in families with more than one child, each one plays a part (sometimes those parts switch around) and that the scapegoated child (that’s me so I know it well) has to carry the biggest load. The weight of the family rests on that child and each time that child misbehaves it validates the others to keep up the scapegoating, ridicule, abuse and neglect. The child who is oblivious (my brother) and who never takes a side, makes everyone laugh and when he does show a feeling, it is rage. And my sister – the responsible one – the adored one. She’s so manipulative, untrustworthy, self seeking and yet, she is also the one that pretended to keep it all together. My older sister – the caretaker, who has been scapegoated as well. She loves deeply, but she needs to be in control of things all the time. If that control is some how threatened, boy she gets afraid. Me, the one blamed for everything – I was in a sense blowing the whistle on the family I guess. I didn’t do it on purpose when I was a child – but my body showed it. Always, always made fun of, called weak, told I was a nothing. My dad used to call me “His little bride”. Gross. My mom called me the “Empty Hole”. Lovely. She would say: You will never feel filled up because you are empty inside. Guess I felt empty because you were digging out my insides – you sick, twisted, evil witch.

509

suzy, that’s interesting that the brother who makes everyone laugh has one emotion, rage. empty hole? inexcusable. witch: when my ex was taking the call that my mother had died this is what sprang to mind immediately: ding dong the witch is dead, the wicked witch, the wicked witch is dead.

510

Sue,
Yeah, youngest – my brother. He went through hell. He acknowledges none of it. Poor kid. But, he’s hard to love… he is truly unfeeling and it’s as if he’s not alive unless he’s making people laugh or raging at his kids.

Ding Dong the witch is dead. You know I am going to be humming that song all day now. :). She’s gone where the goblins go… Love it! Wonder if our moms are together there? 🙂

511

Sue,
Yeah, youngest – my brother. He went through hell. He acknowledges none of it. Poor kid. But, he’s hard to love… he is truly unfeeling and it’s as if he’s not alive unless he’s making people laugh or raging at his kids.

Ding Dong the witch is dead. You know I am going to be humming that song all day now. :). She’s gone where the goblins go… Love it! Wonder if our moms are together there? 🙂

512

So today…9 days after my mother has cut off contact with me, I receive a package from her in the mail addressed to my 31 year old daughter, I suspect with the holiday last week she wasn’t able to get it off until Monday, She did me a favor cutting me and my brother from her life because we would have never been strong enough to cut her for ours. My brother went 7 years without contact from any of us because my mother cut him off and convinced us all if we didn’t side with her she would do the same to us. I was a coward and didn’t stand up for my brother! He returned to the family fold 15 years ago only to find himself once again cut out this time because he stood up for me! We are united this time, my mother is abusive and mean. Inside the box is a handmade Christmas tree skirt for my eldest daughter. It’s July, her timing was calculated. I have to keep healing, I can’t go back

513

It is amazing to me how many times in this blog the wizard of oz and relation to lines in the movie will come up!
I wrote a post somewhere in this site about standing up to my mother and in my minds eye hearing her screaming “I’m melting, I’m melting” and I realized this was how every single abuser has reacted to anyone who stands up to them. The misuse of power has become an abusers identity and standing up to them, drawing a boundary, almost KILLS that identity. They can’t stand it.
hugs, Darlene

514

darlene,

i don’t think i can watch that movie without thinking of these things again. when our whole extended family got together for some holiday all the kids would watch that movie. i’m melting and you made me melt. you’re right, they can’t stand that power taking away from them. whatever will they do for entertainment. how about get a life, get a hobby! we are safer when those identities die. this forum is saving a lot of souls.

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Sue re comment 501
Understanding them makes no difference at all because it is the damage they caused us that has to be dealt with. There are no “levels” of abuse. Intentional or not, the damage is what has to be healed. If a shark bites your leg off, it doesn’t matter if the shark was sick or not. You will still need surgery and rehabilitation/therapy to heal.
Hugs, Darlene

516

Suzy
Yes exactly. And that is how parents misuse their power and control; see how it works for them?
hugs, Darlene

517

i guess people see it as a step down from evil if the person didn’t know what they were doing. i see what you mean, damage is damage. another theme that came up, not knowing how you feel. it seems like if you have no idea how you feel then you have no idea why you do the things you do or react and behave in certain ways. i am trying to be more conscious of rejection and abandonment issues that stem from long ago effecting my current relationship.

518

I can’t make a Wizard of Oz reference cause OMG I’ve never seen it—not in its entirety anyway. And my dad was a frickin theatre projectionist.

Thank you Suzy. I’m so sorry your sister ignored you when you needed her most. Yes, my sister also has made digs about me not being mature in response to my not keeping contact with Mom. I could throw her life in her face, remind her she’s never lived on her own, defaulted on a student loan while I just paid mine off from disability checks. She’s asked if she can live with me if something happens to her husband. I don’t retaliate like that cause I love her and understand she got crippled inside too. I have compassion for my sister, while she has judgement of me. I know she can’t see right now, and if she wakes up I probably will be there for her. One sincere apology from her would likely do it.

I have no contact with mom or my sister now cause their treatment was unacceptable. I realize now it doesn’t matter, accident, intentional, covert or overt—all those terms qualify abuse and put the focus off the survivor and back onto the abuser. They’ve had enough focus.
I just ended therapy with a counselour at a women’s centre who mentioned forgiving my parents twice in the time I saw her. I guess she figured forgiving them is in my best interest. She took the focus off me and in doing so minimized my pain. I will decide if I forgive them, when the time comes, privately. No one brings up “forgiving” your rapist or your burglar or some stranger. Incredible leeway given to family and parents in particular. Hugs and blessings and stay strong..

519

In response to family not taking what is said seriously, I can really relate to that. For me it was being ‘crazy’. I was always ‘going through something’ or ‘struggling’ and that is why I acted so ‘troubled’. They would explain to me how crazy I was, and how awful what I said was, and how sorry they felt for me, and demand an apology (these were not things a rational person would demand an apology for). I’d feel guilty and be sorry and believe their stories about me, and pretty soon, I was doing their work for them- I’d take back/apologize for/make excuses (I’m so crazy/sensistive/messed up) for nearly anything was said. Pretty soon I was just always sorry and guilty and now it’s hard to tell the difference, hard to not be guilty. That made it easy for them to scapegoat me since I was pretty much scapegoating myself at that point. Gross.

I don’t know when people ‘explain you’ or speak for you, they are pretty much defining you and taking away your voice. That is pretty offensive I think, because as individual human beings, we have a right to explain (or not) who we are, what we think, etc. When someone does it for us, they are acting as if they own us.

I remember growing up always having to apologize and ‘take back’ what I said. Regardless of what was said. Sometimes it was standing up for myself, sometimes it was telling the truth, sometimes it was benign (my mother would look at us sideways and go, “did you just say x?” after we had asked for the time, or some other neutral question). That didn’t stop in my adult life. I realized early on that if I wanted to communicate with my mother at all, most conversations would have to start with “I’m sorry” even when she was abusing me, even when I had no idea of what was being apologized for. She really liked that power. Often we would apologize and she’d make us stand there and go “like you mean it! you didn’t mean it!” so we’d have to do it over and over again (same with thank yous).

I think I realize that having a relationship that has starting off on unequal footing as a contingency for any communication at all- is not a relationship I am willing to submit to.

520

Sue, my mother recently played the “unconsciously hurt you” card with me (before NC) but it’s just one in a long line of excuses that change (I had a list of a few others above).
Darlene made an excellent point when she referred to the shark. Yes I’m sure my mother has ‘something’ as a first cause of the way she treated me. She told me that my father had been mistreated as a child and surprisingly that didn’t lead to him being unloving towards me. It did lead to him not standing up for me and I’m not very sure how I feel about that still.

Doren, the forgiveness-fascists are a pain in the butt. I’ve done a lot of research on forgiveness and it’s entirely up to the person forgiving.
I’ve suffered anxiety, depression, insecurity in relationships and abusive relationships (from not being able to stand up for myself). That’s the stuff that needs ‘fixing’, not my non-relationship with my mother in which she wants to control me by telling me she’s inviting people I can’t remember well to my house. Not my non-relationship where I ask her for space and she refuses to respect my request. Not my non-relationship where when I try to discuss the very real and damaging consequences of my upbringing I’m told “that’s just the way you see it”, “it was just the done thing”, “you pushed me away” or any number of versions of excuses with the onus on my responsibility or her lack thereof.

I haven’t replied to her latest ridiculous email and don’t intend to but I keep the emails and talk about what she does here so that I don’t have to be alone with this. Unfortunately I so very not alone and despite people saying there is no ‘worse’ this site has shown me that there very much is ‘worse’ and I’m so sorry.

521

hi alice,

if your father was mistreated as a child he should have stood up for u. my dad admitted to sacrificing me so as not to catch the full wrath from my mother. how pathetic, he was an adult. but i don’t hate him. i hated my mother very much. i would say they were enablers and we were not their first prioriity. let the mother have at the children because that is their job.

forgiveness-fascists is a great term. sounds like working on the relationships that would be better for u would pay off more than the ones that sound hopeless. i try not to carry my childhood and marriage into my present relationship but certain things trigger me. we calmly discuss them when we calm down instead of throwing things at each other and screaming. it seems like guilt, from other family members and friends who weren’t abused or abused “that badly” or the very religious insist we should forgive even if it’s only “for our sakes.” it’s not for my own sake to forgive that.

522

Hi Sue,

I have difficulty with the issue of my father because at least I can say he did love me and I loved him. I suppose if I let that go because he didn’t stand up for/with me I have the full set of family who did not love me. Not one. I did not and do not love my mother.

I agree with you on the relationships 100%.

523

Forgiveness. Forgiveness. You can’t just say the words, you have to FEEL it. I don’t feel it. And I’m not going to say the words. God knows, I’ve done that all my life say words that I don’t mean, because I learned how to do that from watching mom.

I think my mom “knows not what she does.” But I cannot forgive her. I cannot forgive her until she can admit to herself her lack of empathy. She already once said to me that she does not care one iota about my feelings. (which I got her to admit after an “interrogation”)

My life is like a job interview. “Ok, they want such and such type of person, so I have to convince them I’m that type of person even though I’m not……” (I call this, “convincing them you are a duck when you are really a goose…..”) I learned how to do this from Mom. I have to break this pattern.

524

Hi Alice-
Not expecting a response or anything like that- but I realized I was typing so fast what I meant to say was that I could really relate to what you specifically were saying. Basically about having your family ‘explain you’. It was helpful to read what you wrote- triggering memories (in a healing way, not in a bad way!).

Thanks

525

My daughter opened the box my mom sent her. It was the Christmas tree skirt she had made for her. Along with three pair of slippers, one for each of my daughters and daughter-in-law. No note to her, no explanation, just a box of items.
My daughter said well I will mail her a thank-you card. I won’t e-mail her because i dont want her to email me back and she has changed her phone number and didn’t give it to me so I can’t call her anyway.
Sad really, all that work she put into this stuff and now my daughter feels
awkward receiving it. Christmas gifts sent in July, she is sending me a message…..but guess what? I haven’t done anything wrong…….

526

Forgiveness Nazis annoy me too. I get the concept – if you don’t forgive you keep the relationship going in your own head. It hurts you. But, here’s why I think it doesn’t work for me. It’s the wrong word. I think if therapists and people in general called it acceptance instead of forgiveness it would feel better. For me it’s more like maybe if I can accept that this happened and then more importantly, that I can no longer ACCEPT that behavior in others. 🙂
Forgive Smorgive. Silly in my opinion.

527

Darlene comment 515:
I question the: are the mean or evil all the time. I think as I was writing it yesterday I knew it was part of the same old pattern. The WHY? Why did they do this? Was it me? Was it something I did? Or was it something they couldn’t control? Why do I need to know why so much? Why should that matter? Do you think it’s because focusing on their behavior keeps me from changing me and how I chose to move from old stuff? In a way I know it keeps me stuck and yet I want answers. Any insights?

528

SUZY! YOU GOT IT! The word is “acceptance.” Ok, I’m throwing “forgiveness” out. I can’t “accept” the way my mom treated me until she can ADMIT it. Acceptance will be hard for me.

529

DXS,
Oh yeah. I get you too! Forgiveness for me is like, “Bless you. It’s over now.” It becomes about THEM. Acceptance is all about me and how I am working on moving forward in spite of what you did to me. I pray one day you get that admission from your mom. Oh gosh, forgiving – I just don’t see that ever happening. That’s for God to decide.

530

Hi Everyone,
I like the acceptance thought as well. For me, it would be accepting that my mother and sister are sociopaths, as are at least 1 in 100 people in the general population, and that there is no changing that. They were born without the empathy component. It’s just not there. Like someone could be born without hearing. I could shout at them all I wanted, they just would not hear me. Or if they were tone deaf, I could not put them in the choir. They just could not carry the tune (of a normal give and take relationship). Or if I spoke Russian to them. They just would not understand what I was saying. They do not have the capacity to translate!
Why they choose to fall into the dysfunctional family pattern is a mystery to me. What makes them scapegoat, and crown a golden child? I don’t know, and it is not my job to figure it out. To me, it is like a hot stove, and I’m not putting my hand on that burner anymore! It is exhausting and upsetting to deal with them, and I do have to deal with them sometimes, as they come as a package with beloved, nonsocio family members. But I can limit my interaction, choose not to respond. Walk out of the room they are in. Plan events with normie family members that don’t include them. Sure, when I am stuck with spending time with them, it is upsetting and hurtful, sometimes for days after. But that is because I was born with the ability to feel. And it can be a blessing at other times in my life. Something these people will never truly experience, as they were born without that piece!
They don’t love us? They really don’t love anyone! They choose to put people up on a pedestal that reflect back to them what they wish to see, that play their game, for whatever reason. That’s not love. It’s really a form of self gratification. I don’t want to spend my life being a dysfunctional mirror, or squeezing through that narrow, painful window of “acceptance”, which seems to be very fleeting, in some cases.
Those are my thoughts on this topic. That is where I am at right now!
That being said, could I just vent a little bit here? I have blocked my mother from my FB page, as my sisters are. I don’t respond to her Fw:fw:fw impersonal emails that she sends. She knows where I stand on certain topics in public events, and sends those emails that espouse my views back to me, attempting to open communication, I guess. I just delete them. I call her, rarely, more when I am concerned with my father. I even told her, how nice it was, not to speak to my sisters, as they would have no info or ammo related to what was going on in my life, and would have to find something else to talk about! Move on to someone else to crucify, from the ashes of their own pathetic lives. So, anyways, she keeps trying to spy on my through LinkedIn. She is in her 80’s, no need to be on that site, but I think she is trying to glean some kind of info, as she is a smart cookie, and realizes I have shut her off as well to just about any source of information about my life as well………….
Hugs to you all, and I wish you a peaceful, happy day!

531

Janie, my 75+ mom is also very often on Linkedin (shows up in that ‘who viewed your profile’ information) and I have no idea what it brings her to look at it so often. Maybe she figures if she stares hard enough at it with malicious intent something awful will happen to me^_^

But no! Since I’ve made the decision to go NC, things have really been improving for me. I still have a bunch of ‘stuff’ to watch for but just not being beholden to that one rotten relationship is such a positive change:-)

I also agree with your ideas about acceptance of reality. These people are so often trying to pass on such a different version. I think one of the hardest things for me in all this is the way my experience with my mom screwed with my understanding of reality. While not being loved (in the true sense) by her is difficult, worse was that she tried to make me believe it *was* love. It was not, it was a crushing dependency on me being all kinds of things I was not and am not to suit her. I’ve sort of given up with the forgiveness thing, it has become a non-thing that I don’t wish to discuss with people who insist upon it. It’s an entirely private matter.

GDW, thanks for your comment. Yours and others comments are also very useful for me too.

532

I just love the Serenity Prayer – Conceptually..

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
I wish.. I want to accept. I think I may be able to soon because I am finally talking about what happened. I feel safe doing that in certain places (like here).

Courage to change the things I can
For me, I am further away from this line. Because changing means I have to move out of the way of mean people. I struggle so much with this one. As Sue so perfectly pointed out to me many comments ago (oh boy, I cried) I am still afraid to move away from unsafe people.

and wisdom to know the difference
My need for validation – and not getting it – in fact being told I am a liar, insane, etc. makes this one seem far reaching. I am just beginning to trust my own feelings and reality. Perhaps one day I will truly know who I am and the difference.

Until then, I pray for me and all of you.

533

Suzy, thank you for sharing the Serenity Prayer, and your insight into it. I think I am beginning to accept the things I can not change. Family members and their warped view of me, and how life should be in general. I can’t change the past, either. Their mistreatment, or my reaction to their mistreatment. I have behaved in ways that I am not proud of, mostly detrimental to myself. I have disrespected myself, carrying the torch for them! You mention being told you were a liar, insane, and such. The same for me. I found a letter my little sister had written my parents, many years ago, asking them to throw me out of the house, as I bothered her, because I was a “lunatic”. Why? Because I did not subscribe to their narrow window of acceptance, to what it means to be a healthy, productive member of society, in their book of fractured fairy tales. Interestingly, my sister is a rage-o-holic, who certainly is the picture of lunacy herself, when she loses control. But that’s her issue. I don’t have to subject myself to her abusive behavior.
Courage to change the things I can: For me, that is work on myself. I can only change myself. I am also allowed to have good things in my life! I can pursue my own happiness. I have a right to be happy, peaceful, content. I can pursue my education, despite it not having any meaning to my FOO. Yes, I make enough money at my present job, but I may seek education to engage in a more meaningful life’s work. So what if the dollar and cents don’t add up to the FOO?? So what if I’m middle aged? I have a right to follow my own value system and dreams.
Wisdom to now the difference: That is tough! Even though this people have demonstrated that they want to scape goat you (me), hold you (me) responsible for all that is wrong with the dysfunctional FOO, and I talk a good game, I don’t always want to believe that it is what it is. But how can they have a change of heart, when they have no empathy? But since I can only change myself, for now, I have to let them and their illness and personality disorders go!

Alice, I understand what you are saying about forgiveness being personal, and for people to allow you to leave that a private matter. No one has walked in your shoes! I hope as you continue on your journey, that you develop a vision of reality that supports the fine person you are, and allows you to be true to yourself; your beliefs and feelings. Going NC must be a relief, as you no longer have to bend yourself into that crazy role designed by your mother. Yeay! for no more walking on egg shells!

For me, I just will keep accepting those things I can’t change, and turn my hurt and anger over to my God. That is how it works best for me. Sometimes, especially when I am driving, for some reason, scenes from the past replay in my mind, and also, scenes that never have happened, but easily could, for example, imagining my nephews upcoming visit, and all the negative scenarios and comments that could occur. How my mother designs a no win situation for me in which I am never respected, never right, and my sisters follow suit and bash me verbally, emotionally. I have taken to forcefully exhaling, blowing the bad thoughts away, and saying some affirmations. Refocusing on what is. Some days are better than others. I am so striving for my thoughts not to be about these mean, unkind people! I don’t want them to take up any space in my head, as there are a lot of good thoughts that belong there, and have the right to dwell within me. It is a goal I work towards…….

Bless you all today!

534

Janie,
Thank you for your reflections on the serenity prayer. Tough prayer but as you said, it’s about turning a lot of that over to the big guy for me too. 🙂

I too didn’t behave in the most positive ways with my FOO. Can’t change that – I have apologized to my older sister for some of the things I may have said or done to hurt her. She just laughs and says she too may have done stuff to hurt me and knows where both our hearts are in this – in love! I’m lucky.

It’s funny because with my adult daughter I am very careful with certain phrases. When she’s behaving in a not so nice way, I just distance for awhile. She and I always resolve it in the end because sometimes we just need that bit of space. But, I try never to use the word BUT in the same sentence with the words I love you. Ex: I love you, but you can be awful. Instead, I switch AND for BUT. I love you, AND I want to work this out. Just switching those words has made a lot of difference. I never heard I love you without a BUT at the end with my parents. The BUTS were the conditions.

535

Suzy, I just found a version of the Serenity payer I like better.

It was apparently originally written by theologian and political thinker, Ronald Niebuhr. While I’m not favorable towards theology, I thought the second part interesting “change the things that should be changed”. *Should* my relationship with mom and family be changed? You bet. I like this version better because it puts less burden (I think) on the individual person and I could never sit with the burden of our entire relationship between my mother and I on me.

“God,
give us the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,
courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to
distinguish the one from the other.”

536

Hey There-
I just kind of need to vent if that’s ok.
I just spoke to my father today. I really dreaded doing this, but I had to for various reasons.
It is just odd, after all that has happened, he seems so happy and guilt free and really seems to be living the life with his image of ‘good person’. Apparently going to fundraising events for good causes. If I wasn’t his daughter, I’d think he was a saint. I hope I never go back to that place of denial. He has hurt me so much and admits to, apologizes, ‘remembers’ nothing. It was all ‘all your fault’ to quote him (nice, right?).
I got a huge dose of self blame and am starting to see where all my neuroses come from. Every time I talk to him I believe his guilt tripping blame the victim lies less and less.
Today it was that I was probably emotionally abused in a situation because I was ‘too pretty’ (his story, but unfortunately caused a lot of vanity and criticism and guilt on my part growing up) and ‘reminded a person of their mom’ (he has never met this person OR their mom). I seem to remind someone of someones ‘bad’ daughter or ‘mom’ according to him, whenever I tell him about a bullying situation. NEVER will he just put the blame where it is. As for being ‘too pretty’ (again, his story) With men I am a slut and a tease (um…ok I am not even into men but sure) and with women I just make them insane with my so called amazing looks. ? I’m in the average category and even if not…this is…crazy talk.
I remind every one of their horrible moms (as if all moms are the same, and horrible, and just like me? where does he get this?).
Anyways, I do feel alot of shame if I try to look nice that I am ‘intimidating’ others and ‘making them feel bad’ and just starting to realize this is not true! What if they had a bad day? Or….are tired? And in the rare case it is true, why is it my fault that I look good in their eyes? Why is it not their problem for being hateful because of that? Why is it my fault if I –
I’m so angry. I really broke down today, but I didn’t feel like I was going nuts, I just realized I want to stop believing his lies, they are a part of me to the core and have really damaged me, my personality. I just want to find out who the real me is- not the me he defines. That person has nothing to do with me- it’s just in his head.

537

GDW that conversation with your father sounds so painful. I would be so angry too. It sounds like you were trying to “join” with him and receive some support, and he couldn’t/wouldn’t give it.

Lately I’ve really been confronting family members when they say hurtful things or annoying things and this is helping me. I also made a list of safe topics.

No “techniques” though really remove the pain completely. I am sorry.

538

Darlene and everyone,

Do you think it is possible to really get over the rejection of family members? It’s not just one, it’s most everyone in my primary family. My therapist says I am the whistleblower. I am marginalized.

Today I felt like, while I might get the emotional pain down to a level where I function better, I am always going to feel the stress of the trauma and loss.

I am still debating whether to move a fair distance away.

539

hi light,

the whistleblower is an apt term. maybe you can’t completely get over it but i think you can get to a place where you’re a lot happier and not feeling so guilty for needing to take care yourself. needing to speak the truth, there’s a price. i find loneliness better than abuse. marginalized better than devastated. i moved away when i was 19, went back once for 3 weeks due to financial struggles. complete nightmare. never again. i thought my spouse was saving me from them but he just took their place and now i am free and with someone kind. my physical health bears the scars of all those years. re. your post 537, i found no topic could absolutely be safe. all are up for being blow out of proportion with enough crazymaking unreality to last a ridiculous amount of time.

540

Like @Light, I’m wondering if this pain will go away. I think my sisters know our mom isn’t what she tries to pretend she is, but they just “accept” it because they have kids (although grown) and they have to preserve the “grandma” thing with my Mom. I don’t have any reason to preserve anything.

541

I was thinking of your question Light and I was wondering to myself “Does it matter if I don’t get over all of it?”. It reminds me of the forgiveness question. Certainly I think it’s possible but I wonder under what conditions. What if the family never apologises and expects me to “get over it” and remain in the same dynamic with them? I think under those conditions it would be much harder. In going NC with them I do feel as if I only have the consequences of my upbringing and their treatment of me well into adulthood to deal with and not any ongoing situation so “getting over it” is probably more likely. But I’m not going to make it another condition with which I beat myself up as if I have to be rid of all of it before I can appreciate myself. And I don’t think it’s going to mean “ah finally lasting happiness” as life will do as it does but at least I can live with more awareness of my skewy perceptions and avoid having them impact my life too much.

GDW, what stupid things your father said. Generalizations, sh*t attitude towards women and just rotten towards his daughter.

542

Thank you for all of your responses. What a wonderful website this is – to have a place to say things out loud and have a supportive, responsive community.

Alice, yes I intended to mean the scenario of my family never apologizing or holding out the olive branch in a way that validates me.

543

Light and others.

Yes, I believe the pain can go away, it has for me, the less contact I have with my family and time…
This as you know is no easy journey, I am 60 now.
It must be time…

As posted, my mom is dying; my 2 sisters and brother refuse communication with me for the last 7-38 months, depending on what sibling. My mom calls me and expects me to call her yet she does not want to see me. I have stopped my calls, since her 90th birthday in June. She uses the information in our conversations to slander me further to all relatives; another common occurrence since childhood. I have encountered some severe health issues the last 3 years due to this stress and for that reason, I am pray fully ready to say good by; most likely a silent exit. They do not want T R U T H!

I have had little to no emotional pain during these last 7 months.

This for me is indeed a miracle because as my mom has always said I am [so] sensitive. Sound familiar? I am or was and still am, just not about them. I no longer allow my mind or heart to reason this “tragedy” out.

Gone are the crying bouts, common since childhood and I don’t sweat profusely also common for my body for nearly all my life. I recently saw a commercial on TV regarding “stress sweating.” This was for me, common, especially around them; akin to a fear full animal, running from terror, running for their lives! It was brought on by severe childhood rejection,(another reason for them to loathe me.) My body no longer produces this sweat, what a lovely relief. My heart does not pound out of control as a child cornered by their threats and accusations, to the point of waking me up at night and the insomnia, and night terrors. Yes, I still battle some nightmares.

I am not exactly sure how all this will play out.

I am not having NC to get even, because they really don’t care anyway, except to be nosey. I am doing it for me, I have to!

I know of no one who really understands this; with the exception of all the “Dear ones” who write on the pages; you who post, and our mentor Darlene.

And of course, my loving Creator. He knows [everything] I have encountered, everything. He knows my heart and theirs. It was not what I wanted but it is now; they have called the shots, they don’t know what love is. I am learning love. It is never too late, so please don’t give up.

I will take one day at a time as I am led by grace.

After all is said and done, I am the “heart of the family,” the wounded, sensitive, different,one; finally at peace.

544

Light, all I know is the way I have done things, no apologies or olive branches forthcoming as a result either. So I can only conclude that my search for validation from them or my holding out for apologies just can’t be a condition on which I base anything. And staying in the relationships (although they seem to be of a single mind, they at least share similar attitudes towards who I am/should be and what I should be doing) but standing up for myself brings huge stress and conflict with them because they continue treating me the same as before. It hurts for sure but IT HURT ANYWAY.
I thought to myself “So this is how little they care about me”. There’s both grief and freedom in there at the same time. What’s different is before I was trying to make them care. I’ve stopped trying.

545

Alice, yes, you hit the nail on the head. Mom doesn’t care about ME! She cares about how I make HER “look.”

546

One key thing I learned from reading lots of material on here is that I am not going to rely on others for validation. Validation comes from within. This is was a freeing but in a way, a bittersweet revelation to me. There have been many people in my lifetime that I have wished for apologies from and any sign that they would be willing to “work with me” to fix things. The truth is that I have no control over others and things don’t often end up in a way that we think is fair.
So, how do I come to a more peaceful and happy way of living if I can’t count on others to validate me. From what I’ve learned on here, I realized that I have always burdened myself for the things that happened to me. I spent so much time trying to think of ways to change me so I would fit in better with what others wanted me to be. I felt guilt when I couldn’t meet their expectations. I felt guilty for being born a girl because my mother clearly didn’t like girls. I felt it was my fault hat I got picked on at school and tried changing so many times. I conformed to others expectations of me as much as possible and felt anxious if I couldn’t.
I’ve one so much thinking lately. There is no reason for me to feel inferior or shameful or guilty for being a girl or for the way others treated me. If they mistreated me in an way it is their burden, not mine, even if they never realize it.
This is what I meant before about the things I learned here being both freeing (it’s not my burden to bear no matter what others think). And also bittersweet, because the dream of people apologizing and making amends is very nlikely to ever happen. Even so, I still feel that I am on the road to a place where I no longer assume the burden of shame and guilt for things that others inflicted on me, and I am starting to realize my value as a person. If others don’t think so, that is not in my control to change. They can only change of they want to, and many either actively don’t want to or are just not interested in doing so. So, true validation is coming from within as I realize my worth by releasing the false things I believed all my life and seeing the person that was hidden while trying to please the rest of the world.

547

DXS, yes! That’s the bottom line with mine too. She has protested and said “But you know I (it used to be ‘we’) have always loved you”. And it makes me shudder to think what in the hell her idea of love is exactly because it’s certainly not a nurturing presence accompanying the growth of and discovering the person that is the child (even if that child is a combination of inherent and learned natures). It’s more like I said above, a crushing dependency on making me the person she wants and expects. Same goes for several other relatives (female I should add). I credit my father with being the only person to actually take an interest in me as a distinct person. That was the most important thing (to me) he could have done.

I asked her “Do you slap people you love? Do you lock them outside in the rain? Do you bait and switch them by promising one thing and doing another?” And she went back to her refuge “It was the done thing” or some other kind of “It was a difficult time”. I think there has never not been a “difficult time” in all the time I have known her. And it has been a consistent “go-to” excuse for her mistreatment of me.

I also realised that things got steadily worse as I grew older and had different views. I was definitely defiant in her eyes and in the eyes of others and that brought me much familial criticism. But I’m realizing that it was bl**dy normal – just a part of becoming a fully-fledged person. I guess she (and the rest) didn’t want a fully-fledged person in their midst.

548

alice,

she made it a difficult time. read an article recently about how slapping, shoving and hitting leads to future health problems, chronic illnesses.

549

amber,

i don’t think the type of people who manipulate, abuse and terrorize children are the type of people who would be willing to look at themselves, acknowledge it, apologize or change. they’re too messed up. they need lies and dumb cliches to cover up their twisted mistakes. i know that is bittersweet to realize that.

550

Hi Sue,

I’d be interested in reading that article. I have read others about how mistreatment in childhood leads to changes in the developing brain (could say ‘brain damage’ I guess but we also have neuroplasticity to help with the undoing of said damage).

Her slapping was about ‘how dare you not obey me’ more than something intended to inflict severe pain, I think. Of course it doesn’t excuse her.

552

Thanks Sue!

553

@Amber: I agree with all you say, intellectually. Trouble is, I am having trouble internalizing it, and making my soul believe it. If you are at a point where you can internalize it and make your soul believe it, YAY!

554

Thank you so very much!!

555

Hi DXS, I know just what you mean about being intellectually there but not internalizing it. I’ve been intellectually there for a while and am starting to internalize. Sometimes my feelings (that little girl that wants to be heard) send me back to an earlier level, even though all along I intellectually know that alt of my old beliefs were based on false premises that were drilled into me at an early age. It’s almost like I ave to “catch” that false belief when it resurfaces, tell myself it is not true and then replace it with a true statement. If feeling inferior because I’m a female resurfaces, I have to tell myself This isn’t true, I am just as worthy a anyone else, male or female.

Hi Sue, I agree that the dysfunctional people who manipulate and behave in a mean way towards kids and others are unlikely to listen, understand or apologize. That’s why I have lowered my expectations for them ever getting it. I can’t make my happiness and well being dependent upon some loser somehow getting it. I am learning to accept that I can make a reasonable attempt with someone, but if they demonstrate that they will not understand, then it’s just going o be frustrating and non productive to continue to try to convince them. This does not mean that I failed. It is THEIR failure for being closed minded and unyielding, and unwilling to hear my points. Yes it hurts, but I can’t keep going back for more of the same. Sometimes I just have to accept that I tried, but there is nothing more I can do. It is no reflection on me as a person if someone else falls short.

556

Amber, these latest posts of yours have nailed it for me too. I can really relate to the experience of having an initial reaction based off of the old beliefs, having catch it so as not to act from there and then identify the truth of the matter.
I’ve taken lately to writing them down on a phone app.
The number of things that have turned out to have different causes from what I initially thought is pretty incredible.

557

@ DXS, #540, Exactly!!! But I think even if I did have kids I would keep them that much further away from her. I would not allow her to warp them and damage them! My poor niece knows nothing about the vicious things “Grandma” said about her, growing up, out of jealousy. My brother had the nerve to pay so much attention to his daughter (and not her)……….

558

Another ‘random’ email from mom this morning. I hadn’t taken the step to block her before as I was concerned I wouldn’t be informed in an emergency. Now I realise that’s rubbish. If need be, I can be found. So she’s now blocked.

I also messaged Linkedin to ask whether they could stop her from showing up in the viewed profile list. I doubt anything will come of it but I had to try.

Is this continued, clearly unwanted contact (I have already told her not to be in touch) typical? What’s motivating her to keep on getting in touch? The emails are not about anything important and do not address any of the issues that led me to go NC.

559

Alice,

As for what motivates your mom to contact you…regardless the topic, it feeds her unhealthy, narcissistic appetite, and need for audience…but not relationship

560

Thanks Alice. It is great having you (and everyone!) on this forum. I feel I really relate to so much of what you say. Our families would probably get along so well…sigh….

I asked her “Do you slap people you love? Do you lock them outside in the rain? Do you bait and switch them by promising one thing and doing another?” And she went back to her refuge “It was the done thing” or some other kind of “It was a difficult time”. I think there has never not been a “difficult time” in all the time I have known her. And it has been a consistent “go-to” excuse for her mistreatment of me.

This all sounds like my family. I remember when my parents made my 13 or 14 was it year old sister sleep outside in the rain because she came home a BIT after curfew. She begged to come in. My therapist today said that my family is sadistic. It is hard because she seemed to say it was mostly my father (he ‘seems’ meaner) but I really know it was both. My mother gets this almost giddy demeanor when she is bullying her children, she really delights in it. My therapist also said that it is often the sadistic families who have scapegoats. Not sure if that’s true, but it sounds right?

“It was a difficult time” Oh brother! Her whole life was a difficult time, which is why I suppose we must let her off the hook for atrocious abuse. It was always so ‘hard’ for her. She didn’t go through 90% of what she put us through (just watched) but somehow when we were being abused by her, it was our job to feel so sorry for her. Crazy making really.

I’m really sorry. That’s disgusting treatment. I wish families were just nice to eachother. It doesn’t help there is so much invalidation out there. That seems almost as crazy making. I remember when a therapist told/scoffed at me “Well, I just don’t believe that a doctor’s daughter would be homeless” And that was the end of it. She accussed me of lying because apparently doctors can’t be abusive? People who seek power positions can’t possibly be abusive?

It’s all so much. Sometimes I do wonder if I’ll ever get over it. Healing doesn’t seem to happen. I have so much self blame. Someone looks at me wrong and I feel this wash of guilt and shame and self hatred.
It’s too much.

I’m sure others know what I mean, but I don’t know what to do often. I just feel stuck like I can’t move.

GDW

561

Next week I am flying to my hometown, it will be the first time I am going back but not seeing my mother.
I know it’s going to be very hard to drive by her house and not stop to see her. She lives one block from my in laws.
It’s been 3 weeks since she has disowned me and my brother, leaving me with the ” you will never convince me that I love her line.”…. All my life that’s all I’ve tried to do while she hurled insults and humiliation at me. So sad at 79 she chose this path but it is her choice, she’s the one who said the final hurtful words and she is the one who changed her phone number. As painful as this is I am starting to feel better. It’s at night when I am laying in the darkness that my mind replays the last conversation, the hurtful words, me begging her to believe I love her….
What kind of mother does that to her child? To her children? If 2 of my three kids tried to tell me I was being mean and hurtful I would like to thinkI would listen. Instead she says her final good byes and changes her number.
All my life I have been dealing with her misguided anger. In the end she tries to turn the tables on me, with her cruel words.
I was a coward and didn’t have the strength to cut ties with her

562

Kathleen, I don’t think you were a coward at all. No one wants to believe that their own mother just plain doesnt care about them! You always hope it will gets better, until you find out that your are NOT wrong, that someone can really be this way, it is not your imagination. I think her making those final statements and changing her phone number, her final attempt to control the situation, makes it easier! It was her choice!
I too am kept awake at night, reliving the hurtful words, no win situation this B**ch has set up here. I long for the day when justice is served, but I have come to accept that it may not be in this life. It is up to me to care for me.
Having a healthy visit with you inlaws sounds wonderful! One thing I have learned at this site, we may never know the reason “Why” these people are so hurtful to their own children. We don’t need to seek the reason out, just engage in good self care. Those that are being “loved” and taken care of by these sick people,are not really being “loved”. They are being rewarded for playing ball, for doing things as they are told and taught, for holding the dysfunctional family’s warped values high.

So, can I run a situation by you ladies? Visiting with my father the other day, and we got to talking about the nuns who taught us kids. He remarked how some were ill suited to the profession of teaching children. I told him about my 2nd grade teacher, how cruel she was to me. He then said, second grade! Wow, Kids would be 6 or 7 years old then, who could be mean to them? and shook his head.Anyways,every day, she would make me sit in front of my crappy lunch, and miss recess, b/c I could not eat it. NM would make something purposely I did not like to eat, could not choke it down, despite me begging her every day for something different. She would lie and say she made something else, but she never did. So I would have to sit there. When everyone came back, I was chastised in front of all for not eating my lunch, or, called to the front of the class an harangued by this big bully, if I dared to throw it in the trash. Once a visitor called in the principal to have her stop.
So, my father says to me, Well, you werent very smart, were you? You should have just flushed it down the toilet!
So, it kinda crushed me, that no one can seem to have any empathy for me in this famiy, so ingrained are my NM’s teachings. Not even as a small child. I hope she burns in hell……..

563

kathleen,

it sounds like your mother threw a tantrum when she couldn’t have her way. i hope your visit will be safe one somehow.

janie,

you get called dumb by your father because your mother maliciously made food you didn’t want to eat and you got humiliated at school because of it? i remember feeling no place was safe. not school, not home. the teachers were evil bullies too. have a vague memory of getting the shit kicked out of me because i didn’t eat my cheese/cucumber sandwich at school. i thought it was weird to put cucumbers in a sandwich. why didn’t i take the cucumbers out and lie about it? must’ve been because “i wasn’t very smart.” maybe because i got kicked in the stomach for lying about buying my friend ice cream because i lived in terror every day.

564

Thank you Kate for that assessment.
I’ve looked over the narcissist stuff and she does check a bunch of boxes. I also had to ask myself if I was one.
I think the focus on what all this has done leads to major self-absorption:-(

GDW, I recall a couple of times my mom telling me she just “loved to get to you” when I had told her that something she did really upset me ( it was comparing me unfavorably with a friend of mine ).
And I think I recognize that little smile she’d get when she was getting a rise out of me. Was I being too serious? I noticed she never laughed at herself. I remember being able to target some of her sore points really well. I think I was pretty scathing. I don’t regret it (that sounds bad, I think).

Having blocked her emails I guess this means she will think she has the audience but won’t know she doesn’t. So that’ll make her happy for a while.

Janie, what a dumb and thoughtless thing your dad said.
And what a rotten thing for your mom to do!

On the food thing, it turns out there’s a health-related reason I’ve never been very fond of dessert but that didn’t stop my parents insisting I eat it out of obedience. I think obedience to them was more important than anything else.
Could your mother have been similar in outlook?

I don’t know enough about empathy to say why some people seem to naturally have it and others don’t. Sounds like your dad might fall into the ‘zero empathy’ group. I’ve found it’s really hard to explain feeling to people that lack it.

565

Kathleen, I didn’t think that sounds cowardly at all. Good to hear you have other, loving people in your life.

Sue, yes I think you’ve nailed it again.

566

alice,

i read somewhere that to overcome abuse you have to really focus on yourself, all the attention and love and care u should’ve had, u have to give to yourself because u were neglected. maybe u could see self-absoption that way. it’s your turn now. u are just trying to get to know your stronger self. i don’t regret being scathing either and it only sounds bad to people who weren’t abused. i don’t understand people who don’t have empathy either. that means we have it.

567

@GDW (#560), I am feeling the same way, wondering if I will ever move on from this pain. My mom thinks you can just “get past it” like turning off a light switch. Apparently, that is what she was force to do in her childhood, I’m just guessing.

@Kathleen (#561), interesting you can say you love your mother. I feel nothing. I don’t feel hate, just feel ZERO. All my life I believed that “love” was something people faked, as I did. (But I do feel genuine love for my cat I have now, as I did for my dog in my childhood.) I am having trouble believing that my mom is this unfeeling lady. But years of events have pointed the truth to me. What @Janie said in #562. And @Janie, what you said about “It’s not love, it’s just a reward for playing ball.” You just hit me with another truth about my childhood. OUCH! But I thank you for it. And that story about your lunch? Oh my. Your father’s reaction was “typical male” thinking. No empathy at all. Not even trying to figure out why you wouldn’t eat your lunch.

@Alice #564: Yeppers, your mom and my mom. My mom would tease me to the point of ridicule and then just say, “you gotta learn to take a little teasing, you’re too serious.” But, as you say, she never laughed at herself.

@Sue #563, You just wanted to be a good kid…….

568

@ Kathleen, No, if it were my sister, my father would have attacked the nun. In eighth grade, she was accused of cheating, copying someone else’s work. Oh, he was all over that nun, calling her and the principal on the phone, threatening them. He knew that nun harrassed me, but never bothered to find out why. Like somehow, she was worth more than me. I just never really mattered to him, I guess………..

@ Sue, thanx for getting it, and validating how I felt. Cucumbers and cheese? Yuck? And who beat you up? The teacher? That’s awful. It’s no wonder we couldn’t relax anywhere, at school or at home! And I still don’t trust many people. Driving on the highway this morning, I was thinking that. How many people in these other cars, would I trust? Probably not many. I don’t think that is right thinking on my part, but it is difficult to trust anybody, when FOO constantly betrayed you, and let you down.

569

Alice- Yes, this is the very definition of sadism! It’s like if it were a disease, I swear it could be diagnosed with the creepy smile while watching others suffer. I block my mother’s emails too. Even when we are in contact (really rarely) I have to tell her I’ve ‘been having trouble getting emails’ because her emails are so abusive and leave me dysfunctional for days. In fact speaking with either of my parents leaves me dysfunctional for days- EVERY TIME. I question my sanity and and I do question whether life is worth living every time- it becomes very terrifying to believe them but I seem to, when I speak to them. This doesn’t happen with anyone else. It’s something about their tone- it is very convincing.

DXS- I appreciate your kind words. I don’t think that is it possible to ‘get over’ trauma. That’s actually insulting! That’s like saying ‘someone sawed off your arm, don’t cry about it!’. But yes, I know that what really needs to change is the belief systems like we are learning from all of the articles here. I just don’t know quite how to do that, I keep believing my parents words, even when I don’t talk to them. Mostly about everything being my fault. It’s so disabling isn’t it? It effects every aspect of life…..

570

Hi Darlene
Welcome to EFB!
hugs, Darlene

571

Hi Light
I know it is possible to get over the rejection ~ because I did it. Everyone in my primary family has ditched me too, but that is about them. It never was about me. I don’t actually miss any of the dysfunction… what’s to miss after all??
Hugs, Darlene

572

@Janie #562 parents who treat children like that are just plain mean and have issues. Flush it down the toilet? I was in the first grade and left my papers in my desk. I didn’t bring them home because I didn’t know how to do them and my mother didn’t help with homework. The teacher called my mother and her response to my teacher? Make her cry…..
My mother still tells this story with pride, You were failing out of 1st grade and the teacher did everything she could to humiliate me and make me cry but I never did. (She went as far as to dmp my desk out in front of everyone. ) finally at a family reunion I interrupted my mother and said mom I was 6! You should have helped me, it was bad parenting! My mother used locked us out of the house. Don’t try to come in the doors are locked….50 years later we (me and my brother) brought this up to her. Her response ” the back door was open” ummm, no mo it was not. She let our teeth abscess and then had them pulled rather than fill them because they are baby teeth and just going to fall out anyway.

573

On a funny note. When I was young I had saved up my money and my grandmother, (Mothers mom) took me shopping to buy her a birthday gift. I bought my mom underpants and my grandmother said she didn’t know what size so lets get the biggest! I gave my mother the biggest pair of granny panties ever and she was soooo mad
Now years later it’s the funniest thing, my grandmother knew exactly what she was doing! Lol

574

I never thought it was possible to feel as though my life’s load of family rejection has finally brought me to a reckoning of self and others.

I am not posting to brag, not in the least.

I am not saying I will never feel any pain so prevalent for me my entire life all based around not being worthy because I was the “one” in my large family assigned to this role. I was a threat at a early age, I stood out in a special way (from baby, childhood pictures.) My eldest sister by 2 years never got over sibling rivalry and my mother was also jealous of me. She later once admitted this to a psychiatrist who was treating me; age 15. He said, “your mother has a huge thing against you and I don’t what it is.” All the money spent by my parents to hear this! I could have accessed it better even back then, but mom got her desire to have me committed and spend my 15th birthday in am mental hospital, I actually preferred over living at home. I was treated with more respect and had a voice; was acknowledged, but what an experience!

I see many posts from others’ which reflect my life. I believe somehow we can shine in a special way that causes our own family to use us a shame post and threat.
Yes of course they lack all empathy, my own 2 sisters and mom are both nurses. They are insecure within themselves and lack any spiritual insight despite their caregiving occupations. Nurses [can] enjoy inflicting pain, I have lived this.
I can not only write and share this;
I now KNOW this. The source of my new found peace and earnest prayers “to change the things I can change.” This only I can do, yes no one can validate us but ourselves. No matter how families have treated us; it is never God’s will to buy into self destruction.

Now better not bitter despite the losses and poor choices I have made because of buying into this rotten belief system about me, I no longer am bound to. The best choice I have ever made.

575

le’ah,

that is so powerful and heartbreaking that you felt safer in a mental hospital but i understand. something i was watching tonight made me wonder about heaven and what if my mother is there waiting to give me hell again. but i think she will be in hell herself. i thought i was stronger, i thought i got over the fear.

576

janie,

yeah cucumbers and cheese is pretty gross. she couldn’t make food. we ate out all the time. they usually behaved when we were out. my mother beat me up over the sandwich i didn’t eat.

577

These stories make me feel very sad. I wish I could put my arms around all of you.

I know about “that little smile” regarding sadism:

I had a lot of pain after a surgery, I was often crying from the level of pain. My sibling and I lived in the same house at the time. For the first few days I was home she would pass by me and not say a word e.g. “how are you?”. She silently passed me with this little smile like she knew I needed support and she enjoyed not giving it. I think she just hated that I was receiving attention from other family members following my surgery.

Thank you Darlene, for your hopeful comment! What I am so torn about is that while most of my primary family members have distanced and/or rejected me or are hot/cold…..I hesitate to give up my loving relationships with my nieces and nephews. I am torn about how much to pull away.

Thank you to those who replied to my post a while back.

578

Sue,
This I know for sure: God is a just God
but,
life is NOT fair, don’t we know?

We have a choice to NOT believe these life long lies.

As to your mom in heaven; it is NOT a place of torment, have we not had enough of that on earth?

I rest in this:
I AM to love what God made, me; then I can love/forgive others.

I will chose to not allow anyone to condemn me again or buy into this false belief of unworthiness, past, present, and future.

I have deep peace, call it selfish but forgiveness is something I give myself; my personal experience. (Others may not agree.)

Better not bitter.

Sincere prayers with blessings to you Sue, in your healing journey.
Le’ah

579

Light, How your sibling treated you after your surgery is so disturbing. Such an abuse of power over the weak. I’m so sorry to hear that. The way people treat you when you are weak and sick is quite telling of how they truly feel about you.

Light- you also mentioned about feeling torn in your relationship with your nieces and nephews. I have been thinking about my Aunty recently. I remember my Mother saying dreadful things about my Aunty (her sister), putting her down as she did with pretty much all of her so called friends. She was always saying bad things about people. It left me quite confused about people who I thought were really not that bad. With the benefit of hindsight I can now see that my Aunty is really a lovely person. I worry about my nieces and nephews and how I am portrayed to them too. If they truly are kind and caring souls I would hope that time will reveal the truth and improve the possibility of relationship.

580

The strange thing is now my mother gushes about all her ‘dear dear friends’ now. Both her and my sister seem to have changed tack with me when talking about friends now that I am adult and instead of putting people down to make themselves feel better they are placing their friends on virtual pedestals in my presence to make their relationship with me appear insignificant. It’s subtle enough that it would seem petty for me to say anything, but blatant enough for me to know they are deliberately doing it to hurt me. Neither of them have been like this in the past. I think that its because I have emotionally distanced myself now they feel insecure like I know to much. I remember trying so hard to get my mother to like my friends. As a teenager I would talk up a new friend or a teenager unrealistically in the hope she would like them too and not be critical of them.

581

charli,

what you and everyone else describes, all the junior high type games–it all seems like so much effort. i would rather be real.

582

but blatant enough for me to know they are deliberately doing it to hurt me.

What? Your mom and siblings are trying to hurt you? How could you think that of them????? They are NOT trying to hurt you at all!

(the preceeding was SARCASM!!!!!)

And about your mom liking your friends….. I would actually ask mom if it was ok to be friends with so and so and what did she think of that person….. Lordy!

583

Me too I even waited 4 years before finally getting married in the hope she’d give me her blessing. I’ve been married 16 years and I still catch myself trying to promote my husband to her. I have never said a bad word about him to her but she still hates him and puts him down in little indirect ways. She only does that when he’s not around. She is scared of him as he questions her too much and doesnt let her get away with saying stupid things. He’s caught her out a number of times and she can’t hide behind ‘I was only joking’ with him.

Sue- you are so right. It’s all junior high games and it’s exhausting. Everything has a hidden message and being caught up in it sucks the life out of you. I long for freedom from this.I have grown to respect my littlest sister who has had big problems with my other sister and mother. She left our city to escape and there has never been a hidden agenda with her. She means what she says and never questions or reads into my motives for doing something or not. She is real and a true rock.

584

i think the ones who really just can’t take it anymore move far away. i also hated winter and new york so that helped too.

585

“Everything has a hidden message”. So true! My father’s sister is/was prime at this. She’d tell a story that would ostensibly be about some random thing but it was always a lesson or a moral of some kind aimed at the person she told it to. Never direct. So I couldn’t pin her down on it.
It always left me wondering “did I really just understand what I think I understood”? But you couldn’t ask. That annoyed her.

586

Everything has a hidden message
I have a friend who does this exact same thing, I am putting some distance there. I am starting to see that I have not always chosen the healthiest people for friends. I have surrounded myself with some women who have nacrcissitic
Qualities. I actually NC with one of them after being friends for 25 years. I could no longer deal with the stress her friendship was causing me. It’s interesting that I seem to have been seeking out people with the same dysfunctional qualities as my mother. What a journey this has been for me. For the first time in my life I can see things clearly and I know that I can set myself free and be the person I know I am.

587

I know a lot of people here are really sad about their families dysfunction and abuse, and rightfully so- but is anyone literally afraid of them?
Something about when my therapist used the word sadistic (accurate word) to describe my father really triggered me.
I think back to the intentional lack of medical care when ill, the humiliating way we were forced to dress, and most recently, after he intentionally cut me off years ago (after saying that he was going to help me) and I got molested. It wasn’t that I got molested. It was that he went out of his way to tell everyone about it without my permission (my mother too) and still reminds me about it. I never bring it up, and don’t want to, but he knows it frightens me and he and my mother use this panicked tone of voice “does so and so know you were molested?!” and often suggest I not only remember, but that I ‘tell’ people when it is none of their business and has nothing to do with what is going on.

I think they are blaming all of the trauma I’ve dealt with since I was very little, caused by them, on something that happened for about two months when I was 20. To be honest, I am over that incident.
But I am afraid of them! I can’t believe how much they like to rub it in my face though.

During a therapy session with my mother about a year ago, she started talking about it, she saw how terrified I was and kept repeating it over and over until I lost control and then just sat there, calm, pleased.

These are people to be afraid of. Whether it’s their surprise ‘visits’, their finding out personal information, or spreading personal information, or intentionally doing things to humiliate or re-traumatize me, I don’t feel safe. Even as an adult, out of the state, I feel like they are everywhere and could come and ‘get’ me at any time. Does anyone feel this way?
How did you handle it? I can’t believe how afraid I am of the people who were supposed to make me feel safe. They aren’t just neglectful, they go out of their way to harm.

588

Yvonne- almost literally every single thing in your post (one awhile back) I have experienced, which is crazy because your post is a very long one (not at all judgement, mine are long too!- just thinking what are the chances with all that information, my parents did all of the same things, down to the luxury house part? Goodness…)

Light- Your story about your sister is very creepy. I become very scared when I notice people delighting in others’ pain (or blaming others who are in pain, that is hard for me too). I think it’s exhausting growing up/living with that because every day you come home to something emotionally exhausting you can’t escape. At least with a mean boss, you get to go home. But with parents? They are always there, and that is scary.

589

GDW, in theory I’m not afraid of them (easy to say now I’m far away and NC) but I only have to look at the feelings that arise whenever I’d get a message, or worse, last year when I had to be in their company for a family event. I feel nausea and anxiety. When my mother (whom I was trying to avoid during that last visit) insisted I go to see her it was all I could do to stop shaking. I was also afraid I’d ‘lose it’ and do something to her. I felt like I was in danger or slapping her really. In the end I didn’t but I did tell what I thought of her.

What makes them ‘always there’ is this insistence that because ‘they’re your parents after all’ you HAVE to maintain some kind of relationship despite what they may have done. I think I’m repeating here, but this situation is the only one I can see in which society insists on maintaining contact with an abuser. I may have this wrong but in ALL other situations where abuse is committed we actively insist on the person being abused getting out. WHY is this not the case for abusive parents/family? It should be.

I’m struggling a bit with the idea that I’m being mean or unfair to my mom for cutting her off. Crazy huh?

590

gdw,

i think it’s perfectly natural to be afraid of sadistic people. i know it feels silly when you’re an adult now and it makes me feel weak when i feel like that. there are people who i feel terribly unsafe around. my ex-spouse paid me a surprise visit at my boyfriend’s house in another state, no notice! my boyfriend was at work and he had his nasty brother and 90 yr. old mother with him like it was an intervention or something. i felt my safety shattered by that. i’m afraid of communication with my father and sister even though we are on pretty good terms because it can get crazy out of control crazymaking in the blink of an eye.

alice, u are not being unfair. your mother is not a nice woman. i feel like i know her and i don’t like her because she is like mine. guilt sucks. it doesn’t help us.

591

Alice-

I totally agree. That is why Darlene’s work here can only be described as revolutionary in my opinion.
Almost anywhere else you go, the abuse from your family is your fault. Why is a spouse’s abuse is so much worse? Spousal abuse is horrific, but so is child abuse! And abuse of adult children! Even in therapy where there is suppossed to be help, you hear so much about ‘forgiveness’ (my parents never apologize so that is sort of nil anyway) and ‘working things out’ and ‘gratitude’ (for what? abuse? grrrr) from therapists, which actually is further traumatizing.

The truth is the only thing that heals. Otherwise, it’s like the therapist is gaslighting you too (!) when they place the blame on you, and diagnose you, as if you are ‘crazy’ to respond in extreme fear to a genuniely dangerous situation. I wish the mental health field and society in general was more educated about this because some people’s reactions to me telling them about the multiple violations of my civil rights, health, and safety on my parents part is horrifying.

Thank you for your response. I think the level of contact is crucial to how afraid we are. I am in limited contact now and I get the strangest physical responses (twitching) after these phone calls (my father is quick to put in a sadist remark even in 5 min!) so that may be part of it.

Distance? Well, now they have my address, that is disconcerting.

Also telling them how I feel. Right now my father is protecting me (and I know its not love, but he likes to feel powerful and vent his rage so if he can do that to someone who is threatening my safety, so be it) from someone that the police are not taking seriously- long story. The person he is contacting for me (after I tried everything) is so much like him, so it is like evil fighting evil. I know in a second if given the chance he’d vent his rage on me. And I do pay the price for asking this of him. But this other person was giving me nightmares and I was waking up trembling in fear so I figure, keeping my distance from all bad people is safest. Sometimes though, when it comes to safety, limited contact is necessary.

Gosh, I do feel vulnerable. I know that my guilt and shame that effects my ability to talk to people, trembling, even unable to smile without twiching in fear at a nice person! makes me more vulnerable to bullies.

I just wish/hope that there will come a day that I can stand up for myself to the point that I, like you, have no contact, distance, a feeling of general safety (it sounds like you do- apologies if I misinterpreted that) and can TELL THEM HOW I FEEL! But right now I can’t afford that because of the safety thing, his abusive words, guilt trips, a gift, and I don’t know what else.

Navigating family abuse in a society that condones it is like a web. You spin and spin and get closer to getting away and then that spider pulls you in. Sorry, I am just so depressed about this, not meaning to be too negative. It’s helpful to hear about people, how they got better, what they did though. So thank you.

It’s really great talking with you Alice. Your words are so helpful.

Take care!!! 🙂

592

Okay question for Darlene and everyone: when you are trying to draw a boundary with someone and it leads to a confrontation, how do you get past the self blame when it doesn’t go the way you want it to? This started when I phrased something as a request and it lead to a pouring on. Of blame and guilt by the other person. Why do I feel upset with myself when the other person was unreasonable?

593

This article speaks to me as I am just starting to realize that everything I read in this article pertains to me. My parents have been emotionally abusive for years and it just continues to get worse.
I am ready to disown my entire family as soon as I am able to. I think doing that will givr me the inner peace I need to finally live a happy life.

594

Thanks Sue. It’s good to hear support on this position instead of being criticized for it.

Amber, I know the feeling but I don’t know the answer.

595

amber,

probably because making boundaries is still kind of scary for us. guilt and blame, if we take it in or on, is designed to make u feel bad. u tried to draw a boundary and it didn’t work and u got unreasonable behavior back. we probably learned that if we people pleased we might be safer. it’s really scary and hard to stand up for ourselves. i guess we have to though and it’s not always going to feel good because they want us powerless and obedient so they can play their silly games to boost their egos. i think if u feel guilty you’re probably worrying about their poor feelings, how many times did they worry about your feelings?

596

I’m struggling a bit with the idea that I’m being mean or unfair to my mom for cutting her off. Crazy huh?

@Alice, I’m struggling with the same thing.

Why do I feel upset with myself when the other person was unreasonable?

@Amber, it’s because you resort to the reaction you are used to. I think Darlene had a better “wording” for it. My words may not be accurate. But I know what you are talking about. I do the same thing. THEY are wrong, why am I blaming myself?

597

Sorry this is a pretty long post….

Sue-

Thanks for your comment. I don’t think we’ve connected on EFB yet but we both contribute a lot! 🙂
Good stuff.

I am sorry about that surprise visit. I appreciate that you understand. I think a lot of people think it’s nuts to not let your parents (especially if they ‘seem’ nice) have your address. My parents ‘surprised’ me at work once and the hostess thought I was so mean for getting freaked out and asking could they please see me not at work. My entire family used this as a reason why I ‘ruined their christmas’ and how it was ‘really bad’, and they avoided me until we had a ‘meeting’. The truth is, they were in the wrong, yet somehow I ruined their Christmas! That was the last holiday I spent with them I hope it stays that way.

I think the fact they KNOW it scares you, that you would say no, and that the only way you can’t say no is if they just show up, makes it a violation of your rights. I also think that growing up, their options for harassment are more limited (they can’t lock me up, rip my doors off, send my sis to juvie for stepping on a table by accident, pound on the bathroom door, chase us up the stairs, it goes on). The only weapon they have is knowing where you are and how to find you. That is power to them, it must be. That is the only way to scare you.

When we get older/less vulnerable their methods of abuse HAVE to change to keep working. I knew a man who told me that once he got too big for his father to continue to beat him up, his father started self-harming until he bled to terrorize the family. I think that is a perfect example of the way that so many families change (methods do), but their intent and personalities and hatred don’t.

There is also a body language that goes along with the visits that that assumes “I deserve to be here” rigid, in my experience, so I know what you mean by the ‘intervention’ feel- again with the guilt. And for what? Shouldn’t they feel guilty? And my mother just has this ‘I’m such a good person’ glow even when I am clearly terrorized. This is either sadism (I’m starting to think) or total lack of empathy, or lust for power? Actually don’t really know what causes her to be so happy when I am clearly suffering but she seems much more stressed (and willing almost possessed to abuse) when I am happy. Not good.

“It can get out of control crazymaking in the blink of an eye” Yes, it can. It’s like you go from sane, to wondering if you belong in a mental institution (at least I do) hearing a few sentences. It might be all of those real experiences/ memories of how often and consistently these people put us in danger built up and the ‘crazymaking’ reaction is trying to tell us something to keep us safe. I don’t know.

598

gdw,

yes, he dressed like a cop (he isn’t one and never has been) and had this silly little smirk on his face because i was shocked and caught totally unprepared. my therapist was the one that pointed out the surprise visit with relatives in tow was like an intervention except they are the ones who drink, not me. i felt stalked, abused. now i am considering moving back where he lives so i can be near my daughter. i know about the pounding on doors and breaking into doors. no, it’s not good she is happy when u are stressed and scared, especially when she caused it (once again.)

i was watching a movie last night, sisterhood of the traveling ya y pants or something like that, i realize my daughter has pretty much gone nc with me. she doesn’t return calls or e-mails so i know this situation from the other side now and it is painful. i told her if i move back and the govt. wants to poison me again i will have to leave again. i need to be able to breathe. i was told being with my daughter was more important than breathing, again, my needs don’t count. my boyfriend pointed out that when she comes to visit she makes it hard as possible one me physically while she is a healthy teenager. he actually cares how i feel.

the crazymaking means you’re back in it again, a whirlwind of emotions that don’t make sense and it’s very familiar and u turn into a kid again and have to remember to have boundaries except u feel like you’re 6 or 12 and you’re mad at yourself that u regressed so quickly.

599

gdw,

abuse of adult children that your therapist tells u that u should feel graditude for! i too feel very nervous to talk to my father even though i sort of enjoy it, i never know which way he will go to the point of trying to rehearse phone calls and anticipate what he might ask me. i’m sorry he is the one u have to turn to for protection. that was like me asking my ex to protect me from my family. he is happy to rant at people i am angry at but yes, in the blink of an eye he can turn it one me. he just likes to rant. it make shim feel powerful and alive and he’s lost almost everything.

i think your fear is in relation to the level of abuse u experienced. i don’t feel u need to apologize for being depressed and negative (why is negative to speak your truth, they were negative) if that’s what you’re feeling for very real reasons. are we supposed to just put on our happy faces and perkily talk about the weather when we are terrorized? it seems some of these people we are dealing with are able to do just that in front of their families and we are expected to go along with that after they’ve beaten us into pulp because they were anxious about putting on a good show for their blessed families.

600

GDW, I think this therapist is using a questionable approach. Above I called this type of thing ‘forgiveness facism’ and I stand by that description. I think ESPECIALLY if one’s experience was of invalidation of feelings and thoughts, a therapist continuing that, well, it’s questionable and I think it has more to do with what the therapist believes than what might be needed by their ‘patient’.

I was taught very well how to say thank you and to show gratitude. What about things I was not taught (or not well)?

– how to stand up for myself
– how to receive criticism (this goes with the above)
– how to deal with rejection
– how to apologize (because hey, they NEVER did)
– how to be active in relationships with people (I was taught not to speak until spoken to and to wait until I was called upon/needed)

I’m happy that you’re finding what I’m saying helpful. I’m finding it both helpful and comforting to be writing/talking about this with everyone here.

Sue, what a ridiculous statement. Good to hear you have other people in your life who care for you.

601

I think a lot of people think it’s nuts to not let your parents (especially if they ‘seem’ nice) have your address. –

GDW, I tried not to give my mother my address, after, #1. She was peaking in my windows in my old house, when her and my Father were in the area, and called me, infuriated, b/c she saw moving boxes in there, and I had not told her I was moving, and 2. After I moved, and sent my sister a letter telling her that I didn’t appreciate her nasty phone messages, she gave her my address, so she could send the letter back to me, with “Return to Sender”, written on it, after it had been noticeably steamed open. What high drama and nonsense, lol!
She did trick me into giving her my address here with my SO, as his parent had passed, and she demanded to know the address so she could send flowers. She tricked me, she just sent a cheap card. LOL Did not need to work at impressing him, I guess.

– how to be active in relationships with people (I was taught not to speak until spoken to and to wait until I was called upon/needed) –

Alice, this is true for me as well! I am always a reactor, trying to figure out what I need to do, in a relationship, to please the other party, or sometimes, to protect myself. I am working to initiate more things on my own.

The teacher called my mother and her response to my teacher? Make her cry….. Kathleen, your mother was a true sadist! You were six, for cripes sakes! The desk flipping, my first grade teacher did it too, but she liked me, and as soon as I caught on, I was neurotically neat. Not getting you proper dental care, and I’m sure those abscesses hurt, was soooo neglectful!
That is what bothers me, they seems to not have an empathy for children, or, certain children. Thats what bothered me the most about my father’s response. He was so sad, thinking of all the little second graders getting bullied by the nuns, but when I gave a concrete example of how she was mean to me, it didn’t register. He had been taught by the system, not to consider me as a human with feelings, oh so long ago, by NM…………

Hugs to you all! Reading what you write, keeps me sane! We r strong!!

602

Janie-

Today is an exceptionally hard day for me so all these comments, well, they keep me sane too.

As for your mother going through your garbage, that reminded me (-good trigger to remember-) of when my mother went through my garbage. She wasn’t even living with me. I can’t be sure if this is the correct memory but my garbage cans were in front of my little cottage and she went through them before even knocking. I wasn’t comfortable letting her in.

I also remember when she saw a new shirt I had she asked me, “How did you get it. Oh my god G, are you into prostitution?”. I was so hurt that she actually thought that. She had that panic, which I used to think was concern, but now I know it was just to scare me, because she uses that voice, scares me, delights in it, and then does nothing to help me, watches me burn. I cannot believe I ever mistook THAT for empathy.

I had money in my bank account! I kind of responded with a snotty ‘so what if I did’ response. She later said, “I know you weren’t prostituting yourself (what???) I just said that to piss you off”. I was really hurt the lengths she would go to hurt me to the core. Accu