Aug
14

How Children Become the Black Sheep of the Family

By
black sheep of my family

not fitting in

I hear this expression all the time. I hear it used in the sentence “well he always was the black sheep of the family” and I hear it used in the first person such as “well I am the black sheep of my family.” This week I have been thinking about HOW a child becomes “the black sheep of the family” in the first place. The black sheep may be the one that rebels against the family system or the black sheep is also used to describe the one who “doesn’t fit in” with the family. Not “fitting in” with the family usually means not being accepted by the family for going against the family rules, questioning certain practices or simply for being an individual. (note: sometimes “not fitting in” is simply the feeling of not being as “good” or as valuable as other siblings or other family members.)

I am not sure if I am now or ever was regarded as the black sheep in my family, but I certainly didn’t feel like I fit in there even before I stood up and publically rebelled against the total family dysfunction I grew up with.  I resisted thinking that I might have been “the black sheep” because to me it was an admission of the rejection that I had always felt; rejection that I was terrified to acknowledge. I tried for most of my young years to comply but even that didn’t keep me safe and the feeling that I was “not loved” was always lingering close by.

There were things said all along about me by my family that discredited me long before I ever exposed any of the truth about what had been going on in my childhood. From a very young age I was defined as a story teller and an exaggerator.  Being defined that way created a default mode where I was always examining ME and not “them” which served a great purpose for abusers and controllers.  Publically, these things were said to discredit me. But why?  Why do those foundations get laid in by the controllers in the first place.  Why did I need to be discredited?

I was defined as moody and sullen, which may have been true, but why was I moody and sullen? The reasons for the fact that I was withdrawn were never addressed but rather this information was used against me as the proof that something was “wrong” with me. And all this was done long before I ever rebelled or disclosed any of the dysfunction going on in my family.

It seems to me as I get more and more clarity into the dysfunctional family system that just as the grooming process of a child is methodical, so is the discrediting process of that same child. People here on Emerging from Broken comment all the time that it is as though “we” have been raised in the same family or “we” must have the same mother or father but the sad truth is that the ways that children are treated, mistreated and devalued are so typical and commonly accepted as “normal” that people are surprised to find out that the difficulties communicated by us as adults regarding what happened to us as children are actually common!

The ways that children are disregarded are so typical in fact that it’s hard to believe there isn’t a script being followed by these manipulative and abusive family members. And the mystery behind why we are so surprised to find so many others who feel the way we have felt is explained by the way we are so successfully groomed to accept and keep the family secrets, “respect” our parents and all their decisions and behaviours as “right” and not question or discover that there could be an explanation for our depressions, low self esteem and other mental health issues.

I was defined from a young age as dramatic, an exaggerator and story teller so much so that I accepted that definition of myself. I believed that I exaggerated ~ and believed this definition of me was proof that I was the one in the wrong and thus the beginning of the Black Sheep Syndrome.

I was groomed to believe that the problem WAS me; I tried hard to accept that even though deep down I still thought I was right that I had been wronged but because no one validated me in any of my distress, I continued to beat myself up for not getting over it. (I call this the spin, and abusers/controllers and manipulators NEED to keep victims in that spin to keep the focus OFF the abusers themselves.)  Naturally, in this spin my conclusion was that I am the common denominator is everyone’s story and ‘the problem’ at the bottom of every family issue. We live in a society where “majority rules”; it is commonly accepted that if the majority agree that the abuse and dysfunction never happened but was in fact “all in the victims’ warped mind” through that grid of understanding, the majority in a dysfunctional family system is conveniently right.

There is a twofold result when this happens; I questioned my own memories and therefore I questioned the truth itself. I had been taught to question myself and the rest of the world has been warned that I don’t properly present “the truth” so that if I ever TELL the whole story, it will be easily dismissed by those hearing it. I have been labeled all my life as a story teller and an exaggerator so that is how people have come to regard me. This definition of me will protect the perpetrators of abuse from having the spotlight of truth shone on them.  When I looked at it through this grid of understanding, it’s easy to conclude that not only is there a twofold result when this happens but there there is also a twofold motive in conditioning and defining a child in this way. It is very similar to “being framed”.

Seeing the whole thing through that grid of  both WHY and HOW children are used as scapegoats, labeled as “the problem” and defined as depressed, story tellers, in need of medication, difficult and “always that way” made it easier for me to understand how I willingly stopped fighting their warped definition of me and accepted it for all those years.   

Another most unfortunate result of this kind of conditioning is that it sends a message to other perpetrators that this child is not believable, leaving that child vulnerable to other predators as well.

Please share your thoughts about how a child becomes known as the black sheep and how this in fact serves the ultimate purpose of the abuser or any other thoughts you wish to share here.  Remember that you may use whatever name you wish to use on this site. Your identity is safe unless you reveal it yourself in the comment form.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

NOTE: I need your help. Emerging from Broken costs me approximately $200.00 per month to cover the expenses associated with running this site. I pay a webmaster a monthly fee to do the security and to ensure that the site is kept updated and backed up. I also pay for hosting fees and have a few other website related expenses. If you appreciate this community and you are able to donate something towards the costs of maintaining it, I would greatly appreciate the assistance.  Thanks! Darlene

Related Posts ~ The conversation about the black sheep concept started in the comments of “the deception of an emotionally unavailable father”.

Facebook Parenting for the Troubled Teenager ~ How kids are devalued

Categories : Depression

306 Comments

1

I love your insights in this article Darlene, there is so much I can relate to. I was defined as the black sheep of my family early on. When I was an adult, my older sister told me it was my fault our extended family (meaning my aunt, cousins, and grandmother) decided not live near us anymore because they were sick of hearing all my “whining and complaining” about the way my brother treated me. He was physically, emotionally, and sexually abusing me from a young age, but no one cared to protect me or find that out, they just didn’t want to hear what I had to say. It upset the denial and repression of the incest family.

Because he abused me all the time, I spoke up all the time, and therefore I was discredited due to the frequency of my complaints. My father believed everything was equal between me and my older, stronger, raging brother and that it was all about sides; so he took my brother’s side and “stood up for” (i.e. enabled) him. So this statement of my sister was two-fold; I was blamed for having any verbal response to my abuse, and blamed for splitting apart their sick little family. As a result, I grew up feeling incredibly self-conscious, nervous about my behavior and what I said; since that was supposed to be the problem.

I also know that I was an unwanted pregnancy and early on my parents had each chosen my older siblings as their ‘favorites.’ My parents never valued me, my interests, abilities, or personality. They liked my brother, who was outgoing, played football, and was a very charming sociopath. Ironically one of their biggest gripes with me was that I so quiet; they rejected and ignored me when I tried to speak up about my abuse and asked for help, yet they expected me to make happy, carefree small talk with them.

My parents were incredibly immature people, they thought their children were objects via which to explore things they were interested in, and openly expected us to compete for their love and affection through achievements and sucking up. I couldn’t compete, and I was always left out in our family, the most convenient scapegoat because I was the youngest and therefore in their eyes deserving of the least respect. But today I’m very glad to be out of the running; my siblings can keep all the fake love and emotional abuse that our parents have to offer today.

2

Darlene, Simply put, I was labeled the black sheep because I was a truth-teller in a family of manipulative liars! Of course,it’s not quite that simple but that is the basis of it. I was a disappointment to my mother because I was small and sickly. I didn’t gratify her in the way she dreamed she would be gratified by a child. My dad was just jelous of anyone who took the attention away from him and babies do demand attention. Other than making up stories as a young teenager trying to express the abuse that was happening to me that I had no name for, I am a straight-forward honest person. People in my family system saw this as a fault to be exploited and I never could understand their manipulation and lying. I transferred my honesty to them and thought they thought the way I do but they don’t. When I accepted the fact that lying is the way they do life, I began to understand things much better. Liars, manipulators, and abusers look at honest people as gullible and as marks,even when they are their own children. We have to become as Jesus taught, as innocent as doves with the wisdom of the serpant. I couldn’t stop being abused until I acknowledged real evil in people.

Pam

3

Hi Caden
I was always judged and somewhat reprimanded for being quiet too, although being called a story teller was good motivation for causing me to be quiet. (can’t win in a dysfunctional system)
In my family my mother went out of her way to tell everyone including me how much she wanted me, her first (and only) daughter. But it seems that wasn’t enough; finally having her daughter didn’t stop her from being disappointed in my failure to fill the empty hole inside her.
It must have been a night mare to have been abused by an older brother and to have your father take HIS side; for you to be labeled the trouble maker! Never feeling safe, always having to be on guard never knowing which direction it is going to hit you from. This is what we are recovering from.
Thank you so much for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pam
In this sick family system, anyone who is weaker is a target. These people will do anything to get their order restored; (feel good about themselves) no matter what that takes. No matter who they crush. They must find some sort of compliance which to them equals approval and when they don’t get it they do something to create it. I have seen parents do things to make kids screw up just so that the parent could justify giving the kid a beating, creating a way to get their order restored. It is so very sad and so hard for a child to comprehend. And yes, it is the truth that set me free too. I had to see what was in fact happening.
Hugs, Darlene

p.s. I have seen so many different examples of dysfunctional systems; the most compliant wins, the smartest or strongest kid wins, the best looking kids wins, the one that sucks up the most wins, but the truth is that nobody wins. Living in a dysfunctional abusive family is bad for everyone.

4

I’ve been the Black Sheep all of my life in my birth family . My father rejected me from the time I was a child . He said ” I’ll pick your mother over you “, I thought who was asking ! He bullied me my whole life , he picked at my husband to me . Somehow the other 2 siblings managed to move on each side of him , and they are all close but picked at me > I finally diosowned them . Later , I got cancer 2 times and never heard from any of them , as I expected . I know they are a special breed of cruel. To this day I continue to harm myself , I believe as a result of the hurt and rejection! I couldn’t do that to a person, especially my own child !

5

Hi everyone,

I was the youngest of 5 children. For the first 10 years of my life, I was the “baby” of the family, indulged with toys, sweets and pocket money. However, the family dynamic was unhealthy. I was smothered, overprotected and enmeshed with my mother. My father was emotionally unavailable. I think the point at which I became the Black Sheep, was when I started to develop an identity that was seperate from my mother. No longer content to be “mommys little companion”, I wanted to make friends with other kids, and have a life outside the home, something I had previously not been allowed to do. My mother started to develop a violent dislike of me. It was as though I had betrayed her in some way. She began accusing me of being spoiled, selfish and hard-hearted. But conversely, I was also ridiculed for being too quiet, too shy and lacking confidence! My spineless father went along with this, he wouldnt have dared do anything other, and at this point she started to pitt my siblings against me. As a result of this, I have never been close to any of them. I am now NC with them all. The whole thing gathered momentum and I soon became the Family Problem. I was massively scapegoated. The whole family, even the most distant of relatives ,shook their heads and despaired of what a disappointment I was to my saintly parents. Looking back, I can see I was a totally normal kid, who had a phsyco for a mother, and a father who did nothing to protect me from her. I still find it incredible that any mother would start a witch-hunt against her 10 year old daughter. The damage she did impacted my life for almost 4 decades. I have since read that it is the most emotionally healthy child in a family that is targeted in this way, as they are seen as a threat. I have really enjoyed reading the comments from Caden, Pam, Darlene and Barb, and am looking forward to all those whom I’m sure will follow, Love Sylvia x

6

Hi Barb
Welcome to EFB
What a nightmare you lived through. Self harm is one of the manifestations of this kind of mistreatment. This site is about emotional healing from exactly what you are talking about.
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

7

Darlene,
I am so thankful for this post. I have struggled to understand why it was ME that became the target. Through lots of processing, I’ve learned there were several reasons.

I was also the youngest. By the time mother began to unleash her hatred upon me, I was the only one left under their roof. No one else was around to hear it except her husband. I was a sweet, tender hearted small child. I was affectionate and loving, moreso than my sisters. My mother told me I was very attached to her, so she sent me to preschool at age 4 to prepare me for kindergarten and to sever that attachment. I don’t know if that’s true. Seems like she might have resigned from having a child hanging on her leg, since I was the last one.

I was an emotional child in elementary school. I remember being nervous and upset at the arguments between my parents. I remember being unable to stop crying in the classroom one particular time. The teacher pulled me out of class and asked what was wrong. Of course I promised I wouldn’t talk about my dad’s drunken car accident the night before, so I didn’t tell her. It is an illustration that I was more emotional than the other kids. I couldn’t control it, even in the classroom at age 8. I think the trouble with that was there was no one to listen, or care. My mother made the marital problems with my dad, all about her. How horrible it was for her. No one asked the kids how they were doing. We hid in bedrooms and stayed quiet.

THEN came the BIG problems. When I was 11 they finally divorced and my mother had a boyfriend. He was and is a pig and she forced him on us. We weren’t allowed to speak our opinions of him. It released her wrath.

At 12, I heard her and her boyfriend having sex. No attempt at discretion. I heard them several times. She knew I heard them and I was sickened by it. Months later, she accused ME of having sex at a party, although the only thing I knew about it was from hearing her. She badgered me for what seemed like hours about having sex at a classmates birthday party, and of course her parents were there. Mother had no reason to believe I’d had sex. That event seems to mark the beginning of her hatred toward me. I wasn’t allowed to be angry at her false accusations. Only she was allowed to be angry at something that was ridiculously untrue. She wouldn’t believe me. In writing this, I am discovering that even today, I have a deep fear that people will think I’m lying, about anything/everything. I strive to live a life of honesty, but that’s not enough. I have a need to prove I’m honest. Not because of this one event. Because of a lifetime of events that followed, where I was accused of lying. If I followed my mother’s trail of lies, trying to be heard, it was met with disapproval and my family naturally believed it was ME who was lying. (thanks mom)

By the time I was 14, I was getting angry. She resigned from motherhood altogether, and gleefully took up her role as the doting girlfriend. My sisters and I took backseat to her boyfriend and his “perfect” daughter. My sisters were out of the house by then though, and I got the brunt of the CRAP. I smoked marijuana for the first time at age 14. In three short years, I did a complete 180. I was blamed for everything, things I wasn’t even doing. I suppose my thinking was, “well, if I’m gonna get blamed, I might as well do it.” I had my first drink of alcohol at 14 as well.

I threw in the towel. I didn’t care anymore if I was good or bad. I was always bad in her eyes, so I had no reason to fight to be good. I was compared to my brilliant, compliant oldest sister. The golden child. It wasn’t until I went back to school later in life, that I realized I’m not stupid. I might even be smarter than the golden child. She never had a 4.0 GPA, and she never got a free education for being in an honor’s program. I have done both. Of course, mother doesn’t TALK about how brilliant her youngest child is. That would go against all she trained me and everyone else to believe.

Many people believe the youngest is spoiled, generally speaking. I was spoiled alright. She spoiled my mind and my soul. She injected me with poison, along with everyone around me. Most people still see her as the victim in our relationship. She designed it so that I appear to be a monster. I got to a place of individuality and noncompliance. That made me a bad person, difficult to handle, and a very angry monster. I have never truly had problems communicating without anger. I can have a two way conversation. I can be accountable for doing wrong. I can do so calmly. No one sees or believes that. To this day, nearly everyone who knows my mother and I simultaneously, “knows” that I have anger issues and I’m impossible to deal with. They “know” I have emotional issues and that I’m unstable. They “know” I’m a liar, and many other things.

It’s these beliefs that I struggle with today. When something happens, for example, money is stolen from a coworkers purse, I feel guilt when I know I would never do that. I feel fear that I will be blamed for it, though there’s no reason for me to be blamed. I get nervous that I will be blamed, and then not believed. It’s situations like that, which come up in life, that I get freaked out by. Knowing my own innocence inside doesn’t seem to be enough.

I am stuck at a place where all things have come to light (at least I think they have). I don’t seem to make progress toward being the ultimate me. I know the truth now, but it hasn’t changed me. It’s a burden, and that’s about all. I am not whole as a result of knowing the truth. I hope that comes with time.

I could identify with a part of everyone’s comments. We all have something in common. It’s like you said Darlene, the abusers read from nearly identical scripts. Lately, it hasn’t felt like I’m doing any healing. I know the truth, but, that knowledge has not worked any magic in me. I’m still waiting to stop hating myself, stop questioning who I am, my own integrity, and begin really living. I’m ready!

Peace and love to everyone,
Mimi

8

Just as Sylvia I was one of 5. For many reasons that I am trying to
piece together my mother disliked me. (Not valid reasons.) A neighbor once told me when I was in my 30′s that for the first 3 years of my life I was the favorite (my father’s 1st child, but my mothers 4th.)but when my younger brother was born I was “dropped like a hot potato.” The neighbors exact words. I was also the only blond in the family of brunettes. I was also sickly, I saw pictures in which I looked feverish. But upon having my own children and seeing how many pics I have taken of each, I do see that there are very few pics of me as a child, and the ones that were taken were probably taken by a sibling of mine or my dad. Mother could not be bothered. I also remember a time when I was in elementary school, one of my sibs told me that they weren’t my real sisters and brothers that my mother had divorced. I went to school and told everyone, I didn’t know any better. Mother did not like her skeletons being let out of the closet. I actually thought it was cool and we were special. But then I remember being shamed, the first time to be told to shut your mouth. My mother’s favorite line is “It’s nobody’s business.” My father helps keep her perfect world in perfect order. If the Scapegoat (me) acts up he comes in to get me back in control. But the problem is I am not playing the game anymore. I have been shunned by 3 our of 4 of my sibs and expect if I contacted the remaining one he will also take her side and give me a good talking to on behalf of mother. My kids are fast becoming grown adults, but thinking back on their childhoods I cannot imagine treating my own kids like my parents treated me consistantly over the years. I was such a cutie too, in life outside of the home I was the favorite niece, the favorite student, the cute one. But at home mother hated me and hid it from her sisters and brothers to keep her sweet persona. No one knows what she said to me in private or when on the phone. She’s so sneaky. If I ever would defend myself from her nastiness she would literally growl at me, “Why would I go to the mall with you?” Or “Have a nice life then!” “If your marraige doesn’t work out don’t come knocking on my door.” I learned never to tell her anything personal or the truth and do not ask for what you see your sibling are getting because you are not worthy. I still to this day have a problem with anyone doing anything for me because I am used to doing it all on my own out of pride from their treatment. I need to work on feeling I deserve love from others. I know my scapegoat role will never end though since she’s pretty much told everyone her version of everything that happened for the past 30 years or more. I recently had an uncle tell me and laugh “Well you’ve been causing trouble for 30 years.” He’s close to my parents so it’s clear I’m a complete joke to them. But, I know that when I talk now I talk the truth, and will no longer jump through the hoops to please them ever again. Peace to all the supposed “Scapegoats” on this site…we are worthy.

9

Hi Sylvia
This is an excellent example of what happens in some families. I think that many children are punished for wanting to be an individual and to have a separate identity. (it so much harder to control an individual that it is to control a robot)
It is horrific that your mother would do this to you! One of the hardest things for me to realize was part of the problem was that my father never did anything about my mother either and that made him a big part of the problem.
You sound very clear today! Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

10

Mimi, The way your mom labels you is just like the way my mother labels me and I know that is who she sees when she looks at me. What she sees are the things she’s ashamed of won’t allow herself to face in her self. I’m the mirror that reflects her bad side. My sister reflects her good side. It used to seem that my sister had it better but the truth is that my mom never sees either of us for who we are, we’re just her mirrors. For me, getting better has been about being myself and not the reflection that my mother sees. Not see her for the last five years and not having any contact at all for over a year now gave me the space to do that. Even if she had met the boundary I set, I don’t think I could have gotten past that if I still had to deal with the way she sees me. Not having that cloud of disapproval hanging over my head all of the time has gone a long way toward setting me free from my family’s perceptions of me. I’m also, learning not to listen to her critical voice in my head. Time apart is allowing that voice to die away. I can so relate to where you are right now because I was there about a year ago. It does get better. The mourning process takes time.

Love,
Pam

11

Hi Mimi

I can really relate to what you have shared today. My mother made the marital problems all about her too. That is a huge issue for many children and a very important issue to examine in recovery. It is absolutely where part of the damage caused to me had a few roots too.

(My mother also did not try to hide the fact that she was having sex with men and we were also not permitted to have any opinion about the men she brought home. My mother also accused me of having sex way before I ever did and used expressions such as “I’m not stupid Darlene” or “I wasn’t born yesterday”. These accusations were devastating to me especially because I had been accused of attracting her boyfriend into my bedroom when I was barely 14.)

Your work here is excellent. You say ” It’s these beliefs that I struggle with today. When something happens, for example, money is stolen from a coworkers purse, I feel guilt when I know I would never do that. I feel fear that I will be blamed for it, though there’s no reason for me to be blamed. I get nervous that I will be blamed, and then not believed. It’s situations like that, which come up in life, that I get freaked out by. Knowing my own innocence inside doesn’t seem to be enough”. I went through all that too; lived like that with those false beliefs and fears for many years. Didn’t understand why I was terrified every time a cop was behind me, so sure that I was going to get “in trouble” when I “knew” I had done nothing wrong.

I hear that you feel “stuck” and I felt that way too at that same time in my process but these were all the clues that eventually came together to solve the puzzle and they were victories on the road to healing.

Thank you for sharing, your comments are really powerful.

Hugs, Darlene

12

Hi Melody

These are excellent comments and another very good illustration of the way it really happens in a dysfunctional system and exactly what I am writing about in this article. You were painted in a certain way but it was all a lie. I celebrate with you that you know that!

I am no longer the scapegoat because I refuse to be. I escaped by seeing why I felt the way that I felt about myself and changing those lies about me to the truth about me. Then I drew a boundary that I decided if my boundary wasn’t respected then there would be no relationship. Then my family had a choice to make.

Your success is that you are no longer playing the game anymore. Your freedom comes from that.

Thank you for sharing these excellent comments!

Hugs, Darlene

13

I’ve been the black sheep my whole life. My mother is an alcoholic narcissist and my father…very manipulative, and I just can’t describe his slimy abuse when I was younger and passive abuse when I got older – and recurring abandoning of me – very well at the moment. I get headaches when I think about my family and I have to take it very slowly so I can still have a good day.

I give people this link

http://mypainfuljourney.wordpress.com/2009/10/10/is-your-mother-a-narcissist/

to describe my sick mother, and how both of my siblings play their own part because they are favored – even if being favored by her is pretty crappy compared to a mother who actually loves her children.

14

Hi Sylvia,

My heart goes to you. I can very relate to your story.

15

Hi Alice
I understand the headaches. My head ached so much and I rebelled for a long time over facing the truth about the way it was. But today I have freedom from all of that! Hang in here ~ you are not alone.
Hugs, Darlene

16

Mimi, I can relate, except I was the middle child, and told I was not deserving, but my older brother was because he was the oldest, and my younger sister because she was the youngest. I was constantly shunned and deliberately forgotten.

My mother was constantly having loud sex with numerous boyfriends practically in front of my brother and I, and she let every single one of them “discipline” us and hit us. She accused me of having sex at 13, even though I was terrified of it and hated other girls my age who seemed preoccupied with boys. My sister is a lot younger than us and was spared the abuse of other men, but not the abuse of my mother, which my sister still refuses to accept. My sisters father abused me on almost every level imaginable, then my mother left him when my sister was a baby for selfish reasons and put herself in a protective shelter (though he never abused her, he took it all out on me and my brother) while leaving me to deal with him when I was 13 years old. My sister didn’t know her father is a monster until I told her.

This is only a fraction of what I went through as a child. My mother neglected us so badly we were literally starving and broke into neighbors houses to steal food. I had a kidney infection when I was 9 years old and left alone for a week in pain without anyone coming home. A friend of my mother finally came by and rushed me to the hospital. I was rejected and neglected since the day I was born. My childhood was filled with abuse, neglect, and my mother loaded on drugs the whole time. This was all before I was 10 years old, then it all simply got worse when my sisters father came into the picture, and he was the sober one.

I still have lots of anger I am trying to allow myself to feel currently. I refuse to forgive anyone until I am ready. I was always blamed for what happened to me and told to forgive and forget, now I have PTSD and it literally hurts to remember it all. I was always the angry and emotionally immature one. I really was angry, but not emotionally immature, and I am finally letting myself really be angry, because it really is warranted, I DO have a reason and I finally know why since I checked myself into therapy because I couldn’t stop feeling like total crap about myself no matter what I tried.

The only thing that really works for me is letting it out, and I find that is a lot harder than I would have thought. Each time I write or talk about it, I feel an extremely thin layer of pain come off. I save my comments like these in my journal since I will read something like this online and it triggers me to start writing about something that is usually very difficult for me to muster. A lot of this is still embarrassing to talk about, but fuck it, I don’t think I have anything to lose. Thank you.

17

Thank you Darlene. Your blog has been an enormous help to me.

18

I was constantly told that I was the black sheep of the family, that I was bad and defective and so on. It was, in effect, programmed into me and it’s really hard to shift those really deeply rooted beliefs about myself.

19

darlene, have you been in my head again, mmmm. that persuasive feeling of being unloved and at fault for everything was my very being from an early age. heck my mpther once told me i started to emotionally abuse HER when i was 11MONTHS old. she’d just had my middle brother and was just 17 yrs old herself. when she told me that i was like ” what the hell do you think a baby is capable off? if i was screaming it was because i needed something, not because i was attention seeking, though i suppose technically i suppose i was.
this is just one of many such instances of her misguided belief system where she is the victim of my bad behavour.
yet as an adult and a parent, i get told my child us a delight to be around, so surely i have done something better than most. well at least better than my own parents as i have broken the silence and the cycle of abuse in my childs life. has been hard and im soooo very glad that i had healed through the angry stage and total denial at any cost before having my child. i so respect parents who are trying to heal with children around them, cos i know this is – no way my child would have been as nice as she is now if i was just starting my road to recovery. mainly because i would have parented the way my mother had with impatience and distance.
mmmm the deepest hurts always seem to come from the parent who carried us in their bodies, it also seems to be the hardest to admit and deal with too

20

Alice
re comment #16
Wow. This is awesome sharing! I also had to let myself be and feel the anger, and validate that I had a right to it and that it was justified. I faced (and felt) the pain of that rejection of me and the child that was me and all the pain that went with being disregarded that way.

Forgiveness was not part of the healing equation for me either, and I will never advocate that it IS part of the equation. There is so much to that whole damaging directive. (I have a guest post coming up about that whole thing and I have written several blog posts about it myself)
I LOVE what you express when you said “The only thing that really works for me is letting it out, and I find that is a lot harder than I would have thought. Each time I write or talk about it, I feel an extremely thin layer of pain come off. I save my comments like these in my journal….” YES that has been how it has worked for me too; a thin layer of pain coming off.. yes.

Thank you so much!

Hugs, Darlene

Hi Fi!
Yes it is hard. Part of the reason that I wrote this post was to show a different view about the motive some abusers have when they create that brainwashing. It shows that they know they have to start the cover up early. They show a motive to discredit the victim way before the abused ever tells.
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Carol

Babies NEED attention! The fact that is gets called “manipulation” or attention getting as though that is bad is insane! A baby cannot fend for itself and it makes me crazy when I hear people tell me that their kids are manipulating them for attention and so many of us are very willing to agree that WE were these manipulative little kids that caused our own rejection. UGGGGGG It still makes me angry. Kids are told all kinds of stuff to make them take the blame but when we look at through the grid of truth, it is plain insanity.

~ yes, when our parents are the ones that cause the deepest pain, it is very hard to deal with. For me it has been HUGE and key towards my healing to accept that it was my parents that caused me the most damage. And to know that it was possible to recover from that. They no longer have any power in my life.

Yay for your recovery and the impact it is having on the future generations!

Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene,
My mother also accused me of having sex before I ever did , or ever even thought of it. When I was 10 yrs old , she started calling me a slut and a tramp – I didnt know what she actually meant. When, at 13, I was raped by 2 older boys on the way home from school, I didnt dare tell her, as I knew I would be blamed. In fact, it took me a while to even realise that I HAD been raped. I thought I deserved abusive treatment, and in some way had provoked this event! Dad died when I was 14, and within 6 months mom had a new boyfriend. He would kiss me with his tounge in my mouth, and touch my breasts whenever mom left the room. I never said anything because I didnt want to hurt her. I wanted her to be happy. I used to dread him coming to the house, even though he brought me expensive presents. And yes, I heard them having sex, which she denied, and accused me of being an “evil,filthy minded bitch”, when I expressed shock at her making out with another guy so soon after dad died. Because of this- and other things- I made a major attempt on my own life, slashing my wrists so deeply that I sustained severe nerve damage to my left hand. All she had to say was “You have ruined my new carpets. When you come home( from hospital),you will clean all that blood up!” She never acknowledged the fact that I had tried to commit suicide, she referred to my stay in hospital as “that time you fell down and hurt your hands”. None of my siblings, who all visited me in hospital, ever mentioned it again, or asked how I was feeling. This was the level of secrecy and denial that was prevalent in our “family”. I was not allowed to go for the psychiatric treatment that was recommended. Every thing was hushed up as always. Thanks so much for letting me share,
Love Sylvia x

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Mimi, I can also relate to what you’ve shared. I wasn’t accused of having sex (I guess because my mother raped me, that would be a ridiculous accusation), but at 13, my mother accused me of just about everything else. I came home one night from a friends house and she made this huge scene, peeling back my eyelids and making me empty all of my pockets and give me my backpack before heading back to my room. Then she burst in a few minutes later and insisted that because I was sitting at my desk starting off into space it was proof that I was stoned, and tried to slap me in the face. No matter what I said, she kept insisting “I know stoned!” Which is true given that her and my father used drugs all the time, but still, I didn’t take anything that night, not even any alcohol. Ironically soon after this she took me to the doctor in order to force anti-depressants onto me.

But I was punished over and over again for older brother’s delinquency; I wasn’t allowed to go out and do a million other things because “I’m not having him turn out like his brother!” As if we were the same person, and despite the fact that he remained their favorite. I was constantly accused and under this exaggerated, hateful suspicion that I must always be up to some criminal activity. If it was a full moon and I went out to take a walk in the forest, I must have been “prowling the neighborhood” to break into houses according to her, and she would always used random details as absolute proof that she was right, I also had no way to defend myself against her accusations; I couldn’t make any leeway.

I’ve also felt intrusive thoughts as a result all of her accusations and suspicions. I was blamed for almost anything that happened in our house growing up, because I was the youngest and my parents believed that being older meant being more reliable and trustworthy, So if he blamed some misdeed of his on me (like breaking a vase, eating all the cupcakes etc.) they automatically believed him. I was even accused of doing things to myself–breaking my own things, hurting myself (or “forcing” him to do it to me.) So now sometimes in the back of my mind I still have this strange thought that I would break my own things or do something totally self-destructive, steal something from a friend, etc. Things I would never actually do but was accused of back then.

My mother was also ‘over’ being a parent by the time I turned 14. She had other things to do and resented my very existence. But she always painted herself as the victim of her own children. I’m sure your mother is afraid that you might have justifiable, healthy anger at her for all that she’s done to you and so pre-emptively given you this label in order to discredit you. But she is definitely the problem.

take care,
-Caden.

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Carol,
Re comment #19
I never thought of a baby ever trying to be manipulative. It shocks and saddens me that your mother actually uttered those words to you. Was I colicky perhaps also and that set the stage for me to be the Scapegoat? My daughter was super colicky at 1-2 months where I had to walk the floors and change her formula, but I never labelled her. Nor would I have ever thought she was being manipulative. Infants just can’t do that. Yuck, it makes me sick. That’s why I purposely tried to do the exact opposite in raising my kids as how I was raised. (Ignored and be seen but not heard.) I attended all events that my children were part of, actually by senior year all of my kids wanted me to stop showing up and taking pictures! I don’t think you can love children too much. But judging from this site it’s proven that there are things parents do and do not do that damage people for the rest of their lives. (Or at least set them back to try very hard to fix what has happened to them.) Thanks for the insight. And thanks Darlene yet again for your helpful words to all on here. Peace.

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Sylvia
OH MY GOSH! So you were raped by 2 boys and sexually asaulted by your mothers boyfriend constantly all the while knowing that your mother was not going to help you or even believe you. Imagine (I know that you know this but everyone else reading this) the kind of fear that you lived in both inside and outside of the house! I was terrified to breath because of the danger my mother put me in and how much she disreguarded my feelings and the things that happened to me. I am so sorry that this happened to you. This is the kind of stuff that I am talking about; it is so important that we see these truths so that we can heal.
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi,

I’m struggling to know if it’s okay for me to write something on this post. I read the comments here and my heart wrenches for all the horrendous things people’s parents have done to them. It’s disgusting and unbearable. I can’t even really imagine some of this stuff; it’s so beyond my experience. You are all very, very strong people.

I actually always felt like a black sheep, even though I wasn’t. Yes, there was a time in my childhood when my mom hated me because I was a willful little kid and I also felt like no matter what, I could never please her—she was most often unhappy, irritable and exhausted, quick to snap (though it was usually at my dad). But for most of my life I was actually the good kid, the “golden child” people refer to here. There wasn’t chaos in my home. Inside me, yes, tons, but everything was very controlled on the outside. Like Sylvia, I was smothered, overprotected and enmeshed but for me, that really started when I was 12, when my mom decided I was “neglected.” I never individuated. I never separated. I never rebelled. At 22, I just broke. I reached a point where I was going to end up dead unless I admitted something was wrong with me, which was a very difficult thing for me to do because it was totally against my “script.”

THe reason why I felt like a black sheep was because I could feel the discrepancy between the role I played and some “darkness” inside of me, which I didn’t understand. I can see from the outside how it might look to others to be this golden child but it is something different from the inside. You are a false self and you know it and so you believe that whatever love people send your way is not actually meant for you but for this false self. From the outside, it seems as though you are so loved and fawned over and to an extent you have this pride of being good and special (for whatever gift you possess) and an ego thing, but inside you are alone. If you even have a “self,” it is tiny and doesn’t see, or very rarely sees, the light of day. I think many “golden children” end up breaking eventually. And then they are lost, often looking for themselves in other people, to be mirrored and defined, which can open up to lots of problems.

Anyway, I hope that it’s okay that I wrote this. In some ways I verged on black sheep territory after my breakdown, as I tried to individuate and address my issues with my parents but it was nothing like what people have been talking about here. I am so sorry for the treatment that everyone has endured. It is truly horrendous.

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Hi Alaina

It is okay to write anything that is true for you. I try to remember that it is only the damage that really matters. We all have been damaged. That is the biggest common denominator. Just the details are different. (and it is great to relate on those levels, but I would never want anyone to feel that they didn’t fit in with the way a comment thread is going because their details were different)

Personally I don’t identify with being the scapegoat or the golden child or whatever. There were times that I was all these things, yes, but to me the point is the damage. Not figuring out all that other stuff. It might help a bit to see that stuff, but for me, it was not part of the solution. I don’t think my brothers had it any better or worse than me, just different. We were all devalued. My parents may have used different “tactics” on each of us according to what worked better on each of us or according to our personalities.

I have been told over and over that it is very often the hardest for people who have been emotionally abused to recover. I don’t know if that it actually the truth, but I do know that all abuse is abuse and damage is damage and that is why we are here. There is a root to this stuff and that is where the keys are. The false self (I felt that way also) comes from somewhere.

The details are important so that we can get the truth exposed (even just to ourselves) but the damage is the real key.

Please share what ever you need to share.

Hugs, Darlene

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p.s.
Perhaps I should not have gone with the “black sheep” idea in the first place. The whole point of this post was to show how parents so often have a twofold reason for the way that they undermine their own children. One ~ to make the children focus on their own character defects and two~ to make sure the rest of the world gets the impression that said child has something “wrong” with them so that if the child tells about any kind of abuse including being emotionally abused, that the parent can say “see… I have said all along…. ” Not all abusive parents even do this ~ but many do. Some parents have a totally different way of undermining. Some parents are so cocky that they never consider they will EVER be confronted and the way they treat their kids is purely about getting their order restored and make them feel worthy by using their power in a sick way. There are many tactics and again many details, but the damage must be looked at in order for the person to heal.
Hugs, Darlene

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You can call me a black sheep any day..I wear that title as a badge of honour in my family.

I’m no longer in contact with my parents and siblings (I’m one of 8), and I was able to see clearly at 15 how dysfunctional my family was.

I see my siblings who still engage with my parents and in that dysfunction as the herd of (white) sheep following along in my parents herd.

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Hi Darlene,

Thank you. A lot of your article resonated with me emotionally but I guess it was the details and the labels. My mom had a history with physical abuse (from one of her mother’s boyfriends) and was raped. Her home life was chaotic and she has been labeled a “bad daughter” from time to time, the compliant daughter till the age of 13 when she rebelled. When I had my breakdown, I very much felt like I had nothing to “complain about” because of all that she had been through and I think that was what was triggering in my mind, but I do know the truth of what you are saying about it being the damage that is important, that pain is pain.

I do know where my false self came from. I started sobbing when I read your comment and I’m starting to cry again. Whew! It is because I identified so much with my uncle. He was the person who mirrored back to me who I was, my true self. I know that he loved me and that I loved him… but I have spent my life trying to not be him, denying who I am because he killed himself. Part of the problem is that my mom always had very aggressive opinions about his death, not leaving any room for anyone else’s thoughts or feelings, unless they coincided with hers. There was no room for me to grieve or to feel connected. And in general I think I learned that it was bad to be like him because of all the damage his death did and the notion that his death was somehow an extension of him. A big reason why having my breakdown felt like a betrayal was because I knew it would trigger my mom and remind her of him (and it did—that weekend she went through the filing cabinet to “purge” and came to me to tell me about it, tears in her eyes, having finally thrown out his blood-crusted glasses after holding onto them for 15 years). I was NOT SUPPOSED to be my uncle—that was the major message I took away from his death. So I tried to cut him out of my heart and my identity. I hated myself but I also still longed to find someone like him… because he really was a great person. He was so much fun and he cared about me and always made a point of finding me to engage with me and be silly and listen to whatever I had to say. I lost him before he died, though; he was very consumed in his studies—he was doing work on the downtown eastside in Vancouver before it became the notorious place it now is and wanting to expose the political decisions that were being made at the time; it was highly charged and there was reason for paranoia but it became way more than just schoolwork; his whole self was at stake in this, as a kind of fight against oppression and what he could see coming in the future. Anyway, I was super excited the morning he died because I heard his girlfriend’s voice (she was more like an aunt; he was 34 when he died) and I thought they’d both come for a surprise visit and that things would be like they used to be, except then it turned out he was dead, he’d walked in front of the sky train… I was 7, almost 8; it was way too much for me… Anyway, this is quite far from the topic and from abuse in general, but this is where a lot of my damage has come from. He gave me something neither of my parents were able to give me and his death shattered my entire concept of myself and the world I lived in. Everything became completely meaningless and I gave up and gave myself over to my mother to be whoever she wanted me to be and to make it up to her, as if I shared in some guilt for his death just because I was like him.

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Sylvia,
Your post #22 triggered my feelings of abandonment, when my parents left me in a Psych Hospital at 15. I don’t even remember my mom or dad visiting me & when I asked her about it later, she said, they (the staff)asked her not to. What is that about?….I believed her & thought that it was about the need to separate from her, because they saw how close we were. Always believed we had a close knit & loving relationship, despite her put downs & withholding emotional support. My memories of then were very foggy, but I do clearly remember having painful memory flashes, after coming home from the hospital & feeling I was the Crazy One. I’m realizing I was traumatized by being in the hospital. I could not speak of it. I did make friends there & when they sent letters or called, my mom actually got on the phone & told the person not to call anymore. She was mean about it, saying I don’t need anyone from that hospital calling me. I thought bad & did believe that was mean! What a Stigma it was to have been there for my parents & I believed it!! What I believe now, is they saw how controlling & manipulative she was! I do remember clearly a staff person at the hospital saying, that I was the scapegoat in the family. I was too afraid to ask questions like, What does that mean?, Why was I? & How does that happen?” I was such a compliant girl who believed pretty much everything my dear mom said. Boy, I’m Angry! I too was called “too quiet”, “too shy”, “fearful” & “cried wolf”. So many labels & judgments!
My mom also told me that the hospital said, I had a “chemical imbalance” & perhaps that’s true. Yet, i wasn’t into drugs & I wasn’t born that way! The whole focus was on me and I suffered from depressions & anxiety. Always, second guessing & doubting myself. Even as an Adult, she told me that she chalked up my time in the hospital as “Peer Pressure”. Really!…It was more than that!….My parents were NOT EMOTIONALLY THERE FOR ME! It’s been a long standing pattern in my life. Instead of not being there & putting me down, they needed to build me up! Not Cover up the Abuse!! My Parents caused me the most damage! My sister had her issues & problems resulting from parental damage too, yet she rebelled & verbally fought back. She was the first sibling to leave my parent’s house & was told by my rageful father, that if she leaves don’t ever come back! How punishing & cruel!…She was like 20 at the time. She was an adult with a job!…That was about Control! I don’t understand why she couldn’t leave at the time. Unfortunately, I didn’t leave home, until after 20 & I married. Not healthy for me & I too had to fight for my independence. I rarely took boyfriends home & stayed out a lot- if I was not working, I was with my boyfriend. It was devastating when we broke up after 4 years together. We dated when we both we in HS (different towns). No wonder why I was devastated! My main source of acceptance & approval was gone. I felt abandoned again. This is powerful ! I’m tearful right now! My parents set me up for abandonment & abuse!!
Sonia

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Just to clarify, When I said, “what a stigma it was to have been there for my parents & I believed it!” I meant to say, what a stigma for my parents to have a daughter in the psych hospital & I believed it. I continued to struggle with feelings of inadequacy, shame & guilt. It’s Sick!
Sonia

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Hi SMD,
I am so sorry to hear of your struggle with depression and anxiety, I have experienced this myself, and my heart goes out to you. What made me really angry when I was reading your post was that your parents obviously took NO RESPONSIBILITY WHATSOEVER for your condition! As if it was something you did deliberately to upset them. When I attempted suicide, all my mother was worried about was the scandal. My left arm was in plaster after I cut my wrists and she told everyone I had fallen on some broken glass. She actually started to believe this story herself. She never once asked me why I had done it, I think she was probably scared of what she might hear. She cancelled my hospital appointment with the Pshyc., saying “there has never been mental illness in this family and were not going start now!” Wow, she shoulda looked in the mirror. She would’ve seen severe mental illness staring right back at her! Like you, I have had severe abandonment issues. I am still working on this now.Its a lonely and scary place to be, isnt it? Sonia, how could we not felt abandoned, with parents like ours? Good luck
Love Sylvia x

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Hi Alaina,

I am so sorry to hear the tragic story of your uncle. What a terrible thing to have happened to such a young man. But I am glad that you had his love and validation for a while, even if it was a short while. “Validators” are so important – for me it was my paternal grandparents. If it wasnt for their love and support, I wouldnt be alive today.
Love, Sylvia x

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Hi Aurele, and thank you. Its so wonderful to have the support from you and all the others here.I hope everything is going well for you. Its great to have people to share your healing journey with, isnt it?
Love, Sylvia x

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I used to have headaches all the time. I thought it was normal. I’d have 3-4 headaches a week. After I retrieved a particular repressed memory about my dad, my headaches went away. I think the fact that I could just admit the truth of the memory to myself, never trusting myself to know the truth because I was labelled the over-reactor, the exaggerator.

What you said about trying hard to believe you were right about having been wronged, and beating yourself up for not being able to get over it … really resonates.

Thanks for your words.

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Melody,
Comment 8 really touched my heart. It describes my life as well. My mother is also very sneaky. I too was the only blonde. My mom has bleached her hair blonde forever. I’ve never seen her true dark color and I’m 44 years old. I remember her telling people at times that my hair is naturally blonde…. as if she created it in her womb, especially for me, allowing her to gloat about it. At home though, a different story ~ just as you said. It was a while before I came to know her wrath. I don’t know if that’s because I can’t remember before around age 8, or if she really didn’t treat me poorly until I was preteen. I just don’t know. Peace to you in healing Melody.

Pam,
#10…. OMG, EXACTLY!! If I pick apart every ugly thing my mother said to or about me, it is a perfect description of how she truly is. She said these things were my dad’s characteristics and I’d inherited them. That’s not true either. Now that I know my dad better (after many years of estrangement), I know he’s not what she described at all. She only described herself… to a tee. Eerily accurate. Lazy and waiting for my ship to come in (only one of hundreds of examples). Except that it was HER who married for money… TWICE!! And I was detassling corn at age 11, mowing lawns for money, etc. She couldn’t do those things though. She’s too pretty. She never even mowed our own lawn, let alone someone else’s. Thanks for your comment and support Pam. I love your tender understanding.

Darlene,
#11 ~ your comment just brings tears to my eyes. I am weepy lately so no alarm, haha!! I have been working a little too much I think. A lot of junk going on at my workplace as well. Thankfully, not involving me.

I long to be free of these burdens. I want to be healed and happy. I am really scared that might never happen. However, I read what I wrote above just now. I was super tired and I also realized (like Pam said about space) that I haven’t really had space from the blaming and implications lately. A few weeks ago, it was my stepdad coming after me in emails. This week it was my mom’s counselor saying I was angry, resentful, prideful, and unforgiving. I guess that could be why I’m a little discouraged. I can’t get away from the vipers. Actually, as I type, I’m certain it’s a big part of being stuck. The counselor succeeded in planting doubt in my mind. She’s a viper too. I am so so so fed up with hearing about how angry I am. Thinking about it is making me angry. And, I bet that’s the motivation behind it. UGH!! Thank you Darlene for giving me renewed hope!!

Alice,
Thank you for your voice and the link you shared. I haven’t gone to it, but I will after I post this. I’m sorry for your pain. I haven’t been through many of the things you endured. I’m so sorry you went through all of that. I agree that you have nothing to lose in letting it out. I let it out here, and in my journal, which I could accurately describe as one huge cuss word!! My anger is all over those pages and it’s an enormous relief. I literally feel less stress after I’ve journaled. I’m happy to meet you here Alice. I hope to see you again.

Sylvia,
#22, I can’t imagine hearing those things from a parent. That you would clean up the blood. It’s sickening that there was no concern for your heart. UGH!! I’m sorry you went through that horrible event and I wish you healing. I’m glad you shared.

Alaina,
I’m so happy you shared. I’m really sorry for your tears of sadness. It doesn’t matter to me what “position” you held in the family dynamic. All that matters (to me…. not as if that’s important, just sayn) is that you are hurting and this is the place to be when you hurt. I really needed to hear your voice because I know my sister (the golden child) really struggles, but she’s too quiet, or maybe in denial, to voice what it’s really like. Your voice gives me insight into what she’s experienced. I know the expectations were instilled when she was an infant, and carried on throughout her life. She lived up to them dutifully too. I have learned from here, that the golden child doesn’t have an easier path necessarily. Just a different one and perhaps equally damaging. I’m thankful for your comments and I hope to see you again.

Caden,
Thank you for your comment and understanding. You are so strong to be public with all that happened to you. I appreciate your support and perspectives as always. You are so wise and your insight always touches me in some way. My best to you Caden!!

SMD,
Wow, your post is so much more charged than in the past. I sense you pulling together a lot of strength lately. I’m thrilled for you. You are often in my thoughts and I hope you’re doing well as you continue to experience revelations… even the painful ones have a purpose, although not much fun. I have been weak and tearful lately. Working a lot has added some stress, but the contact from my stepdad and then my mom’s counselor hit me pretty hard too. I want to put earplugs in and block out the world so I can sort. Sort my thoughts and beliefs, truth from lies. Stop floundering and being on a roller coaster as of late. I hope with a little time out…. away from the badgering, I will feel freedom and relief again. It’s just been saddening and drudgery. UGH. I am an overcomer usually. I will overcome I guess. I think you will too. All my love to you Sonia.

Carol,
The one word that comes to my mind when I think of and infant is “precious”. I’m sorry that in your preciousness, your mother twisted things all around and found some lame reason to blame you. From an outsider, that sounds ridiculous, illogical, and insane. Not to mention heartless. It’s so strange though…. when a mother says things, no matter how unbelievable they are, we believe it. It goes against all we know with our heads, but it somehow penetrates our heart and becomes what we believe. Because our loving mother said it. I’m sorry you went through this.

To everyone,
After reading all these posts, I would like to wring some mothers’ necks. I am a fighter for the underdog most generally. I’d like to ask some of these mothers what the hell they were thinking. How can they justify the horrifying crap they say and do. To a small infant or child. It baffles my mind and makes me want to fight an honest fight of accountability for all of us who are hurting at the hands of our ruthless mothers, (and fathers). I have never been blessed to carry a baby of my own. I can’t imagine that if I did, I could look at the baby in all it’s preciousness and defenselessness and unleash blame or any other abuse. That says so much about a mother and how deep their true love goes. It doesn’t seem to extend past themselves. Why WHY do they even have kids? Someone to punish. Darlene, I too have seen people set their kids up to fail, so they’ll have a reason to come unglued and beat on them and the like. It’s so sickening.

Peace, hope, and love to everyone here!
Mimi

ps ~ I’m so thankful for the participation and support. I am the black sheep, and I have been moved by this post and all the comments. Darlene, I needed to read this. It was a perfect fit for me specifically, and awesome timing. And, I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to hear from the guest speaker about forgiveness. Lookin forward!! xoxoxoxo

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Alaina,
I am so sorry about your uncle. That is a huge thing for a little girl to go through without some support from the adults in her life. It is very understandable that it would have such a deep and lasting impact on your life.
Hugs, Darlene

Sonia
When this happens to a kid there is SO much trauma involved in it. Being put in the hospital in the first place. (have you journal about why? the roots of all that) and then it being used against you to define you as “crazy” ~ that is such a form of control for so many people. As soon as I admitted that I took anti depressants everyone including my own husband treated me differently. It was not that I needed different treatment, it was like they now had an extra layer of permission to treat me like shit and if I said anything they could say “well Darlene is having some problems and is overly sensitive” or some other lame b.s. excuse.

I have realized over time that just because I was told something by my mother doesn’t mean it is true. Remember the dr. story when the teacher bullied me and my father bragged that HE got me out of the class when the truth was the the dr. had to threaten to get a lawyer. Manipulative people will say anything to be right and to get the upper hand.

Your comments are really excellent. I see a break through in all that pain!

Hugs and love ~ Darlene

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Hi Michelle,
It is amazing how health problems clear up when the root of the problem is discovered and dealt with. I had many medical symptoms clear up (headaches included) when I stopped fighting the truth. Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Sylvia
When a parent is more worried about what other people think than they are about a child that wants to die, that is a pretty big and horrible message to the child. And this is exactly what I am talking about in this site. The message to the child that did so much damage to that child. It is very hard to face that kind of truth, but facing it is really what set me free.
Thank you so much for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

Sonia, the above commetn to Sylvia is for you as well ~ what happened to you in the hospital and the nasty messages you got from your mother/family are totally damage producing.

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Everyone, As the black-sheep, the most damaging thing was being blamed for things that I also, wasn’t allowed to speak about. I was beat down and over-whelmed by being blamed for things I didn’t do and couldn’t understand why I was responsible for them. I don’t remember any of my own spankings but the one that sticks in my mind is of my sister being spanked for something my mother thought I did so, she was punishing my sister to punish me for lying. I don’t remember doing what I was accused of but I really don’t remember what it was that I was accused of and my sister was being spanked for. I remember overwhelming confusion and that became my permenent mindset. So many bad things were happening in my family and I couldn’t understand how I caused them. When we start to sort through the facts that created that confusion, like we do here, it is cathargic and over-whelming at the same time. It’s really normal, I think, to cry a lot and mourn those things we were blamed for and also, expected to eat. I call what I was a sin-eater. A sin-eater was an outsider in the Irish culture who ate the hearts of deseased people supposedly, ridding them of their sin by taking it within himself. That’s the way my family treated me. Sometimes, the term black-sheep is too soft for what happened to me.

Pam

41

Darlene, Sylvia, & Mimi,
Thanks for your supportive comments!

Sylvia,
You are so right about my parents not taking any Responsibility!….That has been an ongoing issue with them. They are so quick to point the finger & gave my family power over me. I became a giver, by being overly empathetic to them & overlooking my needs. This is how I coped & survived. This is so clear to me now, especially when the counselor pointed out that I need to not reach out as much to others & look at me. She doesn’t want me to lose myself. So True! I feel I’ve been doing that more by coming to this support group, however, it is Triggering intense feelings in me. I’m facing the trauma & it’s been helpful to receive the validation. I’m just not healed enough to be on here as much as I am. It’s about coping with the here & now. My PTSD is triggered & I’m struggling with any contact with my family. I have put a hold any any contact with family right now, so I can heal further. I love the support here because it’s been validating, that I’m not alone and I have more awareness of my issues & problems. My FOO is a big issue, as you all can tell. Anyway, I’ll be cutting back my time here because of the triggering of my symptoms. The biggest breakthrough is that I’m so aware that my FOO are Controlling & Manipulative people and it affected me deeply. I was Emotionally Abandoned….I can’t change my past, but I do have control over how I respond or react to all the trauma & pain that comes with it. I’m tired of suffering & I’m actively engaging in DBT again, to cope with my pain. Thanks for listening & offering Support!
Sonia

42

I meant I gave my FOO power over me. Also, my comment to Sylvia is meant for everyone here.
Sonia

43

Hi Sylvia,
thank you for your words. I am really glad that I had him in my life, though it was such a hard loss and it is sad that he never got to see his future. I am also really glad that you had your grandparents! I’ve heard that having just one person who can actually see you and validate you makes all the difference. What happened to you is just excruciating. I’m so sorry. There is so much pain in everyone’s stories here.

Mimi,
Thank you. I’m glad that my words meant something for you. Before my breakdown, I had no idea what was going on. There were little things I recognized once in a while maybe at the pit of myself but mostly I was incredibly brainwashed, in denial, repressed, oppressed, etc. My great aunt, who has a background in counselling and her own EFB-type story, basically swept in to help me, as she knew what was going on, having seen a lot of the dysfunction. Recently she reminded me of the first time I went out to visit her without my mom along and how when we were having our first real conversation, it took me a half-an-hour before I spoke to answer a question that she’d asked me. I don’t believe it was a particularly deep or profound question and I think my answer was maybe one or two short sentences. It made me cry when she reminded me because I remember how much I was struggling and it’s making me cry again. I really had no voice. I could carry a superficial conversation (sort of anyway, though not when I had my breakdown—in the week before I fell apart, it took every ounce of effort just to reply to meaningless banter about the weather). I am so glad that I had her in my life to sit with me for 30 min. while I pulled the words out. No one else would wait that long and no one else clued in that I needed someone to wait that long. Probably one of my biggest battles has been with silence. I don’t know if this is the case with your sister but it could be. My aunt said that she knew something was wrong with me when I went on a trip with her, my mom and another one of my aunts, and anytime there was an opening for me to speak, my mother’s voice would cut in before I had any chance and that I would walk kind of hunched in and to the side of her, “at her skirts,” my aunt said (I was 18). This summer when she saw me, she was ecstatic because I’d finally found my voice, I had free speech (it’s taken 8 years—since my breakdown). I can’t even write about this without getting really emotional. It has been like trying to push through boulders, the weight is so heavy. Maybe it is like that with your sister, too. I was just wondering now how it would have been if I had all the other pain but not the problem with speaking… it’s hard for me to even fathom because it’s been so pervasive… I remember it took two years for me to ask my mom if I could shave my legs. How ridiculous is that?! It was also really embarrassing to know that this was how I was, with words always going around and around in my head (and often completely benign conversation pieces) and unable to get them out. Sometimes I remember it was like the words in my head were so loud that I literally couldn’t hear anything outside of my head. This is still an issue for me but I’m getting a lot better. (That’s why writing has been crucial to me; most of my counselling work with my great aunt was via email.)… Anyway, on another note, I am so sorry about this crap people are putting on you—your mom’s counselor and your step-dad. I was impressed with your responses both times. It is overwhelming and exhausting work, standing up for oneself! I hope things will settle down for you soon so you can have some peace!

Hi Darlene,
Thanks! I appreciate the support. There was a period of time starting just before I was born and ending with this death, when “everyone was dying” (those were my brother’s words—he’s 3 years older than I and was therefore more aware of the reality). My dad’s parents died in a car accident and his brother drowned. My mom’s dad died in a logging accident and then her brother’s suicide. Plus at least a couple natural deaths of other extended family members (my brother, for example, was very close to our great grandpa who died at this time as well). Neither of my parents were able to grieve any of those major deaths, as far as I can tell (lots and lots of unresolved issues), and I believe that accounts for a lot of their emotional unavailability, then marital problems, etc.. So when you say about my uncle’s death—a huge thing to go through without the support of adults—yes. I remember always being worried about worrying my mom about anything—it was a refrain throughout my life. I had no support but also I was supposed to BE the support—at least as I got older into my teens. She also had a major car accident when I was 4 and has had chronic back pain since then and I was always aware that a bad mood meant tension, tension meant more back pain, more back pain meant more bad mood. And then there was the continuous drama with her mother, which caused her a lot of pain, frustration, etc… So pleasing her and never having any problems became the name of the game… It was hard to break from this system because I can feel for both my parents, but I had/have my own pain and they were and are adults. I needed parents and emotionally I really didn’t have them.

Anyway, thank you to you all. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed and emotional lately… I think I need a breather!

44

Ps. I just realized how ridiculous and obvious it was that I just wrote “I needed parents and emotionally I really didn’t have them” to all of you! when everyone here is in the same boat or worse. Most of my life I really believed I had wonderful parents, so to say that is a big deal for me. Last year I had a therapist tell me that I grew up motherless and fatherless but I resisted it still. I guess I wrote that line for myself because I’m trying to rewrite my story when for so long it was just my mother’s story.

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Alaina, Being able to speak about the things that happened to me was a big deal for me too. I kept some big secrets for decades. I relived them almost, every day but I never talked about them. When I first decided to confront my FOO about my childhood, I wrote a letter to my parents with copies to my siblings. My parents were living on our property so, I took the letter and gave it to my mom and mailed the copies to my siblings. I went home and shivered under a blanket, waiting for my mothers reply but their was none. Finally, my sister called when she received her copy. My brother never said anything. It was a bizarre reaction and not what I expected. I could barely tell my husband anything. My voice would break and the words just wouldn’t come out. Now, going on six years later, I tell the world about what happened to me as a kid. It was a hard, painful process, but life is so much better without all those secrets and I’m glad to have the little girl who suffered those things welcomed back as an important part of myself.

Love,
Pam

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I have an antique black sheep statue on my dresser – I kind of love it. Finally I embrace the black sheep image that I know to be a truth- speaking and truth- seeking Loving spirit! Black is beautiful!!;)

I reject the notions of other family members that are super critical of me just being myself. I wasted a lot of time trying to win them over or just please them in some way.

A post somewhere talked about how great an uncle their dad was to their cousins. This has been a great part of my black sheep labeling by the family. My parents treat my cousins like they are a breed apart from their own children – I too am one of five. The rest of the family was some kind of Royalty and they treat them this way to this day – My siblings and I are but serfs, excepting the golden child – blah blah –
Like I said, black is Beautiful! (should have said bahah bah ah… )

47

My mother used to sat “t is for tact but not for Elizabeth”. I wonder what truths I was telling? I grew up thinking I was tactless, which is so not true.

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Tamara,
I recently saw a little porcelain group of sheep statues at a local store. Three white, and one black in the group. I happen to love sheep and I’ve had my eye on this little group for a while. I think since this post, I’m going to buy it. They’re all adorable, even the black one!
Xoxo,
Mimi

49

Wow this article makes so much sense to me. I have always felt like the outsider with my family. I physically could never just sit together as :a family” with my parents and pretend everything was Ok. I would cry non stop. So was labelled as the “stubborn one’ amongst other words. While the rest of my brothers and sisters could happily pretend that everything was fine. I could never do it. It felt wrong and I never knew why. Obviously now I know the reason why. As my body could not pretend and was showing me my truth.

Its hilarious as I was also described as a story teller, moody and stubborn. Because I would not jump when I was told. There was literally no self expression allowed. When my mother and father were happy than I had to be happy, when they were sad I HAD to be sad ( they would make sure I was,not that I needed any help on that) ,when they were angry they exerted there full power and terrorised me. I can see now it was there TOTAl dysfunction and there issues they vomited on me as I was the oldest. Obviously that was harder to see as a child ,when you view your parents as GOD. As they literally had the power to kill me if they choose. To this very day I still have issues with being vunerable. I was bought up to believe that I was the problem. It was all very incestuous ,I listened to my disgusting father poor his relationship problems on me, than my mother would take me aside and do the same. I was confused by my role. I never knew if I was the child, the mother or the wife.All I knew was that it did not feel right,however I was waiting for someone to tell me what I felt!!

Thanks Darlene reading this article has bought up a lot of emotion in me. As I see ME in all of it. Even now confronting my parents and brothers and sisters about my incestuous rape by my own father, my mother knew however choose to ignore it. Has had MASSIVE repercussions on my life( which they do not want to hear about or acknowledge or even care out). I have always been an outsider and feel so even more. As they all rally together. My brother quoted “no Man wants to be with a bitter angry woman, so sort myself out”. That is honest support in their eyes. With support like that who needs enemies!!

That is why I love your blogs, they have been a help HUGELY for me coming to terms with my own losses.Especially when I was coming to terms with a lot of stuff in 2011, finding your blog helped me. In a society where it is drummed in ” Honour Your parents” ( which is what I had to listen to every day when they abused me) Children were forgotten along the way. I know my truth and to help myself I NEED without a doubt to separate, find my own voice from the amoeba called ‘family’,where there is only one voice and one distorted voice. As long as I pretend than I can fit in, if I question things and start remembering than I am not allowed in. Which is fine with me.

I just need to start trusting in myself and believing in me.

Love Always
Sinitta
xxx

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You can call me a black sheep any day..I wear that title as a badge of honour in my family. Yeah Ali!!

I would say recently to my husband, when they would cut me down and demean me…
“why do they say that? its like waving a red flag at a bull!”

Per earlier posts, my mother also accused me of multiple sex partners and manipulation of those partners to marriage. I was 18. Total of two boyfriends. (total sex maybe 4 X)
What??
I never had ANY info about sex. Did not understand it other than a boyfriend liked me better if I let him do it” to me “. Never did it without clothes. Had a child that I had to pretend I was not having, had to give it up (it was an it not my baby if it was mentioned at all) and later could not admit to anyone that I had him and kept that secret for 32 years. All not knowing even how sex worked. Then she labeled me a whore.
Oh yes I was the blacksheep. Particularly after my bad mistake. It PROVED that I was bad and that
they were right about my defectiveness. I could never be good enough to redeem that terrible error.
I really believed that.
What Mimi said was very true for me. I was the noncompliant irrational person in my family in my teens. For the next 30 years I tiptoed around trying not to upset or offend them anymore while they belittled me.
When my lost son finally contacted me, my mother was upset that he did not contact her first so she could make the call to me..saying “guess who called?”Oh she so wanted to steal that magic moment in my life.
But the agency contacts the birth mother first..its policy thank goodness and so I have a wonderful son, amazing daughter in law and 2 super grandchildren. All far away from the disfunction of my nasty family.

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My internet went down yesterday for 18 hours! I am not going to be able to reply to every comment but I am reading and catching up.

Sonia
Yay for the breakthrough!

Pam,
YES ~ sometimes “black sheep” is way too soft of a term.

Alaina
We all need to validate that we didn’t have what/who we needed. We need to say it; need to write it. I fought that truth for so long ~ it was so deeply planted in me that I was mistaken that I had to say it a LOT before I owned it enough to get past it.

Hugs, Darlene

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Tamara
Your comment is interesting to me. I don’t think there has ever been a discussion about other family members such as cousins better than they treat their own kids but I have seen that a LOT. In my husbands family, we commented on this often. I believe this is about the parents of those cousins more than it is about the cousins themselves. (I think that which ever sibling is the top of the pecking order factors into how the cousins are regarded)
I am going to look into this more deeply.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Elizabeth
Welcome to Emerging from Broken.
Excellent example of how we are put down and believe those things!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Sinitta
Yes. In a dysfunctional family parents set themselves up to be “god” and they rule. And we believe they do hold our lives in their hands that they decide if we live or die and it works for them. As an adult it was really hard to realize that it was no longer the truth. That is the brainwashing that we are fixing. This “being god” still works for them until we realize that it isn’t actually true anymore.
Thank you for sharing ~ By the way there has been a new comment on my other post about Honour your Parents (comment by Don)and what the true meaning of that saying is.
You can read it here ~ http://emergingfrombroken.com/the-deception-of-an-emotionally-unavailable-father/#comment-129937
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Karen
I have been surprised by the amount of comments about mothers who accused teenage daughters of having sex. This was a big issue for me as a teenager and one of the most difficult and confusing things that my mother did to me. I don’t think I have written an article about that stuff yet but seeing how many others this happened to, perhaps I should!
That story about your mother being upset that your son didn’t contact her first ~ WOW. Isn’t that a typical reaction! I am stunned and yet I know exactly what you are talking about!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

55

Yes, I am persistent, kept on trying to be validated for many years (should have realized you can’t get validation from an abuser, but I hadn’t yet recognized her as an abuser at that point.) I first tried to talk about having been sexually abused as a child 15 years ago, but she didn’t speak to me for 2 years (we live 1000 miles apart). I tried to get back into the family fold by promising I would be silent and “move on”, “put it in the past”, but hoped that my family would have some insight and want to talk about it some day. I waited 12 years, it never happened, I finally said enough is enough. But not before trying one last time last November.

At first I wrote her a letter trying to explain, educate her. She wrote me back saying if I stopped having such negative thoughts, then maybe “we” could have a relationship. So I went to see her in person.

She always said she didn’t remember anything, but this wasn’t true. The few times I have been able to dig up any information from her, it has always been divulged by her lashing out at me, her trying to shut me up by humiliating me. Little did she realize how precious these tid-bits of information were. In the past, her attempts to humiliate me have illuminated repressed memories on several occasions.

So the last time I tried to be validated by her, she told me about another incident meant to portray what an “over-reactor” I was as a child. How when I was 5 years old, I had come back from the dentist (my dad had taken me) and my face was all blotchy white and red and I was “in shock”. I remember that day. When the dentist had tried to put his hand in my mouth, I bit down on the dentist’s finger so hard he begged my father to make me let him go.

What was it that sent me into shock? It was someone trying to force something into my mouth. There is a huge correlation between child sexual abuse and fear of dentists, and it was what had happened to me when I was 5. A stranger had abducted me from the parking lot where I was sent out to play unsupervised. He took me to a house where there was another man, and that is all I remember. But I am able to put 2 and 2 together and I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO ME.

My mother meant this story to portray what an exaggerator I always was.

I had tried on a couple of occasions as a child to tell her I had been sexually abused, but I might as well have never tried to say a word because that is how she responded: as as if I hadn’t said a word.

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Michelle
HOLY SMOKES! This is a freeking typical example of exactly how it goes! And consider the damage that it does being responded to that way! I am stunned and yet I know how typical this is at the same time! It is outrageous. but you said something key when you said

Michelle Said: “Yes, I am persistent, kept on trying to be validated for many years (should have realized you can’t get validation from an abuser, but I hadn’t yet recognized her as an abuser at that point.)”

It is so key to realize first that the way we have been responded to is actually abusive and dismissive. We don’t see these people through the grid of truth; it is an important first step to see that their actions and responses are abusive!

Thank you for sharing this Michelle. Not being heard about something so serious has very serious consequences!
Hugs, Darlene

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Michelle,
Abusers are covered in DENIAL….They are so wrapped up in their illusion of truth. I used to think they weren’t capable, but I now think it’s more about willfulness. They don’t want to face the pain or truth, if they acknowledge the issues, that involves looking at REALITY (something bad/pain actually happened), which involves a level of ACCEPTANCE. I’m learning about Radical Acceptance which is basically accepting that something is what it is, whether you like it or not. Painful events are hard to Accept. Who wants Pain, however, by looking at it you see what caused it. There are usually many factors. Of course, Abusers don’t want to be blamed & their back goes up in defense. There in lies the Control Tactics to distract & point the finger at the victim. It is what they do. I’ve come to radically accept my family are Abusive, Controlling, Manipulative & Negative & I was Scapegoated. I have many emotions around that fact. However, I do not accept the abuse & have chosen to stay away from family right now, since they trigger strong emotions & memories from past trauma. I’ve come to a deep understanding & processing of the whys & hows of the abuse. Yet, it’s important for me to stay in the moment by stopping the spin these realizations have on me. I’m learning valuable skills about how to do that in DBT. It’s not for everyone. Some people are more process oriented & others are not. Although I tend to go towards processing, the cognitive/behavioral skills are helpful in managing the stress. An extra layer of my distress comes from my PTSD. It’s been hard to cope with that. Yet, I’m willing to do the work needed for my emotional health.
Sorry, I was going to limit my comments here, yet I felt a need to spill again. I’m continuing to sort out & accept the Truth.
Sonia

58

This article is me on every sense of the word and the fact I saw this article today of all days just blows my mind. I have always been an outsider in my own family. I was adopted to start with, mom “always wanted a girl”. Well, she had 3 boys and wanted a girl so they went and got me. But, she soon discovered I was not what she wanted. I was energetic, bubbly, happy, loved music/singing, had lots of friends, etc. Mom hated these things about me, she would call me annoying, ridiculous, a show-off, stop getting all the attention, etc. Reality was, I was a social butterfly and people loved to talk to me and I see these same traits in my daughter and I adore them about her because I can relate and see myself in her. I don’t know why mother despise who I was, but my personality was all wrong. I was also super tall from an early age on, yet again, can’t be helped. So mom “just knew” at the age of 2 that I was going to be obese and have weight problems because I put things in my mouth…..let’s see…..show me a toddler who didn’t?! She would brag about putting me to bed and then serving dessert to the rest of the family when I was small. I was NOT a heavy child, I was too busy and on the go to have a weight issue. I was 5’8″ by 7th grade and wearing a size 8. Does that sound like a fat kid to you? She would call my friends’ parents to make sure if I stayed overnight at their homes I did not get any pizza, chips, soda, ice cream, only fruits and vegetables. Most the parents rolled their eyes and let me eat what I wanted. I was involved in lots of sports and my parents just didn’t have interest in coming to any of my games. But, they were regulars at my brothers wrestling meets and football games. My freshman year of high school one of my friends parents had to buy them tickets to come to my play and I even had lines and for a freshman, that was a big deal! Mom used to make fun of my cheerleading days. I also had to clean my brother’s rooms along with my own. He would sit around and watch tv while I had to go into his room, pick up his dirty clothes and wash them, make his bed and put his things away and dust. He didn’t have to cook, clean, nothing. He learned a fun game early on, a game that made my life a living HELL and to this day makes me cringe. He loved butterscotch revel ice cream. Mom kept the big pails in the house for him to have ANY time. I was not allowed to touch ice cream EVER. I would watch him sit next to me while I did homework and my stomach rumbling, I would ask for something to eat and it was always a no. He would shovel in the ice cream like a pig at a trough. He would also get Captain Crunch cereal, hostess and little debbie treats and many more little snacks like that. I was forbidden from touching them and I didn’t because there were huge consequences for it. So what he would do is eat almost all of it up, then wait for mom to be in earshot and then he would open the freezer and holler, “Hey, who ate all the ice cream? I didn’t hardly get any!” Right away, mom was in the room before the words were completely out of his mouth, immediately I was yanked up to my room and spanked until I cried and then I would hear her comforting him downstairs that she would get him more tomorrow. He did this with all of his treats, I was getting slapped, spanked, grounded, and more all for things I was not doing. I lived at my brother’s mercy wondering, “was he going to lie and get me in trouble today, or leave me in peace for a day?” It was hell on earth tiptoeing around that jackass. Mom would tell me my butt looked like the broad side of a barn and other lovely compliments. She was always telling me what a cow and slob I was and I would never get a boy and was always mocking me. Well, my brother jumped right on the bandwagon and they used to sit and make games of it. Laughing at me, mocking me, chiming in together, it was the worst time of my life. There is so much more I could share, but perhaps someday I will write a book about these experiences so I can finally heal. But yes, I am the ultimate black sheep of the family, first part of my life because I allowed it, now I’m the black sheep because I refuse to be insulted and made to feel bad, now I just don’t answer the e-mails, return the calls, etc. And when people ask me about lies my family creates, instead of just letting people believe it, I now speak the truth, sometimes I get compassion and love, a lot of times I have more family not speaking to me or lose another friend. It’s amazing how the people that are supposed to help you feel the best about yourself, be there as your support and love you unconditionally are the ones who tears you to shreds and mess you up for life. I don’t care how old I get, there will always be days I look in the mirror and I will never be ok with what I look like and sometimes I even stop myself from laughing out loud because of being told how terrible it sounded. Old habits die hard and sometimes never die. Thank you for this article…….it’s a comfort to know I’m not alone in the herd.

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Amy,
You said you were a black sheep because you allowed it. It sounds like you are still blaming yourself. How did you “allow” it? You would not have even known what proper regard was, so how could you have known how to stop it? Love is not just about providing shelter and food. Children are supposed to be treated with tenderness and dignity. I hope you realize that you did nothing to deserve being treated so horribly. And she groomed your brother to treat you horribly too. My heart goes out to you.

60

Pam,
Thanks for sharing your experience. I appreciate it and hope to continue to follow such a path to speak freely… It’s ironic because my mom was a big proponent of “no secrets.” She’d say it all the time but apparently there was some fine print!

Tamara and Darlene,
I was the one who wrote about my dad being a better uncle. In my case, I think it has to do with the control my mom has over him. I think when there are so many people around, it diffuses her control, so he has more confidence to be himself. One thing he said to me, while I was trying to deal with my issues with them, was that when my brother and I became teenagers, he was scared of us. I think he didn’t know how to act with us, and my mom was always taking control and being The Parent, anyway, so he just went with that. (To be clear, though, I’ve definitely had plenty of positive experiences with him; it’s just that in the ways I needed him, he wasn’t there). She was very possessive of me, though, and I’m not sure what she would have allowed, anyway… These two chose each other for reasons, after all… The other thing with these cousins is that they are all (more or less) unique, unfettered individuals—they grew up with the freedom to be themselves and so maybe it’s just easier to be a great uncle, to be himself, with them. Also maybe because my aunt really likes him and that would encourage him, too, whereas my mom was always picking him apart, so he’d wait on her lead… But for me, I think it might be more about the fact that you need more from a dad. The expectations are different. The relationship is different. The fact that my dad is intelligent, knowledgeable, interesting, goofy, nice, creative, always wanting to lend a hand, etc. is really great and as an uncle, perfect, what more do you need? What does it matter, as the nephew or niece, that he is completely controlled by your aunt? The dynamics aren’t the same. I’m the daughter being used, smothered, controlled, and he’s not doing anything about it; he’s telling me what I should be doing for her. He’s giving me the message that this is my worth, and not just my mom. He’s teaching me how to give myself away, how to repress my emotions, disregard my needs and not stand up for myself. That really never enters into the equation between him and my cousins. My cousins have remarked about how mean my mom is to my dad but then for the most part my dad’s just a victim and “a saint,” as this aunt said a few years ago; whereas, for me, it isn’t that simple (I think my aunt now understands this, too, the more she knows of my story)…

So, anyway, that’s the deal with my dad… My great aunt suggested that perhaps as he sees me come more and more into my own and doing well, it might spur him on as well… and who knows, we’ll see…

Anywho, I’ve blabbed enough! All my best to everyone! xo.A

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[...] this “mini snapshot of truth” today because of a profound comment that I got on my blog post “How Children Become the Black Sheep of the family” this morning from Michelle. (comment [...]

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NEW POST everyone!
Michelle
Your comment in # 55 about not having recognized your mom as an abuser yet, struck me so profoundly that I wrote and published a new post about it today
The new post is called “Understanding What Abuse IS and Recognising Abusers”
This new posts contains links to government accepted and legal definitions of abuse and neglect. Before I knew what abuse was I didn’t know what an abuser really was either.
Hugs, Darlene

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Alaina
What you are talking about is really important. It took me a long time to realize the damage my father did by his not getting involved and not saying anything about the way that I was being regarded. You are absolutly right that the message he sends is just as invalidating and damaging.
Thank you for sharing that.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Amy
Welcome to EFB
Sounds like you lived a nightmare like so many others here.
When we are kids we don’t “allow it” we have no choice in it. It was so important for me to understand that it was nothing to do with me. Living in that kind of dysfunction is nasty but it is posible to heal! It is the healing process that we talk about here so agian, welcome!
thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

64

Thanks Darlene,

You know, I really, really love my dad a lot, and so I really want to say, to be able to say, that he was a great dad, but I can’t—he wasn’t a great dad at all. He wasn’t a dad. I can think of him and in many ways can say he’s a great person. I have, for example, had some great times with him, really interesting conversations. As people, because we have similarities, we connect very easily, particularly intellectually. He’s the type of person who can remember almost everything he’s ever read, so he’s fascinating. He really likes philosophy and so do I, so I have plenty of debate conversation memories. I remember saying once that if my dad wasn’t my dad, he was just a neighbour or something, I’d probably drop by to visit on a regular basis just because I like him that much… I didn’t really think about it, though, how he didn’t really give me anything more than what such neighbour would give (and in fact I “visited” with him much less as a dad than I probably would have as a neighbour)… My dad also knows this and because I love him, it also breaks my heart, too, because I can see this—how sad he is that he failed to be my dad. For his sake, I want to say it’s okay, but I can’t do that—it wasn’t okay. So often throughout the years, he’d say of me “a girl after my own heart,” after I’d randomly say something he’d connect to. He knows the truth, he acknowledged it and apologized very sincerely a long time ago (in some way I think he was almost waiting to do this) but I think he thinks he can’t change—it’s just the way it is, who he is—or because he’s too dependent on my mom or that it would be a betrayal or going against my mom, I don’t know. He loves her and doesn’t know that that doesn’t mean he has to comply or accept abuse, doesn’t know it’s abuse, etc… I’m hoping that counselling will help him and that maybe my great aunt is right about just seeing how I’m doing might spur him on. It doesn’t take away the past, nor my pain, but I’m so willing to forgive and move forward, as long as there is change. I know his own childhood and while it doesn’t change the part he played in the damage I suffered, I do understand what stopped him, and what’s done is done. I won’t hold a grudge against someone who fully acknowledges, fully apologizes, and—hopefully—fully changes, not when there’s a possibility of something real, something good, in the future. I won’t let the past spoil my future. But it does require him to finally take his life in his hands and make the changes, and I can’t make him do that… so again, I’ll just have to wait and see but not hold onto it because I know it may not happen. I can’t control what other people do, just try to live my own life the best I can. There are other people in the world besides my parents—people who can treat me well, with fairness, equality, love, respect, etc…. what I deserve, what everyone deserves.

65

Hi Karen

#50 Thank you, it’s such a relief to me that I’m not part of my FOO.

My mother was violent and neglectful and took her frustrations out on us. When we wet our beds (often) she made us strip naked, line us up one by one and get our punishment by beating us with a bamboo mat beater (looks like a squash racket). This was to teach us not to wet our beds. Looking it back, no wonder we did, we were all nervous wrecks.

And my father just let it all happen, he was scared of her. All but myself and a sister (8 kids), are still in contact with them, and continuing the sheep analogy, jump when my mother says jump.

66

Also, I realize, too, that it was because I loved my dad and wanted him to be proud of me that I didn’t break off much earlier with my mom. Literally, in fact, I put off cutting off contact with them for a while and considered waiting till my dad died but I couldn’t do that. It couldn’t be about taking care of my dad’s feelings, when he didn’t take care of mine, when he was the dad and was supposed to care for me. It was very difficult, though, because he was so sad when I cut off, asking my aunt if I loved him… and yet he still did something very hurtful to me after that, because of all his dysfunction, so, yeah… then there’s nothing left to do—the adult in one’s brain must take over and make executive decisions for the child in one’s heart, no matter the consequences.

67

Tamara,
Funny you mention cousins. I have a female cousin who is an oncologist. She was offered modeling work as well. My sister and I refer to her as, “the daughter our mother never had.”! She can do no wrong in my mothers eyes. None of our accomplishments could ever match those of a doctor from Harvard. The golden child from my foo was the only one who ever came close. Mother took a pretty dim view of my sister (the golden child) resigning from her corporate position to stay home with her children. My sister started to slip out of the golden child position at that time. Pretty sick.

So many similarities among abusers – mind bending!!
Xoxo,
Mimi

68

Hi Michelle,

Wow I did the same with my mother for years. Kept going back and looking for validation. Each time she would abuse me again and again,especially when I was at my weakest and vunerable she would pounce on me. I would leave feeling disoreintated and it would take me a week to get back to normal.

Just like you when I bought up my own memories of sexual abuse, she called me a liar an exaggerator. I begged her to help me and she coldly told me I would get over it. Even though I move to another country to get away from her, it was like she still had this massive pull on me and was still attacking me on the other side. It always ended up being about her,I have always played the role of her “Mother” and finally decided in the end it was either her or me. I choose me !!

Funny thing is over the years she has never changed, she is still and always has been a cold heartless woman. I realised that I was the one pining and hoping from every converstaion that my mother will finally apologise and validate me.

She never will and I have now accepted that. I changed my phone number,address etc ..so they have no way of contacting me and abusing me anymore.. As Im defending myself and looking after me now.

Your mother will never change, what is important now is that you surround yourself with a good support system now.
Love Always
Sinitta
xx

69

Alaina
I can relate to the dad stuff that you share except that my father was never interested in me in the way that yours was in you. But My father was the last person that I realized had done his share of the damage in my life with his passive abuse and disinterest in me as a person and the damage he caused by not stopping my mother. I don’t know if my father was aware of anything or not, I have met few people as fogged out as my father, but I had to realize the damage he did anyway. It was the damage he caused that I had to validate if I were to heal from it. And our parents have a choice. People say “they will never change” but I have seen parents make the effort and change. I have changed drastically as a parent. My husband changed as a husband and as a parent. We put in that effort. People can choose to listen to other people like my husband finally chose to listen to me. And he listened to me about the emotional damage he was doing to the kids too. He changed. Everyone has the same choice.
You sound solid and clear! I know how scary it is to be in the waiting place. I held my breath when I stood up to my parents. and I survived their decisions. Like you said, I too deserved more that what they were willing to contribute to my life. Knowing that was huge! Thank you for sharing all of this!
Hugs, Darlene

70

@ Sinitta,
Thank you for your validation and encouragement, Sinitta. (big hug)

71

Darlene,
I also have seen people being able to change. My husband chose to listen to me too. And I have changed as a parent too. When we know better, we can do better. Gentle on myself and others.
Thanks for your encouragement and validation.
xo
Michelle

72

Mimi – Recently the GC, my sister has been slipping in the ratings too. She has a corporate big name job but mother does not like her husband who recently peirced his ear in his 60′s (i’m sorry but that is just good comedy) Anyway, my cousin also is the daughter my mother never had…actually she is the age my other sister would be if she had not died. She is dating a man who owns tv and radio stations so this is very appealing to the weird show-off side of my mom and dad. They go to the best restaurants etc.. When my Aunt died I wanted to fly with my mom to her memorial (before no contact)she wanted to go with my cousin instead.
That might have been the biggest favor my mom ever did for me, it began my deeper understanding of the sick dynamic in my Family Of Origin. That is when I discovered Darlene’s blog and really started getting my self back and my heart healed.

73

Michelle post #55
I’m so sorry this happened to you. I cannot imagine how you cope. But the truth is the truth and if your birthmother chooses to NOT see what happened to you it is in fact her mental blindness. A part of your post reasonated with me when you said, at that point I didn’t know I was being abused. I think there comes a point when a light bulb comes on in your head and you reach for something to explain what has happened to you all your life. This site is what finally did it for me, I’m not really sure how I even stumbled across it. Even though I am not happy to have found out that it probably never will be over, ie I will never have a mother (and father) that truly loves me without strings and games and games. And in keeping with the topic the Blacksheep role is not for me, I am rejecting it. But in doing so it seems I have lost my two sisters for sure and perhaps my brothers. Apparently they are so ingrained with my playing the role of trouble, as my mother calls me, that when I started standing up for myself they are done with me. I haven’t heard a word from either of them. They have also been posting things online like “Life is too short… and Don’t blame your problems on this and that.” I can they are fighting mother’s war. (All the while she just sits back and acts like a perfect angel to my sibs. I know that this will never be over, and there are days when I am really discouraged, but I am glad for knowledge. Knowledge is power, and Emerging From Broken is a godsend. Thanks again all for your insight everyone. And thanks to Darlene for all of her cyber-hugs! Peace!

74

Darlene,
If it’s not ok for me to just say this, I’m sorry but this may be triggering for some. I have tried to keep it short.

Me too, my family has chosen not to speak to me. My sister hasn’t spoken to me in 3 years, told my SIL (sister-in-law) she doesn’t have a sister. I’m being blamed that she had a heart attack because of me. My SIL is the only one in my family who has validated my story, because she my brother could never talk about it but she knew there was a story and she was glad to finally hear it from me, I guess.

No one calls me. But if they did call, I wouldn’t take the call. Even my brother, who I love dearly, because he lives so close to my mother. I just stopped communicating with them all and vice versa.

My sister’s last message to me was a fb post:
BREAKING NEWS:.The Pity Train has just derailed at the intersection of Suck It Up & Move On, and crashed into We All Have Problems, before coming to a complete stop at Get the Hell Over It. Any complaints about how we operate, can be forwarded to 1-800-waa-aaah with Dr. Sniffle Reporting LIVE from Quit your Bitchin’.

Then she had a heart attack. My other brother also recently died of a heart attack at 50 years old. All my uncles on my mother’s side had heart trouble. It runs in the family, but I’m being blamed for having caused my sister’s heart attack. (Don’t take into account that she smoked like a chimney for 30 years!) All because I began to post on fb the truth of my story. I had defriended her (which was her excuse for returning unopened the last letter I sent my mother. I had sent copies of what I wrote to my mother to both my sister and brother because I was afraid that my story would be twisted by my mother. But my sister returned that letter and wrote on it “You shouldn’t have defriended me on fb”. I think she’s a lot like my mother. They all tell me “put it in the past,” “you just want to say bad things about people.” Except for my SIL, she believes me. But we don’t talk now. They live very close to my mother. It is best to be NC, but I doubt they will even try.

My mother supposedly has a bit of money invested. I think she tried to bribe our silence after my alcoholic dad died. I kinda feel sorry for him now, but I was terrified of him then. I only started feeling safe enough to start healing after he died. But I got sidetracked because because I never saw my mother’s hand in what happened to me. I thought she was terrified of my dad too. I tried talking to her about it 15 years ago, but she wouldn’t talk about it, and if I pushed she would humiliate me. I went no contact. She never called. I called her 2 years later. I just couldn’t bear not having a family. I hoped if I just shut up, they might come around. It never happened. When my brother died 2 years ago, it brought a lot of truths out and I began to see that there was something wrong. My mother had no tears for her dead son at the funeral, the son who went to visit her every week and took her shopping and hung out with her. At my father’s funeral 15 years earlier, she gave me shit for crying a tear on my father’s suit. She’s cold. Something is wrong with her.

Does she belong in the rank of those who should be forgiven because they know not what they do?

75

Hi Michelle
I don’t fly with all that “forgive abusive people stuff” unless they sincerely WANT to be forgiven because they understand what they did that was wrong. I don’t care if they know what they are doing or not ~ the damage is the damage. That little note she sent you on FB is horrible and totally abusive. There is a little truth leak in there too; I am referring to her note that said “you shouldn’t have defriended me of FB” Is that some sort of admission that she is going to get or is getting revenge??? It sounds like she is indicating that whatever she does now YOU brought on yourself.

I got one of those nasty suck it up notes once through the contact form on this website (a woman felt the need to tell me that she was leaving the site due to “too much whine and not enough suck it up” and I published it publically and I got a HUGE response and total support for what we do here. People are so quick to have all the answers like “get over it” but they don’t know how, and they say forgive but no one validates that there IS ANYTHING to forgive in the first place. When people say to me “life is too short” I totally agree with them. I always reply “YA, too short do have abusive nasty people in my life”. They don’t know what to say to that.
My heart goes out to you! You are not alone~!
Hugs, Darlene

76

to melody # 24 and mimi #37, you im so immune to the words the impact they must of had on me as a child is forgotten/denied. it was with darlenes words that i saw how abusive her words had become, yet they still do not hurt me. i know i am not and have never been at fault for her life choices, even if she choses to blame me. but the words linger prodding me when least expect it. the lies and the secrets make me more open than i need ot be and say the truth as i see it, much to my mothers disgust. i tell her off her actions and how they hurt and still it is denied. so i stopped trying to explain how she had affected me and was still effecting me and stay away from her as much as i can without causing further problems. mainly because she seems to think i will come around and be able to acceot how she thinks. well i wont for a very long time yet as i havent been able ot face the damage left on my heart from her words and actions during my childhood

77

Hi Ali…#65
My brother wet the bed too. My Dad hung a sign over the bed that said PeePot and then laughed at and called him that.
My dad was big into shame and blame and cruel punishment. When I left my bike outside on the lawn one night (safe neighborhood) he hid it and told me it was stolen. That was his way of punishing. Never a learning lesson but a
deliberate cruelty. It made him feel powerful. I was TERRIFIED of him.
When my mother took us away out the window one night, she told us to be very quiet or he would probably kill us. I believed it. I was 11.
We lived someplace else and had peace for about 6 months til she went back to him.
He actually went into his job and told them she was dead and was so serious about it that they wanted to know where to send flowers. Creepy. He was like one of those people in the news that would just go off and kill people. He had so much anger in him.
He never ever spoke of his childhood or how he was raised but it must have been aweful. I’m not justifying it.
His parents were mean and spiteful and treated my brother and I like we did not exist. No one mourned them when they died.
And yet even after 9 years NC with him, I jumped back into their system and tried to get him to approve of me. I never saw what I was doing. I must have been pretty well conditioned. He dropped dead of a stroke before I ever saw him again. Looking back on it now it was a blessing for everyone. Thanks for listening. Some of this stuff I have never spoken of except to my husband. Karen

78

Hi Karen

#77
Thank you for sharing…hopefully it felt good to get some of those memories and fears out instead of staying in your mind and body. After all that’s happened to me and my siblings, it STILL continues to shock me how parents can be so cruel to their own children.

The lack of feeling and sheer meanness of your father’s reactions to your brother’s bedwetting is shameful. We all have choices in life, even when they come from a place of pain, in fact you’d think that people like our parents, who were abused, wouldn’t have wanted to pass that sort of pain on. I’m shaking my head as I’m writing this.

Even though I struggle with cPTSD, I also went back to my parents last year after almost 15 years of NC. Some of my siblings asked me to as my parents are both in their mid 80s and ill. They felt it would help me to “get over it”.

Well I tried it and it was a disaster. I got a “sort of” apology and events of my childhood were “sort of” acknowledged…however the family dysfunction was still there and after a few visits, I asked them to not contact me again as it felt so toxic to me. After only 2 weeks of contact, it took me 6 months to get my head straight again. I’ve realised I don’t like my parents or most of my siblings, and swore never again to put their needs above my own.

I’m glad you were able to find relief with his passing, I hope the fear has gone for you as well.

:=)) Ali

79

Ali
That is so horrible that happened to you when you peed the bed! That is so devaluing, mean and abusive!

Karen
That is brutal what your dad did to your brother about the bed wetting and to you about your bike. and then your mother telling you he would kill you and then going back to him! That stuff takes root! This IS the stuff that we must deal with and overcome. Those messages are huge!
I understand going back; that had its roots (for me) in the fact that they had so successfully convinced me that without them, I was nothing. I was still trying to be something by getting them to validate me.
Thanks for sharing this Karen.

Everyone ~ I have been really busy with my kids, the farm and my clients and I will not been able to answer all the comments. I read them though.
Hugs, Darlene

80

Thank you Ali and Darlene for your thoughtful responses. You can’t share this stuff with friends so you are kind of stuck til you get in a group or find support.
My Dad had guns and I had witnessed his rages so oh yes he would have killed her. We would have been collateral damage.
I also had a strong feeling that my mother only wanted to take my brother that night not me. When I
confronted her with that recently, though she just looked surprised/shocked but didn’t say anything. I could be wrong but I don’t think so.

It has been very interesting to learn the Why of everything that happened to me. It was all so crazy, my Dad and his behavior and my mother and all her very crazy behavior reacting to his abuse. When they got back together he treated her a lot better because she had a powerful lawyer. Everything was back to “pretend”. Unfortunately, he turned the full force of his anger on me for the next 7 years.
Karen

81

Caden, (comment #1)

My heart goes out to you. I am so sorry you had to endure all of that. My own family experience is like yours. I have never read an account so close to my own.

I also had an older brother who was mean. But he was not a sexually abusive person. He had a brilliant mind and was a genius at psychological torment. There are complex reasons he became that way. The upshot is that I became an easy victim, and he did his worst to destroy me as I was growing up.

I became the “whiner and complainer”. I was accused of insulting him to get a feeling of superiority, despite the fact he was five years older than me. Why would a girl five years younger who weighed at least fifty pounds less insult a physically strong high school male? And why would I make him the center of my universe?

My mom never saw it that way. She had her own problems, and then my brother was also an expert at twisting perceptions.

He was scary to live with. If you insulted his pride, which wasn’t hard to do, he set his jaw very hard and tensed his body. He stared at you until you had no choice but to look away.

You didn’t even have to “insult” him. He was constantly in a “drama” with you where he played the victim when it was completely the other way around.

Mom never protected me. His constant psychological torment ruined my teenage years. They became about daily survival instead of being a kid.

His attacks were way too stressful for a young teenage girl. Much less any adult I can think of. If he had gone outside our family, people would have been terrorized and had him arrested.

My mother chalked it up to sibling rivalry, so he was beyond punishment.

I never believed it was me causing the problems. I always knew there was something messed up going on.

Thank you for sharing your story. It helps me feel like I am not so alone.

82

Anonymous, thank you. I’m sorry you had a similar childhood; your brother sounds like a monster. My brother would also tense up and give me a look of intense loathing for the flimsiest of reasons–because he hated hearing my voice or witnessing me just being myself, talking about the things I liked…if we were alone it could froth into a violent rage and he would say really disgusting things for no reason. But yes, of course my parents would agree with him that it was my fault, that I must have done something to provoke him. But like your brother, it was all in his head; I tried to avoid him as much as possible and mind my own business, but it just wasn’t enough. It’s terrible having to live with a sibling-abuser, who will put you down and repress you whenever it is convenient for them. Too many horrible things are neglected when people simply write things off as ‘sibling rivalry.’

take care,
-Caden.

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Caden,
Wow!…In post #82, when you said, “Too many horrible things are neglected when people simply write things off as “sibling rivalry”. Yes that is an AHA moment. I was also targeted by my manipulative & mean sister as young as I can remember. There was always this competition/rivalry between us which I couldn’t quite put my finger one. I’m far from stupid but couldn’t get why we just couldn’t get along. It more than being different or not understanding each other. My sister hated me for a long time. I’m just admitting this to myself, after 40 years. She puts up a caring & complimentary front in front of other family members, yet she has abusive traits. I’ve always known that, yet was in denial. My mom chalked it up to “sibling rivalry” & “peer pressure”, even when I was put into a Psych Hospital at 15. It was more than that. I was not protected & I’m still not believed. I deserve much better in my life. My FOO is controlling & mean. I always had too much empathy to really stand up to the toxicity. It’s a Sick System. I’ve been NC recently & I feel relief from having to deal with their drama & control tactics. I know I have chooses & I’m protecting my children from the Nastiness of my Narc Mom, sister & brother and spath father. Spath is a strong label but it fits his lack of empathy & abusive behavior. It’s covert though because there is a Sweet/Mean Cycle to the Behavior. I need healthy people in my life, which I have in my close friends. Thank God for my friends.
Sonia

84

Sonia, good for you! I’ve had no contact with my older brother for 8 years now (five years for my mother and everyone else), and it is really the only way for me. Protecting yourself and your children from those sick people is a great service.

take care,
-Caden.

85

wow! i don’t quite know how I landed in this site. But, I do not feel alone. I’ll be brief. My aunt died 5 years ago and was not allowed to go to the funeral. I was her favorite nephew. My other aunt passed a couple of days ago, and again I am not being invited, when she was well, I was also her favorite nephew. It used to hurt before, not so much now. At present, I left my job 2 years ago to take care of mom’s Alzheimer’s meanwhile older brother had her sign a Power of Attorney, 2 years ago, just out of surgery for broken ankle, that occurred for the brief moment he took care of her two months. I have to communicate with him through an attorney. At one point things were really bad and i asked for help only to get humiliation and a request that I move out so he could put her at a home. It baffles me why he and his family, cannot see the ‘sacrifice” and wait till I hit rock bottom to further push the knife. (I gave up six figure income.) Yes I will admit, the demands of caregiving for an Alzheimer person were to much for me, a creative/caring type, not so good with administering money. Nonetheless, even though my face is seen in both continents and have a certain level of fame, there is part of me that would like to be acknowledged by my “family” . Yes I always did say the truth – I could see through their manipulations.

So thank you for this site. I felt home, understood and I hope my share helps someone else and yours above have helped me. thanks

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Michelle #74
Yes, when you say they have chosen not to speak to me anymore, that’s how I say it also. Because it is their choice. I sit back and think how
I am with people, I usually do not ever hate someone just because someone else has an issue with them. For instance if someone badmouths someone, I will not dislike them just because of what I’ve heard about them. I refuse to jump in on a smear campaign! But, having said that all of my sibs believe what mother dearest says about me. Now that I’ve pulled back and away from the family, no one has called me. A sister keeps posting forgiveness references on FB. If it were about me why do I always have to forgive and never my mother who spews angry and abusive words to me. (They are never on the phone or in the room when she does this to me, yet it’s my fault.) I’ve known for years if anyone in my family calls me there is a reason and mommy dearest wants them to find out something or ask me a question. It’s rediculous and so predictable. So if they were to call I will say “Why are you calling?” And @ Brett good luck to you, this is the place to be! Peace.

87

Hi Brett
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
You are not alone here, that is for sure! There are so many of my articles in this site that will speak to your desire to find acknowledgement from your family. It was huge for me to finally hear myself, acknowledge myself and re-parent myself; (filled in the missing gaps for myself by doing for me what had never been done for me) that was when that craving finally evaporated!
So glad that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

88

I had very little memories of my youth until a few years ago when i started to question my family secrets, the backgrounds, and even my own mother’s stories. There were so many holes, and i started to recall troubling things that would only make things worse. I was lift alone with child abusers, pedophiles, drunks, strangers, and even alone to my own devices during my youth. When i started to recall the things that some of my family have done to me i was shocked and i questioned if the memories i have are real, or are the memories i’ve been told are real? Im so confused. Did these things really happen to me? How many people in my family have wronged me and thought i would just forget about it since i had blocked it from my mind as a child? I loved them all, they treated me so poorly and ignored me as a person. Why cant i remember much, and the little i do is mostly bad? WHY CANT I REMEMBER MY OWN MOTHER?? I have only 6 memories of my mother in the 10 years of my childhood. Where was she? She says she was there, and i see her in afew pictures, but only during like special occasions. I remember my grandmother clear as day. I remember so much of my grandmother that it eats away at me. I’m the black sheep in the family- not by choice, but b/c they all happen to find a way to place blame, hurt, and use me. How unfortunate that a child would become the entire families scape goat. The sickest part of this, is that i wish i were closer to my family :(

89

Hi Terri-Lynn
Welcome to EFB! It is very common to question the memories. One of the biggest coping methods (and survival methods) is to block them out. This whole site is about this stuff. One day I wondered why I wanted to be closer to them… that was a turning point for me. It opened a door to a willingness to see the truth about the way it was and the damage it caused me so that I could begin the healing process more fully. I hope you feel comfortable here and that you share often.
Hugs, Darlene

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This article and so many of the comments resonates with me. Especially after a long and difficult weekend. I have only allowed e-mail contact with my emotionally abusive and controlling mother for the past year. But she e-mailed me, a very carefully-worded, carefully-worded to sound casual, e-mail that she would be in town next month and was hoping to fit in a visit. This is after I finally said yes when she asked me again if I wanted to cut off all contact. I finally said yes, when I realized how little I actually know about her, and that she just plied my for information about my life so she could tell me how every decision I made was wrong. How I cried after every phone call (and they were weekly until a year ago), because she would push for information and I don’t know why I always gave in, gave her something to latch onto, gave her a reason to believe that my pain was not her fault. But it is her fault, she was verbally abusive, would scream at me as a child, try to get my older brother to chime in with insults like a game they shared, until I saw something change in his eyes one day and he never did it again. She would take me into my room alone (she did not do this to my brother) and have ‘talks’ with me, I don’t know what about, I have blocked it out. Eventually I ended up in foster care, and she still believes it is because I was a ‘bad’ child. Yes I acted up, yes i did, I ran away. I don’t blame my younger self, I’d do it again today. Recently, she came to visit me. After I had felt that I had healed from most of my pain. I had bought a house and thought that maybe it would be ok. No, it was not ok. She put me down, put my house down, she told me that my boyfriend (who she had not met, I told him to stay away, and I didn’t say much about him to her), she told me that he was just like her ex-boyfriend. The ex-boyfriend that came home drunk one night putting her down, putting me down. Standing up to him was what put me in foster care. I realized that she just wanted to make sure in her mind at least, that I made the same mistakes as she did. And that would excuse her for turning her back on me for a drunk.

Well, this morning I finally came to some peace after a horribly guilt ridden weekend, since I told her not to come, I don’t want to see her. (No, zip, zero response to that e-mail. Just silence, that’s ok.) I have been repeating to myself, “I don’t want you to love me”. And it has set me free. Because love is a choice, and if this is what her love is, I reject it. It is my decision what I let into my heart, and I do not want my mother to love me, because she will never know what that really means.

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Hi Danielle
I can certainly relate to what you posted! When I finally realized that my mother was just not going to have any sort of relationship with me that involved any kind of mutual respect or care, something happened along with the pain of really accepting it. The truth opened so many more doors for me and I was able to release that pain. Thank you for sharing. I really get what you said.
Hugs, Darlene

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WOW! I’ve got a lot to catch up on – this is the first post i’ve been able to visit since the last one.

I have always ALWAYS always been labelled as the “black sheep” of the family. I believe it too. I believe that I am a bastard child of another man and had I been born (logically I know I have no control of this but logic doesn’t play the strong role it should for me) to my Stepfather that my life may have been dysfunctional but the campaign wouldn’t have been as brutal. I feel ashamed of me mostly. I feel ashamed that my Mother doesn’t love me, I feel ashamed that I have children they don’t love or want, I feel like “damaged goods”.

Because I did decide to speak up and rebel, I have been the black sheep of the family, but I already was in more ways than one.

My family have discredited me as bipolar, chemically imbalanced, on lithium, and just plain bitter. They’ve told people that i’ve harassed them incessantly and then told the same people I cut them off and will have nothing to do with them. I don’t see how it can be both of those (though I have now gone no contact with them until they can get help but I don’t like the term “cut off” because that implies there’s no way back and i’ve not decided that).

It hurts that some family who knew me well growing up and often knew of my home situation, have now decided to side with them and believe that I am the black sheep also.

I don’t think not in a million years, ever will my guts and heart believe anything contrary about myself. I just constantly (until i’m sick to my stomach) self talk and logically refute what my core being tells me. It’s a fight every day. But everything my body does, my being and aura exudes, is that i’m not good enough and i’m less than or less deserving. I am too aware this will always be the way for me.

I berate myself for sounding like a petulant child, but so often I wish I’d never been born. My life feels like a big cruel joke because everyone abandons me. My Father abandoned me, my mother abandoned me, all my boyfriends have abandoned me, I live in terror my husband will do so(which creates other problems) and my Stepfather just never accepted me. I feel sorry for me and I feel angry AT me. No one is ever going to advocate for me. Ever. And what’s the point of advocating for yourself to people who are never going to hear it?

I want so desperately to be normal but I am always going to be the black sheep. That’s who I am. My Mother would’ve aborted me had she had the money at the right time (she told me herself). I just feel like a piece of trash that has managed to stick around for 34 years – an incredibly persistent piece of trash at that.

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Re-read this and the last post I read was “Emotionally unavailable Father’s” just to clarify what the “last one” was!

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Hi Tangie
You are certainly in the right website ~ most of us here can relate to what you are saying. Parents/families love to use labels such as bi-polar etc. as a way to blame someone else for the malfunction of the relationship but the truth is HOW the heck does a child get that way in the first place?? With a great upbringing and lots of love?? Not usually! I overcame all those false messages and today I live a wonderful productive life. There is hope. You are not a piece of trash. You were fed the wrong messages and they just need to be switched back to the truth. We are all equally deserving!
Hugs, Darlene

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Black sheep. Well I thought it started because I acted out and questioned things. That’s what they wanted me to believe? That it was due to my behaviour. But my journey has let me come to know that it started from the moment I was born. That it began in my mothers history when she was abused. That birth can trigger memories. That dissociation is about keeping the memories somewhere else and presenting another self. Which is about splitting yourself, and then splitting your children – one good, one bad. Because the bad experiences have to be explained somehow. And the mother won’t own them. And someone must. It started early. It started at the start. The questioning and rebellion from the child is a response to the confusing behaviour not the cause of the Black sheep. Not questioning doesn’t change it.

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Hi Black Sheep
Welcome to emerging from broken
Thank you for sharing. Only looking at the facts of what actually happened change anything for me. I questioned “why” I was the way I was and how I came to be so broken and it was in finding those answers that I found healing.
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Barbara
Thanks for sharing! Hugs, Darlene

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HI Darlene

Well this one here.. this post .. is really quite relevant to me. I am the black sheep of my family .. so it seems.. I am not like the rest.. was out of place not really someone anyone wanted around.. not someone wants to speak to .. and was the one who was the cause of all the bad stuff that happened in our family. that is how I was led to feel.. I am no longer there but I still carry this black sheep image..like I’m never good enough. I am getting better though…. but I find myself slipping backwards now and then.. ..

I think always being compared to the others who seem to do so much more than me. give so much more than me.. etc etc.. set me in the circle of black sheep . . I have even been told I am the black sheep of the family and that if anyone asks about me my birth mom says oh shes not ours she was adopted.. so therefor nothing good can be expected of me..

la la la..baaaa

joy

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Hi Joy
Eventually that image I carried that I was never good enough went away and I was restored to believing in my own equal value. (slipping backwards is part of the package, but like the rest of the process it progresses and eventually happens very rarely!)
Being told that you were adopted as a way to justify why you don’t belong or a way to prove that you don’t ‘fit in’ is horrific!
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

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Broken Free/ No Contact
September 24th, 2012 at 10:32 pm

I must say after reading through these posts I feel like I stumbled upon a family a family of the scapegoats and black sheeps just like me. In a world of our own outside the destructive lines of our dysfunctional homes here we are waking up and realizing the years upon years of abuse we encountered and see we are very much not alone anymore there are alot more of us and together we find the peace of belonging. My Narcassistic abusive mother divorced my father when I was 5 years old. I come from a household of 4. I have an older brother, 1 younger sister and 1 younger brother I am the 1st daughter and second child. I was placed respectively into my role as the scapegoat proceeding the divorce of my parents 8 year marriage. My mother was married 4 times and I cant count how many bofriends inbetween and during her marriages that she had. Her divorce from my father followed an affair she got caught in the act with during her marriage to my father with his own brother my uncle in which my younger brother belongs to. Yes my brother is my 1/2 brother and 1/2 cousin. I never remember ever having nails I always bit them and found myself drifting off quite frequently into a daydream to escape the torture of the constant verbal abuse that would indeed be followed by the extension cord wherever it convienetly landed. I was sexually abused from the aged of 8-14 years old from a close family relative an older cousin that almost escalated to rape if I wouldnt have decided to finally run away from home. I remember telling my mother at the kitchen table one night after my bath when I was 8 years old shotly after the sexual abuse started and I had started wetting the bed and waking up with nightmares what had occured why I was at my grandmothers house overnight and very clearly remember her only ice cold response being “Did he put anything inside of you”? I said no she then told me “Well then your fine go to bed”. Nothing was ever done to stop the abuse and later this same cousin was invited to come live in our home to make the sexual abuse more convienent for him. I ran away at 14 when he tried raping me in my bedroom that he held the door shut with his foot and she covered up the truth with calling me a slut, whore and tramp. I was accused of having sex and forced to the emergency room countless times for all kinds of blood work and exams to prove she was right in her false accusations of me being a slut and a dope addict. I never did any drugs and at the time she was accusing me of having sex I was not. I was however being sexually abused by a family member but that had to be shoved in the closet so the truth of her abuse and dysfunction would not come into the light and destroy her perfect litlle fantasy world. My mother remarried when I was 12 to a repulsive hard core alcholic and dope addict I guess that would be the reasons for her projections onto me being a dope addict and slut as she had half the town drunks and dope addicts as well as well known prostitutes in the area we lived in laying all over our floors in a 2 bedroom apartment. We constantly had an empty refridgerator from her feeding the neighborhood scums our food and all of our windows knocked out by her drunk husband might I add in the hard of winter. We were evicted countless times due to the police being called out for domestic disturbances and loud music and parties as well as severe damages to property. We we unable to sleep for school. I learned to literally sleep through a world war because of all the loud noise I grew up in. I am 34 years old now and a wife and mother and have an incredibly hard time waking up all these years later to an alarm clock. I had to drop out of school at 16 to work full time to support myself. I was on my own as an adult at 14 and in a relationship with a much older boyfriend. I never had a childhood my only memories are fights, parties, drunks, dope addicts and homeless people knocking on our door droppong off their kids for me to watch. I took care of my younger siblings and was the house maid that is at times if we even had the privelage to have a house (apartments). We lived in hotel/motel rooms from 12 to 14 years old when I ran away and were made to panhandle money off of strangers for the money for the rooms and food. My youngest brother only went to 6th grade and was yanked out of school to hitch hike across the United States with our abusive mother who was paranoid that the goverment was out to kill her. My assumtions of that are she knew she was going to be in trouble for the neglect and abuse of her children if they caught up with her. I tranferred in and out of 23 schools by the age of 16. I attended 4 highschools in the course of my 1st 6 months when I said forget it Ill go back and finish school when I get married and become stable. I ended up in 2 severley abusive relationships repeating the patterns of my mother and then married my 1st ex-narcassistic husband at 20 years old. I had 2 children with my first husband and that marriage lasted 7 years I went back and finished h.s and went on to take college coarses to study for my associated degree in the sciences. My marriage was destroyed due to the constant strain from my dysfunctional family moving in with us constantly. He was narcassitic but wasnt abusive he was a control seeker. The divorce was sought out by me due to the stress of keeping up with my family’s constant demands, needs and wants. I was the family caretaker and scapegoat it was my responsiblility to take care of my siblings and abusive mother so she could indeed destroy my marriage wreck my home and freeload off of me and my ex-husband for 7 solid years. This is where my awakening begins and I start to become an individual of my own. I fell down, tripped, and hit a major iceburg after my divorce and landed a 6 year relationship from complete hell to a major verbal abuser. I did however accomplish a few major goals through this hell. I went on to complete my associates degree in science and entered into the nursing program and sucessfully graduated. You see the verbal abuse did not affect me as I was molded and shaped to accept that all my life so the envoirment I worked through to acoomplish my goals and fnd myself were very familiar to me as that is all I had ever known however something inside me changed on that special day when my mentor took my hands and prayed over them. I decided to take my life back and make it the way I wanted it for the first time in my entire life. Not what anybody else wanted it to be for me. What I Wanted. I looked out to see the people who really truely loved me my children and my wonderful sweet husband I married 3 years ago. My 1st love I met when I was 18 and had nothing. The only man I ever truely loved with all of my heart that my dysfunctional family tried to destroy on me with lies to keep me trapped in their sick disturbed circle of pain and unhappiness. We found each other and him like me is a scapegoat with his dysfunctional family. We married and have 2 children together with a total of 7 children together. We made a beautiful family and are happy for the 1st time in our entire lives. We both went NO CONTACT 3 years ago when we married and have success upon success without any of those people in our lives. Our children are happy and healthy and we have a very happy FUNCTIONAL home. God Bless all of you’s out there YOU CAN do it to!! The only way to stop the dysfunction is to rid yourself from it!! It WORKS AND FEELS GREAT!!!

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Hi “Broken Free/No Contact”
Welcome to emerging from broken ~ thank you for sharing your story with us and yay for taking your life back! That is certainly what this site is all about.
Just a note about your final statement when you say the only way to stop the dysfunction is to rid yourself from it!! I would tweak that to say the only way to stop the dysfunction is to stand up to it. Not everyone has to go no contact. Beleive it or not some parents actually will listen and try to work things out with their kids. But the bottom line is that we have to see the dysfunction and say “enough”.
Thanks for being here
Hugs, Darlene

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Children are the one group of people who are the most oppressed, and it is the least talked about. Control, manipulation, abuse – it’s all rampant. And accepted.

This is exactly why I do what I do…help parents (including myself) create a different experience for children now and in the future. Healing the past can be intense at times (to say the least), but it is necessary.

Thank you for exposing the truth and doing your part, Pam

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Hi Amy
Welcome to EFB ~ this is pretty much the biggest topic of conversation on this site! We talk about healing by exposing the truth about abuse, and where self esteem gets broken or never gets put in place from the start and how to move forward by re-parenting ourselves. Thanks for stopping by!
Hugs, Darlene

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Growing up as a kid I was never favored and loved by my parents. At 16 I started working at McDonald, I only made enought to suport myself and my baby. My parent never wanted to take me to work they would always complain about gas and about how much me and my baby gets on there way. I lived a very hard life. Because i live with them and eat for free i didnt pay rent, every year my dad will claim my baby for income tax and he would not give us any money due to that was what I owed him livving with them for that year livving and eating for free. My older brother was a single man who work full time and made more money than me and my parent doesnt expect him to pay rent or anything from him. My older sister who my parent always favored and loved never had a job always asking my parent for money, my parent pays for her phone and doesn’t complain about it. She who didn’t have no money no work got a free nice car out of the blue, who car payment was payed by my parent who didnt complain who ask for money the most that my parent stil dont complain me who was label as the bad one the lazy one the worse one the one who should have been abortion. I got really tired of no one taking me to work I saved up enought to down me a car my parent didn’t let me buy the car I wanted :”( they forced me to buy a car my dad liked and if I didn’t buy it then my parent would not get that car for me since I didn’t have any credict to down a car. My heart broke and cried a million tears and lisen to what my parent and bout that car. I payed my own phone my own car and car insurance I suport my own daughter we never ask anything from my parent cause we both knewed they didn’t love us and they wouldn’t want to help us. But cause we lived for free and didn’t pay rent they always complain about us how lucky we are. I realized its better to strugle alone than to stay with people who helps you and always complain :”< tell me if I am that worse? Am I really that bad of a person :""( my parent said no one will want me and I wouldn't get my Highschool diploma and my driver lisence but I did got it. They still dot love me :( on my day off I alwase help my mom with chores and make sure everything was done before I left somewhere but my mom still don't apreciate me;"( I don't know what to do? I'm so lost. Now I am 20, when I was 17 I tried to kill myself I took a whole hand full of Advil I fell asleep and thought I will die in my room on my bed but later I woke up nothin happend I wonder why I didn't die? I thought to myself maybe cause god didn't want to take me he wanted me to stay with my daughter cause he knew she needed me and she didn't deserve to live as an orphan too. Can someone tell me what is it that my parent doesn't care and love me? What am I doing wrong?

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Why my sister who doesn’t work and do anything still be loved and adored by my parent? How do ppl who just sit at home and don’t do anything still gets to be loved? But ppl like me who work my ass off everyday are still label as a lazy person who greedy just because she doesn’t pay rent? I am so lost someone help me?

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Tiana, I’m so sorry. I can hear that you feel you don’t get your needs met by your parents, needs such as support, love, understanding, acceptance, guidance. I’m so sorry for that. It’s because of their lacking capacity to provide what their children need and deserve, it’s not because of any flaw in you. It really isn’t. It’s because of flaws in them that were probably there long before you came along. But you can break free and become strong. Take good care of yourself and your baby, build on your strengths, forgive yourself for small mistakes, be kind and patient towards yourself. All the best love!

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I keep coming back to this page, it is helping me immensely. It is helping me to break free of the roles I’ve been put in since childhood. It seems like sometimes families choose one child to blame for everything. This role is incredible hard to break out of, because it gives everyone an escape hatch basically. Life is hard and painful, and if I had an escape hatch it would be great, but I don’t. And I know how it makes me feel, like a garbage can, like a toilet. These are literally words I think of when I think of myself. Right now, I feel like everyone around me is clinging to me so they can keep on throwing all their garbage on me. And I can see now, why every attempt in my life to succeed or to grow has been sabotaged. Because I’m taking away their crutch, and if I left, they would have to deal with themselves. They like to keep me blinded by depression, and they do this by guilt and shame. Then they blame me for feeling sorry for myself, and I’m told to ‘grow up’. But when I do, I’m put down. It’s a continuous cycle.

So I’m making a pact with myself, I will no longer allow myself to be treated like this. If I can’t find the words to defend myself, I will walk away. And honestly, as a child I never did have the words. I don’t think it is something a child can understand.

As a child, the focus was always on me. The focus was not positive, it was to try to figure out what was wrong with me. And it got especially bad when I began to mature into a young woman. Then the focus became, what kind of woman are you going to be? A bitch, a whore, or a crazy bitch whore? These are the only options I was given.

Is there a name for munchausen by proxy but for mental illness? I was constantly being ‘diagnosed’ for something. And I think sometimes, that it’s the same kind of scapegoat thing, like “All my problems are because I have a sick child”.

Honestly, I think I was a pretty normal child. I was quiet, but thoughtful. And I went through normal teenage things. But as an adult I fluctuate between being a total mess and little bursts of success. Maybe some would say from that sentence, that I’m bi-polar. But the people around me who cling to me are bi-polar (diagnosed). And a lot of times, since they are my parents, I find my ups are their ups and my downs are their downs. I’m on someone else’s roller coaster. But it’s not because they tell me they are down. It’s because when they are down, they need to put me down to feel better. And when they are up, they leave me alone. So, on my end of it, it’s either being put down or deserted. I think as a child, being deserted was scarier and more painful, so I accepted the put-downs. But now, the put-downs are more painful.

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Hi Tiana
Welcome to emerging from broken.
One of the things that I had to realize was that I believed the wrong definition of love. The way they treat you is not about you, isn’t is about them. The reason they treat you like that is not a flaw in you. It was very hard for me to realize that my mother was not going to change because I tried so hard to change. She tried to make me think her behaviour was my fault, but it was in truth nothing to do with me. My mother is an adult who makes choices that discount me and once I saw the truth about that, I began to see our relationship for what it was. (unfair to me)
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Danielle
What you are discribing is what I call the reactive cycle. (you were reacting to their cycle) The reason that I don’t like using diagnosis as an explaination for the behaviour of others is because it is so easy to try to understand ‘them’ instead of realizing the damage they are causing. I love how you are realizing that ‘when they are down, they need to put you down to feel better’. That is the exact point where I started to not care about their problems and realized that they were causing my problems. Drawing the boundary was self preservation and self love no matter what their problem is. Instead of seeing myself at the problem that caused their problems, I realized that I was never the problem!
Thank you for your post!
Hugs, Darlene

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For many years I’ve called myself the black sheep of the family. I became a really shy and docile girl by 6 and started to gain weight, which displeased mom a great deal–it was a cardinal sin to her. I also started to shoplift (if I’m repeating myself I apologize, can’t recall all the details of my posts), which got Mom and Dad mad cause a policeman came one night to lecture me while I lay in bed. Of course, it was irrelevant to my parents that THEY shoplifted and at least once that I recall packed items in my coat while shopping. What my parents did was without any question because they were the parents, end of story. They didn’t have to answer one thing to us kids.
Then I started to sleepwalk and sometimes void my bowels in my pants, which angered my mother. This was in the house where I was allowed to regularly go downstairs and visit various male boarders in the basement. This could have been because something happened with one of these men, which I don’t have memory of, or because Dad spent all night locked in the one bathroom with his magazines. So this shaming and sense of being a problem in the family started quite young. If I was troubled, I was BEING trouble.

When I started to drink as a teenager, do poorly in school, argue with them while my sister was quiet, the black sheep role was cemented. They failed to see any of this behaviour on my part as anything but evidence of my weakness and deficiency. Dad even told me I was weak. I heard them say when I was 15 that I was sick and had to solve my own problems. They wouldn’t dream that THEY were the problems—that would mean taking responsibility and doing something. My Dad slept all day before getting ready for work and Mom shopped, did some housework, watched tv. We hardly interacted with each other, never did anything as a family except shop or eat out sometimes. I was left to my own world, went to the library by myself, the park. I developed the habit of getting into my nightgown soon as I got home from school, I guess cause nothing else much would be happening, I don’t know.

And all of this was NORMAL to my folks, so when I began getting angry and lashing out, I was the problem. When I went on my own to see a psychiatrist at 16, more proof of being the problem. They never did anything about my drinking, overeating, the cut I made on my wrist that was bandaged for 6 months, depressions that were so severe I told my sister I was in hell. Everyone else observed and got angry for the stress I was causing.

Nobody then or now wanted to examine this family, to face what was happening, it would take work and responsibility and acknowledgment of wrongdoing. Just easier for me to be the big, obvious screw-up. My sister said to me months ago I reminded her of the expression, Go Big or Go Home. I didn’t ask what she meant. When she emailed my earliest picture, Dad holding me as an infant, she wrote “Here’s Dad holding precious you”. I laughed but then it stung.

It hurts me, it angers me, and I wonder, “WHAT DID I DO?”

My mind tries to make excuses for them, that I’m the exception to the rule, that I, Doren Beard, REALLY am a screw-up, others who were abused made something of their lives, how hard it must be to watch a loved one self-destruct, no wonder sis stays away.

But inside, at the gut level, I feel I was a scapegoat for everyone in the family, not just the parents. What I struggle with is that there’s nothing I can do to change that, and in fact the whole idea of me changing/doing ‘good’ now is the very same dynamic of childhood: if I do this and this and this, you’ll come around and love me.

When I was a kid, I bought a box of Valentine cards, and at recess I personalized them and place one on each desk in my class. I may have got one or two back that year. I SO wanted love. But now at least, I know that I was taught and trained to disregard and not love myself, and I can be the responsible one now.

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Hi Doren
One of the hardest things for me to do in this process was learning to stop looking for ways to agree with them that it was my fault and that it was me. That is why it is so important to go back to childhood and the origins of where the self esteem wasn’t established in the first place. You are doing great and remember this takes time!
Hugs, Darlene

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Thanks Darlene

Yes the finding ways to agree with them keeps giving them the power to define me and validate my perceptions. I had NO idea how entrenched that was in me until very recently—my inner compass has been totally dependent on how others see me. I feel sometimes so that I am not even real, but in a dream. And that there’s no core me.

I have found out in therapy that I do a lot of comparing, especially between myself and my sister. I’ve talked about how my sister was damaged in her own ways and the therapist asks why I compare? And I answered, “Because if SHE got hurt that means it REALLY was as bad as I say, and then I am validated, and not a freak”. But something in me says that even if for some heavenly reason she left that home totally undamaged, I didn’t, and that is all that matters. MY experience speaks for itself—I am just starting to embrace this—and it feels quite strange.

You mean, I get to say what my truth is? That someone else doesn’t know better than me? Why is it so hard for me to say, I am THE authority on my own life?

A couple of days ago my sister’s husband called. It is always him that does the calling, even if my sister is home, right there. She doesn’t even get on the phone when I’m done talking with him. He asked me how I was, I said I was down, in therapy. He says they’re worried about me, and I have to do something about it, I have to get happier. I tell him I am upset with my sister, I feel she avoids me, why can’t I get her on the phone? And he makes an excuse for her, “Well you have to pick up the phone when it rings” WHY it’s going to be HIM. I end the conversation but feel disturbed and call back, and my sister answers. She has such a tone of anxiety. I am worrying them. We talk, start to laugh around and I get lighter. We talk about when the visit from them will be in November, and her husband says in the background, how he wants to see “Sexy”. My sister laughs, I laugh too but am uncomfortable, I say, “he should be calling YOU that, not me”. It’s laughed away and I don’t have the voice to say more about it.

At the end of talking to my sister I ask for a small loan, for food I say. But it’s to get drunk with, I am triggered and feel voiceless and want to escape. The whole family thing swirls in my head talking to them. My deep conflict inside is that this all is just NORMAL to them, and I feel discombobulated, what is the truth?

But the next day, I decide to come clean, and I write my sister an honest email and tell her, every time I’ve asked for a loan, is to buy alcohol or some drug. I tell her I’m sorry I hurt her, but I’ve hurt myself most of all, and I mention some things mom and dad did, and I say, I WILL NOT kill myself anymore over them, and I am not weak and there’s nothing wrong with me, like they said. I put big sister emoticons at the bottom and said I hope you can understand me better now. I told her also I felt alone visiting them at Christmas, and explained why.

This is the kind of stuff that is extremely “icky” to them. Feelings and issues and shit. I haven’t heard back. But I just need to be real now, and have such a hard time maintaining the facade. And I have been complicit in the black sheep role, the ‘troubled’ one—and played the part again asking for money. But the next day I decided to use that severe disappointment in myself that I felt to take a step forward by being honest with them.

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[...] became aware of my old default mode coming up. My old default mode operated under the belief that I could never do the right thing and that I always did something [...]

Hi Everyone!
I just published a new post about the origin of self blame using an example from my adventures driving in the snow! It’s a day in the life of Darlene complete with what goes through my mind and how I do self talk and turn things around for myself today!
Please read it here; “A day in the life of Darlene ~ Recognizing the origin of self blame”I am looking forward to the conversation!
Hugs, Darlene

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[...] chose for me and as a child, I was unable to see an alternative. I believed that I was a bad child, the black sheep, and I fulfilled what my mother expected from [...]

New guest post related to this subject on EFB!

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ive a 4 yr old…who is not fit in with his real family…he is to young to understand..why they dont accept him…at times he would visit them but they would just bring him home a few seconds later he would be mad..they never take him anywhere,,his real family labeled him as trouble maker and too naughty like come on hes just a lil boy…and he will grow out of it..so he was dropped off by his grandpa almost 4 yrs ago…it broke my heart to see him go thru this..at the age of 2 yrs old now hes 4 and bright young preschooler..SO WHAT DO I DO…OR SAY TO HIM IF HE EVER ASK QUESTIONS WHEN HES OLDER…HIT ME UP

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I was raised as a foster child starting at the young age of 2. My parents did not tell me the truth until I wwas 11 years per the advice of my social worker. I remember that day like it was yesterday! Whrn my mom told me the news I was not her biological child as I cried my mom assured me I was no different then her biological kids. Boy was that a big fat lie! As I grew up I began to realize how differdnt I was. My two brothers and my sister all got cars for christmas and graduations where I did not get. They all got sent away to college where I was not. In fact I did not get in trouble for bad grades like my brother and sister did because heaven forbid her kids have bad grades with me she expected me to get bad grades. They also went on various vacations discluding me because my mom said I thought you would rather spend itwith your boyfriend! Not even giving me the chance to decide. Right before the age of 18, myparentswere building a house, my mom came to me and said we are not going to be building you a room because we feel you will be out on your own soon. Not two weeks later I was kicked out of the house for sneaking out my window tomeet my boyfriend. It just so happens that is when my mom stopped getting. paid for me being a foster kid seeing I was never adopted. To this day it has tranfered on t my children! I hateit. For instance we celebrated christmas early at my brothers, everyone was going to the nutcracker Afterwards except for me and my girls. My girls and I never said anything about it during the festivities but Fter we left my 12 year old.cried cause she was hurt by not being invited. I cried because of my daughter being hurt. It is not fair how it has come upon my children now and now the biological grandchildren are number one perfect children. I hate feeling this feeling.

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[...] How Children become the black sheep of the family (click) [...]
Hi Everyone
I just published a new post that deals with content related to this one. This new one is called “Punishment as a Control Tactic in Abusive Family Systems”
I look forward to the conversation on it!
Hugs, Darlene

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I just want to say that if you dare to be different from your family and truly have your own ideas and thoughts and dreams that you will most likely be the “black sheep”. I have gone through this all my life and as hard as I try to blend in with my family it is always the same result. My two kids who are now grown went through this same treatment. I am not saying that there is not some good in my family but it is so sad and unfortunate that it is a cycle and it is hard to break. I think it is common in alot of families and I just am to the point where I would rather distance myself from some family members instead of go through any more snubs and rejections. My 2 kids and I kind of laugh about now since it is commonplace and nothing really can be done to change it.

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I will give you some examples in my next comment but right now I am at work so I hope all the black sheeps have a wonderful day lol.

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Hi White Sheep
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
Perhaps you can’t change them but there IS something that can be done to change the circumstances; It IS common but the only way to make it uncommon is to stand up to it. The cycle is broken in my family becasue we stood up to it and we empowered our kids to see the truth about this cycle too. It is unfortunate that ‘distance’ seems to be the most effective way to deal with it because our own families are not willing to allow our own thoughts and ideas. This site is about how I took my power back. I am glad you are here. :)
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

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hi there i am writing on here as i feel i need somebody to talk to . i was in care from the age of 8 . i had a very bad up bringing .when i was 16 i was introduced to drink by my mum . when i come out of care .ever since then i sufferd with a drink problem. i use this to cope with anixaty .i met my partner at the age of 20. now i am 27 years old .all as i have had is trouble of my family as i dont let my mother or brother no were i live . as the cause trouble .my brothere is a full blown alcholic .that does nothink but cause trouble . my dad comes to my house as they dont like . as he doesnt cause problem .as when it was my little boy birthday . my dad come to my sons party .my mum i can not invite her as there would be serious problems .she keeps going on after 2 years why couldnt she come to my sons party and why could my dad go tothe party and not her. and why could she have a piece of cake .and my mother is still going on about this 2 years down the line ..she is nerver been there to help me .like my othere siblings.she helps .alot . but when ever i need help or support she is never willing to help .she says ask your dad .i feel like the black sheep of the famliy .what would your anserw be to this . and whats the best way to go .

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Hi Richard
Welcome to EFB
I would say I am glad that you are here and please read more of the articles in this site! There is a ton of information here about everything you are talking about!
Glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene

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Hello Richard:

I am sorry for the pain you are going through with your family. I know it is difficult. If I were in your shoes and I am in your shoes because my family has dysfunctions as well and I feel like a ba ba black sheep as well. I would try to meet mum and dad outside the home maybe for coffee or tea or soda (non alcoholic) and just try to chat with them and say mum I will buy you a piece of cake if you will just move forward and try to get along and dad I want to get along with you as well but can we all try to live in the now and forget about our past mistakes. That is where I would start and see how it goes. At least you are reaching out and showing that you love them and want them in your life. Well your brother is a full blown alcoholic and you could also meet him somewhere and have a non alcoholic drink and say I care about you but you should get some help for the issues you have with alcoholic beverages? I hope this helps. My brother is an alcoholic and we speak but only when I see him on the holidays and he seems to be doing much better but because of his drinking I had to call the cops on him about 10 years ago because he wanted to hurt me because we were in an argument while he was drunk and he and his wife have never forgiven me for that and so we will never be close as before. It is sad. I pray about it but some things may never change? I do wish you the best and hope you can make a step in the right direction with your family even if it is only a baby step.

White Sheep

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I too can relate with all the posts on this site!
I never got along with my mother that much through my entire life even though I was close to her when I was younger. My family already had their problems before I was born. My father was physically and psychologically abusive to both my mother and 2 of my older sisters [there are 3]. When I finally showed up I had a heart murmur, and jaundice for the first few weeks. When I was 23 I heard my mother [as she was sitting next to me] tell my other siblings that she wasn’t sure if she wanted to keep me. That blew my mind but I didn’t say anything, I just felt shame for existing- after those 23yrs I was already there and just found out how she really felt about me. She continued with “during her pregnancy with me she didn’t take care of herself” [because of her turbulent relationship with my father] despite her doctor’s suggestions, ”but she chose to stick close to me afterwards because I was sickly [which made her feel that she had control over a child whom couldn’t do for itself]. As I later developed epilepsy at age 14 and it didn’t stop until I was 35., I was still living at home, however unemployed despite my efforts to keep seeking employment, I had nowhere else to live nor no one else to go to. Also by that time as my health got better I began expressing my individuality towards her, letting her know that I was an adult and I wasn’t gonna let her nor her husband keep psychologically abusing and controlling me., naturally that made her angry, My older sisters [had already left home and I was the only daughter still there taking the brunt. [Note: my third older sister works a couple freelance jobs but is a weed addict and although she gets paid for her jobs, she gets verbally loud and angry if my mother is not able to lend her money [for her high], and my second older sister cut off contact for 2yrs with my mother after physically starting a fight her [my mother] over her [my second oldest sister] success].
By the time I turned 36, my mother and father informed me that 1 of my older sisters was coming back to move next door with her disrespectful adult children [my sister was 42, handicapped, severely mentally disturbed, and abusive to her own 23-24 aged children but proud to be close to our mother again]. It made me angry the way my mother informed me to let my older unstable sister walk in the house without being invited first [even though on some days it was just 9 in the morning and both my mother and father were still asleep until my sister let her presence be known]. Over the months my relationship with my mother got worse when my older sister would visit my mother., sitting next to her in a room , she’d wait until my mother turned her head away and suddenly my older sister gave me nasty up and down looks, and mumbled the word ‘bitch’. When I tried to tell her she had a serious problem, my mother took her side as my older sister lied and told my mother she wasn’t doing anything. I informed my mother the truth and she still refused to believe me until I abruptly walked away. Afterwards my mother told me that she kept questioning my older unstable sister., she eventually admitted it.
Over the next several months my mother spent more time with my oldest unstable sister and her 2 adult children, however when I showed my face my mother tried to psychologically control me again and other times gas-lighted me, while my father tried to brainwash me into accepting a lot of the disturbing problems my oldest unstable sister and her children did in the house. I felt sabotaged, weary and very drained at how senseless and insane they all acted, they eventually made me feel like I was the problem- labeling me in many words that described me as the Black Sheep of their screwed up family. So I decided to stay to myself, and limited any further social contact with them even though I still miserably resided under the same roof with them. There were days I can remember when I would sit in a room by myself, and my mother would psychologically start a heated argument with me. When I informed her to leave me the hell alone, she told me I was the most nastiest person she’s ever known. I immediately began shivering and silently crying while physically hauled over in more shame over her abusive comments. A few days after that incident, I confronted her about it and how she made me feel., she told me that ‘she didn’t remember, to go back to dates and tell her exactly what happened word for word’, and ‘after all the money she put out to help me get medical help for my seizures and other health problems, why would I be shivering and crying over what she says to me’? Now a days when she tries to speak to me, she lets me know that ‘she can’t understand why I’m so full of anger, ‘why I’m so hard to get along with’. I once told her a child is not born angry, sometimes it’s more related to it’s upbringing or it’s surroundings especially in a dysfunctional family., but my mother just shook her head and disagreed. I told her that 1 day in the end she’s gonna have to deal with what she’s done to me, but she reversed that and told me ‘yea, well you too will have to pay 1 day’.
Sometimes during her arguments with me, I’d ask her why she kept me and her reply was ‘she wanted a family, if I’m not happy call the police and get the hell out of her home’ [note: the house is in her husband’s name but most of the poured out paid bills come from his miserly pocket]. If I do something for myself in the house, she makes me feel inferior by asking me ‘who said you could use that, well when did they say that, oh they did- did they’? My entire family sticks close to her until they see me, then they start making insulting jokes about me when I try to speak to them and laughing as I sit or stand in embarrassment. My father continues to give me seminar lectures about how he expects me to act just to appease his view on family and my mother still abuses me to the point where I’ve lost my faith, my soul feels dead, I describe myself as nothing worth noticing. I don’t understand the word love nor know how to accept it unless it’s through abuse, so for that I deny it in any form it comes at me. There were nights I wished to be deceased if it gave me an open door to escape and be free from my abusers, however I’m still residing with my sociopath, dysfunctional relatives. No one defended me, I was the only person in my own corner whether I managed to verbally push away my abusers or fail in humiliation, defeat, and walk away from them with my head down.
If someone told me that I was good or beautiful, I have a hard to accepting it because I’ve been molded to believe the worst. I often wished I had children [I don’t, neither am I married]., but in a small realistic way I’m glad I don’t. I wouldn’t want them to endure the same pain and abuse I’ve had to bare. Maybe it’ll be different in the next life.

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Hi Brenda
Welcome to EFB ~ This site is about how it can be different in THIS life. :)
I am glad that you are here and thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

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Unlike so many of the sad people here, I was not physically abused. But I am product of a very overprotective family. I got excellent grades, didn’t cause trouble but was not allowed to live a normal teenage life. I never had a boyfriend in high school and couldn’t hang out anywhere outside my home or my friends homes. I was also a middle child and watched my brother, a volatile person with a hair trigger temper get rewarded over and enabled with several cars by the time he was 18. I had to work a year to get the down payment for my first and only car at 23. I am now 47 and have to compete with my drama whore older brother and younger sister for any attention from my parents. If I just call up and want to talk, I get blown off within a few minutes.

My husband and me have had a hard few years and my parents helped us financial by either lending money or letting us live with them. But they constantly felt it was okay to blab our personal business to anyone who would listen.

I have a masters degree and home school my child who has autism. I am not a screw up and have never been.

I have to accept the fact my son is last out of all the grandchildren. When we last visited my parents, my son wanted to just talk to my father. But he avoided my son. Over and over.

It was heartbreaking for my husband and also for me.

I’m moving again, even farther from my parents, and it’s psychologically healthy for me but I still wish some time they’d put me first.

I plan on getting counseling because there is just too much holding me back.

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Hi D
Welcome to EFB
The type of abuse matters not, the fact that we know we were abused is the beginning. That makes all the difference!
Glad you are here, please feel free to share often. :)

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Hi Everyone
Did you all notice the free guide at the top of the page on the right? I hope you will download it; I worked hard on answering the top 8 questions that I get asked on this blog and included them in the special report. You will have to opt in to my new list to get the download; if you are already subscribed to the updates here, don’t worry because that list is going to be deleted in a few weeks. (no more updates from there, everyone will have to sign up to the new one which is why I published the free guide! :)
Next week I am going to post a discussion about the contents of the guide! Hope you will join me on that,
hugs, Darlene

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Hi Darlene,
I was just starting to read your guide that I downloaded and something just jumped out at me. I had just been thinking about how it seems when one person victimizes you, it’s like the rest of the world gets a free pass to do the same. I was reading about first it was your family then your teacher. And I had been thinking earlier today, how can everyone around me pick me out to be the victim. I know I may not carry myself as tall as I wish I could, but I’m just in a recovery stage. But in my adult life, so many times, it’s like the same abuser just changes faces. How could that be? Is it just human nature to pick on the weak? I feel like I’m trying so hard to understand myself, and it’s the abuser I just can’t understand, at all. But some days, the abusers are like, everyone else on the planet. I get so nervous around people, I can’t speak sometimes, I even get dizzy and faint sometimes. Some of it is physical illness, and some is like an overwhelming feeling of being attacked on a daily basis, even by strangers. Can it really just be the look on my face? What could drive people to hate so much? I’m trying to take the time to heal, but it’s like the world will not let me.
Thank you for your website.

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Hi Danielle
Yes I realized that too and I eventually realized that I believed that compliance would equal safe and that is the biggest lie ~ compliance sends the message that you are an easy target. People push other people around because it makes them feel powerful about themselves ~ it makes them feel like they ‘matter’ (pathetic isn’t it?) so they need to find weaker people because strong people (like I am now) will tell them to get lost! It isn’t the look on your face, it is the way that you were taught to accpet being treated as less and people (abusers) pick up on it but ultimately it is about them, not about you. I turned this all around by facing where my self esteem got broken and fixing it. I don’t get targeted anymore. :) There is hope!!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

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Thank you for sharing your/ my story.
I am the rejected,neglected oldest of 5. My dad didn’t work for a couple of years while I was growing up. I had the joy of raising my siblings while my mom worked nights and he drank.
I was an A+ student and a star athelete as a child. The only place I ever had praise or felt value was at school.
My parents were completely disengaged. I suspect my mother got through her days on her drug of choice Valium.
My dad drank. I got to cook, clean and change diapers most of my life. I did everything I was told to do promptly, without complaining and to the best of my ability. I didn’t want anything in return. I had given up on the idea of being loved when I was around 6. I was bad and I deserved every horrible thing that would happen to me and they certainly did happen. At 15 I left home, quit school and went out into the big bad world. I had enough practice raising myself and I figured it out.
5 yrs ago I decided that the dysfunction in my family was just too deep rooted. I would never be treated in a way that was fair, kind or loving. I ended the relationship. It still hurts, it’s hard to explain to my children. It is easier to explain their absence then to constantly trying to find excuses for why grandma and grampa don’t like spending time with them.
Both my parents came from broken homes. I don’t think they knew what to do as a family. My mother never had a father and was very jealous of the relationship I had with my dad when I was younger. I think that’s how it all started.
We have “grand-neighbors”, elderly people who give my children that special attention and the kids are close to their paternal family.
I am still struggling with it. But hoping to continue moving forward.

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Hi Lisa
Welcome to EFB
It really helped me to realize that it wasn’t so much that I was placing judgements on my ‘broken’ parents, but that I was taking measures to deal with the damage that was caused to me so that I could be healthy and live a full life (finally) (including protecting my kids from being damaged the same way by them). Looking at this whole thing from a different angle has been so helpful!
I am gald that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

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im the black sheep not as i type this im sitting in my room crying i went to diner last night and walked into the restraunt bathroom to hear my mother and little sister talking openly about me ai told my auntie and even tho she said she wouldnt say anything i just found out that she told them every word i said my mother said she doesnt care that im mad or even sad because they said whatever the said behind my back they can say to my face it has always been like that my mother loved my little sister but seemed like she hated me i just dont get it sometimes i feel suside is the only way out i just cant take it anymore im only 20 and i cry almost every other night

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Hi Calliana
Welcome to EFB
I know this is very hard but what helped me so much is that I realized that their approval was NOT the answer. I thought I had to have it but the truth is that I am valuable and I deserved better. I just didn’t know it because they never let me know it. There is hope.
Hang in there.
p.s. I am going on holiday tomorrow; if you answer this post I will not likely be able to respond to it.
Hugs,

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Hi Calliana

I just wanted to say that I’ve been where you are now. There have been times in my life where I couldn’t stop crying or leave the house because of the way I was treated by my family.

This is a really great website that has helped me enormously. I’ve been able to recover from the abuse I suffered as a child and today my life is much different.

Like Darlene says, hang in there, there is hope. Read the posts and comments, you’ll find a really supportive and understanding community here.

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This had been so helpful for me. Even to go back and read my own posts, I can see so clearly where I was at the time. And I feel compassion for myself. It has helped me to care deeply about myself, when I know in my heart that so many times, I barely cared enough to clean or dress myself, when depression really hits. I thought I would be embarrassed to re-read what I’ve written because I immediately felt shame after each post. But I don’t feel embarrassed, at all. I can re-read and see that even as I was at my lowest, what I was saying made sense. My whole life has been a reaction to the crazy things around me. I’m slowly getting better. And it is starting to feel wonderful. The hurtful things that my family and so called friends have said to me about my life, my home, my boyfriend, tainted my outlook and ability to enjoy my life, for a very, very long time. But the further I am from them, the more I am able to see the beauty in my life again. I am starting to remember the things I love to do, the things that bring me joy. I honestly can’t believe I let them convince me that my life was not to be enjoyed, but was basically some kind of punishment, a punishment that they were to dole out on me. So they could live the ‘good’ life. If I worked hard to get something, they would act like I’m just a work horse, that there was no result, it was all for nothing. But if someone can’t see the benefit of hard work, I feel sorry for them.

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Dear kind people, all the words I have read have helped me see a vision of clarity in my life and brought comfort to me, in my time of overwhelming grief. Both my parents passed away only a few days ago and they died within 24 hours of each other. My parents split up in a very nasty divorce battle and 5 daughter’s were all caught up in the middle.I was seriously affected by their break up and have always sought their love but never really felt it was ever reciprocated back.
Unaware I had been secretly labelled as the ‘Black Sheep’ of the family, I only got to find out the truth over the last few days. I am the ‘Truth Teller’ in the family and for that I have been constantly outcast and excluded from the family, for most of my life. I am now being outcast even in death and as one last gesture of cruelness, my Father changed his will on my Birthday, I have since been informed that it is not in my favour. My Mother left her entire estate to my second sister and I have been excluded completely, even though I have had many recent years of contact with both my parents.I really don’t know whether or not to go to either funeral or am I sure whether or not I will be invited. I am so very sad because I loved both my parents and did everything in my power to forgive, however some cruelties are just go too deep. Any advice of what I should do???

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Hi Pina
Welcome to EFB
I am so sorry to hear of this horror you are going through. I hope that you will read more of the articles here as there is so much info about healing from this kind of treatment. It takes time; hang in there!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Darlene
I am the family punch bag and I am sad that I wasn’t fully aware of what was going on behind my back. My Father was very controlling and my Mother drank, my sister’s all treat me with contempt and so much disregard. I was treated one way to my face and another behind my back.I’m only just starting to hear all of this now, as 2 of my sister’s have been left in charge to sort out the funerals.I don’t know if I should go to either funeral as its going to be like walking into a hornets nest for me. I tend to react rather than instigate anything and my sister’s seem to be all ganging up.
I am so confused on what to do because I loved both my parents and I can forgive them even though I will be facing ridicule and belittling and probably will be encouraged to make a scene and a spectacle of myself, to prove why I am known as the black sheep of the family.

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Hi Darlene

Please can you point me in the right direction how I can start the process to heal myself. I want to feel whole again and lose all this anger and reactive behaviour. I drink on upset and I am so unhappy it is effecting every part of my life. I live on my own with 5 cats, never married and I am becoming a recluse and pushing everyone out. No one seems to understand me, so I rarely talk to anyone about my family situation in fear that they will judge me in the same way.
This site has been a huge comfort knowing I am not alone or unable to get the right help.

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Hi Pina
To start with I really recommend that you read more of the articles here; you can use the category buttons at the top of the page and you can use the archive button on the right side bar that will take you to my early work. In my early work I talk more about how I came out of the ‘fog’ which was necessary in order for me to see the truth about what had and still was happening in my life. And if you join the discussions that are current, that is where the most support is.
Hugs, Darlene

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Dear Pina:

I would attend the funerals of both your parents as they are your parents. You are unique not a black sheep, maybe also a white sheep?

White Sheep

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White Sheep and Pina
White sheep ~ what does that mean “as they are your parents?” ~ so much of this website is about those kind of blanket statements that suggest that parents are above any kind of consequence for their actions so please clarify what you mean by this statement as the way it is I don’t understand it.
Pina ~ nobody can tell you what is best for you as far as the action that you take ~ no one knows the situation the way that you do. I know that you don’t have much time to decide but I hope you will consider what is best for you overall in this decision.
Hugs, Darlene

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White Sheep and Darlene
I thank you both for your replies and in some ways I agree with White Sheep on the fact that you only have one family in life and you don’t get a second chance to go to a funeral. I can visit a grave after however my Dad is planning to have his ashes scattered somewhere over Beachy Head!
I have to live with the decision I have to make for the rest of my life. Good bad or indifferent I still need to say good bye.

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Well, it is your decision and I just don’t want you to regret that you did not attend. As we are sheeps and in life we can’t always be liked by everyone and I know it is not the greatest feeling to be around people with negative vibes but you can just shine by yourself and your mom and dad will be happy that you made the effort. I had to attend a wake/funeral with individuals who disliked me but my mind was on the person who passed away and I could not see myself disappointing him. Good luck.

148

As they are your parents is a kind of feeling that you are obligated or you feel guilty if you don’t acknowledge them but the reality is they are your parents you came from them and I would hope there is a good memory or 2 that you have of them? I know it may be small memories but be happy and reflect on that? Good luck Pina.

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It is society which says “they’re your family, no matter what they did.” That statement is total rubbish in reality when you’re dealing with abusers.

You don’t have to go to the funeral. Should the funeral option feel too difficult you can say goodbye in a way which is more appropriate for you. You have to do what is right for you regardless of what other people think!

My father who had been one of my major abusers died last August. I could not practically attend the funeral and would not have been wanted there. I also would probably have been kicked out if I had been able to make it.

I talked my thoughts, feelings and reactions to his death with supportive people in my life and was able to say goodbye to him in an appropriate way for me several weeks after his funeral.

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White Shepherd to me right now!
I really like your comments as most of us have been shut up for a very long time by controlling people, the words don’t always come out how we mean!

I am now finding ways to bypass my sisters to find out about the funeral arrangements myself as I am excluded!

Its about being resourceful and running faster than the fox!
thanx
x

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Dear Fi MacLeod

WOW your opinion was mighty strong and thanks for your input too. I have to stand up to all the bullies and stop reinforcing the message that I have to be outcast from my own parents funeral and unincluded.AGAIN!
They rejected me and I loved them ALL MY LIFE.
The problem needs to go with them and stay with them.
I am going to arrive at a hornets nest however I will stand tall and quiet so too many stings don’t go on

I have to do this for ME X

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My opinion is strong because I have been there and only very recently. Also I am straight and direct by nature. It’s a hard choice you have to make and you have to choose the right thing for you in both the short term and the long term rather than doing the thing society says you should do.

Point is you don’t have to put yourself in the hornets nest.

What has to be weighed up is the consequences for your mental and your emotional well-being should you choose to go or should you choose not to go.

It’s your choice. There are consequences either way.

If you choose to put yourself in the hornets nest of rejection and exclusion you are setting yourself up for those messages to be very painfully reinforced. The consequences for you could be very tough.

To choose not to go could actually be about adding value to yourself and your life experience by accepting the truth about them and choosing to not put yourself into a situation where more damage could be done to you because you deserve better treatment.

You have to do the right thing for you.

153

I found that there are some advantages to being a black sheep. Since I am unique I do not have to attend many family functions when invited. It is like I am a big question mark if I will show/not show which makes it interesting. It is sad to think that some people have to look at my life under a microscope in order to have some kind of life or purpose? I find that funny. I used to feel bad about how some family members treated me but now I kind of laugh at it. It has become cheap entertainment and it just reflects on how sorry their lives are.

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Dear Fi MacLeod and White Sheep

You have both made very poignant points and when I felt so sure to go now I am doubting my decision. My Father has made strict instruction not to have me at his funeral and my youngest sister now has gone against his wish in asking if I want to be invited!
I have found out where he is sleeping right now and will also find out where his ceremony is being held through the crematorium. I can either show up on the day and wait outside the funeral Parlour to follow the Hearse or just get the details by deception, I am now in his world!
I WILL STAND UP TALL as I was not the narcissistic person just the victim and it takes 2 people in a relationship to make that happen. I am grieving the loss of an unhealthy relationship and the one I didn’t have that I wanted

x

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My friend who died he always told me I know you won’t like being around all my family members but you have to be at my funeral. I endured it because I loved him and also to show people I had my own mind. So, life is sweet, bittersweet, and sometimes just cold but you do what makes you feel the best. If you can handle a bit of cold and just kind of be there and be sort of invisible, then do it. If you can also handle not going without regrets then you just have to decide. I chose to see him off the earth and be there no matter how many toxic people surrounded me. I did not stay one minute longer than necessary but I knew it was what he wanted me to do. I hope you make the best choice in your situation.

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I happened accross this website and have found myself in the company of resilient people whom I share the same stories. I am finally, at age 45, beginning to heal from my pains of dealing with a family of sociopaths. I too as a child was discredited by my mother because I didn’t go along with familial dysfunction. She was successful at getting other extended familiy memebers on board. My reputational demise began at 7-8 years old. I did not realize that the decisions I made when I got married and the friends I chose were a reflection of the very type of people that I was raised by and whom I resented. Unfortunately, my only two daughters (age 18 and 25) have fallen victim to the pathology and refuse to have a relationship with me. I have a 3 yr old granddaughter that I am unable to have a relationship with. The pain is great but I want to express encouragement to everyone who is still trying to get through the pain and towards healing. MacLeod, I am now where you are and it feels good. It took a while for my eyes to open up more about dealing with manipulative and sociopathic people and take control over my response to them. They no longer press my buttons and are now in a quandry about the “new” me and devising new approaches. It’s always going to hurt when it comes from certain family members but my growing love for myself is paramount to my overall well-being and outlook.

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Hi Lisa
Welcome to EFB
One of the most difficult to deal with and understand outcomes of this horrible family dysfunction is when the children of the victim fall for the lies of the abusers when the abusers manage to get the victims children to believe the lies and take the side of the abusers. I can only hope that these second generation victims (in this case your daughters) will see the truth. (and abusive husbands accomplish this frequently as well, as an extreme example, I have seen many many cases where the father was molesting/raping his daughter and the mother was ‘the bad guy’ who was rejected by the daughter!
Thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

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Thanks Darlene for providing a forum for communication on these issues. I am grateful to find that there are people talking about this rather than suffering in silence. Like you, my mother chose to reject my boundaries and request for respect. She’s now in a nursing home. I came from a background where religion was always used to manipulate, shame, condemn, and enforce compliance to abusive behavior. It is a hard pill to swallow knowing that my children are caught up in this and there is great potential for my young granddaughter to be as well. I am learning to accept that I’ve lost them because I feel as if I keep hoping for their change and it never happens,I would be crushed. If they do truly change, it would be a wonderful surprise. Sometimes I shake my head and can’t even form words. I allow myself to mourn and process my feelings. I promised myself that no one will ever take me to the levels of depression that I experienced in past. Thank you again!

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Dear Everyone
Thank you for all your comments they really have helped. I am dealing with next generation hatred including 4 sisters and a half brother now and anyone who knew my Dad. I fear that I will get banished from the funeral and the Police called out if I plead my claim. Safety in numbers normally wins the day. None of these people have ever had any part of my adult life however my fragmented sisters are now all behaving like they did when we were kids. I only speak to 1 sister who is arranging my Mother’s funeral and now acting like the head of the family. I am and always will be outcast and ridiculed by my family maybe because they fear their own ugly behaviour will seep out. One sister even divorced both my parents in a Newspaper however is now the executor of my Father’s will. The sister I still speak to in a volatile relationship put a duvet over my Mother’s head a week before she passed away chanting to her, ‘Why don’t you make my life easier and just die’.They are all so scared of the TRUTH!
I just have to get through the next 2 weeks of this then I can start to pick up the pieces of my own life.
Thank you for all your input

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Pina,
Good luck to you over the course of the next several days. I’m sorry you’re going through this. The best thing for me has been time, and reaching out to others on this site, and other places. Once you get past this immediate struggle, I believe things will get better. I HOPE things get better!!

Love to you,
Mimi

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Dear Mimi
Thank you as well for your comments, I’m going to stand tall and hold my head up high and attend both my parents funerals. I’m sure my presence will unnerve a few people but I owe this to myself, to begin the healing process. You have to stand up to bullies with strength and courage however much they try to knock you down. I see this as the beginning of my journey, which starts with one step.
You have all been so much comfort to help me find my inner strength thank you x

162

Another good article.
I grew up as an only child. I always felt that my father’s expectations (given him by his father) were way above my head and I could never hope to reach. He always spoke with pride of this person or that person and responded with disappointment or even irritation to my achievements. After my parents divorced and he remarried, they went on to have two more girls, so now I have two half sisters. They, of course, are perfect people who not only reach his standards (miraculously), but surpass them and surprise him with their intelligence/capability/personality/whatever. I remain the same source of worry and guilt. When the sisters were still quite small and after a number of birthday and xmas gifts, etc from me, my father suggested that I buy no more for them because my gifts were not being appreciated. They have wealthy relatives and my gifts, in comparison, were seen as tat.
Now I feel like the black sheep of that family. Thankfully, my mother’s side is rather nicer.

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I love this site and I feel less alone when I read all of these comments . . .

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One funeral attended and I was made to feel outcasted at my own Father’s funeral, however that put me at centre stage as everyone in the room could not work out why 2 of his daughters sat at the back, when he was supposedly such a big family man!
My Mother’s funeral is on Friday and family that outcast me at my Father’s funeral now have to consider their own actions!
I get my life back hopefully after the end of the week, knowing that I have done the right thing when others haven’t.

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Pina I am happy you are making your own decisions and standing tall.

166

Thank you for this article. Reading your story was like you saw my family. Easter, someone broke into my mom’s house, and I called the police. A lot of money was stolen. I live in a small community and have a VERY respectable job here. I love it. Everyone is great, and I fit in for the first time in my life. Well, my mom hadn’t talked to me since Easter, so I called last week. She left a message on my machine saying I should be ashamed of myself. Everyone in my family, and I do mean everyone, is saying I did it. Then I am being accused of “gossiping” about the family – totally unfounded. My mother won’t talk to me. My brother said I should just die. I was stunned. But I shouldn’t have been. I, too, was raised looking at my faults and blaming myself for everything. I was depressed, low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness…. I am happy here. Have real friends for the first time in my life, and I am 42. I am done. I can’t do this game with them anymore. But now I live with the shame of something I didn’t do. Anyways…. thanks for listening.

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Over time thought that my relatives would change and things would be different somehow. They have gotten a little better but I have made a few close friends outside the family circle and it just makes you wonder why can’t family be like the commercials on television etc. Oh well . . . glad I am not alone on this . . .

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I ran across this website, and this article drew me in. I am considered “black sheep”, starting from my mothers own doing only increasing with my own. My mother was a semi-”black sheep” person for various reasons. She had my oldest brother out of wedlock at the age 16, which also caused her to be thrown out of her catholic high school she was attending (they also kicked her two other sisters out too for her actions). My mother was forced to give him up (couldn’t afford him and grandparents didn’t have money nor room for him) and so she was forced to give him up for adoption. Years later she marries, has two more kids (I’m not around yet, she had my other brother and sister) and eventually divorces. Up to this point in time (around the 80′s) she’s the only in the family to have had a kid under the age of 18, had a kid out of wedlock, given a kid up for adoption (though not her desire), and having had a divorce. She was, at this point, a pretty black-sheepish person in the family.

Then she got together with my dad (D). After she left her previous husband (T), he threatened her that he would make her regret ever getting with anyone else. I don’t know what all he (T) did, but I know my mom and dad moved around a lot (NY, NE, IN, OH, OR to name a few) and my mom has somewhat hinted to me that her ex-husband (T) was to blame, but she didn’t stay put in one spot too long since she had her two kids with him and wanted to still be in their lives.

I was born in July 1989 (barely, was expected to be born still but lived and was born blue, was born with a rare heart disease Tricuspid Atresia) and the day after christmas my dad died (long story short, he committed suicide. I found out that my moms ex-husband (T) talked his daughter into faking a story about my dad having done sexual things with her, being only 12, though was a lie. She left a diary saying he did things to her on her school desk for her teacher to find. Came to being that it was a minors word against an adult, and my dad was probably going to be thrown into jail because he had nothing to save his butt.. he didn’t want that to happen and killed himself, out of stress and other reasons.. by the time I was about 4 my sister, the same sister (I only ever had one sister) also killed herself, can you guess why?)

All my life I have lived a black-sheep life. Not only because I am a shadow of my mother (my brothers are also slightly black sheep along with my mother, though they didn’t do anything wrong, only because we came from her). I, on the other hand, differ the most. I can see the family as two-faced as they are. They put on a mask when together to keep peace and to pretend we all get along for the sake of ‘us kids (I’m included in that)’ and they put on a good show, but I could see through it. I doubt my cousins could, though. Behind doors, I could see how the family was falling apart is only hanging together for the sake of my grandmother (especially now that the kids are grown and off to higher things). Not to mention the lies and deceit that went on. It seems that we had a picture perfect family, clean as could be, but that was false. By the time I was 14 my mother basically admitted that everyone with the exception of my grandparents do illegal drugs, and all of them smoke cigarettes behind their kids. My one cousin found out the hard way that his dad smokes, and it hurt his trust. I didn’t have the heart to tell him his mom did too, plus that they were pill poppers and so on.

I grew up with lots of blame being put onto me. There was one day, for example, my mother and I had a fight that somehow turned me into being blamed about something with my sister, my DEAD sister that I had never met. Yet, somehow, I was at fault. As I got older, other family members blamed me for upsetting my mother and ruining our relationship. Yet, we did go to family counselling once.. never did again. Why? The counsellor said my mother was the main one at fault and needed to do a lot of work to set things right. Never did we go to a counsellor again.

But, I am happy now.. when I turned 18 I moved out, and now I am married and have two kids. I am happier then I could ever be. I left my family, seen them all at least once since I left. I even gave my mother a chance, but when I went to visit my mother one day, she tried to blame my husband for ‘not allowing me to visit’, and I stopped seeing her. I haven’t seen nor spoken to anyone in my family in over 3 years now, and I doubt it will change. As my husband says, you can’t help the family you are born with, but you can make the family you will stay with.

This was an interesting website, I will look into it more when I have more time.

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Hi Jolene
Yes, this is exactly how it goes. Seeing that dysfunction for what it was helped me a lot to move forward and away from it. Thank you for sharing and welcome to EFB
Hugs, Darlene

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White sheep (most of the time)
May 21st, 2013 at 5:35 am

I had a problem with my brother long ago when he was drinking excessively. We got into an argument while he was intoxicated and I could not restrain him so I had to call the police. From that incident, my relationship with my brother and his wife could never be fixed. Their son is now graduating but I can honestly say I only see them once a year so I do not feel I have to give a card with money it since I am not invited to his graduation but my parents are trying to hint to do this.

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Dear White Sheep
You will never be thanked for anything you do and it will be taken as some sort of ugly payment. If you have a relationship with your nephew now then that would be very different. I have been put in a very similar situation after the death of both my parents and being told that I am now an Aunt to 2 girls. I am not an Aunt in any other shape or form than one of blood association. My relationship with them did not exist before and a funeral is no place to start up a relationship through the parents telling me now I have 2 nieces!
If my nieces want to know me then they can ask for my address and contact me away from other family influences.
You wouldn’t grow any other relationship in your life like this so why start now.

Love and respect yourself

x

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White sheep (most of the time)
May 21st, 2013 at 8:54 am

Pina:

As much as I wish and hoped for things to be different as far as my relationship goes with my nephew it is not going to happen. The other dysfunctional family members will never allow this. Yes, you are absolutely right and I just needed someone (non family member) to tell me this. Thanks.

White Sheep

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Dear White Sheep

We all want it to be different, that’s what keeps us going back for more and being taken advantage of. If other family members wanted the same then they would make an equal effort to work at a relationship with you. You cannot buy a relationship so keep your money and only buy your Nephew something practical like a book to keep up his studies or a pan for his new apartment but don’t give anymore of yourself, cause you are setting yourself up to be disappointed.

Love yourself to make up for the missing love you do not get back

Pier x

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Thanks so much Pina

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Dear White Sheep

I wish I could apply some of my own advice to myself,I love to be included and loved with the small snippets of love I get given but now both my parents have died the truth of my insignificance in their lives is really starting to come out.
You need to value YOURSELF and only give love where love is due. Token gestures of money just because of family expectation and pressures, does not win family affections. Your nephew has been conditioned and forgive him for not knowing all the facts,

Take good care of yourself.

A friend that hears you are hurting x

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Haha I find it so funny about discrediting lol they put you down and soon everyone is doing the same thing!
Spooky. And then they say you can’t be trusted . But why? Lol thanks for this

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Ty pina and stephanie for verifying that I am not alone with these experiences and yes you have to pat yourself on the back alot and find people who understand this experience so nice meeting both of u much love to both of u

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I’ve posted here before so hope I’m not repetitive, just have to write again. Very lonely time as I have decided to let my sister go. She’s been my only family as mom has dementia and is in a home. I’ve been the black sheep for a long time, I spoke out at home while my sister went under the radar, then I started to drink and seek counselling, which was used as evidence that I was sick in the head. All my life I’ve gotten the message that something’s wrong with ME, not the family situation. There’s been a brick wall there between me and my sister, which she denies, everything is denied, but I feel it and I can’t reach her.
I felt a lot of guilt for staying away from Mom while my sister has Power of Attorney and looks after her needs, but I thanked my sister. I told her honestly I could not help her. And I can’t emotionally I don’t have it, I never bonded with mom. I am the only one who seeks therapy, I am the only one who calls what happened abuse. I don’t bring up the past with my sister because she doesn’t want to deal with it, she says she’s too old for that, and the implication is, I’ve been immature, hung up on the past and won’t grow up.

Only in the last few days have I really woken up to the realization that hey, I don’t deserve this punishing attitude. It would be kinder to tell me outright, “I don’t like you, I don’t want a relationship” then to keep me dangling with passive aggressive behaviour, like always getting her husband on the phone and never her. Or at Christmas she tells me, “You know they call Mom lovable at the home” I thought that’s nice, she sure wasn’t lovable when I was a kid calling me a fat pig, but I guess in her eyes I’m being “immature” for being hurt still. It might have helped to have some acknowledgement from someone in the family that this stuff was abusive, something, something besides it being buried as “that was then this is now”, it might have helped to have it looked at for what it was before leapfrogging over it and expecting us to be a nice normal family now.

Last week I lost a pet I’d had for 13 years, I called, got the husband of course, he said in a really nice tone I had to “get over it”, she had just died that day…then I got my sister on the line, I told her I was proud I hadn’t drank over it, that I still had 4 months sober, she said, “well maybe you’re getting mature now”, I felt like it was a slap, all I wanted to hear was “That’s great, congratulations, I’m proud of you”, but no. I got the whole picture in my head with that comment, I realized their vision of me was quite different than mine, and the dream of closeness I’ve had all my life died.

It must have been very hard watching me self-destruct for years and I’m sorry about that and can only stay sober from this point on. But nobody in over 30 years ever asked me why I drank, I guess they know why but don’t want to know why. Instead it was turned around as nothing but a character flaw in me, and I cannot participate in this dynamic anymore. I have every right to stay away from a mother who tore me down with words, who told me once she wished she never had me, and all the sickness in the family has been loaded onto me and I deeply resent it. But rather than get sick over it or drink over it I’m letting go of what isn’t working and hasn’t worked for a long time.

I feel like the family sacrifice and the safe one to transfer anger onto, but that is not my problem to work out anymore, I want a new life with people who love and respect me and can show it. I don’t have to be this “mess-up” anymore, I can be who I choose to be. There is nothing wrong with me calling abuse abuse, even if it happened years ago, with being hurt by that abuse, or with not wanting to be around people who used to abuse me. That I have family who think something is wrong with me for all this tells me they haven’t dealt with the past, because if my sister really was “past it” and had healed she would understand.

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Dear Doren

I completely relate to everything you have said and can only send out a remote hug as a fellow sufferer to such damaging treatment from family. Sadly though it is a very vicious cycle and you run the risk of finding replacement bullies as we all contribute to the behaviour cycle by playing the victim role. The more you talk about being a victim the more you become one. You just have to let go completely and take every day as it comes, building up your own confidence by participating in things you do enjoy and be around like minded people.
Bad habits are very hard to kick including unhealthy relationships.The drinking will only harm you so remove all the emotional stress and go to the gym or out for a nice meal but don’t drink on upset.
It is lonely at first but remember how lonely it was for you IN the relationship and what are you really missing???

Take care and be kind to yourself x

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Thank you Pina

sending a {{{Hug}}} back to you

I’ve been afraid to let go, I’ve resisted it so much…thinking I must be wrong, that others are always right and I am wrong…that it could not be that my feelings were valid, that I deserved this treatment…nobody’s ever questioned it, including myself

I’ve been afraid to live, afraid to build my own life, afraid to take power, to be who I choose to be

To think that it was all lies and projection, that I’m not weak or deeply flawed inside…do people really do this, consciously or not, to protect “family truth”? That is not love

I think it is just hitting me emotionally, which is different than knowing it in my head…that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with me…there is a deep hurt and anger about what has been going on, and my acceptance of it…but now I have a chance to be the real me…

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Doren good luck and it sounds like you are making great strides with all the dysfunction. It is sad because we want to think family is supportive but it is often the opposite. My family isolates me as well and so I just try my best to make my world better. Wishing you alot of love and support.

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Thank you White Sheep and the same to you much love and support…I’m sorry that you’ve experienced this as well…unfortunately it seems so common for one to feel alone with this…the internet and sites like this have helped so much to connect with others and validate our experiences…I know 20 years ago I had a far greater sense of isolation.

It seems like a gradual awakening over the last couple of years in particular…for nothing outwardly has changed much but my perception has. I often feel confused and struggling greatly with self-doubt…my gut tells me one thing but my head often fights it, fighting acceptance of what I perceive; the familiar view that I was a mess-up deserving of this hurt me, but it was familiar.

This entails looking at myself and my life in a whole new way, and I wonder, am I wrong? am I just wanting to be a victim or refuse to grow up? I must stand alone and define myself…do I have a right to do this? I think inside….because the way it is in my family is the way it’s always been, never questioned, just like it’s normal…and it’s always been presented as if there’s something wrong with ME for seeing something wrong with the family…selfish and disloyal

But, if I logically think, what have I done to warrant this treatment, I cannot see what…except I have been different in temperament than the others…more transparent more open…as if plunked in a family I didn’t belong in, and never accepted for being me

And I have played into it because I’ve wanted their love and acceptance so much, I’ve wanted to be included in their view of “normal” but it doesn’t happen

And now I’m seeing that there’s nothing wrong with me, there never was…I was deeply wounded, but not flawed or sick. I don’t have to waste anymore time on what doesn’t work for me…I can take off this heavy thing that’s been placed on me and actually celebrate being me…and I’m telling myself (even if I don’t quite believe it) that I don’t have to worry if I’m right or wrong, I feel these things, I feel hurt by this treatment, and that is reason enough to stay away…especially as I tried to communicate and got nothing back. I think I was an easy mark in that family, being the baby, and so sensitive and expressive…but I can take a whole new direction now…I don’t think before I thought it possible…all that negativity and pessimism about life is not “normal”…I can write a new script from now on…it’s a lot to take in…

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From the time I was born, I was hated by my mother and her other children. I am the only one of five kids who has a different father. My mother hated him because he hated her. Every time my mother looked at me she saw him and every time he looked at me he saw her. My mothers other children were emotionally abusive to me by calling me names, destroying my toys, yelling at me, denying me love and emotional support. My sister was born with cerebral palsy. She is the meanest person I have ever met. She tried to smother me with a pillow when I was 5 years old! The youngest is 13 years older than me. Even their children have tried to scape goat me but I have NC with them. Totally NC. They call and want me to come visit, but do not call back and I ignore them. They never call; it is their spouses who call and beg me to visit and re connect. Never them. My mother and father were the worst. Because I was tormented, I acted strange. My behavior made my parents view me as mentally challenged, deranged, crazy, insane, slow learner, etc. I told on my siblings many times but my mother said I was a liar! My parents are dead and my mothers other children are all in their sixties now. In 2010, I made the mistake of visiting. They humiliated me by doing something physical to me. My husband and kids were horrified and I was in shock. We left and have never returned. Later, my youngest said she was glad that we were never going back because “a man” was bothering her. She told me that my nephew(the same idiot who hurt me in 2010) was pulling her hair, and pushing her. My nephew was 43 years old at the time and my daughter was eight! She said he was big, black and scary! He is about 6 feet 5! At that point, I was done. I have not gone back since and I have cut them off completely. Thank you so much for this site! You all have become a family to me!

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Thank you so much for this website! I have been so upset today I could not sleep so I did a google search and found you all. Thank you everyone who has shared your story. Here is mine:

My father was a minister. My mother was the babysitter of his four children and “stole” him from their mother. I put that in quotes because really she was very young and he was a pedophile who spotted her when she was just fourteen. But we could not talk about that in our family. My father did not invite his children to the wedding because (my parents claimed) their mother was crazy. Once I asked my mother about the dubious way she and my father met and she became enraged. I never asked again. My mother was very unwelcoming to these older four. She had three daughters herself by my father. I am the youngest of all seven. Except for one sister, the youngest of the older four, all my siblings were mean to me since I can remember. I was the bottom of the pecking order. They all took their frustrations out on me. It was easy because I was small and my parents never stopped them.

My mother was a Donna Reed type. Everyone LOVED her and thought she was a pure angel. She had a very clean house, was always baking, and appeared to the world as very maternal. Even to me. She rubbed my back and sang me to sleep every night. But then she also turned a blind eye to the cruelty of my older siblings, and she often just completely tuned me out. I spent a lot of time alone in my room or wandering the woods behind our house. I suspect that she was disappointed I was not a boy. She stuck me in a blue room by myself when I was a baby, meanwhile the other two shared a room together. She was often annoyed with me, despite that at age four I almost died because I was hit by a car. This made me very frightened and needy, which she hated. Instead of seeing it as her shortcoming, the blame was put on me. When I would complain that one of my siblings or someone at school picked on me, she would say “What did YOU do???” From the time I can remember I was considered an annoying evil brat in my family. My mother died when I was 15 and my father when I was 19. After their death my older siblings continued to belittle me and treat me like dog poo on into my forties. Some of them have stopped, but some of them continue to this day. The saddest part is that now this mistreatment of me has been passed down to the next generation. My first niece was born when I was 10. I was excited that I would finally have someone to play with, but that was very short-lived. More nieces and nephews came and eventually they all turned against me like their parents. Unlike me, none of them could do any wrong, even one who sold drugs and was arrested. Nobody cared or said anything about it, but the tiniest thing I did was a huge crime. Even this little sociopath started treating me like a piece of garbage. I cut him out of my life. I’ve had enough. I am in dialogue with my therapist about cutting additional siblings out of my life as well. It is very painful to be an outsider in my own family. The meanest of them has constant disdain for me and tries to “protect” her grown children from me like I am some pariah. When my husband physically abused me, she got angry at me for asking to stay at her house. The part that freaks me out the most is that she works with troubled teenagers – in other words black sheep just like me. I told her once that she should not be doing that job if she can’t even be compassionate to her own sister. She became furious. Everyone rushed to her side and told me how mean I was to say that. Nobody has ever taken my side or protected me my whole life. After I was orphaned at 19 I was on my own. Nobody helped me or tried to comfort me. Since then three of their children have lost parents at the same age I did and I have watched my siblings coddle and baby them. It is hard to watch that and not feel very, very sad that they did not care enough to help me at that age. And ultimately I still wonder why I have been singled out. Some of you seem to have such clarity about why you were treated like that, but I don’t. Sometimes I feel like I was born with a tattoo on my forehead that says “Treat me like shit.”

I’ve tried to make a family of my own, but because of how I was treated as a child I never learned the skills to find a partner who would be nice to me. I do have a son now but I am terrified that some day he will turn on me and betray me like everyone else. I am often alone and very lonely. I suffer from depression and anxiety and have to take meds for that. I have a few friends but I am scared of people and scared they will also mistreat me. I am very frightened and mistrusting in the world. Thank you all for being there and helping me to not feel so alone.

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Hi Lisa
Welcome to EFB ~ the clarity takes time. The biggest thing that I had to come to realize is that this treatment is about them way more than it is about me. I believed (was taught to believe) that I deserved it and that something was wrong with me in the first place. By looking at the truth, I realized that it wasn’t me. So much of this pecking order thing is about the misuse of power in order to control. I stood up to that and found my freedom.
Thanks for sharing; you are not alone in this! I hope you will keep reading; there is so much more clarity as the fog lifts.
Hugs, Darlene

186

I was pigeonholed as being “weird” and “different.” Mom would tell me, “it’s ok to be different” but then when HER friends were around, I got them, “This is not the time or place for your (whatever) crap.” The way I saw it, if I didn’t say something, how was this narrow minded small town society going to know that there are alternatives?

I hated being around my family. And it’s MY fault that I don’t want to be around them? They weren’t welcoming to me!

187

That is a huge part of ‘the truth’ that I am talking about. When I realized that I had a REASON to be upset in the first place, I was able to learn to love myself and fill those holes in me where I had not been loved and heal my broken self esteem.
Hugs, Darlene

188

Hi Everyone

I suspect that you guys don’t even know the damning things your family are capable of but hear my story well. I sought help through my GP to get the counselling I so much needed only to find that I had been placed on an AT RISK register with the Police and Social Services!

My psychotherapist on only my second appointment/ assessment produced an AT RISK report to me that I then became answerable to. The very fact that I sought help off my own back seems to have fallen to the wayside and my neighbourhood dispute now seems to have painted me out to be a NUTTER!

Sadly the psychotherapist forgets that I have just lost both my parents in April and the AT RISK report is now taking over any consideration for my REAL issues!

I am now doomed and blacklisted not only by my family but now by the authorities who hold unfounded records against me.

I trust noone!

Pier x

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Pina, you aren’t alone. I am reading a book called HEALING FROM FAMILY RIFTS and there is a case in there similar to yours. I’m sorry you are dealing with this.

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Dear Pier,

I have just read your email to me and I am so sorry to hear how you are feeling right now, although I do understand. I have questioned whether or not I should have raised this with you and I evidently did not consider fully all the possible ramifications of this for you, for which I am deeply sorry. As you were writing, I too, was drafting the email below. I am happy to make changes to this or not to send it, as you see best. Just to clarify, I did not seek this information out, as you suggest, and I did offer the assessment in a speedy manner, only because this is something we as a service are trying to get better at. I hope you can see that I am very sincere in what I say and I certainly hope to be able to continue to work with you to complete the assessment.

In relation to the query raised yesterday … someone from the adult help desk phoned our team base yesterday and asked if you were known to our services. It sounded as though this was in an attempt to go through the backlog of At Risk reports that had not been passed on (as the covering letter suggested). One of our administrators said they had given my name, saying I was due to see you, hence it being addressed to me. The administrator quickly asked whether or not they had done the right thing and it raised wider queries with other administrators about gaining further guidance on who they are obliged to share information with and when they should prior gain consent from the client it concerns (initially being clear that they can neither confirm nor deny whether or not someone is known to our services). I will take this forward along with some colleagues of mine to provide some clearer guidance and possibly a training session for these members of staff. They seem clear about issues of confidentiality and in some circumstances know exactly what to say, but there are other grey areas that we will seek to clarify. I hope this will help prevent a similar situation from occurring again in the future.

Regarding the draft email to send to those in the police, please have a look at what I have written below and let me know whether or not you would like me to send this on. I will not send it on until you get back to me to say this is okay.
I thought perhaps it was better to send it to Steve Curry and Zahid Kahn only, and they can then take it up with PC Hopcraft…what do you think?

Dear

I recently met with Pier Walker to carry out a general assessment of her needs following a recent referral to our Services. As it happened I also received a Vulnerable Adult at Risk alert from Adult Social Services yesterday, which was dated 13.02.13 completed I understand by PC Rees Hopcraft. I discussed this with Pier as part of a wider assessment in order to attempt to fully understand her current difficulties. It is routine that I ask about housing and any issues associated with this. However, it is important to stress that Pier’s contact with services was unrelated to such housing and neighbourhood issues.
It significantly concerned Pier to know that her neighbours had been in contact with the Police again, and she certainly feels misrepresented. I understand you have both worked with Pier in relation to some past neighbourhood difficulties that caused significant distress to her. Pier has suggested she and her neighbours try to manage issues with the help of a mediator, but the neighbours have turned down this offer. She also spoke about times when on numerous occasions she has felt mentally discriminated against (by name calling) and bullied and intimidated. It appears that there are ongoing issues within her neighbourhood and she feels targeted as a single female living alone.
Pier was under the impression that all issues in relation to her neighbours, in terms of Police involvement, were in the past, and it concerns her that this has re-surfaced. For example she understands that all previous charges against her were dropped and details removed from the system. She also has significant concerns that at risk alerts such as this may appear on any CRB checks and this may make it harder for her to gain/maintain employment.
Pier is very wary of information being passed between services and in principle prefers a more transparent and open approach, hence my including her in this email to yourselves. I have explained that we have a duty of care to share information when we have concerns for an individual’s safety, or the safety of others, but Pier felt that the sharing of information in this instance was unjustified and she fears it presents one view only and may result in people being prejudiced against her. My approach to sharing information usually involves speaking to the person it concerns first, and only if I believe it will significantly harm the individual or someone else, might I not do this.
I plan to meet with Pier again in order to complete the assessment in order to determine where we go from here, but it felt important to raise her concerns with you in order that you may once again be able to help resolve some of the current neighbourhood difficulties and also to clarify your roles and the current situation with regards to past issues as well as what might happen next.
I certainly don’t want this to impact on Pier getting the help she would like and she needs some clarity about these issues in order for it not to distract from our assessment process.
I hope you can offer some response to this.

Dr Celia Lesquerre
Chartered Clinical Psychologist
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
MONDAYS, TUESDAYS, WEDNESDAYS & THURSDAYS
Crawley & Horsham Adult Mental Health Services
Crawley office: 218 Ifield Drive , Ifield, Crawley , RH11 0EP
Tel: 01293 652300 Fax: 01293 652309
Horsham office: New Park House, North Street , Horsham , RH12 1RJ
Tel: 01403 223200 Fax: 01403223206
Mobile: 07738756843
Email: Celia.Lesquerre@sussexpartnership.nhs.uk

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Dear Celia

Sadly the damning fax you presented me with yesterday, has raised much doubt to my personal confidentiality and trust, with the GP, the Police, the Council Social Services department and now you. If this is normal, behind the scenes practice for locally trusted officials, to behave in this ugly and underhand manner, then is there any wonder why I have major TRUST issues?????

It appears from the fax that I was already flagged up as an AT RISK person with your team, as YOU seem to be the one requesting the information without either my knowledge or consent. Now the fast track appointment with you, seems to make a great deal more sense and as the old saying goes,’If something seems far too good to be true, then it probably is’.

I hope you feel that you have QUIZZED me enough, over ALL the virtual concerns the Council, my GP and the Police have damningly and unfoundedly reported over my welfare, as I feel that any further meetings with you now will and can only be detrimental to me.

The neighbour at number 33 did get a visit last night and the hedge as promised was cut down. All my actions were completely within my rights and within the law however NUTTY they may have appeared in the eyes of my neighbour. The access to the rear of my garden is through the neighbours garden and I am legally entitled to pass through at any time, day or night, even though they have blocked it up!

I have raised a complaint with the Council Office responsible for sending this HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL and RESTRICTED information to you that holds absolutely no foundation and is nothing more than total defamation of character and slander based on hearsay, passed on, irrespective of the Data Protection Act and Patient Confidentiality.

I feel completely RAPED and VIOLATED right now of all my human rights that have been taken away on the strength of hearsay and gossip and now officially recorded against me by people in authority.

I want nothing further to do with people who chose to persecute me in this way

Pier Walker

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Dear DR Celia

The very fact that the Police are aware that I have visited you and are now contacting you directly, is a major break in my patient confidentiality and your professional CODE OF CONDUCT, whether you respond to them or not and how I feel now does not even enter into the equation, as professional trusts that have been undoubtedly broken. You still seem to believe after all that has happened that I AM MAD ENOUGH to ever want to return to you for HELP!!!!!!!!
Sorry what kind of help are you offering me????????? The kind of help to report back to the Police and Council Social Services for their virtual covert concerns they hold towards my health and to let a totally corrupt system just prove a point of supposedly attempting to help to keep INSANE NUTTERS LIKE ME under control!
You and all the other authority figures involved in this despicable situation need to resolve this without my participation, as you all seem to have had the power to place me on the AT RISK register without my consent or knowledge up until now. So you can either get me Mentally sectioned or get the unfounded detrimental records on file against me removed, so I can make some attempt to rebuild the damage that has been done to my reputation.

I am completely dumbfounded that you seem to think I would ever willingly want to come back or ever trust you or any of the professional authorities involved in this outrageous and unfounded witch hunt. Surely now it is not for me to put my head on the block and give you or anyone else involved my trust once again that has undoubtedly been abused professionally in the very worst kind of way possible.

Until I get an official apology from you and all the other authorities involved, in writing and re-assurance that this kind of underhand practice of assassinating my credibility in the very worst way possible by assuming on official documents that I am MENTALLY ILL solely on the grounds of a neighbourhood dispute and instigated by the Police, who carry absolutely no authority to make medical diagnoses, then you will not see me ever again.

I ask that your Practice Manager and the governing body you work for to contact me as soon as possible so I can make a formal complaint. I hope that there is someone in your medical field that is able to give me the patient confidentiality that I am rightfully entitled to and I am able to get the help I so innocently asked for that ended up in this dreadfully violating way.

Maybe you should check your sad little notes about me and see that I have just LOST BOTH MY PARENTS!

Maybe you can also contact the Jobcentre and explain how you and the Police have also blacklisted my CRB employment records to ever find employment in the field I have recently qualified in.!

You and the authorities are ruining my life and maybe you should use our booked appointment next Monday to revise your Code of Practice and Client Confidentiality that you have all broken!

Pier Walker

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Hi Pier
Wow, I am sorry to hear about this horror. This is a big part of the reason that so many people are so afraid to get help!
Hugs, Darlene

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You are the only website I have any trust in right now as I have been so badly persecuted and have absolutely no understanding in how I can defend myself against this dreadful injustice. Incarcerated for nearly 24 hours and only coming out of the Police station yesterday having to move my car even though the Police parked it illegally and then banning me from driving it was not in anyway an easy task.

I need REAL friends right now but feel so alone and outcast because of being majorly discriminated against by the authorities!

My life has been completely ruined by being disbelieved!

Pier

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Dear fellow Black Sheep

Is there anyone out there who can offer me advice me what I can do????
I feel so very alone right now and penalised by the system. When you get put on an AT RISK register by the Police and authorities that hold absolutely no supporting evidence to make such a claim, how can a human being plead their case???
I was given a

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I could have wrote this myself, word for word. I’m actually surprised at how outwardly “normal” I’ve adapted into society in a nonconformal way. I was heavily sexually,, physically and probably the hardest to get past mentally abused as a child, up until my deparcher at 17.

I was betrothed the same title as you and to this day at 28 have yet t be taken seriously. My father, the culprit in my childhood lucidity did everything in his power to discredit me to both sides if the family.
I remember very little about my childhood as does my brother. We’ve talked once and only once to confirm our past regressions.

As young as I can remember both my “mother” and “father” would casually put me down in front of any audience they could capture with their makeshift slander.
I was broken down and made to me so small that I couldnt see out the window to see that the stuff that was happening in my life was not going on over at the Jones’ house.

I remember being exteremly sexually aware early on, my shame was nonexistent and ripped away along with every ounce of innocent dignity that I had.
I was also projected my fathers sickness upon my friend next door. We would play “house” the way my parents would play with me. We were caught in the act and I was ostracized from my only friend, given the title as a deviant, we were both 6 at the time.

Our family moved and so did the abuse after I had apparently outed my parents to a fellow classmate that found the overprotective teachers ears. I remember getting called into the nurses office, a doctor or someone stood over me and checked my genitials. This scared me apparently it’s a pretty vivid memory. Of corse once cps came and questioned my parents all was laughed off as my over active imagination.

I thought we could actually start new at this new place. I saw the ragged early 18th century home as my escape. Te sexual abuse stopped due to my obvious attempts of outing them but the mental abuse became almost unbearable. I can still feel every ounce of hurt from the mental abuse, the sexual is mostly blacked out. I’ve since removed the toxic memories and found a way for forgive and release the unwanted memories.

My mother and father decided to finally split 2 months into our move. It was devastating. We were left with my mother lackluster care, we within an instant became Farrell children. I was her scapegoat, she outworldly loathed me. Breaking me down and posessed the ability to make me accept my title as ” too ignorant to function”

She requested that I be out in special Ed due to her “observations” of my inability to pay attention and absorb the indoctrinated bull shit that was being forcefully put onmy already out weighted shoulders. She loved to humiliate me, she got off on it, using the shards of my broken heart as her own personal afrodecisc.

I covered my bruises and forced a smile, I had no idea until I became an adult that my childhood was seriously fucked. This was the norm for me. My confidence continued to whither away. We only were allowed one meal a day but had to ask for it and could be denied it.

Eventually my mother did the unthinkable and up and left my brother and I. Abandoning us, pawning us off to my father and exteremly abusive wife.

My heart shattered, I still feel every ounce of agony, I still feel the ghost tears that never dried. I was a teenager, 14 to be exact. Laying on my bed clenching my chest, my eyes burned with intensity from the forced flow of salty water. Every ounce of my trust died that day. I was alone, I was hurt and all I wanted was my “mommy” to kiss me and love me and make it batter. I never knew that feeling, the feeling of comfort and safety.

We became slaves of our own doom. My stepmother sufferers from the highest form of OCD I have ever come across in my 28 years of living. She to this day spends sixteen hours cleaning, we were forced to showered several times and change our clothes as well. Our rooms were spotless and without entertainment. We had a bed, dresser and closet. Our clothes were outdated but luckily at an age where they could be reused until my deparcher.

Christmas rolled around, we were secluded from her children and “their” family(this was a normal thing) the last Christmas I remember getting anything I was still being sexual abused. I was bribed constantly with the most amazing toys and clothes. We celebrated by having a water heater put in and that also counted as birthday gifts too, whilst step”mommy dearest” and her children we showered with gifts. Their every wish was granted, we were forced to watch.

I eventually got away once things got really bad. I was sexually assaulted at 16, I was branded with the a scarlet letter as a trouble maker. I was no longer allowed to hangout with my once close confidants. Abandoned again.

That’s the back story, I deeply apologize for the somewhat lengthy explanation. I didn’t go into to much detail
, but the real reason I’ve come to this site is because I, still being ostrosiced by my extended family.
All my grandparents. Aunts, uncles and cousins have given me the title I “black sheep” my wool is thick, it’s heavy and unavoidable.

I’ve done nothing to placed first in the long line of projections. I’m an illusion to these people. They fail to love, because I’ve been given the title of unlovable. I want so badly to be accepted by these people. I want to go to their parties other than the mandated holiday excursions.

I go, I watch. A vouyer of the happiness. It fascinates me to a different degree of envy. It’s forgin. This unit that refuses my company is my only desire. I want to be a part of that Norman Rockwell painting. Their subtle fakeness blocks my entery to the overly guarded shindig.

The same pain hits me, the sense of abandonment reappears and replaces my point of view. I’m the dog no one wants. I’m unloved.

A lot of my friends like to speculate, they say its a jealously being projected at me. I’m attractive but humble. Beautiful but grounded. They perceive my shell as an easy target. They only see what they’re told, I’ve grown. I’ve lived and survived some of the most unspeakable acts. Their ignorance to my situation frustrates me. I’m being discredited when in fact I should be given affirmations for my successes. In Worldly terms I’m a nobody but my soul is deep, my mind is broad and my heart empathic. I’m blessed.

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You are absolutely right, whenever my mom would cuss me and ridicule me in front of family and friends, I would notice that they would also join in apart from a couple such as my Grandma, some auties and uncles and their own families because they know how and what a bully she is BUT my step brother,-another- step bitch of a dad and granpa including some of her ugly looking friends would take the chance to ridicule me. NOW if my own mother would do that then what’s stopping everyone else from doing the same thing. MY step dad is so afraid of my mom that he will never ever disturb my step brother who is not his child by the way because my mum will say he is too demanding but even though we used to be cool, my -another- step dad knows my mum does not respect me even though i am 18 and her child; so he now tries to pick on me.

I honestly believe my mum is afraid of me in that she can tell I will be successful in life. FUNNY THING IS:she was told in church one time by a prophetic man that I will leave her and not take care of her as a mum is taken care of by their child through finances and visits and regards, in the future.
She is afraid of my potential succes in life so she sabotages me every chance she gets. She failed as a potential sport runner and whenever I get a chance to play soccer for teams,she finds excuses such as you misbehaved to stop me from going. If you read the apple tree abnormal personality and the queen of heats abnormal personality, you will see the handiwork of my BITCHY, ANNOYING AND BULLYING WOMAN WHO CALLS HERSELF MY “MOTHER”.

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Hi Elijah
Welcome to EFB ~ Glad you found us! I think that fear does play a huge part in the way that these dysfunctional parents operate. Thank you for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Becky
Welcome to EFB
Yes, I understand the whole ‘discredited’ thing ~ One of the biggest healing things for me was validating (for myself) all the damage and trauma that had never been validated before. I gave myself credit; I validated me. I listened to myself. All those things were the biggest keys in the healing process. That is how I began to unravel where the broken began in order to heal.
Thanks for sharing. I am so sorry that you went through all that horror.
hugs, Darlene

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I’ve often wondered what makes our sociopath birth parents/families so ruthless and vile in their behavior towards us? What inwardly drives them to that point or is it they’re just strait down worthless in every way, and need to purge their aggression and hatred on us so they can feel better for being miserable rotten a**holes? We didn’t ask to be in their lives nor know them. My entire family together continues to target me and the ring leader remains to be my mother, other brief times it’s my other siblings or niece/nephew but no matter who it’s from the attack is still painful. But now despite the ongoing abuse both of my elderly parents keep informing me of a will that includes me [that’s another thing that bothers me, if parents loathe a child -adult/young- that much why eventually put them in their after death will? I thought if i accepted what my elderly parents have planned for me when that time comes, i feel that’ll be their way of causing me more pain even after they’re gone. So I’m trying to remember not to take it so the situation will hopefully be easier for me to wash my hands of them-period and walk away., seeing as it’s impossible to do it now.
In my opinion, once a parent starts abusing their child that’s proof they never should’ve been allowed to have kids at all, but some of us victims are still stuck in that damaging hole regardless.

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Brenda, for me, I feel that my mom has some demons, some darkness, that she has just put out of her head and refused to deal with. My mom is an ostrich with rose colored glasses on. A psychologist I talked with said that when you don’t deal with things, they “squeak out the side” of you. I got Mom to share ONE story with me, a story that happened when she was a child. It’s borderline sexual abuse. I feel that there is more she isn’t telling me. Before my NC with her, I asked her to tell me, she claims there is nothing to tell, then she turns around and says, “maybe one of these days I will tell you” which leads me to think there ARE things to tell, but she is holding them over my head like some prize. I have rejected her, so her only retaliation is to withhold what I need from her. Whatever…..

A couple years ago I briefly dated a guy who was SO PURE! I’m not kidding, NO HIDDEN AGENDA! Not even in his family! His family all said what they meant and meant what they said! It was refreshing, yet it was weird for me.

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Brenda
It all comes down to the false definition of love. I had to learn the real definition of love. My mother taught me the false definition of love, just the way she learned it. (cycle of abuse) and when I learned that she was wrong, that love is not ‘doing things the way she wants’ and ‘being who she wants me to be’ or ‘accepting unacceptable behaviour because they are my parents’ and ‘put myself last’… love is none of those things. It isn’t love for me that I was treated that way, and it isn’t love when I comply either. It is sick.
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Everyone,

I am the daughter of a narcissist mother and the little sister of a narcissist brother! Ouch! I was made the scapegoat / black sheep at an early age. My Dad and I functioned as narcissistic supply mostly! He had a choice as an adult to accept this situation and live with it. … I did not!

I identify with many of the writings here and it is so sad to read so many accounts of emotional abuse much of which resonates with my own experiences.

I am trying to move on (I’ve been trying for a really long time),trying to find the authentic me and sometimes I catch glimpses of the ‘real’ me but find it very difficult to sustain. Every day I try to move myself closer to my goals but have monumental difficulty in believing in myself, trusting myself and my ability to accomplish what needs to be done . Inside I can still feel like the little kid constantly being told ‘you can’t do / have/ want/ say that’!

And yet I have achieved some really good things in my life and (I know they really must be good since it so seriosly upset my Mum and brother at those times) But I just can’t seem to keep the momentum going, I relapse into being pushed about by circumstances and other people which knock me right off course and whats worse is, I know when this is happening but just cannot summon up the emotional strength to resist these unwelcome diversions.

Is it really possible to ever completely escape from the effects of having been conditioned from birth to put my self last and take responsibility for what are at the end of the day other people’s problems?

I can understand the dynamics of the abuse I have suffered I can rationalise it for what it is in my head but in my heart I cannot seem to change the way I feel about some parts of me which I know are untrue and have been nurtured in me to serve other’s Narcissistic needs.

I don’t know how to move on, how to just get out of this horrible rut that I continually keep slipping back into. Any one got any ideas? :)

BIG LOVE and HUGS to all here,

Robyn

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Hi Robyn
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
I have completely overcome; YES it is possible! I had to see what the false beliefs that I had about myself WERE and HOW they got there so I could re-wire my belief system. I had to learn to take care of myself and nurture myself and fill in the blanks that were left by my parents. It was a process, (one that is mostly documented here in this website) but it is doable!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Darlene,

Thank you for your reply ! You give me hope that I can get over this completely too THANK YOU for that! I think I have unearthed my false beliefs and traced them back to childhood, installed mainly by my mother and when I analyse them they make perfect sense for. a little girl who knows no better to adopt as a coping strategy but for an adult make no sense as they’re self defeating , self sabotaging and UNTRUE!

I seem to be okay for a while as long as I am not in any kind of stressful situation, when stressed, my old thinking patterns return and my behaviour hijacks me again until I can analyse the minutiae of my thoughts and behaviours and adjust them AGAIN,! This always takes me some time to do :( I’m fed up of all the self analysis, I just really would like to move on and live a normal kind of life unfettered by these problems.

I will read all your site and hope to glean as much info as possible, thank you once again for sharing your journey with everyone online. You are an inspiration :)

Hugs,

Robyn

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I was always the black sheep because I was unwanted by my father. I paid a huge price , as he wanted mom to get an abortion . My aunts and uncles favored my younger sister as they felt she bore the family resemblance on dad’s side. I am blonde and blue eyed and took after mom’s German side but am the spitting image of dad who is dark and brown eyed as is mom. So, my life consisted of daily beatings, being told I was nothing but a c–t, that he hated me ( dad ) and by the time I was 14 I tried to kill myself and failed. I never was told one nice thing by dad; never. My aunts and uncles didn’t treat me any better. I forgot to mention I’m from Belgium, but my life does not reflect the norm for my countrymen. I still feel the rejection I endured my entire life and fight depression on a regular basis. No one in my adult life knows what I went through. But for those of you who are trying your best to always do what’s right, hang on………..you will overcome. I have to struggle everyday as the violence is scarred permanently in my psyche. I fight self loathing and it’s not because of physical attributes. It’s the scarring of a lifetime of evil words spued at a young girl that desperately loved her parents and tried to be a model child.

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@Robbyn: It’s hard to “rewire” yourself. I am having the same issues. Just takes a lot of self talking.

@Mimi WOW! I’m surprised you loved your family. Prayers for you.

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Hi Mimi E
Welcome to EFB ~ totally understandable why you have problems with depression ~ what you have shared is exactly what this site is about. Overcoming the messages that I received about myself through the actions/words of carless caretakers, was no small task but it was doable! I have shared all of it in these pages.
Hugs, Darlene

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thanks you so much for all of your comments. It really stirs up a lot for me and I can relate and I’m so glad to not feel so alone.

I have been the scapegoat and black sheep for my whole life yet gone out of my way to try and gain approval and love from my family and everyone else I’ve had in my life since I left home at 16 (who have all been mirrors of my family). Even though I’m 33 now I still haven’t fully cut that cord and I waver back and forth and I have tried to have no contact with my family but it is so painful and I hold on to all the good things and I want to forgive and heal.

I was raised by my mother who was an abusive alcoholic with mental problems. My dad lived in a nearby town but he was also a big partyer, never had any time for me and my mom did things to sabotage my realtionship with him (she manipulated me into writing mean letters to him and at one point she convinced me to pour bleach all over the clothes of one of his girlfriends). People often associate me with my mother and assume that I am like her and demonize me. My mother is a master of the mask and the persona and she goes out of her way to look good to others and would project all of her evilness onto me and make me look like the bad one. She put huge responsibilities on my shoulders and used me as a pawn. At 6 months old she left my dad and took me to the other side of the country, then back, then to another city when I was 1, then back to my dad, then my brother was born… then she separated us and moved me to another city, then she moved back and reunited with my brother. Then she started dating an abusive alcoholic man who beat her up so bad he put her in the hospital twice.. but she stayed with him… for 10 years… he never showed me any kindness whatsoever. I had my first mental breakdown when I was around 11 or 12… he started screaming at my mom in the middle of the night and he hit her and she started screaming. I woke up and ran down the stairs and I freaked on him and made him leave and he did but I was so scared and I freaked out and was shaking and crying for so long… I lived in fear… anytime I was walking home if I was see his car outsie of our house I would have alittle panic attack. I hated him so much and he hated me to because I was so strong but he never hit me… I just hid in my room most of the time and I started drinking and doing drugs and listening to really violent music. My mom could be so cool and supportive and fun but then so cruel and abusive and manipulative. And I didn’t have any close friends or confidents so I leaned on her. When I was 13 I stood up to her for the first time and she called the cops on me and she had me sent ot my dad’s for a month. No-one ever believed me. She had the image of a groovy laid back bohemian and all my friends loved her and I sank deeper and deeper into depression and self loathing. I cut off all of my hair and gave myself a mohawk and shaved off my eyebrows and dressed like a boy and became so hateful and misapthropic and started cutting myself. I became all of the hate and pain and anger that no-one else would acknolwedge. I left home at 16. My parents said they would support me until I was 18 but they stopped sending me money afer a couple of months. They never visited me and rarely called. They never came to my graduation. The supported my brother in his career and interests and he was the nice sinsitive one… but every once in a while they would help me out and give me money and then they thought that they were so great and I was so down on myself and I just wanted their love and approval so badly so I internalized all of my feelings and became rigid and controlling and super successful… and perfect… I never blamed them for anything… i made excuses for them… my mom hit me and verbally abused me throughout my childhood but I dismissed it as her childhood was so much worse (and she love to remind me of this and remind me about other children we grew up with whose lives were worse than mine). I was never acknowledged. And I see now that my mom was jealous of me and had to be the centre of attention all of the time and she resented that I was pretty… I didn’t look anything like her… I was a strange rebellious creature who she couldn’t control… She wanted a little buddy to stick by her… not some freak. Yet stick by her I did as I grew older and stronger and even though I lived away, I became her best friend and confident. I supported her when her mother died flying to the other side of the country, I was her realtionship counsellor, I helped her move, I let her dump everythign on me…

When I was 29 years old I overdosed on oxycontin in my apartment by myself… a week later I had a psychotic break, I disappeared and then was arrested and brought to the hospital for a month. that was almost 4years ago. I’m doing really good these days considering.. though now I’m working through all of the stuff I suppressed my whole life and learinng how to live my life for me (I only knew how to give and please and beg and sacrafice…).

Ending up in the hospital has shown me just how fucked up my family is. The lack of support I have received (despite giving insane amounts of support to everyone in my fmaily for my whole life) has been shocking… and heartbreaking. Sometimes I think about dying because the pain is so much I can hardly bear it. I think that I must be a horrible person to have so little love in my life.

I think my family fear me and the things that I might say and bring up. That I will embarass them and shame them and pop thier bubble (especially my brother, he puts my parents on a pedestal and has a much better relationship with them).

I’m still not ready to have no contact. It really messes me up inside and I have no-one in my life to fill those gaps. Though as I get stronger I am able to let go more and more. I know that I need to sever these emotional ties so that I can have a life. I’ve been traveling for almost a year now and am gaining a lot of independence and freedom, though I’ve also had some traumatic reminders of the kinds of peopel NOT to let into my life. And I’ve met some really beautiful, loving people and I know that I am a good person and I need to be discerning and stay true to myself.

It’s tough being a black sheep and being an outsider and getting ostrasized and rejected… though as I travel I realize that the opression of not being able to fit in anywhere has allowed me to wander about aimlessly anywhere and have the flexibility to adapt to new cultures and have some really profound life experiences that I wouldn’t have had if life had been easy and comfortable.

It’s an ongoing process and it’s fucked cause I wanted to send a whole bunch of cards and stuff home even though my brother and his wife (who doesn’t like me) haven’t responded to an email I sent asking for the address (it’s been 2 months). They’re having a new babay and they didn’t tell me… I don’t know what I did or said to be so ostrasized from them… and my mom’s denial is so thick that when I tried to talk to her about past abuse issues she involved another family friend and brought up the possibility that the “abuse” I talked about in the hospital was concernign a babysitter I had and that he might have sexually abused me. And my step mom thought I stole her percocets (they found them a year later) and so my relationship woth my dad is fucked… Why do I want to connect with these assholes?? Why am I spending hours organizing little gifts for them when they give me nothing??? Fuck!! I’m so glad I found this site. It’s so easy for me to start blaming myself and wondering what I can do to make everything okay when it s not ME!!!

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Hi Floria,

I’m very sorry for what you’ve been through…that’s a lot of pain and trauma and abandonment to carry, and it’s unfair and it can be very difficult to understand why??

I have been the family scapegoat and family “problem” and have spent a lifetime trying to engage with an emotionally distant sister. And I catch myself asking Why, what did I do? trying to make sense of it, trying to “fix” it. I’ve sent her special gifts for her birthday, googled her information she could have found herself. hoping to reach her, hoping to finally get that closeness I’ve longed for.

And it’s really a very sick dynamic that goes back to childhood. I have kept knocking on this door hoping that it will open, and it never does. I too was very much abandoned emotionally and I’ve had a very difficult time letting her go, even though she’s essentially let me go.

It is very painful facing that one has no family, in any real loving sense. I just asked myself this morning, “If my sister doesn’t like or love me, doesn’t want a relationship with me, am I lovable?”
Because I know that’s the case, and have known it for years, but haven’t been ready to accept it in my heart.

When I contact my sister, knowing what I know in my gut, I am replaying something, hoping this time that door will open. And then I’m disappointed again, which replays that lifelong feeling of “I’m messed up, something is wrong with me and I’ve got to fix it”.

For me, I have to turn inward with utmost compassion and understanding for the drive to connect with family who just aren’t there for me. I ask myself what can I learn about myself here? Because I am knowingly engaging in an entrenched family dynamic that will always cause me pain and disappointment, just like I felt in childhood. And when I go out of my way for my disengaged sister, who’s very angry at me but won’t admit it, I am acting as if I really am bad and at perpetual fault, just like I’ve been treated all along. I’m playing into it, and why should she make any effort on her part?

My responsibility is to myself. It doesn’t matter if she comes around or not, I need to stop abandoning myself, running away from myself and the incredible pain of what I really know to be true. I’ve been so scared to find out who I really am partly because when I face that I’m actually a good lovable person, I have to face how unfair, how cruel and how damaging it was what was done to me. Those terrible feelings I’ve been pushing away for years…will I be overwhelmed? Will I go crazy from the hurt and anger, will it ever end? I am told it will end if I keep facing it.

Floria, I’d just like to say, be very kind and patient with yourself. You are an intelligent lovable person, but one day you won’t need to hear it from others, you will know it. You will get there.

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Thank you for your response, I really really know how you feel… and you expressed it so well. I cried a little:-)

I have been looking for approval and love from outside of myself for my whole life and acknowledging how much I’ve been hurt by my family is an ongoing process as the layers unfold. I think I skipped a few steps and was trying to forgive and love everybody but forgot about myself and my own needs and my own self-respect. And the more I realize how selfish they are and the more I let good people into my life, the more I realize that I don’t want my “family” in my life anyway. And there is an incredible amount of freedom in getting to be my own person… it’s scary too though…

the more i get to know myself the more i realize what a deeply sensitive, giving and compassionate person I am. I made myself all bad ass to try and hide my vulnerability. I’m still learning how to function and have the strength to show this vulnerability without fear… and to recognize how precious I am and not to let any assholes into my life…

If we keep putting energy into these people then we don’t have the space for the kinds of loving relationships we deserve.

And I want to work towards detached compassion for my family and not hate or resent them. I know that they are messed up inside and maybe I’m better off as at least I’m acknowledging I have problems and am working through them instead of blaming others or pretending everything is okay.

Much love to you Doren! And everyone else here!

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Hi Floria,

yes it seems that’s what child abuse survivors do is look for our sense of selves externally. How I’ve felt about myself has been like a light switch going up or down depending on my interactions with others—and when negative or perceived as negative, it’s like I’m feeling not just that moment but all the pain of my life. This deep sense of exposure and shame as if my “badness” has been so readily laid bare. And it’s the same feeling I’ve had for over 40 years, like my feelings are my child self still here, still operating in an adult body.

I think a lot of people are looking for a “spiritual bypass” whereby if they just practice forgiveness they will be the better person and move on and heal. There is also the message one gets from many people that going back and feeling the hurt and anger, etc is self-indulgent. But the feelings don’t go anywhere, they just get buried or translated into unhealthy behaviours.

I’ve also tried to be spiritual and forgiving and for myself, it was a continuation of my feelings not being addressed. Just like they were ignored in childhood, I’ve been ignoring my feelings and focusing more on others. It’s so understandable to not want to look at this stuff. It’s like, “I went through it already, I don’t want to go back”. But I am back. I never left. Emotionally I never left because of the abandonment and then my own self-abandonment. We were trained not to address our feelings and to consider them less important than others.

I think family knows darn well that the black sheep often chase them for years and want their approval. If they don’t know consciously, they know on some level. They get a sense of control and can transfer their own misplaced anger onto the target. I have believed their view of family because they all had it and they are very convincing. But now I am doing myself harm when I play along in desperate hopes of their love. Knowing this, I am responsible for not hurting myself anymore. But it’s hard, and I give myself lots of inner hugs. And there’s so much to love inside you too! It comes right out…I guess you are the truth your family doesn’t want to see.

I hope it’s ok I tell this story. I may have told it before here, I apologize if I have, it weighs on me right now. When I was 13, there was a little boy named Emanuel Jaques who was raped and killed in Toronto. He was a little shoeshine boy aged 12 and was lured to his death on the Yonge street strip. The year before this happened I went on a day trip to Toronto with my Dad. He was a porn addict so we went to this same strip and he went inside an adult bookstore. I couldn’t go in, I was planted on the store window. He took his time, and all around me was XXX this and that, hookers(which I didn’t know they were then). I’ll always remember the man walking by me. I had on a homemade dress with little felt Bambis. When he looked at me I thought, “Oh, you think I’m ugly”. I looked inside the bookstore, couldn’t see my Dad. I was a very compliant, docile child. What if a man had called me over to his car or something?

Lately as I’ve been reconciling with calling my experiences sexual abuse and incest, I doubted myself and said, “Oh that street wasn’t that bad as I remember”. But I looked up the story of Emanuel and the outcry over his death resulted in the “clean-up” of Yonge street. It was that bad. My Dad bought porn in my presence other times as a child but that’s the memory that sticks out, because I was left alone. Three years later I overheard him and Mom calling me sick in the head. My sister in her way perpetuates this view, little things like saying I remind her of the saying, “Go big or go home”…like I take things to the extreme, a way of dismissing my responses. It is done to protect the family and to protect herself from the immense pain she thinks she’s over. That is what it is to be the black sheep or scapegoat—you are supposed to be the sacrifice. I know she would rather watch me self-destruct than face her own feelings. But somehow the family system is rigged to make it seem that the scapegoat keeps “owing”—you have this debt somehow that can never be repaid.

I tell the story of the boy because I’m feeling it. I’m feeling the hurt and anger and also the fear of the day I was stuck on that street, unprotected. These are the feelings I’m supposed to be “over”, but I don’t think I’ve ever let myself really feel them before.

I think because we were invalidated for so long we grew up to feel empty, needing to be filled by others, as if we don’t exist without that confirmation from others. And now we must learn to self-reference, to develop that sense of self that our caregivers failed to nurture. It was their failing. We are so strong that we are called upon to do what they should have done, and we have to stand in our truth. Those in a broken system don’t want you to get better, it is a threat to them. And as scary as it feels, and lonely, we are the ones with the strength to do this work.

Maybe you can buy yourself some presents, Floria, some things you’ve wanted but denied yourself, and keep reminding yourself, “I deserve this”. Corny as it may sound, the love we are looking for emanates from ourselves…hugs, Doren

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There is also the message one gets from many people that going back and feeling the hurt and anger, etc is self-indulgent. But the feelings don’t go anywhere, they just get buried or translated into unhealthy behaviours.

That is the precise reason I think my Mom is hiding some things, or repressing some HORRIBLE thing that happened to her. Her inability to empathize, despite drilling this into me (“think of how other people might feel….” yet she is exempt from this rule…..)

Doren, I’m shocked! Your Dad, wow!

Floria, your life… wow. Bad.

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I am so pleased to have found this wonderful site. For years I have lived with ridicule and contempt from my so called family. I am the oldest of 8 and have always felt an outsider. My mother is an alcoholic and from a very young age I was very aware of her resentment towards me. She would constantly pick and nag at me and say things like ” I loathe you, you do know that don’t you”? ” I wish you had died at birth”. It totally destoyed by self worth and confidence. Gradually as my siblings grew they would join in the baiting as encouraged by her until it became, for me, a normal part of growing up as it was for them to torment me by breaking and destroying any little thing I possessed, call me revolting names and generally abuse me. If I retaliated I was punished by having food taken away or locked in my room while the sibs would get spoilt downstairs and as a treat, allowed up to hurl abuse. When I was 12 I had been given a tiny little transistor radio by an aunt and it was my pride and joy – until 2 of my brothers stamped on it. My mother laughed, I will never as long as I live forget the horrible mocking look on her face and I wanted to punch her there and then. The rage I felt towards her was terrifying. These acts of torment were always sneakily done when my father was not around, she made sure of that. I tried talking to him he would tell me not to be so dramatic. I tried talking with my aunts but they said the same so I felt utterly alone and tried my best to cope, however when a person is subjected to horrendous verbal assult day in, day out it takes its toll. When I was 14 I became very withdrawn and my schoolwork suffered so my school sent for my parents. I never told any of my teachers what the problem was, I guess I was ashamed and felt it was my fault, that I must be as bad as they say. My mother bull******* her way through the interview as usual promising to keep an eye on me. Yeah right! That night around 11 after my father had gone to work and she’d had a skinfull of booze, she came into my room, dragged me out of bed by the hair and downstairs where she proceeded to kick me black and blue. This was a fairly regular occurance until I reached the age of 16 when I retailiated with a slap and knocked her over a chair. Not surprisingly everyone took her side & I was the bad one. I packed a bag and left. Now, I do not condone violence in any shape or form and I was disgusted with myself for doing that and I felt I was as bad as her. I stayed with a friend and told her and her mum everything thinking that they would’nt believe me but they did. The relief of talking to someone about it was like lancing a horrible boil that won’t go away, it was cleansing. I begged them not to say anything, just talking about it helped. They were incredible and for the first time I felt like I belonged to a family. They urged me to go to the police but I was still very fragile and I knew I would’nt be believed. My father tracked me down and said in no uncertain terms that he and the family wanted nothing more to do with me after what I had done. My friend’s mother told him exactly what had been going on and he looked at me and said “She’s a liar, always has, always will” and it was at that point I suddendly realised that he knew what had been going on – he knew and yet he did nothing! Thanks to the support of my friend and family I went on to college to train as an accountant, I met my wonderful husband and have since had a family of my own that we dote on. We are there 24/7 for our 3 kids and love them unconditionally, are proud of their achievements and will support them no matterwhat life chucks at them. As for my siblings, they have tried their damndest over they years to bring me down but I vowed I would NEVER go back to the way I felt while growing up. Yes it was dark and dismal and very, very lonely but when I look at what I have achieved in life I am proud. I have the support of my own beautiful family and wonderful friends and yes, there are still days when it gets me down but I look forward and not back. My sibs and parents are my past now I am keeping it that way.

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Hi Janie
Welcome to EFB ~ glad you are here and thank you for sharing. Yay for the freedom you found by drawing those boundaries!
hugs, Darlene

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Janie, it just breaks my heart to read a story like yours, it boggles the mind how people can be so cruel. It’s really just evil. So sorry hun about your little radio. But today you know what love is and are surrounded by it while your family continues to be miserable. Shows how strong you are…Doren

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Wow, and here I thought I may be the only person who could have been treated this way. I am sad to say I’m not because I would never wish or want another person to go through any of the postings and I have been through many of them.

I can’t say I’ll go through all of it because that would mean typing over 35 years of the $h!t I’ve gone through. Even now I’m going through it. I’m not really close to my family anymore, I’ve just accepted that I’m the blacksheep. What hurts is that my kids are being outcasted as well. My son doesn’t understand what he’s done wrong and I finally had to tell him that it’s me they hate, not him, just that he’s my son. My daughter is too young to see it yet but I’m sure she’ll be asking the same question in a few years as well.

I’m tolerated at times, apparently I always make things about ‘me’ but everyone else can have sob stories or share and that’s okay. Just not me. My mom told me I was never wanted. My other two younger siblings are favored and always have been. My dad never stood up for me against my mom and siblings, he’s the guy on the side line that doesn’t want to be bothered. It’s still that way. I finally told him a few days ago that it’s okay that mom favors them. I’m not competing anymore. I’m done. Why? Because I can finally say I don’t care about her. I’m not hurt anymore. It’s sad I can say that, but I do feel better. As for my siblings, I can’t save them or make them see. Too much work and life is too short. I have friends who are more like family than my family, so I am investing my love and time into my beautiful kids and them.

Oh ya, I also married in my 20s to a manipulative man and his mom is a real gem too. *rolls eyes* That’s a whole other story but the end result is the same with my family, I just don’t care anymore. All that matters is my kids, my friends, and myself. There is still some healing to do about how I see myself. But it’s a work in progress. I’ll get there, I’m taking my time. There’s so much I didn’t put in, but it would take up so much room and loads of people have already expressed the same or similar things that it seems redundant to mention again.

Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences. It has helped me immensely and as I’m sure it did with you, just posting this has helped me get those few things out. I hope it helps someone too.

Peace and love on your journey to self freedom.

Jen

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Hi Jen
Welcome to EFB
I know you will find compassion and understanding here. There is so much hope!
Thank you so much for sharing part of your story and please feel free to share anytime!
hugs, Darlene

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Hi Doren:
I just downloaded EFB. Very interesting information, especially how you came to figure this all out and come out of the fog. It took me years to find the end of the yellow brick road, 49 years to be exact. I am now 51….. I don’t have the energy to write alot about it today, but your story is much my story as well.

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Thank you Latonia,

I’m so sorry for what you had to experience. I’ve found it very helpful to post here when I felt the need, and when I didn’t, to read one of Darlene’s articles. It seems the late 40s are a common time when the fog starts to clear.

The fog is a funny thing. One doesn’t know one’s in it, at the time—it’s just “reality”. I began saying I was abused a few years ago, but it was coming from my head, telling a story, like I was speaking about another person. Something happened last year and it felt like an elevator rising inside me, emotional knowledge coming up and meeting with the intellectual. And that perspective was a whole different animal. This is a very supportive site, I’m glad you found it.

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Hi Latonia
Welcome to EFB!
I am glad you are here, this site and all my work is about overcoming that fog and emerging into wholeness and freedom!
Hugs, Darlene

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Just stopped in to read some posts. I wish everyone a nice weekend.

White Sheep

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Hi :
Your comments about the black sheep and not fitting in with your family reminded me of the feelings I had about not “fitting in”. I remember asking my sister – who did fit in and is as equally dysfunctional as my parents were – if she would please ask my parents if I was adopted.I asked her to do this several times during my childhood and remember it quite vividly.The issues of moodiness and being quiet were also a part of my childhood. My mother would drink at night and then abuse me. The next day I was moody , quiet and angry.She would offer to do something for me…buy a new dress, etc. Of course I wanted nothing to do with her. Then she would call me names, etc.If I confronted her with her behavior I would be called a liar or an exaggerator. I was very shut down emotionally for a long time.I am much more comfortable with my feelings , although it is still a struggle to be in touch with them.I am now telling my truth without regard to how others respond.I have learned to be my own best friend and not depend on validation from outside sources; a big hurdle when you were continually taught that you weren’t good enough and everyone had the answers but you .It has not been an easy road but it has been a fulfilling one.I am very grateful for my life now and am looking forward to a future that is sculpted according to what I need and want.Thank you Darlene for this forum. You are providing a safe haven for all of us and helping many souls heal.

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I’m the black sheep in multiple families. First it was just my adoptive family…well, I was an only child. I couldn’t be the golden child because neither parent could find anything good about me. Everything I did was wrong or bad or both. So there I was being either ignored or abused because I was an easy target. Both mom & dad constantly told me how bad I was…but they didn’t stop there, they also let other people know all about my shortcomings. The smear campaign got really serious about the same time I was being molested by a friend of my parents. Dad is still running the same old smear campaign against me 51 years later. It’s crazy! Not sure at this point what he needs to prove, but whatever.

Now for being the black sheep in a 2nd family. I married into what I thought was a “nice” family. I did it to make my parents happy (major people pleasing going on there). Oh yes, I was also married to the golden child…huge mistake on my part! His family actually welcomed me at first. But then my brother-in-law & his wife started having marital issues. Long story short, they all turned on me since our sister-in-law was out of the picture due to divorce. Gee, I can’t imagine why after watching her being mistreated & then experiencing it firsthand. I tried to be nice to them when I was still married…they were the ones who made my life harder than it had to be. Not only was my ex a problem, but his mother, sisters, & his brothers-in-law all caused me emotional strife. I also left my now ex-husband. It’s been almost 15 years since I walked out on him & his crazy family. Since last year, they started up the smear campaign against me once more. Now they’re also dragging my kids & their cousins into the mix. This is insane! I never claimed to be perfect, & yes I made some mistakes. Everyone does. But in this family, one mistake & they’re out for a lynching. Even after nearly 15 years, nothing has changed. I am still the only one at fault & to blame. I think they’re all mad at me now because he is single & no one will date him for any length of time. Not sure why that’s my fault since he’s the one with the personality defects. My ex was abusive & not just to me, but to our kids. I left because I couldn’t take it anymore. Oh & my parents sided with him & his family.

Family number 3: Includes my kids, & my birthmothers’ family. My birthmother got in touch with my ex-husband some years back. Since he hates everything about me, he has spewed that hatred to her as well. It’s spread on to her family (a half brother & sister). So now I am without my kids, a biological family, & the adoptive one. My ex had told me some time ago that he would do anything in his power even if it cost him his last dime to hurt me. Well, it hurt a lot back then, but now it just stings. I’m tired, I don’t want drama, just peace, just to be left alone.

I never claimed to be perfect to any of these people. I know I am flawed, I get it. I admit, I have made plenty of mistakes over the years. It’s called being human. But to be continually punished for real or make-believe things is crazy. No one wants to talk to me to get my side of things, so instead they just gossip to others in their family circles &/or friends about me. And continue to drag more people into the mix. At least I know dad is living on borrowed time. He has cancer, & he won’t be able to maintain the smear campaign for much longer. As for the rest of them, I can only hope they find a new hobby. I have gone NC with pretty much everyone including my kids (that hurts the most, but I will not keep playing this game).

All I want now is peace….it’s something I have wanted for a long time. It doesn’t even seem possible to get serenity anymore. I am fed up with being the scape goat/black sheep of the family (or in my case families). I’d much rather be alone than be mistreated for the rest of my life.

January

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Thanks Darlene and Doren for your kind words xx. Doren, I have read your posts and hang in there honey, you are not alone. Even after what we have all been through growing up in abusive homes, I cannot yet get my head round the fact that people can be so wicked and utterly evil to others – because of what? Why have we not turned out the same way? What made our parent/s act they way they did towards one child? I have seen it in nature when an animal will reject the weakest becuse they instinctively know that particular one will not survive but in humans it is a different story especially in developed countries. My personal opinion is ( and I have had years to cogitate over this ) that these so-called parents have absoulutely no self esteem or confidence and by abusing, this gives them a balance of power. What happened in their own childhood to make them into these monsters? My own mother was an only child and spoilt rotten, she had an idillicly perfect childhood – when I was born my grandparents ( the kindest most loving people you could ever hope for ) on my mothers side utterly loved me from day one so I think basically my mother’s nose was put out of joint and that’s why she treated me the way she did. Sadly, these wonderful, beautiful people died in a car crash when I was 5 and this also had a huge impact. Her way of grieving was to take it out on me and that never stopped until I left home. I have always been so terrified of turning out like her and need constant reassurance from my husband that I am not, and I am scared that he will get fed up with it but he is such an amazing guy as he says, “well I have been with you for 25 years, here’s to the next 25″. I think sometimes perhaps it is all too good to be true and I don’t deserve it, but as I watch our beautiful kids growing and maturing into sound, loving stable individuals and perhaps I have done ok. We all wear our cloak of past abuse like a security blanket and, like stabbing an open wound, we feel we have to go back to these dark places in our minds sometimes. It is a huge hurdle to overcome, but we have to draw a line in the sand and step over it otherwise it will eat away like a malgnant cancer. These abusers have nothing worthwhile to contribute, its is us that hold the power because we have survived all they can throw at us and we are stronger because of it – ok we will still have collywobbles from time to time – but we have not in any way, shape or form end up the evil, bitter, twisted and vile individuals that they have. I have read some of the terrible things that your families have said and done to you on this site, but the one constant that comes through loud and clear is that you are all amazing people. Be proud my darlings of who you are, your future belongs to you and ONLY you. Doren sweetheart, I am sending you the hugest most loving make-it-better hug that I can coz I always have loads to spare and you deserve it. xxx

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i was the black sheep because i ran very far away and never went back. i was the black sheep because i became an artist and again when i became chronically ill. i was the black sheep when i got pregnant and we were poor. i am the black sheep because my ex who eventually earned a very nice income got laid off and now i am with someone poor again and nobody is going to approve of the measures we are taking to survive in this economy in alternative housing. black sheep black sheep black sheep. black sheep artist doing well with her art but not financially. i always wondered if i was adopted. i wasn’t. i like black sheep.

227

The roots of severe dysfunctional family have recently been revealed to me. Why do we attract similar ‘familial- familiar’ systems in others? I am now going through the pain of this in people I have met and thought were different- in the Church. BUT I am seeing the same patterns of abuse manipulation and control and it hurts some ways more. Are there any healthy people out here are we ALL dysfunctional?
Man is it difficult to get free- working on all this is very hard on me. No wonder I didn’t keep it up 20 yrs ago. It is trying to wreck me- I find myself going in circle- having more physical dysfunction- emotionally just weak- crying bouts. I am getting fed up with it again. but if i QUIT working on being free when so much more has been revealed- I don’t know. I am just so tired…

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Hi Darlene! Thank you for this post. I don’t have much to say except that I am just grateful to feel validated, supported and encouraged on this journey I am on. I’m grateful that I found a path to follow and all the resources I need to help me save myself.

I still have some challenges to get through but I feel an inner strength and courage that I never felt before. I’m sorry and sad that there are so many of us that endured such poor treatment.

My strength comes from having faith that I will get to a place where I feel whole and complete. I have glimpses of it but I’m not able to hold it completely yet. I trust in time it will develop and hold strong and true. I’m learning how to love myself in a deeper way and it feels incredible.

Thank you all for your sharing, you have no idea how refreshing it is to be supported in this way. Bless all of you!

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Kathy (#223), interesting that you ask if you are adopted. I have asked my mom if perhaps she came home from the hospital with the wrong baby because I feel no connection at all to FOO. I feel like…. “I grew up with these people therefore I’m obligated to do certain things…..” I’ve toyed with stealing a hair from Mom’s brush and getting a DNA test.

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Janie # 225,

thank you so much and bless you for your words and hug, I can really feel it. Earlier this year I wrote down for my therapist what life was like for me at age 9, and I used the name “Janie” for myself….always liked it. Making me want to cry…can really use that hug cause I relapsed last month after being triggered and now fighting to get out of the booze cycle again.

I’m so scared to face my emotions unaided by food or chemicals cause I have no memory of relying w/o either. I always thought something was wrong with me as a person for having these crutches, and my parents never acknowledged the eating disorder or drinking except to get mad at me for gaining weight or getting sick. It was easier for everyone else to point to my responses as proof of how messed up I was, and I’ve just bought into it all these years. It was just pure emotional abandonment. For their own weak purposes they both felt the need to crush me rather than face the truth about themselves.

I’m pushing myself to fight for my life cause I don’t want them to “win”. I know one of the feelings I’m going to have to face is the tremendous anger at what my life could have been had I started to wake up sooner. I know one of the reasons I put off sobriety is because I don’t want to face a lifetime of unproductivity. I may not get anything more out of healing than a restored sense of self but that would be the greatest thing anyway.

Janie if your children have turned out well you have done more than ok, because you are greatly responsible for their development. You stopped the cycle and I do take inspiration from you and others that I can do it, too. Just got to get through the ring of fire and trust what people say is waiting beyond it. Your words mean a great deal….huggies back

231

I do not like the term ‘black sheep’ because it signifies rejection by all family members; I was only rejected by 2 of my family members. The way I have come to look at the ‘conditioning process’ is as similar to the ancient idea of ‘being cursed’- represented in fables and in voodoo religion. In fables, there is a witch who ‘curses’ a young maiden through trickery and deception- out of her own narcissism. In voodoo, it is accepted that people can be cursed through spells/ witchcraft. Anyway, this is how I see the ‘conditioning’ process that has happened to me. It is just like you described, only my labels were different than yours. I also questioned their truth and didnt want to believe that they were true. I knew they were false. I struggled against these labels and treatment that went along with it. And just like you, I slowly had to give in. I think I gave in because I had no other people telling me otherwise, or ‘supporting and encouraging me’ to believe I was different than the labels. I believe the labels is what created my whole sense of who I was, and I then forgot who I really was. I am still struggling today to try to remember who I am. It really does feel like I have been ‘cursed’ by my own mother.

232

I have experienced almost the same story with an abusive husband. Labels which try to define me as someone other than who I am. Then the reaction inside of me which says : this is not true, it is not me. Then later on I come to believe it is true. Why do I give in? Why do I come to accept that someone else’s horrible ideas of me are true? And then somehow the labels are believed for years. When, in the first instance, I knew they weren’t true! So it happens in much the same way with spousal abuse as it does with parental abuse. More labels are picked up that are completely false, as though I was being labelled by an alien from another planet who never knew me. And yet I give into it and come to believe it is true. This is something I have always wanted to know the answer to since I was a little child: how to prevent giving in to the labels?

233

Julie, post232, it sounds like you were “gaslighted” into believing those labels. I guess when you hear certain things over and over you could start doubting yourself and believing those labels. I would love to hear Darlene’s take on this.

234

julie,

i too feel somewhat cursed by my mother after developing a chronic illness that a large percentage of people who have been abused as kids get. i spoke aloud to my boyfriend, that means she ruined my life. i wanted him to say no she didn’t but he just silently nodded his head in agreement. i was in an abusive marriage too for a very long time. their voices are in my head sometimes. especially if i don’t feel well and can’t do much–a time when i should have the most compassion for myself. lazy, poor, useless. i have to fight against these voices (labels). it’s not easy when u have been told u are these things for years. when you are a child and don’t know any different. i should tell myself what i tell other people who are being mean to me, i’m not stupid, i’m sick and i’m doing the best that i can and i don’t like it, i want to do more.

235

It’s sad, really sad to lose your sense of self love and hope. I hope we can recover and learn to appreciate ourselves and know who we really are.

236

I have been getting updates for this article since I posted a while back. I currently have no contact with anyone in my family. I am starting to heal, and really now seeing the effect it has had on me. The last few posts about being told who you are and starting to believe really hit home. I even tried to explain to my mother that sometimes when you tell someone over and over who they are, even if they were lies to begin with, even when you tell a little girl horrible insults that her child’s mind doesn’t even understand, sometimes people become that thing. Really only because they have never heard anything positive about themselves. I also got sick. It was only after I got sick that I really understood that there was no love there. Even though I was doing everything in my power to heal my body, it’s like I wasn’t important enough to get better. I didn’t ask for help, I was just talking about what was going on with me, what I was trying to do to help myself. But the response I got, it felt like everyone wanted me to just lay down and die. But still the insults, when I was too sick to do much I was lazy, when my hair was falling out, I was told it happened to some distant relative and it never grew back, so haha, oh well. Just goes to show, I was right all along, and something is just paying you back for being a horrible person.

It has taken deep love for myself to even think I deserve to be healthy. And everyday, I learn more about my health, and I learn more about who I am. I have always been here, but I am no longer afraid to show myself. I no longer hear the words that were used to describe me, well at least not as much. Everyday I try to fill my mind with positive things about myself. It had gotten so bad, everywhere I looked I heard it. If my bed was unmade, I heard insults, if I burned toast I heard insults, if I looked in the mirror, I didn’t even see my face, I only heard insults. Washing dishes, mowing the lawn. The words haunted me until I felt like a monster. More broken than I had ever been, I felt inhuman. The web has started to clear, and I can see my face again in the mirror. And I can feel my heart again, I can see beauty in my life. I never want to feel like that again.

237

hi danielle,

i got sick too and was treated poorly for that as well by my foo and now looking back (with a supportive partner) my ex and daughter too. lazy, stupid, useless, helpless, looking for attention, u got sick so you could be an artist. (i was already an artist and now it interferes greatly.) i was treated like i was a dumb burden who just didn’t want to clean the house and get a job. in reality, a job would’ve given me the independence to leave a bad bad marriage and some self esteem to boot. i hear the voices too in every room like u do. i imagine it would be hard to heal with those voices going all day long. i am in transition, poor because of divorce and there are the old voices from my foo about money troubles etc etc. i have no insurance and am in a shaky limbo but it is still better than being around mean people all the time who look at me and treat me with disgust. i am treated with respect and love and i never want to feel that way again either. it is no way to live.

238

Hi Sue,
I have always been artistic too, and I think finding that again is what saved me. I got to the point that my emotional pain was being physically manifested in my body and if I didn’t find myself in the midst of everything, I was going to die. But trust me, it was not in my head. But the mind and one’s emotional well being contribute to healing. I had to be brave, especially since I’ve always been told there was something wrong with me mentally, and I had so much internal shame regarding my health and mental health. But the abusive words are what really hurt me mentally, and I needed it to stop, my body could not take it anymore. So I had to take back my own mind, because I needed it! I needed it so I could heal my body.

239

Danielle and Sue: Being insulted over many years creates a low belief in our self worth. All of their accusations, although they are lies, are eventually accepted into our personhood as beliefs about ourselves. In that way, I see them as curses. To reverse curses we must bless ourselves abundantly. We must speak the truth to ourselves about our worth, out loud. We must look for ways to appreciate ourselves. Daily, we must encourage ourselves. It is hard work and hard to stick to doing it. The voices of the past are much much louder than our own truth, which is just a whisper, if even that. Those people are still there on our backs, like monkeys on our backs, controlling our lives and our moods and feelings, even though the people may be gone. That is why it takes vigilance to know who we really are.

240

I hear you Julie! Somehow all the negative comments are there in the background nagging away, even if intellectually you know they aren’t true. And rotten people seem to be able to sense when someone is struggling with self worth issues and gravitate towards them to boost their image at the other person’s expense.

241

hi danielle,

art definitely did save me and is saving me still. and who are the artists most often? the black sheep! dancing is good for getting that stuff out of the body but its hardest for me because of my health. probably my greatest loss.

242

julie,

thank you for your words. i think after having a daughter it became incomprehensible to me how mothers could abuse these sweet little feminine humans. the words are still there, the image of our own words being only whispers after years of screaming got to me. my mother is dead. my ex is finally my ex. i guess it would be a good time to turn up the volume of the whisper.

243

For me it was simply a matter of being a mistake since birth. That’s all it took for me to become the scapegoat. My father needed a boy to pass on the family name. He told my mother this before they married. I was the 3rd girl, with sisters 8 & 5 years older than I am. When I was 9 my brother AKA the Golden Chold was born. My entire life I have been sneared at “you weren’t the boy” Literally was told I was a mistake twice because the sonogram said I was a boy that’s the only reason she didn’t abort me. I’m alive because someone read a medical test wrong. Not once in my life has my mother ever told me she loves me. I always heard “I love you but you drive me nuts”. When she started to hurt my children emotionally simply because they were mine I would fight with her. For the last 3 years I have gone No Contact with her & it’s the best choice I ever made in my life. Not only for myself but for my children as well.

244

I took all of my family’s threats, intimidation, ostracizing, name-calling, and attempts at making *me* seem like the one with the problem…and used it to become even stronger. It was the most liberating thing I have ever done. I turned their ugliness into my strength.

I am proud to be the “black sheep.”

You can have a free blog at WordPress.com, where you can make it into a wonderful website at NO charge.

245

I should have said, “I am joyful and grateful to be the Black Sheep.” I don’t like to use the word “proud.”

246

sue,

other women have talked about being disliked because they were girls (by their mothers) which means they dislike themselves. great message to pass along. that is so cruel to discuss aborting u. they should keep their sickness to themselves just out of common decency. neither of my children were planned nor was i. babies aren’t mistakes. yeah, u need to draw the line at hurting your kids. i was afraid to leave my son alone with my mother when we visited her when he was little. my dad was once playing ball with my son when he was around 5. he told my son that was a terrible throw. his wife told my daughter she was doing a terrible job of learning to knit and they were better than my mother. it is so unnecessary and so damaging to talk to children like that. i’m sorry u were treated like that and u went nc.

247

#246. Sue, I am one of those girls who was disliked by my mother for being a girl. I was also told I was an accident. My brother was an accident too, but didn’t have the double whammy of gong a girl too. I was reminded in many ways that I was inferior for being a girl. I’d get served last and told it was because I was a girl. Many needs were ignored because I wasn’t important. My mother acted as if the only value a woman had was if she was pretty. At the same time, she let me know I was ugly. One of the first boys I dated at age 15 told me I was beautiful. I didn’t believe him because the feeling of ugliness my mother brainwashed me with was so deeply ingrained. If I was upset I was either ignored or put down. Never was I asked what was the matter. I grew up withdrawn and with no self worth. I got picked on by kids, and was everyone’s doormat. When someone would be rude to me I would freeze up. I couldn’t even say anything back to them!
Fortunately I found a great guy to marry. But as understanding as he was I still had trouble expressing my needs and wants. It was because I didn’t feel I had the right to have needs and wants. That was for everyone else. I’m slowly coming out of the fog. Things are getting better but I realize it will be a long haul in repairing the damage. But at least I recognize what it is and where it came from.

248

hi amber,

maybe it was you i was thinking of. i’m sorry, it sounds like you could not win no matter what you did. my friends said i would find someone nice but i didn’t believe them. now they say i should leave him because he has no $. but he is nice to me and it is so different. when my daughter asked if she was an accident i said she was unplanned and very much loved. i had just finally been diagnosed with an illness and it was suggested this wasn’t going to help my energy levels any but it was never an option for me. your mother treated you like you were practically non-existent. i think i do what u do too still. don’t say what i want or need sometimes. it’s scary. i cry or withdraw or want to run away instead. it is going to take a long time to repair that much damage and i speak for myself too, i think we have begun.

249

I also have trouble when it comes to expressing my needs and wants; and it is with everyone,not just men. I grew up believing my needs were not worthy of being filled. Needs were something that I was supposed to ‘put aside’. Wants were only a luxury. And that is why my ex-husband was able to so much take advantage of me and I never knew how to stop it from happening… then losing my sense of self and forgetting who I was as a result! This is an important issue for me because now i am afraid to get boyfriend, I haven’t dated since I was 20 years old, and now I am 37, because I don’t know how to insist on my needs being met. My needs are difficult for me to believe in- their importance, and my worth. Not trying to make y’all sad, just realizing how important it is for me personally. Responding to Amber.

250

I want to thank Darlene. Being able to both post and read others’ posts is very therapeutic. I only wish we could all sit down in a gathering and support each other by discussing this blog together. Sort of like a 12 step group which also helps people to know that they are not unique in this suffering.

251

Sue, too many times I have listened to what my friends told me to do and it wasn’t always what was best for me. I don’t do that any more and am starting to trust my judgement on many more things. In my dating years my friends had too much of an influence and if I could do it again I wouldn’t let their opinions override mine. As far as being an accident goes, that is what my mother said Iwas. My Dad said Iwas unplanned but a wonderful gift. A much nicer way of explaining it, and a self esteem booster rather than a deflated like my mothers version.

Julie and Sue, I have become much better about asking for needs and wants over the years. I started out with small ones, and I started standing up for myself with impersonal things like returning defective merchandise. But I still have trouble with confrontations and not freezing up. I worry about saying the wrong thing and I worry that the other person will yell or insult me. Gee I just wonder where that originated, Mom??

My best wishes to both of you.

252

amber, i’m glad you father was able to make you feel appreciated. how did he react to your mom making u feel the opposite? i think i meant to respond to the freezing up thing yesterday. for me it feels like i’m so shocked by somebody’s insensitivity or i don’t know them that well and they’re the friend of a friend i just can’t respond and later wish that i did.

julie, i was 50 and hadn’t dated since i was 24. i never had a mean boyfriend so it was a long time after a bad marriage and the damage had been done. i dated for 3 years and it was somewhat of a hell, getting hurt, getting rejected because of health problems. my boyfriend is so good about them that it made me realize how bad my family was to me so i just accepted the shame and added it to my load. i guess that’s more important than him having $ because we will survive somehow. ( a stupid therapist shouted at me, at your age a good man is hard to find.)

253

julie,

i would like a support group too and then a big party.

254

Hi Julie
I might offer small group retreats when my youngest daughter finishes high-school (in 2 years). I have been thinking about it a lot lately. Thank you for your note!
hugs, Darlene

255

Sue
If I offer these retreats or seminars, I plan to have a party with the guests before the ending of each one!
Celebrating the process is so important!
hugs, Darlene

256

Sue, my father didn’t know a lot of this stuff until years later when my parents were divorced and I told him. But I had some issues with him too though maybe not as bad as with my mother.

Sue I also feel the freezing up thing when someone says something so outrageously rude or unexpected that I’m stunned. I wonder what the best way is to overcome this is. The words come only later on, sometimes a day later.

Speaking of parties, what a nice idea to have a big one when we all conquer this! It’s fun to imagine doing that.

257

amber,

i sometimes will write a note to the person later or say something in person later. we probably have to learn how to cope with the consequences of speaking up immediately. i bet it’s really common to have issues with the other parent too. i got in trouble for telling my dad what my mother did to me.

258

Sue,
Re the consequences of speaking up ~ getting ‘in trouble’ with your dad for telling him about your mother, does not make the action of speaking up wrong. For me, when I questioned my decision to speak up for myself, I learned to quickly remind myself of the alternative ~ which is going back to the shut down life I came from, where no one stuck up for me, least of all me!
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

259

Julie #249: I can SO RELATE! I have trouble expressing needs. My mom has trouble, too. She expects us to READ HER MIND! And she would be SO COVERT! She would act like it wasn’t a big deal, but then get mad because we didn’t JUMP TO IT RIGHT THEN! She would phrase everything as “optional” and then punish us for saying “no.” Um….. if you phrase it as optional, then saying “no” isn’t disobeying…..

260

Darlene, if you offer retreats, I hope you can consider getting a place that accommodates RV’s. I travel in an RV. But as you said, it’s two years down the road, who knows if I will still have the RV….

261

hi darlene,

it wasn’t wrong for me to speak up but i was taken into the bathroom and slapped across the face for doing it with the threat that it would happen every time i did so. i probably started crying when my dad came home because of worse physical abuse earlier in the day. sometimes the scars were visible but maybe not on my head. so i was trapped. even after she died i was shunned for speaking as an adult. the times were worse for speaking up but it’s no excuse. what would u suggest a child do in that situation?

262

dxs and julie,

passive agression, making your needs sound optional and then getting mad.

263

Sue ~
oh my gosh I am so sorry! For some reason I thought there were consequences for your speaking up AS AN ADULT! And the reason we fear speaking up as an adult is because of the consequences such as you described here, when we were children. As an adult I realized that if someone slapped me, I could charge them, and I alleviated the child hood fears that I had as an adult that way but in the case of a child, the child has NO choice! They, (abusive controlling adults) make sure of that!
Please accept my apologies for the misunderstanding!
hugs, Darlene

264

Unfortunately, having a weak idea of what I want is a result of losing my sense of self. I may not be able to know what I think is best for me until it is too late. Some people might see this as a ticket to manipulate me because I am so uncertain. I get confused easily and it is hard for me to be able to tell if someone is a real friend or if they are using me. I seem to be missing ‘intuition’ that other people use in knowing who is my friend. So, what happens is I do feel used and angry, and at the same time, I still want to believe that they are really my friend. So yes, I do get angry and hold it in. But I wouldn’t call it passive aggression as it is defined, because I am lost and unable to stand up for myself. If I feel supported and strong, I could then confront. But I don’t feel strong enough. Other times I am trying to be nice, because I try to give them the benefit of the doubt. And I do this for a long time until I realize they have evil intentions towards me. This is not passive aggression either, rather it is a sort of ‘waiting it out’.

265

Sue #257, as an adult, I finally realized that even if I freeze up when someone says something that shocks me into silence, I can always revisit the situation later and approach the person at a later time. I used this strategy at work several times. This gave me the opportunity to absorb what happened, calm myself down, and figure out how I want to respond to that person. I even used this with my boss a couple of times when I felt that she acted in an unreasonable way.
Your idea of writing a note is another one I would onsider using. I still would like to get beyond the “freezing up” when someone is very rude. I’m wondering how this can be done.

266

darlene,

i thought it might be an understanding. you’re right, there is no choice as a child and that is what is so horrifying about it and why we’re all struggling with the same issues. as an adult i was just discounted mostly when i spoke to my mother’s family about it. well, too bad, then. i spoke finally.

julie,

i wasn’t calling you passive aggressive. it was in reference to someone’s mother (dxs) who would get mad when she made it seem like she really didn’t mind either way about a need (but then u paid for it.) i know the pain of trying to make friends and not trusting anyone, giving too much, getting taken advantage of etc. i didn’t even know i deserved respect from men until my boyfriend showed it to me. we were friends first and we shared pathetic dating stories.

amber,

maybe we can catch ourselves when frozen and say respond now but then we risk immediate potential conflict. do u feel prepared for it? maybe we go into wound/defensive mode because it was safer when we were kids?

267

My mother was a perfectionist and As I little girl I began cleaning our house and continued to do that even as an adult with girls of my own, whenever we visited. we weren’t able to visit often- years between- traveling thousands of miles- yet I would stop everything else and clean her house for two days when we got there…I do’nt even remember my own family at those times.
Sometime ago i realized I had been trying to EARN her love and approval all my life. and it never worked.
I stopped doing these THINGS for her this year. She finally exploded and a lifetime of hate came out of her mouth and heart to me. They have been punishing me for 20 years now for trying to get help..and for asking my dad IF he had ‘done’ anything to me- this after several counsellors had felt my abuses had started with him.
He YELLED and SCREAMED horribly at me- my brother got on the phone and HE YELLED and SCREAMED at me. That started a horrible cycle of abuse for me and my children which has culminated in many ROOTS being exposed just this year- about my mom’s role in all of this.I knew my dad was violent- i have ALWAYS been terribly afrad of him. but my MOM I never knew she was like this- I knew she lived in denial. I knew that much was true. But she WAS A KEY- to everything. Dad has been a tool she has used. I see all of the dysfunction now..they have tried even threatening to have my son and me prosecuted and the WHOLE family they say is AGAINST me and him= will testify against us. Are they running scared? and of WHAT? What happened to make them hate me and treat me worse than a stranger and to completely try to ruin me my marriage my family–every thing I have tried to do that is GOOD in my life – they have disrupted and caused horribel things to happen in stead.
THEY were there whenever ANY bad thing has happened to me, my marriage, my children- I SEE that now clearly.
But WHY?

268

cinderella,

i used to clean my mom’s house when i visited too. don’t know why, she was never very nice to me. then i got chronic fatigue syndrome and i can’t clean my own house. people can turn on you when u get help because it is a threat to them that u might actually grow and change and see the truth. u might confront them with their abuse. u need the help anyway because u need to protect your own kids from these crazies so they don’t grow up like u did. u can stop the abuse but it might cost u the loss of your family which hurts and is very sad but sometimes necessary. they are invading into your family’s health and well being now with threats etc. u can hang up on people who endlessly scream at u or get caller id and block their calls.

why? maybe they are sick or controlling or had their own abuse in their past. sometimes there are no answers. my mother was bipolar. maybe that’s a why. the stress can make u physically ill and u have a family to take care of. what would they prosecute u for? what have u done? if your marriage and family is good don’t let them ruin it. what does your husband think u should do? maybe u can get some free legal advice.

269

Amber, freezing up when someone is rude, I CAN SO RELATE! I do that, too! I freeze up! And then I wonder what did *I* do to make them act all rude! I, too, wonder if there is a way out of that.

All of our relatives…… I don’t think they are really “hiding” anything. They just basically live in a fantasy world where in reality they are geese, but for some reason they want people to think they are ducks. Or they are crocodiles but they need people to think they are alligators. Or they are really blackbirds, but they need people to think they are crows…… or salmon versus sturgeon….. you get the idea…… they have no sense of self. They just want you to think that they are whatever they want you to think they are.

270

DXS, like me, you probably did nothing that could justify their rudeness. I think certain people probably sensed that I was shy and would not fight back so I was an easy target for anyone who wanted to make themselves feel better by putting one one else down.

I realized as. I got older that even if I wasn’t good at responding on the spot because I would freeze up, I could go back to that person later on. Still, I envy people who can come up with a good snappy response instantaneously.

271

I think freezing up is a reaction to surprise. Once you come to expect a person to treat you badly, you can get prepared with something to say in response to them for the next time they treat you badly. You just have to start expecting them to act this way. If you stand your ground and speak firmly, you will be protecting yourself.

272

Julie, that sounds about right. I was always kind to people so any time someone wasn’t, I would be caught off guard and surprised. I don’t find his happening as much to me anymore, but every once in a while it does, and I still freeze. Darlene has a list of questions she uses in response to rude people (I forget which article-one about people talking down to you). I may try some of those.

273

I would like to read that article, sounds useful.

274

I think I got labeled as a black sheep the moment i was born.
It’s funny because I have never been a rebel, never took drugs, had a great reputation at school. Te only person I had to rebel against was my mother, otherwise I would have been dead by now.

Funny, because when I look back my “rebelious” behavior was not really rebelious. I never talked back to her, I never used any bad language while speaking (although maybe I should have, that was the way she was talking to me). I was severely depressed for 2 years in HS and was home pretty much all the time waiting for my 18th B-day. Than I escaped to start living like a normal person. But it does not matter what i say or do, I will never be good enough and I will always be the black sheep.

Once, for my 23rd B-day I think, I got a card from my sister, it was funny but it speaks volumes: there was a black female-like cat in a red hat sitting on black stool, smoking a cigar. There was a sign above that said: “The bad girl of the family”. My sister wrote on the back: when I saw this card I immediately thought about you”.
Normally someone might say: so what? It’s funny and cute and all. Sure, that was my initial thought because I was just happy I got anything from my sister, any attention. But when I think about it today, especially after the turmoil of events from the last year, it fits the bill perfecty. thet’s what they think of me. The most ridiculuous thing is I’m not the one who does evil things, manipulates and lies all the time.
So I now know that making me feel as I’m the one who is “bad, rebelious, evil, selfish” has always been a part of their tactics. (or rather my mom’s tactings: she brained washed my sister. The last time I saw my nephew, his mother (my sister) said to him: “say hi to your crazy aunt. say: hi crazy”…..

275

Lisa, #185 please do not give up hope. You story is almost identical to mine(my nieces and nephews hate me just as much as their parents) Take some time to be alone to process what has happened to you. It has taken me more than 30+ years to come to terms with my situation with my family. Develop yourself and learn to love you. And don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. You can do it! Im rooting for you!

276

I would like to know where mothers get their labels from. Is it their own dis-identified self that they are projecting on to their children? Do they have a chip on their shoulder about an old dead relative, and believe their child is their reincarnated dead relative?
I often wonder if my mother imagined and dreamed me up- her idea of who I was- and then proceeded to not even look at me, and believed her own imagination. She did also hate some women in the neighborhood that I grew up in and never had actual reasons behind hating them. Those were the women who were friendly towards me, looking out for me and talking to me. And she would tell me that they were actually ‘bad’ women and I should not think that they were nice people. I believe this confused me and contributed to my social anxiety early in life.
She would also call a few of the children in my neighborhood ‘names’ and make accusations about the children without any facts and reasons to back it up. Also some of my good friends were called nasty names by her, whose faults were totally made up in her imagination. When I got into high school, I started questioning her about the truth of her accusations. She never had any evidence or any reasons to think what she did. That is the time when I began to suspect that she might have a mental imbalance.
It seems the fact that she could make up these ideas in her head about people she didn’t know and still believed her own imagination when I would confront her is somehow related to how she believed I was someone else and treated me that way.

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Wow, Julie. You just put into words what I have been trying to figure out my whole life. I have been struggling with going back in time, trying to pin-point the exact moment when my mother looked at me and decided I was bad, or whatever it was she thought of me. But I can’t, I’d have to go back to the day I was born, maybe even before I was born. But you’re right, it was her decision to not see me. Or maybe she was so unwell, it was not her decision, but she never saw me either way. I don’t know what she saw, but that is all in her head and has nothing to do with me. What she thinks of me is not me.

I finally had to break off all communication because I had come to a point of acceptance and love for myself and I saw that it made her really angry. She only wanted to hold on to me in order to bring me down. Her idea of me must be so strong that she must reject anything about me that is good and positive. She even yelled at me that she is still my mother, like she still has the right to punish me for no reason, like she did when I was a child. When she said this, it had no place in the conversation we were having, she just said it. Just like when she asked me if I wanted to not speak to her anymore, it didn’t make sense in the conversation.

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I think the reason this is so painful and damaging, is because we are supposed to gain a sense of self from our parents. Or at the very least, feel safe to do so on our own. But when the idea of self is ripped away and replaced with all the evils in the world. When we are told who we are and it has nothing to do with truth, this is abuse. And lies are so damaging.

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My mother also punished me for no reasons.
In fact, I was a very smart child (at least, in comparison to the way her mind works), but I was very aware of being more clear-headed than she- able to process thoughts logically and come to conclusions that included all the facts and come to right conclusions. I noticed that she could not do this and that she never even put the effort to try. It was like she had ‘lazy brain’ (just made that up). I’m not talking about anything that takes 1 minute length of thought; I’m talking about common sense thinking, such as causes and results. She seemed to be in the dark when it came to ‘thinking’.
Anyway, I used to get punished off-handedly and I would try to ask what I had done wrong and she never would give me an answer. I would cry and suffer for long periods of time during punishment, not having any idea what for, and not being able to get my questions answered. As I got older I started feeling ‘vengeful’ feelings towards her that made me also feel very shameful and unloving to have. These feelings confused me endlessly, and I tried to pray away my guilt nightly. It was ‘floating guilt’, the kind that just surrounds you everywhere in the depth of your soul, without actually being guilty of anything. Maybe that is shame?
And after this period in our relationship, I began to uncontrollably express vengefulness and hatred in crying fits in response to her whenever she would reject me or ignore me. This was ages 7-12. She would tell me only that I must shut up and that I was too old to be having ‘temper tantrums’. I was being daily rejected by my own mother, refused and turned away, and if I cried and begged for love, I was labelled immature/temperamental.
Then my mother convinced my father that it was healthy for me to be left alone when I cried, because then that way I would eventually fall asleep. (SO in her mind, that made my suffering healthy.) My father was concerned and wanted to be ‘involved’ and see how he could help whatever was going on. But my mother convinced him that she had it all under control through her simple, devilish, manipulative lying. I believe that my father attempting to come help me was my last hope of salvation. From then on, my mother was allowed full reign in her power without being questioned by my father. Anyway, I still have that rage inside me even today.
One thing I was taught was that anger, rage, and expressing my hurt feelings, was somehow indecent of me. I was taught that I was the instigator of the trouble. I was taught that if I wouldn’t cry, I wouldn’t ‘create the trouble’. I was the creator of the trouble. It was my fault. Lol. I am sure all of you out there can relate to this.
I was also taught that disrespect was something that I deserved, but that my feelings shown to her when she hurt me were ‘disrespectful’ of her. Talk about a wicked witch!
When I was a teen and I saw ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Snow White and 3 Dwarves’ for the first time, and I was struck by how familiar the wicked stepmom felt to me. I KNEW the wicked queen that deceived Snow White by giving her the apple, and I knew the wicked stepmom that was jealous and made Snow White be her slave. The more I thought about it, the more I saw more examples of how she was just like a witch. They all have two things in common, they hate children/or you and try to deceive you- whether it be through potions or whatnot.
So here’s a novel idea, instead of all these fairytales being about unreal witches, that these stories could serve instead as real warnings to children about their own mothers. The stories could be used to save children somehow. And in the back of these books, there can be a hotline to call and reach out for help, or at least, the fairytales should include directions on what those little children should do to get away from the witch. I really believe that the ‘witch’ archetype in stories serves to represent the actual experience of evil mothers that many have endured.

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I, too, am in the very long list of children and then adults in the Black Sheep population. It started very early both in words and actions. I was the only member of my family (2 parents, 2 brothers and me) who never had a bedroom; I slept in a small bed in an alcove of the 2nd floor hallway. My mother saw that photos of my two brothers could be seen by guests, but there were no photos of me. Like Julie who commented on September 4, 2013, my mother was erratic and raging, likely a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder. Her self-hatred was projected onto me, but as a child — and her only daughter — I was taught by my mother to believe that I was devil spawn in part because I was a girl (and her daughter). Fortunately, I had teachers and aunts who loved me as I was and appreciated who I was, which was necessary for my self-esteem. My oldest brother, Doug, who my mother clung to, was taught to believe that he was the chosen one and I was not. I give him credit for not abusing me, because he probably could have with impunity. My brother’s beliefs about him and me did not change as he matured. As adults, I heard his wife, Mary, say to the host of a party we were both invited to, “Oh, Aino is not like the rest of the Jensens.” Many years later when his two children got married, I was not invited to either wedding. Do I still feel the pangs of having been taught that I didn’t/don’t fit in to the Jensens? Yes, a bit, but I have increasingly walked my own path and grown in self-esteem, knowing more and more that I am not and never was that label.

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Hi Aino
Welcome to emerging from broken,
Thank you for sharing this! Yes it is painful, but bravo that you know the label applied to you doesn’t belong to you! That is huge!
hugs, Darlene

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Amino, wow, some of this sounds very familiar. The pictures! My mother refused to buy my graduation picture. I didn’t look pretty enough! But she prominently displayed the pictures of my two brothers. I was always reminded tht I was inferior, and ugly, and it was all because I was a girl. She hated girls because she felt neglected by her mother. Her mother gave her things away to her sisters kids so she resented them. I guess she learned not to let any female get anything, so she deprived her daughter. Sick, isn’t it? You would think she would want me to have a better life. That is how I am with m kids. But not her.

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i dont even have words to explain how worst my family makes me feel. i am 2nd of three children, have always felt leftout and not loved. i was beaten to hell over studies when i was in school. i wont refuse that it resulted in helping me reach where i am today. i studied and scored grades on fear of getting beaten. my mom has always made me feel inferior of my younger sister who is a singer and model, have great body, telling me i am fat and ugly. i have had history of depression which i guess is result of me wanting to get out and be an individual…….. but the biggest nightmare started when i went to college and joined hostel . i made new friends there and enjoyed it so much that i went home less often. i made a best friend there who is like sister to me and my (ex) boyfriend whom i had loved dearly for 5 years and broke up arnd 3 years ago . it has been 8 years that we are best friends and have stood by each other at times of need and joy. we did our graduate and post graduation together. my family thinks i am not close to them because i care more of my friends and not the family. for that reason they try to push me away from my best friend. they have this absurd idea in mind that two gals cannot be best friend and that we are having kind of lesbian relation ( which really hurts me alot). they sent me overseas forcibly for studies when i didnt wanted to go. a month after i left my bestie met with major accident and was bed ridden for months. after 2 semester my bestie also came to same uni for study. my brother called me and abused me, calling me a lesbian and warning me not to help her to shelter. my parents wudnt talk to me. i was alone crying in library telling them that it was all wrong and she is just like sister to me and since she recently recovered from injury, its my responsibility to help my frnd. and did it also becoz i wasn’t wrong and i had right to make my own decisions. 4 months i cme abroad for studies, i have been working part time and now full time, supporting myself and havent asked a penny from them. my mom, brother and my sister knew abt my 4 year bf but didnt stood by my side when i was telling them the blame was wrong. hate them for tht. how can i care for family that wont stand by me when knowing ll the truth.my father didnt knew bt my bf so maybe he was thinking all wrong ut culdnt my mom tell him that their daughter was saying right. she is rather trying to hold the truth away from him so that i cud be seperated from my friends. when i told my mom abt my bf, she disapproved him even without meeting him. he is gem of a person, best i have ever met. how could she have so much animosity against person she havnt even met. my brother had a gf whom he met over internet and lives on another corner of the world, whom my mom accepted readily without even meeting me and even convinced my father for her. why they have so muc hatred against people i care about nd feel happy with

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I can relate to this, but I wish you would clarify more on your individual experiences so that it would be easier to understand the diversity of complications of being a family’s “black sheep”.

Ever since I was about 9 my upbringing into adulthood has been full of familial dysfunction, depression, verbal and mental abuse, manipulation, co-dependence, uncertainty, instability and inconsistency. Me and my sister grew up seeing my mom value her relationships over us in the ultimate end, and both of us have led very opposite adult live. She has gotten married, earned her master’s in family therapy, and i generally on a fantastically golden road in life, whereas I am a very skilled (albeit sometimes reluctant) mental health counselor who is currently struggling with ongoing OCD and alcoholism, and generally leads a very mediocre life. We both are very scarred and hurt in our own ways, the difference is in how me and my sister individually relate to our mother.

Growing up, me and my sister were exposed to dysfunction and various kinds of subtle abuse (conveniently, no sexual or physical abuse, for the perpetrators). Mom divorced dad in a VERY vivid light when we were both young, and more than 15 years later they still hate each other and bicker. She went on to marry a soldier 2 months later who turned out to be very manipulative and a drunk, and after six years divorced him and married a new guy, who is better for her but has a tendency of being very arrogant and critical (though, I like him far more than my first stepfather). To avoid writing a life story, I’ll just say this: me and my sister always felt in-the-middle of everything, and learned to hold our self-worth based on accomplishments and parental approval.

As adults, my mom has come to exalt my sister, while maintaining a pretty toxic relationship with me. While me and mom have *many* serious differences based on the past, we still love each other dearly, and we have in the last few years come to feel guilty about each of our contributions to the decline of one another. She wants nothing more than for me to be happy and to succeed, but unfortunately I know she’s lost in her hopes that I will lead a normal, successful life, when in reality I have come to be a very unique and self-determined individual, and no amount of her participation of her in my life will change my drinking, anxiety, or desire to be my own person. All the while, my sister has been the model example of what my mom wants in us, but she is unfortunately neglected emotionally due to mom fighting so hard to ‘save’ me.

Years of abuse, back-burnering of me and my sis in the place of mom’s men, lack of approval in our individual ways, and generally living in turbulence has created an obvious scar in any hope of me and my family ever mingling in perfect harmony. Mom tried desperately (now that she feels remorse) to mold me into a perfectly functional member of society, and has made her own strides to change, but I am constantly annoyed by this, and in the end I feel I will never do what she wants me to, and before I am accepted by my family I will surely go my own way and eventually quit associating with my family.

In my case, I’m sort of a lost cause. My sister did right and succeeded in life while staying close to the family, while I honestly wouldn’t care if my life was in the gutter so long as I felt *some* purpose in existing. Even though my sister has more so appeared numb to the past whereas I can’t easily let go of it, I myself am a good example of what could happen when parents and family do not respect the differences and individual needs of the children involved. I grew up with Asperger’s, OCD, and an undying understanding of the dysfunction in my family, and thus wound up struggling to make sense of the world, addicted to alcohol and mostly ambitionless, and my sister has become very successful but metaphorically seems robotic and ‘gray’ in her own life.

I’m very, very, very flawed as a person, but I can’t help but feel like I could be normal- and happy- if it weren’t for my dysfunctional upbringing.

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Hi Jake
Welcome to EFB ~
Thank you for sharing. You might find more clarity within the pages of these articles. There are over 400 of them, all with discussions too. I found freedom and happiness in spite of my dysfunctional upbringing and that is what this whole site is about! :) .
hugs Darlene

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I’m having kind of an epiphany. I was angry, very angry for so many years. I thought for a long time that only forgiveness would set me free. And it worked for me for a while. But this anger that I’m feeling now, is much deeper. Because I did forgive, I forgave for myself. I did it because I didn’t want to live with anger anymore. But the anger I feel now is because it was thrown back in my face. All my work that I did, to get to a point of forgiveness, was thrown back in my face. And that made me more angry than I could bear. It was the kind of anger that your sure is going to give you cancer, because it doesn’t go away and it spreads.

But I’m seeing it now as something outside of myself. As a tumor that I was pretending didn’t exist. Forgiveness was like a placebo. I’m still damn angry! But somehow right at this moment, I love my anger, because it makes me feel free. Because it represents the truth. I’m the only one who holds this truth. The people who abused me may die, they may become old and forget, or their brains may have a survival technique that prevents them from seeing the truth. But I can allow my anger to represent truth to me, not something that will kill me.

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I’ve always seen anger as a protecting emotion given to us to promote our survival. Anger is not ‘personal’ in that it is not a judgment against another human being, rather it is the feeling response of needing to protect oneself. Anger says, I was/am hurt and I need to protect myself in order to survive: even if those people are passed away- their actions still live on in my memory and I still have to protect myself from the messages those actions created in my mind. This is why anger is still within me.
When anger becomes unhealthy is when we keep expecting the other person to act differently, or the situation to change, as a result of our expressing our anger. Actually, this is just as true as with all unhealthy expectations. The reason it is unhealthy is only because we become trapped in believing that anger can help change something. (Anger alone in itself is actually very healthy.) And this belief serves to keep us stuck in the situation. So I would say that persistent anger which achieves nothing in a situation is what is unhealthy. In a normal situation, anger serves to protect you and help you achieve that protection.

But when you are involved with abusers, anger cannot do its job. It circulates day after day with no solutions, nothing good is ever achieved because the sick people in your life refuse to be responsible adults.
Especially if you live with sick people, your anger will never be able to come to any resolutions and there will not be any agreements or meeting of your needs. This is what serves to increase your anger and make it never go away. Because, contrary to what moralistic people say, anger is not a sin. In fact, anger is a biological expression of your need to get somewhere safe and protect yourself. There’s nothing sinful in that. It is just an evolutionary emotion meant to protect us from harm.

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Anger at people who are no longer in our lives or who have passed away could be an indication of festering wounds that simply need to be healed and taken care of. It is saying that your wounds are still there and you still feel you need to protect yourself, thus, the anger. The anger says to us: ‘I need to protect myself from these people, from there hurts, from the wounds they have inflicted’. But they are no longer thee in our lives. Thus the only way we can go about forgiving these people is to first heal our wounds by taking care of ourselves. Letting go of our anger may come only after we are healed.

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Hello all, I am the eldest of 5 born in 5 years. My father was an alcholic. My mother came from and alcholic family and has aways lived in a sort of fantasy land. I am now 62 years old None of us are married. My parents are still living. All of my siblings “make over” my parents, who still drive around, have their needs met, live in an xtended living community in an apartment. 3 of my siblings are untreated alcholics, all 3 in the medical profession, as was my father, who now abuses prescription drugs. I am the bad guy. This is what was taught in our childhood, because I told the truth. For many years, I served as the emotional parent to my parents and my siblings ( in retrospct) ensuring a place in the family. I resigned about 5 years ago. None of them call me, all wait for me to iniate any contact. I have a life, as guess what? A therapist. I am in Alanon and am learning alot. I still get caught up in my mind with them. The “should” on me and” you need to” always about a third party who is not there. I never do this to them. I no longer try to express any emotional needs. I do show them the love I have for them, which is strong, but only on a limited basis, visits of 2 or less hours. I am told that when I am not around, they talk about me. By the grandchildren. It is sad, and some days, it is just life as usual. I love al anon. It has helped me to work the steps..
Emery

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How I wish I’d discovered this page sooner! I read your little article, and the comments that followed it, with considerable interest. You demonstrate a good insight into the processes involved in child abuse – and it is an insight that many people sadly lack, and others sadly would rather not have exist.

Child abusers are vicious, cruel people; in my experience (and this is personal experience) they are also self-centred, manipulative, narcissistic, and prodigious liars. They live with an inflated sense of self-importance, as well as a complete lack of empathy for anyone else around them. They appear to exist within their own little “bubble”, a distorted reality created by THEM, for THEM. They cannot see that anything they do is wrong, nor do they wish ever to be confronted by the error of their ways. In order to safeguard this false sense of who they are, they “fake it”, showing one “face” (the fake face) to the world about them – to people they want to impress, and people they want to have side with them. To their family, and particularly to the victim(s) of their abuse, they show another “face”, their REAL self. Abusers lie not only to others, but to themselves, kidding themselves that they are “ok”, pretending to be pleasant, to be kind, putting on a show to impress other people, and to “prove” that they are not at fault. I would assume that they also constantly tell themselves how “good” they are; reminding themselves that they are “NOT doing anything wrong”. I believe that this might be considered as “rehearsing their excuses”. I suspect that in the abuser’s head, a dialogue is going on; one in which they are constantly inventing new excuses for their behaviour, and are constantly finding new ways of “getting off the hook”.

My mother has mental health problems (finally confirmed about 6 years ago as Bi Polar Disorder). She has always been mentally ill, and had her first major “episode” around the time of my birth. I was fostered, or so I now understand, on more than one occasion with family members. To this day (I am now 43), I remain unsure as to the full details – I only recently found out I was fostered with an Uncle who was my father’s older brother. This only happened because he had been diagnosed with cancer, and was dying. I doubt the truth would ever have been revealed by either parent, otherwise.

For years, while I was growing up, my parents kept alive longstanding family feuds. They kept me away from the relatives I was fostered with. I was not permitted to ask about my mother’s illness, even though it was obvious she WAS ill. I was not told she had mental health problems. However, I was BULLIED for YEARS at school, because, although my parents refused to talk with ME about my mother’s illness – they DID talk to people they thought were “friends”. My parents are DREADFUL judges of character; thus these “friends” and their children spread malicious gossip about my family, and my mother’s illness, behind my parents’ backs, and I got bullied. Could I tell my parents about this? Could I get help from them to deal with the bullying? NO WAY. Any attempt to discuss anything of the sort was responded to by my parents with aggression, denial, screaming arguments. It was FIRMLY SHUT DOWN. NO communication whatsoever permitted. Should I persist, then I was likely to be hit, have the telephone slammed down on me, be sent to my bedroom, chased from the house, or punished in some other way. To this day, my parents’ response is “We don’t want to talk about it”, or “that’s past, we don’t talk past”.

I have the distinct impression that my parents were FULLY aware of what I went through. I know for definite that they ASKED, on at least one occasion, for me to be fostered out. They clearly seem to have had some involvement in all the arrangements, and it is evident that they did little, or nothing, to fight to keep me at home. I have the sense that I was an “inconvenience”, and that I was just something to be shunted from pillar to post. I was NOT fostered because I was a “bad kid”, but rather because my parents’ parenting ability was inadequate. Still, I am the one who paid the price. I was labelled the “problem”. My parents present themselves a “perfect”. They display this face of “great parents” to the outside world. They seem to feel that because they now have money, a big house, and a car, and material things this makes them good parents. They did NOT even have all of those things when I lived at home as a child. THEN, we struggled to make ends meet. My father set up his own business, and the result was that he sacrificed time with his family for time on his job. He was rarely at home – I am not close at all to him. He spent hardly any time with me when I was growing up. Besides, material things DO NOT add up to good parenting. The things that make good parenting were all missing. My parents NEVER hugged me, or kissed me. I was NEVER told I was loved, or wanted, or allowed to feel pretty, or special.

I grew up with a mother who compared me endlessly to other people. I constantly had to listen to “why can’t you be more like…”, and my mother telling me what other people were doing, and what they looked like. She also used to play a “game”, in which we sat together in front of a mirror, and she asked “who is prettiest?”. The answer always had to be “mummy”. I have NO memory at all of my parents ever saying I was pretty, or attractive, or even nice. As I grew older, they moaned about my appearance. My hair was “rats tails”. My clothes “scruffy”. They HATED how I chose to dress myself (my mother would much rather have dictated what I wore – just as she had always done when I was little). Strangely, they also permitted other relatives to make unpleasant comments (including my foster relatives and their spoiled daughter). I was bullied at school by this cousin, who thought that she was beautiful, and who would not even acknowledge me as her relative. If I saw her at school, she would look the other way, or snigger with her friends! One Christmas, she had split up with her boyfriend, and felt miserable. I felt sorry for her, and said that to cheer her up, she could come out with me and my friends. She refused point blank, as though she was embarrassed to be seen with us! Still, this did NOT stop my mother endlessly asking why I could not be “more like my cousin”!

My mother also put me down a lot, and was inconsistent in her relationship with me. I never received support or encouragement off her. She never helped with homework, never did things like teaching me to cook or sew, never cheered me up if I was having a difficult time, or had fallen out with friends. All MY problems, I had to deal with myself. My mother simply ADDED problems. I had to listen to ALL her issues – past family problems, and so forth, arguments she’d had with relatives. She also put SO MUCH pressure on me – pressure to do the housework, pressure to get top grades at school. Do this, don’t do that. Don’t eat that! Stop dressing like that! CONSTANT nagging!

My father… DISCIPLINE man. That’s all he was to me. Like an Army Drill Sergeant. Barking orders. Punishing. Bossing about. Shouting. Yelling. The only emotion my father seems to communicate is anger/rage. Besides, he DOES NOT communicate! I cannot remember a time when I felt I had a TWO WAY CONVERSATION with my father. He does not converse. He TELLS. He ORDERS. He DICTATES. He demands respect, and expects you to obey. You DO NOT EVER question him, or disagree with him, or challenge him. If you do, you get punished. BOTH my parents strongly believed in corporal punishment.

There is NO closeness between me and my father. I feel that he is a stranger to me, as is much of my mother’s life, too. My parents are both “closed” people. They hide their true selves, and keep secrets. They expect me to keep secrets on their behalves. We do not talk about family matters – we rarely talk. They TELL, I listen, and am expected to agree. Anything they do not want to talk about, they avoid – or if the subject comes about, they do anything to change it – shout, scream, yell, make threats, storm off in a “huff”. They act like enormous “babies”! THAT is how things have always felt – I am parent, THEY are children. But, to the outside world, THEY want to look as though THEY are in control, in charge of everything.

My parents have an extensive “network” (Of spies? Of enablers? Of co-dependents? Of colluders?). They always seem to “hang out” with people who they want to impress, and who in return make them look good. Their relationships are built on toadying and sycophancy. My father is a Freemason (it helps his career, and makes him look like a “pillar of the community”. This man, who hits his kids, and yells and screams at home – a “pillar of the community”!). He also has loads of business contacts; mostly, rich, slimy old men that he can boast to, and “talk business”. My mother also likes to do things to “look good” – join the Women’s Institute, the choir, and so forth. Her activities revolve around gossip, and comparisons – comparing her house to other people’s, comparing her car, comparing her kids! Oddly (or not – I suspect not), my parents “contacts” and “friends” include people in high places – Magistrates, Teachers, Doctors – as well as the people involved in arranging my fostering.

Home life was NOT easy. I struggled for much of the time to cope. My mother would often tease “you are going mad”. She would say she could have me “taken away” (a reference to my fostering?). My father often threatened to “kick me out” or “cut me off without a penny” (again, threats of rejection, maybe linked to the fostering). Threats like this were to keep me in line. Rejection was a frequently used threat.

My parents made ALL my decisions for me – where to study, what to study, when. Who I was to have as friends. How to dress. Acts of rebellion lead to threats, or physical punishment. I know my parents “bad mouthed” me to their contacts. They still do to this day. My father is “ashamed” of my job as a Social Worker (I am now studying Postgraduate Psychology) and described it as “dirty” (his words!). I still find myself compared by my parents to other people. I have received openly hostile comments to my face, made by “friends” of my parents.

Over the years, attempts to reveal what has gone on in my family – and to seek assistance – have strangely been thwarted. attempts to get support from schoolteachers fell on deaf ears (Odd! My mother’s friend is a Teacher. Is the “network” at work here?). An attempt to seek Counselling was a disaster – the Counsellor was extremely judgemental, actually telling me that I ought to change my behaviour to be more supportive of my parents! I did not feel listened to, respected, or safe to confide. Instead, I felt almost as if I were talking again to my parents (Yet again, odd, as my mother is known to the very same NHS Mental Health Service as provided my Counsellor!).

Whilst working for Social Services, I became increasingly aware that my family, and family background, appeared to be common knowledge about my home area. I was endlessly talked about behind my back, much in the same way that the bullying at school had taken place. I felt somehow judged for having come from a dysfunctional family, with a mentally ill mother. However, further attempts to seek help, and to open up about the stress that my family caused me were again doomed to failure. Yet again, I received the clear message from other people that I was somehow at fault, and that I ought to be doing more for my family! Attempts to access my fostering records were ignored, or refused/denied by the Local Authority. Scathing criticisms were made of me, inferring I was “like my mother”, or that I was “lying” about past family problems. When problems WERE acknowledged, the outcome was generally to make me feel like I couldn’t cope. I received NO support or assistance.

Personally, I think this has much to do with my parents, and their extensive “network”. I firmly agree with you, when you say that abusers do not simply groom a child to accept abuse; they also set about a “character assassination” of that child in order to discredit (in advance) anything the child may later say about them. Abusers do not ever want to be found out, and they dread ever being brought to justice. So, their best defence is to make an innocent child look bad. They make the child out to be a liar, a melodramatic story teller, an exaggerator. Anything the child then says looks like nonsense. The abuser is safe!

Remember, abusers are highly manipulative. They are also sick, and do not play by any rules. They think they are entitled to “get away with murder” and will do anything not to be caught. Abusers such as these can exist within any family. THEY CAN BE FAMILY MEMBERS. The simple fact that societally, we have such a “rosy tinted” view of family – all this “blood is thicker than water” nonsense – allows abusers within the family to get away with abuse. We all need to recognise that abuse can occur ANYWHERE.

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Just wanted to say something in response to comments made by Julie… VERY perceptive comments. She suggests that “Fairy Stories” need not be seen merely as make-believe, but rather as allegory. Julie gives examples of “wicked witches” or “evil stepmothers” in Fairy Stories, and suggests that these characters could be representations of people drawn from reality. By comparing reality to Fairy Tales, and by seeing similarities, we may also be able to see how to act, how to deal with particular situations.

Julie’s comments are very astute. As a Postgraduate Psychology student, I do as much reading around subjects as I can. Therefore, I came across the works of Psychologist Clarissa Pinkola-Estes. This woman, and her works, are absolutely fascinating. Ms. Estes is not only a trained Psychologist, she is also a Cantadora (a traditional Hispanic “keeper and teller of the old folk tales”). She works a great deal with Folklore and Fairy Stories, and firmly believes that such tales came into being in order to tell us something about ourselves – to communicate important learning.

Clarissa Pinkola-Estes is author of one of my favourite books of all time, “Women Who Run With The Wolves: Contacting The Power Of The Wild Woman”. This brilliant book i a study of the lives of modern women, women who are stifled and suffocated by a society that refuses to allow women to be their true selves. Using examples from Folk Tales, and Fairy Stories, the book reveals various aspects of the female psyche. It compares both hidden, and overt aspects of the female psyche to folkloric characters, and refers to the relevant stories about such characters as ways for us to visualise our real selves. Utterly fascinating!

So… Julie, you are NOT in the minority. Actually, your idea is one that has been tried and tested. Great minds think alike, eh?

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Hi Elaine
Welcome to EFB ~ The threat of rejection is all through the grooming process of most victims of this family dysfunction and what I realized is that being treated that was IS rejection and therefore I had been rejected all along. Once I realized that, I was able to realize that as a child I had to survive that fear of rejection, but as an adult, I can take care of myself. Knowing that made a huge difference in how I went forward.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

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Hi Elaine. I have been reading your story, and, just as I have found in others stories here, I see similarities between my childhood years and yours. Like you, many decisions were made for me, such as what I was going yo major in in college and what classes I should take. My mother also put me down a lot and compared me (unfavorably) to others. I was bullied in school too and never discussed it at home. I think it was a combination of shame about being bullied and also I didn’t believe that discussing it with my parents would result in any kind of help with it.

One thing that really hit a trigger point with me was when you described the “game” of sitting by the mirror with your mother and her asking who was the prettiest, and you had to say that she was. While we didn’t engage in that kind of activity, my mother quite often would point out things that were ugly about me. When I got bracs for my teeth she told me I looked ugly with them. I had to wear glasses for a short period of time. The day I hot them she looked directly into my face and said “ugly Amber” with a sigh. She wouldn’t buy my graduation picture, and years Bedford that, my kindergarten picture. I wasn’t smiling in the kindergarten one so she refused to buy it and the graduation pictures she said all came out ugly. She was embarrassed to display something like that but she proudly displayed the pictures of my brothers. Looking back, I think my mother had an issue with aging and feeling she was getting less attractive. Meanwhile I was growing up and had a nice figure, and I now believe that she made herself feel more attractive by making me feel ugly. One of my biggest stick points I’m trying to get past is the feeling of being ugly. My mothers comments contributed to this, but additionally, she didn’t dress me attractively as a child, nor did she see to it that I was bathed and my hair was unkempt. So my peers made fun of my appearance too reinforcing that feeling of being ugly.

When I was 15 a boy I was dating told me I was beautiful. I didn’t believe him I thought he was crazy for saying that. Because I believed the lies I was fed my whole life. And these are the lies I am trying to overcome right now.

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In response to a comment Elaine made about being “taken away”. My mothers favorite threat was that the detention home was coming to pick me up. This started at a very young age. I remember being terrified. And to this day rejection or abandonment can throw me into a tailspin. Most recently, my sister is planning a 60th anniversary party for our parents. She invited my adult son and his wife, then told me “Everyone told me not to invive you”. I asked if she tool a poll and asked folks to respond with their RSVP. So thankful I found this site. I am really tired of hurting and now I don’t feel alone but I do feel understood!

Hugs,
Colleen

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this was AMAZING. Well written for how I feel. My mother called me the black sheep and everything I said or did was a drama or a lie. So here I am in my 40s with my family against me because I finally stood up to her. now she is the martyr with the ungrateful daughter who she did so much for and I am going around telling all these nasty lies about her. Everything is the truth but who is going to believe the ‘black sheep’. It is so depressing to have all your family members to turn their back on you on one hand because they are family but on the other hand how much abuse can you take from people that are meant to be blood? Mine stemmed from a mother who adored her husband (my father) but he was out of love with her and I was his favourite so she made it her goal in life for everyone to turn on me.

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The hairs on my arms and legs have been standing on end reading alot of this. Typing this out comes with great resistance from within and has taken close to 20mins already. Questioning, doubting, fearing, depreciating, remembering, shaking, uncertainty, confusion, frustration, anger, shame, resentment, this turbulence wreeking havoc on thoughts, Been over hour now.
Why? is currently active, so many why’s, but how? is that a path better choosen, still i can’t think without judgment, excessive condemining judgment.
I would like to ask how?
Do I dare or just fear, delete, re-write while persecuting myself for, ?
Expressing anything is unsafe, having something is something

The jig is up
The missing piece of your puzzle is not in a box
Yet the box supplies you a false sense of comfort

Torn apart not for entertainment
Just to pass the time
Stripped of all value
It remains the same outside
Left empty of substance
Pushed into place
Without purpose
And once again by whose hands?

No one can see how much was damaged in assembly
When you’re framed and hung on display

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deaf children sometime feel that way because of hearing parents want them hear not sign language.

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Hi Vikki
Welcome to EFB ~ yes this is very true.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

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I was the black sheep in the family simply by being the youngest and the easiest target. I was trained early on that what I wanted didn’t matter and fighting back was useless.

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Hi Liz
Welcome to EFB ~ Yes, as children fighting back IS useless and hopeless so we learn to survive.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

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Hi, Darlene. I’m new to this site and have always been labeled the “black sheep”. I’m a middle child of 5 and have had (and still have) issues with my mother. I can remember being put in my bedroom as a child for hours at a time, not sure to this day why, but I do remember sobbing and her not consoling me in any way. I remember being hit with anything she could get her hands on…ie a wire hanger, tennis racket, her fist…I don’t know what I did wrong but was made to feel that I was a horrible child. I was quiet and shy and timid. I was very sensitive and was told on a regular basis to ‘stop feeling sorry for myself’ every time I was sad. Wasn’t allowed to sing when I was happy, and telling anyone what was happening would get me a beating that would never be forgotten. I started being afraid to show any emotions because they were consistently devalidated and made me feel very worthless, something which I still struggle with to this day. I remember going to high school with bruises on my face and having to lie about where they came from. I am now on the verge of removing everyone in my family from my life. It is a tough decision but I’m miserable with them around me. I find that they are there for each other but now that I’m dealing with something very serious, they are no where to be found. I noticed that they have started to treat my son the same way, which I don’t really get why. My son is dealing with a life threatening eating disorder and I noticed that my sister hurt her foot and they have just shunned my son and crowded around her..so my son now thinks they don’t care about him.
I don’t understand why some families have to make others feel this way. It’s beyond me.

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Dear Sherry,
I had to respond after reading your post, even if just to say I understand! And that can be very validating; knowing that someone out there understands your situation.
You could have been describing me. My needs were not important to my mother when I was a child and that carried through into adulthood. Like you I was timid and shy and I was always well- behaved, yet my mother found reasons to hit me and ignore me. “Stop feeling sorry for yourself” was a familiar statement in my house too. Emotions weren’t allowed, including if I was feeling happy. That was somehow twisted into me being “selfish”. When I was upset, and like you I sometimes cried for hours just hoping someone would care enough to ask what was wrong; my mother would ignore me. She would also direct the others in the family to ignore me too because “she’s just in a mood”. So I too became afraid to show emotions.

When I got older my mother showed no interest in anything that was important to me. She moved thousands of miles away in the middle of me planning my wedding. She was not interested the way most mothers are when a daughter is getting married. She wasn’t interested in being there when I got ready for my Junior Prom in high school and left the house before I started getting dressed. And she showed no interest in her grandchildren.

Sherry, you and your son are the important ones. The most important thing is to protect him and yourself. I put my family of marriage first, and wouldn’t you know it, mother started making demands from thousands of miles away. I think she was surprised that timid Amber had finally learned the word “no”.

Your last statement about not understanding why some families having to make others feel this way: some people need a scapegoat in a pathetic attempt to make themselves feel better. That was the case with my mother. Yes, she had a rough childhood, but she didn’t have to deliberately deny me the same things she claimed she was missing.

I hope things get better for your son, and for you. This is a great supportive website to come to. Everyone is very understanding and you will learn a lot from the articles. I’ve changed a lot in the way I deal with things from what Ive learned on here. I wish you the best and send you hugs, Amber.

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Interesting. I didn’t want my mom to care about my band concerts. I would have preferred she didn’t come at all. I didn’t want my mom taking pictures of me going to the prom. I didn’t care about those things, I just did them to get out of the house.

What I wanted her to care about was learning! She liked me to get good grades, but didn’t care what I learned. I should have just cheated, same outcome. I tried to share things I had learned (Ok, I was a geek…..) but she would just criticize me for being “too technical.”

One time I got into an argument with my cousins over the fact that the sun is a yellow dwarf star (it is!) My mom, of course, told me I was wrong. I couldn’t believe she didn’t know that the sun was a yellow dwarf star! That is when I knew she wasn’t interested in learning. She is only interested in “appearance” not the truth.

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Hi Sherry
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
Being hit that way is abuse and it wasn’t your fault. We ‘learned’ to believe we deserve it, and that it is us who is horrible, and that is how our self esteem fails and we squish all emotion out of fear. You have found the right website. There is tons of info and sharing here. This post is pretty old; I hope you will join us in the current discussions. (check the home page).
Hugs, Darlene

305

Thank you so much. I though I was completely alone in the world about what I thought about my life. I came to my family 7 years later and was the 4th child. My mother always said “everything was planned and then she was born.” I was the cause of… well everything that didn’t went how they planned. “You are so ill raised” The who raised me? “Don’t be so dramatic” Who will console me when I cry? “She was always difficult” Then why didn’t you helped me? I love my mom. But I always Emberased my family. 25 years later and today I realized I was never wrong. They just didn’t love me. They just put up with me. My father, mother, brother and sister. The only one I can defend is my mom. She now treats me with respect and love. But I think it’s because she realized what I’ve been through. The others still see me as weird, dramatic, exaggerated. Thank you. Because I know they won’t change but at least now I know I wasn’t wrong all along.

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And by the way I cried the entire read.

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