How I believed it was UP TO ME to Fix Problems in Relationships


I used to have a pattern (like a default way of responding) where I would give a lot more attention to the people who ‘fought me’ and told me I was wrong, compared to the way that I responded to people who agreed with me and validated my thoughts. I noticed that I actually tried harder and put more effort into relationship with people who didn’t accept me! This was my relational style with my family and friends when I lived in the dysfunctional relationship system of having to try harder all the time just to be accepted in the group and it took me awhile to recognize how much more energy that I gave to people who were fighting me and even how much more attracted that I was to people who looked down on me!  I had this weird attachment to ‘proving my worth’ proving that my opinion was valid. I was also so steeped in and accustomed to “trying harder” that I didn’t even know there was anything unbalanced about doing it.

Even when I started Emerging from Broken I noticed that I did it here too but the way this behaviour presented itself then was that I was more affected by the negative people and I would give them more ‘energy’. (Giving them more energy often meant thinking about their negative and judgemental comments and letting it drag me down way more than the hundreds of thankful and positive comments telling me that I was making a positive difference and letting those impact me for good.) For instance, I could get 50 thank you notes in a week and just one complaint or argument about what I was saying sent me off. I would engage with people who ‘told me off’ as though what they said was about me was true, instead of remembering that what they said was about them and their beliefs. I noticed that I wanted to work very hard to convince those judgemental people that they were wrong ‘about me’. I would spend so much energy thinking about ‘why’ that person was upset with me and how I had communicated in such a way that they had misunderstood me. I finally realized that this was also a part of my belief system ~ and it stemmed from the belief that I had to try harder and the false belief I had, that the success of any relationship was always up to me. I had come to understand this as one of my default modes; in certain situations I ‘defaulted’ to certain feelings, reactions and behaviours. Once I realized the belief system this was rooted in, I was able to break the default mode reaction.

It was important for me to change this belief system and begin to view things from a more truthful grid of understanding. In order for me to make this change at the root where it actually originated, I had to understand how the root got so firmly planted in the first place.

There were several things operating under the surface when it came to the way I tried so much harder with people who were not actually that nice to me;

1)    I was caught up in a cycle of having to prove my worth. I had done that my whole life, I had been taught and trained to do that and it was very familiar and even comfortable for to me to try harder. I was used to it and it had been a part of my survival mode since childhood. This cycle had to be broken.

2)    I didn’t know that relationship was a two-way street or that I deserved equal value and respect. I didn’t even understand that I was on the same playing field with the person who had set themself ‘above me’.

3)    I was comfortable carrying the burden of the entire relationship. I didn’t know anything different and because I had so long been convinced that the problem was ME, I was stuck in this pattern of having to be the one to fix whatever was lacking in the relationship.

4)    Since I had long ago given up hope that anyone else would change, (it is not safe for children to believe the parents will change or to try to change them so in childhood it is natural for the child to try harder to ‘be good enough’ or ‘not upset the adults for fear of what might happen; this is part of a child’s survival mode’ and a huge part of victim mentality that needs to be changed in adulthood.)  I believed that I had to be the one to change and it was automatic for me to accept that. This childhood survival mode may have been necessary in childhood, but in adulthood it was a lie I had to break though before I could change that automatic response.

5)    I believed that if I stuck up for myself that I would be ‘just like the abusers and controllers” in my life who were “never wrong”. I related ‘arguing’ and defending myself with being ‘just like them’. It seemed more comfortable for me to accept that it ‘must be me’. 

6)    My default mode had always been that I was forced to prove my worth and that somehow only the people ‘who convinced me that they had more worth’ than me, mattered. I got these people mixed up with everyone who didn’t accept me because the ‘lack of their acceptance’ was the same as the controlling people who made demands of me all my life and it kicked me into approval gear.

It was very important for me to see the TRUTH about people who insisted that I was the one that was wrong in order for me to break this cycle and re-wire my default mode of assuming responsibility for fixing relationships and blaming myself for the difficulties in them;

1)    I had to learn that I didn’t need proof. I had to learn to stop trying to prove that I was ‘right’ and learn to believe myself that I was right. I am not lying about anything and I am not making anything up. I know that and that has to be enough. I didn’t need everyone to agree with me.

2)    When people don’t agree with me, it does not prove that I am wrong. It just means that they don’t agree with me.

3)    There is a way to actually SEE the truth about the actions of others; Talking about the way to actually see the truth is what I devote my time in this website to. Busting through the defences of abusive and controlling people and how they have brainwashed other people is what got me started on the path to freedom and wholeness.

4)    What other people say is about them. It is a reflection of what THEY believe and is not a reflection of me. Their judgements are about them, their lives, and their fears and very often about their denial.

5)    I had to discover and embrace MY OWN WORTH; I had re-define my value and accept it as the real truth about me.

I had to see where I was so stuck in trying harder and ‘proving my worth’ that I never considered that perhaps relationship should be a two way street. My mother was really good at communicating the rules of relationship when it came to what was expected of me, but the truth is that she didn’t live by them herself. I had to realize that not everything is up to me; the success or failure of relationship does not depend ONLY on one person and all healthy relationship, regardless of the title one person holds, (father, mother, teacher, police officer, lawyer, grandparent, doctor, judge etc.)  is based on mutual respect and equal value.

Please share your thoughts with me about the subject of feeling or believing that if there is a problem in the relationship, it must have something to do with me. Feel free to share anything else this post may have triggered. Looking forward to the conversation!

Exposing Truth one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

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


Related posts: Giving and Receiving in a Healthy Relationship

Controllers and Manipulative People don’t question themselves

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Categories : Freedom & Wholeness



I find myself needy in .. I have never had a relationship healthy with a guy and find always have to become better as a person or better in career etc.. I always end up chasing them and scaring them away eventually and allow then get feelings of guilt and shame like I am doing things wrong…I was abused by my controlling mother..psychologically and physically as well as other members of my family, sexually abused by my aunty, raped and abused by a pimp ….and yet there lives seem ok and here i am struggling….with men I always have a pattern wher they just reject me and I don’t understand what i am doing wrong..bringing me back to that child again..always wondering what i had done wrong


Hi Kelly
Welcome to EFB
Maybe it isn’t what you are doing wrong but more about the wrong that was done to you. Being abused that way can cause all kinds of damage that in turn causes you to be attracted to the wrong men. I found that when I looked at what happened to me it revealed a lot about how I was comfortable in unhealthy relationships. In this site we talk a lot about how we learned what healthy is after abuse. Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi, Darlene…..Yes, I really understand all of your default messages!

I used to think I had to try ten times harder than other people just to “earn” 1/100th the love and respect and attention which they took for granted.

In other words, I was filled with shame and self-loathing.

That’s how deeply rooted were the brainwashed messages I received all of those years while growing up with a narcissistic and a psychopathic parent.

If there’s one thing that stands out to me most about both of my parents, it is this: NEITHER OF THEM EVER TOOK RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEMSELVES…..FOR THEIR ACTIONS, THEIR BEHAVIORS, THEIR ABUSIVENESS, THEIR WORDS….EVER.

Neither of them was ever wrong (isn’t that amazing?)….. neither of them had any problems (even more amazing)……everything was always someone else’s fault. And they blamed and shamed and abused and projected all of their toxicity and irresponsible behavior onto all of us kids.

All of my life I have believed that I was responsible for whatever went wrong in a relationship. In any relationship. I honestly did believe that. Well, why wouldn’t I, when I’d never been taught anything different? So, I’ve had many times in my life when I worried and fretted and obsessed–and wept over–the people who treated me poorly and the people who were not good to me. I honestly did not know I was doing this. It’s taken a lot of good therapy and a lot of effort on my part to change my thinking as it pertains to relationships.

I would double and triple and quadruple my efforts, always striving, always trying harder, so that someone would “like me.” I was always asking myself, “What is wrong with me?” Well, now I can see that there wasn’t anything wrong with me at all. But what was wrong was my thinking. And my thinking was a direct result of my childhood environment.

So, when people want to say, “Get over your childhood,” or “Stop bellyaching about the abuse,” I want to say, “Sure…..as soon as I’m able to open up my head, scrub out all of the brainwashing inside, and send my parents’ toxic lies to the dump where they belong!!”

I am doing better now. Just the other day, a person disagreed vehemently with me about the Sandy Hook shootings. (They are convinced it was all a hoax, a gigantic government conspiracy.) I held my own, maintained my opinions, but told them what I think, all in a respectful way. And I haven’t worried about it or obsessed about it afterwards. That’s pretty huge. In the past, I would have been so very worried that they wouldn’t “like me” anymore, or I would have worried if I needed to go back and talk to them, again, to convince them that I’m not a “bad person.”

I have done all that you wrote about, Darlene. I know how hard it is to change thinking patterns and to begin to believe that we are as important as all the other people in this world. I always believed others were always better than I am, and that they always deserved more……and got more in life.

It’s hard to change, but it is possible…..thank goodness.



Hi Marore
Exactly! Why wouldn’t we believe that stuff; it was what we were TAUGHT by our caregivers! What choice did we have but to believe it was true? Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


I used to believe that I needed to be the one to try harder in making or fixing my relationships over and over again. I used to say I was sorry for anything and everything very frequently. I assumed that any snags in my relationships were because I wasn’t understanding enough, or I had misunderstood the other person, or because I knew I must somehow have been difficult. I would give gifts or try to make someone happy and laugh, etc….all in an attempt to fix, heal, or balance the relationship. I even did this for many years in my marriage. I would try to bring up an issue that was important to me, but just like when I was a child, it would be blown off because whatever my husband wanted or felt or thought or did was evidently more important than my issues. I had grown up believing that life was not an equal playing field and it was very easy to not expect that I would ever be “up there” or that I even deserved to have what most ppl seemed to have. It used to humiliate me to openly admit any of this…it was so embarrassing! I honestly could never give myself permission to be or feel as important. There were others in my life that were right where I was…feeling as low as I did, and I was always trying to convince them that they were as important as everyone else, but I could never feel that way about myself.

That all changed for me last year…2012…when I did completely figure out where my damage began…and the pieces of my life fell into place in many ways very quickly . I have begun to realize where I fit into this world, and how valuable and worthy I am. And I am now fighting to stand up for myself and to make sure that my needs and wants are taken just as seriously, and treated as importantly and as equally as everyone else.

My husband and I just had a stand-off this last week. I became very ill and that is unusual in our family that I needed to be looked after. Thursday and Friday of last week my husband was a gem….considerate, helpful, concerned. By Saturday I could see it in his attitude that I “should” be starting to take an interest in HIS wants…and give HIM attention. He wanted to go into our attic to put in insulation, but the attic door is in our bedroom, and I asked him to wait a little longer because I still was feeling sick and needed the rest….and the noise over my head was going to be too much. He threw a fit and stormed off as though I had just ruined his day. I tried to reason with him one more time…..my old habit of chasing someone to fix the relationship….and he was angry and put out again. That is when I suddenly caught myself and realized how unfair he was being to ME…and how sick I was feeling and how I didn’t need to do anything but go back to bed and take care of myself….that I deserved that. I went two more days without him talking or inquiring if I needed something. He was giving me the punishment of the silent treatment, but I didn’t even care. I made sure my needs were being met…not his….and it was another moment where I feel like I hit a crossroads….and I was able to make a healthy choice to love and care for myself….not to waste any energy or time worrying about even my own husband! I feel proud of that today. Today he apologized, but his reasons and excuses were still all geared for me to drop my issues and to put the focus and sympathy back on him. I refused to drop this one. I accept his apology, but the way he treated me…or didn’t treat me was simply not loving!

Anyway….just wanted to throw that example out there because in the past I would have crawled around the house cleaning and cooking for him no matter how I felt, and I would have apologized to him if he had used these same excuses with me. It is a beautiful thing for me to see how I am really changing. This situation made me feel good about myself because I didn’t let myself down. I don’t even feel selfish. Self care is a good thing!


This is SO ME!!! Now I know what I have been doing wrong, and I can start working on what is right…. Thank you so much Darlene!! I have been frustrated so many times when I have felt others have not understood and I tried to get them to understand/value me. I have gone through the “changing myself” routine too. There is a common belief out there that if you start to change yourself, the other person in the relationship will start to act appropriately due to the changes you make… After reading this, I no longer believe that.


Marore, what you wrote about ” brainwashed messages”….really stuck out to me because you are so right! Being groomed and brainwashed into believing that we had to work hard to have any type of affection or love or relationship is what the abusers did to us! You really are doing great and I loved hearing that you stood your ground with the person about SH….and that you were able to not obsess and worry after your conversation! That is wonderful! That is a huge deal ….especially when you have spent a lifetime of scraping and bowing and chasing after people. :).


This is so true. For years I thought it was all up to me and gave all my attention and energy to the people who gave me a hard time and little else.

My nastiest family members always demanded “proof” of anything they didn’t like to hear and it made me so mad. One day I read the line “love believes you” and it finally clicked for me why I was so angry about having to “prove” myself or my ideas.

The toxic people will suck the life right out of you, its a hamster wheel that never stops spinning. Its hard to break the habit of rushing to please un-pleasable, self-absorbed people, but so rewarding to focus on affirming yourself and interacting with the positive people in your life.


Wow Darlene!!! You ARE my Angel. I had no idea how to explain that side of me. I have been struggling for way too long with this. I am so relieved to read this today. To finally have an answer on how to communicate my ever changing self in order to “fit” with who ever I was with. After all, I’m the one with issues therefore I have to be the one to try harder. Thank you for this Darlene.


This is an excellent and really helpful guide, Darlene. I’ve was always been ‘attracted’ to those people who constantly argued with me, who showed me very little respect or regard. They felt comfortable and familiar while kind people who respected me and were on the same wavelength would either make me nervous or just get very little of my effort and attention.

Looking back now I see how my sister would just shoot down, argue against, criticize or roll her eyes at almost everything I said. She was unwilling to allow me to exist as a person in front of her, acting almost as if I was a voice in her mind that she didn’t have to show any patience or respect for. I definitely did believe that I had to keep trying with her, but my abusive family would never recognize that I had ‘changed’ at all, as much as I tried to. They only saw the static, false image of me they had painted in their minds. I was never going to ‘prove’ it to them, but the way they treated me was NOT my fault.

I’ve noticed lately that I no longer feel threatened by people who like to have malicious, never-ending arguments; I don’t feel any desperate need to engage and ‘show them’ something. I can just avoid them and not feel bad about it. I’m also getting better at reading my own feelings and figuring out where they’re coming from. I’m sure I can break these cycles.


For years I beleived I was the problem and that I was the issue.
I now know that I am not.
But it took me until i was in my 30’s before i finaly got it!


lol its Jan the 22nd and its 2.34pm here


Darlene, I always thought if something was wrong, it was just me. I was also, used to playing the subservient role. I still have some problems with this, I relate to people by doing things for them. I am finding some balance though. I still like helping people but I know there is a limit to what I can give and I don’t feel like I have to be willing to give my whole self to help someone else or strive to fill every need. I can save some for me. I’m also, developing more self-confidence than I’ve ever had and I know it shows. You wouldn’t believe how many people who read my blog say that I have such a “strong, powerful, voice”! That’s amazing to me. Before, it didn’t seem like I even existed unless, I was attached to someone else. I never saw myself as equal. I didn’t think of it that way because that’s just the way it always was. It really didn’t hit home until my sons told me that my parents and family always made them feel like they were secondary or less-than, just because they were my children. I hate that happened to them but at least, they feel important enough to their dad and I to be able to define that kind of treatment. Of course, my relationship with them has changed too. I served them even more than anyone else. I had to meet their every need. I have to be honest and say that went beyond overprotecting them, to being an engulfing mother. They like their new mom better too. My healing has made all the differnce to my children. They are so forgiving too.(its amazing what happens when a parent comes clean with their child and ASKS for their forgivness) I’m so thankful to have seen the light, so to speak and be able to enjoy my adult children’s love. They are good men and I’m blessed that they still want me to be a part of their lives. If I’d continued in the old system, I don’t think things would have turned out that way. Everybody around here is happier without me thinking that it’s up to me to fix everything,meet everyone’s needs, all of them, and try to keep everyone safe. We still have things to work on but we are all individuals, with our own thoughts, opinons, belief, and purpose and everyone is accepted and loved. We’re a whole family of black sheep!lol!Not really, but we like to say that and laugh because we are all happier not being a part of my dysfunctional family system. We miss people and wish they’d get a clue but equality is too precious to surrender for the sake of keeping a family together that nurtures no one.At first, I was sad that I woke up so late in life but now I know that it’s never too late. Wholeness is wonderful.:0)I love being, Pam these days!



Hi everyone.

Darlene thank you so much for this article. Pam I loved your previous article and your comments too where you mentioned individuation (I think I spelt that right Pam). I believe I have gone from enmeshment to pulling out all of the string in my head of lies and brainwashing and becoming a new individual. Pam, I love the picture against your name, to me it symbolises wisdom, strength, love and freedom.

Darlene, this article makes a lot of sense to me about how I was brainwashed into being a servant and as a consequence of that brainwashing how I was automatically programmed to respond to people (friends, family, even bosses) in a way that was harmful to me. I have had relationships fail because I have automatically gone into default mode and then with my new awareness realised that the relationships were one sided and abusive to me. Then I leave the relationships but I have had too high a tolerance for abuse before I got out.

Since EFB I have learned to no longer over give and tolerate abuse. I also am really careful about who I allow into my world because I want to be drawn to people who are loving and who love back. I’m learning a new feeling, a new response which is good loving positive energy from people. Before I used to feel a need, a strong urge which was to prove myself to make people who were unpleasable, like me even when I knew those people didn’t even like themselves and it was like a weird fix or addiction to fixing those people which gave me a feeling of achievement, or a feeling that this desperate need inside was being fulfilled/met.

Now when I meet people that are needing me to fix them and over-give while they suck the energy out of me, I get a new feeling, a feeling of being drained by them which is almost like a warning sign from my new mind that says, don’t go there, your gonna get drained and its not going to feel good or be good for you!!

Thank you for sharing who you are and what you have learned Darlene. I completely get it and its great for the continued fog busting that I do every single day. I also understand focusing on negative feedback more than the positive but I’m getting there. The other day I was told by my friend how some women were talking about me and he said they said really lovely things about me and it made him so happy to hear that. He said he felt really happy for me, yet, strangely, I didn’t feel anything? Work in progress I guess.

Love Emma.


Hi Darlene,
Excellent commentary. You always find a new way to express some of the issues surrounding recovery. I am impressed and grateful.
I good friend once gave me some great advice. He asked Would you even bother arguing with someone who called you a Giraffe? No, because you Know it’s not true.
This helped me to realize that engaging with negative people is akin to acknowledging that on some level I believe their Accusation might be true. So, yes, as you wrote, we must address our internal beliefs in order to correct this problem.


Hi Diane
Exactly! I was exactly like you too and yes, also in my marriage. My husband and I both believed a false definition of love. In our marriage recovery process (the journey to equal value 🙂 I realized that he ‘kept points’ and that if he did loving caring things for me, I ‘owed him’ and like your husband, my husband also thought that I needed to ‘get better’ on his time frame so I could get back to taking care of his needs! I too had to stick to my guns about my own needs and I very often pointed out the lack of balance in our relationship. I am so glad that everything has changed with us now! It took a couple of YEARS ~ but it happened!
Today we live in a relationship based on mutual respect and EQUAL value, but both of us had to understand our own belief systems and where they were funky, before that change happened.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Helen
In my healing process I realized that the idea that if I change me, the other person will start to act appropriately, IS Victim Mentality! That is what I had done my whole life and it never worked and for some reason (because of my childhood survival mode) I kept trying it anyway!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Elizabeth
Yes, it is so rewarding to believe in our own value and to really believe that we have ‘equal value’ to all others!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Celine
You are so very welcome!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Caden
Thanks Caden, glad you like it! That is so awesome that you no longer feel the need to engage with all that crap AND that you don’t feel bad about it! You reminded me of how long it took me to stop ‘feeling bad’ about it AFTER I drew the initial boundary! But like I always say, IT’S okay to be IN the process!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Tammy
Welcome to emerging from broken;
It took me until I was in my forties! But that is okay with me!
p.s. the blog posts the time according to the time it is here where I live ~ that is quite a time difference from where you live!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Pam
It has been such an important part of our (my husband and I) process to make amends to our children in this whole thing. Telling our kids that we realized our errors with them, and that we are so sorry for ever treating them as though they were ‘less important’ and then LIVING in those amends, (actually practicing the new way with them and alwasy regarding them as equally important, (without giving up our authority, because that is a whole different thing) has gone miles and light years towards their healing! My family are all happier too not being involved in that dysfunction anymore! When I look back, it was exhausting for EVERYONE!
Thanks for sharing, I love being ME too!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Emma
Yes, I totally relate to what you are saying! Something that came to my mind when I read what you said was that I used to be AFRAID of the nice people, and it was when I realizd that I got so mixed up about ‘nice’ and related nice people to the grooming process. (most abusers had been ‘nice’ to me when they wanted something) So I was all mixed up about the way people treated me in the first place!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Dawny
I like what your friend said! That puts things into a very understandable perspective!!
Thanks for being here!
Hugs, Darlene


Emma, Thank you for such a sweet complimentary comment.:0)You’ve made my day and being individiated was the beginning of being independent. A whole person, all by myself. I don’t need anyone else to have a reason to exist or live. It sounds like you are experiencing a new beginning too.:0)



Hello Darlene and friends,
Thank you for everything you write.I am so glad to have found you.It is a if my prayers for help have been answered.Everything you write is like as if you are my guardian angel,almost as if you have been sent to guide me, to put me on the right road to self worth. Thank you so much xx


Pam, thank you for your kind comment! Yes it feels like a new beginning for me and also feels like an ending too, a happier ending.

Love Emma.


Darlene…keeping points is EXACTLY what I have been sensing recently. I sometimes still have this underlying nagging feeling that something isn’t right, or equal, but I can’t pin it down….especially since we are both still trying to unlearn the unhealthy ways of relating. I have noticed from this last week that my husband also uses statements like “you seemed angry”…”I had a tough week at work”…”I have been so busy” …”I didn’t want to bother you”….which all seem to me now to be his usual statements when he is trying to explain himself or to sidestep personal responsibility during or after a disagreement….and those statements seem to me now to be designed to create confusion or to put subtle blame onto me in order to take the focus away from himself. I have definitely been noticing that I feel as though he keeps points by spending time with me and then the next day he will announce that he intends to play golf with his buddies. I could care less….I want him to have fun, but he still pulls this. He seems to give gifts or his time for a nice “date night” with me….and I know he is enjoying our time together, but it really has seemed that he is keeping score ….after the time or gifts, I sense that he expects me to allow him to be by himself…give him space…play golf…hover around him and meet his needs etc….even though in my mind I have never required this from him or even thought this way about our relationship. I actually love my own space and lots of time alone, so I know now …after this week for certain…that this is something we need to bring out into the open between us. Thank you for validating how I feel ….I still have a reaction where I first question if it is me not understanding him…..and what you wrote has given me another level of confidence to trust MY thoughts and feelings and what I am perceiving.


Hello Marore,
It is hard to change a life time of brainwashing but we will with the help from EFB.My father(90) still dictates to me, and puts me down. My mother(85)is in a Care Home.Just recently because of the Jimmy Saville thing hitting the newspapers he had been a tad kinder towards me.With all these people reporting abuse from 40 and 50 yrs ago it has really frightened him.What I dont know is who else apart from my late brother and my much younger sister did he abuse.That might be frightening him to death. Just keep gathering strength from reading EFB I am so shocked at how many people have been in the same position as me but are managing their lives better from discussing their problems. Only this week he ordered me to visit mother so I have not been normally I would jump to it. Best wishes to all.x



First I needed you to know how this post is so powerful for me and it hits so close to home it has brought up a lot. I wanted to tell you that right away but I plan to write again in the next day or two about what it means to me to read this and a little of my story which parallels what you have written. Thank you so much! You have given me some courage to face some of these things head-on!
~ Stanley


Hi Darlene-

Well, once again you have hit the nail on the head! I have been reading EFB since September of last year. I am so glad I found you! I have felt and witnessed all these things that you write about. I have tried to turn a few friends onto your website. I am not trying to “fix” anyone, and I tell them that in these words. They tell me of troubles with their FOO or other family members. I just tell them how I have gone NC, and I feel so much better. I try not to give direct advice, but sometimes I can feel resistance. I have a feeling that my friends don’t want the healing or don’t want to do the work. What are your thoughts on this?



Thank you Darlene! God is using you in such a wonderful way to help heal others, myself included! I went to private counseling for ten years to figure out what was “wrong” with me. In ten days reading this blog I have learned so much more and discovered there really wasn’t anything”wrong” with me after all. Your words describe my life and childhood and have finally allowed me to give myself permission to validate all the abuse and spend time on myself for a change healing. I don’t have to wait for others anymore to admit their abuse or apologize because I know it was wrong. My mom tells me to leave the past in the past, we both had a rough time. (read your post on that too- thank you). I also have spent my life apologizing and trying to fix all the relationships that weren’t working believing that it was my fault and if I did more, gave more they would like or love me. Always replaying what i said or did to make sure i didn’t mess up or to figure out where i went wrong. Oh the worrying I have put myself through about whether or not others would like me or not. Thank you for revealing this untruth. I know where it took root and I’m going to rip that weed out of my mind. The fog is lifting. “I’m sorry, I’m so so sorry, I didn’t mean to” will be lifting away too. God bless you!


Diane, that’s exactly what my soon to be ex husband used to do. As if spending time with me was a chore. As if I OWED him time to himself with his buddies. I blamed myself for what I now discovered was HIS issue that I took on. Because as usual, I HAD to be the one with the problem. Never mind his verbal, emotional, psychological abuse! No…I was the one with the problem therefore if I wanted my marriage to work I HAD to do whatever it was he wanted me to do. I wanted to try harder but it ended up back firing on me. I give I give but I don’t feel I deserve to receive. I don’t even know how to. So the only way to rid everyone of this nonsense was to end my life. I obviously failed thank God. Now I know I wasn’t the only one to blame and knowing that feels absolutely amazing.


These blogs AND the comments are so freeing and empowering! I am amazed at the content here… from people who are walking or have walked the path themselves and are now seeing the light of recovery now or on the horizon. Thanks Darlene so so much for providing these articles and thanks to all the other contributors and comment writers too!

This is great stuff.


Wow Caden! The way you described your sister is exactly how
my brother has always treated me. I’ve never heard it expressed that
way but thats it. My only sibling is the Golden child too. All allowances
were and are made for him. I have always been a great supportive
sister but he treats me that way and it was always so hurtful.
No more Im NC and better for it. Thanks for expressing it so


Great article and Spot On!


Thank you for sharing! I realized last month that this was the case in the relationship I had with my brother and his wife. Some hurtful things were said and done in November which neither one of them has apologized for. Before the year was done, I gave the ultimatum that I was prepared to go “no contact” with them unless I can be treated with mutual respect and courtesy. I told them that maintaining the relationship is not just up to me, and I can’t make them like me. I also told them that if they can’t have a respectful relationship with me, that maintaining contact with my teenaged daughters is a no-go. Both brother and his wife have responded very negatively since then via email and texting, but I have not replied. In fact, their responses revealed the true nature of the relationship, and so I actually had my daughters’ phone numbers changed. When they discovered this fact, more negativity followed….I have walked on eggshells with them for a decade…but I deserve better, and so does my family. It’s time to walk away along a smoother, gentler road…


Hi Darlene…I’ve recently ‘discovered’ you, and I want to continue to follow your blog! I am also going to check out your book; I think I understand where you’re coming from so I’m excited to read further! My first thought about “brokenness” is that there are some groups that preach about brokenness (using that term), how we must become broken, etc., before we can ever be saved, please God, etc. I never bought into that ’cause I thought it sounded very dangerous. It’s even better if one is a woman and can realize that she is not only ‘broken’ but also ‘nothing’. I’m exaggerating a bit, but still looking forward to reading your blogs. 🙂


Hi Wendy
Thank you! I am really glad that you find my work helpful! When I found the truth and how much it set me free, I quickly developed a passion to share it with the world, and that is how (a few years later) this website was born!
Hugs, Darlene

I noticed with Jim that he has this pattern of “making payments” meaning that he would do things ‘for me’ so that I would cut him some slack with what he wanted me to do. ie: he would do the supper dishes and even make supper for a couple of days and then say something like “well I have done xyz and now I need to do this (his work) and can’t help you with ‘your stuff’. and there was a pattern of this attitude in many things. Another thing he did was if he “helped me” he thought I should give him a break if he slipped up making HIS wishes more important than mine. I used to say to him “that is like a physical aubser saying; well I didn’t hit you for 2 months, give me a break and let me hit you just this once”. Equal value is equal value! period. there are no exceptions. But equal value was very hard for my husband to grasp. (as it is for so many parents when it comes to children of any age) This is a huge subject and I might do a few blog posts about it one day or a special project on it. (my husband gives his full permission for me to talk about all of this stuff)
hugs, Darlene


Hi Stanley
I look forward to hearing from you!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Andria
So many people do not want to face the whole issue. This is about fear and the false belief that we may not survive without our parents. The thing is that going no contact is only the result IF the parents refuse to have a relationship based on mutual respect and equal value. There is a huge truth leak in that!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Celine
You sound great! I understand those feelings that ‘the only way out is death’. I am so glad that you found out that is a lie! I am so happy to hear that you feel amazing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Larae
Thank you so much! Giving myself ‘permission’ to move forward, to validate all the abuse/misuse of power/ neglect/ etc. that other people did was HUGE for me. It was one of the first steps towards freedom!
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Annabelle
Thank you! I am so glad that you like it and find it helpful!
Hugs, Darlene

Thanks Susan!

Hi Natalie
Welcome to EFB
Good for you! One of the big stick points that I so often see is that parents (who are used to being devalued and disrespected in the fisrt place) don’t realize that they have a choice when it comes to their kids! We have a choice!
And your comment about the fact that what they are texting and emailing reveals their true nature! Exactly!
We all deserve better ~ we all deserve to have relationships based on mutual respect and equal value!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Jo
Welcome to EFB
The book isn’t out yet but there are 350 articles with discussions in this website! I am working on the downloadable e-book version of this website. I am reordering and editing it to make it easier to consume. The first one should be available in April!
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


I am in total agreement with what you and so many others have said. Except, I really wonder, how does one finally realise how and what are the changes to apply to one’s life. I have been in therapy for so long, all we ever do is talk to death what happened when I was growing up. I’ve had some therapists tell me without ’emperical data or evidence’, it (my pain) doesn’t exist. I’ve had some become so exasperated with me that they try to convince me that it really isn’t as bad as I believe.
My mum used to say to me growing up, “Beggars can’t be choosers”. I have hated that statement forever. (This basically means to me, that because I am shite, I’d better not get above myself and expect more, I am trash and I deserve such) I learned that both my mum and stepdad, (Narcissists as defined by my therapist and Psychiatrist) brainwashed me and my siblings. I am the eldest and I learned that it is my job to take the blame, take care of, fix, carry the burden, and basically be responsible for everything that goes wrong. I can totally identify with befriending the wrong people. And, when real/good/healthy people came along, I was never interested. It’s like I felt that I wasn’t good enough for them, or they were lying. What did they want from me? A total mess up!
I am stuck. I know where so many of my dsyfunctional beliefs have originated from. I have yet to find someone to help, much less tell me things I have to do. And, HOW EXACTLY does one turn the tide, and go in the opposite direction? How does one believe in oneself, when my parents, some teachers, family members, and such, couldn’t give a rats arse about who I am, much less, how I am. I guess in a nut shell, how I am I supposed to care about me, when I had a bio father, stepfather, and mum who didn’t give a toss?
If there was a pill or surgery to remove or delete these beliefs, I’d be the first to sign up. But, no pill or surgical procedure exists.


Welcome to emerging from broken!
Wow, you don’t need a pill; you have found the right website. I can say all of the things that you have said here, but I overcame and that is the focus of this site.
You ask; “How does one believe in oneself, when my parents, some teachers, family members, and such, couldn’t give a rats arse about who I am, much less, how I am. I guess in a nut shell, how I am I supposed to care about me, when I had a bio father, stepfather, and mum who didn’t give a toss?” ~ and what I hear is that you have been FALSELY defined by them. They are wrong. I had to take all the information that I had about me, realize all the ways that I had been defined and change all those messages back to what was actually true. I didn’t need them to define me as worthy, which is what I had sought for so long. (I have written so much about this in this site) I needed ME to hear me, I needed to validate for myself that the abuse WAS very bad and very wrong and that I never deserved it, and that IT IS AS BAD as I believed it was! Getting that permission was like finding a key.
I hope you will keep reading.
Hugs, Darlene


I can relate to everything in this soooo much! Your point about having different opinions is something I have to remind myself of—that it doesn’t mean I’m wrong, etc. I remember about a year ago I’d seen a play, which I liked, and it turned out that my cousin had seen it as well but she didn’t like it. I noticed how I tried to convince her to like it based on the reasons I liked it or then to convince myself to change my mind and not like it by finding faults with the production, so that we’d be in unison. Meanwhile, she said, “I love that—-how two people can see the same thing but have totally different impressions.” I was very skeptical of her when she said that. I think I believed that she must have thought that her impression was the “right” impression, the better judgment than mine, and that she was just saying what she was saying to patronize me, as opposed to the possibility that she truly thought that way. It also makes me think of back when I was in school in a creative writing program. We’d have a week to read people’s work and to write them feedback before coming to class to discuss the work. If it weren’t for the fact that we had to write our thoughts down first, I think I probably would have tailored my comments to fit in with my fellow students, but as it was, I very often had completely different ideas than everyone else and had to stick to it because I’d written it down and would have to give it to the person. It didn’t happen all the time but fairly regularly. I found it very difficult to speak up, my heart racing, but I usually managed to do it. In a mid-year review, one of my profs wrote me: “I love how you disagree with everyone!” She said how most of the class I was very quiet but about halfway through, I’d burst out with a totally different take on things and that it really got the discussion rolling. I’d also have people in several of my classes come up to me afterwards to thank me for things I said. It really choked me up (not in the moment they told me but later on when I thought about it—it was rare for me to let myself feel things in front of people) and it still chokes me up. That it was good that I was different. I grew up in a world where my own voice was taken away from me. It’s maybe the most painful part of my past—the quiet—and when it goes beyond not just having a voice but goes right into your brain and takes away your thoughts, so you don’t even have a voice in your own head or just so, so faint and small, it’s barely there at all. Sometimes I think that’s what was happening when I had my breakdown—that I was disappearing and scared that I’d shut down completely. You know how sometimes when you disassociate, you’re outside your body and then other times, you’re just gone, but you do come back. When I was having my breakdown, it was this feeling like maybe I wouldn’t come back, that I’d be snuffed out completely and suicide would be the inevitable outcome of that. I realize it wasn’t even death that I was scared of—not physical death—but that possibility of being snuffed out. And it all started from not being allowed different ideas, of having to be what my mom wanted.

Well, I had all sorts of other things I thought I was going to write about on this topic, as I related to so much of it, but now I’m feeling pretty drained. I’m glad that I have a voice now and that it is getting stronger every day. It’s like coming back from the dead. I’m alive. I’m actually alive now. It hurts.
Thanks for reading.
Love, A


You spoke to me. I just found this site I am 64 . Abused from early age. Raped at sixteen. But didn’t think much of my self. You are loved Wendy. Love able . I thank God I found this site.


Hi Catherine
Welcome to emerging from broken! I am so sorry that all those horrible things happened to you. We are all about ‘overcoming’ here and taking our lives and our self-esteem back!
I am so happy that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Alaina
Wow. Very insightful thougths you are sharing. I can relate; realizing that my voice HAD been taken away was so so painful for me too. And at the same time I realized that in finding that out, there was hope too. When I found out what actually happened to me, (instead of my search to the question “what is wrong with me” ~ what happened to me opened the door to my own self validation which led to finding my stolen and silenced voice. I am no longer snuffed out!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs Darlene


I realized, some while ago, that I don’t even love my mother anymore. I used to love her, a lot actually. Up until just a couple of years ago I regularly called her Mummy, because I felt that kind of affection for her. I’m like 30, and it seemed so right to say that (bit of a red flag there, I think). But when I would go to hug her or show affection she would turn from me and say things like ‘oh what do you want now…’ I used to wonder why she was always happy with the dog, hugging her and smiling at her, but never, ever with me. I drew a picture when I was 6 relating to this, I even knew it then. How does a child come to terms with something like this?

Some months back though, she spat something at me that…really communicated that she just DIDN’T love me. My parents had a shotgun wedding, and apparently some really bad drama went down at the time because of my mother getting pregnant. My father and his family accused her (and treated her) like she got pregnant on purpose, and whatever the case, I don’t think she’s incapable of doing something like that but I also believe they did this to her, because they are those kinds of people. But she said to me, just a few months ago, that if abortion had been available to her at the time, she would have aborted my sister. It went unspoken that this would thereby negate my existence, so I said ‘I’m glad you didn’t, because then I wouldn’t exist.’ She looked SHOCKED when I said this. I can really only imagine and guess why, as I can imagine some of you can too.

Now, I’ve been told that I was an accident before, when I was young. It was even shared with me the details of my conception…which was disturbing in more than a couple of ways, but never has it been communicated so OPENLY how unwanted we were, and apparently remain. It took me a while, but I realized one day soon after that I just don’t love her; I’ve never liked her and people can judge me as they will, but I bet their mothers haven’t told them THAT.

That’s when I realized the only person I can control, the only person who is capable of giving me unconditional love is actually…ME! I struggle with this all the time. I realize how I felt about my mother and all that, I’ve been carrying it around for a while, and I thought if I did all these different things she would treat me lovingly, but alas, this is never going to be the case. So, first step of self-love was to stop the self-abuse, I practiced talking to myself in the 1st person instead of the 2nd or 3rd; if I felt hurt, or sad, or angry, I let it happen and I tried to understand why. Little baby steps, but I was learning, and still learning. I’m doing MUCH better now, as I really understand my triggers and their origins.

Since the abortion comment, and since I’ve gotten in touch with myself, I’ve met with more success than any other time in my life. I was accepted into a prestigious and difficult program that is healthcare related last September, and after graduation, I will basically be a key component of keeping people alive in the hospital and I will make boatloads of money on top of it. And well, I’ve noticed a change in the way my parents ‘treat’ me…

My mother, who thought it was hilarious not get me anything for my birthday, not even a card, and then laughed about it, has been trying to pour onto me gifts, and other nice things, but there’s always those little digs. When I tried to talk to her about the abuse I’ve suffered, she said ‘those things made you the way you are today!’ and, she also said I was exaggerating the consequences of the abuse I suffered. It’s like she thinks if she says it, it makes it real. Not true. This was also a dismissal and unloading of her part in it…and although this is technically true, I will never know what I would have been like if I hadn’t been so abused, and to be honest, I really would have rather not been abused. You know, being raped and told to go kill yourself, that by being alive you’re torturing your family, that everyone would be better off if you just killed yourself, and then have your parents blame you and not believe you. Yeah, coulda lived just fine without that. She’s also slowed down in her comparisons of me to…well, every young adult woman she knows. She would compare me constantly to my cousins, to her little friends (she worked at a coffee shop and apparently, got along very well with the teens there), to her grown friends’ daughters, it was like she knew more about these girls then she did about me, and she was very enthusiastic talking about how successful they are, about the new houses they bought, or how much money they were making, etc. Now, she doesn’t even MENTION those people, only her neighbor’s daughter, who is an emergency room nurse (I guess she’s still better than me and worth comparing me to). My father, who upon a hospital emergency last year didn’t come and see me in the hospital because he couldn’t find parking, has been particularly communicative with me. He has said maybe a paragraph to me in the last 10 years of my life, and all of a sudden, on the eve of MY determination and hard work paying off, he’s trying to have real conversations with me. It feels unnatural because he has never, ever spoken to me like this. This is the same man who at my high school graduation asked me why we were even there…

I see this all now for what it is, but I think it’s so funny that they think that suddenly being nice to me because it benefits them to do so somehow negates EVERYTHING ELSE. At first it was tempting because validation, I’m not going to deny, feels REALLY good, and more so from them because I’ve never had it and deeply desired it. But I see what’s going on, and I have this very good relationship with myself now, so I am untouched by them in many ways. I’ve never been happier, I’ve never felt more at peace with life, I’ve never had better relationships, and I have never had so much just outright success! Still, their façade persists but my mother’s little digs are not going unnoticed…

I haven’t loved my father in many, many, many years, but my mother was different. I did love her, genuinely so, but it is dead now; a stiffer, more dead corpse there hasn’t been. I don’t hate them (though my heart burns I’m so angry sometimes), I just…don’t see how I can love people like them when they so obviously don’t love me. The war continues and the battles rage on, but I have found the hurt, mute little girl inside me, alone in the dark, and I am trying to take good care of her, because she is me and we are worth it.

This ended up wayyyy longer than I anticipated, but I felt a strong need to say this today.

Hugs and love to all.


Hi Jackie!
I have seen this too. You share a great example of how nasty people suddenly change when they see “something in it for them” ~ but it has it’s roots in the same old tactic; interested in only what you can do for them. It still is motive based and not love based. And that is still hurtful because it is not about you! It is still about them. ugg.
But good for you! Awesome attitude and how wonderful that you have found the little girl, alone in the dark and hat you are making efforts to take good care of her! YOU ARE WORTH IT. I too realized that I could love myself and fill those voids that they left empty in me and my recovery is based on that. Thank you for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, what you wrote really hit home . The way your husband used to treat you is exactly the same way mine has been treating me. I am only now becoming aware of what he has been doing with his “point system”. We did talk about this last night and he admitted to putting his wants first when I was sick, and he again apologized, and he promised me that this would never happen again when or if I get sick….but I was left feeling confused again. I didn’t have words to describe my feelings or thoughts about it all, but you have clarified it all for me today. And YES…it is so true that this can be likened to an abuser! I know what it is like being consistent with reminding and pointing out to your husband over and over again about equal rights….and you deserve a crown for hanging in there! 🙂 This situation brought up a feeling from my own past. My father would be losing control and screaming and cussing and beating the crap out of me with his wooden fraternity paddle or the wooden croquet mallet , and then about a half hour later he was super nice to me and would insist on taking me out for an ice cream cone. It was like night and day….cold and hot …extremes. I knew he felt guilty and was trying to make it up to me. This situation with my husband was so extreme hot and cold, and he lost his temper because he didn’t get what he wanted in his point system, calculated time allotted plan….and I felt that same confusion and rejection for a time. It is not healthy love. What is interesting is that I have usually been jerked this way or that way by this point system of his because I want to please and genuinely like to see him happy…..so I hadn’t experienced very many of these temper tantrums or outbursts. I think I may have to prepare myself for a few more of them as I insist on things becoming more equal . Wow…I had no idea until I got sick and this happened that we even had this deep of an issue before us….it was all covered up by my compliance! This doesn’t feel good to look at, but I am still glad that it has surfaced so I can begin to heal in this area. Thank you so much Darlene!


Jackie! Congratulations! You are amazing!
I’m horrified you were treated like that. Many of your examples of abuse by your parents are similar to mine. My mother would lock onto some young woman about my age in her music group and sing her praises like she was the most amazing person in the world. At the same time belittling and putting me down for anything I did or liked.
I felt so jealous of a stranger!
Sounds like you were scapegoated too. My golden child brother was
constantly praised in front of me while I was put down. This started when I was 6 or 7 and in front of me like I couldn’t hear!
I used to do anything I could to please my mother because I loved her. I so wanted her to show true love and affection to me. Over the past 9 years since I renewed contact after my Dad’s death she has killed that love with hurtful behavior, belittling comments, putdowns and manipulation. I have tried so hard to reach her. She never
loved me and I see that now. I was always a useful servant nothing more. I have stepped away from the manipulation. I don’t need or more importantly, want her validation any more.
Its so freeing to just be me and not have to hide myself because of her disapproval.
Good luck to you! Karen


Catherine,Thank you for your reply.I am 64yrs and have never ever done anything like this before.I cant even do facebook but this is so theraputically rewarding for me just having contact with other people,and I think I am in a different country to everybody.It was over Christmas that I fell upon this site and now I am hooked!!I had a rubbish life with my parents.Sexually abused for years from my dad and my mother knew what was going on.She used to blame me if he went out womanising saying it was my fault.When I look back I realise that my brother must have also been abused by my father because he used to go into his bedroom on Saturday morning and then a terrible fight would start.My brother was 3yrs older than me and he died suddenly at 19yrs. He was never mentioned again.A year later my sister was born who I have always idolised her so she ended up with two mums and one father.She was put first all the time. My friends called her princess and still do unfortunately she has been so spoilt that she also still believes she is a princess!! My mother didnt want me in the house.I always loved my sister and went to my brothers grave and still do regularly.Then somebody wanted to marry me and my mother said get married or move out.When I look back she was always blaming me for everything.So I got married to please her and my father said nothing.He had been womanising for yrs.The year before my brother died one of my dads other women had a baby by him.He also died when he was 19yrs.Mother had got dad back and I was in the way.I cant believe how I put up with it all my life but times are a changing.The swine also abused my younger sister but I never in my wildest nightmares thought that he would touch her and if my mother knew it would kill her.Sorry to say that death is too good for my parents.They deserve to live forever knowing not a soul and nobody bothering about them.She used to tell people up until recently that I was no good and a liar.It was an old work aquaintance who told me.Incidentally my first husband took over where she left off by hitting me and raping me every morning and evening and then pushing me down the stairs or kicking me through the door naked.I used to walk miles in the middle of the night with nowhere to go.She used to say I must have deserved the good hidings and used to tell my first husband to put me in my place.One Christmas when I was about 8yrs old my parents bought two pairs of boxing gloves.A pair for me and a pair for my brother (poor lad he knew no different) and then they would watch as he knocked shit out of me.Writing all this brings it back and helps me tremendously I cant thank Darlene enough for this site and to you Catherine just replying and everybody else who is writing such inspirational stories.No we are not on our own.When I think back where the hell have we all had the strenght from to still be alive because believe me so many times I have wanted to end my life.It has been hell on earth and now it is going to change.Yippee


Hi Darlene..Great stuff as usual.. I know this is something I am still working on .. and probably will be for some time.. Knowing that I am who I am and that certain things from past trauma has affected me in disabling ways. I spend so much time trying to become what I can’t and trying to give excuses why I’m not what I can’t be.

I am trying to learn to let go of those who have the fighting spirit and not try to wrestle with them verbally since I know hurt will be the only result of such an encounter.

It takes all I have not to want to be like everyone else.. must be something we all have that desire for acceptance..But I think accepting oneself is the greatest challenge of all..

Perhaps when I have come to do that. .all the other opinions won’t hurt so much as nothing anyone says can make me any different than what I am unless I let it do so inwardly..

Opinions are opinions and the only authority on oneself is the one who knows us best ..( ourselves) ..others can only see from the outside unless by chance we have shared the inside with them.. We alone know whats going on inside..

A nice healthy looking apple can be full of worms while a beaten up can be really sweet and sound inside.. ..

I struggle with comments from others and with my desire to be “liked” by all but I am working on it..

The past created this in me.. as we always had the show we put on for the world we were in :school, church and other and then there was the reality .. the abuse and beatings and neglect..

I got use to hiding what’s inside and creating what others wanted to see..I never got to know the real me and neither than anyone else. .Every time I do something merely to please others..that’s just a repeat again of my childhood patterns..trying to give people what they want and not what is real..

I hope, Darlene, I can come to the wholeness you have come to. I have a lot of deeply ingrained programs to undo. .luckily I am in the process of doing that..

Hugs and love,



Hi Joy
I think for me that desire for acceptance was rooted in the way that I was raised to be what ‘they’ wanted me to be which became how I believed I would be loved. This was my survival mode. I HAD to try to please them; the consequences of NOT doing so were much too serious to not try to be what they wanted/expected/required of me. I had to do a lot of work on overcoming my fear of the consequences of being me, standing up for me, etc. in the process.
Thank you for sharing. No matter what ‘process’ that I am in, I always remind myself that I am ‘on the path!”
Hugs, Darlene


You will get stronger believe me.People pleasing is very hard exhausting work and unfortunately in this world we live in KINDNESS is seen as a weakness.So be kind to yourself first and share it if you have any left.So many people are take take take.I have had so many fair weather friends who always expect me to pay whenever we go out and I have paid to please them.It doesnt work.Now that I do not pay they are not around.So, Joy be kind to yourself.Love to all xx


Hi Wendy
Wow, thanks for sharing your story in your comments to Catherine. I know how much it stirs up to share this horrible stuff about our own lives. You are in the right place to share. People here really understand and we support each other in the healing process. The first step is to validate the trauma, neglect or abuse that happened.

Just an FYI about your comment that you think you are in a different country ~ I am in Canada and 45% of the readers here are in the USA but this website is read in 132 countries! This whole thing we are dealing with is a very global problem. I was very surprised to learn that after the USA the next highest percentage of readers are in China! Cultrual differences don’t seem to be a factor when it comes to this stuff.
Hugs, Darlene



Hi Darlene..you always have such great words of wisdom.. I do encourage myself with the fact at least I am on the path and moving forward even if one step at a time or two steps forward and ones step..that I don’t give up on me and my health ..I celebrate with little victory parties 😉



Hi Wenty: I know all too well that kindness is not such a popular attitude..for some: it’s so much easier to walk all over someone than to walk with someone..

I tend to give to others before I look to see whether my needs are cared for.. 😉 (but am working on that too) that is just that part in me that also needs repairing ..its an ” everyone else is better than me attitude is still hanging around..”though I am fighting it too..

I’ve been told I’ve had so much trauma in my life that there is so much undoing to do.. so am trying to go it little by little..

Appreciate your words, Wendy:)



You have victory parties!!! What a fantastic idea!
I do that too but I haven’t called them victory parties; I think I am going to start calling them that! I celebrate me, my freedom, my life, my accomplishments, my family. I have a big celebration coming up with my husband and kids in fact for a goal that I set that has come to fruition.
Hugs, Darlene


i can relate to your experience to some extent, as i too faced similar reactions and responses in my life. But i want to share one thing, it may resonate with some readers. I realised that almost always when i was getting more affected negatively it was because at some deep inner level, i had doubts within myself regarding the issue. In areas where i was completely sure and confident i rarely recieved this kind of negative response, and if i did it barely affected me anyway. what im suggesting is that if other people are affecting you to make you have to prove yourself, it is often a better idea to go within and analyse your own subconcious doubts and work on clarifying them. And not share with all and sundry until the point of complete resolution has been reached in a ‘spiritual’ sense, not just on a mental understanding level. I think that peoples responses often mirror or voice our own deepest doubts, if they didnt, their doubt would not affect us in the first place. I have experienced this time and again. I had issues in my life I was so vulnerable about, kept sharing with everyone as i was so hungry for support, and i received mainly attack and put downs along the way. When i took a while to focus on the issues just on my own (this took years) and only share with one or two selected people (one of whom doubted me at first and then over time has become the biggest supporter for my case) i found that i had reolved some of the deepest issues at the core, and that finally i was SURE about things completely. Henceforth those same doubts and cricisms of others that has unsettled me so much before no longer seemed to have any affect on me.


Thank you Darlene,
132 countries,I am so glad you have told us because I bet everybody will be shocked.I am UK. xx


Hi Darlene..Yea I really do .. I call them little victory parties and sometimes I give myself a special treat 😉 Especially when I do something really heroic that I have been struggling with for some time..
It makes it all so much wonderful..Like when I don’t allow myself to stay too long in the victim, guilty, bad person train of thought..

I developed something a couple months ago that I call the positive thinking box. I created all kinds of positive replacements for the negative thoughts that come my way .. I put them on little slips of paper and then fold them up ..they are in a little treasure chest on my kitchen table.. So when the bad thoughts come my way .. i head that way ..if I remember ..and pull out something positive. .like one is name 5 things special about yourself.. or listen to a uplifting youtube video.. so for that moment am concentration on the positive replacement instead of the negative thought that was hounding me.. 😉

I try to think of ways to fight the “demons” that come my way..

Hugs and love,




Hi Wendy
UPDATE~ I just checked my stats (it has been a few months since I checked on this information!) and I was wrong. EFB is now read in 148 countries and the UK is in second place after the USA. (My own country, Canada, is in third place! Austrailia is in 4th place.)
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Uypoi

Welcome to EFB ~ Yes, I would say that over half the battle is with the self validation part of this. We have been taught to doubt as part of the grooming/brainwashing process. This entire website places much emphasis on that fact. For me it was not so much about not sharing my exp. with other people as it was to make sure that I didn’t share it with the WRONG people.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts today.
Hugs, Darlene


Hello Uypoi,
How very correct is Darlene in telling us not to share our experinece with the WRONG people.If I had my time again I would filter through who I spoke to and who I shouldnt but it is never too late to learn that lesson.Silence is sometimes golden. Uypoi you will gain strenght from EFB xx


Hello Joy,

All my life my mother used to say to me “who do you think you are because you are nobody”.Well I showed them who I was by starting my own business (which enabled me to leave my first husband) and ran it successfully for 23yrs.My parents hated me for it.They discredited me for everything even though it was my business started from scratch. One day my mother bumped into one of my employees and said that if she could win the lottery she would buy my (princess) much younger sister the same business. Jealousy through and through and how sad and sick of them that they were never pleased for me and my sister just would not have the nous to do what I made myself do.So remember Joy you are as good as the and equal that is what I have to keep reminding myself of although at times it can be hard.xx


Karen Ranes, good for you on going nc! I’m so glad not to have my sister or anyone like her in my life anymore. Being rejected every time I open my mouth is not my idea of a good relationship. I just realized last night that my sister honestly beleived that shouting someone else down meant that she was right. It doesn’t! Often her information was dead wrong, but she wouldn’t even apologize if she found that out. I was nine years younger then her, but even when I was just a child she would have to start these bullying arguments with me about everything, from what I ate, what I thought, what I liked. It just makes me want to scream thinking about it!

Alaina, I love what you shared, and I can really relate. I also had a pattern of self-censoring while studying English at college, since my opinions were so often different from the rest of the class and I was afraid of more rejection. But one of my professors even made my signing up for her course (late–one week into the term so I needed permission) contingent on my participating every class because she said she loved my contributions so much. In my family I was told that having different views meant I was wrong; and it wasn’t easy to move past that, into a more open and respectful environment.


Darlene, I can so relate.

Having had parents who NEVER said, “I’m sorry”, and it was “their way or the highway”, along with an older sister(7 years older) who hated having any siblings & loved to bully & torment me and my younger brother, started life “off” the proper course of relationship with myself and others. It’s taken “seeking to understand” what a healthy relationship looks like, to overcome my own dysfunction. Mother had an alcoholic and physically and emotionally abusive dad. My dad had an emotionally abusive dad too. Coming from a culture or generation that did not value emotions; that combination gave me two parents who were emotionally damaged and that didn’t know what healthy emotional attachment looked like. Insecurity crowned their personalities, emotional attacks against each other were the norm, along with depression and self pity. All that rocked our world. Dad & Mom fought almost everyday and Dad did not want to be with Mom. I later learned he married her out of mercy. She had had my 7 year old sister when they met, which he, out of compassion for my sister, felt forced to marry Mom. His compassion for children was a great quality and has had a good influence upon me, however, his dislike for Mom created a cracked foundation for the family, so every time there was a family earthquake, it made the crack larger and larger until the house collapsed. Not physically of course, but relationally. Dad left Mom once I was married. Emotional disconnection was what I learned. I am so thankful that, once I came to know the Lord, he began to show me (starting at age 14) what my emotions were. Up until that time, I NEVER understood what I was feeling.

The journey to become emotionally and relation-ally healthy has been hard but good. I appreciate you, Darlene, and your sharing of your painful journey with us all out here on Facebook. I’m not sure how to “cure” myself of being drawn to those I have to “prove” my worth to, except become much more self aware of what is motivating me and accepting the love He wants for me, and walk out in that love. I find if I am motivated by love, I will choose well. Thank you for having the courage to post your journey. I appreciate the validation you bring.


Oh , yes, also if I am having a problem in a relationship, I most often think “it’s me” and work hard and trying to “fix” it. I know now it’s not always “me”, and am learning to look at the dynamics of the relationship more objectively, I still have that tendency though. Still a work in progress!


Hi Wendy:

thanks for all the encouraging words..I understand what you are saying and I try daily to be good to myself and try to not see myself as the miserable one..or black sheep of the family as they see me..I know who I am and what they see me as will not change who I am without me letting it.. I am glad, Wendy, you were able to have such a wonderful business of your own despite whatever odds were against you .. You sound like a very beautiful person ..




Thank you for all your time, thought and energy you devote to each of your blogs. You are a truth teller. I appreciate that you share your insight so openly and honestly.

Peace and Blessings,

Stacy Whetlow


I am the oldest of the two with my brother 6 years younger. I am put in the position of the
problem solver and facilitator (by mother). Whatever he needs my husband and I step up to help. Only that
help is not appreciated. He is never pleased by anything and criticizes everything sarcastically.
He makes faces, rolls his eyes, demeans and corrects me. This is done at retail stores or in company with friends. I am made to feel stupid, clumsy, and just “lacking” in appearance, ideas,
conversation and social graces.
In actuality he is the one without skills!
Typical Example. He was putting up 6 sections of stockade fence in his backyard. I offered to help as he had never done that before.
He said to my Mom in a very putdown way..”well what could she do”.
(My husband and I put up 30 sections in our back yard in two days. I know how to set fence)
I rented an auger to set the posts (he has rocky ground) and in one afternoon it was done.
When I offer to help with a problem, first I am laughed at and belittled. I then solved the problem in the best way possible and for one day I am OK. I have done this for him over and over, all the while feeling resentful for his treatment of me.
I’m done with that. It makes me so angry that I was used that way. I was trying to be a
good sister, being there for him. I was used over and over and never once in 30 + years has he ever offered any help or support. Even when our son died.
His wife left him 10 years ago. He has the unique distinction of being a single parent. (He thinks) Because of this every allowance must be made for him. He could never help with anything, “because I have a kid”. Duh. His son is 20 now, has a job, a car and is in a band.
I think he will be changing his excuse to “I have an elderly parent”. He has always had an excuse
for not being a loving brother. Sorry for the rant. He just bugs me with his entitlement.
Thanks for listening!! Hugs to all!


Hi Karen,

Yes, everyone needs to rant, and we have a place to do it here on EFB! No need for apologies! This is my story of a sort. My husband and I are both the oldest of the siblings in our FOOs. We each have one younger sister. Our help is never appreciated. We have tried to be good siblings to our sisters by helping them in different ways, but it is never recognized.

I helped my husband’s family by helping to take care of his dying mother for a month in Las Vegas. We lived in Louisville, KY. I was just tolerated while I was there. Of course they needed me. When my sister-in-law who had lived for years with the parents could not handle her father’s illness; they moved here to Southern Indiana about 10 miles from us. I was basically on call because she and my husband have jobs in Louisville, and I stay home on our small hobby farm. I was still treated badly by both my father-in-law and my sister-in-law. It has been five years since he died. She still treats me badly. So from now on my husband deals with her on a limited basis.

In my FOO it is even worse. My sister is married with two kids and works full time, but she acts like a child. She is seven years younger than me. She was 14 years old when I left home. She always was the
favorite, and I was good with that until I had to take our father into our home to care for him. Our mother died in 1999. Our parents lived in Wisconsin. Within 6 months of mother’s passing, our father had moved to Chicago to be near my sister and her family. He had his home two miles from my sister’s house. When he got very ill; she could not “handle it”. I stepped up in 2006, and was driving 6 hours up to Chicago to stay with our father and help him. I was doing this every 6 to 8 weeks the whole year. My husband works full time and had to do my jobs too. We have 6 horses and 14 acres that have to be tended to. It was apparent that my sister and her husband were not going to do squat. So my husband said, “move him here.” Well, he lived in our home for 5 years. Our lives revolved around him. But guess what? He didn’t care. I won’t go into the details. (This is a hoot of a story in itself). But my little sister gave our dad a “pass” to come back to Chicago. He lives in a assisted living facility near her home. My sister always belittled me and made fun and just was a nasty person to me. My parents always liked her better. I found out that there is nothing I can do to make them accept me. So I don’t do anything. I have been NC with my sister for two years. I have gone NC with my father since October. It does not do me any good to be in contact with them. They don’t care about me; so I don’t care about them.

So there is my rant! Much love to all.



Hi Merry
Thank you! And thank you for sharing some of your story here too. The process takes time and as long as we begin to face the truth about how we got to this place of emotional ‘broken’ we can sort out how to heal.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Stacy
Welcome to EFB ~ Thank you!
Hugs, Darlene


Hello Andria and Karen,
Yes I relate to both of you.No matter how much you try to please some people it does not work.Its like ask a busy person for help and you get it and the bone idle do nothing and get appreciated more.I suppose deep down we want to be wanted and loved but no matter how much we try we get kicked in the face and worse.Do you think it must be resentment and jealously because you have what you have.My parents have always always resented me to the point of being (I think jealous).I have even thought is there something wrong with me.As I have said previously my mother is in a home and father lives on his own. He will let me know and do odd things for him but does never want anybody to know.The same with my mother in the care home, if I do anything for her that might get recognised by the staff he is furious but it is ok as long as nobody knows.After reading all the stories on EFB I have only been to visit my mother once this month, so I am gaining strenght.We have been snowed in and I still do work part time and am 63 not 64 as previously stated LOL.My husband works full time and he absolutly hates my parents for the past. So now I am trying to put us first for a change.The strangest thing about my parents is that they have never ever done anything for me but now seem to think I owe them something by visiting or telephoning.He thinks and says it is my duty.Like I have said earlier I hope they live forever and never lose their minds,death being too good for them.Please will someone pass comment on the last sentence. Love to everybody I feel I have friends who I will never meet but share similar stories.xxx


Boy can I relate Andria. I was flying to NH from FL 4 times a
year to help my mom when she had surgerys or moved or whatever. My
golden child brother lives 20 miles from her but couldnt help because
hes too busy. I too had to stop running in circles for them. They only
see me as someone to serve their needs. Thanks for writing. Your
farm sounds so nice!!


Yes Wendy my mother is jealous of anything I have. She was
jealous of any attention my father showed me. She was very jealous
of my brothers wife and bad mouths her constantly since the divoirce.
She calls her names in fron of her grandson.
I don’t think your parents think they are treating you badly ( like my mom
thinks she is owed my subservience) Abusers dont seem to
recognise or admit to themselves that they are treating us badly.
So even if my mom lives to be 100 she will still think I am the
bad one because of my mental health issues which she thinks
are my ” personality”. No way she will she ever admit her culpability.
Very frustrating that I cant change that. Ever. So NC is best for
me because I know I would still try.


Thank you Karen for your reply.My mother is jealous because with my father being such serial womaniser in his time,she thought by allowing him to use me for sex she then controlled me by saying he went out till all hours because I wasnt NICE to him.She never knew exactly what went on and couldnt ask me!!The sado still thinks he gods gift at 90!!! My father still plays games with my mind.One day both my parents will have such a shock,because my much younger (princess sister)has told me two weeks ago of something she has done that will shake them to the bone,and she will not be getting any brownie points for it.She lives in another country to me where they have very strict rules,so I am worried for her,but my parents will hang their heads in shame because she has been their golden girl.Thanks again


Wendy: At thirteen my father made sexual approaches to me. I was so frightened and told my mother. I don’t know what she said to him but he never did it again. But I think it further added to
her dislike and jealousy of me. She made sure I was totally ignorant of anything related to my
maturing as a woman. No info on sex, relationships, even simple stuff like makeup, jewelry and the girly things. I think she wanted to make sure I wasn’t competition. When I started dating she
was disapproving of anyone I dated.
And yet after all the abuse, I was to act as though nothing happened. All things were to be forgiven and forgotten. It is exactly how my dad’s parents treated them. My mother complained for years that they treated her horribly and yet when my grandmother became bedridden they expected her to give up her job and take care of her. Now she expects it of me?? What?? She
isn’t seeing that my refusal is because of her treatment. Its like she has blinders.

Sounds like yours expect that same love and care (and control!!) of you while conveniently forgetting their ill treatment. I don’t think they even see their horrible abuse as abuse. I won’t do it. Nope. I’m done. Just because shes my parent I don’t owe her any more of my life and I refuse to have any guilt about it.
I know my family are pointing and whispering what a bad (mentally unstable) person I am not to be there when my sweet old mother needs me.
My brother threw a shame and blame at me last July. That is to bring me to heel. When my mother tried to contact me and suck me back in I let her know that if he tried that again he would be sorry. He knows I mean it so he has backed off. Not a word since July. In almost a year since I went NC with my mother, other than that one time, he never even wanted to hear my side. I think that shows his feelings quite clearly. Everything has always been one-sided with them. I do, and do and do and they take. This post is very relevant.


Bless you Karen,
It is a if you know our family everything you say is exactly the same.When I had my monthly periods she made sure that I let him know, I cant bring myself to say what she made me do.He said to me years ago that it is my responsibility to look after them because I am the oldest.Never mind the fact that everything they own has been left to my sister I have been written out I know this because my solicitor is theirs and he told me.Although it is wrong he also gets angry about it.My mothers social worker said that my sister is next of kin and one day I spoke to her regarding my mother and she asked where do I fit into the family am I some good neighbour.My younger sister was present at the time when I said who I was.With my father ,like you say it is the control.Dating was disapproved of infact down right sinful in their eyes.She made me marry my first boyfriend, or get out.All I wanted to do was to please them so that I would feel loved.Just reading your comments is helping me.My big problem is I feel anxious because people at the care home and neighbours will again look down on me disaprovingly if I dont do my share.I need to overcome that worry but my mind is very twisted fragile and tangled.Thank you for your help.x


Hi Wendy. My mother put my brother in charge of all her affairs.
He is executor and his name is the only one on the bank accounts which
are substantial. I
feel funny just taking about it but she cut me out of everything long
before I stood up for myself and cut contact. Her words were
“Richie will be fair with you. ” He has never thought of me or been
fair towards me ever. I wouldnt take a thing from them because
of the obligation that would be attached. But my brother falls apart
emotionally in crisis and has no common skills so it will be
interesting to watch the drama unfold as mothers physical situation
continues to decline and he has to shoulder the responsibility alone.
I will not step in and help any more. I see the truth of my value to
Like you I was taught obedience and compliance. Their feelings
and needs were all important. My emotional issues and struggles
were because I was bad and defective. They forgave me and “made
allowances” for my numerous faults all the while I was trying harder
to be useful, harder to be better and overcome my inherent badness.
My inability to solve my lack of value to anyone caused me such emotional stress I
would drink myself insensible. I became so distressed I would
sit with my .45 (gun) an contemplate shooting myself. There was
no one in my life that I could go to. At a time when things were the
worst my mother would call and after telling me what topics she
did not want to hear about from me, told me she was giving my brother
a car. ??? I just couldn’t listen to it anymore. I felt selfish because I thought her treatment unfair.
Like it was wrong for me to expect
anything from her because I was undeserving. I was brainwashed
and kept in my place ( where they felt I belonged) for years!!
It shouldnt be my duty to care for her. It should be an act of love
because of mutual care. Anything else to me is servitude.


Wendy I forgot to ask. Are the people at the care home or the
neighbors people you personally care about? Are their opinions
really important to you? Or is their good will being used as a tool
to pressure you because you are a caring person?
What will the neighbors think? was a common tactic in my family
to put me in line. Come to find out the neighbors had their own problems
and we didnt really matter in any way that was important to them.
Hugs Karen


Hi Caden,
Sorry I’m a bit slow to respond but I wanted to say thanks, I’m glad my words meant something, and I’m glad you had encouraging instructors, too, in your own life. It’s so great when you start to feel that there’s another way to live and different kinds of people in this world. That there is a way to fight off oppression, though it’s definitely a fight. It is hard work.

Hi Darlene,
Thanks for your earlier comments. After I told my mom I needed to cut off again and would try again in the summer/fall (I’m not sure if you read my comment on Pam’s post), I received an email from her this morning. It was a bit of a mishmash of accountability and sidestepping and totally ignoring the centre fact of keeping me hostage (for fear of her killing herself) because she would never admit to or deal with her depression, etc. However, the key thing she SEEMED to be recognizing was my lost voice. She spoke to how when I was a young child, I was very bubbly and would talk nonstop and how she dismissed me because she was too busy for me. She also recognized how quiet I’d become as the years went on, how her inconsistency must have affected me and how I had been scared of her. Also how she would talk endlessly about her problems with her mom and with my dad (except instead of seeing that she really should have tried to get help, she only saw this as an inherited trait from her mother—of talking so much about herself and her problems—instead of a choice she made)…. It’s good that she could these things… But here’s the kicker for me: she spoke about how she doesn’t like writing, that she’s uncomfortable with it, but that she did it for me. (She’s actually quite a competent writer.) This is not the first time she has told me this, and I have explained to her multiple times my problems with speaking, how I shut down, and how I need to do this in writing until I am even capable to do this in person in counselling or whatever (I’ve also thanked her before for being willing to do this in writing). She recognized that she doesn’t know who I am and that she probably never has, but the one thing I know she does know about me is that I’m a writer. In all those years I was so quiet, when I locked myself in my room, I was writing—stories, novels, whatever. I got into a creative writing program that was pretty competitive to get into and she knew how much that meant to me. She knows that my heart, my soul, my mind, my spirit, my VOICE is in my writing. This is how I communicate best. This is who I am. I’m getting better at speaking, but it’s not the place where “I” reside, if you what I mean… So if she really wanted to know me and also to help me and accommodate my needs, which is what it should be about at this point… but at the end of her letter, she wrote that she believes how we’ve been doing things (via email) has been a mistake and that when we reconnect again, we should do things a different way (read: her way). To me this just says it all. She could trace how she stole and silenced my voice. She understands that if she wants to know me, who I am, if she wants to communicate with me in a real and true way, if she wants to HEAR me, it has to be in writing. But no, it’s about her preference and her comfort. She is a talker and she has always silenced me with her talking. I’ve given her the only route with which to really speak with me but she has nixed it. I don’t foresee myself contacting her in the summer/fall, if only because I know that I won’t be strong enough to speak yet with her. I doubt she understands it, but I believe she has made a choice. I believe that it will take me at least a few years of healing before I even have the capacity to use my speaking voice to talk about any of these issues with her. So… I’ll take this as my cue to focus on that which matters to me and those who know me, accept me and love me as I am…. My mom’s condition for a relationship seems to be that I have full recovery of that which she nearly killed in me because it’s too much of hassle for her to make accommodations for the damage she has caused…. That is wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.


Back in post 72 about death being too good for them: I understand this meaning that you are really pissed off at them. Yes, it is rightfully so to be mad at your parents for all the unfair treatment. I understand the mind being twisted and tangled. I have felt the same because you think your family cares for you, but you find out that they don’t and it really messes with your head.

I am so sorry that you felt so helpless as to be sitting with a gun thinking of committing the unthinkable. I too have had years of depression, and fall into and out of it. I am quite sure now that I can chalk it all up to family stuff that in the end does not matter because these people do not matter. It is hard work trying to sort out all this mess. I am glad that we are all here sharing our stories, and there is a lady named Darlene who figured out her mess and is kind enough to share with all of us.

Thanks Karen and Wendy and everyone here for sharing all their personal pain. It helps us all.



Darlene, again thank you for this post. I said I would respond again with more of my story but I think it’s enough to show me how very much I am NOT alone! I’ve lived my life feeling in isolation and given the sheer number of commenters to this post.

I have been out of touch with most of my family for around 30 years but have been told and I often believe that I am to blame. Even knowing that they are the ones who turned away when I needed them most I still struggle with feelings that I drove them away and it was and is my responsibility to “FIX” the relationships.

Anyway I’ll end with a quote from your post that was very powerful for me.

“5) I believed that if I stuck up for myself that I would be ‘just like the abusers and controllers” in my life who were “never wrong”. I related ‘arguing’ and defending myself with being ‘just like them’. It seemed more comfortable for me to accept that it ‘must be me’.



I meant to say that given the sheer number of commenters to this post I see that I am not alone. (Sorry)


Hi Alaina
I just caught up! Yes, that is wrong and one sided. I often suspect that people don’t want to put things in writing because you can’t lie about what you said if it is writing. (although I have seen video proof where someone denies what is on the video of them doing it! so I guess denial is always possible!) So much about being the ‘controller’ is about being able to say “you misunderstood’ etc. anything to reverse the blame. Always defencive.
I remember screaming, “when is anything going to be about ME and my feelings” why is this always about you? My family even thinks my blog is about them. ha. That is the sad state of dysfunction. That is why I am so grateful for the truth and that I don’t need them to agree with what I know is the truth.
Hugs, Darlene


Hello again Karen,
Thank you for 78 and 79 you are brilliant at writing and making some sense of my(our) problems.(please do away with the gun)The neighbours and care staff probably couldnt care less what I do.You are fantastic.I could do with you sat on my shoulder giving me a shove everytime I turn weak for family.Last month the week before Christmas I had a doctors appointment but was too distressed to go for the appointment.When I get really down it is like on one shoulder someone is their telling me I am rubbish and on the other is a picture of me saying I am ok.On that particular day as I was overwhelmed in grief 3 people came to the door.Unusual as we dont have any neightbours. It was the Jehovahs witnesses.They came in and sat with me whilst I cried and didnt do any preaching or anything.Infact very kind and supportive.I have not seen them since.It was someone to talk to and then I came across this site and it is helping so much.Thank you Karen x

Stanley you will get loads of help from EFB x
Andria thank you for your comments xx


Thank you Wendy and Alaina. I am over my really bad feelings now.
That all happened in 08 and I see things much more clearly.
Thats so nice Wendy that your visitors picked that moment to
be there for you.
Gosh Alaina your mother just doesnt “see” you
at all. So hurtful.
Mine just rolls over me like a steamroller. I was an object when
she interacted with me, not a person. Completely one sided
relationship. She talked about everything and everyone that was
important to her. If she needed to make an important decision she
would talk it over with my brother and announce their decision to me.
We live 1300 miles apart and would talk by phone. Whenever I would speak
she would never comment but in the middle of my sentence
completely change the topic to something about her showing me every time she
wasnt listening. She let me know last year all the topics she
wasnt interested in so I wouldnt discuss them. Shushing me
in advance. I should have stopped talking to her years ago, but
I saw myself as the problem child and I have always been stuck
in that false belief. She would give me just enough approval
to keep me hooked into servitude to her.
I constantly silenced myself when I was ill treated because
speaking up for myself emotionally when I just couldnt take it
anymore was seen by them and me
as just a continuation my “bad behavior “that began in childhood.
I so didnt want to be viewed as that mentally defective child
anymore so I accepted any and all abuse trying to prove to
them that Im not crazy anymore. Going NC has been wonderful
even though I know they view it as more of my crazy behavior.


New Post just published ~ is TRUST Mandatory in Healthy Relationships? I was taught a false understanding of trust. This post highlights what trust really is and how we come to believe we have no choice in the trust issue.
I am looking forward to the converstaion ~ http://emergingfrombroken.com/is-trust-mandatory-in-healthy-relationship-the-true-definition-of-trust/
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks Darlene and Karen,
That’s exactly what I feel like—screaming “this is about me!” When complaining about writing, she told me how she found herself spending more time editing than writing and in response to my “walk-through” of empathy, she told me how there were many times she’d thought of asking me what she could do to help, but she said she thought I might find it condescending, so she’d delete it. For every bit of validation, she gave equal or more amounts of her own angst. And, yes, lots of misunderstanding/misconstruing her words. I feel like what you said, Karen, about your mom giving you just enough approval to keep you hooked. It definitely pulled me under and I can really feel how much more work is ahead of me… She thought that it would be better that we do things in counselling, where we can work on our relationship in a healthy and loving way (I guess that meant she thought I wasn’t being healthy and loving), and another time, that counselling would be more “forward-looking.” Mostly, her words just made me feel like crap. She was shocked and stunned by my emails. At one point I was really emotional and I wrote her, “you’ve thrown me under the bus, haven’t you?” I think that was about as hurtful as I got in anything I wrote… and she said that if I think that about her, I don’t know her at all… She was very mad about that accusation… And I felt bad…. Till I realized that she threw me under the bus my whole life, that the definition of that expression is “to sacrifice a person for your own gain,” so what the heck was I feeling bad for? Everything I wrote her was the truth, but there I was being turned around emotionally… Anyway, my feeling is that I’m done. I didn’t leave things open the way you did, Darlene, that if your mom ever wants to take accountability, she can contact you. I left thinking I needed a break to recuperate and would come back when I could handle holding myself up again… But my feeling is so far as my parents don’t do the work in their own lives to become healthy people, a healthy relationship between us will always be impossible and I’m going to just end up in the same place (perhaps, or hopefully, holding my own slightly better than I did without getting sucked under, but still a waste of time/energy) … but if they do ever change and start to really work things out, certain things will probably start to happen, actions, ripple-effects. I have enough contact within my family that I think it would come through to me down the grapevine that they’d changed and that they wanted to make things right if I was still open to it, etc… I don’t expect that to happen and I’m not sure how important it is, anyway, deep down when I get passed all the notions of “but they’re your parents” and how I ought to do everything in my capacity to try to work it out. Both my parents spoke to not knowing me anymore, and my mom, that she never did, and yet they say they love me. “Love always,” “much love….” How do you love someone you don’t know? What is that? I mean, sure, you love babies before they’ve developed an identity but I have an identity and my parents seem to purposely divert their eyes. I think maybe that’s how they want to love me—as though I am a baby. Do you know what I mean? Anyway…. I wonder how long it’s going to take me to decompress from all this, to get to that place of knowing I know the truth and don’t need them to agree. Right now I know that on one level but obviously not on all levels; otherwise, I wouldn’t have become all pent up, stressed out and topsy turvy. At least I know I’m moving forward and doing the work. I’m a long way from back when I couldn’t hold a conversation about the weather without feeling like I might faint. It’s important I remind myself of that—where I’ve come from, how hard I’ve work and where I want to go and know I can go if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Thanks again. So great to have the support, to remind myself I’m NOT crazy, I’m not unreasonable, and I’m not mean.
xoxo, A
ps. Karen, I think maybe your thank you was meant for Andria….?


Hi Darlene! I love what you have written here. I need to read it periodically to remind myself that I’m on the right track with my own path. I’ve been out numbered most of my life which led me to feeling powerless and feeling alone. It’s only now that I recoqnize what an insightful child I was and that “I” actually have some gifts. I now understand why I am so drawn to healing work. I have this deep passion to heal myself and eventually be of support to others who are going through similar circumstances. Discovering my own worth has been a challenge and a blessing and I am very determined to conquer the dysfunction that lurks within me. I realize that I will be learning and growing until I leave this planet and thank God I can “choose” the healers, people, places and things that will benefit “me”. I know that having a loving relationship with myself will just naturally spill over into my life and to those I choose to have in my life. It takes time to learn to love yourself but the journey is so worth it if it leads to better well being. Keep up the great work you are doing, it means a lot to me and to many others. Namaste!


Hi Lora
That is fantastic! I came to some similar realizations and I was stunned! I was stunned to find out that I had gifts, that I was smart. I didn’t realize it before. Thanks for sharing this! The journey is the most worthwhile amazing thing anyone can do!
Hugs, Darlene


My earliest childhood memory that I hold is knowing that I am different. Only recently am I ok with being different. I have reached a point in my life were I realise that I cannot and will not be OK with abuse in any form. I cannot and will not be told that I am wrong. For me, it is not about a difference of opinion. It is about the morals that I live by. It defines me.

I relate to so many stories here. I don’t even know how to acknowledge them all. I was also told by my parents that I was never good enough or deserving enough. My brothers followed their example and have tormented me for most of my life. I too spent too much time with people who were not deserving because they never respected me or thought I was their equal. In truth, I wasn’t their equal because that is how I treated myself and they saw me for what I was.

I was raped by my grandfather. I was raped by one of my so-called friends. However, it wasn’t until my husband recently defined it for me as rape that I recognised and accepted it for what it was. I always referred to those incidences as “they took advantage of me”.

The word “rape” is so big. To acknowledge it as “rape” means that I have worth. How could I be worthy when I have been told by so many that I am not.

Even my husband treated me the same way. I was not worthy of his time and attention and love. For years, he has treated me this way….but it is only recently, that he has stopped taking me for granted. In truth, I allowed him. I allowed him by always being the one that would chase after him after an argument, regardless of the fact that he was the one who hurt me initial…..hence the argument. I am teaching myself and also him at the same time that I am worthy of equal respect and that I will not and should not tolerate anything less.

To Jackie, I too am finding that little girl who is me. That little girl who just so desperately wanted nothing more than to be loved….and never recognising that I considered myself worthy of it or worthy of loving and honouring me.

To wendy, my heart aches for you. To be honest, when I read about your experience, the only words that can to mind was “I love you”. Why? Perhaps, because I recognise that you are worthy of my love – even though I don’t really know you, I feel that I do.

And that is the wonderous magic of this website.

I have discovered through this website that I am not that different at all.

I too have had a shitty life. Through the miracle of my God’s way, I have three beautiful and loving children. Somehow, against all odds, I managed to not pass on my damaged self-concepts onto them. Perhaps because I have always tried so hard to put their needs above my own…..but they are the only people on this earth that I do not resent doing just that.

I am facing my truths. I often struggle. It hurts and it hurts alot. Sometimes, so much that I can only manage by sleeping and drinking too much. I know i need to deal with those issues as well, but, I am trying to be kinder to my self. I will deal with those issues when I am stronger. That time is coming. I know it in my heart.


Hi Ginger!
Im sorry you have gone thru so much. You have found a
great place here. My family destroyed my self esteem as a
child so I always felt less than too. I too have always felt
different and different was equated as bad and defective. Its
a hard way to go out into the world and be a success when you
get that as an upbringing. Thanks for your comments.


Hi Ginger,
Welcome to EFB! Great to have you here! You are certainly NOT alone!
You are so right about the word ‘rape’ used as the truth about what happened makes it about YOUR WORTH. and calling it what it is, when it is rape, helps take away any doubt that we brought it on in any way, ourselves.
Eating /drinking too much are part of the coping methods we use to get through all this. I found that as I dealt with the roots of the problem, the truth of the whole thing ~ I was able to let those coping methods go because I didn’t need them anymore.
Hugs, Darlene


Toxic ppl take extra time , effort and energy++++++++++++.
In return, one gets a fraction of what love is given to them.
Thx 4 demonstrating this.


Thank you for your support Karen, Darlene and Sian.

I remember telling someone a little about me, while they also shared their similar experience. She told me that she felt we were “damaged goods”. At the time, I was horrified because I never considered myself that way. Now, I recognise and accept that my self-concept and experiences were warped. It wasn’t until I could accept I was “damaged goods” that the healing could begin.

I am grateful for small victories along the way – and that is what my healing is about. Small steps with huge rewards.

I actually had a major one today and I feel good and whole. I mentioned that I have always done the chasing when someone hurts me. Today, I told my sister-in-laws to “get lost”. In the past, I would have been sad. Today, I feel relieved. Relieved to get rid of so much negative energy – based on condescending attitudes, lies, whitewashing, and always being made out to be the bad guy.

My victory also includes my husband finally standing by me – not because he had to, but because he wanted to. Because he could finally see my point of view. I so love him for that.


I can relate to your major victory….my husband is also standing by me vis a vis my sister-in-law. He has finally stopped making excuses for her bad behaviors, and trying to tell me that she “likes” me because she throws me a bone now and then like a nice gift for Christmas or birthdays. She still holds on to the ideas about me that she got from her parents. My husband’s parents have both passed away. My sister-in-law still won’t accept me for me. I have made my mind up that I am the “normal” person, and she is not. I have been in “her” family since 1981. Guess what? I’m not going anywhere. I don’t think she will change so we just have limited contact.

My husband is half Japanese and is a very duty bound person. His sister never married and lived with her parents the vast majority of her life. I helped take care of both of his parents. His sister and father moved here in 2003 so that we could help them. I put up with a lot of crap from the old man. I have finally got it through to my husband that I am not taking care of his sister. I am done being used and abused. His sister doesn’t even like my husband. She doesn’t have anyone else, so NOW she plays up to him and is the “loving sister”. It makes you want to puke.

Anyway Ginger, congrats on telling those broads to “get lost”. It feels good to tell your truth, and you know there is nothing to be sad about because you didn’t lose anything except being the bad guy of their stories. But truly I guess you will continue to be the “bad guy”. You just won’t be around to take your beating!

It feels great to be in like company and sharing things with helpful folks. You can’t always get this kind of validation from a loving spouse or good friend because they have not lived it and they cannot see and feel what we have seen and felt. Good luck on your journey Ginger.



Hi Everyone
I have been ill with some sort of stomach but but today I am feeling better and I have published a new post!!
This one is about the ‘why’ behind people who refuse to hear what you are trying to explian. It also talks about my marriage and how my husband Jim, at first, refused to hear what I was trying to tell him too.

You can read it here: “The Reason that People don’t Hear what You are Trying to say”

Hugs, Darlene


This is certainly my life. My parents tried to define our relationship by me always going to them to then be rejected. Super setup. Makes me so angry. I am on 10 year of intesne healing and have passed all the communjcation attempts and dissolusionment that is all contained on this site. Its certainly a one way relationship with the psychos. There is more to solve with my father issues and men in my life on this topic. I feel i am missing and uncovering something about the act of putting up with the one wag crumbs. I feel it might be to do that i was brainwashed that i cant survive without it. Thats why k put up with it. My father made it seem that if it wasnt for him we would all go hungry so we better be glad and respect him or we will be on the street dead. I think i have a feeling that i will not live unless i have a man prividing in my life. Hence my relationship issues.

My parents are super high functioning psychos, my father has a phd. I end up with men that are also highly deceptive.i have super paranoia i will end up with another one. I am gett older and i really want to have a nice family. I now think it might be becaus ei havent examine my father equation as much as wih my mother.
. I end up with men that take me to dinner do thjs and that for me but then subtly reject some part of me and make it like i have a problem and have to fix it. Or do a clever setup that sets me off and then i have problem. And i am suppkse to fix it cuz obviously i am the problem in the relationship. And if i dont step up and chase then they leave me. So my dad..
I have not admitted that my father did as much damage. My father expects i call him and never calls back. I stopped calling him altogather unless i need something. Maybe i still care he doesng call and am still angry about it. My father was never there for me. He brutally enforced my mothers abuse. He never made it to any important event in my life. And then he expected to get respecg for providing for us. He called me stupid useless and all those incompetent things. Then once in a while he thre me a crumb by talking to me for 5 minutes boughht me first car, computer and then j forgave it all and thought he really cares. But he really doesnt, he just needed it to look like he does to others or its some kind of guilt pay off for him or maybe its all a setup to trick me he is the good guy. He has no intrest to find out about my life or to share what is going on with his. And the crumbs i got was when i went to him. He never initiates interest. He has never made me feel like he really cares.its hard to swallow the truth that now that we never talk he will not initiate. He always tricked me that he is the good guy and mom the bad guy. He made it as if he is the good guy for silencing me and that i will not be in trouble ..gah. what a good guy threatening to beat me.. saving me from myself.
Maybe i have not escaped my dads setup on me yet. I still give too much for crumbs. I still run after men with my please for understanding and get rejected. And its always a subtle rejection that makes me think its me and it goes on for toxic years and years. I am never the person on the inside, i am always kept out and wanting in. I end up with men that r not strong enough to stand on their own and rely on their family. I end up with men that are not looking out for me or my highest good. But i am for theirs!
what a tangled web. I really hope to improve my one way ships with men.


Hello all,
Cant believe what I am about to write but here goes.Stood up to my father by refusing to visit my parents on Christmas day.Mother is in a care home some miles from our home.It has always been up to me to keep them PLEASED in my way hoping that they would love me.Well I resisted visiting until early January.It is always up to me to telephone them even though it is just as easy for them to pick up the phone.They are never interested ever ever in anything to do with my husband and me or our pets,which we love dearly.
Well last Sunday after no contact I went to visit mother and felt quite confident but anxious at the same time because I knew they would be displeased by my behaviour and thought I will treat them like they treat me!! So walked into the CH and the staff were very pleasant but mothers face was like a jar of worms.Straight away she said that father had not been to see her because he was ill and the doctor had been to see him.(he is 90yrs and lives alone in the family house).She accused me of not ringing him blah blah blah.So I rang there and then.He answered,I asked why nobody had let me know that he was ill and he said why should he have to tell me know.I said I would help him and he said he didnt want my help for anything.He had told the doctor thatI wouldnt help or do anything for him!! I asked why does he paint me bad and he just laughed. He speaks to me in a sort of mocking sort of way.I dont at my age understand the behaviour.This is the ill man who has had the doctor visiting.I am sure it is to make me feel guilty. To top it all my mother then said that I was a trouble maker asking my father questions about what he had told the doctor.All I did was ask.One of the Care Staff turned round and said he is getting at me.It made me feel better that someone spoke up for me.So I had gone all that way to visit her and she turned on me again.Nobody disagrees with DADDY.So after not visiting for a month and feeling pretty brave and pleased with myself I was there in the CH 10 minutes and was about to walk out and I turned to her and asked why she had never protected me from him(sexual abuse) but shielded him for 60yrs.She just called me a trouble maker.Everybody at the CH thinks she is this sweet old lady but she isnt.Anyway we certainly had an audience but now I am feeling really depressed and very tearful.I wish I could stop myself from going back time and time again.I really wish I could go to sleep permanently. Sorry folks I am not as strong as I thought.xx


Hi Wendy
Personal empowerment for me came with the healing process. My eyes were open for a long time before I actually ‘knew’ in my heart that I had been really wronged and was able to take some action to validate myself. It isn’t about being strong or not. It is about seeing through the brainwashing that happens in childhood.
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene for your reply.In my heart I do know that my parents treatment towards me was wrong but at the same time I am not wanting it to be.It is almost like I cant believe the truth yet it there to see.All my friends from childhood knew that I was treated differently even though they didnt know how or what was wrong.As a child I was always in tears and even now in my 60s do get very emotional. My father speaks to me in such a mocking manner and laughs when I get upset.It is a week since I have seen my mother and spoken on the telephone to my father.I keep thinking I am going insane.Only today I asked my husband if it is me that needs treatment or them. You know Darlene the answer without me saying.It is like my own mind tells me I am ok and then as if another person or voice sitting on my shoulder tells me I am crazy.I so much want to forget and move on. Thank you so much for your help allowing me to write here.Thank you xx


I know how you feel….questioning yourself….back and forth….It would be a much nicer world if things were not as they are in our families. But we are all here to heal. We see that we are not alone.

All these parents need healing too, but we can’t do anything about their healing. I don’t feel sorry for your father, but mocking and laughing at your upset feelings is his sickness. It is difficult for sensitive people to imagine a caring parent doing these things. It is not a caring parent that does these things.

I hope you have a little solace today. It is hard to forget and move on. I really don’t think we will ever forget.
It is painful, but things will always get better.



Thank you Andria,
You kind words and support are very much appreciated and what you write is so true.Some days I feel better and then another kick in the face sets me back again.You are right things can only get better I just wish I could stop myself from seeking my parents approval and trying to please everybody. It is never going to happen they just dont care for me and never will.I wish a pill could be prescribed to erase the past.The only time I ease my mind is when I am working and as soon as I stop the thoughts come lurking back.xx


Wendy, it is a hard life for people pleasers as you well know. You also know that your parents will never give you their full approval. You will never do enough of the RIGHT thing because they like you where you are: always trying harder to jump through the next hoop they set up. They may or may not be aware of this in themselves, but they certainly like the effect and the control they exert.

I learned the hard way that my father doesn’t care for me. He lived with us for five years. We took care of his needs because he is ill. I thought if we did this he would certainly love me more. But it didn’t work. When he got the chance, he moved back to be near my sister the favored one. She wasn’t having him in her home, but he is in assisted living near her. I talked a lot to my father while he was here. I got to know where is head is at. Not with anything concerning me. He did come clean with the fact that my sister and brother-in-law were not helping him. I could see that when I made repeated trips to take care of him. What I am trying to say is no matter what you do or how much you do, these people just want more and more. I haven’t told the whole story here, but I am no contact with my sister and my dad. It is hard and it still runs through my head daily. It just takes time. But with no contact I can’t be hurt anymore than I already am hurt. I don’t think we want to erase the past because that is how we learn. Once we get to the place where we say, “that’s IT! I’ve had ENOUGH!” , then we can move on. For me, it is remembering all the bad stuff that was said and done to me while I was in the process of trying to be a good family member. I am not anyone’s lackey. Just because I am related to these people by blood it doesn’t mean that I need to put up with abuse. That is what they are dishing out to us.

I took an online class about receiving. The teacher said everyone that is in the people pleasing business needs to get out of it. I understand it is a habit or pattern, but it doesn’t serve your greater good.

I hope this helps you a bit. I never thought things would end up this way with my family. The handwriting has been on the wall for a long time. I just had to read it again and really understand and believe it. My family does not care for me. It is not a reflection of me. It is THEIR mirror. I am out of the picture.

Take care Wendy.



Thank you Andria.
What you have said is so true. For years and years I have worn myself out to please family. Always the one to do the entertaining which family grew to expect.Never any thanks or praise just used and abused.My husband agrees that it is time to keep away from them.He sees them for what they are.
Thank you again for your reply it really is of great help to me.xx


Well put Andria. I am in exactly the same place
with my mother and brother. I know how you
feel. Its their loss as we are loving and giving
people but not their doormats.


It’s amazing once learned that relationship is truly two way and faulty relationships do not just fall on one person, what a difference that can make.

The tough thing is regret. I think back to so many relationships and arguments/disagreements within those relationships and think how if I had realized this…well quite a few relationships would have never even begun and of course others would have never lasted as long as they did.

So many intimate relationships I thought I was the sole bringer of problems. Ha! So happy to know better now.

I am chipping away at the brainwashing. Thing is I think I’ve always known something was amiss. I thought I was the only abnormal one in a family of normals. Now I’m beginning to see it’s the other way around.

That’s not to say though I don’t have my issues. I’m human. But at least I can apologize when I do something crappy, validate someone when they feel hurt by something I said or just admit to mistakes in general. This is a far different scenario than what I’ve been living with all these years. And I always think of my sister. Little miss defensive. But if she confronts me, I’ll bend over backward to apologize. And even those she doesn’t seem to know how to accept. I remember apologizing to her for something she got super angry at me about. When I genuinely said I was sorry her response was, “Well, as long as you know.”

It’s shocking the stuff I’m becoming aware of. But I am also feeling relieved for myself. I’m not sick…they are.


Thanks Karen. It is a comfort to know that other people have the same problems. Everyone has some type of family issue. I don’t know anyone personally that has this specific problem, and the no contact solution seems unfathomable to some folks. But it has made me feel a lot better.

Yeah, Annie. I understand feeling “abnormal” around your family. I know with mine they wanted me to feel like an outsider; always trying harder to be “normal” and accepted by them.

I hope you don’t beat yourself up with regret. We didn’t know the things we know now. We did the best we could with the info we had at the time. And if the people we are having the relationship with are family, we mostly try harder than we really need to because of the label “family”. I know I did.

It is difficult dealing with people who are looking for any fault or mistake you might make and jump on it to show how you bad or wrong you are. It is not healthy to tear others down in order to build yourself up. That is not kind and it is sick.

I wanted to be a good family member, but my family made it impossible. I cannot control them, or have them see my point of view. My truth is not their truth.



Hi Wendy

I use to feel about my parents as you did about yours. I never knew how to get their approval even though they gave it so freely to my brothers. As I started healing by recognising my own dysfunctional thinking and how it was formed, I just could never see my parents in the same light. There have been many times in recent years when I have prayed for God to help me find love in my heart for them again…..but it just isn’t here. I think for me it is because I know that they chose to be abusers.

As an adult, I know that I made a conscious choice not to be abusive like my parents. I have tried so hard to ensure that my children do not suffer as I did as a child. I know in my heart that I have done ok as I see my children as loving, kind, curious and joyful.

I now knew in my heart that if I can make that kind of decision for myself, what possible excuse can an abuser have for their actions…..none.


Hi Ginger,
Thank you for your reply. What you say is so true.Since joining EFB I never cease to be amazed that there are so many of us who have suffered.Just like yours my parents always praised my older brother and I just had to take a “back seat” to everything.I knew my place it had been drumed into me so much by my mother.The problem being that I believe (positive) my mother knew what my father was doing to me.When my brother died suddenenly in 1966 my sister was born the next year,I was 16yrs old at the time. I suppose she was their LOVE child and took the place of my brother.I loved her as my own and still do but of course she has excluded me from so much now that she is older and has taken control of my parents affairs even though she lives in another country.The laughable part is that when she comes back about 3 times a year I know that I am not wanted as a visitor to my parents and again disappear during her visits.Once I turned up to see my parents when my sister was there and they went mad.LOL please, if we dont I will go mad.!!It does hurt and I am now trying hard to sort myself out with the support of a good loving husband who hates my family.I never had any children although I was pregnant with my first husband but had two aborted because he also treated me appaulingly.There was no love in my first marriage.He never knew what I did ,he took over from where my mother left off.He was a mean abusive cruel violent person but only after we married ,it would not have been safe to have children with him.Although I must say he was hard working if I had just put up with being seen and not heard.My mother in law used to tell me it was my own fault that he hit me so much because I should not have answered back or had an opinion It is good to hear that you have lovely children and have managed to move on. You sound like a great mum with a happy family.We do have a good God and I truly believe that if we take the time to speak with him he does answer. Its just sometimes HE takes his time.Thank you again it is a help hearing from others.xx


I recently discovered that understanding and setting boundries is all well and good
but in actual practice even asking for fair treatment
and setting a boundry with an abuser has caused the abuse to
become much worse. Im not even suppose to post here anymore.
After trying to say my side I was screamed at and put
down to be the most aweful, evil, complaining,
unappreciative bitch ever. I am no good and bad and
everyone cant be wrong. Its me


Hi Karen
I am sorry that you are going through this and I know how discouraging it is. Very often standing up to abuse will make it worse. I had to remember that the boundary was for me and was not going to change them unless they wanted to change. The boundary for me was about my self value and not about them. I did it for me.
The truth about good and bad is not up to them and they don’t get to define you. Majority is not always right, they just band together so they can think they are but it is still lies. Taking my life back had so much to do with seeing that!
Please hang in there!
Hugs, Darlene


Yup hanging in there. Thanks Darlene. And I changed my bad coping
method. I See it as harmful to me only. They dont care. So I
have overcome that now twice. I try to hang onto the truth even
when I am punished for it. At 58 shouldnt I be past the being punished
when you’re bad thing. You would think so. But no.
I approached the issue calmly and not in a demeaning way and bam!
I was the bad guy and got put in my place with verbal abuse,
avoidance and the silent treatment which is the method of choice.
I have read every article on line about the hows and whys of that.
What a screwed up way to treat someone you say you love.
Thanks again for your insight.


Hi all. . .
Women’s intuition..
A great guide!


AMEN! I am so Like this. I wish you could tell me more specifically how you changed. I deal with 4 sisters and my parents who have me trained to defend myself and kick into trying to get their approval. I know it in my head. But, I want to apply and change the root belief that I have to do that. It’s so dumb! They get me engaged and it’s over. They trigger me and I react. Then after that anything goes! It’s crazy making!


Karen! That is terrible! I would be LIVID if someone had the gall to tell me what websites I could visit and post on at 58 years (or 14 years old for that matter)!

I have gotten a lot from reading your comments. I mean really who do they think they are honestly? Do they own you? Ugh!

I agree with Darlene- bullies band together and follow who has power- whether they are good or bad, lies or truths. They are banding together because it makes them feel safe, not because they are right. They are likely freaked out that you told them the truth. That happens. But it was brave of you.

I don’t think you are bad. I hope you keep posting!!!!

Best to you and I hope that you start to feel better and realize that being abused is not your fault. They just need someone to blame their problems on, otherwise they’d have to look at themselves, and obviously, like my fam, are not courageous enough or willing to do so.



Yes, and I found a way to stop the crazy they were making! Glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene


OH wow, this post is ME! If someone doesn’t like me, wow, I spend time trying to GET them to like me without considering whether or not they are worth “liking.”

I want to say one thing. If $$$$ is part of the equation in your family, it really complicates things. Just make sure you are NEVER in a position to have to borrow money from the person who doesn’t love you. It puts you in “suck up” mode. I don’t want to be in that mode. After I graduated from college, I did everything I could to make sure I never had to borrow money from parents.


I can so relate to this entire post. My mother always told me that if I had conflict with someone it was because there was something wrong with ME, not them. This included my 5 older siblings who verbally, emotionally, and physically abused me from the time I can remember. The emotional abuse has continued until today. So I got the message pounded into my head by 6 people that I was worthless and the cause of every problem. Because of this I have been unable to engage in an intimate relationship that is not abusive. Recently I decided to give up and be alone. I eat too much to put a layer of protection between me and the world because I feel so vulnerable and scared all the time from always trying to convince people to please be nice to me and not hurt me. My family still tries to brainwash me that it is all my fault when I try to stick up for myself.


Hi LisaK,
You are not alone! A huge part of the damage is that we have been told things like this and that is has been pounded into our heads that we brought it on ourselves. I had to learn how to re-wire my belief system in order to overcome the coping methods, fears etc. much of this site is about that. Glad you are here.
hugs, Darlene


Thank you for this subject! I so needed this right now. My husband was commenting to me that I am “attracted” to conflict with abusive people. Which he said in a very loving way. The need to engage is so strong in me. He asked me why it was so important to engage an idiot in a dialogue or argument when that person was clearly wrong and just making statements to hurt to me. It has been my programming, too. There are plenty of people in this life that don’t deserve my energy. I was raised in abusive legalistic “Christian” cult. My mom turned me into the parent in our relationship. My brothers and dad were very emotionally abusive to me as well. And I get caught up in trying to prove myself to others who want to put me down. Way, way too much energy. I am currently having a conflict with someone I thought was a friend. She has sent me nasty text messages saying what she can to hurt me. And I fell right back into the mold……wasting time and energy on the “whys” when I already know what they are and ruminating about the problem When in reality the friend ship is over and she doesn’t deserve my time or energy anymore.
I have found myself in many situations over the years trying to earn and prove myself to others to have a friendship or relationship with someone who clearly didn’t deserve me.
This was very freeing for me to read and very practical for me to use.


And this is me! When I find out someone doesn’t like me I expend a LOT of energy trying to GET them to like me. I can’t just walk away from it, I have to PROVE to them that they are wrong. Instead of just ignoring them.


Yes, I had a major “proof” addiction! Learning not to engage came easier as I saw how much this was all about them and accepting that they were never going to listen to me came with my understanding of abuse tactics and their motives. Today I have no desire to prove my point and I have learned to hear the manipulative way that people speak and respond to that instead of going down the rabbit trail that they would like me to follow, which always in the past, got me ‘off the track”.
hugs, Darlene

(there is a small percentage of people who are willing to do the work to heal / mend the relationship but my family was not in that small percentage)


I get it and understand it and you did an excellent job of putting it into words.
I think any behavior that we learn early in life that is constantly reinforced becomes our default/survival mode, and we do what we know when we feel triggered. Having people say or do or treat me in certain ways is familiar and I know how to behave based on my history so I follow my pattern. My Mother was a Narcissistic Alcoholic and my Father died when I was very young. No one ever intervened, so I carried on trying to get someone anyone to love me that was not able to love me in all my relationships for many years, to try to make it right when I was never the one who got it wrong. Painful process.
My Mother just died at 92 years of age and in death as in life I was invisible and I have CPTSD coming up all over the place, flash backs, night mares, depression as I walk through it all over again since there was and never can be any closure. Knowing and feelings do not match so the conflict goes on. I still play her tape in my head but I am working on my own tape now. Keep up your work with all your passion so that we can heal and get on with our lives since I do not believe we will ever get over it. Blessing



I am sorry for what you are going thru right now. I understand knowing and feelings not matching. I hope you will get better and better as time goes on. There are many things in life that we will not get over. We can heal in some fashion. Best wishes.



I have recently realized that the biggest and most influential enabler of child abuse/neglect in this world is family. The closer the family bond, the harder it is to change the dysfunctions that are passed on from generation to generation. How extremely unproductive it is for “close-knit” families to pass on the pain and trials of dysfunction, even at the smallest degree, rather than facing it head on and changing or stopping the cycle so that future generations will not be disabled from it. Close families are just fine hiding, ignoring, or participating in wrong or bad behavior because it is a well known fact that ostracizing someone from the family is very powerful, and also very painful for the person being ostracized. But it will happen every single time someone tries to stand up to abuse or neglect of any kind and to any degree. Then the other members of the family see what happened to the one who tried to stand up for what is right, that they were punished, and therefore it creates an atmosphere where everyone is afraid to stand up for what is right. This happens in families and society on a daily basis, at school, the workplace, and our government. There is power in numbers, and that is exactly why “conspiracy” adds additional punishment to crimes. But try to tell your story about being abused or neglected at the hands of your parents, or another family member, while the abusers are still alive and it is like a death sentence because they will turn everyone against you. They will make it out so that you appear to be not only crazy, but they will make everyone think that you are bad. There’s no worse feeling than having your entire reputation ruined and your entire family turned against you. The guilty parties easily spread rumors and provide a permanently bad impression about the one who spoke up and asked for change. People will usually never think the same about someone who they heard horrible rumors about. That is why I rarely see anyone speaking about their abusive parents if the parents are alive. It’s as if once the abusive parent(s) die the survivor can then open up about it, but not until then. That holds true for those survivors of child sexual abuse when the relative is still alive. These victims have to be strong and hold in their thoughts and feelings until the abuser is gone, and that is the most inhumane treatment of people that I have ever seen. Family bond is not a good thing most of the time. “Close” families are always respected and looked up to when in reality they are usually nothing but a facade.


I’ve struggled with relationships with my family of origin and my kids for a long time now. A very common response when I let one of them know that I’m hurt by something they’ve said or done is “you always misinterpret everything” (or take everything the wrong way). The conversation never gets past that point. If I ask them to explain what they really meant, the throw back that I get too upset and I don’t listen.
I’ve looked back on the things I’ve “misinterpreted” and try to figure out how I could have understood them differently, and I really can’t.
Today, I wrote to someone that telling me that I misinterpret them without being willing to explain their words or behavior amounted to just another accusation that I was too stupid to figure out what they meant on my own. That’s certainly not very effective and it really isn’t fair, because they took no responsibility for the relationship and required that it all be on me.
I ended my correspondence by giving them 3 choices. 1 -They could actually listen to me and get to know that I wasn’t the stupid person that they treated me like, and I could get to know who they really are. 2 – They could opt for allowing me to create a persona that could interact with them superficially, not take anything personally, and only say nice things. (I was hoping they recognized that it would be a totally fake relationship) 3 – If they really didn’t think I’m worth it, I would remove myself from their life.
I said that I was not willing to continue our relationship the way that it has been because it isn’t working for either of us, and I was not interested in creating problems for them, nor could I afford what it has been doing to me.


Hi Karen T.
Welcome to EFB~ One thing that I find encouraging for others is that in this site I tell everything and I have one of the highest trafficked websites on the internet about healing from dysfunctional family! That is so validating and hope creating! My parents are both alive and I use my real name here. Nobody (important anyway) thinks I am crazy. Universities study this website. I am encouraged for all, by that!
It is a lie that people have to wait until family is gone, that is part of the whole dysfunction in the first place.
Thank you for sharing, glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Judie,
welcome to EFB~ My heart goes out to yours in this difficult time. I am really glad that you are here and thank you for sharing.
The key for me was learning to be here for me, and to love myself. That is the real healing process.
hugs, Darlene


I’ve found it incredibly empowering in discovering my own worth to understand where it got lost to begin with. So much of the “help” I’ve received so far has wanted to rush past that if they didn’t ignore it. They like to say that it’s not helpful to place blame. That always left me feeling like I “asked for it”. They don’t seem to recognize how important it is for a person who was truly victimized and told that it was their own fault to see that it wasn’t. It is so hard to grab onto that belief and use it for all it’s worth.

That is what is different here. The line between being responsible for my own healing and being responsible for the abuse I suffered is becoming clearer and clearer. And my belief that I am valuable is finally feeling like something I will be able to hold onto.

Thank you Darlene!


Karen: (126)

I just shake my head in disbelief at how your words describe my family. Like the “I could have had a V8” commercial. I never thought of this. I guess I have been trying too hard to figure out what is wrong with me to think outside the box. Seeing my life in black and white somehow helps me to see things more clearly.

Thank you Karen! You made a differene in someone’s life you don’t even know.

“ostracizing someone from the family is very powerful, and also very painful for the person being ostracized. But it will happen every single time someone tries to stand up to abuse or neglect of any kind and to any degree”

“while the abusers are still alive it is like a death sentence because they will turn everyone against you. They will make it out so that you appear to be not only crazy, but they will make everyone think that you are bad. There’s no worse feeling than having your entire reputation ruined and your entire family turned against you. The guilty parties easily spread rumors and provide a permanently bad impression about the one who spoke up and asked for change. People will usually never think the same about someone who they heard horrible rumors about.”


I grew up with, and carried through afulthood the belief that it was up to me to fix problems in relationships. Lately I have entered a new phase, a new area of my life that I have been focusing on: my dating years. These were mostly unhappy experiences for me. I grew up with a mother who believed that the ultimate success for a woman was attracting a man. And if you were unable to, and if you weren’t pretty you were basically worthless as a woman. I was of average looks but my mother and others lead me to believe through words and actions that I was ugly. With that belief and the fact that I believed my mothers assessment that only by getting a man am I worth anything that I was very insecure and also very desperate to succeed in the dating world. I was very needy and clingy in relationships. I would also bend over backwards to do everything right, to not upset the guy, to be agreeable ( the one area that I held out on was doing anything sexual because I was extremely repressed by my parents and very fearful in this area)

Anyway, guys for the most part did not treat me well. And the few that did, I wasn’t interested in. After all, if someone liked ” worthless me” then something must be wrong with him so I stayed away from those guys. Back to the topic if this blog, I took the entire responsibility of the relationships in my shoulders. If a guy did not treat me well, I would agonize for hours about what did Zi do wrong and how can I fix it? Imagine, going out with a guy who gives me the silent treatment for an entire four hour date and I question what I did wrong? It never even occurred to me that this was disgusting treatment and that he is responsible for this horrible treatment and that it is a reflection on HIM not me for acting this way. I am starting to understand this now but back in my dating days, all I could think of was what did I do wrong to cause him to give me the silent treatment for four hours, or what did I do to cause him to stop calling me. Or wh did I feel that he had all the rights in the relationship and my job was to try to please him and not disagree or do anything to upset him. I had m entire worth tied up in whatever relationship I was in, and a great fear of losing the relationships, and therefore having my worth die. Never did I think of it as a two way street, or that I had any rights of my own in it.

Only now, as the fog is lifting and I look back am I starting to see how the false beliefs from my mother wrapped themselves around and suffocated any self esteem or self worth I could have brought into my relationships. And so, the One Way sign stood firm instead of things flowing healthily down a two way street.


What Marore said! 🙂 Constantly thinking everybody is “better than me” & need to improve myself (behavior) to be liked. I’m over 50 & still struggle with this crap! When will the struggle end, or will it ever end?

I’ve made some progress through counseling but, feels like I have a long way to go. Not sure if I’ll live that long. 2 years ago I was diagnosed w/ breast cancer. Dr said I’m cured but, I know it can come back. I feel like I need to hurry so I’ll also be acceptable to God so I can go to heaven when I die. Being a christian as I am, what I feel is so contradictory to what I know.

So many emotions right now. Don’t know how to sort them all out.


J you already are acceptable! You have been so since you were born. You were born worthy. Like me, you apparently were given the wrong messages from other people and that lead to you constantly wanting to improve yourself. I’ve been the same way, always wondering what was wrong with me and never figuring it out. It never ever occurred to me that other people could have programmed me, or groomed me to feel this way through constant false messages when I was very young and impressionable.

J, reading this blog has given me lots to think about. It is the first time in my life I have questioned the behavior of others and started connecting how nasty messages and treatment given to a young child destroyed my confidence and self esteem. So, as Darlene suggests throughout these blogs, I go back and look at my past. How certain events and messages molded me, made me fearful, made me feel inferior. It is not a quick process but it is working. I am starting to feel better and more confident and in the last few weeks have become a little more assertive and less quivery and not as much rapid heartbeat when I have to confront someone. Start by reading these blogs, try journaling, and thinking outside the box. Instead of thinking it’s you, look at the actions of others in your lifetime especially as a child and think about how it affected you. It’s about the messages you got from others and so many are untrue! This has helped me enormously.

Good luck, J. Wishing you good health and healing.


I, too, gave more importance to those who rejected me and chased after them.
It was so important to me to be approved of by everyone. I finally realized that was a mechanism used to control me, keep me trying harder, and most of those people ,if not all, I didn’t even like or want in my life.Sometimes I notice that I will give so much more importance to a negative comment than something positive… people too. It was almost like – if they approved of me and wanted to be friends, I didn’t want them.What is that saying attributed to Groucho Marx …” I don’t want to be a member of any club that would take me as a member ” ( not an exact quote , but you get the message.) I guess that rejection was the norm and anything else felt strange.Through the years I have changed and am more receptive to positives in comments and in people. I know who I like and stay away from those that don’t feel good- even if I am not sure why they don’t feel good.Thanks for this post.


The other issue that you brought up in this post…taking responsibility for the relationships – I never , ever, -not once- thought that the other person might have to meet me half way or have any responsibility whatsoever in the relationship. I took full responsibility until I was depleted and resentful. No more of that. I am very happy alone .If someone comes along , the relationship will be mutual ,with mutual responsibility and commitment ,or not at all.


Hello Colleen and Karen: I just read your posts from some time ago…“ostracizing someone from the family is very powerful, and also very painful for the person being ostracized. But it will happen every single time someone tries to stand up to abuse or neglect of any kind and to any degree” “while the abusers are still alive it is like a death sentence because they will turn everyone against you. They will make it out so that you appear to be not only crazy, but they will make everyone think that you are bad. There’s no worse feeling than having your entire reputation ruined and your entire family turned against you. The guilty parties easily spread rumors and provide a permanently bad impression about the one who spoke up and asked for change. People will usually never think the same about someone who they heard horrible rumors about.”
This is what has happened to me and it is true…once people hear the filth about you , they never bother to find out if it is true and the disgusting lies will stick to you forever.Abusers know this when they spread the rumors and their lies.My sister and the people that she associates with, did this to me ,and to this day, 26 years later, they have had had no consequences for their lies and their actions . The filth that they spread still sticks.My good name has been ruined . They will do anything and say anything to keep the truth about what they did, and continue to do , from coming out and preventing them from having consequences for the horrible thing that they did.I am being bullied everyday of my life by these people. they have stalked me and spread lies about me for 26 years.No one bothers to ask me what the truth is…they just judge.


This is so me! I made it my mission to right the wrongs in my relationships, and got frustrated that I couldn’t and not only that but the relationships seemed to get worse! I finally realised that realationship is a two-way straight and others have to want to be invested in it too! I was on my way to recovery and wholeness but they aren’t! I had to let go and release my expectations – that my dad was never going to be able to have a healthy relationship with me, just because I had decided to become healthy. It was a hard lesson to learn. I had to come to terms wiht the fact that I was still trying to fix them, hoping that they would see the changes in me and want to change themselves.
I am also having issues with people who decide they don’t like me. I NEED to be liked and approved of and when I’m not, I become very down. I am the same, in that people can encourage me and tell me what an awesome job I’m doing but one look from a particular person has the power to ruin my entire day. With one particular person I even got to the stage where I felt so helpless, hopeless to solve the issue that I decided that killing myself would be an option. Immediately after that thought I changed tact and considered that killing her instead would make better since! My need to be accepted by this one person and driven me to into extreme depression.
It’s not this person I am concerned about. What I am concerned about is how I am responding to her. What is going on in me. I am back to work in a few days and am partially dreading it. Although her hours at work have dropped, there are still two days a week that she is there. I don’t think that completely avoiding her is the answer to my problem either. There will always be someone else who decides they don’t like me – I have to unlearn my need to be accepted by everyone, my people-pleasing (which I learned in childhood) and realise that my worth doesn’t lie in one person’s opinion of me.



I am so sorry that your sister and her associates have spread lies about you and have ruined your good name. I am not so sure that they have had no consequences for their lies. I believe that eventually people will get their just desserts. You may never know about it or see it with your own eyes. I believe in the universal law of cause and effect. I know this does not help you feel better right now.

I have never been fully “ostracized” from my family, but I always knew that I was the lesser one and not important. By not being a “preferred member”, it is like saying “we don’t care if you are in our group.” I told my family that I was not being treated well and they did not care and just kept doing what they were doing. I don’t know if anyone in my family talks some bad smack about me.

You know the kind of person you are. I think there has to be some people who do not believe the stories told my your sister and her cronies. Not every person goes in for people who like to bash others. Is it the same story being told over and over again? If it is the same story, folks get tired of hearing it, disregard it, and even start questioning if it is even true.

I am sorry for 26 years of pain for you. No one should have to suffer that much. I hope you find some comfort in knowing that others here have also suffered from ill treatment from family.



Yes, I am a people pleaser too! I am learning not to do this. I have also learned that you can’t “fix” others. You can’t even make them see your point of view if they refuse to do it!

I don’t need to be liked by everyone, but I wanted to be liked by my family. But guess what: they don’t like me! I would try to do extra nice things, but none of it mattered. I tried to like them too, but I didn’t. Why? Because they treated me lousy. It made me depressed. I am still getting over it because I still think about it every day.

You know it is not worth it to hurt yourself over this person who most likely doesn’t even think about you. I don’t know why you respond this way to a person’s disapproval of you. I thought it funny to turn the tables and get rid of her! LOL I understand how it makes you feel bad when you can’t figure out why someone does not like you. I have gone through this too. It is true that one person’s opinion does not amount to a hill of beans. Good luck going back to work.


You definitely described both my childhood and my first marriage in your post! I was in charge of keeping the peace with the parents (of 7 kids)and I knew I was completely responsible for the relationship in my first marriage. The only way I got out was because he cheated on me and that set me free. Was told you just stayed in a marriage and made it work. Before I married again, I got counseling for the abuse and co-dependency. What a world of difference that has made!Thank you for all the support you give!


Darlene this post brings me back to something I did 4 years ago at 18yrs old. I tried to be the “repairman” in my relationship with the abusers in the family. I remember telling myself: “Okay let’s give them a three day trial (In those three days, I will talk to them respectfully, I will not do anything “bad in general”) and if you manage to be civil with each other after the three days then hip hip hooray! Happy dance all the way! Little did I know back then that I was just creating my own “trap”. At least I finally “snapped out” or starting to.





Thank you for this reminder. I tend to take on the responsibility for any disrupt in my relationships whether they be family or friends.

The morning tends to be the hardest time for me, as I get weighed down by all the baggage.

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