Jan
07

More on Mother Daughter Dysfunctional Relationship

By
dysfunctional family
Mommy Please….

 

“If your progress in recovery is thwarted each time you see your family, if you revert to being a subservient or a fearful child, then you may need to stop seeing them for a while. Most importantly, you may need time to develop your own separate “self”, since it may be impossible for you to maintain a sense of individuality when you are around them.” The Right to Innocence – Beverly Engel

Lisa, one of my readers, made the following comment on the post “welcoming a new year of emotional healing” in regards to drawing boundaries with her mother; “What if there is no me without her?” this post is dedicated to that comment and it applies to all relationship where equal value is out of balance.

I was a really good victim to a lot of people. That means that I conformed and complied to many. I did what they wanted. I was who they wanted me to be. It makes me angry to think of how compliant that I was and that it was still never enough.

I lost myself and I got sick. As I got older, the overall dysfunction that was so familiar to me grew, and I got sicker. This was especially true in the dysfunctional mother daughter relationship with my own mother.

Looking back I realize that in most of my relationships,  the interest that many people had in me was pretty much only about what I could do for them and about how much they could make me into who they wanted me to be. Sometimes that is about power and control. Sometimes it is about ownership and servant hood. Whatever the motive is, it is not healthy and it is not about love. And when we continue to live in that kind of relational dysfunction, the more we lose ourselves.  In my case, the farther I got from my identity, the more depression and dissociation manifested. I lived only to live for others.

In the case of my mother, I think she wanted children because she was looking for a love source of her own. And so she created a love source. And she might have loved those babies to the best of her ability but as we grew older, something happened. She had expectations. She wanted approval and validation and she wanted it from the love source that she created. And when people get love mixed up with ownership, they believe they have a right to get what they need or want from those other people. But love and relationship doesn’t work that way and because she didn’t really know love herself, the whole plan failed.

The foundation of our relationship (overtime) became about my usefulness to her. When I was little my unconditional love and acceptance of HER was all she needed, but as I grew into an individual who had my own individual ideas, I think she felt threatened. And she did things that if I put up with them would prove to her that I still loved her. AND it seemed that she was very mad at me when I could not fill the void in her and make her feel good about herself. She put me down. She reminded me in strange ways that I was nothing. (and somehow I heard that I was nothing “without her”.) She did mean things that when accepted by me seemed to make her feel better because she equated them with love.

I got away from her, but it was never far enough. She sucked the joy out of every accomplishment that I ever had with her sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious put downs and questions designed to devalue me. She mentioned my weight. She put down my husband, my home, and my choices. She made inappropriate sexual comments about me in front of others. I was always on edge around her. And I never thought to confront her about doing it. She even commented that my breasts used to be so nice before I had children. WHY does someone feel the need to say something like that?

When I was small she taught me that I needed her, and I did. But she never taught me that I was capable of being an individual. She never wanted me to stop NEEDING her because it restored her value. I believed that I needed her to survive and even to exist.

And one day about a year after I began to take my life back by doing the foundational work that I write about all the time in this blog, I started to stand up to her, just a bit and just in tiny ways at first. But the more that I grew, the more I realized that my mother and I had a very dysfunctional mother daughter relationship. And eventually I stood up to her in bigger ways. And the tension between us was getting really bad. Then came the day when I said NO MORE. And this time I meant it. My boundary was not in my mouth anymore, it was in my heart now. She knew that I was serious, and she withdrew.

At first I was confused. I could not believe that she didn’t care enough to even try to discuss it. But I had lost my “usefulness to her” and what I didn’t realize is that part of my usefulness to her was in how she got to put me down. I felt so sorry for her too; for most of my life I tried to restore her value, but no one can do that for someone else. (I have written about this stuff under the mother and daughter relationship tabs.) The problem is that my purpose in her life wasn’t about love, value and equality. The way that she treated me wasn’t fair to me and it was when I finally put myself first, something we are told we must never do, that I found my healing.  

When some time had gone by, my mother called and she wanted to try to mend fences. The problem was that she wanted to start from that day and asked if we could “just put it all behind us” and I said no. That is how we had always done things in the past, with me backing down. With me saying that her treatment of me was okay with me, (what I thought was forgiveness) and with me laying there broken and bleeding on the ground once again doing what she wanted and being who she wanted me to be. Always about her, always taking care of her; never about me, never taking care of me. She asked me what my terms were and I said equal respect. That was the last time I talked to her.

As I said, this time my boundary was drawn in my heart. I finally knew that I was worth equal respect, and that I have real value, equal value and that she doesn’t own me.  I finally knew that her life is not my responsibility. She failed me as a mother, but I am not going to fail myself anymore.

I am not afraid anymore to live as me because I found out that the value that they gave me was a lie. I am far more valuable then they ever wanted me to find out about.  I found out that I do not need anyone else in order to exist. I am not defined by anyone else today. AND I am not an extension of my mother.

Please share your thoughts. One of the biggest search phrases used to find Emerging from Broken are the key words “dysfunctional mother daughter relationship”. This is a huge issue in our society. We are not alone in this.

Exposing Truth, One snapshot at a time

Darlene Ouimet

See Lisa’s comment #19  on Welcoming a new year of Emotional Healing

Related posts: Mother Daughter Relationship Nighmares

Mother daughter relationship ~ My poor Mom

Categories : Mother Daughter

243 Comments

1

Yes I only had value to my mother if I was available for her to abuse and misuse at will. When it became clear I was no longer willing to be her personal punch bag she nearly killed me and then ejected me from the family home and left me for dead.

I had to face up to the fact I never mattered to her and never will. I also had to accept that whether I lived or died was in my hands now and my mother did not care which happened.

To accept that your own mother who such love, care and nurture actually hated, despised, beat and humiliated her daughter instead is hard. To then accept that your welfare as her daughter is of no concern to her outside of the abusive relationship is even harder.

Outside of the abusive relationship I no longer existed as a person as far as she was concerned.

I thought that if my own mother could not care whether I lived or died no one else ever would. Since then I’ve been merely existing, trying to define myself. I’ve realised over time I’m not as alone as I thought I was.

2

Hi Fi,
This whole thing is almost epidemic in our society! And all abuse does this kind of damage. It isn’t even just our parents that do it to us. And our abusers had abusers themselves… it just goes round and round. It is really hard to accept this from our own mothers, but it was in acceptance (that this was about her not about me and that I could be enough for me) that I found my freedom, wholeness and a new passion for life. Thanks for being here Fi. You bring so much to this blog!

I am writing a follow up post to this post for later this weekend about the whole topic about feeling rejected when our abusers leave us and where that whole thing has its roots. It is very hard for us to re-establish an identity when we have have grown up with this kind of devaluing mistreatment, but when we do it, is our chance to live and be happy so I am a big advocate of pursuing identity and re-establishing our value.
Hugs, Darlene

3

Darlene! Wow…right on with this one. Growing up, because we look so much alike, everyone assumed I was a ‘mini-me’ to my mother. I wasn’t, of course, no one is. She thrived on that, and I know some of the roots of it come from her own childhood. I understand those roots, and I understand her desire. What I have never understood was that the desire for me to be ‘like her’ was more powerful than anything that would want me to be ‘like myself’.

I don’t know how to have a good relationship with my Mom, I don’t know if she knows either. We are both products of our journeys, our scars and our choices. It may be that we won’t have one or that we will.

Being needed is one thing, needing to be needed is another thing entirely. There were times I needed her but she chose something else. There were times when I was there for her, and was pushed away by others. There have been fun times and relaxing times when no one needed anything, but they never last. Those bright spots kept me holding on with things longer than I should have, kept those boundaries and that desire to please.

It was fear though that really changed things for me – the lingering old fear that if I said something or shared something, if I didn’t look the part or play it well there was a price to pay. That there would be comments, looks and actions to remind me of ‘my place’.

The night I struggled with the boundaries in my life I was afraid of a post I had written. Irrationally I feared that 1200 kms would dissolve into 12 and they would be on my door. Then I grabbed that fear and really took a good look at it, and decided I didn’t want it in my life anymore. If there is a price to pay for NOT fearing your parents at almost 40, then I’m thinking its worth it to NOT be afraid. I wondered how they would respond to firmer boundaries, to a more solid distance. My fear was still there but fading.

The night my son cried over choices made by grown ups was the night my anger burned away the rest of that fear, and instead of fearing them I had a strong and prayerful resolve. I was not only able but willing to set and keep the boundaries and the rules of engagement were mine to write. MINE! It didn’t matter who I looked like, or who I may sound like…I am me! They are my guys. This is our family.

Thanks for sharing Darlene!

4

Mother wanted a boy when she was pregnant with that little girl so long ago – She and dad were not expecting a girl, and only had a two bedroom house, and had already had an older son. The girl baby threw a wrench in the plans. Mother did not know how, nor did she care to know how to nurture a girl baby… so she just didn’t. The child grew into a toddler, then a young preschooler always begging for her mother’s love, hanging on to her skirt as she flew through the house, and swatted the young girl child away. Then, during the years of sexual abuse from the older brother and dad, she was additionally put into a emotional triangulation position with mother and dad. The mother, because jealous of the attention which the dad gave to the little girl, would “set up” arguments by telling the little girl about dad hitting her, and when the little girl would take the mother’s side, they would both hold her and strap her with a wide leather belt for “being bad”, and speaking out against dad for hurting mother. The mother almost certainly knew about the sexual abuse, and even participated in certain ways, and didn’t do anything to stop the abuse.

The little girl had no instruction on how to keep clean, and was consistently dirty with matted hair, running around the neighborhood barefoot and shirtless into the nighttime. After the little girl grew older chronologically, and moved away from home, the mother began to see that the little girl was indeed her savior, and began to befriend her daughter. The daughter loved her mother with all of her soul and being, and was the one who nursed the mother through her horrific surgeries for colon cancer. The daughter was also the only family member who was with the mother in her hospital room when she passed away…. holding and nurturing her as she took her last breathe. The little girl was me.

5

My mother is a crazy maker. I have been told over and over that my mother will never be able to be there for me. I spent 20 years hoping and trying she would love me or even accept me. To make matters worse she has convinced my whole family that I am the crazy one. With my DID I sometimes forget she is not safe. Today was one of those days. I called her to discuss my concern for my nephew and she berated me. Told me I was labeling my nephew and was extremely passive aggressive. As usual I end up sobbing and then I end up back in that mentally ill role feeling suicidual that my mother will never admit to the abuse or even care if I am alive. I am a Christian and family is so important. I hate the fact that when I am in a young part and scared I still hear in my head a part calling out Mommy. She was never a Mom. She and my brother used me for their pleasure/sickness. Why do I still cry out, Mommy?

6

‘I was who they wanted me to be’ That describes all my relationships no matter who they were with. Sustaining all those different people (in me) and guises while having no strong identity (or at least one that was deeply hidden) has caused much of my stress related illness. Also none of this being conscious, I confused myself about who I was, what I wanted to do, even to the level of intimate relationships and who I wanted to be with – I fundamentally did not know. This statement about being who others want applied even to jobs, going for interviews, even to changing the way I spoke when I met someone – all to make them feel comfortable or something.

7

Susa – all I can offer is a hug and some love. Your story tore at me. Glad to see you here.

Louise and Fi – I’m so glad you are here, and thank you for sharing.

8

Hi Shanyn,
I can relate to your description of being with your mother. It was like that for me too, and those good times always made me feel like we had finally turned a new page and that it was finally going to be okay, only to find out that no.. it was like she was paying her insurance or something… being nice was like making a deposit in the “now I get to put you back down” bank. She threatened to sue me if she ever read any of my “complaints” in a book.. LOL I wonder if reading them in a blog counts? =) I wonder why, if she really didn’t think that she did anything wrong, she would have threatened to sue me for telling? And I wonder why I never thought to threaten to sue her?
I love your final lines in your comments ~ “The night my son cried over choices made by grown ups was the night my anger burned away the rest of that fear, and instead of fearing them I had a strong and prayerful resolve. I was not only able but willing to set and keep the boundaries and the rules of engagement were mine to write. MINE! It didn’t matter who I looked like, or who I may sound like…I am me! They are my guys. This is our family.”
YES Shanyn, YES YES… that is what I mean by taking MY life back.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Susa
my gosh, this is a very horrible story. I am really sorry that this happened to you and that this happens! Thank you for sharing your story.
Hugs, Darlene

9

As much as I’ve grown over the past few years, my relationship with my mother is still where it always was… with her in control. To make matters worse, both my husband and I work for her. It’s complicated because I really do love her, and we get along really well most of the time. It’s just that when she loses it, she really loses it and I pay the price. Just a few years ago, she called me one morning and actually told me that she thought everyone would be better off without me in their lives… my husband, children, she and my dad. “You’ve never been a good mother”, she said, “You should just leave and never come back.” The thing is, I’m a great mother. It’s the one thing I know I’m great at, and I adore my children. She had a difficult childhood, and I know that’s where these things come from. I know she doesn’t mean what she says, but still… that doesn’t make it any easier to hear, and the damage is long lasting. I work hard as a rape crisis advocate at a local women’s shelter and I’ve gotten comfortable letting many people in my life know the truth about my past… just not her. I know she would have horrible things to say and I know I wouldn’t handle it well. It’s a shame because hiding it from her keeps me from being able to do wonderful things for the women’s center. It’s like living two lives. I’ll be turning 40 this year! You’d think I would have overcome this by now!

Not sure if anyone caught the homeless man on the Today Show this morning who now has radio offers for his wonderful voice… beautiful story! BUT… I noticed his mother said she was “disappointed” in him and asked him not to let her down repeatedly! I wanted to reach through the TV and give him a great big hug. What a shame those closest to us spend so much time putting us down that they miss seeing the true potential each of us has… pushing us down instead of raising us up.

I pray I always see the best in my children and they never doubt for a second they are loved.

10

Hi Elaine
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
I had to ask myself that same question.. why did I still want my Mommy? The crazy thing is a big thing and somewhere on this journey back to me I realized that I WAS NOT the crazy one. I had to hold on very strong to this NEW realization. There were several people in my life that put me back into that beief system besides just my mother. Sometimes I felt like I was swimming in quick sand, but I held on and kept going forward. You are fighting for your very life here Elaine. I had to change my understanding of the word “family” and that what it implies is NOT what I had. I did eventually get through all of this. Please hang in here, you can get through it too.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Louise
Yes, me too… I was who everyone wanted me to be, and having dissociative identity made that easy in some ways… my identities played to whoever they needed to play to. That was how I coped. That is why it was so hard to let go of my all my identities/alters. And I lost myself even more.. not understanding who the heck I “really was” and it was a huge mess. I didn’t know this stuff either. This statement applied to all my jobs and bosses and even most of my girlfriends. I did ALL of this too. One of the first things I learned in recovery was that this was my coping method. That I was like a chameleon and OH I even learned that I was stumped about what to wear if I was meeting someone new because I didn’t know what they would want me to be wearing! LOL The reason that I wanted them all to be comfortable is because I believed that was the only way that I could be safe. Lots and lots of stuff here Louise!
Hugs, Darlene

11

Hi Aerin
I was OVER forty when I finally realized that this stuff was killing me and that it had killed “ME” all my life. I would like to reach through the computer and give YOU a hug. You might want to give yourself one!
My mother pushed me down for too long. I made all the excuses too; that it came from her own pain, that she didn’t mean it, etc. etc… but in the end I had to take a good look at what it was doing to me and I had to wonder what would happen if I asked for it to stop. Of course I was hoping that she would stop but she didn’t. I really thought that she would understand how hurtful the things that she did were but she didn’t. I realized that I could not cope with it anymore. Or maybe I should say that I could not let go of my coping methods if I kept letting her do that. I was exhausted and I didn’t even know about the things that her judgement etc. was keeping me from!
Gosh this is so hard, I know. I am not trying to push you to see this my way, or to do what I did, I totally understand that we all make our decisions when the time is right for us.
Thank you so much for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

12

Well, I think it is finally time for me to stop running and get busy responding to this incredibly evocative post.

When I got home today (about 4:30 p.m.) and logged on to Facebook, the first thing I saw was your post about this entry. I was stoked. Something I said inspired a blog post. Cool. Then I came over here to read it. I saw the photograph, and the pleading eyes of the child and immediately started to tear up. Then I read it. Then I read all the related posts. I started jotting down things that resonated with me, memories it brought up, etc. It brought up a lot of stuff for me. A lot. I started to feel. I started to feel things that I have suppressed for years. And I started to hurt. Then I spent the next several hours trying to suppress my voice. MY voice. MINE. The one that is SCREAMING inside of me. I did it for a while. But I finally realized (whith a little help from Shanyn…thanks, Shanyn) that I don’t want to keep quiet anymore. I don’t want to shut up. I want to shout. I want to scream. I want to live. And my silence is killing me. Literally. So…here goes.

My mother…

My mother is a flawed and broken human being. Just like me. Her mother made her that way. There is no doubt about it. I am sorry about that. I will always be sorry about it. But as you said in one of your related posts, Darlene, SO WHAT? Why is that my problem? Why is that my responsibility? Why is that my fault?!

If I go to my mother with something good…something I’m really excited about: a new friend I made, a new guy I met, a new job I’m interested in applying for, a new therapist I’ve found, even a great book I’m reading, I can be assured she will do one of two things. She will ruin it, or she will steal it. The first thing she always says to me when I tell her I’m excited about anything (and always has) is, “Don’t get your hopes up.” That has been her mantra for my whole life. And I have learned it well. If she doesn’t say that, she never lets up. The last time I was in therapy, I had a great therapist and I didn’t tell her about it for a year. I was going twice a week and (I think) making some progress. Then I decided I would mention it to her. After all, we get along most of the time. She was delighted to hear it. So glad I was getting some help for my depression. And then she never let up. She kept track of when my appointments were and called me after each and every one. “How was therapy today?” I never told her anything about what went on in therapy. I just said, “it was fine.” But I resented the hell out of the question. Why is that MY therapy is all about HER?

The reason I resented it so much was because of the FIRST time I was in individual therapy, during and after my senior year in high school. I had been referred to this therapist because a school counselor thought I was at high risk for suicide. Go figure. I didn’t know it at the time. So I went. She was very good. She helped me work out some of my anger at my grandmother and my father. Never once did I mention my mother as part of my problem. She wasn’t then. Or at least I didn’t think so. We were the best of friends. I don’t remember how it happened. But a couple of years after I started with her, my mother came in with me. I think this was around the time that my grandmother was dying. I was an adult by this time (I was 20 when my grandmother died.) My mother started coming into therapy with me and then she started going in individually. To my therapist. It never occurred to me at the time that this was a gross violation of boundaries. I guess it didn’t occur to the shrink either. I stopped going after a while because I could no longer be carried on my mother’s insurance and couldn’t afford it. My mother kept going. To my therapist. Hmmm…I am still not sure what to make of that. There are no words to describe it. But at the time, it was the most normal thing in the world.

Here are some things I jotted down during my first reading of these posts and comments:

1. Never a gynecologist…my mother never took me to a gynecologist or told me why I would ever need to go to one, or why it was important. She never taught me how to use tampons (or even maxi pads). She never told me how to take care of my body. She was a nurse. She was a medical professional. And she never wondered why I had constant urinary tract infections all through my childhood…hmmm….
2. Abortion…she told me she considered aborting me. Which was a bald-faced lie. She never considered it. Not once. Not for one instant would such a devout Catholic consider breaking the law (at that time) to abort a child conceived in wedlock. Not a chance in hell. I didn’t even know what abortion was at the time, but I knew that I needed to be really grateful to her for not having one.
3. Your father left after he found out I was pregnant with you. (I was not very old the first time she told me this.) Translation: it was your fault. That’s how I heard it. And she never said otherwise.
I could probably go on for pages and pages on each of these items. But I won’t. Not tonight, anyway.

Darlene, you said, “When I was small she taught me that I needed her, and I did. But she never taught me that I was capable of being an individual. She never wanted me to stop NEEDING her because it restored her value. I believed that I needed her to survive and even to exist.”

She still doesn’t want me to stop needing her. And I have fed that by not learning to do for myself. For always turning to her when I need something, even though more than half the time, she can’t provide it. I have stopped myself having good experiences…anything that might make me excited or joyful because I don’t want to have to talk to her about it. It never occurred to me that I could hold my cards close to my vest and just NOT TELL HER. That would be like lying…and we don’t lie to our mothers…ever.

I have a lot more to say…several more pages of “jotted down notes.” And I want to share them here, but I think I’ve gone on far too long already and my laptop battery is getting low. I will share some more tomorrow.

I am sorry I went so long AGAIN. This is important, foundational stuff and I’m going to wander sometimes. Thank you ALL for your patience, your honesty and your generosity in sharing yourselves with me. In letting me know I’m not alone.

13

Wow, Darlene! Our mothers really are cut from the same cloth!! Everything you shared my mother also did. My mother too wanted to put it all behind us without discussing the abuse … and I too, said, “NO!” Putting it all behind us really meant, ‘let’s just sweep it under the carpet and forget about it.’ Meanwhile, the pile under the carpet grows and becomes the elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge. Grrrr! I knew that if I ever let her back into my life that she would resume control along with the abuse and manipulation, especially when she truly doesn’t think she’s done anything wrong … or does and flat out refuses to fess up.

Lisa, whose remark prompted Darlene’s post … I often felt the very same … ‘what if there is no me without her?’ Well, breaking those ties was not in any way easy – it was excruciating – at first. But as my heart healed, my spirit and soul also started to heal – I began to realize that I can survive without her and that ‘blood is NOT thicker than water’ (an expression she loved to use which I never understood.) It can be scary breaking free from what you have always known. Breaking from her grip was a lot like what I imagine jumping out of an airplane would be – scary, frightening, yet exhilarating.

I love that I figured out that ‘I deserved more than this.’ And Lisa, this goes for you as well. You deserve more than this, because your worth is more than you can know. :o) It’s been a long time for me discovering my worth and I am closer to knowing my worth now than I have ever been. When we know our worth, we are less fearful, we are bolder about sticking up for ourselves, we become stronger in ways we never thought we would be. :o)

Even now, after not having her in my life for a decade – I still know it to be the best decision I ever made for myself. This is me. I am happier, I have discovered that my identity is not based on who she said or says I am – but who God says I am – and He knows me better than I know myself. So now, I am growing into the person He sees – I know He sees beauty – I just wish I could see it. :o)

14

wow it was as if u were telling my story. its always been mom & me against the world. when i was 3, i was told it was my job to take care of her & protect her from everyone. but who protects me no one. i strive for her to want me in her life but im nt a guy so i dnt have anything she needs. i just want my mom to love me the way she tells everyone she does.i dont kno how to excist because of the saying: if your own mother doesnt love u, who will?

15

I truly appreciate all that has been shared here.I too, have this type of relationship with my mom. She left when I was two. We saw each other again beginning when I wasabout 5. She would travel all around and communicate via postcards; telling me how “great her life was and the weather. She would always conclude with, “I love you XXXOOO”. I resented my dad that mom was gone. I idolized my mom, until I was about 12. She had an opportunity to take me in, yet turned meaway because her new husband “did not like kids” This hurt me deeply. I felt unworthy of any love, sinceboth parents had discarded me – my mom to my dad, and my dad to the state of Ohio…

For 35 years, I lived in addictions, self-mutilations, and ill mental health. I sought the companionship of others who mistreated me. I became a street person at the age of twelve, and even became involvd with crimes and prostitution. I totally lived in a way that devalued all of my being and worth. Needless to say, life was miserable.

About 3 years ago, I decided that I had had enough of this, as a result of connecting to God after a death experience that I went trough from a car crash. In this awakening, I was brought into a relationship with Jesus, who teaches me to love those that are hardest to love, and to forgive that which has hurt me the most. This love was a pure love for me, and the only love I have ever known. It is a powerful love, as i has given me ways to love myself.

I have been working very hard at accepting my mom just as she is – unable to connect in a healthy mom/daughter way.I am not doing this becase my mom deserves it. I work on this because I deserve it, and that’s what the love of God asks me to do (“Give to another as I bestow upon you”). When talking with my mom, I have to remain very aware of each comment made (both on my part and hers),as the conversation can deteriorate so quickly, pushing buttons that take me instantly to a place that hurts so deeply once again. It is tha point that I become a reactiv victim all over. My reactions often leave me feeling so drained and ugly within, that I have vowed to myself not to fall in those traps; thus, avoiding the struggle of getting out of them on my own, time after time.

It is not an easy task , and it is ot the type of relationship that I drempt about with a momma (being always on guard and tip-toeing through a minefield. Yet, this is the only type that she is willing to share… It is probably the only hing she has to offer at this point, as she refuses to deal with her own mental health and addiction issues. That being said, I hav let go of my fantasy momma! I have become my inner wounded child’s momma, and am working at re-creating a happy, safe environment for a healthy inner child. I have begun attending Adult Children of Alcoholics, not to put down my mom, yet to learn to set boundaries between us, and to learn coping skills to eliminate thaose buttons that set me off, because it isn’t even about my mom in my world any more. It is the simple fact that I do not like the feelings I get when I respond in a way that is ugly myself.

My choices now have added another element of dysfuncion to our relationship… The healthier I become, the more I feel heranimosity and denial. I honestly think that when she talks or looks at me, I represent hr failigs and her lack of courage to do the work to heal. I love her anyway. Best thing, I do not equate my worth to her inability to love me…

16

I am living with my ma now. And it has been difficult from the word go I should say (like from being a baby). Although at the same time I wouldn’t be here without my ma. Now that I’m healing I include her to a certain extent and reflect when I say something critical. i.e. like if I go to her to share something joyful she also ‘ruins it or steals it’ and I often have age regressed to so she doesn’t even listen to the happy thing I may have been sharing but just says ‘Stop talking like that’. So now when I found out that age regression is in a way a healing thing, I was able to share that with her, and also able to show that she was also traumatised and did not know any emotional skills for dealing with trauma… However it does not take away from the fact that her inability to cope, and her reactions to my own inability I guess have been really damaging and hurtful and piled a huge amount of shame on top of everything

Also it’s now more complicated because since my pa died and sometime before she has had Paraphrenia which often makes me feel incredibly unsafe. However being here (living with her) is still a positive because if I wasn’t I would be on the streets or dead as I got so despairing and lost all my will. Also like Lisa I’ve noticed that my ma jumps on my realisations and she ‘gets involved’ or latches onto something – that takes me away from my focus. So I’m kind of making this up as I go a long to cope, if I could leave I would, it would be easier as my ma herself is a major trigger. But having to stay here as painful as it often is, it’s like being confronted regularly with my deepest stuff. Elsewhere I can run away from it or not look at it. Here, I’m like – oh there it is! But I wonder sometimes; my stuff is also prevalent wherever I am or go.. I don’t know, I just dissociated so obviously tricky this one

17

Shanyn said:

“Being needed is one thing, needing to be needed is another thing entirely. There were times I needed her but she chose something else. There were times when I was there for her, and was pushed away by others. There have been fun times and relaxing times when no one needed anything, but they never last. Those bright spots kept me holding on with things longer than I should have, kept those boundaries and that desire to please.

It was fear though that really changed things for me – the lingering old fear that if I said something or shared something, if I didn’t look the part or play it well there was a price to pay. That there would be comments, looks and actions to remind me of ‘my place’.”

This resonated so much with me. I remember coming back from an inner child retreat…where I had really “broken through” some of my areas of shutdown. I had written like crazy and really gotten a handle on some strong emotions (like anger). I felt empowered and ready to heal. I even wrote a poem, with the first line: “I woke up this morning feeling possible!” A month later, my mom came to visit and stay with me (for a month). I tried to share my retreat experience with her. To tell her some things I had discovered and how healed I had started to feel. I started to read her one of the poems I had written. She started talking about something else WHILE I WAS STILL READING IT. I think that was the final “nail in the coffin” moment for my delusion that we were really close. Since then, I have not made the mistake of sharing any real heart moments with her. For whatever reason, she cannot see me in them. And they are a threat to her. And there’s no real reason to wonder why I have such a heard time embracing my vocation as a writer. The only person that ever mattered to me (her) doesn’t support it or honor it and likely never will. And my tendency is to intellectualize that pain, try to figure out why and try to change her mind. But I may never know why. And why doesn’t even matter really. It might matter to HER if she ever wanted to heal her life. But I need to not let her “why’s” matter to MY recovery. What matters is protecting myself from allowing her to hurt me. How do I become immune to her power to hurt me without becoming “tough” or “hard.” I don’t want to be hard, but I feel like I’ve become that way. I’ve become hard so I don’t have to be hurt by the world. But I’m still hurt by it. And I’m still hurt by her almost every time. But that hard shell is convincing enough that “new people” have a hard time getting in…seeing the real me. So I stay defended all the time and wonder why I’m so alone.

One of the reasons I feel so alone is that I am starting to realize that she has never seen me and might never see me. And I translate that to mean that I am invisible. But as I start to speak with my own voice (instead of my chameleon voice), although it doesn’t feel natural (yet), and as I start to connect with people that support me in my truth, I hope I will begin to realize that I am not invisible. I am not alone. And I have worth just as I am.

Someday. I hope.

Just a few more thoughts…more to come. :)

18

Hi Lisa,
This is very good! Your insights are excellent, and I can see that you are having major breakthroughs ~ (please be careful and gentle with yourself for the next while. This stuff can be really painful when the dust settles so to speak at least for me anyway… I would have these amazing breakthroughs, and then talk about them, and a few days later the reality of what I had realized would hit me and I would feel shock, pain, anger, fury, and a whole host of other things like unworthy, unlovable, confusion etc. )
Again, this is really great Lisa. Great work! This is the kind of stuff that really helped me to get to the bottom of my belief system and begin to understand what happened to me, the mixed messages, some of which WERE designed to make me feel bad for even being alive.. the many many lies that I was told… I look forward to reading whatever else you decide to share!
~~~Yesterday, after I published this post, I started to write one addressing the other big issue that came up on on one of these recent posts; the issue of why we feel rejected when our abusers withdraw. It is very related to all of this, and I hope that it aids in further understanding. I might use some of this comment within the body of that post Lisa, it goes well with one of the rants that I go on.
Hugs, Darlene

I would also like to say to everyone, please do not be concerned with the length of your comments. All of this is so helpful for everyone!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Paulette
I thought you might like this one! LOL Not only is there an elephant in the room that everyone is ignoring, but eventually the elephant DIES and then there is a major stink in the room too! When I said that to my mother she said “Darlene, we have had our problems in the past and we always resolve them” and I said “NO mom, I always back down and let it go, we NEVER resolve them” She really knew that I was serious after that conversation and as I said, she withdrew from me. I actually don’t think my mother deep down thinks she is so innocent.. and there are reasons why I know that but that is her problem too and for another post.
Thank you so much for sharing and for being here.
Hugs, Darlene

19

Hi Amy,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken,
I found out that I don’t need my mother to love me. I had to learn to love myself by validating myself and finding this healing path based on the true truth. There are LOTS of posts here in this blog about how I did that and I hope you find some answers for your own journey here. I learned how to exist but better than that I learned how to thrive! I lead a full and productive life today with a wonderful family of my own. There is hope Amy ~ please hang in here with us and thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lisa Robin
Welcome to E.F.B. You have had quite a life, I am sorry that you had such a difficult childhood but glad to hear that you are working your way back to something better. There is a lot of healing and sharing going on here! None of this is easy, that is for sure.
I write the following not to disagree with you, but to share my own experience. I am really glad to hear that you have had success applying your faith to this issue. It was not so easy for me and in the end I had to put my faith and the teachings of that faith (also Jesus however there was abuse involved with that too) “on hold” while I sorted out all the damage that was done. I look at my faith differently today and it is stronger then ever, and today I believe that setting my boundaries with my mother is the most loving thing I can do for her. The healthier that I got the more my mother fought too, but that is because my health makes her feel insecure. She started to lose control of me; maybe that made her feel powerless… I don’t know and it isn’t my problem. She isn’t happy being so abusive, nobody is! and if I put up with it, she has no chance of stopping ~ she would have no reason to stop. I love my mother, just not the way that SHE wants me to love her.
Thanks for being here and for sharing all that you have; I look forward to hearing more!
Hugs, Darlene

20

Darlene,

You said, “I am really glad to hear that you have had success applying your faith to this issue. It was not so easy for me and in the end I had to put my faith and the teachings of that faith (also Jesus however there was abuse involved with that too) “on hold” while I sorted out all the damage that was done. I look at my faith differently today and it is stronger then ever, and today I believe that setting my boundaries with my mother is the most loving thing I can do for her.”

I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to read this from you. We obviously have had similar “faith-based” issues, and I agree whole heartedly with you. When a survivor is one who has lived through abuse which involved religion, we must do just that – set boundaries first, then go back and recoup what beliefs or faith-based affiliations that we choose. These beliefs will then become stronger, and more truthful than the “pick and choose” ones we were first taught by our abusers.

Having said that, it isn’t the same for all survivors, and I honor each survivor’s decision re: faith and religion.

Thank you,
Susa/all

21

Thanks Darlene! Out of all of that the one thing that stands out to me is where you say “I am not an extension of my mother”! I happen to look physically like her. So as a young girl I had to make choices not to be like her. Then as I grew I knew I woudl never. I don’t live my life not to be like her any more because I just am not! You are so the opposite of her and she would hate you LOL!
But I have some advice if I can offer that might help someone who feels like a thwarted child in dealing with their mom or family. I have realized as a Christian and this woudl mostly apply to Christians but also to others with “family values” or pressures that there is a lot of guilt and pressure placed on someone who wants to cut contact with their family because they are then told they are not honoring their parents. For those people I suggest the book Bold Love by Dr. Dan Allender who explains in biblical terms how your first responsibility is to honor God and you cant do that if you are being emotionally abused or in any other way. That you need to honor God first and then yourself. Then he shows you how to honor your parents biblicaly while still cutting contact for your own health and safety.That it is never Gods intention for you to be diminished in exchange for “honoring” your parents. That they must first do as the bible says in Ephesians 6:4-”Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” If they are not doing this then the rules change. Honoring your parents is old Testament and there are new rules in the New testament. I wont go any further into it but the point is if you are a Christian and are guilted into keeping ties with an abusive family your guilt is not of God and is not even biblical. This book can help you think a more healthy way about it and not feel guilty and still honor God in your decision to cut contact. I hope this helps. I bring this up because I recently saw a blog post on a Christian page about sexual abuse which was pushing honoring your parents and forgive and forget. Which is just a mis understanding of the scripture and ways of God. I know this is not a Christian forum but many here are Christians and are suffering from bad theology. That book freed me from bad theology that kept me in bondage. It helped me to take my life back. Thanks Darlene! I still encourage you to write a book. :)

22

Hi Darlene.. I too had to step away from the religious teachings of others that were not about love, yet were of control and condemnation. I have a whole different faith today, and it is my own, as everyone’s should be. I don’t mind even if you were to disagree with me, (smile), as we all can only speak from our personal journies…

I have had a real tough life, yet see that everyone’s is who has ever gone through abuse or any type of trauma. I am grateful that all of us are finding our way out of it all, and learning to dream, love, laugh, enjoy, and live!

I am at the place where I finally can appreciate even the toughest of experiences, as even they, at some point, have rewarded me with positive aspects.

Thanks everyone. Beautiful day to all of the beautiful people!!!

Lisa Robin

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oh my gosh darlene you have described me to a t,and i thank you for sharing that i can overcome this battle with my love for my mother and her inability to accept her part in the destructive mindset that i have spent all my adult life trying to escape from.
i have had witnesses to how she has locked us out of the house so she could spend time with her b/f. the fact that two friends had boosted me through the kitchen window so i could change my shoes for plimsols didnt count for nothing. i have been luck in some ways in that i left home finally at 18 n have had my own space ever since from her, apart from occasional holidays. but i have had complete break from her when i was in my late 20′s and i grew alot and took back alot of control from her. then once we made contact again it was in secret in her life, not mine. it was hidden because her husband wouldnt like it and i went along with it. then ove time along came the usual rubbish and because i didnt take it now and fought back, gently at first but with more conviction as i grew stronger and awareness of how she was trying to manipulate me and my life. i own up to the hassles i have directly caused, but i told her i will not accept the blame for being born or how her life turned into a train wreck because of her decisions. gosh i miss her and would love to be around her but whilst she cannot respect my need to see the past through my eyes and not hers we will always argue eventually.
the hardest thing is that we got really close this time and my daughter misses her so i let my brother take her to see her, and when my daughter asks i tell her that some times people just cannot be around one another without arguing, and that me and my step father are two such people. and so as to lessen the stress and pain the arguing has been causing it better that we stay aprt. my daughter suggested she nana without him, but i said no cause it not right doing it behind his back and when they can be nice and live by our house rules then we’d see. mmm shut her up for a bit.

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Hi

I too have huge faith issues as part of my healing journey. I had to walk away from the church after years of spiritual abuse in many churches. I’ve had a lot of guilt and blame heaped on me because I’m estranged from my parents/family [my abusers] and have no intention of reconciling or having anything to do with them. The spiritual abuse issue is a huge one.

Christian friends have raised their eyebrows at the fact I’ve not been inside a church except for funerals for nearly 3 years, and have no intention to for the foreseeable future. But I had to get away from the bad theology, religious abuse, inappropriate comments etc.

I’ve not walked away from God or from Jesus although my relationship with them has it’s difficulties and trust issues. I walked away from religion and from the religious roundabout of meetings and more meetings and found a precious love relationship with God. My relationship with God is strong in spite of huge questions I have including where was God when I was being abused? Why did God not ensure I got justice when I reported my abusers to the police last year? and many other questions.

There are no easy answers to the questions I have deep inside. But being outside of the ‘religious’ or ‘church’ environment is giving me the space I need to explore the issues and the lies on which my life has been based on up till now, including many religious lies. Slowly but surely those rickety foundations are being replaced by much stronger ones.

I’ve had to stop worrying about the religious stuff and learn to go with the flow of how things are knowing over time that things will fall into place and this is only a temporary situation for me. At some stage in the future when I’m healed enough, strong enough and confident enough I’ll be able to face the church environment again. But for now I cannot and that is just how things are. Anyone who chooses to judge me for that, well that’s their choice but I refuse to be guilt tripped about it or to rush this process/stage of my healing journey.

25

Hi Susa,
I agree with what you have said as well. I honour each survivors decision ~ re faith and almost everything else too! LOL The recovery journey is very personal. AND I made a lot of mistakes too, which I had to learn not to beat myself up for, as I was also learning not to beat myself up for what had been done to me. (I have no interest in beating up others anymore, just in placing the responsibility where it belongs.) I like your expression about going back later and recouping the beliefs. That is pretty much how it worked for me too. Many of the things that I learned in the bible are very much still with me but what changed is the way I understand them now. I don’t understand the teachings through my broken grid or through the lens of abuse or the way that I was taught, because the way that I was taught (using the bible teachings to control me, shame me and guilt me, well that was abusive and wrong..
Thanks for being here!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Carol,
Yes. We can all overcome this battle. I have come to see it differently at each stage of recovery and that is all part of the process. Even some of the hassles that I owned up to in the past I now see differently, but that is for another post. LOL =)
Thank you for sharing Carol. This area is painful and difficult and has all sorts of taboo attached to it. I am not scared of my mother reading my posts so much anymore, but I sometimes hold myself back for fear of hurting the readers with my bluntness and the way that I have come to see this now. I never want to add any damage to an already hurting person.
Hugs and love, Darlene

Hi Lisa Robin,
Thanks for posting again. Sounds like we have some of this spiritual abuse stuff in common. My faith is my own too now, and I think that is the way that it is supposed to be. Yes. =)
I am a big believer that abuse is abuse. Period. I have worked with people who were never physically or sexually abused, and the damage from the misuse of power, and from control tactics was sometimes worse then any damage I have seen.
I am really happy that you are here sharing Lisa Robin!
Hugs, Darlene

26

Hi Pinky,
Thanks for sharing this from your perspective. I am thinking about writing a book.. LOL
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Fi,
I relate to everything you say here Fi. I also no longer attend church, nor do I think that I am likely to return. (unless I found one that isn’t full of that guilt and shame stuff.. and I would likely get kicked out anyway, I am SO controversial and outspoken.. I am a much better follower of Christ without the church. I am stubborn and I studied greek and hebrew word origins for 8 years, to prove to myself that I was right about my suspicions about abusive teachings taken out of context….. however, when I was studying, I was still not standing up to it the way that I do now! Wowee……. the fog busting process for me too YEARS.
About the relationships with God/Jesus and trust issues ~ That passed for me and those issues are completely gone now. Give this time Fi, it is such a huge area.
Thank you for sharing on this difficult subject. I have not written much about this area, but it might be in the future!
Hugs,, Darlene

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I agree, Darlene. I look at it like this… So many have looked at my life and wondered, “How in the world do you smile now after a lifelong, extensive abuse history – 42 years of it?” Then, they often compare themselves and say, “I have not gone through anything so deep or intense!” My response is this, “Your pain may not originate from the same source, yet, you felt it as intensley as I probibly, at one time or another. Abuse, is abuse, and trauma is trauma. My rapes may have effected me in such a shaming way as someone’s shame who has had the house foreclosed and their family now resides at a homeless shelter, because they felt like such a huge failure when providing for their family. The point is, it is shame. It hurts and feels humiliating. I try very hard to feel compassion and empathy toard the things we all have in common, rather than seeing it as I am more pained than another, or more deserving of validation because it was so intense.” This helps others to validate their own, and not to compare or excuse theirs.

I went through something at my church last year that really has opened the members there up to abuse, addictions, mental health, dysfunction,and criminal behaviors. I share this, as I totally understand where you are all coming from. After 35 + years of abscense from any type of religious environment, as a result of the same experiences that you all have discussed, I decided to re-enter the religious churh settings – seeking support, friendship, and teaching. Well, as I opened up, people began to do as humans do; they formed uneducated decisions and judgements that were coming from their own fears on issues that they had not experienced. At this same time, I also had casemanagers and a supported community living worker. I was living in a horribly abusive, triggering environment, and my abusers had reconnected with me; therefore, I began to change dramatically. When I approched these people in my supportive circles (church and workers) about the conditions and issues, I was neglected once again. I don’t know if they did not believe me because some of my experiences are very hard for someone to wap their brain around unless they have gone through abuse themselves, or if they just did not knoe what to do, or did not want to get involved out of fear or lack of concern for me. I don’t know. All I do know is that no one did anything that was helpful. In fact, when I went to the church to prove what I was saying, they stole my truck keys, encircled me, kept touching me, and eventually called my worker and the police. Well, all of this hurt me more, and I quit going for almost a year. Once again, I too, pulled away from church environments. However, I have recently returned within this month, as I am better and void of the abuse! I too, had not turned away from God or Jesus, just those who did not understand. In fact, I leaned on my spiritual supports (my faith, God, and Jesus) even more, just not in a publice setting.I now seethis as an opportunity to educate them (who are open to it), about abuse, community-based supports, crisis intervention, and so on. It took me awhile to work through it, and I must say, I do not trust them, as I have no reason to from the past. The thing about it all is, is that they have stepped up to the plate in admittance that they just did not know, nor when told, did not know what to do to bring me safety. They admitted to me that they responded out of intense fear for me, and themselves!

I truly believe that everyone needs to do as their heart leads them when re-connecting spiritually, because I am sure that at one time or another, all people question the Creator, and are even angry at , let down by, or confused when walking this road of healing within relationship (with God, others, themselves,support people, etc..) I honor and respect all, no matter of their choices or experiences. Thanks for talking about this, as so many have experienced huge disappointments and hurts when trying to connect within religious sectors. Peace to all…

Lisa Robin

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For the last several months, I’ve been looking at EFB and OSA as my safe places. Places where I can be totally real and truthful and myself and be totally accepted just as I am, with no need for embellishment or artifice.

I have been uber-vigilant when it comes to Facebook. If I participate in a discussion or “like” something or comment on something on either of those walls, I go immediately to my profile page and delete the reference to the comment. Now I know that only subscribers to those pages will see those comments on their walls. Anyone else would have to go to MY page to see them. And they would have to do it good and quick, because the moment I hit “Comment” or “Share”, I immediately go to my page and delete it…without 10 seconds having passed.

Well, I found out yesterday that my mother has been stalking my page. It’s the only explanation for the e-mail I received from her yesterday, with the subject line Mother/Daughter and the following contents:

“I am sorry you have had to go through this and am glad you shared it. If there is anything you want to ask me ,feel free. I am (n0 longer) my mother. I can take it without horrible results to anyone. I don’t feel like there is anyything I can say without seeming either condescending or defensive and I don’t fell either so you are in charge of whatever you want to pursue or not. I am glad you have come to this place…just sorry it is necessary It’s very hard but very worthwhile. Keep up the good work (see what I mean?)”

To anyone who didn’t know her, I’m sure this sounds lovely and supportive. But it is an invasion of privacy. I did not share it with her. I would never do that. Darlene did not share it with her, as she does not know her. There is only one way she would have seen it, and that is if she was trolling my page and clicking on things that sound interesting to her. And make no mistake…that e-mail was her way of defending herself against my “attacks”…”see how much better I am than my mother?”

I was appalled and horrified. I was sitting in Barnes & Noble when I got the e-mail and almost had a nervous breakdown. My friend was truly alarmed. But it has made me sick to my stomach and spooked…UNSAFE…all day long. I didn’t dare come here and share anything further. I don’t know if she’s reading these things. I wrote back to her to ask what prompted her e-mail but she has not responded.

I know that facebook is not a secure place. But the idea of her seeing the things I’ve written about her makes it hard for me to look at my truth and continue to speak it out loud. I felt like I’ve had some breakthroughs in the past few days…and now I feel like a weak and frightened child again.

At least, that’s how I felt last night. Now I’m just pissed off! Really mom? Thank you for sharing?? I can ask you anything? Really? Thanks for the permission to have a voice and use it. But I’ll use it elsewhere, thanks. I’ll speak my truth to people who can actually HEAR it, if it’s all the same to her…and even if it isn’t! I will not open myself up to her excuses, her manipulation, or her heartbreak. I will not let her STEAL this safe place from me, as she has stolen every other safe place. Therefore, I will not be discussing any of this with her.

And how stalker-ish creepy is it that she was following my page that closely anyway? I have since set my privacy settings so that she can’t see my posts (any of them) or my likes and interests anymore…see how long it takes her to notice. That’s a temporary measure until I have the guts to un-friend her entirely (from FB anyway).

Damn, I’m mad now! And I think it’s about damn time!

29

Everyone’s comments are so thought provoking.
I don’t know what to say about my mother sometimes; other times I have a great deal to say.

My mother was an enigma to me; a mystery. I don’t think I ever got a handle on exactly who she was.She was not an emotionally open person at all, so I think many of my conclusions about her were based on assumptions, or trying to piece together who she really was and how she felt at times.Yet at times I asked her to be open with me, it was as if she played a game with me to keep me from knowing how she really felt about many things.As if telling me her true feelings would weaken her? I don’t know.

That’s part of why I have been so confused about incidents in my family.I have always felt there were missing pieces of facts AND emotions.

In the end you have to have some working version of the way things were, that you need to move on from. If no one offers me additional information then I’m left to draw my own conclusions- AND justified in it.

I spent a good deal of my later life empathizing with my mother, only to have her then do or say the most incredibly hurtful,demeaning and shaming things to me. I was a failure in her eyes that she had to endure.I think everyone in her life ‘disappointed’ her.She was ‘doing’ everything ‘right’, in her words, but ‘God has turned His back’ on her. That is how she felt and was coldly disdainful and angry at God, but doggedly went through the motions of doing church all of her life. AND trying to make sure my daughter and I stayed entrenched in it.

She had a inability- or chose not to- to connect emotionally, and came across as disdainful.I don’t know that she could have changed that.

I see my relationship with her as symbolically, as trying to get a handhold on a smooth piece of granite. There is nothing to hold on to, and you just keep slipping downward.You can’t make a dent in it; you can’t find a soft place.

One telling memory I have of mom is Christmas Day; my daughter’s first Christmas.While my little daughter was happily tearing paper off her gifts, and I watched delighted at her delight; my mother sat with several desk drawers she had taken out of various
desks, and was cleaning them out
totally ignoring her granddaughter and her joy and delight.

This was basically the theme of life with mom; any joy was squelched or ignored or dismissed. She was emotionless and uninterested in us.EMOTIONALLY.

This was years BEFORE her head injury.

Yet I kept thinking I could make a difference.I came to the conclusion that I just didn’t matter to her; appearances mattered, but I didn’t matter. WE did not matter on a basic level.

Great posts here!

30

When I left my bad relationship and moved back with my mother with a 3 week old baby, I had no idea then how weird the next decade would be.

At first my mother and I decided she would give me some money each week and I would keep the house up-which I would have done anyway.

My mother gave me 25.00 per week for years. In all of that were as I look back, the coldness, the subtle shaming. I know I reverted back to my childhood ways of trying to get mom to ‘love me.’I look back and I know my self worth became dependent on how much I plessed her and how ‘good’ a job I did raising my daughter.I became weak.I’m almost embarrassed to say that the times I felt I could go and get a job, and said so, I let her talk me out of it. Later she told me the reason: She was taking big tax deductions on both my daughter and I.

Later I found out at the time I moved in with her she was making 200,000 a year. I had no idea.She was ‘giving’ me 25.00 per week.

I look back and see so may incidents and patterns pointing to the fact that while she disapproved of me, was somewhat contemptous of me, she also did not want to let go of me.I was the family screw up. she was going to make sure my daughter was raised ‘right’ and in the church….

She apparently told my daughter from preschool days that I was ‘overprotective’.This had the effect of my daughter not listening to me regarding situations that were detrimental to her-such as the church situation I have talked about here. In effect my mother desconnected MY connections to MY daughter early on. I never realized the extent until years later.

In short my mother derailed my emotional connections and the trust between my daughter and I trying to esentially ‘take’ my daughter and mskr her her own.At the same time mom offered the same conditional ‘love’ to my daughter as she had her children. The woman was a very destructive force in my life.

I’ll never understand her.I could never ‘reach’ her.

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Elizabeth,

The way you describe your mother is very like how my grandmother was…and she used us against my mother often. She also used my mother against us…kept me in fear all the time. I was afraid of her and my mother…afraid if I said or did the wrong thing, one or the other or both of them would abandon me. It’s pretty sick stuff. Jeez!

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lisa, i used to worry about what my mother thought of my healing and there was a time when she would explian things if i asked her questions, always from her side of the story but i learnt to factor that into what i took from her answers. i was told that my mothers mother had arranged for her to go into hosp. n have her appendix out, but mu mother had had hers removed years earlier. it was explained to me when i questioned her love for me, that she could of gone into the hosp. and had the operation that her mother ahd sorted out, but she had chosen to marry my father instead and had me. there has been times i too wished that she had taaken that option, as then she wouldnt have been able to beat me verbally for years, that it was us, her children, that made her do what she did in the past. mmm not in my eyes now, though it hurt me for so many years that she blamed me for the train wreck her life became.
the stage i am at now is that i dont care whether she hears or reads what i post, though since we fell out before the summer she isnt on my f/b account other than through other family members. i decided that i had the right to tell my story from my point of veiw and not hers. yes we were both in the same situations but our perspectives of them are so very different. once i could see that and then slowly learn to believe it was ok to have My version of the truth, her version didnt matter all that much to me anymore.

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I don’t have the energy right now to respond to the blog…but wanted to kind of respond to Lisa B and the issue of her mother seeing postings on EFB. About Feb 2010 I started posting on both EFB and OSA. I felt freedom…to be me and say what I wanted, including about my family. I said many things about my abusive past and my controlling mother. One evening I got an email from my mother basically verbally “punishing” me and telling me that I was kind of wrong for posting these things…she warned me that our mutual friends would be able to see these. I also was very careful to always delete my links on my profile to comments I made. I was horrified that she was stalking me to that extent…but not surprised, I’ve seen her steam open my siblings’ mail in the microwave over a bowl of water! I retorted back that I basically knew she was stalking me and that I was upset that her “concern for me” (as she put it in the email) was really concern that her friends might see what I had to say. She claims she did not stalk me on FB and that this stuff was in her newsfeed. Now, I have no idea what’s true…I knew she would stalk me, but thought I was covering my tracks.

I still think she was checking out my page…BUT, I had a number of other friends message me or catch me on chat and tell me that they had no idea what I had gone through as a child and that they were proud of me for working thruogh my issues…. Again mortified…I asked these friends and they said it EFB posts were appearing on their newsfeed and that they were not members. I questioned this with EFB and also with OSA (someone else said they saw an OSA come through on their newsfeed). I could see only two explanations, since I don’t think it just comes through on all my friends newsfeeds. They were either stalking my page and it was not on their newsfeed…OR, they were members of the pages and it would be on their newsfeed. I would not put it past my mother to join these groups…I would be quite surprised if she hasn’t…. I no longer care…the “outting” was a blessing in disguise. Pushed me much further into a state of I can say/do whatever I want… I told her not to look at my stuff if it bothered her and after more issues related to what I was saying online…I blocked her and some of my other family on facebook. Sorry they don’t like what I say, but I am tired of hearing about it.

As for the friends, I did question a few others about it being on my newsfeed…I kind of got the impression they may have actually been checking out my wall…which doesn’t bother me. Sometimes I check out some of my friends’ walls just to see what’s up…it is FB after all.

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When we tell our dysfunctional parent that we are in therapy, the first thought is, “I wonder what she is telling him about me.” My passive agressive mom never said in words that she was angry with me but I knew she was. I kept going anyway. It was the first healthy thing that I did to take care of me.

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Hi Elizabeth,
Jimmy (my husband) and I are sitting at the kitchen table, and I have been reading your comments (and some of the others) out loud to him. Elizabeth, the things that you are putting together, the things that you are realization and understanding were the same type of things that both Jim and I realized and came to understand that put me (and him) on this amazing path and eventually set us free. I know how hard this is, and I also know how much it pays off.. Both of your comments are FULL of fog busting truths, that when faced the way that you are facing them, have amazing amounts of freedom benefits. I am thrilled that you are courageous enough to share all of this with the other readers here Elizabeth.
I will have to write my own blog post about the things you have reminded me of Elizabeth. Thank you so much for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lisa,
You are having a lot of breakthroughs too! This whole area is very very difficult. I had a situation like this with my father.. he somehow found something I wrote for the Angela Shelton foundation, and sent me an email giving me permission ~ and after I read this “lovely email” I felt like he had threatened me! I might write a blog post about that event too. My father is not on my FB because I don’t want him on it, but this is a whole huge area about feeling strong enough to be me and say my truth without fear of being abandoned, because I was abandoned my whole life anyway! So I finally realized that I had nothing to lose, there was nothing to fear but fear itself. And when I did take my life back, and live for me, things only got better. None of my fears were ever realized. My next post talks more about that… I will publish it tomorrow.
Thank you Lisa for your honesty and courage in sharing this with us.
Hugs, Darlene

For those of you who are worried about privacy settings on Facebook, here are the instructions (courtesy of the Overcoming Sexual Abuse page) on how to set privacy settings:

PRIVACY CONCERNS on Face Book

On Facebook, Emerging from broken and the page Overcoming Sexual Abuse are open groups. If you are concerned about others outside of this group viewing your posts, you can choose who sees your posts by following these links: Account, Privacy Settings, Personal Information and Posts, Posts By Me, then Customize. Choose who sees your posts from there. Please note that this option applies to all your comments, not just those on facebook pages.

For individual wall posts, below the ‘share’ button, there is a ‘filter’ option. If you click on that, you can choose who sees that particular wall post. This only applies to wall posts and not to the discussions or comments.

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Hi Carol,
The final event that caused the final fall out with my family was because I had told my sister in law something that happened to me as a child. I told her about being sexually abused one night. This blew up into a huge thing behind my back between my brother and my mother, and my brother phoned all my relatives asking if I had been talking about him. (he was not the abuser I was talking about.. interestingly enough) Then I got confronted about what I was going around saying. I finally for the first time EVER said that I could talk about MY OWN LIFE~ but no one would listen to my defence so I said what ever… as you can tell, they didn’t stop me. =) and yes, this is my REAL name, the one that I was born with. =)
I love what you said Carol ~ I can tell MY story from MY point of view. YES
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Wendi,
Thanks for posting! I posted the privacy instructions for facebook in my prior comment.
You shine more light on this too. And the thing that I had to remember is what I just wrote to Carol. I can say what ever I want about MY LIFE. But all my life I (and they) had been so used to doing things the way they wanted me to so they were pretty shocked when I finally said NOOOOOOO. I am not doing it your way anymore.
Thanks for sharing Wendi, You always post awesome additions here on Emerging from Broken.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Patricia,
You bring up a good point here; This is so true!
When I came out of the huge fog storm that I was in with all this, I realized that if my mother had nothing to hide, she would not be so dang worried about all the secrets that I was supposed to keep for her and about her. And that is what I keep remembering today. MY next blog post has been written for two day now… but wow does it ever go towards answering the comments in this blog post!!
Thanks for being here Patricia!
Hugs, Darlene

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Carol, that’s what I’m learning…my own version of the truth. I didn’t know there were two versions until very recently. I just accepted her version of the truth without question. I willingly gave her my identity because I thought it would make her happy. It’s confused and confusing…and I’m learning my way free.

Thanks, Wendi, for your points. I was having fun on Facebook, chatting with friends, posting funny statuses, whatever. Ever since my mother joined, she’s taken the fun out of it for me…and this was just the perfect reason for me to do what I’ve wanted to do all along…block her from seeing my stuff. :) I will probably still delete my EFB and OSA posts … because I have work friends that I don’t necessarily want reading them either. But really the person I was most afraid would see them was my mother…because I knew she would find a way to make them about her. But now that it’s happened and I have taken steps to protect myself, I feel so much better. And I don’t mind if friends check out my page and see things…really, it’s just her. She has invaded my privacy and stolen my identity for my whole life. It feels good to take a step to protect myself from that.

Patricia, this is so true. THAT is why she called me after every therapy appointment to ask how it was…she wanted me to tell her what I said about her…or what the shrink said about her. She was trying to find out if I had woken up to who she really was yet…probably because she knew that when I did, it would only be a matter of time before I started standing up to her. I have tried to keep these things separate from her to protect her…that is still my instinct. I figure I can talk about my past in a healthy environment and still have a relationship with her. But she doesn’t appear to want that…she wants me to be the same person who agreed with everything she had to say, who saw her as the victim when her other children grew up and had lives of their own. There was so much sickness in my thinking because I spent every moment trying to protect her. And that sickness is still there. But I’m getting better every day.

And all of you are helping. So thank you!

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My mother was very passive aggressive, and she did her part in contributing the insidious abuse that she did by triangulation, and by not stopping the overt abuse that was being done to her daughter. She “acted” the part of the typical abused wife, but we know that much of that was simply manipulation to assure that the triangulation > dad – her – the daughter was continual.

Having DID and dealing with feelings toward abusive parents is daunting at best…. especially when both parents are deceased. Parts of me want to “love” a fictitious dad and mom who we wanted to have but didn’t, but others still feel rage about their abuses of us. I suppose the consensus would be fairly neutral.

When younger sister and I were banned from attending mother’s funeral, we did a children’s book which was about mother, and helped to “memorialize” her in a way to take the place of not being allowed at her funeral. It was somewhat cathartic, but now that I have made a YouTube video of the book, I look at it much differently. It is a touching, but bitter sweet story that has my head screaming. I have it posted on my FB page should anyone choose to see it. I am just experiencing very mixed emotions right now… but I will use this discord to try to learn from, and to figure more things out. It may be painful now, but I know that eventually, I will gain from this experience.

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Darlene,
Such a powerful subject. I see so many struggling with this problem. Min situation was different, with my mother never really seeing me. I spent years trying to get enough of her love. It took me a long time to realy realize the betrayal. She knew for years and I did not firnd out until I was in my 30′s. I love your words, “She failed me as a mother, but I am not going to fail myself anymore.” I had to reach that point in my life. There was much grief and sadness over this for me but also much relief to finally show that I could ‘back up’ what I truly believed, about right and wrong. I would not be a ‘carbon copy’ of my mother, either. I found that I did not need her to survive. Thank you for your insight and caring by sharing your hard learned lessons with others.

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Darlene every time I read one of your blogs/post I see more and more of myself and expierence more healing…it happen again to day as I read this.. Thank You and God Bless! (:

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For the past 2 days I’ve been wanting to post a comment on this… I’ve bookmarked this page and come back to it again and again, and each time, all I could do was sit and stare at the empty white comment box. With all the other wordy comments I’v posted on your blog, Darlene, you know I’m not shy! But it’s just… wow. There’s SO MUCH I could say on this subject, SO MUCH I want to say… it has me overwhelmed.

I love you all so much~. Really.
Lynda

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WOW Darlene it says it all.

As my mom abused me and adopted me to be a Ballerina. She was a Ballet teacher and adopted me to train. because I did not turn into a dander she was very upset. My whole life she thought for me I did not know I was my own person. I let go of all ties with her because she brained washed my son took him from me and both her and my mom tryed all they can do get rid of me they let me know what they both would do to kill me. I tryed to get a restraining order and was not able to cause I had no physcial marks on me to prove. I was taken to court and it was a long hall but because of the beliefe I have in God I got through it and have a much better life today full of love and freedom. We can make a life for are self if we let ourselves heal.

You help so many people and I am so thankful I have found your pages. Thank you for being here.

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Hi Linda,
I understand about your mother never seeing you ~ my father never saw me. I spent years just trying to get him to notice me. I actually feel as though I didn’t have a father. It is great to hear that you have had these amazing breakthroughs that you write about here! Realizing we CAN be individuals is so important to healing. Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Susa,
Thanks for sharing more of your story. One thing that I realized about mixed emotions in sorting them out is that we have become used to conflicting emotions, etc. EVERYTHING emotional was also conflicting before, so when we start to sort that stuff out, it is very hard. Our belief systems “fight” within. (and each alter has it’s own conflicts all within too) so this is huge. The discord for me can be a sign of how much sorting I am actually doing, sorting the truth from the false etc.
Glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Angela,
WOW to what you said too and you highlight one of the reasons why we have trouble taking our lives back ~ because we never ever had them in the first place. Taking my identity back, where I had nothing to draw from felt like I had no starting point. Half the battle was just getting started. I am sorry that this happened with your son. I know this happens a lot and it is so horrible when our own children are brainwashed by OUR ABUSERS! this is another big topic for another day. =)
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Wanda and Lynda
Thanks for being here and for your comments! I really appreciate that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hello Wounded Warriors! -

Happy New Year! Happy New Life!!!!!
All of you are so brave and so inspiring. I just wanted to tell any of you who don’t know about it to watch the November 5, 2010 Oprah show about the 200 men who were molested, and stood up and honored their abuse stories on National television.

I have always felt that until we deal with the egregious, unacknowledged sex crimes against boys and men we will never quite be able to stem the tide of abuse in general because the whole thing is so buried in generations of males who have had no cultural and spiritual outlet for their abuse and have buried their painful stories in drugs, alcohol, crime, violence, and the ongoing cycle of abuse within their own homes and families.

Not only are these brave, amazing men standing up and telling their stories, but they are refusing to pass the cycle on to their children. It is truly powerful and touching and makes you feel like this healing cycle is a mini-revolution throughout the country, one that more and more people are joining. The only downside is that the show has two parts, but the Oprah site only plays one of them. You can search on her site or on youtube, but I have never been able to find part two. I truly recommend this to everyone, because it is men breaking the silence and the cycle of abuse in a profound way.

Maybe if we can heal the fathers who abuse their wives and children, we can end the cycle of violence perpetuated by the mothers who make their children targets in order to survive. Not condoning the behavior, just saying that maybe there is another way to go at it, through men breaking their silence too.

Blessings to all, especially Darlene

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Susa > Laramar:

I am in total support of these brave men who stood up and acknowledged their abuses. Oprah has certainly been a viable source of support for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. The only point I might argue, is that if we’re speaking about pedophiles, it is a known fact that they absolutely cannot be rehabilitated/cured of their sexual lust for children.

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Hi Susa and Laramar

Thank you for sharing your thoughts ~ My only issue with the Oprah show about the 200 men is that it was only about revealing the abuse. There was not a lot of solution beyond that and we can’t stop going forward after we reveal.
My points about healing in order to break the cycle is about each person as an individual, healing. It is not more important for an individual group to heal; the only way that the cycle will be broken is by individuals healing. My mother did much better with me then her mother did with her. SO?? It didn’t stop me from getting abused anyway. My mother had MANY of the sick belief systems she passed on to me that her mother passed to her, but because my mother thought she did better then her mother, it was good enough. But that wasn’t good enough for me. Each person has to heal the damage that abuse has caused in themselves, expose and replace the lies that were born out of that mistreatment and doing the work to replace those lies with the truth, all the while clearing the wreckage of the past ~ clearing the rotten foundation and replacing it with a new, clean strong foundation to start rebuilding on. That is the work each person must do in order to live in wholeness and freedom and to pass on to the younger generations what they need to know in order to be able to stand up against this cycle and stop it in future generations.
This is my life’s work, to make a difference towards this end.

Thanks for being here.
with so much love Darlene

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I recognise the importance of highlighting the issues of the cycle of male abuse and thought it was amazing to see all those men stand up and tell of their abuse. BUT I was left wondering how many thought that was all there was to it and they’d be ok having done that. AND I wondered just how many actually went on from that to work through their pain and the damage in their lives. Telling is only the beginning of healing.

But male abuse is only a tiny part of what is a huge endemic problem.

It isn’t a male only issue nor is it a female only issue. Males and females abuse. Males and females are abused.

The only way of changing things and ending the cycle is each person involved changing their attitudes, behaviour, belief systems etc. My mother abused me, so did my father, brother, grandfather, grandmother and godfather. As far as the father/mother/brother incest was concerned my mother was the ringleader and had everyone else wrapped around her finger.

In incest the cycle is so deeply ingrained I do not believe it possible to end it unless every single person involved in that toxic situation admits to there being a problem and works on healing.

Me choosing to heal so the cycle ends with me means it will not be passed on by me. But all the others involved still carry on as if it is normal and nothing is wrong. In that way the cycle, dysfunction and misery continue on and on.

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Darlene, you said: “My mother did much better with me then her mother did with her. SO?? It didn’t stop me from getting abused anyway. My mother had MANY of the sick belief systems she passed on to me that her mother passed to her, but because my mother thought she did better then her mother, it was good enough.”

AMEN!! This I struggle with all the time. But I realized something today. I was raised by my mother AND grandmother. So I was exposed to the sick thinking and abuse of both of them, compounded. So when my mother says to me that she is so much better than her own mother, I feel like saying, “That’s setting the bar pretty low.” And when she says she ISN’T her mother, I want to say, “I never said you were. Doesn’t mean you got it right.”

And you are making a difference, every time you tell your truth. Thanks!

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Hi Darlene,

I agree with you about going beyond disclosure… that is only the beginning of our healing journey. Please excuse my comment about pedophiles, but I felt a need to clarify that about some abusers, and it is very possible for parents and close family members to be pedophiles… I know this for a fact personally… but back on message. The focus should be on our own healing, and not on our abusers and their healing. That is for them to deal with. And yes, when those of us who were so violently shattered as children learn to “grow into ourselves”, then, and only then can we model functional behavior to those who are close to us. Our parents taught us NOT to focus on “self”, because we weren’t worth it, and to do so, was being selfish. That was a dysfunctional rule that we were taught, and it was a flat out lie. To heal, we MUST focus on self, and self healing even if it is difficult because of what we were taught early on.

Yes, you are making a difference, Darlene.

Thank you from this heart,
Susa/all

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Darlene -
I totally see your point. Obviously all healing is a very personal journey – my suggestion is that all of us began our road to healing through some sort of clue, some sort of guide, some sort of indication that we were not alone, and that gave us the courage to take those very intense, very personal first steps. You are one of those guides, those indicators.

The door needs to be seen before it can be opened, and so many of the abusive men and women I encountered in my personal history of abuse were clearly working from a handed down script they had learned from someone before them; a door was right in front of them that they couldn’t see because someone with too much abusive power kept blocking their view, and they went on to pass that blocked view on to their children.

You and Oprah and Patricia Singleton and anyone who keeps pointing out the door for people is doing the world a great service. Think of the men who might have seen that show, believing they were all alone and it was all their fault, and now they have a door they can clearly see, and that they can begin to open and walk through, knowing when they go into that next room, they will not be alone. At least 200 other men will be standing their to acknowledge and support them, in the same way that I feel supported by you and this forum. It is a beautiful thing, even if it isn’t perfect.

Being able to see the script, the door, was the most cathartic aspect of my healing process, and it was so moving to see these 200 men who were also starting to see the script, the story, the door they could open to freedom. It really isn’t about men so much as the journey of finally seeing your abuse for what it is, and seeing that you are no longer having your story written for you, but writing it for yourself, and there is great comfort in group understanding – this forum is a profound testament to that.

I also realized that I had more of a back story than the Oprah show can give, which is that of a documentary filmmaker, Kathy Barbini from Big Voice Pictures, who has two amazing docs about abuse, The Healing Years and Boys and Men Healing, both of which have had profound impact on the communities and institutions who handle the aftereffects of incest and child abuse. Both of these would be very useful for anyone wanting a sense of being believed and honored for their difficult journey.

In the same way that your forum has made many people feel not so alone, these films and the Oprah show also have provided that necessary service. I thank all of you. – Lara

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Susa,
Please don’t apologize for your comment about pedophiles.. I agree and you can say what ever you want to say ~ no worries about that!!!

Hi Lara,
I couldn’t agree with you more! this is a wonderful addition to what we are talking about here and you and I are on the same page! We must see the door first! I wasn’t disagreeing with you in the least. I was just adding to it. And since you mentioned writing a new story ~ I don’t talk often about my professional training, but I took a specialty training for a year in “live a new life story” coaching. =) before I started this blog.
Thanks for coming back Lara, I hope that my prior comment didn’t offend you or give you the impression that I didn’t like the Oprah show or the men’s special show ~ just that there is so little guidance for the “what is next” stuff and I am overly passionate about the healing journey part!
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene -
And your passion and compassion are why so many of us are able to stay committed to the healing journey part! Thanks beyond thanks!

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At Darlene’s request, I am pasting below a lengthy comment I posted on her facebook yesterday. I apologize for the redundancy for anyone who has already read this on Darlene’s facebook.

Here is my comment about dysfunctional mother daughter relationships:

I was 52, my mother 70, when I FINALLY gave up on our relationship. My precious baby grandson Kyle had died, and I called to let her know. My half-sister Kristy answered the phone. She was there visiting, along with most of my siblings & their families, for Sunday dinner. I told her about my grandson. Kristy said, ”OH I’m so sorry to hear that, Lynda, how awful.” Mother then took the phone from Kristy and, with a heavy, put-upon, theatrical SIGH, asked “What’s wrong NOW, Lynda.” Her tone clearly said, for everyone assembled at her little house to hear, that I am a trouble-maker and a whiner, calling her constantly to burden her with every little complaint… which is SO NOT the person I have EVER been, but my mother never passes up an opportunity to make me look bad, and herself seem long-suffering and saintly, in the eyes of our family.

I almost hung up the phone then… but I thought, NO, I want her to hear what has happened, maybe then she’ll feel like the BITCH she is. So I told her that my younger son’s newborn baby had just died. Right away she began to babble… there is no other word for it… “Oh, I knew some people that happened to, years ago..” and she rattles on with this disjointed story about a woman I never heard of whose baby died at birth about 20 years before. Not a word of condolence for me, or for my heartbroken son and daughter-in-law, nor a word about how tragic it was that little Kyle Justin Thomas’s life was over before it began.

After decades of being frequently verbally and sometimes physically abused, lied about, lied to, gossiped about, devalued in every way imaginable, made to be the scapegoat and the black sheep of the family, ”thrown away” at the age 14, and rejected, sooner or later, in one way or another, every time I reached out to try to have a relationship with my mother ~ her ignorant reaction to the news of my grandson’s death was the last straw. She is who she is. Period. And every time I’ve reached out to her I have been hurt, belittled, betrayed, and rejected again. No more.

The crazy-making thing is that I KNOW my mother has NO IDEA why I haven’t written or visited her or called to talk with her in the 5 years since Kyle died. ALL she said was: “What’s wrong NOW, Lynda,” in a put-upon tone of voice, which was a very minor transgression, in light of everything else she has done & said to me in my lifetime!

But it was enough. She heard my sister offering condolences, in a voice that conveyed true sorrow at what I had told her. It could have been ANYTHING that I was calling about… anything you can think of as being catastrophic and tragic, such as me, or my husband, or one of my kids or grandkids having terminal cancer, or my husband or someone else in my family being horribly injured or killed in a car crash ~ anything. In the almost 4 decades since I had lived in my mother’s house, I had almost never called her with bad news of any kind, so it wasn’t like I was calling all the time to burden her with every little thing, like her tone so clearly suggested. A MOTHER WHO GENUINELY LOVED HER DAUGHTER WOULD HAVE BEEN WORRIED AND FRIGHTENED by what she heard Kristy saying to me over the phone. But there was no worry, no fear, no LOVE ~ just my mother jumping at one more opportunity to make me look bad in front of the family.

I am worth more than that. I refuse to allow myself to be treated as “LESS THAN” by anyone, ever again. Equal Value = Equal Respect. An old Chinese proverb that I love says: “A relationship can survive anything but disrespect.” ~ YES.

With Love & Compassion to everyone here who has been grievously hurt by their mother,
Lynda

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Hi Lynda,
This story reminds me of SO much. I can’t even begin. I should write a whole new post about it! Thank you for sharing this ~ I asked you to post it here (when you posted on facebook) because this is such a good example of times where we are terribly discounted and somehow we have come to see this as “relationship” except that due to the severity of this event, your brain went “WHAT?” but she on the other hand just kept going ~ discounting you as usual.

My Dad is like this especially for everyday things ~ he can’t seem to ever care about anyone esle’s news but it always reminds him of a story of his own about people known only to him… uggg.
Thank you for sharing, thank you for your determination at the end too ~ I love your statements at the end too!
Hugs, Darlene

Everyone ~ I just posted the follow up to this post ~ this time from the angle of when the abuser withdraws from us and how that makes us feel rejected and some of the dynamics that go along with that whole scene.

you can read it here: Conflicting feelings of Rejection when the Abuser Withdraws
Thanks for all the participation in this post! I am loving the comments and sharing.
~ Darlene

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My relationship w/ my mom is forever fixed and can’t be changed, b/c she died October 15, 2007. But I tried to change it when she was alive and that was a lost cause too. Especially since other family members stuck their noses in where it didn’t belong and tried to tell me how I’m supposed to act and feel about our mom just b/c that’s how THEY feel about her.
IDK if it’s possible to recover from a relationship that’s fixed in time b/c of death. But I have plenty of other familial relations where they want me to stay sick w/ them, and I struggle to stay separated from it all.
They’re not above doing any manipulative thing they have to and have tried everything, even going as far as to blame me for the cutting behavior of another family member, who claims my causing family discord is what pushed her into wanting to cut herself. She couldn’t take the pressure.
Which I think is baloney, but I’m only speaking from a paramedic’s viewpoint w/ limited knowledge of mental health care, while they OTOH are speaking as manipulative family members. And not from any health care background at all.
I use sarcasm sometimes, b/c IDK how else to say how I feel. I learned it from medical doctors, who use it when they deal w/ patients who’ve been so extensively abused that sarcasm for the doctor is more comfortable than feeling helpless or uncomfortable about the patient’s tragedies.
If you don’t find some way to handle what you see and hear as a medic, you won’t last long.

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Hello Everyone,
When I pasted my comment from Darlene’s facebook post, I hadn’t read most of the comments here. I’ve just finished reading all of them, and, WOW. There is SO MUCH here that I relate to. All the posts about religous conflicts and abuse… I could write volumes on that. All the posts about family and others reading what we post, here and on facebook, and about our right to talk about our own lives.

That’s a big issue for me. I feel a freedom in telling the truth about my life, but I also feel some guilt. At 57 and a half, I am still the 12-year-old girl whose mother warned that if I ever told anyone about my mother trying to gas us all to death, trying several times to figure out how to over ride the safety shutoff valve on the gas furnace… IF I TOLD, my mother would go to prison for the rest of her life and all 5 of us kids would go to 5 separate foster homes and never see each other again. And so I didn’t tell, I didn’t tell, I went to bed every night afraid she would succeed in finding a way to kill us while we slept, I went to school every day and worried that my mother would snap and kill all 4 of my little preschool sisters and brothers while I was gone, afraid, so afraid, but I didn’t tell, because losing my mother to prison, and losing my precious brothers and sisters to different foster homes, was a fate worse than death, to my 12 year old self….

BUT THERE WAS A SCREAM INSIDE ME AN EARTH SHAKING EAR SHATTERING SCREAM INSIDE ME I WANTED TO RUN SCREAMING OUT OF THAT HORRIBLE HOUSE SCREAMING INTO THE STREET SCREAMING MY MOTHER IS TRYING TO KILL US SHE WANTS TO KILL US SHE TOLD ME SO SHE HAS BEEN TRYING TO KILL US I THOUGHT THE PILOT LIGHT WAS GOING OUT ALL BY ITSELF NIGHT AFTER NIGHT, I THOUGHT ONE OF MY LITTLE SISTERS OR BROTHERS WERE GETTING OUT OF BED AND TURNING THE THERMOSTAT ALL THE WAY UP BECAUSE IT WAS COLD WITH THE HEAT NOT COMING ON BUT IT WAS MOTHER TRYING TO KILL US ALL SHE CONFESSED TO ME AND I’M AFRAID PLEASE SAVE US…………

I WANTED TO SCREAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.

And I didn’t scream, I didn’t even TELL, not for many years, and when I did finally tell I was not believed, not believed, why would I make something like that up for God’s sake it is the TRUTH damn it I wish to God it was a lie but it is the TRUTH AND THE SCREAM INSIDE ME HAS BEEN KILLING MY SOUL ALL THESE YEARS THERE IS A SCREAM THAT HAS TO COME OUT……………………………..

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And I can’t watch the news ever, I can’t read newspapers, for how often, how horribly sadly terribly often, do you read in newspapers or hear on newscasts about a mother, or a father, killing their child, or nearly killing their child…. you never know when it will happen, the words are read or heard before you know what you are going to read or hear, and then I SEE IT ALL OVER AGAIN, I HEAR IT ALL OVER AGAIN, I FEEL IT ALL OVER AGAIN, I AM THE LITTLE GIRL WITH THE MOTHER WHO SAYS “I BROUGHT YOU ALL INTO THE WORLD SO I HAVE THE RIGHT TO TAKE YOU OUT OF IT, I WOULD BE DOING YOU ALL A FAVOR BY KILLING YOU, BECAUSE LIFE IS SO HARD,” I am that little girl again, and I am also the child or children in the news reports, I hurt for me, and I hurt for them, and the SCREAM wants to erupt out of my bones, out of my blood, out of my heart, out of my mind, out of my soul.

And I have told my story to people who looked at me like I was crazy, like only a crazy person would tell such a story, like it couldn’t possibly be true, but don’t THEY ever watch or read the news don’t they KNOW that parents DO these things? How many do these things and it never gets on the news? How many try or threaten or come so close, and it never ever goes beyond the 4 walls of the house?

I kept the secret mainly because I didn’t want my brothers and sisters to know what our mother had done, I didn’t want their hearts to be broken the way my heart had been broken when she confessed to me what she was doing. I was 12, I was her helper and her confidante, but they were all ages 5 and under, too little to know, I didn’t want them to know, not ever to know. But now they are all grown, the eldest are in their 40s, and I am sorry if they don’t want to know what happened, but I Can’t Keep This SCREAM inside me ANY LONGER> I just can’t. I don’t know why NOW< but I just CAN't. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Go ahead and choose to NOT BELIEVE ME, that way it won't hurt so much. It is easier to believe that your eldest sister is totally insane and dreaming all this up, than to believe that your own mother tried, night after night after night, to kill you while you were asleep in your bed.

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I have an Australian Cattle Dog that I love so much, I should say we have, my husband and I, she is our fur-baby, and her name is Lady. She is asleep beside me on the bed as I type this. Lady is a rescue dog, she was abused very badly, and abandoned. We adopted her 4 years ago, and we spoil her rotten in every way, but she still has nightmares of her abuse, she sobs in her sleep, like a child. And then we hold her and pet her and tell her she is our good girl and that we love her. And we tell her we are so sorry that bad people hurt her, and we promise her that no bad people will hurt her again. And when we tell her these things, she MOANS, loud and long, like she is trying to tell us all about it. She has the startle reflex, and certain sounds and movements and things will make her have an apparent flash back, and we always gently help her calm down when those things happen.

I was never a dog person before I married Stan in 2004. I was a cat person, but he is very allergic to cats. So, to please him, I agreed to adopt a dog. I didn’t know how “human” a dog can be! I always thought that people who talked to their dogs and treated them like children were weird. Well, now I’m weird too, and proud to be!

I love to bring Lady joy. When I take her for a daily jog around town, which she loves, I love to see her so happy. When I feed her her favorite food, and she eats it with such relish, it makes me so happy. Watching her romp and play with her toys makes my heart glad. Holding her when she is afraid and shivering, melts my heart.

I was thinking recently how Lady doesn’t have to be or to do anything special to be loved, I just love her because she IS, and she is OURS. She isn’t the most obedient dog, to say the least. She isn’t the smartest or the most beautiful, but she is the BEST because she is OUR GIRL. She is worth every penny it costs us to feed her, to take her to the vet, to buy her medicine, etc, she is worth it just because she IS.

This is how we should have been loved as children. The way I love my little fur-baby Lady, the joy I feel in feeding her, protecting her, playing with her, making her happy… this is how children should be loved. A parent’s love for his or her child should never be conditional on how obedient or smart or beautiful or talented that child is, a parent’s love for their child and joy in doing things for their child should just be because that is their child and their child is precious and wonderful just for BEING.

Maybe this sounds silly, but in a way I am re-parenting myself, as I love and care for our Lady every day. When I feed her, tend her, comfort her, play with her, run with her in the park, or just simply enjoy her BEING here, I tell myself, “This is how the little girl inside me should have been loved and cared for… loved, just for BEING.”

My mother showed me her stretch marks and varicose veins that she got when she had me at the age of 18, and told me “YOU DID THIS TO MY BODY.” I was 5 and still her only child when she did that. And she told me how the pain of having me was so horrible, that she didn’t believe a human being could ever hurt that bad, and still live. And her parents used to come and visit, and I was still the only grandchild, and my granmother would always say, “Don’t do like your mother did, don’t get married too young and have a baby too young.” I was two when I remember being told that for the first time, and she told that to me for many visits over the years after that.

So I got the message loud and clear that i didn’t have the right to BE HERE, years before my mother tried to gas me and all my sisters and brothers to death.

I was so thin, that my paternal grandmother nicknamed me Skinny. I was so thin, that the family dr., and sometimes total strangers, would tell me that I needed to eat more and put “meat on my bones.” I was skinny, but my mother was fat. Yet my mother used to tell me that she could not afford to feed me! I tried not to eat because she told me that! I didn’t deserve what it cost to feed me!

My husband and I are on a fixed income, yet we spend a lot of money each month buying good canned dog food for our Lady. We could give her just table scraps or cheap dry stuff, but we give her what she likes, that is good for her. We also spend a lot of money on wild bird seed for our feeder that we fill every day, for the dozens of birds that come to our yard to eat.

We spend this money on dog food and bird food because we want to. We spend this money because these animals need to eat, and we love them, and we feel obligated to feed them, and we want to feed them. They don’t have to behave a certain way, to ‘earn” the cost of their food. They just have to BE.

Now, every day when I fill the birdfeeder and the dog’s dish, as I feel such joy in watching these creatures eat, I tell myself, “THIS is how I should have been nourished as a child. I DESERVE TO EAT, just because I exist. I have inherent worth, just because I am me. I have no less value than any other human being.”

My husband asked me the other day what was my favorite music when I was a teenager ~ was it the Beatles, who were so popular back then? NO, my favorite song was by Neil Diamond: I AM, I SAID…. I bought that album and played that song again and again and again and again, and sang along with the lyrics…. I AM, I SAID, TO NO ONE THERE, AND NO ONE HEARD AT ALL, NOT EVEN THE CHAIR. I AM, I CRIED, I AM, SAID I, AND I HAVE LOST AND I CAN’T EVEN SAY WHY. I AM!

And I am: Lynda Robinson, Coming Out of the cRaZy Closet.

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PS~ I just wish, OH how I wish, that I had been a lot less broken when I was raising my now-grown 3 children. I was still way too frigged-up emotionally and mentally to be even a half-way decent mother. I did the best I could, but it wasn’t nearly good enough. I didn’t abuse my children to 1/10th of the degree of the terrible ways I was abused, but I still messed up with them pretty badly. I wish I had been able to love them so unreservedly as I am now able to love, to love them and accept them and validate them just for BEING. I would give up the rest of my life, if I could only go back in time and make everything right for them.

But I can only go forward and do what I can do, from this day. Maya Angelou said it best: “You did what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better.”

So now, with my loving husband, and with our Lady-dog fur-baby, I am doing better. I hope to have the chance someday to do better with my grown children, too. BUT I still have more healing to do… their anger toward me too easily triggers me.

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Lara, thank you for your words.

Lynda, I, too, still have a scream inside of me. I still am holding it silent. I don’t know how to release it. It has been a part of me for so long. I can’t tell you how young I was when it came into being, but I was very young. I have dreams about trying to scream and nothing coming out.

I believe you. For crazy-making feelings, threats can be worse than someone taking action on their thoughts. I lived constantly with the fear of threats of violence from my dad. I was my dad’s confidant when I was 11 years old. I lived so much with that fear, that I didn’t recognise that the feeling was fear until one night when I was 19 and running scared down a country road to get away from my crazy, drunken, raging father. The fear was so overwhelming that I couldn’t ignore it and stuff it back inside. Of course, I didn’t deal with it either. I just knew it was there and I was going crazy myself if I didn’t get out of that household. Soon after, I ran away from home.

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Somebody commented on interrupting mothers above. I have one of those too. I have been left with my mouth hanging open at her rudeness (and it’s happened way before she got her hearing aids). I finally figured it out: whatever you say to her goes through a filter of whether it’s useful to her immediately or in the future.

If it’s not useful to her, why should she waste time on listening to you? You are simply a possession, unworthy of any respect, and her time is more valuable than anything you might have to say.

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Hi MZC
EXACTLY ~ but look out if you ever use that filter on her. LOL
This is such a good example of being discounted ~ devalued, and being “told” that what you have to say isn’t not important. ICK.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Fi,
I’ve been thinking about what you wrote in the very first comment posted here: “I thought that if my own mother could not care whether I lived or died no one else ever would. Since then I’ve been merely existing, trying to define myself. I’ve realised over time I’m not as alone as I thought I was.”

I know exactly what you are saying. My heart goes out to you, because I have been feeling/thinking the same things for most of my life. Now, like you, I realize I’m not as alone as I thought I was. That is both a good thing, and a bad thing. I’m glad I’m not the “only one,” but I’m so so sorry that others have been hurt, and are still hurting, the way I have been.

Thank you for posting here.
Lynda

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Hi Lynda

Thanks for your comment, I so appreciated what you said and the feelings/thoughts behind it. Thanks for validating the hurt in my life. I’ve been going through a lot this past couple of weeks which is why I’ve dropped out of commenting here and in other places, I need to look after me at the moment. Your comment helped me so much and I wanted you to know that!

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Thank you, too, Fi. We need this validation from each other. There are so many people posting here, about so many hard things, and they all, I should say we all, need validating. Darlene does a super job of that but she is only one person, and I don’t see how she does all that she does. I know that when I share deeply personal comments, I feel so… RAW and VULNERABLE afterward. I wait to see what others will say, and, if no one says anything, or if very little is said, I sometimes feel sorry that I posted. But then I have to remember that we are all busy, we are all probably feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume, and great depth, of the pain that is being shared here.
There are Many, Many posts here that have touched me deeply, in one way or another, but I have only commented on a few of them because they all sort of run together in the whirlpool in my mind!

But your statement about thinking that if your mother didn’t care whether you lived or died, then no one ever could… that one hit me right where I’ve been living most of my life.

I’m glad you are taking care of you.
Lynda

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Fi,
I am so sorry that you are having a tough time ~ I know that all those tough times are part of the process but I still wish we could skip them! (unless we had to skip the benefits that we get from them and then I think I would rather still have to go through them. I am glad to hear that you are looking after you! Please hang in and be careful with yourself. You deserve this healing as we all do!
Three extra hugs for you!
Darlene

Lynda, (and everyone!!)
Once again you bring up a very good point; that we all feel “naked and vulnerable” after we share some of this stuff and if there is no response then we wonder if that is somehow an indication that we are not saying things others relate to. I often tell about my first blog ~ which was only a few years ago! I was afraid someone might read it and so I would not share it with anyone. I did not get any comments and I had this anxiety about the whole thing for the same reasons that you are speaking of in your comments. But the comments back are not a measure of how much we are impacting other people, I can assure you of that. Although I got about 20 comments a day on this post, the blog got several hundred views a day and this post alone got about 175 views per day for the last 3 days? Not that many people comment. I am so glad that you and so many others share so deeply and honestly here. It really makes a difference. This community is really growing into someplace special!
Hugs, Darlene
I am thankful for each of the readers and each of the comments.

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About comments (or lack thereof): I remember learning in a business course that I took way back in the 1970s, that when a person wrote to either compliment or complain to a business, that letter statistically represented about 200 people who felt exactly the same way but never took the time to write.

Of course, this was in the days before the internet, so I don’t know how this ease of ultra-fast communication may affect that statistic. It could go either way… yes, communicating is much easier and faster, but on the other hand, we have SO MUCH we are bombarded with via the internet, SO MUCH to read/respond to, that the sheer volume can quickly get very overwhelming.

Speaking for myself, I love to write.. yet I comment on only a very few, of the huge number of blogs and comments and things I read here, and elsewhere on the internet, that touch me very deeply. I get too overwhelmed to do more than that.

Everybody here, you are A*W*E*S*O*M*E!!!

Lynda

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Hi Lynda,
The numbers are similar still. The thing about the internet is exactly as you say. There is more available, but because of that, people comment only on what they feel strongly about. I read that on an average blog there are about 5 comments for every hundred views. I use analytics, so I know about how many views I get a day and I do better than that comment average here, but that is kind of a guideline.
The thing that I like about the depth of sharing here is that I know how many people are reading that never comment, (people I have never heard of sign up for the updates in the side bar) so I know how many people are being impacted by the post and it is not just my posts. The comments from others and the stories etc. are like the back up or the proof that this really is how others feel too. So all of it together makes a big difference. We are making a difference. I love that!
Thanks so much for being here!
Hugs, Darlene

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[...] More on Mother Daughter Dysfunctional Relationship ~ there is a discussion in the comments that relates to this post [...]

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Darlene,

Interesting that you mentioned the search words many people find your site with. I used the phrase “dealing with a mother who lies” and finally came across your site. I have read a few books (not cover to cover) in the last month since my big rift with my mom which I hope will be my last. But, I’ve been looking for a more personal touchstone for dealing with the feelings of sadness and depression on this topic. I’ve had lots of therapy, but nothing has prepared me for the latest chapter — the day my mom told malicious lies about me to my dad and a family friend for reasons I will probably never fully understand.

One thing I noticed in several of the books about “divorcing” and unhealthy parent is that the people who chose to “divorce” were right about my age. I also saw in one of your recent posts that your mom is the one who walked away. So did mine. I got a nasty Facebook message from her outlining my “offenses” with the final word “Done” as her signature. Ha. I guess the joke is on her because I am WAY more “done” than she is! But, the feelings…. The emotions that you describe of feeling like you are not worth her time and effort. Thank you for crystallizing in words what I probably could not have. If life is to be lived on my terms — terms of honesty, mutual respect, and a sense of healthy boundaries — then she wants no part of that. As irritating as the relationship has been at times, I’m shocked by my own sense of loss. It’s like losing a wound. I know it wasn’t good for me, but now what do I do? haha I kind of have to laugh at myself a little because it seems so obvious; and I would tell anyone else the same things I tell myself but for me, there is so much more fear and pain involved that it is difficult to listen and believe my own logic. An unhealthy person is an unhealthy person, no matter how they are related to me. On the other hand, lets face it, society is not very understanding about a person who really doesn’t like their parent(s) or want anything more to do with them.

I guess I will sort it all out in time, but I truly appreciate a place to read about someone else’s similar journey and maybe a chance to have a sounding board now and again as I am really only beginning my journey to healthy living without an abusive parent standing by.

Looking forward to getting to know you and myself a little better.

Kellie

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Kellie,
I am really glad that you are here. There is a community growing here ~ many of the readers now comment to each other and it is very healing for all.

Just one thing I want to mention about what you wrote when you said that society is not very understanding about a person who doesn’t like their parents. ~ Very true, and I always wonder “why”. I think it is fear. The whole world is so caught up in the misuse of power and control. People get really scared when we stand up for ourselves against our parents ~ it means that we might just be okay on our own! I think that my mother got a lot of her identity through the dependence I had on her. She “owned me” and she had to always prove it. My father had that same relationship with his father too. When I declared that she in fact did not own me, she was outraged. But the truth is that I was the one that had been so mistreated! What the hell was she so upset about? This makes me laugh now. She lost her little emotional hostage. And I gained my freedom.!
I look forward to getting to know you!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Kelly,
I’m so glad you found Darlene’s Emerging From Broken blog. There is an amazing community of survivors here that is literally life- and sanity- saving.

The sense of shock you have over your feeling of loss… unfortunately it seems that anyone with a genuinely caring heart, must go thru the grieving process in all its painful stages, even when the loss is, as you so aptly called it, a wound.

Hang in there and you will get through it, and come out the other side with a new sense of Freedom, Strength, and Serenity. That’s how it worked for me, anyway. We’re here for you~

Lynda

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I’m sorry, I should have written: Hi Kellie. With my name being spelled LYNDA instead of the much more common LINDA, I try to spell people’s names correctly. I know how important that is.

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Lynda,

No offense taken whatsoever. It’s a common mistake. I am noticing that when I get to writing on these comments how my spelling and grammar take a real dive! LOL

Thanks for your great feedback.

In Peace,
Kellie

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[...] needed someone to validate my existence. I wanted someone who could tell me that I was worth the air that I breathed. But because I didn’t believe that I had value, I didn’t believe anyone who attempted to tell me [...]

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I do hear so much of this as I council and it for sure happened to me and my younger sister. As we grow around a Mom we don’t trust, who neglects to teach us the ways of life and our world, and we are molested, and that cycles into horrid relationships with men,etc. I am of a mind that if we must have legal permits , and be trained to dive a vehicle, why not be licensed (ie educated in proper child rearing?)
I am open to seeing myself in your words, from the view point of my 2 sons and their significant others. Their Dad, like my Mom was mostly devoid of sentiment and loving gestures, (I only realized this about him in 05 as I began to heal in earnest) There was not enough I could do be loved and accepted. His Mom won out on both he and my Mom, and backed off when I asking saying “as a Christian” what a cop out when I said we could just skim the surface of a Mother-in-law /daughter-in-law relationship. Just like Mother’s Mother and my 1st grade teacher 9my 1st teacher) I could never do or be enough. Polar Ice caps…. I guess there were lessons there, but when I was mis-diagnosed with Bipolar in 93, and ill from meds my ex did nothing, for me, or our sons, and all the cracks were revealed, when I was much to ill to do anything. In that same time frame9before divorce), my Mom, an LPN, was ill, 5 years, and I would like to think she might have intervened. Though in all my years she seldom if ever got involved in my care.
I am doing all I can to release the hurt, anger and fear from the trauma that “family” can and does treat us badly. My Mom died in 99, 3 months after my ex walked out, and I have tried my damnest to let go of my past with regards to her. But it is not forgotten with the ex, and with my kids it is as if they are on steroids. Hate is like breathing to them and any and all contact has ended as they refuse to even be humane towards me . Recovery threatens all they have known since age 11, and under and they are unwilling to transverse the painful past and I am not longer willing to be their “monster in the closet ” If I give food items, even packaged from a store, it bears repeating that I am considered to have poisoned the food!!! HOW DARK IS THEIR WORLD??? I cannot recover fully with their blackness towards be, keeping me at arms length, using emotional blackmail, not allowing me to see my grandsons, attend weddings, college graduations etc. Dad will not intervene at this point with the truths, because he is their friend and he does not like to get involved, unless his butt is on the line, and it serves his “partner” to have me not be around because some people think SHE is the wife and mother of my kids.
So I read, heal and try to move past not having blood kin despite having birthed 3 sons. There were no kid issues before 93, they were loving kids.
I read 1 John and I try to breathe, and pray, and not hurt, not be mad, and try to move on

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[...] and some of the ways that I began to wake up to the way that I was devalued in relationships. This relationship dysfunction was present in almost all of my adult [...]

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Hi,
I have written on your other subjects but don’t know how to get back to them to see if you responded back to my commits.
Wow, ummmm Im confused right now so I will start first with my greatest fear, I have two daughters, I tried my best NOT to treat them the way I was treated. I had no idenity, respect, or love from my mother or anyone else for that fact. I have a good relationship with one (my oldest) and none with my youngest. But I am so afraid I my be dysfunctional to my oldest, man I hope not she deserves the best in life. It would break my heart if I became my mother and did the same dysfunctional things that my mother did to me. My youngest decided yesars ago she could do a better parenting to herself than I could and she is a mess and I fear she maybe abuseive to her daughter. The signs are there. My oldest believes I did my best and loves me as I respect her as a woman and friend. What if I am dyfunctional how can I know, what can I do to stop it?

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Hi Renee,
All you have to do in order to get my replies is to subscribe to the comments when you comment. (there is a little box that you can check under the comment box, and then the rest of the comments will be emailed to you after that! Here are the link to the last post where I answered your comment ~ Self Esteem, Self Value and learning to Love Myself

About this question: Renee all we can do is to work on ourselves in order to be a better parent. I had those same fears when I began to really look at all this stuff, and I can honestly tell you that although I was scared to death to put my recovery first, my kids have reaped the rewards. So it isn’t so much about “stopping it” as it is learning a new way of life from the old one that we grew up in.
hugs, Darlene

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I just spoke with my oldest daughter, I told her about your web site and asked her to read your blog if she gets the time. I told her what I wrote, and she told me she knows I have done my best and that she loves me! I am a sappy person right now for crying. I have no gage as to what is good and what is not. I am so afraid it isan’t good enough even though she says it was. Thanks for the hugs I needed them!
Renee

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Renee!
That is terrific! I don’t think that youa re sappy at all for crying, I think that it is wonderful that you love your daughter enough to tell her about your reading this blog. As I grew in recovery Renee, I was able to get my gauge back, but it took a while. Keep hanging in here!
Hugs, Darlene

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[...] really tough childhood, and I felt for her. I excused her narcissistic behaviour towards me and our dysfunctional mother daughter relationship because of her own difficult childhood.  She put me in the role of establishing her value, and I [...]

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Darlene,

I have lots of bad memories from my childhood but what is worse is what I don’t remember. I can’t remember my mother ever holding me. I have no memory of my mother ever supporting me in anything or encouraging me. I don’t remember my mother ever siding with me against someone who had hurt me. I have never felt that my mom liked me. It seems that my mom was angry with me from the time I was born. I was premature and very small. I spent a good deal of my childhood suffering from various illnesses. I think she had me to fill a need of her own and instead, she was stuck with a very needy child. I believe she resented me because I was not the perfect child she had dreamed of that would fill her needs. She compensated for that by using me as a means of getting attention in the form of sympathy from others. The only way I could get attention from my mother was to be sick because by caring for me, she could receive sympathy for the burder she carried of a weak child.

When I was 14, I was raped by my friends brother when I was at her house spending the night. I had been taught that it was impossible for a woman to be raped. This was demonstrated to me with a moving coke bottle and a broom handle. I thought it was all my fault. I had also been taught that if I lost my virginity, I would be used merchandise and I would be ruined. I responded as many children who are sexually abused respond, I ran away. This was a new avenue of attention for my mother. The focus was never on me or why I had done such a thing, it was all about how hurt my mother was. I was brought home and for the next year, my mother continually berated me about running away and when I was going to do it again. Every morning before school, she would ask me if I was coming home or if I was going to run off again. I was in so much pain. I began to turn to drugs to dull my pain. Those drugs led me to be around some dangerous people and I was raped again by a 27 year old man. He gave me a lot of drugs and alchohol and did what he wanted. I have no memory of it. I just knew that it had happened and again, I blamed myself. He offered me a place to live. I thought I was ruined and had no other choice and I wanted to drugs to make me feel better. When I went to him, my parents did nothing. I accepted it because I believed that I was very bad. It really never entered my mind that they should have done something. He had been married, divorced, with a child, and worked in the porn industry and dealt drugs. My parents never bothered to find any of this out and they could have. Instead, they used it as a means to get attention from family and friends as they painted the picture of an out of control daughter who had no concern for the pain she caused them. That man raped me for six months before passing me to another man who did the same and worse. My parents knew where I was and they did nothing. They held this over my head for my entire life and used the shame and guilt I felt to manipulate me. I was fifty years old before I realized that I was just a little girl who needed help and there was none. I confronted them and wanted to know why they did nothing. My mother said that it was because she didn’t have a driver’s license. My dad said the police advised him to do nothing (a lie among a lifetime of lies). They offered these strange excuses but never a reason. They would not acknowlege that what happened to me was a crime. It ended with my telling them that if they wanted a relationship with me, they had to treat me with respect and it had to start with their acknowledging the truth of what happened to me and taking responsibility for their part in it. Otherwise, I didn’t want any contact with them what-so-ever. I haven’t heard back and I am glad. Finally, I have put all of that shame and blame where it belongs.

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Hi Pam
My goodness… you have shared a lot and my heart goes out to you. I can relate to most of this ~ very similar things happened to me right up to the ending where I finally told my mother that I would have a relationship with her if she stopped disrespecting me etc. and the same thing happened. I never heard from her again. And all of that hurts a lot.
There are so many things that you have written in your blog post that are the same things that I also discovered, but what I didn’t realize was that those were the things that were in my way. I believed that I was a burden to my mother. I believed that it was my job to fulfill a need in her. These were the false truth beliefs that I talk about. And it went on from there. I am going to write a blog post about all this so stay tuned.
Hang in Pam! You are doing great. Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

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Pam -
Thank you for showing your true strength by having the courage to not only put all this horrible pain in the past where it belongs by challenging your parents to be real supporters or get out of the picture, but also for openly sharing your story to others without shame or censorship. I am honored to read about your powerful actions and inspired to continue claiming my own truth and my own power.
Blessings – Lara
(And thanks Darlene again for creating sacred space where we can safely share these stories and feel supported and loved and understood.)

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Renee/A Resurrected Spirit
May 13th, 2011 at 11:01 am

Hi Pam,
Has anyone put together the time line of all our abuses. Im in my 50′s. What is it with all these perps? Was it just the “times” that all these sick people developed the sick habits? I hear you about your mother wanting the attention. My mother only wanted 5 children, she had 11. She loved the attention when everyone was around and discarded us when there wasn’t. Another question, why is it these sick people called parents can’t own up to what they did. I thought only a few hundred families in America, but there are millions! Crap what gave these people the right to allow this to happen? I am floored how many victims are out here. It’s like a nightmare. Where were all the healthy sane parents?

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Hi Renee,

I think people were much less open. It was more common to hide things and carry pretense with the mantra of doing the ‘right thing’.

I have a hard time with the time-line of when things happened to me or the order of them. Sometimes it is easier than at other times. I have blacked out most of the actual sexual abuse. I have dreams and when I went through 48 weeks of chemo two years ago, I had flashbacks that were physical and I thought it was happening in real time. My birth family would mock me if I told them that happened. They completely deny the damage done to me. My husband says he thinks that they have never even considered what is was like for me when I left home. I believe it. It seems that if it didn’t happen to them then as far as they are concerned it didn’t happen.

My dad, in particular, has done many evil and abusive things to people in my family and outside the family. As far as I know, I am the only one to hold him accountable. He was very abusive to my grandparents and I think they bore it as their own shame. They were very good, sweet people. If it hadn’t been for them I don’t think I would have had what it took to survive my childhood. I really don’t know what my dad’s excuse for being an abuser is. Of course, he doesn’t see himself that way at all. He’s just about the business of getting what he needs at the expense of others. The others don’t matter to him.

Laramar,

Well, I am a tough old bird. If I weren’t strong, I wouldn’t be around anymore. It hurts to talk about it and I wish it were an uncommon story but it isn’t. The things I suffered are very common. There are millions of little girls on the streets suffering what I suffered and much more. Maybe if we all talk about what has happened to us there will be fewer of them.

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[...] received a comment on the post “More on Mother Daughter Dysfunctional Relationships” from Pam, and it began like this;  ~ “I have lots of bad memories from my childhood but what is [...]

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Hi everyone;
I just published a new blog post using Pam’s comment number 84 ~ as a way to show the progression of how the belief system develops and how we slide farther down because of it. You can read it here ~ Psychological abuse and Dysfunctional Parenting
Thank you Pam for giving me such a great example to use to show that progression and for giving me permission to use it on a current post.
hugs, Darlene

91

PAM.. I read your comment #84 and I swear I felt like I was reading about my own life. Except for a couple of details, such as the fact that I wasn’t a premie, your mother was my mother, and your life was so much like mine.

The timeline, Renee, I’ve wondered about that, too… I was born in May, 1953. Like Pam said, it wasn’t until the year that I turned 50, that I finally began to realize…. IT WASN’T ME!!!! IT WAS MY ABUSERS… especially, my mother. (Also, Renee, my mother claimed she only wanted two children, but she had 7, and my stepfather, whom she married when I was 14, was a divorced man with 6 kids from his first marriage. WHY do these women who don’t have a mothering bone in their whole body, have so many kids?? I always thought my mother LOVED the attention she got when she was pregnant, and she also LOVED being a Queen Bee, with a bunch of little drone-slaves kowtowing to her.)

Pam, you talk about your mother loving the attention she got from having a sick child. When my mother had me committed to the worst insane asylum in the state nof Missouri in 1967 when I was 14, she went against her new husband’s wishes ~ my stepdad actually went to a lawyer to try to stop my mother! ~ and she also went agaisnt the wishes of the psychiatrist she had initially sent me to, when my PTSD symptoms were starting……. but, once she had me committed, she went on a lifelong “POOR PITIFUL ME” jag about HOW HARD IT WAS FOR HER to “have no choice” but to have her eldest child placed in an insane asylum, O Woe is SHE.

How hard it was for HER…. My mother immediately had everything in the house that I owned hauled away to the dump, all my toys and gifts and treasures and writings and school papers that I had so carefully saved over the years, every single thing of mine was GONE, because Lynda was GONE and NEVER coming back, and the “reminders” were just “too painful.” What a shock it was when I was released 2 years later by a progressive-thinking new psychiatrist, to go back “home” and discover how completely I had been ERASED.

Speaking of my psychiatrist who secured me release, in our final talk in his office, he URGED ME TO GET FAR AWAY FROM MY MOTHER AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AND STAY AWAY, those were his parting words to me, he said he had talked to her at length, and, he said, “SHE is the reason you became sick, YOUR MOTHER IS PSYCHO. She adamantly REFUSED to have you released back to her care, as did all of your other relatives, your divorced dad, and your two sets of grandparents. I tried to find a foster family for you, but no one wants a 16-year-old former patient from this hospital… I even asked my wife if we could take you… the law won’t allow you to be released on your own recognizance until you are 21, and that is 5 years from now ~ you should never have been put here in the first place, you don’t need 5 more years here… I had to strongly guilt and all but THREATEN your mother into finally agreeing to take you back, and even then she wouldn’t do it until I said we could release you, on an “Indefinite Leave” status, so she can easily bring you back at any time, for no reason at all… so I am warning you… get away from her as fast as you can!!”

But the little girl in me still went home, hoping and praying that now that the expert psychiatrists had declared me SANE, maybe now she would love me and want me? RIGHT…

The last time I saw my mother, in 2003, she was STILL going on to me about how HARD IT WAS FOR HER, to lock me up in a snakepit, how she became so depressed, how she agonized, how she PRAYED FOR ME CONSTANTLY, the image of a saintly loving heartbroken mother.

WEIRD… it never occurred to me until just now…. did she EVER ASK ME, in the 40+ years since she put me in that institution (which has since been closed and torn down, by the way) ~ did my mother EVER ASK ME WHAT IT WAS LIKE FOR ME, BEING THERE???

NO. NO!! Not once, not one time, not ever, not in any way, did she ever ask me that. It was ALWAYS about how hard it was for HER. I MEAN, SHE HAD ME BELIEVING THAT CRAP, THAT SHE WAS SO HEARTBROKEN ABOUT HAVING TO PUT ME AWAY LIKE THAT!!!

And everybody in the family bought it, too. Eventually, even my stepdad appeared to buy it ~ and he was the main who had tried so hard to stop her from doing it in the first place!

My mother took me shopping, a couple of days before I was to be hauled off to the insane asylum. Weird, huh?? She told me we were going shopping together, just the two of us, to get some things for me that I might need in the institution… and it was going to be a special mother-daughter, final get-together, a going-away shopping trip, all for me. Again I say, WEIRD ~~ right?!

My mother had NEVER taken me shopping before, just the two of us, just to get something for ME. NEVER. We didn’t have a lot of money and it just never had happened. So, we drive to this big low-priced department store, sort of like a Kmart, but not, it was called KATZ, as I recall. We park, we get out of the old rattle-trap car, we walk into the store, we are walking down the first aisle, heading for… what??? I don’t know, my mother hadn’t said one word to be about WHAT, EXACTLY, it was that she had in mind to buy for me. And now we are walking past display tables of things on sale, and there is a table piled high with huge tall bottles of hair conditioner, some unknown brand I’d never heard of, for ‘dry fly-away hair.’ I still can see the sale sign, with the price for that giant lasts-for-months bottle of off-brand hair conditioner… “98 cents.”

I am 1/8th black… I didn’t KNOW that, back in those terribly racist times. I look 100% Irish, and my dad, whose father was half black but passed for a blue-eyed white with black hair and a year-round tan, was still keeping it a deep dark secret, in those days. But my HAIR… it was reddish golden dark blonde, super thick, super curly, long, and as naturally dry and F*R*I*Z*Z*Y as caucasian hair can ever be. Back in those “Twiggy” days, straight-as-a-string hair was IN, so I was always fighting with my hair, trying to tame it, iron it, put mayonaise and eggs even olive oil on it… but nothing helped.

“Mom!” I said, “Could we get this for my frizzy hair?” I dared to ask. Yes, I had always been told, from toddlerhood on, never to ASK for ANYTHING, because that was being “selfish” and “spoiled.” But my mother had told me this once-in-a-lifetime shopping trip was for ME, right!?

MY MOTHER STOPPED DEAD IN HER TRACKS RIGHT THERE IN THE AISLE AND BEGAN TO LOUDLY BERATE ME: “JUST WHO DO YOU THINK IS EVEN GOING TO BE LOOKING AT YOUR HAIR, IN THE MENTAL INSTITUTION WHERE YOU ARE GOING? WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT WHAT YOUR HAIR LOOKS LIKE WILL EVEN MATTER, TO A BUNCH OF OTHER CRAZY PEOPLE?”

I can still see the compassionate, sad, shocked face of a man, a stranger, who was walking nearby. He looked at me in pity, and at my mother with anger. But she seemed utterly oblivious to everyone around us, as she loudly told me and everyone within hearing that I was crazy, I was going to a nut house for crazy people, and I was an idiot for asking her to waste her precious bit of money on conditioner for my ugly hair.

We didn’t buy anything at all, that day.

WHEW. I have been needing to get THAT story out.. in this caring community, where there are others so much like me, who have been treated just the way I was treated.

THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE. I am so so so sorry, for any of you readers who have been through a similar pain.

OK, Deep Breath. I am going to take a break, and then I am looking forward to reading Darlene’s new blog post.

LYNDA ~ with beautiful hair, so beautiful I still turn heads, even at the age of 58!!

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Good Grief Lynda!
Your mother had some issues! Thank you for sharing this story. It really is good to be able to face our histories and know that we are not crazy and that we are not alone!
Hugs, Darlene

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Renee/A resurrected spirit
May 13th, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Pam and Lynda,
I am the only one out of 11 that is open and talk about the abuse. I have always been treated as if im insane by my family. They think it is filthy and taboo and it should be left there in the closet. I have a brother that is a therapist and helps people like me. He knows there are three of us and I can talk to him when I need to. He also recognizes (at least I think he does) when one of the girls come out. I have a friend Pat who talks sometimes on here and I think she can tell when one of them are out. Weird I know, but It is safe here and it is the only place we feel safe coming out. I try to keep them with the subject line and sometimes they want to talk about something not even close to what you all are talking about. If that happens I am sorry, they think it is important to say whats on they’re minds. Thank you for letting us be here. I have been shuned and told really mean things when the girls have spoken. They don’t mean harm (the girls) and they are nice girls. They want a voice and I let them speak only on here. So thank you for being so kind.
Time line; what did people think back then? My abuses started at 4 months, the sexuall started at age 4yrs until I was 12. But there are millions of us who were used in horrible ways. What about our parents was it normal for them to be abused when they were little? Or were we the beginning crop of sick minds and deeds? What went wrong in their minds to think it was ok? Just wondering.
Renee

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Hi Renee,
Sorry I missed your other comment, I just read it now.
It doesn’t matter what you share about on any given post. What ever comes out, comes out and there is likely a reason for that,so just go for it.
It is hard to know what happened to the ones that abuse and allow or turn a blind eye to abuse or to know what the heck in in their heads. And if we did know, would it make much difference to the issues that we are having, having been abused ourselves. For years I made excuses for my mother and her dysfunctional childhood… all the while discounting myself in the same way that she discounted me. It didn’t get me anywhere.

I wrote a blog post about the progression of the way that a kid proceses abuse that starts young and published it today on the home page. Here is the link for that. It is about Pam’s comment here, comment # 84, and it might give you some insight.
Just click on the button for home (little picture of a house) above in the bar beneath the header graphic picture.
Hugs, Darlene

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DARLENE!!! OMG….. Wow. Thanks!

Here’s what happened: I just now came back and reread my last comment on here, to refresh my mind on what all I had written, before scrolling down to see what anyone else may have had to say after I posted all that.

So my head is kind of spinning from reading what I had written earlier today, and then, with my head in that miserable spin, I scroll down and see your comment to me. You said:

“Good Grief Lynda! Your mother had some issues!”

………and I began to LAUGH so HARD I almost couldn’t breathe. But don’t worry, it was a very GOOD, HEALING laugh, just as the crying I did yesterday after reading one of your comments, was a GOOD, HEALING cry.

So, THANKS!! I REALLY, REALLY needed that good laugh, along with the validation.

“Good Grief Lynda! Your mother had some issues!” ~~ that sums it up perfectly.

And you know what, Darlene? For most of my life, I thought it was something out of whack in ME! I really believed that it was something all wrong in ME, which caused my mother to treat me the way she did.

It really helps to write this stuff out… to reread it… and then to get your pithy, pointed, and oh-so-REAL reaction! I love it!

IT REALLY WASN’T ME, WAS IT??? MY MOTHER WAS FREAKING FRUIT LOOPS!!!

HUGE HUG,
Lynda

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Lynda… LOL
I am SO glad that this hit you the right way! I got a big smile out of your comment. No.. it really wasn’t YOU!! she was freaking fruit loops! LOL

So Lynda, go read the current post here on EFB! I think it is really going to resonate with you.
Hugs, Darlene

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Lynda,

I’m sad that happened to you, Lynda. It is awful to be in need of caring and compassion and instead find yourself in the staring role of some drama that your mother created. What makes those dramas so intolerable is the real damage that they cause. Those kind of dramas are enough to give any kid PTSD.

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Renee,

I haave not idea what makes people want to sexually abuse children. I don’t think it started with our generation. There is nothing new under the sun. I just think our generation was the first to start talking about it.

100
Renee/A Resurrected Spirit
May 14th, 2011 at 11:46 am

I don’t know how to start this but just doing it, I think saying it will help me get a grip. My dog (Molly) is about to have babies so all night she has been restless. She sleeps with me. I was half asleep when I heard the purest voice, soft as a babies hair. And she was speaking in such a child like way. But what I felt was the softness of a little baby. She was asking if she could come out. I gently told her no she was to vulnerable. I just wanted you to know I don’t know why, I honestly beleive because you all are trustworthy. I am crying and it is getting harder to see the keys so I will stop. I just wanted to tell someone, she was so soft and pure, she is me.
Renee

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Renee -
I had a very similar experience, so don’t fall into the trap of feeling crazy. That voice and child is your tiny abused self, finally trusting you enough to reveal herself to you. Honor that trust and hold her and feed her and make a place for her on your bed and at your table and in your heart. She feels that you are strong enough to care for her now, and help her to finally trust and heal. As far as breakthroughs go, I think that is as big as it gets. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!

(PS: I think the reason it happened in the context of your pregnant dog is that you are giving birth to yourself, and Molly was the messenger and trigger for that)

102

Pam,
Thank you for your sweet reply.

I have been feeling the need, for a while now, to write a letter to my mother. She is 76 and has been widowed for just over a year. But every time I try to write it, I feel so overwhelmed. There is so MUCH I want/need to say to her. But, where do I start? And, how do I finish?

Those are rhetorical questions, I don’t really expect anyone to tell me HOW to do this. However, if anyone has a suggestion or two I would love to hear it.

Lynda

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Renee and Laramar,
I have had several similar experiences over the years, of hearing a voice or even seeing a vision when I am “half-asleep.” It feels as though I am dreaming while I am awake, when that happens. I think it’s actually the same, or very similar, as being in a hypnotic trance, at that point where we are open to things which are normally kept hidden ~ I’m speaking of things buried deep inside our subconscious.

Although these half-asleep visions, or dreams, don’t happen to me very often, when they do, they usually correspond with an important turning point in my life.

Renee, I, for one, feel honored that you would trust us enough to share that experience with us. I’m sure that I am speaking for a large number of other people who will feel the same way when they read your comment.

Laramar’s interpretation sounds plausible to me…. however, I think that each individual’s subconscious has its own “imagery language,” and therefore the symbolic meaning of your vision or dream may be entirely different than the meaning of that same vision or dream would be, for someone else.

Lynda

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Hi Lynda,
That is exactly how I would start it; I would say “Dear Mom ~ I am so overwhelmed with all the abuse that I suffered at your hands, that I don’t even know where to start with this letter.” And then worry about where to finish when you get to that part. ;) hugs, Darlene

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Lynda,

I’ve written to my mom and my sister a lot in the last few years. I don’t think anything I said made a difference to them but by confronting the lies with my truth, I became much stronger in the truth. As long as I stayed silent and played along with their denial I was trapped with my memories of the past.

I don’t know how to express some of this but the process of confronting my family was very, very important. I would suggest that you just write then decide if you want her to read it or not. Don’t have any expectations for outcomes. Abusers tend to be very obtuse. In the case of my family, so much that they believe about themselves are lies. They won’t let the truth in because it would destroy the image of themselves that they have created for themselves. My mom and dad really don’t hate me, they hate themselves. They transfered all those bad feelings over to me. When they hurt me, they were really going after something in themselves. They are lost in themselves. They really can’t even see me. I am only a mirror to them.

You know your mom better than I do. Trust yourself.

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Renee,

I don’t know what to say because I know so little of what you are going through and I don’t want to say anything that will hurt. I do care though.

I may have a disociative disorder also but I don’t know for sure yet.

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I been readng all the comments and relate to alot. My mom I wrote letters to did not give them to her it helped me see my anger on paper and get it out. I did tell my mom and ask her why she let it happen she said she saw nothing wrong with it. But she got mad at me when I confronted her and ended up telling me how she wants me dead and how she would do anything to destroy me so I let her go that was 10 years ago. My life has been so much less stress from letting go of her. I moved and left the state. She does not know where I am.
It is sad that these things happen but they do so we have to let ourselves heal and grow. I am a lot stronger from being abused but I do not wish it on anyone. Thanks everyone for all these posts.
Have a great day.

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Renee/A Resurrected Spirit
May 14th, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Angela, Your mother and mine must have been neighbors, or twins years ago, before my mom and I started working on a relationship.

Larmar, I think your right, I have 2 other girls that live inside. The funny thing is she smelled just like a baby that just had a bath, you know that warm soft baby smell. I could actually smell her.
Renee

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Darlene, I love your suggestion! I will try that. “Dear Mom ~ I am so overwhelmed with all the abuse that I suffered at your hands, that I don’t even know where to start with this letter.”

Only I think I will lose that traditional “Dear” salutation. And maybe also the “Mom.” She is not dear to me, and she has never been my mom. Maybe I will start it with: To The Woman Who Gave Birth To Me and Then Put Me Through Hell~

PAM: the way you describe your parents as not seeing YOU, but projecting their denied guilt and defects onto you ~ that’s exactly how I see my mother. She very literally, as well as figuratively, has made me her scapegoat in life. She has no clue of who I really am. No one in my family of origin has any real notion of who Lynda is ~ because they have all believed my mother’s lies over the years ~ with the sole exception of my aunt, my mother’s only, younger sibling. My aunt also believed my mother’s lies, she had no reason not to. But then she and I met about 14 years ago, for the first time in something like 20+ years, when we discovered that we lived not very far from each other at that time. As we got to know each other, my aunt, and my uncle who was still alive then, slowly came to realize that my mother was full of CR*P when it came to her stories about Lynda.

I have zero expectations where my mother, or anyone else in my family of origin, is concerned. I want to write a letter of truth for ME, not for them, and definitely not with any hope of a reconciliation.

Don’t get me wrong… I would LOVE it, if a real reconciliation were to happen! I just don’t believe that there is a snowball’s chance in the Hot Place, of that ever taking place in this lifetime.

I really don’t even WANT to know how my mother will react to my letter… maybe that’s wrong and “chicken” of me, but I have been hurt so badly by her already, that I don’t want to ever put myself in position to be hurt by her again. I think that if I do get a reply, I will burn it without opening it. WHY? Because I can’t imagine my mother even having the capability of replying to THE UNVARNISHED TRUTH from me, in anything other than an extremely hurtful, denying, devaluing, CRAZY-MAKING way.

My mother’s favorite “OUT” on anything and everything is a “Bad Memory.” Try to confront her about any issue, large or small, and suddenly she can’t remember anything further back than 5 minutes ago. Her second favorite “OUT” is: a. you exaggerate, b. you lie, c. you are crazy, d. you misunderstood, e. you have taken it out of context, f. you asked for it and had it coming… take your pick, any or all of the above.

Although I do not love my mother, I do care about her. For instance, I was all set to write her this letter, about a year and a half ago… but then, her husband, my wonderful stepfather of 40+ years, became very ill with cancer. Within a few months of his illness, he died, and I didn’t have the heart to write it then. I decided to wait at least one year after his death. But when the one year anniversary of my stepfather’s death came, in March of this year, I couldn’t do it then, either, because I was thinking that my mother would be feeling all that anniversary grief. So I decided to wait at least 18 months after my stepfather’s death, before sending my mother my letter… and, I want to make sure that I don’t sent it close to any holidays or special anniversaries, also.

I feel this way, very strongly, despite the fact that I know from my aunt, my mother’s 5-year younger sister, that almost immediately after my grandfather’s funeral, my mother went and confronted her newly-widowed mother with all her grievances of a lifetime. It was as though she had waited until she knew her mother would have no one to protect her, and knew she was at her most vulnerable, and then like a snake, that was when she struck. It was because of that, my aunt told me, that our half of the family was written out of my grandmother’s will, which was a substantial loss. Everything went to my aunt.

I regret that I didn’t have it in me to write, and send this letter, to my mother back when my stepfather was still alive and healthy. He was her rock, he loved her unconditionally and faithfully. He was a martyr, really, in that marriage. That’s how it looked to me, anyway. Not good for him… I think his mother dying when he was so young, had a lot to do with the kind of husband he was to my mother… but I’m glad he was the way he was, because he truly, absolutely, saved my family. I WANTED him to love her, and to never leave her, because when my mother was alone, she fell apart and tried to kill us all. I didn’t want him to ever find out about what she had done, for fear that he would stop loving her, and leave, and take his protective care away from my much-younger siblings! Even after they “kids” were all finally grown and gone from the house, I didn’t want him to leave her, because I didn’t think she could survive without him.

So, for that reason, I never could send my mother a letter telling her every grievance I had, while my stepdad was alive, for fear that he would read the letter, and stop loving her. But now that he is gone, I don’t like the idea of my mother getting this letter, with no one there to help her handle her rage and pain… I see my mother as a very broken, very sick person, someone who never grew, emotionally, beyond the level of a 2 year old. I pity her, I worry about her. But, I do not like her, nor love her.

I may not mail my letter. But, even if I never mail it, I MUST WRITE IT, if only for ME.

Lynda

PS~ Despite my mother’s lifelong claim of a terrible memory every time anyone confronted her about anything… when she wrote me her 50 (yes, FIFTY) page hate letter 28 years ago, telling me everything that I had ever done wrong in my entire lifetime… it’s funny how good her memory was THEN! But, it was all so ridiculously PETTY… I was one of the “good” kids, I didn’t do the drugs etc that so many of my peers were doing. I was raised in my dad’s super-strict pentecostal-type church and I had taken all those hellfire and brimstone sermons to heart, so I was Miss Goody-Two-Shoes, as the other kids called me. My mother really didn’t have a lot of very serious wrong-doing on my part, to fill up 50 big yellow legal-sized pages with, in her tiny tight neat handwriting, because I didn’t get really wild until I was going through my 3rd divorce and drinking to medicate, during my mid-30s, and my mother was nowhere around in my life to see any of that! But she still managed to blow the most ridiculous things all out of proportion, my mother did, with her “pre-emptive strike” letter that she sent me the year I turned 30…. yeah, it’s funny how she never forgot one thing that I ever did “wrong” as a kid, her with the terrible memory! My mother seems to think that if she claims to not remember something, then it doesn’t count against her, whatever it is.

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Renee -
That’s because she is that part of you that truly is sweet, innocent and untouched and deserves all those things that a tiny spirit, vulnerable in the world, deserves. Use this time of getting your power back to give her a place to grow where she will not have to experience the lack of support and protection you deserved and never got.

In other words, don’t let your preconditioned shame and self-doubt become her reality again. You have this great second chance to re-parent exactly as you wanted to be parented in the first place! Take it from me – it’s a lot of fun! I am so happy to be in on your journey with this one – it is very healing to become for yourself the parent you most longed for, and you get more hugs, baths and treats as an added bonus!
Have fun with this, and pay attention when she calls you – she really needs you in those moments as much as any tiny child would. Blessings

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Renee -
Oh and give Molly my best!

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Renee/A Resurrected Spirit
May 14th, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Thank you Laramar for your kind suggestions.Im not sure of her age Im thinking around 4-8 months old. I don’t have shame or self-doubt because I have different parts of me that are splintered. I will take good care of her I am amazed how perfect she is. I was diagnoised with DID years ago. My phyc. Dr. tried to intergrade all of us, but she was trying to force it. We decided to play a long with her and just get it over with. I never told anyone about my self. I would never speak of it to my family, I did tell my therapist/brother and my youngest sister. She doesn’t beleive any thing that is beyond her scope of understanding which is very narrow. I didn’t want her freaked out because she is living with me. I am tierd of defending myself from a family that is drowning in past abuses and childhood abuses. They think im crazy and “oh noooooooo Renee is attention seeking again”! How far from the truth, it just drives me crazy. No one deals with it. They can’t see being healthy emotionaly. Booze and drugs will cure it!
Molly is 3yrs. She is a dauchound and was my neighbors dog. She would constantly run away from her and she was unable to catch her.She became the neighborhood b@#$%^. She trusted no one. I was driving around looking for a house and found this one. I stopped and left my door open. She jumped in and I had to force her out. That day I told everyone, she was going to be my dog. Well I bought the house caught the dog. The owner came by to get her saw how she loved me and that we had a special bond and gave her to me. She was skin and bones and hugh patches of hair missing. Took her to the vet gave her shots and she has been my loving partner since, one year. She is going to have her first litter any day now. She is the love of our lives. She is treated like a queen. The previous owner saw her and could not beleive the transformation. I told her it was a spiritual bond. I totally beleive that. She is my protector, my friend and my little girl all rolled up into one!

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Renee, that is how our Cattle Dog, Lady, is with us. She is a rescue dog and so precious. I am sick with some kind of a bug right now, fever, chills, upset stomach, etc, and Lady doesn’t want to leave my side. When my husband is the one who isn’t feeling well, then she stays with him constantly. She is an Australian Cattle Dog, and Red Heeler, we also say she is our HEALER. Pets are great therapy.

Lynda

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Renee, Lynda -
How many of us can point to our dogs, cats, birds, bunnies and other unconditional companions as having saved and healed us :)
My angel Anubis, a rescue pit bull mix that was tied to a car and nearly had her legs torn off, has taught me, in the process of seeing her back to recovery and into old age, about loving in spite of the abuse, a strength beyond imagining, and an ability to live totally in the moment with totally sensory awareness and put everything else in the past. I still am not nearly as adept as she is, but her patient guidance has kept me always on the right path.
She is 13 going on 90, so I am also dealing with the prospect of letting go, which I am not looking forward to, but about which I’m sure she will also gracefully teach me. I love her soooooooo much!

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Lynda,

I did write back and forth with my mom and my sister and even if I didn’t get them to change the way they think of me or treat me, it was good for me because I was able to stand up to all the tricks they use to manipulate, distort, and deflect and maintain my truth. I am no longer unsure of my memories or my suspicions of the kind of people they are. They displayed their true selves to me and the lies couldn’t stand up against the truth. If I get any more letters that are lies and distortions, I will ignore them.

I think my parents and my sister are sick and I too have pity for them. I wish they would face the problem and do something to heal themselves but I don’t think their illness will let them. I can’t make them better but they can make me sick when I’m around them. There are so many unresolved issues between me and my parents that just their presense is often a trigger. I don’t hate them or wish them any harm, I just can’t be around them.

My letters helped me learn to trust myself and to realize that I’m really not so crazy after all. I close friend of mine once told me that I wasn’t the crazy one but I came from a family of mentally ill people. She was right. The crux of that illness lies in my dad and it spread to all of us. My sister thinks she is fine but she can’t remember what the house we grew up in looks like. My brother has not been able to function for most of his life. Out of all of them, I’m really doing the best but that is because I don’t carry pretense. I knew there were things in me that needed changing and I’m thankful for that even if it has been out of balance in me for a lot of my life. The rest of my family can never admit that they need to change they just keep on pretending that every thing is fine. It is sad because they think they are getting away with it but everyone knows.

The hardest thing now is for me to really believe that I am fine but you know what? I am fine. I think you are too. Your mother is the one who should have been put in an institution and I think she knew that. Instead, she transfered her illness onto you and did to you what she needed to have done to herself.

Your letter should be for you. It is time for your needs to be met and your life returned to the rightful owner, you.

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Yeahhhy Pam!

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Thank you for all your kind words. I also had a cat that was the love of our lives. I was going through a divorce and tried to commit suiside. Our cat brought my daughters together and through the nightmare of a divorce. He taught us how to laugh and how to express love. Our honeymoon with Askum was never over, everyday one of us showed him love with lots of kisses. He now sits by his photo. The vet we had was so impressed with the love and devotion we had to him that they (vets office staff)all took a donation and donated money to domestic research for animals. Molly is like Askum, My daughters call her sister and I call her my little girl. Askum was our little man. We didn’t know how to truely love something, Askum taught me that. He taught me the value of another living being. He taught all of us how to be a family one that identified our strenghts not our failures. He taught us that we can survive abuse and still learn to love and trust. I owe that cat my life, my girls credit him with saving our family. Molly is teaching us life lessons to.
You all also have a place in my life and heart. Words cannot express the words of gratitude I feel for all of you. Blessings and healing to all of you
Renee

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Dear Pam,
Thank you for your affirmation and understanding. Your words: “Your mother is the one who should have been put in an institution and I think she knew that. Instead, she transfered her illness onto you and did to you what she needed to have done to herself.”

….Do you know, I have only just begun to realize that, these past 6 months of sharing so much of my trauma story here on EFB, as I write these things out, and reread what I’ve written, and then read other people’s reactions to what I have written, I have come to realize that very thing that you said, that my mother knew she needed to be in an institution, and she transferred her illness onto me. I never say that before, until this past week or so… and now you have put it into words and affirmed that for me. Thank you!

Laramar and Renee,
Yes, like the two of you, I am so grateful for our fur-baby, She was abused and abandoned and she is so perfect for us. It does seem to me that our Lady-dog was meant for us, just as your wonderful angel Anubis was meant for you, Laramar (how heartbreaking what he was put thru), and your cat Askum and now your dog Molly were meant for you, too, Renee.

Lynda

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….I meant to say, I never SAW that before, about my mother, until very recently.

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Renee and Lynda -
I know my little rescue kitten Sheba got me through my childhood. That, and very kind teachers in dance class, who made me feel that I had worth outside of my sex. But Sheba let me understand that love could be unconditional, which is what parenting is supposed to be and seldom ever is. :(

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Thank all of you. Molly is due to have her babies and I am filled with anxiety. I don’t want anything to happen to her.
I have a request, If any of you pray, would you pray for my daughter Alena. She has broken all ties with me, because I refused to let her lie to me. I started questioning the things she would say and I was told from family and friends she told them I severly abused her and her older sister but mostly her. I confronted her and she denied it. I asked her sister, her being 4 yrs older if she thought the same. She said her sister was lying. She (my oldest)said she heard some of the lies but thought it was people being mean. She confronted Alena and she said she never said bad things. I also confronted her on how she treats my grandaughter (she’s 8). What could I have done or how should I handle it. It is breaking my heart.
Renee

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Hi Renee
It is very hard when we are going through this with our kids. The way that I have tried to approach my kids this last few years is that I am willing to see the damage done to them from my difficulties and sort of “cut them some slack” It took a long time for them to trust me emotionally again because I had been unfair to them in a lot of ways. they have thier stuff to deal with too, but they aslo had some emotional abuse from thier father and I. I look at it differently when it comes to the kids. (even adult kids because if I believe the damage started somehwere, then I can’t say that my kids are exempt from it ) I have tried to be honest and supportive of them without asking them (leaning on them) to be supportive of me. Today our relationships are much more mutually valuing as the damage gets repaired.
Hugs, for you and Molly! (and of course Alena)
Darlene

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Thank you,
I have given myself up to the kids, I know I did a horrible job raiseing them. I so wanted to make a difference and break the cycle of abuse so they wouldn’t have to ever go through an ounce of what I went through. I love them with all my heart and soul, Alena doesn’t beleive it and I tried everything to validate her, love her, and respect her. Then I find out she said such horrible things about me. I couldn’t have done anything more because I didn’t know nor was I taught to be normal. I had to make it up (rules of raising a child without abuse) or figure it out as I went.
Renee

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Renee,
I am so sorry, this is so painful, I know! I really do. Just give it time. Healing takes a long time on both sides. My mother isn’t willing to even talk about it, but maybe one day she will be. You are willing to talk about it and maybe your daughter one day will be too. I had no idea how to be a parent either, none of us do when we are raised so dysfunctional. It is so important for us to heal our own selves ~ there will be no change for anyone until we do that.
Be gentle with yourself.
Hugs, Darlene

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Thank you Darlene for the words of encouragement, it makes me cry. I never had support before, not until I came here. I have always dealt with things by myself. I was forced into salitary growing up and through out my adulthood it was the same salitary. I have my oldest daughter, my oldest brother, and pat these are people who even through the roughest times never left me, and now I have all of you. What a true blessing all of you are, and you know what is even more awesome is that I can disagree with one of you and you are still here and supportive. Like its ok to have my own opinion and I won’t be punished for it. Thank you,
Renee

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You are so very welcome Renee,
I think that the support, the being believed in part, was what made such a huge difference in my life too. I finally was able to sort of “move away” from proving myself in all areas including what I thought! My family left me when I stood up for myself. Just that fast. It is very hard to deal with that but there is freedom on the other side!!
Hugs, Darlene

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I could have written this. It mirrors my own life experiences. Thank you for sharing your stories, it’s sad but comforting that we are not alone in wondering where things went wrong in our lives.
For a long time in my life I tried to please people, it was never enough, there was never enough of me to give away. Ironically, the best thing that has happened in my regaining my sense of self, was the day my mother told me that she was disowning me. Now I don’t feel obligated to try repair a relationship that died long ago. Since then I’ve taken positive steps to change myself, to reduce and try repair the damaging things I’ve experienced.
Thank you for having a site like this where people can speak honestly, and encourage one another onto a positive path forward.

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Hi Faye!
Welcome to EFB. I feel that way too. I am glad that you are here, thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

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YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO My baby girl Molly had her babies!! She had to have a C-Section the babies were to big for her cervic’s. $-boys and 1 girl. She had 2 the same color of her reddish brown the other are black and a little brown (like daddy). 1 of the reddish brown ones died. She shyed away from them for a few hours then started licking them, then I knew she accepted them. They look very healthy. So I am the proud mama. It is my first experience of having puppies. I gained 18 lbs now I have to got on a diet!….just joking but I do feel for Molly.
I have planters frantisha or what ever, it hurts sooo bad. I have to stay off it for a couple of days.
Renee

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Sorry that is suppose to be 4 boys

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CONGRATULATIONNNNNNNNNNNSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Congrats Renee!
That is great news! Hugs!
Darlene

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This is my first time on this site, my therapist printed off 45 pages and I have spent most of my night reading everyone’s stories and comments wich I want to say I give you all kudo’s for your strength and courage to share your stories.

I can relate to almost each and every story I have read so far, I am a survivor of sexual,mental,physical and emotional abuse. Most of the time I feel like I am defined by all of the abuse that I have encountered since it has taken up so many years of my young life. I have so many stories to share in the hopes that someone in need will access them and that it will help them to take that first step in admiting they were abused, to move forward and maybe even save a life.

After Reading some of the comments I decided to share some of my story with you, I feel that this blog can really trully help me because I can speak freely and not bore anyone or be judged although I really don’t care what everyone else thinks of me, I know who I am and what I have over come even though the healing process is a slow process I’ve been “Healing” for 7 years now and still have a long way to go.

The night my youth was stolen started out as a very promising night. I was 11 years old and in the sixth grade. It was a friday night and my siblings,friends and I went to the starlight skating rink every friday night. I had a lot of fun that night even though my brother and sister werent there because it was their moms weekend to have them. After skating I natuarally went home. When I got home my mom and younger siblings were in their beds asleep, the only person that was still awake was my mothers husband at the time ( now her ex husband). He was in the living room watching a movie ( that to this day I can vividly see but cannot remember the name of the movie) with bruce willis in it. Anyways instead of heading to bed I decided to watch th movie with him. There was a scene in the movie where bruce was having sex with girl, curiously I asked Art”why does every movie have to have sex scenes?” His answer was because it’s a natural part of life. Still curious I went on to ask ” why is it a natural part of life if you are not planning on reproducing?” his answer was because it feels good. I dont really remember the conversation from there but where it lead to next made me feel uncomfortable but he finally asked me if I wanted to be let in on a secret I naturally said yes, he then left the room and shortly returned with a vhs tape in hand, he inserted the tape and turned the channel, this scene with a woman and man performing oral sex on each other popped up on the screen. I felt so wierd but I coulynt pull my eyes away from he screen, I then began to feel aroused although at that time I didnt really know what my body was experencing. Art asked me if I liked what I saw, I just looked at him I didnt know what to say. He began to move closer to me and started rubbing me on my arm, at first I didnt think anything of it until he pulled his shorts down and free’d his manhood, I instantly wanted to run but my legs wouldnt move, I felt like I was betraying my mother because I saw her husbands penis. Then I thought maybe it was an accident until he started to push my head down towards his penis I knew better than to fight him or disobey his orders I learned that a long time ago. My head was right beside his penis when he told me to copy the woman on the television, everything in my body told me this was not right but I was scared to death to defy him so I continued to do as he said, as this went on he grabbed the back of my head and pushed down further and furter until I began to gag, he finally did let go of my head but commanded me not to stop shortly after he exploded into my mouth. It was the most disqusting thing i’ve ever tasted I instantly spit it out and began to dry heave. He was furious but didnt hit me instead he grabbed a towel that was near by, he cleaned up and then instructed me to get to bed. On my way up the stairs he told me not to tell anyone or i would regret it. I laid in bed that night unable to sleep, my mind tried so hard to coprehend what had just happened and why. Although he didnt touch me I felt so wrong and disqusting. I knew then that things would never be the same, I never imagined it would get worse though…that was the end of my youth and the begining of a past I wish could be erased.

my sexual abuse last for 7 years,my physical,mental and emotional abuse lasted for 13 years.When I was 15 my attacker got me pregnant and I carried and gave birth to his child…his actions have scarred me for life but I have gained strength and a beautiful daughter from the hell I lived through and I will continue to heal.

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Welcome Deana,
I am sorry you also are a wounded warrior. It is safe here and it is nice to meet you.
Renee

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Welcome Deana,
I am sorry you also are a wounded warrior. It is safe here and it is nice to meet you.
Renee

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Welcome Deana -
You have clearly done a lot of healing just to tell your story in the first place, but Renee is right – this is a very safe place and Darlene and all the other wounded warriors here are part of a very caring, non-judgemental tribe that only wants you to be heard and understood and accepted for who you are. Welcome!
Laramar

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Hello Deana

Welcome to Emerging from Broken! I’m so glad you are here! This is a safe place to share and to share healing and struggles too. Thank you so much for sharing some of your story here as well ~ what a brutal thing to happen to you. Thank you also for detailing exactly HOW he set it up. I hope you find lots of strength here and YAY for your determination to heal. That has served me well too. You are right, it does assist many others when we share and find out that we are NOT alone in this. I hope you share often.

by the way, I am excited to tell you that yours is the 10,000th comment here on EFB! That is quite a milestone for me so thank you!

Hugs, Darlene

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Laramar!
I LOVE it when readers welcome new readers/commenters! Thank you so much for your support! I really appreciate you,
Hugs, Darlene

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Renee

Thank you very much for the warm welcome, I am very glad to have found this blog and am very glad to meet new people and find very positive support!

Deana

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Laramar

Thank you for the warm welcome, Yes I have done a lot of healing but still have a long road infront of me and I am glad to be meeting new people that care and support each other. Thank you again

Deana

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Darlene

Thank you for your comment, I am glad to be the 10,000 comment on here it just shows that there are a lot of people out there that are very glad to be reading and commenting on your blogs. When I started to read your blog and all of the comments I can truly say I didn’t feel alone and I could relate…for a long time I have felt alone I can seriously be in a room with a 100 people and feel like I am the only one there. So thank you for welcoming me here and creating such a wonderful thing for everyone out there =)

Deana

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Deana -
The validation we have all received from this forum has been one of the great gifts of our recovering lives, as you can see from all the amazing, inspiring posts and all the loving, caring responses. As I have said many times before, the greatest initial healing happens when you take that terrifying first step of telling your story to the world, and for the first time the world actually seems to care and to listen and to not accuse you of lying, or being a whore, or all the other hideous things perpetrators say to keep us so terrified, ashamed and silent.
And more to the point, when one of us breaks through into that world of validation, and begins to feel more empowered and enlightened and shares it with us so openly – we all heal a little bit more. Thank you for that courage. Blessings – Laramar

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What about how the daughter treats the mother? No support, no encouragement, makes fun of me to my granddaughter, anger towards me. Finally, she has sent me an email and states that we need to take a break from this dysfunctional relationship. I’ve decided to not contact her again. I feel that she has never forgiven me for leaving her father when she was 10. I have been the brunt of her anger ever since. What should I do? It breaks my heart….

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Hi Sharon
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
There are discussions about your question all over this blog about your question if you are willing to read through the posts and comments in the “mother daughter” category. (the tab at the top) If you can try to read through things through the eyes of your daughter or if you can read through the posts and comments through the eyes of yourself as a daughter, things might be more clear. In this blog we focus on healing from the damage. With my own kids the biggest difference was made when I healed; when I stuck to my own healing and through that healing I realized where I had hurt them. I raised them and I passed on the wrong beliefs about love and respect to them, so it was up to me to model something different. I had to learn what real love was before I could pass it on to them.
Please read through the other posts on mother daughter relationship stuff with an open mind. I am not an advocate of family division, but there are reasons when a daughter says she needs a break from dysfunctional relationship. If you want to have a relationship with your daughter, you will have to look at how it got to this point.
Hugs, Darlene

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Sharon -
There are always two sides to every story, and I do not pretend to know yours, but in my experience, my anger and disrespect towards my mother was because she turned her back on very obvious physical evidence that my father was molesting me, and chose instead to support his lies and deception – in other words, she picked a very sick child abuser over her own child. Consequently my father was able to keep abusing me, but also went on to abuse others. I gave up on her because she no longer represented the nurturing safety that a mother is supposed to provide for her children. I viewed her as a friendly enemy, and I always kept a safe psychological distance from her.

Though this may not be the case with you, that hurt angry child in me will never trust her again, and I have a lot of defense and coping mechanisms to protect myself from her, many of which can be viewed as lack of respect by people who have never experienced incest or child abuse, or people who are in denial about it, like my mother.

To this day, of her 5 children, two are as far away from her physically as they can be, one is bi-polar, and one committed suicide, yet she still maintains that she was the best mother to her children of anyone ever in the history of childrearing. The anger that triggers in me is so overwhelming that I just have to keep my distance.

I now view child abuse as the actions of a team, and not the sickness of one individual. In every case I have heard of, there is always a perpetrator and a passive or enabling partner. I would suggest that it takes an extreme amount of perceived betrayal for a young girl to start disrespecting her own mother, and maybe you need to seek counseling yourself, to determine how your behavior might have triggered her to lose faith and respect in you as a caretaker and loving parent.

The base result of any kind of abuse is that you lose your ability to trust, and it is clear to me from what you say about your daughter’s behavior that she feels that you are never going to be someone who will support her in the ways she needs, so she is letting go of that desire for validation from what she has finally accepted as a dysfunctional relationship.

I don’t mean to be harsh, but this forum is filled with women who were not only violated physically by (usually) the father figure, but betrayed and left to fend for themselves by (usually) the mother figure, so we are going to be inclined from personal experience to believe that there is no innocent parent in a difficult relationship, but that these bonds can be repaired if the parent is willing to look at, accept, and ask forgiveness for the mistakes or abuses or neglect they may have perpetuated in the family dynamic.

I personally avoid my mother as much as possible, just so the anger in me does not turn violent, so you might look at this as a very healthy choice on her part, so as to keep from destroying what little might be left of civil interactions. But if you are looking for unconditional sympathy in this group, it will be difficult for some of us, as our mothers were the ones who could have stopped the whole thing and chose to deny or enable instead.

I think you need counseling by yourself first, and then as you start to realize your own vulnerabilities and weaknesses contributed to this, invite your daughter back into your life through the counseling sessions, where a trained and level-headed moderator can help you repair the respect and trust that was lost so long ago. If you would be willing to look into this, I would be your greatest supporter and cheerleader, because my own mother won’t, and so I will never be able to have her in my life in a healthy way.

Thank you so much for sharing your pain, but please consider what I am saying very carefully before responding back. I love you, just as I love my own mother, and I want you to heal this, but it has to come from you acknowledging your responsibility in the whole thing first. Nothing could possibly make your daughter want to be in your life again as much as you genuinely acknowledging your mistakes, and being willing to work through and share your healing with her. Power and blessings to you both.

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Darlene….maybe this isn’t the forum for me. There was no abuse in my child’s life growing up. She was verbally abused by her first husband, who was an alcoholic. I never abused my daughter and to my knowledge, no one else has physically abused her….this I would NEVER have put up with. I believe that my daughter sees me as a weak, needy person (her Father advised her of this when we were divorced). She is critical of me in that she has told me that I have no backbone when it comes to relationships. I have often joked with her that if I were going to jump off a bridge, she would be the last person that I would call….she would tell me, “ah, go ahead and jump, the water isn’t that deep!” It’s like role reversal, I guess. She criticizes my clothes, my decisions, I talk too much, I’m controlling…makes me feel like I can’t do anything right.

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Darlene -
This is triggering me a lot and making me feel like I do when talking to my own mother and her poor me syndrome, and her refusal to acknowledge the damage she passively participated in. I will step out of it and let your wise kindness and moderation step in, but he level of denial in this person, to me is very damaging and is making me not feel safe in this forum right now. I think she is right and this is not the place for her.

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Hi Sharon,
Perhaps this is not the right place for you. I loved the comments from Laramar; I felt that she lovingly supported your options in seeing this through a different view. The thing about this website is that most of us here are healing from dysfunctional relationships with parents ~ your comments are exactly what we are saying our mothers/fathers say about us, which validates the parent and invalidates the people (adult children) who are trying to stand up and and finally validate themselves with equal value. I will again encourage you to look at your own healing. I had to look at how people “made me feel” in my healing, and realize why they were able to do that. The roots of that were in my own dysfunctional family roots. Today no one is able to make me feel anything bad about myself. Something happens to cause a relationship breakdown and very often our parents have also not be raised with real relationship skills in the first place.. This blog/website is largely about emotional abuse which is much harder to pinpoint. On another note, why would you joke about jumping off a bridge? That seems so manipulative to me. My mother did things like that too, and today I see it as another way that she “asked me to prove” that I loved her. (by reacting to those comments)
Something is certainly bothering your daughter when it comes to you and the relationship. Can you not just lovingly ask her what the problem is? Could you ask her if she would like to work on your relationship with her? Those are the things that the readers here would love to happen in family relationships.

Laramar
I thought your comments to Sharon were wonderful. I also understand how you feel about Sharons comments. I am sorry that this is making you feel unsafe and I understand why it is triggering but keep in mind that YOU know the truth about your own situation. Just because another mother says that it is her daughter does not make her right about YOU.
Hope this helps a little!
Hugs, Darlene

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Laramar: My comments were not made to make you feel unsafe. I’m sorry if that is how I have made you feel. I would never intentionally hurt you. I will admit that I may be in denial, because I certainly do not know what I have done to my Daughter. However, I am planning on contacting a therapist tomorrow, and maybe thru that therapist, I can find out what I have done, or am doing wrong in the relationship with my Daughter. My heart goes out to anyone who has been through what you have apparently been thru. I do not condone abuse of any kind. So sorry to have upset any of you.

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Hi Sharon
I admire you and the way that you are willing to work on this. My mother offered to go to a therapist with me, (and I said yes) but then she changed her mind about it. If you and your daughter are both willing to talk this through, then I believe that it is possible to work things out between you! I would love to hear the victory story! When I first started EFB, I had a regular co writer (Carla, if you want o read her posts) with me; her and her mom worked things out and to this day are working on their relationship and thriving! Carla’s mom Debbie, has also written a guest post for this site, and she listened to Carla and made great efforts to hear her. There was healing through that! I am not an advocate for family break up; I am an advocate for healing and real love based relationship based on equal value.
Hugs, Darlene

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Honestly Sharon I am crying very hard right now because what you said just now is what my poor battered inner child has wanted to hear from her mother for over 4 decades now.

I am so touched by your amazing willingness to deal with this in such a direct and straightforward manner, and it would be very powerful and healing for all of us battered inner children who gather here to hear from you about how this process goes along for you. You can be the mother most of us never had, who finally gave up fighting the denial, and in so doing helped heal everyone, including herself.

I know you feel weak, but you have tremendous power right now, because your willingness to see the other side is what will give your own daughter the strength and validation to finally own her pain, get her true power back, and be able to see you not as an adversary, but as a human being with both flaws and greatness, who will not and cannot hurt her (knowingly or unknowingly) anymore.

I am humbled by your willingness to pursue this, and feel safe in saying that many of us will be cheering you along as well. You are loved, and you clearly love, and I just hope the fates send the best therapist your way possible! Blessings and thanks – Laramar

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[...] More on Mother Daughter Dysfunctional Relationship Categories : Mother Daughter [...]

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All I have to say is your relationship with your mother is IDENTICAL to mine! I always blamed myself and felt like a failure to her. Years I wasted trying to make her love me again the way I thought she did as a child. I even chose a college major that I thought she would be proud of! What makes the dynamic so painful is the memories of “the good mom when I was younger” Now that I look back I was her total emotional supply “everything”. She consumed me completely. There was no me, just her. I am so grateful that you shared your story because it’s nice to know someone understands.
Thanks so much,
Heather

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Hi Heather
Welcome to EFB! I am glad that you are here. Even though I had some “good mom” memories, the good mom stuff didn’t cancel out the bad mom stuff and I had to finally just face the damage. As you say, there was no me, just her. I had to finally embrace ME. I always felt that I could not pick me, that if I picked me then there would be no her… and finally I realized that without me, I was not really alive.
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene…what you said here, “I always felt that I could not pick me, that if I picked me then there would be no her…” is so true of my experience. And what makes it worse in my case (and probably yours too) is that she is incapable of seeing what I gave up to make her happy and she was never happy anyway. So sometimes it’s easy to think it was all for nothing. It did her no good, it did me a tremendous amount of harm, and she can’t (or won’t) acknowledge it.

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Lisa,
One of the biggest most wonderful significant “freedom” things for me was when I gave up hope of my mother EVER seeing, acknowledgeing her part in this or understanding anything about me. That was a major part of the process, (took a while) but that one thing has been huge! Even though I write about this in one way or another almost every day, it never bothers me anymore. I say this in hopes of inspiring hope.
Hugs, Darlene

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Thanks so much for welcoming me Darlene! I’m so glad you shared your story with us. I agree that when I started to embrace “me” I started to feel like a strong woman and individual. Lisa B, I know exactly what you mean. I feel like so much of my life was wasted trying to please my toxic mother. She never noticed all I did for her, it seemed she just grabbed every negative thing and embraced it. I feel you girl!

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Heather,
One day about 2 years into healing, suddenly I realized that I had the REST of my life to live and I felt like I could finally look forward to living it in freedom! Feeling and acknowledging that so much of my life was wasted was a major and important part of the healing process, so I am not trying to encourage you to cut that short, I just want to give you hope that one day I saw the future with hope and that feeling of mourning for the years I lost finally passed.
Hugs, Darlene

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As much as I appreciate all your posts, Darlene, this seeems to be the one I return to again and again. As I read it once again, these are some thoughts that spring to mind:

*the very mother who failed to authentically love her children, is the very one who will often turn to her adult children later in life. She will “offer” the love she never gave before, but only in hopes of securing the children to her now that she is old and alone. I have seen this again and again.

*Perhaps many of the readers here have seen the movie “Precious”. Although my mother has not the monster portrayed in that film, it was the same energy. That antagonistic, hostile, jealous energy many of us grew up in is precisely the energy in the movie. That negative arena is so destructive to grow up in, no matter the degree.

*Have you read “Leaving Home”. This book does an excellent job of explaining the ways in which we ‘blind’ ourselves to our own abuse. It explains both the how and the why. I do encourage anyone on this journey to give it a try.

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Hi Teresa
I haven’t read that book.
What you are describing here is very typical (sad) and the turning to later in life is all part of the freeking game. None of this is real relationship or has anything to do with love. It is always about what you can do for them. always about them…….. uggg
Hugs, Darlene

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hi there,
please publish more. this was a wonderful blog!

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Hi Melody
Welcome to EFB ~ if you are interested in more like this please check the “category” button under the header graphic for mother daughter.
There are over 300 articles in this site ~ I am glad you like it,
Hugs, Darlene

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hi Darlene, i love your articles because they helping me understand my sister in law…my mother in law has never met me, but the idea of her son leaving her was enough for her to get upset and angry, what was sad was that my mom in law has so much control over her daughter that she went to her brother and told him to chose between her or me…he chose me, or actually he chose himself…because no one that loves you should ever put you in that situation (as you have pointed out ;) )
but i am hurting because i thought his sister liked me, and i think her moms control is so strong that she sided with her mom, began to hate me too and gave him that ultimatum….i just want to understand what makes a perfectly nice girl do that…her father does not care about her, her brother, my boyfriend is 8 years older than her and was the closest father figure she had and another older brother by 10 years but he passed away. i can never understand how a woman that has never met me hates me…i cry about it now and then, i guess seeking taht “validation” because my mom died of cancer, i always visioned my mother in law being a sort of replacement…but i was more hurt by his sister whom i was nice to and did a lot for…but seeing how much a mothers love can control i can see a little why…my mom died when i was a teenager so i have no idea how it would work if i was an adult…so i research…i feel crazy trying to understand it all, i should just let it go…

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Hi Melody
This site is about so much of what you are talking about and trying to understand. What she is doing is not about you; it is about her.
Hugs, Darlene

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I’m grown now, and my mom is always hostile, angry, and resentful towards me because my life is going well, and hers is kinda messed up from choices she has made in the past. I have a happy marriage, and she has been married few times. She has a good husband now, but she is very bitter about my life for some reason. She tries, and succeeds to make me feel guilty for not having children, and having alot of time for myself and my husband. She always throws it in my face that having kids, (me & my brother) was very expensive, and robbed her of her youth, and her time. And she reminds me that I have no idea what any of that is like, since I have never had kids. She is extremely depressed every day, and has been on meds for over 20 years, which don’t seem to be helping very much.

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Hi Alisa
Welcome to emerging from broken
Sounds like you have found the right place to share. It is really nasty when a parent is angry at their grown child for the choices they made. It is so backwards when parent is jealous of the happiness of their own child!
Thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

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Wow. Thank you. I really needed to read your story today. My mother and I were “close” growing up but it wasn’t until college that I even realized what had been happening all of those years. She has always been a very controlling person, using emotions to manipulate others and using guilt to get her way. When I started to form my own identity in college, my relationship with my mother became strained, distant even, but it still continued and was very much dysfunctional. My mother had expectations for various events in life, birthdays, holidays, weddings, etc. VERY long story short, the damage she did at my wedding was beyond anything I could have ever imagined. It ruined the day for me. We moved from the East coast to the central Midwest after our wedding and things have only become more strained between my mother and me since then. After the birth of my daughter in February 2011, I started to really put my foot down with her behavior and how she treats me. I don’t want my daughter to grow up thinking that dysfunctional relationships are healthy. Last week, my husband and I announced a new plan we have for our household: No phones and internet between 5:30 and 8:30pm Monday-Friday unless it’s an emergency. When we approached my mom with this, she flipped out. She accused me of stripping her relationship with my daughter away, being inflammatory and hateful and not knowing the meaning of family. When I told her that I wasn’t sure where the anger and hostility was coming from she told me I had my head so far up my own (choice word) that I couldn’t see it. I told her that I wasn’t going to live with the drama and negativity anymore and that’s the last time we spoke. In the past, when we’ve run into situations and disagreements, I’ve always been the one to break the silence, calling and offering an empty apology because I know it’s what she wants (/needs) to hear. I can’t do it this time. I feel like I’ve come too far in trying to break the cycle of dysfunction that I can’t go back now. I’ve already accepted that there may come a day when I have to stop having a relationship with her, since she is incapable of having a healthy one, and I think that time is now. I will admit that I am still pretty emotional abou t all of this, it’s hard, but I am thankful to read stories from others who have dealt with similar situations. It’s definitely encouraging.

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Hi Holli
Welcome to emerging from broken
Wow, you have certainly found the right website! Your mother sounds so much like mine. I encourage you to read the other posts and discussions in the mother daughter category (button up top under the header graphic) It is sad that this is such a popular topic here, but at the same time it is great that there is a solution and that we don’t have to let someone else wreck our lives with their control.
Good for you for standing up to your mom!
Please feel free to share as often as you like! This is a great community!
Hugs, Darlene

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Holli -

I have to admit I’m a little teary eyed right now because I hear in your story a willingness to shield both yourself and your daughter from the dysfunction, and I can say for myself I would have given anything to have a mother with such healthy, protective instincts!

I was a victim of incest and my mother ignored all the signs of my abuse. I went through years of all kinds of therapy. I finally got a really great therapist at the Rape Crisis Center who helped me face the guilt I had about not wanting to see my mother anymore, and I will never forget her life changing words:

“Your mother is an adult. Her life is her own, her choices are her own, and you do not need to take care of her or fix her, or do anything. She is a grown woman who is responsible for her own decisions, and she is free to do that however she sees fit, and you are free to protect yourself from her unhealthy influence by severing ties and not feeling guilty.”

It was one of the most liberating, empowering moments I have ever experienced. My life has been saner and better ever since!

My birthday was yesterday, and your post is like a great birthday present! Thank you so much for sharing your pain and confusion – it helps all of us survivors. And thank you even more for being strong enough and intelligent enough to see the dysfunction for what it really is, and allowing yourself the right to refuse to participate anymore. Your daughter is very lucky.

You have my blessing to be liberated and empowered – your mother is an fully grown adult who can take care of herself, and you are a fully grown adult who is free to live your own life! You are not responsible for anyone but yourself!

Blessings and welcome – Laramar

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Laramar!
What a beautiful comment you made to Holli! Belated Happy Birthday wishes!
I love what your therapist said to you. I am going to save it in my special quote word doc. Thanks for sharing it!
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene -

So glad to have this great forum to share in! That therapist really changed my life, and I am glad she touched you as well! Blessings – Laramar

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Thanks for the replies, ladies, I’m looking forward to learning, growing, and sharing with all of you.

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How do you not let lies told about you bother you? My mother is telling family members and anybody else who she thinks really cares that I am a drug addict, a bad mother and crazy. I went to my mothers home to attempt to reconcile with her and go to a family picnic with her and take my granddaughter too. I thought that I would again try to be the better person, apologize for anything I may have done in the past and to forgive her for anything in the past and be a family. I told her that I loved her and wanted to give her a hug. As I reached out to hug her she flipped out and threw herself backward on her bed. I still tried to hug her and she yelled for my father and screamed: call the police”! She was grabbing the phone and I too grabbed to phone and said to calm down. She scratched me across my face with her fingernails and ran to the bathroom and began running water like a child. I was kind of shocked that she reacted so intense to something so harmless. I have never touched my mother in all of my life so I guess that I am not too surprised that a hug would be so frightening to her. She hugs no one, she never tells anybody she loves them and she is very tough like a bully. Her conversations are negative and she never relaxes and enjoys fun stuff. ANYWAYS, my nephew said that my mother told him that I grabbed her by her throat, pushed her down to the bed and pulled the phone out of the wall. He added that I was trying to break down her door and I was crazy. None of this is true but what can I do at this point. She will continue to tell her story of how I tried to kill her or whatever and I
can do nothing about it. My mother is crazy and people who have encountered her say the same thing: “you know how she is!”. Several of my friends are scared of my mother and have always felt sorry for me. I have been cheated.

Here is my problem: I am soooo over my mother and truly assume she is dead. I do not need her at all. She can go to hell and I am ok with this. However, How do I accept the things she says to my distant relatives who love me? It hurts me to think that my many relatives who do not see me often will listen to my mother tell them lies about me. I am successful, have a wonderful relationship with my daughter and my granddaughter and cherish every moment I share with them. I am a person with integrity, values, morals, respect for others and am honest and sincere. I am absolutely drug and alcohol free and do things right. I do not know how I am suppose to sit back and allow my good name to be exploited. It tears me apart to think that my mother can and will talk bad about me and I won’t be able to defend myself. She speaks so untrue about me. You see, she cannot control me and I have done so much better in my life than she ever could. She is so messed up and jealous of me but instead of showing her me love and cherishing me, her only daughter, she speaks terrible untruths and shows her hatred for me. How does a person deal
with this? I am a good person and do not deserve this. I know that it is her and not me. It took me a long time to
recognize this and I do not want to be depressed about this anymore. Help me.

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Getting over my mother is becoming easier…I do not accept unacceptable behavior and will not kiss her ass simply to get gifts and a casserole .You see, my mother shows her love by buying gifts and cooking food. She likes to keep a hold of weak needy people and if you stand up to her about anything…you are a son of a B. She is always right (not) and how dare you correct her or disagree with her. Well, she is wrong often, her opinions are not mine and I do not need her handouts. I am self-reliant, financially secure and college educated. My weak family members deal with her because they need her handouts but then filter over here to my home to tell me how much they cannot stand her and that she is a B. However, you see, they are waiting for her to die to perhaps get some more handouts. If you kiss her ass….you get a new toy…..hey stick it. I want nothing from her and only feel sorry for her at this point because she is NOTHING! She has never worked a day in her life and has zero talents except for cooking and charging gifts for weak people that hang around for her to abuse…not me. She is nothing more than an 83 year old, uneducated, sad, lonely iwoman. She will get what she deserves….”what goes around…comes around”! Am I bitter….you betcha but will I survive..?…..absolutely! Praise the Lord, my best friend!

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Stacy
A big bonus in going through the process for me has been finally accepting that “they are going to lie” that is what they do. In finally realizing that is about them and not about me, (and whoever believes them can and will think what they want) I finally found the freedom not to care. This was really hard, but like I said it came as a result of doing all the work to find out what the lies were that *I* believed about me because of their abuse and treatment of me so that I could change those lies back to the truth.
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene: You are my strength and I am so glad I found you at last. Hugs, appreciation, respect and admiration to you, Stacy

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My mother tells lies about the good stuff to make it bad and the bad stuff to make it good. In other words, it is ALL ABOUT HER. I could write so many more pages and pages of stuff to tell the stories of dysfunctionality and abuse. Yes, I can look myself in the mirror and truly know that I have integrity, am loving and honest. I really like myself a lot and don’t understand why a mother would not cherish me. I am a great daughter and am smart, able and capable to take care of myself, am not a user and only want to be loved. To not care is what I am working on but it is not easy….getting easier though. I know that I will continue to make my life happier and fulfilled because that is who I am. My mother only knows how to enable weak people so she can assume a license to abuse them emotionally. You see, the deal here is that I am not weak and will not allow her to destroy me more than she has already tried to do. For this, I have no mother. Either I allow her to destroy me one way or another or I don’t. I AM WORKING ON THE DON’T! What is sad is to hear people who had a great mother cry about her death. I tell them ….how would you like to cry about a terrible mother who is still alive? Sometimes, life is not fair but life is for the living so it is up to me to make MY LIFE great. I will not be co-dependent on another person to complete me. Strong words….I need this website to assist me with my strength. Thanks to all!

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Stacy -
Power to the people! So amazing to see you just in the three posts here getting your voice and your confidence back. Darlene is really good at helping people do that, isn’t she!

Thank you soooooooooooooooo much for sharing your empowerment – it really does help all of us! You are amazing! Love and blessings – Laramar

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Darlene, you are really good. Thanks so much for being available for me to reach out to and to understand that I am not alone with these issues and feelings I have. You have unselfishly helped so many of us. I am grateful.

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My mother was coming down the street in her car and my granddaughter pointed it out to me. I didn’t even notice and to me that is healing. I am truly working on not caring because that is the only way I can be healthy.

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As small as these milestones can seem to outsiders, they are very big deals to survivors of abuse. We have been so programmed to live our lives vigilantly aware of every action and word and movement of our abusers, we almost don’t know what is normal and what is fear based survival.

The fact that A) you didn’t have your radar snap on the second you sensed she was around, and B) you have gone far enough along in your healing process that you don’t care even when you do become aware is truly remarkable, and again – we applaud you and thank you for allowing us in on your process of self-discovery and empowerment.

Blessings! Laramar

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That’s awesome Stacy!

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I recently got myself on Facebook and am reuniting with some friends. I hear them speak of how they miss their mother who is now deceased and how sweet and wonderful she was. I do not respond because it may lead me into expressing how I feel about my mother. I always knew that my mother-daughter relationship was not normal but thought that it was me and that it would improve once I had children of my own and got older. It actually never improved and I didn’t want to face this horror until a few years ago. I look back and wonder how I could have been so dumb to not notice that my mother was abusive and didn’t love me. I recall her saying to me that she was practicing birth control when she had me and that I was a mistake. She use to tell me to play on the freeway and she beat me quite brutally for nonsense. I was an honor student, had lots of friends, was a happy child for the most part and never got into any trouble. I was obese, abused physically and emotionally by my mother and never was appreciated. I was never hugged, kissed, listened to, or complimented. My mother would never let me cook, clean, have friends over or even make my bed. She had complete control over my bedroom where she would never allow me privacy, go through and throw away my things and scare any friend I ever had over when they would sit on. The bed. It seemed that sitting on a bed was the most insane thing you could ever do….my mother would go insane over a messed up
bed. Anyway, when I get worked up and want to scream or cry about the situation, I write here. I would like to say to my friends who talk fondly about their wonderful mothers and how they cry over the loss they feel upon their mother,s death : How would you like to cry about a terrible mother who is still alive and you are waiting for her to die? I do not think that normal mother-daughter relationships can handle this type of honesty.

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Hi Stacy
I am so sorry for what you went through. Your childhood was a nightmare. I am glad that you write here when you get worked up! I found writing an amazing tool for healing. I think that when a woman has a wonderful mother daughter relationship they actually can handle this type of honesty because nothing about this type of honesty SCARES them. They don’t have to face the horrible truth because they actually have a loving relationship. Its the people that have difficulties with their own parents that are scared to death by this type of sharing that seem to react the most! Just my thoughts and observations…
Hugs Darlene

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I am so grateful that I found this site. Unfortunately, I am the mother that so many of you describe in your painful descriptions of your mothers. My daughter — as well as my son — could have authored most of them. I’ve had very little contact with my 18 year old daughter for 3 years. I began drinking several years ago and have recently become sober after an extended stay in Rehab, daily AA meetings and spiritual retreats and seminars. The person I was when I consumed alcohol is someone I do not recognize. Yet, I could not stop — not even for my children. After not speaking to me for 14 months, my daughter finally sent me an email today — saying that she is forgiving me. Words cannot describe the feelings I have about this grace being bestowed upon me — one who is so undeserving of it. Darlene — and daughters of mothers like me — how do I proceed? I am looking for a weekend retreat where we might continue on this infant road of reconciliation. Do you have any suggestions for those — of just plain words of wisdom? With much gratitude, Teresa

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WOW!

So powerful to see a mother post what must have taken a lot of courage to reveal to abused strangers, and I for one am very grateful. What I would say as the daughter of a pedophile father and a mother who chose to ignore all the obvious signs of abuse, is that there is tremendous pain, both physical and emotional, in reconciliation, and either parent can be an unintentional trigger for that pain, and those awful memories.

That is why I and so many others consciously choose to sever ties with our abusers – because even when we think we have worked our way through so much of the damage, there will always be actions, statements or misunderstandings that can bring the whole thing right back up again as if it was yesterday. Sort of like being raped all over again.

In the interests of really wanting this to work for both of your sakes, I would highly recommend your first encounters be monitored by a highly trained therapist who can guide you through the maze of anger, love, betrayal, and sadness that is the wasp nest of damage from abuse.

I think someone getting you to see where all the pain originates for both of you would be incredibly healing, and he or she would also be able to help you reach reconciliation better when heavy issues come to the surface, so you don’t risk irreparable damage at such a delicate stage in the renewal of your relationship.

Blessings to you for opening yourself up to the issues that will have to be resolved in order for your daughter to trust you again, and I really want this to work for you. I wish my own mother were as willing to step up to the plate, but I have long since ceased to need there to be any closure for us, so I am at peace with that.

Best and deep love and appreciation for your courage – Laramar

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Teresa and her children can be saved because Teresa’s abuse was attributed to alcohol which it appears she has found help. My mother is just a natural evil woman and she has been this way all of her life. She cannot be helped.

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Dear Laramer and Stacy, The written word will not do justice to the immense gratitude I feel for your sharing your painful, but wise words of wisdom. Laramer – my heart breaks over the images conjured up in my mind of what you had to go through as a child. Stacy, my heart breaks over the evilness you witness in your mother. But I tell you both, my abuse of my children transcends any explanation. I fear that my own children love me because they feel they are “supposed to” but not because I have earned it. While they were not subject to the horrid experiences you were, Laramer… and while I do not believe I am inherently evil, I can tell you that I have lost the respect, trust… and yes, I do believe genuine love of my children. But that isn’t what concerns me. What leaves me angst-ridden is knowing that I will never be able to erase the torturous lives I created for them. What I did to them was plain and simple — abuse in the purest form. I was an angry drunk and I subjected them to verbal tirades demeaning them and making them doubt themselves. The irony is that my children are amazingly smart and accomplished. One can only imagine the extent of my abuse to make 2 such individuals doubt themselves. I sometimes wish I could cut off my limbs or lose my sight or lose my senses…. just to undo the damage I’ve done to them. But…. that would be too easy, too merciful. My only desire is for them to fully know in their hearts that they were never flawed…. that they were innocent. The fault lies with me and me alone. And yes, alcohol was more important than them. As an alcoholic, I simply could not stop. It is not a “disease” or “condition” I would wish on anyone. It was never my life’s goal to become an alcoholic. But it is what and who I am. I am heart sick that my children were the recipients of my tortured soul, alcoholic mind and perpetual abuse. I love them enough to support their letting me go and severing ties with me, if that is what they need to do. Your responses taught me this. It is death by 1000 paper cuts, but it is an agony that I will endure as long is keeps them on the road to loving themselves. I pray and hope that I will one day be given the opportunity to be the mother they deserve. I have so much to give back to them – if I am given the honor to do so. Thank you for your support. If there is hope for me…. there must be hope for your own mothers. Someone in AA told me that “time takes time.” How true those words are. Thank you for taking the time to respond to a virtual stranger. I find so much strength in women — particularly those who have experienced the underbelly of life. I believe those experiences make us wiser, more compassionate, less judgmental and, in the end, more loving. Teresa

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Oh… one more thing. I actually forwarded this blog to my children. You are all so brave sharing the atrocities you suffered. I feel that you empower each other, providing the group a safe harbor for sharing. I wanted my children to see that it is OK –more than OK – to share their own painful memories about me. There must be blogs for teens like this. If you know of any, I would love to share them with my children. I think for children of abusers, the world of silence they keep adds another burden to one that is already insufferable. Thank you for your openness and honesty. Thank you for giving me something to share with my children. I believe your stories will further empower them to do what they need to do for themselves. In love and peace, Teresa

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Hi Teresa
Welcome to emerging from broken! It is wonderful to read your comments! This particular article and discussion has attracted some really nasty comments from abusive mothers defending themselves. It is a RARE and beautiful event when a mother shares her desire to make things right where the relationship with the child is concerned.
Please be patient with your daughter and allow her to express her pain if she needs to. I think having a professional work with both of you may be a great idea, but sometimes a therapist will pick the side of the parent or make excuses for the parent which at first might be accepted by the daughter, but it will leave a deeper wound and not assist in mending the relationship. I would not suggest a retreat yet but would take it a little slower for a while. If my mother wanted to work things out with me she would have to agree to listen to me without defending her actions.
The fact that you would send your children to this blog speaks volumes to your willingness to heal those relationships. As a parent and a advocate I will tell you the most powerful thing you can do to help everyone heal; heal yourself. Do your own work alongside the work of healing the broken relationships with your kids. Using alcohol as a coping method indicates that there was problems in your own past that were not dealt with. Find out what it was and do the healing work that we all talk about in this site. That will make the biggest difference in the long run.
Please feel free to share as often as you like.
Hugs, Darlene

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Teresa,
Bless your heart. What a honorable thing you’ve done – not only for your children, but for the readers here as well.

I can say that the trust with my mother has been shattered. If she approached me and wanted reconciliation, I would first and foremost, be very suspicious. I imagine that could be a concept your children could grapple with as well. Having said that, hope is not lost. It would take a lot of time for me. And, my mother would need to honor that time to process in little bits.

I have recently had a very discouraging encounter with my mothers counselor. In my eyes, it would need to be ME that sets the rules for a meeting, not a counselor. No counselor can know your heart, and the hearts of you children, better than you do yourselves. My mothers counselor thinks her degree, and her spirituality give her insight beyond my own. That’s simply not true. And, if I met with my mother, she would need to sit without an advocate (like I’ve done for 44 yrs) and listen to what I need to say. With nobody to rescue her. I don’t want to browbeat her. But, she doesn’t get to be up to her old tricks either. (manipulating others, etc).

Please understand that this is my personal view/experience. Everyone’s is different. I think the priority might be to ask them what they need. And, no matter what it is, be willing to accept it. It would take a fairly long time for my mother to cause me to love her again. She doesn’t have alcohol as an excuse, however. Maybe I could be more understanding if she did. You say you don’t even know who that drunk woman is. My mother doesn’t get the advantage of saying that. She would have to admit pure evil, like someone said above.

I would love to type more, but I’m on my phone – not so easy from the phone. I just wanted to reach out to you ASAP. I applaud your willingness to respect everyone here, your children, and yourself. Don’t lose hope Teresa. Many of the people here would love their mothers to come forth in honesty and integrity. I believe there is hope for you and your children!

Many blessings to you, and many thanks for sharing your story!!

Peace and hope,
Mimi

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Theresa -

Darlene is right – a bad therapist who doesn’t create a safe space for the victim to tell the truth of their experience without censure or denial or judgement, or who sides with the abuser, is worse than just winging it. I had to go through 5 bad or mediocre folks until I found the young woman who changed my life.

I will emphasize again – find a highly trained therapist, who knows the importance of creating an unconditional environment where the victim feels safe and validated enough to open up fully to their pain, and the abuser is given specific ground rules for how to allow that opening without trying to interrupt or justify their behavior.

Obviously I am speaking through others who have successfully negotiated that situation, as I have long since given up on my own mother – most specifically because she is mentally ill, and that is irreversible. But I have had great success with a therapist from the Rape Crisis Center, who gave me some of the best treatment and coping skills I’ve ever been exposed to, so I have had personal breakthroughs with it that I wish others could experience as well.

You are clearly trying to make peace, and that is very healing – just don’t rush it, and don’t try to interrupt or justify. Just let your daughter tell the truth she has always needed you to hear, and let her know you want to work through this together, that you yourself have issues you’d like to uncover so you can gain control of your own pain and stop inflicting it on others.

No you can’t reverse the damage, but you can change the feeling she has that you didn’t care or that it was somehow her fault. This blog has been indescribably helpful to everyone who has ever come across it and I think that is a fantastic way to start down the road to reconciliation.

Blessings – Laramar

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Hi Mimi and Teresa
Please be careful about what you allow to be an excuse because it is the damage caused that needs to be validated and healed. Alcohol addiction is not an excuse for the victim. As a victim I don’t care what happened to the abuser because I need to be heard;in the healing process the victim must be the focus of attention without any justification or expectation for understanding towards the abuser. That always muddies the water. So many therapists and even advocasy programs try to get the victim to understand the abuser but that never leads to healing from the damage. The victim needs to be validated without any ‘buts’. There is real healing when that happens.

I love you comments Mimi! Great feedback
Hugs Darlene

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Theresa, I’m not sure what your children forgave you for. If it was for your drinking, that was what you did to yourself. The things you did to your children, or didn’t do for them are the things that have damaged your children and your relationship. I hope you will be willing to do whatever it takes to help your children heal because your relationship with them won’t survive if that healing doesn’t take place and you don’t willingly take part in it. My parents quit drinking but would never take responsibility for the damage they caused and our relationship did not survive. Even though my mother has not drank for decades now, she still refuses to take responsibility for anything. That irresponsible attitude and behavior is the heart of the abuse and neglect that was the atmosphere of the home I grew up in. More than anything, My mother’s drinking was a symptom of her malignant irresponsibility. More than anything, I would like my mother to take personal responsbility for herself and the things she’s done. I want her to say she’s sorry for the actual things she did to hurt me and not use the excuse of being too drunk to remember and behaving as if I’m remembering those actions because I want to hurt her. I want her to see me and have empathy for what her actions did to my person. I want my mother to grow up and be a mother and not look to me to take care of her and gratify her emotional needs.

I’m a grandmother now and I also, know what it’s like to hurt your children. I didn’t get the help I needed and though I was always trying to be a good person, a good mother, and overcome the damage of my childhood, I did things that weren’t good for my children. However, I have never denied any of them. Personal responsibility is what has helped me heal myself and enabled me to help my children heal. I know it will never be perfect. Abuse of any kind has a long legacy but my kids know they are loved and respected by their parents. That keeps us a family. There are no deep dark secrets and no lies to live.Everything is out in the open and there are no taboos when it comes to discussing things in our family but we strive to do so with love and repsect. As the parent, it is up to me to set that tone rather than demand it simply, because I am the parent. I want my children to respect me because I have earned it. I also, want them to know that I love them unconditionally. I brought them into this world and it was my duty to tend to their needs and raise them in such a way as to be able to succeed in the world. That is the best kind of honor they give me, by being good men who also, take personal responsibility for themselves and their children. I could have left the same painful legacy of abuse for my children to bear but by taking repsonsibility to overcome my childhood, I was able to change that legacy and improve it. I’m sad that my mother refuses to be a part of that simply, because she doesn’t want to face the pain and damage she caused. I fight bitterness every day because she will not endure any pain from facing her actions even if it meant ending some of the pain her children live with constantly. There is so much emphasis put on honoring parents but there are far too many children in the world who have been prov0ked to wrath. If a parent wants honor, they must be an honorable parent. That is the key to helping your children heal.

Pam

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Theresa, God bless you for facing your addiction and for wanting to heal your family and children. It’s not too late to be the mom you could have been. Always, remember it isn’t too late to change the future even though, we can never change the past. The journey you are embarking on isn’t an easy one but the results are worth the struggle.

Pam

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Hi,

I can talk about my experience. For me, it would be great if my mother took responsablilty in my suffering and helped me in the present to take action in justice for me against my father.
But that day will never come.

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Hi Theresa,
I was touched by your honesty & willingness to have a relationship with your children. I’ve wanted my parents, especially my mom to acknowledge the damage done to me. Yet, she is wrapped up in denial. She has her own childhood trauma, that I believe she has not healed from. I know this to be True, yet she does not take responsibility for her behavior. I’ve tried to talk to her many times over the years & she refuses by ignoring & rejecting me. I’m at the stage in my recovery, where I’m accepting that a mutual & respectful relationship may never happen. She does not make much effort & it has been one-sided. I have had no direct contact with her for over a month now, due to the distress I feel being with her, esp when she is sick or stressed out. Anyway, that is my experience and if my mom was honest & willing like you, I would give her the benefit of the doubt, although I would feel suspicious of her motives. The Trust has been broken. I admire you for taking responsibility & willing to work on your relationships. My advice to you would be to really listen to your kids & validate their pain, coming from a place of Love. Thanks for sharing your side of the story. Hope & Peace for healing!
Sonia

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Stacy, My father was like your mother. Complete control. We were not even allowed in the living room which
had furniture too fancy to even sit on. (my grandmother picked it out.) We could never have toys or anything out of place in our room that my brother and I shared. Everything had to be perfect all the time. We were not allowed friends over or he would yell and scare them away. We were to be seen but not heard. We could not express anything and were always afraid to say the wrong thing that would anger him. I was never hugged, kissed, praised or even important in any way. Rigid control. Perfection. No expression. Limiting rules and punishment for infractions. It was like a concentration camp in the middle of a middle class
neighborhood. And no one noticed. Isolated from all relatives and not allowed to be close to anyone we were at his mercy. After he died my mother sold the house. I was so happy. It was hell on earth and I never wanted to set foot there again. Karen

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I really like your comments Pam. That is the bottom line for me too; if you want to be loved and honoured by your kids, then love and honour and respect them. Teach it to them by living it yourself. None of us are perfect, I made mistakes with my kids too and I am sure I will make a few more, but I have empowered them to talk to me, to feel safe enough to tell me when or if I have hurt their feelings so that those things don’t cause a rift. And when they do tell me that I have hurt their feelings, (or whatever) I don’t discount them and justify what I did or tell them that they are overly sensitive. That is discounting and devaluing. I have to remind myself all the time that I am the parent. (no matter what ages my kids are) I am the example that they will learn from.

Teresa ~ if you listen with an open heart that will go miles towards healing. This is a really huge subject, not something that I can cover in one blog comment or even in one article.

I appreciate all of the readers here who have offered Teresa comfort, encouragement and support.
Hugs, Darlene

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Thanks Darlene, This conversation inspired the post I wrote today. There are a lot of hurting kids in the world today who desperately need adults to model respect for them by living honorable lives. Children have to be respected before they can understand how they should respect others. A little respect would go a long way toward transforming our families and the culture we live in. Thanks for all you do to help me and other victims of abuse find respect for ourselves and require others to treat us with respect.

Pam

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Darlene,
Thanks for clarifying. I understand what you mean by your comment. Yet another lesson on finding deep and lasting healing. These bits of wisdom are so helpful to have. I don’t think I fully understood not letting an abuser have any excuses. I have such a passion for addiction, I usually soften up when it comes to that. Even though my dad was always drunk, and still is, I feel really sorry for him, despite whatever damage he caused. I’ve excused him. He has reached out in a way. And, he’s also apologized in a way. It’s way too complicated to go into on a comment here, but I did want to mention you clarified some things for me with respect to my dad.

Xoxo,
Mimi

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Hi All
Pam, your comment #201 here was the

20,000

comment published here in emerging from broken! That is a pretty cool milestone! Thanks for all you share here and to everyone ~ this site would not be a success without all of you!
Hugs, Darlene

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Mimi
There is nothing wrong with feeling sorry for someone. I feel sorry for both my parents because they are so stuck in dysfunction and (unlike Teresa) have no interest in even trying. There is so much more LIFE than they know about! For me it has been about not excusing them “at my expense” anymore. And that had to happen in a certain order for me but what I am trying to say is that there is a difference between feeling sorry for an abuser, and excusing that abuser because they don’t know any better or because they are caught up in something like alcohol.
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene,
Thats the absolute truth. There is so much more life than what my mother or father either one experience. In this sense, I pity my mother too. I honestly believe her thoughts don’t go much further than, “how do I look – who can I impress, and who can I make feel really crappy about themselves”. I believe her brain is constantly at work trying to accomplish the meaningless. She seems to be so very shallow. She doesn’t ever seem to get caught up in bigger things like the beauty of a waterfall, or the vastness of the grand canyon – just examples, but I bet you understand what I mean. Her brain doesn’t seem to venture outside her immediate self. Pretty sad because I think that in turn makes her miserable.

Thanks for explaining things in a way I can understand.

Blessings to you for all you do!
Mimi

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Pam,
I love your words – if a parent wants honor, they must be an honorable parent. I want to shout that!! :o)

Love to you,
Mimi

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Thank you all for your kindness and wisdom.

I met with my therapist yesterday and I am learning the tools for empathetic listening so I am fully prepared for a discussion with my daughter. While she has forgiven me (which speaks volumes about her), my therapist — and I — both believe my daughter needs to be in a safe environment, where she can tell me all of the pain that I have caused her. I believe it is necessary to the healing process. Of course, if she isn’t comfortable, I will not push it. But I do believe either my therapist or hers (if she has one), could facilitate this.

I haven’t mentioned my son much. It is important to say that he no longer lives with me. He is out of state living with his father . He told me he just wanted to be with his sister. But I am compelled to believe my drinking was the root cause. My son is so unconditional and loyal. However, I believe that his pain is beneath the surface. How could he not have been affected by my monstrous behavior? And now, he gets to bear the guilt of having left his mother. I wish I could remove his guilt and praise him for being healthy enough to set a boundary.

In closing, I so sincerely appreciate your support. However, if your own mother stepped forward and said the same things I have shared, would you be so quick to commend her? I think not. Therefore, I should not be commended. One shouldn’t get credit for doing the right thing. And my doing the right thing now, comes after many years of doing the wrong thing, again and again and again.

I also find myself wanting to rush the process of reconciliation. And this is so WRONG. That means the process becomes about ME and NOT MY CHILDREN. I have so much to learn and I am so frightened that I could inadvertently hurt them in some way… yet again. Sometimes, I step outside of myself and see the good in me. But most times, I look at myself and cringe. The memories of what I did to my children will haunt me for a lifetime. I do not deserve to have such children — with such remarkable characters. Nor did any of you deserve to have the mothers and/or fathers that you had. But somehow, in our brokenness, we find love, decency, honor, support and compassion. ANd my life’s mission is to give more of that instead of receiving it.

As far as forgiveness goes, some of you said that it is no longer an option for you to forgive your mothers. All I can say is that I did not deserve the forgiveness of my daughter. She forgave me without even knowing all of the rehab, meetings, therapy sessions and spiritual retreats I’ve gone to. She is unaware of the stacks of books I’ve devoured to learn more about alcoholism, abuse and parenting. She forgave me not even knowing that I have chosen a path of recovery. So the woman she forgave is the monster she remembers. This is true grace — and I marvel at her nature. I’m not suggesting anyone forgive anyone if that is not in their heart, but my daughter said that not forgiving is like a poison. All I know is that I truly did not deserve her forgiveness and I will commit my life to earning what she gave so freely.

I hope my children have read this blog when I shared it with them. I think it will go a long way in enabling them to find their voice.

Love to all, Teresa

PS: Please don’t excuse my behavior because I was drinking. Alcohol — or any addiction — is never a rationale for abuse. And my children couldn’t understand why I couldn’t stop for them. For an alcoholic, once they really accept that they are, indeed, an alcoholic, they literally cannot ever have even one drink again. Once I was able to admit that, things became much clearer and recovery appeared on my path. The road for all alcoholics leads to one of 3 places: death, jail or perpetual loneliness (which is where I’ve lived for quite some time). I am grateful that at least that has been lifted.

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Teresa
Unlike you, my own mother is not asking for forgiveness in fact she is the one that walked away from me when I offered to work things out with her. She did not respond to my desire for mutual respect. I may not automatically trust her if she returned now to say she changed her mind. I suspect that is what many of the readers here mean when they say “forgiveness is not an option”.

As for me, forgiveness came as part of the process of healing and not through a decision I made or something I sought to do. Forgiveness in my view is not “a decision” but rather a result. I wonder if my mother would have this reaction towards me if she knew that I have forgiven her? You seem to place a lot of importance on the fact that your daughter forgave you without you having to do anything. The difference that I see here is that you are willing to have a mutually respectful relationship with your daughter, and most of the mothers that are being discussed here, sadly, are not willing to do that. This is the huge difference between what you are expressing and what others are expressing. This is why the readers here are responding to you in the way that we are. You are not like our mothers.

Thanks for sharing. I am thrilled for you and your daughter.
Hugs, Darlene

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Thank you Darlene. I’m very sad over these terrible stories from members of this group. What is the saddest is that when one’s own mother abuses her children, those children might grow up thinking the entire world is unsafe. I don’t know how this didn’t happen to my children. Just one more blessing to be grateful for.
teresa

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Theresa –
Your comment:

“I also find myself wanting to rush the process of reconciliation. And this is so WRONG. That means the process becomes about ME and NOT MY CHILDREN.”

It really made me tear up. So many pained young children trapped in the psyche of abused adults just want to be heard. And so many abusers, even when they mean well, destroy that cathartic moment by turning it into a process about them, not about that poor, suffering, silenced child.
You are so right – you cannot rush this process.

Let the victim speak, unconditionally, and let it truly be about them for once in their abused little lives. It matters, and I am so happy that you are coming to that most essential of conclusions – this isn’t about you – not right now, not until they can heal first. And in their healing will come their strength and in their strength will come the ability to not have to guard themselves against you, because they are finding their own power and they can now allow for a better relationship.

Give them their power back by giving them their story back, no matter how painful it will be for you to hear. You are walking a very important path and it is not yours to direct anymore. I wish you all the strength and wisdom to see this through to a better ending. You are doing great work.

Blessings – Laramar

211

I am the(44 y/o) daughter of an NPD mom. I recently pieced together that my mother’s behaviors throughout my life have been narcissistic in nature. With that said, I have cut myself off from my mother completely; our relationship was extremely toxic.

I am wondering if anyone has advice on how to explain the separation from grandma to my 5 y/o, 8 y/o, and 9y/o. The 5 yr old keeps talking about seeing her again, and getting presents from her during holidays and birthdays. I know this will not happen, b/c she sent him nothing when he turned 5. She wrote me a letter stating that she no longer wanted contact w/ me or the kids and that she would take her losses. She wanted it on “record” that she separated from me “first”, which is fine (and necessary).

What should I tell my son? How can I be truthful w/out burdening him w/ the garbage?

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Hi Iburck
Welcome to emerging from broken
Something I had to get straight in my own mind before I helped the kids was the reasons for this happening and that I didn’t want my toxic family to damage my kids either. My mother is also the one that made the decision to walk away from me when she would not engage about my request for respect etc. She decided (without words) to leave all relationships including her grandchildren ~ BUT would I have wanted it any differently? I don’t think so today. My children when they were younger were relieved that certain people were out of thier lives in some ways and worried in others. It was in getting all my throughts sorted out that I was able to help them understand. It was a pretty natural process actually! My 2 oldest kids confided in us after only a few months that they were relieved. My youngest now barely remembers her grandparents. But I empowered my children to see that it is doable to stand up to abuse and abusers. They saw me (and their father) stand up for myself. They learned that relationship is a two way street and that all people have equal value and that we all have choices. These are very valuable life lessons!
Hugs, Darlene

213

Thank you Darlene~
I am currently reading Children of the Self-Absorbed, and the scary part is that I see a lot of the traits in myself, but now that I am aware of this, I am on a mission–w/ the help of God–to work on these areas.

My mother lives in a different state (for seven yrs now), so my children have little contact w/ her, but she’s always sent them gifts (albeit she never took my suggestions on what the kids liked; she gave them the wierdest “thrift” store items).

anyway, they still cherish anything they get from her b/c she is their only existing grandparent from both sides of the family.

What would you say, Darlene? Would you go into some detail? or are the children too young to handle such baggage? Do I say nothing and give them gifts for grandma? that doesn’t seem right. I just want to do right by my children. Is it wrong to paint their grandma in a bad light?

Thank you for your help and time. God bless!

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Hi, this all so relevant on my life I did’nt really understood until after 6 years of leaving the country that we lived in and when I went back for a surprise visit, yet to my surprise my mother had her network in the family of gossipers spreading malicious lies about me, hurting, trying to control me and trying to pin their problem on me and INSISTED that I see a councellor. She made that 1st week visiting her in her home unbearable, I felt soo lonely and was robbed of all my joy. If it wasnt for my strong relationship with the Lord I would probably have lost it. Instead I agreed to go only if my mother and those ) backbiters (my only sister and only brother) with now the same problem in controlling and manipulating me go with to the councellor, only my mother agreed the others members of the family that cursed and vocalised their problems on me retreated and very dead quiet. After seeing the councellor he suggested that he see my mother for follow up sessions and wanted to see her weekly. She agreed at first. He wanted to see me alone and said that he was very proud of me in bringing my mom to the session in such a way that must have been VERY hard for mre and could see my growth in God and that I am very happy living my husband and children in a new country and should work on me and come back home and enjoy my life in growing in the Lord in a new place. Well I did so…I took Mom for tea & cake before I left, I clearly set the boundaries when I left and thanked her for the time I had with her, although the visit was truly UNBEARABLE!!
Coming back home I asked God to help me in this area of forgiveness en moving and I did I am trying very hard. Enjoying every day life with my husband and children, going on regular dates and thankful that my kids are now involved at Youth.
The bomb finaly dropped that I need further help in handling this situation when my mother announced that my sister is moving here but to another state, BUT MY DEAR MOTHER IS MOVING HERE TO LIVE IN THE SAME STATE AS ME. She is very controlling again and cannot stop herself, she’s trying to manipulate my husband in getting his new contact number, insisted I give her the new home telephone number and tells me that my children is gonna spend weekends at her place . . .
I am devistated, just when I felt freedom I am now feeling trapped again. I need your prayers, guidance and support I dont know if I am able to handle this on on my own any longer in this life.

Thank you for your time, prayers and God bless!

215

Hi Maddy
Welcome to emerging from broken
You have a choice about the time you spend with your mother. The children are YOURS and you can say no when it comes to spending the weekend with your mother. That, is not her choice. I needed help realizing that these things were up to me, not up to her. Forgiveness was not the problem for me, the problem was that I didn’t know how to stand up to my mother. I didn’t know that I could choose or that I had a right to be treated with respect. I understand how frightened you are, and I hope that you will read lots more of the ariticles and discussions here about this whole difficult mother daughter dysfunctional relationship stuff through the ‘mother daughter category’ and the ‘family category’.
Please keep sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Darlene
Thankyou thankyou thankyou SO MUCH!
Finally somebody understands me.
Thankyou for helping to set these boundaries, Darlene are truly God sent. Yes that is exactly it! because I have to respect my ‘mother’ and she she always tells me when I DO stand up for myself that I must remember that she is still my mother, she is so cruel…because of her friendships family relationships are ruined because her ongoing lies and if she cannot get through to me or break me into her little ‘game’ she gets other people involved and have lost many friends over the years and that is what I am afraid of, she always does that and she will try it here. I am so scared and already thinking of relocating to another state, but the other states are not so family friendy and I enjoy the FREEDOM away from it all. She has done this for years to my eldest sister and even brother now she has turned on me. And I still dont know how to stand up to my mother. I have een reading alot of your articles and is already so refreshing and healing to me and FREEDOM and wholeness is what I crave for. And I’m gonna loose the weight and be Free and Healthy also.
You are Amazing such an Inspiration & Encourager to many!!
Thankyou again and again.
LOTS LOVE & HUGS your sister,
Maddy xx

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Maddy
She can only try it if she meets your friends there in the first place.
About that comment ~ “respect your mother” and when mothers say “remember I am still your mother”… what does that mean? Is a mother a bully that we have to comply to? Respect is mutual. That is what I told my mother. I told her that if we were going to have a relationship it had to be based on mutual respect and equal value. She didn’t like that I guess because she never called me again. That is okay though because I don’t miss the way she treated me.
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene
Thankyou so much for empowering me, menas more than the world to me.
Friends – I do try to keep them from her. I remember when I was little how I didnt want to bring friends home anymore because I didnt trust her anymore. She manages to get their numbers some way or the other, they might phone me when she visited me here and she took messages for me, but keeps the number and phones them when I’m not around. When I visited she even made an appointment with one of my friends that had to go back for a funeral sweet talks them into believing there is ‘something worng’ with me. (Yes there is I’m broken on my way to wholeness, who isnt?) Make them believe it..and then begs them to stay my friend!! I never ever hear of them again so I guess were never true friends. She phoned the school here telling malicious lies about my disciline when she instigated my kids what to say against me. I disciplined them. But what is sad that she even tries this with my husband. Thank God he has changed jobs now and have a new number and when she asked for his number I refused. This time after my visit 3months ago he is a little bit more onboard, cause he can see that I very serious about this bully and abuse she has put me through and years of neglect and rejection. I have had it with her. But then she sms’s me all religeous messages. I so dont miss her and cannot accept any of these type of messages I do not reply to that especially from her. I love the Lord with all my heart, but she even confronts my Christianity and tries to break down my walk with God asif there is something wrong with me.
I like what you say about mutual respect and equal value, please pray that my next conversation re this will go smoothly. Hoping that she will discontinue conatct with me and get relevant help. Until then she is not welcome in my life.
You are Amazing Darlene thankyou for helping me to Victory!
Glad to be here
Will chat again tomorrow
Lots love Hugs, Maddy xx

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Maddy -

It is so fun to see you stepping into your power! Darlene is good at that, isn’t she? The thing this thread brings up in me is how similar the “respect your mother” rhetoric matches the “forgive and forget” doctrine of the Catholic Church. (A hidden form of “respect your priest even though he is molesting you.”)

I firmly believe that my father would never have molested me had he not first been molested by priests himself. Yet the Church continues to devalue victims by maintaining the tired old stance “forgive and forget.” The only people that line benefits, as I see it, is pedophiles in the Catholic Church. They get to keep serial raping children all over the world and getting away with it.

This is not meant to be a condemnation of your faith – I am only trying to say that forgiveness is earned, and if you keep forgiving or overlooking bad behavior when no attempt is made to do good, then you are a passive (though well-meaning) enabler of that behavior.

When I began to heal, is when Darlene and Patricia and all the women and men in this forum demonstrated that it is ok to say no. It is ok to have boundaries and refuse to deal with people when they overstep them. You sound with every post as if you are starting to step into that power that was taken away from you by your maternal abuser – and my humble advice is to step out of the role of passive enabler and into the role of newly empowered and sovereign human being, deserving of all rights and privileges any human being would.

You don’t need your mother. That is what is driving her crazy – she can no longer control you except when you let her. Be proud of yourself every time you refuse to let her – guilt is her only power anymore, and you have paid your dues. You don’t owe her anything anymore, if you ever did.

It’s ok to let go, and give your energy and your love to your family, so they don’y have to go through this anymore. Part of growing up is learning who is deserving of your attention, and from all you say, your mother is clearly not! Let go of her energy-draining games so you can become the mother, wife, friend and woman god made you for. Blessings and power to you!

220

hi darlene~
i have two boys from a previous marriage, and three from my husband now; there’s about ten years between my two sets.

i wrote that my mom cut me off, and said she would take “her losses” when it came to not having contact w/ my children.

she believes i should have never left my first husband who was an alcoholic (daily he drank hard liquor and/or beer).

so, since the falling out between my mother and me (for which i am so thankful for), my youngest son turned 5 this passed august; she sent him nothing for his birthday. my husband and i both had our birthdays in september…again, she sent us nothing (i neither expected nor wanted anything from her).

however, my boy from my first marriage has a birthday this month, and she sent him a card w/ money. i don’t even know what to think or do about this. just too bizarre. any suggestions? i haven’t given it to him yet. he has autism, so i would need to prompt him to call her or write a thank you note.

this just feels like she’s playing a head game. what do you think? Lisa

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Hi Ibruck
Only you can decide the best course of action but I think you are on the right track with thinking she is playing a game and I think that it is extreemly unfair to send a gift to one but not to the other.
Hugs, Darlene

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my husband gave me the best advice: return to sender ;)

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Hi Iburck
That works!!!
Hugs, Darlene

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Major kudos to your hubby!

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darlene and laramar~
you guys are the best! i love how you keep coming back to respond to all of us who post here.

i have not sent back her card out of guilt, but after visiting w/ my physician, i decided to go forward w/ it. what do i have to lose?

hope you two have a super blessed weekend! as for me, i have a halloween party to host this weekend for my children; this is my third year,and i am loving it:) god bless!

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You guys are the closest thing to real, got your back, unconditional family I ever had! I love checking in with all of you! Happy Halloween to all of us who are dancing with our demons instead of letting them run our lives!

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Hi everyone!
There are also ongoing conversations on the more current posts! I just started a new one yesterday “connecting the dots about passive abuse and the truth about lazy”
There is a ton more support etc in the more current posts.
Hugs Darlene

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This is EXACTLY how my relationship was with my Mother!!
She would creep me out saying that me and my sister would “be with her forever and ever” and we’d “always be together” as if I were a child!!! X_X
It evolved into a lot worse than that as I got older and shortly after I got married. I was the “selfish daughter” who was “so ungrateful” etc etc. If I showed an ounce of wanting to move out or not go on family vacations, I was met with much hostility and anger.

I finally ties with her when she and my sister ganged up on me this past Mother’s Day and tried to force me into separating (and eventually divorcing) my husband. It REALLY broke the camel’s back.

My grandma (mother’s mom) is trying to get me to talk to her again, but I am not budging one bit. I’m not putting a time-frame on when I want to speak to either my Mother or sister, but its not in the foreseeable future for certain.

Despite the damage to my immediate family relations, I am A LOT HAPPIER without my bitch Mother (there, I said it) in my life!!! Best decision…EVER.

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Hi Dena
Welcome to EFB!
It sounds like if there is to be any relationship with your mother that SHE will have to be the one to make a move forward. I wonder why your grandmother think YOU should be the one to talk to her instead of the other way around? I told my mother that if she wants to have a relationship with me, then she is going to have to do her part of the work on it. (she doesn’t want to, but to me that is part of the truth that set me free)
Glad you are here, thanks for your comments.
Hugs, Darlene

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Thnaks so much for all your sharing & responses it helps immensely.

I did manage to cut contact with my very abusive, manupilative mother for the last 3months have not answered her sms’s or calls. Yet she stil spreads malicious and very hurtful lies about me with every family member, brother, sister, cousins, nephews, aunts, uncles and even friends. Is is sad because the lies not only hurt me but destroyed all the little relationships I had with my family. What makes it even sadder is we live in a different country now and because it was my sons 14th birthday today she had to mention the fact that ‘if anybody tells them not to have contact with her…they must search for her until they find her she’ll always be there for them’ . . and they must find out what a ticket costs so she can come and visit them here!!!! My sons are both upset that I dont want her to have contact with them, they dont understand my pain and abuse I’ve been through.

I guess I’m just talking this through and know that you understand and that I’m not alone with this abusive mother that keeps on rejecting me even though the contact from my side is very little she breks me down and its spreading like wildfire…

My main concern not so much the family I’ve lost, living in a new country grieving the losses,hurting because I have no REAL relationships with family anymore, BUT my husband and children is my main concern she is subtly trying to get through to, so she can manipulate through them and caue havock and distructon.
Thanks for understanding and listening to me.

Maddy

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Maddy -
You are not alone! Everybody on this blog and all the others have been through the exact same form of psychological manipulation. I have come to the conclusion that abuse is a form of vampirism – they feed off your fear and powerlessness, and when you cut off their food supply as it were, they panic and become even worse.

My experience has been that the more I refused to give in to the entire families general agreement that I was the bad, crazy one, the more they finally came around to accepting my story, and the more they started to actually be afraid to challenge me on it. If you can just hang in there and continue to be strong for the sake of your inner child who never got that protection and validation, it will get better. It does get better. Meantime, we are all here for you, cheering you on!

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Hi Maddy
This is so hard when our kids are involved because usually they have seen us take this abuse and so they don’t know it is abuse. To them it is just normal. I had to present a different normal to my kids and they did see the abuse for what it was eventually. I often see that abusive people delight in hurting others where it counts; ie through thier kids. When I began to model self love and self respect, my kids began to see the truth about the way it was in the past. This was one of the most complicated parts of the process for me and the fear that I had over it was huge. I never told my kids they could not see or talk to grandparents but interestingly, the grandparents didn’t really try except for my father. His true colours are what hurt him in the end though but only because our kids had lived in a home where ‘real love’ and where they had been treated with equal value for several years.
You are not alone!
Hugs, Darlene

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Dear Laramar and Darlene,

Thankyou so much you guys are Amazing it means alot to me, and to really, really, really KNOW that I’m NOT alone makes the load so much easier. I was so glad to get this messages before I went to bed last night and after I read I could actually have more peaceful sleep I dreamt this lady was abusing me verbally and I actually stood up for myself in the dream!! People around me was stunned that I did it but also surprised for the fact that I just carried on with my life. I think that just it!!! like you also said I have to live my life and focus on my inner healing, my husband and the boys, but more importnat for me to heal that inner child. I did tell my kids that I will not prevent them from seeing their granmother, but in this house we will do it differently make better choices as a family and experience real love. 100 thousand thankyou’s your ongoing support makes this hell our parents give us so much more bearable.
My question is how do you heal? What do you do on days where it feels unbearable? and what is good study course to follow? or would you suggest hobbies, fitness, nutrition etc?
Lotsa love & hugs, thanks for cheering me on!
Maddy

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Maddy -

I had a very peaceful Christmas because I vowed, no matter how strong the guilt pressure from my mother, and how powerful my obedient child script, to stay away from my family for the holidays. It has been such a great blessing to have a husband who supports me in this, but also my real family – you folks in my blogging tribe – to give me feedback and support as well.

I reread your last post here and started crying, but in a good, healing way. That feeling that you are so empowered that it is seeping into your dreams just makes me so overwhelmingly happy for you, and sets such a good example for others who are struggling as you are, to step into your power and not feel shame about refusing to play the destructive, pre-programmed game that is the only way we knew how to please our dysfunctional parental units.

This Christmas my husband gave me gifts not just as his wife, but for the little abused kids in me, and it was so sweet and so special to those parts of me that just need to doodle with crayons or hug a teddy bear. Just remember Maddy to drop in on those kids inside you regularly – take them out for ice cream or buy them a fuzzy toy every once in a while. And I cannot recommend more highly the benefits of a long, soothing, pampering bath where you reach a point where you are so relaxed and so far from that old identity and those old problems that you almost fall asleep in the tub!

So this message goes out to Maddy and everyone – I love you all so much, my beautiful wounded warriors, and I wish to us all the most beautiful, empowering, revelation filled New Years any of us could possibly imagine! Thank you so much for your openness, your wisdom, your willingness to be vulnerable, and your very existence, so we all can learn that we are not crazy, we are not evil, we are not stupid, we are not liars, and we are most assuredly not alone.

Blessings Darlene for giving us this gift, and the highest love and light to everyone!
Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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PS:
And one of my New Years Resolutions is to tell people I love how much I love them! I love you all!

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First, thank you all so much for sharing. I have spent the past 40-43years (that’s as far back as I con remember believing I was alone and crazy. I now know I am neither.
Last nite my mother severed our relationship (again) but th%s time is different. I thought if this were my boyfriend or spouse people would think me crazy to voluntary stay in such a situation. Why is it different because she is my mother. Yes, she gave birth to me but outside of that she has’nt fulfilled an of the connotations of mother. I thought ‘How many times do I need to get shocked before I understand don’t touch the red knob’ (Pavlov experiments). I am a.Christian and believe in relationship but relationship takes two. So, indefinatly I will put me as priority and will not be speaking with her. I need this time to stregthen me.

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Amelia -

What a great way to launch your new life in 2013 – creating an identity that cannot and will not be manipulated by a master manipulator! Welcome to taking care of yourself, honoring yourself, healing yourself – it is not selfish to do these things except in the eyes of people whose only energy comes from leeching off others.

Time for your mother to deal with herself instead of being distracted by the games she plays with you. I am so proud of you for consciously deciding not to play her game anymore! Happy New Year, Happy New Life!

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Hi Amelia
Welcome to EFB
You are certainly NOT alone! This website generates 1000 or more comments every month. I realized that it should not be different just because she is my mother. That carries with it MORE responsibility, not less.
Taking time to strengthen yourself is an excellent idea!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

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Coming upon your page has been wonderful and reading this article has me in tears as I am currently at a crossroads of what to do with my mother. Any time I confront her she makes me feel like a child, I am always at fault and she is the victim then a week later she acts like nothing happened (but never forgets in case it benefits her in a future argument) She says she loves me and compliments me in birthday cards and praises things that she approves of but the second anything deviates from her plans (Im 24 with a husband and my own daughter, I need to plan my own life) she flips out and calls me names and says hurtful things like shes trying to hurt me. Ive tried talking to hsr but ahe doesnt listen, she can take no responsibility and acts like she is being attacked, I have thought of writing a letter but she has called past letters childish and cowardly because I should be able to talk to her in person but sometimes I just cant get it out in person. Or do I just cut her out completely, but then Im the “bad daughter” who doesnt love her..I have no idea what to do with her…
Thank you for your words have a wonderful life

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Hi Happy2findu
Welcome to EFB
There is lots of info on this site about what you are talking about. I am sure you will find a lot of helpful insight here. (start in the mother daughter category. There are a lot of articles about dysfunctional famiily)
Hugs, Darlene

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My mother has always used me emotionally. It started at 5 when my abusive father left her for another woman. There were 6 of us. Dad picked his 3 favorites and Mom got the rest. She let us know that we were not quite as good as the other 3. She moped around all of the time felling sorry for herself. I was so young that all I wanted to do was comfort her all of the time. She started seeing another man right after she left Dad. I did not understand why she needed someone else. She worked and went out with this man. My two sisters that were 10 and 15 left me alone to fen for myself. To make a long long story short year after year I was guilted into making mother happy. I felt responsible for her. When I went to work, I helped support myself thru high school and after graduation. Men would come and go while she would come home and cry if they would not want to be with her exclusively or marry her. She was depressed most of the time. Then when she met a great guy and dated him for several years he decided she was not the one. She blamed me for running him away. I would buy clothes and shoes that she could wear to try to make her feel better about herseld and everything I did was for her. Later in life she finally got remarried then he died. She got sick right after that and guess what, Yes I took care of her and rehabilitated her for a whole year, quitting my job and spending 24 hours a day with her. That has been 12 year ago now. She got remarried again after 5 years and her new husband live by me and I feel like I can’t get rid of her. She talks about my weight, belittles my creativity, sucks the joy out of me, is on the phone everyday with a family member telling about how insensitive and mean I am. She has managed to make me the family scapegoat all of my life and frankly I a have had enough. I really believes that she hates me even though I have done more for her than anybody. At Christmas this year she said that my brother, who was abusive to me was coming to see her and she was bringing him over at that time. I said no and she threw a fit at the table with my husband and kids at the table. I pulled her aside and told her that he is not welcome in our home and that it is my decision who to have over not hers. She got histerical and cried and left my house. She did not talk to me for 3 months and it was the best 3 months of my life, even my family said I was much happier. She never appologised to me and treats me as though it was my fault again and again got on the phone with my sisters and brothers. Then she sent home a bottle of St. Johns Wort with my husband. What a witch!!!!

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Hi Jeanemills
Welcome to EFB
You are not alone in all of this. There is lots of info on this site about overcoming the damage that this causes and lots of community too.
Hugs, Darlene

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