Oct
08

Mother Daughter Relationship Nightmares

By

dysfunctional mother daughter relationship

It took me a long time to pick up the threads and accept the true truth about my dysfunctional mother daughter relationship with my mother. This post is another snap shot.

When I was 16 years old the Doctor recommend that I take the birth control pill as a result of some medical problem that I was having with my menstrual cycle. (After I had been sexually assaulted by my mother’s boyfriend when I was 14, I got my period every three weeks for a year and then I skipped if for a year. Trauma often messes with a girl that way.) I had a lot of complications surrounding that whole thing, so the pill was a known way to try and regulate the cycle.

 I had trouble remembering to take them and so I kept them in the kitchen where I would see them.  Since in my mind they were about a medical problem I honestly didn’t see any reason why I couldn’t keep them in the kitchen of our own home. But my mother had other ideas about it. 

My mother accused me of sending out “sexual messages” to her boyfriends.

Lots of men stayed the night throughout my teenage years and often my mother’s current boyfriend would be at the kitchen table when I came downstairs in the morning.  I always took my pill first thing in the morning.  My mother accused me of “flaunting it” in front of her boyfriends. I remember being embarrassed and confused by her accusations. She didn’t sit me down and explain that maybe I should take the pill privately, that it might give the wrong idea if I had my birth control pills in the kitchen like a normal mother might do. Instead she accused me of purposely taking them in front of HER men. She said I was flaunting that I was on the pill. And although I am angry about this today, I had NO idea what the heck she was getting at back then. 

I don’t know how old I was when I realized that my mother was accusing me of telling her boyfriends or hinting to them that I was safe from getting pregnant if they wanted to sleep with me too. It seems obvious enough when I write it out today, but honestly, as a 16 and 17 year old girl, I had no idea that was what she was insinuating. The thought of being attracted to one of her asshole boyfriends and the realization that she thought I really was attracted to them, makes me sick when I think about it now. 

I put this whole puzzle together when I realized that she really did blame me for the time that her boyfriend came in my room when I was 14. Realizing that not only did she believe that I had attracted and even enticed one of her boyfriends to come into my bedroom, she thought I would do it again. She accused me of giving signals to her other boyfriends.  Even writing this I still feel stunned that the mother daughter relationship that I had with my mother was THAT dysfunctional. And I am equally stunned at how long it took me to figure this out! I had all these memories of being devalued by my mother, but I separated them into single incidents, and never looked at them as one whole picture.

 The realization of these things together triggered all kinds of jumbled emotions and feelings in me.

~I felt and sometimes still feel angry, a red hot embarrassed anger; that my own mother would think about me in this way ~ that my own mother still thinks of me that way.

~I feel sick to my stomach that she thought I would “want” one of her disgusting bed mates.

~It made me feel dirty that she really believed that I honestly went after her boyfriends.

~And the bottom line emotion – the one that I avoided feeling and avoided admitting even to myself, was a deep excruciating black and hopeless hurt. It was the pain of a confused and bewildered teenage child, who was molested and sexually assaulted in the night in her sleep, and then blamed for it by her own mother and then for the next few years, was accused of trying to steal her mother’s boyfriends again. I can’t even find the words to express this horrific and degrading truth about how she regarded me.

I could not comprehend this reality for many years even when I began to realize the truth. This was my “MOTHER” who thought this way about me and in reality I was only a child ~ HER CHILD. I couldn’t get my head around it and I understand today how I separated all the incidents and indications as a way of coping with being regarded in this extremely devaluing way and as a way of not facing it. I can see how dissociative identity disorder really worked for me here. It was a way of keeping the memories separate from each other. One single incident is easy to brush off as “well my mother wasn’t perfect, she is only human after all” but all of them together has a different conclusion. A conclusion about our mother daughter relationship that I couldn’t face before.

I kept hoping that my mother would realize that she made a mistake about me, and that she would see me for who I really was and that she would love me but that didn’t happen. I kept trying harder to please her, and I kept each story disconnected from the other stories as a way of surviving the knowledge that my own mother didn’t care about me. 

Please share your thoughts and feelings or whatever else you would like to say;

Connecting all the threads;                                                             

Darlene Ouimet

P.S. Writing this post made me angry but it also set me free a little bit more. I connected a few new “dots” and realized a few more things about my dissociative identity disorder and my mental recovery. I hope that you can take this story and apply it to a situation in your own life, because so many of us don’t have issues like this with our mothers although we have situations like this that lead to an unhealthy survival mode.

WARNING: The comments on this post regarding sexual abuse are extremely graphic ~ some may find them triggering.  ~ Darlene

Categories : Mother Daughter

116 Comments

1

i was gona give this one a miss as i thought it would be to close to my knuckle, but luckily for me it wasnt. though it did raise a few comments. i never ever got why people would want sex. even at school when others were flirting with sex it held no interest for me, i did become promiscuious in my late teens and early 20′s but once i stopped drinking so did that. they called me a late bloomer, me i hated seeing sex n tv or in books and was embarassed by that sort of attention. didnt stop me becoming a dick teaser, but once they wanted me i didnt want them, oh i was a mess in those days. looking back i now realise i didnt yearn for sex like my peers because i’d been the done that and it wasnt that nice, not that i knew that then. now im back in the nun mode, husbands touch is dirty and grasping even though i know it not him i am reacting to it has caused many problems and continues do have a big affect on my life and relationships.
my parents had weird veiws on sex and relationships, somethings are to be hidden yet still enjoyed with other people other than their own abuser. nah didnt get it and still dont get it. i want to get physical attraction and making love with my husband but till i find that pot of memory i not doing to well with it.
sorry for going off topic but my families lack of boundries on touch have messed my perception about for so long.
not given up as i awaiting a place in a group to open up, only way past it is through it, mmm notlooking forward to it at all

2

I know I find it very hard to get my head around the fact that it was my MOTHER who used ME, HER DAUGHTER as HER personal punch bag. It was my MOTHER who masterminded torture and ritual humiliation of HER DAUGHTER. It was my MOTHER who held me down many times while my father raped me. It was my MOTHER who called me a dirty little whore and a slut for having sex with my father although it was HE who initiated it and I didn’t want it. It was my MOTHER who raped ME, HER DAUGHTER with objects. It was my MOTHER who took enormous pleasure out of my suffering. It was my MOTHER who disowned ME, HER DAUGHTER when SHE realised that ME,HER DAUGHTER was no longer willing to be used and abused at will. It was my MOTHER who never accepted me HER DAUGHTER or validated my feminity. It was my MOTHER who did everything she could to devalue, disempower and undermine ME, HER DAUGHTER.

And yes it makes me angry. Yes it disgusts and revolts me. Yes I find it impossible to get my head around MY MOTHER’S DELIBERATE, SYSTEMATIC degradation of ME, HER DAUGHTER.

How do you get your head around stuff so horrific??

3

fi,
i dont think that anyone could understand what u have been through unless they had something similar happen to them. my mothers weapon of choice was words and embarassment, her total inability to understand that i wasnt the cause of all her problems has led to a life long battle, especially as i was so outspoken about why i felt the way i do about how she raised us. ithurts to think that she can treat total strangers with more respect and less judgement than she can show me. i choose not to put up with it now, a joint descision made more potent because i didnt mince my meanings in the last contact we had.
i hope your journey to healing is going well and nig hugs for having the courage to post what you did, it will help others to see that we can help each other even if we havent had the same stuff happen to us

4

Hi Carol
This is a huge area, and it is fine that you brought it up. In the near future I am going to put a few categories behind privacy settings and behind a log in; this will be one of them. It is an area that I would feel more comfortable talking about if my kids (and a few other people) couldn’t read it. =) because I use my full legal name.
I can relate to so much of what you are saying. My families lack of boundaries messed with my perception too and actually that IS the topic of this post so you didn’t actually go off topic!
Thanks for being here Carol. It still makes me feel better too to know that others really know what I am talking about.
Hugs, Darlene
P.S. Carol ~ My mother was a master at blaming me for all her problems too. Glad that is over!

Hi Fi,
YES exactly. This is exactly how I feel too. I could have written half of this myself. I still find it hard too! Writing that post was like reliving the whole thing, and then at the end, I had another layer of understanding about what happened to ME, (I will never understand her, and I don’t even want to)

I don’t know if I ever did get my head around it, but what set me free was that I got my head around that it was up to me to take my life back, just like you are doing. I realized that this was about HER and not about me. I don’t have to take it and I don’t have to understand it. I found the truth about her and then about me and what she taught me about me was all lies. YES this is a big process, but man oh man… I am so free and alive now.
Thank you so much for sharing your anger, I find it liberating, encouraging and inspiring. You didn’t deserve that.
Hugs and thanks again, Darlene

5

One way I would approach trying to get my head around something so horrifice is to realize that I cannot get head around somethings, and this, or something in my own experience may be one of those things that are beyond a certain kind of processing. I would guess that this could be where the arts come in, or other kinds of therapies.

6

Hi Sheryl,
Yes, the arts and art therapy is great, finding a creative outlet is really healing. I did a lot of painting ~ faux finishing type work, I rode a LOT of horses and found them very healing and therapeutic also. I found gardening helped me for a long time too. I found all these things soothing. I was so scattered that I needed to do something “grounding” and all these things allowed me to focus a little bit better and to come out of the spin a little bit too. All of these things were very helpful.

In retrospect, I never did totally get my head around what happened to me and how I was so devalued, but I also found out that the key to freedom and recovery is not about getting my head around it. It is realizing the truth of it, because in the past I only understood the false of it. It was in uncovering how the abuse manifested in my life ~ in my beliefs about myself and finding the lies there, exposing them to the light of truth, and re-wiring my brain in a way. It was in getting rid of the lies, and re-parenting myself that I found freedom.
Thanks so much for your comments.
Hugs, Darlene

7

Darlene, I think we must be sisters. :) When I went to my support group for survivors of sexual abuse we all had one break though. It was weird because it was something none of us connected to our sexual abuse until the group and it is so obvious it was linked to sexual abuse but none of us had that revelation until the group. The revelation was that each and every once of us started our periods early had such bad periods we had to be out on birth control. There is so much medical proof to my abuse but so much denial. My abuser went on to rape his own daughter at age 2 and broke her legs. Yes they are still in denial and she is grown now. I am 47 now. When I finally realized that she was crazy is that she said to me it is bad enough that I have to share my house with you, I am not sharing “my” husband with you. She was talking about my dad and no he is not the one who abused me. In fact we were close or I thought we were until he told me I know you are telling the truth but don’t tell your mom I believe you she will make my life miserable. It was then that I realized how sick they were and how weak my dad was who I always thought we were so close.
It takes strength and self respect and wisdom to cut family off when they are abusive and selfish. I did it years ago and it is maybe the single best decision of my life. I did not cut them loose after my revelation though. It took legal problems from having them in my life and legal counsel that I had to cut them loose. But once I did I was free! Thanks for this post Darlene!

8

My mother knew my father had been raping me since birth. Did she do something about it? Yes, she did! She tried to kill me at least 3 times. She called me names, degraded and ridiculed my underdeveloped body in front of anyone that would listen, She accused me of sleeping with her husband instead of asking me if daddy was hurting me. She made sure that I never looked like a little girl unless it was to her benefit. She made sure I knew I would never be good enough and that I would never measure up to her perfectness. She raped me herself not for sexual reasons but to purposely inflict pain and suffering so that I would remember how unhappy she was. She let me know that every horrible thing that happened in her life was a direct result of my very existence. She started to poison and drug me at night so that she and my father could do God knows what to me. When I did finally tell on my father my mother hated me for ruining her life and taking her husband away. She punished me by taking herself and my 2 brothers and moving over 2000 miles away leaving me to live with complete strangers and face all of the court hearings and trial alone. This is some of my mother. The rest is really too painful to write. From the day I was born I was nothing more to her than the other woman. The mistress. The home wrecker. Others witnessed her behavior first hand and did nothing. They told me I was to love my mother and honor her??? Darlene I am so sorry you had to go through the things you went through. How painful it must be for you to recall these events. Just know you are not alone. Tears and Hugs

9

Darlene … I could relate to the dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship, the relationship I had with a narcissistic mother! I had never been sexually abused … but I had to say that I found the information about periods here quite interesting. I was 13 and living overseas in the Far East, and it was when we came home to Canada for holiday that I started menstruating. Upon returning to the tropics my body didn’t have another period for many months. When they started again, they were normal, until we moved back to Canada for good at the age of 16 … first period here was extremely painful – so much so that I passed out on the kitchen floor. I was about 22-23 years old before I had them pain-free again. I still don’t understand why that happened and have excused it to be from moving from one climate to another. I’ve never been sexually abused … but I thought it odd to have such an interruption in periods. Would a change in periods happen too when there is just emotional/verbal abuse??

With that said, I could never wrap my mind around my mother’s sick and surreptitious abuse. Sometimes she’d abuse me in front of my siblings, but never in front of my Dad – at least not in a way that was obvious to him anyway. My sisters saw some but again, I think they often missed the glances of hate and the teeth clenching when she’d look at me. But no one ever saw the worst of it which is when she and I were alone. Degraded, devalued, humiliated, embarrassed, ashamed, stripped of any self-worth … She did a number on me. I didn’t come across an article on narcissism until just about a month ago or so and I have to say, it did explain the ‘why’ to some degree. It was like the author of the article actually MET my mother!!!! Even though I still don’t understand how a mother could treat her daughter the way she treated me, I now know that it is just the way she is. She won’t change and why would she, she doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with HER!

She referred to me as being a whore and ‘no good’ long before I was ever sexually active – when she found out I was sexually active in my twenties, the abuse got much worse. She was mean and cruel. She told me a few times that ‘no good man will ever want me’ because I was ruined. I felt ashamed all the time from things she’d say. I felt worthless and unloveable … like the utter dregs of the earth.

My therapist told me that there is no way I can understand her, but she did say, from what I told her, that she thought my mother could be mentally ill. My therapist said I just had to let go of the idea of ever finding out the ‘why’ – to put it behind me so-to-speak and start living for me, my husband and my kids. With mothers like mine, she said I will never know why, especially when she is still in total denial about how she treated me! I have to leave her in the past, dismissing her as my mother. So for the last few weeks I have actually been referring to her by her first name because she is not my mother – she is a woman who birthed me. She fed me and bought clothes for me and provided me a home to live in … but as far as love, kindness, affection, respect, and all the other stuff you’d get from a healthy mother – I did not get. Man, I miss a mother’s love!! I’ve beat myself up over that … ‘How come I don’t get or deserve a mother’s love?’ It sucks. It sucks that the person who should love you the most just doesn’t. And you know, with abusers like mine, its just not in them to give!! I realize that now.

Mothers have such a crucial role in our lives. They teach how to love, how to be kind, how to nurture, to be self-confident, they teach us how to be and feel beautiful, etc. She’s the one (as well as the dad) who teaches us our worth and lovability. I got none of that! I’m not looking for a pity party or anything, just stating the facts. Abusers like my mother cannot love when its not in them to even give. They live for themselves and no one else. Everything in their world is about them. They don’t care who they hurt as long as it makes them feel superior.

My father and I were never close either – he was always distant. I know a bit about his past though, so its easier to understand why he is the way he is. I get it. But I still missed out on being and feeling valued by him too. No wonder I grew up feeling alone and thinking I had no one to rely on but me – and its scary when you’re a young woman, especially an abused young woman. You feel like the world is out to get you.

At least now, (very recently) I can look in the mirror and see myself as a little girl in God’s arms. He is my Father (and mother) … He loves me more than anyone else ever could. Seeing myself as God sees me gives me tremendous comfort in who I am … if only I can make note to remember it all the time!! And when I do remember, I attempt to love myself the way He loves me – gently, affectionately, wholeheartedly, completely and unconditionally. It’s the kind of love that many an abused women only dream of … God made that ‘dream’ for me a reality. :o)

10

Paulette , I agree to e healthy and at peace in life in general I dont usually ask why any more about any crisis it is and knowing why doesn’t help and God doesn’t owe us answers anyway. That is a good word.
To- Nicole xoxo.

11

My mother is narcissistic too and I am jealous of women who have a normal, adult-adult relationship with their mothers. My mother never wanted me, never loved me, never respected me, never was there any empathy from her. Her boarder-boyfriend abused me for over a year and she never noticed because she was so involved with her own world that she couldn’t notice what was going on in mine. The bladder infections were not a signal to her. Yes, I got food and clothing and needed medical care and vacations, but I paid a high price for it.

Will the knowledge that the woman who ought to have loved and protected and empathized with me didn’t hurt the rest of my life?

12

This whole post and every comment are gut wrenching. I can almost feel the pain of everyone who posted here. My own stomache is in knots reading this. I feel so angry that you all had to go thru this.Part of what comes thru is the pattern of never being able to be who you are or were, but only what other people wanted you to be for their own purposes. Some mothers wanted to see their daughter’s as whores and Jezebels, so they themselves could be jealous and competitive.Some saw their daughters as things to be abused and purposely damaged- God knows why. Some saw their daughters as people to be made fun of and demeaned. None of these beautiful daughters were allowed to be themselves and valued AS themselves.They all served someone else’s sick purposes. Its a testament to survival and the miracle of protective angels or personalities that these girls survived.

Paulette referred to her therapist saying to let go of the idea of understanding WHY.I have to agree.

My mom was so focussed on the idea of being hated and persecuted that she missed so many many things going on with her children. Everything paled in comparison. All that mattered to her was that she convince us that WE were persecuting her, when we were just living a kid’s life…I had no idea how sick and bitter she was until a few years ago.I grew up thinking I was a horrible person, so did mty brother. He suicided when he was 19, on my parent’s wedding anniversary date. My dad had killed himself two years before.

Its a bad bad place to go- back there. I still don’t understand the dynamics and maybe never will.It was as if something dark and evil got hold of our family for years.

Thanks for the honesty here. I love each one of you for your courage and your strength.

13

I refer to Pinky’s comment about it taking strength to cut off the ties and cut loose from your family. Wow, well done for having the strength to do it and for finding a way to do that.

I had no choice in that matter as I was beaten up, kicked out into the snow and left for dead by my family, who were my abusers, they left me there and walked back in the house and shut the door on me. When I wrote a will a few years ago I had to seek legal counsel on how to write it to ensure that my family, my abusers, could have no claim on my will should I die before them.

Living life alone without family has been very very hard and empty. And it stinks all the more when you’ve no family through no fault of your own. That one really hurts. With the added complication that the severity of the abuse I experienced left me totally incapable of forming relationships period, it’s made life even more alone.

It takes a lot of energy keeping going and surviving. It also makes all social interactions potential nightmares. The inevitable questions at social occasions about family are met by me saying “erm I don’t have any family” That gets met with strange looks, pregnant pauses and so often I then here “come on, no one has no family at all, you must have some relative somewhere?” That’s been said to me so many times over the years. And I don’t want to have to say every time “I have no family because they abused and disowned me”. It’s horrible, so in the end I withdrew from most social contexts, including church because I couldn’t cope with all that stuff. Only during the last few months since I discovered this blog and the fan page on facebook have I been able to share and discover I’m not as alone as I thought I was.

Sorry to go slightly off topic but I just wanted to reply to pinky’s point!!

14

Fi, I am sorry for your pain. They sound horrible. If they had stayed in your life you would be much worse off. I know someone right now who has a horribly abusive family who is grown age 38 who basically sold their soul to keep their family who they know doesn’t love them know they cant trust and they do have a support network outside of the family. This 38 years old basically exchanged truth for a lie and they have no integrity, no real backbone no center. It all revolves around their family. They actually killed his father and took his death benefits and he knows they are dangerous and not loyal and he choose them over his own daughter. That is not family.I found my strength in God rather than live a lie. God is with you you are not alone and God has preserved you. Let’s pray for each other. What is horrible in one way I can also see as the grace of God rescuing us from worse horror. You say living life alone has been hard and empty. Imagine my 38 year old friend who is not alone but his family are those who killed his father and took his money. In my humble opinion the grace of God removed them from you to spare you further grief and to bring you to a place of wholeness and happiness. There is great hope for you and you will meet people on this blog who will not think it is strange that you dont have a family. I wish you love and happiness. xo

15

Hi Pinky, thanks very much, yes God has indeed kept me and preserved me. He indeed removed me from them so I could slowly, gradually become the person HE always intended me to me rather than the person they said I was and that they made me to be.

There are people I know of who do not think it possible to live life without a family so choose to remain in an abusive family situatiothe personn. In so doing they are person that the family created them to be rather than being the individual they are. It is hard to cut the ties, walk away, start over and find out who you really are. As you say by staying they are choosing to life a life with it’s foundation in lies without even realising it.

I’m 44 and it’s taken me all these years to find the courage to begin to talk about what happened to me. I choose now to speak the truth. I choose to live in the truth after living in secrets during the 24 years that have passed since they disowned me. And as I do so I discover strength I never realised I had and most of all FREEDOM, LIBERTY.

Indeed this blog, the facebook page, other people I’ve met online, friends and professional people who all believe me and believe in me are all giving me hope and strength. Yes there is hope and thank you so much for reminding me of that. I wish you well too. What a wonderful little community this is!!

16

Sorry – I just saw the typo in the 2nd paragraph of my last comment – I meant to say “abusive family situation” but my editing went a little amiss oops!!

17

Nice to know you Fi. You are brave and honest!

18

Wow, lots of comments since I shut down last night! I have a busy day today and I am sorry, but I can’t answer everyone individually this time.

Pinky ~ I am finding out more everyday that I have a lot of brothers and sisters out there! So many similar mothers, and similar fathers, and combinations of that! The period stuff is interesting.

Paulette ~ (another one of my sisters) My mother is/was also narcissistic. I wanted to say that in my experience ~ periods can be affected by anything like this including emotional and verbal abuse. My periods straightened out when I was at the end of my second year of therapy! I was in my forties! It was so dramatic that I asked my therapist about it.

Everyone ~ I say again ~ there is no freedom or answer in understanding why or how abusers do what they do. Realizing that my mother was sick was why I put up with it for so long in the first place. (I have written a few posts about this) The thing that struck me as so odd is how the rest of the world didn’t see any of it… she could act “normal” in front of them, so if this whole thing is about her mental illness.. then how did she hide it??? I might write a whole blog post about this!

I know abusers who are not narcissistic in the least, who have done brutal things to other people all for power and control ~ as you say, all about them feeling superior ~
I love the vision of how you see yourself now!!

Just Me ~ Welcome!
Thank you for asking your question because it is one that is very near to my heart! You asked “Will the knowledge that the woman who ought to have loved and protected and empathized with me hurt the rest of my life?” and I say that I have gone on with my life, I am not who my mother said that I am, I am living fully, I have overcome depression and dissociative identity disorder, I do not agonize about why my mother didn’t love me anymore; I am FREE now. I don’t have a mother, but that doesn’t change who I am. It is totally possibly to dig down into the foundation of how we came to see ourselves, and change the lies we find there. I am no who my mother says that I am, but I went through a big process to get to this point. That process is really what this blog is about.
Thanks for being here, Hugs, Darlene

Elizabeth ~ once again thank you for sharing your journey. You are growing so much right before my eyes! One of the things that I realized is that something dark and evil got ahold of me and I believed all the lies that “they” told me about me… and understanding that was the pathway OUT of darkness.
Hugs!!!

Fi ~
I am so appreciative of your willingness to share so deeply here on this blog! Gosh.. you really inspire people. (and so do so many others.. I don’t want to discount anyone) and thank you for validating my work with this whole thing too. Means a lot to me.
When I stood up to my mother, she walked away too. She did me a huge favor, even though as I have said I was willing to walk away, I never had to deal with it. My kids told me about a year later that they were always creeped out by my mother! (and I was worried they would be mad at me or something) Kids have such great intuition!

YES to freedom and liberty! Thank you everyone!!!
Love Darlene

19

HI everyone, I just want to put this out there before I leave for the day. Abusers whether they be rapists, domestic abusers, stalkers, legal abusers (those who use the legal system to abuse people) or any pother kind of abuser all have one thing in common I have noticed. Even if you watch these preachers in the news who were accused of sexual exploitation. The one thing in common. They all call the victim crazy. They do not necessarily deny their behavior though some do. They call the victim crazy. They dont call them liars usually. As an example watch the current TBN scandal and the guy who was accused of sexual misconduct. He didnt say they were lying or that he was innocent. Very interesting. Those who side with the abusers are usually in denial themselves and not healthy.Be is an attorney or family member or just the general public. If they side with the abuser something is up. You can take that to the bank.

20

This is a good point Pinky, one that I have also noticed. The victim is labeled crazy ~ almost always. This is an abuse tactic in itself and it is a very powerful one, because when we are brought up with less then a loving, supportive and nurturing environment, we question ourselves anyway, we are “groomed” to believe that something is wrong with us. On the abuser side of things, they use that card the opposite way that it has been used on them when they were kids. They learned it the same way we did but they flip it later in life to use against others. They know first hand how powerful it is.
Thanks for bringing this up. Hugs, Darlene

21

Yes you have a point Pinky.

My abusers told me as a child that if I ever told people would think I was a dirty little liar etc.

If anyone asked questions when I was a child my abusers told people I was a bad child, a little troublemaker and I had to be kept very strictly because of my badness.

Once confronted by the police this year they kept denied everything, said they didn’t remember, said I was bad, a troublemaker, a timewaster. They said I had it all wrong and they should discount anything I say. They never said I was lying just blamed it all on me same as when I was a child.

Some things never change, very interesting!!!

22

This is SO important ~
And the fact that they told you that Fi, the fact that they thought to warn you to be quiet, that they convinced you that everyone would think that you were a liar, and that they built a whole web of lies about you to others ~ saying you were trouble and that you were bad ~ all that information proves that they knew they were doing something wrong. If they didn’t know it was them ~ they never would have thought to cover it up this way ~ they never would have put all that foundation in place to make you the one who was crazy ~ if they didn’t know any better. Just saying….

These are the things that I had to realize in order to change the belief system (that they put in place in my mind) that I am always talking about… This is the truth of it all. This is a very powerful conversation that we have going on in here today!
Hugs, Darlene

23

Today this day I absolutly hate my mother. I too get very jealous when I see other’s who are very close to there mom. My mother sexually abused me as well as many others. My oldest brother sexually abused me and my grandfather who lived with us. The 3 of them would team up on me and toss me around like a football. They hurt me so bad and I was always scared for my life. To the point where I literally tried to take my life myself many times. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get over the anger I have towards my mother. She is sick, a pervert, and will never be apart of my life! There’s this deep hurt I have inside me that I try to avoid of never having a loving mother. It hurts so bad at times I can’t allow myself to go there. I have tried just about everything to get that pain out. In time I hope it will heal….

Thanks so much Darlene for your blog! It has helped me tremendously! I have a place I can go and be safe sharing my story and not feel alone in this world. What you do is so powerful and life changing!

Hugs,
Kathy

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Kathy, I too was sexually abused by my brother, mother, grandfather, as well as grandmother, father and godfather. The sexual abuse with my brother really confused me because in our teen years it turned into an intense incestuous love affair which I hated. I too was tossed around like you were and I too feared for my life every day. I was thrown around the house like I was a rag doll. I do not know how they did not kill me. I’ve often wished they had killed me then I wouldn’t have to live with the horror of what they did to me.

There is only one word for them and you used it – SICK –

I too have felt very jealous of people I know who have ‘close, happy families’.

Yes this is a safe place where you can share as much or as little as you like, you are NOT alone, none of us are alone anymore. This is such a lovely little community, it takes my breath away!!

25

Fi, Thanks! I too wished they had killed me too….even the severe eating disorder I developed I was hoping would kill me. But I’m still here and it sucks to have to work through all this pain that these asswhole’s did to us! I feel like I will never really know what it’s like to be “free”. It was harder for me as a developing teen and I was so confused too! I didn’t get my period til I was 16 because of all the sex. Then once I did it was a HUGE trigger for me! I went through a stage where I didn’t like men or women and especially not myself. The abuse from my mom made me sick then to have it done so forcefully by the men I was so confused and the shame really got to me. I pray for the day when I don’t have flashbacks anymore…when I can wake up and be happy of who I am and not focus on the horrible things that were done to me.
I know it takes time to heal old wounds…but I’ve come a long way as to where I was this time last year.

26

Hi Kathy,
I don’t blame you for the way that you feel. It is unfathomable that a child was forced to live through the hell that you and others here lived through. I understand that pain, and I also know that expressing it with others that also went through it and understand it is very healing. To be so honest about the pain is an amazing and powerful step on the journey. The pain is one of the hardest things to face and our very survival is based in coping with the abuse and in avoiding the pain of the truth. The truth really HURTS, but it also set me free. Thank you so much for sharing Kathy, and please share as often as you need to!

Kathy and Fi
Isn’t it sad that we get to the point that we wished we were dead. I prayed to die for years and many of us do die, either at our own hand or the hands of someone else. But we can recover, and we can move past the pain. There came a day when I stopped having nightmares! I rarely have flashbacks, and when I do I can take them in stride today. I am free. I do wake up happy and excited every day and look forward to tomorrow each night.. it is possible, but first there is the process of recovery. There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel! (and it isn’t the death light)
So glad that you are both here!!!
Hugs, Darlene

27

I guess I have processed most of what I realize was my mother’s dysfunction and likely dissociation…all in the family under power of f*ther. Some of me saw her as abuser preparing us for “events”. Her lack of protectiveness in the face of f*ther anger/rage that was clearly unfair to a young child. The most hurt I had to process was after known DID. I shared that recently here, I think. Choice to not believe me than to lose her husband.

It’s still stings. And I fear nieces and nephews met the same fate as me and my siblings and paternal cousins. Very helpless. Darlene, sharing your story is affirming. I know I’m not alone. We all endure such anguish over one or both parents. It’s never easy, but not being alone softens the blow.

28

Other than an occasional slap to the face when I was a young child, my mother never physically abused me. She and my dad would call my brother, sister and I names like stupid or dummy when we did or said something they didn’t like. Even today, I hate those names.

My mother just wasn’t there emotionally for us. My sister doesn’t remember our mother being in her life physically as a small child. She asked me a few years ago if I raised her because she didn’t remember Mom being there in her life at all. My mother was always there physically because my dad didn’t allow her to work outside the home until I was 17 which made my sister 14 at the time.

The main thing I remember about my mom when we were young is that she was always reading romance paperbacks, smoking cigarettes and drinking cup after cup of coffee. When I was home, I was responsible for keeping her coffee cup filled. I became responsible for keeping the house clean by the time I was 11. No one ever bothered to teach me how to clean a house and we often lived in houses isolated by countryside and without running water or inside bathrooms.

I knew at the age of 3 that my mother was not emotionally available to me. I became her protector so that she didn’t have to feel. The only emotion that I saw from her was the same one that my dad did – rage. Her rage would come out as slaps to the face, spankings, cursing and name-calling. She never showed us love or nurturing of any kind. I needed to feel loved by somebody so badly – all children do – that I would lie to myself and say that I knew my mom loved me. She just didn’t know how to show it. Today, I don’t believe that she loved me because she didn’t know how to love herself. She couldn’t give me what she didn’t have. She couldn’t teach me what she was never taught. This is why learning to love myself has been so important. I made sure that my children knew I loved them by action and deed.

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Patricia, I we have two little girls and I make sure as well that they get lots of attention and feel loved and cared for! From being broken so badly from my mom, I want my girls to always know I love them no matter what and that I’m hear for them. It triggers me sometimes though to be honest and I start to feel sorry for myself. But that doesn’t stop me from loving and caring for them.

My mother was also very physically abusive to me as well. She would throw china plates at me, drag me down the hallway by my ponytial, hit me, throw me up against walls, ect. She never called me by my real name….she always referred to me as her “fat bitch”. My brother’s even called me that following her footsteps and she allowed them too. When I journal about my mother it’s usually a lot of anger and I refer to her in my journal as “the fat bitch.”

30

Hmmm… A mother daughter relationship was non existent for me in any healthy sense. I was prepared from birth for the life I grew up in. Being beat, taken into certain situations, coached on verbal responses, punished for physical responses, trained and pretty much brainwashed occurred very early on. My mother left my life early though physically and I believe was completely absent once others took over. I’m actually quite overwhelmed by what I read but wanted to try to say something…
My head is pounding. You ladies show such courage in speaking… Why did this happen to me? Ugh….

31

I often prayed as a child when I went to bed, and when I was left in my bed after being raped/assaulted that I’d die overnight and not wake up in the morning.

I realise that as a child I died many times inside. That’s why all these years I’ve just been existing for the sake of existing, staying alive for the sake of staying alive.

Now all these years later I’m telling and I’m coming alive inside, and it’s an amazing feeling!! There is now hope inside of me instead of despair. There is now light inside me instead of blackness. Yes I’m glad I’m still here – and I never ever thought I’d ever say that!!

32

So many comments after I left my own. Wow!!

JUST ME, I know how you feel. When a mother doesn’t love you it alone sends a message that we are unworthy, unloveable, hated, despised … but that’s just the beginning, then there is the hateful stares and the wicked comments which just intensifies everything else. I remember what pleasure she took in anything bad that happened to me – as though I deserved it. I tossed and turned about my worth and who I am for years! I want to tell you that there is hope, and although the change and healing seems to come slow sometimes, please know, that now that I am confessing it and not keeping is a ‘secret’ that the healing that comes now is on a steep incline to recovering.

To help me get past the ‘whys’ and look at me ‘now,’ I had to remember a time as a little girl when I felt loved. I couldn’t remember a single one, but I remember a vision God gave me (which I know He gave because He knew I didn’t have a memory like that) which I will give to you too because He not only loves me this way, but everyone who is brokenhearted and downtrodden. The vision He gave was me as a little girl sitting on his lap, He was holding me like a TRULY loving Father, He held me tenderly and so close to His heart, consoling me ever so sweetly as if I was His only child, precious and of great worth. He looked up at the woman I am and said, “I love you. I will never ever ever ever leave you or forsake you. I will be all the Father (or mother) you will ever need.” He also said that He would always love me no matter what – that there was nothing I could do that could ever make Him stop loving me.” (Of course I sobbed.) Today, I remember that vision and I choose every day to recall it and know it so well so it becomes a part of me. He is quite literally all the parent I never had and need. It’s this vision that gives me courage and strength and gives me permission to be the woman He sees and knows. It allows me to put my past where it belongs – in the past!

I am like you though – man! I miss the idea of ever having had a truly loving mother. I wonder what it would have been like to be loved like you were a precious thing by her. I don’t know what that would have been like – and even though God showed me, I’ve never physically experienced it. I suppose that is why I am the way I am with my kids – I hug them and kiss them on the cheek every day and tell them I love them! I TELL them too that there is nothing they could ever do that will ever change the way I feel about them. Man, I hope the BELIEVE it!

I was talking to a dear friend about this the other day (who didn’t know the history I had with my mother) and I told her that I am sure my emotional eating is directly tied to the total absence of affection as a kid which is tied to my self worth to some degree. I am so HAPPY for women, genuinely happy for women, who have healthy, loving, affectionate relationships with their mothers. And these women who do don’t struggle with who they are and they are confident in who they are. I want that so much – and God is the only One I know who has the ability to give me that. And I’m on my way, so that makes me happy.

Like JUST ME, I can identify too with her in that I was provided for, fed, had a roof over my head – but that was the extent of the care. I felt like a boarder. And like Just Me, I too paid a HIGH, HIGH price for it!!!!

I omitted my mother, my abuser, from my life ten years ago because I couldn’t take the abuse, the crap, the manipulation, etc., anymore. I had no idea when I did this what this ‘abuse’ was called. It was two months later I found a book by Gregg Jantz, “Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse” and I picked it up out of interest … I found a passage that described my mother and I bought the book. It so aided in my healing!! It was so great too to put a name to how she ‘treated’ me! Me breaking ties with her was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. In the last few months, my family (father and siblings) have also backed right off – not wanting to talk about any of this ( to which I responded with ‘just leave me alone then’), which says to me that they are in denial as they all have this attitude of “just get over it” to some degree, either that OR they think I’m crazy or a liar. I’d be shocked if they really thought I was crazy or a liar as I have never given them any reason to think I’d be either of those – but, then, you never know. I’m done asking ‘why’ about that too.

When family deserts you, friends become your family. And if you are in Christ, fellow believers too are now your family – they are your FOREVER family, your eternal family. God adopted me as His daughter and He is a great Dad!! He’s the BEST! I have awesome siblings in Christ that are more family to me than my own. Sad, but true.

I love this little community – I love that Darlene started something so worthy and so healing. God is doing a great thing by bringing hurting women together that we might aid in each other’s healing and overcoming … that we can live the lives we’ve always wanted. I have derived such strength from this site and all the women and men who contribute to it. So much truth revealed … and when truth is revealed and realized, then comes healing. I cannot say ‘thank you’ enough!! :o) This ‘place’ is a God-send!!

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Fi, I realize too that I died many times inside as well. And doing this painful work towards wholeness and recovery sometimes feels like I’m dying inside! I have to be honest and say if it weren’t for my husband and girl’s….there are days I wish I weren’t here. Making me cry to even say that…but it’s the truth. :(

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Hi Paulette

Sadly I’ve been rejected by the vast majority of fellow believers I’ve come across over the years because I am so damaged, hurt and so broken from the abuse and so relationally impaired.

I had fingers pointed at me that I couldn’t be a real Christian and be in such a mess – that it was my fault that I was in such a mess – that all I had to do is tell the bad thoughts to go away – and read my bible more – and pray more – that I was a new creation in Christ therefore the hurt from my past should be gone to etc etc.

Need I do on?

I could write pages about the spiritual abuse. So much judgementalism, minimising, criticising and simplistic solutions. I gave up on ‘church’ a couple of years ago. I could not take it anymore.

I now have a small handful Christian friends who recognise that I have a relationship with Jesus and walk very closely to HIM, I would not still be alive otherwise. They know the truth, accept me and are walking alongside me, encouraging and praying for me, committed to supporting me through my healing journey and seeing what God is doing in and through me.

But yes as you say my friends are my family now. This community is also part of my family too. As you say this blog is truly a God-send!

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I’m sorry Kathy that it hurts so much and I know those thoughts and feelings so well. Thank goodness for this safe little community!!

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Yes, thank goodness for this safe community! I just need to shout out

I HAVE BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSED BY 4 MEN IN MY FAMILY AND MY MOM. PHYSICALLY ABUSED BY MY MOTHER…SUFFERED A EATING DISORDER, WAS RAPED WHILE DATING MY HUSBAND. 13 YEARS OF ABUSE IS A LOT OF HELL!

37

my message sent before I was done. But there I said it all! I admit to the truth!!!!!!!!! Now off to get a tissue!

38

Yes heard that shout, and yes it was hell to live through, you didn’t deserve all that crap!!

39

I wanted my mother’s love so badly that for 14 years I took her hostage. Of course, she let me or it wouldn’t have happened. Now to explain myself.

My parents split up when I was in my 30′s because my mother found out that my dad was cheating on her with another woman. I knew about it months before my mother did but in doing my protect mom’s feelings thing that I learned in childhood, I didn’t tell her. When she kicked my dad out, I talked it over with my husband and we went and got her and moved her into our home to take care of her.

I didn’t figure out until years later why. One day in a 12-Step meeting, I heard myself say that if I couldn’t have my mom emotionally with me, I would settle for having her physically with me. It took me awhile to realize how sick that was for me. Abandonment issues were really big ones for me. I wanted so badly to feel loved by her that I was willing to settle for just her physical presents in my life. Before she died, she was able to tell me she loved me. I believe that she loved me as much as she could love anyone since she never learned to love herself.

I had to let go of the “whys” of the incest because the “whys” kept me in my head where I wasn’t healing. Intellectualizing kept me from feeling. As an online friend recently said, “Feeling is healing.” I had to get out of my head and reconnect with the rest of my body before I could start to feel again. My way of surviving the incest was to live in my head and to deny and stuff feelings. Growing up, I only saw one type of feelings – rage and it was dangerous. I had to learn to feel it all before I could start to heal. Getting angry was the beginning of healing for me.

40

Just unloaded my dishwasher and fell to the floor crying. A HUGE ttigger for me. My mom use to make me unload the dishwasher and out of the blue she would take the dishes out of the dishwasher and start throwing the dishes at me….then it lead to her saying “I’m sorry” and to make up for it she sexually abused me. Made me give her oral sex…so GROSS and she would stick things inside me and tell me I needed to feel pleasure when all I felt was severe pain and I had to lie to her or else she would stick something in my bottom….and from my abusers having anal sex with me I knew how painful this was so I did what she said and acted like I enjoyed it when down inside my heart was hurting badly! I FUCKING hate my mother! I hate her….she never loved me…never cared about me….told me all the time she wishes I wasn’t born and NEVER wanted a girl. I have 3 older brothers so I wander by just being a girl is why she hates me and treated me so bad?

41

OH my goodness everyone… I was in a meeting for three hours and this blog just exploded while I was away! I just caught up on all the shares.. I have a few things to add, but I am going to wait till a bit later ~ but this is really great!

Kathy ~ good for YOU!! I am so proud of you and your amazing courage… actually everyone ~ this is crazy good stuff today! SO much being revealed.

Chalet!! Welcome. So great to have you with us too. I know it can be overwhelming ~ this type of sharing in particular, it is overwhelming on many levels. That this happened and happens to so many people, (I didn’ think anyone else had stuff like this going on in childhood) and realizing that it is OKAY to talk about it, and that it wasn’t my fault it was about them…….. all of this is just a lot to take in… Glad you are here!

Hugs, Darlene
p.s. keep going, keep sharing. I am in awe of the trust going on in here!

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Oh Kathy, my heart reaches out to you.

My mother stuck things inside me too and held me down and made my father stick things inside me as well as have him rape me. Excruciating it was. I had to shut off all my feelings because if they saw any reaction from me they made it worse. Had to pretend it wasn’t hurting me, I wasn’t bothered by it and it got to the point where they could do anything to me without me reacting. I’ve got an extremely high pain threshold as a result.

And of course I was told I deserved it all because I was so bad, if I was a good girl they wouldn’t have to do it to me, it was my fault not their’s cos I was so bad. Soooooo hard to get past that.

I also endured the hell of anal sex from my grandfather while my grandmother had her tongue down my throat and her hands all over me. And then I was made to watch them do the same to my brother many times. My brother went on to anally rape me, that was where he started and with masturbation before moving on to having an intense affair with me. Was raped in many ways by my father and godfather together. I felt like the meat in the sandwich. Just horrific.

I hate my mother too, she hated me from birth and said she never wanted a girl. She said I wasn’t wanted and was just a bother, nothing but trouble since birth. That in itself messed up my identity, undermined my self esteem and made me feel there’s something real bad about being a girl… wish I’d been born a boy… then it wouldn’t have happened. Could never understand how a mother could detest and hate her own daughter to the extent that she did.

I’ve never spoken about the acts outside of the police interview room, thanks for giving me permission. The pain and the memories are so overwhelming sometimes and the shame, oh the shame… but at least here there is only safety and acceptance. And I guess the more I talk about it the less ashamed of it I’ll feel.

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This is very overwhelming. After reading the last few posts I am in tears. I’m not ready to give such graphic details but I can relate to lots. I’m sorry now if I lose my train of thought as I type. It happens when I’m upset. I think one thing I can say is I just wanted my bitch of a mother to love me. Regardless if she had been hurt too. She made the mistake of letting them come get me almost a week after my birth and I was abandoned. I could have escaped all of it but no. She told them where I was. They reclaimed me. I couldn’t get away. After that my hellish life started probably 2 years or so after birth. I just realized why I love the color yellow… Another time. My mother let my sister go but not me. I was special because I was the first born. One of many things I will never truly forget. My heart goes out to all of you. My tears are for all of you and a few for me. I’m going to keep reading. That alone is a first for me… *hugs*

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Hello. This is my first post here on EFB. I am on the FB page, but don’t always take time to read the posts here. My heart is so broken for the pain each of you have suffered at the hands of your “family.” I admire your courage to speak out against things that were not your fault. I admire your courage to put one foot in front of the other.
My primary abuser was not a relative, though I did suffer from emotional and verbal abuse in the home. I was never close to my parents and I can relate to the longings to be nurtured and to feel safe and loved. I’m so grateful that God gave me a woman who “mothered” my heart later in life and brought such healing to those wounds.
I guess I will never understand (and have long stopped trying) the human capacity for such evil actions toward others. I suppose for some abusers it is mental sickness, but for most it is not. Sickness implies they had no control over what they did. Unfortunately, many of them were simply evil. I certainly have asked Why? but there is no satisfactory answer, even they could offer some internal motivation. They would always turn the blame back on the victim, and that is simply a lie.

I will pray for each of you by name this week as you deal with your flashbacks and nightmares and emotional pain. I can’t imagine the horror that some of you have survived and continue to wrestle with! Please know that it can and will get better as you stay in the battle. Don’t give up and know that you are not alone. Know that God loves you, and He never wanted life to turn out this way.

If you are interested, I have written a book about my journey of recovery. It is called Unraveling the Threads, and is available on my web site as well as Amazon, etc. I pray that it might be used to help others understand some of the whys and to find a measure of healing.

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Hi Everyone, as tragic and horrific as all this is, it is really encouraging to be a part of this “revealing” too. There are a few steps on the journey that are absolutely imperative ~ one of them is “telling” what happened and another one is realizing that it happened to you.

What I mean by that is that in my case I had disconnected myself from the events, so that I could not feel the pain of those events ~ I could talk about my abuse in dull matter of fact tones.. as though I was talking about someone else because I survived by not connecting to the events to me. This is a pattern that I continued with for many years. This was how I avoided the pain. Connecting the abuse to myself ~ (I remember repeating over and over and over again… in an almost “stunned voice” “this happened to me… this happened to me.”) and then connecting to the pain, finally feeling the pain was a huge step for me that set me on the path to recovery and freedom.

It is an honor to have you all here ~ sharing with me and with others, giving permission to others to share or at least acknowledge to themselves their truth too. Telling other readers that they are not alone, that this horror happens to others too. I had to realize what happened to me, and that it was wrong, in order for me to have a starting place in changing my belief system and recognizing the lies that were told to me, about me, lies that I accepted all those years but I don’t anymore.

Thank you all so very much.

Please be gentle with yourselves, there has been a huge chunk of truth exposed here this past couple of days, and self care is important when you have relived some of this stuff.

Welcome to the Emerging from Broken blog Ginny, thank you for your kind words and prayers.

Chalet ~ It is fine if you don’t share graphic details ~ I’m just glad that you are here and connecting to the stories.

To everyone ~ We all wanted our mothers to love us, it is unfathomable that they didn’t. For me it took years to even realize that my mother didn’t love me. This was a big part of the whole picture for me. Looking back it is actually strange that it took me so long to realize it but I had the wrong understanding of the definition of love, and that is where I got stuck. In a post like this, with comments like these, it is easy to realize that these are not loving mothers. (although it is easy to fight that too, so don’t be surprised if you go back and forth with it ~ the mind is a powerful thing)

One last comment regarding Church family;

Paulette and anyone else who has a wonderful Church family, I am SO happy for you and I am not doubting your Christian family with the following comment, I just want to share my own experience;

Fi ~ I had the same experience as you. I also felt the pressure to be what they wanted me to be. I was just as hurt by Christians as I was by other abusers…. I was accepted for a while, really welcomed and I dived into service work, but then they wanted more and more, and then I wasn’t “doing things right” and eventually I realized that my Christian family wasn’t much different then my other family. They wanted me to be what they wanted me to be, and once again I was defined and not good enough anyway. My kids went to private Christian School where they may never get over the spiritual and emotional abuse that they suffered there. My heart is still sick over this. I am a much better Christian without the Church and like you Fi, I am very close to Christ as well. I don’t talk about it much on here, because of the baggage that goes with it for so many. I know that not ALL churches are full of spiritually abusive people ~ I just never found one for myself. God knows my heart however, and that is all that matters to me.
Thank you for your honesty Fi, I appreciate that you posted your experience.

Hugs and Love, Darlene

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What a powerful group of comments.

My mother saw me as a hateful, mean, selfish, persecuting person, who contantly put her down and was ‘against’ her. This started in earnest after she had some disfiguring surgery which affected her relationship with my dad. I was 12. She became paranoid in regards to me, and while I had always been the scapegoat child, it all became many times worse.

My sister took up the torch of saying how mean i supposedly was to my mom. This in spite of the fact that I was my mom’s principal caregiver after a head injury she sustained in the late 90′s, and when she got cancer a few years later. Suddenly my mom’s assessment of me seemed to be shared by everyone our family knew. it was agonizing.

Finally church people got onvilved in trying to remove my child from my influence after we left their church because of an inapropriate chaperoning situation.They attempted to get my child back to their church-to make the elders happy,because they in truth didn’t want us going to other congregations talking about the situation.But they put the spin on it that I was ‘against the lord’s church, and ‘mean’ to my mom and daughter. Everyone seemed to have their own agenda but the effect was to marginalize me from my own child and my own life.Old family church friends got involved in this.i had to get an attorney to write cease and desist letters to get them to leave us alone.

All of this started with my mother telling everyone we knew that she was my ‘victim’ and being mean to her. When my sister jumped on the bandwagon, telling people the same thing, it exploded.I had zero support in our circle of friends and family.

I spent the last two years since my mother died, trying to recover from the intense anger, confusion, and shame of being thought of this way. The confusion and the ineffectiveness of defending myself was awful. No one would listen to me because I was already labelled.I came to the conclusion that people would rather see you go under than admit you have been abused, and thereby have to revise their opinions.

i also see I have been living in a state of hypervigilance and reactivity the last two years, full of apprehension and fear left over from that time. It takes little to retraumatize me regarding that situation.

Recently a family ‘friend’ re contacted my daughter and he and his wife invited her to come visit them. His daughter had been my best friend growing up. I had known him for 50 years.He and his wife never mentioned me nor did they ask my daughter to extend the invitation to me. They began emailing my daughter. This man is someone who is a retired preacher and assisted the church in trying to get my daughter to come back to their congregation when she was 16, three years ago.they want to ‘renew and reconnect’ with my daughter. I was livid and then terrified when I realized they didn’t want to heal the rift with us’ they want to continue to corral my daughter back into their fundamentalist church.
I nmessaged his daughter, who was aghast at his behavior a few years ago, and she says his actions are hurtful to HER?!She refuses to return my calls, return my messages and I have taken the step I never wanted to take, of defriending her. I feel she was a direct line of info to her father a few years ago- just a gut feeling- even while she said she disapproved of his action.She stays in touch with many many church people even though she left the church years ago.

Its a big step letting her go, but I don’t need people connected to some of our abusers in my life, knowing anything more about us and our lives.

I realize the need for acknowledging all that was done-but I also know I HAVE to sit back and calm myself and not react.I have reacted so long with this crap because it never seemed to have closure or an end. Thanks for letting me share here.

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A church can be another form of family. I have been in some churches that were really loving and supporting. I was kicked out of my last church a few years ago because I disagreed with the minister when she lied. I believe she was a pathological liar. She was also an Adult Child of an Alcoholic, as am I. One of the traits of an Adult Child is that they can sometimes lie even when it would be better to tell the truth. Not all Adult Children do this but some do. This minister did and she didn’t like it that I recognized it and called her on it. The Board of Directors allowed her to kick out 12 of us who disagreed with her.

My point in sharing this story is to let you know that churches can be just another form of family. Some are very functional and some are very dysfunctional. I love the people at my church. I thought that I had forgiven them but find myself unable to attend because the situation has been shoved under the rug and never given closure for those of us who were kicked out. Our memberships were returned once the minister left a year later. Like my dad who abused me and my mom who was so unavailable emotionally, I have forgiven them but having them in my life right now isn’t possible. Like Darlene and Fi, I am just as close to God as I ever have been. He guides me daily.

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—I also wanted to say, that altho my above comments are not about the abuse in my family as a child, I was abused in my family as a child, made the ‘bad one’ in so many many situations, and what I shared is the outcome of lifelong scapegoating and what can and DOEs happen when you are relegated to the position of being the family of origin’d ‘garbage dump’. Anything can and DOES happen to you when you are devalued and treated as a piece of trash.People take out their conscious and unconscious aggressions on you, and do not view you as a valuable human being. I am living testemony to the fact that this makes its way OUTSIDe the family as well, when the family has effectively abandoned you and let others know THEY don’t value you either. It makes you ‘fair game’.I am tired of being treated as fair game and having my daughter treated that way as well.if I didn’t know better i would think my family and family friends were part of some kind of weird cult. Outlandish and unlikely, but the events of the last few years sure look that way.Not one person stood up for me or my daughter at the worst of times -except for the lawyer who wrote cease and desist letters to the church people. That speaks volumes to me.

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Patricia I think many of us who are survivors value truth and exposing the truth and because of it we end up with similar situations. Having said that i want to suggest a book to anyone struggling with stuff at church. It is called the Subtle Power of Spiritual abuse.
http://www.amazon.com/Subtle-Power-Spiritual-Abuse/dp/1556611609

I am a born again Christian also and can say God has some strange and dysfunctional children and many of them are not healthy or ready for truth on any level especially not dealing with an abuse survivor. Especially pastors until they have been broken. God can use the church to heal and Satan can use it to wound it all depends on the individuals member sand the pastor how open they are to truth and dealing with things honestly. This is off topic a little but the church thing came up.

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Wow. . .
I sit here reading with a complete look of horror on my face, and tears are not in short supply. I feel all your pain pouring out through your words. I cannot begin to fathom what any of you have been through!
One of few times I am totally speechless. I can only think of one thing to say. Mother is not a word I would use to describe these monsters. Anyone can pop out a baby, but it takes a real woman to earn the honor of being called a Mother. Un-mother seems more appropriate.

It takes real courage to share your heart. Lots of hugs and tissues to everyone.

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Darlene – I was not sexually abused so cannot imagine how much pain this one event caused, let alone the abuse itself and your mother’s bizarre behavior. Ick!

Having said that, as an outsider looking in, it seems as if your mother had some extremely deep-seeded insecurities of her own. Rather than seeing the boyfriend that sexually abused you as a sicko, she believed he preferred you to her, that she was not as attractive to him as you were. She was so worried about her own self-image that she then saw you as competition, rather than a child who had been abused. She also couldn’t admit that she had brought a child molester into her home as she would then have to admit that she did not make the wisest choices when it came to men and since men were so important to her own self-image, that was just too much. None of this changes any of your own pain around her behaviors at all, it’s just fascinating and disturbing to me, how her own insecurities clouded her judgement so much.

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I also have my own pill story. When I was a freshman in HS I ditched gym class and only attended enough to pass with a “D” since gym was not calculated into our GPA. When my report card came home and they saw that “D” they freaked! I was supposed to be perfect and only “A’s” were acceptable. When I admitted to ditching class they called me a liar since ditching class behind their backs = lying. They then concluded that if I was lying about that I must also be lying about everything else, including my sexual activities. I was very innocent and had done nothing but kiss a boy at that point. They didn’t believe me since I was now a liar. I was forced to go on the pill since I was such a lying slut. I was dragged to my first ever OBGYN visit with no warning or explanation as to what that visit would entail. I had no clue what a pap smear was or what would be done to me. My mother stayed in the room the whole time. I don’t remember anything after the humiliation of having to disrobe with my mother in the room. Anyway, after that I was on the pill and then felt free to be more sexually daring and even became more sexually daring as a way of getting back at them for not believing me. My mother is also a narcissist. Haven’t quite figured out what my father was yet. Either way, they were both nuts.

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Having to reach that point of accepting (a) that my mother never accepting me, wanted me or loved me and then (b) that my mother never will accept me, want me or love me – were both immensely painful points of my life. The orphan inside of me still really hurts over that!!

In my opinion some women should never be allowed to have children. The mothers we read of in these comments were not ever worthy of the title ‘mother’.

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It is so interesting how the post comments have a thread of spiritual abuse in them. Patricia ~ I see a relationship in my own life to this story about your being asked to leave the church because you (dared to) stood up to an authority figure. And how you were not supported by others, they just turned their backs ~ least it happened to them too.

I hear all the time about siblings who take the side of the abusive parent. Well that makes sense to me, as long as you are getting the abuse, they don’t get it. This is a big thing. Victims often take the side of the abuser in fear of getting abused worse. I think we carry that fear with us into adulthood, and it also crosses over into other relationships. (boss /employee, student /teacher, and yes, into church.

Hi Lisa,
Welcome to the conversation. Shocking isn’t it. Thanks so much for your support!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Cyndi,
Yes my mother had big problems.. and she caused me big problems and I decided that I was not going to let her big problems be an excuse to excuse her from causing me big problems anymore. =) (that is a complicated sentence!)

About your pill story, that is a really nasty story too, a story that had a life changing negative effect on you. My mother would have done something like that too….
as for my father, your comment “My mother is also a narcissist. Haven’t quite figured out what my father was yet. Either way, they were both nuts.’ that got me thinking about my father.. my therapist once said to me in conversation ~ your father is dead right? It struck me as SO funny… because my father was not dead. But in three years of therapy I rarely mentioned him. Today I realize that my father was disconnected, clueless, not interested, unavailable and a whole bunch of other words that all add up to absent. So absent that my therapist didn’t think I had a father.

Hugs and love to everyone.. this continues to be a mind blowing conversation! I appreciate each one of you and each contribution!
Darlene

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Darlene, I hear ya, my mother has big problems to and untangling all the empathy I felt for her plus all the nonsense she fed me was key to extricating myself from her manipulative and abusive behaviors. None of our mothers’ problems are our problems and do not excuse the way they treated us as children. I hope I didn’t sound as if I was excusing your mother in any way.

That IS so telling that your therapist thought your father was dead! Mine has been dead for 11 years and was definitely disengaged from reality but very much in my face. I have only recently started to deal with him and his abuse. He’s been dead so long that I just told myself it was pointless. Not so. He was the big scary abusive presence in my life so I saw my mother as much more benign than she actually was/is. I’ve only come to realize THIS WEEK that she was more like the puppet-master and he was her enforcer.

Your posts are always very enlightening to me and I appreciate you sharing all that you’ve learned.

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Cyndi,
that is a huge breakthrough ! As much as my mother was really an active abuser in my life, I believe that my father drove her crazy with his passive unavailable attitudes and way of not dealing with anything. Part of her crazy came from her own past, and part of it came from her frustration with him.. (but that is a whole huge other story!)

About the excuse thing ~ no I didn’t think you were making excuses for my mother, not at all, I just wrote that for the sake of other readers.. I should have said that though!

Fi,
These two points were immensely painful points in my life too.. I still have my moments when I just don’t get it either, but the good news is that I know “getting it” is not one of the keys to healing and will never help at all in setting me free. =)
Thanks so much for being here!
Hugs, Darlene

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Wow. Cyndi, when you wrote to Darlene abovwe saying her mother was so self involved she only saw darlene as her ‘competition’, not as a child who needed to be protected, this really rang a huge bell for me.
This was true in our family as well. My mom was so involved in her own persecution complex that she picked out anyone convenient to ‘be’ her ‘persecutor’. When you are a kid its impossible to understand what’s going on when adults take this hostile stance with you.You just think you’re ‘bad’, and the more you are abused the more ‘bad’ you feel and are told told you are.Its all about the abusers, and there is no sympathy, empathy, or proection for the real victim. When my mom saw me getting any positive attention she started in with her drawing the attention back to herself. This went on for years up until her death two years ago. Its pitiful, but it almost destroyed me.

Right after my dad’s suicide when I was 20, I was stunned and in so much turmoil I cut myself- not badly- but my mother called a friend of hers- a preacher and he came and talked to me- At the time he was the LAST person I wanted to see-My mother told me later that he had said top her that I was the most self destructive persom he had ever met.I don’t believe he said that. I am aghast that my mother told me such a thing in my state. how ‘comforting’ and how ‘empathetic’…..really how cold and cruel a thing to say right after my dad died and I was lost and scared.

I think my mom wanted to plant that idea in my head. She was very angry with me because she thought I had thwarted her efforts to get her scriptural divorce from dad before he killed himself.

My dad killed himself after my mother found out he was having an affair and she was having him followed so she could have poictures and ‘scriptural’ grounds for divorce. She had told us three kids she was doing this and we were told not to tell him. He was drinking too much, having financial woes and was befuddled most of the time, yet I had to sit and watch all this play out and say nothing. My brother in law called my dad and told him what was going on, after I visited him and my sister and we talked about it.When I got home my dad had told my mom that he knew all about being followed and all the kids were on HIS side. My mother wouldn’t speak to me, had locked the doros so I had to rinmg my doorbell to get in, and my dad was drunk and trying to tell me how mush he loved me.My mother was cold as ice and looked like she hated me. It was Christmastime.Horrible.He committed suicide 6 wks later.

I felt so guilty after he died for not telling him myself what was going on.For not telling him how much I loved him. I felt my mother was trapping him and he was so drunk s much of the time and trying to wean himself off alcohol by himself. He was a dr.I don’t think he knew exactly what was going on he was so impaired at the last.

My younger brother was there when dad killed hinself. My brother killed himself two years later.

Darlene mentioned the thread of church and religion running thru so many of our lives.My daughter was taken on a youth trip on which the only female chaperone left the group when they arrived at their destination 600 miles away.There were three teenm girls, and several much younger little boys and three married men without their wives: the elder over the youth minister, the youth minister and another young man. No one told the parents. When they made it clear they were not going to write firm youth policies and adhere to them, I took my daughter out and we tried to go to another congregation. They tried to get my daughter back to their church even sending letters and invitations to her classroom at school. They didn’t want me back or mom back- just my 16 yr old daughter.I finally had to get an attorney to write letters to them.

I don’t know if thwere was abuse going on on that trip but think it wAS A PERFECT SETUP FOR IT AND I THINK THEY WERE GROOMING THE KIDS FOR IT. That is what my gut says loud and clear.They basically stalked her. Now its starting again to a degree…..

I love these comments here. Everyone here is gutsy, brave and thanks so much for sharing. When you share you give us the freedom to share as well.

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HI carol, I was just reading you post about your mom caring/helping others but not you….I went through the same thing…I went through every abuse w/mom except for sexual abuse…but when I was sexually abused,her reaction was not to protect/or defend me, the offender got the empathy, I was to keep my mouth shut called a liar!…She called me Marlena Detrick (actress) and used it as a weapon on me….she would help other people, I can recall back at my homeless days & she took in strangers? gave my bedroom set away to a neighbor who had a fire but yet, I had to sleep on the couch for mos…give gifts to other peoples kids but yet, forget me. Never gave me recognition for any accomplishments! It drove me insane! I wanted to yell WAT A HIPOCRIT!(but I wouldnt dare she’d kill me) and what would really piss me off more is when someone would tell me what a great person she was for helping them…Good God how do you respond to that person? Made me feel even more unworthy, hurt, angry…Everyone eles’s kids in the family are recognized but mine..gifts are sent to them on holidays…I have 2 daughers 21/18 only 1 daugher saw 1 gift from her,ever..not sure why??? but my son, now 6yrs old never saw a thing..trust me I spent years askin WHY?….neva figured out the answer to any of it..

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Elizabeth, that is a heartbreaking story about your dad and your mom’s behavior. I can’t imagine the guilt you felt (still feel?) after your father’s suicide. I hope you have compassion for yourself and know you were just a child put into a horrible situation by the very adults who were supposed to protect you, not the other way around. And I’m sure you’re right about your mom lying about what the preacher said about you. I did not experience any religion of any kind growing up but I’m sure if I did it would have been similarly twisted, just because of who my mother was/is. Good for you for listening to your gut about your daughter’s youth trip! It definitely sounds sketchy and those of us who grow up in these types of families often learn to ignore our own instincts. How bizarre that the church is stalking her to come back too. Creeps me out.

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Fi– you said this “she hated me from birth and said she never wanted a girl. She said I wasn’t wanted and was just a bother, nothing but trouble since birth.” and it really touched me. My mother never said the words but I just “knew” that it was the way she felt. Its hard because just like many of you said, my brothers and sisters all have their entire lives revolve around my mother. One of my sisters and one of my brothers currently live in the same house with her and with their spouses/children….and my other brother lives blocks away and my other sister lives a few miles away from her. My older sister has said at times that my mother was abusive to her, but she was a teenager by the time I was old enough to really notice things, and by then my mom had sent her off to live with someone else. That was what she did with us, the girls anyway. When she didnt want to deal with us anymore (ie. about the time we became teenagers, my sister was probably 15 or so and I was 15 when she sent me away) and my sister has started to distance herself from our mother several years ago but still is tied to her in a lot of ways, and whenever she accused my mom of abuse or neglect or anything other than “perfect” parenting…everyone said she was “crazy”..and my mom had her committed to a mental institution when she was in her teens…and it just seems like she was “planning” for the day when the abuse would come out and that it was all done to make my sister “look crazy”.

I dont know much about my sister’s abuse history because I have never asked, Im not sure why I dont ask her, Im just afraid to I guess….but I assume if she said she was abused then she was abused, either by my mom or others or both. My brother’s (and younger sister…but thats mostly because I think she learned not to question my mother in anything early on because of how me and my other sister were treated) were treated completely differently.

Both of them have never done anything wrong in my mother’s eyes, and the slightest bit of inference of that sent her into a rage….but us girls were horrible. and I think for me there was an added issue. I am physically handicapped, and that gave her an extra “burden” and guilt because my handicap is a result of premature birth caused by something she had done earlier in life……but this was never expressed to me outwardly, never in words….always in actions and inferences…except for the one time she told me I was an embarrassment to her. I think that me and my older sister ruined her “perfect image” of herself and her family….and she couldnt forgive us for that….but we werent beaten or raped or starved or anything like that…so it doesnt seem like “abuse” because it was so hidden, which makes it just feel like I’m crazy and making it all up. Only after coming here and seeing that I am not the only one who was treated this way does it sound like it was abuse. My children are in therapy and one family session we talked about my mother, and not until the therapist said to me “your mother is abusive and you dont have to tolerate it” did I have the realization that it was indeed abuse and I didnt deserve the treatment she gave me.

Because of her lack of care for me emotionally and the covert devaluing of me as a human being that I received through so much of my life, it set me up for a lifetime of abuse from others. I was convinced by the time I could walk that my only value was to be sexually pleasing to men and because of my handicap, I needed a man (or my mother) to take care of me because I would never make it on my own. I dont remember being sexually abused before age 9, but it wouldnt surprise me if it happened and I just dont remember.

Someone mentioned that their sister didnt remember their mom being a physical presence in their life from an early age. I have always struggled with that too. We had nannies (or my older sister) but my mom worked one (sometimes two) jobs so I never saw her, hell I never saw anyone. I hid in my room and read books….to avoid feeling shamed and devalued any worse than I already did.

I never had anyone teach me how to cook, how to clean, how to do laundry, how to shave my legs, how to wash my hair, how to eat properly (with adequate table manners), how to dress properly, how to fix my hair, wear my makeup (except one time my mom did my makeup for me when I was around 11, and I remembered that I felt like a clown because it was extremely grown up looking for my age…very heavy makeup and very bright lipstick and eye shadow) and the ONLY memory I have of being alone with my mother is when I was 12 or so, and my body was changing so I was getting taller and thinner and developing, she was so excited to take me shopping for clothes, and she bought me a lot of new clothes and we didnt have to take anyone else with us. Thats my only real memory of my mother that has any positive connotation to it…..and in thinking about it now, and seeing how I came to value myself as a sex object, that was exactly what she was teaching me that day too….that because I was becoming a woman, I had to dress like one to attract men.

Then as I got older, she encouraged me to have boyfriends and even told me to marry one of them (when I was 13…he was sexually abusing me, but she never knew that and I thought that was how it was supposed to be, it didnt seem wrong…and I didnt think she would care even if I did tell her…and it turns out I was right)

I never thought of any of that as abuse, and even now I dont “feel” it, like Darlene was saying. Its like Im reading a book about someone’s life, not my own. When I finally did have consensual sex (which my therapist still says was statutory rape because I was too young to consent…and he was much older, and had been raping me for years at that point) but I consider it my “first time” because I actually wanted to do it. My mom found out and sent me away because “good girls dont do that”

and then I lived with my father, who just basically ignored me. He fed and clothed me and I had anything I needed or wanted materially, and complete freedom to do whatever I wanted, but no emotional connection whatsoever and I knew I didnt matter to him and I knew that I was a burden to him too. He didnt want me there, but that was the only place I could go.

So of course, I had a good 6 years of constant sexual abuse under my belt at that point, so why stop the pattern, especially if you dont know its not what “sex” is supposed to be like? So I was in one abusive relationship after another for years, until my late 20′s and my third marriage…and even this one is abusive in some ways, but mildly compared to the others.

Finally, I got into therapy and distanced myself from my mother, and she still refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing in anything and the spiritual abuse is a whole other subject. I was told by my mother (while in a psychiatric hospital) that the reason I was having so many problems, was because of my religious beliefs (which are different than hers…I was raised an evangelical christian and am now a practicing Muslim) basically saying that it was “satan at work in my life, and if I was a good girl and loved Jesus then my life would get better” which had been the story ALL my life…and it wasnt until I was in my 20′s that I realized that was just manipulation and spiritual abuse (and by the way Muslims love and revere Jesus, we just dont accept him as God or as the son of God…to us he is a holy man and and prophet of God)

but I guess the bottom line is…I still hesitate to think of it as abuse, because I was fed, clothed, not beaten, allowed to go to school, had a warm bed to sleep in, a roof over my head…why should I ask for more than that? Thats the issue really, isnt it? I dont think I deserve anyone’s love or devotion or believe I am anything of value, so why should I ask for someone to care about me, love me, treat me with respect and dignity, why shouldnt I just be happy with what I have and not ask for anything else…Im not worth someone’s love in my own eyes…because of her (and the dozens of other abusers after her)

and thats the reality of WHY its abuse.

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Oh Amira – I don’t know which was worse to be honest, being told it over and over or like you just ‘knowing’ it in your gut. But I am glad it struck a chord with you and enabled you to share your experiences.

I too had no one to show me how to cook, clean, launder, iron, do make up, how to dress, to take me shopping etc. A “normal part” of childhood and growing up missed out on.

My brother (my only sibling) is soon to be 48, he is single, tied to my mother, has never had a relationship and still lives with them. He totally sides with them against me. He could do no wrong, say no wrong, be no wrong in my mother’s eyes, the sun shone out of his arsehole.

Thank you for sharing the reality of your abusive childhood. I really value what you wrote!

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Darlene, I posted a blog article this morning on my blog Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker and linked back to this article since this article and all of its comments were my inspiration.
The link to my article is:
http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2010/10/just-mom.html

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Hi Patty, welcome to the blog,
I can relate especially to the part about people telling you what a great person she is ~ like they know the truth? and it hurts even more when we have our own kids, I know.

Amira,
Thank you for sharing ~ there is so much that I can’t comment on all of it, but I relate to so much of it. Abusers will do all kinds of things to prove that it isn’t them, including painting someone else as crazy. I have heard many stories like your sisters, and also when one or two children get “targeted” especially girls it seems.
I hid in my room too, and books were my favorite escape.
It took me a long time to see certain things as abusive or abuse. It takes some time to unravel all this. I had food, shelter, clothing and a warm bed too, and felt guilty for being unhappy, but really what does having the necessities of life have to do with anything? It is like we are taught that is all that matters or something, and that it cancels out all the bad stuff…. like I should not have remembered anything bad, because I had food, shelter, clotting. It took me a LONG time to sort all this out. There was a lot more covering my memories and layered upon the bad then I realized. So talking about it absolutely helps sort it out. Realizing that others went through it too, helps sort it out. A little bit of fog lifting here and then there, and we realize and accept more. The picture gets more clear, and we start to realize that it doesn’t matter what kind of abuse, emotional, spiritual, physical or sexual, ALL OF IT does HUGE damage. On it’s own or together. It all does huge damage.
Hang in with us, and please feel free to share what ever you need to here!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Fi,
I find it so interesting how different our lives growing up can be, and yet we end up the same. I learned how to cook, clean, iron, most of that stuff, but it changes nothing. I know people who have never been physically OR sexually abuse that are the same as me ~ completely devastated from emotional abuse and the misuse of power and control. That amazes me and I think it contributes to the understanding of how damaging that any kind of abuse is to a person.
Thank so much for all your shares in this post!
Hugs, Darlene

Patricia, thanks for sharing your blog post and thanks for giving inspirational credit to me! I love it!

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I’m shocked. Horrified. Saddened.

My own mother shared some of the abuse she suffered as a child – even an adult. Watching her love her own parent’s through hospice was an incredible experience for me.

I have 3 sisters as well. All 3 have been sexually abused at one point.

I was listening to NPR recently. The tales of the mass rape happening overseas. Yet even in our own back yard it’s no different.

I’ve heard it said that rape is not a sexual issue but a control/power/violence issue. I don’t get it. I’ve read just a handful of the stories above. The pain, agony, fear, madness… I’m crying at my keyboard here with no solution in sight.

Darlene, you seem to be pretty clear now. Pretty healthy. I see sprinklings of your process here and there.

Is there a direct path through this &^%$ to a better place? Or is it so individual, that no formulaic method will do?

Frankly, at a loss for words. I feel powerless to provide any semblance of healing here. God, how I wish I could take away the pain. The repercussions, the ripples that happen because of each of your abuse.. and it appears more often than not, the abuser goes free.

Darlene, this blog, if anything, shows there is a groundswell of need. What this leads to, I don’t know. But your purpose is clearly coming to clarity, one post at a time.

I think of the great book Spilling Open ( http://www.amazon.com/Spilling-Open-Art-Becoming-Yourself/dp/0375756485 ) and how that journal has been a catalyst for many a coming of age girl.

I see this blog as a healing hub. A center, safe, warm, open, honest.

I’m still in shock from what I’ve read above. And I’ve seen a lot.

Let me leave you with a song that has been helpful to me over the years. It’s also full of hope (the whole album is pretty hopeful): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGS8B29eJ4I

Grace & Peace,
ME

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Wow!
It is so painful as a victim to hear about other’s stories, but so healing too. Thanks and blessings to all of you for being so brave as to let out these brutal memories so that collectively we can all heal from them.

I’m going through a serious flashback phase of PTSD from childhood molestation by my father, and I’ve had to come to the same difficult realization as the majority of you – we were as victimized by our mothers as we were by our fathers, and I truly feel that we won’t ever be able to deal with the silent epidemic of child abuse as a society until we acknowledge that the Mother Theresa myth about all mothers being protectors and all fathers being abusers, is absolute, soul rending rubbish. In fact, many times the mother is going out of her way to enable the situation, either directly through participation, or indirectly through such statements as “You’re a liar, you’ve always been a liar, since you were very young.” (Direct quote from my mom the first time I tried to confront her about Dad’s abuse.)

I, like most of you, was hand fed to my father by my mother – in my case by her denial that anything could possibly have happened to me under her watch. (In the same breath she will talk about having to cure me of an “infection down there” when I was 3 or 4, and curing me at home instead of taking me to a doctor – destroying the evidence?)

I wish, in our little ways through blogs like these, that we could all let go of the idea of women as saints, and see ourselves as the abused children of abused children of abused children, who are finally breaking the cycle that the Church and the power structures have ignored or even enabled for far, far too long.

To all you wounded warriors out there, especially Darlene and Patricia and Angela Shelton – thanks for helping us not to feel so alone and crazy, and giving us a place to testify, to find the voice of our beaten down but not broken selves, and let them finally speak without judgement or prejudice. Blessings Be – Lara

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Mark, the healing comes through the sharing of our stories. Having a safe place like Darlene’s blog, my blog and all of the many other blogs that are written by abuse survivors that we now can find on the internet is just one tool that we can offer to those who are hurting. I can’t speak for Darlene. For myself, when I started my blog Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker on June 1, 2007 it was with the idea of writing about my experiences of recovery from incest. I wanted other incest survivors to know that they weren’t alone. Healing is such hard work. It is harder when you feel that you are the only one. The internet has given us such an opening to share our stories with people from around the world.

Knowing that I am not alone in my pain and tears has given me such hope. I think that most of us feel that way. Knowing that there are others who understand our fears, our anger, our hurt means so much. Knowing there are others who are healing and further along than we are gives us hope that if someone else can do it, then so can we.

Having resources, having others share the books that they have read that helped like Pinky did in her comment above helps too. Giving and receiving encouragement makes a difference. Having someone else acknowledge that you aren’t crazy for what you know and what you feel, especially when your family tells you that you are crazy or you are a liar, is healing. This is what we all get from Darlene’s articles and all of the comments that are left here – someone who understands, someone who cries with us, someone who knows that recovery takes longer than 6 months or a year, and most importantly, someone who cares. Thanks Darlene and everyone of you who have left comments. We are all wounded warriors – I love that term. Our scars are wonderful badges of courage and endurance. They are a sign that we have survived. We will continue to fight for our right to be whole and free.

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Laramar, thanks for including me in with Darlene and Angela Shelton.

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Wow, over 20 additional responses since I wrote mine a few nights ago! I have been praying for you all and contemplating the things you have shared. I mentioned my book Unraveling the Threads (www.unravelingabuse.com)… my abuse experiences were only with men and I have a whole chapter about learning to embrace womanhood because I have always hated being a woman. It’s not that I was unaware that women also abuse, it’s that I did not fully realize the depth of depravity and abuse that mothers have inflicted on their daughters and sons. You have taught me something by sharing your stories and your hearts. Part of me wants to revise my book, but I know that it is meant to be MY story and cannot reflect every situation. To answer part of Mark’s question, I will say that the process is a tangled mess and we have to sort through the various threads, pick them apart, examine them, discard and replace what is wrong or unhelpful.

Thank you to Mark for your thoughtful and compassionate response. For a woman who has hated men, your post brings me additional healing.

When my recovery journey began 20 years ago, there were few self-help books, few professional resources, and NO internet support. So I am also thrilled for the work that these blog writers are doing and the invaluable help they provide. I could not have done what they do. In fact, going public with so much of my heart is still challenging! So, kudos to all of you!

Knowing that you are not alone, and that you are believed and validated does make the process bearable. We still must fight the battles within ourselves, and we must sort through the damage to our lives as individuals, but YES it is easier when you have others who truly empathize with you. For those who are near the beginning of your recovery, I want to encourage you to be patient with the process. Try not to force yourself to be at a different level, just give yourself permission to be where you are. And then keep taking the next step, keep doing the next right thing. God bless.

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Thank you, Patricia, for sharing openly. I get it.

I have two beautiful, wonderful daughters (and an incredible son sandwiched in between).

I cannot imagine these things happening to them. Not in my worst nightmares.

I’ll gladly take a bullet to protect them, to give them a happy, healthy, positive future. Hence the reason I am so humbled and saddened by the events that you ladies have endured. I feel like this blog (and Patricia, I’ll go spend some time on yours as well) – like this is just barely scratching the surface of what’s really happening inside homes all across America. (yes, and the world).

What’s most frightening to me is that this post is regarding Mother-Daughter relationships. But it appears a significant number of comments indicate that there are some Dad’s who should be behind bars, or in deep, deep counseling… and Mothers who need a massive wake-up call.

In my own mother’s case, she discovered there was a deep, dark secret of abuse to her own mother. And so it goes. She did finally find true love, acceptance and connection by the time my Mom’s paren;t had passed away. But it took my Mom extending the olive branch.

In most of the cases I see above, I can’t imagine there is an olive branch long enough or strong enough to reconcile these issues.

I’d love for someone to prove me wrong. I’d love to see one glimmer of light in how such a damaging proposition could be be repaired… or at least addressed to the point that there is something of value in the mother-daughter relationship.

Ladies, you have my deepest empathy and love. Thanks for allowing this view inside. As painful as it is, I believe through these wonderful vehicles (blogs, insights, community) there will be change.

To your continued growth, health and love,
ME

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Hi Mark,
So great to have your voice added to this post. I think the biggest thing that motivates me to write this blog is that I believe there is a path that works for everyone. I looked at so many different things on my way to wholeness. I thought I found SO many answers, that were in the end only band-aids. When I realized that the belief system that had formed because of my childhood, because of a combination of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, and that anyone could actually change their belief system as long as they found out what it was first, (just like I did and continue to do) then I got really excited about taking this message global. Each person has a different story with different details, but that is not the problem, because the healing journey is ALL very similar, no matter what kind of abuse or mistreatment ~ and that is the best part of hope!
I am going to write more about this in another blog post;
Thanks for writing Mark,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Laramar,
Thank you for this insightful comment. That is a huge part of our changing the belief system; to start seeing ourselves in the light of truth, not to stay victims, but to honor ourselves and what happened to us ~ to accept ourselves as victims so that we can move past it.
Thanks for being here,
Hugs, Darlene

Patricia,
Thanks for coming back and contributing even more! Yes we continue to fight for our right to be who we were born to be.
Love, Darlene

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Mark,
In my own case, my mother does not hold any keys for me. That was such a freedom to find out about. Part of the false belief that I had was that I HAD to get my mother to accept me, in order for me to accept me, but that isn’t true. My mother (and father) defined me, and I realized that I could un-do that, and find the true definition of me. The only way that there can be reconciliation is for my mother to realize what she did and for her to want change in the way she treats me and regards me, because I don’t deserve the way that she does now and I won’t accept it. Realizing that was HUGE. There is no 50/50 burden of blame is these kinds of relationships. That is a myth. |I was raised to take 90% of the blame for everything that happened to me. I accepted that out of my desire to please them. But why? Why was it so important for me to have that devaluing relationship with them? Because I was brainwashed to believe that I had to ~ and it goes on and on.
I really appreciate your contribution to this discussion!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Ginny,
Thanks for coming back and adding even more! Our stories continue to grow and change as our belief systems gain more and more clarity. That is kind of a cool thing about self growth!
Hugs, Darlene

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Not sure this comment belongs in this aarea but…
After reading this blog and these comments, I began thinking about my own history and the deep sadness and waste of potential of an entire family. we all acted out a true huge tragedy, put in motion by our parents’ past unresolved traumas and their reactions to them, I suppose.

We also had the thread of church and ‘judgement’ and a particulare church group running all theough our saga.

I neglected to mention that my mom had my dad floowed by a detective after she was told by another church member my mom knew, who worked with my dad, that he was having an affair.this woman called my mother about it and I suppose my mother knew it would ne all over the entire church community very soon.My dad was NOT a member of this church, having gone for a few years and then quitting in disgust. its a very fundamentalist church and the prevailing attitude there is that THEY are going to heaven and YOU are not, unless you are a member of their church.

So my gut says my mom upheld her belief system by getting the goods on my dad, and divorcing him,scripturally, in part to stay a good church member in the eyes of her church and in her own religiously abused conscience.And it all blew up literally in all our faces after he suicided.And then my brother soon suicided.

after I posted here about my life I began having panic attacks again and feeling very guilty. I know that is part of my dysfunction. But my point is I was able to look at the fact that I really have been living my life in the context of past trauma.

Its as if my brain has this crap carved into it, and part of mr still liive in that painful past without my conscioussness or permission part of the time.The panic and anxiety-and guilt- are very old and they wax and wane but are never really gone.They interfere greatly with my present life. They hold me back.

I now have some compassion for my mom, as i believe she was reacting to her ‘training’and past as well, at her own and her children’s expense though.I think she got so entrenched in it she was almost like Lady Macbeth never able to escape the guilt and the horror but she actually blamed me for having feelings of hostility I never had towards her at times.

My goal is to begin NOT to allow my brain and my emotions to continue living in the past. But i also need to learn NOT to stay around people who want to project their garbage on me. that means for me, staying away from the church I was raised in and its people. I have nothing in common with them,anyway so I don’t think i am being unfair.

I also believeI was labelled by some past therapists who apparently felt it was poointless to do real therapy with me but just wanted me to recount what was going on in my life without any goals for treatment or a clear cut treatment plan. At least they didn’t share one with me.These were LCSW’s.I was also encouraged to be medicated which I did.

I am now looking for a therapist who will give me a treatment plan we can discuss and who will share with me what they think is going on before we go on with treatment.I have been sopinning my wheels in the system off and on for years with no relief or direction.

One LCSW, actually wanted to use the 12 steps as the basis TREATMENT.I was already in a 12 step program….And I was supposed to pay for that?

I also think just because I have had alot of trauma in my history I should not be treated as a ‘label’, but as a human being who deserves to heal, and who deserves to hear that what happened was wrong, not just dysfunctional.I deserve to be treated as a healing hurting person, not detached from and ‘handled’ in a distant way from across the room.

I didn’t ask for the things that happened to happen. I didn’t cause them. I refuse to take responsibility for them or for other people’s interference and dabbling in our lives behind my back and without my permission. I DO have the responsibility to try to heal and move on.

My sibling had the same opportunities to get some healing going and I asked over and over again for clear and direct communication from her and with her. She refused to do this- actually would say one thing to my face and something entirely different about me to others in and out of the family- and actually spread very hurtful and untrue and misleading tales about me to her friends, and also to people she knows in MY community, where I and my daughter had to live, and she lives 100 miles away.She even said things to my daughter’s teachers in her school.

So I feel victimized by my family, no matter their motivations, and also my own emotions and reactions. Its as if I sm always waiting and steeled for the next bombshell.

I cannot do anything but cut out the people in my life who have caused turmoil in it, and I have done that.Now I am tackling finding a good therpist who views me as a humam being, NOT A ‘CASE’.

ps- I also have been wondering for awhile if the meds have caused brain changes in me. My emotions have been intense and jagged and up and down severely- even in one days time ever since I was put on mood stabilizers and antidepressants years ago.I have not always been on them but I didn’t used to have these sharp changes bfore I started them. What I had was depression, and also sporadic anxiety.
Could the meds have made things worse?

thanks for everyone here and this blog.

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Elizabeth, I too had to cut ties with NO contact with my mom and other abusers. It’s very painful for me still…I suffer from flashbacks, nightmares and depression. I’m on meds and currently not in therapy bc we just afford it at this time in our life. There are days I want to SHOUT out about my abuse and there are days I feel so disgusted and want to hide from the world. This journey of healing is so difficult! I HATE IT!

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Kathy,
I am beginning to understand the concept of replacing those bad nightmares with kind and loving people and good experiences in the present.

Wher I get hung up is: I am VERY angry at the people who turned their backs on my daughter and I when we needed and were asking for help to escape a horrible stuation ten years ago, put into motion by mom. Her ‘friend’ started stalking us.Also in a terrible church situation.

No one helped us. i had been taught in the recovery community to ASK for help when you needed it. I did and obviously asked the wrong people. We did not have a safe place to be in the last ten years, up until 2 years ago.

So it wasn’t only about the abuse it was people trying to ‘shut ‘ me up as well, in my own family and in the church.

Now I am focussing on trying to ENJOy the present. Find friends to laugh with. Believe I am a good and worthy person.I am worth it. You are too.

I am seeing that even with the panic attacks and anxiety, I AM safe here and now. The panic attacks will eventually cease when I get enough ‘safe timwe’ under my belt and I do need help with unprogramming my brain, and that is ok.

I also need to learn to stop asking for support and confiding in people who are not supportive. Their opinions need to mean nothing to me.I have had an issue trying to get ‘heard’ by the very people who don’t want to be emotionally supportive for whatever reason.For instance, NO one I know ssociated with the church we had problems and no one in my family will have anything to do with me basically or even hear me. Never would. I stopped trying.

What my gut says is that when I told people what was happening instead of hearing me tell about MY experience, they saw it as me attacking their image of say, the church, and in my family’s case, their image of family. It was as if I had personally offended THEM, and I was treated as if I was doing exactly that, and apparently I had to be ‘stopped’. The more I tried to talk about it, the worse the mistreatment got.

‘I’ wasn’t the problem, but they wanted to MAKE me the problem.

Its as vital to my recovery staying awy from some people as it would be to stay away from rattlesnakes. I only recently understood how important this is.

I just want a very simple life. I just want to be part of a small circle of loving people. I may never get that, but I am very sick and tired of being treated like crap and then being ‘controlled’ when I tried to tell people what happened.

I have to honor my feelings, but I have to retrain my emotions to realize when I am currently safe and to do self soothing things and calming things for myself.

Also realizing many horrors and mistreatments- most in fact- will never be apologized for, much less acknowledged. Do I want to spend the rest of my life wishing for that or do I want to LIVE and be happy around people who are positive and with no agendas?

These wrongs will never be righted, but I have the right to live what is left of my life as a human being with inherent rights to dignity and some respect, at least good will.

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Hi Elizabeth,
It isn’t so strange to have panic attacks etc. after telling any “family business” we learned in many ways that we were never to tell, even if we don’t remember how we learned that! This is a huge part of the process. For me I had learned to be quiet from church, teachers, abusers, bullies, oh you name it.. not just my parents. I didn’t even question not telling until I wanted to get through all of this stuff. I didn’t even want to tell a therapist! (although I did tell one thing and then another when it was found to be safe, but I dissociated to do it) So this is a big deal.

Thanks for sharing again!! Hugs

Hi Kathy,
Hang in there Kathy, be gentle with yourself.
Hugs, Darlene

Elizabeth, I just read your last comment ~ wow, you are certainly taking a lot in and I can see that you are getting more clarity. I am inspired by what you are sharing. It is amazing! Thank you for sharing so much with me and the rest of the readers! This is really cool.
Hugs, Darlene

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I had avoided this particular topic because it is a “hot” one for me. However, I finally decided to take a look. I cannot say I am pleased, BUT I am relieved that others go through similar situations with their mothers and family.

As a child, my mother and I had a tumultuous relationship. I was her rival as I was my father’s wife for my childhood. However, I didn’t even realize this dynamic till recently. I did try in kid language to let my mom know what was going on. She dismissed me with a laugh, as if I could have imagined my father’s sexual intentions.

As I got older, I began to take on more and more of my mother’s responsibilities. Finally, my dad died when I was 18. I was free from his sexual abuse, but still locked into my mother’s emotional and verbal abuse. At long last, the memories of sexual abuse began to emerge a little over 2 years ago. I confronted her. She still claims that someone is brainwashing me. That someone is planting these thoughts in my head! I don’t think I could imagine the things my father did to me. Nobody could unless they were done to them hundreds of times.

Unfortunately, I have recently (like 2 days ago) uncovered another abuser. This sickens me. I coped with the abuse at home by finding positive mentors at school and church. Unfortunately, that, too, backfired. Fortunately for me, I didn’t let this one educator ruin my solace. In fact, without a few key teachers, I would not be here to write this today.

My mother (to this day) will try to convince all that I am brainwashed. However, for my sanity and the safety of my children (and the hope of ending the abusive cycle), I have not contact with my mother. I grieve for this relationship.

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Cassie, I am glad that you chose to join the conversation. What you said resonates with me about being your father’s wife. Both of my parents did that to me as well.

When I finally told my mother about the abuse, I was in my early 40′s. She denied knowing about the incest and said if she had known she would have stopped it. I let it go then. I have always believed that she knew on some level what was going on and chose to not see it. If she saw the pain I was in, she would have had to feel her own pain and she wasn’t willing to do that.

My dad made me his sexual partner at least by the age of 11. Clues say that it happened much earlier but my memories start at age 11. How did my mother play into this? When my dad would go places-to town or somewhere away from home overnight-my mom would always insist that I go when he asked. Most of the time, he didn’t ask. I was just told that I was going with him. I hated going anywhere with him because I knew we were going to have sex before I got back home. I would sometimes get an upset stomach so that I could stay home. It never worked, I was still made to go with him.

At 11, my mother turned the housekeeping and some of the cooking over to me. I was also responsible for keeping my two younger siblings out of trouble as well as responsible for keeping her supplied with cigarettes and coffee when I was home. I loved school because it took me away from both of my parents.

I was also made into the confidant of both of my parents. Both of them told me things that they should have been telling each other or another adult, not a child of 11 years old. My dad, while he was having sex with me would make comments about how boys or men only wanted one thing from girls or women. Other times he would tell me that women were only good for one thing. While he was telling me this, he was teaching me to be ashamed of who I was as a girl. My mother told me she didn’t like sex. My dad told me my mom didn’t like sex and that was why he came to me rather than going to some other woman. I remember the disgust that I felt when he told me that. He told me that my mom would be hurt if she knew what we were doing. He made it sound like the sex was my fault just because I was a girl.

Nobody told me about the changes that my body would go through as a young girl. I learned that at school in P.E. in the 5th grade, months after the incest had started in my house. Before the incest started, I knew nothing about sex. Yes, in many ways I was turned into my father’s wife.

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Hi Cassie,
Thank you for having the courage to share your life with us. The comments on this particular post have really created a type of permission among the readers. I am so sorry that this happened to you, and that like so many others your childhood was taken. I have heard people claim there was brainwashing going on too; brainwashing, insanity, delusion, crazy, you name it, people would rather accept anything then the truth of what happened to you while you were IN THEIR CARE.
Good for you for drawing your boundaries. I know how hard that is.. and in my case I feel sad for my mother, but I am moving forward with being my own mother somehow. Sometimes, well most times when I feel that pull or grief that I don’t have a mother, I think I am grieving something that I never had; it is kind of a longing for something I missed.
Thank you for being here Cassie, and for your contribution too,
Hugs, Darlene

Patricia,
Thanks so much for being here; for your constant willingness to share so much of your life and the story of what happened to you. I know this also adds so much to the permission that has been created here. Telling is hard, but it is so freeing, liberating and it is so important to know that we are not alone.
I don’t know if I have said it lately Patricia, but what happened to you is horrible. I am so thankful that you found a way to recover, and have found the courage to share your life and extend your hand to so many.
Hugs, Darlene

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Wow Elizabeth, you shared such a lot. My whole life has been about trauma, abuse, surviving, getting by but somehow never finding a way past or through it. I was victimised and made’the problem’ not only in my family but also in church after church after church down the years. I know the ‘thread of judgement’ by the church and Christians very well. Once church people knew who I was, what I had survived and how damaged I was they realised I didn’t fit neatly into their image of what a Christian should be like and I was made to be the problem.

Since I exposed my abusers earlier this year I’ve been victimised and traumatised afresh by the criminal justice system which has allowed all my abusers to walk free despite reams of evidence against them.

I’ve had to find a way of living life alone with no family and it’s been a very hard life. Now I’m learning to cut out of my life also those people who cause turmoil, confusion and downright agony for me in their comments and responses to me. I have a right to do that. We all have a right to that and to allow only those people who treat me/us with respect access to our lives.

I’m amazed at the level of sharing in all the comments in this thread. Amongst the horror and agony shared there is also great courage and also hope.

I want to address my final comment to Mark = thank you for your deeply compassionate comments, it is so healing for someone who’s been terrified of men all her life to read such compassion, care, validation and understanding coming from a man. Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts, your thoughtful and deeply moving response has helped me beyond what can be expressed in words.

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I can sooooo relate to that issue of grief and in particular grieving for something I never had. I feel all my life that I’ve been silently bleeding away inside grieving for that childhood I never had. Grieving for that love and acceptance I never received. Grieving for all I never had as part of a “normal” childhood.

Now as tears pour out of me after a lifetime of not crying, I realise some of the tears are that grief.

There is also the grief over what did happen and what I lost as a result. And now I have the grief of losing the legal case against my abusers too. Grief piled on grief. It was good to raise that issue.

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Fi,
I admire you for setting these strong boundaries. Somewhere along the line we “learn” that we should put up with certain things from family, and I am not referring to normal human mistakes, but to abusive stuff. That belief transferred over into all my relationships and I too had to learn that I could draw my boundaries everywhere. I don’t hang out with people who pull me down anymore. I don’t hang out with people who tell me (in words OR in looks) that I “can’t accomplish something” or that “I shouldn’t say or do things”. It is hard, but I liken it to cleaning out the closet, as I get rid of the old stuff, I make room for the new stuff. I have some amazingly great and supportive people in my life today because not only did I make room for them, but I realized that when I was no longer getting criticized all the time, I had more brain space. I got more positive and I stopped gravitating to those “familiar” and destructive people and found other people who were accepting and more secure in themselves so they didn’t need to be controlling me all the time to make themselves feel “better” This clarity was an unexpected benefit to letting some people go.
Thanks for sharing more..
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene, I have had this same experience and have gained some what of a reputation that f you cross me you get cut off. When i was diagnosed with breast cancer I thought I was dying and let my guard down. It was a mistake. It wont ever happen again. But it served to show me how effective my boundaries have been. It initially hurts to let life long friends go but then I did come to a place of clarity and freedom. In my support group we weren’t allowed to really give opinions only to support. That was the one frustrating thing about it. Some of the younger girls wanted to have confrontations and even reconciliations with their abusers in order to have grand parents for their children. Across the board it turned out to be disastrous. I wish I could have encouraged them to cut ties to set boundaries . It is one of the best and healthiest things I have learned.

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Pinky ~ you bring up an important point here ~ and this is a very important one for each of us to understand if we are to have a truly positive impact on the healing of others. I don’t think that it is right to encourage anyone to cut ties because it is such a difficult and personal thing to do. It MUST be a decision made by the individual with NO outside influence, because if there is outside influence, the victim will always experience self doubt about the decision. This self doubt interferes with true recovery and freedom. That is why there is no “advice giving” permitted in support groups. Having worked in mental health, I saw first hand the power in letting everyone come to their own conclusions about each decision no matter how small. I also saw the damage of interference from others. Victims have been told how to live, how to decide, what to decide, what to wear, say, do and act like our whole lives. In recovery we must have the freedom to start making these decisions ourselves, learning to think for ourselves and decide for ourselves ~ this is so empowering for each individual. It took me a while to understand the power in this truth, but I totally respect this concept now.

Thanks for bringing this up. Setting boundaries is very important ~ YES ~ but telling someone else what those boundaries should be is not healthy for them. Love Darlene

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That makes sense they didn’t explain it to us and we had to watch people fall into depression because of their choices. Even hear abotu their children being put at risk because of their poor decisions and need to reconcile. They didn’t seem to even know that separation was an option.
I just wonder if they had some guidance and opinions from at least the group leader if they would have made choices that didn’t ruin their lives and the lives of their children. I felt they were twisting in the wind based on the results they got. One time though a girl in her twenties asked for opinions in regards to sexual harassment on the job and it turned out great for her and she was empowered by it. I just wonder why that one situation and not others. Maybe just because she asked. But important point.

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I agree, Pinky, they should have explained to the group. Sometimes I think they don’t because they can’t be bothered… actually before my last therapist, I felt like the mental health people treated me like I was too stupid to understand anything… Oh but that is another whole blog post!

The parent thing is a huge area with mental health professionals that is discussed frequently ~ the shoulds and should not’s of that kind of advice.. It is a tough area.
Thanks Pinky for your input on this!
Hugs, Darlene

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Setting healthy boundaries and grieving the past are both huge steps that we have to take to heal from abuse. Setting healthy boundaries is the hardest thing to do when you have never seen healthy boundaries before. Until you begin to set those boundaries, you will continue to find yourself in circumstances where others abuse you. There are great books available on Amazon. One of them is called Boundaries. I am not sure of the man’s last name since I don’t have the book here in front of me but his name is Charles ??? (maybe Cloud or Townsend) My memory is already beginning to go at age 58. As my husband sometimes says, it hurts to be getting older.

Grieving has been a major part of healing for me. There are so many levels of grieving, as I have found out. Every time that I open a new door of healing, I find grieving to do for the way the past was.

Grieving is unpleasant and it is healthy. As a child, I was shown that you don’t cry. My mom showed me that you didn’t feel. That still gets me in trouble even today. I hate crying. I talked about my incest issues for probably a year or more in 12-Step programs before I allowed myself to cry. Once the crying (grieving) started, it felt like I cried for at least a year every time that I went to a meeting and talked about my incest abuse. Crying has been one of the most healing things that I ever allowed myself to do. Tears are okay. Today I will watch a movie that I know will help me to cry when I feel myself getting in the way of my own tears. Books can do the same for me with a really sad story.

They lied to me again when they told me that feeling and crying were not okay. Today I am brave enough to let the tears fall when they need to.

Darlene, I bet you had no idea how healing and freeing this post would be for your readers when you wrote it, did you? It is wonderful to see the healing that is going on here. I am honored to be a part of it.

I have written a number of posts about grieving and boundaries on my blog. Both topics have been major in my healing and still are today. Today, nobody abuses me.

Even with my own amount of healing behind me, each of these comments has helped me. That is what we do for each other in our sharing and caring. I needed this to climb out of the depressive state that I have been in for the last little while. Thanks to all of you.

Writing is such a healing part of my journey. I had stopped writing except for a few blog posts that I have forced out recently. Since I left my first comment on this post, the words have started to flow again for me. Thank you all for helping in my own healing journey. This is such a powerful post with no subjects off limits.

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[...] was a comment on my post “Mother Daughter Relationship Nightmares” that got me thinking about how all my coping methods and my recovery discoveries work together [...]

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Isn’t it amazing how similar abuse stories – whether sexual, emotional, verbal… etc are?

My Narcissist mother blamed me too. Her favorite phrase for me: “I know you live your whole life just to hurt ME.” I spent years trying to figure it out; as if she was a normal person. For the life of me I couldn’t imagine what I had done to her. I got accused of being a nasty, angry baby and of doing things that had ZERO to do with her ON PURPOSE to upset her.

It wasn’t until my therapist (years later) suggested she was jealous of me. I couldn’t imagine why – my mother was beautiful and I wasn’t. My mother seemed to have things I never would – but finally I did come to realize she was jealous of me when I caught her openly flirting with my (now ex-) husband. She and he would ‘gang up’ on me and abuse and taunt me like a couple of junior high kids. The lightbulb went on. When I pieced together that they both had the same disorder in different forms, it made even more sense.

The topper was, one morning she came out to ask me if I really liked a top she had bought me the day before. I was feeding my then infant child and told her ‘yes I did’ and turned back to my child. She exploded in anger and tears that I hadn’t thanked her properly and was “doing it to hurt & upset her.” It was so bizarre and off the wall I immediately packed and left. We didn’t speak for years after that.

I have never forgiven my mother and see no reason to. I can’t forgive a crime in progress. She knew what she did to me and didn’t care. It was all about her.

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Hi Barbara,
My mom did that “you didn’t thank me properly thing” too. When I had kids, that part was really odd. She had these ideas about how my kids should be towards her. Like they should phone her on their birthdays (to thank her for whatever she sent them, we didn’t live near her) and I thought SHE should phone them… One time my young son called her husband “uncle” instead of “grandpa” and we never heard the end of it because I didn’t correct him properly. It was just so crazy. Bizarre is the word alright! She really acted as though she should be worshiped or something.. it was so strange.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Everyone -

Just checking in, because this has now become an unofficial part of my therapy. All of you are so healing in your honesty and bravery.

The thing that strikes me the most about all our posts is exactly what Barbara said – no matter what form the abuse took, the stories are so eerily the same. And it all seems to boil down to abuse of power as the basic issue, by people who felt powerless in other ways and took it out on their helpless children.

But another thing that has come up a lot lately is the scapegoating aspect of the abuse, by the family as a group as well as by the abuser(s). I was just watching the show ‘Intervention’ the other night and there was a father who took his sons away from their mother because he felt she wasn’t handling their junkie son properly. He had finally given up, as they were about to lose everything due to his son’s habit. The boys were living w/their Dad in a hotel when the show began, and as the story eventually unfolded, it became clear that the father was hiding a gambling addiction so severe he had “borrowed” $100,000 from his mother over several years, and was hiding behind his son’s expensive crack habit (in the guise of protecting him) to explain their extreme circumstances.

Fortunately it was made clear during the intervention what the real problem was, so the boy could have closure in accepting his healing process, and not feel like he was the source of everyone’s problems. My partner and I were really crying at the end, just seeing this boy’s pain about being falsely blamed lifted, and his visible relief about finally being understood and cared for. And the father finally relieved of his lying and denial, and pursuing healing himself.

All too often damaged families go along with the scapegoating process (as I’m sure all of us on this blog can relate) out of fear of their own dysfunctions coming to light – almost like a modern day version of the human sacrifice rituals of ancient days, where one person was sacrificed, without consent, for the presumed good of all. And ultimately that’s how I feel about the abuse and my mother’s enabling of it – that I was sacrificed to my father’s perverted sickness by my mother’s insecurity, jealousy, and sickness herself. And then I was blamed for the lies and hidden agendas that were constantly being played out like some deranged soap opera behind the scenes.

That’s why I’m so grateful for groups like these, because they refuse to pass this on to their children, and refuse to keep these stories hidden and rotting in the collective psyche of their respective dysfunctional families.

Thanks ladies (and gentlemen) for providing a space for listening. It’s the most powerful of all the healing modalities, because it means our battered inner children are finally respected and believed, which is all they ever wanted all along.

Blessings, Lara

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Wow Lara every profound and it applies to church abuse and legal abuse as well!
in regards to your statement-
All too often damaged families go along with the scapegoating process (as I’m sure all of us on this blog can relate) out of fear of their own dysfunctions coming to light – almost like a modern day version of the human sacrifice rituals of ancient days, where one person was sacrificed, without consent, for the presumed good of all. And ultimately that’s how I feel about the abuse and my mother’s enabling of it – that I was sacrificed to my father’s perverted sickness by my mother’s insecurity, jealousy, and sickness herself. And then I was blamed for the lies and hidden agendas that were constantly being played out like some deranged soap opera behind the scenes.

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Families all have a family system where we are each labeled with roles as Hero, Lost Child, Scapegoat and others I forget. In a functional family those labels are flexible and you play different roles at different times of your life.

In dysfunctional families, you are assigned one role and you play it the rest of your life or until you refuse to play that role any more. When you refuse to play that role, the other family members get upset and sometimes you are kicked out of the family and blamed for being too emotional or for telling lies or for causing trouble again. Sound familiar to any of you? Dysfunctional families are very rigid in their ways and the roles they assign.

In my family, I was the Hero or Responsible Child. My brother who was the middle child was the Lost Child. My sister, the baby of the family, was given the role of Scapegoat. She could relate to what a lot of you say about being ridiculed and made responsible for what goes wrong in the family more than I can.

As the Hero, I was responsible for taking care of everyone else, for making them feel good, for being the one who got good grades in school, for being the peacemaker in the family. Even with this role, I still got the message that anything that I did was still never good enough. I lived with the stress of trying to be super-responsible all the time. I know that role probably doesn’t hurt as much as being the scapegoat. I would feel bad for my sister because I knew, even as a child, that she wasn’t responsible for everything that went bad in our family. Then I would step in as the Family Hero and try to protect her. It can be a vicious cycle in which you lose yourself to the role. I know I did. As a young adult, I had no idea who I was.

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Barbara- you have hit the nail on the head for me.

You said something to the effect of your mother basically treated you as if you lived your whole life hurting her on purpose. That is what I see looking back- No matter what was going on with me all my life, it was always a direct ‘hit’ on my mother.

Even when I went to live with my mother with a 3 week old infant after leaving her dad, and was scared, hurt, and stressed to the max, my mother viewd everything I did and said as an attack against HER. It literally seemed to be all about her.

When I was diagnosed two years later with a chronic physical illness, and was exhausted and ill, my mother said things like-I was in my room in a ‘snit’ when actually I was trying to get as much rest as I could.Just an example.

Years later, after going thru rehab with her after her head injury,resulting in her increased paranoia of me, during which he told all our family and neighbors and friends that I was being cruel to her, and after being stalked by a man who came into our lives who my mom thought had a crush on her, being there for her after she was dagnosed with cancer, which lasted for 6 years, after taking over the renovations of her home after she accidentally set her house on fire,and trying to get my daughter away from a church whose leaders would not leave her alone…I was exhausted. I dealt hands on with all of these situations.

I had a near breakdown after my mother’s male friend stalked my daughter and I when I objected to his presence in our lives.What I needed was to get my daughter and myself away from the situation. My mom and her friend somehow managed to get me committed for a week.Thatin itself is a whole story that Maggie and Fi prob. would understand the mechanics of more than anyone else here. it was frightening.

After all that then my sister jumped on the bandwagon, telling everyone she knew, that I was ‘crazy’ and had ‘demons’, and oh, what a burden SHE had, dealing with all of this.And SHE had not lifted a finger to help my daughter and I get away from our stalker- mom’s friend.Said she didn’t have room for us in her home.Later my sister told her friend that I was’just jealous’ of her because she was normal and healthy and I was not.

I understand narcissm far better than I want to

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Yes I was the “black sheep” of the family, the “scapegoat” for all that went wrong, the one who was sacrificed for the common good, the one who was everyone’s personal punch bag, the one who was wrong, the one who was evil, the one who was crazy, the one who was stupid, the one who deserved everything done to her because she was bad. No one else was, just me.

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Fi -
I really hurt for what you have gone through – it seems truly brutal and violent. Thank you for your open and honest posts.

I think it is something we need to look at as a society, this need to create (through great physical and psychological effort) a scapegoat who will take all the arrows of our embittered collective rage, keeping us from actually examining ourselves as the origins of the dysfunction. Currently it is played out by the politicians running for government who waste time attacking their opponents rather than standing on a good and honest record.

In my mother’s case, she still insists to this day that we were the best family raised by the best parent in the world. Meanwhile, her oldest boy (my brother) committed suicide due to her denial, I have serious PTSD issues, my sister is bipolar and in severe, near dangerous denial just like my mother, and my last two siblings are as far away from the whole thing as they can possibly get.

Yet my mother will rant and rave about the government, and men, and the horrible world in general as if it is all that outside evil that has caused the problems in her life and in our family. And she will still barely honor my story as far as my dad’s molestation, but has gone from complete resistance to saying “at least I’m fairly sure I was able to keep him away from your sisters.”

The slight consolation I get from this, and I do mean slight, is that my siblings no longer side with my mother about us being a perfect family of which I was the black sheep. The liar. The scapegoat who ran away when no-one else would. Now I am the one who might actually have been telling the truth all along, through my strong insistence on telling my side of the story and my running away, if nothing else. At this point I don’t really care, but I find it interesting how time can eventually catch up to the truth.

Fi, as you and I are learning, we weren’t bad, we weren’t crazy, we weren’t stupid, we weren’t wrong, and we didn’t deserve any of this. We were the unfortunate victims of bad timing, born into families of generational dysfunction who, because of our honesty and intelligence, forced them to have to look at themselves. That is our ultimate crime, and it carries a lifelong sentence. Ugliness does not like mirrors.

But we do have new family, such as those on this forum, and we no longer live in the prisons of our old families. I think if I had to say there was anything good about what I went through and am currently going through, it is finding a new term and enactment of Family, one that encompasses true support and understanding, and I am very grateful, no matter how long it took. My partner and I are learning how to navigate my triggers in a very positive, meaningful way, and I no longer feel like I am damaged goods and too much to deal with.

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Hi Laramar, yes it was extremely brutal, thank you for acknowledging that.

Yes I’m having to redefine family. My friends, fellow survivors, this forum, other safe people, are all part of that new family I’m defining and creating for myself.

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Hi Lara,
I agree with what you posted here (about the abusers fear of their own dysfunction coming to light) and would like to add to it that abusers/controllers seem to get some sort of self validation from abusing; it is as though they get their “order restored” when they abuse. It is like a drug to them.
And about your last beautiful wonderful life affirming line ~”Thanks ladies (and gentlemen) for providing a space for listening. It’s the most powerful of all the healing modalities, because it means our battered inner children are finally respected and believed, which is all they ever wanted all along.” I believe that is a very foundational truth ~ that the battered people that we were and often still are, are longing to be respected, heard and believed, and I believe that I made my beginning on the journey the day that I felt heard for the first time. Thank you,
Hugs Darlene

Patricia, yes.. thank you for sharing this information about the family systems.

Pinky ~ It’s a pecking order system ~ the one sacrificed is often the one that is presumed to be the weakest; the one with the least power to resist. The picture that you paint here is exactly what does happen, in a nutshell. Thank you for sharing it.

Elizabeth, I am also familiar with one person being painted as crazy even to the point of that person (in this case YOU) being committed. People really do go that far. I am so sorry this happened to you. (oh and I had one of those mothers too, she seemed to believe that I went out of my way to hurt her, she said it all the time.. and when I had kids she started saying that she was so afraid that I would use them as weapons against them. Of course for someone like me, that made me try harder to make her feel more secure. I see today that this was another one of her manipulations!

Hi Fi,
I had to redefine almost everything ~ the definition of love, respect, equality, friendship, family and the list goes on, but in doing all that I created a new definition of ME. That was the best part of the whole process… one day I finally met myself, and I really like me, and I know that I am not who THEY defined me to be.

Hugs everyone!
Darlene

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Darlene -
Thanks for everything. And it’s so great to hear that you finally met yourself and you really like you. We are all working towards just that, and we really like you too!
Blessings – Lara

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Pinky -
Thanks for your clear understanding of what I was trying to say. Having lost my late husband to cancer I know far too well the battle you must be going through, on top of any of the abuse issues, and I deeply admire your courage and hope you are recovering physically as well as mentally.

For my purposes, in terms of my healing journey, breaking ties as a means of setting clear boundaries has been invaluable, so I would be one of those who side with you in the belief that the most damaging thing we can do to our wounded warrior is to keep bringing these people back into our lives. Much good has come out of my being very limited in my contact with my mother and sister, and in fact my sister, who still resists the truth about my molestation, avoids me entirely.

I secretly suspect, knowing how promiscuous my father was, that my sister was molested too, and I am the open wound that might trigger that memory in her, so she just stays away. This is fine by me. The most interesting aspect of healing is how little those childhood fears of abandonment mean to me now, and how easily I could live without ever seeing any of them again. This isn’t cold-hearted dismissal – rather a clear-headed appraisal of the damage that was done and how not to get damaged ever again. I commend you Pinky for coming to that same realization – it definitely takes a lot of strength initially, but it has been very worth it for me.

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Thanks Lara and Darlene!

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[...] related posts: Mother Daughter Relationship Nightmares [...]

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Facing my mother’s rejection,death threat if I talked of the sex abuse was harder to face than the sex abuse.Still working on them both. I think the lack of a loving supportive mother was as equally damaging as the repeated rapes of the grandfather. I flip between being super hurt, super angry, and realizing that mom was abused herself. Her mother did not protect her either. Repression, silence a family legacy. I feel sad at times for my mother, I feel sad I was not nurtured, I feel sad she was not nurtured, I feel sad and lonely because my sisters did not care for me either, probably because mom didn’t.I feel sad there is so little family connection. I feel sad that my mother does not want to change. I feel sad that I have to stay away from family to stay healthy. I am happy that I cut ties, so I no longer have to dig myself out of a hole of depression after every visit. Nothing is easy when I think of my past and my family. Every view is conflicted. What I thought was love was a desperate attempt to earn love, acceptance, make something positive happen. If reality and truth are not acknowledged, it cannot be changed. As bad as facing so much ugly truth has been, actually having some life has made it worth it. I am healthier, and have some life/emotional skills to keep building on that health and continue to grow in health. Whoopee!! The misery my mother and family gave me is being replaced with peace, contentment, and I didn’t know if I could ever honestly say it-JOY!!!

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Emily -
Your post made me cry. I am so happy to see someone starting the New Year with such a clear understanding of the poisonous dynamics she has been wrestling with, and how to free herself from them. It is such an inspiration, and I’m sure you are discovering, as I have, that the more you genuinely love and support yourself, the more loving and supportive people seem to be coming into your life, including the brave, wonderful men and women on this forum. I wish you the very best, most peaceful, healthy New Year and one filled with as much joy as you can possibly take in, and I hope you learn to live with Joy as a normal state of being, rather than the old paradigm of pain, fear and eternal vigilance. Love and Blessings – Lara

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Emily,
I love this comment… so full of insight and health and so full of the truth about this cycle. This is the cycle and you have also described coming out of that cycle. Thank you so much for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

Lara,
I agree with you too. Thanks for your comment,
Hugs, Darlene

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[...] the first time in my life I felt like someone SAW me, wanted me, liked me and valued me. I had been raised by my dysfunctional mother, to believe that my value was in my body and my sexuality. And when I said “no” I was rejected, proving that maybe it was true; maybe my value was in my [...]

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I was diagnosed with PCOS when i was 9 (in 1966) and doctors treated me like a curiousity because my period was always messed up. Now in my 50′s PCOS has caused me to be morbidly obese. I went through 12 years of infertility treatment to have my children and never told my mother because of how she treated me and what she accused me of.

CLICK ON WHAT IS PCOS: http://pcosinconnection.com/
I’ve had or have EVERY ONE of those symptoms at some point in my life.

My mother would walk around whispering that I was a “freak” and “smelled bad” all the time. She was always looking to farm me out to a man asap. Every breakup, i was blamed for (because of her I seemed to attract nothing but narcissists & psychopaths)!!! Before I left to move to NYC after college (which she tried to prevent include a HUGE scene at the train station where she cut up my hands!!!) she set me up with 5 guys from her office – ALL OF THEM GAY – and told me to “change them back.” Unbelievable!

in 1998 my PCOS Doctor (who I’d started seeing a few months before and who FINALLY started treating my disorder properly at age 41!!) was interviewed about it in a national magazine. I got the magazine and left it out. My mother was visiting and I saw her pick up and read the article.

Darlene, I swear it was like watching a balloon DEFLATE!!! All the blame and shame she had placed on ME for years for something that was genetic and not my fault – well I could see her SHOCK. SHOCK!! Of course, ZERO apology and she didn’t talk to me for 2 days. Then she started in saying I ‘took too many vitamins’ and ‘should have been born a man’ or I ‘wasn’t trying hard enough to be cured!’ (there is NO CURE)

Even once I was proved innocent – i was still guilty and unworthy… and always would be. It was no longer worth even trying for me and that’s about the time I went no contact with her.

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God Bless you my friend, I hope you know now, it was in no way your fault. And as a mother, I do not understand these sick bit-hes,who stand by these men, in lieu of 6 ft over them !!

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Thank you Deborah,
and welcome to Emerging from Broken!
Yes, I know it is not my fault! Glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene

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Thank you, all, for sharing your stories and your honesty. For years I felt that I was all alone with the whole world against me. No one would believe me or fully understand how I felt when I would tell them how I was verbally devalued, humiliated, wrongfully blamed, and discriminated by family and non-family. The wrong-doers would put on a facade in public so people would just dismiss it with a ‘get over it’ or ‘bury the hatchet’ attitude. However, I know that if something similar were to happen to them, they would want the whole world to stop and address their concern. I guess many people are just selfish like that.

I can certainly relate to many of your comments. The only reliable source I’ve ever known and the only one I need is within myself. I can’t control other people’s actions and, therefore, am not accountable for them. I can only control my actions and reactions. When people verbally attacked me or blamed me for their problems it was out of fear. They were afraid to face their problems and insecurities so they were trying to take it out on me. They would gain up on me, bully me and verbally attack me with very hateful and hurtful remarks, and then call me crazy. They
would accuse me of things that they were actually guilty of. As a child their comments did not make sense to me but I still began to question my self worth. Then I learned that we are all worthy of love, peace and happiness.

Life is about choices. Although I choose not to lower myself to their level by seeking revenge since two wrongs don’t make a right, it is okay to separate from destructive people regardless of the relationship. I was so angry for years at many people and still get angry at times at some but learned that my anger only hurts me, and not necessarily them. I prefer to spend most of my time alone which is when I am at peace but have strengthened myself a great deal during my adulthood and have met some nice people along the way. Maybe someday I’ll be stong enough to trust and get into a serious relationship but for now, I enjoy my own company.

Adverse circumstances are meant to teach us something and what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger. If we learn just to retain the knowledge from the lesson (positive) and remove the pain and suffering that resulted from it(negative), then our lives will only get better. Thank you.

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My life got better when I faced the truth about the “adverse circumstances” and placed the blame right back where it belonged. The pain went away when I validated it. I refuse to see the things that happened to me as a way for me to have become stronger as though those things were “meant to be”. That for me was just a way to delay the real recovery.
Hugs, DArlene

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[...] comment came in on the blog post “Dysfunctional Mother Daughter Relationship Nightmares”.  The article is about my mother accusing me of doing things to “attract” her boyfriends [...]
This is my newest post about some of what goes on “behind the scenes” of EFB ~ a woman tried to comment on this post full of judgement, but I never published to comment… until now…

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I am 36. My mother is still with the man that molested me. She never believed me and still doesn’t to this day. As recently as a year ago, he was still hitting on me and making sexual innuendos until I stopped him from doing it again. I will NOT be treated like that. I cut off ties with my mother. It sounds like you need to as well.

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Hi Jodie
Welcome to emerging from broken.
Good for you for standing up for yourself! As for me, I have not had a relationship with my mother for years.
Hugs, Darlene

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I had to have an OB/GYN exam at age 12 due to issues with my periods. Mom did not prepare me for this. She KNEW, but did not prepare me. The nurse kept asking me to take off my clothes. I kept refusing. Once I got my clothes off, I was NOT NICE to the (male) doctor. Any question I was asked, I SNARLED the answer. I was traumatized! Then, my mom had the AUDACITY to SCOLD me for “being rude to the doctor.” WHAT?!!!! Could she not see that I was traumatized? Why is this my fault? Ok, this isn’t as bad as Darlene’s situation, but it ranks right up there as SHE SHOULD HAVE PREPARED ME!

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