Oct
14

On How to Become Your Own Best Friend

By

I am my own best friendEarlier this week I received a comment on the post “Thanksgiving and Gratitude ~ When the little voice rebels” and a commenter asked some excellent questions. Since I get questions like these frequently, I decided to answer them in this new post. Here is the paragraph from “Coffee” with her questions;

Coffee79 wrote:  One area I struggle with is when that voice comes along I want to call someone, anyone to tell me this isn’t the truth. When I tell myself that truth, why can’t I believe it? Why does it mean more coming from someone else? My self-esteem will not stay consistent, and my therapist says I need to learn how to be my own best friend. I feel like I do work at it more than I used to, but how does someone become these things when they never had it? I do not have a healthy reference. I respond to this voice by telling myself it isn’t true and I tell myself positive affirmations but I am not convinced. Darlene, how did you become your own best friend? How did you build your self-esteem without relying on the words others?” 

Anyone who has been reading Emerging from Broken for any length of time knows that I find the answers by looking back to where the damage was caused and the messages I got and accepted about myself. I had to find out where my self-esteem went ‘missing’ in the first place. I know that’s easier said than done and I am not minimizing the actual ‘work’ for one second but that was the first part of the work. Becoming my own best friend came later. I had to clear a new foundation on which to build my relationship with me, before I started working on becoming my own best friend and validating myself.  

When I look back on my own life, I realize that I was ‘trained’ or taught (by words and actions, outcomes and circumstances) to believe that without certain people I would not survive. When a child’s efforts are met with impatience there is a clear message communicated to that child. This message does not have to be communicated in words. It was only by finding out what that message WAS that I was able to overcome it. There were a LOT of false messages stuck in my belief system but the bottom line was that in the mind of a child, not being loved, ‘good enough’ or acceptable means being rejected and rejection means death.  (I had to think deeply about this concept in my own life in order to relate to it. It isn’t something that I understood just by hearing it).

Through looking closely at these messages that were communicated to me, I came to the conclusion that I associated not being approved of or not being “good enough” with death. MY DEATH. And the survival instinct is very strong and something I realized is that I was willing to go to almost any length to survive and that includes agreeing with everything communicated to me about me and doing almost anything required of me so that I was not ‘thrown out” or rejected.  

So all my life I thought that proving I was worthy of love would help me finally win their love and ultimately ‘be loved’. There are two sides to this; 1) Since I believed that it was my own fault when I got put down or punished I constantly pushed myself to ‘try harder’ to be acceptable in the eyes of those whose love I was seeking so that I could finally BE loved.  

2) Since “they” defined me by their actions and by their disapproval as ‘not good enough’ in the first place I deeply believed that only they could define me otherwise. So it became natural and habitual for me to seek validation from outside of myself.

Note: I also searched for other authority figures (or who I saw as having more authority than me) to validate me. Just because I became an adult didn’t mean that I was suddenly self-sufficient; all that childhood ‘training’ stuck with me. I didn’t realize that I could validate myself. I didn’t know that I didn’t need the approval of others to be ‘good enough’ because I had never had that experience before. I believed everyone was right about me and that I was unworthy. I had no reason NOT to believe them. But I still tried very hard to prove to them that they were wrong.

And somewhere deep inside of me I was trying to prove to myself that they were wrong about me. I didn’t even realize that deep down I agreed with them!

It was easy for me to reject myself the way that I had been rejected especially when it came to self-love. It was almost automatic for me to reject any affirmations that I tried to apply to myself about being worthy since I had never been approved of or validated before and since I believed that the failure was mine. I simply didn’t believe myself when I affirmed myself until I found out why I saw myself the way that I did in the first place. It was very hard for me to believe that I could be enough for me or that I was enough in the first place. I had to find out how I had come to believe that I was not good enough in order to replace those lies with the truth.

Part of the control and the way that people kept control over me was to make dependant on the controller. Making me ‘dependant’ on them included making sure my self esteem was not too healthy and that I constantly questioned myself. As long as I was looking at me, I wasn’t looking at or questioning them.

Empowering a child means living with an individual who has their own thoughts and ideas. And an individual is different from other people; more independent and to the insecure person, an individual, especially one who has a degree of self-esteem and independence is a threat.  An individual has ideas that are perhaps different and perhaps better and that seems to make a controller feel ‘less than’. So the purpose of control in the first place is to make sure that no one ‘is better’ than the person in control is.  Controllers want to make sure everyone is beneath them. That is where they get their own self esteem. Making sure a child never has much self-esteem makes for an easy target.

By the time I became an adult I was stuck in the cycle of believing compliance and obedience and submission were going to get me the love I longed for and every time I got close to self-validating, the fear of rejection came up right on its heels. It was a no win situation since rejection meant death, and self -validation, which meant going against how ‘they’ defined me also meant death;  In other words, if my compliance to them is my survival then disagreement with them will result in rejection which by my old way of thinking will result in death.

Learning these things went a long way towards helping me to set the new foundation for becoming my own best friend. Only then was I ready to start to rely on me and become my own advocate and friend. An exercise that helped me a lot was to write out (or type) and answer the following questions:

a)     What is a best friend? How would I want to be treated by my best friend so that I would know and believe that this person was actually my friend?

b)    How do I treat myself? Do I listen to myself? Do I respect myself? Do I keep the promises that I make to myself?

c)     Where do I fall short in being my own friend and where did the devaluing of (my) self, originate?  Did I “pick up where someone else left off”

d)    Do I know my own worth yet?

e)     What can I do to treat myself the way that I answered in question (a) so that I know that I am my own friend?

So to answer the question “how did I become my own best friend” I had to look at what my beliefs were about me and the truth about my relationship with myself. I had some repairing to do. I had to realize where I got broken and how my belief and necessary childhood survival mode had ruled over my behaviour and how it was no longer serving me. I had to realize ‘they’ were wrong and I did not have to prove to the ones that defined me that they were wrong, I had to prove it to me which I did by seeing where those false believes originated.  That was the new foundation that I built my new life and relationship with myself on.

And then I had to look at what I longed for in a relationship with someone else and give that to myself

Please share your thoughts on your relationship with yourself and on becoming your own best friend or even ‘your own friend’.  You are welcome to use any name you wish to use in the comment form. Your privacy and safety is very important to me. Only the name you use will be seen by others. Your email address is never shared. The URL line is optional and used only if you wish to share your website.  As always I look forward to the conversation!

Another Little Snapshot on the Journey to Wholeness,

Darlene Ouimet

Please visit Emerging from Broken on Facebook

Categories : Self Esteem

123 Comments

1

I have always treated others the way I wanted to be treated. However, it’s hard if people don’t give the same back to you.

Then it depends on how strong you stand in your own shoes and especially how strongly you believe in your principles. Which is when your article is a great guide to stay strong.

Self-respect is key in reserving time and space for yourself and still be honest and respectful to others.

Thanks for sharing this.

2

Hi Daan
Welcome to emerging from broken.
Self respect came with healing for me. I had none when I began since it had never been set in place in the first place. So my strength came also as a result of the healing process. I too treated others the way that I wanted to be treated; the differnce for me now is that I no longer put up with anyone treating me ‘less than’ like I used to!
I am glad you are here! Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

3

Hi Darlene,such a good post!I Love it! I haven’t been a very good friend to myself,in fact up until a few months ago I was down right mean to myself. As I sit here I can remember a time when my mother used to treat me exactly the way I treat myself. She was a pretty awful lady if you would like to call her that. Very cruel behavior for an adult. She was a prime example of what not to be in a friend. I am learning to be good to myself because no one ever taught me that I mattered. It is not easy to stop all the negative feelings about myself, for myself. I believe that a person who can train up a child to hate themselves has to be one of the most demonic beings on the face of the planet. I believe the key to being your own best friend is to be truthful,to be kind,to be patient,to be understanding,to love yourself and to know above all else that you matter. It is possible I know because I have seen it in you and others. What is possible for one is possible for all. Thank you for your insightful words and the way you help others. A big Hug Jane.

4

Hello,
I think this is an excellent article. I never heard this theory before, but I know it is correct because I lived it. I also thought that my life pended on how I pleased my family ( I am the youngest). I used to have nightmares over the same situation. We all were hanging in a rather beige space, we were not people but rolls of threads, different colors. The more we screamed to each other, the tighter the threads were wrapped around the roll and choked us. We didn’t have a neck but the middle of the roll replaced it and I felt like dying. The adults and my siblings shouted and were violent, they didn’t care and we were all dying choked. There were pauses of silence coz we are all being choked, then I tried to talk, my through hurt badly, I pleaded to stop fighting but I was not heard, they went on and on. I will wake up in total shock, pain and very weak. I said nothing to anybody coz that would have got me in trouble( strongly scolded or beat up). I had this until I was almost a teenager. Not anymore, but now I understand why I still have bad dreams where I am still an adult but I live back with my parents and they always show me disapproval. I wake up stressed out. I have learned to ignore it and tell myself: never. never more those times will come back life goes forward not backwards.

5

Words that sparkle like diamonds…..look for what you long for in a relationship AND GIVE THAT TO YOURSELF!!!! the best truth I have heard in years….

WOW I feel better already and happy to be good to me without that pesky little guilt devil whispering in my ear why I do not deserve that….

I think you deserve a parade for this one..REALLY how many have you helped? can you count sand on a beach?

6

Hi Jane
I came to that understanding too! (that I was mean to myself and actually realized that I treated myself the way my mom treated me) I like your “key to being your own best friend!”
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

7

Hi Lynn
Thank you!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Liz
I’m glad this resonates with you!
What a horrible nightmare but I can relate to the connections you make with it. I had similar dreams until I found out what they were trying to tell me. Once I saw what they were indicating and healed from that, they went away.
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

8

Hi Darlene..
Thank you for explaining this important concept so clearly.

//”I had to realize ‘they’ were wrong and I did not have to prove to the ones that defined me that they were wrong, I had to prove it to me which I did by seeing where those false believes originated. “//

This statement describes where I am now. Proving it to myself. When I broke contact with my mother by phone, she immediately wanted to discuss why. I said no. I said no because I don’t need her approval of
my thoughts and actions anymore. I don’t need to “prove” my point. I don’t need or want that anymore.
I feel what I feel and don’t have to justify it to them anymore. Especially not to my abusive family. This is a BIG
step for me.
Everything you described about the way we are trained was exactly how I was trained. I am angry that
they took away and destroyed the necessary and valuable parts of me that I needed to live and flourish
as an adult, not only in relationships but in the workplace.
They will not get another chance to do more damage.

I too think you deserve a parade!!
With Best Regards, Karen

9

When I was 15 (a very long time ago!) I had a wonderful friend. Through all the craziness I had going on in my life he never gave up on me. He always believed in me and was the only sanity I have ever remembered having in my life. So, I think that in order to become “my best friend” I need to learn to treat me like he treated me. With no reservations, no conditions just complete acceptance. It may take me awhile to get all the “voices” out of my head from my narcissistic mother and sister and my own voice telling me how it was all my fault for being abused. But the journey of a thousand steps starts with one. Thank you foe helping me along this path.

10

Darlene,
I’m pretty choked up right now…it means so much to me that you responded to my questions and so quickly! Let me say that when people would do something nice like this, I would be so shocked, touched that if they followed with a negative behavior, I realize now that I ignored it. I’ve had many bad relationships that began with a grand gesture, but I realize now that my self-esteem was so low I felt that anything was a ‘grand gesture’.
My feelings of worthlessness began as far back as when I was two. My mom would beat me for disobeying her and then my dad would beat her when he came home and saw me. I felt responsible for her getting hit when just moments before she had used a belt buckle on me. My mom really gave me a lifelong lasting impression that I was a burden, worthless, and only good if I was useful to her in some way. I remember doing things for her I would never do in my life simply for the small acknowledgement by her.
My dad knew what was going on, but would leave for long periods of time, days, weeks alone with her. He came in like the good guy, saving me from mom. I blocked out that he beat her because he verbally said “I love you” and hugged me whenever he was around. Another insight to why grand gestures are so big to me is my dad would stay away and pop in with gifts or flowers as if he was buying back that time. A message that I am only worth seeing occasionally and I must not be important. Oh and this is one of the reasons I am drawn to emotionally unavailable men. Yeesh.
When you say that certain people’s rejection of you meant DEATH for you, I thought to myself, “I don’t think I felt that way”, but I felt a trigger seeing it and started to cry.. Implicitly it was death, in a way of disappearing in the world that was my parents as a baby until a few years ago. I have been taking care of myself since I was four but I still feel sometimes that I will die if I stay all alone like this. I have always been doing this alone, but to actually leave my parents meant I was really alone. Only recently have I understood that I never really had them to begin with and have been mourning for parents I never had.
I feel like I am finally living my life without my abusers in them anymore, but I find that they left messages so deep within that I wonder if I’ll ever shake them all. I also beat up on myself for not yet learning how to not beat up on myself, lol.
I’m going to process this some more and comment again later. I also appreciate the exercise you used. I thought I knew what the answers to them were, but I don’t think I’ve ever taken the time to write the questions and answers out to understand where I’m at.
Thanks again,
Summer

11

It’s been difficult trying to become my best friend as I’ve felt a million miles away from myself for much of my life. In childhood I was ignored and invalidated; if I wasn’t being yelled at, I was often given the silent treatment, which was equally if not more painful. I’ve realized that I have often just ignored my own needs, kept going without giving myself the space, time, and comfort to process things and feel good. I like your exercise Darlene. I’ve been trying to use such examples to reach deeper and improve my self-communication and self-care, though obviously nothing is overnight.

I too have been disappointed that people don’t reciprocate the kindness, empathic listening, and openness that I’ve given them in the past. But then the abuse I went through made me more comfortable around such people as opposed to those who were more like me and the kind of friends I actually wanted.

Liz, that nightmare you had with the spools of thread is so striking. I know the feeling, of being oppressed by people who are constantly screaming. I also have dreams where I’m back living with my parents again, usually they involve my hiding in my childhood bedroom, hoping they won’t find me there. I haven’t had it for a long time but then last night it came back again. Perhaps as a reminder to keep going, keep changing my life so it’s not as if I’m still there.

12

Today after three years of not hearing from my mom she came toy home to drop offs birth certicate because in her note left with it and other things…she said it was either going to the garbage or to me…so I suppose this was to hurt me and it did…she screamed at me and yard mind games ally life and still at 47 years old…she still gets to me;(

13

Darlene,
My Self-Respect has been growing, since I’ve been digging deep into my past conditioned beliefs. I don’t beat myself up,like I used to. I’m finding that I’m observing my thoughts & feelings, then choosing to take action or not. The critical voices from my FOO are fading. I notice that I will listen & respect myself more, when I have no contact with my abusers. I do struggle with the definitions of “healing” vs “recovery”. The way I’ve been looking at this is, that the more I self validate & build my own confidence, the process of healing is taking place. However, Is recovery after you have done the inner healing work & you’ve stopped contact with abusive people from your past & present? I was told that recovery comes from not engaging & having no contact with the abusers. Can you help me understand the difference?
Confused,
Sonia

14

This is great! I went to a retreat a few months back with Bhagavan Das and he said “You are your own best friend. You are your own worst enemy.” I thought about that a lot, what it meant, and there is just so much material there I could go on and on.

Two points struck me – one that you looked for authority figures to validate you. I went through that for so long I can make such an incredible laundry list of spiritual teachers I followed (And I ALWAYS picked the COOL ones lol), how many groups I joined and then wanted to rise to the top (as if there was such a thing) and associate with the leaders so that I could not only get approval from them, but everyone else in the group at the same time.

In the last few years or so I have been able to break through that and what happened is that I found an enormous amount of anxiety and uncertainty about who I am underneath the habitual pattern of seeking out gurus for approval.

And sitting with that anxiety and knowing I won’t die from fully feeling it has been one way to let go of the pattern…

I also love how you talk about individuals being a threat. I have allowed myself in the last few years to be myself and not to conform and merge for survival like i used to do for so long and I can only say – I used to have thousands of friends (or at least hundreds) and now my phone doesn’t ring so much haha! But it’s okay, because I have truly become my own best friend.

Thanks so much for this post!

kylie

15

Hi Darlene and all!

This post resonates with me on so many levels. Its only fairly recently that I realised I had been my own worst enemy all my life. I had learned to treat myself the way my abusers had. I neglected my own needs and met the needs of others instead. I put myself down, I did not listen to, or validate myself. I felt less important than others. I felt that me being here, had caused terrible problems and inconvenience for my parents. And its a vicious circle. You learn to treat yourself badly, which causes others to treat you badly, which causes you to treat yourself even worse, and on and on it goes. And Darlene, you are so right about our survival instincts. Like you, I feared that not being loved and approved, of would lead to my death. Even though I am learning to be my own best friend and advocate, every time I do something really beneficial for myself, every time I make changes which will improve the quality of my life FOR ME – that little inner voice whispers “You wont survive this, youve gone too far this time, someone is going to put a stop to this, its not safe for you to be this happy”. And that really was a major false belief that I had internalised early in life. “It is not safe for me to be happy, it will upset someone, or make them angry and they will hurt me badly”. Thank God I pulled that one out of my sub-concious mind. I think the voice is just a habit. The important thing is, I dont believe the voice any more. I now challenge it, and I find it dosent stand up well to interrogation! Also, I used to believe that if I treat others well, then they would reciprocate, but it simply dosent work that way. If you believe that you are “less than” the people you treat well, then thats the way they will treat you – as less important than themselves. I started trying to treat myself as someone I really loved, and wanted the best for, and that was HARD at first because I had been conditioned not to love me. But, as a result of doing that, I DID start to feel love for myself! Its an ongoing journey, and I like to think of myself as a work in progress!

Love Sylvia x

16

Hi Karen
I had to get angry and embrace that for a time. It was empowering to know that I had a right to be angry for the damage and lost time. It was a relief to finally accpet that they were NOT going to change and I didn’ have to convince them I was right! I AM right and when I turned to me, and away from my focus on them ~ everything changed.
Thanks for sharing!
p.s. Love the parade idea… a freedom parade! Imagine how big the float would have to be to carry all of us!!!!!
Hugs, Darlene

17

Hi “Private”
Welcome to emerging from broken
This site is filled with articles and conversations about overcoming the things you mentioned in your comments! You will find lots of support and validation as you put one foot in front of the other and take those steps!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kimberly
You have found the right website. There is hope for healing and for taking your life back by finding out why she still gets to you like that and ow to overcome it ~ . I don’t live in that “crazy” anymore!
Hugs, Darlene

18

Hi Coffee79
The only way that I could shake those false messages were to find out what they were and then replace them with the truth over and over for as long as it took. They were the ways that I viewed myself. I had to find a way to view myself through a truthful grid and not the dysfunctional one that they gave me.
I totally understand the nightmare of getting beaten by your mother and then your dad beat her and the whole message THAT gave you too. This whole thing gets really complicated but I had to become the detective in my own recovery so that I could find the freedom from pain that I longed for for so long!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Caden
Yes me too. I had to work very hard on connecting with myself and my past before I did any of the work to have a relationship with me. I remember concentrating every day on NOT dissociating when I was trying to focus on any sort of healing work. My needs were never valid and it was only by learning to ‘stay with me’ that I could begin to see how I treated and disregarded myself in the same way that I had been disregarded. Persistence has become something I am most thankful for!
Hugs, Darlene

19

Hi Sonia
I don’t attach any difference to the words ‘healing’ or ‘recovery’. They are both the process to me.
When you said you were told that “recovery comes from not engaging & having no contact with the abusers” I thought “what???” ~ I totally disagree with that statement. Recovery comes from finding out what the damage was and validating it. You can leave the abusers but that won’t fix or heal the damage; it will only halt it. Recovery might come faster with no contact but it isn’t a set in stone thing. For me the only thing that has EVER worked towards my healing is finding out where the broken began and the way that my false belief system formed so I could ‘correct it’. Hope this helps.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kylie
Yes… me too! I was exactly like that too. And it is interesting how much more impact that I had as soon as I became ME and started to work ON ME and stopped trying to find myself by getting approval from others. I can see why my family was so worried about how I might become a threat!! Perhaps they saw this strong and amazing me all along and that is why it was so important to keep me squished! (something to think about!)
Thanks for sharing!
~ Hugs, Darlene

20

Hi Sylvia
I really relate to your thoughts in your comments! Yes, it does have SO MUCH to do with our survival instincts which we were forced to put in place in such a funky way. I can relate to the fear (the huge fear) of happiness and independance! I went through that and sometimes when I am working on the books that I hope to publish soon or even when I ask for donations I still have that fear come up. And I talk to myself about it, I LOVE myself through it. I too believed that if I was just treated everyone the way that I wanted to be treated well back, and it is pretty sad that it rarely works that way!
Hugs, Darlene
Great comments Sylvia!

21

Thank you Darlene…I really appreciate your reponse…it helps a lot. Hugs Kimberly
And I agree as soon as I developed a backbone and spoke up for myself I was told that I was this person that my mother did not recognize anymore as if there was something wrong with me…yes because now you can’t hurt me or control me so now you hate me…yup.

22

Kimberly!
Exactly! and that is what so many controlers / abusers/ manipulators say when we get stronger and stand up: “I don’t know who you are anymore”. uggg… And yes, when they can’t get what they want in the imbalanced and dysfunctional one sided relationship, when they can’t get thier selfish needs met there anymore, they leave! It’s a pretty big truth leak!
Hugs, Darlene

23

Darlene,
Thanks for clarifying the words “healing” & “recovery”. You validated recovery for me, when you said, “Finding out what the damage was & validating it”. Yes!…I’ve been doing that for the last year. Leaving the abusers does not “heal the damage”, it may “halt it”. The healing work comes from seeing the damage, validating it & correcting it. Radical Acceptance & Turning the Mind has been helpful for me, when I’m addressing the damage.
Thanks Darlene, I can count on you to keep me on track! (((Hugs)))
Sonia

24

Thank you Darlene….
I could never ever give my child her burth certificate and tell her oh I was going to throw it in the garbage but here you can have it cause I am moving on without you in my life…there is nothing in the world my child CID do to me for me to even think of such an cruel act…nothing!
This was done two days before my birthday and she also gave back home movies her her granddaughter and a will we had made her in charge in a long time ago…
If she could of had a heart and sent a card that read I love you and let’s talk or let’s go to theraphy she and u might if been able to reconnect but the last thing she wants is to talk but control and hurt me.
She is a cruel vile human being.

25

I think the damage done has been the cause of so many issues that pinning them down will be like finding needles in a haystack but the ones that stand out are taking things very person and fighting as if my life depended upon me winning when attacked. And lastly not trusting anyone…
Just not good traits to have and so hard to break through them cause I feel so on hyper alert and so guarded that I guess people sense from me an huge distrust of them;(
Tomorrow I will be 48…and my bday now seems to be a day I now dread because of the evil person who gave birth to me. I wish that was not how I feel.. I try to tell myself something more kinder but how do you think differently? I can’t seem to figure it out;(

26

Thank you for sharing your words, your story. I only found this site (and the site overcoming sexual abuse)a few days ago, it seems the time was right. In just the past few days of reading (in stages, I never knew reading other peoples stories could be just as hard as telling my own)I’ve found myself feeling less crazy.

I’m still new to finding my own words outside my head so even commenting is hard. I lost them years ago. I love to write, and consider myself a writer… but have been so afraid of writing anywhere other than my head.

I was taught that writing the truth was dangerous. I was taught that writing fiction proved that all I had said was made up, that I was a liar.

I’m learning this isn’t true. I’m learning it’s ok to use my voice, to put my words out there. But writing is still a battle. I find myself wanting to apologize for what I say, or for how long it may be, for being a bother. Something inside tells me I shouldn’t even be commenting here.

I’m figuring out that this feeling I feel when those “need to follow rules” come up in my head is anger. I’m angry that this is so hard… it shouldn’t be. So I fight this little battle by commenting anyway.

I use the “name” A Real Person here, right now, because for years I didn’t feel real and I didn’t feel like a person. I felt less than. I’m not yet at a place where I feel comfortable using my real name… I’m working on getting there. But at this moment I feel like a real person.

So much of what I’ve read on these sites resonate. The words ring true. I’ve found words to cover concepts I’ve had for years… but had no way of conveying. This particular post helped me realize why I’m now able to be here reading this.

I little over a year ago I had a chance to get out of the city and go rural. I had an opportunity I had craved for years to have an expanse of land between me and others. This opportunity turned into me beginning to find myself, apart from other. For the first time in my life I started understanding the concept of boundaries.

This experience wasn’t all good. It turned out the people my husband and I were living with in order to have this opportunity were engaged in an abusive relationship… well I’m sure they wouldn’t call it abusive, and neither did I in the beginning. It also was an extremely hard time for mine and my husband’s relationship. At the same time I was planning my move out there one of my closest friends made the announcement he was moving across the country. That left me with no one, other than my husband, that I trusted living in the same state with me… and with some of the problems my husband and I were having I wasn’t sure I could trust him.

At some point while living there I made the decision to take a step back from everyone. I focused on me. It wasn’t hard as the internet was spotty, as was phone. There was plenty of times I was completely alone on the property… before I even moved there I had a week I was left alone, in charge of the whole place. I hadn’t had the opportunity to be alone much in my life. Even though the idea of being alone terrified me I craved it. I discovered being completely alone isn’t scary. It can be the most liberating wonder ever.
While I had alone time, both the physical and the line I had set to keep people from passing, I begin to learn to trust myself. I began to learn to focus on the moment, the here and now so I could understand and separate which feelings were coming strictly from the past, which feelings were triggered by my past (and then to see if there truly was danger in that moment or if it was residual from before)and which were completely and totally only from the present moment.

This seemed to open the door to remembering. Like so many others my memories were locked away. Oh I ‘knew’ of some of the abuse I suffered, I even remembered remembering it. But I couldn’t actually connect to the memories. I had large amounts of time that were just empty of memories. As I remembered the bad, the painful, I made a point of trying to remember the good that had happened around the same time. Somehow I’ve continued this. I’m still recovering my past, both the good and the bad. While some of the memories are extremely painful I find I can at the same time be grateful that I have that piece of me back along with the good, happy memories I hadn’t been able to find.

I learned I am not responsible for other people’s feelings, and they in turn are not responsible for mine. This was a freedom I had never before known. I still struggle with this concept alot of the time, however it’s been so liberating that I continue ‘practicing’ it all the time.

I made decisions by myself, for myself. It’s not that I had never made decisions before… more that I had never felt sure they were really my own decisions.

Living in an abusive environment again, after years of being away from one, really pushed me to the edge. I was not the main one being abused… but as this person was just, in general, abusive I did end up on the receiving end. This was the person providing my place to live… and that made it feel so much like being a kid again though I am in my thirties.

There was one decision I made there that really changed everything. Sitting on a tree stump in the middle of the night, far from anyone and losing my mind, I sat with everything needed to take my own life easily accessible. There was no one who could have stopped me if I chose death. I could have called someone but I didn’t want to. For once I turned to myself in my time of need. I made the decision to live. I made this decision by myself, and for myself. It really wasn’t easy, it may have been the hardest decision I have ever made as I have a lifetime worth of wanting to die under my belt but very little experience of wanting to be alive.

Soon after making that decision a puppy came in to my life. I actually felt ready enough to take care of me and him. My husband agreed that all my pup’s training would be up to me, I would make the decisions (my beloved had always trusted me, it was me who had issues trusting myself. I didn’t even trust myself to know what was real). At first this terrified me. Soon, raising my puppy and training him became a since of pride and of joy. I can actually see the results of working with him and this helps. I’m working with a trainer to have him become my service dog. Many people get their service dog already trained, for me I think training him has been part of the service and a huge part of my healing.

What I hadn’t realized, until I read this post, was that I was being my own friend. I was going to myself as I would have gone to a friend but instead of someone else doing it, I was helping myself as I would a friend.

We moved away from that environment in chaos months ago… but it didn’t defeat me as it would have once upon a time. My little family is now settled in to life back into the city (until we can afford to buy land of our own that is) and my pup is eleven months old and doing wonderfully. I can see in myself, and through seeing him, just how far I’ve come. Little by little I’ve been finding a since of community, I’ve been making my friends a part of my life again, and finding my words. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, and happy dance at even the smallest of achievements.

There are still those moments I think I can’t do this anymore, where I crave oblivion… but I chose life. To me that means doing my best to live a life worth living… not just existing waiting to die.
I couldn’t have done this before, when I didn’t trust myself. I couldn’t be my own friend till I learned to trust myself. I couldn’t even really begin the healing process until I could trust myself.
The greatest part of trusting myself… knowing that no matter where I am, or what is happening, I have a friend always there that I can trust. That friend is me.

27

Happy Birthday Kimberly
This is a process that begins with breaking out of the fog that we are in; the fog that abuse and being treated as less than, put us in. It takes time. I didn’t have to find every single damage thing, I only had to look at enough of them to see the message that I believed about myself because of what had happened. Give yourself time. Trusting others is not the key. Learning to trust yourself is much more important. Self love and self validation helped me in all areas. Healing is a process.
Have a great day today. What your mother did was really mean and I would guess she meant to hurt you and that speaks volumes about her.
Hugs, Darlene

28

Hi “A real person”
Welcome to emerging from broken.
Thank you for sharing your story with me. I am so glad that you have learned to become your own friend! That is awesome
Hugs, Darlene

29

Happy Birthday Kimberly. I hope you have a lovely birthday.
I so agree with your statement…

//as I developed a backbone and spoke up for myself I was told that I was this person that my mother did not recognize anymore as if there was something wrong with me//

My Dad was cruel like your mother. He said horrific things to me to destroy my inner person.
I internalized many of them. My mother was just emotionally unavailable, but since his death has taken over the abuser role.

When I told my mother I no longer wanted contact with the family..the first words she said were: “I’m sorry you feel that way.””
?? My warning bells went off. Hmmmm. Well I googled that exact phrase. It is one of the top invalidating
statements. Basically says my feelings are wrong. The same thing I’ve been told for years.
I was SO proud of myself that I knew it before I read it on line.
My feelings are mine and they are OK without her approval anymore. What she said was a PROOF to me,
that I am on the right track here. Although she meant to make me doubt myself, she had the opposite effect. Karen

30

To A RealPerson..
What an inspirational story. I too lost a lot of memories. It seemed the bad ones are the strongest. Very few
good ones from my childhood. It sounds like you are also doing the work to find yourself. Thank you for sharing! All the best! Karen

31

Hi Darlene,
I really like this article! Thanks for posting it! I was answering the first of your questions and by the end I realized I was describing and thinking about a specific person in my life, so it was pretty cool and made me feel nice and gooey inside 😉

I think I’m at a midpoint in my life with this stuff. I’m now at the point where I have several really good, healthy friendships/relationships, either established or coming into being, and I find that when I’m in the midst of those people, I can be a very good friend to myself and when I go home and am alone with myself, I can continue to be a good friend to myself. It’s when there is some kind of setback, a bad day or when I’m around people who are either not a good friend or trigger something, or even when I’m just trying to work through something from the past and start to struggle with it, then I can get swept back down into being my enemy again. So I have to really work at being my friend again and sometimes it takes me much longer than I wish it did. But it is impressive that I’m now capable of doing this for myself at all, considering…

Karen,
It’s funny when I ended a friendship recently, that’s the exact expression he used: “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Followed by something like: “Let us know if you want anything while you’re in town.” That might seem generous but I had just said I didn’t want to see him for X reasons, so it was kind of dismissive, like he was deaf to what I’d just said.

Happy Birthday Kimberly! I hope you’re able to reclaim the day in some way. Sometimes I think it would be good to pick a new day that can be yours and yours alone, without the connection to parents.

32

Hi Darlene, I had to think about this one for awhile. My knee-jerk reaction was that Jesus is my best friend but that didn’t quite fit and I’ve come to see this as another traditional teaching that is misapplied to people who were abused by their parents. As a kid, no one had my back and basically, that is what I’d want from a best friend. Someone who had my back and supported my decisions in life. I had no self-confidence. I secong-guessed myself all of the time because I was always treated as though everything I thought or wanted was wrong. I was taught not to trust my perceptions or feelings. I was taught to disregard them and follow the preceptions and feelings of my parents and my sister. I ended up being a loner but I still didn’t have any self-confidence around people. I felt like I was too different and the few people I did become close to still had the upper hand when it came to making big and small decisions. I deferred to those I loved. I supported them but I didn’t have enough self-confidence to incite support for my ideas and perceptions from others. Every thought or action that was original was accompanied by a question mark and I sought the opion of another. I know it’s good to seek cousel in some situations but not to the degree that I did. I have to say that has changed now and I never thought of the change as becoming my own best friend but I know when I trusted myself to know the truth of my childhood and not refer to the way my parents taught me to perceive it, that I gained self-confidence and became my own councelor. Now, I feel that I’m ready for a true, best friend. One who supports me, has my back, but respects my opinion. There can be no healthy friendship if half of that friendship consists of a person who isn’t quite whole and that includes a healthy relationship with God.

Pam

33

Thank you guys… I am trying not to let this terrible act destroy my day..but honestly it hurt me but not like it would of over a decade ago.
I do think actions speak for themselves…yes
Hugs to all and thanks again;)
Kimberly

34

I love the idea of choosing another day…thank you…I just may do that!

35

Hi Pam
These are excellent comments Pam. This is my story too. This is the global story of how we learn to self doubt and self discount while trying to be a great friend (daughter, sister etc) to the very people who kept me squished down. It was a huge process to learn to think of myself and my needs. It was HUGE for me to become my own friend and advocate. Learning to trust myself is an ongoing process too!
About your last sentence ~ I came to so many realizations about the way I thought about God/Christ by the ways that people had become “god” in my life and I agree that I could not have a healthy spiritual relationship either until I sorted out the truth vs. the crap that I had been taught my whole life!
Thanks for sharing. Love what you have said today!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Alaina
Love your comments! That is a great point about being around people who trigger you. I had a really hard time too with walking away from some of those people because I was so willing to keep thinking it was either me being over sensitive or me doing something that was upsetting them! (belief system again because of the way that I was taught too.)
IT IS IMPRESSIVE that you are capable of doing this now!! yes!
Hugs, Darlene

37

Hi Karen!
I have never written about that statement “I’m sorry you feel that way” other than in comments but wow it is a huge one! Thanks for pointing that one out. I am going to put it on my list of topics! It is a terribly devaluing and discounting statement!
Hugs, Darlene

38

Albania…Karen and Darlene… Thank you veryuch for the bday wishes!
I been thinking about unsafe people alot today and I usually almost always talk way toouch and reveal things I regret later…in particular one friend who I always felt as if she was always judging me and she did and yet I seemed to fall into patterns of being with my mom for drone reason…I was rather attracted to her…as a friend and I couldn’t seem to be there enough for her and she knew this and she used that against me too.

39

That’s me too Kimberly…I talk too much and put too much info out front even to strangers. I think i scare people off. Not that I say anything controversial or taboo, just too much altogether. I have never considered
anyone being unsafe, but its a fact nowadays. Something to consider.

Self worth, self protection, personal rights, either of body or mind were never modeled or taught to me.
I grew up as a non person, a tool used by both my parents. I had no rights, voice or choice in anything. I have always lived for or under someone else. The concept of being my own best friend or even
being autonomous from my husband is new to me. I have never been allowed to be me and its scary to
me to take responsibility for myself.

40

Kimberly & Karen, putting too much out there is a problem I have also! I’ve realized it before but what I can’t seem to figure out is how to know the boundaries there… like what is appropriate and what isn’t, when it’s safe or not. I seem to have two extremes, say nothing or too much. I know putting too much out there has gotten me into dangerous situations in the past but I don’t want to close up so far I say nothing. I keep wondering… how do I find the balance? Is it something that comes as we learn more about our boundaries and our personal rights? It’s always felt like everyone else got the rules & guidelines for life but somehow I got skipped.

Karen, what you say in your second paragraph resonates with me. It is scary! It can be down right terrifying! It is new for me to read something and think to myself ‘those could be my words!’ but it keeps happening here.

I really am glad I found this site, I feel less alone in the world.

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Kimberly, Karen and A Real Person,
I can totally relate to this—from too little to too much. I think I’m starting to get the balance and that it’s just something that comes with time and working this whole process. It’s a boundary thing for sure. I also had the experience with a person who I felt kind of scared of, or at least uneasy with, and I would often look for him in a group of people. It was like I needed to pin him down in the room so I knew where he was, but of course the result was eye contact and then next thing you know, I’m in conversation with him and saying too much. I think often I felt like I could fix the problem by saying/revealing more. It’s very weird but I’ve definitely recognized on several occasions with several different people the inclination to get closer to someone I’m scared of, to hold myself up when I’m around them and to try to—or at least act like—I really relate and connect to the person. It seems to me an attempt at control, to be on top of things, but it’s actually dangerous. With that person I was speaking of, though, it helped when I heard other women talking about the guy and making remarks to the effect of him having “issues with women”—then I realized what I’d been feeling the whole time and that I wasn’t alone and that he was actually someone I should avoid. I guess when you’re a kid and you’re scared of a parent or sibling, there’s not a lot of option to avoid or escape, so you come up with this weird coping mechanism that can become quite dangerous. I went through a period where I would read a bunch about Stockholm Syndrome because I thought “That’s what I have (or had).” Of course I knew not literally but some version of it, something similar. xo,A

42

Click! Alaina I believe what you said just helped me figure something out that has been driving me crazy!

“It’s very weird but I’ve definitely recognized on several occasions with several different people the inclination to get closer to someone I’m scared of, to hold myself up when I’m around them and to try to—or at least act like—I really relate and connect to the person. It seems to me an attempt at control, to be on top of things, but it’s actually dangerous”

For years I have felt stupid for getting myself into my last abusive situation… a stalker. He had been around me for quite a while before he became a problem and always made me feel uncomfortable but I didn’t have much interaction with him. I actually actively avoided him… till he ended up in my circle of friends somehow and everyone thought he was such a nice guy. I thought it was just me being overly sensitive because of my past (which was true but interpreted incorrectly) and felt like I should be “strong” and get to know him to deal with my fear. I also thought it was safe cause I was with my ex & the guy had never outright shown interest in me. When I broke up with my abusive ex because it got to the point even I understood it was an abusive, dangerous situation the guy that in the end was a stalker was the only one who was “supporting” me. He was the only one saying what my ex did was wrong. I had thought that I had been strong and could relate to this guy and that he was my friend… then the truth came out and it was a horrible situation.

The problem was I really had connected to him… he was what I understood from my abusive past. But I didn’t know how to deconstruct what was going on too see it for what it was. I was trying to be strong, and “normal.”

I had reveled too much too him in that need to be strong and not afraid… as you said to be “in control” and he had all he needed to take control of me… he knew exactly how to act, what to say… how to manipulate me.

I’ve always felt ashamed that I knew better with him and still got myself into such a stupid, dangerous situation. But at least, in the end, I went to the police for the first time about anything… and I stopped doubting myself as much. It was a hard way to prove to myself that I should trust my instincts but its helped me recognize, and trust that I’m right, much quicker when I’m around someone who is abusive and has kept me from what I call the “rinse and repeat” cycle I was in.

These days I don’t take the chance… if someone gives me that weird feeling I just avoid them. I don’t tell myself I its not fair to them and I should give them a chance… I just outright keep them out of my life. I’d rather make the mistake of being wrong about them and never know then find out my instincts were right and suffer for it.

43

This is one of the best articles I have read in a while. In fact, I have kind of been waiting for one like that, and I am glad that you have addressed it!!

44

Hi Krissy
So glad that you liked it! Thanks!
Hugs, Darlene

45

Hi A real person,
I’m glad that my words meant something to you! I totally agree with what you said in your last paragraph. I think we can use our brains to manipulate the crap out of ourselves to try to accept negative situations, probably just because of how badly we want them to be something other than what they are. But our instincts are usually correct and our bodies are usually telling us something. I think we’ve all been trained here to mistrust our instincts, feelings, senses and to go along with what other people are telling us or what we tell ourselves or wish were true, so it’s real work to reclaim them and believe in them. So don’t feel ashamed! I’m really sorry you had a stalker—that is scary.

I was originally thinking more of casual acquaintances but I was also in love with someone who I was quite scared of for very good reasons (on top of my own personal fears that had nothing to do with him) and revealed an incredible amount about myself right from the get-go (also giving him plenty of info to manipulate by). I dragged it on years and years passed its expiry date and felt incredibly ashamed of myself for how I acted, well-aware of my own lack of self-respect but I so, so, so wanted to be loved and saved and in my mind he represented everything. Sometimes, too, I looked at it as a challenge sent to me, that this was how I could “work through things.” At the time it somehow made sense to me, finding some way to imagine profound meaning in what was essentially an emotionally traumatic experience, but now it all seems like complete nonsense and the connection I imagined was there between us I believe was hugely my own imagination, though, yes, I was in love with him…. I am very glad that is over now. I don’t feel so ashamed, mostly sad for all the reasons that got me in that situation in the first place and for what kept me in and going back over and over and over again, well passed knowing there was absolutely nothing there. It had nothing to do with him and everything to do with my family, childhood, etc. So, no, I don’t really feel ashamed, though to recount it all would probably make me cringe like crazy (with sympathy but still cringe)… Anyway, good for you for calling the cops and for stopping the “rinse and repeat cycle”! All my best, Alaina

46

New post today everyone ~
The connections I made about my beleifs re: passive abuse and LAZY!
Please share your thoughts there!
here is the link http://emergingfrombroken.com/connecting-the-dots-about-passive-abuse-and-the-truth-about-lazy/
Hugs, Darlene

47

People who are very abusive and may I add even evil are very good at finding people like us…trust me and because of our pain we seek the same kind of people out like our parents and etc…not really on a conscious level but more of a unconscious one… Trust me there are people who know us very well who have no conscious or regrets in life…they are poison to us…
I once was very attracted to a man who was like this…he was a very dark hearted guy and I just was so obsessed with him and he knew that and he played me as a fiddle so to speak.
I was not sexually active and quite selective in the past and did things out of character as such as allowing myself to not even use protection during sex…something I never done in my life but I couldn’t say no to him.
Thankfully he dumped me and left the state to marry someone who was just like me and he used her for many years and her generous nature and money and when that ran out he divorced her like an old shoe…thank god that wasn’t me.
He was my lesson in life of what evil and abusive people can do to someone and since I had no idea of why I was always hurting…suicudal and etc I assumed I was the one who did something wrong…it was alwaysy fault…thankfully I married a good man and got into theraphy and I learned so much about myself and now I don’t bother with people in real life…I see too much and know to much about abuse and etc that I am happy being alone with my dogs!

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Hi A real person,

Thank you so much for you have shared here, it is very interesting.

“When I broke up with my abusive ex because it got to the point even I understood it was an abusive, dangerous situation the guy that in the end was a stalker was the only one who was “supporting” me. He was the only one saying what my ex did was wrong. I had thought that I had been strong and could relate to this guy and that he was my friend… then the truth came out and it was a horrible situation”.

I can very relate with what you said here. I was too in a love relationship which made me suffer like hell but I was totally unable to stop the relation because I was so in love and very, very attracted.
I met an other person who validated me and helped me to stop the relation. But he was in reality really manipulative too and dangerous.
I wanted so terribly to be saved, that I didn’t see the danger.

It was very very difficult to have my mind clear because the last abusive person had also helped me.

Hugs.

49

Yes …anytime someone comes in to rescue us we really have to step back and be watchful as that is a type of situation many abusers love to immerse them selves in…rescuing people.

50

Thank you for this post Darlene!!

I am going to do the exercize you suggested. I’m ready to be my own best friend. To trust me. Trusting me is a huge hurdle. I have deep fear that I’ll make wrong decisions. I rarely take risks these days. A risk for me is stepping outside the box and doing what pleases my authentic self. Unfortunately, my authentic self is still somewhat buried. I’m happy to report that I find enjoyment in things I never knew I would/could.

Being a sports fan was generally frowned upon by my mother. I’ve found I’m enjoying watching the world series, LOL. I find that so funny and unusual for me. I’ve also embraced whole heartedly, the photography hobby. I am SOOOOO enjoying that. I take pictures of something every single day. I celebrate these discoveries because I know I’m reaching the core of my authentic being and living in a way that embraces my joys in life. I had no idea what those joys were. I knew on some level what I like to do, artistically. I had no idea I would love watching baseball, and REALLY love taking pictures of leaves, haha!! I’m enjoying these new discoveries. It has presented a bit of a challenge. One of the risks I’m afraid to take is abandoning where I’m at in finishing nursing school altogether, and changing career paths to photography. That’s how much I’m, enjoying it. But, I feel like I’ll need that advanced degree in nursing as a backup, so I think I’m going to finish. I might dive straight into photography when I finish my nursing degree though. I have so little time left, I’d feel kind of silly abandoning it now.

Anyhow, I’m going straight into the questions you posed above. Thanks for this post!!

xoxo,
Mimi

51

Mimi, this is exactly what has been going through my mind today. I even talked to a careers counselor this morning. I’ve worked through it with my counselor but I still think that I should do something that my heart is not in, just because it’s more pragmatic, rather than something I really want to do, which would take many years of study and it seems selfish and less practical for my kids who are still growing up. My counselor says that if I am happy and fulfilled, it would be good for the kids, but my conscience says that the best thing for the kids is for me to be practical and do something that would get me a stable income, even if it’s not something I really really want to do.

The pull is almost as strong and magnetic as a traumatic bond to an abuser, except that the course or pathway that is pulling me hasn’t abused me! It’s more the thought that I SHOULD do something rather than giving me the permission to take the risk of doing something I love. Like you, Mimi, I fear I that I will make wrong decisions and I know where that comes from – from an abusive ex who gave me the message that on my own, I make major mistakes. The evidence is that he is wrong – I don’t make any more mistakes than the normal human being, but the dread is there, particularly with major decisions and anything that would affect my kids, because he could make the claim to court that I am not a fit parent.

If I were to be my best friend, I would give myself permission to pursue what my real inner self would like to, and that is to study psychology. It would be a long path, but I would enjoy it, and I would also use it to help other survivors. If I were to be my best friend, I would LISTEN to myself, and stop nagging myself to do what older, parental figures would lecture me to do, which is to stop dreaming and to do the shortest course to equip myself to work asap.

Gee, it is hard work, isn’t it, becoming your own best friend, trusting your own judgement, giving yourself permission to take risks and make mistakes, etc.

Thanks for sharing that Mimi, it’s so what I have been going through.

52

Krissy,
It’s so unfortunate how those messages from people we love manifest so deeply within us, such that they render us helpless with decisions. I envy those people who set their sights and dive in.

I’ve really enjoyed studying psychology in my nursing classes too Krissy. BTW, I think there is no one better equipped to pursue psychology than someone with experience dealing with abusers in some way. I do think it gives us a level of compassion that others don’t necessarily have. There is something about being among people who “understand” that really speaks to a victim, in my humble opinion.

I am sorry you’re in this tough position. Your ex sounds like a real piece of work. If there’s a court system who would frown upon pursuing an education, there is a flaw there for sure.

The message to me has always been work too. From my mother. She rarely mentioned college. Maybe only a couple of times in my life. Her message was always that if we didn’t work, we’d end up like our lazy father. (who isn’t lazy). SHE was actually projecting. As I look back over my life, I can’t think of anyone who has more princess excuses for not working than her. Anytime someone moved, she would head up the china cabinet or bathroom projects ~ unpacking those boxes. No one even questioned it. So crazy to me now.

Anyhow, I wish you the very best in whatever you decide. The world could use some better psychologists (from my experience), so kudos to you for the passion to help others from a place of genuity.

Love and Peace,
Mimi

53

Hi everyone,

I am in a year off to take a step back about my professional life and since a couple of days, I try to listen to myself and doing stuff I like.

I don’t know if someone feel the same feeling as me but I live in my birth town (my abusers live here too :(( ) and that’s very hard to try things to go out of the box, to take risks, to have fun and seeing people. I can also relate to what you said Mimi, for me taking risks is also doing things I like and things for me.
I succeed these days to do it :), I danced which is wonderful for me because it’s my best therapy. But I was very anxious to suddenly see my father’s face in the room which is not arrived, fortunately.

I often feel that my life is not here, and that I could flourish outside of my town and dare to be myself if I moved to another town and could help reducing my PTSD too because of the distance between me and my abusers. Does anyone think it could be a good idea for me ? but each time I think about moving, I feel a horrible feeling a loneliness and abandonnement and I have huge fears to not beeing able to survive on my own.

Thank you so much.

54

I will also add, that I just looked at my sister profile on facebook and I saw a comment of my father in her wall and it was the horror for me. :((

55

If I would listen to myself, I would move in a town near the sea and take some art lessons and work in that field or in the field of culture.

56

Aurele… Me too! Living near the sea is my dream but my hubby’s job keeps us in the same city as my abusers….I dream learning how to water paint one day…I used to live about 900 miles from my abusers…I have no contact but still distance is better I think.
I personally recommend blocking any of your sisters posts so you won’t be tempted to read and be hurt by it.
Kimberly

57

Kimberly,

I would love to learn water painting too, it’s a beautiful art.
Hugs to you !

58

That is awesome Mimi!
I am looking forward to the update if you care to share it!
Hugs, Darlene

59

Hi Aurele
When the time is right you will know ~ for many people not having the fear of running into the abusers makes a huge difference.
Hugs Darlene

60

Ever since my mom returned my birth certificate along with the will we put her in charge of…like 18 years ago and all the movies we made of her grandchild and said she was moving on and just threw these items in an old bag on my front porch… I have no desire to even visit my hometown…the memories are too hurtful…I don’t go over to that side if town anymore cause its just too depressing…I been in theraphy and time has not helped me…I don’t believe I could never feel no fear when it comes to them..they gave me life and then destroyed it…not all of it but a pretty good chunk of it till I got married and moved away.

61

Hi, Darlene.

Everything you’ve said, I could apply to myself.

I’ve been feeling very, very lonely and empty since discovering that my mother’s narcissism harmed me just as much a my psychopathic father’s abuse harmed me. Maybe even more.

The grief has been practically unbearable. I’ve been feeling this way off and on for about 3 years now. I think what’s been happening with me is that layers and layers of memories have kept cropping up, and more and more truth has been revealed. I just get over grieving one truth when another truth then comes up. What I mean by that is that I have more and more memories come up, which I look at and face, which results in my depression and anger and grieving. And then, afterwards, another group of memories comes up…..and I again go through the process of acceptance……

All of this has only been possible, though, because I made a conscious effort not to dissociate any longer. Boy, it hurts. I no longer numb myself. I don’t drink or smoke or do drugs. I am feeling the pain, and it’s awful. Full of loneliness, emptiness, sadness, and anger.

I realize that I never separated from my mother. I think I wasn’t permitted to separate, but I also think I have some Stockholm Syndrom and trauma bonding going on. On top of that, my parents moved us all around the country about every 6 months or so…..I attended 15 different schools before the ninth grade.

My parents never had to many people over and didn’t have many friends. We never lived too close to relatives. So, I grew up feeling excruciatingly alone. Very, very alone. Both parents were abusive and were neglectful. I was parentified, which adds more pain.

Now, I want to separate. I want all the narcissists out of my life. I want my own life.

How in the world, at my age, am I going to find out how to live? I am only now actually experiencing emotions, after years of being numb. I want a life. I deserve a life.

Being my own best friend sounds heavenly. I want that.

I’ve been told by therapists that I am amazing resilient and strong, but I don’t feel that I am. I feel very insignificant, weak, and incompetent. All of that comes from parental messages. I’m working hard to overcome it all.

My family ignores me unless they want something. I am so hurt, so angry. How will I ever be able to work through my anger? I want to write them all a letter and tell them that I hate the way they have treated me. But they are narcissists, and they won’t care. In fact, they will just laugh at me and mock me, and they’ll use whatever I put in a letter as “ammunition” to further wound me. Narcissists never learn, never apologize, and they have little empathy, even for hurting family members.

So, I feel stuck. I have been alone all of my life, in the sense that I have had to handle all of my pain and suffering alone. I never had anyone to help me or comfort me. I need some support, though. I can’t do this alone.

Anyway, thank you for allowing me to express myself. I so want my own life. I want this “learned helplessness” out of my life. I want to be happy.

Thank you.

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Hi Marore
I HEAR YOU! I felt that exact same way and I just kept going forward with my healing and this process and things got better. I began to see my way through and began to build a better life for myself. I was able to work through the anger (in my case the anger didn’t come until the middle of the process and a few times even later than that) and I no longer have much anger or resentment left at all. Writing a letter is not for them, it is for you. You can write it and not even send it, it is to validate you.
I know how lonely this is, but there is light and hope and there is beauty on the other side of broken!
Hang in here and keep sharing.
Thank you
hugs, Darlene

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Aurele,
I live in my birth town as well. My mother and her husband live about 10 minutes from me. It’s a town of 80,000, so I’ve only run into her last week. The first time I’ve seen her for months and months. I just kept walking like I didn’t even see her. I wanted to leave ~ go to a different store or come back to that one. But, I decided she’s prevented me from living long enough. I don’t know if she saw me or not. She was coming out of a store as I was walking into a different one. I understand that feeling of wanting to move. My husband and I have been on vacation recently, and although I didn’t dread coming back home like I did last year, I did have an amazing time being soooo far away. It felt like she couldn’t ever touch me again, so long as I’m that many miles away. I felt free. I do plan to leave here someday. My husband and I talk about where we would like to retire. It won’t be here if there’s any way we can avoid it. He has no family here so there’s nothing tying him down. I love that you took some dancing. I remember when I first saw my dad after years of estrangement. The last time I was in a relationship with him, I was terrified of him. That fear came rushing back when I was faced with seeing him again. I can tell you that I rationalized it all out in my mind beforehand. I had time to do that. I explained to MYself that I have nothing to fear now. I’m not that child, and he has no power over me. Even physically. I feared he might be an angry physical person. He wasn’t at all, and has never been since. But, that fear was there. I figured out what I would do if that happened before our meeting. I look back and realize those fears were just that…. fear! Nothing ever materialized out of any of those fears. It was just a condition of my mind. Anyhow, it went well. I know that’s not always the case though. And, it’s entirely different when I think about the same thing happening with my mother because she was my primary abuser. She had a power over me that I still fear on some level. I fear I will succumb to her manipulation, lies, tears, etc. I wish you well in your time off.

Marore,
I’m so sorry for your pain and loneliness!! It is a painful place to realize there’s really no one in the FOO who cares. I hope things start looking up for you.

With Love,
Mimi

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Thank you for your answers. But I feel so inappropriate to face the world alone…

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Aurele,
It seems so impossible at times, to overcome that feeling of uselessness that our parents (or other abusers) so firmly plant in our minds. It seems like, since they’re the adults, and the parents, they must know best, know me better than I know myself, and know what’s best for me.

Arele, in our cases, it’s not true. None of that is true. It’s just that they took advantage of an easy situation to abuse someone…. a child. It’s easier to abuse a child than anyone else. Their minds are like clay. They are also like sponges, soaking it all up. Why wouldn’t we think our parents know all? They are supposed to be our protectors, the ones who love us more than anyone else on the planet. They are supposed to be our fiercest allies and cheerleaders. When that relationship is clouded with abuse of any kind, our fragile minds soak that up in the development stages. How tragic that is. It’s so hard to reverse what we learned. It’s hard to believe that we aren’t the person they said we are. Very hard to unlearn ~ to believe we actually do have worth. That we aren’t useless, lazy, immature slobs, and whatever other words and inuendos they prefer. Our beliefs about ourselves are so real. It was hard to wrap my brain around that whole concept. The fact that it’s REAL. What my mother did to me is REAL and it has REAL lasting effects. I had to somehow come up with the conviction to believe it’s HER, not me. Not an easy undertaking. Aurele, believe that it’s the abusers who have created this void and lack of self love in you. I don’t believe we’re born with self loathing. Rather, I believe I “arrived” at it with the help of my mother, and to a lesser extent, my absent father. In my experience, the first, and perhaps most difficult step was to believe. I have been on the most disturbing emotional roller coaster of my life. I have also, after roughly 18 months, began to level out. It helps tremendously that I’ve blocked my mother from contacting me. I’m slowing down now, and the peaks and valleys are leveling out. I’m so grateful for that. I am beginning to get to know who I am, and what I truly enjoy. Not what my mother told me I enjoy. I can see my individuality slowly starting to emerge. Just in the last several weeks, I have searched my heart for what makes me happy. I was a little surprised at what I found. Since then, I have embraced those things I enjoy and I try to engage in one of them daily. I don’t know why, in my life, I’ve forced myself to do things I don’t love. I actually thought I did love them. I had to search and find what improved my mood naturally. That has had big benefits for me. I don’t have to do what someone else thinks I should enjoy, or even what I told myself I should enjoy. It could be deeply buried. It was for me. Even society will tell us what we should/shouldn’t do, or what we should find enjoyment from. Christians will often say, do something for others, it will bring great joy. I agree that’s true to a certain extent. I don’t agree that we should neglect ourselves to do so. There’s no joy in giving what we don’t have…. for me anyway. It feels more like a robbery. In fact, giving in whatever way, has at times left me feeling empty and lost because I somehow didn’t get the projected results. That led to guilt and feeling like I’m alone and different than everyone else. Defective somehow.

I really didn’t mean to go off in a gazillion directions here. I just want to encourage you to find what brings you joy (if it’s possible, I realize at times, nothing seems joyful) and to challenge that inner belief that something is wrong with you. Because someone abuses us and infects our vulnerable minds with trash, does NOT make them right. Your abuser is NOT the authority on you. They don’t get to decide your worth, although, they make us believe they do. Aurele, I just want to encourage you to try to take tiny steps toward believing it’s NOT you. I’m no authority for sure, and I don’t mean to give that impression. I do know what has changed and impacted me from the outset of my recovery. KNOWing and believing there is an enormous flaw in any abuser who destroys us to our core, is a helpful step, and big milestone. Aurele, it’s not you.

With Love,
Mimi

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Hello, Aurele,

I just love the way that Mimi has explained how difficult it is to learn about ourselves, about who we really are as people. Our abusers lied to us. They called us vile names, accused us wrongly, treated us horribly. They dumped shame upon us. They denied us the nurture and love that children MUST have in order to grow up with any degree of self-esteem. They stole our innocence and our childhoods. We were both abandoned and rejected. Our needs were neglected.

And so, when we became adults, we carried the heavy, heavy burden of all of the shame and toxicity which had been perpetrated upon us for so many years. Many of us had missed the normal developmental milestones of childhood.

As a result, we suffered. A lot. We suffered physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

I love what Mimi said about finally reaching a place of understanding that it is our ABUSER’S fault, and not our own. It’s so hard to get there, I know. For me, it took a great deal of grieving what had been done to me, along with grieving the dream of having a loving family and a loving mother and father.

You probably are afraid of moving because you actually were in reality abandoned as a child. A child can be emotionally abandoned, which creates fear and anxiety. I myself suffered the same thing, for years. I felt so low, so down on myself, so incompetent. All of that was a lie, though. But I knew of no other way to think, since my parents had in essence “brainwashed” me to think such terrible things about myself. I had such fears about being on my own because they had convinced me that I was so worthless, so unlovable, so stupid, that I would never be able to make it in the world.

It’s so hard to undo those lies. I know it is.

You can do it, though. I am convinced. If you could get some good counsel from a therapist who understands child abuse, you will get the support you need to help you make changes in your life.

You deserve a good life, Aurele.

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Hi, Mimi….

I just love what you wrote. I really do.

You are so correct. I understand exactly what you meant about having to reach that place in which you finally know that it was not you…..and that it never was you. It was your mother.

I get that now. It’s taken me years to finally realize the truth, but I am getting it now.

There’s such freedom in finally reaching the truth.

I am getting ready to write a letter with cc’s to all siblings.

If they want to choose the mother over choosing me, that’s fine, too. I used to think that I would literally die if my mother or any of my siblings rejected me. But you know what? They had already rejected me, years ago. None of them really cares about me. I am the one who kept the dream alive, the dream that we actually had relationships with one another.

My husband used to point out to me that none of them treated me well.

Well, now I agree. The truth has hit me full force. It was painful, but I always was willing to face pain if it helped me to move forward.

I feel so much better since coming here to Darlene’s site and reading the posts. I feel a kinship with you and everyone here. We are all struggling to find our way. We deserve to feel good about ourselves. We deserve to thrive…..finally. All I ever did was survive. Life was so awful when I was growing up. But it is so much better now. And, the best part of all is that I now realize how much I like and love myself. I no longer think of my mother and my siblings as being MORE IMPORTANT THAN MYSELF.

Huge changes have occurred in my thinking. Huge.

Thank you, too, for your kind words. Yes, it is excruciating to realize, finally, that your mother doesn’t really love me and your siblings don’t really care about you.

But, strangely, I have a peace about that now. I don’t know how that happened.

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Hi, Mimi….

Oops, I made a type in my last post!

I meant to say, “Yes, it is excruciating to realize, finally, that MY mother doesn’t love me and MY siblings don’t really care about ME.”

I know it sounded confusing the way I wrote it!

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Hi Marore,

I got a smile out of your typo. It’s true, my mother doesn’t really love you…. LOL. Don’t feel bad, she doesn’t love me either!! 🙂

I have had peace about some things I never expected as well. My siblings… I’m peaceful about them now. I have a relationship with both my sisters. We suffered some strain, and periods of alienation. We all discovered how screwed up my mother is at the same time. We all handle it differently. I don’t have kids, and they do. I don’t have to keep the interest of kids in the forefront like they do. I appreciate they have their own agendas. As long as they don’t judge or condemn me for my approach, I do the same with them. I’ve had to sort of drive that home a little with them. The idea that I will sit back and accept how THEY were taught to treat me, is an idea that I’ve chosen to reject. If one of them crosses that line, because they’re informed, I will make my opinions known. We all three had to take a step back and breathe. It has improved a lot in the past several months, and I’m thankful for that.

You’re so right about the shame and toxicity. Just an added element to the more tangible, outright abuses. Shame in itself has done so much damage in my life. It has hindered me on so many levels.

Thanks for your comments Marore!! I appreciate your voice!

Peace and Hope,
Mimi

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I’ll share my thoughts with you. My thoughts are that you are brilliant and inspirational! Having accidentally found a link to you through out of the fog’s website, I’ve been looking at your posts all day and all I can say is thank you! Thank you for your website and your courage to tell the truth!

Recently I had a breakthrough with the issue you discuss here. I have always felt like I had a strong inner presence that was my “angel”. I called her my angel although I know she is actually part of me. She is pure wisdom and pure love and when I have the courage I would ask her things and she always would/does always tell me the truth. I recently realized that, irrespective of my negative inner voices from childhood (I am selfish, I am not good enough), if this angel, my inner strength, is part of me. And if she is all good, which she is. Then that IS me! That is a part of me too. This realization has helped me enormously. I have a long ways to go, but it was a big step in the right direction.

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I will be 46 on Nov. 13 and I spendt my entire life doing for other and not myself. I am also in recovery from drugs and alcohol… I have so much pain inside me that I started drinking to hind the pain of my childhood. My father passed when I was 13, he was a functioning alcoholic. My mother left me when I was 14 to live with her new husband. I stayed in my house and had to grow up real fast. Thats when the survival method started and carried over to my adult life. After 2 relationships, one for 17 yrs and one for 8 yrs I have decided to take a deep look inside myself. When I found this site, I just cried. I never healed from one relationship before entering into another. I dont know where to start with answering those questions—How do I treat myself or Do I respect I myself, No, No and more No. Becoming my best friend…..Im scared of being alone. I actually have my adult daughter living with me so I am not alone. I met a man in the rooms of NA and we started dating and of course I want it all right now. We both are trying to take it easy, but its hard. We start getting real close and then one of us pulls away. When he pulls away from me, I go through all types of crazy feelings and pain. The first time he pulled away, I went out and abused alcohol, but came back to recovery the next day with alot of resentment on how I can give someone that much power of me. Thats it all my life I allowed everybody to have so much authority or power of me!!!! But when I pull away from him, I feel that I dont deserve a man that respects me. I just want an instinct fix (healing). Im hoping that I can get some feedback on how to begin–loving yourself.

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Hi Kim
Welcome to emerging from broken. It is so great to have you here and thank you for sharing your heart with us. There is tons of info here about how I came out of this fog and how I learned self care and self love by seeing the truth about how I got so damaged in the first place. There is lots of support and lots of feedback to read through too. You have found the right place!
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene,

Thank you sooo much for your website, there is an overwhelming amount of information. I made a pack with myself to start my day reading through your website. Hopefully will GOD”S grace and mercy the healing will begin.

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Hi Kim
That is awesome! I am really glad that you are finding some answers here!!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Marore and Mimi,

Thank you so much for your answers.

Hugs 🙂

76

It was Aurele in the last message.

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

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Taking a quote from a previous comment by KAREN above:
“Everything you described about the way we are trained was exactly how I was trained. I am angry that they took away and destroyed the necessary and valuable parts of me that I needed to live and flourish as an adult, not only in relationships but in the workplace. They will not get another chance to do more damage.”

I never realized so many people are dealing with adult dysfunctional families. I’m just starting at 52 years old to understand how sick, sick, sick my family is. I have had therapy throughout my life, and I seemed to never get at the real heart of what was causing me life problems so often. It was after a nasty family incident over the Christmas holiday that I began to see the big picture. What KAREN had said in the quote above…oh my gosh…I could not have said it better….I AM SO ANGRY AT MY FAMILY FOR WHAT THEY HAVE ROBBED FROM ME! I was married at one time, that didn’t work out for me due to my personality problems. I have had jobs where I excelled, yet was fired for personality issues. It seemed no matter where I went or what I did in life, nothing ever worked out for me….even though I tried my best, I have a way above average I.Q., and I’m a pretty good looking broad too! I always wanted to believe I was kind and caring, but the message I got from my family CONSTANTLY was that I was evil and nasty. I feel as though I’ve wasted the good majority of my life because of my family. I do not know why it took me so long to understand the dysfunctional family system. I certainly heard the word “dysfunction” many decades ago, I’ve always been one to read and research, but somehow I could never quite grasp how this “dysfunctional” stuff related to the huge amount of hurt and anger I had inside of me. A nasty incident and Christmas which provoked me to confront my family members on their behavior; they all turned it around onto me, to the point they were lying to my face about the events, when they knew damn well I was there and knew exactly what went on. It has been the hardest and most eye-opening experience of my life. I have 10 adult siblings in their 40s 50s and 60s, and I feel as though I do not know one of them. They are like complete strangers to me over night….and this includes my 83 year old mother. This is so difficult….I feel like I’m in the twilight zone or something. There is a part of me that wishes when I wake up tomorrow that this would have all been a bad dream, but I know it won’t be. I’m going to have to walk away from my entire family…although I have nothing else in the world to turn to; no husband; no great career; nothing. This is going to be hard, but I must do it. Knowing what I know now, I could never even pretend to be one of them again…never.

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Hi Connie
I didn’t realize the dysfunction because of the brainwashing and grooming. My normal, was false. A lot of my earlier work (see archives) is about that part of it.
I felt like I was in the twilight zone too! When the truth hit me I thought EVERYONE should be able to see it. It was so obvious! but most of my family prefers to say in the fog and that is fine because I escaped and I got my life back!
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

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I’m going through this process now (28 years old). Slowly, I began to notice that I had grown to be a person who was used to absorbing negative ‘shocks.’ Because of my upbringing, I learned to receive so much crap. I was never allowed to consider myself. Everything in my childhood home was controlled and managed…..well, things were like that for me (My parents did whatever they pleased, and I learned how to make things better/how to not make things worse). For me, this learning process started when I realized that other people weren’t making an effort to be as nice and considerate as I was. I had a few experiences where I was used and put aside (Family, Military, Church)…damn near killed me. Through therapy, I began to regain my ABILITY TO BE OFFENDED!!!!!!! That was HUGE. That healthy sense of hurt/righteous indignation eventually led me to speak up for myself and set proper boundaries with other people. I was a person who really, really really had no idea that I was allowed to put myself first. I hope to continue on this path : )

Darlene, You are great with words…simple with words.

D

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Hi Naomi
Welcome to EFB
I was that person too! And now I am ME! 🙂 Glad you are here, thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

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Darlene,
I feel like I am becoming a spammer 🙂
I have been reading and reading EFM…….
I have been having some good and some bad days.
Today for intsance I am reliving this past year, analysing over and over all the “should haves” and “Would haves”.
I never felt that way. I cannot stand myself now.
I always felt strong. I had one rule since the age of 18: to not ever come around my mother’s house; limited contact if necessary, she was my enemy number 1 and as long as I did not get near her, I was safe. And it was true. For some reasons even though younger, more naive and less aware than now, by obeying that one little rule, by following my intuition, I was living a pretty good life. For some reasons I have been very lucky with people I was crossing my paths with. Maybe it is a way the universe is trying to make up to me for my childhood. And if I did come across some not so good ones, I would instantly see a red flag without even getting to know that person better.
And all of a sudden ( as you already know from my earlier posts haha) at the age of 25 I went nuts. Acting against my will, against my insticts, pretty much ruining my life, knowing I was making wrong desicions and doing them anyways just because “my mom said so”. I never listened to her, I never shared my life with her, I ran at the of 18 and never looked back. I knew deep inside it was a trap and that she cannot be trusted, there was no love all of a sudden just a bit less abuse and more of sophisticated manipulation. Red flags everywhere but I was unstoppable. I cannot explain what the heck I was doing for a year, where was the real me? It was as if she put a spell on me the moment I entered her house. Oh and the guilt trips…..how come I was so blind to her tactics. I came to my senses when she gave herself out, and I saw that it was her revenge, she spotted a chance, a moment of my weakness.I know the only thing I can do now is to forgive myself, forget and move on. But it is so hard! Please help. I cannot do anymore therapy going back to childhood memories etc, it makes me want to vomit. On top of it, I am on hold now as I am looking for a job and the recruitment processes are so long. If I succeed my new job will be abroad and I am really looking forward to this because I know it will help me to have a fresh start. Why is this so hard….we can be our best friends but also our wors enemies, sabotaging our happiness.

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wow….
@naomi: I can so relate!
This is what happens when you keep being abused (verbally, psychologically) and whenever you DARE to object, you hear you are OVERSENSITIVE 🙂 And no one is going to put up with you if you continue to be so STUBBORN AND OVERSENSITIVE.

(Oh yeah how dare I have my own opinion? How dare I object you offending you?)
and people will try out waters they will want to see how far they can go. I personally never do this to others but what I learned the hard way and quite late is that guess what, not everyone is like me! 🙂

84

holy s****! 🙂
Let’s just put it out there can SAY IT THE WAY IT IS

@MARORE: SO RIGHT!

Because abuse has nothing to do with love and the lack of respect with caring.

I remember when I was a kid whenever my mom said something mean or hurtful to me, or mimicked my moves,
she would say: “remember no one is going to be as honest with you as I am. Do not believe people who say compliments to you. They are just making fun of you”

I realized it was not true when I was more or less 23.
I realized that the only person who was critisizing my looks and my brains was my mother. And that if I did not see an ugly girl in the mirror actually just the contrary, and other people were complimenting me and I had no problems getting a good job….hey….no it’s not them lying, I think someone else is lying.

Last month I met with a lady who helped me a lot when I was 20, she got me my first job. She was concerned about my saddened face and a lack of usual enthusiasm. I told her I had a very difficult year. She said: “how come someone so smart and pretty can have any troubles?”
If only she knew.
I have so many people around me who know the real me, have helped me along, and all of a sudden I stood them all up for my mother last year. WTF??? Can someone please explain my behavior to me because I have no justification for myself other than stupidity, being naive I don’t know what else

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Sandra, it should have been ” No one is going to be as hurtful with you as I am”.I have been here too with my mother who made many remarks aimed at making me feel ugly and awkward. But it is so good that you busted through the lies and validated yourself with what you saw in the mirror.

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hey Amber thanks
How old are you by the way?
I am 26 and I keep beating myself up for being so naive and falling for my Mommy Dearest’s tricks last year for the first time.

Funny even though as you said, I managed to validate myself somehow it was not enough, the damage has been done anyways.

87

oh I mentioned in one of my posts that I was acting like crazy until my mom “gave herself out”. How did she do it? After 10 months of being constantly on the phone with her, doing everything she wanted me to do, I was supposed to stay with her on Xmas. (the first onein 7 years). My sister was not coming this year (she lives abroad and has now a baby). I called her to discuss details in regards to the Xmas Eve (it was supposed to be me and her). “But I don’t really want you to come. I would rather watch some TV. Do you really have to?”
I was shocked. My “real” mom was back. I made other plans and decided to go over to my friend’s place. A day before Xmas Eve, she calls me up and says: “SO what time are you coming tomorrow? I have been shopping all day long yesterday ESPECIALLY for you I bought all your favorite food”. WTF? Just to let you know: no my mom is not bi polar. She is evil and manipulative. So I am thinking to myself “ok have som self- respect”. I said “You canceled. I already have other plans. I cannot say no to my friend now”. Mommy Dearest in a teary voice: “you are not going to visit your old mother even on Xmas?”.
So we made a compromise and I said I would come on Xmas and on Xmas Eve I would be at my friend’s place.
When I came over I knew exactly that my fairy tale was one big fat lie and my MD was back. I was sitting there and could not believe. She was talking and talking for the entire evening, making fun of me, my looks, telling me what a failure I was, all the things I “should have” and “could have” done. “I NEVER told you to quit that job”, “How dare you?” “I never told you to break up with that guy”, “why were you listening to me?”… I felt paralyzed, I could not move. Normally I would have got up, slam the door and leave. I was just sitting there saying nothing giving her more and more power to belittle me. I stayed overnight and left in the morning. I felt so dumb, so naive, so hurt.
I cannot forgive myself that last year all of the sudden I became a child longing to be loved, I had no limits I was acting like a delayed 5 year old for an entre year.

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You’re welcome Sandra. I am older than you, married for quite a while, been out in the workforce, had kids etc. But even all these years later, I still remember how it felt to be called ugly, and treated as if I am of no consequence. I guess we never forget how that felt.

I used to be hard on myself for taking all the garbage from my mother as well as other people. But I realize now especially after reading lots of Darlene’s articles on here that I was young when this happened and how does a young kid stand up to adults? It is not a level playing field and the kid does not have the power. And if the child did say something then guaranteed, there would be a punishment. So we coped by just taking it silently. We didn’t have any choice at all.

I read your other post where you said people would accuse you of being over sensitive when you objected to bad treatment. I’ve had this happen too, as well as people who say something mean and then say “can’t you take a joke?” My question is why would any decent person “make a joke” about something that would be upsetting to another person. That is just plain mean spirited. Then these people try to make it seem like you are the problem for being sensitive. NO! They are shifting the spotlight off their obnoxious behavior and on to us!

A few years ago my husband and I went out with a friend of mine from high school and her husband. Out of nowhere she comments “I went out with lots more guys than you did”. I felt angry because this was meant to be a put down, but I turned the tables on her by saying. “You’re right you did date a lot more guys than I did. But that’s because I met my love at 19 and no longer needed to date anyone else”. She was stunned into silence!

Sandra, I think Darlene’s articles will be very helpful to you, as they are to me. I wish you the best.

89

Sandra post 87, I think that until we actually get to the point that we can break free, we still carry this hope that maybe this time Mom will be different. Maybe Darlene can shed more light on this. I have the feeling that accepting tht someone is not gonna change comes much later in the process. I suspect it takes a lot of strength to accept that and that the strength grows out of going through the process. Darlene, is this what you found too?

90

Sandra: Re: “making fun of you.” Mom did this all the time, and then I got, “Can’t you take a little teasing?” HER TEASING BIT! Oh, but *I* was “too sensitive.” She can’t believe that her teasing was hurtful because, “she and her friends tease each other all the time….”

She made my life into a joke! Because she didn’t understand it, and made no effort.

91

Hi Sandra
No worries about ‘becoming a spammer’ ~ everyone is welcome to share as much as they wish or want. I think you will find the answers to your question “why is this so hard” in the pages of this site!
Hugs, Darlene

92

Sandra,
I had a similar experience to yours. In my thirties, I sort of accidentally withdrew from my mother. I didn’t realize it even, until she asked why I never call her. It was then it occurred to me that I was content in my life without her interference, and I realized at that time, that I never even thought about her. It seemed like a natural progression. So natural, I didn’t even notice, and certainly I didn’t miss her.

Sometime in early 40s, and I can’t really say what it was, but, I was somehow very subtly sucked back in. I still thought I had this mindset where I didn’t think of her often. As time progressed and my sisters and I began to pick things apart, I became devastated. I started to analyze my WHOLE life. What was a lie, what was true. Did she EVER love me, or did she always hate me and wish for me to suffer. In the midst of this analysis, she was also pulling a lot of crap that was really messing with my head. The big process began at age 42, and I’m now 45. I was on a roller coaster emotionally, and I nearly stopped functioning. I remember a few years back, I cried every single day for about 3 months. I didn’t even go out to grocery shop for fear I would break out in tears.

Ohhhh…. how far I’ve come. I’m still experiencing revelations, but, the good news is, I’m back to life. I haven’t cried about it for quite some time, and certainly, I am back doing the everyday things like grocery shopping. I have joy in my life again. The suffering and emotional trauma have largely subsided. I don’t mean to say I never feel disappointments or get blindsided by events. I do, but, it doesn’t last long. The idea that it would debilitate me a few years ago, gives me hope to keep going because it no longer has that effect on me.

Recently, I found myself dwelling on family dynamics. So much so that I was even dreaming about it. Each morning I would wake up thinking about it. For me personally, I know these thoughts and the tendency to dwell is counterproductive. It is like poison in my heart and mind, and makes me feel stuck. I finally sat down and spent 4 hours journaling. I put everything aside and just made myself do it. It’s not something I love to do, so I have to force myself. The rewards are ALWAYS evident though. Like magic, I was back to myself, the dreams stopped, and so did the constant thoughts. My journal isn’t anything fancy, and it contains a ton of curse words and anger. All that matters to me is, it works. I write it down, and let the words flow out however they will, and it’s almost miraculous the relief I feel. When it feels like your family has failed you, the counselors are off their rockers, and you just don’t have someone to spill to, your journal will understand and accept your feelings and anger. I know these unsavory thoughts and anger are poisonous to me. For me personally, I have to let them out, otherwise they fester and I can get overwhelmed. They begin to color the rest of my world. I have given this drama enough of my time and tears, and I’m at a place where I don’t want to waste anymore time on it. I think it’s different for everyone. We each have our own process. I just wanted to share some hope with you, and give you some ideas on what has worked for me. I hope you’ll give yourself some time to write. It feels selfish, it feels unproductive, and it feels like the laundry isn’t washing itself. But, it’s so worth it.

One final thought….. I got hung up for a while on why I was so devastated after spending years not even thinking about my mother. I was disappointed in myself and felt weak. I finally said, I was a different person then, and this is now. What can I do to help myself now? It’s frustrating to look back on a time where we were unscathed by the family BS. It’s okay though…. that was then, this is now, and we’re continually growing and changing.

Blessings, peace and hope to you!
Mimi

93

Thank you Darlene thank you Mimi, Amber and DXS.

I am angry with myself because turns out I was so much stronger and wiser when I was 18.
@Mimi, I know what you mean…the time when I had no contact whatsoever with my mom (18-21) was the happiest and most productive time of my life. I want to feel that way again! I was at peace with myself never even wasted a second of my day on thinking about her or why she is the way she is, or how she hurt me etc.
Than, as some of you may recall from my previous posts, I gave in to my sister pressuring me and got back in touch with her (I got back to the country and was the one living “the closest”). I recovered after my childhood and being away from her for 3 years. I decided I can handle talking to her on the phone every now and than. Of course whenever I listened to her on the phone, my day would be ruined; she was treating me as always, no respect, putting down etc. If I protected my privacy and refused to give her any solid piece of information, she would try to pull it out by “guessing”: saying purposely mean things that we both knew were not true so that I could deny and tell her how the things really were. Anyways, at the age of 24 I decided to cut myself off from her again and for good. (she shoved me out of the door one time when I was visiting her and she was upset. I said to myself: enough is enough). After 4 months from that event (after I split with my long term bf and had some choices to make) I ended up talking with my sister at our mom’s house. And that’s how I got sucked back in. This time the way I never ever did. I started feeling guilty for the time I was not in touch with her etc etc, I became literally her little servant. You know the rest of the story, it is all in my previous posts. SO now I am trying to rebuild my life as I allowed her to ruin it in one year. You can’t do much when you are a kid as you ladies have said. But it is a different story when you are an adult. That is why I am so angry with myself. I cannot take any more of that “everything happens for a reason” crap. The year 2012 could have been the best year of my life so far but it turned into a disaster. All these things should not have happened. And there we go- I am becoming bitter and I am recalling things from my childhood that I thought I have long forgotten. I would rather still be delusional about my sister…but now I think I might have no choice but to get rid of her from my life as well.

94

OOOHHHHHH I soooooooooooo loved this. Giving myself a big hug. I am really really ok. And I’m GROWING. My children (grown) are not happy with me now… and others from my past aren’t. BUT I AM. Thank you again Darlene for a fantastic heart-searching, empowering article.

95

@Mimi: how old are you if I may ask?

96

Sandra, I’m 45 now.
Mimi

97

@Darlene #19: I agree. Maybe that was my mistake. At the age of 18-21 I ran away and blocked out all the bad memories. But that did NOT solve the problem.
Ok so maybe I did have to fall apart this year to put all the pieces back together….but ALL of them in the RIGHT place this time.
So….what do you say: everything does happen for a reason or what? 🙂
I just realized that if I was “alright” let’s say last year all these things would not have happened, no matter how hard my mom would try.
Because I would know that all my choices are good, that I am strong, wise and experienced enough, that I do NOT need any validation from anyone (especially not from my mom) and if I am happy than that’s all that matters, that I do not need to make other people understand why I am happy over this and not that, that I do not need to look for a “GO” sign from anyone, if I feel that something is right for me I should do it. Period. And if someone says: “Don’t tell me you are going to do that?” (you all know that question I am sure and you all know what tone of voice I am talking about) the response should be: “hell yeah”.

98

why oh why did I ever give in to my sister pressuring me to be in touch with our mom? By that I allowed her to continue abusing e as an adult.
I would understand if she was giving me any money but nope.
So there was no need for a 20something to be in touch in her. She did not help me with anything I have accomplished.
Whenever something goes right she will take a credit for a everything, if things go wrong than I am not hard-working, I am lazy and if I listened to her I could have already been this or that and it is high time for me to change.
I do not really know what that CHANGE is supposed to mean in my case but.
F**** I wrote a letter to my sister my mother and my father (all 3 of them will get a copy of the same letter). I am not counting on anything. It is for me not for them but now I just can’t get away from the past 🙁

99

My mother should be the last person allowed to say anything about being hard working.
She has alwasys been using my father money, she was always looking for ways to work as little as possible, she did some scam to get an early and still work part-time someplace else, she has never been physically active, she spends her free time eating junk food and watching TV series.
How someone like that can even dare to tell me how to live?
She knows that I have already accomplished way more than she could ever dream of, and despite her malicious actions last year, maybe with a little delay, but I do know that I WILL succeed in my professional life.

100

typos:
I meant early retirement.

The worst part is that I come from a so-called “good family”
Not that it matters…but if only people knew how she acts at home, how brutish she is, how disgusting her actions are, what language she uses.
It just hurts

101

ok my last comment 🙂
I do not know….maybe it is my personalisty. I am like a rabbit- a runner and if someone screams loud enough, I will either escape or unfortunatelly for me, do what the screamer is telling me to do. I am myself a rather quiet and calm person. I hate fighting and confrontations so I would do anything to avoid such. There are some strong personalities out there who manage to hear their own inner voice even in the biggest chaos and turmoil. I need peace and quiet to collect my thoughts, I always need some alone time after meeting more than one person.
When I have people like my sister and my mother around I feel like my heart is pounding and I cannot hear my own thoughts. This past year when I let my mother to my life, I started suffering from panic attacks out of nowhere, I swear.
I have not talked to them in 2 months now and what a relief this is.
I feel like I am slowly coming back to my old self again.
Having them in my life is too much. I choose me.- I CHOOSE RESPECTING MYSELF.

102

Mimi #92: re: dwelling being counterproductive. Just my opinion, but I disagree. “Dwelling,” to me is when the situation is resolved but you keep thinking about it. If the situation is NOT resolved, then it’s not “dwelling” but instead it’s “trying to get an answer.” Mom accuses me of “dwelling.” I am not “dwelling.” I’m trying to get the truth to an unresolved issue.

103

Sandra,
Lazy was one of my mom’s descriptive words toward me also. I know now it was just projection. She will avoid physical labor at all costs, and she’s happy to sit back and watch others work. PFT. Naps were always very dimly viewed as well, although she took a nap everyday for at least 20-30 minutes for as long as I can remember.

DXS,
I completely understand what you mean. I’ve been told I’m dwelling on the past also. I’m no longer offended by that because it’s my life, and I get to conduct it in whatever fashion I choose.

On the flip side, I hope like heck I haven’t given anyone here the impression that going through the process is in any way the equivalent to dwelling. I didn’t mean that at all, and I’m a firm believer in fully experiencing each and every step, emotion, truth, etc. I believe with 100% of my being that it’s a process we must go THROUGH, not around.

Having said that, when I referred to dwelling in my earlier post, I actually meant ruminating on things that I can’t change, or trying to figure out someone else’s thoughts without enough information, or dreaming about what the future will bring for myself in relation to my family. For ME, it isn’t productive to try to predict the future, or analyze someone else’s thoughts, or try to figure out how to control something I can’t change. I think it’s important to be able to sort out what isn’t productive, and what deserves our undivided attention. I hope to never discourage someone from spending as much time and energy as they need on the pain, anger, confusion, and truth.

You’ll never hear me say that someone is dwelling on the past. I’m a firm believer in the statement, “I’ll leave the past alone, when it leaves me alone”.

I also want to emphasize that my journal contains hours and hours of writing that began when I started to discover the truth about my mother. The unresolved issues that you speak of, are all there also. That writing was so therapeutic.

In essence, no matter what it is that’s taking up my head space, if I write about it, the relief is almost instant. I know it’s poisonous to me to try to keep it inside, whether they are unresolved issues, or thoughts that aren’t propelling me to healing….. the result is the same, amazing relief.

I really hope I haven’t given anyone the impression that there is somehow a way around the process. I don’t believe that at all, and I would encourage anyone reading to have the experiences, thoughts, and emotions….. no matter how painful they seem. It’s all part of the process.

Peace and Hope to everyone,
Mimi

104

I am fairly new to this site and I am going through and reading some of the articles. The one way that I have noticed that I am becoming my own bestfriend is that I am giving myself permission to not put myself in any situation that I am uncomfortable with. For example not attending a party with people that don’t care for me and I for them or getting around anyone that makes me uncomfortable. I know that sounds weird, but I always felt I had to deal with it no matter what. I guess because as a child I had to be in situations where people were mean and unkind and I had to deal with it. It took me a long time to realize I did not.

105

When I was a teen I imagined up a best-friend for myself to comfort me after a beating or verbal abuse. That friend would love me up and make me feel better the way no one in reality would. My now husband and I met while I was still in the abusive situation and he had no clue how to respond to my despair. So after I had dried my eyes I told him what my imaginary friend would say. And slowly he learned to respond that way. Now I feel like the luckiest person alive, because my imaginary friend was me, of course and I’ve accepted it as the way I self-talk (not the self-talk I was taught). And my husband is able to respond to me emotionally and is also my best friend.

106

Darlene, thank you for the opportunity to post here. I have learned so much about becoming my best friend and truly believing that I matter. I was invisible as a child. I was placed in a foster home that was truly dysfunctional. Therefore, I was groomed at an early age to bury myself. Bury my feelings, hurts, talents, etc. Heck when I would complain that things I worked for were stolen from me or my money mysteriously “walked”, I was to blame. The bad biological children always got a pass. Whatever they did always was supported and encouraged. I was just there for a check from the State. But when the Social Worker came to inspect the home, boy did I put on a show. As a child, this was all I had. Although it was crumbs of love, I learned how to survive on very little. Boundaries? what was that? Someone mentioned the word “robbery”, so true. I was so ill-prepared to look out for myself, especially when it came to relationships. I just wanted to be loved, to be seen and validated.
I was 6 but I still remembered my biological Mom quite clearly. She had an sketching easel in our apartment. She could draw from memory and I got that legacy from her. She signed me over to the State but would always find a way to get watercolor, the ones that came in a sliver tube and the best brushes and charcoals. I discovered today where I got “broken”. Everyone would rave about my gift. I loved to draw. It comforted me and soothed me. Something that I didn’t have to perform for, it was just there. Then one day my foster mom said to me ” I think you should do something you can make a living from”. Today, after a few hours on your site, she in essence severed the link with my natural mother! She crushed a part of my spirit that day. All these years later…. If you like art, do what you love. Don’t anyone deposit their fears into you. She/they filled me with so much fear..abandonment,loneliness, poverty, dying alone, being without a man… So sorry just had to tell someone. I feel safe here. Thank you

107

Yes, this definitely a form of Stockholm Syndrome. Although I was broken, I grew to protect my abusers. Yet still, no matter how I tried, I would never be one of them. I was still a serf, a nobody. I always worked while the others could indulge in any irresponsible activity they desirable. I had to “get a job”. I didn’t mind working, it was just the sense of entitlement to the fruits of my labor which botherd me. I saw the double standard but yet after college, I came back to live in the upstairs apartment. Others got to live there rent free. I didn’t resent that for it prepared me to be responsible with money, I just hated the double standard. My foster parents found it strange that I wanted a lock on my apartment door. I guess according to them, they owned a right to that too along with my opinions. Separate living quarters and stiil no safe space. They
continued to let there home be overrun by drugs, hoarding and dysfunction and I was made out to be the bad person when I felt ashamed about my friends.seeing this.

A few years ago in my early forties, I finally had enough and I moved. I was really the worst daughter in the world! Talk about unsupportive! She felt I owed her for taking me in and this is how I repaid her. She accused me of being overly sensitive to her slights, put-downs and dismissals. She had no respect for me. She asked why did I have such “larceny” in my heart for her. I was always about her. As long as you were dependent, weak or just plain f***ed up you were useful to her. Otherwise, you threatened her, you weren’t needy enough therefore, she had no use for you. My foster family didn’t know what to make of me. I was the”weird” one. I was made to feel “less than” and told that I was ugly. Everything I did was picked apart, questioned, doubted. But when an application needed filling out, or healthcare jargon decrypted…guess who rode to the rescue. Only to be used and discarded and dismissed.

108

Thank you! Now I finally see the destructive repeat cycle. Through my brokenness, emotionally unhealthy men were drawn to me like darts to a target. I was such a people pleaser red alerts just slipped past my defense shields….no boundaries!!! Putting myself first and standing up for myself were foreign concepts. And remember you don’t want to be labeled as angry. You just have to bury those feelings and they will like you. They will keep you. You have to behave don’t say a word. Whose going to believe you anyway. Heck you might even be sent to another foster home. So this is how it starts and the seeds of compliance are sown . One of the writers here used the word “disposable”. My inner child and outer adult cried as I read that…..disposable

109

Aaas, Josephine, you DO matter! Like me, you have been groomed to feel you don’t have worth, and are too sensitive to slights and put downs. Like you, I have been groomed to think that I was the problem, and was blamed for things that I never should have been blamed for. I was a people pleaser too. I would do anything to get scraps of what I thought might be love. But the doggie bones I got was not love. It was just enough of a reward to keep me on the hook so I would comply and be subservient.

It sounds like you have a wonderful talent and I hope you will continue to develop your artistic skills. There are reasons for doing things other than it leading to a career. The greatest reason to do something is because it brings you joy, so I hope you go for it. When I was in college, my mother talked me out of majoring in a certain field. I also wanted to take a foreign language and she talked me out of it b saying it would be useless. Well I must have wanted both of these things badly because I went back to school in my thirties for the major that my mother talked me out of, and I also ended up taking classes in the foreign language that I wanted to learn. So pursue your dreams, Josephine.

And remember most of all, you are not “disposable”. There are people who will appreciate you for who you are. I learned this after choosing the wrong types of guys, and making some errors in trusting certain friends. I needed to look for people with different characteristics. The ones I was “disposable” to were the wrong ones, and my mother could easily be put in this category, because she was not interested in me except when I could be of use to her. I know Darlene has said this….when we start to love ourselves more, we gravitate towards different types of people. Keep going forward Josephine. You and I are going to get there!

110

Josephine, that first word should have been “Awwwww”, not Aaaas.

111

F****** hell. this is so difficult.
Not having a mother raising myself on my own

112

Thank you Amber! I love your message of encouragement, typos be hanged, lol. You shine bright and give warmth like the gem that you are. I came across this site about a year ago when I became curious about hoarding as a form of abuse. My foster mother hoards and we got into heated arguments before I moved from the apartment in her house. She wanted so badly to “help” me throw out stuff, but I didn’t let her. She would only hoard it to add to her filthy, cluttered house. At the bottom of the stairs from my apartment that I rented from her, she would store old bureaus of clothes that “future foster children may need”. What a joke. This would force me or anyone who dared visit me to travel through her entrance/exit. I say “her” because she ruled that home, foster dad was emotionally checked out.
This site is wonderful!! All the memories and shitty treatment…abuse I received over the years, I can process here. What’s so bittersweet is that others have experienced this too, yet choose to press forward for their healing.

Thank you Amber for propelling me forward.

113

Sandra from 111. Please don’t despair. I think I could say we all desre the nurturing of a “loving” mother. Or at the least, someone who instills self-love and self-worth. It is hard to be separated fron your “normal” no matter how great or dysfunctional it might have been. This sight will equip you with the insights and revelations to face a better today and wonderful tomorrow.

Josephine

114

Sara and Amber 105, 109. I read something awhile ago that went ” If you saw yourself walking down the street, would you want to be friends with you?” At the time I was like WTH??? Such nonsense, why of course I’d like myself. Then I took a closer look at the company I kept and I thought to myself ” Then why do you allow people to treat you like shit?”. ” Why do they have access to you?. Only to use you up and discard you.

I really didn’t love myself at all!!! And I wasn’t equipped to do otherwise. So, I became determined to enroll in a Josephine Appreciation Class. I am beginning to repell nasty. I say nasty because when you no longer cooperate with their crap, the true stench of trash pours right out. People who I thought cared tor me and attract people who truly and sincerely do.

115

Hi Josephine

thank you for your comment. oh no I have been separated before. For 2,5 years during which I got out of depression magically and flourished beyond words. than I got sucked back in, and out and in again. Until now. And I am done for good. It is hard for me, I know I have always been looking for a mother figure. (I’m 26) I basically raised myself, really this is what I realize now. My father was not present mentally and than when I turned 14 also physically. At 18 I decided to stop contacting him. He never tried to do anything about it. He just sent a vicious letter and stopped sending the child support money. My mother is a cruel, vicious, evil person who cannot stand my presence, my success despite her trying to make it impossible or at least very difficult (maybe somene up there really is watching after me?)
Everything I own, I have is only thanks to myself. Not a thing purchased by them (and they could afford it), nothing. No life lesson tought by them. Everything I know I had to learn the hard way. No emotional support. I got nothing from her. Nothing other than deep hurt, disappointment, humiliation, rejction.
The only thing I learned was what kind of a woman, wife, mother, I def. do NOT want to be.

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Hi Sandra at 115!!

You know, you have been a better parent to yourself than they have been. Those who emerge from the brokenness are exremely capable and successful. We had to be. In my case, I was afraid to need and I didn’t have a voice anyway. My foster parents were so consumed by the ongoing dysfunctions of their biological children and constantly looking to take in more. They got money for me, what was their excuse? Like I mentioned before crumbs. That treatment drives us to succeed but sets us up as over-achievers which feeds the vicious cycle. As a result we become more isolated than ever..

Be good to yourself, please don’t beat yourself up for being sucked in. Hey, I wished I saw the pattern at 26.

Josephine

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Hello Mpact @ 104

It is a weird thing to do. You are re-parenting yourself! This is what my mom neglected to do. You are so precious and so deserving of protection.

As the song by George Benson and Whtney Houston ” The Greatest Love of All” refrains- Learning to love yourself is the greatest love od all….and the most difficult.

Josephine

118

Oh Josephine, you made my day! Shining bright and being called a gem! That has happened to me far too few times in my life. I am happy that you felt encouraged by my message. I do hope you will pursue your artistic talent. Like I said, I know what it is like to put something on the back burner when discouraged by others, but I really felt good when later on I went back to my earlier desires and pursued them. I hope you do the same. I am also glad that you moved out of that apartment. I have known hoarders and have often wondered what need they are fulfilling by doing this.

If I saw myself walking down the street, would I want yo be friends with me? I am loyal and caring to my friends. I am a good listener and fun and have a good sense of humor. Yes, I think I would want me for a friend. But I still have to learn to be as good a friend to myself as I am to others. I am fortunate to have a few good friends. But I have also made some errors in choosing friends. There is a certain type of woman, the type who is controlling and easily angered, the type who, if you say one thing they don’t agree with they turn on you. And when they do, they will verbally slay you and then gossip to anyone and everyone about you. They choose you because they think you are meek and compliant and will never disagree with anything they say. I have had two friends like this in my adult years, and both relationships ended badly , both ending when I stood up for myself when I disagreed with them. These were two separate relationships of people who did not know each other. I wondered what made me choose them as friends. Closer examination showed that they both had traits that mirrored my mother! She wouldn’t tolerate being disagreed with and would cut you out of her life over some minor thing. It happened yo me several times with my mother. And I had the same role (compliant, subservient) with these “friends” that I did with my mother. Now that I see the connection I make better choices about friendships.

Anyway, Josephine, thanks for listening to my rant. The thing about friendship triggered these thoughts and I needed to vent a little.

By the way, I love your Josephine appreciation class! Maybe I need one of those too!! 🙂 🙂

119

Sandra # 87–

What a witch your mother is–it makes me burn with outrage. How can anyone be so cruel to their child–how do they live with themselves?

I have experienced exactly the same types of treatment from my “mother” all of my life, starting with neglect when I was little, really ramping up when I became a tall, slender, attractive teenager and getting worse and worse with every year.

One year I flew home to see her and out of the blue she says “I wouldn’t DREAM of spending a holiday with YOU. My holidays are reserved for your sister and her kids.” I had done nothing to deserve this; she’s just always been jealous of me and acted like an envious, bullying high school brat.

I finally completely pulled away from her when I was 46 and now regret the time, energy and thousands of dollars I spent over 30 years of visiting and coming home devastated. After giving up on her I tried to strengthen relationships with my brother and a cousin, only to find that this “mother” has convinced them that she’s my victim and that I stay away from her because I’m so heartless. The brother and cousin were continuously repeating to me the things she says, and in her words, so I could see she’s brainwashing them. It makes me feel nauseous to hear them repeat her words to me and to see that they believe her, so I’ve decided it best to cut off from them too.

Thus I’m also starting from scratch–no family, just one new friend, no relationship and not working right now. Despite these challenges, I feel fairly happy and optimistic. I exercise, eat well, read, spend time with my pets and on creative projects and go to gatherings where I’m likely to eventually meet likeminded people. My intuition is really improving and I now quickly pick up on and leave people who are trying to use or be mean to me.

I figure that we all lose our families eventually for one reason or another–disease, accidents, old age or estrangement, so starting over is a constant for everyone.

You’re dealing with the facts of your upbringing at a pretty young age and I envy that you probably won’t waste as much time and money trying to fix hopelessness as I did! It’s painful but you do begin to heal as you figure out how to protect yourself from further damage and add good things to your life.

Best to you!

120

Amber -Please don’t be sorry about venting. It provided a great deal of insight for me in regards to how I allow people and men to select me. I had an older female friend who would be nice only to the point where I disagreed with her. Then she would not speak to me or hang up on me. The first couple of times I would..listen to my mom…yikes!!! Make amends because she was OLDER. Then it dawned on me that I was looking for mommy all over again. The last time she pulled this, I didn’t try to mend fences for I didn’t do anything wrong. My mom would say so-and-so called me and asked about you and I would reply ” I hope she is well.” Whatever was in my power to do for her, I did. So no guilt here. My mom was trying to guilt me after this lady died. I stood up for myself and said ” I was one of the best friends she could ever have” and left it at that. For years I struggled with rejection because of being made to feel I had to perform for love. That somehow it was always my fault. To treat others better than myself regardless of whether they were deserving. They don’t tell you that there has to be love of self first.

121

Josephine, I think you described the false truths very well that Darlene speaks about in her blogs. Having to perform for love; yes, that was my relationship with my mother, and repeated in relationships with those two “friends” I described in message 118. I guess my false truth was that this is how relationships work. I perform and do for these people and in return they’ll throw out a couple of doggie bones that simulate love. Just enough of a reward to keep me on the hook and to keep doing for them. Because I believed I was less valuable than these people which was another false truth, I fell naturally into the subservient and compliant role.

Those two “friends” I previously described in #118 sound similar to that woman you befriended. They’re all sugar and spice as long as you agree with their opinions and are doing what they want you to do. But express an opposing opinion?? I did just that with an old classmate that I reunited with on Facebook. I saw something differently than she did, and what an overreaction I got! She blocked me from her profile and began a gossip campaign amongst our other classmates. One woman alerted me to the gossip. This was all because she could not handle me having a differing view on something. Looking back, I realized that she had gossiped about and smeared many other classmates as well, and had issues with a whole slew of other people including her family, her husbands family, every contractor she hired, her sons school, the village she lived in, neighbors…virtually everyone she came into contact with…and she complained incessantly to me about them during our short friendship. It was all about her and her complaints. If I wanted to talk about something to her, there was inevitably a quick shift in conversation back to her and her issues.

I have developed much better screening abilities for potential new friendships. I can spot the red flags easier now. If someone gossips about everyone, they’ll gossip about me too. If all of the focus is on their problems, there is nothing in that friendship for me. If they can’t handle someone having a differing opinion, that will be an ongoing big problem in a relationship.

I now believe that I have a lot to offer in a friendship. At the same time, I believe that I also deserve friendships where there is give and take; not just me doing all the giving. Live and learn!

I’m sorry that you also were in a position where you felt you had to perform for love. And that your mother would guilt trip you. I am also glad that my previous post was helpful to you. Best of luck on your healing journey, Josephine!

122

What is a best friend? Wow…that is a great place to start. I asked myself that question today, and the answers that came to me seemed so clear.
– Someone who treats me well
– Someone who listens and doesn’t judge
– Someone what is happy for me when good things happen
– Someone who doesn’t only call when they want something or want their ego boosted
– Someone who tells me the truth

123

Being my own best friend is something that I have been learning to do over the last few years. I have been on an emotional up and down for the last few months and was feeling very anxious again in some ways. I realized the other day that I absolutely needed to focus on myself more and have more self-care moments put into my days. It hit me suddenly because things are calmer now and I realized that I had been spreading myself too thin…in fact, I was beginning to have resentment over things I was doing. I am realizing more and more how I will begin to feel like I used to feel with my family…obligated to do things for them..and to always put myself last. I dont buy into that willingly anymore and I hadnt understood how I was allowing myself to be put into situations without giving myself breaks and taking time for myself. I have been concentrating on turning that around for myself and I feel better now that I have a plan. Today
I am going to listen to my body and my emotions fully and give myself some much needed solitude. Becoming your own best friend actually isnt difficult, but remembering to actually act on it is the hard part for me sometimes. It does make me happy when I “wake up” and realize I have been neglecting ME and turn things around to balance and center myself again.

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