May
04

Overcoming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

By

PTSD and depressionI saw this poster on facebook that said “PTSD isn’t about what’s wrong with you; it’s about what happened to you.” I believe this is a true statement. I believe that we can achieve all positive results through facing what happened; facing the trauma and the damage that trauma caused.

I believe that this is true for all depressions too. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the best term I have seen to describe depression. The name itself indicates that there was a trauma. After the trauma there was damage. The damage caused stress. Stress manifests itself in many different ways; depressions, dissociative disorders, physical illness and sleep disorders just to name a few.

But something happens when people actually try to face what happened. Looking back I can see how hard I fought facing it and how much I wanted to stay in the dark about the bottom line truth of it all. It’s human nature to try to protect ourselves when the truth is too painful. When we are kids it is much easier to cope by not thinking about the trauma and just “blocking it out”.

Quite often there is a terribly negative response from other people in our lives, especially from family when a survivor of trauma wants to face the facts and the truth about that trauma. When we try talking to our parents or our siblings, these people who are close to us may try to convince us that it is better NOT dealt with.  We are encouraged by many to let it go, leave the past in the past, put it behind you and the list of these unhelpful trauma directives goes on and on.

Therapists will even jump on board and suggest that you have to “forgive your family” or that we should “try to understand them”, or that these parents “did they best they could” and the problem is that all this is said BEOFRE the trauma itself has been examined and validated.  

The only way to get over a post traumatic stress disorder is to face and validate the truth about the trauma and quite often that includes facing that our parents let us down and that our emotional needs were neglected or even ignored. Sometimes it is even worse than that and we have to face the possibility that according to their actions, they didn’t even love us. Sometimes facing this stuff is more painful than the trauma itself was.

My family was so impatient with me whenever I even hinted at the past. I still remember my mother with her exasperated “OH DARLENE” and her impatience with my difficulty at not being able to put the past behind me. But the truth is that it wasn’t OVER yet. I had not gotten over it yet and that was mostly due to the fact that the trauma itself was NEVER validated. 

I had been dismissed;

I had been shushed;

I had been ignored;

No one ever said to me “oh Darlene, I am so sorry that happened to you. It must have been frightening for you. It must have been a nightmare.  Is there anything I can do?” None of this was said when it trauma events happened and none of it was said when I was ready to talk when I was an adult.  The reactions that I did get communicated to me that I was a failure BECAUSE I needed to deal with it and that somehow I was the one that was disgusting and despicable.

No one held me while I cried. No one soothed me ~ no one validated that anything out of the ordinary happened, so there I was with this unresolved trauma (a post traumatic stress) and I was being told that I needed to let it go; just get over it. Leave it in the past without even a few instructions on how I might go about doing that. All of it was shoved under the carpet and ignored. But I had to cope with those traumas. I had to go on living with the trauma and the wound that had been inflicted on me. The damage was there and it wasn’t going away.

I was left trying to figure out a way to comprehend why no one seemed to think that I was important or valuable enough to give some validation or assistance to. I had to figure out why I wasn’t loved enough to be worth that safety. And that is post traumatic stress disorder.

My constant depressions were seen as a weakness.  When I finally had to take medication just to get through a day it was viewed as the proof of my insignificance as a person and proof that I was the problem after all.  No one wanted to consider that one invalidated difficulty after another from as young as I can remember, was at the root of my problems.  No one considered that my issues may have been due to a lot of post traumatic stress disorder.  No, they just saw me as weak. Too weak to cope with life on life’s terms.  And I was too weak to deal with all of it because I was still oppressed by these same people.

Even therapists told me that what happened to me was over now and that there was no point in re visiting it. It was over.  I told a therapist just one small thing about my mother and the left over pain from something that happened when I was 6. I told him that I had been trying to “get over it” for over 20 years. He gently told me that I would never get over it and that my goal was to “get through it”.  He gave me anti depressants and suggested making myself do one fun thing each day. That was the only answer he offered to help me “get through it”. I felt my world crumble that day.  And I write “emerging from broken” because he was wrong. I got over it. I found the way to completely get over it and not just “get through it” and I don’t need his anti depressants anymore either.

Twelve step programs told me to see what I could have done better and although I don’t think that the original writers meant to suggest that we as children could have done things better so that we were not abused, that is the way that I heard it because I had been raised with the belief that I could have done better and that if I was better or more worthy I would not have been ignored or dismissed or even abused in the first place.

It was when I faced the trauma that I got better. It was when I found out that it was what had happened to me that caused me to struggle with life on lifes terms that I found understanding and compassion for myself. It was when I began to comprehend the magnitude of what those traumas caused me to believe about myself and when I validated that those beliefs were lies about me, THEN I found hope for freedom from depressions and post traumatic stress disorders. It was when I validated my pain, my right to be angry and changed those lies to the truth that I began to live again.  It was when I saw where and how my worth and self esteem got so damaged that I was able to repair the damage and reclaim my worth and my value.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a great name and diagnosis for what was going on with me. After the trauma I was under a great deal of stress and I could not put that stress behind me until I dealt with the damage the trauma caused. Today I don’t suffer from PTSD or from the disorders I was diagnosed with either; Bi-Polar Depression and Dissociative Identity Disorder. 

But it is the treatment for it that I am passionate about…..

Please share your thoughts about diagnosis, post traumatic stress disorder or about facing the truth and don’t forget to sign up for updates about the no cost freedom ROCKS survivor community event and how you can be part of it! (see the about page here!) People all over the world are getting involved! Let’s get ready to throw a freedom rock! Check the emerging from broken facebook page for updates too.

There is freedom on the other side…..

Darlene Ouimet

Categories : Depression

300 Comments

1

I was aware, over years, that I had depressive episodes – I was aware that I had been traumatised in my youth – but never put the two together until very recently – when I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD. Partly my denial was because I had no memory for what happened – but also because I was afraid of what I DID remember -afarid of what it might mean. When the flashbacks and sleep problems manifested, and a host of other stuff – thenthe PTSD diagnosis became ineveitable. I can now see how I have lived my whole life in the shadow of what happened in my childhood. But no more. The label has been helpful – it has explained so much to me – and so I understand myself better for it. I can now take steps to do something about it (not everyone has been helpful), but it is a hard road to travel. The more of the truth I have faced, the more I seem to discover too….
The diagnosis was helpful for my husband too – finally he began to understand why I behaved a certain way, why my reactions were so wacky at times, why I shut down, and so on.
I have been so lucky in my therapist – I have been validated, supported, encouraged and enabled. In the group I attend, we all share our griefs and triumphs, insights and pitfalls…. laugh and cry. No one has said “get over it”. Soemtimes I wonder if I ever will – and then there are days when I can spend the whole day not thinking about it.

2

Darlene…first I want to say how grateful I am at this time in my life to have discovered this website..you are an amazingly brilliant, intelligent, and perceptive woman and all of this helps. Secondly, I wanted to tell you that I personally am so sorry that you suffered so cruelly for too many years to reach this point!
The PTSD is something I think many ppl have and don’t even recognize so I am glad you wrote about it. I think for myself that working through all of the issues alone….despite attempts at therapy and other support systems that were useless for the most part….maybe they were a temporary band-aid on the wounds….it has been tough to reach the place where you are. I am very happy that you have reached a place where you are over all of it! I hope to find that place soon for myself! I feel exhausted…not really pleased or happy or stronger at this point in my life because I am still dealing with sadness at cutting my family members and even ppl I considered to be close friends until the day i ” woke up” and realized that I once again was being treated with less…with another sort of devaluing…and my thoughts and feelings and life were not considered as important as theirs. I do still have some true friends and my husband and child and a very good life….but I still feel the pain of loss. I do feel definitely freer and lighter at the same time, but I want to be OVER it. Do you have any thoughts on this? Thank you!

3

Hi Libby
It is a huge blessing to have a therapist who is validating, supportive and encourageing! And yes… the more the truth I have faced.. exactly!
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Diane
Thank you for your lovely encouragements to me. Exhaustion was a very big part of the process for me too. Try and get lots of rest and extra self care stuff. I had to learn to sleep more and not feel guilty. I even learned to take bubble baths and really relax in them.
I wanted it to be over too, but the process is what it is and it takes what it takes. The pain of loss was huge but that too is no longer acute for me. It is not only a time thing but it is a growing thing. You will find many insights as you keep reading through some of the articles and comments here and I am confident that you will find much hope in them too. You are not alone!
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

4

“No one ever said to me “oh Darlene, I am so sorry that happened to you. It must have been frightening for you. It must have been a nightmare. Is there anything I can do?”
No-one ever said anything like that to me either, no-one could give a damn; no wonder I’m a mess. My pain was never validated and that’s why I can’t ‘put it behind me, move on’. I’m dealing with it now but people don’t ‘get’ what I am trying to do so it’s a lonely business. Thanks that you’re here Darlene.

5

Hi Sam
It is very often a lonely business Sam. Very true. I had to learn to do this for myself. It was a strange feeling to tell the child that was me that I was so sorry that all of this happened, and validate my own pain. I had many mixed emotions around all of it, even resentment that I HAD to be the one to do it! But it worked. I had to re-parent myself; I had to do all the things for me that were not done for me.
I am glad that you are here too.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

6
Beverly Berzins
May 4th, 2012 at 2:46 pm

no one ever said that to me either everyone seems to pretend nothing happened, yet at the same time agreeing it did with statements like it was not spoken about in those days or unbelievably if we tell you what happened to you you will have nightmares for the rest of your life. This was said by a nurse when I first recovered memory and collapsed from sleep deprivation. Violating my rights reading my file which I have been denied even though I have remembered the tortures I suffered remembered and relived night after night(inc at 8 yrs coma head injury and horrors I will not upset people with) for one year solid then gradually less and less as my mind began to heal and work through each shock. Most situations and people re traumatise survivors with inappropriate remarks, denials and invalidation of the acute suffering we endured alone as helpless children and again as we again alone try and muster the courage and energy to heal and make sense of the traumas when we remember as vulnerable adults. Although increasingly I note intelligent therapies and strategies are emerging and about time. Darlene your blogs are so helpful and honest thankyou.

7

Hi Darlene,

this statement “PTSD isn’t about what’s wrong with you; it’s about what happened to you.” I believe this is a true statement. I believe that we can achieve all positive results through facing what happened; facing the trauma and the damage that trauma caused.” – is what made me click here to read this article. Thank you for writing such a brilliant truthful post.

I consider myself incredibly lucky, because after years of wandering around in the darkness, I was lucky enough to find a therapist that did get it, and wasn’t dismissive, instead helping me to travel through the other side. to emerge from broken, as you so eloquently put it. I did the work, she was there to champion me on, encourage me when I faltered, listen when I needed to be heard. Thank god, that there are therapists out there that have the ability to be empathetic, and really can help.

8

A big part of the problem of overcoming the PTSD is the attitudes from not only the abusers but society itself. We are constantly bombarded with the “Get over it!” “Stop whining!” and “Grow up!” attitudes that adds an extra hurdle to get over.

I get so discouraged by the callousness of people, it’s another reason why I’m still so introverted and prefer solitude. Even when they are being kind, I’m still wary.

9

Hi Vicky
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
Having a great therapist is certainly a bonus. I hear way more stories of therapists that end up making things worse in this site so it is great to have people sharing on the other side of that story!
I am glad you are here! Thank you for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Beverly
It IS re abusing and re traumatizing when people are careless with instructions and words or when they silence other people. It is devaluing and dismissive and very unhelpful and I think it did brainwashed me even more. Thank you for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

10

Hi Darlene, I wondered if you had an opinion on some recent studies that have talked about post-traumatic growth. If you google the work of the British psychologist Stephen Joseph, you will find some of his thinking. I hope that it doesn’t become another ‘requirement’ like the way that some people expect people to be able to forgive – but I do experience a different outlook on life from those who have experienced and have, perhaps received a personal sense of support from others (including therapists) in overcoming the effects. I think it is just as important to be able to talk about recovery as the trauma itself and I see you doing both with fluidity and compassion.

11

Hi Darlene,
Excellent post! I had flashbacks of my mom getting angry with me for not doing what she wanted me to do. Angry/Bullying behavior triggers me. One time, when I was a young child, I went to visit a friend. This friend was a biter and she was biting me, well my mom noticed & told me to bite her back. I did not want to and I froze. I did not have it in me to hurt someone else. Well, I have a flashback of sitting in the car with her telling me, that the girl’s mom said, you don’t bite her back. Well my mom was upset & told me that the mom let it happen & wasn’t doing anything about it. Well, of course being a child, I internalized that as I did something wrong & didn’t see that girl again. My mom was Wrong for telling me to bite back.

Also, I remember not wanting to go to a girl’s party & she took me anyway. I stayed in the car- I froze & panicked. She was furious & embarrassed that I did not go in. I had good reasons to not go- I did not feel comfortable with this girl & her friends. My mom thought she was doing me a favor!..Well, she made me feel ashamed & sad. Also, when my boyfriend broke up with me after 3 years, she left me alone sobbing in my bedroom. She did not hug me and actually told me that boys use work, as an excuse, to play the field!…Now, I was really depressed & anxious!..I would never say that to my dtr…I would comfort her and validate her feelings of rejection & loss. I would be caring.

Why would she be this way? Not until, I came across the Narc personality disorder, that I saw my mom and I’m convinced she is a closet Narc. She could be nice to certain people and knows how to act/pretend with others. I’m angry with her devaluing treatment towards me! I did not have the kind of mom I needed & that damaged me! I’m a better mom to my dtr. I make mistakes, but I’m far from abusive. I’m loving & I’m there for my children. I respect my children’s feelings & they make their own choices in friends, clothes, & activities. I don’t make them do it my way. I’m protective but not overprotective!…Overprotective is another word for Controlling. I’m trying damn hard to break the cycle of abuse & shame that is runs in my family!
Thanks for having this place to vent & sort through the mess,
Sonia

12

This has been my life in a nutshell. I deal with the pain of being abused every day. The key is that I DEAL with it. The only people that i allow to speak into my situation now are my wife and Darlene and a couple of other trusted friends. I made the mistake for a long time of sharing w/others who too were broken and had not worked on their issues and thus were not helpful or validating at all. I also shared with friends that could not or would not relate either because they had no clue what i was going through or it brought their own pain to the surface which scared them so they pushed it back down really quick and came up with some pat answer like Darlene has mentioned many do.

One former friend of mine gave me some very good advice last year – she said “We are each in charge of our own healing.” that means I call the shots. I decide how i get help and what type of help. I decide what works for me and what doesn’t. I decide who its safe to share with. I think so many in recovery want to get better quickly so they share with a whole bunch of people and end up getting a bunch of mixed messages (i did this for a long time) or they put expectations on others that just cannot be met. No one else can heal us. No one else has all the answers. Darlene has more answers and more insight than anyone else that i have ever come across. It helps that her situation and mine are very, very similar. When she writes often, its like i am writing. She validates me just with her blog everytime she writes. I have come a long way. I still cry every day because i was in an abusive home for 21 years. I have a lot of loss and grief and pain and i work on it every day. It has become my biggest priority. I deserve to heal. I deserve to get better. I can see God leading and helping me along the way. I deserve way more than i got. Those are the messages i tell myself every day. My past does not define me. Even tho my heart has been broken almost my whole life it does not mean that it will always be broken. Even tho i have lost almost all my close friends it does not mean that i wont have close friends again in the future. I have learned what constitutes a healthy relationship and what good boundaries are. those two things have been huge in my healing process. I dont need validation from others anymore. I have found enough of it here and a couple of other places.

One of the biggest mistakes i made through this whole process, which i really began in 1998, was that i depended way too much on other people for answers. I didnt have enough self esteem and belief that i could find the answers myself and that i didnt need other people in order to heal. I was in too much pain to know where to find good help and was deeply depressed and saw no way out so i just kept going from one person to another to another trying to find answers. Some of them had good advice and were helpful. Most of them were not.

Our society/country (USA) is broken. Most people that i know here never work on their issues and never heal from the past. Everyone has issues. The vast majority of people wont ever take the time to look at them and heal but i will. I am not like them. I have chosen a different and better path. I work on my issues everyday. I take responsibility for my pain. I own it. I dont blame anyone else. My parents were awful and very abusive. I still have a lot of anger i am working through towards them but i deal with it every day and work on it because i want to be free of the past and have a bright future without being defined by what happened to me and by what i have been diagnosed with as a result of the abuse and neglect. You can do it too. It has to be a life priority. It has to be the thing you work hardest at. Many days i am exhausted from crying. I take naps. I work at night if i cant work a full day. I balance my responsibilities with adding very little to my schedule because of the time and energy that it takes to get better but i am getting there and i will one day be free of the pain. I greatly look forward to that day !!

Dave

13

YES!
I was diagnosed PTSD, D.I.D NON Specific and depression.
After 4 years of EMDR therapy I can say I am healed and no longer suffer from any of those disorders anymore!!
There is a light and there is “The other side” You just have to go back to get there.

14

Hi Jo
I am not familiar with his work. I googled him but couldn’t find much about the working model he uses outside of the books he has.
Thank you for your compliment and your comments,
hugs, Darlene

Hi SMD

I can relate to your stories, only the details are different. My mother was always so careless about the things she told me and about my feelings. I smiled when you called your mom a “closet narc” ~ something that really helped me with that whole thing is that if a person can control their behaviour (closet narc) then it is not a personality disorder. A personality disorder can’t be controlled and shown only to certain people. Although it is very helpful and even shocking (because it describes some of our mothers so very well) to read about narcissistic personality disorder stuff, it is even more helpful to realize that it doesn’t help to diagnosis controlling and dismissive family with that, if it isn’t really the disorder they have. I was really angry when I realized that although my mother fits the narc description, she controls it so well that she can’t possibly have a problem with NPD.

Thank you for sharing!

Hugs, Darlene

15

Hi Dave
Thank you for sharing your journey! You are on the road and I hear an accpetence of the time factor in your comments. I used to tell myself “just strive to go forward” and don’t worry about the rest. It sounds easier then it is, but you already know that.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Nadia!
Yes there is light and healing.
Hugs, Darlene

16

Darlene, I really never had a mental health care professional talk to me about my past in any depth. They completely missed PTSD then when I was in some family counseling, the psychologist mentioned my PTSd as if it was something I was aware of but I wasn’t. He did the same about my sexual abuse that I thought was my fault. It was when I investigated what he said later, on my own that I understood that he was right. PTSD fit like a glove. Just knowing there was a reason for why I felt and reacted to thngs the way I did was healing. My family of origin made fun of me and my PTSD symptoms before I had a name for them. I was treated as a defect and when I was diagnosed bipolar it reafirmed their definition of me. My mom loved the bipolar diagnosis because it freed her from any responsibility in raising me. Then when I understood myself has having PTSD, all that shifted back to her and my dad. That’s when I learned how little they love me.

I’m much stronger these days but I know there is still a lot that I don’t remember. I don’t know if I’ll ever remember it all. Since all of this is out in the open, I’m having a lot of tactle flashbacks and sometimes an immobilizing depression comes with them but it passes with the flashback and reinforces the fact that this is where those immobilizing depressions developed in the first place. I think some of it happened before I was old enough to understand what had happened. I don’t know if I’ll ever have concrete memories of it. My body remembers. I’m trying to accept those memories without forcing them or imagining a context for what I remember by feeling only. This is the deep dark hole in the basement of my house dream that I’ve shared with you earlier.It terrifies me and of all things I’ve hidden from myself, quite successfully, these are the ones I buried even more deeply than the others.

Every time I think I’ve reached the bottom of this, faced everything there is to face, another layer seems to emerge. Exhaustion is the right term.

Pam

17

PTSD is real and I have this from dealing with both domestic violence and being a victim of a crime. After many years of therapy and meds, I now maintain a healthy life by the grace of God! It’s was a long recovery, living one day at a time. I know what my triggers are and I keep myself aware of certain situations. I also learned to pace myself in moving through my day. Today I maintain a good GPA in full time college as a woman in my 50′s, as a Criminal Justice Major! I am now a Victim Advocate, writer, poet,and a DV survivor, living almost 13 years abuse free!

18

Hi Pam!
So many survivors who go to therapy have been so groomed NOT to talk about the trauma that therapists often don’t have the chance to diagnosis PTSD. I worked in the therapy world and most people thought that the problem was what was going on in the present day and most therapists didn’t dig and deeper than that. I totally resisted when a therapist I had wanted to talk about my childhood in detail. Having said that, not one therapist I ever saw said a word about PTSD. I don’t put much stock in diagnosis but I like this one because there is a component of it in ALL diagnosis.

Layers… ah yes.. everything happens in layers and there were more layers than I ever dreamed! The good news is that they are not all shed at once!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lela
Thank you for sharing this VICTORY post! That is awesome!
Hugs, Darlene

19

Thank You for highlighting PTSD in this way: I knew that’s what I was suffering from, but every time I looked it up, it was associated with WAR. Well I did have wars, but wars that weren’t started by the government; they were started by my family and co-workers who wanted to keep me in a box to make themselves feel better. Thank You, Darlene.

20

Darlene,
Thanks for clarifying the difference between Narc PD & Bully/Controlling Behavior. Yes, my mom is controlling for putting me down & pushing me around! PTSD is a good diagnosis for me-it fits my flashbacks & depressions. I was “under stress from the traumas” and I had to “deal with the damage the trauma caused”. I’ve been digging & going deeper over the last 4 years to face the damage. There are so many layers to uncover & it’s exhausting work! I’m worth it though & my healing will make me a better/healthier mom to my children.
Thanks,
Sonia

21

I’ve been trying to find a way out, I was Diagnosed 3 years ago with PTSD, and its like everyday is a good day or bad day. I’ve done therapy and it went really good I was fortunate to have great therapist who new what they were doing. I can realize now when im hitting my peak on my stress, and i know when i feel depressed and not want to do anything, and im making amends with what has happened to me. I dont have to deny it happened but it wasnt my fault that it happened, everyday im grateful that I am still here, alive and strong too deal with my disorder, I know its not an easy thing,as i said earlier I still have my good days and bad days. I just wish that I had some support system that would understand like truly understand that sometimes i dont even know how i feel when my whole mind races from one thought to the next. I do have a loving family and a great fiance and I hate that I take my anger out on them. Sometimes i feel like a ticking time bomb… That is the hardest thing for me too deal with. I know 16 years of continuous damage is hard to deal with and ive been able to face my demons and been able to let go of some of the monstrous things that have occurred too me I hope the anger will subside someday though… Does the pain and anger go away? Ive lost so much in my life, a childhood, a loving father, .. Im worried im going to blow it some how Ive just started to rebuild myself and a great new life.

22

my husband is a disabled vetarin. he has been getting treatments at the va for combat ptsd for 4 years now. as his wife, and closest person to him i get extremly defensive and protective over him. he is a wanderful man that was in dessert storm, and lost three children in a fire here in arkansas while he was serving his country, fighting for our freedom. i hear of all these people “over-coming ptsd”. all of his dr.’s and i strongly disagree with the idea of over-coming it. it is a mental disease, that he will have to deal with for the rest of his life. also, no parent should ever have to bury their children, and all together in one casket cause they are chard together. i am sorry is what i am saying hurts anyone, or offends anyone, not my intention, but a person in my husbands condition, never gets over ptsd. and if anyone thinks it is possible, come to the va center and talk to all these dr.’s and vetarins about how to do it. and just maybe eyes will be opened.

23

I was told the same thing – to sweep it under the rug and let it go. It happened – now move on. I, too, just wanted someone to hold me while I cried and tell me I would be ok. Never happened. I suffer from PTSD – not even I understand the complete implications from that let alone my husband. It is comforting to know I am not alone.

24

Welcome to Jennifer, Amanda and Strong Little Frog

Jennifer ~ the pain and anger went away for me. In this site I talk about how I overcame the past and all the manifestations of unresolved truama. I hope you will stick around, there is a lot of support and healing here.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Strong Little Frog
You are certainly not alone! Gald that you are here too.
Hugs, Darlene

Kim ~ PTSD is now a popular diagnosis for many kinds of trauma today. I think it might be because facing the trauma is what works the best. My kids have reaped the rewards of my healing and healing certianly made me a better mom!
I am glad that you are here.
Hugs, Darlene

25

Hi Amanda
This site and this post is about overcoming the trauma of abuse and the resulting depressions and other mental health struggles. I am very sorry for what happened to your husband and although in this site we are not talking about Veterans, I don’t think it is fair for you to discredit what we are doing here because you feel strongly that it can’t happen. It seems that you are offended by what I am saying when I say that the kind of post traumatic stress that I am talking about here can be overcome. Why would I want to agree that there is no hope? I think that you have the wrong idea about what we are discussing and I am sorry that it upset you. If you read some of the others blog articles you may realize that we are talking about different things. I am an expert on recovering from abuse and depression but I have never worked with a veteran.
Thank you for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

26

My daughter and son both have PTSD resulting from abuse from their father. Both in their mid thirties. My daughter is mentally disabled and started recovering memories of her abuse over ten years ago. It’s been a long, slow and heartbreaking journey watching her struggle with the truth of what she lived through and because she is disabled and processes things differently, her therapist has had to be creative in treating her. I could write much here but just want to say I get very discouraged that she will ever “emerge from broken”. My son is bipolar, has been homeless on and off, can’t hold a job for long and the list goes on. He has not even started toward healing but I pray someday he will want to “emerge from broken”. I am appreciative to have found your site here and next weekend my daughter and I will be tossing a rock for freedom in a local pond. Thank you, and God bless.

27

Hi Sarahsmom
Welcome to emerging from broken! I am glad that you are here too! It IS very discouraging but there is hope. Amazing things happened when I faced the truth and my own healing. There is a ripple effect and it can only help your children when you yourself start ~ I am excited to hear that you will be tossing a freedom rock with your daughter next weekend! That is excellent!
Hugs, Darlene

28

I wrote in yesterday when I found this site I was excited to know that I’m not the only one with this disorder. Last night when I came home from work I found out a friend of mine passed away, after battling cancer, I was upset and sad but I just kept feeling that it should have been me. She was a couple of years younger than me and this is the time for her too live.It just brings up memories of not being wanted, when I left my moms house at 16 I was told by her that she wished I was dead so she could collect my life insurance money at that time. It makes me angry and hurt because I always helped her, when my dad got cancer i took care of him, and then i had to do the same when she got sick, unlike my father my mother treated me horrid no food in the house snide remarks that i wasn’t doing my hardest to support the family. Before my dad died he told me to be strong and he would always be there, That hope he gave me made me stand up to her when I said I couldn’t do this anymore I couldn’t watch more people die, I loved her until she told me i wasn’t her daughter any longer and pointed a gun in my face. I left the house and went into foster care for the rest of my teenage years. I’m grateful for the family who saved me and gave me the love that i so craved for and the appreciation. I was adopted into their family and I’ve been there for them no matter what. I feel a loss all over again, And i do know that my life ending wouldn’t make much sense I do truly believe that life as something special for me planned I just don’t know what yet. I guess i feel i have survivors guilt. any thoughts or suggestions on coping with this?

29

Like others here, I too found that the therapists I saw generally had no interest in listening to me talk about and work through my past, they just wanted to work on eye movements or other techniques to make me repress my feelings about my life. I remember one psychologist just threw her hands up in the air on our first session and said “I guess we can just talk?” It didn’t occur to her that perhaps I had never been able to talk it all out with anyone? That maybe I needed to be validated and comforted, and helped through that without someone throwing moral platitudes at me after every sentence?

Thankfully in later years I found an online group centered around Alice Miller’s writing where I learned writing therapy techniques that have given me great relief and allowed me to move deeper into accepting my own life and validating my reality, not being told by someone else how it “really wasn’t like that” or that I “took myself too seriously.” My childhood was very serious, and that is the right attitude with which to face it now.

30

Hi Jennifer
I am really sorry that this has happened to your friend and sorry for your loss. Sometimes these feelings are triggered because our minds are indicating that we are ready to face and deal with them. I hope that this is what is going on with you. I have written lots in this site about realizing things and changing the lies that I believed about myself back to the truth so that I was free to move forward with really living.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Caden
I love the work of Alice Miller. Believe it or not I only found her work a little over a year ago! Facing the truth in the way we are talking about IS what set me free. Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

31

PTSD has to do with shock more than anything else. I wish people would start to get this. Yes – depression is part of it, and anxiety and phobias and nightmares and flashbacks ets. The problem, it seems, is that nobody knows how to get people out of the shock. THAT.. is depressing.

32

Caden, I am very interested in the writing therapy techniques you mentioned and the online Alice Miller group. Is it possible for you to share any more information about these?

Thanks,
Sophia

33

Hi Darlene, Thank you for your blog, fb page and sharing yourself so openly – so much of what you say resonates with me! It is so nice to read your posts and know that I am not alone (and everyone’s thoughtful and open comments too!). I feel like every time you post it is something that I have just been thinking about for myself, kind of magical! And today I read this post, and my most recent therapy session reminded me that I need to stop making excuses for my abusers and face what happened. I haven’t faced it or acknowledged that my parents let me down, didn’t take care of me, etc. You say here that it is the thing that helped you move on, do you have suggestions for me to start down this path? Thank you! Dawn

34

Jennifer – i too am very sorry for your loss. I can certainly relate. I have lost 3 friends in 5 months, including two of them to cancer. Life is hard and there are no easy answers but as you heal little by little, things will become a little lighter and a little brighter.

I have been in therapy for 15 years. I have learned far more from this one blog in the 7 or 8 months that i have been coming here than i learned the whole 15 years in therapy. I share everything on here and no one judges me or tells me what i am doing wrong. They accept me and they hear me and they support me. This is your place to connect and be heard jennifer. We are all survivors who are here to support each other. Darlene is not big on us giving advice here to others. its not because she wants to be the only one to give advice, its that she doesnt want us giving advice that may end up being harmful or end up leading people in a wrong direction. You are far from the only one with this disorder. there are hundreds of us on here who post fairly reguarly. I dont know anything about survivors guilt. I would ask my therapist about it if it were something that i was struggling with. I ask my therapist about things i dont understand or things i struggle with and that is usually what helps me the best. Often people dont comment because they dont want to provide unhelpful advice. Dont take it as a sign that people dont care because we care very much for each other we mostly just leave it up to Darlene to answer the posts because she has an abundance of wisdom and has dealt with just about anything that anyone could have an issue or question about. there was a tv show on when i was growing up called Fathers Knows Best. Well when it comes to this site, trust me that Darlene knows best. She speaks from her heart, she is honest and trustworthy and she is reliable and dependable. Everything you want from a true friend and she is someone who will walk beside you every step of the way on your journey. You will make it ! We will make it together ! You can do the work to heal. It just takes time and a willingness to want to get better which it sounds like you have. there is definitely somehthing better for you in store. Thats why you are still here. I truly believe that !

blessings,

Dave

35

Dave-

Thanks so much for your response, I read it late last night when I couldn’t sleep, I understand Darlene’s thing on advice and such, I’ve read her Disclaimer. When I post I just wonder how other people deal with things, I have a good head on my shoulders and if I wanted to choose too do something i really look into it. I’m just curious that’s all, Since I have been diagnosed I’ve just felt alone in this. I just want to know how others cope, because I don’t have any coping skills, All through out my growing up years I wasn’t able to express myself I was told if I cried I would be given something to cry about, I’ve been numb for most of my life until recently feeling is a new thing for me, and certain feelings overwhelm me like anger that’s a bad one. I’m just curious in my endeavors I’ve tried allot of things to help this forum is a new thing im trying that i hope can help, someone who can listen to how i feel and understand. Thats all im wishing for just someone to listen too and understand. I feel like a child sometimes figuring things out.

Thanks so much for reaching out

Jennifer

36

Hi Retha
I think that the depressions etc are a result of the shock ~ they are a result of the trauma and that is where so much of this gets all mixed up. For me when the trauma (shock) was validated it was then that I was on my way to sorting through it.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

37

Hi Dawn
My biggest suggestion would be “keep reading”. I have written so much about the “how” part. Most of it had to do with facing the truth and coming out of the fog enough to validate myself and I use examples of how I came to understand certain things. I asked myself “why do I make excuses for my abusers?” Those were the things that helped me to finally realize what my survival mode was, and to realize that I didn’t need it anymore; in fact, it was in the way.
It takes time for the fog to clear and to really cement (believe) the new awareness and worthiness.
Hugs, Darlene

38

Hi Dave,
Thank you for such a loving endorsement! I appreciate your confidence in me! (and thank you for your lovely response to Jennifer too)
Hugs, Darlene

Jennifer,
I think Dave was just trying to tell you why people might not answer your request for suggestions so that you didn’t feel “rejected” or ignored. I worry about that too sometimes. There was nothing wrong with the way you posted so don’t worry about it. You will get heard here and you will find understanding. It is okay if you ask questions; when I say “no advice”, I mean advice like “you should leave your family” or “you should go to therapy” I would rather people have the freedom to make up thier own minds about things ~ but I welcome people sharing their exp. such as “I left my family” or “I went to therapy or I quit therapy” ~ there is a difference between sharing what you did, and telling someone else what to do. Agian, I am pretty sure Dave was worried that no one answered your “suggestions question”
glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

39

Congrats Darlene, for moving past your PTSD, that is a great accomplishment. I went to therapy last year and the therapist suggested that I had PTSD, which I always felt that maybe I was bi-polor, because that is what my mother told me most of my teenaged life. I don’t know why I figured the therapist was wrong, I just knew I was bi-polor, but now I know this is common for people who have had a tough up bringing, I will further research this, accept it and move forward. Thank you! :-)

40

WOW!!! Another great resource :-) It always makes me so sad to know that others suffer or have suffered from PTSD, regardless of the form of it, but is absolutely helps to know “we” are not alone. From the little I read my story is somewhat similar. I was diagnosed with Complex Chronic Delayed PTSD quite a few years ago … my world was turned upside down overnight. My diagnosis stems from living with a Schizophrenic Mother for over 16 years; she was diagnosed when I was like two. I’ve been working hard in recovery and I am doing so much better. The nighttime stuff though is debilitating though, to the point where I hate to go to sleep. I’ve been told that because my trauma started at such a young age that the trauma is stored in a part of the brain that cannot be “purged” :(. For me I knew my life was really really different and I can talk openly with anyone about what went on as child but the “triggers” OMG there are just too many. I feel know bitterness or anger towards anyone, especially not my family. My Father did the best he could, given the era, I was there I live it and I know it. My Mother succeeded in taking her own life in 2004, I wrote a poem that was buried with her and believe she finally found some peace. Other than them I have a brother who is 5 years younger than me so I’m sure you know what my role was. I do hate the ignorance … the mindset of “let go of the past” when “the past has a hold on me”. I hate the stereotyping, labeling, and fear of this BEAST… PTSD. It is my hope, no it is MY goal that I will someday be able to help others, especially children!!! When it comes to the mentally ill the focus is ALWAYS on them; when I was little I just didn’t understand all the horrible words and the blood but as I became older I understood and forgave her BUT I see know difference between Mental Illness and Addiction..it is yours to own and manage. If I can prevent or help even one child not suffer as I have … I would at least feel as though my torment has served some purpose. Can’t wait to explore your page and offerings in more depth. Thank YOU SO MUCH!!!

41

Hi K Ella
I was never diagnosed with PTSD ~ I just think that name PTSD fits so much more than all the other names. (I am not a fan of diagnosis at all because there is no solution in the diagnosis ~ it is just “information”.) I was diagnosed with Bi-polar and dissociative identity ~ and I would say that those diagnosis were accurate, but PTSD would have been too. The biggest thing about recovery for me has been to do with getting to the root of HOW I came to be Bi Polar and Dissociative; THAT is where the solution is!
Hugs, Darlene

42

Hi Deb
Welcome to EFB
It is the damage that has to be faced. All the rest is the smoke that keeps us trapped.

As far as the “truama being stored in a part of the brain that cannot be purged”, those kinds of statements (which I had also been told) indicate that “you might not be able to recover” and I would hesitate to accept that because there is no hope in that. I spent years trying to accept the hopelessness. (and then I found hope!) I am not saying that I needed to have all my memories, but I had enough of them to figure out the impact that the truama had on my belief system and it was there that I found the key. The first abuse that I had fragments of memory on I was about 26 or 28 months old and I had enough recall to put together what I still believed about that event. Things like “I could have stopped it” and “It was my fault” which were deeply cemented in my belief system, and I had to dispell those lies. (had to find them first though)
There is a lot in this site about this stuff. Looking forward to your feedback on some of the other articles!
Hugs, Darlene

43

Oh gee, I read the blog but by the time I finished reading the comments I had gotten myself confused. But yes that is great that you overcame all of the diagnosis they gave you. With mine I am determined to not let that pigeon hold my life and move past it, I will not continue to be depressed sadden or afraid to speak my mind. However i still struggle when I do speak my mine, because I don’t want people to get upset with me and plus I feel like omg, am I being mean? Aside from that I had a question for you. Right now I have decided to not talk to my mother for a couple of days until I determine what is it that I want out of our relationship. Do I want to seperate myself totally, limit time, or try to build it all over again. I have younger siblings so I think that I will have some limit time with her. I was wondering how you deal with not speaking to your mom. I am always wondering if I don’t talk to her and something happens then i will feel guilt. Thank you and hugs :-)

44

Oh I’m sorry I have one more thing, I often hear the phrase “well all the end of the day that is still your mom so” “you only get one mother” I feel they are saying well its your mom so I must accept the behavior or try to deal with her the best I can, continue dealing with her, I mean its all very confusing the feelings I have about her. I don’t get why I must accept these things because she is my mother. Do you have any thing to say about that? Have you ever heard people say that to you.

45

Hi K. Ella: I am in a cooling off period with my mom too. But I notice other kids suffer from guilt that I do not. I also noticed that I always worried a lot more about my mom than she did about me; I gave her a lot of consideration that I don’t get back. I have just decided that I cannot keep investing all the energy into her & the relationship with diminishing returns & lack of appreciation on her part, because it hurts. If something bad happens to them, how is it our fault? If something bad happens to us, is it really their fault? I think kids are heavily conditioned to feel guilt, especially women, and that is one reason we do not take good care of ourselves. I think guilt has been imposed upon us without real merit. Just my 2 cents. Good Luck and glad to see you here.

46
Gretchen Flores
May 7th, 2012 at 12:06 pm

This is so good. People are so dense when it comes to knowing how to support. Listening and caring is all that is needed. It’s the pat answers that invalidate and cause more damage. This happened with my last therapist (I have had two fantastic therapist in the past that helped me a lot, but a move forced me to search for someone new). He said to set a “start over date” and when I told him that made me feel sick to my stomach and that it felt like a set up (my mom sets me up all of the time in no win situations), he said, “you’re strong enough.” I never went back. No, I am not strong enough! Why else would I be spending precious money and time to get support? These people traumatize me. Once when they called to say they were around the corner for a visit my back went out and I couldn’t stand up straight for three days. When I won’t admit the stress they cause my body does it for me. Currently mom and I are writing letters to attempt to resolve things but with mothers day coming up I have been very stressed. It’s just not that easy. Sometimes the best think is just a listening ear and a hug. No pat answers please!

47

@Kim M. Thank you for taking the time out to write to me, that was so sweet. I like what you said and appreciate your point of view. Because no one can tell you how to feel, if they have not lived your life. I think the hardest part for me, is that my mother can be all those things one day and none of those good qualities the next, its so confusing, But overall the I am tired of the bad side that she is, because its time for her to grow up, in my opinion. I like your comment and your right, I, ME, MYSELF should not always have to feel bad or guilt. I hope things are getting better for you each day :-)

48

Hi Darlene Just read over about P.T.S.D. I’m sitting here bracing myself. shoulder’s haunched ready for the impending next traumatic event. There have been countless in my 54 years of non living. Yet here I A’M a fully almost fledged ”SURVIVOR”.Almost as it’s not yet ”Freedom Rock’s Day” Where Upon this fine day I will cast a once very special pebble entrusted to me by someone I did so protect and care for. who later betrayed my trust and respect in them.

I will cast it far in the the cold dept’s of icy water my message will be in my thought process and when I turn around this bit of my past wont even be a distant memory As Freedom will have rock’ed for me.

I best gather many more rock’s One trauma one rock One more piece of the Jigsaw that is my shattered mund. eventually putting the pieces together in the deep icy cold sea And then I will have ”Emerged from Broken”. with a warm glow to finally brighten my day.

49

@flores You are correct. I don’t like those answers either, or “you will be alright” like yeah I would hope I would in the future but im not right now, anyway I think I will mail my mother a card, even though she lives 20mins away from me, I just don’t think I want to be around her. Last year we were in the not really talking phase however I went over there and brought her flowers and a card for mothers day, and since it was “my fault” she just took the gifts said thanks and went about like I wasn’t even there.. so a card would be just fine with me.

50

Hi Ella and Kim
I really like what you said Kim. Some of the guilt was “taught” to me. All I am asking for is a real relationship with mutual respect. Why is that so unreasonable? Keep reading Ella, (read the mother daughter category ~ there is a button for it at the top under the header graphic). Many of your questions will be addressed by me and by many others. I don’t really care what anyone else says anymore; when people say “well she is your mother (no one says that to me anymore though) I say “SO? So what does that mean?” I don’t think the fact that she gave birth to me doesn’t give her the right to treat me like I am less than she is or to expect me to carry the relationship or to jump through her hoops… I could go on but you get the picuture.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

51

Darlene, Alice Miller’s work revealing the origins of violence in child abuse and the damage of making people forgive their abusive parents helped me a lot when I first started recovery. I’m really glad though that people like yourself are going deeper into writing about healing and in a very personal way. Thank you. I find going through a few of your posts a day to be very therapeutic.

Sophia, sadly that online group I mentioned is dead now. Looking back on the experience, I don’t mean to imply there were any instructions per se on writing therapy, but intuitively through being able to share things in an open environment and being validated, listened to, having my side taken even on issues where I think a lot of conventional survivor groups might have said “how could you do that to your abusive parents?” I was able to pick up the method that allowed to me go much further when just writing in my own journal and trying to work through things. I’m sorry if that isn’t very helpful.

K. Ella, I have heard many toxic, moralistic statements like that. Many say ‘you can’t choose your family…’ to which I reply YES I CAN! You aren’t stuck with your mother for the rest of your life, we are free beings able to go where we wish and associate with whomever we want to, but hopefully people who will respect and genuinely care for us. If only more people in the world railed against the ungrateful parents who didn’t value and love their children enough to respect their feelings and rights from day one, as opposed to trying to guilt their alienated adult children into a fake relationship, we’d have a much better environment to live in.

52

Hi Gretchen!
YES that is so true about listening and caring! (and NOT telling us we are wrong!)
A start over date???? Sounds like a crappy therapist! WHAT on earth does that resolve?? Its that same old “suck it up because the parents are always right and they are the only ones that HAVE rights!!??? YUCK
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Paul
I am really looking forward to hearing about your exp. that day. I hope you will share it.
Hugs, Darlene

Everyone ~ the newest post is published for the Freedom ROCKS event this weekend! (read the freedom rocks “about page” here. See the button under the header graphic up top) There is also a category button for freedom rocks where you can check for the latest posts and comments! This is going to be a very different part of Emerging from Broken! A very celebratory part!

You can read Mimi’s new post here: http://emergingfrombroken.com/the-motivation-behind-freedom-rocks-by-mimi/ Please share with Mimi there!
Hugs, Darlene

53

Darlene, here is an extract from Stephen Joseph’s work in case you are interested:

Growth Following Adversity: Positive Psychological Perspectives on Posttraumatic Stress, Stephen Joseph, Centre for Trauma, Resilience, and Growth, University of Nottingham, UK

What are the Dimensions of Growth?

Typically, research has noted three broad dimensions of growth. First, people may report that their relationships are enhanced in some way, for example that they now value their friends and family more, and feel an increased compassion and altruism toward others, e.g., “I have learned to appreciate what I have, a loving husband and three children with whom I have a warm and affectionate relationship” (Jackie)

Second, survivors may develop improved views of themselves in some way. For example, they may report having a greater sense of personal resiliency and strength. “There are times when I wish I could return to a time of less self-awareness, a kind of blissful ignorance, but the gain perhaps of increased self-awareness is an increase in the depth of feeling good/bad, happy/sad, etc, which I wouldn’t now be without” (Grace)

Third, survivors may report positive changes in life philosophy, such as finding a fresh appreciation for each new day, or renegotiating what really matters to them. “I enjoy everyday to the full, I don’t worry about silly things anymore, and if something is important to me, I make an effort to do something about it…I realise now that however unjust or unfair Robert’s death was that this is part of life…” (Isobella)

The above quotes are taken from a qualitative study of adult survivors of sexual, emotional, and physical abuse (Woodward & Joseph, 2003), but echo the wider quantitative literature where similar dimensions have emerged from factor analytic studies (Joseph & Linley, 2008). Growth is more than simply resilience, but refers to going beyond previous levels of functioning (Linley & Joseph, 2005a).
http://hrcak.srce.hr/file/74341

54

Caden
Thank you for your comments ~ I have found being listened to and validated one of the most powerful parts of the process too; it seeems to aid in the strength to keep going further.
Hugs, Darlene

55

Thanks for sharing this Jo.
Hugs, Darlene

56

@Caden you are right :-) Thanks for writing back.

57

Hey Everyone,

I havent written in a couple days a lot has been going on… Ive decided to go back on meds im not pleased by it but i need it im having more bad days than good days and im seeing a therapist again starting on wed this week.

58

Hi Jennifer
Whatever it takes to get to the next step (re meds)! It is OKAY to be in the process!
Hugs, Darlene

59

Jennifer,
In your post #35 you said this forum is a new thing you’re trying. I hope you continue to try it. :) Your comments about not being able to feel when you were a child and being told you’ll be given something to cry about, etc. I heard all those same words. I have told myself so many times in my own mind, “I just wish someone would have held me when I cried and assured me that things would be okay.” Even before I came here several months ago and started posting and readng, in the sad events of life where I struggle to cope even as an adult, I would wish someone would take my hand or hug me and offer some reassurance. If it was a really bad event, I would just flounder and be emotionally out of control. I had no coping skills. I had no idea how to deal with things like other people…. or like an adult. It was like I went STRAIGHT back to being 18 months old. No idea how to cope. I have had episodes like that a lot in life. Things seemed catastrophic and my reaction was perhaps an overreaction. That knowledge has never made it go away though, or made it less painful or given me skills I don’t have, etc. What I have learned from my reactions is valuable though. I now know that any and every time things seemed catastrophic and overwhelming and I failed to cope effectively, it was always a result of someone needling a scab I have inside that covers a wound my mother created. One that says, you’re not good enough, you’re not worthy, or loved, etc. I completely fall apart when someone touches that scab. I am hopeful that this knowledge will afford me insight when life deals unfair blows in the future. I am hopeful that I’m moving forward and that scab will heal and one day be tough scar tissue by which any needling will be easily withstood. Scars are tough elastic bands of connective tissue. I want to be that. I suppose this analogy may not reach other people, lol. But, I’m a nurse, so I appreciate it. I’m still fascinated by the human body. :)

Kim M,
Post #45. I love what you wrote there. I don’t have much guilt either. I can spell things out to my mom in written words that would cut her in two. (face to face is another story). I feel no guilt for it. I feel a little guilt for NOT feeling guilt though. If that makes sense.

There was another discussion here once about “what if something happens to your mom” while you’re angry or not speaking. My thought today is, maybe I’ll tell her to stop crying or I’ll give her something to cry about. Or, I could say, well, you made your bed, now lay in it. Or, you need to get your shit together and quickly. Let’s just say she suffers a stroke where one side is effected and she loses some mobility. That would be a good time to tell her to get her shit together.

Okay, I’ve needed to write for a few days now. I’ve been busy and unable. I can usually muster a fair measure of cynicism if I’m in need of my EFB fix. And, I’ve been in need!! Haha!

K Ella,
Your comments remind me of my mother and I’s relationship. I too am only sending a card this year, although mother lives only about 15 minutes from me. When I read your post about taking flowers over to your mom last year, I literally had a mental image of my mom’s house and me entering with flowers and her shunning, pretending I didn’t exist, the glares of contempt, etc. UGH…. so uncomfortable. It’s like I can’t even accept myself in my own skin when I’m in that situation. It’s horrible. Mother will most likely flip because there’s no gift this year. It will be the first time. I feel like for so many years I struggled financially, and still managed to get her an “acceptable” gift because it was expected. Maybe I survived on ramen noodles to get the gift. She didn’t care. As long as there was an expensive gift, that’s all that mattered. She never offered to help me in any way financially. Now, I can more easily afford it, but, I can also make up my own mind. No more meeting her expectations. I’m struggling with how to sign the card though. I don’t want to say I love you, because, honestly, I don’t feel like I do love her right now. It’s hard to love someone who’s constructed of lies, contempt, manipulation, self service, etc. I don’t care if she is my mother, it’s still hard to love someone like that.

A final thought ~ I keep seeing commercials for Mother’s Day. For all she’s done for you, the sacrifices she’s made, the hardest job in the world, etc. I think, well, what if she didn’t really participate?? She did birth me, she changed my diaper, she kept me warm and fed me. Isn’t there more to motherhood than that?? Is THIS what makes motherhood the hardest job in the world? And, if she wasn’t up for the job, why did she take it?? 3 times!!!! It’s like enlisting in the service. Honestly, if you don’t want to put your life on the line, don’t do it. There is a choice. Why do I owe her anything for a choice SHE made?? Hmmm, something to think about.

Wow, I did need an EFB fix. Thanks for listening to me ramble today. I hope you all find the inspiration to throw a FREEDOM ROCK this weekend.
With Hope,
Mimi

60

Mimi: You hit the nail on the head with post #59. Until we understand the wounds caused by our parents, we can’t get perspective on our adult lives. I am now gaining perspective and see things much clearer, and I too was too intense, and could not let things roll off my back. I firmly believe that letting all that small stuff bother us, will put us in an early grave. Yes, it makes sense about having a bit of guilt over having no guilt, but guilt needs to be reserved for when we actually have wronged someone. Fixing your perspective is nothing to be guilty over. I don’t buy gifts for my mother anymore. She gets a check because I am not spending time trying to pick her out something nice. Mother’s Day 2011, she brought up something I did 35 years ago and spent Mother’s Day telling me how proud she was because she held that grudge for 35 years and is still mad. I sent her a beautiful silk Versace scarf that took me a long time to find and pick out; this type of luxury we do not have in our lives every day. But she ruined it by re-hashing my crime from long ago, for which I had been punished back then. What was my crime? I found a pair of jeans she had hidden away for Christmas and I tried them on, but the receipt fell out on the floor and when she came home she saw the receipt and she knew I had been scrounging in her closet. In my dumb kid’s mind, I wanted to try the jeans on to make sure they fit for Christmas LOL. But I grossly defied her and she wields these crimes against her as weapons today to cause me pain. This is thoughtless behavior to keep punishing your child this way and be proud of it no less. For opposing this, I should feel guilt? I’m not sure my mom doesn’t suffer from mental illness … at the very least it is growing narcissism, imo. Good Luck to everyone and my thought is to really ask yourself if your guilt is really warranted or is it a knee-jerk emotional reaction?

61

Hello Mimi. Just read your messages When I read what you said to Jennifer it’s like you wrote it from my own heart.

Not once ever did I get any help after my traumas this is why I keep crying out Someone help, Please help. when I end up in a Hospital Nurses have no idea why I scream out loud hours on end sometimes. yet no one ask’s me ”WHY”.

I longed to be just held so tight, and to never ever be let go of, I’m still like this now every second of my life I cry out. I’m still the3 year old 7 year old 10 year old. Someone hold me, please hold me. it’s my only cure yet there is no prescription for this. I hear voices that say ”It’s O.K. I understand. but it never end’s in being held. Hoping this might make some sense to you. but for sure I never ever felt the need for my mother to hold me.

62

Hi Paul I have that craving to be held tight, I grew up with it and it never seems to be satisfied, I seemed to spend much of my childhood and adulthood daydreaming about being hugged instead. Like you I never wanted my mother to hold me, in fact I find the idea quite repulsive. I’d be interested to know what Darlene thinks of this.

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Hi Sam so I’m not alone in this. Iwould have found it repulsive physical touching I’m nervous of it alway’s it’s a state of mind I cant understand I have no comprehension of the needto have been held by my mother. it may though have to do with shocking violence on me by others several times. and one very nasty family member who wanted nothing else but to touch. dear me that was sickening to type.

Something else though was going on. Please donttry to immagine the sight of a tiny 3 year old charging out of a souldering fire. the shocking immages of which are my constant compannion. and that was just the beginning. I ask. what Human being would not feel the need to be held in such a situation? I have been convinced Sam the only possible cure for me is litrally to be held tight and never ever be let go. sadly it wont happen so I will just have to find a more realistic outcome. Understanding my feelings surely is the answer? Thank’s so much for sharing Sam.

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That’s very sad Paul; I’ll get back to you tomorrow as it’s way past my bedtime now.

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Hi Paul,
Thank you for your comments. Isn’t it amazing the people who share the same “stuff” here on EFB?? I’ve been a regular for several months now, and I’m still amazed. The first time I came here, I was in shock and so grateful. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. That people understood and articulated just what I was feeling. It was then I realized I wasn’t alone anymore. That there were words to describe what I was going through, and a network of support here that I never dreamed I would find. I’m happy you’re here.

I have done an about face regarding the need to be hugged when I’m upset. The adult in me feels a bit uncomfortable at the notion of being showered with hugs. I actually have a little area of personal space that I protect usually unknowingly. I will back up if someone is in my personal space. It just makes me uncomfortable. I suppose because from infancy, people weren’t IN my space. For any reason!! However, on the flipside of that, when something catastrophic happens, like I’m publicly shunned among family or something, and I can’t process the pain of it, and I sob and sob…. it’s during that time that I feel like I’m a child. Like I just want someone to hug me and say it will be okay, and really mean it. Someone to really mean that they love me and they have my back. Funny though, in my imagination of that scenario, it’s never my mother either. It’s some unknown person. I don’t mean to say I visualize a specific person, I don’t. I just mean when I imagine that kind of comforting, my mother is not the person I think of. Her hugs mean nothing. She never did it until the last year anyway. Too little too late, and it holds no REAL meaning. I hope that in processing all of the damage and lies, I will be able to handle things differently ~ realistically. That my wounds will be scars, and the elasticity will allow for things to bounce off rather than sinking into my gut like a sharp knife. Also, during and for days after I feel something catastrophically painful, I berate myself for not being able to let it roll off like other people do. Repeated self judgment and loathing. It’s a horrible place to be. I am hopeful that we will both see brighter days. Thanks for sharing.
xoxo,
Mimi

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Hey Jennifer – i hope your appointment with your therapist went well. I am seeing a new one tomorrow and another new one on Monday. I am glad you chose to go back on medication. I started back on them a few years ago. I wish i had never stopped. I think if i had stayed on them i would not have had as much depression and would not have been so hard on myself and on other people. I feel like a child a lot. Much of what i am processing is related directly to my early childhood years. I view it as a good thing because i am in touch with my inner child and i am taking care of him now the way he was not taken care of before. I am making sure he knows that he is safe now and that no one is going to hurt him. Please keep sharing here and reading Darlene’s blog. It has made a big difference in my recovery the past six months. I have a lot of trauma that i have carried with me for over 40 years that i am working thru and this has been a great place to share what i am going thru and dealing with and to get support and encouragement from others who are going through similar experiences.

blessings,

Dave

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K. Ella – i finally got to the place with my mother that i basically told her to go to hell and that i didnt give a damn what happened to her. That was 7 years ago. she wrote me a few letters since then which i sent back unopened. I have not spoken to her since then and i will never speak to her again. She was never a mother to me. she was a narcissistic, lying, back stabbing, manipulative witch who ruined my childhood and our family. Mothers are supposed to be loving, nurturing, caring etc…therefore my take is that i never had a mother. She was just a woman who gave birth to me that i had to live with for 21 years. My only regret is that i didnt see it sooner and get rid of her 20 years earlier. She caused so much damage and pain that i live with it every day. I choose who i want to be in my life. I’ll be damned if anyone is going to force me into a relationship if i dont want one. Almost all of my family were toxic – i have gotten rid of all of them. They are almost all in denial and angry and bitter. I am over those type of people and that type of living. I have moved on and i am much better for it. Its up to us to choose who we want to have a relationship with. Nothing is set in stone. We have choices. We have to do whats best for us and our sanity andyour peace – and at the end of the day – that is what really matters – that we take care of ourselves and that we do whats best for us here at EFB !!

hugs,

Dave

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Kim M.,
My mom has also bragged to people about things she’s said or done, even coached other mothers on how to administer tough love.

Once when I was in high school, I’d say sophomore or junior, she smacked my face 4 times in a row before school one morning. I said what she regarded as a bad word, she smacked me once, I said another, she smacked me again, etc etc. She LOVES to tell that story. When I was four years old, I was taking a bath with my sister and I got mad at my mom for something, no idea what it was. Anyhow, I told my sister that our mom was a dummy. She heard it and yanked me out of the tub and whipped my bare wet butt as hard as she could. She loves to tell that story too. I only used the word dummy because it’s what I heard at home, from the adults! DUH!

My mother also likes to relive all the hell I put her through. I was a pain to raise and kept her awake at night with worry. I’ve never seen that woman lose sleep over anyone, ever!! If she had asked even once, why I had eventually started acting out, with a desire to face the truth in my answer, things could have been so different. People say I was a sweet child. I wonder why it never occurred to her to find out what was wrong when I started to act out in my teens.
Peace,
Mimi

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Mimi –omg! what is it with their constant rumination and magnification of everything we ever did that was slightly “bad”? I heard yearly for the last 48 years how I had colic and she had to go back to work after 3 weeks because she couldn’t stand my crying. I was a good kid too; and normal things that kids do and go through were such drama for her. My mother once threatened to punch me in the face and I told her to do it … yelled it at her and she walked away. She wailed on my behind with a big hairbrush when I was a kid; again because I defied her. I’m tired of standing my ground with her, tired of her triangulating in public — trying to get her friends & my friends to think I am weird or abnormal. I’m 48 years old and she’s trying to micro-manage my life: tells me how I feel, what I can do. Ever since I got diagnosed with Endometriosis 2 years ago, she suddenly thinks she can control my thoughts, like I an weak and helpless now. Like Dave said above, I think it’s time to tell her to go to hell, so I can have some peace and heal and take care of myself. Thanks Mimi, you’re a sweetie.

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“guilt their alienated adult children into a fake relationship” Yup, thats my Mom.
I have stopped contact. I still talk and ruminate to my husband but each day I don’t have to
deal with the stress of her devaluing remarks. My rock is for her. I need to work on ME. I need to stop
trying to work on HER.

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To MiMi
I was never hugged or kissed by my mother. When I recently asked her why, she said “you used to wiggle away”. That was when I was two.
Hmmm, (because of EFB) then I said “well what about when I was 5, 15, 25 etc.” No answer.
Well I thought that says it…Wow
But now I see she was blaming me for being unhugable…me the little two year old. Thats even worse.
She wanted a blonde blue eyed boy not a girl. When my brother was born 5 years later
he got lots of hugs and love. She would, in my presence tell people what a sweet wonderful child he was
and that I wasn’t. (I was eight or nine) My father was just abusive, physically, emotionally and he tried the sexual thing but thankfully she drew the line there, so he ramped up the emotional stuff.
Now because of this site I see it wasn’t me. I always thought it was me. That killed my self esteem for 40 years.
I broke contact for 10 years with them in the nineties and lived a much better life. I can remember when I got in contact with her the first thing she said is “you have more self-confidence now”. I remember it because I was so proud. Now I see who was killing it to begin with.
Thank you all for your sharing..

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Its much easier for parents to blame children – that way they dont have to taka any responsibility for their own actions. Its a way of saying “well i had a bad child or my child caused trouble or whatever”…its because they dont want to face the truth because they cant handle it. The truth is that they were the ones that caused all the problems and they blamed us because that was the easy way out. My mother did it my whole childhood and well into my adult years. Everything was everyone else’s fault. That way she didnt have to change or look at herself. Its the classic cop out – its denial in its highest form. When the truth is painful people tend to ignore it and find someone else to blame. Thats how they justify their behavior. They lie to themselves and everyone else in order to keep their charade going. They lie as much as they have to in order to keep people from discovering the truth. Eventually it catches up with them. One day they will be held accoun table for all their lies and abuse. One day they will have no more excuses and no way to justify their abuse and it wont be pretty. God is very clear on what happens to people that abuse children. He said it would be better for them if they had a millstone with a rope attached to it and be thrown into the sea than have to explain why they abused children. Their day is coming. They may go unscathed in this life but not in the next one.

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Hi Dave/everyone. not to long after my first trauma as a 3 year old my family were evictrd from our home we spent a night in a church for refuge then someones home untill we moved to the town I’m in now. but from an early age my mother told me were were evicted solely to to ”ME”. As I used to scream so much.I do know I still scream in my sleep while fighting monsters. re living many a trauma. but I was blamed and kept being reminded so That I made us homeless.

But after she got Dementia I found some court papers. clerly stating we were evicted for non payment of rent”’. The needless guilt forced on me was so obviously cruel and abusive. she also nearly murdered me aalong with an abusive brother the day before my 14th birthday. I had to fight them off to save my life. this abusive brother was attacking me and another brother even before I started school. he would have killed us both if we did not fight like Lion’s, each and every day. His mother never believed what was going on she was in total denial. while protecting an abuser for many years. but abusers cant hide the truth forever. but their act’s of abuse live forever. but now we can all support each other NOT TO LIVE THE PAIN OF THE ABUSE FOREVER. Freedom will soon ”rock”. PEACE.

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Dave,
You’re exactly right. It is easier to blame the kids. There’s no responsibility in that.

Karen,
I love what you said to your mom about when you were 5, 15, etc. A few years ago, I mentioned to some distant family members in front of my mother that we weren’t a “huggy” family because we weren’t raised that way. Of course my mother was trying to impress these family members at the time so that really made her squirm. She piped up and said, “well, I wasn’t raised that way either, that’s why.” It was quite funny looking back. I so blew her image to my distant family. Now, I’m so glad I said that!!
Hugs and peace,
Mimi

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Hi Mimi. My mothers distant family came when I was a kid. it should have been obvious there was a family problem but their precious Sister/Aunt Grandmother was so very nice squeeky clean. How wrong they were.

But by going so public in recent years one of them might just see one of my media interviews or blog’s. and just take it all in.

My Mother fooled so many so easily for so many years. but never ever ”ME”. When victims cry abuse they need to be listened to and above all ”PROTECTED”.

Paul.

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Hi Paul,
You know what’s so funny about the incident with my distant family? It was actually MY family, not hers. She divorced them 30 years ago. The entire paternal side of my family pulled out of my life when I was 11 and my parents divorced. I was reunited with two aunts two years ago from my dad’s side. My mom was so desperate to impress them and put herself in the middle of our budding new relationship that she generously offered a trip to her vacation home for my sisters and I, my two aunts, and herself. What a showdown for attention that was. She made every conversation about her. If we strayed from focusing on how bad her life was with my dad 30 years ago, she would say something left field to bring it back to that. It was so crazy looking back. Also, I didn’t want to go. I used the excuse I didn’t have the money. Since she owns the place, there was no fee to stay there. She offered to pay for anything else, meals out, gas, etc. I never saw a dime. As a matter of fact, we went shopping there and I had a $7 item in her cart. She somehow went through checkout and paid for it. I told her I’d pay her back after I realized it had happened. When we got back to the condo, I made sure to hand her $8 and she took it!! I am a person who says, “don’t worry about it, it’s only $7″ And, if it was my daughter (I don’t have kids), I would hope I would OFFER to buy it!! She would never say that ~ she wanted her money back and ASAP!! She’s crazy, that’s all I can think!
Peace,
Mimi

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Hi Mimi I have spent so many painful years trying to understand bad behaviours of family members and others it’s impossible to work out as I dont think/act like them. I do know though many of them go to great and desperate lenght’s to avoid detection. and can so easily catch themself out in the process. I’m actually sitting on a big pile of evidence of much abuse spanning eight years. yet my present abuser’s are so well protected there is even a cover up going on. this is very much real life. those who could have protected me chose not to. I choose never to give up my quest for justice and ultimately ”Freedom” from the bad memories of their inflicted abuse. charging you for your little item is shameful. but at least they cant say they had to buy it for you. and old childhood friend I re discovered lately took me out earlier in his car at his espense he took me shopping for yet more plant’s then baught me a meal. then dropped me of at home. typical of his kindness. this after 48 year’s in one chat alone on monday he spoke to me longer than all my 3 brothers did combined in a life time. I escaped 2 brothers in 2002 the other walked out my home a year later after telling me he could not cope with it. The it being, I told him he and his own children ar likely to be carriers of the Heredatory RARE Disease That I passed on to my son. (Fatally so). Yet he the supposedly strong /educated older brother could not handle me insisting he tell his grown up children they might be carriers. Nine years have passed he obviously still cant handle it. but that’s his problem to deal with I’m for helping others no matter my pain. and they dont need to be blood family we are all family (Human Being’s on one tiny planet with only one short life each. and a right to live it out FREEDOM” OF ABUSE, AND IT’S EMOTIONAL PAIN IT CAUSES” So sending you much care and understanding. There areso many good people out there Mimi who really do ”CARE”.

Paul.

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Hi Everyone
I published my mothers day post! I did it early because of the freedom ROCKS event this weekend!
This post is about how my relationship with my daughter made me sink into a deeper understanding of my non relationship with my mother…
You can read it here:
http://emergingfrombroken.com/the-pain-of-not-having-a-mother-vs-being-a-mother-on-mothers-day/
Hugs, Darlene

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I loved reading everyones’ posts this AM; expressing this pain is really important and I feel lucky to have a safe area. Big thanks to Darlene for being our host. I have decided that I am going to throw a rock every Mother’s Day and buy myself a nice gift every Mother’s Day. Peace & Love, and fast healing to everybody … with a warm hug, Kim.
PS: I think I will start this tradition for myself every Father’s Day as well.

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Paul,
Thank you for your kindness.

Kim M.,
That’s so funny to me. I might buy myself a gift this year too since I’m not buying my mother one. A nice versace scarf… haha!! And, you should get yourself one too!! I’m thrilled you’re going to throw a rock and make it a mother’s day tradition. I think I’ll join you. I’ve been pondering what to write on my rock. It’s exactly why I’ll need to do this every mother’s day ~ to cover it all!! A single stone surely won’t hold all the words I have inside. I thought about drawing a nice big heart on it…. to represent my mother’s heart of stone! :)
Peace and love to everyone,
Mimi

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Hi Mimi: I would have bought myself a Versace scarf but I found hers on Ebay for a really good price, and when I went to find another good bargain, there were none. That’s the only way I could have gotten her one as it was a nice luxury. I know what you mean about one rock not doing the job. Maybe it will take several rocks over the coming week, lol. Yes: a heart of stone pretty much sums it up. Good Luck to you Mimi and have a peaceful weekend.

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Hello Kim M.

Great ide about Mothers day. and as for Fathers day. what painful word’s for me. the throwing away of the pebble I will be doing this saturday is strongly connected to some of my children but not my actual children.

Who knows one of them might in just a few year’s be here telling you all why dady threw away the pebble. and might well help dady throw a sack full of Freedom Rock’s. Perhap’s one day we could all send rock’s to darlene to have them on display in an exhabition such as on World Mental Health Day celebration’s 10th October. we could highlight how family specific traumas cause severe emotional distress and illness. but by creating ”Freedon Rock’s”. We can make possitive changes in our life”. Thank you everyone for such amazing mutual care and support.

Paul.

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Hi Paul: Freedom Rocks! I love that. There is no limit to the number of rocks we might need to discard is there? Whenever we need to we can cast some away. I am sure you will draw in more peace soon. Hugs, Kim.

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Hi Paul talking about hugs again, with me it was weird, one the one hand I would crave physical contact but on the other hand, if, for arguments sake, I fell over in the school playground and hurt myself I didn’t want anyone to know and anyone who tried to help me I would want to push away. I think I associated physical contact with being smacked. I’ve only just remembered that mother had a violent temper; when I was older and started to argue with her she would smack me across my face. One time she slapped me so hard one of her nails drew blood and I had a scar for a long time. I have nothing to do with her now because she never told me my father was dying and she didn’t tell me he had died or when the funeral was. I think she showed herself in her true colours then.

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Hi Kim Freedom Rock Posters would be amazing. yes we throw them in the deep cold blue sea but photos of them could raise awarness and by sharing some of them with others we can so relate to them just like we do here they could be up on boards in school’s Colledges on public transport in the work place. ”Everywhere”.

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Hi Sam we have very similer issues. Talking about how youwere not told your Father was dyinghas really hit home to me. I really feel for you and while I cant feel your pain I sure can share similer experiences. saying that I have a profoundly shocking revelation to reveal. around how and when my baby son was goin to ”DIE” Due to a RARE Disease. O.M.G. It’s to shocking to share with you all.

Anyway although my Mind cries out every second of my life to be held. In the real physical world I avoid all physical contact. I cringe at the thought. The way your mather scratched you must have been very traumatic for you. and triggered a feeling within your mind. A reaction to an adverse event). My langing to be held and the opposite in reality I’m convinced was caused by my first three traumas as described on my website. each 2nd and 3rd making thefirst more traumatic. my brain somehow rejected people comming near me. as when at 10 for instance a firework rocket was fired in to my throat deliberately. this the third major trauma outside the home. I exploded in to a ball of glowing white flme’s. something terrible happened to my mind that night which cant be properly explained I already had strange feelings at nursery school I felt different I now a’m sure it’s O.C.D. And some Bi Polar. I had one very adverse reaction to several shocking action’s. somehow my mind cries out in my thought process to be urgently held. this even when out travelling on a bus/ tram. then I hear a gentle voice saying It’s O.K. Paul I understand. I’m sure it’s to do with not knowing anyone helped me immediately after these traumas while my body and mind were in extreme trauma. ”ALL ALONEIN OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCES”. Then back to earth in fear of litrally living and of every human being. Fear of being touched Huge’ed. etc could be said to be ”Fight or flight”. They will hurt me. I’m permanently braced for next attack. when I was with partners any sudden grabbing of me had me in terror sudden moves I had no control over. my mind not knowing if there outstretched arms were friend or foe. an ex grabbed me and bit on to my nose while showing off to her daughters sisters and mother. ”Lokk at me I can inflict pain on paul and he wont fight back/hurt me. the Same Paul who protected mother and not my daughters from a manster of a very violent man. I will sure cast a Black Widow type pebble in to the deepest of cold blue North Sea. But who will Hold Me when I turn around in to a brighter life? I have a Poem called ”Rainman”. on my website. Please read it and match it with what I say here. it’ssignificant to ”FREEDOM Rock’s. and all here. Thank You Sam for sharing so much. ”I Care”.

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Hi Everyone
My Freedom ROCKS post has been published. I am hoping that peoole will share their stories with me about Freedom ROCKS there too!

Here is the link ~ http://emergingfrombroken.com/my-freedom-rocks-emotional-healing-and-self-love/

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I used to loss every thing and body that comforts me , the most fear in my mind now is to loss you, your site ,your words that save my soul and my sun,will you stay there?for us?for our broked hearts and souls ? save us. You are our redeemer do not leave us please.

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Hi Spanisheyes
My words will always be here (as long as I pay the bill for the website! =)
You are your hope too. You can do just as I have done and heal. That is what this whole site is about! You can do this!
Hugs, Darlene

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I am struggling to hold on mired in pain and anguish. the trauma is centered right in my head. Its there every day. I cant fight it. I just can only deal with so much at once. its agonizing. I am seeing two different therapists. If i dont go to therapy i wont talk about what happened. I am way too good at focusing on others and their needs and not talking about my own. I am on the verge of tears all the time from the pain. Its like the abuse is slowly just ripping me apart from the inside out. I am in constant pain with almost no one to talk to about it. I was abused by my parents for 40 years until i finally realized what was going on and told my mother to go to hell about 6 months before my father finally died. He hated me and threatened to kill me and my wife different times before he finally died. I have never known a life without pain and trauma from abuse. Every morning when i wake up i know i am going to cry. I have been crying for many years. the depression and sadness are my constant companions. even tho i am on meds it does not take away the sadness and the pain. My life is: cry, eat, work, nap, eat, work, journal, sleep and then start over the next day – same routine. If i dont deal with the pain every single day it just gets worse and i get headaches and then cant manage anything. I have no choice. I have to deal with the pain every day. Its been this way for years. I have no community other than here and no family other than my wife. Its very hard. I never knew life could be so hard. I never knew anyone could experience so much pain, loss, betrayal and heartache. If i dont die from a broken heart it will be a miracle. Keep me in your prayers please. I need them !

Dave

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Dave,
I’m sorry you are in so much pain right now. I know what it is like to cry everyday. I went through a long period of that too. I had no control of my emotions & I felt ashamed about that too. It’s a vicious cycle this abuse. Did you throw a Rock Dave?…It was empowering for me and symbolic of making a decision to throw away the shame & guilt of my abusers!…I have to continue working everyday on my negative feelings & thoughts, but it does turn around. My life is the same old routine too- eat, work, read, journal, play games, take care of my kids, do errands, sleep & start over again. However, i make room for my good friends- stay in contact, do lunch, & visit- not every week but I stay in touch by face book or phone regularly. I have to reach out to get the support but it is there.

I save my deep feelings & thoughts for my journal & EFB. I have to look at my feelings everyday too, as to not get in a spin. I do get teary eyed sometimes and anxious. It’s about me acknowledging it, looking at where it’s coming from & facing the beliefs & thoughts behind the emotions. I agree, it is hard work! EFB keeps me on track, my counselor and I do take medication for my symptoms of anxiety & depression. I’m not afraid to say that- it works for me and I’m blessed to have that extra support. My family of origin thought it was a sign of weakness for me to even take them, but their opinion does not count. I know what helps me & it sure isn’t them LOL!
Hope you feel better soon’
Sonia

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Dave,
I’m sorry you’re going through such pain. You will be in my prayers. It’s horrible what people can do to us. Our parents makes it even more brutal. Dave, I know several people here care about your healing. EFB is really my only support network too. I don’t tell my friends about the deep stuff. I have one friend that is estranged from her abusive mother. She knows all my “stuff”. Other than that, this is where I come to talk. I think it’s okay to have EFB as a refuge. I don’t know where I’d be without EFB and the friends I’ve met here. Years of tears is a LOT of tears. I am hopeful that you will have brighter days. I will be praying.

SMD,
I journal the really deep stuff too. It helps me a lot. For about the last 4 months, I too have been on anxiety medicine. Very light dose compared to what I had to take in my 20s just to function. I take it before bed, and it helps. I’m not at that place of freedom yet. In fact, I keep getting a variety of painful revelations over the last month. I feel like if I have to take the edge off during that time, it’s okay.

I feel a little sense of doom lately. Like, UGH, I have to do this the rest of my life… battle my mom. I remember thinking 6 months ago, which I’ve never mentioned until now ~ I wonder how my life would be if my mom died. Is that when it will stop? Will I only be out from under it when she’s dead? I have the letter I’m drafting that I’ve mentioned recently and planning to send after Memorial day. I have imagined how she will take what I say (holding her accountable) and twist it and cry to everyone she knows. I woke up just now wondering, how is pointing out factual events that were painful, a directly painful jab?? It was ME who had to hear it. It was ME that was a child!! I am stumbling with this and feeling weak. That training I went through still hangs on like chains around my ankles. Was it abuse?? Am I correct in my thinking?? I don’t know why I suddenly have these questions. Maybe because I’m completely alone in it now. It has caused me to question my feelings. I know it happened. That brainwashing runs so deep, I am STILL questioning it.

Yesterday, my grandma (mom’s mother) turned 90. You might have seen this on another post. Anyhow, I took her for dinner. She badmouthed her son horribly. It stinks to swallow that new knowledge. That she’s a part of the problem and has passed it on. She’s been so good to me. But, I know she’s badmouthed me too. She’s done it to other grandkids TO me. She now takes what my mother says as the gospel, and it’s lies. I want to move across the country so bad. We just can’t until my husband retires. UGH…. I hate the thought of waiting through life until I can be across the country from my mother. I remember you saying you weren’t sure if you love your mom anymore. I think my love has been exhausted. The stigma that goes with not loving or honoring your mother is so incredible. I feel weak against that lately too.

I’m still planning to send the letter. I’m just in a place of confusion right now, and questioning myself again. UGH… it stinks!!
Love to you,
Mimi

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Hi Dave
I am so sorry that you are in this much pain. The healing seems to come in cycles, have you noticed that? Like you get some clarity and start feeling good and then wham it hits again. One of the things that helped me was finding out the warning signs before the big crash so I could learn to begin dealing with it sooner. Just something to think about.
Hugs, Darlene

94

Once I thought my anger was bad. Then I realized it was my defense, my self protective side, my warrior self. If I wouldn’t hear it, it might come forth at times that were unexpected to me. In time I learned to become the wise guider of my warrior, but I had to hear what my anger was saying for me and to me before my warrior would accept guidance from my good-head-on-my-shoulders becoming-wise over-self. Now I feel that my warrior is what kept me going for quite a long time, I know my warrior was my brave me as well as my angry me, and I honor and respect that life long bravery.

Once I thought tears were a way to show that I needed help and comfort, but they only got me criticism and more abuse. Now I never can cry in front of any other, not even at a funeral, a few blinked back tears is all. My warrior is close by when tears might come in the presence of others, ready to defend my tender side with quick anger against any perceived threat or cruel-intentioned thoughtless criticism. Last time I cried was when my dad’s body was being taken away by a hearse from the house I grew up in. “Never again will I see his kind blue eyes,” I cried aloud. “He was my last link to this family,” my grief said to me in sobs, presaging what was to come. I thought myself alone.
My brother, coming from behind me, unbeknownst to me he was outdoors at all, the GB, said gruffly, “This is entirely unnecessary, you should be thinking of mother, she is the widow, not you..” My tears stopped so my warrior could defend me once again.

I said, “My father has died. You may not feel a loss, but I will always feel it. My grief was neither for your benefit nor for her detriment, and was entirely appropriate. I am outside, away from her, and you came outside from behind me to speak your cruel words. Because you do not feel enough to cry for your father does not make my tears unnecessary. It will be best if you do not speak to me of this anymore, ever.” My voice was not loud, I did not yell. But the warrior was clearly there in my own blue eyes. He turned tail, lost his haughty demeanor, and left me be.

About my warrior analogy:
This might ring true for you, or others as well, although we each see things in different ways, or with different analogies.

95

At my father’s funeral, it was the golden boy who, as eldest son, gave the eulogy. I could not listen.

When we sat down before the service began, there was not enough room on the first reserved row for immediate family, for my husband, my daughter, my grandson…those who comforted me in grief, who loved me, whom I wanted to comfort…(even though GB made sure there was room for his own wife) so I sat down with those I loved on the second row.

GB hissed, loud enough for all to hear, “Karenina, get up here! You are supposed to sit here on the front row with the family.”

I spoke aloud, but calmly, my warrior shining through again, ” I AM with my family. If my daddy’s spirit is here, he knows where I am and all my reasons for sitting where I am sitting. I KNOW he would approve, and I do not care if you approve. Sit down and show DADDY some respect, just this once, if you can.”

He turned white. Sat down and shut up. He looked straight at me during his entire eulogy, and I looked straight back, warrior eyes shining. I hope he could see my daddy’s eyes in mine, in my daughter’s, in my grandsons’.
I hope they made him speak truth and well, as I spoke my own eulogy, silently, where only Dad could hear.

96
darlene mccullah
May 28th, 2012 at 8:04 am

i am reading this and feel like i am reading my life story. i was abused as a child an put in a home in which my protective parents did the opposite . the man tried to rape me . my real parents did not believe me . i had a child at 17 yrs old and married at 18 an after trying for 13 yrs. that marriage failed because i wasn’t happy and then had two more children also. i remarried and after 10 yrs. my husband past away an left me from cancer and at this point i was 42 yrs old . my mind at that point did something to where i had blocked things out but hearing from my kids the things i did were very scary. I really do not remember it all . i am on medications now and though i am dealing a lot better i still often wonder where DID I GO ? WHO AM I NOW ?

97

Hi Darlene
Welcome to emerging from broken
I am glad that you are here. Finding myself again took time and this is the process that I write about in this site.
Hugs, Darlene

98

Hi Dave W I’m in the same boat as you, I have started to remember stuff I’d completely forgotten about and the pain is terrible; just when I think it’s settling down I remember something else and it starts again. I feel like I’ve been fatally stabbed and I’m taking a long time to die. I wonder at times if I’ll ever get as far as re-building.

99

Mimi:
You said”for days after I feel something catastrophically painful, I berate myself for not being able to let it roll off like other people do. Repeated self judgment and loathing. It’s a horrible place to be.”
Wow thats just how I feel..catastrophically painful..and its usually about something that wouldn’t bother
someone who didn’t have the emotional triggers. I see thats what causes the feelings. Thats what would
be so very nice..not freaking out and having a meltdown over little stuff then beating myself up afterward
for that reaction. At my worst moments I throw away or damage my most favorite things. Have done it since I was 8 or 9. Not other peoples stuff my own. I think its self punishment for not being “allowed” to express
any feelings or opinions. I was not allowed choices or opinions or any self expression. I was always TOLD
what would be.
I want so much to get past the “throw away compulsion” and it is a strong compulsion. I have never read about anyone doing that or talked about it before to anyone. It is so hurtful to lose precious things that can’t be replaced. My family considered it part of my mental issues.
Being listened to, really heard, brings me to tears.
My best to all – Karen

100

Karenina:
I too have the warrior side that faces emotional obstacles with anger. I like very much the way you expressed it. My warrior side. I always felt I was very strong. Then was always told by my family that
I was damaged, not good enough. There was always a conflict in me over what seemed to be “the real me”
and what I was Forced to believe. I am so no contact now. What I saw as my being a helpful daughter was
just a continuation of years and years of abuse. I have received validation in my jobs and from good friends
but because of my continuing emotional issues I really didn’t believe that I was any good. The constant
inner turmoil and inability to deal with my reactions to stress confirmed to me that I was indeed broken.
I never realized that the abuse caused the broken. My family told me it was genetic (from my abusive father’s side) and also learned behavior. So according to them I was born damaged (no chance of fixing that) and then by choice chose to be “bad”.
We are talking all A’s in school, never got into trouble, that sort of bad. So you can see where it never added up. But I was TAUGHT to obey and NEVER question. EFB is very eye opening for me.
up and copied his terrible anger.

101

Karen,
I understand what you mean about being angry and destroying material things. I did that when I was younger, in my 20s, which were very tough years for me. Usually pictures. I once set my abusive boyfriends clothes on fire in the driveway. I had caught him in public with another woman. I went home and set fire to the clothing he had at my house. I haven’t destroyed things for a really long time, but I did do something recently that probably has the same roots. I took down everything my sister has given me over the past few years. Birthday gifts she hand made, things like that. I took it all down and buried it in some stuff in the basement. (As if that would somehow hurt HER). I wanted all reminders of her out of my view as well. I was very hurt when I did it, so I liken it to the more brash things I used to do when someone would hurt me.

I started making my way through a workbook, similar to self help book, but you answer questions and do some deep thinking. The book is called, “Out-of-control” A dialectical behavior therapy workbook by Melanie Gordon Sheets. http://www.dbt-cbt-workbook.com. I got mine from amazon I think. It has pretty high reviews. It really helps dig inside and see how our reactions ultimately bring heartache back on ourselves. Sounds simple to type it out like that, but it’s really pretty deep. Perhaps you could get some insight from it??

Thanks for sharing your painful story. I know it isn’t easy to share things. I’m sorry you’re hurting and struggling to get answers. There is clarity here. I hope you visit and share often. It will bring you relief!
With love,
Mimi

102

Mimi..thank you for that great suggestion. I want to get to the bottom of it. Its better than it use to be but I still do it occasionally when I am most triggered. Yes, I did the pictures in the albums many years ago. I don’t keep any family photos now except my grandchildren. I want to learn to be nice to me.
Thanks again!

103

Karen,
You’re very welcome. I know that frustrating feeling of wanting to destroy something or hurt oneself. I used to get so frustrated and upset and I couldn’t figure out why. I remember it happening when I lived with my mother. I know why now, but at the time, I thought “what in the world is wrong with me?” I could sob for a few hours at a time. Sometimes nearly hysterical. I remember thinking if I could just destroy something, I sure would feel a lot better!! It was rage and it was deep and it came from years of being stifled, ordered around, devalued, and never having a voice. It would bubble up and when it did, it ALL came out. Not just the thing that triggered the anger, but, the years of angry energy I had stuffed down came out too. I couldn’t see it at the time, but I see it now. Since I’ve been away from my mom (as in not living with her), I don’t have those rageful crying episodes where I feel completely helpless and caged. It was like being in an emotional straight jacket. Sooooo much energy needing to come out.

By far, EFB has helped me more than anything. I stopped seeing a counselor last year. It just happened she was also seeing my mother. She tried her best to downplay my mother’s actions, told me she did the best she could, that I hadn’t forgiven her, and I’d never find peace until I did forgive her, etc. I finally said, enough is enough!! She was invalidating me as much as my mother did. If it weren’t for what I’ve learned here, I may not have known that I didn’t HAVE to listen and pay money for that. Because she has an advanced degree, does not make her knowledgeable about the dynamics of my family. She knew nothing about the reality of my mother. It’s all good though. My mother has fooled hundreds of people, the counselor is no different because she has a degree.

I hope you are able to get some relief if you decide to get the workbook. I tell ya though, there’s nothing like EFB!! It’s my saving grace and I’ll be forever grateful to have found Darlene and the sweet people who have reached out to me here. I hope you keep coming back!!
Peace and Hope,
Mimi

104

Agreed. A diagnosis I would’ve never given myself. There are so many incidents that I’ve tried to address with my mother and stepfather through the years and they’ve never accepted them, validated, apologised nor confirmed them. They have strenuously challenged my verse of events and made excuses galore.

At the age of 34, any issues that arise in the here and now are treated the same. I just feel like screaming from somewhere deep down for them, anyone to listen to me.

It seems it has taken me years to acknowledge that my mother abandoned me such a very long time ago and that all these years later, the woman who hid behind all that she “couldn’t” do stands upright and rigid headlong into things she “won’t” do. That is where I’ve grown……the point where I realise that she isn’t a victim of circumstance but rather organiser and executioner.

I have this memory of sleeping outside my moms bedroom door. I’d drug my bedding into the hall after hours of knocking with no answer. I’d shared a bed with her for so many years (through an attempted robbery) and now her boyfriend (my evil stepfather) had decided there was no room for me now. She let him choose. I was young, maybe seven or six. I really feel like that’s the day my mother really left me (even if I’d been left with anyone who would have me for years).

Ive been suffering for so many years. My mom says I am bipolar or have a chemical imbalance. I do not. What I have is the ability to not be spoon fed by her anymore and she’s so narcissistic/co-dependant/manipulative that she know I must be inherently flawed if I’m not owning her version of reality.

The fact that a parent who hasnt had a good model of parenting, is excused from being a horrible parent themselves feels like a free pass to me. I’m that same parent, without a good model, who would rather burn in hell than hand my children the same legacy! It is on this basis that I don’t buy the afore mentioned theory.

Sorry to have gone off on a tangent, but you’re posts really do get my mind working.

105

Validation would mean action must be taken. It requires responsibility in which NO ONE could give a damn about. I was told it was ‘my damn fault.’ I tried to suppress my feelings-that got me NOWHERE. But now…I am dealing with my pain head on. I have been so depressed for so long that I don’t even know what it feels like NOT to be depressed! I have gone NO contact w/my narcissist mother. I am grieving but I know I’ve made the best choice. I can’t take being manipulated and abused any more. I have my own family and I owe her nothing. I tried. My heart can take NO MORE ABUSE. No more. No more. Thank you Darlene.

106

Hi ButtaFli
yay for No More! I know it is very hard and very painful. I know what it is like to have been in deep depression for years too and I hope to give and inspire hope! I have not been in a depression for over 7 years not had to take medication for well over 10 years. I wake up each day excited to get out of bed! These were things that I NEVER thought would happen for me. I am alive and I love my life!
Hugs, Darlene

107

I have been NC with my mom for over 6 months now and I am the happiest I have ever been — I never knew how peaceful I could feel inside and how much clearer I would see situations without that toxic cloud in my life. I am enjoying my time now with less stress. I also cut ties with another toxic group and although it was a bit lonelier in the beginning, I have adjusted and increased my activities, and have gotten through the mild depression and feelings of isolation. You need to take care of your emotional self or else negativity and cruelty will eat you up. No one can blame you for taking control of your life and it is not your job to please everyone else. Good Luck to All.

108

Hi KLM
Welcome to emerging from broken.
This is a very high traffic and positive site! I think you will like it here should you decide to stick around. I totally agree that we need to take care of ourselves emotionally and my site is about learning how to do just that.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

109

KLM,
Thanks for sharing your story of peace. I am in the process of going No Contact with my mom, (although she has hung on with what seems like a death grip) and I barely get to a place where peace is settling in and she contacts me in some way. I enjoy reading success stories, so thank you for adding yours. It brings hope!!

Hugs and Peace,
Mimi

110

I spent a very long time trying to get my mother to validated how she had treated me, all met with denial. A total waste of my time, why?
Because Its about their sense of self. Like each of us they have a picture of themselves that has to be kept intact and to validate us would cause to big a threat to that sense of self.

I believe we need to look within, we know what experience hurt and we are mistaken seeking others to validate us. It disconnects us from our self belief, our inner knowing, increases the power others have over us and weakens the self.

111

Colin,
I totally validate all of what you said!…The “need to look within” & “mistaken seeking others to validate us”….I do believe looking to others to validate us & over validating others creates a disconnect from our own inner knowledge & intuition. My recent shift has been to look at my states of mind: reasonable, wise & emotional and making the connection with my thoughts, feelings & behaviors. I’m validating myself where I was not validated. I don’t excuse my FOO’s spitefulness/abuse, as they didn’t know better. The truth is, They didn’t do the inner work necessary for their own healing! If you continue to be wrapped up in denial, you are not facing the truth. We all have problems & issues, the disordered ones such as sociopaths & disordered/abusive people, do not want to face the painful truth of their own insecurities & nastiness. I’m done getting their validation!…I pity them for their inability to face the Truth/Reality of their damage. Yes, if they knew better by increase awareness, they would do better. However, You can’t acknowledge what you don’t see. Not being Real with yourself IS suffering.
Love your deep insights Colin & your Blog!
Sonia

112

Well Darlene’s post has hit on the key to healing, imo. You have to recognize yourself because no one did. I have just recently learned that I have monitor my feelings with interactions and interchanges with people and situations — I mean we a do that on a superficial level. But it was the deeper continuously flowing gut feelings in us that got destroyed, isn’t it?, along with the independent thought process because we weren’t allowed to be our own persons. So I’m learning to slow down –solitude helps, so that you have time to process and reduce the incoming action. Make time to slow down and tune into yourself and remind yourself every day, maybe more than once a day, that these feelings matter and are indicators of your safety & security, your wants and needs, are they being met? — yes, you are allowed to have feelings, thoughts & needs!

113

Hi all I’m only speaking for myself/about myself.
I have endured so many forms of abusesinse childhood I so silently cried out with no help offered. I so wanted people to validate my pain and the possitive things I achieved. Not even Health Professionals would validate my various llnesses.

and I’m battling to get more diognosed.

I’m theexpert in of how my body and mind works I was right about a life time illness and a one from 3 years old. morepending.

Point being If health professionals over the years could not pick up on the incredibly obvious how could I possibly want them to validate anuntruth. how could I respect them over my own knowledge and umnderstanding of how my illnesses effect me.

I In a poem I wrote (From Adversity one’s inner strenght shines through).

What I mean by this and from my heartand soul I recodnised that I had been so grossly abused I recodnised when others were ausing me in some way. I knew I had specific illnesses. I knew how they effect me. I knew I was right and many others were wrong.

I know that only I have the answer to a more better safer and meaningful life. I also know due to illness’s some specific limitations so I adjustmy life style to better cope. taking in to account my vulnerabiliy and health and age and my surrounding’s. I have the answers.

Saying all this it’s very painful keeping my trouble’s to myself. sharing with others who have endured has been very rewarding Mutual understanding which to me is not validating you just share with someone in a very special Bond type of way. I’m still in great pain but I strive to lessen it as best and much as I possibly can as I’m sharing here not I feel very comfortable so surely it must work to share. it doe’s for Me.

Best Wishes All. .

114

Hi Again all.

Darlene. when you said ‘No one held you when you cried’.

And here is paul 55 years old crying out to be held as my only so called ‘CURE’ This incredibly desperate feeling is my biggest challenge by far. i have always known this but never payed it to much attention in terms of getting rid of thus feeling.

I was only diognosed with P.T.S.D. In 2006 My first none family related trauma was as a three year old having been cast in to a smouldering ‘FIRE’ I wont go in to grapics out o care respect but it will give an Idea of the emotional pain I enure. and there were two more attack’s at 7 and 10 year old much worse by far. and this was just the beginning of a life time of shocking event’s co incidences that have profoundly effected my life. Including the worst thing that can happen in my life Losing a baby son to RARE Disease. My son’s pain I Felt for not my own.

I really did cry silently someone Help Please Help. But I did not even know what was wrong with my mind I did not know what to ask ore who to but I did know the causes. and My there are very many to keep my Broken/damaged mind company day/night.

I was born in to a dysfunctional family as I priest told me a few years back after talking about the abuses. and I endured shocking abuses in my entire schooling so having endured so many other shocking traumas I sue had no family friend’s to ever talk to I was sillently in permanent shock with no ability to comprehend the magnitude of what was unfolding a serious of shocking event’s on a daily basi for so many years daily as the abuse was daily.

It took the loss off my child to finally realise I had to get help while in extreme trauma.

By chance I tuned in to a Radio Talk Show Who directed me to a Mental Health Drop in Centre. I talked Live on air the next week but did not wait to jump in a taxi to the Centre the next day. As oon as I walked in the door my trs were flooding I was incoherant as I was led in to a quiet room, and I just let it all out so many years of bottled up emotiond drained on to the floor in via my tears.

I could not say long that day due to my distress but I was back in a few day’s and spent a few wonderful years there metting some incredible people who all openly shared their feeling’s hope’s and problems. It’s then I knew I had to speak openly about mutual issues to try and get better services this was in 2000 12 years on I’m blogging away fighting for services I still cant get. some thing’s never change.

Previously I had never had any information about any illness let alone my health issues. I had no concept of the term Mental Health. so detatched from reality and the world around me was.

But that all changed when I started picking up Leaphlet’s in the Drop in Centre. Depression Me. Anxiety. Me Bi Polar ME ME ME ME ME. Obsessive compulsive Disorder HELP ME HELP ME HELP ME.

I’m still fighting to get a diognosis for the last two. but dont actually need it now as I said earlier I’m the expert. but it did take information to know what was keeping me ill. the causes obviously I
m sure were the combined traumatic event’s that never ever got talked about. Talk about Hidden Illnesses. I should mention I have a life time physical illness that attract’s a huge amount of stigma/extreme ridicule. The Humiliation I have endured around this illness would have caused P.T.S.D. On it’s own. There is no cure. and have no choice but to adjust my life around it’s management. having a full rewarding life as most people think of it is just impossible. I have came to terms with this so can concentrate on what I can do something about. ‘Emotionally Heal). And as Darlene so eliquently put’s it ‘Emerge from Broken’. Thank You Darlene.

Sinse my child passed In 1998 I started litrally begging for help from my doctors letting all out about all my illnesses. sadly I picked the wrong doctor as he refused to listen time and time again I’m so very hurt. I fough years for diognoses even them for tretment/management and I’m still fighting for more diognosis to help draw a line from sufferer to healed. and to get rcodnition that I was right all along and should have been helped not shunned and disbelieved when it was always so very obvious to so many people who have for many years mocked/ridiculed and stigmatised me due to my illnesses. but for health professional to go in to denial and he ensuring battle of mind’s with them has coused untolled distress and hurt. and I have no idea how to get over this massive rejection.

Overall there being so many trumas and physical illness and the rejection it’s I feel impossible to get over it all. I’m not really saying it’s ‘IMPOSSIBLE. I just have not worked out how yet Rejection and lonelyness are two mighty adversary’s. to overcome. as is the nightmare’s and obsessive thought’s/Compulsions and Manic episodes and the physical pain due to injuries while I’m sure in Manic Mode. Dont people say Life is struggle. I’m sertain that’s correct. but if you struggle that means you have not overcame? a thought to ponder.

realising and learning about what has happened to me and how it’s been effecting me is my way forward. Knowledge is such a valuable healing tool. acting on it is the tricky one nervous bit at a time with lot’s of step’s backward and frozen to the spot times. yet again people here I a’m chatting away to you all feeling very comfortable with it. if only I could walk out the door every day and replicate it. But I will never give up Hope of the better life I so need and deserve. from Survivor To Survived. Survived. Survived as in Emerged.

Good night All.

115

I have had PTSD and dissociative disorder for 41 years now, but I am in recovery, although it is very difficult. I thought you might find this interesting – one of the many things I fear is my step-father violently kicking my front door in, and attacking me at my home, (he actually did this when I was just turned 6, with me on the other side of the door. The neighbours called the police, but my mother took him back). When I was thinking about this, it is far more frightening at the thought of a family member doing it, rather than a stranger, and when I asked myself why? the answer was because it was personal, and hurtful… just wondered if anybody else felt that way?

116

Hi Paloma
I totally understand that fear. That event is extreemly frightening. When my mom let her boyfriend back in the house I never felt safe again (until I went through the healing process) because she communicated to me that I WASN’T safe! Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

117

HI everyone. It has been a while since I posted. I dont sit on line long enough to read the blog or post too much but I appreciate the blog. I am having a health crisis that is lingering and sitting up is painful. Anyway the title caught my eye. I have done a significant amount of healing even to the point of running a sexual abuse survivor group. This might sound weird unless you have experienced it.I have spoken to my therapist and he says it is common.But we have an ongoing leak night mare in our building where we live. This is the 3rd time our wall and ceiling caved in. We have to go away for them to fix it each time with workers in and out of our place incessantly with their dirty work boots. We pay mortgage and 2000 a month is maintenance and our coop has been voted # 1 in NYC in the past but new management has turned it into a night mare. We live a a safe neighborhood no real crime. But the ongoing problems with leaks and paying maintenance plus we have to pay for the repairs on top of it. Anyway out of all the things I am going through I guess you would call it a trigger and at a scale from 1-10 I am at an 11 is water bugs. We have had exterminators come dozens of times. But I have an absolute full blown phobia of them. I cant sleep due to hearing them I get up and look for them and have my hubby kill them. But after all of the rapes and things I have gone through and cancer and abuse and so on this is the thing that has affected me the most! It is more fear than anything else not depression or anything but a full blown phobia that if I see or hear them I freak out so bad I cant even tell you! And I cant get rid of them no matter what I do! We cant afford to move as much as we pay we pay less than others. But anyway my post is about how I pretty much healed yet these bugs have triggered a fear I havent felt since childhood the helplessness. Oh and my computer was hacked again the on going issues I have with the insane people who sued me to shut me up because I know the truth about their abuse. So mine is not about my mom or anything right now :) but still having PTSD or again due to these bugs! The difference is I have healed quite a bit in regards to my truth and my thinking is still clear -unless I see a bug! It might sound frivolous but it is the same helpless feeling I had a child! It has been going on for a year and there doesnt seem to be anything we can do! I dont suffer from any of the split personality stuff or anything but the stress level and the amount of stress that just came out of nowhere is pretty intense! With abusers I can easily get them out of my life. But the bugs wont leave! My hubby is supportive but this is draining!

118

Hi Pinky!
Wow that sounds awful. I am so sorry that you are having to deal with that! Bugs would freak me out too!
Hugs, Darlene

119

Thanks Darlene!

120

I too am having the worst time of my life. I have a family of 2 sisters and 3 brothers. I believe not one of them know what I go through.Some don’t want to know. My Mom’s Father molested me from the age of 7-16. I always ask myself why did I let him continue in my older ages? Family is very difficult. I have a very bad habit of handling my feeling of not being the same as the rest of the family by lashing out at everyone but especially my Sisters. I feel they should be there for me now 15 years later when I am having flashback. Nothing worse just like it’s happening again in the now. I have one sister who does not care to hear about anything all she wants is to protect her family. She has already told me she does not have the time to sit on the phone and talk to me. She has a family. All of her children are married? I am in a lot of pain and very depressed. I do see a phyc. and hope some day I too can learn to live a happy life. I am 52 years old. Why now?

121

To reply to Jane, post no.120

All I can say to you is based on my own personal experiences, and therefore, it might not be right, but, having suffered the same type of rejection in my own family, I would give them a wide berth if I was you.

Their constant not wanting to know about what has happened to you, or what you are going through can’t be doing your value as a person any good. Speak to people who do want to know.

122

Hi Jane
Welcome to EFB
You didn’t let him continue, you didn’t know that you even had a choice in the matter. That is the way they get away with it.. none of it was your fault. You will find a lot of info in this site about all your questions.
Glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene

123

Thanks for you comment they help alot. I am new to this so what I say may not make a lot of sense. I am going to my phyc. Sat with my Mom I am terrified my sister says my mom is ready to hear that I blame her but I don’t blame her for the abuse just for the neglect since mu twin brothers where born when I was just 14 months old and I was shipped out to my other grandmothers till she had the twins she was 5 months pregnant I was 4 months old. I always felt in the way , there were 3 older siblings that were old enough to take care of themselves

124

Paul, I think I have it bad you have to continue to try like I am going to do. I feel unloved unwanted a reject of the family not only being the only one in my family molested by my grandfather for 14 years, I am the only one divorced. I am now remarried and most of my brothers barely speak to him. or his sons. My Niece just christed her daughter and did not invite my husband of 12 years sons and their families, and none of my family think it was mean and wrong. you are strong. we all are we just have to find our way is what I think.

125

I’m sure that people will be glad to have you on here Jane. Whatever you do for your healing, be kind and understanding to yourself. Don’t blame yourself in any way for the abuse that happened to you, I think a lot of people do, and I did myself, but it isn’t true. Abusers use power and conditioning, and they are very manipulative. You will give yourself strength by understanding and accepting yourself.

126

Fear will always be with us we have to continue to fight it and admit it is at least over. Better said than done I no.

127

Paloma,
Just how do you go about doing that ? don’t you want to blame someone here and now my grandfather died years ago with his nasty vicious dreadful secret. Think there is a way my grandmother new?

128

I think you have misunderstood me Jane. I didn’t say don’t blame the nasty people who abused you, of course it is their fault. What I said is don’t blame yourself.

129

Pinky bugs can be easily exterminated, Don’t let them get to you. you have overcome so much you should be proud of you I am.

130

Paloma,

tomorrow I am having a appt with my Mom and my Phyc. I am truly terrified. I am afraid of what i will say I do not want to hurt my Mom yet there are things I need her to know. Just because it was her father does not mean I blame her. However she sent me there almost 1 to 2 times a month for the weekend. Just to get me out of the way so she would not have to deal with me and could concentrate on the twins and my older brother playing football. they volunteered at the local sports field and where there every weekend. I was too young to go alone because they had to work at the food stand and my Dad was a coach. How do I explain all this and yet let her no I don’t blame her for what her father did to me?

Jane

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Hi Jane
Tell her for you because you need to tell her and don’t worry so much about her reaction. It is okay to be angry with a parent who didn’t know they were putting you in danger in the first place. It is okay to feel as though our parents “should” have known something was wrong. All the best with your meeting; how wonderful that you will have your psych there too!
Hugs, Darlene
(and for the sake of other readers I want to validate that yes, sometimes they did know; I hear stories all the time here that mothers who themselves were abused by their fathers, left thier kids alone with him anyway.)

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Thanks Darlene,

It will be so very hard my Mom is going to be 80 and well the things you think of.??? She is somehwat supportive . But thinks yu take a pil and all is fine.
Double hugs to you
thanks

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Jane,
I understand. I just want you to keep in mind YOUR needs. Imagine the child self trapped inside you and imagine her begging for someone, anyone to listen to her for a change. You can be that person for her/you. That is what was so life changing for me. :)
Hugs and my heart is with you today!

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Thank you so much I am so glad I found this blog site you are all so wonderful and yet with all we all have been through. God Bless You

Many hugs
Jane

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@Jane I know you mean to be helpful but we have had endless exterminations as well as engineers coming to seal up hidden holes. It has been going on for over a year so unless you go through it you cant imagine how bad it is. It si easy to say just exterminate but we have done it endlessly with no results other than a ruined brand new carpet! Plus these are mutant huge bugs the size of which I have only seen in zoos before!

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Pinkey I am so sorry I thought that this just happened I feel your pain I had Bed bugs in my family room Yes family room threw out every single bit of furniture including rugs etc. I know how you feel it is terrible
just to try and relax must be impossible. Do you own? can you move may be the best for your health even though a nightmare to move.

So must have read wrong.
I hope things get better soon.

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@Jane these are water bugs huge mutant bugs but yes we own and cant afford to move. I have a serious illness and any little bit of money we have goes to treatments. Thanks though. We would move if we could!

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hello darlene, i can relate to everything u told in yr article. i still have difficulty in validating my pain, my right to be angry and as u added…to “change those lies to the truth to begin to live again”. So, Id like, just as u managed to do, “to see where and how my worth and self esteem got so damaged” so that I become “able to repair the damage and reclaim my worth and my value.” This is what i aimed at in order to start sleeping normally again without having any pills and so on.
All that will help me realise my dreams.
thanx for y help.
emanuela ricci

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Hi Emanuela!
Welcome to emerging from broken! Yes there is so much hope!
I am glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene,

The meeting was an emotional mess. Mom is not talking to me. My Sister heard from me what happened and she was in tears and I broke her heart too. What am I to do Just want to give up trying it just does not seem to worth all the pain I am causing my family. We are going to try again this Sat. But my Mom won’t talk to me now either will my sisters. Just what am I to do? My Mom says maybe I should just stay away from everyone for a while. Maybe she is right. She said for a few weeks. that will go through the holidays and ruin them for me and everyone else and I will be the one to blame………SO very sad,angry and all alone.

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Hi Jane
I am sorry it went so badly! From my own exp. I had to stop looking at it from thier point of view. I had to start seeing it as my right to have a voice and the pain that this was causing and had caused me. Being told to stay away is a tactic. It is a punishing. Perhaps they are the ones ruining everything by discounting your needs. I had to start thinking about me.
Hang in there Jane! I know this is really hard!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Emanuela,
This is a blog I just started and all of these people do know exactly how we all feel and what we are feeling as far as self worth and self esteem. I love this blog. Welcome and I hope you stick with us and you will get a lot out of it. It is at a min. keeping me together to function with daily activities.Hang in there, and Welcome.
Hope and hugs,Jane

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Darlene,
I have tried to spend one day each with my sisters to see if we could somehow come to some kind of an agreement on how we can get along without fighting all the time. I don’t think it was such a good idea. either one of them got what I was trying to say, I don’t even think I knew what I was trying to say. They just don’t want to deal with my past or the last couple of weeks when things have been really horrible. Love is a strange thing, one can call have one definition and the other a different definition.

I am just going to go on with the rest of time here on earth alone. well I will have my immediate family family but not my Mom or sisters. They really just don’t understand or i think care to at this point in their lives. And the worst holiday of the year is coming up and I will be very anxious and terrified with thanksgiving I was always his dessert on thanksgiving and I hate the holiday. all the rest of the family just loves it. They have no idea what this holiday does to me…………. or what I went through on this day for 15-16 years.Still wish I could just stay home and be alone this day

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another meeting with psych and mom this weekend so scared about this one

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Hi Jane!
Hang in there! Let us know how it goes.
Hugs, Darlene

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I have decided to take control of my own life. I don’t care what everyone thinks about me anymore. I have worried about this my whole life and it never turned out very good. PTSD is going to be something I learn to deal with and live with not it living for me. I am so tired, ANGRY, SAD, of what everyone thinks of me and says about me. It is always one sided. If they just spent one day of my life They would understand, yet they choose not to even care. Ignoring me and keeping me out of things makes life easier in the end because after the fighting and yelling I am still all alone. WHy am I even here anyway?

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Hi Jane
There was a very distinct anger stage when I started to realize that they were not going to listen to me. They were NOT going to see my side of it and they had made up thier minds. If I was not going to go along with things the way they wanted, then I was going to be cast away. That is when I knew that I had to be my own family; I had to hear me, I had to learn to take care of me, I had to realize that they are WRONG and that they can’t define me anymore. I stopped tyring to get them to understand. That was the beginning.
Hugs, Darlene

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Thanks Darlene for validating my anger as no-one else seems to think I have any right to get angry. If only they new Hugh? I will go it alone I really don’t think I will be missed much they (my sisters) don’t talk to me anyway.Now My Niece who got just the bits and pieces her Mother wanted her to no does not speak to me and all I did for this child now an adult when she was growing up how quickly they forget. I was treating them the way I wanted to be treated special. Never happened for me me But I was going to make sure my sisters daughters new how special they where.

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Our bug situation seems to have been taken care of It took over a year. We had to have electricians come and fill all holes where outlets were so they couldn’t get in. But now that brings me to a situation that has been going on for also about a year but only from time to time. This one is easier to resolve but it just shows me how much self care I need to do and my hubby is aware and helps me with these issues too. We live in NYC in a condop which is a combination of condo and coop and we have to give a key to management all residents do. We avoided it fro many years but finally had to comply after a 500.00 fine. I noticed my feminine products were messed with every time I left. I confronted the person with the key on i and I thought well it must have been an emergency but it kept happening. I had them in what I thought was secret places if I was going out. (No dogs are allowed any more) I used to have a trained attack dog which would put an end to this but I cant have a dog now) It creeps me out really bad that someone would mess with something personal. hey not only steal them but leave them in a way I would never. (being the clean and neat freak that I am) The last time I went off and threatened them. They still denied it but it cant be anyone else. Its just super freaky to me that if you steal you steal feminine products. It is too personal. I bought the person their own put their name on it and left it on their desk. It still continued. So we are buying a safe for it. We cant afford a security camera. But I feel so violated and I have to actually put feminine products in a safe! I have a diamond ring that I wont wear that is easy to find because NY apartments are small but they dont steal that they steal my feminine products. We are getting a safe this weekend for it yes a safe! How crazy! And I feel violated. I reported them to management but nobody believes me. Which as you must know it brings back so many bad memories. I mean why the hell would anyone lie about this? Anyway talking to my therapist about it today!

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Hooray Pinkey no more bugs so very very happy for you as for the theft those things are expensive too. How creepy. Good luck with the safe. and leave out empty boxes with set mouse traps that will teach them……..again congrats on the bugs just seems to me that the condo people should have taken care of that situation but oh well finally fixed. And I believe you………..

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@Jane I didnt think of mouse traps LOL! For me it is more about the personal violation it is creepy as you said! Thanks for the good idea! Hehe! It is about their sick obsession with me and I have a lot of people throughout my life who have had that it creeps me out! Thanks for believing me! :0

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SO Happy to hear you laugh…………………:)

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thanks for making me laugh! :)

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Not to bring things down but……My sister and niece are not talking to me and prob. is the end of our relationship. Family sucks they take sides, they gang up on you. They try harder and harder to push you away. everyone else is important but since you have a serious illness you are a disgrace to the family and you are told to just shut up. I am at the point that I really don’t even think I belong here anymore. The only people keeping me going are my Husband and daughter. I have a few friends that I talk to and they help. but imagine friends not family. I am so very tired of trying to make myself better but everything just backfires. Just because I was at Thanksgiving all think everything is OK . They have no idea what i went through mentally that day they just assumed. My future is very iffy for me right now. I can not deal with this anymore I just can’t.

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Hi Jane
Re no one validating your anger; one of the things that I noticed as I came out of that whole fog storm was that they didn’t actually validate ANYTHING about me except my ability to cook ~ which of course worked for them! I had to get to the point where I didn’t need them to validate any of my rights. I had to just know that I had rights and validate my rights without needing any input from anyone else.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pinky,
well yay that the bug problem is solved. I love the mouse trap idea! Let us know if you try that!
Hugs, Darlene

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they don’t even think I have any rights it is there way only I have no rights anymore never did.I am having a break down again and am trying to get to see my psych. tom. waiting on a response.I am not about to lose it I lost it.

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Jane
I totally understand. Something that really helped me was to realize that I have rights and to keep validating that for myself. They don’t get to say if you have rights or not. They don’t have THAT right.
Hang in there hon.
Hugs, Darlene

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@Darlene I am afraid to try the mouse trap idea as I think I would get trapped too but it may work on other things that I dont use every day! I still think its a great idea! hehe! And you can delete this if you dont think it is appropriate.
Jane you are such a nice person thinking of others. If you are sensitive and even if you are not people like that can wreck your emotions. This is just my own experience so I am not saying it will work for everyone and I don’t know your living situation but for me what has worked is seeing these people as emotional clutter and getting rid if them! I just cut them out of my life! It gives me so much peace! I know it is not always possible due to living situations but if possible I cut them off Every year at New Years I take an inventory of how much clutter I am going to cut out of my life! I hope this helps!

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Pinky I try real hard to be a good person but these good deeds get overlooked because I am not like the rest of the family. I have emotional problems that I acquired from being molested not because I am a bad person . But no-one see it that way. I am to hush up and deal with all of this alone . Yet they know I am not the only family member that was molested yet I seem to have been the longest and the other family members get more respect then I do. Why? This is supposedly my so called family That don’t even speak to me. My phone never rings ever…..

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How do you throw away family? It has broke my heart that my family does not care about me or what I am going through now, they have no idea how hard it is and they don’t want to no either. I am all alone I have no family anymore one of 6 children and no one is calling me or talking to me. Only support is my Husband and daughter

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@Jane I am sorry to hear about your pain. being alone, in my experience support groups work. Darlene may be able to elaborate on this more and may have subjects you can read about this. In general at least IMO it doesnt at all help to ask why about anything. That is where you get stuck. Darlene had something on her page recently on FB a quote from Rosa Parks. It was really powerful in the context of healing from abuse.
“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”-then Darelne posted after that quote make up your mind to heal.
Right now you are in a cycle that is not ending it is a circle. Endings are also new beginnings. I read a very helpful book that applies to every area of life. Called Necessary Endings. Really powerful book. It gives you courage to leave jobs and relationships of all kinds that are hurting you or not helping you keeping you in the past. You said your only support is your husband and daughter. I would encourage you to try to find a support group. If you cant your husband and daughter supporting you is wonderful. You have a new family now. If you keep going back to the biological family to find support where you have not before it doesnt seem like things will change. Instead of focusing on why they dont care in my experience it is more helpful to focus on who is supporting you. Also if you find the courage to cut ties permanently you can find support for that in a support group. If you do it it empowers you. As an example my hair was falling out last year due to illness and medication. Thankfully it stopped. It was really distressing. Instead of allowing it to victimize me I decided to cut my hair so that the loss was voluntary and not something that was victimizing me. Now for me to cut my hair was like am amputation LOL! I dont know if you have seen my pictures on FB but the shortest my hair has been the last 30 years is to my waist. Then I had it cut just below my ear. It is growing again now and is about shoulder length. But to me that is still super short. I have this attitude because my parents used too cut my hair against my will. So it always empowered me to grow it once I was away from them. Since cutting it last year that also empowered me not to feel victimized by illness. Now I have new growth and I do believe that is a life principle. IMO cutting causes mew growth! xoxo

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Pinky, I will get that book and read it. NOW! Losing a family of 5 brothers and sisters is very very hard and devastating.Not to mention all my nieces and nephews. We were at one point pretty close. But with my lack of self worth it has ruined this family situation. I talk to no one . no one calls, I call no-one answers they screen there calls I am all alone when it comes to my family. and it hurts so much. I know why the hair business I work in oncology. Hope all is well now. Temp. Amputation right…..remember that. I have been to a support group and it was ridiculous people talking about drivers in the city and stupid stuff like that not the real issues. Thank you so very much for taking the time to talk with me you will never no how much you help talking to me:)

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@Jane sorry about your experience with the support group. The leaders and structure are what make it or break it. Sounds like poor leadership. I hope the book helps! I think Darlene can explain better or in a way you can understand. But I think most survivors or at least many think they were close to their family. Then when you start to speak your truth in any way or even just confront it in your own life they reject you. But the truth is you (not you specially but all abuse survivors) were only “close” if you did it on their terms. They are not invested in helping you heal. I think as Darlene says all the time you begin to see the lies for what they are. It is not your self esteem issues.It is the dysfunctional family system of lies that you are not responding to in the robotic way of the past and they dont like it. But you are saying that losing a family of 5 siblings is hard but the other alternative sounds like to stay in the system lie believe their lives go into denial no healing just to be accepted. I would not look at it as losing a family but as gaining truth gaining freedom self esteem and so much more. I have an adopted son who I am estranged from. His parents were IV drug users but both died of aids so I adopted him. His dad saved my life (long story) and we were friends. He used to tell me the way he survived in jail was not to join a gang. He said predators know when you are weak. Weak people join gangs, They know you need them so they take advantage. When you stand alone you are respected but when you are seen as weak you are preyed upon. Your family sounds like they are preying upon you.If you witch it around to your terms by being the one to reject them you empower yourself and also put them on notice that you can stand alone. And the truth is you are not alone. Your husband and your daughter are with you. That is wonderful you are not alone! Many survivors are! Your family knows you need them so thy are using emotional black mail to control you. The way it works is they dont talk to you until you are able to be controlled by them. As Darlene says see the lies then once you start unraveling the lie of the close family you will realize you do not need them.

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I need my sisters that is my problem . My nieces and nephews mean the world to me. and my one sister (the oldest) is the one causing all the problems of not letting her kids know and not sharing with them what I am going through right now. They are to perfect of a family to hear this kind of things. Because I told my 31 year old niece that I suffer from PTSD she will not talk to me. Her family is so perfect they can’t know something like this can happen in “our” family.

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mY sISTER IS READING ALL MY BLOGS i’LL HAVE TO FIND ANOTHER WAY FOR HELP .THANKS TO ALL OF YOU

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Hi Jane
I am going to send you a private email ~ please look for it.
Hugs, Darlene

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Thanks for the ideas and help life really sucks right now

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Hi Annie
I am sorry that you are going through such a rough time right now. I know that the healing process can be long and it isn’t easy! Hang in there and share as often as you wish.
Hugs, Darlene

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How can one start over with family and friends without losing their mind? and can it be done?

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Hi Annie
Are you asking me if it can be done or are you asking me if other people besides me can do it? Because in my view, if I can do it, so can everybody else! There is hope Annie!
Hang in here!
Hugs, Darlene

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Thanks so much for all your help Darlene you are an Angel for me…. Tomorrow all the girls in the family get together for some fun holiday cheer and crafts I am going with my daughter and daughter in-law they will meet her for the first time hope all goes well,and all the rest of the family again terrified. But will go anyway.

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Thats awesome Annie!
I hope it all goes great!
Hugs, Darlene

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family day turned out to be pretty good all had a nice time still some issues with other family members. But I am not going to let it bother me anymore. I am a victim and I am trying very hard to get through this horrible time. I will have to do it alone and with out family help, so be it.

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Annie
I am glad that it turned out okay
Hugs, Darlene

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I have been asked again to stay away for a while after another fight with my Mom . SHe told me I should just stay away for a while……..Nice of her .

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So I will stay away for a long while

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Annie
This is so tragic and so horribly typical. My husband and I were talking this morning about how we used to really believe that one day they would ‘hear us’ and see the error they had made and that we never were what we said we were. But that never happened. That’s okay. There is freedom on the other side of the pain. Hang in here!
Hugs, Darlene

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Well I am going to take the advice and just stay away for a long while, Not that i think anything will change. I have done a lot of mean things but so have they. But they are just remembering the mean things I have done so I am going to stay away.

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Being an abused child by an alcoholic father..he would get drunk, beat me and an absent mother…I asked her once why she left him to do it and never stop him. Her answer- “He would have got worse, he would have started on me then!” I was so outraged with her I didn’t speak to her for two years something she still won’t let me forget and she wont forgive me to this days and its 15 years. I don’t care if she ever does! She is pathetic and selfish in my eyes and not worth the name mother in my eyes in this aspect..
anyways i realize it led me to an alcoholic husband who beat me and left me with a TBI..PTSD! I didn’t realize I ad it until My youngest daughter was in college last summer. She wrote a paper on it. In this paper she interviewed a fellow soldier and he described his feelings..i cried and cried..he knew exactly how i felt…it was one month later my husband left me for another woman.
But as I emerge from my broken self I keep thinking and knowing I am not alone and I have hope to heal to whole..some how some way I wll make this..even if I keep making mistakes along the way…
I only wonder if and how I should distance myself from the original abusers..after the husband left I moved back within miles of my parents..ugh!
can I have distance In heart and mind without cutting them out..is it possible?

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Staying away is actually making me much calmer and less stressed. Maybe the best thing I could do is just stay away.

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Thats awesome Annie!
Hugs, Darlene

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I haven’t really developed many of the symptoms often associated with PTSD until the last couple of years. I just used to be constantly depressed and had a lot of rage. Recently I have been experiencing anxiety and panic attacks over some of the littlest things. It helps to know that others DO understand. I have faced the abuse of the past as this article discussed. I even wrote and published a book about it. Yet still the aftershocks haunt me.

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Hi David
Welcome to EFB
You are not alone in this! Please feel free to share often!
hugs, Darlene

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Hi David I would love to read your book what is the name of it? You are amazing that you could actually write the book. I always say I can but don’t. Way to go David. The aftershocks for me have been over 35 years. this site helps so much Darlene is an Angel straight from heaven

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Well Thank God the Holidays are over…….Now I can keep my distance and stay away from all which really actually has helped me emotionally.

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[...] time, the love of my husband and my faith, my PTSD became more manageable but I didn’t learn that I suffered from clinical depression until I [...]

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I am scared to death to confront this. I really do need help. I am on Medicare, for PTSD disability. Can you help?

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Hi Louanne
I am not sure what you are asking me; My one on one work is not covered by any insurance and I am not a therapist, I am a life transitions coach. I don’t work specifically with depression due to the guidlines that I am under as a coach.
Please contact me through the contact form here if you have any further questions and I will see what I can do. Meanwhile there is some very good information here in this website about how I dealt with and overcame my own depressions. You may find some comfort in them.
Hugs, Darlene

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I have been emotionally abused by my Mother, my siblings, and an older couple who entered my life when I felt battered by my family, “nurturing” and “encouraging” me until they controlled me. For about 2 hours I was sternly lectured a few years ago by a very controlling pastor when I went to him with questions. During all these years, everyone in my life has told me that my Mom really loved me, that she was where she was, that she was just wounded, and that I should just love her and forgive her more. I was told that I should stop judging the pastor–that no one is perfect. These people made me feel even more battered, and confused, and filled with self-doubt. They seemed to have more compassion for the abusers than for me.

All my abusive relationships ended in about one year’s time. I didn’t plan it that way. One by one, events unfolded: My Mom yelled at me when I told her I loved her, a sister who refused to ever pick up the phone when I called because I had offended her with some imagined slight, friends who I saw were lying to me and controlling me. One by one, I couldn’t endure anymore, I finally spoke up, defended myself, and the relationships ended. I am in many, many ways relieved.

I have been very strong, not giving in to pressure when I knew something wasn’t right or that I was being lied to or controlled. I have always attempted to put “truth” to the lies. However, the lies were so strong. So many times I have doubted my perceptions, wondering if I was to blame or if I was unloving and unforgiving, even while I resisted the abuse. I am so thankful for this site, which I just found a few weeks ago. It’s been the first time that I have had my abuse acknowledged. I seem myself, my struggles, my symptoms, in many posts and comments. It’s not just ME. I wasn’t exaggerating. I wasn’t to blame. I was ABUSED.

I have endured the turmoil of the relationships for so long, and it was such a battle to finally lose the door on them! I have felt more and more indecisive, struggling to make decisions. I have struggled to know who I am: A saint or a monster? Loving or unforgiving? Setting healthy boundaries or simply being cruel? (Over and over again I have thought things through logically, and believe that I am not what they told me I was and not to blame for how they treated me.) I feel crushed. For several months I have awaken in the mornings with deep discouragement. I have to drag myself out of bed, although usually I have felt cheerful once I was up. However, the depression has increased. I feel tearful, tired, emotional, fragile, easily overwhelmed, and unable to handle problems. I feel like a failure at everything. I feel as if I am absolutely emotionally exhausted. Reading this post, I wonder if maybe it’s PTSD? I know I will get through this. It won’t last forever. I will keep telling myself the truth, keep confronting lies. Step by step by step.

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Hi TJ
I am going to be publishing a new post soon about how damaging it is when people stick up for the abuser and discount the abused. It’s like being re-abused! As I emerged out of the serious fog that I lived in in order to survive, I saw all kinds of the truth about the way it really was. Just the fact that people walked away from relationship with you when you stuck up for yourself is a truth leak about THEM. My mother did that to me; it was not long before I realized that her message to me was “no Darlene, i can’t do what you are asking” and the painful message beneath that was “you are not worth the effort” (I told her that I would only have a relationship with her based on MUTUAL respect) and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this was not a new message.

About the exhausting, it IS exhausting coming out of that fog and seeing the truth. I think I was exhausted for 2 years, but the energy I have today is like nothing I had ever imagined!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

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TJ,
I have felt all those things you describe too. And, it’s been a roller coaster to say the least. Sometimes feeling like one step forward, two steps back. If I would find myself tearful one day after a few months of being stable, I feared it was all coming back ~ All the pain and near disability of the first year of learning about my mother.

I don’t have really bad days now unless there is a trigger. I am just now at a point where I realize these triggers and still very much learning. The thing I fail to remind myself in down times is, there is still hope. It’s not the end of the world to have a down time, especially if there was a significant trigger. I remember writing on here 18 months ago or thereabouts, about laying down to take a nap and sleeping 8 hours. Then, going to bed and sleeping all night. I don’t do that anymore at all. I don’t even really take naps. But, during that time of all out emotional upheaval, I needed that extra sleep. My brain had to have some quiet time. I’m convinced that’s what it was. My brain couldn’t take anymore of the crap going through it while I was awake. I suppose it could be called depression. But, I just think of it as exhaustion from all the thinking. I think it will improve ~ I had all the same things you describe, and I’m so much better. There is no rushing it for sure. I wanted to, and tried to. It just couldn’t be done.

I’m still working at healing. It just takes time I think. I can still think I’ve not made progress sometimes. But, I know I have when I think about those dark days.

Peace and Hope to you!!

Darlene,
I’m looking very forward to the post you mentioned above. This is what happened with my sister a week or so ago. I know after what you wrote to my comments at that time, that this was exactly what happened. Reinjury. UGH!! I am prepared to move in a different direction to avoid that now.

xoxo,
Mimi

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Thank you!

Mimi, it does feel like two steps forward and one step back! I have constantly fought against the lies of my emotional abusers, and have made much progress over the years. But a couple years ago, I ended up closing the door on every abuser in my life. As I said, I hadn’t planned to do so, but one by one I confronted lies:

I called my Mom to tell her that I loved her, and was met with an terrible verbal attack. I hung up. A few months later, my Mom sent me a “sweet letter.” I answered, telling her that we all say and do things that are hurtful and let’s let it go and forgive. When she responded with “What have I ever done that hurt you,” I told her. She sent back the next letter I wrote her unopened. Relationship over.

My sister often put me down and insulted me, which I let go because she was wounded. However, she started not answering my calls when I didn’t even know that I had upset her. She got angry with stuff that I didn’t imagine anyone ever getting upset about, such as the fact that I had more FB friends then her. I actually think she grew angry that I wrote about our family’s abuse and then everything else upset her too? When she stopped answer my phone calls, I eventually stopped calling. I can have a relationship with someone who doesn’t want it. Relationship over.

For 3-4 years, my friend kept telling me every single time that we talked that because of her mother’s stroke, she “had no time for reading, studying, praying, thinking…or for friends.” I understand that being a caregiver is exhausting, so I accepted it. However, it got tiresome hearing it EVERY SINGLE ENCOUNTER, and I began to think it was her shield. She is someone who wants to be seen as wise, and she wants to be the one who is strong and fixes other people. She does not want to be the one who is weak and needs to be helped, so she withdraws whenever she struggles until she can come back as strong. I also think she needs people to be weak around her. I saw attempts to force me into the role of needy after I was the strong one and she was the weaker. When I finally told her in concern that she needed to let her friends help her when she was struggling–that’s what friends are for–and that she needed to take a break to care for herself as well as her Mom or she’d get sick, she said, “What are you talking about? I have time for friends! I have time to read, study, think, and pray!” I then caught her in many lies and manipulations. She had occasionally told me that people must be protected from the truth because they can’t handle it. I saw control others, but figured it was not up to me to fight their battles, and if they were willing to accept it, there wasn’t anything I could do. However, when my friend began telling me that she was protecting ME from the truth, I told her NO, do not protect me from the truth, it’s the truth that sets us free, not comforting lies. I’d rather struggle to accept difficult truths than have her protect me from it, and I refused to let her set herself up as god in my life, determining what I could handle or not handle. Our relationship died then, but she tried to restart it a year or so later. When she said that her daughter (one of those she controled) now wanted nothing to do with her, and I had also abandoned her, and that she wasn’t able to think and she didn’t think we had anything in common anymore…I couldn’t endure more. I agreed that our lives were in different places and we no longer had anything in common. Then she immediately changed, writing me “Did I say we had nothing in common? I was thinking, as I sat in my chair enjoying the quiet morning, looking through the window at my flowers, and listening to the beautiful birds while I drank my steaming cup of hot coffee, that OF COURSE we have many things in common…” No more. I wrote that we were in different places and had grow apart and I didn’t think we could be friends. End of relationship.

All these things, the death of my husband’s father, and his niece’s husband getting killed in Afghanistan, and MORE, happened within one year. I think I’ve gotten emotionally exhausted from all these battles and sorrows. I feel exhausted, battered, and sad. I feel filled with self doubt, not sure who I am anymore. I feel as if I’ve taken backward steps. I don’t really think I have. I can see myself taking forward steps:

For example, several scouts in my son’s Boy Scout Troop have been working toward becoming Eagle Scouts. One boy asked to borrow my son’s slider, which holds their uniform kerchief in place, for an important Eagle Scout meeting in which candidates needed to be in full uniform. My son chose to lend it, telling the boy that he needed to return it right away so he’d have it for his own meeting. Three, four weeks went by and I remembered that we hadn’t gotten it back. My son could lose out on his Eagle Scout badge if he wasn’t in full uniform. In the past, it would have been difficult for me to ask for something back. It wasn’t nice, you see. We’ve had people not return things and we’ve bought replacements. We’ve had people return things broken, and we’ve replaced it. THIS time I thought, why should my son be penalized because this kid didn’t return his slider? Why should we have to make the effort to drive 60 miles round trip to get to the Boy Scout store to buy another slider for my son? So I wrote several nice emails to the kid’s mother, asking that he please return it. She answered the first one quickly, saying that her son would return it after school on Friday. It didn’t happen so I wrote another, and another. Finally the kid returned it, and apologized for not getting it back sooner. Yay! A victory for me! But immediately I felt hit with waves of guilt and self-doubt that I had acted like a spoiled brat, nagging and demanding the return of the slider. I knew I hadn’t, and my husband encouraged me that I WAS NOT WRONG. I know that if I hadn’t spoken up, the slider would not have been returned. Sometimes I think it is completely idiotic that I struggle with such minor things. But I know I have been manipulated and abused to accept that everything is my fault, and that if I stand up for myself I am being mean, not nice, rocking the boat…So I am ignoring the guilt and self-doubt and telling myself that I wasn’t wrong to ask for the slider back…

I take steps forward despite the guilt and self-doubt, and then congratulate myself on my victory, despite the guilt and self-doubt. But, oh, it is exhausting to have these constant battles against emotional abusers who have crushed me with anger, blame, manipulation, twisted truth, and rejection.

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TJ,
I think it’s fantastic that you asked for the slider back. Who knows what the mother’s intentions were. Perhaps it was an oversight, but it could have just as easily been the mother hoping you’d forget. Sometimes, I don’t have a very sunny disposition when it comes to others and their intentions. The point is, what a victory for you. I understand what you went through. It almost feels like I’M the guilty party. As if it was ME whose expectations were out of line, to the point that I might even agree on some level that it never belonged to me. Guilt for wanting what’s rightfully mine, to be returned to me. I so get all that. It’s crazy to put ourselves through that isn’t it? It’s also crazy trying to stop, Haha!! NOOOO easy feat for sure.

2011 was my year of all out overwhelming pain. I ceased to function and didn’t really realize it until time has passed and I can look back on that year. Lot’s of relationships changed for me too in one year. I thought I might die, even though I had no physical reason to believe so. And, at times, I wanted to die. Heaven sounded like such a relief to me.

I had a recent victory as well. I finally came back at a coworker who had in the past, liked to tell me how to do something. I finally said, “I’ve done this before, I know what I’m doing.” The atmosphere changed, and, she changed. I don’t think I’ll be up against that denigration in the future with her. There was also a new employee that’s basically a bully. It was my first time to meet her. She is crass and abrasive and speaks VERY loudly. I think often times, these bully types really size people up in their first meetings. I decided this first meeting with her was going to go MY way, not hers. As she sized me up over the course of the evening, I got increasingly more confident and determined. I was never rude to her by any means. I just didn’t let her walk on me. I did let her know that I’m confident in my work. (although that’s not always true…. I had to make it true in order to set the stage for our working relationship). I felt like this first time meeting was the best chance at conveying that I’m no doormat.

It’s disheartening that these people are EVERYwhere. But, I can’t tell you how good it felt to just be strong for once. To advocate for myself and not feel guilty. I think there must come a time for most people, that this doormat stance gets old. The night ended with me feeling reinforced by those simple gestures/words that stated, “you do not have permission to push me around”. It’s so true, if we let people, they certainly will take the opportunity to beat us down, and take advantage of us, even if only subtly.

I really did feel some liberation and freedom when I worked that night. I didn’t struggle with the guilt. It felt good to lay down some ground rules about how I will be treated. Some of it may have even been nonverbal. These bully types get the picture though. They waste precious thought and energy trying to find the fractures in our being so they can slither their way in and start to destroy. Since having this experience, I realize that confidence is going to be a “must have”, even if I have to fake it. Otherwise, I’m roadkill. The world is filled with these kinds of people waiting to prey on others to boost their own self worth which is in the toilet.

Forgive me, I know I wrote about this somewhere else in a sleepy haze. I can’t remember what post it was on. But, my memory is better than it was 18 months ago. And, that’s a step in the right direction! Must. Keep. Hope.

Congratulations to you for getting that slider back. At least this mother knows she can’t get over on you. And huge congrats on your son’s efforts to become an Eagle Scout!! That’s fantastic!! Not many scouts reach that level. :)

Peace and Hope,
Mimi

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Mimi,

I so appreciate (and relate) to your comments! And congrats on your own victories! Yay for you!

I find I have to fight constantly against being “nice.” I do not mean that I am trying to be nasty or unloving but I’m trying to overcome a sort of nice that makes me unable to disagree, set healthy limits, or ask for a Boy Scout slider back. Sometimes when I have failed to set a healthy boundary, I think it through and then tell myself that I how I will set a boundary next time. For example, maybe 3 years ago, I was struggling with a health problem and my friend dropped off some medicine for me. Then she asked me if I’d walk her through my garden, which surrounds my house. I took her through the garden because it wouldn’t have been “nice” not to, even though I was not feeling well, hadn’t sleep well in days, and the last thing I wanted was to walk through my garden that day. Later I thought “My goodness, what would have been so bad about simply saying that I would take her through my garden on another day when I felt better?” But I had been so deeply taught that it was “not nice” to speak up, to express my wishes, to defend myself, and to set healthy boundaries. That incident is my reminder that I CAN set boundaries!

You are right that there are so many manipulative bullies around. Sometimes what they do makes me feel like everyone is crazy. Like the last time we visited our one friends, the first thing the man said as we drove up was “Why did you drive this car and not your the other car?” I wanted to say “What sort of question is that? We drove this one because we chose to…like you chose to wear THAT shirt and not another one today.” He acted as if we were wrong to drive the car we did and should have drove the other one. Later, as we sat on their porch, these friends asked what was going on in my life, so ((I)) told them what was going on in ((MY)) life. Then they commented that I was using ((I)) and ((ME)) a lot, as if I was selfish for using those words to answer their questions about what was happening ((MY)) life. How else was I was supposed to answer? How can a person answer such questions without referring to themselves in the first person? For goodness sakes, people are crazy. But I was unable to speak up, feeling myself somehow in the wrong, or that it wouldn’t be “nice” to say what I wanted to say. I keep telling myself it is ok to speak up, to not let people make me feel in the wrong, to not be the wrong kind of nice.

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TJ,
You’re exactly right in my opinion. It’s the wrong kind of nice that allows people to tread over us, leaving us in the wake of their destruction as they continue on, happy as could be that they somehow managed to squish us in some way, even if it’s a small way. They know they’ve done it, and they’ve gotten their boost off of our “niceness”.

I’ve always feared authority figures in the workplace. That has begun to diminish as well. I’m so thankful for that. I felt like being under a microscope all the time when authority came around. I think that comes from fear of my mother’s authority and how she could chew me up and spit me out. Never a question as to who was in charge. I’m starting to believe (despite setbacks occasionally) that I am in charge. Certainly no one else rightfully has that position over me. It’s sinking in ever so slightly that I don’t have to lay down and be railroaded….. even if it is my boss, or someone in higher rank. It’s ME who gets to decide what I tolerate, not someone else. Thank you mother for teaching me that I deserve to be treated as a less than.

With time comes strength I think. I haven’t wanted to end my relationships with my sisters. I haven’t actively done so. I’ve just bowed out. My recent conversation with my middle sister left me in a tailspin. I decided then it doesn’t matter what they believe. Not that I won’t have a setback…. just want to add that in case I’m back here bawling about her next week, LOL. But, for now, I feel like I can walk away from the re-injuries of being invalidated. I wonder why I even went there with her. I know she won’t validate me, and will give my mother the benefit of the doubt. My solution to that is stop going there.

This sister texted me yesterday and said she’s coming into town on March 1st and wants to get together. And, she wants to stay with me instead of my mom, from what I gather. For a moment, I was elated. I thought, well, maybe she is seeing the light. I corrected that thinking though. I will try my hardest to remain neutral and not go into conversations about my mother. It hurts ME, no one else. I have to remember that. It may seem like a superficial encounter. I don’t even care as long as I’m not left feeling like I was just handed a flaming bag of s***!! :D

TJ, I’ve also found that I attract friends who are similar to the friends you described. I’ve ended some of those friendships too. I think it takes some time being out of the “fog” that Darlene talks about, to really see others clearly. It started with seeing my mother clearly, then my sisters, and now coworkers, acquaintances, etc.

I have had times of strength and times of all out weakness in this process. I fear that it could appear like I’m not truthful because I’ve had enlightenments, and great discoveries that I celebrated here, only to come back and repeat things in despair. I hope people understand the roller coaster of it all. I have come to understand that there are extremes in either direction, and I have hope that I will eventually settle in the middle. Until then, I’m still sort of unpredictable. BUT, a far cry better than 18 months ago.

A toast to our victories!! :D
Mimi

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Oh, Mimi,

I completely understand the times of strength and weakness, of two steps forward and one step back. Sometimes I look at myself and think, “Why did I find it so hard to speak up? Why did I give them power over me? I am so PATHETIC.” But other times I look at myself and know that despite what it sounds, I resisted, and I refused to be totally assimilated, and I have made progress. (I’m now thinking of the Borg in Star Trek saying “Prepare to be assimilated, resistance is futile…” and me saying NO!) When I couldn’t go forward, I just tried not to go backward. Sometimes holding ground is a great victory! So if you come crying next week, it’s ok.

With my Mom, I have let her know that I want nothing to do with her. And I told my sister who is completely loyal to her, and who only contacts me to guilt me whenever I try to withdraw from my Mom, that I don’t want contact with her. I also agreed with my friends that “we have nothing in common anymore” and told them I didn’t want to re-establish a friendship. I also had another a friend who was a “victim” always struggling, always crying that no one helped her, no one cared, no one gave her a break. I was always there for her, listened to her cry for hours, let her and her two kids spend weekends with us, babysat her son for free, rearranged our schedule for her…I cared very much about her and we all felt sorry for her and wanted to help her. When we went through the awful year, with the two deaths (husband’s father and niece’s husband) and relationships falling apart, and we couldn’t give to her as much as she wanted, she quickly ditched us. She stopped answering the phone when I called (like my sister did) and quickly found someone else to help and comfort her. I realized then that she was using us…an emotional vampire who suck our energy and joy. I actually confronted all these people. I probably wouldn’t have done it if the year had been less hard, but I had had it with all the tortuous drama. This friend ending up moving in with the other friends I’ve described after she left her abusive husband. The couple needed to be the wise fixers (playing the Servant’s Role), and the other friend needed to be taken care of (Victim), but it ended up being a really dysfunctional situation in which they all resented each other for not being what they wanted the other to be. It was this situation that helped me see them all as abusively manipulative.

My two sisters who are outcasts…I just stop calling them. They never initiated contact with me, and the one sister stopped answering my calls because she kept getting mad at me. I think she initially got angry because I wrote about our family abuse. This sister would get mad at me, yell at me, and insult me, calling herself “brutally honest.” I think she was merely brutal. She constantly told me I wasn’t funny and said loudly in the middle of her large 50th birthday party, “See TJ? This is what it feels like to have fun.” I would never have embarrassed her like this (and she would have been furious with me for much, much less.) This sister would say things like “I think Mom shouldn’t have had so many kids (6). She should have had only four kids. Maybe then she would have been a better Mom.” My sister is the fourth child, and I am the fifth, so if felt as if she was saying that SHE should have been born, that SHE deserved life, but not me. This sister also constantly took credit for anything she thought was good about me. When I got my hair cut 10 years after she told me she thought I should, it was because of HER suggestion; when I was funny, it was because SHE was influencing me; if I had a thought she agreed with, it was because of HER. I finally told her that while I thought she had good qualities that I valued, she was NOT responsible for everything she liked about me. In fact, we didn’t do all that much together so she influenced me very little. She got mad at me. I had had enough. Even though I never told her I didn’t want contact, and I never was mean to her, she and her daughters refuse to acknowledge me when we encounter each other at the store. They quickly leave the store when I enter.

There were things that I grew to understand. It seemed as if the manipulative people all felt they had a right to give their opinion about what my husband and I should and should not do. We were able to set some boundaries–like not letting my Mom control our home. Other boundaries we struggled with. Learning to set boundaries is a work in progress. When our one friends (the husband/wife who play the Servant’s role) expressed dismay that we adopted another cat, I felt embarrassed that we had cats. When we mentioned thinking about buying an RV, those friends told us that it was cheaper to get a motel. “Yeah, you are right,” we said, and didn’t buy one for a couple years. When we finally did buy an RV, my sister was jealous, saying she and her husband don’t spend the money to go on vacations because they are wise with their money. One day I “woke up” and realized that none of these people ever ask OUR opinion about what THEY should do. We felt they had freedom to make their own decisions whether we “approved” or not…why didn’t they give us the same freedom? Why did we think we had to get approval or permission from them? Why is having no cats better than having several cats when we LOVE cats? I don’t care if they don’t have cats, why should they care if we do have them? We bought the RV when we realized that what we LIKED about RVing was sitting outside around a campfire, and enjoying being in a beautiful setting, and taking walks…which can’t be done in a motel. We thought wow, we can make our own choices and THEY DON’T GET A VOTE! Duh.

Like you, Mimi, I have good strong days when I know these things. But I also have weak times where I battle to believe it. I give myself self-talk encouragements all the time: It doesn’t matter what THEY don’t like about our choices–they are OUR choices. We don’t have to live our life according to THEIR standards. It is ok to DEFEND myself and not accept insults and disrespect. It’s ok to separate from abusive people. Believe it or not, it’s even ok to not accept abusive friends on Facebook. It’s not throwing a tantrum to expect that if someone borrows something, they should return it. It is NOT selfish or mean to set healthy boundaries. Duh.

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TJ,
I know, it’s true. It’s not selfish to defend ourselves, to make our own decisions and construct our lives the way that best suits us. Like your RV. (We love camping too). I understand what you mean by doing things that seem to really suit someone else rather than ourselves. The real truth on that is, if we don’t do things that make us happy and content, no one else is going to. Likewise, if we do things that make others happy, such as not buying the RV, then our lives are slightly less full. It is silly to allow people to influence us in this way. But, it’s what I was taught, and I guess you were too. When we’re taught this at a young age, we don’t suspect that there’s a better way. It’s liberating to find out there is though, right?? :)

I am thinking about what you said about your cats. We love cats too. My mother is allergic and always suggested I shouldn’t have cats in my home because of that. PFT. I had them anyway. I was single much of the time, and my animals have brought me great joy over the years. And, now, I think….. hmmm, the more cats I have, the more allergic she is, the less likely she will come to visit. VICTORY!! haha!

Hope you’re having a GREAT day!!
xoxo,
Mimi

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It has been a while since I have been here. Things go up and down as you all know. Lately things have been going down for me I just can not get what happened out of my head. Including with my brothers and sisters. Some care and some just don’t want to here about it. Wonder how they would feel if it was one of them?????????????

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Annie
I had to let go of the wondering why some don’t care. I had to focus on MY healing and learn to care about me and what happened to me. I gave to myself all that I had not been given from others ~ my voice, validation, attention. That was so important for me.
Hugs, Darlene

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I would love to chat with many of you suffering or surviving PTSD and/or conversion disorder and the best ways to get startd on my recovery!!
Thanks so much for being honest & willing to help others!
Hope

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I’ve had to divorce my whole family. I had come to terms that divorcing my family was not about hate. It is about Love. It is about loving myself enough to give myself the gift of freedom–freedom from the tyranny or deprivation of my childhood, freedom from the guilt and shame of never having felt that I was good enough. Just because I had to divorce from my family, doesn’t mean I never grieve over it. But I knew it was the right thing. Letting go of my family was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my life, but it was also one of the most rewarding things I ever did for myself.

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Hi Hope
Welcome to EFB
This whole site is about how I got started and what I did to overcome all of this. Glad you are here.
(there are more current discussions going on in the current part of the blog.)
hugs, Darlene

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Hi Sariah
Welcome to EFB ~ yes I can relate to what you are saying here. I feel that it is about love too and not just for me, but for them; it isn’t love to validate the way I was treated and disregarded by not standing up to them. It is the hardest thing to do, but standing up for me has been the most rewarding thing as well!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

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Ethel (Joanne)Meyers
May 22nd, 2013 at 7:23 am

Dear Darlene,
I like Sarah had to Divorce my whole family. My PTSD real kicked in when I had my third child my daughter after two sons. I was molested by older brother so the trigger was her birth. I too got NO support from former Mother & Father the day I made them face my abuse May 24,2010 My Father yelling and mocking got down on his hands and knees and said : do you want me to beg for your forgiveness. I went a life time of sadness and that was there support. Today Like Sarah I reward Myself with love and Freedom.

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Hi Ethel
Welcome to EFB!
I lost my whole family too and the only answer is love and self care/self love which always leads to freedom. I wasn’t going to get love from them and once I accepted that that was about them and not about me, I began to heal and learn how to take care of my own needs.
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs Darlene

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Look PTSD is a serious thing sometimes facing the truth is not as easy as u think i spent four yeaes in Iraq in USMC I suffer from it bc we got shot down by an rpg to this day i cant watch movies that have guns or helicopters in them it beings the pain back

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Hi Kyl
In no way am I saying that PTSD isn’t serious. I know how serious it is.
Thanks for being here and for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

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Thanks darlene :) but yes ptsd is a very diffcult thing to live with want my opion it sticks with u all ur life ice tried theopry and stuff but just wont go away

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Darlene I hope you dont mind I want to respond to Kyl if you dont ant me to you can delete it- @Kyl, I have a friend that I grew up with who I have known for almost 40 years and I am now 50. (hard to believe)
Anyway he is brilliant (my friend) a good person really good and really talented. Someone I know I can depend on, trustworthy never smoked and drank or took drugs.That is his basic background. He has several grown kids all successful. hes a great dad!
He was an Elite Navy Seal and ran an organization like Blackwater after his service was done. He is still doing that.
He is in his fifties. He went to Iraq. he came back around 2008. He has never been the same. He actually married 2 women. He had a split personality. Whatever went on in Iraq, I know it was bad! I have PTSD from other stuff but I can relate to you and feel empathy because I saw what Iraq did to my friend! Thank you for your service! Thanks for sharing you are not alone!

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Kyl, Pinky, and all,

I am witnessing the reality of PTSD. My step brother, who served in the army for 21 years, hung himself on Father’s Day this year. I posted about it on another thread.

My mother said he had some PTSD that went unknown. He was struggling silently. He was a man who was always cutting up, so you never really knew if he was struggling in any way. He was in Iraq also. I don’t know what happened there. I know now that he’s gone, that it must have been horrific. I am sorry for his pain, and for anyone else’s who suffers in this way.

Peace to you Kyl and everyone else who suffers this way.
xoxo,
Mimi

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@Mimi sorry for your loss! How horrible! I have had a few close to me commit suicide too! Its harder than a death by natural causes fro sure on those left behind! I think for men especially for military it is harder to admit when they are hurting. They are taught they have to be strong and when they hurt as military they feel like failures and they are not many who can understand what they are going through. That is why this blog is so valuable!

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Pinky,
I agree. Military preaches strength. Even the army slogan is “army strong”.everyone has a breaking point in my opinion. His was closer to the surface than anyone knew.

It’s funny you said they feel like failures. He really did for some reason. He retired honorably in 2010, yet he recently stated he felt he could never wear his uniform with pride again. He said it would be a shame to the army. I don’t really understand that thinking.

I agree about suicide being different than natural causes. I’ve never known anyone before who committed suicide. It is COMPLETELY different. Other added elements to the standard grief of losing a loved one. So many questions, and the knowledge that it was preventable. It was a choice he made because death was decidedly more appealing than life. That is tough to swallow.
Thanks for your thoughts.
Peace and Love,
Mimi

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@Mimi so glad my comments helped! Its just painful life experience that leads me to share this! Suicide seems to be a trend right now. I have had 2 people close to me as well as one close neighbor commit suicide in the past year! Just like Darlene if she had not suffered this blog would not exist!

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Thanks for sharing your stories everyone!
Hugs, Darlene

p.s. Kyl ~ although this site is about a different kind of ptsd than what you are speaking of, the one thing that made the first difference for me was when I realized that without hope for recovery, I had no hope for recovery. It was when I saw a glimpse that there might be hope for me, I began to see that maybe I could recover. Having said that, again, I am not an expert in recovery from the horrors of living through war nor do I pretend to even understand the horrors of war but the results of kinds of horrors that I am an expert in, can be overcome.
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi all!
Pinky,
I did a little research about suicide among military. The numbers are highest among veterans vs actively enlisted. You’re right, suicide numbers are climbing all across the board though. It’s so sad. I am sorry you experienced this with TWO people who were close to you.

I find it frustrating that the world tends to follow along with the thinking that it’s the most selfish thing a person can do. I suppose there is a hint of truth to that if you brought small children into the world, then you leave them when they’re small. There’s even a part of that scenario that doesn’t really make sense to me. If the suicide victim wasn’t in what they perceive as insurmountable pain, they wouldn’t do it, right?? Where is the compassion for the pain the victim is in? I agree that it’s not fair to the ones left behind. The idea that it’s totally selfish is a trend also, in my opinion. Someone said it, and it caught on. Now, the ignorance has perpetuated it. A few years ago, I was seeing a counselor who one day told me that suicide is the most selfish thing a person can do. I thought, well, obviously, you’ve never suffered in life, at least not to the degree that I have, because suicide has crossed my mind enough times.

I hope I’m not offending anyone with my opinions on this. It is simply that, my opinion.

Hugs and love,
Mimi

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Hi Mimi
I agree with you! I know the amount of pain and hopelessness that a person must be feeling to even consider suicide. I don’t think it has anything to do with being selfish! I find that statement ~ that suicide is the most selfish thing a person can do~ to be abusive and manipulative actually. (and I have been there too. There were times where I really believed that death was the only way out of the pain I was in.)
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

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Suicide is a bad thing but somedays it does cross my mind thats when i pick my journal up and just write the negative things that happend to me when i was deployed ptsd is a hard thing to live with but it can heal with time

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Hi all,
I suppose it’s possible that everyone who has landed here has contemplated suicide at some point or another. It’s exactly how I ended up here. I remember praying for some kind of relief. I knew I was at the very tip of my whit’s end after several days of internal suffering. I was a basket case. I truly was. I believe in my heart that God showed me this site in some of the very darkest days I’ve ever known. I remember the relief, and the reading and reading and reading. I was so astonished to find others knew EXACTLY what I was talking about, and how I was feeling. That little spark relit my flame, so that I could see again. I’ve been coming out of the “fog” that Darlene speaks of ever since. What a blessing everyone here has been to me.

Kyl, I have done a lot of writing in the past few years as well. I’m sorry for the things you experienced in deployment. I admit I can’t even imagine. Keep doing what works, and keep on keeping on!

I agree Darlene, I think it’s manipulative now that I think about it. I remember when I spoke to this particular counselor, I had been in a hotel for a week. I was so tempted by a full bottle of drugs I had at home, that I began to not even trust myself. I left, and stayed in hotel. I needed space also, and a place to let it all out. When I told the counselor this, her immediate response was that suicide is the most selfish thing anyone can do in life….. above literally anything else. I imagine myself consoling someone who feels like suicide is the only answer. I swear, that is the very last thing I’d say. Not only is despair and hopelessness at the forefront of our thoughts, but, add to that the idea that we’re also one of the most selfish people on the planet. Yep, that doesn’t help, not even a little bit. AND, it comes from a professional…. someone who knows the business, who UNDERstands all aspects of mental health. Wow…. what a screwed up lady she is! And, to think she’s still in practice, “helping” people. She’s been “helping” my mom for well over 2 years now. No wonder our family is still a mess.

Thanks for responding everyone.
xoxo,
Mimi

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@Mimi, Thanks for your thoughts! I think people say those things about suicide partly because it is a taboo subject and they dont know how to handle it and as you said repeat what they have heard. The worst thing the thing that bothers me the most about the 3 suicides I have been a survivor of for lack of a better word, is the cover ups. In each case it was covered up. I cant put into writing how I know but I know for a fact about the neighbor and the neighbor was only 30 years old and beautiful. They said she died for no reason in her sleep. The other 2 the same. One they gave no details. You know how in an obituary they said she died with family around her at home or of a stroke at the hospital. They said she went to heaven on such and such date. That was all they said in her public obit. Then the other committed suicide and the autopsy was covered up. The person was a public personality and they didnt want it in their legacy. But the secrets and lies are what causes it to continue. The neighbor was a separate situation but they got mad at me for saying it by accident. It had to do with some stiff in my building going on. I let it slip but I dont deal with lies I dont keep track of others lies. The other was a husband and wife. They tried to commit suicide together but only the husband did. The next year like clock work the wife did too. The secrets and lies are worse than the actual suicide because they keep it quiet while other family members struggle. I have since cut contact with them for my own mental and emotional well being!
“Hi Mimi I agree with you! I know the amount of pain and hopelessness that a person must be feeling to even consider suicide. I don’t think it has anything to do with being selfish! I find that statement ~ that suicide is the most selfish thing a person can do~ to be abusive and manipulative actually. (and I have been there too. There were times where I really believed that death was the only way out of the pain I was in.) “I totally agree Darlene!

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I appreciate what all of you are saying about suicide. I haven’t experienced it except that knowing that an acquaintance’s spouse committed suicide. I have heard the word “selfish” in connection with suicide, and I could not figure out how “selfish” had to do with the price of fish. I am glad that all of you are speaking out and telling the TRUTH that IT’S NOT ABOUT BEING SELFISH!

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Hi all,
Pinky, you’re exactly right. It is taboo. My mother warned me after my stepbrother hung himself, that, his dad (my stepdad) was calling it a tragic accident, and she would appreciate it if we did the same. Of course, the subject of cause of death didn’t come up at the services, etc. The text message my mom sent confirms my stepdad’s refusal to accept reality. I suppose as a parent, the reality is really hard to accept, and the questions must be endless. I bet I would be asking myself what I could have done differently, and why did my child’s life become so miserable? I understand that, and maybe one day he will be able to call it what it is…… suicide. There hasn’t been any attempt to cover it up that I can see. I don’t know if they did an autopsy, but I do think they should have done a tox screen to see if there was anything in his system. He was not a drinker or drug user, but, I wonder if that night he had anything in his system that could have muddied his ability to think clearly. I don’t think we’ll ever know.

I’m really saddened by the idea that so many people follow along with the selfishness claim. EVEN professionals. People are followers, and even an educated mental health professional prefers to follow along with popular ideas. Sickens me.

The counselor who said this to me about suicide, was at the visitation for my stepbrother. She counsels my mom, so, she came to offer condolences. She spoke to me. It occurred to me to ask her if she told my mom and stepdad that suicide is the most selfish thing a person can do. Because that is her belief, I wonder if she offered it to them as a means of consolation. I bet my last dollar she didn’t….. she has to know on some level how stupid that sounds.

DXS, I appreciate your vote in it too. :)

Peace and Love to everyone,
Mimi

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Hi,
My last therapist told me that people kill themselves when they’ve lost all feeling of hope. You can be suffering very, very deeply but as long as you are holding onto some speck of hope, you will not kill yourself. I think that’s true. Hope and the strength to hold onto that hope and to do what you have to do to keep pursuing that hope.

I think those who say it’s selfish, if they mean it and are not just repeating a stock phrase, if they are someone who has experienced a suicide, might just be angry. I think it’s a terrible statement, untrue and yes, manipulative. But I do understand if someone says it out of sheer pain and anger, people who loved the person and never wanted them to die, and would have done anything to help if they had known…. why did you have to be so selfish? is a natural lament and protestation of the event in such circumstances, I think. Suicide is probably one of the most difficult kinds of deaths to mourn. It’s very complicated. It’s been 24 years and the suicide of my uncle remains unresolved for many, if not most, of the family members who were close to him and fractured the family in many ways. Anger at the victim, who is undoubtedly a victim, is probably one of the hardest parts to deal with. I’m not sure if you can ever fully get over this kind of death if it was someone you were close to but I think you can reach a place where you let it come to rest, some level of peace, so that you can move on. I think parents have the most difficult grieving process imaginable if one of their children commits suicide. It must be incredibly difficult for my grandma. She won’t go there, though. She once told me that she was afraid of the tears. My uncle was her obvious “favourite.” The death was also quite complicated and there’s a sliver of a chance that it was murder or that he was being harassed or pushed toward suicide. It’s impossible to know for sure but I personally believe there was a heck of a lot pointing to suicide, that I don’t believe that angle, though certainly he was in a pressure-filled, paranoia-inducing situation. Anyway, I guess it was too much for my grandma and I don’t judge her for that, except, unfortunately, she had another son who was only 13 at the time (I was 7). He suffered greatly because she didn’t deal with it. She’s hurt, neglected and abused many in my family. It’s a hard thing. Pity has enabled a lot and the cycle of abuse and dysfunction continues as a result. I imagine that my mom has a hard time holding her mother accountable for childhood abuse just because of the pain she knows my grandma carries and there’s a pressure to just get on with life in the face of such death, to forget about the past, that it isn’t worth it, except damage was and continues to be done. There’s no doubting that the abuse I suffered from my mom was much a result of my mom’s inability to stand up to her mother and to work through her own issues over her brother’s death. It’s so complicated, but all you can really do is whatever you have to do to take care of yourself, to heal yourself. It’s so sad all the people in my family trying to take care and fix things with the generation above them, who end up damaging so badly the generation below them.

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Hi Everyone!
Alaina, that seems legit, what your counselor said. I believe hopelessness is really the bottom of the pit and it makes sense that it’s what leads to suicide.

I wrote about my stepbrother’s suicide on another post, and now I can’t remember where it is. It was related to seeing my mom/family when I hadn’t for well over a year, close to two.

My mom hugged me when she saw me. She cried. I didn’t. I had a smattering of hope that she now might appreciate a relationship with me since my stepbrother had just taken his life. She was polite most the time. I went to her house for gathering of friends/family after both services.

The first night, I said or did something she didn’t approve of, and she made it known that she’d raised me better than that. The second day, she announced that I’d once gotten 4 traffic tickets in a single stop. She forgot that all were dropped but one. I’d just gotten the car, and all the tickets were related to no insurance card yet, tinted windows, seatbelts, etc. The only one that I actually had to pay out of was the seatbelt one, and SHE wasn’t wearing hers either. She failed to mention all of this. Just wanted to reiterate what a piece of shit I am I suppose. I forgot all the details of the traffic stop until later, or I would have defended myself.

During my step brother’s services, they needed a few people to read scripture. They asked me and I accepted. They were running out of people to ask. Also, my stepbrother was a really big guy. He was 6’7″ tall and his casket was very heavy. They asked my husband to step in to help the pallbearers. This will be relevent in a moment.

After the second service and eating t my mom’s house, I was about to leave, and my stepdad pulled me aside and requested that I forget everything between my mother and I. He said she misses me, and he wants me to forget, and to never call her a liar again. STUPID me, instead of saying this isn’t the time or place, I responded to him and told him my mother and I had to talk in order to move forward, and that she’d caused me a LOT of pain, etc.

Today, I get the thank you card from my mother from the funeral services. It reads,
“Thanks for coming, the flowers, reading, and Kevin’s help. The Gary Ray family”

Oh my goodness…. I’m just pissed. Here’s what played out from how I figure it. My stepdad told my mom (or she heard it herself) that I was only interested in moving forward if we talked about some things. I think throughout the whole two days, she thought her hugs and tears meant I was back in the fold, and she was off the hook. When she heard I wanted to talk, it really ticked her off. So, there’s the thank you card, cold and disheartening. I wonder if she was that cold to other people in the thank yous?? I know she wasn’t. I don’t know what I was thinking when I let it creep in that maybe she’d changed and the death of my brother had given her a new view of life, or at least the distance between us had been enough to cause her to want to make things better. NOPE…. wrong.

The beauty of the thank you card is that it’s easily deniable. She can easily deny that it was cold and abrupt. It’s so frustrating. It makes me want to rip her a new one. But, I’ve learned that she LIKES to stir up shit. This is her intention, to cause me uneasiness, discord, and upheaval. If I ignore her, then I’m aloof and a horrible daughter. Oh my, no win. There’s just no win. I’m feeling deflated, and angry, and like she intends for me to feel…. like a big fat nothing!!

Love to all,
Mimi

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Hi Mimi,
I’m so sorry for what you’re going through.

I feel like what you said wasn’t stupid at all. I feel like it was exactly what you needed to say. Yes, you could’ve said it wasn’t the time/place and that would’ve been fine, but I think what you said was good, too. They know where you stand and that’s good. I know what you mean, thinking that a big event will change things. One hopes so, but it’s not always case, or perhaps it’s rarely the case, I don’t know.

When I first reconnected with my parents after 2 & 1/2 years, there was some initial coldness. I sensed they didn’t trust me. They wrote their emails in 3rd person, so I didn’t know who was writing it, just this two-headed Mom/Dad creature. Even though I was/am the victim in this situation, I know that my choice to cut off from them also caused them a lot of pain and I think their coldness was more a reflection of their fear and uncertainty of how things were going to go and if there was going to be more pain in store for them, etc….. The first time that I saw them since cutting off, I spotted a few things that made it clear to me that they were very much the same as before, and looking back, I can see how my communication had no hope of working out—they hadn’t done the work. But I’m still glad that I did go through the confrontation and that I made my boundaries for a relationship known, so that I can be free now, knowing that it’s all in their hands now should they want to change and have a relationship with me.

Anyway, hang in there, Mimi! I think it’s awesome that you even went and it sounds like you did a good job of holding yourself up! You have nothing to feel badly about! I really do think what you said was a very good thing! Don’t let them tear you down, just hold fast to your truth and your needs and do what’s best for you. I imagine there’s a lot of intense emotion right now for everyone and though I don’t know what’s best for you, if it were me, I’d probably let things simmer down before deciding what to do next, how you want to move forward, if you want to move forward. If your mom interprets that as being aloof and horrible, that’s her problem, not yours. You do whatever you need to do.

Big hugs,
Alaina

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she thought her hugs and tears meant I was back in the fold, and she was off the hook.

Mimi, my mom did that to me. I had this really nice conversation on the phone with her, and I thanked her for “making an effort” and all that. Then, a week later, I asked if we could discuss ONE issue. WHAT? AFTER WE HAD THAT NICE CONVERSATION YOU STILL WANT TO DISCUSS ISSUES?????

What your mom and my mom did are similar to the “wait until we get home” punishment crap we got as a child, so you spend between now and getting home being all “sweet and smiley” hoping they will “forget” to do whatever punishment they were going to do……

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Mimi, I wanted to add that YOU are the victim here and whatever you need to do for your healing is whatever you need to be doing. That’s what’s right and what’s best. This is about your healing. When I was cut off the first time, my brother’s wife went into labour 2 or 3 months early. Family kept me up to date, though it was quite scary. I had no knowledge of pregnancies and whether there was a chance that either his wife or his son would die in labour (and googling that stuff does not help!!!). I did call him. It was difficult. I was not ready to reconnect with my family, but I felt like a terrible sister, that he was going through this difficult scary time and where was I? There was a reason why I was cut off from him, however, and it wasn’t for another 6 months that I felt ready to reconnect, and though my brother clearly resented me for it (when the gloves came off in recent communication), it’s what I needed to do and was the right choice. My brother made his own choices. Things could have been different if he hadn’t chose to blind his eyes to the truth. Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you.

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Hi everyone.

Just reading everyone’s experiences makes me see how one sided everything always is in abusive families. There is no sense of equality in these experiences with them.

Its really difficult being torn between having to cut away from family because their behaviour is abusive, hurtful and dangerous for us and yet still wanting/trying to be the best daughter we can when the family is hit by personal problems such as early childbirth, illness or death.

Why is it ok for them to resent us for withdrawing and trying not to engage in relationships where the majority of family gang up and attack us. Its like as children we just have to take it and then as we grow older, wiser and stronger and start to protect and defend ourselves, it grows into a war where we are constantly under attack (even at funerals, weddings, births, parties).

I think the controller/abusers make everything all about them, how horrible we are to stand up for ourselves, how selfish we are for withdrawing (protecting) ourselves from them and how horribly guilty we should feel for not being at their beck and call should a family tragedy occur and when one does occur and we come back to the fold, they again find some way to punish us for withdrawing and defending ourselves against their attacks.

I often say to myself, if it were my daughter would I treat her like that. The answer is always, 100% no. I would want my daughter to feel safe around me and trust that I am not about to punish her. I would want her to know I have her back always as opposed to stabbing her in the back.

Love to all.

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Hi Everyone,
Thanks for corresponding. I appreciate your support and points of view…. so much!!

I texted my sister last night to see if she’d gotten her thank you card. She hasn’t, and I asked her if she would let me know if hers is also the same cold manner of speaking. She said no because that would mean she was stirring shit. No mention of being supportive, “sorry mom did this to you again”. Incidentally, if she’s secretly stirring shit, I should ignore that.

I cried and cried and cried last night. I don’t know how my mom has such an ability to make me crumble and feel like my life is one big failure, as though I don’t even DESERVE life. Maybe I’m catastrophizing, but, seriously, when does the hatred and punishment end? After my stepdad told me how badly she misses me and he wants me to just TRY to have a relationship with her, she pulls this shit. Of course, her and I are the only ones who will see her thank you card.

She could deny it had any intention of being mean. I know different. In my life, it’s always been about kicking me when I’ve come with my arms open. Her and I had an argument once when I was living with her. I woke up in the night that night having a panic attack. I went and woke her up and told her I was sorry. She said, “you should be” and rolled over and went back to sleep. UNDERSTAND, I was apologizing for catching her badmouthing me on the phone to my sister. I hadn’t done anything wrong. I just wanted peace. After I moved out, I sent her a card and told her that even though we didn’t agree on some things, I would miss her. She never even acknowledged getting that card. No “I’ll miss you too” or anything of the sort. NO Acknowledgment whatsoever. She wants me to grovel, so she can kick me in the teeth, and make sure I’m put back in my place.

You’re right Alaina. Time to cool off is the best thing. I think I won’t acknowledge it at all. I do need time to heal. And, I need her to stay the hell away from me. Anything I say can and WILL be used against me. Silence is the best thing, although I’m busting at the seams to tell her how cold she is. I’m so sick of crying!!

If feels like all the work I’ve done over the past few years has been shattered. Like I’m back to square one. I hate it!

I don’t think I went into it with expectations really. But, somehow, after the public hugs and tears, she sucked me right back in. I thought she’d learned something by my brother’s death. Not at all.

Thanks for listening and corresponding everyone. I soooo appreciate it.

Love to you all,
Mimi

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Hi Mimi,

I just wanted to reach out to you and tell you that I am feeling your pain and I am angry that you are being treated this way. I think there is a term called hoovering, where they groom you back into the fold then bam, they wallop you.

I have read your powerful words on Emerging from broken over the past year and know you are a very strong and knowledgeable person who clearly knows the difference between behaviour that is right from wrong.

I have an aunt who is very loving and she wanted me to see my father. I only saw him for her. He was only in the uk for 4 days and I thought I will do it for her. Needless to say I got betrayed and humiliated and got angry and my father took the opportunity to portray me as a crazy person. He said he loved me and called me darling yet stabbed me in the back calling me crazy.

My heart has hardened and I only saw the abusive controlling shit out of respect for my aunt. I no longer need to do this for her and will be explaining to her why I am walking away for good.

I lost hope a few years ago as I had tried in the past, just like you have tried in the recent past with your mum. Like you my siblings do not have my back and will happily betray me at every opportunity.

I have peace in the knowledge that they are all part of a sick system, but one thing I have a strong belief in, is that no matter how many tears I cry, I will always feel better and still enjoy my life.

Its ok for me to cry, because when I cry and acknowledge and validate my pain, I am choosing to look after the little child within, because she is crying and needs my love attention and acknowledgement that she has been betrayed. I end up not needing them and not caring what they think or how they feel about me.

I just want you to know it is not YOU and send you best wishes and peace at this painful time.

Lots of love.

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Emma,
Thank you so much. It really helps to be understood. I am hoping this injury will be short lived. At least moreso than in the past. I never dreamed she would come up with some creative final blow.

It sickens me that she’s not moved by my brother’s suicide. That she couldn’t let it go for this one event, out of respect for him and the rest of the family. Even her husband had to bring it up on the day my stepbrother was buried. I felt in my heart I should reach out. I don’t wish his pain on anyone, or the pain of the survivors. I do have some genuine empathy, and I believe that’s what allowed me to call her to begin with. She, of course, has none. Apparently my sister doesn’t either.

I appreciate what you said about peace coming from the knowledge that they operate in a sick system. I just have to get back to that place, where I appreciate life and find joy in my husband and his kids, without my FOO….. AGAIN! I hope this is my final lesson. That I won’t be hopeful no matter how hopeful it seems.

My mom’s brother hasn’t spoken to her for 10 years. He learned once, and that was it. He didn’t even reach out or send flowers when my stepbrother hung himself. I don’t begrudge him at all, but rather, I think he’s so much smarter than me, haha!

I wish I could shake the burning need to be heard…. by ANYone who associates with my mother. She’s managed to convince anyone whom she can get cornered, that I’m a piece of crap. Why does that even matter to me? Her best friend was in the same room with me on a couple of occasions at my mom’s house. She wouldn’t even look at me.

Thanks for reminding me that my little child needs love and attention also. I’ve fallen out of that mindset, where I must take care of myself first.

I feel hatred for her, and even for my sister right this minute. I really don’t like being in that mindset where I’m angry and bitter. I think I need to write in my journal and see if that helps. It has in the past.

Thank you so much for reaching out. This place is such a Godsend.

Love to you too,
Mimi

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Hi Mimi,

I agree, it is sick that your mum turned your stepbrother’s suicide into an opportunity to stick the knife into you. I dont believe that a healthy human being would make such a traumatic event all about them and their pain.

If anything, would it not have made her appreciate her own children all the more and know they are alive and she should put her own shit aside and make a new start with all of her children, because life is too short?. You GAVE her that opportunity, you reached out to her and did what people say is “the decent thing” but there is no decency with abusers, they go to such low levels that normal rules of decency do not apply to them. Your mothers brother grew up with her, so he sounds like he had her figured out from childhood.

I do know that feeling of needing to be heard. Somehow they do manage to convince people that you are the piece of crap. Its incredible how they manage to do that, but I believe they are grooming everyone around them. I think it used to matter to me because I wanted people to approve of me and I was so used to being defined by people that I felt they had the power to determine whether I am good/acceptable enough or shit. (excuse my language mimi,but that is how they used to make me feel!). I think it was part of the old brainwashing that if I was told I was crap then I probably was as they had all the control.

Oh yes I too have felt hatred and its such an awful painful and uncomfortable emotion to experience. I really believe that to feel hatred is a normal response to a traumatic experience of abuse. I am a loving person and I do not like feeling such anger and hatred, but I also understand that what I am feeling is real and I must feel it however horrible it feels. They squashed my feelings down which gave me depression. I don’t mind feeling anger for a week or a day, it makes space for the joy to come in when the anger has passed.

Yes for sure, EFB is such a godsend, Darlene has brought together an amazing resource to help a community of survivors.

Peace and Love to you mimi.

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Since my situation was more “covert” and not “horrific” like others, I am having problems trying to emotionally accept it. I have to force myself to picture my mom as “pretending to be human” and when I shoot the Star Trek phaser, it peels the human off to reveal the icky intergalactic whatever that is underneath. She is just treating me the way she got treated, but in her mind it’s not wrong because she does the “ostrich with the rose colored glasses” thing. I have been angry with her since I was a teen, but it took me up to my 40′s (I’m in late 50′s now) to figure out why I was so angry with her. That’s how COVERT she is. She is like one of those “sniper” co-workers who makes a comment then says, “oh you are just too sensitive.” And obviously my anger is just cuz I have anger issues…… Gee, funny, I don’t seem to have the anger issues when I’m not around her…..

Life gives you “signs.” I look back on my life and see how the “signs” were there but I ignored them. Like, when I was working and I had a covert MALE sniper boss who would find ways to get things focused OFF him and focused on the most convenient subordinate available (sometimes me), and when I complained about it, obviously I had “anger issues.”

I’m glad I am figuring out the truth, but sometimes I wonder if ignorance was better…. well, no it wasn’t, because I always knew there were “issues” I was ignoring…..

My siblings aren’t for or against me. My siblings have all had their own issues with my mom. Mom doesn’t have a good relationship with any of my siblings. She merely has a “phony put on” relationship. My siblings have just decided to accept that. However, I have asked my siblings to just stay out of my issues, as it doesn’t concern them.

I’m pretty much on my own here. I have reasons that I have emailed Darlene about that I am required to stay in residual contact with my family.

I’m thinking this comment should have gone on a different post of Darlene’s, but the “search” box is working really goofy, the “search” function wants me to log in, so I made a log in name, and when I use the log in name, it still wants me to log in, the search function keeps me in a “loop.”

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DXS,
My mother is dangerously covert as well. That’s why I got the crappy thank you card…. no one can see it but me. She’s in tears and misses me so much, when in the presence of anyone else. Only the intimately connected people really see who she is. My sisters know, but, they have taken with the idea of having peace at all costs. AND, add to that my mother is no dummy. She knows EXACTLY who to buddy up with and at this stage, she wouldn’t DARE endanger her relationships with my sisters. As a matter of fact, she does the polar opposite. Kissing up, to keep them in their place of forgiveness, and me on the outside, looking like I just can’t forgive. Very crafty and sneaky she is. It took me until age 42 to realize why I was angry also. It’s not easy to figure out. There is brainwashing first and foremost, then comes the smear campaigns, and lies, manipulation, etc. And, all very very sneaky. I have been guilty of looking toward my siblings for support. When we discovered my mom’s BS two years ago, they had said we needed to stick together and hold mother accountable. They both caved, and I didn’t. So, gradually, I had to swallow one truth at a time… that they were reneging. It was very painful to feel abandoned by them.

I don’t think it matters much where you post things. I do try to follow in line with the title of the article, but, certainly, I’ve veered off topic on nearly every post I think. That’s the beauty of it…. when you need to spill, just pick a place and do it. I’ve found Darlene and everyone here to be most accepting.

Emma,
I agree…. I know I must feel it and let it rise, the anger. I know at the end, joy will return. It’s the middle I wish I could skip over. I too was not allowed emotional responses or anger as a child. I was to swallow everything and be polite about it. Oh, and foul language?? Doesn’t offend me at all. I try to not use those words, but, sometimes it overrides me when I’m angry. You should have heard the creative words I expressed last night.

I feel the same…. if anything, a family suicide you’d think would somehow bring people together, and maybe just be grateful for LIFE. Not in my twisted family, apparently. Just used it as an opportunity to dig up stuff, and try to garner some sort of control over me, along with a stiff dose of punishment.

I’m not crying anymore. I feel good about that because I feared it might last all day. I am thinking more rationally, and self soothing has come quicker than in the past. I dread the feeling of doom and I fear going to sleep sometimes because of the bad dreams I occasionally have about family. Especially if there is a family uproar…. I tend to dream.

You’re right about abusers being indecent as well. I am thankful for the reminder. And, about acceptance. I think for me there is a little link to abandonment. When I get in that situation where I’m being frowned upon by others, because of my mother’s handy work, I get so upset by the lack of abililty to prove myself… that I’m good in some way. I must shake that need. In the midst of it, I feel abandoned, because when I was younger, my mother told me she was all I had and would ever have. I believed her. Then, she drilled it into my head that the “family” was on her side (basically). I felt a great sense of abondonment and loneliness, like there wasn’t anyone who would believe me, or who even cared to hear me. That wound is so deep, and even still it resides in my heart. It’s torture to pick that scab off. I go straight back to that place where I am lonely and afraid, hated and without a voice. Wow, it’s tough to shake all that garbage.

Thanks to you both! To everyone who reaches out.
xoxo,
Mimi

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Accountability. Accountability. When I was in my 20′s, I saw a therapist, and the first thing he said to me was… “You want people to be accountable.” It hadn’t occurred to me that was what I wanted. I spent 6 months with him, and at the end, he said, “Your parents did not validate you.” Back then, I thought his statement was psychobabble, but I never forgot it. In my 40′s, I connected the dots and realized he was right!

I have a memory in my head that I don’t know if it actually happened or it was a dream. I was a child of maybe 4 or 5…. and I had a red coat on (so it was either early spring or late fall….), and I was with my mom in a big city walking outside all the department stores, and I got separated from her and I was frightened. To this very day, I have a fear of being “left behind.” I hate riding in cars with people. I always make sure I have my own transportation. And even with people I trust, I still have a fear of being left behind. My mom doesn’t remember this, so I’m not sure if it actually happened or I dreamed it. But that memory is burned in my head.

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Hi Mimi,

I’m really sorry you’re going through all this. But I’m glad to hear the self-soothing has come quicker. It’s so hard not to get your hopes up, even when you try to keep your expectations low. I went through a lot of blows in the last year, trying to reconnect and work things out myself. There were plenty of times I thought I’d regressed—A LOT—but I didn’t, not really. It was just short term.

Darlene has said a few times that abusers think they don’t have to do anything, and I think that’s so true. You’re just supposed to come around and make things right again. Just heal yourself and come back around and accept them as they are, meaning accept more abuse. That’s crap. You don’t owe your mom/family anything. They owe you. They owe you real apologies, accountability for the damage done to you, and promises to change. You expressed to your mom that you wanted to work things out, right, when you hugged? And you told your stepdad your requirements for a future relationship. So she is perfectly capable of reaching out to you at some point, but probably wants you to come to her–again, as always, no doubt. Is that your read on this situation? That she was withholding so that you will come to her, so she keeps a power position in that sense? I think it would be perfectly reasonable to just leave it to her. If she wants a relationship with you, she can contact you, right? (I don’t know if I’m reading the situation correctly but that’s the way it seems to me.) Never mind just taking a rest, in your shoes I think I might just say, to hell with it—it’s in her hands now, and then just go off and try to build my own life. You really don’t need this crap in your life. I’ve known you for about a year on this website and all I can see is such a lovely, kind, thoughtful, warm-hearted person trying so bloody hard, who wants things to work out and is only asking for what you rightfully deserve but they just don’t want to cooperate. I know everyone has to come to their own decisions and feel right with themselves, but they’ve stolen so much of your life already, Mimi, and you are so so so deserving of life, freedom, happiness, peace, comfort. Why do they get to take this away from you? Why isn’t it their turn to do the work and try to fix things, to come to you, to reach out to you?
Much love,
Alaina

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DXS,
I’m not too fond of going places without my own escape either. I prefer to have my own way to get out. I think that stems from being stuck at family functions when I was being looked down upon. I don’t want to be stuck in that place.

Accountability is the name of the game…. you’re right. My mom doesn’t want any part of that. I suppose she just thought I’d be right back in “my place”. I don’t think I should ever have to go back there. Being invalidated is a huge part of it as well. I wish there were therapists who think on these lines these days. Well, I suppose there are, but, they’re hard to find. It seems most of them wish to blame the victim in some way. My mother’s counselor enables her ~ makes her think she’s brilliant and deserving of such praise. PFT!

Alaina,
You sweet lady!! Thank you for your support and kindness. To answer some questions….. No, I didn’t verbalize to my mom that I wanted to work things out. I did tell her when I called her initially, on the day of my stepbrother’s death, that I didn’t care what had happened in the past, I wouldn’t wish this pain of my stepbrother, or the pain of the surviving family on anyone, not her, my stepdad, etc. When my stepdad pulled me aside when it was all over and I was ready to leave, he said to stop calling my mom a liar, he wanted me to at least TRY to have a relationship with her. He said she misses me and loves me. I told him there were things we needed to talk about, that she had caused me deep pain, some things he didn’t even know about, and a few other words I really can’t remember now. Nothing cutting or insulting in any way though. Yes, my read on the situation is exactly what you said. She just holds out, waiting for me to come to her and crumble, that way I’m in my designated place again. I’m to forget everything, and pretend nothing has taken place between us. And, right again, this way, she can retain all the power in the relationship. I agree with you too, I don’t think I need to do that. This bump in the road is proof to me that even suicide, distance, and lots of prayer is not going to change my mother. I at least have something to hang onto in that if I ever get hopes up again, I can refer back to this situation. How cold hearted. She is just cold hearted to the core.

I’ve never done this before with my mother. Time and distance for me have allowed healing, and softening so to speak. Also, my sisters have both been swallowed completely up again. They both have told me that she’s changed in some ways. They told me that within the past two weeks. I think I wanted to believe it on some level, and given the time I’ve had to heal, I weakened. And, of course of all things, my step brother hanging himself I would think could be an eye opener. I just can’t believe in the midst of all the family pain, she’s still up to her old BS. It really blows my mind. I think my stepdad pulled me aside at his home, so he could prove to my mom that he still puts her on a pedestal. He did it in the next room from my mom, so that if she put any effort forth at all, she could hear everything that was being said. Wow, what a twisted scenario. He’s done that for years though. Performs for my mother, then acts like an ass when she’s not around. Just crazy. Thank you so much Alaina. You’re right, I must step back and take care of myself…. at all costs. Thank you!!

Peace and Hope to everyone,
Mimi

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Alaina, the way you describe Mimi’s situation reminds me of how all my conversations with Mom have gone: “Now that we have talked, my daughter will see the light and start acting like Mom wants her to now…..” And that’s after watching her just nod her head and say “uh huh, uh huh………”

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My mother’s counselor enables her ~ makes her think she’s brilliant and deserving of such praise.

And that is where we are stuck! For every therapist WE can find that preaches “Validation” our [people who raised us and called themselves parents] will find therapists who say WE are the problem and they are wonderful people.

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I’m glad my words meant something for you Mimi! I’ve received so much from this website and from you and everyone here and it feels good to be able to give something, too!

I think just the fact that you hugged her, that you were willing to speak to her at all communicates something, and that if she wanted to, she could choose to extend herself out to you and see what might happen—you know, like give up some power here and be vulnerable.

My dad does similar things for my mom as your step-dad. I used to really respect my dad—back when I lived inside the lines. But now, after everything, it’s very hard to respect someone who behaves the way he has, and I’m sad to say I really have little good left to say about the man anymore. Everything I loved about my dad, everything we shared, now seems really empty. I feel like at some point during this whole thing he threw himself overboard and he doesn’t even know it. Just to keep his allegiance to my mom. He’s like an addict and I’m messing with his dealer.

DXS, same here. I’m guessing that’s how it goes for pretty much everyone here and why so many seem to end up cutting off. My parents made certain concessions but whatever they didn’t want to admit, nope, that didn’t happen, and they seemed dumbfounded that I’d have issue with not just accepting the difference of “opinion.” I was supposed to just agree to disagree but then of course to resume going along with them. They would “allow” me to keep my version of course, as if it had no relevance to the reality of the relationship. It was just something to keep in my pocket. It’s absurd, really.

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DXS,
I wish I could say that my mother and I’s conversations ever approached the scenario where she sits and says, “uh huh, yes, uh huh”. That hasn’t ever happened with her. There are NO conversations where she is held accountable. Not even to express hurt feelings. We just aren’t allowed to even oh so tenderly, express any kind of disagreement, or hurt feelings. She goes into rage and becomes impossibly defensive. Then the punishment ensues. And, it could last for months. Dirty looks, snide comments, silent treatment, smear campaigns…. it doesn’t seem to end. This is exactly what she was attempting with her cold hearted thank you note from my step brother’s services.

It seems the world is cut in half. Half of the people think we somehow OWE our parents, regardless of how we’re treated. I am of the opinion that it wasn’t MY choice to be birthed. Why am I to be held accountable for her happiness, or satisfaction? My oldest sister recently said that my mother is so insecure that she needs me to depend on her. She sort of eluded that somehow, that should offer me some consolation. As if I should be flattered. It’s not flattering at all. It’s painful because the manner in which she uses to keep me in my place tends to take advantage of my loving nature, my emotional weaknesses, etc. She trained me to crumble at her command. It worked. At age 23, I was nearly disabled by panic attacks which quickly escalated to agoraphobia. It was HORRIBLE. While I was down, she kicked me saying I needed to get my shit together, toughen up, pull myself up by my boot straps. On the side, she was also spewing poison to my sisters, other family, and her friends, about how I was doing it for attention. I was impossible to reason with or talk to. I was just like my dad. She needed me to be “sick” and she greatly contributed to it. Now, she takes advantage of that time whenever she can. About 6 months ago, she stated in an email that she wouldn’t be around forever, and who would rescue me then?? Oh my….. so laughable really. Her intention was to remind me how weak I am. How much I need her. That makes me feel physically ill, that she would TRY to keep me suppressed and suffering. That’s exactly what the recent card was about too. Be as mean as possible, so I crumble. Grrrrrr!! It only makes me want to fight it.

Alaina,
It’s sickening isn’t it? My stepdad does this performing, and even my mother’s counselor can’t see that. She’s constructed her life such that everyone around her will cave and cater…. they don’t want to live in absolute HELL. It is HELL. I’ve done it enough times that I’d rather die than go back to that place. I would sleep in a box before I’d go back to her home. For that reason alone, I have money stashed, in the event I should need a place to live. It’s such a sick scenario. I have little respect for him, and pity his sorry self really. He gave up his life in my opinion. He prefers living in hell in order to keep his trophy wife. How sickening.

My mother sent a group text to my sisters and myself yesterday. It said, “happy 4th of July, love to you all”. Of course, it was a GROUP…. she could play sweet and innocent. No one gets to see the crappy card she sent. I did take a pic and sent it to my middle sister. So, at least ONE other person knows what she’s up to.

It’s kind of ironic. I texted my mom a few days after the funeral. I told her thank you for the birthday money, and that I’d sent it to the wounded warriors project. My stepbrother’s wife had requested that in lieu of flowers. My mom said, “that’s nice. thanks”. I asked how my stepdad was doing. She said he was crying that day. I said I was praying for him and the whole family. She didn’t respond to that. The next day I got the thank you card. I think she’d already sent it when I texted and was decent to her. So confusing. Anything to make sure I’m in my “place”. She’s nuts.

If I’ve learned anything from this brief setback, it’s that I had lost sight of making myself and my mental health first priority. No matter what takes place from here forward, I have to continue to make it a priority. My sisters can’t have any influence on that, nor can my mother. It feels like I have to walk away from them all to get freedom. I don’t know if that will happen. For now, I feel the best not contacting anyone. I have had some anxiety with the exchanges with my mom. I really want to avoid that…. at all costs I must remember that I have to function and continue living.

Thank you both so much!! I appreciate your support and correspondence.

Love to you,
Mimi

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From @Mimi:

There are NO conversations where she is held accountable. Not even to express hurt feelings. We just aren’t allowed to even oh so tenderly, express any kind of disagreement, or hurt feelings. She goes into rage and becomes impossibly defensive.

BINGO! And all my life I was told what to feel and how to feel, without acknowledgement of what I *REALLY* felt. And when I try to explain it now, I get, “That was in the past why are you bringing it up?”

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Mimi,
Your present circumstances remind me of when I first reconnected with my family, where after the initial reconnection, every small bit of trivial communication from their end and every day that passed by in which they did not take the initiative to take accountability and apologize for the past, began to feel like a slap in the face. The more time that went by, the more of a slap. Eventually I reached a place where I was either just going to walk away again without any real explanation or I was going to confront and hold firm on my requirement for accountability, etc. I chose to confront, even though I suppose I knew it wasn’t going to work out. I did it all in writing (I’m impressed by anybody who can actually even attempt to speak this stuff out, but I’m not sure how much of it would’ve even been possible to do other than in writing anyway). It happened in steps, though. The first was essentially just about my anger/hurt that they hadn’t said anything yet. What an exhausting process the whole thing was, though. I feel like 5 years have passed in just this one year. On the other hand, I also feel the emotional growth of the whole process… and I know that I can say I did everything I possibly could to try to work things out and that gives me a lot of piece of mind. I think I would’ve continued to chew myself out on one level or another if I hadn’t given it my all, even though in fact it was never me who was in the wrong but her.

What your sister said was interesting—about your mom being so insecure she needed you to depend on her. That speaks a lot to enmeshment, your mom’s and your sister’s. I think it is a kind of consolation prize when you have no real self-worth or self-identity. The idea that you have a role, a purpose, but really, you’re just being used, and if you risk standing up for yourself and holding your own, the question becomes will you be completely cast aside? I feel that my dad and brother cater to my mom and are generally unwilling to look at and recognize what I have to say because they don’t want to know what I highly suspect, if not know—that my mom doesn’t/didn’t ever really love me; she just loved to use me. There’s not enough at stake for them, I suppose. They get enough from the system that they don’t want to question it or find out if what’s true for me might be true for them. The fact that the system nearly killed me and that they are willing to lose a daughter/sister rather than investigate the things I have to say sends another clear message to me—that they too probably don’t love me. People who love you care about you. And they simply don’t care enough to acknowledge the truth. That’s why I had to walk away also from my brother—because I AM worth it—and maintaining a relationship where I was keeping my truth to myself in order to keep things nice with him was no different than what my whole life had been. The truth of the damage the system had done and was doing to me should have been reason enough for my brother (as well as my mom and dad of course) to want to topple the whole darn thing. A system that doesn’t recognize each member as equally valuable and worthy of equal consideration is no system I want to be a part of.

These days, it’s how things are playing out with extended family that’s getting to me. I already had one aunt who feels “conflicted” and spewed out all her conflicted feelings, only to say at the end that she’d always have a relationship with me, of course. She’d always be my aunt. Right. I’d like to know what the definition of aunt is exactly. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t include a lot of the stuff she said to me. She brought up the subject of my “sweet little” nephew who is losing an aunt in all this, and that was the limit. The second someone brings my nephew into this stuff, as if I don’t know that he’s losing an aunt, that’s it for me—I’m done. I won’t engage anymore. I got the impression that she said all that basically to clear her conscious, so as to free her up to be able to maintain a relationship with me, just in case what I’m doing is wrong. (Any support she gave was of an “if you’re right” variety, if my parents really are in denial, etc…. She doesn’t know any of the actual details but I’m tired of trying to explain myself. If I share my story with people, it’s for the sake of sharing, not for the sake of allowing people to judge whether or not I made the “correct decision.” That’s not their job.) But now, after choosing to just not respond to her last email, I got a card in the email with photos from my cousins grad and just a general catch up of life events, asking me if I’m still thinking of travelling back to my home town where they live, and mentioning that she and another one of my aunts are thinking of coming out to where I live in sept/oct. (there’s other family here too, but of course they’d want to see me). So now I’m in the midst of trying to decide whether to respond and what exactly to say. It’s upsetting to me. I really hit my threshold for how much of this crap I can take, especially when it’s coming from people who are older than I am, who I feel should know better than to treat a younger, struggling relative in this manner.

And then another aunt of mine. She’s been a real support of mine and knows the truth. Except, when I was in the midst of this whole thing with my parents, my dad sent out a mass email about a big family vacation he’s trying to plan for over a year from the time he sent that email. It was in the works a while back (maybe a year or so ago) but got put on hold for a while. My dad had written me a nasty email, to which I had responded in an extremely civilized manner and then I didn’t hear a word from him (other than signing an Xmas card, etc.) for 6 months at the time when this mass email had gone out. I was so upset and got really mad at him. I’d made it clear that I only wanted to hear from my parents if they were taking accountability for the past. Apparently it was a mistake—not a mistake that he was busy planning a family vacation while in the midst of losing a daughter who had graciously given him and my mom a 2nd change, but a mistake that I was on the address list that he had simply copied and pasted from an old email. Anyway, so I got this email, plus all the emails from people who “replied all.” My aunt, who has been my support and though she wasn’t totally up to date on what was going on, did know that things were going badly and that my dad had not responded to me. She responded to the email saying that she and my uncle were totally up for it and that she hoped it would be the best and biggest family vacation ever. I was devastated. I don’t want to ask family members not to have relationships with my family but it was pretty hard to read. I wondered if my aunt had stopped to think how things were going with me and my family. Did she just assume or hope that it had turned around? She understood that if my parents didn’t recognize my words, that they were basically telling me that I wasn’t “worth it,” that I was essentially being thrown aside so that my family can keep things the way they want it and my mom in power. I wondered how can a person enjoy themselves, want to spend time having fun on vacation with people who can do this kind of thing to their daughter, when I was led to believe that my aunt loved and cared about me and understood how sad and awful this situation is. But it’s in keeping with a lot of family dynamics where people gossip and speak badly about the actions of others but then in person keep up the pleasant times. I’m worried that what’s happened to me is not going to become a part of the family narrative, that I’m going to be relegated to the margins, my story supported in secret but in the normal course of family life it will be business as usual. My aunt and uncle have six kids. They’re all younger than I am. They especially love my dad. They really have no clue what’s happened to me. I’ve enjoyed so much having a link to them and have wished to have closer and better relationships with them. But now I’m at the point where it’s painful to even think of being around them—because they don’t know and I can’t help but want them to care, except it’s way too much for me to be able to explain to them. I stood in solidarity with my older cousin when my grandma was mean to her on her wedding day, after a history of crappy behaviour. I didn’t do it so that she would do the same for me (I really had no idea how things were going to play out with my family at the time, anyway). I did it because I felt what my grandma did was wrong and I cared that my cousin be treated with love and respect. When that happened, my cousin had her whole family’s love and care, as well as others in the extended family. While it was bad and she certainly deserved that love and care, it wasn’t on the level of nearly costing her her life, which is what we’re talking about when we look at the treatment I have experienced in my life… And yet what support I get is in secret. I can’t help but be upset and wonder what am I worth? To them. Is protecting my family and my family’s relationships more important than caring about what has happened to me? Is it because it’s “the past”? Well, it isn’t just the past for one thing, and what does it matter that it was the past if it’s just being brought to the light now? I haven’t had a chance to talk to my aunt lately, although I did let her know that I don’t have a relationship with my family anymore. I’m waiting to hear back from her, to make plans to visit some time. I live in a small city and my living situation is such that I can’t imagine being able to live here for long if what’s happened to me, who I am and the truth of my life, doesn’t become more integrated among the family. If it doesn’t, then I will be forced to stay in an acquaintance role with them and it’ll be too painful for me. I’ll have to probably move away again. I don’t mind moving because I know where I’d like to move to, but it would be painful to lose out on relationships I wished I’d had. Right now it’s hard to know which way it’s going to go and I don’t know how much I just have to wait and see and how much I can actually do in my interest. Though the pain of the situation pretty much keeps me immobilized, waiting to see what will happen. It’s basically how my aunt and uncle will respond to it because that will have a large impact on how things will play out with my cousins and just the general vibe of it all. My uncle is my mom’s brother. I know that he has some conception of the truth that went on and I was told that he was frustrated with my mom last year when she was out, wondering why can’t she connect the dots, but he’s also a “the past is the past” sort of person, let’s get on with life and what’s really important, that he thinks cutting people off is unhealthy and the wrong way to deal with things. But he said all that to me when I showed support after my grandma, his mom, had cut off from him (though claiming to other family members that he was the one who had made no effort to reconcile with her) after he blew a gasket when his mom had hurt my cousin, his daughter, on her wedding day… and my cousin herself is cut off now from my grandma… The whole thing is rather convoluted and I took his words about cutting off being wrong with a grain of salt, (though I did explain and stand up for my own stance), understanding that he was dealing with his own emotions over what was going on there and that my support was probably more than a little conflicting for him at the time (but it did take me a while to get over his words, nonetheless!)… So all that to say, I have no idea how exactly the cookie is going to crumble. I know that I can deal with whatever the result is but it’s the waiting that’s hard.

Anyway, thanks for listening to me ramble here.
I wish you lots of love and strength, Mimi.

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DXS,
I’ve been told that too, by many people. My mom’s counselor was one of them. Someone here posted something I relate to. It might have been Darlene. It said, “I’ll leave that past alone, when it leaves me alone”. PERFECT!! I mean seriously…. do people really think we WANT to relive the hell?? What sensible human would bring this pain upon themselves? And, what sensible human being would say we WANT it?? A crazy rat race is what it is.

An update to the thank you card drama. My sister texted me this morning and said she hadn’t ever gotten a thank you card from my mom. This tells me ONE thing….. my mother raced to get my card in the mail so I’d know exactly where I stand. She had to be mean and cutting, and she had to get it done as soon as possible. PFT. Alaina, you were right. I might have been down for a minute, but, I really didn’t lose my progress. Just a brief step back. I feel back to my normal self again, and I’m so happy for that.

Alaina, thank you for sharing so much of your story. I’m also impressed by people who can do this face to face. I know for my situation, I just can’t. There are many reasons. Some of the primary ones are that I am not allowed to speak or make a point. I am constantly interrpted, and nothing sinks in. You can see in their eyes that they are thinking of their retort, not really thinking about what I’m saying. Also, if I do it in writing, none of it can be misconstrued or lied about. If it’s a verbal exchange, things get really distorted, and twisted around, and he said, she said kind of crap. I’m not going there.

I understand what you are saying about being enmeshed. It is true. I feel the very same as you do about the system, and my siblings trying to maintain the system. It really does feel like ultimately, no one cares. As long as the system is intact, and everyone is in their place, that’s all that matters, and that’s not love, or support. My family has been taught to be disloyal to each other. It’s stuck very well. My sister did compliment me and told me I was a loving daughter, and great person. She knows my mother’s definition of me is something I’ve struggled to get out from under.
It’s been difficult to not engage in the struggle, which I believe is what my mother wants. She wants me to get really angry and retaliate, so I can be the crazy one. I almost fell for it. Seriously, my stepbrother just hung himself, and on the day of his burial, they had to bring up our struggles. I think that’s so elementary, and the epitome of what they say I am…. unable to let things go, argumentative, angry, proud, etc. WOW!!

Your aunt…. I’m sorry to say, it seems like she’s playing one side against the other. My middle sister does this too. The one who complimented me recently. She wants to be safely a part of the system, but, she also wants to be ever so slightly involved in the drama. She says she doesn’t, and she wants to avoid stirring crap, but, this morning she came up with a text about not getting a thank you card. I don’t really understand this position. I am trying to figure out what reward there is in playing both sides. I suppose your aunt doesn’t want to let you go entirely, but, she’s enmeshed in the system too. I would be reluctant to trust her Alaina. I hope I’m not thwarting any hope you have with her. These kinds of people may not intentionally try to make it worse, but, ultimately, they do. I am having trouble knowing what to do with my sister who’s this way also. I teeter between cutting contact, and trying to keep at least one of my Foo in my life. It’s saddening, but, I’m wondering more all the time if it’s possible to maintain relationships on any level, with someone who insists on being loyal to the system. I wish you much luck with your aunt.

Okay, I just read the longer paragraph about your more supportive aunt. What I wrote above is in reference to the first aunt you mentioned.

Wow, it’s so twisted isn’t it?? I just want to say to everyone in my family, and in families like ours….. “can we just learn how to treat each other?” I know how to do it. Why don’t other people? If I wrong someone, I know how to take it back and apologize. I try very hard not to hurt people. I don’t single people out. I don’t treat any of them better than others. At least I try not to. I remember my niece got pregnant at age 19. Her boyfriend ran. My mother treated her so poorly when she had a little gathering to announce the gender. It was so tense because my mom treated her like a dog. Finally, I broke silence by saying, “well, congratulations”. Everyone else was just sitting there following along with my mom’s lead… that my little niece was an embarrassment, and her life was ruined. To me, she is still very young. It’s not a tragedy, so let’s not treat it like one. Anyhow, after reading about your other aunt, who’s been there for you, it seems she’s in the same position as the first aunt. Secretly supportive, but, don’t let the “others” find out. That is crushing, and I know what you mean. I feel the same…. I don’t want to ask family members to not have relationships with my mom and stepdad, but, somehow, it feels painful that there is no loyalty to me. My sister for instance, doesn’t want to get involved in anything that could further damage my relationship with my mom. However, she doesn’t have a lot to offer in terms of support for the pain my mom causes me. She has always claimed to be the invisible child. She’s the middle. I agree that her role has been such. She is completely enveloped by my mother now, and I know it feels good to her. She would deny this, but, I see it clearly. And, it’s all part of mother’s plan. She knows what to do, how to do it, and who to do it with in order to keep people on her “side”, which is also incredibly elementary.

I don’t know what will happen in my family either Alaina. I struggle to not try to think it out. I practice staying in the moment, because thinking of future events is so anxiety producing. I am so thankful for your reminder that it’s about my healing and I have to make that my first priority. That has helped me so much the past few days. With respect to my family, it’s always been okay for them to take a breather and do what they feel is right for themselves, or their children. Why can’t I do the same??? Well, firstly, I am called angry and proud when I try to take time to heal. BUT, you reminded me that it comes first, and what I am labeled has no value. Thank you for that!!

Love and strength to you too!!
xoxo,
Mimi

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This past week has been full of changes with my foo. Mostly, it’s been good, since we are coming together again after years of estrangement. This has occurred, since I’ve seperated from my husband in early March, and it’s been a gradual process/reconciliation with my parents & siblings. First, my parents came around with support, then my sister and her husband and then my brother & his wife (when I broke the ice). I couldn’t help but question my foo’s intentions intially, since there is usually strings attached, coming back into the family system. I used to be close to my parents, before I married, but it was an overprotective/controlling system. I’ve learned to seperate from foo while being in a long term marriage and that was a blessing in many ways, since I developed my boundaries & limits. Also, a curse since my husband is seriously personality disordered and abusive. Now, that I’m out of my marriage, I see how controlling my husband really is & I detest the man. The trust is broken & there is no reconciling with him based on his criminl actions & deceit. I’m trusting my sister & mom, yet I’m keeping the boundaries between what I share in regards to my feelings & thoughts. I do not want to open myself up to any more pain. I’m moving forward and accepting the past for what it was. My biggest mistake was loving a disordered man. I deserved so much better.

I spent the 4th of July with my family this year and had Fun. My kids swam & played with their cousins and I was the most relaxed I’ve been with foo in years. I was able to take my brother aside and talk about my seperation & pending divorce from my husband and got support & validation. My brother told me I deserve better & that he hated the man. No surprise there. My families’ withdrawal spoke volumes over the years and the kids & I suffered. I feel very sad about that and guilt that I didn’t leave him sooner. I was in deep and wanted to make my marriage work. Anyway, my mom actually said, that my husband’s ex was smarter for getting out sooner. Wow!…Not helpful & insulting. I said, “lets not go there”, in a calm way and she quickly said, “she probably had her family backing her”….YESSSSS…(AHA moment)….She knows & that was the first time she told me that….they have a part in that…..Now, it feels like my family is love bombing me with support & kindness, this summer. Especially, evident the day after the 4th, when my estranged sil invited me & my kids to my mom’s house for a seafood bake with lobster, steak, chicken, corn & salad. A big feast she cooked & prepared. It was so enjoyable but could not help to think what are her intentions. She can be generous with things yet we have not really talked. My friend said, my family has a lot to make up to do. The pattern in my foo is all or nothing. You are either in or your out. Well, I guess I’m in now, that my husband is out of the picture. I’m taking this transition/reconciliation slow. What is making me doubt, is my sil’s behavior from the 4th til the 5th. At the 4th of July party, she sat far away from everyone & only came over to sit with the family when the fireworks started. As soon as it started, she covered her ears & moved far back with the rest of the family. My kids & I stayed put- we had a good view. I can’t help to think that this is another one of her tactics to make us look like we are not joining in. Ridiculous really….So, when she had all this food for us the next day, I couldn’t help but wonder that this is about her looking good for the family. My mom also told me that one of my sil’s cousins was in an abusive situation, similiar to mine and she was very angry about it. I know she hated my husband. I do believe she is trying to come around. I broke the ice, when I visited my parents last week, while she was there. I then, took my brother (her husband) aside to talk. Since then, we have come together as a family. I give myself credit for taking those first steps to break the ice and not be ashamed or embarrassed about my situation. I’m discovering that knowing when to move forward & when to let go for me, is key to my healing. Trusting my own instincts & feelings.
Love,
Sonia

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Thank you, too, Mimi! I really appreciate communicating with you. I’m also reminding myself that my number one priority is taking care of myself, doing what I need to do in order to heal and become whole (and to guard and keep that healthiness once it’s achieved!)

I decided with my first aunt that I wouldn’t respond to her card. I feel like the only purpose of addressing the issues is if I actually want the relationship and the fact is we really don’t have a relationship. She expressed a desire to be closer but this is certainly not off to a good start. If she sends a follow up email to ask if I received the card, then I will respond, but just short and as non-emotional as possible. If by chance she apologizes of her own accord, then perhaps there can be something, but otherwise it’s over, at least for now and probably a while.

With my second aunt, that certainly hurt more just because of the level of closeness and trust I had established or felt that I had established. Something I realized is that I so badly wanted a replacement family that I minimized certain signs I’ve seen and imagined more closeness than there actually ever was. This is a family I’d come out to visit every summer for a couple weeks ever since I was 6 or so (I used to live in a different province). So there was that escape factor, being away from my family, and also just the history of knowing them and the comfort of having them around. The truth is it still could go either way, but what I know now is that I have to protect my own heart, be watchful and heed the signs. I think my aunt has one foot in and one foot out. I can see it in her relationship to the dysfunction that exists in her own family. She can see certain things but wants to hold onto the idea that it will sort itself out in time or that it’s not so bad, or that certain traits among her kids are just their “personality” and not dysfunction, etc. I imagine that making what’s happened to me, the reality of my life, more of a concrete part of reality would coincide also with taking the dysfunction in her own family more seriously. Sometimes she shows signs of doing so and sometimes not. It’s really hard to say which way it will go but what I understand is that it’s up to me to hold my own heart and make decisions for myself in the direction I want my life to go in, regardless of wherever anyone else is at in their own journey. And to be careful not to let what my heart wants to override what my brain knows.

I do have another aunt, though, who is absolutely amazing. I have her full support. She’s the absolute real deal. She’s done this whole process in her own life. I don’t think I’d be alive if not for her but I never feel like I owe her. All she wants is that I find my freedom and my life. She saw me for me and got me on this track, though it took me a while to get my own footing and I think I had to find EFB, too, for that matter….

Anyway, I’m glad you’ve bounced back up. I’m certain that, despite not knowing how things are going to go exactly, we’ll make out alright. I believe we’ve shown every reason to know that we can trust ourselves. It’s just so easy, when your legs are new, to forget that yes you know how to walk and that yes you can do this. Not that we won’t fall down but we’re capable and competent and we have everything we need to heal ourselves within ourselves, no matter what other people are up to. If they are toxic, we can say “No, I don’t want you in my life if all you want to do is hurt me—that’s not your right.”
xo, A

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@SMD, wow, good luck and prayers for continued improvement. Trust your gut, I have learned that myself.

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Well, I changed my mind about aunt #1 and sent this response. I feel better having done so. If she responds in a healthy manner, perhaps a relationship can be resumed when/if I feel up to it, but otherwise I said what I needed to say.

“…So, I need to tell you that I had a very hard time with our last series of emails. Even though you really didn’t know the situation and you acknowledged that fact, and though you said you had no advice to give (but I never asked or wanted advice anyway), much of what you wrote me was in fact trying to get me to reconsider my choice. It is not your place to do that. It caused me considerable upset when I was already in a painful and vulnerable state. I understand why you feel conflicted but it is not right for you to unload your conflicted feelings onto me. If I ever share my story with you, I want it to be for the sake of sharing, for becoming closer and getting to know me as a niece, and not so that you can judge whether or not I made the correct decision, which is how it felt when I was reading your emails—-that I had to explain myself just to prove that I was doing the right thing. If you had a younger friend, whose parents you didn’t know, in the same situation as mine, not knowing the full details of the story, would you say the things you said to me? Would you consider that friendly? Forget parents. What if it was a husband and your young friend told you he abused her (though again you didn’t know the exact details), that they separated and then 2 & 1/2 years later she tried to give it a second chance but she told you that it didn’t work. She told you that she needed to know that her husband understood exactly what was wrong with the way he had treated her in the first place so that they could start over on new ground but that, no, he would not recognize what really happened. What would you say to her? If we are to ever have a healthy relationship, the only way it will work is if you are capable of responding to me as an older, wiser, loving, caring, supportive friend. I think that’s what an aunt is supposed to be. When someone brings my nephew into this, that’s when I draw the line. If someone can’t put herself in my shoes enough to stop and realize how cruel, manipulative and insensitive it is to bring up “sweet little Lukas losing an aunt,” then it’s a big red flag for me that my best interests are definitely not at heart. I so badly wanted to be an aunt. When my brother told me that his wife was pregnant, though I had anticipated the news, I started sobbing because I was so happy. I was so happy that I hadn’t died, that I was alive to become an auntie. If it wasn’t for support outside my immediate family, I have no doubt that I’d be dead today. That never should have been my reality. It didn’t have to be my reality. All the choices I have made that I have received much judgment for (particularly from my immediate family of course) were choices I made just so that I could survive. I’d like to think that my family would prefer me alive to dead, but sometimes I really have to wonder, because the messages they seem to be sending me through their words and actions certainly seem to suggest the opposite, even when I explain things over and over again, such that they have reason to understand but somehow they don’t—I’m assuming because they just don’t want to understand. I am not and was never “the problem.” My life has been the result of the problem and I don’t see why I have to sacrifice myself and my life, my health, my everything. I was also sweet little Alaina who did nothing to warrant the pain that I’ve endured. If I say that I can’t do it, that I tried and that it didn’t work, the only people I can have in my life are the ones who feel for me, who are supportive, who believe me (or at least have the sense to keep their doubts to themselves when they know they don’t have all the info), who respect that it’s my choice, who are proud of me for trying and for doing the best I can, who can care and be sad for me for the situation that I am in, and not people who unload their conflicted feelings onto me, when for all you know those conflicted feelings might be better left at my family’s doorstep. I hope that one day down the road we can perhaps resume our relationship as aunt and niece, but at this time I really need to focus on healing and moving forward in my life. I feel that having a relationship with you at this time is toxic to my health. I am sorry that this situation is what it is. I obviously never wanted any of this to happen.

Take care,
Alaina”

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Not sure why I said “I am sorry that this situation is what it is.” Sad would’ve been the better word. Sorry implies guilt when there should be none on my end. Anyway, I otherwise said what I needed to say.

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SMD,
Hello!!! Fancy meeting you here!! I’m happy to hear your family is treating you well. We all need support in times of trouble. It should be our family that steps up to do that. I think mine might do the same, but, at this point, if something happened in my marriage, I think I’d take the opportunity to move out of state, and not look back. I don’t know. We never know what we would do until it happens. I don’t have kids to consider either, so that’s a big determinant. I’m happy for you!!!

Alaina,
I have said the same words…”I’m sorry the situation is what it is”. I do feel sorry, and I feel it shouldn’t be the way it is. I don’t think it means I’m absorbing the guilt or responsibility. Just my two cents on that.

I think your letter to your aunt was strong and brilliant. It’s true, would our families/friends want us to stay in a relationship that injured us if it was a significant other, or a friend?? I don’t think so. Our society has it branded in their minds that because they’re parents, the deserve the highest honor and respect. DESPITE what they do to destroy us. In the face of family suicide, I’d think my family would think twice about pushing each other. Not so.

Anyhow, your letter really put the truth out. Your strength is apparent. Kudos for standing up for yourself, and not letting the system of dysfunction determine your actions. I would be interested in seeing how she responds to it. Not a lot she can say. You put it in her court, and held her accountable. If there wasn’t much relationship to begin with, what do you have to lose except the heartache and injury that comes with her betraying you in the future. Good for YOU!!! You’re an inspiration!!

After my stepbrother’s burial, there was a ton of food at my mom’s house. She sent some home with us. She didn’t use the kinds of containers you throw away. She used a couple of the keeper kinds, that have to be returned. I don’t know if there was any intention with that, but, here I am with her two bowls that need returned. I don’t want to see her. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the bowls. I find myself wondering what would be the least drama creating approach. I need to let go of that way of thinking because she will interpret anything I do/say exactly the way she wants to interpret it. I have no control over that. She will make something crappy of it, no matter how I handle it…. unless of course I shower her with hugs and love. And, I’m not up for that. I’ll figure something out I guess. UGH!!

Peace and Love,
Mimi

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Thank you so much, Mimi! I was just getting into that jittery phase that always comes after standing up for myself, so it was really nice to read your words. I feel like I have these bold spurts where my strength shines through, and then another part of me thinks, uh-oh, what did I just get myself into? and I feel like that little girl who has run around the corner now to hide behind a wall, poking my head out now and then to look who’s coming to get me…. that ingrained childhood fear, be compliant, be nice, etc.

I’m wondering what will happen next, too. I only really care, I suppose, because I’ve lately been reconnecting with my cousin, her daughter, who is 19. (We weren’t cut off—we just don’t live in the same city and I’ve, or we’ve, been bad at keeping in touch.) There’s the possibility that my aunt will apologize but there’s the possibility that she will be indignant, too, and you never know what kind of drama will unfold when people feel indignant.

I used to think the same about saying “I’m sorry” in that way as you do but I’ve been in multiple situations where people have interpreted it as an actual apology or me generally feeling guilty/responsible, so now I get mad at myself whenever I use it in that way, but honestly I always thought it was legitimate, too. Like when you say I’m sorry for your loss—it doesn’t mean you think you’re responsible for the person’s loss obviously, but anyway…

The bowl thing reminds me of that other time with the friend you had who borrowed something from you (I forget what)! …Ah, just keep the bowls! That’s what I say. If she reaches out to apologize for all the billion things she owes you apologies for, then give them back. Let her go gossip that on top of everything else you’ve done to cause her so much pain, you stole her bowls too! What a daughter! Forgive me if I’m too cynical here, but I’m somehow imagining one of your sisters or your stepdad mentioning to you, innocently of course, in some conversation, just incidentally, that Mom says you still have some of her bowls… ;) Anyway, I hope you don’t waste too much time thinking about it. If you don’t want to see her to give them back to her, you don’t have too. Whatever, you know? They’re just containers. I mean, unless they’re crystal or something. For all they know, you might have just forgotten about them or had been planning to return them “the next time you saw her” or the next time you are “in the neighbourhood” and it just hadn’t happened yet. If drama is stirred up over something like that, after your stepbrother’s suicide, that says a lot…

Anyway, thanks again for your support and validation of my words! Much, much appreciated!
xo, A

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An update: I just emailed my 2nd aunt. Was that exhausting! Took me about 5 hours to write and I was crying the majority of the time. I tried very hard just to lay it all out, to speak my truth and my feelings about it all, without making it into some guilt-trip. In these scenarios, I don’t actually know what’s “right” exactly. All I know are my own feelings and my own needs and that I have to listen to them. It was a very long email and this aunt really doesn’t like email. She likes conversation, but there was no way that I could ever have said what I needed to say and especially how I needed to say it. I want real relationships, ones that are based in compassion, love, respect, admiration, and most of all free will, so it had to be delivered with that spirit in mind. Crap, though, it took a lot out of me. I’ve basically risked it all now, put it all on the line. I have other extended family members but I really don’t have much of relationship with them. That was really hard, particularly in realizing that I might lose what I wished I could have had with my cousins, and it isn’t like they’ve really done me any wrong at all—it’s just the pain and anxiety of having to live according to that same dysfunctional system that requires my silence and how much I’ve wished to have more of a place and belonging amongst them but if I’m not capable of being myself, and being recognized with everything that’s happened, then it’s simply impossible. It’s just too painful. So, it’s done. I guess I just have to wait and see what the fallout is…. I know I’m worthy of compassion, love, respect and admiration. I’m worth being recognized for who I am, what has happened to me, why it’s happened and everything that I have done to work through to get where I am. And I also know that my aunt really does know the truth and she gets that I can’t have things kept swept under the carpet, only I guess she maybe didn’t think it all the way through, that it wouldn’t just be applicable to my immediate family or something. Anyway, I guess if they choose to eschew the truth in favour of keeping things the way they are and I have to walk away, then it’s really their loss, and I wouldn’t have any reason to feel admiration and respect for them if they did that and so why would I want a relationship with them if that’s how it works out? I’m worth caring about, so I might as well see if they agree. What’s the point otherwise? Why would I want false relationships? What good is that? No different than my FOO then.

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@Alaina, I feel for you.

@Mimi, I kind of giggled at the “food game” your mom played. I did this dance with my mom, only she gets really mad if you REFUSE to take any. This obviously shows there is “hidden agenda” with the food. And, I’m reading between lines on the “her dishes versus throw away containers.”

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Alaina,
That’s so funny you remembered another time when there was a borrowing situation. I had forgotten that altogether, and I’ve damaged my brain trying to remember the details, LOL.

The bowls aren’t crystal. And, I stilllllll have them. UGH! I haven’t put too much energy into returning them. I’ll come up with something. My husband has said he will put them in a bag and hang them on her doorknob. I might settle on that.

DXS, My mom doesn’t get angry if I refuse to take anything. Any other time though, she’s given me bowls (like cool whip or something) that can be thrown away. UGH…. I think I’m reading between the lines on this too.

Writing those emails is exhausting isn’t it Alaina? I’m sorry you had to do it. It shouldn’t be this way….. for any of us. It’s so frustrating when you know people know the truth, but, they’d rather be a part of the system because it’s more comfortable for them. I can accept that my sisters want to be part of the system I suppose. They have kids to consider and I don’t. What is difficult, is not getting any compassion or empathy for the painful things my mother does. THAT is what tempts me to walk away from them. I have also cut contact with some of my cousins. Luckily, they don’t even notice because I was never close to them anyway. They’ve always lived far away. When you spoke about your nephew, I was reminded what I’ve had to do with my nieces and nephew. They’re all grown now, but, I try to live by the idea that my relationships with their moms shouldn’t keep me from having a semi-relationship with them. They also live away, so I send things in the mail. I only see my middle sister’s kids. Not my oldest sister’s. I send them stuff, but, I won’t be in their presence if it means I have to be in the presence of my sister. It’s too uncomfortable, and I’m not willing to do that for anyone. Not even the golden child’s golden children! They can blame and claim whatever they want. I won’t sacrifice in this case. Last Christmas, my oldest sister came home. She assumed we would see her. I didn’t make any effort. Too uncomfortable. She went home and I didn’t have to see her at all. It was a relief when I knew she was traveling home.

Oh my…. off on a tangent. Sorry about that. You’re right about your family. It is their loss, and you do deserve WHOLE relationships. You deserve respect, and love. You deserve to be heard. I don’t understand these people….. when they know you’ve really suffered at some point, as a result of the system and the damage you’ve endured. I wonder why they think we should go BACK to that? AT THE EXPENSE of our own well being. Why don’t they ever think that it could potentially put you back where you were, in that very dark place when you had what you call a breakdown? I don’t understand it Alaina, but I know we deserve peace and love. I know this for sure!! I’m thinking of you, and I hope you can find peace in the midst of this change. I am interested to know what the responses will be. Keep your chin up!! :)

Love and Peace,
Mimi

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DXS and Mimi, thanks for the support!

Mimi, I think hanging them on the doorknob is a good idea. After I wrote my last comments to you, I had this image of you (not that I know what you look like, but an image of a person) leaving them at their door, ringing the doorbell and running away like a kid with a bag of dog poop! ;) I think it would probably drive me nuts to have them, too, and that I’d try to take them over when I thought it was least likely that anyone would be around and just leave them there.

My aunt phoned me when she got my email yesterday. We’re going to get together to talk on the weekend. She was genuinely concerned, kept asking if I was okay, if I was going to be okay, and wants to find some way to work things out if we can. The more this settles in, though, the more I feel this kind of popped balloon sensation. I have a hard time imagining things working out very well, even if she wants them to. She’s an in-law. Her husband is my mom’s brother. Their six kids have relationships with my family and my story vilifies, or at the very least would seem from their perspective to vilify, my family. Even if for a second they recognized my experience, I think the message would then be, okay now keep it to yourself. I’m sure there would be a lot of making excuses, attempts to understand them, why they are the way they are, all those things that you do to try to make yourself okay with abusive behaviour, and then the door would shut, the matter would be closed and that’s that. I feel like it’s just impossible to live in a world in which it seemingly doesn’t matter that they treated you like crap. That everything around you could stay exactly the same, except you, is highly disturbing to me. It makes you feel so insignificant, invisible, almost non-existent, really… like a stone dropped in water that somehow makes no ripples… so did the stone even exist then, did it ever even fall in the water? My aunt and I had been talking a while back about going on a trip together to Russia. The only thing that I think could make things better between us is if she opts out of this big family vacation my parents are planning to instead go with me to Russia. It’s so weird to be in this place where I want to ask for people to take my side and show loyalty to me, or something. It makes me feel gross. It seems so childish, except it’s kind of the position we’re put in when our parents do this to us because it’s just so painful to have the people we are close to spending time, even enjoying themselves(?), with the people who have hurt, abandoned and betrayed us so incredibly deeply. What I foresee is having to give up any possibility of a real relationship with my cousins and hope that maybe one day when they’re older, they’ll come around to understanding and seek a relationship themselves. I already consider my relationship with my uncle over. It’s ironic that it ended with him after I showed him support because of how his mom was treating him in a way not too much different than how my mom has treated me. I went out on a limb and I knew it at the time but I don’t regret it. Maybe one day it’ll sink in what I was actually offering him, that I didn’t have to do it but I did anyway because I believed that he, like anyone, deserved better than how his mother was treating him, deserved respect, appreciation and unconditional love.

I considered sending gifts to my nephew but I think it’s probably for the best that I don’t. I think sending or not sending, either way, would make my brother angry, but in the end I think it would confuse my nephew—not right now but down the road. He’s not even 2 years old, so now it won’t mean anything at all and later he won’t remember me. I think if we are ever to have a relationship, if my brother and I never reconcile, it will have to be my nephew seeking me out when he’s older. I write fiction and I hope one day to be published—though of course who knows if that will happen—but sometimes I have this fantasy that of all the people I’ve had to leave behind for one reason or another, some will read my books and start to understand something of where I’m coming from and want to seek me out.

When people support the dysfunctional system, it also ensures the continuation of their own dysfunction. That’s what I wish I could really convey to my aunt so that she might fight more. If you look at this situation as just being about me, I understand her being torn and not really up to doing much beyond her own relationship with me, but if she understood the bigger picture, how much everything is related, and how one thing leads to another, she’d have every reason to fight like hell. Dysfunction does not live in a vacuum and neither does healthy living.

Anyway, we’ll see… Even though I’m anticipating certain things, I actually have no idea.

Thank you so much for your words, though, Mimi! We absolutely do deserve peace and love.

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Alaina,
Interesting, my mom’s brother doesn’t speak to her, which I probably already mentioned. He and his wife are the only supporters of me, and by that I mean, really the only ones who hear me, keep things confidential, and understand my position. I completely trust them, but, they live a little distance away, and I don’t see them often. I talk with my aunt on the phone once a month or so. She’s very supportive. My uncle has also been treated poorly by my grandma. He just withdrew for the most part.

I’m happy to hear your aunt called you. It sounds supportive if she wants to get together and talk. Are you a little fearful of trusting her?? Sometimes, it seems people are only interested because they want to know the story, not really because they intend to offer support. Of course I don’t know her, so I apologize if this is off base. I really struggle to trust people. :( If you don’t have a relationship with your uncle, won’t it be hard for your aunt to support you?? Generally speaking, I think people stick together with their spouses. I don’t think that’s wrong, but, it seems like it might be difficult to also support the “perceived” enemy. I try to put myself in your situation, and I wonder how your aunt can sort of split herself that way. Even moreso since her 6 kids also have relationships with your parents. If push came to shove, would she support her husband and kids before you?? In my family, it doesn’t matter what was done to me. People support their kids and spouses, and the abusers. You’re right, it IS childish, and it makes me feel gross too. I also feel a hint of selfishness, but, I know that comes from my mother’s training. We shouldn’t be put in this position where we have to fight for support. It’s very elementary, but, it was also designed by our abusers, not ourselves. I KNOW I’m not the things my mother says I am. I KNOW that this childishness is her doing. How do we respond to that in an adult way?? There’s no answer. For me, anything I do will be wrong, except cowering. That is what mother wants…. for me to get back into position so I can again be her compliant whipping post. I’ve had a taste of freedom though. I don’t want that anymore and certainly, I think it’s my choice, no one else’s. Not that it’s easy. I know you know it’s not. NOTHING about it is easy. The recent contact I’ve had with mother has made me realize no amount of time, and not even suicide will change her. THAT is good information!! It hurt, and set me back a bit, but, as always, I’m thankful for the knowledge once the sting subsides. My mother believes there’s strength in numbers, and it’s why she tries tirelessly to win people over. I suppose it’s true in many situations. In this situation however, there is strength in truth, and knowledge.

I so hope things work out the way you hope with your aunt. It’s nearly impossible to not get our hopes up. I lied to myself about this when I visited my mom’s home after the services. I said there weren’t hopes and expectations. I was really shocked by the ridiculous thank you card. I’m okay now though. Thank God!! Best wishes as you anticipate this meeting. I hope it all goes well!!

HUGS and Peace!!
Mimi

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Thanks Mimi!
My aunt has been trustworthy for all this time. When I was first thinking of cutting off from my family, I talked to her about it. She kind of understood eventually after I explained, but when I did cut off and my parents contacted her, they confused the crap out of her and she didn’t know what to think. She went and talked to a friend of hers who is a therapist and thank god a good one. Her friend asked a bunch of questions and got a good idea of what was wrong within 15 min. or so. My aunt came out of that meeting very excited like she’d seen into a crystal ball and has been very supportive since. I also have another aunt, my great aunt, who has been with me through everything since my breakdown and she really gets it 100%. I gave permission to my great aunt to tell this aunt my whole story, so that she was on the same page. I guess this is why I was so devastated when I read my aunt’s response to my dad’s call out for the family vacation. I was under the impression that she was completely on my side, like to the Nth degree. It was hard to understand how she could write something about hoping it would be the best and biggest family vacation ever when she knew it was looking pretty grim for me and my chances of getting my parents to take responsibility. Maybe it was a combination of wearing rose-coloured glasses, wanting things to be the way they used to be when we’d go on big family vacations together, and just not stopping to think about it. I don’t know.

I’m not sure with my uncle. I don’t really think it’s about being the enemy. It’s more like my mom is his sister and he can’t break the support there. I know that he was frustrated with my mom. I know that he just wants things to be fine and that the past stay in the past. I’m pretty sure he knows that I’m right. It’s like he just can’t be involved. It’s like he just wants it to go away. He doesn’t want to see it, though I’m pretty sure he knows it’s true. It’s like with his mom. But then when I sent my support to him and for internal reasons he obviously couldn’t accept it, it pushed away the possibility for us to have a real relationship, so that it became like my uncle is just someone I know. I took what he said with a grain of salt, even though his words did cause me difficulty. He said that he thought that cutting off was wrong and unhealthy and included me in the list of people who were doing this to one another. I’m sure this came, though, from the fact that he’d blown up at his mom, defending his daughter, and then she cut off from him. I’m sure he was hurting a lot from having his mom cut off from him. His daughter, though, cut off from his mom and no one questioned that move at all and I believe when it all happened, he was the one who gave his mom the message that his daughter didn’t want a relationship with her anymore. So… you see what I mean, it didn’t make a lot of sense. He said quite a few things to me that were difficult for me to take but I also knew that they were kind of inconsistent. I wrote him a really long reply he never responded to and I just took it that until he responded to me, then there really wasn’t a relationship between us. He’d have to mend it if he wanted something real, but I didn’t actually do any official cutting off, so to speak. The thing is I know he wants to push it all away because it’s unpleasant. He wants to have a good time together; he wants things like summer BBQs and family vacations. He doesn’t want pain. I think this is where both my aunt and uncle are at, and I guess I’m just trying to step up and say you can’t do this because it’s me you’re pushing away. Maybe my email will be enough to start tipping the scales but I don’t know. The 6 kids with relationships is a big factor. I guess what’s hard is how much I really wanted to belong and be a part of the family, and I’m just realizing that it probably can’t really be that way, that however much I might be recognized by my aunt and maybe my uncle in private, it’s probably going to stay on the margins, that their kids will take precedence and my place isn’t here.

I don’t know if maybe I overreacted because I’ve just been going through so much stuff in the last while, but it is terribly painful when you’ve just been thrown away by your family and you want to be seen and felt by the loved ones you do have in your life. WHy did my dad have to frickin plan a “family” vacation for over a year away right in the middle of this and accidentally send me the email as well?

I don’t think my aunt could split herself in two and that’s why I don’t think things are going to work out so well. I think I just have to go on my way with my life. I believe that their whole family cares about me and always will but that they can’t go with me on this, if that makes sense. I guess it’s like there’s a limit because I’m not their daughter, I’m not their sister. I have to be my own family. I think this is just grief over a dreamed of family life. They have a lot fun and love in their family and I so much wanted to be in there, as well, but it’s so painful when I think of it, that I can’t be fully accepted because… there are things that are more important, I guess.

BUt I am lucky and grateful that I do have my great aunt.

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Hi Alaina,
You said you think your uncle just wants it to go away. I understand that. Isn’t that what we want too?? I know I really REALLY want it to go away. I don’t think there’s anything I can do at this point, without losing my sanity. I don’t know what all the flying monkeys expect me to do. Oh wait, yes I do…. they expect me to cower and assume my injured bird position.

I really hope things work out with your aunt. We need some sort of support, and if we can find a family member to help, it just feels good. I’m certain my inlaw aunt is in my court, and I’ve come to appreciate that I’m not out in the cold all alone. I wish my sister’s were more supportive, but, I’ve learned to live without it.

I’m sorry for the grief you feel. It is so disheartening to feel like people just don’t care enough. I’ve had to stop myself from reaching out when I know one of my sisters is hurting or struggling somehow. I have to remind myself to give what I get, and that isn’t much sometimes. I recently told my oldest sister that I didn’t believe that God wants her or her family to suffer. (She moved her family 500 miles away because God told her to). They’ve suffered multiple times since then, and they’re completely broke. Her response was that Jesus suffered, which doesn’t at all mean we have to in my opinion. Anyhow, my point is, since I said that, she’s withdrawn altogether. She’d been texting me quite regularly. OF COURSE, it’s okay for her to withdraw, and not think anything of it. When I do, I’m horrible. I was just being honest with my opinion. I feel like I needed to say it. Turns out, she doesn’t operate so well with an elephant in the room either, but, I am expected to. Oh well. I’m better without her texting me about senseless stuff anyway. I really wanted her to stop, and I think on some level, that’s why I was finally honest with her about my take on the situation.

I am pulling for you Alaina. I really hope things go well, and that you find peace from the conversation. I’m happy she’s someone you can trust, and I sooooo hope I didn’t dishearten you by what I said. :(

xoxo,
Mimi

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Alaina
Grief is one of the most important aspects of healing and one that I don’t write about enough.
It is so painful when we are not heard or validated. In my own process, I realized that because I had been taught that agreeing with ‘them’ was survival, when people didn’t agree with me, or if they didn’t pick me over ‘them’, I saw it as threatening to my survival. that was the example that I had and that had been proved to me over and over again. That belief about survival was a hard one to re-wire.

What eventually saved me from this never ending merry-go-round was validating myself and grieving what I lost and what I never had. Learning to KNOW that I am not the one doing any harm (sometimes I have to remind myself of this daily) helped me with the pain and helped me to stay focused on MY healing work. It takes time ~ and the grieving process is a huge vehicle to self validation!
Hugs, Darlene

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Thanks, Mimi. No, no, you didn’t dishearten me. I really appreciate your support. It’s interesting how your sister withdrew when you said something that was actually healthy, loving and positive, similarly to my uncle. I guess that speaks to the power the dysfunction has and how tied up they actually are underneath it all. I’m very grateful for your support. I’m slowly coming around to a kind of resignation. This situation is made more complicated by the fact that I live in an apartment above my cousin’s restaurant and pay rent to my aunt but I’m sure whatever happens, I’ll figure out how to deal with it. I feel like this is somehow comparable to a situation where you want a romantic relationship with someone who can’t go beyond friendship. She hears me and validates me but I’m certain that none of the 7 other members of her family can or will or wants to, and as much as I’m sure she will wish me well on my journey, I don’t see her being able to come with me, so to speak. I can’t remember the exact words but when we made plans to talk and try to sort things out, her saying “if we can” sticks with me, a feeling like maybe she knows we can’t. She said let’s get together, have a couple beers and talk, try to figure this out (or something like that). I just have this overriding feeling like this is going to be our last real, meaningful conversation and time together, maybe not forever but probably for a good chunk of time. I’d rather not draw this out.

I know what you’re saying, Darlene, that I’m not the one doing harm, though certainly it often feels that way. I guess it tends to feel that way when you’re the one taking action, but really it’s the lack of action on the part of others that’s really doing the harm. I also know you’re right that I don’t need others to agree, that certainly my survival doesn’t rest on it, though emotions can sometimes get the best of me. My brother very much wanted me to just be able to put it to the side, to agree to disagree, and let our relationship be about other stuff, but that was impossible for me with him and I see that it will be impossible for me with anyone. Your experience and your relationship to your experience formulates who you are, so how is it possible to put it to the side? It isn’t going to necessarily have bearing on every interaction with every person you have in your life, but when you’re explicitly or implicitly being asked that you keep it to yourself, that keeps you in a cage and it isn’t right and it isn’t fair when the other person has freedom to speak their truth without being dismissed. With my aunt, it’s like there’s this fine print—she loves me, hears me, sees me and validates me, except not when the rest of the family is concerned (or at least that’s the way it seems to be right now). That IS harmful and it ISN’T “the right thing to do.” It’s not in the service of truth and goodness and light. But I do understand if that’s how it goes and while I’m disappointed, I’m not overly critical. It’s devastating on the one hand but I’m also glad and grateful that I did have her with me on my side up until now, listening, understanding and encouraging me on, even if it was just in private. It helped to have another person on my side. Maybe someone else in my shoes could be able to do this kind of relationship where there’s that fine print, that she’ll be here for me here but not there, but I know that I personally can’t do it. It really is just too painful. I really don’t know how anyone, though, can grieve a relationship or the fantasy of a relationship, and really grieve it through to completion, and still maintain some lesser version of the relationship at the same time. It’s like what Mimi was saying, (different context, though), you want to convince yourself and you lie to yourself that you’re going to have no or low expectations, but you can’t help getting your hopes up. I feel like sometimes you just have to make a clean cut, even if it isn’t really what you want to do, what you wish you could do, but it’s what you need…. Anyway, thanks for your response! I really appreciate it. Yes, I will survive. This process is insane when it comes to grieving; so many relationships just dropping like flies. Some of the grief is for what has really been, but yes a lot of it too is about what never was but had hoped for. The opening of the novel I’m working on starts with a woman having a miscarriage and that’s kind of what it feels like, metaphorically speaking, grieving all these relationships that won’t ever be, this life that can’t be taken to full term. But I also know another life is waiting for me of course. My life, not my mother’s life or anyone else’s but mine. The life that’s dying away is one that I never really wanted anyway because it was never mine to begin with, and though it’s sad to see what all is going down with it, my freedom is waiting for me and I will do everything I have to in order to reach it (I want to say “her” and not “it,” I guess because it’s me. My freedom is myself.)
xo, Alaina

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Hi Alaina
I like the way you put things! I am not an advocate for compromise either. How does one compromise on the truth? I don’t have any relationships left with my family or my husbands family. My voice was not welcome but thankfully I chose me. And that is what I hear you doing also! Your life is waiting; I love how you say that. Mine as waiting too and I am living it and it is pretty awesome! It must have been shocking to all of them that I went from compliant slave to vocal mega voice with very strong boundaries. I did a lot of my work silently for the first 18 months. I stayed silent while the same old abuse continued and I learned. I thought deeply and journaled daily about the truth and what happened to me. I thought about my depressions and the depth of them and where they started. Then one day I snapped and stood up pretty quickly. Sometimes I grin at the thought of it. I imagine them all going “what the hell???” ?
I got a phone call recently from someone who knows my family. (I have heard from 2 people this past year ~ I wonder what my family would say if they knew that some of their trusted friends have leaked this info to me? Of course these people have asked me not to reveal them. That is another truth leak which tells a story all it’s own!) Apparently they (my family) all read my blog and warn my mother and it’s actually pretty comical how interested in ‘me’ that they are without actually talking to me. They check the efb facebook page too. I wonder why they bother. ~ I wonder if they realize how popular this blog is? I wonder if they realize how many hundreds of thousands of people read it every single month? And even as I write that I see the little girl in me saying “SEE other people hear me, SEE I have worth, and you are wrong about me” and once again I remember that the way they responded to me when I stood up to them is about them and it never was about me.
I should have written a new blog post about this! I have one almost finished that is actually slightly related to this one. Stay tuned!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hey Darlene,
I’m looking forward to reading it! That is pretty comical about them reading your blog and weird and kind of ridiculous. I can imagine my family doing that as well, though. I wonder if they’d ever get passed the point of only seeing themselves. Somehow I doubt it.

You really don’t hear many people against compromise. People usually make compromise out to be a sign of wisdom and maturity. Of course it depends on what we’re talking about, but the idea of healthy compromise that’s about equality seems so often misapplied to things that people really shouldn’t compromise on. There is no middle ground between a lie and the truth, between silence and a voice of your own. It’s one or it’s the other. It doesn’t mean that you’re always right; it means that you have the right to define what you know and believe in, without others tearing you down or shushing you up for no other reason than to assert their will.

Thanks so much for sharing so much of yourself! It makes such a difference in so many lives! But I’m glad you’ve been taking a bit of a break, too!
xo, ALaina

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Why doesn’t anyone want to hear my pain? My parents just sent me to a social worker, I was threatened to be set to the girls reform school, I was set to visit a man who I later was found he was the head guy at the kid jail. But neither my Mother or Father where there to help me with whatever was “wrong with me” guilt and shame. I have had a lot of triggers as I look back an I say Why, Why was it so important to both of you to hear either your dad never wanted you, why did you both pull me to take sides the divorce was hell. I believe I was a pawn always taken until I was captured and sent to the state hospital where you both still wanted to blame each other for my “situation”. Why didn’t you either of you I have educated myself with a college Associate Degree, a Certificate of Achievement and now working on my Bachelors’ degree…I am a woman child fighter, and scared who will trust me, I don’t trust me there is know one there for me I don’t have friends, I never even knew I didn’t and now I am so lonely Yes I am alive but cry a least 3x a week My step mom once asked me was my trauma…I stayed silent,

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Hi T.Lynn
Thank you for sharing your pain here. You are certainly not alone! I hope you will read more of the articles here in this site: the solution for me became easier when I stopped trying to understand ‘why’ they did this and why they acted this way and shifted my focus to validating the damage done to me by the way they regarded me. I found hope and then freedom and wholeness when I learned to love myself by realizing that they were wrong about me.
hugs, Darlene

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Mimi, I am so sorry for your loss. I have been there, losing my son to suicide in 2007. Its just awful, awful, awful. In in those horrible three days afterwards, trying to cope and with my husband, dealing with the many details in a strange town, my family offered no support. To the point that when I asked my Mom to please come down for a visit that I needed her, she said, well its all over now so I don’t need to come. ????
My brother sent me some flowers. Thats it. He has a busy life.
Strangers were so compassionate. It brings tears to remember the many kindnesses of those who did not even know us.
Our son was cremated and we waited til summer to go north. At the burial and memorial service 5 months later my mother & brother were worried about the summer traffic on Cape Cod.
That was all they talked about ..how ‘they’ had to deal with traffic.
I was freaking out over it when my wonderful DIL said..just dont worry about them, they just need get there. She could not believe that anyone would say that.

I was causing them a problem, they were inconvenienced.
It was the way they have always treated me. I have always accepted it and not spoken up. Speaking up is a sign of my crazy emotional behavior, and brought on abusive statements. I was trained to stand alone. To never expect compassion, or support from them or I was being needy.

When I was 6 I was dropped off at the curb the 1st day of school. Alone.
Both times I gave birth, I was alone. My mother never even gave me a hug and said it will be OK.
She was a mile away.
When I had major surgery I was dropped off. No one even called to see if I made it thru OK.
I understand why now.
I 100% understand that both my mother and brother never did care about me in any way.
You do not treat people you love like that.
I see that it isn”t me. It never was. I was emotionally abused into such bad coping behavior, then labeled defective.
I have recognized that it is them Mimi. They will never see me
as worth loving. That is their loss for I am NC now.
Its difficult to face that. It was hard for me but when I saw the truth I felt so much lighter, as though a great burden was lifted from me.
Hugs Karen

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Wow, there have been so many posts lately I missed this section. Darlene, yes, your blog is popular, but from “their” standpoint, does it really mean anything? I think to “them” it means…. “LOTSA PEOPLE WITH PROBLEMS SO IT’S NOT OUR FAULT.”

@T Lynn, you sound young. I hope you can get past this before your 50′s. And yes, “What is your trauma” really means (getting out the Universal Decoder Book) “We don’t want to hear about your petty issues.” Your issues are NOT petty. Your issues are about your parents refusing to deal with THEIR issues.

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Holy guacamole! I’m feeling a bit dull today, as I met with my aunt last night and I’m pretty sure her objective was to get me drunk. I suspected it beforehand and was quite certain of it last night as we spent about 3 hours fist talking about everything under the sun except the email I’d written her, before she finally opened up the subject when I was obviously tipsy and well on my way to drunk. But so was she. If it was her plan, it wasn’t very smart. Like the cliche slime-ball who gets a girl drunk to ply her into bed, it may work the first night but there’s a pretty good chance he’s not going to get a 2nd date. I should say that it was a conscious choice of mine to follow her lead; I wanted to see where things were going to go. Well, I got pretty impassioned, to say the least. I don’t think I’ve ever been so vocal in my life. I think that was the first time I ever yelled at someone in my life—the neighbours probably heard me! She definitely didn’t have my health and wellness in mind; it wasn’t about helping me, that’s for darn sure. It was about contesting me and negotiating with me. We went in a lot of circles and by the end of the night it was “pleasant,” as if we’d resolved everything, in that I obviously still had my people-pleaser persona with me and unlike when I’m writing, I’m more pliable and prone to losing my train of logic (added to the wine of course). But, you know, there’s always the next day when I’m putting the conversation back together. It’s also totally in my interest to have left things on that nice note because I’m still living above her daughter’s restaurant and paying her rent and I’d rather not have conflict and drama going on until I sort out what I’m going to do next. And in the meanwhile, I gleamed plenty about her—so many truth leaks. An example: when I was telling her how when my mom came to understand that she’d taken her anger out on me as child for no reason, I said that that was the moment my mom should have turned around, taken responsibility, apologized and begun the work of helping me to undo the damage that she’d done to me in my childhood. My aunt said that as a parent she had to disagree. This was new because another time I’d brought this up, my aunt had agreed. But this time she told me that it was normal to take your anger out on your kids for no reason, that everyone does it, and “I don’t apologize for it,” she said. To justify this, she said that her kids do the same to her, she recognizes that they’re just having a bad day, or a bad mood, and let’s it go. (Honestly, her kids have issues, not just bad days or bad moods, and she knows this, too, and brought up obvious concerns of hers. I tried to steer clear of the subject, though I got sucked into it a few times, in the end mostly pandering to her—my people-pleaser persona—but that’s probably for the best anyway because the chances of that subject blowing up in my face are pretty darn high and I’d only do it as my “last words”.)

Anyway, she felt that I was allowing my mom to have control over me by letting these issues get in between my ability to have relationships with her and her family. She understood why I would FEEL betrayed, but that I wasn’t actually being betrayed. I can’t remember how she explained this. She thought I was continuing to be controlled by my family by my letting them stop me from going to these family get-togethers. I pointed out that I went to her daughter’s wedding, despite my family being there, so obviously it didn’t stop me and as far as family vacations go, why on earth would I WANT to go and spend time around them? She didn’t have a lot to say to that… The conversation went on and on forever, though. She basically just wants me to put up with the pain of our relationships. She seemed okay with the idea of my grief and needing to detach myself, but the notion that maybe her actions were, I don’t know, let’s say, two-faced (not that I ever said that), and that maybe she should make changes—that was obviously unacceptable. She wanted me to accept that they love me and care about me and don’t want to hurt me, so if they do hurt me, I’m just supposed to remember that that’s not what they meant. And then talked about my “over-analysis,” how I work myself up, overanalyzing things and cause myself so much suffering because of this over-analysis (another version of the “misunderstanding” argument, in other words), and that she and my uncle don’t know what to do with all my analyzing because they just don’t think like that. I explained multiple times that actually I first have an immediate emotional reaction, which I often don’t understand, and have to spend a bunch of time analyzing it to finally get why it is I got so upset in the first place. I also had to explain a few times that I had not “provoked” my uncle, by essentially telling him that he deserved unconditional love and to be treated better than how his mother had treated him. She conceded that point eventually.

Anyway, what a bunch of baloney! She seemed content when we got to the point where it was about me walking on and leaving my mom behind, moving forward with my life, and by the notion that I’d triggered my uncle’s dysfunction and that I just have to keep myself separate, know that I can’t go there (but, you know, still have a relationship). In other words, she wants basically what my mom wants—to accept them exactly as they are and adjust myself. She obviously was okay with my detaching myself to some degree to help myself from being hurt by them, and of course that would be fine with her because she’s a super busy woman and I don’t think she’s actually interested in being close at all (and no doubt, because being close means dealing with things like my “over-analysis” and my emotions and all this other messy gunk I’m sure she doesn’t like or want to deal with). She thinks what I really need is to move on, move forward with my life and find someone, a boyfriend, etc., to really love me for me, unconditionally, basically I gather so that he will fill that hole inside me so that I am capable of putting up with crappy, emotionally unresponsive, hurtful treatment from the rest of them. Of course if I put it that way, she’d deny it to high heaven.

Here’s the kicker, though: She was going to come over to my place, but then phoned and invited me over to hers. The restaurant patio was open and I didn’t want to take my bike through all the diners eating, so I walked over instead. I was there from 6pm-1am. She was too drunk to drive me home. She thought that her oldest son had “probably” already gone to bed. She has a 4 storey house with plenty of couches and beds but did not ask if I wanted to stay the night. I thought of asking but there have been a few too many times where I felt like I was being a hassle to her for asking favours. I did ask for an umbrella, though, because it was raining, but she only had a broken one that you had to hold up in place. Luckily it had stopped raining by the time I went out, though, and didn’t have to have something to return to her. I asked her which route she thought I should go, which way was safer—because there were two ways to go. I had a good idea, but I guess I wanted to bring up the issue of my safety. She didn’t suggest calling a cab (I didn’t even think of it at the time or maybe I would have done that). So there I was in the middle of the night in my light summer dress, clutching my purse, walking the 25 minutes home in a not very busy area, despite what she said. By the way, my bedtime is usually around 7pm (I’m a baker, so I have a very early morning). She originally told me to let her know when was a good time to meet. I’d suggested early afternoon. She said she was super busy and suggested 6:30-7pm. I said fine. She really is a super busy person and that’s legit. But what she’d done all day was clean her house with one of her daughters—it really needed cleaning, she said. Ok, fine, but here’s the thing: as much as I got swept up into the conversation myself, we didn’t need to spend 7 hours talking. She could have got straight to the point to tell me where she stood in all this right off the bat and been done in 30 min, which she could have squeezed in sometime in the afternoon (or written a few sentence email, but no, no, she’s another one of these people who doesn’t like writing and wonders why things have to go MY way, just because I like email). Maybe she didn’t know how long it might take and want to get her chores all done first, but at the same time all those hours spent talking seemed directly to the purpose of manipulating me into accepting the situation as she wants it and even our 3 hour visiting portion seemed like it wasn’t really about visiting anyway but rather as a way to warm me up to her before we launched to the real reason I was there…. Blegh! I realized I don’t like this woman. I liked her on a superficial level, I guess. I’ve had fun with her and have enjoyed her company over the years. But I don’t like her character. I’m at the point in my life that I don’t care so much about people’s personalities because there are lots of good personalities out there in the world, but character is something entirely different. The more she sees of me, the more she’d probably think the same of me, I don’t doubt.

Anyway, excuse my long rant here! So now I just have to start making some decisions. What am I doing next with my life, where am I going to go, etc…

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@Alaina, Hugs hugs hugs. Just cuz you FEEL betrayed doesn’t mean you WERE betrayed? HUH? More invalidation of feelings.

Kind of like….. “just cuz you SAW a guy hit you doesn’t mean he actually hit you……”

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Thank you, DXS. I appreciate the hugs. Definitely needed. I wonder how many people are actually healthy on this planet? Sometimes I think it’s a very, very, very small population. Thank goodness for Darlene, this website, and all of us committed to working the process.

I’d been nervous about the meeting and had been thinking of cancelling or putting it off to a later date to let things settle down more, and when I was there, I thought of saying no to wine but I wanted to know what the real deal was with her and I guess I knew this was a pretty sure way to find out. I think it successfully scared me off her for good. I really don’t like drinking very much, either. A couple glasses and that’s already too much for me. Now and then, one drink with dinner and good people having a nice time–I like that, it’s good. But jeez… That had to be one of the most unhealthiest nights I’ve had in a long time. I certainly know what I don’t want in my life.

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I wrote this to my aunt today. I hope we can be adults about this situation. Eeep.

“I need to tell you that Saturday was one of the most unhealthiest nights of my life. It is my belief that the process I am working through has triggered you in a major way. Many things you said in the course of the evening were highly distressful and disturbing to me and have impacted me badly in the aftermath. I know that you don’t like emails but my health and safety are of the utmost importance to me. I am prepared to move out/away as it is becoming highly uncomfortable and detrimental to my healing for me to continue living here under these circumstances. I’ve been through so much lately, however, that I hope to be able to stay here until such time as I feel ready to leave with a plan in place for the next step in my life, without feeling too much anxiety, etc. My desired departure date at this time would be next spring, provided I can handle this situation till that time.

If you would like to hear me out, in hopes of saving this relationship, I can write out my issues and concerns with what went on Saturday night via email, but otherwise, all I can say is that as things stand right now, our relationship is toxic to my health and I simply cannot do it.

Sincerely,
Alaina

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Hi Alaina,
First, I want to make sure I have this straight, in case I missed something. This is the aunt that has 6 kids, whose husband doesn’t speak to you, correct??

I’m so sorry things didn’t go the way you had hoped. I really don’t understand why people try to PERSUADE us to come around to their way of thinking. REALLY?? I don’t get it. My middle sister does the same thing your aunt did. Mildly supportive, but largely wants to pretend she doesn’t notice.

Anyhow, your follow up letter to her was awesome, in my opinion. You really stuck to your boundaries, and looked out for your own well being. It seems people also want to overlook that aspect. That our well being isn’t a part of the equation. It’s just easier to go with the pack, and pretend WE are being difficult. Who does that anyway?? I imagine myself in your place (or mine), and I think, hmmmm, if my niece came to me and said she was really struggling with the treatment she got from her parents, I really think I would listen, offer comfort/support, and stay the hell out of it afterward. I can’t even imagine saying, “well honey, try to turn your mind around, your heart around, pretend nothing happened, suck it up, and go on with life with a smile.” That doesn’t even make sense to me. What makes people inherently believe THEY have the answer…. to correct our hearts, our minds, and our futures?? Advising us to put aside our stabbing pain…. no sense to me!! It all has its roots in ignorance, with a healthy dose of not wanting to go against the pack. THAT is weak in my opinion. I too wonder how many healthy people there are in the world. Not that many I don’t think Alaina!! Maybe not to the degree that they’re all out unhealthy, but, certainly, there are so many more people living a facade than I ever realized. Overlooking truth, to go with the flow. It’s kind of sickening. It’s okay though…. everything will be okay, Alaina. We only need to stick to our truth, embrace our healing, love ourselves, and carry on. There are like minded people in the world, as evidenced by this blog. So thankful to be in an age where we can connect via internet.

It was only a few weeks ago I was really struggling with contact I’d had with my mom. I’m completely over it now, and as always, I learned from it. There always seems to be beauty from the ashes. Even if you can’t see that right now Alaina, the beauty will come I think. You are so courageous to stand up and protect yourself. Very inspiring.

I wish you peaceful days and restful nights. I know how hard this is, but, thankfully, each little moment that passes, we are closer to feeling better. I am interested to know how this aunt responds to your email. I’m happy for you that you stood up to her!! I’m sad it didn’t go the way you hoped though.

Much peace sent your way, and virtual HUGS!!
xoxo,
Mimi

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Alaina,
I want to mention that I’m preparing to go on vacation for about a week. If I can’t respond, please know I’m reading when I can, and I didn’t just drop off the planet and stop supporting you. :)

xoxo,
Mimi

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Alaina,
Me again, haha!! I was just thinking about what I believe I’ve learned recently. I think I MIGHT have finally learned that if I talk to any of them about my journey, it hurts ME. I hope I’m at a place now where I pretend also. Pretend I’m the happiest person on earth, that nothing they say or do will faze me, and I no longer engage in their ridiculous games. I might crumble at home, but, if I’m in their company, they will KNOW I’ve done the work, and I’m whole. I have no intention of bringing any of the crap up with anyone again. (except maybe with my one supportive aunt who’s married to my mom’s brother…. and he doesn’t speak to my mom). From the recent events with my step brother’s suicide, I have learned that nothing will change. I’ve settled on it finally (I hope). It is MY PLEASURE to stop hoping and engaging. I see that it’s a game and my mother is the coach. Again, if suicide doesn’t change it, nothing will. I think when I was in the presence of my mom, she saw that I was happy and thriving….. and it wasn’t an act. (I actually think I might have had too much coffee those days, haha). I think she observed that I wasn’t up for a big emotional reunion. Although, she thought it would play out like some ridiculous soap opera! NOPE!! I didn’t go there. I was supportive, and I mingled like nothing had happened. I see now that she wanted me to be a weak little bird whose life had nearly crumbled without her. It made her angry that I wasn’t in that place. I see that now, after some time has passed. I remember her getting cooler as time went on, until the final hours in her presence. That’s when she pulled out the insults, albeit very sneakily. And then, less than 48 hours later, I got the cutting thank you card. I envision her beating a path to her stack of thank you notes, to scribble mine out and get it in the mail lest I think I’ve somehow felt a sense of belonging or acceptance. It’s okay now, I don’t want to be accepted into a sick system that is based on playing a big game, of which I am the target.

Okay, that’s my last comment today! :)

xoxo,
Mimi

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Thank you so much, Mimi.
Yes, it was that aunt. My uncle hadn’t actually stopped talking to me. In fact, he’d picked something up for me for my apartment recently, so we had brief communication not that long ago. Back in January, he’d reacted to me telling me the typical past is the past and cutting off was wrong and unhealthy, giving a list of people who were cut off from each other in the family. It affected me badly so I wrote him back, explaining my position, where I was coming from, why I chose to cut off, what I hoped for from my parents, etc. He never responded. He probably didn’t even know that he ought to have responded, even just a sentence or two with an apology that of course it was my decision and that what I was saying makes perfect sense and hopefully my parents will come around. (I was very reasonable in my response, so he may have thought everything was perfectly fine). I’d written my aunt simply to share my feelings. I was in pain from the lack of emotional response. I was in pain over her enthusiasm to go on a family vacation my dad was planning in the midst of all this stuff. She’d been a support, someone who listened and wanted to help me, not just someone who respected my choices. I’d given my great aunt (who has been with me since my breakdown) permission to share my whole story with her. (This aunt had said to my great aunt that she wanted to one day talk to her about me, what was going on with my parents, etc. My great aunt wouldn’t do so unless I gave my permission, so my great aunt asked me about it and I said yes, believing this aunt was trustworthy with all the contents of my life and heart). I was also in pain because of a desire to have a closer relationship with my cousins but that none of them knew what had happened or understood and that especially the oldest has in the past said a number of inadvertently painful things and how much I wished she could understand, but I suffered all this anxiety that made it so difficult to explain and talk to my cousin about (plus I don’t think she really wanted to hear about it). It was painful to feel so unseen by people who have presented themselves as wanting to support me and I was simply sharing my pain, not knowing what to do with it, not knowing how I’d be able to maintain relationships with them with all this pain, that it would get more painful in time if things didn’t change, and was hoping for help of some kind if it was possible. But instead I got a lot of crap that tore me down and most of all I got the message that I would just have to deal with my pain, that she would not do anything to help or alter her own choices, etc., that I had to simply adjust myself to them and in general I was shamed for wanting anything from them besides what they’d allow…. For example, don’t email. They’ll always be there for me but I just have to pick up a phone, even though she knows how difficult it can be for me to speak. I don’t have a problem with her responding to me in person or over the phone, but sometimes I need to put it down in email first, and if she truly wanted to help, as she says she does, I don’t see what the problem is with that. If she doesn’t want to, okay, that’s fine but why shame me just because I prefer a different form of communication than she does when what we’re talking about is my pain, my experience, that she expresses a desire to be a support for? Quite simply she isn’t a support at all…

I haven’t read the next comment you sent yet but thanks so much and I hope you have a great vacation. You are right, I will be okay. I’ll get on the other side of this and be better for having stood up to it.

xo, A

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No, I’m not interested in playing the game either. Just let me live in peace in this apartment until I have myself sorted out.

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Alaina,
I’m also alarmed at all the people who are willing to mistake our efforts to live in peace, as a jab to their existance, as being disruptive, or difficult. If we walk away and lay low, we’re still causing problems?? How does that equate anyway?? It just doesn’t. I also learned from the recent events that if I react, it quite possibly is only me reacting. No one else is scathed. Why should I suffer? I shouldn’t, so I am trying to make a pact with myself that nothing anyone in my family says or does can get past my skin. Why have I given them a right to steal my joy? For me, that’s what it boils down to…. letting them determine my joy/peace. From here, I am going to try my HARDEST, to not be moved, period. I think I deserve that much. You do too Alaina!!

Peace and Love,
Mimi

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I know what you’re saying, Mimi. It’s definitely about THEM, not me or you. I’m doing my best to keep detached, knowing that my aunt is wrong and that her comments and attitude are a reflection of herself and where she is at and don’t deserve to touch me. It’s easier said than done, especially when I know this isn’t quite over and there’s the added complication that I live in an apartment she owns, above her daughter’s restaurant, so it makes certain things shaky. I realized now after sending that email to her that even if she does want to hear what I have to say and work things out, it’s in my best interest to not do that. If she can’t accept what I have to say, things could get worse, so it’s better to just detach for a while until I’ve moved. Only once I’m gone from this city would it be possible to really fix things, just because I have a measure of dependency here and now.

In truth, I wasn’t trying to lay low. I was more trying to see if a close relationship was possible, since I’d already put a lot of my heart in and was hurting for wanting more from them than they gave back, so I very much put myself and my feelings forward on purpose to see if she was willing to meet me where I am, but no, she’s not and she clearly resented that I’d even feel the right to express that want.

It is her loss. I have a lot to give. I’ll move on and she’ll be stuck with her dysfunction with the rest of them. The choice is hers.

Much love to you, Mimi.

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I just wrote a huge long comment with notes to Mimi, Alaina, DXS and Karen and I pressed the back button instead of the “~” button and I LOST the whole thing! I just about cried. I spent at least a half hour on it! DANG!
Now I am out of time! I am following this conversation everyone, (just finally caught up this morning) and I might come back and try again if I have more time later on today.
Hugs, Darlene

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Oh my Goodness!! I could just about cry when that happens too. :( So frustrating!! I think there should be an “undo” button on every EVERY thing!! :)

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Oh god, Darlene, I’ve done that, too! A few times. I’ve taken to copying my comments if they get too long just in case.

I laughed when I read your comment about the undo button, Mimi!

I do know now from this whole experience that I’m going to be assertive and act always in my best interest (not at the expense of anyone else of course but within my boundaries). Not to chide myself for the past, but if I had to do this over again, first I would not have agreed to meet at what would normally be around my bedtime. I would’ve asked to do it another weekend when she could do it a reasonable-for-me hour. I would not have consumed any alcohol because alcohol and heavy intense emotion always spell disaster. I would have interrupted the chitchat (that went on for 3 hours) to get to the matter at hand and as for the conversation, it was such a mess, I’m not sure I could’ve done anything to manage it other than simply leave when she continued to say damaging things, which I almost did about 3 times, but kept going back to sit down to give it another shot to get through to her (which I probably would’ve done had I been sober). But it all went to show me that she’s certainly unreliable and no person I’d want to trust my heart with. The shame is hers for having treated me that badly, especially considering she has been privy to my whole history and has every reason to know better. I hope that she takes this as a sign to get herself some counselling.

God, I’m still so jumpy. I’m glad I’m back to work tomorrow—making bread always helps me work stuff out, the jitters and whatnot.

xo, A

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I received a reply from my aunt. I’m feeling so deflated. This is what she says:

“Hi Alaina,

I’m sorry you feel this way. Having a relationship with someone means being able to honestly and openly express your opinions, your perspective,and your thoughts to the other person while trusting that that person accepts you no matter what you say, unless of course it is something said with malice or intention to hurt. I trusted you and thought I could do just that with you, without the fear of being judged, condemned, and rejected by you. I will never be the person that only tells you only what you want to hear. I do not need you to analyze to death our talk from the other night – I know what was said and anything that I said, was in my view, part of a give and take, evolving, heart to heart conversation between two people.
In spite of what you think, I do understand your point of view, but that does not have to mean I completely agree with it. I believe that two people in a good relationship can share their views, and at worst, agree to disagree – not try to control or manipulate how the other feels about something. Ultimatums do not work.

As for your parents, they are an important part of our lives, and we cannot exclude them. They have always shown our family so much unconditional love and support, and they deserve so much more than what we give them. I do not agree with you that they do not love you. I know they love you. You are equally special, and loved, and likewise, we would never turn our back on you.

Anyways, I am deeply saddened by the fact that you feel I am toxic to you. If you truly feel that I am detrimental to your well being I will respect that and consider our relationship over. I would never want to do anything to put you in harms way.

All the best to you in your struggle to find happiness and peace. I hope they are not too far from reach.”

What are we agreeing to disagree about? My life, my experience, my feelings, that’s what. I don’t judge how she chooses to live her life vis-a-vis her parents or kids or whomever, but she’s allowed to be so opinionated about my experience with my family? And I tried so hard to make it clear that I wasn’t trying to manipulate, just to express my feelings of pain over the situation and the fact that I didn’t think I could live with that pain. I don’t remember how I worded things exactly when we were talking but certainly the email I wrote that stated everything to begin with was fair.

More than anything, it was her statement that she takes her anger out on her kids for no reason, too, that it’s normal and that she doesn’t apologize for it that makes me feel that she is a total danger. I feel like that’s pretty much the definition of abuse, isn’t it? And anybody who thinks my parents love me, given how they’ve treated me, has got to be crazy. What’s loving about how I’ve been treated?

Anyway, I’ve got to work on moving out of this town. I regret trusting her with so much private information, but what’s done is done.

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Having a relationship with someone means being able to honestly and openly express your opinions, your perspective,and your thoughts to the other person while trusting that that person accepts you no matter what you say, unless of course it is something said with malice or intention to hurt.

HA! Yeah right. My experience is that these statements are a one way street.

Alaina, moving has always been cathartic for me. Move as far away as you can get (and where you can get a job if that’s what you need…)

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Thanks, DXS.
Yep, definitely moving. Planning for Sept. It’s all good. I was thinking of moving to Montreal a couple years ago, so now I’m definitely going to go through with it. Freedom will be there waiting for me…. Yeah, I’m sure it’s a one way street, too, with those statements… I wonder what she’ll think about getting my honest and open opinion, perspective and thoughts on the matter of all the dysfunction and damage I have seen happening within her family, with her kids, for the last 4 years that I’ve been living here. I wonder how she’ll take my recommendation that she seek out therapy for herself and her family. It’s only fair, right? Give and take? Or would that be speaking with malice or the intention to hurt? Cripes.

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It’s malice and hurt and “Disrespectful” when YOU say it, but not when THEY say it. Can dish

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Hi Everyone,

I always read everyone’s comments on efb as it is such a valuable source of information regarding how to recognise and understand the damage that abusive behaviour causes and the experiences of everyone here also validate that the damage caused to me was real because the abuse was real. Thank you Darlene for this.

I recently was betrayed by a “cousin” who lied about me behind my back and manipulated a situation to make her look really good at my expense. She told obvious lies which made me shocked and angry, and to those who didn’t know the facts I looked like I was angry for no reason as she was only trying to “help”. She deliberately went behind my back and foolishly I played into her hands when I showed my anger and walked out.

I then received a text from my cousin the same day saying do you want to talk you really aren’t being yourself lately, are you ok? After realising I cannot trust this person and if I tell her what has upset me to expect her to lie and twist the truth around and try to get in my head and manipulate me, I decided to reply to her texts by saying please do not worry about me, I am ok. I’m just really busy and have a lot going on. I could feel her fuming, as she knew she had gone too far and wanted to be able to manipulate the situation back so I knew my place and fell back into line. For me, telling a controller and manipulator that they are being controlling and manipulating is to them a declaration of war and the smear campaign against me had already started.

She then proceeded to send me 3 or 4 texts about general stuff (nothing to do with our conflict) and I calmly answered all bar one of the texts. I found out that she told someone that I was being funny with her as I’m not answering ANY of her texts and that she hadn’t done anything to me. (She doesn’t know that I found this out).

For me, abusers will tell half truths to others, and when confronted will twist the truth around to gain control over my mind, my opinions, my perception and experience of events and in doing so take away my personal power, individuality and strength. I no longer give them the pleasure of being able to do that, as I believe they enjoy confusing me and taking my strength away. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck then to my mind, its a duck. Same with abusers and controllers, liars and manipulators. They all sound the same, all look the same and act the same.

I am no longer prepared to keep having to justify my truth, or explain my truth. In my mind the truth is the truth and they are not going to define me or define my truth anymore. I was brainwashed all of my life by the “adults” who had power, control and even into my forties were not prepared to relinquish that control.

I told my aunt that I wont be visiting her anymore as I have a great life but when I am involved with family it brings me nothing but stress and upset. I told her what my cousin did and she replied by saying your cousin loves you, she has a good heart. Funny that, my father said that his alcoholic/abusive wife who attacks people, loves you. I’m sick and tired of people telling me that their toxic partners, daughters, sons, wives, mothers, aunts “Love” me when their behaviour shows otherwise. Their behaviour shows rejection, punishment and a family system that wants to put me in the role of abused and humiliated doormat begging for scraps of love and acceptance and approval.

The way the adults in my family appear to respond to any upsets that I have bought up over the years has shown loyalty and defence of the abusers every time. Continually hearing statements such as “only joking”, ” you always take it the wrong way” or “its your perception that is wrong” to “no that never happened (gaslighting)”, “I haven’t done anything wrong” to “you think too much”, to “they love you, think the world of you” to “she/he has a good heart” . Well its a response and its real and it hurts. so it’s a duck as far as I am concerned!

I will communicate my truth with my partner who has said to me speak up, talk about how you feel, its ok. He encourages me and says in life, speak up, don’t just say nothing, which is healthy and good for my functional relationships.

Peace and love to all here.

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Hi Emma
Yes, the twisting and manipulating the truth is such a big part of this problem. I too realized how much happier I was when not having to deal with all that b.s. (what’s to miss after all?)
Thanks for the update.
hugs, Darlene

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Hi to all, I am writing because I have trust problem with Dr.s I can not trust them I had a Dr tell me I had Cancer and if not removed I would die. The Dr. Put me though tests that made me feel dirty and very uncomfortable. When I told him how I felt he laughed at me he found things very funny. This added to my problem I had the cancer treated and removed then I had to go in for many tests that also made me feel uncomfortable, when I told him it could not do these test awake anymore he again laugh at me and did nothing, that was when I had my first attack I could not breath I cried uncontrollable they had to give me something so I would sleep. When I can home and told my husband of my cancer he said what am I going to do with 3 kids now his mother said about the same my sorry boy. This left me feel I didn’t have any meaning to anyone. I stopped going to this Dr. Feeling it was better to die quick than to go though all of these test I could not do. I shut down in many ways from my husband I keep to myself ion many ways. We don’t talk about the cancer at all or my feelings. About 15 years after my cancer I got told by another Dr. that what the 1 st Dr. Called a cancer then is not a cancer today. Cancer has not come back, and I have not had any treatment for it at all than it just being removed. Now I don’t trust anyone cannot sleep have nightmare have problems going to the Dr. For just about anything. I have read about PTSD and feel I have all the symptoms. I have another condition that has come up and this conditions has more of the same tests in it. If I have to go on for any of these test I can not do it. This is going on for 20 years I don’t know how to handle this anymore. I stay with my husband because I can not afford to leave the Dr. I have is good but I don’t think he always gets my problem. What can I do I need help.

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Thank you….it was like I was reading my exact experience. Unfortunately, I am still suffering with it all. I figured out at some point on my own that what I had was PTSD. It is like doctors are afraid to diagnose that because it assigns blame for a serious and delibilitating health problem which was caused by someone else’s violence, abuse, neglect and therefor it would assign blame. I’m looking forward to the day when our society is no longer fraud to assign that blame and hold people accountable with how they damage others whether it is intentional or not. Only then, will we start making progress in dealing with mental health issues, prevention and treatment.

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My mom can barelystand me cuz her brother sexually abused me for sixteen years then one day beat me. She said she never cared about me since I was 2yrs old and she was a couselour of a school. I’m done.

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So, 4 months ago, I realised (with the help of a counsellor) that I was an abused child and that my dad is probably a psychopath. I have cried and cried. How, once you’ve recognised the lies and purged them do you unpick/ love yourself/cope with the side effects of trauma such as panic attacks and anxiety? I am not in touch with my dad and am earning to set boundaries and to talk about my feelings. What next?

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Hi Kim
Isn’t it awful that we get abused not just once but over and over again because people won’t face the truth and step up to their responsibilities as a parent or even just as a human being.
Thank you for sharing.
hugs, Darlene

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Hi Everyone
I just published a new post for the Upcoming Mother’s Day it’s called “The Dreaded Mother’s Day Card Purchase” Hope you will stop by and read it, share it and maybe leave a comment!
hugs, Darlene

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My sister has followed me to several cities in the US and caused trouble there and now she has followed me to Ecuador .She is manipulating people here. The thought of this monster trying to insinuate herself back into my life is causing unbelievable stress for me.

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Darlene,

Thank you so much. Your words hit me straight in the heart and move me beyond tears.

Recently, I went to talk with someone who claimed to “cure” PTSD. As we started the discussion, she asked me if I was ever diagnosed with PTSD. I said no. She immediately scoffed at me and then told me that I didn’t have PTSD.

I was born and raised in a doomsday religious cult where everyday was filled with guilt, fear and anger. As a baby and then a child, I had no other reference point for life. So, as I got older, I became more angry and more depressed. There are parts of my childhood that I don’t remember. Still to this day, I have triggers that snap me back to fear and I end up with an anxiety attack.

For her to dismiss my feelings of PTSD, was for me to encounter another person dismissing my life.

Thank you for your words. Every time I come here, I feel validated. Much love.

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So many of the points are so familiar. Having the 12 Step seemingly to blame the person and even the therapists in their hurry to get you to a certain point have not been helpful. It only reinjures and intensifies the pain.

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Hi Eva
Welcome to EFB ~ Exactly. I am so glad you are here; learning to put the blame back where it belongs and giving permission to take all the time we need to heal is key!
hugs, Darlene

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Hi Kathy
Welcome to EFB ~ Always remember you have a choice. This site has tons of info about how to take your power and choice back.
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Rachel
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
OH WOW ~ what she said to you so devaluing. Maybe she ‘cures’ it by invalidating that it was even there? That is so not funny! The consequences of a trauma like yours is most certainly PTSD. Thank you for sharing
I am so glad that you are here!
hugs, Darlene

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I have been seeing psychiatrists for over 17 years and only had pills shoved down my throat. So here I find myself over 30, divorced twice and living in my mothers home. I recently was diagnosed with PTSD and I began therapy so I started taking steps to get my life because I have been hiding for a very long time. I made many horrible decisions as everyone does but I need outside view on my steps because I cannot screw anything else up. I have had abuse both mental and physical from family. I stood on my own and had a job, car and home while covering for my first Exhusband beating me. I never spoke of it and he was seen doing it and arrested. This devastated me because I had a 1 year old and I kept her from seeing anything and I never left her alone with him at all. Him leaving in handcuffs made me realize I hurt my daughter by failing her. Then years of repeated process really feeling that certain things happen to everyone and the things that happened to me as a child and that continued on finally pushed me over the edge. I began having seizures.. I am wanting to address my issues and be capable of standing on my own but here is my problem/question. My family finds any mental illness to be fictional and I am daily feeling extremely overwhelmed because my mother decided that she is sick of my “issues”. My last divorce was about six months ago and my ex and his family are doing all they can to take full custody of my angel. The divorce and custody battle was a nightmare alone with so many allegations I proved wrong and the court disregarded that. However I need to keep going to therapy, figure out how to hold a job with everything scaring me, find a home and car along with heading back to court because my ex doesn’t consider our daughters feeling and he pushes her off on others as soon as he picks her up from me. My therapist says one thing at a time but I don’t have that luxury due to my mistakes. I didn’t even mention that I had everything from my identification, social security cards for myself and my daughter, our birth certificates and everything like all my clothing, the only photos I had left from the divorce of my daughter, all the court documents and all of the court records from the divorce and the amounts of evidence I had showing his disregard to her well being. My mom says get a job in one day, she did it and so many others have had it so much worse and they have jobs and homes and have their children without any trouble she went as far as to say “I see retards working so your just lazy and wanting a free ride and someone else to take care of your child”. Any suggestions I would greatly appreciate because trying to face the stuff I tucked away or made into jokes to try and deal with along with everything I should already have done and the constant “you only think about yourself and I don’t want you here” coming daily like clockwork I am just at a loss as to where to begin when the negativity from her is hurting me worse daily. Please I am begging for any guidance..

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I was married for 21 years to a military man. I sacrificed my career for his. I gave him child after child because he wanted “two boys to carry on the family name” and it had to be two in case something happened to one. And girls weren’t smart enough to carry on the family inheritance. I rarely made it home to see my family, and when we did go, he was the perfect husband/father/friend. No one was around when he would yell at me for “pawning the kid off on” him so I could make dinner for the family; would say I am lazy because I got up at 6 a.m. to make a turkey for the family and was still in my pjs at 7:45 and just getting the turkey and all the trimmings into the oven; would physically block me or hold me down in the bed so I could not go to my screaming, hungry/wet or soiled infant in the room next door, saying I would spoil the child if I went; was shoved out of the children’s bedroom after trying to stop him from smacking their feet with a belt if they dared move when he put them to bed; saw me standing outside my children’s closed bedroom door, ear pressed tight against the wood hoping for an echo of some movement or tiny voice, then saw me standing over the tiny body that was not moving from breath, then collapse to the floor when the child finally inhaled an eternity later–because he had ‘spanked’ her for waking at 3 am crying…his hand print on her back for 3 days. No one saw him shove our preteen into a corner of a desk for being disobedient; or slam our teen into a wall or drag the teen across the floor. No one heard him tell me for the entire 9 months of pregnancy that I would have to abort the child because he didn’t want a child with disabilities because WE don’t know how nor have the time to raise a child with special needs (though my career trained me well how to do just that). No one was around when his eyes filled with so much anger that he chased down our 8 year old, threw the slender child onto the bed, held the child down with his knee and ‘spanked’ so hard just above the belt that the child walked with a limp for several hours, or when he shoved that same child into the car’s door frame requiring an ice pack to relieve the pain. And those are just a few of my memories. I had gone to several people for help: friends, family, the domestic violence center, religious leaders, colleagues, therapists, and yes, even the police(!!) and social services. No one came to help me. I began to think I was wrong about how I felt. I had come between him and my kids for so long, the battle was wearing me down. Then I lost someone very close to me. I felt anger in me like never before. My older children begged me to protect the younger children better. I told them there was only 1 way to do that. They said they knew. And with a little help, I finally got the strength to leave. But I took so much with me…my memories of events that happened to me, plus the memories of everyone of my children. They moved on from their memories, forgave him and started rebuilding a relationship with him. They didn’t fully understand my ‘strong dislike’ for him until I explained it that way. And I try hard not to discuss the past or kept in anger I feel on a daily basis towards him.

I am in a new relationship…and my biggest fear is that I have walked into something very much like the past relationship. Do I have the strength to stand up for myself? Will I forever be unhappy inside? Can I ever truly trust or believe another man in my life? Did I remarry too soon?

I was diagnosed PTSD in 2013 after experiencing a seizure. It was stress induced, I was told. What does this mean now?

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