Passive Abuse and Emotionally Dysfunctional Relationship




psychological abuse and neglect

Stone Cold and Distant by Azelinn

One of my mother’s complaints was always that my father was “the hero” in my eyes. She said that I never criticised him and I acted as though he was “perfect”; that he left our family and then he made a new life for himself, but that none of us kids ever found any fault with him; only with her. She said that he got off “scot free” and she got stuck being the “bad guy.”

And even here on my blog, “Emerging from Broken” I have been pretty easy on him.  But recently, inspired by fresh pain that my father has caused me, I realized it is time to write more about my father and the lack of contribution that he made to my life.

My father never “saw” me. He never tried to get to know me. He didn’t seem to hate me, he didn’t seem to resent me, he never called me names like stupid or ugly and he didn’t hit me, but the thing is that he didn’t really do the opposite of those things either.  He never saw me as a person. He was emotionally unavailable. It is as though I didn’t have a father. 

I have come to realize that my father is a passive abuser. One definition of passive abuse is hurting a child with a lack of interest, a lack of communication all of which is neglectful and discounting. There is a message that this behaviour sends the child and I was that child. I got the message. And I realize that the way that he disregards me has always defined me as not enough and it has defined me as unlovable and unworthy.

Really seeing and accepting the truth about my father and our dysfunctional father daughter relationship (or lack of father daughter relationship) this past two years or so has made it difficult for me to want to deal with him since I began to stand up to other abusers in my life. My father seemed so “nice” that I had trouble putting my finger on what to stand up to him about

I have told him several times over the years that he doesn’t listen to me or to my children. He admitted it, and promised to change but nothing changes. He phones to talk about his own life. He sometimes questions expressing interest, such as “how is school?” or “how is the farm” But then he interrupts the answers as they remind him of his own stories, and that he has a better story to tell.  So he interrupts ~ he cuts everyone off in the middle of a sentence. This is very discounting. It tells a story of its own. My children feel frustrated by him. This is the way it has been for me my whole life. His actions towards me defined me as having nothing interesting to say; that there was nothing about me or about my life that would be of interest to him. I was uncomfortable having my children defined the same way.

Recently I told my father that we don’t really have a relationship and I told him again how I feel about his lack of interest in my life and in the lives of my children and my family. He says he cares but his actions PROVE that he doesn’t. He said that he loves me. He said that he loves all five of his children the same. (I wonder what he means by that.)

He apologized profusely. (Which is where the confusion always comes in; If he is sorry, I want to believe that he is sorry, but the action is always missing.) He even followed up with an email apology with just a little bit of justification in it, (which I was willing to overlook) and out of hope, I engaged and replied back with more explanation; I tried harder to explain my feelings, about our failed relationship. I wanted to make sure that he understood what I was saying. I wanted him to realize that this was not the first time I had told him.  I gave him examples of what he does and how it makes me feel. I wanted him to HEAR me.

For about an hour I allowed myself the hope that we might be able to salvage something and possibly repair our relationship. I really believe he heard me this time. I believed he was sorry. I thought/hoped he might even want to try to work it out with me. About an hour later, in response to my continued explanation, he sent an excuse. He said I had misunderstood him about one little point. Just one excuse for one point about the whole conversation, as though that is all that it would take, as though I had made an error in this one tiny part of the whole picture of my life without a father. As though his pointing out that (in his view) I had misunderstood this one little thing that proved that I was wrong about everything.  

It was his excuse for not trying with me. It was his out, his way of telling himself that it is really my fault that we don’t have a relationship and not his.

And I was stunned.  

In that one single moment, all hope of restoring any kind of father daughter relationship, whooshed down the drain. Just like that. My father isn’t capable of loving me. My father is never going to see me for who I am.

His lame little fault finding scrap of defence translated to my feelings; it felt as though he had said:

~ “you think I want to work on it? Oh sorry, you misunderstood. I just want to be right. I just                      want you to know that you are wrong. I don’t want to be bothered to actually have to DEAL with this.  I don’t want to have to try with you. You are not worth it.”

I have never been worth it to him. I have never been worth the effort that it would take for my emotional unavailable father to listen to me. He defined me a certain way and he will never see me for who I am, but that doesn’t hurt as much as the fact that he STILL does not want to see who I am. I have never had enough value (to him) to interest him in making any kind of effort. I take too much energy, I take too much space. I am just not worth whatever it would take for my passive abusive father to have a real father daughter relationship with me.

I wondered for years what I did, what I had done to cause him to forget about me when my parents got divorced.  It didn’t dawn on me that he was really not present before they got divorced. He never noticed me BEFORE they got divorced. It didn’t dawn on me that the defect was his and not mine.  His actions don’t define me, they define him.

And you know what? It took me years to realize that his actions define him and not me. It also took me most of my life to realize that I am so worth the effort that he didn’t bother to give me. I am not the one that is at fault in this dysfunctional father daughter relationship. I am not the one that failed and I am not the one that deserves to be treated with such utter disregard. This loss is his loss, not mine. I never had a functional relationship with my father in the first place.

Exposing Truth, one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

~For definitions of neglect and abuse click here to see the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services page

also see ~ Seeking Valadition and Understanding from the wrong people 

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


Categories : Father Daughter



My dad’s excuse was God and his CALL….after all, he was CALLED to the mission field.. meanwhile he kept impregnating mom who had at least 2 nervous breakdowns, who was ill with stress induced ailments,hooked on amphetomines (?) and he never ONCE put his family above the CALL..oh.. he did send mom off the mission field to America by HERSELF when my little newborn brother nearly died of asthma.. I remember we were went back to boarding school in AFrica, and he lived the life of a bachelor for the year mom went to the hospital with Kenny, and then returned about a year later..I am STILL amazed they stayed together..
After all those awful years, as mom in Texas, the parents in Oregon, wanted me to come up for a week… he told me one evening..he did not know WHY all those years of married life, MOm screamed at him incessantly..at that time, I was in such survival mode, I did not know how to respond…but he made HER the bad guy.. and us too..
He shamed and scolded us as little children when, after complaining about how bad institutional life at boarding school was, how terrible the staff treated us…he literally yelled at us saying we SHOULD BE GLAD we had a place to live and food to eat.. because ALL the little AFrican children had it SO much worse than we did.. so shut up and stop crying..
So.. with that, I never could “make it right..” an I HONESTLY until recently.. felt I was responsible to make it right…I feel like screaming my bloody head off at my sisters who are still in denial.. I feeel like I go incoherent inside.. and NO one gives a damn..


Hi Vivian!
So great to hear from you on this one! It really is hard to understand isn’t it?? I had to look at it in separate ways; what did the situation of the African kids have to do with HIS behaviour??? That is what is so crazy about this stuff. All this odd statements used to excuse wrong behaviour and it is so hard to sort it all out. Being yelled at for not accepting terrible treatment from the people that were in charge of your care? HE didn’t take care of his family ~ as you say, he didn’t put his family first and somehow YOU got it dumped back on you.
I hear you Vivian! and it is by exposing this kind of truth that we can all help each other to heal.
Thanks for being here!
Hugs, Darlene


wow this one hit another spot. especially where you said about your mother complaining how it was only her that was bad. i had the exact same accusation thrown at me. i replied ‘mam im sorry that you feel that way i admit dad beat us and was a nitemare to be around, but he has never called me a lair like you have, he has always been distant and i never felt he loved me anyways and when questioned about the past he says he carnt remember.’ she really didnt like that, but like the posts on here about mother daughter stuff. i had found her neglect and verbal and controlling ways more damaging than the bruises he gave me and the terror of his judgement when i was a child.
yet when i left home the second time, i found it hard to explain how his attitude towards me changed. it was like he had done his duty and unless i went to him for something i never saw or heard from him. conversations wer stilted and still are, it was weird he could cope with me as an adult and do what ever he could to help but only if we asked. even today i know very little about his daily life and who he spends his time with, but that is because he doesnt speak even when we see him. makes it so much harder to be close to my father. i can remember his violence and moods from when i was a child yet they dont scare me half as much or did as much damage as the failed bond to my mother


My dad had multiple personality disorder and he really was many different people. He was many different kinds of dads. The “good daddy” personality loved and doted on me… but, as I look back on it now, I see very clearly that the “good daddy” personality ONLY loved me because I loved and adored and idolized him. When my dad’s horrible abusie personality almost killed my mother…. after that, I was afraid of my dad. I no longer adored and idolized him. So then, he stopped loving me. And from that time on… from when I was 12 until my dad died when I was 34, my dad was not my dad. He was absent, he was distant, he treated me like a non-person, like I no longer existed in his world.

He turned all his daddy-love to one of my younger sisters, and after I left home, I was told he sexually abused her. He also married, for his 3rd and final wife, a girl who was only 2 years older than me. I did not like that.

I had a marriage like that, Darlene. After the abusive marriages, where I was physically and verbally beaten, and cheated on, then I married a man who was… surprise… almost old enough to be my father. We were married 11 years and he.. wasn’t there. I mean he was THERE, but he wasn’t. No closeness, no emotional shaing, no love, he didn’t even TALK to me for the last 8 years we were married. We lived in the same house, we slept in the same bed, but he was like a robot, doing his daily compulsive routine, not talking, not engaging.

It was a very lonely marriage. I used to ask him why he had suddenly stopped talking to me after the first 2 years of marriage. “I told you everything then, I don’t have anything left to say,” he said. THIS MAN WAS A RETIRED US AIR FORCE OFFICER. HE HAD A MASTERS DEGREE. HE KNEW HOW TO THINK AND HOW TO TALK, but he just ….. didn’t. Not to me.

It felt really weird for me to finally leave him “just because” he would not have a conversation with me!! He didn’t abuse me, he provided for me, he brought me tea and did “things” for me… but when I told him, as I did very many times, that I would rather he never did another thing for me, but just this ONE THING… TALK to me! I don’t care about what, just sit down for a few minutes with me every day and tell me about your day, or about whatever is on your mind, I don’t care WHAT you say, just please SAY SOMETHING.

He would smile a tight little smile and shrug and say, “I don’t have anything to say.”

We used to go to a 12-step meeting every week, together. I lived for those meetings because he would TALK at these meetings. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t talking TO ME, it was still his words and I was SO STARVED.

THAT is how my relationship with that husband felt, Darlene. It felt like emotional starvation. I finally decided I would rather live all by myself with just my cat for company, than to stay with a man who COULD talk, but refused to. It felt to me very much like passive-abuse. WHY he wanted to “hurt” me, I don’t know… he never told me! But he did, he decided one day to stop giving me the one thing he knew I needed and wanted the most, the sound of his voice, talking to me. I stayed until I decided I would rather live alone, because at least it isn’t quite so maddening, not hearing another human voice, when no one is there. But when he was THERE like a LUMP in the room, but didn’t care enough to gie me the time of day…. I told myself I “shouldn’t” end a marriage just for THAT, but I could not take that passive-abuse any more.



Darlene, I just have to add this: YOU are truly one of the most AMAZING, WONDERFUL, AWESOME, BRILLIANT, INSIGHTFUL, CARING human beings I have ever known. I would LOVE to have a daughter just like you… a sister just like you…. a mother just like you…. a best friend just like you…..

YOU DESERVE a father who loves and appreciates how awesome you are, a father who will take the time out of his “busy life” to reach out to you and have a loving, mutually respectful, equal give and take relationship with you. WHY he hasn’t done that… is something missing in him. NOT in YOU.



Darlene, another great post that I think most of us who grew up in abusive homes can relate to, as it seems most of these homes had one aggressive parent and one passive parent, it is kind of how people hook up in life. And the affect on children is just as you have stated, one of confusion. We tend to focus on the aggressively abusive parent because the passive one just faded into the background in our memories, and yet the damage deep down was just as devastating from both types of parenting.

And then we tend to bounce around in life going from aggressive abusers to passive abusers, but always to abusers. Until we can get it all sorted out through the healing process.

Great post. I am able to see so much of this in my history. More to eventually work on!
Carla Logan


I dont usually play devil’s advocate in these kinds of things, but today I feel like I should. Having a father much like Darlene’s and Lynda’s ex husband, and having had a marriage to someone with multiple personalities who was extremely abusive, I can relate to each side of this…and knowing my father as a child, and knowing my son, and my current husband, and myself, and having the knowledge of each of them from adult eyes, especially with my father…has changed a lot of what I thought was “abusive behavior” from him. There is a neurological disorder that is on the Autism spectrum at the higher functioning end, called Asperger’s syndrome..and only in the last 10-15 years has it gained any recognition in the field of neurological issues and there is no known cause, but it is suspected to be related to environmental toxins via increased exposure to heavy metals and lead and pollutants in the air and water and vaccinations are thought to play a role, and food allergies and an imbalance in gut function, but anyways, my point in bringing it up is this….

Ever since my son was born, I always noticed he was not as “interested” in what everyone else thought, said, did, wanted etc., that other people just didnt seem to matter much to him, and it reminded me a great deal of my own father, so much so that I assumed it was a genetic personality issue that he inherited from my dad (because I had never heard of Asperger’s then) and just accepted him for who he was like any mother would….then when I found out about Asperger’s and my son was subsequently diagnosed with it, and I learned more, I realized just how much that described how my father was. Its a “disorder” that causes impaired social skills and social functioning problems and a high degree of anxiety and lack of interest in other people and great difficulty understanding and having empathy for other people’s thoughts and feelings (some can learn to do it, but its never automatic to them like it is to most of us) and many of them are very intelligent (my father has a genius IQ and my son does also and my son has skipped a grade in elementary and is in all honors classes in middle school) and have certain skills that they are very good at, and they are almost obsessed with their own interests, for my son its a video game right now, but it was a tv show when he was a toddler and some game characters when he was in elementary school. I’m talking addiction level obsession, they think about it, dream about it, talk about it incessantly (my son does, but my father doesnt talk about it much, because I think by his age he has realized that most people arent nearly as interested in it as he is, and it is considered rude…but he had to LEARN that, it wasnt something that came naturally). They are very resistant to change and love routine and schedules. There is a much higher risk of alcoholism and drug use in people with Asperger’s syndrome because it allows them to calm the anxiety they feel in social situations and “fit in” better with others. In their mind, if someone doesnt fit into their view of the world in what they see as a logical practical way, (such as a work colleague on a work project) then they have no use for them.

It doesnt mean they dont love them, or dont care about them, and if you said “do you love me?” they would say “of course I do, Im here arent I?” and not understand why that didnt make us feel loved, because in their mind, if they didnt care, they wouldnt be there at all. They also tend to see the details in things rather than the big picture, and its even worse with emotional situations (like Darlene’s father and him focusing on the one inconsistency in her email, rather than the “big picture” of her feelings)

My father divorced my mom when I was around 3-4 years old, and I saw him on summer vacations and every other year at Christmas as a kid, and we did fun things like go to Disney World and he cooked food and took us to museums (he has always had a real interest in science) and things like that, but we never “talked” and he never said he loved me or hugged me or kissed me, and if I got hurt, he wasnt sympathetic at all, he bandaged me up and walked away,

but then when I got older (14ish-18) I lived with him and my stepmother for those four years, and he pretty much ignored me, went on vacations without me, let me spend holidays with my friends because he wasnt interested in celebrating them, he never went out to dinner with other adults, never had friends over, nothing, ever…and he told me he loved me one time when I was 16, and I literally almost fell on the floor in shock. He didnt come to my school events, or celebrate my accomplishments, or have birthday parties for me, nothing….which obviously made me feel worthless and like I didnt matter…and until this past year, I assumed my perceptions were right, and he was a “passive abuser”….

but then, I spent a week with him this year, and having realized what Asperger’s is, and seeing my father through more mature eyes, and having my stepmother confirm that she believes my dad also has Aspergers (after I sent her the symptoms, she said he does seem like it fits him) and seeing how he interacted with my daughter, and me and my stepmom, which I always thought was “he didnt care”, I saw as “he does care, but he doesnt know how to show it the right way that makes us feel cared for” and I saw him through different eyes, and it really allowed me to take some of that blame from him that I had held for all these years, because I saw him in the same light I saw my son, and I see how difficult it is for my son when he has parents who know and understand Asperger’s and are actively trying to improve his quality of life, where my father had the exact opposite, a critical mother who treated him poorly and never tried to understand him, and a father who was indifferent and Asperger’s was not known widely at that time (it was discovered in 1944, by a German researcher and my dad was born in 1948) so he was just seen as “different” and treated like a weirdo….which didnt help him at all, and I can see how much my son has benefitted from things my father never had available to him, and how much different his life may have been in light of that, so that gave me a better view of him.

Now I am not saying that your fathers (or ex husbands) do or do not have Asperger’s or were not actually abusive, but from what you both described (especially Lynda’s ex husband–the “I dont have anything to say” explanation, which in the mind of someone with Asperger’s is entirely logical, if they had something important to tell you, they would, but they dont know that you just want them to talk, about anything at all because of emotional connection) I see quite a bit of traits of Asperger’s syndrome in those interactions, and I just want to bring that possibility to light, maybe your fathers and husbands loved you in the best way they could, and were not actually capable of giving you the kind of love you wanted them to give you, and it was entirely THEIR issue and had no reflection on your worth or value to them at all. So the conclusion that its their problem, is entirely true, but for an altogether different reason.

As far as the multiple personalties, Lynda, I totally feel for you having someone like that as a father, My children’s father suffered from DID and was several different people, and he never told me (Im not sure if he even knew until after we were divorced—I only found out after his death) and I assumed that I was just a totally unloveable person and was “crazy” because I couldnt deal with him…and thats totally unrelated to Asperger’s, but still horribly devastating, but as you know, that is not entirely their fault either, because they cant control things they dont know exist or arent getting help to treat.

So Im not letting abusive people off the hook by any means, just throwing out a possible non abusive perspective for similar behaviors.

I am sorry that both of you were affected by these men in such a negative way, regardless of their motives, and in no way are you to blame, which you both know, thank God, and I know how much it hurts,

but I know also how it feels to let go of that negative perception that I saw as truth and realize that my father’s (and my son’s—he is very negative towards me at times, and has no idea that he has done anything offensive or hurtful until I say so) intentions were much different than I saw them to be, and that although I didnt feel loved, from their end, I am very loved…and they did the best they could with what they had, and they never intentionally hurt me, and that was enough for me to let go of that negative feeling towards them.

I hope this is helpful in some way, if not, then just know my intentions were good and I never meant to devalue anyones perceptions in any way.


Darlene…. My mother was/is like that – like your dad. Then I MARRIED someone like that.
I only realized all the stuff you speak about after I had gotten PTSD and was left by my spouse because of it – cause then it was SO blatant that I was not worth having around or being cared for. I was not ‘useful’ anymore cause my life was in shambles.
I also got the words.. “I love you BUT…”, and a thousand excuses. Later – apologies; unchanged actions; apologies; more of the unchanged actions; apologies; .. “I love you but.. ” (I am right and you are wrong).
Lynda 🙂 – Now I also live alone with my cat. Still living alone with PTSD and my cat; 12 months now. My spouse is living with her kids. I know but the no conversations, Lynda – the desperate need for that. However – there were no meetings to hear anything. The one thing my spouse refused to do – bluntly – is to go for any kind of therapy or meetings. How much does THAT say??
My sister is livid with me today cause I dared to tell her how tired I am of her expectations of me when I have given much ALL my life but now am just not able to do all that anymore SOME DAYS – for now.
Ya you see… I’m the one who has always shut up to keep the peace while the rest did EXACTLY what they wanted – cause I was taking care of all emotionally and my doors and wallets were always open. Now – now I have PTSD. And while I studied ADHD when I went into a relationship with my spouse whose son has ADHD; while I studied epilepsy when my spouse was diagnosed with it; while I studied Fibromyalgia when my sister was diagnosed with that and sent all of them helpful articles and subscribed to sites where I could learn more about these things etc etc.. no-one has done that for me. No. No – I must be grateful for all I have. Which I AM – otherwise I would have given up long ago. So I don’t need to be told.
I don’t need to be told ANYTHING by the likes of them, cause this I know: I am all but sure that the ones that are so cold now, would be able to do what I have done in the past year or so. And – I pray to God (and I mean this) that they never have to go through what I have been through since last year February. I don’t wish it upon ANYONE.


I don’t think of your comment as your playing devils advocate at all. Although I appreciate your explanation of Aspergers, I think that you might have misunderstood where I am coming from.

I am very familiar with Asperger’s syndrome and I can assure you that my father does not have it. I could tell you what I think he does have but that would be counterproductive; the point of this post is not to point out what might have been wrong with my father or with any other parent, abuser or controller in order to understand his or her behaviour better ~ the point is to realize what he or she did that defined me and to highlight how our belief systems develop in the first place. In my recovery I had to separate the excuses that I had always made for everyone, from the truth about what happened to me. It was in realizing how I was defined by this non verbal communication (and other abuse) that I was able to redefine myself and refuse the definition of me that I had come to believe was the truth and then through the resulting healing, I was able to discover my true identity and live in it. I got so stuck for years trying to understand the people in my life.

It is so important that we realize that this whole thing is not about blame; although the responsibility needs to be put where it belongs, it is for the purpose of self validation and healing. And this is also not about understanding the person that caused the harm, although that can be very soothing and comforting and I am not discounting that part of it, BUT understanding the person who did the damage when we were young, doesn’t help us heal from the damage, because the belief system has already formed and the healing comes from the “re-wiring” process.

I hope that this comment makes my intentions more clear.
Thanks so much for sharing.
hugs, Darlene



My dad has always played the passive role. There were problems in their early marriage — things my mom held over him to this day, and I’m sure vice versa. Makes me think he just sort of checked out in general. He was always sweet to other people’s kids and largely ignored us. I don’t know all of it, but I always felt like my dad could take or leave his own kids. Its been interesting since I broke off with my mom several months ago. Now, Dad calls (he never did that before) and I mostly wonder if she’s prodding him or he’s initiating himself. But a lot of the irritating things she always did, he has started — repeating the same stories and always topping my latest story with one of his own. Trying to give the guy a break, although mostly I’m just pretty weary with the whole relationship in general.



Hi Carol
Thanks for sharing this. I guess the point is that there was damage. The details really do help us figure out the beliefs that came from it and the more we share it, the more people have a chance to relate. Sharing our pain makes such a big difference.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lynda,
Thank you for your beautiful compliments; you make me smile.
I am sorry for all you went through and the emotional starvation that you write about and I am glad that you are talking about it.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Carla,
You make such a good point at least in my life; I tended to bounce from aggressive abusers to passive abusers, and I had a few mixed both passive and aggressive, but as you say, always to abusers or controllers who for some reason thought they had more rights then I did ~ just like my parents.
Thanks for sharing.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Retha,
Thank you for being here, and for sharing. I got that stuff too, the I love you but and the I’m sorry but…. and I was always the one that was wrong, but now I know that it doesn’t matter what they say. I learned how to take care of myself emotionally and to take care of my kids the way that I was never taken care of and hopefully they won’t get taken in to this one sided relationship stuff. There is hope!
I am glad you are here and thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kellie
I hear you on the “pretty weary” thing. It really is hard I know. Isn’t that interesting that he picked up where your mom left off?
Hang in here Kellie,
Hugs, Darlene


My mother played the passive-aggressive role in my life. She was the one who was always emotionally unavailable. She was there physically but just never there emotionally. I knew that by the time that I was 3 years old. I was her protector so that she didn’t have to feel. My sister shocked me a few years ago when she asked me if I raised her because she didn’t remember mom ever being around when she was a little girl. Mom never worked out of the home until I was a senior in high school. My dad wouldn’t let any of us work. I got my first job after I left home at 19.


AMIRA!!! I LOVE what you wrote in comment #9, and the humble, sweet way you presented it. You must have put a tremendous amount of effort and thought into that comment. Thank you! And I did get a certain measure of “peace” and a clearer understanding in reading that.

I’m pretty sure that my non-talking ex does not have Aspergers… I suspect he had acutally shut down emotionally due to post traumatic stress from Vietnam. But I didn’t realize that, until I married the man I am with now, who is also a Vietnam Veteran with post traumatic stress. Shutting down emotionally can be a big aspect of combat-related trauma, or really any kind of trauma. While it’s very true, like Darlene said, that looking at the “why” someone may have passively abused us, is somewhat beside the point, when we are talking about the very negative effect that their behaviour had on us, it can help us to get past in easier, if we can understand that their abuse or neglect may be something that they aren’t even wired to SEE!

About 11 yeara ago, I date a very high-functioning autistic man for about a year. He was brilliant, funny, amazing, unpredictable, fascinating, sexy, fun to be with… and emotionally he was as dead as a doornail. My heart was broken in the end… but it did help me to know that the lack was in him, and he couldn’t help it.



I must admit it was hard to read all that, Darlene because my dad was also not like my mother, and although I had a lot of complaints when I was young, lately I have been very thankful for him because I now see that my mother was the narcissistic one and he was the compliant one who always went out of his way to help others but many times felt guilty, obliged and resentful. He was also emotionally unavailable but given his background I don’t see how he could have known how to give or connect emotionally. He tried his best and I did receive what he gave as love. I love him to bits and want to tell him how much he DID impact us even though he was emotionally awkward, and feels terribly guilty and sad that his life is coming to an end he feels he didn’t do well enough. I really do love him and hope I am not making excuses for him. I would never dream of telling him how much his emotional unavailability affected us because he would be heartbroken by it. His own father died young and his mother raised many kids in dire poverty.

The other reason why your post is hard to swallow is because I am aware that I myself have been emotionally distant in my parenting. I have tried and tried consciously to be more affectionate, spend more time (heck, I homeschool), but I still feel challenged and it doesn’t come naturally. I know that at different times, it has irked my kids that I haven’t really “been there”, but looking back, I think my mind was consumed with how to avoid abuse, so I was always trying to make everything perfect and right.

So they would want me to listen to them or laugh with them, but I had to make sure dinner was right or the house property tidied, or my tasks completed. So I was never wholly available JUST for them. And when they complained, it irritated me and got me defensive because I was trying my best. If I didn’t attend to these other details and their father got mad, then they would suffer for it. It still breaks my heart that I didn’t do better.

I hope that when my children grow up and realize what passive abuse is, they will get the healing they need and also forgive me because all I ever wanted to do was pour my life, my effort, my resources to nurturing them.


I find it very hard and challenging to write about my father. I have no relationship with him and never did. When I think of my childhood my father does not figure in it till I was 9-years old and he raped me for the first time. He was physically and emotionally not there, although physically he was. It’s a really bizarre one to explain. And even from age of 9, he was not emotionally there. I had a father but did not have a father, he was never really a father to me.

In some ways my father was a passive abuser who did to me everything my mother told him to do and he never questioned her nor refused. For instance he only beat me if she told him too. BUT he was a willing participant in the abuse and torture my mother masterminded throughout my teen years.

He’s a very complex figure that I cannot get my head around. He was in many ways a weak man who I recognise was as totally terrified of my mother as anyone else was. My mother spoke and the entire house jumped to attention. But that isn’t the entire story when it comes to my father.

In some ways it would be easier for me if it was. BUT he wasn’t just a passive abuser. He chose to come into my bed at night from the age of 8. Yes I liked his cuddles and the sense of maybe someone does love me after all. But I didn’t like what his cuddles turned into. He chose to rape me the night of my 9th birthday. He chose to carry on raping me and sexually assaulting me at night for several years after that.

I am tempted to think of my father as being very passive but he could also be incredibly aggressive when he chose.

He didn’t continually fault find or make insinuations like my mother but he showed he thought the same by his attitude and his emotional absence and abuse when he was physically present. The only value I had to him was based in meeting his needs and he ensured that occurred both passively and aggressively.



Thank you for clarifying, but for me personally, I think its two sides of the same coin…and I forget that for other’s it isnt always that way. My husband always says “I dont care what the reason for ___ is, It made me angry or sad or whatever and THAT is what matters” but to me, thats only half the answer. I have to know why, at least on a basic level, that I do what I do, that others do what they do, say what they say, act how they act, think what they think…it is extremely important to me to have some understanding of that in addition to how it has caused me to have beliefs, so in the case of my father…on his end, he most likely meant no harm by his actions and behaviors, but I took that as a devaluing of me, and I had to learn that I had some value and that specifically was irrelevant in terms of his intentions, while at the same time, was my perception accurate in terms of how he intended his actions and feelings to come across, regardless of how I perceived them, were they intended that way, or was I seeing things through a false reality because of how I was affected by those actions? That clarity of intention vs perception has extreme amounts of healing value for me in my interpersonal relationships, because I automatically assume the worst about everyone and everything and dont trust anyone, right off the bat, and unless I examine their intentions, I never trust them, so I have to take that extra step to understand people’s intent in order to even form a relationship at all…and I guess most people dont have that issue to the degree that I do, but after being told that the entire way I saw the world was “wrong” when in reality it wasnt, I doubted my own perceptions consistently before I ever doubted anyone elses, and THAT belief, led me to needing the clarity that I need, even though I know now, that it was a false belief, the issue of needing the clarity in relationships has not diminished. Maybe at some point it will be different, but I doubt it, I dont know what it is about me that makes this important when others are just satisfied with their own internal understanding of their own value, but that hasnt been enough for me, and maybe its a huge character flaw that I am unaware of, maybe its a fantastic personality trait that I dont fully understand…I dont even really know what to call it….but its there and its 100% part of who I am, and Im ok with that.

but the down side is that I tend to forget that other people think differently and what matters to me does not always matter to them (one of my possible Asperger’s traits–my husband swears I have it too, just not as severely, but thats besides the point)

I did not mean to intend that anything you said or posted was inaccurate, because I obviously dont know the situation you went through, I just know that the why has always been important to me and thought it would be helpful to someone else.

Not ever to say that the effects of those behaviors, whether well intentioned or not, are any less than tragic to each and every one of us, and we have to see that for what it is, regardless of the why, and I am sure you know I didnt intend to take away the validity of the effects of those things on our lives, because like you said, even if we never understand the why (or dont care to explore it at all) we have to get to the bottom of what it has done to us and fix that within ourselves no matter what.


Darlene, this is such an important point in our family relationships. When one parent is the abuser, so often the other ‘looks the other way’ while we are victimized. There is and should be accountability for those who did nothing to protect us and help us. The ‘passive abuser’ is just as guilty as the ‘active abuser’ and we often overlook their lack of protecting us and therfore their responsibility. Great topic, thanks!!


There were times with both my parents when one parent was the abuser while the other passively turned a blind eye. I can’t say one parent was categorically passive while the other was categorically active in abuse. They were constantly switching roles. It certainly made life very confusing and I never knew what to expect at any time from either of them. I agree the passive one is just as guilty as the active one!

maureen cowan-magee
April 18th, 2011 at 9:04 am

I have been quietly reading your blog for a few months now, certainly interested in hearing your steps towards recovery through insightful and compassionate words of experience. Something regarding the depth of your pain seems still to be so prevelant in present day situations as though you are still attempting to understand reasonable cause for past abuse and have not understood that the possibility of a loving relationship does not exist with these family members, nor should you keep hoping for such a possibility. To be healed and to recover, is to accept that the level of emotional awareness you have developed has not been developed nor as been a consideration of those members of your family. To communicate and have understanding there must be an ability and capacity for retospection and reflection thus an awareness of emotional expansion, of which I believe you have certainly provided all possible examples that family members have not developed. To accept that a relationship can not be as one has hoped, is to have progressed and surpassed your parents level of emotional intelligence viewing them as they truly are, requiring no further expectation but allowing that ‘distance’ is your choice, a validation of the distinct difference of emotional awareness with no need to question but to view compassionately yet emotionally detached.


Just a question, because it strikes me, why does it have to be a your fault, my fault? Why can’t you strive for a Win/Win for both parties. No I’m saying change your beliefs, I’m saying what can be done differently, so he hears it differently, so that you both get something out of the relationship.

I ask this only because I’m there right now. I don’t want everything to your fault, my fault!

Thank You – Marie


WOW! Darlene! How is it we have the same fathers too?! Good grief! 🙂 My father always played with me and my sisters and spent time with us … until we started developing into women – then it was like he pulled away emotionally, relationally. Trying to get close to him emotionally and relationally was like trying to cuddle up to a porcupine. My father did disclose to me (and my siblings) some years ago what his childhood was like. Knowing his past helped to accept him just as he was, but unfortunately, it didn’t change the relationship. Even my husband could never get over how ‘formal’ our relationship was. And it was always like that. My father wasn’t involved in my growing up or in teaching me about men and how they are wired. Men, to me, were ‘alien’ for the longest time. I grew up with the idea that men are not capable of loving – I was convinced that they only pretended to love you to get you into bed and that they only got married because they wanted kids, not because he loved his wife. He simply found a woman he thought he could tolerate. Growing up, all I ever saw was men complaining about their wives – I was convinced they entered marriage to have a maid, a cook, and someone to bear him sons to carry on the family name. Sad, huh?!

My father was very passive. Anytime I tried to work at an emotional connection of some kind, he just pulled away. I remember when I was dating this one guy in my early 20’s – this guy and I were together for 3 1/2 years and when the relationship ended, my father asked my mother if he had hit me. What kind of father lets his daughter date a guy that he thinks could be physically abusive?????? To me, it communicated that I wasn’t worth sticking up for, I wasn’t worth being asked about this man’s character. I wasn’t worth protecting from someone who might have had that capability to hit.

And then because my father was so passive – he never ‘saw’ how my mother abused me. This could even mean he saw it, but chose to do nothing because he let her be the disciplinarian in our home, or it could mean that he chose not to recognize her actions as abusive. My father never punished us – it was always my mother. My mother, though, was always capable of hiding much of her abuse against me … which is likely why now that my father and siblings choose to not believe me – thus their “we don’t want to hear about it and we don’t want to talk about it.”

Even now, since the big fall out with my family over 6 months ago – I am still not worth it. No one wants to talk about anything – everyone likes to sweep the elephant under the carpet and pretend its not there. Maybe some folk can live like that – but I can’t. I cannot pretend my way through relationships and I won’t do it anymore – for me, its just too exhausting.

Fathers do not step up enough and teach their daughters about boys and men – and they should be!! No wonder so many young women, like MYSELF, went looking for love in all the wrong places, and defining love by my feelings alone and not by the actions of others. If men did this with their daughters they would be less likely to make “whores out of their daughters.”

I’m so glad that I have a husband who is very frank with my daughter about boys and men – and I am frank with my sons about girls and women. Thank God for books like, “For Men Only” and “For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn!!


Hi Krissy
I spent a lot of years thinking about which was worse as far as my parents went. I tried to practice gratitude and compassionate understanding of both of them till it nearly killed me. I do understand what you are saying, and this post is really not intended to inspire any further struggle in others; I am just sharing what is true for me and what I have done to set boundaries and take myself out of survival mode and into thriving mode.
As far as how you have been with your own kids, they are still your kids! I can relate to what you said and it isn’t too late. Realizing it is a bonus! I try to improve every day and to be aware each day about how my reactions are affecting my kids. The biggest difference has come from my own recovery. I don’t beat myself up anymore for the mistakes that I made and if my kids need help when they get older I will be the first one to support it and I will always be accountable. So far our relationships are improving steadily and two of them are leaving the next this next year. (so not babies anymore)
Thank you for sharing your heart Krissy.
I appreciate you!
Hugs, Darlene

This isn’t about blame or fault. By the same token, why do I have to keep trying? Why do I have to keep explaining it differently? Why is the burden of the relationship on me? I have done that for over 20 years now. Before that I tried to understand and accept/cope with the rejection for many years. I am tired. It is so important that we realize that this whole thing is not about blame or fault; although the responsibility needs to be put where it belongs, it is for the purpose of self validation and healing. I understand what you are saying, but my father clearly doesn’t WANT anything more out of the relationship.
I know how hard this is.
Hang in and thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


My goodness, thank you for your courage in sharing this about your father. Abusers come in all combinations don’t they. I think it is important that we have a definition of what a father is because as you say about your father, I don’t think my father was a father to me either.
Thanks for sharing and for being here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Linda,
Yes, you make good points too. Abuse is abuse. My father looked the other way when my mother was on a rant. But he looked the other way about everything.
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

HI Paulette
I had a lot of the wrong definitions of what men were all about too. They came from a combination of the things my mother taught me and the things that my father taught me and what the rest of my world taught me. That is important stuff to get sorted out.
In the end, I just decided that I had had enough of the dysfunction, as you say here too. And ahhhhhhhhhhhhh now there is peace! I am much better off living with the truth.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Maureen,

If you have been reading my blog for a few months now, I wonder what it was that made you decide to comment on this post? You seem to think you have me all figured out. by your sentence about “to be healed and recovered….” I feel that you are judging me, that you have found me lacking in my role here as a leader in recovery, that you have decided that since I have communicated my pain in this one post, that I am not recovered. Why would you think (especially if you really have read my blog for a few months) that I have not understood that a loving relationship does not exist with these family members?

There is no shame in my being hurt over this. It doesn’t mean that I don’t understand, or that I have not accepted the truth. Your definition of recovery is not one we share. I share my experience from my heart. ( and I know that I have a choice.) I don’t understand why you feel the need to post your assessment of me.

So my question to you is this: what inspired you to go all psychotherapist on my blog post today? Did this hit a nerve? Maybe you could share something about YOU instead of telling me and my readers your assessment of me? And why on earth, if this is your assessment of me and my blog, do you read it???

Hugs, Darlene


I was blown away by your comment about Darlene. It sounded as though you were assessing and judging Darlene’s healing journey. I admire the way Darlene helps people through writing so vulnerably about her own experiences and feelings. If you’ve been following her blog for the past few months, then surely you must see what a supportive community EFB is. On EFB, there is no “healing hierarchy”. Whatever stage of recovery ANY of us are in, there is no shame in that. We aren’t condemned as unrecovered for experiencing pain or for talking about it. Quite the contrary. We are encouraged to share our pain for the purpose of processing it and for mutual support from those who understand. In saying those things about Darlene, you invalidate ALL of us and each of our individual process.


Darlene; I really like the way you are able to so succinctly describe your thoughts and feelings around this process of making peace with the idea that you will most likely never have the relationship with you father that you’d hoped for. This for me was key in my own healing journey as well. There was a day with each of my dysfunctional family members that I came to understand that the thing I was holding onto was the HOPE that if I tried hard enough, was good enough, somehow found a way to do something right enough – THEN they would love me and understand how deeply they had hurt me. Sadly, like you describe with you father, I slowly realized that the deep grief I felt around these relationships was not the relationships with these people who treated me as though I had no right to exist. I was finally resolving that I was giving up on the HOPE that one day – I might.

Another thing I’ve learned along the way:) Is that those who judge my journey – most often have not yet traveled their own:)

I am grateful for this space where its safe to share the process so we can all learn from one another and we can each define our own path cheering…and crying…with one another along the way.



Thank you so much, you are so right, you don’t have to do anything! It’s what they are willing to do. I see it differently now. Thank you for sharing with me a different point of view. I am eternally greatful for you and your honesty and you progress, it gives me hope, lots and lots of hope!



There is no one perfect way to heal and recover from child abuse. We are each individual in timing and processing of our childhood events and relationships. Being in recovery doesn’t mean that we are beyond the hurts of our childhood. Healing means that we are willing to go through the pain rather than go around it or live in denial of it.

Me making judgments about others and about their healing journey certainly isn’t healthy or helpful to them or me. Most of us who share our healing journey with others do so more by example than by any other method of teaching. It would be fake and not real if Darlene told us about her healing and never showed the pain that she has gone through or is presently feeling. Anyone who climbs up on a pedestal and is looking down at the rest of us as we go along isn’t very healthy themselves. Judgments are never healthy and they are more about the person making them than they are about the person being judged. Our judgments are always about us – about the shadow parts that we have disowned and simply don’t want to see or acknowledge as our own. When we make judgments about others then we leave ourselves open for judgment by others.

There is no right or wrong way to heal. Yes, most of us do eventually see our dysfunctional relationships for what they are – dysfunctional and hurting. Eventually we either accept those relationships as they are and we either stay in them or get out. Whatever we decide, it is our individual decision. Some of us hold on to the fairy tale that says if I keep trying long enough then one day, he/she will love and accept me for what I am. Some of us let go of that fairy tale at some point and move on knowing that we are worth more than those dysfunctional relationships want to give to invest in us.

Darlene has been sharing her process of healing from the dysfunctional relationships that meant the most to her as a child – those with her mother and father. She isn’t stuck in the process when she shares her hurt from her mother’s abuse and her father’s indifference. She is showing us what worked for her. Her situation is just the opposite of mine. My father was the actively abusive one and my mother was the passively abusive parent. My processing of those relationships has been pretty similar to Darlene’s.

For anyone that has read my blog since the beginning you will see my process works by taking two steps forward and one step back. That seems to be how it works for me. Right now I am beginning what will probably be a lengthy process with grief. This isn’t my first time. It isn’t my 5th time. Will it be my last time to deal with grief, I hope so and at the same time, I doubt that it will be my last time. I would love to see the grief and pain finally end and it might. I am not there yet. And I am in such a better place in my journey than I have ever been and I am worth it all. I thank Darlene for what she shares of her healing journey even when it stirs up some new old stuff for me.


Patricia; you said so much in your note and I’d have to concur..this is a process of 2 steps forward one back…sometimes 2 back then 3 forward. Its creating those new experiences while continuing to learn and process through the pain that we can finally live free of it. I love what you contribute to the conversations and the wisdom and insights you share. 🙂


Susan, thank you. If I have wisdom, it comes from the stuggle to heal and move forward in a life that has been full of challenges and blessings. Finding this blog and everyone who comments here has been my most recent blessing.


Hi Christina,
Thanks for your comments and support~ what you say is very important and I really appreciate it.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Susan K.S.
Thanks for highlighting, you know when I wrote that post I was trying to find a place to put that knowledge in about realizing the grieving process, but the post was already over 1300 words, and I just couldn’t fit it in, so it is great that it came up in the comments! I totally felt that with my father ~ facing that there really was no hope.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Patricia;
I appreciate what you have written here today. Thank you for your support and encouragement!
Hugs, Darlene

Renee/A Resurrected spirit
April 18th, 2011 at 6:57 pm

My dad was very absent, alcoholic, mean, physically abusive, emotionally empty, and yet I remember riding on his shoes as he walked to the kitchen table. Then my memories switch to a drunken scarry man swiging a belt or what ever he could get his hands on and the sound of flesh on flesh. Yuck! Before he died I got the opportunity to tell him the damage he did to me. I didn’t hold any thing back because I knew I wouldn’t get a second chance. Yet I wish I had said more. I wish he were here to see that even though he treated me as if he hated me I survived. I didn’t survive because what he did to me was to make me strong (I hate it when people say what you went through made you strong). What made me stronge was I overcame, I fought for my life, I worked hard through my issues, It was soley because of me NOT what people did to me. I hope this makes sence.


Renee, you can still say the things to your dad that you need to say. Say it in a letter. I went to my grandfather’s grave and talked to him once because the words needed to be said.


“He said that he loves all five of his children the same. (I wonder what he means by that.)”

LOVE THIS!! IT is a mouthful, to be sure!


I always thought my mom was the passive one, but lately I’ve been figuring out that she was very very passive aggresive and controlling and abusive, and still is. I was terrified of my Dad growing up, but I was so docile and compliant that I often slid under the radar of his anger, so I was not physically abused by him to the same extent my sisters were. They often talk about Him as the bad guy and my mom as the “friend” and can’t understand why I have a ahard time relating to mom. They don’t seem to get that mom loves to play “good cop” to dads “bad cop”, but they are both the same.


Hi Amira,
I totally understand what you are saying. I was exactly like that too. Don’t worry, I didn’t think you were you were saying was intended to indicate that I was wrong. I totally understand that you are sharing your views and the way that things work for you. (I very often respond the way that I do as much for the sake of the other readers as to to the comment itself) It was my extreme concern for understanding the actions and thoughts of everyone else that I was so stuck and it was in letting all that go that I got so much relief. It was in the diagnosis of others that I excused unacceptable behaviour, but far worse then that was that I devalued myself at the same time because of it. Please understand, I am not saying this doesn’t work for you ~ just that it didn’t work for me, so I don’t want to encourage others to think that this way is the answer when for me it wasn’t, so I want to present both sides of this view. It is OKAY for people to think differently, that is what makes us individuals! I am not discouraging that at all. I really appreciate YOU and all that you share here, and all that you are willing to share and thanks for coming back with this comment!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Renee
It is miraculous that we are able to overcome and fight for our lives this way. Yes you make sense!
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Sheryl
When he said that (on the phone) I had several thoughts all at once… the false definition of love being at the front of the line. For all I know, he discounts each one of us the exact same way. I don’t even care!
LOL Thanks for posting,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Young Mom
Yes, I totally understand what you are saying here. There are MANY ways to control, abuse and devalue another person.
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


@ Krissy, in your comment #15 ~ ME, TOO, I feel the very same way that you describe, about my own “passive abuse,” or lack of emotional availability, to my 3 children. I home-schooled mine, too, for several years, but still I know that my mothering skills were lacking, although, as you say, I know I did my BEST with what I had!!

Even today, with my children all grown, with teenage children of their own, I feel guilty because I am not THERE. I hibernate in my own little home a lot, that seems to be ALL that I am capable of, most days. I THINK about my children and grandchildren pretty much every day, several times a day, in fact. I worry about them and I want with my heart for all of them to be happy and healthy. I would literally lay down my life to save the life of any one of my children or grandchildren, God knows I would! But DOING and SAYING the little day-to-day things that they may wish/want/need for me to do, I just somehow can’t.

Oftentimes when I am being so loving and gentle with our little Cattle Dog, I wish I could do the same with my faraway grown children.



Krissy & Lynda ~ I know exactly what you mean … even though my kids are still really young (10-15 yrs old). I find it hard to say encouraging things (for instance) even to those closest to me. The words are always on my heart to say, but they don’t often make their way out. I am HUGE on affection just because I so didn’t get it growing up. It’s saying the words that I’ve had a hard time with. Saying, ‘I love you’ to my mother just resulted in deep emotional pain. (Amazing what gets ingrained!) And with my oldest boy I have to use words because he’s not a physically affectionate guy.

It’s REALLY HARD because it doesn’t come naturally for us if we ourselves never got it as children. This is something that my therapist and I are covering in therapy this week. As hard as it was, I did start with my kids though – and I started in a way that felt safe, I would bless them, encourage them, etc., using greeting cards (when they could read.) To this day, it is still easier for me to express myself easier through writing than talking! 🙂 I even made a journal for my young daughter called a “You & Me Journal” a few years ago … its a journal where we write each other thoughts and feelings in it and we hand it back and forth to each other. It’s been an amazing tool as its enabled us to then talk more openly about things and feelings. And now my kids and I can verbally express ‘I love you’s! The Lord really placed some good ideas in my head to reach out and be there for my kids. I still think I am not ‘there’ for them enough … but on the other hand, I don’t know what that ‘enough’ should look like.

This to me is a perfect example of love as an action word. Whether I felt like it or not, I love them the best I can. I have chosen to look at it as giving them what they need rather than what I am able to give or not give. Pushing oneself to love in action is the greatest blessing of my life. I am learning how to authentically love … which is a love I never grew up with – I grew up with conditional love that had to be earned … problem was, the standard was so high that I could never earn it enough. I swore I would never do this to my kids. Kids need love and they need it most when they don’t deserve it. 🙂


Hi Paulette and Everyone sharing on this thread about raising children
Paulette, I love your journal idea. What a wonderful communication tool that is. I too used the “cards and notes” when my kids were younger, (like putting them in lunch kits etc.). I have become a great communicator now, and I spend a lot of time talking to my kids these days. Where I have struggled more is with physical affection. I have always had to be conscious about not pulling away from my kids, as my first reaction (esp. when they got to a certain age) was to physically withdraw from them and I KNEW that would be harmful or hurtful if I did that. I did some therapy around that stuff too.

One thing I would like to say here; I am not sure what you meant in your last line “kids need love and they need it most when they don’t deserve it”… I am almost sure that you didn’t mean it the way that it came out, but I have to say something ~ KIDS don’t EVER not deserve love. There is nothing a child can do that results in not deserving love. that is the belief system that I grew up with and it is so wrong. Everyone deserves to be loved, it isn’t something we earn. I just can’t say that enough because on this blog, for the most part, we are healing from our own childhood mistreatment and abuse and from having been taught to earn love and we learned that it was impossible and that we were never enough and that we just could not “get it right”. As I said, I am pretty sure you didn’t mean that statement to come out the way that it did, but I had to say something!

Hugs! Darlene


WOW I love Paulette’s journal idea!! Awesome!

Darlene, I agree with you that Paulette’s final statement about kids needing love the most when they “don’t deserve it” was not exactly what Paulette MEANT! Our kids always desserve love no matter WHAT. Period! I suspect that what Paulette meant was that kids need love most when their behavior is at their worst.


Regarding Maureen’s comment #20 ~ I read it several times, trying to make sense out of those sentences. Finally gave up.

But then I read the responses to Maureen’s comment: Darlene’s comment #25, Christina’s comment #26, Susan’s #27, Patricia’s #29… and those comments made perfect sense to me. I agree wholeheartedly with Darlene’s, Christina’s, Susan’s, and Patricia’s responses to Maureen.



Renee, you said: “(I hate it when people say what you went through made you strong). What made me stronge was I overcame, I fought for my life, I worked hard through my issues, It was soley because of me NOT what people did to me.”


I often use humor to help me cope with life’s pain. I have made up a bumper sticker/poster on my laptop’s graphic design program, which addresses this very topic, in a humorous way. My design has a picture of the grumpiest looking old dog you’ve ever seen… (our Otterhound Farley, he was awesome, and NOBODY could do GRUMPY better than our ol’ Farles) ~ next to my grumpy dog picture, I wrote these words, in bright red: “THAT WHICH DOESN’T KILL ME MAKES ME STRONGER (with a line crossing out the word STRONGER) GRUMPIER”

… I really need to see about making tshirts and coffee mugs with that on it, I could probably make a few sales.


Darlene – You are so right, I did not mean it how it sounds – the “kids need love most when they don’t deserve it.” I do believe you got what I meant though. I love my kids no matter what – that’s the point. Abusers don’t love their kid if they feel they don’t deserve it. A healthy parent loves no matter what. I remember once my oldest boy asking me, “Mom, would you still love me if I killed someone on purpose and was in jail?” I said to him, “Son, if you murdered someone I would be greatly disappointed – but I will always love you, you’re my son – there is nothing you could ever do that will change that.” He was quite satisfied with that answer. I know my kids will make poor choices and mistakes that will change their lives – and I will be here in the way my parents were not – I will be here to love them and support them through them. After all, what good is a parent if we are not there to catch our kids when they fall??


When my now-19-year-old granddaughter Samantha was about 10, I stopped by to visit one day and was told that she was being made to stay in her room as punishment for forgetting to latch the safety gate at the top of the stairs. The gate was meant to be latched at all times, to prevent my then-4-year-old grandson Erik, who is severely disbled, from falling. My daughter, Samantha’s mother, was shaken and furious with Samantha for putting her little brother at risk. “He could have been badly hurt or even killed!” my daughter said.

I don’t interfere with my grown children’s parenting, not so long as they are not abusive. But sometimes there is a fine line between appropriate discipline, and abus. I was worried about how my tender-hearted granddaughter was feeling.

After visiting with my daughter and the rest of her family, as I prepared to go, I asked if it would be all right if I went up to say a quick hello/good-bye to Samantha? Given the go ahead, I went up and found her lying on her bed in dark room, crying. I gave her a hug and kiss on the cheek and asked how my girl was doing. “I didn’t MEAN to forget to latch the gate!” she cried. “I would feel so terrible if something bad happened to Erik!”

I told her that I knew that, she has a good heart and would never do anything on purpose to hurt Erik. I told her, too, that everybody forgets things sometimes, even very important things, and everyone makes mistakes, sometimes very serious mistakes. Then I told her something that came straight from the depths of my heart: “I just want you to know, Samantha, that you could never do anything that was so bad, it would make me stop loving you. I will love you always, no matter what you ever do, or forget to do.”

I could FEEL her tender heart soaking up my words. I love that young lady so much!!!

Lynda – aka “Mammy”


Lynda, this very wonderful example is why God created Grandmas. Grandmas aren’t so caught up in the day-to-day pressure of being a parent. Plus, we have the maturity of years of being parents ourselves. Parents just don’t have the time or the experiences of grandparents, and often the patience to see what is really more important, sometimes. I know this is true for grandpas too.

My oldest granddaughter turned 11 yesterday. I so enjoyed the conversation that we had last night on the phone when I called to wish her Happy Birthday. She is growing and at the threshold of leaving childhood behind. At her age, my memories of being sexually abused by my uncle and then my dad started. I pray that she has a different life than so many of us here had as children.


Wow, Patricia, before you know it that granddaughter of yours will be in college! It seems just a few months ago that my granddaughter was 11! I actually remember a joke I told her on the phone when she was that age ~ she loved it, so maybe your little granddaughter will, too. It’s a joke that came to me in a…. moment of political incorrectness. I was working in a call center for a mail order pharmacy one day (where I met my husband), and it started raining. This was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in high desert country where rain… except for a brief annual monsoon season… is rare. SO RARE, that when the unaccustomed wet stuff started falling from the sky, every employee who was not on the phone with a customer, jumped up and ran to the big plate-glass windows to watch the unusual sight.

Albuqeurque is literally surrounded by Pueblos and Indian Reservations, and a large number of my fellow employees were Indian, mostly Navajo, also some Aztec and Zuni, among others. One of my non-Indian co-workers said, “I know you Indians have a rain dance, right? Do you also have a snow dance?”

Before anyone could reply, I said what had just popped into my head: “Of course, the Indians have a snow dance. They go ‘thump-thumpity-thump, THUMP thumpity-thump.'”

Every one of my Native American coworkers laughed, so I think it is safe to tell your granddaughter my joke!


Lynda the Silly Mammy


Just a brief remark, more later.

I think this kind of neglect is worse than physical, sexual abuse. At least with abuse you can get people to recognize the wound. Neglect…. is neglected. It’s not studied like abuse.

I’m glad to see this…. people don’t talk about this enough. I’m glad you have realized it’s all his problem, his loss, his choice to know you….

Both my parents were…are like this too. It’s been incredibly damaging and took me decades to even fully recognize. Yes, it’s all their personality disorder, not my fault. Finally, after 30 years and 7 years of therapy, lol…. and col (cry out loud…).


Allan, welcome to Emerging from Broken!

I agree with you and to add to what your are saying here, all abuse (even the physical and sexual abuse) have a component of this emotional neglect that is not really talked about. All abuse causes these beliefs that we are not valuable and it is so important to realize the component of emotional abuse and neglect in order to change those beliefs.
I am really glad you stopped by and look forward to hearing from you again.

Thank you.
Hugs, Darlene


Lynda and Paulette—yall make me cry 🙂 I have realized lately, that I am not the parent I wish I was, for many of the same reasons that you mentioned Paulette, it just doesnt come easy to me, I understand that they need it (words, affirmations, hugs etc.) and what they are thinking/feeling most of the time, but to actually SAY the words and give the praise and hugs and love is a whole different thing. I think in some ways, its fear…I am afraid that by showing them love and being vulnerable to them emotionally, that they will reject me and think I am weak and not respect me as a parent, when realistically its probably rejecting me and not respecting me BECAUSE I am not vulnerable…..and it amazes me how much my marriage impacts my kids view of me (and my husband) because we have a very big parent-child dynamic in our marriage, which we both detest, and are working on, but I have noticed that my children (especially my son, who is almost 13) consider me more of a peer than a parent, because of how their father treats me (and them) and I love that they feel comfortable with me and that they dont think I am going to “yell at them” all the time, and that they are so understanding and loving and patient with me in my healing. I didnt intend to tell them about PTSD and my past, but my son is a bit too nosy and has seen my posts on the blog here and other places and asked me about it point blank and my daughter has done several very risky things completely innocently without realizing the dangers it could put her in, and she doesnt respond well to “it has happened to other kids” type explanations, so I told her, it happened to ME when I was the same age as you, and I think maybe it scared her a little, but it also made her see that it IS real and not just on TV or in movies, but it also had the beneficial effect that they are more forgiving of my mistakes and things that I do/say as a parent because they realize that Im not perfect either and I am just trying my best to be a good mom.

I always, always, always, always tell them what Lynda said to her granddaughter, that no matter what ever they do/say/think/feel that I will always love them, no matter what…that it might make me angry but I will get over being mad, and I will love them the same through the whole time….and I hope like hell, that all my other screw ups are at least muted by that somewhat.

Paulette, I love your journal idea, and I think I am going to do the greeting card thing today for them…write them and give them to them when they come home from school, and maybe one for my husband too 🙂

You guys (all of you, not just Paulette and Lynda) are so great and I am so glad to be a part of this EFB family ?


Lynda, I love Albuquerque. I have been there at least 3 or 4 times over the last 20 years to visit. Got to spend a week on the University campus for a workshop once.

Thanks I will share the joke with my granddaughter. I know I told my daughter recently that in no time at all, her children will be grown.


Amira – its a great start … it really helps to begin to really blossom those relationships. The easier the cards get to write … the easier the words will also come out of the mouth. Kids need to know they’re loved and appreciated … someway, somehow.

So glad too that many are liking my journal idea!! So cool!!


I wrote a card to each kid and one to my husband. It worked out good I think, my husband said thank you and one kid took it well, in his own way (which means he joked with me all afternoon…thats his way of caring I think) and the other one did not say a word, I just asked her if she read it and she said “yes” and went back to what she was doing, so I hope it meant something to her and she just didnt feel like talking right then, Im sure it did.


Wow, Amira, you ROCK! So far I’ve only THOUGHT about doing it..


Way to go, Amira … my kids tend to be quiet about them too … but those words really do resonate with them … trust me. When they know how their mom feels about them and what she thinks of them … it will make a difference in your relationships. Way to go! :o)


Would it be OK if I quoted you on facebook and added your first name, or would that not be a good idea?
I like this quote:
“I always, always, always, always tell them what Lynda said to her granddaughter, that no matter what ever they do/say/think/feel that I will always love them, no matter what…that it might make me angry but I will get over being mad, and I will love them the same through the whole time….and I hope like hell, that all my other screw ups are at least muted by that somewhat.”

I usually include the link so that ot hers can find the comment I posted nad read more if they so desire. I don’t want to invade your privacy, though.


This is awesome Amira! Every little positive reinforcement goes towards building self esteem ~ for you and for them!
Hugs, Darlene


Paulette, you know, I did try communicating by writing, but was quite shocked when I found that my eldest, who was the most “difficult”, hated it. One day, she let it out, “Don’t ever leave your crappy notes under my door. I hate them.” when all my notes were my heartfelt messages of love and warmth. She just hated any expressions of loving feelings, maybe because she thought they were hypocritical when not accompanied by what she saw as true love, which is lots of undivided attention and time. To this day, even as an adult, she is not responsive I write a card or an email to her.

But your comment has inspired me to try again with the others.

Darlene, I don’t know why the way I see my dad is different from you, when it seems both of our fathers were passively abusive. I guess you are much further in your journey of recovery.

I see my father as a kind-hearted, determined man who was bleeding and lying in a gutter and couldn’t do much parenting from there. If he had had a different upbringing and opportunities, he would have been better equipped to give what he wanted to. How can you hug or even see the child’s need for hugs if you have never been hugged by others? My father never hugged us or put us to bed or even listened much to us, but he poured himself in other ways he knew how. I know that knowing that is not enough for a victimised child to heal. As you say, it is acknowledging that it wasn’t good enough, and that as children, we deserved better. But I don’t know why, it doesn’t make me angry and I am hesitant to even call him a passive abuser. Maybe it is the severity or maybe I sympathise because I now know what it’s like!


Hi Krissy
I don’t know that we see our fathers so differently. I see mine both ways. I feel sorry for him and I know he was not capable of better, ( but then again, how did I become capable of doing better then the parents that I had?……. oops I digress….) however, I also see that he failed me anyway. BOTH are true. I don’t feel angry anymore, I feel really sorry for them, but I had to look at that part of the picture of my life by itself, I had to look at the real truth of it, in order to get over it and come to a place that feeling sorry for my parents was no longer an excuse that caused me to turn everything inward ~ which manifested as depression, etc. Now I feel sorry for them because they didn’t get the healing that I got.
This is a huge part of the whole picture, way too much to cover in one blog post. I hope this little snip helps a bit. It took me several years of intensive recovery to look at the passive abuse that was in my life so that might be part of it.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, yes, it all helps.

I guess my father wasn’t capable of doing better because he lived in a different era – there was no internet, and even though he started using a computer in his 70’s, he has never mastered the use of the computer and right now can’t even work his email. He did, however, do a lot better than his parents. He used to lament the fact that he kept searching for mentors but was never lucky enough to find good ones. He was much more aware than the people in his community and was considered a mentor to hundreds of young disadvantaged people whom he helped. Whenever I visit him, he is stopped by people on the streets who recognize him, and they thank him for his motivation and help, sometimes anonymously paying for his meal. I guess I believe that if he had lived in a different community, at a different time, he could have got the right support, awareness and education to realize, recognize, acknowledge and uncover his false beliefs. Now he is suffering dementia I don’t think it is worth broaching the subject with him.

I myself searched for answers for over 20 years, and my domestic violence advocate says I searched in all the wrong places – resources in my community. Where else do you look, but in your world? My kids don’t realise that all I knew was to follow all the advice I could get (from books, seminars, people), but their advice (on abuse) was misplaced. It was only when I dared to go against the advice of my psychologist, counselor, pastors and friends that I began to discover the truth.

The other thing I didn’t factor in is the fact that as people grow older, their “real” selves start to show, and I can see the genuineness and soft heart of my father, in spite of his inability to validate or be intimate, and the selfish narcissism of my mother.

Maybe one day I will feel the anger over what I, as a child, should have got but didn’t, even if the offender was my father, whom I feel a lot of affection for.


Krissy (post #58) … I can understand your oldest daughter … unless she sees and feels the real love, the note means nothing. The note has to be backed in loving in action. Thinking of myself in my own situation with my abusive mother, if she gave me heart-felt cards, I would have hated them and despised them.

With my own kids I do show them I love them … and the cards are the verbal affirmation of that. My oldest boy (now 15) does not care for the cards anymore – ‘too old’ for them I guess. So with him, I do have to verbally uplift and praise him … making an effort at doing this has enabled me to be much more vocal with my kids. My 12 yr-old daughter and I are quite close … she told me just today that her friends poke fun at her for having a close relationship with her mother. Her friends are amazed at what my daughter can tell me and that I listen and not freak out or dismiss her. I feel sad for her friends who don’t have that closeness with their mothers. I remember what it was like as a teen, being ‘discarded’ (among other things) by my mother. I hated that I couldn’t rely on her for anything – nor my father. I told my kids that me and their dad are here for them no matter what. They will make mistakes, bad things will happen, and me and their dad are here to help them through whatever may come – I told my kids that our job as parents is to be there for guide and SUPPORT our kids, being there for them even when ‘crap hits the fan.’ In the long run, I hope and pray that our love in action speak louder than any written word … even though the written word is still lovely … it can be read over and over again. 🙂


Paulette, thanks for that. It is just heartbreaking that I could not give her what she needed – undivided time/attention/gifts because of the domestic violence. I was either under pressure (not just be ex, but whoever he convinced) to “rein her in”, or if I defended her, she would be further punished for it, so I tried to do it quietly, but she still got punished later. If I encouraged her in her personality, both she and I would have been punished for it. All she saw was that I never spoke up. I tried outside help, but ex would still use it somehow to psychologically abuse her.

I guess the only way I could have really protected her was to remove her father from the family. Yet, at the moment, with the younger ones, people are accusing me of damaging them by separating, and I think eventually the court will say the same thing. I have a very close relationship with my younger ones, and now that ex has left, I have no need to keep buying parenting books. I could never figure out why we had so many problems with the kids. Every time I sought counseling, I was told to work with my ex or the kids would drive a wedge in us, so I tried very hard to present a united front. Maybe that was the same with some passively abusive parents – they just didn’t know how else to keep the marriage together and still be parents.


Darlene, you wrote about your father: “I feel sorry for him and I know he was not capable of better, ( but then again, how did I become capable of doing better then the parents that I had?……. oops I digress….)”

YES!! You hit the bugger right on the head! That, for me, is a stick point, too.


I have a question and it does have to do w/ “passive abuse.” But first I need to explain what happened.
First of all it’s nowhere NEAR Mother’s Day but my brother, who’s a friend of mine on FB, ‘tagged’ me in a picture that was for my biological mother and it was talking about how “A mother loves unconditionally,” which is BS when it came to her. Anyway, this is just more of the same old garbage where they think, if they force something into my face, I’ll change my mind and think she was absolutely wonderful just so they’ll stop showing me things like that. Besides that, he added my name to a ‘Happy Mother’s Day photo’ w/out even asking my permission. If that isn’t passive abuse, in the form of disrespect for what I may or may not have wanted, then I don’t know what is.
Well, I clicked the x in the top right corner to get rid of the photo, which is the extent of how I responded to it. I have no idea if clicking that x alerted him to what I did or not, b/c I really don’t understand much of the logistics to how FB works. I know that, if people want to know who takes them off the friends list, they can arrange for it to happen, but IDK if that extends to clicking x’s to hide a post.
Anyway I feel angry about having to see a picture of her, placed above a caption that proclaims her as the most loving mother in the free world. Or at least ONE of them. Not to mention that he added my name w/out even asking if I wanted it there.
But my question is about what I should do when this happens again-I’m not fooling myself into thinking it ISN’T going to occur again. I was wondering if I should tell him to stop sending it or should I just click the x every time?
IDK what to do; the only thing I’m sure of is that she wasn’t the most loving mother by ANY standards, not even the LOWEST standards. To be honest, I think if I’d been raised by wolves, it could have been considered comparable to how SHE raised me (and us.)
This brother doesn’t really count when it comes to thinking of her that way b/c, all his life and ours, she let us know in terms that even a great big dope would understand, that she loved him more than us.
If beating one of my brothers w/ a wooden spoon after hearing that the brother in question was beat up by some older kids doesn’t prove she loved this brother more nothing will. If taking his side no matter who or what the subject was about doesn’t prove it then nothing will. And those are just two examples of how she acted on a nonstop basis where he was concerned.
She made sure every single person in the family knew how much she loved this brother the best of all the kids.
So of COURSE he’s going to think she shits gold bricks, and my social worker told me that this brother worships our mom in a really unhealthy way. I read the letter this brother sent me that was from him and addressed to our mom. Don’t even try to figure out why he sent it to ME when it was addressed to her; it doesn’t make any damn sense as anything other than yet another attempt to make me have the same feelings for her that he did even though she treated him like a god in flesh and us like the Devil’s own constructs.
I’m more upset about him adding my name than I am about his posting pictures of her; if he wants to do that, it’s his business. But why does he have to apply my name w/out even asking my permission?


Hi Vicki
If you are saying that your brother “tagged you” in the photo, just look for the option that says “remove tag” and that will un-tag you and take your name off them. I would tell him you don’t want to be tagged in those pictures. He will know if you un-tag yourself, but so what? If you don’t want to be tagged in a photo, that is up to you.
Hugs, Darlene


I thought it was April 20 until I saw the date of the post. Knowing that it’s the 21st, for me anyway, doesn’t change anything. But it explains why my brother is suddenly trying to cram good feelings for my biological mother down my throat.
She died on April 21, 1996. I haven’t been able to find a single soul who doesn’t believe I should treat her the way society in general treats ALL people once they do something as “unfair” as people think dying is. Unfortunately, I don’t want to give her the same respect I give to my daughter’s dad just b/c something happened to her that happens to ALL people. . .sooner or later. And she wasn’t even in much pain when she died. She went from a coma into death, and probably felt very little pain.
Eric, who’d worked on having good relationships w/ people most of his adult life, was run through w/ what was probably part of a beam and died by being burned out of existence so thoroughly they still haven’t found a single bit of his “earthly remains.”
It doesn’t make one gd bit of sense to me, to die opposite of the way you spent the larger portion of your life trying to be. It’s almost impossible for me, in light of what happened to him, to feel any sorrow at ALL for my mom-who never tried even once to do anything different but who died w/ very little preceding pain. Most of what she felt was numbed by morphine.
But, before she KNEW she was going to die, she made it obvious that she thought she’d never done anything wrong. She didn’t even think our dad had done anything wrong; she excused years of his abusive behavior away in the breath of one sentence: “He was sick, you shouldn’t talk about the sick like that.”
And she’s the one who was chosen to be aided through her dying w/ very little pain while Eric felt extreme pain.
I’m sorry, but that didn’t make sense then, doesn’t compute now and, as far as I’m concerned, will never seem right to me.


I do have one more thing to say. Everyone in my family except me thinks I’m callous and, sometimes, the pressure makes me feel like I’m going to cave in and just do something to please them. I’m trying to say I doubt myself sometimes, about whether I’m doing the right thing, b/c 8 other people keep telling me I’m wrong.
I wonder if there’s a way to stop doubting myself in this situation?


I went round and round about all of this stufff until I began to sort it all out. There were no shortcuts for me. I thought I could just “not care what everyone else thought” but it just wasn’t that easy. I had to put myself first, but in a recovery way. I had to realize why THEY were wrong. I had to find out what I believed about myself that I didnt realize I believed. (and it turned out that I believed the definitions of ME that they had given me by abuse, mistreatment, neglect and other actions) and once I began to see all these hidden truths, I started to sort things out through that new grid.
That is the only thing that has ever worked for me and that enabled me to stop doubting myself. It took a while, but doing this work has been VERY very worth while.
Hugs, Darlene


It sounds like your relatives want you in chaos and confusion, (tricking you into believing that YOU are callous one thing they do to attempt to reach this goal)


And as far as finding a way to stop doubting yourself in this situation, is there as way to get yourself “out” of this situation? Even if by degrees? Phase yourself our somehow?
Like don’t be available to “hear” what they are saying? As long as they have an audience, I can only imagine they will keep saying the same sort of destructive stuff. In my life, this has been true.


before I forget I wanted to answer Sheryl, then I will go back and read everyone else’s posts.

Sheryl–yes its totally fine that you use my name on Facebook. I am glad that you found my comment valuable enough to want to share it, I am honored that you asked and really appreciate the consideration! Thank you so much and much love to you!!


Reading from post #64 on … Vicki … Am I ever familiar with this self-doubt thing. I too am the only one who said, ‘how she treats me is abusive and wrong’ … the others made me feel like I was the one who was wrong … and its still like that. My mother’s abuse got so bad that she hasn’t been in my life for almost 11 years. The rest of my family haven’t been in my life since last August. I got REALLY tired of feeling like the bad guy when I’m the one who WAS NOT the bad guy. Self-doubt comes from your family really – they are the ones causing you to doubt. You know what happened and how she treated you – and it sounds like you know people who know that too (like me). It has taken me to remove myself from my family to fully realize that I am NOT the crazy person. When I finally fully confronted my family with how my mother abused me they all retreated. I was told by all of them, ‘I don’t want to hear about it and I don’t want to talk about it.’ I told them nicely that if they don’t believe what I’m telling them about her then they can just stay away then because I don’t do fake relationships. None have contacted me since August last year. This was my experience, not saying that it has to be yours. But mine was such that it was either ‘cut loose or die’ – I chose the ‘cut loose.’ I am happier and feel freer than I ever have.

I’m not endorsing however that you run out and abandon family – I am just sharing my experience.


Vicki, unless you want your brother to do the same thing again with adding your name to his pictures of your mother, tell him to stop. He will probably want to argue with you about it to make you feel bad and guilty. Don’t let him feel anything that you don’t want to feel.

After I got into 12-Step programs and saw the damage that my mother being passive-aggressive toward me all my life, I started to hate Mother’s Day. I could not honestly buy one of those pretty, gushy cards that said what a wonderful mother she was. As much as I loved her and as much as I wanted her to be that kind of mother, she never was. I bought cards that basically said Happy Mother’s Day but without all of the lies. My mom died just before Thanksgiving 1998. Saying that she did the best that she could always used to make me so angry. She didn’t have the tools to do the best that she could. When someone told me, “Yes, your mother did the best that she could and it wasn’t good enough.” Then I felt validated. What our parents did was not good enough, not when we were abused by them or neglected by them.


Patricia ~ Oh my gosh!! I felt the very same about Mother’s Day … Looking at cards to buy was heartbreaking because I could not buy a mushy-gush card … My cards to my mother were always generic & simply said!! She too was NOT a good mother – and her ‘best’ she saved for her favorites & others, not me. I could not give mother a card with a lying sentiment … I don’t do fake!!


”I don’t do fake!!” ~ I like that, Paulette.

Darlene, you wrote: ”I thought I could just “not care what everyone else thought” but it just wasn’t that easy.”

ME, TOO, Darlene. But I found it was literally impossible for me to ”JUST NOT CARE.”

It was doubly maddening when some of the very same people who were putting me down, were also telling me, in a sneering way, that I shouldn’t be so weak as to let what others thought of me, bother me. GRRRRRRRRRRR that is so HATEFUL!! It’s a double whammy, insult added to injury, it’s like being stabbed by somebody, and then they stand there and chide you for bleeding and for crying out in pain.

I experienced a lot of that kind of abuse in 12-step meetings…. where I had gone for HELP. Their kind of ”help” was taking my inventory and putting me down for what they perceived as my “character defects” ~ which was really just my brokeness from my severe traumas. My so-called “character defects” were actually a NORMAL REACTION to my severe traumas. But, in the 12-step meetings where I went for help, I was treated so horribly that I learned to hate myself even more than I already did, before I startd going to those meetings… and THEN, when I tried to tell them, in a meeting, how badly they were HURTING me, they openly chided me for “letting” it bother me. Oh boy……. I still get furious when I remember how close those 12-step people came to literally driving me to SUICIDE, 10 years ago!!

I know that for many people, like Patricia, 12-step groups can be a big help. It is also true that for many people, churches can be a big help. But for many people like me, the judgmental, “My Way Or The Highway” poeple in some 12-step groups and in so many churches, are only going to add more abuse, more rejection, and more HURT.

I’m so thankful that Emerging From Broken is, so far, a healing and SAFE place.



DEAR Vicki,
You wrote: “I doubt myself sometimes, about whether I’m doing the right thing, b/c 8 other people keep telling me I’m wrong.”

I know exactly what you mean. Before I moved 2,000 miles away from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 8 years ago, I have many, MANY more than “8 people” telling me I was wrong. My reputation was trashed so bad there…. think of it as a huge forest fire that starts out as a tiny spark, and eventually grows and spreads until it is burning down thousands of acres.

It all started, for me, with ONE LYING GOSSIP. We were dating, he did me WRONG, and then, because the 12-step club that we both belonged to, was his whole life, he made a preemptive strike and started spreading vicious lies about me to everyone who would listen, so that they would take his side and not mine in the breakup. Prior to that, I had lived in that area for almost 10 years, and everyone who knew me in that large group of 12-steppers, liked me. But this A**hole, who had lived there for his whole life of 50+ years, and who had a vacation place down on the beach in Delaware where he always let fellow 12-steppers stay for free during the summers…. he had been “sober” for about 13 years, and so he was an AA guru. I had been sober at that time for over 10 years, but, like I said, everybody knew and loved this guy a lot longer than they did me, so when he started LYING to everybody about why we had broken up…. EVERYBODY took his side!! As for ME, I was trying to be a lady about it and just simply would say, to those nosey people who asked why we were no longer a couple, “I guess I started dating too soon after my marriage ended, so it didn’t work out, and I’m very sad.” But that wasn’t JUICY, and the story, the LIES, this AA guru was telling, was dirty and mean and juicy, and so people believed him…. it took me a little while to realize that everyone was getting cold and avoiding me, took a little while to realize that the jerk I had dated for all of 2 months was trashing my reputation…. this guy had never in his life had a relationship last longer than a month or two, with the sole exception of his one marriage, which had lasted a few years, but that had ended about 30 years before. So this guy hopped from woman to woman, and when they ended, he ran them out of AA!! But I never knew all that stuff, until after he was trying to run me out!!

The really creepy thing is that his last girlfriend before me, had committed suicide when they split up! But in that he played the PITIFUL WIDOWED VICTIM to the hilt… it was all HER fault, she was CRAZY.

But I swear to God that man was trying his best to drive me to suicide when he split up with me…. after what he put me through, I blame him for his former girlfriend’s death.

So yes, Vicki, by the time I finally gave up on trying to restore my reputation, and gave up on “just not caring” what other people in my town and group thought of me…. by the time I finally moved over 2,000 miles away from that HELL….. I had about 200 people believing that I was an evil sex addict who had broken poor Henner’s heart. I mean, I was HATED!!! And HE was the one who had broken MY heart, by telling me flat out one day, when I thought that everything was going so great between us, that he was only with ME, and not with another woman friend named Jane, because Jane only wanted his friendship, she refused to have an intimate relationship with him. I was so HURT!! I had thought this guy really LOVED ME! I had to be sure I was hearing him right: “So you are telling me that if Jane would be willing to sleep with you, you would be with her now instead of with me, and you are only in a relationship with me, because I am your second choice, and I was willing, while Jane was not willing. Is that right?” “YES,” he said, that was correct. “But you have no reason to be jealous of Jane,” he added, “because she refuses to be sexually intimate with me.”

That was when I packed up my bag and left. And the very next day… actually starting that very night… he was on the phone crying to evreybody about how I had cheated on him!!!!!! And his lies about me just got worse and worse, he told stuff about me that he claimed i had confided in him, that was totally SICK. And totally NOT TRUE.

I knew it was all not true…. but when you have dozens and a hundred or more people all believing the lies and all hating you and either giving you the cold shoulder, when before they had been so very friendly, or else openly telling you off for being such a cold slut and for breaking such a “good man’s heart,” after what he went thru with his last girlfriend killing herself…. YES, Vicki, I was beginning to doubt myself, too!!!!! It was like the crazy ostracisim that my family of origin had put me thru, starting with my narcissistic mother and her LIES about me, All Over Again.

But deep down in my heart, Vicki, even in my most insecure, doubtful moments, I always knew what was true. NO all those people weren’t right about me, and me wrong.

Hang on to what you know is right, Vicki. It’s not about numbers, it’s not about how many believe this or don’t believe this, it’s about what’s right and true, period. Just look at all the thousands and millions of people who fervently believe that Jesus Christ is the Only Way…. and then look at all the other thousands and millions of people who believe all different kinds of religions, or believe in NO religion.

It’s not a numbers game, it’s not a democracy. People do not get to take a vote to decide who Vicki is…. only VICKI gets to decide who Vicki is. RIGHT?!



PS~ I just wanted to add this, for clarification: although I had gone 10+ years without an alcohlic drink (it’s been 21+ years for me now), and although I had gone to 12-step meetings regularly, before I got involved with the guy in the Lancaster, PA, AA groups who trashed my reputation so bad…. I did not know the history of this guy, I did not know that his relationships all lasted only 2 or 3 months at most, I did not know that ALL of his ex-lovers had left AA when their relationships with this guy had ended, and I also did not know that the girlfriend immediately before me, had committed suicide…

I didn’t know this stuff, because I got sober in AA meetings in Maine, back when I was in my mid-30s, after a bad year of trying to medicate my PTSD pain with alcohol. After my now-ex-husband and I moved from Maine to Pennsylvania to take care of his aging parents, I continued to go to a 12-step AA meeting once per week, but this guy, the one who later trashed my reputation, was not a part of that downtown group, although he was part of many other AA groups in the area, just not that particular one. So, I knew nothing about him.

When my last marriage ended in the summer of the year 2000, although I had not had an alcoholic drink in over 10 years, I was in so much emotional pain that I was sorely tempted to drink. But I didn’t want to do that; drinking to medicate pain is like pouring gasoline on a fire to try to put it out! So, I started going to meetings basically every single day, to help me get through the pain of my divorce while staying sober.

It was in some of those other meetings that I met the guy called Henner. Everyone seemed to love him, he had been sober even longer than me, and, like I said, he opend his little beach place to all of his AA friends every summer for free, so for that reason alone he was greatly loved. When this guy and I met, he took an immediate interest in me, and all of his friends who loved this guy was telling me to go for it, that he was the ”Greatest Guy in AA.”

Too late, I learned about his horrible history with women. Too late, I learned that the newly sober, diagnosed bipolar/rape trauma victim girlfriend that he’d had immediatley before me, had killed herself at the end of their brief affair. The man he was in public, was 100% different from the man he was in private…. WHEN HIS MASK FINALLY CAME OFF.

And, by the way, shortly after I left him for telling me that he loved Jane more than he loved me, and that he was only with me as a second choice because Jane wanted his platonic friendship only… he did get intimately involved with Jane. Within a couple of weeks or so of their getting intimately involved, Jane got drunk, totalled her car, and then she moved far away, completely out of state. Henner and Jane had been close platonic friends for 9 years prior to this, I was told…. I wonder how horribly he must have treated her, after they became physically intimate, to cause her to self-destruct the way she did?

Anyway, my point is: Beware of the wolves in sheep’s clothing, even when everybody LOVES them… take a closer look, a much closer look, before you give your heart away. Also, it’s a good idea to give your heart a chance to heal, before jumping from the end of one marriage or relationship, straight into the next. Instead of using the high of a drug or alcohol to numb the pain of my divorce, i was using the high of a new intimate relationship to take away the searing pain.

I learned these things the hard way. I have also learned that, in churches… in therapists’ offices… and in 12-step-meetings and self-help groups of all kinds… when you are at your most vulnerable you can be hurt so badly by the people you turn to for HELP, that it can literally destroy you ~ IF you don’t get OUT while the getting is good!



Linda, the guy you describe sounds like what some people in AA call a 13th Stepper. They pick young, vulnerable women in the program and get into relationships with them, get what they want and move on to the next. They are preditors. It is easy for someone who was abused as a child to fall for their lies and their charm. Most alcoholics are full of charm when they want to be.

There are some wonderful men and women in AA. These preditors give everyone a bad name. Most healthy sponsors in AA and Al-Anon will tell you to be in 12-Step programs at least a year or two before you get into a relationship with someone else. I feel sad that you ran into 12-Step groups that weren’t as healthy as they appeared on the surface.

I was never in AA because I choose not to drink since I carry the gene for alcoholism. My dad and grandfather were both mean alcoholics. I didn’t want to be like either of them so I don’t drink. My 12-Step meetings were Al-Anon and Adult Children of Alcoholics. ACA or ACOA (I always forget which one is affiliated with Al-Anon) saved my life and helped me to figure out who I was. Al-Anon saved my marriage by showing me how unhealthy I was in my relationships. I went to meetings for almost 10 years. Much of my incest healing was done in those rooms where it was safe for me to talk and learn to feel again. I thank God that my dad was an alcoholic or I might never would have gotten the awarenesses that I needed to heal me.


Lynda, I am so sorry. I just realized that I spelled your name wrong in the comment above. I am tired. The thunderstorms that we have had for the past 3 days and nights have kept me from getting enough sleep. Plus it is 2:40 a.m. I really need to get off the computer and go to bed. Good night everyone.


HAHA, Pat, I don’t mind you misspelling my name ~ I’ve actually caught myself, once when I was very tired, signing my own name “LINDA” instead of “LYNDA” ~ !!

Pat, I <<>> Al-Anon and Adult Children of Alcoholics 12-step meetings!!! I didn’t start going to them, until after I had almost been DESTROYED in AA meetings!! The problem wasn’t “just” the “13-steppers,” the problem was almost EVERYBODY in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania AA groups, all those who loves to gossip, to listen to and believe gossip, and who take other people’s inventory in order to feel like they are above or better than…. those freaking alcoholics, sober or not, were EVIL to me. ALSO, I was not “young and new,” I had been without a drink of alcohol for over 10 years, and I was in my late 40s. BUT I WAS extremely emotionally vulnerable, due to my divorce that was going on, and to my severe C-PTSD. Also I did look young for my age. So I was used, cast aside… but it wasn’t the 13th stepper, as they are called, who did me the most damage, it was all the cliques, all the gossips….. PAT, those AA groups in Lancaster, PA, were like a bunch of Jr. High School BULLIES. And they literally drove me to the very brink of suicide.

But, Alanon, and ACOA, I LOVE. I know now that I should have been going there all along. Sadly, there are no such meetings in the isolated area where we now live, or I would be happily going to those meetings still, at least once every week.

Lynda/Linda ;^D


OOPS, my netbook screwed up again, I meant to type that I LOVE alanon and Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings!!!


Darlene – I admire the fact that you were courageous and confronted all family members. I think that is best so that you can heal and be honest in relationships. I heard once that you can’t have a relationship unless you are honest. I think this is holding me back too cause I don’t want to confront. I feel like I need to get my life together some more before I’ll be able to. My dad is deceased and I can just imagine how he would have reacted. LOL. He saw himself as the victim of my mother and yes I thought he was the good guy. But now I think if he had recovered from alcoholism sooner he could have been a different person. He chose the way he wanted to be and it was the easy way. No, he didn’t get to visit often because my mother moved us so much, but he could have called, he could hav written more. He just didn’t do much except let his new wife take care of him and listen to how he’d been wronged.


Oh my goodness, you just described what my ex-husband has just done to our daughter. She’s trying to tell him what he does that hurts her but he can only defend. Now he’s abandoned her, rather than change or admit any fault. She’s a child, but he can’t do what it would take to make their relationship work. He would rather feel ‘right’ than have a daughter. The poor child is going to have the same daddy issues as I had, because I picked a narcissist (before I understood) because it was what I knew.

Thank you Darlene for your excellent and very helpful site;


Hi Tina,

welcome to efb ~
It’s crazy when we realize how this whole thing works, isn’t it? “he would rather feel right then have a daughter” is exactly how I feel about it too. You can help your daughter realize that he is wrong and help her to see how wonderful and worth it that she really is. This is about him, not about her. So glad you are here.

Hugs, Darlene
Today my value does not come from people but it comes from within me, from the “restoration work” that I have done.


Lynda and Pat–I have never been to an Alanon meeting or an ACOA meeting, but I do know that ACOA would be relevant in my life, there are just no meetings here. Alanon, I am sure there are, but I had never thought I would benefit from it, because Im so far removed from my past that dealt with alcoholism (my father and first husband mainly) that I didnt think I would learn anything…but now that you both mentioned it and that you learned so much from it, I may just find a meeting here after all. I hated AA meetings when I used to go to support my ex, it was just like church was when I was a kid, people saying one thing and doing another, and then lying to everyone about it when they had to face the truth (im sure not everyone in the rooms is like that, but my ex and his “AA buddies” were, so that was my perception with my limited experience) and that always left a bad taste in my mouth for 12 step groups.

Then later I ended up attending OA and CODA meetings online for a while, and those were different, maybe because they are mostly women, there was less of the hypocrisy (but more of the petty gossipy type stuff…which is really just as bad) and when that all got to be the main focus of the “after meeting meetings” I stopped going to those too. Maybe I just dont have much luck with 12 step groups, I see the benefits in the principles and see how its supposed to work and help people, but the practice has never even come close in my experience, but I guess that can be said for therapy, religion and any other kind of “idealized” self help activity, the practice can be very different than the ideal of how it is “supposed to work”, lol I just realized Lynda said pretty much the same thing, oops! Great minds think alike!!! LOL!

anyhow, thank you both, Im going to google alanon meetings and see if I can find one around here 🙂


[…] disregarded as though I could not possibly contribute to a solution or have a valid opinion. I was “dismissed” as though I wasn’t worth the time it would take to consider anything that I had to say. I had always been regarded as invalid in so […]


Hi Everyone
I just published a new post that relates to this one as far as dealing with the after effects of being disregarded, mistreated or abused

You can read it here; The “I’ll show you Fantasy”


Amira, as with your experience with AA meetings, not all 12-Step groups are healthy ones. Please don’t stop looking until you can find one that you feel comfortable with. My ACOA group eventually died out after the death of a friend of mine. I tried to keep the meeting going for awhile for myself and for others but it didn’t work so I had to let it go. Just like families, some groups will meet your needs and some won’t.





PS~ Although Darlene and everyone else here has been so beautifully gracious about my very long, very wordy comments… reminding me that the readers all have a CHOICE as to whether they read all of my lengthy comments or not, and assuring me that I am free to use as many words as I need to, to get my story out, if that is what I need to do to continue to HEAL…

My hope is that I will soon not be quite so wordy. I have been trying an herbal blend that my online research indicated has helped a number of people with their depression and anxiety. I started on this herbal blend, because the prescribed antidepressant/anti-anxiety med that had worked so well for me for several years, suddenly stopped working, which my dr. told me does sometimes happen, and the new RX med I tried didn’t help, but gave me some nasty side effects. I have had nasty side effects with a lot of other psychotropic prescription meds in the past, so I was hoping that an herbal blend might do the job for me, without all the miserable side effects.

The herbal stuff I have been taking for my menopause symptoms has helped me enormously… but, sadly, the herbal blend concoction for mood stabilizing has not been doing what I had hoped it would do. I’ve tried to give it time to work, because these things supposedly take time.. BUT… all I seem to be doing is getting more and more agitated, I am perspiring very heavily one minute, then freezing cold the next, AND… when I start talking, or I start writing, I CAN’T SHUT UP.

Which really isn’t ME. So… today I finally admitted to myself that what I have been taking is not for me, and I will be seeing my trusted dr. as soon as I can, to try what he recommends. Sigh. Back to the drawing board.

I wish I didn’t “NEED” something for depression and anxiety, but I do, and, as we’ve already discussed on this awesome empowering and informative blog, needing medication is perfectly OK.



Lynda, you are making up for all those times when your voice wasn’t heard. You have a lot to say, and you should feel free to say it. On a blog like this, no one needs to read anything they don’t have time to, so it’s not like it is an imposition on anyone.

I don’t know about you, but IRL, I often find myself saying a lot, or writing a lot (in emails, eg) and it’s like I’m not sure if people can take it. I am talking about people who have already proved themselves to be safe and supportive. Just a few days ago, I had a short rant about what it was like in the foyer of church, to someone who understands DV and knows my situation, but her response was that I needed to “learn to forgive”. It’s like they get to a point where it overwhelms them, and they feel helpless, so they say what is easiest to say, and that is “you ought to forgive”. How about just listening and validating? Of course it is overwhelming – the impact of abuse is devastating, and it is no less devastating to find that the one or two people that you have finally found to be trustworthy are not able to face the enormity of the situation with you, and resort to cliches to quickly “make everything better”.

Hopefully people on this site understand that it is not just about trying to find quick answers to deal with the painful reality of the horribleness of abuse. It is about facing and acknowledging the depth of what was wrong, dismantling all the false beliefs and their implications and slowly but assuredly moving toward real recovery.


KRISSY!! Oh my GOSH….. You said: “Lynda, you are making up for all those times when your voice wasn’t heard.”

BINGO, you hit the nail right on the head. I mean it, that one simple, wise, and understanding/validating sentence of yours just…. went straight into my heart. YES!!! I didn’t consciously realize that was what I have been doing, but you are so totally absolutely right. I AM MAKING UP FOR ALL THOSE TIMES WHEN MY VOICE WAS NOT HEARD!!!

Whew. I feel like I should send you a $100 payment for therapy. If I had it to send, lol.

Thank you. Just… wow!! Thank You!!

I really needed that, Krissy. You gave me the exact words I needed to hear, you validated me and affirmed me in such a simple yet magnificent way. How thankful I am for that ~ and how SAD I am, Dear One, that your friend said the exact OPPOSITE of what you needed to hear ~ “you ought to forgive” ~ OH how many TIMES have ignorant, pious, holier-than-thou people responded to my DEEP UNBEARABLE PAIN with: “you ought to forgive”! Oh how it HURTS to be told that, it is just one more wound on top of the wounds you are already hurting from. It’s just so….. MADDENING.

As HEALING as your understanding and validating words were to me, by the same, but opposite measure, that’s how WOUNDING your friend’s ignorant and devaluing words were to you, I am sure.

I recently read the most wonderful, insightful, real, and HEALING article on the topic of FORGIVENESS that I have ever read in my life. It opened my eyes and resonanted with my deepest soul. The online article is entitled “The “F” Word…” I can’t remember the rest of the title exactly, but the “F” word, for Forgiveness… that title alone is pretty darned insightful. Yet this is an article written from the Christian perspective, but NOT in the way I was always taught that Christians “have to,” totally and instantly, “forgive and forget” even the worst abuse ~ which only enables abusers to keep right on abusing, and keeps the ones being abused stuck in their unresolved unremitting PAIN.

Krissy, I am going to look for the whole title of that article and then post it here, so you can read it. I hope Darlene doesn’t mind!? If so, Darlene, please feel free to delete my next post with that blog title/url ~ this is YOUR WONDERFUL BLOG, after all, so it should only have what YOU want on it.



Here is the online article about forgiveness that I found so incredibly helpful… unlike the very UNhelpful words of your friend, who told you: “you ought to forgive”.

The ariticle is entitled: The F Word: Forgiveness and it’s Imitations – Natl. Assoc. for Christian Recovery, an interview with David Augsburger.

The url is: http://www.nacronline.com/emotional-issues/the-f-word-forgiveness-and-its-imitations

That article is so awesome, I wish I had written it! But I know I never could, because I’m just not that brilliant.



Lynda–I echo what Krissy said…and I am long winded for the same reason….because for so many years, no one cared to listen. So I have a LOT of unexpressed EVERYTHING, and this is a safe place to let go of that. So its not the permanent you, but it is healing you, so no worries ?


I learn from your long windedness! Type on girl!! Also I checked out that article “F” word forgiveness and I wanted you to know Thank you so much! You validated something that I devorced my 1st husband over! I told him I no longer have to “say” “I forgive you” for his trespasses, mainly raping me or physically hurting me. I told him I will not forgive him until he changed his actions, he had to prove he repented. He said no all he had to say was “would you forgive me” and I was forced to say YES! Well I am validated and I feel stronger for it. Thank you, you are more valued than any precious jewel! Thank you Darlene you to are valued for having a safe place for us.


FORGIVENESS … I hate it when I talk about the abuse I endured to have someone say to me, “You need to learn to forgive.” Arrgghhh!! This makes me crazy!! It took me what seemed like forever to forgive my mother. I forgave my mother a long time ago for her abuse. Forgiving means to not hold the offence over their head – to not make them ‘pay for their crime.’ (God takes care of that.) Bitterness and anger has nothing to do with whether or not we’ve forgiven … bitterness and anger come from a place that still hurts, that is angry with what abuse did. And I think it’s healthy to be angry against injustice. Bitterness can poison – but healing I think takes care of that.

In Christian circles (that I was in anyway) said that anger and bitterness is a result of unforgiveness – this is a deception. God commands that we do away with bitterness, but He never linked it to unforgiveness. Furthermore, it gets taught that if we forgive someone, we should be reconciling with them. This is a deception too – just because you forgive someone does not mean you have to let them repeat their abuses against you continually. Reconciling should only come when, in this case, the abuser repents of their behaviour, asking their victim for forgiveness … and this rarely happens, if it happens at all.


We are not long-winded, we just have a lot to say about abuse and about healing. We have a lot of experiences to share.


Since we are discussing forgiveness, you can do a search on my blog Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker for the many posts about forgiveness that I have done. The link for the blog is http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com

I didn’t think that I would ever do forgiveness for the incest. I did but it was a gradual process over time, as Darlene has said that her own process of forgiveness was. I have written one post about what needs to happen before you can forgive. So many people want you to just forgive and forget and forgiveness doesn’t happen that quickly or easily for most of us. I have written an article about forgiving but not forgetting. I have written an article on forgiveness being for you rather than for the other person. I probably have close to 8-10 posts on the process of forgiveness.

Forgiveness was not something that I planned and it didn’t happen everytime that someone told me that I needed to do it. People can be blind to our pain. They can tell us to forgive because we remind them of their own issues that they are in denial about. People can be heartless sometimes in their treatment of survivors because they don’t know our pain.


Patricia, I will look up your articles on forgiveness. I always learn something helpful from your writings, that I can apply to my own healing journey.

Renee, that article about the “F” word, forgiveness, hit me the same way you describe it hitting you!!!

Several years ago, a man I considered a friend made a flippant, CUTTING, rude remark to me as we happened to be walking out the door of the club at the same time at the end of an AA meeting. His hurtful words, coming so unexpectedly out of nowhere, cut me so deep that I couldn’t even speak… I just stood there in pained shock as he walked away. I drove home, ans sat and stewed for about an hour, mulling his words over and over in my mind. Then I picked up the phone and called him. “Tom,” I said, “What you said to me as we were leaving the meeting… that REALLY HURT me.”

“OK, I’m sorry,” Tom said in a flippant tone of voice. “Now, get over it.”


I know I’ve told that story here on EFB before, but I just had to say it again… I got “over it,” all right; I got over thinking of Tom as a friend.

Amira, THANK YOU for echoing Krissy’s wonderfully healing words to me! ((BIG-HUG))

Paulette ~ YES!!



PS~ Patricia, I just have to say that when I read in your comment #97, that you have forgiven the incest… I was stunned to read that. Like you, I wouldn’t have thought that was possible.

I am really looking forward to reading what you have to say on the subject of subjuct.


The issue of forgiveness is a very difficult and emotive subject.

I had more than my fair share of Christians telling me I had to forgive and seek reconciliation with my abusers. When I said you’re wrong I was told I was the one with the problem not them, that’s what the bible says so do it. When I said I’m not sure that is what the bible says about forgiveness I was told my understanding was wrong. When I couldn’t comply well I was being rebellious.

The thing I always had said to me when I told someone I was estranged from my family because of abuse – “have you done all you can to seek reconciliation? Have you forgiven? You must forgive.”

It was one of many issues I left the church over and it is one of many issues that keeps me away from the church.

I’ve written several articles about forgiveness on my blog and came to conclusions which I know many Christians I’ve known would not agree with. But they’ve not known the pain and the reality of what I lived with and the poor evil of what they did.

Forgiveness is a very personal journey and issue and it really is nobody else’s business whether we have forgiven or not. But so many people especially Christians make it their business.


* pure evil not poor evil, only saw the typo after I hit “submit” lol


Fi, very well said. When I talk about my forgiveness of my dad, I still tell others that if they can’t forgive that is okay. Forgiveness, like you said, is an individual, personal thing that each of us has the right to do or not to do. I remember at one time I felt so burdened by what others were telling me that I just told God to handle the forgiveness. I asked him to do it until I could. That is when I quit punishing myself for not being able to forgive.


Lynda, by saying I forgave the incest, maybe I didn’t word that very well. I forgave my dad for committing the incest. I am, by no means, saying that the incest is okay now just because I forgave my dad. I would never say that.

Incest is wrong for whatever reasons it was done. The most common form of incest is parent to child or older sibling to younger sibling. That is always an abuse of power or authority. That is never right. Even those survivors who were given pleasure by the abuser were coerced or groomed into being abused. That coercion, grooming and pleasure is why many of us do blame ourselves for the incest happening. We tell ourselves that we should have said no; we should have walked away; we should have had some control over the situation. The reality is that we were children. We were not the adults or the older child. If we had said no, we might, many of us have lost our lives at the hands of our abusers or been punished emotionally as well. For those of us who survive childhood abuse, it isn’t the physical rape that we find ourselves dealing with over and over again as adults. It is the emotional abuse. Verbal and nonverbal abuse is what leads to the emotional abuse. I hope that I explained myself better this time.


I have done so much work on myself and I truely beleive I ( and my girls who live inside) have gotten past that. Yet really I totally feel numb, just plain numb. I was told if I didn’t foprgive ALL my abusers God would use the same measure to measure me. I was also told I had demonds in me because the girls would come over when ever they needed to and it would show I was not consistant. I was told by my 1st ex’s family because they were all pastors or held a position in the church, God would condem me to hell. I went as far as telling my pastor/father-in-law my ex would rape me. He told me to be obediant and the marriage bed was sanctioned by God so no crime no foul. My ex loved it! I hate them for what they did to me and my 2 daughters. Will I truely go to hell? Burn in the lake of fire? My abusers have never changed, never asked for forgiveness like I would give it to them. This is where Im stuck, I wanted them to stop abusing that was all. To come to me and truely ask for forgiveness with the history of true repentance and change would be priceless to me. Yet they point the finger at me I just don’t get it!


Yes, Patricia, I understand better now what you mean. Thanks.


HI Renee,
I just saw your last comment right after I posted my last comment.

That has been precisely my experience, too, with unrepentent abusers. They point the finger of blame at those they victimize, never at themselves. I think of them as being exactly like the people that the Bible says Christ was talking to when he asked, “Why do you complain about the little speck that is in your brother’s or sister’s eye, while ignoring the beam that is in your own eye? FIRST deal with the beam that is in your eye..”

I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the general jist of that scripture according to my memory. Also, according to my personal experiences, this is what abusers and discounters DO… they can’t bear to look at their own guilt, nor even to acknowledge that they have any guilt. They get around the problem, by looking at what they perceive as everyone else’s guilt, instead of looking at their own.

They always have magnificant “reasons,” too, for the questionable and hurtful and even the most extremely abusive things they do… but, for everyone else (everyone outside of their tight little circle), there in NO EXCUSE.

My mother could JUSTIFY and EXPLAIN and RATIONALIZE and EXCUSE her horrific abuse, of trying to gas the whole family while we slept in our beds: “I brought you all into the world, so I have the right to take you out of it,” (justifcation), and “This life is so hard, I would be doing you all a favor by killing you,” (explanation/rationalization/excuse).

WOW, when looked at in that light, my mother was a Saint on a Holy Mission to MURDER HER 5 CHILDREN. uh-huh….

But every little thing that I ever did “wrong” in my mother’s eyes, was just WRONG, period. She never allowed that anything I ever did was in any way Justified. She never bought my reasons and explanations, Oh, No… I was never EXCUSED for anything!

Quite a double-standard, that is.



Hi Everyone,
My experience has been that forgiveness was a “result” of doing the healing work, NOT the way to healing itself. Forgiveness was not the answer for me, it came naturally when I set the truth straight about what I thought the abuse said about ME. Again, Forgiveness has been an end result for me.

Would you believe me if I told you that quite simply they lied to you. I have formally studied the bible, spent 7 years studying greek and hebrew word origins and I can assure you that the bible does not say what they taught you it said. Pastors, ministers and priests do not get to decide the actual truth. They are only people. The title does not give them any authority at all. In my opinion they misused the title in order to abuse and control you. I don’t think judgement works at all in the way they taught you it does! They lied for their own gain. period.
Hugs, Darlene


Renee, most of us have abusers who will never apologize because they can’t or won’t admit that what they did was wrong. Forgiveness for me was a process of feeling and then letting go of the pain of the abuse, for me, not for anyone else. Forgiveness will never make what was done to us as children and adults alright. Abuse in any of its forms is never alright.

If you are numb, you aren’t finished with your healing work. Healing gives us back the ability to feel all of our emotions. It is in feeling the emotions that we actually do the work of healing.


When I started really thinking about forgiveness and how that relates to totally unrepentant abusers. Abusers that won’t even admit that anything was wrong – what happened is normal in their eyes – oh and it’s me who’d got it all wrong as usual if I think it was wrong. It hit me between the eyes that biblical forgiveness goes hand in hand with repentance. Where there is no repentance, no admittance of fault etc there can be no true forgiveness. I came to the conclusion that we are not expected or required to forgive in those circumstances. I’ve had forgiveness defined for me by all sorts of people and in order to decide if I can forgive or not I need to define it for myself. That enabled me to stop giving myself a bad time for not being able to forgive as men have defined it for me. It also enabled me to being to explore what I really think forgiveness is. I’m still in process on that.

@ Renee – you’re not the first person to be told you have demons because you have little girls inside you – that is a huge deception which has damaged many broken hurting people – as for the marriage bed being sanctified so there is no such thing as marital rape – that is another huge lie. Such spiritual abuse is very damaging and allows abusers to carry on abusing without challenge or need to change and point the finger at the abused person and keeps them trapped in an abusive situation. It happens all the time and is terrible.


Thank you all, I printed Fi and Darlenes so I can read it over and over. I have been lied to, it is hard to shake the cloak of guilt and shame they laid on me. I think what you all said will help free me of some of the opression I feel. I spent 10 years getting pounded with those who was far superior than me. Actually some thing inside my heart said they were sick and wrong I just couldn’t do any thing about it at that time. I have Jesus in me he tells me what is right and what is wrong. I trust him not those that think they are holy and beyond Gods Grace. I guess we will all see come judgement day for sure.
Love ya guys you all are awesome and I am glad you except me now Im going to cry, youall mean a lot to me.


Hello! Been a while since I chimed in. I saw the discussion on forgiveness and it reminded me of two things. This week, as I thought of what most people expect from us (abuse victims) in terms of forgiveness, it dawned on me that what they really want is for us to continue to allow people to put us down and disrespect us without contesting it. That is not what forgiveness means, in my opinion. Also, my husband said to me this past week how I need to forgive my mom for her recent transgression against me, which was an outright character assassination including lies and venom spewed out to others to keep them from having relationships with me (including my dad!). I thought about what my husband said, and I replied, “There is a difference between a lack of forgiveness and a lack of trust.” He could not argue with that. Now, I’ll be the first one to admit that I am not interested in forgiving my mom and I wouldn’t have a clue how to go about it, but one thing is for dang sure! I will be the one to decide if, when, and how!

Arms folded, ‘nough said.


Kellie, I know that abuse and forgiveness are not laughing matters, but I had to chuckle at the image of a little girl folding her arms and stamping her foot and saying ” ‘nough said.” Your inner child has spoken. I love it. I have taken that exact stance several times as an adult who has had enough abuse to last a life time and who won’t take any more from anybody. Thanks for sharing that.


Hi Renee, I’m so glad my words brought you help, encouragement and comfort. I was so enraged inside at what they’d said and done to you. I know from personal experience how hurtful, confusing and downright controlling and oppressive that stuff is like. The guilt and shame belongs to those who laid it on you. Your heart told you the truth but it was hard to hear it or believe it because of the status of those who told you those terrible things and the level of control you were subjected to. You’re on the winning side because you recognise the lies and the control for what they are.


I don’t care if I heal so well that all you see is the remaining scar. The definition of forgiveness IMO is NOT ‘stopping one’s anger.’ It goes deeper than that to qualify as forgiveness.
IMO stopping anger is on of the definitions of ‘tolerance.’ I really don’t see a whole lot of difference between the two words anyway, but forgiveness is more than just stopping feelings of anger towards someone who hurt you. And what are you supposed to do if they never stop the abuse anyway?
My brother continues his passive abusive in ongoing letters he sends to me that have my name spelled “the way our mom spelled it.”
He doesn’t care one whit about how I feel about what the woman did to me, b/c he doesn’t even believe she did it.
He’s called me a liar to my face, and that’s MORE than passive abuse.
I’m not going to stop feeling angry at him if he keeps on doing more things. I checked w/ the post office, and they told me there’s no way I can stop him from sending mail to me. I can send it back (at more than 10x the price of one stamp) but he can continue to send me more mail as long as I live at this address.
It’s not worth a 1000% increase of payment to send it back to him. I’m going to send it the old-fashioned way: that is, find another envelope, stick his entire letter in it and send it back w/ a 44 cent stamp.
It’s not as simple as getting him to leave my life when there are OTHER family members I DO wish to see. I don’t believe in punishing them for what David does, and asking them to withhold a new address from David would just be sticking them in the middle of something that really isn’t between David and them but me and David.
It’s just not as simple as snapping my fingers to do all this stuff, and I hope nobody’s implying that it’s easy to do all this difficult stuff.
I’ll admit I’ve been a bit wimpy about actually getting started w/ it, but I have to add that it ain’t easy to do.


Lynda, thanks for that link. Brilliant. What really got to me was not that I was told to forgive – I wouldn’t have expected anything different – but that the people who said it, both said it after I vented, thinking that they were safe to vent to, because they really get domestic abuse as they are professionally trained in that area.

If those that “get it” have nothing better to offer than “it’s a matter of learning to forgive”, no wonder I have to turn to others for support, giving truth to ex’s claim that my support comes from feminist, secular sources!


This is to all of you wonderful people:
This is my feelings and I beleive my girls will agree, There is NOTHING easy about working on any form of abuse, verbal, sexual, emotional, physical, mental. Every day is one more day of getting stronger, and working at the vision I have of what my life will be when total healing comes. Every issue I have is a mountain I have to climb. Every victory we celebrate with high fives with my girls and I (those that live within). Sometimes I write and it sounds like I make it sound so easy. I am sorry that it sounds like that because it is not. My difference is I came from a family of 11 children. I was isolated until I left at age 17. My parents, a sister and a brother had a lot to do with it. I was groomed to be the thing that my mother called her son to be his sex partner. No one spoke of it it is what they all did. I told my sister I hated her when I was 18 because of what she did to me. To the day she devides our family because of it. Never mind that she served me up to be raped and sold as a child only that I said I hated her. This is one of my mountains I have climbed. It is not easy, nothing is. Coloring in a color book is easy, walking across the street is easy, what we all have to do is the hardest thing any person will have to do. So my friends when someone says things are easy tell them to put on a pair of 3 inch heels and tell them to climb a mountain!


Fi – post #100 … I so agree with you … and for the record, biblical forgiveness does not teach that we have to reconcile … we are just commanded to forgive. I am a Christian and refuse to reconcile with an abuser. I can forgive them, but what kind of person would I be if I continued to be a doormat being stripped of my worth and identity by my abuser who thinks she does nothing wrong?? I think it would make me look weak. I don’t want to be weak anymore.


I can forgive those who appear to be truly, deeply, humbly, repentent. Those who care more about trying to right their wrongs, and who make a genuine effort to heal the hurts they have caused, rather than just mouthing a meaningless “I’m sorry” as a way of weasling out of being held accountable for their wrongdoing.

People who weep and say, “I know that I don’t even deserve to ask your forgiveness for what I have done to hurt you; is there anything I can do for you that will help heal your hurt?” ~ THOSE are the people I can easily forgive.

That my definition of forgiveness, as I see it modeled by my Savior and Lord.



Hmm, Lynda, just to throw a spanner in the works. It got to a stage with ex that he COULD say what you wrote. And yes, I would forgive, like I always had. But as that article says (the one you pointed out), if forgiveness is part of the abuse, then it is not a helpful tool because it will put you right back in the place of destruction.

Actually, when I first mentioned the pressure to forgive (in comment #90), it was in the context of abuse-aware friends who were responding to my rants about other people’s collusions. Maybe when we are expressing anger as victims, we sound like we have it in for everyone. Yes, I AM frustrated at bystanders and allies’ actions that collude with the abuse, but how is that unforgiving? And how does forgiving them acknowledge that wrong has been done? I am not requiring that they “pay” for their actions, but I am asking for validation that what they do is wrong. Can’t people be angry at injustice with me, instead of hiding behind the “learning to forgive” mantra?


Krissy, to me, true repentence means that they aren’t going to be doing it again. Doing it again means that their words and their tears were not sincere. I don’t forgive insincere repentence.

Just speaking for myself here. What gets ME upset is when people demand that I FORGIVE, regardless of the fact that there has been Not One Sign of ANY repentence, true or otherwise.

It also burns me when people try to tell me that I HAVE to forgive. I don’t believe that I ever HAVE to forgive, ANYONE, for ANYTHING. Not even when there IS strong evidence of true repentence. I am merely saying that I CAN forgive, under those conditions. But nobody better be telling me that I HAVE to, it is MY CHOICE, all the way!



And Krissy, I do agree wholeheartedly with EVERYTHING that article pointed out, which is why I so enthusiastically pointed it out. I agree wholeheartedly that “if forgiveness is part of the abuse, then it is not a helpful tool because it will put you right back in the place of destruction.”

TRUE REPENTENCE means there will never again be ABUSE.

I’m sorry Krissy if you took my personal statement on the very limited circumstances under which I am capable of forgiveness, the wrong way.

Grrrr. I am feeling very menopausal this morning. Please do not take offence… but I am feeling a bit offended. Grrrrrr. I need coffee.

HUGS to Krissy,

PS~ My comment #118, was in response to the one directly before it, comment #117, where Paulette said: “I am a Christian and refuse to reconcile with an abuser. I can forgive them…”

My response was basically saying, Not only will I refuse to reconcile with an abuser… I also CANNOT and WILL NOT forgive them, UNLESS I see evidenceo of what appears to me to be GENUINE, NOT-EVER-GONNA-DO-IT-AGAIN, REPENTENCE. THEN, I can forgive (though I don’t believe I HAVE to!) ~ but, even when I forgive an abuser who seems sincerely repentent, that DOES NOT MEAN I am going to reconcile!!! (grrrr…. I need coffee, and aspirin, and then I need to go pound some nails or something)


….and that’s why I now call FORGIVENESS the “F” word.


Hello Krissy and Lynda
I just caught up on your discussion! Krissy, YES oh my gosh, many many abusers learn to use the “LINGO” about asking for forgiveness. There has to be more then words!


The trouble is, you don’t know that it is not sincere at the time the words are spoken. It is only after, when actions re-appear, that you feel violated. And he is too smart to do the same actions twice, so he has never had to apologize twice for the same thing. He just does something else, then apologize. And when I brought that up, he called me judgmental for expecting him to be perfect like me when some people have to learn from their many mistakes! And to think that a pastor showed me a video testimony about forgiveness healing a marriage. I had to tell him that unforgiveness was hardly my problem – it was that I was too quick to forgive.

Lynda, I wasn’t offended or put off at all. I am very good at throwing spanners in the works, because I always find something unique in my case that doesn’t quite fit the norm! But I am beginning to find that his behavior is not really that unique – it just goes under the radar because people like him paint their ex’s as unforgiving and the attention then goes onto the victim and he escapes all scrutiny.

You nailed it with the part about being forced to forgive. I think we feel angry about that because ordering is verbal abuse. Since we have been on the receiving end of abuse, it feels very familiar – this feeling of assault – when friends join in the abuse by ordering us to do what they want. And it throws me, cos I am expecting support from my carefully selected “inside circle”, but get more of the same assault.


Oh boy, Krissy, my ex used to do that, too. “Sincerely repent” for one kind of abuse, then turn around and abuse me in a new and different, but EQAULLY PAINFUL, way. I honestly believe he was making a sick game out of seeing how many different and unique ways he could abuse me.

By the time I FINALLY found the courage to leave him, he had abused me in almost every way imaginable.

He is the one who is now leading groups in a church with his current victim, I mean wife, on how to have a Godly Marriage… this man who cheated on me with both women and men, who gave me a sexually transmitted disease, who beat me something between 50 to 100 times, once even kicking me HARD in the belly with his steel-toed work boot while I was 4 months pregnant, which made me bleed and go into premature labor, until my dr. gave me a powerful muscle-relaxer that stopped the labor, and something else to stop the bleeding. This is the husband who I caught with my own mother sitting on his lap, on my 17th birthday, after he had beat me up for simply asking him could we celebrate my birthday by going out for a burger and a coke and the to see a movie, like we had done during our whole 2 months of dating before we were married. He beat me for daring to suggest such a selfish thing, when “You know this is Saturday and we always go to my mom’s on Saturday.” Then after he beat me, he left and went to my mom’s house, knowing, from my having confided in him about the horrors of my childhood, that she would be the first person to side with him against me. They got half-drunk together, as they agreed that Lynda is crazy and worthless and selfish and lazy, then she gave him the Bible to give me, told him to tell me I needed to read it and learn how to be a good wife… he came home, walked in the door, found me curled up crying on the bed where I had spent all the hours that he had been gone, and he threw my family’s Bible on me and delivered my mother’s message. Moments later, my mother, who had followed him in her car, came barreling into our dinky little one room efficiency apartment, and stood in front of the bed where I was still in a crying heap, surrounded by broken glass from a wall mirror that my husband had pushed me into before running out that morning, and she tells me if I don’t straighten up and be a better wife, I am going to lose my wonderful husband. I told her then my “shameful” secret: “Mom, he beats me!” “I know that,” she snapped, “he told me so himself, and I told him I don’t blame him one bit.. if you are going to act like a child, you deserve to be spanked like a child.”

I screwed up my courage then and in one of the handful of times in my entire 58 years of living, I “talked back” to my mother. “Get Out Of My House,” I told her. She stood there in literal open-mouthed astonishment… unable to BELIEVE that I would talk to her that way… I was such a TERRIBLE DAUGHTER, but I NEVER had dared talk to her that way before!!!!!!!!

then my mother went over to my husband who was sitting a few fett away from the bed I was on, and she threw her arms around him and sat in his lap and rocked back and forth crying “I love you,” “I love you, too,” and my mother apologizing for not WARNING HIM ABOUT ME before he had married me!!!


Then not long after that, my mother was going around dreamily talking about a “much younger man” she was “in love with,” and considering leaving her husband for, my wonderful stepfather wasn’t good enough for her all of a sudden. AND my then 19-year-old husband was telling me that he had always had a “thing” for older women. (My mother was 35 then.)

THIS MAN and his new wife are now teaching people how to have Godly Marriages. I found out because they are my younger granddaughter’s FB friends, and on their profile is a link to a youtube video of one of their marriage enrichment classes.

I saw that, and I was so furious.



One of my biggest issues was that I thought I had to PROVE that I was right. I thought I had to have a REASON not to trust and that if it was just suspicion, that I didn’t have a right to my feelings. I didn’t think that “based on past events, I don’t trust you” was acceptable or FAIR to the other person..
But I was wrong. Trust is not given on a case by case basis and I finally started to realize that if there has been abuse of any kind, I have a right to protect myself by not even giving audience to the whole spin of the whole thing. My husband would say “but you are not even listening to me” and I would say “and I am not going to because it doesn’t matter what you SAY anymore… I will wait to see the change.” I learned to refuse to get sucked in. There was only about 2 times where I discounted his story when he wasn’t trying something. BUT I learned and so did he, that it was HIS fault that I didn’t trust him! Not mine! He had set the patterns! not me.
Hugs, Darlene


“…I finally started to realize that if there has been abuse of any kind, I have a right to protect myself by not even giving audience to the whole spin of the whole thing. My husband would say “but you are not even listening to me” and I would say “and I am not going to because it doesn’t matter what you SAY anymore… I will wait to see the change.” I learned to refuse to get sucked in. There was only about 2 times where I discounted his story when he wasn’t trying something. BUT I learned and so did he, that it was HIS fault that I didn’t trust him! Not mine! He had set the patterns! not me.”

Dang, Darlene. You are so right.



Darlene, that’s exactly what I would do in the last few months before leaving, and ex told me I was breaking communication rules by interrupting or not listening. The counselor would agree with him and try to give us fair fighting rules, not realizing that I had tried these rules for over 20 years! She insisted I had to listen and validate, even if he was wrong. The psychologist was worse – told me I had no right to limit conversations to 20 minutes or walk out if I needed to. He told me that if ex raged, I could threaten to record it. Trouble is, I had no money to even buy a recorder!

On a different note, this post has given me a lot of insight into passive abuse. I have come to terms with my part in passive abuse and accepted peacefully that while I am not an abuser, I was abusive to my children and it was wrong.

Now that I have come to terms with it and shared it with some survivors, they are telling me not to feel bad or beat myself over the head with it! So which is it now? Was my passive abuse unacceptable, damaging, wrong to my children, and they have a right to express the thoughts expressed by so many commenters here, or do I say, as some say, “Oh, well, I didn’t have the tools then that I have now, I didn’t know what I was doing, etc.” Maybe it’s both. I actually don’t feel guilty anymore. I know that hindsight bias works to bring about guilt, and I couldn’t have done any more than I knew to do. But at the same time, I cannot excuse what happened to them, because the effect of abuse is the same, regardless of the intention. Is that one way of putting it?


Hi Krissy,
Here is what I think (in a nut shell) ~ I too realized where I had contributed to passive abuse with my children. I felt really bad about it, but realized that beating myself was not going to help them OR me. When my husband finally really “got it”; when he realized that he had not treated us with equal value, and that his ruler ship over us had caused a lot of harm, he said he would spend the rest of his life making it up to us and acted as though it was “my turn” to be the one in control…. But THAT is right back to inequality! I said NO, I don’t want you to pay; I want to have a REAL relationship ~ based on the true definition of love and mutual respect and equal value.
I try to apply this to myself with my kids. I don’t want to teach them the wrong things even in recovery. I talk to my kids all the time. I made verbal amends to them, (I still do when I need to or when they need me to) I brought up specific situations where I had devalued them and their feelings. And now I make “living amends” which means that I try very hard to value them every day. I try very hard to model what I teach. I try very hard NOT to live the way that I used to live in the system that i used to live in.
That is how I see it today.
Hugs, Darlene


Yes, I get it. I can acknowledge the passive abuse of the past, but it doesn’t mean, like I was terrified it would, that I am an abuser who can’t change: the type of characters people comment about. It means I validate their experiences and not deny what it did to them, but live in such a way now that role-models what valuing a person means, and that includes self-respect.

I think what I am so peaceful about is accepting what happened without taking on the condemnation and guilt. It is absolutely true that I acted according to what I knew at that time, but it is also absolutely true that it had a negative, abusive impact on them. I think I can finally fully admit it without crumbling under the unbearable pain and guilt of having betrayed your own kids. Reading all those angry comments of people against the passive abusers of their past was very difficult, but the outcome has been a freeing one. Thanks again for that post!


I think that often what STOPS people from going all the way with recovery is that when they get angry with passive abusers in their lives, (and we can lump all types of abuse together since abuse is abuse so often victims see a family sexual prep. as not deserving of “blame” because we have been bitchy and therefore also on the abuse continuum. ) they suddenly realize that they (the victim) has repeated the same behaviour too. Instead of keeping the two issues separate, they are combined, and there is a tendency to rush to forgetting the whole thing because “If I point a finger at you, then I have to point one at me too” and that leads right back to self blame and not good enough etc… all over again. SO… I had to try very hard not to mix all situations up. I had to be angry at abusers, and acknowledge myself. There was a time when I had to try very hard NOT to look at any of my own retaliation actions (reactive abuse) or learned reactions. Then when I was stronger, I did have to see my own wrongs, and change those too, but I could not decide to not look at others wrongs against me based only on that then I would have to look at mine. I had done that for years. (and I spent way way more time looking at my own wrongs anyway). We are talking about finding the truth here. It didn’t come down to blame on anyone, it came down to truth and then freedom.
This is another HUGE topic!
Hugs, Darlene


So… theres that word again. All I can say is wow Darlene. Here I was, thinking that I was the only one with a dysfunctional…ahem no father-daughter relationship. But after reading your article it made me feel better. All those feelings you described, not enough, unworthy and unlovable. That’s exactly how I feel. I always felt I couldn’t hold my dads interest, my younger sister would just walk by and my dad would hug her and call her princess and she didn’t ever ever even try, she would always talk back to my parents get into trouble all the time and didn’t care about school, where as I wasn’t perfect but tried not to get into trouble, had only a few disagreements, had 98 averages and went unnoticed by my dad. I remember a few months ago my parents went to my award ceremony for NHS and academic awards. My dad didn’t say anything. And it hurt. I just sat in the car crying quietly, and I’m not the crying type. He got mad that my chem grade went down two points. I tried to explain that chem honnors was extremely hard but he had non of it. I get that you are a grown women with kids and I’m just a high school sophomore barely fifteen still a kid. But I can actually know that you and all these adults commenting have something in common with me… You were all kids once just like me and didn’t feel that love from either your mother or father or both. My dad is “emotionally unavailable” when I have a question it’s “I’m busy right now come back later” just as if I were one of his clients, and I’d just give up. I don’t know what I ever did wrong my mom always said it wasn’t me, and I didn’t want to believe it. She’d defend me fighting with my dad about how he neglected me. He’d just respond saying he gives me everything I want laptop, payed for school, books a kindle (because I’m a big fan of Poe,Shakespeare, Stephan King etc. I’m in the books zone right now haha). And today just an hour ago he proved to me that he was never wrong (I’m having a complete breakdown typing right now) my bff (I think the only person who understood me about my dad because she had the same problem with her dad. I only new her one year and she moved but she was the closest person I felt to other than my mom. She didn’t care that I was goth, refusing to wear pink, liked horror movies, was sarcastic by the way fluently our inside joke. My dad didn’t understand I wasn’t my sister clad in pink and all preppy cheerful only when she got what she wanted, he didn’t get that I likes staying locked up in my room just reading.) from Penn visited me and she was dyeing her hair so I cut a few strands and we tested it. When I got home I had the stupid mistake of holding the strands in my hand and just like that he accused me of not treating him like a parent instead like he was my friend because I said “So? It’s just a piece of hair it’ll grow back,” that little word “so” hurt me. He started threatening me about school and that he wasn’t going to pay $8000 a year for me to just say so to him. Right then and there I was going to give him back everything he ever gave me which was almost everything I owned all but a few books my neighbor gave me. It hurt me so much… I couldn’t believe it how much he caused me pain. In truth I don’t really have many friends that are close. I keep to myself because I feel that if I open up to somebody I will be vulnerable. Everyone just assumes I’m tough, I give back sarcastic snarky remarks, I feel like it’s not people I can’t trust it’s me not to be trusted. It feels good to let all that out. I’m the type of person that won’t let others walk all over me I learned that from my dad but at home I feel like nothing. Anyway I just want to thank you Darlene and all the people that commented for opening my eyes and seeing that it is not me. It’s not my fault.
Thank you with hugs and kisses to all you dysfunctional-relationshiped-inner-kids,
P.S. Wow this turned out really long and I’m done crying over all this, it’s my dads loss not mine.
P.P.S. Just as I was about to click submit comment my dad walked in to check on me. I has that one little spark of hope that maybe, just maybe he’d come to apologize. I looked up from my desk waiting and he just turned and walked out. I think he was waiting for me to apologize. Guess I was wrong he never is going to admit he’s wrong.


Im sorry you do not feel valued by your dad. I too never was. After years of theropy I came to see that it wasn’t me but him and my mom. I had to learn to see value in me and to love myself. It hurts no matter how you look at it and it is soooooo unfair. That was the hardest part to get over the pain and being treated so unfairly. I can tell by your writing you are very insightful and beautiful. Those things come from within, that is where your strenght resides. Your dad may see that and is intemidated by it, he may see that you have a lot of his own inner strenght yet he may not love himself so he see it as something negative. However he see’s you, know in your heart you have done nothing but the best you can and that is all that is required of you:)


Hello Ivona!
Welcome to emerging from broken. How wonderful to have this post from a young person! I wish that this blog would reach millions of of young people ~ the truth can set you free at any age! I totally relate to what you have shared here. I was surprised when you said you were high school student! You express yourself just like all of us on this blog! (just as you said, your feelings are the same) You brought up the money thing ~ that is such a big thing; when a parent makes it clear that they deserve “respect and love and obedience” because they pay for all our stuff. WHAT? Such crap and as you said, so hurtful! One has nothing to do with the other. I am on both sides of this; I have 3 kids between the ages of 14 and 19 so as I look at all my stuff with my own parents, I see how they grow and some of the conclusions they come to and I am so careful not to do to them what was done to me. I make sure that they don’t get their value mixed up with their marks and that we don’t pull the “obligation” card on them.
I am so glad that you are here! I hope you share often.
Hugs, Darlene


Wow these comments really blow me away. My story is one of neglect. All my 40 yrs of life my father has never acted interested in me or tried to do things with me. He does tell me he loves me and hugs me from time to time. In contrast my older brother is everything to him. They have always been very close and do most everything together. My dad was best man at his wedding, my parents and my brother and sis in law do many things together. I have always pushed this neglect in the back of my mind and heart. My dad is not one to air feelings with. My mother knows how I feel and me and her are close. I do have some resentment towards her though because i feel she should have pushed my father to be closer to me. Also, it is clear my brother is a golden boy to her as well. What has brought this all to a head lately is my brother is going through a divorce and has been battling alcoholism for the past 2 years. He is currently living with my parents. Seeing the always responsible, always good golden boy knocked off his pedestal and still being loved unconditionally by my father has knocked some resentment loose inside me and now i feel i have to confront him about how he has treated me my whole life. For the record, my brother and i get along fine…we are not close and he is kind of closed off emotionally like my father but i feel more sure of his love. I have been very responsible, good job, marriage, new house and have not heard one word of praise from my day for this. In fact he seems to be more irritable towards me since all this has happened with my brother which makes me feel deep down he thinks why cant all this trouble be happening to her. My mother wants to take up for him with that whole he doesnt know better thing. He did not have good parenting. His mother had 9 children, was not very loving and his father was an alcoholic and did not want to be bothered with his kids. I do understand that but it doesnt make my pain any less to know all this. I have an appointment to finally let all this out with a therapist and the only way i feel safe to let my father know how i feel is to write it in a note. Even if i get nothing in a reply from him, anger, indifference or whatever..i feel that letting him know will make me feel better.


Hi all,
I’m new to this site but thought I would post here to get some feedback. The cliff note version of my “story” is that my father was never really in my life. When I was in 6th grade, I spent a summer with him and his 3rd wife. He wanted me to live with him but my mother said no(because she would lose her welfare money and I was the baby of the family…what I view as the last of the meal ticket). Initially I thought that my father didn’t want me, because that’s what my mother told me. I only found out the truth when I was pregnant with my 3rd child. My step mother was instrumental in trying to get my father to reconnect with me. I bit and gave him a chance.(this was 20 years ago) We had this long talk(him, my sister and me) and “things were going to be different”. He realized that walking out after my mother said I couldn’t live with him was a mistake…blah blah blah. I bit the line and believed him. He was “ok” for a while. I went through a messy divorce and my step mother was there to support me but all I got from him was negative unsolicited advice. I went through alot of healing/recovery and figured if I wanted to have my father in my life and my kids life, I would probably have to accept that we would never have a true father/daughter relationship. It was important for me to have my kids know their grandfather. The relationship hasn’t been great. He is a “successful” man and shares his time between Alaska and Florida.

He found it appropriate to email me about my 20-something daughters facebook posts/pictures. She’s got a BA degree in art with an emphasis on photography. She’s your typical “artsy” person that does take some interesting personal photographs, etc. Lately she’s been in a funk because she is so in debt from her education and is working 2 and 3 jobs. I can understand that and I do what I can to help her. Anyway….out of the blue my father emailed me telling me my daughter is white trash, how does she expect to get a decent guy with the type of pictures she posts, she needs help, she has something wrong with her….etc. I tried to call him to discuss his email to me but he didn’t answer/return my call. So…after cooling down a bit, I sent him an email basically saying I felt he was out of line and maybe his approach wasn’t appropriate. I can’t imagine he wouldn’t think that I would say NOTHING over it. He’s never really been involved with my children….his relationship with them is pretty much the same as it was with me…sparingly when he’s fleeting in to town. His reply to me was basically “have a nice life” and he took me off his facebook as his daughter.

It now has seemed to have spilled over to my sister. She spent time with him at his home in Florida and basically now she has also “disowned” me…won’t communicate with me, etc.

It was only in my adult life I realized my father is a real narcissist. It’s all about him and if someone doesn’t behave the way he expects them to, then *poof* they are gone and dismissed from his life. He did this to one of my brothers as well. I find it incredibly hard to get my head around. I feel like he thinks because he has money(he turned his life around and ended up making alot of money), that everyone is supposed to kiss his feet. I was raised poor….somewhat the collateral damage for his prison, leaving my mother with 4 children and then waiting for years to catch up on his child support so welfare took it all.

I do have issues with my mother as well….but this last stunt with my father really has my head spinning. He’s not only disowned me, but my children as well. My oldest son is in the Coast Guard, my other two children work full time…so it’s not like they are out there creating havoc.

For a couple of months I was fine…like whatever…he wasn’t there when I was growing up…so why should I care now. I hear the “it’s his loss”…etc. And in my head I know this…but it still hurts. I’ve always seemed to be the “black sheep” and have worked extra hard in my life not to repeat the cycle with my own kids.

Has anyone else experienced this? I feel like I’m giving my power to him by even allowing him free rent in my head. I’ve done the codependency recovery, Alanon(my X is an alcoholic and I suspect my father is as well).

I apologize this is long..I just needed to get it out. Thanks for listening.


Hi Angel
Welcome to EFB!
This is so complicated ~ and I think it is best to invite you to read the other posts in the category sections for mother daughter and family. (buttons under the header graphic) and some of the comments there too. There has been much written about this family dynamic already in this site. Reading some of the other info here might help to get you started.
Hugs, Darlene


Hey Darlene, Renee and fellow passive abusiees? I don’t think that is grammatically correct but oh well.
It’s been a few months and I want to thank you Darlene and Renee for your compassion. I just got rid of my psychiatrist. Another nervous breakdown this morning. I remembered about you blog Darlene and decided to post again. I had an argument last night with my dad and it was stupid I know I shouldn’t have argued but it felt important he hasn’t come to any of my shows and tonight is the last performance (my theater group is doing a Beatles Revue) my mom was supportive and came to every show…. That argument left me emotionally drained. This morning we had a big breakfast for my sister because it’s her birthday; I sat down at the table with my bowl of yogurt and granola and he started questioning my breakfast with a disgusted look so I said “It’s yogurt,” I didn’t mean it in a sarcastic way I was dying to say “Obviously yogurt!” but my psychologist has urged me if I feel like I might say something wrong think it over twice so I resisted. He did not like my curt response and started another argument about how my mom and I always make his life miserable. (I’m not supposed to say but I also found out last week my mom is also seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist like me but I don’t understand why she didn’t tell me. My whole family thinks I’m emotionally unstable and now coming to the conclusion that I might also be mentally unstable but I highly doubt that reasoning with Ivona-logic that a mentally ill person would not question their mental stability right? Well whatever.) so while everybody in the house was getting ready to leave I sat at the dining room table filing my nails (it’s my stress reliever) my mom urged me to go get dressed but I just told her I wasn’t invited along to go shopping for my sisters birthday present. The whole time my dad walked back and forth before me and didn’t say a word, so I waited patiently. He wouldn’t leave without me no matter how mad he could be with me. Apparently that has changed he walked right out the door leaving me stunned. I sat there a few minutes alittle melancholy but relieved. I didnt want to be the third wheel. My birthday was in September I didn’t want any presents and my dad didn’t question it so my sister warmed up to him and we went shopping for her. That probably sounds horrible but it hurt going shopping for her. But on the bright side I’m officially fifteen 🙂 only three more years till I can move out. They all went to the garage I went up to my room and had a complete full blown breakdown. I found out my mom didn’t go with them because of another argument about how he didn’t ask me to come along. Instead she found me crying and hyperventilating (which never happened before it was horrible like I couldn’t breathe) my psychiatrist came over said I’d be okay that it was from all the stress the shows given me and my best friend who was in a car accident. She currently in a coma it’s been three weeks 🙁 I’m guessing she talked with my mom and it’s been three hours and my dad has not come home to even check on me… Thanks Dad I feel the love. Well I have to get to school one more rehearsal before closing night. The whole point of me sharing this story is…. I honestly don’t have one I just needed to let it all out.
With all my love,

P.S. Before I forget thank you so much Darlene for your warm welcome.


Hi Ivona,

Sorry to hear about all that’s been going on for you – that’s a lot to deal with!! I was surprised when I read your age; I think it’s great that you’re so aware of things so early! (I’m almost twice your age, and have only started to figure out a lot of my family stuff very recently).

I feel similar about my birthday. I think I have for a while, but especially now since I’ve become more clear about my parents’ role in my depression (and other problems) — they expect you to play the part of the happy family member, and I’m just not sure I can play their game anymore (hopefully this will be a good thing in the long run. Makes it difficult in the “here and now” though).

I’ve never hyperventilated during one of my crying breakdowns, but I used to occasionally when exercising when I was much younger and I remember quite well what a horrible feeling it was. I hope that settles down for you!

And very sorry to hear about your best friend. That’s such a terrible thing to happen. I’ll be wishing the best for them!

Take care of yourself & good luck with the Beatles revue! 🙂

“…it’s been a hard day’s night….”


Hi J,

Thank you for understanding. I just snuck away from hair and makeup 🙂 ummm… I truly first started noticing things at least four years ago if not more. My dad has been giving me the cold shoulder since my sister was born but I didn’t relize that because I guess I was just too young. Okay I’m not going to lie to myself the real reason I wandered away was because a few minutes ago one of the directors brought his daughter flowers and she’s not even in the show she’s just taking tickets 🙂 I honestly envyed her. Her dad is probably more my dad than my own father. I really wish my dad was like him but we can all want what we can’t have :(.

Your “happy family member” comment is so true. It’s a facade they want people to see and make themselves feel better than the actual reality. I don’t want to play that game because in the end I’m going to lose. You just have to “Let it be” haha it’s ironic because that’s my solo.
Thank you for your concern for Noora the thing that sucks is she lives in rural Pennsylvania and I live in Manhattan.

Ohhhh and I wish you luck with your depression and other problems. “We can work it out”
I know you’ve probably been told to help your depression to take up a hobby, it honestly works I took up theater they’re like my second family.

My biggest piece of advice which sounds crazy coming from someone half your age but if you don’t want you don’t have to read the rest:
If you like Beatles play “Lady Madonna” that’s the Beatles song to just dance to.
Or “Jailhouse Rock” by Elvis I swear I was destined to be born in the 60’s haha
And when I say dance to I mean rockout give it your full wiggle dance jump anything that’s what I do because I’m the worst dancer in the world… I’m going to go do that right now. I don’t care if people see me but all that emotion in me is going to come out dancing one thing I learned is not caring what people think.

With all my love,

I wish


Emerging from Broken has been having technical difficulties this past 18 hours and no comments have been allowed through. This problem has been resolved now; please try to post comments again. (I got notices about the posts people were trying to comment on)


This is one of those posts that is so spot on that I could have written it myself.

This was a huge beef of my mother’s when I was growing up, that I had a ‘special’ relationship with my father. Well the truth was that he was the only person who paid me any attention at all.

As an adult I realize that the attention that was paid to me was to to make HIMSELF feel better. He used my struggles to minimize his own pain. When I stopped bringing my struggles to him (because his advice is so stupid that it became foolhardy to talk to him when I really did need help) he lost interest. Eventually he started inventing problems about me to ‘fix’ and telling them to anyone he could find. Now I have no idea what I need to work on and what was implanted in my brain that was a lie. My mother continued to be jealous of this, which is essentially abuse, which is yet another screwed up thing to process.

I tried to continue the kind of relationship that you described where I just listened to him drone on and on about himself, thinking it was just ‘annoying’ and benign. I did this due to family pressure to just ‘accept him the way he is’, to just swallow the excuses, like dirt. But you’ve validated my original thinking that it’s completely not acceptable. It’s not my responsibility to be this man’s crutch and get nothing in return, and not only that it’s damaging to allow myself to be victimized by it.

My father has convinced the world that his is a generous father by making ostentatious and conspicuous displays of wealth toward me, while behind the scenes held out on helping with health care expenses until I basically begged. He also refused to educate himself about my physical illnesses.

All were messages that I don’t matter, that he has all the power, and that he isn’t afraid to use it to meet his own needs. He’s a pig.


I could relate to your “fatherless-ness” in many ways. In the effect it has on daughters, I wonder how many of us do not reflect upon the impact it had? Why is it we do not work on those areas of our lives? I’m glad you are, Darlene, and I believe I am too, but not on the level you are. Perhaps if we do not acknowledge what is “amiss” inside, we can pretend all is well. But in reality, we know it is not and truthfully will continue to create an unhealthy self and others who follow in our footsteps. I pray we all look at the truth and walk in it. Thanks Darlene, for your pursuit of the truth about yourself.


Hi Taliba
Welcome to EFB
WOW~ I totally understand and relate to what you are talking about regarding your relationship with your father and the jealously of your mother! About the lies ~ as time went on and I persisted at looking at things with all the little details, putting them through a different grid of understanding ~ they became more and clear to me. SO.. it just takes time.
Thanks for sharing! Hugs, Darlene

Hi Merry
I pretended all was well for over 40 years, blamed the depressions on myself, constantly worked “on myself” to be a better person… and until I finally faced the root of my difficulties, I was stuck in the struggle. So.. yes, you are right, without facing the truth, the cycle continues!
I am glad to be on this road along side of you!
Hugs, Darlene


My father was also totally emotionally unavailable. For years I put it down to that is just how men are…or there were four of us kids, so he was too busy, or he loves me …even though he never said those words when I was growing up…etc etc. I had to face the truth that my dad actually never really wanted me. I was born at a horrible time in his life…he and my real mother “had” to get married and pretty soon after that my older brother was born. Then he had to go into the navy to provide money for the family at age 22….and then I was a surprise and immediately after my birth my mother got sick with cancer and it took three years…my first three years…until she died. We lived with both sets of Grandparents during those years and dad had to find a new career immediately, and then my mother died he was on his own and providing for two very little children. I dont think he even took time to grieve because he was remarried to “mom” the very next year. So…all that to say that I grew up feeling like I was in the way. I always felt that but couldnt pinpoint why I felt that way until I began healing and realized the time frame that I was born into in my father’s life. It took me until just recently to fully accept that my dad truly didnt want me or like me and that I was in HIS way. When he remarried and she became his everything, my older brother and I began to be horribly abused…and neglected. My dad was never available, and never helped…he became an abuser in all ways. I know that his love meant everything to me…I wanted it more than anyone elses on this earth , but it was always outside of my grasp no matter how hard I ran after him and tried. The good part to this story is that I am healed now and can handle the truth and know that even though I was born in the situation I was born into , and was treated the way I was and rejected…I can now say that I was WORTH being born…no matter what! I truly feel special now…to myself! I never did before and it does feel like a miracle! I can appreciate who I am and what I look like and what I do and even what I cant do with compassion and liking for myself. It is possible to heal from deep wounds and emptiness, depression , anxiety and self hate etc…it really is! 🙂


Hi everyone,
Diane, I know exactly what you mean when you say you felt like you were in the way. I felt like that too. My father was my Narcissistic mother’s devoted enabler and he didnt want anything (namely me) getting in the way of him kissing my moms arse. His attitude to me was that of someone who had bought a very young puppy, got it home and was then disappointed and outraged to find that it didnt behave impeccably, like a highly trained adult show dog. He didnt want a real child, just a pretty doll who sat quietly in a corner on a 3-legged stool reading a book of nursery rhymes. Something he could pat on the head now and again, just to make himself feel like a “real father”. The fact that I sometimes cried, vomited, whined and shit made him feel as if he had been cheated. I can remember once, he shouted at me till he was blue in the face because I used to get terrible travel sickness and threw up in his new car. Another occasion I remember is when he was praising the polite behaviour of my cousins who were about the same age as me and said “Its a shame our Sylvia couldnt be more like them”. (In my earshot). Even Narcissistic Mom was outraged at this. Not because my feelings were being hurt, it was that her fabulous parenting skills were being called into question. I never felt that I was anywhere on his priority list, something that was reflected in every subsequent relationship I had with men. Along with all the other falsehoods he taught me. I have recently gone through an intense grieving process for the father I never had. Cheers Pa. I feel so deeply for everyone here, the stories are so painful, yet inspiring. Lots of love to all, from Sylvia xxx


Sylvia, I can relate to you so much! I am very sorry that you suffered…and I also feel sad that your relationships that you have had with men have been burdened with these feelings! It is so painful to grieve over losing someone that we never even “had”. I cant tell you how many years I cried and longed for more from my father! My “mom” seemed to sap all of his resources so there wasnt anything in him for anyone else…or so it seemed…and it sounds like you had a similar mother who was all about HERSELF..so I know you understand! I feel healed, but I still love my father. I still am sad for him that he missed out and that he is still stuck with the same old patterns of pouring his heart and soul and everything into making such an unhealthy woman “happy”…which she never is. She can be calmed down until the next round of Gimme Gimme Gimme begins. I am so sorry that you felt like you were in the way, Sylvia, because that is such a confusing and painful place! To never quite know where you fit..IF you fit…and WHEN you will ever fit…into someones life. It breeds such insecurity in a child! You are right…you and I didnt have our fathers! And that is such a loss! I feel so much for you and send you peace and comfort! You DO belong and your birth and being here on this earth is very special and important and significant! You are not in the way of anyone…you are as important as anyone and everyone! 🙂


Thank you so much for your kind supportive words. It is so validating to hear from someone who knows exactly what I have experienced. Yes, our mothers do sound very similar, and also the way our fathers dealt with their abusive behaviours by rewarding them, by putting them on pedestals, by protecting and defending them. This caused me to believe that only selfish, ruthless, badly behaved women were the ones that men fell in love with, and that sensitive, soft-hearted poeple like me had no chance of ever having anything good. I now believe that only dysfunctional men with issues of their own are attracted to women with my mothers dynamic. As I said earlier, I am grieving for the father I never had , and what set this off was an involment with yet another unavailable man. But instead of sticking to my old pattern of desperately trying – agaist all odds – to make the man love me and be there for me, I broke off all contact with him, and started to work on my relationship with my late father. This time, I wanted answers. I had always assumed that it was Mum that had caused the bulk of my emotional damage, but began to realise that Dad had just as much blood on his hands because of what he DIDNT do. They say that the people we are most attracted to are the ones who hold the keys to our healing, the ones who will bring up our unresolved issues for us. This is so true, and I only wish I could have seen that years ago. In every man I ever loved, I should have seen my father. His neglect, his complacency, his dissatisfaction with me, his disinterest in me, his inability to love and support me. The clues were always there. But I see it now, Diane and thats the main thing. Thanks again and a big hug to you, I hope your life is really happy now, you deserve it, just like I do. Love from Sylvia xxx


Thank you for sharing your story, your father sounds just like my ex he treats my daughter just like that. My daughter is only12 and is too young to realize it yet and is all ways doing this to please him and I have to just stand back and watch, when she goes to see him they do stuff together but it pretty much things that he wants to do not things she enjoys and he is always too buys to come to her stuff. I am just waiting for the day when she sees the light but reading your story helped me see that one day she will see if for herself cause I know that she needs too find out on her own. That you for letting me know that there is slight at the end of the tunnel.


Hi Kristi
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
I am sorry that your daughter has to go through this. It is really hard and I am sure it is very hard for you to watch!
There is hope and you can be a very positive example of what real love is to your daughter.
Hugs, Darlene


Wow – I can relate to your post completely. Growing up, I put my father on a pedestal – it wasn’t until recently (I am 32 yrs old) that the illusion began to shatter. I saw my father with clear eyes – not as the perfect father figure I constructed in my mind, but a human being, ego and all. Our relationship was one-sided – he was only interested in talking about himself, he wasn’t interested in getting to know me. On the rare occasions that I expressed myself, he tuned me out or cut me off. The only time he was interested, was when I asked questions about him. When I became aware of this pattern, I brought it up to him – but nothing changed. It was then that I gave up any hope of ever having a genuine relationship with my Father.

Coming to terms with this truth wasn’t easy. But I knew if I stayed in this relationship, I was essentially betraying my Self.

In order to heal, I grieved the father I never had. By healing my wounds, clarify emerged – the love that I thought was “out there”, was within me all along.

My Father was my teacher in the journey of Self-love. Eventually, a different relationship would emerged between us – one based on distance, boundaries, and respect.

Your website is a gift to many – thank you and God Bless


Hi Angie
Welcome to EFB
I can totally relate to what you said too!
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


[…] unsupported, dismissed and devalued. In truth, my mother didn’t really have a husband.  My passively abusive father never let my mother have any impact on him and the success of a relationship, the whole basis of […]
(New post related to this subject ~ Darlene)



another great article, and I’m so sorry you have experienced the hurt of an emotionally uninvolved parent. I hope in some way the validation and warmth you get from posters helps {{{hugs}}}

I don’t know if it’s normal to know about one’s parents’ own childhoods. I know almost nothing about my Mom’s and little about Dad’s. I know that my paternal grandfather was an alcoholic and killed by a taxi as he came out of a bar. The other story about grandad is that, when I was very small, Dad took us all to visit him and see us kids for the first time. Grandad took one look at us all, got a glass of water (no doubt severely dehydrated half the time) and took off without a word.

While that helps me intellectually understand my father, emotionally I feel he made a choice to keep the cycle going and in his way abandon his kids. Dad had depression issues and stupidly at the time was treated with lots of tranquilizers. He slept all day and shopped and went to work. At nite he holed up in the bathroom for hours with his magazines. (When we moved to an apartment with a second tiny bathroom in my parents bedroom, I felt “bad” somehow for using the second one. I did my business quickly when I did, cause it made him angry for us to be in their private space).

He and Mom argued a lot but she was a narc ball-breaker and he was generally more withdrawn. There was no talking to either about our problems, in fact he told Mom when I was 15 I had to solve my own. By that point I was starting to hope that a car crash would do it.
It was at that age that I recall sitting in my bedroom crying one day. Dad opened the door (he had this wonderful way of preserving our privacy by knocking and IMMEDIATELY opening the door)and I told him, “Dad, I have no friends”. He left came back and tossed a big bag of potato chips on the bed—it was his only way of offering comfort.

Today, as always, my sister is emotionally unavailable to me. She pushes me away and is a huge BS artiste about it, always some excuse. Telling me she wants a better sister bond but doing nothing else, just words. She will not take an inch out of her comfort zone, she never had to, for my part I was always willing to chase her. After a 2 month silence I wrote her last month, she responded with the carrot again, saying she wants that bond, she’s been so worried about me, she’s been so busy with Mom’s paperwork (as she’s POA), “but that’s no excuse”.

For some reason I sought help early on my own, at 16, going to CAS where they told me I was too old for them to help, seeing a psychiatrist for the first time. I have “acted out” in a big way but also sought help repeatedly over the years, thus, earning me the Fk-uped role in the family. My emotions are open and I am a touchy-feely sort, and very expressive. I turned out differently emotionally, but settled for the same kind of distant mate. For 19 years I lived with a man who barely showed interest in my background but was always talking about his family roots. He could not talk to me about sex at all, small wonder, he was a pedophile. His idea of listening was to stare at the computer screen while I talked. He told me his mother came first. And once when I told him I wanted to kill myself, he looked at me and said, “Well, go and do it”.

I was trained to believe I wasn’t worth much and settled for a man who reflected that. Mama won’t do that anymore. I am so glad I turned out more comfortable with emotions but it’s almost painted me as “troubled” and abnormal in the family.


sorry, I meant, it’s always painted me as troubled….


Hi Everyone
I have published a new post about passive abuse and how my mothers definition of LAZY got stuck in my belief system even though she never called me lazy! In this post I highlight a new way to look at the belief system and how it forms. Seeing this stuff is a big part of how I was set free from those false beliefs!
Here is the link! “Connecting the dots about passive abuse and the truth about lazy”
Hugs, Darlene


So I read this and realized all I had to do was change “father” to my current boyfriend and BINGO! that’s what he does to me. Nothing I say matters, and the more I articulate (because he acts totally clueless) the more frustrated and angry he gets with me. As long as I’m willing to accept the relationship on the terms of him neglecting me, things are fine. But the moment I feel anything, he goes silence, or changes the subject, or begins with the excuses, or yells at me, or becomes the victim and is no good to anyone in this world; and doesn’t take responsibility for doing a positive thing to change something for the better or acknowledge me or the truth of what he’s doing to fix it.

Sometimes, I think I’m going crazy because I ask myself: did I see what I thought I saw? or, He really doesn’t get this? Did he just twist up what I said? Did he just pull out a word from my paragraph that he didn’t like and make up some crazy reason why I am upset and blame me? It’s caused so much dissention in my home that yesterday my 2 sons for the first time in 4 years screamed at him to get the hell out of our home and for him to shut the f*&^ up! I told them to back off but later I let them know I was glad they finally said something. I had been telling the boyfriend that he won’t fight around his kid, but to be in my home and fight around my children was ok, even disregarded. His response? Another arguement with denials or any variety of the above.

This article helped me to find the words of what kind of relationship I’m in with this man. Emotionally unavailable and passive abusive. He’s pleasant as long as nothing in life bothers me that needs to be discussed or as long as I don’t need an emotional support system or as long as I’m going out of my way to care about what he cares about(he disappears emotionally or physically when it’s his turn). Like you described with your father, my boyfriend was always so “nice” (or so it seemed) that I could never pinpoint the problem inside myself.

Strangely, I feel emotionally disconnected from my boyfriend now. He used to be the love of my life until I saw him keep contact with his ex girlfriends who wanted me gone, his ex wife who totally disregarded my life while he lived with me, he got his own place then would break our dates, forget our dates, not ask me out until the last minute in case his daughter wanted to see him. He says I am the one who hates him seeing his kid – yet I would have them both spending weekends in my home, cooking, giving them time alone to go out without me and my sons, using my car for long trips so we could all be together, helping him and her repair their relationship, etc.) He would ditch me in a heartbeat for his teenage daughter’s whims, or hold off our weekend time for an answer to see if she didn’t have plans with her friends or mother. REALLY? I am sitting in the wings, on a shelf for some kid in another state who’s waiting on her school friends or her mother’s work schedule? He doesn’t see this nor is the least bothered by the fact that she does this to him (let alone me). He is so proud of his “protection” for her that he wouldn’t dare set boundaries for a more workable schedule for all of us. So he finally suggested he would see her one weekend and then me the next or can have her at my house (again, while she was emotionally all over the place with disrespect for me in my own home?). Ask if I agreed to that? Not on your life. He forgets I had 4 kids and homeschooled them for 20 years – I too am protective, I just don’t boast. Lots of teenagers come into my home and they are all treated like my own – even call me “mom”. I’m not th woman he and his daughter make me out to be. That’s too obvious. And I’m not some guy’s every other weekend girlfriend, and I don’t cater to other people’s teenagers anymore than I cater to my own sons and daughters. Families can’t operate when others are not treated equitably and fairly. Either I’m someone he wants to build a life with emotional intimacy or I’m not. Either he appreciates who I am or he doesn’t. Besides, he doesn’t pay me child support, help me with a single bill, or broken things around my home, let alone even stand up for me in situations where he should. He lets his kid crap all over me and my sons. Yes, we are sick of the disfunction. And we have been nothing but kind and respectful to him and his family. Did I mention, he hasn’t a single friend in the world but me? Red flag.

In fact, now I prefer him not around me, and don’t miss him when he’s not around. I feel relief, finally. The only time I feel anything for him is when he starts up his usual crap that frustrates me. I feel like I’ve been through a war (which being with him and his crazy talk and fights over meanial things has totally exhausted any good feelings I used to have for him). We don’t see much of each other because he needed time or pushed me away while saying he wasn’t pushing me away, cut off sex or even discussing that aspect, that it was him not me, but he didn’t cut off anyone else. Did I ever see that man even try to have a relationship with my teenage sons, repair a single thing with me with real respect? Anyway, I got used to not seeing much of him and sized up the situation pretty quickly, then had a few months of crying, resentment and helplessness. He came back to me with the same crap. He’s all talk no action. I’m just plain exhausted. Or when he comes over, rare as it is, I walk in a state of holding back anything good I might feel for fear he’ll botch it up with some ignorant inconsiderate act again, and he usually does. So now, I come home from work and do what I never used to do…hide out in my bedroom, dreaming of what I will do with my life once I get my energy back, while watching tv, silencing my phone and texts from the outside world while resting so I have enough energy for my job, and thanking God every minute he doesn’t live with me.

I know all that is crazy stuff, but I had to get myself to a place where I didn’t feel vulnerable and broken. Finding the words to what he does gives me the strength inside emotionally to KNOW I’m being treated very poorly. Seeing me share in writing helps me keep my eyes open. I feel heard by SOMEONE. Maybe someone cares? I felt crazy and questioned myself on everything. Now, I don’t have to question myself. I know I deserve better because I give better. I’m intelligent, caring, sensitive to other’s feelings, perceptive, wise, strong, have many skills and talents, and beautiful inside and out. I don’t need an emotional roller coaster from a crazy man, no matter how many times he says he’s changing or THIS time he really sees.

Thank you for sharing. Thank you for offering a space to let me share my story with understanding and without losing face for being with such a man. I’m tired of hearing people say “fool me once, shame on you, etc.” As if I’m to blame for him being an ass to me and my heart felt total unconditional love for him. Thank you.

Now onto your other posts to feed me strength with words of truth and wisdom!


Hi Laruie
Great insights, thank you for sharing this in the detail and clarity that you have shared. This is awesome!
The truth really does set us free!
Hugs, Darlene


Everyone ~ I have just published a new post about Passive Abuse and how the message I got from passive abuse was the same as the message I got from more obvious abuse. I use my father as an example. (the only reason I don’t share much about my father is because there isn’t much to share; he didn’t bother himself with me too much; and that is passive abuse) I look forward to the comments on the new post;
Here is the link ~ “Emotionally Unavailable Father; The message of passive abuse”
Hugs, Darlene


My Dad couldn’t talk to me. He had a better relationship with my sisters because they did the 4-H and FFA thing, I didn’t. When we were kids, Dad would take us for root beer floats after Sunday School, where he would promptly IGNORE my sisters and I and just talk to his buddies. I complained about it constantly to Mom. She just said, “He does that to me, you shouldn’t have a problem with it.” Well, I DID have a problem with it.

One time, I called on the telephone and MADE my Dad talk to me. He was shocked. He actually talked to me. Three days later he died. Sudden thing. Well, I got something.

A year ago, I was in a Burger King (or something….). I saw a man with a bicycle helmet on, and some kids. Some guy started talking to this bicycle man, and he said, “this is my special time with my kids, would you mind talking to me another time?” I burst into tears when I saw that. I didn’t realize until then that I was still P***ed off about the root beer floats.


The description of your father perfectly fits my mother. My soon-to-be ex-husband is also passive aggressive. And sadly, after reading a lot on the subject, I believe that I am also passive aggressive. What a sad life I have lived.


To complete the comment above, I am also a very caring, compassionate, giving person. But my mother and husband are very selfish, uncaring people, so my behavior is in response to their behavior.


Ann, you recognize it in yourself. That’s a big part of the healing. I’m piecing stuff together, too!


OOPS, I should have added, that you are recognizing your good qualities, too! (Wish there was an “edit” function on here!)


Hi Ann
Welcome to EFB ~ there is hope for healing and moving forward into full and happy life! I hope you stick around and read more!
Hugs, Darlene


yes, I can relate to this. I see now that my father is passive abusive and he has restarted this with his new wife. he was emotionally unavailable when I was a child. my mother was verbally and emotionally abusive as well. my mother recently died and at 86 my father remarried and when I visit him out of state, he tells me the next morning that he and his wife are going out and will be back at 6pm. he will not invite me and my husband! other days we all go out together but it is at mine or my husbands suggestion. his new wife does not cook us meals while we visit. My father acts like this is normal. I only keep the communication because of my inheritance but its not worth the hurt I have experienced when I visit him. this behavior of his has occurred for 2 chritmasses and I have decided not to visit him for Christmas. I dread calling him up because its about the trips he has made with this new wife of his. I now call him every 2 weeks and the converstations last 10 minutes.


Good blog! I need to get out about speaking about my lousy father. My dad never saw me or his children, but he did hate us and still does today. People say ‘oh, it must be his old age (almost 69)’ and I tell them ‘don’t use his age as an excuse! Using an elderly’s person’s age as an excuse to say “he/she is evil/mean/rude/senile/etc because they are elderly,” is another way of saying ‘oh, he don’t mean that!’ Yes, he did otherwise he wouldn’t have said or acted the way he did!’

“He never saw me as a person. He was emotionally unavailable. It is as though I didn’t have a father.”

Agreed. That seems to be so hard to explain to people all because they use ‘well, he put a roof over your head, paid for your college (never asked him to), paid for your bills when you were a kid (that’s what a parent is suppose to do for their minor children), etc come up with something better!’ He never wanted to teach his daughter the “manly stuff that men do at work because it’s not a woman’s place.” However, my mom forced him yet don’t see why she couldn’t enroll me in classes in schools to do the same thing whether my dad was there or not.

My dad calls my sister evil, liar, no good, whore (I think), drug addict, high school drop out (she has a diploma), etc. Several years ago, my dad brought home stinky gas cans leaking and had them in our old unit. Him and mom got at it like always telling her ‘I don’t care what happens to you or Marquis.’ Don’t you think as a “mother” that would be motivation to march your ass to the courts in downtown to find out your legal rights, put his ass out, and start over again?! She said that was hurtful of him to say that, is this something new for her? She acts like this is all new to her. Yes, it was very hurtful he said that about me but guess what? He wonders why I don’t talk to him much in the house yet nobody seems to think what he said was horrific?!? Someone told me one time ‘give it time, he was just frustrated,’ really? It’s been more than 8 years and never apologized or said I do love you. He will never say that and people expect me to keep holding my breath for him to say it. He never apologizes, why should he? Narcs know everything and they don’t apologize; but if they do, it’s real shitty and they go back to their daily lives with zero remorse!

If that’s how you feel about your own children, then actions proves everything! It wouldn’t matter to my dad if we were dead or disappeared and moved to a planet! Also, my dad’s mom was always gone on the weekends and left him alone but his aunts had to come get him. His aunts should’ve put her in prison for child neglect! Probably explains why he is always gone on the weekends. I hated when my dad would ask me to come here it’s ‘over here you,’ I looked at him. I told him I’m not gonna waste my time going over to the computer if I am gonna be referred to as “you” because you is not my name. He tried to say ‘it’s a joke, can’t I take a joke?’ Gee, not when you say it as if my name has no meaning! My mom made me go back there as always and did nothing about it telling me ‘that’s just how your father is’ and I told her ‘saying that, gives a child a false perception of people act like this all the time. You don’t seem to know the difference between those act like this out of spite 24/7 vs people who have more brains and maturity.’ She said ‘that’s right, people always act like your father!’ Didn’t hear a word I said!

He doesn’t say over here, you anymore. Yea, there was absolutely no communication everything always shifted to him and how my mom was trying to kill him and vice versa. I told them I wish you two would hurry it up, so we (siblings and I) can move on with peace! They didn’t like that at all lol! You can’t talk to him like people and ex therapist truly want me to believe, narcs are not people you can sit there and talk with like normal sane individuals not when they monopolize the conversation(s) to their advantage!

“One definition of passive abuse is hurting a child with a lack of interest, a lack of communication all of which is neglectful and discounting. There is a message that this behaviour sends the child and I was that child. I got the message. And I realize that the way that he disregards me has always defined me as not enough and it has defined me as unlovable and unworthy.”

Agreed, that’s how I always felt. I grew up with absolutely no self worth, self esteem, worthiness, or any kind of value. Gee, people always wondered why in all my life I never had those qualities! Some people I knew had them and were just fine, usually you get those when you have loving active parents in your life! I didn’t have anybody sitting down with me talking to me about having good self esteem which is why I did so poorly in school and at jobs.

My dad was never nice only when he wanted something that suited his fancy. He was a tyrant, bully, coward, etc thinks he is all that and the women love him. I asked him a question long ago about something and he just went into a tangent about whatever it was and my question never got answered! My mom said ‘she is asking you a question,’ he said ‘who the **** do you think you’re talking too?’ Mom said ‘don’t be stupid, Marquis, go to your room.’ People say that isn’t domestic violence?!? Let’s see he threaten mom (they threaten each other daily) that was our life, every time he said shit like that it was always ‘Marquis, go to your room.’ Made my sisters and brother go to their rooms when they were kids.

However, this is something people don’t seem to understand which is why I never spoke much about my dad because I knew people would twist it to try to get me to think “he is such a great guy!”

“Recently I told my father that we don’t really have a relationship and I told him again how I feel about his lack of interest in my life and in the lives of my children and my family. He says he cares but his actions PROVE that he doesn’t.”

Agreed. My sister always told people that dad was her step dad, foster dad, dad left the family long ago (he might as well), uncle, etc. He was irate because my sister doesn’t acknowledge him as her dad and she said ‘you might as well be step dad because you certainly never functioned like a real dad!’ Oh, he didn’t like that at all! Why is so offended and upset for? His idea of a dad is a fictional family meaning a parent doesn’t have to be there for their kids as long as the kids “still acknowledge they have parents regardless of crappy behavior!”

He says ‘I have always been there for my kids,’ that is a lie you caused a migraine to us and other people, totaltarian communist dictator, supreme narc, etc! He knows nothing about me doing stuff for us was a burden to him “costing him too much of his money,” he said it’s a woman’s job to spend money on the kids never the man! People always tell me that you can’t deny the DNA, I never said that! I always told people ‘look at the actions, behaviors speak a whole lot never mind what the words say out of your mouth.’ These lack of family interactions is considered normal for a lot of people which is very scary to think about – all actions speak volumes doesn’t matter if it’s family, relationships, friendships, work relationships, customer and employee relationships, etc how did it get to be different for different people is beyond me!

We have nothing in common nor have anything to say to each other. He used to call my sister complaining about mom and talking shit about her. She didn’t care she told dad go yell at mom about it and leave me alone. He got furious because my sister still doesn’t care, sorry, you and mom ruined our lives but we are suppose to care? They (other people) said yea! Wow, the nonverbal language of telling people to accept all kinds of abuse even from family because “there’s an obligation to it,” I always ask people please define it!


Marquis, one of the harder things I had to learn was that something could be wrong; I could see that it was wrong, plain as day, but no one else would validate it. It was difficult for me to grasp that something could be wrong, and no one else would see it. I think it is sometimes because people don’t want to open up a can of worms….maybe there is something about them they want to be able to continue to deny. Or maybe they just have a distorted view of what constitutes good parenting. Providing a roof over your head and providing food and other basics are things that a parent should be doing. But there is a lot more to good parenting than providing the basics. Some people just don’t see this. As I’ve been progressing through the process, my own voice is starting to come out and I am paying attention to my feelings about my patens. Others can try to tell me how wonderful they think my parents were but I. Know that there is a lot they didn’t see. They didn’t see the harsh punishments or hear the mean words. They didn’t see me being ignored and discounted and told I was ugly and inferior to my brothers. They are not in a position to invalidate what happened to me. They didn’t even know what happened! So I don’t take this stuff from people seriously anymore. And I’m trusting my own feelings a lot more. If something feels wrong, there is a reason for it.

I no longer believe in being obligated to people who treat me badly. And marquis, I understand how you feel about excuses people have made for your father. Old age? In this day is 69 even considered old? And “that’s just the easy he is”. I’ve heard that one also, but no longer buy into that. It’s a way of brushing off unacceptable behavior and then expecting you to comply.

I hope this was helpful Marquis. Please remember that what YOU think is important, and you can validate it even if no one else in the world does. Something can be true even if no one else sees it.



That helps a lot thanks! I do agree how “that’s just how he (or she) is” is just excusing that rudeness is okay and wow my now ex therapist didn’t seem to agree with that! True, lots of people don’t wanna see different ways of life just that one narrow road they’ve been used to for years and years which is the problem right there! It’s appaling to believe how people wanna stay within their little box of false lies/beliefs/definitions.

“Providing a roof over your head and providing food and other basics are things that a parent should be doing. But there is a lot more to good parenting than providing the basics.”

Agreed. My now ex therapist, I told her this months ago and she said “how do you know? You don’t even have kids to make such a statement like that.” I told her “growing up in an abusive household, you’d be surprised by the kind of lack of parenting your own parents have and since when do you need children in order to figure out what a child needs and don’t need? There’s a lot of parents who didn’t come from a bad family, but they are raising kids, disciplining them wrong, and have absolutely no parenting skills. So, how is that even better? I watched a show where a woman couldn’t handle stress yet she had 4 kids who she was disciplining them too much it was just about abuse because she couldn’t seem to control her anger and you’re telling me that kind of parent is in the same category with my parents yet your a mom yourself?!? I wasn’t taught parenting skills as a kid since there are no younger kids under me. Believe me, there’s a lot I saw/learn than what you think.” Yep, she didn’t like that too much lol.

“Others can try to tell me how wonderful they think my parents were but I. Know that there is a lot they didn’t see. They didn’t see the harsh punishments or hear the mean words. They didn’t see me being ignored and discounted and told I was ugly and inferior to my brothers. They are not in a position to invalidate what happened to me. They didn’t even know what happened! So I don’t take this stuff from people seriously anymore.”

Agreed. I told ex therapist ‘you won’t even there in my household, how can you speak about something when you weren’t there? That’s fine you wanna call my parents a saint, but saints are suppose to be wise and good to people not having an evil grin behind your back! That’s like saying the devil wants to help people and he doesn’t care to as long as he gets what he wants – my parents are bought and paid for by the devil himself!’ Yea, again she didn’t like my comment oh well. She said ‘the devil can change,’ I said ‘has he ever in history?’ Figures, had nothing to say.

For me, it is still difficult for me to not get upset at people when they invalidate me and tell me how lovely my parents are. Every time I explain the story, I still get enrage about it and I am working towards not even talking about it because I am talked out! There is nothing for me to say anymore about them; my sister doesn’t let it get to her and she brushes it off, I just get upset and jump down people’s throats about it!

My ex therapist said to me how I can’t say it’s old history because I still live there. I said ‘has the shit changed from the past? Same old crap we still hear and nothing hasn’t been done. Dad comes back to AZ, makes mom super mad, he smiles, they fight, etc he goes back to Cali – need I say more?’ For me, all of it is old history. I never cared growing up, hated them even more still hate them now. Also every time I tell my story to people, the anxiety and anger hangs in my chest. I am still doing breathing exercises to let it all out, still find it hard to do…..


This is exactly what it’s like between my mother and I. I have never been worth the effort for her. She gave lip service to “tell me if anyone is hurting you,” after the fact. After I told her that someone was touching me inappropriately and she slapped me out of my chair at 5 years old. She screamed at me, Why didn’t you tell me sooner? “Because I was afraid you’d be mad at me!” And she was. SHe was mad because she might have to make an effort. I stopped going to that babysitter, but not before being subjected to one last visit. With him there, passing out candy to all of us kids as if to say, “Who me? I’d never hurt a fly.” And the babysitter, who I had loved and trusted as one of the most stable adults in my life, telling me that I was going to hell for lying. It was one of the most humiliating, frightening experiences of my life to go back there. SHe just couldn’t figure any other way out for me, though. Because, in her eyes, I wasn’t worth the effort. And I continue to be not worth the effort. It would require too much of an act of humility, of humanity, of admitting wrong doing, and having to take responsibility. Not convenient. My husband pointed that out to me, recently. She does what is most convenient for her in the moment. I was wondering how she could possibly reconcile my perception that she thought highly of me at times with the fact that she obviously thinks I’m a crazy liar or something when I bring up the abuse. He pointed out that she always just chooses the path of least resistance. If she actually made an effort for me, she would have to make an effort for herself, look back and see where she lost her humanity, which would be too difficult.


My father only made an effort when he felt like being with me. It was a stilted relationship where I played a role.
As a young child it was seen and not heard. No trouble, no emotions, no noise. Compliant and obedient to his idea of how perfect children should behave.
As a teenager with ideas of my own I was bad and no good, just like her ( my mother).
As an adult I was seen as too emotional, and he always treated me like a teenager.
Shame and blame was a daily occurance.
Later he refused to see or talk to me for 9 years because of a perceived wrong; of course he was the judge.
He always picked for me. I never had a choice or a say.
But even with all that dysfunction, he was always totally outspoken and honest about how he felt.
That sounds twisted I know. But my mother was a deceitful lying passive aggressive manipulater who would stab you in the back then lie about it. With Dad you always knew where you stood.
It was a crazy place to grow up. Neither of them saw the consequences of their abusive neglectful behavior on my bother and I. They were so wrapped up in controlling each other, we just grew up amidst it.


That was one great post again, and so many interesting comments, I managed to read the first 40 and could not help myself and post my own comment.

I had a father like that. He was the breadwinner in the household. My mother was the main abusive parent, my father would slap me and my brother, or insult us, whenever he was in sight. He did not do anything to stop my mother in verbally and emotionally abusing us. She would go hysterical if someone hit something, or made an abrupt noise… something like a bordeline thing… She identified herself, in my opinion, with me and my brother, as she herself had a low self-confidence, was sexually abused at the age of 6 and was a victim of domestic violence. My father was also a victim of domestic violence. They made such a nice couple. They never showed any sign of affection, my mother always talked against my father, was more interested in my peers, because they were healthy /my visual impairment went seriously on her nerve and had a terrible impact on her self-confidence/.

So I realised about 6 months ago, that all the abuse was not my fault, but a result of the abuse they went through. I still cannot figure out my father, as he does not talk a lot. In addition, I have moved to another country, just for the sake of maintaining a healthy distance, so that I avoid my mother’s degrading and devaluating comments, and the financial dependence on my father.

It was, I think, Patricia who mentioned the grieving process above. Yes, i have days when my demons chase me, and I give them time to chase me. There is no other way, than accepting that. There is at least one day a week that I experience that. Until 6 months ago, I was so eager to find out what was wrong with me, what made me so unlovable, I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in psychology, and I have read all sorts of self-help books. It was a great relief to find out that it was not me who was unlovable, but it was them who were not able to love me. It was the best thing that I have ever realized.

Then again, it is very difficult in sharing this experience with individuals who have not gone throught that sort of thing. Parents should be respected and honored. But did they respect and honor me? No, they didn’t. And why did not the one who was witnessing the abuse and the degrading behavior do anything about it? This very behavoir kind of, confirms, or passively provides approval for the abusive behavior. I keep asking myself, why did not anyone interfere, why everyone was so passive? This further strengthened the negative beliefs about myself, which made them so unquestionable for so long.

I greatly appreciate your work, Darlene. I think that stuff should be aired, no matter how uncomfortable it is for many. There are days and situations that remind us of that pain, and we always come back to it, whether we want it or not…


Hi Everyone,
I just published a new blog post! Its about when people who don’t really care about you, stalk you on facebook
here is the link: http://emergingfrombroken.com/when-people-use-facebook-to-spy-dear-stalkers/
Hope to see you there!
hugs, Darlene


This one makes me cry as I write which lets me know there is still healing hear to do. My dad was a very nice guy, he would do anything for anyone, which I was witness too, which just solidified my feelings that it must be me. I’m a lousy daughter and he wants nothing to do with me.

When I finally found out the truth (in my mid 40″s) that my dad didn’t want me and my mom pretty much forced me into his life, everything clicked for me. I was chasing a man who was trying to run away from me. That’s when I decided to let him go. I wrote him a letter and let him know I how felt and I said goodbye.

I still feel the humiliation of all the times I tried to have a relationship with him and all the while he kept the truth from me. I guess it’s pretty hard to say, Hey Lora, I didn’t really want you but I was forced to take care of you etc. I don’t think my parents will ever grasp the hurt they caused for me. I felt like I was punished for being born. I’m drawn to all this healing work because I need to know there is a god who does really love me for who I am. I am a truth seeker now because I know how much lies poison the soul.

Thanks for sharing Darlene, I guess this piece has quietly been sitting there waiting for me to acknowledge it.


Hi Lora
Your comments resonated deeply with me. It was slightly different for me, but the part about chasing a man who didn’t care and couldn’t be bothered was really a big part of my process. One day a few years ago (after telling my dad in every way I could think of telling him) I told my dad that being around him reminded me of how much he didn’t care about me and that he didn’t know anything about me and didn’t want to. He plays the victim to the max and that is his problem… it isn’t mine anymore. He missed out!
Thanks for sharing
love and hugs, Darlene


This reminds me of what Lora said about her dad. My mom always forcing my dad to “be a dad” when clearly he wasn’t dad material; he just wanted children because “that’s a woman’s job to do” and he wanted more money out of his taxes. My dad never wanted to do anything for us, it pissed him when he HAD to do something for us and was glad to leave when it was over!

Why is that so hard for people to grasp? You hear these same stories everyday yet my idiot ex therapist couldn’t seem to get it! My dad sit there all the time saying ‘I am a great dad, I don’t get why my kids reject me.’ Such a victim act! He doesn’t even know what I like, don’t like, my favorite color(s), and other crazy stuff I did as a kid. He wasn’t home, could never understand what part never understood with that. How can you be a great dad and you were never home nor know anything about your kids? Who cares about that your his seed, what does their lack of actions really say about them and their crappy parenting?!?

My dad still goes to the other woman in CA, apparently that’s his family or what he likes to call it “his obligations.” It’s funny, my mom says you can’t make someone love you or want to spend time with your children. Then, why did you make us “spend time with him,” knowing it’s always miserable and he always gotta monopolize everything to his degree? Why couldn’t mom be the one to be the better parent? My mom told me your sister is always trying to be hard and wants a dad in her life secretly.

Had to laugh at that one, told that to my sister who also laughed. She told me and mom that caring about it forever makes no sense, sure, as a child back then, your upset because your own parent doesn’t wanna be a parent to you and any child is gonna be upset. My sister said then you get over it and not even care, so why should I care now? My sister is almost 46 years old! 46 years old yet my mom says she still needs to care, the daughters need to care but not my brother!

So yea, chasing after a man who didn’t care is pointless. He leaves to go back to CA, why should I care? My sister just milked him for money when she was a kid and I milk him for money too and I am an adult but they don’t know I am working. That’s all my mom does is chase after men who don’t care which is why she has two dead beats her old boyfriend from high school and my dad her lousy husband! I still get the usual BS of ‘he’s still your dad,’ according to who? Science? DNA – yea, but physically, spiritually, financially, and emotionally? Nope.

My parents missed out, not my problem yet people always make it my problem. Gee, my parents never understand why we hate them to death! Take a good look why!


My god you described my father to a tee! I am gobsmacked at your knowledge of the dynamics of abuse Darlene, My father ‘worked very hard’. We rarely saw him, if he wasn’t working he was betting on the horses on a saturday and at snooker on a sunday. He never took the time to get to know my kids but then that doesn’t suprise me because i don’t know him and he doesn’t know me. When i tried to tell him about the abuse i endured by his brother in law and the neighbor it was completely dismissed, and i was accused of my behavior being bad??? I was 8?? I was 13 when the uncle took over from the neighbor. It tore me to pieces to be blamed like that. That is supposed to be my dad . Meanwhile my mother was covering it all up and screaming abuse at us if we tried to stand up for ourselves in any way. She was a lunatic, I can see that now, when i was a child i thought she was right. What made it worse was my fathers absenteeism, i tried to chase him by ringing him and coaxing him to get to know his grandkids all a waste of time. I have divorced the lot of them now and it feels good, he would never ring me EVER, Mum would always call and say that ‘dad says hi’. Money would be no object if i was stuck but emotionally closed was his middle name!


Hi Marie
It hurts to realize the truth about all of that, doesn’t it! My father was addicted to sports. He was home a lot but not really ‘there’ for me. He put on a great show for the world with his image, but one day I realized that he didn’t know me at all. He never asked about me, didn’t know anything about me or my life and didn’t want to as evidenced by the way he always cut me off when I tried to tell him something and changed the subject to something about him. I don’t miss being reminded of how much he didn’t care by the way our relationship was.
Thanks for sharing, hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene and Marie,

Yes the truth hurts. My truth is that, while once loving, my siblings don’t care all that much about me or know me anymore. It changed gradually over time when my father’s sexual abuse came to light, and then my mother wouldn’t stand by me. She stayed with him, I was furious with her, and then my brothers were loyal to her. This then rippled through to my precious nieces and nephews. I am heartbroken by how this ripped my family apart, and especially me. They are more of a unit – I’m the one on the outside. My sister also went through the sexual abuse, but my mother supported her from the beginning. My mother eventually supported me after decades of hardship for me and after all of the damage had been done by fracturing my family members away from me.

I am slowly coming to terms with this but it has been a bitter pill to accept and incorporate into my life. I need to find new people, and new family, people who care and love me, whom I can love and care about freely without fear.


My father loved me in his own way. He even said I was his favorite. I probably broke his heart. But he also was a sexual abuser. Not violent, but still violating. Your father is supposed to protect you, not look at you that way and think about using you for his own needs. It breaks the trust.


“He was home a lot but not really ‘there’ for me. He put on a great show for the world with his image, but one day I realized that he didn’t know me at all. He never asked about me, didn’t know anything about me or my life and didn’t want to as evidenced by the way he always cut me off when I tried to tell him something and changed the subject to something about him. I don’t miss being reminded of how much he didn’t care by the way our relationship was.”

Reminds me when I told other people and my idiot ex therapist ‘just because my mom was “physically sitting in the house on the couch glued to her useless news, she wasn’t “there” for me. So what, if she was in the house, did she spend time with me? No. Did we go out like mom and daughter/best friends? No. Was she attentive to my needs? No, only if she felt like it or had to put on a fake image for people, etc. How does a parent just being there in the flesh mean they are “physically, emotionally, and spiritually there for you?’ Silence. Then, ex therapist said ‘regardless, she is still the mom.’ WTF?!? Was that the best argument she could use against me?!

Ex therapist is a mom yet she couldn’t explain it herself and told her ‘doesn’t sound like a reasonable therapist who is suppose to know more than me but your words has more value over my own life experience – isn’t that something?’ Oh, she was hot when I said that! I told her and people ‘sorry, my parents were not “there” and “attentive” to us growing up. Is it really that hard to understand? Just because a person raises a child doesn’t mean they care. I always give the best examples to people ‘look at the foster parents – most of them the ones who are there for a check. Are they really raising the children? Yea, only because the State told them to raise them until they get 18. If you have zero emotional and physical connections to a child(ren), then you might as well be a stranger to the child(ren). It’s nothing but screaming matches with my mom mostly, it’s like screaming at strangers over stupid crap.’

Always told people ‘if you’re raising children, are there any kind of emotional and physical connection with them? It goes hand in hand; so what if two people made babies, what does that mean? Science says a man and a woman made children, but does science say if the individuals were ready to be parents?’ ohh, the silence I got from people! Ex therapist, she was done with me that day until 2 weeks later to come back lol. Oh, is it getting too truthful?

Honestly, we don’t know very much about our “parents” or “lack of a family on both sides.” There’s a lot of lies and secrets yet nobody wants to be honest, so why do we have to call them “family?” It’s funny, how people out there want to be so politically correct because they are blood related, how many times are they gonna using that lame argument? Proves they don’t have a real, valid argument to argue with me or any other survivor about.


what you said about your dad, reminds me of “mine.” He was never home, always with whores and still is. He made a lot of money, caused so many issues with his ex employer he almost got fired multiple times, and they finally retired him in 07 I know everybody there were glad! My mom kisses his *** all the time yet says she isn’t like that, everything he says goes – talk about ultimate betrayal don’t even listen to my side of the story there is two sides to a coin!

It hurts so bad to be blamed for something a child has no control over and isn’t the problem – ultimate betrayal. Money in this “circle” (didn’t say family) seems to the token always used against my siblings and I. What money? we haven’t seen a dime of anything large and where is it going anyway? My “parents” are always “broke” can’t be broke yet there’s money somewhere!


Something changed for me when I learned to love and value myself and my needs and when I validated deep in my heart that talking about the truth did not make ME a bad person.
Light ~ your motives were right and driven by love. I did a lot of ‘motive’ searching in my process.
When I look at the motives of my family asking me to stop talking, the truth about those motives is not based in love, respect, or any kind of truth.
When I ask myself “what are my motives for writing this blog?” my motives are about truth, love, freedom and wholeness for myself and for whoever else wants it. My motives are not to bring shame, to hurt anyone or to get revenge. I am not wrong to talk about my life and what happened to me and how I feel about it.
Hugs, Darlene


Sounds like you touched a hot button on your therapist. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


Lol! That woman was so freakin fussy! She did say if you ask me about my baggage, watch out. I knew her life wasn’t all that perfect like she claimed to be. I studied her nonverbal communication and told her I was, she kinda looked nervous. I guess she didn’t like how I was questioning a parents’ parenting skills/style and said a lot of them need to be questioned. The stuff she said I asked her what kind of parent are you? She didn’t like that! I told her if you’re saying my parents did us a favor yet you clearly said they were not nurturing at all and the home life is abusive; then you smack my folder saying they are still your parents regardless. Which is it? If they are still the parents regardless, then there should be nurturing, right?

Lol I got her in a bind and when I said you parents don’t seem to have a clue what parenting means she cut me off saying I am so offended and showed her a box of tissue saying don’t let me stop you! I said tell the truth, skip the therapeutic bs and speak the truth about people like my parents – you’re not gonna hurt my feelings!


Honestly, we don’t know very much about our “parents” or “lack of a family on both sides.” There’s a lot of lies and secrets yet nobody wants to be honest, so why do we have to call them “family?” It’s funny, how people out there want to be so politically correct because they are blood related, how many times are they gonna using that lame argument? Proves they don’t have a real, valid argument to argue with me or any other survivor about.

This describes 90% of the families I see. They are all “faking it.” I’ve only met ONE family that I felt was honest and everyone could be what they needed to be.


Agreed. I never heard my parents talking about the life experiences they had and learned from them (which was nothing), but they talk about things and have nothing to back up from. My dad’s way is to screw people over, which he has done in his previous jobs – and threaten them. He has no remorse about it either. My mom only worked a little bit here and there quit because he was messing around with another woman that he illegally married.

She talks about jobs like she’s had one all of her life, she is talking about how jobs worked in the 60s-70s and said different economy! She has zero work skills how can she speak about the dos and don’ts about a job when she don’t care to have one? She mooches off my dad’s income his social security and his assets from his ex employer.

So yea, when it comes to their childhoods, only heard very few things about it and the rest is silent! People have gotten mad at me because “I don’t know them,” hell, they don’t know us either!


Thank you Darlene, for your support and kind words. Some days I really hold onto words of support here as tight as I can! I’m glad you see my motives….I feel a lot of guilt over my anger and not always expressing it respectfully. It’s not right, but I think it is understandable. I have been pushed to the limit with years and years of silence, obfuscation, lies, “don’t want to talk about it”, denial, and outright support for the passive and active abusers…while I am being rejected. My family definitely doesn’t want to talk about it.

I don’t recall if I said this, and gave you my support, but I am so glad that your daughter has recovered. That sounds like such a relief and a scary experience to go through for you and your family.


”My father never “saw” me. He never tried to get to know me. He didn’t seem to hate me, he didn’t seem to resent me, he never called me names like stupid or ugly and he didn’t hit me, but the thing is that he didn’t really do the opposite of those things either. He never saw me as a person. He was emotionally unavailable. It is as though I didn’t have a father. ”

That paragraph sums up the father/daughter ”relationship” I had with an emotionally closed ”father” who was always ”busy”. Money was no object to him but sitting down and having a conversation was like trying to get blood from a stone! He never called me- the only time he did was when i was about to disclose the abuse from the uncle and Mother started to panic and forced him to call he to ‘arrange a nice day out together”, I am in my early 40s, this never happened before that… This year is the first year without any contact with ‘them’ , Last fathers day i purchased some aftershave for him which he told me smelt disgusting and he would not use it- i felt so hurt by his comments, regardless of whether he liked it or not, i would never say that to someone. It was expensive and i made the effort to be dismissed again by him. I feel empowered this year by breaking free from them and will save my money this year or treat myself to something nice.


It does really hurt girls that the people who are supposed to love you the most, hurt you the most- Its fathers day this sunday and the first one where i have broken contact with him. The sad thing is that the relief i am feeling with my so called ‘family’ out of my life is phenomenal. I always felt like a fake around them because we could never talk about the truth.


I never had a father! My mother left my father and divorced him before I was born. She then married three other men that were abusive physically, emotionally, and otherwise! She stayed married to my last step-father for 40 years and he was the one who passively abused me. He would only speak to me if I spoke first, but only some times; some times he didn’t speak at all. He never tried to get to know me or be there for me in any way.
He had his own daughter that he supported for 58 years. His daughter lived with him and my mother for 39 years of their 40 year marriage, before they both died.
It is so screwed up that I still can’t wrap my head around it!


My take is that your mother couldn’t get any better with a husband who was relatively detached emotionally. The best she could do was get divorced from the man who passively pulled her down. Did she get any better after the divorce?


My mother was different after the divorce, yes… but in many respects things got worse! She was happier I think but she ignored us way more; She had men over all the time, she took me to bars when I was underage where married men hit on me… I could go on but much of it is already written in the pages of this site.
Hugs, Darlene

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