Jun
08

Self Care and Nurturing ~ What is Your Self Talk Like?

By

Emotional Recovery

Poster by Judy Baxter

How do you talk to yourself? Are you loving and patient with yourself or are you the evil boss in your own life? Are you understanding and nurturing towards yourself or are you constantly nagging and reprimanding?

When you think about re-parenting yourself, do you think about the kind of parent that you would have loved to have or the most loving perfect parent that ever walked the earth and then BE that parent to yourself, or do you treat yourself the same “not good enough way” that you were treated somewhere along the line in the past?

What role do you play in your own life?

Paying attention to my “self talk” has been and continues to be a huge part of my process.  And self talk is sneaky; if I don’t stop the spin long enough to get quiet and LISTEN to what is going on “back there” in the depths of my own mind, I don’t even notice when I am being hard on myself.

I have been suffering from a little “burn out”.  I knew that I was working too hard and that I needed a vacation and I bargained with myself that I could take two weeks off but when I came home from my totally nurturing holiday and found that I still needed more time for myself I started to reprimand myself . I got impatient with myself. I told myself to shape up and get with it.  Read the following “self talk list” with the totally inappropriate and impatient voice infliction laced with a big dose of exasperation.

Myself to myself: “WHAT?? You need MORE time off? Jeeze.. What is wrong with you? What are you so tired all the time? You just had a vacation!” How much time off do you NEED?”

What the heck is in your way now?? Why do you always have to be ‘processing’ something? Why can’t you just be normal?

“When are you going to finish that book? I bet you are not EVER going to finish it. What the hell kind of ‘example’ are you being to your readers? Why don’t you just give this up?”  

“What?? You are hungry again!?”

“OH OKAY fine then take more time off… jeeze…frick… you just…. grrrrr”

This kind of self talk is not rooted in love. This kind of talk is invalidating. There is no acknowledgement in for how hard I work or how much I have accomplished these past few years and when I feel this way towards myself I DON’T acknowledge any of my progress because it isn’t enough anymore. This kind of self talk reinforces the exact same beliefs that I have worked so hard to overcome; the belief that whatever I do is “not enough” and “not good enough” and it invalidates my needs by actually questioning them and even questioning my right to have needs. This talk has its roots in the way that I was taught to consider myself and my needs and it still rears its ugly head when I am tired or not paying attention because that kind of treatment and self disregard was with me for so long. It isn’t my default mode anymore, but it was for so long that it still comes up.

This kind of self reprimanding and discounting self talk/self thought is not beneficial to the formation of freedom and wholeness and does not produce the desired results leading to self love and self care which are the path ways to self esteem recovery and emotional healing.

I still have to take a step back and listen to what is going on “back there”. Telling the voices to “shut up” is still abusive towards ME. I find it works much better if I listen closely to what is going on with me and find out what I am actually saying to myself. Then I can find out where it is coming from and usually it has its roots in the past. In this case I had decided that a two week break would be “long enough” and I was impatient with myself for needing more time to rejuvenate. The root of this however is found in my childhood history. The way that I was regarding myself had actually been taught to me. It was the same way that I had to accept being regarded as a child from teachers, adults, aunts and uncles. I learned to treat myself that way and unlearning it has been a huge task. Once in a while I still have to “cement” the new belief system I have been forming for the last 7 years by continuing to acknowledge and override the old belief system.

What is your self talk like? Do you speak to yourself with a loving attitude or do you constantly ask yourself for more, never measuring up to your own expectations? Where do those expectations come from? Do you regard yourself with patience, accepting yourself for where you are at, or do you reprimand yourself with thoughts filled with impatient frustration? Please share your thoughts on this healing journey.

The way you regard yourself is what you will communicate about the way you want to be regarded.

Darlene Ouimet

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Categories : Self Esteem

125 Comments

1

Hi Darlene,

Sometimes I talk to myself and call myself stupid and an idiot, if Im trying to do something.

I’ve learned over a long time (10 years!) to stop and say to myself,
wait, these words are not my voice or my words. I say, they are HER words said in HER angry tone.

I love your false definition of love statements, they are my mantras to myself, I say, thats not love thats a lie, real love is …… Thank you for the work you do, it is so appreciated. I would love to buy your book when its finished and i bet it will be so informative and helpful.

2

Welcome back, Darlene!

I can definitely relate to the negative self-talk. I catch myself putting myself down as some sort of ‘failure’ if the house is not perfect, or if my husband cooks us supper instead of me … then I hear my mother speaking about me to my sister (two rooms away as I laid sick in bed the other day):
“Back in the olden days REAL women NEVER would lay in bed when they were sick … they took care of THEIR husbands .. I feel sorry for her husband, having to deal with HER not doing HER job …” … It’s – as you said – a false definition of love. His love and appreciation for me are not contingent upon me getting my chores done while I’m sick with the flu. My wonderful husband takes care of me when I’m sick – rather than bad mouthing me and verbally beating me. THAT’S love.
and I realize … THAT’S where I’m getting such a negative view of myself. My husband and kids are SO happy with me … it’s the things I’ve been told about myself all my life (through words and actions – from various family members) that are messing with my head and causing such terrible feelings about myself! Your example is very reassuring … As always, thank you for sharing!
KR

3

Darlene,
I love this! I absolutely agree that telling those voices to just shut up are also abusive plus ignoring them leads to more self abuse. It’s when I stop and pay attention to those voices that I really get to the root and confront it. Listening to myself has been one of the most important keys to my healing. Thanks for a great post!
Hugs,
Christina

4

Hi Emma
Thanks for this comment! It is so cool to know that someone else uses those mantras!!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kera
Oh yes, I still have some of those leftovers too, again esp when I am tired or worn down. I don’t even know who told me “real women don’t” stuff, but it was there! I snuck naps when my kids were small, so afraid to get “caught” yikes! Such LIES! I believed that taking care of others at the cost of my own health was the only worthy way to be! It is so great to dispell all that false crap!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

5

I’m working hard on self talk at the moment. I’m trying to use affirmations and I’m giving it a proper go. I don’t enjoy doing them but I figured if it I was finding it so hard to say nice things about myself it was probably something worth doing

6

Hi Christina
I spent years trying to “silence the board room in my head” only to finally realize that telling them to shut up was actually postponing what my own mind was trying to tell me; I was telling all that useful information to shut up and invalidating clues!! it is so much better now!
Thakns for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

7

Hi Katy
I hear you on this one! I found that the affirmations were much more useful when I finally found out why they were so hard. They were hard because I didn’t believe them. My mind was discounting them right away. Looking at how my self esteem got so broken has been a major key in being able to easily believe those affirmations and nice things about me!
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

8

Thanks Darlene.

Its taking some time to give them a go – but I think it is worth it. Part of this months main affirmation is a commitment that “I love and approve of myself”. Something small, a message we all deserve to have, but something I have found my mind is struggling with. I want to fight to get that inner contentment we all deserve

9

Although I finally went no contact with my NM 2 years ago, she trained me so well that I sometimes find myself filling in for her and putting myself down. The longer I’m out of contact with her, the clearer things are for me. I’m becoming increasingly more aware of this tendency to be her accomplice or understudy in my own destruction so I can immediately correct myself and try to move on. It’s a long and often difficult process but it’s well worth it. Thanks Darlene.

10

Hi Marilyn
Welcome to EFB ~ yes exactly that is what happens; we fill in for them or take over where they left off. It is an undoing of a brainwashing process that we are in! Thank you for sharing your victories with this! It is worth it!!
Hugs, Darlene

11

Darlene, you’re on a roll! (You’re always on a roll. :) Changing your self-talk is probably the most important thing you can do for yourself. That’s always what I’m working on, or still all too often coming up against. It’s an uphill climb when you were attacked for being yourself as a child, but once you get over that hump, I think it’s largely downhill from there.

After I wrote that, I’m thinking that my negative self-talk is actually doing me a favor, if I listen to it with curiosity. It’s helping me to be more aware of how my parents treated me, and where all the false beliefs about myself came from. It wasn’t about me, and didn’t mean anything was wrong with me. My parents would have treated any child the way they treated me, and I wasn’t born treating myself badly. That was inflicted upon me, and I had to internalize it in order to survive.

“The way we were treated as small children is the way we treat ourselves the rest of our lives: with cruelty or with tenderness and protection.” ~Alice Miller

12

Darlene, The way you were talking to yourself is exactly,how I’ve pictured your mother talking to you. In the last year, I’ve really worked hard to try and silence that same negative mother’s voice in my head. That voice strips me of all self-confidence and whatever goes wrong, I blame myself and beat up on myself. I think I’m doing much better but then I’ve been feeling really tired all the time and needing to sleep about 14 hours every night. I blamed myself for not exercising enough and getting out of shape and gaining weight. It turns out that I’m sick and I didn’t get myself into the doctor when I needed to because I was too busy blaming myself to acknowledge the warning signals my body was giving me. No matter how I dieted or exercised, I would have gained weight because I have hypothyroid. It’s really important to get the critical inner voice to SHUT UP!

13

Welcome back Darlene! I think there is such a fine line between what we truly HAVE to do when we have jobs and families, and when we are being too hard on ourselves in an unloving type of way. Positive affirmations are powerful to motivate us to get up and go to work or clean the house or care for our children etc, but sometimes we are exhausted and don’t recognize it so we still are trying to do what we must so we start kicking ourselves to keep going. You are so right when you say that to stop and listen is key to discovering what is going on and where it all is coming from! I have had such profound changes happen in me and my life in the last few weeks and that is something I am loving! Listening to ME…and finding out how to “center” myself back if and when I begin to sense that something negative is going on. I also have has amazing talks with my husband and when he sometimes still treats me the “old”way, I can now tell because I begin to feel something negative creep in. I have stopped him and confronted him and I actually now use the words “you are not validating what I am feeling and saying right now”…and he stops and apologizes and we start over! It IS work, but after so many many years of my life feeling like crap, this is so loving and healthy and feels great and empowering! I have also completely quit using food to cope with emotions….I have begun to stop and listen to my feelings and allow myself to feel them and then sort them out. I have had a few times when I have spoken with someone and left with the old feelings that I said something “stupid”, so when I stopped and recognized that I felt like crap after talking to them, I asked myself why? And then realized that I did not say anything stupid….I can say whatever I want…just like that person can say whatever they want. If they didn’t understand me, then could I have phrased it differently, or was it THEM?…..so….it has been such an interesting and loving few weeks! I am not as self caring as I want to be, but I am growing in this every day, with each situation that I face…and that is wonderful! I think what is helping me at this time is my absolute belief that what happened to was NOT my fault and I have taken off running in this whole area of self care and nurturing. Maybe I am overboard right now, but I just don’t care….in fact , I took such care of everyone around me ….to the point of injuring myself, and hurting my health somewhat over the past years from too much stress from worry and anxiety, that I will NEVER EVER do that again. If my body hurts or I am exhausted, I don’t think twice about not picking up the house now. It isn’t filthy and it doesn’t need to be perfect either! If I am too tired to cook a big meal, I toss some ingredients into the pressure cooker and let it do the cooking for me! So…I am really getting into the nurturing thing! lol. The old voices are being replaced with new ones. If they creep back in, I will look back to these articles that you write to help all of us and get encouragement! Thank you so much Darlene…I have said it before, but I am so very grateful to you for this site and your words.

14

Timely to read this tonight, and the comments too. I’ve been berating myself for a number of things in just the past hour or two. Cheryl, your use of the word “curiosity” resonates with me. My therapist has often expressed the idea of being “curious” about what is happening with me, my thoughts etc. That means so much more to me than just being “interested”. Extending that curiosity to my inner critic seems helpful – rather than just ashamedly agreeing with it, or trying to drown it out, or running/hiding from it. As you said, Darlene, to listen closely to those voices. Gosh it is hard to intentionally do that, though. The stuff is so painful that I don’t want to stay with it, but even as I write this, I know it’s counterproductive to growth to try and avoid it.

The internet is a great way to avoid those voices, by the way. Maybe it would be good to sit still and listen to them for a few minutes? “Regard yourself with patience, accepting yourself for where you are at …” Easy to read, easy to write, much harder to truly internalize …

15

Darlene,
I agree with you on paying attention to my self-talk. It’s a big part of my process and I’m more mindful of the negative thoughts. I find that acknowledging those thoughts help me to turn them around. First, I say to myself, Is that True? & Do I believe that? when I automatically scold or criticize myself. Most of the time, it’s faulty/stinkin thinkin. My parents were hard on me, impatient & quick to criticize me & my behavior.

This article speaks to me tonight, because I did not have good contact with my parents & sister today. My dad was even keel but my mom & sister were yelling a lot at the kids for every little thing they did. I understand kids act out but I could swear my sister’s kids started acting out more, when my sister showed up at my parents’ house. It’s the Negative Attention they were getting from my sister frequently reprimanding them. I corrected my kids too, but I was not yelling at them harshly. My sister talks negatively to her kids by saying, “What’s your Problem!”, “I’m so sick of this!”, when her son’s face was dirty & he didn’t wash it, jokingly saying, things like, “these kids need a beating” & so on….This is hurtful & her son looks so dejected & distressed. I only made one little comment, “Okay now”, when she was yelling at her son. She reacted quickly by saying, “It’s unacceptable” for her son to not wash his face. Later on she said to me “I’m not a big bully” & “my son actually tells me that I can’t yell at him”… Well, I said, “who wants to be yelled at in a non-confrontational way. My sister says, “I can say whatever I want to my son”…I don’t agree with that & I did say, it’s about respect. She thought I meant her son needs to respect her! She needs to show respect.

All of her comments validate the fact that she is passing on what we were brainwashed to believe. She vacillates between being harsh & being very loving towards her kids?! Such Mixed Messages! She also brought up a case about DCF not doing their job, when there was obvious neglect & abuse going on with one of her students. Does she have blinders on or does she actually belief what she is saying?!…When I write this, verbal/psychological abuse comes to mind. This mistreatment is normal in my family! They don’t yell at my kids like that, while I’m there. I don’t leave them with my parents.

I’m upset & hurt for my nephew- he is seen as the problem child & now he is getting medicated with an antidepressant. He does have mental health problems, but I do wonder what part does my sister play in that?! I’m sorry for going off track but I’m sort of worked-up about the negative situation that played out in front of my kids. I never know how a visit will go. Too many family dynamics & stress. I want to stay away!…It’s sending my kids the Wrong Messages..and just as I’ve been trying to build nurturing relationships with my niece & nephew. I’m seriously considering walking away! I’m already NC with my brother, his Narc wife and children. After writing this, I’m still telling myself, my sister is not that bad- she’s just stressed…Well that may be true, but that doesn’t mean She can be a Bully!
Sorry for my long drawn out post…I’m mostly Venting Here, but I had a need to Spill my guts…..
Sonia

16

Well this was a dose of fresh air. I have been struggling with the “boardroom in my head” – for years….and never recognised what it was till now – and NEVER thought of my attempsts to silence the voices as being invalidating or even abusive in and of itself. Wow – I get it now! I finally get it. What I DO about it now is another matter – I have found self affirmations impossible – so I guess I need to dig deeper….. Thank you for the wake up call!

17

Hi Cheryl
Yes, I got to this point where I was saying “bring it on” to those voices! I had a lot of conversations with myself where I would say to me “oh ya? well what else do you have to say to me? What else is bugging you about me?” ~ I had huge breakthroughs doing that! None of us is born treating ourselves badly. Just knowing that was motivation for me to get to the bottom of it. Thanks for sharing and adding your voice here and LOVE the Alice Miller quote! I use that quote too!
Hugs, Darlene

18

Pam,
you said “it’s really important to get that critical inner voice to shut up” and I think the only way to do that is to listen to it and get to the roots of it. Like a bad weed ~ there was so much to it! Like I was saying to Cheryl, I had conversations with the voices in the back on my mind. I brought them out into the light where they started to scream with the pain of being exposed for the lies that they were. Even this time I am talking about in this article, it was when I finally sat down and listened to those voices that I realized I was full of self judgement again and like you shared, ignoring my needs because of it.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Diane!
Wow Diane! I love the stuff you are sharing and the breakthroughs and insights you are having! Love the conversations you are having with your husband too!
This is awesome! Thanks for sharing it with me and with us!
Hugs, Darlene

19

Hi “I garden too”
Good point about the word “curiosity” I had not thought about it that way, but YES different words work better for me too. It IS painful to listen to that stuff and realize where it originally came from ~ that is why we avoid doing it! We pretty much have to do it when we are kids and it is a really effective coping method then, but now it actually serves us to listen to ourselves. Our minds however still want to warn us not to go there as our minds are always trying to protect us from pain! round and round that goes.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

20

Hi Sonia
Yes, thanks for the reminder about asking (the self) if it is true or not. That is a major part of it for me too. None of my self judgements are actually true facts.
About your sister; (that isn’t off track at all) I think about this stuff all the time with my own kids. Sometimes in my head I hear myself wanting to say stuff like that to my kids! And I have processed that many times too (because that is the type of person I am) and I can see where my mother got this stuff from but the difference between me and her is that I refrained from SAYING it. I KNOW the damage it caused me and I decided to stop the cycle.
Thank you for sharing here, this is totally on track with the topic!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Libby
I wrote about this twice before where I talk in more detail about how I listened to myself etc. but I can’t remember where the posts are. If I find them I will post the links. It is funny but affirmations never worked for me either until I got the lies out ~ it was as though when I said an affirmation my mind slammed it and called me a liar so the affirmation was never effective. Now when I say to myself that I am a pretty fantastic person, I believe it! I know it and I own it.
Hugs, Darlene

21

D – welcome back ! So glad u had some time off. I knew you needed it. I gave up on trying to silence the voices. Instead I just try to affirm the truth. I know you won’t mention it here because of not wanting to bring faith into this but Satan almost always hits us after we have had a break. We have let our guard down some. Now you are back on the front lines so to speak. See as soon as you came back Satan bombards you with lies from your past. Not surprising at all. That is one of his favorite tactics to use the past against us. It’s like he has a tape of those messages from our past and just hits the play button when he thinks we are vulnerable. Appreciate you and all you do. Please pray for darlene those of you who do pray. She is doing an extraordinary work here that is so very needed and so needs to be heard and absorbed by so many. God bless you Darlene ! Thanks so much for all you do for us. !! You are an awesome woman of God and we love you dearly !!!

Dave

22

Darlene,
I agree with you & admit, that sometimes in my head, I hear myself wanting to say negative things to my kids. It’s usually when I’m stressed or triggered by something. I usually refrain though. I’m so aware of the damage it caused me & it is not acceptable. I’m stopping the cycle by talking not yelling at my kids & apologizing for mistakes. It’s about taking accountability for behavior & also looking at those self judgements.

Recently, I made a comment about my son looking like an actor on tv & he was insulted & very hurt. I got carried away laughing & he said that is not a compliment & walked away in tears. I felt so bad & guilty for hurting his feelings. I made a mistake & it was not meant to inflict harm or to be malicious. I quickly apologized for my behavior & made up for it by taking him for ice cream, which he loves. We got to spend a good time together.

Before I apologized, I found my thoughts went automatically to self judgement about me being a bad mom. I noticed & turned it around by saying to myself, “Is that really true”…No it isn’t & I make mistakes. I don’t remember my mom apologizing for any of her bad behavior…That is a noticeable difference between her & me.

About affirmations, I have some but like you said, I definitely feel they don’t work, if I don’t believe them. I say positive things about myself & I’m believing it! They are truthful & validating thoughts about my qualities & abilities as an individual.

Hugs,
Sonia

23

Darlene ~

I still struggle with this, and there are times when I am beating myself up and my old name comes up with it (interesting, don’t you think?!) … and then I tell myself, ‘But I’m not her anymore, my name is Risé and that’s not who I am.’ And those negative comments surface most when I feel stressed and stretched. I beat myself up when I can’t do it all and its really unfair to myself as I certainly don’t expect it from anyone else … but I do know it comes from trying to win the affections of an abusive mother when I’d try to not only do everything, but do it perfectly … which was never enough which meant, ‘no love for you.’

I have decided to start talking to myself as a new person, not the old one I was painted to be by my mother and siblings. It’s going to take some serious work – I will get going doing it and then life gets kicked up a notch and the ugly accusations creep back in. I love how you shared about parenting yourself – this, at first, was a real challenge for me – I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. It took awhile for me to even really know what that meant – and once figured out, it really is the best gift one can give oneself. I have to treat myself the way I have gone to great lengths to treat my family – with respect, without hounding and degrading and … well, you get the gist. I find I have to always be consciously aware of doing this which can be a real challenge when one gets busy and overwhelmed.

(Note: And when I do well or feel good about myself, I think of myself as Risé … I’m telling you, the name change did wonders for me – not to say its for everyone, but it was a healing move for me.)

24

Dave ~ post 21 … I believe that too.

Sonia – post 22 – that is what I do too, ‘affirmations don’t work unless I actually believe them.’ … I too apologize to my kids – something my mother never did either.

25

Welcome back Darlene!!
I also find the negative self talk to be a large block. I berate myself and never realized that I was just taking over where my parents left off. I still don’t believe my positive affirmations but think the curiousity factor would help. Like why do you think that?
I can’t praise myself for anything yet, but could definately question those bad voices. I used to tell myself “you are not a person” but since EFB I dont do that anymore. It never occured to me that it wasn’t true. It was drummed into me. I always have tried to fake being normal around others so as not to be shunned. I always assumed I would be disliked on sight because I wasn’t normal so if I could pretend to be like others I would be marginally accepted. How sick is that. Sorry to get off topic. My voices reflect what I was taught about myself and that is that I can never measure up. – Karen

26

Rise – thx again for affirming me in what i know to be true. Every time you affirm me you validate me and you help me know that i am not alone in this and you are with me every step of the way. You have been a god send to me. You are a wonderful, caring, loving, supportive and beautiful woman of God ! I am so glad that the Lord created you !! I am so happy to have you in my life ! I am so thankful for you and your willingness to share with me and others.

The challenge with the self talk that i find is that while i am working thru the deep pain, the self talk and the affirmations are not taking root or getting deep enough yet. My foundation is still pain/hurt/lies/brokenness. Neil Anderson describes it as coffee grinds (the bad stuff) – eventually you can get all the stains from the coffee grinds removed by washing it repeatedly over and over with the water (the truth). the water is the truth. the grinds are the bad stuff. eventually the truth will take root. there may be some aroma from the coffee stains still left over but the stains are really gone. Not only do we need to tell ourselves the truth and tell each other the truth, we need to hear it outloud. I have listened to some of Neil andersons books on CD – in which he does exactly what is described here – he uses the truth to root out the lies from our past.

Jesus said it best – “you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” – i think he also said that we are to desire truth “in the innermost parts of our being.” – to me that means the deepest part of us – our soul, our spirit – truth right down to the core.

the more we work on rooting out the lies and the feelings that go with those lies, the more we will heal and become whole and become who jesus intended for us to be when we were created. We will get there one step at a time by helping, supporting and encouraging each other ! thank you all for your support and prayers and encouragement !

love,

Dave

27

It does seem true that self-care and nurturing is strongly linked to how we talk to ourselves! Last night, I was on the phone with a close friend who had called me, and from the beginning of the call it hadnt felt totally right to me. Like we werent quite on the same page. She said everything was great with her and her life, but the jokes she made didnt seem funny to me, and the comments she made seemed insensitive. We have known each other a long time, so I wasnt sure what was going on, but she insisted that she was happy. We live in different states now, so our phone calls are a treat. Usually. I couldnt wait to tell her how I have had this amazing break through in my life, but as soon as I began, her daughter and her little friends popped into the room and were so loud that I could barely hear my friend anymore. She tried to hush them and get them to go into another room, but that didnt happen. She apologized to me and continued interrupting and then getting back with me. I asked her if we should continue our conversation another day, but she insisted that she was listening and wanted to hear what I was saying…so I continued, feeling more and more frustrated and the “old feelings” were creeping back in. I finally had enough and told her that I needed to go and so we hung up. I felt like crap. The way I usually have felt when I dont feel understood, or brushed off, or unimportant, or ignored, or being humored, or that my life isnt as important to anyone else as theirs is. YUK! I sat there for a few minutes trying to make sense of how I felt and the entire situation. I felt hurt! As I sorted through my feelings, and was talking to myself about the entire phone call, I realized that nothing could take away from me what was REAL and TRUTH in my life now. On one hand, it wasnt very nice of her to brush me off, and I was suspecting that in some way she didnt want to hear how well I am doing…and maybe her life wasnt as happy as she was telling me. On the other hand, I realized that it didnt matter how she treated me or what she didnt say to affirm or validate what I had confided to her. That used to be vitally important to me, but now I dont feel that I need that. It is inside of me now to be able to love myself…to validate myself..and I do believe that whatever I say or feel is just as important as anyone else. It really is the truth about me and my life now. I was able to quickly shake off the bad feelings and center myself again and realize that my friend didnt mean to disrespect me or invalidate me…the timing was just off on this connection. And the truth also is that maybe she wasnt happy to hear how well I was doing this time around. I dont know for sure. But even that doesnt matter. Before I would never have been able to shake the feelings for days! Being able to nurture my self and do the self care with my own self talk is a whole new experience for me. I hope this encourages someone here. I know it is different for everyone and each person grows and changes and discovers things for healing at different times. My journey has been almost 30 years since I first decided to try to heal and change my family dynamic. I didnt ever want to stay stuck! I desperately wanted out of the nightmare of my life. I also didnt want my children to grow up the same way I had AT ALL. I think what really helped me to suddently “get” this for myself is that my “mom” isnt my biological mother. I never bonded in the slightest with “mom” and I always knew she wasnt my real mother. I wasnt a part of her and she wasnt a part of me. She was always the woman that my dad had married and who had legally adopted me and my older brother and who was cruel. I cant even begin to imagine what children go through when it is their own bio mother who hurts and harms them. It has to be that much harder to find healing and have it “gel”.

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Hi Dave,
Just to clarify, it is not that I don’t want to bring faith into this, it is that too many people have been spiritually abused and will not stay on a site that goes on about all that stuff because of all the baggage that goes with it. I believe that God encouraged me to leave all of it aside while I healed. I had so much spiritual abuse to sort out so that I could hear the true voice of God and not the man made misuse of power and control in the church and everywhere else that I had been under for so long. If it was this hard for me, then I believe others feel the same way so that is why I don’t bring it here. When you wrote “satan bombards you will lies from the past” I cringed ~ I heard so much of that stuff used on me as manipulation and control and reprimand etc. I would far rather simply teach the truth and let others decide about the faith part for themselves. (In my opinion I teach the same exact message of Christ anyway; equal value, truth and love. I live it and I have found that is the best way to inspire others.) I am not against any of these conversations but wanted to clarify my own position on this.
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Sonia
Yes exactly and it is really hard because we grow up with this sort of idea that “one day I will be the top dog” because we learn that the top dog is the one who is validated. The top dog is “loved” and has “value” ~ the one with the most power wins, so we mistakenly believe that being on top will finally get us the love we so crave. I see this all the time with parents who are so hurt by their own parents but they treat thier kids in similar ways to the ways they were treated anyway. My mother did much better than her mother but she still abused me and devalued me. Her “better” didn’t make anything right but in her mind it did. I could see that she believed it was “her turn” by the things she would say to justify her behaviour, particularly when she said “no matter how mean my mother was I still loved her”… yikes… isn’t that sad. She was telling me that I had to love her no matter what… because that was the message she grew up with. I stopped that cycle and so did you!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Rise
Yes, I had to fiugre out what was missing (from the way I was parented) and fill in those blanks for myself. It is hard and it takes work. Treating myself like a new person was all part of the process for me. I stopped believing that I deserved that treatment I had grown so used to. I stopped being defined by it and re-defined myself. I am not who they said I was. And this truth had to be cememnted in and is still being reinforced by me and within me; that is the process. Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Karen
It was big for me to realize I had taken over where others had left off. Asking myself clarifying questions helped a ton!
Everything you shared here today makes sense. That is exactly what happens and it isn’t that it is sick as much as it is such a huge part of the brainwashing you were under. You had no choice. I did ‘fake normal’ for years too. Today I am back to the original! That was a goal that I didn’t think could ever be achieved. I measure up just fine and so do you!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Diane
My friends noticed changes in me. For some of them these changes were uncomfortable. They wanted me and our relationship to stay the way it was. Some of these friendships continued and some didn’t and that is okay. And you are right, you are just as important as everyone and that is the truth now!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Darlene

My self talk still sounds so much like what I heard as a child. .i am always “beating myself up” for not doing things right for being so slow for not learning fast enough and when i think about it ..am simply echoing another version of what I heard as a child. I try to practice things I have learned like trying to replace with positive thoughts or telling myself to stop it when its happening but its so much in me its hard not to believe myself when i am putting myself down and its more hard to believe when i tell myself something good that’s true.

Thank you for posting this topic since i am really just at the beginnig of trying to change the way I talk to me.. i need to go back to square one. . and start positive thoughts lessons all over.

<3

Joy

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Hi Joy
It takes time but just the fact that you KNOW this, that you have realized that your self talk is what you heard as a child, is huge! When we have been conditioned for years and years since childhood, slow doesn’t factor in! This is a huge thing to undo! It is like reprograming and rewireing YEARS and YEARS worth of beliefs that we really believed! It is no small task that we are undertaking here!
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Everyone!

Great timing for this post…. but, I think they always are. I have slid backward in this part of the process. I needed this reminder.

Now that I won’t likely hear from mother for a while, I feel like I have a nice open area ahead that won’t be obstructed by the confusion of her lies, mixed messages, sweet nothings, invalidations, and denial. My sisters are largely out of the picture too. No REAL voices to listen to. Only my inner voice. The perfect time to work really hard at reconstructing my internal dialog.

Just recently, I had a memory surface that I hadn’t thought of in a long time. When I was around 8 years old, I was home alone with my two older sisters. When my mom left, they started saying no one loves me. I don’t think at their age, they had intended to cause a permanent scar. I’m not sure it did, but I have thought about it often lately. I imagine that since I was the youngest, I regarded them as older and wiser and most likely, they knew what they were talking about. I defended myself tearfully saying, “it’s not true, SOMEone loves me”. If I said it was my mom, they would shoot it down. If I said it was anyone, they shot it down. I believed them, and it was painful. The part about it that’s painful now is, it’s true. They were right.

Recently, my oldest sister, whom I’ve been closest to for several years, said in her mind, all we have is each other. Well, she has three kids, so that’s not true. But, aside from that, I wanted to laugh a little. She had me, but, I never had her. She said she’d cried a lake of tears just from missing me since she moved almost a year ago. But, I rarely heard from her. That makes no sense to me. Anyhow, I have thought to myself I bet she did miss me. I was very good to her. I supported her every move, whether I agreed with it or not. I was fiercely loyal to her. I kept every secret and never told a soul. I gave to her fairly generously. I occasionally sent her things in the mail… love in action. I loved her unconditionally. I respected her everything. I confided in her ~ everything. I trusted her completely. I valued her judgment and opinions.

I began to have bad dreams about her shortly after she moved away. Dreams that were unsettling and heartbreaking. I couldn’t believe she wasn’t everything for me, that I was for her. Yet, it was beginning to look like it was so. I was so loyal to her, and the lack of reciprocal loyalty was starting to peek out from beneath a facade. It broke my heart.

My point in all this is, I don’t doubt I was good to her. Was I EVER that good to me? Was I a loyal supporter of myself? Do I ever respect myself as much as I respect others (her)? Am I gentle with ME?? Are my words to myself even close to words of consolation and validation I use with other people? The answer to all those questions is NO! That must change and I know the effort will be worth it, but, grueling to stay on top of it.

One of my mother’s favorite things since as far back as I can remember, was that I’m lazy. A result of that is that I spend my work time running circles around everyone else. I completely exhaust myself at work. I believe in putting in a good hard days work, but, I generally take it a few steps further. In my mind, I’m expecting myself to do the impossible. To be in more than one place at a time, and to never make a mistake. I am still trying to prove I’m not lazy, and if I have a great workday, everything is done to my satisfaction, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I’ve proven I am worthy. This mindset really takes a toll on me eventually. Being stressed and getting burned out is a trademark of this kind of self expectation. It’s another way the words of my mother are branded into my mind. It amazes me that the words and messages extend so far into nearly every thought and action of daily life.

My lesson for today, in reading this valuable post and all the comments, is I must do the work to become my own loyal and loving best friend and supporter. I have the opportunity to speak my value to myself and turn around the lies that have been embedded into my brain. Nearly every nasty thing my mother said to me, was a result of her projecting her own shortcomings. I have to continue to keep that at the forefront and realize that truth. I wouldn’t say my mother is lazy, but she is very much a princess and she’s always had a good excuse to avoid “labor”. When family would move, she would always be the one unpacking/packing the light stuff. She was always far too fragile to lift a box. It was just known among my whole family. No one questioned it. I know that’s where her implications of me being lazy came from. If/when I did work my butt off, it was never enough and she would delight in piling on more.

Well, enough rambling. I know what I have to do. Remembering to be diligent in doing it will be the tough part for me. But, I know if I want results, I must be up for the challenge!!
Here’s to happy and validating self talk… for everyone!!
With hope,
Mimi

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Mimi…hi! It sounds like your sister became so used to your generous nature in giving and defending and protecting and loving on her that she ended up taking you for granted and felt entitled to it. It also seemed that she behaves a bit like your mother….with you around,she is “a princess”. I used to have a similar dynamic with my younger brothers…they took and took and took and for some reason I kept giving for years. I was older and the only girl, so I guess I didnt think too much about it. I finally “woke up” and realized that they treated me very much the same way as the parents….devalued me and expected something for nothing. Of course they missed me when it was too late!
I also found it interesting that you were called “lazy” and have been brainwashed to believe it…so that you work harder to meet your mother’s expectations and do everything FOR her. So that she could be the delicate flower in the family. What comes to my mind is how damaged her self esteem must be to behave like that! I was never called lazy except by my mother-in-law ….and I always believed there was an element of jealousy there….you know, the mother who cant quite let go of her little boy to another woman because noone would ever be good enough for HER son. lol. It is so great that you are really able to SEE what is going on in your family dynamics instead of still spinning around in confusion! I wish you the very best in discovering how wonderful YOU are and how to become your biggest advocate in life….and especially I wish for you the ability to permanantly destroy all of those horrible lies and old patterns of believing!
It is sometimes hard to remember to validate and be kind as much as we truly need to be! I am on my journey doing that, and it is as much of a journey to remember to slow down and not rush long enough to pamper myself a bit more here and there. Old habits of doing everything for others to gain approval are not easy to break…but taking the time to question WHY I am doing for others is helping. If there isnt any other reason than I want to because I love them and I want to be helpful, it is good! If I begin to think I am trying to win or gain favor or approval, then I am learning to stop in my tracks and question myself. To be honest, I really havent had any time yet where I have been trying to gain approval! That is weird! lol. So…here is to hope for you and best wishes! Diane

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Hi Diane I can sure relate. Whenever I speak to my brother on the phone, never matters when or what day,
he allows anything and everything to interrupt us. To the point of having a conversation with someone else there in the room while I am speaking. I have come to realize that it isn’t “just a bad time to call” but that I
have nothing to say that he wants to hear. He is the golden child. He can do no wrong. He is self centered and like other members of my family only contacts me when he needs something from me. I have lived with this situation for years. I am now seeing it for the abuse that it is. I have put some space between us now.
I look at him a bit differently now. It is a difficult situation to change as he sees me as he was taught to see me as a damaged drama queen. Every phone call BEGINS with …well I don’t call because you are so hard to reach, blah blah blah… He sets the tone immediately to put me on the defensive, so that I begin to apologize for my shortcomings. I already feel less than at the beginning of the conversation. By the end of the call, between the distractions and the fact that I have been TOLD by him and my mother to edit my conversation about my hobbies (they are not interested) I am feeling angry and belittled. I already went NC two months ago with my abusive mother and now I am on the fence with my brother.
Boy I am so tired of my family treating me like they do. At this point its their loss as I’m not taking it anymore. Thanks for listening!!

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I think my mom has taken for granted that I’ll be there for her & family like I’ve been for most of my life. However, her rejection & withdrawal of not being there for me has been so painful over the years. When I realized she wasn’t going to be the mom I needed, I had a hard time accepting that truth. I continued to expect her to be the mom I so needed. Well, I was told by someone I had unrealistic expectations & I was puzzled by that. What is so unrealistic to need your mom after child birth to help with baby care, talking to her about problems & basically looking to her for some support. Isn’t that what mother’s do? I wasn’t asking for much, when I asked if she could come by 1-2x week to help me with her granddtr, since my husband was working at night or just come to visit me.

I stopped inviting her over, after she bad mouthed my house, while I made a good dinner for her & my father. When she left, I was so hurt by her nastiness. There was no need to be rude to me, especially when she is a guest in my house. That was years ago, but I still remember her negativity. Recently, she & my dad were invited to my new house for dinner. I was feeling very anxious about my house & then listened to my self talk, which was reprimanding me about the house & saying my mom is going to look at this & that and have something bad to say. However, this time I turned my thinking around. I said to myself, This is my house & I will take care of it my way not her way. She is too fussy anyway. I vacuumed, picked up, cleaned the counters & dishes. Also, my kitchen is not newly painted, so I started to think about how that looks. Well, I just hadn’t gotten to it yet & that’s ok. It’s not a big deal to me.

When my mom came over this time, she was quiet and did not criticize. Wow that was a change! What I found even more strange, is she did not compliment anything in my house, except my big back yard. Well I was not crushed, since I did not expect her to compliment anything. I realized how sad that my own mother can’t say something nice about my new house. She wasn’t even being polite. She did bring up the fact I hadn’t painted my kitchen though. Of course she would. I told her very matter a factly, that I hadn’t gotten to it yet & I have a color picked out. I continue to limit my contact & rarely have my parents over now, since it’s not fun. I realize it’s about my mom’s projected feelings & thoughts, that I’m lazy & not a good housekeeper, however, that is wrong! I don’t measure my worth by how clean the house is. If the basics are done & things are picked-up, I’m satisfied!
Thanks for listening to my venting!…It helps to get it out!!
Sonia

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Karen…I feel so much for you! I can totally relate about the “brother” issues! I have three brothers…my older one was treated worse than a dog, and the two younger brothers were by my father’s second wife…and they were also “trained” to treat me similar to the parents way of treating me. Her oldest son was the golden child…in fact, that is what we (siblings) actually called him! So, I can understand your family dynamic about your brother.
That familiar line about why he doesnt call you is simply an excuse so that you are brainwashed into believing that it is YOUR fault that he is unable to pick up the phone and dial the numbers to reach you…it is like a tennis game…he hits the ball constantly back into your court to make you responsible for him…and it completely lets him off the hook. In his mind!
I went nearly all of my life trying to reach out and excuse and forgive my younger brothers. I figured I was being mature or that they are guys, and guys dont reach out much, or that they would one day grow up emotionally enough and we would be closer….etc etc… it never happened into our FOURTIES! I rarely received “thank yous” for gifts, and it was more common to hear one of the brothers especially complaining about his gifts! They werent “materialistic” as they believed that I was in their minds…although, in reality , they were actually MORE materialistic about the “things” that they wanted….they had to have them a certain way with a certain look! lol. Anyway, the phone calls were definitely like walking on eggshells and they were never satisfying. It was always about THEM. Clearly they believed that their lives were much more important than mine. I have been NC for the last year and it has been a relief to not deal with them. I dont enjoy saying that and I dont enjoy that I reached that point of cutting them off. However, I am relieved to not take that treatment any longer. They were never going to change because they are so emeshed in their relationships with my parents. They feed off of each other, and I do believe now that this is what is best for everyone. They want to keep on in the old ways of relating. They love the special treatment that they get from the parents. They also love to feel superior to me, and I was sick of that.
I can understand your anger and feeling belittled. It is so painful to love your family members and be devalued like that on a regular basis, and to see that they might actually not be willing to change in order to have a healthier way of relating to you! I am so sorry that you are going through all of that!I am so sorry for all of the abuse and neglect! Sending you comfort and hugs today! Diane

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Sonia, Hi! It sounds like you have grown so much in leaps and bounds over the years! I am so impressed with how you stood your ground with your mother and you were able to see through her this time around to what her issues are …and that they are HER issues and not even about you or the way your house looks. It is all in HER mind and that SHE projects onto you! I feel like congratulation you! Congratulations! :)
I cant relate about the “motherly” type of things with wanting a mother to care for the kids…my relationship was totally different and I never thought to even ask my parents to babysit…which now seems odd to think about. I was so used to being neglected that I never expected anything! I can relate about the total nervousness to have the parents come over to my house, though! I was always sick with anxiety! I couldnt measure up no matter what I did or didnt do, so I constantly felt pressure when and if they ever came over. My family was very much about appearences and everything looking perfect …and being of high quality…which meant expensive. I didnt marry a rich guy, and had grown to not care about that lifestyle since it never was “homey” or comfortable or relaxed. It was stiff and formal and part of my nightmare! UGH! So, of course my house was smaller, cheaper, lacking many things and updates ( which I never cared about unless someone was coming over!) etc…so it was always anxiety anxiety anxiety. I had to literally shove down the feelings everytime they would come over. My dad would never sit on my furniture…would always pace the small room! It was so uncomfortable! So…I do understand that part of how you have felt to have them over…it is like the critical , judging eyes are trying to spot out every little supposed “flaw”. I LOVE how you were able to relax and do the self talk and realize that your WORTH is NOT tied up into how well you clean or what you have done or anything at all about you or your house…it is truly all about HER! You sound like you have gotten free in a huge way! Yay! Diane

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Diane,
Thank you so much for sharing your perspective and being a comforting and positive life force!! I really appreciate it. I’m surprised, although I don’t know why, to read that there are sibling dynamics out there that mimic my own. My sister was really good to me in that she would always listen intently without judging, offer helpful advice, etc. I don’t want to discredit her for that. She was the only one by my side last year during painful events in my marriage. Things have changed since then though. I’ve seen a side of her I didn’t know existed. That’s been the painful part. I still view her as a caring and comforting person…. there’s just another facet to add to it. Maybe my view is altogether wrong. Maybe that caring and comforting side of her was a facade. I suppose I’ll know that for sure someday. Incidentally, she is the golden child.

Karen,
It seems like we’re following about the same timeline. Although I never announced to mother dear that I was going NC, I’ve been ruminating about it for six months or more. I held her accountable a few months back for lying. She ignored it for quite some time and took up expressing her love for me here and there, in the form of texts, cards, etc. She was then invited to my sister’s house several hundred miles away, and three days later, she addressed my accusations of her lying by denying and trying to manipulate things. All the love letters and cards, etc, have stopped as predicted. I just sent a followup letter a few days ago that continued to hold her accountable so she would know I didn’t forget. I haven’t heard from her and that was my intention. So, although I didn’t tell her I want nothing more to do with her, I did strongly hold her accountable and she gets VERY bristled up when someone does that. Because she follows along very closely with the clinical definition of NPD, I’m hoping she doesn’t fail me now!! If she continues in the classic NPD path, she will walk away altogether, (from what I’ve read). I sort of planned it this way so she couldn’t slam me with any guilt. Now, it’s just a waiting game. She won’t apologize, or admit wrongdoing, so I don’t expect that at all. I expect her to pull out altogether and forget I’m her daughter. Seems that’s happened to a lot of people here when they stand up to their dysfunctional parents. So, I know there’s hope for me!! Haha! I don’t mean to make light of any pain that anyone is having regarding their parents’ withdrawal. I know it’s horribly painful. I’m just at that point where I don’t miss my mother and I don’t miss her deceit, lies, manipulation, tears, triangulation, drama, anger, denial, envy, etc. I feel a little guilty admitting that, but truthfully, I don’t miss her at all. EVERYthing is a game to her. I’m burned out on her games. For the first time in my life, I don’t care who I “seem” to be alienating. I don’t care what “they” are saying about me. I am taking care of ME and if they don’t think that’s fair, then they need help themselves.

I don’t know where my life is headed with respect to mother and my sisters. A very very tough lesson for me has been to live in the moment. I can create so much future junk in my mind that it literally takes over. I am making progress there and I don’t want to backslide. I would be obsessing over what “might” happen ~ where my relationships might end up. Now, I put a lot of effort into not going there. No one else is worried about what might become of our relationships. Why should I give my time and mind space to that? Besides that, it absolutely serves no purpose but to keep me stirred up. There’s no benefit, only harm. Wow, I think I just typed this to convince myself as much as anyone else!! :)

Thanks for listening. I’ve had a lot to say today!!
Love to everyone,
Mimi

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SMD,
Yet again, we share a similar experience/attribute. I mentioned on here somewhere else, and not that long ago, how uncomfortable it’s always been for me to have people over. Not just my family. I get very uncomfortable at the thought of anyone coming in my house. I know it’s for the same reasons you have with your mother. My family coming was always the MOST uncomfortable, but literally it extended to everyone. Every single thing had to be spotless and in it’s place. I would wear myself out preparing for family to come. And, even though the house would be nearly perfect, I would be so uncomfortable with them here. I would spend the time together looking around and seeing something I missed, or how bad something looked (like your unpainted kitchen). I made excuses for things and did it subconsiously.

I have a couple of friends who love having parties. Things like Lia Sophia jewelry, scentsy, pampered chef, that kind of thing. When I get invitations to them, it never fails, I think to myself, “how can they do this? ~ have so many friends over so frequently and be comfortable with it? I could NEVER have one of those parties.”

Finally, I started to really dig in and ask myself what the hangup was with having people in my house. It all came down to one thing…. being accepted as dictated to me by mother. Meeting the expectations of others was nearly impossible. I have to work at letting that hangup go. I still don’t have people over except for my husband’s kids. I’m working on letting that part of my “training” go. Maybe someday I’ll even have a party!! I shudder to think of that today though!
Love to you,
Mimi

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I’m a new reader to EFB. I grew up with a highly supportive, independent single mother. But then I married an insecure, controlling man. I don’t think it was obvious he was that way when we met 15 years ago…but choices and event in life seem to have magnified these qualities in him. During those same events, I made the choice to honor my vows and stand beside him, trying with all my might to not ‘let’ him diminish, devalue and control me. But that’s like standing in a storm and trying not to get wet. I’m not sure I realized how much I had compromised the self confidence I once had. I had always been a little hard on myself, claiming to be a perfectionist who got better. So it was that the verbal abuse reinforced harsh, accusitory, never good-enough self talk. Our last argument highlighted exactly how self-serving and unloving he has become. Suddenly this thought stood up in my brain and screamed: I love myself enough not to expose myself to this anymore! So I’m in the process of removing myself from the situation. I have been very encouraged by the honest, humble and thought provoking entries and responses on this site and am so thankful to have stumbled on to it at such a confusing time of transition. I look forward to the day where I can write about the next stage in my journey, of recovering from the last 12 years.

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Hi J.!
Welcome to EFB. I love how that thought stood up in your brain! That is awesome! I am so glad you are here!

(just for your own consideration, there are two other people who comment on this site using the initial “J”. You might want to add anohter initial to your screen name in order to avoid confusion)

Hugs, Darlene

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~I think Sonia hit the nail on the head when she said that you think your mother just “takes if for granted” that you will always be there for her. Isn’t that the false def. of love we have all learned. In the sick dysfunctional world, unconditional love means that you can do whatever you want and I will take it. I don’t think my mother ever considered that I would finally draw the line either.
My mom picked on my house from the start. She hated this charming but very old farmhouse. I found out that they even had a bet on how long my marriage would last because I was raised with “the finer things” and my husband was a “farmer”. They gave me 5 years to put up with this lifestyle. It was so hurtful when she told me about that bet; it was such a false judgement about me. But today I realize it was really about her. And I also realize that nothing would have EVER been good enough for her because if I ever achieved “good enough” she would have to stop making me try harder. And if she stopped picking on me then maybe I would have gotten clear long enough to see what a mean and unloving person she is.
Thanks for sharing (everyone) in this conversation about the house stuff. Its a great topic in relation to self talk and where it comes from.
Hugs, Darlene

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I find it so interesting that when you discover where the brokeness comes from , the lies you believed truly begin to unravel as you think more and more about isolated situations and experiences! This issue with the houses and expectations and judgemental attitides from parents is one example that it seems so many of us can relate to! I hadnt thought about it until today….but I can see the “lies” and how it goes back to what I was trained to believe, and it makes me feel somewhat disgusted! I was raised that “things” were more important than people…and self worth is based on what you aquire and the quality and quantity and largeness of what you own. I was never “ambitious” in that way because of how hurting I was over wanting a loving family so badly. Now that I think of it, I received that same attitude directed at me at the church I used to go to. I will have to think more on that one! I wonder how many people here also have had to deal with similar feelings of letting parents down by the jobs they chose….or didnt choose…? Dont get me started! lol.

47

Darlene, I want to thank you for your clarification (way back on #28) about bringing faith into things. But I especially want to thank you for saying that you believe that God (God!)encouraged you to leave all of it aside while you healed. I am a missionary who is here in the States now who can’t bring myself to go to church at all. At all. It’s taken me nearly 2 years here to finally stop struggling with this week-after-week … sometimes going out of guilt, sometimes staying home. I know that for now, for this season, I need to just completely let it go until I WANT to go again. If I do. I know that in my heart, but it is a difficult thing to explain. But I really do sense that this is the very best thing I can do right now.

I don’t know what I’m healing from … just a lot of tangled-up things, that is for sure. Expectations, trying way-too-hard to keep things together for way-too-long … all part of it. Keeping up an image for so long that I lost myself and am not even sure when it happened. Open to God? Yes, but my image of who He is has expanded beyond who He seems to be “in church”. For now, I can’t afford to put myself in a place where I’ll want to push back on that. Your site is a wonderfully safe place. But it wouldn’t be that way for me if “faith” issues were made explicit and I felt like a particular answer was the only correct one. I feel like I can relax here and open myself up to what is shared because it is true. And as you said, it’s the same message anyway! I never heard it alone, though. Truth and Good News always came with other things that other broken people served-up with them. Somehow the extra stuff choked the life out of me along the way. Working my way slowly back …

So anyway, a heartfelt thank you from me for your faith – but also for honoring the life journeys of your readers enough to focus on communicating truth and letting them sort the other part out. Much appreciated here.

48

J,
I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Breakups are just tough and heartbreaking. I’m glad you found your voice and are standing up for YOU. I’ve had some nasty breakups and abusive men in my life. Walking away was the best thing I ever did. Strength to you ~ for your heart!!!!

I’m reeling at the open discussion that’s developed about our homes!! Who knew?? Diane, my mother also holds the belief that things are more important than people. Buying expensive gifts was an unspoken rule. Giving the appearance of affluence was also a big factor for mother. So, when she married a drunk who didn’t have a 9-5 job requiring a business suit, imagine the disappointment!! That’s where it alllll started. She married my dad whose parents were very wealthy. I’m certain she strolled down the aisle on their wedding day with huge dollar signs filling her eyes!! He had an expensive, one of a kind sports car which I know impressed her. Things turned sour though after a few years of marriage, when daddy’s love for the bottle outweighed literally everything and we ended up living penny to penny. Mother never ever gave up her need to impress though. We didn’t dare tell people we got free school lunches. LOL! I find that so funny now. I am reminded of a phrase I once heard ~ if you marry for money, you will pay for it!! So true!! My mother remarried after 17 years with my dad. Her second husband had not one, but TWO sports cars. She would try to “sell” him to us by listing out all the wonderful things he owned. We still couldn’t stand him. It didn’t matter if he had a swimming pool, sports cars, cable TV and king sized waterbeds, haha!! That stuff only mattered to her. She has lived a life of absolute embarassment being married to him. He’s a freak of nature. To that I say, “well mother, you made your bed, now you must lay in it”!! After all, she preached that to me!!

Anyhow, uncanny how all our mothers have put the same kind of expectations on us with our homes. I say we all rebel and let our house be like a cyclone has been through… for at least a day!! Even leave dirty under garments on the floor!! That would REALLY be a blast!! Haha!
Love to everyone!
Mimi

49

I Garden Too,
I am in the same place you are regarding church. I just got full. I haven’t been to church for a long time now. I still deeply rely on God, and pray to Him. It got too much for me to sort through though. I needed to hear from HIM, not the people. I had so much guilt when I first dropped out of church. Not anymore. I know that it’s a season for me as well. I hope to learn and absorb everything I need from the bible, not the people. Peace and Hope sent your way on the journey of loving Him!
Mimi

50

Diane,
Thanks for all your positive comments!…You had me smiling! After posting, I finally gave myself credit for breaking free from my mom’s put downs, in regards to the care of my house. It’s not Fun at all being around that negativity. I can honestly say, I don’t look to her to get my need for Love & Support anymore. This has me thinking about my reasons for having my kids involved with their grandparents. What are they going to get out of the relationship? Well, my dad is showing some real interest in my son, just as my good natured b-i-l is. My son is a down to earth & awesome kid.

A big part of me wants to protect my kids from my parents negativity. I struggle with denying my kids grandparents. I have to honestly say, they don’t treat my kids the way they treated me. However, I credit myself with drawing the line with LC & not depending on them for anything. I could guarantee that if I was attached to them, I would have no freedom & there would be strings attached in terms of expectations. I determine when we have contact & for how long. I used to feel a strong tug to go towards them but that has changed. Most of the time, I have no desire to visit. I’d rather be doing fun things with my friends & kids.
Yay for your kind words & support!…It means a lot to me!
Sonia

51

Mimi,
Thanks for your support always!….You had me laughing when you said, “let our house be like a cyclone for at least a day…and even leave dirty undergarments on the floor!!”…That would be so funny…I could see mom’s face now, with shock & disgust!…I definitely rebelled as a teenager- my room was messy & cluttered and I never heard the end of it, “You need to clean this pig pen!”….It was a teenagers room & I was creative with posters & art work. It not like I left my bra or panties on the floor and it wasn’t trashed with garbage. I’ve never been a neat freak but I’m organized in my way and things are clean. Asking me how my day went at school or with friends, would have gone a long way instead of the micromanagement of my room & things.

The part that was so frustrating & annoying to me was, when my mom started micromanaging my kids, when they were babies & toddlers. I didn’t ask for her unsolicited advice. Although, I have a more reciprocal relationship with my m-i-l, she was just as bad. I don’t care what they have to say now! My kids are doing great & I do have good motherly instincts.

When my kids had health problems, I got them help and didn’t turn a blind eye. If it wasn’t for me advocating for my dtr, she would not have been in a special pre-k program. I’ve had to advocate to get my kids needs meant, without family support. My husband was also in denial and is only now, seeing the truth. I think he is now seeing the positive gains in my dtr, since the support & care. I remind him of how far she has come. My dtr also has a serious health problem, which I clearly saw all of her the symptoms, and reported them to the specialist. I was relieved to know the dx, because it could be treated. She is so much better now, and thriving this year, in so many ways- academically, socially, emotionally & behaviorally.
Sorry I’m rambling again….I’m reflecting on the self care of my kids now & how important that is. I’m also looking at my health & making changes in my self care.
Love,
Sonia

52

SMD,
Good for you!! I’m always amazed at your ability to stick to your boundaries. That would be a true struggle for me at the LC level. Having kids in the mix would really present challenges too. My sisters have to deal with that. My mom has been a good grandma to the Golden Child’s kids. Although her motives are self serving, the grandkids only see that she’s good to them. She’s not very accepting of my other sister’s daughter. She should actually be in the category of “protected” from a judgmental and contemptuous grandma. The golden child’s kids, although they’re treated well by my mom, should be made aware of her tactics in my opinion ~ that she treats the other ones poorly sporadically. But, I suppose it’s too flattering being the favorites to ever interrupt that. Who cares if it’s genuine or honest. Living the beautiful UNtruth is what wins. To each his own…. not my business. I just see things from an outsiders perspective since I have no kids to bring to the mix. I’m thankful for that right now. I have NO idea how I would handle it all. I admire your strength with all you’re doing!! I’m happy to hear your dad is continuing to show genuine interest. That’s fantastic!!
Love,
Mimi

53

When I was 18, Diane, my father gave me a list of the occupations I could be: a stewardess (that way he could fly free), a teacher or a postal worker (he was employed by the post office) Thats it. I had a scientic mind and wanted to be a geologist. I went to a college prep catholic school and got all As. I could of gotten a scholarship. No
one had any ambitions for me. I had black and white thinking by then. I remember saying the words that if I could not be what I wanted I would be nothing. What a choice. And that was OK by them. After that he always held it up against me that I chose poorly. But I never had a choice!
The aquisition of things was very important to my Dad, nice house, nice clothes, nice car..you made it if you had those things.
Things, never people, never family. We lived to serve him and make sure he was happy. He was never pleased or happy. Never.
I always knew there was dysfunction, that things were wrong, but I
just thought I was bad too like him. My mother told me it was genetic.
Luckily my brother (the golden child) was spared this defect. I didnt like it, but I believed it and have tried to be better. It does cause you to accept less for yourself. I chose nothing because I deserved nothing. Bad choices I made in my teenage years where held as proof. They had proof. That made sense to me at the time and I further gave in to the belief that I was bad, afterall there was proof.

54

Mimi..
My Dad was the NPD, my Mom is emotionally absent, so boy can I relate.
When I stand up to her, she drops me like I’m dead. I mean really dead. Like I dont exist and never did. I always use to crawl back after a time asking forgivness for my bad behavior. That bad behavior was my standing up to her manipulation, guilt and thoughtless abuse.
This time I have finally realized, painful as it is that she never really cared for me at all. Many remembered events in my childhood reenforce this belief. It would explain much. Oh I am angry now. And also wonder why me? a lot. I was good, but thats my self esteem issue talking…There is no reason it just is, I guess. Thanks for writing back to me :D
J:
This is a very good place. Folks here listen and can relate!!

55

Sorry One more thing..about my Mom being emotionally absent. Example:
When our son committed suicide and I called and asked her to come down, (I needed my Mom) after 3 days she replied, “well its over now, I really dont need to…” Unbelievable.

56

Hi Diane
Yes, all those things are part of it. Parents often communicate that they should even have a say in what you do for a job and if it isn’t what they approve of then you are a disapointment. All part of being defined and all part of being controlled. Not part of a true def. of love at all! Imagine a world where parents empowered their kids to be whatever they want to be? Imagine if all parents used their power to empower!
That is the world that I dream of when I dream of making a difference. That has been my goal as a parent.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi I Garden Too
Thank you so much for your comment about church. When I put the church aside (and many other related things) the clarity came. It was the same as when I put distance between myself and an abuser or walked away from an abusive situation. The distance itself provided the space for the truth to come in. It enabled the “spin” to slow down enough for me to see the way things were going down. I finally saw the truth about how I was “expected” to be and that the ones in power did not follow the same rules as they wanted me to follow. The rules didn’t apply to them. This is also the original message of Christ. He came to say that all people are equal. He told the leaders to give up their power and control but they didn’t want to. They loved his message excpet for THAT part; the equal value part. The leaders seem to think they are exempt from the rules; perhaps they thing they are “better or more valueable” than others??
Thank you for your comments and validation to me as well.
Hugs, Darlene

57

Sonia
I just want to mention one thing I realized about the kids and grandparents. My kids continually wittnessed the disrespect and disregard that my parents and in-laws treated me with. That was something I had to consider when I thought about this whole thing.
Hugs, Darlene

Karen,
my heart when out to you when I read your comments. One thing I was reminded of reading them was that my mother also dropped me like I was dead when I stood up to her. I had to think about what that meant. It isn’t just that she never really cared; it is that she would not tolerate me being or acting in any way that she didn’t like. I had to ask myself why I kept going back to that. That makes me angry too.
Hugs, Darlene

58

Karen, Hi! I have discovered and uncovered so much from this website and everyone’s comments, and one thing I realized was that my “mom” ticked off most of the boxes for NPD. My dad was the one who was emotionally unavailable and hovers around her and lives and breathes only to make HER happy. The thing that ended up setting me free and bringing about healing for me personally….and I know everyone’s journey is very different….is that I realized with such a narcissitic parent (and another one who only lived to cover up her abuse and justify it and go along with it, and try to make her happy)….that it wasnt ME that was to blame or at fault or that they singled ME as a person out to abuse/neglect…but it could have and would have been ANY child that they had. For some reason, that set me completely free! My “mom” would never have been happy no matter what…she still isnt a happy person today, all these long years later! Any child was in her way of getting the things and attention from my father…and it just happened to be me there at that time. So I realized that I was free to live my own life because they never cared about me anyway! I WAS in the way of their dysfunctional pattern of relating. I was absolutely a child that they didnt want around….but ANY child would have been treated exactly the same as I was. The most difficult thing was being able to accept that I wasnt loved by them or wanted by them. How hard to know your own parents who profess to love you, dont! They are so wrapped up in their own little world …and it is highly controlled by the one with NPD issues…so there isnt room for me. But to be honest, it was the very thing that I suspected all along…and was trying to change…to make them love me if I only tried harder and accepted the abuse/neglect…everything on their terms. I ran away from the truth all of my life and shoved it down inside with food and sweets and more food, and eating disorders….etc . What would I have left if I believed that they didnt want or love me? I thought I would have nothing..no family and no worth and no place to fit in. The reality is that I never fit in and they were stealing my self worth from me, and they werent a family. So I realized that I would actually lose nothing that I hadnt already been without my entire life. What I gained is that I now have self esteem….none of it was my fault what happened to me…and I love myself now….and I have friends and a family that truly love ME. I can BE now…be myself …be just like I always wanted to be….NORMAL! Actually, I was the normal one! lol. I just had to realize all of this. I cut off all of my family a year ago for good. It didnt make me happy, but it sure has been a relief! There is simply no pressure on me anymore and no “episodes” from my “family”. I think it also gave me the chance to really heal once I discovered this website and wonderful ppl here who have suffered badly in similar ways that I did. Once I realized that I wasnt like my parents, and that I wasnt the one who was bad…in fact…it wasnt about ME at all…it has always been about THEM and it would have been any child who was in their way…..it has been amazing to be free of all of that crap forever! And yes, they were like that about jobs too! My dad took what I said when I was a little girl about wanting to be a nurse and threw that up at me until I was well into my 20′s for some reason! I didnt choose the way he wanted…I didnt choose at all…I was simply trying to survive! I was an emotional wreck back then and could barely get out of bed in the morning sometimes. But I was somehow supposed to get up and get a REAL job! lol. Amazing how blind they chose to be! Thank you for sharing Karen and I am totally rooting for you to get healed and free from pain!

59

Karen,
OMG…What a terrible thing your mother said to you, when you were grieving the loss of your son!…That is heartbreaking…Who says that?!! Did you tell her that hurt your feelings or stop contact with her, after that incident? Your Right, it is “Unbelievable”! My mom has said similar hurtful things to me. She wasn’t there for me, after I came home from the hospital with both my children. Even when I asked & didn’t expect her too, she said, “I have to be home to cook for your dad” & “I’m too beat after work” and “your husband is there for you”…All excuses & she was only thinking of herself. If that isn’t self-serving!…I had postpartum depression too, which only added to my sadness & anger. That was such a painful time for me. I question why I even bother to go back to visit her, when she is not there for me. A real relationship goes both ways! If she was a friend, I would of cut her loose by now.
Sonia

60

Darlene,
I have been struggling with the issue around my kids having contact with their grandparents. It’s confusing to me to see them being nice to my kids & showing interest in them. Yet at the same time, there is tension & disregard for me and my feelings all along. I sure know it’s not normal. Is it that I expect them to be better to my kids?…Is it really a cover-up or an act towards my kids?…My family is good at hiding & covering up. It is confusing. My son has commented on some of the dysfunction with my parents in how they treat others & how they relate to my sister’s kids. My sister’s dtr is the “favored one” & she knows it. She is only 6 & will say, I’m here with grandpa after school & I get to use the swing all the time. She said this in front of me & my dtr, while my dtr was playing with her. It’s those kinds of comments & indirect ways of excluding others that runs rampant in my family. I can let some of it roll off my back, but it does rub me the wrong way!…It used to get under my skin a lot more, but now that I’m more aware, I see it’s them not me or my kids. That doesn’t mean it’s right though. Anyway, do you have any suggestions on how to handle any of this? My son & I talk and he is aware of some of the dysfunction & will actually point out examples to me, after visiting the family.
Thanks,
Sonia

61

Karen,
I’m with everyone else…. unbelievable. I’m so sorry for the pain you’ve endured. You’re right…. this is the place to be. Never judged, only help and understanding and love!! Blessings to you dear one!!

SMD,
I know your message was to Darlene, I just want to let you know that I’m sorry you’re in the position they’ve put you in. It really is them. It’s so classic what your little niece said to your daughter. Poor girl is trained at the ripe age of 6. Hang in there Sonia! I’m pulling for you!!
Love,
Mimi

62

Mimi,
Thanks so much for your ongoing Encouragement & Support! Yes, it is a classic tactic that my niece is being trained at a young age!…She is really a sweetie like most 6 yr olds are, however, she’s already showing the classic signs of being in a dysfunctional family…So sad…She already acts older then she is & struts around. It’s kind of cute and I don’t think she’s pretending. My stomach is in knots today thinking about all these things. I’m going to have to take care of me now. Maybe a nice bath & book. I got 1 hr before my kids get home.
Thanks Mimi!
Love,
Sonia

63

SMD,
You’re very welcome. I really dislike that stomach knot feeling. UGH!! My mind is usually racing too if I have that knot. A nice bath is a great idea. I hope that’s where you are right now. Bubbles galore!!
Peace and love,
Mimi

64

Yes, yes, yes Diane. I really see now that it wasn’t me. That it would have been any child.Imagine just discovering it wasn’t me. I found that out here at EFB.
My mother was never there for me in any way emotionally all my life. When I had my sons. With the first one she just stayed in the waiting room. No hug, no it will be OK, I always had to tough everything out alone .She never called or came to the hospital the day my second son was born. Once when I had major surgery just a drop off. No one even called to check if I came thru it OK. My best friend was appalled when she called and asked her how it went. Never any affection. I never had it so I never missed it. We were kept isolated from all family. Friends were not allowed. I had no model of “normal”. I always just accepted.
I was taught never express, never question, do not show emotions. I was no contact for 10 years. I made contact when my Dad died. I wanted to help her. I wanted to be there for her. He had been so aweful. When our son passed in 07 it was sudden and out of state. My husband was a mess. I HAD to deal with everything. When she said that I was stunned (but I said to myself “I thought we had a better relationship now!”) But I remembered all the other times…
So now I see the dynamics of their relationship and how they both abused me in their own way. Him by way of emotional abuse and her by
emotional abandonment. All the blame, all the shame dumped on me. I have to say I have been a bit of a crazy person in my emotional responses all my life. But it is better now. Thank you all for your insights!! Understanding helps!! I stop and think before I freak out now. I question. I have even talked it over with my husband. He listened. Thank you again!!

65

Sonia
For me this became more clear over time. Since my family is expert at divide and conquer (abuse tactic in order to gain control) I suddenly suspected their motives in trying to be so nice with my kids. It was really confusing until I thought about it this way; my kids were minors. unless these people treat me with respect and value they are treating me as inferior to everyone including my kids and that is the example that my kids have of life and relationship. An example that I don’t want them to have. I stood up for myself for the good of my kids as well as for the good of myself. I don’t want my kids to live in that system so I had to take a stand against that system. These grandparents refused to meet us halfway; they insisted in living in that pecking order system with themselves at the top. It was actually when I said no that they walked away ~ not the other way around but my kids are (as long as they were minor) under MY (and my husbands) gaurd and WE are in charge of their well fare. I decided that it was a package deal. Our kids learn everything from us first. This is a really long story but that is the jist of it.
Hugs, Darlene
p.s. if your son is pointing out examples, perhaps he is trying to point them out to you…

66

Karen, Hi again! I have to admit that I was so angry when I heard that your son committed suicide and how your mother responded by NOT responding in any type of loving way! I understand the ways of parents who are disconnected, but I have not ever gone through what you and your husband have suffered, and it blew me away, to be honest. I am so very sorry for your precious child’s passing and if I could send you comfort and hugs and support, I would! I wish I could! I also want to say how terribly sorry I am that your mother blew you off. You are not the crazy one….it was absolutely normal to instinctively want your mother and it shows how unhealthy of a person she has been by her lack of response to your needs. It hasnt been YOU at all! I can totally relate with the childbirth stories! I have one child, and almost died and ended up having surgery and a long recovery. You can understand what I mean when I say that I didnt expect anything so I didnt miss it. Looking back, I marvel at how neither of my parents said a word about what I had gone through…absolutely nothing. It was like being in the twilight zone! I also can relate with you on the drop off for your major surgery too! I didnt get a drop off…I had to ask a friend. I remember going to my dad ( the emotionally unavailable parent) and I was crying and said to him that “something is wrong with me”…and he asked me a couple of questions and called to make an appt and I was left to get there and see to everything else with my friend’s help. Afterward….no comments, no acknowledgement that I had even gone through anything. It was like I didnt exist. My situation was not as horrific as yours has been, but I do want you to know that I understand those feelings that you are expressing. I love it here because it is safe to pour out the stories and the abuse and the anger or sadness…whatever…and noone judges anyone! I am so glad that you are better and have been able to talk with your husband and that you are also able to understand that it was NOT YOU AT ALL. You ARE a normal gal who went through things that were not your fault at all! I also think it is normal to have a see-saw of emotions when you have had to crush them down all of your life…and you dont understand how to process them. It all makes sense that you thought you were “a bit of a crazy person” in your responses….you werent taught or modeled any healthy ways of reacting and responding. Here is to freedom and understanding and comfort and peace and hope and joy again in life for YOU! Thank you for sharing so much! :)

67

Darlene,
Thanks for pointing out the “Divide & Conquer” abuse tactic. Yes, that is it with my family. I agreed with you that My husband & I are in charge of my kids’ well fare. My husband & I had an argument today, about family. He said, I focus too much on things that happened 10 years ago with my family and I still visit them. Well, that’s true and I pointed out that they are abusive. He is not aware of all the deep work I’ve been doing here & just how damaged I am. I’ve told him some things. I want him to understand & I told him we need to sit down and really talk. Like I’ve said in other posts, I want my husband to go to therapy with me. He will not go- I know he is damaged too by his dysfunctional family. So, we agreed to sit down & talk together. I hope he really listens. He may not agree with me on some things but he needs to hear where I’m coming from. It’s a long story for me too. The abuse is so insidious & I’m tired of it all!….P.s. My son is bright & he is pointing things out to me. I’m glad he is talking to me about this. Thanks for you support always!
Sonia

68

My self talk used to be so much like yours was, Darlene. I was very hard on me.

Now my “getting things done” self talk is more encouraging than scolding.

Once I would be saying “Stop complaining and keep working, finish all the work! You are just lazy! Stop whining!”

Now I say, “You can do this. You’re okay. Just finish this much, and then if you are tired it’s okay to stop.”

The first line is my mothers voice in my head. The second is my own.

“You will find the answer if you let it go, Give yourself some time to falter, Don’t forgo knowing that you ‘re loved no matter what, And everything will turn around, in time.” (Sarah MacLaughlin) Lines from a song I like that I sing to me sometimes when I am tired or discouraged: and I am the one that loves me now, no matter what…

So, be sure to give yourself time too, Darlene. It will be okay.

69

I just found your site! Thank you…My mom was very emotional abusive, I never did anything right!! The one and only time I asked her if she “loved me”, the reply was I would not put up with if I did not’ I then married a man (of whom I loved greatly) just like my mother, emotionally absence, to just find out a couple of months ago is homosexual and has had sexual relatons with men for several years…so now at the ripe old age of 57 I am alone, searching for meaning in this life…how do I start over??? All I can hear is my mother telling I am not good enough, and my husband’s actions proving it!!

70

LeAnne,
I can’t imagine what you’re going through with your husband. Life seems so unfair sometimes. I just want to say you landed in the right place for honest loving support. I hope you have the opportunity to return often. There is so much wisdom and healing on these pages. It has helped me so much…. actually saved my life. When I found EFB last year I was thinking of suicide. I was a mess. I’ve spent hours upon hours here since then. It’s been my saving grace. Hope to see you here again!
With Hope,
Mimi

71

Hi LeAnne..
Your husbands actions do not prove anything about you! But its so easy to feel like they do because we have been trained by others to think that way. Boy I hear my fathers voice like you hear your Moms. I am 58 and feel much the same way. I feel like I’m starting over. But this site is such a great place to hear truth not the lies we were told. It is so helpful to read what others say. To know you are not alone.
Hang in there! We all share here and we all care…All the best Karen

72

Thank you Diane. It is very comforting to speak about the unspeakable. You can’t say this stuff to casual friends, although I do have a couple of woman friends I can say anything to. The average person who has not lived in the situation just can’t process this stuff. And to think I thought, no, thought was the wrong word, I had to accept this abusive behavior from people I loved. In my mind I questioned my treatment even as a child. As an adult I felt badly inside when he lashed out at me or treated me like I was 10 when I was 40. I can remember always being treated like I was 10. As a 10 yr old, he could keep me in that abuse, never changing, never being allowed to grow or have a voice or a choice. He was a narcissist, (the world revolved around his needs, no empathy) I discovered thru reading on line and had PTSD from WW2.
His belittling voice became the voice in my head that says you are NG (no good, his favorite line). Its been hard not to listen when I am feeling defeated. That stupid voice won’t shut up. I have recently said to it..
“why do you think that?” sometimes the voice answers but I persist. I never questioned that voice because I was not allowed to question as a child. I’m not that child now, I’m finally growing up. (remember I’m 58)
Its taken a while but I am. I’ve never taken responsibility for myself. But I’m learning to now that I have learned that its OK to care about me..

73

SMD Hi!
My husband has major issues too but as I discuss what I am going thru (tactfully and not too much at one time) he is listening.
In helping me I think he is applying the messages to himself. He is not one to talk things out but
he is a sensitive guy and is listening. I think its rubbing off. He is very special and we are together 38 years.
But amazingly we are learning new things about ourselves. As I change, he is responding to me differently.
Its subtle, but there. Too cool!

74

Karenina…Hi there! I loved what you wrote :” The first line is my mother’s voice in my head. The second is my own.” I love hearing how you have healed and are able to distinguish between the two! It is wonderful that your self talk is encouragement…and not the scolding voice from your past. I think it is encouraging to read that…and how far you have come!

75

hi back Diane!
I don’t mean to come across as “healed.” i still have a lot of angst to work through, and birth family sorrows that keep coming up, whether in my life or in my mind. I try to be mostly positive, sharing what helps me get through the troubles, although I have unburdened here and there since I came to this site.

I am very glad that what I shared here resonated with you!

About 10 years ago, I began to see some of these things more clearly. At the same time, my daughter who didn’t know about my realizations, shared some of her favorite music with me, saying she thought I would like Sarah MacLaughlin’s music. I did.

Art often speaks differently to different people, and Sarah’s early music and lyrics really resonated with the things I was going through, and though it might not for some others, it speaks to my soul. You might be most familiar with “in the arms of the angels” although that might be the first line rather than the title, lol. I sang that song and “Hold on” all the way back home after my dad died, it was a 12 hour drive.

Whether Sarah’s early or later music would work this way for others, I don’t know. But it helped me, a lot.

They say music soothes the savage beast…well this music both soothed and tamed, for me.
I tend to shape the lyrics a bit, for example, where she seems to be speaking of romantic love, the lyrics could be understood as family relationships too with a mental tweak of lyrics here and there, lol.

76

LeAnne, women often live to 80′s, 90′s. So 57 is to 87 as 20 is to 50. In other words, the amount of years of your entire adult life. That might still be ahead of you! So refuse to be thinking “ripe old age of 57″ and such. You are still in the strength of life!

I am sorry for what you have gone through, and for what you are going through. Starting over is so very hard to do.
But, as you move forward through this transitioning time, you might finally find freedom in being yourself for yourself, rather than being what others want, or need, or insist that you be. You might find time on your hands now, and wondering what to do with it, you may discover or rediscover passions for arts, crafts, photography, blogging, visiting historic places, travel, courses of study, volunteerism…well, you name it, as only you can.

77

Hi LeAnne
Welcome to EFB!
This line your mom used is a great example of how the put down is delivered in a distorted package. She got in that she “puts up with you” and all that infers! If she didn’t “love you” she wouldn’t “put up with you”? very hurtful.
About starting over, keep reading. This entire website is about how I got my life back by seeing how I got so damaged, the beliefs that I accepted about myself and how I changed those beliefs to the truth.
It is a process but you are not alone!
Hugs, Darlene

78

Hi Karen!
Thanks for your reply. It’s reassuring to know I’m not alone with a husband that doesn’t talk through things. There is truth in what they say, Men are from Mars & Woman are from Venus. The communication style is so different, in that I want & need to talk through problems & issues and he just wants the basic info. I agree too much info at once, would have him spinning. My thoughts were racing last night in regards to my nagging doubts about his controlling behavior. I can’t stand his negative traits!…He has similar traits as my dysfunctional parents. We’ve been together 16 years now. We’ve had a lot of ups & downs in our marriage, but it works. Since I’ve changed, he does respond to me differently too. He does listens better & will back down to let me talk. In the past, he got so angry with any disagreement. The argument we had yesterday, just triggered my anxiety over how scared I get, when he is angry. His temper has been an ongoing issue. There is no easy answer, but the more work I do on myself, the more clearly I see the problems. It’s painful but I don’t want to live in denial either. I’m feeling like I’ve slipped back yesterday because of my racing thoughts, which put me in a spin. I kept telling myself that I’ll be OK. The important thing is to believe in ME.
Thanks,
Sonia

79

Yes Sonia! I have actually read that book. I too have racing thoughts! Always have had.
I think Darlene explained in one of her blogs that what you are trained to accept in childhood is what you already know to accept in a relationship in your adult life. Its so true. After much reading, I have discovered my Dad had many of the NPD traits. I found out in counseling that my husbands odd behavior is also that of NPD. I was stunned. Speechless. 38 years and I never knew. But it fit. But he is not violent like my Dad or demeaning. No empathy though. Now I understand him much better. When he has his narcissistic “rage” over some small disagreement (kind of in your face yelling) I used to take it that I was “bad” again, but now I think “its got nothing to do with me”, nothing and TRY VERY HARD not to take it personally and guide him away from it. And he listens. He needs some parenting too in a good way.
(I can understand being afraid of a man with a temper. I was very afraid of my Dad.)
No one ever explained life or coping or anything to my husband. Just lots of abuse in his childhood. I see his wounds are different than mine and his coping is different.
He still can trigger me when its not me doing anything wrong usually just asking a question, and boy I want to blame me and beat me up. I was taught no asking, no questions, strict obedience, so a bad response to me asking a question is a trigger for me. I have recently figured that out.
Now i sit for about 10 mins and get away all the time saying its not me, its not me and mostly I calm down now where before my whole day was ruined. Did I mention he’s retired. For six months he was home every day. Now he has a part time job and we both feel much better. :D

80

Wow! Karen, your husband sounds very similar to mine. Those NPD traits are not easy to cope with! My husband certainly has those traits, I have no doubt. Whether he fits the dx or not, he does lack empathy. Your right when you said, “narcissistic rage”. I really doubt my husband was taught any healthy coping skills or good communication for that matter. His father was an alcoholic, had rages, was physically abusive towards my husband, used the silent treatment & was hypercritical. He was good to me, except he did make some snide comments about my weight, after having my babies. Anyway, he was a walking bean pole LOL. He has been deceased for about 5 years now. I did grieve his loss.
You’re right on, when you said, “He still can trigger me when its not me doing anything wrong usually just asking a question.” OMG!…He hates when I asked him “stupid questions” in his opinion. I will ask questions to understand where he is coming from. He doesn’t like me asking questions but gets worked up, if I misunderstand what he is saying. I’m still going to ask them though. My dad would get annoyed too. I’m not to blame for their reactions or behaviors. I certainly don’t deserve to be yelled at or demeaned. Unfortunately, I’ve been unemployed for a year & a half and I’m home with him. He works second shift though, so I have a break & can usually calm down, when he’s not in my face. I’ve learned to walk away too & not explain myself. It takes skill to deal with their behavior! I try very hard too not to take it personally either.
Thanks for sharing about your husband!
Sonia

81

Hi Darlene

Sorry for late response..homework is now done.. moving on the way.. but I know how much it is that my mind and thoughts have been formed by what was told.. It’s hard to get myself to believe against everything my head says inside since my mind is still leaning to everything bad that was said to, about and of me.

I have been working hard though..I have a long long way to go . I get to running and thinking its all done and something happens and knocks me right back to square one and feel helpless wondering will i ever get over all this stuff.

love ,

Joy

Am sharing a poem below if okay?

The Broken Child

Mommy I love you
Oh don’t you love me too
Tell me dear Mommy
why do the things you do
I only needed loving
from you my mommy dear
Why oh why my mommy
are bad words all I hear?

Mommy I love you
I drew a picture today
Can’t you love me also
they’re simple words to say
You never hug me mommy,
is it because I am so bad
Didnt you want me mommy
did you ever know my dad?

I’m sorry my mommy
that I’m not good in your eyes
That you hate me so badly
that you had so many guys
I wish i wasn’t different
and we all had one dad
But I still love you my mommy
I dont want to seee you sad

(c) joy

have a blessed day

82

Hi Joy
One thing I realized looking back is that I never went all the way back to square one! And as I progressed, I began to have those back slides less and less!
Thank you so much for sharing your poem here!
Hugs, Darlene

83

Joy:
Thank you for your poem. You speak so from the heart. You have a special gift for poetry!!

Sonia:
Sometimes I don’t even get to ask the question. When I am speaking, he gets impatient (as if I am talking too slowly, I’m not) and as soon
as he gets the gist of what I’m saying, its OK I don’t need to hear more. Or he’ll speak in a very abstract way or uses the wrong word or name for something and gets impatient when I don’t know what he means.
He uses the silent treatment to punish. Thats his default. I look at him now with new eyes now when he
tries to punish me. I don’t take it to heart like I use to (cause its not about me) and try to engage him in some other way. Sure makes me feel less upset. Doesn’t work 100% but its better than beating myself up.
Karen

84

Karen
I agree with you on trying to engage him in other ways. My husband & I had a good & open talk today. It shows he is capable of listening & engaging with me. I’m realizing my triggers more now & I’m able to turn my self talk around. It takes me less time now to pull out of the spin. It feels good to talk & get along. Thanks for your support. P.S. Beating ourselves up isn’t the answer & it certainly doesn’t work! Being honest & taking responsibility for our own behavior is where it’s at.
Thanks Karen,
Sonia

85

HI Darlene..guess we all are so different in our recovery .I cannot ever guess when I will slide backwards but I know I have cptsd which means certain things flash me back to a place where I relive things as though am going through them again.. I would put myself down but i had no say over what happened when I was little or over how much damage happened to my brain through trauma but i am grateful that now am healing going forward and some times falling back ward. .now i have someone to throw out a line pull me back to my present when i get caught up in the moment of yesterday :)

Hugs,

Joy

HI Karen,

Thank you for you very kind words. poetry just comes out . i never think much when I write .. just comes out like music playing inside.

Love,

Joy

86

[...] when I have shared poetry! This poem was sent to me from Karenina in response to my article about “self talk and self care”.  While reading this poem it really helped me to understand and to keep in mind that Karenina is [...]

87

When I first read this post, I thought “I don’t have any self-talk.” But then I just realized that the self-talk I have is just projected onto other people; like ‘I bet they think this,’ and the internalized judgment is so strong that it influences what I do. For instance recently I’ve thought that certain long-term acquaintances in my life must be thinking ‘You were working on these abuse issues when you were 20, aren’t you over them yet after 8 years?”

Of course these statements have nothing to do with the people currently in my life, they’re all patterns of emotional abuse I experienced at the hands of primarily my estranged sister and mother. I guess inside me, there is still this other person, this abuser looking over at me and doing what they have always done. But it’s twisted around from a strange angle. I fill silences from other people with all these old things my abusive family said and taught me.

Reading this discussion has been very valuable for me, thanks!

88

Hello Everyone,
It’s taken me awhile, but I’ve just finished reading this post, and ALL of the 87 comments. I also read the inspiring poem in the newer post, and the comments following that.

I love the gentle nurturing spirit that is coming through in these posts and comments. This is what we who have been so badly broken, need more than anything, I believe: the healing balm of kindness, compassion, caring, and empathetic understanding — those very things that we needed, and did not get, when we were growing up.

Karen Ranes, when I read what your mother said to you when your son died so tragically, I could feel my heart breaking. I also felt angry that any mother, any human, could be so cold and inhumane.

I see that I am not the only one here who is nearing 60. It amazes me how long and how deeply we are affected by the events of our early childhood days. More than 15 years ago I regularly attended a weekly 12-step meeting, where a woman who was then in her mid-to-late 70s also regularly attended. At almost every meeting, this woman would bemoan her belief that her mother had never loved her, and cry about how horribly her mother had treated her throughout her childhood.

It was all I could do not to roll my eyes when this senior citizen would open her mouth. I know I did a mental eyeroll. I was determined never be so ridiculous as she. I was certainly not ever going to make a fool out of myself by talking about my poor pitiful childhood and my mean abusive parents when I was several decades away from my childhood days.

But now I understand that we cannot effectively face and deal with our early, deeply soul-wounding traumas, until we are in a safe and enlightened place. Until these past couple of years, I was not ready to face and deal with the devastating pain of my severe childhood traumas. Now that I am finally dealing with my ancient painful history, I am healing and growing by leaps and bounds. My mental and emotional growth was stunted by my childhood trauamas, and the lies that my traumas made me believe about myself. Today, at the age of 59, I am finally being set free.

Thank you, Karenina, for pointing out that those of us who are in our late 50s may very well live for another 30 or more years!

One way that I have found to nurture myself, is in caring for animals. When I am feeding and cuddling and caring for our fur-baby, our Cattle Dog Lady, I see in her sweet dependent innocence a reflection of the little girl I used to be. While my abusive parents, my narcissistic mother especially, taught me that I had to EARN the right to be loved and cared for — and I could never do enough, and never be good enough, to earn my keep, no matter how hard I tried — I realize from caring for our little dog, and in feeding the wild birds in our backyard every day, that these small creatures don’t have to DO anything special, to DESERVE food and water and protection and care.

It’s enough that these animal creatures EXIST. It’s enough that they require food and water and safety, to continue to exist. It’s enough for them to simply BE. I love our dog, not because she is perfect or very obedient or the most gorgeous or talented animal around — she is none of these things! — but I love her simply because SHE IS, and she is OURS.

This is how children ought to be loved and cared for. This is how my inner child should have been loved and cared for.

It gives me great joy to feed and nurture our dog, and to provide food and water for the wild birds who come to our feeder every day. I take pleasure out of providing for these innocent, dependent creatures. The joy I feel when I am caring for our dog or putting seed out for the birds, is part of what I call Love.

When I am nurturing and loving these little animals, I am also nurturing and loving the little girl I used to be.

On the 12th of June we had a supercell storm. I’ve looked it up on wikipedia, and learned that the supercell is the rarest, and most dangerous, of all the types of thunderstorms. When I later did a search for news or pictures of our uncommonly violent storm, I discovered that a crew of professional storm chasers, who travel all over North America looking for supercells and other violent weather, were right here in our town taking videos and photographs of our the storm. They uploaded part of their photostream on Youtube. I can tell from the video that when the windshield of their vechicle was suddenly shattered in two places by baseball-to-softball sized hail, they were less than 1/2 mile from our house.

I grew up in what is called “tornado alley,” so rough weather triggers a lot of unhappy childhood memories. When I first noticed a strange light, just before sunset, coming in through our blinds, I ran outside, looked up at the sky, and what I saw directly above me almost stopped my heart. It was nothing like anything I have ever seen before!

Directly above me was a huge, black, round storm cloud, so enormous that it stretched out in every direction, almost as far as I could see. Lightning was flashing randomly inside the dense dark towering cloud, flickering back and forth, and from side to side. Most astonishing of all: the entire massive cloud was rotating, slowly, in a clock-wise rotation. I have learned from wikipedia that THIS is what distinguishes the supercell from all other storm systems, the fact that the entire massive storm cell rotates. 30% of these supercells produce tornadoes.

I almost felt like I was looking straight up at a gigantic UFO, that’s how huge and other-worldly the lightning-flashing, rotating, massive storm cloud looked. As I stared up at the supercell, with my mouth gaping wide open, I heard what sounded like a large rock come out of the cloud, crashing down on our RV 5th wheel travel trailer that was parked a few feet away from where I was standing.

Suddenly, hail stones the size of my fist — no, I am not exaggerating! — were crashing down all around me. I have seen hail the size of marbles, many times in my lifetime. I have also seen hail the size of golf balls. But this hail was the size of baseballs and softballs. I’m talking, REALLY BIG.

I ran inside the house, and it sounded like boulders were crashing down all over our roof. My husband and I went out and stood on the covered front porch, staring in shock at the big round balls of rock-hard ice that was pounding everything in sight. Windows of vehicles parked along both sides of our street were being broken out, sounding like small hand-grenade explosions.

When the hail began falling faster and harder, it started ricochetting off the ground, up onto the porch, striking my husband and me on our arms and legs and shoulders. So we scurried back inside our house, and listened as the ice-rocks continued to pummel our roof. The hail storm lasted for an incredibly long time. (Our previously like-new 24 ft travel trailer was totalled. We have yet to hear from the insurance company about our other property damage.)

While I was looking out the window at the storm, I saw one of our wild birds, struggling to get back up to her nest from where she must have been knocked down by the storm. She kept trying to fly back up into the tree, but the falling hail kept knocking her down on the ground.

Our Chinese Elm is approximately 100 years old, and probably the tallest thing in our small town. I knew that going out into the lightning and running through the big balls of hail to the base of the tallest tree around, in order to save a little bird, was a dangerous thing to do. I knew that my life is more important than the life of a little bird. I wasn’t in a suicidal mood, either; on the contrary, I had been trying to figure out where was the safest place to be in such a wild storm, when I saw the poor bird being battered by the hail.

Maybe it was a crazy thing to do, but I covered my head with my arms, and ran out to the base of the huge tree to save the struggling bird…. but the bird, more frightened by my appearance than by the storm, suddenly found the ability to fly back up to her nest!

I still don’t know if that was a crazy thing I did…. but I do know that I would do it again, if presented with the exact same situation. That tree has survived 100 years of wild storms on these high plains without a lightning strike, so I thought it reasonable to assume that the odds of lighting striking that tree at the precise moment I ran under it, were probably not too high. But the poor little bird, in her unguarded situation, being battered by the hail, had almost no chance of survival. That is why I ran out to try to help her, and would do so again. She was little and weak and innocent, and she was suffering. I couldn’t NOT try to help her.

I know that as I ran out to try to help the little bird, with the fist-sized hailstones bruising my arms, my shoulders, and my back… I was running to help, not just a wild bird, but also the little, weak, and innocent child I once was, who needed love, nurturing, and protection, and did not get it.

With BIG HUGS and LOVE to everyone’s inner child,
Elaina

89

Caden,
I have been guilty of the same. I think it’s easy to fall into that because we’re used to being constantly judged. We assume everyone is doing it. I have observed this in myself as well.

Another thing that just recently was an “aha” moment for me was the realization that not everyone bashes on people, their family specifically. That was a foreign idea to me. I thought every one always did it. Because my mother does. I was raised hearing it.

I remember about a year ago I heard my mom’s voice so clearly when I was driving. She judged me about something and it was like she was sitting in the passenger seat… the words were so clear in my head it was almost like she was actually THERE with me. I just told her to shut up because she’s an idiot and doesn’t know what she’s talking about. I said those words aloud too. And, guess what….. she shut up! My mind stopped those imaginary words, when I used strong words to combat it. It was a sort of strange experience, and I’ve only had it once. Maybe, I should be training myself to do this more often. It’s not like hearing her voice belittling me has ever really stopped.

Good observations Caden, and thanks for sharing them.
xoxo,
Mimi

90

Elaina,
I love the story you just wrote. I’m sorry for the property damage you sustained, but your story was awesome.
Thanks for sharing that!!
With love,
Mimi
ps – I love my dog too, and my cat, and my brand new kitten.

91

Hi Caden
Excellent comments! Very good processing and I thank you for sharing it with us!
Hugs, Darlene

92

Hi Elaina
I love your story, thank you so much for sharing it here! I have two fav lines and one of them is when you said “This is how children ought to be loved and cared for. This is how my inner child should have been loved and cared for”. Yes, this IS how we should have been loved and cared for and we can do this for ourselves now.
Hugs, Darlene

93

Elaina! Such an amazing story. Thank you for your kind thoughts to me.
I loved what you said about caring for you child within like your beloved
animals. I have a difficult time imagining myself as someone to be
loved. What you said about earning love was our family dynamic. But I
was never able to achieve that. At least I have stopped trying now which
I consider to be progress. Gosh abusive parents really mess you up!
Its amazing to me to find out that that abuse was the cause of life long disfunction.
It was drummed into me that I was the problem. And their treatment
of me was the result of dealing with screwed up, emotional for no reason me .
Thank you so much for sharing! Karen

94

Elaina….I was deeply moved by your story about the little bird…and how you felt and what you did…and your thoughts. Sometimes I hear or read stories that touch my heart and I find myself being drawn into what it must have been like for you …or others…as a little child, and it makes me want to do the protecting and comforting! As a mother and as a person who has lived through abuse, trauma and neglect, it strikes a chord in me, and makes me sad for all of the many many people who never were able to know and feel secure in their parents love….or with any adult! Elaina…I love your heart! Very loving and gentle! I wish that you had been a child who had known that someone would risk ANYTHING to save you…to care for you…to protect you…to comfort you….to speak loving words in honesty and truth. Just like the little animals. I realized recently that my parents had loved and cared for their cats more than they did for my older brother and myself! It is rather shocking to come to that realization, isnt it? I think what you wrote here is a very valuable story and I thank you for sharing it!

95

Mimi,

Thanks. I agree, I spent twenty years living under constant hypercriticism from my family, and it really has colored my perception of other people. Sometimes I have only listened to those old voices and not really those of the people in my life (i.e. not blood relatives, but the people I choose to be around who are really nice and sensitive) who were giving out a much kinder message. But you’re right, not everyone is so judgmental like that, I’ve had many conversations with my partner to that effect. I’ve never been fond of the whole ‘thought combating’ process for myself though, I think I agree with Darlene and Christina above that we need to try and listen and understand where this is coming from to break it’s hold. I don’t think that being harsh with ourselves can be truly very healing. For a long time, I’ve had many of the horrible things they said to me replayed over and over again in my mind, but maybe that was because my body was in a confused way trying to tell me something was buried deep down. Like the fact that I had no idea that my mother sexually abused me before last week.

take care,
-Conden.

96

Elaina,
I love your story about the bird in the storm. You have a gift for writing. The words you use to describe the scene, made me feel like I was there watching it play out. The empathy you had for the bird was incredible. I enjoyed reading this story!…So heartfelt & symbolic of the struggle to survive against the storm! Thanks for sharing!
Sonia

97

SMD and Elaina,
I felt the same way. Like I was there. It was very vivid in my mind’s eye!! Such a sweet story!! Thanks for sharing again Elaina!
Love and Peace,
Mimi

98

Thank you so much for your kind words, Mimi, Sonia, Diane, Karen, and Darlene! (I hope I’m not leaving anyone out.) I really appreciate your comments.

That supercell storm was truly intense. The storm chasers’ video of our storm is on youtube, it’s called “DESTRUCTIVE HAIL! Baseball to softball size hail stones, near Portales, NM” and it was posted by TornadoVideos.net. The young woman driving the chase vehicle is an annoying distraction, however, with her nonstop giddy screams and squeals. After the first time, I had to watch it with the sound off. But they were definitely in our town, near the grain elevators, when their vehicle was damaged in the video, I kept pausing the video and taking screenshots of various scenes, and there is no doubt.

Joy, I wanted to tell you that your poem, “The Broken Child,” touched my heart.

Caden, I read your blog after reading your last comment. Pure horror, what you went through. I’m so sorry you went through such terrible abuse. What a testament it is to your inner strength that you are surviving, and telling your story.

We have the right to tell the truth about our own lives. The abusers want to shut us up, and so do a lot of other people, people like Caden’s sister, who doesn’t want to have to believe that the horrors are true, or that they were really so horrible. People don’t like to think about, or hear about, the worst that happens in this world. We change the channel when a commercial comes on that shows starving children in third world countries, or abused and neglected animals languishing in rescue shelters. We don’t want to think about, hear about, read about, or see, babies and young children whose little bodies have been ravaged by cancer. We don’t want to remember or believe in the Holocaust, which happened only a few years before I was born. And, we don’t want to believe that a mother would ever sexually abuse her children.

But I believe it, Caden. I’ve been through too many unbelievable-but-true horrors of my own, not to believe it. What happened to you was evil. Contrary to what your sister and others have told you, there was nothing “normal” about it.

You can be proud of yourself for surviving, and for having the courage to face the truth, and tell your story.

Elaina

99

Elaina,

Thank you so much for that. You’re right, people want to censor us and turn their heads away so they won’t have to see ours or their own truth. But these experiences of ours are reality and we do have a right to talk about them.

I love what you said about the animals you share your life with–that they deserve your love, care, protection, and sustenance just for being there. Most people wouldn’t imagine for instance denying a dog dinner because you’re upset with them, but this is done to children all the time. I didn’t grow up with any guarantees myself, I always had to be nervous wondering if I would still get my needs (food, clothing, school supplies, even just communication) met depending on my parents moods. That isn’t how life should be for anyone. Reading your intense story, I remembered that my abusive parents once left a caged canary outside on their deck in a severe lightning storm without a second thought; it died. They treated me the same way; but I would do anything to protect the amazing creatures that live on our property with us.

take care,
-Caden.

100

Caden,
That’s horrible what they did to the bird too. Seems like they had little regard for anything living.

It may be common knowledge, but I remember hearing/reading about serial killers and how their history would often reveal they were mean to animals as children.

After being a regular at EFB, my view of that is different. I used to think they were somehow just flawed ~ born with this pathology. Now, I wonder who was doing the same things to them, as infants, toddlers, and beyond.

xoxo,
Mimi

101

Mimi
It has also been proven that serial killers were ALL terribly abused as children and not in fact born that way.
Hugs, Darlene

102

Awwww, that makes me so sad Darlene!! A child whose mind is so badly injured and life is so terribly distorted that they eventually resort to murder. Who could fathom the horror stories they must be keeping inside! So sad!!!
Xoxo,
Mimi

103

Darlene – i understand your point of view. I just dont express it as well as you :)

Dave

104

“One way that I have found to nurture myself, is in caring for animals. When I am feeding and cuddling and caring for our fur-baby, our Cattle Dog Lady, I see in her sweet dependent innocence a reflection of the little girl I used to be”

“When I am nurturing and loving these little animals, I am also nurturing and loving the little girl I used to be”

Really beautifully written Elaina, thank you, I’ve never been able to put into words just why and how much I love my cats (and all other animals) and feel so desperately protective of them, including their emotions and spirit.

I get scoffed at a lot along the lines of ‘it’s only a cat’ by others but I don’t care and see the power of the exchange of love and nurturing and trust flowing between me and the animals every day.

Sometimes it makes me quite tearful and now I can verbalise why – it’s the recognition of all that should have been when I was growing up.

105

R ~ your comment brought happy empathy tears to my eyes!

When anyone makes fun of you for loving your pets because “it’s only a cat,” you may want to remember this: One of the early signs that a person is a psychopath, or a sociopath, meaning that they have no empathy, is when they will torture and torment helpless animals. You, Dear One, are the complete opposite of such an evil person!

Big Hug, ((((~R~))))
Elaina

106

Aw, thanks so much Elaina! I know this isn’t the ‘talk about how much you love your pets section’ by its really nice to be able to share these emotions and have them be understood.

I was joking to a friend tonight that I’ll be worn out physically and emotionally by Christmas because my 2nd cat has finally decided (after 4 years) that she really does love me after all (very independent spirit from kitten age) so now I have 2 little creatures basking in the unique love I provide :)

I can understand people scoffing at times tbh – my two play my heart strings like experts – then again, I believe animals are sentient creatures and who am I to tell them to ‘go away and leave me alone’ when they tell me they’re lonely/want to play/ be fussed/ just fancy a snack?

Getting back to the original topic of this post – thank you Darlene, your writing about self talk has made me treat myself more kindly since I read it since, frankly, my self talk is so harsh that I would be absolutely outraged if I heard someone in RL talk to anyone the way I talk to myself:

I’ve even been known to slap myself (real, not figuratively) when totally frustrated with myself along with the inner name calling of the vilest kind( – pretty nuts right?

Anyway, I’ve been learning to play a musical instrument for two weeks since I realised it was a childhood dream of mine.

Monday is lesson day and I was able to talk myself nicely before going in tonight rather than beating myself internally for not doing everything perfectly yet so that was good.

Feels much nicer too to talk to myself kindly and not expect absolute perfection all the time!

107

Hi R
It hit me like a ton of bricks in the stomach when I realized what my self talk was like! I still have to be aware of it because it is so deep beneath the surface of my mind that I don’t always hear it! I have learned that self care and nurturing is what helps the most to prevent that nasty self talk from coming up in the first place. All things that I was not taught growing up.

YAY for your victory in being able to talk nicely to yourself!
Hugs, Darlene

108

Thank you Darlene, as ever your responses mean a lot.

Busy congratulating myself at learning my first song to play today and it feels so damn strange yet good to tell me how proud I am of me.

As ever, the counter voice (in scathing tone) wanting to say ‘oh, you think you’re very clever and special don’t you?’ well, you’re not, look at all the things you can’t do etc etc) is always right there wanting to take over and steal the joy.

Ah well, at least I’m aware there is a counter voice threatening and demeaning now – something to be vigilant of in the future.

109

R, how wonderful that you are learning to play a musical instrument! I really applaud you for doing that, and for giving yourself a break from the hateful self-talk for not having been born knowing how to play a musical instrument from the start.

I did a double-take when I read what you said about having slapped yourself ~ because I have done that, too! Long ago, but, WOW, didn’t we learn our lessons well from our childhood abuser(s)?

About 9 years ago I began to unlearn my life-long habit of talking down to myself all the time in my own mind. I was 50 then, so I had half a century of bad habits to break. I did it with counter self-talk. For example, when I would catch myself thinking that I was crazy and stupid and that I always did everything wrong, I would immediately tell myself that that was a lie I had learned from abusers, and that I am in fact very sane, and smart, and strong, and a person whom I really like.

I discovered that I actually do like myself, in a rather ususual way. When I was going through my last divorce 12 years ago, I went to a therapist for help with the grief and stress. She recommended that I write in a journal every day, as a way of getting my feelings out. I tried to do what she said, but at the time I was far too stressed to write coherent sentences. Finally one day in total frustration, I got a voice recorder and talked into it, saying all of the things that I would have written in my journal if I had been capable of writing. I talked about all of the things that were worrying me at the time, I talked about my emotional pain, my fears, my grief over my failed marriage, my hopes and worries for my future, everything. I felt at the time like I was rambling and ranting like a crazy person.

A few days later I decided to listen to my recording. I expected to hear a raving, crazy, emotional mess. But, to my absolute shock, I heard…. a woman I really LIKED! I heard a woman who had a lot on her plate, and was doing the best she could with the difficult situation she was in. I heard a woman who was kind and compassionate, thoughtful, honest, humble, and genuine. In short, I heard a woman whom I would love to have for a friend!

WOW that was HUGE! I heard myself, and I LIKED myself!

Elaina

110

R,
Congrats from me too. I have often wanted to learn piano… just always find a reason to put it off. I hope you’re enjoying your new skills!! :)

Elaina,
I think that’s an excellent exercise ~ speaking into a recorder. I might try that myself. Thanks for sharing it!!

Love and Hope,
Mimi

111

“I hope you’re enjoying your new skills!!”

Oh I am – very much! Week 2 of lessons and I’m up to torturing Mary’s poor little Lamb. See you all in Carnegie Hall in six months :)

It’s the best thing I’ve done in years Mimi, this playing an instrument lark and would say go for it, you’ll more than likely love it and if you don’t hey, nothing lost, just something else from lifes rich palette sampled.

Elaina – ‘Glad’ (if that’s the right word to use, but you’ll know what I mean) that I’m not alone in having physically punished myself for being ‘stupid’and all the rest of it.

Might try the recording idea as strangely I don’t mind listening to myself as much that way.

112

Come here with a big whine today, have to get it out I’m afraid.

I can’t do it – my self talk is really bad when it matters most.

In a horrible situation at work, small team, boss, me and one part-timer.

Boss has been on holiday for the last two weeks and I’ve been stuck doing all of the work and it’s been soo busy I cant even begin to describe it.

Part-time woman has responsibility for one small area of the overall jobs of the team and no matter how busy it gets, refuses to get involved and help with anything that doesnt fall into her small area.

On top of that she’s I’ll so often that it really makes no sense to place any reliance on her.

Anyway, this is long enough as it is I’ll get to my point – I am utterly utterly exhausted, angry, stressed, worn out and thinking I can’t cope anymore.

Yet, no matter how horrible I feel and how unfairly I’m treated, my inner voice/talk immediately jumps in to let me know that I’m making it all up, exaggerating, being a drama queen and that theres nothing I can do about anything , no one will listen or believe me.

If I think about applying for better jobs, the self talk screams and clamours that there’s nothing better out there and even if there is, it won’t last.

For heavens sake, what exactly will it take for me to allow myself to have a voice?

No wonder I’ ve ended up with a giant mug tattoo on my forehead – everyone knows i feel duty bound to do the right thing, absolving them of having to take any care/responsibility.

I can’t go on like this, do any of you further ahead in their healing have any tips on how to turn around really vicious and relentless self-talk pls? (professional counsellors eg out of the question financially at this point in time)

113

Last Friday I saw my therapist and talked about my negative self talk. I have just started to tackle this issue. She had me visualize “the Wise Woman,” the one who knows the truth, who knows my heart, sort of like a Carl Jung archetype. My therapist had me imagine the Wise Woman enfolding me whenever I find myself saying negative things to myself. It is such a comforting exercise and I hope to get better and better at it. Finding the poem “Old Time-Travelor” by Karenina on your blog is just so perfect and not a coincidence. Blessings to all.

114

WOW! I had not given much thought to self talk before now (this is all somewhat new to me – I have had therapy but not enough nor has it felt productive. Now that I think about it and examine it, I always rush myself – I always feel like I need to “hurry hurry hurry”. I don’t know where that comes from. I’m a stay at home mom and rarely have anywhere I need to be urgently. Everything in my self talk has a rushed quality to it.

Furthermore, I am a “die trying sort of person”. I will exhaust myself to get a job done – it goes beyond self talk, it’s like hardwiring. If we move house, I have a hard time sleeping unless I know most of the unpacking is done. I will carry on long after everyone else has dinner and gives up. I imagine myself as the “head on a brick wall woman” who ignores all sense and sensibility and forgoes my wellbeing for the task at hand. I am a perfectionist.

I know some of this comes from my Stepfather. We weren’t allowed to leave the sofa unless all the scatter cushions were plumped and replaced at the angle he liked them. There was no getting up without pushing your chair under the table. Carpets had to be vaccumed in W’s. I don’t hold my children to these standards whatsoever, but I feel angry with myself when I find myself STILL doing it!

I have a tendency toward OCD. I like things symmetrical (especially in the fridge or cabinets). I don’t like the idea of running out of stuff so we always have back ups (toothpaste, shampoo, etc). I don’t like sinks or taps with water droplets on them – they must be buffed with a dry towel. It is exhausting honestly. And you know what? I’m the ONLY one who can clean properly – I have a massively hard time considering the house clean unless I do it myself.

So yeah, I am sure alot of this is to do with my self talk. I don’t begin to understand it but would like to change it. Especially the “hurry up” part because I find myself getting like this with my own kids. Always wishing they would hurry! Again, we have nowhere to be……

115

Tangie,
So much of what you just said rings bells!! I have to admit that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve let some of it go. I am still very much a perfectionist, and I am the only one who can do household repairs correctly, or clean correctly. My husband is not a gifted handyman. I became one out of necessity from living alone so long and not having my dad around. I bought a condo when I was about 29 and it had been owned by an older lady. She hadnt done any updates since the Kennedy inauguration I don’t think. So, I dug in and ripped off the foil wallpapers, took out a wall and put a huge jacuzzi tub where the wall was. I hired the plumbing for that, but for the rest, I did it myself. As a result, I learned a lot, but mostly what I learned is it won’t be right unless I do it myself. I also had to do it because I couldn’t afford to hire anyone for most anything. I was alone, and there wasn’t anything else to do. I loved doing it. Anyhow, out of that has sprung a perfectionist. I don’t let my husband paint, or do many of the things I regard as “needing my perfect touch”. I don’t think he minds though, :)

The flipside of all that is, my husband’s mother was a hoarder in the true sense of the word. There wasn’t really even a path through her house. You just had to step on things. Her tub was full to the ceiling. One bedroom only had room enough to open the door. It was stacked to the ceiling with boxes of sewing materials. As a result of that, my husband’s standards and expectations are much more flexible than mine. I have had to pick my battles wisely and let a LOT of things go. My house will never be perfect again and I’ve had to accept that. When you live alone, things are always where you put them. My husband is like a wrecking ball when it comes to organization and putting “like” things together.

We have come to a healthier medium. I have to let a lot of things slide and he has stepped up to do his best in terms of keeping house. His standards are much higher than when we met. He still has to pull me off the ceiling at times, but, with age and with him as my spouse, I have improved as well.

The thing that I always had a tiny fear of was becoming a hoarder. Even though I’m the first to throw out clutter. I have researched hoarding a little bit, and it seems as though the person is actually a staunch perfectionist. When something gets out of place or there’s a little mess, and they can’t get to it for whatever reason, they start to become overwhelmed. I can see how this happened for my mother in law raising three boys. She wasn’t always a hoarder. She became one over the years. I believe the theory that it begins in perfectionism. I have become overwhelmed and gave up at times. That is little scary to me. I try to stay conscious of what that could lead to.

Anyhow, I had too much coffee just now I think. A little motor mouth this morning! :)

Peace,
Mimi

116

Hi R
I missed your last comment ~ all of this worked for me in reverse; it was by seeing the dysfunction in my own life that led me to the wholeness and equality that I live in now. I found my voice by finding out HOW I lost it and becomming my own advocate. My suggestion is read more of these articles because they reveal almost all of the HOW that I did this.
Hugs, Darlene

117

Hi Tangie and Mimi
I can relate to that hurry thing. For me everything like this has to do with being in control. I have been obsessed with every little thing in the house being perfect and I also let things go because of overwhelm and didn’t become a hoarder but had piles of stuff like old newspapers up in the attic. I had this whole all or nothing way of being but it was either about being perfect or building walls and insulating myself with messes behind closed doors. Finding out what I was protecting myself from by looking at the roots of where it came from AND what it caused me to believe about myself has been the answer to all of this for me and the answer to finding a balance that it healthy and sane. Both clean and organized obsessed and hoarder (giving up due to overwhelm) have their roots in something other than the behaviour itself.
Hugs, Darlene

118

Sometimes this site gets me through the day. And this post about self-talk opened my eyes to the way I treat myself. I’m learning I have to remember that I’m not my parents, so I don’t need to follow their lead in being unkind to me. Thanks.

119

Darlene,
I often wonder what caused my mother in law to become a hoarder. She’s gone now, so no way to explore that territory with her. She was an only child and then she had 3 boys. I have concluded that it was chaos in their house. I’m convinced if there were three of my husband in my house, I would lose control too.

My husband finds some comfort in stacks of papers. I don’t understand that, but, I do intervene and do damage control when he’s at work. Funny, he never misses it either. He seems to have trouble distinguishing between what is important, and what isn’t in terms of paper things. I might find a receipt for a high dollar item next to the shredder, and then a “to do” list he made himself back in 1972, in the file cabinet.

I’m just babbling, but it was good to get your input on these things.

Peace and love to everyone,
Mimi

120

Hi Ali
Welcome to emerging from broken.
That is a great thing to remember!
Hugs, Darlene

121

LOL Mimi # 119….I just moved out of my house and have 3 trashbags of papers I insist can’t be just thrown away because burried in months of junk mail and reciepts might be a single piece of paper worth keeping. I mean these piles existed at my home and when I seperated from my husband…I took the time to at least toss them in a bag and bring them with me! I know it’s nuts, but just can’t bring myself to throw it all away and start from a clean plate. So I’m holding myself hostage to make me get through them – I’m refusing to get my cable hooked up until I get through them…because otherwise I’ll spend my down time vegging and they’ll never get done! *sigh* At least I can laugh about it for now.

122

[...] and I am no newbie to the action of being grateful. What is different today is that I don’t have that little voice in the background reprimanding me for my failure with the concept of [...]
The newest post on emerging from broken related to this post.

123

I definitely have this problem. I am trying to learn to love and accept myself, but it is much easier said than done. I have noticed that when I do get past the negative self-talk and try to acknowledge my accomplishments and successes, I feel overwhelmingly guilty and am afraid I am being self-involved and egotistical and pretentious and arrogant. It’s hard to accept the honest work I put into my life and work, like I’m not allowed to feel good about myself and to believe my efforts actually make a positive impact on myself and others. I don’t have contact with my family anymore, and I know that this is from the way they treated me (and poor choices in past relationships), but it gets triggered by people I meet along the way who feel threatened and insecure towards me and try to put me down.

124

Thanks Darlene! It seems like my parents have taken up full time residency inside my head. I hear their critical words over & over again. It’s hard to turn off those old nasty voices, but I am working on it.

Glad you’re having a nice vacation!

January

125

So much of the painful roots of abuse lies denial snd truths hsve been revealed to me recently. I sm often iverwhelmed. I don’t even realise how hard I am being on myself. .it is so ingrained in who I am I think.
I need to stop and breath and discern..listen.
I just started training for a new career. .and had not been there but sn hour before meeting the bosses husband who said while shaking my hand “that if he had interviewed me he would not have hired me! ”
I wasn’t sure he’d said what he’d said but his wife smirked snd said
Well..he’s here!!!.
Later I was cleaning and he stopped me to instruct me in how to wipe tables and chairs without spreading butt germs!!! He said this in front of customers!! My gosh.
I sm wondering if he’s singled me out or treats all employees do well!!
How do I address him if this continues?
I have gone NC with my unloving N mom, my abusive (in every way) dad, very cruel N sister (who stirs up NP’s against me and my children) as well as my raging N brother. extremely dysfunctional “family”
My health..my very life depends on being a away from the violence and sbuse now.
I was losing weight,30 lbs. (Looked like a skeleton) heart going out of time, not able to think or function with the onslaught of violence everyday.
Some church members want me to ‘ reconcile’.. I say I have lsid my life down for decades loving them taking
It. Praying for them..for reconciliation. Now I am not able to do that anymore. .I can’t be the sacrificial lamb. All the seeds I can plant..I have. Its time for my complete healing. .my freedom..my blessings.
But how do I address the bosses husband so he stops and I can still have my job. What are good words to say to well meaning loving but misunderstanding friends?

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