Feb
06

The Reason People don’t Hear what You are Trying to Say

By

Freedom on the other side

freedom on the other side….

It is very common that when the lights go on and we start to come out of ‘the fog’ that we realize we have been living in for a long time, we are excited to tell others what we are discovering and it is frustrating when they react as though we are crazy.  You know that look; the look that says “WHAT the HECK? You must be Nuts”

Sometimes people try to talk us out of what we are discovering before we are even finished talking about it. Even worse is when people refuse to listen at all as if to say that if they can’t ‘shut us down’ they will simply block us out. This type of reaction is defining in the way that it sent me the message that I was not worth listening to, or that I ‘was crazy’ or out of my mind, ridiculous, exaggerating etcetera. It was dismissive. The bottom line with these types of reactions is that I had been discounted, devalued, not permitted to have any impact and very much what exactly what I have been used to living with for so long, so the automatic response is NOT to fight to have a  voice, it was to question myself again.   

It’s typical for a survivor of any type of abuse to try and understand “why” these people do not want to ‘hear them’ and it is also typical to conclude that the person on the receiving end of our story is rejecting our story because they don’t understand it, have never been a victim of any type of abuse, neglect or devaluing/discounting treatment and don’t relate to it in any personal way.  

But this is usually NOT why the receiver of the information we so desperately want to discuss, will reject our discoveries. It is far more common that the receiver of this information is way too familiar with it themselves and would rather not face it in their own lives. Think of it this way; if you are in denial, there is no action needed but if you come out of denial usually there are a few decisions to make.

At the beginning of my process of emotional healing, after almost 20 years of searching for the answers and finding only Band-Aids when I needed surgery and stitches, I attended a 3 day seminar about the misuse of power and control in relationships put on by the new therapist I was seeing at the time. The lights started to go on about the second day. I started to pick up on a few things about my mother and about my father in law that offered some clarity into the struggle that I had in relationship with those particular two people. My father in law was more overt in his relational style than my mother so it was easier to see his style of controlling my husband and me, then it was for me to see my mother’s more covert style of controlling me.

 That night I came home and burst into the house excitedly telling my husband Jim that his father was an abuser! I stated something like “I know what is wrong in our lives…YOUR father is an abuser!” My husband looked shocked and then he started to look angry. I started to explain what I was learning about how people misuse their power to overpower others and my husband Jim was looking at me like I was nuts! This was HIS father; I mean Jim should have known better than anyone about how his own father ran the show, and how relationship with him was a one way street but none the less he tried to shut me up.

I was excited! I had this feeling that I had found the answer to something extremely important, and I wanted to share it with my husband but he was not hearing me! He didn’t want to hear me. He couldn’t hear me. And the truth is that he was terrified to hear me.

Through attending this seminar about the misuse of power and control in relationship, I was just beginning to comprehend that the “problem” wasn’t actually ME and that glimmer of hope was beyond any hope I had had for years, but Jim was afraid to hear that in case the problem was HIM. And since he believed that his father was his “life’s blood” he could not possibly endure to visit the idea that the problem might be his father either.

Suddenly, Jim wasn’t very happy that I was attending this seminar.

And I was really disappointed. Here I thought that he would be excited to find out that I was discovering a new definition of relationship. That I was learning what LOVE really was and what it wasn’t; that I was learning how controlling abusive people believe that they are the most important person in the relationship and that they keep their victims believing that trash so that they don’t have to operate from the healthy relationship style of equal value, that I thought he would feel like I felt; like I was on a new road to understanding and to healthier relationship and that this road would lead to a happier place for us! And he shut me out.

I had lived with expressions my whole life and I had never thought about them in relation to what they meant. Expressions like “it’s my way or the highway” and “if you don’t like it, tough”. I accepted a social pecking order because it was all I knew.  Learning about the misuse of power in dysfunctional relationships, now that was new and it fit with so much of my history with both my family and my husband’s family.

Something clicked into place for me that weekend but getting Jim on board was a whole other story! He had to overcome his fear of facing the truth about his father way before he accepted what I had discovered about his father. He was terrified to ‘see’ his father through that grid of understanding.  He falsely believed just as I always had that it was far easier to go along with the way that things had always been than to see the truth and advocate for changes in our relationships with our families.

I persisted in learning about the true definition of love and in my discovery of what healthy relationship was and eventually I realized that even my marriage to Jim was not based on mutual respect or equal value. That was when I realized that if Jim saw his father as controlling and demanding, he would have to see that in himself too. That was not something he was willing to do right away; he liked things the way they were and he had no motivation to change. But I was no longer willing to live in the dysfunction. 

Eventually, Jim had to get some help if he wanted to save our marriage. And it was interesting (and frustrating to me at the time) but the way that Jim was finally able to hear me, was to face the dysfunctional father son relationship that he had with his father. He had to see how controlling and manipulative that his father was with him. He had to see the truth about how one sided his relationship with his father was. It was very painful but in the end Jim getting clarity on how he was regarded and disregarded by his father and in seeing the truth about how his father treated and regarded his wife ~ (Jims mother) ~ enabled Jim to see himself in relation to the way he saw me and our kids and how he believed his needs/wishes etc. were more important than ours were. He saw that he didn’t regard us with equal value to himself.  

My husband saw ‘giving up his power in exchange for equality’ as a death sentence. He believed that ‘his power’ was all that he had and all that he was. It was a big part of his identity.  His self-esteem was grounded in making people comply and obey his wishes.  (Just like his father and my mother.) If I jumped, Jim believed he was loved. That was how I proved my love; by being the way he wanted me to be. Just like I did with my mother. The cycle of abuse continues when the grown up abused children adopt the false definition of love they have been raised with believing that compliance and obedience equals or proves respect, love and self-worth and the partner in the relationship goes along with the belief that compliance and obedience will eventually lead to being loved.  It doesn’t matter which angle that the false definition comes from, neither is the truth.

Hand in hand these dysfunctional relationship ideas rule the relational world and keep the cycle of abuse and the misuse of power, going. It is very hard to face the truth about disregard and disrespect especially when it comes from our own parents, but living in the dysfunction, trying to guess all the time what was ‘expected’ of me and what to do better next time, was exhausting and therefore even harder.

Jim and I did our individual work and our marriage relationship recovered. Jim surrendered his belief that ‘control over me and the kids’ proved his worth. Our parents were not interested in giving up their power in exchange for equal value and thereby gave up having any relationship with their own children and grandchildren.  

Jim and I and our three kids (2 of whom are now adults) are thriving. Our relationships are all based on the true definition of love and are no longer about compliance and obedience.  We are no longer exhausted. We live life to the fullest in freedom and wholeness.  All of this happened because we were willing to look at things the way that they really were and we were willing to see that there was truth that we had not considered yet.

So next time someone shuts you down and discounts your story or your discoveries, tells you that you were not abused or neglected and infers that you are ‘nuts’ or crazy, don’t be too quick to conclude that they have never been through it themselves. Perhaps, like Jim, they are just trying to avoid having to make major life changes that facing the truth about all this stuff brings about.  Don’t let that stop YOU from making the changes that YOU want to make to improve your own life and relationships.

There are two main topics in this post. One is about the way that people react to our stories, discounting and trying to shut us up. The other is about the cycle of abuse in dysfunctional family. Please share your thoughts about these topics or any other thoughts that you wish to share. I look forward to the conversation!

There is freedom on the other side of broken;

Darlene Ouimet   

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

 

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Categories : Therapy

90 Comments

1

Hi Darlene:
I think many of us who are reading these articles and have begun the healing process have encountered this issue at some point. I did. With
the two members of my FOO which remain. Actually about 15
years ago when I was NC with my
parents and tried to discuss our
childhood with my only brother he got very upset and
made it very clear to leave the past alone. He just shuts me down like Im crazy and ranting when Im not. Last Jan (2012) when I came out of the fog and wrote my
mother a letter discussing our issues she completely ignored it and pretended I had never said anything. Oh yes. Both of them are
much happier with their power and
control intact. The feeling of never
being taken seriously is my fact of life and has always been so. I have struggled to prove myself sane and normal to them to no
avail. I’ve stopped that although the frustrated feelings remain.
Frustrated should be in caps!!

I also have discussed all the new topics with my husband. He listens. He is a cerebral narcissist
so I have to go slowly so I dont
upset his fragile sense of self. His
abusive mother caused his damage and although he understands her abuse, he will never see his damage which is
the nature of his beast, his false self. Very sad that. He has become more aware of his thoughtlessness though and made some positive changes.
Karen

2

I hear you Karen!
Never say never though. I though! I thought my husband would ‘never see it’ either. But he did! Not as quickly as I did and not in my time frame, but he did! All I ever asked was for some forward movement, some positive change, just to believe that he was trying, and I stuck to MY boundary. Those were my decisions and that is what worked for me.
In the case of my family, I gave up trying to convince anyone of anything anymore and I used my energy on my self. I focused on hearing me and empowering and validating myself where I had been invalidated. It really was like rising up out of the ashes! If my husband had not made movement forwards he would have lost me like my family did, becasue I had decided that I was not going to live that way anymore.
Thanks for sharing!!
Hugs, Darlene

3

To many I’m not important. That is why I haven’t existed till now because you see I’ve always been here but never would admit I had something to say. No one is in control of us we along with the controller have lied to us to make us believe we are doomed if we don’t comply that we will die if we try to get away. You see no one ever believed me when I tried to tell my story, a story starts when you are very young. Even before you can speak, your mind thinks. I believe babies know exactly what’s happening to them but there is no way of tying there thought patterns to speech that is understandable to adults. The story began long ago, my story is worth telling because God said so, if not I wouldn’t be here right now to share it. The child was born in adverse conditions,meaning no one was happy to see her…some were scared, others were disgusted, while still others thought she was a mistake, a problem, a nuisance. Wow how was she suppose to deal with all this at such a young age? She was left alone many times and for many hours what was to become of her when most of the human contact she experienced was that of insults and beatings to be quiet ant stop being a nuisance. How do you treat a baby as a nuisance? When a child depends solely on it’s caretakers. I believe babies can be taught to hate themselves. They can and do often shrivel up and die from lack of love and nurturing… The lucky ones survive… and I don’t think survival is meant to hide… My words have meaning if they only have meaning to me then,so be it. I am a good wife. Just not to my husband because he has never seen past his own ego to believe anything different of me. Wow I have been asleep for a very long time, because you see I really do matter to me…Aimlessly I went about my life…nothing really mattered to me because I couldn’t see pass other people’s egos to see the real me… I like me more and more…I haven’t reached a full blown love of me but that will come in time because I matter to me… This is the year of my deliverance from all that never wanted the best for me… The lies are the worst each and every lie that was spoken over me … I believed them to be true… but they’re not even remotely true. I have faith that I am exactly where I need to be. No more guilt no more shame for who I am. I was made to feel guilt ridden and ashamed for who I was. For being who God made me to be. Not any more… hugs Jane

4

WOW JANE!!
Bravo! I love your comments! YES YES YES you matter! You deserve a voice. You matter to me too.
Thank you so much for sharing this today!
big hug! Darlene

5

What a powerful post Darlene and very familiar. Although there are still people in my life that cause me to feel I must comply to, most of my dysfunction is in my own thoughts. These thoughts and way of living to survive were deeply instilled in me from the day I was born. It IS exhausting to try to guess what you have to do in order to not upset the cart. I have spent my whole life doing this, trying to please everyone because the only way i felt loved was from someone’s approval.
Now I have very little or nothing at all to do with these people. But every time I try to develop a relationship I find myself doing it again but it’s now in my own head, my inner voice. I am working hard to stop this behavior and am making some headway but have much farther to go.

I have also stopped trying to tell everyone, except for those I trust implicitly, about the things I am learning. I fear rejection and I guess this shows the growth I still have to make.

Thank you so much for sharing this amazing story!
Stanley

6

Hi Stanley
Yes, going no contact with these one sided relationship people is not the real solution when it comes to having mutually respectful relationships. The real solution is validating and empowering ourselves to believe that we DO deserve equal value! That is done by seeing ow wrong it was to not have had it communicated to us in the first place. It’s not easy but it is doable! You are on the path!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

7

Hi Stanley. I can so relate to your comment ” try to guess what you have to do in order to not upset the cart”. For me, it was about fear of consequences, as I instinctively knew as a young child that the “cart” was unstable and of course, it was my responsibility to do everything to ensure that it didn’t topple.

I say that in half jest because truly, if that cart even moved an inch, I knew that there would be hell to pay. Beatings, screaming, constant put downs, being told that I was never good enough, I had no rights, no voice, no nothing…..whereas, my brothers were the princes of the family, and my role was to serve and not be heard.

A couple of nights ago, I spent a 2-3 hours writing and re-writing a post for this website…until I could not take it no more and hit the “Submit Comment” tab, and then shut down the computer and went to bed.

The next morning, I woke up fearing the responses to my post. I was scared about what people would think of me. What would be their take on my revelation. I went online and discovered that my post wasn’t there….and I was so relieved. I must not have hit the submit tab after all.

I know my fear is irrational and I should not feel embarrassed by my experiences…..but that is how I have lived my life up until recently. I had a very separate public and private facade. I am trying hard to blend them into one in recognition that there is only one me….but I am still struggling to find the right balance with the right people.

I wish I could say more right now….but it is time to get ready for work.

Later, perhaps, I will try again to repost…..because it was really about this very topic. Thank you to Darlene for giving me another opportunity to be honest without fear.

8

Hi Ginger
I totally understand your fear! I actually had a blog before this one and I was so afraid to hit the publish button! Then I would not post it in facebook or anywhere. I worked for a seminar company as a mental health advocate and I refused to be introduced at seminars as the author of that blog! I was so afraid of what everyone would think and like you said, it was all about the fear of rejection, all learned by the way that I grew up. It took time for me to get to where I am today and to be comfortable saying all the things (publically) that I say now.
Just sharing what you did here is growth! YAY
Hugs! Darlene

9

And for me, I sometimes stop and ask myself in a new situation of discovery, “and the reason I am continuing to talk to someone who is not listening IS…?”

10

Kate,
I like that mental reminder. I think I need to employ that myself.

Darlene,
This is perfect timing for me. I have struggle recently which I commented about on another post.

I believe what you say in this post. It’s TRUE. I don’t know why I fear losing some of the people left in my life that refuse to listen. I never envisioned my life to be without them I suppose. But, when it causes such upset in me and a huge trigger…. sending me back to all the questions about my reality, maybe it’s time to stop the madness.

Thank you for posting this. It really hit home.

xoxo,
Mimi

11

Dear Darlene, it’s been quite some time since I posted on your website. It’s good to be back.
Your article above came at just the right time as I’m trying to move forward after the abuse by my former massage therapist and well as my family of origin. My life as been fraught with disfunction, and I am starting to untangle it. It’s a lot of work, but I have to do it if I am ever going to have a life defined by me and not others.I think I am going to be alright, all this will take time.

12

Hi Kate,
Yes that works!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Mimi
The reason that fear was so strong for me was rooted in the way that I was convinced as a young child that without ‘them’ I would die. That was the core false belief that I had to change. It all came down to that false childhood belief. (and there was MUCH rooted there and attached to that false belief. In my coaching program I help people see the roots of those beliefs through homework assingments in order to get rid of them and restore them BACK to the actual truth.)
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

13

Hi Darlene! I am faced with this exact relationship right now. My husbands mom is going through a depression right now and has pretty much given up on wanting to take care of herself and “expects” her children to take care of her. When I say take care of I mean becoming her personal servant because after all she took care of them so they “owe” her now. My intuition always knew there was something there in him and now I know what it is. Him and I mirror similar issues. He has such a loving heart and will do anything for me and yet when I got really into my healing work I could see it was becoming a threat to him. He tries to keep me in old patterns and I now know he thinks I’m going to leave him for someone “better”. It’s amazing what another person’s healing brings out in another person, especially your own partner. I had to talk to him and let him know that I will not have a relationship with her…I did attempt to help and pass along my healing work but once again I felt like I did with my mom so I have stepped back. He does not understand mental illness to the degree I do and he dimisses how she treated him as a child. He says things like get over it already, it’s the past. He has 4 other siblings that have unhealthy relationships with her and don’t seem to have an interest in getting her the help she needs. With all my education now I can clearly see the dysfunction he comes from. Just like you mentioned, if he is unable to acknowledge what happened to him was abuse he is locked in denial. I sense through my healing he is making shifts but the challenge now is that he is behaving like I did with my mom. No one wants to deal with her and because he is so loving he is becoming a martyr and taking on her stuff. I find it very difficult to talk to him about this stuff because he tunes me out or calls me crazy in a joking way. His dad passed away when he was 10 so he doesn’t have much memory of him and his mom was also abused as a child and had no desire to help herself. She passed the dysfunction on to them and now expects them to be these loving childred. I have to be honest, I’ve lost respect for her…how do I tell my husband that when he see’s her as a poor old lady who is afraid and lonely. She created the life she has and won’t take responsibility for it, my husband is becoming an enabler. I really hope our relationship can stay strong through this. I have to admit I am really proud of myself for setting such strong boundaries and I have mentally prepared myself that if my husband won’t support my own healing journey then maybe I will have to move on. I’ve have been through way too much shit to let anyone tear it all down. I love what you have shared here and I look forward to reading more of what you have to share. This work is so challenging but it sure is worth it. I love the person I am and the person I am becoming. Thank you so much Darlene for all your support and encouragement, Namaste!

14

Hi Wendy
Welcome back! Yes, it is an untangling process! I used to compare it to the insides of a baseball… what a mess there is in there! But it is doable, sort-out-able! You are on the path!
Hugs, Darlene

15

Hi Lora
You may not be able to make him see it at all. I drew my boundaries with my inlaws well before my husband considered drawing any for himself. My husband had to see it for himself but I know it helped that I stayed strong on my boundaries. I hate to say it but the boundaries I set are a huge part of what scared my husband into searching farther into the roots of his own past and his own belief system. When I made the decision that even HE would not hold me back, he had to take action. (But I did not set boundaries with the motive that he would change; I set them for me.)
I am proud of you too Lora; it isn’t easy to set and stick to boundaries in family situations!
Hugs, Darlene

16

This came at a good time for me. My cousin has posted some old pictures of me and my golden child brother as children. The pictures triggered memories. Most of my memories of my brother are bad, and hidden from me most of the time. So, I let her know the story behind one of the pictures. Silence, as always. She and her sister refuse to validate me. Just absolute silence. Their father, my uncle, is an alcoholic. Their mother was abusive as well. They have not actively sought recovery. I am. I know they are in denial. But, I won’t be silenced any longer. Thank you for reminding me that they are in denial, and not to take it personally. The silence is not about me.

17

Thank you Ginger. Also your comment “truly, if that cart even moved an inch, I knew that there would be hell to pay. Beatings, screaming, constant put downs, being told that I was never good enough, I had no rights, no voice, no nothing….” is exactly what I went through. The “fear of consequences” was always lying just below the surface and consequences there were, usually unexpected but not surprising. Most of the time I didn’t even know what I did to set off the tirade. I grew more and more inward until I could remove myself from the beatings and not even cry from the pain (this by the age of 13). The belt meant nothing to me anymore. My mother’s passivity in it all only made her an accomplice in my eyes. And other abuses were going on to which everyone else turned a blind eye and pretended it wasn’t happening.

To this day I struggle with feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt like it was my fault and worst of all not feeling lovable Slowly but surely I am learning my own worth, letting go of shame and guilt and understanding that to feel lovable I must first really love myself. That is probably the hardest one but I am making progress!

Thanks again for validating me and I hope I have helped you as well!
Thanks to you too Darlene for all of your beautiful, powerful posts!
Stanley

18

Oh My Sweet Darlene….you really know how to bring it on home! The fog is lifting more each day, but the first day I came to this site (Dec 31 2012), I was fuming angry because no one in my family would listen to me! I was trying to set boundaries and they were telling me I was NUTS! I was infuriated. Well I would let 2 or 3 days go by and try and approach the subject again and the abuse got worse every time I did. Finally, I said, I just gotta drop it with these people (Mother, sisters) and just keep moving forward with my healing. I realized that eventually I will have to make a decision about whether or not to continue in these abusive relationships.

So that is what I’ve been doing for the last couple weeks. However, I’ve had no contact with anyone except my mother because I live with her. Anyway, today I was headed out to the grocery store and I stopped in the kitchen and approached my Mom. I said, “You know Mom, I really have a problem with my sister and they was she spoke to me the last time we talked.” My mother has been in therapy and even 28 day programs before, so she knows the dysfunctional family system and how it works. I said Mom, the bottom line is, she talked to me in a way that was disrepectful beyond belief and whether it be today, tomorrow or 4 months from now, I HAVE TO CONFRONT her on it. BECAUSE, in order for me to get better I have to do the things that broke me in the first place. So my Mom sort of acknowledged me, but at the same time she did not want any more drama stirred up in the family right now. She did acknowledge the fact that all people are entitled to equal value and treatment, but she said my sister would “NOT HEAR” me anyway. And actually, I had to agree with my mother. She will not hear me.
However I did tell my Mom these are the things that will or will not happen until I resolve my issue with my sister:
1. I will not be in the same room with her and pretend there is no issue….that will NOT happen.
2. I can confront her, ask for an apology and then set a boundary that she will never talk to me again the way she did a couple weeks ago.
3. (This would probably be the easiest and the one that is the most sane, but the least likely to happen) My sister could actually muster up a bit of self-awareness and realize she talked to me like I was a heaping pile of poop and apologize of her own free will. And if she did, I would accept her apology, but it would not be a “that’s o.k., don’t worry about it; I understand you were upset” kind of acceptance. It will be more like, “thank you for the apology, but please understand that in order for me to heal I can no longer accept that type of abuse, so if you ever talk to me that way again it will be the end of our relationship as sisters…period.”
So anyway, I told my Mom one of these three things needs to happen. I will give it a little bit more time, but if she does not apologize of her own free will, then I will be forced to confront her if she enters my space expecting me to act as if nothing is wrong. If neither one of these things happens, I told my Mom I would run it by my therapist and see what she thinks about how and when to approach it.
Little does my mother know, that I feel the exact same way about her, and that I will eventually need to confront her on the way she has devalued me my whole life too. Not to mention 5 or 6 other abusers in my family.
After hurting for 52 years I really hate to wait one more day to tell my abusers what I demand from them, but I am starting to see that approaching issues when I’m still quite angry is probably not a very good idea. Every day of enlightenment and healing is building confidence and ebbing away at the decades of stuffed anger I have. And yes, there may even be an iota of peacefulness somewhere in there….just knowing that I will no longer accept goes a long way.
Thanks Darlene. You are a wizard!

19

Thank you so much Darlene this hits home for me! It is funny how I wonder throughout my day what my next step is only to find you have posted yet another article addressing my concerns exactly.

I have been so excited about your website and at first kept it to myself because everyone is sick of hearing about what my mother did yet again. Then I started to tell a few friends and have been shut down kindly. My husband knows but never asks any questions and lets me just read along. If I tell him about something I have learned there really isnt any comments from him. He really dislikes my mother because of all of the tears I have shed over her.

I do think into why other people may not be listening but it drives me absolutely nuts because I am trying to figure out what is going on for them and trying to help them when I am still hurting myself – head spinning and all not knowing what I am actually trying to say myself (if that makes sense). When I try to tell someone my new found life discovery I get all mixed up because the abused child comes forward and feelings flood my head. Our situations are very deep and take a great deal of concentration which actually sometimes I am frankly not in the mood to take on. However, I have forced myself at times to sit down and continue to educate myself and continue this healing process. After I get started it’s all good and I realize more and more each day that “God’s got this”, and I am safe nothing is wrong!.

Looking forward to your next post!
God Bless, Taz

20

Darlene,

Thank you for your honest and insightful posts. They are so refreshing and healing. Reading all the stories has been enlightening and inspiring.

I have learned the hard way over the years that I am not going to get the validation for my feelings / experiences that I so desperately want from my mother, siblings, in-laws, and even some friends.

When I have attempted to discuss my childhood over the years with my Mom I have gotten everything from “Some people just can’t get over the past;” to “real child abuse is being from the Holocaust and locked in a tiny underground bunker for 3 years; to the fact that she is embarrassed to have a daughter like me and there is something wrong with me mentally.

I recently shared some of my FOO issues with a friend I have communicated with on and off for 30 years. She had shared some things with me so I thought our relationship had progressed to the point that it was safe for me to share (i.e. when I was a small child my alcoholic father would use a match to light his cigarette and say “Do you want to see a match burn twice?” and proceed to put the hot match on my arm. I was forced to not pull my arm away; not cry; and smile at him while he did it. After about 10 seconds he would let me go and I would run to my room and cry (couldn’t cry in front of him or anyone else or they would really give me something to cry about). My friend said that he was probably just pretending he was going to do it and didn’t really do it and that I should thing about it. It was a blow to my soul. Who would make that up?

I made several attempts over the course of my marriage to set boundaries with my mother-in-law with no support from my husband. I did not want to be left alone in a room with her or talk on the phone because there would be no witness to her cruel passive-aggressive remarks to me. I was already an insecure people pleaser and her comments could cut me to the core. When I would tell my husband what she would say his response was, “I must have taken it the wrong way; his mother is a loving person and bought us an expensive Christmas gift; she is getting old and doesn’t know what she is saying; he has never heard her say anything like that to me; she doesn’t say negative things about me to him;” etc etc etc.

I am learning to validate myself and find people who will support me and believe me. It is a process that requires effort but it is worth it.

OnMyWay

21

Darlene, I ‘ve never been heard by anybody -\, even in my work I was treated as a scapegoat. When I defend myself I always lose. I’ve always had much more work to do than anybody, I was dehydrated, did’t have a break for lunch. When i was defending myself i couldn’t even believe in my words that I was right, I knew that logically but couldn’t believe in it I even was told at my work : “Why no matter Aneta says, nobody believes her??” I didn’t know, but for me it was the same situation that I ‘ve had in my home. Nobody has heard me, nobody believes in me, I was worth nothing, my mother hates me, my grandmather hated me, because she an her daughter( my aunt)hated my mother and I was their scapegoat and all my family has treated me in the same way or didn’ want to see me, because my mother was a freak to them and they hated her too. And yes she is a freak, she burps, smacks her lips, eating with open mouth and screaming at me everytime we have accompanies. I was Young it was shame fo me .When I asked her to stop behave in that way, she aggressively pointed her finger at me and started offending me and I have thought since today that I was guilty and all people who watched that knew the same. She’s never acknowleged any of my opinions, I ve always felt that she didn’t want to hear me, even if I said sth as a professional –gave her advice, she’s always said that her friends knew better, “dont’t you understand that she told me so??” ” she told me that!!” didn’t look at me at all and shown me that she has no interest in listening to me. It made me angry, nervous, I was screaming, i felt fever in my cheeks and she didn’t believe me at all, she’s always said that her friends, colleague, neighbour etc.. have right. What she was told by her ‘friend ‘ was usually shit, but even so she never valued any of my opinion, any of my rights, any part of Myself -Me. and i still live with ‘this”, I still don’t believe that i am right and still fighting with myself. I can only add that my father was like my mother, looked down on me as his mother did and hated me , even said that I ‘m not his daugter, and all my family members was the same too or just didn’t care. My mother didn’t give me any right to my passion, because she said that everybody likes economy, politics, and everybody likes TV programmes about this and talk about it, and also that because I’m not interested in this( what she likes) there is nothing people can talk about with me, and “people talks with each other and everybody is smart only nobody wants to speak with her and they are all intelligent “, because I m not interested in politics and economy-she hasn’t more interests.. I wonder why we had no guests at home, because she always behaved in ‘aggresive way, offending, screaming and forced people to eat her meal which tasted like a shit and of course talked about politics..Rarely I saw her colleagues-maybe once and my aunt who is also abusive to me with her husband but they quickly get out after short visit and they usually have “business’ )

22

Darlene, I ‘ve never been heard by anybody -\, even in my work I was treated as a scapegoat. When I defend myself I always lose. I’ve always had much more work to do than anybody, I was dehydrated, did’t have a break for lunch. When i was defending myself i couldn’t even believe in my words that I was right, I knew that logically but couldn’t believe in it I even was told at my work : “Why no matter Aneta says, nobody believes her??” I didn’t know, but for me it was the same situation that I ‘ve had in my home. Nobody has heard me, nobody believes in me, I was worth nothing, my mother hates me, my grandmather hated me, because she an her daughter( my aunt)hated my mother and I was their scapegoat and all my family has treated me in the same way or didn’ want to see me, because my mother was a freak to them and they hated her too. And yes she is a freak, she burps, smacks her lips, eating with open mouth and screaming at me everytime we have accompanies. I was Young it was shame fo me .When I asked her to stop behave in that way, she aggressively pointed her finger at me and started offending me and I have thought since today that I was guilty and all people who watched that knew the same. She’s never acknowleged any of my opinions, I ve always felt that she didn’t want to hear me, even if I said sth as a professional –gave her advice, she’s always said that her friends knew better, “dont’t you understand that she told me so??” ” she told me that!!” didn’t look at me at all and shown me that she has no interest in listening to me. It made me angry, nervous, I was screaming, i felt fever in my cheeks and she didn’t believe me at all, she’s always said that her friends, colleague, neighbour etc.. have right. What she was told by her ‘friend ‘ was usually shit, but even so she never valued any of my opinion, any of my rights, any part of Myself -Me. and i still live with ‘this”, I still don’t believe that i am right and still fighting with myself. I can only add that my father was like my mother, looked down on me as his mother did and hated me , even said that I ‘m not his daugter, and all my family members was the same too or just didn’t care. My mother didn’t give me any right to my passion, because she said that everybody likes economy, politics, and everybody likes TV programmes about this and talk about it, and also that because I’m not interested in this( what she likes) there is nothing people can talk about with me, and “people talks with each other and everybody is smart only nobody wants to speak with her and they are all intelligent “, because I m not interested in politics and economy-she hasn’t more interests.. I wonder why we had no guests at home, because she always behaved in ‘aggresive way, offending, screaming and forced people to eat her meal which tasted like a shit and of course talked about politics..Rarely I saw her colleagues-maybe once and my aunt who is also abusive to me with her husband but they quickly get out after short visit and they usually have “business’and didn’t want to hear her ‘politics’ too )

23

Wendy,

As a student finishing massage therapy school, I have heard of abuse and experienced some myself at the hands of MTs. I am so sorry for you.

Is there a way that you can file a complaint with your state board of MT?

24

Hi Darlene.. I think most people in my family would have me silenced and would have me be quiet.. about what happened.. They are wondering why now am trying to heal from something that I have kept so silent about for so many years.

One relative told me “get over it you cannot change anything that happened anyway”

Many will simply ignore me . .they rather not accept that such could happen in such an outwardly appear holy home..

Yet even social services took us all away and put us in foster homes..

I know somehow through healing we are suppose to be able to better handle the trauma and hurt but I have not yet been able to erase the memories and I feel sharing it out helps to validate what has been so hidden for so long..

I feel I have hurt myself enough by keeping silent about the abuse and am glad there are places where it’s okay to talk about the hurt..

Love that you keep blogging..

joy

25

Hi Brenda
I think not being validated is at the root of so much of what people struggle with. It was being validated that really began the healing process for me. But I was NOT validated by the people who perpatrated the damage OR by the people who covered up for them or believed them. It isn’t personal, it really is about THEM.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

26

Hi Connie
Yay for fog lifting and clarity! When I knew that I was done accepting this stuff, when I KNEW it in my heart, it was like spring air entering in for the first time ever! It was really wonderful. It was the beginning of me validating me and my own worth.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Taz
Thanks for sharing this! I think God got me into this too. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene

27

Hi OnMyWay
YES, that is such a valuable lesson to learn!! HUGE really! (to know that validation is not going to come from the same people that invalidated you)
It makes me crazy when I hear stories like the match story! (and not just that your father did that to you but that someone discouted that it happened and even suggested that you imagined it! Even some professional therapists will suggest that ‘you may have imagined it ~ it makes me crazy ~ why can’t people just react with horror!!!) and it is exactly as you say “WHO makes stuff like that up????” and to me it is abusive and re-abuses the teller of the event, to be told that you must have imagined it! GRRRR That just ticks me off so much I almost see red! That is such huge invalidation and it is so wrong.
Thank you for sharing this here.
Hugs, Darlene

28

Hi Anetta
Well I hear you. When I first started this process, I realized the same thing; that no one had ever heard me. That I had had a lifetime of being discounted. And it was time to change all that. I had to realize that I WAS worth everything. I realized that I had been defined as worthless but that was a lie. I had to find a way to stop believing that lie.
I have written a lot about this in my earlier work. I managed to change it all aroud and back to the truth and my life is amazing now. There is hope!
Hugs, Darlene

29

Hi Joy
It isn’t that we can or can’t change anything, but being validated about it certainly goes a long way towards getting over it. I hate it when ppl suggest that we get over something that no one even validates ever happened!
For me it has never been about erasing the memories, but about exchanging the false messages that I got about me from the truama, back to the truth about me and talking about it is the way that I did that! Validation is so key!
Yay for your courage in talking about this stuff now Joy!
Hugs, Darlene

30

My goodness Darlene, what another interesting post. I agree with your statement, and I believe that many abusers have constructed such deep layers of protection against themselves and the reality of their pain, that when they see or hear a similar story in someone else, it can either force them to face and have to deal with their pain, or, worse, push it on others. I remember reading something Dr. Karyl McBride wrote about being different, in essence, seeing the truth for what it really is and standing one’s ground in doing so. She wrote eloquently about being a giraffe among a field of sheep. It takes courage to stand up to one’s truth and to remain tall. It has taken me such a long time to stand tall, head and chin up. But it is a lonely place most of the time. I find it crazy making that people, family members and such want to remain in denial for fear of upsetting the status quo. This to me, is worse than any algebra word problem (I hate algebra!! 🙂 )I struggle with this so much. How can people remain in delusion? And still continue to hurt others??
My psychiatrist once told me, It’s awesome that you finally have validation in what I have said and feel, but it’s crap that what I have always known is and has always been true. How and where do you go on from this? How do you take this momentum of knowing and then move on to the next step.
Again, wonderful post, I do hope you are feeling better. Chicken soup is the best!! Have a good weekend!

31

Hi Raven
You asked “How do you take this momentum of knowing and then move on to the next step?”
For me I did this by cementing my new belief system and validating myself and everytime I thought about “if they were maybe right” I mentally (or out loud) re-affirmed that NO they were not right. I call this the ‘cementing process’ and it is the final stage. It only works if you have fully discovered your false belief system in the specific area that you are working on. The process worked backwards; by seeing the truth about the past, I was able to see how I got so broken. THEN I was able to see that what was missing could actually be replaced; by me. This was how I recovered from the damage. I had to learn to do a lot of self talk in order to re-wire my brain which had been wired wrong since I was very little. I had to find out the truth in order to do that. It is so hard to explain in just a paragraph!
Hugs, Darlene

32

Hi Darlene,
This is such a timely post for me, having just confronted my parents and now seeing that I have some communicating to do with my brother. I cannot go on with my relationship with him as it is, where we don’t talk about anything to do with my situation with our parents or anything of the past. I want to keep my relationship with my nephew but I cannot live in that silence. I’m not exactly sure where he’s at now—how open he is to listening. I cut off from him when I just couldn’t handle things anymore—he’d invalidated, dismissed and judged me. At the end, he was willing to go to counselling with me and if I had been able to, that probably would’ve been the way to go, just to try, but he’d got upset with me and it triggered me—he kind of became my mom for me in my psyche—and it was too much for me to handle. I know that he wants a relationship with me and I know that he wants an aunt for his son. Still, I don’t have a lot of hope at this point. It’s kind of like with my parents—they (apparently) want a relationship with me but they are very, very far from keen on letting go of their way. My brother is very much a part of that dysfunction—a lot of denial, I suspect, minimization. He’s never been able to meet me on a deep level; he’s always up on the surface. I once wrote a short story (7 years ago or so) about 3 siblings and at one point the brother gets a phone call from one of his sisters who is falling apart and trying to connect to him, and while he acts the part of a consoling brother, telling her to breathe, everything’s going to be alright, etc., he flicks on his TV (on mute) so he can half-watch while he’s listening to her. I didn’t know I was writing about my brother—I was just inside the story and knew that that’s what the character would do… What’s important to me, though, is gaining my life and my freedom. I cannot have a relationship with my brother if he negates who I am and who I am has so much of everything to do with my experience and where I come from. What happened to me nearly killed me and I can’t have a relationship with someone who thinks that what happened to me was “basically” okay, some minor flaws/mistakes that just had a big impact on me because of how I “interpreted” things, etc… And there’s too much tension and anxiety in the silence—I lived that way my whole life, being brushed aside in the silence. So, I figure I’ll send him an email, opening up the topic, what happened when I cut off from him, and expressing how important it is to me and why, to ask him if he’d be willing to listen to understand me and what happened in my life. I’m hoping things can move in a civil manner, so I’ll try to go one step at a time, not rush right into my story. Before I cut off, when I tried to explain myself, he said “Believe me, I get it. We talk about it,” (meaning he and my parents). Hopefully that is not the response I will get this time. I’m pretty much expecting something along the lines of “it’s time to move on” because he responded like that before too and now I have this feeling that his frustration with me is probably higher. Still, I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do!
Thanks so much for sharing this. It was good to read. hugs, A

33

Hi Alaina
Oh I remember this sticky stuff! In the end for me it was about my boundaries and it was painful to come to certain realizations even as I progressed in the process of emotional healing. I saw such different sides of people when I stopped submitting to always being the compliant one. I admire you for sticking to this! So many can’t. I agree, we have to do what we have to do! This is about LIVING life to the fullest and embracing our own equal value! Keep me posted!
Love and Hugs, Darlene

34

Hello
I havent posted here before and would like to, to help my venting journal efforts.

I am so fed up with people not hearing me. I am angry that no matter what i say to my parents its like i am speaking chinese. Or maybe even some alien language. I progessed through the part of proving to them i am right. How do i explain to a dog how to write. Still it is so frustrating that i cant even hurt them back because i speak alien. I have to speak their language to hurt them and that is not satisfying at all! I cant truly spend my anger on them cuz they wont get it anyways. Its like banging your fists on a wall or on sand in a middle kf a desert. Actually it is more like middle of a desert because a wall can give a solid stop. This is like a feeling of wanting to engage in either a fight or an explanation a something.. but there is nothing. We just dont speak same language and there is no way to engage.

As i progress through the healing people i used to talk with i cant communicate with anymore. For example my cousin i used to look up to. She is one of the few people i know can handle being told my parents abused me. This woman tells me this xmas that she might go be with my parents for xmas. I said ..what u r going to hang out with people that abuse me for xmas?. Am i speaking chinese where u refuse to understand that my parents are evil? 5 years ago when i was more clueless to the truth i had her in such high regard, and now i see she is just another crazy person in denial. I really wanted to tell her she must be truly retarded to even tell me that. I mean u have to be brain damaged to consider spending ur xmas with abusive people and then tell me about it. And this woman is highly educated and used to rescue kids from abusive families. Apparenly rescuing me from mine is way beyond her.
This has happened to many peoplein my life. I have eliminated everyone from more then 3 yrs ago.

Most recent casualty my x boyfriend.
With my xboyfriend we had a fight about me feeling rejected. And its like he cant see he is rejecting me and cant form a response to it. His best responseis that its his fault. If its your fault think about why u doing something and formulate a response. But no…. that thinking is behind the wall of denial called my relationship with my mother.

Its all very frustrating. It seems the only way to keep up with my rapid emergence from the fog is to dump people out of my life yearly. I have now a fairly new set of friends i really hope to keep. And this is not because i expected these people to get even a fraction of my life or the wisdom on this site. I hope to have few great friends that can share this wisdom with and a boyfriend as well thay is willing to take down his denials and hear me.

35

Thank you Stanley and Darlene for validating me and my experiences. I agree that this is a tough journey, and already recognise the benefits of confronting myself and those that hurt me head-on. I don’t really feel the need to tiptoe around anyone’s feelings at the moment, because to do so would be repeating what I have always done.

Alaina, I can totally relate to your comment “What happened to me nearly killed me”. My body and mind tried to give me a much needed wake up call about two years. I had a nervous breakdown because I was under so much stress. There were too many demands placed on me by my workplace, my husband and my parents. Those same also people refused to hear me when I told them that I was not coping.

My nervous breakdown was obviously not enough of a wake up call to me or anyone around me. Last year, I tried to commit suicide. It happened soon after my husband left me and our children. He walked out after I had discovered that he had been cheating. During my desperate time of need, my family and his were just as they have always been – careless and cruel with with words, thoughts and deeds. I was under attack by these cruel, selfish, thoughtless people……..even though I already had so much to deal with. I was still trying to recover from my nervous breakdown when I discovered my husband’s bombshell.

In many ways, I am glad it happened – because that gave me the strength to start on my path to live life by my choosing. I confronted my brothers or my sister-in-laws about how I felt. They all refused to acknowledge or apologise. I had the strength to tell them that I am their equal and will not tolerate their behaviour for one more minute of my life. Unbelievably, I am still unable to get the last word. I can’t even tell them to get lost…..without them telling me that if I wish to speak to them again, I need to apologise. I sometimes wonder who is insane. Is it possible that it is me…….when I feel I am surrounded by so much insanity.

As I said, I am glad that things turns out as they did. I was able to insist that my husband seek therapy.

Through a combination of a great therapist and me standing my ground, my husband admitted and has been treated for sex addiction which started in his younger years. Through me being strong enough to stand my ground, the man that I fell in love with many years ago has returned to me.

Through a combination of a great therapist and me facing a lifetime of abuse, my husband and I are closer than we have ever been.

When I started on my lonely journey, I sought support and guidance from people on other websites, and truly, it wasn’t until I stumbled upon this one that I finally feel like I have found one that feels like a good fit.

There were many people I encountered on other websites that were no better than my family. They were quick to tell me what I should do and how I should feel, and judge me as being pathetic. I am now strong enough to not need these worthless opinions. I am now strong enough to say that until you sit in my shoes, do not dare judge me. I do not regard myself as pathetic.

How could I be pathetic in the eyes of my God when I look around my household and see my three happy, loving, secure young boys and my beautiful husband who would do anything for me…..including standing by me and telling his sisters to “get lost”.

36

Hi Darlene! I would be interested in hearing your feedback on this one. I’ve read a lot of your articles and I just have to say they have been such positive stimulation. I’ve been struggling with self protection. Through my own healing journey I have gone really deep into my family roots and there is so much abuse. My parents had it worse than I did so I guess there was an improvement and my mom had shared some very personal details of her life when I was around 16. I felt a deep compassion for her and started to make sense out of her behaviour. We created this very co dependent relationship and I felt it was my responsibility to nurture and heal my mom. I can not explain the twisted dynamics between her and I, it’s like we shared one soul and the soul was mine. I feel like I have no right to be angry and hurt for what I endured because she was labeled as Bi polar or Manic Depression…that was shoved at me a lot when I tried to stand up to her abuse. I was told she is sick and doesn’t really understand what she is doing, she doesn’t “mean” to say hurtful things etc. I now understand that I was being “dismissed” and I have to admit this is pretty difficult stuff to make sense of. I learned how people use their illness to manipulate other people which just opens up another layer of dysfunction. I admire your courage for doing this work because it brings out the people who still hold on to their old patterns and when you are just becoming aware of what is going on its a very vulnerable time. How do I get past my own compassion in order to honor that “I” deserved protection from all that abuse, I know on most levels it was never about me but about them and their lack of ability to cope with being parents. The mess it has created in me just astounds me. I find myself being very selective on who I share with now because I’m tired of being bullied back into old patterns. I totally get that not every one wants to do this healing work and yet I find myself feeling like “I” am always going to be the one to be the bigger person and handle things with maturity and grace. I can’t tell you how many layers of resentments I have that have been buried so deep. I do a lot of energy work, I’m in a spiritual mentorship and I’m taking a chakra course. These are all tools I use to move through my stuff and they are very effective. The word “self” protect seems to be coming up more and more and I would love to hear more from you on that. Thank you so much Darlene for stirring things up inside me so I can release more layers. Your support has been so valuable to me, Namaste!

37

Hi Lora
What you are talking about is one of the most common stick points for survivors of dysfunctional family relationships. I have written tons about it. You might have success looking through the family category posts, mother daughter category posts etc. I did all these same things and felt so sorry for my mother that I excused her. Through healing I had to focus on what happened to me, and let go of her whatever her excuses were. There was damage to me and that was the key to my own healing. I too resented that I had to be the one to do it, but the alternative was that nothing would change.
Hugs, Darlene

38

Hi Ginger,
Yes, there are people everywhere willing to label and define others; Learning to validate myself enabled me to dismiss those kinds of opinions. This came much easier after I was well into the healing work because there was this tiny part of me that had been conditioned to believe all that stuff. I had to become closely acquainted with that voice in order to replace it with the voice of truth.
Hugs, Darlene

39

Hi Kathryn
Welcome to efb! It really is tough to begin to realize that many people would rather walk away from any relationship rather than HEAR you and RESPECT you. OUCH. That happened to me too. BUT the good news is that as I started to change, I attracted new people who were willing to have relationships with me based on mutual respect and equal value, so hang in there; there is hope!
Hugs, Darlene

40

Ginger. Thank you for sharing. Your struggle to overcome
your family’s abuse is inspiring. I too have been treated like the
crazy one. Isn’t great when you finally, finally understand whats
been going on ? I went thru a breakdown in the 90’s. I see now
what really caused it. The stress of trying to cope with constant
abuse. I wasnt crazy, I was broken.

41

I keep running into this when I tell people about my mother’s latest actions. Many people will immediately start explaining her behaviour even if they have never met her. Of course when this happens I feel as if they just discounted what I’ve told them. As if they discounted me. But I’m learning (slowly) how to disclose and to whom so I can spare myself further suffering.
I went ‘no contact’ (in theory…) with my mother. I explained to her by email that if she continued to blame me for her actions towards me I would no longer communicate with her. Her return email twisted what I’d said. Then this week I got another one (email) wishing me well on something she can only have found out about by looking me up online. I find this really creepy.
I haven’t responded as I intend to stick to my resolve. Next step will be blocking her email address.

42

Yes. It feels liberating to recognise on my own worth….but, I often struggle with the anger that comes from recognising my abusers. I so desperately want to scream. I so desperately want them to admit that they all played a part in hurting me so much that I saw suicide as an option.

My struggle …..I know……is me battling me. I still need to learn that validation from me is enough. I long for the day that I don’t need anyone to admit to anything…….that it will be enough for me to admit and recognise my own truth.

43

My sister called me for the first time in years. She called to feign concern for me and wants to “understand me”. She had an agenda though & it turned ugly. She was discrediting me and shaming me for the abuse in our foo. She asked me, How can I tell our mom about ME being molested over the phone! My MOM is broken up over it and went to see a shrink. She was “told to go home & that she is a “good mother”. Well, first of all, that was between my mom & I, which is what I said & of course it’s another case of triangulation/confrontation. She said, I’m “distorted” and the help I’m getting isn’t the “right help”. I said, I don’t agree and I’m not a liar. Then, why didn’t I tell her or my mom years ago!..I said, I was a “FRightened Child!”..then, questioned me about where she was…How the damn do I know that!!..I was busy being molested!! I said, I had “PTSD” & she said, oh “That’s the excuse”. Then she denied any abuse in our foo and that we had loving parents compared to the sleazy inner city kids that she teaches! Then said, we lived different lives. I said, I saw things differently then her & I carried alot of the burden. She reacted to everything I said and also snickered and laughed!!!…She did not hold back her nastiness & at the same time projected it onto me!!…I don’t doubt that at all. I did tell her to listen & stop interrupting me. She also said I’ve turned on the family and have not treated her mom well by cutting off. I said, I have boundaries & that isn’t the same. She says, my parents want me to visit and just don’t say anything. This is all so telling. It’s not that they don’t understand. It’s about not wanting to Face the Abuse! My God, I was the one molested and my sister goes on to say, my mom thinks the worse happened because I said the word “MOLEST”!!!! Crazy!!…Well, I said, It’s not my fault she doesn’t know the definition of molest & I went on to say what the true definition is. Then, she asked me what’s my next step?…I said, I’m figuring it out, is that an honest enough answer for you. The last thing my sister said was I Love You!…What, love doesn’t hurt like this!!…She felt character assassinated and gas lighted!!…I believe I see it clearly…Se also had to add that her & our brother always thought I was “beautiful”, “gifted” & “very smart”…Then, why did I feel devalued, confused and depressed all the time!! Rhetorical question… FOO still wants to believe it’s me. This just validates all of what I’ve been learning about the cycle of abuse. It’s not that they don’t understand. The abusers don’t want to Face the Truth!…Denial and gas lighting the victim. Then she says, I’m blaming them. Well, look in the mirror & get some help. I actually said, I’m glad mom is getting help. She didn’t like that & said I need to get help with her. I’ve done lots of my own work over the years & I’m in a better place living my life. How can I do this to the family!!!:0…..So much was said & I’ve only captured some things but it’s enough to get the jist of the Crazy Making from my foo. I’m wiped out now from all of these realizations. Why would I want to be part of that Craziness!!!!

44

correction: it felt like my character was assasinated & I was gas lighted!!

45

Hi Alice,
Welcome to EFB
It isn’t as if they discounted you; they DID discount you. It is invalidating when people defend the person who is offending! It’s like being told you are wrong without even being considered.
It is really sad how common this ‘twisting your words’ stuff happens in families. So often the abuser presents as the victim. For me that was what drove me to keep seeking the actual bottom line truth in order to stay strong on it. As long as I don’t buy into the twisting, I am okay!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

46

Hi Ginger
I totally understand, and I felt exactly like that too. Letting go of the belief that being heard and validated by the people who invalidated me was a process which took a little time. Persistence on the truth seeking journey really helped me with that.
Hang in there,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi SMD
This is so typical! Just as I said to Alice, you were totally discounted and your mother was protected and validated. And then the comparison to ‘inner city kids’ ~ that is another very common brainwashing thing we have to overcome; Abuse is abuse and everyone has a right to heal. Kids that were locked in a closet for thier whole life don’t have any more right to healing and validation than you do. None of us heal until we begin the process of really acknowledging what happend to us in the first place. About blame; blame is a necessary stepping stone on the pathway to freedom. Being told that blame is wrong is a huge lie that has been used against victims of all kinds of abuse since the dawn of time. ugg.
Thanks for sharing this!
Hugs, Darlene

47

Thanks for your message Darlene!
I just got back from a doctor’s appt (annual) where he asked me about any stressors I’d had over the past year. Among other things, I mentioned my mother and how hard it was when people to whom I’d otherwise look for support immediately defended her and discounted me.

I told him that was a major source of stress. He told me that since my parents were old, I should expect to take care of them. He told me that many people would defend her just like he was and that I should just get used to it.

He told me that I should consult a psychiatrist if my anxiety over this issue increased and that I should look at meds.

48

Hi Alice
Well, may I say “what an ass” that dr. is! ha Isn’t he the helpful guy!
I am writing a new post about when the abusers play the victims and I am going to use this comment as an example of the way that other people validate the person who does the wrong in the first place and discount the victim of the mistreatment. It is so much worse somehow when the someone validating the manipulators is in a position of power such as a dr.
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

49

“like being told you’re wrong without even being considered”
Thats exactly it!!
SMD:
Sounds like your sister is your mother’s puppet. My mother
used others to attack me so she could remain blameless. Many
times the other person was used to put me down and also gain
info from the “attack” and defense that could be used to further
prove my craziness. The more I defended the more it was seen
as my inability to act normal and blend in. Acting normal in my
Foo was compliance and carefully worded statements that agreed.
No individuality or expression was allowed. The extreem displeasure,
cutdowns and snide sarcasim were very devaluing.
Seeing the process for what it is with open eyes took away many
of my distressful feelings . Its like watching playacting. Now that
I dont care what they think I can just sit back and watch the show.

50

Hi Karen
To me that is the horror of being dismissed. You have been defined as “wrong” before you are even heard. Being told to ‘get over it’ before you are even heard, being told “to forgive” before the crime against you was even told or validated, being told that “your expectations are out of order” ~ before anyone has even listened is SO devaluing and dismissive! One of the keys in the beginning for me was realizing that I deserved to be heard even if I was the only one who heard me!
Hugs, Darlene

51

Hi Darlene,

Yes, isn’t what he said worrying for someone in the health profession? Sounds like a great upcoming post. I thought twice about posting about it (and aside from this he’s been a good doc) but then I remembered I would be helping shine a light on this. I’m getting a bit vocal about it these days…
I guess I am starting to expect that other people’s reaction to me telling them is going to be dismissive. I’m not as upset about it as I used to be but it does weigh in my decision on who gets close.
Alice

52

Hi Darlene, Abuse is so pervasive that it creates a culture of abuse. Some learn to adapt to it and rise to the top of the pecking order and others, live their lives under the control and abuse of others. I know it is the root of substance abuse and other self-abusive behaviors. When I first understood that I’d been sexually abused as a teenager, I expected my family of origin to be as excited as I was and be happy that I finally, understood that I was a victim and not a perpetrator. I saw them as victims of the predators who raped me, too. I was devestated when they reacted first, with deafening silence and then with telling me I needed to forgive those predators, while continuing to carry all responsibility for what happened to me. I was even told that I was just “trying to make excuses for my sin.” That was when the emotional knot at my core began to unravel. That’s when I found my way here and learned to define what was ‘wrong with me’ as abuse. It changed my life and I know it has the power to change the world but it’s very hard to get those who’ve risen to the top of the pecking order to let go of their power and acknowledge the truth but I know that if enough people at the bottom continue proclaiming the truth, those at the top will topple. Truth is an undeniable force when it is embraced and given momentum by implementing it in our lives.

Pam

53

Karen, Thanks for commenting back to me. Yes, I do believe my sister is being used to “put me down” & “gain info” from the attack. It’s very obvious that they talked, since she knew what I told my mom. She also used the same words my mom has used towards me. I know what we discussed will be passed on to my mom. It’s nothing I wouldn’t say or have said to my mom anyways.I’m not worried of that.
A good friend of mine pointed out that my sister sounds frantic & panicked over the abuse. She can’t face it, so she is making me the crazy one. Karen, you nailed it about the “put downs” & “gaining info” (asking lots of questions & pretending to really care about me)…I believe my sister has buried trauma, which she has not faced & with me coming out with mine, she is either forced to look at it or deny it. It’s easier to make me out to be the crazy one. My mom’s pain is so much more important for her to protect…why is that?…To protect the Truth from coming out!…She had an eating disorder for a decade growing up & became seriously thin. Binge & Purging was her obsession & that usually stems from trauma, usually sexual. I suspect my uncle did the same to her from memories I’m piecing together. I’m not certain of course, given the secrets in my foo. I believe there is a connection.
Anyway, I told my sister they need to do “their work”. In counseling of course. So, i’m glad my mom has reached out to a professional, however, my sister is claiming they told her to go home after a few sessions, since she is a good mother. My mother & I already exchanged our letters just after Christmas and we are at a place of low contact at this time. In the meantime, I will have no direct contact. My parents & my brother are no longer my FB friends either & my sister does not do fb. FOO is threatened by the truth. If that makes me look like the bad guy, so be it. They have mistreated me, by not even considering me & being told I’m wrong. I’m certainly not responsible for my mom’s feelings.

Pam,
I totally agree with all you said esp, “Truth is an undeniable force when it is embraced and given momentum by implementing it in our lives.” I’m certainly working on that. Thanks for all that you do in speaking for those who are silenced by abuse <3

54

Darlene,
Thanks for your validation!…I’m not buying into my foo’s twisted beliefs. I’m sticking to my Truth and trying to avoid self doubt & second guessing. They see I’m serious, so the control & bully tactics are increased, by way of my sister now.

55

SMD, I’m thankful for everyone who comments here. The truth as expressed by so many people who have survived experiences simular to mine, changed my perspective on everything and also, changed my life. I have to pinch myself sometimes. I can’t believe that I am able to talk about my past so easily, now. It’s amazing to be set free!

Love,
Pam

56

Hi Pam
I love your saying re my message ~ “I know it has the power to change the world but it’s very hard to get those who’ve risen to the top of the pecking order to let go of their power and acknowledge the truth but I know that if enough people at the bottom continue proclaiming the truth, those at the top will topple.”
There are days when I feel so tired from chopping holes in the fog when there is so much denial in the world on all sides that I think I will just retire but I know there is a higher power than me behind all this and that sustains me. The numbers for traffic and time on site here go up every month and it is amazing how many people are looking for validation about having been abused when the truth has been twisted for so long. And it is difficult for the victims to go against the abusers because of the brainwashing that if we go against the people who ‘owned and objectified us’ that we will not survive the consequences. It was exhausting to come out of all that fog, but the energy and freedom that I feel drives me to share this with the world. Together the strength of truth increases and ~ as you say ~”Truth is an undeniable force when it is embraced and given momentum by implementing it in our lives.”
Thanks for sharing Pam!!
Hugs, Darlene

57

Darlene, We are in a war and we each have our battle to fight in that war. It starts with healing ourselves and then reaching out to heal others and also, in being a voice for children who are currently, being abused. I know how hard you work and I know it isn’t money that fuels your ambition. There is a better world to come and it is that world and that hope that encourges me to continue the battle. I’m very thankful that God brought you and EFB into my life. It was predestined.:0)

Love,
Pam

58

Hi Everyone
I just published the new post I was writing that I mentioned using Alice’s comments in; It is called “Abusers who Blame Victims and the People who Support Them”
Yesterday this subject was being discussed on several different posts in the website and I used some of the comments to highlight how this looks.
Looking forward to the conversation,
Darlene

59

Came across this well written article, when I googled “gaslighted”. My sister has done this to me recently, by trying to twisted my reality. I see it for what it is another control tactic. I defended myself with my Truth and did not buy into it. I will say more about this on the new post darlene has wriiten about victim blaming. Check out this link: It was validating to read.
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/power-in-relationships/200905/are-you-being-gaslighted

60

Wow! A lot of comments.:) I found this blog last night. I forget what I googled exactly but I’ve been searching for what to say when I finally cut the cords to my family.

Anyway, this article resonates, but only because this USED to be me. I used to get so excited about things I learned in general and share them with my family. (Stuff that had nothing to do with abuse.) I got accused by sis that I was pushing my ways on her…simply because I was enthusiastic.

When it comes to the past though…the truth of abuse, both sibs are in denial of how bad it was and don’t want to hear about it from me.

In fact things have gotten really strange to the point that sis has actually said to me, “I no longer want to get phone calls from you discussing any sort of problems you might have with other family members.”

I was blindsided. And I’m sorry to say I said nothing. And she in fact moved on quickly to something else.

And I can’t even tell you the last time I’ve actually done that. I stopped calling her like she’s a friend years ago. In fact SHE IS the one who has done what she claims I have done.

Anymore, the eggshells are so thick that speaking of any feeling other than joy or something caring, is apparently judged and forbidden. It has not been easy and it’s just come to my realization this is the case, so getting it down is tricky. But I don’t doubt that certain things are being tucked away to be used against me at some point. I catch myself now and then talking about an interest of mine and when I catch myself I quickly change the subject and hang up the phone.

I just woke up one day and realized and almost in the same moment accepted that I will never be able to express myself the same way ever again with any of them. I believe I am dealing with some PDs. I don’t know which ones but it doesn’t matter. Tread lightly is the rule here.

I kept trying. I kept wanting to resolve past stuff. But sis made it crystal clear one day that she never wants to go there, ever. So what choice do I have, right? I realized I’m not interested in selling someone my beliefs on what makes a healthy relationship. Either you agree or not. We can agree to disagree, sure. But this is one subject that will make or break the relationship. And I’ve come to peace with that. In fact, as soon as I did that, the pain I’ve had in my shoulder blade for years suddenly subsided. No joke.

I’m working out a safe way to cut ties. I’m well aware that I won’t be able to live this way for the rest of my life. But I need to do it safely and without drama.

61

Hi Everyone
I just published a new post about the process of changing my thinking on the healing journey; when where and why the fear would come up when I DID shift my thinking.. You can read it here: “Shifting my Thinking on the Journey to Overcoming Emotional Damage”
As I always I look forward to your thoughts.
Hugs, Darlene

62

Uggggg! This topic makes me livid!
I am not sure what to do with all this rage!
My aunt recently invalidated almost everything I told her by justifying how my parents did a good job, and telling me to take a gratitude class.

Today I actually expressed how I felt, and she did the same thing that my parents do when they feel they’ve lost control: feel sorry for me and treat me like a victim.
“I hope that you’ve found peace” she just kept repeating over and over when my voice wasn’t weak for once.
Uggg how will I get better if people keep feeling sorry for my valid and justified emotions! WTF? That’s a form of invalidation itself- hear a valid emotion, pity the person and treat them like they’re crazy and a victim.

Anyone have any insight here? I feel like I’m going mad! Aren’t I allowed to have an opinion (especially if its right) without being talked down to?

Rawwr! That is how mad I amm!!!

63

For anyone who has read my posts before, this is a different aunt than the one I am close to- the one I am talking about also sides with my mother….

64

GDW,
I hear you. I cannot express how similar things are with me and my family. The more knowledge and healing I get, the more they talk about me behind my back. When I refuse to participate in their lies and dysfunctional system…they more they shut me out. I see my therapist tomorrow for the first time….I’m really hoping she can help me shed some light on where I go from here….hang in there GDW….we can heal if we keep the goal in sight. God Bless.

Connie

65

Connie-

Thanks! I hear you too 🙂
I just had a great conversation with a former mentor of mine, and current friend.
She was so proud of me for standing my ground (I emailed this aunt and told her how I felt; basically that I did not want someone in my life who didn’t think I deserved to express my opinion, she obviously did not see us as equals, and that if she didn’t like me, too bad- I even told her I was not ok with her talking crap about my other aunt to me- I told her I was not apologizing.) I was blunt, but it was therapeutic.

Talked to two other people; one was supportive, one was doing the whole “be careful”. But I am trying to stay away from people who warn me away from standing my ground: what do I have to learn from that?
I like to be around people who say, “It’s good you have opinions, and are honest” than those who are frightened or angered by them. That may be a new red flag for me.

I hear you so much too. I think it is almost a sign of how well we are doing when these people reject us- they are threatened by healthy people and so eager to drag us into the mud, back into victimhood- ick!
My mentor said, “Take it as a compliment!” I couldn’t in the moment, but yeah, if she’s so threatened by my adulthood/individuality that she has to resort to pity than she is pathetic. As I told her, I don’t need that in my life. I matter. I have people in my life who matter. Why would i want to be around people who lie to me and say I don’t regardless of whether its explicitly said or not?

Here’s to us!

G

66

Hello Darlene, thank you for your work.
I just found out 3 days ago that my mother in law is an emotional abuser, and I am in shock. After 14 years with my husband I new there were a lot of issues between him, his brothers and their parents, i knew they where at some point abusive, but never really understood how he felt.
After all these years, my mother in law decided to make me an object of mental abuse too.
We leave in different cities and we saw each other 2 or 3 times a year, always with her planning and schedules, etc..

I let her be that way, to be polite and because she was nice to me and pretended she cares. she used to treat me different but last month she decided she will stay with us for 20 days (my worst 20 days ever) and got out her real self.

It started when she tried to stop my little 4 years old boy from crying by telling him awful things like he is making the worst day for her, that he was horrible like a little baby, that no one likes crying babies and stuff like that. I got very angry, when we arrive she started to talk in my back with my father in law about how spoiled my kids are and how manipulative they are..I was about to explode, confront her about it and her face turned in a way I never saw, i looks like she was enjoying it. I left her talking and since then she acted in a way she had never been too me… for the next 15 days she never stopped to be attentive, but she got in my mind, she tried to make me feel ugly, or that her family is better than mine etc etc etc.. I think I don’t need to explain, you understand the modus operandi of this people…
When she leave, she in a very low voice said, I’m sorry for the bad days I cause… that made me feel super confused.
When she left my husband and I spent 2 days talking about all the little details that bothered us, the drama created, the lies, the manipulation etc… It had happened before, but this was the first time i felt it, and it was the first time I can totally empathize with my husband feelings…. but, then I started to get introspected about my own life and my relationship with him. On this 14 years the last 5 years i felt something wasn’t ok between us, he is a very angry man, not with me both with people in general, we always talk about it but never do anything drastic. But know I stared to get scared, I don’t know if he can change to the point of being an emotional abuser to me or my kids.
I told him how scared I am and at the beginning he tried to change subject and told me I am exaggerating… but I not going to let him stop me from learning all about this mental health problem. I’ve been reading about this illness from 10 day and it makes me fell better to know that we can recover, yesterday he read all the pages I read and he cried as a never saw him cry.
I just have to be firm and seek for help, do you think we need proffessional help, we live in a small town in mexico and I dont know good professionals here.. can we auto heal from reading and getting support online?

Sorry for my bad english, is not my fist language.
A.

67

Hi Angie
Welcome to EFB
Deciding to get some help is a decision that only you can make. I have met people that have had great results from reading this site and some of the books that we talk about (alice miller has great work) and there are online professionals too. (I myself do coaching and consulting over Skype and on the phone.)
Your English is fine!
Hugs, Darlene

68

My son and I were locked out and the rest of what we had was put out in the rain- then locked up in a storage unit. We have not had our toothbrush or change of underwear. just the clothes on our backs.
We slept in the vehicle it was good because we were not in the abusers home and *** did not know where we were..but we were cold.
Someone saw we were preparing to sleep the second night in the parking lot and she kindly offered a temp stay in a rental home. We were blessed and finally had some solitude and quiet.
but *** found us where we are- and took the vehicle. And there were constant abuses through the evening while we were at *** mercy while trying to locate some of our basic personal possessions before *** threatened times up- doors are gonna be locked. This is OUR property.
I am again very weak and exhausted today- heart is our of time and heavy to breath. felt like sleeping…could have had a job interview but found out too late and did not have a way there..
*** has been doing this since last AUG. I take a step forward, something good is happening or about to happen and *** bulldozes in to stop the good. *** is doing everything to keep me from any success.
Someone told *** where we were staying. Was it the sheriff? only one who knew and had contact with both of us. feeling vulnerable and betrayed again.

69

Ginger,
Your words rang so true to my heart…i have been searching all night for a phrase that sums up my feelings.

“Unbelievably, I am still unable to get the last word. I can’t even tell them to get lost…..without them telling me that if I wish to speak to them again, I need to apologise. I sometimes wonder who is insane. Is it possible that it is me…….when I feel I am surrounded by so much insanity.”

No truer words were ever spoken

70

@deb-
You can get the last word there by saying, “Ha, I’ll apologize when I’ve done something to apologize for.”

Or, You can say, “I’ll apologize when you’ve earned it.”

Or, “Please be sure to hold your breath while you wait.”

And then hang up or walk away.

I had a tough time sticking up for myself, trying to think of good comebacks and such. Terrible freeze mechanism I have with my family. I finally had to walk away. The stress of staying involved and being scapegoated was too much.

71

Annie: I like what you said, but for me, my family is already thinking that about me and more than likely will beat me to the punch on saying those things, so me saying it to them is pointless.

72

DARLENE, excellent observations. So glad you had a good outcome. It depends if the other person is ready to look, and ready to change. When you know you are on the edge of finding a breakthrough it is great if your closest will share in the value of it, as a joint win, but sadly many cannot break through. Validate self from the deepest levels.

73

Amazing post. Beautiful. Thank you for taking the time to write your story in such a beautiful, open, helpful and meaningful way.

74

I look back now and I can’t believe it was me that put up with the things he did to myself and my children. It’s like awakening from a nightmare, but it wasn’t a nightmare it was my life. I raise my voice now, your right some don’t want to hear it but I kept silent to long. I finally found the courage to break away from this monster, and I want to yell to the highest mountains I GOT AWAY, I AM FREE. It took so long, and so many tries and my family paid the price for him staying in the home. Now we are recovering, each of us in our own way. I thank god everyday for finally giving me the courage to walk away from such a dysfunctional relationship and finding peace in the knowledge that I no longer live in fear, I no longer need be afraid to come home, I no longer need to listen to his threats of what could and would happen,no more intimidation, I now call the shots in my own life. I will never never NEVER give that up again. Three years free, and still recovering.

75

” Our parents were not interested in giving up their power in exchange for equal value ”

How do I find out if my parents are willing to do this?

76

Nobody gets what they need until they first respect themselves enough to demand it and command it. A dysfunctional family will surely not give it to you and most people don’t have the time to feed you needs. We are blessed if we can find a small group who will really listen, hear correctly and help. Hard lesson to learn but we have to love ourselves first and that is the hardest work. Loving and forgiving ourselves. The rest is a piece of cake in my humble opinion. It just means you have to stand up for yourself without being rude yourself and learn what is and isn’t appropriate. My problem was I was suspicious of everybody and it was my problem because I was an adult so I couldn’t blame my father. I thought everybody was like him. I was old enough to make my own life without him and to make my life choices, I was scared to change, but when I discovered I was in control of how my life was going to be, I was way more empowered than before. I didn’t have to listen to his voice in my head. I didn’t! I only had me to blame for who I became. I worked hard,but I am freer now, 10 years after discovering that it is my life, nobody else’s and my responsibility to do what I have to do to be happy, that was so big for me. I. Don’t know if I even cared if anybody heard me then, I just knew I was on the road to getting better even if I had to be alone all of my life, I knew being alone and happy was okay better even than being with someone and being miserable.

77

I told my husband and children yesterday that if I was given 2 choices ….either you face your Mother, or walk away from this family, I would actually say that I would have to walk away from my family…this is where I am…I love my husband and children. They are my life. BUT…there is no way that I could even think about facing the person that mentally and emotionally used me. I was confronted by two family members in the last four days. The are older and have no idea what she put me thru. They do however know that she can be very selfish, rude, and self centred.
Having said that, nothing I can say a out my “revelations” about walking away from the abuse, will change how they see things. They are old school Italians who stick by their family, no matter what. I refuse to do that . I did it long enough. Hubby still has a hard time with it but he stands by me and so do my kids. He does however feel guilt and embarrassment when it comes to what “people are saying” …I don’t care what they think they know…I’m done.

78

YOu hit the nail on the head when you made this statement, “…So next time someone shuts you down and discounts your story or your discoveries, tells you that you were not abused or neglected and infers that you are ‘nuts’ or crazy, don’t be too quick to conclude that they have never been through it themselves. Perhaps, like Jim, they are just trying to avoid having to make major life changes that facing the truth about all this stuff brings about.” I know as I live and breathe that my two siblings live in this place. My littlest sibling goes as far as blaming me for all of the issues in my FOO. Instead of blaming the ADULTS when all the dysfunction and abuse was happening to me and my siblings, it’s easier to blame me the scape goat. I also remember someone posting an article about Patrick Carnes, and his beliefs on Trauma. Why people are so inclined to blame the victim. This puts the blamer in the position of NOT having to do anything, other than just side with an abuser. If one stands on the side lines and watches, aren’t they just as guilty and culpable of being abusive?? I know so. I just think its is awful how when one lives and acts their truth, they are often discarded and thrown in the trash. This is where I have a lot of issues. Being rejected, I am still working on this one. Thanks Darlene. Good post today!!

79

Hi Darlene,
I have been so blessed to learn so much from these forums and your blogs. When I was a young mother, both of my kids were molested by a caretakers nephew. My 3 yr old Son mentioned this abuse, and my Daughter agreed with her brother. Of course the kids never went back to that location, and legal proceedings were started. In that process, my kids were to talk to a state psychologist about what had happened. I took the kids to the first apt, introduced myself to the “doctor”, and introduced my Daughter. The “doctor’s” first comment was “so tell me about your daughter’s incident”. I asked him what the heck he thought he was talking about, telling the “doctor” that saying a huge word and adding my Daughter’s name to that statement, inferred HER being responsible for being molested. I told the “doctor” that my Daughter knew what happened to her, knew how to spell molested, and she knew that she WAS NOT AT FAULT. The “doctor” suggested that I needed anger management, to which I replied that he had better look for another line of work, because he was a complete moron, didn’t know anything about kids, and certainly was not good enough to COUNSEL a dog, let alone my kids. I also told him that if he thought about sending a bill for this waste of time called an appointment, he would then know the meaning of crazy…. My kids got the RIGHT HELP, and we never saw a bill….
Both of my kids have always known that they are my world. I still have learned so much from this site in just the short time I have known about it. Please keep up the great work, and know that there are people out here that really, really need what you are doing in their lives. Respectfully, Kelly

80

This is me. I could have written your piece Darlene!

“Our parents were not interested in giving up their power in exchange for equal value and thereby gave up having any relationship with their own children and grandchildren.”

This is where my family (husband and 2 children) have been in regards to his parents for 7 years. 7 years! My husband thinks it is because they are respecting our boundaries of not wanting them in our lives (this was never said by me) .

The real reason there has been no contact except the occasional card from him to them– is because THEY DO NOT WISH TO ACKNOWLEDGE OR CHANGE THEIR POWER. Therefore, they dont have a relationship with us or our children.

My husband needs to work on accepting this.

Thank you so much for this piece. I dont feel so alone. I married in to a family where my mother in law is the power freak. In my FOO , it is my father who is the power freak. Both married people who enable them.

81

“Our parents were not interested in giving up their power in exchange for equal value and thereby gave up having any relationship with their own children and grandchildren.”

Oh my god. Last month, I wrote my mom a letter telling her I wanted treated equally and not like a kid. She hasn’t spoken to me since, except to write a letter saying, “I never meant to hurt anyone….”

That’s it, she doesn’t want to give up power!

I was never allowed my own feelings, only the feelings SHE felt I should have. Faked my entire childhood. And now I think she faked hers, and continues to fake it.

82

I need some support today.

I decided to go no contact with my parents.

My dad wrote me a letter in which he stated that I need to forgive them of everything they have said and done, automatically, without any apology or admission of guilt. He said that forgiveness should be granted freely. He said forgiveness is not “earned.”

I might as well be talking to a brick wall.

I am thinking of writing a letter inside two balloons, one for my mom, and one for my dad. I will thank them for the good they have done me, and ask that God take care of them both. I will ask God to to have mercy on them. I will tell them I am praying for their highest good. I will enclose a verse from Mathew 5:23. I will ask them for mercy and for mercy for myself. Then, this spring, when the thaw comes, I will enclose another letter if I still feel the need and put it in a mason jar and throw it in Lake Michigan saying anything more that has been left unsaid. I will sing a favorite hymn while I am doing this.

I feel heartbroken.

83

Eira, I feel for you today. I can’t advise you what to do; that’s a personal decision, but I want you to know that I heard you through your post on here.
I think we all have the hope that somehow, someday, some way, people will see the light and we will get that apology that we long for and they will change. The hard part is that we don’t have control over another person’s behavior. We can’t make those things happen because it is out of our realm of control. But we can realize, as much as it hurts that their reaction is not our fault. It is a reflection of the way THEY are. I understand WHY you are hurting after getting that letter from your father. It sounds like he is asking for a free pass where you are supposed to forgive and forget without any accountability or effort made on their part. Kind of a repeat performance of the same scenarios a lot if us have been dealing with for years. I see things quite differently. To me, forgiveness is earned and I do not grant it freely. Sending you lots of hugs, Amber

84

Hi Eira,

I feel your pain. What an awful decision to have to make but sometimes our FOO’s don’t give us any other option other then going NC because it is better for our own well being. Only you can decide what’s best for you. I am in the same situation as you but I haven’t gone completely NC yet but it is looking like that’s where I will end up too. It makes me sad too but if it is any consolation I think it is a sign that we are getting healthier with inside of ourselves. We aren’t willing to settle for their scraps anymore and dealing with their dysfunction just isn’t worth our health anymore.

When you wrote about how your father said forgiveness isn’t earned it made me think about what forgiveness really is. To me forgiveness is a process. It is not for the other person, it is for you. Forgiveness involves acknowledging what happened to you, getting real angry over that betrayal of trust done to you, and then allowing yourself to feel that pain associated with that betrayal and then you get to grieve the loss involved with what happened to you. It doesn’t mean that you have to continue to have a relationship with the person who harmed you and in many cases you are better off staying away from them until they can prove to you that they are genuinely sorry for what they did to you and that they can be trusted again. That means acknowledging what they did to you to begin with and feeling genuine remorse for it.

Your father wants to skip that part. Your father doesn’t want to hear that because in the end he knows that what he did to you was wrong and acknowledging that to you is like a death sentence to him due to his own issues getting in the way. He would love for you to just keep on sweeping everything under the rug. That is the swan song of a dysfunctional family. Him telling you that forgiveness isn’t earned is just his way of saying that he isn’t willing to do what it takes in order to make things right between the two of you. That is his choice.

You can’t make him see it. Only God and he can do that and he isn’t willing to do it. Nothing that you do will ever change that. The wisdom comes in knowing when to leave it in God’s hands and it sounds like you have already done that. Hang in there. You survived their abuse. You can survive this too. It’s ok for you to feel heartbroken. Anyone who has gone through what you did would. You get to be angry and you get to be sad and you get to grieve the losses involved with this whole mess.

Peace,
Kris

85

Hi Tracy
EXACTLY! Why is it up to the kids!!? (It isn’t) My adult children are now 21 and 23 years old. Their grandparents NEVER make an effort to actually contact them. (they have sent cards and money every year until this year but no effort to actually talk to their grandkids)
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

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Darlene,

From the get-go after we were married, my inlaws always said “we will wait for you to contact us about getting together so we don’t interrupt your lives.”

Um~ that is #1 a set up because it puts in ALL on us to visit, initiate contact etc. IF we don’t adhere to their hidden agenda /meet some higher expectations (we never knew what they were) but were punished for not meeting– we always felt like we were in trouble. Never enough visits. Children. (Which my mother in law would refer to us as to her society friends). The only exception was they would call us every Sunday _(which I despised)because my husband was trained to divulge our whole week to them- gag. That ended pretty quickly.)
#2 a way to induce guilt and compare us to the golden brother and his wife who NEVER did anything “wrong”…in other words kissed their behinds.
#3 It made me want to see them less and less because I felt this pressure to have the “perfect” visit….blah blah blah….

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Tracy,
yes, I can totally relate to that and I agree with you on all points!
hugs, Darlene

88

Hi Eira
I hate it when people demand forgiveness. That isn’t even close to how it is laid out in the bible! (if he wants to use that reference he should use it correctly) He can ‘say’ whatever he wants, just remember though, just because he says it, doesn’t mean it is true.
I am sending you hugs, squishes, big hugs and lots of validation!!!!!
love, Darlene

Everyone ~
There is a new post on the home page called “What we hear when people say that our expectations are too high”. I really want to talk about this one..
Hope to see you there too!
hugs, Darlene

89

One more post that sounds like it is aimed right at me. I deal with not being heard now that I understand what happened as much as I did when I was raised as an invisible family member. It always feels so good to have an issue that is one of mine addressed and validated. I learn so much from you and those who share their experiences. Thank you.

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actually been told in therapy to shut it – in group therapy they would first motivate me to trust them and open up – instead of just supportng the other members of the group

when i finally did – layer one was okay, layer two was frowned upon and after layer three i was asked not to share anything anymore but in private with the therapist, even tho he was on a six week leave at that point –
it was hard to have opened up to be told ot please hold it –

this happened a fewtimes –

til the point i started to question if anyone out there could actually listen to this story and be witness of my process at all –

the therapist i have right now does do that – but after all these years of different experiences it feels raw still

when i started to gain instight people seemed taken aback too taht i wasn t that weak victim they had loved me to be –

i thought they would cheer me on

for now that seems to happen only online, or mostly online at least – which is nice as it s something but
it does feel lonely as well

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