Aug
17

Understanding What Abuse IS and Recognizing Abusers

By

Understand abuse and recognizing abusers

Brass Knuckles

Abuse is a word that carries a whole lot of baggage. When most people think about “abusers” they think of wife beaters and people that take express anger violently against others, rapists, pedophiles – well you get the picture. But those are only the extreme definitions of what defines an abuser.

When I didn’t know what abuse was, I didn’t know. When I didn’t know that there were abusers in my life I didn’t know who those abusers were. That might sound logical but there are pretty deep roots associated with this denial and with not recognizing abuse AND abusers.

I am writing this “mini snapshot of truth” today because of a profound comment that I got on my blog post “How Children Become the Black Sheep of the family” this morning from Michelle. (comment #55)

Michelle said “I kept trying to be validated for many years. (I should have realized you can’t get validation from an abuser, but I hadn’t yet recognized her as an abuser at that point”)

This comment brought me back to the first time I realized that there were “abusers” in my life. There were people who abused their power and authority over other people and they were in MY life too. I remember the first time that I actually realized that my mother was abusive. I had been at a seminar about the misuse of power and control in relationships and I was exhausted from all the information that I was trying to comprehend. On the second day of the seminar I suddenly realized that my father in law was a huge bully. He used bursts of anger to control and manipulate everyone into doing whatever it was he wanted. He used the fear of what he would DO if people didn’t do what he wanted against everyone. Understanding that he was an abuser was suddenly so clear to me that I felt like I couldn’t breathe while simultaneously having this major revelation and understanding which felt like a relief. It was kind of like a “OH NOW I GET IT” moment. About an hour later I realized that my mother was an abusive woman; an abuser in more than once sense of that word. I realized that her tactics were very different than my father in laws tactics were, but none the less she used her power to disempower me and to get her own way.  That was the moment in my life where the seed that would grow into my freedom, took root.  

For months after that day I took apart all kinds of false truth that I had about the way relationship works and realized that more truthfully I had way more examples of the ways that relationship doesn’t work. I began to see how I had been groomed to accept abusive behaviour in relationship as “normal” and functional. I had grown up accepting abuse as “just the way life is”.

There were a few key steps in getting to the beginning of that process of recognizing abuse and abusers in my own life. The reason that the Comment from Michelle struck me so hard is because I remembered how HARD it was for me to see these important family members as “abusers” in the first place and that until I did, I did not make any significant progress in my healing. I always talk about how I had to find the roots of where I got broken in order to achieve emotional healing in the first place and I thought that denial was always about ME. I didn’t realize that I was in denial about the very people that had DONE (or were still doing) the damage in the first place.

I was practicing positive thinking, letting go and “acceptance is the answer” without ever facing the truth about what I was trying to let go of, and what I had not actually accepted yet. It was much easier to skip those harder steps of looking at the truth about some of the people in my life.

I remember the foggy misty feeling of realizing that my own mother had done things that I was in denial about the very nature of those things. I “knew” that those things were wrong, but I glossed them over and I never considered that those things were legally classified as abusive. The impact was mind altering. It was frightening and enlightening at the same time. I remember having this realization that the root to the fog was in that denial. I felt this “other worldly” kind of unbalanced and sideways feeling like the world was tilting and I was tilting with it. I felt unstable and kind of dizzy but at the same time I somehow knew that this “shift” in the way I saw things was the answer. It turned out to be the answer that I had been both looking for and avoiding my entire life.

It isn’t so much about blame as it is about the truth. Blame was like a stepping stone on the journey; it was necessary for me to go there. There was blame that had been misapplied to me and I had to put it back where it belonged. Once I saw the truth I was able to heal. I no longer have the anger and resentments that I had for most of my life. I also no longer have the pain of living with such broken self esteem and low self worth that I mistakenly believed was there because there was something “wrong” with me.

The following links contain information about the definitions of abuse, neglect and psychological abuse; these definitions and definitions of abuse like these helped me to come out of the denial about my childhood and more importantly helped me to validate the damage that was done. Just like I had to recognize that there were abusive people in my life in order to face that I had in fact been abused, I had to acknowledge the damage before I could heal from it.

Definitions of Neglect http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/whatiscan.cfm

Neglect is the failure of a parent, guardian, or other caregiver to provide for a child’s basic needs. Neglect may be:

  • Physical (e.g., failure to provide necessary food or shelter, or lack of appropriate supervision)
  • Medical (e.g., failure to provide necessary medical or mental health treatment)3
  • Educational (e.g., failure to educate a child or attend to special education needs)
  • Emotional (e.g., inattention to a child’s emotional needs, failure to provide psychological care, or permitting the child to use alcohol or other drugs)

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/abuse

a·buse play_w2(“A0030900”) (-byz)

tr.v. a·bused, a·bus·ing, a·bus·es

1. To use wrongly or improperly; misuse: abuse alcohol; abuse a privilege.

2. To hurt or injure by maltreatment; ill-use.

3. To force sexual activity on; rape or molest.

4. To assail with contemptuous, coarse, or insulting words; revile.

5. Obsolete To deceive or trick.

n. (-bys)

1. Improper use or handling; misuse: abuse of authority; drug abuse.

2. Physical maltreatment: spousal abuse.

3. Sexual abuse.

4. An unjust or wrongful practice: a government that commits abuses against its citizens.

5. Insulting or coarse language: verbal abuse.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_abuse   ~ Definitions of Psychological Abuse

The U.S. Department of Justice defines emotionally abusive traits as including causing fear by intimidation, threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends, destruction of pets and property, forcing isolation from family, friends, or school or work.[4]

In 1996, Health Canada argued that emotional abuse is motivated by urges for “power and control”,[3] and defines emotional abuse as including rejecting, degrading, terrorizing, isolating, corrupting/exploiting and “denying emotional responsiveness” as characteristic of emotional abuse.

Please share your thoughts about the definitions of abuse and abusers or any other thoughts you would like to share.

Exposing Truth because nothing else leads to freedom and wholeness;

Darlene Ouimet

Categories : Family

244 Comments

1

Thank you, Darlene, for this strong validation. (((hugs)))

2

Hi Michelle!
Glad you approve! Your comment struck me pretty strongly and brought me back to that day when I suddenly realized…. and how much I had NEVER realized before.
Hugs, Darlene

3

Thank you Darlene for this article. Often, we have a lot of difficulties to recognize the abuser because we are so used to comply and see the “good sides” of the person and we dissociate.

This article mentionned “threatening physical harm to self” as an abusive behaviour. This is exactly what my ex boyfriend (the “high spiritual guy”) done to me but I didn’t see it as a violent behaviour against my person. Now I see it.

Thank you.

4

PS: Jesus said when he was being crucified to “forgive them for they know not what they do,” but I think abusers know what they are doing. I know I told my mother hundreds of times that her refusal to show empathy for my having been abused as a child was more hurt upon hurt. She cared more about keeping family secrets. Since realizing my mother was an abuser about 9 months ago, I think I have done a lot of healing. One thing that I have found is my spirituality. After 45 years of not being able to sit in a church without crying my eyes out, I have begun going back to church. I have tried to find my spirituality for many decades now, but it has all been in my head and not in my heart.

5

Wow, thank you for this. I read this and sat here staring at “denying emotional responsiveness.” I’ve never seen that listed before as abuse… I know what these words mean. I know what “emotional” means; I know what “responsiveness” means. But I was sitting here, asking myself, “What’s emotional responsiveness?” I almost wrote in a comment just to ask you. I’m still feeling that way, like I really don’t know what it is exactly… But it’s what I’ve gotten from my great aunt since my breakdown and from my therapist and from here on this site, right? And from my uncle before he died. From the time he died until I was 22 I don’t know if I had a single moment of “emotional responsiveness” from anyone anywhere. Maybe my dog, if that counts. My breakdown was precipitated by meeting a guy, 4 months earlier, who I guess gave me this “emotional responsiveness” thing. After that happened, I started crying a lot (which was weird for me but I liked it actually because I wanted to feel—I kept writing that over and over in my journal “I want to feel”) and then I started having massive mood swings and then the rest of it I can’t describe properly—it just felt like my brain was shutting down with me trapped inside. I developed a raving obsession with this guy (of course) but the feelings were not mutual and it was quite a disaster. I could not get over him. Of course not. I’d gone 14 years without “emotional responsiveness” from anyone. I mean, probably now and then, something I would think, (maybe from teachers, I think)….??? I’m slightly confused.

6

Alaina, I think that would only be natural, to not have received emotional responsiveness, then finally get it, to try and cling to it. By what the article from Health Canada says, being deprived of it is a form of abuse, so therefore it must be something we require as a person! I did the same thing as you, clung on for dear life to someone who was mildly emotionally responsive, as it was something I had been denied in my FOO. (received from extended family, gratefully, but there is something about being denied it from you nuclear family!)
Michelle, thank you for opening the door to this discussion! It is such an important one. You know, even though your mother knew what she did, is it possible that she was born without the empathy component? She may not know what it is as she never experienced it! I am in no way validating her behavior, but it is just that this is the case with my own mother, after years of study, my observation is that she never has felt it (learned how to fake it, though! I think she recognizes that others feel this thing and at some times it is expected of her so she goes through the motions for appearances). I think those people are called sociopaths?
Reading this post really brings up thoughts of my father in my young years. Ruling by intimidation, threatening tone of voice, controlling us with fear. He fits this description!
My mother is classically neglectful, in many categories. My sister can be defined as neglectful towards my nephew as she refuses to address his learning disabilities.
The lack of supervision applies to my mother, as twice I drank poison and ended up in the hospital, also, fell down a set of cement stairs while standing on a tricycle at the top of the stairs causing head injury (3 yrs old).
It is interesting, as this is a very important post by Darlene, my brain tries to scramble the information or gloss over it, almost refusing me to be able to slow down and let the full meaning of these words to sink in! Does this happen to anyone ese? I have to force myself to go back over it, take time, and understand………….

Janie

7

I really want to stress that it is never the victim’s choice to be “in denial.” I cringe every time I read that phrase because it implies that part of the blame belongs to the victim. This is not true. We could not understand abuse until we were given definitions of abuse. We didn’t have all the information; we couldn’t deny something we didn’t have.

Our abusers were in real denial about hurting us, and they forced their stories of their own “goodness” upon us. We don’t own that fog. We can dump it back in their laps. We own the *clearing* of the fog.

As always, Darlene, I love the way you help make the truth clear.

8

I tried for years too, to get validation from my abuser. Never got it though. And why would I?

I will never forget when the definition of how she treated me came to light. I prayed one night for God to show me the answer – I wanted to know if there was a name to how my mother was treating me because I knew it wasn’t right because of how she made me feel all the time (worthless, not worth breathing the same air as her, etc.) The very next day, I felt prompted to visit our local Christian book store. It was like I was taken by the hand and led to the right aisle – and there in front of me was this book, “Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse” by Gregory L. Jantz. I picked it up. I started skimming through it … and right there I started crying … finally!!! Validation that is wasn’t me!

I bought the book and read it, and read it, and read it again. I underlined. I highlighted. I could not read enough that ‘it was not my fault.’ This was the beginning of unearthing the lies – for me. 🙂

9

Hi everyone!
I interpreted that phrase, “denying emotional responsiveness” altogether differently than everyone else did. I thought it meant the abuser denies the victim the right to respond with emotion. As in, “stop crying, or I’ll give you something to cry about”! Or, what instantly came to my mind when I read it was, my mother all out refusing to allow me to be angry for anything.

Now, I see what the meaning is. She didn’t respond to me with any emotion? I guess? Either way, my mother fits into more than one of the descriptive phrases, so I have no doubt she’s abusive.

The most interesting thing about the comments, and so coincidental is this …..

Last week my friend posted on FB that some people had been rude and mean to her grown disabled daughter. Someone commented with the scripture about “forgive them Father, for they know not what they do!”. I thought, horse shit!!! They do to know! Especially in that situation. So, I posted, “make no mistake friend, they DO know what they do”. Two things happened as a result of that comment. 1) the lady who quoted the scripture followed my comment with, “I think you know what I meant by referring to that scripture”. I wanted to LOL, as if there’s some secret code to that verse, and I’m not privy to it or educated enough, etc. 2) my mothers counselor saw my comment and within 24 hours she wrote me a mushy email about how shed seen what I wrote and I was angry and resentful, etc. These self proclaimed Christians were all slightly offended, and the professional of the group perceived it as anger! UGH! Self righteous – that more accurately describes these women. Sheesh! Protect some random public people who ridiculed a disabled woman. Jeez! What are they teaching us Christians these days!!

Anyhow, I thought it quite coincidental that I would see that verse here since I just experienced this twisting of the verse first hand.

Darlene,
As always, thank you! This is a fantastic post – very enlightening. It is so hard to admit the ones we live are abusive. And, I often wondered, just where us that line? How far is too far? This definitely clarifies. Thanks again!

Peace and Hope,
Mimi

10

Sorry for the auto correct – live=love. Typing on my phone. Not all that handy, turns out! 🙂

11

Mimi ~ I love what you shared – I think you were in the right to say that – I know I would have!! I don’t think there are enough people that stand up to bullies. There are many times too when I correct (or at least want to) someone on what real love is and what it means to truly love someone.

When I get responses like the one you got – I feel … very indignant!! I love the verse where Jesus says, “They know not what they do,” but as you shared – abusers know full well what they’re doing. And when Jesus said this, I’m pretty sure He was referring to those who rejected Him, who didn’t know Who He was – Jesus’ words here have nothing to do with us not knowing what we’re doing when we say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing! People are very aware of what they are doing and why. This is another example of deceptions disguised as good intent that just isn’t.

12

Rizae,
Agree! I’ve always felt that verse is for people who don’t know Jesus, don’t know the implications of their words or actions. When people poke fun of a disabled adult in a public place, I just can’t believe in my heart that they didn’t know they were doing it. Really lame excuse in my opinion. Yet, the big quoter of verses in that comment thread, seemed to have no grasp of a possible deeper meaning. Then when she responded as if I somehow couldn’t see whatever superior theological insight she thought she had – I was dumbfounded. I’ve met sooo many Christians with a superiority complex, it sickens me. That’s not at all the heart of Jesus in my humble opinion. 🙂

Xoxo,
Mimi
Ps – I’m sorry to hear you had a tough week last week! I hope things are looking up!!

13

Hi all!

Rizae,#8, I had a similar experience to yours, regarding being “led” to a book. It was only approx 2.1/2 years ago, that I realised my late mother had suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or at least displayed 99% of the behaviours associated with it. Only at that point did I realise that I had been abused, and that my father had enabled my moms cruelty. I spent 47 years having no idea that I had suffered abuse! I thought my unhappiness was all my own fault because I was a wicked person. What led me to the truth, was a series of strange events and coincidences, which made me start looking at my parents in a new light. Its as if a blindfold had been removed from my eyes. The culmination of these events was my walking into our local library and finding the book Toxic Parents by Susan Forward. It almost jumped out at me, it was actually on a shelf facing the door as I walked in. That book changed my life, it was exactly what I needed at that moment. I know God wanted me to find it, and to heal. I went through every possible emotion while reading it. Shock, anger, fear, sadness, elation, you name it – I felt it. It was difficult at first to accept that my mother was an abuser, and was in all probability suffering from a mental illness. I think for many people, it is easier to blame themselves, than to accept that one or both of their parents were simply not capable of loving them in a healthy way. Maybe because they think that means they were unlovable. I felt like that at first, but now I know the truth. I was a TOTALLY lovable child. I was intelligent, creative and funny. I was a kind ,empathic little girl who adored looking after younger children and animals. I won prizes for art and writing stories. I was a child to be proud of. WE ALL WERE! Why would anybody want to make their own precious child despise itself? I now see my parents as the losers, not me. They never even knew who I was. Thats the tragic thing about abusive parents, they never get to know their children, they rob THEMSELVES of everything that is good and beautiful about that unique child. I have learned to give myself the love and acceptence that I didnt receive from those were just too screwed up to provide it, and as a result of that, I have so much more love for others. I am much less judgemental because I am not judging myself any more. Why cant these people see their children as gifts, instead of emotional punchbags?
Love, Sylvia x

14

Hi Cheryl,#7

I agree with you about the misuse of the word “denial”. To me, denial means refusing to look at, or accept the truth. How can you be in denial when you dont know what the truth is? I believed, for over 4 decades that I was an evil person, because that is what I was told. To me, that WAS the truth. Had I discovered the truth and refused to act upon it, and carried on living a life of misery cos I was scared of “rocking the boat”, then yes, I think that would have been denial, but you cant deny what you are not conciously aware of. In my FOO, the person in the greatest denial was my “enabling father”. He WAS aware of the abuse but refused to act upon it. So yes, lets not blame the victims.
Love Sylvia x

15

Hi Aurele
Threatening harm to self (or threatening to kill themselves) is way more common than I thought in the past and places the actual victim who is already in a weakened emotional state in a very difficult spot now believing they not only responsible for the happiness of the other person but are ALSO responsible for the life of this other person. It’s really abusive!
Hugs, Darlene

Michelle
That is awesome that you have found some comfort in spirituality! I think abusers know what they are doing too. There are too many truth leaks about how they cover it all up and groom the victim to be quiet about it and as you said, you told your mother and she refused to take any action OR to show you the understanding, love or comfort that you needed.
Hugs, Darlene

16

Janie, thank you.

Mimi, on second thought, I think you are right with your interpretation of “emotional responsiveness”, actually, but I’m pretty sure I was denied that, too, seeing as I was most definitely taught to repress my emotions.

17

Hi Alaina
That was one of the things that stuck me too Alaina; the fact that parents were responsible to RESPOND to the child. The fact that it is actually written about in “laws” about child abuse and neglect. That emotional abuse is actually defined in ways like that was stunning to me!
Hugs, Darlene

Janie,
YES great points about realizing that having these emotional needs met is something we NEED.
something we require as human beings; something necessary for our emotional growth. I didn’t find these websites until I was well into my healing process and doing research on stats for this kind of stuff, and when I found them I found them SO validating. They totally reinforced that I had RIGHTS as a child. They really helped me to validate the damage that was done to me so that I could heal from it.

About your note to Michelle about her mother; it is really important that we stick to our own stories and also that we don’t look for ways to understand the people that harmed us at least until we are much much stronger. If we start looking for ways to understand the people that caused the damage, the damage itself gets foggy. I was stuck there for MANY years. I had to put all the “what might have been wrong with my parents stuff” completely on the side so I could concentrate on the damage alone.
Hugs, Darlene

18

Hi Cheryl
Yes, it is never the victims fault or choice to be “in denial” and denial is a funny thing, we don’t know we are in it until we come out of it. I want to note to all the readers that I am trying to express in this post that when I got older and was no longer a child, that while I saw (was not in denial) when other people were in abusive families or that what was happening to them was actually abuse, I didn’t think that what happened to ME was abuse. That is the denial I speak of. I knew that many of the things happened to me were actually things that people would have been legally liable for, but I didn’t think that *I* had a right to be safe like other people did. That is the kind of denial I am referring to here.

I agree with you about abusers forcing “their own story of goodness upon us” (love that expression). As far as abusers being in denial that is a tricky one. The longer I do this work, the more I remember the details of my own story and the more clients that I work with, the more I see the truth leaks about how abusers DID know how what were doing was wrong by the ways they covered it up. Even emotional abuse is covered up; I remember vividly my mother teaching me certain things were wrong to say in front of people. But I can see how they are in denial about how much harm they are doing, as you say.

Here’s to dumping that fog back in their laps! Love that!
Hugs, Darlene

19

Hi Rizae
Cool story about the book and how you felt led to it!
Hugs, Darlene

Mimi
I think that both are true! If someone denies someone else the right to have emotions that is equally abusive as when they deny their response to the child. I think that the emotional response thing was really hard for me! When someone responded to me emotionally it made me SO uncomfortable. I guess I never knew what the heck was coming next! And emotions are used in the wrong way by abusers too ~ something else that goes into the grid of how we respond to things.
Hugs, Darlene

20

Sylvia, I love what you said here:

Sylvia said “They never even knew who I was. Thats the tragic thing about abusive parents, they never get to know their children, they rob THEMSELVES of everything that is good and beautiful about that unique child. I have learned to give myself the love and acceptence that I didnt receive from those were just too screwed up to provide it, and as a result of that, I have so much more love for others. I am much less judgemental because I am not judging myself any more.”

I explained the denial thing in comment number 18.
Hugs, Darlene

21

Alaina,
I guess either interpretation isn’t all that appealing, eh? Either way you take it, it’s still ugly.

BTW, thanks for your comment to me on another thread. I do read nearly everything, I just haven’t had as much time lately to respond.

I’ve thought about your struggles since you explained your situation. I’ve related them to my golden child sister, whom I love dearly. I know she’s felt a lot of the pain I have, but on a different spectrum. She has so much more confidence it seems than I do. I know it’s because she wasn’t verbally assaulted by our mom like I was.

Her struggles are no less painful I’m sure. They are different, however. I remember her describing responsibilities that were laid on her that never should have been. She had to parent the parent and make heavy decisions no child should have to make. She is the oldest and was also groomed to be perfect and quiet. My mom would always say what a quiet and easy child she was to raise. I think it’s because she sensed, even as far back as infancy, that there were stringent expectations of her. She was the first, and she complied. I don’t know if I buy into the idea that it was just her “nature” to be quiet.

As a result of so many years of being quiet, she struggles to express things. I believe she struggles to admit that she was affected as deeply as she was. She admits it on some levels, but, I don’t think she’s dug down deep and realized she’s as damaged as she is. She has a persona of strenghth that I’ve always admired, but, I’m not sure it’s the real “her”.

Our relationship has been strained since the discovery of our mother’s abuse last year. My mother placed a tear in the relationships between my 2 sisters and I. Even between the two of them, I think. She pitted us against each other. I was sad and deeply hurt for quite some time about my sisters. However, some time has passed now, and I’ve accepted things I can’t change in either of them. There is much less contact between us, but, it needed to be that way for a while. We are coming back around I believe, and the space did us all some good. It may never be the way it once was, but I’m not sure that was healthy for me, so I’ve accepted that too. I lived in a fantasy world really. Although it was incredibly painful to come out of that fantasy, I know it’s healthier for me this way. I relied on both of them far too much. I needed to find my own voice and listen to it.

Peace and Love,
Mimi

22

Darlene, When I understood that I’d been sexually abused and it wasn’t all my fault,that I didn’t go out as a teenager and seduce grown men and use them, as I was made to feel. It was like the world suddenly, turned right side up and then I didn’t sleep for three days because the rest was like a flood of truth coming in. There were still so many things I didn’t understand. I knew there were events that made me not trust my parents and talking about them was always denied me but I still didn’t think of them fully as abuse. I did have some understanding of my parents personality disorders and the diachotomy of our family but it was coming here that helped me label the abuses correctly and understand what each instance did to me. The shocking part to me was that I really thought that deep down, my parents remembered the same things I did and that they would love me enough to want to work through them. I understood and I wanted them to understand and get well too. Then is when I realized how abusive they really are. My best interests were never top priority to them. They didn’t just hurt me out of ignorance and I knew this because they became so willfully, ignorant when I confronted them with the truth. My sister remains willfully, ignorant too and supports them in maintaining their false innocence by willful ignorance. When I knew my true value in their eyes, I finally, understood. I’ve always thought people were basically good but now I know that people are a combination of good and evil and capable of both actions. Some of us make evil mistakes even though we are trying to do something good but what I had to accept is that there are people who do evil for evil’s sake. Some people give themselves over to evil so fully, as to become evil. They transferred their evil onto me and I transferred my goodness onto them. It is when I began to indiviate that I saw all of us for who we really are. I hope that makes sense.

My mother is a different kind of manipulator. She was the youngest of seven children with four older sisters who basically, raised her because her parents were in their late forties when she was born. I think she learned to do life by remaining a little girl, too dumb to do anything for herself. She also, avoids responsibility this way by playing dumb so no one will ask her to do anything. My mom flips the parent child relationship so that she plays the role of the child and her children are the parents, the ones held responsible. My foremost memory of my parents is of them sitting at the dining room table getting drunk, most every night. I was so shocked to hear her deny that she drank too much when I was a child. She lays all the blame on my dad being an alcoholic. She wants never to be held responsible for any of her actions. She seems to totally, miss the fact that if she had no drinking problem of her own then she was encouraging my dad’s alcoholism by drinking with him every day. She says that she wasn’t as drunk back then as I think. If that’s true then she was just mean. There have been times when the mask of simpering little girl dropped and I’ve seen such a viscious, intelligent woman underneath. She’s been very successful too at laying all responsibility at the feet of others. I think I’m rambling but there are those who have a truly, evil heart. I think the people who crucified Jesus did know that they were abusing and killing an innocent man. What they didn’t know was that they were killing the Son of God and what their actions meant for them. That’s the way my mom is too. I know she meant to use and hurt me but what she didn’t know was that she would lose her soul in the process. When I confronted her with the truth, I gave her the chance to take responsibility for the damage she caused me, save our relationship, and also, save her own soul. She chooses to remain as she is and the one she’s hurting the most is herself.

Pam

23

Mimi, I feel the same way about my sister and I know that her suffering is intense. She has to be perfect. She is very disconnected from her true feelings and she confides in no one. I was so caught up in believing that I needed to be ‘like’ her that I think I had to break away so that I could find my true self and my own strength. She did and said a lot of hurtful things and I had to set the same boundary with her as I set with my parents but I still have hope that someday, she’ll be able to face the truth. If we do reconnect then perhaps, I’ll be strong enough in myself to hold her to an equal relationship. Our relationship wasn’t healthy but she’s my baby sister and I’ll always love her. I pray for her every day.

Love,
Pam

24

Wow Pam and Mimi – My relationship with my older sister is similar. I was treated as the hot head because I would get angry at never being allowed to say anything about anything!I thought I should be more like her. My parents favored her and still do but they also tug at her in a way that I no longer allow them to tug at me.
Since I went no contact with my parents, my sister no longer reaches out to me in any real way. We used to speak once a week but later I realized that it was only while she was commuting. Once she got to her house there was no time for me. I would only jokingly confront her with this, now I see that it was painful so I would make a joke out of it. Actually it feels better to let her go for now. Whenever we have been on the phone for the last 3 years it feels like she is watching tv or playing a video game at the same time. She’s just not present and I think this is how she numbs her pain. Even as the golden child she must realize how awful our folks were to us, dare I say abusive to us. I too pray for her and her family every day.

My momster was the youngest of 13 and she totally plays the baby role to this day. Around the family she is manipulative, pouting always – throwing a curve into the simplest of events and a general fun sucker. Oh yeah and did I say victim?
The misuse of scripture is a common thread for these manipulative people. Transparency and love is what I wish they could learn from God’s word…
What you said Pam about healing her own soul with the truth is beautifully worded and exactly what I feel. Thanks everyone –

25

Tamara, I know the martyr act well. The hole in is that my mom doesn’t suffer in the place of others, it’s more like no one elses suffering counts. It took me awhile to realize that she wasn’t even aware of how things hurt me and never considered what it was like for me to be barely 15, on my own with no way to take care of myself. She knew where I was, I finally, asked why she did nothing and she said it was because she didn’t have a driver’s license. It was like the first thing off the top of her head because I don’t think she even considered that she should of done something. In her mind, I was off having a good time and she was suffering. Bizarre.

Pam

26

I too can relate to this post. I was raped by a ‘friend’ of my brother’s (I was 7, he was about 15). When I first learned what sex was I thought that I must be a bad girl for having had sex so young; I’d already been told for years that I was a naturally bad person by an uncle (I now know I was just an average little girl, but that’s another story) so it was easy for me to see this as evidence of how bad I was.

I think it was in the mid 80s that there were hearings about legislation to fight child abuse, including sexual abuse in Washington, and I became aware that there was a woman representative speaking in support of the bill, having herself been a victim of CSA years earlier. I either wasn’t ready or sadly didn’t have access to resources to help me heal at the time, so I didn’t listen long, but for the first time I got the thought in my head that maybe I didn’t do anything wrong but that something very wrong had been done to me.

I now wish that I had thought to write down her name or at least whether she was in the House or Senate, since I now know that her courage to testify about what was an even more taboo subject than now led me to recognize that I was a victim, and could in fact heal-which I did and am slowly but surely though life is far from perfect.

I tried to do an online search recently to find out who she was, but couldn’t. I’m grateful to her just the same.

27

Denial! What a word. I spoke with my ex mother in law this morning about the verbal abuse her son dished out after years of pornography usage and never being home. She responded with “marriage is a covenant for life. Do you think i haven’t had to put up with things in all my years of marriage? That is the reason it is marriage, you don’t walk out when things get hard. You should be reapectful as he is your husband. When you seperate that means there is nothing to work on at it is over! I never left my husband though he was an alcoholic and still can act like i am a nobody.” this from the mom of a man that openly admits he was willing to verbally run me down and try anything to manipulate me so that I would make it on my own. Then he turns around and tells our children it is my fault he isn’t there at night when they go to bed or get up in the mornings. No acceptance of personal responsibility becuase they would rather live in denial of how actions affect others.

28

I can see that in my mother too, we used to call her martyr with out a cause but I like the way you put it. She doesn’t feel any one else’s pain nor see the pain she causes others.
I was much older than 15 but I was struggling. I had to store some belongings in one of their unused sheds. She acted like it was such a big favor to stash a few boxes there. She said. “Yeah, you are just like that “Looking for Mr. Goodbar” lady in the movie” It was much later that I saw the movie and realized how mean that was and how wrong. I was 20 or so with undiagnosed narcolepsy and sincere in any relationships I had. I was working full time and trying to keep a decent job. She thought I was out having fun every second.

29

# 28 was referring to#25…

30

Pam~
What you said so resonated: “The shocking part to me was that I really thought that deep down, my parents remembered the same things I did and that they would love me enough to want to work through them. I understood and I wanted them to understand and get well too. Then is when I realized how abusive they really are.”

I think I started to fully understand my story when I read this:
“When a child abuse victim or survivor is disbelieved, shamed, threatened into silence, or when the DISCLOSURE IS MINIMIZED, the trauma inflicted by ***WILLFUL IGNORANCE AND LACK OF EMPATHY*** compounds the original trauma. Children can withstand a lot with the help of other people; but, the denial or rejection of children’s normal thoughts & feelings about trauma can cause as much pain as the original trauma… ”

“Denying the seriousness of our abuse, is agreeing with our abuser and those who wouldn’t acknowledge it. Denial will cause us to minimize it and may even confirm to ourselves that nothing happened. It is important to remember as much detail as you can about your abuse so you can trust your own perceptions of what really happened and not depend on the validations from others.”

(Text from ‘Trauma and Recovery: The aftermath of violence — from domestic abuse to political terror’ by Judith Herman, M.D.)

PS: My therapist recently told me that my promiscuousness in my teens was caused not by having been sexually abused as a child, but because I had not received affection as a child. This was really eye opening for me, and I have started to remember how cold and mechanical her touch was. When I would try to hug her, she would become as stiff as a board. There were no terms of endearment, only “tsk, tsk, Michelle.” I could not seem to do anything right.

But to be fair, my mother herself may not have received much parental affection herself, being the 3rd youngest of 14 children. So whether she knew what she was doing, I’m still grappling with that one. She did try to cover it up, though.

It is still a mystery to me…

Darlene~
I appreciate when you said “If we start looking for ways to understand the people that caused the damage, the damage itself gets foggy.” But I think I was stuck for many years because I didn’t understand that there was something “wrong” with my mother. Ever since I fully came to terms with this, although my journey of healing has been 15 years now, it was only in the last year or so that I have made great strides in understanding the “why,” which did help because I was no longer hanging on to a dream of my mother actually caring.

So does my mother deserve forgiveness? – which does not mean that I will ever forget or place myself in the same abusive situation ever again! Did she know what she was doing? As Jesus said, forgive them for they know not what they do … It is hard to grapple with this, but for now I can only give this to God to handle.

(((hugs)))
Michelle

31

“Hanging on to a dream of my mother actually caring” I am somewhere in the midst of that. I feel forgiveness towards her and the not allowing myself to be re-injured but some how I still hang on to thinking that she is “smart” enough to get it. I always tried to give her a lot of understanding as did my siblings. Of course it could never be enough for a self-loather. That is where I miss it. No one is trying to beat her up for the past. I want her to STOP mistreating me and others in the NOW. This seems to be unattainable so I let go of everyone. Sometimes this hurts a lot and I have no answers or work to do or anything that makes it feel better. Those are the feelings that I struggle with and refuse to medicate!

32

It’s true, the word ‘abuse’ has most people thinking of stories like ‘a child called it’ and not standard forms of corporal punishment or subtle emotional abuse. I knew from a very young age that my entire family was abusive–that they would yell, ridicule, beat, and insult me. And that they were wrong and cruel for doing so. But it took me a long time to decode the subtler forms of manipulation and understand the way they programmed me to think about myself and my life, let alone the pattern of dissociation they began in me that hid the sexual abuse and chopped up my life into separated episodes that made it difficult to see the wider picture (maybe being entirely “present” and “in the moment” isn’t actually such a good thing if you’re a dissociative?)

My sister brainwashed me over many years to ignore ignore the reality of her emotional abuse by continuously rhapsodizing about what a great relationship we had (great for her I guess…she had someone to use whenever she wanted to have fun and then drop in a second, go off on anytime she was in a mood…) It took interacting with her side by side with kind, supportive people who valued me and abilities to see what she was doing to me.

33

Hi Elsa
Welcome to EFB! Your comments are a great example of what I am talking about. How were you to know any different? Interesting how the seed got planted! That is awesome.
You are not alone! Hugs, Darlene

34

Laura
Marriage is a relationship where two people agree on their equal value and have mutual respect. YAY for getting away from that guy! Your mother in law is plain wrong.
Hugs, Darlene

Michelle,
You remind me of me when you said “To be fiar my mother herself may not have…….” I prefaced all my hurt with statements like that. I had to set aside my questions about forgiveness. I had to set aside the pasts of the people that harmed me. I had to separate all that and face the truth. The key is in the damage. When I faced the truth and acknowledged and validated the damage to me, all the answers to those questions fell into place. I understand my mother had a tough life, but NOT at my expense anymore. Everyone says there is something wrong with my mother… I had to say “SO WHAT?” ( but it is interesting that she doesn’t treat her friends like that, and she was careful in front of certain people so she can control it)
About God; The origin of the statement “the truth will set you free” is biblical. And if you ask me, the only way that any of “them” can be set free from their own personal hell is to face that same truth.
Hugs, Darlene

35

Tamara
OH do I hear that! I wanted this healing for my mother so badly! I believed she could get it and have the freedom and wholeness that I have. BUT she chose to ignore the truth. My best chance at heleping her is to stand firm on my boundary.
Hang in there! It gets easier!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Caden
I did the dissociation thing too and came to see the events as though they were in separate envelopes. Separating them was the only way that I could function. And interesting to me is that I healed that same way! But looking at things separately. By looking at events through the grid of truth, one bit a a time and putting them back together through that new grid. this is what led me to integration. I did not stay entirely present much of the time in the beginning. I actually taught myself to stay present as part of the process, but I allowed myself to dissociate when things were too hard. I found that as I grew, being in control that way (even when it was more the illusion of control) helped me a ton. I wish I could get into it more deeply but it is something that is better done in one on one work.
Hugs, Darlene

36

Oh Caden – you really said it when you noted it was great for her. Like you – my sister dropped it when it was not fun for her and real life set in. Don’t get me wrong – I am all for fun and regard joy as an essential to life. I always tried to rally in my sisters behalf and now I realize that she has no clue about who I am…

37

That’s weird – I said “oh Caden” before I saw the “oh Tamara” Even that is encouraging as it expresses our hearts…

38

I mean Tamara Oh

39

Darlene, thanks, I see what you mean. That is also what I’m essentially doing–going through the memories and instances one by one and trying to piece them together, make connections, analyze them, integrate them into a larger story. I think I learned too well in the past how to ‘control’ and prevent flashbacks from coming on, so part of my process has leaned more towards picking up my body’s signals and listening to them when something comes on. Anyway, I get what you’re saying.

Tamara, yes! There is nothing wrong with fun, but my own sister left home when I was 8 years old and didn’t care much about how I was abused in her absence or about my pain, my emotional truth, but still expected me to be fun and happy and essentially just as I was at 8 years old, even when I was 21. She was in denial, she didn’t see me for who I am, she just insulted me. Just like my mother, she continued to treat me as child-abusers will treat young children, like they are incompetent and clueless, naive and don’t know themselves.

40

This post reminds me of how long I blamed myself for being sexually assaulted by my mother, I had recently shared with my mother that i was gay, when she assaulted me her words to me were ‘you are supposed to like it’ that it took me 17 years to move on from her words shows the power i gave to the lies of my abusers. It was so hard for me to really acknowledge for myself on an inner level how significant the difference was between my sexual preference and the inappropriateness of her behaviour. That my sexuality nor my willingness to be open about it were acceptable cause for her behaviour, and that what she had done was abuse. I could articulate that i was sexually assaulted by my mother yet the tape i played to myself for so long when i used those words was that i asked for it.

41

Darlene,
Everything you wrote resonates with me!…Once I started to define abuse, attach it to my family’s controlling & mean behavior, & accept that They are abusive the healing process really started. I’m so aware now, that it’s like an internal radar, when I’m around abusive people. I could always feel the negative energy & it has affected me. Knowing the roots of those depressions & anxiety is frightening & empowering!! I’m thankful for this site for opening my eyes & steering me in the right direction- away from my FOO. I don’t need their distorted view of acceptance or approval. I’m content when I set up boundaries & limits. So far, 3 weeks with NC with any one in my family. Surprisingly, my Narc mom called & left a message saying, I haven’t seen you, so call me. Well, I’m not inclined to think it’s about missing me or my kids. I think it’s more about her need to get info & use manipulation like guilt tripping & shaming to put me down for not having any contact. Same old tactics. Sickening isn’t it!
My PTSD symptoms are acting up, so I’m keeping my comment short.
Thanks for Listening,
Sonia

42

Mimi,
OMG! Your mom’s counselor is determined to point the finger at you!…What Crap!…She is now, monitoring your FB comments???!
Speaking the Truth really pisses off abusers!….Now, I sound angry yet I know it’s more about Venting! Certainly, did not have malicious intent with what you said. You were right on in your comment!
Hugs,
Sonia

43

I meant you did NOT have malicious intent by your comment….

44

Pam,
Yes! Their behavior is Willful! They know what they are doing. Too much pathology in my FOO.
Sonia

45

Invalidation is also abuse. We may not be verbally, emotionally or physically abused regularly but invalidation seems to happen a lot. You are not allowed to feel what you feel. They tell you what you are feeling – like in Mimi’s post above, about being told she is angry and resentful.

We don’t grow up being educated on abuse. Oh, sometimes a school may do a class project on bullying or sexual abuse, etc. but they don’t tell you about what abuse really is. Even as adults, you hear messages about marriage and there may be some caveat of “accept when there is abuse” but they don’t describe what that would look like. Then they conveniently blame the victim for being in denial.

Now I go by my gut feeling. Sometimes I feel a punch in the gut and I don’t ignore it. I feel defined and invalidated by some comment or other and I tell myself they are wrong, I am not going to accept it.

Just this morning I asked some leader for prayer at church for a decision I had to make. I have some very major life-changing decisions that will impact the future of my kids. My journey out of domestic violence is not over yet and having to make these major decisions can be tough and I felt I needed support.

I guess this person found my circumstances too difficult to fathom, even though I didn’t say a lot, and she said in a prayer that I was carrying a load that I was never meant to carry – well, obviously, no person should have to carry the loads that single mothers escaping violence have to carry. She said I had to let it go and that I should let God take over. How in the world did she know that I hadn’t done that already? Just because I revealed my tenuous financial situation doesn’t mean that I am not recognizing that God can do something about it. Does she mean that I don’t have to make crucial decisions as they arise and that I should not ask for prayer when invited by the pulpit? Nobody would classify her behavior as abusive, but I felt invalidated. She didn’t even know me well enough to conclude that I was too burdened and not letting everything go into the hands of God.

I wondered if I was too sensitive, but I think I (and other victims) grew up not being taught to be sensitive enough. I accepted whatever was dished out and numbed my senses. Now it is time to be more sensitive, not less.

46

I want to comment on so many posts – so many things to respond to. But for now, pertaining to #20 where Darlene quotes Sylvia … Oh, can I relate! I came to this profound truth a good many years ago now.

“They never even knew who I was. Thats the tragic thing about abusive parents, they never get to know their children, they rob THEMSELVES of everything that is good and beautiful about that unique child.”

This truth helped to accept the fact, that one; the abuse was not my fault. Secondly, I cannot make them (particularly my mother) love me. Knowing that she never cared to know ‘me’ was incredibly painful. She made it up in her ‘sweet’ little head who she thought I was – and she hated that person. And then, she tried to make me into someone else … which just left me with a false sense of identity which is really no identity at all.

I’m in my 40’s now – and I am just now trying to pin down who I really am. The more I discover, the more I realize she NEVER EVER knew me. Ever! And when she tells people what I’m like … well, for the most part its all lies – because she doesn’t know me.

Before the falling out with my family of origin – when I saw my brother for the last time, he made a comment which I knew he heard from my mother. I am kicking myself now that I didn’t correct him, but he made a comment about how ‘I was always like that.’ And I looked at him thinking, ‘What the hell?!’ I knew where it came from and at the time thought, ‘Whatever!’ In hindsight, I should have called him on it. Like it would have mattered, they have all been conditioned to believe whatever my mother says as if her words are like the words of God. It’s sick.

I’ve come enough of a long way to say, “It’s their loss.” It’s not only that they don’t know me – its moreso that they don’t see the truth and how much they are controlled and manipulated. And that is a loss that is hard to take.

47

Hi Phoenix Rising
This is a very good point. That is exactly how mixed up we get from the ways we are treated and the messages that we get. The bottom line is that sexual contact with a child is against the law, and somehow they convince the child that they are above the law or that the child is not protected by the law because the child is unworthy of the law. (And we are convinced that we did something to attract it on top of all that other crap )And in order to survive, the child believes it is her fault. It is a tangled path out of that belief system!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

48

Sonia
About your comment to Mimi
We need to get angry. We need to express our disgust about this stuff. In this way we not only validate the things that happened or are happening to us are wrong, but we validate others too. I loved your passionate comment to Mimi!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Krissy
Yes, invalidation is abuse! A huge part of abuse.
Hang in there; I know these are tough times for you. I admire your determination to do what is right and best for yourself and your children. About that woman at church; you should ask her all those questions you posted here! See what she has to say about that.
Hugs, Darlene

49

Excellent post Darlene. It was very good to explain abuse in detail as many of us are still trying to
identify it. I ALWAYS knew my father was an angry violent abuser. What I never realized was that my emotionally absent mother was just as if not more abusive to me. Her abuse was more covert. She never protected me. Her subtle devaluations during adult conversations have always left me feeling less than<. Dismissal of my concerns. Labeling me as too emotional. (When I was not permitted any emotion). I did not
see it until EFB when I began to question my inner feelings. I always saw her as the helpless victim of my father's abuse and control. OK thats true. But and its a big but, he's dead. Her devaluing treatment of me which she blamed on him (twisted) no longer holds true. He's no longer causing her to do it. He no longer "forces" her to be belittling in conversation, never speak of me in a good way or stand up for me.
Oh boy that was a big one for me about 4 months ago when I went NC. Talk about FOG. I finally saw her as an abuser. Really saw her. That was life changing for me. I had been feeling that "inner hurt" from her in a strong way since 1993. Thanks for listening. -Karen

50

Rizae
About the conversation with your brother; those are the things that are like markers for me; markers in the ways that I have changed. Today I don’t let any of that stuff go. It took me a long time to be able to say the things back that I needed to say. In my mind I call it “shooting the truth back”. I went through a long period of time where becoming aware that what people were saying to me was wrong and being aware of what they were actually saying just stunned me so much that I was speechless. I think that the fog parting like that was all I could handle at that stage. I did a lot of rehearsing of what I should have said or what the truth was about what they said. It was part of my self validation process and re-parenting process. Eventually I was able to shoot the truth back without fear of what they might say to me about it. The funny thing is that when I do shoot the truth back or ask clarifying questions (in this case I would have said to your brother “always been like what?”) they NEVER can answer. They take a step back in shock! Those arrows of truth are crazy effective! But it took me some time to get to that point!
Hugs, Darlene

51

Hi Karen
Thanks! Yes covert abuse is harder to recognize for sure. My mother was both overt and covert but my father was really covert. I saw my father as the helpless victim to my mothers abuse the way you saw your mothers victimhood to your fathers abuse. I can totally relate to you in these comments. It was huge for me too when I saw ALL the different types of abuse because it helped me to validate the damage all of it caused.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

52

Hi Darlene and everyone,

I feel bad about myself right now. I have a dependence, which makes me suffer a lot, the guilt is very strong.
Each day, I fight against myself to delay the moment I will do it.
I read hentai manga until the crucial point I have.. you know what.
I have a preference for the scene the woman is not consent.:-(((

That’s horrible for me, because the moment after and during 2/3 days, it’s like all my strong feelings emerge. For example, I am more afraid of people, I will have more fear and disgust with man. I will be more shy. I will have more fear and hate toward people and I feel very ashamed.

That’s really exhaust me. Because even if I succeed to be strong and not doing this during one month, one day I will start again. Pff.

It’s not an eating disorder, but I don’t know why, I feel very close to people who suffer from it and to people who strugle with addictions and feel sympathy for amy winehouse.

Thinking about it, I think I want to escape something.
It’s like a refuge.
When I was a litte girl I used to do a similar thing to escape what I lived.

Today, maybe I want to escape the disgusting mixture of love/hate my father gave me.
I remember he was too close from me, and I don’t have the place of a child in this family, but I was like his wife in competition against my mother for his “love”.
The only moment my father seemed to notice me, was when he played this disgusting seducting game with me.

I hope I didn’t have shocked anyone.

Hope one day, I didn’t need to do that.

Thanks for reading.

53

another amazing post… I remember when I came to the same realization about my biological mother and while reading this I realized that she has an insane need to continue treating people like this and continues this abuse on my oldest brainwashed son. She has such an intense need to control and abuse people that she destroyed the future my son could have had to simultaneously continue her abuse on him and try to gain back the control and abuse over me. I have to pray everyday that someday someway my son realizes what has truly been done to him and unfortunately he has to do it alone like I did. I hope it happens soon before he has a family to continue her abusive legacy on. Luckily she doesn’t have an interest in my other children and they are safe from her. Luckily my other son sees her for what she is and sees what abuse is and what is isn’t and wants nothing to do with her….

54

Hi Aurele
This is a very horrible position for a child to be placed in. There is nothing related to LOVE when a father does that to his child. You are not along here; there are many woman and men here that this also happened to with their own parents.
Wanting to use food or something else to escape is normal. It is a coping menthod. I began to let go of those coping methods as a result of doing the work to face the truth and heal. I didn’t actually “work on” the coping methods themselves.
Please feel free to share whatever you like without fear. There is so much understanding here.
Hugs, Darlene

55

reading the prior comments, i felt as if my life was being explained by many of them, a real lesson that even when as a child you think you are all alone, there were others suffereing just like i was. mmm not cool as an adult looking back at my life, back to the 17-18yr old who didnt have a clue how different her life was to the neighbours kids. looking back over the parcels of healing i have done, to try and have a more normalised life, and not be cripples by the behavioural problems my childhood had left me with. so afraid yet so defiant in my stance that to heal i had to face the cause and not just treat the symptom. the need to stablise so i could do the work i neede to do led me onto tablets on and off through the resulting years, yet still i seek the cause of my issues.
see im still in some form of denial over what has been done to me. i can say i have been abused and what kind of abuse but pinpointing some of the first instances of abuse would have been almost a daily constant in my baby months, the emotional distance and lack of understanding of what my needs were. i still dont really want to admiy yo myself that the very persin who chose to have me then blamed me for everything else that went wrong in her life.
even after nearly all my adulthood i still cannot deal with the reality even if i seemed to have worked with the resulting issues. behaviours/ symptoms over the causes.
will find a way to find those defences that keep me locked in thois limbo of being almost healed on the outside yet only half healed on the inside.

56

Aurele~
I think I know how you feel. The addiction wasn’t the same, but addiction is addiction. Everyday I would tell myself I wouldn’t do it again and it would work for a while, but then I would start doing it again and the disgust I felt for myself, I felt like a failure. I was caught in an endless circle. For 12 years.

Then something helped me feel that I was ok just the way I was, that I didn’t need to pretend and this was just fine. I was able to be myself just a little, which helped me feel safe enough to talk about the “secret” and have compassion for myself. My heart goes out to you.

57

Hi Aurele,

Im sure no-one here is at all shocked by your comments. I am really glad that you have felt safe to share, you are in the right place. I have had many addictions over the years. I suffered from Bulimia, I smoked heavily, I used drugs, I was addicted to ecxessive exercing, and I had alcohol dependency. I was a workoholic, and I was SERIOUSLY addicted to people-pleasing, approval-seeking, saving and rescuing. Whatever the addiction is, we are trying to fill a gaping hole inside ourselves. We are yearning for love, and trying to numb the pain of not having it. We do these things when we dont love ourselves enough. I still backslide sometimes, I will occasionally drink too much, I am still a workaholic, but not as bad as I once was. And sometimes, I will find myself on the brink of approval seeking and rescuing behaviours. But now I know, when I do these things, I need to give myself a bit more attention. So I write in my journal and talk to myself about what Im feeling, I also give myself treats. Its a long journey, and sometimes we are going to slip up. But its so important to forgive ourselves, and “re-parent” ourselves. Remember, Aurele, every time you share, it makes someone else feel ok to do the same.
Love Sylvia x

58

That was supposed to say excessive exercising by the way!

59

Hi again Aurele,

Can I just add that it is very common for children who have been sexually abused to grow up being addicted to abusive sexual relationships, or to fantsise about abusive sex. After I had been raped at 13yrs old, I became sexually promiscuous. I had many horrible experiences. Looking back, it was an attempt to re-write history, and make my past abusers love me instead of despising and humiliating me. Most of us repeat abuse patterns until we realise what we are doing and why. The CRUCIAL thing here is, not to feel ashamed or beat yourself up. You were subjected to appalling treatment as a child, and its perfectly natural that you have issues, who here hasnt? You are on a healing path and you will get there,please keep sharing.
Love, Sylvia xx

60

Thank you Darlene and Michelle for your support.
Michelle, your comment deeply moved me, thank you.
It’s exactly that, to pretend.
I so had to pretend during my childhood everything was fine otherwise I was rejected and terrorized.

Thinking about it, my non father also considered me as his mother. His mother abandoned him the family at the of 6 and he considered my duty in life was to fulfill all the empty inside him and to give him all what he missed when he was young. SO much pressure on my shoulders.

To falsify the truth, my parents used to say that I was very nice, adorable when I was a child but when I became a teenager I became totally uncontrolable, arrogant, pathetic, difficult. That’s why they had to be nasty with me.

In fact, the price to pay for me to always keep a good facade in childhood was high.

During my teenage years, my father (who represents all I have in this world, because he took all the place in my life, my mother was totally inexistant) started to be very angry at me and to put an horrible surveillance. He refused I grown as a separate individual from himself.
I couldn’t pretend everything was ok like I had to do it (in order to survive) during my childhood. I began to see there is something very wrong with the disgusting attitude and hate attitude he had towards me and I couln’t bear it anymore. I was in danger.
To hide my despair, i started to drink, steal in shops, but all that tentatives were in vain. On the contrary, it was worse for me.
Because he used this facts to justify his attitude of suspicion he had towards me.
I was bullied at highschool during 5 long years and nobody reacted.
I ran away from home when I was 17, but my non father caught me and gave me a huge beating. I remember the fear I had in the car when he bring me back home.
He threatened me before we left the car “I will give you a huge beating, I can do this in the corridor because it will alert all the neighbours but when we arrive at home, you’ll see what you will take”.
The fear. No escape.

He gave me 20 slaps in the face and threw me on the floor with violence and was furious about my desesperate act.
Although, for me, it was just a desperate attempt to make him know that I just coulnd’t stand his hate towards me.
He asked me “why did you do that” ? with a very furious crazy tone and as I was shocked I couldn’t explain my self and he slapped me with his two hands as an answer, as the policemen do it to make the suspect admit crime in interrogatory.

When I was a little girl, I had huge spankings too from 2 until 7 years old. For him, it was justified, it was to make me learn I had to eat rapidly and without discussing all the content of my plate. (!!!)

I remember the huge fear when my father grab me but in the same time, I felt an excitation. It’s like I associate the fear and the pleasure to survive.

In order to survive, I thought, my parents were great parents during my childhood, and then because of my behaviour (I listended rock music, I had bad results in school, I started to smock) they had to be more severe. Pff what a huge bullshit of lie.

From the begining of my existence, they were very inappropriate as parents. I wasn’t desired. My father told me at the age of 13 that my mother never wanted me. And they expect that I’ll stay very nice all my life towards them ? with that unfair treatment ?

Today, I have this huge fear and guilt who prevent me to have a normal relationship, at work, with friends or with a boyfriend because I act like a victim.
When I go out, I am so afraid to be kidnapped, to be agressed or to be pointed from the fingers. I can feel my heart speeding in my chest.

Thanks for reading.

61

Sorry, I would like to say “I will give you a huge beating, I can’t instead of I can) do this in the corridor because it will alert all the neighbours but when we arrive at home, you’ll see what you will take”.

62

Aurele~
It sounds like you are suffering from complex PTSD. There are many good mental health professionals who can help you sort through your feelings. At the very least, it sounds to me like your father was emotionally incestuous towards you.
(((hugs)))

63

Michelle,

You’re comment is intesresting.
I think you’re right for my father was emotionnally incestuous…
He made comments on my body “that I was hottie”, that “I have a beautiful body”, “little breasts but lovely ones”. Yuk! yuk ! yuk !

64

Hugs to you too Michelle.

65

Hi Mimi,

Sorry it’s taken me some time, too, to respond—I wanted to give it some thought first.

I’m sorry for the rift between you and your sisters, but I can relate to what you said about living in a fantasy world and how, though it’s painful, it is healthier to come out of it.

It’s impossible to know exactly what’s going on inside another person but your assessment of your sister seems plausible to me—if it was me. It has taken till fairly recently for me to realize that I was a mother to my mother while I was growing up because I was also very much infantilized. On a practical level, she was doing all sorts of things for me that, as I grew older, I should have been doing for myself. At the same time, I now see that on an emotional level I acted as her mother, listening to her, responding to her emotions, etc, and never received any of that myself. There was some weird inconsistency where I was seen as emotionally “made of steel” but then also seen as fragile (the fragile part being applied to my ability to make it in the “real world.” After all, my mom didn’t want me to leave her! I was also a substitute for her relationship with my dad, as they did not have a good marriage and he was not emotionally available to her). As a child, before I was “broken,” I know I could spend hours on end by myself—happily—but then sometimes I’d become extremely social and you couldn’t shut me up. I’d get in trouble at school for talking too much! So, no, in terms of being “quiet,” although I am naturally introverted, what happened to me wasn’t just the way I was.

One thing I can say is that life before my breakdown was, in a way, easier. It was easier to be compliant. My life was ruled by fears. I lived inside a box. As long as I didn’t try to get out, life was okay. I really had no idea how bad the damage was (similarly to what you said about your thoughts on your sister). All those coping mechanisms—like repression and disassociation—well, they do work to an extent… until they’ve totally screwed you over. So, yes, easier but… emotionally I was a zombie, pretty much always depressed, flat. No growth. I was capable of faking smiles, of going along, of being philosophical about things, enough that my family believed me, anyway (but they also had their reasons for believing me and chose not to look at some very real facts). Suicide was always at the back of my mind. Not in a million years would I want to go back to that life. It would basically have to be over my dead body. The intensity and acuteness of pain, and the chaos and confusion, I have felt since my breakdown, though, has been way beyond anything I experienced when I was the good daughter… But yes, I had pain all along; I had just numbed it out, which is why I was the walking dead. Now I’ve also been capable of real happiness. I know that I can experience the full range of emotions—something I really couldn’t before. I’m alive and can very much see now how the rewards of this process are and will be worth it all.

I think you do have to be ready for this work, though, and maybe for some it’s just too much risk. For example, my brother won’t look at any of this stuff and I think in the past felt threatened and protective of my parents, when I cut off contact from them, etc. It isn’t that he doesn’t have any issues, it’s that the issues weighed against the fact that his life is “working” for him make it so there is not enough reason to take all this on. (That’s my theory, at least.) Maybe one day that will change. I’m sure he has some damage but he never had to play the role I had to play—he was not the “baby girl” she always wanted. My mom would often tell the story of how when he was born, she called him a “she” for at least a week until the doctor got mad at her (he was the first born). She always thought it was a funny story. I don’t think she ever stopped to think how hearing that would make my brother feel… but not being the “baby girl” gave him the freedom to leave home when he wanted, to travel, to have a life outside, to find himself, etc. He was not hated or made the outcast. He was just not grasped at desperately and possessively like I was, but from his point of view, I’m sure he was sometimes resentful of me being the favourite and that was probably at least partially why he seemed to really hate me sometimes, always calling me names and cornering me sometimes on the staircase, punching me in the sternum to knock the wind out of me. I became quite jumpy around him, always running up or down the staircase and squeezing up to the wall. I don’t blame him for that stuff because he was just a kid, too, and not getting proper treatment, either, but it wasn’t pleasant…. especially being called a loser all the time when I had such difficulty with friendships—I believed him and just wanted him and everyone else to like me. (All this was particular to my older childhood and teen years till my breakdown at 22, though. It was a different story when I was a little kid and my mother did not like me very much.) My mom was very much a martyr and from her point of view, she was living for others, to please everyone else, to be the perfect mother, the perfect whatever, working really hard to give us a better childhood than she had had, but when I look back, I realize how everything was always about her and she could never keep up with her fantasy, there was so much anger festering inside her, so she could be quite Jekyll and Hyde, mostly taking it out on my dad (but I identified myself with him and was told many, many times by her how much I was like him, so being loved by her was very conditional on behaving the way she wanted me to, and anything she said to him I probably took as being applicable to me, too.)

So, anyway, that’s my experience… Thanks for writing and for listening! It’s nice to get it out. Peace and love to you as well!

66

Sylvia~

I don’t think I became promiscuous because I had been sexually abused, I think it was because I received no affection from my mother when I was a child.

I appreciate your comment about addictions and people-pleasing and rescuing. I too was bulimic for more than a decade and promiscuous as a teen. I was sexually abused 4 times between the ages of 4 and 5 by 4 different men (2 babysitters, a neighbour, and a stranger who abducted me from the parking lot I was playing in when I was 5 – I was never noticed to be missing!). My father was alcoholic and verbally, physically, emotionally abusive and sexually inappropriate. My mother was cold and unaffectionate and blamed me for being abused, even when I was 5 years old and also when I was older and tried to talk to her about it.

Peace, Michelle xo

67

Sylvia~
I also appreciate what you said about no one being shocked by anyone’s comments. Thank you.

Peace xo

68

Aurele
Thank you for sharing this here. What your father did was so extreemly wrong. When he said that he could not beat you in the corrodor because it would alert the neighbours; that is an admission of his crime! He knew that he could not beat you like that or he would not have been afraid to alert the neighbours!
I totally understand your fears today. For me, the fears stopped when I went back to the orignins of them and re-parented myself through what was missing and reassured myself that I was safe now, unlike when I was a kid and was never safe.
Hugs, Darlene

69

Michelle and Syliva
Just to clarify; ~ If sexual contact is the only love, approval (or acceptance) or resemblance of affection that a child gets, then being sexual is what that child will associate with “love, approval and affection”. Promiscuity is very often related to having been sexually abused.
There is so much (so many things) that contributes to the ways we act and react as adults. This was part of the “digging down to the foundation work” that i talk about.
Hugs, Darlene

70

Michele,

I am so sorry about what you have gone through. I agree with you that we become promiscuous as a result of not feeling loved, its like any attention and physical contact is better than none, even if it is abusive. I, like you, have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of several different men. I think they pick up on our hunger for love, and target us because we are vulnerable. I actually fell in love with one of the boys who raped me when I was 13, or certainly thought I was “in love” with him, and that he must have loved me. I believe this to be because I thought people showed love in abusive ways. Like your father, my mother was sexually innapropriate. She would make crude and disgusting comments of a sexual nature, when I was far too young to hear that kind of thing. Then when I was 10/11, she started calling me a slut and a tramp, before I even knew what these words meant. I think she was projecting her own shame onto me, because after she died, I discovered that she had been very promiscuous in her younger days. I feel that, in a way, she set me up to be sexually abused, because from a very early age, I felt ashamed of my femininity. I felt dirty and defective, as if I should be apologising for existing. I also felt that people had the right to treat me badly and that I had no right to complain. As I said earlier, would-be abusers sense easy pickings, which we are, when we have conditioned to accept innapropriate behaviour. I wish you luck,
Love Sylvia

71

Darlene
Thank you for your wise words, I was never taught to respect myself or my body. To the contrary, my mother made me feel dirty and unwholesome, so when other people jumped on the bandwagon, I accepted it as my lot in life. I had no boundaries whatsoever. When I was older, I was also sexually harassed by 2 bosses. Its almost as if I was emitting a signal.
Love Sylvia x

72

Michelle, I’m recently coming to terms with how much I was affected by my mother’s disapproval. My sister also, used disapproval to manage me. Since I’ve had no contact for over a year now, I notice that the puppet strings of disapproval have been cut and it’s wonderful not to have that hanging over my head all the time. However, the disapproval of others is something I’m horribly sensitive to and I’m noticing how I shrink and freeze when I sense disapproval. It has crippled me in so many ways. It has been the major roadblock to my self-validation. I am also, sure that it contributed to the way I responded to men. My need for approval and affection left me vulnerable to manipulation by any man who gave me any kind of approval. What can I say, I was trained to be a slut. After the first two men in my life were done with me, there was a period of time when I was unable to say no. I had no ownership over myself. I belonged to anyone who showed the slightest interest and I gave everything not even thinking I had the right to ask for anything in return. Any love I got from my mother came from her own need with little concern for any needs of my own. My dad has never been aware of my needs either. I did what came natural and I was prey for any predator able to recognize how easily I accepted abuse as love.

Pam

73

Hi Sylvia,

Thank you so much for your comments and your encouragemts :).
I was afraid to be seen as an abnormal person.
Because I also have an obsession with women big breasts that I can’t explain and make me very guilty of too. I feel abnormal.
My non father used to be osbessed by the breasts of woman (especially big) and told me many many times how the women he sees (in the street, tv, friend, my own schoolmate female friend!) were attractive.
I think my obsession came from his obsession.

I will try to write in a diary too.

In fact, I don’t remember covert abuse from my father (like sexual attouchement or penetration) but he was too close with me and I wonder why I had been raped by strangers many times with my permission ? why did I put myself in these situations during teenagehood ? why I became promiscuous too ? (and had such blame from others for this behaviour because women are seen as bitches when they did that pff).

This a subject I need to write about.
Women are less considered than men in society in various areas. For example, why men can be promiscuous and have fun and then be considered as heroes, cool persons and women when did the same as bitches ?

It’s horrible. And if a young girl does that, she expresses a real suffering, because she repeats the sexual abuse she endured.
I hate men who considered women as sluts. I was labelled as a slut, many, many times by those guys who abused me.

I hate men who considered girls and women as sluts if they are wearings sexy clothes.
But for women, it’s only a way to attract the attention for them, to gratify themselves.
Moreover, the society value women in priority for their body, they sex appeal.

Love and hugs to you.

74

Hi Aurele!,

You know, I dont think our parents actually needed to have physically touched us in order to commit sexual abuse. They can do it by the innapropriate things they say, like your Dad with his obsession with big breasts. Why on earth would he need to reveal that to you, his child, if he was remotely emotionally healthy? I now realise that my mom “verbally sexually abused” me. No wonder we become prone to addictions and other unhealthy behaviours. After I was raped, and was scared to tell my folks, the boys who did it spread it round that I was a slut who had been “up for it”. I was a 13 yr old who was very young and naive for my age, I had never seen a penis before, and had no real idea of what was happening. I was bullied, harassed, and treated like a second class citizen in my home town for years, until I moved to another area. If I had been treated with respect in my family home, I truly believe none of this would have happened. Aurele, you were abused, trained into compliance and set up for more cruelty in the outside world, just like everyone here. None of us has anything to be ashamed of, even though it took me years to believe that. Thank God we have all found Darlene and each other. Big, big hugs to you,
Love Sylvia x

75

Hi Sylvia :),

I agree with you when you said that child didn’t need to be sexually by his parents to be raped or became promiscuous , I have just understood it thanks to this discussion, thank you !

Big Hugs to you too :).

76

Pam,
22 and 23 ~ I love your articulation in this statement, “I know she meant to use and hurt me but what she didn’t know was that she would lose her soul in the process.” My mother is losing her soul too Pam. Reaching further and further into deception and manipulation. Way beyond what I thought possible of her. I know now that, she never HAD to reach this far before. We were all players in the game. When my sisters and I became aware of her twisted antics, we all pulled out, albeit me more than the others. I have kept up my wall. It has been helpful in a strange way, to see her reaching, going to extreme lengths. It tells me what she’s made of. I don’t have to question the questionable anymore. I could tie my hands behind my back and watch her go. I needn’t do anything at all. She’s a one woman wrecking ball.

Thanks for your understanding about sisters. It is heartbreaking. I always daydreamed that someday we would be old and live near one another. Spend our days laughing and shopping and watching heehaw or something, lol. I don’t see that anymore. The upside is, it doesn’t hurt much anymore either. My affection for both of them was just stronger than either of theirs was for me. I’m okay about it now (I think).

xoxo,
Mimi

77

Pam ~ #72 – ” … the disapproval of others is something I’m horribly sensitive to and I’m noticing how I shrink and freeze when I sense disapproval. It has crippled me in so many ways.”

Can I tell you how much I struggle with this same thing??!!!!!! When I sense disapproval, the walls come up and anger is stirred to an all time high and I feel the shame all over again of not measuring up to unattainable perfection!! I hate it. I keep praying for God to give me more of a ‘I-don’t-care-what-people-think-of-me’ attitude … but its hard when raised by a mother who made sure I cared about what other people thought of me, or rather what she cared about how people thought of me as, I was after all, a sick reflection of her!!

I am trying to exert my voice – but with it comes a surge of adrenalin that I can’t handle and it doesn’t help that I hate the feel of an adrenalin rush especially when it almost always links to the feeling of shame. It’s really hard!! I so get what you’re coming from … so my question is, to anyone, what do we do to overcome that??

78

In fact, I haven’t an “obsession” with big breasts as stronger as my father, but the mangas I read always contain this and I feel an attraction for it which is very painful for me.
And just talking about it, made me feel very bad and ashamed.

Rizae and Pam, I am also always extremely sensitive to what others think about me and I am very deeply hurt when they critize me or disapprove me, my look.

“but its hard when raised by a mother who made sure I cared about what other people thought of me, or rather what she cared about how people thought of me as”. For me it’s the same, my father did all he could to make sure I notice when people were judging me.

What people think of me is a very painful part for me too.
Because I was told that I must care about others think of me (even when they were evil to me) and I musn’t doesn’t care as I was able to do it at the begining of the brainwhashing.

Self confidence is a major issue because as survivors, it’s what abuser destroyed into us.
We could liberate ourselves more and more in looking at the lies evil people told us about us in a safe place or a with trusting person.

Hugs.

79

Aurele,
My heart goes out to you for all you endured, and for the painful place it’s put you in. I hope you continue to share here. I have never ever felt shamed here, by anyone. I feel this is a group of survivors. I also feel that being a survivor enables us to be/feel compassion toward each other without judgment. After all, we were all judged horribly in some way or another. I think nearly everyone here has been critically judged and even though it was designed to tear us down, it actually gives us love and understanding for each other. I don’t find that in the outside world. I’m so glad you’re here and I hope you continue sharing. There is no shame in who you are or what you’re going through. The real shame belongs to the abusers. They just don’t know how disgustingly ashamed they should be. The things you describe are horrible, and the place you’re in seems only natural to me. What do people expect ~ that we will come out of this crap unscathed? That we’re small children made of teflon, to be abused and not come out of it with some scars? PFT!! You are a precious human being Aurele. The only shame that SHOULD exist is that of the people who don’t have enough courage and strength own what they’ve done to you, or any of us. Anyone who has to unleash the kind of abuses spoken of here, on a CHILD, is a ruthless coward. Of course, it’s easy for them. A child is like putty in their hands. It reminds me of that old saying, “pick on someone your own size.”. They can’t do that because they know it’s wrong, and because they might get their A$$ handed to them. For that reason, they are cowards and they’re incredibly pitiful. I’m so sorry you went through all of this. My heart goes out to you!!

Pam, Rizae,
I am an approval seeker as well. Rizae, I have some of the same feelings you describe. I’m not sure why. The anger that arises in me when I have been wrongly accused (usually in a work environment) and the misery and pain, tears, etc. It’s too much. It doesn’t seem to help much that I know where it’s roots lie. I know it’s from being accused of ridiculous stuff by my mother and from her constant labeling. I have a need to say, “no, no, no, this is not me… you don’t know me, I wouldn’t do this.” I suppose because I couldn’t convince mother that I was good. There’s a hangover from that. It’s very frustrating and at times angering when someone says something about me that is so totally off the mark. It’s then I want to tell them how I wouldn’t do “that”.

A few years ago, at work, a secretary accused me of not responding to a fire alarm in a building next to the one I was working in. It’s a two story building that houses about 75 apartments. She was in that building, but she didn’t see me. Therefore, she concluded I didn’t respond. I still get wound up a little when I think of that. That is SOOOOO not me. She even went to administration and there was a meeting between her, myself, administration, and my immediate supervisor. I had spoken to people in the other building, so I did have witnesses. All this to say, I was FURIOUS!! Beyond furious. I could barely keep my head on when that meeting took place. I did not curse or get out of control, yell, etc. I was very direct though. And, I had witnesses. Administration believed me, but that was little consolation. I left that meeting still angry at her. Angry that she would say I was so irresponsible, angry that she concluded things about me that I wouldn’t dream of doing…… just like mother. I was angry she wouldn’t believe me, and she took it all the way to administration. Angry that I had to defend myself for someone else’s lies. I am able to speak to her without any trouble these days. I still feel an ungliness inside about her though. A hint of anger lingering that she would make such an accusation without even knowing my character. If she did, she wouldn’t have ever said it.

Speaking of knowing my character, there is a comment somewhere recently about our parents not knowing us. I remember the days when I discovered this about my mom, last year. I read a lot of information about NPD and it clicked that my mother doesn’t know me. I remember reading that because their focus is so vehemently on themselves, there is little space for knowing others, even their own children. And, that they don’t take the time to do so. I remember my mom saying several times, “I don’t see you as a nurse, I never thought you had it in you to do nursing.” Even in pursuit of my nursing career, when I’d finally decided on something, she discouraged it. She tried to get me to “try” something else first. I’m glad I ignored her stupidity. I’m glad to say I did know me better than she did. It gives rise to the belief that it’s possible the other traits she projected onto me could be false as well.

These days, I’m almost afraid to say where I am in this process. Because, in a few minutes, I might be elsewhere. I suppose that’s par for the course, but in keeping with my fear of being accused, I also fear I might seem contradictory on these pages if I’m here, there, and everywhere emotionally. I fear I will lose credibility if I’m angry one day, and sad the next, or triumphant the next. I hope this is just part of it. I hope everyone else identifies with this because…..

Lately, I’m angry with my mom. I don’t know why. I suppose it’s the emails from her husband and counselor a few weeks back. I have been tearful and uncertain too. Her counselor used these words…. she said I’m angry, resentful, prideful, and unforgiving. I am reading a book that Darlene and Caden spoke of called “Controlling People”. I have just gotten to a page that says when people try to claim they know your heart or mind, they are playing God. Incidentally, mother’s counselor told me she was concerned for me because I was in a dangerous place letting satan have this grip of anger and unforgiveness on me. I did spout back that I thought she was in an equally dangerous place playing God by pretending to know my heart better than I did myself. Coincidentally, then I read this in the book. I’m so glad I said that now, because at the time, I wasn’t sure there was any weight to those words. Now, I know it’s not in my head. Someone else felt that way too. Strongly enough to write a book about it. I have confirmation that this professional and woman of God was also trying to control me… just like mother. Labeling me, just like mother. And, people can’t understand why that angers me. I don’t walk around telling people how they feel!! Sheesh! I told her I questioned her credibility too. She’s only human, and her degree doesn’t give her a crystal ball into my heart and mind.

Lastly, maybe I am those things, off and on. I have never given her any indication that I am though. The only people who know what’s in my heart and mind are my husband, and the people here. My mother, stepdad, and the counselor all perceive directness as anger. They forget I handled it with care and gentleness for 43 years. And, there is a difference between being angry, and being finished. Why can’t the PROFESSIONAL understand that?? I’m so done with that professional!!

Peace and Hope to everyone!
Mimi

80

And, speaking of covert ~ I’m certain my mother’s picture is there in the dictionary beside that word. While she was apologizing a while back in an email, she was dragging my name through the mud to distant relatives. Is she kind of stupid? Doesn’t it occur to her that people are able to talk outside of her? Or, that I might find out what she’s doing? I swear it never occurs to her that her poison travels. She thinks all conversations or gatherings are centered around her, therefore, no one will be the wiser. She thinks that highly of herself to think she’s dead center of everything. Wow….. delusional! My mother is delusional!!

xoxo,
Mimi

81

SMD,
Thanks for validating the crap from my mom’s counselor. You’re exactly right. Speaking the truth really does piss off abusers. I haven’t heard a word from the counselor since then. I responded to her and told her she was playing God pretending to know my heart. Her response to that was, “I’m not interested in going into battle with you.”. Hahaha!! Of course not, I told the truth about her and her controlling behavior as well. I haven’t seen her on FB, and haven’t gotten another email from her. I hope she is pissed. Maybe she will see how it feels to be called on her own BS! To be told how SHE is. And, of course, it’s okay for her or mother to get their backs raised over being TOLD how they are. But, not me. I don’t dare get angry for the accusations they place on me.

Alaina,
#65 ~ You said, “One thing I can say is that life before my breakdown was, in a way, easier. It was easier to be compliant. My life was ruled by fears. I lived inside a box. As long as I didn’t try to get out, life was okay. I really had no idea how bad the damage was (similarly to what you said about your thoughts on your sister).

I agree. Life was easier (before discovering my mother’s crap), and I lived in fear of so many things. Compliance was stifling, but there were no rifts. I am happy I know the truth, but, like you, it has been so painful and confusing. I am still very much in the process of figuring things out. I too thought about suicide off and on throughout life. Actually, not suicide as much as death in general. I was dying for 43 years. I didn’t even know it. I thought everyone was doing the same thing. Thinking about death, and becoming less content as years pass.

My sisters were brutal to me too when we were growing up. I know it was rooted in their own pain and lack of love from our parents. I don’t hold them in contempt for it. I view it as us being kids, and them not knowing the damage they were doing. Some of the things they said were damaging. I remember a time when my mom left and my oldest sister was in charge for a little while. As soon as she walked out the door, my sisters both unleashed on me how no one loved me. I remember crying and saying, “Uh huh, mom loves me.” I would name other people like that, and each time they’d say, “oh no she/he doesn’t, No one does”. They kept at it for a long time. They said i thought I was cute, but, I wasn’t, etc. Anyhow, even though it was a painful experience because I looked up to them, and thought them wiser, (because they were older, and they must know the truth), I don’t hold any of the kid things over them. It came from youth, woundedness, and ignorance.

Thanks for sharing Alaina!

xoxo,
Mimi

82

Rizae,
(I’m totally hogging the page) I just read your question again about what we do about that adrenaline rush and all that goes with it. I’m curious too. I have no idea how to not go into defense mode when someone is attacking me. I have no idea how to let it roll off. I SOOOO wish I was that person, where things just roll off. I have prayed to not care also.

I think I’ve made a miniscule amount of progress in this area. (I feel like I should immediately take that statement back, lest I prove myself wrong, like…. tomorrow). It could be because I don’t have the emotional energy to give to it. I’m emotionally drained a lot of the time. Just knowing WHY I get angry and defensive hasn’t changed my ability to cope with it differently all that much. I need new skills, because essentially, I have none. I was taught coping skills by watching my mother (I shall rename her “daytime emmy”). Drama, drama, and more drama. I hope with time, this truth about where it’s rooted, will afford me peace of mind ~ that it’s not worth my emotional energy. That people will say and do what they want, and I don’t have to buy into it. I HOPE with all my heart I’ll be there someday. I hope it for you too.

Peace and Love,
Mimi

83

So often these days i can see how far i have come in the many years i have worked so hard in recovery. Yet i can give such weight to a simple email message. My little world spins upside down and i feel lost. As an adult i have looked long and hard to come to know in my heart i AM NOT one of ‘them’. Whilst i so often hear as survivors we are all united and supportive of one another such has not been my experience, the names i have been called by fellow survivors… equal to that which i had served up to me by my worst perpetrator. At the age of 12 until 13 i did not desire to evoke fear in a younger child, nor to have power over him, i did want to make him feel better when he was hurting. How i had learned to make a male feel better involved sexual stimulation, i had not been taught another way to make a person feel better. I did not act as i did for the reasons my abusers did, almost a decade ago i went to the parents of that child and told them exactly what had happened, our conversation concluded with them telling me that if i was to have a life i must find it within myself to forgive myself. Whilst i have on so many levels forgiven myself and gone on to do good work with others that acted out in similar ways as children i still feel it cut me deeply when i am labelled as having the same intent as the adults that taught me these acts. When i do not feel i have the strength to face the judgement some survivors place upon me i am silent, when i am silent i feel i am in some way condoning the actions of my perpetrators.

84

Hi everyone,

I was lately with a guy who manipulated me (I talked about him here, it’s the “spiritual high guy” as he defined himself), his name is Pierre.
My boundaries were not respected at all and it became nearly a nightmare at the end of our relationship.
I had the feeling that I could never escape, that I totally lost the control.
He lived in my flat during one month and one day, he became furious at me and very angry because I told him that I couldn’t bear his control he had over me “for my own good” and that I needed to take a walk outside to refresh my ideas.
He became angry and he threw a stone with violence in my flat, and broke my mirror.
I was very afraid.

I was afraid he become mad at me if I told him I wanted he leave my home, so I asked help to throw him out of my home.
But as I have a few friends, I hadn’t anybody to help me, so I asked help to the wrong person, a man who I didn’tknow very well, who I met with Pierre.
This man helped me to make the message clear to pierre that he must leave.
And Pierre left.

But today, the man who helped me, continue to call me, eventhough I don’t want to see him anymore because I didn’t trust him at all and I don’t want to see him, he doesn’t help me at all.
In the past, before he helped me to throw out pierre of my home, He tried to manipulate me too in order I go out with him and almost raped me (with my consent but I hated it).

He called me 10 minutes ago, but as the numerous times he called me, I didn’t answered.
I don’t know if I have to answer the phone and tell him that I want to have no contact with him.
But that idea, scares me.

I hope he will understand alone that I don’t want to see him or even talk to him. Our most recent conversation was : he proposed me to call him if I wanted to go out, walk in the forest and I say, ok why not.
And I never anwser to his calls because I don’t want to.
He called me many times since under different numbers, unknown number..

Now, I am so afraid he continues to call me, and even, he come where I live. I am afraid of him, he is narsisstic and naughty.
I am sure he think I owe him something because he “helped” me with pierre.
This fear is really blocking me.

Thank you for reading.

85

Hi Mimi,

Thank you for your comment, it’s so great to have your understanding, your support, validation and everyone’s support here and encouragement to continue to share here. A big warm hug to you.

English is not my native language and I have regularly headaches and dizzy these days so it is a huge effort to write here. But it’s very (x1000) worth it :)).

I am happy to know you all of you, survivors like me, and I give you a warm hug.

86

Again, thank you Mimi for this :

“I’m so glad you’re here and I hope you continue sharing. There is no shame in who you are or what you’re going through. The real shame belongs to the abusers. They just don’t know how disgustingly ashamed they should be. The things you describe are horrible, and the place you’re in seems only natural to me. What do people expect ~ that we will come out of this crap unscathed? That we’re small children made of teflon, to be abused and not come out of it with some scars? PFT!! Again, thank you Mimi for : “You are a precious human being Aurele. The only shame that SHOULD exist is that of the people who don’t have enough courage and strength own what they’ve done to you, or any of us. Anyone who has to unleash the kind of abuses spoken of here, on a CHILD, is a ruthless coward. Of course, it’s easy for them. A child is like putty in their hands. It reminds me of that old saying, “pick on someone your own size.”. They can’t do that because they know it’s wrong, and because they might get their A$$ handed to them. For that reason, they are cowards and they’re incredibly pitiful. I’m so sorry you went through all of this. My heart goes out to you!!”
It really helped me.

87

When someone doesn’t want to leave me alone like this man and pierre in the past, I feel very afraid.

I am afraid the nightmare I live in my family start again, I am afraid to be in a jail again.

I have always the same nightmare since I have escaped from my abusive parents : I live again with my family at my current age, I am with my mother in the same room and my father is at work. My mother told me don’t worry he has changed.
But I am scared to death he will come back home, that the nightmare is back.

88

I am also often afraid to be blamed by people because I complain, I speak about my sadness.

For example, my body is in pain (I have pb in my joint jaw and, in my knees, my wrist, my elbows since 3 years old).
And when I was speaking about my former friends, I havne’t the feeling they understood me.
I am always afraid to be labelled as the person who complain again and again.

But in fact, that was my father who did that in my childhood.
I remember often having pain in my body when I was a girl and all my father answered was : stop it right now !in an angry tone.
This pain was a signal emitted in direction of my parents, but there wasn’t anybody here.
I also remember to be afraid of the dark and to be insomniac since the age of 7.
When I came to see my parents to be reassured, I had for only answer : go back to sleep ! immediately ! leave us alone, we want to sleep ! in an angry tone from my father.

89

Hi Phoenix Rising,
I am sorry for the years of pain and the work you’ve had to do to overcome. Was your response to my post? I hope in my post about survivors, I didn’t sound like I thought ALL survivors are compassionate and supportive. If so, I want to clarify that I didn’t mean that at all. I remember having a conversation here once about what a thin line it is when people cross over into abusive behaviors. I get it that all survivors are not the compassionate and loving people you find here. My mother is a survivor. She chose to abuse and perpetuate, rather than heal. I only meant that it is HERE that I seek refuge. It’s here that I’ve never been judged for whatever emotion I’m dealing with. I find that it’s very difficult to find this in the outside world. So many people survived horrible things, and go on to continue the patterns. Peace and Love to you!!

Aurele,
I am still shocked at the different things abusers come up with to torture their victims. Your story about your dad is twisted and heinous. You ARE a valuable human being. Thankfully, the abuse does not define us. Nor do the labels and names, and accusations. I remember the epiphany I had last year about my mother. It went just like this…”Just because she said it, doesn’t make it true”. Not exactly profound, but what a deal breaker that was for my mother, and a lesson in freedom for me. No matter what anyone spews from their ugly mouths, does NOT make it true. The end!! It is when I stopped believing my mother’s crap was true, I felt freedom. Don’t get me wrong, I have not “arrived”. I do finally know for sure that because she’s my mother, does not give her words anymore weight than anyone else’s. I thought since she was my mother, it was automatically true. After all, who knows us better than our own mothers? The truth is, she doesn’t know me at all. And secondly, even if she did, it still doesn’t make any of her words true, simply because she SAID them. Quite the contrary. It’s usually because she said any words at all, they all have to be weighed at the truth station. They’re not automatically true because she’s my mom. Accepting and knowing that has been a huge blessing. My very best to you Aurele!!

xoxo,
Mimi

90

Even if english is not my native english, I love this language.
It was the only subject who helps to keep a self esteem when I was at highschool, because it was the only subject where I had good marks.

And my english teachers were nice to me.
And in France our teaching is very poor compared to other nations like germany for example where the oral practice is a priority, unlike in my country.
I think it’s not a coincidence I find this site in english.
I prefer songs in english rather french songs. And I always dreamt to go to english countries.

91

Sylvia,
Up above, you said, “Remember, Aurele, every time you share, it makes someone else feel ok to do the same”. That is so true. I have tried to articulate that at times. It seems understated to say, “thanks for sharing”. The truth is, it does help me (and hopefully others) to feel okay sharing. I am very thankful for all the words I read here. Although the circumstances usually stink, and my heart goes out to all of us here, the stories elicit the freedom for others to do the same. I always get some wisdom from your comments. 🙂

xoxo,
Mimi

92

Mimi, my comment was not in response to your post, it was prompted by name calling from a fellow survivor that landed in my inbox, someone that has nothing to do with this site. My mother like yours did not make a choice to end the cycle. I have not made the same choices as her in most things in life, certainly not in this regard. Reading the OP i guess brings up for me a feeling that the common thread in ‘abuse’ is a level of intent, something i did not and have never had. Before coming to accept my history and do my best to make constructive outcomes of my experiences i spent years punishing myself through self harm, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse. I have never felt to do any of the things that so many survivors have over the years projected onto me, in fact as i have healed i have come to question if those most venomous in attacking me are those that do struggle the feelings they so vocally project onto me.

93

Aurele, I have great respect for how effectively you are communicating in a language outside of your native tongue. Whilst it sadden me that you have had the abusive experiences that you have it makes me happy that you are being honest and owning the feelings you have even when doing so involves owning feelings that you feel bad and ashamed about, feelings that are painful to own. I have grown most by owning and sharing those feelings that i have carried the most blame and shame. Even fear when owned and spoken of is being handled so differently than how it was denied and silenced in our childhood. It is a challenging journey, never lose sight that you are so worth it.

94

I can remember my mother threatening me with “when you dad gets home, you are going to really get it now”. One time I put on several pairs of underpants waiting all day because I knew he was going to either beat me with the belt, or his hands, or some other object. Can you imagine a child waiting all day for this? I was scared to death. Well, I think she forgot to tell him what I did whatever it was, I can’t remember. Then when I told them that I “prepared” for the beating, they thought it was funny.

95

Donna~
I hear you, same thing happened to me. She knew what she was doing too! They thought it was funny? They’re twisted.

Aurele~
I am so glad you spoke your truth. I know it is very scary, risking humiliation, and I admire your courage. I hope you have a FULL realization that what happened to you was NOT your fault. This shame you carry around is because of what was done to you. I hope you will find a therapist, because this helped me SO much. You are not alone and the effects of child sexual abuse (which IS what happened to you!) are well documented and treatable. I hope you will find support face-to-face, which I think you will find to be so profound.

Blessings everyone xo

96

I have a question? I have been thru some traumatic experiences most of which happened in childhood and my family now have suffered some bad situations in the last 10 months i.e. husband and children and myself after getting the family counseling I got so busy helping them that I forgot about myself after letting my anger get the best of me on the job i have been ordered to counseling by my supervisor I understand that I need counseling but i have expressed my fear but I keep getting told that i am strong and that i will be ok I have expressed my fear several times to the point of anger and I feel like I am not being heard what can I do to be heard short of punching someone in the face!!!! help!

97

Mimi ~ #82 and other posts. 🙂 Firstly, I love your posts – hog the page away! 🙂 I’m glad I’m not the only one with anxiety and adrenalin issues. My mother hasn’t been physically in my life now for 12 years and I still get rightly pissed at how she treated me and I still react when someone comes along and treats me like she did – who makes me feel the way she did!! And now there is another someone in my life who triggers EVERYTHING! I want to scream and swear and tell her to take a flying leap into … well, whatever she wants.

I am finding that I cannot stand feeling like I’ve lost control (even though I may really not have) and I know it stems from being abused. I know now that when I’d spend so much time alone as a kid it was so I could feel like I had some control of my life and in control of protecting the ‘real me’ (whoever she was) if that makes sense. Stepping out of that ‘private life’ for me was terrifying in lots of ways (I started doing this in my teens and trust me its like being asked to step into an unknown land where you can’t see the ground beneath you.) And I know now that when there have been times when it happened too fast – the feeling I’d get that was associated with that was … anxiety! I think this is where it stems from. I don’t like someone coming into my ‘world’ and telling me how I should live it, or how I should be or how I should do something (especially when I know I am doing the best I can, as kindly as I can – I am not a nightmare) – my back goes up and rage builds up. I go into attack mode without attacking – not a good mix and it feels awful!!! So the anger and rage builds but there is no release and if there is its in the form of sobbing. I HATE IT.

I think a lot of anger release for me is through crying … well, more like sobbing, at least for me. And I find that as I heal, it doesn’t take as long for the anger to build before it comes spilling out through tears which is why I can have some days where I cannot stop crying. Years ago, the rage would build over a longer period of time before it got unleashed.

In one of the posts you wrote about how you feel about your healing and how sometimes you want to take your words back (something like that – I can’t recall verbatim) … I totally get that and I think its all part of the healing in that some days are good, some days we feel strong, and then some days we feel utterly defeated and weak and in dire need of wanting escape – whatever that escape may be.

Just yesterday morning I was watching a TV program that had Josh McDowell on it (he’s well known in the field of Christian Apologetics) – anyway, he was sharing his story about how he was homosexually raped as a boy by a farm hand(?) from the time he was 6 to the age of 13 – get this – 4-5 times a week! If I remember right, he said he was about 12 when he finally had the courage to tell his mom (who also had an abusive nature) and she didn’t believe him. Josh didn’t disclose this but I know why she wouldn’t have – that farm hand would have made sure he seemed like an exemplary human being to everyone one else – especially this boy’s parents! Josh’s dad was also a raging alcoholic. The man is in his 70’s now and it was still painful for him to talk about. Anyway, he has a book that’s going to be released on September 1st called, “Undaunted” and its his life story. I want to read it (already ordered it on Amazon) because he talks about in the book how he overcame the pain (for the most part as he was still emotional sharing his dark past). I guess this book is also being made in a movie.

Anyway, the reason I mention it is because I wonder if our abusive pasts with our mothers (parents) will ever be completely healed. I wonder if there will always be this brokenness in our hearts that we will carry with us for always. And maybe I will always carry it – maybe it will be that something that will always keep me compassionate and loving toward others. But I’d hope that I can get to where it doesn’t affect me in my life in the ‘now’ anymore.

One thing I’ve come out with through all of this is having an amazing bullish*t detector! I have become far better and far quicker at seeing it. It doesn’t mean it always gets by me, but if it does, it doesn’t for long. When I see any kind of bullying or abuse – again, the back goes up and the person on the inside of me wants to lash out violently at the abusing person. The first thing that comes to mind when I hear about it or even see it, I want to scream at the person and say, “Don’t you know that how you’re treating your kid right now changes who they are and who they could become!? STOP IT, YOU’RE DAMAGING HER/HIM!!!” But I don’t – and I ALWAYS regret not saying something because I’m not sure I could deliver that message in a more calm manner.

Whenever I read any comments on here, I know I am listening to some exemplary human beings who have had their value snuffed out of them by abusive parents. Did they feel threatened by us? Did they try to squash the life out of us? Whatever it was, it was wrong. I don’t know about any of you … but the thing I want most is to just ‘feel’ beautiful. Being abused makes you feel wretched and ugly and not worth the air our abuser’s breathe. And if I could ask God just one thing it would be to feel genuinely beautiful.

And I hope that for every person here whose gone through it – my hope is just pure beauty, in every way! 🙂

98

just like everyone else no one listens

99

Hello “Fleaflicker”
Welcome to EFB
Not being heard is a huge issue with survivors of trauma. There are lots of articles and discussions here (over 350) in this site about how I and others overcame the results and manifestations of trauma. Keep reading; I am sure that will help you get started on this journey to wholeness.
p.s. Re ~ your second comment ~ the comments must be approved before they can be published. I am only one person and it sometimes takes a while for the comments to be approved.
Hugs, Darlene

100

Darlene,

If neglecting children’s needs is abuse…. So, if I became wild and promiscuous as a result of not receiving affection, support, love, and as well receiving disdain and intolerance, then if my parents punished and rejected me for this promiscuity and other behaviors, is that punishment and rejection also abuse?

As I blew out into the world, not knowing what love really is, and accepting any sort of contact as “love” even when it hurt me, like casual sexual encounters, and then I become pregnant, and then my parents refuse to see me or allow me in their home as a result of having this baby, is this abuse? And then when I put the baby up for adoption, they turn around and accuse me of doing something which will harm the baby psychologically??!!

I have never thought of this before, but I think this is abuse, too. What do you think?

Thanks,
Sophia

101

Aurele, My dad talked like that too. He also, made comments about my body. From the time I turned twelve, I had to sit at the kitchen table with them every Friday night as they drank and they talked to me about sex. They used examples of their sex life and taught me some really screwed up things. I also, heard my parents having sex quite often. Darlene taught me that this is emotional incest and that fits with how it made me feel. I never talked about it to anyone until I came here but it is a major part of what happened to me. My head was so messed up when it came to sex. I was a prime target for men who want to sexually abuse teenagers.

Mimi, I don’t hurt as much either since I realize that they don’t have normal affection for me. I think they viewed me as weak because of my sensitivity and affection. They tought I couldn’t live without them but I can. That doesn’t mean that I don’t still love them. I do but I love myself equally and I won’t allow myself to be treated that way anymore.

All, I’m working on the disapproval thing and I’m not over the hump. It helps a lot though to be able to tell myself that what they think doesn’t matter. Their judgements are wrong because they only have partial information and they aren’t in charge of me or my life. I am.

Pam

102

Fleaflicker ~ What is the reason for your fear?? Do you have an idea?? I went through this as well and put off seeing a therapist for a long time moreso because I was scared I’d get told that my mother’s abuse of me really was my fault and that I really was the wretched human being my mother made me out to be – even though I was a very compliant daughter (until I realized that being compliant didn’t change anything.)

My fear subsided once I shared with my therapist, because once I started sharing, I became more aware that my mother was more a monster than I even made her out to be. Fear is natural when we feel like we might be ‘exposed.’ We feel naked – there is another word I’m trying to think of here and its not coming to mind. Grr. Anyway, I hope you can grasp what I’m trying to communicate. Vulnerable! That’s the word. We can feel vulnerable when we start to work through and or share our pain – but from my own experience, it was LIBERATING. I found out it wasn’t me and it wasn’t my fault and a lot of truth got unearthed.

It can be scary … but also incredibly emancipating and liberating. I hope this helps?? 🙂

103

Sophia
YES exactly. All of this is abuse. That is why I always say that it is the damage that has to be acknowledged and healed from. Each of the things that they did mixed you up and caused damage to you. Your reactions and wild whatever, were actually a result of the damage and abuse. This is very complicated to deal with in a blog post ~ I normally deal with this stuff in one on one client sessions, but your observations here are very much a breakthrough in seeing the way it worked and how it was always YOU that was “wrong”.
Hugs, Darlene

104

Hi Donna
Thank you for sharing this example ~ yes I can imagine that fear and the waiting all day for a beating. What a thing to do to a child! Some people use this threat and the child never knows what is going to happen because it never happens, but the threat is none the less potent. The living in fear makes a child try harder, or it breaks them and the light goes out in them. Either way the damage is serious.
Hugs, Darlene

105

I remember the day I realized that having been sexually abused was not my fault. About 15 years ago. It was like a great weight came off my back (true proverbial monkey) and I felt such joy, such release! I had carried this burden blindly for 40 years.

I tried to share that joy with a couple of people who I considered to be friends at the time. They cut off communicating with me. They no longer came to visit, no longer called. We hardly spoke for 10 years. It was devastating. We are civil to one another now, but it still disappoints me that they don’t see me as I truly am. Triumphant overcomer, strong, persistent, honest, truth-seeker, compassionate, loving, good, respectful friend. Their loss.

106

Hi fleaflicker
I had many counciling sessions with someone who wasnt listening to
me either. I found someone else. The first one told me I was strong and
could just overcome my depression myself and never told me how.
Dont give up. Dont let your emotion defeat you. Gosh to I understand that.
I rev up so fast when someone hurts me. Its been hardest working on that.
First the hurt, then the anger, then I rage against myself.

“Even fear when owned and spoken of is being
handled so differently than how it was denied
and silenced in our childhood”
Yup that says it so well.
Im working on it. Thanks everyone. -karen

107

Rizae,

I am so glad you have an amazing bullshit detector – I have one too! I can literally “smell” any kind of abuser, liar, or those who have personality disorders. My radar is highly sensitive and on 24 hour alert! At least we got something useful out of all the crap, eh? Like you, my blood boils when I see, or hear someone damaging a kids self-esteem. And its all over the place, isnt it? In supermarkets, on trains and buses. You can literally feel your heart bleeding for the kid when the parent is putting them down, or humiliating them. Why do people talk to their kids like they hate them? I must admit, I occasionally caught myself doing it when my daughter was small. Not in any way because I hated her, but because my folks had spoken to me like that. The difference is, I have profusely apologized for any damage that I may have done to her. I have always encouraged her to confront me with any issues that might arise for her, regarding my parenting. She knows that I would welcome this and try to make up for anything I did that hurt her.
About wanting to feel beautiful. Whenever anyone complimented on how I looked, I would think “If only you know how bad I am on the inside”, so I have always preferred to be told that I have a nice personality. After years of being called evil, selfish, greedy, dirty, lazy and shameful, its wonderful to be told that people want to be around you, and that for them, you make the world a better place. And to be able to BELIEVE it. Until recently, I felt that everything about me as a person was so ugly, I could not even bear the sight of my own name. I hated seeing it on mail, or any other documents, I hated hearing my name called out, or signing it on anything. I considered changing it, but I knew the problem lay within me, not an arrangement of letters. Its getting better now, much better. Rizae, you come over as a beautiful person in your posts, you really do.
Love Sylvia x

108

Hi Sophia re#100
Paragraph one is exactly how I was treated.
My parents took me in as “damage control” and kept me silent
and hidden for 5 months. During the entire time I was not allowed
to discuss my pregnancy to the point they pretended it wasnt
happening. Gave my son up for adoption. My choice. Afterward I
was again emotionally and verbally abused until I got away.
This denial of feelings had always been forced on me but being
forced to deny my child thru shame and blame was the worst
thing they ever did. I know how you feel Sophia. My story had a joyous
ending when my son contacted me in 2007. Six weeks after my
other son committed suicide. Truely a miracle. Karen

109

Mimi,
I can relate to your comments to Rizae & Pam, in post#79. I experience intense feelings of anger, sadness, anxiety & misery too. These feelings can be hard to deal with, esp when there are situational stressors & internal distress happening at the same time. Trauma adds another layer of pain. I’m speaking from my experience.As you know, I’m a fan of DBT (cognitive/behavioral)therapy. Skills are taught to help you stay mindful & in the moment. They help with emotional regulation (the intense feelings)& out of control behavior. Invalidating Environments like our abusive families set us up for self doubt & second guessing. We are told are feelings are wrong. Feelings are real & not to be judged good or bad, right or wrong. I find that I need to be mindful of my triggers, so that I can prevent the spin of anxiety & depression. PTSD sucks! I don’t like having it and I’m radically accepting that this is the way it is right now. I’m grateful for the validation & support on EFB. I credit this site for steering me towards the right path & uncovering the trauma. I’m learning to self validate too. It’s all progress. Doing the work is empowering & hard, yet well worth it!
Sonia

110

sorry guys just having a bad day–Rizae and Karen thanks I guess I don’t want to be blamed for all that happened to me And that my anger is somehow my fault. That was what I was told as a child. I was physically abused as a child and when I was old enough to start school I always used my fist to settle things because that was all I knew, go figure, though i was not sexually abused I watched my brothers be abused that way by a so called “uncle” someone my Dad drank with. I am married now with kids of my own and I do not in anyway abuse them like I was when I was young. I was determined not to be like my Dad! When I was 14 i had reached my breaking point, my brothers were gone by this time, I got in a fight with my Dad he was hitting me for not taking out the trash quick enough I just turned around and started beating him I beat him so bad that he had to have his jaw wired shut. I was charged with assault and he wasn’t charged with anything even though I had a black eye and a fat lip. That’s ok because I went to live with my older brother after that because he told the “court system” that he was afraid of me. My job situation wasn’t much better because I could not control myself at work lost 2 jobs to me finishing arguments with my fist. Got this new job and I really want to keep it, sooo I have to go to counseling. Just to let you know my family has been supportive during this whole time, I really don’t deserve them but they have been good to me. My supervisor is pretty nice he recommended the counseling

111

when I get in a rage I kinda have a black out period that’s when my fist start flying *sigh*

112

Michelle ~ #105 … wow. I thought I was the only one! Validation is wonderful isn’t it?! So glad to know I’m not the only one this has happened to. In the last two years, even friends of my siblings and parents don’t even talk to me! And that’s how I view it too – THEIR LOSS, MY GAIN! 🙂

113

Michelle, I carried that same burden for almost, forty years. We have a lot in common. I certainly, found out who my true friends were when I started talking about what happened to me. That’s okay because it’s a good thing to know. My mother responded by telling me that I needed to forgive the men who raped me. As if talking about it or understanding it meant that I was unforgiving. Bizarre. I can never imagine responding to a child of mine that way. I’m so glad to be free from those kinds of attitudes. I’m also, glad to have my past out in the open. Nothing compares to self-acceptance when you’ve never experienced it before.

Pam

114

Fleaflicker it has been a long road for me of finding the fine line between blame and responsibility, for me counselling has helped me learn to understand myself, why i have acted as i have, to treat others respectfully, to put the blame at the feet of my abusers and to take responsibility for my actions as an adult, to recognize that i need to manage my anger in a healthy way, and if i don’t that i will only cause further suffering to myself and pain to others, that if i continued to act by directing my anger innappropriately I was turning myself into an abuser, choosing to follow what i have learned instead of opening up and being willing to validate where my feelings were coming from, to remain present in my body not to ‘leave’ and let my rage take over. i have gained most from counsellors and others that have validated my right to the coping methods i used as a child and also challenged me to face that if i did not choose to learn healthy coping mechanisms i was making a choice to follow in the footsteps of my abusers, that instead of becoming all i could be i would be choosing to become a reflection of them, and inevitably evoke in others the fearfulness i endured. I have been encouraged to see i have a choice in this that it is not my destiny to follow their path unless i so choose. I have learned that people have their own agendas, can be caught in their own issues, it is my responsibility if i feel unheard to keep speaking out until i am heard. Also it is my place to challenge my thinking continuously, to give myself the validation i looked for from others. To listen to and to hear myself. Today I am responsible, for my words, my actions, my thoughts. Much of that is a consequence of my willingness to throw myself into a recovery program, to spend countless hours in counselling and inner workOh it too . Today i own that not sexually assaulting someone does not in and of itself make me a non abusive person, that there was much work required on many layers validating my experiences and letting go the self loathing and rage that burned within. Today it is not ok with me for me to hurt any person, physically, mentally, emotionally,sexually or spiritually, and that includes not being abusive towards me because i recognize i am a person too. Oh it took me so long to recognize the difference between being responsible for my actions and blaming self or others. It is all part of growing. If we speak from the heart it is so easy to want the world to stop and respond to us, life becomes so fulfilling when we are finally able to STOP and offer ourselves what we crave from others.

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Flea flicker,
I think anger is just a part of it. I don’t end up hitting people, but I feel like I could explode at times. The only person I ever daydream about smacking in the mouth is my mother. That’s what she did to me. I sometimes fantasize about smacking her mouth, but in reality, I know I could never do it. Just something that enters my mind occasionally. It’s so invasive and disrespectful to be repeatedly smacked across the face. I think that’s why i think about doing it to her. I want her to feel that all out invasive, belittling disrespect for once. I want her to feel like I did…. Totally ashamed of my very existence.

All that to say, we weren’t allowed to hit each other – my siblings and myself. Only mother could hit. I have rage ful times toward her, however. I just don’t let her know it. I have to use some other avenue. Like Rizae said, usually in the form of sobbing and wanting to hurt myself, although I’ve never carried through. The self loathing is unbearable at times like that. I want to put my head in a vice and twist it until it will go no further. Sickening!

The energy that comes alongside that rage is nearly impossible to harness. I think I understand how you’re feeling, I just act it out in a different way. Perhaps hitting is what you were taught? Anyhow, I believe for myself, there has tobe some kind of outlet once I reach that point. The pain of it is excruciating! I hate getting angry and feeling that out of control sensation. The energy and adrenaline has to come out somewhere!

It’s so hard to know HOW to control emotions. Many many times in my life, I’ve been embarrassed by my own tearful reactions. I have no idea how to react differently – pretend im not mad, etc. I have no coping skills because the way we coped in our family was totally whacked out, and that’s what I learned by observing. I get whacked out.
I hope you get some relief from your counselor. Peace And Hope to you !!!
Mimi

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Phoenix Rising I had to reread your comment several times it touched me so much. It is exactly what I am feeling now. You so eloquently described my feelings and what I would like to accomplish myself.
Mimi also. Explode in rage. Yup that exactly describes me. Yes flea flicker I too just wanted to physically beat someone to the ground that was harassing me. That was the behavior that was modeled to me by my father. I actually went to anger management classes. The guys there said it was the first time they had ever seen a woman in the classes. Because of this site I finally see real hope for myself and a way to fix this. Karen

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Karen unfortunately we learned blame, particularly self blame we did not have such opportunity to learn responsibility as youngsters, those are effects of abuse, for the longest time i could not recognize that so long as i continued to focus on blame and avoid responsibility i did not need an abuser in my life, I was in fact the abuser in my life. That if i wanted to turn my life around that it was not going to happen without me starting to do things very differently, to face my emotions and process them in healthy way, that i could control them not continue to have them control me. i had to learn that anger was not the problem that for me the problem was the unhealthy ways i had learned to process it, to stop blaming my emotions and to look at where they were coming from, to recognize that it being inappropriate to abusively direct my anger at self/others did not translate to i ought to let people walk all over me. I did not have a tendency to disassociate and strike out at others, i would disassociate and lash out and burn holes in my own body, whilst i directed mine differently i know the rage it takes to attack, to have made the repeated attacks on myself that resulted in repeated hospitalizations, each time i would have a mental assessment and they would tell me if i had not attacked myself so viciously that it was necessary that i be in a surgical ward i would otherwise be transferred to a psychiatric unit. My work has been worthwhile, living life i can have bad days or more bad experiences within my day, NOTHING though that leaves me feeling that my emotions are out of control, I could never have gotten to this place without first learning to validate the emotions i so long sought to have validated by others. I had been filled with contradiction, on the one hand part of me felt others ought to validate my feelings and i blamed and resented them when they didn’t yet for so long i resisted accepting such validation was the most fulfilling when it cam from myself and not from an external source, when i stopped blaming others for overlooking me and took responsibility and I stopped over looking me. The counsellors that did not listen to me were as much of a gift in my life as those that did, i learned from them that i had two choices i either accepted my time with them was my time wasted or i provided for me what i was feeling let down by them for not offering to me, support, validation, kindness…

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Phoenix #114 and Mimi #115 thanks for those words. We were never permitted to cry when we got beaten my older brother did and he was nearly beat unconscious. I have been to anger management classes twice and the second time a guy made a sarcastic remark about a women being in class I didn’t say a thing but went up and punched him in the face and nearly knocked him out needless to say they asked me not to come back. My older brother now is a counselor in another state and he said that I needed more than just anger management classes that I needed serious counseling we are pretty close and I told him about my latest situation. My brother told me that it was alright to be angry and that we all had every right to have those feelings and that I needed to quit blaming myself for everything that happened but I had to take responsibility for my actions as an adult it felt really good to hear from someone else that it was ok to be angry but just not to use my fist to respond to tense situations. I got to know the sheriff’s department in my town real well!!. I see a counselor today I am hoping he will help me to work things out and give me coping skills so I don’t use my fist to solve problems. I can guarantee you that I made sure that no one overlooked me to the point of being excluded from group things because of my temper. I made damn sure (excuse my language)to let people know that I didn’t care what they thought of me that was their problem not mine. I said it so that people couldn’t take advantage of me. I know that people respond to different situations and bad things that have happened in their lives some people cry I think the last time I cried I was 8 years old. We were told that if you cry that it was a sign of weakness and people will take advantage of you. My brother said that the first time he cried was when he was in school (college) and his friend now his wife told him that all that emotions he was feeling was normal response to a bad situation and that he is human with human emotions and that it was ok to cry, he said that he never felt so relieved as when he cried it was like a dam breaking, all that pressure was released. Just to let you know there are 8 of us in our family and I am the only girl I have 5 older brothers and 2 younger brothers and we are all very close. My mom passed away when the youngest was a baby, also 2 of my brothers have attempted suicide thankfully they were not successful. Alot of drugs and alcohol addiction though. 4 of of us are prior military with 3 including myself have PTSD diagnosis in our records just never received proper treatment VA misplaced my records until recently they were found. Ya’ll pray for me my first appointment is today at 1:45 pm EST

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Thanks, Darlene and Karen.

Yes, Darlene, it took even more twists and turns after that. I actually had two children when I was younger, born under similar circumstances of me having relationships with men who were unable to function either. I put them up for adoption because I could not trust myself to raise them, I was so deep in the fog. I didn’t realize at the time that it was the fog, I thought there was something inherently wrong with me. My parents didn’t know about one of the births, I did not contact them and she was adopted at birth. The other girl lived with me for a year after she was born.

These were open adoptions. I knew the parents and even though they went to different families, they mothers knew each other and the girls grew up in the same town knowing they were sisters, and once they were old enough to understand, they know I was their birth mother. I was friendly, but kept my distance because I did not want to interfere with their bonding and process with the adoptive family. I have a good relationship with them now that they are adults, but I know that they see their adoptive moms as mother, and I am ok with that. You know what, I think I made some mature decisions about them!

When they were teenagers, they got in touch with me and said that they would like to get to know my family. I was concerned about this because after all my parents refused to even meet or acknowledge my daughter when she was born, so how would they react now? But I sent them a letter anyway saying that they had two beautiful granddaughters who wanted to meet them. So then they do another 180 degree turn and say they would love to know their granddaughters! We all got together and it seemed like everyone was happy.

I know that my father was really deeply moved to have them in his life. I also know that the decisions to shut me out when I was pregnant to begin with were due to my stepmother’s hatred, but of course my father did go along with her. But this time she couldn’t force him to turn against his granddaughters. He loved them too much. But she still had tricks up her sleeve. She decided to start a tradition of inviting them to come to our family’s annual Thanksgiving dinner. Okay, but all of a sudden I was not invited anymore! She told me that this was because by having the girls at the house that there was no room for me to stay there, too! A really obvious lie, and of course my “wonderful” father did not speak up. This went on for a couple of years and my brother and I were really upset. We finally decided to call their bluff. My brother said that if there really wasn’t room for me to stay at my parents’ apartment, then I could stay at his place. Of course, this pissed off my stepmother but she couldn’t do anything without contradicting her previous statement.

Well, during the dinner, she took me aside and said that the real reason she never invited me to these events was because she didn’t want the adoptive families to get upset. You know, these families never objected to me spending time with the girls before and they know I would never do anything to undermine their relationship. It was just more of my stepmother’s games. She ended up insulting me and after that, when I got home I thought long and hard and realized that both she AND my father just were not going to change and I sent them a letter asking them not to contact me anymore. I only saw them twice after that, once at my brother’s wedding, and the next year when my father was dying.

Another bloody snapshot of pain and abuse passed on through the years!

Sophia

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Hi Michelle
Re comment #105 ~ I was shocked too when people rejected me for telling the truth about what happened to me. Today I realize how much this is about them and not about me and how much even as a society people believe that “certain things should not be talked about”. ugg
I love how you see yourself as you really are!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is THEIR loss!
Hugs, Darlene

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Pam
re your comment #113 ~ I was writing a new post last week about exactly what you are talking about (being told to forgive the rapist!).
I will try to get it finished and posted soon.

Everyone ~ I have been really busy this past week with my kids, the farm and my clients this month so I have run out of time to respond to all the comments.
It is great to see the conversations continue without me!!
Hugs, Darlene

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Karen Ranes,
I am curious, did the anger management classes help at all? I always wonder what they teach…. and, if I would benefit. I am more successful now than I was when I was younger, at harnessing the rage. I don’t feel rage very often. The last time I did, I think was when a teacher belittled me repeatedly in a college classroom. I was so so angry I couldn’t stop from nearly throwing my books. I was doing every movement VERY purposefully. (okay, take back what I said earlier… I DID want to shove this woman and maybe smack her a couple of times :(). Anyhow, the problem with it was, I had to have some sort of composure. Tears welled up in my eyes, I went home and sobbed. The worst part is, it stuck with me for days. I was deeply injured and embarrassed by this woman. She was my mother in disguise!! She knew I was vulnerable. I beat myself up for having visible signs of anger. It was a horrible experience, and to think about it makes me feel sick inside. Not just at her, but, at myself too for not being able to let it roll off. Oh, I hate thinking about her.

Phoenix Rising,
Your statement loosely quoted ~ we need to stop and give ourselves what we crave from others. That is the statement that really struck me. I am working on that, in the form of self talk and validation, etc. I don’t know how else to do it. I fear becoming a self righteous bitty in the process. I don’t want that either. It seems like I have trouble combining love for others, and love for myself. Almost as though I have to choose one. I’m not sure how to integrate. Oh, I have so much to learn. I admire where you are. I wish I was there with you, and everyone else here too. Self doubt is still a big issue for me. Actually, there are a lot of big issues still.

Fleaflicker,
I will pray for your appointment today. I hope you get what you need from the counselor and your healing is underway. I loved your brother’s advice. I think it’s awesome that you have him to talk to about it. My siblings… well, I’ll just say it’s different than it was before we found out about my mother’s covert operations.

When I was about 22 (I think), I was hospitalized into the psych floor. I was living with my mother and her pig husband. I had to move home because panic disorder had taken over my life. I was lucky to function. Little did I know, living under her roof again would exacerbate all the problems/symptoms. Anyway, I had her at my throat, telling me to get over it, and telling others I was attention seeking. I also had an abusive boyfriend and our relationship was quite tumultuous. I was working at a large retail chain store. While I was at work, he walked by me holding another woman’s hand. He winked at me. How sick that is. I literally crumbled. I could take nothing else. On the way home that night, I pulled off onto a country side road. I saw a sign on the side of the road and I purposefully rammed into it with my fairly new car. It didn’t satisfy me enough, so I backed up and did it again and again. The front of my car was a disaster, although I could still drive it the rest of the way home. When I got home, I laid in the yard sobbing. I was a total mess. My mom insisted I had tried to commit suicide, and she made me go to the hospital. I did need to go, but it wasn’t because I had attempted suicide. I was just so full of the energy and adrenaline from the anxiety and rage, I couldn’t contain it in any way at all. It felt good to ram into that sign. I don’t know why. I wasn’t trying to hurt myself at the time. I just wanted to destroy something. I remember my week on the psych floor doing little to help me, except that it was a nice little vacation from all the crap.

This car incident is terribly embarrassing so I’ve told very few people about it. No one could ever understand why I would purposely wreck my car, but not have suicide in mind. I don’t really understand it myself. I just needed to destroy something. The energy dwelling inside me was unreal. Energy of anger and anxiety, nerousness, discontent, etc.

Fleaflicker, you’re in the right place coming here to share your painful story. It has helped me tremendously to come here and spill my guts and learn from Darlene and others, what truth and recovery look like. I hope you give us a report on how it went with the counselor today. Peace and Love to you, and everyone!

Mimi

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THANKS MIMI!!! Though I have never wrecked a car i have done some damage to other peoples property and faces definitely not proud of that. Sharing with ya’ll has made it a little easier to head to my appt. MIMI, I can definitely relate to the energy within me I did it all wrong and for the wrong reason’s

Peace
fleaflicker

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Well made it through my appt ok he just took time to visit with me he told me a little about himself seems like a really nice guy. i was so nervous that I threw up on myself I let my nerves get the best of me. Had to go home and change my shirt, but other than that it was ok. One step at a time but I will be ok.

Peace
fleaflicker

125

Mimi
Thank you for sharing the “car incident”. That is a huge thing and really shows the level of confusion you were in. I see stuff like that as a way to express how much we are asking for support! And when we get reprimanded instead it makes it so much worse.
Hugs, Darlene

Fleaflicker
Yay that it went okay and you like the guy.
Hugs, Darlene

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Mimi, I understand the desire to destroy without the intention of suicide. That’s something no one in my family understands, will understand or is willing to understand. It’s been some big dark secret, a mark on my soul. I have tried twice to kill myself, obviously failed. Once when I was 12 and my middle sister moved out of the house, and again two weeks before I broke up with my abusive ex bf. I never told anyone about the time when I was 12 until I was 16 and being abused by my middle sister’s boyfriend, and my Mum spat out ‘why are you telling me this’ and I never mentioned it again. It’s easier to understand why she said that now. She couldn’t even see me. Anyways, I’ve been a long time compulsive cutter. I used to destroy the things around me to release my feelings that I didn’t understand, but I got in so much crap for it I turned against myself. I cut, without wanting to kill myself, or die, just wanted release, started when I was 16 and being abused by that guy. The physiological response to cutting is a relief, but it was also a relief to see physical evidence of my pain, even on my own body. When my Mum saw the one substantial cut on my arm, and I decided to tell her the truth, she looked smug, not concerned that I had done it, or what my feelings were. She was almost giddy but keeping it under the surface, just more ammo for her. That was a long time before I started recovery. I think for people who have been abused, it is very compulsive to do things like what you did and what I did, no planning, little to no forethought. It just is. I am embarrassed to tell people too. I used to over share it, and I am embarrassed about that too, but I didn’t quite realize anything then, I’m not blaming myself like that anymore. I’m much more self aware now so I get it, and instead of thinking of it as a chapter in my life, I have tried to integrate it so that when I get urgings to cut (which I still get) I remind myself that they weren’t right about me, that I don’t need to hurt myself to order to feel my existence (or not feel it) anymore.

Thank you for sharing Mimi. Thanks everybody for sharing. I read every comment, and keep the newest article open all day, refreshing occasionally so that I never miss what anyone has to say. All of it is incredibly valuable and reminds me that I am not alone, something I need to be reminded of often these days. /hugs to all

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I’m glad it went ok, fleaflicker. I’m sorry your nerves got the better of you. I hope you will continue to grow and learn and thrive. One thing I have learned through counselling and group therapy is that whenever I have felt a strong reaction to something (i.e., triggered by something said), whether I felt shame or anger or sadness, it was an opportunity to really learn something about myself and grow from it. I wish you all the best of all that is good.
(((hugs)))
Michelle

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Mimi, I found the anger class interesting and for me it was a first step to head to counseling but it was more slated towards violent men punching walls and beating up their partner, court ordered. EFB has taught me about the repression of my feelings being the root of my angry outbursts.
I either had to stuff ’em or rage and inflict damage on myself. It was all I was allowed as a child and didn’t change the behavior as an adult until I realized what was going on. It was my first step towards help.
Karen

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Mimi..
I have broken, smashed and destroyed just about every possession I ever had. It’s a bad coping method when I am totally out of my head in a bad emotion. It is very compulsive to me like cutting and always after, I feel great relief. I was never allowed expression of any kind. It began when I was about 10. Now after 40 years I understand why and try to be in the moment when it happens. Oh yes I have run a car into another car and I’m not proud of it.
Good luck Fleaflicker!!
Karen

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Mama Feeling Helpless
August 22nd, 2012 at 9:19 pm

The reason I am reading this article…. My children, my precious children. I am divorced from their father who has a personality disorder. (OCPD) They have to spend 1/3 or their time with him because the courts said “Most people with personality disorders can parent effectively.” That makes me want to vomit! Even if it was true, it isn’t in this case. The kids are now tweens/teens and the older one is full of anxiety. He is almost perfectly compliant in an attempt to reduce the rage of his father. The younger one talks back to his dad and tells him not to call me names. The father says, “But it’s true!” If the courts asked the kids, the younger one would beg to get away from his dad. The older one is too afraid and doesn’t want to admit his dad is emotionally abusive.
What you all can help me with is how to help him get his own voice. From reading your comments, I am going to tell him that I know it’s hard walking on egg shells, he doesn’t deserve to be yelled at, he doesn’t deserve to have the pressure on his shoulders to be perfect, I love him just the way he is, I believe in him. One of you said, “Compliance was stifiling.” He is the picture of compliant, but he needs to be learning who he is.
Mimi, what you said about your sister describes my teenager. You said “She is the oldest and was also groomed to be perfect and quiet. My mom would always say what a quiet and easy child she was to raise. I think it’s because she sensed, even as far back as infancy, that there were stringent expectations of her. She was the first, and she complied. I don’t know if I buy into the idea that it was just her “nature” to be quiet. As a result of so many years of being quiet, she struggles to express things. I believe she struggles to admit that she was affected as deeply as she was. She admits it on some levels, but, I don’t think she’s dug down deep and realized she’s as damaged as she is. She has a persona of strength that I’ve always admired, but, I’m not sure it’s the real “her”.

I don’t think my son is ready to admit his dad is abusive. I just want him to start to admit that he deserves better. He would like to be with me more, if not all of the time, but he doesn’t want to hurt his dad’s feelings. Also, he doesn’t realize that he deserves to be treated with respect. He doesn’t know how he’s being abused. If he could articulate it, I think the court would listen to him. Even if they didn’t the sooner he learns the better.
Okay last thing. My husband & I talk a lot about why people don’t work on their “stuff”. And everyone has “stuff”. And I want to commend you all. No matter what stage you are, very broken, or well on your way to health after a lot of work, please know that you have done it. You are doing it. You are stopping the cycle. Through my divorce, I have had to look at myself. Why I chose so poorly and I had so many regrets for having children with such a broken father. But as Dr. Phil says, “When you knew better, you did better.” And that’s it. You are on a journey and that’s what the generation after you needs to learn. How to be on a journey toward healthiness. It’s not a destination. Having a (fictional) “perfect” childhood wouldn’t have necessarily been the solution to providing you with the tools to teach the next generation to live a healthy happy life.

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Flea flicker…. bummer that you got sick. Saddening that the nervousness of touching your wounds would make you physically ill. I’m sorry that happened, but I’m happy you shared about the experience and that you like the man. Very best wishes to you in that endeavor. I’m happy you’re here!!

Karen, Jackie, fleaflicker, Darlene,
Interesting about anger isn’t it? My experience with the car was just a need to destroy. That’s the best way to describe it. Soooooo much energy pent up, I had to let it out through destruction. I often thought of cutting myself as well. I never followed through with it. I’ve gotten more satisfaction from loud noises. The sounds of something breaking.

When I learned of my husband’s affair last year, I smashed a potted plant on the kitchen floor. It was quite satisfying. Prior to that, it had been years and years since I destroyed something in anger. I thought I outgrew it. Even when I learned of the affair, I never wanted to hit HIM, I wanted to hear loud crashing noises of destruction. Oh wait, I do remember I winged a quarter at him from across the room. I a laughing now at the defense he used. I get a mental image of him raising his arm up to protect his face from a quarter coming at him at 65 mph. Sorry, I know this is not entertaining subject matter, but, I think that was funny now. He was afraid of a quarter!! I pulled out all the stops and totally verbally abused him during that first day of discovery. I was so angry. Even that didn’t compare to what I felt that day I wrecked my car. It was maybe, almost certainly, the worst day of my life. So frustrated dealing with panic disorder, trying to work full time despite the fear, talking myself through each minute of the day, dealing with my abusive mother and her lies about me, her controlling tactics, my cheating boyfriend…. it was all too much. It was unbridled, raw energy. And, it really sucked!!

Thanks for the support everyone. It wasn’t easy to share that story (because it makes my label of “unstable” seem true). I have had anger in life. My mother just didn’t allow it. I got whipped for anger more than for any other reason ~ while mother was screaming, “YOU ARE NOT GOING TO TURN OUT LIKE YOUR DAD”, implying I had inherited his anger. wasn’t angry as a small child. I only became angry at the events of life throughout childhhod and beyond.

Enough rambling!! Peace and hope to everyone!!
Mimi

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yes, be aware of when emotional responsiveness is being withheld, and don’t invest

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Yes Mimi its always always been anger for me. It is my first response. Not fear, not anxiety, not even grief just straight out anger. My mother also claimed that I was like my Dad that way. He was always in a rage. So I got labeled like him at age 10.
He was a totally entitled Narcissist with PTSD from WW2. Unlike my perfect brother who was her golden child. He was not seen as damaged goods like me. But I see now which is so good that something caused
this uncontrolled anger response in me. I have self questioned it all my life. I now see also that I never show it to
anyone except family which I now see is a choice. That to me says that it is not uncontrolled and I need to
be vigilant when triggered by family. Boy thats SO hard. Its a tricky balance not to stuff the feelings and yet also not express the anger unfairly or incorrectly. How do regular people learn all this stuff? Its a bit like learning to read when your 50!! Thanks for sharing and listening!!

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I sure do know about the outbursts of rage. For me it was screaming at people, even strangers on the street who somehow managed to offend me, just by existing, not because they had actually done anything offensive. When I access the feelings I had during my rage episodes, they were extreme frustration, powerlessness, resentment. Just feeling like nobody cared about me and never would. BIG SIGH.

I never took anger management classes or tried to just focus on reducing rage. What I have been doing in the last few years: taking time in a safe, private space to open up to the feelings behind the rage: the sadness, grief, frustration, and allowing “triggers” to take me there. Also, doing the “cognitive” work of figuring out what REALLY happened in my childhood and how my family hurt me (and then of course feeling the emotions that were triggered by these recognitions). Recognizing that I am NOT inherently wrong but that this was a message sent to me by my family.

Day by day, as I follow this process, with the help of books by Alice Miller, writings and videos by Daniel Mackler, and the awesomeness of Darlene and this EFB forum, I am slowly changing. I guess I got frustrated when I realized that there was no overnight process, and that sometimes backward steps seemed to happen, but as I persevere, it DOES get better. I realize this now, I can often walk down the street without hating people just because they cross my path!

Much love to ALL of us who are striving,
Sophia

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Hi,

For me I the anger is directed toward me.
I feel it when people judge me or don’t understand me or don’t give the compassion and attention I am longing for. Also when I tell them about my health problem and they just don’t care. Or when I talk about my struggle life and they just seem to not understand it all.

I am tired today. I am tired to be alone, to be afraid of people, to be afraid of being in a group, because I am scared to be mocked at, ridiculized as it arrived me many many times when I was young at school.

I soo wish to travel, but when I try just a little, I feel so bad.
I feel a huge sadness in me.
I want to take drawing and gi gong lessons, but I just can’t, I feel so bad. I’m stuck.

I’m alone in this world :(.

136

Sorry “it happened to me” instead of “it arrived” me, line 6.

137

Hi “Mama feeling helpless”
Welcome to EFB
There is a lot of information in this website that might help you gain more insight into some of the stuff you are expressing here in your comments. I am happy to have a comment from a reader who is trying to support her kids through this stuff.
Hugs, Darlene

138

I grew up in an abusive home verbally, mentally, and other odd ways. Step and half family members, drugs, it was a hellish cocktail of trouble. Unfortunately I didn’t realize that at the time, it was normal. I don’t consider it denial just a lack of knowing how others live. TV and the internet are good resources now for kids. Atleast theres a general idea of what normal should be like. I am single now but went from one abusive relationship to another. Its a terrible way to live and exhausting. I didn’t really have a childhood I guess. I don’t trust people now, or have friends, because I seem to attract the abuse still for some reason. It has been better just me and my daughter now. Hoping to find healing somewhere so I can attract genuine people with character, morals, and a true heart.

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I think abusers know who their targets are for many different and painful reasons. I almost fell in love with a psychopathic heroin addict…not a proud moment. Fell in love as in, ran away to another country to be with him but left after two weeks. There was something he said to me that clicked me back into reality and made me run as fast as I could in the other direction. If he had not said that to me, I would not have left. He had no problem saying whatever he needed to say to feed off me. My sister fell in love and subsequently had 3 children with a psychopath almost 13 years ago, and I have not had a relationship with her for many years because he targeted me for his abuse, and she lied about it to our parents, and then my parents believed him (he is a psychopath after all…oh, and they’re also my parents). Anyways, he said this to me: you’re really hard to read. He was reading me. Thinking back, even to the very first moment, he targeted me from the moment he laid eyes on me. I think there’s just something there, perhaps the lack of boundaries, perhaps a timid and forgiving nature, but that is when I really began recovery. I asked myself what it was that they saw in me, that I didn’t see, and the answer is very fluid. That was a year ago now, almost to the day. But it made me start thinking about my sister’s boyfriend: he also knew I was vulnerable, he knew I would not be protected by neither my sister nor my parents. But this is also something I’ve found. And people like heroin addict guy and my sister’s boyfriend sense it. I became so afraid that people were reading me and targeting me because of my maladaptive and abusive background that I cut off all of my friends but one and I found…that all but a couple were messed up people who were also reading me. I’ve gone back in contact one by one, and this is the painful truth I found. Almost every job I had my bosses somehow always knew that they could take advantage of me…and I wouldn’t even know it. I recently quit a job after one month of work because I was completely humiliated in front of a customer by my boss (to the point where after she went away, the customer turned to me and said DON’T let her get away with THAT). And I didn’t. I didn’t confront anyone because I’m not quite comfortable with that yet, but I didn’t go back the next day, or called back, or anything. I was being set up for no win situations by them after one month and the thing is, I knew they were not safe for me to be around, even the first day, but I thought the job was busy enough I didn’t even really need to talk to them so I didn’t. I was wrong, they were abusing me.

Ugh, today was my first day of my new job and it’s much better. I purposefully tried to find a job where I was emotionally safe, my ‘radar’ was on full alert and I think it’ll be a place I can be happy. I can handle a lot, but I will not be abused any longer. But I am not surprised in the least that many of us feel like we have targets on our backs. I think in a way, we do, and I have been targeted by the worst people of the worst for it: those who have no conscience, those who feel the need to have power over me, and man of these people pretended they were my friend, lovers and loved ones.

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Karen,
#132, I also have mostly gotten angry at people I love. It would be when I felt hurt so deeply. Like, if I would overhear my mother talking about me like I’m a piece of crap. Infuriating. Then there is a very small group of people who trigger the anger I’ve felt toward my mom. I think I said above that it was usually work situations, but since I read your comment, I realize it’s also at people I love. I would get so angry at being treated poorly by people who should love me as much as I did them…. or at least I thought they should.

You said there is some element of control if you can limit it to family members. I can keep from unleashing on anyone, when I must, but I seeth inside, tears well up, it destroys days of my life from dwelling on it. I let it deplete all my joy. There are only two things I’ve found that can release that energy ~ crying or journaling. I hate it. I hate being a sappy person. I hate being angry too. I wonder like you do… how do regular people learn this? And, speaking of family, I do keep it controlled as best I can. I haven’t shown my anger in my family for several years because of the label that was put on me long ago. I would rage in private and try my best not to show it in front of them. UGH!! How crazy to live in such turmoil. Thanks for sharing your struggles with it. It helps to know I’m not the only one who’s battled it at times.

Sophia,
Perfect description of the way I would feel in your first paragraph, #133. Thank you very much for sharing your approach. I have read some Alice Miller books also. Very validating and she seems like a gentle person. I’ve not heard of Daniel Mackler, but I will be going there now. Thank you for sharing the helpful info. Again, I don’t feel so alone and embarrassed by the times I’ve been in a rage.

Aurele,
I’m sorry you’re struggling. 🙁 I have often felt like I was all alone on the planet. Like I could possibly be the only decent person in my world (aside from EFB). I wonder how people can do the things they do. I wonder how my husband could have an affair. How my mom could ridicule me and slander me. I wonder if I’ll ever know anyone who loves me for me, deeply and with loyalty and honor. You’re not alone Arele. We’re here with you. If I could give you a hug right now, I sure would. (provided it wouldn’t invade your personal space…. because I’m funny about that, :))

Mama feeling helpless,
I wish my mama had a heart like yours. I had to figure things out with my father and observe his character on my own, away from my mother’s influence. She was the opposite of you. She painted my dad to be a monster. He is a very bad alcoholic, and he had some anger toward her when they were married. I didn’t hear the secret dialogue of course, but I heard the yelling. I wonder if he was also pushed to the point that my mother pushed me to. If he had had enough of the secret dialogue, that it eventually erupted in her face. I know her dialogue to me in private was altogether different than what she presented to others. She convinced everyone else that she was a victim of my mistreatment. She did the same to my dad I think. Anyhow, I drank to escape her too, and I started when I was 14. I’m sorry you have to observe this with your kids. My heart goes out to you.

Christy,
I too want to attract people with morals and pure hearts. I find it very discouraging. I have a great group of friends from childhood whom I trust. Meeting new people and trusting them is just not in me right now. It’s hard to find friends in the world today. I went through a string of abusive relationships as well. It was horrible.

Jackie,
I so understand what you’ve said. I feel like a target also. I wonder what invisible radar I’m sending that lets people sense my vulnerability. I’m not a meek or feeble person. Maybe it’s not even vulnerability they sense. Perhaps it’s that some people navigate through life trying to get a response, or rise, from everyone they meet. Maybe I give off that vibe. That I’m easily agitated by abuse. Who knows. I only know I’m sick of that vibe. I want to fix it, but, I have no idea how.

Peace,
Mimi

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Hi Aurele,

Like you, my anger was turned inwards, onto me. I had been conditioned not to stand up for myself. I believed that I HAD NO RIGHT to retaliate in any way against anyone who was abusing me so I punished myself. Many times I wanted to hit out at people who were treating me badly, but I was scared. That anger had to go somewhere, so I internalised it. Occasionally,I did explode with fury, but then I would be made out to be the bad guy, rather than the victim. Im sorry you are feeling low at the minute, but please keep going. Everyone here feels compassion for you and no-one here judges you either. This journey has its ups and downs, but it gets better. I still sometimes have “pockets” of sadness, times when I feel I am longing for something, but I dont know what. Thankfully, those times are much rarer than they once were. Just be kind to yourself, and be proud that you have gotten this far, Aurele. Many people go to their graves without ever realising the extent of the wrong that was done to them, they die thinking everything was their fault, that they were the bad ones. All of us here are lucky, we woke up and smelled the coffee. Big cuddles to you,
Love Sylvia x

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Christie and Jackie,

I, like both of you, had many abusive relationships and also friendships in my life. We get trained for this in our dysfunctional childhood homes. We are attracted to what feels familiar. Jackie is right, we do have targets on our backs, and abusers home in on this. My love partners were either Narcissistic like my mom, or completely emotionally unavailable like my father. My female friends tended to be demanding, controlling manipulators who were jealous and disloyal. These “friendships” mirrored my relationship with my mother. Once I really “got” all of this, I started to attract healthier people. I still encounter nut-jobs, but now I can smell ’em a mile off and I simply disengage. Or run like hell!
Love Sylvia X

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Hi Sylvia,

Thank you for your kind words, it’s great to feel understood^^here in this safe place.

I like “I still encounter nut-jobs, but now I can smell ‘em a mile off and I simply disengage. Or run like hell!” héhé.

Big hugs to you^^and Love.
(that makes me think that I have difficulty to say love because for me it evokes inevitably a lover and sexual relationship and not affection or real love)

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Hi Mimi,

Thank you for message.
I’m sorry your husband have an affair or that your mom is very wrong with you.
“I wonder if I’ll ever know anyone who loves me for me, deeply and with loyalty and honor. ” I feel the same for me.
We deserve it, I hope one day we will meet a person like that 🙂 !

Big hugs

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I didn’t know the english expression “we woke up and smelled the coffee”, quite funny.

146

I hear so many times something that was so long my truth, in one way or another i hear time and again how those of us that have been victims are like going around with targets on our backs. I did found counselling useful though it did not give me the ‘shifts’ i hoped for, i will do my best to simplify the science i learned, everything is about vibration, once i was first abused my energetic vibration dropped, dropped to a point where i was like a magnet to the like vibration of abuse, the work i now do is with the healing modality that gave me the most liberation and healing, vibrational healing i now work with vibration in many forms, colour, music, what seems to be best understood by many is essential oils, as a victim of abuse i learned to breath from my chest instead of my stomach (when babies are born they naturally breathe from the stomach) for me chest breathing was part of fight or flight syndrome, shallow breathing, heart racing a typical fear response that became my way of life, shallow breathing results in a lack of oxygen to cells and brain, a lack of oxygen makes it very easy to anger quickly as well as a lot of other unhealty side effects. Because i benefited from counselling i do use that modality with some clients though not without complimenting it with a vibrational modality to support it, something as simple as diffusing some essential oil on my way to an appointment with a counsellor could ground me to be present, communicate without anger, ground myself… It was because i benefited so directly from these simply processed that i have felt guided to utilize them in my work. Those of us that have been sexually assaulted are prone to have issues in the base and sacral chakras just as smokers develop issues of the lungs. I did not embrace essential oils because the three wise men took myrrh and frankincense along with gold when jesus was born, at the time i was too hung up on god issues to consider that, although for those that do connect with the bible there are over 180 references to essential oils in the bible, for thousands of years we had tools to lift our energetic vibrational tools that have served the test of time. These days i use oil or other vibrational tools to deal with practically everything, to release emotions,ground myself, concentrate, to this day it astounds me that my emotions can shift in as little as a few seconds of applying an appropriate vibration. I no longer see the profound shifts in vibration that i did in the early days of me using vibrational healing, because on my worst day now my energetic vibration does not drop anywhere near as low as it used to be, even on my ‘good days’. It is so freeing to now live on a vibration above that which i spent so much of my life where no matter what i did it was like as certain as being hit by a train if i tied myself to the tracks, i did not want to attract it, yet nothing i knew how to do helped me to move away from some form of abuse it was just so to speak ‘on my wavelength’ no we cannot shift our abusers vibration’ though if we shift our own we also shift what we attract. We are not to blame for the vibration we connected to, that came from the first person to be abusive towards us, we are responsible for opening to what helps us as individuals to shift our vibration. Some people benefit from getting away from black, white or grey, and embracing red, orange… for others it is listening to classical music in place of head banging music, how we change our vibration is a personal choice, that for many can be rewarding. Lifting my energetic vibration for me was one method of transitioning from self destructive to self care.

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All, I had a lot of problems with rage when I was younger.I had a lot of things to be rageful about. Connecting it to the events and people who created the rage in me, helped me get it under control. I too, spent most of my life attracting abusive people. After all, they were the type of people that I was trained to serve. When I quit being a servent, I quit attracting those kind of people. I also, think that when we become educated enough about the tactics that manipulating, abusive people use to get what they want from their victims, we become immune to them and they look for someone who isn’t hip to their manuevers.Also, when we think of ourselves differently, people respond differently. I don’t have it all down pat and I probably, still revert to isolating myself as a way to protect myself. In a way, that’s okay because I’m content with myself and I don’t need to be dependent on others. I do have the few people I can trust that give me the support I need from other people. My abusive family convinced me that I couldn’t survive without them. That’s one of their tactics. Abusers are the dependent ones and they are terrified of being alone and dependent upon themselves. So, they flip it and make those who they believe they need in order to survive believe they are the dependent ones. They keep their victims, their servents, beat down so that they will not think of themselves as capable of leaving them. It helps me to think of them as slave owners like those who used slaves to run the plantations. The slaves certainly didn’t need their masters, for anything but when the slaves were freed, the plantations could no longer be maintained. I’ve been set free!

Love,
Pam

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Aurele – #144 … yes, we forget we have expressions that don’t always make sense to others whose first language isn’t English! 🙂 “wake up and smell the coffee” is a way of saying we have awoken out of a coma of sorts – its like suddenly waking up and seeing your reality the way it really is – this is what it means. 🙂 {hugs}

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Mama Feeling Helpless ~ Welcome!

I was so touched by your story (#130) … Some parents OCPD or not, are just not fit parents, but they hide their shortcomings about it very well making everyone around them think they are exemplary parents – as in my case with my mother.

I think the things you want to say to your son, is in fact what you need to say to him – over and over and over again until he really believes it. My mother was abusive to me and she made me into a very compliant child, but I was also very angry on the inside because I knew, by the time I got into my teens, that I wasn’t allowed to be me. I had a sister (a year and a half younger) who was my mother’s favourite – and that’s when things started to click in my brain, ‘something’s wrong here!’ I couldn’t put my finger on it until I had kids of my own. It’s been a journey I’ll tell ya and the end result is that I have no contact with my mother (my abuser) and no contact with my family or origin either.

I hope that with every chance you get, some way, some how, you can tell him he is worthy and WHY he’s worthy. Tell him he’s loved and WHY. Tell him he has every right to defend himself, vehemently if necessary. Sticking up for yourself against a parent is NOT disrespectful – as you can stick up for yourself without calling him names or putting the abuser down – but there is nothing wrong with telling a parent to back off and to stop treating you in a way that makes you feel like a pee-on. A lie I grew up believing was that if I stuck up for myself, I got told I was being disrespectful, so I never did it – I did what was expected of me, to be quiet and to be compliant. This is a lie. I truly believe these things would have helped me to not lose who I was. It’s not a nice thing to get into your 40’s and then not have a clue who you are as a person. I’m working on it but its hard, I still hear my mother’s voice in my head at times putting me down as she’d attack me not only with things I did but also my person – she’d attack who she thought me to be (if that makes sense.)

I remember it was in my teens that I started seeing the painful reality that my mother didn’t love me. Your son may not be ready to admit that his father is abusive because no kid wants to believe that about their parent. And if the kid is being abused, they will often try so hard to make the parent love them – another lie I believed as a result. The truth is, you cannot make someone love you, so don’t try – if your son doesn’t know this truth, he needs to know it.

I’ve been no contact from my mother for 12 years and no contact with family of origin for two years, and it took me a long time to accept that my mother didn’t love me and that the rest of them didn’t believe me. But its okay, I have friends and extended family who saw it which totally validated me in that I wasn’t the crazy one (which is what an abuser will do – make you out to be the crazy one, making you doubt everything.)

I found that when I was in my teens, this is when the ‘awakening’ started. I am going to assume this will be the same for your kids too. I have teens and a tween of my own and I am always doing these things with my kids – telling them their value and why, that they’re loved and why – I suppose its because I never got it. I allowed my children to have a voice (they have to be respectful), but they are allowed to have a voice which was something that was totally denied me. Let them know they have a voice – even if its only with you. A mother is a very powerful influence in the lives of her children.

Maybe you already know this stuff and I’m just vomiting stuff I don’t need to … and if you do already know, then I hope that what I shared is at least validating.

How much my heart aches, no … bleeds for kids who are being manipulated and controlled by an abusive parent – they really do steal away who their kids are and who they will become. It really does.

Mama Feeling Helpless, I am praying that you are given great strength and tenaciousness for this period in your lives, and I pray your children’s eyes will be opened that they may see things as they really are and not as how they wish they were or think they’d like them to be if they ‘just tried harder’ with their dad. I hope they know that no amount of love can change someone. If a ‘someone’ is going to change it will be of their own accord, not anyone else’s.

Forgive me if I’ve stepped on toes … don’t mean to … I just hope that your kids will break free of any abuses going on and that they will have the strength to see it and accept it way sooner than I did. 🙂

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Yes Pam I very much agree with your statements in #146. I honestly didn’t break from my abusive family because I thought I needed them. I have lived 1300 miles away and been married 38 years. There was really nothing holding me to stay in contact with them and their abuse but my need for validation.

Mimi, I journal too and it helps me express on my down days. It has also been a log of change in my thoughts. They are shifting slowly. I think being able to cry is great!

Aurele, I want to compliment your English. You express your thoughts so well! I feel very lonely too.
2 years ago I moved 120 miles from my friends. I now don’t know if they were really friends as they all
just dropped me like I didn’t exist. Not even emails. One I knew 25 years.

I think the way abused people are targeted is due to how they respond initially in jobs and relationships.
I think people test boundaries in new relationships. We who do not have or know about boundaries
respond to those first tests displaying this lack of self protection and an unusually strong need for approval. I’m not saying the tests are intentional. Just a subtle part of the meet and greet process. Once you are seen as the doormat thats how you are
treated. Others see you being treated that way and jump on too. It happened to me in at least 5 jobs.
I let bosses and co-workers walk all over me because of my family’s obedience and compliance training.
I would never speak up for myself until the day I walked out in anger. Thus giving up a good reference for all my hard work.
I got another job I liked and 3 months into the job my boss raged at me over his own personal issue. I told him
it was not acceptable and I wouldn’t stand for it. He backed off, apologized and I worked for him for 3 years and we are still casual friends 18 years later. So it works. I did not see the connection until now.
The trick will be trying to be more assertive with new situations. I have become a “lurker” standing by and watching how others interact. I tend to put too much info out on a first meeting so I am watching that. Thanks for listening. Karen

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Hi Christy
Its a funny thing how this stuff gets communicated to kids. I could see that there was something off in other families but not in my own. I watched some pretty amazing tv shows and still didn’t see that my family was messed up. I think that when a family convinces kids of “normal” they tend to believe the family. Its a different kind of brainwashing because there is survival involved. (As children we are afraid to die if our family rejects us)
I stopped attracting abuse when I realized the root of where it came from and fixed my own faulty belief system. Lots of articles here about that!
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene, I’ve really been thinking about what you brought up in this post and in response to many of my comments lately. I’ve realized I was giving credence to a certain amount of the abuse and damage but not all of it. In fact, I’ve realized that the bigger part of what happened to me I’ve been passing off just as the way things were/are. If I was being honest, I could have told you any day of the week that the biggest damage I’ve suffered has come from what I’d call loneliness. What I realize now is that this loneliness was all about the absolute emotional unavailability of my family and how I’ve gone on to perpetuate this reality myself. It was as if I signed a contract at birth—or before birth, since my mother was depressed/suicidal when she was pregnant with me—that I should never want anything from my parents emotionally. Up till now, I could call out my mom for the active abuse—the control, the smothering, the overprotection, the expectations of meeting her wants/needs at the expense of my own—and I could call my dad out for never standing up for me. But the unavailability and lack of emotional response towards me, I would have always put as just being kind of unfortunate. I would have considered myself lucky for whatever miniscule degree of emotional response I’d get. I would never have thought of it as their responsibility, that they owed me that, that that was their job and to fail to provide me with it was tantamount to abuse. That never occurred to me. I never thought that caring for a child on an emotional level was as important as taking care of their physical wellbeing. I would have thought of it as an “extra,” something nice but not necessary. A special occasion.

When I was a teenager, I remember watching movies about men wrongfully convicted and put in jail for years and how these stories and these characters were kind of role models for me. They’d try to fight the system and would keep trying through reason, the legal system, etc. but the biggest thing was to accept the reality and to develop mental stamina. These characters were always portrayed as incredibly strong, able to find freedom of mind while locked in isolation, an embodiment of wisdom. I’ve always thought that if you were really healthy, really whole, really happy, really free, you should be able to be so in the worst conditions imaginable and most importantly to do it completely ALONE. That it was all about the power of the mind. It now occurs to me how weird it is for a teenager to have such a character type be her role model. I mean, it makes complete sense to me now why that was totally normal for me and I wouldn’t even have questioned why but now, just thinking of some of my teenage cousins and realizing that they would most definitely not have such people as role models, it really hits home how my life was so not “normal.”

I’ve understood my parents’ unavailability as being the result of tragedy, of paralyzed grief, of their own victimhood, and have believed that I had no right to ask or even want more from them, that it would be CRUELTY TO THEM for me to want more. My parents were really quite possessive of me and I felt like I was being asked not to go outside them to meet my needs, either, that it was disloyal, that to make them proud/happy, I had to show them how I got everything I’d ever want and need from them. My mom outright said that she was supposed to be the most important person in my life. What I realize is that it’s not just terrible that they expected me to give them what they couldn’t give in return but that they hadn’t given it at all ever, and that, regardless of the reasons why, they’d had a responsibility to do so.

So much was put on my personality. It was my job to always be okay. They were the ones who taught me not to want anything emotionally. Then I had a breakdown and I told them I hadn’t been okay for a long time and started to bring up all my issues. It was all put back on me—for wearing a mask, for lying, for pretending. They said things that made it seem that if only I had been honest and told them all this stuff before, then they would have known and would’ve been the greatest parents on earth… but they didn’t know. So really it was my fault (they didn’t say that explicitly but that was the message). BS! Never mind the fact that they continued to have the same expectations and treat me the exact same way they always did, if not much more overtly. The fact is I have a list of instances where they had every reason to know something was wrong with me emotionally but they chose to sweep things under the carpet; they chose to believe me when I said I was okay because they had reasons to want to believe me. They taught me to lie to them and then they want to blame me when I bring the lie to the surface, punish me and essentially tell me my pain is my own doing. Why? Because they didn’t want to take responsibility. It was their responsibility to take care of my emotional wellbeing and they never did. There’s no fine print that says, well, since she hid her emotional problems, (upon their request) then they are wiped clean of any responsibility. Besides I wasn’t that great of an actress—a lot of people made comments about me being sad. My mom would tell me to smile all the time. They had the guidance counselor call them and all my teachers on alert after I’d shared a particularly depressing piece of writing with a friend, a lot about suicide… the list goes on…. And more and more I see that what they had me believing was my personality was not my personality. I keep remembering instances from my young childhood that show how much I was actually the complete opposite of what I became as I grew older. It didn’t happen overnight but it happened all the same and they did nothing. They just kept asking for more.

Anyway, I have set up breakfast with them. They asked me if there was anything I wanted to see come out of it, and I replied that I just wanted a nice, relaxed, simple meeting, to catch up and get reacquainted after 2 & ½ years no contact, that I did have some things I want to address but not during this visit. I need time to collect my thoughts and will be in touch once I return home. I’ve realized that it is necessary for me to have them acknowledge what happened. I don’t want to get hung up in the past but it must be acknowledged; it is a starting point from which to move forward. I also need them to accept my right to my own story; in the past they were upset with me for talking about anything with anyone—and that, I will not accept. While I have no desire to have my past define who I am, it is a huge part of me; it is my story; it is where I come from and it is my right to speak from that place.

It will be interesting to go back to my hometown, to see how I feel after 2 years. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends and to starting a relationship with my nephew and my brother and his wife (though I have reservations with my brother—there’s definite hope but I don’t trust it totally for obvious reasons). I’m also looking forward to coming back home again afterwards and really diving in more to living. To really work at overturning this isolation problem I’ve had. I’ve lived my life depriving myself of all the things my family deprived me of. I try to be “happy for whatever comes my way” (which was always less than) but not to really look for more because I never believed I was deserving of more. I didn’t know it was my right to have relationships, to have connections, to not always be alone.

Anyway, thanks for listening—to Darlene and everyone. I’ve been reading all the comments and really identify with much of it. Hugs to all.

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Alaina,
I wish you the very best in your meeting with your parents. I hope they’ve gained enough respect to hear you now. Reading what you wrote makes me wonder where I would be if I were 2.5 years no contact. I wonder if I’d be healthier and happier, or still sort of stuck….. which it seems that’s where I am right this minute. Just a plateau.

I can recognize more than ever that if/when I hear from my mother, it does something inside, no matter what she’s saying. It sets me back and I become disabled, to a degree, for a week or so. I feel much stronger without her. Then, when her tactics don’t work, she has drawn in other people to be her front line. I think, “aw, how pitiful that she has only been told the truth, and she’s crumbling. Imagine how she’d feel if she was 12 and being told the things she said to me, or 10, or 23.”

Dragging her husband and her counselor in to do battle for her has done something to me as well. Her husband told me not to contact her anymore, that it was HIM I had to answer to now. I thought, well, EFF YOU!! I’m in battle alone, as always. My husband hasn’t interferred at all. He’s been supportive of me at home, but never spoken a word to my mother about it.

I so wish I could articulate what happens within me when she contacts me. I’m not even sure what it is. I don’t cry, I don’t lose sleep, or my appetite. It’s like I become disabled. I might sleep too much. But, I don’t necessarily think about her, or dwell (although I’ve been known to at times). I can’t figure it out, nor put it into words. Anyhow, I hope things turn out well in your meeting. Best of luck to you!!

Karen Ranes,
You said, “I have become a “lurker” standing by and watching how others interact. I tend to put too much info out on a first meeting so I am watching that.” Valuable information. I have been a person who puts things out there in the beginning too. Not personal stuff necessarily, but perhaps too open with my views or something. Too compliant, and willing to let that show. A lurker is a fantastic idea. I will try that myself.
Thanks for the boost!!

Love and Peace,
Mimi

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Hey all, an update, had to go to court yesterday for my last little episode fortunately for me the judge seemed to understand. I was given 250 hrs of community service and ordered to counseling which he said that my lawyer said that was already started. I do not have to attend anger management classes due to the fact that they are not geared toward women for me that was a huge relief!

I read some where that sometimes some kids will become target children because that they know that they will not fight back my older brother was that child, I did everything I could to protect him to the point of having broken bones and bruises but in my eyes he was worth it. He has become a good and productive adult who recognized early in life that he needed help to get there I and some of my other brothers weren’t quite so fortunate but we are working on that.

Someone asked me if I still talk to my dad, I didn’t talk to him for about 10 years I wasn’t until after my first child that he contacted me. All of us siblings do talk to him we are still slightly reserved toward him. he does not push it. My stepmother told us that he has been sober for a few years now and has been in counseling and has a desire to help others to get help and accept responsibility for their actions
He told one of my older brothers that he does not expect to be forgiven but he just wants to know how we are and how our families are. I have a couple of them that will not talk to him. Only time will tell.

To you all on EFB just being here shows that you have incredible strength of will and a desire to live. It helps knowing that I am not alone I am learning that it is ok to ask for help and that it is ok to express feelings without feeling vulnerable (my fear of being taken advantage of) and not respond with fists.

I am to have therapy twice a week until the doc says otherwise

Peace!

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Alaina..I too hope everything goes well in your meeting. Your comment was very thought provoking. I
too have had to deal with the most critical events in my life emotionally and usually physically alone. It
was no more than I expected. My parents, brother and husband would just step back and away when I
needed them. I have had more kindness from strangers and friends. They are not going to change so I
just don’t ask anymore.

I started noticing that things were not right in my relationships within my family because of TV. Yeah.
I watch house hunters and various couple shows on HGTV and saw how normal couples and families interacted in different situations. I began to recognize that the way I was treated was completely different.
Unfortunately I have had no other family model. My two best friends also came from dysfunctional homes and
we were never allowed to associate with other families growing up. My husband is a narcissist and very
much a loner. Unless he is the center of attention he does not care to associate. He has no friends either.
He doesn’t function well in groups because of the exhibitionist part of himself. People shy away from that. He acts like a child for attention. He will never introduce me as his wife to people. When someone
asks “is this your wife?” his standard answer is “one of them.”
(Next time he does it I thought I’d say with a smile “yes he is proud of being a bigamist! and see how that goes over)
He is passive aggressive and controls with silence and stares. He is very emotionally abusive in the punishment with silence. I am punished this way if I express my feelings in any way. He has said to me once “90% of what you say doesn’t require an answer.” He was a corrections officer for 25 years so knows every possible way to counter or manipulate any angry or emotional comment or action I make.
I’m always the bad guy.
I indeed married someone who belittles and invalidates my thoughts, feelings, and opinions in the same way I was invalidated as a child. I find the lack of empathy and support from him the most difficult aspect of healing from childhood abuse. Having to deal day to day with the exact same treatment is doubly hard.
He is not physically abusive, never has been. He is a compulsive giver so as long as he gives you a gift
as far as he is concerned everything is AOK and he gets his emotional upper on the gratitude. It makes for a lonely life so I understand Alaina only too well.

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Mimi ~ #152 … I can so relate to how you feel ‘disabled’ if/when you have contact with your mother. My mother isn’t in my life anymore and when I do think about her, that ‘feeling’ comes over me. Like you, I don’t lose sleep, I don’t cry – I actually feel numb and then I feel anxious and then I use food to stuff the anxiety because I don’t take the time to use the tools my therapist gave me to work through the anxiety. It’s AWFUL. This is where I struggle now, with everything else I have overcome – this feels like the last ‘dry land.’

I think this is PTSD at work – I think anyway. If I get triggered, its like I shut down – as if my brain goes into reboot mode. Is this what you experience?? This is what it feels like to me.

Mimi, when you share your experiences on this site, I cannot get over how alike our experiences are and how alike our mothers are. I’ve been no contact with my mother now for 12 years. I wonder if I will ever really be ‘over it.’ However, I do hope that even if I am really never over it, I do hope that I can at least function without my brain/mind doing a ‘reboot’ whenever I am triggered.

My therapist taught me how to work through this stuff, but I often feel too rushed in my life to actually take the time, so have been trying to figure out a way where I can just stop and process it, and sometimes its not that easy.

The power that mothers have over their children! I wonder how many mothers know the power they have! I wonder if they know that they have the power to make their child or totally break them – as if breaking them will turn them into ‘somebody’, of course we know that breaking a child turns them into feeling like a ‘nobody’ – and the lie takes root and spreads like cancer to the core of the child’s being which affects them in every area of their life. Every day its a striving for me to not repeat this stuff with my kids. I have never torn them down or called them names, or compared them to people I hated and then telling them, “And you’re just like them.” There was always so much hate behind my mother’s words. So much hate.

As much as its hard and often painful working through this stuff, I’ll still take this over still putting up with my mother’s abuse and my mother’s hatred of me, any day of the week – because even though I have to ‘rewire’ everything – I AM FREE!

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Karen,
I’m so sorry for how your husband treats you. It isn’t right. What he said about 90% of what you say doesn’t require an answer is so unbelievably mean. You don’t deserve that kind of treatment. No one deserves that.

For the most part my mom didn’t treat me like that, except, I guess, when I was a little kid. I only remember one time, when I was a bit older, when I had the audacity to take out my ponytail that she always made me wear and she was so mad and telling me how ugly I looked. Otherwise, I know—from her own admission—that she’d hated me and taken her anger out on me but I don’t remember any of the actual incidents, what she said or did, just the feeling that she was mean… (I don’t think anything was worse than the ponytail thing, just along the same line.) She did, however, belittle and berate my dad my whole life and that affected me greatly. After my breakdown, I went through a period of time trying to defend him (in writing, as I couldn’t speak up to my mom) but he didn’t really appreciate it. He thought I was attacking her, not defending him, and was upset with me. He seemed to think she was his saviour. What I realize now was that he had a dependency on her and my standing up against the abuse was a threat to that dependency. I learned the hard way that it’s up to him to break free.

I have more to say, but I feel like I have too much to say right now. My great aunt tells me that I’ve broken through the wall, and I think she’s right, but that I feel like I have these big chunks of “wall” all around me and now I’ve got to go about clearing it all away, so I can keep moving forward… but that there also still chunks falling down, if that makes any sense to anybody… I’m especially starting to understand the way I’ve related to people outside my family, all these beliefs I’ve had about myself because of the way my parents treated me and how it’s translated and how wrong it’s all been. For the most part I have just not had relationships at all… some friendships in the last 7 years but not a single romantic relationship… or even a date really (two kind-of-dates but I don’t think they should count). I’ve had fantasies and obsessions but realistically I know that I haven’t even been able to conceive of the notion of anyone actually choosing me (it also freaks me out, liked I wouldn’t know if it was for real and if I might lose it at any moment). Even being someone’s “best friend” is something I haven’t been able to fathom, even as a theoretical possibility—unless it was a relationship where I was allowing the person to use me, to talk to me about all their problems, etc., like my relationship with my mom used to be. But to be a best friend just because of who I am, instead of what I can do for you (in terms of being used), has been beyond comprehension… I almost never talk about this stuff. I’m 30 and I see friends, acquaintances, family, getting married, having kids, and also with good, close friends that they’ve had for years. It’s hard. I’ve felt like a failure for not being able to “do” life like other people, even though I know this is a direct result of the experiences I’ve had in my childhood, growing up, and with my immediate family. That said, I’ve had some really, really good experiences with people in the last 8 years since my breakdown (along with some really crappy experiences with other people), experiences where I know people like and love me for me and not for what I can do for them, but I don’t think I’ve been able to fully integrate those experiences into my core yet. I’m starting to, I think. Most of it has just been with extended family members but they’ve been great mentors and have meant so much to me. It is a start. I know that I’m not alone anymore and that I don’t have to be, that I can rip up that contract I signed when I was born. I don’t have to stay living the life my parents subjected me to. What happens to you as a child is so deeply ingrained and so unconscious that I think it really takes a lot of time and work to bring it all up to the surface, overturn it and then bring new positive experiences into yourself to integrate and take root at your core where the old stuff used to be.

Mimi, I want to reply to your comments, too, but my brain’s had enough. I need out of the house. It’s beautiful outside and I want to walk. I will reply soon, I just don’t want you to think I’m ignoring you and only answering Karen’s comments.

My best to everyone. xo,A

158

Calming Your Inner Storm
I am not my parents nor their patterns.
I am my own true self and I am free!
~Louise Hay

159

Hi Sylvia,

I have read again your post.
I can relate to what you said about inner anger in post #140.
My anger wasn’t allowed to exist at all too. I couldn’t fight back against my father treatment, because when I do it, I was automatically either beaten, either gaslighted, either considered like the bad guy too, the crazy, the “rebel” teenager.

So, now if somebody is taking advantage of me, I am paralized. I want to answer, I repeat in my head scenarios of what I can do to defend myself, but in the reality it’s not possible I am too scared.

When someone has an unhealthy attitude towards me, I feel anger but immediately after, I feel an intense fear as if a punishment could come.

In fact, as when I was young I was punished and beaten when I defend myself ; now as an adult, when I am in a similar situation, when I feel anger to fight back to somebody, my self hate mecanism acts by protection (because it fears an attack) and punishes me. In fact, I unconsciously punish myself for feeling hate as an adult now, because when I was little, I had punishements for feeling anger and hate (in response to their unfair hate towards me) towards my criminal parents.
I don’t knwow if that makes sense.

My self hate mecanism is really stong in me. :((((
I even have a “voice” in my head (since my teenagehood) who seemed to exist by herself who tells that I am a psychopath :((((((( in situtions I have to do efforts and ot be myself to please others.

Peace and Love to all.

160

Sorry I woulad like to say “not be myself” in the last line.

161

Mimi, My mother disables me too. Especially, in those times that I really needed a mom and when I reached for her, there was nothing there or worse, disaproval. I’m much stronger without her too and it’s been over a year now since I’ve spoken to her. I don’t miss her and I really don’t miss the disaproval she used to control me all of my life. My sister adopted that method of controlling me too. I do miss my sister but I don’t miss that disaproving control and the feeling that if I accidently, do something to displease her, she would cut me off.

Alaina, I go through the same reboot period you describe. What is worse though, is that when I get triggered about something really painful, it can take over my life without me realizing what has happened. I get obsessive about it, analyze it to death, and the rest of my life kind of grinds to a halt. This is hard to describe. It’s better now that I’ve gotten better at recognizing when I’m triggered but it has caused me to do things I regret in relationships. It’s like I go off fighting windmills and the old trauma that I’m reliving masks what is really happening in my life at the present. Using techniques never really worked for me because when it would happen, I was too overwhelmed to be able to put them in motion. What has helped is identifying the traumatic events and bringing them to the surface so that I’m better able to tell what is pain from my past from pain in my present. When I was trying to ‘leave the past in the past’ and keep so many secrets, there was just so much back there that I’d never dealt with cognitively or understood clearly enough to be able to handle it reasonably. I have much more reason and much less emotion about all of it, these days. It’s still there but I have more control, it doesn’t control me. I think that’s why I keep coming back here. Even though I’m doing so much better and don’t need to be here the way I did a year ago, it still helps me to touch it, know that others have experienced it too, and that I’m not crazy for being damaged by what people told me for so long, was nothing. I sometimes wonder if this is part of the repetitive loop of PTSD but I think it is progress. I’m not reliving the events over and over, I’m talking about things that happened in my past. That seems much healthier to me.

Karen, Your husband sounds so much like my dad. He was a musician and I think we all would have been happier if he would have continued to live his life as an entertainer. His need for attention is so extreme that he’ll tell you a lie, even if he knows you know it’s a lie, just to have your attention for a few minutes. He will do absolutely, anything to get attention and I mean anything. He loves to play the hero and if he can turn everyone in the family against one another and toward himself, he is never happier. Everything he does is for show and I have no idea who the person inside of him really is or if there is a real person there. He seems hollow. I have so much mistrust for him that the last years that we still had contact, I could not make myself look at his face or make eye contact. He’s not violent like he was when I was a child but when I’m near him, it’s like being near a coiled rattlesnake. I have the feeling of not knowing what he will do or say but that it is never good. I don’t know how you can be married to someone like that. They are emotional vampires. I hurt for you.

Pam

162

Thank you Karen, I’m happy to have your feed back about my english because I am often scared to make mistakes. It’s a pleasure to write in english, like a vacation from my native language.

Congratulations for your having stood up against your boss ! It’s courageous and is enpowering to read it. post #149.

I’m sorry about your husband attitude, I think he is very wrong and crual and especially ” He will never introduce me as his wife to people. When someone asks “is this your wife?” his standard answer is “one of them.”
What does he means by this ? You don’t deserve at all that treatment.
It would surely makes me angry too.

Love to you.

163

Karen Ranes,
Doesn’t it stink when you find out who you’re truly married to? My husband, although never abusive in the physical or verbal way, has some of my mother’s characteristics. I see that now. I had blinders on to both of them for a very long time. He is able to lie without a second thought. So is my mother. And, they both also believe what they’re saying. It’s bizarre. I have recently told my husband our marriage will never last unless he gets this under control. The difference between he and my mother is, he will at least recognize and admit to things, and subsequently TRY to improve. My mother just wants to continue in the lies. My husband has been very good to me in many many ways. His affair seemed to cancel out some of the things he said and did for me. He’s always been complimentary, I nearly always have fresh cut flowers on my table, he’s generous and hard working. He’s very affectionate. The affair really downplayed all these things though. He works hard to make it up to me. Sometimes, I’m still really discouraged. I have taken it day by day. I still daydream of packing up my car and driving off, although, it’s not as often now. He is really all I have. I have no children. I’ve never feared being alone though. In fact, I LoVe it. Only time will tell if we will withstand this incredible blow to our marriage. I wish you the best in yours.

Alaina,
No worries!! 🙂

SMD,
That quote is awesome!! Thanks for sharing it!!

Fleaflicker,
That all sounds like really good news!! YaY for YOU!! All my best to you!

Rizae,
That’s exactly it. It’s like my brain has to reboot. I feel stagnant. Emotionally paralyzed….. or something. Maybe it’s like you said, I am numb. My energy is completely zapped. I have no passion or desire for anything, and I’m a fairly passionate person.

I too fear the future in terms of triggers. I don’t want to go through a total setback, or reboot as you say, everytime I’m triggered by someone/thing. I want to walk in freedom from all that. I think being no contact will help me in that area. When I hear from her, or her allies, I begin to doubt myself, and my truth, albeit quite subtly. It is still at work in the deepest part of my mind. I keep thinking I will change my settings on my phone and email to re-route anything from her, my stepdad, or her counselor. I haven’t done it yet, just procrastinating. But, I need to right now because just today, I’m finally feeling freedom again after all the crap they sent me in the last two weeks. At the time, I really didn’t even know I was being affected by it directly. Now, that it’s worn off, I KNOW it was their contact that paralyzed me. I have also thought in the recent past, “well, what if I miss something? Like something that’s actually meaningful?” Bahahaha…. I know now, nothing meaningful will come from her mouth, or the mouths of her allies. And, you’re right… what an ALL OUT insult to our core to be told how much we mimic the people our mothers hate. My mother, to this day, hates my dad. They’ve been apart 34 years. She’s never hidden her disdain and disapproval of him. Quite the contrary. She also never hid that I was just like him. She would say that in her rage. I remember when I started to embrace that statement, rather than be offended by it. I know God loves all his children, my dad included. He DOES have some redeeming qualities, although my mother would argue that point. I consciously decided that I am those redeeming qualities and I didn’t have to buy into the idea that I represent every flaw she pointed out in him. Seriously, what does it say to a child when a mother says, “I Hate that man, and you’re just like him!!” No one heard that stuff though. No one but me.

Rizae, you have my utmost respect for stopping the patterns with your own kids. That cannot be easy. It is programmed in us from infancy. How tough it must be to fight our inner programming…… daily!! It’s tough enough to reprogram our thoughts to make ourselves whole, but to weigh every action with four kids? I can’t imagine the strength required. Kudos to you!!

Something someone said here struck me recently. It was in this thread I think. Something about taking responsibility for our healing and recovery. I don’t want to be stuck in a place of bitterness. I can see that for myself, I could go that way. Thus begins the fight to believe in goodness. I have lost that belief. My optimism has been shattered. I have little, if any, faith in humanity. I think I have arrived at a place where I need to try to climb back up. (If that makes sense). And, please, know that tomorrow I might feel differently! Haha!

I am two weeks out from the last time I heard from my mother. Today, I finally felt like me again. I felt a measure of freedom again. Rizae, I have no idea how to navigate through life with her dragging behind me. I only see no contact in my future if I want to thrive at all. I could just exist…. I did that already for 43 years. I didn’t like it.

I’ve wanted to mention lately that the anger I’ve had in life, I believe, was always fueled by anxiety. I have lived with all of it long enough that I’ve had plenty of time to observe. Remember the time I spoke about tears of tension, sadness and the like, are composed of different elements than the ones of say, cutting an onion, or tears of joy? Here is what I’ve been pondering lately. When I get overwhelmed or anxiety starts building in me, I have a tendency to be shorter with my husband, more irritable in general, less patient, etc. It will then usually come out in the form of tears after building for quite a while. Once I have a good cry about things, all that pressure and tension, irritability leaves me entirely. I’m like a new person. Also, when I get angry, I flood with tears, like you said. I think that is a similar release in me. The anxiety has built up, tension, then at times anger is the last stage. After I cry from the anger, I’m again a new person. I would nearly swear that anytime I’ve been angry, it was anxiety in disguise. And, any time I cry from anger, anxiety, pain, tension, overwhelmed, etc, I get the same relief. I have also noticed I can get nearly that same amount of relief if I journal all that’s going through my mind. Then, I don’t even cry. I just write it out. Usually, I’m a new person afterward. I get full easily. I overflow easily with emotion, tension, etc. MAN, am I FED UP with that crap. I have never been good at controlling tears. I also think that is related to anxiety. It’s nearly impossible to stifle anxious energy, so if the most convenient outlet is tears at the time, that’s where I’m headed!! 🙂

I hope any of this makes sense. It seems like it’s not necessarily true emotion coming out, but moreso, a release of anxious energy. Thus, the reason I cry easily, and the reason I can’t even begin to control it. I likened it to vomiting once. When it’s coming, it’s coming. I can try to stop it, but, PFT…a losing battle.

I wonder if you’ve observed any of this in your experience with anxiety and tears. I think if I had four kids, I would be an anxious mess. Especially, with the programming I had and the fear I’d be passing that on. I never want to injure a child the way I was injured. I know you’re an amazing mother by what you write here. I really admire you for that. What a tough job to break the cycle and turn everything you know, upside down, in order to provide a better life for your children. Yay for YOU!!

I think we can get there Rizae. I don’t think that everyday. But, today I do. And, what a blessing that is.

Peace and Love to you,
Mimi

164

Aurele,
I think your English is beautiful!! 🙂

xoxo,
Mimi

165

Pam,
Thank you for your voice. Of course, I’m not happy that it’s this way for you, or for me. But, I’m happy you recognize it, and share your knowledge. When I leave here in a minute, I plan to change settings so anything from mother, and her allies, goes to junk mail. I know I won’t be missing anything like I had feared. I will only be embracing my own sanity. I want to go months and months without contact and see where it takes me. Thanks for sharing Pam!

xoxo,
Mimi

166

Thank you everyone for your kind support and comments. I only knew my husband 3 months when we married. I was so desperate to get away from my Dad. My husband was and is a very damaged person.
Because abuse by his mother, it caused the narcissistic withdrawal into himself. Inside he is shy, kind and extremely generous. But he exists and acts out to get attention to feel good about himself. There is no cure and he will never see it. It so much worse for him to live like that. I see it all now and although he does the silence and runs away all the time ( to another room or just a little further) I can see is what he learned to do as a child when she attacked him. He was scapegoated. His personal things were taken from him and
given to his brother up until he went in the military to get away. She was horribly cruel to him.
Actually it was a blessing to us both when we found each other and married. We clung to each other and
although we are somewhat co dependent, we have found a good life together.
As he has aged and retired he is slipping back into his punishment ways. I don’t put up with it now that I see it has nothing to do with me. I am counseling him and trying to get him to see what he does is hurtful. Direct attack with him causes instant defense and withdrawal. Again his childhood response.
I am SO MUCH BETTER having no contact with my abusive mother and brother.
I figured him out too. His abuse is a failure to be pleased. Nothing is up to his standards no matter how hard you try and you are always left feeling like a failure. Thanks everyone for listening!!
Karen

167

So sweet, Mimi :).

Today I have a horrible back ache, it hurts.

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Mimi #162 ~ I wish I could reach out and hug you! I have so much to say to encourage you, but am off here real quick to try out a new church this morning with my daughter. (I have 3 kids … unless a dog counts as 4 – he! he!)

For now, though, I just want to say that when I feel emotion, it is like vomiting – if I feel it, it just comes out like a flood, tears and crying are uncontrollable for me. When I meet women who say the keep it in until they are alone … I’m like, “WHAT?! How do you do that??!!” I often think that when we’ve been hurt as we have, I think emotions are very raw and they are always on the surface – I often wonder if its because there is no room to keep tears from flooding out because of all the pain inside? When I cry because of joy or sadness, I cannot hide it – it just spills! I am so glad to meet a kindred spirit when it comes to this. No one I know seems to understand why I can’t control it and I think its because its felt so deeply that my body cannot contain it – that’s how it feels for me. My kids don’t cry like that – my daughter has a lot of control that way and I hope that is a sign of being emotionally healthy?? If that’s what it means?? I don’t know – its all speculation at this point.

I will respond more later today … oh, I have so much to share!! Big love to you, Mimi!

169

Hi Everyone
I have finally caught up on all the comments of the last few days. I am not going to be able to respond to them ~ I am just out of time right now. Both my oldest children are in the process of moving out of the house to go to school. My daughter is in her second year university but this year she is moving into a house instead of into the res. My son is going for his first year and is also moving into a house. It has been busy in so many ways and my emotions are all over the place ~ I am happy and excited for them, but I miss them already. My emotions are all very present and often large and I need listen to myself and be here for myself and my kids. Emotionally, I don’t have much left this week for the blog so I am going to have to lay low for a few more days when it comes to the discussions.
Hugs, Darlene

170

My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time, Darlene!

171

Aurele, I could relate to your comments about anger, paralysis, fear, and punishment, self-hate, self-punishment. I also used to have a “voice” that said I was a psychopath. I was scared that it was true. It was actually repressed rage, plus a surface level numbness that made me think I didn’t have feelings/empathy. As a teenager I once wanted to hurt my dog for no reason, break his bones, and all you ever hear is how serial killers start off by hurting animals. It disturbed me greatly and I tried to convince myself that I was just “pretending.” Although for most of my life my anger was mostly directed at myself, also I had another scenario at 23 when I wanted to hurt a young girl I was tutoring who was touching my hair and I couldn’t handle it. It paralyzed me completely. At that point, I couldn’t pretend anymore. I had to deal with this. I understand it now and know that I am not and was never a psychopath.

A year ago I was talking to a therapist about my anger and she asked me where I kept it. I said, “My hands,” and during the course of our session she noticed how clenched they were and asked me to release them. I can’t tell you how much mental energy it took me to do this, as if they were completely stuck in that position. I started crying spontaneously. I went through a period after that where my hands kept cramping and getting stuck in these weird claw shapes. I also had a hard time if I just heard someone getting angry with another person. A couple times at night I’d hear someone out on the street outside my apartment yelling at someone else and I would get so tense and would want to curl up into a ball. Once, I even wanted to cut myself, just from hearing these total strangers (wanting to cut myself was often my response to being afraid my mom would get angry with me when I tried to stand up for myself… almost every time I tried to stand up for myself, at first I’d feel strong but over time I’d start to fold in on myself, get very confused, convince myself that I was wrong even though I knew intellectually that I was right, end up apologizing like crazy or just wanting to apologize like crazy even though I wasn’t actually sorry and throughout this whole folding in process, I’d end up wanting to cut myself, though I never did.) As I continue to work my process and realize where all this stuff comes from and how wrong it all was (the way my family treated me), I feel all this stuff slowly fading. I can hold onto my anger better and stop it from fold back onto myself (though it still sometimes takes work). I’m a baker and think I work out a lot of stuff just working my hands with the dough. I’m also thinking of taking up some kind of martial arts. I think it will be good for me. What I know now is that the most important thing is for me to take care of myself.

Mimi, I totally related to what you were saying about your feelings around your mom, the numbness and feeling like you will never thrive. I felt that. When I cut off, I’d realized that I would never grow from the place I was if I didn’t. I had no hope for any of the dreams and desires for my own life. I knew it was emotional/spiritual death to stay the way things were. I also knew I had to deal with all my “inner demons,” the parents in my head, and I think it’s very hard to do this while at the same time dealing with them in real life, particularly as they were not changing (though I didn’t cognitively understand all this at the time). I did also know that the threat of hurting myself or another person would always be there if I didn’t keep going on the path and that cutting off from them was necessary to keep moving forward. Having no contact has allowed me distance and the capacity to start to find my own identity separate from them. That identity is still new, my roots are still shallow, but I can work to keep digging them in. It also helped me to see things more clearly, things I never saw before. As does this website, for that matter.

This morning I woke up thinking, “The people who love me love me; the people who don’t, don’t.” It’s about treatment. I can’t be bothered anymore about the feelings they may or may not have had under the surface of the abuse. I can’t be bothered with the intricacies, complexities, details and grey areas in this respect. Either you love me or you don’t. Either you treat me well or you don’t. I’m not saying I won’t give people chances, even 2nd, 3rd, 4th chances but there’s a line I am drawing in the sand and I’ll make my decisions based on that—-on action, not on what I think they might feel underneath abusive behaviour. What motivates them to act the way they do, the pain, the victimhood, the tragedy, the brokenness—I’ve come to the conclusion that that’s really their business, not mine. I know enough to know that I will act fairly and in a compassionate way—I will have patience and understanding—but I don’t need to understand every bloody thing, and I will not cave in to compensate for their brokenness, thereby breaking or even just crippling my own spirit. What matters to me is how I’m being treated. Their issues are theirs to deal with. There may very well be real love under the surface of abuse (I’m thinking in particular of my dad; with my mom, it’s tough to say. I don’t think so. I think it’s all a selfish kind of love, a need to fill a void. I know that she’s capable of love, that she loved my great grandma from a selfless place, but with me, I’m not sure if she loved me a day in her life… I mean in this new kind of definition of love I’m now starting to get a handle on). I’m going to give them the opportunity now, though. They want that opportunity and if it’s possible, so do I (maybe never beyond a certain point, though; it’s hard to say, as I can’t speak for future feelings). I know that I don’t need it and I’ll be fine whatever happens. I know I have love in my life and more importantly that I’m capable of loving myself, of taking care of myself. It’s new and I’m working at it—I’m no expert…yet… I can still get taken under by old patterns and beliefs but my reboot and bounce back are getting better and better. Things are becoming more and more clear. I know that I can count on me. I know that I won’t accept abuse as love anymore. Love is love. Abuse is abuse. And yes, the people who love me love me; the people who don’t, don’t. At some point, it’s got to be that simple when we’re talking about the health and survival of our souls…. Anyway, thank you so much for your support and good luck to you with your decisions and the time ahead. Love and strength to you.

Pam, thanks for your words. I totally understand what you’re saying. I feel that I’m slowly coming to this place you speak of, and I know that you do have to keep touching that place inside you because it is still at the heart of you, no matter what. It’s where you come from. You can’t change your story, just your relationship to it, and I’m sure it’s important to our health to come back to it. Even as you keep moving forward in your life, reframing experience, adding new definitions to your self, I’m sure that you still have to go back to that place to share in new knowledge and love with that old self, to integrate all parts of yourself…. Ps. It’s funny you said that thing about “tilting at windmills” and analyzing things to death that trigger the past—I totally relate and have been doing that with something in my life fairly recently and for quite a bit of time, though I’m slowly putting that to rest… Anyway, what’s funny is that I just bought Don Quixote, where the expression comes from. (I did my undergrad degree in Spanish but it’s been 8 years since I finished and I’m losing all my practice, so this is my pet project for the fall/winter to bring back my language skills). I think you are right about the PTSD thing. I think over time, because we have gone or are going in to the source and have reworked or are reworking it, the triggers and re-experiencing of it in similar scenarios will lessen. I know my great aunt, who has done all her work, has grieved her losses and moved forward and now lives a whole, happy life in freedom was telling me about an experience she had this summer. She’d gone to a friend’s 60th surprise birthday party and was overwhelmed by the amount of love between her friend and all her cousins and family members, that my great aunt woke up the next morning with a sadness she could recognize right away. On top of the abuse, she was an only child and I think generally had a very small family, and that sometimes being around so much love in a family like that is too much for her because it just hasn’t been her experience. I think even though we can get to a place where the past no longer holds us back from fully experiencing the present and moving forward to the future, pain always does leave an imprint. But I think we can always care for that part of ourselves and that also we can make meaning out of the meaninglessness of that past. I know that, for example, everything my great aunt has been to me, all the ways she has helped me, is because of how she was able to rework and overcome her past—the love and strength in her heart that has allowed her to do this, that has given her knowledge to pass on to others like me. What happened to her and what happened to all of us here was not okay, will never be okay, will always be what it always was—-abuse—but by having the strength, the will, the perseverance, the love and care to do this work, we also build skills, understanding and ever more strength and belief in ourselves and in others to do good in the world for ourselves and others. This website is proof of that, also, so it makes sense to keep coming back to it on that level as well.

Love to all.

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Karen,
I hope things get better in your marriage. And, I thank you for mentioning that you are also better without contact with your mother and sibling. (I feel like keeping a tally sheet…. proof that it’s happened for others, it can happen for me). 🙂

Darlene,
Hugs to you!!

Rizae,
Good point. It does feel like the pain is filling me up at times. And, it has to spill out, and the emotions are raw. The other women you talk about who wait until they are at home to cry…. LOL!! SOOOOO not me!! My sisters are that way. One of them never cries at all. So, when the three of us would be somewhere and I’d be crying, I always wanted to pinch them or something, to make them cry with me, haha!! It’s horrible to not have any control over tears. They were used to it, and it became like I wasn’t even crying. I appreciated that. I want people to not even notice!! 🙂 Oh, and ps ~ sorry I gave you an extra child. I thought all this time you had 4 kids. And, I hope church goes well. And, thanks for the big hug!!

Alaina,
Agree! It is tough to heal inner demons and grow to a healthy place while trying to fend off the people who damaged me. It just keeps the wounds open it seems.

I read something on pinterest this morning. It went something like this, pushing me to get angry and telling me not to get angry, is like shooting someone and telling them not to bleed. That was my mother in a nutshell. Do and say things, not allow me to defend myself, or get angry about it, then she was pleased with her destruction. I too have released my anger inward much of the time. All out self loathing and tears. Mentally beating myself up for being such a louse. I wonder why she would WANT her own child to suffer in this way. Who knows. And, all that matters I guess, is that it doesn’t matter why. It is what it is. Thanks for sharing your strengths among the struggles.

Peace to all,
Mimi

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Hi Darlene, This is a great post. I’ve slowly started looking at my childhood and my relationships since. I see now how abusive and unhealthy these relationships have been. You’ve repeatedly written about how you had to see the trauma and the root causes to heal. I had an epiphany today – I got it! After talking with my mom, who admitted to leaving me alone for at times a day or two so she could to to the bar, I realized why I have had such extreme trust issues. For years I thought I was defective – that the problem was me! I had to, to survive. But, now I hold deep compassion for myself and no longer see myself as defective. I see the beautiful little girl that was neglected, abandoned and abused and all I want to do is remind her that she is worthy and loved. Your posts help so much to stay in touch with healing and to create a new belief system; one based on equality, self love and affirmation. I couldn’t define what happened to me with out words and concepts to put the experiences in context.

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Mimi,

Funny, I’m one of those who don’t (or extremely rarely) cry in public. It’s changing now but it depends on how comfortable I am around people, if I trust them. I used to always just cut off/disassociate from my feelings. In that sense, it wasn’t so much waiting till I got home. That’s just what would happen. And then later I would collapse, torrentially. Sometimes, though, I’m really just fighting it off as much as I can. In my world being sad was a crime. I could never share it with anyone. I remember being sat down on the ledge of the bathtub being given the stereotypical “don’t cry” speech from my mom, how there was no point, it did nothing, etc. I guess I really took it to heart… though I was taught in many other ways to keep it inside as well. My brother on the other hand cries in public very easily (in my mind opinion, anyway); however, he is not good at expressing feeling in words and after the moment is over, I think he is often unwilling to go back to it…. I can find it quite difficult to simply allow myself to be hurting in front of someone else. I often have to be on top of it—philosophizing about it, etc. To have some kind of protective barrier, some control. I guess I try to be careful who I am vulnerable around. Part of that is that when emotionally hurt like that, my mom—who lacked serious boundaries—almost seemed to dive into me in such occasions (in older years way later than the “don’t cry” speech). I found it disgusting. There was a kind of intimacy that just sickened me and also a capacity to really manipulate me and be really possessive of my emotions, almost to want them for herself, to cradle them and bring out her own, so that I would do the same for her… She wanted to merge with my emotions, I guess, really enmesh, and I quickly get a wall up with that kind of stuff…. However, now, if I know I’m with someone I can trust and feel safe with and still feel boundaries and a space for myself, then I have no problems anymore crying in front of them or generally sharing my feelings.

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Chris!
That is fantastic! Thank you for sharing! Love the self care you express here too!
Hugs, Darlene

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Enjoy your children, Darlene. They need a lot of emotional support as they enter the world as adults. Mom’s who have to let go need a lot of support too. I’m glad you’re being mindful of your own needs. Love you, Pam.

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Mimi ~ More on #163 … the new church was awesome! It’s home – as soon as we entered (a half hour before service) we were welcomed like we were family – I have never encountered this and the message today felt like it was just for me – the pastor talked about ‘Deep Anger’ – he did his homework about where anger stems from and how to deal with it. All my life I was never allowed to express anger – it was frowned upon and if it came across that I was angry at my mother then it was construed as disrespect. Today, I realized that a lot of my anger is directed at myself because I’m still measuring myself according to my mother’s standards – which is so stupid! And the other thing I learned was this: “It’s okay to be angry and its okay to tell someone you’re angry with them (without being as ugly as the one who makes you angry.)” This was very emancipating for me!! Anyway …

Mimi, when it came to my mother – as long as she was in my life, I couldn’t function. I just couldn’t – and the day I realized it was the day she broke my personal (& unspoken) boundary of humiliating me in my own home. And to boot, it was my son’s 4th birthday party. I was horrified. After everyone left, I heard this (and I’m sure it was God because it didn’t come from me): “No matter what you do or what you say, nothing you do will ever make her love you.” I knew it. I knew it was true and I just broke down and cried … the tears that cannot wait. I know boundaries work for many – but not for me. True healing came, for me, when I cut ties. I could not find healing for my own soul as long as she was even in the background somewhere.

When you wrote, “Rizae, I have no idea how to navigate through life with her dragging behind me. I only see no contact in my future if I want to thrive at all. I could just exist…. I did that already for 43 years. I didn’t like it.” I was so there once! I didn’t want ‘no contact’ at first. I really thought I could love her into loving me – didn’t work. When she was in my life, I felt a lot like you, I felt like I just existed … not living existing but as an actual empty shell person. I still feel like a broken shell sometimes, but nowhere near like the nothingness I used to feel. I didn’t want to live in ‘death’ anymore, I wanted to live in ‘life.’

About tears, tears are definitely a release!! And yes, a lot of times when I cry it is a release from lots of things – mostly anxiety and anger because I don’t know how to handle something or solve something – I was just never equipped with any ‘how to.’

Today, learning about anger – it was taught that anger crops up for a number of reasons, like perceived or actual inability to control circumstances, inability to control people, or even ourselves (big one for me.) Anger crops up from unmet needs, unfulfilled desires, blocked goals, violations, injustice, assault. All in the last sentence seems to apply to me too … so when things don’t happen the way they should I get angry or it manifests itself as anxiety and I don’t know how to deal with it – until I heard this message today. Getting rid of it is confronting it, uprooting it and the worst thing we can do is not deal with it or keep it to ourselves. What I learned today, as shared above, ‘It’s okay to tell someone you’re angry with them without us going into fury or rage’ (which is not always easy I know.) This was a whole new concept to me, I’ll tell ya. And get this, repressing anger can actually make us sick, make our bodies ill – this I believe (living with MS.) The pastor continued about when we don’t deal with the anger, we feel stuck in the muck. I have so been there! Dealing with the anger that I learned today was very freeing … I’d likely share more but am not sure its appropriate or that anyone really wants to hear it?? I maybe shouldn’t offer any of this unless its asked for! But I did want to share that I feel much more free this afternoon than I did yesterday – or even early this morning!

The day my mother humiliated me in my own home was 12 years ago. It took two months, where I cried and mourned the loss of ever having a loving mother and a healthy mother-daughter relationship. After that two months – the pros outweighed the cons by leaps and bounds. It was the only thing I could do to keep my sanity – I had to omit her from my life. Two years ago was a complete and total cutoff from my mother FOR GOOD and the rest of my family of origin. I just got so done living a lie so they could pretend that everything was lovely when it wasn’t! But, that’s me. I’ve had a lot of resentment and anger in my lifetime and I finally know – I got my answer today – about how to deal with it and to finally let it go. I cried all through the service and my good friend beside me just hugged while I cried. (She’s a friend who knows what I’ve been through.) More brick and mortar was torn down. Man, what a glorious feeling!!

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Some said the “the powers that mothers have over their children” I think was Rizae. I am truly sorry that ya’ll did not have good relationships with your mothers, I never knew mine I only have memories of her from other family members. Our dad never spoke about her. I was told that she was a good women but not healthy. I wish she had been around for me and my brothers maybe things might have been different I not really sure. If I could I would change the past but I can’t all I can do is move forward even if it hurts I gotta work on me.

Fleaflicker

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Rizae, I enjoyed reading your comments about anger and the church service you went to. Seems like really perfect timing for you. If you wanted to write more, I’d definitely read. Dealing with anger is a biggie for me. RIght now I’m realizing that I need to sit down and go through my past point by point, categorize and organize and summarize, so that I will be able to get a handle on exactly what I need to have my parents acknowledge about the past, if they want a relationship with me. This work is going to force me to be in direct contact with my pain, anger and anxiety. I’ve realized that it’s one thing to have one memory after another and another and just blurt this junk out and another to gather it all together and break it down to basic points and summations and organize it all to really be heard (hopefully) and make clear my needs, etc. Also maybe just to get a handle on all this for myself, as well, to figure out how to proceed to deal with it, let it go and move forward, just in my own life regardless of how my parents deal with it or not, as I would really like to once and for all lay the anger down and leave it behind. I know that I’m getting there and that I can do it… But, anyway, I’m happy for you and the brick and mortar being torn down. It was good to read, and, as I said, if you wanted to write more, I at least would read it.

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Hi ALaina,

Thanks you for sharing about the “being a psychopath” voice.
I didn’t know someone could have this voice too.
Happy to know that I was not crazy or deficient for having such a voice in my head.
I was afraid too that voice could tell the truth.

Hugs.

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For me it was a real suffering during my teenage years because I was afraid I could completely lost control and kill people around me.

For example, I was afraid I kill my “parents” during my sleep like a sleepwalker. That was horrible.

And I was afraid that thinking about it, will make this happen.

I was also afraid that I could move objects (knives) with my mind and direct them to my mother ! (like Carrie from stephen king)
It scared me, I was afraid of myself.

Thanks for listening.

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Hi again everyone,

I need to talk to you about my current situation.

This year I have decided not to work again as the precary job of auxiliary for handicaped children because it really makes me sick and ill.

So I have decided to get unemployement benefit. But I really feel guilty, a lot, to the point I feel completely stuck.
I know it’s the good decision but I feel lost about my future and what job can I do.

Maybe if I feel guilty and if I’m scared it’s because my “father” horribly punished me and despised me openly when I skipped highschool.
I had no way to escape from his power and control. I had no escape, no refuge.
He (and all my family) wanted me to become a nurse.
So this job was a way to match with this expectation.
And until today, I feel very, very guilty for not having a real job, I feel guilty like when I got caught during my teenage years for not having came to school.

Taking a decision for me is also really hard, or to make steps to improve my life. I am terrorized I fail and that it could be worst for me. I never take risks but I don’t live either.

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Sorry “not having gone to school” instead of not “having come to school”. line 14.

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Darlene, big hugs to you.

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Chris,
Thank you for sharing your victories! It keeps me movin!! 🙂
Sometimes (or a lot of times) I forget to keep my eye on the prize. I also forget to tend to that little girl in me. I can’t remember who the conversation was with, but some time ago, there was a conversation about people holding their breath. For the past 3-4 days, I’ve been trying to stay conscious of that. Old habits are so hard to break. Trying to breath normally is only ONE of the things, and it’s physical. I imagine all the mental things that need that same attention. It’s overwhelming at times. Your comment gives me hope. Thank you!

Alaina,
I spoke with my sister this weekend. (the golden child). We only texted, but, we got on the subject of how we responded as kids when there was turmoil in the house (my dad was an alcoholic and quite angry at times). It’s funny how we are exactly the same today. I was the youngest, and I wanted to ask questions and seek comfort. My middle sister would be off in a romance novel, and the oldest (golden) would be silent as a lamb. She said, even today, she prefers to be a fixture. I thought that was so interesting. She always seemed to be a pillar of strength. I think she was as scared as we were, but, she also had the responsibility of holding us together. She would never cry, and I’d be on the edge of it, ready to explode in tears. I remember so vividly, she would get out a board game and we would sit and play until the fighting was over. I’ve always admired her sooooo much.

So, I asked her if being a fixture brought her peace. She said no, inner turmoil. It makes me sad that she seems to have some stuff to work through, but, she’s so accustomed to being the “strength”, it seems like she can barely tap into her deepest thoughts.

Our relationship suffered throughout the discovery of our mother. It will likely not be the same. And, that’s a good thing actually. She in some strange sort of way, became the mother I didn’t have. She would listen to me, and give sound advice. She has love in her heart, my mother does not.
She sees my mother for who she is. She said it’s much harder to go no contact with three kids. I take that at face value, without speculation. I have no idea how that works, because I have no kids.

I hope you come and let us know how your meeting goes. I’m very interested in hearing the outcome. Of course, I respect that people need silence too, so I understand if you don’t. 🙂

Rizae,
That is awesome news!!! It’s so hard to find a new church home!! The message too…. most pastors don’t even touch on anger, except to say it’s unacceptable. (in my region anyway). YaY!! I’m so happy for you!!

Thanks for sharing about how things were before you went no contact. I too am an empty shell. It’s strange, as I look back over the years, I was becoming less and less passionate about life in general. The things I loved were slowly fading away. I still have times like that. But, I can see now that it’s usually after my mother has contacted me. It paralyzes me; I just exist, like a blob of human cells. YUCK!! I so get where you’re coming from on that!

I believe the teaching about anger making us sick. Digestive problems are nearly constant. I have had big issues with that since my mother contacted me two weeks ago. I love what you wrote about the reasons for anger. I experienced many of those as well. Violations, injustice, and assault. Big ones for me. Thank you so much for sharing this. I really got a lot from it, so, of course I want to hear it. 🙂 I probably would have sobbed through the service too. Oh well!! That’s the place I’ve had to get to with tears. Oh well!! Because, honestly, if it’s coming, it’s coming. People will just have to turn away if they don’t like seeing a broken person sob. Haha!!

Back in my 20s, when I was in the throes of panic disorder, I remember describing it to a counselor as if my thoughts were scrolling across my forehead like a ticker. Like it was all out there for everyone to see. I worked in public retail, and I would often rush to the bathroom to get composure. I didn’t realize that the tiny space of a bathroom stall was what really had brought me comfort. To this day I love small spaces. Anyhow, the counselor said, imagine if you saw someone breakdown in public. Would you point your finger and laugh? No, you would feel compassion for them. And, that’s true. Now, when I think that I’m a spectacle in some way because I’m crying, or because I feel like all eyes are on me for any other reason, I imagine that people are feeling compassion, not sneering. I believe most people would feel compassion too. Anyhow, that’s my story for today!! Thanks for sharing the teaching and I’m so happy for your breakthrough.

Fleaflicker,
I’m sorry you lost your mom and had to navigate through childhood without a mother. I hope things are going well for you and the counselor is helping, although it might be too early to know?? Here’s to not hitting people, or wrecking cars!! 🙂 You’re right, we can’t change our past. If I could change that one very ugly thing, I sure would. I’ve done some embarrassing things in life, but that one certainly takes the grand prize!! I hope you will keep us updated on the progress. We can do this!!!!!

Peace and hope,
Mimi

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Aurele,
I’m sorry you’re struggling with decisions. I struggle with decisions too. There was a conversation about that somewhere here, but, I can’t begin to tell you where it was. I remember it being fairly common among people who haven’t been allowed to have a voice in life ~ whose decisions and identity were dictated to them as children. That leaves us to flounder when we’re faced with decision making. We fear being faulted for making the wrong decision, and it’s a double edged sword because we don’t have much experience in decision making either. It’s so tough to let go of those critical voices we heard…. from our PARENTS!! Coming from them, it’s so much more believable. They know best, right?? And, we love them. We want to please them, and make them proud. Unfortunately, for me, there was no way to do that. My mother had a few proud moments, but, it was only when she thought it was HER that created my success. She viewed it as something SHE accomplished, and would gladly take credit. When I was struggling so hard in my early 20s, she had no problem babbling about it to others, and how impossible I am. When I started to emerge from panic disorder and I looked life square in the face, I made big changes and went back to school. Of course, then she claimed she saved me. SHE turned my life around, not me. It had nothing to do with her in reality. As a matter of fact, when I went back to school, in private dialogue with her, she discouraged it, telling me I should seek a different degree. That my degree of choice didn’t suit me. Outside of that, she was telling others how she’d saved me. I was working full time, and going to school full time, and it still wasn’t enough for her. She would badger me every chance she got. I know why now. She didn’t want me to succeed, lest I out perform her. She didn’t want to have to say something GOOD about me to all the people she had bashed me to. So, she took the credit for my success. I worked my butt off during that time. My grades were my first priority and I competed with one other girl for top in my class. My mother didn’t see that, and actually, it seemed she made a conscious decision NOT to see it. It would have killed her to say something nice to me. She did everything in her power to make it a bigger struggle than it already was as a full time student and employee. I don’t know what was inside me that kept me fighting that fight. But, I did.

I remember my car broke down during that time. I didn’t have the money to pay for the repair up front. The mechanic allowed me to make payments toward the repair, but, the car had to sit there while I did. My mother didn’t offer up anything to help with that, and perhaps I seem like an “entitled” person when I say, it wouldn’t have killed her. I can only imagine if it were my child, and hope I would have helped in some way. I needed a car to go to school and work, and she saw that I was working my butt off. I had to go to my grandfather and ask to borrow his truck until my car repairs were paid off. Luckily, he agreed. I don’t know how I would have finished school or gone to work otherwise. Everyday, I would drive by the repair shop in my grandpa’s truck, and see my car sitting there. For three months I did that. I can look at that now, and see that my mom wanted me to fail, and/or at least really struggle. I had to be at school at 7 am, monday thru friday. I got out of school at 3 and went to work at 4. I worked until 10-11 pm on weekdays and all weekend, every weekend. I had tuesday and thursday evenings off. That’s when I studied. She complained about something every time I saw her, which thankfully, due to my schedule, was not often.

Sorry, I sort of got off on a rant there. I hadn’t really gone back there in my mind, so I guess today was the day to do that.

Hang in there Aurele. You’re not alone here.

xoxo,
Mimi

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Thanks Mimi! ((hugs))
I can relate some what to your older sister the only difference was that I made sure I was heard because my dad always seem to be beating my brothers. They were all I had and didn’t want to lose them (looking for security maybe because I had no mother I suppose).Unfortunately there was no favorite child he beat us all equally. Even though I was 3rd youngest most of my brothers would look to me to defend them no matter how hard I tried I just could not stand by and watch them get beat, to this day I am like that. As you can imagine I was beat pretty regular. My dad even went so as to ask me when I was going to learn to keep my mouth shut I gave him a “are you crazy look” and then said NO! which of course earned me another beating. I would never ever let anyone laugh at ya’ll it would definitely get my temper to rise I would challenge that person!!!. Anyway I am going to see the new counselor again and they are going to run a battery of test to see what would be the best possible treatment for me I am not one for drugs but I will take them or whatever the doc recommends to take just so I can get some relief from the chaos in my head. I definietly don’t like what I have become and I do not want to be a poor example to my kids

Was just wondering if anyone here has been put on medication? if so did it help?

Peace
fleaflicker

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Fleaflicker
There is an excellent article here including an excellent discussion on the recent guest post by Pam about the use of medications/ pros and cons.
You can read it here: http://emergingfrombroken.com/psycho-tropic-medications-used-as-chemical-asylums-by-pam-witzemann/
Hugs, Darlene

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Aurele
You are not alone in thoughts of killing people It is an every day struggle for me only because I have come close to wanting to beat people to death, the desire in me was so strong that I have beaten two people unconscious in the past because I could not control myself both times it was in defense of my children. I have road rage issues as well :(, (The only way I was stopped was people around me had to drag me off of whoever I was beating (stranger at walmart and one of my son’s teachers). I am ashamed 🙁 I DO NOT like what I have become, I can not dwell on that I have to move forward not just for me but for my family and brothers

You have got to hang in there we are here for you

fleaflicker

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Thanks Darlene
I have read the article and I definitely will keep that in mind thankfully this doctor is going to be looking at the phsycal side first, they will be doing blood test i.e hormones, low vitamins maybe or low mineral. I also will be talking to him twice a week to get to the root of my anger. This doctor came from a recommendation from my employer’s wife, she says that he believes in clean living but some people just need help in getting there she says that he will use drugs if necessary but tries the natural approach She also invited me to an excercise class which I am going to try I read some where that excercise helps eleviate some symptoms. So I will try that too. I checked this guy out and he has been doing this for 29 years and has a excellent reputation for being a good doctor. My next appointment is Wednesday afternoon.

((HUGS to YOU))!

fleaflicker

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Fleaflicker:
My meds have been very helpful quieting my racing thoughts and
so I am calmer and can sleep. Sometimes they work to fix an
imbalance of something in your brain. Something you cant help.
I dont feel drugged up or not myself just more able to deal
with things in a more normal way. The right ones can really make
things easier to manage. Hope this helps! Karen

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Hi Everyone!
I just published a new post about Blame sharing and Self Blame. This is a popular subject on EFB.
You can read it here: http://emergingfrombroken.com/the-roots-of-self-blame-and-blame-sharing/
Looking forward to the discussion!!!
Hugs, Darlene

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Denying emotional responsiveness: the man who married a woman knowing he had HSV-2 and never told her — he just kept her at arms length for 25 years. The only physical contact came accidentally when he wasn’t in an outbreak and oops didn’t masterbate. This is my headline. Trying to process my news which just hit about 6 weeks ago. All kinds of good enough reasons for someone to hide their disease. All kinds of good reasons to forgive. All kinds of good reasons to be broken. Just want a corner somewhere … where I won’t ever reach out again … someplace where no one has arms so there is no reaching.

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Hi June
Welcome to emerging from broken!
I can only imagine the shock of what is happening in your life. Please be gentle with yourself as you process through this and begin the healing journey. Forgiveness is not part of the issue in my opinion. Validating yourself and the betrayal that you have just discovered so recently is so important right now.
Please share often. You will find the people here to be very supportive and understanding.
Hugs, Darlene

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What an amazing discussion! Thank you, Darlene, for facilitating this opportunity for survivors to confide our deepest, darkest secrets and fears, and have them validated. It’s like an emotional balm being applied to the raw wounds of abuse.
Pam and Rizae,
earlier in this discussion, I was struck by your descriptions of needing to please – being people-pleasers. I am also a people-pleaser, and I still struggle with it even though I now recognize the origins of the compulsion. I believe that it comes from feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem. We try to please people who represent our parents/abusers, because that’s the only way we can feel good about ourselves. This has been taught to us from the beginning of our life.
I would go so far as to say that these feelings of worthlessness are universal in abuse survivors. The abusers do not actually love their children/siblings, the children are merely objects to be used for the emotional and/or sexual gratification of the abuser.
For me, a breakthrough occurred when I came across John Bradshaw’s book, “Healing the Shame that Binds You”. He describes that feeling of having little or value as a human being, that feeling of being nothing. The feeling comes from our “toxic shame”, which has been bred into us by our family abusers, from when we were tiny.
This shame is triggered by various situations and people that we come into contact with in our lives, but especially our family members. It is overwhelming.
I believe that the intense feelings of rage and crippling anxiety can stem from that shame. We literally loathe ourselves.
Once I recognized my toxic shame on a deep level (ie not just on a rational level),I started to be able to stop or reduce its power over me.
It is still a struggle at times, but now I know what it is, how it controls me, and where it came from, I feel free of its control. I’m free.
John Bradshaw has also written “Family Secrets”, which is a very useful guide to working out the generational abuse that may have occurred in your family. I have identified at least 4 generations of abuse in mine. I am determined that in my own little family, the cycle has been broken. Unfortunately, in my siblings’ families I fear that it will continue, because they don’t have insight into the cycle, and are unwittingly perpetuating it.
Understanding the extent of the generational abuse, and the way it informed my own parents/abusers actions, was very helpful for me in my healing. But it doesn’t absolve them of their culpability. Parents are ALWAYS responsible for fulfilling the needs of their children, and protecting them from harm.
Bradshaw also wrote “Homecoming”, which helps us to work on inner wounded child.
He does have a spiritual perspective, however as an atheist I was still able to access his ideas by disregarding his references to a higher power.
For people who are struggling with estrangement from family members, I highly recommend Mark Sichel’s “Healing from Family Rifts”.
This book is not aimed specifically at abuse survivors, but his practical tips on creating a new family, and also developing gratitude, were very useful for me.
I would add, though, that as an abuse survivor I would disregard the notion of accepting mutual responsibility for a family rift, when it involves abusers. As we all know, the abuser is ALWAYS responsible for their actions. We, as survivors, need to firstly lay the responsibility for the abuse squarely on the shoulders of the abuser(s).
For me, 2 years after I cut contact with my emotionally abusive mother and 3 after I cut contact with my sexually abusive father, I can say unequivocally that I am at peace with those decisions. It took a while and a lot of processing to get to this point. After being my mother’s “caretaker”/”golden child” for 50 years, I gave that job away. My siblings, now her caretakers, do not speak to me.
I doubt that I will ever forgive my parents for taking from me the life that I should have lived. But I really appreciate the life that I do have, and my own family. It has been hard-fought.
I hope that one day I may forgive my siblings. 18 months after our estrangement, I feel strong and free. If I reach the point of forgiveness, that will be great, but I don’t feel that it’s essential for me.I don’t crave their company.
I had always felt uncomfortable with my siblings, and often dreaded being with them or being in contact with them. Now that I recognize this as a symptom of toxic relationships, and can identify abusive behaviours on their parts (learnt from our parents), I am at peace with being apart from them. Although our society may tell us that family is sacred, or special, sometimes the opposite is actually true, and we are actually healthier without them.

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Hi Kate
(just so everyone knows there are two Kates on this thread. You can only tell them apart by the graphic colour. Perhaps both of you would like to add an initial to your names to make it easier for others)

Yes that whole “family is sacred” thing is a huge guilt trip when it comes to dysfunctional family. My mother was fond of saying that blood is thicker than water. One day I asked her “what the heck does that even mean?” she didn’t actually know! She also constantly said “I loved my mother no matter what she did”. But I have come to realize that is not love and today I live in the true definition of love.

Glad you are here! Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Darlene,
Oops, I have just found the other Kate whilst scrolling through a couple of threads.
I’m adding an H to distinguish us.
I love this site, Darlene.

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The perp figured out that I was an easy target by talking and making friends with mom and stepmonster. I had been emotionally abused, sworn at, degraded, humiliated, beaten and sexually molested(girls DO molest little boys!). All the perp(Sexual abuser) had to do was offer me a job, a no-brainer counting and sorting electronic stuff at age 11! I thought I had been at fault, somehow being the cause of my own suffering; that is until I heard the therapist say, “It’s not your fault”. What great relief!! And, looking back now, I totally agree. No 11 year-old is responsible for inviting sexual advances!!! It took 3 years for me to find courage to escape. A great coach unwittingly, always said positive things and built youth around him, me included,up. I felt stronger and with that new found strength, broke away from the perp. If anyone wants info on how pedaphiles bait,lure and use rewards, use threats(I was shown a drawer full of guns that I must not touch), please ask me!!

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I had my Father over for dinner last night; I guess I was looking for validation..wanting to do something nice..will I ever learn??? When Will I get this right?? Of course he late! When is he not but the worse of it. I have a TBI, It causes seizures. I had one last night. Sometimes it causes me to repeat my self over and over which is what happened lat night..he screamed at me that I was treating him like an idiot and confused and how dare I do it to him he has enough on him…what should I have don at that point? once the seizure ended? what I did do was go into the my bathroom of my little apartment and cry my eyes out…which brought on more insults of how I caused hm to be upset and have indigestion

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Great article. I am big time realizing that what I have endured throughout my life is severe emotional neglect and abuse. The trouble is, no one in my large family realizes it and they continue to abuse me on levels I can barely cope with. They constantly and cruelly tell me how defective I am, and that I need help, and even though I’ve told them I’m reading and journaling, viewing on line seminars and whatever else I can do without going to a therapist….oh, that’s not good enough for them. They all want to write my treatment plan out for me. One of my YOUNGER sisters actually had the nerve to say to me yesterday, that she’ll let me know when I’m better or when I’m participating in the correct kind of therapy. This is a woman by the way who has been addicted to Oxycontin for 15 years and she takes it in mass doses. She has a sick enmeshed relationship with my mother who is elderly. I recently moved in with my mother so she wouldn’t be alone, and my plan was to take some time for myself and try to get some healing. Since I’ve been here only a couple months, I basically feel like blowing my head off. In this short amount of time, I’ve been blamed for things I didn’t do, I’ve been shamed and made to feel less than anyone else in the family. And because I am making progress on my road to healing, they don’t want to hear what I have to say, so they all think they can dictate what type of therapy I need. And let me tell you, this is coming from some of the most f’d up people you’d ever meet…but apparently they all have a PhD after their names that I was not aware of.
I really need to ask for some help here. It has only taken me a couple months to realize that I moved myself into the middle of an abuse insane asylum and I know I must get out as soon as I can, but that could take me up to a year to accomplish. Here’s my question. My younger adult sister talked so nasty to me yesterday saying things like, “If you don’t treat our mother like a queen, I’ll come over there and throw you in the street.” And, “I’ll tell you when you’re better.” Oh, and by the way she raged at the top of her voice the whole time. If you’re wondering what my issue is, it’s rage, but honestly, I have never raged to another adult the way she has raged at me on a regular basis.
I’m angry. Very angry about the way I am being treated, but I feel if I try and speak up (I tried to draw some boundaries a couple weeks ago), it just seems to make everyone meaner and nastier toward me. How do I let my sister know that I did not appreciate the way she talked to me and I will not take it from her ever again? Should it be in person, on the phone? Or should I do it at all? God help me. Like my childhood wasn’t torturous enough, it just keeps going on and gets worse and worse. I’m so incensed with the way she talked to me yesterday, I won’t even be able to sleep tonight. Someone please give me some suggestions. Thank you so much.

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Hi Connie
Only you can answer those questions or make the decision about what to do; no one else knows the danger or if there is danger and when there is rage, there may be danger. These are the types of questions that can’t be answered on a blog and this is the type of advice that I would rather people not give each other. I know it is hard; you have been coming out of the fog in a huge way this past couple of weeks here. That in itself is a lot!
Hugs, Darlene

202

Hi Connie,
I just want to reach out to tell you I’m sorry you’re going through this torture. It IS torture!! I have researched ways to calm my mind when I get to a point where I can’t think of anything else. I began sort of ruminating about my mother over the holidays, (and my siblings) and even though I had a really great Christmas, there was a feeling afterward that I couldn’t shake right away. You said you wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight ~ I understand that kind obsessive thinking. It is horrible. It’s nearly unstoppable…. or, it feels so at the time.

I can say that after doing some research about ways to stop the obsessive thoughts, or just to calm myself overall, have produced results that I think have really helped me.

I know this isn’t an answer to your problems. I don’t have that answer, and I fear it has a potential to become dangerous as well. Anyone taking megadoses of Oxycontin is unpredictable, and scary in my opinion. It’s a strong drug!! I understand your rage too. I’ve been there. So, even though I don’t have a solution for you, I can tell you what has helped me feel calmer in the midst of the storms. It’s hard work to redirect my thoughts, but, I think it will pay off. It already has on some level. When there seems to be no solution, perhaps we can learn how to cope in the midst of the storms. For me, it’s been a new approach, and a relief. As scapegoats, I think we’re often not taught how to cope, thus no skills are carried into adulthood. That was my sticking point. I made my surroundings better in cutting contact with my mother, and putting most other potentially threatening people at arms length. Those monumental steps brought a lot of relief, but, they couldn’t teach me how to cope in the absence of effective skills. On the contrary, I was taught to fall apart, to be disabled, to cease functioning. So, even though I’d taken steps toward making a better life, I still had a missing link. That link has been somewhat restored in the learning of REAL coping skills. I’ve not at all “arrived”. But, I really think this course is going to be helpful for me.

I hope you stay safe, and are able to find solutions soon.

Peace and Hope,
Mimi

203

Thanks Darlene and Mimi for your thoughts. My anger has quieted a bit in the last couple days, and I just chalk the abuse I’ve been getting over the last couple months as just more to heap on the top of a 52 year old mountain I need to conquer. I spent the day today really trying to track down a therapist, and Darlene, you’ll be happy to know I did locate a Relational Therapist. She has excellent credentials and deals with many issues, some of which are of interest to me, such as Attachment Disorder. I have a call into her, and I’m waiting for a call back. I checked with my insurance and she does participate with them. I just hope she calls back. I understand what you are saying Darlene about the volatility with rage, but in my family it is verbal rage. No one has ever been physically violent….maybe because we are mostly women. However, even when they’re not raging, the things they say are so over the top abusive. I really wondered the day after my sister told me “She would tell me when I was receiving the correct mental health care.” OMG….I couldn’t even believe what I was hearing! I have hardly talked to my live in mother or any of my sisters in the last couple days, and I decided the next time someone in my family dares to ask me about my treatment plan, I will have a pat answer ready: “Well, that’s really none of your business, but how’s your treatment plan going?”
OH, I forgot to tell you this too. The same sister who was so obnoxious to me the other day….About a year ago I gave her copies of my medical records as she was helping me try to obtain disability benefits. I found out she read them word to word to my mother. WHAT???? Absolutely so violating.
I really hope to get in with this therapist. I also found a group that meets 4th Thursday of the month that I think might help me too, so next month I might check that out. One of my brothers is really pressuring me to go to an ACOA meeting that is tonight. I told him I would, but I really don’t feel comfortable with it. I’m not strong enough right now to walk into a room of strangers. I have to start out slow with some one on one therapy.
Oh, thanks you guys for all your help and insight. Pray for me, please.
Connie

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Mimi,
Your comments are great. I agree with you so much that we scapegoats aren’t taught coping skills for anything. I feel the lack in me
I was wondering how you are learning real coping skills, as I’m very interested in doing that too. So far I haven’t had luck figuring that out for myself though.
Cheryl

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Connie,
I will absolutely pray for you. I wish you the best in your search of a good solid counselor who can really help you.

Incidentally, I’ve prayed for myself, many many times. Recently, I prayed for God to heal my heart, and my head. Not often does He fly into action in my experience. I believe this time he sort of did. Although he didn’t heal my brain in the miraculous way I would prefer, he did direct me to resources (I believe) that would eventually help my brain get back to normal functioning… if there ever was any. In the matter of my heart, he sort of did perform a miracle it seems. I was ruminating about my mother. I had heard she’s due to have surgery on the 4th of Feb. That set my mind rolling. Still angry, and worried about how I should handle this situation, and still not wanting to see her at all. Even found myself hoping she woke up with a colostomy bag (her worst fear). Anyhow, after I prayed for healing of my heart AGAIN, it was like the veil was lifted. I could see clearly within 24 hours. I was afraid it was temporary since so many emotions have been temporary since I figured her out 2 years ago. I was afraid to mention it to anyone. I feared the new feeling would vanish as quickly as it appeared. That’s been over a week ago, and I’m still feeling the same today. I have no worry, no guilt, no ruminating, no desire, no anger, no need to vent, nothing. It simply vanished. In this case, I do believe God perhaps healed my heart. I’m still reluctant to say so, for fear it will reverse somehow. But, it’s actually been closer to 2 weeks now. I feel so much better without that crap whirling around in my head as if it were being mixed up with a Kitchenaid. And, my heart doesn’t hurt. That’s the best part. No tears, no nothing.

Anyhow, to answer your question Cheryl…. prayer was first. I was sort of desperate in my prayer, and I think God knew as much. I prayed for specific things so no stone was left unturned.

After this particular prayer time, I found some resources online (they’re abundant) which have really helped me thus far. I had read some things about Borderline Personality Disorder. I don’t really like the labels or diagnoses so to speak. I just want to find what I relate with, and move forward. Some of the symptoms of BPD I found in myself. From there, I searched for ways to deal with these specific symptoms, not necessarily with BPD. The findings are really applicable to anyone. Stress management, relaxation, anxiety tools (anxiety has been a battle for me). They sound like simple useless things when reading about them. BUT, I have found them to be effective. I bought a book about dialectical behavior therapy, which seems to be something BPDs have found helpful. I don’t care if I have BPD, or if I’d be diagnosed as such. I just want to be better. This particular approach resonated with me when I first looked at it. I NEED to know how to cope. I don’t have that in my fibers. I have to learn it. And, this is what the book is about. Cheryl, I haven’t had luck figuring it out for myself either. How can I learn something without the tools and materials needed to do so? Armed with the tools, I feel empowered and hopeful. I am still in the first chapter of the book I bought. I am trying to absorb it well before moving to the next step. The first chapter is mindfulness and staying in the present. Sounds silly right? If you’ve battled anxiety like me though, it is monumental. I had NO IDEA how much time my brain spent in the past, and in the future. I was completely shocked when I was put to task on redirecting my thoughts to the present. The benefit of that is, you aren’t thinking about the doom that could (but usually doesn’t) happen. And, you’re not drudging up a conversation or event from the past which you wish had happened differently, or something you said could have been different, etc. The truth about that is, it’s already happened, and there isn’t anything that can change it. It’s a waste of energy and mind space to wish it would have been different. In order to keep from going to those dark places, I have to nearly constantly redirect my mind to the present. Using the five senses helps to do that for me. What do I smell, or hear, etc? Again, sounds silly to focus on noises or how my sweatpants feel under my fingers. But, it SURE BEATS hanging out in the past and worrying over the future. I don’t think I’ve ever really been present, LOL. I think for 44 years, I’ve been somewhere else nearly all the time. So, this is my first step in learning new skills. I already feel different Cheryl. Not healed of course, but, I do feel relief. I haven’t had anything tragic lately either, so I’ll have to let you know later when these new skills are REALLY put to the test.

I have hope for the first time in quite a while. And, that feels good.

Peace and Hope to you!!
Mimi

206

Hi Cheryl
I learned new life skills when I identified how dysfunctional the coping skills that I had developed were. It was in seeing them, in order to understand that they didn’t work anymore, that I was able to clear a new foundation for new ways of living life. It isn’t coping that you want as a goal. It is conquering!
Hugs, Darlene

207

Hi Connie
I really hope that you find what you are looking for in this new therapist! And that is awesome that you found a group too!
About rage; there is danger with anyone who uses verbal abuse/rage to deal with other people. Just like any other abuse, it progresses. Physical abuse is not far from verbal rage and physical abuse always begins with verbal abuse and anger.
About your sister, sounds like untrustworthy to me!
Hugs, Darlene

208

Ahhhh, Darlene! Would you care to elaborate please?? I want to “conquer”….. I’m afraid I don’t know how. Thank you!!

xoxo,
Mimi

209

Mimi
Wouldn’t it be lovely to get it all in one small paragraph?? 🙂 Well you know me, so I am going to try:
Conquering is a result. It is a result of facing the painful truth and the damage (and I have written over 300 articles on that subject) and seeing the lies and changing them back to the truth about me. The truth about ‘them’ and the truth set me free from coping. I don’t need to cope anymore. I don’t need my coping methods anymore. But conquering is a result of the rest of the work.
You are on the road Mimi! You are well on your way!
Hugs, Darlene

210

Hi Mimi & Darlene,

Thank you for your replies!

Mimi, it sounds as though we have tried similar things. I learned about mindfulness when I took a course in it nearly two years ago and I have found it extremely difficult to implement. Although I am now aware of how much I am always somewhere else, I haven’t managed to change it. Just knowing it’s not helpful to waste energy on the past/future doesn’t help me one bit in stopping myself from doing so. I used to use every relaxation technique I could find but stopped a few months ago. No difference, so I guess they weren’t helping. Anyway I won’t go on, I really do appreciate you telling me what’s worked for you & thank you for taking the time to tell me. I was hoping there might be something else out there I could try but it seems I have tried everything, without success.

Darlene, thank you too but I don’t really understand what you mean. I do already have awareness of my dysfunctional coping skills but that awareness didn’t help me change anything. I understand what my abusers did to me & that it was wrong & that it affects the way I live today in a bad way, but not having awareness of any other way to exist leaves me no better off than I was without the awareness. I don’t know how to cope in a healthy way or conquer, so I don’t know how to progress. So I’m not progressing, since I lack the knowledge of what to do. I suppose this is it for me then.

I have to say I was better off unaware. Unlike you, the truth didn’t set me free. I have been told to disagree with/change the lies before and have tried for quite some time (years). No luck. I have tried so many different ways throughout the years to heal without results. I have read through as much of your site as I can access & and through many of the comments and I think it’s great you are helping so many people. I wish I could count myself as one of them, but as I mentioned awareness hasn’t proven to be any to help me whatsoever. Not at all.

211

MiMi,
I’ve been reading and re-reading your comments and find more and more meaning in them each time. I’ve read heavily on BPD myself and thought I identified myself with many of the issues with BPD. I’m also very interested in your experiences with your Mom, but even a little more with your sister. I’d really like to talk to you more maybe one on one. If that would be agreeable to you. I will be getting my first appointment with a very good therapist this week, and I have a feeling one of the first orders of business for me is going to be learning how to make a friend. How to give and take in a meaningful friendship. I’d love to be your friend. If you want you can friend me on facebook Connie Criscitello or email me directly ccriscitello@gmail.com. Maybe if we communicate for a while, we may even feel good enough to call each other. I hope this isn’t coming on too strong, but I really seem to relate to much of what you say. You may have already told me this, but do you mind me asking how old you are? I’m 52. Thanks Mimi…hope to hear from you.
Connie

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Darlene,
Just a thought here, but although this blog and commenting has been absolutely invaluable to me, I wonder if there is a way we could set up some kind of small group therapy sessions that address one of the many wonderful articles on this site. Maybe around 5-6 people could sign up for a group session related to the article via some kind of social media, whether it be facebook, skype, or other type system. It really could be as valuable a real life group therapy, especially if a system like skype was used. Just a thought. Thanks for all your wonderful work here Darlene. I truly do appreciate it immensely.
Connie

213

Hi Connie
I have thought about doing group sessions for a long time now ~ and perhaps I will (one day) but at the moment I have no openings in my schedule. Maybe in a couple of months I will do something like that! I know it is a great idea. 🙂 I know that skype is a great way to do it also.
Hugs, Darlene

214

Hi Cheryl
I would have been better off unaware too if I had not dug into the false messages that I recieved and (without realizing it) still believed about myself becasue of the dysfunction and the reasons that I developed coping methods in the first place. I am sorry that this is not the case in your life. Sometimes it is important to work one on one with someone to get to the bottom of it. This site is really only meant to break through the fog.
Hugs, Darlene

215

Hi Darlene,
I have taken a few days to really try to absorb what you’re saying about conquering vs coping. At first, they seemed like one in the same. I talked with my husband about it also. He can see angles I cannot at times.

With that, I think I understand you to mean if we conquer, we don’t need to cope, we don’t need those skills. I have read an astounding amount of posts and comments here over the past 18 months or so. I believe I have faced the truth and the damage you speak of. Darlene, sometimes I think I’m actually worse than I was before. I don’t know how to change that. I feel a little disabled at times. I’ve yet to go back to school, and I’m not working to speak of. Having the truth has made me a little bitter at times, angry at times, tearful at times, indecisive all the time, and I find I go through phases with what I want from my siblings, mother, etc.

This leads me to the questions….. am I still in a place where I haven’t TRULY and radically accepted that it wasn’t me? Self love hasn’t fallen in my lap by any means, even with the truth of my history. If you only have time to answer one question, it would be this ~ What exactly is it that needs to be conquered?? Truth, self love, acceptance? I don’t understand…. agh!! Do you remember in fall of 2011 I was in a class with the most narc female teacher imaginable? If I use this experience as an example, I can’t put together in my head how new coping skills (when it comes to triggers) are not what I should be after? What am I conquering that would relieve the need to cope in situations where the trigger is so EMORMOUS? It was horrific, and I cried and ruminated about this crazy lady!! I can’t help but think if I had a new way of coping, this event could have been less traumatic. I couldn’t even attend class for the last 3 weeks. I was ready to drop out. The dean encouraged me to stay in and I said only if I can not attend the class. This seems extreme to me in retrospect. I want to be like everyone else…. go with the flow. I was injured and it was deep. I still hate that lady.

I really seem to be hanging out in limbo. In a space between truth, and healing, with no vehicle to launch me into the latter.

Anyhow, I know it can’t be summed up in a single paragraph. None of this can, it’s so complicated. I appreciate any and all comments.

Connie,
I would love to be your friend. Please note that Mimi is what my Goddaughter calls me. It’s not my name. If you see a request from a fairly strange name, it’s ME!! Haha! Hint: my first name is 5 letters. I still go to fairly brutal lengths to protect my anonymity. I love the idea of skyping in groups or one on one too. I think it would be fantastic to have a skype meeting!! 🙂 I will contact you as soon as I finish this comment.

Cheryl,
I can identify with a lot of what you’re saying. I’m sorry I didn’t have a new approach to offer. 🙁
I have experienced what seems like cycles. I was tested for Bipolar once in a 300 question (or thereabouts) test. I was at the opposite end of the spectrum from bipolar. I don’t have the classic symptoms of bipolar, and really no tendencies toward it whatsoever. I have what seem to be cycles of discontent, anxiety and worry, though. I can’t help but wonder if I’m just at the top of the cycle right now, so everything seems okay. I have no emotion toward my mother, and largely my sister. I can calm my first morning mind spin with self talk and reality, and staying in the moment. I don’t know if this will be effective when I’m in the lowest times, where I can’t seem to stop my mind period!!

Radical acceptance was something else I saw on a website somewhere. Just saying “it is what it is”, and having no emotion or judgment about it. I have tried this also. It is a relief to accept things the way they are. Not accepting it seems like a huge burden, and when this acceptance seemed to take hold of me, even if in a small way, I felt relief from that burden. Knowing I can’t change others and accepting that, relieves me of a lot of burden and weight. I’m not even sure I knew I was carrying it.

I do believe that through trauma and abuse, the synapses in our brains can change. I wasn’t born an angry emotional infant who lied and manipulated. That’s what my mother says I am. After repeatedly hearing this, we come to believe it. It becomes a CORE belief. Core beliefs in my opinion, are hard as HELL to change. I think part of that is due to faulty synapses that have occurred over long periods of suffering, invalidation, neglect, etc. Sometimes, I think my mind has been altered from all I put up with. On the upside, I also believe we are FREE to change it, and reengage these synapses. I also believe it will take constant work.

These are just my thinkings Cheryl. There is a little science to substantiate what I’m saying here, but, mostly, this is what my life’s experiences seem to suggest for me personally. In short, I believe my brain may have been altered, and I also believe the power is within me to change it back. I am not sure exactly how to do this, but, I believe it is doable.

Hope for us all,
Mimi

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As I was typing above, a new event unfolded. My mother was supposed to be having surgery in the morning. I planned to send flowers one day during that week. About a month ago, she sent an email to all 5 kids, advising of her upcoming surgery. 1) she had my wrong email addy, so I wouldn’t have gotten it. 2) I had blocked all her email addys also, so I wouldn’t have gotten it, although in her mind, she did send it to me. 3) My sister forwarded the message because she thought i would want to be aware. 4) I did not respond to my mother’s email about the surgery. 5) My mother knows I’M AWARE of the surgery.

While I was typing above, my sister fwd a new email that my mother’s surgery was cancelled due to something on her pre-op EKG. She has to be cleared by her cardiologist before they can proceed with her colon surgery. My mother sent this email about the cancellation to everyone but me. At least my sister did forward it to me. (I am the only child in the same town with my mother.)

When I got this email from my sister, I had a physical sensation. It was a little bit warm on the skin around my head, neck, and shoulders. A little turnover in my stomach, and barely noticeable. An emotional uneasiness, a little anger, no tears. It was a trigger by all counts, and I have turned it over in my head several times since. My sister says my mother didn’t include me because I didn’t acknowledge the surgery in the first place, so she probably just thinks I don’t care. WTF?? I’m trying to put myself in my mother’s shoes, and I still don’t think it’s absolutely right. 1) No matter if I responded to the surgery email or not, she thinks I got it, and she knows I know. 2) Isn’t a mother’s love supposed to be unconditional? That would mean including me no matter what my reaction was to the first email right?? 3) Mother and I have had one email exchange about my grandmother a few weeks ago. She HAS my correct email address.

Darlene,
I can feel this trigger escalating as I type. The sense of doom is needling into my head. Self hatred has made an appearance. Yet, I don’t know what’s causing it. It seems like I hate myself because my mother discounts me. Of course she wanted me to know she was having the surgery. How else would she hook me in? BUT, that it’s cancelled, I suppose that’s just a minute detail.

Here is where I feel I need to know how to cope. I don’t know what to do in this specific situation to conquer. My heart feels physically heavy, my chest and shoulders are tight. It sets in motion a whole library of thoughts that are not healthy or desired.

I need to know how to conquer.

Love and Hope,
Mimi

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Hi Darlene,

I appreciate your suggestion but I have also tried one on one work, no help. For example last year I tried art therapy, which seemed promising but the therapist told me I would have to forgive my parents. I told her I wasn’t interested in that, that I want only to heal & that is not the way to do it for me. I told her what they did was unforgivable, she actually agreed with me & said they were unforgivable too, and then in her very next sentence she said again that I had to forgive them! Huh?

I also tried going to a psychiatrist a number of years ago. His idea for me healing was to tell me the parents were wrong about me and I shouldn’t believe them. End of story. When I tried telling him I don’t know how to accomplish this, that telling myself this hasn’t worked for me & I need more help, he wouldn’t discuss it with me further.

I gave both of these people a lot of my time with no results. I imagine there might be better professionals out there, but if they exist in my city I sure haven’t been able to find them.

I think your site is amazing and it’s so valuable that you write what you do. No-one else does it and it so much needs to be said. I especially appreciate that you include emotional abuse, as there are no other resources or validation out there for those of us who suffered it.

Cheryl

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Hi Mimi,

Thank you so much for what you wrote! It’s so nice to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way.

I agree with what you say about the brain being changed, and there actually is science to back it up! Over the last few months I have been attending talks given by local neuroscientists who report their research on exactly that. The brain does physically and demonstrably change, and it is possible for people to rewire their own neural connections. However, they never go into HOW this is done. Not the focus of the talks. But you have given me the idea of speaking with them afterwards to ask them specifically how this is done! As that is the frustrating part for me. I am willing to do anything to heal myself, I’m just at the point where I have tried literally everything I can think of & am at a loss as to what to do next. I am also finding it impossible to change my core beliefs about myself. Awareness of them alone hasn’t helped me to change them. They were yelled at me daily and repeatedly for nearly two decades of my life, with constant reinforcement to this day. Thanks again for writing what you did. It’s so very comforting to know I’m not alone in struggling, especially with reading so often about how everyone else is advancing & being stuck myself.

I’m beginning to believe I simply won’t ever be able to be healed, & I can accept that more easily now.

Cheryl

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Cheryl, MiMi,

I recently made this comment on another post as it relates to “neuro-connections” in the brain. I’ve done a bit of research on this using terms such as attachment theory and maternal deprivation (Harry Harlow experiments of the 1950’s). This is just off the top of my head rambling, but thought you might be interested:
I have always felt a sense of “duty” to accept blame whenever I was hurt. No matter who hurt me or how badly I was hurt, I would always say, “Well, I know my part in this was A. B & C. I just want “whoever” to accept their part in this situation as well.” I have never been hurt in my life when I did not share in the blame for hurting myself. With that rationale, it’s safe to say that all the hurt and emotional pain I’ve suffered in my life was inflicted by me. Sounds crazy, but that is what I was taught to believe.
I was the 9th of 14 children and I do believe the core of my personality issues were born in my infancy. It just stands to reason that one woman caring for 9 or 10 children under the age of 12 gave up on trying to meet the infants needs when they needed to be met. I’m sure she got around to it when it met her needs. I’m sure 90% of the bottles that were given to me were propped up on a pillow (I remember that technique being used on some of my younger siblings). We did not get that attachment that is achieved when a nurturing mother lovingly holds her baby while feeding and looks lovingly into the baby’s eyes giving the infant a strong sense of connection and importance. I cannot explain how damaged I feel inside because I know this was not given to me. These neuro-connections that are made in an infants’ brain, were not made in my brain; nor will they ever be. I feel there is only a small window of time for these connections to be made and if they are not made…bye, bye…the opportunity is gone. Can we lessen the damage done by not making these connections? Well, let me say….I really hope so. My life has been so negatively impacted by the neglect I suffered as an infant and child, my only hope is to try and have some quality of life before I pass on. My only hope is maybe I can leave a bit better of a legacy for my child and my grandsons. I do know this: I breast fed my daughter until she was one years old, so I know she got that connection in her infancy. Did I damage her too? Yes. While her infancy was quite good for her, as she grew my rage issues and complete emotional instability were a detrement to her. However, when she reached the age of about 13, I did openly talk to her about realizing there was something wrong with me, but I didn’t know what it was. I’ve been searching for answers as to why I am the way I am for many years, decades. I’m finally starting to find some answers. As for my grandsons, it is interesting to note; my “neediness” in a way helped them to get what they needed as infants. I just wanted to hold and rock them constantly. In a previous comment I mentioned that maternal deprivation in my infancy caused me to rock back and forth as a child and has carried right on through into my adulthood. Of course, I controlled it in public, work situations or other places where I would be viewed as “crazy”, but with age it has become more and more difficult to hide. It’s mostly a morning thing for me now. I actually MUST rock back and forth in order to wake up in the morning. But getting back to my grandsons, rocking them, singing to them and looking into their darling , precious eyes was therapy for me, and I hope in some way gave them something that all babies need. Gave them a strong sense of their importance and their value. Mostly, I hope my daughter and grandsons felt love when they were infants. I did not. Therefore, how could I ever accept love or know what love was? I didn’t. It’s been a very difficult and confusing life.
My Aunt died about a week ago at the age of 72. She was a very lovely woman who battled through her own demons throughout her life. She was a lost child of a large family, struggled with alcoholism and addictions, but really lived the last decades of her life with some grace and dignity. A young woman I used to work with died yesterday at the age of 39 leaving a husband and 2 small kids behind. I believe it was a tragic accident. A friend of my family killed herself about a month ago by slitting her wrist and then threw herself into the frozen river behind her house. She was the same age as me 52. She had a beautiful home, a husband, two handsome grown sons…but apparently she could find no joy or peace in her life. All of these deaths have given me great pause and reason to reflect on my own life. Even though “survivors guilt” is only referred to when mass deaths occur, in a way, my belief that I am such a nothing almost gives me “survivors guilt” over these deaths. Why them? They had something to live for. People who loved and needed them; I know my daughter and grandson’s love and need me, and I would never consider suicide because of this fact alone, but do you get what I mean about survivor’s guilt?
It’s been a difficult winter for me. I am hoping for an early, warm spring. And I hope springs eternal.

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Hi Cheryl,
Perhaps I should have said “good help” or “the right help” 🙂 When someone, esp. a professional tells a person that they HAVE to forgive, to me that is like being re-abused. forgiveness was not part of my solution, it was more of a result but it was NOT my goal. When I work with clients I am consistently told that I have been more effective than ANY theraputic process. And it doesn’t take years either.

About Neuroscience and re-wireing the brain: that is the goal here. That is what I did. That is what I am trying to communicate to others by sharing the stories about how I came to see things in the actual truth which helped me come out of the fog. The ‘how part’ is done not by just “seeing the truth about what happened” but it is about seeing the truth about the messages communicated to you about yourself, seeing the lies in them and then changing them to the truth. That is the hard part and many people need help (the right help) to do that part. The ‘cementing process’ for me took 2 years in this stage.
The whole truth set me free
To use an example ~ Mimi ~ in the story about your mother and her surgery; you posted “2) Isn’t a mother’s love supposed to be unconditional? That would mean including me no matter what my reaction was to the first email right??” Do you see the truth leak in there about your beliefs? Is it possible that you still put your mother through the grid of your understanding of a mother who loves unconditionally?

Although it was very hard for me to do this, I had to accept that my mother didn’t love me unconditionally. (and by her actions she didn’t show much love at all) First I saw the dysufunction, trauma, abuse, neglect in some areas and I began to realize that my mother didn’t actually love me in the true def. of love. But there was a lot to that. There was a whole process of realizing that she was NOT going to change and I kept thinking/hoping that she would; through my OLD grid that if I did the right thing, she would. I had to surrender to the truth that she wasn’t going to ever change ~ That my mother doesn’t love me and believe me, if she does change, I will be the first one to know because she will contact me and WANT to work this out.

This is where this blog really falls short because I really can’t help individuals in this place where there are thousands of comments and thousands of people, just through my comments ~ each persons belief system develops it’s own way and the taking apart in order to put back together process is slightly different for each.

I hope this helps a bit.
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene,
Thank you for the explanation. I understand what you mean about the lens in which I may still be viewing my mother. I still have my siblings’ opinions which are not always in my best interest. Perhaps it’s time to let them go. Just last night I had a convo with my sister that left me sobbing because of the invalidation or excuses she made for my mom. Also, she had said, “if you would approach her with issues at the TIME they occur, it can be resolved”. She says this is what’s worked for her. I pointed out several instances where that approach completely blew up in my face. All that said, the message she sent was that I was doing something wrong. That if I HAD done something different, the outcome would be different. NOPE!! I don’t agree. I turned my phone off, and bawled. There were so many hidden messages in our text convo that I was totally upset by the time we were finished. After she’d told me that I hurt because I allow my mother to have power over me, and that my approach was wrong, and that she had no pain because she doesn’t care, etc, etc… it was too much.

Maybe there is truth in what she said. Sometimes you just need someone to say, “okay, spill”, and then be the listener. She had all the answers and I felt like a complete idiot.

I am much better today, although there was a little hangover when I woke up. I am well controlled in light of that.

Connie,
I sent you an email because your name wouldn’t register on FB. Let me know if you haven’t gotten it.

Peace, Hope, and Love to everyone,
Mimi

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Hi Mimi
This is another example of being invalidated. The person who is causing the problem is defended. Part of my new grid was in accepting that no matter what I said, this was not going to change. I stopped trying to prove myself. The truth (that they are NOT going to vaidate anything I feel) was like step one. Step two was to stop trying to get them to.

Your sister also had truth leaks in her directives. She says that you have to confront your mother right away (as if there is a statute of limitations on communication and injustice and if you don’t speak up right away, you lose your rights!!??) and then she says that you allow your mother to have power over you……. which is it?? I guess she is the only one who knows how to do relatioship with your mother… but then again.. not caring isn’t exactly mutually respectful relationship now is it?

Hang in there Mimi! you are doing great!
Hugs, Darlene

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Ahhh Darlene,
Thank you!! Sometimes, when you’re alone in your sanity, the INsanity of others starts to look sane. Does that make sense??

Thanks for keeping me grounded. I had lunch with a dear friend today, and she has been a youth advocate for 25 years. She also grounded me and said, “Hey, if a relationship is making you crumble, walk away. Doesn’t matter who it is, including parents.” I was grappling with a feeling lately that the world thinks I’m whacko for walking away from my mother. ESPECIALLY in light of her alleged recent medical problems. What the world says doesn’t matter, and I have a really hard time reminding myself of that.

In some ways, I am the most determined person you could know. I am all about being a conquerer. In some ways, I’m as weak as a newborn kitten. I know I have it in me to tap into the fighter inside. I know it’s there. Even my husband told me last night I had to start standing up for myself. He’s never said that before.

I think what’s prevented me from rebuking these invalidations by others in the past is fear. Fear that they will judge or leave me. I must remind myself that, being in their presence is worse at times. And, honestly, they have already judged me and left me in the past. I just allowed them back into my life.

It’s been a tough past few days…. the light is beginning to shine.

Thanks Darlene and everyone who’s commented.
xoxo,
Mimi

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Hi Mimi!
I’ve been getting/reading all your postings lately and I wanted to remark on something—I hope that it’s okay. I read your paragraph that goes: “I think what’s prevented me from rebuking these invalidations by others in the past is fear. Fear that they will judge or leave me. I must remind myself that, being in their presence is worse at times. And, honestly, they have already judged me and left me in the past. I just allowed them back into my life.” and I thought that it was very insightful. But it struck me right away an unspoken sentence after, “Fear that they will judge or leave me.” The sentence—“Fear that I DESERVE to be judged and left.” I say this entirely with love, Mimi, because that’s been my fear, too. But it’s NOT TRUE. You deserve love, unconditional love and understanding—that’s what parents, and loved ones, are supposed to give you, but they didn’t/don’t. At every turn they expect US to love THEM unconditionally and to understand them and accept them, no matter what, no matter all the abuse, etc. And when all we want is respect and equality, apparently that’s too much to ask! But that’s not about you! That’s about them! That’s how WRONG they are. You are beautiful and deserving, my friend! You deserve love for who you are. You are a good person, that is crystal clear to me in every communication I have read of yours and every communication I’ve had with you. We all carry pain and some ugly effects of the abuse but even those ugly effects—they aren’t ours, they’re not us. They come from the very people who judge us! We can RETURN them, thank you very much. We don’t have to carry the crap they put on us! It’s not ours! It’s not you, it’s not me. We are good and we are deserving of love.
Big hugs,
Alaina

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Mimi,
When you wrote the following it really touched me:

“Just last night I had a convo with my sister that left me sobbing because of the invalidation or excuses she made for my mom. Also, she had said, “if you would approach her with issues at the TIME they occur, it can be resolved”. She says this is what’s worked for her. I pointed out several instances where that approach completely blew up in my face. All that said, the message she sent was that I was doing something wrong. That if I HAD done something different, the outcome would be different. NOPE!! I don’t agree. I turned my phone off, and bawled. There were so many hidden messages in our text convo that I was totally upset by the time we were finished. After she’d told me that I hurt because I allow my mother to have power over me, and that my approach was wrong, and that she had no pain because she doesn’t care, etc, etc… it was too much.”

It’s so similar to what I’m going through with my Mom and sister(s) lately. One of my sisters blew up on xmas eve and caused a scene and basically ruined everyone’s holiday including traumatizing children. When I when to my Mom a couple days after christmas to say that my sister’s behavior was so out of line and I for one was going to draw a boundary with her and never take that kind of abuse again. To my shock, dismay and horror, my mother sided with the sister that caused the scene! I became so angry I pounded my fist on the table and said “How can you defend someone who did such an awful thing?” Well, that’s all it took….me pounding my fist on the table made me public enemy #1 in the family and since Christmas I’ve been told, I’m not lovable; no matter where I go I can’t get along with people; I’m mentally ill and I need help; If I didn’t change my behavior I would be thrown into the street; Reading books and blogs on healing is not therapy and my family will let me know when I’m getting the proper care. I was threatened with being arrested and committed to a psych ward. My medical records that I gave to one sister for safe keeping a couple years back were brought out and read freely between anyone and everyone in the family.
As GOD IS MY WITNESS….this was all in response to me pounding my fist on a sturdy dining room table one time, basically a normal human reaction when someone who you thought loved you (Mom) takes the blame and shame that belonged to one of her children and placed it directly upon my shoulders. It was like a lifetime of devaluation came crashing down around me. As soon as I did it, I got up and ran to my room and cryed for hours, I was so hurt. Then the real punishment began…as I described above. It sucks. It truly sucks. My sisters are CONSTANTLY telling me what I need to do, and how I need to handle situations this way or that way, but they are all so screwed up in their own lives, I just can’t believe they look at themselves as so wise and able to pass judgement on everyone, but never, never, never will they look at the screwed up nature of their own lives (everything from severe drug addictions, to histronic drama queens and narcissistic girls gone wild). Mimi….I hear ya girl….I hear ya loud and clear

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[…] 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 […]

New post on emerging from broken related to the content in this post! ~ Darlene

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Connie,
I can so identify with what happened to you at Christmas. If there was ever any kind of reaction from me, it was construed as out of control, unable to reason with, anger management issues, just like my dad, ungrateful, OHHH, the list goes on and on.

Our family didn’t generally have explosive family gatherings. Control and appearances were the ideas that were taught to us. Although there was a family vacation where my siblings and their kids and myself were all present. I overheard my mother badmouthing me to a large handful of my family members. I was FURIOUS!! I packed up my stuff and left. My mother said I misunderstood her words. Bahahaha!! That was a lie. No misunderstanding here. But, of course I was made out to be unreasonable. If I’m unreasonable, then walk the hell away!! That’s my position now. And, spoken with a smile!! 🙂

xoxo,
Mimi

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All I can say is “Thank You”!!!

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I am just about to start looking for the truth of how I was neglected as a child and the psychological abuse I endured. I know it’s there, but I am struggling with setting aside the false picture of my parents, which includes pitying them for their illness rather than being angry at them.

I want to get started, I think. But it is frightening. I have lived with the falsehood, and adapted my thinking to blame myself, for so long, for so many decades. I need reassurance that I will find relief and begin healing if I move forward.

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The definition of abuse…the degrading and isolating…so difficult to admit when the abusers are your own family members.I made excuses ALL my life for them and took the blame for their abuse- it was always my fault. I was continually striving to please them and it was never good enough…a circle of catch 22’s. I lost myself in the process.It hasn’t been until recently that I stopped the “acting as if”, the smiling and being positive, ” rising above”. Finally , I really took a look at the repressed feelings, etc.and have started being my own best advocate. You are right Darlene…you will not heal until you allow yourself to feel your feelings and deal with the underlying issues.Blame needs to be placed where it belongs.Then you can move forward and not until.I am over the rage of what they did to me and the havoc that their behavior caused in my life.Still reeling over all the wasted years.But, here I am, struggling to move forward , step by step , day by day.Thank you for this safe forum.

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Whenever I tried tell my therapist just what you said, I’d get a “it was about your father feeling neglected and that’s why he got angry”. But since when is it the adult childs responsibility to parent the parent? Let me tell ya, there’s a lot of bad therapists out there giving bad advice. It’s more about THEM having the fantasy of saying they healed a client and family, just so that THEY can walk away feeling better because THEY couldn’t heal their own family. I even sent my therapist to your site and she didn’t agree with your articles. I stopped seeing her.

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Love the quote! Going to use it at some point! Exposing Truth because nothing else leads to freedom and wholeness;

Darlene Ouimet

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Hi Re-born
Welcome to EFB ~ There are a ton of bad therapists for sure. That was one of the reasons that I started this website! Good for you for leaving that dysfunctional one!!
hugs, Darlene

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Hi Dawn! You are welcome!

Hi Kate!
It isn’t easy to do this kind of work but remember that there is no deadline! It took me almost 2 years to come out of the fog; I am just grateful that I persisted in my own recovery! It really paid off. You will move forward, just keep trying.
hugs, Darlene

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Hi Kathy
It is very difficult when it is your own family but the truth is the truth and it is the only path that I know of to healing. Thank you for sharing! I love all that you have said here.
hugs, Darlene

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I was pursued for two years by an older ‘boy’ when I was 14. This terrified me and I tried to avoid him. I had no one ever to protect me. There had only been silence and violence. I had to raise myself ..
When I was 16 he raped me- and then moved on to my girlfriend. This I see was his MO- taking young girls virginity. For the next year and a half many men TOOK me. I was drugged many times. never felt anything- just laid there. why? It’s as if I could not say no- yet deep down I knew I was a good girl. After I tried to take my life at 17 I begged in tears to my mom to please let me talk to someone. She laughed and said you don’t need to talk to anyone.

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Wow Cinderella, that is awful!!!!

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Rebecca- thank you. your comment is ‘validating’ and helping me realize that yeah it WAS awful- what HAPPENED TO ME. Bless you. Thank you.

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I have been halted with a huge slap by a ‘Christian’ ‘friend’ someone I really thought was different and new a REAL friend=brought to me by God…well actually He DID bring this person and others – to SHOW me the same familiar familial system is very much alive and ongoing in the church…ALSO that I have ‘ATTRACTED’ the same individuals all my life- because I was vulnerable I attracted someone else who continued the system of abuse I had thought I was just now “free” from. Hurts pretty bad and I am again withdrawing- as I was ‘again’ punished for speaking up. This all is really shaking up whom I feel I can trust and whom I cannot in the church now. wow!

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I have been halted with a huge slap by a ‘Christian friend’ someone I really thought was different and new a REAL friend=brought to me by God…well actually He DID bring this person and others – to SHOW me the same familiar familial system is very much alive and ongoing in the church…ALSO that I have ‘ATTRACTED’ the same individuals all my life- because I was vulnerable I attracted someone else who continued the system of abuse I had thought I was just now “free” from. Hurts pretty bad and I am again withdrawing- as I was ‘again’ punished for speaking up. This all is really shaking up whom I feel I can trust and whom I cannot in the church now. wow!

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Even my therapist I see is FB friends with my FB friends which is hindering me from going further with her.. and we do not have a set time to meet or talk so I am left wondering each week just what I am supposed to DO next..
I am so unsure of who to trust- who REALLY cares and has MY best interests at heart. There have been so many breaches of trust and confidence my entire life..and I go in trusting those I should be able to trust- WHY? because I believe they are walking their talk. I am not trying to put anyone on a pedestal just going in believing that others who say they follow Jesus will treat me better than the hypocritical christians in my family. WHY do I DO this?

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Cinderella, your right. There A LOT of hypocritical “Christians” out there. To be perfectly honest, I just deleted two of them off of my facebook yesterday when the both messaged me and said, “If you only had enough faith, God would heal your medical condition”. I’m all for God however there is nothing more I can’t stand than argumentative Christians trying to preach and prove their point. They don’t offer any validation, but instead condemnation. Remember how the pharisees condemned Jesus on the Sabbath day? In Luke 6:2 they said, “Why are you breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?” And what did Jesus reply? He said, “Haven’t you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He went into the house of God and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests can eat. He also gave some to his companions.”. Jesus thought that helping people was more important than the law. And it appears to me that the Christian Hypocrites you know are doing the same thing. I personally have gotten them out of my life. YOU were the victim. You deserve to be validated and hugged. If they are not going to do that they have no business being in your life. I would also get rid of that therapist. (this is just my opinion–you don’t have to take my advice). I’m sorry your going through all this. When you were a child, you had listen to what your parents told you. But now, you don’t. You are free to set healthy boundaries that are good for you.

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As I continue with my therapist I am seeing she is NOT like these others…all things are being revealed.
She has gone through much of this with this same church and actually God moved her out and away from them and here.
She is not actually friends with these same people. There was a family crisis that her family went through last year and God mightily protected her young daughter’s life. This was became a very public thing= even to national news and this small town rose up to the occassion with much support in prayer and helping with their costs. So yes, many became ‘fb friends’ at that time but she does not ‘know’ them.
She has been very honorable with my time and all that we’ve worked on together. I really feel she is here to help me through all of this. There is Peace.
I am setting more healthy boundaries where I could not before- even two weeks ago- with these others..I have become more bold- not fearful. I unfriended one when I saw that she had been what is referred to as Trolling on FB. and also did that for many others and did not feel quilty- actually felt BETTER! and OK and that is GOOD!
Thank you so much for responding and helping me to feel validated here.

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After coming out of major fog this year regarding the evil roots and who is responsible…I went NC and plan on that for the rest of my life. It is a settled thing in my heart and mind and I am ok with it. Before I could SEE no way could I have been free to do this.
So I have NC’d everyone in my FOO and everyone THEY are connected to- except my daughters. Now I see NM is starting to weazel her way in to my daughers life again- to puppet master HER AGAIN. my daughter has been used to glean information and to be told lies about me. I has a feeling this was happening again as my daughter has been more silent. This is a pattern. My daughter has some of these tendencies. I have been guarded with my daughter about revealing much about myself. Even where we live- because of the evil NP’s and NS’s and NFOO. They are ALL NM’s puppets. I was blown away by the evil that was finally revealed about her from my whole life..and the evil that was revealed when my son and I moved near to them. NM has been the central key to every bad thing in my life- and the lives of my children- my marriage even. I have been blown away by all the connections that have connected this year.
SO I need to know from all others who have gone through this or are now going through this- what do I DO about my daughter? I am not calling or offering any information. I am concerned anything I share with my other daughter might inadvertently be mentioned to her and then she will share with her cousins or aunt and then the chain continues that leads every time ultimately to the NM puppet master. Shes been a master at this for so long and fooled so many for so long.
I dearly miss my four grandchildren by my olderst daughter that is being puppeted.

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